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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello Christmas...

This past week was full of its ups and downs.  Of course, we were thrilled to see family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.  As usual, we spent Thanksgiving lunch with my mom's side of the family.  They are from Montgomery, and Thanksgiving is the only holiday we usually get to spend much time with them.  That meal is always huge and really good.  Afterwards, my sister and I cuddled in the lazy boy and discussed our Black Friday plans to get up early to seek out some good deals.  That is something we always used to do before Auburn and Alabama started playing on Black Friday.  This is the first year in several years that the game has been moved back to Saturday. 



My cousin, Corey, who is a sophomore at Auburn, had a job last year working with the football team.  He brought his championship ring for us to see...Chris was very excited to wear it, but as you can see, it didn't quite fit.  That is the closest I have been to one, so it was pretty cool to get to see it in person.




Something that I find very exciting, as a result as my perpetual greater-than-necessary interest in other peoples' lives, is that one of my best friends and one of Chris' best friends have united together in boyfriend/girlfriend status! Hooray! I love new opportunities for double dating.  And what better time than Thanksgiving? Lauren and Jordan joined us for Thanksgiving dinner at (Pops) Chris' and Lisa's house. Here is a picture of the happy new couple with nephew, Mason, asleep in his Auburn jersey.



Lauren took care of Mason while we were on our honeymoon.  He wrote her a thank-you note afterward to show his appreciation of her patience with him...despite the fact that he was not quite crate-trained or potty-trained when she kept him, she still loves him to death!



Black Friday was a pretty successful shopping day.  My sister and I didn't buy many presents, but we did buy a bunch of stuff for ourselves!  I kind of feel that the stores have ruined Black Friday by changing it to Black Thanksgiving Day Night.  Sorry, but I'm not interested in waiting in line at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kohls or anywhere else on Thanksgiving night.  Apparently that's when all the steals were this year.  Don't get me wrong, there was still some good stuff left over, but all the really great deals were gone. I was happy to get the Nike running shorts that I wear to work out in on half price...I NEVER find them on sale, not even online.  So that in itself was worth it.  I got a pair for myself, and my sis got me two for Christmas.  I also found us some light up deer for our front yard for cheap at Big Lots (the ones I really want, I hope to get on sale after Christmas at Lowes).  Also on Friday, Aunt Bette was kind enough to let us use a gift certificate she had received from Wares to get a couple of Christmas serving plates.  I hope to find a night where we can have a Christmas party (with a crowd like the Thanksgiving feast) and we can use all of our pretty Christmas plates and serving dishes. 

One thing that I had been looking so much forward to was having a girls night on Friday night.  Girls nights are pretty few and far between these days, since everyone has relocated and has boyfriends/husbands.  It's easy to get together as a group, but usually we have the guys with us.  Friday night the guys went their separate way to brew beer with Greg while we went out for dinner.  Then we met up with them later (along with Tammy) for some karaoke fun at a restaurant/bar in Auburn.  I had to prepare Tammy for the fact that, although I love karaoke and am not stage-shy at ALL, that doesn't mean I'm as talented as say, my sister.  In fact, saying that I am talented at all is probably a stretch.  The only talent I have is at being shameless and choosing songs that people like enough to sing along to and ignore my voice.  We all sang some karaoke, and I even sang Summer Nights with the guy running the show.  Chris always gets a kick out of it, but he won't sing with me.  I think he just needs some extra encouragment, don't you?


Chris' favorite for me to sing, "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain ;-)

Singing "Friends in Low Places", which became an instant classic at our wedding.

Friends are your best backup singers...in my case, that saying is quite literal.  I have friends who are VERY passionate about backing me up!

Saturday was great up until about 2:30 pm.  As expected, our beloved Auburn Tigers didn't quite pull off the miracle we had hoped, and we were beat pretty bad by Alabama.  I hate losing to Alabama more than anything.  At least the tailgating was good.  We had a fun tailgate with Lauren's parents, and a lot of people were able to come....here are a couple of pictures. 


Girls picture! I always get excited about seeing Tori since she moved to Atlanta and I don't see her as much as my Auburn friends.  The little "bunny ears" belong to Lauren's nephew.



While we were walking to the game, Chris made friends with this little girls puppy.  He literally laid down on the groud and let it run all over him.  I guess he is still just a little kid inside :)


I don't think Mason would be very happy if he saw this!

