Friday, December 30, 2011

11 things in 2011

So for those of you that have been around since the second beginning of this little blog here, know that our 2011 is ending nothing like what we had imagined. But when in life do things every really go the way we plan them? I think we've experienced quite a bit, and learned quite a bit, and we'll be coming out on the other side in 2012 as older and wiser... okay older.. we still have a lot to learn, but this year was definitely a bell curve for us...

1. A year ago to the day we had moved our entire lives to Nashville, TN where I landed my "dream job" (I use quotations because in fact, I am still figuring out what "dream job" means exactly and how one finds it, or knows that it is in fact, the job of their dreams)


Anywho, we were closer to our families in Florida, so this was a major plus, and we were able to go home a lot! Too much, probably...

2. We had our first major crisis in our little married life together - We totaled our truck. The only car we had had for two years. When someone tells you it never snows in Nashville. They lie. And when I say snow, I mean 2 inches, and just because you lived in New York where they're equipped for snow, the south is not equipped for 2 inches. True story. So when I tell you to heed my advice, really do... Do not drive if it snows in middle Tennessee or Alabama. Even if it is just a measly 2 inches, which is nothing in comparison to the feet"s" of snow that happen north of the Mason Dixon. Just sayin'. So to my mother in law - when you scroll down, just remember that we are alive and well... 



3. The above led us to make us make our first big grown up purchase - a new car! A new car that we needed cheap, and fast.


Our very own race car!! Coming from driving SUVs and trucks, this was an adjustment, albeit a necessary one unfortunately. But it has served us well thus far!

4. Ran my second half marathon with the sister - no PRs - just a finish - which I was very thankful for!


5. Decided to increase our little family of three to a family of four, with Harley dog


6. Started blogging again here back in May, and it's been stop and go, stop and go ever since =)

7. Ran the RC Cola and Moon Pie 10 miler in the middle of June in the middle of Tennessee where it was beyond hot. And I suppose had my first 10 mile PR because it was my first and only 10 miler. 


It was beyond hilly, but the support along the way, and all those angels that were handing out extra water and ICE - angels were in Bell Buckle, TN that day. and I am beyond grateful for them!!

8. As I mentioned before, life is never like we plan and we made the not so hard decision for us, and yet again probably a hasty decision to move back to the Northeast after we had "left for good" just a short 8 months before. 

9. Not long after we moved back, I went back to Nashville to run my 3rd half marathon with my sister - the Nashville Women's Half - where I again, didn't PR, but improved my seaside half time by almost 8 min -



10. Two short weeks later, I ran my first race with the hubs - The Westchester quarter marathon - which kind of holds a special place in my heart because it was my first half marathon - 

11. The year ended with a very unexpected visit to North Carolina, and got to see the fam and spend Thanksgiving with them, and then a very nice visit from Juls - and now I will be ringing in the new year - poppin' bottles with the babies.. literally poppin' bottles - haha get it - baby bottles. I'm hilarious I know.

Streaking...
If you were watching ESPN at any point during the early evening yesterday, you'll know that at halftime Florida State was losing to Notre Dame 7-0. Even though I wasn't feeling the greatest, it makes me nervous to sit and watch football with the hubs because he gets so into it. So I figured my time would be better spent, trying to sweat out this attack of the sinuses.

Day 4, Thursday: Ran 4 miles in 43:30. I know I keep saying it, but this was a nice slow, easy run for me! Where probably just a short six months ago, I'd be having to allot around 50 min just to get 4 measly miles in. To say that I am beyond impressed with myself would be an understatement. It still gets me excited to say that a 10:50ish pace was an easy run. And I am "sick" to boot. I guess that there is something to be said for strength training, and speed workouts... 

On a good note - Florida State won! 18-14 - Go noles!! Nothing like finally showing up to play some football in the fourth quarter... 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Football, Streaking, and Goals for 2012

The streak continued yesterday..

