Thursday, December 31, 2009

Truth be told...

Truth be told, If I Was a Stay at Home Mom, I would actually:
- Stay in my pajamas ALL day
- Eat ridiculous amounts of cookies etc.
- Online shop WAY too much
- NOT clean my house (or at least not very much).

My time is running out... I only have four more days of break and I still have seven closets to clean out, a house full of Christmas decorations to take down, three crafty home projects to do, 150 essays to grade, etc. etc. etc.  Oops.  Maybe I better stick with my day job for now!

Good news?  They are calling for snow this weekend... maybe I'll be blessed with more days to procrastinate.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

9 Highlights of 2009 + Some New Year Goals

1. Ashley & Chip Schnabel's beautiful winter wedding & Big Chill Reunion. (January)

2. Our trip to Colorado to visit Jon & Lea in Littleton & ski Breckenridge. (April)

3. Jeff's week in Seattle & Portland/ My Extreme Home Makeover Week (May)

4. Mulvaney Family Reunion in Virginia Beach (June)

5. Mountain Weekend with my college girlfriends from Clemson + Baby Quinn (June)

6. Brevard Camping Trip with our COR Group (July)

7. Summer Kickball League (June - August)

8. Jake & Amanda McCrowell's beach wedding (October)

9. The Blizzard of 2009... 18 inches of snow! (December)

Goals for 2010:
* Take more pictures.
*Drive across the country.
* Wear lipstick.
*Be able to comfortably (for me and those around me) wear spandex and boots by next Christmas
These are serious... do not judge.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Day After Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas, when all through the house
Sounds of "gun fire" rang clear from the basement & my spouse.
The gifts were all unwrapped, paper thrown without a care
In hopes that my new Kindle soon would be there...

While Addy slept, all snug in her new L.L. Bean dog bed
Visions of gourmet dog treats, danced in her head.
Jeff is in his Stormy Cromer, a very goofy looking cap.
And me, just settled down, for a long lazy nap.

... Ok, I planned to go the whole way, but it is just WAY too long...

Hope your Christmas was wonderful!!! We feel totally loved, stuffed, and spoiled!! :)

I'm off to Northern VA for a few days to see family... enjoy the rest of the holiday.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Card 2009

Merry Christmas Friends! What a fun year 2009 has been! Jeff & I are so thankful for such great families, friends, and blog readers. :) Hope you all enjoy the holidays and get some rest. I love you!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

If I was a Stay-at-Home-Mom

1.) My house would always be clean. I would gladly vacuum every day and change the sheets at least once a week. (Promise.)

2.) We would eat FABULOUS food. I would cook delicious dinners to be waiting for Jeff when he walks in the door and bake cakes and cookies for all my neighbors and friends.

3.) I would be an excellent wife/friend/daughter/granddaughter/etc. (Morning bible studies at my house? Sure. Dinner for twelve? No problem.)

4.) I would be skinny b/c I'd have plenty of time for exercising and "tracking" my WW points. (Please pay no attention to #2... I would also have excellent self-control.)

5.) We would wear clean clothes every day. I would do laundry regularly & even iron on occassion.

6.) I would spend less money on clothes. (Being a teacher is a very high-pressure job when it comes to my wardrobe... 100s of people, literally, judge me every day. If I stayed at home, I could wear PJs and sweats ALWAYS.)

7.) Addy would not eat gifts, poop in other people's houses, or shed as much because I would brush her, walk her, and train her all the time!

8.) I would be prettier. (Less bags under the eye, stress zits, etc.)

9.) I would learn to sew, write a novel, make tons of crafts, train for a marathon, call all my girlfriends at least once a week, read more, write hand-written letters, wash my windows, rake leaves/shovel snow, volunteer, etc. etc. etc. (Look, I only wanted to write 10 things.)

10.) I would have a baby. (Yes mothers, I realize that actually voids numbers 1 - 9; but, it is kind-of vital for the stay-at-home-MOM title, which is much more socially acceptable than just quitting my job for fun. It's not really my reality right now... So please just let me live in this ignorance for a bit.)

Hmm... I'll let you know if this list has any effect on our plans for 2010. My guess is no... But I'm loving these two weeks at least!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I hope all of my "loyal readers" know how much I love you and respect you each for the individual person you are and place you are in. I don't claim to have ANYTHING to offer but a cheap laugh occassionally and a glimpse of my sometimes messy life.

Just to clarify... my intention with my blog is to be silly & real (in the "not putting on a show" sense). I love that it makes people laugh and gives me an opportunity to write -- both of which I really love & don't get to do near enough. I am SO sorry if anything I've written (or my "guest bloggers") seems insensitive. I promise, it is all with a humble and light heart. -E

Monday, December 21, 2009

D.E.F. (A Dating Follow-up Guest Post)

Five guys sitting around a white board, shirtless. (They made me write that last part!)

