Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

As 2010 is fast approaching, I wish you all a Happy New Year!  I hope you have a great time with family and friends on New Year's Eve.  It's on of my favorite holidays.  I will be spending it with hubby and some of our best friends - it's becoming a New Year's tradition.  :)

I can't wait to set my resolutions for 2010 (and hopefully stick to them this year!)  2009 has been filled with so many blessings for me: purchasing my first "big girl car", settling into married life with hubby, an amazing trip to Jamaica, a new fence and new deck for our home as well as many renovations to our master bathroom.  Steven and I have found a church home that we can be a part of and we have been able to spend a great deal of time with our families who now live close to us.  What a great year!!!

Hope you have a great night and be careful doing whatever it is that you will do!!!  Kiss someone really special when the clock counts down to midnight!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Yay! Yay! Yay! I received my first blog awards today.  I know for some of you who have tons, it's probably not a big deal, but this just made my day!!  The super sweet KatieB at Tale of a Grits awarded me the "Happy 101" award and the "Fabulous Sugar Doll" award.  :) 

I have already completed the Happy 101 award and passed it on to deserving bloggers (no - I wasn't awarded it, I just snatched it from another blog and passed it along - sad I know!)  But I'm so excited to have been given it by KatieB!

For the Sugar Doll award, I'm supposed to share 10 facts about me....

1.  I have lived in Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Ohio, South Carolina & now North Carolina.  Crazy - yes, I know. But my dad is a pastor and I spent a great deal of my childhood moving while he completed his degree in seminary and moved churches.
2.  I'm a newly converted Alabama fan and loving it.  Hubby bought me an Alabama jersey for Christmas with the 2010 National Championship logo on it and I can wait to wear it for the championship game!
3.  My new obsession is blogging. I started my blog in August, but haven't really started blogging consistently until December - and I'm hooked. I love reading other blogs and hearing funny stories about others' lives.
4.  I actually enjoy working out. I don't do it as often as I should - but everytime I leave the gym or finish a long run I feel invigorated.  Those endorphines get pumping and I find personal strength in my workouts.
5.  I'm the oldest of 4 - Paxston (brother, 21), Crickette (real name - sister, 19), Ethan (brother, 6 - surprise!).  I love my family and would love to have a large family myself someday - mainly I just want lots of grandkids!
6.  I used to think my dream was to become a corporate super star. I wanted to run a company one day and make lots of money. Recently I am starting to realize my dream is to have a family. I still want to work (even when my kids are little) but I realize that I want my family to be the number one priority in my life.
7.  I have been to Hong Kong and it was the most amazing trip of my life. I strongly recommend an Asian adventure - the people and culture are overwhelming.  Hubby and I already planning our retirement trip - 3 weeks hoping around Asia. Can't wait!
8.  For an A-type, control freak - I'm incredibly forgetful. Yes I know - that doesn't really go together, but somehow I  make it work.
9.  I could eat Taco Bell everyday.  I don't want to know what's in the meat - I just love it.
10.  I always make a New Year's Resolution list and I always break my resolutions. This year I am hoping to do better (check back soon as my list is coming!

There's a little something about me you may not have known. And now I would like to pass the Sugar Doll Award to:

- Kari at 2 Dogs & a Blog
- Little Daisy May at This Kind of Love
- Mrs. Muffins at Mrs. Muffins
- Mrs. P at A Little Pink In A World of Camo
- D.A.R. at Just Another Day in Paradise

Feel free to pass the award along to any bloggers you think are note worthy. Thanks again KatieB.  :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Little Old Me Goes To The Gun Range

While spending time with my in-laws during the Christmas holiday, Chris, my father-in-law, suggested we make a visit to the gun range. Hubby, a somewhat trigger happy redneck good ole’ boy from Mississippi who has already shot and killed two deer this season, was thrilled with the idea. Shooting a gun has never exactly been my idea of a good time, but I consented to go none the less. Bear with me as I tell my story of my first trip to a gun range. I apologize if I do not use proper gun lingo – this obviously is not my area of expertise people.

As I said, hubby is incredibly comfortable with guns and enjoys opportunities to practice shooting targets. My step-mother-in-law, Beth, has taken a concealed weapons course and is now a proud, gun-owning US citizen who can shoot like a man. To make matters worse, Chris is a veteran marine – I’m pretty sure they were born with guns in their hands. I didn’t want to embarrass myself by being a baby and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass Steven in front of his family. I attempted to put on my *big girl panties* and pretended that I was excited about firing pistols.

Before we left for the gun range, Chris gave me some basic instructions about proper gun safety and how to hold a pistol. Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot (Does that include hubby? Just Kidding!) Always make sure the safety is in the on position until you are ready to shoot. (Safety – that’s an appropriate name for that little switch!) And there was something about a magazine (pretty sure that holds the ammo), cocking the gun, lining up your sights between these little dots at the end of the gun and the acronym “BREATHE” which is supposed to teach you the steps you go through when firing a weapon. By this point in the instruction, the gun was in my hand and I was feeling a little light headed so the later part of the instructions are somewhere blurry. Chris and Beth both own a Beretta 9MM. – what a pretty name for a gun. Unfortunately the gun looks more threatening than “pretty” – but I guess that is the point of a handgun.

So we loaded up and drove to the range. When we arrived, Steven and I were required to watch a quick gun safety video before we were allowed to shoot in the range. (Does everyone realize what a clutz I am? Is everyone else as worried as I am that I might shoot someone in the foot???) The range was an indoor range – which for those of you who have never been to one – is incredibly loud! Everyone who enters the range is required to wear these hideous protective goggles and HUGE ear plugs. Great – not only do I feel like an idiot, but I get to look like one too. This is going so well!

We had barely entered the range when the gentleman closest to the door fired his pistol. B-O-O-M! I swear, my entire body jumped 3 feet into the air. Immediately my hands started shaking, my heart started pounding and I could barely control my urge to cry. But I had promised myself I wouldn’t cause a scene, so I slapped on a smile (or at least not a frown) and watched as Chris and Steven prepared the guns for us to shoot. Thankfully we were able to get two cubbies side-by-side at the back of the range, away from everyone else. Well this is good news – at least if I do shoot someone, it will be a family member. I’m less likely to go to jail that way.

I must say, Chris and Steven were exceedingly patient with me. As we entered the shooting cubby (again – pretty sure I’m not using proper gun lingo here) Chris loaded my gun for me, showed me the proper shooting stance and reminded me to “respect the gun”. So that was it – there I was, gun in hand, pointed at a target, nothing left to do but shoot. Okay, safety is off…not a good idea! Gun is cocked – they really expect me to shoot this thing! Pull the trigger Amber. Pull the trigger Amber. QUIT BEING A BABY AND PULL THE TRIGGER!!!

B-O-O-M! Holy crap I just shot a gun. And I’m pretty sure I hit the target. I’m also pretty sure I just wet my pants. As I peered behind me and to my left and right, I confirmed that everyone in the range was indeed standing and seemingly unpeturbed by my shooting. A quick glance down confirmed that I had not wet my pants. Thank You LORD! Chris encouraged me to shoot again. POW! Everyone still standing – go me! BOOM! This isn’t too bad! It was at this point that I realized I had not taken a single breath since my first shot. Perhaps that was the reason I was feeling so light headed. I reminded myself to breathe and finished shooting the remaining bullets in my magazine.

Everyone took turns shooting the targets. On my next attempt, Beth even taught me to load the gun myself! As I continued to shoot, I became more comfortable (or more accurately less afraid). My hands stopped shaking and I learned how to breathe while shooting (very helpful!) I hit the center of the target multiple times!!! While my target did not look nearly as impressive as Beth’s (she seriously can shoot – I would *not* suggest messing with her!) it wasn’t too bad for my first. Steven held my target up to his body and pointed out that if he had been standing behind my target, he would have been dead.

