Monday, November 21, 2011

Catch up

So I haven’t done very well at keeping up with my blog lately.  Ever since I was gone for September it seems like life has been a blur.  Now, here we are almost at Thanksgiving and Black Friday!!

Adam and I had a nice October at home (for the most part).  We had free tickets to the UT/LSU football game in Knoxville so we made our first trip to the UT campus to watch the game.  I was so impressed with the stadium and fans.  The campus is really pretty as well.  We had decent seats (again, Free!) in the end zone that were covered and had padded cushions.  Unfortunately, LSU beat the Volunteers, just like they did the Mountaineers.  Nonetheless, we had a good time.  Check us out in our orange gear.  (Disclaimer:  I will always be a WV girl and Mountaineer fan, but if I’m going to live in TN I can cheer for the Volunteers as long as there’s not a conflict of interest) :p

I had to go to Baton Rouge for a week for a division wide HR meeting.  It feels so weird to be back down there.  After being around the people and the traffic for a week, I’m reminded again how happy I am to be out of that place!

In other big news, we finally got a dining room table!  It took me soo long to pick one but then we finally ended up with one from Ashley (great name!).  It has a big leaf so we can add it or not depending on how many people we’re having over.  We got 2 arm chairs and 6 side chairs.  I love it J  Only thing I’m concerned about is I don’t know if I’m going to have room for a china cabinet now.. and I can definitely use the extra storage space as the kitchen doesn’t have a pantry or many cabinets.  We got the table just in time for our HUGE first family Thanksgiving dinner.  We are having my parents, both grandmas, Adam’s parents, his sisters and their husbands, his 2 nieces, and his dog nephew which is also Henderson’s brother.  Full house!!  Everyone is staying with us except his parents and they are staying at a very nearby hotel.  This will be the first time our families have met, so we are hoping for the best and are excited for everyone to finally meet.

The biggest news of all though is my NEW car.  After almost 10 years and 105k miles, I finally traded my car for a 2012 Limited Highlander.  I just got it Friday and so far I love it.  It’s black with black leather interior and has Navigation, 4 wheel drive, and lots of other bells and whistles.  I’m sure I will love it as much as my Escape.

I also broke tradition and did something I said I’d never do (never say never, right?).  We bought a new 9’ Christmas tree over the weekend and I decorated it last night.  (As well as a 6’ tree for the dining room that’s all decked out in WVU ornaments.)  I just thought with everyone coming it’d be nice for them to see my trees because let’s face it, it’s a lot of work!!  So, there’s still a ton to do before Wednesday when everyone comes here, so Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Enjoy your families and hope you get lots of great deals on Black Friday/Thursday.    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

September Travels

The month of September was a blur.  It started out with FINALLY a trip to West Virginia for Labor Day.  I thought that by living 10 hours closer to home I would get to actually go home more often.. so far, that hasn’t been the case.  We headed to Princeton Friday after work with Mr. Henderson in tow.  It was a nice, somewhat relaxing and low key weekend with my parents, grandma and Miss Abbie.  I was super-excited to have tickets to the WVU/Marshall game in Morgantown that Sunday for several reasons but was really excited to get to take Adam to Morgantown for the first time and his first WVU home football game.  We went to the WVU/LSU game in Baton Rouge last September but it was just not the same thing as being at Mountaineer Stadium. 

We got up early and set out for Morgantown for the 3:30pm game.  All day they were calling for severe storms but up to halftime, the sky looked overcast but decent.  About 10 minutes into the 3rd quarter, they called for an evacuation of the stadium due to seeing lighting in the distance.  About the time all 65k fans got out of the stadium, a massive rain and lightning storm hit the stadium area.  Lightning was ALL around.. pretty crazy.  The rain was coming down so hard it looked like a monsoon.  We stayed huddled beneath the stadium for about an hour and then looked up at the sky and saw a break in the storm clouds and made the decision to run for the car.  About halfway to the car, the monsoon hit again and we got drenched.  I figured by the time we got to the car they would be ready to start the game again.  No such luck.  We actually listened to the game broadcasters the whole way back to Princeton and when we pulled in the driveway around 10:30pm, the 2 coaches had agreed to call the game.. Luckily, WV was stomping Marshall J   

Monday we headed back to TN and had the pleasure of driving thru the lovely storm produced from Tropical Storm Lee.  Chattanooga actually set a record for the most amount of rain received in a 24-hour period – about 13”.  It was enough rain to earn us a 2-hour delay in going to work the next morning… which we needed after all our driving!!

