Dec 30, 2009

2009 Year in Review

Getting tired of these end-of-the-year and end-of-the-decade blogs? Good. Here's one more. This is MY year-end review. Click on the photos to enlarge the image.

2009 Year in Review
It’s time to kick back and reflect on 2009. This is a good exercise and I suggestion you do it for yourself. 2009 flew by – looking back like this may help you realize that we all accomplished a lot in this quick year.

I reached the 1-year mark for living and working in Birmingham. I really lucked up in finding an affordable apartment that was very close to Julie’s house...but I'm glad to be outta there! I can’t believe that I’m beginning my third year of life in Birmingham. I never thought I’d live here.It's not so bad as long as you can put up with the bad drivers. In all seriousness, Birmingham has a lot to offer for those few occasions of free time.

FebruaryJulie and I traveled south to attend a wedding party in Mobile and for her to attend a shower in Atmore. Julie’s dad, brother, my dad and I all toured the new hotel and casino near Atmore. I enjoyed being back in Atmore and wish I could have gotten to see more of my old friends. To this day, I’ve only been back to Atmore twice since moving away in January of 2008. I’ll be going back a lot more when/if the Poarch Band of Creek Indians build a golf course on their hotel/casino site. By the way, I was very impressed with the hotel and thought that the casino and restaurants would compete very well against the establishments in Biloxi.

The highlight of March would definitely be visiting a few stops on the Kentucky Bour bon Trailwith Cousin Neil. I’ve got to give credit to Neil for his trip ideas. He spearheaded a rowdy trip to Luckenbach, TX, back in 1998 and I was really glad that he wanted to spend some time with me before my wedding. We stayed with Camden friend Joe Harvell in Bowling Green, KY. Joe went with us to tour the Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey distilleries. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum! Maker’s Mark was a smaller operation and allowed visitors to be very “hands-on”. Wild Turkey was a stainless steel behemoth with lots of closed doors. It was a very fun trip though!

AprilJulie and I got married on April 18th! Best day of my life! The whole weekend was great, actually. My parents threw a great rehearsal dinner and I got a lot of wise advice from Cousin Jay and my fraternity brothers afterwards. My emotions were pretty high during the rehearsal dinner but I had calmed down a lot before the wedding. My groomsman Clint still calls me every now and then to let me know that our wedding was one of the best he’s seen. The reception was top notch too! It flew by though! Not to sound fruity but everything was just so...magical.

Julie and I left the reception and stayed in Birmingham that night. We left for the Atlanta airport just a few hours later and headed to Bermuda. Oh sweet, sweet Bermuda. How I wish I was relaxing on your shores right now. What a week! First off, NO WORK! Secondly, lots of time at the pool! Thirdly, I got to add to my international golf experience! The best part was just spending time with my new wife. Our honeymoon week was a microcosm of 2009 – it zipped by in a blur. We’re definitely going back to Bermuda soon!

MayJulie began getting used to having a male roommate in May. I spent some of my May weekends getting familiar with the county dump since most of my bachelor belongings didn’t make the cut. I was just happy that Julie carved out a little closet space for me!

Julie actually got to meet the designer of her wedding dress. I thought that was so cool! Seriously!

Not long after our wedding, we traveled to Auburn for Cousin Katie and Eric Long’s wedding. Julie was the matron of honor. I had to flash my new ring several times at the reception to fend off dance requests.
Julie also turned one year older in May!

June was a pretty bland month. Nothing really sticks out to me. The US Open was delayed one day due to soggy conditions. My golf outings picked up in number. All apologies if I failed to recall a significant occasion we exeperienced with you in June.

We spent Independence Day weekend at the Corman’s house in Destin with Clay and Emily Branch and Sarah Harper Baggett. Bocephus (Clay) and I teed it up while the ladies sunned by the pool. The weekend was capped off with a great fireworks show.

AugustMy birthday was in August. We also went to St. Louis to see Mark and Kiley Talbot! St. Louis is a cool town. We had such a good time with great friends and even got to go to a Cards game. Mark took me to play golf in Illinois, making it the third state I played in this year.

SeptemberCollege football season kicked off. Julie and I attended Auburn’s games again Louisiana Tech and West Virginia with her parents. Both were great games and gave us a glimpse of some good things to come. Looking back, I don’t know if Auburn could rally back against WVU in a rematch. The effort seen in that game was solid proof that this year’s team did not have the “quitter” attitude seen so often in 2008.

OctoberIt was Halloween before we knew it. I Tweeted that the most common costume seen at our house was “plain-clothed Mexican child with a Wal Mart bag”. Julie fell ill and we opted to stay home for the trick-or-treaters rather than attending the Auburn/Ole Miss game. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the TV coverage!

