Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Travels :-)

Patrick and I have been quite the jet-setters these past two weeks...I guesstimate that we've flown over about 20 states in that time! We visited three of them, and even drove into another country.

First up, Vegas!

If you know my husband, you're probably thinking "How did you get Patrick to Vegas?!" Patrick isn't a gambler, and if he's going to fly anywhere these days, it's somewhere close enough for him to fly to himself. Well, I didn't have to do too much work, "Teammates For Kids", a foundation run by Garth Brooks, got us there.

This organization is amazing! They ask athletes (football, soccer, hockey, baseball, bull riding...) to donate a set amount of money each year according to a statistic. Patrick did tackles. One hockey player that was there did fights - haha! Each donation is then TRIPLED by different organizations that also donate. 100% of the donations goes to the kids! How awesome is that?! Kids with disabilities get the extra help they need, kids who live in bad areas are kept off the streets through afterschool programs, really anything to help kids is done through this organization and we're so proud to be a part of it!!

As a thank you for donating, Garth invites each contributing player and a guest to see him perform. Some years it's at his home in Nashville, other years it's in Las Vegas. This year, it was in Vegas baby! Patrick and I headed out west to the city of lights and had a fabulous time! In true Vegas fashion, we got very little sleep - lol! Our stay totaled about 36 hours and we wanted to see and do as much as possible in that time. We stayed at The Wynn which was breathtaking! I had been to Vegas a few years back and had been in a lot of the big hotels, but never The Wynn. Honestly, I think it's one of the most beautiful ones on the strip! It's not super-spectacular from the outside, but the inside...WOW!!
The Wynn all lit up!

The inside of the hotel at night...magical!
Waterfall outside the Pizza Parlor

I loved this wall of clocks in the Pizza Parlor...very cool idea!
And how about the view from our room! We stayed on the 59th floor and faced the golf course...It's huge! Patrick loved that the planes passed right by our window!

Day 1, Patrick and I explored the Strip and visited as many hotels as our feet would take us. Las Vegas Boulevard looks short - until you start walking it! Another one of those Vegas illusions I suppose! We made it as far as Caesar's. When back at our room we got ready for our first Teammates event, a dinner with fake table game gambling - fun! I learned how to play Blackjack, no, really play Blackjack! Some of our friends from the Steelers were good to get to spend time with these guys!

The following day was concert day. We did brunch at the hotel while listening to a lecture on where all our donations went - which was super cool! Some of the kids even came and performed for us!

After, I met my friends Hope and Ang. They both live in Vegas now. I hadn't seen them since my wedding, and I didn't get to spend all that much time with them then. It was SO nice seeing them!!

Patrick and I then took our chances on the slot machines and table games. Vegas got our money - lol! We had doubled our money at Blackjack and should have walked away then...but we didn't and ultimately lost it all. Fortunately we aren't big betters so it was less then $200 total.

Now, the concert...! First, I've loved country music since I was a little girl. I grew up listening to it, so naturally, Garth was a big part of that! I was giddy to see him perform!! We walked the red carpet to get into the...fancy schmancy!

When in the theatre we found our seats...SIX rows from the stage...EEEK!!! See, it wasn't a private show, people purchased tickets so the teammates seats were scattered throughout the be that close...WOW! I was surprised to see nothing fancy on stage. Nothing had his name all over it. Even more surprising, there was no band, just a guitar.

When Garth came out he sang his first single "Much Too Young" - which was awesome! But then we didn't hear another Garth song for some time. He sang "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay", "Mrs. Robinson", "Hey Jude" name it. All these songs, which were amazing, but not Garth's songs. The concert was very different from what I thought it would be. In a good way!! It was so personal, really a walk through his life, musically. We walked through the decades of his life and the music that inspired him along the way. I'm so convinced he can sing ANYTHING! It was fun getting into the 90's and getting to hear his originals though! After a few songs we got a surprise...his wife, Tricia Yearwood, came out and performed "In Another's Eye's" with Garth and "She's In Love With The Boy" solo...she is a powerhouse! They both rocked good!

My favorite song Garth sang was "Unanswered Prayers" - he was right in front of us and it felt like he was singing into my soul!

After the show the guys got to go on stage for a photo with Garth and Tricia...

Then they invited the ladies on stage for a photo! On our way up, Garth was helping the ladies in their heels. He kept saying "You're Welcome, You're Welcome, You're Welcome" then came me in my cowgirl boots and he said "Smart!" - I had to laugh! I was so torn on wearing them because I knew I would be one of the only girls wearing them. At that moment I was happy with my decision :-)

After the concert was a meet and greet with Garth and Tricia by the pool...unfortunately, Patrick and I couldn't attend as we had to make our flight. See, Patrick's agent, Doc, has an annual golf outing in Michigan and we knew we couldn't miss it. So we red-eyed it to Ann Arbor. It was a bummer knowing we could have met Garth and Tricia and just missed that opportunity, but it's not the end of the world. We had a fabulous time, and got to see a wonderful show.

