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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesdays: How I Met Your Father!



It's time for Show and Tell Tuesday again! This week's topic is still related to all the love we've been feeling since Valentine's Day, and we get a chance to tell the story about how we met our spouse. If you want to join in, here are our topics:


This post will be word heavy, since I don't have many pictures of our early days as a couple saved on this computer, or online. I'll post what I can find easily. We have tons of snow outside that needs to be played in!

Steve and I met in September 1998, but that's not truly where our story begins. Let's start from the very beginning...

My BFF Alisa went to school at Carson Newman College, and just happened to be assigned a room with another friend from our high school, plus two strangers. One of those strangers (Sarah) went to Halls High School in Knoxville. My BFF and Sarah became immediate friends, and decided pretty quickly to get their own apartment off campus. They had an apartment-warming party, and Alisa invited a bunch of her high school friends (including me) and Sarah invited a bunch of her Halls High friends, including Steve. Now, I should mention here that Steve dated Sarah's high school BFF and things didn't end well. Sarah didn't have the highest regard for Steve, but they had enough mutual friends that she invited him anyway. 

He didn't come. He had to work, and decided he didn't want to drive to Carson Newman when he got off. However, his good friend Clay did come, and hit it off with my friend Megan. Their relationship started off that night, and for the next nine months, all I ever heard about was Clay's buddy Steve and how he thought we'd be perfect together. 

I was single that whole nine months, so I kept telling Clay to make it happen. He drug his feet until that fall, when I moved to East Tennessee State University, and Megan and I got an apartment together. Clay says that he thought Steve moved to ETSU, too, so he looked him up (back when the phone book was Google). Turned out, Steve lived in the same apartment complex I did! He walked over, sparks flew, and we've been together ever since!

That was in September 1998, and Steve proposed in April 2000. We had been looking at rings, and found one that we both really liked. I knew we were going to get engaged, I just didn't know when. I walked into his apartment one night, and he walked out of his room with the ring box in his hand. It wasn't exactly a grand gesture, but effective nonetheless! He told me later that he had intended to propose on our family's annual beach trip to Myrtle Beach in July, but he just couldn't wait that long. Turns out, we ended up not going to the beach that year because my sister was in the hospital trying NOT to have Tatum (who ended up being born July 28th anyway, 5 weeks early but perfectly healthy), so his plans would have been thwarted anyway. 

We got married in May 2001

Look! I found a picture!

And we lived happily ever after...


Sorry for the lack of pics! I need to get old pictures scanned into this computer. 

Can't wait to read all the love stories!!

XOXO,
Andrea

Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up: Valentine' s Day Edition, plus a Snow Day!

Happy Monday, y'all!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend, because we sure did!! Be ready for a picture-heavy recap of our weekend.

I packed a Valentine's themed lunch for Caroline Friday morning, 


And then we headed out to our usual Friday morning ritual: breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts. 



Let me show you my little friend...
A Brownie Batter doughnut from Dunkin'. I got this for the girls as a VDay treat, and they didn't want it. In the interest of not wasting food (the greater good and all that), I ate a few bites. Holy Deliciousness, Batman! This little beauty made me want to forget I ever heard the word "diet" or "gym". 


I am chair of the plastic bag recycling program at Caroline's school, and after I dropped her off I went to collect bags. This is what I found walking around the school office. Way to make a first impression, Ella Kate. 

#theywontknowwhathitthemnextyear



I went back to school that afternoon for Caroline's Valentine's Day party with her class. I made them Valentine's Day parfaits for their snack and they all exchanged their Valentines. They had such a great time! I heard several kids say they liked this party better than Christmas! 



Saturday morning, the girls woke up to some goodies from Daddy. Caroline got a Minecraft puzzle, blind bags, and a pink hydrangea (which I hope to plant if they survive). 


And Ella Kate got a minion puzzle to go with her blind bags and hydrangea. I don't know how I didn't realize her eyes were closed in the one picture I got of her, but oh well. Such is life. 


I made the girls pink heart pancakes for breakfast, but the fact that they are pink is completely lost in the pictures. You'll have to take my word for it. 