Day 3, Wednesday: Ran 3.8 miles in 40 min at a 10:32 pace! Oh yeah! (in my Vector voice) I ran the first 20 min at a 10:40 pace and then with plans to stop and walk I decided I'd run 5 min at a 10:20 pace and then stop, and those 5 min turned into the last 20 min of my run. Yessir, yessir. All the while my sinuses decided it would be the perfect time to start running (ha ha get it?) down the back of my throat - making breathing just a little difficult. I may have tweeted something along the lines of wishing it was acceptable to blow snot rockets at the gym - but considering the shorts I was wearing made my sweat look like I peed my pants - I really didn't need to add anything else to make me more attractive than I already am...

Day 4, Thursday: has not happened yet. Feeling rather crapilicious with even more snot running everywhere today, out my nose, down the back of my throat, out of my eyes.. everywhere. Okay an exaggeration, but I would so be that hacking girl. And the pressure in my face! But I may very well be rethinking my decision to use being sick as an excuse, because as we speak, we're watching the Champs Sports Bowl where our beloved Florida State is playing Notre Dame and the whole mood of the house depends on this game, and I. might. just. need. to. get. away. If you're watching, by halftime, you'll know if I've continued the streak or not, without me even telling you! Football is way serious business in this household. 



Goals for 2012
Lofty as they may be, I'll write them down, and share them with you, and then check back now and again and evaluate my life, and see how things are going...

-Run more regularly: I am a back of the packer because of my own lack of dedication. It's no secret that the more you run, the better you'll be. Like anything really, no one gets better at something by never doing it. So hopefully I can continue this streak and run at least 4-5 days a week. I mean let's be real, 9 times out of 10 we all know I'd choose a little extra sleep over a run.. or a cupcake... 

-Run a 2:15 half marathon: This will require me to keep a 10:18ish pace for 13.1 whole miles.. maybe it could happen... I need to find a very, very flat course. Hence the above, where I need to run more.. I will PR this year. I got lots of work to do..

-Run a sub 30min 5k: I'm down to about 32:30 consistently and thats just been a few months, so I just need to get rid of those extra 2:30min. I'm seeing a lot of running happening in 2012..

-Run a marathon: eeks! I have been perusing the world wide web for the perfect first marathon course - there are so many logistics - where do I want to run it? who do I want to be there? What would I wear!? Do you have any suggestions for me!? Again, I got lots of work to do..

-Be a better giver: find an organization near and dear to my heart and give regularly, and write my Compassion sponsored child once a month. If I can write a blog post, I can write a letter to a child that I sponsor. A couple of organizations that I feel being led to give to are Amazima and Heart of the Bride

-Go on my first mission trip: I will hopefully have more to update on this one very soon!! I'm super excited about it!

-Blog more: Not disappear off the radar, as I have done so frequently in the past. I am lazy, it is true. If you have not gathered that from hanging around here for any length of time, well, just stick around then, and I'll eventually disappear for a week or so... But maybe not, because now I have a goal not to do that!

-Make/find a training plan and stick to it: I generally run based on how I feel, I've ran one 10 mile run before a half before and that was it, I've ran multiple 6-8mile runs, but never consistent. My running depends on how I'm feeling, how much I'm working, and how much time I may or may not have. So for the first time, I would like to follow a for real training plan and run 10 miles on a saturday morning because that is what is on my schedule. 


Happy 2012 to you!! What are your goals!?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A week ago yesterday

Okay, well by the time I probably actually post this, it will be a week and two days ago. Because I'm slow and sometimes it takes me forever to get my thoughts together and it gets to be after midnight and then I can't finish because I'm tired and must. go. to. bed. So, I'm posting this today, on wednesday, but am backtracking to last monday..

BUT first...

Runner's World  started a streak after Thanksgiving - to run everyday, at least a mile until the New Year. Well I didn't even hear about it, or pay that much attention until two weeks after Thanksgiving, and I was like eh I'll just run when I can. Well then I didn't really run at all, and I have all these lofty goals of running 3 miles under 30 min before January 1, 2012 and all that jazz (which may or may not happen) so anywho, I decided to start Monday, and run every day this week because I'm all about the short term goals and not stretching my goals too far out of my reach. So far so good.

