oh dear christian college

Most of you know (because we're not shy about it in the least) that Tom and I are Abilene Christian University grads. We think ACU is fabulous. Just the best. Would do it all again in a heartbeat...although Tom says he'd start at ACU instead of wasting freshman year and half of sophomore year at some other university that shall not be named.

On a side note: seriously. Tom got to start over with his GPA halfway through sophomore year, once he hit that point where he realized that his grades would matter with that whole "getting a job thing." So some of us might graduate with 4.0s and fancy summa cum laude because we got a blank slate halfway through college, and others of us might graduate with 3.89s and only magna cum laude because we decided that biology and chemistry were stupid courses and inferior to making friends/line dancing on weekends when you've decided you're not premed anymore. But maybe the magna cum laude graduate had better grades all around, and just didn't get to start over after three semesters. But that person probably isn't the least bit irritated by that. Especially 3 years after graduation. Nope. Not. Irritated. 

Sooooo anyway.  Naturally, we were super excited to take Lyla back to ACU for her first conscious visit! I say conscious because she has been once before, but it was in February for her first Sing Song. She was six months old and she was equally entertained by the downstage acts as she was by the upstage acts. Now for the record, hosts and hostesses are lovely, very talented people...but there are no winners and losers in the downstage acts. The upstage acts are where it's at. We are a competitive people in this house, and we love a good rivalry. We love the upstage acts. [if you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's because bless your heart you've never experienced a Sing Song. I am SO sorry you're missing out. you just feel free to jump on youtube and find yourself some Sing Song performances. educate yourselves. preferably with the 2008 ko jo kai bee act. just a suggestion. I might still have the costume. and know the songs and choreography. stop judging me.]

perfecting both of our Sing Song faces since 2008
we're working on this one, but we're off to a great start.
Sorry, got off on a bit of a tangent there. My point is: Lyla wasn't even aware of her surroundings enough to notice she wasn't in her own crib at bedtime during our last trip, so we were excited to take her at a point in her life when at least she'd notice the singing at chapel and the floats in the parade and everything else that comes with homecoming. Being back at school is such a weird experience every time we go through a major life change. When we graduated, we were a week away from getting married, so when we went back for our first homecoming a few months later it was a really strange feeling knowing so much had changed and we weren't students anymore. Honestly, it got even weirder once we had a kid. All of a sudden, we have to arrange getting together for friends and attending events with childcare and a nap schedule...we're some of the only people to have a baby so far (get on it, people! Lyla needs friends!) so we have to be the old farts that say we can't go to Seafood Tavern (Abilene represent) because it's bedtime. Usually, my mom is in Abilene with us and is more than happy to keep Lyla for us Friday or Saturday night so we can still go hang out and act like we're still relatively young. However, this year was her 30 year reunion at ACU so she had dinners and receptions and who knows what else she needed to be at, so Tom and I had to act like parents the whole time we were there. Big of us, I know. So this year, we decided to try to plan things that we AND Lyla would enjoy...and I think we'd all agree, it turned out pretty well.

My sweet mom and grandmother dragged me to Kojie homecoming breakfast at the witching hour Saturday morning. If any of you are wondering what the witching hour is, I'll enlighten you: 6:15. Who the heck wants to go to breakfast at 6:15 on a Saturday? Ugh. Now I know lots of people bring their babies/toddlers to breakfast with them so that they can dress them in cute Kojie colors and show them off and everything, but my child wakes up at 9:30 on an early morning for her. There was no way I was getting her up to choke down an Aramark breakfast and cry through the NuNu's (pledges') scheduled "entertainment." Instead, she got to sleep in until 8 with her daddy. Lucky little booger.

please notice the sunlight outside...it had appeared all of 42 seconds prior to this photo. also, the ginger in this picture is not my previously referenced grandmother, but my cousin Tess who is also a kojie. this family knows what's up.
So we ran back to the hotel after breakfast, and I met up with Tom and Lyla who were finishing breakfast in their jammies. Lucky. Little. Boogers. We got them dressed and ready to go, and headed to the homecoming parade that goes around campus. Although it was crazy cold Saturday morning, the parade was a resounding success. I think. I'm assuming success is when we clap and bark at people with dogs. Success is also when we bark at parade floats. Let's not get choosy with our gestures of approval here, people. We got to see some of our good friends who were out for the parade, too, so everybody was happy. Lyla really did love the floats, especially whenever the pledges would dance, clap or sing...so all of the girls floats. I pointed out to her which float belonged to her future social club (ACU class of 2035 represent), and her daddy pointed out which club her boyfriends were never to be a part of (sorry subbers, none of your shenanigans are gonna fly in this house). Lyla barked indiscriminately at all of them. Fun times were had by all.

