Courtney S. Barr

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Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Strength

New Years Eve.
Wow. 2008 is at its precipice. My 27th year around the sun is coming to a quick close. I normally don't do the resolution thing, at least not in writing (seems too binding :) )but this year I find myself being more retrospective than usual.
Back at Thanksgiving I created a blessings list. It had all the usual suspects: husband, dog, family, friends, health, technology (hey it gives me a blog), fashion, etc. These things are ever present each day. When I look back at that list & I think about how each of them was able to touch 2008 for me at least once and on most occasions at least twice; I find that this past year my theme was strength. Every year I notice a theme. One that rolls through my moods, my decisions, my ideas and this year was no exception.
So strength was my theme. At the beginning of last year I never would have imagined all the exciting & terrifying things that came my way.
I found a new obsession -Twilight - it gave me strength in that Stephenie inspired me to forget what others think of your work, just create for yourself, actually it inspired me to just: CREATE. No matter how, just do it. (thank you Nike for that inspiring slogan that will forever swoosh through time).
In March I found myself in my parents back yard lying on a hammock and just letting go of all the gloom. I had been so depressed, winter blues to the maximum, and so I took a trip to Camden. A familiar surrounding of memories enveloped me & I found strength. This instance taught me that going home again is sometimes all you need. It did not fix everything but it gave me the strength to say "Okay, Courtney, what is going on and how can we work on this?"
In June it seems that I was surrounded by the theme. All of the Twilight women I had 'talked' to online became faces I now know. Luncheons & giggling with other women over a common new love was a blast. Seeing these women of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages, and ideals come together as friends was beautiful. The word strength does not even begin to express what they all do for life in general. I am most lucky that Twilight also created a new bond with my sister & mother, it opened a door that any daughter/sister would love to explore. I am so very lucky.
June also provided me with the admiration of my sister. Nina worked hard to get her certification for Jazzercise. She pushed herself, she worked, she loved every moment that got her to be an instructor. It was a road well traveled and in it I watched strength grow in more ways than just upper & lower body. I saw a confidence that I had not seen in my sister for years.
July - wow - I cannot believe that July even occurred. Here is where God decided that my theme needed to be tested on the individual not on those around me for examples. I will never forget sitting on a makeshift hospital bed crying my eyes out because of pain, then because of fear. I looked at a woman who I truly thought could not be over 35 (who is in fact 40) as she held my hand and told me the scariest 5 scenarios I have ever heard. I watched my husband sit silently and shocked beside me not wanting to call anyone due to being scared he would not be able to tell them what she told us. Then a week later I found a whole new scenario. I was still scared but I will never forget the peace & strength I discovered sitting on another hospital gurney waiting for a surgeon and listening to an anesthesiologist tell me to be calm and he would be right there with me through it all. Strength helped me through 8 more weeks of recovery, pain, and self discovery.
Then at the end of my own personal crisis one of my best friends had to dig for her strength. From Alabama I could only read blogs, talk on the phone & pray as Tracy, Mike, & Isabel walked a path that no parent or sibling should ever have to travel. Yet Brooklyn brought a new kind of strength. I watched a friend, a sister, go through life's hardest trial and come out with a faith & strength unlike anything I have ever seen. Sitting on a bed listening to the story of those last moments with her daughter made my soul even stronger and listening to Brooklyn's sister matter of factly tell us that Brooklyn was in the box made my heart swell. Isabel can still see that beautiful sister of hers in the room, outside, everywhere and the faith that she is watching over us all gave me a new strength in a faith that I already believed.
The fall wore into winter and football season was a joy. Seeing those kids play with real heart was amazing. Then the holidays... oh the holidays. Family always gives me strength. The love of my siblings, my parents, my friends - they are wonderful.
Through this whole year from the beginning to this day my common thread of strength was possible thanks to God and his angels. My outstanding, wonderful, crazy, hilarious husband has been my pillar. He has shown strength when I found myself crumbling and I am happy to say that there have been days where my newfound strength has been able to help him, to ease some of his stress. So 2009 looms ahead of me... what theme will be found here on December 31, 2009? I don't know, I don't mind not knowing. the journey of a year is priceless. So to all of you I wish you a marvelous new year, may your theme be one that makes you think, makes you evaluate, makes you cry, terrifies you, enlightens you, but most of all may it make you laugh, make you appreciate, and make you realize that each year itself is a blessing beyond all others! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmases 3, 4, & 5

Okay well we are finally back in Tuscaloosa. Yes. 5 Christmas celebrations later & we are home. Christmas #3 was spent on Christmas day with my parents. As usual this was wonderful. My brother Eric had his boys and after their morning of Santa gifts they swept by my parents to say good morning. Then after he dropped them off with their mom he came back to the house. We spent the morning watching the Disney Christmas Parade, eating breakfast casserole (the one you liked Tracy :) ), we opened presents and just relaxed. It was great. Marcus & I received some great gifts. My parents gave us both some money to spend on our upcoming trip, Marcus got some awesome Bama stuff, I got some great 'Courtney' stuff :)!! lol. It was great. Just being there at home on Christmas morning is worth the crazy hassles of holiday season any day! :) After the morning festivites were done we set to work on a wonderful steak & hashbrown lunch! YUMMY!!! It was so good! Eric had set the steaks to marinate for around 24 hours. Um, hello - can we say it tasted amazing! I made some "green fluffy snow" (a cold dessert that is both bizarre & delicious) and we just napped & watched movies.
Christmas #4 was spent on Friday night at MaryAnn's with first dinner with James Kelly, Lisa (his girlfriend) & her two boys, Billy & Brandon. After dinner Rob & his family arrived. We opened presents and visited for a while before heading back to my parents to spend the night. On Saturday morning I was up early to meet Mary Ann & Regina for pedicures in Camden. Then around 12:45 p.m. we headed over to Evelyn's for Christmas #5 with the Agees. Around 95 of us flitted in and out of her newly remodeled home. The gathering of people was fun. We saw some cousins that we had not seen in forever! For so long 80% of us were all in Alabama, now not so much. Mike & Sissy are in New Jersey/Pennsylvania; John Wayne & Katherine are in Florida... but this year we all managed to be there for Christmas. It was nice. :)
So 5 Christmases. Yeah. Honestly this season is so much about faith, hope, family, friends and love. In its cheesiest of forms the meaning of the season is around me. Christ's birth speaks in volumes in every warm breeze, every hug, every oddly wrapped gift, every weird looking casserole, every child that wants to play with their new toys. The season brings hope for families that see the coming of a promising new year, faith in the teachings of the gospel spreads as the miracles of kindness can still be found even in the craziness of the season, family gatherings are full of jabs about screwups from long ago to the cheerful laughter of kids waiting for Santa, friends get the opportunity to spend a few cherished hours in each others company knowing that it could be months or possibly a year before they get to do it again, and there is the love. Love that flows through every cookie, every cake, every car with its packed suitcases and tired families, the love for sharing a small collection of days with the people we hold dear. For those of you that I did not get to see this Christmas I hope it was a good one. I hope that the New Year approaching is one that grants you all the things in life that God can bless you with and that you find yourself not wishing days away but relishing each moment as it passes by.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas #2

Well here we are at Christmas #2 - December 23rd. This one is just for us. We made it special - Pizza & Juice. :) Oh & Hot Cocoa & Cookies for dessert - YUM! (as the lights dim, the Christmas sounds of Lena Horne & Johnny Mathis begin in the background, the trees are lit, the house is cozy and the presents are plenty...)
Last night was just for me, Marcus, & Peanut. We thought about taking our gifts for each other to Camden & opening them with everyone else but we like having a few hours just to us & getting to really concentrate on what we have done for one another.
So we decided to take one gift & open it when we get to Camden. So the rest of the presents were opened tonight!
Marcus got me two DVDs Mamma Mia (which I loved in theaters - even with the cheesy guys on the pier dancing :) ) & House Bunny with Ana Faris (HILARIOUS). He also went about trying to prove that he does listen to things I say I need: hence the fact I now own a car charger for my CrackBerry. Then he made me go get my stocking and look in it. There was a tiny red chest in the bottom & in the chest are the most beautiful earrings. You see I love diamonds, Marcus loves diamonds but also LOVES pearls. Due to the fact that normally I only like black Tahitians or some sort of diamond accompaniment to the pearls we never buy any. This time though he found some that are a beautiful compliment to both pieces. They are pearl studs - classy, but around the base is a ring of beautiful brilliant cut diamonds. You can see the sheen of the pearl & the bright lights of the diamonds no matter how you turn them. They are GORGEOUS!!! I love them.

