Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Birthday

I can't believe I couldn't manage to write this post last week, but... our favorite little car is officially ONE YEAR OLD! Can you even believe that one year ago Keith and I were newlyweds fresh off our honeymoon and car-less. Stressful? Eh, we've seen worse. Our first and only post wedding/vacation task was to find a car we wanted and buy it... and THAT is how Marty came to be. The first car we have ever bought and shared together that was only made possible due to the amazing blessing of wedding gifts. We have had some awesome adventures in Marty in the past year including trips to: Washington, DC, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Lexington, North Carolina and moving to NASHVILLE! Just this weekend we replaced his original Pennsylvania license plate for a Tennessee one which was a little bittersweet, but we will always remember his first home of Philadelphia and cherish how much easier this little car was to park on our street than our SUV haha. Now that we're in Nashville Marty hasn't had as much of an easy time, and unfortunately we've been rear ended twice in less than a year. Hopefully that won't be a trend moving forward in our car owning life, but Marty is tough and we're just so thankfully to have a reliable vehicle to call our own. Celebrating a car's birthday may seem a little odd to the average person, but when your only means of transportation breaks down a week before your wedding and you come back from your honeymoon with enough money to buy a car, you feel pretty lucky to have it and take any chance you can get to celebrate haha.

A photo from the week we bough Marty.

So where will you take us next little car? I cannot wait for more road trip adventures with my family, and it's our hope that Marty will be part of that family for many more years to come. So hey Nashville drivers! Quit running into us!

For some more photos and stories about Marty click here and here.

Road-trip Experts

I'm sure that most of my friends can attest to this, but I've never claimed to be a great road-tripper. This made me super nervous to make an 11 hour drive through the night but thankfully I have an amazingly patient husband who puts up with my teeny tiny bladder and my grumbly tummy... oh and my strong dislike of driving. Keith was an absolute champion and drove us the WHOLE 11 hours there and back with no talk of needing to switch. I was pretty darn thankful for the sleep he let me have and that I was able to relax on the drive. He's the best. I stayed awake with him for most of the trip and we got to have some great chats, listen to music and do our best to cut through the boredom. I wouldn't have wanted to be with anyone else though. Here are a couple shots from the car and pictures of us at the weirdest place in the world: South of the Border. It was even creepier and more deserted than I remembered. I would say it's worth it to stop and see it in all it's bizarre glory, but don't hang around too long. It's terrifying haha

North Carolina Vacation: Part 2

Unless you were living under a rock this past week you heard a thing or two about Hurricane Irene which made a pretty big mess of the east coast this weekend. As I already mentioned, Keith and I made the ironic choice of weekends to visit the beach in North Carolina and drove ourselves right into it. Whoops. It definitely wasn't the worst hurricane I've ever seen, and I'm sure that I'll see more in my days but this one was the first to stand in the way of something I really wanted (usually we were secretly excited about hurricanes because it meant no school!). Thankfully after we were evacuated from Bald Head we had a place to go to piece together the rest of our vacation (minus the beach, boo) and ride out the storm in safety. We were vacationing with my parents great friends Nick and Kathy who just happened to have purchased a home to retire in outside of Wilmington North Carolina, so on Friday morning when we left the island we made the 20 min drive up there. Nick and Kathy bought this house only weeks ago and haven't gotten to furnish it yet, but we set up some camp chairs, blew up air mattresses and watched the wind pick up in the woods behind their house. We spent Friday and Saturday reading and relaxing on their porch, napping, watching the storm and having some great dinners in downtown Wilmington... oh and a few bottles of wine and gambling games. The storm mostly came through Saturday night, and it sounded a bit rough but thankfully the only damage we saw was a bunch of down tree branches and lots of scattered leaves. News about damage on Bald Head Island was not so great though, and I think we're all pretty thankful that we didn't stay and try to tough it out.
Eeek. (photo compliments of my father)

Just hanging in Leland, NC.

Being pelted with wind and rain.

View of the woods from the porch.

Despite the strong weather we were safe on the porch for the night watching the storm from our phones.

Playing shut the box for cash.

