the Girls Do NYC- Friday

Last spring, my friend Caroline tossed out the idea of doing a girls weekend in NYC this fall.  Her boyfriend Paul was having a concert there that she was planning to attend and the weekend also fell right before the 1-year anniversary of the death of our dear friend Christina.  And then, Caroline and Paul got engaged, which was later followed by our friend Elissa’s engagement this summer.  So the trip seamlessly also turned into a bachelorette celebration. It was the perfect opportunity to get us all together again for a bit of a reunion in honor of these events.  Six of us still live in Birmingham, one is in Colorado, one in Nashville, and one in Indiana. And amazingly enough, all 9 of us were able to make it happen!

Most of the girls got to NYC Friday morning and had a full day of adventures.  Caroline and I flew in late Friday night due to work and school obligations.  I took my last final Tuesday before the trip (whoop whoop!), so I was very excited to be completely school-free for this trip with all my besties!

Although my Friday consisted of packing all morning and flying all afternoon/evening, here’s what the other girls enjoyed on their first day in NYC together.  (Pictures courtesy of the girls)

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Girlfriends Beach Reunion

Last weekend my girlfriends and I took a beach trip like the good ole’ days.  Our friend Brit grew up in Orange Beach and we’ve been doing girls beach weekends almost every year since college.  The group has changed here and there over the years, but it’s a tradition we’ve tried to keep up and we’ve done pretty well with it considering it’s been 5 years since we all graduated college!  And don’t even get me started on the fact that we have known each other for almost 10 years now!!!  Most of us met freshman year of college and the rest of us have tagged along since sophomore year.  I mean, 10 years???  Crazy.

Aaaaanyways.  We have pretty much cemented our group now amongst the 10 of us, all Samford graduates, all different in our own ways but friends just the same.  Unfortunately, all 10 of us couldn’t make it for this trip.  It’s hard getting 10 people that don’t all live in the same city anymore or have the same jobs to coordinate schedules.  But we do the best we can.

It was a fun weekend.  It rained a good bit, but we still got some time in the sun.  It’s funny how different our beach weekends have gotten as we’ve gotten older.  We realized at the end of the trip we literally only took 2 photos the whole weekend.  We used to take photos of every little thing we did.  Photos on the boat, photos on the pier, photos jumping in the water, photos at dinner….we’ve gotten pretty chill as we’ve grown, I suppose.  We also did not consume anywhere near the amount of alcohol we have put away in the past.  We’re a bunch of old lazy bums now with 11pm bedtimes 😉  hahaha!

One of the girls who couldn’t make it was our dear friend Christina.  She actually was supposed to fly into Birmingham and then drive down with some of us for the weekend, but the day before her flight she got really sick and couldn’t make it.  We were so bummed cause she’d been talking about the trip and how excited she was to see everyone again! (She lives back home in Texas now, so we don’t get to see her often.)  But while we were at the beach we decided to pack her a box of goodies and letters, and we shipped it to her in TX!  Dana even whipped up this ADORABLE little drawing of us all.  I totally love it!  It captures characteristics we all have, and I love that she made me a farmer 🙂  I might just frame it 🙂

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Here’s our only two pictures from the weekend, one of which we took to show our love for Teensy!June29-OB (2) June29-OB

And to give you an idea of how far back our friendships go….here’s a little sample of our fun times over the past several years!  Love these ladies so much!!!GregAmy_Wedding_475June1-VagueWedding rehearsal (3)friends13 friends2friends14 friends1friends9friends15 friends5friends3 friends12 friends4friends11friends6 friends10friends8friends17 friends7

Mountain Adventures

Two weekends ago Greg and I traveled to the Ellijay, GA in the Blue Ridge mountains in GA for a little vacation with one of his best friends Jonathan and his wife Lindsay.  We love them!  Greg knew Jonathan from undergrad at Samford, and we met Lindsay a few years ago when they started dating.  John and Lindsay grew up as childhood friends together.  Lindsay is great.  The two of us actually have a lot in common and she’s so easy to talk to (which is good for me!).  I’m pretty introverted, so to find someone I can connect with and talk to easily is not always a small feat.  Anyways, they live in Kentucky where they grew up.

