Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tennessee Day 2: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Today was a really fun day! We got up this morning and took a drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Dave and I love national parks and taking scenic drives and hikes. It was too bad that today was kind of rainy and really cloudy and foggy and we really couldn’t see much beyond the side of the road for a lot of our drive. I’m definitely not a fan of this fog and I hope the weather gets nicer soon; especially for Curtis and Daché’s wedding day! Really, Tennessee, some blue skies and sun would be really nice. Still, we really enjoyed the green scenery, roaring rivers and thick density of the forest here in Tennessee. It is much different from what we are used to in Colorado.

Smoky Mountains
For dinner we met back up with my family as well as friends (and Best Man) John and his wife Casey while my parents, Daché’s parents and Curt & Daché all went out to dinner on their own. We went to a local place called O’Charleys and they had some pretty good food! On the way back to the hotel we stopped to pick up Chinese food for my grandma, who didn’t feel up to coming out to dinner with us (and I don’t blame her because we are a rowdy bunch). I went into the restaurant and the guy behind the counter was on his cell phone talking in Spanish. I waved at him, picked up a menu and looked it over while he was still chatting away. I was ready to order so he grabbed a pad of paper and nodded to me to order, all while still on his phone. I had to point to the menu items I wanted while he wrote down my selections, showing the paper to me to verify that he wrote down the correct items ALL WHILE STILL ON THE PHONE! How rude! When he went to take my order back to the kitchen I got on my phone and wrote a review of the customer service at the restaurant on Google. Justice! Seriously, I couldn’t believe how rude that was but at least Grandma got the food she wanted. All’s well that ends well, right?

DSC07102 This is our group at dinner. From the left is John, Casey, Kelly, Erin, me, Dave and Mark. Wild group, I know.

We had a fun day today, but I can’t wait until tomorrow. The ladies are getting our nails done, the guys are having a man breakfast (whatever that means) and then we have the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner later in the day. I can’t believe this wedding is only two days away!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tennessee Day 1: Lynchburg

We are exhausted. But it has been a really fun day! We had to get up super early this morning to get to the airport in time for our early flight. My sister, Kelly, was not amused when we came to pick her up at 4:30. Yikes! The good news is we made it on time with little complaining from our back seat ;-) We met up with my dad and grandma at the airport, checked in, and were pleasantly surprised to be able to go through the “handicapped” security check point since it was easier for Grandma to use a wheelchair in the airport. It was almost like being able to go to the front of the line at Disneyland… almost.

We arrived in Tennessee and Dave and I broke from the family group for a day and headed to Lynchburg to take a tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery; the only place in the world where they make Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. The tour was really interesting and it was fun to learn about how “Jack Daniel” started making whiskey, how he started the distillery, how he lived and died and how they make/brew/distil the whiskey into the unique “Tennessee Whiskey” style. Fun fact of the day: the JD Distillery is located in Moore County, Tennessee, which is a dry county. They do NOT sell alcohol anywhere in the county, except for the commemorative bottles at the distillery. Go figure.


After our tour we headed to our friend, Mark’s, house where we will be staying for the rest of our trip. Dave and Mark have been friends since high school and they also worked together in the same research lab (and even shared an office) during college and now Mark has graduated and got a job in Tennessee. On the way to Mark’s there was some HEAVY fog on the roads. I hate fog, especially since I was in a fog-related car accident back in 2008. I let Dave do the driving and tried to just fall asleep, hoping to wake up when it was all over. That seemed to work well for me :-).

We got to Mark’s and headed out to have dinner. We had a really nice time at dinner and we enjoyed the grand tour of Mark’s beautiful new 4 bedroom house. I can not wait until the time comes for us to buy a house! It makes me 5really excited for our future!

Well, I’m off to bed. There is a two hour time difference here so getting up at a decent hour in Eastern Time will be hard for us. But we have an exciting day planned in the Smoky Mountains so it will be worth waking up for!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tennessee bound

In 24 hours we will be headed to Tennessee for my little brother’s wedding. It’s hard to believe that he’s getting married!

Despite my best efforts, I am not packed yet. I tried hard to be packed by now but we had a busy weekend celebrating Dave’s Grandma’s 81st birthday (hooray!) and I had to do some work from home. I also spent a good amount of time doing laundry to make sure that nearly every article of clothing we own was clean so we had the option of taking it on the trip. However, my biggest hang-up is that the control freak in me can’t decide what I want to wear during the trip. I swear I have made four separate packing lists and outfit lists and am still not sure that what I have on my most recent list is what I’m actually going to pack. I had better figure this out soon because I’m running out of time!

