Monday, January 31, 2011

Georgia on my Mind

Happy Monday Y'all.  Hope the weekend treated you kindly.  We traveled to Georgia this past weekend to celebrate 2 souls becoming one.

We got to Ben's parents house right around lunchtime on Friday.  They took us to one of their favorite spots for lunch, Little Havanna Cafe, not the most original name for a Cuban joint but the food was delicious. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to eat my pitiful black beans again because Ms. Cecila's were ridiculous.  After spending the afternoon with them and getting caught up, Ben & I traveled to Buford, home of the Mall of Georgia to meet up with one of Ben's childhood friends for dinner.  We went to Taco Mac.  This was my first experience there and the food was just ok but they had a huge selection of beer so I got to try a couple I had never had.  We spent several hours with Colin catching up and I got to hear wild tales from their younger years. 

Saturday we took a trip to Athens to shop at Trader Joes. If you have never been to a TJ, the next time you are in a city that has one you must stop in.  The best part of TJ is their ridiculously cheap wine, better known as two-buck chuck.  It's like $2.79 a bottle or you can get a case for $33 which of course is what we did.  Seriously, you would never know it was $2 wine, it's that good.  We also stocked up on grocery items and after eating tacos last night with TJ taco seasoning, I'm sad we didn't get a case of seasoning. hah.  Saturday afternoon we headed to the wedding.  It was a small event but still beautiful and oh so sweet.  The groom's eyes lit up when the doors of the church opened and he saw his beautiful bride standing there.  We got to visit with a lot of Ben's family, most of whom we hadn't seen since all of our wedding festivities.  After the wedding, we headed out to see more of Ben's friends.  We went to an old steel factory that has since been converted into a bar/restaurant.  I got to meet a couple of friends I had yet to meet and also Mike, who married Ben and I was there with his super sweet wife Krista.  We stayed there well into early Sunday morning talking about everything under the sun.  The group also informed me of the Wild and Wonderful Whites of West VirginiaHave you heard of these crazy people?  They are apparently a drugged up, crime driven tap dancing family. I sure hadn't and after hearing a little bit about this family, I am intrigued.  I have added the documentary on the Netflix cue and can't wait to see all the stories I was told unfold on my t.v.

Sunday, we went to church with Ben's parents and had Sunday dinner at their house.  It was delicious but shortly after lunch we had to head out so we could get back to Birmingham in time to pick up our angel from the kennel.  But not before Ben shut our only set of keys to the Lincoln in the trunk.  Curse words went flying because the trunk release button on the driver's side has never worked for us.  The 4 of us are all looking around trying to see if there is some magical way to fold the backseats down so we can get through that way. No such luck.  Ben gets on the phone with AAA to see if they can come give us a hand.  Ben's mom, an incredibly smart woman, pulls the owner's manual from the glovebox and starts reading.  Less than a minute later, the trunk was opened.  Apparently our trunk release button never "worked" because it had been deactivated at one time, probably for valet and had never been reactivated.  Crisis diverted.  We got home in plenty of time to pick up Layla and spend a relaxing night on the couch.

Oh, and for those of you that read WILW last week, I chose the top dress.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday y'all!  Can't believe this week is halfway done, it's flying by!

This week I'm loving that I only have a 4-day work week again! Ben's cousin is getting married this weekend in Atlanta so we are heading over on Thursday night to have more time to spend with his parents and enjoy a long weekend celebrating the wonderful unity of marriage.

I'm also loving that Ben is finally feeling better. He's been feeling sick for a few weeks and he went to the doctor last week to find out he had walking pneumonia. YUCK!  With the help of lots of medication and
much needed rest, he is almost back to his normal self.

I'm loving these 2 dresses I scored from Macy's to wear to the wedding. I got them both at ridiculously low prices now I have to decide which one I am going to  wear to the wedding. Any suggestions?

I'm also loving another sweet deal I snagged.  My Nana gave me a set of luggage when  I graduated from high school.  That luggage has been exteremely good to me with all the coming and going we do but the zipper busted on the largest bag and we had to toss it.  We will be doing quite a bit of traveling the next few months so  we needed something that was good sturdy enough to handle the conveyor belts
at the baggage claim.  We got this DVF bag for 60% off plus we had a 10% shopping pass at Macy's (love that place) so it was quite the steal.  I think it's unique color will help in spotting it at baggage claim.  I'm currently browsing Etsy for a cute luggage tag to adorn it.

