Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Everything is bigger in Texas...

It's true.  Everything is bigger in Texas...including my appetite...and sadly, my ass after the amount of food I consumed over Thanksgiving.  After 12 hours in the car with the family, we finally made it to Gilmer, TX.  The drive was well worth it!

My Aunt and Uncle's house

After we arrived on Wednesday and I regained the mobility back in my limbs, I quickly poured myself a glass of wine and caught up with my family, which had gathered from 4 different states to be together for the holiday. 

Mom and Aunt P

My Grandma Backy and cousin Becca

My sis...you can't tell, but she's 8 months preggo.

My sweet nephew, Drew.

As I mentioned in my last post, we actually celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday due to all the men taking off for the Texas vs. Texas A&M football game on Thursday.  Luckily for us, that gave all the gals time to prep for Thanksgiving dinner, play cards, and enjoy each other's company.  My aunt and uncle who hosted us had matching shirts for all the men and matching aprons for all the gals!

The boys, minus my Dad who took the pic.

Their matching shirts especially made for the game!

Cute girls' pic in our matching aprons!

And because we clearly couldn't help ourselves....
Not much to say here...but it was totally necessary.

Anywho......our Thanksgiving on Friday was just as wonderful as if we celebrated on Thursday.  The men watching football, the women scurrying around finishing up the meal, and me by the cheese and chicken ball tray stuffing my face.  All was as it should be. 

Our traditional pyramid pic after our annual t-giving football game.

Lounging before T-giving dinner....I spent most of this time with my face in the cheese tray...

Aunt Patty :)

My Momma

Yours Truly!

Our Thanksgiving spread...including Cranberry Fluff!!

Me, my mom, and my sisters

Grandpa carving the turkey

And as always, some family photos...these are the unedited versions...I still plan on photo-shopping the boy and the brother into the pic, since it's not really complete without them.  Sadly, their absence was the only thing missing from an otherwise awesome week. 

group shot

Our annual girls shot

girls' silly photo

Our Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and wonderful, and even though I was sad to part with the rest of the family, our clan hopped in the car and headed back to Kentucky on Saturday.  Nothing like spending 12 consecutive hours in the car to get me ready for the Christmas holiday!  We arrived back in Louisville on Saturday night at a little after 10:00pm.  I was rushing to get my bags out of the van and into my car to head back to Lexington to kiss on my guy....when what to my wandering eyes should appear, but my fiance with an overnight bag in tow.  He had surprised me and met me at my parents house when we got back in so we could relax and enjoy the evening together.  Yep girls, I've landed a good one!

That's all from me!  I'm off to enjoy the rest of my evening by my newly decorated for Christmas house!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are we there yet?

I feel like I'm 13 again...legitimately.  As I type this, I am sitting in the backseat of a rental min-van driving to Texas with my parents, my little sister, and my nephew.  I keep resisting the urge to yell..."When do we get to the beach?!?" just for nostalgia sake.  It's been a long time since I rode 12 hours anywhere with my family...

someecards.com - May your Thanksgiving travels be miserable enough to make spending time with family seem comparatively tolerable

While I am excited about Thanksgiving, the last couple days have been somewhat exhausting and stressful.  We left Kentucky yesterday and drove 6 hours to Memphis, stayed the night, and are completing the last 6 hour leg of the trip to Gilmer, TX as we speak.  It's been an adventure to say the least! 

I woke up yesterday knowing I had a long day ahead of me.  I took a vacation day yesterday, but that didn't stop me from getting up at 7:00am and working until about 10:30am when I finally slammed my hands down on my laptop, silently told it to f**k off and slammed the door to the bedroom for good measure.  Needless to say, I was having some issues with my work computer, and trying to put out last minute fires before I left for Texas.  Not to mention I still hadn't packed, and had 3 loads of laundry to do before I could pack.  Whew...aren't the holidays grand?!?  Anyways, I finally made it out the door after giving the boy a goodbye kiss (he couldn't come with us to Texas because of work) and off to Louisville to meet up with the family and pick up the rental van.  Ummm....has anyone else rented a car lately?  Let me tell you, it ain't fun!

