Saturday, November 28, 2009

Family Moment of the Day

B: Lloyd, it's B. A's had a bit of a run-in with a chair and is thinking that she may have broken her toe.

Lloyd: Well, the first thing to do is get a good lawyer, and she's got that so she's off to a good start.

B: Let me guess, second would be checking the max on the homeowner's insurance policy?

Lloyd: That sounds right to me.

The men in my life are wonderful. :)

Thanksgiving 2009

I almost hate taking time out to write during a holiday. Seems like, instead, you should be tied down someplace, sucked in by the distinctly fall combination of football mania and turkey coma. But write I will, because oh what a Thanksgiving it's been.

Wednesday got off to a great start with a lot of baking, cooking, chopping, and mixing in NC with my sister, Mom, and the nieces. B came over around lunch and we headed out for ATL (rightfully) anticipating a surge of pre-holiday traffic. We got in in time to enjoy a homemade pizza dinner and some great company before gearing up for the next day's feasting.

It was fun coming back to ATL. B's Mom had found my wedding jewelry (oops) and B's grandpa had landed three boxes of my favorite pumpkin bread mix (yea!). All in all, a great start!

The great start hit a hiccup just as B's Dad started carving the turkey. Clumsy as I am, I do this kind of thing all the time. Turkey 09's disaster? Running into a chair leg with my toe. I'm not saying it's broken, but I am saying it's hard to walk on and points waaay too far "west" for a left-foot toe to do normally. Good thing I know a great orthopedist!

I cried, mostly because I was scared (I've done this before) and embarrassed (really? 20 minutes before dinner?), but also because, well, it hurts, for one. Other reasons? I can't wear shoes (except for B's sneaker). I have to go to the Birmingham office this week for "the big talk" and now I'm going to end up hobbling in wearing jeans and (mismatched) sneakers. But also, and perhaps the biggest reason, was that I couldn't call Dad.

Normally when I do something stupid (physically, at least), Dad would be my first call. He'd tell me I was fine and to go see a doctor on Monday for an x-ray. (All of which I'm doing, by the way.) But it was still hard not to be able to call him. So I cried for my toe and for my heart. Overall, it was probably a good thing; I got the tears out that needed to escape anyway.

I was teary before, during (oy vey), and after dinner, but B's family is fabulous; they know and "get it" and all of that. If I wasn't with my family this year for Thanksgiving, there's no place I'd have rather been than here.

So we've iced, elevated, and rested my poor foot and locked down a Monday morning visit to my fabulous orthopedist, my big brother Lloyd (with a second opinion coming in from Minnesota should we need it, I'm sure). Other than that, there's not much to be done! B's been wonderful, making me feel better about all sides of the pain and even knowing enough to ask if it was foot pain or heart pain. What would I do without him? Probably cry a lot more in my stuffing!

I'll update more on Toe-gate 2009 after my Monday appointment. I'm hoping it's just badly bruised or something like that, but it could be broken, with a worse-case scenario being that I need a pin. Prayers, please!

Monday, November 23, 2009

THAT's What Seat Belts Are For...

Yesterday, to kick off the holiday week, I asked (begged, really) to go grocery shopping with my sister and her two girls (ages 3 and 1, if you've forgotten). Let's just say, I have a lot to learn.

They picked me up just as it started to rain. "This complicates things," said K. "Normally we park near the carts, but all the carts will be wet, so we're going to park closest to the door." We dashed into our first stop (Sam's), where we found a mostly-dry cart, played with the flap wall that lets the carts in, and finally loaded up to begin the shopping. Sam's was uneventful, mostly because they had the best samples ever that day: cookies, brownies, and croissants. YUM! We did have a number of requests for blueberries and a few reminders to Mom to get more orange juice, but all-in-all, we made it through without a hitch.

We loaded up to head to our next stop, Kroger, and K warned me that this one might be tougher. We were getting things not normally on a shopping list (onion strings, anyone?), which would make the trip longer and more complicated. Plus, dinner time was looming.

