Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday [08.31]

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthday Bonzanza!

I absolutely love my birthday. Whenever I tell people that they just assume it's because I like to receive presents. While presents are pretty stellar, this is not the reason. I just love having one day all to myself to be a princess. Conceited? Perhaps.

Coming from a big family birthdays were the only thing that was really all yours. Well, except for the triplets; they definitely had to share a birthday. Momma always made a point to make our birthdays special (even for the triplets-they each got their own cakes and parties each year!) despite whatever else was going on. She even continued that tradition today by taking me out to Cracker Barrel this morning before school started. The 4am wake up it required was rough, but well worth the bacon and eggs!

David and I never do anything too crazy for birthdays, and that is just fine by me. My favorite part is just remembering in my head that I'm the princess for a day and can pull that card at any point if I want to. Trust me, I really take this stuff to the next level.

What really made today wonderful was celebrating it with my students. They told me "happy birthday" over and over again, and one class even sang to me. It was so neat how they all said it on their way in the door, and as they left. Hundreds of people wishing me a happy birthday? Talk about a birthday princess's dream! My teammates were even wonderful enough to get me cupcakes to celebrate with at lunch. How stellar is that?!

Even though the day is only part of the way over, I can guarantee this has been one for the record books!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Now Brown Cow

One of the major selling points of our house was the awesome backyard. It may not be big, but it has an awesome view-an old family farm. We're very well aware of the fact that a few year's down the road that land could be sold and used as a new neighborhood, or even a strip mall, and as soon as that happens we're planting tall tress. Until then, we're enjoying the view and all that comes along with it. The view just happens to include cows, and lots of them.

Our new neighbors mentioned it the other night when we were all hanging out. I'd heard rumors of the cows and was pretty stoked to hear them confirmed. They said they come out every month or so, depending on which part of the field the farmer opened. Little did we all know that in about 24 hours the farmer man would be opening the gates!

Early Saturday evening, we were on our way out the door for my birthday supper at Macaroni Grill (nom nom nom) when David took the pup out to go to the bathroom one last. Boy were they in for a surprise! Daisy ran straight to the fence "chicken bawking" up a storm. "Chicken bawking" is Daisy's attempt at being fierce without getting fussed at by us for barking. I should also probably let y'all know that for the past few months Daisy has reverted from fearless puppy to wussy dog. We thought it might have been all the boxes around the apartment and the move. We're still working on toughening up. Suggestions welcome because having a wimp for a dog is flat-out annoying.

Anywho, Daisy started squawking so we went out to investigate and holy canoli, there they were. They were about 10 feet away from the fence, and as soon as they heard the commotion of the dog they turned and trundled over our way. I was amazed at how fast these things moved! They trotted right over to the fence as if we had snacks, and by the looks of them, they'd had a lot of snacks in their day. The closer they came to us, the farther Daisy went back form the fence. She realized pretty quickly they were unafraid of her. Heck, she's smaller than the calves they birth! After about thirty minutes of watching the cows watch us, my tummy started grumbling and we headed out to supper.

Then, this morning at about eight they were back out there. Daisy began her squawking again from the back door since she figured they can't get to her when she's inside. Such a smart one, that dog of ours. Needless to say, it's probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen and I can't wait for them to come back!

 She was totally captivated

 Here they come

 They travel together as you can see

A little love nuzzle

More pictures on Facebook!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

. . . In The Middle Of Our Street

Like the title? I tried for a continuation from the last one. What can I say, I'm kind of a dork. Anywho, I promised more pictures, so here they are!

 Waiting for nutrition after a long, hot day of moving

I think it's safe to say Daddy was tired.

Boxes of clothes. There were a lot of these.

 Part of the kitchen

 Other part

 The only bathroom all the way put together. Cut me some slack, there are three!

 The office my sweet hubs put together.

Bonus Room/future NC State room!

