Anchors Aweigh : November 2014


Our Angel

Parker and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all of the love and prayers we have received. We both agree that our prayer warriors have been a huge part of getting us through each day of this journey, and we can truly feel God's comfort and love. 
This all happened so quickly. Three weeks ago, we thought we had a healthy baby and were happily planning for her arrival in April. Today, I am sitting down to tell everyone that our precious baby girl went home to be with Jesus. 

We check her heartbeat every night before we go to sleep. We couldn't find it Sunday evening, and the doctors confirmed Monday that her heart had stopped beating. We were told this was coming, but somehow I was so hopeful that we had more time. Our sweet baby had already beaten the odds by making it to 18.5 weeks, but God decided it was time to bring her home. 

As devastated as we are, we rejoice in knowing that our baby girl is dancing with Jesus in Heaven, completely healed. She never once suffered. We rejoice in knowing we will get to meet her one day. When we get to Heaven, she will be the first person we want to see. 

We found out God had blessed us with a child on August 11, 2014, and we found out God took His child home November 23, 2014. We are so blessed to have gotten to be a part of her short life here on Earth, and I am so thankful God chose us to be the parents of our angel baby. Thank you Lord for the greatest gift we have ever received.

We love you, Taylor Grace, and we can't wait to meet you some day. 
One of my best friends sent me these for our Taylor Grace a couple of weeks ago. She probably regrets it now, but she shouldn't. I forever have a sweet reminder of the angel baby waiting for us in Heaven.

My sister sent me this picture yesterday. My parents have a rose bush in their backyard that hasn't bloomed in months. My mom thought it was dead, but yesterday morning, the morning we found out our baby had gone to be with Jesus, a single pink rose bloomed. What a sweet reminder from God that Taylor Grace is beautifully His in Heaven.

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Taylor Grace | Her Name Story

We were probably going to wait to share our baby's name publicly until her birthday. Obviously when we found out she has triploidy, everything changed, and suddenly we couldn't wait to share her name. This is the story of how we came up with her name and why it is special to us. 

For the past couple of months, I have been convinced we were having a boy. In every dream I had about our baby, she was always a girl, but in my head I just thought it was a boy. With that, we mostly just talked about boy names. We had a couple of boy names ready to go and knew which names we liked for a girl, but I just didn't think we were going to be needing them for this baby. Apparently my mother's intuition is zero over here. 

We found out we are having a girl the same day we found out she has a chromosomal abnormality. It was the most beautiful news coupled with the most devastating news, but we couldn't wait to name her. We didn't know how many more days we would have her with us, and we wanted to start calling her by name immediately. Parker left that afternoon for work, and I was Facetiming my sister to tell her the news. I told her it was a girl and had no idea what we were going to name her. I pulled up my list on my phone of girls names we liked and read them off. My twin sister asked, "Well do any of those names sound good?". I smiled and said yes, but I didn't say anything else. I knew in that moment that her name would be Taylor. 

I had a couple of other girl names in mind that were my favorite, but Parker always went back to Taylor. This has been his favorite name for a girl for years. I stare at our baby's beautiful profile from the ultrasound picture so many times throughout the day. We can't get over how beautiful she is, but we also can't get over how much she looks like Parker when we look closely at her features. I know ultrasounds can only tell us so much, but this little girl is the spitting image of her daddy. After seeing how much she looks like Parker, Taylor just seemed like the perfect name for her. I couldn't imagine loving anything else more. He came home from work that evening, and I pitched the idea of naming her Taylor. It was about a 10 second conversation. Parker was thrilled, and our baby girl had a name. 

We chose her middle name the next day. We were lying in bed that evening talking about possible middle names, and I asked if we could use Grace. Again, it was a 10 second conversation. It was perfect, and our baby had a middle name. We decided on Grace because she is the greatest gift we have ever received. Though we wish more than anything that our little girl was healthy, we couldn't be more blessed to be her parents. I am so proud to be this baby's mommy and so thankful God chose us to care for her while she is on this Earth. She is the biggest blessing, and such a testament of God's grace. 

