Thursday, June 30, 2011

four years

Today we have been married for four years. In previous years (2008, 2009, and 2010) I wrote lengthy, detailed narratives and meditations on marriage and our wedding. In an effort to not repeat myself...well, I'll just try not to repeat myself. :)

This fourth year of marriage has been challenging. I'm not going to lie: infertility can be brutal on a marriage. Luckily, I wouldn't say it's been brutal on ours. I just said that I can easily see how it could be. While this fourth year hasn't brought us any success in our most salient goal (having a kid, duh)...I guess you could say that all this time in the trenches has accomplished some deeper stuff. There's something to be said about going through prolonged pain and less-than-ideal circumstances. It shows you what you're made of. It shows you what your partner is made of. It gives you (us) a feeling of us against the world. A sense that we're in this together, no matter what. And I guess that in some ways, it makes you recognize your strength as a couple. Hey. Anyone can breeze through the "better", "in health, and "richer" portions of life and pat themselves on the back for a marriage well done. But this? This stuff sucks. And if we can make it through this-- and we still actually LIKE each other?? We can do anything.

This past year, I've gotten to experience new depths of Matt's steadfastness. His commitment, his thoughtfulness, and his love for me are unwavering. I am a constant roller coaster of emotions, and he is able to rise up to meet whatever side of me is currently greeting him at the door. He loves me when I'm happy. He loves me when I'm curled up in a fetal position in the closet, bawling my eyes out. He drives me to town to look at paint samples for the nursery and crib bedding on the days I'm feeling hopeful. He sits with me and holds me in random stairwells and stifling hot cars when I'm too overwhelmed and sad to be around people at whatever event I'm currently at. He prays that God will bring us our baby. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes he prays for her by name... and if we ever decide on a boy name, he'll pray for him by name, too. 
Did you know that for four years, he has made and packed my lunch almost every single (work) day? And we're not talking about slapping some peanut butter on bread. He caters my meals to my every passing whim (which are many), because I frequently change my mind about food and what kind I would like to eat. He wakes up with me every single morning to make my coffee and my lunch, even though he could easily sleep another hour and a half before he needed to get up. This isn't something I have to beg or blackmail him to do. He does this because he loves me. It's just who he is.

Sometimes it's easy for me to believe that God loves me. I see the example my dad set for me, both in how he loved me and in how he loves my mom. And I see how Matt lays down his own life for me every day. And I think that if mere humans can love me this well...then how much more does our God love us?
I like this picture above. It reminds me of our marriage. We cling to one another. And we cling to our Maker. And it's really, really beautiful.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WBW: rehearsal edition

Why hello, Wednesday. You seem to come so quickly and frequently these days.

Guess what??!! It's June 29th. ANNIVERSARY EVE, you could say. Which means that four years ago today, it was my wedding rehearsal day!! I bet you can't guess what the theme of Way Back When-sday is going to be, can ya? A tricky one I am.

I don't remember being super nervous on my rehearsal day. The rehearsal was in the morning, maybe 11ish? Prior to the rehearsal, we had a little bridesmaids' brunch thing.

This is the only group shot I have, although there's an extra (non-bridesmaid, non-mom) person and one bridesmaid (Amy, where are you?) is missing. (L-R: Elizabeth, me, my mom, my sister's friend Katie (non-bridesmaid), my sister Sarah, Kristina, Catherine, Laura).

After brunch, we headed to the rehearsal. Because the venue where my wedding and rehearsal was held is booked up all weekend long, the rehearsal had to be in the morning (there would be a wedding there that evening). Weird, but whatever.

The rehearsal went well, as I recall. I'm sure it was efficient: I had a very efficient wedding planner/director and also it was pretty much my wedding which made me the boss and I like things to run smoothly and not waste time. Thus, I'm pretty sure we ran a tight ship. I hate wedding rehearsals that drag on forever because no one knows what's going on. Pet peeve.

After the rehearsal the boys and girls split up. The ladies headed to grab lunch en route to mani/pedis.

As I recall, my dad kept bugging me with "funny" phone calls telling me such and such had gone awry/wasn't gonna happen/lame crap like that. NOT THE TIME FOR JOKES, DAD. He eventually caught on. This should explain the non-wedding-like expression on my face.

After this we moved on to the nail salon. And then I don't remember what happened after that. There couldn't have been too much time in between nails and when we needed to get ready for the dinner, which was at 7 or something. What I do know is that during all that time when we were getting lunch/nails, my groom-to-be and his groomsman Tom (future brother-in-law...who knew?? At that time he was just Matt's good friend!) spent THEIR afternoon painting our future master bedroom. It was a project we'd started and ran out of time for, but Matt and Tom really wanted it to be finished so that when we came home from our honeymoon, we wouldn't have to paint. When I came home from nails, I was SO touched by that. I'll never forget. They were up to their ears in ocean-blue paint.

