Friday, May 30, 2014

Lovey the Dovey

Do you know what happens when two animal loves fall in love and get married? Instead of sitting in the tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g, they become obsessed with the little bird who can't get to the tree! And then instead of spending the day moving into their new house and tackling the one point million things on their to-do list, they buy a bird cage and set up house for their newest pet!

Met Lovey the Dovey:


Lovey is still a baby and has a wing that is crooked so she can't really fly. We noticed her right after we moved in hopping around the driveway and porch area. She isn't scared of people and will let you get really close to her. Our neighbor thinks one of the huge red-tailed hawks in the neighborhood tried to get her. 

We knew that Scout, not the hawks, were now her biggest threat. So we've put her in the cutest bird cage on our porch. She's brought a whole new level of excitement and entertainment to porch time!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Moving Day and More

Moving Day was the most exhausting day of my life. We got up bright and early and finished loading the van and my car. DeeDee, John Eric and Jane came over and DeeDee and I boo-hooed. Jane kept waving "bye" and that set off another round of watershed tears. We pulled out at 8:08 a.m. - Pepe road in the front seat of my car and Scout rode in the moving van with Ryan.


Let me just say that Pepe was the best co-pilot. He actually stayed away the entire 9.5 hours we were on the road. I think that surprised both of us! It may go down as the best day of his life - all of his favorite things - me and the car and no Scout to bug him.

We stopped at the rest areas in Alabama and Georgia (both very nice and clean!) and twice to get gas. There was a little traffic around Atlanta but otherwise just a bunch of moving vans. I lost count at 20-something Penske trucks. We'd packed a picnic lunch so we didn't have to leave the dogs in a hot car while we went in and ate somewhere. I stood up on the picnic table to take a picture (which didn't even turn out good) and dropped my phone and shattered the screen. Ugh! But that was the only catastrophe of the trip so I'll take it!


We pulled into Greenville about 7:20 p.m. After ordering a pizza, we started unloading the van - hoping to get to our mattress. That didn't happen so we "camped" one more time in the living room. I was so tired, I don't even think I noticed I wasn't in a bed!

We're making progress, but there are still boxes everywhere. We had over 50 boxes our by the curb yesterday - I was a little embarrassed that about 90% of them were liquor boxes! These pictures are from Sunday when we finished unloading the truck. It's much worse looking now!





I'm ready to get through the boxes to start the fun decorating part! We haven't done much exploring of Greenville yet, but we do know how to get to Home Depot and Target. I found a black side-by-side refrigerator on Craigslist yesterday. We cleaned it last night and it should be up and running by this afternoon. Our fridge is white and so wouldn't work with the kitchen. It's in the workshop and busing food back and forth got old real fast.

We are also in the market for a sofa bed for the back bedroom - if anyone happens to know of one that is half-way comfortable please let me know! The guest bed is upstairs in the "bonus" room but isn't ideal for anyone who either doesn't like steep stairs or is over six feet tall. In the second bedroom we've put Ryan's desk and our computer (which is also doubling as our TV downstairs). We'd like a sofa bed so that we can use it for TV watching and then as an extra bed as needed. I'll be back with more pictures soon. My goal is to be able to see the floors and counters by the end of the day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation Day

Friday was Graduation Day and it was the most perfect day in every single way. Both of our families (including all siblings and spouses!) and some of our dearest friends came to help us celebrate. And then they stayed around to help us load up the moving van! Who could ask for more?


The ceremony itself was very organized and went as quickly as possible with this many people. As someone who has worked commencement ceremonies this one was executed beautifully. 


Ryan getting hooded - officially an M.D.  



Ryan with his med school buddies. We will miss seeing these friends but know they are coming to visit!


Sis and Oliver were so sweet to make the drive with their three! 


Laura, Thomas, Mom and Chad. 


Net and Emma George - Tri Delta roommates and lifelong friends!


Sarah and Jason were so sweet to help both Thursday night and all day on Friday! Their kids were also very helpful - don't think we would have gotten it all done without them!


Mr. and Mrs. Blackard were so kind to offer us a ride back from Greenville last week so we could leave Ryan's truck and trailer. They were babysitting their grandchildren in North Carolina and the timing worked out perfect! It was a fun road trip!


Sweet DeeDee - I don't think I could have handled Friday (and really the last four years) without her. Not only did she work a 12 hour shift the day before (with me texting her to-do items all day) but she showed up at my house bright and early Friday morning and took charge. While we were at the ceremony she arranged the furniture, coordinated the food and made a messy house appear decent! And then she took all our dirty laundry home and brought it back clean and folded Saturday morning.  