For Christmas last year, Greg’s boss gave us vouchers for cabin rentals in the Blue Ridge mountains.  AWESOME GIFT!  So, we decided to invite our friends who we don’t get to see as much and take a little getaway vacation together.  They are also our friends who just had a baby a few months ago (and we drove up to KY for the birth!), so we were certainly excited to see sweet little Hudson again!ellijay21Greg and I (along with Lily and Jack) headed out Thursday afternoon and decided to stop in Chattanooga for dinner.  Greg found this great little pub right next to the Chattanooga choo-choo train station.  It’s the Terminal Brewhouse. The food was great, the atmosphere was great, and we got to eat on a rooftop patio.  It was fun!ellijay22After dinner we continued on to the mountains.  As we neared our destination we took the scenic route and wound our way up and back down a mountain.  Along the way we saw 3 deer scampering about along the side of the road 🙂

The cabin we chose to rent was great!  I wish I’d thought to take some pictures of it.  It was 1 level, 2 bed, 2 bath, had a great lower deck area with hot tub and darts.  There was also a fire-pit area to the side!  And you couldn’t see any neighboring houses around you, and it had a beautiful backporch view!  It was perfect.ellijay18ellijay19We spent most of the mornings cooking breakfast, relaxing at the cabin and enjoying the company.  Friday afternoon we decided to pack a picnic lunch and drive to the state park nearby which had a waterfall we could go explore.  Come to find out this is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi river!  You had to hike along a dirt trail for a little while, then there were about 150 steps that took you to the big falls.

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The falls were beautiful!!  I commented that I was pretty sure this was the biggest waterfall I had ever seen (then that’s when Greg told me it was the biggest in the southeast!).  haha  It was big guys.  These pictures don’t even portray that as well.

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Beyond this point there was the option to continue climbing steps up the side of the mountain to reach the very top of the waterfall.  I had to do some major convincing to get Greg to do it with me, but he did it and if you ask me, it was worth it 😉  He may not agree!  We had already climbed 175 steps to the to the falls, and it was another 425 steps to the tip top!  But we did it, and the dogs came with us!  Lindsay, John and Hudson stayed behind and just explored the lower portion of the falls.

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Once we caught our breath and enjoyed the views, we walked back down the 600 steps to meet up with the Broughs again.  Then we all enjoyed our picnic lunch while the dogs ran around loving the outdoors.

Ellijay1How crazily twin-like are these two!  The light brown pup is our dog Lily and the darker brown pup is John and Lindsay’s girl Carmen.  Seriously, these two could be from the same liter.  But ironically are mixed breed dogs with no official breed history.

Ellijay2Then there’s this little cutie 🙂  Sweet baby Hudson!  He’s such a great baby!

ellijay3Friday night we grilled hamburgers and played some games late into the night. Saturday the boys went tubing down the river while me, Lindsay and Hudson did some antique shopping 🙂  I found some great little goodies, like an old chicken egg farm basket (which now resides in the new bathroom for holding the toilet paper supply), and a vintage picnic tablecloth.  Oh how I love vintage items!

So all in all it was a great trip!  Good times with our friends and dogs, as usual.  We definitely plan to return in the future 🙂 🙂

Swim, Bike, Run- Grandman style

We celebrated another Grandman triathlon with our family athlete this weekend.  Chuck and his friend Robbie have participated in races together several times before, and they both did the Grandman together 2 years ago as well.  The race was in Fairhope, AL (outside of Mobile).  We love Fairhope.  We lived there before we moved to Birmingham when I was 5.  It’s such a cute little town by the bay.

We drove down Friday, and picked Emily up in Auburn along the way.  Chuck’s parents and Robbie’s family came down to watch them race as well.  Friday night we all went to Wintzell’s Oyster House for dinner.  Great food and great company 🙂  Mom, Dwayne, Emily and I stayed with our family friends the Nester’s, so after dinner we went back to there house to get to bed early.  A 7am race Saturday morning meant an early wake-up call for us all 😉  Katie and Chuck brought their dog Rosco with them, so the three of them and Robbie stayed in a hotel.  We met up with everyone bright and early Saturday morning at the Fairhope pier.

Katie, Emily, and I are ready to watch the boys!June1-Fairhope (5)They started the race off a 1/3 mile swim (they jumped off the pier and swam into shore), then a 18 mile bike ride, and finish out with a 3.1 mile run.  Both guys did well. Chuck beat his time from last year and placed 4th in his age bracket.June1-Fairhope (3)June1-Fairhope (2) June1-Fairhope (4)June1-Fairhope (7)June1-Fairhope (6)June1-Fairhope (10)June1-Fairhope (11)June1-Fairhope (8) June1-Fairhope (9)After the race Chuck and Robbie’s parents headed back to Birmingham.  Katie, Chuck and Robbie stuck around for the award ceremony while mom, Dwayne, Emily and I went roaming around downtown Fairhope.  We went into a few antique shops and then down to another little pier down the road just killing time until we would meet Katie, Chuck and Robbie for lunch.

