Day of Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have yet to participate in the daily “this is what I’m thankful for” trend on Facebook… and I don’t want to start now. I AM so thankful for all the things I should be thankful for, but today I am thankful for the tradition of Thanksgiving in general. The history we teach of this holiday is a little screwy if you ask me… pilgrims and Indians are best friends? Having a yearly feast together? Yeah…I don’t buy it. However, I can appreciate what the holiday is now: a time to get together with friends and family, eat some of the greatest foods and be appreciative for the many many things we are fortunate enough to have and share.

This year is the first time in 5 years that we are spending Thanksgiving with our family in Nashville. I am cooking two dishes. That’s right, you read that last sentence correctly. I am very concerned that they will turn out burnt on the outside and raw in the middle (typical of my cooking), but that’s why I’m making two. I figure I’ll have better odds that way. AND, I am thankful I have a Husband who knows to cook and will swoop in at any moment to save me from a kitchen catastrophe. My favorite is when he politely suggests I just stay out of the kitchen for a little while. “Okay…if you insist.”

We are also running/walking the 5 mile Boulevard Bolt at 8am! It’s a family tradition to run this race every year, and it’s the best idea. Running 5 miles in the morning makes stuffing your face with carbs not feel so bad. I am still working on quick last-minute costumes for the family… time to bust out the glue gun! I am thankful that I will not feel obligated to run the whole race this year. I will walk/jog my big pregnant butt along and cheer on Husband as he swooshes passed.

Thank you, each of you, for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you all have a great day with whoever you consider family. Eat all your favorite foods, it doesn’t have to be turkey…I don’t even eat meat. And, take a minute to remember how very lucky you are.

Cheers!

Chopping Down Our Own Tree

country cove

When I was very young we had a real tree at Christmas time, but most of my life we had artificial trees. Husband always had a real tree growing up, and once, before he can remember, they chopped down their own Christmas tree at a tree farm. Now, that we are semi-grown up and able to pick our own tree for our own house we agree that real is the way to go, and why not pick it out at a tree farm?

trees

Over the weekend, we went to Country Cove in Murfreesboro, TN to pick out our tree, chop it down and take it home. I didn’t really know what to expect on a tree farm, but it’s exactly what it sounds like…a big farm of trees. The farm was cute and complete with a souvenir shop, a fire pit, free hayrides and a wreath shop.

souvenier shop fire pit

 

There were two different types of Christmas-y looking tree to choose from if you want to go the chopping down route, or you can buy a pre-cut tree of a different species.

picking

It was Freezing and I am now unable to button my winter coat, so I was running through the fields trying to find the perfect tree as quickly as possible. I was really surprised at how small most of the trees looked. I wanted a tree that is at least taller than us. Eventually, we found a whole group of tall looking trees, but then they all looked too perfect. I made Husband decide on “the one”. I pretended to cut it down for about 2 seconds, but Husband did all the actual work.

handsaw

chopping actual chopping

I imagined us using a big ax to chop down our tree…in reality we had to use a little hand saw, but it worked just the same. After the tree fell (aww, sad) it was our Husband’s  job to drag it back to the main house. Once we got it back some young guys quickly scooped it up and got to work. The guys put our tree on some sort of shaking machine to knock off all the loose needles. After it’s turn on t the giant vibrator, it went through a contraption that wrapped it up in netting so it could travel easily on top of our car.

dragging tree shaker tree pooper

While they worked, we enjoyed the free hot cocoa and hot apple cider. Nice touch, Country Cove.

hotdrinks

The strapping young men tied the tree on top of our car. We drove home, realized we don’t own a tree stand, stopped at Walmart…and Voila! We now have a tree!

loading

 

our tree

Our tree turned out to be a 7 foot tree, so I guess they look smaller out in the field.  Now, all that’s left are the decorations.