Incidentally, this caused us to run late for our own dinner. Since it was due to such a good reason, I tried to not be completely stressed out about being late. While we waited for Matt to finish getting ready, my sister and I had time for a photo shoot (note: we always have time for a photo shoot).

Finally we made it to our dinner. The dinner was EXACTLY what I wanted. It was at the East-West Bistro in downtown Athens. We had a private room upstairs that overlooked North Campus. It was absolutely perfect and if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have changed a thing (I say this now with 4 other family rehearsal dinners under my belt. They all reaffirmed that mine was PERFECT FOR ME.). We enjoyed eating delicious food, mingling with family members who had all arrived from their various points on the globe, and watching a slideshow of ourselves. Since you know what a huge fan of pictures of myself as a child I am, you KNOW I loved that slideshow!

Here we are from afar. Matt's mom is looking on.

And I know I showed this picture last week, but seriously. How much do I love this picture??! The flowers! The smiles! It's perfection.

After the dinner, it was off to bed...we had an EARLY wake-up call the next morning. Extensions don't just sew themselves in, you know. My sister and I shared my bed and got absolutely no sleep. How could we?? I was about to get MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since tomorrow is our actual anniversary, it's safe to say that this tale is to be continued...

Friday, June 24, 2011

i guess i'm extreme

 Am I the only person who does this? It's my "day off," I have 50 million things to be doing (planning/prepping for a baby shower tomorrow, putting my house in some semblance of order, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, grocery shopping, sleeping...I could go on for days here) and yet all I am doing is drinking coffee, catching up on the blogosphere. I would almost feel lazy, except that I've had such a crazy week that I think I'm allowed this few minutes (okay, hour or two) of downtime. ESPECIALLY since I have this gem to share with yall.

So every once in awhile, the local newspaper shows up on our driveway. I think they're trying to 'tempt' us into subscribing. Now, this is not the Athens paper, which is the largest local semi-legit news source. We already get that. Nor is this the shopping circular that is just store ads and stuff that shows up once a week. This is a real newspaper (although I'm being generous to call it that, since it is apparently written and edited by third graders) for our county, aptly named the ______ County Journal. I guess sometimes they must print extras or something, because we'll get a Wednesday paper on a Thursday afternoon. I don't know why. But anyway, that's not the point.

The point is, we got one yesterday. Since we were about to drive out to the Gurley's house, I grabbed the paper to peruse during the drive (since I was the passenger, of course. I'm not one of those maniacs reading whilst driving...). And MAN am I glad I did. 

Normally I don't read political cartoons. Since I hate politics, it's only fitting. Plus I usually don't 'get' them, since I don't know what's going on in the political world. Luckily, there must not be much going on in the political world of my county. Because this cartoon spoke right to my heart. And then I laughed for 10 minutes. You might need to click this to view it larger. It will be worth your time. This made me crack up. I'm not beyond poking fun at myself. Although I would like to point out that I am a far cry from a Hoarder (like the folks featured on the TLC couponing show)...I can definitely identify with having Kung Fu Scissor Mastery, the Hulk-Like Arms for Heaving Coupon Libraries, and Track Star Legs (although I've always had those, not just since I started couponing. I guess this is just a convenient excuse). I still need to work on my Paper Cut Tolerance, as those get me down quite frequently.

So now that I've shared the funniest thing I saw all week, I must move on to more productive things. Like ironing a million tablecloths. And shopping for baby shower groceries. Better grab my Hulk-Arm-Requiring Coupon Library!!

PS. Just so you know, I just cracked my own self up further by labeling this "politics." Hey, I mentioned the word. It must count. I think this will bring my count of "political" posts up to like....2. Since I am STILL laughing at this thought, I guess in addition to qualifying as "extreme," you could also call me "easily amused."

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This is gonna have to be short and sweet because I'm Russian.

Get it?  Russian? Rushing? Okay, I thought it was hilarious.

Still. I figured you'd rather have a short-n-sweet versus yet another day of NO BLOG, am I right? That's what I thought.

Life has been as ridiculous and crazy as you might have guessed, what with a wedding and funeral and two sets of families to spend lots of time with and oh yeah, jobs, and everything else life normally entails.

The wedding was beautiful. Since my camera was having an off day (and since I was part of the bridal party), I have pretty much zero pictures. I stole this picture from someone's facebook: Jake and Emily, husband and wife.

And I did manage to get a picture of Matt and I at the reception. This is my highly-anticipated Barbie Dress Debut. Enjoy.

It is by far the shortest, tightest, pinkest thing I have ever donned. And I am now auctioning it to the highest bidder.

