Category Archives: Just Me

Two Year Anniversary

Can you believe it’s been 2 years since we said “I Do”?  I took the day off to run some errands and such before our anniversary date.  April let me sleep in before going on a long walk.  It’s gotten pretty hot and humid down here in Knoxville, so April gets tired during her walk.  She actually sat down and panted heavily today, making our walk about 10 minutes longer than usual.


After our walk, we came home and heard a knock on the door.  At first, I thought that April had knocked something over upstairs.  But no, there was a box of flowers from my awesome husband.


I ran some errands and then came home just before Matt got home for work.  We lost power for 45 minutes due to severe thunderstorms in the area.  It got pretty stuff in the house, but luckily we didn’t lose anything in the fridge.  We went down to Market Square for dinner. It is my favorite part of Knoxville.  We ate at Bella Luna, which appears to be the only Italian restaurant in town that serves gnocchi.  It was pretty good.  Nothing to write home about, but good food and good service.  After dinner, we headed to Café 4, since I had a BOGO on their cupcakes.  YAY CUPCAKES!  We came home for cupcakes and champagne to celebrate our second anniversary, like we did at our reception.


The cupcakes were actually pretty good.  I’ve been underwhelmed by them so far, but these were moist and great frosting!

We settled in to watch a video of our reception.  It’s pretty special to us, made more so recently by the passing of my stepdad’s brother, who was the cameraman for us.  Matt doesn’t love watching himself on television, but it’s fun to see our family and friends.  It was a great Second Anniversary.  YAY!  Matt’s the best.

The Good Runs

Today we had one of those runs.  One of the good ones.  The kind that make the other horrible, crappy runs worth it.  Thank goodness!  I’ll be honest; our training for the half-marathon hasn’t been the greatest.  Our September was absolutely insane.  Between our weird schedules (Matt’s long days, my late classes), our living situation (being out in east bu-fu), and LOOKING FOR A HOUSE TO BUY!!, we have been crazy busy.  So we’ve done about 2/3 of the runs that we were supposed to do.  Our first runs were terrible.  I think I’m not built for running in the heat and humidity of east Tennessee.  At least, I’m not acclimated to it.  I mean, the last time I was training was January in Boston.  So our runs haven’t been the greatest, but we’ve been doing the miles (mostly). 

Anyway, yay for finally a good run!  They’ve been few and far between these days.

So about that buying a house thing, it took use about a month (and one losing out on a house) to find one that we liked.  We put an offer on it; they accepted.  We just had our inspection last week, and everything went pretty well.  We’re looking at closing in four weeks.  That’s Halloween!  I’m wondering if it’ll be a great way to meet our new neighbors.  “Hey kids!  Take a candy bar!  But first, carry this box into the house.  Thanks!”  We’re so excited to be moving in four weeks.  Four weeks left of doing our dishes by hand.  Four weeks left of doing the laundry in the garage with Matt’s car in the way.  Four weeks left of having to drive April to a place to go walking.  Four weeks left until we can unpack our boxes and find all of our kitchen utensils.  Don’t get me wrong, our situation has been convenient, but we’re so excited to be moving into our own home!  Our first home!

April is excited, too.  Her September was a bit stressful.  She’s not so happy about her short walks.  Although she loves our neighbors’ horses.  She even gave herself a hot spot and had to wear a cone for a little bit.


But now she is excited for fall (and her own backyard, that she doesn’t know about despite us telling her everyday).

portrait april 3 Fall 2012

That is her excited face.

How was your September?  Exciting things happening in October? Any good runs?

The Great Outdoors

Well, it’s definitely been an adjustment moving to Tennessee from Boston.  At the moment we are staying at a family house in the country while we look for a house to buy (an adventure unto itself).  While we are incredibly grateful for this opportunity, it means that walking April is a bit trickier.  See there’s not much of a road for our house (although there are horses to visit), so we have to drive about 15 minutes to find a decent path to give her a long walk.  However, five minutes down the road is a beautiful natural area.  The hike is pretty intense.  It’s 0.8 miles up to the overlook, and you gain 1000 feet in elevation.  The trail is pretty steep at points and then incredibly rocky.  April does pretty well at it for a short legged doggy!

My first two attempts at the hike, the bugs bothered me too much.  Two weeks ago, April and I made it to the top (thanks to Off bug spray).  Our trip up took about 1 hour and then 45 minutes on the way down.  It was definitely warmer that day.  Today, with the wonderful fall weather, Matt and I took April up to the top in 45 minutes!!  And we remembered a camera!


I feel like there should be a Lion King reference here.  “Everything the light touches is yours!”



Matt and April at the overlook!  It’s 2100 feet above sea level.



On the way back down, there were lots of people on the trail.  April decided to jump up on a rock to get out of the way.


I feel as if she’s looking down at her subjects in this picture.

