Bike Ride Down Pikes Peak

45. hike to the top of a mountain (and get down it…)

Well, we didn’t exactly hike to the top of a mountain, but we did get down it.

Brandon and I traveled to Colorado last July and we wanted to try something adventurous. Before traveling, we asked family and friends for advice on what to do while there. Numerous people suggested the cog ride up Pikes Peak. We decided to take it a step further and sign up for a bike tour where you actually bike down the mountain.

It. Was. Awesome.

And, I thought I was going to die.

We signed up through Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours and we had really great guides, Austin and Christine. On the 45 minute ride up the mountain, they taught us all about the local history and culture.

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It was extremely foggy that day and there was little visibility of the winding switchbacks… Brandon almost chicken’d out.

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But, he didn’t and we both biked down Pikes Peak…

 

Ed Sheeran. Boom.

Check. One more item to check off my bucket list – #8. See Ed Sheeran in concert!

I knew how talented Ed Sheeran was before seeing him in concert, but I had no idea that he played EVERY part of EVERY song (with the help of a loop machine). I didn’t expect to be be so incredibly entertained by a one-man-show, but it was amazing. I will see Ed again!

So. Incredibly. Talented.

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Ed Sheeran concert in Frisco, TX

Christina Peri and Ed Sheeran concert

Me and B at Ed Sheeran

The Real Life Awkward Penguin

Out of all the memes, Socially Awkward Penguin is my favorite… probably because, sadly, I can relate.

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It turns out there’s a real life awkward penguin…

To My Parents, Thank you.

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Dear Mother and Father,

There are not enough words to express what my wedding day meant to me and the enormous gratitude I have for everything you did; but I’ll start with this…

For so long, I imagined the day when Brandon and I would say “I do” and you helped make our big day better than I could’ve ever imagined. Our wedding day was an unforgettable celebration with our family and friends, and it was truly the best day of our lives; we loved every minute of it!

So many of my memories of planning and preparing for the wedding are of all of us working together. I will always remember meeting with the different vendors, choosing music for our playlist, and creating the seating chart at the last minute, over margaritas on the patio. There were so many fun times, and a lot of hard work; and through everything you remained so calm and understanding; especially when the budget continued to grow…

Mother, shopping with you for my wedding dress was so special, and your patience throughout the entire planning process, especially running around frantically the week before the wedding to get everything done in time, was very much appreciated. I’ll never forget how beautiful and happy you looked on our big day!

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Chester, I’ll always cherish our walk down the aisle; it was such a special moment that we shared. I’ll never forget your toast at the reception; it was the perfect mix of sweet words and humor. Plus a hundred more memories, all because of you two.

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I also want to say thank you for all the love, caring, and laughs over the years. You have shown me what unconditional love means; you cared for me when I was sick, guided me when I had questions, helped me up when I fell (after you finished laughing), set a good example for me to follow, encouraged my goals, and above all else, you loved me no matter what.

Furthermore, I’ll always be thankful for the advice and life lessons you have offered over the years:

  • Pay yourself first
  • Save, save, save!
  • Diversify
  • Dance like no one is watching
  • Hug often
  • Invest in your 401(K) early
  • Stock up on beans and rice, just in case
  • Always be kind and considerate of others
  • Don’t go to Costco on a Saturday morning
  • Gumbo always tastes better when it’s made from the family recipe
  • Home is where you make it (no, I don’t like to see homeless people naked)
  • Always put family first
  • Love unconditionally

See, I was listening.

Brandon and I also want to thank you for your very, very generous gift (in addition to the wedding). It allowed us to get back to Texas much sooner than we had hoped. We couldn’t be happier to be here; where we belong with our family and friends.

No amount of words could express our true thankfulness for your generosity. Without you, our wedding wouldn’t have been the dream that it was. We will remember our special night for the rest of our lives, and we will always remember the impact you made on it.

I thank you for everything you’ve done since August 16, 1988, for everything you did on March 15, 2014, and for everything you will do for the many years to come.

All my love,

Your daughter, Kimberly Derish Reynolds Hale

The Hale Wedding – March 15, 2014

Brandon and I tied the knot on March 15, 2014. It was truly the best day of our lives; we loved every minute of it! Even though the weather wasn’t the best, and I had a minor wardrobe malfunction, we could not have imagined a more perfect day.

Here’s how it went…

The bridal party started the day early; we arrived at our venue, The Milestone, around 8 AM.

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Once we got there, we started our hair and makeup in the Bridal suite.

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You probably can’t read our shirts, but my Matron of Honor, Ashley, got us the perfect shirts for us to get ready in! My bridesmaids’ shirts say, “That’s what she said” and my shirt says, “Yes!” (I love The Office)

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Brandon and his guys arrived around noon. Luckily, the Groom’s suite had a TV, a pool table, and an arcade game so they had plenty to do.

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Brandon wore a rose boutonnière with a lock attached; my bouquet held the key. : )

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Brandon is very proud of his wedding socks; he wears them often.

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While we all got ready, my sister, Kara, put together all of the bridal bouquets and helped set up many of our other personal touches. She took my ideas (a.k.a. Pinterest ideas) and brought them to life! – she’s so talented! Between Kara, and our awesome decor vendor (Lisa at CocoFleur), all of our ideas turned out amazing!