It took us an hour to get out to the tree farm, but it was cute and fun and I can imagine this being a family tradition with kids, so I think we’ll be back. Any of you have a fun tree-getting tradition?

sunset

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Final Haunt

Saturday night we went to one last haunted attraction here in Tennessee. We have been to eight haunted houses this year, but had to squeeze in one more, even if Halloween had already passed. Why? Well, who wouldn’t want to go on a haunted hayride that requires you to shoot zombies with paintball guns?! Not us. We got our friends and drove to Columbia, TN to get a glimpse of what it would be like if The Walking Dead were reality and not just one of the best things on TV right now.

their symbol

MIller’s Thrillers has, unbeknownst to us, been around for 6 years. They have the Zombie Haunted Hayride, the Haunted Woods and an Entertainment Zone. We paid the $30 for all attractions and got in the long line for the hayride first. We had to wait for an hour and a half, which stunk, but wasn’t terrible. For one thing, smoking was not allowed! Yay! The lines for both attractions are in the Entertainment Zone. So, while we were waiting we got to watch their Zombie drum-line, a comedian Zombie, a juggler and an illusionist. Unfortunately, between waiting for the hayride and waiting for the Haunted Woods, we saw the show about 5 times. When things got boring, we played Head’s Up!

entertainment zone

We saw dozens of people playing Head’s Up in line at Halloween Horror Nights a few weeks ago, so we downloaded the app and gave it a try. Turned out to be hilarious, really fun, and a good way to pass the time. You pick a category (like movie titles), put the phone on your head, titles come up and the people around you have to give you hints or act out what is on the screen. If you guess correctly, just flip the phone down and back up and another title comes up. Try it. Everyone in line wanted to play with us or download the app themselves.

heads up

Okay, the hayride was pretty cool. The concept was genius; everyone wants to hurt the scary people in haunted houses and have the chance to shoot a paintball gun without the fear of getting shot in return. The trip began with 20 of us being split into two groups: The Black Ops and Code Red. Everyone is told that their job is to save the town by killing as many zombies as possible. We were then loaded into a trailer lined with 10 guns on each side. Everyone got 75 paintballs (more if you pay extra) and the ride began! It was fun to ride around hunting for scary zombies, but it went by too fast and it would be better if their were about twice as many zombies. We will have to go back next year and see if it improves from year to year.

zombie paintball

Back in line, we drank hot chocolate and took a bunch of ridiculous photos of us squinting into the flash. They all came out horribly…

surprised

Stilt people and ballon animal/swords
Stilt people and ballon animal/swords

squinty happy crazy faces

We are all just so photogenic.

The Haunted Woods was the BEST, and I mean THE BEST haunted attraction we went to this year. Monster Mountain was cool, Dead Land Woods was cooler, but Miller’s Thrillers takes the prize. It wasn’t even the scariest, it was just so good in so many ways! First of all, it was long. I think it took us 45 minutes to walk through, (although we did stop for a while when we lost our friend Steve). The trail is amazing. It winds up and down hills, goes through huge natural rocks, swinging bridges and thick trees. It’s so nice that I want to go back and walk through it during the day. The actors and scenes were good and unique too. It was unlike any other haunted house/attraction.

They actually take a photo of you at the beginning of the trails right after the jump out and scare you out of your seats. That's a legit scared face.
They take a photo of you at the beginning of the trails right after they jump out and scare you out of your seats. That’s apparently my scared face.
Zombie dance party!
Zombie dance party!

*Spoiler Alert: The trail led up to a haunted building, which then led to a pitch black tunnel that opened up to a dark maze! We didn’t even realize we were in a maze at first. The maze then dumped us into a dance party room and the entire thing ended in a spinning tunnel full of lights that made all of us almost topple over. It was SO good!

Don’t you want to go???

After 4 hours at Miller’s Thrillers we had everyone over for a backyard bonfire and weenie roast. Thank God the time changed; we needed that extra hour.

bonfire

It was such a good night. Husband and I felt completely hungover the next day. I, of course, drank nothing, and I’m fairly certain he had one beer. Just goes to show you that we are getting old and staying up all night is starting to take it’s toll! Oh well, it doesn’t seem to slow us down.

Cheers!