Day one, Monday: Ran 3.2 miles in 33:30 - my first progression run. A very slow and very conservative progression run. started at 11:20, then went to 10:54 mile 2 and then finished at 10:42 mile 3.

Day two, Tuesday: Ran 4.2 miles in 45 min - a 10:40 pace!! I never thought I'd run one whole mile at a 10:40 pace and I ran 4. Go me. Maybe I'll move from the back of the pack, to the middle of pack runner. I can be satisfied with that!

AND second (before I get into a week ago yesterday + a day)

I had a dream that I died y'all!! I got shot!! I think I've been reading way too many World War 2 books, because I was me in Germany in the 1940s but I wasn't me. I was the character in my dream, but I was watching everything happen too... And I had a daughter and I was living with a friend and her daughter and next thing I know that Germans are knocking on the door with their guns and we're all facedown and I was just praying and praying - but I was watching the scene unfold too (weird, I know) - and then next thing I knew I felt a little pistol in the back of my neck, and felt myself get shot, and choking on blood or whatever you choke on when you get shot in a dream and I remember praying to die quickly and then I woke up and heard Harley snoring and the hubs talking in his sleep and thought - whew that was close. Where is Joseph when I need a for real dream interpretation, not some psychic mumbo jumbo that is flooding the internet!?! Then I had a dream about missing a flight because I was trying to run a marathon... Maybe I drank coffee to close to going to sleep.. Nutso - needless to day, Sunday night was not restful for me, I died and ran a marathon and had the stress of missing a flight!! But I guess maybe if I can run a marathon in my dreams, it could happen in real life too??

Okay, and one more thing - I'm having an internal debate with myself - to cut my hair or not to cut my hair.. I kind of wanted to donate to Locks of Love but you need 10 inches of hair, and if I cut 10 inches at this point I might end up with an Emma Watson post Hermione, pixie look. And I'm thinking that it just looks better on her.. So to cut my hair, or not to cut my hair.. Very important life decision, I know.

Now, finally what you've been waiting for! Last monday, Juls was here, and it was our big day to visit the big ol' city of New York. Our only plans were to see "the tree" and go see Wicked!! Which is by far my favorite broadway show ever. But we really didn't know what else we were going to fill our time with, because it was freezing. And by freezing, I mean like 30 something degrees, which for us Floridians, is real, real cold. So as we're sitting in Starbucks, waiting for our train, we decide why don't we A.) see if we can get tickets to the Rockettes, and B.) maybe go see a 2pm show. So we took the train in, and went to see the tree...


Which, I sincerely hate to disappoint you, if you've never seen the tree, but it looks SO much bigger and more impressive on TV, and it definitely looks better at night. I'm just telling you the truth.

After our quick jaunt at the tree, we went to stand in line to see if there were any tickets left to see the Rockettes that afternoon, so we could be nice and warm and not freezing trying to sight see. After standing in the freezing cold for only 30 min - luckily the line moved fast, we were able to purchase our tickets! The hubs and I saw the show last year at Radio City, and then again in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry. It might definitely become a Christmas tradition.

Super excited!


It was a great show - I love the live nativity at the end - I know they've been doing it the same way for something crazy like 80 years, and I hope that they never have to become politically correct and change the ending. I wonder if they realize how many people they're actually witnessing to by reading the Christmas story? And having the live animals doesn't hurt, I'm sure. And as good as the Christmas Spectacular is, we were headed to the real show next!!

But first we had to make an obligatory stop at one of my favorite cupcake shops - Magnolia Bakery


If anyone would like to support my sweet tooth, and supply me with one of these tins and six delicious cupcakes, I would not say no. However, if I may be completely and totally honest with you, while I love a cupcake from Magnolia, I would much rather eat their banana pudding, it is amazingly out of this world! And again, if I had to pick a cupcake, I would choose one from Gigi's in Nashville. I think their cake part is better... gasp! I know!! But if you live near a Gigi's I highly recommend trying it!!