We chose her name really quickly, but I couldn't imagine calling her anything else. We love our little Taylor Grace!

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18 Weeks

I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love we have received this week. I feel so blessed to be a part of this community and am so thankful for such a strong support system to get Parker and I though this journey. Thank you for all of the love and prayers. It means more than you know!

I want to continue doing bumpdates for the duration of this pregnancy and will savor each new one I get to write. I can't believe we are already to 18 weeks!

Thoughts: This week we found out our baby has triploidy, so it has been without a doubt the hardest week of our lives. We have been so overwhelmed by how much love we have received and how many people already love our baby. Through the awful news we received, we also found out some joyful news. I am carrying a baby girl!! We chose the name Taylor Grace for her and just love getting to talk about her and pray for her by name. I will write a post next week on her name story.

Baby: The fruit and veggie comparisons aren't very accurate for us because our little girl is a lot smaller than most babies her age. I believe the genetic counselor told us she is around 5 ounces right now.

Weight: The home scale has officially stopped working. Maybe it's a sign. They didn't weigh me at my last appointment since they were really just concerned about the baby. I would guess I am up 5-8 pounds. The bump looks much bigger after I have eaten. It's not much to write home about first thing in the morning, but it sure does grow after a decent meal!

Symptoms: Physically, I am feeling just fine. I have a nice case of pregnancy brain every now and then, but that's the only thing I can think of.

Sleep: I don't think I would be sleeping well at all if I were by myself. As hard as this journey we are on is, we are so thankful we are going through it while Parker is home and not deployed. I can't imagine doing this without him here. Having him here makes it much easier to go to sleep because I am not as likely to stay up and let my mind go crazy. I am still sleeping through the night unless I have to make a quick pit stop to the ladies room.
Cravings/Aversions/Eating: Still loving PB&J's. What else is new?

Workouts: The sub-chorionic bleed is gone, so that is a praise! That is the whole reason we did the ultrasound that made us realize the baby was small in the first place, so I wonder if God placed that there so the doctors would give me the unscheduled ultrasound. I don't know, but I am very thankful that it is cleared up. I can now work-out, so I am power walking a few miles here and there and doing weights with Parker. Nothing too big, but it feels great to move again. I had an amniocentesis at the beginning of the week (essentially, they stuck a long needle in my belly), and I was basically on bed rest for 24 hours after that. Other than that, I have enjoyed being active.

Clothes: Parker and I agree that my belly really hasn't changed sizes much in the last couple of weeks, so all of my clothes still fit pretty well. I just have a nice round tummy protruding from some of my shirts ;)

Random: We officially switched doctors' offices and will see the high risk OB for the remainder of this pregnancy. They seem to be a very competent team, and we feel really good about being in their care. Regardless of how much longer I am able to carry our little girl, I will have to go into labor and deliver her since I am this far along. I see this as a blessing, and I am thankful that we are surrounded by a team of doctors who have done their very best to prep us for what to expect.
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Taylor Grace

I'm not sure where to begin with a post like this, so I will just start from the beginning. A couple of weeks ago, the doctors became concerned that our little baby was measuring small for her age. They were also concerned because I tested higher than normal for the risk of a chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 18. We were referred to a high risk doctor so they could get a better look at the baby and take more thorough measurements. We watched our sweet little baby on the ultrasound screen as the doctors took picture after picture and tried to conceal the concern from their faces. As Parker and I grasped onto one another, the doctor held my gaze and told me they were very suspicious of a chromosomal abnormality. They did an amniocentesis to confirm, but the ultrasound showed everything they were looking for in a situation like this. We knew.

We got the call on Monday that our baby has something called triploidy. Instead of having 2 of each chromosome like she should, she has 3 in every little cell of her body. It happened at conception, and there is absolutely nothing Parker nor I could have done to prevent it. It was completely out of our control. The statistics are not pretty. There is a 99% chance I will miscarry her or she will be stillborn. If she is born alive, she will likely die on her birthday. Just like that, our lives were changed forever. The baby we have been praying for, rejoicing over, and dreaming about is the baby we are probably never going to get. 