I’m glad I went and faced my fears. I am pretty sure I may never been one of those hard core girls who shoot ‘em up – but at least I am comfortable enough to pull the trigger if I had to. For now, I’m quite content with my ever obnoxious guard dogs who bark at everything while Steven is away. They will protect me from the bad guys until I find the courage to get a gun of my own.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Praying For Paxston

My little brother, Paxston, is currently in Great Lakes, IL at Navy bootcamp.  He left the Monday before Thanksgiving and will graduate the last weekend in January.  It's the first time in his life that he has been away from the family (he lived at home during his first two years of college) and he has had to miss Thanksgiving, his 21st birthday, Christmas and will soon miss New Years.

It has been so incredibly strange not texting him or calling him every day.  I know that (as of now) he is safe and this experience will change his life for the better.  It will give him discipline, guidance and strength that he desperately needs; however, a part of me wishes he would just stay my baby brother.  It's scary to imagine that in a short while after his training is completed, he could be shipped away to a war zone.  His life could be put in danger and more than likely we won't even know where he is.

It makes me so grateful to all of our veterans as well as those who currently serve in the armed forces.  It is easy to say "I am patriotic and I support our troops." It's entirely different when you have a family member who is serving. The feeling of pride in your country now comes with a feeling of fear for your loved one.  It's a strange combination that I am not quite comfortable with.

I know that many of you do not know me, but if you have a moment, please pray for my brother.  Please send a silent prayer for all our troops currently away from their family and friends during this holiday time. 

To anyone reading this whose family current serves our country: Thank-you for your sacrifice. I now realize that not only do our soldiers sacrifice their time and safety, but their families also offer a great sacrifice during their absence.  Know that I pray each day for our troops and their families.  I pray God keeps our men and women strong, safe and blessed.  I pray that He gives their families peace, strength and patience until their return.

I posted this link in an earlier blog, but I feel it is appropriate again. Please take a moment and visit the following link: You can take a quick minute and fill out a "Thank-You" card which Xerox will send to troops in active duty on your behalf. It's a great way to put your gratitude to action.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Joys of Home Ownership

Everyone talks about how wonderful home ownership is and how blessed Steven and I are to own our own home at such a young age.  Please don't misunderstand, I am truly grateful for our home and love it!  However, I never realized one of the "gifts" of home ownership was always having something to clean or having something to fix!

Apartment living truly is so easy.  Small spaces, no yardwork, landlords who complete all necessary repairs.  Oh the good old days when I didn't know how much it cost to fix a heater or build a new deck!  Those days were almost as good as the times I could call Daddy everytime my car broke down! 

So now I'm cleaning every day, constantly spending money for basic repairs to my home, and trying to learn how to cook all at the same time (tales of cooking disasters to come!) 

I tell ya, the life of a young wife can be trying.  Always a new challenge to teach me a life lesson.  I keep telling myself I'll get it together one of these days. Feel free to share any pointers to help me make it through.  In the mean time - I'm off to do some laundry! 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends as well as my new blogger friends!

I pray that Santa was as good to you as he has been to me.  I hope that you've had great time with family and friends.  More importantly, I pray that you have been reminded the true reason for this Christmas season.  I'm so grateful for the first Christmas morning when God sent Baby Jesus to us all.  As wonderful as time with family, presents & Christmas carols may be - the true miracle of this holiday is the fact that Christ has saved us from our sins.

Stay tuned.  I have many hilarious, blog worthy stories to tell as a result of time spent with the past few days (they always provide the best entertainment!)  Check back often as many posts are yet to come.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Shopping For Hubby

While I am sitting here watching my husband and brother-in-law play PS3 (which to be honest I have zero interest in doing), I figure I will write a quick post about how frustrating my irritating adoreable husband can be.

Steven and I have been playing, "I would love **** for Christmas" for over two months now.  As a result, we both have a pretty good list going and an equally good idea of what to buy for one another.  Three weeks ago we made a promise, "Neither of us will buy anything until after Christmas - no matter how big or small!"  I have done an exceptionally good job of keeping that promise (I even passed over a $15 pair of incredibly sexy boots on sale!)  Steven, on the other hand, has failed miserably!

Steven is an avid reader and goes through books like underwear.  His favorite author is David Baldacci and I was very much looking forward to surprising him with his latest book "True Blue" in hardback.  I received an incredibly unpleasant phone call during his most recent business trip. "Hi honey - love and miss you.  Landed in CA safely - bought the David Baldacci book at the airport gift shop.  It's awesome!"  Seriously!?!?!  What part of "don't buy anything" do you not understand mister loving husband?? I lovingly berated him and reminded him of our promise making him swear not to buy another thing.

The next day, I took "True Blue" back to Borders and exchanged it for the newly released unedited version of "The Hangover."  A hysterical comedy that I know Steven will absolutely love.  That night I receive another tragic phone call.  "I am going to buy The Hangover.  Is that okay??"  Well I can't exactly say no now can I? I want his Christmas presents to be a surprise so I am up a creek without a paddle.  "Sure sweetheart - but whatever you would like."  To make matters worse, he comes home with the theatrical version.  Everyone knows to buy the unedited version - it's so much funnier!

So that was it.  I just needed one more $20-$30 gift to complete his shopping and ruined my best attempts.  At this point he just might be opening a pair of flannel, polar bear pajamas on Christmas day.  Serves him right.  :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

For those of you who do not already know – I ran completed my first half marathon on December 12th!! :) Go me! Go me!

When I decided to train for a half marathon, I was in the best shape of my life. (Unfortunately – even after training for the half – I can no longer say that. New Year’s Resolution!!) Months with a personal trainer had given me the confidence I needed to take on such a challenge. When my sessions with my trainer were over, I decided it was time to focus all my workouts training for this run. The 12 week training program definitely had its ups and downs. Each week brought an additional mile and by race day, the furthest I had run was 10 miles. While I was nervous as to whether or not I would be able to complete the additional 3.1 miles the half marathon required, I was confident in my abilities. All training programs I had studied promised that completing 10 miles during a training program was more than enough to complete a half marathon on race day.

As December 12th approached, I began to prep myself physically and mentally for the race. Carb loading was *awesome*! (It is quite possible that I may have taken advantage of this and ate one too many potatoes!) I made sure to get plenty of rest Thursday & Friday night before the race as well as drink plenty – I mean plenty – of fluids. My boss poked fun at the fact that I was in the bathroom every hour on the hour both Thursday and Friday. But I refused to fail as a result of dehydration!

Race day was more than I could have imagined – and to be perfectly honest – a little overwhelming. Charlotte’s Thunder Road is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Over 3,000 people ran the marathon and half marathon. Showing up at 6:30a.m. in the freezing cold was a bit nerve racking for Jennifer (my running buddy) and myself. I mean, we were amateurs. Two fun loving girls who decided to take on a challenge and run for fun. Definitely not runners trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon! Nevertheless, we completed our warm up, sucked down our disgusting GU Gell (supposed to give you a burst of energy to complete strenuous activity – but honestly taste like slimy BO – SO GROSS!) and stretched for the start of the race.

As we approached the start line, I stood in awe of the elite runners at the front of the pack. These people were holding up signs showing a marathon race time of 3 HOURS! That’s 26.2 miles in three hours. To put this in perspective – it took me 2 ½ hours to run half that distance! Needless to say, Jennifer and walked a little further to the back of the pack with the “not so serious” half marathon runners and did our best to keep limber.

The gun signaled the runners to start – and we were off. Actually, we had to wait for about 2 minutes to begin running due to the large number of participants – but the race had officially started. Miles 1-6 were a breeze. Literally, I felt like I was running on air. As my muscles warmed and my body temperature rose, I began to shed my layers. First my gloves - it felt so cool to take off my gloves and throw them down in the street. I was Shee-rah – Running Warrior Princess. Who’s a hard core runner now!?!? Then my fleece had to come off. Unfortunately, Jennifer accidentally pinned my race number to my fleece and my shirt underneath. So when I tried to pull off my fleece, I almost gave everyone a free show as my t-shirt came up over my head as well. For those of you who have never tried – removing safety pins while running is not an easy feat and I would not suggest you try it at home! In the end – the fleece came off and I felt great. The fresh, cool air was invigorating – just what I needed to continue and finish my last 7 miles.