This is my reality tonight.

What started as a conversation about my Dating Blog Post, ended up as a full-on rebuttal.

I give you...
My First Ever... "Hot Guy" Guest Post (Authors anonymous... but pretty obvious.)

Dos & Don'ts

  • Do be laid back.
  • Do pay compliments about our physical appearance.
  • Do make-out a lot. (Or, at the very least, touch our forearm.)
  • Don't freak out. *We asked you out in the first place because we were interested. That said, we have NOT planned our wedding, designed our future house, or named our kids.
  • Don't talk about your period. EVER.
  • Don't suck. (i.e, Please just enjoy the evening... If, at some point, you decide we are not going to get married, please don't just "give up." If you feel things going down hill, remember "all's well that end's well" and proceed to final "Do" immediately.)


Expect a disaster, but be prepared to be swept off your feet. Again, we asked you out on purpose. But, there are certain things out of our control.

*NOTE: Please disregard the above expectation if you comment on last week's GIVEAWAY. (We've decided to re-open the competition HERE.) If you do, you SHOULD expect the greatest night of your life.


There are three possible outcomes after a first date. We might fall madly in love. We might get really excited; but, flame out like Gilmore Girls when Rory went off to college. OR, we might - for TRULY unexplainable reasons - just not be interested. It's not you, it's us. (Really.)

A.B, J.H, L.H, J.R., J.C.

Well, this really clarifies a lot! (Ha!) Happy dating!

Blizzard of 09

"Snow slows everything down; Snow makes everything beautiful." -Gilmore Girls
(w/ some liberties because I simply saw this on someone's facebook wall & couldn't remember the exact quote.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dating 101 (+ a Giveway)

Some of our good friends are having a "Singles & Stockings" Christmas party tonight. Jeff & I were awkwardly invited to "dress as Santa and Mrs. Claus," but that's weird, so we're not going. I'm TOTALLY fine with it.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand... The preparatory discussions among our friends before this party have led me to think a little bit about some of the advice guys need to hear...

Disclaimer: I don't claim to know what dating is like right now, but I do know a lot of guys... And, I feel like I can say the things other girls wouldn't because, frankly, I'm ok with them never asking me out. **Even though, I do think many of you would be excellent catches!**

So here goes...

My ABCs of Dating after College:

A = Just Ask.
I know that you guys start practicing "pick-up lines" around the same time you learn to pee standing up; but really, they are dorky, ineffective, and all around lame. Just don't. Period.

Even worse, a friend of mine was recently hit on via a fake "technical difficulty" on Facebook. Said man sent a message that said "I've been meaning to ask you..." and then just cut off. Look, that is sneaky. It MIGHT work with a cell phone. But, Facebook doesn't send independently; and, even if it did, you can always just send another message. **It is bad enough that you are asking a girl out via F-Book, at least do it with some guts. :)

Please just call her and ask her on a date. Yes, she might still tell you no - I'm making no promises here - but at least she'll respect you.

B = Be Creative (But not too creative!)

  • Movies are lame for a first date. (The darkness of the movie theater and the smell of stale popcorn on your breath is NOT enough to make us want to make out in a movie theater. That is so 7th grade; not to mention, totally disgusting.)
  • Lazer Tag is also not a good idea. Believe it or not, we really aren't as in to shooting and pretending to be at war as you are. Sorry!
  • I personally also think a candle lit picnic (or anything candle lit for that matter) is a little over the top too. Save it for the proposal... or at least the one-month anniversary, if you just can't resist.
  • A safe bet would be dinner at a fun place and maybe a concert (nothing fancy, just some live music at a bar), a sporting event, or a play/show of some sort.
C = Don't Play the Credit Card Game.
"also, i went on a date with another guy. it was awful. at the end of the date we played the "credit card game" to see who would pay. basically, you put your credit cards down on the table and the waiter chooses one. it is awful. mine wasn't chosen. the whole point is that i thought it was strange. maybe i'm stuck in old fashion dating and this is new age dating? anyways, later we met up with friends and went for drinks. we played the credit card game again and i lost so i ended up buying 3 pitchers of beer." - Email from one of my best friends recently

Guys, yes, it is 2009. We do not want you to ask us to do your ironing, order for us off the menu, or stand and bow every time we leave a room. We WOULD appreciate it, however, if you respected us enough to treat us to the meal you invited us to. Do us all a favor and just avoid the after dinner awkwardness & be a man. This does not mean we are "dating." It does not mean you have to pay for every meal for the rest of our lives. It does mean that you are a nice guy with a little class. :)

In conclusion, it's the holidays & we're all feeling a little romantic. Plus, your "Secret Santa" at tonight's party, might just turn in to New Year's date 2010. Hope this will help spark your season!!!

