It’s been a good year!

This past weekend I celebrated the new year with my tiny little patients.  New Years was my holiday to work this year, so I worked Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  And although I realized I haven’t actually seen the New Years Eve ball drop for the last few years, I had to miss it again this year (because sleep is way more important to me!).

2011 was a busy, busy year for us.  It’s hard to believe that at this time last year I didn’t even know Greg was just days away from asking me to marry him (he popped the question on our family Disney World trip on January 8th!  You can read all about that here).

And now, we’ve been married for almost 3 months already!

My mom and my sister Katie also got married this year….August 27-Elaine&Dwayne (2)

And Emily graduated high school and went off to Auburn University in the fall…
EmilyGrad
So many exciting things for just one year!  But there were some tough times as well.  We also lost some loved ones this year.  Greg’s grandmother passed away just barely into the new year last year.  And my dad died in March after a long, rough battle with alcohol addiction.  One of the last conversations I had with him I was telling him about Greg asking me to marry him, and telling him what a great guy Greg was, and how happy I was.  He said he wanted to get to know Greg better, but deep down I think I knew that would never happen. He died not quite 2 months later.
This is actually a picture of my dad when we were in Mississippi for his dad’s funeral in 2005. We took him back to Eupora, MS to be burried in his family’s plot.
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28
dad

We also experienced one of the worst tornado seasons in Alabama’s history this year.  F5 tornadoes ripped through the south destroying much of central Alabama.  My brother-in-law and his roommates were actually in their home in Tuscaloosa when the tornado passed over his home.  We are so grateful for God’s protection that day, and that they were unharmed as they crouched in the bathroom for safety.  Their house, however, was destroyed like much of the city that day.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.  I have a wonderful family!  I know everyone thinks their family is the best, but mine really is.  No really.  It. is. haha.  My sisters and mom and I are best friends.  And my sisters and I have grown incredibly close over the past few years (ya know, now that we’re all grown up!) Yeah yeah, we still can bicker from time to time, but in general, I’d say we’re a tight bunch.  And the guys that joined the Graves girls are pretty awesome too!  We know how to have a good time.

And speaking of good time…we are all headed down to Disney World again this year for the marathon!!  Yep, and this year Chuck (my brother-in-law) and I get to celebrate our birthdays while we are there.  Katie will run the half-marathon, Chuck and his friend Zach will run the half marathon on Saturday, and then the whole marathon on Sunday!  It should be awesome, like all Graves family trips are 😉  No matter how old we keep getting, the kid in all of us kicks in when we step into the magical world of Disney.  Although there won’t be any engagements going on this time around.  Unless anyone has baby news they would like to share while we are there…… no, no, just kidding!  haha, I know neither one of us (Katie or Chuck included) are ready for that surprise!! It would be a fun way to announce the news though!

So, since I need to get packing for our trip, I’ll leave you with what I like to call “the best of 2011″…

January 8, 2011

proposal1 proposal2
We had several snowy days last year in Alabama!
snow1 snow2

Mardi Gras- Fairhope, AL with our good friends, the Nesters
mardigrasGreg and I decided to keep Sophie (my dad’s dog- on the right) after he died. Yep, that makes 3…
Emily’s Senior Prom in May
Engagement pics at the Botanical Gardens (after Emily’s prom pics!)
Easter

Easter

 Chuck and Katie’s wedding showerHangout Music Festival-Orange Beach, AL

Katie’s bachelorette party
Katie and Chuck’s wedding weekend!
Abbeywedding2 rehearsal
Katie’s wedding day- July 16th
my bridal tea hosted by my good friend Christine

mine and Greg’s couples wedding shower
shower
bridesmaids luncheon at Another Broken Egg
October 8, 2011
GregAmy_Wedding_036 GregAmy_Wedding_053
GregAmy_Wedding_254a GregAmy_Wedding_093 GregAmy_Wedding_342
 Honeymoon in Atlantis, Bahamas
 
 
Thanksgiving at my mom’s

thanksgiving1 then Thanksgiving in Georgia with the Boggs
thanksgiving2
We celebrated Greg’s 27th and Emily’s 19th birthdays on December 16th.  I got Greg and myself tickets to a Tennessee Titans game.
Dec 10-Titans (1)
 and we all went to dinner together with my family.
Dec 15-birthdays (3)
 me and the birthday boy
this Christmas season the newlyweds all went to get trees together!
And we had all had a great Christmas season
Dec 24 (6) Dec 24 (18)Dec 25 (2)

JOY to the World!