We are absolutely heartbroken and taking it all day by day. We know the hardest days are still to come. Many couples in our situation feel there is a choice to be made when a baby is labeled "incompatible with life". For us personally, we don't see any choices to be made. God is the author of life and death. He gave our baby life, and He will choose to take her home when He is ready. He could still perform a miracle on her, and who are we to deny Him that opportunity? For now, we are rejoicing in the days we do get to carry her and have her with us here on Earth. We don't know how much more time we will get. Our little fighter has already beaten the odds as 2/3 of babies with triploidy die before 15 weeks, and our baby still has a strong heartbeat at 18 weeks.

We don't know why this is happening to us, but we do know that God doesn't make mistakes. Our baby was created in His image, and to Him, she is absolutely perfect. As much as we wish God would make our baby healthy and use us in a different way, we fully believe He chose us specifically for this journey and that He will somehow be glorified through it all. There hasn't been a day since finding out that tears haven't been shed, but God has His arms wrapped around us, and we know He isn't letting go. We may not get to see our baby alive on this Earth, and we wish more than anything that we could, but we know we will see her someday in Heaven. She will be so perfect, so happy, and completely healed.
As you can tell from all of the "shes" and "hers", our little miracle is a girl. Her name is Taylor Grace, and we couldn't love her more. 

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Taco Pizza

My friend Ruthie posted a recipe for Taco Pizza a few weeks back, and I went to the grocery store and made this recipe in the same day. It was so up our alley and we just loved it. Not to mention, it really couldn't have been any easier. The husband just loved it, and we will be making it again and again. You should too!

1 lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
10 oz can refrigerated pizza dough
16 oz can refried beans
2.5 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 tomato, diced
Shredded lettuce
Optional- mushrooms, olives, peppers, jalapenos

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Brown meat, drain grease, and prepare taco meat according to seasoning packet. 
3. Unroll pizza dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown. 
4. Spread beans on top of the cooked dough and top with taco meat, cheese, tomatoes, and any other toppings of your choice (hold the shredded lettuce and salsa for now). 
5. Return pizza to oven and bake 5-7 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. 
6. Top with shredded lettuce and salsa and cut into slices.


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Pregnancy Brain Is Real, Yall

I always heard pregnant women talking about pregnancy brain and how it's a real thing. In my non-pregnant state, I shrugged it off and decided they were just using that as an excuse for forgetting stuff. While it is a convenient alibi, it's also an actual thing. Pregnancy brain is real, and I have decided this baby is slowly stealing my brain cells one by one. I thought I would take this Friday as an opportunity to confess some of the silly but very real things I have done over the past few months.
I was cleaning up after lunch one day and talking to Parker in the kitchen. I opened up the freezer door, placed the salsa jar in there, and continued talking to my husband. After a few seconds, he finally said, "Did you just put salsa in the freezer". The funny thing was, until I opened the freezer and saw the salsa, I was convinced he was wrong.
I was painting one night and kept walking off to do random tasks in between. I couldn't find my paintbrush at one point and spent a good 5 minutes searching around the house for it. I finally found my wet paintbrush on the night stand. 

I was trying to find the milk in the refrigerator, and after I didn't see it right away, my first inclination was to go look in the pantry because that's where my pregnant brain probably put it. Luckily, Parker had put it away last and just placed it somewhere differently than I normally do.

I can't even count how many loads of laundry I washed without soap in the beginning. Now I very consciously remember to include soap, but it's only because I forgot 5 times in a row in the early stages of pregnancy. 

I very regularly have to stop someone in the middle of a conversation and ask them what we are talking about. This one is the most embarrassing, but I feel badly just letting them continue to talk and not knowing what the heck we started talking about in the first place!

Forget about remembering someone's name after being introduced to them. Seriously, just forget about it.
There are more, but I can't remember them right now. Pregnancy brain.
I found this old picture and thought it was appropriate for the topic.
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17 Weeks

Thoughts: We are three weeks from the halfway point... wait, what?! I am anxious to feel movement but haven't felt anything yet! My belly is growing and we love it!

