Saturday, August 20, 2011

Make a wish...

Happy Birthday to the man that was put on this Earth just for me.  Happy 31st Birthday to the man that makes me smile every day even if I don't get to talk to him or be physically close to him.  Happy Birthday to the man that married me and makes me that happiest girl in the whole world. 

Happy Birthday Jay!  You are the most generous, funniest, kindest person that I know and I am so lucky to have spent two years of your life with you....and you are stuck with me for at least a hundred more!

Happy birthday to this guy:
at the shooting range with the gun he bought me!

Hatin' on the Beib.

Getting a pedi with me...

Modeling in San Antonio, TX

Posing on a deer stand with my daddy and bro in law

Eating. :) I love you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trip Four: Orange Beach, AL

Because of Jay's job, our vacations are usually hurried and back to back.  Our trip to Orange Beach is an example.  A week after returning from San Antonio, Jay and I went (with Maggie and Kris) on a beach trip/shopping at the Foley outlets. :)  Kris and Jay both work for the same company and since schedules rotate, they are hardly ever home at the same time...So Maggie and I took advantage of this opportunity by planning the trip.  This vaca was at the perfect time.  Work was about to when I came home and got in the Hynum-mobile. ha.

Back seat drivers.  And a watermelon Four Loco.
We arrived at the hotel a little late that night, but thankfully, our crew understands how much food means to me and they all were willing to try The TIn Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar, which was a great decision.  The food was fantastic and we ate outside on their patio!

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Orange Beach...and that is where I met my first pancake making machine.  I was so impressed.  It's a machine.  You press a button, and in like sixty seconds out rolls two pancakes that are perfectly cooked just like my dad's!  (Mom's were always irregularly shaped and a variety of shades of black and brown ha ha)  And that just started my day off right.
Right after pancakes, the Hynums and the Jordan's went to the beach for a perfect morning of tanning and relaxing.  We followed that up with lunch at the Hangout.
The girls

The guys
We had a little too much fun in the souvenir shop...But all we took home were t-shirts. :)

While we were on the beach and the guys were on their hunt for boogie boards or beverages, Maggie and I discussed parasailing.  Maggie does NOT fly.  And at first the thought of it scared her.  But after some reassurance of safety and a little convincing, she seemed ready to go. The real pusher was that right after we talked about it, one of those advertising planes flew by with a phone number and a special deal on parasailing.  We were in.  After lunch, we made our way to our parasailing vessel appropriately named "Up Yours":
My fav parasailing pic!  They were both laughing and smiling so big!

A day of shopping at the Foley outlet malls led us to a wonderful pair of "Jay-size" flip flops.

So cute. :)
Dinner that night at Lulu's of course!

 Lunch on our way home at Lambert's Cafe where they throw the rolls and even the salads aren't healthy... :(

And stopping by the Watermelon Patch on the way home for a photo opportunity in a very hot metal watermelon!

For such a short vaca, we had a great time.  Thanks to Maggie and Kris for driving us, and for playing games in the car with us. (A is for....B is for.....C is for... ha ha I loved it!) 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Trip three: San Antonio, TX

The week that Jay returned from work in June, it was time to try out a road trip in the new car!  And it definitely turned out to be an adventure.  I took off work on a Thursday and a Friday, so the fun began on Wednesday night when we drove to Meadville and dropped off the child...

Lilly had a great time and gained a few pounds eating Beggin' Strips for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We set out early Thursday morning for the great state of Texas.  Thursday night was spent in Humble, TX at the residence of Allan and Lori Ross with a fabulous dinner at the Melting Pot..(Jay and I were Melting Pot virgins and we thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of being our own chefs.
The host and hostess
On the other side of the FUN-do bowl

 Also, we went to my brother Allan's new job, (CONGRATS!!) and we learned that Jay is awesome at Mexican Train Dominoes...

Friday morning we headed for San Antonio.  When we arrived at our destination, I fell even more in love with :)  I had purchased an "Escape" from the website to stay at a bed and breakfast called The Oge' House.  Our room had a sitting room, a kingsize bed, a private patio, and a two-person bathtub complete with massaging jets on the bottom and sides...(clearly I was impressed with the bathtub...I wrote down the model number.) 
The Oge' House during the day (Jay on his BB)
The Oge' House at night

THE bathtub.  Oh, and our package came with a bottle of chilled champagne, two glasses etched with the Inn's name, a box of Godiva chocolates, 6 battery operated tea light candles and one of the Inn's embroidered robes!
 After we arrived, we wanted lunch and we were directed to the Gunther House which is the home of Pioneer Flour etc.  The biscuits were fab.

That night, we had planned a wonderful dinner at The Little Rhein House (a steak place!!) Amazingly, our package deal came with a ride to our dinner, cheuffered by the Inn's owner in his antique Rolls Royce. 