Christmas at casa de Boggs was great this year!  Greg and I woke up and had Christmas morning to ourselves (plus our crazy dogs) before heading over to Greg’s sisters house to join up with the rest of the Boggs clan.  Oh, and by the way, Christmas morning started bright and early at 7:20 at our house.  That’s right.  To be honest, I don’t think I’ve done Christmas morning that early since I was probably 8 years old.  But, Greg insisted we get up early!  (And we had to be at my in-laws house around 9:30, since our sweet little niece and nephew would be up bright and early!)  So, 7am the alarm started going off, and we were up opening presents shortly after!

Here we are Christmas morning!

We headed over to Jordan and Eric’s house to do Christmas with his family, and Evey (our niece) was SOOO excited!  They had already done “Santa gifts” earlier that morning, so she was so excited showing me all the things that Santa brought her.  She even pulled me into her bedroom to show me the castle play-tent she had gotten…and insisted I climb inside of it with her!  Bennett was excited too, even though he has no idea what “Christmas” is.  He kept climbing inside the playhouse (with me and Evey) and would just sit and giggle!  I meant to take a lot of pictures of them, but surprisingly no one else had their cameras out, so I didn’t want to be the camera Nazi snapping away all morning.  But I did get a cute shot of Bennett.  Greg was flying his new remote-controlled helicopter I got him, and Bennett was amazed!!

After all that, we headed to my mom’s house and had lunch and did Christmas with my family.  Poor Emily had to go from spending every Christmas Eve and morning with her sisters, just like every year before, to being the only child left at home.  It was just her, my mom and Dwayne this year for Christmas morning.  So they actually waited and did most of their gift giving when Katie and I (and our husbands) came over.  It was fun though!  It was nice getting to spend the day with all of our family, not having to pick either Greg’s family or my family to spend Christmas with (which I was afraid might happen if we had to go to GA for Christmas). But luckily Greg’s parents came to B’ham, so it made it much easier for us to spread out time amongst everyone.

 Emily with her new brothers! 🙂

Then if that wasn’t enough bouncing around from house to house, we went back to Greg’s sister’s house for dinner and to spend time with his grandparents who had gotten into town. And THEN we went for a quick game of bowling with his cousins (and Katie, Chuck and Emily joined us!).  By the time we got home around 9:30, we were both exhausted.  I went straight to bed since I had work again the next day.

All in all, Christmas 2011 was a success!  God has been good to us this year, and I’m excited about future holidays we will have together!  I hope everyone had a safe and blessed Christmas holiday with your loved ones as well!

Christmas Eve

Today was a great day!  I made sure this week to get all our Christmas shopping done by Thursday, because I had to work Friday the 23rd, and I was determined NOT to go out holiday shopping on Christmas Eve…especially since it fell on a Saturday this year.  I don’t even wanna know how bad that traffic was today.  Greg and I slept in till about 10am, and before we even got out of bed we decided to make today a pajama day.  All we had on our schedule for today was wrap a few gifts and go to our church’s candlelight service at 5pm.  So, we stayed in our pajamas all day, and it was wonderful!!

It’s always been a Graves family tradition for as long as I can remember to eat “Christmas morning casserole” for breakfast.  So, since it was just Greg and I, we decided to make it today and eat it today and tomorrow morning.  Greg LOVED it!  It’s actually really easy too, so it will probably become a “eat it throughout the year” casserole as well.

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 2 cups milk

 Brown the sausage in a pan and drain. 

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9×13 in. casserole dish.  (Make sure you spray the dish with Pam and spray liberally! I sprayed as I do most baking dishes and our casserole still stuck).
I also got some help from my little buddy 🙂  This gal is always at my feet!
Back to the casserole.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  That’s it! So easy. 

Growing up my mom always prepared the dish on Christmas Eve (covered it and put it in the fridge) and baked it Christmas morning.  Either way, it tastes just as good 🙂

After our day of lounging and gift wrapping, we went to our candlelight service at church.  Both mine and Greg’s family went together.  Our niece was so sweet sitting next to us and she loved the part at the end when the whole congregation lit their candles.  I love the candlelight service.  I love traditional Christmas hymns and the peace that fills my heart being in church singing to God on Christmas Eve.  I would say it’s one of the best parts of my year.

