Friday, August 27, 2010

"Snap Back to Reality"

I feel disheartened to even sit and write this post, because it really means that our long awaited vacay is over. You save up for so long, get so excited, and then it's gone... like it never even happened. Not that I could ever be on a cruise boat for very long (I would eventually run out of Dramamine), but I think I could suck it up for an extra week or two :) Not to mention that M and I would eventually probably kill each other living in a 12 foot by 12 foot box...

Our cruise was da bomb... I would venture to say that it was quite possibly more fun than our honeymoon, but that's a close call. I like the feel of a resort, but I loved that there was always something to do on the boat if you wanted to, and it helped that we had fun friends there with us! I would however trade our 11 hour car ride to Ft. Lauderdale for a nice 2 hour plane ride next time... I am not the most pleasant of car riders, but I'm better than Heather :)

It was the perfect celebration for M's graduation, my graduation, both of our bdays, and our 2 year anniversary. It was completely worth every dime we spent, the final amount I'm completely unaware... I don't like finances or knowing how much money things cost... ha

We drove to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, stayed at a snazzy 4 star resort that M found on hotwire for $50, way to go M. Sunday afternoon, we boarded the boat and spent most of the day exploring the ship... and eating, obviously.

Monday, the boat arrived in Princess Cays, which is the private island Princess owns.. hence the name. We spent the whole day relaxed on the beach, and I finally got to read something completely for fun! Every night we would go to the dining room for dinner, and we became quite attached to our waiter/waitress (is that politically correct now?) Ciska. She was from South Africa, and has been in the cruise business for 8 years! We absolutely loved her, she was hilarious, and I told Matthew that I thought in real life we would be friends :) She also never failed to poke fun at my husband for his outrageous ordering habits at dinner. At the beginning of the week I was thoroughly embarrassed when he would order 3 appetizers, 2 soups, 2-3 entrees, and 2-3 desserts. Yes, it's true. Why he needs to eat that much food, it's beyond me. His response, "I paid for it". Towards the end of the week, I would laugh it off and pretend that it was funny... but seriously, who needs that much food?!

I'm sure as a shock to all of you, Matthew is a huge fan of attending the nightly shows on the boat. Fortunately, Russ was also a closet show lover, and we went most nights to some sort of show, comedian, magician, etc...

Tuesday we spent the day at sea. Great opportunity to hit up the all you can eat lunch buffet, all you can eat soft serve ice cream, all you can eat pizza, basically everything was all you can eat...

Wednesday we came to Ochos Rios. We had friends honeymoon here, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they didn't experience the "real" city itself. We went to Jamaica on our honeymoon, and LOVED it, but I'm not gonna lie, this port was SHADY. I'm sure if you're at a resort, it's just as nice as any other resort, but where we docked...different world. My guess is that I'd be dead within 6 hours or at the mercy of some drug lord. We convinced a taxi driver to cart us around for a fairly reasonable price. He said he could take us to the "free falls" or Dunn's River Falls which cost $15 a person. We opted for the "free falls", but after seeing that these "falls" were more like a "dribble" than a fall, located in some man's backyard, Heather, Aimee, and I quickly decided that the $15 was totally worth safety :) I kept hearing my mom saying, "Be aware of your surroundings". Believe me... I was COMPLETELY aware. We actually got to the see the falls for a lot cheaper than if we had booked it through the cruise, so it was actually a pleasant experience. We also met newlyweds Bryce and Mandy in Ochos Rios, and basically spent the rest of the cruise hanging out with them! Thankfully, they are from Atlanta, only 2 hours away!

Thursday we hit Grand Cayman. We had previously booked an excursion to swim with sting rays and snorkeling. It was so much fun. I got to hold a stingray in the ocean. He was cute as a button, and I wanted to bring him home with us. Then we snorkeled on the reef that is right off the coast of Grand Cayman, the water was beautiful, best snorkeling experience ever.

Friday we arrived in Cozumel. Matthew and I had booked a Mexican cuisine cooking class to take by ourselves. Heather, Russ, Aimee, and Geoff spent the morning shopping. Matthew and I took a bus to a private beach where our cooking class was held. It was the best excursion I have ever been on. We got to cook a legit Mexican appetizer called a huarache, main course included grouper wrapped in banana leaf, and a rice strawberry pudding for dessert. Delicioso! Unbeknown to us, we were allowed to hang out at the beach afterward without having to pay.. apparently in Cozumel, the beaches aren't free. So, M and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach while I lamented the fact that I had left my book on the boat.. I get bored laying out.

Yes, it was as relaxing as it looks.

