Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Time

I was never one to get VERY excited about the holidays right after Thanksgiving. Where I'm from, it's 80+ degrees through most of December and January so it never really felt like "the holidays". Now that we've lived through the epic Philly winter of 2009/2010 I think I have a very special place in my heart for the magic of Christmas and I'm very excited for our first Nashville Christmas together. We were just in Georgia for Thanksgiving and driving through Keith's moms neighborhood we saw SOOO many houses with lights up already and it made me want to start decorating our place asap haha. That is a little ambitious since we're hopefully going to be moving this week, so for now I will listen to all my favorite Christmas songs guilt free!



I love this song all year long, but I guess it's more appropriate now that it's semi close to Christmas haha. 

My other holiday favorites:

-Watching Love Actually a million times
-Bundling up in my robe and fuzzy socks
-Having an excuse to drink hot chocolate all the time
-Watching Theo try and tear down all our decoration
-Taking a ridiculous family photo for our Christmas cards!
-Spending time with friends and family

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bird Day

So it is true . . . I am a failure at blogging, but I was not about to allow my wife to write her own birthday blog.

For Dana's birthday I wanted her to have a day that was completely devoted to her. Anything she wanted to happen that day I was going to do everything in my power to make happen. So here is how our day went:

Lunch at Moe's

Tytus and Jamie joined us

The 3:15 showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Hanging out with our little boy and seeing his curiosity for a big tree

Dinner at McDonald's

A Carvel Cake (only five candles: a two and a three, 23)
There are no Carvel stores, so buying a Carvel cake at Publix means no extra crunchies :-(

I would like to personally thank Robert and Claire Beal . . . for without them my life would not be complete. Dana Beal Richards you complete me and I can not thank you enough for how much you do for me everyday. I hope this birthday is one to remember. Here's to many birthday's shared together full of fun and laughter. I love you.

Turkey Day

I am thankful for Alton Brown in the parade haha

Dana:

This year I am thankful for so many things. It's been such a crazy year, and if you had told me last November that THIS is what my life would look like today, I wouldn't have believed one bit of it.

I am thankful that Keith Alan Richards asked me to be his wife, and that he will forever be my best friend and my biggest encouragement.

I am thankful that I have an amazing family that supports me through everything and anything.

I am thankful for my health and the health of my family.

I am thankful that I have a job that makes me truly happy each and every day.

I am thankful that Keith and I are so well taken care of, and even when money seems tight, that we've never had to go without.

I am thankful for my friends, who are way cooler than any of your friends and that is a fact.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Keith:

I am thankful for my beyond beautiful wife whose very presence challenges me to be a better man and husband as each day passes.

I am thankful for the opportunity to move back to the south where we are surrounded by an incredible community of friends that challenge us. It also puts us a lot closer to our family.

I'm thankful for all the love and support we have continually received from our friends and family as we have embarked on the next step of our journey.

I am thankful for Theo who has taught me to love cats.

I am thankful for the opportunity of adventure.



(Just for Steve):

I am also thankful for ThankSteve: St. Steven Lord of Burley Count of Thanksgiving for single handedly saved Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Friend Dinner

Here's the thing: my wonderful husband is great at a lot of things... but blogging isn't one of them haha. Sunday night I was all set up to share some pictures and stories about my birthday, but he insisted that I let him do the post because "it's weird to write about your own birthday" or so he said. In the midst of our busy lives, this of course did not happen. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and hold off on doing it for him for another day or so haha

Here are some photos from this past Saturday night. I laid on the couch all day and did nothing (which was AWESOME) and when Keith got home he very graciously made dinner for me and our roommates. Our friend Ives also joined and we had a great evening catching up and enjoying the yummy food.









Jamie and I let the dudes have their dude time and we went over to Sonic to get everyone some dessert. Very very satisfying :)

Right now Keith and I are in Georgia to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. Our best buddy Steve came along as well, and he and I are currently lounging on the couch watching movies while Keith assists his friend Jonathan in building a deck. This is the life.

Hope everyone has a great holiday tomorrow!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our First Week

So this has been a pretty great week... busy, but great all the same. I truly can't believe that we've only been in Nashville for a week... it feels like it's been at least a month haha.