Right, so the wedding was great. We rushed back to Athens on Sunday morning to attend the funeral on Sunday afternoon. Since then, we've spent our time like this: (please imagine a pie chart) Working-45% of day; Hanging out with Family- 40% of day; Sleeping/Being at our own house-15% of day. So don't worry, later on we'll chat about how tired I am.

First, let's catch up on the TWO WEEKS of Way Back When-sday I missed out on. I know, it's unacceptable. I'm sure you can figure out how to forgive me, though. I think I have excused absences.

This first picture is one I featured in the slideshow I made for Jake & Emily's rehearsal dinner. This picture makes me smile so much:
It's one of my pet peeves when people refer to their male babies (ESPECIALLY in utero...) as their "little man." Don't know why, that's always just irked me to no end. Maybe it's because "your man" is supposed to be your husband or boyfriend...and I just don't think of babies as being "my man," little or not. Anyway. All that to say: in this picture, Jake is truly proving that at this point in his life, he was a Little Man. So cute. And I love how I'm laughing at him. And wearing a bow tie. ????

And on a completely unrelated note, here's one of the newly-discovered pictures from Matt and I's rehearsal dinner:

I like this picture because we are happy and we're eating. And I have cute hair, even though you can't really tell here.

Okay, so like I mentioned earlier: I. AM. EXHAUSTED. Like SERIOUSLY. How tired are you?, you ask. SO TIRED that I have joined the elite club (comprised mostly of men in their late 50s and older) of people who fall asleep IMMEDIATELY upon sitting down. Sitting on a couch? Asleep. Sitting at the dinner table? Asleep. Sitting in the car? Asleep, unless I'm driving, in which case I'm about 30% awake. How tired are you?, you ask. SO TIRED that for the last week, pretty much everyone who has seen me has commented you look so tired!..despite the fact that I still manage to get dressed, apply make-up, and all that every day. Awesome. How tired are you?, you ask. SO TIRED that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I actually took a pregnancy test the other day because I was convinced there was no other logical reason for how tired I am. It was negative, so obviously there is some other reason. I am going to diagnose myself with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and call it a year. Short term disability payments, please start coming my way immediately. Thanks.

OK. I think I've covered almost everything pertinent. Wedding. Way Back Wednesday. Funeral...well, didn't really go into that, but it was really beautiful. It has been such a blessing to have so much family time and I hate that it's for such a sad reason...but I still cherish this time. It's worth being tired for.

Unrelated notes: We have started cleaning out Tom's parents' house, which will have to eventually be sold. Last night I scored about 300 house plants, none of which I can identify, and all of which I will probably kill ('s just my track record). I would like to know if there is an app that identifies plants for you (like if I take a picture) and tells you how to care for them. If so, can someone with a smart phone please come over and help me with that. Thanks. I also got a sewing machine. Since I do not know how to sew, this should be a really special experience for whoever (Catherine) gets to teach me how. I think that this will take my Craftiness to the next level. What should my first project be? Lastly, I have not been to the gym in over a week. I just feel guilty and now that I have confessed, maybe I will feel less guilty. Thanks.

With that, I must go rush off to the next thing. No rest for the weary, I tell you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

sorrow and joy

It has been such a strange week/end. Wednesday was such a terrible day. The sadness and enormity of that situation continues to overwhelm me (if I have a minute to think about it). However, since Thursday afternoon, we've been somewhat removed from that whole situation, as we've been in Augusta preparing for and celebrating my brother's wedding. It feels like in alternate moments I can be filled with sorrow or joy, depending on who I'm with and what I'm currently thinking about. I feel like I have a split personality or something.

Their obituary is in the paper today. It's simple and beautiful. If I think about it or talk about it, I will start crying, so I'm going to stop. I can't mess up my wedding makeup. We will leave town tomorrow morning to head back to Athens to join our family for the funeral.

Yesterday, however, was filled with wedding and rehearsal dinner preparation. We had a bridesmaids' luncheon in the afternoon. After that, my sister and I made a quick shoe-shopping run (amazing how easy it is to make shoe-decisions the day before the wedding!) and got our nails done. And then paused for a photo shoot. We wanted to try to capture every wardrobe change of the weekend (excluding boring things like shorts and tees and pajamas, of course). Here's our "bridesmaid lunch" wear.

And here we are after the luncheon, with our almost-sister Emily! Please note that Sarah and I are not THAT minuscule (nor is Emily an Amazon woman). However, Emily is about 5'10 and she's wearing HIGH heels. Sarah is 5'4 and I'm 5'7 and we're both wearing flats. Hence the following picture...

