Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A lot of New!

A quick two years have flown by since my last blog.  I'm not even going to try to recap that time, but pick up where life is now.  However, big highlights I am now a CRNA and Ben just accepted a job that he is absolutely loving.

We have just relocated to the Houston area and I cannot express how incredibly excited we are about being back in Texas!  Ben started his new job March 31 and has been very busy since, but he loves it and that makes my heart happy to see how much passion he has behind his work.
St Lucia Pitons
Ben had one full week off between jobs so we decided to go on a "Babymoon" during this time.  The trip served many purposes actually.  It allowed us to celebrate 4 years of being happily married, the new job, my graduation, and most importantly, the upcoming arrival of our first born child.  We really thought labeling this vacation as a babymoon sounded kind of silly, but I would HIGHLY recommend one. The outlook on this vacation was unlike any other.  It was the last time Ben and I would be kid-free or kid worrying free outside the country.  We had time to just relax, read, and enjoy  "us" as we know it right now.  The last year of our life has been so crazy with moves and living apart for a while it was wonderful to have that quality time with him.
Mud bath
Since I went on this trip 6+ months pregnant, we decided we would just mainly relax.  However, one day we left the resort and went on the Joe Knows Tour.  We took a boat ride to the Pitons, visited a volcano that had erupted, played in the mud bath, went to a waterfall, and went snorkeling.

We couldn't really see much snorkeling but it was refreshing to swim around in the warm ocean.  Overall, it was a packed day but we really enjoyed it.

Playing in the mud was probably my favorite... it was pretty sweet watching Ben draw a million things on my belly.   I love hearing him talk to her or about her.  He is going to be such an awesome daddy for sure.

The entire trip was just awesome... but there is one special memory I will cherish forever.  (sappy alert)

Our first full day, Ben scheduled us for a couples massage.  We usually always have one, but this time was unlike any other. When the massage began Whitney Houston's "I Will Alway Love You" - began playing softly in the background. How appropriate is this!?  I'm beside my groom that I am still so in love with and we are celebrating a huge life changing event. Eventually I got lost in the massage, the music and the amazing spa smell.
Towards the end, my therapist began lightly massaging my feet, Kennedy began moving around in my tummy and "It's a Wonderful World"  by Louis Armstrong begins to play
 By the end of the song, they had us laying there hand in hand, Kennedy still moving around, and this song finishing in the background.  Sweet tears began falling from my eyes.  All I kept thinking is how awesome is our God!  I am so thankful for His unfailing love and faithfulness, for the man he placed right beside me, and for this blessing moving around making her presence known in this very moment.  

Over the last two years we have had several frustrating circumstances.  We have wondered what God is trying to tell us and how to remain obedient in our direction when it was all so unclear.  My human nature began questioning what felt like His complete silence, but a dear friend of ours reminded me God's timing is perfect.  It spoke volumes to me then and it still does today.  In fact, I'm not sure how much she realizes this little message has carried me through my own jumbled thoughts and questions.   

Within the next month or so.... we should be closing on a house, finally getting the nursery in order, and I will be starting my first job as a CRNA all in TEXAS.  In less than 90 days we should be holding our baby girl.... God's timing truly is perfect.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Update :)

Times has flown by! I can't believe it's been nearly 7 months since I've written anything on our blog! Well, for those interested... here's a brief update:

As you know I went back to school full time in August.  Things have gone well thus far just lots and lots and lots of studying. I never thought I could sit and focus on something for 12-14 hours in a day...but hey, I can! Due to the amount of studying, we didn't get to go anywhere for Thanksgiving because 5 tests were awaiting my return after the break. So luckily, Holly (Ben's oldest sister) lives really close with her family, and she fed us a fabulous meal and sent us home with enough food for us for a week!!! (Not joking, she rocks!) 
Over the Christmas break Heath & Holly rented a house in Red River New Mexico
and invited the Casmer clan out to join them. Ben and I went snowboarding & had a fun time with family.  We left Red River early Christmas Eve and met up with my family out in west Texas for a WHITE CHRISTMAS!  We spent some time with my family, celebrated the holiday, & headed back home Christmas day. I just have to throw in what a blessing it is to get to spend holidays with both sides of the family!  I know that may not happen always, but I loved it. 

