Getting Settled

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in our new home for almost 3 weeks now…it still doesn’t seem real! Drew and I will catch each other looking gawking  around all the rooms, waiting to be woken up from this dream.  That being said, we are pretty much settled in – no moving boxes still lying around or odds and ends that still need a home.  I think we both wanted to make the house as live-able as possible from the very beginning…plus, it’s not like we had a ton of stuff moving from a one bedroom apartment.  No doubt moving day went as smoothly as it did thanks to help from our amazing group of friends.  From start to finish, it took less than 3 hours to have everything moved from our apartment into the house.  Offer people free beer and pizza and it’s amazing what can be accomplished 😉

living room

We’ve been on several shopping excursions, buying things like rugs, bar stools and (finally!) a KitchenAid…things we just didn’t bother with while we were living in the apartment, either from lack of space or because we knew we wouldn’t be living there forever.  The house is really starting to come along now that we’ve been able to put our own “spin” on it…it was beautiful and move-in ready before, but it’s amazing how a simple area rug and a few decorative touches can really pull a room together.  We’ve had several get-togethers already as well, including hosting house church and a housewarming party.

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The best part of being a homeowner?  Besides having almost 3x the space, it’s like a whole new adventure for us.  There were things that just weren’t possibly (or at least not in a fun way) where we used to live.  Cooking in our new kitchen is an entirely new experience; we’re no longer tripping over each other or running out of room while preparing dinner.  I’ve already put the KitchenAid to work (cookie recipe coming soon!), and I’m loving cooking on a gas stove.  We’ve taken Theo on walks around the neighborhood, met several neighbors, and enjoyed evenings relaxing on the porch.  It definitely probably sounds silly, but I get a real kick out of walking to our very own mailbox.  Forget about the one morning that I set off our security system (at least we now know it works!), and it’s been a very easy transition.

kitchen

My Mom is coming to stay with us this weekend and I can’t wait for her to see the house.  I’ve sent her plenty of pictures, and she probably would say that I talk about it way too much already, but I’m excited for her to see it in person.  Drew’s parents will be visiting a few weeks later, and I know they too can’t wait to check out our new place.  Even though we’re both grown adults, Drew and I definitely value our parents’ opinions and sought advice from all of them throughout the house buying process.  No doubt we wouldn’t be in this life stage without their love and support.

Oh, and Theo seems to be settling in just fine, in case anyone was wondering…

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Concerts, Babies & Waffles

Need to Breathe performing at the Fox Theatre!

Need to Breathe performing at the Fox Theatre!

This past weekend was an eventful but fun one.  Friday night we had tickets to the Need to Breathe concert at the Fox Theatre, which I had gotten for Drew’s birthday.  The last time we’d seen a concert at the Fox together was Mumford and Sons a few months before we got married, so it had definitely been a while.  Before the show, we ate dinner at Baraonda, one of our favorite Italian restaurants, with our friends Lance and Shelly.  Several of Drew’s coworkers were also attending the concert.  Drew and I hadn’t heard of the opening band, Drew Holcomb at the Neighbors, but they put on a great performance.  Drew introduced me to Need to Breathe shortly after we got married, and we still listen to their very first CD on every single road trip.

Drew and I at the show

Drew and I at the show

Saturday morning we took Theo for a walk through Piedmont Park.  Every Saturday there is a farmer’s market with dozens of tents-there’s even a vendor who makes wood-fired pizzas!  The beautiful weather brought a large crowd which proved to be too much excitement for Theo; he was wanting to jump in everyone’s laps and be their new best friend.  That afternoon we attended a baby gender reveal party for our friends Andy and Jami.  Neither one of us had been to a gender reveal party before but we were looking forward to celebrating such a special time with all our friends.  All the guests sprayed silly string to find out the gender, and after a count of three, everyone was covered in pink!  Congrats to Andy and Jami, who will be welcoming a little girl come August.

Is it a boy or a girl?? Andy and Jami's friend Lesley Anne took this amazing picture!

Is it a boy or a girl?? Andy and Jami’s friend Lesley Anne took this amazing picture!

Its a girl! Congrats Andy and Jami!

Its a girl! Congrats Andy and Jami!

The rest of the weekend was pretty laid back.  Sunday’s dinner was a new discovery.  Who knew the putting two or three Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in a waffle maker would yield the most delicious waffles ever?  Apparently one of Drew’s coworkers did, as that’s how we found out about it.  I have a feeling these will be making a regular appearance in our kitchen.

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Best discovery ever.

