Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Family

We haven't been all together outside of weddings lately.

It was nice just to enjoy one another without an agenda or big event (we even snuck in a game of Trivial Pursuit).

I miss them already.

So much about our family changed in 2010...I'm looking forward to all that 2011 has in store.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gift Recap

Here are some of my favorites gifts that were both given and received in my family this year:

I bought these stockings a long time ago and kept them a secret all the way until Christmas. Our family has never had such "fancy" stockings! I love the way they look all together on my mantle at home.

An assortment of fun gifts, but mostly I love the Harry Potter blu-ray set and the Scrabble flash game from Matt.

The new flat screen TV we surprised my parents with...definitely one of my favorite things this Christmas! They had no idea!

These sippy straw glasses that I gave to my brother-in-law. I still can't believe I didn't buy a pair to keep!

These moustache glasses Matt and I bought in New Orleans last week (more on that later).

And last, but certainly not least, the Kinect!! I can't wait to buy the new Michael Jackson dance game that will show its face in 2011.

So there you have it, a brief run down of all the fun and festivities in our home this Christmas!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We had a very Merry (and white) Christmas!
We hope that you did too!

Monday, December 13, 2010

1 Year

It's officially been a year. How is that even possible?
So thankful for the past year and looking forward to many more to come!

We are headed out to celebrate at the end of this week. Can't wait to take a vacation together again. It's no Japan but we seem to be pretty good at finding adventure whenever we travel together. Love you boo!

Happy A-Day

Happy anniversary to one of the most creative, beautiful, thoughtful people in the world, Katie Gilbert. I love you so much, and can't wait to spend each day with you. I love you because of the way you say "hey!" when you come in the door, your face when you are waking up, and the way you spend around 4 minutes on average at the grocery store picking out flavored yogurt.

Thanks to all friends and family which continue to think about us, and care for us. Can't believe it was a year since we were all together in Atlanta.

To my wife: I love you. Also, does a blog post count as a 1st anniversary paper gift? Technically?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

SEC Championship

It's true. Last Saturday Matt and I drove to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game between Auburn and South Carolina. I typically try to stay out of the Auburn/Alabama football debate that is ever-present here in the state of Alabama but for just one day, I chose a side. I cheered for Auburn. And it's a good thing I did because they played a great game and beat South Carolina by a long shot.

Although we were a long way up (see below) at the Georgia Dome, we enjoyed a good game and an Auburn victory!

Glendale, AZ here we come....I think I'll cheer for Auburn once again!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This Christmas I am experiencing a heightened sense of anticipation. Although some of it is surely due to the fact that Matt and I basically missed much of Advent last year because of our wedding and honeymoon, I am keenly aware that there are a number of other reasons that I am clinging to this word.

You see, it's been since JULY that I have seen my family (well I guess I got a sneak peek when Mary Beth came in for Samford's homecoming, but that was only 1 night). This is the longest that we have ever gone without seeing one another, without hugging, laughing, or looking one another in the eyes (well there is Skype....). I am experiencing anticipation in a new way, a way that is different than the childhood anticipation of Santa and gifts. It is anticipation of the celebration of life, of health, of a loving family, and faith.

The book we are studying this Advent (Simply Wait) season defines holy anticipation as "that breathtaking space in between what has been, what is, and what is to come." I feel like I am living grounded in just such holy anticipation. May you too feel a bit of this breathtaking space.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Home Improvement

A couple of weekends ago, Matt decided to tackle one of the projects that we have been itching to do in the kitchen. Above the stove was a perfect nook for an over-the-range microwave, however, the space has stood empty since we moved in. Instead our microwave has been taking up valuable space on the kitchen counters.

We called our friends Jeff & Ryan to come and give us a hand as we worked to secure the microwave above the stove. Here is our work in progress...

And here is our final product (although we did have to call an electrician to come and get the wiring working the next day so that we could have power):

It is amazing how much more counter space we have now! And it looks great too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Because Today is the Day

Well really tomorrow is the day but today at midnight the new Harry Potter 7 Part I comes out! Hooray! When my sister came in town for Samford homecoming a few weekends ago, we headed over to Dreamcakes for a little treat....and look at what we found:

It's a Sorting Hat Cupcake which means under all that chocolate ganache at the top is a secret icing flavor used to indicate which house you are in. We couldn't leave the store without buying one of these magical cupcakes. So we took it home and with great anticipation sliced it down the middle.

