Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sister Trip 2012

Being 13 years younger than my sister has had its advantages over the years.  She was always a great advice giver, a constant companion, and a phone call away...unless it was 2:00 in the morning and she was asleep. ;)  Our relationship has changed very little as we grew older.  The greatest change has been the fact that we are now adults and when we talk about taking trips or doing fun things we can just do them!  As crazy as it seems to me, this summer we took our FIRST EVER planned sister trip and it was long overdue. 

Winnie is chief/queen of crazy ideas.  It is never a surprise to get a phone call at 8:00 at night to tell me that we are headed to the casino, get ready.  Or, hey, let's go get a puppy...llama....peacock...etc.  Or, a fishing trip at night due to a bet with her husband that we can catch more fish than him because our bobbers light up so the fish can see them--that adventure wound up with Winnie IN the pond while Jamie and I laughed histerically.  So when Winn called me and said that there was a town-wide garage sale where people ride around in buggies buying things ridiculously cheap and that we had to go to, I was not surprised.  I googled and found out that it existed and even though I was skeptical, I thought it would be a great reason to get away.  That next Friday afternoon, we headed for Abita Springs, Louisiana.  This also happened to be the last Friday of the largest lottery in LA history.  We immediately bought tickets knowing that we were both going to win.  We travelled to Covington, LA where we had a hotel at the Country Inn & Suites which we will definitely return to, then we headed to Manshac for dinner at Middendorfs....deeeelicious.  We both got seafood platters even though the waitress advised against it. (I mean, she had no idea how hungry we were at that point.)  After the delicious meal we ordered their banana's foster bread pudding to go and scooted back to our hotel to try and catch the lotto numbers on the tv or net.  We found the right website that had a countdown to the number drawing and at the exact moment that the numbers were to be revealed, the screen refreshed and then WOULD NOT LOAD.  Thankfully we were hysterical and delirious enough to think that it was funny, but we ran to the room to try and catch it on the television.  The numbers were no where to be found.  I mean, we were just in disbelief.  So that night we went to bed knowing that it would be okay in the morning because one of our tickets had just won millions of dollars.

Here we are in our Middendorf's tshirts trying to get a good self-taken picture:



This was the best final product...we were so tired!

The next morning we made a breakfast stop at Chik-fil-a and then we were at the garage sale by 5:30 am.  It was awesome.  It really is a whole town that comes together for a yearly garage sale.  People are riding around in their buggies and carrying strollers just so that they can put their purchases in them!  We walked around and made several fun purchases like an antique metal watering can for $8.00 and some giant welded bird planters, a wooden chandelier, two old huge ceiling tiles and an 1800s wooden twin headboard/footboard.
Bird plant stands...this is not the final product, but you can see what they look like!

1800s bed that I am getting Jay to make benches out of!
It didn't take us long to pick out the good stuff at the garage sale and decide that it was getting too crowded.  We headed back to the hotel for some napping and extra shopping.  On our way home, Winn just happened to spot the Abita Springs Brewery! I had not made the connection of course, so I was pleasantly surprised and we HAD to make a trip back to the brewery before we left.  We took their early tour--which was completely free.  It was an awesome tour.  They even brew root beer and keep it on tap!

Us in the brewery...I had to wear booties b/c I had worn flip flops

Sissy enjoying her root beer!
After the beer tour, we tried to google and find a good place to eat dinner, but all that we could think about were the huge shrimp from Middendorfs...so back to Middendorfs we went.  It was a beautiful day and we so enjoyed being able to stop where we wanted and when we wanted...we totally piddled.  And our piddling then led us to a SWAMP TOUR.  Cajun Pride.  We both have always wanted to do one, but had never gotten around to it.  It was loong.  But very interesting and entertaining.  Sissy says that I have a good alligator eye. I always spotted them before she did. :)

Crazy tour guide feeding these alligators.

Alligator.  This one is about 8 years old.
Sissy with a two year old alligator!
At the end of the tour, when the boat was on its way back to drop us off, the tour guide pulled out this 2 year old alligator and said we could pass it around and take pictures with it!  Winn turned to me immediately and said, "Amy, I don't think we are qualified to hold an alligator"  and I agreed.  It scared the begeezes out of us.  Like, five year old kids were holding it and me and Winn just held our breath.  Thankfully his mouth was taped shut, because I've seen Crocodile Dundee.

We relunctlantly started our trip back to Meadville, aka reality.  We sang in the car the whole time.  We giggled and talked about everything in our lives.  It was the perfect sister trip...even if we didn't win the lottery.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Valentine's Week 2012

Because of our lifestyle,  Jay is hardly ever home for all of the holidays.  I think that he was home for our very first Valentine's Day together, and then the next one was 2012.