Marcus received a wooden box puzzle (you know one of those puzzles that seems so easy yet drives you crazy until you figure it out), I got him an Alabama numbered Tradition print, house slippers, a book with Alabama trivia in it, and an AWESOME ALABAMA AUBURN photo from the game. Marcus had also gotten himself a present - he now owns a true, worn in a game, still has game scratches, still has the stickers they put on the back (American flag, etc), fully assembled with face mask, Alabama 2008 helmet. It fits his big ole head, but it falls forward on mine. It has the #8 on the side so of course come A-Day 2009 we will be heading to the Quad to see if Julio Jones will sign it :) He is so cute with it, like a little boy & a new toy!
Peanut had a good Christmas as well. He got two new toys & some treats. He happily sat along with us as we opened presents, then he played with the wrapping paper flying around the floor.
Anyway, even with all these wonderful things our biggest gift is one we are doing together. The week of January 3 through the 10th we will be in the Caribbean. This was our Christmas gift to one another. We are so excited! So for my Birthday week we will be getting a tan & drinking pina coladas! WooHOO!!!!! We are so excited to get going. So for a week you won't see an entry - but beware the one that will come after the trip!
Christmas #3 is tomorrow in Camden at my parents, I am so stoked. There is just something about being there for Christmas.... it makes everything fall into place. :)Merry Christmas EVE!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas #1

All the kids ready to open presents!
Well I mentioned at the end of this week that we had a bunch of Christmas celebrations to attend.
Today was Christmas #1.
We headed down to Camden yesterday morning. Once there I dropped Marcus off at his mothers for a visit then I drove over to my best friend Stacie's parents. She is visiting for the holidays & I have not seen her since June so a visit was definitely on the schedule! It was so good to see her. Her two daughters, Anna Claire & Gracie, are just absolutely beautiful. Anna Claire just lights up when you get her talking about Christmas & Gracie is just a joy to watch as she explores everything around her. Stacie & I had a nice visit for about 4 hours and then I went & picked Marcus up to head to my parents. My sister & her family arrived about 30 minutes after we got to my parents house. The twins were already there (my brothers eleven year old boys); meaning that the house was rocking when everyone arrived. After dinner we watched a Christmas movie together & just chilled. Thanks to my wonderful winter cold cough I could not sleep well so the internet & satellite television are like the best friends ever! :)
Today though was the big celebration. We had a delish breakfast: toast, eggs, cheese grits, 4 kinds of sausage...oh so good. Then after that we all went in our different directions. The rest of the family was scheduled to arrive around 3p.m. so we had a little while. Marcus, Jessica, Jon, Christian, Coy, Colton, & I decided that playing capture the flag in the front yard would be fun so we all bundled up (btw um it was like 75 degrees on Friday - what the..crap.. happened today???) and began the game. We ran, we chased, we fell, we laughed, we really had a great time. There is just something about getting out there with those kids & really getting into the games with them, it is exhilarating & familiar. Those reasons you loved games like that as a kid come crashing through your memory... as well as some why you don't do this stuff as often - um I landed on some pretty big rocks at one point & um, it hurt. :)
Then my mom got a terrible migraine. One of those day-controlling migraines that make curling into a ball the new downward dog. Anyway, so Nina & I took over the kitchen and set to cooking the dinner for everyone. Yep - it was fun, tiring, and so yummy. The house was soon full of smells & even more people. We were missing four though (John (Erica's husband), Stephen, Lindsey (Stephen's girlfriend) and Ryker (Diane's son) ) so there were some wonderful faces we did not get to see & were greatly missed. But once the presents were passed out - mad chaos! lol. I still get thrilled to open presents at Christmas. The gusto is there, but even with my exuberant personality & gifts, there is not quite a perfect word to describe the delight of a child. They are just amazing. It was just a lot of fun. So Christmas #1 is now a blog entry, something that has passed, but the pictures, the moments are so current so fresh I just had to share them!
Nina & the boys on one couch as we watched Christmsas movies!

Me & the girls on the other couch!

My Capture the Flag TEAM!!
Nina & Dad waiting patiently as the presents are about to be handed out!

Mom, Mindy & Eric being silly!

Hannah playin with her presents! Singing along to some Taylor Swift! :)

Our OH SO TIRED Uncle Peanut at the end of the festivities!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

SO many Christmases...

Another birthday week is gone. We are now focused on Christmas. We went and saw that movie 4 Christmases with Reese Witherspoon & Vince Vaughn (not a FAMILY movie by the way - but hilarious nonetheless). Granted I am not from a divorced family, Marcus is. Well this being said we have 5 Christmases of our own to attend. His family is not the sole reason for the many celebrations though. Here is the breakdown

Christmas #1 - this weekend we head to Camden so that we can see all my siblings & their children. We will exchange gifts with the kids.
Christmas #2 - Christmas Eve - (Camden)we spend this evening with MaryAnn, James, Rob & the girls. We exchange gifts and have dinner.
Christmas #3 - Christmas Day - (Camden)we spend the day with my parents, exchange gifts & lunch
Christmas #4 - the day after Christmas - (Tuscaloosa)this day is spent just for me & Marcus (usually) we exchange our gifts & just lounge around the house (unless of course we have to work and in that case we work then see each other after work - this year = we work)
Christmas #5 - December 27th - the Agee Christmas - (Camden) this is Christmas with all the Agee cousins

Note the back and forth between Tuscaloosa & Camden. Yeah. We ride a lot. :) Granted we are quite lucky to be able to just get in a car & drive 2 hours & see virtually almost all our family. This is a blessing in itself. I have lived far enough away to wear a plane trip is the quickest & most efficient transportation option - it is not fun. The visits are longer, but so much fewer.

Anyway, the week has been full of gift shopping, trying to finish everything up & just getting ready for the weekend. Friday night we have a party to attend & I am helping out with the food. So I have been busy with that most of this evening. Though I did take a moment to make some cookies just for us!

Below are also the pics from Marcus' "BIRTHDAY CAKE" yes those are double doozie cookies from the American Cookie Company in the mall. He normally gets just a regular size cookie cake, but this year he wanted this. Hilarious! So we had to put the candles in the cookies - plus he said if we had used 29 candles we would have messed up the cookies - so this yielded less candles. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birthday WEEK!!!

YIPPEE! Anyone who knows me & Marcus knows we celebrate Birthday WEEK. This tradition is one of our personal favorites. When you are born in the months of December or January Christmas tends to inch its way into your birthday gifts or activities.
Marcus was born on December 8, 1979. He turned 29 this year. Ever since we began dating we began this celebration. It means that for 7 full days your birthday is celebrated. At what point before or at your birthday it starts is at the discretion of the BIRTHDAY-EE. Marcus chose to begin on December 7, thus his week ran from 7th - 13th (now we had a Christmas party for his work on his actual birthday so we made the end date the 14th so he would have full days). Anyway, the activities that you provide for the Birthday-ee can range from a simple movie night in to a movie night out. You can choose to give a gift a day or only gifts on their birthday, for the week the birthday-ee does not have to participate in ANY household regulars, i.e. laundry, cooking, cleaning, dog stuff. For one week you are basically free of the responsibilities that are normally split. You also get to choose your favorite meals, get to control the remote control, or wander around in your underwear if you want to. It is a free for all. Now after 11 years of these weeks they have evolved into different requests & such for both of us. I find myself each year wanting specific dinners & desserts, Marcus has a set few things that I make special just for him once a year. Now a lot of you are like: um - that is a lot of work for one half of this equation. Yes it is. But its only 7 days & its for the most important person in your life. We both look forward to it every year - even for the other person.
So Marcus' week has been FULL of activities & prizes. We have really had a blast this year. Movies, dinners, shopping for Christmas presents, laying around & being lazy... just being together.
We went up to Hoover Saturday morning to do some more shopping and let me tell you the economy might be in a recession, but someone might want to let consumers know. That mall was insane! Not only in the mall but the majority of Hoover's police force was on the perimeter having to direct traffic - the PERIMETER. I mean come on people can't we all figure out how to stop at a stop sign without running someone over? Anyway, we found a few items - hit Macy's up for their big sale. We then met MaryAnn & James for lunch at J Alexanders. GOSH I love that restaurant! :)
Saturday night we went to the second Christmas party of this holiday season. We have 3 more so far. Saturday was so much fun! The group that was together is a good group. A good many are musically inclined so a guitar, amp & Christmas carols were the end of the evening. It was a blast. Good food, good friends.
Sunday was the laziest we have been in a while. I did not exactly feel up to par and so we were curled up with hot cocoa & Christmas movies for 90% of the day - then I just fell asleep at like 5 and dozed off and on. I NEVER sleep during the day! I did get up and cook supper but then conked back out again. It felt great - until I was awake at Midnight & could not sleep...yeah...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Still going and going and going....