Baked Alaska for dessert at The Fig Tree
The next day after a three-course breakfast at the Oge' House, we ventured off to the Stinson Airport to use a Groupon that I had bought.

Our helicopter ride!  Debbie, our pilot, flew us over downtown San much fun.
The rest of the day was spent touring.  It was SO HOT.   While perusing some events calendars at the airport, Jay and I came across an article on the San Jose' Mission.  I am so glad that Jay wanted to go as bad as I did.  The San Jose' Mission is the size of six football fields and is surrounded by a hand-built stone wall.  Everything there is original and still in tact.  You can walk around the grounds freely and take pictures or just enjoy the walk.  This is it from our helicopter ride:

At the entrance

The church inside of the mission

Propping this camera on a rock and using the timer, I took this picture twice by running back and forth!  Finally, some girl felt sorry for me and came and took our pic.
The rest of the day consisted of a visit to the Alamo, the Emily Morgan Hotel (haunted and great story), the Menger Hotel, the Riverwalk and a horse carriage ride, we started getting ready for dinner.

Prior to going to San Antonio, Jay was checking out restaurants that we might want to plan on for dinner.  We decided on a restaurant called Restaurant Gwendolyn (More info here).  At this restaurant, Chef Michael Sohocki and his staff prepare your meals using nothing that has a motor or that requires a plug.  They also only use ingredients brought in fresh daily from less than 150 miles away.  We were pumped to try it...but we didn't make a reservation!  When we called that night to try and reserve a table, we were told that they had been booked for two weeks.  We put our name on a waiting list, and then took turns calling every hour. :) At a quarter til seven, they called us and said if we could make it in thirty minutes that they had a table open!  It was luck.  We raced getting ready.  The restaurant was only one room.  The kitchen was enclosed by windows, so the customers could watch their food be prepared.  Jay and I got the 5-course tasting menu, of course, and we ordered one of each option.  We also opted for the wine pairings, which is something we have been doing at quite a few restaurants--and loving it. 

This was some kind of buttermilk and grass soup. :)
Jay got a little warm after the fourth course (and glass of wine), so I had to drink his. :)

From start to finish, this trip was a success.  Even the long drive back was a blast.  We stopped at Bucky's gas station/tourist attraction and picked up two bags of "Beaver Nuts" that kept us busy the whole way. 
*As a side note, I would like to mention that whenever Jay and I move to a new house, we will be installing this two person whirlpool tub.  I do believe I have never been cleaner than I was on this trip.  It was SO relaxing! Unforgettable.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There must be something in the water....

I have decided that there must be something in the water...So I'm drinking diet coke and coffee.

I could fill up a whole sheet of lined notebook paper with names of people that I know that are pregnant or have had their baby this year!  And what a blessing.  I'm so excited for Jay and me, when its our time.  But right now, I'm loving watching and learning from our friends...

Some special Prego Shout Outs should go to....

Kaitlin Godfrey and her hubs Brad just found out that they are expecting their first bundle of joy on Nov 19th!  Congrats to them.  Kaitlin, you are gonna be so cute pregnant!  (I would link your name to your blog, but I'm not an advanced blogger and could use some tips please ma'am! :) )

Rebecca Laughlin, a friend and coworker, is expecting her second son in September of this year...and she spends most of every day going through baby boy names...This is me and Becca coming back from lunch with ICEES. 

Next, Heather Simpson and her husband are expecting their first.....set of TWINS!  So, a double congratulations is in order.  Heather is in my prayers as she is at home on bedrest, but I know that everything will be worth going through when she sees her cute babies this September!

I could name many many more, but I will conclude my shoutouts with a Congrats to a very close friend and her husband...Sharon and Adam Coker!  This is me holding their beautiful Lillian Christine Coker:
May 9, 2011

So, this year, I hope to be busy taking lessons and going to baby showers!  Congratulations again ladies!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Trip two: Florence, AL

Florence, AL....random, right?  But not to us!

There are so many awesome things about my parents, and their marriage is one that I constantly look to for guidance.