After a delicious dinner of pizza at John's Pizzaria we had the grand finale of our little day trip into the city - Juls and I went to see Wicked! If you have to see a broadway play - this is the one to see!! I really have loved all the ones I've been able to see, but this one takes the cake. It's nothing like you would expect.


So come visit me, I'll let you share the extra bedroom with the cat, and I'll even wash the sheets, because I'm nice like that, and we'll go see Wicked!!

Now I'm on to day three of my streak!!

Oh yeah and if you haven't been over to Dear Avery - please go over, and read, and remember little Avery and her sweet momma and daddy in your prayers!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!!

*Christmas card brought to you by Shutterfly*

Isaiah 9:6-7

I hope everyone had a great day!! And Santa was kind to you and you got everything you wanted. The hubs and I have had a very relaxing day - a great church service this morning, a yummy brunch, and an afternoon out at the movies. We went to see the new Sherlock Homes movie with every one else who had already eaten and opened presents and didn't know what else to do in the Westchester/Fairfield county area. It was real good y'all. Much better than the first! I highly recommend it. Maybe not on Christmas if you're with your family, but if you have some free time.. Now it's time for a yummy steak dinner - spoiling the hubs this weekend (I hope he doesn't get used to all this cooking) - and some mashed potatoes and green bean casserole too! None of which requires red wine vinaigrette!! 

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Harley wanted to share his gifts with you, a bone, an elephant that may or may not make it through the week, and his very own stocking. He hopes that you all are having as wonderful a Christmas as he is!! We are enjoying this very special time as a small little family, and resting up from the craziness that is life!!

"Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a manger - because there was no room for them and the inn. In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angle said to them "don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you food news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. THis will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger" Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to people He favors!' When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.' They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told." - Luke 2: 1-20

"But when the completion of of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And Because you are sons, God has sent the SPirit of His Son into our hearts crying, 'Abba Father!' So that you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." Galations 4:4-7


Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm no Pioneer Woman

Truer words have never been spoken. I am not a cook. I would like to be. I'm sure I even like to act like I am sometimes. But I'm not, I have a couple of go to meals that I make all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean like once or twice a week. I don't even own a crockpot - the cooking pan I use the most is a 9x11 corning ware. Since my mom is here I decided to branch out and cook a roast. And because I needed someone to tell me the piece of meat to buy. I bet the the Pioneer Woman has never had to have someone tell her which piece of meat to buy for a certain recipe... I know I don't have to admit everything but I will.

So, this all started when we were watching the Food Network Saturday morning, we had just watched the Deen family Christmas, and watched Paula Deen make popcorn balls y'all. Which looked amazing. Then Giada came on to make her family Christmas Dinner. A Stracato with Porcini mushrooms. I didn't know what a stracato was, but it's a pot roast. And i'm not even sure what Porcini mushrooms are but I thought, hey I can do that, I love a pot roast. But again, I don't have a crock pot. Or even the fancy Le Creuset dutch oven that Giada used. And I had to use all these fancy ingredients and buy a sirloin roast cut or something like that. I should've written it down because I can't remember it now, but my mom and I perused the meats and then I had to call my dad and then I even asked the nice man behind the meat counter at Whole Foods. He helped me out, and I picked up the rest of the ingredients. Oh, and nothing like being a fish out of water in the northeast - I was looking for Juls and one of the workers was like oh I hear your accent and I know exactly where the woman your looking for is, you both sound alike. I was like cool, thanks.

 We made it home by 2pm after church and a little sightseeing and grocery run - just as the sun was starting to set, at 2pm in case you missed that the first time. And since this recipe was supposed to take 4 hours - I waited a little bit to start. Who likes to eat dinner around 6pm!? We generally eat around 8. So I started about 4pm. I began to follow the recipe exactly, drying my roast and salt and peppering and then I realized that her recipe was for a 5lb roast and mine was only 2lbs and since I'm not so great at math I kind of just used her ingredients and made my own measurements.  Oh yeah and I had to google "how to get the leaves off thyme" and "how to chop thyme". Watch out Top Chef, there just may be a new contestant in the running, that is one awesome google-er. The recipe I based mine off of was -

(ekes my first photo from my mac!!)