Mom and Dad Visit Atlanta, Round 2

Since the last time my parents visited Atlanta was over a year ago (not trying to make you two feel bad or anything, I promise!), I was extremely excited to have them in town this past weekend.  So much has changed since their last visit: Drew and I both have new jobs, our apartment is looking at little more homey–it’d only been a few months after the wedding when they came to visit–and, oh yeah, a dog lives in our apartment now.  Coincidentally, they were also visiting during a pretty big weekend-both St. Patrick’s Day and the Georgia marathon were on Sunday.  Their first few minutes in the city were spent experiencing the organized extreme chaos that is Atlanta traffic.

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Reunited at last! Mom may have been more excited to see Theo than us…

Thankfully, Friday night’s dinner was just a short walk away from our apartment.  After stocking our freezer and pantry with some of Mom’s best homemade goodies, we set out for Takorea.  I had been talking up this Korean/Mexican restaurant to Mom and Dad for months and not surprisingly, it didn’t disappoint.  We got two orders of sesame fries for the table-I think those were Mom’s favorite food of the entire weekend.  And trust me, we ate a ton.

Saturday we awoke to absolutely perfect weather.  I’d been watching the forecast all week and the weatherman actually got it right-low 70’s and sunny.  Much, much better than the cold snow back home in Kentucky, right guys?  We went to Flying Biscuit for breakfast, a cafe Drew and I had been meaning to go to since we moved to Atlanta-especially since it’s just a few blocks from the apartment.  After another great meal we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and head to Piedmont Park.  After a quick browse through the farmer’s market, we headed on to the dog park.  We met a bunch of cute dogs and of course Theo was the life of the party, as usual.  One dog in particular would not leave Theo’s side for even a second.  We called him ‘stalker dog’ for the remainder of the visit-he even tried to leave with us and made an escape run for the gate!

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We spent the rest of the day relaxing until heading back out for our dinner reservation for JCT Kitchen.  Fries apparently were the theme of the weekend.  While browsing our menus, we raved to Mom and Dad about the truffle oil Parmesan fries.  I think those were Dad’s favorite thing.  I’m sure he and Drew could have each polished off their own bowl.  Thankfully, they shared with their wives 😉

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Enjoying lunch at Brickstore Pub in Decatur

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Sunday was another beautiful day, although a bit chillier with the sun hiding behind clouds most of the day.  After attending church and showing Mom and Dad the new building that Grace Midtown moved into almost a year ago, we headed out to Decatur for lunch.  Drew and I figured we needed to celebrate St. Patty’s Day appropriately, plus we couldn’t skip an excuse to go back to Brickstore Pub.  Once again taking advantage of the nice weather, we dined outside and then browsed the shops along the square.  Before heading back home, we drove through Decatur, showing Mom and Dad where we hope to move next year.  We discovered some really, really nice neighborhoods (and some not-so-nice ones).  We even stumbled upon two little girls running a lemonade stand.  It’s still a ways away yet, but Drew and I get excited thinking and planning for the future.

Cheeeeese.

Cheeeeese.

Just when you think we wouldn’t be able to stuff ourselves with anymore food, we went all out and ordered deep dish for dinner.  Nancy’s is a restaurant that actually originated out of Chicago and makes authentic deep-dish style pizza here in Atlanta.  Soon after, with happy hearts and full bellies, we said our goodbyes.  It was a weekend full of fun, laughter, great food and some much-needed time with family.  Mom and Dad, thank you so much for coming to visit and see our stomping grounds, filling our freezer with enough meals to last us a month, and making us feel so loved.  I know how proud you are of the two of us, but really, I’m just as proud and blessed to have such amazing parents.  Until next time!  And hey, let’s not make it almost a year and a half again, OK?!

The Dark Knight, Lots of Pizza and the Anniversary Countdown Begins!

Another week of summer, over and done with. Hard to believe that it’ll be August in less than 2 weeks! Which means…Drew and I have been married for almost one year! Two weeks from today marks our actual anniversary. We’re celebrating a bit early by taking a long weekend trip to Chicago-we fly out this Thursday night and I couldn’t be more excited. It’ll be nice to get away for a while and spend a weekend in the city that Drew lived in during most of our engagement. I haven’t been in almost a year and a half, so it will be nice to go from living in one big city to exploring another for a few days. We have a lot of our meals mapped out (surprised?) but other than that, we’re planning on taking the architecture boat tour and being spontaneous sight seers for the rest of the weekend.

Ticket to see The Dark Knight Rises!