The rental was in my name because we get a corporate discount at Enterprise through work.  So at around 3:00, I went with my dad to pick up the rental at the Enterprise on Westport Rd.  Let me paint you a little picture....it's dirty and gross in there, and the employees look disheveled and miserable (not that I blame them).  My Dad had planned to pay for the rental, but since it was in my name, I needed to go as well.  Long story short, he couldn't pay for the rental because it was in my name...whatever....so I hand over my debit card and tell them to just put it on my debit card.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.  The conversation went a little like this:

Me: Here, put it on my debit card.
Bitchy rental agent #1(BRA#1): Umm, okay in order to put it on your debit card, we need to see 2 copies of up to date utility bills.
Me: Excuse me?
BRA#1: It's our policy.
Me: Umm, I have some mail with me, but I don't know if it will work. 
BRA#1: Well, if you have online access to your accounts, you can just print them out on our computer.  Or a pay stub would work too.
Me: Why would I have a pay stub with me?  Here...I have a statement for my car loan and the mortgage on my house.  Those are current.  Would those work?
BRA#1: No.  It has to be a utility or phone bill.
Me: I have my bank statements that show money in my account...can you use those?
BRA#1: No.  We can use your cable bill, gas bill, electric bill, phone bill, water bill or pay stub.
Me: Okay, well I just moved.  I can probably get my electric bill pulled up online, but my Insight account is closed, and I don't have online access to my water bill.  Everything at the new place is in my fiance's name. 
Bitchy Rental Agent #2: The problem with a debit card is that you could give us that and close your bank account.  People steal cars like that.  So we have to have some way to verify that you make payments and are in good standing.
Me: And my mortgage payments, car payments, and bank statements won't accomplish that?
BRA#2: No.  I mean, we are already bending the rules for you by allowing you to put it on a debit card, but we can't break them for you....
Me: I don't understand....I've never had a problem renting a car before when I travel for work.  I've never had to bring utility bills. 
BRA#2: Well, what did you use to rent the car then?
Me: My corporate credit card. 
BRA#2: Well, why don't you put it on your corporate card?
Me: Because I'm making a personal non-work related trip for the holidays.
BRA#2: What about a cell phone bill (looks the the phone in my hands).
Me: This is a corporate cell phone.  I don't pay the bill.
BRA#2: Must be nice.

Anywho....after an hour at the Enterprise rental shack, I was finally able to produce enough evidence that showed I am a decent human being and won't be running off with the lovely Dodge Caravan we were renting.  The best part about the whole experience was the ridiculous and continuous stream of babbling from Bitchy Rental Agent #2 about the difference between bending rules and breaking rules.  Umm...thanks B, I got it.  I also love it when they try and pass it off like this has been their policy since the dawn of time.  Umm, no it hasn't.  I rented a car through them 2 years ago with my debit card, and did not need to give a urine sample or sign over my first born.  Nice try though...

So, rental drama aside, we finally made it out of Louisville around 4:30 yesterday.  I would have been more joyous, except as soon as I crawled into the back of the van, I remembered how horrific family road trips are, especially with my family.  There was nothing left to do but hunker down and pray for daylight...or vodka.  We were on the road all of 15 minutes before someone put on Mary Poppins in the portable DVD player, which luckily for us was in surround sound (and by surround sound, I mean my mother singing along to Spoon Full of Sugar and Supercalafredulisticexpialidocious).  Luckily she fell asleep before we were graced with her rendition of "Chim, Chiminey Chim Chim Cheroo", but she woke up just in time to hear everyone argue about where we were stopping to eat and to repeately chant "Mama's gots to pee!" until we finally stopped at a Panera Bread in I'm-in-hell, TN. 

Next up was "That awkward moment when you get to Memphis and you're sharing a hotel room with your parents and sleeping in a double bed with your 16 year old sister".  At 27, I thought those days were over, but sadly, they are not.  Good thing I was so damn tired it didn't matter...I quickly fell asleep and was delighted to wake up and find no bruises on my legs from sleeping with "The Sleep Kicker" (aka, my little sister). 