I chopped up onions, garlic, mushrooms (I know how to chop those) and added red wine vinaigrette and beef stock broth. I've never bought broth of any sort. There's a first time for everything. That first time also included the simmering of all ingredients. Here's the thing - when you've never bought red wine vinaigrette and it looks like it needs to be opened like a real bottle wine and you try and try and try to open it and it doesn't open, and you finally decide to peel through the packaging and find out it is a plastic lid - this is what it'll look like -

Like I said I'm no Pioneer Woman - I'm sure she's never used a corkscrew to get in a plastic top - I'm pretty sure I'm alone on this one...
FYI: the corkscrew won't open a plastic screw top... Your welcome. I just saved you 5 minutes

Since I'm not a food blogger, and an amateur cook at the most I didn't really take pictures of the process - but I have the end product -


I added red potatoes, because I like them and because the hubs doesn't like mushrooms. I try to take what he likes into account when I'm looking for recipes... But when you're married to a 26 year old that eats very similar to a 6 year old. It is hard. 

The happy family sitting down to eat my delicious meal
The hubs responds: It's not the best meal I've ever had... Rude. 

It was real good - okay, okay, not the best meal I've ever made, but it was still pretty good. And I'm all about trying new things. Now I am going to prepare myself for a very long, and very cold day in the city with my mom where we'll be going to see WICKED!!!


eeeks!!!!!!!

Happy Monday!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Enlightened

That is how I'm told I should be feeling right now. I have crossed over to what I would call the dark side and what some would call the light side - I am writing, not my first post from a mac, but my first post from a mac that I own!! I am real excited!! I have wanted an Apple computer since I was in elementary school and they had the desk tops with the monitors with different colors. And when Elle Woods gets into law school at Harvard and buys a pink laptop. Because its the cool thing to do right!? Also my Mimi, who's age shall remain a mystery, got an iPad 2 for Christmas. An iPad 2!! So surely I must be as cool as her... I am still trying to figure it out, I haven't had a whole lot of time to play with it yet. I don't really know how to upload pictures yet or anything - I need a Mac tutorial. I will figure it out and my life will never be the same. I'll become a PC snob. Just wait.

Besides the excitement of getting a new computer - yayy!! My mom is here this weekend!! She got here on Friday and we've been going non stop since then! Friday we walked around our old stomping grounds of White Plains doing my favorite things - hanging out at Barnes and Noble and Target! I sincerely miss living right there - even though I'm pretty sure my wallet does not. Yesterday we ventured to Central Valley, NY to shop at Woodbury Commons. A ridiculously huge outlet mall, which I still can't afford half the stuff there, even at outlet prices. But it was fun to freeze and window shop. I was good and bought some candles from Yankee candle, and a new coat from the J Crew outlet. Which is my most favorite store ever. I had a beautiful red coat that I got from there on major major clearance three years ago that met its dreadful fate in February when we totaled our car. The sleeve kind of ripped off and considering it was on major, major clearance - it would cost more to fix it than it did to buy it. So I laid it to rest. May it rest in peace, along with the truck... Anywho I'm off to make my first roast ever, without a crock pot. Thank you Giada for the great idea and inspiration. Glad my mom is here to guide my way!! I'll let y'all know how it goes, and I might even have pictures by then!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Main Squeeze Monday: Man it's almost tuesday

I'm not sure anyone realizes how hard it is to write a post for a certain day of the week, when you sleep all day of that certain day of the week, unless you work nights, then you know exactly what I'm talking about - unless you work nights and don't blog... Anywho, I'm only halfway through my cup of coffee, that's my excuse for not making any sense -

Speaking of coffee Dear Starbucks, would you please keep your Christmas cups around all year long, just so that in the dead of summer when I'm hating the heat and missing the beach, I'll remember that magic of Christmas? Please, oh please.

Matchy, matchy. So festive! And makes me so happy!

