Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life in "A Possum Town"...

For those of you who have never had a history lesson on Columbus, MS (which, I would venture to guess, is all of you), the locals sometimes refer to it by it's nickname "A Possum Town".  This name confused, intrigued, and worried me when I moved here.  Upon further research, I discovered that this was the name bestowed on Columbus by the Native Americans.  Why did they choose such a name? I did not know until tonight.

Far be it from me to judge Mississippi by the excessive amount of roadkill decorating it's highways...we have a good bit of that in Alabama as well.  At first I thought they were New York City rats that had migrated here for the summer. I eventually recognized them as possums, but was glad that we did not have any such rodents living in our lovely, "gated community". Two nights ago, Chris took out our trash but found it too cumbersome to take it all the way to the trash can, which sits about 4 feet outside our back door.  Instead he left it on the ground outside the door, and yesterday we found the bag torn to shreds with all its contents scattered about the side of our yard.  We blamed a raccoon.  We should have known, living in the "possum town", that a different rodent was the culprit.

Tonight, when we arrived home from watching the season premier of Modern Family at Jon and Autumn's house, we noticed a pair of shiny little marbles gazing at us from underneath our car.  I am to blame for what we discovered, since Chris tells me every day to let down the garage door after entering and exiting to avoid Wolf Spider invasion (Wolf Spiders are only slightly smaller than possums).  I always forget.  I'm sure you can guess who made his home underneath the car:

Since I'm updating the blog an extra time this week anyway, I would like to share two exciting pieces of news...

Chris took his PFT today (physical fitness test) and scored excellent, which means he doesn't have to take it for another year.  Yay, I am so proud! 

And the huge news is that Chris' IFS date (where he goes to Colorado for a month for preliminary training) got moved to January 4, and his UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) date has been moved up to February 16 (from April) it looks like we will be getting this show on the road a little earlier than expected! Chris is glad, not only to get this started so he can have it over with sooner, but because now he is in the same graduating class as Jon.

A post wouldn't be complete without a precious picture of our wittle baby with his BFF Dubs! I guess some of my cheerleading skills have been rubbing off on Mason, because tonight he and Mason (with Jon's help) built their first pyramid...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A month of road trips comes to an end...

I have taken a couple of weeks off from blogging, since our weekend road trips managed to make us feel a little in over our heads last week at home...the laundry has piled up, along with the dust in the house, and we are actually looking forward to a quiet weekend at home to get on top of everything. This blog is kind of long since there is two weeks of stuff in buckle down, here goes...
Two weeks ago, we went to the Auburn home game to see the last of our 17-victory winning streak.  This weekend was extra special for me, because I got to spend some time with Hannah and Tori, who both moved away from Auburn like I did, so I feel like my visits with them are way too few and far between.  Tori is a forensic accountant at a big firm in Atlanta, and Hannah teaches 6th grade in south Alabama. It's too bad that the game had to be at 11:00 because it made it nearly impossible to plan a tailgate.  We had a small tailgate...the atmosphere for morning games just isn't as exciting as night games since there are much fewer tailgaters on campus.  However, the important thing is spending time with friends, and so it was awesome that I had some brief time to do that. Sara even managed to swing by for a couple of hours, which really said a lot considering that she has been through hell the past few weeks with her mother being hospitalized...not to mention she even got a ticket on the way to the tailgate! I definitely wish I could have extended my time with Sara, Tori, Hannah, and Lauren x a million (I wonder if any of them are interested in moving to Columbus?) But I feel very lucky that no matter where our lives take us, at least we will always have Auburn in common to bring us together whether it's because of a football game or family!

Girls Picture! Sara is in her scrubs because she came straight from the hospital after her night shift just to see us...what a trooper!

Tired boys at the tailgate after the game
Saturday evening, I went to Lauren's house where we enjoyed time with a partial assembly of the old crew (Lauren, Chase, Hannah, and Aaron), then Chris and I went to a party where we visited with Dusty, Marc, and other friends of his.
Chris' grandparents on Tammy's side, Lavada and Bob (also known as Granny and Granbob) were visiting town for Granbob's birthday.  It's always wonderful to visit with family, especially those you don't see very often, and we really enjoyed the time we got to spend with them. Then, on Sunday, we had lunch with my family, including my grandmother, since it was Grandparent's Day.  After lunch, we went to Martin and Virginia's house, and were able to spend some time with them, as well as Chris' dad and Lisa, before heading home.  As you can probably see, this weekend (just like all weekends in Auburn it seems!) was very busy trying to visit with everyone, and I can definitely say I have been getting a taste of what it must have been like for Chris when he visited from the Academy...busy busy busy trying to see as much as possible of everyone we can fit in...the good kind of busy, but still verrrry busy!
Thank goodness we won the game, or else I would never have lived it down at work on Monday in Starkville.  On the way out of town on Sunday, we had to stop by Big Blue Bookstore and stock up on Auburn stuff.  This, of course, included a new ensemble for Mason:

 In honor of grandparents day, we sent this picture to all of our parents (because Mason is their grandog).  I'm sure they will all treasure his baby pictures forever! :)

We are so proud of Mason, by the way...he has learned the commands "sit" and "down".  We want to teach him to stay (that is a hard one) and I am determined to teach him how to roll over and stand up on two feet.  He can hold his balance on two feet for a long time, sometimes as long as 10 seconds, but he only does it randomly, not on command. So we are going to try to get him to walk around on two legs, we think it would be very amusing.
Sometimes it seems like my blog is just an excuse for me to talk about our dog and post a million pictures of him that I'm sure no one finds as interesting as me.  When I am a mom (which, don't worry, is in the extreme distant future!!) I will probably be the most annoying mom ever who carries a photo album in her purse and brags about her kids all the time.  If our children are half as cute as our precious wittle Mason, I have no doubt that everyone around me will be sick of hearing about them.  But is another adorable picture of Mason and Dubs hanging out in Mason's lair, eating their bones together.  This was a rare instance when we got Mason to chew only his own bone.  Mason doesn't like to share...I'm afraid he gets that from his mommy...and whenever he plays with other dogs, he always feels that he should get both his own toy, and the other dog's. Dubs continues to grow exponentially, so I'm not sure how much longer he will fit under our kitchen table.
Thursday night, we decided to have Jon, Autumn, and Dubs over to watch the MSU vs. LSU game.  Since it was an SEC event, I decided it was a great opportunity to use all the Auburn serving pieces I have collected over the years.  We grilled some chicken and veggies, and I made some Paula Deen specialties that included a Bleu Cheese Roasted Potato Salad (delishhhh!) and Fried Beer Battered Asparagus with a lemon dipping sauce.  The fried asparagus turned out okay, but I think I could do better next time.  That's only the second time I've fried anything, and the first time I've fried asparagus so there was probably some room for improvement.
Our patio really has a lot of ambiance ever since we added these citronella lanterns.  We have enjoyed spending time out there so much, and plan to do even more work on it.  This includes possibly rigging up some kind of stereo for out there, getting an outdoor rug, and some low maintenance plants that won't die when they come under my care taking. One addition that we are super excited about is the navy blue Auburn fire pit that Tammy and Greg gave us last weekend as a housewarming gift (you can see it in the left corner).  We are going to go get some sand to fill it with this weekend when we are at home, and are looking forward to using it next week! The weather has really been cooling down, so it will be perfect! 

Poor Mason just can't stand to be in when we are out!
This potato salad recipe from Paula Deen's website was easy and sooo yummy!