Ben and I had never really celebrated a New Year.  The first NewYear we were together, we spent painting our kitchen cabinets in Arkansas.  The 2nd, we were in the process of moving back to Texas.  So 2012 was our year to actually celebrate!  Armando & Bri came over (with their doggies of course) to bring in the new year with games & delicious food!

December 24, Ron & Bonnie celebrated 40 years of marriage.  (Another incredible thing about our parents, the example they have set in marriage as mine will celebrate 38yrs this summer) So we had to celebrate!! All of their kids (and in-laws) got together to throw a surprise party at Justin and Heather's Coffee Shop, Bodega Bean in Belton, TX.  We pulled off the surprise and I think they really enjoyed time with friends and family :)  The kids went in on a vacation fund for the "newlyweds" and we're anxious to see where they decide to go!

After an amazing 5 week break, I started school again.  Even though I feel like I am insanely busy with school, Ben has been just as busy at work.  He's been putting in long hours & working so hard. Ben was over a LARGE expansion at the hospital (new patient tower, cath lab, CCU, and much more). This past weekend Ben helped move the patients into the new tower, so it's up and running! :) God has blessed me with a man that is true servant in all aspects of his life & I couldn't be more proud of him. 

We also celebrated our 2 year anniversary in January. :) Again, I can't believe how time has flown by! We went out to dinner the weekend before to Eddie V's... if you have never been there, GO!  I was in class on our anniversary, Ben sent me beautiful flowers that morning.  At lunch I got a phone call that basically said "walk outside" and he hung up.  He was there to surprise me with Panera Bread (delicious!!!), he took me to the Water Gardens downtown Ft Worth for a picnic in the park!  Then returned me back to class on time. ;) yay for anniversary surprises!

We have hit spring break, and we are headed to San Antonio to see Jarod, Jessica and Lacy. Wahooo! On the way down we are going to stop and spend some time with the in-laws!  So excited to get a break with Ben, I feel it is much needed for both of us! :) 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Chapter, Many blessings.

Kaylee, Courtney, and Me
This is a very big week for us here in the Casmer house! Monday was my last day at work and I am now going to be a full time graduate school student!!!  I am beyond blessed to have such an amazing supportive and incredible husband!  I have dreamed of going to CRNA school for a very long time and this week it becomes a reality.  I am truly thankful for my parents who have supported this goal for far longer than I have known my sweet husband.  Also, I am grateful for my encouraging and supportive in-laws!  God has opened so many doors to allow this all to happen and I am here humbly accepting the challenge.

Ben sent me flowers monday at work since it was my last day just telling me he's proud of me! :) Sweetest thing in the world!  Wednesday Seth, Courtney, Kaylee, and I all went up to the school and got our ID's and parking permits.  I know I keep going on about how blessed I feel, but God has already provided so many close friends that I will be in school with it is very encouraging for me.  You hear nightmares about this school and how it's the hardest thing that you'll ever do and I am going in as prepared as can be with amazing friends and family as well as the man of my dreams by my side! :) Schools starts tomorrow and as cute as it is, spouses are invited to the first half of the day.. so Ben gets to literally take me to class tomorrow! I'm excited about that.... Off to studying I go! Prayers are greatly appreciated! 

California stole our HEARTS!

Perfect california car
Goodbye Las Vegas, hello 70 degree California!  :)  We left Vegas with cash in our pockets, thanks to the bonus Ben won the night before.  We landed in San Diego and went to pick up our rental car.  The lady asks Ben "Would you like to upgrade the car for $15/day to a convertible?"  This was a no brainer, of COURSE we would, the weather is PERFECT!  So we hoped in the convertible put the top down and headed to the gorgeous Laguna Beach.  It was about an hour and a half to get to the hotel we were staying at in Laguna.... but it was a lovely drive down the costal highway!