Today I had big gym plans, so I bought some Gu Chomps , the cranberry apple flavor. Again, I thought I was getting the watermelon flavor, the packages don't even look the same, but none the less they were good! And didn't upset my stomach like the Clif Shot Blocks  did one time. Not fun. My only issue is that while trying to open them I had the hardest time!

Can you see the teeth marks?? And the rip up the side of the package!?

The best part, is if you look closely in the top left corner, it says tear here, where it opens very easily. And the best part, is they have caffeine! And you know how I love to have an extra boost. Gu Chomps = success!

AND this past week I got my first card from a patient - well her mom - but my patient definitely signed it - with her little almost 3lb fingers. She is getting so big!!



Hopefully by the end of the week I will be the new and oh so proud owner of..... badabdabda (drum roll...)

yeeeee!!!!!! I'm coming over to the dark side!! I whined enough that my other half caved!! Merry Christmas to us! 

And the best part of the day... 


Pizza Mondays!!! Actually any day that ends in -y in pizza day in the Tucker house! 

I love pizza!! And luckily for me, so does the hubs! And no one does pizza like they do here in New York. I missed the pizza a lot a lot during our short stint in Tennessee - we just couldn't find a pizza as good. Now maybe some of you feel that Chicago style pizza is better, but my only experience with Chicago style pizza is from Uno's and I'm pretty sure that as good as their pizza is it just doesn't do it justice. One day when I visit Chicago I will compare the two for you... do you like how my long description is about food!?

Happy Monday and Happy work week!! Please remember to pray for Avery this week!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday Faves: woops its saturday

I generally do a Main squeeze Monday, but a lot of cool things happened today - like I worked three night shifts and then stayed up until noon waiting on our BRAND NEW BED!!!


Do I have sheets? No. Do I have extra pillows for it? No. Is there a matching set of furniture to match this bed? No. But it was blissfully comfortable, I had the best day of sleep I've had in weeks with a pillow and blanket. Who needs sheets!? Jeepers, by the time the furniture guys got here at noon I was fading fast and falling asleep at the computer so I probably would have had a great sleep new bed or not, but it definitely helped! I even started two new posts and realized how bad they were (which is probably nothing new) and how much they didn't make any sense at all (again probably nothing new). I was trying to stay busy and texting the hubs because I was a little nervous to be at the house alone while some random Joe came in to set up a bed - I watch a lot, a lot of Criminal Minds, and tend to have an overactive imagination - but I had this ferocious animal to protect me -


He really is all bark and no bite - he's got a big scary loud bark, but he was hiding behind me shaking in his boots. And when they finally left and I introduced him to the new bed, it was so high and big he definitely ran away.. It is a bed puppy... then I picked him up and he laid down and neither one of us budged for five whole hours. He loves it. He can't get on or off it, but he loves it. And so do I.

Not only did we get a new bed today - I got to celebrate this lovely lady's birthday -


Happy Birthday Beth!!

And eat some oh so yummy Mexican food at our favorite Greenwich establishment - the Boxcar Cantina. It is conveniently located right around the corner from me. Sadly, no they didn't make her wear a sombrero or do shots of tequila...  I am boring and ate a chicken quesadilla - 


There was a basket of chips and dip, some guacamole, and perhaps a margarita or two or three, we'll never tell - but they were already consumed by the time I thought to get out my phone and snap some pictures to share with you all. Your welcome. When you all come to visit, because I now have a guest bedroom, I will take you to the Boxcar and you can sample it for yourself. Speaking of house guests, my mom will be here in six days!! I'll let you know what she thinks of the Tucker accommodations and her rating on being a guest in our casa. She'll have to share a bed with Harley though because the second bedroom now belongs to him -


Happy weekend - for y'all - I'll be working!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tis the season!

Merry Christmas! I am super excited this year, because:

1. my mom is coming!!
2. we're going to see Wicked!!!
3. Luke and I are NOT moving!!!!!
4. We have our first tree!!!!

I am trying not to get all caught up in the retail and commercial side of Christmas, and remember the real reason for the season - Happy Birthday Jesus - but it is a little hard. I am sticking to the tree and a few ornaments and my tree scented candles, and other than that you can just call me Scrooge. Bah hum bug and all that jazz. But I really am just so happy to being seeing a family member - Juls!!! - and getting to spend Christmas with the hubs and our wonderful church family.

