Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Girls Trip

Before I left on vacation, my mom, grandma (mema) and I, had a little trip of our own. We went down to Memphis, TN for a weekend. My mom and mema wanted to go visit Graceland and my mema and I wanted to go eat at the Neely's restaurant. This was the first time the three of us had ever done anything like this and we had a great time. I wasn't sure if we would survive the 6 hour drive down there...if you don't know our family and how we interact with one another, you might think we hate each other. There's lots of picking, and making jabs and calling each other names, but that's just how we show our love :)

My mom and mema were both really looking forward to Graceland, I didn't care to go, but wasn't real excited about it. My mom got us all the VIP tickets so we could see all the extra items...yeah, we were big time. They ended up being a little disappointed because they had built the place up so much before we got there, I on the other hand ended up really enjoying myself.

VIP baby!

Our VIP tour bus

This couch was either 16' or 18' long...either way, very big!

Down in the basement

Any idea what this is? That's a light switch...surrounded by shag carpeting! Yep, it was even on the walls!

This was what they wore to their wedding

$5.00 for his piano!

A picture of Elvis with his parents. He was such a cute baby!

I'm not a big Elvis fan, but that's one good looking man!!

The famous pink car we bought for his mom

And this was the outside of the mansion. It's crazy, it seems like a pretty normal house for today's standards, but I'm sure it was grand in his time. He paid $100,000 for the house when he was 21.

Before I go any further with the story I feel like I should share the events of our first night there. We arrived in Memphis sometime between 6 and 7 and we were starving. We checked into our hotel, a Marriott that was nice enough, and decided to go find some food. There seemed to be several hotels around so we knew finding food would be easy. I drove since mom had driven the whole way down and we start our search. After only a few minutes we realize we haven't seen any food places besides McDonald's and the like, and we seem to be getting into a residential part of town. In fact, it was a residential part of town that had several abandoned apartment complexes and homes that had aluminum foil in place of windows (no joke!). We quickly realized we needed to turn around. After more fruitless searching and running into areas where three females should probably never be by themselves, we ended up just eating at the iHop that was right in front of our hotel. We knew we needed gas so we asked our waitress where the best place to go would be. As she was thinking my mom smartly added "and safely" to our question. Her reply "Oh, the safest? Hhmm?" She really had to think about it! She told us if we could wait we would be better off to wait until morning and she told us which exit to go to. Then she proceeded to tell us that if we didn't need to we should probably just stay in our hotel tonight. Unless of course we had a weapon. Seriously?! I was so glad she was honest with us, but we were completely freaked out! She said where we were was okay, but just a couple minutes down the road was where we needed to watch out for (which we had already discovered on our food quest). I go back to the room and I'm telling my husband this, whose dad lives in Jackson, TN and is a police officer and who both know Memphis pretty well, and he says "Yeah, you probably should have stayed at such and such exit, it's like a whole different world." Why didn't he tell us that before we left?! He said he didn't think about it. I could have killed him!

Anyway, we obviously survived. After Graceland we had dinner at the Neely's barbeque restaurant.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of barbeque, but it was pretty good. The portions were huge! The best part about the whole meal was the dessert though. We had the Sock it to Me cake, good heavens it was huge and amazingly good!! It was also warm when they brought it out, which made it that much better. The restaurant itself was very disappointing. The walls were dirty, there were damaged ceiling tiles and just over all it was not nice looking. I really expected a little more.

The morning we were leaving to come home my mema decided we needed to get up at like 6:00, mainly because she was awake and couldn't go back to sleep. She kept yelling at my mom and I to get up and we kept pulling the covers over our heads and trying to ignore her. I think at one point she finally pulled the covers off of us and possibly use some profanity to try and make us get up. My mom and I neither one are morning people, and this sure wasn't helping. My mom looked at me at one point and said "Imagine this every morning as a kid, she's always been this way". It was kind of neat. I felt like mom and I were two teenagers trying to ignore our mom about getting out of bed.

