A Three Visitor Weekend

If you don’t already know this about me, please let me tell you again: I think I have the (hands down) greatest friends in the world. Two of my Lynchburg College friends will be visiting this weekend, and I'm just tickled pink with excitement! In case you didn’t realize, “this weekend” means tonight – as in, Siobhan, I will see you in about 10 hours! And Sarah, I will see you in 10 more!

These girls really amaze me. Siobhan is moving out to California. (Let us pause to say, “Wow, Siobs! California!) Before leaving for California, she has decided to make a few pit stops to visit friends up and down the east coast. Yes, as in – she is driving – to us – completely out of her way – in the wrong direction – for one last visit. How generous, kind, sweet, unthinkably wonderful is this? And Maryland to Charlotte isn’t just a little scoot across town, you know?

And then! Sarah! Oh, Sarah! Is flying to Charlotte to then drive across the country with Siobhan! How fun! How generous, kind, sweet, unthinkably wonderful is this? You girls are going to have a blast. And thank you, thank you for adding me to your list of visits. I’m so overwhelmed by all of this love.

And then! Kellie! Ms. Kellie! Is coming this weekend too! She is a more frequent visitor/soon-to-be-resident of the Queen City. I hope you find out your moving date soon so I can make a paper chain to count down the days. Charlotte just isn’t the same without you!

I can’t wait to see all three of you. Sushi, sun, shopping, and dancing are all on the list. I love you, my sweet, sweet friends!



One thing we are really good at is: Eating just baked cookies in bed. We pretty much have this skill mastered. Cookies can be replaced with brownies or ice-cream –anything, really – as long as it is sweet. The eating is to be accompanied by a big glass of milk, a tv show (or 3), cozy pajama pants, and a snuggly blanket. It makes my heart, soul, (and belly) smile.

And have you kissed YOUR cookie-loving-honey today?


Happy 100!

Break out the balloons, kazoos, and tigers – it’s my 100th post! Did you think it'd come this fast?  I thought a lot about what I could do and say – you know, something clever involving the number 100 or a centennial of sorts. This is to say – I thought a lot about it prior to today, like weeks prior to today, and thought nothing of it when the time actually came to get down to business. All I can think about today is: change. Not your every day quarters, nickels, and dimes, but real change. It’s something I’ve been craving for a while now – I can feel it in my bones, my veins, my soul – and it’s been overwhelming my day dreams and thoughts that drift off to nowhere. The problem is: I have no idea what kind of change I need, want, or will pursue. And I have very little ambition to make this mysterious change or figure out exactly what it is.

Dear Ambition,
Where did you go? And have you ever really been here?

This isn’t like the time when I chopped off thirteen inches of my hair or when I decided to join the gym or when I started eating tomatoes. It’s a bigger tug on my heart that is saying, “You need to do this,” but the “this” is a big white blob of unknown. And so it’s got me feeling almost melancholy (a word that reminds me a lot of cauliflower and a feeling that I never really have). So what is going on here? Do you know? Am I having a quarter life crisis? Should I go buy a robin’s egg blue moped with a matching helmet? Get a pedicure and paint my toenails sunshine yellow? Eat an entire carton of ice-cream? (Oh wait, that I have already done this week.) Maybe I should just cuddle up and reread Harry Potter.

Any suggestions? Happy 100!  And happy second to last day of grad school!


A Letter To Rex

Dear Rex,

I love your simple little life. You wear the same thing every day and greet me excitedly at the door whenever I come home. For at least two of your three years of life, you have eaten the same exact thing for every meal that has nourished your 12 pound body. You are extra snuggly – just as I requested – and love to sleep cuddled up to my side, in between my legs, or next to my face. I love how happy you are when people come over to visit and how kind you are to strangers. Any lap is a good lap for you, but I know you have your favorites. You give the best kitty kisses of sweet little licks with your sand paper tongue. And even though you sometimes drive me crazy, your insistence on playing fetch always makes me giggle and wins me over. If I leave you for more than 24 hours, I am always thinking about you (ask Ryan), and I love coming home to you and all of the toys that you have taken out of your toy basket. Your passion for eating bugs (though not contagious) is very helpful around the house, and your little pre-pounce butt wiggle is pretty darn cute. My favorite time of the day is when you sit on the bathroom counter watching me get ready, eating hair ties, knocking all of my items on the floor, and carrying around q-tips in your mouth. I even love you when you chew on the velcro of my laptop cord and stand on my keyboard when I am trying to type. Oh, to be so easily entertained. I was wondering if you wanted to trade lives for a little while – you really like people food, drinking out of glasses, and folding laundry, and I really like taking tiger snoozes in the sunshine … this will work out great. I’ll leave you a list of things you’ll need to do for my work and school. Come on, Rex, you can do it. Circle yes or no.