I'm also loving Pioneer Woman's BBQ meatballs.  We had these for dinner last night and they were phenomenol.  I must say they remind me of meatloaf which I will not usually eat but the meatballs stay extra juuicy and the sauce is fabulous. Can't wait to eat these for lunch today. YUM!

Finally, I'm loving how sweet Layla has been lately.  I'm guessing the cold temperatures are making her more snuggle friendly.  She kept Ben warm while he felt bad.

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming Soon: Lucy Kate

This past weekend I traveled home to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Miss Lucy Kate.  On Saturday, 7 of us hosted a brunch for Anna to shower her with gifts and celebrate the sweet little blessing that will be here in just a few weeks.  The shower was given by Anna's sister Corrie, 2 of Anna's sister-in-laws, Sarah and Jessica, and 4 of Anna's closest friends, Jessica, Ashley, Jene, and myself.  We had a delicious spread of food that included:  sausage and cream cheese casserole, sausage balls, hashbrown casserole, blueberry goodness, prailine bacon, cheddar garlic biscuits, quiche, fruit, and deviled eggs.  The food must have been delicious or everyone must have been starving because there wasn't a morsel left!  And of course there was cake!  Anna was given an SUV load of baby goodies (no, seriously) including the sweetest little outfits for LK. It was a great shower and all the ladies that came showed how much love and support Anna & Nathan have and also how spoiled little LK is going to be. And that's perfectly ok!  It's hard to believe that the next time I see my friend in 4 weeks, she is probably going to be a mommy! Everyone please keep Anna, LK, & Nathan in your prayers as they enter the last stretch of pregnancy and into a whole new world with baby.

Anna with her hostesses

sweet clothesline full of goodies

Anna with precious little outfits

Beautiful cake


our little group

Monday, January 24, 2011

More S'mores PLEASE!!

So a few posts ago, I expressed my love for s'mores.  The love has grown. Or maybe I just never knew how perfect and delicious a s'more really was.  I mean seriously, my parents never took me camping so how could I have possibly known the greatness of a s'more? I have to be honest, this is completely ok because sleeping outside = bugs and if you know me well enough you have heard numerous stories of me running and screaming from the bed in the middle of the night thinking a roach, spider, ants, or even an aligator was joining me for zzz's.  Yes it's true.  Back to the s'mores.  I didn't experience my first s'more until I was a senior in high school when we had our Peer Counselors retreat at Lake Enid and that day the world changed for me.  Fast forward 8 years (YIKES!) and my love has been renewed.  I will thank Al Gore and "global warming" for the extra pounds I am sure I have gained due to the colder temperatures and the constant need for that gooey sandwich in between my fingers.

When I checked my inbox on Saturday, I had an email from my dear friend Megan.  She has had the experience of enjoying a s'more with me so she KNOWS.  You can imagine my reaction when I saw the subject line was "s'mores cookies."  What did this girl do?  Head straight to the grocery to pick up the ingredients, luckily for me all I needed was baking soda & 2 Hershey bars, SCORE!  Even after a 3 hour drive back to Birmingham and preparing a late dinner, I was determined to bake!  Best. Decision. Ever.

S'mores Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 graham cracker squares, crushed into crumbs leaving some small pieces
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 milk chocolate bars, broken up

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat together. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and graham cracker crumbs.
Gradually add dry mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop dough by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 minutes and quickly remove from oven. Quickly press 3 marshmallows and 1 chocolate bar piece into each cookie.  Return cookies to oven and bake for 4 additional minutes, or until done. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from pan

Drooling yet??

Seriously, if Food Network ever asks me to be on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," they're coming to my kitchen. This is it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Most beautiful girl in Memphis

Once again, I'm writing about a single friend.  Maybe I'm a little crazy but I adore my friends and I want them to find love.  Let me introduce y'all to Hannah, my fiery red-headed beauty.