So what have we been up to? Lots of working, and lots of hanging out with old friends. I'm very thankful that we were able to fit in some friend time during this very full week. Tuesday evening we were able to FINALLY see Steve, who we met at one of Keith's favorite pizza places, Pizza Perfect. It was a relaxing evening of great pizza, great beer, and great conversation. We like that guy a lot. Wednesday and Thursday night Keith had to work until 11pm which is something that I'm really going to have to get used to. We were definitely spoiled by him getting out at 8pm at his Philadelphia store :( Friday evening we were thankful enough to have the chance to get dinner with our lovely roommates Tytus and Jamie. We got some awesome mexican food and some drinks to wind down from our weeks. They are so awesome.

Here are some pictures from this week:

Right before we unpacked the trailer on Saturday, we got lunch at one of Keith's favorite places, The Dog of Nashville.

Trent

Isaac

Keith's ultimate favorites


And here are our awesome roommates Jamie and Tytus at dinner last night :)

In other news, this week we also looked at a couple houses to rent and we think we've found one we'll be really happy in! I'll keep everyone updated on how it goes!

Favorite Things

Things I'm in love with tonight:

1). This giant cup of decaff Mmm.


2). Watching trashy TV with Jamie haha I love the E! Network. 

3). The 30 minute shower I just took... so relaxed!

4). The 2 hour nap I took this afternoon, apparently this week tired me out a bit. 

5) The excitement of getting to see Harry Potter tomorrow! I've been getting anxious, but it will make for a perfect birthday!

6) The fact that we've lived in Nashville for a whole week now! Even though it feels like it's been much longer... 


Life is good. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So far this week...

... I am thankful for a lot of things:

- I am thankful for our amazing friends Tytus and Jamie who have let us take over their home and invade their lives for this month. I'm sorry our cat is such a brat, and always wanted to get on top of your refrigerator or bite your ankles.

- I am thankful that my husband is made of lava and keeps me so warm in our cozy bed each night.

- I am thankful for my awesome students. Today I learned names, it was tough, but I may have them all down. I am also thankful that the kids in my small group have relatively easy names to say and spell haha Elijah, Bryson, Nimo, Samantha, JaSean, and Elena. I've got this!

- I am thankful for our community of friends who are so happy and excited to have us in Nashville. It lights up my day to know that we're so welcome.

- I am thankful for all the kind words that we've received from family and friends regarding our move. Your encouragement means so much!

- I am thankful that Jamie has found time in her schedule to take me to work each morning this week so that I can prolong my avoidance of taking bus.

Life is in a great place at the moment, and it has definitely settled in that this was the right step for us to take as a family. I'm feeling a little bit lazy tonight so I'm not going to upload any pictures, but I should have an update later this week about what all we've been doing here (besides working haha)

I really really really love my job so far, in case you were wondering! I've been doing a lot of training this week during the beginning of my day and then in the afternoons I get to hang out with my kids. I'm working at a place called the Martha O'Bryan Center with their youth development program. I'm in a classroom with about 28 elementary aged children each afternoon, and spend the rest of my day planning lessons, etc. It's a lot of fun, and I'm really enjoying all the people that I work with daily. I'm sure that I'll have some more updates about it/pictures eventually. I haven't worked full time in a long time so I'm a little worn out this week, oof!

Hope everyone has been having a great week! Anyone have cool Thanksgiving plans?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Big Move!

It still hasn't quite hit me yet that we actually LIVE in Nashville, we're not just visiting this time, we permanently live here haha. Our Philadelphia apartment no longer belongs to us, and it will never be our home again. Such craziness! Our life is so crazy right now, but I'm so content to just sit back and see where all this change is taking us.

