Sunday, October 30, 2011

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old

Fall.  Definitely my favorite season.  I love the crisp air, flawlessly blue skies, colorful trees, football (Go Bucks!), and how the cool mornings go perfectly with a chai tea latte.  What has made fall even better this year is the time spent with friends we don't get to see very often.

Earlier this month, David's friend and his family came up from Camp Lejeune so the boys could do a little BMX riding.  Later, we grilled some burgers, enjoyed a few cocktails, and played Kinect (video games: they're not just for kids anymore).  

Love this father-daughter moment I captured when we were out at the trails :)

The next day, one of my high school friends and her family came to visit.  After real Carolina BBQ for lunch, we took advantage of the beautiful weather by going to a pumpkin patch and the playground.

I've known K since 2nd grade, and I'm constantly amazed by how much her daughter looks like a young K.

This past weekend, we went over to our friends' house for some pumpkin carving, Big Ten football, and good food.  These are also friends I've had since high school.  One lives nearby, the other lives an hour away so we don't see him as often, which made the day extra special.

Here is A's pumpkin, a Cleveland Browns football helmet, (in case you couldn't tell).  It's moments like these that remind me why I've made sure not to lose touch with these guys :)

And here are the finished products.  Football helmet is on the far right- not quite the same when it's not on someone's head.  Mine is the cat, but we were all upstaged by A's wife, who did the skull and crossbones in the middle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thank Yous

Have you ever remembered someone from your past who was a part of your life very briefly, but did something for you that you never got a chance to fully thank them for?  I’m not really talking about the people who are in your life long term like close friends and family.  These are people who you find time (hopefully) to thank and share how much you appreciate them.  I’m talking about the people who touch you in a way you don’t have time to stop and think about until it’s too late.  Lately, these types of things have been coming to mind, and I’d like to take a moment to share my thank yous.

Sarah, Senior Cheerleader.  As one of only 2 freshman on the squad, it was easy to feel intimidated and even left out some of the time.  You took me under your wing, and invited me to my first football after-party (nothing wild and crazy, this was a parent-hosted event where kids met up for pizza after the game).  You drove me (always a big deal for a freshman to have transportation that didn’t involve their parents), and told me you liked my outfit, even though I had grabbed the first thing I could find in my closet.  I needed something like this to show me that I was going to have a miserable high school experience if I didn’t put myself out there. 

The stranger who stopped on I-74 in SE Indiana.  I was driving back from holiday break and had unexplainably lost control of my car and spun across two lanes of traffic before ending up in the median.  I was both terrified and confused.  Not only had I almost gotten hit by a truck, but the weather was fine so I wasn’t sure what had caused the near miss.  Every other car sped on by, but you stopped.  You ran across the highway to see if I was okay, you gave me a big hug while I cried, and you waited with me until Highway Patrol showed up to make sure I could get back on the road safely.  I really needed your comfort in that moment, but I feel like I was so shaken up, I never got the chance to adequately explain how much your kindness meant.  So thank you.  You were my angel that day.
Connor, Middle School Classmate.  You were one of the “cool kids,” but you were kind to everyone, which I always appreciated.  And when the status-defining time of Candygram giving came on Valentine’s Day, you got one of the extra ones from student council and gave it to me, because I was afraid I wouldn’t get any.  I’ve never forgotten that.  It was such a small gesture, for something so superficial, but at the time, it made me feel special.  Thank you for showing the world that we’re all equals, despite what some people would have us believe.
Professor Beasley, who showed me that my writing had something to offer.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I was always the “math kid,” so after some less than enthusiastic reviews from other writing teachers, I assumed I was just missing the  creative gene.  Luckily, your class was different.  You encouraged us to break rules and write exactly the way we wanted to write.  To this day, the papers I wrote in your class are my favorite things I’ve ever written.  In a way, you probably gave me the confidence to start my blog.  I may not have a thousand readers, but the few followers I have seem to enjoy it.  Most importantly, I enjoy it.  So thanks for doing what a really good teacher does- encouraging and inspiring.  You rock.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Latest Projects

With all the projects keeping us occupied inside our house, we’ve kind of neglected the long list of landscaping we’ve been needing to do.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I told JD it was time for us to get started on some of our projects.  Fall is actually the best time to plant in NC, because it’s easier for the plants to establish themselves over the winter than during the hot, dry summer.