Now we trudge on...we are just over 3 hours into todays trip and have already stopped twice for various family members to go to the bathroon.  We have also made it all the way through one of the Harry Potter movies and have moved on to Finding Nemo...it was a strategic move not going with a musical this time.  I might have thrown myself out the window. 

The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel....in a few hours we will be in Texas and joing my sister and her husband, my cousins, grandma and grandpa, and aunts and uncles, and hopefully a bottle of pinot grigio as well.  Our actual Thanksgiving won't take place until Friday though...my uncle got all the men tickets to Texas vs. Texas A&M football game on Thanksgiving day and they will be traveling and tailgating for that all day tomorrow.  No matter though...good things come to those who wait.  And be good things, I mean Cranberry Fluff (aka the best thing you'll ever put in your mouth).  It is far and away my favorite t-giving dish and maybe one of my favorite foods, period.  I'll try and post the recipe and some pictures too.  It's freakin' divine. 

So that's pretty much been the last 24 hours of my life.  I am anxious to get there and start of the holidays with my family, though it will be bittersweet since my sweet boy won't be there.  I can't wait to get home and put up our first Christmas tree together!

 I'm curious how some of my readers are spending the holidays...What is your favorite/least favorite things about Thanksgiving?  What is the one Thanksgiving food you look forward to all year??

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grinches Beware!

Truth: I love the holidays. 

There, I said it.  Glad to get that off my chest.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't all that much of a secret, but I felt like a declaration was in order.  I'm not sure why it is, but for whatever reason I feel like this year the pre-holiday protests are a little louder than normal.  Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?  I mean, let's face it...by now we should all know that as soon as Halloween is over, you're not going to be able to walk into a store without seeing Santa statues, ornaments, and stockings.  It's just the world we live in, and I doubt it's going to change anytime in our lifetime. 

Some call it consumerism....some say it's America "forgetting" what the real reason for the season is...and maybe that's true.  I don't know.  But frankly, I don't mind it.  I take it as a reminder that I need to get my vacation requests in, get my shopping started, and get my Christmas budget in order.  Why you ask?  So that come December, I can relax and I can remember what Christmas is really all about (thanks in part to Charlie Brown Christmas special). 

I don't know about anyone else, but to be honest, even with all the amazing blessings I have had this year, I could use a little Christmas right now.  I don't know if it's the hard times or the stress, or the struggles I've endured over the year, but when I hopped into my car last week and heard the first Christmas song of the season on the radio, I felt really happy.  Christmas is a time to be happy and a time to be joyous and a time to celebrate life's blessings and shake off the stress.  What better way to do that than with a little Christmas diddy??  Why wait until December to listen to music that makes you happy?

This year is extra special for K and me as well because we will get to decorate our home for the holidays for the first time.  Our first stockings at our house, our first tree, our first Christmas wreath on the door.  Call me cheesy, but I am really looking forward to that, and to settling into our own holiday traditions.  I am also looking forward to spending some time with my girlfriends too!  I know that I've mentioned in several posts before that we all get so busy and consumed with our own lives that it becomes harder and harder to make the time for eachother.  But at Christmas, come hell or highwater, we find the time.  And when we find the time, we eat fattening foods, and we drink copious amounts of wine, we exchange gifts, and most importantly, we laugh....a lot. 

So, with all that said, I ask you....is it really so bad to start celebrating Christmas a little early?  Don't get me wrong, I have not forgotten about Thanksgiving.  I have not forgotten that before we give and before we get, we are thankful first.  I have not lost that.  I am thankful everyday.  But today, I am thankful for Christmas music and the decorations that are up in downtown Lexington, and the holiday scents at Yankee Candle, and the Christmas dishes I had to stop myself from registering for at Macys over the weekend.  So do me a favor...don't bah-humbug me...and don't judge me for not jumping on the bandwagon and making remarks like "Ugh...there are already Chrismas Trees at Wal-Mart, and it's not even Thanksgiving!"  Yes, I will wait to put up my decorations, and no I don't leave my tree up until January, but for now I am enjoying the little Christmas things while I can.  And that's okay!

