Wednesday, December 30, 2009

you know, santa claus and ho ho ho, and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls

We're back! From traveling the globe, it seems. More like traveling the great state of North Carolina. It was great seeing the families and having time to spend with everyone, but we're thankful for a few days at home before I start back to work on the 4th. Here's a recap of our travelogue, in case you're interested (which you're probably not, but you need something to read while you're here):

Christmas, pt1: Concord. LOTS of great food and sweets and movies and presents. I love it each and every year that I've been a part of it.

Christmas, pt2: Black Mountain. More great food, some lingering snow from an old storm, wrapping paper fights and laughing, laughing, laughing with the family I've come to treasure over the last 23 years

Christmas, pt3: Youngsville. Tag-team dinner with my mom (which I love!) and a perfect, cozy little time with the Johnson clan. Complete with the Christmas tradition of my dad (read: Scrooge) adorning the Santa Claus hat and passing out presents. Deep down, I'm pretty sure he hates it. Deep deep DEEP down, I think he loves it.

Some bad news that I'm going to get through quickly, to keep myself from drowning in it:
  1. World's worst haircut happened today. Major recovery tomorrow, which I fear might take off several inches. Hopefully we can make it cute and I won't cry over it. Lame, I know, but I'm sure you ladies understand.
  2. Andrew broke his toe. A piece of firewood landed on it yesterday at just the right angle to essentially snap it in half. And turn it crooked. Not cute. That means no OCS on January 24. We're off to the orthopedist tomorrow to talk about details/options/healing time. Blah.
See, Page! Not bad at all...

Love to you all. Hope your season was bright.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

merry christmas eve!

We got to the Castrodales' house yesterday evening and have been enjoying all of the Christmas festivities imaginable since then. Christmas tomorrow, Black Mountain on Saturday for Round 2, and Youngsville on Tuesday for Round 3. I love it!

I was thinking this morning that I love all of the Castrodale Christmas traditions that I've been a part of for the last few years: a Christmas movie the night we arrive, baking and cooking and baking and cooking, spending ALL day opening presents, getting dressed up for dinner...it's all so precious to my little sentimental heart. And I decided that I'm ready to start planning the traditions for our family. When little baby Castrodale decides to make an appearance, I need to be ready - agreed?
  1. Read the Christmas story before bedtime on Christmas Eve. My mom always did that for Tyler and me and I've always looked forward to doing that for my own kids.
  2. Spend the ENTIRE season bakings various deserts. Especially the cookies I made last night, which Andrew named "Christmas Spirit Cookie." DELICIOUS.
  3. Watch a Christmas movie every night (ambitious, I know) from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day.
  4. Let my kids be Secret Santas to needy families in the community.
  5. French toast for breakfast on Christmas Day (we're stealing that one from Mrs. Castrodale, per Andrew's request)
  6. REALLY cute Christmas PJs for the little ones. Of course.
  7. Ideally, I would love our kids to enjoy a house full of family - hope you all are willing to travel to where we are :)
  8. I need a traditional Christmas dinner, but I haven't settled on one yet. Suggestions?
  9. Lots of apple cider.
  10. This one's my favorite: Andrew takes the babies to pick out a Christmas tree. I stay back to have hot drinks and fresh cookies ready for their return. Then we decorate the tree and watch a movie. And, hooray! the season has started.
I hope you all are enjoying your traditions. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

tis the season...to ramble

And to be uber busy, but to take in every single second.


Andrew and I just finished wrapping our Christmas presents. Let me set the stage: lights are on, Christmas candles are lit, we're in our "jingle jammies" and we just finished some apple cider. I'm all about making memories with every single cliche activity you can think of. I love it. My favorite part about the Christmas scene in my house right now?







My mom gave this nativity to me for Christmas last year and I almost cried. I spent about half an hour getting it set up JUST right and every time I look at it I'm sweetly reminded of how precious that moment must have been to Mary. I love it.


Tomorrow, both of our families are coming over for a celebratory Christmas dinner. I'm so excited to host it and even more excited to have a way to thank our families for what they've done to get us to where we are. When Andrew found out that he was accepted into the Navy, I felt like I needed to call 5o0 people and personally thank them for their involvement. Seriously - couldn't have done it without them. If you're reading this and you're related: couldn't have done it without you.


Also, on an unrelated but kind of related note, every time I see that Hallmark commercial where the girl gives her mom a card and says "we couldn't have made it through this last year without you," I think of my mom and how true that is for me and I cry. EVERY STINKIN' TIME.


Anyway, the families are coming over. I'll give you details later and maybe even some pictures if you're lucky. So I'm a little anxious about preparing, but mostly excited. Rudy, however, is thrilled.



Can't you tell? There's our boy - snoozing off and on in the corner. Ya'll, we LOVE that dog. What a blessing and joy he is. He seriously loves us like you would not believe. Every morning when Andrew lets him out of his crate downstairs, the first thing he wants to do is come find me. So he runs upstairs and looks all around (even though I'm always still in the bed) and when he finds me, he lays his ears back, wags his tail like a maniac and jumps up to lick my hand. Love it. So cute.


Not sure where this is going or where I meant for it to go. Just something for you to read in case you were tired of checking in to the same post. New Years Resolution: blog more.


Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

a funny conversation

And then I promise I'll post Christmas/house pictures! Maybe...

This morning, Andrew and I were talking about how I have such a weak stomach and will probably be really sickly when I'm pregnant.

Page: I bet I'll be so sick when I'm pregnant.
Andrew: Great. Are you SURE you don't want to get pregnant right before I get on a submarine?
Page: Andrew! You don't want to take care of your ailing wife and unborn child? I can't believe you would leave me at a time like that. You know, that's why people have affairs.
Andrew: Yeah, because sick pregnant ladies are SO sexy.

I'm not sure why that cracked me up like it did. But it did. And don't worry - I in no way meant to imply that I would have an affair. He's too much of a catch for that :)

Another weekend with the Castrodales...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

santa brought andrew a J-O-B!

Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. And I am SO sorry that it took me so long to update this! I'm sure most of you lovely readers out there know the news. Except maybe the secret ones, so of course you'll never admit to that. But yes, HE GOT IT! We are absolutely thrilled beyond belief. I think that by the time Tuesday rolled around, we both decided that we'd be surprised either way. When I thought about it, I knew he was capable and qualified. But when I agonized over it, I wondered if the Admiral would be having a bad day and dismiss him because our last name is too hard to pronounce. It was miserable. Here's a quick recap of Tuesday:

6:30 am (Page at Aunt Anne's, Andrew at the hotel): Get a text from Andrew that says he's on his way to the interview, but can't call. And he loves me.