As you can see, the blog is now "decorated" for Christmas.  I had hoped to post some pictures of the Christmas decorations in our house by now...unfortunately, in the fiasco of our Uhaul being too small back in July, we left pretty much all of our Christmas decorations back in Auburn.  We didn't realize this until we got home Sunday night to put them up.  I have been in a total funk ever since.  Decorating for the holidays is a hobby I take very seriously.  No kidding.  I was going to try to work in Birmingham today because Tammy had offered to bring them up for me.  Then I faced communication issues at work and never got approved to go.  Then I thought about shipping them.  I don't know how much that would be, but it would probably be expensive.  Luckily, today I got instructions from work that I will be working in Birmingham tomorrow and Friday...my dad just so happens to be working in Birmingham Friday, so it will all work out. He's going to bring them up for me.  I can spend the weekend decorating and have my pictures up next week! Crisis averted.  I know all that drama probably seems silly to some, but just know that when something tries to come between me and decorating for Christmas...things get serious!

This weekend, we have plans to decorate, take a picture for our Christmas card (once the tree is finished), and do some actual Christmas shopping (for other people...not just ourselves haha). The most exciting thing is that Chris is going up in the plane of one of the pilots he met at work.  He hopes this will prepare him (i.e. his motion sickness) for IFS starting in about a month. I really hope it does! I know that was hard for him to overcome when he flew at the Academy...but he did overcome it (with the help of his special combination of gatoratade and PB&J) and wound up being the first person in the whole class to solo (fly alone).

Check back Monday or Tuesday for my Christmas pics! So ready to have the house decorated! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because it’s all about recognizing all the reasons to see the glass “half full”.  I think people spend way too much time thinking about how things could be better…how nice it would be to make more money, live in a bigger house, take more vacations.  Of course, I am guilty of this too, so I really appreciate how Thanksgiving, for one day, pretty much forces us to stop thinking of what we don’t have and be thankful for what we do have.  I sure do have a lot to be thankful for this year.  I graduated college and got my CPA. Chris received his pilot’s slot.  In a matter of weeks I got the wedding of my dreams, the honeymoon of my dreams, and the husband of my dreams…as well as a baby (Mason) and a whole new family, all of whom I absolutely love to death.  For another year I maintained the friendships that have kept me sane through thick and thin, and was lucky enough to have them stand by me through all the changes I’ve been through.  I’ve even managed to make some new friends in the midst of all of it. We were assigned to a base just 4 hours from our hometown. We moved into our first home, and our always-supporting families were there to help us through something that they knew, from experience, would be hard work and a lot of stress.  I got a job in a town where the job market is not great.  Of course we are incredibly thankful for Chris’ job, which will always be secure.  We are healthy and happy, our bills are paid, and we have such a bright future ahead of us.  I think we both are going to accomplish a lot, both together and individually.

I’m not perfect, as I am sure anyone who knows me is fully aware…and sometimes I fall into the trap of dwelling on my life’s “imperfections”.  Instead of thinking about how lucky we are to be close to family and friends, I think about how I miss them and how much harder it is to keep in touch now that we are away.  Instead of thinking about how fortunate we are to have a roof over our heads much nicer than what a lot of newlyweds are privileged to have, I compare our house to the newer neighborhood on the other side of the base, where “luckier” officers of Chris’ same rank live for the same price.  Instead of thanking God that I have a job, I complain that I could make much more money in a bigger city.

So, this week I’m going to try to see the glass as more than just half full…I’m going to try to see it as overflowing.  There are ways that Chris and I have “made” our own luck, but mostly we have our family, our friends, and of course God to thank for living a life this full of love.  All of us have so much to be thankful for, and I bet if you force yourself to sit and write it down like I just did, you will think to yourself, “Why can’t I look at things like this EVERY day? Why does it take a holiday to make me sit down and really count my blessings?”  It shouldn’t, but everyone’s lives are so busy these days, sometimes we need some extra motivation to make us concentrate on anything.  I guess that’s why Thanksgiving is probably the most underrated holiday there is! So this year, take advantage of the one day that we all actually get off of work JUST to sit around and think about how great our lives are! J

Now that I’m done with my sappy little spiel, I’m going to share some of the events that took place in our lives this past week.  Wednesday night we threw a Thanksgiving feast and invited a bunch of other people from the base.  In college, the feast I threw every year with my roommates was one of my favorite traditions.  It got really huge by the end, and we always had lots of food and enjoyed getting everyone together for some good eatin’ and socializing.  I started out this month being bummed because I realized I wouldn’t be able to cook any of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes this year, since a whole turkey and several casseroles would simply be too much food for Chris and I to eat on our own.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner, but at some point I realized there was no one stopping me from throwing a feast here in Columbus.  Chris, who has never been able to attend any of the feasts I threw with my roommates, was a little unsure of whether this was too big of an undertaking for the two of us.  Knowing that it would throw a bit of a kink in things that I now have a full time job and could not put off cooking until the day of the event, I went grocery shopping on Saturday and began cooking on Sunday.  I froze or refrigerated everything, and actually found myself stress-free and with extra time to prepare before guests arrived on Wednesday night.  Chris is definitely a "believer" in the Thanksgiving feast now...he thought it went over great and had a really good time. 