This Valentine's was one of the best ever.  On the actual Valentine's Day (a Tuesday) I had to work.  So that night, I came home to roses.  We played RockBand on the WII and we cooked out.    Thankfully, Jay was understanding of the situation that I was in and so he didn't plan anything too intense...
Happy Valentine's Day root canal!!
Yes, for Valentine's Day, I got a root canal.  I think it was at this point that I realized that I am an adult. 
Jay's girls wishing him a happy VDay

Jay rehooking up the Wii. :)
My lesson from this Valentine's Day was that I will NEVER touch the wiring behind this television.  Ever. :)

Better late than never--Jay's VDay present was this lovely bouquet that arrived only two days late:
But we ate it allllll.

Also, on Valentine's Week, we had dinner with my BFF Amanda Frusha at BRAVO.  It was mine and Jay's first meal there..and it was good...but the drinks were better.  I think that after the three bottles of wine we had a birthday cake martini and two key lime martinis.... :) 

<3 this girl.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Memphis Continued...

It's time to play catch up!  After the Memphis Zoo, we went to a place that I have heard of all my life called Coletta's.  Coletta's is an Italian restaurant that my parents ate at on their trips to Memphis (one of their destinations for fun because it was not too far from Ole Miss).  If I had to guess, I would say that Coletta's right now looks like Coletta's looked over 50 years ago.  It is still owned by the same family, and when I asked my dad to describe it, he said word for word what it looked like.  From the red and white checked table clothes to the bowls that our salads came in.  Coletta's was one of Elvis' favorite restaurants also.  According to their website and menu they are famous for creating the BBQ pizza..so that's what Jay ordered.  Everything was really good, but the connection to the past that we felt was even better.

We checked in to the Peabody (where we spent the first night of our honeymoon), and then had some fab massages that were well needed after the zoo trip!  That night we tried out Texas de Brazil for our first time and we decided that one time was enough at that restaurant.  I have never seen Jay turn away food!  :)  Our horse and buggy ride helped to settle our full stomachs!
The next morning, Jay and I made a planned trip to the Gibson guitar factory.  I suggest to anyone--guitar lover, musician or not--to take this tour.  WOW.  The tour takes you through the makings of a semi-hollow bodied guitar from the very beginning all the way to the paint job and tuning at the end.  We had to wear goggles: 
The air has to stay at a certain humidity that is good for the wood (good for the wood haha) so there are misters everywhere and there is sawdust flying through the air the entire time.  It was one of the most interesting tours that I have ever been on for anything because we were about ten feet away from the workers and had no barriers between us and them.  We were so impressed with the whole thing that we decided that for Jay's anniversary present, he needed a new Gipson...
This one will do. :)  It's silver.   And it sounds AMAZING when he plays it.

Our next stop was the Rock and Soul Museum (ran by the Smithsonian Institute) across the street and it was not as interesting, to say the least.  Not recommended. SO we headed to phase two of our trip--NASHVILLE!



There is just so much to tell!  First of all, our hotel was so impressive.  The Hermitage is right in the middle of everything, historic, faaaannnccy. :)  Everyone knew our names as we entered and they constantly addressed us as Mr. and Mrs. Jordan.  Our room was one of the greatest rooms ever.  Marble bathroom, two person shower, mini bar, sitting area...I could have stayed there for a very long time. 
Getting ready for our anniversary dinner
Anniversary dessert!
Lobby of the Hermitage

Our anniversary dinner was in the hotel's restaurant which serves fresh foods from the Chef's garden/farm.  I loved the sweet vidalia onion soup so much that Jay ordered it for room service the second night!

On our first actual day in Nashville, we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame...which was super cool.  The only thing NOT super cool was the fact that it was apparently "free day" for kids.  We went through rather quickly.  However, we were able to stand in line for autographs and pictures with the Oak Ridge Boys which was a total suprise to us! 
Due to the way that the shirt I wore that day made me look awful, I am refusing to post the pic of US with the Oak Ridge Boys. :)  But here they are.
Next on the agenda was the Ryman Auditorium--the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  The day that we went, they were removing the original wooden stage in order to replace it so no pictures were allowed.  It was definitely a tour that was worth it. To be there where all of those music legends performed was an incredible experience.