The red-eye was rough, as was golfing on so little sleep, but we both had a good time. It was so nice seeing friends we hadn't seen since the previous year! I haven't officially had my golfing lessons yet so I didn't 100% golf, but I did putt and did pretty good considering the lack of sleep I was running on!

The following day we traveled to Canada for Doc's annual Dojo banquet. The food served is authentic Chinese - nothing like what can be found at most Chinese restaurants. I'm proud to say I ate cow tongue...before I knew what it actually was - lol!!

After those trip wrapped up we had a few days of downtime before packing up and heading to Narragansett, Rhode Island! Our friends, Christa and Pat invited us to stay with them there over the Fourth of July holiday! What a beautiful place!

This trip was very unique for us. First, it marked the first time I would be flying with Patrick, and second, it marked Patrick's longest trip flying a plane himself!

As I'm sure you can imagine, I was a nervous wreck! It was crazy (and a little scary!) seeing everything out the front windows...I'm used to having a tiny window on the side of a plane that is usually obstructed by the wing!

This trip got off to a slow start because Patrick found out the GPS in the plane wasn't up to date. So we ended up taking off far later then we had planned and expected, which was about 5:00. The flight there was 4 hours long, but we took a little break in State College, about this picture for all my PSU friends?!

When on the ground I spotted a hot air fun!
And when back in the air I snapped this one for my PSU friends :-)

The second leg of the trip I was a lot more calm in the plane and actually read a little bit of my magazine (I had felt nauseous doing so previously in the trip) before I noticed the sun setting behind us! What a beautiful way to watch a sunset!

Once the sky was dark I thought I would be freaking out, but I actually liked this best. To me, it was easier to spot oncoming  planes for Patrick, and for whatever reason there weren't as many bumps. Once we hit New Jersey and Connecticut, I got a treat...Fireworks! I got to watch about a dozen different firework shows going on! It was really cool! I tried to snap photos but there were too many reflections with the windows, and lights from the dash.

Once we approached Rhode Island, my fun came to an end. I look out my window and notice rain coming down pretty hard on our wings and windshield! All I said was, "Is that rain?" Patrick said "Yep" and I said not one more word the entire trip. I sat there and prayed so hard that the rain would stop and we would get there already!!! Fortunately, the rain did stop within about 10 minutes and within another 10 we were circling over the airport. I got the enjoyment of not one, but two landings lol...Patrick went to touch down and realized that he didn't allow enough runway for a complete stop so he had to go back UP in the air, circle around again, and touch down a second time! Mind you, I'm still not talking, just praying!!! lol! Second time was a charm - Thank God! My friend Christa was there and watching the whole thing...she was praying for us too! I told her the most amazing things I saw were...Hot Air Balloons in Pennsylvania, Fireworks in Jersey and Connecticut and THE GROUND and Her in Rhode Island!!! Patrick did a great job though. He always stayed calm, cool and collected...great job Pilot Pat!

The house we stayed at (The one on the left...right one is the guest house) was AMAZING!!! It was so charming with all the wicker and beach decor - not to mention it was right on the water! It's safe to say I fell in love with this house and Rhode Island!

Waking up was amazing...we had a balcony off our room, which was in the front of the house, so we could hear the waves crashing on the rocks, smell the salt water, and feel the sun rising. Good Morning Rhode Island!

Pat and Christa were amazing hosts! They took us to Newport where we got to see some of the beautiful homes and beaches...I think I'll take one of each!

At night there was a party at the house. I had so much fun meeting Christa's Rhode Island friends! They are such great people :-) I only knew them a few hours but felt like I'd known them much longer!

The following morning, "Our Pat's" went golfing and we went shopping! Gosh, I love Newport! Such fun shops with unique gifts and trinkets. Lucky for Patrick, I only purchased a book and magnet for our fridge (A tradition I have since we've been married is to purchase a magnet from every place we visit!)...I could have bought the entire town! Loved it!

That night was pretty low key. The guys played a game of wiffle ball, and us girls went exploring...


Then we cooked dinner...

Who are we kidding...we didn't cook dinner! A huge thank you to Pat for this amazing dinner from "Spain"...stuffed lobster and fillet...It was beyond unbelievable!

We had a wonderful time in Rhode Island! Hopefully we'll get to go back again in the future :-) Thanks for Pat and Christa for inviting was amazing!!

I told Patrick no more flying for awhile! I'm guessing the next trip we'll be making will be Nashville, Tennessee...fingers crossed at least!

Until next blog...Hugs!

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