Last Tuesday, I flew down to Baton Rouge for college recruiting festivities at LSU.  That was my first time going back since I moved… it was really strange to be back in LA.  I definitely do not miss the scorching heat and miserable humidity.  I drove around our old neighborhood and they are still building houses like crazy in there.  I saw 2 guys working in the yard at my house, I hope they have better luck with the flowers than I did, hah.  After I finished up interviewing on Friday, I flew to Atlanta to meet Adam.  We arranged to be on the same evening flight to Phoenix.  I had to be in AZ anyway that next week and his older brother Jason lives in Phoenix so he decided to go spend the weekend out there with him and it gave us some time away together too.  We got into Phoenix late Friday night and it felt even later with the 3-hour time change. 

Saturday we had lunch at a very authentic Mexican restaurant and then drove around some of the million dollar neighborhoods in the mountains/valleys.  We hung around the house Saturday and then went to the Cheesecake Factory Saturday evening.  Sunday, Adam, Jason and I went for a “hike” on Camelback Mountain.  The name is derived from its shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel.  I wasn’t quite prepared for Camelback!!  There are two hiking trails which ascend 1,280 feet to the peak of Camelback Mountain. The Echo Canyon Trail is 1.2 miles and the Cholla Trail is 1.4 mi.  Both trails are considered strenuous with steep grades. The hiking path has dirt, gravel, boulders and some handrail-assisted sections.  We attempted to get an early start before it got too hot but ended up getting there around 10am.  I explained to Adam that this hike is something you do on a first date when you’re trying to impress the other person.. but after 3 years of dating... I was way beyond ready to get off that mountain pretty soon after I saw how steep parts of it were!!! 
Lunch Saturday

Dinner at the Cheescake Factory

Camelback Mountain

Adam had to fly back Monday and then I headed to my hotel which was closer to Arizona State to catch up on some work.  Tuesday started the Career Fair and then Wednesday was interviews.  One of the engineers from the Charleston plant was out there with me to help with interviews; we went to some unique places for dinner and took a scenic drive and… I saw my first roadrunner!!  He was so TINY and fast!  We ended up eating dinner at this place called Rustler’s Roost which I would highly recommend to anyone that’s in the area.  It even had live country music for entertainment – much to my surprise – at one point I heard Country Roads playing!!  The restaurant had a great view over the city as well.

Thursday morning I flew back to Chattanooga.  After a quick unpack/repack stopover in Chattanooga, I flew back out Friday morning.  This time to Pittsburgh!  I had dinner with Jen and her new boyfriend in Pittsburgh before making my way down the interstate to stay the night with Jaime.  We scored tickets to the WVU/LSU game on Saturday.  That was the first time since Lauren’s wedding that Jen, Jaime, Lauren and I were all together.  It was so good to be reunited!  As an added bonus, I got to see Will!  We had not seen each other since Christmas 2009!  How does that happen?!  At least we do a decent job at staying in touch.   Even though WVU got their first loss of the season it was still a great time. 

Since I was already in WV, I was able to make it to my Grandma K's birthday lunch/party.  It was nice to get to spend a few days in WV; I don't think I've spent that much time there in a while.  It was extra fun because Abbie was there as well.  She is sooo much fun right now, she says the cutest stuff!  Tuesday-Thursday I had to go an Engineering Career Fair at WVU.  I think that was the first time I had been in the Engineering School.  I was pleasantly surprised at the competency level of the WVU Engineers.  I don't know what I was expecting.. :)

I got to visit with so many old friends; it was a great week in WV and very much needed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More cards!

