Sunday, November 9, 2008


We were not able to get down to the beach this summer after a hurricane ruined our plans.  With football season in full swing, it is hard to consider any vacation beyond our days spent in Auburn or other SEC cities.  We figured we could still do some sort of trip if we could fit it between our commitment to Auburn games (despite our tough season, we still continue to support the boys in orange & blue).  We looked at the possibility of Wyoming or Montana, but apparently most of the ranches are shutting down this time of year.  Through the magic of the internet, Emily found a chalet in Gatlinburg that had an opening between homecoming and the UGA game.  Despite my frugal feelings in this unsure economy, Emily decided we needed to help stimulate Tennessee's economy so she booked it.  While Emily had been there before, it was my first time, and it went something like this:

DAY ONE (Sunday)
We did not get away from Birmingham when we wanted to.  We procrastinated our packing and pretty much did it all Sunday morning.  We left Bham around 10:30 and got to Gatlinburg about 4.  We decided it was best to head straight to the chalet first to unload the truck before we ventured out and about.  As we headed up the mountain, we knew it was going to be a week filled with some cool sights as the leaves were on the trees for the most part and were amazing.  We unpacked the truck and read thru all of our nice recommendations from folks and the fliers we picked up to find somewhere to eat.  We decided on the Smokey Mountain Brewery.  It was a great choice and we enjoyed sampling their different beers.  We both enjoyed the Pumpkin Spice the best.  Emily had a Chicken Rueben and I had an Italian Sausage sandwich and we both had the pretzels with some great honey mustard.

DAY TWO (Monday)
We decided that we wanted this trip to be more about experiencing the beauty of the smokey mountains instead of partaking of every touristy offering in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge.  We did some research and thought it would be cool to hike to Rainbow Falls on Mt. LeConte.  Unfortunately we did not realize that most of the trails in the Smokeys prohibit dogs (to prevent altercations with wildlife it says-- Do they realize Maggie is scared of our kitchen chairs??) so we were unable to take Maggie with us.  The trail was classified as moderate, and as we started off, we thought nothing of it.  Little did we realize it wouldn't be the distance that was difficult, but combined with the change in elevation, it provided us quite the workout!  It was certainly worth it though cause we saw some pretty cool things and it was neat to hear nothing but the wind in the trees and the occasional hiker that we ran into.  While we know the falls would have been more spectacular had they had more rain recently, it was still cool to see them towering over us.

After some lunch, we drove to Cades Cove.  We had originally planned to bike around the Cove, but due to the hike, decided to drive the 11 mile loop instead.  In hindsight, we should have gone earlier to have more time there, but the light at that time of the afternoon provided some amazing views.  There were lots of wildlife and we saw some cool old buildings from past settlers of the cove.  

For dinner, we ate at Bennett's BBQ, which was really good.  Their sauce was some of the best we've had.  After dinner we walked around downtown Gatlinburg to the various candy shops and other gift places.  We found a cool Christian woodworking place where Emily could have spent a small fortune.

We had talked about how we thought it would be cool to ride horses through the mountains.  We did some research the night before looking at different stables in the area and what they offered.  Nothing really stuck out to us since most of the rides were mountain views, meaning "you'll ride along and be able to see the mountain, but you won't actually be on the mountain."  Luckily we remembered passing a stable along the way to Cades Cove the day before that was smack dab in the middle of the mountains.  Sure enough we called them about 8:15am and they had rides starting out at 9am.  We threw on the clothes and headed over, only to find they accepted CASH ONLY (minor detail that a quick trip back to the local yocale ATM in Gatlinburg cured).  Unbelievably, it was only Emily and I and the guide that were going out.  They had a huge stable with 50 or so horses, and yet we were the only ones there that morning.  Let me say, it is an awesome experience to climb a mountain on the back of a horse, scary at times, but very cool all the same, particularly when it is just a you and your wife and the guide.  We had some up close views of a few does, which we we amazed that both the does and the horses didn't seem to mind each others presence.