Sorry I haven't posted more. Did I mention that our teacher workdays started the day before closing, and school started less than a week after we moved in? Yea, you can say I'm a smidgen busy right now. I promise to be a better blogger once things slow down a scoach!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our House. . .

I figured with all the details in the last post, y'all were a bit overwhelmed by our housing adventure. Imagine how we felt! I pick up where I left off below:

Chapter Seven-Let's Talk
The next step was to put in an offer, so on our one year anniversary we did just that. Happy one year babe, let's fork over all our savings! We met with Lisa and talked terms before heading back over to the community to put in a bid. The next week was one of the most excruciating of my life. I'm not known for my super patient nature, and waiting for word from the division head was killing me! After much back and forth we finally came to terms we could all agree on. Let the fun begin!

Chapter Eight-What Did We Just Do?
As soon as we signed the papers we went out for supper to wrap our brains around it. Holy canoli, we had just made the first steps toward home ownership. Yes, we were about six weeks away from the house even being complete, but this was still huge to us.

Chapter Nine-Wait and See
It was extremely difficult not to drive over to the house every single day to see the progress. In fact, I made myself a promise that I wouldn't go more than two times a week, and I am happy to report I stuck with that. The next six weeks found us visiting the house and monitoring the growth while we tied us loose ends with the mortgage peeps and our apartment complex. We also began to realize how much a new house required. Did you know new houses don't come with blinds? Because I didn't know that until about halfway through the process!

Chapter Ten-It's Ours!
Here we are now. We signed the papers yesterday and just about everything was moved in while I was at work. We certainly have a long way to go, but Rome wasn't built in a day. My emotional brain is learning to be more logical as we make big decisions and make big purchases (hello, furniture) and we are constantly acclimating to new things. Feel free to offer advice, but I can't promise we'll take it!

Here are some pictures of the process:

 It's all ours! Well it will be in 30 years when we pay it off. . .

 What will eventually be the kitchen

 The den which looks out into the backyard and our gas fireplace! 

 The downstairs bedroom/office

 The den with drywall

 Dining room crown molding and tray ceiling

 Kitchen cabinets

 More cabinets

 Pretty door

 Foyer heading upstairs

 David checking out the light fixtures in the bonus room

Master bathroom

More pictures to come!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Property Virgins" No More!

That's right folks, you are looking at brand-new homeowners! WAHOO!! Sorry, I can't quite contain my excitement. We've kept it mostly under wraps the past few months as we navigated the world of house shopping. We wanted to make sure we found the perfect house for us for our own reasons, and no one else's. Lucky for us, we found it! It was not an easy journey, and one I am happy to admit is over. Now the stressful crazy fun part of home ownership.

A little insight into our marriage-we are very different people. 99.9% of the time this works to our benefit, and about .01% of the time it makes us crazy. Fortunately for us during this process it was more beneficial than stressful, but it had it's moments. I make decisions with my heart while my beloved makes decisions with his head, go figure. I'm prone to make a snap decision based on a future I can picture, or a sappy story I've heard. My hubby makes decisions based on numbers and common sense. I'll give you a second to picture where this is going.We stayed true to our personalities during this process and made sure to give each other a few gray hairs along the way. I apologize for the lengthiness of this post (feel free to check your email, get a snack, do some stretches, etc in between), but here goes!

Chapter One-The Search
We'd been living in our apartment about 6 months when I started getting the itch for a house. Hauling groceries and a dog up and down three flights of stairs wore of pretty quickly for this chica. All things considered, our apartment is a pretty great place, but it just wasn't cutting it any more. We both spent our childhoods in the same houses and recognize the novelty of setting down roots, and it dawned on us that it's very difficult to do this in an apartment. The reality of finances and jobs kept us from pursuing this until this past spring. We began to narrow down our wants vs. needs and picked out a price point. The ball was rolling!

