Friday, July 31, 2009

Photogenic Friday: My bags are packed, I'm ready to go

But I'm not leaving on a jet plane. I'm leaving in a car.

Also, my bags are only halfway packed at this point, but whatever.

We're going to the beach for a week!

There aren't enough exclamation points to tell you how excited I am.

I love the beach!

Here is a picture of the last time I was on the beach:

This is the date that photo was taken:

It's been four and a half years.

It's ridiculous that I've let so much time pass between visits. Especially considering I live in a coastal state.

I'm sorry Mr. Ocean and Mr.Sand. I've neglected you for far too long.

I'll see you in just a few short hours!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm a philanthropist and I can prove it

Rewind to tax season 2008.

For a large portion of 2007 Andy was considered self employed. So our taxes for that year were not pretty. It could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better.

We had to pay federal taxes, but we did manage to scrimp out a refund from our state return. A whole, whopping $7.

I know, how exciting is that? We left the tax office with big plans for our rebate. We were going to treat ourselves with a feast from the nearest dollar menu as soon as the check came in the mail. Anticipation was high.

A month or so later the check came. Whoot! I remember taking it out of the mail box, but after that things get blurry. I think I may have told Andy that it came, but who really knows? At the time gas was through the roof and the bank wasn't exactly close, so I just planned on cashing the check whenever I was in town again.

Maybe a month after that we had a conversation that went something like this:

Andy: Hey, did you ever cash that rebate check?

Me: Oh! No I don't think I did.

Andy: So what did you do with it?

Me: I'm not entirely sure. It'll probably turn up and when it does I'll take it to the bank.

Andy: Well, whatever. It was only $7.

Fast forward to last Saturday.

It's a woman's prerogative to have as many purses as her closet will hold and then stuff in a few more just because she can. Last week, before the family picnic, I decided it was time for a change. So I went into my closet to pull out one of my summer bags. The one I had in mind was a little bigger than my current bag; it had been a birthday gift from my inlaws last year. Plenty of room for my wallet and sunglasses and a book of course and lot's of other completely unnecessary items.

If you're anything like me every purse in your arsenal is storage for a bunch of crap that you never cleaned out. You know, stuff that doesn't really have a home, but you don't want to throw it out, but it isn't worthy to transfer to your new bag. Or you're just lazy, like I am, and it's easier to take out the necessary things and cram the rest of it back in the bag and into the closet.

So I rummaged around for a minute until I finally found my desired tote and I pulled it out. Of course it had to be purged of all the "stuff" still in it. I pulled it all out to sort it into trash and keep piles.

Guess what was in it?

The $7 rebate check from the state of North Carolina.

"Huh." I said aloud and then laid it down and went about my business. It was only $7 after all.

I forgot about it (again) until last night when Andy comes in the living room holding a piece of paper and says, "So how about this tax rebate check? Where did this come from?"

I laugh and tell him where I found it. Then he actually gets defensive and wants to know why I didn't cash it. I remind him of that conversation we had a year ago and that he knew all along that I didn't cash it.

Of course the deadline to cash it is long past due. So I guess I've done my part for the economy. I donated our $7 back to this glorious state.

You're welcome North Carolina!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Like pulling teeth

This past Saturday Andy and I joined my family for a picnic and "half-way to Christmas" get together.

As always, it was a lot of fun to see everyone and catch up. It seems like as we all grow up and start lives of our own getting the whole group together is difficult. Even on Saturday there were some people missing; my brother and his brood and two other cousins.

When I was a teenager I missed a lot of these family time things because I was working or "had more important" things to do. Then I grew up a little bit and lost a couple of family members and realized how much they all meant to me and that we wouldn't all be here forever. This has become even more clear to me since my accident in April. My friend Whitney said it best when she said, "We're all young and in our twenties and think we're invincible, but any day it could all be taken away from us."

I don't mean to sound so gloomy, but it's the truth and sometimes it takes a traumatic event to make you realize what's important.

So whenever an opportunity comes up for me to see my family or friends I like to do what I can to make sure I'm there. I also come with camera in tow because I think it's important to document these activities. If we don't get to do it again for a couple of years then we'll be totally different, there might be a few new family members, or maybe even one or two less. So I've made it my mission to capture everyone on film at every opportunity.

No matter where we are I take our tripod with me and I make everyone line up for a group shot. There is much moaning and groaning and someone usually points out that we did this the last time we were together. But I don't care.

One day, maybe years from now, they'll be glad I made them do it. And these pictures will probably be most meaningful to the biggest complainers.