We drove to Clingman's Dome, the highest point in Tennessee.  It even snowed a little on us.  We also got to see the Appalachian Trail and some hikers who had left Maine in June and were going to turn around and head back when they got to Georgia!  That is a lot of walking!

trees are dead from acid rain and some asian insect

We had been told to go to the Peddler Steakhouse.  We looked online and it seemed pretty pricey and got some so so reviews.  We were not sure that we wanted to pay top dollar for something that may or may not be worth it.  We had seen a neat looking restaurant near the Brewery Sunday night called "Cherokee Grill" and decided to head that way.  This was far and away the best place we ate.  They also happened to serve beers from the brewery nearby (except the pumpkin kind, which we had wanted, but there were other good ones that we were happy with too).  The steak was phenomenal, better than any we had tried before.  The seasoning was great and they placed a spoonful of worschetshire butter on top that was heavenly.  Even though we were absolutely stuffed, we had seen the apple cobbler and wanted to splurge.  It was some of the best cobbler we've had no doubt.  Needless to say there were no leftovers and we got away for under $75!  We highly recommend the Cherokee Grill to anyone.

We spent this day as a redneck tour of Gatlinburg.  Despite my protests, we PAID to walk through the world's only salt & pepper museum (as featured on Food Network).  Emily was thrilled.

We also made a stop by Cooters for some Dukes of Hazzard nostaglia.  We even saw Elvis touring it while we were in there.

We figured what better way to complete our day than to check out some western wear.

(Notice the no photography sign...HA HA)

For dinner we ventured into Pigeon Forge.  We thought it was too expensive to do the dinner shows, so we went to the Old Mill.  It was decent, but not our favorite.  After dinner we went to a huge Cowboy type store called Stage's West.  Emily convinced me she needed some authentic cowboy boots, so there went the savings from not going to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede show!  I cant give her too much grief as I found a pair of Ariat boots on sale for under $100.

The best part of the day was that night when we got back from dinner.  As we were walking across the deck, Emily noticed some dark figures at the cabin below us.  BEARS!  We got the camera and our spotlight, but couldn't get a good picture from that far away.  I started calling them like dogs (much to Emily's nervousness) and sure enough they started up the mountain.  I figure they must make the rounds because some folks feed them.  We got a couple good photos as they ventured up close, but unfortunately we did not get the shots of them play fighting on their hind legs to show up.

moments before he reared up to look over the deck and made Emily scramble inside

FINAL DAY (Thursday)
It was raining as we packed the truck and drove home.  Kind of made us feel better about leaving since it was a yucky day anyway.  We had a great time though!

Tiny Invader

We have recently discovered a side effect of our successful gardening.  It is clear that God created delicious vegetables for many creatures to enjoy, not just humans.  Earlier this summer we noticed several holes inside the garden and thought we might have a mole.  We put Maggie on patrol for the culprit, only to see the tiny invader ourselves one day.

Emily observed a field mouse running along the outskirts of the garden one day.  After some research we were interested to discover that field mice do not climb things like other rodents.  It never said they wouldn't climb up a vine, but certainly not a wall or a tomato cage.  Regardless, we never noticed any damage to our vegetables, so we just kept an eye out for him.

Last Saturday, while Emily and I were watching Gameday, I noticed something scurry across the carpet from the laundry room to the entertainment center.  It looked too big for a roach, but surely we did not have a mouse inside the house in the middle of the day!  A quick glance behind the tv proved otherwise, and our attempts to corral him into some rubbermaid storage boxes proved comedic.  So it was off to Home Depot for some traps.  Our friend reared his twitchy nose later that night while we were getting ready for bed, but somehow managed to miss the traps we had set.  He managed to set one off, yet did not get caught!  We decided to put peanut butter on them the next morning to further entice his pallet and make him linger longer over the fame cheese pedal.  Apparently despite all this talk of the magic of evolution, mice have not learned what peanut butter is essentially a kiss of death, and find it irrestible.  Monday afternoon, we came home and found this:

We'd like to thank Victor mouse traps and Jiff peanut butter for their contributions to this successful operation.