Chapter Two-Seriously Looking
For those of you in the market, I would like to introduce you to Zillow. Zillow, meet your new best friends. You think I'm kidding, but we spent mad amounts of time narrowing the search down on this very handy tool. Once we figured out the area we were looking in and what we wanted, my handy dandy husband made a spreadsheet in Google Docs (I told y'all Google Docs was magical!) and we began to sift through what we wanted. We struggled with getting on the same page with new vs. used (or to put it more kindly, resale), but we eventually got there. We called us David's wonderful Aunt Lisa, a realtor, and began making our way around town.

Chapter Three-Is this it?
Remember that part where I told y'all I lead with my emotions? Well the very first place we went to my heart stepped in and squashed every bit of logic my brain put forth. We found a neighborhood we really liked in a great location, but the price point just wasn't matching ours. My heart kept saying we could make it work, and my patient wonderful husband kept showing me the real side of things. As difficult as it was, we walked away from the house (or lot since we would have built) and I'm happy to say it was for the best.

Chapter Four-Back to the Drawing Board
At that point we began to look more into resale with the thought of doing renovations. Don't worry, we realized pretty quickly we didn't want that either. For as much money as we were going to be laying down for this thing, we decided it better be in pristine condition, or as close to it as possible. We went back to our fancy pants spreadsheet and continued hunting.

Chapter Five-Could This Be?
The weekend before our anniversary trip to the Biltmore we went to a neighborhood we had not really considered much. Lisa advised us to take a look just to see what it had to offer. First look at things we weren't too pleased with the neighborhood. Perhaps it was the fact that there were only four completed houses in it at the time! The moment we stepped into the house, things changed. It was everything we were looking for. From the four bedrooms to the bonus and three baths, we knew we'd found something we could actually picture ourselves in. Yet we couldn't shake that nagging feeling about the empty 'hood. The uncertainty of what could happen wasn't something we could shake.

Chapter Six-I Guess We Could Look There. . .
Still thinking about the last house we went back to a neighborhood we'd already looked in to see a different house. It was the same floor plan as the one we loved in the ghost neighborhood, so we figured it couldn't hurt to look. As soon as we saw the lot, we knew we'd found our house. We began to picture ourselves in the rooms and how we could set up our furniture. We started to imagine playing fetch with the princess in the back. We even thought about long term projects we could complete. We were hooked!

So, what did we do? More details to come!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Coconut Shrimp

Shrimp is about the only seafood I really like. Fish is too fishy for me and all the other types of shellfish have a funny taste. I know, I know, it's crazy to hear me actually saying there is a food I don't like, but I tried 'em all and they just aren't clicking. Whenever we get seafood I dish into the gajillion different types of shrimp offered while my love goes for the steamed oysters-bleck! I'm going to try to being him over to the darkside with this delicious recipe from Aunt Debbie.

1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
3/4 cup panko
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled

Stir first 3 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper in small bowl. Set sauce aside.
Combine remaining red pepper and next two ingredients in large plastic bag.
Whisk egg whites and 2 tablespoons water.
Combine panko, coconut, and oil in a separate shallow dish.
Place shrimp in bag of flour mixture; shake and coat well.
Dip shrimp in egg mix and roll in coconut mix.
Place wire rack inside large baking dish.
Coat baking rack with cooking spray.
Arrange shrimp in single layer and bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Case of the Missing Mail

The mystery begins with my attempt to get ahead of the game. With my luck I should have known this was a bad idea, but alas I thought I'd buck tradition and give it a go. Poor life decision, Lauren, poor life decision. It dawned on me about a week ago that when we move, we're going to need our mail to move with us. Duh (I never admitted to being the brightest crayon in the box). So I hopped on the USPS website and filled out a quick little form with our old address, our new address, and the date to activate it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? Wrong. This is where the fun begins.

Saturday: Return from glorious vacation in Ocean Isle Beach and stopped by our mailbox to see what we missed while we were gone. No mail. Hmm. Not checking it for four days and we don't even get a sale flyer? Bizarre, very bizarre.