For today only, I am offering a FREE date with THIS guy. Ladies, he is SMOOTH in the dating category.

All you have to do to win is post a comment below. A winner will be selected & revealed (maybe at the party) tomorrow night! *And guys, don't be shy to comment too. He also offers lots of great tips on how to pick up chicks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Remember those cute paper packages?

Dear Howard,

Here is your Christmas gift. I worked on it ALL day while everyone else was at work.


(... I guess that's what I get for being a little smug yesterday. - E)

Christmas Change

One of the bloggers I like to follow (Chatting at the Sky) recently wrote a guest post for This website is really powerful. In the midst of busyness, baking, and buying, it challenges us to "a season of change, a life of return." (Please go read her post RIGHT NOW... I'll still be here when you get back.)

Ok... Confession. I've spent a lot of time and energy on my blog telling funny stories that make people laugh. Sometimes, even, they may border on "inappropriate." I want to be liked. I want to be real. I want people to know me - good and bad.

Hopefully, this will be a glimpse into my real heart - underneath the awkward moments, creative decorations, and dog hair...

As a teacher, I tend to think in terms of school calendars rather than the actual calender year. That said, August usually brings about my clearest pledges for change. (Just in time for all the leaves to DIE and fall off the tree. Ironic? Maybe.) Then, when those don't work out, I gear up for good ole January 1. But this year, I'm giving up on New Year's Resolutions (we all know I won't really lose 50 pounds in 2010), and focusing, instead, on Christmas Change. Afterall, the whole world - and more specifically, my life - changed because of that cold night in a Bethlehem stable, right?
So what does this really mean to me?

Sadly, I don't ask myself this question enough this time of year. (Or any time of year, for that matter.) As much pride as I put in my ability to be "different" in terms of Christmas decor, cards, gifts, etc., my heart is still in pretty much the same place as the rest of the world: Busy scratching items off of my to-do list and running my gas tank empty.

...I DO love my "To Do" lists, but isn't empty often where we find ourselves on January 1st? We've spent the whole month trying to be so much to so many, that by the time things "slow down," we're heavier, grumpier, and a lot more tired. Not really such a "fresh start" afterall.
So what if we really did start over, from the very beginning?

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." - Luke 2:4-7

The Christmas story is actually about Jesus wanting to be with me. The world didn't want him - they couldn't even make room for a poor pregnant lady about to go into labor in an inn. Yet he came, as an infant, with no clothes & not even a crib for a bed.
Now, I'm not a mom yet, but I know a baby is A LOT of work. They need someone else to feed them, change them, even burp them. So why in the world would the Creator of the Universe come down to earth like this? Maybe to teach us a little something about accepting gifts.
Maybe so that I don't have to stress over how pretty, or liked, or put-together I am. *Jesus lived an oRdInArY life for 30 years before he started his public ministry - which only lasted about three years - So why do I feel like I have to have it all figured out at 25?

Jesus wanted to be with me. Not just looking down from a fluffy cloud throne up in the sky, but really WITH me. Here. In this dirty, ugly, messed-up world.

THAT changes things.

This Christmas I want to return to dependency. I want to learn how to really accept a gift - someone else's offer to host the Christmas Party, a day of reading & napping, help with my piles of laundry... Jesus.

That's freedom. That's a "fresh start." That's a Christmas Change.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gift Wrap

The one thing Jeff & I have agreed on this Christmas, is our wrapping selection.

I got this idea from pretty much every holiday magazine, catalog etc., but Jeff jumped all over it because of the inescapable practicality.

*Image from sugarnspice.creations.blogspot

Brown paper. GENIUS.

$2.99 for a giant roll, AND it can be used long after snowflakes and santas have been tucked away in closets.

Plus, it looks so darn cute under our tree. :)

(For added garnish, I just used plain white ribbon and little snowflake ornaments that I got at Crate & Barrel (24 for only $4.95). I am also re-using the gift tags & stickers that I used to make place cards at Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I bought some dark brown satin ribbon & cute little gift tags to add some spice. The possibilities are endless!)

