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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving traditions

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We have so much to be thankful for, and it was wonderful to be able to celebrate with both sides of our families this year.

On Thanksgiving day we celebrate with Husband's side of the family in Chestnut Grove. Uncle Wayne welcomes everyone and then the brothers and sisters introduce each of their families and gives a little highlight of the happenings in their family from the year.

A few family members recently returned home from a trip to Israel and they shared some of their photos and stories with us. Then Mimi and Aunt Nellie Sue lead us in Amazing Grace before lunch begins.

Husband has two brothers and one sister, so when you bring in all the wives, husbands, and kids...we're quite a large crew! (Imagine how I felt the first time I met the whole family! Fortunately they let me stick around!)

We are thankful that all of our family was able to attend...even Lucy (the dog) who managed to get her rump in the family photo. I am truly blessed to be a part of this family now.

I'll admit, Friday we did get up and do a bit of Black Friday shopping. Don't worry. We aren't the crazed shoppers that will beat you up over a toaster. Actually, this year we didn't even wake up till 5am and the crowds felt a bit tame. Most of our list was at Lowe's (imagine that) so we were in and out in no time. I did learn that Husband is like a rock star in Lowe's. We walked past a cluster of associates and they screamed out his name and waved. (Guess they do work off commission.) We were home before 8am, and later that afternoon a few friends came over to watch the Iron Bowl. We were a pretty tame bunch.

Saturday evening we headed to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Mom's side of the family. We were very thankful that my Mowmow felt like coming to join us. You may remember that she was really sick earlier this year, so it was a big deal for her to make the trip away from the nursing home. 

This was the first time in a while that all of her grand kids were able to come. I love the picture below of Mowmow...My uncle really had everyone tickled.

We have a fun tradition after dinner to help get everyone geared up for Christmas. My other Uncle reads The Night Before Christmas and we have an ornament swap. (Mowmow got a chill, so she's all bundled up)

Different words are taken from the story and put in a basket. Then everyone draws a word.

When your word is read you must yell and scream like a fool, and the reader will pause for you to either select a mystery ornament or steal an ornament that another family member has already opened.

These are a few of the ornaments that passed through my hands...but were stolen by my very own cousins!

I really can't remember how long we've played this game, but it never fails to crack me up. If your family is in the market for a new tradition, feel free to steal this one for next year!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

81 degrees in November

With temperatures like we've been having, we really could go swimming...if only the pool was finished.

The Pool Guys have started to tile around the edges and will hopefully finish up next week. (Since I took this picture, we've met with the head pool guy to draw out the patio area and the boulders have been delivered.)

My favorite parts about this pool are the lay out areas in the shallow end and the "seats" in the deep end. Too hot in your lounge chair? Have a seat in the pool! Perfect!

We are ready to have everyone come over to play! Husband already has big plans for his grill to live in the corner of this porch.

We're almost there! We might not get to have a Christmas tree in the new house like we had hoped, but it won't be too long before we get to move in.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let there be trim

Things inside are moving right along. The door unit to the outdoor living area is up! Please ignore the dummy doors. I know you love them, but unfortunately they're not for keeps!

Just imagine it with the glass doors... I.Can't.Wait.

The wainscoting is going up in the dining room.

Trim around the upstairs windows...

...and doors.

Trim has even started on the windows in the foyer...

...and in the great room.

Last, but not least, the attic access doors have been installed.

Now, bring on the painters!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cabinets have arrived

Welcome to our kitchen, now that you can actually tell that it is a kitchen! Please note that the saw will be replaced with an Island in the near future.

Here we have the cabinets around where the sink that has been ordered and has been living in our garage for months will one day go. 

This is the wall where the oven will go. You can ignore the floor sample in the "oven." We're having tile in the kitchen with hand-scraped wooden floors in the other living areas. (laundry room cabinets in the background!)

The refrigerator will be in the empty space and the cabinets fill the rest of the wall. Husband plans to put glass in all the upper cabinets.

The bathroom vanities have been installed too! This is the master bath. I can't wait! We'll have His/Her sinks and His/Her toothpaste drawers!!! No more sharing Husband's squeezed-from-the-middle tubes!!!

G will share a bathroom with the guest room and each room will have its own sink.

Diva's vanity has been installed, but I will wait for the top part to be finished before sharing her bathroom. Needless to say, the ladies are pretty pumped about not having to share a bathroom again. (We, too, are excited about not hearing the drama that results from them sharing a bathroom.)

