Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ruminations

I've always agreed with the saying that hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes it's about realizing you could have done something a different way, but other times it's about the perspective you get when you look back on something.

The last year or so has been tough. It's been hard to admit that to myself, but it's true.

Last summer, my dad was struck by lightning. He was on vacation with my mom and sister, and he'd gone for a walk on the beach. A storm blew up out of nowhere, and he was trying to get back to their condo when he took shelter under a pier. The pier was struck, and it managed to hit him indirectly. Even though it wasn't a direct hit, he was still hit. Some people on the beach saw it happen, and they dragged him up into some better shelter and called 911. We're not 100% sure of how things went down (my mom and sister weren't there), but we're pretty sure he had been resuscitated and was in and out of consciousness until he was at the hospital.

It was a really scary feeling to think about having almost lost one of my parents. I know someday that will happen, but that should be a long ways away.

The doctors said it was truly a miracle he survived.

A few weeks later, we were all at dinner together when dad made some sort of joke about how maybe the lightning strike gave him super powers. Connor's response was, "Maybe you already had them!" It was so precious to hear him say something like that!

A few months later, my Grandma was back in the hospital. She went in a little before Thanksgiving, and she passed away the first week of December. She lived a long, full life, and we knew she was in a better place and no longer suffering. Nonetheless, she was the grandparent I was always closest to, and it hit me really hard.

Then, in February, my mom had to go to the ER due to some tremendous pain. It turned out she had some bad kidney stones, but the bigger issue was it caused an infection. She had an emergency surgery, and then she was placed in the ICU. We learned she was septic, and at the time, I didn't realize quite how serious that could be. Fortunately, she recovered well. However, it hit me kind of hard that we almost lost her.

It's just felt really weird over the last year or so to realize that as I get older, so does everyone else in my life. I think it's important to not take the people in our lives for granted, no matter their age. But it's been sort of weird realizing all that comes with getting older... it means losing people we love. It means scary moments of almost losing people we love.

I'm not sure of the point of me writing about this tonight... I guess it's just on my mind that it's been a tough year. I of course want my parents to have MANY more years, just like my 86-year old Grandma did. But the reality of just how short life can be is sort of on my mind right now.

I think maybe the point is to just try to remember to not take people (or even each day) for granted. We just don't know how long any of us have to be together.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fall 2016 Fun

We had a ton of fun last fall, especially since we finished up grad school in late September (me) and early October (Adam)!

We saw Need to Breathe in concert at the downtown amphitheater. It was a great show!


I caught up with some former co-workers one evening.


We removed a tree in our front yard. I know this sounds terrible, but it was getting way too big. The root system was getting close to the sidewalk and driveway, and the limbs were starting to be a cause for concern if they fell on something. It's nice we can actually see the front of our house now!



Adam got us season tickets to Vanderbilt football games. We aren't true Vandy fans, but with him working there and us enjoying football it seemed like a fun way to spend some Saturday during the fall.


We also went to the MTSU Homecoming game and took Connor. I of course had to find the ADPi float!



Adam managed to score us tickets to see Adele when she was in town. It was tempting to sell the tickets and make a profit, but I never considered it too seriously. I was so glad we got lucky enough to get tickets, and great seats at that!


We were so close when she came out to the center!


It was really cool when it rained!


The confetti at the end was fun, too!


I also enjoyed Broadway being closed to traffic and stood in the middle of the road.


The TN Titans did a diaper drive for my organization, so Adam volunteered as we collected diapers before the game. Then we got to go inside and watch the game for a while!


We also went to a wedding!


All in all, it was a super fun fall!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Night for Newborns

Last Saturday, I worked an 18-hour day at Night for Newborns, my organization's annual fundraiser. This was my second year planning it, and it went so well! It's a ton of work to make it happen with details ranging from sponsorships to auction items, table hosts and ticket sales, invitations and program, food and decor, entertainment and more!


I was really pleased with how everything came together. I work with a lot of great staff members, event committee members, and board members to plan the event and raise money for our work through it, and I feel so thankful for all of the different relationships. I thought everything looked beautiful!

There's also always something fun about seeing your name in print!


The evening included dinner, a silent auction, a live auction, our program, our appeal for donations, and a singer/songwriter round featuring Seth Alley, Barry Dean and Cole Taylor. I love a lot of things about Nashville, but the amount of talent in this city is incredible. These guys were great!


We raised a little over $90,000 through the event, all to benefit at-risk babies like those born prematurely or with medical complications.

If you'd ever like to learn more about our work saving babies, let me know!