Julie and I spent Thanksgiving with the Cormans in Auburn and kicked off our first holiday season as a married couple. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed a hearty feast with The Donaldsons (Julie’s maternal relatives in Auburn) and The Longs, our fellow newlyweds. We attended the Iron Bowl and watched the Tigers give a mighty effort. Spirits were surprisingly high after the game ended as Auburn fans shouted cheers while leaving the stadium.

December – probably the fastest of all the months. Three consecutive weekends of traveling to visit family made the days fly by, but it was worth it! We’ll spend Christmas weekend with my family in Camden.
Julie and I will cool our jets and ring in 2010 by ourselves in Birmingham. I hope everyone has had a fantastic 2009 and have an even better 2010!

Dec 23, 2009

Like Love and Don't Like

I managed to hear my favorite version of "The Christmas Song" twice last week. Still not enough!

This week, I like Lindt's Lindor Truffles. A business associate dropped a bag of these bad boys off last week as a little Christmas "thank you". These things are so good I can't begin to describe them. I'm not even sure of the best way to eat them. I've developed two styles. The Caveman style is your basic pop-and-chew method. The Priestly Way is a more methodical, melt-in-your-mouth approach. Attention Julie, friends and family: Lindt makes a white chocolate Lindor Truffle. Just thought you'd like to know.

This week, I love yard work. 14 year old Nick strongly protests but I've come to appreciate yard work and it's therapeutic releases. As previously mentioned, Julie and I are going to my parents house for Christmas. I might have an opportunity to rake some leaves with the old man or something else that will get me outdoors on Saturday. Click here to see a quick video from my favorite TV show of the moment. It's given me some great idea for Julie's yard!

This week, I don't like that "back to work" feeling. It's the same as that "back to school" feeling we all used to get during the last week of summer vacation. The difference is that the "back to work" feeling is more compact and accompanied by more resistance. The feeling can't be avoided and you know it's coming. The best you can do is make the most of your Christmas and try to keep your mind occupied with other things. Like Lindor Truffles.

I hope everyone has a great, wonderful, happy, safe and Merry Christmas. Most of all, I hope your Christmas isn't scary or confusing. Take it away, Raisins!

Dec 21, 2009

Christmas Card 2009

I was certain that 60 Christmas cards would be enough, but that was not the case. I will do a better job next year! If you didn't get one in the mail below is a picture of our very first Christmas Card. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Dec 16, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

Ho-ho-how are you doing?!?!

This week, I like The Christmas Song. I'll let you know right now that any version of this song NOT recorded by Nat King Cole will not suffice. I'm looking at you, Michael Bolton.

What's that you say? This doesn't sound quite like the version you and I most love? You've got good ears! I noticed a the same thing and did a little research. In the process, I discovered that 4 recorded versions have been made of this song - which was written by Mel Torme in the summer of 1944. The fourth version is considered the most known and most played version. I bet you already knew that Nat was born in Montgomery, AL. But would you know who Mel Torme was if it wasn't for Judge Harry Stone's adoration on Night Court? If you're my age or younger, probably not.
Unfortunately, I have not heard this song ONCE on the radio this holiday season. It's uncanny! Christmas is almost here and I haven't heard my favorite song yet!

This week, I love online shopping. The scene here in Bammerham...I mean, Birmingham...has been a sight to behold. You couldn't pay me to enter the jungle of shoppers at the Summit (sp?) or any other malls around here. I have managed to buy all buy one Christmas present online this year and I didn't even break a sweat. Shopping in stores is for the birds!
This week, I don't like the high likelihood of Tiger returning for the first major in 2010. Some say that I write too much about golf. But this must be addressed! There are children involved! Here's what I mean...I'm concerned that Tiger Woods will choose the Masters tournament to end his indefinite leave from golf. That's right, he'll skip all of the Hawaii, Florida and other not-so-important tourneys and make Augusta his first appearance in 2010. Can you imagine the media circus? And what if he wins? "Oh, we forgive you Tiger!" Not me! ADULTERER!

Dec 15, 2009

Holiday traveling and the sights we've seen

One could say that the holiday travel schedule officially kicked off for Julie and me back at Thanksgiving. Here's some photos of what we've seen so far. It's safe to say that we'll see even more interesting sights between now and New Year's!

First stop: Thanksgiving! Julie and I spent the Thanksgiving break at her parents in Auburn. We had a wonderful time with the Cormans, the Donaldsons and the Longs. During the visit, Julie and Ellen took a moment to give us the obligatory sister pose.

My father and my sister both have December birthdays. Julie and I traveled to Camden this past weekend to celebrate the aging. I took Julie by the old Camden water tower. I've had to take a can of paint up to the top many times to defend my sister's honor*.

*Copyright 1992 Jeff Foxworthy, Inc.

Sarah Harper and Dad enjoyed their Auburn-themed presents. Dad received his first official "old person gift" from SHB.

