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!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

photo update :)

Just a few pictures to update with...

My baby car, the Jetta

And her back end...

I love this car!!!!

And now, an Emma update....

She's growing like a little weed. This video is actually from a little while back, when Mark and I were babysitting (puppysitting?) She's a fair bit bigger than this now, but it's a really cute video all the same. Despite the fact that I sound like an idiot on camera. (I don't know anybody who actually likes the sound of their voice on video/recording/whatever. It's weird. It doesn't sound like me.)

Mark got in the puppy bed and tried to be a puppy too. He's a bit large, don't you think?

Sweetest face on earth. She is so precious... even if she does pee on the floor sometimes :)

In other news unrelated to pictures - today was a good day :) Got the rest of the house cleaned up and made scones in time for Hannah to come. We had scones and tea and a lovely little catch-up time, and it was good. (I ate too many scones though, and now my tummy isn't so happy...) On Friday morning, we're off to see the fam in Chattanooga. The weekend will be packed, with Mark's bday stuff on Friday evening, then more time with my family (and maybe cassie?) on Saturday, and then Sunday we'll be hanging out with Sarah and Thomas (YAY!!). We'll leave that evening, come home, and Lissa will be coming over Sunday night around 10:30. She'll be here with us through Thursday, then it's Mark's birthday dinner with just us on Thursday night. Friday I work, and then Saturday Mark's family is coming here, and we'll have more cake :) Really busy week - but so good, with all the friends and family we'll get to see. It warms my soul just to think about :) I'm so excited! Just have to get through tomorrow....

Crazy Baby Dreams...

I woke up obnoxiously early this morning when Mark rolled over in bed, and it was in the middle of a really strange dream (I repeat - this was a DREAM) about going to a delivery in a church-y looking place, where they wouldn't even let us SEE the baby, let alone assess it. Then the church turned into this huge auditorium, and they were having a symphony concert in honor of the new baby. I was, randomly, with two gay guys who had also, randomly, brought flutes and piccolos and joined in the orchestra, which I thought was so strange. And then I was sitting next to the new baby, who was TINY and all wrapped up, and I noticed that she was doing some nostril flaring (which is a sign of resp. distress in babies), and so I asked if I could just see her for a second. Did a quick assessment while her grandma, who was holding her, was whining about it all, and she was retracting like WHOA. So I told her we needed to get her to the hospital right away. And then we took her outside, and she instantly became transparent so we could see all her internal organs, which was weird, and I called Cindy, my old assistant nurse manager from Chattanooga, and told her what we had and that we were bringing her in. And then, she had an OG tube, and cindy told me to take that out, and it momentarily fixed the problem, but then (because apparently her skin had disappeared or something) her heart and lungs fell out. Onto the ground. And my thoughts in my dream were, literally "Oh no - her heart is DIRTY!!!" Which is a problem indeed - but the larger problem was that her heart was not in her body. And I woke up to the sound of an ambulance - in my dream and in real life.

Craziness. I'm glad things like that don't happen in real life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Roasting, and Mrs. Norris (please note that the two are unrelated...)

Of all the different types of cooking, one of my very favorites is roasting. Tonight, for instance, we're having roast chicken with apples, and roasted carrots and potatoes with olive oil and rosemary. Yummmm. Roasting screams FALL to me, for some reason. I don't know if it's the savory-ness, or the warmth, or what, but it's just so, so good.

I've made quite a few yummy dinners here lately, if I do say so myself. Last week, it was slow-cooker week, with cranberry pork roast, roasted veggies (see, I told you I love roasting), and then turkey rosemary veggie soup. Then yesterday, I made pasta with shrimp, zucchini, and peppers in a yummy cream sauce. And tonight it's the chicken. Yummm. Hannah's also coming over this week, and I'm going to have tea and scones with clotted cream - Yumm again! Good food makes me happy - my belly, my tastebuds, and my heart :)

In an entirely different vein - my kitty cat has been extremely clingy lately. Every time I sit down with a book, or my computer, she immediately climbs up in my lap (in front of said book or computer) and begs for a cuddle. And then she curls up and either falls asleep or pretends to :) It's cute, but difficult to type with a kitty in your lap. This is her:

(not the most becoming picture of her ever...)