We finished off the night with a rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics from that yet...a friend of ours was the photographer for the night, so I will get them from her shortly. It was a wonderful night and it was SO nice to see all of my family. We had a TON of people come in from Texas/Mexico/Tennessee and that means SO much to me (and Jake, I'm sure). I loved sitting with my aunts (who I hardly ever see, as you can imagine) and hearing all their ridiculous stories about us when we were little. I even heard a REALLY good one that is apparently a Top Family Secret that no one can know until they are at least 21 and then you are sworn to secrecy. I know. It would be the best Way Back When-sday story ever, but I'm pretty sure publishing it on my blog would disqualify me from learning future Family Secrets, so I probably won't. Unless I change some names (so this kid named....let's call him Lake....)...

I was up and getting my hair did at 5:45 this morning, and now I have awhile to sit around before I need to do makeup and head towards the venue. The wedding is at noon, and it's outdoors (in a pavilion) at the river. It's going to be beautiful.

Have a happy Saturday. Please continue to keep Tom and Amy in your prayers. I can't wait to see them tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

please pray

Hi, friends. No Way Back When-sday today as I had planned. Life intervened.

This morning, my brother-in-law Tom's parents were both killed in a car accident here in Athens. His parents were such wonderful people. They moved to America when Tom was 11. I have been so blessed to know them for the past few years (and experience amazing and authentic Chinese food). Tom is an only child, and he and Amy (Matt's sister) live in Vermont. They will be traveling home tomorrow.

Tom and Amy are our age, and I don't know about you, but I can't imagine having to go through this. My heart is so broken and grieved...I can't imagine how they are feeling. Please pray for them. Seriously.

Unfortunately, Matt and I won't get to see Tom and Amy for a few days. My brother's wedding is Saturday, in Augusta, and we will be leaving to head there tomorrow. A wedding and a funeral. I'm sure there's some sort of deep metaphor in that, but I'm too sad to think of it right now.

Thanks in advance for your prayers.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

something new

Hello and happy Sunday!!

We've had a wonderful (and BLAZING HOT) weekend. I spent Friday at the pool, which is just about the only place I can stand to be when it's this hot all the time. Yesterday Matt and I went kayaking down the Broad River. It was REALLY fun, and also a rather unexpected shoulder/back workout. I dunno...since I do work out pretty regularly...and I don't neglect working out my back and shoulders...I just didn't expect a couple hours of easy rowing to disable me to the extent it has! Oh well. After three hours on the river, we were able to stay on dry land for about 3 hours before calling it quits and going back to the pool. Dry land just isn't my thing during these hot summer months. And also, I don't know if it would be possible for me to continue living in Georgia if we didn't live 15 minutes away from Matt's parents and their pool. It is a LIFE saver. 

Then last night, while Matt was watching the most ridiculous movie in the world on TV (it was some movie that was spoofing Walk the Line....RIDICULOUS), I got curious and ended up doing some online tutorials and figured out how to add new sections to my blog!! I know, aren't you amazed?? I should be a full-time web designer or something (HAHAHAHA). So for the three of you that actually LOOK at my blog (instead of viewing it through your Reader/phone) will be happy (or not, depending on if you're a jerk or not) to notice I now have "About Me," "Contact Me," and "Our Infertility Journey" tabs on the right-hand side. You know, in case you needed to know more about me. Because I don't talk about myself enough. Exactly.

And because Google Analytics is awesome and all, I already know that a few folks DID investigate my new pages sometime last night/this morning, when they were still works in progress. If you're one of those people, you should check again. I changed some things and made them better. But bless you for being so on top of things in the first place! A plus. 

With that, I am off to do some lunch prep for the week. Matt and I have taken to making these rather elaborate lunches for ourselves (that we take to work), but they require doing a lot of "prep work" on Sunday afternoons. It's a lot of work, but on the plus side...I look forward to lunchtime EVERY SINGLE DAY. And also, co-workers gawk and stare, jealously. It's pretty great.

Friday, June 10, 2011

a laugh for your friday

it's friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which means NO WORK FOR ME (thank you, horrible, grueling 11.5-hour days Monday through Thursday (11.5 hrs includes my drive time. It's the amount of total time work absorbs.)) Which is why I got to sleep in until the late hour of 6:45, and why I'm wearing my bathing suit while I wait for the clock to strike 8:00, which is what I consider to be an acceptable time (on a weekday) to start mowing the lawn. 

In the meantime, thought I would share a little article brought to my attention yesterday by my friend Amanda J.  Although for me, there are way too few things about infertility that are laugh-worthy...leave it to the Onion to find a way to make SOMETHING funny.

