Spring 2017 PCB

We were supposed to have a couples beach trip with our dear friends Kelli and Seth, but ½ of the couple got called away to work, but fortunantly Kelli still made the trek down to PCB!

J and I stopped on the way down to PCB to see his parents in Albany. My requests that we be sure to leave by 8 were unheeded and we hit the road to PCB around 9. Y’all. It. Was. The. Most. Exhausting. Drive. Ever. I was driving (because of the two of us, I was the most awake one. And that is as terrifying as you think) and the roads down are long and straight and two-lane highways. J and I were chatting, I was pulling over to run around the car, and I have NEVER been so happy to be to PCB as when we got there. I was insistent on stopping at Wal-Mart on the way in to get coffee and come Friday morning, that was the best decision ever.

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Good morning, beautiful sunrise.

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Good afternoon, clear cold water.

We got the house ready and went to see Grandma before Kelli arrived. Kelli arrived late afternoon (beating us to the house because we were back at Wal-Mart buying more than coffee) and we had fun hanging out before going for oysters! We go to a local place for oysters, and we got there during happy hour. We ordered a round of Shock-tops (HUGE plastic solo cups for $1) and then we also requested some water. When the server went, “Is a bottle okay,” aka, not free, we all turned our noses up and said we’d stick with our beer. The establishments free flowing liquor was further highlighted when the table behind us got happy hour wine and the wine came in the same size solo cups as our beer. We got back to the house and I fell asleep at the table playing a game #typical.

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The next morning was breakfast, beach, lunch, snacky dinner, games, and Moana. Sunday came too soon and we were sad to go home (and even sadder to drive home through a monsoon). It was a great weekend, and we cannot wait for our couple’s trip this fall!

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How else should ice cream get down to the beach?

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My handsome one.

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Drive home!

That time the bridge fell.

So I feel like I witnessed one of those defining events that happen in big cities. Like, in 20 years my children might say, “mom, what was it like when the interstate collapsed in Atlanta?” And my response will be “it was weird. And it sucked.” But I won’t use the word “sucked” because I hope to use better vernacular by the time I have children (so I can in good faith get onto them for using poor word choices). I disgress.

But yes. The bridge fell a quarter of a mile from our house and we are 5 days into the aftermath. For posterity sake I think it will be intriguing to have a record of “where I was” when it happened, so here we go:

On Thursdays I take a gym class with my friend, and that night (known as “the night the bridge fell”) the instructor ran really, really late. He ran so late that we walked out of class and went shopping instead. We both wanted to find some dresses (and found NONE), and I needed to find my Mr. a bday present. We shopped around and lingered for about 20 minutes past we usually do. My friend drives us and when we were leaving (after grumbling about paying for parking because we ran so late) I looked over and saw a TON of cars stopped on 85 and commented “weird.” We got onto the road, then hit a TON of traffic on West Peachtree. We were grumbling about the traffic, and I was perplexed to see the GPS saying home was 6 miles away when I knew it to be only 3. Then our phones blew up. Jamie’s finance called her right when one of J’s friends called me. After saying hello I was greeted with “where are you?” I commented “I’m in some bad traffic on West Peachtree” and he goes, “I was calling because the bridge just fell by your house.” W.H.A.T.?!?!?!?! I then immediately launched into panic mode of thinking, “why are you calling me and not J?!” He then heard my tone and quickly shared that he called J first (who had no clue what was happening), who was safely at home, and that his phone was dying and J wanted him to call me to check on me (and share my location).

I looked into the awful traffic and asked my friend if she’d be cool with me bouncing to the MARTA station that was about 2 blocks behind us and after assuring me I was not being a terrible human being, I bolted home. Riding up MARTA was surreal. 85 South into the city was completely empty, and on 85 North cars were at a standstill with their drivers walking around the interstate. As soon as I got off the train I could smell the smoke in the air and saw the power out around my area. The traffic lights were out so when it came time to cross the road, I waited for someone else to get to the crosswalk; after someone else arrived I turned to him and said, “safety in numbers, let’s go” and had a buddy to run across the street with. I got home, called my BFF and greeted her with “turn on the news” and went to our balcony. We could easily see the smoke and lights, and that night eagerly watched the news on Twitter for updates.