After breakfast, I went to the gym. I almost didn't go, but knew I would feel guilty if I skipped, so off I went. I did my usual 30 minutes of cardio, and went to go start lifting. Some lazy goober hadn't reracked his weights, so when I went to take the 45lb plates off the bar, I smashed my finger between it and the next one on the rack. 1 middle finger vs. 2 45lb plates. No bueno. 

Pretty sure it's broken, but there's nothing that can be done. I'm scared to death that my nail is going to fall off. It feels, um, "bouncy". It hurts like the dickens! 


As I mentioned in my last post, our Valentine's tradition is to attend a charity gala that benefits CASA for Kids. It's such a great event, and we love going. We always get a hotel room and take our time getting ready at the hotel. "Take our time" to me means a leisurely primp session. For Steve, it apparently means "take a nap." I was getting ready and bored to death with no one to talk to and trying to stay quiet so as not to wake my sleeping beauty. So what's a girl to do but to take selfies in the mirror of her crazy roller hair??



#lookslikeathirtyoneparty


To make it even, I had to take a pic of Steve trying to get his bowtie on. <sideeye>


Then he gave up and went tie-less. Still super handsome, though. 

#rawr 


We headed down the ballroom to enjoy the night! 


Queen of blurry pictures...


Steve knows how to cut a rug, and he entertained everyone, including our neighbor, Mary...


And her son-in-law, Brian. #bromance


What a great night! Can't wait to do it again next year!


Sunday was picture-less, because all we did was hit up the hotel's restaurant for breakfast, came home for a little nap after check out, and then went to see American Sniper before picking the girls up from my parent's house. 

Today we're having a very rare (for us) snow day, so I'll hopefully have lots of pics of snowmen, snow angels, sledding, and snow cream eating to share tomorrow!

And just to give y'all some thing to be scared of, check out that Thursday forecast.... #ouch

Look at that little sun peeking out over the cloud on Friday. It's like it's scared to show its face after that Thursday ridiculousness. 

Stay warm, everyone! 

XOXO,
Andrea

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites: Valentine's Day Edition!


Happy Valentine's Day Eve, y'all!

I love a theme, so today's Friday Favorites just has to be about all the lovey, mushy goodness that is Valentine's Day!!

1. Sexy Soundtracks

Shay introduced me to Diana Krall's new album, and it's all about some sexy slow jazz. What's not to love???


Sounds like sex on a stick to me! (Sweet Home Alabama reference for y'all, in case you didn't catch it). This album is all cover songs, and she makes songs I've heard for years and years suddenly sound completely new and different. There are a couple songs that aren't really romantic, but the overall tone of the album is very much so. I'm enthralled. 


And, obviously, the Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack. I've been listening to it on Spotify, and it really is all it's cracked up to be. The only downside is that the new version of BeyoncĂ©'s Crazy in Love isn't available on Spotify. Grrrrr. (there is a version by Sofia Karlberg, though). 

2. My "Date Night" perfume

When I was planning my wedding, I read somewhere that you should have a perfume that you wear during your wedding events, and then wear it every year on your anniversary, and you'll start to associate that scent with that special time in your life. I did that, and it's one of my very favorite wedding tips! I wore Cashmere Mist on my wedding day and honeymoon, and I immediately go back to that time when I smell it again.



Last year at Disney World, Steve and I did our usual EPCOT date night, and wondered into the Italy pavilion. I started smelling the perfumes, and fell deeply, madly in love with Bulgari Jasmin Noir. I miraculously walked away from it, but then walked completely around World Showcase smelling my own arm. I couldn't stop! It was meant to be mine, and now I wear it on our special date nights. It makes me feel fancy, and I'll be wearing it tomorrow night!

3. Doing something "fancy"



Steve and I, for the past two years, have been attending a local charity gala for Valentine's Day. We get a room in the hotel that hosts the gala and have a little staycation. We get gussied up, dance, high roll on some auction items, and have no worries about having to drive home. We sleep in, have brunch, and pick up the girls from my parent's house. It's glorious. I know this isn't something everyone is going to be able to do (or even want to do necessarily), but I think putting in a little extra effort on a day made for love isn't a bad thing. Seems to make everything better when it's presented nicely, even if it's sloppy joes on the good China and Two Buck Chuck out of your grandmother's crystal. 

