Friday, July 31, 2009

Lord Willing and the Creek Don't Rise

So I started havin' the itch again. No, not the red, blotchy, contagious kind (gross), but the itch to pack it up and head out of town for a few days.


Wouldn't that be blissful!? This is the first summer in a looooong time that Hubs and I haven't made it to the beach, so that is definitely contributing to the severity of my current travel itch. To make matters worse, I learned today that one of our most favorite local hotel hot spots is running a killer summer special right now...and our anniversary just so happens to be in roughly 12 days...perfect excuse for spontaneous road trip? I think so!

Take a look at this place:
The Mansion at Forsyth Park, Savannah GA

We spent our wedding night here on the way to the airport to leave for our Honeymoon. Those of you who know the silliness that descended upon our wedding day might also know that we spent approximately 1 hour and 13 minutes in this AMAZING, MAGNIFICENT, LUXURIOUS place before having to truck it back to St. Simon's to fetch our forgotten passports and travel documents.

We made it back to the Mansion with just enough time to brush our teeth, snap a few pictures, and pack up our under-eye bagged selves and hit the road again for the airport. Our stay was so pitifully short that the hotel manager would not even entertain the idea of us paying for our $380/night suite. (We gave the front desk staff quite a chuckle when we showed up at 12am, dressed in wedding attire, limo-less, with bags of Chick-fil-a take out).

Ever since, we have talked about how much we would love, love, love to sneak back away to this little slice of heaven on earth...

This is a view of the suite from the claw foot tub that sits majestically in the middle of the room. This picture makes me smile. If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of bathtubs. I make a point to visit mine once a day. Sometimes I soak in the bathtub at 5:30 am before work. Silly, I know. You can imagine my happiness when we opened the door to our room and I spotted this huge claw foot tub! How romantic!
We felt it only fitting to take a cheese-ball self portrait. It was our wedding night, after all. If you look closely, you can see that Hubs is gazing at the Bose system the Mansion has so conveniently installed in each of the suites. Boys.

If you haven't been, you MUST go. King suites are currently $109/night! No joke. I'm guessing the recession has left this 5-star hotel hurtin' for business. Regardless, I am going to scheme and plan and see if it is in the "trim-the-fat-budget" we are currently living on. Ha! Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Piece of Cake!

Ohhh Wednesdays! How quickly I forgot how wonderful only working 4 days a week truly is!!

I did approximately nothing for approximately 80% of the day today. It was marvelous! I stayed in my PJs until noon (and only got out of them because I wanted to go and create mischief at a local baby boutique--allow me to fill you in on that grand adventure in a bit...) We partook in some Mimi's Cafe madness this morning...mmm Breakfast Ciabatta Sandwich...and then I set off on my quest to create dinner for the Davis Homecoming event tonight.

In honor of saluting to the mighty 9x13 today, I have decided to share my two most favorite comfort food recipes.

Number 1: Poppyseed Chicken Casserole. Holy moly. Here is the rundown:
1) Turn on radio to favorite Mo-Town or 80's music. Either will do, really. Dancing in the kitchen is primo.
2) Put on an apron. I prefer to go apron + bare feet as opposed to apron + heels + pearls. You must be prepared for Mo-Town or 80s dancing after all.
3) Pull out Ritz Crackers (1 sleeve), a stick of butter, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 can of cream of celery soup, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and 4 chicken breasts.
4) Boil chicken. Chop chicken. Toss in big bowl. 5) Add soups and chicken broth. Mix well. Toss in 9x13 pan.
6) Sprinkle poppyseeds. Crush Ritz crackers and cover top of casserole with golden goodness. Melt stick of butter and drizzle on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and voila: Poppyseed Chicken!

Number 2: Heath Bar Cake (No worries, your hips are sure to thank me!)

1) Run through Publix making a mad hangry dash for: 1 devil's food cake mix, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 can of caramel, 1 tub of cool whip, and 1 package of crushed Heath Bar candy pieces.
2) Bake cake as directed.
3) Cool.
4) Find wooden spoon and go nuts poking approximately 72 holes in top of cake.
5) Drizzle caramel and sweetened condensed milk. Allow to soak in (this step is critical).
6) Cover with cool whip and candy pieces. Refrigerate. Best served 6-8 hours after being refrigerated. Good luck waiting that long :o)

Hubs and I packed up Silly 2 year old, said comfort food, accompanying strawberry-pecan salad, bottle of wine, gallon of sweet tea, and welcome-home package of diapers and wipes case and took off for Smyrna.

You'd think this wouldn't feel quite like the road trip it turned out to be, but with a two year old confined to (and attempting to hulk out of) a car seat in the midst of Atlanta rush hour traffic, we were convinced we were driving across the country instead of across town. Many conversations were had regarding the need for after-market DVD players in the Envoy after we become parents ourselves. I used to peek into Soccer-Mom-Suburbans and gawk at the need for dual DVD players for short trips around town. I now know that, in order to truly put "safety first" while on the road, there might just be a place in this world for mobile Disney characters afterall.
We made a pit stop at Jason's Deli for supper and then dropped little man off with his mommy who was making her way home from work.