Hannah is a 25 almost 26 year old living in a Memphis suburb in North MS.  She is currently pursuing her master's degree in Biology from the University of Memphis.  She attended undergrad at Christian Brothers University where she was a member of the softball team.  Hannah is one of the funnest smart people I have ever met.  She lights up the room every time she enters.  She is very focused on school but still loves a good time.  She spent a summer while at Christian Brothers in Brazil doing research.  She spent last summer in Shanghai conducting more research.  Family is the most important thing to her, she has 5 beautiful sisters and the most wonderful and supportive parents.  She has 2 West Highland Terriers, Lucy and Liza that are her life.  She is a child of God and her actions show it.  She is beautiful inside and out and I am so thankful to call her one of my best friends.

with Lucy & Liza

Hillary, Mrs. Susan, and Hannah

Love this girl.
Leave a comment for this beauty :)

All the Single Ladies...

I am going to do another "Show us your Singles" post.  I have an amazing friend that I couldn't resist sharing with all the single ladies.  I also owe him because he introduced me to Ben and for that I am forever indebted.

Meet Justin

Justin is a 29 year old successful realtor in the metro Memphis area.  He is a child of God and has a heart of gold. Justin was class president in high school and continued his leadership at Ole Miss where he was involved with the Wesley Foundation and his fraternity.  Justin spent his summers at Ole Miss serving as a camp counselor for Camp Lake Stephens in Oxford or Summer College, an Ole Miss summer program for high school seniors.  Following graduation from Ole Miss, Justin taught high school English for several years before transitioning into real estate.  He has participated in several missions, including a summer in Uganda.  Justin is very close with his family and has one sister, Karrie, who is a high school teacher and has a little boy that Justin adores. Justin is a true Southern gentlemen full of respect.

Justin waiting to walk Ben's grandmother down the aisle at our wedding

With his sister Karrie and Braylon, 2 of Justin's favorite people.

With yours truly.  Always up for a good time.

About Justin
  • He LOVES Ole Miss. He is a season ticket holder and you can find him in the Grove and in the stands on Saturdays in the fall.  He attends as many sporting events as he can at Ole Miss. 
  • He likes to wear bowties. They are just his thing.
  • He plays Ultimate Frisbee nearly every Monday.
  • He loves McAlister's
  • He's always up for ANYTHING.  He once took a spur of the moment road trip to California
  • He would drop anything to help a person in need.
  • He's a storyteller
Anyone interested please leave a comment :)

Show Us Your Singles

Today I am linking up with Kelly who is doing a series "Show us your Life." Today's feature is show us you singles.  I am using this as a fun way to introduce my friend Carrie.

Carrie is a the  most fun-loving loyal friend a girl could have.  She has lived in South MS all of her life, she is the eptiomy of a southern belle!

  • Carrie is 26.
  • In 4 short months, You can start referring to her as Dr. Carrie as she will finish her doctorate of Audiology in May.
  • She is a die-hard Southern Miss fan and proudly supports her golden eagles.  She loves attending sporting events and could surprise most guys with her sports knowledge.
  • She comes from a very close family and loves children.  She is anxiously awaiting the birth of her niece, Adalynn in March.
  • She is very involved in community organizations and is always volunteering her time to help in any way she can.
  • She love her Boston Terrier, Keleigh.
  • She loves God.
  • She's always up for a good time!

Leave a comment and I'll pass it along!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beware! Loads of Calories Ahead!

Buffalo Mac & Cheese

Buffalo Mac & Cheese. How delicious. One Saturday in the Grove, I was discussing dishes with one of the other wives when I brought up that we had tried a buffalo mac & cheese dish and we weren't too fond of it because we thougth it was dry.  She informed me that she had a delicious recipe and told me the secret was in the sauce and boy was she right. Thanks for sharing Ashley! We made this Tuesday night and honestly we can't get enough, we're still eating it.  I did everything at one time but the chicken portion could definitely be made the night before and refrigerated to make preperation easier.  Also, I leave out the blue cheese because it's disgusting and even Ben who loves blue cheese doesn't even miss it. When reheating a single serving, I added a splash of milk to prevent it from getting dry.

