Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Priceline... Victory!

I've never booked on Priceline before, mostly because I'm the type of person to *almost* book a plane ticket about four times before actually doing so, and only so that I can go back and forth to recheck the dates a dozen times. So, a hotel booking system where you pick a price and have no idea what you're getting unnerves me just a touch.

But after the holiday, Mom and I are heading down to Florida to find a place for B & I to live next year. We need to stay overnight and really didn't care where (within a certain region). Everything in the downtown area was about $150 - $189, or $89 on Hotwire (where you don't know the name of the hotel either). So I bit the bullet and bid on Priceline. At first I said $70 for a 3.5-star PLUS (the best there was in the city) downtown hotel, then decided to go for $60. And you know what, I got it! At a great hotel (or at least in a great location with great pictures).

Lesson learned? If you don't care exactly where you're staying (as opposed to wanting to stay near a wedding party or family members), then it seems like a great idea. I checked the hotel's rates on its site and, sure enough, it was $151.20 plus tax for the single night. I paid $60! I'm super proud.

Go forth, young travelers. Book and reap the rewards of nameless hotel bookings!

Anxiety Dreams...

Two more...

1) Someone kept taking our tiny shampoo and conditioner bottles and hiding them, forcing us to search for them before showers.

2) I was teamed up with Sam, from In Plain Sight, to fight crime, only he was really young and terrible.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Product Reviews

I honor of Georgia's "No Texting While Driving" rule, I decided to post my favorite product review.

This always makes me giggle.

It's a desktop that attaches to your steering wheel. While the product is serious (and intended for use, I'm sure, when the car is in park), the reviews (and the pictures!) are not:

"My copilot and I both used these during our "daily grind" transcontinental flights from San Diego to Minneapolis. We had to modify them a bit to fit snug against the instrument panels (when we bought them we didn't realize the planes we fly don't have steering wheels!), but in the end it did the job. With our laptops firmly in place we were able to focus our attention on what really mattered, participating in raids with our WoW clan. During our last flight we were so immersed in trying to take down Eranikus that we overshot Minneapolis by a full hour and a half before some annoying flight attendant interrupted us, babbling something about "FAA and F16 fighters."

We'll definitely use this product again at our next gig, whatever and whenever that happens to be...
Highly recommended! "

"Wow is this thing great! I use it as a "mini-bar" when the friends and I go out to the bars. I can quickly fix multiple shots of tequila for myself and the friends as we drive from one bar to the next. We also discovered that if you place a pillow on top of it and turn on the cruise control you can catch quick naps on the interstate. If you swerve to the left or right the rumble strips on the road wake you up in plenty of time before you get into trouble. I can now take longer trips without being tired! "

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why I Love B Today

I heard him laughing hysterically in the basement, so I went down to find him watching Tosh.0, the show about funny things found on the internet.

Turns out, he'd seen this clip of a girl getting sick on an airplane that (you guessed it) suddenly hits turbulence and drops rapidly, forcing that little sick baggie to almost invert into her poor face. Now that, friends, is a bad day.

Not for B, however! He laughed and laughed and laughed until he was legitimately at risk of needing a little baggie himself. Karma? Perhaps. But I love him so much!

(Ok, Ok, here it is. Be warned, it is NOT pretty.)

100% = Fail

I now think my Words docs are too small when viewed at 100%. I'm officially a 125% girl. Not sure how I feel about this!

Also, things I've worried about in my dreams as of late:

1) Having a baby that looks like a monster when it wants to eat.

2) If a Kindle would give me eye-strain.

3) How to undock a boat that's at risk of being trapped from rising flood waters.

It seems to me that I'm anxious? At least my dreams think so. But I'm not grinding my teeth (as is the norm for me), so I'm going with "all is well"!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome to ATL, Joanna!

Maybe it's because I haven't had a lot of physical activities on my "to do" list, but today, for me, was an awesome day.

1) I got to help move my friend Joanna into her new apartment in ATL. And by "move" I mean that she had two strapping moving men to move everything, so all I did was unpack plates and drink sweet tea.

2) My old office called, wanting me to temp for six weeks during a content migration. I'll be making more per week than I ever did and I don't feel guilty saying when I'll be out of town, etc. Score!

3) Had a delicious dinner at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in town that specializes in margaritas.