Here is our turkey…it was so delicious! I found a website several years ago that explains how to cook a perfectly moist and flavorful turkey that I always use.  It starts by cooking the turkey at 500 degrees for 20 minutes to seal in the flavor and moistness, then lowering the temperature to about 325 and cooking it 20 minutes for each pound.  Also, the green stuff you seen on top is rosemary and thyme.



Here are some more pictures:
Chris wasn't around to take a picture, but I wanted to get a shot of myself cooking in the apron that Warren got me for my birthday this year!


Part one of the buffet...Next year, my every day china will be replaced with the Thanksgiving themed plates that my parents are giving me for Christmas :) Then we really will be festive!


The turkey on the special turkey platter I got for Christmas a few years back...it's really old, and there is an inscription on the back talking about how Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.  My only complaint about the turkey...a lot less meat than I thought it would be! I think everyone got as much as they wanted, though.  In the trifle dish is a 7-layer salad.  The trifle dish was a wedding gift...funny thing, actually...the original one I got literally exploded out of nowhere.  Not kidding...it's like there was a poltergeist or something.  My mom had it sitting on the dining room table, where she displayed our gifts.  All the sudden, it just exploded into a million pieces.  Well, she got the pieces together, and brought it back to Bed Bath and Beyond for me, where they actually exchanged it for a new one.  They probably thought she was crazy when she told them that it exploded...but nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose!


Here is the rest of the buffet, which included Green Bean/Corn Casserole (recipe courtesy of Gayle Anderson), Vegetable Casserole (Paula Deen), dressing (delicious and very popular with our guests...I got the recipe from allrecipes.com), homemade pecan/chocolate pie and mashed potatoes (contributed by Jess, one of our guests), and homemade cranberry sauce (so much better than the canned! And easy!)  I also put rolls and deviled eggs on the table.


Table full of females... of course we had Autumn and Jon.  Jamie is our neighbor, and her husband Jordan (who went to the Academy) came as well.  Jess is our across the street neighbor. She and her husband both went to Auburn and are both in the Air Force...but unfortunately, their first assignments aren't the same. Her husband, Casey, received an instructor pilot's position, and will be living here for the next three years.  Her next assignment is in Florida. Casey is currently away doing training for his instructor pilot position.  Chris hopes he is lucky enough to have him as an instructor.  The other two girls, Kate and Amanda, are also in the Air Force and were in Chris' squadron at the Academy. It was the first time I met them, but I really liked them a lot and hope we will get to hang out again soon. 


Getting dessert...Kate and Amanda brought pumpkin pie, Autumn brought homemade apple crisp, and Jess brought the chocolate pecan pie.  All of it was so yummy!


There wasn't enough room for all of us at the table, but the guys were more than happy to sit on the couch and watch football.


This weekend was really special because we got to see Dow for the first time since the wedding.  Dow has been a really amazing friend to Chris, and me, for years and years.  He works in Chicago now as an engineer so we don’t get to see him very much.  We went to Atlanta to pick him up from the airport on the way to the wedding of Greg Saunders, one of Chris’ roommates during his years at Auburn, and his (then) fiancee (now, wife) Larke .  The wedding was so beautiful and intimate, and the food was delicious! The wedding was in Highlands, NC…neither of us had ever been there, but I would be very interested in returning for a long weekend.  I usually prefer the beach to the mountains, but it’s fun to mix it up and do a little of everything…next time we are planning a weekend trip, I definitely think North Carolina will be a candidate.

At the W hotel in downtown Atlanta catching up with Dow


The wedding was so pretty and cozy! They got married in front of this fireplace.  There were candles and greenery all over the room. It was beautiful!

The reception had the best buffet ever! It was also decorated with lots of greenery and candlelight.  Very pretty.  My favorite part: either the hot chocolate bar (3 kinds of hot chocolate...like 10 toppings...can't go wrong), or the pound cake favors that were made with the bride's grandmother's recipe. 