For more fun & thrify ideas check out Real Simple Magazine's "Creative Wrapping Ideas." They even include a wrapping "How-To," which, trust me, I NEED. A good idea can only go so far without a little talent. :) NOTE: Jeff does almost all of the wrapping at our house.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2 Little Randoms

1.) When you notice that a person got a haircut, the polite thing to say is: "Oh, I love your haircut." The incorrect thing to say is: "Did you get a haircut? Oh. Do you like it?" If you go with option B, you may as well say, "That haircut is totally hideous." FYI. (And, yes, I did just get a haircut... But I also hear this very conversation going on between my students ALL THE TIME!)

2.) I have been humming "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for days, and I JUST figured out that "Santa Claus" is really the kid's dad. All these years I've been wondering why a song advocating adultery would become such a classic. Oh, growing up.
That's all for today.

**Don't forget to look at my Tour of Homes entry if you missed it yesterday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes

Welcome to my home! Merry Christmas! And thanks for caring enough about my decorations to check out my photos. If nothing else, these are proof that decorating can be done without a lot of cash-ola, fake fruit can work for ALL seasons, and red & green are NOT the only holiday colors.
I hope you enjoy my first ever Christmas Tour of Homes.

That's Addy's stocking down front. Yes, it is a lot bigger than ours. Yes, I bought my dog a stocking. Yes, Jeff thinks it is ridiculous.One of my favorite parts of our decorations: the tree topper. Jeff does this by hand very meticulously with my guiding from below; he is the best. Not to rag on the classic Star or Angel, but isn't this fun?!?!
If you are like my mom, you are thinking "Oranges? At Christmas?" Let me remind you of cloved oranges & the traditional "oranges in the stocking." See. I think about these things.
Haha. Remember this little guy?

That's all for now! Come back again!
(If you haven't already, be sure to check out the other great decorating ideas at The Nesting Place today! Guaranteed to help you waste MANY hours at work.)

*Photos courtesy of Howard Chen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Public Humiliation (For Kathryn)

My sister and I honestly shouldn't be allowed to go out in public together, especially not when the situation calls for anything exercise or food related. Case in point: Two years ago we decided to book a joint session with a personal trainer at our gym. The trainer turned out to be very short (in stature) and a little ridiculous. Individually, I would have been very mature and polite to this man. BUT, Kathryn kept saying such absurd things that I spent most of the session laughing so hard I couldn't hold even two pounds. For example, she made him hold a pack of gum for her while she lifted weights and "reward" her after each rep with a new piece. (Really, who does that?) Anyway, we caused such a spectacle that for months afterwards we had to sneak in and out of the gym and avoid said trainer at all costs.

Ok. Flashforward. Yesterday. Weight Watchers meeting.

We already are outcasts in the group. Everyone else is close to double our age and take their weight loss very seriously. We, on the other hand, have lost a combined total of approximately 5 pounds in ten weeks. (Look, don't judge. We'll get serious after the holidays!) In addition to this obvious difference, Kathryn usually does work during the meetings and makes fun of me for nodding in agreement or trying to actually participate. Yesterday's meeting was one of the worst to date...
The topic was STRESS and our fearless leader asked us to identify things we can do to cope with stress besides food. People were saying very generic things like "go for a walk," "read a book," etc. etc. Then, I (very excitedly) yelled out "shopping!" Kathryn thought this was hilarious and preceded to make fun of me under her breath for the next five minutes. THEN, with no warning, she calls out "SEX." Yep. I died.
I did not stop laughing the rest of the meeting. Only my sister would say this in a public meeting with women old enough to be our mothers.

Next week we are going to try out a new meeting. Time to recreate ourselves. The topic is PERSEVERANCE, which also happens to be the word Kathryn has tattooed across her neck. I think she should tell everyone she put it there to keep herself from overeating. I'll let you know how that goes.

P.S. Don't tell Poppy we've only lost 5 pounds... He is very strict about our commitment to WW. Oh, and also don't tell him about Kathryn's tat. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shopping Extravaganza!

I think Jeff felt guilty after my last Anthropologie shopping post because this weekend he actually encouraged me to go hog wild. Woohoo!!! (See, my blog is serving a greater purpose than just random ramblings after all.)

This weekend, Jeff & I took a little mini-vacay to Richmond for his company Christmas party & a shopping extravaganza! If you have never been to Short Pump Mall in Richmond - I HIGHLY recommend it. It is a little bit like a dream! What made it even better is that I had saved up and got to do ALL my Christmas Shopping in one swoop. Translation: Although I was actually buying gifts we budgeted for, it felt like I was a true shopping queen, just whisking through stores like a professional, gleefully selecting gifts, and casually tossing my debit card around. This all sounds very glamorous, doesn't it? In fact, at one point, I had to call Jeff to literally come and "rescue" me, because I had so many bags that I couldn't move and I kept knocking over display items. (Nevermind that people were actually quite annoyed with me and I didn't look very "cute" at all.) When he and his bud John, finally came to dig me out of the consumerist pile in Pottery Barn, I was smiling like a pig in slop. Honestly, life doesn't get much better than a new Starbucks re-usable cup filled with coffee, a snowy afternoon, a gigantic mall, and two studs to carry around my bags and open doors for me. Just call me Jessica Simpson. (Hey, a girl can dream!)