Left to right, starting in the front:

Aunt Lea, Aunt Pam (with Sophie), Uncle Todd, Me, Andy, Mamaw
Wes (Luke's friend), Caleb, Luke, Bekah, Elizabeth, Hannah
Uncle Tony, Aunt Donna, My parents - Julia and Terry

On a completely different note!

Do you have a hard time finding that perfect dress?

Let me introduce you to Shabby Apple!

The Shabby Apple clothing line was introduced to me about a year ago and I think it's beautiful. They have a nack for designing stylish, chic dresses that don't show more skin than is necessary.

Take a look and if you like what you see head over to The Meanest Mom's site because she is having an awesome giveaway this week!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photogenic Friday: The Hulk

This week I'd like to introduce you to my new ride. It's another Jeep.

It isn't really new. It's new to me, because for the last eight years it's been Andy's. He has generously agreed to loan it to me until I get my "real" new ride, whenever that may be.

Don't worry about Andy though, he has a truck to get around in, we call the truck Magnum. Well, I call the truck Magnum and Andy tolerates me naming his vehicles.

The Hulk is what I like to call my new mode of transportation.

This is what the Hulk looked like roughly six years ago.

Several years later the Hulk has certainly suffered some wear and tear at the hands of my husband. In the photo above he has made just a few slight modifications. He continued to make more while still striving to keep the Hulk road worthy as he relied on it to transport him on a regular basis.

Fast forward to 2006 when he bought Magnum and the Hulk became Andy's toy or off roading vehicle. The Hulk had been off roading before then, but Andy paid a little more attention to what he was doing.

Since then? Not so much.

This is what the Hulk looks like today.

I don't think I really need to explain why I call it the Hulk.

This is where Andy says a tree got in the Hulk's way and nearly ripped off half of the grill and headlight. It's held on with zip ties.

This is where a ditch just "jumped right up and hit the Hulk in the side."

These are they fog lights that Andy professed his love for just a few days ago. He told me he'd be very upset if something happened to his fog lights. I think he values them above all other things on or in the Hulk.

This is a pregnant woman trying to get into the Hulk. I don't know if you can tell from the photos, but the Hulk is much taller than your average Jeep.

The next day she told me she injured her hip and woke up with a shooting pain. She didn't get back in the Hulk.

I'm still not sure how she managed to get up there.

It was a challenge for me when I was in a cast. I don't have a photo, but I had it down to an art and really I think it would be worth putting my walking boot back on and recreating it on film, just for posterity's sake.

I make fun of the Hulk a lot, but really I'm grateful to have it. I wouldn't have a car at all without it and if I can't have my Jeep back, the Hulk is a nice substitute.

*I asked Andy to pick out an off roading picture for me to post and it took him longer to pick one than it did for me to write this post.*

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beads, baby bumps,and toenails

I guess last week wasn't technically vacation, because I don't really consider our state capital a tourist destination. But getting off my mountain and away from my regular life for any amount of time constitutes a vacation in my book.

I drove down on Wednesday to spend some time with Julie and Frank and little bunny (that's what they call their baby).

We didn't do a whole lot besides lounge by the pool. Our last day we got rained out of the pool though, that sucked. I did, however, manage to make it back home with a great base tan. I'm rip, roarin' and ready to go to the beach in a little over a week for my actual, factual vacation.

By the pool on Friday,
before the thunderstorm
Julie asked for my help to make a necklace
for her to wear at her shower
The finished product
We also made a single strand as a
hostess gift, but in different colors
I painted Julie's toes for her
because she can't reach them,
and I painted mine because freshly painted toes always
make me feel prettier
I ended my vacation time with Julie on Saturday. Her older brother and sister-in-law are also expecting their first child this fall and both of the mommies-to-be were given showers on Saturday. It was a very busy end to my relaxing week, but it was so much fun. I always enjoy spending time with Julie's family. I can't wait to meet baby Giada and little bunny in just a few, short months!

Julie's brother, Shawn,
and her sister-in-law, Amanda
at their baby shower
Julie with her mother-in-law, Martha
who hosted Julie's shower
Me, Julie, Amanda and
Amanda's friend Leanne

This past Monday I had a visit to the ear, nose and throat doctor for my post op check up. Everything looks good and he said he wanted to see me back in a year. A year? Really? I don't have experience with this type of thing and I'm not sure if this is routine. I have an inkling that he would have released me if I were just a "regular" patient. But I'm still tender and somewhat swollen and I guess he wants to make sure that everything has healed up like it should and we don't need to do anything else. I'm guessing that this appointment a year from now is purely precautionary.