I have to be honest when I say we totally LUCKED on when we booked our hotel.  We were SOOO tired of reading about these places to stay we finally just defeatedly book something we both liked.  We apparently found a local gem!!  I didn't get a very good picture of the front, but the Rooftop Lounge is the best part about it!

On the roof (obviously) there is a restaurant that over looks the ocean.  The Lounge has made the travel channel (as advertised on a bulletin board inside the lobby). We sat up there a couple of the nights and watched to sunset... the view is incredible from up there!

We were loving the cooler weather, but with the temp being in the mid 70's I was about to FREEZE to death!  So we went for a little stroll down the street with the ocean view to find a jacket for me.  Being a tourist area, we bought a ridiculously over priced "jacket" (sweatshirt) that was WELL worth it to keep me warm over the next few days! On our way back from buying the jacket we saw a cute little outdoor steakhouse and across the street, and had the most amazing, tender steak I have ever eaten in my life!  Too bad I can't remember the name of the place :( or I'd recommend it!

A day in Los Angeles:  The next morning we ate breakfast in the little restaurant that was in our hotel and made the drive over to LA from Laguna. We only planned on spending one day in LA, so we HAD to hit up all the typical touristy attractions that makes it so appealing to everyone.  So here was our PACKED day of exciting LA life!

Call me crazy, I am a girl who loves to shop but I had NEVER heard of Rodeo Dr.  I accidentally called it Rodeo "Street" and in that moment my husband had the realization that I had no idea where we were headed!  So... this was our first destination.

Next stop, the Hollywood sign!  You can see the hollywood sign from all over LA... it's a matter of getting close enough so you can get a picture.  As we were driving, we passed another tourist attraction, Santa Monica Blvd.  As you get closer to the sign, you see tourists standing in the streets trying to get a quick picture with the Hollywood sign in the background before getting hit by a car.  Thinking this was crazy, Ben and I were one of those couples :)  Just close enough to get a good pic.. and we were on to our next destination.
I KNEW he was a star! 

Ben and I drove over to the Hollywood walk of Fame. We walked by the Chinese Theater where they were setting up for the Final Destination 5 Premier that would happen that night.  Pretty close to the Chinese Theater is a Hard Rock Cafe so we stopped and grabbed some lunch.   We didn't realize how much the Hard Rock Cafe does for charity and orphanages. So, next time you're around a Hard Rock... go in and support them! Anyway, we walked up and down the street just seeing all the stars names and little shops on the strip.
We bought tickets to see Iris a Cirque Du Soleil show at the Kodak theater on Hollywood Blvd. The show didn't start till 9, which meant we had 4 hours to kill.

We headed to the car and drove over to Santa Monica Pier.  The view was just amazing.  Even though the beach was packed with tons of people,  I believe the view off the pier is something I could never grow tired of looking at!

I wish we would have had more time to dedicate to the beach here, but it was time to head back to catch our show.

Sheriff Lone Star in Beverly Hills 
Luckily we left  2 hours before Iris was suppose to start because it took us 1hr and 45min to drive what should have only taken 20 minutes. I do NOT see how people who live in LA do it!  We sat through a light that turned green about 5 times just because traffic wasn't moving and we couldn't go!  On the way back, we had to pass through Beverly Hills so we were still taking in the view.  The landscaping was beautiful along with every Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Porsche... etc. We decided driving one of these cars, particularly the Porsche, was a requirement to live there.
We finally made it back to Kodak Theater (where the Academy Awards are held), and headed into the Cirque show.  If you are ever in LA, go see this show!  Words can't describe the talent these people have to put on such a great performance.  After the show was over, we made the drive back to Laguna Beach and called it a night!

