Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer!

(September 2012) Thanks to Kelley, on September 11, 2012, I attended the Elton John Concert at the Jackson, MS Colliseum!  I was tickled that her mom couldn't come (Sorry ReRe!), and I was so excited to get to experience this.  Kelley and I were so impressed, Elton John performed the entire time...he maybe spoke for a total of five minutes.  Thanks Kel for the opportunity to  enjoy such a legend!  And thanks also for the fun Keifer's dinner pre-concert. :) Love you girl.

filling up the colliseum!

at the piano

on the big screen

awesome light show!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Three men and a tractor

(August 2012) When we go down to Meadville, we never know what we will be getting in to--especially if its not deer season.  If it's deer season, the menfolk are hunting.  If it's not deer season, the menfolk are getting ready for deer season.  And getting ready for deer season is a long, strange, involved process.  This year I tagged along for evidence of some of the many projects that were necessary to the preparedness of the land. 

They put stairs on almost all of the stands!

What do you do when you need to fix a roof on a deer stand?? You use the tractor bucket.

They were in good hands.

Getting scarrrrryyy.

Jay fixing the roof!!

Had to take this hilarious shot.

To Nigeria, with love...

Happy Valentine's Day to my Jay! Fortunately, we celebrated before you left. I am so glad that I kept a secret for a whole hour that I had hidden chocolates from you. It was so hard, but worth it to see your face when you opened the car door...and the best part of that night was watching you "navigate the chocolate map" to find the ones you wanted to eat first!

Thank you for loving me and making every day Valentine's Day. I love you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Natchez Food and Wine Festival 2012

When I married Jay, I don't think that I realized that I was getting another family.  I mean, I loved them from the beginning, but I didn't realize that I would love them like my own.  Take his older sister for example.  Tracy.  I didn't know that she would end up reminding me of my own sister that I adore.  Tracy is always ready for fun.. Last year (2012) she found the Natchez Food and Wine Festival.  It was like a mini Taste of Mississippi with better music.  We stayed at the Grand Hotel across from the Convention Center so we just had to walk across the street to our room.  The really interesting part of this trip is that Jay had returned from Nigeria UNEXPECTEDLY because we thought that he had Malaria.  I had had him at the hospital and every clinic that week trying to get better.  Thankfully, it was only the flu and Amazingly, he perked right up when we went to the festival.  He managed to stay for almost the whole event.  Glad we got some fam time.  Here's some pics of us dressed up!

The day after the festival, was spent in Natchez at various awesome places such as Fat Mama's and Darby's before returning home.  Loved it!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Here fishy fishy fishy...

Spring/Summer 2012 was spent FISHING.  I never thought that I would be a fisherwoman, but I guess that I am.  It all started with Dad buying his fishing boat when he retired--the first time--about ten years ago.  Until 2012, I had ridden in that boat ONE TIME.  But then it was like a "fishing bug" bit Dad.  All of a sudden, we were planning one Saturday to go fishing...then the whole next weekend!  It has really come in handy to have our house close to the Reservoir.  So we fished.
Sometimes Jamie and Dad went fishing...

Sometimes just me and Dad went fishing...
When Jay finally got home from work...him and Dad went fishing too!
Dad just wanted to be out in his boat fishing...and he got all of us in the mood to fish!  It was so much fun.  Dad and mom both tell stories of how much Dad used to fish and she even went with him alot.  Mom says that she enjoyed it mostly because she could suntan while he fished.  One story involves Mom driving the trolling motor with her feet while she suntanned and Dad fished!  I forget sometimes that they lived other places prior to me being with them.  When they lived in Florida, Dad and his best friend Randall (who played for the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots until he tore his achilles tendon) used to fish the canals every day together.  So it has been an awesome experience to see how passionate the men in my life can be about something like FISHING.
Dad told me that I could not drive the boat until I received my boater's I did the three hour online course and passed with 100% of course:  *sidenote: Jay had to have one too and I don't think he made a 100%, but I wasn't going to say anything.
Sometimes when we went fishing we caught BIG fish...

 And sometimes we just had to make up some "fishing lies"...

I would have to say that 99% of the fishing we did was incredibly fun.  Why only 99%, you ask?  Well, there was this one trip in particular where Dad (who had continuously warned the rest of us to "watch the hooks" when we were throwing out our noodle jugs) got HOOKED!  I mean, I can laugh about it now.  It is funny in hindsight.  Dad through the noodle and then he said "Well, I did it."  Jay and I both turned to him.  Blood was dripping down his hand, and Dad was almost in disbelief that that had just happened to him.  Jay tells this story way better than I do.  Because I panicked.  I quietly panicked.  Here we were, at least a 45 minute boat ride to a dock.  Then a drive to the hospital.  His finger wasn't just hooked in the side.  Dad had gotten it through the MEAT of his finger. Jay looked at it and sucked air through his teeth.  Dad said "well, you're gonna have to push it through to cut off the barb and then pull it out".  All I could think of is WTF.  The chicken heart bait that's covered in strawberry banana jell-o was still on the hook--the hook that was inside of my father's finger.  I don't know how Jay even kept still and quiet.  I was quietly repeating "don't we have a first aid kit?" "I'll find the first aid kit" "Will there be valium in the first aid kit?" "Jay, if you hurt my Daddy I will kill you".  I did find the first aid kit.  I found it when I was looking for a second pair of hook cutters (or whatever they are called) because the first pair wasn't sharp enough.  The first aid kit had an ice pack in it that you were supposed to break and crack and it would get freezing cold.  I spent to next fifteen minutes working on that while watching THIS:

(No, they aren't holding hands and praying)

But that was the only non pleasant incident!  Other than that it was smooooooth sailin!
Discussing different fishing holes to start at.