81st Birthday Party
I got up early this morning to iron and steam some clothes for the trip and to get Gromit packed for what we call “puppy camp” where we board him when we take long trips. I bet the employees at the kennel think I’m nuts because I pack Gromit’s food, treats, bone, blanket and favorite toy for him and insist the blanket and toy stay with him in the kennel at night. When I think about it, it is silly that we treat Gromit like a child by making sure he has comfort items with him away from home but I’m ok with it and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, right?

The next few days should be fun and interesting. I’m going to try to post each night so stay tuned for stories and wedding pictures! I can’t wait for this trip!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First day of spring

Happy first day of spring! We have had a wonderful day of spending time together and having fun. We started the day at this wonderful little breakfast place which has some very unique and yummy food offerings. I had been there once before for work but Dave had never been so I suggested we try it out. It may very well be the best breakfast I have ever had. Seriously. I had a yummy breakfast sandwich with a soft pretzel roll filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and a sausage patty, served with a side of smoked cheddar hollandaise & house hash browns. Dave and I also shared a Graceland pancake which is a buttermilk pancake griddled with fresh bananas, topped with peanut butter cream, whipped butter and bacon caramel sauce. It sounds kinda funky but it was to die for! We will definitely be going back there again!


After brunch, and some resting time to digest our yummy food, we headed out to a state park to do a nice hike and find a geocache. The weather was beautiful and it was so nice to get outside and get some exercise. After our hike we drove around the state park and took in the views of the earth waking up from winter and even checked out some potential camping sites for when the weather gets a little warmer.


We finished off the day buying my annual first day of spring bouquet. I started buying myself flowers on the first day of spring back when I was a freshman in college, had no boyfriend and wanted an excuse to get flowers. I’ve done it every year since, not because I need an excuse to get flowers, but because it is a nice way to celebrate the changing of the season. And who doesn’t like a nice bouquet of fresh flowers?

Do you have any traditions on the first day of spring? I hope you all had a great day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting back in the habit

Now that spring is around the corner and the sun will be rising earlier Dave and I have decided to try and get back in the habit of hiking or biking at least one morning a week. We started this morning with a short hike (ok, it was more of a walk) to find a geocache in a nearby natural area. The sun isn’t rising before 7:00 a.m. yet, but since we were out before then we were able to see the beautiful sunrise.

The geocache was an easy find and had a lot of fun little things in it and we took a little pincher toy. That will be fun to leave in another cache.

It was nice to get outside again and get some exercise. And hopefully Gromit had enough extra activity today to keep him from going crazy again!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Fever

It looks like someone has a case of Spring Fever and took it out on my throw pillows and tissue paper stash...

Maybe Gromit needs some more outdoor exercise time? I think a trip to the dog park is in my future.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring is coming!

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for Spring! To get myself even more in the mood for the new season I have updated my blog design with some bright Spring colors!

Since today was the first day of Daylight Savings Time we decided to take advantage of the extra hour of daylight by heading out to do our first Geocache of the year! We haven’t been out Geocaching since the weather turned cold last year so it was really nice to get out there and get some exercise and find a cache.

Since this was our first time out this year we decided to do one close to home, only half a mile from our apartment. I can’t believe we didn’t realize there was one so close to us! We got Gromit ready in his harness and little backpack and walked to the park where the cache was located. It took us a while to find this one, it was a little tiny acorn-looking piece of wood hanging from a branch on a pine tree.

We had a great time getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh (and warm!) air and warming up for doing more Geocaches as the weather gets nicer. What are you looking forward to doing as the weather gets warmer and there is more sunlight during the day?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trip to Texas… yeehaw!

This past weekend my mom, my sister (Kelly), and I took a trip to Texas to go to one of Daché’s (my future sister-in-law) bridal showers and to visit with Curtis before the wedding. We arrived on Friday and went to visit Curtis’ office at Baylor University. We had lunch at Baylor in a dining hall modeled after the Great Hall at Hogwart‘s (a la Harry Potter) which I thought was super fun, but I guess I’m just a nerd like that.

Later on Friday we met up with Daché and went out to dinner at Chuy’s, a local tex-mex restaurant. On Saturday we went to the bridal shower with Daché, her mom and sister. It was a beautiful shower hosted by seven of Daché’s mom’s church friends who were just such sweet and welcoming women, complete with beautiful southern accents. We certainly experienced some southern hospitality! They had such a nice spread of quiche, fruit, muffins, Russian tea cakes and cupcakes with cute Curtis & Daché decorations. We ate food, opened presents and then the whole group prayed over their relationship. We had a great time!