Birthday Month Has Officially Begun

Today marks the beginning of a very important celebration. Today, the first of November, is the first day of Birthday Month. My Birthday Month to be exact. I am a big believer in celebrating, and an even bigger believer and celebrating Me. Now, I know that you are all very concerned about how to celebrate Birthday Month, but do not fear, the Birthday Girl is here.

I will be 29 this year, so I think it’s only fitting that you have 29 ways to celebrate. Feel free to mix them up, add your own, do more than one a day, dress up and celebrate!

1. Eat A LOT of Mexican food. Guacamole and Tacos should be at the top of your list.

2. Go to Disney World. Take a pic in front of Cinderella’s castle and tell Mickey I said “What’s up?”

3. Do an Insanity workout and let Shaun T scream at you. “Letsgo!!!!!!!!!!!”

4. Shop at Sephora and buy me something…anything. I love everything.

5. Do something nice for someone else…pay for their Starbucks, love their baby, make them dinner, tell them their pretty…just make someone smile, K?

6. Snuggle your pets, or someone else’s pets, or go to an animal shelter and snuggle those pets. Then adopt them all and take funny pictures and share them on Reddit.

7. Buy everything on my baby registries. Thanks. It will be fun for both of us, promise.

8. Please, call me at 7am and make sure I am awake and not lying on the couch pretending to write. Then make some coffee.

9. Speaking of coffee… let’s have a Starbuck’s date.

10. Finish reading that book you keep putting off. If you haven’t read The Other Typist yet, then read it, call me and tell me what the hell happened at the end.

11. Watch Pretty Little Liars! I started watching this show a few weeks ago because everyone was freakin’ out about it on Facebook. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I started from episode 1, and have now watched all 84 episodes. It is full of teen drama and a bit ridiculous, but my God it is addicting and I LOVE it. The last 2 episode were insane! So watch that, call me and we’ll talk about that too! Like, who’s your favorite? I just love Spencer.

12. Do something crafty, like help paint my nursery! Woohoo!

13. Volunteer, but do it somewhere near Nashville and invite me. I really want to find a good place to volunteer, maybe a Children’s Hospital? Anyone familiar with this?

14. Go shopping. Not sure where to go? Target, Anthroplogie, Modcloth, Sephora, Bergodor’s, Blush, Forever21, Nine West, H&M, Zulily, LuLu’s, JCrew…that should help. And, maybe you want to pick up something extra for a special Birthday girl?

15. Have a dance party. You must dance the whole time, and so must anyone in attendance…even if it’s just your dog and your Husband.

16. Listen to Broadway show tunes and like it.

17. Watch Gilmore Girls and start memorizing the lines. It’s about time you all start getting my references.

18. Be extra nice to Husband, after all, he has to put up with me ALL Birthday Month.

19. Travel somewhere exciting and have an adventure…might I suggest Tennessee?

20. Be a vegetarian for a day, or more. It’s not as hard as you think.

21. Don’t forget to go all out for those other November holidays! I expect lots of adorable Thanksgiving Day photos and some hilarious Black Friday fighting-the-crowd stories.

22. Fall cleaning! I have already put away my summer clothes and organized my winter wardrobe. I’m a little nutty when it comes to organizing my closet. And puh-leeeasse do not forget to throw out the crap you didn’t even wear last season, just get rid of it! You will NEVER wear it.

23. Spend the day outside…go hiking, find a waterfall, have a bonfire, share a picnic, eat on the balcony and play in the rain.

24. Relax, you know you need it.

25. Now, get off your lazy bum and clean something. My floors are always dirty if you need something to focus on…good exercise too.

26. Go out with your friends, have a slumber party and invite me.

27. Learn to cook something kind of simple for Thanksgiving and then send me the recipe, or the dish even. It’s okay if I get credit right? It’s my Birthday!

28. Send something to a friend, something they need! I have a friend who is teaching in the Peace Corps in Africa right now and I cannot wait to send her care package! I’ll have to sneak a Birthday Month celebration in their too… Birthday Month should be a worldwide celebration!

29. Wish me a Happy Birthday (it’s the 22nd BTW).

There you go, you have basically an entire month of  activities to keep you happy and busy. Happy Birthday Month to all of you!