Buffalo Mac & Cheese

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound pasta (I use Cavatappi)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups diced raw chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce, divided
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2-1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and chicken and cook until chicken is done, about 12-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.  This is the step that can easily be made the night before.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top. Put the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni. Bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with some wing sauce for color.

Now to run a mile or 50....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Dreamcakes Cupcakes in Homewood, AL

And that is all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lord bless the person who invented hand trucks.

Winter weekends. They just make you want to lay around and be lazy. We did a little of that this weekend but we also did plenty of running around and exploring.  Saturday, I had to get up super early and take national boards so I can get a license to practice Audiology when I graduate in May.  Ben got up super early too so he could just drop me off at the building so I wouldn't have to worry about finding a parking place.  This was super sweet and it really did make things easier.  The test went ok. I have no clue if I passed or not and I won't find out until early February but I felt ok when I left and I'm not going to worry with it for now. 

Friday night, we went and picked up our dresser and apparently we did not realize how massive it was because we soon realized there was no way we were getting it up a steep hill and a flight of stairs without help from a hand truck.  So after dropping me off for my test, Ben drove down to the 'burbs to rent a hand truck for the day.  The night before we asked one of the guys that lives on our floor to help us get it upstairs. He was more than willing to do it but when we told him we would pay him in cold-refreshing libations, he seemed a little more willing.  After picking me up from my test, we headed home and devised a plan of action.  We got our other dresser moved out of our room and into its new home, the spare bedroom.  We also rearranged the living room furniture to make maneuvering that thing easier.  It was time to fetch the neighbor.  Once we got downstairs to the car, I climbed in the front seat so I could push the box while the guys pulled. Success.  Now that the box was out of the truck, the guys decided it would be better if we took the dresser out of the box so we could remove all the drawers to lighten the load.  We did this and Ben swears that taking out all 9 drawers took off a good 150 pounds.  Next, came the worrisome part, strapping our brand new beautiful dresser on the hand truck and getting it up 2 stories.  I watched like a hawk as they carefully and patiently got it up the hill. Success x 2.  Now for the most daunting challenge, up the winding narrow staircase.  I took retreat at the top of the with eyes closed and in prayer that 1.) our dresser would look the same when it got to the top of the stairs 2.) the guys wouldn't lose control of the hand truck and someone get crushed by our 600+ pound beast.  After just a few minutes, they had made it to the top.  Success x 3.  Our dresser made it successfully to its home, our bedroom.  Of course I got right to work filling it up.  With our previous dresser (the one that now resides in the spare), it was only large enough for my clothes and we used another dresser in the spare for all of Ben's clothes.  BUT now all of our stuff fits into our dresser!  So now Ben doesn't have to run across the apartment when he gets out of the shower to fetch his clothes. It's the small things in life right?  Anyways, Ben is still reminding me that he picked out the dresser  and how beautiful it is.  I'm still looking for a few accessories for it because a bare dresser is like a woman with no jewelry. 

Happy Monday Y'all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I must warn this is a long one. Today is my first day back at work this week and its Wednesday!  I would like to thank Mother Nature for for giving me 2 unexpected days off from work.  This past weekend, the Southeast experienced  Snowpocalypse 2011. The weathermen were predicting 5-8" of accumulation in the Birmingham area but we only got between 2-3" and it was mostly ice.  I was completely ok with this because ice is the stuff they will shut entire cities down for and I think I have established the fact that I am not a fan of cold weather so I'm not one to go build snowmen or make snow angels. No thanks, I'll stay inside in front of the fireplace and enjoy the scenery from my window.  Before the winter weather hit, we had a relaxing and fun weekend.