Need I say more?

Happy Thursday to you!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hello A, Meet Limit!

Me: When did you know I was hitting my limit today?

B: When you cursed at the potpie in the oven.

Me: It burned me!

B: I'm just saying. You cursed. At the potpie. And meant it.

Me: Ok, fair.

House Hunting 101

In Florida, a "Florida room" is code for "wood-paneled within an inch of its life," even around the fire place. And while we're on that. FIRE place? In Florida? Does it get below 50 there??

Bar Exam!

K: I've been thinking about you and B and the Fourth of July coming up, that's like his Groundhogs Day, right?

Me: What do you mean?

K: He comes out into the sun, sees his shadow, and hides for the next three weeks until the exam.

YES! How great a sister is she? It's true, we're moving forward toward the Bar, and B's doing great. He goes to his review classes every morning for three hours (even when the US is scoring the winning goal in the world cup, but he did hear the cheer, so someone was doing some covert listening!), then comes home and does some homework, essay practice, and, of course, real person things, like eating, sleeping, showering, and Sports Center.

This Spring, we'd been warned (likely over warned!) about how "bad" this summer would be. How taxing, frustrating, and exhausting it would be. Not to jinx us, but up through now, we've been great. Yes, B works and studies a lot, but I expected that; it's one of the things I love about him-- he does everything 100%, if not more. Yes, he studies at odd hours, but we've always been off-kilter in regards to studying hours and bedtimes.

In fact, the first few weeks of his studying caused me the most problems because I was anticipating so much angst and stress. I over compensated the other way, being super happy and perky and finally almost driving B nuts. So then I swung from super peppy to a little pile of sobby cries saying, "I'm trying so hard," and B hugging me and saying, "But you don't have to!"

And he was right. Once I recalibrated back to "normal," then we settled back into our "normal;" After all, he has been in school our entire married life!

Granted, this summer "normal" has included:

* Living with your in-laws (again). I told B's mom that if I showed up next May with my bags, she was to remind me that this was not my summer home and I did not, in fact, have to move here every summer.

* Hosting B's best friend, his wife, and their baby when their summer sublet suddenly turned out to be flea-ridden.

That's right, we'll take the "problem" of Bar-prep any day!

Hotel Soaps... Just Me?

Maybe it's just me, but I love hotel soaps. Sure, it's a huge help when I realize we're out of shampoo, running low on conditioner, or thought we had one more bar of soap under the sink. But really, the big reason I love them so much is that they always remind me of where I've been.

This morning, the oatmeal soap made it into the shower rotation, and as soon as I opened its box, I remembered being in Williamsburg with B at the Inn. It reminded me of my favorite hotel indulgence: bubble baths in the big whirlpool tubs, and of being totally relaxed.

Our honeymoon soap (though it's long gone) does the same thing for me. Any Rosewood product instantly makes me smile, which made me realize two things:

1) I might be the only girl alive who would be thrilled with a big basket of good-smelling soap products from their husband (as long as the brand meant something!).

2) If I owned a hotel, I'd load my guests up with every lotion, potion, scent, salve, and shampoo I could find with our signature scent, in 3 ounce bottles, of course.

New Siblings

Me: How are the girls doing with their new baby brother? I imagine if you're anywhere between smothering him with kisses and trying to return him to the hospital, you're doing pretty well.

K: Yeah, that's about right. When we called the girls and asked if they wanted to meet him, they asked if there was a Chick-fil-A near the hospital. I'd say they're doing ok.

Me: Yeah, that sounds about right!

Sleepy Exchanges

B comes and gets in bed in the middle of the night.

Me: Where'd you go?

B: I couldn't sleep, so I went and checked some of the baseball scores.

Me: Oh.


Me: Where'd I go?

B (laughing): You, my dear, did not go anywhere.

No memory.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Day!

Yesterday I took off for a day trip to Birmingham to see my high school girlfriends and meet their new babies. Yes, babies-- two have had kids in the past nine weeks, and another is due in November! So exciting.

The best part was that everything fell into place. I called my friend Lily en route and we had lunch at a new Italian place in town, then I met up with my Grandma at her place, Mom found us a few minutes later, and we all headed to my brother and his family's house in Liberty Park. It was so great to see him and how amazing he looks and know first-hand how healthy he is. Plus, I got to see his super cute kids (pics to come!); they're growing up so fast!

