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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Birthday...Surprise!

Well, look who is making his second post in two months! I know, I know, please hold your applause. Anyway, this post is not about me, its about my lovely wife and her 23rd birthday. As our avid readers may remember from her last post she mentioned that I had a surprise planned for her birthday. Well that is not entirely true, a more accurate statement would have been that her best friend Heather and I had a surprise planned for her birthday.

While I am not the best at "recap" blogs I will attempt to keep this entertaining and as informative as my mother's facebook statuses (statusi?).

The 8,401st day of Andrea's life unfolded as this... I woke up before she did Fri morning and made a delicious (if I do say so myself) breakfast of sausage, bacon, and pancakes and then unfortunately had to head in to work for a little bit. Now this is where the day began to get hectic for me. I had, unbeknownst (can something be beknownst?) to Andrea, been talking/planning with Heather for the perfect time for her and her husband Russ (who is one of my best friends, nice how that works out right?) to come visit us for the first time in Birmingham. So obviously we needed to have a clean apt and clean sheets on the guest bed/couch or Andrea would have killed me for letting company show up and the apt be a mess, which it really never is but you know... Anyway, that morning after breakfast I had been succsessful in convincing Andrea that today was a good day to clean the apartment so that we wouldn't have to mess with it on Sat. She planned to do her chores during the day and I would do mine when I got home early before we went to dinner. Unfortunately I was not succsessful at talking her into taking the sheets of the couch from when Adam and KB were here because I could obviously not push to hard for it without arousing her suspicions. So needless to say I made two separate trips home during the day while Ann was gone working out and getting her nails done (a great present from her nursing friends) to wash and dry the sheets.

Finally the evening arrived and we went to try a new (to us) Italian place for her birthday dinner. Amore, a tiny family run place out 280 in Greystone was well worth the 20 min drive. There couldnt have been more than 10 tables in the whole place but the food was phenomenal! We got a meatball appetizer that was amazing and than after the main course they surprised us with a complementary creme brulee (i mean who can turn down custard and caramelized sugar right?) Well before we had left I was sly enough to slip a key under the mat so that Russ and Heather could let themselves in while we were eating. I think judging by Ann's reaction when she saw them it was a great surprise to end her birthday.




The four of us just hung out here at the apartment and played rock band for the rest of the night, aaaaaaaand pretty much all day saturday too (boo on the rain, i'm sick of it) Sat night though was a whole lot of fun as we all got to go to a multi-person birthday party at my boss' house. Today we took them to eat lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant and showed them around UAB's campus.


Sometime during the night, Lexi ended up in this....


Needless to say it was a really fun weekend and we were so glad they were finally able to come and see us!! I think everyone had a blast and as always, there is an open invitation to come and crash on the couch, thanks Heath and Russ for making our weekend and Ann's birthday!

Dr. and Dr.

BFF's

And last, but definitely not least. Happy 26th Birthday to my sis-in-law Ashley! From then to now...





Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Birthday Week!

I decided it was time for a change. A formatting change, just for once. Don't you think that writing in a paragraph form all the time is binding? So here are my notes on life recently.

> I am super depressed about the Titans being 0-2. I don't even want to talk about it any more than that or I may throw something at this computer. Nonetheless, silver lining, the Patriots lost... I'm always excited to see Tom Brady bite the dust.

> I started taking a spinning class at the UAB Rec center. I was getting tired of my usual running plus ellipctical. Hello leg workout. It is AWESOME. Matthew and I have also started swimming some mornings before class. Anyone have any ideas on how to build up your lung capacity? I'm four strokes in and feel like my lungs will burst!

> This semester has been super easy so far. I'm sure I will eat my words at some point.

> We celebrated Geoff's 26th birthday on Monday. He told me he would rather have my cooking than go to a restaurant. Reason # 1,000 that I love Geoffrey Walter so much. Also, he told us it was ok for us to move in with him next summer. What a great guy.

> Ed (Matthew's boss) invited us to go to Holland with him sometime next summer!

> We are less than 1 week away from the Blink 182 concert!

> Matthew has a super secret surprise planned for my birthday this weekend. Usually I'm pretty good at figuring out what he is planning, but this time I absolutely have no clue.

> I absolutely HATE one of the courses I am taking this semester. I leave the class angry every Wednesday.

> Matthew and I are contemplating whether we want to move into a 2 bedroom in the same apartment complex. It will only cost about 20 bucks more a month, but then we would have to deal with moving furniture... all over again, only to have to do it again next August.

> Grey's Anatomy starts back tomorrow night. I have already planned a party for it with my nursing school buddies. Cannot wait.

> I got my credit card stolen at the Psych unit last Thursday. Well..not exactly stolen. It's a funny story, but much better in person.

>We celebrated mine and my sister's birthday this past weekend in Nashville. We went to Sperry's for dinner, mainly because dad had gift cards, and he gets a pastor (preacher) discount...ha. Our birthdays are 2 days apart.. 25th and the 27th. As a kid, this was annoying, you got 1 day all to yourself and then had to turn around and do it for your sister. Now, it's fun celebrating together, even sharing a birthday cake, which I never would have done growing up!