Ryan and Chad and that cute little leg belongs to their foster child. Chad and Kristen are the most kind-hearted people and have opened their home up to children in need of a temporary home. Talk about living your life as a example for Christ!


This picture sums up these three perfectly: Mary Thorne is climbing something and looking for something higher, Jane is questioning what in the world is going on, and Poppy is hoping nobody but her mama tries to pick her up!


Sis has become the expert on getting stains out of baby clothes. 


An extra treat for all of us was that graduation happened to be the same weekend as my cousin Nancy's husband's 50th high school reunion in Jackson. Nancy and AB and grandson Beau drove down from Lancaster County, Penn. and we were able to see them on Thursday and Friday. We miss these sweet cousins! And I love that Nancy finally got to met Pepe!



Dennis and John Eric. 


My sweet nieces! I gave Elizabeth Magee her first Sprite. 


Net, me and Elizabeth Magee


Leigh Allyn and Audrey drove over to see us off. I can't get over how much Audrey has changed since the fair!


Cousin love - Nancy has always been so encouraging about my writing and was part of the reason I majored in journalism at Ole Miss.


Mary Thorne and Audrey.


If you're happy [that med school's over] and you know it raise your hands!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stories of Courage

Until a few years ago I felt like I didn't have any true connection to the war going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. I follow the news and know of people who were deployed, but until I met two friends I had no knowledge of the personal side of the war for the families involved. I met Karie and Rachel - both recent war widows - at a writing conference a couple of years ago. We had a great time gettting to know each other at the conference and had a really fun night out on Times Square. We've kept up through Facebook and each other's blogs. Karie writes "Wife of a Wounded Marine" and Rachel writes "A Little Pink in the World of Camo."

Rachel is going to be featured on a Memorial Day Special "Stories of Courage: Posts from the Homefront" on USA today! Here's the clip:


Happy Memorial Day and many thanks to all the veterans out there for all you do and have done!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Our New House

We officially move in on Saturday, but we spent the night in our new house in Greenville on Tuesday night. We're so excited - and overwhelmed - and so excited - with all we have to do before Saturday morning. So for now I'll just post some pictures and let this cute little cottage speak for itself!


We're in the North Main neighborhood and within walking distance to downtown. I love the little side porch! It has a great front yard and backyard with a sectioned off garden area. 


From the kitchen looking towards the living room. The house was built in the '40s and has hardwood floors throughout. 


The living room from walking in the front door. We are so excited to have a real fireplace. 
Santa better come this year since he now has a chimney!


From the living room looking towards the dining room and kitchen. 


One of the bedrooms with a large built in closet (i.e. some creative person created a closet out of a corner!). 


The bathroom - I love the sink! 


The second bedroom with built in night stands. 


Standing at the fireplace looking towards the front door. 


In the kitchen - the laundry room is on the right and leads out to the backyard. On the left is a staircase to the bonus room upstairs. 


I was so glad to see that the bonus room had more storage than I remembered. There's a couple of closets and some attic space. The downstairs is 852 square feet so we have some creative storage solutions in our near future. Pinterest has taken on a whole new level of importance for me!

We met our neighbors and they were really nice and welcoming. One even told us he was glad that some "damn Yankees" hadn't bought the house! He and Ryan discussed squirrel hunting. I think we'll fit right in!

If you know anyone moving to Greenville I must recommend our Realtor, Greg Taylor. He has been amazing and is so, so nice! We've even hired his son and a friend to help us unload the moving van this weekend. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Farmer's Market Finds & Recipes

I love this time of year. The flowers are blooming, it's not too hot to be outside, and the vegetables at the farmer's market rejuvenate my kitchen and cooking routines! I'm the type of person who loves a routine! Without exception we have a frozen pizza on Sunday night. And usually tacos on Wednesdays. Ryan thinks this is one of my most endearing traits (insert sarcasm here)!

But occasionally I get out of my cooking ruts routine and mix it up! There's nothing more inspiring to me than going to the farmer's market and coming home with a bunch of fresh vegetables and other goodies! Here's my stash from a recent trip and how I cooked (most) of it.

Like everyone else in the world we are trying to eat "clean" and the best resource I've found for this is D.I.Y. Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch. There's everything from how to make cheese and jelly to flour tortillas. My best tip for using everything you buy (my eyes are always bigger than my refrigerator) is to build time into your day on Saturday to go ahead and wash everything, shuck the corn, chop up the things that need to be re-sized, etc. This makes such a big difference when you get ready to cook. You can actually just start cooking!