Cheers!

It’s Halloween-O-Ween Everybody!

Happy Halloween and Happy 30th Birthday to one of my bestest friends, Danica! xoxo

Here we are...totally acting our age
Here we are…totally acting our age

I love today! We have celebrated all month! We have gone to a pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins, been to a couple haunted houses (or haunted woods), celebrated at Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Party at Disney, walked with the dead at Universal’s Horror Nights and had a horror movie/whiskey night last weekend! This weekend we are going on a haunted hayride where you get to shoot zombies with paintballs! (For real!) However, tonight, October 31st…we have no plans.

It’s Thursday, it’s storming, we live in the woods in what most would consider the middle of nowhere (so no trick-or-treaters) and I’m pregnant… there just isn’t a whole lot to do tonight. I’m thinking It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, a pumpkins spiced latte and American Horror Stories are in the cards for tonight.

What are your plans for tonight? Anyone lucky enough to not be stuck in a storm?

Here’s an ode to Halloween’s Past (I have SO many costume pictures that I can’t find! I’ve been Miss Frizzle, Lucille Ball, Hermoine, Tinkerbell and so much more! These will just have to do):

Thriller! Halloween 2009 at my former job.
Thriller! Halloween 2009 at my former job.
Halloween in Albania 2012
Halloween in Albania 2012
Bumblebee and Ninja, Halloween 2009
Bumblebee and Ninja, Halloween 2009
An owl, also at work last year, 2012
An owl, also at work last year, 2012
A raincloud at work last year 2012
A rain cloud at work last year 2012

And, of course, Belle…

BumbleBelle!
BumbleBelle!

Have a Spook-tacular night!

Cheers!

Cars Land!

me

Husband’s favorite part of our trip, by far, was the new Cars Land at California Adventure. Not to be stereotypical, but it is a very boy-friendly land. Lots of cars, trucks, tires, gas stations, neon signs, junk food and Lightning McQueen of course. Cars was not my favorite Pixar movie, in fact it’s at the bottom of my list, but I must say…I LOVED the land almost as much as Husband.

Disney is the “theming” master, but they outdid themselves in Cars Land. It felt like we were actually in Radiator Springs. The road appeared driven on, every store and station featured in the movie were there, and Tow Mater himself was hanging out in front of the Cozy Cone.

IMG_5161

Our first goal in Cars Land was to ride the Radiator Springs Racers. This ride is similar to Test Track in Disneyworld’s EPCOT, but so much better! We got to ride in a car through Ornament Valley with the Cadillac Range Mountains as our backdrop. All the famous characters from Cars meet us along the way, and we even got a touch up at Ramóne’s, tires at Luigi’s, and then sent off to race another car through the hills and caverns! Luckily, they offer a “single rider’s” line because the fast passes ran out in about an hour and the “stand-by” line was a 2-hour wait!

racers IMG_5127 IMG_5138 waterfall

The next ride was Luigi’s Flying Tires. This ride was not near as exciting as the Racers, but the floating tires that acted as bumper cars were pretty cool.

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The food in Cars Land is reason enough to visit. The Cozy Cone has Frito Pies served in a bread cone, ice cream cones, pretzel bites in cones, popcorn in cones (pop-cone) and some delicious frozen drinks. We got Red’s apple freeze, but I’d like to go back and try the pomegranate limeade with berry foam. I’d get it “high-octane” style….(vodka added).

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The best part of Cars Land is how the appearance changes once the sun goes down. That’s when the Neon lights up! I loved comparing our daytime photos to the ones we shot at night.

sign tastein greensign cozycone 8cafe IMG_4657

I suggest seeing this park a few times throughout the day to view the changes, listen to the music and grab a few snacks. It was definitely the highlight of our day!

Cheers!

Surprises

Husband and I love to plan surprises for each other, but we plan them very differently. I plan out surprises months in advance and am so excited that I tell him all about it, or even give it to him, before the special occasion. I have no self-control. Husband plans out his surprises and never ever even hints that he has devised anything at all, and then BAM, surprises me with the world’s best most unexpected surprise.