If these walls could talk...

Well, I'm not afraid of heights but they certainly do give me that falling feeling in my stomach. I try to push past it when it comes to fun things like roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and this....

The view from the second floor hallway that currently has no banister. While cleaning in the girls' nook upstairs, I noticed something that caught my eye. Somewhere in the house that I'd never been before... Somewhere high...

So, I climbed in and checked it out...

I'd been breathing sawdust and sheet rock dust all day. Back off!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Photo Cards for Christmas

October of last year, we took a trip up to Gatlinburg to visit Mimi and Grandpa at an art show. Now, everyone in my family has been almost once a year for their whole lives, but this was my first trip. While at the art show we heard a buzz around the convention center that snow was on the forecast so we set off to find it. Not only did we find snow at the top of the mountain, but we also took this photo that my sister in law used to create our Christmas Cards.

I have always enjoyed getting photo cards from other friends and family and I was pumped to have her make one for us. That's when she taught me how to use Shutterfly. It took no time to create my own account and upload and edit my own pictures. By creating theses online albums, I am able to better organize all my photos and can take advantage of the different products that Shutterfly has to offer.

I have been a fan of scrapbooking since high school and now I use Shutterfly to make photo books. Not only do these photo books make great albums for our family, but they also make great gifts for parents and grandparents that love to show off their families.

There is a never ending list of things you can do with your very own pictures. I have even made my own greeting cards which I think make great personalized birthday/thank-you cards. Eventually I would like to take some of the pictures we've taken from vacations and have them printed on canvas. Like this one:

This is one of my favorite pictures from my trip to Mexico and I can't wait to have it have it on canvas. ...but before I can do all that I have to focus on this years Christmas cards :) Here are a few of my favorites:

Another fabulous thing about Shutterfly is their great deals! A friend of mine told me about this one where Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… learn more: . If you have a blog you should check it out. Trust'll be hooked!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My, my....

Thanksgiving has been very sneaky this year. It has managed to pop up next week with absolutely no warning whatsoever! I think I've been too distracted by the Sounds of the Season CDs blaring in all retail outlets since the week before Halloween!

Pictures are hard to come by these days, as it is dusk when I leave work and completely DARK by the time we arrive home. So, I'm doing what I can with the daylight that I can scrounge up. At some point this month I took this one:

It is a 'Durning' shot of the pool process with all the support up and pipe installed. You think they need to use any more pipes?

Then the concrete was poured. There were huge tarps up for that part, so you couldn't really see in to watch it being sprayed. Following the cement came a serious rain and our back yard became a soupy, pile of red mud!

A few more raindrops and the pool will be full!

The larger door unit is going up in the outdoor living area. The two doors on the sides will be stationary and one day Husband will fill them with his beautiful stained glass. I'm not rushing all the glass work because I do like having my husband around. I know if he were to finish all his 'projects' before we move in, he'd be living at the glass studio! 

The kitchen cabinets are coming in one wall at a time.

The cabinets in the laundry room are up too! Look at all this lovely storage!

I remember being younger and my mom and aunts getting excited over tables, dishes, counter tops, etc. I also remember thinking how could anyone be that excited over stuff in a house?!?! Boring! I'll take a trampoline... Easy Bake Oven...Oh, and a pony! Now that's exciting. However, listen up Mom and Aunts, I get it. I apologize. I now get excited over storage.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend of surprises

Husband had a big birthday approaching and I couldn't let it go unnoticed. While he thought we were heading south for a quiet weekend at the Grand, I had something else up my sleeve.

The night before his birthday we celebrated his last day of 39 with sushi. He thought we were just meeting a friend for dinner, but was surprised by a group of friends and family that came to celebrate with him.

Little did we know that one of his friends had a lot more in store for him....At 5:15 on birthday morning she snuck into our house to be the first to welcome him to Forty!

While the picture alone is have to know that my dear husband has a fear of clowns! Now you're laughing even harder, right? This is his best friend from high school that could not let this day go quietly by. She's been planning this for months! This Clown then went to wake up the girls so they could be a part of the morning excitement.

Then she rushed home to post this picture on Facebook for all to see. As if that weren't enough, she then sent this email to anyone with an email address:

Here is the link for the "Happy Birthday" part of the WSFA morning show from this morning. I just couldn't let him not be included when it's such a special birthday! :-)
Have a super weekend!! are you wondering what more surprises could this birthday possibly bring? I shall tell you. As we were getting ready, I told Husband that we weren't really going to the Grand. In fact, we were going somewhere much cooler. Like...BOSTON. "Really..." he asked, "What are we doing?" I repeated that we were going to Boston and that we had dinner plans with some friends up there. He responded with "No. Seriously?" Third time's a charm, right? When I told him the third time and that we were taking off at 11:30, he jumped in gear!