Me (Your Human Mother)



After a busy weekend filled with all kinds of celebrations, I’m ready to share a song with you. On Sunday I headed over to my sister’s house to spend some delayed birthday time with her, visit with my mom, and play with Alekzander. We shopped for babies – not actual babies, but baby things – shopped for ourselves, made mermaid hair, ate dinner, and ate yummy ice cream cake (a staple in the Markovitch family birthday traditions). I’d been craving ice cream cake, so it was very convenient for Ashley to turn 28 on Saturday. Andrew came home from disc golf and grilled (yes, grilled) pierogies, which were beyond delicious.

Oh, so you’re wondering about the song? Hanging out with a 5 month old makes you realize you can sing a song about anything! And it’s so much fun! It really changes your attitude and makes you giggle while you’re walking the aisles of World Market, waiting for your sister to decide how to spend her $10 gift card. And here it is … the world debut of “OKSM” – I’ll let you figure out what that stands for. Please sing this to the tune of “Frère Jacques”:

Alekzander, Alekzander
Déjà vu, Déjà vu
Oriental kittens, Siamese mittens
Déjà vu … Déjà vu

Also, it is a unanimous decision that I should change my name to Te$Ha (you know, like Ke$Ha) and wear an Indian headdress and black body suit for Halloween this year. Have you seen this? It’s hypnotizing.


The Wolfes

Yesterday these two sweet people signed up to love each other for the rest of their lives.

They had a beautiful ceremony up at Lake Norman.  We celebrated, we danced, we watched them start their happily ever after.  Doesn't she look like a fairy tale princess?  I’m so happy for the two of them!Congratulations to Chris and Jason Wolfe!


A Sister Birthday

Today is my sister’s birthday. I really like her a lot. I really like her baby a lot, too. And her husband, he’s pretty swell as well! Ashley’s got a lot of good things going in her happy little mommy world. She’s my not-so-opposite polar opposite and I love her for that. It took us a while to figure this sister thing out, but one day it just clicked. I can’t remember what day it was, but I assure you, it was a good one. Now I like to bug her every day by calling her incessantly until she answers and hogging her baby whenever we see one another. Ashley gave up sweets for lent. Can you imagine? I’m so proud of her. And she ran a 5k a few months after birthing a child. Can you imagine? Me neither – heck, I can’t even imagine running from my condo to the nearest stop sign. Ashley likes chick peas and feeds her baby avocadoes. Sometimes he has lime green spit up, which he probably thinks is pretty cool. Ashley wore a jean jumper in 6th grade and had a really pretty perm in college. One time I borrowed (without asking) her white t-shirt with brown teddy bears on it, and that very same day I fell down and broke my wrist and my two front teeth. Karma. Ashley has the best hair color in the world. It is called: regular dark brown. I’ve asked her if she wanted to trade hair with me, and she said “No. I don’t want your mousey light brown gray ash blah hair color, I’m going to live happily ever after with my fabulous regular dark brown shiny hair. So there.” Okay, so she didn’t say this, but she did deny my request. Ashley is also really smart in ways that I am not. She actually studied in college, which I think was probably a really good idea. Did I mention her adorable baby? Ashley introduced me to Phase 10 – the best game ever – and she likes to eat goldfish (and whales) with her red wine just like me. She is inspirational and sweet and never interrupts when you are telling a story. Ashley has always been independent, which must be how our parents raised us to be – thank you, Mom and Dad. Sometimes she is as quiet as a mouse, and other times she has lots to say. My favorite thing about Ashley (besides her baby) is her laugh. She thinks a lot of things are really funny. I mean really funny. And it’s like when she has a funny thing in her head, she just can’t do anything else besides laugh. She can’t even talk. And she laughs so hard that she cries and then she tells the story that she thinks is so funny, and usually it really isn’t so funny, but we all laugh and laugh because she is laughing so hard that everything just becomes funny. One day we are going to live closer to each other and let our kids trace their shadows in chalk and dance on picnic tables. And then we’ll grow old and gray, and I won’t have to worry about her having the better hair color anymore. Happy birthday, Ashley! I hope you’re having a wonderful day at the horse races! I love you!

