Sunday, August 31, 2008

for your amusement...

if you love making fun of people's grammatical or punctuation mistakes...

weird-looking edible creations...

witty/sarcastic commentary...

and cake...

have i got the blog for you!

laughed so hard i cried on a few of these. enjoy!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

we are the pirates of ECU--hey!

my day was quite busy--but what an awesome day it was!

great opening game, and i can't wait to see how the rest of the season goes.

maybe we should have splurged on the season tickets...?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

justin's birthday!

so there are only a few hours left for justin's birthday, but much like my week-long birthday celebration, he will continue the festivities for a few more days.

we kicked it off last night with his birthday barbeque, where we invited family, friends and neighbors over for a backyard party. we weren't sure how the weather would do--last year, it was too warm for us to spend too much time outside, but we also knew that we'd invited too many people to all comfortably sit inside. thankfully, the weather was gorgeous and the only complaint was the flies that came out when the food was served. justin's dad and step-mom had come down from west virginia for it, as well as family in the area and several of the neighbors from our street. we grilled out, enjoyed side dishes that other people brought, and listened to a custom playlist that justin created just for the evening.

as the evening began, his mom and mike had him open one of their presents early. it was a "birthdays bite!" dog that could be signed by people attending the party. the dog was decorated with several "30"s and "over the hill" and featured huge glasses and bushy eyebrows. it was a hit!

a close-up of the dog.
here's a picture of some of the family that was visiting. my dad and joy came in as well and brought some teriyaki beef skewers that were quite popular among the guests. he's always comfortable in front of the grill.

justin in front of his cake, with 30 candles lit. we counted 'em!and a shot of the cake before the candles were blown out. we got this custom made by "your perfect cake" here in town, and it was delicious! we had them put a steelers jersey on top with justin's last name and (of course) the number 30. there's also a steelers logo airbrushed in the background...
this tied in well with the steelers' pre-season game that was on tv last night. the guys were in and out of the house checking on the score.
we spent the rest of the evening playing yard games like bocci and catching up with our family and neighbors. we missed several of our friends that were invited, but we're sure we'll get to see them soon!

today, we celebrated by going out the lunch after church and watching movies around the house. justin's taken the next couple of days off while his dad and kim are down here, so they're heading to the beach tomorrow while i have to work :(

in the meantime, i have pictures on from my saturday morning volunteer work with university million meals, a special event planned by "stop hunger now" to help put an end to world hunger. i helped bag meals of dried vegetables, rice and soy with about 250 other volunteers during my shift, one of three that would happen through out the day. then i took pictures to use for a slideshow (i love turning my every-day activities into photo jobs!)

my brother has a job! he's the new band director at frink middle school about 45 minutes from here. we wish him the best of luck as he starts his new job tomorrow. he's already had an interesting week with a snake in the band room, finding a set of hand chimes that he wants to incorporate into general music classes, and not getting his class lists until a few minutes before open house.

i'm starting with outpatient therapy clients this week at work. i am so excited about this and think that my clients and their families are awesome. it's a refreshing change of pace.

tonight, we're saying goodbye to the olympics. i'm encouraged that it will only be a couple more weeks until real tv shows start back up! this has been a real crazy summer as far as tv is concerned, and the pickings have been quite slim. they've started playing previews for some of the upcoming fall shows, and i'm excited to finally have some decent tv back on.

no plans of yet for labor day weekend... we'll probably be figuring that out at the last minute.

that's all for now. later, y'all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

worship is...

yesterday, at church, we had an awesome service where the main focus was worship and how we worship God. The point made was that we worship God in all aspects of our lives, not just on Sunday morning when we sing. i think it's always great to get this reminder and to remember how we can use everything in our lives to worship God and to show others how He is the center of all we do.

at the same time, i will admit that the music was AMAZING and i have always known that music is how i worship. it's the way that i connect to God and i believe that's why i have been blessed with musical abilities and interests. jordan, the worship leader, led us in an awesome version of "here i am to worship" (with just the right acoustic riff that seemed totally john mayer-like) and then ended with "did you feel the mountains tremble?" that song has always given me chills and energized me, especially in live music settings. i remember going to see the passion band while i was in college and just jumping up and down, dancing and singing as loud as i could with an auditorium full of other followers, just praising God.

before we went into our worship time, they played a video over the projector that just said it all. this one really hit home and i had to search online until i found it. i hope it speaks to everyone else as much as it did to me. remember this the next time that worship seems dull or something just doesn't feel right. is it really about what you got out of it, or is it about what you gave to God?