I had to leave before long to meet one of my high school girlfriends for the drive to our other friends' house. Once we arrived, the next three hours were spent holding babies, passing them around, taking pictures, and picking the brownie bits off their tiny sleeping bodies (sorry kiddos!). I loved it!

I headed home late last night to Atlanta and actually had a bonus round of friends waiting for me this morning: Due to some apartment troubles, a friend of ours, his wife, and their baby stayed over for the night. She's upstairs napping now.

Long story short? I'm surrounded by cute, adorable babies. This can't be good for B. Though he did tell me that he "got to hold Lily" last night, and that she "just sits up on your arm and hangs out." I think I may be the one in trouble now!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Tomorrow (well, really today) I'm off to meet two new babies from my high school friends. I can't wait! Bonus? Getting to spend some quality time with my Mom and to visit my Grandma. Good day all around.

Cute Nephew Contest? I Won It (Again).

Check out Mr. Tyler here. Tell me I didn't win this thing hands down.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Baby!

Baby Smith arrived this morning around 8:30. A BOY!, coming it at around 9 pounds, 2 ounces. I squealed when I heard the news in the car with B. We are SO excited!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Day in the Life of a "Freelance Writer"

A wise friend once told me there's a fine line between being a freelance writer and being unemployed. I have to say, I don't disagree! Luckily, I've been blessed with a) work and b) encouragement!

It's been a while since I posted about work. Granted, no one's telling me he has pee on his knee or asking me to please please PLEASE go see the dinosaur bones again or trying to behead me with a light saber, so my current work is arguably less eventful.

That said, I'm doing fairly well settling into such an unstructured work life. Last summer, when I was at B's parents' house, I was working from home for my former Birmingham job, meaning that if I wasn't sitting at my desk between 9-5 central, I felt guilty, despite the fact that my former employees and coworkers certainly encouraged lunches, drs appointments, errands, etc, when needed. Granted, I did enjoy taking time off. Lunch with B's parents. Pedicures in the afternoon. But I was always working around schedules and feeling like I needed to make sure I was covering all my bases.

This summer, there's no one to answer to and, so far, it's been great. My main struggle is that it never goes away, so I can spend a whole day not working and feeling a little guilty, then realize that, hey, that's fine. I just have to do it tomorrow. I need to learn to either do it and move on or accept that I'm not going to do it right then and enjoy the day.

Currently I'm working on two websites (finished by the end of the month) and Travel blogging about two different cities (neither of which I currently live in). The upside? B and I hadn't really planned on having an income after I left my job in January, so having the extra funds this spring and summer has been a nice bonus. Plus, I have work to do while B's working, which greatly cuts down on the amount of time I spend playing with his hair and trying to sit on his lap while he's answering Bar review questions.

I don't know what Florida holds for me. Will I get a "real" job? Truth be told, I'd love to find a bakery and knead, ice, and mix my heart out for a year. I'd love to do something, if only to have a set schedule (so long as it fits with B's; no night work here!) and save up for what are sure to be coming expenses (home purchase, furniture needs, friends weddings!), but I think I'll keep trying to find freelance work, too.

I know this doesn't make me sound like a "real" writer (hello, wishy-washy), but it's all in a day's work, I suppose!

Uh Oh

I found the blog template updates. After the crazy happenings of this week, you're all lucky I didn't put a big old wine glass back there!

Bum-Foot Blues

Yesterday, on his way home from class, B caught his foot somewhere between the curb, the road, and the drain and ended up with a pretty nasty ankle sprain. If you know B, you know he doesn't complain about anything, even when you know he's sore or hurting or actually bleeding.

"For real, can I get you a band-aid?"
"Eh, it'll be ok."

So when he called me and told me he was hurting, I knew it was bad. When I saw him hobbled through the door (and heard him, but that would be for a blog with a more adult rating), I really felt his pain.

We spent all afternoon yesterday doing ice packs, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, plus anti-inflamatory meds. When he woke up this morning, it looked a ton better (more a medium egg on the side of his foot instead of an extra-large one) and he was able to put a little pressure on it. For now, we have an appointment on Thursday to see the doctor, though I did threaten to pack him up straight to Birmingham or call in an over-the-phone consult from one of my brothers.