The bride and groom joined the younger guests at a local pub after the reception (I knew we weren't the only couple who wanted to continue celebrating after our reception was over!) Greg met Larke in college at Auburn, but she grew up in North Carolina.  Later, we found out that her mom actually worked with Tammy at Gayfers while they were in college.  Is it a small world, or what? Now, they are in St. Lucia honeymooning, then moving to Houston.  Chris and I really enjoyed catching up with a whole bunch of his old high school classmates during and after the reception.


 On the way back, we got to make a special stop to have lunch at Longhorn with Chris’ grandparents (Tammy’s parents, Bob and Lavada). It just so happened that our route from Highlands to Atlanta (to take Dow back) took us right through their neck of the woods.  I could kick myself for not taking a picture. Lunch was great, though, and as always, it was wonderful to visit with family.

Things have been a little hectic for me since we got back after 9pm on Sunday.  I had to pack for a whole week of being gone, since I left yesterday morning to work in Birmingham until Wednesday.  Then we are leaving from here to go home to Auburn on Wednesday night.  Chris and I both faced some changes to our jobs this week…Chris got “fired” from part of his job for doing too good of a job (according to the guy in charge, he was doing a lot of the work that other people were supposed to be doing…so basically, he was told to work less.  He’s not complaining!) Obviously, “fired” isn’t the correct word to use, but we think it’s funny to say it that way. I was told last week that my travels to Birmingham are likely to increase vastly, and that I could be spending up to 40% of my working time here.  I enjoy my actual work day better here in Birmingham, and naturally I prefer the setting since I have always preferred larger cities.  However, I am discouraged that this could mean less flexibility and less time with Chris and Mason.  I am going to have to give it a chance, though.  I know that once Chris starts pilot training in less than two months, our days of watching TV for hours every night and traveling every weekend will be long gone.  Chris will probably need me out of his hair so he can focus on his studies. (Trying to see the glass half full, here).  And I’ve already got elite status with my Marriott points, so maybe once it’s all said and done, we will have some free nights we can spend somewhere cool.  My hotel here is super nice and huge….kitchen, living area, giant TV (and the hotel does your grocery shopping for you if you want).   When Chris is gone for 4-6 weeks in January, I might just stay up here full-time with Mason since the hotel allows pets.  That way I will be closer to Auburn and Atlanta, so weekend trips would be more convenient, too.  I am speaking too far ahead, because who knows how all this will actually turn out, I’ve just been thinking a lot about it since I was told about the change.

We had to board Mason this weekend while we went to the wedding…it makes me sad to board him, even though I know he is in good hands.  What REALLY made me sad is that the boarder doesn’t allow pickups on Sunday (EVERYONE is closed on Sunday in Columbus), so he had to be picked up Monday after I left for Birmingham.  So I haven’t seen my little baby in 5 days! Chris said that when he picked Mason up, that he was so excited to see him.  I tried to talk to Mason last night on FaceTime (the program Chris and I use to video chat on our iPhones), but the iPhone scared him.  Chris sent me this picture of Mason, which made me laugh so hard because it is just amazing how crazy long his tongue is! That is literally just half of how long it is.  He doesn’t let it hang out very often, which is a good thing, because I think he would probably step on it. 


I guess I am looking forward to the game on Saturday (THE game that is, the Iron Bowl), but only because I’ve already kind of prepared myself for the worst…so I figure, I will be either pleasantly surprised, or just not surprised at all, but I doubt it will be any worse than what I have prepared myself for.  I know it sounds bad that I’m not sitting here saying that I just “know” we will pull off the upset, but we all deal with the emotional roller coaster that is football season in our own way, and mine is to always expect the worst but hope for the best.  Every time I stray from that strategy, I wind up ruining my Saturday by being let down, so I’m just going to play it safe :)  Mostly, we are just excited about seeing our families and having a long weekend.  I, for one, am also looking forward to some much-needed girlfriend time that I have planned for Friday night.  We are leaving early on Sunday so that we can get home and spend the afternoon decorating our first Christmas tree…I’m so excited! I am going to get the whole house done next week and I can’t wait.  Pictures to come! Check back next week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feeling Adventerous...and a little crafty!

