Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ridiculous, or How I Spent My Christmas Holidays

Last Monday, Mark and I traveled to Chattanooga for the beginning of our Christmas festivities. Here's what happened:

We arrived around lunchtime, and ate lunch with the fam, and spent the afternoon catching up and wrapping last minute presents and such. That evening, Kelly and I helped Mommy cook for dinner that night and dinner the next day (Monday was our "Christmas Eve" and Tuesday was "Christmas.") Things got just a little bit hectic, since we were trying to cook too many things at once, as usual...

The fire alarm went off. Four times. Because the oil in the pans for the cornbread ... well, it burned a little bit.

We still had to use the oil for the cornbread, so we poured it in anyway. One bowl of batter set up ... and one didn't, so well. We also had some trouble with the eggs...

... and the pizza dough, which we were eating for dinner that night.

And then things, as they usually do in the Shannon house, got just a little bit crazy...

I really love her :)

So that night, Daddy gave Mommy her present from him a bit early - and she got the boxes! I had written the clues to send her all over the house, looking for her gift.

One box was in the freezer. That was fun.

After 10 boxes, and 10 clues, and 10 rooms, she finally found her present!

A brand new camera! (Which she so desperately needed.)

Christmas Eve night, we watched the finale of the Sing-Off, and then went to bed. Everyone except Mark got up early the next morning and ate breakfast. We woke him up, and opened stockings!!


I love my mother.

So, I think before we go any further, I need to pause and explain something. Mark always makes fun of me for making... I guess we could say unusual faces. Not on purpose. And he always, always laughs. Case in point:

Yes, ahem, a bit embarrassing. I was in mid-word - not posing, not making this face on purpose, just talking. I know, attractive, right? Well, I am here to say that this condition of mine is genetic.

Exhibit A: My mother

While this one isn't as bad as mine, she does pull out some really awesome faces, also not on purpose. I come by it completely naturally. Which you will see further proof of in...

Exhibit B: My grandmother, my mom's mom

This picture makes me giggle with delight every time I look at it. She, once again, is totally not meaning to make this face ... it just sort of happens. And there you go. Three generations of uncontrollable facial muscles. I think we should have a new syndrome named after us ...

Now, back to Christmas! And Presents!
We started with Ninny, and went down the line of oldest to youngest. (We're really nerdy and always take turns with our presents. This year was a bit different, but usually we each open one present at a time, around in a circle. It makes Christmas last much longer.) This year, we drew names and had a price limit in order to save money. Mommy drew Ninny's name.

A Snuggie :) (In fact, a kid's Snuggie - cause Ninny's so short.)

Kelly got Daddy's name - and gave him an argyle sweater!

I got Mommy - a few pairs of her earrings :)

Daddy drew Mark's name, and got him some books - this one makes him look like a white supremacist, but I promise he's not, he just studies them :)

Mark drew my name, and gave me these awesome slipper boots. I LOVE them!

Sadly, my camera died, and I failed to capture Kelly's presents. Ninny drew her name, and gave her a bunch of film for her camera, and some stirrup pants. Because, you know, my sister can rock anything.
I also missed the Snuggie insanity that commenced following the opening of presents. Kelly put on her green velveteen stirrup pants and posed with Mommy and Ninny in their Snuggies. It was amazing. And all captured on Mommy's awesome new camera!

Since Kelly and I missed seeing each other at Thanksgiving, we had to catch up on our annual photo-shoot. We are ridiculous.

Seriously, she's the best sister ever.

Then we played the new game that Santa brought us - it's called backseat drawer, and it was insanity. And so much fun.

Momma-daughter duo - Daddy was also on their team

Merry Christmas!

My mom has such a classy sense of style - everything is so simple, but so pretty. Her dining room tables are always gorgeous.

But as classy as she is...

...She still knows how to have fun. Dancing with the Cornish hens she made for Christmas Dinner :)

On Wednesday, we traveled to Griffin to celebrate Christmas with the Skinners. They are not quite as silly as my crazy Shannons (or, they are silly in a different way), and so I sadly do not have quite so many pictures. But it was still so much fun!