While I won’t lie and say that miles 7-11 were as easy as miles 1-6, they certainly were doable. My training had prepared me for this. The hills were pretty killer. Since Thunder Road is a qualifier race, the course must be a test for the competitors. Fellow runners had warned Jennifer and myself that Thunder Road was hilly – but I had no idea what I was getting into. I wouldn’t call this course a “hill course”. I swear, somehow the city of Charlotte managed to bring in a portion of the Appalachian mountain range for the weekend. It was intense! We would run up hill for over half a mile at a time. The so called “down hill slope” would only last a few hundred feet and we were dragging ourselves up hill again. It was grueling – but we kept moving and we kept a steady pace.

At the beginning of mile 11, I met my demise. The course ran through many patches of construction. In one of these rough spots, I twisted my ankle. At first I was concerned that I may have sprained my ankle. After a few steps, it was apparent that my ankle was fine. “Whew – that’s a relief!” About 30 feet or so later, an intense pain in my left hamstring began to emerge. It felt as if someone has stuck a knife in the back of my knee and I was running with it in place. Every step sent a pain down my leg. At this point – I completely began to regret my decision. “Honestly, who needs to run 13.1 miles? What in the world did I think this would prove? Only crazies with a serious issues get up this early on a Saturday morning to run this far? Me – little miss cheap herself – paid $60 to actually do this??” I should have known better…..

Although every step was a chore, I finished my race. The last two miles I literally chanted to myself “Move your feet. Move your feet!” Poor Jennifer had to slow her pace to stay with me. I told her to leave me, but she stayed by my side. I kept running though – up the hills, through the crowds, I kept my feet moving! As I approached the finish line I saw my wonderful husband. He had such a huge smile on his face and I knew he was proud of what I was about to accomplish. With the last shred of energy I had left, I crossed the finish line. Of course, immediate after crossing the finish line I felt surge of energy. I could have gone another mile (or not!) I ran over to Steven, gave him a sweaty kiss and got my medal.

So that’s it – I have completed my first half marathon. I fully intend to run another and better my time. While I will never be an elite runner and I truly doubt if I will finish a marathon, I am proud of myself for my accomplishment. It’s nice to know that an accountant with significantly more book smarts than athletic abilities can run 13.1 miles! It may be the only athletic thing I’ve done in my life – but I did it! :)

Finish Line w/ My Running Buddy!!

13.1 Miles Later - Not Looking Too Bad!

Monday, December 21, 2009

10 Things That Make Me Happy

I have noticed this awards post on many blogs that I follow - and while I am new to the blogging community, I thought it would be nice to send a "Well Done" to some of my favorite new blogs.  It's nice to know that someone enjoys what you have to say!

In order to complete this award post - I must list 10 things that make me happy.  So without further ado, here a list of 10 things that make me happy as well as 10 incredible blogs worth adding to your list!
  1. A great book - lately I have thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter saga.  You also can never go wrong with Nicolas Sparks.  I love reading!
  2. Christmas! Who doesn't? Gift giving, quality time with family, being reminded of Christ's love for us all.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!
  3. My puppies. Without fail, Dixie & Bauer always find a way to cheer me up even on the most dreadful of days.
  4. Hearing Steven sing in the morning. Just knowing that hubby is in a good mood makes it nearly impossible not to smile.
  5. Coach - love, love, love it!  For a cheap girl - this is one splurge I never regret making.  :)
  6. A good pair of shoes.  This is probably a cliché answer for a Southern woman - but still.  Shoe therapy has left a smile on my face many a time.
  7. Coffee with a girlfriend. The combination of caffeine & gab gets my endorphins pumping and I always leave a little more light hearted.
  8. My little brother Ethan (age 6) or sister-in-law Michelle (age 7). Somehow they bring out the kid in me!
  9. Praise & Worship - I love entering into the Lord's presence and singing songs with other worshipers about God's goodness. It's nice to spend a little time with my Savior.
  10. My family - crazy, large. busy & loving.  From my immediate family all the way to my in-laws - I always look forward to being with my family.
Check out these blogs:
Happy Reading!  Feel free to pass this award along to any blogger who brightens your day!

Bauer's Traumatic Trip

After over a year of “should we” or “shouldn’t we”, Steven and I finally decided it was time to have Bauer neutered. I found an amazing animal hospital, Brown Creek Animal Hospital in Polkton, NC, which provided incredibly affordable pet care. So in October, when we decided to proceed with Bauer’s surgery, I called the animal hospital and set an appointment. Apparently affordable pet care is in high demand ($90 to a neuter a 70lb boxer – WOW!) and we could not get an appointment with the vet until December 18th. So we all put the unpleasant event out of our mind for the time being.

This past Friday marked Doom’s Day. Unfortunately, Steven was out of town on business, so taking Bauer to the vet was my responsibility. Polkton is a 45 minute drive (the feats I go to in order to save a buck - or in this case over $250!) As he would be placed under anesthesia, Bauer was unable to eat anything after 9pm Thursday evening. Of course, Bauer was the first person to wake up Friday morning – all chipper and eager to go outside. Imagine his sore surprise when breakfast wasn’t served! I felt so guilty for not feeding him that I also made Dixie skip breakfast. I just couldn’t bring myself to feed one and not the other. (Steven later pointed out that I could have put Bauer outside and fed Dixie. Bauer would have been none the wiser – so helpful after the fact!) Don’t worry – I did give Dixie some extra treats when I put her in her cage for the day.

Bauer generally loves car rides. All we have to say is “Get in the truck” and both our dogs go CRAZY! But I swear he had the scoop on me Friday morning. I said “Get in the car” and he got in his cage instead. It was as if he was begging me not to take away his “manhood”. The entire 45 minute drive was miserable. Bauer whined, moaned & fretted the whole way. My car was covered in dog hair as a result of his sheer panic. I swear dogs have a 6th sense and can just tell when sometime is amiss. He kept shooting me the most sad, “Please don’t do this to me, mommy” eyes you have ever seen. At one point I could have sworn I heard him say, “I promise – whatever it is you think I did to deserve this – I didn’t do it. Dixie did it! Take Dixie..please!!!”

Thankfully the staff at Brown Creek were incredibly friendly and accommodating. I felt better leaving him knowing that he would be well cared for in my absence. I will admit, I got a little (okay – more like a lot) teary eyed when it was time to leave him. In front of an entire waiting room of pets and pet owners I bent down, kissed him square on the mouth and said, “Mommy loves you. I will be here first thing tomorrow to get you – be a good boy. I’m praying for you!” The vet assistant gave me a sweet smile and said, “It will be okay honey – Bauer is in good hands.” Some jerk with an ugly Chihuahua had the audacity to actually laugh at me. (I honestly don’t know how I will ever be able to drop my child off for the first day of kindergarten. I pray that I am able to get my emotions in check before then.)

I was almost certain that Dixie would pitch a fit Friday night when she realized Bauer was at home. I worried all day long that she would be miserable and very sad to find her baby brother gone. I couldn’t have been more wrong! That selfish dog was the happiest I have seen her in months. She snuggled up on the couch with Steven and I (thankfully he came home Friday night!) as if there was no place on earth she would have rather been. She didn’t even look around the house once to see where Bauer might be.

