Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas friends!

Sitting here on the other side of Christmas, presents opened, tree taken down and decorations put away, I'm thinking back at this 2013 year.  My goodness what a whirlwind it has been.  New job, lots of work travel, some fun personal travel, buying and selling a house and's almost a blur!

Before we look at 2014, I want to enjoy the holidays for just a little bit longer.  We have a had a great week celebrating Christmas with friends and family, and here's a little peek.

M's mother came up and spent a couple of days with us before Christmas.  We did some shopping, went to Christmas Eve service, had a big Christmas Eve dinner and opened presents on Christmas morning.  Then she went to visit some friends while we headed over to Maryland to see my cousins, aunt and uncle, and parents! 

The minute we walked in, my cousin Kris and her husband called us into another room for a minute to ask us a very important question.  They asked M and me to be Godparents for their adorable little boy!  M and I are so touched and honored, and of course said yes.  Happy to introduce our new Godson, Ryder!

Since we have several photos of the cousins from various different weddings and get togethers, we thought we should finally get one with the spouses, too.

And one of the kids!

This was the end of an era, and the last year that my aunt will be hosting Christmas.  We have gone there for Christmas almost every year since I was 10.  The host for next year is still up in the air, but it'll either be Kris or me!

We took every opportunity we got to snuggle with the giggling baby! 

After a wonderful Christmas day, on our way back to NoVa, we met up with some close friends from Elon for lunch, who happened to be driving north to visit their family. 

Once we got home, my parents arrived shortly after to spend a couple of days at our house.  We opened presents, poked around the new house looking at all of the new things since they'd last visited, went out to eat and enjoyed a couple of days together.

They left Saturday afternoon, and by the time we went to bed that night, Christmas was over and the decorations were packed up tight until next year.  While the holidays can be such a hectic time, I love that we have a week to celebrate and enjoy the season with friends and family. 

I hope yours was as nice as ours.  One of my goals for 2014 is to get back to the blog more often.  I've missed it!  So stay tuned...enjoy the last few hours of 2013!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What we did this summer...besides move

This summer went by in a blur!  Since it's officially fall now, I figured what better time than this week to recap our summer.  Besides the move, and traveling all over the country for work, we managed to squeeze a bunch of fun things over the last few months.

 In June, I took our annual trip up to an Orioles game with a great group of friends.

In between work trips to Boston (for me) and Dallas (for M), we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary!  Time sure flies.  We had dinner downtown at a fantastic, relatively new restaurant called Mintwood Place, and used a free rewards night to stay downtown at the Park Hyatt.  Cady was still at Camp Grandma's from having the house on the market, so it worked out nicely!  

For the 4th of July, we went over to Ocean City for a couple of days at my cousin's condo.  While we didn't make it to the beach, we had a great time splashing around in the pool and ate some delicious food.  We also went to M.R. Ducks and 3 of the 4 of us participated in their Chug-a-Duck tradition.

On the way home from OC, we stopped and met the newest member of our family, beautiful baby boy Ryder!  He was only 8 days when we met him.  

Despite a tropical storm on the original date of the Elon golf tournament, we were able to reschedule - and got the round in despite more rain on the make up date!  It was awesome to have Coach Swepson, Coach Hill, and Jon come up from campus for the annual event. 

With only one summer weekend that worked for all 3 of us, LR, CC and I were able to continue our tradition of a girls summer get together.  This year, we meet in Charlotte - we shopped, ate, drank, laughed, and had a great time!

Dave came to town again this summer, and we were jamming in the pit at the show.

I was on the softball team again this summer - not sure you can call what I do playing - and the tournament did not disappoint.  This year, we were lucky that we had perfect weather both days, and the Elon team was out in full force. 

My work travel has taken me all over the country this summer - Denver, Boston twice, Kansas City, Houston, LA twice, San Francisco, NYC a few times, and Chicago.  Luckily in a few cities, I was able to enjoy the surroundings a bit.  In Newport, we rented a little dingy boat for an hour cruise of the harbor - it was just beautiful!

In Boston (on both trips!) I was able to catch up with old roommate Kimbo.  It's been a few years since we've seen each other, so it was great fun to reconnect...and on this night, my coworkers and I saved her from a looser date!  Glad we could be of assistance!

In August, both M and I celebrated our birthdays.  With the house and all of the new house purchases we're making, they were both pretty low key.  We did have dinner with 3 of our favorite DC couples one night, and on separate weekends our parents visited - I think more to see the new house than to celebrate our birthdays :)  

While my parents were up, we all went across the bay to Kent Island for another baby cousin visit!  It was a great afternoon, it was so nice to be able to spend time with everyone without the chaos that is the holidays, when we usually visit.

Over Labor Day weekend, I think I had the surprise of my life.  I knew M's best friend KT was coming up from Alabama to visit for the weekend...what I didn't know was that MY best friend Lola was on her way too!  The three of us were checking in with the hostess at a restaurant on Friday night, and she asked if we still had 4....confused a bit, I said no, three, and turned around to confirm with M.  Walking in the door right behind me was Lola!!  She had planned this trip with M back in July, and left her 2 small children and husband back in Miami for a surprise weekend in DC.  Rumor has it I screamed really loud when I saw her, but I think they're exaggerating a bit... :) 

It was great to have the 2 of them in town with us for the weekend.  On Saturday, the boys went out to Catoctin Creek and Lost Rhino, while we went to an Elon game watch party.  Then we met up with some other friends to watch football, and Sunday we drug them around couch shopping with us, and fed them a big, delicious brunch at Ted's before we took them back to the airport.  