My husband, with the singing Santa hat, waving his arms and making himself look like he has paddles for hands. Love him :)

Wednesday night, we got to go to Fayetteville and hang out with my gpa, aunt, uncle, and cousins, which is always a fun time. Dada just got out of the hospital too, so it was nice to see him feeling a bit better :)

Back at the Skinner's, we opened presents on Christmas Eve, so they could go to their church and help out with the huge dinner they serve on Christmas day.

Thomas got an XBOX :)

Dad looks pretty as a picture ... I think he should wear this look to the bank, and see what they think :)

All in all, we had a very, very Merry Christmas. We came back on Friday evening, and got to see Avatar with Andy and Suzie, which was an AMAZING movie, and it's always fun to do stuff with them :) I worked the weekend, cleaned yesterday, and today Kelly is coming to visit! We also get to meet her new boyfriend, Colton, which I'm super excited about. She tells me I will love him - I hope she's right!

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


'Twas the day before traveling, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse...

We're leaving tomorrow morning for our Christmas travels. The last two days have worked out splendidly -  I've gotten 3 loads of laundry and over half of our packing done this morning, and I've still got about 45 minutes before I have to leave. Definite win!

I can't believe Christmas is so fast approaching. We've gotten all our shopping done, and came out quite well this year. So tomorrow morning, it's off to Chattanooga for the Shannon Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (monday and tuesday), and then Wednesday we leave for Griffin, and the actual Christmas Eve/Day with the Skinners. Hopefully we'll be able to see my aunt/uncle/cousins/grandpa during that time. I'm excited about all of them - it's been forever since I've seen Kelly (October?), and Thanksgiving since we've seen everybody else.

So, off to do more packing and grab something to eat before time for work. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Christmas, or How I Don't Feel Festive

This holiday season hasn't felt very much like the holidays to me. I don't know whether it's because I've not been able to go to church since working the weekend shift, or because we're not close to family anymore, or what, but I have been decidedly less festive than normal.

It made me sad.

Until this morning.

Because this morning, I realized how I've been spending the holiday season. I've not been rushing around like an insane person, trying to buy presents for everybody and their brother. I've not been stressing over Christmas cards, and who to send them to. I started to plan a Christmas party, only to cancel it. Instead of all those "holiday" type things, I've been spending time with people I love. My husband. Andy and Suzie. Elissa, and all her crazy bunch of friends. Mark's family, and my family. And this year, I wouldn't have it any other way. Yes, we did indeed decorate our tree. I did get my Christmas china down to use when Suzie came for dinner one night, and we have our pretty red tablecloth on the table. I've bought some presents. But for the most part, the largest chunk of my time, I've been surrounded by the people I love. I've been building on my relationships. I've traveled. And I've been so very happy.

And all that happy, people time is going to continue on through the first week of January. And it makes me so, so, excited. I think that I've come to understand a whole new part of the season this year - a part that doesn't stress me out, a part whose theme isn't tied up with red and green. It's all about love. I always knew that before. I mean, obviously - Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. The beginning of the most epic act of love ever to exist. But this year - this whole year, really - I've learned and discovered new ways to be immersed in love, and immersed in relationships. I love it. I love my life so, so much.

I am so thankful for my friends and family. They are everything to me :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

"you're being a busy bee..."

What Mark said to me after he got up yesterday (at 11:00). I actually got some stuff done.

My most major accomplishment, though, was cleaning the bathtub - it had this nasty gray-looking soap-scummy stuff on the bottom, and scrubbin' bubbles never even touched it. I'd clean it and clean it and get absolutely nowhere. So yesterday, I decided to try something new.

This stuff is incredible. I use it on my stainless steel cookware when it has nasty stainy smudges on it, and it'll take everything off. So, in a small stroke of genius, I realized you could use it in the bathroom too. And now my tub is white. WHITE. Whiter than it's ever been, even when we first moved in. There are a few spots around the edges that my arms were too tired to scrub (and scrub, you have to do for it to work on soap scum that thick), but the difference is absolutely incredible. I HIGHLY recommend this product. It's amazing.