7am: get up, with butterflies in my tummy, to get ready for the day.

9am - 1:30pm: camp out at Starbucks to work, watch the minutes drag by. Talk to work friends about how waiting is terrible. Call Mrs. Castrodale to talk about how waiting is terrible. Text Andrew (who can't have his phone on, but whatever) and tell him that waiting is terrible. Wish it wasn't the middle of the night where Martha is/wish she lived next door because now's the time I want to call her.

1:30pm: Walk back to Aunt Anne's apartment because waiting like this should not be done alone.

2pm - 2:30pm: Eat some cheese and crackers for lunch (nothing more because of the butterflies) and chat with Aunt Anne about what our life will be like if he gets it.

2:30pm - 3pm: Set up in Aunt Anne's office to do some more work. Every 5 minutes or so, we each pipe up from our respective rooms to ask if the other is as anxious. We are.

3:15pm: I have an epiphany. The Admiral interviews are only supposed to last 5 minutes and they start at 1pm. If Andrew wasn't selected, he'd be long gone by now. He must be filling out paperwork! Discuss my hypothesis with Aunt Anne and she agrees. We jump up and down a little bit, but decide not to get our hopes up. After all, maybe the Admiral was just running late and they haven't gotten started?

3:30pm: Randomly decide to check navynupoc.blogspot.com which has been our guide through this whole process. See this post: http://navynupoc.blogspot.com/. Run to tell Aunt Anne that he was either accepted or reinvited and I'm okay with either. She agrees and we jump up and down again.

3:45pm: I decide that even though Andrew hasn't called me yet to tell me I can pick him up, I'm tired of waiting. Ask Aunt Anne if I should go and she whole-heartedly says yes. (Love her!)

5pm: Arrive at Andrew's hotel, texting him to tell him where I am. It was supposed to take 15 minutes, but traffic in DC is a beast and it took an hour. I'm frazzled and concerned that I can't find him.

5:15pm: I see him walk out of the hotel and I get out of the car to flag him down. He sees me, crosses the street and just says "Hey." (Really?)

Andrew: Hey
Me: Well?
Andrew: I got it. (big smile)

You would think that I would start freaking out, but all I could do was cry. Ya'll, I am SO PROUD my husband. He has worked so hard for this and there has been so much riding on this that all I could do was cry - out of relief and joy and gratefulness that once again, the Lord has blessed us beyond belief.

So he got it and he leaves on January 24 for OCS. Which means I get just under two months with the boy before he heads out. For that I am thankful. Then? It's an adventure and we absolutely can't wait :)


(Coming soon - by popular demand - will be Christmas pics of the new house and the growing puppy. Stay tuned!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

this is it, don't get scared now

Classic line from Home Alone, in case you were wondering.

Tomorrow's the big day. In 12 hours, Andrew will be walking to the Naval Yard. In 15 hours, he'll be in the middle of technical interviews. In 18 hours, he'll be meeting with the Admiral. In 20 hours, he'll know whether or not he's been accepted into the Navy. Yikes.

He's already at the hotel - I dropped him off about an hour ago and came back to his Great (emphasize great, as in AMAZING) Aunt's apartment where I'll be staying tonight. I couldn't stay with him at the hotel and we felt like it was too risky to have him stay here with us, across town when he needed to be ready for the interview so early. If he misses it, it won't be on my watch.

So I'm camped out in Aunt Anne's office, catching up on some work, listening to Christmas music and crying in little spurts for no particular reason other than the fact that I'm exhausted and anxious. And about a million other emotions that are pumping through my little heart and have no other escape route.

So, here's what I have to say to you, Andrew...

I couldn't be more proud of you. Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, I am immeasurably proud of you. You have worked SO hard for this - chasing your dream job and trying to find a way to provide for us. That's why I love you: you're passionate and hardworking and determined, and you love me in those same ways. I know after seeing this that you will absolutely take care of me. More so than I probably deserve. And no matter what you tell me at 4pm tomorrow, I will continue to follow you with my eyes shut if I have to, because I am 100% confident that you are doing what's right for us. So go and have fun and do your best and be you. I will love you for that no matter what.

Monday, November 23, 2009

phew

What a two weeks it has been. Forgive me for the over-due post, but wow WHAT A TWO WEEKS IT HAS BEEN. We packed, we moved, we unpacked, we settled and we did it all with a lot of stuff in between and a few hiccups that made the whole time seem to crawl by. But we're here and we love it! I don't think either of us realized how cooped up we've been until we got here and started breathing breaths that I didn't know I was even holding. Then all of the excitement caught up with me (+ the sleepless nights + the work stress) and I ended up with a nasty cold this weekend. Lucky for me, I have the sweetest husband who set me up on the couch with all the Christmas movies a girl could want. And of course, my precious puppy stayed by my side the whole time to keep me warm napping across my legs. Sometimes I think the Lord has to force me to relax and I totally appreciate it.

So here we are, anticipating how we'll decorate for Christmas and preparing for Thanksgiving and the big interview in the days to follow. I can't wait to get there and know, one way or the other, what our next step is (or isn't). Of course, we want this to work out, but part of me just wants to know something, regardless of what it is, so we can at least move forward. Keep us in your prayers and stay tuned!!

Tis the season for good things, I do believe. May your Thanksgiving be blessed...

Monday, November 9, 2009

three weeks!

Until...Andrew's interview! He found out today that there's a spot for him on December 1st. We are SO excited to know that this is finally moving forward. Keep him in your prayers over the next few weeks while he's prepping for that (in the midst of moving - whoa). According to the lady he talked to today, if he gets accepted on Dec 1, he'll probably go to OCS (officer bootcamp for three months) on January 3. That feels a little too close for me to dwell on, so I choose not to :) We'll make the most of the holidays and then he'll be out of here chasing his dream job. In the meantime, we have to pack and think about the right now.

We're almost there, folks!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

reasons why we love Rudy

We've had him for just over a month now and we keep finding more reasons to completely adore this pup. Granted, he tested our patience for the first few weeks and there were several times where we contemplated ever having children, but we made it and now we're thankful for a great dog. So here's our ode (kind of ) to Rudy...
  1. He's ridiculously cute. We can't take him anywhere without getting comments.
  2. He's really smart. Even thought right now he's freaking out because he can't catch his tail, he's usually brilliant.
  3. He gets the hiccups about 5 times a day. Usually when he's been startled. Adorable.
  4. He's determined - this morning he dragged his blanket and 3 toys from the kitchen into the living room so he could lie comfortably in the sun.
  5. He's curious. Hence the reason he has primer on the tips of his ears and whiskers for the time being.
  6. He's a true hound dog. He roots stuff out of the woods that I'd rather not discuss.
  7. When he sleeps, he cuddles this little blue elephant that my mom got him. Precious.
  8. He's patient with the kids next door that ALWAYS want to pet him. Even the littlest one who always says, "His ears is fluuuffy."
  9. His favorite snack? Ice. Talk about economical. A dog after Andrew's own heart.
  10. He's SO sweet. He can absolutely tell when I'm feeling sad or disappointed and he immediately goes into cuddle mode.
That's it for now, I believe. We do love our Rudiger!