I am so glad that I had the chance to take this trip with my mom and mema. It was great just being able to hang out with them and talk and just be together. I hope we do it again soon, just somewhere a little nicer next time!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Water Baby

I've loved water for as long as I can remember. I can remember going off the high dive the first time and the fun I used to have going to our public swimming pool when I was younger. Then when I was in middle school my parents became members at a local country club. Although really, country club eludes to the idea that it was a fancy was not. But I didn't care. I can remember in middle school, I basically lived at the pool. I stayed at a friend's house during the day and we had a great lady (who now teaches with my husband!) that would take us to the pool every day. We'd get there after lunch, stay until about 4 or so, then when my friend's mom would get home she would take us back to the pool where my mom would meet us. Seriously, this was the life. We had so much wasn't bad watching the cute boys golf either :)

When the country club closed their pool I was devastated! My parents ending up building a pool at our house, but it wasn't long before they ended up selling that home to build another. This pretty much ended my regular swimming. This past weekend Bailey and I joined my mom at our new Aquatic Center here in town. It officially opened last summer, but it was really late in the year and we never went, so this was my first time. I had such a good time! Now, there really isn't a "pool"...I know, weird, right? It's definitely kid oriented, and Bailey loves it! There's a huge play area in the center with fountains and there's a spray pad, huge slide and a lazy river. Bailey and I went with my mom Sunday and then Nick joined us on Monday. We all had such a good time and were worn out when we went home! I didn't manage to get many pictures, but I did snap this one,

This is what I found after I went to check on her after napping for almost 3 hours!

which I thought was precious! I'm very sad that I won't be able to go back this weekend...silly work! But I have a feeling Bailey and I have found a new summer hang out and I hope that she will continue to love the water as much as I once did...and still do!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Sweet Future Home Site!

I had previously mentioned that Nick and I were buying a lot in Victoria Estates, here in Georgetown. We closed on the lot on our 4th wedding anniversary, by far the best gift we've ever given each other as an anniversary gift! Below are some shots of the lot.

This first picture is from the neighborhood's website and shows part of the 57 acre lake! We're not very far from the lake at all, this is one of the things I'm most excited about!!

Our lot is just a little under an acre and is a corner lot. It is currently very wooded. We plan on keeping all the trees we can and only taking down what absolutely has to be. It made me feel better when we found out that several of the trees in the center where already dead and needed to be taken down anyways. The lot is perfectly situated for a walk out basement. It slopes down and then levels off nicely in the back.

One of the larger trees!

Nick forging a path from one end of the lot to the other.

Me at the stop sign at the corner of our lot. Isn't it cute?!

The photo above was taken the next day after we closed. I thought it was very cool that our first time out there as the official owners we saw a deer!


Here's me and Bailey holding a picture of the floor plan we have picked out. Here are some photos of it below.

I love the covered front porch!


Here's a shot of the 1st floor. There will be some changes. I want to enlarge the dining room to hold a table that can seat 10. I don't need that large of a keeping room, so I want to enlarge the kitchen area and move it to the back of the house if at all possible and include a butler's pantry. In the family room I want to move the fireplace to the wall that divides our bedroom and the family room. Then, where the fireplace currently sits add a set of French doors to allow access to the deck from that room. I really need to find a good architect when the time comes to help with all of this. I've drawn several different arrangements and can't quite get the look or feel I have in mind.

I have started several different inspiration files for what I want to accomplish when we finally get to build. I'm not for certain when it will actually be. I have a certain number that I want to stay under for financing and we're going to have to save a lot of money to stay under that! So as soon as we can, that's when we'll start! We were lucky in that we basically stole this lot! In the past 6 months 2 lots had sold in this neighborhood in the mid $30,000 range, which is still lower than normal, simply due to the fact that not many people are currently building. Our lot was bank owned and we were able to get it for $16,000! Plus the bank paid for half of our closing costs! Our closing attorney kept going on and on about how surprised he was at the price we got it for.

Well, this is our future home site and the house we will one day build!

Beach, Baby! Part 3 - Food & More

I think most people would agree that food is an important part of any vacation. Or at least, people I care to be around would! One of my favorite things about staying on the 30A in Florida is that there are no chain restaurants. The last thing I wanted was to drive all the to Florida just to go to a restaurant that I could go to any day of the week.

I would have to say my favorite spots were both owned by the same company. I mentioned Bud & Alley's taco bar in my first Beach post. Wonderful tacos and some of the best salsa and queso dip I've ever had! Our last day there we hit up their Pizza Bar for lunch. Ah-mazing! We sat outside and it was the cutest area. It had the feel of a very cool covered back porch. And the pizza was so good! Nick and I had a cheese pizza with the addition of fresh basil. It was the crispiest crust and the basil was so good!