Please enjoy the following article, copied-and-pasted from here:

Just When Couple Finally Stops Stressing about Having a Baby, They're Still Not Pregnant

HENDERSON, NV—After finally deciding to relax and not worry so much about having a baby, local couple Aaron Leonard and Shelley Akers announced Tuesday that at long last they remained no closer to conceiving a child. "After more than two years of trying to get pregnant, we decided not to put so much pressure on ourselves—and wouldn't you know it, still nothing happened," said Akers, 32, adding that you can never predict when God will choose to continue withholding His blessing. "I guess it's one of those situations where you're not expecting anything and then, totally out of the blue, you don't get it." Akers added that, for a while, she had actually begun to think her husband might be sterile, and that she was still very much leaning in that direction.

I hope you found that as amusing as I did. And I would also like you to know that on Wednesday, after I mentioned my frustration about the lack of rain here in Georgia lately (always), and I "prayed" that God would help us out...well, it started storming. Could be a crazy coincidence. Could be proof that God actually DOES read my blog. If so, God, may I suggest you please investigate the articles filed under the label "infertility" and act accordingly?? Thanks.

Anyway. A little while ago I posted my intent to mow the lawn early in the morning in my bathing suit as my Facebook status and since I'm currently up to 5 "likes" (in 30 minutes), I think that means my plans are socially acceptable and I'm off to carry through. And just in case you're not from 'round here, you should understand that a) it is already 77 degrees and sunny and it's not gonna get any cooler, b) mowing is good exercise, and c) being outside = getting tan. Since I'm in a wedding next weekend, I cannot risk getting funky tan lines that would detract from my the bride's beauty, which is why I need to get aforementioned sun in a strapless top...and my only strapless top (other than my bridesmaid dress, which is obviously a poor choice for mowing the grass) is my bathing suit. Also, I think it's just a good Southern thing to mom always mowed the lawn in her bikini. And my mom is awesome. So I will do the same (although I'm wearing shorts, because I'm not as skinny as my mom).

And thinking about growing up in the south reminded me of my brother's ex-girlfriend friend Jessica's latest posts, regarding growing up in the South. You should read all of them, but may I particularly recommend "Weapons of Mass Destruction," wherein she mentions MY FAMILY (my brother is the friend she's referring to in the section about keeping The Weapon in the car). Also, you should read the rest of her blog, too, because she's really funny and makes me feel like I wasn't the only kid who grew up with this surreal Southern suburban existence.

With that, I'm off to keep it klassy mow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It's Way Back When-sday! Yay!

There are three kinds of showers (that I know of).

There's the rain kind. AKA the kind Georgia HASN'T SEEN IN WHO KNOWS HOW LONG. (Note to God, who I'm positive reads this blog: Please send us rain. I am sick to death of spending the last hour of my every day watering my plants. One nice rain shower would give me a whole evening to do something better with. Thanks.)

Then there's the kind of shower that gets you nice and clean to start your day (or end your day, if you're me. Always have been a night-time shower-er.)

Then there's the baby-and-wedding-and-lingerie kind. In my life here lately, I see pretty much as many of THESE showers as I do the 2nd kind I mentioned. Almost. But since none of those showers are for ME, let's not dwell on them. Let's go way back and think about the showers that WERE for me: my bridal showers!!

Since it's June, and I am (was?) a June bride...I think it's only fair to take a little extra liberty this month and show lots of my favorite wedding-related pics. Today we'll look at a few shower pictures. And no worries, it won't be many, because I didn't have "many" showers (although it felt like plenty to me). I had 2 co-ed showers, a ladies-only shower, and a lingerie shower. It was great. I feel like some people have like...15 showers. Not me. It's cool though. I plan to make up for it when it's my turn for baby showers. ;)

Our first shower was co-ed and hosted by friends of ours. It was a cookout and it was Scrabble-themed, which was pretty fantastic. The tables were strewn with Scrabble tiles so that people could play impromptu games of speed Scrabble. I can't remember if I've shared our "proposal" story with yall...I just glanced through all my blog titles and nothing rings a if I haven't, then some of yall are probably in the dark about "why the Scrabble-ness"? So just let me know and I'll tell yall that story. Let's move on to my next shower, though, for now.

My next shower was hosted by two of the ladies I used to babysit for. It was ladies-only and a fun, classy, 'typically Southern' shower (the best kind). In the picture above you can see my one-and-only-in-life-so-far monogrammed cookies. They have a B on them!!! So cool!! Also, hydrangeas. See, it's not a passing obsession.

 Here I am with Catherine and Kristina, two of my best friends/roommates/bridesmaids. Love!

My last shower was the lingerie shower. It was goofy and lots of fun. Also, the A/C was broken that night. We decided to "make lemonade" on that hot June night...or frozen beverages, as the case may have been.
We also embraced a casual dress code, as you can see. And lots of chocolate-covered strawberries. Yum!