Sunday: Make a prediction that mail is at new address. Run by new address and check mailbox. Nada. Not a big deal, it is a Sunday after all. Maybe it's coming tomorrow. Come home find number to call (nearly impossible thanks to the fact that the USPS is run by the government).

Monday: Call local post office and national number on website. National number gives me prompts through numbers. No help whatsoever. Next step, call local post office. Get busy signal. Is this 1995? Who has a busy signal anymore? Argh. Check new mailbox and current mailbox after work and find both to be completely empty. Swell.

Tuesday: Find new number to call and finally reach human-victory! Am told that our current mail carrier must not have looked to see what day our mail switched over and must have gone ahead and did it. Tells me that she'll talk to the carrier and our mail should be in our current box this afternoon. Hurry home after work to find that mean silver box to still be empty.

Wednesday: Sit impatiently on my hands all day trying not to call the mail lady again. Check both boxes and find that they are still empty.

Thursday: Weigh the pros and cons of calling again, and decide it's worth the three magazines and other goodies I'm waiting for. Call mail lady again and get new mail lady. Find out our mail carrier has already left, but offers to see if we have any mail at the post office. Why this wasn't offered the other day is beyond me. No mail at post office, which means it should be on it's way to the current address. Hooray! She takes my phone number and promises to have our mail carrier call when she gets back in. Oh, and she also decides to mention that it'll take an additional 7-10 days for us to receive mail at our new address. Head in palm. Optimistically raise over to check current mailbox and find. . . nothing. ARGH! Mail carrier calls this afternoon to tell me she doesn't know where our mail is and she hopes it comes back to her to be delivered next week. Uh, yea, I hope so too lady considering we move next week and then we get to do this mail dance all over again.

So, here we are. Our mail seems to be in mail limbo with no signs of returning. Am I frustrated? Yep. Do I realize there is not much I can do at this point? Yep. Am I ready to scream? You better believe it. If you need me you can find me stalking the mail trucks around town.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday-Boys of Fall

Well it's turn and face the Stars and Stripes.
It's fighting back them butterflies.
It's call it in the air, alright yes sir we want the ball.
And it's knocking heads and talking trash.
It's slinging mud and dirt and grass.
It's I got your number, I got your back when your back's against the wall.
You mess with one man you got us all.
The boys of fall.
-Kenny Chesney

(preseason starts this week-WAHOO! Our weekends just haven't been the same without it)

almost done with Alabama
(I'm ready for my sweet husband to be home more than just a long weekend)

beach weekend
(we are so fortunate to have family and friends who open their homes to us when we need a break the most!)

family and friends
(we have some of the greatest people in our life who all offer to step in and help without a second thought!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tomato Pie

What good southern bird doesn't love tomatoes?? One of my favorite snacks is a tomato sandwich, mm mm mm! When David's aunt made us this delicious snack when we were visiting, I knew I had to have the recipe. Beware: it's totally addicting.

4 tomatoes peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell 
1 cup grated mozarella cheese 
1 cup grated cheddar cheese 
1 cup mayo
salt and pepper
bacon crumbles, optional 

Preheat oven to 350.
Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix grated cheese, mayo, and bacon crumbles.
Spread on top of tomatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top 10 Reasons...I'm Ready For Fall

Now, I realize I fussed to no end about the cold weather, but I'm over the heat. Good heavens, I am over the heat! Don't get me wrong, I'm not ready for winter but I am ready for a change. Here is a list of reasons I am ready for fall:

10. Jeans and boots! I love getting out my comfiest pair of jeans and boots.

9. Leaves. There is not much better than crunching the leaves on a long walk.

8. North Carolina State Fair. Who doesn't love a good pig-out sesh while watching the tractor races? Some of my personal faves are: fried oreos, turkey legs, fried cheescake, funnel cakes-yum!

7. Turkey Day! Family, friends, food, and football? There's not much better than that list!

6. Cooler weather. I'm ready for a quick cool down without the arctic. I would adore the opportunity to not sweat the moment I step outside.