Okay, so once again it has been a while since I blogged...almost two weeks.  This is because I was kind of waiting to have enough things to put in the blog to make it worthwhile.  The last two weeks have been a little more uneventful, which has turned out to be a good thing for us to relax a little and get our house back into order.  Two weekends ago, we went to Fairhope for the wedding of my old coworker, from my Clothes Rack days, Kristi Reid. In the interest of slowing down the hustle and bustle of our traveling every weekend for a month, we decided to go to Fairhope the morning of the wedding and return the next day.  We wound up regretting our decision, because we did not realize that Fairhope was just a 3.5 hour drive away (closer than Auburn) and that it would be such a cute, fun town.  I am still glad that, by not leaving until Saturday, we were able to attend an assignment night that Friday night, where we got to see a class of pilots get assigned their planes and bases.  People were stationed in planes everywhere from Japan to England to Charleston to another 3 years at Columbus.  Some guys were happy, some not so happy.  I hope we are part of the "happy" group when we finally make it to Chris' assignment night, which is well over a year away.  However, I feel confident that we will make the best out of any situation.  I feel that we both have proven to ourselves that we can adjust well to a new situation and...maybe, even enjoy the adjustment!

As a testament to our love of trying new things, we went out two Fridays ago to a nice restaurant in Columbus (The. nice restaurant.  The only one haha), called J. Broussards and decided to try some escargot.  It was great! What's not to like about anything covered in garlicy butter? My family has always been avid lovers of raw oysters, which is honestly what they reminded me of...I would recommend giving them a shot if you ever get the chance!



We found a cabin to stay at in Fairhope at the amazing price of just $68 with Chris' military discount...we were walking distance from the Mobile bay and downtown Fairhope...and best of all, we were able to bring Mason! Saturday, after making it to Fairhope earlier than expected and enjoying a great lunch at the cutest Italian restaurant downtown, we went to Kristi's wedding.  I love weddings, and we had a great time...it was so wonderful to see some of my Clothes Rack girls! I have always been really close to my coworkers and I miss them all the time.  Here is a picture of us at the wedding:

This week, I finally got a chance to look at my wedding pictures, which I have had on a C.D. for over a month now.  Just for fun, here is another wedding picture of me and my Clothes Rack family...



And even that's not everyone, but it's a pretty good representation.  That job, and all the people I became close to while doing it, really meant a lot to me over the years...I get kind of sad when I think about how I don't work there anymore, so moving on!

On Sunday, after the wedding, I walked down to the bay with Mason and let him have his first experience with the "beach".  He had an absolute ball!  He jumped around in the sand and looked like such a little spaz.   And he kept picking up the nastiest things to chew on them.  But he's a dog, so he loved it.  The funniest part was trying to get him to go into the water...Mason's doesn't really love getting wet.  Chris finally was able to get him to go in by throwing a stick out there, and he finally (reluctantly) went in.  I'm glad Mason likes the beach, because I sure would like to move there one day!




 Okay, I couldn't help myself, I had to take a video of Mason's first beach adventure.  If you can bear to listen to how awful my voice sounds (I hate hearing it...I mean do I REALLY sound like that?) take a look and see how much fun he had.(Tip: If you click the icon in the bottom right corner, it will make it a full screen.)

video


We got to have lunch with Gayle (my old Clothes Rack boss) and her husband, Clint, before heading home. We walked around in the park a bit and Mason met another Pomeranian who had so many of the same mannerisms as he does. It was interesting and funny.

Some of you who read this may remember a month or so ago when I said there may be some changes coming about in my job.  As most of you knew, I was making a 45-minute commute to Starkville, MS, daily which was very tiring and took up a lot of my free time.  With recent changes at the bank, which includes a merger with Superior Bank, our corporate headquarters moved from Starkville, where I worked, to Birmingham.  As part of the credit administration, the work I do has also moved.  However, instead of moving to Birmingham (which would not have worked for me), the bank has allowed me to instead move my office to Columbus.  Since I'm not going to be working at the corporate headquarters with everyone else anyway, it doesn't make sense for me to drive all the way to Starkville when I can work here in town.  So I'm really excited to be in a bigger office, with some natural light, and close enough to drive home for lunch! Here's a picture of my new digs:

Yeah, I've got a lot of empty space in here...but I think there will be a file cabinet and maybe a bookcase moving in here soon.  The location is so nice.  Downtown Columbus is much more centrally located than downtown Starkville, so it's easy to run quick errands if necessary, and also near a lot of good places to pick up lunch.