Lessons learned:
1)  Take care of rodents the moment you discover them near the house...don't let them run low on food and decide to see what may be in the house for them to eat

2)  Do not follow the directions on mouse traps that say "No need to actually place bait on our fake cheese pedals"-- they should say "PUT PEANUT BUTTER HERE"- it works more effectively and quicker

3)  Mice may be agile, but they can't outrun a Victor spring loaded death bar

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bucket List

I've always thought the phrase "kicked the bucket" was interesting. It seemed like such a redneck thing when you hear, "Betty Sue kicked the bucket." It honestly makes me laugh and I don't quite know where the it comes from from (Ryan should check Wikipedia).  We saw the movie "The Bucket List" a couple months ago and loved it.  We decided that we needed to make our own bucket list, so here is a sample of our bucket list not in any particular order (and these could change next week!): 

1. Learn how to snowboard
2. Skydive in Hawaii
3. Stay at a dude ranch in Wyoming and let my inner cowgirl come out
4. Run through a never ending field of wildflowers
5. Ride a donkey in the Grand Canyon
6. Go on an African Safari
7. Go on a sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride with a bottle of champagne and my love
8. Go whale watching
9. Further the Kingdom.
10. Laugh with my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
11. Learn how to smock and knit well really just learn how to sew
12. Grow old with my love
13. Do a triathlon or marathon
14. Live at the lake

1.  Go to Ireland and Scotland and see the green hills you always see in photos
2.  Go to Italy and see places where our grandfathers served our country in WWII
3.  See and feel an active volcano in Hawaii (at least some lava flowing & the heat)
4.  Go to Israel and see historical places from the Bible
5.  Learn to be a good carpenter and be able to build stuff with my own two hands
6.  Go on an African safari
7.   Live on the lake
8.  Own a Corvette
9.  Participate in a cattle drive in Wyoming or Montana (ala City Slickers without the birthing)
10.  Be able to help bring unbelieving people close to me to Christ

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A day in the life of a Technology Specialist...

I often get a very funny look when I tell people that I am a technology specialist at an Elementary School.  No, I do not know a lot about computers, but somehow they seem to keep me in this position. So for everyone who wonders what a typical day is like, 

I now present a day in the life of a technology specialist...

6:45 a.m.  Arrive at school  and begin checking email.  This seems to be the only uninterrupted quiet time
7:00 a.m.  The computer recycling guy has arrived. Phillip and I help him load 10 monitors and CPUs onto his truck.  I cannot believe that we have to pay this company to haul off our equipment, knowing that they are just going to turn around and make money off it.  
7:15 Begin turning on equipment and getting things ready for our morning broadcast.  Every Wednesday & Friday the 4th and 5th graders do a morning show that is broadcasted live over the entire school. It is very entertaining.  The 5th graders run all the equipment and the 4th graders are anchors.  
7:30 Help the kids set up equipment and rehearse the show which is very very entertaining, ended up having a very enlightening conversation with some 10 year olds about how their parents named them. I love these kids and they just make me laugh!!
8:15  Live!  It was a first show for many of the kids, so they were very nervous and  did a fantastic job!!!  I was very proud of them
8:15- Help the Assistant Superintendent get her presentation loaded on the network, answer a few emails
8:30  Off to teach a 5th grade class about Word.  They learn how to do borders, watermarks, bullets, and numbering in their word documents.  It is amazing how excited kids become when they learn how to put a heart border around a word document.  
9:30  Decide to call tech support to figure out why my Tricaster has stopped working. I really think that when the tech support people talk to a woman they seem to think that we are not very smart in the technical arena and have just done something stupid like forget to plug it in.  Now when I call I just start the conversation out by stating the problem and telling them every trouble shooting method that I have already tried, which seems to cut down on the nonsense. After a 20 minute conversation and trying different things, I learn that I just have to send it in, great.
10:00 check and return emails
10:30  Off to teach a 4th grade class about software.  They seem to think that if their friend has a fun computer game that they can just borrow it and also download it to their computer.  Which leads to an interesting conversation of copyright laws for music and software.  
11:30 lunch in the cafeteria
12:05  meeting with Assistant Superintendent and Director of Curriculum and Instruction about learning targets and the future of report cards and assessments 
1:15  check and return emails. 
1:30 back up info on the Tricaster
1:45 walk to the UPS store to send the tricaster off for repair. What a beautiful day to get outside!!! 
2:00 AVI contractors finally come finish my AV installation in the gym and auditorium.  This project was supposed to be completed July 31.  He is very very sarcastic with me and just plain rude. This man made me very very upset earlier in the year. I think many of these contractors forget that we are the customer and we pay them.  His arrogance drives me just makes my blood boil!!!!  Wasn't this project supposed to be completed in July.  
2:15 Help the counselor with her powerpoint presentation
2:30 Help a 4th grade class do research on the new online Alabama Encyclopedia.  It is a fabulous resource and wonderful Alabama History tool for 4th graders!! This makes me remember how much I loved teaching 4th grade.  
3:00 Crosswalk duty which is always an entertaining conversation with 2 11-year olds. Today we discussed Auburn football and Harry Potter.  
3:15 help 1st grade teacher with her Activotes.  Activotes are  little egg shaped remote controls. They allow the students to answer any question the teacher poses.  With the click of a mouse the teacher can then see every kids answer. It really gives every kid a voice, even the kid who never raises his hand.  Wonderful tool that every teacher loves!!
4:00 cut out some die cut letters for character ed sign in the lobby
4:15 check and return emails and head home