Following the church service, we went over to Greg’s aunts house for a huge Boggs/Callaway/Graves pajama party!  There were about 25 of us (inlcuding my mom, Dwayne and Emily) and we all changed into pajamas for the evening.  (The Boggs family started a tradition a few years ago where they all get matching pajamas each Christmas).  Here’s the Boggs family Christmas 2009…

And here’s the crew this year (aunt Kim and her kids joined in on the matching PJs this year!)

My youngest sister Emily sported an awesome Disney onezie.  Oooooh yes! This is why I love my family….

oh wait, let’s go back to some pre-pajama pics…
We also all played Dirty Santa which was a little chaotic but a lot of fun!  There was a lot of stealing going on, and Evey LOVED handing out presents to everyone.  Bennett had a good time too!  He would laugh every time the rest of us laughed at a particular silly gift.
We all had a good time and I’m excited for more family time tomorrow!  Merry Christmas everyone!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas from the Boggs

Tomorrow officially begins the 1 week countdown till Christmas. Is it just me, or did Christmas sneak up on you this year too?  Just this week I was still putting out a few Christmas decorations until I realized how close we are to Christmas.  So, I just put the rest into the shed till next year.  Being a newlywed and adjusting to moving in a new home (for me) has gotten me behind these last few months.  I’ve still not gotten around to writing wedding thank-you notes!! Now that’s pretty bad.

But, there’s nothing better than being a newlywed at Christmas! 🙂  As a matter of fact, we just got these printed yesterday and they are going out in the mail today!

My sister and her husband are also enjoying their first Christmas as newlyweds.  The four of us went to get our Christmas trees together a few weeks ago.
Greg and I got a big guy this year!
And I’ve enjoyed filling our tree with memorable newlywed ornaments 🙂
this one’s my favorite
this one actually says “our first Christmas”
and I blogged about making these here
I’m excited about starting new holiday traditions between Greg and I this Christmas. We decided to fill stockings for one another which I think will be fun. Both his family and mine will go to the Candlelight Christmas Eve service together at church, and we will get up and do Christmas between the two of us in our first home together.  It’s funny to think that these are the years and the memories that we will start to build as a family of 2 for now.  And when we have kids of our own, new memories will form with new traditions. Speaking of Christmas morning traditions, I couldn’t help myself when I saw this Santa plate and mug at Pottery Barn this year. It has the perfect vintage feel to it almost as though it’s already been a part of Christmas mornings in the past.
 the plate is not nearly as big as it seems in this picture
I have so many fond memories of Christmases growing up with my family.  My sisters and I actually slept in the same bed on Christmas Eve, even last year!  And although it’s a little bittersweet leaving those traditions behind to embrace new ones, I’m so happy with the man God has given me to share life with.  He makes me smile every day.  He loves me unconditionally, supports me and just makes life better!  So from our little family, we wish you a wonderful Christmas holiday with the ones you love!

home sweet home

We are far from finished, but our home is finally looking more and more like a married couple’s home, not a frat house.  Partially because until our outdoor shed arrived last Friday, we still had boxes sitting all around the house (mainly, the front den).  We had cleaned out closets,  garage sold a lot of unwanted items, donated to the thrift store A LOT MORE items, and organized the best we could. But until the shed arrived the remaining tools, boxes of holiday decor, wreaths, paint, extra rugs….you get the idea…it all just sat around on the floors.  But, thanks now to this little beauty gracing our side yard, we finally got a lot of “stuff” out of the house.

I didn’t get any “before” pictures of our front den because it just never occurred to me to document the awful state it was in.  But, of course now I wish I had a before and after shot to show, because it’s soooo much better now!  Allow me to paint you a picture.  The walls were “neutral” but the tan color had a lavender tint to it.  The built-in bookshelves along the back wall had white trim, white back walls, but natural wood shelves.  The center wall section between the built-ins had a textured marble-like mixture of paint in a gray tint.  There were boxes sitting all over the floor that still needed unpacking (or moving into the shed), the rug was rolled up in the corner and not a thing hung on the walls.  OH, and there were both red drapes and golden velour fabric drapes hanging from all the windows.  YIKES, it was pretty awful.

Then for our Christmas gift this year, Greg’s mom offered to come help us do whatever we needed to help get this room looking like a functional den.  Over the course of 3 hard-working days she helped us totally transform the room!  We could have never done it that quickly without her!  And now, this is the room that welcomes us when we walk in the door.