Monday, November 2, 2009

we're moving!

Don't get too excited - it's not anything fancy. In terms of a Navy update, there isn't one. We're still waiting to find out when his interview date will be, so we're still practicing patience :)

BUT...we're moving! The lease on our apartment ran out a few months ago and we're already paying more than when started because of the garage we're renting and the month to month fees. Yikes. So, we figured that if we're paying more and we know we'll be here for a while, we might as well live in something a little more comfortable. We found a rental house that's a bit closer to work AND it has a huge fenced in backyard for Rudy. It's adorable and I love it.

We move in two weeks and have about 1/25 of the house packed. We're hopefully going to do a little bit at a time over the next two weeks until the big moving day, when Andrew's parents come to help. But ya'll, I'm a teensy bit sad. Remember sentimental Page? She's raging right now. Last night, we started taking the pictures off the wall so we can prime over the paint and I realized that we're moving out of our first home. That's sad.

I had flashbacks to this:



We were setting up our first place - we'd been married less than a month, we both had jobs, we were COMPLETELY happy. It's not so much sad to think of leaving this place, but to think of moving on from a time that has been so simple. Things have been on the brink of crazy for a few months (while we get ready for the potential Navy move) and while it's an exciting opportunity, it's scary to think that this time is gone, you know?

But such is life and we love it anyway. Because it's crazy and unpredictable. Besides, moving means I get to make lists upon lists of things to do/pack. And clearly, that's worth it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

wedding bliss



This past weekend, Andrew and I traveled to Atlanta for JKing's wedding. Who is JKing you ask? That would be Jessica King. This post is dedicated to her.

In August of 2005, I was a sophomore at Carolina living with Martha in a dorm on campus. We were leading a bible study of freshmen girls that year and it just so happened that one of the girls that signed up, lived in the room beneath us. We went to introduce ourselves (read: beg her to come to our bible study) and hopefully make a new friend. This cute, little (and by little, I mean a good foot shorter than me) spunky girl opened the door and proceeded to rock my world for the next 3 years. That first encounter turned into a friendship that was full of complete trust and vulnerability and I LOVED IT. We met several times a week - sometimes to read the bible together over coffee, sometimes to talk about boys, sometimes to cry because she was homesick - but every time the Lord somehow grew our relationship a little more.

I could spend pages going on about how much I love this girl, but I assume you get the point by now. She just spreads sunshine in my life and I want to make sure that's clear. The amazing thing about JKing is that she was dating Ben when she came to Carolina. The day I met her, there were flowers on her desk that he had sent her from Clemson, where he was in school. And they stayed together, apart, for four years. With different lives, different friends and different memories, patiently waiting to spend their life together with the same life, the same friends and the same memories. I love them for that. To see them at their wedding, ridiculously giddy with excitement (I think she may have even done a little happy clap at some point during the ceremony) was a blessing.

All of this to say, Congratulations Ben and Jess. I love love love that you're Mr. and Mrs. Mann.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

i want to be a doer

For some reason, that has hit me hard this week - in several different ways. A few years ago, a guest pastor at our church quoted an author who wrote:


I despaired at the thought that my life might pass me by without God moving greatly on my behalf.

Most days, that's exactly how I feel. But I tuck that thought away believing that I have to get to a certain point in life before I can live radically enough to let that happen. Lame, I know. But I'm just being honest.

So I was reminded of that quote this week when I found Donald Miller's new book at Barnes and Noble, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I haven't started reading it yet, but I'm sure it'll be fabulous, per usual. Basically, it's about how people set out with intentions of doing great things with their life, but then find that they've only done ordinary things. And what if we really did to what we intended?
So in light of the "do it" inspiration I've received this week, here's a list of what I want to do:
  • Love Jesus so much that it makes me love everyone around me. Regardless of whether or not I like them.
  • Be a healthy eater.
  • Start a Christmas tradition of anonymously leaving dinner/presents for a family in the community.
  • Be a completely selfless wife.
  • Travel to places that make me aware of the world outside of my little one.
  • Adopt a little girl from China and name her after my grandmother.
  • Have a home that my kids' friends feel comfortable and loved in.
  • Teach my kids to love Jesus so much that it makes them love everyone around them.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Experience things that are outside my comfort zone.
  • Love on kids who aren't being loved on.
  • Always be filled with joy.

Those are my musings for now. Do with them what you wish...

Monday, October 12, 2009

monday night blues

I like coffee shops. I like the coffee and the music and the big leather chairs. But I love coffee shops on cold, rainy nights - like tonight. Andrew was feeling majorly cooped up and I was feeling snuggly, so we grabbed a Caribou Coffee coupon and here we sit with our pumpkin spice/caramel apple lattes.

Andrew found out last week that he didn't make the cut for the October interview, so now we're hoping for the November 19th interview. And we wait. While it's only a month until the next potential interview date (and a few weeks until we know if he's made that date), we're both feeling a little rattled. We were talking about it at dinner and it's not necessarily impatience as much as it is frustration. This is such a gigantic waiting game and we're both so ready to get moving (that sounds like impatience, but I promise it's different). I think we're learning that timing is everything, the Lord didn't just stop watching over this situation, and fretting over the fact that the process isn't moving along as quickly as we'd like is going to accomplish a lot of nothing. And cause a lot of stress. So why not spend the time we have together - together? Not split apart by the what ifs/how longs/what abouts.

So we're working on that while we nurse our lattes. And I'm so thankful for coupons and rainy days and a sweet husband who's just wants to take care of his family. Silver lining, is that you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

life with the new addition

As for Navy news, we're still waiting to hear from the recruiter about the interview date.

So I'll update you on the pup instead :) Let's say this: we have laughed A LOT. He is maybe the cutest little dog in the world and we have thoroughly enjoyed him. The first week was rough - separation anxiety, a tummy virus, midnight bathroom trips and yelping for no reason just about put us over the edge. But we've worked through most of it and now he's the biggest joy.