So, here is an example of what a day is like.  No two days are alike, but hey it is always that way in education.  

Friday, August 1, 2008

There's camo in my mirror!!

So, I'm driving into work today along Hwy 31 in Vestavia.  I was behind a slow poke in the right lane and like the good driver I am, I put on my blinker and began to move into the left lane to pass this person.  As I moved over, I suddenly noticed a man looking at me in the lane.  OOPS!! I immediatly swerved  back in my lane, caught eyes with the man, waved, smiled, and told the man "sorry, didn't see you."  As he continuted to pass me, I died laughing because this truck was covered from roof to tires in camouflauge.  "I didn't see you, I'm sorry, you seem to blend in with your surroundings" What the heck?!  Camouflage on a truck???  I could just see the police officer's face as I tried to explain to him that I just did not see that truck in my blind spot because he really blended in with his surroundings.  I mean really...

Why in the world would you cover your truck, suv, sedan, whatever, in camouflage????  I mean what is the purpose?  Bambi is not going to see your truck out in the woods and say "Oh no, Bubba is back again, I better go hide."  I can understand wearing camouflage to hunt in because you don't want the deer to see you as you sit for hours in the tree stand.  But why in the world would you feel the need to paint your truck with camouflage??  Does someone actually paint each leaf in detail on the truck or is there some type of wallpaper/wrap material that you apply?

I would of loved to have actually had the opportunity to speak to that man before he pulled into Mark's Outdoors and ask "Why did you paint your truck with camouflage?  I really did not see you!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Seinfeld, Batman, Roller Coasters, and Pickles

Being a teacher, I recently began freaking out because the beginning of school is just right around the corner. I realized that pretty soon, we could no longer just enjoy the summer and do adventurous things. Ryan and I kept trying to find a weekday to take off work and go to Six Flags, it never worked out so we finally decided that we would have to go over the weekend. I really wanted to do something adventurous on Saturday, but wasn't sure what. 

Friday night we had tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld.  We enjoyed a nice dinner downtown with Ryan and Kelly and headed to Seinfeld.   Jerry was of course hysterical and clean.  His act is so funny. I am still amazed how after so many years of reruns his show is still so successful.   We had  a wonderful evening of laughing and hanging out.  At the end he answered questions from the audience and did some classic lines from the show.  I really wanted him to go on and on, but of course he had to end sometime.

Saturday morning we woke up and I kept telling Ryan I wanted to do something adventurous, but wasn't quite sure what.  After breakfast, we headed off to the Y for our morning exercise.  On the way home we stopped by the library to return some stuff.  When we came outside, we found that my car would not start.  It had a little juice, but not enough to start the engine.  We called OnStar and they sent someone to come out and jump start us, as there really wasn't anyone near us at the time.  We needed gas, but wanted the battery to charge up for a little while, so we first got a car wash since we didn't have to turn off the car.  Well let me just say we spent the next 2 hours trying to get my car fixed and battery replaced.  After we got gas, the car would not start again.  Ryan pushed the car into a parking spot and we walked to Advance Auto Parts.  We didn't quite have the exact adventure I was looking for, but we made some good friends at Advance Auto Parts.
That afternoon we went to see the new Batman movie and Jennifer and Mitchell were there too.   It was a great movie.  Yall know I am not much of a movie person, but I thought this movie was great.  Heath Ledger did awesome and of course the whole clown thing made Ryan uneasy!! I recommend him for whatever that award is for movies actors.  I think it is the Oscar, but I'm not really sure, but he was really good as the Joker!!   