The next morning J left early for work and I took myself to MARTA. Crossing the North Avenue bridge over the connector was spooky, as the volume was dramatically reduced. On Friday night we went to meet some friends at a location about 3 miles from our house and we spent over an hour in the car to go those few miles. They beat us to the restaurant and they were coming from Marietta.

Traffic was awful the entire time the bridge was being rebuilt. We again, live very close to it, and had to do a lot of rerouting (and sitting in traffic). We were THRILLED (as was the rest of the city) when construction was done (early!) and the bridge reopened. I knew a lot of people who said “oh, I’m going to wait to drive across the bridge” and my response was “let’s go.” Of course, my attitude is helped by being married to a traffic engineer who knows some of the ins and outs of bridge building!

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Usually not a hole there.

Marching Onwards (Goal Setting)

I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Work is not what I thought it would be at this point, and grad school is kicking my a. Instead of getting fired up, I got worn down. I stopped making goals, lost my grit, and became a generally angry person. With March brought some sparks. I’m tired of feeling like my life is living me, instead of me living my life.

One of my favorite quotes is “what can you start today that in a year you will wish you started today?” I know in a year I’ll wish that I am deeper in my relationship with the Lord. That J and I are thriving in our marriage. That I am more fit. THAT I AM PASSING GRAD SCHOOL. To be at that point means that today I need to make actions to get there.

So I am changing things up. I have started a new nightly routine and paired it with a morning routine, and that includes time with the Lord. J and I are breaking up with our cell phones in order to have more time with one another while at home. I am posting my weekly health-ish goals (thanks for the inspiration Fran). I am back to mapping out my days and making loose monthly goals. Cheers to Marching onwards in March (hehe).

February 2017 Highlight Reel

Here is our February 2017 highlight reel:

  • We celebrated our second Valentine’s Day as married people! J had class on Valentine’s Day so we used a gift card to Seasons 52 the Friday before, and I gifted J a new back-pack while he gave me roses.
  • Grad school was really, really hard.
  • I introduced some different friends to Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market.
  • J and I met some friends for jazz at the High, and then went to a restaurant that served the biggest pork chop we’ve ever seen (J and I ate on it for multiple meals).
  • I got to hear Jimmy Carter, and it was just as delightful as I thought it would be. Y’all! He and his wifey have been married for over 60 year and they still like each other! Nearly TWO entire diseases have been eradicated from the planet under his direction! He’s still spry at nearly 90! And he attributes everything to his faith. (If you cannot tell, I’m a Jimmy fan).
  • J, his brother, and his dad went to the College Football Hall of Fame while my MIL and I got our nails done and used our gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond from Christmas. It was lovely! I also discovered a new one to get your nails done and I’m hooked—it involves powder and no UV lights, strengthens your nails and looks like gel. SOLD.

A Colorado Weekend (January 2017)

J and I were both saddened when we learned that J’s best friend was moving out to Colorado with his wife. One thing that took a bit of the sting out was that his friends were moving to prime ski country. As previously mentioned J is a good skier, and visions of skiing in Colorado began dancing in his head with the announcement of their move. When the idea was launched of a trip out there J leaped on it, and we found ourselves heading out west!

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We and 4 other friends all descended into Denver around midnight on a Thursday night and after collecting our rental boat, I mean Suburban, we drove into Colorado Springs. By “we” I mean J, who rented the car in such a way that he was the only authorized driver. We enjoyed all the bells and whistles of the suburban and gratefully arrived to Colorado Springs at the B family home and passed out immediately. The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed, marveled at their view of the mountains, I fell in love with their kitty, then we packed up and headed out!

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Our first stop was Garden of the Gods, and it was beautiful. We grabbed Mexican food after lunch then headed up to Breckinridge! We were split between two cars and our car had a blast taking photos and enjoying good conversations. After a while the temperatures got colder and colder (until we got to negatives!), the elevation got higher and higher, and the snow deeper and deeper. We grabbed our rental skis in Frisco and then went to the cabin! After dinner everyone fell asleep pretty quickly.

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The next morning we geared up for the slopes, or slope, in my case. Two members of our party had never skied before and I was terrified, so we started on the bunny slope (which was bigger than anything I tried in NC). After a panic or two, J’s friend coached me through skiing and after a while I got the hang of it! I knew that a lift ticket would be a waste of money for me because I was still far from 100% (or even a solid 50%), so after lunch the guys went to the slopes and a friend stayed with me on the bunny slope for hours. When my knee started to hurt I called it a day and we went back home to shower before the guys came back. For dinner that night we went to Breckinridge and had burgers, followed by beer and conversation back at the cabin. A few of us went into the hot tub and I got to experience my hair freezing solid where it got wet when I got into the tub.