I guess I've been on a card kick lately.  Actually, it's a good thing, because it's all thank you cards which means I am lucky to have so much to be thankful for :-)

One of our family friends told us at my grandpa's funeral that she would like to make us shadow boxes of some of the flowers we received.  She made me 3 frames - 1 large and 2 smaller so I could make a collage of the flowers.  I used flowers from the arrangement Adam sent and also from the ones the girls I work with sent.  The pictures of the frames didn't turn out very well - there's always light coming into my bedroom from somewhere!  The color of the flowers are still so pretty - Paige did such a wonderful job and it's such a unique way to keep some of the beautiful flowers that were sent to me.

Paige collects baskets so I thought a basket card was very appropriate for her.  Then, I made another card for someone at work who I wanted to give "something special" too - I love the pink/black/white combo!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Quick Card

One of my dad's good friends sent me his TN season tickets for the TN/LSU football game in October in Knoxville.  I'm super excited for my first UT Football game in their awesome stadium!!!  Plus, I hope they beat some Tiger Tail!  Don't worry though, I will always bleed blue and gold!!!!

Here's the cute "Thank You" card I made for his friend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Furbabies!

August is a fun month around the house for Adam and me because it's all 3 of the animals' birthdays!  As many of you know, we are crazy about our furbabies.  It's so hard to believe the cats are already 3 (August 4th) and Henderson is now 2 (August 14th)!  Where does the time go?!  I can't imagine when it's kids that are growing up that fast how hard it must be on parents!!!

I am thankful everyday that I have my little adorable cats - no matter how annoying they are at 4am every morning when they are wanting to be pet.  They both have such distinctive purr-sonalities (haha).  Mason is my curious George, happy-to-meet everybody, will talk to strangers, playful, sweet, loving, handsome, wonderful little boy.  Trixie is all about her momma and daddy and basically wants nothing to do with anyone else - including Mr. Henderson who has a huge crush on her.  She is the softest, fluffiest cat ever and has plenty of her own sweet moments.  If someone comes to the house you can guarantee you won't see Trixie for several hours, even after they have left.  She is very uneasy around new people and loud noises.

Henderson is our big 95 pound baby boy.  He and Trixie are very similar in that they don't like strangers!  Henderson can bark with the best of them but luckily, he doesn't bark much.  He doesn't like to be pet by strangers (or looked at) and is very uneasy in new places.  He is so sweet, handsome and playful.  We love to watch Henderson run around like a crazy dog in his big fenced yard, especially when he does his crazy rolls. 



Monday, August 15, 2011

Visitors Galore!

July turned out to be a very very busy month with lots of visitors.  After our week in Michigan, we had a quiet weekend in TN.  The following week Adam was off to AL for work and came back on Friday to my parents, grandma and Miss Abbie visiting.  We had SO much fun.  I was so happy we were able to have everyone down, especially Abbie.  I love getting to spend time with that little munchkin – she is just growing up way too fast.

I wanted to have a little birthday party for her since I wasn’t going to be able to go up to Chip’s house for her “real” party the next weekend so I bought some Toy Story decorations and got her a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to go with her presents.  

Saturday morning we got up early and went over to the Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga.  There wasn’t hardly any information available online about the museum so I was worried it wouldn’t be fun for Abbie but I think she was the perfect age for just about everything there.  Some of the exhibits were a little overwhelming for her but she found plenty to keep herself entertained.  