Sunday we finally decided to travel to Six Flags!!! We had so much fun!! We hadn't been there since we got married, so we had a blast riding all the new roller coasters.  My fair skinned husband got a little hot throughout the day. He was such a trooper though!!!!  Sorry, we did not feel like carrying a camera around, so we do not have any pictures.  I must say that Goliath was our most favorite roller coaster.  It was so much fun!!!! 

Sunday night I decided to pickle some cucumbers.   So, hopefully in the future we will have some wonderful pickles to share with everyone. I became very fascinated with how easy it is to can things. I realized how easy it was to can practically every vegetable from the garden for us to eat in the future.  I guess if we ever have a natural disaster I will be very prepared.  

Here is a picture of canned banana peppers and some dill pickle slices & spears.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Squash anyone...

Thank you mom, Nanny, and Nanny for showing me how to work in the garden. 

I must say that I have my grandmothers and mom to thank for my green thumb.  There is just something relaxing about digging around and getting some mud and dirt on your hands. 

As you can see from previous posts that I finally convinced Ryan that it was time to build a garden.   We have had a plethora of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.  I have had to be very very creative because Ryan doesn't really like those vegetables.   Well I found a recipe in this month's Cooking Light for Squash and Corn soup.  Yes, I did say soup.  For those of you that don't know... I LOVE SOUP.  I love it!!!  I think this love was developed in college when every meal had to be cooked in the dorm microwave and soup was just easy. I can eat soup 12 months of the year over and over and over.  I love it!!!  So, I was very excited to find this recipe.  It was really good, very very easy, and Ryan really liked it.  I recommend it to anyone. 

So, I need some help... I have grilled squash, make zucchini bread, steamed squash and zucchini,and made squash soup.  I am completely out of ideas of what else to do with squash and zucchini.  Help..... what else can I do?????

We also cut our first cantaloupe from the garden yesterday. It was good. Not the best tasting cantaloupe. I think I cut it too early, but I guess I'm learning.


This gardening thing is pretty fun.  I find it very satisfying to sit at the dinner table and say "hey we actually grew this... for free."   

Now if anyone would like any cherry tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, or banana peppers please let me know. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Made In Italy

Our job site received some pretty cool crates containing the granite for our project recently. Sardinian Gray Granite to be exact. I guess it may not be that exciting other than what happens to be on the crates...

A little piece of Europe soon to be on permanent display in Bessemer, AL

Another fun fact: These crates had to be fumigated in customs before they could be delivered to us. I guess they thought critters may have hitchhiked from Italy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Snakes, Sandbars, & Fireworks

***Warning, this post is long!***

As many of you know, Emily and I love the lake. It lacks the stickiness that you get at the beach and you don't get sand everywhere afterwards (on yourself, in the car, etc.). We feel like it can often be more relaxing than the beach at times. We are lucky enough to have some family friends/god parents (God Bless Dan and Jere...mostly Jere for putting up with Dan's shenanigans) with a lake house on Lake Oconee between Atlanta and Augusta (a good 3hrs and 50 minutes from our driveway in Helena). We usually venture over there for a few days at Spring Break, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July. With the crew we have, there is no lack of comedy/drama every time. Whether it is an injury, a klutzy moment, or some crazy story from William/Dan/Wes, something always happens. In addition, it is Maggie's absolute favorite place on earth and we can not keep her out of the water. As we write this, she is still sleeping off her week of swimming.
Who knew a dog could climb up a ladder?

This past Memorial Day we had the added bonus of killing 3 snakes at the lake. I shot 2 with my shotgun and the 3rd small one was killed with a gig. Up to this point, this has been the major downside to the lake for Emily, since several people had spotted a few in past visits. The killing trifecta brought smiles to the faces of us and the neighbors alike, but a large moccasin that had been spotted was not among the members of the death list. He/she remained loose and on the prowl.