"Why don't I just call them?"
"What will they say? 'Does it hurt?' 'Yes.' 'Then you should go get it looked at.'"
"You do have a point..."

Plus B had a slight aversion of calling my brother, who just had heart surgery and (praise God!) is kicking all kinds of tail in his rehab/comeback, picturing that it would go like this.

"Yeah, my ankle kinda hurts. How's your heart doing?"

It made me feel better that a) he was cracking jokes and b) he could see that this wasn't the end of the world. (Obviously he hasn't spent enough time with me when I'm sick to have adopted this lovely quality. I went around with an ice pack all day Sunday because my thumb inexplicably hurt.)

So when you pray, if you pray, or when you light candles, meditate, or do a particularly hard pose in yoga, send one up for B that he feels better soon and that his ankle heals quickly. For those of you who know him, you know that he relieves stress by running or working out. So right now he's studying for the Bar and cooped up. He's being good, but I know he wants out soon!


Ok, I'm partly ashamed to write this post, though I'm not sure why. I used to watch the bachelor(ette) all the time with my high school girlfriends when I lived in Birmingham. How fun to spend one night a week sharing good food, fun times, and lame TV comebacks from this season's most eligible mate!

One thing I found out when I lived in Durham was that my sister seemed to have a weakness for this show, which says something, because this lady is not your regular TV watcher. I think you could take away her TV and she'd be perfectly fine, just so long as the girls had something to watch a Disney movie on with a babysitter when she and her husband got to sneak out for a date night.

So last week when I was up there, I was a more-than-willing participant in watching the bacherlorette. The problem was, they'd DVR'd three two-hour shows, so by the time we watched them all, I was hooked. Beyond hooked. So hooked that when my brother-in-law texted me last night that it was on (and that he was turning in his man card), I squealed and ran into the other room to watch Ali & co putter around NYC and dance on rooftops.

I don't know that I'll be posting updates on my watchings, but I will say that it's unfortunate that B and my brother-in-law can't both escape downstairs to the basement to watch ESPN instead. To B's credit, he did watch it. Unfortunately, I think that had something to do with his recent injury...

13 Months!

We blew past this one. I was half asleep two night ago when I started whacking B on the arm and saying, "We missed it! We missed it! Happy Anniversary!" I know, I know, at some point I'll move past this month-to-month stuff (sad!), but for now I'm not ready to really reflect only once a year. Too many fun things that I'd miss!

In the past month, we've been to Williamsburg, Virginia; Sonoma, California; Berkely, California; Princeton, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia, and Durham, North Carolina.

We've enjoyed our one-year anniversary (woohoo!), packing the Pod, B's graduation (complete with school-sanctioned Champagne toast. Ladeda!), B's youngest brother's graduation from Berkeley, wine tasting in Sonoma, drives to Atlanta, two new babies from our friends, an awesome weekend at our 5th college reunion, a meeting with a financial planner, and a few fun days with the nieces in NC.

We said goodbye to our second apartment, moved for the third(?) time, started Bar review classes, and remembered Dad on the anniversary of his death.

It's been quite the month, and I can tell that next month's update is going to be super full, super short, and super late. Where is time going??

I'm so thankful for many things in my life, mainly that the family I've been given (and the one I've chosen & married into!) and the friends I've made are among the things that make my life feel so full and blessed. What more could I ask for?

Baby Watch 2010

I spent last week in Durham with my sister and her family on "baby watch." She had a few signs of labor early in the weekend, before I got there, and so we spent the entire week with the thought in the back of our minds (or mine, at least!) that today could be the day that their family grew a little bigger.

Instead, Baby S decided to hang out in utero a little while longer. Fine by me! We had such a fun week of playing together, stocking the fridge, and generally taking it easy. We went to Chick-fil-A, played at the mall play place, enjoyed play group, had a picnic, splashed around in the pool, made cookies, took walks, fed geese, and generally loved nap time (one and all!).

So true, there's no baby, but I'll meet him or her when I go back next month. I did, however, have some quality time with the monkeys.


Me: Ella, when you swim, push the water back with your hands, but make sure to keep your fingers together. When your fingers are apart, they look like forks (show forks), but when your fingers are all together, what do they look like?