Friday night, we had dinner with Patrick and Megan at our favorite little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, La Bamba in Homewood.  Saturday morning we got up early to run the usual weekend errands.  We had a lunch date at 1 at a local restaurant, Baumhower's.  Ben had written a story on Friday for the BBJ that this restaurant was featuring "Smothered Duck" in honor of Auburn playing in the BCS National Championship game. The owner was so pleased with the story that he invited Ben and I for lunch on Saturday to try out the duck.  Ben got the duck while I stuck with a salad.  The duck must have been delicious because there wasn't a morsel left on his plate.  The manager informed us that the previous night, the local Fox station had come in to do a story on the duck plate because they had seen Ben's story online and saw how many positive comments it had received.  Also, while we were there eating the local ABC station showed up to do feature on you guessed it, the duck plate.  Only in Alabama, could a story about food that represents the opposing team have so much popularity.  However, I am very proud of Ben for realizing that it actually was a story.  While we were out farting around on Saturday we decided to stop in IO-Metro to browse.  Well browsing turned into purchasing.  I am a furniture lover, it comes with my obsession of bedding.  Clearly, we live in an apartment with limited space and have no need for furniture BUT Ben spotted it first.  A beautiful dresser.  We have a dresser in each of our bedrooms, both of which were purchased when we moved away for college. You know, you find something you sorta like that is reasonably priced so you have somewhere to store your clothes.  We saw the dresser and I was immediately in love.  We did talk it over during lunch and decided we would walk back to IO Metro and measure it to make sure it would work in our bedroom.  We told the nice little salesman that if it would fit we would call him back to order it.  The first thing we did when we got home was measure and by golly it fit!  We get it tomorrow and we are so excited!  We put the dresser we liked the least on Craiglist and have someone coming tonight to pick it up.  Oh happy day!  Saturday night we went over to Patrick and Megans to watch the Ole Miss basketball game which we lost but it was a very close and back and forth game.

 Sunday was super lazy.  The inclement weather was arriving later that afternoon so we had to prepare.  We went to Home Depot to stock up on firewood and we got the last 2 bundles.  Our next stop was Publix so we could pick up the stuff to make s'mores.  And that's all we did that day. It was lovely.  I did do some studying but it was mostly all R&R.  That night we built a fire and then made s'mores.  I must say that s'mores are one of my favorite foods.  They are so simple and the fact that I only get them once in a blue moon makes them taste that much better.  Monday we thoroughly enjoyed the city being shut down and stayed in bed until almost noon.  We had big plans to watch the BCS title game with the Werners that night and we had food preperation to complete.  We mustered up the energy to make Buffalo Chicken Dip and Stuffed Pizza bites, both of which were big hits.  Our little group wasn't as big as we expected due to the icy roads but we still had a blast with just  the 4 of us.  Of course we were cheering for Auburn to support the SEC.  I must say I thought the game was not as exciting as I expected since both teams are strong offensively but it was still exciting since it came down to the last 2 seconds of the game.  Also, I must say that Oregon's uniforms were TERRIBLE.  They looked like legitimate ducks running around.  Anyways, we were thrilled that Auburn ending up winning and giving the SEC a 5-0 record in the BCS! Monday night, my supervisor informed me not to come in until 1 on Tuesday which was awesome news.  I got up early on Tuesday to study before I had to get ready for work.  As I was making my lunch to eat before I left, I got a text message from my supervisor advising me to just stay home because all of our afternoon patients had cancelled due to the "icy" roads.  So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my unexpected 4-day weekend.  We have a really short work week and then another 3-day weekend thanks to Martin Luther King Day!  I have a huge test on Saturday morning so I would love all of your prayers.  It is for national boards and I have to pass to graduate in May and to get my license to practice Audiology, no pressure right?  I've been working hard studying and have confidence but I still need prayers!  Since the Super Bowl is right around the corner, I am going to share the Buffalo Chicken dip & Stuffed Pizza bites recipes.  They are both super easy & delicious!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
Frank's hot sauce
Ranch dressing
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Boil your chicken and shred.  In a mixing bowl, beat your cream cheese with a mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add ranch dressing and Frank's.  Now taste. Too ranchy? Add more Frank's. Too spicy? Add a tad more ranch.  Remember you will be adding bland chicken that will soak up all of those flavors so keep that in mind.  The color should be pretty awful but thats ok, its the taste that matters. Don't forget your salt & pepper. Once you get the orange mixture to the correct taste, add your shredded cheese and mix.  Finally, add in your chicken.  Give it one final taste and make adjustments accordingly.  Place in greased 8x8 dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Serve with bagel crisps.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls
1 roll refrigerated pizza dough
marinara/pizza sauce
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dried Italian seasoning
mozzerella cheese
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400 degrees. Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares Place cheese and desired toppings on each square. (Note that you're not putting the marinara sauce on the dough- it's for dipping after) . You just need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind.
When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter (I've used both and there's not much difference in result) and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese.   Cook them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them! Doughs vary, so I'd check them after even 10 minutes. Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

the boys making their s'mores. How sweet.