To be honest, I wish I'd live-blogged this adventure. We got in the door to find there was one car shopping cart left, thank goodness. Otherwise, you've got two little kids with only one spot in the shopping cart. K buckled them in the two-seater car at the front of the cart and announced that one of the seat belts was broken. "Hm," I thought. "The cart seems pretty safe; I'm sure she'll be fine." ROOKIE MOVE! Note to self: Seat belts in carts just aren't for keeping little people safe, but also for keeping little people in.

Before we'd gotten through the produce section (imagine debating scallions and chives while explaining that you can't have the knee-high (or eye level for them) pile of candy because it's Christmas candy and not Thanksgiving candy), Sienna had busted out of the car twice. Each time, we found her standing beside it holding something. We moved her to the side that had the buckle and, minutes later, my sister called me over. There stood Sienna, outside the car, holding a package of feta cheese. Knowing she was busted, she held up her little one-year-old finger and said, "I'll be right back. I need to get something."

In case you're keeping count, we're currently at...
20 minutes in the store
5 items in the cart
3 times Sienna has escaped
1 bananas eaten

I watched her a little more closely and noticed that she never unbuckled the belt, but rather flipped her tiny self over and shimmied out of the belt, onto the dashboard until she was free, then out the door. "Houdini," my sister labeled her.

We made it through the store in about 40 minutes (and two more escapes) and managed to get nearly everything on the list including a 24 lb turkey, squash, baking potatoes, sweet potatoes, frozen yogurt, oatmeal, turkey oven bags, stuffing, and cranberry sauce in a can. The one uninvited purchase? One of those pickles in a bag. Still no idea how that got in the cart, through the checker, and into the bag!

I got home, had dinner with B, and crashed. How do you parents out there do it? I'm in awe. I wish I could send you all massages for Thanksgiving!

Just the Facts

There are two facts I'd like to share with you. I leave it to you to decide if there is correlation or causation...

1) I went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner with my sister and two nieces (ages 3 and 1).

2) I went to bed at 9pm and woke up at 8:30.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dad Memory of the Day

Prepping for the holidays has been fun. B and I found ourselves in the store checking out the holiday candy sales and, right before my eyes, I find Christmas tree Peeps. Peeps! Dad LOVED Peeps. I remember calling him after Easter one year...

Me: Dad! Peeps are on sale, two-for-one. Do you want me to get you some?

Dad: Oh! That'd be great.

Me: How many would you like?

Dad: Is it the little packages or the big ones?

Me: The big ones.

Dad: I'll take 8. Put it on the mastercard.

Looking at those Peeps made me want to buy and eat a few in Dad's honor. One problem: I hate Peeps. They go against my natural anti-sweet tooth. They're sugar rolled in more sugar, literally one of the least appealing things ever.

When my Grandma died a few years ago, B and I celebrated her birthday by making her best recipes. Looking at those Peeps, I suggested to B that we keep up the tradition by making and enjoying a few of Dad's favorite eats.

I started my mental list and was shocked. Literally everything on the list makes my stomach turn:
Salads with no dressing
Unsweet tea
Pimiento cheese
Peanut Brittle
Ranch dip on vegetables
Tomato juice
Cottage cheese

...I could go on. The day of Dad's funeral, the family gathered in the back room to have one last visit with Dad and a little time together before facing the masses. We started talking about Dad's favorite things and decided that if we included anything with Dad, we'd end up looking like the craziest family ever.

You have to understand, Dad's favorite things were two-liters of Diet Mountain Dew, plastic Alabama game-day outfits, and an old red pullover that he loved and carried everywhere. We could've given him a gun (which he used to shoot snakes when they got too close to the house and to teach us kids how to respect them), but then we would've given him a gun. Seriously? His favorite hat was his wide-brimmed canvas hat. Unless it was game day, in which case it was his lucky Alabama hat. In the end, I think the only thing that made it in with him was the first gift I remember getting with him: a stuffed Dumbo that he gave me from the Polynesian hotel in Disney World.