This past weekend was a lot of fun. Instead of spending our usual casual Friday night in, we headed to our friends’ house for a marathon viewing of the first two Batman movies, to prepare for our 11:20 showing of The Dark Knight Rises later that night. Each movie is almost 3 hours long so needless to say, it was a late night! We went on a pizza run halfway through (thanks April and Jim for the Pizza Hut gift card!) The movie was really good-not to give any spoilers away, but the second is still my favorite. We ended up leaving the theater a little after 2 A.M. One of the later nights Drew and I have had in a while. Nice to know that unlike last Saturday, we didn’t have anywhere to be and could enjoy sleeping in.

After sleeping in until almost noon and eating breakfast, brunch, lunch, we embarked on a total overhaul of our closet. We’d been meaning to go through and give away all the old clothes we don’t wear anymore, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. We ended up piling four huge trash bags full of clothes to drop off at Goodwill. Needless to say, our closet no longer looks like a tornado went through it. After dropping off the clothes and making a much-needed grocery store run, we headed home for a late afternoon nap. Apparently staying out so late the night before had really taken a toll on us. We decided to have date night in, and made margaritas and margherita pizza. I tried to recreate the from-scratch margaritas we had during our Cinco de Derby party, but they just weren’t tasting right. We used our go-to mixer for Round 2 which turned out much better. I’m not giving up on mine just yet though! Our pizza was good as always.

Margaritas and margherita pizza…a match made in heaven.

Sunday morning we awoke early enough to get a nice 4.5 mile run in before church. Even though it was only 8 A.M. the sun was already beating down and we made it through our run, but only barely. It was nice to take Drew on the route that I usually run solo during the weekdays. Sometime soon I think he’s going to take me on one of his routes. It’s a fun way to spend time together, even if we don’t do much talking. Then again, I can’t really talk and run at the same time for very long anyway…

Theo and Drew kicking it on the couch after a long day. It was just too hot at the dog park for Theo.

After church, we headed to a BBQ place for lunch with a big group of our friends. What, might you ask, does a vegetarian order at a BBQ joint? I figured I’d just order several sides but they actually had a smoked tofu sandwich, which I was pretty surprised to see. I kind of felt like a chump ordering it but carnivores, smirk all you want—my sandwich was delicious. I think Drew gave it the stink-eye for a few minutes before continuing to enjoy his pulled pork basket. Eh, to each their own. We tried to take Theo to the dog park for some exercise afterward, but the sun was way too much for him. We ended up leaving after only a short while. Apparently it was too hot for all the other dogs too, the park was practically empty. We decided a nap in the AC was a better choice.

After an uneventful evening and a spaghetti dinner (yes, that’s right, I ate spaghetti for the first time in years. I guess I’m getting better about my aversion to certain food textures), we decided to call it night. Apparently we still needed to catch up on our beauty rest after being out late a couple nights before. We’re definitely going to need our sleep with all the fun things we have planned for our weekend in Chicago!

The Dog Days of Summer

With the mid-week holiday, having the weekend come again so soon really through us off.  Truth be told, I am not at all complaining. We didn’t have much planned for the weekend (what, no road trip for us??) and were quite looking forward to taking it easy and doing whatever we pleased.  I started the morning with a run through Piedmont Park, which I had to cut short due to the heat-it’s amazing how much hotter it is at 8 A.M. as opposed to 6 A.M. We registered for the Atlanta Beltline Southwest 5K next Saturday that starts at 7:30 so hopefully the sun will be kind and not completely whoop me.  Since The Color Run was more for fun than a real race experience, I’m looking forward to getting an official time next weekend.

Poor sick puppy.

Drew treated us to his delicious Nutella-stuffed french toast for brunch, then we settled in on the fold-out couch for a bit of  Breaking Bad marathon.  Theo wasn’t feeling too well so he curled up in the middle of us and took a nap.  We know he’s feeling poor when we’re eating at the table and he doesn’t even try to beg for food.  We scheduled a vet appointment just in case, but thankfully he’s feeling better today.  Later we headed to Landmark Cinemas for a matinee showing of the new Spiderman movie.  I’d actually never seen any of the older version with Tobey McGuire, and to be honest, I didn’t think this movie would be something I’d enjoy.  I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it.  Drew and I have decided that Landmark is our favorite place to see a movie-we love the small, quaint theaters that are never too crowded, and the fact that they serve Red Stripe and Strongbow.  Win.

Our dinner at The Highlander: Falafel pita and blue cheese burger.