The blue whale
A Day in
Laguna: After our previous day,
we decided to take it a little easier and stay close to Laguna and check out the area.  Ben found an add for dolphin and whale watching, so we decided that would be totally amazing if we had the chance to see a whale!  We went out on the boat for a 3 hour excursion, and not only did we see about 500 dolphins, we saw a Blue Whale!  All I can say is we were in awe!

To finish the day off, we went back to the Hotel to the Rooftop Lounge at dinner, drank wine, and watched the sunset. It was a little overcast, but still a wonderful site.  I have to say we had the perfect ending to an absolutely wonderful day admiring God's beautiful creation.

Last full day in Cali: It all started with our first big tripout of the country together. Early in our relationship, Ben and I began collecting art work from every place we would travel to.  It can't just be any piece, we both have to completely fall in love with it.  This can be a bit of a challenge because I am attracted to the lovey, girly, flowery things and he likes more of the abstract art.  Although I have to admit, we have found something we both agree on and love every time. We had looked at artwork over the last few days and were unable to find something we just couldn't walk away from.  There was a piece we had in mind, but we wanted to see if there was anything we liked better.  We walked across the street to a gallery and met Mark, the owner.  We had pretty much walked through the entire gallery and we had found lots of pieces we loved, but nothing in our budget.  We found one we liked, and then Mark told us he had a piece in the back that was similar but he would make a deal on it.  He brought it out, and we both were pretty excited about it.  I walked up closer to the large painting and began looking closer to take in all the detail.  At the bottom you can see the old tattered pages of music, if you look close it says "Romeo and Juliet (Love Theme)" and I knew this had to be ours!  Ben just leaned over read it and said, "Well, this is it."  :)

View from the Highway
Our poolside Private Caba
We loaded up in the car and headed to San Diego where we would be staying for the night to catch our very early flight out the next morning.  We went to the Bayside Hilton and checked in for the evening.  By this time we were both ready for some lunch and Ben had really been wanting some sushi

so we did some research on the computer to find the best sushi in San Diego.  We found a little hole in the wall place, Sushi Ota, that was delicious!  After the sushi we drove around and did a little bit of site seeing, and went back to the hotel hang out by the pool.  We noticed there for a while there was a MILLION kiddos running around at the pool.  We asked our waitress the reasoning behind the amount of kids and teenagers... we booked the hotel on the weekend the Pokemon World Championship was going on at the Hilton, seriously! Anyway- I feel asleep really early and poor Ben ate Trail Mix in the room for dinner because he didn't want to wake me up.

Sophie excited to see her daddy
~Saturday Morning~  We caught an early flight out of San Diego and made it back to Texas!  Although we were back, we still had one more night of vacation before we would go back home. Luckily Bill and Roxie Wilkins baby sat Sophie for the week and they were generous enough to drop us off and pick us up from the airport!   So, we briefly got to see our Sophie girl along with Holly, Bailey, Logan, Ron and Bonnie before we headed out to Possum Kingdom for the night.  Hope stayed at our house and watched the boys for most of the week but the boys were boarded for the weekend so we wouldn't see them till monday.

Back in Texas:

The Markham's Lakehouse--
thanks Fraser and Lindsay for having us
Every summer we have had the pleasure of spending some time out on Possum Kingdom lake with Fraser and Lindsay Hay.  It is always an extremely relaxing and fun time.  This was completely the cherry on the top of this vacation and we ended it perfectly... admiring this site....

After a wonderful evening at Possum Kingdom, and an unforgettable vacation we headed home! <3

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Viva Las Vegas!

Ben and I REALLY wanted to take a long vacation before I had to become totally wrapped up in being a nerdy grad student for 28 months of our life.... but deciding where that vacation would be posed a challenge because I wanted a beach vacation and he wanted Vegas.  So after attempting to plan a Vegas vacation one weekend and a beach vacation another.. we decided to combine it.  We just got back from one of the most incredible vacations we have ever been on!  Here's some details of the trip...