My top priority was the area right in front of our porch.  Here are the before pics:

One of the things that drew me to our house was the very southern front porch (complete with rocking chairs!) but I thought that the old bushes hid the porch a little bit.  Plus, half of them were dying.  The nursery recommended these bushes, which I fell in love with because of the multi-colored leaves.  They will also get white flowers in the spring.  They are a low maintenance plant and will only grow to 2 feet.  Perfection :)

 Next up was an area of the back yard where support lines for the telephone pole behind our house are anchored.  I honestly think this is part of the reason our house sat on the market so long before we bought it, but JD and I decided it was one of those compromises that was worth it because of all the other features of the house we liked.  Besides, the yard is mostly for the dogs anyway, and they don’t seem to mind the wires :)

The previous owners tried to make this area look nice, but it definitely needed some sprucing up.  Unfortunately, we lost the before pic.  This was probably the most dramatic transformation of the 3 projects, but you'll just have to picture it.  There were dying plants and a scattered, cheap-looking border.  After a new border (thanks JD!), some pretty grasses, and a little mulch, the area looks much nicer.  We also started a floral vine up the support wire (which you can't see yet).  Hopefully in a few years, those wires won’t be as much of an eyesore.

Finally, JD was determined to clean up the area along the fence.  Our yard seems to drain here, so we couldn’t get grass to grown along this edge of the yard because water always pooled there.  These bushes will grow up to 10 feet and will eventually cover up the fence completely.  We’re considering edging off the area and putting down mulch, but we decided to see how large the bushes get first.

We don't have a before pic for this one either, but there was nothing there, so you're not missing much :)

These projects were small in comparison to the long list of things we’d like to get done outside, but it’s nice to see we’re headed in the right direction :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sounds of the Police Force

We all know someone who has a completely obnoxious ringtone.  An annoying song perhaps, or maybe even a standard ringtone that happens to be so loud you feel the need to cover your ears whenever their ringer goes off.

As soon as JD graduated from the academy, he started searching for police-related ringtones.  For a while, I thought the theme from Cops would win out (which actually would have been pretty funny), but then he came across something so much worse than anything I could have imagined.  Gunshots. 

I was horrified,  “What if we’re out and your phone starts ringing and people panic because they don’t realize it’s just your ringtone?”

But JD had already made up his mind, meaning he probably hadn’t heard a word I’d said.  I was hoping he’d at least limit the ringtone to other officers in his address book so I didn’t have to spend all day listening to gunshots.  Of course, that has not been the case. 

The other night, we were at the Sprint store because JD’s been having problems with his voicemail (we were also pre-ordering my new iPhone, just had to throw that out there).  The tech called his voicemail to test it, and immediately gunshots rang around the store.  Everyone looked up and stared, trying to figure out where the noise was coming from.   JD was unphased, but I felt extremely conspicuous. 

To make things worse, they kept calling his phone every few minutes until they’d fixed the issue.  Luckily, the other people waiting had gotten used to the noise, so they were a less alarmed, but probably getting as annoyed as I was.

I love my husband, and I’m glad he loves his job, but I’m wishing he didn’t enjoy the sound of gunshots.  I know I don’t.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going to the Chapel

This weekend, I road tripped up to NY for a friend’s wedding in Rochester.  Of course, due to JD’s work schedule, he wasn’t able to come, but I rode up with a couple of friends, so it worked out.  There was plenty of laughter, dancing, and fabulous food, making it well worth the trip, despite scary rest stops, sleep deprivation, and almost destroying Rachel’s new car (which would have left us stranded in West Virginia).  I won’t elaborate on the car mishap because I don’t want to embarrass Rachel, but I will say that I didn’t see the curb either.  Also, her car is grey so the frosty blends right in  ;-)

Friday night, we met up with Rachel’s college friends at an adorable Mexican restaurant in downtown Rochester. 

After that, it was time for a little dancing

Saturday was wedding time!  The ceremony and bride were both beautiful, although I wasn’t able to get any good pictures because I was too far away.

Rachel and I naturally dressed alike (I swear we don’t plan these things)


Then it was time to party it up at the reception with a delicious meal and even more dancing.

It was a fun-filled weekend, for sure, but it’s always nice to come home to my loving husband and crazy dogs.