Monday, October 24, 2011

"Wanna Go to Birmingham"

2 weekends ago, M and I were planning on having a nice weekend here in Houston... I had been out of town the two weekends beforehand, work had been pretty exhausting, etc... Until my boss decided to call into my room on Thursday afternoon to inform me that our case load was slow for Friday, so I was getting the day off.   Not only that, but as soon as my case was done, I could leave early... Perk of working in the OR.  My first thought was, oh this is great, I can get the cleaning done, run errands, catch up on some of my TV shows while Matthew is at work... I quickly came to the conclusion that that particular plan was incredibly boring and stupid and instead I immediately hopped onto my email and wrote Matthew these lines, "GUESS WHAT?  I'm off work tomorrow...Wanna go to Birmingham?!"

About 11 hours later, after running home to pack and grab Lexi, and then a short 10 hour ride, we were pulling in to J and K's adorable new house right in the heart of Homewood, AL...Felt good to be home, people.  I know, 10 hours is a LONG drive, but it honestly felt more like 7 or 8, most likely due to the fact that every 30 minutes M and I would look over and say, "Aren't you so excited we're doing this?!"  

Due to the craziness of the situation, neither M nor I remembered that M's parents had already made plans to be in Birmingham that weekend, added bonus after J reminded us.  We woke up Friday morning just an hour or two before his parents got there.  We spent the morning taking sweet Sam to the park, and then met Geoff for lunch at Newks.  I could have driven the 10 hours just to eat a Newks Q :)   After lunch we headed downtown to M's old lab to say hello to all of his former co-workers, and then headed back to J and K's to hang out that afternoon.  Friday night we met all of our closest friends, Drew, Katie, and McNeill, Holly Beth and Blake, and the Charles and Cara at Davenports.  It was SUCH a blessing to be able to see our friends again...we have been missing them SO much.  We spent hours catching up; it felt like we had never left.  We stayed Friday night with Charles and Cara, got up Saturday morning to eat breakfast with all the same people.  Had to fit in as much time as possible!

I'm a big boy!

Sweet McNeill

Love my wonderful friends!

I don't think she could be any cuter!
Beautiful Bham.

 After breakfast we headed to meet the WHOLE Hardison fam at a pumpkin patch just north of Bham.  Benj and Morgan decided to drive down from Nashville to meet us for the day and ended up staying that night!  Afterwards we hit up Milo's for lunch....I could have also driven 10 hours just to eat there...and spent the rest of the afternoon watching college football.  Pretty much a perfect Saturday.
Benj and Beau

Cutest little family.

I'm one happy girl.

Saturday night we had already made plans to stay with Ed and Shawn.  Shawn had offered to cook, which is something you NEVER turn down.  A week or 2 beforehand, I had told him on the phone how I had been craving his spaghetti bolognese...thankfully he remembered :)  We spent the evening watching football on Ed's ginormous 60inch TV, eating, and falling asleep before 10:30.

Sunday we got up so we could go worship with our former church family at Homewood.  Words cannot describe how wonderful it was to walk in and see so many familiar faces.  We have missed being at Homewood a lot.  We were very blessed to have been a part of that church family.  Who knows?  Maybe someday we will return!

After church, M and I decided it would be best to go ahead and get on the road... After getting Milo's again...shameful.  This time the trip felt a little more like 10 hours, but still worth every minute we spent in that car.  So thankful to have gotten to spend a weekend back in the Magic City.  We miss our former home!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Operation Stealth

The pastor (Dad) and I had been cooking up a surprise for the rest of the fam for months... code word.. "Operation Stealth".  You see, my little brother is a rockstar, and although he is smart, funny, plays the piano, runs cross country, plays soccer, sings in the chorus...his real talent lies in the theater.  A talent that the rest of our family missed out on... my brief dabble in the dramatic arts was a complete debacle and ended with me leaving the stage in the MIDDLE of my performance...another story for another day, or just ask one of my family members, they would be more than happy to share it.  Nonetheless, a couple months ago, Matthew was selected to play not only a part, but the LEAD in the middle school play.  The musical was Willy Wonka Jr... and he was of course, Willy Wonka.  Like I said, total rockstar.  So, in order that I not miss yet another of little Matthew's boyhood milestones, Dad and I planned for me to travel in that weekend and surprise Mom, Ashley, and Buddy..  SURPRISE!

Heather and Aimee picked me up at the airport late Friday night.  Dad couldn't think of a good reason to get out of the house that late on a Friday, so these two benevolently gave up their Friday evening to come get me!  Not to mention that Heather was 36 weeks preggo at the time...  Mom was already in the bedroom getting ready for bed, so I nonchalantly walked back there and scared the heck out of her;  Little Matthew's reaction was not quite as dramatic.  We couldn't think of a good way to get Ashley over to the house, so Dad thought it would be a good idea to just call her and tell her that he and mom needed to talk to her...barely slipping it in that there was nothing wrong.  Poor Ash said the whole way over she was convinced that one or both of our parents had been diagnosed with a terminal illness...Note to parents, when you say nothing is wrong, we automatically think that something is wrong... Anyway, Ash's reaction was pretty great as well...I hadn't see her or Buddy since June.  Overdue.

