Anniversary 2.0

Deric asked me a few weeks back if I had anything in mind for our anniversary, to which I replied no. He then said, "Well, what if we did something like Texas Roadhouse and a movie, maybe the Sunsphere....you know, like a repeat of our first date?" I loved the idea, so it was settled. We ended up nixing the Sunsphere (where Deric proposed to me) because dinner + a movie took up the evening as it was.

A low-key and sentimental evening sounded perfect to both of us so we went on our merry way to the Roadhouse and proceeded to eat our weight in rolls and cinnamon butter (sigh...). Almost as an afterthought, I remembered to pull out the real camera (rather than my phone) and document the evening-- our only tradition so far for anniversaries. Honestly, neither of us wanted to take pics-- it was already after 6:00, it was still in the 90's, and those rolls were waiting for us. But you'd never know that from our smilin' faces! A few self-timed pictures later and we were in the blessedly air-conditioned car on our way to dinner. 

We talked over dinner about the four years we've been together--two dating/engaged, two married. The dating period is already getting foggy in my memory, but Deric remembers many more details than I do and it was fun to relive them. Like our first "date", the reason for Texas Roadhouse and a movie. About a month before we actually started dating, my roommate and a few friends put together a surprise birthday dinner for me at the Roadhouse. Deric's job was to entertain me for a few hours prior to the dinner and somehow get me out to the specific Texas Roadhouse they'd chosen. So Deric and I went to see Vantage Point, which I assumed was all we had in store for the evening. On the way out of the theater, Deric mentioned he was really hungry and do I mind if we stop to get dinner? I was already on cloud nine seeing as he'd invited me to the movies, so the prospect of dinner had me on cloud ten (if there is one...). He said he's really in the mood for a steak and he knows there's a Texas Roadhouse near the theater somewhere, so he drove around the shopping center for a few minutes before we found it. On the way in, I noticed my best friend's car in the parking lot and mentioned it to Deric, saying something like "What are the odds that Mandy's here tonight too??". (At this point, Deric said he was sweating bullets that I'd figure it out, but he needn't have worried...I can be an idiot.) We walked in the restaurant, the hostess ruined the surprise when she asked if we're with the birthday party in the back, and I can't remember the rest of the night. ;) But it was a good one, I do know that!

Now, the restaurant and movie theater we went to that night were on the clear opposite side of Knoxville from our school, and it was the only time I ever went out that way--same for Deric. Ironically, we now live less than two minutes from that shopping center. We can actually walk there. Its funny to think we sorta ended up where we started, huh?

Here's to fifty million more years together!



Two Years Already?

Its hard to believe its already been two years since Deric and I got married. But I think I say its "hard to believe" for everything...hard to believe its already the end of June, hard to believe we've been in TN for a year, hard to believe I'm already 24...basically, time just seriously flies when you grow up (yet high school has to last literally forever).

Anyways, these two years have been the happiest of my life. Deric makes me laugh every day. My favorite part of the day is in the evening when Deric comes home, all (or most) of the day's work is done and we can just spend time together. We're partying it up tonight, back with details about our not-too-fancy-but-sentimental date later!

1. First picture as a couple 2. Christmas in Thailand 
3. Wedding day 4. One year anniversary



I drove up to Indiana last Sunday to spend the week with Courtney and Isaac. I was recruited to help with house projects before the new baby comes, to help entertain Isaac, and to keep Court sane while Tim was out of town for the week...so not really a vacation, but it was still fun! I also went to Courtney's Zumba class, which was way more fun than running in the heat. (I'm now looking for Zumba classes in Knoxville, Court, be proud.)