Since I'm the queen of lists, here's one for our little guy:
  1. He is a SNUGGLER. He will wiggle and scootch and fuss until he's positioned just under your arm with his cute little head in your lap.
  2. He's smart. And we're excited about that.
  3. He used to yelp any time he was left unattended, but we implemented a squirt bottle and within a few hours we had that under control. Now he cowers when he hears us shake the bottle.
  4. He has a few toys, but the one he loves the most is one that my mom got him. A blue, terry cloth elephant, BoBo. He's had it for 4 days and he takes it everywhere. Pretty cute.
  5. When he has a toy, we'll say "Get it Rudy" and he shakes it rapidly from side to side, growling. My little guard dog :)
  6. We're not sure what he is, but we think he's got some hound in him. He'll track all kinds of stuff - frogs, bugs, rabbits. And when I say track, I mean stop in his tracks, stick his tail straight up and dig in the rocks until the creature crawls out and he can chase it. We tell him all the time that he's a hound doggg, like Copper.
  7. Bojangles is like crack for that kid. He smelled ours this weekend, but we didn't give him any and he was still hyper for about 2 hours. He's a maniac.
  8. We had the pleasure of spending $150 for a shot of Benadryl on Saturday when he had an allergic reaction to something that made his face swell up and his eye swell shut. That was fun.
  9. Things he's learned today: he pawed on the door to go outside, he was left alone in the kitchen while we went to dinner for THREE HOURS and he didn't have an accident (and was asleep when we got back) and he learned how to go up/down the stairs. The down part was freaking hilarious when he was trying to learn.
  10. He's awesome and completes our family perfectly.
Note: While I was proofreading this, he was a little jealous of my computer that was getting all of the attention. After trying to bat my hands away and a little bit of whining, he promptly sulked over to Andrew as if to say, "Fine, then. If you won't rub me, I bet Andrew will." Let me go give the little guy some love so he'll stop pouting...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

some big, big news. BIG.

(WARNING WARNING: THIS IS A LONG ONE - And no, I'm not pregnant. We've got Rudy, remember?)

It's actually been quite a week in terms of big news. We got iPhones (super cheap because I'm a bargain hunter). We got a dog. Jon is leaving Jon and Kate +8. Hellooooo, it just seems that the timing is perfect to launch this as well.

Short story: Andrew is applying for the Navy. And he already made it through phase 1 of 2 (!!!)
Long story: As you all probably know by now, the boy has been unemployed for almost a year. Sometimes I can't believe that it's been that long, that we've made it this long without falling apart at the seams, that the Lord has been so good as to bless us with the patience and strength to get through this time. But as the months started rolling by, we started wondering what the next step was. Andrew was considering the military B.P. (as we call it, before Page), so it was already on his mind, but we decided long before we even got married that the military wasn't the best setup for newlyweds. And we put that idea to rest.

But then, after many conversations about Andrew's passions and long-term goals, and after he made incredible grades this summer (the program he was considering B.P. is very physics/math heavy), we decided to look into the military option a little more. And after a lot of planning/praying he's pursuing a program in the Navy that would make him an officer on a nuclear-powered submarine. At this point in the process, his application has been accepted (!!!) and he's waiting on a date where he'll go to Washington, DC for several rounds of final interviews. I have to mention that the application process is supposed to be the hardest/most competitive of the whole process, not the interview. So I'm uber proud of this smart man that I married for getting through that phase. In September, they accepted 24 out of 25 interviewers in DC, so we're hoping for the same stats at his interview! If he's accepted in DC, it's official right then and there. He'll leave on the payroll and start planning for OCS (bootcamp for officers).

Here's the scoop (if accepted):
1. OCS for 12 weeks in Rhode Island (Rudy and I will hold the fort down back here)
2. Move to Charleston for a year so Andrew can go to nuke school (Charleston? Ok, twist my arm, I’ll go…)
3. Move somewhere else close to the water. Andrew will spend 2 years going in and out on a submarine (Rudy and I will hold down that fort, ticking away the days that Andrew’s gone and making the most of the days when he’s around)
4. Move somewhere else where he would have some sort of desk job for 2 more years (i.e. Pentagon, ROTC at a university, teaching at the nuke school)
5. DONE. The commitment is up after 5 years (including school) and he'll essentially have a degree in nuclear engineering and some awesome leadership experience.

All in all, we're really excited about where the Lord is taking us with this. It's an adventure and we welcome it with open arms. We’ll keep you updated on the details as they come in. In the meantime, we’d love a prayer or two in our name.

“Sometimes the only way is jumping, I hope you’re not afraid of heights…”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet Rudy

We adopted a puppy! We went to look this evening and it was love at first sight. They called him a terrier mix, but he we think he has some kind of boxer/pit bull in him. He'll probably be somewhere around 40 lbs, which is perfect for us.

Since he's the little runt of his litter (the group was abandoned a few weeks ago), but he's definitely got spunk, we're calling him Rudy.

Our little guy comes home on Wednesday, but here's a picture to tide you over. How precious is he?? :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

holy hot stones, that was fantastic

Here's the thing about my job. Even in the midst of late nights, early mornings, back to back meetings, 100+ daily emails and lots of tedious, detail oriented projects, it definitely has its perks. For those of you that don't know, I work at an ad agency as a media planner, where I plan and buy advertising space. When you see a commercial or a magazine ad or a billboard on the interstate, a media planner decided that the ad was best placed in that spot (it's why Dove chocolate commercials come on during Desperate Housewives and BudLight commercials come on during a football game).

And for every ad space that I want to buy, there is someone who wants to sell it. And to get in my good graces, the sellers offer all kinds of stuff - notebooks, pens, stress balls, windbreakers, travel alarm clocks, lunches, dinners. I even got a mini-fridge once. And when you buy from them, they want to thank you for it.

So that's my lead up to this - my team was treated to massages and dinner at a swanky golf resort in Cary last night. AMAZING. I'm not one to pamper myself, but I appreciate it when someone else does. It was such a relaxing treat and 24 hours later, I'm still feeling the effects.

Reason #234 that I love my job.

Friday, September 18, 2009

break out your fuzzy socks, folks

I think I saw an orange leaf on the way to work this morning. I'm just sayin'...

Before we know it, the mulling spices will be mulling in my apple cider and you won't be able to coax me out of my Eddie Bauer fleece from 5:30pm on Friday until bedtime on Sunday. Love it.




Friday, September 11, 2009

the good life

I had a sweet memory this evening.

I was waiting in the car for Andrew to pick up our 24 disk of the week at Blockbuster (because I forgot to add it to the Netflix queue in time!) and I remembered a certain escapade from last January. But let me preface this story with an explanation. We started watching 24 on Netflix a few months ago, thinking that it couldn't hurt to watch one episode to see what the fuss was about. Three hours later, we had started a tradition. Every Friday night since then we've spent our date night watching a disk and we've slowly made it through the most recent season. In short, we're obsessed/addicted.