I spent about $25 and got: fresh cheese, broccoli, Smith County strawberries, potatoes, squash, corn on the cob, radishes, snap beans, a tomato, mustard greens and collard greens. And you can't see it in the picture but there's some honey in there too. I usually don't buy cheese but I asked the farmer so many questions about cheese making that I felt guilty just walking away! He did give me some ideas on why my cheddar cheese didn't do right.

I've also found that I do better if I plan on doing most of my cooking at the beginning of the week. By the end of the week we've made plans to go out or I'm just too tired to get excited about cooking a big meal. Plus we love leftovers in this house! 

Smith County Tomato


Sunday night we started off with a BLT. This is a staple in our house in the summer and this tomato was actually really good for it to be so early in the season. 

Broccoli


I was late in the game in liking broccoli, and it is still not one of my favorites! However, broccoli salad is easy and crunchy and involves bacon and cheese. How could anyone not like that? I used this recipe by Paula Dean as inspiration. 


A non-chocolate dessert must be great if I like it! Our friend Julie made these the other night and I loved it! Slice the strawberries and add evaporated milk and a little sugar. Serve in sponge cake dessert shells and top with whipped cream. Here's a similar recipe

Greens 

Cooking greens has always given me trouble. Mine never taste as good as my mother's or grandmother's. And Ryan compares them to his grandmother's, and so there's a high standard in place here that I have yet to reach! But I'm trying! And I think this time I got close. 


I used Martha Foose's recipe in Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. And Ryan said they tasted "almost" like his grandmother's! I'm making progress, people!

Sweet Corn


See this pretty dish the corn was cooked in? It's called Wilton Armetale. I got one for Ryan a few years ago for Christmas because he'd used one with a friend. He'd gone on and on about how great it was to put on the grill. Well, guess what I found when I was packing up the kitchen? THREE of them. Yes, we had three great pieces of Wilton Armetale and I had no clue. I feel like I should re-write the thank you notes to the people who gave us these as wedding presents! 

I cut the corn off the cob and added butter, garlic, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary and thyme. Cooked on the grill for about eight minutes on medium. 

Radishes

This was my impulse buy and so far I have no clue how to eat or cook these. Any advice???

Snap Beans

Blanched for a few minutes in boiling water and then drained and added a little canola oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and ground black pepper. 

Squash & New Potatoes

These have actually not gotten cooked yet but I will probably do a skinny squash casserole. We made mashed potatoes with the new potatoes that didn't score high on the healthy scale - lots of butter, sour cream and cheddar cheese! 

A few weeks ago I bought two strawberry plants at the farmer's market. Here's the first berry - it was very, berry sweet!










Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sweet Good-byes

Last night Laura and Thomas hosted the sweetest "goodbye" party at their house for us! I walked in and told Thomas I thought I'd cry everything was so nice, but he told me NOT to do that! So, amazingly, I didn't cry all night. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful, sweet, kind, loving, drop-everything-and-come-help type friends. Words cannot express how much I love these people!


John Eric, Jane, Thomas and Laura. DeeDee was working but we caught up later in the night! DeeDee and I joke that Jane has "her people." She does this cute little point and wave thing when she wants one of "her people" to come closer. I think she initiated Laura into "her people." 




Michelle and I have gotten to know each other through a neighborhood Bible study. I've know her for years and she and Ryan just met last night! Neither of us realized they'd never met! Her three girls line up exactly age wise with Elizabeth Magee, Mary Thorne and Poppy.


Emily and I got to know each other last summer at our Jr. League project, but our paths have crossed many times - her parents are good friends with my friend Crady's parents, she and Sis roomed together at a Methodist youth thing in high school and she was getting her master's at Millsaps while I was working there! Small world!


Russell and Ryan are already counting down until duck season starts again. I think they kind of look a like? 


Chad and Kristen. Our first neighbors. Our first couple friends that we made as a couple. Chad found out Ryan got into med school before Ryan did. They were at our house and Chad was playing with Ryan's new iPod and checked his e-mail. He said,  "You may want to look at this Ryan!"


I don't want to leave when I look at this picture! I've loved living in the same town as my brother and I love that Laura and I have gotten to be such good friends. Okay, I'm crying now so I must move on!


After the party we went to Pig & Pint in Fondren with Kristen and Chad. Kristen had her first beer. Ever. It was peach. 



No pictures of the next part of the night, but after the Pig we went to DeeDee and John Eric's and DeeDee and I boohooed. And then planned their trip to Greenville!

The language of friendship is not words but meanings. – Henry David Thoreau