Steven and I left early to make the hike to pick Bauer up the next day. He was perfectly fine. His usual spaz self – he almost knocked everyone in the waiting room over trying to play with the other dogs. He received a clean bill of health and the usual “he’s such a great dog” accolades. Although he is overjoyed to be back at home with his family, he is not impressed with the satellite cone he has to wear. As if it weren’t bad enough that he’s missing his family jewels, he has to wear this huge cone that makes him run into the walls and look like an idiot. Poor fella – it’s been a rough couple of days. Thankfully Christmas is coming and Santa has brought him a HUMUNGOUS bone for being such a good boy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He Makes Life Better

Forgive me while I have a sappy moment and express how much I miss my husband.  He has been in San Francisco since Monday morning and I have spent four lonely nights without him.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoy solitude at times.  I consider myself to be quite independent and pride myself in being self sufficient; however, over this past week I have come to realize just how much better life with Steven is than life without him.  I can even give you a list of the reasons why:
  • He is a much better cuddle buddy than the dogs.  Dixie is a selfish cuddler and insists that I lay as she wills so that she is comfortable.  Steven on the otherhand is a generous cuddler. He never fails to mold himself to me so that I am comfortable.  My favorite place in our home is lying on the couch, nestled up to him. The couch is a lonely place when he is away.
  • Dinnertime just isn't the same without him.  There is no purpose in cooking a quality meal for just myself.  I would prefer to skip the hassle of cooking and cleaning dishes when I am by myself; therefore, I generally eat frozen meals or a bowl of cereal.  I miss looking forward to dinner.  I miss sitting down, sharing a meal and discussing our day together.  
  • Nights are more restful with him beside me.  For those of you who have read my previous blog, "Gaurd Dogs on Crack", you know that my wonderful dogs go on high alert when Steven travels.  The fact that the dogs are more at peace while Steven is home is not the only reason I get a better night's sleep.  I find comfort in having him beside me.  Knowing I will wake up and start each morning with my best friend helps me to sleep more soundly and securely each night.
  • ABC Comedy Wednesday is funnier when Steven is around.  Scratch that - all TV is better when I watch it with Steven. I love watching our shows together.  Laughing hysterically when a sitcom plotline hits a little too close to home: crazy family moments, long nights with close friends, trivial fights with your spouse.  It's always funny to play "Name That Friend" and determine who of our friends would be most likely to do something stupid like our favorite sitcom characters.  TV just loses its luster when I am at home alone.
  • Most importantly - I feel more loved when I am with Steven.  I don't know how, but every day he finds some way to actually show me that he loves me.  A surprising kiss in the morning, offering to make dinner if I have had a long day, letting me watch my girly shows even though they drive him crazy, snuggling up to me when I'm cold.  More than just telling me that he loves me, I can actually feel his devotion to me grow each day that we are together - it is an incredibly gratifying, empowering feeling to be so loved by your spouse.
Honestly - this list could go on and on.  I simply miss him.  I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. I miss hearing him sing in the morning if he's in a good mood. I miss hearing him say my name. I am so blessed to have married my best friend and be able to share my life with him each day.  I can't wait for him to come back to me tomorrow. I am especially looking forward to some much needed time off at the end of the year. It will be so nice to revitalize and rejuvenate together before the start of what I am sure will be another crazy year. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours!

I'm really in the Christmas spirit today so I thought I would share some pictures of our little home decorated for the season.  I'm not the best photographer - so excuse the off center pictures.  :)  Merry Christmas!!

Our tiny Christmas tree.  I promised Steven we would upgrade next year.  :)

12 Day Till Christmas!! 
Santa Wants to Know - Naughty or Nice??

Dixie & Bauer love Christmas!! They even get stockings!!

Santa please stop here!!!

Christmas Movie Must Sees

This is one my favorite times of year to watch TV.  ABC Family, AMC, Lifetime & Oxygen are constantly showing Christmas favorites.  I currently have my DVR set to tape almost 15 upcoming holiday shows.  Even though I have seen many of them 100 times - they never get old.  I thought I would compile a list of Christmas must sees to share in case you were looking for something to put you in the holiday spirit!

Christmas Vacation

It is only recently that I have come to appreciate this Christmas classic.  Imagine how many people truly feel like Clark Griswold at the holidays?  Underappreciated at the office, doing his best to provide a pleasant Christmas for his family - tree burns down, turkey burns, rude neighbors.  I guess the older I become, the more I realize the true meaning of this movie. 

It's A Wonderful Life

Who hasn't heard the memorable phrase, "Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!"  Another meaninful holiday story that reminds us all to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives.

Miracle on 34th Street

I can't imagine needing to explain why this movie should be seen.  Something about this film brings back memories of my childhood: the magic of Santa Clause, the holiday cheer & hopefullness of being a child during such a dreamlike time of year.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I don't care how old you are - there is no excuse to miss this Charlie Brown Christmas tradition!
Tuesday, December 15th - ABC 8/7c


Okay - I'm generally not a huge Will Farrell fan (yes I know - you can boo me if you like!)  This movie is just hysterical.  Parents and kids can sit down to watch a comical Christmas treat and enjoy together. 
Saturday, December 19th - CBC 8/7c

The Holiday

So maybe this doesn't qualify as a "classic" - but what a great movie!  What a great love story.  It just makes me want to put on a cocktail dress and go a fabulous holiday party.  Plus, Jude Law is pretty dreamy to watch for a couple hours.

Obviously there are many more, but these are just a few of my favorites I insist on watching each year!  Feel free to share comments including your holiday favorites!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Send a Thank-You To Our Troops!

Xerox is doing an amazing service for our troops.  Visit the link below, pick out a thank-you card, fill in a message and Xerox will send your thank-you card to a troop in active duty.  Think of all the sacrifices the men and women serving our country have made for each of us.  The least you can do is take a few minutes and visit this site.  It just might make a soldier's day!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Move Over Carrie Underwood - Or Not

Ever since I was little, I have secretly dreamed of singing in front of thousands of screaming fans while rocking sparkling pink cowboy boots. To say that I had a flare for the dramatic may have been somewhat of an understatement. Childhood home videos reveal that I was quite the little drama queen and rarely shied from an opportunity to capture the spotlight. Unfortunately, during a recent road-trip to visit the in-laws, my dream of one day becoming a country music superstar was shattered. Let me set the stage for you:

It was Thanksgiving eve and I had just finished a 9 mile run as a part of my training regimen for Thunder Road. After a quick shower, Dixie and myself loaded into the car for the haul to Winston to meet up with hubby and Bauer who had gone to Winston the night before. As exhausted as I was, I was looking forward to time with family & friends as well as some girl time with my favorite female pup.

Not surprisingly, rush hour coupled with Thanksgiving Eve traffic caused what should have been an hour and a half drive to take nearly 3 hours. The fatigue from my run and the monotony of traffic began to set in and I found my eyes to be quite heavy. After numerous phone calls trying to find someone to chat with in an attempt to stay awake, I resorted to my ace-in-the-hole trick to keep myself alert while driving. Windows down – radio up – belt it out! Within minutes I was transformed. Drowsiness was gone – I was Carrie Underwood. No, I was better than Carrie Underwood. I was rocking out to “Cowboy Casanova” in hot pink cowboy boots, not even Carrie dares to pull that off! Of course I received a few strange stares from other drivers as they passed, or should I say I passed them (singing tends to give me a lead foot!) but I didn’t care. Rock stars are always misunderstood…..

I was approaching my big finale – vocal cords fully warmed up, attitude on full-throttle. About a half second into the high note, I heard the most awful, shrill noise. Even above the blaring radio and my own voice, it sounded like something terrible was happening. In a split second I checked my rear view mirror and all side mirrors – terrified to see an 18-wheeler turned sideways hurtling towards my car. Immediately I glanced to the passenger seat to make sure Dixie was okay.

Imagine my surprise when I realize that the horrible noise is actually coming from Dixie. She was lying in the passenger seat, front paws covering her eyes, head tilted backwards, howling at the top of her lungs. I’m unsure if it was my faster-than-usual driving or apparently not-so-great singing that caused Dixie such panic, but she obviously not impressed with my performance. The nerve of that stupid ungrateful mutt dog! After all that I have done for her – she so flamboyantly belittles my talent??? Think of all the sacrifices I have made for her! I truly have no idea where her melodramatic tendencies come from – obviously not me. Of course.