My ankle continues to improve. I have started running again, hip, hip, hooray! It's certainly a work in progress, but I usually feel pretty good after my workouts. Any shift in weather causes me some discomfort and spending a great deal of time on my feet leaves me a little swollen. I wore heels for the first time this past weekend and it really wasn't that bad. I was proud of myself. I also took advantage of my pool time last week to do some laps and try to help strengthen my muscles some more. That really seems to have helped. It seems my biggest obstacle is going to be working on flexibility.

My teeth continue to move and I go back to the orthodontist next week. That always stresses me out. My last appointment was pretty horrible and if this one is at all similar I'm going to really appreciate our beach vacation the next week. I visited a periodontist a few weeks ago and he didn't seem as negative as all the other oral doctors have been. I know it's a possibility that I can still lose more teeth, but I don't need them to remind me of it every time I visit their office.

I do have some bad news. Apparently, during the accident, I cracked a molar on my right side and a piece of the tooth chipped off a few day ago. We think maybe the stress that the brace is putting on my tooth made the crack worse and that's why it chipped, but it looks like there is another piece that could come off. It hurt just before it chipped, but it doesn't bother me now, so I'm not really sure what the problem is. If it's cracked though I'm pretty sure they'll have to remove it. I'll let you know what the orthodontist says next week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photogenic Friday: Still on vacation

I'm basking in the warmth of the flat land of my fair state. I can't be bothered with something so trivial as updating my blog. Because, you know, I've been such a stellar blogger lately.

Photogenic Friday will return next week, but for now I'm going to continue my vacation and pretend like this blog doesn't exist.

Just for now, I promise.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Internets, I'm on vacation

I'll update you when I can. By "when I can" I mean of course, when I manage to get out of the pool.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Photogenic Friday: I'm a slacker

Nearly a week late, but here is our 2009 July fourth celebration forever immortalized in photographs.

We didn't do a whole lot because Andy had to work until about 7. We met up with some friends to watch the fireworks and spent the time until dark playing four square and throwing around a football.

Ok, well, I played referee because they were playing too rough for me.

Waiting for the chalk and ball to arrive
for the four square game
This man is single ladies.
He's also quite a catch.
Waiting in line to take a turn at four square
The actual game.
Is is just me or is this court about four times
the size it was in elementary school?
The four square trash talk was too much for them
Without further ado...
Here I am (with Andy of course)
Still slightly swollen,
but at least my smile isn't crooked anymore.

I took pictures of the fireworks too, but they aren't very good because we didn't take the fancy camera and tripod. Also, I'm fairly certain you know what fireworks look like.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Photogenic Friday: 4th of July days gone bye

Circa 2002
I hope your holiday is great.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Total domination

There is always something to do here on my mountain. While Andy and I are essentially homebodies, sometimes sitting on the sofa and watching television can get old so we get out and take advantage of some of the activities our community offers.

The next few weeks our Alma mater is having a cycling race series to raise funds for the cycling team. Andy decided to participate and tonight was the first race. Lately he's really been getting back into cycling after a few years out of the sport. The race series is a short track mountain bike race which Andy doesn't really do much of. Whenever he can borrow someone's mountain bike he likes to go out and play, but his bike is built for the road so that's predominantly what he does.

He went into the race kind of timid and thinking he wouldn't do that well, but it was for a good cause and he was just in it to have a good time. This was his first time participating in a mountain bike race so he signed up for the C class race, leaving A and B class for the more experienced mountain bikers.

He started out just trying to pace himself to keep up with everyone and then had some bad luck on his first lap. He fell and then lost the chain on his bike causing him to stop and end up in last place early on. I went with a friend into the woods to watch the race and with each lap we cheered and he gradually caught back up with the leaders. I knew he was giving it all he was worth and when I heard them call last lap I headed back around to meet him. I was nowhere near the finish line and I'm pretty slow on flat ground, so tromping around in the woods with this bum ankle of mine makes me extra snail like. I knew I'd never make it back in time, so I just took my time and met up with Andy after his race was over.

When he saw me he handed me this little envelope and asked me to put it in my purse. Inside it was a gift card to a local restaurant. It was the prize for the winner.

You read that right.

It took me a second to realize what I was holding. He came back from dead last and won his class! He was super excited and has been on cloud nine all night. We went out afterward and spent the winner's spoils.

Next week he's going to move up a class because it seems that he underestimated his mountain biking skill level. It's much less likely he'll win in a higher class, but at least he'll be more evenly matched.

Lining up for the second race
Before the race, sure he was going to lose
Playing catch up
The victor!
He was dirty, and a little bruised from his fall,
but he was so excited!