Okay, um the energizer bunny is definitely my new idol. I mean even though you do have to like shove batteries up its rear to get it to go - still the fact that the bunny keeps going and going without hesitation and even does that swivel thing without falling over.. you got to admit - impressive. Robert & Ramona made it back to Houston. They spent the weekend in Memphis after leaving Tuscaloosa and having a great dinner with us & Rob's family at Carino's in Hoover.
SO this past weekend we headed over to HOTLANTA! WOOHOO!! (why is it that I have to say WOOHOO! after the word HOTLANTA- I will ponder that one later) So we arrived at the Watson home around 10:30 Eastern. Nina & Keith had JUST put the kids down so we sat in the kitchen ate some great biscuits (Marcus had soup too) and just talked for awhile. The next morning we were all up and ready to start the day! Nina, Jessica, Anna,Christian & I headed to the mall. Marcus & Keith headed to the Georgia Dome & Jon stayed at the house with Peanut.
Nina recently got a seasonal job at Macy's so I took the three kids shopping.
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!! They were a blast! We saw Santa (just saw him no pictures), they each got a prize for being so good, we got cookies, we wandered through clothing stores, jewelry stores, game shops, everything was just fun. I really found myself relaxed. They are just the most precious kids. The girls went all excited on me about clothes & jewelry & stuffed animals. Every store had something that they thought was so cool. The girls were so giddy as they found some High School Musical stuff in the Disney store and also some stuffed animals. Anna got a precious DUMBO stuffed animal. Jessica found a red HSM3 canvas bag that is just too cute. We also stopped by Gamestop to grab a giftcard for Jon. He babysat my child - Peanut. Once we met back up with Nina (about 3 hours of shopping later) we were all starving! So we headed to Zucca (Italian) then back to the house for the SEC Championship.
Yeah - we did not win (Florida 31 - Alabama 20) But it was awesome! Atlanta was a great area for this game - the fans were great, Alabama people milled about everywhere. Keith & Marcus had great seats! The Bama boys played with heart, what else could you ask for? (a win, but hey whose being picky LOL) Anyway we still have some football left on January 2nd - All STATE SUGAR BOWL in New Orleans. Then on SUNDAY we were up, watching some TV, then we had some awesome hamburgers & home fries. Nina also made Marcus & Brownie Spot - oh yeah gotta tell you about Brownie Spot - a birthday cake. The crew began to decorate for Christmas and Marcus and I had to head home around 5 p.m. Okay - Brownie Spot is a stuffed dog. Yeah. While shopping with the kids and allowing them to get a prize Christian fell in love with a dog at Build A Bear. Now I have been in these stores before but never really known the process. The child picks out the stuffing-less toy. He/She names the animal then stands in a LONG line to wait for the stuffing. Once you reach the stuffing they ask you the name of the animal, Christian named his Brownie Spot. Then they tell you to grab a small fabric heart out of a bin, you then rub the heart to get it warm, then they tell you to rub it on a part of your body (for Brownie Spot the dog it was the Leg to Run Real Fast) then you kiss the heart and make a wish for your new best friend. THERE IS NOTHING CUTER than watching these kids do this. Then they clean off the animal, go to a computer & put all the information in.
I LOVED the experience. The whole weekend was such a blast!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


See I do eventually post the pics I promised :)
The Pulleys in Bama - Tennessee Trip - Christmas Decor!
(there are about 29 pics so be patient)....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We can't help it, we are either hosting or traveling...

Roll Tide!
Well this week is going pleasantly. Robert & Ramona are still in town, their visit is going well. We had a great time watching the game on Saturday - what a game! Then Sunday I put all my Christmas decor up - I will be sure to post the gazillion pictures I need to post as soon as I can including my decoration pics!!! :) we watched Christmas movies all day long and went to MugShots for a great lunch. Monday night Robert & Ramona cooked us a hearty dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, & green beans. SO YUMMY! Then we watched some TV and just chilled out. It has been a blast visiting with them! We so hope that they have enjoyed Tuscaloosa & of course the Barr Bed & Breakfast!
Last night we celebrated in Birmingham with Kerry for his birthday. Robert & Ramona went up to visit Rob, Regina & the girls. We headed to the StarDome and saw two great comics! We love stand up comedy & last night was superb.
There is one new development: WE GOT TICKETS TO THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN ATLANTA!!! BOOYAH!!! yep - Happy Early Birthday Marcus!! Wowsers!
He is beyond excited. So this weekend we will be heading over to HOTLANTA! We found two tickets at a great price and offered one to my sister to give to her husband. So it will be Marcus & Keith going while Nina & I spend the day with the kids. I am so excited too, we barely got to visit during Thanksgiving and this way we will get to see the kids. Marcus had already been upset that we would not be able to have them down to our house just to watch the game. He had really been hoping to try to, but then we had company so we did not want to overwhelm anyone. So this answered everything! Again we will be traveling during the weekend, we seem to be traveling or hosting all the time. I thought maybe with the holidays I would get a bit tired of it, but nope. It is good to be able to travel, to see people, to spend time with family during the holiday season!
Robert & Ramona are going to head over to Memphis to see her sister on Friday then head back to Texas on Sunday. So it all worked out well. I was beyond giddy when we got the tickets today!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Okay um do you see the title of this post? Yep 36 - 0!!!! Yep NADA, no POINTS, nothing! Yes Bama played the Iron Bowl today. We have lost to Auburn 6 straight years - no more! NO MORE! Alabama is 12 - 0. Nick Saban came to us last year, everyone knew he has process, that he saw potential and that he is a coach who can capitalize on potential. NO ONE saw 12 - 0 in the second year. NO ONE saw playing for SEC Champ. NO ONE saw #1 in the nation in the second year.
I have always been proud to be an Alabama fan; in the good years & the bad. This is a good year.
ROLL TIDE! We meet Florida next week in the SEC Championship. NO matter how this season ends it has been an amazing year and a nod to the many more amazing years to come!