Baby: Baby is the size of a turnip, measuring 5 inches long and weighing 5 ounces. Baby is practicing sucking and swallowing and starting to pack on more body fat!
Weight: I have an appointment tomorrow so I will weigh myself then. I was up 5 at last week's appointment, and my guess is I have gained another pound or so.
Symptoms: Round ligament pain can be rough at times, but that's really the only symptom I have been experiencing.
Sleep: Sleeping 8-10 hours a night and loving it! I have finally gotten used to sleeping on my side, so that's a plus!
Cravings/Aversions/Eating: I am still eating PB&Js like it's my job. Cereal is for breakfast every single morning and I wouldn't have it any other way. One thing I have noticed is I usually don't want meat for dinner. I still eat it, but I really just want to eat the side dishes.
Workouts: I am benched for the time being. At my 16 week appointment last week, the doctor discovered a 1 cm sub-chorionic bleed. The good news is it hasn't affected the baby, and many times they go away on their own, so my doctor took away all exercise until my 20 week appointment to see if it will go away. No working out for me, but hopefully the bleed will resolve on its own and all will be good! I really prefer to be active, but the doctor knows best so I am fully following her discretion.
Clothes: The rubber band trick still works most of the time for pants and tops are fitting just fine as well. However, we had a wedding in to attend and I was in a panic because none of my winter dresses would zip! I had exactly two that fit, and I wore one to the rehearsal dinner and one to the wedding.
Random: We had a doctor's appt last week and got to hear that wonderful heartbeat again! It was going strong at 140 bpm. We also had an ultrasound and were just mesmerized by how active our little one was. Baby couldn't stop moving around and looked like a real baby! We have stared at those ultrasound pictures every day since. Call us crazy, but we think this baby has Parker's profile! The baby was measuring a little small so we go back tomorrow to make sure our dating is correct.

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Thanksgiving Casserole

I absolutely love Thanksgiving food. I would happily eat it year round and have to exercise self-control not to have stuffing 3 times a week. When I found a recipe that tasted like Thanksgiving in a casserole, I went to the grocery store and made it for dinner on the same night. Yall, it did not disappoint. The husband and I both loved it! I'll definitely be keeping this in the recipe queue for those times where we crave all things Thanksgiving food!

1 pkg Stove Top Stuffing
3/4 cup milk
2.5 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I bought a rotisserie chicken for convenience)
3/4 cup miracle whip
16 oz chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen chopped onions, thawed and drained
a pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 glass dish.
2. In a large bowl, stir together stuffing, milk, chicken, miracle whip, broccoli, and onions until everything is evenly coated.
3. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and 1 cup of cheddar cheese and stir lightly to combine. 
4. Pour mixture into your baking dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and casserole is heated through.


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Weekend Loving In Annapolis

This weekend was one for the books. Two of our friends got married at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and Parker had the pleasure of being a groomsman. Neither of us had ever been to Maryland before, so we were so excited for a little weekend getaway to discover a new city. Yall, Annapolis has got to be the cutest city ever! Walking up and down the little streets, I think I told Parker 50 times "I just wish we could be stationed here!". It was the coolest place, literally and figuratively. We are still Texans at heart so the cold temps over the weekend kicked my rear end, but the city was so beautiful that it was worth it.

This recap is going to be done in pictures because really, is there any better way to do it? Naturally, most of the pictures involve food. That's how you do travel weekends right, or so we like to think.

We arrived early Friday afternoon just in time for the rehearsal and spent the remainder of the day exploring the city. I know I've already said this, but good grief, what a cool city. They had great little shops to roam around in and about 10 fudge shops on the main street, so there was that. 

After I have this baby I am going to have to re-train myself to take pictures normally without placing a hand on the belly. Until then, hand-on-belly pictures it is! We stopped in an awesome local restaurant called The Iron Rooster and shared chicken and waffles. As much as we are creatures of habit in our daily routine, we try to branch out when we are on vacation, and this decision did not disappoint. That plate was clean in 10 minutes. It paired well with the maple pecan fudge we indulged in 10 minutes later. I realize I am eating for 2, but I may have taken that to the next level this weekend.

