I made a slideshow of some pictures I took last month and I’m trying to figure out how to post a slideshow on my blog so lets see if this works….

Seriously.  In our house I really think our coffee maker has a conspiracy against me. 

Stephen and I love coffee.  I think I love it more.  When we got married three years ago we decided to register for a really nice coffee maker since its pretty much the only time in your live that you get to specifically tell people exactly what you want and nobody thinks you are weird asking for random expensive gifts (like a $100+ coffee maker).  We got the fancy coffee machine that you can program to automatically turn on, that grinds the beans right before it brews the coffee, keeps it warm for hours, etc.  It has served us well.

Except, it seems to prefer Stephen.  During the work week, Stephen almost always acts as the coffee maker.  He sometimes sets it the night before, and sometimes makes it in the morning before work.  I enjoy it because when I get up and start getting ready there is a fresh pot of coffee goodness waiting for me.  It typically is the best part of waking up, even if its not Folgers in our cups. 

However, there have been a few times when I have tried to assume coffee making duty, and more times than not, something goes wrong.  Now, I consider myself a pretty smart girl.  I know my way around the kitchen.  I frequently use small appliances in my cooking.  Therefore, there should be absolutely no reason why I should not be able to handle the coffee maker.   

Even though its slightly fancy, its not complicated.  I know what to do.  I’ve watched Stephen do it many times.  I frequently unload and clean the coffeemaker so I know what goes where.  I painstakingly follow all the steps, double checking myself.  Water?  Check.  Correct number of scoops of beans in grinder thingy?  Check.  Filter?  Check.  Carafe in place?  Check.  However, somewhere between me pushing the ‘on’ button and the time it should take to brew a delicious cup of Pumpkin Spice or Verona, something inevitably goes wrong.

The first time it happened, I’ll admit I forgot to put the filter in.  That resulted in a mess of chunky dark coffee and Stephen being slightly frustrated.  However, I’m much like Anne Shirley and I never make the same mistake twice, and therefore I’m now overtly aware and careful to make sure the filter is in place before I attempt the coffee making process. 

The second time the filter holder popped open during the grinding.  Therefore the freshly ground coffee was flung around all over the counter and inside the coffee maker causing a mess and Stephen to think there is something wrong with me. 

The third and fourth times I’m not sure what happened, but it was enough for me to really think it these weren’t just fluke occurrences and/or our coffee maker had something against me. 

This morning it happened again.  We’ve been doing major work on our house and my dad was coming over to help.  He’s partial to good coffee, and I wanted to make sure we had some waiting for him.  Stephen had to go to work and said he wasn’t going to make it.  I was a little hesitant, but determined to make it work.  I was slow and deliberate about setting everything up, double and triple checking.  I cautiously hit the ‘on’ button and heard the grinder turn on.  I stood there for a while to make sure the filter holder didn’t pop open like previous times.  The grinder stopped, and the percolating started.  I sighed, thinking I was in the clear.  I heard someone drive up and walked no more than five paces into the dining room to look out the window.  I came back no more than ten seconds later to a steaming, sizzling mess.  The filter holder I was so carefully watching had popped open, there was coffee grounds all over the counter, the carafe and the coffee maker. 

I stared in disbelief.  How could this happen when I did everything right?!  Stephen came upstairs a few seconds later and also couldn’t understand it.  In the past he thinks I’ve been exaggerating when I’ve said I’m unable to properly use the coffee maker, but this time I think he believed me.  I started cleaning everything out and setting it up again, this time having Stephen supervise.  After he double checked everything and it was up to his standards, I timidly pushed ‘on.’  This time it worked, but I think its due to the fact that the coffee maker’s preferred barista was supervising. 

I’m not sure what to think.  I’ve never before thought that an appliance could have something against me, but this has happened too many times for it to be a coincidence.  All I can say is I’m grateful for the espresso maker we received for Christmas.  I’ve used it at least five times with no problems.  

Maybe I’ll just switch to lattes. 

I can not believe that Christmas is one week from today!  How did this happen?  By my estimation it should really only be around the first week of November.  I hate how when you get older, time moves faster.  How many hours did I spend as a kid waiting for Christmas and wishing it would hurry up?  I remember the time it took to go from Thanksgiving to Christmas seemed like months and months.  Now it seems like days. 

I feel like Thanksgiving was last week, and that explains why our yard is still covered with leaves and our house isn’t decorated for Christmas.  (Well, we pulled out our pre-lit tree and plugged it in, but other than that its naked.) 

This makes me sad.  I LOVE Christmas, and I love decorating for Christmas, but we just haven’t made the time for it this year.  First of all I’ve been super busy trying to finish up school (just waiting on a few final grades, woo hoo!!).  Secondly, we’re still kind of unpacking and arranging the house.  Our house isn’t really decorated, so it kind of doesn’t make sense to pull out more decorations (do you put your nativity scene on top of the pile of unpacked boxes?)  As much as this bothers me, I keep telling myself we’ll do better next year, and we’ll be able to hit the after Christmas sales and stock up on decorations for next year.  (I’ve already told Stephen my Christmas goal is much like my chandelier goal–one in every room).  I think I’ll be more successful with the trees. 