Friday, November 28, 2008


I know this is a day behind, but forgive me. Being thankful is something I try to be all the time, but life sometimes makes it seem like thanks is not the word you want to use. It is in those moments that I chastise myself for not saying thanks. Just this morning was one of those moments...I was shopping with my mom & sister - yes Black Friday shopping, I know = CRAZY - anyway, as I was pushing a buggy around Wal-Mart (again question my sanity when you are done reading this post :) ) I found myself observing other consumers. There were people searching through bins, straining to see around a stranger whether or not the last Kung Fu Panda DVD had been taken, Dear Santa lists floated around, sale papers littered the floor, there were dads reading off lists, moms on walkie talkies, kids talking about where to head next, the air was full of sounds that just enveloped you. I pulled aside a small stand that held men's sandals and just stopped. Mind you I did not block the aisle or anything, but I did make a little niche to just breathe. It was a rushed situation that I could have let really get under my skin. Don't get me wrong it is stressful with all those people seeming to be after the same thing. But rather than truly hate being up at 5 a.m. in a store that I don't go to at a normal hour between Monday & Friday, I just smiled. I was thankful to have my mother & sister somewhere in that store. I am blessed to be surrounded by strong wonderful women. These two often rise to the top of any list of mine. Though the three of us were tired & already a bit wiped out, being together was quite fun. These times make me very thankful.
SO here is my list - though to be honest this is just a handful of things, goodness knows that I probably overlooked something.
1. My husband - Marcus brings me more laughter & love than I could ever completely comprehend.
2. My family - There is nothing like them. I am grateful everyday that God gave me such amazing parents & siblings. For all the teasing, laughter, & love my life is so full.
3. My dog - Peanut in a way stumbled into our lives and we will forever be grateful for his love. Unconditional took on a whole new meaning with this adorable puppy.
4. My friends - life has taken me on some crazy adventures. Most of those adventures have been too far away from those friends that are closest to me, yet the distance has so often seemed much shorter. Phone calls, emails, notes, blogs, all of these things have enabled me to feel like a 8 hour or 15 hour drive is really a 30 minute hop.
5. My home - to have a roof over your head is sometimes a bit overwhelming, there are so many responsibilities, but they have taught me so much about myself.
6. Music - the beautiful tones of a jazz rhythm section, the deep bass and technics of alternative, the sweet melody of string section, country sounds with banjo and fiddle, there is nothing like being swept away with sound.
7. Books - wow! this one is huge! I mean just this year alone: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, The Hunger Games, Agnes & the Hitman... Books allow me to visualize places, people, events, dreams, and desires. They have made me examine relationships, ideas, concepts, and in their simple complexities they have helped me to grow.
8. Art - this encompasses more than just visual art by artists I will probably never meet. Art has inspired me, taught me, judged me, comforted me, stressed me out, cost money, but it never bores me.
9. Modern Medicine (thanks Tracy)- this one is something I have taken for granted almost all my life. God reminded me that there is a reason he created man with the intelligence to follow his instruction and that he created some women with a gift of understanding the body and all its idiosyncracies.
10. Technology - this one makes me smile. I know, I know simpler times were so wonderful (quoting everyone over 55) but technology is allowing me to make this list public, it allows me to connect with #4 on this list, to see #5 in museums in cities I will never get to actually travel to, it allows me to listen to #7, to do research on #8, and to see or correspond with #1 whenever I need to.
11. Fashion - the body is a beautiful thing, no matter a person's size or color, fashion can connect us all in its individuality.
12. Food - um, I know food is 12... after fashion, but you know the mind just thinks in its own order sometimes :) Okay, food... I like to eat. lol
13. Heirlooms - normally this word is indicative of an object, but for me it is more of moments. My mother helping me make a cake or meal, my sister sharing a dream or idea, my brothers teasing voices, my fathers soft strong hands, shared memories of grandparents lost before I had a chance to know them, stories from my family's history. These are my heirlooms.
14. The Beach - the sand, the waves, the salt, the air... I love the ocean.
15. Traveling - there is nothing like a new place to see or a comforting spot that we can visit over & over again.
16. Sunrise - the fact that God has blessed me with another morning to enjoy all of my list again & again.
I hope you all had an amazing holiday... Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am still a little giddy....

Okay so Friday night we went up to Nashville. As soon as we checked into our hotel, we headed to get some food. We WERE STARVING. After a good dinner at Carraba's my nerves were just jittering, I had to see TWILIGHT. It had been out since Midnight and I had yet to see it. Marcus & I headed over to the Thoroughbred 20 and got tix to the 10:30p showing.
The theater was full and the patrons were very quiet. It was like when you are waiting for something to appear & you think that if you sit very still & quiet it will come faster! :) lol. So the movie started and we all let out our breaths. For the next 2 hours and 2 minutes I was fascinated. The book that I love so much flitted across a huge screen in front of me. I LOVED IT! Billy Burke did an amazing job as Charlie, he added a spark to the role. Anna Kendrick as Jessica - girl you rocked. Catherine Hardwicke nailed "high school". I laughed, I cried, I was swamped with emotion. The audience was somber and only loud when you should be. When James breaks her leg, I jumped ten feet in my seat - ouch! When Edward & Bella are at dinner in Port Angeles & Rob Pattinson's song is playing in the background...OME! Then when they arrive at school and are getting out of his car...OME! Marcus even loved it. I mean actually loved it. He is one to tell me this sucked or change this before anyone else will & he walked out saying: "It was really good."
So after being so giddy I of course could not sleep. But at 7:20 a.m. we had to start getting ready for the Lexicon Movie Event. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! There were 500 diehard fans waiting outside the theater, we got a goodie bag each of so much cool stuff! Then there were some AMAZING door prizes! Awesome. Alphie & Pel of did such a good job. This screening of the movie held no previews & lots of SCREAMS! It was good we had seen it the night before. Again - second time around - still love it! Marcus -still loves it. He is still talking about certain scenes from the film. Then as we are walking out of the theater, my phone gets an email from Summit Entertainment - NEW MOON will begin production. OME! OME! OME! Wow. We were a part of the revenue that helped make that decision. That is so awesome.
Saturday night & afternoon we explored Cool Springs & Downtown Nashville! Broadway is an amazing street with all kinds of bars, lounges, all the famous locations! It was a blast!
Sunday morning came quick and we had to head back into Downtown Nashville to make it to the Titans - Jets game. LP Field is beautiful & the fans were great (we are not "fans" of either team). The walk from our parking garage to the field = holy crap. lol you walk on this bridge over the river & the view is beautiful! I have pics & will post soon.... I know I know, I still have pics from Tracy's visit I have to post. They will be on here soon!
Overall - one of the best weekends! BTW I will be seeing it again at least 2 more times this week alone..... :):):):):):):)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It is TWILIGHT weekend.
I am more than excited, more than ecstatic, more than ready to see this on film. Not only am I glad that it is finally here, I am tense, nervous, giddy, delirious, everything all balled into one. Marcus & I head to Nashville tomorrow evening. We plan to see the movie when we get there and then of course again at the TWILIGHT LEXICON MOVIE EVENT! So ready.
I am just overwhelmed with emotions. This has been one of the most crazy, roller coaster ride filled obsessions!
From the first Monday that I opened these books to right now my life has changed. There are reasons to love Twilight without becoming crazy about it, there are reasons people don't like it, for me I found Twilight at a point where for some reason my mind & body had become a bit depressed. Actually a lot depressed. I had been struggling with being a bright happy person for a while. On the outside most people who barely know me would never have been able to tell, but those closest knew. Then I found a love story that made me laugh, made me cry, swept me away in the old world epic love challenge that we so often lose in today's prose. I am a person with a very imaginative mind. I developed these images and not only did they enter my daytime reading, but my dreams. Their story captivated me and then there is the author. A woman who wrote for herself this love between two people so heavily battered with obstacles yet forces of nature could not separate their 'lives'. This woman dreamed, wrote it down, and found herself waking not to her normal reality, but to millions of fans. The whole being that is Twilight enveloped me. I was able to escape but while escaping, the story pushed my own doldrums out the window. It helped me to wake up, start writing again, start being me again.
Marcus was the most supportive during those down months and when Twilight came along rather than being condescending of this new obsession he helped me nurture it and he supported the craziness. I found he enjoyed talking to me about something that made me smile. He laughed when I would giddily find information about the fourth book and then when filming began, well he definitely had to laugh at my internet stalkerish ways of all blogs about Twilight and everything about the actors.
He smiled when I hooked my sister, my mother, friends, people I barely know, and even when I got him hooked.
So Twilight is a movie, Twilight is a book, Twilight was a dream, Twilight is a love story, Twilight is a safe escape, Twilight is my personal sanity when the days go gray. It now falls into my "saving Courtney's sanity" booklist. This list already has Little Women, Taming of the Shrew, Doomed Love, Old Fashioned Girl, any book by Carolyn Keene, any book by Jennifer Crusie, Harry Potter, Emma & poems by Lord Byron. All of these books are something that I can pick up, read, devour, enjoy, cry, laugh, love, and embody for a small snatch of time....

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Barr B&B Event Recap

OME! This weekend was just one of those great weekends. Tracy & Mike came down on Friday from St. Louis. There just are not enough visits in the world to satisfy time spent with them!

Friday evening their arrival was around 6 p.m. The Barr B&B was more than ready & excited. Thankfully we all had the foresight to think one word: Pepitos. Tracy loves Pepitos. Cheyenne, Aubrey, & Olivia met us there for dinner. It was great. We laughed, ate, and just enjoyed visiting with wonderful friends. After dinner Tracy, Mike, Marcus & I headed to the house. We stayed up for a little while, but the long drive was getting to Mike & Tracy so we all called it a night.

