Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Garden #4

We finally had some time to get our garden planted. I cannot even believe that this is our 4th garden in this house! How can that be possible? 

This year we have several different kinds of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and okra (the strawberry plant is still holding strong from year 2-we should have some baby ones any day now). I am giving the squash and zucchini one last go in large pots that you can't see to the right of the garden. I am also attempting what I call "mound" gardening--it's how they do it in all of the big time farms so we'll see if it makes any difference. 

You should also take note that Matt finally got our rain barrels (that have been sitting in the backyard since we moved in) in working order. We are excited to use them over the summer! 

We also planted some native plant species a few weeks ago from the Birmingham Botanic Gardens plant sale. They are all already thriving! 

And not to be forgotten is the awesome bottle tree that I've been waiting to put out since receiving it at Christmas from Mom and Dad. I LOVE IT!! 

While we worked, Mags soaked up the sun! 

So, here's to garden #4 and all of the tasty produce on it's way!! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

A few weeks ago the weather was finally nice enough to get to work in the backyard! We started on the garden side as it needed the most amount of work. After a day of spraying for weeds and pulling weeds, we laid down a new layer of cedar bark. It looks 10x's better now! 

We also decided it was time for the sandbox to go. This is a project we've been wanting to do for quite some time but have been putting off. So we unhinged the top, ditched the sand, and filled the box with a weed barrier and fresh soil. Now I have the perfect spot for a flower garden! More to come on the garden soon! 

We are so looking forward to more warm weather to continue enjoying our beautiful backyard. We are also looking for the perfect spot for the bottle tree mom and dad gave us for Christmas. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ready for Spring...

Abita Strawberry....

And Baseball....

Spring can't come fast enough!! 

Changing Things Up

Like I said in the last post, we gained a new table for the house from the Fundraiser last week. 

We spent the weekend clearing out the table we had in our entry way before and making space for this new beauty to take over. I love it! (And if you love it too, I encourage you to visit my friends out at Alabama Furniture Market--they have lots of great pieces like this one!)

The table also features another purchase from the Fundraiser--a You Are Beautiful print! We are loving a little change in our living room. 


Last week Church of the Reconciler held a fundraiser at Good People Brewing Company here in Birmingham. Despite the moans and groans from many over a CHURCH holding a fundraiser at a BREWERY, it was a huge success! 

The event raised over $5,000 for the homeless in Birmingham and was just an all around fun event! There were some great silent auction items (one of which is now sitting in our living room care of my mother-in-law!), there was delicious food from Shindigs Food Truck (one of Matt and I's favorite food trucks in the Ham), great company, and, of course, great beer. In addition, the news gave the event some excellent coverage, so it was a great way to share the ministry of Reconciler with the people of Birmingham. Click here to watch one of the stories.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lent 2013

I know I am late in posting but with Matt being in the hospital and what not we have been a little bit slow to beginning our Lenten practice for this year. 

We had already been planning on keeping it simple this year, but now it's more true than ever. Our themes for this Lent are "No Excess" and "More Time Together." We created a whole long list of what that means for us but I won't bore you with the whole thing. 
Here are our main goals for the next few weeks: 

1. Eat at least 2 meals together at the table each week.
(Confession: We have a bad habit of sitting only in front of the TV to eat dinner--Netflix doesn't help.)

2. Bring back 1 night a week where we keep the TV off and pick up a book.

3. Try only to buy what we will eat for the coming week or two at the grocery store. 
(I have a bad habit of picking up good deals or buying something that sounds good for no other reason than to have it on hand for when we need it)

4. Try to cut back on eating out and ordering drinks while out. 
(This one has been made easier seeing as Matt is on a low-fat, no alcohol diet for now)

5. Shopping only for what we need and not just buying out of excess. 

Things have been busy (and stressful) as we've kicked off 2013 so we are hoping to use these weeks to slow down, take a step back, and breathe deeply. We are hoping to find ways to share life together here and now because life is too short to do anything else. May your Lent be blessed with these simple treasures as well! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Love definitely takes on new meaning when spent in a hospital room. 
It's a scary thing to watch someone you love in so much pain. I don't wish it upon anyone. 

Coming back and forth to an empty house has reminded me of all the little things I love about having a partner in life:

I love Matt being home when I walk in the door. 
I love that Matt makes dinner and has it ready to go at 7:00pm. 
I love that Matt is able to come home and let Maggie Mae out to play. 
I love that Matt turns on the outside lights so that I don't have to come home in the dark.
I love sitting on the couch and watching all of our favorite shows on the DVR. 
I love making grocery lists and planning for new meals to try. 
I love falling asleep to HGTV House Hunters every night.
I love having Fridays off together. 
I love talking about our days each night. 
I love planning our next adventure together. 
I love the way Maggie curls up between us on the couch (and shoves between us on the bed).

These are only a few of the things I love about Matt but they are magnified when he's not here. I am so thankful to have someone to love so deeply along the journey and can't wait to celebrate our love outside of the hospital!