June1-Fairhope (1) June1-Fairhope (12) June1-Fairhope (14) June1-Fairhope (15)For lunch we found this really cool place.  It’s Windmill Market.  It’s an organic market with local fruits and veggies, 3 cafe’s you can order food from, and there’s all kinds of outdoor seating with live music.  There’s a giant windmill outside the building which uses wind to generate power, and I found some rain barrels scattered around which they use to collect rainwater to water the plants on the property. It was a very cool!  Birmingham totally needs something like this.  Here’s mom and Dwayne sitting out on the patio 🙂June1-Fairhope (16)After a long day on Saturday we went back to the Nester’s house to visit and get ready for dinner.  We went out for Italian at this pizzeria in Daphne.  Rachael met up with us at their house with her silly boy Lucas and they joined us for dinner.  It’s always fun seeing them again and catching up.  We’ve been family friends since before any of us kids were born.  They’re really like family actually.  Distant family, and we just pick up where we left off each time we see each other 🙂

So it was a wonderful weekend.  Another race in the books, and great times with family and friends.  Who could ask for more?

Lake Day Fun

Yesterday after church Greg and I took all the dogs down to the lake where my mom and Dwayne had been camping for the weekend.  The weather was nice so they had invited us to come join them at the lake.  To add to the fun, we asked our friends John and Leah if they wanted to join us.  So they did and they had their dog Josie with them.  We arrived around mid-afternoon and first we just wandered around the property taking John and Leah around to see the area.  We walked over to the dam to check that area out, and of course the dogs were loving running around together!  Then we just hung around on the dock, throwing the ball with the dogs, watching them swim, and enjoying the sunshine.  The boys decided to go fishing for a while, so mom, Leah and I hung out on the dock.  The weather was great!  Not hot, but perfectly sunny and warm.  And it’s so quiet and peaceful at the lake.

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We had some fun tossing the ball just barely off the edge of the dock.  Jack and Josie were hilarious trying to reach down and grab it.  Jack doesn’t like jumping in to get it if it’s just right in front of him (I guess he realizes it seems pointless to waste all that energy when it’s just right there). But yet he can’t reach it!  So they just whine and stretch and hover over it, and it DRIVES THEM CRAZY!!  But it’s too funny for us!! 😉  Josie finally would jump in right on top of it to get it!Apr21-lake (17) Apr21-lake (14) Apr21-lake (18)Apr21-lake (23) Apr21-lake (20)Apr21-lake (16)

Apr21-lake (27) Apr21-lake (33) Apr21-lake (36) Apr21-lake (37) Apr21-lake (44) Apr21-lake (45)Apr21-lake (39)We took a break for dinner before it started getting dark.  We grilled hamburgers and enjoyed dinner on the picnic table.  Then Leah and I got to go out with the boys to fish just a little bit longer.  But no luck this time.  Such a fun day though!!  So glad to spend it with family and friends 🙂

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St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Have you heard of St. Paul and the Broken Bones??  If not, then you are missing out!  Paul Janeway is a dear friend of ours, and has actually been dating one of my best girlfriends Caroline for the past several years.  Well, he started a band a few years ago.  They love to play at Bottletree downtown, so we used to go see him there a lot.  He’s quite the entertainer!  You can’t keep that guy still.  He’s always standing on amps, moving all around stage, sometimes getting himself tangled in the microphone wires. Mar31-SP&BB3Well, his band is doing great and they are quickly becoming a big deal in the music industry.  They have traveled around the southeast performing at various music festivals like Rhythm and Blues in Chatanooga, TN; and SXSW in Austin, TX.  Last summer they played at Avondale Brewery during an afternoon music festival.  And get this!  They will be opening for John Mayer when he comes to play in Tuscaloosa in April!  And if that’s not enough, they were the cover story of BMetro magazine last August in an article featuring local bands that make the city of Birmingham a great music city. St. Paul and the Broken Bones are going places!Mar31-SP&BBMar31-SP&BB2Their style is a mixture of soul and rock.  Paul sings lead vocals.  His wing man, Jesse Phillips, plays bass guitar.  Then there’s Andrew Lee on drums, Browan Lollar on electric guitar, and 3 guys on brass (trumpet, sax, and trombone).Mar31-SP&BB4They played at Workplay Friday night, and a bunch of us went to enjoy the show, which was SOLD OUT by the way!  We even met up for dinner at JClyde before the show.  It was a good time.  And of course, Paul did not disappoint.  Such a great show, my friend!  Keep it up!!