Ben's awesome fire he built for us.

Best part of the weekend!

New kitchen gadget. Megan had one of these & I just had to have one.

Our new dresser!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top 10 of 2010

My friend Amanda shared a blog with her top ten of 2010 so I thought I would play along.  We're not even a week into 2011 and it's already been a great year so it was fun to reflect back on 2010.  These are in no particular order.

1.  Snow in Hattiesburg
We got so much snow to be so far down south last winter.  It was the 3rd winter in a row for the pine belt to get wintry weather and I think it's because it followed me down South.  Snow just makes everything so peaceful and brings out the kid in all of us.  It was beautiful while it lasted but not being a fan of cold weather I wasn't too sad to see it go.

Yaya Snow!

Our backyard

2.  Faulkner
While he was only with us for 4 months he still brought so much joy and craziness to our lives.  Faulkner was the weimarainer we took in just a few months before we moved from Hattiesburg.  He was close to being euthanized and we couldn't stand the thought of such a sweet boy receiving that fate.  He and Layla got along wonderfully and they helped wear each other out.  However, the little guy just could not adjust to living in a small apartment when we moved to Birmingham.  He was like a baby waking Ben up every hour during the night needing to go outside or wanting attention and he also began tearing up our carpet.  We decided to search until we found him a new home.  We found a lovely couple from a town outside of Birmingham that adored him.  He now gets to spend his weekend in the summers at the lake and even gets to go to work with his new "daddy."  We feel so blessed by the fun times Faulkner brought to our lives.


How precious??

3. White Coat
In April, the 3rd year Doctorate of Audiology class received our white coats. How official!  This was a great acclomplishment in our graduate career and it was super nice of the university and Speech and Hearing department to honor us.  I was also so blessed to be able to share the occasion with my wonderful family. 

Lindsey E. Piper, AuD (ALMOST THERE!!)

The funnest AuD class ever

4 & 5.  Getting house sold & Moving to Birmingham
These 2 go hand in hand.  We knew moving was an likely and eventual step but who knew it would come so fast?  When I moved to Hattiesburg in the summer of 2007 the economy was fabulous but we all know how that quickly changed.  We were so fearful and worried that we would have to move and still be responsible for a house 3 1/2 hours away.  Thankfully, this was not the case.  We put the house on the market in early April and by the weekend of my white coat ceremony 3 weeks later, the house was under contract!  Everything fell into place and the new owner took ownership at 12 noon the day we pulled the U-Haul out of the driveway to Birmingham.  We were so excited to be moving to the "big city" where we had friends and a great externship waiting.  Ben's future was unknown but how quickly did that work out.  It was amazing to see God work when we put all of our trust into him. 

Finding out my best friend was pregnant was one of the most exciting things ever.  Especially when it was extrememly unexpected!  I'll never forget how she told me and how honored I felt to be one of the first ones to know.  We had been planning a trip for our group of girls to come visit me in Birmingham in the summer.  So she started off the conversation by deciding on a definite date and the she said but I won't be able to enjoy any margaritas with y'all.  It took me a second and then I know I must have shouted YOUR PREGNANT?!?! with her responding by bursting out in laughter.  It was such a fun call to receive.  I can't believe that little Lucy Kate will be here in less than 6 weeks!  Anna will make a fabulous mother and I am so excited for her and Nathan's little blessing to get here.  Needless to say, this will be one of my favorite events of 2011!

Anna at 27 weeks!

7. NOLA Trip
Spending a weekend in New Orleans with some of our great friends to watch Ole Miss take on Tulane was definitely one of the funnest of 2010.  Our friend, Megan who is from NOLA and still resides there opened up her home to us that weekend.  We got to eat beingets, spend a day on Bourbon, eat yummy seafood, and cheer the Rebels to victory.  Everytime I hear Enrigue Inglesia's "I Like It" on the radio memories from this trip always come to mind! This was the only road trip we got to take this fall for the Rebels and I don't think anything could have topped it!  Such a fun and memorable trip!