We pulled up at the Davis' at 6:56pm (approximately 2 hours and 56 minutes after packing up the car and toddler) and got to crackin' on getting dinner ready for them. This quickly turned into Ali-hold-baby-while-husband-prepares-dinner. Convenient? I think so!
6 days in the hospital and one newborn baby later, Jenn and Todd looked awesome! Bless them. They are the sweetest parents--I love to watch them in action with their little guy.

In attempting to un-swaddle Baby so that I could look at his little feet, I quickly learned that I have not the first clue in swaddling etiquette. Bambino went from peacefully sleeping in my arms to squeaking and squirming and peeping out from under his little closed eyes as if to say "Listen lady. Now you leave me alone!" After an awkward re-swaddle and bouncy walk around the house, we were golden once again. Todd and Jenn were able to eat and gain some strength for their first night at home with Baby.

Whoa. My hat's off to all of my super fabulous friends and family members who have taken the plunge into parenthood. I can only imagine the awe that must wash over you as you pack up and leave the hospital with your tiny baby. Off to conquer the world, your life forever sweeter; your heart forever bigger; your cup running over. I can harldy wait!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fire in the Hole!

When firemen unexpectedly showed up at our wedding 3 years ago, we never guessed they'd show up at our house on a random Saturday afternoon in July....
We pulled up to the house this afternoon to firetrucks, firemen, and water hoses. Good Lawd!

Please allow me to be overly dramatic for a moment: All that was visible as we ran up to the house was a gathering of neighbors and smoke billowing from the back of our beloved town home. Apparently our back yard decided to "spontaneously" catch on fire (the jury's still out on how in the world the grass can just mysteriously light up with flames). Thanks to our super fabulous neighbors who responded with buckets of water and hoses, they were able to stop the fire before it reached our home. My favorite first responder was the 10 month pregnant girl who came out in her jammies to throw water on the trees and grass.

To stand there watching firemen extinguish the fire 2 feet from our back porch allowed us to see how God protects us from even the most unpredictable of circumstances.

Poor lil Buckaroo was traumatized by the whole ordeal. The nice firemen saw the look of terror in his eyes and were so sweet to him. They told him he could sit in the firetruck while they finished everything up. He wasn't going to have anything to do with anything fire related at that point, so I crawled up front with him instead. He was most fascinated with the back up cameras and flashing lights. I was pretty fascinated as well :)

We thanked our neighbors and the firemen and went right back to our lazy Saturday afternoon at the pool.
Nothin' a little bubble action couldn't cure!

After splish splashin' for a few hours we got the call that Baby Ryan Patrick made his grand entrance into this world. And what a cutie pie he is!
8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long with a head FULL of red hair! Jenn was absolutely beaming and Todd couldn't have been prouder!

Needless to say, we are counting our many blessings twice tonight!

Friday, July 24, 2009

And then there were 3!

Hold on to your epidural pumps ladies because this sweet girl is about to become a Mama!
Got the news this afternoon that Dr. Sermons will be inducing Jenn in the morning and I'm so excited I could burst! Little Ryan Patrick will soon be gracing us with his bouncing, bundle o' joy self!

Let me take a minute to also acknowledge the fact that it. is. Friday. Yessiree. Friday can only mean 3 things: 1) Much Mellow Mushroom will soon be devoured; 2) This big ol' tater head will still be on the pillow at 8am tomorrow morning; and 3) This big ol' tater head will still be on the pillow at 8am the next morning too.
Skidleedoo for catchin' up on some much needed zzzz's. This workin' thing is for the birds.

This weekend's agenda (in no particular order)

1. Bust out the 9 by 13's for some casserole craziness for the new parents-to-be.
2. Swing by Clinique counter and splurge on something fun and sparkly.
3. Lunch with Abby J. and Baby J. Two year old Buckaroo in tow.
4. Cheer for Hubs as he rolls up the sleeves once again at Habitat for Humanity.
5. Drink Starbucks iced vanilla frappuccino drink.
6. Attempt to iron 7 pairs of khaki pants that have hung neglected in the hallway for the past 2 weeks. Alternative: go to work naked next week.
7. Catch Catherine Heigl's "The Ugly Truth". Laugh relentlessly through the entire movie. Resist popcorn. Hold out for Coldstone Creamery.
8. Hold newborn baby. Marvel at God's greatness.

Life is good folks!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Life on a budget.

What I thought was going to leave me sobbing helplessly in the corner has actually left me feeling empowered and victorious. I find myself vowing not to blog on anything related to our country's (or my own personal) current economic status, but it has been on my heart for some time now to document how God is moving in both the big and small things in our lives right now.