After the shower we went to Daché’s final dress fitting and managed to fit in a quick trip to the Dr. Pepper museum for an authentic Dr. Pepper float; one of my favorite Texas activities! Yum! We went back to Curt’s house and ate hors d’oeuvres and watched a movie before heading out to dinner.

On Sunday we went to Curt’s church to watch him perform in the worship band. The message from the pastor was perfect for my life. Isn’t it funny how God gives you exactly what you need even when you’re not where you usually are? That’s good stuff.

After church we went to Fuddruckers for lunch before packing up and heading to the airport. Here’s where the fun began. When we got to the airport our flight to Dallas was delayed. We were worried that we may miss our connecting flight back to Denver but were assured that we would still make it in plenty of time. We boarded the plane but on the way to the runway the brakes had some problems and the pilot stopped the plane. It was determined that there may be mechanical issues and that they didn’t feel comfortable flying in the plane so we were all escorted off and had to walk back to the terminal. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled the airline cared enough not to let us fly in a potentially broken plane, it was just frustrating that we were now going to miss our connecting flight and would get home later than planned.

We were re-booked on a 5:40 flight to Dallas to catch a 6:55 flight to Denver. Then the 5:40 flight was delayed. Again, we were told we could still make it to the Denver flight in time so we kept our fingers crossed as we finally took off towards Dallas. We landed in Dallas at 6:37 and waited impatiently for the plane door to open so we could make the next flight. We grabbed our bags and ran like bats out of hell towards the DFW airport skylink to the terminal our flight was leaving from. The tram arrived at the terminal we needed to be at and we ran as fast as we could and arrived at the gate at 6:54. But the plane had left without us.

The next flight to Denver was to leave at 9:40 so we had to hang out in the airport until then. Mom and I ate dinner while Kelly worked on homework. When it was finally time to board the flight to Denver we were all exhausted and at the end of our emotional ropes, but we were so excited to be going home. It was a loooong day of traveling for all of us and we were certainly glad to get home, even if it was after midnight when we got there! It was great to spend some more time with Curtis and Daché before the wedding and it was great to spend some more time with both Mom and Kelly during our travels. I can’t believe that next time I see Curtis and Daché it will be only a couple of days before they get married!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bridal Shower-In-A-Bag

What do you do when you want to host a bridal shower for someone, but they, and most of the guests you would invite to the shower, live out of town? Throw them a bridal shower-in-a-bag!
This shower was the brainchild of my Aunt Beth and Aunt Pat. They really wanted to host a bridal shower for Daché but since she lives in Texas and all of the invitees live in Colorado it just wasn’t going to work out. So, born was the idea of a bridal shower-in-a-bag.
The plan was to send bags of bridal shower goodies to the would be attendees, as if they had attended a bridal shower, but instead of going to an event just asking them to send a personal note, recipe and monetary gift to Curtis and Daché to help support their honeymoon trip to the Bahamas. Pretty cool, huh?

So my Aunt Beth, Aunt Pat and cousin Vanessa all put together the plans, ordered the goodies and printed all of the materials for a “Bahamas-themed” shower-in-a-bag. I helped with the invitation poem and making decisions on which goodies to include in the bag. Beth, Vanessa, Maddie, my mom, Erin and I met to put the bags together for all of the shower invitees and Daché. Later that day Erin went out to deliver all of the bags to invitees. Once all of the gifts were mailed back to Beth, she sent Daché all of the gifts, notes and recipes as well as a goodie bag of her own. What a fantastic way to throw a party!
Here we all are putting the bags together:

Blog Collage

The finished bag included: the invitation on pedicure flip flops, an instruction card, a card to write a note to the couple, a hand-shaped clip, a recipe card, paper pouch with cherry & lemon Enstrom’s fondant candies and espresso & coconut filled chocolates, gummy flip flops, warm cookie scented sachet, goji berry tea packet, custom made Bahamian Honeymoon CD, a flip flop notepad, palm tree pen, custom “mint to be” mint tin, emery board, banana chips, sea shell soap and homemade palm tree, sun, fish and flip flop cookies!


By the way, check out the close up picture of the cookies.


My Aunt Pat handmade and decorated these cookies for the bags. Seriously, wow. The rest of the family thinks she could go into business making cookies. What do you think? She reads my blog, so be sure to let her know what you think of her cookies in the comments. I’m sure it would make her day!

So if you ever need to host an out of town bridal shower for someone, a bridal shower-in-a-bag is a really fun solution! We hope the invitees enjoyed the goodie bags and the process (easier than traveling to a shower or shipping gifts, right?) and we also hope Daché enjoyed her bag and gifts!