Our group on Bourbon

Beignets at Cafe du Monde

8. Our 2nd Anniversary
We did it! We're no longer newlyweds & we still love each other!  I couldn't believe how fast the 2 years flew by, but that means your having a ball right?  I can't imagine spending those 2 years with anyone else. 

2 happy years later

9.  Allison & Katie Pregnant!!
Not only is my best friend expecting, but so are 2 of my sister-in-laws!  Allison, the middle girl is expecting her 4th child and is due on July 4th. I find this one super exciting because they are finding out the sex of the baby in early February.  This is great news since Ryan & Allison take light years to name their child :)  Katie is the youngest of the girls and she and Trevor are expecting their 1st and she is due in mid-May (Sorry I can't remember the exact date Katie).  Unlike Allison, she is not going to find out the sex and let it be a surprise!  It will be so sweet for 2 cousins to be so close in age.  I think Ben's folks might have to come out of retirement because this time next year they will have 7 grandbabies!  How blessed!

10. Football Season
By far the funnest & most anticipated part of our year.  Ben starts our countdown in early summer to get us excited and hyped up.  Even though our football team was pretty pitiful for the most part with only 4 wins on the season, this did not hinder our fun or excitement of going to the games.  Having the Grove makes losing a lot easier to swallow especially when your surrounded by so many wonderful folks.  We had a rockin' good time and a wonderful set of friends to Grove with and the funnest bunch to sit in the stands with. We have already started planning the 2011 season!

Fresno State



Sanford Statdium. UGA vs. UT

Vault Hemingway! Home of the Rebels!

It's hard to imagine 2011 being any better than 2010 but I can't wait to see what's in store for us and meet all of our new babies!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Wrap-Up

I apologize from the drought in my posts lately but the holiday season is always so busy.  There wasn't anytime to stop and focus long enough to fill everyone in on what was going on.  It all started with the weekend before Christmas.  I went home for our annual ornament swap and to celebrate Kinsley's 2nd birthday.  This year we had it at Jene's house in Southaven.  Oh, how I adore her house. She is so creative and has the best eye and you can see that all throughout her house.  I definitely want Jene's help when we finally settle.   We had food and drinks galore; cream cheese and pepper jelly puffs, ornament buns, salad, cheesey dip, cherry crunch, baby bites, hot chocolate, Amaretto sours, and a champagne & raspberry vodka drink.  Everyone did a great job choosing their ornaments this year because I wanted to take them all home.  Jene drew my name and obviously she gave me the most gorgeous ornament of them all.  It was a chocolate brown cross made out of old tin with gold specks outlining the edges.  It is so beautiful and looks perfect on our tree.  We stayed busy talking until the morning hours.  It was a great night to catch up and see all my favorites.

All the girls with our ornaments. This was probably take # 536
The next day we celebrated Kinsley's birthday.  It was your typical 2 year old birthday party with all the kids running around getting into everything.  Sure, children are a blessing but events like these make me grateful that I haven't recieved this blessing yet hah.  Kinsley got a lot of toys but her favorite was a toddler-sized grocery cart full of groceries.  She had an ice cream cake filled with cookies & cream ice cream that she loved.  It was a fun afternoon