The drapes were replaced with bamboo Roman shades that hung from the ceiling to help give some height to the room. I already had the green and brown decor from my previous home, and with our refinished hardwood floors, everything really came together nicely.
 The sofa and buffet table swapped places to create a more defined seating area.
A Kendall Boggs original painting found it’s perfect home above the buffet 🙂
And the bookshelves got a much needed update.  Remember, the shelves were just a natural wood and the back walls were white with the gray wall in the center.  Kendall has also offered to make us a bench cushion for that storage bench.
In the middle section I’m going to find some vintage botanical prints and do a gallery similar to this…
And since we’re on the topic of house decor, here’s how the rest of our home looks for the holidays!

wedding ornaments

I wish I had come up with this idea on my own because I love it! But of course not.  Where do all creative ideas come from lately?  You got it….Pinterest.  I love a tree filled with personal ornaments that actually have meaning to them.  On our honeymoon in Atlantis I bought a really pretty ornament that had been dipped in sand and had tiny little seashells on it. 

So when I saw on Pinterest that someone had cut up strips of their wedding invitation and put them into a clear ornament, I was sold!  What a great idea and a great way to add some newlywed bliss to the Christmas tree 🙂

The clear ornaments were easy to find. I bought a set of 4 from Hobby Lobby for $5.99.  Instead of doing 4 identical ornaments made with our invitation, I decided to make 2 with the invitation and 2 with our wedding programs.  And, of course, I topped them off with some burlap strands!

I’m so happy how they turned out!

 If you look closely you can read our names, our wedding attendants, songs that played during our ceremony…all the little details that make a wedding day so special!

Titans game

Ever since I met Greg almost 2 years ago, I’ve heard all about his love for the Tennessee Titans pro football team.  He grew up in Nashville, and has been an avid Titans fan ever since.  Early this football season he talked about wanting to go to a Titans game this year.  I love me some football, so even though I had never heard of the Titans before, I was not opposed to going to a game with him.  We looked at the schedule months ago and he picked out a few good games he would like to see.   For part of his birthday gift this year, I got us tickets to the Titans vs. New Orleans Saints game in Nashville.

Then Sunday morning we woke up, and unfortunately, I was so sick. I felt awful, my throat was sore, my body ached, but we weren’t missing this game.  The game was at noon, so at 9am we were out the door and Greg drove us to Nashville. I, of course, slept the entire trip up there.  We got to the game about halfway into the 1st quarter.  Our seats were in the upper deck, but on the 50 yard line.

 It was pretty cold!
 

Considering Greg was expecting the Titans to get crushed by the Saints, I’d say it was a pretty good game.  TN got the first touchdown of the game, and were actually leading into the 2nd half.  It wasn’t until the 4th quarter that the Saints pulled ahead with 2 more touchdowns, but even so the final score was 22-17.  So, still not a total blow-out.

Luckily, I had dressed warmly for the game and also brought a blanket to wrap up in.  But, I had absolutely no energy, so I’m sure I was a pretty boring person to be with.  I started feeling a little better by the end of the game, but then on the drive home I spiked a fever for a while until Greg stopped and got me some medicine.   Oh, and I slept again for most of that drive.

This was when I was feeling a little better, and probably the best picture of the day. 
 Here we are leaving the game with the Nashville skyline behind us.
All-in-all it was still a great day! Greg had a good time, and that’s the most important part.  I loved spending the day with him, regardless of how I felt.  I may be the nurse, but he’s good at taking care of me too 🙂   Happy early birthday, sweetie!!

a penny saved is a penny earned!

I don’t know about you, but around our house, we are definitely learning how to pinch some pennies.  Ok, maybe it’s not that bad.  We’re pinching dollars for sure though.  Learning to live as a married couple, sharing 1 bank account has been quite eye-opening, to say the least.  And now with Christmas quickly approaching, money’s getting even tighter.  So, I was excited to see this link on Pinterest today (yes, who else is addicted?) about saving money on groceries.  It’s amazing how $6 here and $10 there just grabbing lunch or dinner away from home quickly adds up.  And boy, does it add up!!

So, here’s what I found.  It’s called Family Guide to Groceries Under $250 a Month.  

 

 It’s an e-book. You just download it from the internet (here), either by paying $3.49 or you do what I’m doing, and you share it with your fellow bloggers on your site!  How easy is that??  (at least I’m hoping it’s that easy… I’ll keep you posted!)

It’s obvious Greg and I have to do more cooking and less eating out. And with more grocery shopping it will be helpful to have some money-saving tips to go along with it!