Tuesday, November 22, 2011

October - Month of Travel

October was a Month-o-Travel for us.  We traveled every single weekend.

Here's what we were up to:

The first weekend of October, we traveled to Little Boo's 4th birthday party.

Can't believe she's already 4.  Seems like yesterday we got to be there when they brought her home from the hospital and she was sooo tiny.  Boo is a spunky, athletic, sweet, funny and independent little girl.  My hubby has a soft-spot for her that I think is precious.  We all had a great time at her birthday party and she got a ton of 4-year-old-type-fun presents.

The second weekend, we went camping with Brandon's sister, Kim and her husband, Billy:

We camped out both Friday and Saturday nights.

 They cooked an awesome steak dinner the first night with baked potatoes and salad.

 And the next morning we cooked our breakfast (eggs, bacon & hash browns) in brown paper bags over the fire:
 There just so happened to be an Arts & Crafts Fair going on in the town where we camped, so we headed over there and spent a good chunk of time on Saturday checking out the festival.

 Then it was back to the campsite to roast hot dogs and a few too many s'mores!  

The next morning, Kim made a skillet breakfast for us before we had to load up and head out.

We had a great time and can't wait to go with them again!

The third weekend, we ventured to Ohio to visit Brandon's friend (& groomsman at our wedding), Brian, and his family.  Brandon and Brian were also running in a half marathon together.

Brian's wife, Emily, did her best to get us to different points along the race route in hopes that we'd get to cheer them on along the way.  But the guys were running a little ahead of schedule, so we kept missing them.  Luckily, we got to the finish line moments before they crossed.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of Brian crossing, but you can see Brandon below - he's behind the guy in the bright shirt - with his arms are up in the air in victory.

Even all sweaty and stinky - he still melts my heart!

Here's Brian and Emily:

And their three kiddos:

K was so sweet.  At first, I didn't think she'd warm up to me, but she did after a while.  And by the time we left, she had painted my nails, fixed my hair and let me make a melted-bead creation with her.

D was hilarious and so tender-hearted.  We were pals from the moment we walked in the door, although as the weekend went on, Brandon became his bud when he read about 5 books in a row to him.

Little L's expression are so cute!  I followed him around with my camera for a while and he loved looking at himself on the camera screen...although I have to admit that most of the shots I got of him were blurry.  this little guys is on the move!

The 4th and 5th weekends of October we were traveling to and from Williamsburg, VA.  I've run out of time for blogging today, but I'll post a few pictures from that trip soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Throwback Thursday

On November 7, Brandon and I celebrated our "First Date-o-Versary."  That's right - November 7 was two years since our very first date! 

We were introduced by a mutual friend in September 2009 through facebook (she thought we'd hit it off, so we added each other as facebook friends), and for the first couple months, we corresponded through emails and talked on the phone.  Finally, we decided to go on a first date and officially meet each other in person.

We met up in the parking lot of a big mall in the Ville and then went to dinner at an Asian place and had coffee at a locally-owned shop.  We basically closed down both places, as we talked until around 11pm.  

Brandon wore a light pink colored button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up slightly and khaki pants.  His hair was longer in those days and he had it pulled back into a ponytail.  He also sported a very thick, reddish colored goatee.

I remember he asked me what I wanted and ordered for me at the coffee shop...that seemed very gentlemanly to me.  I couldn't tell you what we talked about really.  I was nervous....and honestly, rather guarded.  But Brandon is a great conversationalist, so I know we didn't lack for things to discuss.

This is only where our story begins though.  About 3 months after our first date, we actually stopped dating for a time (before we got back together and eventually got married) - but that's another blog post for another day.
I don't have a picture of us from that very first date, but the picture below is from a couple weeks later (and was our very first picture together) when we double-dated with Mike & Shannon.  We all went bowling and then we to an Irish pub for dinner.

November 28, 2009

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Computer Woes

Last Thursday, my computer crashed - the hard drive went berserk and wouldn't do a thing.  It started shutting everything down, hiding all my files, telling me it was out of memory, giving me warnings about temperature & the speed of rotation....lots of crazy stuff!

It was all of a sudden too.  I had no previous warnings, it wasn't doing anything 'iffy' prior to.....it just simply crashed.

The unfortunate part, is that it had been August since I had backed up any files or photos (and most of the last few months I've been scanning and scanning things & saving them to my computer).  But it had been 2009 (!) since I had last backed up my iTunes!