4. Champagne and roses



It's cliche, but I like it anyway. I'll drink champagne to celebrate a day that ends with "y", so I suppose it's only fitting that I have a bottle handy on the high holy days of champagne drinking: New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. And Tuesday. #nojudging

And there's roses. Because, roses. 


5. Having the best forever Valentine ever!

I couldn't be happier to call this stud my Valentine!



Always and forever my favorite! 


Hope everyone has a wonderful, fantastic, love-filled Valentine's weekend! 

XOXO, 
Andrea

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Little Valentines make my heart happy!!

Any holiday around here is cause for celebration, but I just can't get enough of these sweet little Valentines my girls made for their teachers and classmates! 


I found these Lilly Pulitzer-inspired Valentines on the 11 Magnolia Lane Blog, and I knew they had to be mine theirs. 


Christy from 11 Magnolia Lane created these printable and she filled her bags with little gum balls from Party City, which I think was just PERFECT for these, but we don't have a Party City close to us. I found some giant gum balls at TJMaxx, but since we are giving these out to fairly small children, I didn't want any trips to the ER on my conscience. 

Sorta spoils the lovey-dovey mood. 

I went with Valentines themed Hershey's Kisses instead. I wish I could've gotten a whole bag wrapped in the pink foil, but mixed bags were all I saw. I wonder now if I should've gone with all silver wrappers, but I hope all the little kiddos won't judge me too harshly. 

-----------------

I always struggle with ideas for teachers, because I feel that they tend to get the same stuff over and over again. I saw these cute Valentines on Tricia's Facebook page (HKL Designs) and knew they would be perfect! 


How could you not love that cute little Hoot with an awesome EOS lip balm in its belly?? Tricia is so great to work with and I've used her for a few projects already, and plan on more! 


Happy Valentine's Day! 

XOXO, 
Andrea

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wilderness at the Smokies

As I mentioned before, we spent this past weekend at the Wilderness at the Smokies. It a fabulous resort and we take any opportunity we can to spend time there.

The girls were out of school for parent-teacher conferences on Friday, so we checked in on Thursday afternoon. Since we were missing our Fun Friday Dunkin Donuts trip, Caroline wanted to do it on Thursday morning. Steve was off, so I thought it would be a great idea to include Daddy in our little tradition! 


Silly face selfies!



Steve and I took both girls to their respective schools, then hit up the gym for our rare workouts together. After the gym, we showered and packed up the car and decided to get Caroline out of school a little early. Ella Kate's preschool gets out at 1:30, so we signed Caroline out at 1 and let her surprise Ella Kate (and her old preschool teachers!) at pick up time. 

Then we were off! 

Caroline had some leftover donuts for her road trip snack! 

Check in time!



This is the closest Ella Kate would get to the bear...

My nephew Tanner takes a college class in Sevierville on Thursdays, so as soon as we finished check in, he came and hung out with us in between classes. Now that he's in college, it's so rare to spend time with him, so this was a real treat!

I went down to the Mountain Marketplace and ordered some sandwiches for lunch. And tried my hardest to resist all these treats...






The girls were chomping at the bit to hit up the water park, so we went there after Tanner left to go to his next class. I wish I had stopped on the way in to town to get some groceries to bring with us, but in our hurry, I didn't. That meant we couldn't spend as much time in the water park as any of us would've liked, but it was enough to slide on all the slides and play in the wave pool for a while.

Paco, our hotel mascot. He was on loan from Parrot Mountain

We spent the end of our first night at the grocery store and eating our dinner back in the room. We ordered take out from one of our very favorite Sevierville restaurants, Smoky Mountain Brewery. As much as we love it there, we were so exhausted that it was fabulous just to eat it in the comfort of our hotel room.

The next morning involved a quick breakfast and we headed to the water park. 