Here's a better one of her under the Christmas tree last year:

Isn't she cute? That's my baby.... (She likes me more than Mark. It makes him jealous.) She is the best cat EVER :) Soooo sweet - I just wish she wasn't quite so shy around strangers, because nobody knows how sweet she is but me and Mark. Precious kitty. I love her :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Squeaky Clean!

Today has been an exceptionally productive sort of day, despite the fact that I've been fighting a killer (allergy-related?) headache on and off for about 6 hours. Normally when I clean, I start with the downstairs - kitchen, dining area, living room - and then head to both bathrooms, and by the end, I'm just too tired to get to our bedroom. Not so today! Our room was where I started, and man, I cleaned it from top to bottom. It started out with laundry baskets everywhere, clothes in them AND on the floor, papers and other trash-type things strewn about, our bed was in shambles...

And now, clean, tidy bliss :) Clothes are organized by color in baskets, and I've made a rather large dent in the amount needing to be washed (although, if I could use OUR washer and dryer rather than the apartment's tiny stackable ones, I would've been done already...). Washed the sheets, remade the bed, picked up and threw away all trash, put away shoes, and vaccuumed :) Bathroom is also clean. And thanks to the hubby-extraordinaire, the kitchen is too! Tomorrow after church and lunch, I plan to break out my vaccuum again and finish that mess, and then mop. These next couple of weeks are going to be rather busy, so getting the major stuff done now will be a big help :)

After all that cleaning, I'm a bit tired. It's a quiet night tonight - cold weather always comes and makes me quiet and introspective. Fall calms me down. In the spring, I'm bursting at the seams with excitement, energy, cabin-fever from the winter season - the second the weather hits about 70 degrees, and new green blades of grass are starting to poke out from the earth, my t-shirts are on, my flip-flops are out, and I HAVE TO GET OUTSIDE. I have to GO and DO and BE EVERYTHING and life is lived and felt in ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME. I'm giddy, every time the sun comes out. It's like a big OD on Vitamin D or something, I don't know. But in the fall, all that is subdued. It's not that I'm depressed or anything - just calmer. I go slower. I tend to savor things more. I get nest-y. And now, fall has officially returned. My sweaters have come out, and a chill is hanging in the air. It makes me want to carve a pumpkin, go on a hayride, make crafty things with leaves and gourds. Mark loves this kind of weather. He said yesterday that he wanted to move somewhere where the weather is like this about 70% of the time. With the other 30 being much, much colder. I'm not too sure about that idea, but we'll see if we can't work out some sort of compromise... (I told him I'd live in a cold place if he bought me lots and lots of nice, cute, very very warm things. Like parkas. and Everest-ready garb.) But for now, I'm content with the 40's-50's, and will break out the flannel and drink hot chocolate, and use my kitty (who likes to sit in my lap while I'm trying to type on my laptop) as a blanket.

And once again, I can't reiterate enough, I am so content here. Where we are, where I am... I am so very, very glad that we moved when and where we did. And I'm so thankful that we have what we do. We're blessed, for sure :)

Friday, October 16, 2009


I have been really, really tired lately. Because of this, I've been bad, and haven't really cooked much - because, once again, I've been exhausted.

And today, I went and waited for about 2 and a half hours for my tag and registration for my car (much better than Mark's 5 hours a few weeks ago), and then went shopping for Mark's birthday present :) Tired from that too.

Tomorrow, I need to get caught up with the cleaning, Sunday is church and grocery shopping day, and then back to work Monday.

Hope everybody has a good night :)

Monday, October 12, 2009 is well with my soul...

I really love the church we've been going to. I feel God there. I feel Him in the people, in the love that they have for each other, in the spirit that leads them to take care of the community around them. Yesterday, it literally felt like He was right above us.