Someday, hopefully next year, we’ll be in better shape.  We’ll have the house clean and all the leaves raked up before Thanksgiving so that weekend we can transform our house into our own magical Christmas wonderland, inside and out.  There will be trees and snowflakes and lights and mistletoe, oh it will be glorious.  Buddy the Elf himself will be proud.   

Maybe we’ll even have enough time to do something this.  We still haven’t met a lot of our neighbors and I’m sure this is a good way to break the ice.  

We could go traditional:

 

Or a new take on a traditional song; (my sister and I always used to laugh at this version.  First of all, isn’t Barbara Streisand Jewish?)

 

Or we could do a childhood favorite (and my current cell phone ring):

 

Or perhaps a new favorite:

 

Or we could just rock out (this one is my favorite):

 

No matter which direction we choose to celebrate, I’m sure it will be great.  Despite our lack of holiday finery in our house this year, I’m still very excited for Christmas and New Years and spending time relaxing with family and friends. 

And here’s one more video to help you not forget the true meaning of Christmas (and because its my absolute favorite and warms my heart every single time I see it):

 

Merry Christmas! :)

I’m still alive, but still struggling to finish up school. I’m SO ready to be finished, but it seems like the more work I do, I still have the same amount to finish. Kind of like when you were a kid and you were forced to eat your vegetables but no matter how many bites of peas you begrudgingly shoved into your mouth the pile on your plate stayed the same (or even appeared to get larger).

That’s where I’m at now. But don’t worry, I’m not going to let the peas win.

These just about explain how I’m currently feeling.

And one more in honor of Thanksgiving. 

But I can’t think about that right now.  I’m trying to finish all my school work (and therefore college in general), clean the house for family to come over, call plumbers and structural engineers to come look at our house, catch up on stuff at work, edit a bunch of pictures, think about what type of desserts I’m making for Thanksgiving on top of it I’ve been sick the past couple of days.  I’m not even letting myself think about decorating for Christmas yet. 

Let’s hear it for Mondays!  :)

Tonight Stephen and I and two of our good friends are going to see Coldplay.

I’m so excited!  I don’t go to a lot of concerts, and even less big concerts like this.  (I think the last concert I’ve been to was Paul McCartney at Phillips Arena at least three years ago–needless to say it was amazing.)

Here’s a little sample of what I’ll see tonight (I can’t wait till they do this song!):

On a side note, I love my dad.  I had this conversation with him earlier:

Me: We’re going to a concert tonight.

Dad: Oh, really?  Who are you going to see?

Me: Coldplay.

Dad: Cold PLATE?

Me: No, Coldplay…P-L-A-Y

Dad: Never heard of them.

Me: They’re quite famous.

Dad: Oh.

Me: (Trying to make a connection for him.) Do you know Gwyneth Paltrow?

Dad: Who?

Me: Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress?

Dad: No.

Me: (Trying to think harder to make a connection to someone he maybe has heard of) OK, do you know her mom, Blythe Danner?

Dad: Who?

Me: The actress Blythe Danner?

Dad: No.  I’ve never heard of any of these people.

Me: OK.  Nevermind.   :)

My fellow Americans:

I know many of you have been waiting for this day for a long time.  This day, which will place a definite mark in the history of our country.  A day we will be able to look back at as important and life changing.

Today, my friends, is my third wedding anniversary.

Yes, three years ago my husband and I had one of the happiest days of our lives.  We were surrounded by our family:

Our friends:

 

and a DeLorean:

 

There was lots of planning leading up to that day.

From the invitations:

To the decorations:

 

 

 

To the flowers:

 

And candles:

And pumpkins:

 

There was a dress:

A bride:

And her groom:

They met at a church:

 

And said ‘I do':

Then they went to have some fun.

There was dancing.

And tasty food.

Then it was time to go.

All in all it was a wonderful, momentous day.

(In other national news, there is a major election today so get out and vote!  You’re running out of time!!)

(All pictures taken by Shari Zellers.)

Yesterday had to be the most perfect fall day. 

One of those days where the difference between being warm and comfortable and cool and a little chilly depends on if you’re standing in the shade or the sun.  The leaves have started to change and the air just has feeling.  That amazing indescribable fall feeling that makes me giddy

We had a great weekend up in South Carolina for the Tech vs. Clemson game.  We (along with 7 of our friends) stayed at our good friends Tyler & Paige’s house and had so much fun talking, eating, watching football and laughing.  I have to agree with Paige, it was the best slumber party I’ve been to in about 12 years. :)

After making the drive home, Stephen and I stopped at an antique store where I found an awesome chair with awesomely bad upholstery for $29.  I think it will be perfect for the living room (once recovered of course).  I love finding deals like that.

Once we were home we decided to take a walk because the weather was too perfect to not be outside.  After walking around the neighborhood we decided we should work on the back of the house.  Stephen mowed our deceptively large backyard for the first time and I set to work organizing our breakfast nook/screened-in porch since it had become a catch-all of random things (including spiders) since we moved in, and getting our deck in order. 