In other news, things that I am excited about:

-After another 2 days of work tom. and sunday, we are headed to Nashville (again!) to celebrate Lissa's birthday! It will be a lovely time, as always. And extra exciting: we're going on a triple-date with Mark and I, Matthew and Lissa, and Price and Mel! Yay!!
-Two more days of work, and then it's Christmas Week! 2 and a half days with my family, plus 2 and a half days with Mark's family = lots of fun! (And lots of mileage on my car...) Which reminds me, I need to get my oil changed...
-Two more days of work, and then Kelly comes! She's staying the week of New Year's, and I'm not quite sure what we're doing, but it will be a fun time with her here :)
-Then THREE days of work (yay for $$$!) and we'll be off to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg for a 3-night vacation with Andy and Suzie. We're staying here and I am so excited and it will be just lovely :) Can't wait!!

And now, I'm off to my job as editor/proof-reader for my hubby - who got an A in his first class! Woo!! He's such a smart-y :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This whole "getting things done" thing is not working out so well for me. Yesterday, rather than getting up and doing things, I stayed in bed until noon. Lazy, much? Ran some errands yesterday afternoon, then went into work at 4. Stayed till like 8:30, came home, and went to Outback with Mark and Andy and Suzie. We didn't get out of there till nearly 11 - the poor guy who had to close had only been there a couple of days, and he was a bit slow. Nice, though...

Work has been insane. We're keeping a pretty steady census, which is nice, but it's just CRAZY. Feast or famine, for sure. At least my paychecks will be nice :)

This Christmas season has been so weird - I can't seem to get in the holiday spirit. Normally I am like OMGCHRISTMAS!!!! But this year I'm just sort of apathetic about it. I'm going to try to go get the last box from our storage room today and finish decorating (and I am NOT working today - too much to do!!) I don't know if it's because we're in Birmingham, or because my family is doing Christmas a bit differently, or because we haven't done any Christmas-y things, but I'm just not very festive-feeling. Maybe I can make some cookies or something and be a little more spirit-ed...

Now. I'm going to read until 9, and then I am going to GET UP. Tooo much to do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

my life is crazy, but awesome

I woke up this morning to the sound of a really happy chirpy bird outside my window. The sun was up. And I think it will be a good day.

I've been lazy this morning and stayed in bed for like 2 hours, but now it's time to get up and start the cleaning process. After being out of town so much lately, the mess has just overtaken - I'm glad I'm home this week so I can actually get some things accomplished. (Like putting up the rest of our Christmas decorations.)

Mark is done with his classes for the semester, save one paper, and we're traveling and party-ing and cleaning and all sorts of -ings for the rest of the month. Last week was Thanksgiving in Chattanooga, which was a lot more low-key than normal, but still fun. This week, like I said, we're home, and then next week is another trip to Nashville. And then - Christmas! Heaven knows when I'm going to finish all my shopping....

Oh, and happy news, Kelly is spending New Year's with us! Yay! I'm really, really looking forward to that, since we didn't get to see her at Thanksgiving.

I've stayed in bed too long. Time to get up and get things accomplished!

Monday, November 30, 2009

short and sweet

So, we're back in Birmingham ... Gainesville was fun, Thanksgiving was yummy, and work this weekend was good :) So now it's three days here, two days in Chattanooga, and back to work again.

Can I just say that I love my schedule? I mean, seriously. I came home last night, and realized that once again, I'm off for 5 days in a row. Gone are the days of exhaustion, and one day off at a time, and sleeping all day - I'm energetic, I feel good, I'm doing what I love (but only 2 days a week!) How I landed this I still don't know, but I'm so very, very grateful. I hate missing church on Sundays, but come January and the end of the holiday craziness, I'm going to start attending a Bible study on Thursday mornings. (The only reason that I haven't yet been is that we have been GONE every single thursday since I started my weekends, save one.)

Life is good. This week (and last) Mark has been working like crazy to complete his papers and research and stuff - always crunch time for school around this time. Hopefully we can put our tree up in the next couple days, and I can get my Christmas wreath made and do some decorating. And cleaning. I just can't seem to get caught up with the cleaning - I think it's because we're always gone. Maybe in January....