Well lucky for us, he reared his big ugly triangular head again the morning of the 4th. Jere spotted him in the early morning and raised the threat level to orange (is that elevated?). Ryan and Emily tried unsuccessfully to kill him under the dock as he was trying to eat a large catfish he had killed. He managed to avoid all attempts, even surving a "shock and awe" attack using bottle rockets. Everyone took turns on patrol, and we often found him staring at us from crevices, just beyond the reach of our death blows.. About the time most of us were taking our after lunch nap, Jere spotted ole no shoulders again trying to feast on his earlier catfish kill. Fran was able to pin him with the gig behind the neck which sent Emily into alarm mode, waking everyone up from their naps. Soon everyone was headed to the dock. Dan used the other gig to pry him from the water where he had wrapped around the sprinkler control wire. Once free, Emily provided 3 instruments of execution (2 hoes and a shovel) with which his head was cut off and Dan & Ryan buried him. Little did we know that the snake would curse us a few times the rest of the weekend...

The hunters

The headless beast

The afternoon of the 4th was spent at the redneck yacht club/sand bar area on Oconnee. Lots of boats and people hang out in the middle of the lake where the water is waist deep and we all joined in. It is usually uneventful, but as Ryan and Fran were tossing the football, injury #1 took place. Fran took a bottle/rock to the foot and was bleeding profusely between his toes. After a visit to the Putnam County General where Fran needed 8 stitches, we all learned that shoes are not optional at the sandbar anymore. Due to nature of the emergency room visit we decided to not make the trip to the Reynolds fireworks. Some were relieved that there would be no opportunity for Captain Nemo moments where the pontoon gets swamped from the 100s of boats rushing home after the show. Safety was all in the eye of the beholder this night though...

On the way to the lake we stopped to buy fireworks in Lineville off I-20, since large fireworks are hard to find in Georgia. We got a great supply and were sure that we could put on quite the show in the slew this year. We were unable to find our notes where we rated what we had bought last year. One of the ones we did recognize as being good when we were buying was "Hard to Beat", so we bought 2 of them. Last year we set a piece of plywood on the dock to serve as a launch pad to protect the dock. This year Dan could not find the plywood, but did have a piece of Freesia carpet that he thought would work. We found out it was not near sturdy enough and the "Hard to Beat" fell over and started shooting across the lake. At first everyone thought it was pretty cool to witness some horizontal fireworks. However, they soon started heading closer and closer towards the bank where everyone was sitting. Mass hysteria ensued with people running for cover. Dan, being the good Army Ranger he was, took a direct hit in the arm and jumped in the lake yelling his arm was "eat up with fire". Luckily, Matthew caught the whole thing on tape and we will upload the video when they get back from Alaska. Sure enough Dan has 3 pretty good welts to remind him of his 4th experience. This lesson taught us the importance of a sturdy launch pad on the dock. Nonetheless, after some neosporin, the show continued and we did not have to revisit Putnam County General Hospital.

Dan proving he was master over the fireworks by lighting the same one that hit him the night before

Yes, this is a firework we shot off, not done by a professional
The gang assembled on the bank for the show

Injury #3 and Avoided Injury #4
The other drama occurred when a storm happened on Saturday afternoon. The winds were so strong that they blew the anchored seadoos away from the dock, and one even completely escaped and started floating across the lake. It was lightning pretty bad so all we could do was keep an eye on it and wait to undertake our recovery mission. Ryan, Dan, and Matthew were elected to go get the seadoo and reposition the one that had drifted. As the storm let up, Ryan and Dan headed down from the house. Matthew was not paying attention and was being left behind. Naturally he was egged on by the people in the house to hurry up and get down to the dock with Dan and Ryan. In his haste to get out of the house, he ran right through the screen doors. Of course in this group, that provided quite the laughs and ribbing. Anyway, as we were out retrieving the jetski the lightning started again, but luckily we were not electrocuted.

All in all it was a great 4th. Thank God we live in a country where we are free to travel and celebrate however we want. Lets hope it remains that way after this election. This reminds me of a quote we saw recently, true or not, it does sound like something he might say:

"My friends we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it."
-- A Foolish Senator from Chicago...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AU Football & Miller Family Farm

Auburn Football
Only 53 days till the kickoff of Auburn's football season and we are definitely looking forward to it!