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sweet little man

We went back to the hospital this evening to hang out with the Broughs.  They had several visitors in and out, mostly friends like us.  Hudson was more alert this evening than when I saw him this afternoon.  He woke up for a feed, and stayed awake for a bit, looking around, scoping out his environment.  I was able to snap a lot more pictures…

Feb18-Hudson (9) Feb18-Hudson (13) Feb18-Hudson (14) Feb18-Hudson (29)Feb18-Hudson (16)the Brough family of three!Feb18-Hudson (17)Jonathan and some of the guys, including his brother and nephewsFeb18-Hudson (18) Feb18-Hudson (30)Greg getting some practice 😉Feb18-Hudson (21)Feb18-Hudson (20)Feb18-Hudson (11) Feb18-Hudson (23)Feb18-Hudson (25)and this might be my favorite shot of the day 🙂Feb18-Hudson (22)

Hudson Brooks Brough

One of Greg’s best friends, Jonathan Brough, and his wife Lindsay have been expecting their baby boy any day now.  Jon and Greg have been best friends since they met at Samford.  They were in each others weddings, which Jon and Lindsay got married almost exactly a month before we did.  I met Lindsay when we were still dating these fine fellows, and we have become good friends over the past 2 years or so.  She’s very down to earth and we just clicked really well the few times we’ve gotten to hang out together.  They live in Louisville, KY so unfortunately we don’t get to see them as much as we would like.

Well, almost immediately after they found out they were pregnant (like literally, I think it was within days!), Jon called Greg and shared the good news.  We threw them a baby shower back in November with all our friends from Birmingham and I know Jon was so excited to see all his buddies!  It was that weekend that I realized Greg (and Jon) intended on us making a trip to Louisville when Hudson decided to make his grand debut.  It took a little while before I realized they were serious!  I joked to Lindsay that these guys would be connected at the hip if they could be…but of course I wanted to check with mommy-to-be to make sure she was ok with us coming to visit on the big day.  Lindsay was so sweet and said they would love to have us come and celebrate.

So for the past week or so we have been checking in and getting little updates as she had her weekly check-ups.  His due date was February 18th. Well, Sunday morning we woke up as usual.  Greg had to go help his parents unload their last load from moving out of their lakehouse this past weekend.  I went to church and met up with his family afterwards.  We got home around 2pm with plans of heading off to the Home and Garden Show at the BJCC.  (Unfortunately, Greg had left his phone at home all morning).  When we got home, I found his phone and realized Brough had sent him several messages…the last one said, “are you getting any of these?”  haha, oops. Sorry Brough 😉

We found out Lindsay had gone into labor that morning and was being admitted to the hospital.  Greg and I just looked at each other for a minute, tried to collect our thoughts and form a plan, and then we just decided to start packing.  I called my mom and she said she could keep Lily and Sophie, and we decided Jack could come with us.  We got everything in order and by 4pm we were on the road to Kentucky!

We arrived in Louisville around 10pm (Louisville time).  When we got to the hospital, we met up with Jon and Lindsay’s parents and a few other family and friends’ of theirs.  We got to go back and see Lindsay for a little while and enjoyed visiting with them while they just waited on her to continue dilating.  We waited for a while, then around 1am she was almost fully dilated.  As much as I tried staying up, I knew even after Hudson was born it would probably be a while before anyone could go back and see them.  So Greg offered to take me home (to Jon and Lindsay’s house where we are house and dog-sitting for a few days!).  Then he headed back to the hospital.  Turns out little man didn’t deliver until 4:10AM!  He was actually born on his due date!!  And he is doing well!  Weighs 7 lbs, 4oz and has a head full of auburn-y red hair!

Feb18 (5)Poor Jon and Lindsay hardly got any sleep last night.  By the time they were moved to their post-partum room, it was shift change on the unit, so the new day shift nurses were trying to get assessments and get her settled into the room.  Plus the hospital is under a lot of construction, so there’s all kinds of banging and clanging of machines and hammers in the early morning hours and all day.  We’re gonna take them our sound machine to tonight in hopes it will drown out some of the noise!