So that was it. I have officially hung up my hopes of rocking the pink cowboy boots. If my own dog who licks her bum and is scared of the ironing board can’t stand to hear me sing, I’m not so sure I’ll ever be able to fill a stadium. Happy Thanksgiving to me…..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If Only Someone Had Told Me - Part II

Back in September, I posted a blog concerning little known facts I wish someone had shared with me over the past year. Tid bits of information that is valuable to young, newlyweds who recently purchased a home. I’m still working on a collection of these truths to one day create a book. Someone should share this knowledge with the inexperienced, up and coming public. Over the past two months I have learned many new lessons that I feel are only fair to pass along. Get a pen – these are good.

- Day Light Saving Time occurs twice a year. On the first Sunday in March, you should set your clocks forward an hour. On the first Sunday in November, you should set your clocks back an hour. One would think that with all the technology readily available to society, someone would have determined a way for the standard, $10 alarm clock to automatically adjust for Day Light Saving Time changes in March & November – but no. Don’t expect a phone call from mom to remind you to change your clocks (although she always did this in college). Do not rely on the media to provide helpful reminders days leading up to the change – they will inevitably let you down. Apparently this is a piece of information that all adults are expected to remember each year without reminder. So remember – otherwise you might be the unfortunate sole who shows up to church an hour early. Guess it’s the perfect opportunity for some breakfast!

- When attempting to “do it yourself” and fix minor plumbing issues, it is best to cut the water to your entire house. One might think that turn off the water to the toilet should be enough; however, it is very likely that the cause for your leaky toilet might actually be a broken water valve. In which case, you might *think* you have turned off water supply to the toilet, when in fact the water is still running freely. This can cause BIG problems when you remove the pipe that you believe to be the source of leak. Please take this word of advice. Otherwise you might find yourself (as I did in October) standing in two inches of water trying desperately to stop the gushing water that is raging from the water pipe in your guest bathroom while your husband frantically searches for the main water line in the dark to avoid flooding the entire house. Sure, everybody loves a good “We’ll laugh about this someday” moment – but not at 10pm while your guest bathroom, office & guest bedroom spill over with free flowing water and your boxer puppies scamper through the mounds of water like kids in a water park. Trust me on this one – better safe than soaked!

- For all new wives who dream of one day hosting Thanksgiving dinner at their house – DON’T! I still have not had the “pleasure” of hosting this wonderful holiday at my home – but I did experience a small taste of how stressful planning & cooking a meal of that magnitude can be. My mother-in-law recently had ankle surgery and was unable to stand for long periods of time in order to cook the Thanksgiving feast. I gladly volunteered to take on the challenge hoping this would be my opportunity to shine in the kitchen and learn the secrets of her amazing cooking. I learned the secrets alright! Burning yourself multiple times, standing on your feet for hours on end, chopping, grinding, stirring, blending. You even have to mix the dressing with your hands (yes – I almost threw up!) Somehow in the mix of all the mayhem, you must make sure that every dish is placed in the oven at exactly the correct time at the right temperature so that everything comes out of the oven piping hot and ready to be served all at the same time. AND you have to clean up after yourself as you go along. (Since when do kitchens not clean themselves – aren’t the husbands supposed to clean if the wife cooks??) Did I mention that this cooking actually spanned two days? We cooked all night Wednesday evening and began again Thursday morning. I mean honestly, by the time the meal was served I was so exhausted that I barely had an appetite. I didn’t even eat a piece of pumpkin pie for Pete’s sake. Give me a Thanksgiving feast that magically prepares itself at someone else’s house any day. Who needs praise and glory?? I’ll take lazy and blissfully full please!

- I’ve mentioned the little known wonders of car insurance before, but I have two new uses to add to the list. Most comprehensive plans also reimburse policy holders for lockouts & towing!! It may not sound like the coolest perk in the world, but it certainly comes in handy. Let’s say for example, Wife A drives around with both sets of keys in her car for a week solid. Yes, Husband B has said numerous times that Wife A should not have both sets of keys in her car because she will be out of luck if she locks her keys in the car. But (as can happen) Wife A. is very busy and distracted and does not heed Husband B’s warning. Well wouldn’t you know when both sets of keys get locked in the car Husband B might have a tendency to become more than furious with Wife A? The only saving grace for me Wife A was that the $60 it cost to have my her doors unlocked was reimbursed by the insurance company. Thank the Lord for kind locksmiths who feel bad for poor little wives who lock themselves out of the car – he was kind enough to tell me to call my insurance company!

So there you have my most recent bits of valuable information. I hope they are able to save someone a little time and frustration – because Lord knows I have spent a good deal of time fuming over the stress these life lessons have caused me!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods - Here's My Theory

I'm sure you have all read about the recent fiasco Tiger Woods has caused for himself. The media is going crazy with this one. At first I thought, "Big deal! The man got into a car accident outside his home and everyone is acting like the Pope died."

After learning the police have requested Tiger's hospital records to determine if the injuries he sustained from the "accident" were indicative of a car crash or more likely a result of domestic violence, the truth hit me like a bolt of lightening.

Tiger Got Beat!!! He came home way too late one night (2:30 am to be exact) with some tell-tell sign that set his wife off. She made some wild accusation that turned out to be true and Tiger was caught like a deer in the head lights. Elin (previously mentioned wife) grabbed the first thing she could get her hands on (one can only imagine golf clubs litter the hallways of Tiger's home) and starting wailing on the guy. Tiger fled from the house scared out of his mind. Oh no - that wasn't working for Elin. She ran after him, golf club in hand and bashed in both windows to his Escalade. Poor Tiger (insert sarcasm) was so distraught and bewildered that he couldn't even back out of his own driveway. CRASH! There goes the fire hydrant. OH NO - did I just hit my neighbor's tree?? Really Tiger - you married the woman. You had to know she had a streak of crazy somewhere in her. You honestly thought it would be a good idea to run around on her? Apparently she taught you another valuable way to utilize your 5 iron.

I know she might go to jail if she is convicted - but I say GOOD FOR HER! I wish she would call a press conference and state two simple sentences: "Heck yeah I beat the cheater. I'd do it again!" Elin is not one of the celebrity wives that looks the other way. Amen! Amen!

Perhaps I'm being heartless here, but I simply cannot help myself. I warned Steven after hearing the most recent update concerning the ongoing investigation. "Let that be a lesson to you. If you ever come into our home later than you should and having been somewhere that you shouldn't have been - I will beat you with whatever I can get my hands on. I don't care if it's my stilettos, the fire poker or Dixie - I will cause you more pain than you could imagine. I will beat you and call your Mama and brag about it." I mean it too! The headlines will read, "Idiot husband loses family jewels after running around on wife."

Steven was quite frustrated and wondered how a cheating Tiger Woods meant that he needed to be yelled at. I say a good warning never hurt anybody. Ever heard of "The Fear of God"? Well I'm working on a little thing I like to call, "The Fear of Amber". I seem to be doing a pretty good job. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Can I just take a moment to say how incredibly excited I am about the upcoming holiday season?? Something about this time of season puts an extra pep in my step! This year it seems as if the holidays are on crack! Is it just me, or has the holiday season kicked off early this year? Two radio stations in Charlotte are playing Christmas music non-stop. I have seen numerous homes with Christmas trees lit and decorations littering their lawns. Many department stores already have Christmas decorations on full display. There has been talk of drastic deals for Black Friday for the past two weeks. Apparently the retail industry is doing its best to inspire some holiday cheer and entice consumers into getting off their wallets in this bleak economy.

And I am eating it up left and right! Who doesn’t love cheep Christmas decorations? Buying Christmas presents on sale?? (We’ve already discussed how I love a good deal.) My Christmas list is made. I know exactly what I want to get every person I need to shop for. Now I am just waiting and looking for the best deal possible. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holidays!