Last night we decorated the tree! And when I say I, I mean me... My OCD came out in full force with everything needing it's own perfect spot and being evenly spaced and if I had two of the same ornament they needed to be symmetrical on opposite sides of the tree. Not too close, and not too far... I know I'm stressing you out, because I'm stressing myself out! I will be moving ornaments around and rearranging probably until we're ready to take it down..

I must say it turned out pretty good.. I have some ribbon that I am enlisting someone much craftier than myself to make a bow tree topper for me instead of the usual tree topper. I love a big bow!


I don't care about the mess, I love the smell of a real tree, and you just cannot achieve the same look with a fake tree. I will sweep around it everyday - I just love it. 

As I am in the middle of typing this and loving Christmas, and daydreaming of sugarplums we have experienced our first ornament casualty -


at the hands... or mouth.. of the usual suspect...


He is in trouble and he knows it. 

That santa ornament was one of my favorites.. good thing I have two! I will have to watch that animal a little closer, and quite possibly rearrange the ornaments for the umpteenth time and make them a little higher.. Even though I hate having all that emptiness around the bottom... 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful December and Christmas season thus far!! Still a lot of the month left and celebrating to be had!!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be on His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Cousellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Little Bee Review



I finally finished Little Bee by Chris Cleave a couple of weeks ago, and I'm just now getting the time to share my thoughts with you...

Remember  when I found this great book, with a two sentence synopsis on the back and I believed that I would never be able to think about another book until I was finished with this one!? Well I finished, and while it was good, it did not blow me out of the water like I was hoping and thinking that it would. It took me like two weeks to just get through the first few chapters. It was a little slow and very different from what I ever even would have imagined it to be about. There were times when I was like oh my gosh I am so bored and done with this book, and then Chris Cleave would throw in a curve ball and I would be totally interested. This lasted a few pages. And then I would think again, oh my gosh I am so bored and done with this book, then again, another curve ball that would leave me interested, but by the end, I was just glad to be done, and I didn't have to put a DNF (did not finish for all my runner friends) next to this title! I don't want to ruin it for anyone that might want to read it, so I won't tell you the punchline. All in all, it was a good book, I'm glad that my curiosity got the best of me and I was able to finish. But, let me save you a couple weeks of your life, and let me know and I'll tell you what happens.

After finally finishing Little Bee - it was like God knew I was going to need a couple of good reads for a plane ride that I did not expect nor really want to take. But I did, and I had some nice airy, lovey dovey, easy reads for the occasion. Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks never fail to deliver on their styles writing. While expected yes, they are very visual writers to me, and I'm able to disappear for a while to another place. Which was exactly what I needed. 

                            
                                                                        (source)

What have y'all been reading??

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What happens when..

You're out of town for five days, and then work five nights in a row and leave the puppy hubs in charge -


Someone call Hoarders - we might need professional help! I don't know about y'all but our kitchen table is just one more hard surface to drop off junk.. But it really is amazing what I can accomplish when I actually have a day off and take the time to actually put everything where it belongs -


Some clorox wipes, a broom, and a mop can really make a difference! I also took a few minutes to spruce the bathroom up a bit - Juls (my mom) is coming a couple of weeks and I wanted to get a jump start! 


Again - amazing what some clorox wipes can accomplish! Mind you I channeled my Granny and got slightly borderline OCD and spent an hour in here on every nook and cranny and moldy spot until that place sparkled - I went to my first patient funeral friday, and considering what I do and where I work, it's not something I want to do again any time soon... so I took it out on my bathroom. And we're all better for it. I posted the above picture to twitter and That Pink Girl was quick to respond


Pink is her favorite color in case you didn't know... Its so mine too - que the hot pink that showed up everywhere in our wedding - but not on the tiles, toilet, and bath tub in my house... I have a feeling the sink area was once pink, but someone took pity on the renters and threw in the white counter tops for some balance - again blush and bashful are my colors...