I digress.

B & I are still at a loss as to how best to celebrate Dad when the time comes, but we sure did get a good laugh in the holiday baking section of the grocery store. I'm so thankful for B-- the man who can find me staring at a package of Christmas tree Peeps and understand. He actually offered to buy--and eat-- them, but I assured him the hug was enough.

Update: What a Week

This week has been nutty. I've gone back and forth between happy and excited (time with the girls, fun dinners and walks with B, writing fun stories for work), upset (finding out work is ending), and sad (six-month antiversary of Dad's death).

So this week, I'm going with high and lows, the roses and thorns of the past few days, if you will.

* Enjoying a pizza and bratwurst dinner with the nieces.
* Watching Ella's final three-year-old league soccer game (Medals today! Plus goldfish crackers...)
* Counting down the days until we can start cooking for the various Thanksgivings around here!
* Having B home during the days so we can work together.

* Getting word from work.
* Lots of rain.
* Realizing that it was the six-month anniversary of Dad's death.

It's been a long week, but an ok one. To quote a dear friend, "from this point forward," it's only getting better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

House Guests

This weekend, we had a couple of amazing house guests in town for the GA Tech/Duke game. So amazing! We had a blast and ate ourselves silly while we watched football and took a burger-induced group nap.

Reid and Jess, if we promise not to make you drink any more pink alcohol or eat any more apple dumplings, will you pretty please come back??

Six Month Anniversary Dinner

I love this guy. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Newlywed Moment of the Day

B: Are you blogging?

Me: How can you tell?

B: You type really fast when you blog...

Babysitting Moment of the Day

Ella (through the monitor): AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa

Me (going upstairs): Ella, what's wrong?

Ella: I want Mommy and Daddy.

Me: They'll be home soon and will give you a kiss goodnight, but you'll already be asleep. Don't forget to tell them about all the fun we had tonight.

Ella (eyes narrowing): You smell like gummies.

Me: Erummm, I did eat gummies.

Ella (eyes widening): Can I have some?

Me: If you go to sleep now, you can have some tomorrow.

It should be noted that this was my third trip upstairs. It was also my last. No word if she remembered the promise of gummies the next day...

Wonderful Wedding Gift

B and I received a wedding gift today, such a wonderful treat! It came at the same time as our Christmas cards, so it was a banner day for me and the UPS man.

It was really amazing. A friend of B's family sent a set of festive Christmas wine glasses, a snowman wine stopper, and a silver 2009 bell Christmas ornament for our tree. Her note, which was thoughtful and priceless, pulled it all together. If you're looking for a holiday-themed Christmas present, this is it:

"While this wedding gift is quite late, there is a reason for this. As I thought about honoring your union I reflected on special things and times in my marriage. While man, one that we cherished was decorating our Christmas tree. We would put on carols, open a bottle of wine, and then begin decorating.

"He would begin to string the lights and after the tip of the tree was done he would, knowing that I had my idea of "the right way to hang lights," ask what he could do to help.

"Once the lights were on, we would hang our 1st Christmas ornament. After it was hung and 'tinkled,' we would go back to the date 1986 and reflect on our 1st year of marriage and beyond. Then we would toast each other, family and the season with our holiday glasses.

"While we could get a new bell each year, we chose to get them for extra special years. Those that made us laugh, cry, reflect. Each year we revisit that particular year as the bell is hung and rung. The sleigh bell is not a tradition for me to commemorate special years for special people.

"Spring/Summer 2009 was a very special time for the two of you. Bittersweet as it was, may this bell ring this holiday season in honor of your marriage and in honor of a man, your father, who shared so much with you and had a twinkle (much like Santa's) in his eye as he walked his precious daughter down the aisle and presented her to the man he knew would love her as he does.

"Toast your union and the wonderful family who loves you. Thank you for including me in your special day."