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We can’t wait to see what these notes say in 2024!

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Two of our most precious loved ones were there in spirit.

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Our guestbook (corks) will be made into something beautiful for our home.

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Snack/activity packs for the kiddos:

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Photos of my boots, garter, and jewelry.

 

 

 

 

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We continued to get ready as the decor was being set up. That’s when the wardrobe malfunction happened . As soon as my sister zipped me up, I took a deep breath and popped the clasp to my zipper… whoops!

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It all turned out okay though; they were able to sew me into my dress.

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I pinned a brooch from my grandma as one of my “something borrowed’s” (I had a few).

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Once we were all ready, it was time for photos!

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Best man (friend): Ross

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Groomsman (uncle): Michael

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Groomsman (uncle): Mark

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Groomsman (brother): Andrew

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Groomsman (friend): Chance

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Father of the Groom and future Father-In-Law: Scott and Ted

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Family of the Groom:

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Bridal party!

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Matron of Honor (friend): Ashley

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Bridesmaid (sister): Kara

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Bridesmaid (sister-in-law): Samantha

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Bridesmaid (friend): Nikki

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Bridesmaid (friend): Monica

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Flower girl: Jordan

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Family of the Bride

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All the ladies (sisters and mothers) from both sides:

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Three generations (me, sister, mom, and grandmas):

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My wonderful Uncle Casey, who married us, and my sister:

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Father and daughters!

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Brandon and I did not see each other before the ceremony, but we did do a first look, without actually seeing each other. Brandon was so nervous! We’re laughing because his first words to me were, “You’ll do well.” Thanks, Brandon.

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During our first look, we exchanged gifts behind the door. I gave Brandon a new wallet with a note; I ruined his last wallet by accidentally dropping it in a bucket of Ranch dressing at a salad bar…

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Brandon gave me an engraved set including: a cake knife, a Christmas ornament, and two champagne glasses (and a note).

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After we exchanged our gifts, I gave my parents, and my future mother and father-in-law their gifts.

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After our first look, and exchange of gifts, it was time to have a few drinks in the Bridal suite to settle all the last minute nerves.

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We also had one of THE BEST photobombs in photobomb history. You go, Nikki!

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As we all waited in our separate rooms, our guests began to arrive. It didn’t just rain on our wedding day, it poured! Luckily, we were safe and dry inside; however, our guests were not so lucky…

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My friend, Kaela, was such a good sport; the photographer said she saw her emptying the water out of her shoes once she got inside.

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The only good thing about the dark, rainy sky was that it made the light from the candles really pop. It also set a very romantic mood for our ceremony.

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A short time later, it was time for everyone to walk down the aisle! Everyone walked to “Just The Way You Are” by The Piano Guys.

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Our flower girl, Jordan, did the cutest thing with the flowers; instead of dropping the petals as she walked, she kept them all and scattered them just before the altar. What a unique twist!

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Last, but not least, my dad and I walked down the aisle! We chose to walk down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys.

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And the teary eyes started. : )

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Before my dad took his seat, we had a parent and group blessing of our marriage:

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My Uncle Casey helped us create a customized ceremony that was so special and unique. We found some of the sweetest quotes and readings to include in our ceremony.

Marriage is about becoming a team

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We each wrote our own vows, and our Best Man, Ross, flipped a coin to see who would read their’s first; Brandon lost and had to say his first.

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Brandon’s vows were so sweet; he brought a tear to many people’s eyes, including his. For some reason, I didn’t cry (which is not normal for me); instead, I had a grin from ear to ear. : )

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Brandon and I decided to do a first fight box. In the box, we put a bottle of wine, two wine glasses, a copy of our vows, and a love letter to each other to be opened during our first fight, or on our five year anniversary (whichever comes first). We sealed it shut with a lock given to us from my dad. It has been nearly eight months and we have not opened our first fight box yet. : )

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As our beautiful ceremony came to an end, it was time to kiss the bride!

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One last reading before the ceremony was over.

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Then, we exited the ceremony. Brandon claims he had an itch on his eye…

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Brandon and I had a short moment to ourselves after our ceremony, before we went back for pictures. It was so nice to have a few minutes to talk about everything that had just happened; we were both so happy to finally be married!

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As we walked outside for photos, something really cool happened; the rain stopped, and a double rainbow appeared!

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It worked out perfectly because we were able to take our photos outside.

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After pictures, we entered the reception to “Jump Around” by House of Pain; it was awesome!

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Our first dance was to John Legend’s “All of Me”. It felt really, really long because we did not practice for it. It was a little awkward, but with all of Brandon’s dips and turns, we think it turned out to be pretty sweet and funny.

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I absolutely loved all of the vintage-themed decor at the reception!

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We had an absolute blast on at the reception! We had some great dance moves.

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Father – Daughter dance to Chuck Wicks, “Stealing Cinderella”.

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Mother – Son dance to Phil Colins, “You’ll Be In My Heart”.

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We had the sweetest toasts from my Dad, our Best Man, Matron of Honor, and our very close family friend.