Miller Family Farm
Emily convinced me to create a raised bed vegetable garden in our backyard back in the spring. It was quite the project for the both of us, but it is paying off. For the past month or so we have started reaping the benefits, mostly in the pepper department, but have had some cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. In the middle of June things started popping (squash, zucchini, herbs, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, etc.). Emily is proving to have quite the green thumb when it comes to veggies and luckily Maggie has not gotten into the box (the pie tin deterrent is working). We think we put too many plants in the box, as you can see from the picture of our "vegetable jungle". Even with the crowdedness, things are flourishing as you can tell...

Here are two massive zucchini
Here is the large squash (note the Vanna White presentation skills)

Here is one of the cantaloupes (1 of 4 we have) and a watermelon (1 of 2 we have). Next time we will plant them earlier I guess.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Canoeing 101

We have finally done it! Ryan and I are now proud owners of a computer.  We have tried so hard for the past 4 years to not become dependant on a computer in our home, but we finally gave in to the calling of being a Mac owner.  Those of you that know my "financially knowledgeable/responsible" husband know that this was a very hard move for him.  I just kept encouraging him that we were "stimulating the economy" as we checked out.  So, we have now moved into the 21st century.   

I hope that this blog will help us to document our memories together.   We don't have kids, but we do have many fun memories together and things worth sharing. We just hope you enjoy reading them. 

I got the bright idea last week that it would be fun to do something outdoors.  We had some pretty cool weather and  we finally had a weekend without any plans.  We decided that it would be great weekend to do something outside. We have been wanting for a while to go down the Cahaba with Jennifer and Mitchell but things just kept getting in our way.  They couldn't go on Saturday but Ryan and I decided we would be able to do this alone.  

As many of you know, I spent many weekends on the water with Dad. He loved canoeing and kayaking.  I have many fond memories of camping and going down the Ocoee, Hiawassee, and Natahala with my family.   I knew that the Cahaba would be a breeze.  We called Craig and he was gracious enough to let us borrow his canoe for the day, so we went to his house and loaded it up on Ryan's truck. 

 The big debate was whether or not to bring Maggie.  Maggie, our dog, absolutely loves the water so we just couldn't pass up taking her with us.  I packed a picnic lunch in a cooler, loaded Maggie up in the truck, and headed to Buck Creek near Old Town Helena to put in.    It started off very frustrating.  Maggie had never been in a canoe before and was puzzled why we did not want to be in the water with her.  All she wanted to do was swim beside the canoe, so we let her swim beside us for the a while.  After we almost ran her over as we were going down "rapids", she came to the realization that she didn't like being knocked under by the canoe, so we tried to convince her to jump in with us.  That was pretty funny watching her try to jump into a canoe.

We had such a peaceful time on the Cahaba & Buck Creek.  We stopped to eat lunch and enjoy the nature.  We played around in the water.  It was hard to believe that we were still in B'ham.  It seemed like we were so far from our home.  We did not check the water level before we left, so there were some shallow spots.  We had to get out a few times in Buck Creek and carry the canoe. 

 Maggie quickly learned the procedure for getting out and carrying the canoe.  
Once we hit the Cahaba we didn't have to get out, it was pretty deep with a lot of paddling as the current was not near as swift as Buck Creek.   At one point we ran into a group of teenage boys and Dads enjoying the Saturday on the 4 wheelers.  Ryan said he was at first concerned we were about to experience real life "Deliverance". I never knew that 4 wheeler's could drive through such deep water.  The Dads were sitting on the back of a "Gator" enjoying some adult beverages.   The irony of this occurred when one of them yelled out to Ryan.  It turns out it was a construction superintendent for another contractor on the project Ryan is working on.  It was funny to see the men shirtless in cut off blue jeans with coolers on the water.  They were definitely celebrating the "Red Neck Yacht Club" on the Cahaba.  We got a kick out of it.  

As we continued  on, we had a wonderful time just relaxing and enjoying the sounds of nature. Maggie finally grew accustomed to the canoe and didn't try to jump out.  We hope to go again soon, particularly since we live so close.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our own space on the internet

Emily figured that our friends who were having babies were all starting to blog about their lives so why shouldn't we? Though we have no shorties on the way, we are married and have a dog. That should produce some stories shouldn't it?

I guess I will write whatever comes to mind or about the trips we take, meals we eat, or just things we do on a daily basis. We will see what happens when I put my mind (and Emily's too) and my less than A+ keyboarding skills to work. Here goes...