I think he finally believed me when we actually got to the airport! Oh, how we love this city. Husband has been several times before, but always for business. This time we could play! It was too cold to take my hands out of my pockets long enough to take a photo, so several of my pics have come from Google Images and will be marked with ***

***Google Image***
We met our friends at the Green Dragon to catch up. We haven't all hung out together since our wedding!

Then it was time for dinner at Assiggio's, one of the most delicious Italian restaurants in the North End.  Have I mentioned how much I love pasta? Well, I do! Yummmmmmmmmm!

You simply cannot go to the North End without having desserts! Modern Pastry had so many exciting things that I almost went into a diabetic coma just looking around! We went with the chocolate dipped cannoli with chocolate sprinkles...and all was right in the world.

A good time was had by all. I'm starting a petition to move these guys to Alabama!

Seriously, look what great friends we are already. Let me tell you about the first time I met this girl. Her crazy husband put me on a train in Boston (alone, solo, all by myself) and said Listen for your stop and she'll be there. Good Luck! I did find her and then we spent the day with their two beautiful daughters at the beach in sixty degree temperatures! Don't worry friends, I'm looking for a house for you. In fact...I know a great one for sale right now!

These guys are dangerous together and should not be left unattended.

I really thought that I'd never be able to eat again, but amazingly enough, we woke up on Saturday morning STARVING. We wandered over to Quincy Market for breakfast.

Here is an aerial shot of the area where we roamed.
***Google Image***
We ate breakfast Saturday morning under this dome, and after re-energizing, we were off!

I love how the streets of Boston are such a mix of old and new.

We jumped on a bus to take us to the Constitution Museum where we checked out the boats while waiting for theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee....
DUCK BOAT! Please let me tell you how badly I wanted to take a duck boat tour the last time we were there. Is it a bus? Is it a boat? My friends, it is so much better!

This combination vehicle takes you around town, pointing out all the historic treasures on land.

Then, when you least expect it, they drive you straight into the harbor!

I. Love. A. Duck. Boat.
***from the Super Duck Boat Website***
From our Harbor tour, the guide points out all the important things that you can see from this view...Including this humongous mountain of black plastic. Hmmm? What could be under theh-ah (that's how the captain pronounced 'there')? SALT. Piles and piles of salt for the icy roads this winter.

Here we could see USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat.
USS Constitution
After the duck boat we headed back to the Theatre District where we were staying.

The Intermission Tavern was recommended to us as a great spot for lunch while as well as a good place to catch a few football scores. This cute little tavern (are taverns supposed to be cute?) is smushed right between two really tall buildings.

It is a really cool place with interesting artwork, masks, and other random things tossed about. They did turn on the Alabama-LSU game for us.

***Tavern Pic from their website***

Later that night we strolled down to Paul Revere's House, which is downtown Boston's oldest building and one of the few remaining from colonial America.

***from Paul's website***

Our favorite restaurant, Carmen,  happens to be right beside Paul's house. Our reservation was at 9:45, so it was too dark for a picture, but I found this one online for you to fully understand just how tiny this restaurant really is. 
**Google Images**

It is an extremely narrow space that may seat about 24 people! But the food is sooo delicious that people don't mind waiting outside while others finish up their meals.

***Google Images***
Sunday morning we had breakfast at the North Street Grill and then strolled around town before heading to the airport. We decided to check out some of the stops on the Freedom Trail.

Stop number one,  The Old North Church.

We'd gone by it before, but this time we actually went inside. Don't you love how old building smell and have the wooden floors that creak with each step?

Husband's favorite part about old buildings is the glass in the windows. The really old glass has a 'wavy' look to it because the glass was rolled by hand.

Our next stop was Copp's Hill Cemetery, which looked extra creepy on such a dreary day.

Check out the head stones.

Oh, and I almost forgot. The leaves! Look how amazing!

Husband really loved the architecture. His camera is full of columns and railings and all other things rusted.

One of our final stops before heading back home was The Park at Post Office Square.

If I worked near here, I would certainly take advantage of the WiFi and work from one of those benches! Lovely!

Thank you Boston, we had a blast on birthday weekend!

We will be back! (when its warmer)