After working diligently until the sun went down and we went inside we realized our house was cold.  We had been working so hard we hadn’t really noticed how much the temperature had fallen.  Therefore we did what we had to do to officially make the passage from summer to fall: we turned our heat on.

I LOVE the smell you get from turning the heat on for the first time.  That warm, chemical-y, comforting smell.  To me its like the ‘point of no return:’ the seasons have finally changed and we can pack away our summer clothes and look ahead towards the holidays.

All I need now is a couple of pumpkins.  And a sign like Linus’s:

 

Yea for fall!!

So over the weekend my “internet friend” Karen (from a message board I frequent) tagged me.  I’ve never been tagged before so I felt very honored.  :)  I’m supposed to write six random things about myself that others might not know. 

I’m not sure who these ‘others’ are since I’m pretty sure that not many people read my blog.  In fact, according to the ‘stats’ of my blog, the majority of my hits result from people searching for random things on Google, the most popular being “McDonalds french fries.”  And since I compared “McDonalds french fries” to the Atlanta Olympic torch in this post, my blog comes up. 

(Did you see what I did there?  I put “McDonalds french fries” in quotes twice.  Well now three times.  That’s my weak attempt to get more traffic to my blog.  I can only imagine the disappointment those Googlers must feel when they land here.  Sorry Googlers.  You’re probably looking for this site.) 

 

So here goes:

1.  Growing up my sisters and I would always wear home-made Halloween costumes.  No store bought trendy costumes with the sad plastic masks at our house.  Most of them were really good.  In fact, when I was in first grade I won the ‘most creative’ costume contest at my church’s “alternative Halloween” fall festival.  What was I you ask?  Laundry.  That’s right laundry, and it was actually my idea. 

I’m not sure where I got the idea from, I just remember telling my mom that that’s what I wanted to be.  So what we did is cut the bottom out of a round laundry basket and attached clothesline suspenders so it kind of hung around me like a big hoop skirt.  Then we hung little boxes of Tide and Gain and whatever other kind of laundry detergent was popular in 1987 off the basket along with random pieces of clothing like socks.  In my hair we attached dryer sheets with clothes pins.  And that was my costume.  Possibly the most bizarre, yet most creative Halloween costume ever devised by a first grader’s imagination.  I remember I won a Nerf ping pong set.

I know I have a picture of my costume somewhere, I’ll have to find it.     

 

2.  I have no surface feeling on the outside of my left leg.  I was born with hip dysplasia (yes, the same thing that a lot of dogs get) and had to have surgery when I was eleven.  After the surgery I noticed that I couldn’t feel that side of my leg and the doctor told me they probably just stretched out a nerve and feeling should come back in about six weeks.  Well it’s been about fifteen years so I’m not holding my breath for it to come back any time soon.

 

3.  I never missed a day of school for being sick until high school.  In fact, the first time I ever missed a day of school was in third grade, the Friday before spring break and that was only because we were driving to Texas and my dad wanted to get a head start.  I was out for like 2 months after I had my surgery, but I wasn’t really ‘sick.’   It used to frustrate me that I was so healthy and never got to stay home from school!

 

4.  I do not have a passport, and therefore I’ve never been anywhere that required a passport.  This makes me sad. 

 

5.  I put peanut butter on my waffles and pancakes.  With syrup.  Growing up my mom would make waffles every Saturday morning and this was just the way we ate them in our house.  I will not eat pancakes or waffles without peanut butter (and therefore I almost never order them in restaurants…you’d be surprised how many places do not have it).  For some odd reason, this practice disgusts my husband and we’ve even mentioned the battle we will have trying to convert our futuristic kids to ‘our’ side of the proper way to eat waffles and pancakes.  (I will win by the way.)

 

6.  I middle school I was obsessed with The Beatles.  Seriously.  It was right around the time The Beatles Anthology came out and that only fueled my obsession.  I wrote my research paper on them in 8th grade; it was like forty pages long (I think it only had to be ten).  To this day I still know waaaay more about The Beatles than anyone my age should.  Or anyone any age should.  I’m not obsessed anymore, but they still hold a special place in my heart. 

(I’m just kind of grateful my obsession was about the greatest band in history and not Jonathon Taylor Thomas or the Backstreet Boys like many other middle school girls at that time.)

 

So there you have it.  Random things about my random life.  Sorry Googlers, not much here about “McDonalds french fries” (that’s #4). 

Maybe next time.

A couple of weeks ago I went to take pictures of Josh and Meredith’s new little boy Heath who was only three weeks old.  He’s so cute and such a little guy!  I think at three weeks he was just under 7 pounds. 

Heath was a good model and pretty alert the whole time.  Well, except for this first picture.

Heath Ward_8.08_003

Heath Ward-BW-003

So peaceful.

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Heath Ward-BW-008

Heath Ward-BW-012 

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I love black & white pictures of babies!

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How could you not love this face?

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Heath Ward_8.08_033

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Such a beautiful family.

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I love these two of Meredith.

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We even got the dogs involved in the photo shoot.  I was so impressed they all sat and looked at the camera!

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The one on the right (Mister) even gave me a smile!

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I had a lot of fun taking pictures with little Heath.  With babies this young you never know what to expect. 

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