Friday, February 27, 2009

Just dreaming...

Happy Friday! Our tax return arrived, so now we are going to be spending our weekend fence shopping, wood chopping, and daydreaming. (Ok, so I definitely will be... Andrew might not be so quick to admit it.) The more work we get done, the closer we are to getting two sweet little pups of our own! That's right, TWO! If you had asked me a week ago if we were going to get two puppies, I would have said, "No way! Double the expenses and the poop!" But Andrew and I talked about it at dinner this week, and decided that since we'll have a glorious (excited, much?) fenced in backyard where the 'pup' will spend her days while we work, she should have a best friend to share her time with. Plus, I want a border collie and he wants a german shepherd... so that makes it a good compromise, right? I'm just a-day-dreamin' about...

...this lil' sweetheart...

...and this lil' sweetheart...

...growing up to be best friends!
(Just picture this as summer vacation 2010 or '11! Hahaha)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Great Yard Reno

One of our must-haves on our home-hunting list was to have a great fenced-in backyard for the future Ray pups, but we compromised. Our house has a great big backyard, but it can also be referred to as, "The Woods." Ah, yes... gorgeous trees and a nice carpet of 10 years worth of leaves! (Under which is some good ol' Georgia clay.) But we fell in love with the house, and decided that the backyard could be a work-in-progress. A couple of weeks before we closed, a tornado went through our area. While we were lucky and only lost one small tree, less than a mile away, homes were severely damaged by winds and downed trees. We took a deep breath, looked at the monstrous trees right up against our house, and knew they would be taken down before our one-year home-buying anniversary.

Well, progress was made about a month ago! Andrew had several of his co-workers and some of their sons over for what I like to call "Lumberjack Saturday." He provided the big cooler of beer and his special barbeque chicken, while the guys brought their tools, muscles, and tolerance. (Luckily, it was my Ma's birthday weekend, so I had an excuse to get out of town... although I had my phone on me at all times, waiting for the call- "A tree fell into our bedroom.") Those guys got to work at 9am and by the time the sun set, they had taken down about 20 trees! I couldn't see much when I got home that night, but the next morning we were up bright and early because pure sunshine was brightening up our house! I walked outside and was absolutely blinded. We have space for a yard... a real yard where real grass can grow! We've got several long weeks ahead of us to get the wood cut up and moved out, get the stumps grinded, get the leaves up, and get some grass planted. We're saving our tax returns to put in a fence, and hopefully by fall we'll have two little Ray pups to enjoy what is sure to be a great, adventurous backyard!

Looking off of our back deck just before we moved in

Looking at the backyard from the driveway- post Lumberjack Saturday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blue Ridge with the Carpenters!

Ok, so now that I made one post, I am thinking of tons of posts! Who would have thought?! ;) Anyway, for our wedding, our friends Little and Larry reserved a cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia for all of us to enjoy this past weekend. This weekend was also Larry's birthday, so it was double the fun! The cabin was GORGEOUS. It had a name, "Altitude Adjustment," (I know, right!?) and that puppy definitely lived up to it! We were waaaaay up on a mountain and could look down at the other cabins and say, "Haha, we're higher than yoooooooou." Ok, not really. Well, yes really, but that's besides the point! The cabin had 2 bedrooms and bathrooms, an open kitchen/living/eating area, and the basement had a ping-pong table and a foosball table. There was a ha-uuuuuuuuuge screened-in porch and also, a HOT TUB! Aww, yeah! Little and I were pansies the first night, thinking we would get sick getting out of that thing in the frigid air. But the second night, we soaked it up! We all took Friday off from work and left at about 9am. The drive went by so fast... I think it was only 2.5-3 hours, and we got their before lunch! Luckily, they let us check in early and it almost felt like we got a whole extra day. We went to the grocery store and got some awesome steaks, mushrooms and potatoes... the cabin was equipped with everything we needed so we made a spectacular dinner for Friday night! We watched two movies, "The Kingdom" and "Quarantined". I could watch the first one again, the second one was a little gory... either way I had nightmares about both! The next day we cooked a birthday breakfast for Larry (complete with my stupid, messed-up pancakes... why can't I flip them?!), and then kicked back and watched "Dan in Real Life," which was WAY better than I thought it was going to be. Did I mention that this cabin came with an amazing selection of movies? I'm serious- like, new releases! It was great!

We decided to go out for dinner Saturday night in honor of Larry's birthday. There was a little Italian restaurant called Cucina Rustica about 15 minutes away, so we made reservations for 7pm. We relied on my GPS to get us there and ended up in the middle of nowhere... Andrew called for directions and the first thing they asked was, "Did you use a GPS? Yeah, they always get this address wrong." Anyway, we got there and as soon as we walked in, I knew we were in for a treat. Turns out, this restaurant was opened up by a guy from Sicily who wanted to keep it as authentic as possible... I was literally DROOLING from the moment we walked in. Little and I picked a bottle of wine to share, Andrew tested out a couple glasses of different reds, and Larry had some good ol' birthday beer. They served us an amazing salad with balsamic viniagrette, and we got some nice cheesy appetizers, and then I ordered Pennette Alla Vodka, which is Italian for SO FREAKING GOOD. No lie, that has to be what it means! :) We had a great time and did not want to come back the next day, but we're looking forward to possibly making it a tradition for Larry's birthday... next year, Tennessee maybe?

The view

The Carpenters

Andrew and me


Enjoying the hot tub

Our room

Looking up at our cabin from the "road"

Posing with the sign

Bad days end when you come home...

I swear I will get better at updating this thing! I am a true procrastinator, but I will try to break that habit and get going on this puppy!