Saturday was our last day. We spent the day at sea laying out watching movies on the deck, eating more of the "all you can eat" pizza, burgers, fries, dessert, ice cream, etc... Thankfully, the ship had an awesome work out center. I may or may not have gone 6 days out of the 7. Ha. It was so I could eat guilt free :)

Last Night.

That was our week. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it was most likely better than most of yours, not to brag or anything. Don't worry, we're back to the real world of job searching, NCLEX studying, cereal for dinner, and interviewing. Here's to our next vacay... whenever/wherever that may be!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another 50 things

I did a post a long time ago about 50 things most people don't know about me. It was supposed to be 100, but I was too lazy or busy with school to attempt such a feat. But now, since I'm jobless, schooless, and BORED, I figured I could give it a shot... It's not like I have the NCLEX coming up that I should be studying for.

51. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I didn't know until I was 22 that GOP stands for "Grand Ole Party". I'm actually a registered Republican... how did this bit of info escape me? When I asked Matthew, he looked at me speechless.... No wonder that I pursued a career in the Health related sciences.. not political science.

52. When Matthew and I first started dating, I asked him why there were so many sheriff's in Birmingham. He asked, "Why do you say that." My response, "Because every police car I see here says "Sheriff". Who knew that it meant that they worked in the sheriff's department! Not this girl.

53. I could eat Mexican food about every day of the week and not get sick of it.

54. Ashley and I spent most of our childhood summers watching shows like Matlock, Perry Mason, Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote, Walker Texas Ranger... I think you can see the trend. Ashley had a written schedule of what time everything came on, what time we would eat lunch, etc... Disturbing, really.

55. The first big concert I ever went to, other than random Christian groups, was Backstreet Boys in the 8th grade. I still stand by the fact that it was one of the greatest concerts EVER (The Killers are #1 now). And no, I didn't cry.

56. I thought it was the coolest thing my freshman year of college that you could just go back to your room and nap at random points during the day. Maybe if I had exercised instead, those pounds wouldn't have crept on so easily... or I could have just refrained from the soft chocolate chip cookies in the dining hall.

57. Also during freshman year, my friends and I thought it was a good idea to order various take out foods at all hours of the night. How could you not want Chinese food at 2 in the morning, or pizza at 3? Makes me cringe just thinking about it.

58. When I was in elementary school, I was in a local kids drama club one summer. One of our assignments was to stand up and recite a poem in front of the crowd before one of our plays. Mine was "Homework oh homework, I hate you, you stink". Halfway through, I lost the words, tried repeating the line beforehand multiple times hoping it would come to me... It didn't, so I turned around and walked off the stage. Embarrassing.

59. I sucked my fingers until at least 7 or 8.. Not so cute at that age.

60. I always said I would never marry someone with brown eyes... Whoops :)

61. Matthew and I have already picked out some names for our future children. One problem.. we can't really agree on any boy's names... Guess we should just plan on 3 girls!

62. A lot of people say they would go back and change various things about their wedding day... I wouldn't change a thing. Best day of my life... It's a shame how much you forget about it though.

63. I wish I knew how to smock, or sew clothes/curtains... Heck, I wish I knew how to sew on a button.

64. I briefly picked up knitting fall of my freshman year. I made about 3 scarves, and then my interest dwindled.

65. I really appreciate creative people, I wish I was one... I'm just not.

66. I'm allergic to real vanilla.. Or at least Mexican vanilla. Uncle Grady and Aunt Jeannie brought some back from a vacation and my mom made chocolate chip cookies with them. I woke up the next morning with a swollen tongue... Like anaphylaxis, swollen. Needless to say, it sort of freaked me out. Nothing a little benadryl and shot of steroids won't cure.

67. Almost every friday afternoon in high school, my good friend Leigh Ellen and I would swing by Puffy Muffin for a mid-afternoon snack before the football game... Miss those days. Oh to have the metabolism of my high school self.

68. My first job was working at Limited Too my senior year of high school. Retail is NOT my thing.

69. I've slowly turned my husband into a neat freak. He said the other day, "I don't want to go out of town until I know the house is clean". Music to my ears.

70. On a trip to Gatlinburg for Winterfest sophomore year, my friends and I decided that we would use fake names the entire weekend. Mine was Anne Tyler. Heather's was Riley. Whitney's was Madison. And Mary Katherine's was Ryan.

71. It's scary how much I am like my mother.

72. If I could hire a decorator to do every room in my house, I would. It stresses me out trying to do it myself. That's why I will get Julie to help me :)

73. It took me MONTHS to decide what kind of everyday china I wanted to register for... I mean really, they're plates! Thankfully, I'm still happy with my choice.

74. The first time Matthew paid for my meal was at Olive Garden the summer of '06. We went with Heather and Russ.. I ordered Chicken Parmesan.