Friday, August 15, 2008

our new bed

we've made few "large" furniture purchases for our home since we moved in. everything that we had in our individual apartments essentially found a place in our new home, even if it was slipcovered, got a new coat of paint or just looks out of place. my queen size mattress we were using was a hand-me-down as well, and after going through a number of mattress toppers and also getting to experience much better, softer mattresses at hotels we were visiting--a new mattress made it to the top of our "want list."

then...between my new job, the overlap of salaries, the stimulus check, etc...a new mattress became possible! (as well as the great furniture we got from lindsay and jeremy.) we shopped around in july, finding the perfect combination of price and amazing pillowtop softness. the delivery charge was, of course, ridiculous, so we opted out and said we would pick it up ourselves.

our fabulous next door neighbor john (the shed builder) helped us out by lending his truck once more and picking it up for us. we got in the house and removed the old mattress, quickly realizing that our old mattress/box springs combination was about the same size as the mattress that we were bringing in--without the box springs. once the mattress was actually in place, it because humorously obvious that this was a much taller bed that the one that we'd had.

i found an old picture from when we first moved in--note where the mattress hits the wall underneath the pillow shams and the regular pillows. you can just barely see the bedside tables next to it, but it's clear that they are just barely below the mattress.

now, the new bed. comes all the way up to the chair rail and there is a dramatic drop from the bed to our bedside tables. i had to make an emergency trip to j.c. penney last night to find sheets that would fit our now 14" mattress. the comforter still fits, somewhat, but it's stretching it.
sleeps like a dream, though!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

our kentucky wedding weekend

so it's been a busy weekend and i've finally gotten a chance to catch up a bit around the house and at work. we had a lot going on and i didn't want to rush through writing about it, so bear with me.

we left for our trip on thursday after work and made it to winston-salem, where we got a chance to socialize with matt and patrice and enjoy some delicious desserts! in the morning, as we were getting ready and eating breakfast, patrice shared with us their exciting news--she's about two months pregnant! we were thrilled and i can't wait to go back up and take another set of pregnancy pictures in the winter. we will be praying for them and their growing family, as well as the job opportunities that are out there for patrice.

we continued on i-40, stopping a little ways past asheville to eat lunch (never pass up the opportunity to eat before heading deep into the mountains. you have to drive a ways to find decent food.) we lucked out in finding sherry's apple crate cafe in waynesville, where we enjoyed some western nc barbeque and unique apple-themed atmosphere. we had a few more stops in sevierville, tn, to check out the russell stover outlet and other tacky touristy stores, and then drove about 11 miles into kentucky to the little highway stop that is williamsburg.

as soon as we walked in the lobby, we saw why jon and carrie wanted to get married there. it was beautifully designed, with a grand double staircase and huge chandeliers. there are tons of pictures up on flickr if you want some more details (i couldn't add them all here!) by the way, i've noticed that for whatever reason, my pictures that i post here are not the best quality--quite pixilated and fuzzy. by clicking on them or going to flickr, though, you can see them in full resolution.

so... the cumberland inn.

the unity candle stand from the rehearsal---and justin got the best groomsman gift--a monogrammed grill set!
after the rehearsal and dinner and driving around williamsburg and visiting one of the few places that was open late--the wal-mart--we got some sleep so we could get up fairly early the next morning. on saturday, we drove to the cumberland falls state park and ate an awesome breakfast at the lodge there by the river. then we walked down to the falls and several of the overlooks, taking full photo advantage of such a beautiful morning!

the falls and the mist rainbow
us in front of the falls. it was simply gorgeous!
but we couldn't stay for too long or hike any of the trails cause it was time to get ready for the wedding! we got back to the hotel and got cleaned up, and justin joined the groomsmen to get ready with jon, the groom. i took my time, grabbing some lunch and getting dressed before going down to the lobby to join the rest of the wedding party as they took pictures. carrie and jon chose to do all the pictures beforehand (like we did) and it made a huge difference considering the reception was on-site. i tried to stay out of the way of the photographer and didn't use my flash in most instances because of that, but there are (of course) additional photos on flickr.

johnnie (getting married in october to my co-worker heather--you might recognize him from their engagement photos i did), jon, and justin. they've been friends for many many years!
the lobby decorated for the wedding. the bridal party had to walk down the stairs! pretty, but made me nervous for them. (bridesmaids dress was the one i wore for maggie's wedding, but in red--apple, of course--instead of black. it's crazy how you start to recognize the david's bridal line immediately!)so after the wedding, it was time for the reception in a banquet room right down the hall. one of the hits was the pee dee pirate groom's cake. the string quartet played jimi hendrix's "purple haze" when they went to cut it!

and after the cake cutting and eating and dancing, it was time to for the groomsman duties of loading up the presents and--decorating the car. when we were in wal-mart the previous night, i asked justin if he had anything to decorate the car. after the horrible sliced cheese incident of alan's wedding, i've learned that leaving groomsman left to their own devices unfortunately does not turn out well. so we tracked down some glass chalk, had the tp ready to go, and the boys quickly went to work. they needed some help with the "girly" stuff, though, so i jumped in. then it became a plan of staging photos so it looked like i did it all....
and it got quite a reaction...
but it was all in good fun.

so then they drove off into the sunset, and we changed into more comfortable clothes and did the rest of our touristy kentucky stuff, like...

visiting the original sander's cafe and kentucky fried chicken museum!

and trying out a krystal burger--definitely a tasty treat!the next morning, we went back to sevierville, so justin could check out the beef jerky outlet, which boasted over 200 flavors of jerky. they had jerky made out of about every animal possible.
(i also got a new "life is good" shirt at one of the all LIG stores. love finding those!)