What a fantastic end to a great summer!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A few good books

With all of the traveling I'm doing for work this summer, I've decided I want to start reading books again.  I go through spurts where I'm totally into books, one after another, usually based on blogs' or friends' recommendations.  Then I get one that's not so great, and I get stuck...and usually, months will go by before I pick up another one.  So with the long plane time this summer, and having just packed and moved all of the unread books I own, I'm on a mission to get through, or get rid of, some of these books!

This week on my overnight trip to Kansas City, I started and finished Violets of March by Sarah Jio.

Rarely can I get through a book in just one or 2 sittings, especially without falling asleep, but I literally read this from wheels up to landing on the way home yesterday.  A young girl, who's just signed divorce papers, travels to Washington State to visit her aunt and put herself back together.  While there, she discovers a story about her family and the island that she never knew, and renews her spirit at the same time.  It was a great love story with a bit of mystery tied in.  I really couldn't put it down.

Earlier this year I read another one by Sarah Jio, The Bungalow, which I absolutely recommend too.  Another love story combined with a bit of mystery, this one is about 2 young girls who fly to the South Pacific during WWII to be nurses on a base in Bora Bora.  It's a great story, and an easy read.

Also, while on another trip a few weeks ago, I read Girls in White Dresses, thanks to a recommendation from my bff Lola.  She texted me the entire time she was reading it, laughing and telling me how these girls were totally us.  The story is about young, 20-somethings and all of the weddings they go to, and all of the new babies their friends have.  Really a charming story, and a great beach read!

Now, do I order another one by one of these authors from Amazon, or do what I originally set out to do and read one that's already on my shelves...hmmm...

Have you read any good books lately??

Monday, August 5, 2013

Snapshots from our weekend

Guess what we did this weekend...

We moved!!  We did our final walk through of the new house on Tuesday evening, started moving a few fragile things over on Thursday, and the movers came on Friday!

It was like a swarm of ants in our townhouse, they were so fast.  There were 5 of them!  
(We used Suburban Solutions, definitely recommend them.  They worked their butts off!)

Cady was a little confused where all of her furniture and toys went!

Heading out of Fairfax to Falls Church!

We have too much stuff...

19 boxes in the kitchen alone...

Let the unpacking begin!

Cady's trying to find a window and a chair that she can lay in and look outside.  Somewhat unsuccessful at that, but she's still making herself right at home...

Platters, platters, and more platters!

Well the unpacking process went pretty well, we made a lot of progress this weekend!  Trying to get everything out of boxes and furniture in some sort of order.  We did have a small snafu with the gas company, in that there's a 5 day wait to get a new account the showers have been a bit chilly.  That and a cable guy who was almost 5 hours late have been the only issues - which overall is pretty good!  We are loving the house so far, can't wait to get it all put together so we can start on some projects!  We already have a list...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Super easy chicken dinner

I found this recipe on Pinterest several weeks ago, and have been meaning to try it - I finally got around to it last night.  I didn't use all of the butter than the original recipe called for - actually, I didn't use any butter - and it was delicious.  The original also called for the Italian dressing seasoning packet - I had the dressing on hand so just used that.  I feel like it would have less sodium anyway, and the liquid replaces all the butter.  I loved that I could throw it in the pan and into the oven, and I had an hour to work out (twice this week, watch out!) and dinner was finished.  
Green Beans, Chicken & Potatoes

3-4 medium potatoes, cut
2 c. green beans, cut
1 lb chicken breasts
1 onion, chunked
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
Italian dressing
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Spray the pan with Pam.  Line the chicken breasts down the middle of the baking dish.  Put the potatoes on one side and the green beans on the other.  Salt and pepper everything.  Lay the onion pieces around on top and drop in the garlic cloves.  Drizzle some Italian dressing over the top and some olive oil.  I probably used 2ish tablespoons of dressing and one of olive oil.  Cover with foil and bake for an hour at 350*.  Enjoy!

The chicken was so tender and delicious.  I have to admit, the potatoes were a smidge on the crunchier side, so if you really wanted to you could boil them for 5-10 minutes first – but that takes 15 more minutes and you have to clean another pot.  The hardest part of this recipe is breaking the beans, but if you buy them already cleaned, then you’re golden.  I’ll definitely do that next time.    

This was super easy and really tasty - we'll definitely have it again.  Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekend in Kennebunk, ME!

At the beginning of May (look at me, only 1 month behind, not 7!), I hopped on a plane and headed north.  One of my best friends Emily who lives just outside of London was in the States visiting her parents for a couple of weeks, and I basically invited myself up to crash the party for the weekend.  I was dying to see her and meet her precious bundle of joy!!  A few weeks prior, Em had asked me to be the godmother to her beautiful baby girl, and I am so thrilled.  I couldn't let a visit to the States go without seeing both of them!

The main objective of the weekend - get loads of snuggle time with this little peanut!! 

The the weather was sunny and beautiful.  It was May Day in quaint Kennebunk, so there was a parade and vendors out and everything.  

Baby girl stayed with her grandparents a few times while Em and I snuck out for some good girl time.  It was great for Grammy and Gramps to get some quality baby time, and for Em and I to do some shopping and brunching.

What's a trip to Maine without lobster?!  Saturday night we went to Nunan's, apparently the best place in town to get good lobster.  

I had the Number 3 - which determined the number and weight of the lobster I got.  Em put us all to shame when she ordered and cleaned out 2 big suckers, but I was happy with just 1 and a cup of NE Clam Chowda.  And of course my Lays potato chips and pickles.  I had to try the local beer, Shipyard, too.



The rest of the weekend consisted of snuggling and giggling and reading books and enjoying this great age and being with my beautiful goddaughter!

Thank you Grammy and Gramps for sharing your weekend with me!!  I always love visiting you in Maine, look forward to next time!