We also spent Sunday observing the annual tradition that is the Baggett/Wilder Christmas. Counsins Neil, Katie and Margie Gracie drove down from Auburn for a big lunch and family time. Margie Grace was very helpful in giving out the gifts! Looks like Neil was more interested in reading the paper though!

Julie had the wonderful idea of introducing a time-old Atmore tradition to Margie Grace by giving her a gift ball. Margie Grace definitely liked the surprises found while unwrapping the gift ball but the massive size of the ball tired her out quickly! Here's a great action shot:

Margie Grace came out pretty good with all of her new princess gear!

We'll be traveling to Auburn this weekend for a little pre-Christmas cheer with the Cormans and then back to Camden for Christmas Day. Who knows what we'll see?

Dec 7, 2009

Bring Your Old Buddy

I was fortunate enough to play golf for the second weekend in a row. Unfortunately, my concerns about frigid weather came true. Temperatures for this year's Bring Your Old Buddy Scramble started out very chilly and only warmed up to the low 50's. But it takes a lot more than cold weather to scare me off!

My good friend Clay Branch (his wife Emily's blog is here) and I decided that we would play in this event several weeks ago. The deal included a round of golf, our 2010 Robert Trent Jones trail card and lunch for a very reasonable price. Clay convinced his dad and one of his brothers to join us and we decided to take on the Senator course at the trail's site in Prattville - Capitol Hill. The scramble was on Sunday, the day after most of the Birmingham area receive a light snow dusting. As we were making our way toward our first hole, Clay and I quickly discovered that a windshield is very nice thing to have on a golf cart in December. (By the way, RTJ - what's up with that? Windshields are the standard now, aren't they?)

This was my first trip to Capitol Hill and I have to say that I wasn't blown away. I can't speak to the appearance of the Legislator or the Judge courses but it doesn't take a lot of words to describe the Senator: long, treeless, mounds. Each hole was divided by large, grassy mounds and featured zero trees. Most of the greens seemed to be uphill and the par 3's were amazingly long. The tee boxes were the widest I've ever seen. The winterized conditions of the greens and fairways (seen in the pics and vids below) were understandable but made me long for greener sights.

I had a blast and we made a great team. We shot a 55 and were one stroke out of 3rd place for our course. We only parred 3 holes and birdied or eagled every other hole. Everybody contributed and I can't emphasize how much fun I had. Here's some of the action:

Money was raised for charity from purchases of mulligans and throws (throw the ball to extend the position of your last shot). I'm not sure if we executed the throw concept properly but here's Clay warming up. This was on the par-5 17th:

Clay is already used to performing on camera. He's getting ready for the Champions Tour.

Here's a fairway approach with one of my new irons. I thinned the shot a little bit but the ball ended up in about 4 feet from the hole. The team owed that birdie to Julie!

Here's a new view of one of Clay's big bombs off the tee box. This was one of his longest drives of the day and as his dad attests, it was right down the middle!

All in all, a great day! Grand National is still the top RTJ trail site in my mind. Thanks to Clay and his family for two great weekends of golf and a BIG thanks for my wife and family for letting me venture away for a few hours!

Dec 2, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I had a great time with Julie's family in Auburn and we thoroughly enjoyed the long break.

This week, I like the idea of getting a portable sound effect machine for Christmas. I really just need one sound effect to have on standby to use at a moment's notice throughout my day:

I've already got the witty jokes and sharp one-liners. Can you imagine if I had access to this sound effect each time I cracked the crowd up? KILLER!

Of course, Julie probably thinks that my sense of humor is more deserving of this sound effect:

This week, I love putting up the Christmas tree and decorations with my wife. This is our first Christmas as man and wife. Julie originally showed a lot more interest in decorating than I did but I came on strong near the end*. Now I'm checking the tree every morning to see if it needs more water and scanning the mail for new Christmas cards. It's just a shame that we'll have to put everything back up in the attic in a few weeks.

* = not actually true

This week, I don't like cold weather. This will be the second weekend in a row that I get to play golf. I'm playing with Clay "Bocephus" Branch, along with his dad and his brother on Sunday. We're teaming up for the Bring Your Old Buddy four man scramble that the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail puts on every year. We're playing the Senator course at Capitol Hill in Prattville. Last weekend, the weather was almost perfect with only fleeting moments of chilliness. This Sunday is supposed to be downright cold. At least we'll be playing golf! I can't wait!

Finally, one last clip to touch on the national media crisis that is Tiger Woods. This clip is dedicated to my friend Mark Talbott, of St. Louis, MO. Mark is recovering from H1N1. God speed Mark! And Tiger...there's always Fubu!

Chappelle's Show
The Racial Draft
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDsBlack ComedyTrue Hollywood Story

Nov 24, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like cherry flavoring. I recently consumed a fruit smoothie with cherry flavoring and enjoyed it. I've been using a lot of cherry-flavored lip balm recently too. The strange thing is that I'm not a big fan of actual cherries. I don't like their texture.