Saturday was the big day, so Parker was off doing groomsman things while I wandered around with my good friend Jimmy. He gave me the grand tour of the Naval Academy and Parker was able to meet up for a quick lunch. That city is so much fun to walk around in, and the Naval Academy is just beautiful.

The wedding was perfect and everyone looked stunning. Most of the guys were in uniform, and really, who doesn't love a man in a uniform? Parker walked at a normal pace down the aisle and didn't trip. When thinking of what a member of the wedding party is supposed to do on the wedding day, those are the two things that really came to mind, so as far as I'm concerned, he nailed it. They did a sword arch as the bride and groom exited the chapel and it really was something out of a movie. Except in a movie, you wouldn't realize how cold it was outside waiting for everyone to finish taking pictures. Other than that, straight out of a movie. The reception was a total blast. I probably danced a little more than I should have, but I couldn't help it! Parker and I love to dance at weddings, and weddings are so few and far between these days, so we had to make the most of it. I called it quits after several songs since the doctor did say to take it easy on the activity for the next couple of weeks and cut out exercise for the time being (more on that later this week).

Sunday morning it was time to get up and head home to those sweet puppers, but we did stop in one of our favorite cities for a little lunch. We are always up for an excuse to see Williamsburg, and the lunch didn't disappoint either. Parker repeated history with more chicken and waffles, and I had a heart attack with a side of clogged arteries. Or, as the menu referred to it, I had chocolate chip pancakes slathered in butter and more chocolate. Parker asked why I only seemed to eat the inside, and I told him I was exercising strategic eating. I knew I couldn't eat the whole thing, so I chose the parts with the most chocolate. Girls know what I'm talking about.

We spent the drive home talking about how much fun we had and how glad we are that we got to do that. If you have the chance to go to Annapolis, I highly recommend it! Another weekend has come and gone, but it sure was a good one!

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16 Weeks

Thoughts: I woke up 16 weeks 0 days, looked in the mirror, and was like (as my friend Emily put it) "Whooooop there it issss!". The bump just appeared out of nowhere, and I finally look a little pregnant. Parker kept having me suck in because he couldn't get over how much the belly wouldn't actually suck in. It's a baby, yall!

Baby: Baby is the size of an avocado this week, measuring 4.5 inches long and weighing 3.5 ounces. Baby is about to go through a big growth spurt and double his/her weight and grow a few inches. That explains some of the round ligament pain I've been having! 

Weight: According to the doctor's scale, I am up 5 pounds. This makes sense. I definitely feel like I've gained a couple of pounds in the last week alone!

Symptoms: Round ligament pain has been pretty rough on me this week, but I take it as a blessing that our little one is growing! I had a pretty easy first trimester, so I was due for some of this. A lot of stretching and growing going on!

Sleep: The round ligament pain has been pretty consistent the past couple of evenings, so I toss and turn a little more. I am still sleeping through the night though, so no complaints there!

Cravings/Aversions/Eating: Same old, same old. I eat a PB&J every day for lunch and literally go to bed looking forward to tomorrow's sandwich. It's so sad. As Parker and I see it, there are worse things to crave. No real aversions, so that's nice!

Workouts: I am still power walking 4-5 times a week, and that's been great. I walk between 1-3 miles every day. Nothing intense, but the doctor told me to start taking it even easier for the next couple of weeks. 

Clothes: The rubber band trick still works, but I opted for maternity shorts yesterday because my normal shorts were too tight. With this nice little growth spurt I've hit, maternity pants may be a thing sooner than I thought. All of my tops still fit just fine. 

Random: We officially decided to find out the gender with our families, so we are looking forward to that! We also used my fetal doppler this week, and Parker found the heartbeat right away. That was our first time hearing it together, so it was pretty darn special!

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Positivity in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a complete and total blessing. Plain and simple, it is a gift from God. Parker and I knew when we decided to start expanding our family that pregnancy was a gift, not a right, and we were overjoyed when those two lines appeared on that stick. We were pregnant. The Lord chose us. What a humbling thought.