He told me a few months ago that he would plan something for our anniversary and I could plan something for Valentine’s Day. I bought him something he desperately needed, a new camera strap, and planned a romantic dinner out for two..which I told him about the second I booked a reservation.

I bought Husband a camera a few years ago, right before a trip to Japan. While traveling he realized he really needed a strap, but did not want to buy one. One day, while entering Tokyo Disneyland he found a bright sequined scrunchie, picked it up, attached it to his camera with a hair-band, and he has been using that as a camera strap ever since. Husband could care less that he looks ridiculous, he is just happy to have a free camera strap that has lasted him almost 3 years.

scrunchy

For Valentine’s I bought him a nice new innovative strap that I found on Kickstarter from a cool company called Peak Design. He was a little sentimental about saying good-bye to his dependable scrunchie, but he is thrilled to have a real camera strap that won’t garner stares from strangers.

sadpeter

 

We had dinner at Crudo, a romantic Italian restaurant in Little Italy that offered a vegetarian and non-vegetarian prix fixe menu. Like most NYC restaurants, it was small, cozy, and candlelit.

mousse

 

I was happy just to get dressed up and go out on a real date. Not that I don’t love our nights inside watching Walking Dead marathons…that’s probably my favorite kind of night.

shoes sweater street necklace coat

The next night Husband tells me to pack a suitcase. At first I was a little concerned…Are you kicking me out? Is this because I threw out your scrunchie? Turns out he had planned a surprise trip for our 8-year dating anniversary!  Within ten minutes I went from SUPER duper crazy excited to highly anxious freak-out mode.

What should I pack? How many days? What’s the weather? Are you taking me to a psych ward? Are we flying? Do I need my passport? Swimsuit? Coat? Boots? Flip-flops? Laptop? Nook? Raincoat? Camera? Snacks? Medicine? Heels? What about Belle? What about work? 

I couldn’t stand not knowing. I am a planner! He refused to answer half of my questions so I threatened to serenade him with Adele songs until he tells me the surprise. After singing all of Someone Like You as loud as possible and missing every single note, he told me he is never surprising me again…

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon: We arrived to JFK airport and Husband handed me this..

tix

 

As soon as I saw “Los Angeles” I knew we were going to Disneyland!!!! I could not have been more excited! After a 6 hour flight, we arrived to the most comfortable Disney hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, special Disney pins and Mickey balloons. And the weekend just kept getting better….

arrival

Can’t wait to tell you more!

Cheers!

 

A Horse Named Peanut

As a very young child I fantasized about one day owning a horse. My best friend and I used to feed the horses in her neighborhood and then spend the day pretending to be cowgirls and riding our imaginary horses around. When I finally had the opportunity to ride a horse I was over the moon. Sadly, the first horse I rode did not share my enthusiasm.

In fact, my first couple of horse riding experiences were nothing short of traumatic.

When I was about ten years old I went to a dude ranch with my church. One day we had a horse back riding adventure scheduled. Before the trip, I roamed the stables to check out the horses. While petting and feeding them I ran into one of the Cowboys who would be leading our group through the trails. I told him that I loved horses, but was terrified of them.

The Cowboy assured me that I would be fine and told me I would get the smallest sweetest horse, Peanut.

I loved Peanut instantly. It did not take long for me to calm down and enjoy the ride. We rode through the woods, over creeks, along cliffs, and eventually came to an open meadow. We stopped to listen to the head Cowboy tell us something important, I assume. I was only 10 and not listening to a word. I was happy just gazing into the meadow with Peanut. Sadly, Peanut did not share my content.

Peanut took off. He ran to the middle of the meadow and began bucking wildly while I held on for dear life. After a couple of cowboys calmed him down and helped me off the horse, I joined my Dad on his horse and rode with my eyes closed and my fist clenched tight the rest of the trip.

I never got on a horse again.

Zoey had a very similar experience. She was somehow convinced to ride again recently, and told me I had to do the same.