Strawberry icing=Hufflepuff
Really I wanted Gryffindor but life is not fair like that! Happy Harry Potter Day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Garden: Still Hanging On

Our garden is still clinging to life as the fall begins to make a real appearance in Alabama. The Better Boy tomatoes (pictured below) have started blooming out of control.

I doubt they'll last much longer but look at all those tomatoes! The Roma tomatoes have put up a fight as well. And they. are. huge. Just look at the size of that thing:

I wish our little garden could last forever but I know that's just not how it works. Plus I can't commit to watering it nearly as much as I did in the summer because it is just way too cold for that. We did, however, decide to take on at least 1 winter plant. See here:

This is our 1 kale plant. So far, so good. I'm hoping I can keep that sucker alive and fix up some tasty salads or greens or something!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I have been wanting a hammock in our backyard for a long time. I think it would be the perfect oasis in which to nap, read, rest, drink a cool beverage, you name it (although, it is currently a bit too cold for any of those activities). When we went to SIFAT last weekend we finally had the opportunity to buy an affordable hammock that also benefited the local community in Ecuador where the hammock was sewn.

We brought it home and Matt went to work to hang it between two of our trees in the yard.

I am thankful that he is so handy & got the hammock up in about thirty minutes!

Once it was up (and we made sure it was secure) Maggie and I hopped right in to enjoy the new addition to our little oasis in the backyard.

I can't wait for the weather to warm up (I know...already...I'm not much of a winter person) so that I can lay in the hammock for hours on end!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Last weekend, Matt and I travelled to middle of nowhere Alabama for a speaking engagement he had at SIFAT, Servants In Faith and Technology. In my short time in Bham I've heard a lot about this organization so it was great to finally be able to make a visit.

The scenery was made for a great escape from the busy-ness of city life. And although it was a little chilly, the night sky was so clear and beautiful.

I spent a good part of the weekend in this hammock reading Leaving Birmingham, a memoir of sorts by Paul Hemphill. So far, so good.

We also spent some time walking out on the grounds of SIFAT. They have a wonderful space called the Global Village where different groups can come out and stay in mock ups of homes from the 2/3rds world. We explored the greenhouse & live animals (sorry, the llama was too far away for a good photo).

In addition to offering a space to learn for local folks, SIFAT hosts international groups to help teach them new technologies for accessing water & skills like leadership development. (you can read more here) I am certain Matt and I will be making a trip back to SIFAT before too long.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We are all Halloween-ed out in our household. Sunday Oct. 24 was the carnival at my church and Wed. Oct. 27 was the carnival at Matt's church. (it was totally worth it to see all the cute kids in costume!) Plus we went to a showing of Scream in our new downtown Railroad Park AND handed out candy at our own house Sunday night. Whew.

Anyway, for the carnival at Woodlawn we did a trunk-or-treat type set up with some games to boot. Matt was insistent that we go with a Star Wars theme....after a few weeks of fighting back, I gave in (knowing I had a costume at home that would be free!).

The backdrop for the car took us nearly an entire evening (a very stormy one I might add) to create, but below is our finished product (without the lights on). I think it turned out well.

Once we got to the church we stuck on some little Star Wars cut outs and had kids throw a ball at them to get some candy (and some awesome Star Wars prizes we found on our hunt for decor). See here:

All in all, I'd say we pulled of Star Wars pretty well. I hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween as well!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fancy Gadget

So...along with four new tires from Sam's we bought this beauty:

Matt's reasoning for this purchase went something like this, "if we have to buy all that stupid adult stuff, like tires, we should also buy something fun with our new membership." I protested for a bit, but then gave in upon thinking about all of the delicious drinks we could make....and the morning coffee mess it would eliminate.

While all is good and fine now (and this pictures demonstrates it's ability to even make an iced coffee!!), that was not the story from the beginning. This is actually our 2nd machine because the first one we brought home had some sort of glitch. It was weird. And sad after having purchased four new tires (losing a hubcap) and having a messed up new toy. But Keurig set it all right and now this beauty is our new best friend! Stop in for a cup of coffee next time your here!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back to Saturday

So...back to the weekend. I had planned on a lovely Saturday of planting flowers in the semi-fall air and relaxing on the couch....that was until my tire pressure light went off. As I got out of the car (talking to my dad nonetheless), I could hear the air seeping out of the tire. I knew it was all over at that point, so I hung up with my dad, and ran in to get Matt to see if we could salvage any part of the tire. No such luck. We took the old tire off and replaced it with the spare (bonus: I can now change my own spare tire if needed!).