And do you still love your ice-cream cone card? Circle yes or no. Give it back if you circled no.


Dress Fairy

Dear Dress Fairy,

Could you please bring me any or all of these dresses? I’d love to wear them and I will give you full credit for providing them for me. Can’t you see me gallivanting around town in my four new dresses and strappy sandals this spring? Did I mention that I have been very good? I mean really good. I even got a 100 on my grad school paper – that’s worth at least one dress, right? And surely I’ve done some other good things like eating all my vegetables, taking my vitamins, going to kick boxing twice a week, remembering to feed my cat, and folding my laundry (even though it is currently in a pile on my living room floor). Please send all dresses to my home address. If you have jewelry or sandals that you think should be worn with said dresses, please feel free to send them as well.  Also, do you have any tips for training a cat?  Mine is really bad.  And he ate a wasp today.

Much love,


Reason #7911

Today Alekzander sent Ryan an email. It was maybe the cutest email I’ve ever read. That is, until I read Ryan’s response to him.

Why I love my boyfriend – Reason #7911:

Dear Ryan,

 My mommy says its a good thing that I can't read yet. I am wearing the shirt you bought me that says "I pulled an all nighter"! I am actually sleeping all the way through the night. Are you?

 See you soon.

 Love, Alekzander

(Courtesy of Alekzander's Email and Ashley)

The response:

Dear Alekzander,

Could your eyes be anymore blue! It is going to be hard to keep the girls away with eyes like yours.

I'm not sure if it's a good look or not, but I stick my tongue out for pictures just like you do!

I'm glad you are sleeping through the night these days. When you grow up the phrase "pulling an all nighter" may take on a different meaning for you. You can ask your dad or your "uncle in practice" about what that phrase really means.

Thanks for the note and I'll see you soon!


PS - I don't sleep too well these days, so do me a favor and catch some extra winks for me!



In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them.
(Brian Andreas)


Love Languages

Pretty recently, I read a book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Despite it being poorly written – maybe you can look past this if you didn’t spend four years studying creative writing in college – it was a very insightful and useful book for those in, and even out, of love. 5LLs came highly recommended by my sister and Ryan’s friend Susan, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Plus, being able to borrow a book puts it very high on my “to read” list, and my sister had a copy that she happily lent to me. I’m always torn between borrowing/buying/renting books (you know, from the library). I love free things, so it should be an easy choice, but I maybe equally love my bookshelf and the books that sit on it. Anywho, 5LLs was a borrowed book, and I read it in about 24 hours, which proves that it was pretty darn good and kept my interest throughout.

The 5LLs are:
• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Receiving Gifts
• Acts of Service
• Physical Touch

There is a quiz in the back that helps you identify which love language you speak, but I kind of disagreed with it. Maybe just because my results weren’t what I expected/wanted them to be. Quality time is an obvious one for me, but I didn’t expect words of affirmation to be so high on my list. When I told this to my brother-in-law and sister, I got a “What do you mean you didn’t expect that to be high on your list?! You definitely NEED and LOVE words of affirmation!” type of response. So. There’s that. And the picture up top – the one that looks like we are having a serious discussion … maybe even a mini-argument – nope, that’s me asking/begging/pleading for words of affirmation. I’m not sure how this moment got captured on camera, but I remember exactly what words were being exchanged. I was having one of my many self-conscious, unconfident moments and Ryan was consoling me with sweet words. PROOF.

What’s your love language? You can ask your loved one if you can’t guess it yourself, and there are a whole slew of quizzes online. Or you can buy, read, and then share the book with someone special. I recommend it.


Losing Wisdom

Once upon a time, I got my wisdom teeth removed. Ryan just recently got his removed, but I promised I would keep the details of his post-anesthesia actions and words to myself. So here’s what happened to me:

Gruffalo (then known as “Dad”) took me to my early appointment on a Friday morning. Dad was always the designated care giver when it came to emergency injuries and surgeries because my mom threw up in the doctor’s office when I broke my two front teeth and my wrist when I was ten. I wasn’t nervous at all, and when I went to the back room and got all hooked up to the IV, they told me to close my eyes and go spend some time on the beach. So I did. Then I woke up and the nurse and doctor and Gruffalo were there, and I think I was there too, but that part isn’t really clear. I remember getting in the car and asking my dad – multiple times – if I said thank you to all the nurses and the doctor, because I thought they did a really good job. When it was evident that I wasn’t really communicating this, I realized that I had giant cotton chunks in my mouth, muffling my words. Cotton balls, swabs, squares – anythings – really gross me out. Especially when it is of the medical variety or on top of the bottle of asprin, because you can hear the cotton squeak in between your fingertips. Yuck! So, although I was thoroughly disgusted with the cotton situation in my mouth, I continued to try to talk to my dad. Apparently I had a lot to say, and thought it was pretty urgent information. So I wrote it down. And my dad laughed and shook his head yes and sometimes no. And then I think I slept for 93 hours and had hallucinations of my teeth rotting out. When I woke up with my head screwed on straight, we looked at the notes that I had written to my dad. Remember when you were 6 and pretended to write in cursive by making squiggly lines across the paper? That’s what they looked like. No wonder he was laughing at me!

I thought I might die that weekend. Ryan has done a much better job than I did. And he realized he likes applesauce. This is good news. He also ate two cups of strawberry yogurt in one day, which is also good news. Now we have two more things we can eat together. I’m pleased. Yogurt is a staple in my diet, and I’d love to share a cup with him.


Easter Leftovers

Leftovers really aren’t my thing. Even as a kid, I could tell if the macaroni and cheese was from yesterday’s lunch, and I didn’t like it if it was. Ryan doesn’t like leftovers either. He won’t even eat a piece of pizza if it’s been sitting in the fridge for six hours. I, too, would probably pass – unless it was Gruffalo’s homemade pizza like we had on Good Friday. Speaking of, here are some Easter leftovers:

These leftover Easter snapshots make my heart happy. I just can’t get enough of that little one. Or that big one. Especially when he’s playing with that little one.


Ice-Cream Story

I told you about the fun I have making worksheets. I really love it. I think the joy comes from turning a blah white screen into a screen full of colorful images and thought worthy activities. This is my most recent “picture story” creation for ESL students to practice speaking and telling a story with a beginning, middle, end, characters, and setting.

It makes me giggle. Pink-striped girl’s facial expression is perfect. She’s so pleased with herself for having enough money to go to the ice-cream shop to fulfill her craving. And then she runs into her sweet little friend who is wearing a “recycle” shirt. They get their ice-cream and bid adieu. What would you name them? Would you want the cone or the ice-cream on a stick? The sticks always grossed me out because they made everything taste like wood – I think they should probably start using recyclable plastic sticks for such delicacies. Don’t you want to go make your own picture story now?

Even though this is the 3rd Friday of the week, it has been a very good one. I saw Ryan three nights in a row – a record as of late! – and now I’m not ready for that to stop. One more? Six more? 79,827 more? After kickboxing, I wanted to walk to Jimmy John’s for a veggie sandwich and Ryan wanted to stop by Live After 5 to say hi to some friends. Live After 5 is an outdoor live music event every Thursday evening in the spring and summer. So … two hours and no sandwich later, we get back to Ryan’s. It was good. And fun. And unexpected. This is what happens in the spring. You have three really fantastic nights in a row, then a wonderfully busy weekend, then you wonder where the month has gone. (Ryan did feed me, by the way. Pita Pit delivers. Even at 10:30pm. And they have yummy garden pitas and baked barbeque chips.  AND, I even have my own carton of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream at Ryan's house!)

Also, I am a horrible mother. I didn’t spend but 30 minutes with Rex on his birthday yesterday. We’ll celebrate tonight. I don’t think he’ll know the difference. Major snuggle session, treats, and cat nip are on our to-do list tonight. We might even share a bowl of edemame!


Rex's Birthday (Tax Day)

The Bulls won!
Ryan is happy.
My mom started a blog!
Today is Rex’s birthday.
Kickboxing is tonight at 6:30.
We will do 300 squats in a row.
And not be able to sit tomorrow.
I made a worksheet.
About Rex.
It’s for class.
I love making worksheets.
It’s maybe the only think I like about grad school right now.
Do you need anything from Target?
It’s been a while since I’ve been.
Like 5 days maybe.
My friend Stacey is really into sewing.
She’s having a baby.
And making all kinds of things!
I wish I knew how.
To sew.
I know where babies come from.
Do you know where I can buy gray nail polish?
The answer is not Target or Ulta.
Today feels like Friday.
Yesterday felt like Friday.
I was wrong about the big rain.
It was just a cold front.
Tomorrow is Friday.
Glorious, glorious weekend.
I love you.