> Little Matthew is running cross country this year, and Big Matthew and I were able to go to one of his races this past Saturday. Big Matthew embarassed me by asking, "So what other events are there?" Are you kidding! You must be the only person alive who doesn't know what cross country is!... and it's not Track! Now obviously I have had a lot more experience with this... my sister ran all through high school and we went to meets all the time, but come on! Crawl out of the hole you've been in and get with the program!


> I have discovered that my husband makes yummy homemade Mexican salsa. I've never been more proud.

> We went to the Vanderbilt game with Dad on Saturday night. Depressing. It was like I was watching Vandy from 5 years ago.. absolutely no offense. Highlight of the evening was The DOG, a new hot dog restaurant on Belcourt near The Coop. It was incredible! To all my Nashville peeps... try this place!


> But most importantly... Happy Birthday to my best friend Heather who turned 24 today! You are now in your mid 20's!

Heather and me: Middle School... oh the awkward years

High School.. a little better

College

And now. I love you Heath! Happy Bday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Big News

So.. we sort of have some big news. Now before all (five) of you go rushing to conclusions, this news does not involve a 9 month wait with an expensive gift in the end. So, please you can all rest assured (Mom) that this is not the case.

Matthew has decided within the last couple of weeks that he is no longer going to pursue medical school. Thankfully, he decided this before taking the MCAT and sending out applications, which saves us money, always a good thing! This decision came after a couple of months of going back and forth, until he ultimately decided that although he thinks it would be neat to go to medical school, it's not something he absolutely has to do to be fulfilled in his vocational life. On a side note... with the way things with healthcare are headed, we didn't want to take out hundreds of thousands in loan money when the potential earning for MD's could be falling each passing day. Let me step up on my small political soapbox for .5 sec... Don't you want the surgeon opening up your chest to be making good money? I would like to pay for steady hands, thank you! Ok... soapbox back under the bed.

Needless to say, we have officially decided that we will be out of Birmingham by next August. We will actually be signing our final lease to end July 31, 2010 this week... crazy. I know some of you are thinking, "but andrea you don't graduate until the second week of August!". Thankfully, we will live with our dear friend Geoff for a couple of weeks until I finish up, although we haven't asked him yet, no biggie. I'm sure he won't mind :)

So, this comes to my favor. We solicit all of your prayers as to what God wants us to be doing, going, etc... Matthew has been looking online for various post docs (sort of like a residency like med students) and industry jobs. Locations? Anywhere. We have mostly been looking in San Diego, San Fran, LA (we may or may not know some cool people there), Denver, Boulder, possibly Texas, Emory in Atlanta, and Vandy. Although I'll be honest, as of right now, it seems that the conversations tend to circle more around California than being back in Nashville (although I would love this as well:) To our family and friends. No worries! Post docs are only 2-3 years, then we would be free to move back to the South. I can only live so long where they don't serve sweet tea!

The ideal situation is Matthew finding a great job in a place where I can work and go to Nurse Practitioner school at the same time. But it really boils down to this, we want to be where God wants us, where we can really be used by Him in ways we never have, and where we can be a light to people who don't know Him.

I think that's BIG enough news, right?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rammer Jammer




I can finally cross something off my bucket list because I have now "seen the light"of the magnificence of Alabama football.

I strategically picked my first friend in nursing school for her access through her boyfriend to Alabama season tickets (she was really the girl I sat two seats away from the very first day, and after I bravely stroke up a conversation with her, I asked her if she wanted to sit right next to me...the rest is history). This is her below. Nursing school would be AWFUL without her.

My friend Katie texted me on Wednesday afternoon that I needed to immediately leave the gym and come back to the nursing school building because she had a surprise for me. At the same time, her boyfriend Zach (who is in law school at U of A) called Matthew to tell him that if we wanted we could come down to the game with them on Saturday. Hallelujah! Needless to say, Matthew and I talked of little else from Wednesday night to Saturday morning, and disappointed our BFF (best friend forever) Geoff by going to buy Alabama t-shirts to wear to the game (Geoff is an Auburn fan).


Who doesn't love free tickets to college football games? Who doesn't love free tickets to one of the most storied programs in the history of college football? Who wants to choke the athletic director of the University of Kentucky in 1953 for letting Paul "Bear" Bryant slip away? Answer: Andrea and Matthew and about a handful of other people who actually care about UK football.

Anyway... we got up Saturday morning to get some things done around the 'Ham before we left for Tuscaloosa around noon. It's only about a 45-50 minute drive so Matthew and I passed the time in our usual fashion on road trips by playing Famous People 20 Questions. The game was at 6, so we hung out at Zach's place for a couple of hours before heading the stadium.

Now.. I have tailgated at football games before, even at a UK football game. Nothing compares to the madness we experienced. There were RV's everywhere, with 50 inch flat screens on the outside, massive generators, more people than I knew fit into that stadium, enough food to feed an army, and if I never see another houndstooth article of clothing it will be too soon... it was like the Grove at Ole Miss on steroids. Or quite possibly it's about the same but I haven't been to Ole Miss since my freshman year of college... in 2004.