I really, really, love this guy :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We're headed to Gainesville just as soon as I can get all our stuff packed, me ready, and Mark up and ready. Always a fun and interesting time, Mark's mother's side of the family. They're a large, loud, crazy bunch. And I'm already preparing myself to answer about 1,000 "So when are y'all gonna have kids?" or "Are you pregnant yet?" or "Y'all should have a baby!!" questions/comments. They came in droves our first Thanksgiving (at which point we'd not even been married 6 months...), so I'm sure they'll be in abundance this year again.

Mark's Nanny's house does NOT have wireless internet (at least that's what I'm assuming), so I'll be internet-less for a few days. So I'm posting my list now:

Today, I'm thankful for...
-my wonderful, amazing, sweet, too-good husband. The longer we're married, the more I love him, and the more mature our love is. Life is so good with him :)

-My awesome family. Seriously, they are awesome. I love them.
-Friends. Everywhere. The older I get (and I'm not saying I'm this old sage, full of wisdom or anything, but still...) I realize the value of people, and the love that pours out of my heart for relationships and the people that surround me, the people I love, is overwhelming. I am so thankful for them.
-My amazing, comfy bed. We're keeping this thing forever.
-Our ability to buy things, like a car, this year.
-My job. It has its shortcomings, but everytime I think of them, I remember - it's keeping me here, with Mark. And it also has the best schedule in the world.
-My kitty. Because she's precious.
-The privilege of taking care of other people's babies. It's sometimes an overwhelming task and responsibility, but it's worth every minute.
-My life. Because it is so, so, sweet.

Monday, November 23, 2009

happenings as of late...

It's been over a week since I posted last - lots has happened.

Nearly a week ago, I got up and headed to Nashville to spend the week with Lissa. It was absolutely lovely. I went to AFF, the libertarian/conservative group that Price leads (Price is lissa's brother) with the group Monday night. It was interesting - didn't agree with everything, but I was glad that I went. Then on Tuesday night, we stayed in and made White Lasagna! Yum! Also watched Pan's Labyrinth, which was beautiful and sad. Wednesday we cleaned out Lissa's bedroom and that night was Trivia Night at the Corner Pub - so fun! We (surprisingly) won (mainly because Lissa and Wesley, her other brother, are brilliant...) Then Thursday we met Mel for lunch, ate yummy crepes, and went that night to hear their friend Aaron Long sing. Which was also delightful. It was an amazing week, full of fun, which I needed badly. I love Elissa, and her friends :)

I got back on Friday, and then Saturday was work, and Saturday night was Thanksgiving get-together at the girls' house. Sunday was work again, grocery store today, and cook tomorrow - and then off to Gainesville for Thanksgiving with Mark's family! Should be fun :)

I can't believe Christmas is so soon. I'm both ready and not - I'm slowly but surely getting some ornaments painted, and decorations are going to come sometime next week. Mark is in crunch time with grad school, and has to read too much to be festive right now (not that he's particularly festive without school...) I'm trying to plan a Christmas party of some sort, maybe a cocktail party, but we'll see how that goes... There's always too much to do, with too little time. For now, though, I'm excited about Thanksgiving - my favorite food ever! I could eat turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce till I popped. Yummmm :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's (almost) the most wonderful time of the year...

It is a good morning.

I slept in until about 7:30 (hello, morning person once again!), and woke up with the sun. I read in bed for two hours. (I'm currently reading The Lord of the Rings, which is lovely and wonderful.) I woke Mark up half an hour later than I was supposed to (oops.) And I came downstairs, and made mini blueberry muffins, which just came out of the oven.

Last night was also fantastic, as Waranya invited us over to dinner with all the girls. We got to eat with all of them - Waranya, Hannah, Caitlin, Sheila, and Liz. Hannah made soup (yummy, yummy potato, ham, and cabbage soup ... sooooo good and warm) and Waranya did a salad and some yummy (and healthy!) applesauce muffins. I miss them. Their house is gorgeous, and their hearts are warm and welcoming, and it was perfect after my day of work. (A crazy morning, but it calmed down toward the afternoon, and was a really good day.) They also invited us to a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at their house in a couple weeks, which sounds AMAZING.