The church has this really incredible worship band/group/thing, which I also love. It's led by Brian Pitts, the Student Ministries director from Samford, and I've known him and his wife, who is also in the band thing, for a while now. The band consists of Brian, lead (acoustic) guitar and vocals, and then several other singers, and a keyboard and a bass guitar, and - get this - a mandolin, and violins, and some type of drum thing that isn't a bongo but looks like one that lays down. I don't know what it's called, but it sounds cool. When they play, it's beautiful. But the thing is, it's not about what instruments are there or not there - it's the spirit of the people singing (and that includes the congregation.) I've observed that in a lot of churches, people don't sing like they mean what they're singing, or are paying attention to the words. I guess it's supposed to be like mild and reverent or whatever, but it just feels sort of complacent and dead to me. And I'm not talking about the type of song either - I like a lot of hymns better than a lot of praise songs - it's just how you sing them that matters. At this church, God's spirit moves when we sing. It's a beautiful thing. Yesterday, one of the songs we sang was "It is Well with My Soul," which is one of my very favorite hymns. And boy, I needed to hear that - because my soul is not well with a lot of things. (Like work, right now.) And God was there. And it was good.

In another vein entirely...

This weekend has been totally unproductive for me. I really need to get some stuff done today (but here I am, blogging in bed, at 9 am. oh well...) I should change my attitude about resting. I have this problem, and I think it's genetic maybe, that when I'm not DOING something, when I'm just sitting around reading, or doing a crossword, or whatever, having some restful "me" time, I always say something like "I'm SO lazy," or "I really need to get up and do something," or something to that effect. Usually it involves the word "lazy." Now, when I'm being honest with myself - I'm really not that lazy. I'm not type-A work-a-holic by any stretch of the imagination, but right now, I'm working full-time 3 days a week. I cook dinner for the hubby probably 4 days a week (we try to eat leftovers the rest of the time - sometimes this works out better than others.) I try to keep caught up on the laundry and cleaning - but that's what I've slacked on this weekend. And Mark always says "So what?" when I fall behind. I should listen to him. Because there's nothing wrong with rest. We talked about it in my fellowship group from church - how we need rest, how we don't function without it, how God intended us for rest and rejuvenation. I'm just not very good at not feeling guilty when I do it.

Seriously though, today, I DO need to get up and do some things. Like make my yummy soup for dinner!! Mark doesn't have class tonight, so we can eat at a normal hour, which is nice, and I'm making Turkey Rosemary Veggie soup and cornbread tonight for dinner. Yum! I'm really into fall this year, and I'm looking forward to trying lots of soups for meals this fall (because usually they're pretty cheap, and last a while.)

I also need to figure out exactly WHAT I'm doing for Mark's birthday, and WHEN I'm going to get it... Because his birthday is coming up here pretty soon. I have a few ideas ... we'll see how it all pans out :)

And now ... laundry is calling my name. Farewell, comfy bed :)

Monday, October 5, 2009


Only not three men in a tub, but my house and clothes...

It's been cleaning day at the Skinners' house. I'm taking a short break before the ironing begins...

I've done laundry like a maniac today. My fall/winter clothes are now organized in my closet, and my summer stuff is almost all packed away - just the things that need to be washed are left (and things I wear year-round for layering, which won't be put away...) Getting out the next season's clothes is always a happy time for me. It's like revisiting old friends, and old memories, and it makes me look forward to what is to come.

Off the subject, but...
I just have to say - I'm so happy here. Best decision we ever made, moving here. Life is so good. I really, really miss my family, and my old unit... but this is the right place for us. I am so thankful for everything that's been happening lately :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Church in a little bit, so I don't have time to post a lot... but...

This weekend was fun :) Despite dealing with hurt ankles. We went to dinner in Atlanta last night with Mark's mom, grandma, great-aunt, and cousin. Today is church (obviously), and then we're eating lunch at my aunt and uncle's house with my family. (Extended family.) This is the last week that my cousin Brett is in town, because he's gone crazy and joined the army, and will start basic soon. So we're going to enjoy a nice afternoon with them, and then head home.

I love being on day shift. It makes the non-working times so much easier :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

What a day...

Mark and I have traveled in our new car to Griffin this weekend. My car drove like a dream last night, while I was dreaming within it. :)

Today has been quite the adventure. Thomas sprained his ankle pretty badly today at school during gym class. Our afternoon was spent trying to decide who would go and pick him up, and if he needed to be picked up early, and whatnot.... It was thrilling.

But, now he and Mark's mom are finally home, with crutches and meds and a wrapped ankle, and hopefully we're going to eat dinner sometime soon.

Tomorrow will also be a fun time - we're eating dinner in Atlanta for Nanny's birthday. It'll be interesting... But hopefully fun :)