Keith out in the yard feeling the wind blow... please note that his shirt is not even moving. What a daredevil. 

Saturday evening after the storm passed, we took a walk on the boardwalk in downtown Wilmington and admired how high the Cape Fear river was.

Group: Dad, Mom, Keith, Nick, Kathy.

Clearly I was standing on something, I promise I'm not that much taller than Keith haha


The wind blown look. 

The worst of the hurricane damage we saw in the city.

AMAZING cheese sampling.

Wine, cheese and other yumminess at dinner Saturday night. 

My adorable mother after dinner with her adult sippy cup and cookie. 

Saying goodbye to the Levintow's and their house Sunday morning as we headed back west. 

Dad, Mom, Kathy, Nick. 
Until we meet again North Carolina.... hopefully that will not include a major storm system :) All in all we still had a great time being away from work and our daily lives. It was awesome to get to spend time with my parents and friends and to not worry about money and meals and how many naps we were allowed to take in a day. I'm so thankful that the Levintow's had a house nearby so that we didn't have to pack up and immediately head back to Tennessee on Friday but it would have been truly perfect if Irene had left us well alone, and let us have some fun in the sun. There will be other vacations, and there will be more chances to lay in the sand, so for now we just have to count this trip as another on our list of humorous adventures we can tell stories about years from now. Remember that time...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

North Carolina Vacation: Part 1

We are back from QUITE the vacation... we had plans for a 5 day weekend relaxing on the beach in North Carolina, but Hurricane Irene had a much different idea. We are still a bit bummed about our ironic choice of weekends to visit the east coast, but we still did our best to have a great time and managed to fit in a decent amount of relaxing.

Here is a little recap:
After a delirious drive through the night Tuesday, we arrived at Southport North Carolina at 5:30am Wednesday and prepared for the ferry ride over to Bald Head Island. The weather at this point was very perfect and we crossed our fingers that all this hurricane talk was just a bad dream :) We hopped right into vacation mode, despite being awake for more than 24 hours, but thankfully napping was allowed at the beach. Both Wednesday and Thursday were marked with afternoon trips to the beach, various forms of exercise, golf cart adventures, post beach beverages on the porch watching the sunset, large family dinners, and drinks on the top deck watching the stars. All I could tell Keith is that this was my absolute ideal vacation: no time restrictions, a beautiful house to stay in, good company, seclusion, beach, sun and fun. It was so dreamy. Here are some of my favorite photos from our two days on the island:

Sunrise Wednesday morning.

Ferry ride.

Beach Kan Jam.

Intense clouds over the dunes.

Beautiful beach.


The view of the marsh from our porch. Ridiculous!

Post beach margarita time :)

Margarita snatcher.

Mom and dad.

View of the historic old boat house through the trees.

Dad and Nick at sunset.

Dessert Wednesday night we had the last of our year old wedding cake.

Thursday beach time with smily dad haha

Hurricane was non existent. 

Beautiful canopy of trees on our mile drive or bike to the beach.

Old Baldy the light house.

After the beach Thursday Keith and I took a golf cart and a map and set out on an island tour to see everything. 

Incredible coastal views.

Boardwalk nature trail through the marsh.

View of our house from the boardwalk.

Parents :)

Pre-dinner relaxation.

View from above.

Keith and I cooked turkey and black bean burgers for everyone Thursday night.

Friday morning boat house view, slightly more ominous. 

Mom at the front of the house Friday morning just before evacuating.

Mom and Kathy.

Bringing our stuff to the ferry to evacuate :(

Wind and rain.

Some last shots in front of the light house before we got pelted with rain.

Running from the downpour.

Headed inland on the ferry.

We spent about 50 hours total on the island, but they were some darn good hours. We drank well, ate well and had two awesome beach/adventure days. It was a bit of a tease though and left me wanting about a week more. The only solution? We MUST go back... preferably not during hurricane season haha.

I have so much more to share about our vacation, so get ready for our next installment: Leland, NC trapped inside by a hurricane, a few great stories about Keith's vacation troubles and log of our many hours of travel. Stay tuned!