Saturday morning came quick and after breakfast we all got ready for the day. Tracy & Mike had some papers they needed notarized and my husband helped out in that area. So we went in to his office and then Tracy & I went shopping. Nothing major - just Alumni Hall & Sam's club. Yes I know, Sam's is not the precious perfection of Costco, but she suffered through my quick run for some groceries :) After lunch it was time for Tracy & Mike to get ready for their evening.

Marcus had been able to score tickets for Mike & Tracy to the Miss. State game. They were so excited! Tracy was practically bouncing when they headed out the door.

Rob came down as usual & the three of us watched what began as a very sluggish - poor perception of Bama football in the first half but became a great game in the second half. Bama 35 - Miss State 7. Roll Tide!
Sunday brought on a morning of yummy breakfast casserole, Tracy & Mike went to church, Marcus & I goofed off. Then when they got home from church we had a yummy lunch of leftovers and lots of talking. After lunch movie & nap time came kind of quick. lol. Dinner though was hilarious. Marcus & Tracy are dangerously silly when they spend time together. I mean imagine a cheep-cheep joke about KMart, ICE ICE BABY, bro & sis love, choreography for camp Anawana, singing those well loved & lost camp slogan/songs, toe jam bread, and the heartfelt words: You broke my heart 'Cause I couldn't dance You didn't even want me around And now I'm back, to let you know I can really shake 'em down... Yes that was our evening. All that in just a few hours...yeah - Crazy Tasty!

After dinner we watched Made of Honor then slipped off to bed.

It is sad to think that when I get home tonight, they won't be there. Even more sad to realize that if I wanted to call them for dinner it would be a call more about the planning of when in the next year dinner is possible. I hope that they both know how much they mean to us. Friends are such a special part of your life and lucky for us these two are the kind of friends that break the barrier classification into family. Our reservation book is always open to these guests and next time we will be sure to provide a karaoke machine for Marcus & Tracy, goodness knows they would be in hog heaven! :):):):):):):) I will post pics as soon as I get everything uploaded!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reservations for Two at the Barr B&B

Woohoo! One of my favorite people in the whole world will be coming 'home' today!
Tracy & Mike are going to come down from St. Louis tonight and spend the weekend at the Barr Bed & Breakfast.
They are leaving the cutest member of their family at home though, dear little Isabel will be having a wonderful Grandparent filled weekend back home.
I cannot wait until they get here!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A great husband...

Okay, time to do a little bragging. My husband is amazing! Seriously. Tonight we were in the kitchen making dinner. Marcus had been home all day thanks to the Veteran's Day holiday so he was excited to have some company. I had placed the laptop on the island so I could see a new recipe I had emailed myself when I remembered I wanted to show him a picture.
Vanity Fair magazine did a story on the cast of Twilight for their December issue. I have been reminding myself to check the date for release, but had not yet found out exactly when it would hit stands. Anyway, I show Marcus the pictures (the ones you see below) and then I noticed it said that the mag would be available on November 11. Um, hello, that is today. Well after Nina & I barely got all the copies of the Entertainment Weekly cover issues from Saturday, I worried that I would not get a copy of this one. So what does my husband say? "oh well, it is just one article." NO HE DOES NOT SAY THAT HE SAYS: "Should I go into town and see if there is still one there?" I look at him at first with shock then I look at him in awe & thanks. He is literally asking me if I mind or want him to go into town at 6:30 p.m. just to grab a magazine. I LOVE HIM. Both of us cannot go due to needing to finish supper. So with a smile, a kiss, and a lightweight jacket he leaves. People, he goes first to Walgreens, they don't have any. CVS = nope. Rite Aid = nope. He heads on into Midtown and goes to Barnes & Noble. He gets the last copy. Yeah, he does.

Okay Marcus has always been more than supportive of this obsession. Since he enjoyed the books and looks forward to the movie, I think it helps. But really it is my obsession. Yet he still bought me a trip to New York to meet the author (though I had surgery & missed out :( ), he is going to Nashville with me to just see the movie with other Twilighters, he supports my Twilight dinners, he obviously supports purchase of merchandise from posters to rings to bracelets to clothes, he talks about the books with me without any patronizing or condescending tones and he lets me freak out without calling me crazy all the time :). But this small thing. Going to find a magazine that has two pictures and a short article for me - it meant a lot.
He also told me at lunch today that he does not want me to go to the midnight showing. See he has to work on Friday and would not be able to function at work if he goes to the midnight showing. I told him I was trying to get my mom to go with me and well he said no to that too. At first I was about to get peeved, then he said "I want to be with you when you see it for the first time." How could I argue? It was really sweet. So I will see the movie for the first time in Nashville with 380 other Twilighters and my amazing Edward-esque husband. This just means my sister cannot tell me anything about it before I see it. lol!

On the Vanity Fair photo shoot topic - they posted some outtakes. I love them! Check them out below! (all pictures are from You can see they had a good time on this shoot.

Sorry just had to brag about him today...

Sunday, November 9, 2008


There are not many words other than WOW to describe yesterday's game. I mean, it was WOW. Actually come to think it was: WOW, INTENSE, CRAZY, UNJUST, AMAZING, TERRIFYING, & HEART ATTACK INDUCING!!!! My goodness, BAMA, I had gotten slightly adjusted to the concept of being able to breathe during a game. :)

No matter it ended great! Bama 27 LSU 21. We are going to the SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN HOTLANTA!!! Yep, we are! I can't think about it without grinning. Right now I have to remember we have 2 more games before that one: Miss State & Auburn. Neither will be a cakewalk due to their want to knock us down a notch.

This weekend my sister & her four kids came down to visit & watch the game. I LOVE to have the kids here. Just having them roaming the house brings a kind of weird calm. I mean sure it is chaotic compared to our average weekend, but it is a wonderful type of chaos. My sister is doing well, though she might be stretching herself in a thousand directions. Yeah, Nina, you might be :). But I know I don't walk in your shoes so I can't see your view, but I do love you. Hearing about your day can make me dizzy sometimes, but to be honest I probably would not know what to say if you told me something different. As for the kids, they are definitely growing up. Jon - a word to the wise - TIMING is EVERYTHING. :) You know what I'm talking about.

Saturday morning Nina & I went over to a friend of Marcus' to see some art that she had for sale. Yeah, I found a painting, I bought a painting... Marcus was floored to say the least. I am glad to say though that five minutes ago he told me he really thought the picture looked amazing in the dining room & that he enjoyed razzing me about it yesterday. Sometimes I wonder if he truly does get his kicks picking on me!

Then Saturday night I took Christian, Anna, & Jessica to see HSM3. The girls had already seen it but loved seeing it again. Nina took Jon to Eagle Eye, they both raved about it. I must say that in our movie, the women screeched everytime Zac Efron was onscreen. The men in the theater whistled everytime the girls came on screen (they really did not mind which one, they just whistled). Crazy. It was good though.

Today Mom & Dad came up to visit with the kids and we had a great relaxing Sunday. It was so much fun. The weekend will tire you, will wear you down, will make my dog like a ragdoll he is so tired, will make you grumpy, but it will also make me smile, make me laugh, make me miss my 'kids' even more, and will make me appreciate every Saturday & Sunday that I get to experience. Anyway, here are some pics! Nina - steal them from mine & put them on yours :):):):):):)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting Ready for a Fun Filled Weekend!