5. Carolina Renaissance Festival. This is one of my favorite parts of fall. Picture the State Fair during the 16th Century. All sorts of cuckoos come out dressed in their royal garb with their English accents ready for a good time. If you're near Charlotte October-November, make it a point to go!

4. School.  I know this sounds crazy, but I kinda miss it. I miss the routine. I miss the kids. I miss my coworkers. I'm ready to get back in the swing of things!

3. Yard work with the hubby. This will probably wear off pretty quickly, but I'm excited to spend Saturdays working outside with my love.

2. New things at church. We're kick starting the kid's ministry AND the Community Group's ministry-whoot whoot! I'm excited to see where God takes Hope Church!

1. Football!! I am so ready to spend Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons watching the boys run around after that pigskin.

What are you looking forward to this fall??

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Knee Deep

Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise
-Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett

First of all, my apologies for being MIA most of last week. Davido was home for the week and I wanted to spend as many possible moments as I could with him. Then, on Wednesday we hit the road and drove until the map turned blue. David's aunt and uncle have a place in Ocean Isle Beach and were kind enough to open their home to us for a few days. 

We arrived late Wednesday evening after a pretty short trip from Charlotte. The best part of the car ride? Getting the call from one of my very best friends that she is engaged!! We are so excited to share in this joyous occasion with Kelsey and Casey! 

The next morning we hit the beach with David's Aunt Debbie and cousin Cameron. True story, David is a big kid, one of the many reasons I adore this man. Too bad my big kid would much rather spend the day playing on the beach while I prefer to stick my toes in the sand and lose myself in a good book. Usually we compromise and spend time doing each other's favorite activities, but thanks to Cameron we both got enjoy our favorite parts of the beach-victory! A few hours out in the sunshine and my poor hubs was toasted. They headed back in while I spent another hour catching up on celebrity news and my tan. Bliss. 

That evening Debbie showcased her phenomenal cooking skills with a delicious beach supper of coconut shrimp (recipe to come here!), tomato pie (recipe to come here!), butter beans, and corn on the cob. After a day spent in the sunshine, we were ravenous and this certainly hit the spot! Let me tell ya, this sweet woman knows how to cook. I cannot tell you how many times I told her she needed to open a restaurant. I'll be the first in line when she does!

Unfortunately Hurricane Emily graced us with her presence on Friday. Downpours led me and Debbie to the local nail salon for a mani/pedi. Life is rough. It was the perfect treat for my tired feet. We then met David, his Uncle Jon, and Cameron at a local restaurant for lunch. If you ever head to OIB, take the time to eat at Sharky's. I promise you will not be disappointed! Even as big of eaters as David and I are, we split the Seafood Bog plate and couldn't finish it. Lots of delicious food!

Emily scooted away long enough on Saturday for us to hit the beach for a few more hours. We sprayed and lathered the sunscreen on David until he resembled Casper, and luckily it did its job. Poor kid just can't seem to keep the burn away! After a few more hours soaking up the rays we plugged in the iPod and set the cruise control back home. It was hard to say good bye after such a perfect weekend, but Debbie's open invitation to come back any time made it a bit easier. A few pictures from our weekend in paradise:

 Cam, Debbie, and David playing in the waves

 My handsome hubs pre-burn

 No better way to hydrate than with Sunkist, right?

Water creeping up on me

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Things Kids Say

I love hanging out with little kids and hearing all the silly things they say. The best part? They don't even realize how funny they truly are! Here are some of the things the sweet boys have come up with this week:

Can we got to Old McDonald's for ice cream? (translation: they wanted to go to McDonalds)
Did you see that eighteen-four wheeler? (translation: he saw an eighteen wheeler down the street)
I think he needs an aid-band. (translation: he needs a band-aid)
I love the Chicka! (translation: I love Chick-fil-A)

Needless to say, life is never boring when hanging out with kids:-)

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
(Matthew 18:2-6 ESV)