This week, I love the text-a-complaint system at Jordan-Hare stadium. I just learned about this neat feature the other day. Basically, you can send a text to some Auburn officials regarding misbehaving fans during football games and someone will be on the seen soon to help with the problem. Kinda cowardly, I know. But it will certainly help out with the fans that think rules don't apply to them. I'm going to try out the system the first time Julie lights up one of her smokes.

This week, I don't like the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Actually, I've never appreciated the BCS. True, it does manage to provide a #1 vs. #2 matchup each year to determine a college football national champion. But that's not always the best game. Plus, it's all the confusion and absurd rankings that lead up to that matchup that aggravates everyone. Check out the BCS Twitter site if you want to see a failed public relations tactic. Our chances of ever seeing a playoff system will remain slim as long as the official BCS website is sponsored by a television network. Fox, who does not cover college football all year, does a terrible job with all of the BCS games. And they absolutely butcher the Cotton Bowl each year. If they have the rights to that game this year, I guarantee you that they will stick Pat Summerall in the booth. He did the play-by-play a few years ago when Auburn played Nebraska and it was terrible. I thought Pat Summerall died years ago!

Have a happy Thanksgiving and remember, if you see someone going for that last turkey leg, have some decency and don't pull one of these:

Nov 18, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like the opportunities for fellowship that Julie and I have gained from our Sunday school class at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Our class is made up mostly of newlyweds like us but also has some couples that have entered the world of parenting. Julie and I have really enjoyed getting to meet lots of new friends. I have started meeting with a group of guys from the class on Wednesday mornings and we are getting lots of invitations for dinners and group outings.

This week, I love ESPN's 30 for 30 documentaries. These are short films that highlight unique sports-related events that have occurred over the last 30 years (ESPN turns 30 this year). And each unique film was directed by a unique individual. Check out the official trailer below and see a list of all the films here.

This week, I don't like Coke Zero's slogan. The product's current slogan is "Coca Cola taste with zero calories". I recommend that it be changed to "Diet Coke in a black can". I miss drinking Coke with my popcorn so I asked Julie to buy me some of that there Coke Zero. Wooo doggy that is some yicky tasting stuff.

Nov 11, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

The item I like this week really goes against my weight loss efforts I've mentioned over the past few weeks but I'll go ahead and say it. I really like Nathan's Famous skinless beef franks. Quite possibly the best hot dogs in the game right now. Nathan's Famous franks are the official hot dogs of the hot dog eating contest held at Coney Island each year on July 4th weekend. These frankfurters are NOT the standard encased floor sweepings that other companies try to pass off as hot dogs. Go buy some today and embrace the goodness. Here's a recap video from the 2009 contest. The winner ate 68 hot dogs in 12 minutes or something like that. Nathan's Famous franks aren't small so I am very impressed with this accomplishment.

This week, I love having a day off from work. I had the day off for Veteran's Day today. When ranking the days which to have off, I'd say there's a tie for #1 between Monday and Friday. Wednesday would have to be #2 because it gives you a nice, clean break in the middle of the week. Tuesday and Thursday are tied at #3 because you have to shut down and start back up and you really don't feel like you've gotten a break. However, let the record show that I feel that ALL days off are great.

This week, I don't like our storage situation. Part of my day off was spent trying to reorganize some closets at home. Julie and I don't have much attic space to work with but we do have a few closets that allow us to tuck away items. Unfortunately, these closets fill up quickly. I'll have to remember what my mother always says: you'll always run out of storage space no matter how big your house is. I bet that's true!

Nov 6, 2009

Warehouse Soup

I am really struggling with something to post this week as I don't have any pictures of kids in Halloween costumes to share. Oh well!

Now that the weather is getting cooler I am starting to break out all of my soup recipes. This is a fairly new recipe that I got from e-mealz. It is so easy and has tons of flavor. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Warehouse Soup

½ lb. Kielbasa Sausage
1 can Cream of Potato Soup
1 can Split Pea with Ham Soup
14 oz. can Italian Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 soup can of water

1. Cut sausage into cubes and brown over medium high heat in a soup pot.

2. Add all remaining ingredients and heat.

Only makes enough for 3 people so may need to double the recipe.

Nov 4, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like the fact that there are some of you out there that are really helping me with my weight issue. I mentioned that I enjoyed some...ok, a lot...of chicken strips from Zaxby's the other day via Twitter. Our good friend Emily was quick to politely call me out on my relapse. Thank you Emily. This has given me a new outlook on my quest that I voiced to the world last week. And knowing that there are others just like Emily spanning the globe gives me that needed pressure to stay the course. The next time I consider that extra helping, I'll remind myself that there are school children in France that are wondering if I'll ever get back into those pants.