The hike is really challenging, but it tuckers the puppy out!  I wish that I had more time on weekdays to take her up there more often.  Maybe we’d even condition ourselves to get faster.  It’s seriously like nature’s stairmaster at some points.

What did you do on your Sunday?

Where Ma Girls At?

Well two days of school complete, and I’ve now attended all of my classes.  Well, except for the seminar which apparently isn’t organized enough yet to be held.  I wish they’d told me that before I went to a completely empty lecture hall and looked like a fool (to no one).

After being here for a few weeks, one thing is for certain:  there aren’t too many women engineering students at UT.  I’ve been blessed with tons of female engineering friends at Purdue, VT, and then at my old company.  Now it seems so weird to be surrounded by men.  I mean, I’m used to being in a minority.  But it’s different when you don’t know anybody and then you walk into a packed room of 30 people and the only women in the room are you and the professor.  At least there’s that I guess.  Two of my three professors are women.  Actually, in one of my classes, I’m closer to the professor’s age than the senior undergrads in the class.  Gosh, I’m old.

Anyway, see while I’m good at making friends, I’m best at making GIRL friends.  I’ve never been a huge GUY friend person.  I am NOT PJ Franklin.  By the way, whatever happened to “My Boys”?  That was a cute show!  Plus it was set in Chicago and had awesome Chicago jokes. 

I know it’s only the second day, but I’m really hoping that we can find some friends down here.  How do you make adult friends?  Work?  Church?  Interest group?

First Day of School

Well, I’m officially a student again!  I LOVE SCHOOL!!!


While I’ve been on campus for about two weeks doing some early research stuff (that’s a technical term), today was my first day of classes.  It’s amazing how the campus suddenly has so many more people in it!  Finding a parking space in the garage was a bit more difficult, and the line for food at the union was incredibly long.

Yesterday, I visited the athletic facilities for my first workout on campus.  I realized that they were having some “Welcome Week” activities around the complex.  In the gym was FREE FOOD! (YAY COLLEGE! FREE FOOD!)  So I picked up some dinner.


Gotta love the gym giving away such healthy foods. (not!)  At least I got a free gaudy orange frisbee!!

Also going on outside the gym was a fair for the different athletic clubs for people to join.  Ah, to be back in college and participating in extracurricular activities.  I was pretty active during undergrad with the Purdue Bells (handbell group) and my sorority.   As I was looking at these clubs, I kept thinking of how my priorities have shifted.  Now my husband is my extracurricular activity . . . wait, that sounds weird.  What I mean is that when I come home at night, I want to snuggle with Matt and April, go on walks and runs with them, curl up on the couch, not necessarily rush off to some practice or meeting.  It’s not that I can’t do anything else, I’m just afraid of overextending myself.  I decided that this first semester is going to be crazy busy with three classes, research, house hunting, and half-marathon training, therefore I’ll hold off on adding too much more to the mix.

Anyway, hooray for back to school!  I felt so silly in my one and only class today.  I was the only PhD student, and when we had to say where we were from, I said “Well . . . I’m originally from Cincinnati.”  It’s been a while since having introductions of “Name, hometown, major”. 

Tomorrow is my long day of classes.  Perhaps there will be more women in those classes . . .

Did you participate in extracurriculars in college?  What about now if you’re out of college?

An Announcement!

Well we’re back from Europe.  It’s been a bit crazy around here, and there’s a reason.  We are starting to prepare for a “life-changing” event!  It’s been something that we’ve thought long and hard about, and now that the people who need to know have been informed, we can let everyone else know!


April_UT copy

Did I fool you?  Did you think we were having a baby?  I faked out a few friends that way.  It was funny!

I’m actually going to school to get my PhD!!!  AHHHH!!!!  Am I crazy?

Random thoughts:

  • I love school, so I’m excited to get back into it.
  • I’m also happy to have time to do research and learn.
  • I am nervous about joining the SEC.  BIG TEN ALL THE WAY!
  • I will not wear that gaudy orange!! Smile with tongue out
  • Okay, I just might.  We’ll see.

So we’re trying to figure out moving and all that jazz.  Our plan is to work through mid-July, and then take two weeks to move and go to the beach.  EXCITING STUFF!!


The other night I was doing some Pinterest and trying to find this DIY project that I had seen on someone’s blog.  I started at the top of the Young House Love blogroll and visited Anna’s blog.  I hadn’t been there in a while, and was overwhelmed by what I read.  Her 12 year old son drowned in the flooding of Northern Virginia back in September.  As I read and read her entries both before and after the accident, I couldn’t help but cry.  I cried for how fleeting life is; here one day and gone the next.  I cried for a mother who never could have known that when she sent her son out to play in the rain, she would never seem him again.  I cried for a younger sister whose life will forever be defined by “before” and “after”.  It truly just breaks my heart.  His deep faith has also truly moved me.  For a 12 year old middle schooler (those are usually the kids we call “punk kids” as we shake our heads at them), he seemed wise beyond his years.  Her most recent post talks about how, since her son was taken from her at such a young age, Heaven must be greater than all of these experiences that he will no longer have.  To see how truly blessed I am, here’s my version of that list.