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During our reception, we had an Anniversary Dance; the last couple on the dance floor was the couple who had been married the longest. My grandparents won the Anniversary Dance; they’ve been married almost 50 years!

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During our reception, we had a “video booth” for our guests to leave us a special note. We ended up with a lot of good advice, and plenty of laughter!

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Our cake was the most delicious cake I have ever tasted.

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Brandon was nice and chose not smash cake in my face; however, I was not so nice.

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The bouquet toss was eventful.

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Two of my bridesmaids caught the bouquet and neither one of them would let go…

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… until Nikki threatened Monica’s life…

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Next up was the garter toss; also eventful.

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The winners:

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Brandon’s grandma, Nana, sang Patsy Cline’s, “Crazy” and did an amazing job!

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It was getting late, and there was only time for a few last dances…

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As our big day came to an end, we had one final dance to ourselves. We danced to Brad Paisley’s, “We Danced” because it was our song when we first started dating. As we danced our last dance, we sang the words we both loved, and reflected on our absolutely perfect wedding day.

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For our exit, we chose a bubble send-off.

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As of March 15, 2014, I am officially Kimberly Hale! Actually, I was still legally Kimberly Reynolds until a couple of months ago; changing your last name is a pain the butt. I can honestly say that all of the hard work of planning the wedding was 100% worth it; I got to marry my closest, truest friend, and it was the best day of my life.

To Brandon:

I love you still, I love you forever.

Hale Wedding Pic

 

P.S. We had awesome vendors that I want to give a shout out to:

Venue: The Milestone
Floral and Decor: Lisa Ham at CoCo Fleur
Photography: Jamie Blackerby at Jamie Huffman Photography
Videography: Tim Maddoux at 4 Point Productions – you can view our wedding video here: Kimberly + Brandon
Makeup: Lynn Eason at Divine Inspirations Makeup
Hair: Monica Puckett at Memorable Occasions and Hair Design
DJ: DJ Connection

 

 

 

We Explored An Old Destroyer- The USS Kidd

USS Kid

Last Thanksgiving (2012), Brandon and I took a trip to Louisiana with my parents. We visited my family and had a great time eating shrimp, fried catfish, and po-boys. Sure, we may have gained 10 pounds but that’s what you do when you’re in New Orleans. You shouldn’t even try to resist the beignets at Cafe Du Monde or the Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens.

Anyway, while we were visiting, we explored the USS Kidd. We even got an hour-long tour by a guy who served in the Navy and lived on a destroyer practically his entire life. He’s the guy in the last photo. Between our tour guide and my dad, who served in the Navy for three years, we learned more than we ever wanted to know about life on a destroyer.

 

USS Kid Outside

 
That hole my dad is pointing to is the size of the hole he had to crawl into in order to clean the boiler…
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You could cook a lot of biscuits in that pan. My dad would want you to know that this is a picture of the kitchen for the higher in command. He had to eat in some place called the “mess hall”.
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My dad (a.k.a. Chester) reminiscing about his sleeping arrangements on the ship.
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Yeah… that’s a toilet… kind of.
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USS Kid Hole

 
Apparently, some kid blew off his fingers so they had to take any ammunition off the ship. Dang kids ruin it for everyone! Just kidding… Brandon probably would’ve hurt himself too.
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USS Kid Tour Guide
Thank you to our tour guide! We had a blast learning about the USS Kidd. I highly recommend taking a tour of the ship if you’re ever in Baton Rough, LA.

Clouds by Zach Sobiech

He is an inspiration. To know your time is near and still have the strength to keep living is remarkable.

Thanks for sharing your music, Zach.

Music. I Wish I Had.

Photo courtesy of Art Facts
Photo courtesy of Art Facts

Photo courtesy of Art Facts

I bought a keyboard last year for my birthday. In the last year, I haven’t learned any new songs. Why? Because I put off practicing to do other things. THAT STOPS NOW. I’m determined to teach myself to play the piano. If I could learn as a kid, I should be able to learn to play now.

My dad always told me I’d regret quitting piano lessons. At the age of seven, all I wanted to do was play outside with my friends. I also played three sports so I was always busy anyway. BUT, I wish I would’ve listened to him and stuck with it. My dad taught himself how to play the piano. While he says he’s not very good, I beg to differ. I plan to play with him one day so I better get with it!

I’m using The Piano Guys as my inspiration. They are AMAZING! Here’s Taylor Swift’s “Begin Again” by The Piano Guys:

As soon as I learn a full song, I’ll post a video of it.

Stay tuned.

Faith

If this doesn’t make you smile, you have no soul.

Faith, The 2-Legged Dog

Photo courtesy of iwastesomuchtime.com

Bella Attacks Doug… With Kisses

Yeah, there’s plenty of other things I should be doing. But, instead I made a video about my dogs. This is what happens in my house on a daily basis: Bella (the Boxer) kisses anyone and anything she can and Doug (the other one) sleeps and barks at people outside.

For real though, this is the first video I’ve ever edited so I’m really excited about it! I used Windows Live Movie Maker. It’s free and really easy to use so I love it already.