I forgot to snap a picture of the busted up tire (probably because I was so distraught) but it had the biggest piece of metal lodged into it that I have ever seen. In fact the guy at the tire shop laughed at me when I asked if it could be patched. Approximately 3 weeks prior to this incident I was informed that my front two tires needed replacing. If I had to change out 1 now (b/c it was a back tire, of course I couldn't ruin a front one that already needed replacing...) I might as well do the front 2 tires. And, well, we all know that you can't just change 3 tires on a car.

So away we went to join Sam's and get a deal on tires (bonus: we are now members of Sam's and can stock up on all sorts of ridiculous things that we may or may not need). And somewhere in the mess of getting new tires and getting the car home, we lost a hubcap. Luckily, my husband is the best ever and found one at our local hubcap shop. I sure am glad this saga is now over & I am here to warn you to be careful when driving the streets of Bham.

And oh yes, dear blog, Happy 100th post!! It took me a while but we've finally made it. Now we're playing with the big dogs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Flowers

As it turns out, this was an eventful weekend (more on that later). But while you await my stories of fancy and woe, I'll share with you the fall flowers that I planted (just before sunset) Saturday evening.

I knew I wanted mums for the antique pot that sits on our porch. Previously, it was filled with dead pansies (oops...).

I bought some in this orangey-yellow variety (a manufactured variety according to some kind gentleman at Home Depot who shared with us some watering tips), not your typical bright yellow but lovely nonetheless. I like them.

After the mums were in, I planted a few pansies across the already landscaped area in our front yard. The old owner told me she always left the front few feet to plant whatever was in season and whatever she was currently loving. I didn't take advantage of this space of the spring/summer so I decided to give it a shot this fall. Here are our new pansies (mom, aren't you proud?):

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things I am Currently Loving...

Watching a little Texas Rangers baseball.....growing up in Texas, I've loved the Rangers for a long time. I will admit that my love waned a bit after moving away, but I have recently come back around to watching these guys give it to the Yankees (except, not tonight).

Spotting little rainbows from my car window (don't report me for snapping this quick pic on my iphone...which by the way doesn't even do justice to the vibrancy of the rainbow I saw)

The way that the light catches the stained glass windows in our church chapel after the day's services are complete.

My new steal of a deal boots that I finally found for this winter.

And last but not least my tweeting dog and husband!


Look! The trees are finally starting to change and drop their beautiful colors all over the neighborhood. I think this means the seasons are finally changing. (let's just ignore the fact that it has remained in the 80s for most of this past week)

Hope you too are enjoying the beauty of a change in season.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flip Burger

Last weekend Matt and I headed out for our once a week meal out on the town. (yes, we are too poor to eat out more than once a week these days...well that's if we ever want to save any money i suppose) Anyway, we decided to head over to Flip Burger at The Summit (a "burger boutique" if you will). We've eaten there before (which we realized was over a year ago....what????) so we both already knew what we wanted to eat. But this time we took a new adventure and ordered some drinks (why not splurge every now and again, yeah?).

In addition to my tasty faux-lafel burger, I ordered the pomegranate sangria (I love a good sangria...but nothing compares to the many I gulped down in Madrid). Because this restaurant is owned by former Top Chef runner-up Richard Blais they like to use liquid nitrogen and all that fancy sort of stuff, so my drink was smokey when they set it in front of me (are you jealous yet?). I was worried that I wouldn't like the pomegranate flavor but boy was I wrong. It was definitely worth the splurge and the meal was delicious!

The Dog

A couple of weekends ago we had a sick pup. She looked like this for a good 24 hours until all of her energy came back. I don't know how you people with children do it. I stayed up all night worried about my little pup and hoping she would feel better soon.

Luckily, she was feeling better the next morning and acting more like her crazy self. I love that dog sooooooo much.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Harvest Feast

Last Thursday evening (I know, I'm so behind this week), Matt and I received last minute tickets to the Harvest Feast, a fundraiser for a local non-profit that supports one of our favorite farmer's markets (East Lake) as well as an after school program and several other empowering ministries. Basically it was a time to gather in community and enjoy a meal cooked from fresh vegetables grown and harvested by local farmers (who were also present at the meal I might add).

The event was held out at Ruffner Mountain and as you can see from these pictures the view and weather were just perfect. It was a beautiful place to dine outdoors.