Big Rain Wednesday

Here are some Wednesday flavored scoops:

1. It feels like rain. Big rain. Even inside in my windowless office, my bones can feel the big rain coming.

2. I love the smell of Staples (the store – not the little metal fasteners). I’ve always loved school supplies, and Staples overwhelms you with fresh plastic binder scent. Do you think I can purchase it in an aerosol spray?

3. Have I told you about the cows? They are dark brownish black and live across the street from me. This is Lake Norman and my neighbors have about 38 cows just hanging out. They are silent cows, not moo cows, and they do not smell. Maybe if you stuck your nose right up to them they would smell, but my air doesn’t smell like cow poo or anything. They were all taking tiger snoozes when I drove past them today.

4. We are going to the Chicago Bulls game tonight. More appropriately called the Charlotte Bobcats game since we live here, but I know who Ryan wants to win, and their mascot is not the Bobcat. Andrew is coming too. We’ll miss you, Ashley Pants!

5. There are only two or three more classes left in the semester. Do you know how much I dislike grad school right now? Call me if you want to hear all about it.

6. My arms are still peeling from my Arapahoe sunburn.

7. Ryan came over last night and we spent two hours cooking, eating, and talking before we turned on the television. Love that.

8. Rex makes “human English” noises – according to Ryan. This is opposed to “cat English” noises, which are totally not impressive.

9. Yesterday I made an eye appointment.  I'm still so very pleased with myself when I do responsible adult things like that.  I'm going to see if I can get/wear/tolerate contacts so that I don't have to spend 45 hours a week with black plastic on my face (you know ... wearing glasses).

The End.


Magnetic Happiness

My dad and the Easter Bunny worked hand in hand to make me this fabulous magnet board. I really love it.

It has been sitting in a corner, patiently awaiting its magnetic letter friends since I returned from my Arapahoe adventure, and last night I finally decided to make them! I used old scrabble tiles that I ordered from Ebay (I hate Ebay, so I always just look at the “Buy Now” options) and some left over cardboard critters from my sister’s baby shower invites. As far as the critters are concerned, I have: a gruffalo, a butterfly, 2 kittens, a goldfish in a bowl, a crab/lobster, and a swordfish. I’m very pleased with them; they make me giggle. And I can write love notes and all kinds of silly somethings with my scrabble letters.

On the other side of the magnetic board, there is a handy calendar with a fantastic crown-wearing bird at the top. Really – could this be any better? Yes! Because it is still a little less finished than I would like, I’ve permanently borrowed a mini-dictionary that I’m going to vandalize. After the vandalization occurs, I will make a background of dictionary pages on the plain side of the board. It will be perfect.

Mom – are you sad you gave yours to Ashley? I bet you are. Hopefully you aren’t dreaming about it.


Play Date

This weekend I wished and wished for a play date. Although I did have a handsome brunch date on Sunday, it just wasn’t quite what I had in mind. But, this sweet-little-chubby-cheek-face-eater was:

I was beyond thrilled to see Alekzander and Ashley during my lunch break today! What a great start to my week! Ashley and I sat on the floor and ate white beans, yellow carrots, and spinach while we watched our babies (Alekzander and Rex) wiggle and wriggle around on the carpet. I finally was able to share my chocolate chip cookies, and I’m so thankful that they are out of my house and will soon be into the belly of someone other than me. I certainly had more of my share while I basked in my loneliness this weekend. Why do I do that?!

And how do you feel about my dead plant? Can you tell that it is dead? Maybe it isn’t. But it is in a permanent pre-death state.

My gas was turned off this morning “for repairs”, and I had to make an appointment to get it turned back on. Stupid. And then the Gasman told me he had to look at my water heater, so I said “Humph!” and emptied out my mini-closet (which has a closet door inside it). Annoying. And so, I showed him my water heater. “Hmm … this isn’t your water heater. It’s probably outside.” Well then, Mr. Gasman, why the heck did you let me empty out my regular heater closet-closet if you knew the water heater closet was outside!? Also, I had told him that I left the outside door unlocked just in case he got there before me - because I know this is where my water heater lives! Confusing. Then he tried to chat me up! Rude. Then Rex bit him. See ya.

(Please note: The entire Gasman story was told just so I could let you know that I watered my pre-death plant while I ran home to meet him.)


Peace Out, Toast!