Last week, I was pretty devoted to the task of FINALLY choosing wedding pictures for the album.  We have had our C.D. of photos for a month now, but it's just hard to find time to sort through almost 800 pictures when traveling every weekend.  What makes it even harder is wanting 700 pictures for the album, but only being able to choose 100.  We have asked the photographer if we can have 125 pictures in the album, and are still waiting back on a price.  I hope it is affordable, because I don't know how I will narrow it down another 25! Here are some of my favorite pictures of Chris and myself...I can't even begin to post all of our favorites, but if you want to see them, they are still on the photographer's website (http://www.infinity-photographers.com/) and on my Facebook. For the record, I would recommend my photographer to anyone and everyone planning a wedding, because my pictures were fantastic and I got everything from the posed pictures, which of course you want so you can remember what everyone looked like 20 years from now, to the more artsy, modern kind that "tell a story"...which I am more inclined to like.  Also, I don't like pictures that are TOO artsy and don't show anything important...a lot of photographers do that these days, I can't figure out why.  They didn't take any pointless pictures, so I was more than pleased!


This is actually one of my bridal portraits...I had them done in April (or was it May?), right before it got too hot.  It is my favorite because it shows the bottom of my shoes, which were hot pink.  The day of the wedding, I lost these shoes, and was devastated because it was hours before pictures began and I knew I would never find another pair.  I went to the mall because I had to find some wedding shoes, and actually did find another pair with hot pink soles (the whole shoes weren't hot pink...they were ivory.  Only the bottoms were pink). They were on sale, so I bought them, but I never liked them as much as the original ones I had.  It was the only time I cried on my wedding day! Anyway, the show had to go on, shoes or no shoes...and I wound up finding the original shoes in a box when we were unpacking in Columbus.  I gave them to my sister, because they would never be good for anything other than a wedding...so hopefully one day she will marry someone at least 4.5 inches taller than her because that's how tall they are! And if anyone out there needs a beautiful pair of wedding shoes in size 8 in the near future, let me know because I have a pair that I hate to see go to waste!






This picture and the two above were made between the ceremony and reception at Samford Hall on Auburn's campus. We had a lot of great ones made out there. 

Leaving the reception...the sparklers were the PERFECT send-off for photos!

This is the picture we are putting in the paper.  If anyone wonders why our wedding hasn't been announced in the paper yet, just know it's MY fault, not my mom's! She has been on me for 2 or 3 months about choosing my picture for the wedding.  I know it sounds bad, but choosing one picture amongst the 800 was a daunting task, and I admit I procrastinated, until last week when I finally told her this was the one I wanted.  I don't really know why I chose it over others...I guess because we look good in it, you can see my dress, and I thought it would crop to a small enough size for the picture than some of the ones of us standing up.
Whew, I am SO glad to have all that done with! All the wedding pictures reminded me of a little art project I had planned, so this weekend, which was a long one thanks to Veterans Day, I finally got around to making a shadow-box with some of our wedding mementos.  I was going to have a lot of this preserved along with my bouquet, but to be honest, by the time the wedding finally rolled around, I remembered about purchasing a bouquet preserving kit at the last minute...and, well...I just couldn't handle one more thing to plan, ask someone to help with, wait for a box and read through directions (not to mention pay for)..it doesn't sound like that big of a deal now, but trust me, 2 weeks before the wedding (which was when I finally thought of it) EVERYTHING is a big deal.  My mom still has my bouquet, so when I go home I will probably take a dried flower from it, along with the monogrammed ribbon I had tied around it, and add it in.  But I'm pretty proud of it! It contains our program, invitation and reply card, a napkin, the matches we gave out as favors ("A Match Made in Heaven"), our Save-the-Date, bridesmaid dress swatch, and cake topper.

Being a "shadow box" it was kind of hard to take a good picture that wasn't..well, in the shadows!


I'm so happy about how it turned out, that I think I will make others for our engagement that will include all the pretty invitations people made our parties, as well as some other mementos I saved, and one for our honeymoon, too.  I don't know if I have room to hang all that at the second, but they will be nice to have and I figure we eventually will.  Besides, if I don't do it now, I will probably forget later down the road.

I was feeling so crafty after completing that, that I also made a Christmas wreath.  I had bought the supplies a while back, but was waiting for a relaxing weekend to do it.  I'm pretty happy with it!


I guess all this craftiness inspired me to go one step further and use the wine glass painting kit my parents got me a few years back for Christmas to make a Thanksgiving wine glass, since I don't have one and couldn't find one anywhere.  I kind of collect different glasses for holidays/events/vacations/etc, but didn't have a Thanksgiving one...and of course I need one, given the big feast coming up! Here is the one I made.  I might add more later, but I'm pretty satisfied with it for now.

Okay, in the picture, he kind of looks like a bad cartoon.  But I promise, in real life, I actually think he looks pretty good! I blended a bunch of different colors together for his feathers, and I really am excited about it!