So naturally I want to give everyone a little bit more background on our decision to move, because it wasn't as much of a random selection as it may seem. As you may know, after our wedding I made the tough choice not to return to my graduate school program. Since that point I had been searching for jobs with absolutely no positive response to speak of. It was very frustrating and discouraging, but Keith and I knew that eventually something bigger and better must be coming my way. We had very seriously talked about moving out of Philadelphia because we felt it was pretty void of job opportunities and we never felt like the city really "clicked" with us. After our trip to New York in October Keith and I chose 3 cities that we were interested in moving to, which were Boston, New York, and Nashville. I had a possible job connection in each of these cities so when we got home I sent out messages to 3 people and only got a response from one of them. Sign number one. It was our friend Jamie here in Nashville and she reached out to me with a whole list of after school programs in the area (something that I was really interested in pursuing) and with all kinds of helpful advice. I sent emails to the HR departments of all the places she suggested and heard back almost immediately from one of them. It seemed like such a miracle to even hear back from a potential employer after months of nothing and it felt even better to find out that they wanted to offer me a job on the spot. Obviously we couldn't just jump without a few more things falling in line, but we used that job offer as a motivator to pursue a potential move. Slowly but surely things started to come together, like Keith finding out he would be able to transfer his job with American Eagle, and our friends Tytus and Jamie offering to let us stay with them for a month or so until we got settled. The last of the puzzle pieces that needed to fit together was finding a new tenant to move into our apartment. We were pretty nervous about it because it decided whether or not we would be able to get our security deposit and last months rent back (which we needed to be able to move). We put up an add on craigslist and within a couple hours we had lined up around 15 people to come and view the place. It was SO COOL! We had about 4 people that were absolutely serious about moving in and while we were in Florida our landlord had chosen someone to move it. It was SUCH a blessing, and definitely made us feel like moving was something we were meant to do. Nashville is just a place that we have such a large community of friends which is something we were really looking for in the next place that we moved. The Northeast was not kind to us... like literally, the people there were kind of mean haha. Keith was born and raised in the south and has a huge list of reasons that he's excited to be back here (like being able to drink sweet tea where ever he wants haha). I'm still impressed that we haven't lived here for more than a day and everywhere I go someone holds the door for me and calls me ma'am.

Ok, so I haven't mentioned what I'm exactly going to be doing here in Nashville that was big enough for us to move a thousand miles for haha. I'm going to be working full time at an after school center here in town as a teacher. I'm going to have a group of 10 kids that I'll see every afternoon, and I'll be spending the beginning part of my day meeting with their teachers at school and their parents to get to know them and work to come up with the best plan for success. I'm excited to get to be part of a community, and to feel like I'm contributing positively to that community. This is also a great opportunity because the organization will begin paying the interest on my student loans as well as giving me a large educational credit that I plan on using to get my teaching certification. All good things! Wish us luck, because Keith and I both start our jobs on Monday morning! I'll surely keep everyone updated on how it goes :)

Here are some photos from our move:

Our boxed up Philly home

Empty

Our last night

My faithful driver

My passenger seat companion and road trip champion

14 hours on the road. Ugh.

Marty!

Headed home :)

Who knows where life will lead us from here, but after the very stressful experience of making this move Keith and I both agreed that we would like to stay here for at least the next 5 years. Moving is the worst of the worst, lowest on my list of things I don't enjoy, but we're happy to be here and happy that it's all over and behind us. Now we just need to search for a home, and settle ourselves here in the great state of Tennessee.

I love our life right now :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Live Music

After returning from Florida on Tuesday morning, Keith and I didn't stop until, well.... right this minute haha. Keith headed straight to work on Tuesday afternoon and I proceeded to pack our entire home. Wednesday I had my last day of work, ran a few errands and then drove downtown to pick up Robert and my brother Jake from the bus station. It's not often that I could convince people to visit us in Philadelphia... but a few months ago Jake called me wondering if we had any plans for November 10th. At the time we had no idea we were going to be moving this week, otherwise I might have answered differently haha but when he offered up a ticket to see Sufjan Stevens live, I knew we couldn't say no. My brother lives in New York City, and one of the ultimate issues there is that concerts sell out in a snap. When he couldn't buy a ticket for either of the New York shows, he decided to make the 2 hour trip to our place and I'm pretty excited that he did.