Break my heart, her note made me laugh, cry, and smile all at once. Little did she know that her gift would mark yet another day in our marriage that came with a true, pure mixture of laughter and tears, and occasionally a blend of both. We did indeed break out her glasses tonight and toast ourselves. We did not, however, find a need for the wine stopper. Another day... :)

Newlywed Moment of the Day

Me: God is laughing.

B: What?

Me: You know how we just planned out our budget?

B: Yeah?

Me: Well maybe we should remove a line item, like my income.

B: Oh nooooo....

Some of you know that I've been working long-distance from my Bham based job for the past six months. I knew the situation could be temporary and that suspicion was confirmed today when they let me know that they did, in fact, need someone in house. So, as of mid-January, I'm officially on the loose.

(Note to our parents, who read this blog, please know that our budget is in fact fine! No need to send food packages just yet...)

"Losing" the job is sad for me. As of January, I will have been with my company for four years. One year as an intern, six months as a freelance fact checker/copy desk editor, and two-and-a-half years at my current spot in the company, spanning two positions there. Technically, I suppose, I'm leaving them, something I was prepared for in May, but now that it's here, it feels differently than I expected.

B's been wonderful. After the above exchange, he popped a bottle of wine open, poured a few glasses into a fun wedding set of glasses we got just today as a gift, ordered Indian food, and served it up on our "You Are Special Today" plate, "just in case you forget," he said.

And he's right, I am special today. And every day. And I'll be fine. On to the next adventure. Plus, I got two months notice, which is something I should certainly be thankful for, especially in today's economy.

My favorite friend comment so far: "There is a thin line between excitement and anxiety. I will pray that you will be excited for the new opportunities that God has in store for you."

So, dear readers, we'll see where this blog takes us. You, along with my friends, family, and, of course, B have been with me during this insane six-month roller-coaster. In the meantime, if you need a good recipe, I'm still your girl.

Special Cake

For those of you who know, B has a certain birthday cake that he has always loved. His Grandma (on his Dad's side) always made it and it has certainly stuck. It doesn't hurt that it's DELICIOUS! So it's no surprise that I got an email from a dear friend who lost her copy of the great recipe. I knew it would make B happy to know it was coveted by one and all (it was even his Groom's Cake, for goodness sake), so I told him.

Me: Hey! J lost her copy of your birthday cake and wants it again.

B: Really?

Me: Yeah, the subject of her email is "Holy CRAP!"

B: Why does she want it?

Me: Because it's the best cake ever.

B: Damn straight it's the best cake ever!

Of course, the trick is that we only make it on his birthday, which makes me crave it all the more. Maybe I can convince him to let us have it as cupcakes on the anniversary...

Editor's Note: Um, did I just try to convince my husband to let me make him cupcakes? That man is brilliant.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crazy Week!

This week has been nuts. A special project came up for work, so all my time was redirected up until yesterday. Great to get so much done, but also exhausting! Monday night, B & I tried an Indian restaurant in Durham (Mint) and LOVED it. Plus we had leftovers, which is good for everybody. Tuesday, we officially celebrated our six-month anniversary at Magnolia Grill, where we feasted on some delicious Southern food. So amazing.
It's been a quiet week. B has lots of work, I've been really busy during the days, and it's rained for days. We're ready to get out!
Tonight I'm babysitting the ladies and B's going to stop by a little later to hang out after he gets some work done.
So it's a quick, pretty low-key week. More later!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Guitar Hero(es)

The ladies came over for a midday break of PB&J sandwiches, some playground time, and a little (as we like to call it in the South) "visiting." B and I had everything cleaned up, thanks to a pretty big effort this weekend. Who knew that the lonely guitar from Guitar Hero would end up being the star of the show? Imagine if we'd told them you could plug it in... Check out Ella's lead guitar star quality and Sienna's amazing post-jump split herky.

Six Months!

Can you believe it? It's been six months, exactly, since B and I were having our last dance before watching the fireworks and running through the sparklers to start our new lives together as our own family, a little, tiny extension of our own individual families. I can't believe it.