Ella: Fives?
Sienna: I need some more fuzz for my dolly's head
Lesson Learned: If you've got to return something to Target, the $1 section is a God-send. Seriously, the girls played in the bins for at least 20 minutes, then expected nothing when we left. I'm pretty sure they don't know those things are for sale...
Ella: Sienna, let's get our umbanellas and go out into the rain.
Sienna (wailing): I got a boooooo booooooo. [Note, this is not sadness over pain of a boo boo, but rather simply having gotten one.]
Sienna (getting out of the bath 20 minutes later): Is the boo boo gone yet?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reunions Recap!

B & I had such a blast at reunions this year. If you don't know, Princeton reunions are not to be missed. They're insane. Don't take my word for it, read this article from GQ.

Basically, in a nutshell, about 100,000 alums descend on the tiny town of Princeton, New Jersey for a long-week of orange-stained madness. We drink, we p-rade (parade), we dine, we share stories, and we try to sleep on tiny twin beds with our manly husbands. Let me tell you, we are not in college anymore!

We loved it. We got in on Friday in time for our class dinner (each class, on the five-year rotation, has a courtyard with a tent as "headquarters"), then spent the rest of the weekend catching up with friends and having a blast.


* KA "barbecue" behind Cottage. "Toasting" on cars when the owners walked up. Oops.
* Sleeping in a twin bed.
* Waking up to find B on the hardwood floor with his head on our duffle bag.
* Throwing a pillow at B and rolling back over.
* Showering in dorm bathrooms again.
* Realizing that they upgraded from floaty shower curtains to actual glass doors.
* Realizing how tired we were at the end of it.

B said on our way home, "Wow, that was a really fun thing to do. Every five years."

Then we both snuggled up on either side of my pillow and fell asleep on the plane back to Atlanta...

Remembering Dad

I always wonder if I have a writing block only when I've put off writing about something, either because I think it'll be too long, too hard, or simply too time consuming. Oh well, enough personal analysis. On to the memories!

The one-year anniversary of Dad's death was tough, but I actually think it was tougher "looking forward" to it than actually experiencing it.

On the actual day, B & I were in California, spending a low-key day with his family touring the wineries in Sonoma. The day itself wasn't overwhelming. I got voicemails from siblings, sent text messages, and talked to Mom, but it was sad.

It's been too long since I talked to Dad. An entire year since I've heard voice on anything other than my saved voicemail or the video from the rehearsal dinner. (More than) 365 days since I've called him too early and woken him up on my way to work, had an excuse to buy an embarassing number of Peeps, or watched for sales on Diet Mountain Dew (as if Dad ever waited for a sale!).

But I (thankfully!!) still think of him. Every time I see Diet Peach Snapple tea, pass a McCallister's deli, or make one of his Mom's recipes. Coconut cakes make me smile. Alabama cups make me smile. Bad TV late at night makes me smile.

Some things still don't make me smile. I miss him like crazy when I'm on a long car trip and can't call. Dad had a million things to do, always off to buy more Mountain Dew, work one of his three random jobs that he loved so much, or simply enjoy his 5th morning cup of coffee. But he was almost always home. So you'd call Mom on your road trip and talk with her, then call Dad. Often you got the same stories, but there was a double-dose of comfort and company. I miss that.

There are things I'm sorry about with Dad. Not regrets, necessarily, but just things that I didn't notice enough or appreciate often. But one thing I did do the February before he died was to write him a letter and tell him how proud of him I was. Of course, he assumed it was something regarding taxes and didn't open or find it until April (again, love it!), but he did get it and I know he read it. I'm thankful for that because it gives me a little peace, and some grace that perhaps the times I didn't stop and sit with him are somehow balanced out.

I survived the anniversary without turning it into an "angriversary," as we feared last year, but I still struggle. Dad's birthday, and he and Mom's anniversary, are coming up. Keep the prayers coming! As for us, B & I are planning to celebrate the day with something Dad would've loved. Maybe we'll make Diet Mountain Dew floats.

Excuses, Excuses

Once again, here I am, two weeks behind apologizing for being two weeks behind. Haley, if you're reading this, get ready!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

'05! '05! '05!

More to come on this topic but, for now, here's a pic that pretty much sums it all up...