That's about it for my shower pics. I had one other shower, hosted by friends of Matt's parents, a few weeks after the wedding. It was super nice, but I only have a few pictures from it and I look bad in all of them, so I won't be showing them here. :) I had very few pictures from all my other showers...probably because I was busy being the guest of honor and not the photographer. Imagine that.

So there's our relatively short-and-sweet WBW. Now I must go eat some leftovers guessed it...water the yard. Gah! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Matt Interview

Your patience has paid off and the moment we've all been waiting for is here!! The people (that's you guys) have spoken, the questions are in and answered, and I've put it all together here for your reading pleasure. Here's an advanced "you're welcome."

Awhile back, my friend Amanda J. mentioned (in a private Facebook message that took me FOREVER to find. I had to go through a year's worth of blog comments and FB wall posts first...) that she felt like she didn't know that much about Matt. She suggested doing a little 'get to know Matt' blog, and since I'd seen other people do 'husband interviews,' I figured that'd be a good way to go.

You submitted the questions, and I did my best to maintain journalistic integrity (if there is such a thing) as the official Interviewer and Typer of Answers. I typed exactly what Matt said (unless he prefaced it with "this is off the record") and have refrained from interjecting my own commentary, which you know is hard for me to do. For your/our enjoyment, however, I did jot down a few "extra" comments he made, some of them multiple times, in reference to no question or many questions in particular. Hopefully these will help give you a better idea of what it's like being married to the Man of Few (but Funny) Words himself, Mr. Mattie B.

Please note: I am not putting these questions/answers in any particular order. I thought about trying to arrange them for maximum...I dunno...emotional impact? Chronological order? Screw it-- they're just all mixed up.

Random Matt Comment #1: You don’t have to write it exactly the way I say it. Can’t you make it make more sense?

Questions from my cousin Rachael:
What is one dream or aspiration that would make you feel life was incomplete if you did not accomplish it? (Sorry if that's worded awkwardly...) Marriage.

Also, how did you discover your calling in life?
Yeah…still trying to figure that out.

Amanda J. had three questions (which is good, since this was all her idea):
What are Matt's hobbies (outside of loving and adoring you)?
I like reading books. They need to be non-fiction, though. I’ve recently read In Defense of Food, The Ascent of Money, and Money Matters, all of which I’d recommend. I also try to tinker around the house, fixing [waves his hands in the air, thinking] lawnmowers…I recently fixed all our leaky faucets and showers…

 If he wants to share, I want to hear about his take on infertility... hardest part, etc. I would say the hardest thing is knowing that your [Erika’s] one dream and aspiration is to be a mother and I can’t do anything to fix it. Not only can I not help fix the problem, but my infertility issues are blocking her from being a mother. It breaks my heart. [Author’s note: at this point, we are both crying.]

If Matt could have any song play to announce his arrival every time he entered a room, what song would it be? It would probably be something from Miles Davis…maybe from his “Kind of Blue” album.

Random Matt Comment #2: I’m not a good blogger interviewer, baby. These are hard.

Allison wanted to know:
What is Matt's favorite t.v. show? My current favorites are Amazing Race, the Office, 30 Rock, Holmes on Holmes, and Holmes Inspection. But I’ve always been a fan of the A Team. Oh, and COPS. But it has to be like 1995, that kind of era…you know, mullets…quality characters like that. Quality characters.

Matt's sister, Amy (sorry, no blog), had a few questions along with her husband, Tom:
I would like to know: What was it like for matthew to grow up with the greatest sister in the world? It was pretty great. I wouldn’t change a thing. That is a crazy question.
Matt & Amy, 2001
Tom wants to know: What is Matt's favorite alcoholic beverage? Terrapin Golden Ale, but it needs to be on draft. It’s hard to find that in the restaurants I visit, so I usually have Yeungling. 

Also, Could Matt tell us his side of the story about when he shaved half his head and then went to the dentist like that? What other side is there? Where do I begin? To give you a history of my hair, in middle school my mom used to always just cut my bangs straight across. But I have a cowlick! On the front…I guess where my bangs are. This always made my bangs very slanty and uneven. It made me look like a dork. 

So in high school I decided I was just going to shave all my hair off and then let it grow really long and then I would shave it off again and then let it grow really long. So about the time I was about to go to the dentist, my hair was about …my hair was long enough that I could bite off the tips with my mouth.

Sometimes you just get in your head that you need to go do something and you need to go do it NOW. And it doesn’t matter if there’s a dentist appointment in five minutes. I thought I had enough time, but with only an electric beard trimmer, it took a little longer than I wanted to. After getting halfway done with cutting my hair, I knew I was going to be late to the dentist. But I don’t like being late to the dentist. So I said “screw it with the haircut, I’ll finish it later, I’ll wear a hat and I’m sure that the—uh—what are the people that work in a dentist office?—the hygienists will have a kick out of it.” When I got there they made me remove my hat. They did have a lot of laughs. But I didn’t really care.