In other news: I WON the table decorating contest!! Table #2!! (Check out all the pictures here.) **I don't want to gloat or anything; but, my table not only won, it was also the most homemade AND the most affordable! Even the creepy owl didn't keep me from winning!! Thanks for the votes all you fashionable friends!
Final Score:
1st Place - Me!! (Table #2 with 25 votes)
2nd Place - Peg (Table #1 with 21 votes)
3rd Place - Mom (Table #3 with 19 votes - It might have been the "woodland creatures," I'm just saying.)
Stay tuned next week for my decorating entry in a "Christmas Tour of Homes" on December 14th... I am trying to make a name for myself in the blog world. Haha.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Is it weird that Jeff and I have been training our dog to "speak" for the past two hours on a Friday night?

Maybe not. But, it probably IS weird that the "training" involved me also pretending to be a dog by sitting on my bottom with my two "paws" in front of me while Jeff yelled and tossed treats at me when I barked on command.

Whatever. Addy can speak now. It was worth it. Our dog is officially better than everyone else's.

Goodnight. (Or should I say "Ruff Ruff"?)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

To the Rescue!

I officially broke up my first fight today.

I'll spare you all the gory details, but it definitely involved me risking my life by stepping between two giants and using my supernatural strength to pry them apart. I came out of it with only a few minor scrapes and two black eyes, but at least I protected my innocent students.

OK... Actually, two little 90 pounders were having a shoving/cussing match & I grabbed one by the hood of his sweatshirt and half-choked him as I drug him out of the classroom. I did, however, chase him (in my dress & boots) down the hall to the office to "write him up." (That part might have been more entertaining for the hallway crowd than the fight itself. Glad I could contribute.)

I'm feeling pretty heroic about right now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Addy's BFF

Meet Squeaky Toy.

This little dude is Addy's Best Friend Forever. If you have been to our house EVER, there is a 99% chance you have met Squeaky Toy. It goes everywhere with our beloved girl; and, because we support creepy addictions at our house, Jeff & I go right along with it. Our favorite game: hiding "Squeaky" in all sorts of odd places (including in the chandelier, as pictured) to drive Addy crazy.

A little history...

My "Secret Pal" at school gave me this hilarious toy last year right after Thanksgiving. (Thus the purpose of this post, we are celebrating Squeaky's first birthday!) I took one look at it, imagined my "champion chewer" pooch, and gave it two days to live. Little did I know the relationship that would ensue...

Addy is literally obsessed with this toy. It is like nothing I have ever seen before. Squeaky goes everywhere with her, all the while crying out an annoying high pitched squeal - either in joy or pain, the verdict is still unclear. This noise is just background music at our house, much to the dismay of many an unsuspecting house guest. Jeff & I have even adapted Squeaky for our benefit, typically using it to get Addy to do ANYTHING we want - i.e. pose for the above picture wearing antlers. :)

At night, Jeff places Squeaky in some tall location so that Addy cannot squeak during the night. Then, in the morning - before eating, peeing, passing go, or collecting 200 hundred dollars - Addy heads straight to her BFF. Many a morning I have found her standing beneath the mantel staring longingly at it, perhaps for hours. No lie.

Recently Squeaky died a sad death. Tso, Howard's dog, was jealous of it and decided to take out her aggression on something smaller than her. Luckily, I found an EXACT replica at Kroger. Addy was delighted and never knew the difference. (This is good practice for what we probably will have to do with a pet hampster or something one day!) We parents do whatever it takes to keep our kids quiet and happy.

Happy Birthday Squeaky, may you squeak on for many years to come!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Picture This

Last night, my friend Katie & I decided to go for a night walk around the neighborhood to catch up on some quality time & see the new Christmas light additions. I already looked like a 70 year old lady because I had on sweat pants with elastic bands at the ankles & tennis shoes. HOT. I also was wearing several layers of clothing & a real goofy hat. Not my finest moment.

THEN, Kathryn decided to join in on the fun. (I was literally shocked when we stopped by her house to say hi & she said she wanted to walk with us.) The kicker: Although she was wearing a trendy hat & UGGs, she was also carrying a full bag of Gardetto snack mix which she finished off while we walked.

Exercise at its finest. *Katie, thanks for not being embarrassed to be seen with us.

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