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Saturday came round and almost everyone went skiing, save 3 of us. Us who stayed behind read, chatted, and started sipping on beer around noon. Everyone had a great day! When the skiers came back we all choose to order pizza, so we had another fun night of dinner and conversation. I elected to not go into the hot tub (see: frozen hair) so I played bartender for those enjoying the hot tub.

Sunday came too soon and after breakfast we went back to Breckinridge to check out the snow sculpture competition. We were looking forward to hanging out in Denver, but we got stuck in horrible traffic on the way in and had to go right to the airport. It was a great trip with wonderful people, and J & I can’t wait to go back (and I’m even excited to ski again!).

Weekly Recap | 11/18/16

Oh sweet goodness, praise God it is Friday. This week has dragged. And dragged. And then dragged a little bit more. On Thursday morning the Mr. excitedly proclaimed upon walking into the bathroom where I was getting ready, “it’s Friday!” His disappointment at me telling him it was in fact THURSDAY was palatable.

5 nuggets from the week:

I had company last weekend and my house is still a flipping mess. A clean mess, but a flipping mess. The washed sheets need folded, air mattresses need to be re-stashed in the closet, blah blah blah. Minor inconveniences in light of fun company that I assign too much weight to.

I did my first fitness class with a buddy on Tuesday and LOVED it. Granted I could not move my body the next day, it was fantastic. J loves spin classes on Fridays and I see why—you have to turn your brain off of any distractions and just FOCUS.

The cold weather is finally arriving to our area. The T family has a strict rule that I do not get a ride to work if we leave after 6:55 a.m. That was blown out the window by my amazing hubs twice this week who took me to work, despite leaving at 7:05 both mornings. It is highly likely that I was also (very vocally and with lots of verbiage) whining about the winter weather.

Our community group had a potluck this week! I did not know quite what to bring, so I made balsamic green beans—easy and quick.

On Thursday night I joined J and some of his classmates for a night at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra! We met at MARTA and then walked over early and (I) grabbed a cocktail at the High’s restaurant. We then had a private tour of the facility, grabbed dinner (let’s ignore some hangry moments), then enjoyed a night of beautiful music (also ignoring the funeral dirges in the second part that made me pass out hard). We had never been to the ASO and it was a delight!

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Halloween Party and Weekend R

J and I hosted our 3rd annual Halloween party and we went all out!

There were decorations and thematic food, and a photo booth:

and our costumes took actual effort:

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Tying a bowtie was a slight challenge

Despite the festive-ness, it may be our last party. Do not get me wrong. It was a house full of people we all really enjoy and consider our good friends. But, with the exception of 2 couples, they were all good friends who did not know each other. J and I struggled to be in 3 different places at a time and we ended feeling stretched thin. As I was pondering it I realized at the first Halloween game night it was all J’s friends and I was the outsider. For last year’s it was mostly J’s friends and a couple sets of mine, so overlap. But this year—lots of independent circles. While we are torn about hosting a large event again and ended tired, we are glad we did it. We love our people, and it was a fun time to put on some costumes with tasty snacks.

The Sunday after the party we went to late church service so we could get our house put back together beforehand. After getting home from the “membership interest” meeting (we joined) we went to Piedmont Park and walked the Beltline and trails for about 2-2.5 hours. It was so hot and I did not feel well so there was no running involved. After getting home I prepped our lunches (chopped Brussels sprout salad for me, processed zucchini for J’s veggie side) and made dinner (stuffed cheesy chicken, roasted cauliflower, basalmic green beans, and focaccia bread from the farmers market). I worked on a photo job before going to watch Walking Dead, then hurried to bed.