I know that some may feel burdened by the sooner than normal onset of the holidays. I’m sure for many the thought of keeping up this holiday cheer for a full two months seems exhausting and overwhelming. I must say, I’m loving it! I cannot wait to decorate my home with Christmas cheer this weekend. I’m looking forward to sitting by the fire with the Christmas tree glowing and Dixie and Bauer fretting over all the clutter. I am generally a happier person from Thanksgiving Day thru New Years Day. So take advantage of my Yule tide merriment. Come January 2nd I will be back to my pessimistic, overworked self! J

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Self Revelation

So I’ve had a revelation. Many people have been trying to tell me this for many years and I have just been too stubborn to listen – but I have had a self revelation and I finally see myself as I really am: I AM CHEAP! I know. It’s taboo – it’s tacky to be cheap, but I am. I love saving money. I hate paying full price for anything. I stray away from cutesy boutiques because everything is overpriced. Give me a Wal-Mart and I’m happy. Give me coupons at Wal-Mart and I’m in heaven.

Steven complains often about my obsession with finding the best deal. I cannot tell you how many times he has said, “My mother never used Great Value ketchup. Heinz only Amber!” or “Seriously, this $1 shampoo is making my scalp burn!” or “Please buy real Q-tips. These stupid plastic things keep bending in my ears!” My favorite is, “I cannot make decent spaghetti sauce with these crappy Wal-Mart tomatoes! (Amazing how I make great chilli with crappy Wal-Mart tomatoes.) Apparently I married a name brand snob (Kathy – how did this happen?!) So we have had to work on a few compromises in our house over this past year. I buy Heinz ketchup, Loreal shampoo, name brand Q-tips & Bertolli pasta sauce. Steven has learned how to eat Great Value brand for many staple items in our pantry.

In my defense, I come by it honest. I have cheap on both sides of my family. My mother is frugal. She can take $50 and buy more with it than any woman I have ever known. Her eyes light up when she sees a Wal-Mart. My Mema (dad’s mom) took the word “frugal” to a whole ‘nother level. Let’s call a spade a spade – she was cheap! In her defense, she was a product of the depression. She learned how to survive on very little and lived very meagerly. She always lived by the motto that just because you had lots of money to spend, didn’t mean that you had to spend a lot of money. Mema’s store of choice was K-Mart. If K-Mart didn’t have it, she didn’t need it.

So my whole life I have been taught that saving money is a good thing. I truly believe it is a good thing. Why would I pay $1 for an item at a pricy local grocery store when I can pay $.50 at Super Wal-Mart. (For the naysayers – the price difference is that great!) And if I have a $.25 coupon and can get the item for $.25, well that’s something to get excited about! I know that most people see “Coupon Women” in line at the grocery and think “Oh my goodness – how ridiculous. Just pay full price and stop holding up the line!” Not me! I think, “Good for you! You go girl – save that money! Stick it to the man. You’re too smart to pay full price!” I feel a kindred spirit with other women who are cheap and proud.

So that’s it. I’m cheap! As Steven recently called me, “My wife – the coupon queen” – that’s me! One day, when we have a nice bank account and can retire before the rest of our friends, he’ll thank me. Until then, he’ll just have to learn to live with off brand tomatoes.

**Just a side note before I make myself sound like a vagabond - every cheap person has their extravagance to splurge on. I don’t even want to know how much money mom has invested in scrapbooking materials. Granted, she probably bought most of it on sale – but I guarantee she has spent a lot. Mema had a jewelry collection that would rival any Southern belle. Of course she always said, “Oh Winford, you shouldn’t have!” every time she opened the shiny boxes. I haven’t quite figured out what my extravagance is just yet. I do love a fabulous designer bag. I also enjoy travel which is by far the most expensive hobby you can have. We’ll see which passion wins out over the next few years.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have a Happy Period!

Caveat: If you are a man, you might not want to read this!

I saw the most offensive commercial I have ever seen in my life last night. The catch phrase of this commercial was so appalling that I had to rewind and replay it twice just to make sure I heard it correctly.Always – the tampon/feminine product company – is apparently trying to revamp its imagine and has created a new slogan. The commercial did contain very alluring information – a panty liner that doesn’t budge!?! A woman in an all white dress was performing gymnastics, acrobatics and contortionism in order to prove that this “all new” panty liner was the most durable product on the market. I mean really, really!?!? Who would actually wear an all white dress on her period? I don’t care how amazing your panty liner/tampon is. You’re just looking for trouble!

But okay – it’s a panty liner. How dazzling can an advertisement really be? I’ll give them credit for trying to glamorize one of the most disgusting products in the world (Think about the purpose of those things!). It wasn’t until the last line of the promo that I thought I was going to come unglued. As the beautiful, energetic woman in white faded into the background with a smile on her face the announcer read “Always – Have a Happy Period!”

I’m sorry?? Did you just tell me to have a happy period?? You’re trying to sell me a panty liner and have the audacity to tell me to have a happy period? Well this just proves that men really did invent panty hose, tampons & high heels because no woman in her right mind would ever say “Have a happy period!” It’s like telling an actor “Good luck!” Only a man would have created this ad campaign as well. A woman would know that by saying, “Have a happy period!” the company loses all credibility with women world wide. How can you claim to know how to engineer the perfect panty liner that absorbs everything and eliminates leaks when you obviously have no freaking clue what a period is!!!

We’re not just talking blood here people. If only that were the worst of it. I can deal with the bleeding for five days. Granted, the constant bleeding does cause you to feel a little faint and possibly queasy majority of the time, but that’s just part of the territory. I might even be able to handle the insane breakouts that come during that special time of the month. I mean who doesn’t enjoy looking like they are 15 again? What I can’t deal with are the intense mood swings and horrific cramps.

This is just something that men can’t seem to understand. If I have told him once, I’ve told him a hundred times. “Yes, Steven, I am being completely unreasonable. I am crying at the commercial with the puppy. And now because you are laughing at me for crying, I am furious. I’m not just furious, I am irate. You are the most insensitive man in the world. The only thing that will remotely make this situation better right now is if you run to the store and bring me a Coke icy and Snickers.” You would think month after month he would just learn not to laugh at me when I start crying at the puppy commercial… And here’s the thing: It may be unreasonable, but we just don’t care! Our emotions are out of whack - our hormones are off the charts! Men will always be wrong and women will always be right during that time of the month!

Onto the cramps. Even though most birth controls temper the pain of menstruating, most women still experience at least one day of mind numbing cramps. It feels as if someone has my uterus in their hands and is trying to give me an Indian burn. Simultaneously, it feels as if someone else is dragging a knife up and down my lower back. My legs feel like utter jello – which at this point may be a blessing in disguise because I don’t know if I can handle another aching part of my body. The worst part is the cramps generally wait to hit at the most inopportune time: at work, at church, during a workout, during a night out. So not only am I in excruciating pain, I’m also in uncomfortable clothes and sweating profusely all while trying to act like everything is “A-okay”. This is why women are better than men. Every man I know gets a little head cold and he turns into a child again. Women deal with true illness every month and the world keeps spinning round.

So please – Mr. Director for the “Always” commercial – don’t tell me to have a happy period. I will NOT being buying your product, because you have insulted me beyond belief. It’s as if you are mocking me. Have a Happy Period. Enjoy those cramps ladies. As a matter of fact welcome them. Embrace the bloating and fatigue. You’re a woman – it’s your blessing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Seriously - It's Winter Already?

What in the world is up with this weather? Literally one week ago it was 80 degrees here and I was running around in shorts and a tee shirt and this morning I am bundled in my winter coat and wool sweaters! It’s only mid October! Did I blink and miss Fall?? Is it really time to break out the wool socks, oversized sweaters & scarves already? Who says there is no such thing as global warming!?!

As if it were not enough that Homecoming weekend at Wingate was borderline miserable due to the unexpected chill and uncooperative weather, Steven and I had the unfortunate experience of sleeping last night in a house that was 50 degrees! Apparently the breaker to the AC/heating unit was somehow flipped during our recent bathroom renovations. We have had our AC unit turned off for the past week so we did not realize this mishap. The sudden temperature drop prompted us to turn on the heat yesterday afternoon only to find the heat did not work. We just assumed that it was broken since we have not tried to use it since last winter. Considering it was Sunday, we decided our only option was to bundle up and suck it up. Around 11:00 we grudgingly drug ourselves to the bedroom and prepared to shiver ourselves through a sleepless night.