I'm thankful for my amazing husband Adam and all of his support during this busy time of year. I had to work some long hours and weekends leading up to the event, so he didn't get a lot of time with me for about 3 weeks. He also volunteered on event night! I'm so thankful to have him by my side and for his pride in me and how I do my job. Plus, he cleans up nice!




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tucker's 11th Birthday

Sunday (April 23) was Tucker's 11th birthday!


It was the day after my big event at work, so we enjoyed a pretty lazy day at home. We slept in, and Tucker stayed curled up in the bed with us. We went out to get some breakfast, but we came home and watched a movie with Connor. Tucker was curled up on the couch with us as we watched, and he was more than happy to nap with us when we decided to sleep while Connor played video games. He also enjoyed a nice pouch of wet cat food as a birthday treat!

It's hard to believe he's been with me almost 11 years. I adopted him when he was only 6 weeks old! He was so tiny! I often get asked how I named him, and it was something I didn't take lightly since I hoped he'd be with me for many, many years. He was a very active kitten, and he would play and play until he would literally fall over passed out. When I realized how quickly he would tucker out, I knew that was his name!



He's such a great cat. He's always been very cuddly and affectionate. In a lot of ways, he's like a dog - always at the door when we come home, follows us around all the time, etc. He's always been vocal and has a lot to say. He comes running when you call out the word "treat" and he plays fetch with some of his cat toys. It was just me and him until Adam and I moved in together, and fortunately he loves Adam and Connor tons (even though it's clear I'm his mama!).

I hope he has many more years and birthdays with us!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Adam's 31st Birthday

Last September, we celebrated Adam's 31st birthday!

We started the weekend by taking Connor to karate class. This is a new activity for little man this year, and he had just started going. It was fun to get to go for the first time and see him in action. He loves it!


After class was over, we made our way to Cinco de Mayo for dinner. Connor and I totally told the server it was Adam's birthday, so they sang to him, put whip cream on his face, and made him wear a sombrero. It was awesome. I love these two and how much fun we all have together!


The next day, we went to the MTSU v. Vanderbilt football game. It was Connor's first time going to a football game, so he was pretty excited. We grabbed some lunch in Hillsboro Village before making our way to the stadium to cheer on MTSU.


We saw less than half the game because a huge storm blew in, and they evacuated the stadium. We made it to the car right as the bottom fell out. We decided not to ride it out and made our way back home to eat dinner and watch the Tennessee game. We made the right call, as it was 3 hours before the resumed the game at Vanderbilt.

Since we were in for the night, we decided to have Adam open presents!


After presents, we cheered on Tennessee. I'm pretty sure they won whatever game was on that night, but thinking back on last season it was probably stressful and involved some yelling at the tv. HA! Yay for football in the south.


We were able to celebrate with Adam's mom and my parents and sister on Sunday. After a relaxing day at home, we met them all for dinner. There were a few presents, too!


I love our little family, and I love having all three of us together to celebrate important occasions like birthdays. I'm so thankful to do life with these two.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter 2017

We didn't have Connor for Easter weekend this year, so we made sure to plan some fun for him when he was home a few days before.

We pulled out the plastic eggs and loaded them up with his favorite kinds of candy. A few eggs had quarters in them that he could cash in for a slightly bigger prize. The last egg was a big prize egg that had a token for his Easter gift from us. We had hoped to hide them all outside, but they were calling for storms and we could hear thunder. Instead, we hid them in different rooms of the house.

We did manage to start out on the deck, and he was so excited when we told him he was going to have his very own Easter Egg Hunt!


He went room by room, and we had him open all the eggs from a room when he finished.


Some of the prizes he could get for cashing in the quarters were candies that we couldn't easily put in eggs.


He got really excited when he found the prize egg!


Upon finding it, we gave him his gift - Moana on Blu Ray!


After we finished the hunt, we went out to eat at our favorite mexican restaurant. We don't usually go out to eat when he's home on a weeknight, but we figured it was a special occasion. Adam made the evening all the more fun by imitating Mr. Napkin Head. Connor loved it!


I've been working almost around the clock getting ready for the annual fundraiser I plan at work (coming up this weekend!), so it was SO nice to have an evening home to enjoy with my boys.

Easter weekend was pretty low key for us since we didn't have Connor. I had to work Friday night, but on Saturday I went shopping with my mom and sister. We took advantage of a chance to see the Easter Bunny together, something we haven't done in years, haha.


I spent the afternoon going on a long walk with Adam and then helping him do a little yard work before we went to dinner with my parents.

On Easter, Adam and I went to church and then had lunch at Red Lobster.