A New Year’s Party & Getaway

Hubs and I love to throw a party, and he indicated that he’d love a New Year’s Wine and Cheese party to usher in 2016 consider that DONE. We asked all guests to bring a wine and cheese to share (though some went rouge and brought beer, to everyone’s enjoyment) and we provided some sweets as well. I never saw the need for “wine charms” or “wine markers” until 5 hours before the party, so we stopped at Cost Plus World Market. We’re frugal and I refused to pay $15 for bits of plastic and instead picked up gift tags that I tied onto glasses. I made a fruity punch (a blend of apple, cranberry, pomegranate, and cherry juice with diced up apples and oranges in) that guests could add their own mixer into (IMO-champs). Funny story—while we were registering back in the day, we passed a drink dispenser and J said, “babe, would you ever want one?” to which I sheepishly replied “I already have one.” The dispenser has gotten a lot of love at our parties! The party was fun and full of good friends and we all made it to midnight for a champagne toast. The party continued late into the night (I fell asleep on the sofa).

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The next morning we were awake bright and early and we saw some friends off and we took ourselves off to Durham, North Carolina for a weekend retreat.

The weekend was full of some decent food, a brewery, and we took in some lovely sights. Highlights included the Duke gardens and the brewery. J often says it does not matter what you it is just who you are with that is important and that proved true. We stayed frugal on this trip and ate dinners in and on Saturday night since we did not want to go back to our hotel at 6:30 we walked around a mall and we had so much fun window shopping and laughing at ridiculous items (and fell in like with expensive sheets). We did not consider how taxing a 6 hour drive was and we were wiped out by the time we got home, but I would not have changed our plans in the slightest. I love weekends with my love!

New job, new clothes.

The lack of blogging can be attributed nearly 100% to my funemployment switching over to real employment. I cannot be more thankful for where I work at and working is a blast. One fun part of the new job was getting to begin a total big-girl, business professional wardrobe.

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New love: Talbots. #dontjudge

I logged lots of time in dressing rooms in the week before I started work looking for appropriate duds. Hindsight says I should have gotten a few outfits then gone for more once I was in the office. I thought I’d be all about wearing trousers in this new job, forgetting I hate them. Guess what? I still hate them, but I now have quite  a few really nice pairs that I force myself to wear on a regular basis.

I did consider how I bought shoes one of my shining moments though! I hate buying shoes. Hate-hate-hate it. One night while I was lamenting my lack of finding acceptable shoes it hit me to order a boat-load, then return the extras.

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It was fantastic. I had a great time AT HOME trying on ALL the shoes I was possibly interested in, and returning the 4 pairs I did not like. The only drawback was hauling them up the stairs and then back out, but hey, small price.

I did want a grown-up lady bag, so I enlisted the help of my favorite Aunt C to aid in finding me one. She found a stellar one on sale in Wisconsin that I ordered (and visited in real life the next day to confirm how much I loved it). With it being cold now I prefer a book bag so I can keep my hands in my pocket, but I can’t wait to use it in the spring-early fall.

And that’s my work wardrobe! Spring edition will include NO pants, and more dresses.

Ice Cream! Finally.

We received some really awesome presents at our wedding and one that hubs was most excited about was the Kitchenaid Ice Cream maker attachment. Reviews talked about how very easy it was to have “fresh, homemade ice cream in no time.” Why it does take very little time for ice cream base to become ice cream, it does take HOURS of forethought and prep-work to get to having ice cream in your bowl.
Step one, the bowl. The bowl has to be frozen for at least 15 hours. I may or may have not have a small freezing problem (Freeze everything!) and bulk buy frozen broccoli. We are pretty short on freezer space in the T home. Getting the bowl into the freezer takes adult Tetris to make it fit, and prayers that nothing will smack you in the face when you open the door.
Step two, the base. I went to the grocery store last week and purchased all my ingredients (even grabbing the next to last half-and-half containers). I get home to read through the directions and BAM! This awesome mixture you make has to cool for at least 8 hours. And the mixture you cook requires moving often times hot liquid back and forth between two pans. On Sunday prep day, that is just something you don’t want to read. I despondently called out to hubs, “you’re getting ice cream later this week.” Making the base wasn’t too bad once I read through the directions in entirety a few times (a necessary kitchen skill anyway) and got it made with minimal spillage and no burns.
Step three, assemble the attachment. It took two YouTube videos to figure out how to put on the drive attachment, but after that it was smooth sailing (and it was ridiculously easy to put on. So easy that we doubted it).
Step four, make ice cream. And here is when it is really easy. Turn on the machine. Pour in the base. Set the timer. Go about your business, add in mix ins if you’d like (in our case, Oreo cookies), let it finish, enjoy. Our first endeavor was a bit soupy, but I am chalking that up to amateur problems.
AND WE ARE DONE. And having ice cream.
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