Thank the Lord for Dixie & Bauer! I generally hate sleeping in the bed with them because they both give off an enormous amount of body heat. Usually I wake up drenched in sweat with no covers on my body because I am so hot due to my doggy blanket. Not last night! Steven and I welcomed Dixie and Bauer into the bed and happily allowed them to get under the covers and curl up around us. I swear the only reason my toes did not get frost bite throughout the evening is because Bauer insisted on using them as a pillow. Again, any other night I would have hated having his 15 pound head on my legs because I always wake up in the middle of the night with tingling, numb legs. Last night on the other hand, I figured tingling, numb legs were a much better option than frozen solid legs. As always, Dixie resolved to sleep directly in between Steven and myself (heaven forbid we show one another more affection than we show Dixie!) I was more than willing to lay aside my jealous tendencies last night and allow her to sleep in the middle. She provided perfect warmth for both of us! Without a doubt the only reason I did not wake up to chattering teeth is because my overly affection dogs were more than eager to curl up with us all night long.

Our house was so cold that even Bauer didn’t want to get out of the bed this morning. He wakes every morning at 6:30 and begins pacing circles around the bedroom floor until I let him outside. Not this morning! He jumped out of the bed, realized how cold it was and immediately got back in bed and burrowed himself under the covers. When I finally willed myself out of the bed and looked at the thermostat, I swear it read 51 degrees! I could literally see my breath. What a great wakeup call.

While taking my scalding hot, incredibly long shower and worrying about how much money I was going to have to shell out to fix this heating problem, it dawned on me: The heating unit wasn’t broken – the breaker had been flipped while Steven was trying to cut the power to master bathroom earlier this week! When Steven didn’t jump out of bed the first time I explained my theory to him, I not so politely demanded that he check it out! Voile! It worked – we slept in a freezing cold room for nothing. But at least I’m not going to have to shell out tons of money to keep my house warm this winter! I’m sure Dixie and Bauer will be very disappointed when they aren’t allowed in the bed tonight. Yes I know – they really are so mistreated!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who Needs Kids!?!

Steven has tried to “talk me out of kids” many times. Each time I pretend to listen and contemplate his concerns/points while I am actually daydreaming about Pee Wee football and matching Osh Kosh overall outfits for my beautiful sons (no girls please!). Little does Steven know that every time he makes these suggestions, my internal time line for having children somehow gets moved up. However, he may have momentarily had me convinced this weekend. We were enjoying a lazy afternoon on the couch catching up on the week’s DVR. Steven was lying on the couch with Dixie snuggled into his chest and I was seated at the end of the couch, feet propped up on the coffee table. Bauer (as usual) was throwing a chew toy into the air and chasing it down – providing entertainment for the entire family. Exasperated because Dixie would not come and play with him, Bauer leapt onto the couch and plopped onto my lap just like a small child would. He gave me a quick “love you mom!” lick and nestled in with the rest of us.

It was this precious moment with my husband and puppies that gave Steven the fuel he needed to make his most convincing “How bout we don’t have kids?” speech yet. Seeing my love and affection for Bauer he jumped at the chance to insist, “Why do we need kids? We have everything we need with Dixie and Bauer. No one will ever love us more than they do. They act like children. They demand our time like children. They adore us like a child would. Plus they are a lot cheaper!”

I laughed off his comments at first – but over the past few days I have really begun to notice there might be some truth to his statement. For those of you who do not know my dogs, I will provide a little background. We purchased Dixie at 5 weeks old without realizing how young she was. The horrid trainer at Pet Smart convinced us that she was going to die because she was too young be taken from her mother and we were horrible pet owners. As a result, I would not let Dixie out of my sight the first four weeks she was with us. She slept in the bed with us, sat on the couch with us and I constantly showered her with love and affection. Little did I know – this dog is resilient and nothing phases her. All my pampering and worrying only created a monster. Over a year and a half later, Dixie cannot (CANNOT!) be near Steven or myself without wanting to be in our laps or on our chest. If she feels neglected (pa-lease!) she will actually whine and whimper until one of us yield to her demands and indulge her need for attention. She is one of the most loving, compassionate dogs I have ever seen. But I am certain that Dixie does not realize that she is actually a dog. She is demanding, brassy & incredibly confident. It is clear when Dixie is angry or upset and she has absolutely no problem ignoring Steven or myself if we hurt her feelings. (Sounds a great deal like a teenage girl, right!?!? Lord knows I don’t need two of those running around my house!)

Onto Bauer….I’m not quite sure where to start. Bauer can only be likened to a 3-year-old, full throttle, “isn’t scared of anything” little boy. His energy is overly abounding. There is not a toy that we have purchased for him that he has not found a way to demolish. Additionally, he insists upon chewing my door mats every time we leave the house. It is nearly impossible to reprimand him because he has the most adorable “I swear it was Dixie – please don’t stop loving me” look you’ve ever seen! Majority of the time his spastic antics are too hilarious to make us mad, even though we really shouldn’t let him get away with so much. He worships Dixie just like a little brother would worship his big sister. He annoys and pesters her on a daily basis and is always taunting her to try and get a rise so she will wrestle with him. I find myself smiling often at how child like and endearing his really is.

So as you see, I really am beginning to believe I may have all the family I need. I guess only time will tell what we actually decide to do. But after my reflection, I definitely realize I am set on “kids” for a while!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If Only Someone Had Told Me!

I’ve been thinking a lot about “adulthood” the past few weeks. I recently spent some time at Wingate as an advisor for my sorority and it made me realize how drastically my life has changed in the two and half years that I have been out of college. During that time I have worked my first “career” job, planned a wedding, become a wife, purchased my first two pets and purchased my first home. That’s a lot of change in 26 months! No wonder I feel so tired and cranky sometimes – my body is having a hard time keeping up with my life changes!

I have learned many difficult lessons through these life transitions. It is my belief that fully transitioned adults are really holding out on us up and comers. They are full of wisdom from trial and error – but they don’t share any of it with the young adults. I know that my parents and family friends cannot possibly enjoy watching Steven and I squirm and panic through life’s new challenges. (Could they!?!?) So I’m forced to ask – why was I not given a “Book of Do’s & Don’ts” when I got married? All those showers, all those beautiful, thoughtful gifts – and no one told me anything about practical living!

So I’m starting a book. It’s going to be a best seller. It will be based upon my life with Steven and the hilarious/scary/painful lessons we have learned over the past few years and all those that I am sure God has in store for us. This book is for women, and at times might be considered offensive to men. (Whoops!) But there is a big difference from a young wife and young husband – and I’m telling this like I see it! Here is just a preview of pearls of wisdom I intend to share with young wives or new home owners:

*If you own a home – you should own a fire extinguisher. A new home does not automatically come with a fire extinguisher (trust me, I know). You have to go out and buy one. They can be purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot. This will come in very handy when you have a car fire during the middle of the night or the first time you attempt to “deep fry” chicken wings. Don’t be cheap – buy the fire extinguisher.

*Pets are a joy. They are loving, devoted & entertaining. But do not let that fool you. Pets are also a nuisance. They are destructive, demanding & expensive. Do not panic the first time you come home and they have chewed up your brand new rug. Do not panic when they knock over your expensive table lamp and it shatters into pieces. You are the BOSS! Pets are like men – they must be trained and disciplined. Use these instances as a learning tool to teach your pet the consequences of bad behavior. Eventually they will figure out what it means to be a “good dog” and they will act accordingly.

*You’re mother was right – you will never change your man and living with them is even more difficult than you would expect. Learn to accept his disgusting or obnoxious habits – try to find them endearing as opposed to infuriating. So what if he hangs his wet towel on the door instead of the towel rack? What man doesn’t do that??? Who cares if he always puts his dirty dishes in the sink instead of in the completely empty dishwasher? At least he got them to the sink, right? Romance is completely overrated. Nicholas Sparks is a real life villan whose novels should be banned from the public because he gives women a false sense of desire & romance. As long as your man keeps coming home to you every night and gives you a kiss once and while – you should be a happy woman. (In case it is not obvious, I am being completely sarcastic. The fact is – men are men. They are wired different than we are. The sooner you learn to love them in spite of everything they do that drives you crazy – the more likely you are to get a romantic evening every once and a while!)