So back to last January. We finished a particularly exciting disk, on a snowy weekend, and we couldn't wait for the next disk to come in the mail. So we drove to Blockbuster at 9pm in an ice storm so that we could get our fix. I don't know why, but it's one of my favorite memories with him. It was just such a spontaneous thing that we probably won't be able to do in 5 years. I just love this time, where we spend time together selfishly and it's okay. We can make last minute decisions to go walk around the mall just to kill time, settle on pancakes for dinner because we don't want to wash dishes later, and sleep in if we want. We stay up late on Fridays, watch movies on Saturday afternoon and spend Sundays reading and napping. We're low maintenence and I like that.

There's no reason for this particular story, just something to share in case you stopped by and didn't want to see that another week had gone by without a post. Because I'm sure you'd be SO disappointed if that were the case :)

Enjoy, dear friends.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

where in the world are the castrodales?

Don't worry, we're still alive.

I honestly don't think "busy" even begins to describe what our (my) life has been like over the last two weeks. All of a sudden, I'm working 10-12 hour days, bringing stuff home on the weekend and dreaming about people/software/documents/projects at work. I've consumed more junk food (i.e. coffee for breakfast, pizza for lunch, milkshakes for dinner) than I have since college. I fell asleep last night at 9:15 and didn't open my eyes until 10:30 this morning. That's my body's way of saying, "CALM DOWN! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!"

So, needless to say, blogging hasn't been at the top of my list, courtesy of my promotion/new account at work. Don't get me wrong, the promotion is amazing, flattering and a complete blessing, but I miss the boy and my face won't stop breaking out. But really, even in the craziness, I'm thankful for a job, thankful for the ability to stay busy, and thankful for a company that treats its people well. That makes things a lot better. And I'm very thankful for a husband that knows how to cook, clean, do laundry and not pout when his wifey gets home at 9:30. That makes a world of difference.

So this weekend we're having a little fun. We took it easy this morning and in a few hours, we're off to play with my cousins for the evening to give their mom and dad a date night. Tomorrow is the NFL fantasy football draft, so while Andrew's off playing with my dad and their buddies, mom and I have big plans to do a little window shopping (and maybe get a pedicure, but don't tell Andrew!). Then, I just have to plow through one more week of work before a 3-day weekend that will most likely be spent lounging on the beach.

Hallelujah.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

thursday

It's my favorite day of the week. I like it because you can say, "Tomorrow's Friday!" and get really excited about it. Right now I'm sitting at a Caribou in Greensboro waiting for Martha to get here. She's departing this weekend and I wanted one last hoorah before that happened. So we decided to meet for coffee half way. Only I made record, Super Man time and I've been here for the last 45 minutes waiting for her to get here. No worries though, because I have enjoyed the time to catch up on email.

Back to Thursday. Isn't it great? Friday is wonderful in its own right, with no explanation. Monday just gets two thumbs down. Tuesday is pretty horrible, too because you're still recovering from Monday but you're not close enough to Friday to make it feel worth it. And Wednesday is hump day, which I guess is cool, but Thursday wins, hands down.

In case you were wondering.

Also, there's a store across the street that is temporarily a Halloween Store. I hate that. I don't really know why, but seasonal stores are kind of annoying to me. What's the point of letting a building sit empty for 10 months, when you could just make it easy and put a holiday store there. They could sell any holiday stuff (Valentine's day, St. Patrick's day, 4th of July, Halloween, Christmas....) all year round. I think people would really like that. I would love it. Christmas any time I want? Heck yeah.

Well there's your random thought(s) for the day. And there's Martha.

Kisses.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

a quick update/random babble

1. Andrew's finished with classes! He rocked out the second sessions as well, with 2 A's. Such a genius he is.
2. Work = crazy. Hence the lack of blogging. 10-12 hour days = CRASHING when I get home. Sorry, folks.
3. The weekend with the girls was perfect. It was such a nice little escape. So great, in fact, that those of us who aren't moving back to the other side of the world (I'm bitter about that, by the way, you big tree (Tha, if you get that reference, I'll know for sure that we're soul mates!)) have decided to make it a monthly thing. The third Friday of the month is now ladies' night. Hollerrr.
4. For dinner, I had frosted mini wheats, dry, and 3 chocolate chip cookies. Can I have my life back, please? Good heavens..
5. I'm watching You've Got Mail right now and I think it's one of my favorites. It's a great Christmas movie. I should make a note of that for when it's time to update the Holiday Netflix Queue.
6. I always joked with Martha when she was away that I needed a life-size cut out of her so that I wouldn't feel lonely. Guess what she brought me?
7. I feel the need to take a day off from work just for the sake of having a day off. I should look into that.
8. I want a dog.
9. I'm reading two books simultaneously, which I thought was a good idea. But when I have time to read, I can't choose, and so I don't read either. Dilemma.
10. Mom, we really need to go see My Sister's Keeper. For real this time.
11. My little brother is moving to COLLEGE in 2 weeks!
12. When I'm rich, I'm going to take two-week vacations, because it takes almost a full week to actually get into vacation mode. Who's with me?
13. My birthday balloons are still inflated.

That's all she wrote. Love Love!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

hold the phone

Martha comes today. To MY house. To see ME. I'm so excited! Then there's some intense girl time taking place Friday night with some of my favorite Tar Heel ladies. I'm telling you folks, this is much needed. And it's going to be amazing.

("Reunited and it feels so good..." just started playing in my head. Yikes.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

crazy

That's what this week has been, and it's only Wednesday. Andrew and I were just talking about how it's rare that we both have crazy lives at the same time. When we were both working, it seemed that we rotated busy weeks and whoever had the off week would pick up the slack. And when Andrew got laid off, he would just always pick up the slack :)

But this week? WOW. Every night we've collapsed into bed circa 8:30 or 9pm, because our brains were shutting down. The dish washer hasn't been unloaded in a while, because we've resorted to pancakes for dinner. We haven't opened the mail. The DVR is getting full. There are probably typos all over this thing. And, per usual, I'm weepy. I watched the Today Show this morning and teared up both at the the firemen that pulled a little boy out of a burning car and the March of Dimes commercial.

But, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy: the weekend is near. And while I have cleaning/errands to catch up on and Andrew has to study on Saturday, we've declared Sunday SUNDAY FUNDAY. And if we get REAL crazy, we might take a nap. Halleluljah.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

for better or worse

I don't think either one of us anticipated having to face our vows - for better for worse, for richer for poorer - as quickly as we did. Eight months after we got married, Andrew lost his job, and here we are eight months later having dealt with it rather well. This evening, Andrew and I were unpacking from a weekend trip to Concord. I was in one room, he was another, and we were cracking up over something that I honestly can't even remember now. And this was the conversation that traveled down our little hallway:

Andrew: Page, you know what?
Page: What?
Andrew: We're so happy.