This week, I love knowing that Julie's planning skills will make Christmas shopping much more tolerable. This is my first Christmas as Julie's husband. I didn't put a lot of planning or thought into my shopping efforts during my bachelor days. I'd wait until the last minute and vow every year to start my shopping as early as the following October. That never happened, of course. But now I am a part of a structured team and holiday shopping no longer intimidates me. Julie and I are well on our way to being the tag team champions of Christmas shopping and her intensity is like a elbow drop from the top rope. We've already crossed a lot of items off of our list. At least I know my sister is relieved that someone else has to help me this year!

This week, I don't like driving home from work in the dark. It feels like it's 8:00 when I get home. Plus, it's already tuff to drive around here but dark driving conditions pose even more of a challenge to me because of my less-than-perfect vision. It has been a joy to be reminded this week that Birmingham drivers curiously increase their velocity when conditions worsen. And to think that I used to get mad when I would get caught behind a farmer on his tractor.

Oct 28, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like sticking to my weight loss plan. I've cut back on my portions with the exception of some ice cream at night. But, that's getting better too. No signs of change in the pants department yet but thanks to those of you that have given me lots of support. Please keep it up as I am still getting disapproving looks from Julie. Just kidding!

This week, I love that my employer will be giving us the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas off in addition to the actual holiday. This is huge news and much appreciated! Having this extra day with family is going to be awesome! Can't wait for that Christmas Story marathon to start! Best line of the movie? I think we can all agree that prize goes to: "Ah! Must be Italian!".

This week, I don't like the weird bills that keep randomly showing up in our mailbox. I know, I know. Get used to it, right? I'm just saying that the audacity element hits you pretty hard when you first realize that you're being billed for a service that you didn't see coming. Case in point: we've received a bill from some local Fire authority and the county library system. Julie kindly refers to these as "dues" and not bills. The kicker is that one of these reminders is addressed to a former occupant of our address. I wonder if we can get away with not paying this fee since it's not technically addressed to us? Leave your legal advice in the comments.

Oct 21, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like the fact that you can buy a Kate Gosselin wig to complete your Halloween costume. This is just too good. Kate is probably vain enough to be insulted by the advent of this product. If it doesn't get under her skin then surely the moniker of "female reverse mullet" given to her hairdo by the very same Today show morning staff that usually swoons all over Kate rubs her the wrong way. I wonder if she'll change her style anytime soon?

This week, I love being reminded of our honeymoon in Bermuda. The four major championship winners have been playing the annual PGA Grand Slam event at the Port Royal Golf Course this week. Man, I wish I was back there! Unlike Birmingham, Bermuda is small enough to the point where you have to be nice to everyone because you're very likely to cross paths with the same individuals several times each day. Everything is so pleasant there and the images seen in the background of the golf tournament's TV coverage takes me right back to the most special week of my life.

This week, I don't like the fact that I have many pairs of nice dress pants in my closet that don't fit. I'm not blaming Julie for my unwanted girth but being married to someone with culinary skills that would rival a 5-star chef is hazardous to your wardrobe. My plan has been to simply not eat as much and no more snacking. This has been my plan for a long time now. My parents never let me quit anything I started and now that I've told you and the rest of the Internet of my intent, I'm going to stick to it! Just a few pounds and I'll be back in those pants. As we are in the midst of college football (tailgates!!!) and with the holidays just around the corner (Oreo Balls!!!), my challenge will be difficult and temptation will be all around me. That's why I need your help. Ask me about my plan's progress the next time you see me and make me stick to my word!

The following clip sums up how I feel each time I try to put on a pair of my dress pants. SHB - this clip is for you!!

Oct 14, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week I like my special New Orleans breakfast. I only make it on rare occasions, such as this past Saturday morning. My New Orleans breakfast consists of a bountiful portion of Steak Benedict along with a Bloody Mary or two. What was so special about this past Saturday morning? Nothing, really. Auburn's game kicked off at 11:00 so I woke up about 7:00 and got things going. Everything turned out very nice and I would like to give Julie a special acknowledgement for her help with the Hollandaise sauce on Friday night. Side note: Why is it dubbed a "New Orleans" breakfast? Mainly because the best Bloody Mary in America is served at Commander's Palace in New Orleans. Also, New Orleans was special to me way before Katrina and I usually rank the Cresent City #2 in my annual listing of best cities/towns in the USA...right behind Camden, AL.

This week, I love the fact that Julie wants to spend every waking moment at my side. Fun fact: left undisturbed, Julie can slumber until at least noon on a Saturday. Well, maybe not noon but she can go for a while. You can imagine my surprise this past Saturday morning when Julie came staggering down the steps at 7:30 and curled up beside me on the couch just as the New Orleans breakfast was about to start. She indicated that everything was OK but that she just wanted to be with me. Can you beat that, America? Almost made me cry in my Bloody Mary. Almost. In all seriousness, there is no better feeling than to know that you are loved.