This past month has been fun and slightly calmer. By "slightly" I mean we only took two trips, but one was to California, so that kind of counts as more than one, if you're really into the balance thing. A month ago, we took off for California, exploring Berkeley, wine country, and San Francisco before coming home and spending a few days at the beach with my sister and her family. Then, shocker of shockers, we spent three straight weekends at home! We watched a lot of great football (Roll Tide! Go Jackets!), experienced a great Halloween, carved our first pumpkin, threw our first rotting pumpkin away (70+ degree weather!), and spent a little time with our nieces, introducing them to Duke and Guitar Hero (pictures to come!). I took another trip to Birmingham, meeting up with my high school girlfriends (two of whom are pregnant!) and one of my Birmingham ladies.

This month, B & I have been working on "adult" things, figuring out car insurance, health insurance, budgets (I should own Harris Teeter by now), and still working on loving each other. We had a great early celebration of the half-versary, staring with gorgeous roses from B on Friday, a delicious Indian dinner tonight, and another dinner out tomorrow night at our favorite Durham restaurant, courtesy of a very dear friend and her generous gift card.

We've finally, mostly gotten Dad's estate settled, and there have been fewer tears this month which have been replaced by more great memories. I'm so grateful to have these little gems come to mind!

It's hard for me to look at these past six months and say that they've been the best of my life, because they've also been the most painful. Losing Dad was like nothing I've ever experienced. But then I look across my living room at the man I married, the man who's working so diligently to provide a great life for us, at the home he set up for us here in Durham before I even knew I would share it, and at the plate of cookies I just finished to complement our 2004 Champagne (don't worry-- not expensive, just left over from my brother's wedding, I kid you not) and I remember that I am lucky. I am blessed. And I have this life, these six months, and I'm so thankful. As B says, "to many more." Amen, sweetie!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

B & Our Niece

B and our niece Ella played for a few minutes when we went to pick up the UNC football tickets. Ella stacked all the rings in order on this special stick, then told B to do it. B stacked them up, asking her which color went next as he went, then decided to play with her a little.

B: Which one goes next?

Ella: The red one.

B: Does it go like this? (laying it beside the stick)

Ella: No (pointing to the tower)

B: Does it go like this? (balancing on the top of the stick instead of setting it on the stick)

Ella: No. Maybe next time we'll pick something easier.

She's 3. And I LOVE her.

YEA Football!

Tonight, my sweet brother-in-law scored us a few tickets to the Duke vs UNC football game. So much fun! B and I headed over and stayed most of the game enjoying being back in a football stadium again. I miss Tuscaloosa! We agree it's one huge advantage of being in Alabama! (Though B pointed out that Georgia has GA Tech. Score. We can't lose!)

Highlights of the Game:

1) Agreeing to leave at the start of the fourth quarter to get home for a) dinner (I was starving!) and b) Alabama and GA Tech were both losing! Best "ooops" moment (don't worry, Tim, no one heard) was this priceless exchange:
B: "Yeah, we'll leave after the next series then."
Me: "To go home and watch the real football."
I didn't mean it! Not like that, anyway.

2) Trying to figure out what formation the band was making. Clearly we haven't been to enough UNC home games.
B: "Are those... ovaries?"
(watching as they turn around toward us and repeat the formation)
Me: "Ohh! Rams horns!"

3) Crowing of the Homecoming Queen, when we both realized that Princeton didn't have Homecoming King and Queen. Weird!

4) Coming home to watch both our teams march to victory. Well, we definitely watched GA Tech march to victory, then we did whiskey shots in honor of the team, which made watching the Bama ending a little difficult.

Thanks, Tim!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The View from My Work Day

Our six-month anniversary is on Monday, so B sent me some gorgeous "winter roses" to enjoy over the weekend. What a way to brighten a) my day and b) our living room. Thank you, B! I'll toast you further on Monday. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sleeping Chart

From my dear friend Z. Ha!