It's simple, but I think it catches us off guard sometimes. Given our circumstances, we should be stressed out. And our green marriage should be shaking. But it's not. I have to believe that the Lord has blessed us with grace during this time when we weren't even asking for it. I have to believe that the He has his hand on our marriage. Because despite everything going on around us - we are so, so happy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the list maker

That's who I am. And that's what I do. My entire day involves making lists, because that's how I organize my thoughts. Right now, I'm waiting for some pictures to upload from my old computer to my new computer and I'm in the mood to make some lists. Enjoy.

THINGS I WANT TO BAKE
A red velvet cake
Another tiramisu (because the one I made for Andrew's birthday was freaking awesome)
Peanut butter cookies
Sourdough bread
PLACES I WANT TO GO
New York
Charleston
Italy
San Diego
Savannah
Australia

BOOKS I WANT TO READ
South of Broad
The Unlikely Disciple
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Little Women
Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance

THINGS I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO
Christmas
The girls' getaway weekend
Next year's beach trip with the fam
Watching 24 on Friday
Sleeping in on Saturday
REASONS WHY I MAKE LISTS
I'm compulsive
I feel better about myself when I can check things off
I can visualize everything that's on my mind
It gives you something to read on this silly little blog (you're welcome)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

happy birthday, love

I'm really glad you were born. I'm thankful for you every single day for so many different reasons. Because it's your birthday, I'm going to name some:
  1. You have such a servant's heart. Whether it's unloading the dishwasher while I cook dinner or fixing me a glass of water before bed, you are always eager to help.
  2. You make me laugh. Most often not when you're trying, and that's how I like it.
  3. You're patient.
  4. You love Jesus.
  5. You eat anything I put in front of you and tell me that it's good.
  6. You tell me 900 times a day that you love me.
  7. You tell me 900 times a day that you think I'm pretty.
  8. You're really smart and interested in interesting things.
  9. You love my family as much as I do.
  10. You're smart with money, which makes me confident about our financial future.
  11. You humor me. ALL THE TIME.
  12. You don't seem to mind that I veto El Rodeo every Friday night.
  13. You didn't protest when I put my graduation cap and gown, along with some mardi gras beads, on your Michael Jordan cutout.
  14. And of course, you're not bad to look at.

I love you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

happy...one year and four months anniversary?

Ok. So, you know how you're supposed to save the top layer of your wedding cake to freeze and eat on your one year anniversary? I didn't do that. The thought of having to keep up with that in my freezer for the year kind of stressed me out. And believe me, the sentimental side of me is SHOCKED. However, the bakery that made our wedding cake will make you a complimentary anniversary cake when it's time. And I forgot about that.


Until a week ago.

And who can pass up free cake? Certainly not the Castrodales. We enjoyed the first slice as a study break for Andrew on Sunday, and I'm taking the rest to the beach this week for my family to finish off. I must say, if the real thing was as good as this little thing, our guests were lucky! The only taste of the cake we got at the wedding was the little bit we shoved in each other's face.



The replica was cute...



But not as a cute as the original!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"I just want to see the White House"

That's what I've been saying for the last month as Andrew and I have been planning our trip to Washington, DC. I've never been, so I've been anxiously looking forward to it. And every time Andrew asked me what I wanted to do while we were there, I said that as long as I saw the White House, everything else would be gravy.


Mission Accomplished

We drove up for the weekend, so it was a short trip, but well worth it. Andrew's Aunt Anne was kind enough to host us and be our personal chauffeur, tour guide, chef, etc. I'm certain that the trip wouldn't have been nearly as fun without her! She's lived in DC for decades, so it was interesting to hear her take on history as she's watched it unfold over the years. To be honest, I'm completely fascinated by her and could listen to her stories for hours!
Saturday was spent touring the city. It was HOT, but the shade offered some relief and we were able to seek refuge in the National Gallery later in the afternoon. We had dinner with Aunt Anne at a great Italian restaurant and by that point, it had cooled off enough to eat outside. I wish I thought to take more pictures at dinner because we had a great time! And our lemon sorbet was served IN a lemon, that was frozen with the sorbet inside. That was definitely picture-worthy. I also really like how there's a view of something, no matter where you are in the city.

See the Capitol in the distance?
The Capitol Building
Korean War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument
The Thinker
This sculpture of a mother and child is called "Premiere Impression d'Amour" (The First Impression of Love). Isn't that beautiful?

On Sunday, we walked around town for a little while and then Aunt Anne took us to the Smithsonian American History museum where she worked for over 30 years. It was so fun to have an insider's tour! She took us through the highlights since we didn't have a ton of time and I hope to visit there with her again.

This was my first trip to DC and it was the perfect introduction. We had the best time and I absolutely can't wait to get back. Thanks, Aunt Anne, for being such a lovely host!


And yes, we went to the White House twice.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the eagle has landed

Martha's back from the Orient! I don't know when and I don't know how, but I know that SOON, we'll be reunited. And it's going to be craaazy.

Love you, Tha!

Friday, June 19, 2009

23

Yesterday was my birthday. As soon as the alarm went off, Andrew was singing Happy Birthday, offering to make me breakfast and be at my beck and call - even though he knows how much I hate mornings and respond with a mere "hmph" when spoken to. But he was persistent, and for that I love him. Here's a breakdown of the birthday events:

  1. A Happy Birthday sticky note in my purse, courtesy of The Mr.
  2. Lots of well wishes from friends and family.
  3. The annual birthday call with Nanny Dee, whose birthday is also June 18th. Which I love and think makes my birthday 100x more special.
  4. A birthday song from my mom, who said "happy birthday dear Mom...I mean Paaage" because of the confusion of the shared birthday with Nanny.
  5. A birthday chat with Martha - who comes home in just a few weeks! I'm so excited I can't stand it!
  6. A yummy lunch with the co-workers, complete with funfetti cupcakes and mimosas later that afternoon. And a Happy Birthday banner/balloons. (Actually, the balloons came from Business Week to promote their new edition of the magazine, but someone got creative with a magic marker and personalized them for me.)
  7. A beautiful purple orchid sitting in the passenger seat when Andrew picked me up, along with the SWEETEST card ever written (and the promise to take me shopping this weekend!)
  8. A glorious dinner from PF Changs. Um, splurge? Ok! And my birthday fortune read: Your happy heart brings joy and peace where there is none. How sweet!
  9. A collection of birthday cards that have come in the mail over the week.
  10. Scrabble. Courtesy of my lovely in-laws who sent me some play money. And since I've been wanting Scrabble for a while, we went straight to Target after dinner.