So call me crazy.  Call me corny.  Call me a consumerist.  I don't care.  Just don't call me a Grinch.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Friday...let's be blunt...

Just because it's Friday...and maybe everyone could use a 'lil pick-me up....

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dress Distress?

Okay, so I had a couple ideas in mind for what I wanted to post about tonight, none of which had to do with wedding stuff.  But alas, things change, and after getting a kind of unexpected call today I once again am freaking out about all things wedding.  Ugh!

So, before I get into today's call, let me rewind to a call I got about 8 days ago from the lady at the Boutique where I am getting my bridemaids dresses.  Back in October, me and a couple of my bridesmaids went dress shopping, and I was sooooo excited to find a dress that I adored.  Not only was it exactly the kind of simple, elegant dress I was looking for, but it appeared to be universally flattering, which was really important to me.  Going into the whole bridesmaid dress thing, I was trying to be very conscious to A) not pick a hideous dress B) not pick a ridiculously expensive dress, and C) make it as stress-free as possible for my gals to purchase the dress.  Since my wedding is not for another 8 months, I planned to give everyone until the end of the year to get their dresses ordered.  Sounds pretty reasonable, right?  Wrong.  Apparently the wedding gods were not so keen with that plan.  I got a call from the boutique owner last week letting me know that the dress designer was shutting down that line of dresses and I have until November 18 to get all my orders in.  Ummm....can we say stress?! So after a frantic email to all of my b-maids, they all said they could rally and make it happen.  Even thought they're all awesome for agreeing to the rush order, it was so not the way I wanted everything to go down.  I guess this means that their bridesmaid gifts need to be extra awesome :).

Moving on to the call I got today....as some of you may recall from this post, I was lucky enough to find and purchase a fabulous wedding dress over labor day weekend during a girls' wedding weekend in Atlanta.  For anyone who is not familiar with the process, it typically takes about 6-8 months for a wedding dress to come in once ordered.  So, I was expecting to get a call sometime after March letting me know my gown was in.  I did not, however, expect to get that call at 2:30pm this afternoon.  Ummm, yep...my dress came in....and it only took two months!  I know this doesn't seem like a big deal, but what you don't know is that I have 10 days to pick it up from the store!  Apparently the dresses are only insured for 10 days and must be picked up in that time frame.  Okay, great...no problem.  Oh except that I live in Lexington, KY not Atlanta, GA...and even with the pedal to the metal, it's a 5.5 hour drive.  That, folks, is what we call stress... So even though it freaks me out to do this...I am sending my sister to pick up the dress and bring it to me next weekend.  The truth is, I am sure the dress is in perfect condition, and my sister is a neat freak perfectionist type so I know she will thoroughly inspect it before she leaves with it.  But I'm sorry, only a bride is going to notice the details....and the fit....and the color....and any other tiny little thing that may be wrong with it.  But this over-stressed bride is not going to be there to check, and that adds another level of anxiety to things that I really didn't anticipate.  Plus, it brings up the inevitable question of this: What the HECK am I going to do with the dress for the next 8 months?!  I feel sure that as soon as it goes to the back the guest closet at my parents' house there will be some mysterious house fire that attacks only that room and in contained only to the contents of the closet.  It would be just. my. luck. 

Sorry, I know those last two rants were a bit on the Debbie Downer side of things.  My apologies.  But I am curious...to all my married and engaged readers out there: Do you find the whole wedding planning thing as exhausting as I do?  Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely beyond excited to marry my guy.  I would do it tomorrow if I could.  But I sometimes worry that all the "stuff" on our wedding to-do lists is going to get in the way of the excitement that we should be enjoying during this time in our lives.  Does anyone else feel that way?  Aside from the dress distress I'm going through right now, I am also knee deep in trying to get together out wedding website, pick out our Save-the-Dates, and most importantly...trying to get our guest list together.  I can barely think about that without getting a nose-bleed. 