Lunch was pretzels and Icees by the pool! I had luckily brought some snacks with us to tide Steve and I over until dinner, but we both enjoyed a few bites of pretzel in all its buttery gloriousness. 



They have this super cool attraction called Surf Riders that my girls just love. Truthfully, I really want to do it, too. I wish they let you stand up like I see people do on those Royal Caribbean commercials, but you have to stay on your belly at Wilderness. 



Ella Kate was a natural! Even performing a few little tricks out there:


Flying...


Showing off her surf muscles...


Then it was time to dry off and try out the Wilderness Adventure Forest


The Wilderness Adventure Forest is a large arcade, with some pretty fantastic extras to go along with it. In addition to the arcade, the Forest offers a ropes course, bowling, laser tag, mini golf, rock climbing, a laser obstacle course, a spring ride, and an indoor playhouse. Everything here has a fee attached (except the playhouse), but a play pass can be purchased to cover the cost for the day or for your entire stay. We didn't do that this time (we just put some money on a card and let the girls play arcade games until the card ran out), but we plan to do all the activities we can next time we're there. Caroline did remember the ropes course from last time, however, so we did pay a la carte to let her try that all on her own. 




The girls racked up the tickets! 


Ella Kate looks petrified, but trust me, she loved this thing! Until she realized it didn't give her any tickets...


Since we were already dried off, we decided to call it a day and head out to dinner at Mellow Mushroom. We love the pizzas here! 



When we came home, we all got in our jammies and watched some TV. Then this happened. I DID NOT want to let her go! 


Saturday was Steve's mom's birthday, so we went to Knoxville for lunch with her. When we got back to our hotel, our key didn't work. 

#sadface 

Daddy to the rescue!


We got dressed in a hurry and headed back to the Wild Water Dome. 


Big thanks to Steve for not telling me my hair was crazy...

The first day we were there we got to hang out with my nephew, then on Saturday, my niece Tatum (far right) and her best friend Briana were able to come up and stay with us. The little girls LOVED having the big girls with them!


Again, hair fail. It's a water park. What can you do?

The big girls wanted to try out the Surf Rider. The lifeguards offered them a shirt to wear. I have a feeling it was for modesty's sake, but the girls thought it was cool to wear the lifeguard shirt. 









Apparently it's easier for the younger kids...


We had the best time! We live fairly close to the Wilderness, so we go as often as we can, but I still think it's worth the effort to get there. We have the best time there, and it's a great family resort!

Here are some tips and trips to make your stay there the best it can be:

*Bring your own food. My only real complaint about the Wilderness is that their food is rather sub par (or maybe I'm just used to Disney's outstanding food options) and I just prefer to have my own tastier and healthier food. And I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for food that isn't worth it. That being said, the sub sandwiches we got in the Marketplace were very Subway-ish and tasty. I could've eaten those every day. In fact, Steve and I decided that next time we plan to stay at the resort almost completely. I'm sure we'll have to go to Smoky Mountain Brewery at least once, though. If only they delivered...

*Bring your own beach towels. They offer some, so if you forget it's no big deal, but I prefer my own. The ones they give you are small and scratchy, so I like my large, plush ones. I think the ones they offer would be good to wrap your hair in or to squeeze water out of your bathing suits and such things, but I wouldn't want to wrap up in them. 

* If you decide to do the Wilderness Adventure Forest, buy the "All Stay" Adventure Pass. Definitely worth it!

*Keep in mind that you have to wear full shoes if you want to do the ropes course. Toes and heels must be covered. Caroline wore a pair of Keens, and they were perfect to go from water park to arcade. Ella Kate wore strappy Chaco-style shoes, and they wouldn't let her do it. She made me promise to bring her full shoes next time! Lesson learned! We didn't do the bowling alley, but they may require full shoes and/or socks, so keep that in mind. 

* If you can swing it, spend as much time there on weekdays. Weekend days are much more crowded than weekdays. 

* I really wish I had a camera that could go in the water. If you have one, bring it with you! Every time we all went down the slides together, I wished I had a camera to capture the moment. 

If you have any questions about the resort, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer them! 

It's hump day, y'all!! Almost time for the weekend, baby!

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