We finished the evening with an episode of Friends and then Andrew had to hit the books for a test he had today. But that was fine, because I watched four episodes of House Hunters and added some things to my Idea Book in the process. (FYI: the Idea Book is the renter's way of staying sane when you really want your own house but know you have to wait.)

So the verdict? GREAT birthday.

And when I woke up this morning, Andrew whispered "Happy Day After Your Birthday."

I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I married a smart man

And I'm going to brag about it! Andrew's professor just told him, after making another 100 on his calculus test (he's 3 for 3, folks!), that he doesn't need to come to class anymore OR take the final. So he finishes his first session of Calculus with an A+! Now all he has to do is take the Physics final on Tuesday and he's a free man. For a week, at least, and then he begins Round 2.

Way to go, love!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the graduate


Congratulations, little brother! We love you and we're SO proud of you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

some thoughts

It's kind of a lazy Sunday and I'm really excited about that. We have plans to take a nap, go to the library and the grocery store, and maybe play some tennis. The good life, eh? I have a bunch of random thought running through my head and I'd like to disperse them. I hope you're okay with that.

  1. We go to church so early, that when we come home and eat "lunch," it's usually not even 11am yet. That always throws off me off.
  2. I got a haircut yesterday. Nothing crazy, but I like it.
  3. Tyler is graduating from high school next weekend and that is WEIRD. Good weird, though.
  4. I keep forgetting that I'm obsessed with shoes. Since we don't have any money, I like to pretend shop (fill my online shopping cart with everything I love but can't buy) to try and alleviate the desire to have 342 pairs of shoes. It actually works a little bit.
  5. We have 7 weddings to go to this summer. SEVEN. Three of them already happened, but I'm afraid I'm going to forget some. A few weeks ago we lost the invitation to one and started wondering if we were actually invited, or if we just assumed that we were. We showed up and they didn't seem surprised, so I think we're okay.
  6. I always think I'm doing a good job of maintaining our blog, and then I see that 10 days have come and gone since the last post. Oops.
  7. Speaking of shoes, check out these cuties from Target. My birthday's coming up - any takers?
  8. We had dinner with my parents/Tyler last night and it was really fun. We stayed around until 11:30 just hanging out. We love those Johnson's.

  9. The washer is beeping, which means it's time to put clothes in the dryer and start another load. But, it's Sunday and I think God wants me to rest instead. Sweet!

And a Happy Sunday to you, too.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

back to school

Believe it or not, Andrew is almost 40% done with his first session of summer school. Which means he’s 20% done with all of summer school. And, if I may brag on my sweet, smart husband, he’s acing everything those crazy calculus and physics professors throw at him. I’ll never understand how someone can have a propensity toward that kind of thing, but I’m proud nonetheless.

The “routine” has been completely rearranged for the past two weeks. I’m not one to like a lot of disruption in my schedule, but I’m actually handling this rather nicely, thank you very much. Before, I would get up around 7am, shower and get ready while Andrew fixed me breakfast and packed my lunch. While I was at work, he would take care of laundry, errands, dishes, etc and would start dinner for me by the time I got home. It was NICE. But, all good things must come to an end, and I jumped back into wife mode rather quickly.

Now, I get up at 6:15am in time to throw on some clothes, pour his coffee and drive him to the bus stop for the 6:45 bus. Then I come home and do a little Fly Lady dance before getting ready for work. Andrew takes the bus back to my office around 5:30 and we head home together where we try to stay awake through dinner. It’s much different than being waited on hand and foot, but I like it. I’ve always known that I was hotwired to be a wife/mother so I enjoy having that job back – the wife part, anyway. The mother part isn’t happening anytime soon. Unless you want to feed and clothe our babes?

So, that’s our news. We’re thinking about taking a trip in June (to celebrate for our birthdays) so stay tuned for that. Otherwise, it’s all quiet…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

fun in the sun

I am in love with the beach. And with family. So if you combine them all for a week, I'm one happy camper. Rather than take the time to download the many, many pictures, I decided to toss my favorites into a collage. Clever, I know.

The events represented in these pictures include, but are not limited to:
  • Beautiful sunsets
  • Card games
  • Lots and lots of reading
  • Lots and lots of napping
  • Evening walks
  • Fighting crabs (not humans fighting crabs, crabs fighting crabs - over a crab home)
  • Cute toenail polish
  • Fireworks
  • REALLY good food
  • Kites - including one that washed up on shore and Andrew manage to untangle
  • Lots and lots of laughing

It was a great trip - one that I hope will continue for summers to come. Thanks to the Mr. and Mrs. for being wonderful hosts and letting us in on all the fun. We love you guys!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a family getaway

In a few days, we'll see this for a full week...


Jealous? We're spending the week with Andrew's family at a beach house and we are VERY excited. Especially after the constant dreariness we've experienced this week in terms of weather. I have a stack of books and a new bathing suit waiting to get packed up. Oh boy :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

good news!

Andrew is signed up to take some classes this summer at NC State! He's signed up for calculus and physics for both sessions (there goes my help around the house!) and we're excited that this is a step forward. At the very least, it'll give Andrew something to do. Now, we won't talk about how it's at State and we'd rather support the Carolina Blue, but we're still excited! Now, for two gigantic prayer requests. We only have one car and Andrew's classes start at 7:30am. EEEK! We have to figure out a carpooling/public transportation/second car solution to this problem. Soon. And there's the $$$$ factor - hopefully we can either (a) get some student loans or (b) get an extension on Andrew's unemployment. Otherwise Page might be selling snow cones on the street. I'm just sayin'...

But all in all, this is very good news. Andrew lost his job almost 6 months ago and it hasn't been until now that something has come along that feels somewhat mobilizing. Here's to hoping for straight A's!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

our weekend update (in case you were wondering)

Let me tell you something. We Castrodales are always on the go. This weekend was no different. We started out by celebrating my brother’s 18th birthday (what?!) with my parents, grandparents, Tyler’s girlfriend Kaitlyn, and Hubert. Hubert is Tyler’s pet duck. Let’s talk about this for a second. This is my (rock star) brother...

And this is Hubert...


Who knew that this guy would want a pet duck? That’s why I like him, because he’s his own person and he keeps me laughing ALL THE TIME. I love that kid. But what’s great about this little relationship, is that Hubert thinks Tyler is his mom. Really. He follows him around, stands on Tyler’s feet if he’s not walking around and freaks out if he doesn’t have Tyler in sight. And by freak out, I mean he makes a variety of duck noises and flaps his little wings with all he has in him. It’s adorable.

So that was part 1 – celebrating the birth of my favorite teenager and watching him raise his little duck.