Charles, our limo driver
We flew out on a friday to head to the always incredible Las Vegas.  When we arrived at the airport, we began following the endless arrows to the baggage claim area. As we came down the escalator there was a man standing there holding a sign that said "Ben Casmer" on it. Even though it said my hubby's name... I kinda felt like a movie star for a brief second considering the fact someone was waiting to pick us up and drive us away from this crowded airport.  Silly, I know, but he quickly directed us toward the overwhelming baggage claim area, stated the belt in which our bags would come out on, and lead us over to the area.  Our bags came out and we were on our way out the door following our LIMO driver for the evening. The driver took us to the Flamingo where we would be staying for the next four nights.. we checked in, freshened up and headed to Vdara, where some of our friends were staying. 

Dinner at Battistas

We picked up Armando and Brianna who happened to be in Vegas celebrating their second anniversary, and headed to dinner.  When we were in Vegas for our Bachelor/Bachelorette party we were introduced to a pretty delicious italian food restaurant called Battistas and that is where we went to dinner.  I would highly recommend this place! After dinner, we went to a Cirque Du Soleil show called Le Reve at the Wynn. The show was FABULOUS!  This was an incredible night 1.  

Outside Vdara and Aria
The next day, we met up with another couple and just played the day away gambling and enjoying the company. We walked around admiring all of the new construction that has gone up since we had been there last.  After losing most of the money we took to gamble, we went to dinner at the Sugar Factory on the strip.  We walked around after dinner, but we were all pretty tired and wound up calling it an early night!
Fondue at Sugar Factory

We woke up pretty early since we didn't stay out the night before.  We ate breakfast and started walking the strip.  We totally fell for the "free show ticket" scam.. and were suckered into sitting through a Time Share presentation!  They told us they wanted people to walk through the new Cosmopolitan hotel and casino for advertisement, and you would get free show tickets just for taking a tour (that would only last an hour)!  Sounds simple enough, right!?! So, we agreed to the tour. It was a total lie, we didn't even walk through the Cosmopolitan just by it.  You know how you feel when you go to buy a car?  The sales people keep trying to make a deal with you... That's EXACTLY how this went. After telling them NO we don't want to 
Top of the World
purchase a time share multiple times and 3 hours later we left with Blue Man Group tickets!  This "tour" had devoured most of our day..  So FINALLY after all of this, we went back to our room and started getting ready for dinner.   Ben made reservations to eat on Top of the World.  Literally.. hehe, it's the restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere.  We met Ashley and Justin there and at dinner overlooking the strip, shortly before sunset.  It was just breathtaking! 

"free" ticket suckers
 We almost got to see the sunset.. but had to make it to the Blue Man show... because we were NOT going to miss it after the way we had obtained tickets! :)  We got to the show and we were sat on the very LAST row!  The show was awful, I wouldn't recommend it at all.. it was a very comical way to end the day! :) 

Day 4:  We got up at went and ate at this wonderful breakfast placed called Pampas in the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood.  They have steak and eggs for breakfast for pretty cheap! After we ate we walked alllllll the way down to Luxor where we went to the Bodies exhibit.  It is AMAZING, holy cow did God make our bodies intricate and INCREDIBLE! For those of you that don't know, it's preserved cadavers so you can see literally into the human body.  If seeing bones and muscles doesn't gross you out, GO see this!   For dinner we ate at the Rio buffet were I possibly at my body weight in crab legs :) delicious!! After dinner, we went to Penn & Teller there at the Rio.  It was hilarious and awesome!  Since it was our last night, we wanted to make the most of it.. but considering we had lost *most* of our gambling money.. we decided to go downtown to find the cheaper tables.  I like to watch Ben play poker because I think one day, I might find my poker face and play. I was half way paying attention at 2am and I see Ben putting quite a bit of chips in the middle.  I had no idea what he had.. there wasn't much showing on the flop.. I think the cards were 2, 6, 6.  I start feeling nervous and I have no idea what Ben even has haha :)  He keeps calling the bet that comes around to him.. and finally he says the the guy betting "I'm gonna put you all in"... The other guy folds.. Ben flips over pocket 6's.  Ben hit a FOUR OF A KIND!  He won the pot and a casino BONUS!  Soooo he won back all the money and a little more that we had lost the very first day!   So basically.. we won spending money to take to California.. where we were headed the next day! :)   