Zach is the one with the white hat..not looking at the camera. His roommate Scott in the blue shirt and their friend KT in the Bama shirt in the middle.

The game wasn't all that great, but neither of us cared. Alabama looked awful in the 1st half. We were just happy to be there. It completely fulfilled all of my wildest dreams of what I thought it would be. It's like a tractor beam, pulling you in to experience all of it's glory. So, when the Iron Bowl comes around... I may have to lie to Geoff when he asks me who I'm cheering for... Bama or Auburn?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Allens and Hardisons

Note to readers: Recaps of weekends are my least favorite blogs to write. They seem repetitive to me, thus I get weary of them. So, my apologies if they sound as bland to you as they do to me ;)

We had the upmost priviledge of having our good friends Adam and Katie Beth (KB) come visit us this past weekend over Labor Day. We were PUMPED. I was creating food menus weeks in advance, while Matthew actually got excited about cleaning. It's always a pleasure for me to have a good excuse to deep clean the apartment as opposed to it just being a Saturday (growing up you always cleaned on Saturdays!)... it always convinces the spouse a little more easily.


Adam and their dog Wallace..

We took them to our favorite pizza place Davenports Friday night after they got into town. We love this place for it's hole in the wall atmosphere, it's no shame policy of only serving pizza and salad.. no breadsticks here folks, and the fact that it's been owned by the same family since the 1960's. Matthew and I like to do our part supporting locally owned businesses. These people are the heart of America! It's one of the reasons we try and avoid large chains... with a few exceptions. It still pains me that I shop at Wal-Mart for groceries.
KB and I cleaning up after a pancake breakfast. No, she is not on stilts... I am extremely short and she is extremely tall.

We played some Trivial Pursuit at the apartment after dinner. The Allens made a terrific comeback to claim the win.. not after Matthew impressed us all by knowing way too much about everything. No 26 year old male born in 1983 should know all of that! I'm still thoroughly convinved that my husband was born in the wrong decade.

Saturday. We were all more than happy to spend the day watching college football. The only downside, it rained ALL DAY! Saturday we had moved over to the "The Manor" (Matthew's bosses house) because Matthew and I were house sitting while Ed was gone giving a talk in Memphis. We had originally planned to spend the day by the pool, playing some corn hole, etc... Bummer. I hate Birmingham weather. It rains ALL THE TIME.

We were sad to see the Adam and KB leave on Sunday (our anniversary). We so love having people come visit us, and it really means a lot to us when they do! 417 Oaks Drive is always open to guests, if you ever need a weekend away, and think "Birmingham is the perfect place to go" (which I would never think that, so I dont know why anyone else would) but regardless, CALL US!

Have a fabulous weekend! Matthew and I are headed to T-Town (Tuscaloosa) tomorrow to go to our first home Alabama football game! Roll Tide! (My father may disown me for writing that)

Monday, September 7, 2009

1 Down... 59 to go

Well since I have not exactly been carrying my weight around here (in the blogosphere) I am getting to write the anniversary post commemorating our first year together as husband and wife. I know, our dedicated readers are probably wishing that Ann would have retained the duties for this important entry but fear not! I promise a delightful read.

I could bore you with all of the mundane details of exactly what we did for our anniversary (Flemings, ate our 1 year old cake topper - still tasted awesome!, watched the slide show from our rehearsal dinner, listened to the audio cd of our ceremony - ann cried more this time than at the live event) but I think a more appropriate post would be to reflect on the first year of the rest of our lives.

In the word's of Lou Gherig (a nickname I had for Andrea way back in the beginning - her initials were ALS) today i consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. These last 33 months with Andrea Lynn have been the happiest of my life, especially the last year when we began our life together. There are so many aspects of Andrea that I am thankful for and love and I have been thinking about them a lot leading up to our first anniversary. I know the stereotype is that men dont care/forget anniversaries but that does not apply to me. I had been looking forward to yesterday for a long time! I am so blessed to have a wife who loves me, makes me laugh, challenges me in so many ways, makes me a better person, cooks amazing meals, has an eye for decorating (no matter what she may tell you), and who is a caring, truly beautiful (i know its a cliche word but if you have seen her you know there is no other appropriate) christian woman.

I have so many memories of our first, eventful year together, taking an impromptu trip to Atlanta in the fall, decorating our barely-unpacked apartment for Christmas together, going to the Killers concert, going to umpteen weddings, family vacations, Barons games, the Alabama theater, but these are all memories that you have heard before on this blog. The memories that are most important to me are the ones that would be the least important to you, the small, boring insignificant details that make up our every day life. I could pick one and share it, and in fact already had a couple of sentences down before I back-spaced them away. But I think I will keep them special, keep them between my wife ( a wonderful phrase I still love to say) and me. There is a scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan where Ryan is asking Tom Hank's character about his wife and Hanks replies "No, no, that I keep for me." Well who am I to argue, the little things, the important things, the things only I know, I keep for me.

I love my wife more than anything, and more than I thought possible, thank you God for her and please bless us with many more years together.



Please enjoy the slideshow we compiled for our 1st year of marriage.



video