Sometimes I get mad at Rex for playing with the strings on my blinds. He does it for attention, and it always works. I can’t stand the tapping of the plastic pulls against the walls, so I inevitably get up to get him and he makes a great game of it. Today, I decided to sit back and observe the blind string game and I realized that it actually is a lot of fun for Rex and his kitty paws. He had them going in circles and I’m pretty positive that the purpose of the game was to knock them over the handle of my back door, which he did. And then he carried on with his other very important cat activities – like taking a tiger snooze and putting his paws underneath my laptop and resting his chin on some buttons.

Nobody came over for cookies today – party poopers! – but I did have a lovely brunch date with my favorite person. Ryan and I met at this sweet little Huntersville house-turned-restaurant called Toast. I drove right past it, and when I turned around, I wasn’t really sure where I was. I knew where I was supposed to be, but something just didn’t feel right. I pulled into the back parking lot next to Ryan’s Jeep, and figured he was already inside getting our table. So I get out, and there he is, walking toward me. The front parking lot is eerily empty for a Sunday. Hmm. Toast is closed. Shut down. Over. No more. This was a big bummer for us, but we made the most of the moment and stood in the sunshine and hugged. We hugged and hugged and hugged and it was the yummiest brunch-time hug ever. Peace out, Toast. We hope you are in a better place now.

We decided to go to Panera and then migrated over to Northlake Mall. We were window shoppers today and I took mental notes of all the fabulous things that I’m going to buy when I win the lottery. The list includes things that really aren’t that fabulous (like $25 Nike running shorts). Actually, I think that’s the list. Right there. One item. I’m doing good. I haven’t been clothes shopping in a long long time, and I don’t even really have that itch. It might come soon though because I need a haircut. And everyone needs a new outfit, new mascara, and new blush when they get a haircut. Obviously.

About my chores from yesterday … they may or may not get done. It’s too Sunday of a Sunday to busy myself with that nonsense. You know?


Knitting A Kitten Friend

Were you confused? Did you think we skipped right over spring and stepped right into summer? Me too. Being in Tennessee yesterday and today gave me a good taste of spring mountain air, and I thought I’d disappointed coming back to the 90 degree Lake Norman weather. Not the case, my friends – I’ve got a cool breeze blowing through my living room right now – cool enough to be wearing a long sleeve shirt and have two blankets over my little leggies! I love it. Rex loves it. We are smiling.

After the sale this morning, I came home and took an extra large tiger snooze. There’s something about the combination of walking mountain property, sunshine, stress, eating four pieces of Mellow Mushroom pizza (yum!), and driving that is just completely exhausting! So, my suitcase is still unpacked, laundry still needs to be folded, and there is proof of Rex shedding his winter coat all over my carpets. Today he had a 20 minute fur brushing sessions and shed enough for me to knit him a kitten friend. Don’t worry – my tasks will still be here in the morning, so I can do them then. I also need to give my car a little attention and try to wipe off the pollen that snuck inside.  Don't you hate that?  The pollen has been insane this season.  Let's wish it away.  Okay, ready, and ... wish! Do you want to come over tomorrow to play? I could use a play date I think. I even have chocolate chip cookies to share. Okay great! So I’ll see you at 12:30 then.

And do you remember Heather, who is totally in love? Well … she’s ENGAGED! Congratulations and happy happies to Heather and Phil! I can’t wait to hear about their adventures together! I love love!


Lake Watauga

Today I am going here for work.

Do you love it?

It's what we do.



Ryan and I celebrated our thirteenth 7th last night. For our second year together, we decided that we would try a new restaurant on the 7th of each month. We have a habit of loving what we know, which means we frequent the same few places: Brixx, Liberetto’s, Black Finn, Pita Pit, and a small handful of others. Last night we dined at Aria, a new Tuscan restaurant on Trade Street – just a quick hop skip and a jump away from Ryan’s place. We walked over around 8:30 and chatted it up with a very friendly security guard who took our photo and suggested we try eating at Aria, which, hey!, we were! The décor was fabulous and it was quiet but trendy in a classy way. We had a bottle of wine that was suggested by our server, and although it had a funny aftertaste, not a drop went to waste. Plus, there was a “T” – for Tessa and Taylor (obviously) – on the top of the bottle. Ryan had an antipasto for an appetizer and I picked at the bread and a yummy white bean/olive oil concoction. For dinner we went basic, splitting a tomato and mozzarella pizza with yummy and crunchy thin crust. We’ve both already picked out what we’ll try next time when we go with bigger appetites and more adventurous bellies.

