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

MY FIRST BLOG AWARDS!

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: http://www.letssaythanks.com/. 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
Original

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

Elf

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!


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