When the parade had finished, we walked across campus to homecoming chapel and Lyla had her first ACU chapel experience! Much more fanfare than a standard chapel experience, but exciting nonetheless. Tom and his friends did decide that if they were really going for authenticity for returning alumni, they would have one sparsely populated section that talked the whole time, one section way up high that danced and whooped along to songs (I'm looking at you subbers), they would've hired a fleet of 20 year olds with iPhones to play Angry Birds and Candy Crush, and they would've installed a handful random students to shoot shaming looks in the direction of all these other groups. I'm looking for the real chapel experience here, people. Now to be fair, they might've tried that later in chapel. Unfortunately, we had to leave after approximately 8 minutes because one of us had soaked through our diaper and needed to be changed, and there are no changing tables in Moody so we had to go to the campus center. We might not have returned since we ran into friends in the campus center and started talking and suddenly chapel was over. Whoops. So maybe Lyla did get the authentic "slide and glide" chapel experience after all. We're all about authenticity here.

believe it or not, this was the best picture I got of the two of them. don't ask me what's up with either of their eyes, I honestly can't tell you. on your left we have homicidal, and on your right we have stoned (munchies included)
me and my cousin Lauren...we're due about 4 weeks apart with two more girls! just in case there wasn't enough estrogen up in here already
So later that afternoon, we needed to kill some time before we met friends for dinner. Honestly, we had an awesome family date Saturday afternoon and did the kinds of things that make me love Abilene. When Lyla woke up, we went to Disability Resources Inc.'s pumpkin patch that they put on every year. Lyla had an AMAZING time toddling/walking/running/falling through all of the pumpkins, barking at pumpkins and people, and (be still my heart) reorganizing the small pumpkins into an order that she clearly felt was more aesthetically pleasing. It was precious and she had a blast.

bale of hay and scarecrow that needed to be barked at

reorganizing pumpkins because we're not a fan of this jumbled pile look
y'all. seriously. how precious is this?
Pumpkins picked, we threw them in the car and went ALL THE WAY ACROSS TOWN...12 minutes... for Boo at the Zoo. Boo at the Zoo is something that they put on every year where kids get to put on their costumes and walk through the zoo and get candy from different booths hosted by local churches and businesses, see the animals, and generally have a great time. We did all of this for $8. Thank you Abilene, because there's nowhere in DFW that we could do anything similar for that price. Did Lyla have a costume? Nope. Did she get excited about the fact that people were handing her candy? Not in the least bit. But she thought it was just fabulous that she got to see all the animals, and so did we. Honestly, I love the Abilene Zoo just because it has some legitimately cool animals but you get the chance to be so much closer than you do anywhere else. Sometimes this is awesome, like when Lyla could put her hand out and touch the glass that a monkey was touching the other side of. Sometimes it's terrifying when there is seriously a MOUNTAIN LION 10 feet away from your 14 month old. Ten feet, people.

sweet girl in front of her daddy's favorite animal 
if you've never been to the Abilene Zoo and have a chance, you should go just for this bridge. you can feed giraffes crackers, their heads are right at your knees. also this is my favorite animal. so. stinkin. cool.
Did I mention that the zoo stays open late for Boo at the Zoo? You can tell because certain animals (turtles apparently have no shame) were doing some very vocal things that I have honestly never seen during the opening hours of the zoo. I had not previously conceptualized how turtles managed this, accounting for all of the shells and all...and honestly I'm still not quite sure I can explain it. Thank goodness Lyla is very young, because I was not prepared to have that conversation Saturday afternoon. I did hear one small Batman ask why the turtle screamed when it hugged the other turtle. Gah turtles. Have some decency. Wait until 6:30 when all the little Batmans and zombies and red Angry Birds have gone home. Turtles.

I don't really know what to think of this creepy photobombing bird wanting in on the action. these animals have NO concept of what is socially acceptable, particularly in front of children. mercy.
my child's disapproving glare at the turtles' choice of recreational activity.
Other than that, we had lunches and dinners with friends and family, went to my mom's reunion class devotional Sunday morning at Jacob's Dream, and generally had a great time enjoying Abilene and all of its little quirks. There are days that I think I could live there, just because I love it so much. I love Abilene people and I love its little hole in the wall restaurants and shops, I love Copper Creek and Perini Ranch, I love ACU and I love the fact that I can drive around the whole dang town (literally around it in a circle) in approximately 17 minutes. I do love Abilene. And then there are other days when I remember: the mall. Call me when you get a Sephora, A Town. Then we'll talk.


  1. Loved it Michelle! Just one question....what happened to all the cute little bows? I'm guessing when she reached the conscious state, those went out the door..... She is quite adorable, no surprise!!

  2. Haha the bows lasted until she discovered that she could pull them off of her own head, rip them to pieces, and attempt to eat those pieces. Unfortunately for her, this means that she's often mistaken for a boy...in her pink sparkly Toms and her zebra/hot pink shopping cart cover. I swear, unless she has a bow on her head, poor thing is a boy due to her lack of hair and nothing else is noticed.