Woohoo! Bama plays LSU this weekend. This is a big one. It may not have the makings that they thought it would at the beginning of the season but symbolically it is huge.
Saban returns to his old stomping grounds and lets just say that he may not be given a fruit basket & hug on arrival. His mantra for the past week has been: It is about the players and the game on Saturday, not me. Yeah he can say that all he wants, but the media says: Dude, it is SO about you. We will be here cheering our Tide on. IN FACT we will have the kids! YIPPEE!! My sister is coming over from Atlanta and bringing her four kids. I have not seen them since the Georgia game and Marcus has not seen them since Labor Day. He is very excited. It is great how much he misses them. We wanted to get my brother's sons, the twins Coy & Colton but their mom is taking them to the beach this weekend and my brother's girlfriend's little girl, Hannah will be camping with her grandparents. We will have to make sure to have all seven sometime soon.
Well I had another evening in Birmingham with my TWILIGHTER friends; Lucy & Darlene. I have got to tell you, there is nothing like people you bond with over a book series. No, seriously. Book clubs have a lot going for them. Not only do you meet people who obviously have a common interest, but you meet people who are real. Most people who read books, especially fiction, allow you to see into their personality just by the genre they are choosing to read. Their book choices are sometimes a choice outside of their common books, but on the whole you get to see a little bit of what peaks their interests. And when you are with a group that shares a common interest a person feels more comfortable expressing their ideas & opinions. I am so comfortable with these women. I did not know them from Adam's housecat six months ago, they don't work with me, I did not go to school with them, they are not wives of my husband's coworkers, or any of his coworkers. These are women who found a common interests and then, we found we enjoy each other's company with our without the books. The books brought us together, but our own personalities are what keep us emailing, calling, and visiting. I will forever be grateful to Twilight for that.
Anyway, we ate at Carino's at Patton Creek - YUM! So good. Our poor waiter, I think at first he thought we weren't going to eat due to our chatting he came to take our order 4 times - we still weren't ready. Although I had decided what I wanted first and you know what, HE CALLED ME DECISIVE! Goodness knows he doesn't know me well. LOL I told Marcus about that and he laughed. Poor boy, the waiter then at the end of the meal saw us with a plastic bag, rocks, and driftwood on the table. As I was driving home and revisited the evening, I realized if he overheard us talking about tattoos, Werewolves, Vampires, Witches, Hunger Games, he might actually have thought we WERE witches! I mean rocks, wood....cackling women... ahhh. We also gave him a tip on getting lucky - yeah I think we may have terrified him. :)

Anyway, the rocks & wood were from Lucy's trip to Forks, Washington (LA PUSH BEACH!!!) Yep she went with a huge group of TwilightMOMS and was kind enough to bring us back all kinds of goodies! Oh I could barely breathe. So awesome. We of course discussed the book, the movie, interviews, clips, pictures, all things Twilight. We also discussed a thousand other things, laughed, smiled, and just plain ole enjoyed ourselves. It was a blast. I cannot wait for our next evening out. Oh & Darlene - here is a shout out: NOW SIGN UP SO YOU CAN COMMENT!!! I love that you read my blog, thanks. Lucy - YOU TOO! :)

Halloween, Homecoming & A New Leader of the Free World

Okay. Well the last week has been full of activities. Halloween was nice. Normally we do something frightening, i.e. a scary house, scary movie, concert, something. This year? Not so much. Marcus does not like scary movies. Scary house, sure. So we had a few options for our viewing pleasure: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Prom Night (scary movie), or Kitt Kittredge: An All American Girl. Yes I know Kitt Kittredge. Yep he chose the little girl movie. LOL. No really it was too much to pass up seeing a film with such greats as: Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack, Julia Ormond, Chris O'Donnell, and of course Abigail Breslin. We found ourselves watching a movie that could be very indicative of times to come. The movie is set in the depression era and the viewer follows a little girl who dreams of being a reporter. Because times are tough her father loses his business and leaves to find work in neighboring Chicago. Kitt & her mother begin to take in Boarders. This is where the story gets even more interesting. The movie made me smile and cry. Perseverance, hope, determination, friends, and family is the mantra and I would say it is a mantra we need today. So for 2008's Halloween we watched a kid's movie, ate some shrimp boil with corn, onions, potatoes, sausage then we just vegged out. By the way the shrimp boil was delish! Easy as pie too. :)

Saturday Bama played Arkansas State and we finally had a blowout. Ark. St. 0 - Bama 35. YIPPEE!!! Tuscaloosa was crazy though! Hank Jr. had played Friday night and people were everywhere for his concert. The game always brings Alumni but with our year going well it brought twice as many. The sororities decorated as usual and I liked a good many of the designs. Their theme this year was A TIDE NATION: UNITED WITH PRIDE. Mary Ann, James, Rob, Regan, & Riley joined us for lunch and game festivities. It was a lot of fun.

Sunday found us being as lazy as possible. We cooked some baked salmon, shrimp, and some veggies. It was yummy!!!
Well as you all know yesterday we elected a new President. President Obama. Yep, Obama. Well I can honestly say that I did not agree with many of his positions. I also was not overly fond of McCain, but to be honest between the two I did like more of McCain's policies. But I woke up this morning discovering that this is who we as a people elected. Okay. So now I need to support our leader. To hope that he will plan well for my future, my children, & grandchildren. I pray that he finds the truth in his decisions, that he sees the realities of our struggles now & in the future of his term. I agree with Obama that this will not happen overnight, that it may not happen in his term, but I hope that whatever foundation he lays or builds on is one we will look back on and be proud of. If I don't agree with my president that is okay, it is my right,I can promise that had McCain won I would not have agreed with all of his policies as well and I would have had to say the same prayer for his term in office. We vote on these people to lead us, we vote on these people to help us, we vote on these people to listen to us, to try to understand us, and to find whatever is best for our nation. Pray with me that so many of us who voted against Obama will find him with traits worthy to support over the next four years.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another TV Spot....

My goodness the Twilight movie is almost here!!! YIPPEE!!!
Here is the latest TV Spot.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


FINALLY! They have a commercial on TV for the upcoming Twilight movie. I downloaded the link. Check it out!

Bama 29 - Tennessee 9

Well another gameday has come & gone. This one though is one of those important games. Tennessee may not be having the best year, but this game was a chance for them to have a big upset game against a bitter rival. Our rivalry with Auburn is just that: a rivalry. Our rivalry with Tennessee is much different. As an Alabama player stated: We have to hate Auburn they are our in state rival. We CHOOSE to hate Tennessee.

Tennessee & Bama truly hate each other. The song Rocky Top - yech! They play it constantly. Thankfully yesterday we did not only beat them but actually proved something to ourselves.We can play the 3rd & 4th quarter of a football game. We can step up to the plate, hold our own, & execute.In other words though we did hear Rocky Top a few times, it was quietly fading come the 3rd U & 4th quarters. Sure there are always areas of improvement or better thinking, but for the past year we have had issues late in the game. We come out blazing in the first & find ourselves sizzling out by the 4th. Yesterday, we found our ground. We stood on it & we continued to prove that we are not some odd BCS fluke team. We are ALABAMA. :)

I made some yummy goodies for this game. Some comfort food really. The weather has begun to cool off so warm foods are the tasty choice. I made a huge pot of chili, some BLTs & Club Sandwiches, Spinach/Bacon dip, & the cupcakes from last week. Though this week I perfected the cream for the inside. YUMMY! Marcus had requested the cupcakes again - Rob had only gotten one last week, but this week he got his fill :) They are so amazing. They may take a while to make, but boy are they worth it!!! Check out the pics right after I finished decorating them~Little Debbie eat your heart out! Look at the yummy creamy insides~~~mmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

Yesterday morning before all the game festivities I ran up to Hoover. COACH had sent me a $100 gift certificate (yes this is an indication that we shop there quite a bit :)lol) Anyway, the cert. was only good for 2 days & well I decided it would be silly to waste 100$ gift cert. I mean come on :) So I ran up to the galleria bought a few things from COACH then headed over to Linens & Things at Patton Creek. (the entire company, Linens & Things, is going out of business)It was like BLACK FRIDAY in there, people were throwing things everywhere, digging in bins, moving each other. It was nuts. I did get some new stuff for mine & Marcus' bathroom. A much needed new rug & shower curtain. As well as some new towels. I spent $50. The curtain alone was originally 79.00. I would have found more stuff, but with holiday shopping around the corner I will just wait for the craziness until then.

After that I grabbed a Blackberry Soda from Carinos & some combo nachos. If you have never had them you should: they are pasta chips covered in italian sausage, grilled chicken, black olives, onions, peppers, tomatoes, alfredo sauce, mozzarella, & parmesan cheese. OME! They are amazing. So I took the nachos home to Marcus for lunch & after that the games began! What a Saturday. Today I plan to curl up, relax & watch some old movies/tv shows. Marcus has to go into work, so Peanut & I will hold down the fort. Ahhh, another weekend. :) Stay warm.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Good night! I was visiting a blog tonight & found that they had a few countdown clocks:

37 days until Thanksgiving
64 Shopping days until Christmas

Where did I miss a few weeks? (oh yeah I did miss a few weeks of normal life, but that is beside the point) How on earth did my time just go by so quickly! 64 days until Christmas. CHRISTMAS!!! ARGGHHH!!! That means that a birthday for Marcus is merely 48 days away. He will be 29; a month from that it will be my birthday, but more than that it will be 2009.
Every year we say "My gosh this year has flown by." Every year we mean it, but for me this year truly has slipped out from under me.

