Marley & Me...

Craig and I, along with his mom and uncle, went to see Marley & Me over the Christmas weekend. What a good movie it was! I truly can't say enough about Marley & Me. I think anybody--animal and non-animal lovers alike--would LOVE this movie. I can't tell you how many times Craig and I looked at one another, knowing that we had experienced a similar "Marley moment" with Sydney. I guarantee you will laugh, probably cry, and leave the theater with a deeper appreciation for your family--human and otherwise! Definitely a two thumbs up movie!

Upon arriving home we were greeted by Sydney, sweetly wagging his tail as we opened the door to Craig's mom's house... what an adorable sight, especially considering the movie we had just seen. The only problem was that we had crated him before we left... in the same crate he spends 7-8 hours in every day while Craig and I are at work. Apparently Sydney had a "Marley moment" while we were at the movie. Somehow he managed to bend the frame of his metal crate, which caused the front side of the crate to collapse inward, giving him his freedom. He then proceeded to tear his bedding into hundreds of little pieces and break two large chunks off of the plastic tray that lines the bottom of his crate. Thankfully, nothing else in the house was disturbed. I wonder if he's trying to tell us that he's getting too old for the crate?!?


Winter's Definitely Here!

Yesterday Craig and I decided to pay a visit to Allendale Mansion to try to take some pictures for our Christmas cards. It was pretty chilly and I think we managed to take a few really nice pictures. Anyway, while at Allendale it began to snow. This wasn't our first snow this year--it's actually our 5th--but it turned out to be the most substantial snow so far!
So Craig and I rushed home and then back out to Fall Branch Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our tree. It really was such a fun day to pick out a tree... the snow really put us in the Christmas spirit!

When we got home we had to take Sydney out to play in his first real snow. Needless to say he LOVED it! He ran all over the yard eating mouth-fulls of snow.

We hope you all are enjoying your winter as much as we are!


Weekend at Warriors Path

Saturday--Hiking the Devil's Backbone and Fall Creek Loop Trails with Craig and Sydney. What a beautiful hike... especially with all of the fall colors.

Sunday--Kayaking on the Holston River's South Fork with Craig. Again, a gorgeous day!


Wedding Weekend in Greenville!

This weekend our good friends Laura and Travis were married! We were so happy to be able to share in this wonderful weekend with them. The wedding took place at Gassaway Mansion... it was absolutely beautiful. Here are some of the hilights...

Congrats again to you both! We're so happy for you!


Happy 40th Rob!

Saturday our friend Rob celebrated his 40th birthday. The birthday bash took place at Bays Mountain Park and was, of course, Mexican themed. We enjoyed meeting and talking with Misty and Rob's other friends. I was surprised to learn that some of Misty and Rob's friends are regular volunteers with Habitat... who knew Kingsport was such a small town?!? It was fun talking with them about the different Habitat experiences they have had over the years. Craig and I also enjoyed looking through some of the childhood, high school, and other pictures of Rob that were displayed at each table... especially the one of Misty and Rob dressed up like pirates... and no, it wasn't on Halloween either!
Anyway, here are Misty and Rob who we just love!
And here's Misty and Rob's Mom, Jan, getting ready to set
Bay's Mountain on fire... boy that was a lot of candles!


Food and Friends!

Daniel and Danielle came over last night for dinner. Craig got a new grilling cookbook recently, so we decided to try grilling some baby back ribs with a tomato-tequila sauce. Ribs turned out to be a little more complicated than I had expected. Anyway, the dinner turned out well and we really enjoyed the time we got to hang out with our friends. Can't wait to do it again!


Weekend in Review!

Craig and I began our weekend Thursday evening by going to Abingdon, Virginia to the Barter Theatre. This time was saw a play called "Comin' Up a Storm." While the play was very good, I must admit that it was not a funny as I had built it up to be in my head. Even with the slight disappointment we managed to have a great time.

Friday was Craig's 26th birthday! We were so lucky to be able to celebrate his birthday with my sister Erin and our friends Jared, Melanie, and Brett who all came to stay with us for the Labor Day weekend!

Saturday we all went whitewater rafting on the Upper Nolichucky River in Erwin, Tennessee. Thanks to the heavy rains we had last week the river was absolutely at it's best! This trip consisted of 10 miles of class 2-4 rapids. Out of the four groups on the river that day I have to brag and say that our group was the only one that did not have someone fall out of the raft... unintentionally that is. Several of us became Nolichucky swimmers after being pushed out of the boat by the sneaky person sitting next to us! Jared and I took turns "riding the bull" which is when you ride on the very front of the raft while going over a rapid... extra style points were earned by throwing our arms up when we crossed the waves. Needless to say we all had a great time. Unfortunately we weren't brave enough to try taking the camera on the river with us, so the only pictures we have were taken after we got back and got cleaned up. Here's a picture of our group with our guide John (in the red shirt) standing in the middle.