Lastly, my wonderful husband bought us tickets to the Grand Ole Opry at Opryland!  We arrived early to check out the Gaylord Opryland and we were impressed.  The hotel/shopping/restaurant area was all enclosed with a "river" running through it.  It just has to be seen in person to be appreciated.  The Opryhouse was built to resemble and almost replicate the Ryman Auditorium. We were so glad that we had toured the Ryman earlier in the day so that we could compare.  The seats are just long curved pews.  There are no arm rests to seperate you from your neighbor.  There are no seat cushions to make your butt not go to sleep.  But there IS alot of togetherness and respect and appreciation in that place.  It really takes you back to when people would bring their lunch/dinner and their kids and gather around for the fun and entertainment.  I guess that Jay and I just didn't know alot about the Grand Ole Opry.  I didn't realize that it's still a radio show.  I didn't realize that it is live on the air.  So imagine my surprise when after the first act, a man at the corner of the stage with a deep voice begins "A big thanks goes to our sponsors tonight, especially Dollar General Stores.  Save money. Save time.  Thanks also to Bass Pro Shops for...." I mean, I looked at Jay like WHAT in the WORLD is going on??  You got used to it though.  On commercial breaks, I would go fetch us another drink and some popcorn.  We saw Little Big Town, Diamond Rio and a couple of others that I have forgotten...I wish that there were more places like the Grand Ole Opry.  I can't wait to go again.

That finally concludes most of our Memphis/Nashville Anniversary Trip.  Here are just a couple more highlighting pics:
Jay eating ribs at the Rendevous in Memphis

Jay enjoying his complimentary robe after a bath.

Part of the lobby in the Hermitage during the day

Last note: My wonderful anniversary present just so happened to be the most beautiful pair of diamond earrings that I have ever seen...from my favorite jewelry store.  Thank you, my Jay, for always treating me like a princess.
They are perfect for me. Just like YOU.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Year Anniversary Trip

This trip was a celebration of our first anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's!  When Jay returned from work this time, we had alot of catching up to do.  And after three months of not taking a day off from work, I was in desperate need of a break. :)  This is going to be a pretty long post with everything that I want to put in it so I think I will split it up... Part one:

A very close friend of mine lost her mother at the end of last year to an unexpected brief battle with cancer.  Brittany and her family are probably the kindest people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Brittany especially, can light up a room with her smile and her giggly laugh.  On the first day of our trip, Jay drove me to Brittany's house in Collierville, TN.  Our friendship is one of those where we don't have to speak every day, every week, or every month...she will always be a best friend of mine.  We pick up right where we left off like we never were apart.  Jay got to meet Brit for the first time on our wedding day, so this was the first time that they have gotten to spend any time together.  Jay took us to dinner and then we had coffee/dessert at IHOP until some time past midnight.  We had such a great time catching up...and everywhere we went, Brittany knew at least five people!  That's her personality.  She loves people and she loves God.  She is amazing.
Jay and Brittany's dog Goliath!
Me and Brittany Draughon
 I love this girl!  Jay and I stayed in a pretty awesome hotel there in town and the next morning we headed for Memphis for a trip to the zoo.  The Memphis Zoo.  I had no idea the awesome-ness that is the Memphis Zoo.  We were both incredibly impressed with all of the animals and how close you could get to them!  We also decided that early on a Thursday morning in February is the time to go. :)  There were hardly any people there and the animals had all just been fed so they were roaming around.  We took the coolest pictures and we stayed for FOUR HOURS wandering around trying to see everything.  Here are some highlights!

At the entrance...it was a beautiful day.

Panda Bear!! Eating his bamboo.  He had to be separated from his buddy because they couldn't get along. :)


This snow leopard was so cute.  As soon as we walked up to his "habitat" he started pawing at the wire bars...I'm sure he was dreaming of malling us...but it was so cute!  Then he chased his tail until he caught it.


This monkey carried his grass/hay on his head....
and then he would sit on it. so no one else could get it.
This bird surprised us by saying Hello!


Pausing for meditation and rehydration.

Elephants!!

The sea lion exhibit! How cool!  See Jay?


Waiting for Goldilocks?...


Next blog post: Memphis continued...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First blog of 2012!

I know that I am not the most avid blogger, but I still can't believe that it's been over 6 months since I've been on here! 

For my first blog of the year, I was going to show off our first trip of the year (because that's what I love to talk about!), however, I think that I would like to share the reason for our trip first.  Jay was at work for our first year anniversary..which was okay because it then we had SO much more to celebrate when he arrived home--and that's what we did. 

A family member sent me this amazing video from our wedding.  It's one of the few that we have and I absolutely love it!


video

Such a beautiful day!  My Dad practiced his part beforehand--"Her mother and I".  :)