This week, I'm nursing for dollars on Tuesday, and then we may go camping Thursday and Friday. I work the weekend, and on Monday I'm Nashville-bound!! I'm there through Friday morning, and then that Saturday is the dinner at the girls'. I work that day and Sunday, have two days to wash clothes/pack, and then we're off to Gainesville for Thanksgiving with Mark's parents. Then I work the weekend again, wash more clothes and pack more, and the next Thursday and Friday will be Thanksgiving with my family. December will be full of Christmas stuff (obviously)... The next two months are just going to whiz by. I decided not to sign up for any extra work days in December, since I'm expecting to be busy or gone all month, but in January, I'm making up for that with 3 extra shifts that month :) I love this season so much - full of friends and family and lovely smells and food and decorations!

And speaking of food - time to grocery shop. Those blueberry muffins are the only food I have in the whole house, and I need to get stuff for this week. Busy, busy, busy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

what a lovely day :)

After a really crazy, insane, horrible day at work yesterday, today has been exactly what I've wanted.

I woke up with the sun, but stayed in bed until 9:30 reading The Lord of the Ring, which may make me a nerd, but I don't care. Then I got up and ate some toast. Then Mark got up and cleaned the kitchen. And what did I do the rest of the day? I scrapbooked. With a few interruptions, for laundry, and some chips and salsa. The sun was out (most of the day) and Mark had the windows open, and a nice breeze of fresh air came through the house, and life was good. (But now it's cold, and Mark is gone, so I'm shutting them.)

And on the agenda for tonight? Andy and Suzie are coming over, and we're making pizzas and having drinks and watching a movie, and it will be grand. Which is a good way for a day to end, I think.

Monday, November 2, 2009

...And now, the post you've all been waiting for...

So, faithful readers, how did my epic bird battle turn out in the end?

I won. Wholeheartedly.


After the thawing process was complete, it wasn't so bad. The birds came out tender and juicy and the proper internal temperature (always a good thing), and the stuffing was good. I modified a recipe of my mom's, and in hindsight, there's only one thing I would have changed. The stuffing is made with a box of stovetop stuffing (yes, I know, that's cheating, and not nearly as good, but it's SO much easier) mixed with butter and water and orange juice, and then in the original recipe, you glaze the chicken breasts with OJ and honey before and after you add the stuffing on top. For this, I stuffed the hens with the stuffing, and then glazed their outsides during the last 15 minutes of cooking. I think I would have forgone the glazing and just added the honey to the stuffing before I stuffed the birds with it. But, regardless, it was good. So were the carrots and potatoes, despite the lack of roasted garlic and large hole in my finger.

Which is causing this post to take about twice as long as normal to type - try typing with no left index finger, and see how hard it is...

So anyway, success was mine, and I was rather proud. And I had some excellent leftovers for lunch today as well.

Things I learned from this cooking experience:

-Don't trust grocery store men to tell you how long a bird will take to thaw. Or do, and just add an extra hour to whatever they say.
-Don't try to cook something you've never cooked before for your husband's birthday and expect it to turn out like you want it.
-Don't underestimate the cutting power of a vegetable peeler.
-Cornish hens, while cute and pretty to look at, are really freaking hard to carve/eat.

Now. My tasks for the day (clean the kitchen, register Mark for his classes) are complete. I get to go scrapbook :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To be continued...

Round two of April vs. Birds has commenced...

The birds finally thawed, so I was able to get the nasty out of them, rinse them, stuff them, and rub them all over with butter. I also had to pluck a few leftover feathers from their wings ... that was not the most pleasant thing ever, but it was definitely better than eating them. They are cooking as we speak ... few minutes left now, so we'll see how they turn out.

I also cut a great big giant hole in my finger with a vegetable peeler while I was peeling potatoes... that was loads of fun. Just what I need - bleeding all over the rest of the food. But I got that washed and contained in a nice fingertip bandaid. The cut is pretty freaking deep, but it's on the very, very tip of my finger, and I'm honestly not sure what else any medical professional person would do with it ... I'll just have to wash it a lot, and keep it clean and dry (really difficult to do, unfortunately, when you're a nurse ... I think I might go get some tega-derms and some gauze and just totally wrap it up for work on Tuesday.)