I am a list maker. Someone who constantly writes down what she is to do that day, what she needs to pack for a trip, what she is planning, things she wants, things she doesn't want, pros/cons, whatever it is I list it. Now granted my list may take place on a notepad, envelope, sketch pad, back of my hand or even on a pair of old pants, but the list is there. Once written down my mind won't forget it or its order of importance. I had lists from last spring that won't be complete until next spring, I have lists from yesterday that won't ever be completed and then there are those that I will finish, file away, and begin a new one.

Well the holidays bring about all kinds of lists in our house. Tonight I realized that it was time to begin holiday 'idea lists'. You know the kind with recipes I might want to try, gift ideas for family/friends, crafting items, decorations that I want to add to the collection, dates of visitors around the holidays, holiday parties, Christmas cards, house upkeep things before I have visitors, I mean there are so many things that I list out this time of year. I feel so behind though. I normally start all these in August, at least idea lists, now though it is October. Not even October 1, but the 20th meaning I am only 11 days from November. Holy batwings, batman! I am freaking out here. :)

So as these countdowns continue my lists will grow & hopefully a few checkmarks will be found on the slips.

For now, I leave you with this list:
1. Make list of things to update around the house before holiday swing.
2. Make list of ideas for recipes
3. Make list of gift ideas
4. Make list of all holiday party dates
5. Make list of all holiday events to attend
6. Make list of all dates that visitors will arrive
7. Make list of all drinks that will make me calm through the holidays
8. Make list of all catering companies in case I lose it during the holidays
9. Make list of all retailers that will gift wrap if bought online so I don't get papercuts
10. Make list of all spas in the area - I will need to learn to breathe during the next 64 days :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sheldon's Smile

Okay I LOVE the show BIG BANG THEORY on CBS Monday nights. last week was by far one of the best episodes. the character Sheldon is a riot.

Anyway, I thought this clip was just hilarious & felt like sharing. If you don't watch this show you should.

Just click on the link to go to CBS' youtube site & watch the clip!

Bama 24- Ole Miss 20

Well, we sure do like to tease our fans! Actually we like to see how far cardiac arrest can go. Alabama won on Saturday, we are now 7-0, but I must say I really want to watch us pummel someone and be able to actually relax in the 2nd half. I mean relax in letting the other guys play & not worry about the opponent sneaking back up on us & almost winning in the end! Whew! Is that really too much to ask :)
Anyway, my house was interesting on this game day. My father called late Friday evening saying he had tickets for him, Eric, & Mindy to the game and was wondering if Marcus had any tickets. Well at the time he didn't. Then he gets a call from a friend who happens to have 2 tickets. So Marcus, Rob, Dad, Eric, & Mindy all went to the game. Mom & me stayed home to watch on Stevie the TV. Though I screamed so loudly at one point that my dog was terrified & ran under the couch, it was still a great deal of fun! Instead of cooking lunch I cooked dinner for everyone after the game. It was YUMMY!!! I also had made some chocolate cupcakes. Okay these are not just chocolate cupcakes; they were from scratch chocolate cupcakes filled with a from scratch white cream, then covered in chocolate ganache & decorated with leftover cream. OME!! THEY WERE AMAZING!! Marcus is clamoring for them to be next weekends dessert as well. I think he may have found his ultimate chocolate item in these cupcakes. :)
Sunday we were supposed to go to the Kentuck Festival in Northport. I wanted to go but we also have not been to the movies in forever. As you all know the TWILIGHT trailer is playing on certain movies so of course I went up to discover which ones...:) The manager said that it will be on more movies this coming up weekend but on Sunday it was on QUARANTINE, LAKEVIEW TERRACE, & SEX DRIVE. Okay well QUARANTINE is scary so Marcus won't watch it. LAKEVIEW TERRACE looked good (Samuel L. Jackson stars), then there is the ultimate college comedy SEX DRIVE. Okay we went to SEX DRIVE. lol. For those of you who do not watch National Lampoon or OLD SCHOOL or Van Wilder (the uncensored versions where the female breast appears as regular as the word dude) this movie is NOT for you. If you do watch those comedies then you will love this one. I have to say that I was not sure if I would like this guy comedy, but I laughed all the way through. Granted it is that guy-humor-college thing, but let me tell you funny. Again though if the aforementioned movie style is not your thing, then just watch the preview for Twilight & sneak into something else you want to see. :) As for my preview: AWESOME ON THE BIG SCREEN HYPERVENTILATED THROUGH MOST OF IT :)I was also ecstatic that before the previews began 3 of the COKE questions that flash on the screen were Twilight related.
After that we headed home & I grilled some salmon & made some yummy garlic potatoes! MMMMM...We caught up on Friday's TiVo and also some of our Sunday shows. It was all in all a great weekend. I enjoyed seeing family plus being able to just relax with Marcus on Sunday is always my number one favorite time!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Hobbies

Well I am one person who has a few hobbies. I read, write, draw, paint, shop, photography, blog, and now we add: quilting. Well at least it is definitely beginning quilting. It is fun though, thinking about fabrics, how the colors flow, much like painting. The big difference being that when I paint & misstep a line it can easily be painted over, well in quilting those irregular lines are going to have to add some character :)

There is nothing like enjoying a hobby. It releases you from the daily stress but can also add its own measure. I stressed last night over re-threading my bobbin. Yeah - Mom the "bobbin fairy" did not attend my home last night :( lol. But once everything got started it began to flow again. The fabric I chose is really pretty, shades of green squares interlocking with cream/pink/green patterned squares. I have always loved quilts and learning how to make them is important to me.

My heritage is peppered with people who enjoyed different methods of sewing. My mom's side of the family has a plethera of talents in this area, my mother being one of the best at anything sewing she touches. She might like to pretend that she is mediocre, but trust me she is so talented. My father's side does not lack for talent either. His mother made some of the most beautiful quilts. We are lucky to still have some of these heirlooms. That is something I want to create: heirlooms. Something like a quilt to keep my future family warm, to be able to look at and see a part of me. Now I hope that some of my artwork on canvas or paper is considered heirlooms to family one day, but a piece of fabric is like nothing else. It is okay to have the quilt in the corner that does not match all the decor, while a picture tends to need to meet with a room's flow. This first one might be one that says: Goodness she started rocky, but hopefully my progression will benefit not only my immediate creative needs but hold together for my family in the future. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ahh relaxing!

Well this weekend Bama was off. WOOHOO! As much as our household loves to watch the games, sometimes the relief from stress is just exactly what we need. :)
Friday night we grilled fish & shrimp and watched some TIVO-d shows. Saturday morning was crazy. I woke up a good bit nauseated (after effects still lingering from anesthesia & surgery I am told)so I did not make it to one calendar event I had. Thankfully by around 11 a.m. I began to feel much better. Marcus & I got dressed to head into Birmingham.
The Birmingham Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition of da Vinci's Sketches from the Biblioteca in Turin, Italy. This is a collection of about 12 pages from his sketchbooks & codex. They are amazing! This particular collection is a real jewel for Birmingham to have been able to host. These items are insanely unique & special to the collection in Turin. There are thumbnail sketches of machinery he was inventing, studies of men & horses, use of metalpoint (which is a terribly difficult medium due to that you cannot erase or correct a mistake), red chalk, & pen/ink. He was truly a master. I mean the Mona Lisa - yeah, but these are those quick sketches done when he found a subject. These show the skill. It is worth seeing if you get the chance.
After the museum we headed to Columbiana. Okay Columbiana has a race track - go carts. Now this is no "beach" go cart track. These monster can run 45-60 miles per hour. You have a neck brace, helmet, etc. on your body for protection. It is INSANE! We met up with Marcus' best friend Kerry. After about 30 minutes it was our session (session = 20 minutes for 25$). Um after session number 1, we were done. Intense is not even the proper wording. We then headed to Paw Paw's for some lunch. Yummy! It is an old restaurant in downtown Columbiana. Then the boys headed to Kerry's to watch football & headed to the Summit to meet up with a girl, Betsy, that Kerry is seeing to shop. Well I shopped, found some great buys (White House Black Market was having a great sale 40% off of the REDLINE!!, then Betsy & I decided we needed pedicures & massages. OOOOHHHH YEAHHHH!!! It was so good. :) Once I met back up with Marcus around 9 p.m. we went to dinner then home. OH what a good day. :)
Today is jammy day. In other words - the pajamas are the only clothes we are putting on & we are vowing not to leave the house all day! I plan to cook some fried chicken, corn, potatoes, & some homemade banana pudding. I have never done the pudding/custard from scratch, should be interesting. :) I hope everyone has a great remainder of the weekend!