In 1969, weddings were either performed barefoot in a field or couples eloped, according to my mother.  She was getting her master's in concert piano at the University of Mississippi, and my father was a recent business graduate/auditor for the US Army.  My father was friends with a music teacher at Ole Miss and was first introduced to my mother through a one way glass practice room, where he would come and watch her practice...(kinda creepy, but cute!)  According to both of them, the first date did not go well and so they each went their separate ways. 
I am told that it was eventually my Aunt Margaret (mom's sister) that convinced Mom to go out with Dad again... This time went much better and before their three month courtship had a chance to think, Dad popped the question!  When I asked my mom what was going through her head when he asked, she said, "well, I was just thinking that if I say no, this man will be gone from my life forever...and that would make me really sad".  Hahahaha!  I love it.  So she said yes.  The next decision was "where" and "when", and I'm not sure how exactly the decision was decided, but apparently alot of their other college friends were making this same decision. 
(Background:  My dad's mother, my grandmother, was an integral part of passing the law in MS where a marriage license would have a three day waiting period before one could be
My parents, along with my Aunt Margaret and her long-time fiance Uncle Bill, headed for Florence, AL to elope!  When they arrived at the courthouse around 8 pm, the judge had JUST left to go home because he had a "party at his home that evening"--said the secretary.  In a magical moment of desperation, my dad dropped my mom, uncle and aunt off at a restaurant to grab a bite to eat while he drove around the town looking for a house. with alot of cars. that looked like it belonged to a judge.  Not kidding.  And when he thought that he found it, he walked up to the front door and asked to speak to the judge.  The judge was so impressed with his....persistance?...that he left his dinner party, drove to the courthouse and married my mother to my father AND my aunt to my uncle!  Fairy tale.  I love it.
The even more "fun" part of this whole event was that they had to drive back to Oxford, Jackson TN, Biloxi and FL that night.  They all had jobs and classes to attend!  No honeymoon...just a loooooong drive and a few awkward phone calls to some parents.

All that to be said, I'm thankful that Jay appreciates stories like these.  He listens with an open heart and loves them just as much as I do.  It's amazing.  So when I was on (i <3 it), I could NOT pass up the opportunity when a trip to Florence, AL presented itself.

We drove the 5 1/2 hours from Jackson, MS to the Marriott Shoals:
An ammmmmaaaazing the middle of NOwhere.  Its a resort overlooking Wilson Lake, which my dad says is known for its small mouth bass...
The first day when we arrived, we enjoyed our first couples massage in their amazing spa.  Each dressing room had your own attendant that waited on you hand and foot...mimosas, cookies, granola, ice water, cold towel, hot towel...anything.  It was awkward, but so much fun.  And I usually talk throughout my entire massage, but I remained completely quiet so that Jay could enjoy his massage.  Yay me! :)

We drove around downtown Florence and the surrounding areas that night.  We stopped at their local mall for some bath & body works lotion I needed and wound up having a "date night" at the which I completely dominated Jay in skee ball...anyway...our prize from the arcade just HAD to be our prop for a professional photoshoot that we had when we returned to the room. 
*The following images are the best of the unedited originals.

The next day, we journeyed out for our touristy fun!  We visited Helen Keller's birthplace, which was totally cool.  We visited it along with 4 classes of second graders...which was NOT cool! Haha it wasn't that bad. But we did make the absolute best of it and had a blast! 

The famous water pump where Ann taught Helen how to spell W-A-T-E-R in to her hand.

The next stop on ours, AND the second graders' sightseeing trip was the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.  The AL Music Hall of Fame includes an awesome collection of music memorabilia, one of the band Alabama's old tour buses, and a recording room where you can sing with a track and they will record it to a cd for you.  (We came home with our own version of Gimme Three Steps by Lynyrd Skynyrd on a cd for ten dollars. What a souvenir. Ha!)

Our sightseeing then took us to a very special place....

Where my parents were married!  My mother didn't recognize it when I emailed her a picture...She said that "her mind was on too many other things" ha!  But my dad recognized it right away.  Amazing!  Over fourty years ago, a commitment was made that turned in to our family.  It made me tear up just being there with the man that will continue with me in this life that never would have been, if this courthouse were not here...if that judge wasn't having a party that night, and if my dad had just given up after one date. on the agenda was food!  We stopped at Trowbridges which is a diner in town that has been there since 1918 (and could have been where my mom, aunt and uncle ate that night).  The diner serves hot dogs, chili, sandwiches and ice cream.  Well, here's the menu:

The glass coke bottles were dwarfed in Jay's hands!   It was like, one sip for him.

That afternoon, we swam in the pool, slid down their waterslide even though it was freezing, and even sat in the whirlpool for awhile.  It was so relaxing to just play.  

Jay taking his turn. :)

Our last night, we ate at the resort's 360 Grille that is 22 stories in the air and revolves a complete circle while you dine.  Jay and I enjoyed the chef's 5 course tasting menu and we dined for THREE HOURS...  We had a blast.  The food was outstanding and worth it.

 That's the shadow of the 360 Grille from our table.
This is the Wilson Dam.  Wilson Lake to your left!

The drive to and from Florence was beautiful.  At one point we were actually in the foothills of the Smokies looking at some gorgeous scenery.  I can't wait to go back Florence, AL.  Maybe next time we can convince the folks to go with us and reminisce!