Chris must have been feeling adventurous this weekend, as well...funny how a 3-day weekend has that effect on you! Thursday afternoon he bought us an X-Box Kinect and we spent the whole weekend playing games on it.  Those who know me know that I despise video games, and I don't even have a single game on my phone, which most people find odd.  I just don't like to sit in one place and play games, I'd rather be up doing things. I guess that's why a Kinect is perfect.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, a Kinect doesn't require a controller.  You clear out a space in front of your TV, and the Kinect detects your movements.  We played golf, football, and tennis (you go through the motions of swinging, catching the ball, etc, and the video game detects your movements to score you).  Also, we have this great dancing game where you get scored on how well you match the moves of the dancers on the screen.  We also got a fitness game, which has a personal trainer and various classes to do.  Chris was actually sore after doing it on Saturday.  The technology is pretty amazing....it can estimate your heigh and weight, and even recognize who you are when you stand in front of it.  For those who have heard of a Wii, it's kind of like that, but you don't have to hold on to anything.  Pretty fun.

Chris and Jon started their second batch of beer last night, and flavored it with some cinnamon and nutmeg.  They  have never flavored their beer before, so it should be interesting to see how it turns out.  Check out how huge Dubs has gotten...can you believe he was the size of Mason when they brought him home in August!

Dubs looks like he is about to eat Mason in this picture...no worries! We monitor their play time carefully! :)
Poor Dubs...he went to Mason's lair and tried to lay on his bed, but he's waaaay too big!
Flashback...this was Dubs 2 1/2 months ago...
Right.  He's grown exponentially.

Well, I don't have much more to share this week.  This weekend we are headed to North Carolina for Chris' old roommate's wedding.  I am looking forward to being on the road again after having some time to catch up at home.  We are looking foward to catching up with some of his old friends, including Dow, who we will be meeting up with on Friday night on the way to the wedding. 

On Wednesday we are hosting a "Thanksgiving Feast" for a group of people, and I'm so excited to do a little entertaining! I've already started cooking and I can't wait to post some pictures next week. Tomorrow there is a spouse "Trivia Night" social.  Also, Chris and I joined a local gym today.  It is actually really nice and we already visited it once we got off work.  So I guess you could stay we are staying busy this week! Wow, doing this blog after 2 weeks reminds me that I can come up with stuff to talk about whether or not the week has seemed eventful...I mean, it is me we are talking about here.  I should probably go back to my weekly posts so that these aren't so dang long.  I mean how many people ACTUALLY even make it to the end of this...probably a little too lengthy for most!

xoxo,

The Becks

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween and War Eagle!

I am a little late writing my blog this week, but I wanted to be sure that I had some pictures to share of my Thanksgiving decorations.  They are not a finished product...I still have some areas I would like to "do up" a little more...but I may or may not be able to accomplish this since NO stores around are selling any Thanksgiving/harvest decorations! They have all skipped straight to Christmas.  This weekend we are headed to a wedding in Fairhope (my old coworker, Kristi's, wedding) and so maybe we will get a chance to stop by the magnificent Hobby Lobby when we are there.  I'm sure they will have some stuff.
My Thanksgiving table...still looking for some turkey/fall looking napkin holders...if anyone runs across any, let me know! :)

I'm also looking for something to go where that little wagon on the left is that "goes" more with everything else...finding harvest decorations is so hard now that all the Christmas stuff is out! I will have to keep that in mind next year.


My mom made those pilgrims a lonng time ago! A lot of my Thanksgiving decorations are hand-me-downs, but I kind of think that's neat.

This turkey is probably my favorite Thanksgiving decoration.  I don't know why, I just...like him.



Also wanting to do some work on my little shelf to make it pop a little more.  I have my eye out for something noticeable that is skinny enough to fit up there. I miss the deep, 4' shelf I had at my apartment! It was so great for decorating!
I am hoping/planning to host a Thanksgiving feast this year for some other couples, I just want to find a night that I can find enough people to come to make cooking that much worthwhile.  I LOVED throwing my Thanksgiving feast every year with my roommates in college...I always looked forward to it.  I have all these pretty Thanksgiving serving pieces I want to use, plus I don't think you can beat a southern Thanksgiving, what with all the casseroles and hospitality.  I am looking forward to coming home for Thanksgiving so much, but it just won't be the same if I don't get to do a little hostessing of my own.