After I picked up Robert and Jake we headed over to Sketch for some amazing burgers (my last until we visit Philly :( boo) and then we hung out at our place with some beers. We eventually made our way downtown for the show and had another beer at a local bar before going into the theater. The concert was at the historic Academy of Music which was one of the most beautiful theaters I've ever been to. Definitely one to remember. The show itself was so amazing it's hard to even describe the experience... Sufjan was so fun and silly and the entire stage was full of life and made me smile so much. It has been WAY too long since Keith and I have seen any live music. Keith had an unfortunate scheduling issue at work and wasn't able to join us there until around 10pm, but he still got to see at least half of the set, and the encore. We definitely want to start going to see more concerts and shows now that we live in Music City!

Robert and Jake stayed the night with us in our half packed apartment and then on Thursday we slept in, watched the Price is Right, ate mega cheesesteaks and headed downtown so that they could head back home to New York. It was so great to have them in town, even though I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off since I was so stressed about our pending move haha

Here are a few photos from their time in town:

Robert = my arch enemy


It was very hard to get a good photo, but I did get some videos that I need to share soon!



My last chicken philly for awhile!

Florida Surprise

So obviously everyone knows by now that we went to Florida for a surprise visit last week. It was such a great vacation, and a little rest time before the craziness of our move began. It felt so great to be able to surprise our family and friends who were very appreciative of our visit.

So we arrived on Thursday afternoon, later than anticipated, and Janelle picked us up at the airport. The first person we planned on surprising was my aunt Kathleen so we headed to her house speedily and found ourselves some beers so we could hang out on her patio and wait for her to come home. We had her dog out back with us, so when she came in the house she was really weirded out the the dog hadn't greeted her. She finally saw Maycee sitting out back and got mad at my cousin Jack because she assumed he had left her out all day long haha but when she walked to open up the door she saw us sitting there waiting for her :) Her reaction was priceless and it was the beginning of an awesome night. After we got all our hellos and ohmygosh's out of the way we headed down to my parents house to surprise my mother. We had thought she would have been home by then, but when we pulled in the driveway she pulled in just after us so Kathleen yelled for us to get our heads down so mom wouldn't see. Kathleen went out and distracted her and then we casually got out of the car. Again, SO surprised and so excited. I'm really starting to enjoy surprising people haha. We all headed over to my dads restaurant to continue the surprise train and when he saw us come in he hardly had any words besides "what are you doing here?" with a terribly confused face. We enjoyed a great dinner together and laughed about the craziness of us just randomly showing up.

Friday Keith and I met Kathleen for lunch at Moes (our favorite) and then we went to Rocco's Tacos (our other favorite) that night to celebrate Kathleen's upcoming birthday (mmmm margaritas). Saturday we went to Jack's basketball game and then had wings and beers at Bru's Room for lunch. Sooooo good! I hardly ever eat chicken wings, and it's because I really only like wings from Bru's Room haha




Sunday while everyone was watching football, I headed down to Ft. Lauderdale to see Janelle's new apartment and to have some lunch with her. It was really really good :)



On Saturday and Sunday nights we were able to catch up with the few friends that we have remaining in Florida and got a chance to go to our favorite local pub. I love our Florida friends. Such genuine people, it doesn't happen very often that you can find a group of such awesome people.

As you can probably tell, I didn't take too many pictures while we were in town haha. I was a lot more focused on just relaxing and being intentional about spending quality time with family and friends. To finish up our trip, Monday Keith and I went on an eating marathon haha. We had a delicious breakfast with friends Erick and Catie, had lunch at my dad's restaurant, and then went to dinner at our favorite mexican restaurant with my parents. We felt like such piggies when we went to sleep that night haha. Unfortunately we had to wake up at 4:30 Tuesday morning to get back to Philly.... but that's another story haha Good times, great people... I love Florida :)

GUESS WHAT!

I've been waiting to tell everyone this for QUITE SOME TIME. I'm the worst at keeping secrets, but Keith made me promise with this one.

We have some very very awesome news to share with you guys, something that you'll hardly believe because I've been so good at secret keeping :)

WE MOVED TO NASHVILLE!!! Yeah, like packed up all our things in a U-Haul and moved 800 miles to the south without telling anyone except our families and some close friends back in Philadelphia. I know... it still hasn't really hit me yet haha. We're on a really exciting new adventure and I'm so glad that we can talk about with everyone now.