Part 2 was equally amazing. Spring came and went and we enjoyed 90 degree weather all weekend. We decided, kind of at the last minute, to drive for the beach for the day on Saturday. It was the perfect excursion and very relaxing. We’re going to the beach with Andrew’s family in two weeks and our little day trip gave us just enough of a taste to make us extremely anxious for that vacation. I would lay on the beach every day if I could. And I mean it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

spring is springing

That’s what I see when I’m on the way to my parents' house that waits at the top of this hill. And I love it when the trees are just starting to fill out. This weekend, I took Friday off of work to have a “Yay Spring” celebration with my mom. She and I (and all of the women in my family, for that matter) share an affinity for all things green, floral and warm.

We enjoyed the great weather with lunch and a leisurely walk around town, but then we set off to find a way to invite spring into our homes. My mom insisted on getting me some new placemats and dishtowels for the kitchen, all of which are loud with springy prints and perfectly lovely. Then, much to our excitement, we happened to pass a nursery on the way home where we each picked out a hanging basket and a pot of gerbera daisies. It’s true, my friends. Spring has sprung. And enjoying that with my mother may be favorite part about the season.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

come out, come out wherever you are

Here’s the deal. We know you’re out there. We have a nifty little tracker that tells us how many people have read our blog on a given day (and where they live!). But to keep us from feeling like no one cares about this little blog of ours, you should come out and fess up to reading it. See the comment link below? Click it! Leave a comment! And then we’ll know who we can and can’t say mean things about. Ok, kidding…but seriously, who are you people?

Friday, April 10, 2009

what do you think?

Guess what happens when it's Good Friday and only two of the 12 surrounding desks are occupied (because that's how slow it is today)? The Castrodale blog gets a little spring makeover! I randomly stumbled across this site that designs Blogger templates and they had a few freebies, so I snagged one for fun. I think it looks like it was made with me in mind, and since I'm the only one who ever updates this thing, I think I have the right to a semi-girly blog layout. Agreed?

Happy Easter, folks.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

the university of national champions

Four years ago, when I was a freshman and Andrew was a sophomore and we wandered around campus not knowing the other existed, our Tar Heels won the National Championship. Four years later, we are blissfully aware of each other’s existence and we met up with some of our favorite fellow alumni to watch our Tar Heels become National Champions again. And it was awesome!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

welcome to the jungle

Well, not really. But after a year of living in our little apartment, searching for some greenery to liven up our living room, we found it! At IKEA, believe it or not. I had my first experience there this past weekend - and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. I think that when those Swedes came up with the business model for their store, they thought of a person EXACTLY like me and said “Hey, let’s make her a store.”

Anyway, at this beloved store, we found a six-foot Majestic Palm…for $12! It’s nestled in the corner of our living room now, greeting us with open arms. I’d like to say that we got out only spending $12, but there were other plants (and their pots) and a few table lamps and some containers and little kitchen utensils that I passed before we got to the checkout (genius, they are). Oh well, at least we have plants now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

the charleston travelogue

(warning: lost post ahead!)
How was our anniversary? Absolutely perfect. The weather was wonderful - 75 degrees and sunny the entire time. Our hotel was in a great location, the food was awesome and we packed a TON of activities into three days! I think the best thing about the trip was that we were able to do it without thinking about all the things that have plagued us for the last few weeks. We saved and saved so that we could really enjoy it while we were there. It was so worth it to get away and relax and take a mental vacation!

Day 1:
We left just before 9am on Saturday morning, grabbed lunch on the road and made it into town about 2pm. We made great time. We checked in, put our bags away and then set out to explore. We spent hours wandering around the local neighborhoods, admiring the houses and peeking into the beautiful gardens. We decided to walk back toward the hotel to find somewhere to eat dinner, and ended up at AW Shucks. I got a tshirt to honor the meal where I had the most amazing crab legs I've ever tasted :)

The Vendue Inn





Day 2
Breakfast was included at our hotel, so we got up early Sunday morning (our anniversary!) to eat before the walking tour we had scheduled. I loved the room where we had breakfast - the white tablecloths, yellow walls, daisies and natural light made it such a happy room! And we were able to eat at the window that looked out over the street. We met our tour guide and found out that we were the only two for the tour. It was a great way to see the town. Because it was Sunday and most everyone was checking out, the only people out were the locals on their way to church.

After the tour, we grabbed quick lunch and walked to the waterfront park near our hotel. We spent about an hour on a bench, looking at the boats on the water and people-watching. It was so relaxing to sit in the sun and enjoy the view! We headed back to the hotel in time to watch the Carolina-Duke game (GO HEELS!) and then we got ready for dinner. We had an amazing meal at High Cotton to celebrate a great year, then we spent a few hours walking along the water before we could barely keep our eyes open and decided to turn in for the night!

Our breakfast nook

Scenes from our tour...


On the battery

Day 3
We got up early on Monday, packed up and headed to breakfast. The plan was the check out and leave our bags at the hotel until we were ready to leave town. We spent a little while at the waterfront park and then we walked around some of the neighborhoods in search of a home to tour. We found the Calhoun Mansion (24,000 square feet!) just in time for the next scheduled tour. It was beautiful! It's so amazing how detailed the architecture is of these houses.

After that tour, we had lunch outside at a restaurant that sits on the water. We even saw dolphins! I tried to get a picture, but my camera wasn't fast enough. After resting at lunch, we got the car to pick up our bags and hit the road. We decided to go out of the way a little and try to find an old plantation to tour on the way back to the interstate. We ended up at Drayton Hall, where I quickly became obsessed with the view of the grounds. It was breathtaking. We wandered around there for a few hours and the began to make the trek back to North Carolina.

The fountain at the waterfront park


Calhoun Mansion


Drayton Hall


Turtles!


I still can't believe how much fun we had. What a wonderful anniversary gift! And we hope you enjoyed the pictures - we enjoyed being there to take them :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

what a wonderful year

This time last year, I was enjoying dinner and bowling with my parents and Tyler. That's how I wanted to spend my time with them before things got crazy with manicures and out of town guests and nervous butterflies. I can't believe that Sunday will be a year since we got married!






It was such a perfect day for both of us and for days after the wedding, we kept saying "I can't believe how fun that was." It was completely flawless; we were celebrating something awesome with our favorite family and friends. Everyone we love was in one room enjoying the day with us. I really couldn't have asked for anything different.

I must say, one of my favorite memories is singing the alma mater/fight song in the lobby of the hotel after we watched Carolina beat Duke. The blues match up AGAIN on the 8th, and we're hoping that our getting married on that day will mean good luck for the Tar Heels again this time around!




Happy Anniversary, sweet love. Thanks for an amazing year.


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