After the movie we continued our date night at The Highlander, an outside bar and grill right next to the theater.  It was still pretty hot out but we braved the heat under the umbrella-covered patio.  We enjoyed our beers and dinner, and I couldn’t get over the fact that our waitress could pass for Anna Paquin’s twin.  I actually told her so and she replied that she usually gets that comment 10 times a day.  Whoops.  At least it’s a compliment though. I wish I would have taken a picture with her, but I probably would have embarrassed myself (and Drew).  After dinner, in need of a sweet fix (shocking, right?) we headed over to Yoforia for some frozen yogurt.  It’s not Drew’s favorite but his flavor combination turned out a lot better this time.  Too bad it’s not very photogenic…

Frozen yogurt from Yoforia. It may not look pretty, but Drew swears his tasted good.

Today has been another relaxing day.  After church we headed back home for a bite to eat and–gasp–another nap.  Now we’re sipping coffee and plugging away on our laptops at Octane, one of our favorite local coffee shops.  They have great French press but today was definitely an iced coffee kind of day. It’s only 90 degrees out today, still hot but a nice reprieve from the 100+ heat we’ve had the past couple days.  The weather forecast predicts thunder storms off and on for the next week or so.  Normally I’m not a fan of storms or rain, but if it means cooler morning runs, I’m all for it.

A Long Weekend at the Beach!

North Carolina has always held a special place in my heart.  Ever since I was a baby, right around the time I just started to learn to walk, our family would spend a week-long summer vacation at Bald Head Island.  More recently, during my time in college, we spent time at Winding River Plantation, just outside of Southport, and just a short drive from the ferry boat that we’d take over to the island.  There are so many memories I’ve accumulated over the years, and two summers ago I was able to give Drew a little better idea of what my childhood (and teenage) vacations were all about.  Who would have thought the place where I spent so many summers growing up would turn out to be our honeymoon back-up plan?  Needless to say, it’s a place that means a lot to me.

Throwback picture: Drew and I at Fishy Fishy back in 2010.

This past weekend, Drew and I took Friday off from work and headed down to North Carolina, to stay with my parents at their house in Winding River.  We hadn’t been there since our honeymoon almost 11 months earlier, so we were very happy to have a chance to go back.  Even though we won’t be able to take a full-blown vacation this summer, a three-day weekend at the beach was going to fit the bill just right.  We also had Theo in tow, which would make for an even more eventful weekend.  I think it’s safe to say we were more excited about Theo experiencing the ocean for the first time than almost anything else.

After sleeping in on Friday after a midnight arrival the night before, we set out for the beach.  After scoping out an empty patch of sand to set up camp, we headed for the ocean.  I was expecting for Theo to dart for the waves the second he saw them, leaving me racing behind to catch up.  This was not at all what happened.  Theo was very hesitant at first and jumped back every time a wave rolled in.  It took several tries and coaxing from all four of us before he became more comfortable with the water.  By the end of the trip, he was jumping and playing in the waves with Drew.  He was definitely the source of our entertainment for the day, digging holes and kicking wet sand everywhere.

Theo wasn’t exactly thrilled with the ocean waves at first…

…but by the end of the day, he was having a great time!

Theo made his own shady spot by digging a hole right behind Drew’s beach chair. Smart dog.

That night we headed into town for a wine tasting and then dinner at Fishy Fishy.  It was a great change to spend some time in Southport, with all its small-town charm, after living in Atlanta.  Most of the houses and storefronts along the main street were already decorated with colorful bunting and ribbons for the 4th of July parade.  Dinner at Fishy Fishy was something Drew and I had been looking forward to all week-it was one of our best meals during the honeymoon.  They must have changed the menu since we were there last as they didn’t have Drew’s beloved chicken skewers.  He was able to find something very similar so once again, all was well with the world 😉

The four of us at Fishy Fishy.

One of my favorite things to do when visiting Mom and Dad is to stay up late, talking and reminiscing.  Along with some of Mom’s infamous peach and blueberry pie, we stayed up until almost midnight—a good two hours later than when Drew and I typically go to bed.  Yes, we really are an elderly couple at heart.   Saturday we decided to go to the pool since the beach would no doubt be much more crowded with it officially being the weekend and the upcoming holiday.  I also did a  less than stellar job at applying SPF the day before and had quite the uneven sunburn to show for it.  Seeking out shade and taking a refreshing dip in the pool was definitely our best bet.

Theo got spoiled rotten by Mom and Dad. They sure do love their grand dog!

Even with all the great restaurants around, some of our best meals come from cooking in at the house.  Mom and Dad have the art of grilling seafood down to a science and the shrimp and mahi-mahi tacos we had that night were absolutely delicious.  The Patron margaritas weren’t so bad either 😉  Theo had quite a few food treats himself over the course of the weekend-Mama and Papa Edwards took care of him with several goodies.

Margaritas made by the master mixologist, Dad.