Family & Friends

This summer Ben and I have kind of been all over Texas seeing family and friends.  Although we don't get to spend a lot of time, we sure get quality time!  Which... is probably the most important kind.  

At the end of May, Ben and I went to the Pinkston Family Reunion just outside of Abilene.  He had the opportunity to meet the extended family that couldn't make it to the wedding.  It was so good to see everyone.. it had been years since I had made it to a reunion.

A few short weeks later, we spent Father's day with Ben's family. After church  we drove to Waco met up with the family, went shopping, and ate some amazing Mexican food for lunch!  All in celebration of Father's day :)

The next weekend we had some very dear friends come all the way from Mississippi!  We had the pleasure of meeting this couple on our honeymoon. They were the ones we were randomly paired up with at dinner on our cruise.  How lucky we were to have met them...The Barkers have been an amazing blessing to our lives!  

They drove in with their two precious little boys (Will and Ethan) and we had a packed weekend of swimming, bowling, Six Flags, and a Texas Rangers game. This was Will and Ethan's first trip to Texas and they were soooooo cute saying "they do speak our language in Texas."  It was a great weekend catching up with Tim and Cherrie! 

The following month, Ben and I had a short weekend vacation in South Texas to go see some more friends.  :) Lacy had a place in South Padre for the entire month of July and invited us out to enjoy the island life for a bit.  We had a wonderful relaxing weekend!  We all hung out on the beach, played washers, walked around the island, and most importantly enjoyed the time we had to spend with our friends in Paradise! 

The very last weekend in July we were back out in west Texas celebrating my Grandfather's 90th birthday!!  We had the chance to spend some time with my family.. and Pop gave Ben a lesson or two on dominoes! (My grandpa is quite the pro!)  
 It was so much fun hanging out with my parents, my sister and bro-in law and our nephews Patrick and James.  :) 

This summer has flown by... 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Birthday, Birthday, Birthday!

Ice Cream Cake from Baskin Robins!
From mom and dad 
I truly can't express how EXTREMELY blessed I feel!  God is So good and so faithful! This year we had several celebrations for my birthday.  I think getting older may be AWESOME if my birthday parties are like they were this year! :) We celebrated with my family, with friends, with Ben's family, and just the two of us!

We started off celebrating Mother's day weekend in Midland, and my family threw a party while we were there!  It was so good to see the family, it had been far too long! 

On my actual birthday..that morning I opened a present from Ben that had a couple of Texas Ranger shirts in the bag... (How adorable that he knows me SO well he bought me options so I could pick one of the two CUTE shirts! Haha i <3 that.)  Anyway- he then told me we would be going to the game and he had scheduled me appointments that day to go get pampered at a spa here in town. :)   That night, we went to the Rangers game, we had AMAZING seats that were a few rows behind Nolan Ryan!!! The Rangers lost... but we still had an amazing time!


The weekend after my birthday Ben had ANOTHER surprise for me! During the day we were relaxing at the house... and Tracy showed up at our door! They both were telling me to get ready for dinner... so we showed up a the restaurant and met up with several of our friends Ben had invited.  Thank you SOO much Ashley, Chase, Tracy, Needham, Armando and Bri for making it out!  We love you guys so much!  After dinner we all went out to the Piano Bar and sang the night away.  :)

We went and saw Ben's family the following weekend and celebrated again! All I can say is it was a very HAPPY birthday full of many sweet surprises!