Anyway, aside from the chaos/fiasco/whatever that this dinner has turned out two be over the last two days - I'll let you know how the final product ends up.

I'd better go - it sounds like my honey/orange juice glaze is about to explode in the oven. Lovely.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Second Leg: (Almost) Best Week Ever.

The second leg of the Best Week Ever was not quite as epic as the first - Mark's parents didn't get to come this weekend, and work was bad one day, and Mark's birthday dinner was a near-fiasco - but Elissa still got to come, and we have made plans for me to visit Nashville in the next week or two, and Mark and Andy's continued birthday celebrations were still lots of fun, so all was not lost :)

What was good, in pictures:

We came back on Sunday night from my parents' house, and Elissa came on Monday, mid-day. She needed some new work clothes, and so we went shopping. Oh, how I love to shop. It was lots of fun :)

Lissa and me and the little black dress

That night, we were going to meet Andy and Suzie and Mark for dinner at Rojo - only to find out that it was closed :( So sad! So we went to this little Mexican place in 5 Points instead.

Andy (the birthday boy) and Suzie :)

I learned that I do not like Blue Moon beer, even with orange, after the first 2 or 3 sips of it. I also learned that green rice is just rice with cilantro in it (much better than my first thought that it was rice and guacamole - eww.)

Me, Lissa, and Mark (the other birthday boy!)
It always looks like Lissa and I are up to something ... but we're not. Maybe that's just the Lucy and Ethel in us both (though I'm not sure which of us is Ethel...)

After dinner we went to the Break to play pool (per Andy's request.) We discovered that aside from Andy, who is fairly mediocre, we all are ABYSMAL at pool/billiards/whatever you want to call it. Seriously abysmal. Lissa was bringing dinner to Matthew while we were there, and she said it was perfectly fine because she'd just be a handicap - but all three of us ended up being that.. basically, Mark and I just hit the balls around the table. I think I might have hit 3 balls actually in a pocket, and most of those were corner shots. Not counting the balls I hit in that were actually Andy and Suzie's...

Andy, the only one of us who sort of knew what he was doing :)

After we left the Break, we headed back to our house. Suzie baked a cake, and brought it and the puppy over. We did the whole candle/cake thing, they left, and I went to bed so I could get up for work in the morning.

Mark and Andy with their yummy strawberry cake

Kisses for Emma

I worked Tuesday and Wednesday, which was a drag. Then Thursday, Elissa and I went shopping again, and then she had to leave :( Saddest part of my week. Suzie brought Emma by in her Godzilla halloween costume before Lissa headed out...

Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?

After that comes the not-so-amazing...

Mark's parents were supposed to come this weekend, but because of Mark's presentation being due on Monday and the traffic due to race weekend, they decided not to. So I had planned to do a nice, pretty, yummy dinner for Mark on Saturday night (amidst the trick-or-treaters). I went to the store and got all the food ... the menu was going to be Stuffed Cornish Hens, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Candied Carrots, and Apple Pecan Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. Yum, right? Well, I made the apple pecan cobbler and roasted the garlic with no problem, and while they were cooking, I put the hens in a sink of cold water to thaw. (All they had was frozen at Publix, and the nice Publix meat man said they'd take about an hour to thaw.) So the cobbler was done, and the birds were ready to be stuffed and put in the oven - so I thought. I opened them up and everything was thawed but the inside - I think it might have been the gibblets? I couldn't tell. But they were frozen SOLID. Now, I've never actually made cornish hens before, which might have been my first mistake, making something new for a special occasion. But I didn't think it would be that difficult. It was already like 6:30 at that point, and the hens would need to bake for an hour, and add the extra thawing time, and considering I hadn't made any other part of the meal yet - it wasn't good. Plus I was already hungry, which made it worse. My blood pressure rose, my blood sugar dropped, and I was just not happy. So I ditched my brilliant plan, ate some chips and salsa, stuck the birds back in the fridge to (hopefully) thaw overnight, and started over. We ended up having salmon Caesar salad that turned out splendidly, and I just rearranged my little menu plan for the week, and we had some good wine and watched a movie, so crisis was averted. But I'm still a bit upset about the lack of sweet little browned cornish hens on Mark's birthday. Oh well... c'est la vie, right?