This week, I don't like the fact that the Nobel Peace prize can be awarded to someone that does not follow through on campaign promises and totally fouls up his home city's chance of winning an Olympic bid just by becoming involved with the selection process.

Oct 12, 2009

1 Down - 3 To Go

As Nick mentioned on a previous post I have decided to take on the challenge of reupholstering some furniture! My mother-in-law got me interested last year when she decided to take on a few I read a few books and decided that I could do it. I started with the easiest project... a parsons chair which we use for a desk chair in our office/den. Here are some before and after pictures.

Before - I know a perfectly good chair and I am about to take it apart.

The sofa in the background is next!

Working Hard


Its not perfect, but I was pleased with how it turned out! My new toy definitely made all the difference! I started out with an electric staple gun and that just wasn't getting the job done so Nick went out and bought me an air compressor with an air staple gun!!!! IT IS AWESOME!

Nick's sofa is next on the agenda! The fabric has been ordered so hopefully we can get started on that project soon.

Oct 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Love you, and hope you have a great day!!!

Oct 8, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

There are some things that I don't appreciate about living in Birmingham but I have to admit that I finally have come to like the convenience factor of living in Birmingham. Case in point: Julie expressed a desire for a staple gun with a lot more "oomph" to it. Solution? We took a two minute drive to Lowe's and got a stapler that would do the job. Case closed. Boom. Tears dried. I can't say that such a feat would have been so easily accomplished in towns that I previously lived in.

This week, I love The President's Cup. I'll take this event over the Ryder Cup anyday. Why? Because the President's Cup pits the U.S.ofA. against the WORLD - not just Europe. And just because we have Tiger on our side doesn't mean it's going to be cakewalk. Everything about this event is just cool. I mean, Michael Jordan is serving in an advisory role to the US team!

This week, I don't like knowing that Margie Grace is getting older! That means that I am getting A LOT older! Margie Grace Wilder was born about the time Julie and I first started dating. In fact, Julie actually thought that I was trying to blow her off when I told her that my cousins had a baby. Long story for another day but HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGIE GRACE!

Oct 6, 2009

ei ei oh

I had the pleasure of making this little outfit for Britton Giffen. It was supposed to be a baby gift, but I am about a year and a half late. Not sure what the rule is about baby gifts, but I am sure that my time limit expired a long time ago!

You can see lots of cute pictures of Britton on their blog

Oct 5, 2009

Yogurt Mountain - "Yo Mo"

Not quite sure why I haven't posted in so long, but all is well and I hope to do a better job this month than last.

For those of you who live in Birmingham I am sure that you have noticed the new shop that opened near Whole Foods called Yogurt Mountain (or as all the cool kids call it "Yo Mo"). We had the pleasure of trying out the new place on Friday night. Basically you walk in grab a bowl pick from about 15 different flavors of self-serve yogurt then proceed to the topping bar! Toppings include, but are not limited to, cereal, fresh fruit, sprinkles, and every candy under the sun! Yum!

We had a great time and cannot wait to go back. Highly recommend it if you haven't been.

Sep 30, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

Julie is still doing well folks - just a little wrapped up in yet another hobby!

This week, I like the fact that Julie is getting more involved with a great hobby that she originally expressed interest in this time last year. Julie started re-upholstering her first chair over the weekend! I'm sure she will be posting photos soon so I won't steal too much of her thunder. I can really tell that she is enjoying it!

This week, I love remembering that I met Julie 3 years ago on October 4th. That's another post for another day! Incidentally, Julie last laughed at one of my jokes 3 years ago on October 4th.

This week, I don't like the fact that Tiger Woods has eclipsed the $1 BILLION mark in career earnings. He's the first professional athlete to do so and this amount is hard for me to grasp. He does very well for himself just on money he wins at tournaments. And don't forget his endorsement deals. The real kicker is that he has now entered the realm of golf course design - an income source that will last far longer than his golf winnings (which aren't going away anytime soon). Side note: Don't feel sorry for Jack, Arnie or any of the older players that paved the way for Tiger. They may have not enjoyed the same riches during their playing days but they do extremely well for themselves each year thanks in large part to Tiger and the attention he brings to golf.

Wow - a BILLION. I tried to find some unseen video clip of Tiger but came across this instead. Don't watch if you are timid about the national deficit!

Sep 23, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

Just so that everyone will know...Julie is fine. Nothing is wrong. Her creative juices just haven't been flowing lately.

This week, I like the idea of staying home this weekend. Between traveling to Auburn for games (which has been great!) and hosting family members (which has also been great!), Julie and I haven't had a "lazy" weekend in a while. We're both looking forward to being unproductive this weekend.

This week, I love "Cookies 'n' Cream" candy bars from Hershey's. These wonderous treats are the perfect blend of white chocolate and crispy chocolate cookies. Try one for yourself today and thank me tomorrow.