After my tirade through the house Friday night we went to see Arthur Christmas which was super cute, and put us in the Christmas spirit - so much so that we went to buy our very first tree as a married couple -


Now I just need ornaments!! I will be raiding Target tomorrow for some goods - I can't wait to see it all finished - it is huge! Thank you Whole Foods for an actually decently priced tree that is big and tall and fluffy! It's so fluffy I'm gonna dieeee!!!! (name that movie and we'll all be friends forever!)

Also, I have finished Little Bee by Chris Cleave - I'll be reviewing that this week, so if you want to read it, hurry!! And The best of Me by Nicholas Sparks AND The Next Always by Nora Roberts. I needed some light and airy easy reads that didn't require much thought after Little Bee and with everything going on in my life last week. Those two fit the bill! Read up my friends!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sad and Confused

I generally don't have a reason for disappearing from the blog world for a week, but today I do. Today my Uncle Mark went home to be with his Heavenly Father. I don't know too much, I just know it was very unexpected, and we were not ready for him to leave us just yet. I don't know why God makes the decisions He does sometimes, and I don't always have to like them, but I know that he uses times of grief and hardship and the questions of why to show His love and mercy and compassion and grace. So I am heading to North Carolina in the morning to spend the next few days with my family, looking toward Him for comfort -


Please keep my Holland family in your prayers - especially my aunt (pronounced "ant" in the south please) Rosemary, my cousins Jenny and Charity and his grandsons Je'Shaun, Ian and Malachi. 

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun - Ecclesiastes 3:1

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life - Psalm 119:50

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you - 2 Thessalonians 3:16 

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - Ephesians 3: 16-17

Dear Avery

Is the title of the blog my dear, sweet friend and very extended family - "my other sister", has started for her sweet daughter Avery. Get out your tissues, because thus far I have cried happy and sad tears every single post for Carey, Jeff and Avery. Imagine going in to find out the sex of your baby and being sent off to a specialist.. That is big, scary stuff, that I can't even imagine. I will let her do the storytelling, but just know that they are in need of your prayers! I am a firm believer that the will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you - and I know that Carey and Jeff are going to be the best parents to little Avery. So read Carey's letters to Avery, get to know them and pray for them.

Avery Alis

I pray for peace and comfort for y'all, and that you would seek God and trust Him in the unknown. 

2 Corinthians 1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

I love fall! It is unbelievably beautiful in the northeast right now. As much as I miss Florida and the beach - our leaves don't even know what the colors orange, red, and yellow even are. 



"therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.." 2 Samuel 22:50

Today I am thankful for...

Dear Friends: Near and far. I am so thankful for great friends here in Connecticut - that we all live so close to each other now and can just drop in whenever for whatever reason. And that I actually have the chance to love on these sweet faces whenever I want - Laney and Libby


Since I never get to see this sweet mug -



And for friends far far away that we can call and chat and it's like we never even went months in the first place. And for all my friends that are about to become mommies and daddies (I know I touched on that last week) but I just can't be thankful enough and excited enough for them all. From the fullness of His grace, we have all received on blessing after another. John 1:16

Cracker Barrel: yes friends, I am thankful for Cracker Barrel. If you've never eaten there you should, than you will understand. Seeing as how the hubs and I live so far away from our families and neither of us have enough time off work to go home and be with family (go ahead, feel bad for us) But again, we have wonderful friends to celebrate with and lucky for us Cracker Barrel is open on Thanksgiving and I'm going to go all American and traditional on y'all and eat this -


Nice sales people: Such a simple thing really, but I'm finding them harder and harder to come by. Remember when I went shopping at Lululemon and the girls there were SO nice. And at Saks no less, the lady at the Bobbi Brown make-up counter, after only two visits, remembers my name. That is special (said in my most southern Scarlett O'hara voice) Especially in a time when everyone is so me me me - we should all just be nice in our day to day life. So, I am thankful for nice people.

Whole Foods: because they make the most wonderful salad with the most freshly prepared ingredients -


What are y'all thankful for today?