A Warning

Driving home last night, I got pulled over. I went through a yellow light coming off the interstate and, like magic, flashing blue lights appeared in my rear windshield. I pulled over, where a lovely lady gave me a warning and sent me on my way.

I got home and told B (after calling my Mom back; who likes being hung up on with the phrase, "Uh oh Mom, I'm being pulled over") and we had a good "whew!" laugh as I told him all the things I didn't say to the officer, like...

"If your lights were shorter, I wouldn't try to run them."

"Of course it was red by the time I got through; the intersection is 100 yards long!"

God help me, I DID have on my "I Make Stuff Up" t-shirt. That's no good!

After some down time with B, I crawled into bed and sough absolution like any good Southern girl would do by reading my Baptist church cookbook. I thanked God for my warning and decided to make beef stroganoff this weekend. All is well.

Dad Memory of the Day

Me: Dad, I'm at the supermarket, is there anything you want me to pick up?

Dad: Hm, it's Tuesday, right?

Me: Yes...?

Dad: Can you get some of those bottles of Diet Peach Snapple?

Me: Sure... Ok, I'm in the aisle. How many do you want?

Dad: 48.

Me: What? 48?

Dad: Sure. They come in today, so that should be all they have.

I dig around, pulling out every last bottle of Diet Peach Snapple from the bottom shelf of the grocery aisle (How does Dad do this? I'm laying on the floor!). I count as I go, reaching exactly 48. I push my cart up to the check-out lady.

Me: I'm happy to unload all these, or I can just tell you that there are 48.

Lady: You must be Dr. Johnson's daughter!

Miss you Dad!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Tomorrow, our wedding website expires. Check it out while you still can!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sad! But Smart

My left arm has the flu. Here's hoping it keeps the rest of me from catching it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

B Says "No"

A sign at our mail center says:

Free Student Massages to get Massage License
* No compensation or payment allowed
* Must sign consent form
* Must complete medical history
* Contact Angie at massage_therapy_student(at)

Me: Oooooh!

B: No way. That's how you end up in the sex slave trade.

Me: Hm. And they even make you complete a medical history, which they probably use to sell you to your future husband.

B: Exactly. No chance.

Ladies' Lunch (Plus B)

B & I got to take the lovely Smith ladies out for lunch today, this time to B's school cafeteria at Duke. We grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A and then McDonald's milkshakes. The girls LOVED it!

1) The dance party in the cafeteria. Schools for big kids play dancing songs! Amazingly, no one in the cafeteria batted an eye at our antics.

2) Sienna's favorite: Sitting in B's chair. Check out her grin when B comes back to the table!

3) Ella's favorite: "Picking up B" at school, and then "taking him back." Love it!

4) Changing Sienna's diaper in a non-diaper friendly student union. Note to others: Don't set purses down on surfaces in bathrooms that don't have changing tables. Fair warning.

5) Giving the girls our Halloween outfits. Only, instead of making themselves royalty in the robes, they deemed themselves Super Sienna and Super Ella. Word is, they can fly.

6) Sitting in the big swings on Duke's campus.

7) Explaining marriage to Ella, who wanted to know why B wanted to come home at night to see me instead of stay at his super-cool school. Then announcing that she loves Daddy so much that she chooses him for her free time. And they got married last weekend. Your announcements should be in the mail.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A King, A Queen, and 2 Princesses

B and I lucked out-- we got to spend Halloween doing two very fun things. We started with two of the nieces, handing out candy while they cruised the neighborhood for candy. I've never really gotten to pass out candy. It was so fun seeing all the tiny monsters, super heroes, and (of course!) princesses!

We hung out for a while with the family, having dinner and going over the best candies with the kiddos.

From there, we headed out to meet up with a bunch of B's law school friends and hit Franklin Street, legendary for its Halloween Party. We walked the street with 40K other people all in costume then had a few drinks before heading home.

It was, in short, a perfect night. Now if only our pumpkin hadn't grown a mold unibrow...

Baby Carolyn

Meet the newest love of my life, baby Carolyn, born just a few months ago. How sure cute is she?