After hubs lost his job (11 months ago and counting), we quickly found ourselves re-evaluating our finances, our priorities and our list of daily "necessities". My initial thought was "holy goodness, how will we EVER make it?!". With a little elbow grease, a lot of commitment, and a little wiggle room for cheating (I still have to have my daily dose of Chick-fil-a sweet tea and Chris still has to have his Netflicks) we have learned that we can actually live off of a lot less than we ever imagined.

I now know that, contrary to my previous beliefs, I do not have to have an iced vanilla frappuccino every morning on my way to work. I also don't have to spend $40 at Target each week on things I never needed or wanted. I also (gasp) don't have to buy a new pair of shoes, regardless of how stinkin' cute they may be, every week. Who'da thunk it?

Insight #1 in this process: so much of our spending is simply out of habit or laziness. We go out to dinner 4 times a week because it's a lot easier to choose between Mellow Mushroom and Chili's than to plan ahead and prepare something at home. I am queen of: "I work so hard all day, the least I deserve is dinner out. Every night. And dessert out 5 times a week too." Changing this habit, and not to mention my attitude, has been one of the hardest things I have had to do. We have learned to set a game plan on Sunday and stick with it through the week. We plan our dinners ahead of time so we are less likely to cheat. We also splurge and eat out once a week too :) My personal favorite right now is Coupon Hibachi night at Shogun. Mmm.

One of the biggest lessons learned in this process is that of priorities. With less material clutter in our lives, we have more time and energy to focus on the pure, simple, and good things in life. We have simplified everything. From grocery shopping to basic monthly bills--we've cut the fat and are proof that with God's help, you can do exponentially more than you ever thought you could. At the end of the day, we are happier, healthier, and stronger. Instead of pouring ourselves into "keeping up with the Jones'", we have found ourselves reveling in our own sweet, little life.

We have found far more contentment in the bottom of our piggy bank than we ever found on the way to the top of the corporate ladder.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

All in the Family

July 8th is a busy, busy day in our fam!
Happy Birthday Mom!
Happy Anniversary Mom and Pops! Here's to 20 Happy Years!

Happy, Happy Birthday to my fabulous SIL Wendy! Ole!

In honor of my mom and Bill's 20th anniversary us kids are each creating a list of 20 reasons why our lives are better because of their love for each other. My list is written to sweet Bill...a man who willingly volunteered to take on round 2 of parenting just as he finished up round 1.
Here are just a few reasons why I am proud to call him "Dad":
  • It all started with a Shoney Bear and a ballerina mug.
  • He once drove 75 miles in the middle of the night just to pick me up and bring me back home after driving 75 miles just to drop me off at 7-year-old-sleep-over. (I was a big ol' baby waaaaay past the point of it being acceptable.)
  • When I claimed that I didn’t know how to turn on the faucet in the bathroom of our new house, he turned it on for me. This went on for months as I exclaimed "What? I'm new here!"
  • He once bonded with Waverly Designs and made my 8 year old interior decorator dreams come true.
  • I once bonded with him in Belk as he purchased me my first 9 year old pair of $40 blue jeans. Mom nearly stroked. Funny, come to think of it, she never sent him back-to-school shopping with me again.
  • He hung a yellow swing on an old plank in the backyard and gave me a place to play and a place to dream.
  • He not only adopted Christopher and me, but also a neighborhood of stinky, sweaty, bickering kids. He had no idea he was signing on to open a community shelter, but he weathered the storms with grace.
  • He implemented “Room Time” and “Lights Out Time”. To this day, I still participate in these rituals every night before bed.
  • He spent many consecutive years of his life at clogging exhibitions at the Yellow Daisy Festival, the Festival of Trees, and Lake Winnipesaukee. He still displays the pictures as evidence of his love and support.
  • It is because of him that I know how to accurately make left hand turns whilst maintaining my own lane. I can not only achieve this goal in small sedans, but in large blue Dodge Caravans as well.
  • He taught me the importance of managing my finances as well as my relationships with others.
  • He taught me how to love Jesus and to strive to be more like Him.
  • He spent an entire afternoon covered in yellow and blue paint in my third floor un-air-conditioned Myers Dorm room in Athens. All he had to show for it was an empty nest and a long car ride home.
  • He inspired creativity in me. Like that one time in Nashville when I discovered the beauty of sleeping in the bathtub.
  • He cheered for me loud and proud while I crossed the finish line at a regatta at UGA. Well, ok he thought it was me he were cheering for, but…details, details…
  • He proudly walked me down the aisle one hot, sweaty, smoldering Saturday afternoon in August. He gave me away and made it clear that I was a non-refundable item. (Sorry hubs).

So there you have it. A glimpse of how blessed I am to have a dad who hand picked my mom and subsequently my brother and I. Just another testament to God's greatness and plans for us.