Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Us!

I can't believe I have neglected to do any blogging in almost three weeks! Actually...yes I can.  There has been a lot going on in the past three weeks.  I finished my job at Cadence and started at Alabama.  We took a trip to Auburn, a trip to Memphis, and had our first anniversary! Chris passed his formation check ride and is finally off of formal release.  And Mason is in the running for the 2013 Lee County Humane Society calendar! That is the short synopsis of what has been happening with us.  Read on if you want the long version!

Before getting into the events I just want to ask you that if you read this blog...pReTtY PLeAsE go vote for Mason in the Lee County Humane Society calendar contest!! He will be so excited if he wins one of the 13 picture spots and so will we! :)  Votes are $1 each...and they go to a great cause! All you animal lovers out there, I know you would love to make a few tax-deductible donations... here is the site...

Your support is very much appreciated! I decided on the picture to submit by the feedback from the blog... Mason is #48!

Let's see, where to begin? I guess I will just go in chronological order. Here are a couple of pictures from the weekend of June 23.

With Jon and Autumn at Bin 612, a restaurant in Starkville.  Thanks a lot, Chris, for messing up the picture!

Serious pilots

With Nancy in our floppy hats at the pool

We made lime + mint sherbert in our ice cream machine.  It was delish!

My last week of working at Cadence was pretty easy and uneventful.  I finished on Friday, June 29. June 30 was the big birthday party in Auburn to celebrate Chris, Sr's 60th and Aunt Bette's 90th birthdays.  We had such a blast at the party visiting with family! It was very kind of Tammy to organize it, and everyone had fun.
With Warren

With my parents

Ladies picture!
Guys picture...missing Chris Sr. and Warren, though!

Sunday, I cooked lunch for my family to celebrate Father's Day with my dad. I made green beans with cherry tomatoes, Boursin potatoes, and chicken with sour cream sauce.  Mostly Paula Deen recipes...Daddy always likes those!

Monday, it was time to report for duty in Tuscaloosa! I got my office...okay, no more office for me! I now have a cubicle in a room shared with other Ph.D. students.  It's nice not to be so isolated! I made some copies and basically just gathered a bunch of materials for class starting Thursday.  

Tuesday and Wednesday, I stayed in Columbus.  Wednesday, of course, was the Fourth of July.  One of my old coworkers from Cadence invited us to his sister-in-law and brother's cookout at the pool at his grandmother's house, which is one of Columbus' historic antebellum homes.  We were so excited about the opportunity to make some new friends! We had such a great time.  Many of the people there were Auburn grads.  They were all our age, but none of them are in the military...  it's great to "mix it up" sometimes. I definitely plan on giving some of the girls I met a call whenever we spend another weekend in Columbus.  It would be fun to get together with any of those couples again. I brought a's called "Twinkie Delight", but don't let the common sounding name fool you into thinking it's not delicious! Even though the recipe just called for strawberries, I decided to be more patriotic: 

Thursday was the big day! My first day teaching.  I am teaching senior auditing.  I was pretty nervous, but it turns out there was nothing to be nervous about.  Obviously I know everything I need to know to be able to teach a class of that level, but I was still nervous that something would go wrong. Luckily it did not! I think my students like me, and I like them.  The class is only a month since it is a summer "mini-mester".  It's already 1/4 of the way through, and the first test is Friday. 

Here is the building where I will be residing for the next 4-5 years! Actually, my office is in a building next door, but it's not much to look at. This is the building where all the non-Ph.D. student's offices are, as well as our accounting office.  For those who are familiar with Auburn, it's amazing to me how similar Alabama's business building looks to Lowder! Like if you took away Lowder's gold dome and added columns and stairs to the front, this is what it would look like.

Over the weekend, we took a little anniversary trip to Memphis.  This trip was very spur-of-the-moment.  I made our reservations online the Monday night beforehand via Travelocity's "Top Secret Hotel", where you book a hotel knowing only the price, number of "stars" it has, and general location.  I've had really good experiences using both this and Priceline negotiator, so we tried it in Memphis and wound up staying in the Crowne Plaza in downtown Memphis for less than $100 a night.  It was the most satisfied I have been with a hotel in a while, so that part was really enjoyable! We enjoyed our visit, although...due, partly, to lack of planning...we kind of got there and didn't really know what to do! So we enjoyed a relaxing weekend consisting of eating at a couple of nice restaurants and visiting Ghost River Brewing Company.  