Greg got home around 6am, and so when I got up this morning I let him keep sleeping and around noon I headed up to the hospital to meet Mr. Hudson!  He was sound asleep the whole time 🙂  He is precious!  I was thankful to get a few minutes with him before a bunch of other family members starting arriving to visit.

Feb18 (1) Feb18 (2)Now we’re back at the house chillin’ with the pups for a while.  We’ll go back and visit all the Broughs around dinner-time tonight.  Lindsay has been craving some sushi, so we’re bringing her a plateful!  In the meantime, we’ll keep their other baby company… 🙂

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Birthday Adventures

Today is Greg’s birthday.  My dear hubby is 28!  And to celebrate his birthday he wanted to take a trip to Nashville!  You know what’s really sweet?  I think he actually thought through something we could do for the weekend that he knew I would really enjoy.  He suggested going to Nashville and going to the ICE exhibit and exploring the Opryland Hotel and seeing all the Christmas lights.  I mean he could have asked to go on a guy’s hunting trip, or finding a football game to travel and go to.  But he chose something he knew I would really enjoy as well, and I appreciate that so much!  I love spending one-on-one time with my husband, and this weekend was so much fun!

And one of the best parts of the trip was that we got to stay with our good friends Steven and Mallorie who moved up to TN earlier this year.  We miss seeing those guys, so it was fun to catch up with them.  They bought a forclosure house on a 5-acre lot of land…aka, they have a farm 🙂  Well, eventually they will have a farm with goats and chickens, they hope.  Right now it’s just a house and barn on lots of land, but I loved it!

We left Birmingham when I got off work Friday night, which put us getting into Lebanon, TN pretty late, but that was ok.  Steve and Mal both had to work a little bit on Saturday.  Steven is a vet and Mallorie owns her own shop in historic downtown Lebanon.  But it was fine, because Greg and I decided to just go exploring around downtown Lebanon square and do a little Christmas shopping (and some antique shopping!) (Especially since I’d be dying to see Mallorie’s new store!).  Check her out… POSH.

I really liked this pie safe. It would be perfect for holding my canning supplies and goods.  But it was a little too big and a lot too pricey.

Saturday evening we went to dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Demos‘ and it was DELICIOUS!! I’ve been craving a good chicken fettuccine alfredo and this place hit the spot.  After dinner we drove into Nashville to go to ICE.  It was a lot of fun!  The theme this year was Shrek.

This is the line waiting to go down the ice slide.  And don’t worry, it was worth it 😉

After ICE, we walked to the Opryland hotel and saw the lights and got a few drinks at one of the bars inside.  We loved getting to spend this quality time with our friends.

And then today, we had lunch with some more friends who also recently moved to TN.  Laura and Dan just got married in October, and I was so sad we couldn’t go to their wedding (it was the weekend of the New Orleans half-marathon).  So Greg and I met them for lunch at Dave and Busters at Opry Mills.  The food was delicious, and of course the arcade center was a big success.  And it was so nice to see these friends 🙂

I think it’s safe to say the weekend was GREAT!  It’s always nice to get away for a bit, and I think my birthday boy enjoyed it 🙂

It’s a BOY!

One of Greg’s best buds, Jonathan Brough, and his wife Lindsay are expecting a baby boy (Hudson) in February.  And ever since we found out about their little bundle of joy this past summer, we have wanted to throw them a baby shower to celebrate.  Jon and Lindsay are from Louisville, KY.  So we planned for them to drive down to Birmingham, stay at our place for the weekend and we’d host them a baby shower.

It was such a fun weekend!  We cooked breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning, Greg took them out shooting (with his new shotgun I gave him for our anniversary), and to Dave’s pizza for lunch while I finished prepping for the party.  Thank goodness my friend Leah came over to help me set-up/decorate because we were scrambling to get it all done before the rest of the guests arrived.  I was popping one thing after another into the oven to cook and we were hanging banners and burlap everywhere.  It turned out super cute, if I do say so myself!

 

 We mostly just hung out for a while, eating food and watching football games.  The Notre Dame game was a huge hit, and finally after 3 overtimes, that game ended, so we took a break to let the mama and daddy-to-be open their gifts!

 
 

The guys all chipped in together and bought Brough a really nice pocket knife.  Greg got it engraved with “Brough” and “Live for the moment.”  The idea is that one day, Jon will pass it down to Hudson when he’s older.  It was a great night hanging out with friends, and of course we always love seeing the out-of-towners every chance we get! 

 
 

Later, I’m going to post some recipes from the baby shower and a DIY tutorial for a mod-podge letter!  So check back for those!!