After traveling back to Birmingham for 2 days of work, we ventured back to Southaven to spend Christmas with my family. While we were home, we got to see alot of our friends who we hadn't seen in some time.  My mom, sister, and I went to our old neighbor's house who we consider a 2nd mother to have dinner and Christmas with her and Heather's best friend, Jessica.  We usually go out to eat but now that Kinsley is around we decided to just hang out at Goldie's house and have pizza and wine.  They gave me a beautiful piece of EttaB pottery, a red and green platter that has Mississippi written across it. They know I love me some Mississippi and pottery!  Ben awoke on Christmas Eve morning at 3 am sick as a dog.  At first, he thought he had eaten something bad.  However, he awoke again 30 minutes later with more sickness.  He decided to move to the living room and sleep on the couch in hopes of keeping me from getting whatever he had.  This getting sick every 30 mintues continued well into the morning.  He was so sick that we had to leave him there all alone while we went to Nana's to have Christmas with my mom's family.  We had a great time at Nana's but it was sad not having Ben there and knowing how miserable he must be feeling.  When we got back to my parents that evening, Ben was awake and had been sick free for a few hours.  He was able to eat some noodles that my Nana had sent for him.  They stayed down and he was able to get rest that night.  My sister and Kinsley spent the night at my parents house so we could all wake up there Christmas morning and we could have Santa with Kinsley.  We stayed up late putting together an art easel, tricycle, and handful of other things that were ALL pink.  When Kinsley woke up Christmas morning, she was so overwhelmed by all the toys in my parents' living room.  It took her a few minutes to realize that all the toys were for her.  We then opened presents which takes so long because one person (this year it was Heather) hands each person a present and we take turns opening first.  It requries a break in between where we run to the potty, refill our coffee mugs, snatch a slice of ham, etc.  Santa was great to all of us.  Ben got pleny of Ole Miss stuff and a game for his Xbox, Heather got a laptop among others, and I got my favorite, clothes and jewelry.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching Christmas movies.  That night we went back to my Nana's to visit with her.  She was so excited to see us and happy to see that Ben was feeling much better.  We had to leave the  next day to go back to Birmingham because Ben had to go back to work for a couple of days.  However, not before my mom and I had a chance to do a little after Christmas shopping.  We were only focused on getting new tree trimmings.  My mom has had mostly the same ornaments since I was probably 5 or 6 with a few new additions.  She decided that she wanted to completely redo her tree next year with her colors being chocolate brown, lime green, and copper (she adores my taste).  We went to Dillards first because I had spotted some beautiful beaded leopard print, yes leopard print, balls before Christmas and I hid them in a special place to get when they went on sale.  So after all this time of wanting pretty leopard balls, I finally found some!  We then headed to a home decor shop that has the most gorgeous Christmas trees every year.  My mom loaded up on all sorts of goodies and we both bought a tall and skinny lime green reindeer that will find a special place in our homes next year.  When Ben and I made it back to Birmingham we had our own little Christmas with the 3 of us.  My mom got Layla a new dog bed and she was in love. How could she not be?  It was a Serta tempurpedic dog bed.  She is now sleeping better than us!  Ben got new clothes for work, a case for his Ipad, and new shoes, with a few other goodies.  I, of course got some new clothes, and monnogrammed lunchbox (Thanks, Arenda!), jewelry and new cowboy boots!  We had a wonderful night together and I am so grateful to be so blessed.

We were leaving for Florida to spend a very long weekend with Ben's family so I had a mile-long to do list to complete on Monday.  Oh no, I woke up bright and early Monday morning and had to beeline to the bathroom.  Yep, I had caught Ben's bug.  So instead of getting my to-do list done I spent the day laying on the couch sipping ginger ale and catching up on my tv.  Thankfully, I got over it pretty fast and we were still able to make it to the beach.  We spent the next 4 and a half days sleeping in, eating deliciuos food, walking on the beach, playing games, and watching football.  All of Ben's sisters are spread out all over the country so this is the one time a year we can usually all get together and see them and all their children.  The youngest girl, Katie couldnt make it this year because she is expecting and it was going to be a long trip from California down to Florida. She was definitely missed but the next time we see her she will have a baby!  My first trip to the beach was in 2005 when Ben and I had just started dating.  Their were only 2 kids, Harrison & Davis.  They were 5 and 16 months old.  Now there are 5 kids and 2 more on the way!  It is always so fun getting to see them spend time with them.  They are so goofy and fun.  The long weekend went by way too fast but thankfully we had beautiful mild weather so we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors. 

I apologize for pictures being in random order.

Enjoying birthday cake

Eating M&M's that were in her stocking with her new toys

Layla checking out her stocking

Enjoying her treats and new bed.

Lunchbox!  One of my favorite presents!

Merry Christmas from the Pipers!

Stuffed stockings.  New reindeer too!

Opening gifts wore her out
Last day at the beach & first picture of 2001
Hannah & me with our lovely ornaments
Ipad case
Now we're home and back to the grind.  We are very excited for this new year and all the blessings it has in store for us!