The highlight of the trip was probably our dinner at a restaurant called Flight on Saturday night.  What a fantastic experience! Everything on the menu (almost) is served in "flights" of 3.  We didn't choose a flight appetizer (although they had them, we got the charcuterie), but we got a flight of salads/soup consisting of a watermelon and feta salad, a green salad with candied pecans, and an incredible lobster bisque.  We ordered two flights of white wines to complement our appetizer and salads.  The flights came with a piece of paper describing the wine and were expertly matched to be great for tasting one after the other.  Actually, this restaurant boasted one of the top 50 wine lists in the country. Anyway, we ordered an extra portion for our flight of entrees, and wound up with four, which we split between us.  Everything was SO delicious! Of course, we ordered two flights of red wines with our entrees, and compared notes on which ones we each liked the best and least.  We couldn't resist ourselves, and wound up ordering a flight of desserts too, and dessert wines! (Don't worry, the hotel had a shuttle to drive us back! haha).  Moral of the not leave Memphis without visiting this restaurant, even if it's just for a flight of wine and appetizers!!

Hanging out downtown

At Ghost River Brewing Company

Waiting on our appetizer at Flight

My flight of whites
We were going to go see Graceland but the tickets were $30 a pop! Maybe next time...

Monday...July 9, our anniversary! Can you believe it's been a year? We sure had a hard time believing it.  But when we look back, it's hard to believe we squeezed so much into a year! It's been a wonderful year.  It started with the best wedding and honeymoon either of us could ever have dreamed of.  And I'm sure it's only the beginning of many years of happiness.  

For our anniversary, I made a meal out of the Bride and Groom cookbook given to us by Nancileigh and Matt not long after we got engaged. It has a lot of fancier recipes in it, and I found the perfect ones for an anniversary.  We used many of our wedding gifts. We also ate the top tier of our cake, which has been frozen all year! It was still delicious! We watched our wedding video...both of us teared up a little... and we looked through our wedding album, which we received just days earlier, for the first time.  It was a wonderful anniversary! Here are some pictures:
Appetizer...roasted heads of garlic, goat cheese garnished with parsley, and smoked salmon.

Blackberry champagne spritzers garnished with raspberries.  The silver tray was given to Chris' grandfather on his 25th anniversary with Carolyn Beck, by Chris' parents (Tammy and Chris Sr.).  The champagne glasses are the same ones we used for toasting at our wedding!

The table set for our anniversary, with our sterling silverware given to us by Aunt Bette.

Filets mignon in a creamy sauce.

Cherry tomatoes gratin

Couscous with leeks

Our candlelit dinner! The wine came from our Nashville trip last October...we bought it from Arrington vineyards especially for our anniversary! It was GREAT.

Cutting our wedding cake! I paid a lot more attention to how it tasted the second time around, and it was really good...even after having been frozen for a year!

 Chris has been up to the usual in pilot training.  He is currently learning about instruments, so besides his night-flying week a couple of weeks ago, he also wears a vision restricting hood while flying so that he has to rely on his instruments instead of looking out the window to fly the plane.  During night flying week (my last week of working at Cadence), I barely saw him because he went in from about 11am-10pm or so.  He passed his formations check ride.  He will have his instruments check ride in a few weeks. Today he finally got off of formal release! This means that he is no longer required to stay at work for 12 hours! He will eventually have to go back to formal release once he begins either T-1's or T-38's.  But, for now, it will certainly be nice to spend more time together as my days are much shorter (about 8-2:30) and his will be, too! 

He is getting ready for what is called a cross-country flight in the next couple of weeks, where he will fly all weekend to several different airports.  He is responsible to plan the route.  He hopes to do some touch-and-goes in Auburn.  He also had some other stops planned, but we will wait to share those until we know whether they will be possible.  The runways/airports have to be approved to land the T-6s...of course, there are other considerations, such as air traffic and the condition of the runway, etc. 

I am starting a cookbook club that I am really excited about! A few other couples have decided to join.  I chose the first cookbook, which is called "A New Turn in the South".  This is how it works...the hostess (I will be first) chooses a cookbook she is unfamiliar with and makes an entree out of the cookbook, exactly to the recipe.  No modifications, because we want to test how good the cookbook really is.  Then, the cookbook is passed around to the other couples, who are all assigned a course/side item to make out of the cookbook.  Then we have a dinner party at the hostess's house...the next month we will rotate it to another house and another cookbook! The first one is going to be July 28.  I am looking forward to doing some entertaining, as well as hopefully trying out some fun new recipes and getting to know some other couples!

ALRIGHT! don't think I missed anything as far as our activities over the last few weeks! Here are a couple more pictures...

I wish I had a bathroom where this toilet seat that we saw in Memphis would be appropriate!

Next to the Pet Nanny, where Mason stayed while we were in Memphis, there was a corn field.  We thought it would be funny to have him fetch his ball in it.

We started out our first year of marriage by purchasing a car and ended it by purchasing a condo.  I guess we will probably go a little smaller-scale this year...but we decided to start the second year of marriage by becoming proud bicycle owners! Aren't they lovely? I'm training for a triathlon that's next month, so I will be taking mine for a spin bright and early tomorrow morning!

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