Those who know me know my weakness for anything festive, so I will continue to look for excuses to use my Auburn stuff, even if Auburn is not even playing. I'm so excited that October is nearing, because I get to decorate our home for Halloween!!
This weekend we attended the away game, and were fortunate that my parents provided us with tickets and a hotel.  I was so excited to get to see my friend/bridesmaid Maryann's parents (although I wish she and her husband would have been there!) and we had an awesome time at the game until we lost.  Even then, we found the opposing teams' fans to be very gracious, almost as nice as Auburn fans (if that is possible).  Personally, I kind of knew that our winning streak would come to an end sometime in the near future (if you can "know" those kinds of things)...I had hoped it would be later in the season, but Chris and I are not fair-weather fans and a season that doesn't compare to last years still won't keep us from wanting to attend just as many games to show our support.
Doing a little pregaming...the weather was way colder than I expected, so I had to buy that jacket/wrap that morning after we came to campus.  Then I liked it so much I wore it to dinner that night and home the next day!
Our trip home was unexpectedly eventful.  On the way home we made two unplanned stops.  First, we stopped at a winery called "Chateu Elan" that we saw a random billboard for on the interstate.  We spent over an hour here and had a lot of fun tasting some rather unusual wines.  We bought two bottles of Peach Muscadine wine.  I had never had muscadine wine before...I wouldn't say it's my favorite, but I always like to try something new.  It is super-sweet and quite inexpensive. 
Chris posing with our Muscadine wine, next to the part of the vineyard where they grow the muscadine grapes.
 When we finally got hungry again after eating all the crackers at the wine tasting, we were near a favorite restaurant of mine in Phipps Plaza, Atlanta, called Twist.  When I was living in Atlanta interning, my roommates (Tori and Rachel) and I frequented this place because it was always "happening" (can't think of a better word to describe it) and they have fantastic sushi, which we have been craving since moving to Columbus.  Last time I ate there with my mom and Sara, there was some kind of up-and-coming boy band serenading the customers on the patio.  I had never heard of them, but I looked them up online and I guess they are quite popular with the tween age group.  Well this time, Chris and I sat right next to DJ Drama...maybe not the most famous of celebs, but definitely one that if you haven't heard of him, you have probably heard one of the songs that he arranged. The managers gave him some kind of special on his and his date's meal...I'm pretty sure that was his Maserati parked out front of the restaurant, so why they thought he needed a special price, I don't know, but we certainly did not get one!
Our last pit stop was at Publix in Tuscaloosa...even though I was rather irritated that the cashier there knew less about Publix's coupon policy than I do, I am proud to say that I spent $38 on this weeks groceries and saved $57.  I am going to miss Publix while we are staying in Columbus the next few weeks!
The worst thing about traveling this weekend was that we had to board Mason for the first time! This made me feel extremely guilty because I am afraid he thought we were leaving him at the pound.  When Chris picked him up from the boarder this morning, he sent me this picture in a text message with the caption "Mason is making himself at home already"
Well, I reckon that's about it for the past couple of weeks.  Apparently yesterday's Garfield comic reminded Chris of this blog:
 That is probably the reaction I get on my blog, but at least it's fun for me to get on here and share some pictures and let everyone know how much we miss them when we are I at least know one person is getting enjoyment out of it! :) We are really looking forward to our weekend at home, but we have loved doing all this traveling and plan to pick it back up in a few weeks.  We are excited a visit from my parents for my dad's birthday in a couple of weeks, and then a trip to Nashville the week after that..then, back to Auburn for the Florida game (and Chris' birthday weekend...25 years old!) Even though travel is exhausting, we really feel like that's what being young newlyweds is all about...there is nothing holding us back from having new adventures as often as possible, and we are so fortunate that we have jobs that allow us to afford a little spontaneity. As hard as it is to show up at work on Monday after a fantastic weekend, remembering that makes it a little easier! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hello Football Season!

What a fun and eventful week! I have a ton of pictures to share, starting with our official welcoming of football season, which began with my decorating the house with Auburn paraphernalia.
Entrance hall table
Table (with delicious meal on it!)

As you may have noticed on the picture of our kitchen table, we prepared a delicious meal last week using the grill given to Chris by "Santa Wilson" last Christmas.  Our patio really does have a lot of ambiance with the lanterns that we bought (which also serve as mosquito repellant--those who know me know that I am a mosquito magnet).  When we grilled last week, it was way too hot to eat outside.  However, we ate outside on the patio tonight and the weather was wonderful.  The rain from the tropical storm yesterday really cooled things off!
The vegetables turned out delicious but, note to self, grease the pan next time! The ones on the bottom stuck so bad, we had to throw it away.  Luckily, that pan came "free" with our house (i.e. it was here when we got here).
We love our patio with the torches!

The house continues to come together, little by little, and a couple of weeks ago, Chris' grandmother (Nancileigh) sent us this painting that she made that we have hung in our entrance hall.  This was a wedding gift we specifically requested.  Painting is one of her many talents, and we are happy to have this piece of hers in our house :)

This weekend marked the first weekend of Auburn's football season (hooray!).  Once again, we returned to Auburn, and got to spend some time with our families.  I was especially happy to get to see my  sister, since she has been busy with rush and visiting her boyfriend the last couple of times we went to Auburn.  We tailgated with friends, and I got to see Meredith and her husband Ryan, and Sara and her boyfriend, Aaron.  I was so excited to put on my game day dress and say hello to another football season! This one may not be as promising as last years', but I am proud to be an Auburn fan rain or shine.  Also, I am not one to start expecting the worst just because of a rough start.  Auburn has a tendency to play down to our opponents, and this week was (unfortunately) no exception, as we had our season-opener to Utah State. 
 Here I am with two of my besties, Sara and Merdith.  Meredith got married in December and lives in Birmingham with her husband, Ryan.  She just started an accounting job a couple of weeks ago, so we email eachother from work. Sara and Meredith were both my roommates during different parts of college.  Please keep Sara in your prayers...she found out hours after the game that her mom was in a terrible car wreck.  She is going to be okay, but she has a long road to recovery.  Sara has been like a sister to me, and I have known her and her mom for years and years, so they both need all the support and encouragement we can give them!
Here we all are in our game-day best, getting ready to walk to Jordan-Hare for the 16th Auburn victory in a row!