We spent the rest of the day relaxing at home, which was really nice since I was heading into event week at work. All in all, it was a nice Easter season for us this year!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Late Summer 2016

I ended summer 2016 with another big event at work called Bucking for Babies. We asked people to fundraise and then ride the mechanical bull!

This meant that I had to ride the bull myself. Would you believe this was my first time ever on a mechanical bull?



Adam helped out with the event, because he's an awesome husband who supports my work!


Soon after, Labor Day weekend was upon us. We didn't have Connor this year, so we spent most of the weekend relaxing together at home. However, we did book a canoe trip on Labor Day to enjoy the holiday!




All in all, it was a nice way to end the quote unquote summer. And at this stage, we were literally weeks away from being done with school!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wrecking Crew Reunion 2016: Part 2

On Sunday of Wrecking Crew Reunion weekend, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before going out on a long walk around town. We explored the area as a group, including this cute little pier and lighthouse. As you can see by my hair, it was pretty windy.


Stephanie and Patrick had to head out after lunch, so we said our goodbyes. Then, we went to the beach with Amanda and Nick to enjoy a little more sunshine. The waves were pretty rough due to the wind, but it was still fun to play in the lake. (Granted, it was quite cold.)



After we went back in, we watched a movie together and then had dinner. It was so nice to just relax and hang out.

Amanda and Nick had to head to bed due to work in the morning, so we said goodnight and Adam and I enjoyed being on vacation a bit longer by watching tv for a bit before heading to bed.

On Monday morning, we woke up to the doggies. Good thing they're cute!



We said our goodbyes and then went on a little walk before we hit the road. It was really nice to get a little closer to the lighthouse, something we couldn't do the day before because the wind was knocking waves up on the pier.


We were really close to Notre Dame as we headed home, so we stopped and walked around campus for about an hour or so just to say we've been there.


As we drove through Indianapolis on the way home, we hopped off to go drive by our old place. While we're SO glad we don't live there any more, it was still fun to drive by it and around our old neighborhood and reminisce a bit. Tennessee is home, and we really didn't love living in Indy. Nonetheless, this house is the first one Adam and I ever lived in together, so it's a bit sentimental for sure.


While it was a pretty low key weekend, it was still a ton of fun! I love my girls, and I love that we can still find ways to make the occasional long weekend together happen - and that we can include husbands!!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Wrecking Crew Reunion 2016: Part 1

Longtime readers may recall references to the Wrecking Crew. This is the name that my best friends and I were given quite a few years ago on a random night out in Chicago. Maybe I should go back and tag old posts with a Wrecking Crew label, but for now just know that I've known Stephanie since freshman year of high school in 1997 and Amanda since sometime in 2001 or 2002 when Stephanie met her in college.

We try to get together as often as we can, even though we've lived in three different states (or even a different country) since we all finished college over 12 years ago. These gals were bridesmaids in our wedding, along with my sister, so suffice it to say they're some of my closest girlfriends. Life is a lot different now with all of us married and two of us with a child. Nonetheless, when we can make a weekend together happen, we go for it!

In August 2016, we all met up at Amanda's place in Michigan. And by all, I mean husbands and a kiddo included (though not our kiddo).

Adam and I were thrilled to take a couple of days off work to make it a long weekend, especially since we were still 2 months away from finishing school and needed a little break.

He and I took a half day on Thursday to make the drive up. We enjoyed the road trip, and we made it in time to have a glass of wine with Amanda and head to bed.

Amanda had to work on Friday, so Adam and I slept in before we got up and went for a walk on the beach of the lake. Then, we headed out to explore the town and enjoy lunch. We went to a pizza place Amanda recommended where we found cold schooners of beer.


After lunch, we explored some of the shops in the downtown area. There were also these snail statues everywhere that I thought were super cute.


After we finished checking things out, we hung out at the house until Amanda got home and Nick got back in town from his work travels. We chatted while enjoying some drinks and appetizers on the deck until Stephanie and Patrick made it into town with their little one. Once the kiddo was in bed, we had dinner and then spent the rest of the night playing Cards Against Humanity - super fun!

On Saturday, we went for a nice little walk on the beach in the morning.



We had lunch at the house and played some board games, and once the rain pushed through and the little one finished a nap we headed out in our swimsuits for a little time at the beach!

That evening, we had dinner and enjoyed some more games including "Bite the Box." I found this to be surprisingly fun.



Nick was really great at this game, though I think he was surprised to see how well Steph and I competed against him.



We stayed up pretty late, and it was a super fun day with my best friends and hubbies!