Random Matt Comment #5: Wait, what’s YOUR thing your life wouldn’t be complete without?…..oh, I want that to be mine, too, so that we match. Can you change mine? 

Jenny wanted to find out:
What kind of kid were you in highschool? And I request pictures from the era as evidence please. You know, since homegirl LOVES scanning pictures. Obviously I looked like a dork. My perception is I was awkward. I played the part pretty well though. I didn’t get contacts until my senior year of high school and my glasses were really thick. I did play basketball and soccer in high school. I also mainly listened to Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. So basically, a dorky, hippie jock.  

Random Matt Comment #6: Aw, man…these long questions are HARD questions, baby. They’re all long questions!

Jessie and Adam had a few questions. You can probably figure out who asked what:
1) If you were in a band, would you play the cow bell? Only if I can play other things too, like an egg shaker.

2) How many ping pong balls can you juggle?
I would guess two?

3) If you had/have a pet squirrel, what would be/is his/her name and what tricks would/can it do?
Maxwell. Long distance runner.

4) What's it like being married to an amazing and famous blogger?
[Note from Erika: I do not consider myself an "amazing and famous blogger". This is something Jessie comes up with on her own.] It’s hard keeping her ego in check. But I get ideas from friends in forums.  

Random Matt Comment #7 : I don’t want to give them too much, you know? Don’t wanna give them too much information. Gotta whet their appetite! 


So there's our first-ever Matt Interview. Hope you enjoyed and feel like you got to know my man a little better. Sorry for the long delay in posting-- we've been having internet issues since Sunday, so this is a little later than I'd planned!

Now, play nice and show Matt some love with some comments. He went through a lot of stress trying to answer all those probing questions!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

really, really good.

Sometimes, life is just really, really good.

Like today.

I spent most of the day taking a somewhat-impromptu roadtrip to the ATL (that's Atlanta for those of you unfortunate enough to be NOT from Georgia) with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jessica. (You may remember her from her wedding in April, which officially made her my sister). We had some business to do dealing with a relative's house that needs to be sold and/or extensively remodeled and sold. Jess and I are the go-to home design consulting team (hey, that sounds good, we should get business cards!) for the family, so we went along to offer our expert advice. There were also rumors/bribes that a trip to IKEA could be arranged as a part of the day. You had me at IKEA.

We had mucho fun being home design consultants and tossing around words like "footprint" and "building permit" like we were HGTV regulars or something. I also took the opportunity to engage in a little foreshadowing of my future and clipped a particularly beautiful hydrangea to bring home to enjoy (and maybe try to root). This one is a beautiful shade of pink so deep it is truly's spectacular. I hope that it recovers from spending 8 hours shut in the hot car...oops. 

After our design consultation ended, Mom treated us to fish tacos at a really yummy place in Atlantic Station. And also chocolate cake. Don't forget the chocolate cake. After that it was on to H&M, where we proceeded to spend the next 29928 hours. This was a Really Good Shopping Trip for several reasons. First of all, I had excellent co-shoppers. People who will give you honest feedback are invaluable and I need to shop with them more often. For example, I tried on these shorts and really couldn't decide if they looked right. They FIT (and they were in a size I deem acceptable, which is good), and they were a COLOR that I wanted...but I just couldn't decide if the style looked right. I appreciated Jessica's honest feedback (they didn't look right), because otherwise I probably would have bought them and then never worn them, unsure whether they actually look right or not. I did, however, get a very super cute dress. I was going to take a picture and show you, but I will probably be wearing it at some picture-heavy events in the near future (weddings, for one), and you will get to see it plenty then. So just trust me: it's cute, it looks great with my tan, and when I had it on, Matt asked if I'd lost weight recently. I haven't, thanks, but obviously I'll be wearing this dress until it falls to pieces. Also, random people in a restaurant tonight complimented it and asked where I purchased it. SCORE! Not to mention: Mom paid for the dress! I'm not sure there are any more ways for this dress to score.

With my OWN monies, I purchased a new purse (trying to keep my purse-weight under 40 pounds, for shoulder health) and some bracelets. 

Then it was on to IKEA, where I will spare you the play-by-play. I got some fun finds, and Mom purchased a few finds I couldn't afford and called it my anniversary present. Umm...can we please go shopping together every day?? It was such a fun blessing. 

Then tonight after coming home to my Mattie, we had THREE (count 'em up!) separate episodes of: I LOVE LIVING HERE.