*Home owner’s insurance and car insurance can be more valuable than you would expect! Contrary to popular belief, car insurance covers you under circumstances other than just wrecks. If for some reason, your car were to catch on fire or be damaged in a flood – no need to freak out. You aren’t completely out of luck and liable for your car loan. You’re insurance company will either pay for the damages or pay your fair market value for your car! (Wish I had known that one before my mini panic attack when my car caught on fire last March!) There is a reason that you pay all that money each month – and it’s completely worth it!

*Speaking of cars – you have to pay property taxes on them every year. Yes – the county will send you a tax bill once a year and you actually have to pay a couple hundred bucks! I guess in high school/college our parents paid this for us?? But when you’re on your own, the bill comes to your front door. Expect it – and save for it. It’s never a good idea to be delinquent on your taxes.

*I don’t care what people say – it is always acceptable to cry at work if your boss is a man. If you’re having a bad day and just need a break, a couple of tears might just do the trick. He is a man – just like your husband or father. Just like the rest of them, it makes him uncomfortable and he somehow feels responsible. More than likely he will send you home for the rest of the day (with pay!) and tell you to take it easy. Obviously, something must be very wrong if you are so upset. He does not need to know that you are on your period and someone just took the last Snickers bar from the vending machine. **Warning – if your boss is a woman, this will not work. She will consider you spoiled and childish. She can make it through her period without a Snickers and so can you!

There are many, many more tidbits that I intend to share. If nothing else, I’ll give them to my sister and Michelle when they get married. This roller coaster ride of “adulthood” is scary enough when you somewhat know what to expect. But you would be surprised at home many things have caught me off guard the past two years.

Stay tuned – more to come….

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Bucket List

So I watched the movie “The Bucket List” last night and it got me thinking about things that I would like to accomplish before I kick the bucket (or preferably before I’m 35 as most of these items I would probably enjoy more in my youth!). So I’m putting this out there – so hopefully I will hold myself to it and actually accomplish my dreams. Some are incredibly silly, but valid desires – others are more “note worthy” if you will. Either way, here is a list of 10 things I hope to accomplish before I turn 35.

Run a marathon

Own a pair of ridiculously expensive, sexy, completely impractical Manolo Blahniks

Witness a miracle

Scuba dive off the coast of Greece

Go to the Iron Bowl & have good seats

Own a vacation property (so probably not before 35 – a girl can dream!)

Take a road trip to the west coast with all the good stops: Grand Canyon, that place with the super huge trees, see the Pacific Ocean….

Bungee Jump

See U2 live in concert

Own a pair of size 6 designer jeans (Yes – for the skinny girls that seems pathetic. But this just might be my most unattainable goal as God has blessed/cursed me with lots of junk in my trunk and those child bearing hips!)

There you have it. I’m on my way to the marathon. I’m running a half marathon in December and intend to run the Marine Corp Marathon in October 2010 in DC. More than likely the others will have to wait. I’ve got a good 10 years! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guard Dogs on Crack

I really don’t know why we have Dixie & Bauer. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dogs. I'm just not sure why we actually have them. The April before we were married, we decided to buy Dixie to keep me company and be my guard dog when Steven traveled. Once we moved into the house last August, we decided to get Dixie a companion and add additional security with a male dog. I think the overall intent or purchasing two, 70 pound boxers was so that I would sleep better at night while Steven traveled.

Talk about a swing and a miss! I swear these dogs make getting a decent night’s sleep impossible when Steven is gone. They go on absolute high alert. Last night was the worst! A contractor came out around 6 to check our roof for hail and wind damage. All the banging around on the roof apparently set the dogs off. Dixie stood on my chest (yes – forced me to lay down flat on the couch as she stood on all fours on my chest!) and barked at the door the entire 15 minutes of the inspection. For the rest of the night they barked and growled at every little sound imaginable. Noisy kids playing in the street?? You better believe they were barking. Car drives by the house late at night? Growl..bark...growl..bark! Air conditioner turns on at 4 in the morning? Somebody alert the press! We are in grave danger and howling & barking must commence!

I mean, do you know what is like to be in a deep, blissful sleep and be awoken by two angry, paranoid dogs who are barking like mad at the ceiling fan?? I do! It’s not pleasant! Around two am they went into a tirade because of the ceiling fan and I felt my whole body literally go airborne when they started barking. What’s worse is that they insist on sleeping on either side of me. It’s as if they believe if I am sandwiched in the middle of them, nothing could possibly happen. So when they begin barking and growling at God knows what during all hours of the night – they are actually barking and growling directly into both my ears! Maybe I’m just being dramatic, but I found it a tad difficult to sleep smashed between two 70 pound dogs who give off enough heat to warm a small village in the dead of winter. Additionally, their random outbursts left my heart racing and I swear at one point I thought I had actually wet myself of sheer terror and shock. It’s quite aggravating to be jolted from sleep believing the only reason your dogs could be barking so ferociously is because a mad man is standing over your bed with a gun only to realize they are barking at the crickets chirping outside.

So needless to say, I’m irritable today. I’m tired. I’m scared out of my wits. I have this incessant ringing in my ears. I’m having a tiny bit of buyer’s remorse. Mostly I’m dying for Steven to come home. Apparently Steven is such a tough man that we can all sleep soundly and safely when he is at home – no need to sound the alarm at every little disturbance! Seriously – we should have just paid for ADT!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Can't Believe I'm Saying This

So this is pretty big. I am considering doing the unthinkable – becoming an Alabama fan. My team is currently, and always has been, Auburn. So this is kind of the ultimate betrayal imaginable. I’m sure that my mother has never been so ashamed of me. But here are my reasonings:

Steven is a die-hard Alabama fan. To an obnoxious point, in fact. There is no chance that any of my children will ever become Auburn fans – EVER. So if I continue to remain an Auburn fan, I am looking a lifelong struggle against my family. I can only imagine the solitude I will feel when my husband and beautiful little boys are all dressed in Alabama gear and cheering in front of the TV and I am still an Auburn fan – forbidden to join in their joy and banter. It’s really a depressing thought.

Additionally, I no longer am surrounded by a single Auburn fan – anywhere. No one to watch the games with, no one to help keep me up-to-date on the latest stats and players. I don’t have time to read all the articles to be in the know. I need to be close to an avid fan who can keep me informed. Considering my husband’s obsession with Alabama football, I would actually be a better Alabama fan than I currently am an Auburn fan. I would know more about the team! And if Alabama and Auburn are ever playing a game at the same time – our TV is always on the Alabama game – no question. So now, I would never have to miss one of my team’s games. Also, tickets to SEC football games are ridiculously expensive! As it is now, if Steven and I want to go to a game together, one of us is paying good money for a ticket to see a team that we don’t even support. If we both cheered for Alabama, we could justify purchasing two expensive tickets to an Alabama game because we would both enjoy the game and be rooting for our team.

All in all, I feel as though this may just be one of those sacrifices that married women have to make. Sometimes one person in a relationship makes changes in order to accommodate and make their lives together more enjoyable. This may just be my contribution. I’m only 24 years old. If I become an Alabama fan now – Steven and I can have many amazing years of Alabama football to share together. This could actually be the tie that keeps our marriage going strong for years to come.

I know if I make this switch I will be shunned by some. I can only imagine the cracks my family will take at me. Everyone other than my mother and sister are Alabama fans – so while I’m sure they will enjoy my change of heart – I know that I will not be welcomed into the fold without a great deal of torture and torment. They will have to make sure that I am Alabama worthy. Steven has already set a list of tasks that I have to complete before he will recognize me as a true Alabama fan. This is proving to be more difficult than changing my last name….

Still haven’t decided yet – but I’m feeling like I should declare my loyalties soon before we get too far into the season. I think I just keep looking for some sort of sign…

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