It began Tuesday night. Matt was complaining of heartburn--which is not all that uncommon in our house. So we sent him to bed and were hoping it would eventually die down. Unfortunately at about 2am, the pain had actually increased. 

So we headed to the ER after a sleepless night for the both of us. Matt was in the worst pain I think I've ever seen him in--he couldn't lay still on the bed and the waves of nausea were constant. I didn't know what to do to help calm him down. They were finally able to find a pain killer strong enough to ease some of the pain. After some blood work and a CT scan, they diagnosed Matt with a pretty severe case of pancreatitis. They would need to admit him to stop the inflammation and try to discover the cause. 

There are only a few "common" causes of pancreatitis, none of which fit Matt's habits or lifestyle. So the cause for the flare up is still a bit of a mystery--but the doctor assures us that is not all that uncommon. They will be doing some follow up tests to keep an eye on things and see if we can come any closer to discovering what caused the inflammation. 

In order to let the pancreas rest, Matt wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything for a solid two days. Yesterday he was finally allowed some clear liquids and today its on to soft solids. Although we are thankful for the enforced rest and good care, we are very ready to have Matt back home.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day! 

Thanks for all of the kind words, love, and care. We are so thankful for each of you! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

We're Booked!

Plane tickets have been purchased and a hotel room booked.
Itinerary still to be determined....
(leave some suggestions if you've been)

We'll see you in a few months Auckland and Sydney! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013


It's a rare and lovely occasion when it snows in Alabama...

And today was one of those occasions! Despite the fact that everyone drives like a nut job (and the roads were a bit slippery to be fair), it was wonderful while it lasted. I couldn't even see the skyline for a while because the snow was coming down so quickly. 

Above is a glimpse of our backyard at the height of the snow fall. It even thunder snowed!  But alas, the snow won't last long....

because the sun has decided to show up for the first time in days here in Alabama. While the snow is beautiful, I am way more excited to see the sun! Here's to more sunshine in the weeks ahead.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Best Movies of 2012

What a great movie year.  Tough to compose a list, but here it is (for people who care about lists and Matt, which are few and far between).

Could have made the list: Dark Knight Rises, Flight, Skyfall, Compliance, Silver Linings Playbook.

10. Les Miserables- Wasn't great directing and was trying to win Best Picture too much, but good performances from Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway (might walk away with Oscar for her brief performance).

9. Argo- Good film. Good directing. Ending was contrived. Genuinely intriguing all around good film.

8. Beasts of the Southern Wild- A low budget movie that hit a homerun. Brought out some really good discussion around race, poverty, etc. and proves that nine-year-olds can act.

7. Life of Pi- Good job. Haven't read the book. Looks really good as well.  Ang Lee comes through as always.

6. Cloud Atlas- I know this didn't make many lists, but I was thoroughly impressed with this film.  I have read the book, which helps I think. Directed well, looks fantastic, good acting.  I thought they did really well adapting this to screen.  Should have gotten an Oscar nomination for something, at least visual effects.  Not sure why it was panned by critics so much.

5. Lincoln- Great screenplay, classic Spielberg.  Day Lewis is probably the best actor we will ever see in our lifetime.  Lincoln was made to win Best Picture and probably will.  Great ensemble of a cast.

4. Django Unchained- Great Tarantino film, reminds me of why I like him so much. The first half was better than the second half. Christoph Waltz should win Oscar (again). The ending was a little strung out, but overall, fantastic.

3. Moonrise Kingdom- Fantastic screenplay and classic Wes Anderson.  This should be no surprise to anyone who knows me. Wes Anderson could direct Star Wars and I would still love it.

1 & 1. The Master/Zero Dark Thirty- Cheating a bit I know, and they are two completely different films.  Both were absolutely fantastic.  The Master was a clinic in acting and filmmaking, and Paul Thomas Anderson can do no wrong in my book. Everything fit together: the soundtrack, cinematography, directing, acting.  It was all there.  Zero Dark Thirty surpasses most films this year in terms of suspense, even though we know the ending.  Jessica Chastain should be recognized for being a strong female character without a hint of objectivity in a world where female characters are often objectified.  Both films are some of the best I've seen since in a number of years.  Bigelow was robbed of a Best Director nomination, likely for political reasons (the movie does not condone torture, and I'm tired of the argument), and The Master was robbed of a Best Picture and Director nod.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


We've made it to another year! We rang in 2013 with some dear friends, cheese biscuits, cocktails, and a few fireworks here in the neighborhood. Since we drove to Texas over Christmas, we had plenty of time to dream about our plans for the new year. Here are a few of the exciting things in store:

1. Travel to Australia and New Zealand!!
2. Become better/more creative chefs
3. Eat more veggies
4. Double our savings 
5. Pay off debt 
6. Get my sister and bro-in-law graduated
7. Get mom and dad moved to VA
8. Clean up the backyard for our best garden yet and add in a flower garden for fun

We have had much to be thankful for in 2012 but are looking forward to all of the fun in store for 2013. Wishing you much joy and love as we all begin anew!