Our projects for the week included sorting baby girl clothes (she'll be good to go for the next 18 years!), painting Isaac's big boy room, and painting the master bedroom. That's quite a workload for only three full days, but we got it all done--and mostly during nap time. We also managed to find time for ice cream (twice), swimming with friends, baseball in the backyard, and the splash park. I got home late last night and (naturally) slept in today to recover. :)

I couldn't resist snapping a million pictures of Isaac throughout the week. He's just so darn cute!
1. Cooling off his noodles 2. Blue Moon ice cream (and wow does he look like Tim!) 3. baseball in the backyard 4. "down, set, hike!" 5. splash park...for 3 minutes 6. stories before bedtime 7. breakfast buddy 8. ready for the library with his backpack 9. Mom's belly is a nice place to sit 10. funny faces 11. all good pirates use two swords 12. 'painting' 13. ordering ice cream in his skivvies 14. playing cars 15. as soon as i told him Mom was on her way home, he yelled "HIDE!" and dove behind the chair


A (Fairly) Typical Weekend

1// Buffalo Wild Wings to watch NBA games (Deric gets wings; I get ice cream) 2// berry picking with friends and their little ones ($5 for 2 pounds!) 3// bonfire on Friday night 4// our first tomato from the garden 5// loads of laundry 6// summer dinner in the backyard 7// Madagascar 3 8// new hair! first time ever with bangs and I looovee them. Sure beats trying to keep my hair outta my face.


Late Night Baking

The absence of a dishwasher in our house really curbs my desire to bake. Scraping the hardened dough off mixing bowls, spatulas and the mixing paddle...no thank you. On the rare occasions that I do bake, however, I usually bake more than one thing. All the dishes are gettin' dirty anyways, so I try to make the most of it.

Monday night, the desire to bake hit me around 10pm. After a quick run to Kroger for eggs, I got to baking. First up was banana bread, which Deric loves and I hate. (Made the house smell soo good though!) After that came strawberry yogurt muffins in order to use up some strawberries almost on their last legs. Deric gave the banana bread a 10; I gave the muffins a 9. Two new recipes conquered and added to my repertoire. I love it when that happens!



Lazy River

Deric and I went tubing yesterday with Chad and his mom, who was visiting from Florida. Deric and I have never gone tubing while we've lived in Tennessee...and I've never even thought of it when looking for things to do in the area. We drove on up to Townsend, a little town not far from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, donned our swimsuits and grabbed some bright yellow tubes, and we were off. A 1.5 mile stretch takes about an hour and a half of leisurely floating. The river was a good mix of very calm waters interspersed with "rapids"--nothing major, but enough to spray you with icy cold water and keep things interesting. Chad and his mom were brave enough to jump off the rope swing, but Deric and I couldn't fathom how cold that water would feel. After all, my toes were numb just from occasionally skimming the water.
We couldn't have picked a better day for our adventure. Clear skies, 80 degrees-- it was one of those perfectly relaxing days that just wears you right out! (Side note: It killed me to leave my camera behind while floating! It was a gorgeous river and a gorgeous day.)



Grow, Garden, Grow!

Just a quick update on how things are looking in our garden. (Partially so that next year, I know what to expect; partially because I'm just so proud of our little plants for not only surviving, but actually producing something!) Since the last update, I haven't noticed much growth in the height of the plants but thats probably because they're all working hard to produce some baby veggies. The tomatoes are taking off and we've got tons that are green. Only one starting to turn red so far, but I'm sure the rest will catch up.

Not pictured: The green onions are growing white on the tips, which I take as a good sign cause that's what the green onions at Walmart look like. Watermelon seeds sprouted but are still only about three inches tall. Time will tell. The corn is above my knees and almost to Deric's, so its right on track to be "knee high by the fourth of July" as the saying goes. No visible progress on the peppers, but they at least still look healthy.

As for the green beans, we've already picked a few and popped them right in our mouth! Nothing's better than straight-outta-the-garden crunchy green beans. That was on Saturday; already (Wednesday) there's a ton more beans ready to take their place.

Lastly, I bought two more strawberry plants yesterday to take the place of our strawberry transplant that didn't survive. I stuck the new plants in separate planters to give them some space. I'm crossing my fingers that these ones survive and give us strawberries for strawberry pie!