I didn't take any pictures of the actual food (sorry Jillian) but it was incredible. We began with appetizers of tomato tarts, fresh jams, jellies, and salsas, and some sort of zucchini quiche. The actual meal consisted of two different types of salad--one with zucchini and apples and another with fresh spinach and butternut squash. In addition, there were sweet potatoes au gratin, squash casserole, greens, & home made bread (with the most delicious butter spread made up of fresh blackberry jam & basil...yum). We topped off the evening with zucchini chocolate cake. It was an unbelievably delicious (and veggie friendly) meal.

We are so thankful for all of the hard work going on at East Lake and loved being a part of the celebration of their ministries!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

Last week I decided that I wanted some combo Pumpkin and Cream Cheese muffins. After looking up a few different recipes, I decided on this one from Country Living. At first glance, they seemed simpler (and perhaps tastier) than other recipes I'd seen.

I altered the recipe a bit...mainly by omitting the pecans, I don't like all that crunch in my muffins, and using whole wheat flour, adding some oats, flax seed, and a touch of nutmeg. They turned out extra tasty and I love the sugary goodness baked on top.

Here is a finished muffin cut in half so that you can see the cream cheese inside! :) My only warnings are that 1) this recipe takes a long time to mix, pour, & bake...make sure you have a good hour or so 2) you should definitely put the full amount of cream cheese mixture on the inside, I skimped and it didn't seem like enough once they baked 3) don't put too much of the pumpkin mixture at the bottom of the muffin cup or you won't have enough to cover all of the tops! (and if not, they still work out well all mixed together)

All in all, I think I will be making these muffins again this fall!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday Night

(a picture that Matt mockingly took for me as I tried to snap something on my iPhone so that you-my fine blog readers-could see an image...sorry sometimes things just don't work out)

Matt and I headed out to Bottletree to see David Bazan play with his full band Tuesday evening. (yes, we have already seen him play an acoustic show earlier this what) Bazan was one of our first dates early on in our relationship in the ATL. So he holds a very special place in our life & his music takes me back to our first few months together. Crazy how music can do that.

More important than the great tunes (which by the way, a group called The Mynabirds opened for Bazan & they were awesome...kind of reminded me of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. You should click that link and give a listen) but back to what I was saying-what is more important than the great tunes is the fact that Bazan didn't even go on stage until 10:15 or so and WE STAYED AWAKE FOR THE WHOLE SHOW! It's a miracle because we are normally in bed by then...but these days we are living the crazy life. (is that sad? or just true when you become a "real adult"?)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's Fall

And I bought myself a pair of these from Gap:

They are skinny corduroys-in navy blue. I can't wait to wear them.

Oh, yeah, and this from Old Navy:
It's a poncho. Except I bought it in more of a beige color.

I know it won't last for long (since I hate the cold) but for now, I'm excited about the switch to a warmer wardrobe. (but instead of just buying new items, I really need to do a closet switcharoo....but I've been too lazy)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sidewalk Film Festival

Last weekend, Matt and I headed into downtown Birmingham to enjoy the delights that the Sidewalk Film Festival brings to town.

Our first film of the day was a documentary about/created by Banksy...a graffiti artist that I love, particularly after seeing some of his originals on the Palestinian walls. The film was titled Exit Through the Gift Shop and proved to be both informative and entertaining. Although Matt and I are skeptical that the film's main character, a certain Mr. Brainwash, isn't just a set up by Banksy. (Matt is more convinced than I am)

The second movie we caught was Monica & David. It tells the story of two adults with downs syndrome who fall in love and get married. It shares their joys and challenges. And it will be showing on HBO October 14. It comes with high recommendation.

Our last film for the day was Beijing Taxi. This was probably my favorite of the day as it took you to another continent to experience life in a different culture. It looks at a number of different taxi drivers and explores why they have taken up this profession (or why they feel they have to take up this profession).

All in all, it was a great day of film-watching and a great celebration of something positive happening in downtown Birmingham. We will definitely be headed back in the years to come.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A New Park!

(it has a great view of the Bham skyline, I didn't even know we had one of those really...)

The weekend that I was in Nashville, Birmingham had something very exciting happen for the city. We opened a new park downtown!

Railroad Park is now open for our enjoyment. And the best news? It's only a few blocks down from the church where I work.

We headed out for a visit last Thursday evening when the Birmingham Business Alliance announced their new plans (aka Blueprint Birmingham) to help change our city into something to be envied by all. The park was full of all sorts of people, energy, excitement, & great food!

(you can see the trains that run alongside the park...even more peaceful at sunset)

Today, I am going to check out the running path from my office down through the park and back. With the gorgeous weather we are having & the great scenery, it should be a lovely run!