So now it's Sunday, and I forgot all about Daylight Savings Time, so I have a bit before I need to get ready for church. And rather than doing anything productive, I'm posting pictures and talking about frozen birds. Lovely :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Best Week Ever: First Leg Complete

The best week ever started this past Wednesday, when Hannah came to visit and we had tea and scones. I unfortunately have no pictures of that, but it was a lovely visit, and it was really great to see her. I worked on Thursday, and on my way home, I called Suzie and found out that everybody was at Wal-Mart buying pumpkins to carve! This is a miracle, because the guys are FOREVER making fun of us for being "festive," and here they were, wanting to do something holiday-related! It was raining (boooo...) so we spread out a tarp on the living room floor, and proceeded with our pumpkin carving party :)

Messy business, that pumpkin carving...

And the finished products! My pumpkin is on the left, and Suzie's is on the right..

And here are Mark's and Andy's pumpkins (left and right, respectively.)

On Friday morning, we left for Chattanooga, and the start of Mark's birthday week :) We got there in the afternoon, and just hung out until dinner time. My mom cooked poppyseed chicken casserole, which is one of Mark's favorites :) Then we opened presents. And despite my best efforts, Mark had figured out my present before I even gave it to him...

A tent! (And other camping gear...) What a sneaky hubby I have...

Mark with all his gear: the tent, an air mattress, 2 sleeping bags, 2 chairs, a cooler, 2 flashlights, and some waterproof matches ... not too shabby :)

My mom, as usual, made an extremely cute (and not to mention yummy) cake :)

On Saturday, Kelly came! Mommy and I went to Michael's that morning, and I bought some (too much) stuff for Christmas decorating and things. That afternoon Kelly arrived, and we decided to go to World Market to look around.

In the car, on the way...

Kelly got herself a yummy drink, and Mark found some Tusker beer that is like next to impossible to find in Alabama (in fact, I don't even think they sell it here...) It's his favorite, because it reminds him of Kenya :)

We went home, and Cassie came over for dinner! Mark had the brilliant idea to put the tent up (and make sure all its parts were there and all), and we got into our typical photo-shenanigans...

throw your hands in the air...


After we got tired of jumping around like idiots, we put the rainfly on the tent and got inside :)


Then we went inside for dinner. It wasn't quite ready yet, so Kelly picked up Daddy's electric guitar and we sang some songs. Because we're just that awesome.

LOVE this picture!

After dinner, it was game time! (My family has this semi-serious obsession with board games, which is like the bane of Mark's existence. He likes one every now and then, but not quite with the fervor that the Shannons do...) And while we were setting up, Kelly had this brilliant, quirky idea:

Coraline eyes.

This soon became the Thing to Do: put trivial pursuit pieces in your eye sockets and look like a moron. What a fun game!

Mommy's take on it:

We made Daddy do it too, and he was inspired:

Even Cassie wanted in on the action:

So that was a fun time, and we played the game and continued the idiocy that makes up our family, but is SO MUCH FUN. And then it was like, really late, so we went to bed.

Sunday morning we went to church with my parents (and Cassie made this really yummy sausage/cream cheese/crescent roll breakfast thingy for Sunday School OMG YUMM). And that afternoon, Sarah and Thomas took us out for lunch (Thank you again!!!! Love you guys!!) at P. F. Chang's, which was so much fun, and yummy. (This seems to be a theme for the best week ever: so much fun, and yummy. I like that.) It had been quite a while since we'd gotten together with them, living 3 hours apart and all, and it was WONDERFUL to see them and reconnect. We made plans to go shooting the next time we see each other (apparently I am the only non-gun-afficionado in the group... but I guess I'll learn!)

And now we're home. Got in last night, and today Elissa is coming to visit! And we're doing something with Andy and Suzie tonight! And Lissa is cooking dinner on Tuesday! And it will just pretty much continue on through this next weekend as well...

I am so, so, so thankful to have friends and family who love us. So thankful. You really can't beat them. They're the best :)

More wonderful-ness and pictures to follow soon!