 Jordan Passmore, a friend and groomsman of Chris' that he met at the Air Force Academy, came down from his base in Charleston.  Jordan is a "converted" AU fan, and after having lived with Chris, decided to come to Auburn for the LSU game last year and, naturally, had to come back for more.

No game day victory would be complete without a trip to downtown Auburn and Toomers corner that night.  We headed downtown with Jordan to meet up with some more of Chris's friends (including Dusty, who was in the wedding).  Major surprise to me: Skybar (our most popular local bar) now has a VIP level...for those of you who went to Auburn, this seems slightly unnatural! I mean...Skybar isn't exactly the taj mahal of bars. It's basic to say the least.  I guess they are trying to make a more sophisticated image or something haha.  Anyway, I didn't really want to pay $100 bucks a person (let's face it...I couldn't if I wanted to! And believe me, I did not).  Sometime around my sophomore year of college, I managed to make it on "the list" at Skybar, and I suppose that helped my case, because I wound up just asking the owner if we could go up and he let Chris, me, Dusty and Jordan go up there for free.  I'm sure we weren't the only ones granted that privilege, but it was nice to enjoy the view and not have to worry about the crowd.  For those of you who are curious, here are some pictures:

You KNOW that times are changing when Skybar gets a VIP level! After it was time to leave, we stopped by good old Toomer's corner on the way.  As I am sure most of you are fully aware, this is probably the last year we will be able to roll our precious trees.  Who knows how many times we will have that opportunity this year, being a rebuilding year for our football team.  Hopefully many, but you never know.  I am glad we got some pictures.

Where better to meet new friends than Toomer's corner, the meeting place of the Auburn family? :)

Sunday we had to go home...I had so much to do around the house on Monday, and since we are travelling so much, it is basically impossible to get anything done on a regular weekend.  We missed the bad weather on the way home.  Monday, we did a good bit of cleaning around the house.  Mason saw us working hard, and decided to help us change the sheets on our bed.

We made plans a while back with Jon and Autumn to have Chris and Jon test out Jon's beer brewing kit.  The had used it before in Colorado, but because of the specific temperatures that the beer needs to stay at to brew properly, brewing in Mississippi presents a new challenge.  Autumn got this as a gift for Jon several months ago when the guys were still at the Academy.  They have really enjoyed it, and I've heard so much about it, I'm glad to get to participate!

First, you dip the grain into hot water.  You have to get a thermometer to make sure the water is exactly the right temperature at all times. The water, in this case, could not exceed 160 degrees.
You add the malt for flavor.

You use a tub to funnel the mixture from the pot we had on the stove into this bucket.  It looks like poop.  Ew. This bucket is submerged into a larger bucket that is filled with cool water.  You put ice in it every day to make the temperature drop over time.  We will continue this process in about 2 weeks, so stay tuned for the second stage!

No blog post would be complete without an adorable precious picture of Mason with his new BFF.  Mason also loves playing with Luke, our golden retriever at my parents' house.  I need to get a picture of them for the blog, because they are sooo cute! However, you really can't beat a picture like this:

Today begins another work week, but we are both thankful this one is a short one.  Chris has been working longer hours at his job, which has kind of thrown him for a loop, so we hope his hours shorten soon.  If not, he will surely adjust after a week or so.  There may be some changes for my job in the near future as well...I will keep everyone updated on that when I know more details, but for now, please cross your fingers that it al works out ;)

Today, Mason got fixed....poor little baby! Every morning when I leave for work, he tries to go with me.  This morning, when I took him with me, he was so excited...little did he know, we were taking a little pit stop at the vet! When I left him, I really think he knew something like that was happening...and he was not happy about it.  I felt incredibly guilty. However, when I picked him up after work, he was the same old Mason (albeit, a drunk version, from the pain meds).  Although he is decidedly less coordinated, I'm sure he will snap out of it by tomorrow and be just fine. 

This weekend, we look forward to playing (and hopefully beating) Mississippi State.  Since I work in Starkville, I am particularly hopeful that we win this one. We are planning on setting up a tailgate, and I am looking forward to spending time with some friends I haven't seen in a long time.  Hannah and Tori have both told me they will be in town, and I know I will get to see Lauren as well.  Anyone else who is coming and hasn't let me know yet...amphitheater, be there or be square, haha. Until then, War Eagle!