Luckily (and seriously by the grace of our awesome God), I was able to run my computer in 'safe mode' and grab my files & photos (so I didn't loose anything there) and Brandon was later able to copy my iTunes (the entire folder) off to his hard drive (so nothing lost there either!!).

The hard drive was completely shot though, and after getting all my stuff off, we went to Best Buy and purchased a new hard drive (much cheaper than replacing the entire computer).

Over the weekend, Brandon installed the new hard drive and I began to put all my programs back onto my computer, installing them one at a time.  Some I had to re-download from the web, some I had product disks for from when I had purchased them. 

As of last night, I finally got the computer back to where it was before the crash.

Moral of the story - BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER FREQUENTLY!!!  Fortunately, I married a techie kind of guy who is well versed in computers or I would have lost everything I hadn't backed up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Throwback Thursday

I decided to start a new Thursday routine on my blog called "Throwback Thursday."  From past experience, I've learned that if I have something I'm shooting for blogging about weekly, I'm more likely to blog in general.  So, Throwback Thursday will just be a fun way to share old pictures, memories, stories....anything really that I want to 'Throwback' to and remember or share.

For the first ever Throwback Thursday....

Two pictures of me in the year 1994 in my high school marching band uniform. This would be my freshman year of high school making me about 15 years old. This was also my first year in marching band. I played the piccolo (like a small flute). This would be the only year I would actually march. I was in marching band all 4 years of high school, but my sophomore & junior years,  I played stationary  instruments (things like xylophones) on the sidelines in what's called the "pit".  And my senior year, I was the Field Commander (head band geek?).

Sorry for the quality of these photos. Right as I was going to blog this, my computer decided to crash, so these are pictures of pictures (couldn't scan them).

Every weekend in the fall consisted of all day Saturday competitions. I think the best we ever placed during my years in the Ridge Regiment was about 8th or 9th in the State. I loved marching band!!  And some of my closest friends in high school were my fellow band members. Most people refer to the fall weather as 'Football Weather', but each time fall brings a chill to the warm days, *I* think of it as 'Marching Band Weather.'
Go Ridge!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My New 'New Normal'

Forewarning:  I have apparently forgotten how to write a short blogpost.  Thanks for reading my wordiness!

Back in May, I blogged about my 'New Normal.'  Well, now I have a new 'New Normal'.

In May, I had been unemployed for about a month, was planning my wedding that was less than a month away, had a contract on my house, and was packing everything up to move to another city.  I was so busy at times that I barely had time to eat!  I was sleeping horribly too, because I so much on my mind.  I couldn't turn off the constant to-do list running through my head each night.  I won't complain too much though, because I was overjoyed to be going through all of it and in the end be married to Brandon and get to see him every. single. day!  But shoo-whee, life was non-stop through our entire 3 and a half month engagement!

Since blogposts are more fun with pictures....here's a few fun pictures of wedding planning stuff:

Wedding Dress shopping at David's Bridal with my parents....

....where I found the perfect dress! 

Brandon and I picking out tuxes...and his awesome shoes!

A weekend in C-ville with Brandon's parents and sister putting together Wedding Invitations

A Weekend in L-ville.....my mom, Brandon's mom and I put together boutonnieres and bouquets while my Mamaw wrapped bird seed in tulle to be tossed on us at the wedding.

Licensed to Love - getting our marriage license about a month out from the wedding

Granny in D-ville making homemade butter mints....and Grandpa taste-testing them?  :)

What a fun time it was to plan our wedding - Brandon says this is the only one we're gonna do though....no matter how much fun it was!  ;)  I, On the other hand, would like us to have a wedding every couple years or so! 

So, now, on to my new 'New Normal'....

Unfortunately, I'm still unemployed.  Architectural Drafting jobs, which are usually in plenty, are pretty much non-existent right now.  No one is building!!  I've contacted every architectural firm (and several construction companies) in the city either via phone, email or snail mail, pushing my resume and cover letter their way, only to hear 'we're not hiring."  I'm starting to think outside the box and get creative in how I can market myself to other types of companies where I could still use my skills/education....instead of resolving to flipping burgers.  We'll see what the Lord provides.  Maybe now is the time to start some sort of business?  Prayers would be appreciated.

All the wedding planning is, of course, over with and the wedding was simply perfect!!  It truly was my dream wedding and I'm so thankful for the many folks who helped us pull it together so quickly.  I highly suggest a short engagement....I don't know how we could have done anything longer.  I was so ready to be Brandon's wife that I couldn't imagine having waited more than 3.5 months!  I'm about half-way through blogging about the wedding.  Read about that here.