Thanks friends for coming to pick me up!

Celebrating Ash's birthday...a couple weeks late, Whoops.

Mom, Ash and I spent Saturday morning at a Parade of Homes in Brentwood, then off to lunch at Puffy Muffin.  Mimi and Papaw got in in the afternoon and we all hung out watching football until dinnertime, which was pulled chicken from Hog Heaven... yum.  The play was that night, so we headed out early to make sure that we got good seats.  We got there early enough that I had time to peruse the hallways of my old stomping grounds with quite enough nostalgia :) 

Who doesn't want to forever be immortalized in the hallways of their high school?  Especially with a picture that doesn't even look remotely like your current self. 
Thanks to this Lipscomb Tradition... that picture is there to stay!
The play started with Matthew walking down the aisle of the theater singing a solo.  How he can sing in front of that many people alone, I will never understand.  I think I was more nervous than he was!  He was FANTASTIC.  I could not have been more proud of him.  He was by FAR the best one on the stage, maybe I'm biased, but multiple people came up to us after the show to tell us how much of a natural he was.  I kept leaning over to Dad during the show saying, "I never knew he could sing!"  So glad that I was able to come and support him even though I live 800 miles away.  Way to go Buddy!  Who knew you had it in you?! 

Coming soon, pics and a post from our impromptu trip to Bham!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Benj and Morgan's Wedding Weekend!

Sorry for my blogging hiatus.. I had almost forgotten that I hadn't updated in a while...a blissful ignorance, until my lovely sister-in-law burst my bubble and reminded me that I had been neglectful!  My apologies for the 5 of you who actually read this consistently :)

2 weekends ago, my favorite little bro-in-law got hitched to the beautiful Morgan Philley in gorgeous Oxford, MS.  It felt incredible being back in the South after 4 LONG months.  M and I attempted to get to Memphis on Thursday night, but unfortunately after months of no rain, the universe decided it would be a perfect night to storm.  After being delayed, we had the WORST flight out...I was convinced that the only way I was making it off that airplane was in a body bag, seriously.  After the turbulence, I had to sheepishly ask the flight attendant for a bag in case I were to get sick...the man in the next seat over was laughing hysterically at me.  We finally made it to Atlanta, missed our connection, so then spent 5 hours attempting to sleep in a hotel near the airport :)  Nonetheless, we made it to Memphis early Friday morning to the delight of my grandparents!  Mom and Dad made it in time for lunch, so that I could finally suppress my craving for Memphis BBQ...the best BBQ in the South.  Afterwards we made the short drive to Oxford to catch up with the Hardison clan at the Bed and Breakfast where the wedding was located....gorgeous!  Guess who was there?  Our favorite little boy, Sam!!
Mimi and Papaw
Friday night they had the rehearsal, and then we headed to Oxford Church of Christ for the rehearsal dinner.  They have a beautiful room there that used to be the old auditorium that had beautiful stained glass windows and dark wood beams.  David and Sandra had gotten a local restaurant to cater the event, and the food was to DIE for.  Let's be honest, a lot of times, food at rehearsal dinners just isn't that fantastic when it's cooked in bulk, but this was some of the best food I had ever had at one...went back for seconds!  Thankfully it was an early night, and I was in bed by 9:30 :)

I'm a Sweet Boy!

Saturday, Sandra, Kristen and I drove to Pope, MS to attend a bridesmaids brunch with Morgan and her bridesmaids/family while the boys were at breakfast.  Again...the food was INCREDIBLE.  I was the 1st to go back for round 2...Kristen followed my lead..no shame here.  I'm a sucker for any good breakfast casserole.  After the brunch, we headed back to Castle Hill (the B&B) and M and I went with my parents to stroll through downtown Oxford.  Coolest small Southern town...it had been years since I had been there, but I definitely didn't remember it being so cute.  There were TONS of neat boutiques, and plenty of Mom and Pop bookstores for M and Dad to peruse through.  We ate lunch at a local meat and three, Ajax Diner.

We got back in from downtown around 2, so that Matthew could get ready for pictures.  I walked in the front door and ran right into Morgan already dressed in her BEAUTIFUL gown.  She was breathtaking!  The ceremony started at 5...it was short and very sweet (thanks both to David and my Dad), and then the party started.  They had a terrific band, incredible food, some of the prettiest wedding flowers I've ever seen, at the most perfect location.  All in all, the wedding was a hit, and at the end of the day, we could not be happier for the new Mr. and Mrs. Hardison!  So thankful for a new sister-in-law to join the fold...already have 1 great one..why not add another!? 

Beautiful venue, right?

Love my sweet husband.

Our favorite Columbia, TN residents, Grandma Eva and Grand Daddy Wayne.

We love you Benj and Morgan.  We are so excited for you both...hopefully we will see you soon, maybe Christmas?!