then it was back to the highway and onwards towards boone. we had to drive some very curvy mountain roads to get there, but it was worth it for these views of lake watauga and the surrounding mountain ranges.

that evening, my great-uncle and aunt, pete and mary, took us out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant near the base of grandfather mountain called artisinal. similar to our dinner at bonterra in charlotte after alan and rachel's wedding, we were encouraged to order a selection for each of the courses and tried a taste of everyone's plate. it was DELICIOUS...some of the best food we've ever had, and we enjoyed catching up with pete and mary.

after dinner, we went on out to their river house near the tiny town of todd, nc. justin and i were able to spend the night there and loved waking up to the sounds of birds and the river and little else. it is a gorgeous area, and we hope to spend more time there in the future! we finished out the trip with a visit to downtown boone and lunch at "our daily bread." there were pieces of boone that came back to me--parts that i recognized and some parts that i clearly said, "that wasn't here before." i always joke that if i had ended up at appalachian, as i almost did, i could have easily embraced the more natural lifestyle. hippy clothing, hiking and kayaking, granola and the whole deal. that part is in me somewhere, but it's just buried deep and only comes out during camp cheerio week or mountain vacations. i still love the mountains in the summer--the temperatures easily stayed in the 70's for most of our visit and only went over into the lower 80's a few times. everything is green and the air is clear and fresh and it just feels so comfortable. i wouldn't be able to drive anywhere (as justin constantly reminded me when i attempted to drive in the mountains) but i could definitely appreciate some long visits, even if i couldn't make it through the winters.

and then it was back to real life. traffic around raleigh, unpacking at home, and craziness at work. sigh... but it was a great vacation, especially for a long weekend. looking forward to the next one as soon as we can swing it!

until the next post...

photos are up on flickr! check 'em out!

Monday, August 11, 2008

we're back!

safe and sound.

jon and carrie are married.

we've visited with friends and family across three states.

driven about 1,200 miles of highway and curvy mountain roads.

and i promise a real post with tons of pictures in about two or three days (which is when i'll be caught up with laundry, household chores, reflector jobs and work.)

back to watching our recording of the olympic opening ceremonies--so awesome!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

i need to start packing...

but... here's our plan for the weekend!

View Larger Map

Monday, August 04, 2008

a weekend without a camera

so i was a doof and left my camera(s) at home this weekend. i think that after squeezing out four boys and girls club shoots for reflector and still editing the 700+ photos from the wedding on the previous weekend, my subconscious was telling me that i needed a break. so we left for the beach on saturday morning with alan and rachel and no camera in tow.

we headed down to atlantic beach for the rest of the morning and the first part of the afternoon. this was my first trip to the beach since the beginning of the summer, and i had missed it so much. after having summers off for the past three years and at least one (sometimes two) beach vacations for a week with family, it was somewhat sad that we hadn't been to the beach yet this year. we blame it on the weddings. the fact that we had a weekend free where i didn't have to be in, attend or photograph a wedding was such a positive thing! at any rate, after i was lathered up with sunscreen and had my little two-person tent set up for shade, i was in the water and loving every minute of it. alan brought his boogie board, so justin and i took turns catching waves and diving through the breakers. we had a cooler full of turkey wraps and drinks, so we had a picnic lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon reading or listening to music on the beach and then getting in the water to cool off.

after several hours in the sun, it was time to head down east and get cleaned up before meeting my grandparents for dinner. we hadn't seen them since our last trip down in january, and we came with wedding videos and photos in tow. we checked into our rooms at the driftwood, a little motel right by the ferry terminal to ocracoke. we've been here plenty of times for dinner, but never actually stayed there. it was a basic motel--nothing fancy, a few crickets who tried to make themselves at home in our room, but certainly closer to my grandparents and cheaper than anything in town. we had a great dinner with some of the freshest seafood you can find, and then went back to my grandparents' house for dessert and wedding videos/photos.

the next morning, we stopped in for one more visit and made it down to snug harbor to visit aunt esther, who will be celebrating her 100th birthday this coming january. it was then time for lunch in beaufort at one of the waterfront restaurants and a little browsing before heading back home. as we prepared for the week, we wondered where the weekend had gone and how quickly the week would go, too, as we got ready for our trip to kentucky. i'm so thrilled to be making this trip and really looking forward to each stop along the way. i will definitely have my camera on this one and plan to take tons of pictures as we drive along some very scenic roads.

one fun thing that we learned friday night--i never really met our backyard neighbors, but we were putting away some groceries and i spied the wife out in the backyard, setting up a tripod with a speedlight on it and then attaching a large reflective umbrella. we headed outside in a couple of minutes to visit with diane and john next door, and the neighbors came over. we introduced ourselves, and as it turns out, she teaches photography classes at one of the local community colleges and has a fantastic website and blog, as well as an offer to ask her any questions as they come up with my photography.

alright, that's it for now. i promise some great photos next time!