I got offered a job about a month ago in Nashville, and after thinking and talking it over, Keith and I decided we just needed to take a leap of faith and go for it. He transfered his American Eagle job for the time being and we're staying with our friends Tytus and Jamie so we have a little time to look for a place. CRAZY CRAZY CRAZINESS!!

All of this happened in just a couple weeks! I found out about the job, confirmed it with them within a week, and we both gave our two weeks notice right after. We silently packed up all our things and found a new tenant for our apartment. Then on Thursday the 11th we packed all our things into a U-Haul, said goodbye to our friends here and got on the road in the AM. This was one of the craziest weeks of our lives ! Keith and I are both more tired than we've ever been before, but it was all worth it. It was SO hard not to let this one slip, but the looks on our Nashville friends' faces when we walked in the door was priceless.

Can't wait to share pictures from our roadtrip, and keep everyone updated on our new life adventure in the South! We couldn't be more excited to be a little bit closer to family and friends and to be in a place with lots of opportunities for both of us. (I'm also happy for a much milder winter haha). I promise that we don't have any other major secrets coming up haha


Dear Philly: We're going to miss you so much! We're going to miss our best friends, our church, our favorite restaurants, and our adorable little apartment. Philly was our first home together, our first time truly on our own, making it work just Keith and I. This past year was a tough one with lots of ups and downs, but we learned SO much! and Philadelphia will always hold a special place in our hearts. We can't wait to come and visit again soon! Thanks so much for having us :)

Edit: Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments, and I would love to answer them for you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dinner of Champions


Yep, those are some good ole Pillsbury Grands biscuits. We woke up at 4:30 this morning to leave Florida and needless to say, it's been a long day haha. Keith headed straight to work, so I was left to fen for myself for dinner tonight. Our refridgerator is looking extremely bare so it was a toss up between biscuits or popcorn (which I may still have haha). We had an AWESOME time in Florida, it was a great vacation and a great little break. Not to mention... a pretty incredible surprise! I'll have a few pictures to post soon, but for now I'm preparing to host some visitors! My brother and our friend Robert are arriving tomorrow afternoon and the 4 of us will be going to see Sufjan Stevens downtown. SO EXCITED! I've never seen him live before, and I'm sure I won't be disappointed. (i've secretly been listening to his Christmas albums out of excitement hah) I may be taking a little blog break this week because we've got an incredible amount of things going on, but I promise to be back soon with LOTS of things to catch up on... you won't be disappointed!

Friday, November 5, 2010

BRB


Keith and I are in Florida until Tuesday, SURPRISE! We booked flights in early September because we knew we wanted to visit family since we can't come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. My wonderful husband just thought it would be fun not to tell anyone, and make it a big surprise. I'm TERRIBLE at keeping secrets because they just make me so excited and I can't tell you how many times I almost blew it! Seeing the look on my parents and my aunts faces when we popped up out of nowhere made it all worth it though. As a precaution not the blow the whole thing, we really told no one, SO! if you're reading this, and you're one of my friends who still lives in Florida, we should hang out!!! We have no plans other than to relax and enjoy some vacation :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The End of October

Here are some images that I've yet to share from the last week of October.

My little pumpkin that I carved. We never got around to carving the large ones... oops. 

This is a no good picture of me, but Dan got a great shot of my pretty lilies that make me smile every time I walk into our kitchen :)

Friday night hang outs with our best buds, eating pizza, drinking beer and watching Dateline haha

Here is a shot from our spooky haunted house at work on Saturday. These are my coworkers Carolyn and Steven in costume and prepared to scare little kids with history haha and NO Keith, I will not post the photo of me. 

And there is one from our little pumpkin patch we had set up for the kids to take with them after we scared the life out of them haha

This is the new billboard they put up in our neighborhood, Keith and I laughed so hard when we saw this last night. My fellow Food Network watching roommates all understand how much we hate Rachel Ray, her show is truly unwatchable. Like Roxanne said though, "at least it will keep the rats away".

Hooray for November, hooray for sunshine, hooray for heat in our apartment and hooray for getting things done! I'm on a roll this week, and it's only Tuesday.