This week, I don't like how the playing conditions for this weekend's PGA Tour playoff finale are looking. The Atlanta area has received rain amounts that would make Noah nervous over the last week. The Tour won't like ending the season with a lackluster winner or under weather conditions that force 36-hole days. For the record, I like Stewart Cink winning it all on (one of) his home course(s).

Sep 16, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like leftovers. My parents came to visit this past weekend and Julie went above and beyond the call of cooking duty. We napped liked college students as the succulent morsels glistened on our lips and digested in our gullets. Julie has not had to cook all week because we had so much food left over. I think she has enjoyed the break.

This week, I love the fact that I recently replaced the burnt-out light bulbs on the dashboard of my truck. I had gotten to the point to where I could not see my speedometer at night. My research on the Internet turned up just enough info to give me courage to try replacing the bulbs myself - but not much in the form of helpful photos or directions. It actually turned out to be an easier-than-expected process and I will be posting my findings soon. Bottom line: I saved some money (in terms of labor) and all of my dash lights work now!

This week, I don't like the current state of our landscaping. Julie and I pay quarterly fees to our neighborhood association. This money help pays for weekly lawn mowings and edging and also occasional hedge trimming. Seems that this year they changed "occasional" to "one-time". I've had to bust out the hedge trimmer to keep the bushes at bay. I don't mind the exercise but you should see some of the bushes around the neighborhood! Out of control!

Sep 9, 2009

Labor Day golf

Clay "Bocephus" Branch and I played the Ridge course at Oxmoor Valley on our day off on Monday. I promised some footage of my new irons in action. Unfortantely, I didn't get any video of my irons but here are a few of me and Clay from various holes. The state of Maryland may be best known for crabcakes and football but Clay is famous for making eagles from 120 yards. Unfortunately, I did not have the camera handy when Clay pulled off this incredible shot on the par four #6 but it certainly helped him put together a very nice round.

Here's Clay with his driver. Be sure to turn the volume down as his booms can cause speaker damage.

That's deep! So deep that Clay decided to strut down the fairway rather than ride in the cart with me. Here's a shot of me with a 3 wood from a fairway:

Handsome and sweet-swinging! Julie is so lucky!

Clay and I had fun with the camera and we're definitely going to take it on future outings. I promise to get some quality video of some shots with my irons. (Side note: I've never seen video of my swing before. It's kinda like hearing your voice on tape for the first time.) I do love my new irons and I love my wife for getting them for me (and for many other reasons). They are great in every way possible and occasionally cause me to consider a bold transition. I know exactly how this guy feels in the video below.

Julie always asks what Clay and I talk about during our rounds. This is pretty much exactly like one of our conversations. JULIE, HOWEVER, IS NOT! I love that!

Sep 8, 2009

Can 5 years change a man?

Julie and I enjoyed part of our long Labor Day weekend over in Auburn, kicking off the new season with her parents. We had a great time at the game and the team seems to be more unified this year (knock on wood).

One thing I took away from gameday was the notion that Auburn University does not want fans/alumni to tailgate (for free) anymore. That confusing realization kept running through my mind when, out of the blue, cousin Neil called to inform me that our friend Rusty got his picture in the Auburn/Opelika paper (no, not a mugshot for those of you that know Rusty). I followed Neil's directions and soon found Rusty's picture, as seen below. Rusty was caught in action at the first Tiger Walk of the year...ironically improving his position on the same guardrails he created a need for back in 2004.

Cousin Katie's former job gave her access to the photo below, from the 2004 season. In 2005, as the story goes, Auburn officials were concerned that the safety of players participating in Tiger Walk was in jeopardy at the hands of rowdy, unobstructed fans. This photo of Rusty saying "hello" to Carnell Williams was referred to as "Exhibit A". It's no coincidence that guardrails are now part of the tradition that is Tiger Walk.

A lot has changed in the last 5 years. Auburn is rebuilding and Rusty is now a husband and a father. There may be a little more salt in the pepper-colored goatee but that glimmer in Rusty's eye is still accompanied by that sly grin. You have to ask yourself: can 5 years change a man?

Sep 2, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like the arrival of fall-like temperatures. We haven't quite gotten to the point where the humidity level is consistently bearable but we're close. My car does not resemble an oven when I get in it and I don't have to blast the AC on the way to and from work - which saves a little gas.

This week, I love the arrival of college football season. I want to hear the theme music to ESPN's College Gameday and I want to hear it now. I want to watch Lee Corso infuriate Bama Nation by picking Virginia Tech to win (even though it's usually bad news if Corso picks your team). And I want to read all the great signs behind the Gameday set.