75. I could go the rest of my life without eating at a chain restaurant, excluding Sonic, Milo's, J. Alexanders (Which really doesn't count, cause they're only in Nash and Bham), PF Changs, and possibly Bonefish.

76. If I had to buy all my clothes at one store for the rest of my life, it would definitely be JCrew. Except for shoes... they're so uncomfortable.

77. Thankfully, I think I'm going to really like being a nurse.

78. Somedays, I wish I had gone to medical school instead.

79. Matthew and I have already decided that our next dog will be a Golden Doodle named Milo. Once we have a yard.

80. Matthew and I don't go to the movie theater often, unless we really want to see something. We refuse to pay $10 to sit for two hours. That's why we got Netflix!

81. I'm so ready to be off our "cruise diet". AKA... cereal for dinner, almost every night.

82. Matthew and I conveniently dislike the same foods... pickles and green beans mainly. Could he be any more perfect?

83. This past semester, I had a physician call me a baby nurse (the ugly white scrubs gave it away). I came up with a clever retort, but decided it was probably best to keep my mouth shut... My husband would have been proud.

84. I could eat my weight with vanilla wafers dipped in peanut butter.. really anything dipped with peanut butter.. .I have nightmares about developing a peanut allergy.

85. I've tried at least 5 times to stop drinking diet coke...unsuccessfully.

86. I can't wait for Matthew to take me to New York so we can eat at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Bar Americain.

87. The year the Titans went to the Super Bowl.. I was their BIGGEST Fan. I was so obsessed, I kept a notebook of all the newspaper stories about them. After Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of winning the Super Bowl, I was depressed for weeks.

88. My first day of 3rd grade at my new school in Texas, I threw up all over the classroom floor as we were lining up to go to lunch because I was so nervous... right in front of my crush.. In my defense, I had been telling the teacher for 5 minutes that it was coming.

89. Ironically, the best teacher I ever had was my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Anthony. She was AWESOME.

90. I drove a 97 Mercury Villager (minivan) to high school my junior year. Needless to say, on Friday morning tailgates, we had plenty of room to put the food!

91. One of the first movies I remember going to see in the theater was the Care Bears Movie. Mom says when the theme song came on, I got up and started dancing down the aisles. "Care a lot, we care a lot!"

92. I sliced my hand on my microwave freshman year, and had to get my good friend Amy to bandage me because I couldn't look at my own blood without feeling queasy... good thing other people's blood doesn't bother me!

93. Every Saturday night growing up, Ashley and I would sit and watch TV while mom would roll our hair in those infamous pink rollers...

94. I've told myself many times that I HAVE to learn to french braid before we have kids(girls). Why it's so hard for me to learn.. I have no idea.

95. I wish I could be a nurse with the schedule like a teacher. I think everyone should get a summer vacation!

96. I refuse to watch end of the world movies, or previews for end of the world movies... They scare me.

97. Once Matthew and I can afford it, I want to start taking piano lessons again. Or possibly the violin.

98. I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 17. Afterwards, I cried, because I thought it made my ears ugly.

99. I still couldn't tell you exactly what Matthew's research is about. All I can muster is lung immunology, something about an enzyme called PE (which stands for something longer) that causes inflammation, and may be an indicator as to why lung transplants are the most commonly rejected organ post transplantation... My summary barely scratches the surface.

100. This isn't about me... But Matthew is one of a couple of authors on a paper that just got accepted into Science, the big daddy of Scientific journals.. to quote an article I recently read, "Most scientists go their whole career without publishing in Science." Publish Or Perish! I'm a super proud wife!

I will post pictures from graduation and everything else when we get back from our cruise. Hasta Luego!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"It's a Family Tradition"

Hi, I'm Andrea, and I don't like change. In fact, change makes me anxious, palms sweaty, feel like I want to throw up nervous... I HATE it. It's a wonder that I ever decided that getting married, moving to a new city, and starting a new school was EVER a good idea...

Because of my abhorrence of change, family traditions are important to me, and they should NEVER stop :)

One Smith family tradition is going to PCB with the Cinci Smiths every summer. We have been doing this for about as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, because of some kids growing up and getting adult jobs (Ashley, Andrew, and Kath) ... obviously this does not apply to me, our number has dwindled over the past couple of years.. which is frankly, unacceptable. There is this thing called vacation time!

Either way, I was glad I was able to steal away for 4 1/2 days and mooch off my parents for some much needed relaxation. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Buddy and his friend Grayson

Uncle Grady and Aunt Jeannie.. I was their kid for the week

Beautiful weather! And no oil!

RIP Smith kids at the beach... This was most likely 2006. Sad.

Look forward to posts on upcoming events: graduation!, M's birthday, little Matthew's visit, and nbd (no big deal)... the CRUISE!