One thing I am looking forward to though is doing our gift registry.  We are going to tackle part of that this weekend.  I really don't know what to expect with that, but really I am just looking forward to spending the day with K and spending it shoppping too!  It's a win-win.  So that brings up yet another question...where should we register??  I know that Macy's will be where we register for the majority of our gifts due to the fact that it's easily accessable to pretty much all of my guests (local and out-of-towners).  But, I would also like to register for a few things at a more "specialty" kind of place....I am leaning towards Pottery Barn....but again, recommendations welcome. 

someecards.com - You'll never guess what I got you from your registry of pre-selected gifts

Anways, sorry for the wedding overload.  Sometimes is feels good to just do a little pulse check with the rest of the universe and make sure I'm not the only crazy girl out there that feels like the planning can be overwhelming.  Any tips out there from my married/engaged gals on things that you did/do to not get lost in the planning and enjoy it while it lasts?? 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday

For those of you who have been keeping up with my blog, you know that the last couple months for me have been insanely busy.  In fact, nearly all of my recent posts have started out with some sort of acknowledgement of how long it's been since I posted last.  I am happy to say that things have finally somewhat slowed down.  Yes, we are still working on things around the house, but I have come to terms (kinda sorta) with the fact that it is a process...and it may be a long time before everything is as we want it around here.  So, in the meantime, I am trying to embrace the things we have accomplished around here and have begun getting into the holiday spirit.  This past week I snuck over to Bath & Body Works because I needed some body wash, and to my delight, they were having a special on all their candles, including a slew of new holiday scents!  Not only did I leave there with two yummy candles, I also scored two FREE decorative candle holders.  Now it's starting to smell festive around my house, which I couldn't be happier about since I've been trying for weeks now to rid the house of the weird "boy" smell that all single men seem to fill their houses with.

Along with the new smells, I am also trying out a new slow cooker recipes every Sunday.  Last week it was slow-cooker country ribs (they were DEEE-LISH!), and this week I am getting a 'lil crazy and cooking a whole chicken in the 'ole Crock Pot.  I have decided to make it my mission this fall and winter season to make a slow cooker meal every Sunday.  With things being so crazy the last few months, I am hoping it will help in the overall attempt to "slow down" and relax every now and then.  Today's attempt (at slowing down, not slow-cooking) did not go quite as planned, however, I am feeling a nice sense of accomplishement at some of the chores I was able to tackle today (including 5 loads of laundry!).  Oh well, there's always next week!

I was pretty happy with the overall finished product....and the chicken was incredibly moist!  Plus, there's lots of leftovers for the boy to take to work this week.  Although the idea of slow-cooker Sunday is to relax and let dinner cook itself, I managed to take the 7 hours while my chicked cooked to complete some of those lingering weekend chores.  Among other things, they included: mopping the kitchen & living room, unpacking the office, unpacking shoes in the closet, cleaning and vacuuming my car, and of course, an all-day laundry marathon.  The dogs mananged to get their rest in though...I guess watching me work was pretty exhausting for them.

Anyways, that's all I got for tonight.  Hope everyone has a relaxing Sunday and a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Engagement Photos!

Happy hump day y'all!  A sweet little hump-day treat arrived in the mail for me today...a disk of our engagement photos!  Our seriously awesome photographer, Jerry McBroom, did an amazing job for us!  Going into the pictures, we didn't know exactly what to expect or really what to do (even though I've been discovered, I really don't do much modeling...lol).  All we really knew was that we wanted them to be natural and casual.  Most importantly, we wanted them to perfectly capture the beauty of where we are getting married and how gorgeous fall in Kentucky is.  So without further ado...here is a selection of our photos (we have 222 to choose from!).

So, there you have it...isn't our wedding venue gorgey?  We are getting married on the porch of the brick house in the background.  I can't wait!

Goodnight readers!

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