Now we get to start planning for May 7th – the second of our second twelve sevenths! Suggestions are welcome – just remember our pickiness.

And a happiest of birthdays to my favorite BIL, Andrew!


The Letter L

Today is brought to you by the letter “L”. You know, for Love. And Laughter. And Living. But mostly the “L” is for Love.

My sweetest of sweet friends, Heather, is off gallivanting with the love of her life, Phil, who is home from Iraq for R&R. Their visit has been carefully planned and every little moment they have together will be packed full of handholding, stolen smooches, and giddy smiles. I’m so absolutely thrilled for them – I hope that time is passing perfectly in the limited days they have to celebrate one another. And, may I please say, that I am incredibly proud of my Heather for her patience and newly found free-spiritedness that this love story has given her. She has a full spectrum list of “I Can’t Wait To…” moments that will probably make you cry, and I’ve closed my eyes tight and wish-wish-wished that she is getting to do each and every little thing.

If this doesn't make your heart melt, you might not even have one.

Dear Heather,

Hi.  I stole your picture from Facebook.  It was just too dang cute not to.  Forgive?

I’m so proud of you. I think you are the cat’s pajamas and so much more. Would you rather be the cat’s meow or none of the above since you are allergic? Circle one. Your story gives me butterflies in my belly – that’s how much I love you. Since we met, when we were just awkward little eleven year olds with ponytail dilemmas, our lives have been inseparably intertwined. And I think that is just fantastic. Even if we tried to lose one another – like on a train or while riding our beach cruisers – I just don’t think it would be possible. I think we would both sit on a bench and cry and then I’d look up and see that you were sitting on the bench right across from me. And then we would laugh and go get ice-cream.

I hope you are deep into the best two weeks of your life (thus far – because, well, I have a good feeling that some magicalness involving a white dress will happen once Phil is back for real). And how do you feel about the word "magicalness"?  It's new.  I hope your strategically planned adventures are going without even a hiccup, and I hope that you are pleased with all of the outfits that you packed. Also, I wish you 14 consecutively fabulous hair days.

And they lived happily ever after. The end.



Spinach Bagels & Banana Banana

Today is the day that I ate the best spinach bagel ever. Today is the only day that I have ever eaten a spinach bagel, but it was maybe the best one that I will ever eat. And not because it was so gross that I will never eat it again – just because it was that darn yummy. My bagel was tinted green (does that make you want to throw up?) and topped with tomato, lettuce, and cream cheese. The best part of my spinach bagel is that it was only $2.23. And when I have change – like a quarter – that doesn’t count as money, so my lunch was really only $2! Top that! Spinach bagels are born at Bagel Bin here in Huntersville, NC, and other than the BB, I’ve never even heard of such a treat. I was very pleased with my whole BB experience because the bagel makers were having fun and my bagel sandwich was prepared in a jiffy. Also, my lettuce was dark dark green and not that iceberg nonsense that my sister prefers.

Two things that I think the Charlotte area is missing are: a good bagel bakery and a decent smoothie shop. From my experience here, we only have Bruegger’s Bagels and Smoothie King. And those places are pond scum compared to Tropical Smoothie and Chesapeake Bagel Bakery in Virginia Beach. Oh, I would give anything for a Sun-Dried Tomato Bagel from CBB and a Banana Banana Smoothie from TS (at separate occasions). Quite frankly, Charlotte, I could live on Tropical Smoothie’s Smoothies. So I think we should go ahead and acquire one. When I make my first million working as a marketing assistant, I’ll make the big move and open for everyone’s frozen fruit sipping pleasure. Free samples all around. In the mean time, would anyone mind mailing me one?



The P-Game

Today is Easter. It was my 24th Easter with my family, my second Easter with Ryan, and my first Easter as Aunt Tessa Bug to Alekzander. We had a wonderful morning hunting Easter eggs and searching the ins and outs, ups and downs, and highs and lows for our baskets. As always, I was the last to find mine – I think the EB always has some special trickery up his sleeve for me. We exchanged and opened our gifts over coffee and baby talk, and then I decided I wanted to learn how to golf. Ryan was a very good teacher and I was extremely pleased with his patience with me.

Speaking of PLEASED and PATIENCE, after we walked down to the river for an impromptu photo session (minus Gruffalo, who was back at home PREPARING our Easter meal), we decided to PLAY the P-Game. Oh, you’ve never PLAYED the P-Game?! All you have to do is think of all the words in the world that start with the letter P and say them aloud to your PLAYMATES. We kept playing all the way through our Easter meal, and after we thought of, oh, a jillion, Ryan and I need to hit the PAVEMENT and head back home.