Sunday we decided to wear out our lower bodies as we had worn out our upper bodies rafting the previous day. We all went biking down the Virginia Creeper Trail. The scenery was beautiful as usual. I think by the end of the day we were all wishing we had padded biking shorts like Jared wore.

We rounded off the weekend by having a few drinks on the newly revamped patio, catching up with each other, and recovering from all of the strenuous activity over the past two days. All in all it was a great way to spend the holiday weekend! Too bad it's back to work tomorrow.


The Habitat State Conference

Well, I'm back in town after spending 3 days in Murfreesborough, Tennessee for the Habitat for Humanity State Conference. I must admit that I was pretty nervous about the conference... when people would go to the annual conference with my old job at Youth Villages they would normally do something stupid and end up getting fired shortly after getting back in town. Luckily, I don't think any of us (Tommy included) did anything too stupid or are at risk of losing our jobs. Hopefully I'll be able to make it to the National Habitat Conference in Atlanta in January.

Laura (executive director), Tommy (construction manager),
Lisa (administrative assistant), Michelanne (office manager, and me (family services coordinator)


Patio Redo--Phase II

This weekend my parents and Craig's mom came up to help us with the bulk of the pergola building project. We spent all last week pre-cutting most of the beams, so we just needed help putting all of the pieces together. Of course this is simply easier said than done. Anyway, the majority of the pergola is now complete. All that is missing is the detail work around the base of each post, the final row of small slats to go across the top, and a coat of cedar stain. Hopefully these details will be done in the next few weeks.

Here's a reminder of what our patio looked like before we stained the concrete, got new patio furniture, and built the pergola:
Here are a few pictures of us assembling the pergola:

Here's the finished product (minus some minor detail work):
I can not tell you how pleased I am with the way it turned out!!! Now we'll be able to enjoy the space as much during the day as we do in the evenings!


Building Project Part I

This weekend Craig and I began the first phase of our pergola project. We had the goal of making all of the necessary cuts this weekend so that when our families come next weekend to help all we have left to do it put all of the pieces together. I really think we underestimated this phase of the project. The saying "measure twice, cut once" was actually more like measure 4-5 times, cut once.

Plus, we had occasional distractions when Sydney would climb up and walk back and forth on the boards we were cutting/sanding... I guess he thought they were like the "dog walk" and "teeter totter" that he gets to play on in agility class.
Well, after all of the hard work we only managed to get about half of the cuts done... so I guess that means we're going to have to get busy this week. Anyway, the end product will be TOTALLY worth it!


Happy Graduation Erin!

My sister Erin graduated with her masters degree in divergent learning from Columbia College this past Sunday. I was so proud of her... I never, NEVER thought I would see the day! Anyway, I know she has worked very hard over the past year to earn this degree and I am so happy for her!


Girls' Weekend in Columbia!

This past weekend I met up with Rae and Holly in Columbia for a girls' weekend. I had a lot of fun. It was nice to be back in Columbia, even if only for a couple of days.

Us at Gervais & Vine

Can't wait until we get together again!


Too Funny!

A little background... Tree frogs are nocturnal, so when I cut on the terrarium light to feed him tonight I found him sitting in his water dish looking like this:
Apparently he had just woken up and climbed out from under his mossy bed. I couldn't help but laugh. He totally looks like he has an afro. And all this time I thought that White's Tree Frogs came from New Guinea, not Africa!


Shower in Greenville

Craig and I spent last night at a wedding shower for my friends Laura and Travis from grad school. We had a lot of fun hanging out with them and their families. We started the evening with a wonderful spread of food...
...followed by a couple rousing games of Apples to Apples... if you've never played this game you're missing out. It's great for parties or game nights. Anyway, the girls played first and then the boys. I totally sucked at the game, but I still had a lot of fun. Craig also sucked at it, but he managed to do a little better than I did.

All of the girls trying to help their guys win... At one point Travis made a comment to Laura about being a back seat driver... to which all of us girls reminded him that it would soon be for the rest of his life! Unfortunately we could only stay long enough to see Laura and Travis open our gift (which I didn't manage to get a picture of) before we had to head back home for the night. Anyway, we had such a good time and can't wait until the wedding!


New Patio Furniture!

We got new patio furniture to go with our newly stained patio. Another great improvement! Can't wait until the pergola is up!!!


Patio Redo--Phase 1

Craig and I spend a lot of time on our back patio during the summer months grilling out and playing with Sydney. Anyway, we've never really been satisfied with our patio. The concrete is old, cracked, and stained. Plus it's mainly used to store our lawnmower and our mismatched patio furniture. So... we decided to try to jazz it up a little. Here's phase 1 of our patio redo.
Step 1... clear off the mess and pressure wash the concrete.
Step 2... prime and stain the concrete
What a HUGE improvement. In another day we will be able to move our NEW patio furniture out! The next phase of the patio redo will include the construction of a pergola. This is going to be a fun project. I'm hoping we can have the pergola up and the patio finished by the end of August!