At the Pizza Bar.

The best dessert I had all week (actually twice!) was from a little place called Heavenly Shortcakes. Both times I had their tiramisu gellato and it was heavenly, just as the name implies!

We cooked at home several nights, and on Thursday had our feast! The boys grilled up some juicy steaks and corn on the cob, we had crab legs, baked potatoes and bread. We were all stuffed afterwards because everything was so good!

All the food wasn't great though. Our last night there we went to a place called Pompano Joe's in Destin. The food was awful and our server was even worse! The only good thing is it was right on the beach and we were able to snap a couple of pictures before dinner, even though Bailey was in a grumpy mood.

One night Brittany and Mike were nice enough to babysit so Nick and I could go out by ourselves.

Bailey and Brittany watching Cinderella while mommy and daddy were out.

Before leaving for our date.

We ended up going to a place called Destin Chops. The food was decent. I would compare it to a Malone's, but not quite as good. Nick and I each had steak, we had a lobster tail for appetizer, I had a glass of wine and he had a Manhattan, and after tip our bill was $165. If the food had been great, I wouldn't have minded the cost, but it was definitely not worth the price tag!

Oh, I almost forgot! On our way out of Florida, we stopped in Aly's Beach and grabbed some doughnuts from Charlie's Donut Truck!

I thought this was the cutest thing ever!! The doughnuts were good, not the best I've ever had, but still good.

And here are some other random shots of our first family vacation!

Beach, Baby! Part 2 - Animal Encounters & Pool Time

The first few days of our beach trip each brought an encounter of some sort with wildlife.

It started our first full day on the beach. Bailey was playing in the sand far enough back that the waves couldn't hit her...because she did not like them at all! Nick and I were sitting on the sand where the waves could gently roll up over us. It was great. We talked, splashed each other and watched Bailey play. Then all of a sudden something struck my big toe. I didn't know what it was, but I knew it hurt! I saw something briefly after the hit and run that looked like a shell and I saw it get buried in the sand. I kept watching that area and the next thing I knew a good sized crab came out from under the sand and started running (crawling, swimming...whatever crabs do) back into the ocean. I had been hit by a crab! I was completely freaked out. I proceeded to get up (with a quick trip into the ocean to dump all the sand that had found its way into the bottom of my bathing suit, I'm sure I was quite a sight!) and go sit by Bailey.

The next day me, Bailey and Brittany were in the pool together when we spotted a little newt in the pool. We took Bailey over to see it and we watched it try in vain to climb out. It would get close to the top of the wall and lose its footing and fall right back in. I wanted to help the little guy, but I couldn't bring myself to pick it up. I found a little toy truck that someone had left behind and spent nearly 10 minutes assisting the newt out of the pool using the toy truck. Finally, the little guy made it to the pool deck, where he turned around and jumped right back in! He was on his own from there.

The third day we were all in the pool and found...a snake!! It was coming out of one of the drains on the ledge! We don't know how long it was because it never fully came out. It was very skinny, so I'm sure it wasn't that big, but it still a little unnerving to find the snake in the pool!

Despite the animal kingdom seeming trying to take over the pool, that was Bailey's favorite part of vacation. It had been a while since she had been swimming, so it took her a day or two to really have a good time in the water. But by the end of the week she was jumping in and floating around in her tube all by herself! We practiced kicking and blowing bubbles. She decided she wanted to go under, and did twice, but didn't like it. Then she fell one night while standing on the steps in the pool. It was like slow motion. I saw her toppling over but I couldn't reach her fast enough...and I was sitting right next to her. She went under, head first, and I grabbed her up. She was coughing and crying and it was all I could do to keep it together. She wanted to get out, but I didn't want to reinforce her fear, so I made her stay in and sit on my lap while I told her it was okay now. After only a minute or two she was fine and ready to play. I on the other hand was not. Nick knew I needed a minute and took Bailey to play and I had a little cry. I knew she was okay, but it was just so scary and it just reminded me that it only takes a second for anything to happen.

Now here are some cute photos/videos of Bailey playing in the pool.