If you've kept up with my pregnancy, you know that I've had a pretty easy time with it. I escaped the morning sickness, I didn't get nauseous, and I can still fit into my old clothes at 16 weeks. Pretty darn easy, right? It has been, and it's been a huge blessing, but I've also had my share of scares and discomforts as well. I've been doubled over most of today with sharp round ligament pain in my belly. I had a small bleeding scare just before getting out of the first trimester, every pregnant lady's worst nightmare. There have been a couple of things. I didn't highlight these on my blog for a reason. I'm not here to sugar coat things and want to portray the real deal, but I also believe dwelling on the positives of pregnancies and not focusing on the minor negatives I am going through is key. 

I think a lot of people view pregnancy as a 9 month excuse to complain about anything and everything. We are growing a human, so we are going to play that pregnancy trump card all day, every day. That's the vibe I'm getting. Knowing how much we prayed for and wanted this child, this mentality is just a little unsettling. I may be having sharp growing pains that have been here for a solid 24 hours, but there is someone out there that has had them for 24 weeks. There may be someone out there that has had sharp pains for 24 weeks, but there's someone else who has been on bed rest since week 12. There may be someone who has been on bed rest since week 12, but there is someone else who lost their baby at week 12 and would do anything for these symptoms to be back and for their baby to be growing healthily. You see where I'm going with this. Someone always has it worse. 

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it comes with its share of difficulties, and we all experience these to some degree. I feel like we have a choice on how we choose to act. This baby in my belly is a direct outpouring of God's love and faithfulness. This baby is a gift. I have cramps all around my belly as I type this, and I already have to pee again, but I want to strive to choose positivity in every aspect of this pregnancy. God is good all the time. In the difficulty and strife, there is always good.

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A Wonderful Fall Weekend

This weekend was just good. I feel like we were productive and made the most of the weekend, but I also feel like we got all of the relaxing and sleeping that makes up a good weekend too.

Let's see, here's what we were up to...

Friday was Halloween. I like to start a Monday morning off by stating the obvious. My favorite part of Halloween is passing out candy to the adorable kiddos. I loved seeing all the little Elsa's (Frozen) and Raphael's (Ninja Turtles) and got a kick out of guessing what some of the kids were dressed as. Elsa and Raphael were by far the most popular costumes, and it made me already want to plan what Baby Phelps will dress up as next year. 
I wore a Tiger onesie I already owned from Target (Why are those things so comfortable? No shame...), and the kids all thought I was Tigger. I dressed Jenny and Darla in costumes which they humored me in for about 5 seconds. Jenny was a lion. Darla was a bumblebee. Oh, and then there's Parker. Parker was Parker Robertson, the not as well known brother from Duck Dynasty. We met up with some friends for a little Halloween party after the kids cleaned out our candy stash. This was my first day eating desserts after 30 days of no sweets, so I went to bed with a nice little tummy ache and woke up with a food baby belly to boot. Halloween done right. 

Parker Robertson and his bird dog are ready to party.
I grabbed a box of Frosted Flakes and decided to be Tony the Tiger. It was passable.
Saturday was the coldest day we have had since moving to the east coast, so we took that as an excuse to stay cozied up inside. We slept in, watched the Aggies take a not so pretty win over ULM, and took couch naps. I snapped this picture of the dogs. This about summed up our Saturday!

We did venture out Saturday evening and were so excited to go to our first musical together. We saw Book of Mormon, and we weren't fans. I really don't know what we were thinking, but I guess we thought it would be different. We knew it was a satire but just didn't expect it to go as far as it did. We aren't Mormon and thus don't share the same beliefs, but the show seemed to bash Christians as a whole more often than not, so that was just unsettling. It wasn't the musical for us, but a lot of the audience seemed to really enjoy it. I enjoyed the vocals and dancing because all of the actors were super talented. The show did have its moments and we did laugh a little. Anyway, it was an experience. Lesson learned for next time. At least my date was cute? Silver lining.

Sunday was spent predominantly on the couch. I'm not mad about it. Back to the grind today, but the weekend sure was fun while it lasted!

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