Last weekend was really fun because Chris had two friends from the Academy, Scott and Ed, into town to go to the football game with us in Auburn.  We won the game, and had a really fun weekend.  I also enjoyed getting to see one of my best friends, Hannah, who I have only seen twice now since the wedding.  She is a teacher in Dothan, so I don't get to see her as much as I do some of my friends who are still in Auburn.  I kind of miss the days when I could just hang out with my friends and not constantly be "doing" something...it seems like every time I see them it is a complete whirlwind and usually a lot of things are going on.  But believe me, I'm thankful for every opportunity and I know there will be some better opportunities for truly catching up once the excitement of football season is over.
Hanging out at Warren's apartment Friday night.

Chris, Scott, and Ed in front of Jordan-Hare before the game

Long, long after the game at Little Italy (pizza place) with Sara and Aaron

Chris and I got quite the kick out of the fact that his friend Ed and my sister Jessica are both left handed gingers (i.e. redheads)

Couples pic with my sis and her boyfriend, Jason

Me with the guys at the game

This Monday was Halloween, and Mason got to wear not just one, but two costumes! I guess he just has too much cuteness to fit into just one :) Tammy gave him his Halloween present on Sunday when we had lunch with her, which was a toy just for him to play with when we go to her house, and the most adorable bee costume you have ever seen! I was actually a bee for Halloween once when I was little, so I guess it runs in the family.  I was also abnormally hyper and remember getting in trouble for "stinging" people after they gave me candy.  But anyways.... Here Mason is as a bee...
The cutest part, if you can see it, is the little stinger on the back! But Mason is so good, he would never sting anyone :)


 And here is is opening his other Halloween gift, the cutest little toy! I am going to have to buy him one like it.  I saw a bunch at T.J. Maxx today that were Christmas themed, so I was thinking of getting him one for his stocking.



For Halloween, I bought myself, Chris, and Mason all coordinating outfits so that we could hand out candy "in style".  I was super excited because I have never had trick or treaters before, and as we know I thoroughly enjoy holiday traditions.  So I dressed Mason in his bee costume for the first of the night (it didn't match the theme, but he just looked too cute "flying" around with the little wings on his back) and then changed him into his costume that matched our old western theme.  Chris wore a plaid shirt and a cowboy hat.  I also bought him a toy gun.  He's not much for dressing up, but I think once he tried on the hat and the gun, he decided it might be worthwhile to have one costume that he was willing to wear, so I think in the future we are going to add onto it.  We need to add some boots, for sure, and maybe one of those leather jackets with the long tassels that hang off.  I was an indian (get it, cowboys and indians?) and Mason was a bull with a bull rider on top.  Here he is...





Unfortunately, we only had like five trick-or-treaters.  Apparently they all go to the "nice" neighborhood on base (where they have big yards and screen in porches...a lot of Academy grads don't get them because they all show up at once, so there is usually a wait list).  I don't know why, because I'm sure the candy I bought was just as good! I am thinking Mason probably preferred his bee costume, but I was thinking if we really wanted to go all out next year (maybe we would actually have a Halloween party to go to, or at least I will know enough people to throw one myself), we could get Chris a bee keeper costume and I could be a flower.  Or honey.   I'm all about themes....

The rest of this week has been pretty uneventful.  I have done some cooking, and want anyone who ever bought me a cookbook for the wedding or anything else to know that I use it! I have used all the cookbooks I've gotten...I cook at least half, if not every night of the week, and I usually try to pick recipes from a couple of different cookbooks each week.  It's fun trying new things! And with my couponing/stockpiling, I usually only have to buy a few "extra" ingredients.


I was pretty excited this week because I got my official letter from the Alabama AICPA that began with "Congratulations...You are now a Certified Public Accountant!"  I changed my exam credits from Georgia to Alabama because the AICPA dues are cheaper and my current job experience should count towards the two years I need to be a "real" CPA but seeing it in print they way they mailed it (the address said "Mrs. Amanda Wilson Beck, CPA") made me feel very accomplished and glad that the part of my life that I spent studying for those exams is OVER!

This weekend at the wedding I am looking forward to seeing my old Clothes Rack coworkers...I miss them soooo much! This is the first wedding I'm going to since our own, so I'm sure it will bring back lots of memories...and I will probably be very glad to be just a spectator in this one! That way I can go have all the fun without having to deal with any of the stress!

Xoxo,

The Becks

P.S.A cool feature I noticed about this blog website, which may or may not interest some of you, is that if you click on the picture, it goes into a slideshow of bigger pictures where you can flip through all the ones I posted.  Some of them are kind of distant, so that might help if it's too hard to see, for example, all the lovely turkeys in our house :)