Checking for a possible leak after we ran in to a totally random stump where it shouldn't have been.

Fishing amongst the cypress trees...

Alligators galore!!!  EEK!
Thanks to Dad and his Fishing Fever that he gave all of us, WE (Jay mostly, but I agreed) had to get a boat when the opportunity presented itself.  Steve Burr just so happened to have one that he had only used five times since he bought it...and we couldn't pass it up.
What a deal!  It's a Bass Tracker...I hear that's a good thing.
 Dad has a saying that goes "There's two best days in a man's life...the day he buys his boat is one of them--and the day he sells it is the other one."  It really was a great day.  We took it out asap.
The girls..

The proud driver.
We are hoping that with two boats in the fam, next year we can have a girls against boys fishing tournament!! IF the boys can handle us. Hee hee.
How cute is this?  The "wind-blown" look.

Update made on Feb. 24, 2012: Found this great family shot from our day out fishing and had to add it!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Christmas card pictures in October

Jay's schedule this year allowed him to be home for Christmas and New years, but that meant that he had to return to work in October which left almost no time for Christmas card picture taking!  It was a HOT Mississippi October morning about two days before Jay was to depart for work when Sharon Coker of Sharon Coker Photography was sweet enough to come and snap some images for us.  It's hard to dress and act like it's Christmas time when it's 95 degrees outside, but we tried.  I think they turned out fabulous anyway.

By our front doors

In our dining room

Front yard
My favorite.  It's our little fam!

612 Mockingbird Circle...

SOLD in August 2012.
To a nice couple for their starter home.

Celebration pre-signing of the paperwork: Shapley's.
(Still playing "blog-catch up"!)
Mockingbird Circle will always have a special place in my heart.  It was my first house that I bought and it was where Jay and I lived for the first year of our marriage!  Prior to Jay, it was also the host to many a Luau party, Moulin Rouge party, fish pond dug by Amy and Jamie etc.  Many memories will be taken from that home and many memories will be left there! :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NOLA getaway!

Inside Abita Brewing Company

And here we are!  Abita Brewing Company!
This past August we took a HOT trip to New Orleans.  I mean, it was HOT.  But it was fun.  Jay was in charge of the accommodations and I must say that he outdid himself.  We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and I don't ever want to stay anywhere else (but I will, but I don't want to).  Anyway, before telling all of those tales, I have to start at the beginning which was Abita Springs, LA.  Jay and I stayed at a hotel in Covington to break up the Friday afternoon drive and also so that we could go to the Abita Springs beer tour that Winnie and I went on last year. 

Its blurry, but you get the gest.

Sampling the wares.
It is really a great tour and it's FREE.  And it's incredible how such a little company can produce such a volume of a product that they do.  AND the brewery is highly energy efficient with very little waste produced.  Too cool.

So, on to New Orleans!  The room was b-e-a-utiful at the Ritz. And the Club Level had fresh food out all day and most of the night.  I wanted to stay in the hotel.  Jay MADE me leave eventually, but the first night we ate at one of Emeril's restaurants downtown...we were not impressed.  Honestly, we were both disappointed in the food, service and atmosphere--but we are glad that we had the experience!  We went back to the club level at the Ritz and played chess, checkers, cards and laughed until it was time for bed.  We even glanced outside our window and across the street we saw a window open with a couple getting ready for bed--it was almost awkward, i mean if they had known it would have been awkward.
Our room!

Chess game...

Club. Level.
Breakfast spread
Some of the breakfast items...
We woke up, had a delicious breakfast and headed to the Aquarium of the Americas.  Both of us have been there when we were younger.  It was totally different to experience it as an adult, and I mean different in a good way.
My awesome hair before we walked in the rain.
Jay in the tunnel!

You could pay a $1.00 for a popsicle stick with bird seed on it to feed the birds.  For some reason, Jay wanted to hold the popsicle stick with his mouth.... "I tawt I taw a putty tat?

I think that the birds were the most fun interactive activity at the aquarium...go figure. :)

New Orleans Mint
After the aquarium we walked around the market and shopped a little bit.  We randomly took tours of places like the New Orleans Mint and Preservation Hall.

The concierge at the hotel recommended a very interesting restaurant called Stella! for dinner that night.  It was a great recommendation, but I don't think that we will be back any time soon...

The fan provided for the tour. It was a much needed accessory.
We followed dinner up with an informative, loosely fact-based "ghost tour" of the French Quarters that left us with goosebumps!  We learned all kinds of spooky things about vampires, ghosts and murdurous families...I. was. terrified.  I had to get Jay up to go to the restroom with me every time I got up in the middle of the night. :)

Our last morning before checking out of our hotel, we used a Groupon I had bought for a segway tour!! I am a huge fan of the segway, but this was my first time and so I just KNEW I was probably going to bleed from the knees or the face at some point....but I did not.  I survived, thrived and loved it!  It did tickle me seeing Jay's tall, manly self with a bicycle helmet on standing on a machine that when in motion makes the sound "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee".

LOVED the segway tour.  We did have one accident with a couple on our tour.  The man and his 13 year old son were super cocky and obnoxious.  They kept "zooming" around the rest of us and weren't paying attention to the tourguide, so midway through the tour the man had messed with the governor on his machine and it just stopped and he fell.  He had a skinned elbow, but his wife and son thought it was serious enough that he needed an ambulance.  It was ridiculous.  But the tour was so much fun that we overlooked that incident. :)
What better way to end a trip to New Orleans, than a stop at Middendorf's for lunch in Manshac!

Yes, we wore matching t-shirts.  And yes it was Sunday Funday. :)