This week, I don't like the fact that I cannot fix our busted DVD player. It decided to stop reading DVDs the other day without any warning. I'm no electronics expert but I examined all the "guts" and feel confident that I pinponted the problem. Unfortunately, I don't know what to do about said problem area! In the era of Wal Mart, Best Buy, HH Greg and numerous other stores, it's much easier to just buy a new machine rather than have your machine serviced. (Side note: Julie is ironically now very appreciative of my PlayStation 2 and it's DVD capabilities all of a sudden. When our DVD player went on the blink, she didn't have to interupt her precious Heros viewings. I guess the PS2 isn't so bad to have after all!)

BONUS TIDBIT: Photos (and possibly video) next week from Oxmoor Valley's Ridge Course. You've seen the clubs, now see them in action!

Sep 1, 2009

Dinner Time

Nick does a lot around the house which is a huge help and something I do not take for granted. I certainly appreciate all of his help, but I especially love it when he offers to make dinner. I do love to cook, but occasionally it is nice to have a night off and let someone else do the cooking.

Sunday night Nick whipped up one of our favorite e-mealz - Pepperoni Loaf!

Aug 26, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like satellite radio. I have been doing some traveling for work over the last few days and have really appreciated having my satellite radio in my car. I originally signed up for the basic XM service but now get the basic Sirius/XM blend after their merger last year. I like it so much that we got a receiver for Julie's car too. I have an apparatus that will allow me to use my receiver in our house but haven't figured it out yet.

This week, I love family. I was made to feel very special during my birthday by all of my family and you just can't beat that feeling, even if you are getting old!

This week, I don't like realizing that the days are getting shorter. I think the sun sets a minute earlier each day. Pretty soon it will be dark by 4:30 in the afternoon and the weather will get cooler. But, with that comes college football so I guess it's not all bad.

Aug 24, 2009

Move In and Birthday

This past weekend my mom, dad, and sister came to town. On Saturday we moved Ellen back into the ADPi house at Samford. This was the 5th and last time we will move into that dorm. I lived there 2 years and this is Ellen's 3rd year. Can't say that I will miss that move, but at least she is living on the main floor this year so there were fewer stairs to deal with. After the move in was complete I took Nick on a tour of the chapter room. Not sure if any of my fellow pledge class members will read this, but if you do....we have only one composite left in the chapter room. The rest have been rotated upstairs! I was shocked and suddenly felt very old.

We also had the pleasure of celebrating Nick's birthday over the weekend. I made a big dinner on Saturday night complete with a homemade peanut butter pie. Then yesterday (his actual birthday) we went to The Open Door for brunch. All in all a great weekend!

Nick's birthday presents came a little early this year. Shortly after we got back from our honeymoon Nick went to get fitted for some custom Ping irons. From the day he got fitted he talked about those irons every day. He would constantly send me e-mails about the irons and drop numerous hints. The problem was that the custom fitted irons didn't really fit into our budget at the time, but after much creativity I was able to pull the money together without him knowing. The day the clubs came I got home early to unpack them and get the video camera ready for what I thought was going to be a joyous outburst of happiness.

All set up!

Even wrote a little note to go with the clubs

And this was the reaction I got...

Certainly NOT what a I hoping for, but I think he had resigned himself to the fact that it could be a long time before he would ever get new irons. But thankfully he married someone who loves to give gifts and will do all that she can to make him happy!

Checking them out to make sure I got the right ones

He did eventually get excited!
Happy Birthday Nick! May we share many more birthdays and surprises!

Aug 19, 2009

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like the rain we have been getting in the Birmingham area lately. The grass and plants in the yard are holding up much better than this time last year. On my birthday weekend last year, we discovered that Julie's roof had a leak. One marriage stipulation was that she fix it before I moved in.

This week, I love waking up early. For some reason, I've started waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal this week. I get to watch more TV while I eat breakfast.

It's a tie this week. First, I don't like the extra time added to my commute each day due to school being back in session. You would think that the extra 30 minutes mentioned above would help but it doesn't. Secondly, one drawback to the rain is its effect on already-bad drivers in Birmingham.

Gateway to the West

This past weekend Nick and I took our first road trip as a married couple to visit my best friend, Kiley, and her husband Mark in St. Louis. Kiley and Mark both grew up in St. Louis but only moved back about a year and a half ago. I have been dying to take a trip up to see them and check out their new house.

They were the perfect hosts and we had the best time! Friday night they took us to a Cardinals game which was tons of fun and provides a great view of the arch and downtown. Saturday the boys played golf while Kiley and I hit up some of the shops around town. Then we were treated to a fabulous dinner party at her parents house! We could not have asked for a better trip.

Thanks for the hospitality Kiley and Mark! Can't wait for our next visit...

Their precious new house!

Grams and Gramps (Kiley's grandparents) had flowers sent over to welcome us to St. Louis. So sweet!

Cardinals game

At least I was showing my team spirit in my red shirt!

They are so similar - its scary!

View of the Arch and Downtown