Her Uncle Kelly, (my Uncle too I guess!) is a real Cowboy. He rides and trains horses, has a farm, and makes the most beautiful things you have ever seen from leather. He assured me that he could teach me to ride his horse, and promised nothing bad would happen. I trust Kelly, so over the break we spent a day on his farm.

Call Kelly anytime! He's more than happy to show you around.
Call Kelly anytime! He’s more than happy to show you around.

Kelly was so calm, and has such a great bond with his horse Junior. I felt safe and comfortable the whole time, and even began to enjoy myself.

getting tips and tricks from the horse whisperer
getting tips and tricks from the horse whisperer
Love you Junior!
Love you Junior!

Horseback riding was not the only activity on the farm. We also took turns riding dirt bikes around the property.

vroom vroom
vroom vroom
Can you caption this?
Can you caption this?

When we got too cold we spent time in Kelly’s shop watching him work his magic with his leather and his tools. Husband’s family is very artistic.

Just a small portion of Kelly's tools.
Just a small portion of Kelly’s tools.
Hard at work
Hard at work

After a great morning on the farm, Uncle Kelly took us to his favorite country restaurant. I had turnips, greens, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Every dish tasted like something right out of a southern Grandmother’s kitchen.

Best meal I've had in a very long time!
Best meal I’ve had in a very long time!

I had the best day being a cowgirl, and I definitely plan on visiting again! Thank you so much Uncle Kelly!

Cheers!

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year!!!!

2012 was a pretty good year for me. I got married, re-started this blog, started loving my job even more, discovered Momastery, saw about a zillion Broadway shows, played with monkeys in Costa Rica, visited New Fantasyland, and so much more.

I am certain 2013 will be even better, because so far life has continuously improved as each year passes. It is not that 2012 was without its faults. I had my fair share of shitty days, but when I average it out, the awesomeness far out weights the negative moments, and I do my best to focus on those positive shiny  moments.

We had BIG plans to ring in the New Year with one of our famous epic house parties in Tennessee. However, we discovered that the older we get the more difficult it is to get all of our friends together for a giant bash. When did everyone grow up and get so many responsibilities??? Instead of our huge party we had a little faux New Year’s Eve party on the 30th due to some friend’s going out of the country and what not on New Year’s Eve.

All dressed up and ready to countdown...just 24 hours early.
All dressed up and ready to countdown…just 24 hours early.

IMG_3862 IMG_3859

On actual New Year’s Eve we had dinner at an Indian restaurant, and were home by 9pm. We had a very quiet night sitting by the fire, drinking wine, and watching the ball drop. When did we get old? This was possibly the most calm New Year’s Eve I have ever had, and I got to say…I liked it.

In our pj's by 10pm.
In our pj’s by 10pm.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.... Happy New Year!
5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. Happy New Year!
Why on Earth did I give Husband a can of silly string?
Why on Earth did I give Husband a can of silly string?

Happy 2013 everyone! Let’s make this the best year yet!

Cheers!

Time To Relax

I spent the majority of my holiday vacation relaxing. About halfway through the break I started feeling guilty (big surprise) for not being productive and neglecting all my grown-up responsibilities….i.e. blog writing, working out, flossing, getting up before 10am, etc. etc.

I made myself feel a little better by making hand-made invitations for my sister’s baby shower, but laziness soon overcame me again. That’s when I came across this quote on Facebook:

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted.

That was all I needed to hear…or read… to thoroughly enjoy the rest of my week. Immediately, I went to a friend’s house, played a few board games and then spent the rest of the night relaxing in a sauna.

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Don’t we look relaxed and peaceful? The sauna was awesome for about 15 minutes. Then, we had to run outside and stand in the snow for a good 5 minutes before getting back into the 140 degrees temperatures.

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We have a Finnish friend who uses saunas on a daily basis. Apparently exercising and relaxing in a sauna is a part of daily life in Finland. It is about time we  start adopting this tradition, or some other similar relaxing and warm activity. What do you think?

Hope you all had time to unwind and enjoy yourselves over the holidays!

Cheers!