Oh no, our departure did not end the P-Game. We continued with words like PERPOSTEROUS, PLATYPUS, PERIPHERAL, PANORAMIC, PANCREAS, PLATINUM, and a ton of a ton more. Sometimes you just run out of P-Words, and then you will miraculously think of a string of new ones. Like one time, I excitedly blurted out, “Ooo! TRIANGLE and TRIATHALON!” Ryan was confused. “Did you switch letters on me?” he asked. Umm, NO! But I did think of two PERFECT new words to add to our list. Okay, so maybe you don’t know this, but I have a really hard time telling my left from my right, and now I’m struggling with my alphabet too. Do you think I just need a kindergarten refresher course? What the heck is wrong with me!?

Despite the little fluke in my ABC game, our Easter weekend was just about as lovely as it could have been. Next time our trip to The Hoe needs to be extended by a couple more days and a few more nights. Rex is PLEASED as PUNCH that I’m back though.


Time Passing Perfectly

Congratulations to my new mommy friend, Mandy! She had healthy twin girls – Zoey Grace and Lillianah Rae – yesterday morning. I couldn’t be happier for Mandy and Lonnie, who, in a day, doubled the size of their family! I know their home and hearts are well prepared for their Easter baby girls. I can’t wait to see a kajillion pictures of their preciousness.

Last night, Ryan and I arrived to The Hoe around 8:30 after a long and hot Jeep ride from Charlotte. My dad, of course, had homemade pizza waiting for us when we got there. The boys woke up early to go golfing at the country club – where it is $2 to play 18 holes – and I got up just in time to give hugs and kisses goodbye. I laid out on the dock for way too long and got to chat with my sister about things that we never really have time to chat about in our rushed phone calls and hurried errands. We both ended up with sunburns, but we’ll wear them joyfully since they’re proof of our first sun session of the season.

We had a big dinner and Ryan even ate one piece of broccoli. We completed two games of Phase 10 – nobody cried! – and overall, it was an incredibly perfect day. Time passed at the rate that it should always pass, but never actually seems to: slow enough to let you love every moment, but fast enough to keep you pleased. And we were. Pleased and pleased and more pleased.  And a thank you.

Our trip already feels like it is coming to an end, and that is making me kind of sad. I could use at least another full day, and maybe a handful more, of family and sunshine and relaxation before heading back to work and grad school and the blah blah blahs of regular life. When can we retire?

I think the EB is on his way. Do you hear the pitter patters of his bunny paws and the sniffly sniffs of his wiggly nose? There are lizards here, too. I hope the EB likes them as much as I do.


Here We Go!

In about 12 hours,
we will be pulling up to that house,
right there,
across the water. 
And hey! 
Is that the EB I see
there hiding in the thickets?


To The Hoe!

The Hoe is where my parents live. More formally known as Arapahoe, NC (Oh, you say you’ve never heard of such a place? It’s real. We didn’t make this up.), it is a place of quiet, woods, sunshine, golf, homemade pizza, canoeing, seashell collecting, poisonous snakes, crafting, porches, and lazy days. And apparently, I think it is a place where you can wear blue sweatpants tucked into your boots.

It’s a casual place, and you can go for days without seeing another soul, if you wish it so. If you wish it not so, then you can hop in your car and go to the market to get some milk, or to the sweet shops on the cobblestone roads in New Bern, or you can even take a ferry ride across the river. We – as in me, Ryan, Ashley, Andrew, and Alekzander (We couldn’t leave that little snuggle bug behind!) – are making the great journey to The Hoe this weekend. It is Easter, after all.

We are all very excited to get there and spend a relaxing couple of days with our family. My sister and I both put in our requests for an Easter egg hunt and hidden baskets, and I think it is going to happen. We have both been very good this year, and the Easter Bunny has been watching. What? You don’t believe in the EB?! Maybe you should start. Maybe you should start believing next year though, because you might have been bad already, and you will get rotten eggs. It’s true.

If you wanted to know, I will be singing this song before, during, and after our departure tomorrow:

To the Hoe, to the Hoe, to the Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!
To the Hoe, to the Hoe we go, go, go!
To the Hoe, to the Hoe, to the Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!
To the Hoe! We go, go, go!