Saturday afternoon we had some visitors lined up to come meet and play with Abbie.  Anne brought over her adorable twin boys.  That was the first time I’d seen the twins in about a year, they are definitely mamma’s boys!  They were cute playing with Abbie and our animals – I don’t think they knew what to make of Henderson – their dog is much smaller!  Plus, I think Anne said that was the first time they were around cats so they squealed over Mason because he was checking them out nonstop.  One of our Olin co-workers, Jason, brought his wife and 2 kids over as well.  At one point we had 5 kids under 5 at the house!  Anne and the boys had to leave but then Abbie and Jason’s kids got to play in our little pool and slip-n-slide.  Jason’s little girl, Lily, and Abbie were so cute together and played so well.  Abbie is used to being around all boys at her daycare so it was a nice change of pace for her to be around Lily.  We had tacos for dinner and then topped off the evening with Abbie’s cake – so hard to believe she is already 3!!!  Which means, it’s also been 3 years since Lauren and I took over Europe and I started working at Olin!  Wow, I’m getting old…

The following weekend brought even more visitors.  Adam’s mom, sister Ashleigh and 2 nieces (Brooklyn and Sydney) along with Henderson’s brother DUKE – Ashleigh’s dog – came to see us from Thursday-Monday.  His family usually isn’t able to stay but a night or two with us so it was good getting to spend that much time together plus we were able to get out and do some things.  Friday night we had a yummy dinner at the Chop House and then Saturday it was up bright and early for some sight-seeing (and to beat the record high temps we have been having this summer)!  First stop – Rock City. 

It worked out really well because Adam and I had been trying to figure out when we were going to go see the attractions that Chattanooga has to offer so we got to see everything with his family.  I didn’t know what to expect of Rock City.. the name makes you think of a bunch of rock formations that look like a city.. I have to say I think we were all pleasantly surprised by what it actually was/is.  It sits at the top of Lookout Mountain and from the top you can “see” 7 states!  Rock City is a maze of massive ancient rock formations and gardens with over 400 native plant species.  There are gorgeous views from pretty much every step you take along the way.  Adam and I are planning a trip back at Christmas to see how it looks decked out in Christmas lights.    

From Rock City we drove around the mountain and rode the Incline Railway.  This was probably the biggest flop of the weekend.  For all the publicity it gets it really isn't worth it, especially when you have to wait in the sun to ride the non-air conditioned cable car back up.  It's a mile long railtrack that takes you to the top/bottom of the mountain and you get to enjoy the views along the way.  The best part was getting ice cream at the bottom while we waited to go back up.

After the Incline Railway we were attemping to hit the last attraction for the day - Ruby Falls.  However, we got to the attraction and there was a very very long line out in the sun to get in... so we scratched that and put it at the top of the "to do" list for Sunday morning.

We headed back to the house, played outside with the dogs, rested, showered and headed to Cleveland for a nice dinner at the Bald Headed Bistro. 

Sunday morning we headed back to Ruby Falls in order to beat the crowd.  It's so funny to think that people are coming to where we live for summer vacation!  Ruby Falls is America's highest, largest and deepest underground waterfall.  I think the story about the discovery of the falls is one of the best stories I've heard in a while.  I won't ruin it for you.. you have to go hear it for yourself :-)

After the tour at Ruby Falls, it was back to Peppertree.  Sunday afternoon Jason's family came over again to play out in the yard, this time with Adam's nieces.  We had hamburgers and hotdogs.. and a birthday party for Henderson and Duke since their big days are coming up.  I found a dog friendly recipe for a birthday cake online and Sydney and Brooklyn helped me mix and bake it.  I was afraid after all that effort the dogs wouldn't touch it but they ate every last crumb of it.  I even have a new favorite picture of Henderson... and don't they look handome in their birthday crowns???

Decorating for the dog birthday bash

My new favorite picture of Henderson - look at the cake crumbs on his nose


Another exciting adventure we/I took on was letting Sydney and Brooklyn each make some scrapbook pages for their "own" scrapbooks.  I had already ordered some pictures from when they were here in February and then some from over the 4th in Michigan and they each ended up making 7 8x8 pages for their scrapbooks.  We had a lot of fun making them and they really enjoyed it - plus it will be something we can add to each time they come visit.