The last event I blogged about was Jake and Allie's wedding... seriously, I could write a whole new post on that event! It was such a wonderful weekend. But I'll spare you and perhaps leave you with a peek at their professional wedding photos... absolutely STUNNING! Click HERE to see them!

The day after the wedding was Gay's (Andrew's mom) 50th birthday. With all of the festivities going on, we didn't get to see her. So Valentine's weekend, she and Dennis (Andrew's dad) drove down to our house and his sisters (Mara and Anna) drove up from GSU in Statesboro. We had a fun weekend relaxing and hanging out with them, but the real surprise came on Sunday. Gay thought that her family getting together at our house was her birthday present, but what she didn't know was that on Sunday, her parents (Grannie and PawPaw), her sister and her husband (Denise and Jerry), and her niece and nephew (Holly and Jason) were taking a drive down to our house to surprise her! We all woke up a little early knowing they were heading down, and Gay got busy making pancakes in the kitchen. At about 10am, in walks her extended family and let me tell you... the look on her face was PRICELESS! She was so excited and surprised, and the first words that came out of her mouth were, "Is this a dream?!" Absolutely precious moment! We spent the day hanging out and cooking a MONSTROUS meal, complete with a cookie cake for the birthday girl. It was so much fun showing everyone our house and hosting a big family get-together! I think the highlight of the day for me (aside from Gay's reaction to her surprise!) was watching Holly's ultrasound DVD... I can't wait for little Hadley to get here! I wish we had pictures to share... but the weekend flew by too fast!

Last weekend was FINALLY time for our trip to Blue Ridge, a wonderful wedding gift from our good friends, Little and Larry. (Yes, she has a real name... Morgan. But to me, she is Little!) But I am going to save that fun for it's own post, complete with pictures!

Now on to the title of this post... yesterday was just one of those days, you know what I mean? The ones where you wake up late and start your morning off in a rush, feel like your day might turn out okay once you pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage (mine's sprite with a straw), and then realize you left that cup of savior on the counter when you're already 10 miles down the road and 5 minutes late for work? Yeah, one of THOSE days. Anyway, it got progressively worse as the day went on, and by the time I was on my way home (30 minutes late and fuming about the guy who cut me off at a stop sign! Be still, birdie finger...), I just wanted to crawl into bed with a cup of tea and a good book (or maybe some good ol' celebrity gossip on E!). When I pulled into the garage, Andrew was standing at the kitchen door smiling at me. My first thought, "What did the kitty do?!" He came out the door, took my hand, and we walked to the mailbox to look at our first blooming daffodil. That's right, I, the professional plant killer that I am, planted bulbs in the fall that are actually BLOOMING right now! I know, right?! So that put a big goofy smile on my face as I walked into the house, and then I saw what Andrew had been smiling about when I pulled up. The best sight to see after one of those days. He had picked up dinner from Fish n' Pig, our favorite restaurant on the lake and only a mile from our house, and then he set them up on our twin tray tables in front of the TV, with the show we missed the night before on DVR! In the background, I could hear the rumbling of the washing machine. And, as if that wasn't enough, there... right there on my tray table, was an ice cold sprite with a straw! I'm not going to lie... I squealed. He is the absolute best husband in the world!

He never reads this thing, but on the offchance that he sneaks a peek... Andrew, you are the very best, most thoughtful husband in the world! Back off, ladies! ;)

I'll be back with more on the Blue Ridge weekend, and maybe with some crafty fun I am hoping have this weekend. Is it Friday yet?! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jake & Allie's Wedding Day!

My older brother Jake married the amazing Allie this past Saturday! It was such a great weekend with our family and the happy couple! Allie looked absolutely stunning (I loved her dress!) and Jake was so handsome and proud of his little wife. They got married at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. The ceremony was in the lecture hall, which was a beautiful room with floor-to-ceiling windows on 3 sides overlooking the woods. And the reception was in the Blue Planet theater, which had a really neat water feature- the water came down from the ceiling to the fountain! There were so many highlights to the night... every second was so much fun! One of my favorite parts was the slideshow of pictures that Allie's mom put together... lots of blasts from the past in the pictures of Jake growing up. And the slideshow ended with a surprise for Allie & Jake. Allie's brother was shipped out to Korea just before Christmas, so he wasn't able to be a part of their wedding day- but, he sent a video message that Allie's mom added to the end of the slideshow, and there was not a dry eye in the room as soon as it came up! It was the perfect touch to their special day.

We danced the night away... and my cheeks are sore still from non-stop smiling and laughing! (Seriously- my sister's husband Matt is a hilarious dancer! Everyone in my family is hysterical on the dance floor... my Pa had some great ice-skating moves!) Even Andrew got out on the dance floor a few times and had a blast. We got to dance in our first anniversary dance- the one where they have all the married couples come out on the dance floor and eliminate couples until the couple that has been married the longest is left. (We were the first ones kicked off the floor!) My Pa gave an absolutely amazing Best Man speech- the perfect balance of funny and meaningful. My Ma looked gorgeous dancing with her son to "Blue Moon." My little brother was so handsome in his tuxedo. My sister stayed strong in her beautiful green dress so I could hold her hand and cry about how beautiful the ceremony was. (Seriously don't know what I would do without her!) And our husbands looked so proud to be standing up next to our brothers and father. All in all, it was a beautiful, happy, loving, proud, fun and hysterical event! I'll stop going on and on and let you enjoy some pictures (that I may or may not have stolen from Facebook!)...

Allie getting into her gorgeous dress

The Happy Couple

Proud groomsmen: Dan, Matt, Andrew and Philip (Allie's little brother)

The Happy Couple with the Bride's Family

The Happy Couple with the Groom's Family

Andrew and me
Dancing with my sister