Needless to say, I have quite a bit of time on my hand's these days.  So, for the first 2 months or so after we were married, I was unpacking boxes and finding homes for stuff every day.  I moved all my stuff into Brandon's already fully furnished 2 bedroom duplex.....so let's just say that we had to get creative on where to put all my stuff.  And believe me when I say, I come with a lot of stuff!  With numerous hobbies, unfinished projects, mass amounts of pictures, a love for dishes, lots of furniture, an abundance of knick-knacks and picture frames......we have utilized every square inch of our nearly 700 square feet.  Stuff that we deemed unnecessary/unneeded considering the size of our place or that we had more than one of (due to combining households + receiving wedding gifts), we passed along to family and friends, donated or sold at yard sale.  We also still have my parents attic full of even more of our stuff (that we I couldn't let go of) for 'later' when we buy a house.

Here's a pic of our Cozy Little Home Sweet Home:
(Only the left half is ours - the window on the far right belongs to the other half of the duplex so the division line is between those two windows under the porch)

I guess since I'm unemployed and have gotten on the other side of some major life changes....my mind has settled down too, because I'm sleeping like a baby these days!  Save for the occasional night that I have to poke Brandon in the ribs for snoring, I'm getting some good solid rest these days.  So much so that I'm dreaming like crazy.  I don't remember dreaming so much before in my life! 

Another thing I've been able to do since getting married (and not working) is cooking.  I wasn't one to cook much as a single gal.  I preferred to eat cereal for dinner rather than spend a ton of time cooking for just me.  But that didn't mean I didn't enjoy cooking.....just that I chose not to.  Since getting married, there's not too many nights that a home cooked meal isn't waiting for Brandon when he gets home form work (well, at least til October came and we were barely home - traveled every weekend!). 

I've even begun to do some meal planning before I go grocery shopping so that I have everything I need to cook the planned meal for each night....and also so we're not buying things we don't need  Also, since it's just the two of us and most recipes make larger amounts, we've been able to freeze a lot of left-overs and eat them later (saving me from cooking on a busy night).  Of course, when I go back to work, Brandon will pitch in and help cook, but for now, this works really well for us and I'm enjoying how wife-ly it feels! 

Here's a couple yummy recipes I've tried:

Left: Caribbean chicken with black beans and spanish rice
Right: Pot Pie from scratch (even the crust!) with fried green tomatoes (from my Granny) 

Brandon does cook every now and then....his specialty is Chicken Stir Fry and it is Dee-Lish!!

I've only had one big mishap in the cooking department so far.....a slight Pyrex explosion.  They replaced the dish though and Brandon ran to Chic-fil-A that night since dinner was ruined, so all was well, but I was an unhappy lady that night. 

Here's where I spend the majority of my days right now:

I work on several things at this little desk....including scanning lots of old pictures to digital form....and sorting through and organizing files on my laptop. 

I've got a ton of stuff to scan, the box below is only one of many (I'm a recovering pack-rat, trying to digitize things I want to keep so I can get rid of the actual item).  And see those CD's and DVD's?  Those had several pictures on them from other folks and from old back-ups of my computer.  I've gradually sorted through those to make sure they are on my current computer and back-up (actually there was even more than there is pictured here - I filled an entire grocery bag with CD's!  They've been confidentially destroyed now - it feels so good to purge!).

Along with sorting and digitizing things, I'm also organizing existing pictures and scrapbooking some.  I found these two gems the other day. 

That's me on the left when I was about 11.....yes, I was dressed like that out in public!  And that's my Dad on the right, back in the 70's....isn't he Groovy?

A couple other things I've tackled as of late are putting Brandon's Race Medals into Shadow boxes (with space for one more after he does another Marathon in April) and I crocheted a scarf (I love scarfs!).

Up Next:  Covering our couch pillows (left) with this new fabric I got (right):

Some others things I'm doing on a regular basis are attending a weekly Life Group (we're doing Beth Moore's Fruit of the Spirit study called "Living Beyond Yourself"); visiting my Grandparents in D-ville about every other week (which I'm loving!! - I've never lived so close to them before, they're only about 45 minutes away); and Brandon and I volunteer to help the Pastor at a local Hispanic church (we mainly do office work and filing and Brandon occasionally helps him put videos onto DVD's, but we enjoy it.)

Anywho....that's my new New Normal.....every day is kinda different really, depending on what I find myself getting into or dragging out.  But I'm trying to really take advantage of this time off and get a lot done.  I'll never get to live life like this again (once I get a job and/or kids come along!).

So, what's up in your world?