Episode 1: We met our new neighbors that bought the house next door to us. We met them because I was out back, checking the garden, when SIX IDENTICAL PUPPIES bounded over to visit me. Hot on their heels were the owners, my new neighbors, apologizing and calling back the dogs. I was quick to inform them that adorable, palm-sized puppies are ALWAYS welcome in my yard. They were seven-week-old Welsh Corgis (a very unintentional and unplanned breeding of their two adult Corgis). So we spent the next while playing with puppies and getting to know our neighbors, who were very nice and personable, and also have many pets. Sadly, they are selling the puppies. :( :( :( but they have plenty of other cute pets to keep me entertained...and maybe those frisky adult Corgis will do their thing again and I can see some MORE PUPPIES! I'm going to play some Marvin Gaye music really loudly to see if I can speed things along.

Episode 2: We ate dinner at our "neighborhood" (okay, 2 miles away) Mexican restaurant. We eat there every day frequently...look, there just aren't a lot of options in this town, and we don't always feel like driving to Athens. And it's really good food. And anyway, I don't have to defend my eating choices. So we were eating on the porch, and we ended up talking for a long time with the other family (parents, 2 teenage kids) seated on the porch. It turned out we know a lot of people in common (through high school soccer and churches) and we had a lot of fun chatting. This was particularly fun because Matt and I aren't usually real "chat up strangers" kinda people. I guess we were in the mood after just meeting our neighbors or something.

As we were leaving, I was already thinking I love living in this town. But then (Episode 3) our waitress/restaurant owner's wife/only girl that works there and memorizes our orders started talking with us at the door and we ended up staying for another 15 minutes and getting to know her. That was really good, because since she serves us approximately 1/7th of our meals, it's good to get to know her. We got the inside scoop on all the other Mexican places and their owners, so it's safe to say we'll be sticking with her restaurant. 

When we finally left and made it to the car, I just had the biggest grin on my face. I'm sorry if it's lame, but I LOVE living in this town and eating dinner with strangers-who-become-friends and getting to know the girl that serves you every week (and then having her ask us to start coming on different nights, since she can't work our "usual" nights all the time any more). I love that we have neighbors that are animal lovers (and complimented my flowers/garden) and that we can spend our evenings chatting while we watch puppies wrestle in the yard. I love spending girl time with my family, and coming to realize more and more that I got so much more than just Matt when I married him. 

Sometimes life is just really, really good. I need to remember that. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

three peas in a pod

 Hello and welcome back to yet another nail-biting, thigh-slapping addition of Way Back When-sday!!!! Or...maybe it's not that exciting. But it could be.

Remember awhile back when I mentioned my favorite sibling picture that was framed at my parents' house and that I didn't have a copy of? The one that I've thought was totally normal my whole life, only to have everyone I know make fun of it once I reached semi-adulthood?? Well, you're in luck. Last time we went home, I found a wallet-sized copy.

Please remember that, as I said before, this sucker is practically LIFE-SIZED at home. I'm guessing it's like...2 feet by 3 feet...or whatever would be a proportionate rectangle in that neighborhood. It's huge. And personally, I think it's adorable. I don't understand why others are compelled to laugh at it. So without further adieu, here it is...enjoy. Or laugh. Whatev.

Ummm....seriously, what is NOT to love. Matchy-matchy outfits? Check. (Note: when I someday dress my own children in matchy-matchy outfits, which I will, I will blame it on my DNA. We are dressed matchily in SO MANY PICTURES. Guess my parents were fans.) Pigtails? Check. Erika-sans-glasses (the rules of dancing also apply to portraits)? Check. Staring off into the distance? Check. Olan Mills gold embossing on the bottom? Yup, it's the real deal.

My only real beef with the pic is that...why did Mom make MY bangs look all weird and curled/brushed to the side (I'm sure she was going for "fancy"), and Sarah's get to look normal, which is way cuter? Gosh.

I also located this next picture. Same outfits, different day...I deduced this because my pigtails and bangs are normal and not fancy. Posing in The Spot in the front yard. 95% of my pictures in life are in this same spot. Sadly, not all of them have the Tercel in the background. RIP, Tercel.

My favorite thing about this one is how Sarah's hands are stuck in those tiny, awkwardly-placed pockets. Classic!

Well, that's all I've got for ya tonight. I think that the next time I go home, I will dig around the attic and see if I can locate these outfits. I think we can all agree that the super best thing ever would be if my OWN children can wear them some day and we can recreate these fantastic shots.

Also: you guys are doing a GREAT job with the questions for Matt! We are working on getting them all answered...some of them are pretty in-depth, which is fun! If you didn't get a chance to submit yours, it's not too late. I'll try to post "the interview" this weekend.

And...glad to know yall are equally as law-breaking as I am (and some of you are more so). I am definitely going to snag a few hydrangeas next time I walk by. I'll take a picture of them on my mantle so you can enjoy them along with me (and experience their awesomeness for yourself).