Monday, October 6, 2008

30 minutes of old friend bliss!

This afternoon around 5:01 p.m. my phone rings. I am always excited to see Joe (my best friend from New York/Florida/North Carolina) pop up on caller ID. He is & always will be my Damn Yankee - I am his Southern Belle. Anyway, when I answer to my surprise he begins with: I am in Birmingham right now. Okay so Joe works for Books A Million & their headquarters are in Birmingham, he had a 1 day conference at the BJCC & it was today, he only has 30 minutes between meetings & a required dinner. He got into town late last night & tried to call me but my phone was dead from the weekend. So of course what do I do? I immediately call my husband tell him we are going to Birmingham & get home to head out the door. I have not seen Joe in person in 6.5 years. 6.5 YEARS!!!! We talk around 4 times a month, text when we can, play on facebook & myspace but it has been 6.5 years since we have spoken in person. I almost burst into tears when he rounded the corner at the Sheraton, it was like Florida all over again. He has not changed a bit - which is perfect. I was blown away by how much I had missed him, even with all the correspondence we work to keep often it is not the same. The three of us went up to his room to catch up & so he could change for the next event on his agenda. Their schedule was crazy, you should have seen how there was hardly any time between meetings/lectures. The coolest part though is the books they get copies of (almost all are signed by the authors) to take home.
I was flooded with memories of nights out late, crazy roommates, new experiences, lots of laughter, and even more love. He is one of the most amazing people I know. I am blessed to have 4 true best friends. They are all so unique & just wonderful. His place in my life was not only perfectly timed, but an addition that took me by surprise and brought me closer to who I am. He met me during a real searching for yourself period & loved me for all the craziness, naivete, sheltered, Alabama blonde that I am. I will never forget so many things - dance clubs, cigarettes (never smoked them myself - but I did like to light them on fire while sitting outside & my roommates would smoke - yeah smokers don't like you to waste their cigs for your own pyro habits :), chik fil a all the time, wakie*wakie*eggs*&*bakie*, no cheese at the Waffle House, Pleasure Island, Islands of Adventure, RENT, teaching someone how to pump gas (yes truly how to PUMP gas), & learning how to just let go.
Thank you Joe. You took me under your wing from the first moment I said armadillo & have kept me there ever since - I LOVE YOU!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Alabama 17 - Kentucky 14

Okay so this weekend was not so pretty for Bama. Well I guess everyone has bad hair - stuck in traffic - static cling - gum on your shoe days. They just had to have theirs in front of the Bamanation. We did beat Kentucky, though there were a few heart wrenching moments before the clock hit 00:00 in the fourth, but again, bad days happen. Either way we enter an off week and then we see Ole Miss - a team like Kentucky (strong, ready & wanting to win and prove their worth).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

ROLL TIDE ROLL: BAMA 41-Georgia 30

WOWSERS! This weekend was insanely wonderful. Though my body has decided to revolt - I had to spend Thursday afternoon at the DR. and half of Friday at home due to a bout with Bronchitis. Yeah - surgery definitely breaks down the immune system - I never get colds in the summer - January sure, September No.

Anyway, If you haven't heard Bama whooped Georgia Saturday night making a beautiful point in that we are not some fluke team but a force to be wary of. My house was fairly quiet even with the big win. Due to my unfortunate illness only Rob & Marcus were here to watch. Poor Marcus had to do all the cooking & preparing. He played hostess. I must say he did a great job - Rob & I both survived :)

Today we just chilled out & rested. My body, I think is getting better, though I did pull a muscle yesterday while coughing up a lung. No pain no gain, right? :)We caught up on some TiVo items & just enjoyed how pretty the weather was today. There are not enough lazy Sundays in a month are there?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Meet Me In St. Louis....

OME! This past weekend was wonderful. I flew up to St. Louis to visit one of my 'sisters', Tracy. Tracy has been through more than any person should ever have to experience yet when I saw her as I stepped out of the airport my breath left my chest and a huge smile spread over my face. She is as she always will be, an exuberant, shining star. I wanted to cry when I saw the crimson BAMA on her t-shirt and the smile on her face. I did not realize how much I had truly missed her. Before I knew it we were whisking to her new house - which is fabulous - eating a quick breakfast, see Izzy in a hilariously cute elephant Halloween costume, seeing her sister Leslie off to the airport, then getting ready to go Apple picking in Belleville, Illinois. Yeah in a span of approximately 3 hours I was on a plane leaving Birmingham, landing in St. Louis, then heading to Illinois. It was a whirlwind, but a fun one. Apple picking was fun, we wandered the orchards & visited the country store. It is a place called Eckert's, definitely appears to be something that is pretty popular in the area. Tracy & I gabbed the entire time (while also getting updates via my phone of the Bama/Arkansas game) and when Bama beat the mess out of Arkansas we proudly sang the fight song for anyone around us to hear!

Once we got home that evening we were tired but not ready for the day to end. I had promised Tracy that I would make my homemade fried chicken while I was visiting and it seemed we needed to head to the grocery store. Well, St. Charles (the area they live in) just happened to be having an Irish Festival & Arts Festival on Main Street.

Main Street St. Charles is adorable. It is a piece of Americana that is an architectural mixture that evokes New England streets while also paying homage to European roots. I was impressed. We of course shopped, but it was more than just hanging out & looking at items to purchase. Tracy was relaxed & able to just be. There was a moment in our discussions where I really believe she just let out a breath of air and sighed. It was a little bit of freedom & stress relief while not leaving reality behind. The best kind of relaxation. Escape can be wonderful, but sometimes staying in the moments and being able to appreciate where we are is a very special kind of escape. I so hope that I was able to help, to bring a little craziness with a spark of fun to a stressful month.

After the festival 'tour' we headed to the grocery store & back home. A wonderful boysenberry & blackberry pie was on the menu for Sunday dinner so we had to get it mixed together. Then there was the famous Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake, which we had no crust for so we had to eat it by the spoon out of the bowl. I know such torture, huh? :):):):)

Sunday was a full day as well with Church, the famous Courtney fried chicken extravaganza & an amazing 3 cheese mac&cheese by Tracy afternoon. Tracy shared a box of all of Brooklyn's belongings with me that evening. That little girl is so loved!! She is so beautiful - I cannot imagine the perfection that she is as the brightest of God's angels. Isabel of course made us laugh hysterically (see Tracy's blog for the story). Isabel is adorable. There is just nothing like hearing her repeat EVERYTHING you say. I don't think I kept the grins hidden enough when she was getting lightly scolded for a few things, but I mean - she is too darn cute.

For example we were at breakfast one morning and Isabel began saying "Mike, Mike, come here. Mike, Mike come here please!" Tracy tried not to laugh and told her to say Daddy come here, well that lasted a minute then she even switched to "Tracy, Tracy, come here." it was hilarious! She has really got such a personality, she talks and talks, and is super smart. Though she does think when she sees a koala bear she calls it Dad... yeah. :) Her little 'roar' for lion is just too much - though during church it is priceless :)

(Oh yeah - Aunt Leslie - ROLL TIDE - NO DUCKS!)

Monday, Tracy & I wandered around St. Charles again and really just relaxed, shopped, acted all girly, and just had a girl’s day. It was perfect. Saying goodbye was not easy. I really did not want to leave her, but I know that Jose & Juannanita will need a job so Mike, just make sure Jose trims the edges around the sidewalk & know that little Juannanita has small hands (use her only for tight spaces & small jobs :) Don't worry the pool boy will have his hands full....