As they usually do, the long weekend ended much too soon and after a big brunch on Sunday, we packed up the car and headed back to Atlanta.  I think Mom and Dad were almost more sad to Theo leave than the two of us! I have a feeling that when they move to their North Carolina house for good, it won’t be long before they adopt a dog of their own.  On the drive home, about 100 miles outside Atlanta, we ran into a horrible hailstorm and actually had to pull under an overhang on the interstate.  Drew’s car has really taken a beating, making it through two hailstorms within the past two months.  Theo practically slept through the whole thing, curled up in the backseat.  We finally made it home safe and sound, not too far behind schedule even with the storm.

I’m not sure when the next time we’ll be able to take a trip to the beach will be, but I’m sure it won’t be too long.  Theo definitely enjoyed his time and it was a great mental getaway for Drew and I not to have to think about work or worry about the real world for a few days.  Many thanks to Mom and Dad for inviting us for the weekend, it was a real treat!

Wedding Season, Take 2 (and another trip to Kentucky!)

I said it before and I’ll say it again: wedding season has arrived!  Back in late April, Drew and I attended our first wedding of the year.  This past weekend, we headed back to Louisville for another wedding.  Valerie and Mitch, friends from WKU, tied the knot on June 9th.  What made it extra special was seeing a lot of close friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  Chelsea and Karly, along with several other people that I hadn’t seen since my last time on the hill, were also attending.

Thanks once again to the horror that is Atlanta rush-hour traffic, we didn’t reach Nanny and Granddaddy’s house until after midnight.  Saturday morning we met up with Bethany and Andrew for breakfast and McDonald’s.  Granddaddy told me the story of how he’d take his grandchildren Bryan and Bethany to McDonald’s almost every Saturday morning, and it became a family tradition of sorts.  It was great to catch up with Bethany and Andrew, and of course I was happy to get my iced coffee fix.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty laid-back until it was time to get ready for the wedding.  Taking a cue from a sorority formal several years ago (one of Drew’s and my first dates, actually), we decided to match and both wear green.  This definitely brought back memories! On our way to the venue, I actually plugged in the wrong GPS and we got way off-track.  After realizing the mistake, we booked it to the reception (thanks to Drew’s awesome driving skills) with literally no minutes to spare.  Nervous that we’d be caught at the “late guests” since the ceremony was outside, Drew and I quietly made our way to the back, where we watched the ceremony unfold from the back porch.

The beautiful bride and handsome groom. Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Kaiser!

After the ceremony, we went inside what looked like a renovated old country mansion.  It had a beautiful wrap around porch and the reception area was decorated simply but beautifully.  Burlap covered the tablecloths and beautiful peach-colored sashes were tied on the backs of all the chairs.  The centerpieces consisted of lanterns and scattered rose petals.  We marveled at the candy bar consisting of dozens of green and orange-colored goodies (and definitely filled up swag bags later in the evening).

Overall the wedding was absolutely beautiful.  Valerie and Mitch looked so happy and it was definitely a magical night.  We all took advantage of the nice weather, enjoying being outside on the wrap-around porch and visiting the zebras and llamas on the farm next door.  I wore by wedding shoes (I’m determined to get several more uses out of them!) and by the end of the night my feet were aching from all the dancing.  After saying our goodbyes, Drew and I headed back to Nanny and Granddaddy’s house to spend a little bit more time with them before we all headed to bed.

Meeting Mom and Dad for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Guess it would have been easier to get a picture of all three of us together, huh? 🙂

Sunday morning Drew and I had plans to meet my Mom and Dad for brunch, just like we did on the way home from Evan and Danielle’s wedding.  Chelsea and Karly were also able to join us which was a nice little treat.  After a big breakfast at Cracker Barrel, Mom and Dad came back to the house for a bit to visit with Theo.  They hadn’t seen him since Christmas and were amazed at just how big he’s gotten these past several months.  Before hitting the road, Mom and Dad loaded us up with lots of yummy goodies and treats for Theo.  Thanks again you two, Drew and I are looking forward to the many good eats 🙂

After being out of town for the past three weekends, I’m definitely ready to stay put in Atlanta for a while.  It’s been nice to go back to Kentucky and see friends and family as much as we have, but it’ll also be nice not to have to travel anywhere for a while.  Our plans for the upcoming weekend include a long-overdue date night, a visit to the dog park for Theo and hopefully a Sunday afternoon outing with the couples from our house church.  The next time we travel will be the weekend leading up to Fourth of July when we go for a long weekend to my parent’s house in North Carolina.  By then I’m sure we will be ready for a weekend of relaxation at the beach!