Heaven must be better than:

· Getting to stay out late with your friends on a school night all in the name of academics.

· Playing cards with your family and getting beaten by your great-grandmother.

· The first time your parents let you leave the house in a car without them.

· When your parents didn’t get mad that you had just totaled your second car.  They were just glad that you were okay.

· Dancing your heart out on stage and loving every minute of it.

· Staring at shooting stars on your last night before leaving for college.

· Having your job move you to Chicago, being scared out of your mind, only to realize how much you love the freedom and the big city.

· Realizing that you can still come home and pick up right where you left off.

· Playing vicious Uno with your friends until the sun comes up.

· Going to a bar where everybody actually does know your name.

· Cheering for your college football team (when they do well.)

· Staying home on a Saturday night in college making fun of a terrible movie.

· Seeing the curtain go down on your final Christmas Show performance with “Silent Night” still ringing in the air.

· Enjoying the company of your best friend over a five course meal and a bottle of wine.

· Finding out that the sweetest boy you know likes you back.

· Realizing that you have found the person who makes you happier than you ever thought possible.

· Feeling your dad cry as he walks you down the aisle.

· Coming home to a puppy that has missed you more than you will know.

· Not knowing what the future holds, but knowing that you are lucky to have friends and family who will be with you always.

What are you grateful for?  What does Heaven have to be better than for you?

The Big 3-0

Well, I’m officially 30!  Since my 30th birthday was on a Saturday, I knew that I had to have a party.  We invited some friends over for make your own pizzas, some drinks, and cupcakes.  Baking cupcakes, I got to bust out the Kitchenaid Mixer for its maiden voyage!


I also used my silicon cupcake liners.  They worked great in the oven, and they’re reusable!


For those asking, I used a triple chocolate cupcake recipe using cocoa powder, melted semi-sweet chocolate and chocolate chips!

We also used a bunch of our entertaining wedding gifts.  TA DA!


Cupcake tower, breadboard, lazy susan serving dish, and cheese board!

And my friends know me so well, I received a few bottles of wine for presents!  WOO HOO!  Now I don’t have to go back to the liquor for a week, maybe two . . ;P


So we did make your own pizzas and enjoyed each other’s company with random discussions of how people transgender (oh yeah, we went there), played some Euchre, and watched Clemson not blow it against Maryland!


And what did my new husband get me?  Oh he’s so smart.  Since we’re starting to train for a half marathon, he looked into running gadgets, and bought me a Garmin Forerunner 405.


I thought about asking for one, but I didn’t.  He found it all on his own.  Smart boy!

It was a great 30th birthday, and I feel lucky to have such great friends and family.

Where was I? 9/11/2001

On a day of remembrance (Seriously watched like 6 hours of stories on tv today), why not share my “Where as I?” story?

First of all, on Friday, September 7, I received an email from my mom.  It was entitled “My Week from Hell”.  How foreboding.  She sent an email giving her schedule for the next week.  She was going on a confirmation retreat for the weekend, then flying to NYC for a work conference.  After that she was flying to Atlanta for my stepdad’s high school reunion.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started with me putting on a pair of ugly brown pants and an off white short sleeve sweater.  I really didn’t like my outfit, but I didn’t have any other clean clothes. I was three weeks into my first co-op session at a civil engineering firm in downtown Indianapolis, so I had to look “professional”.  At 8:46am (which was 7:46am in Indy), I was on a bus on my way to work.  I got to work sometime after 8am (central time).  At this point both planes had hit the towers.  I had no idea.  I checked my email and waited for someone to give me my assignment for the day.  After a while of biding my time, I did a lap of our office and couldn’t find anyone.  I ended up hearing someone’s radio saying something about planes hitting buildings in New York.  When I returned to my desk, my stepdad was calling me.  He said “Planes hit the world trade center.” I replied, “Yeah I just heard something about that.”  Next he said “Your mom’s in New York.”  At that point, I didn’t know the severity of what was going on, but obviously I was worried about my mom.  My coworker finally came to me and we made our way down to the building’s first floor gym to watch the coverage.  I watched the towers fall while sitting on an exercise bike.  By noon, we didn’t know what to do.  Everyone was worried and panicked.  Our building was connected to the tallest building in Indianapolis.  Were we next?  We all decided to go home. 

I spent the rest of the day watching the news coverage.  I think that I even took a nap.  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day in Indiana.  I received a call from that evening from my mom that she was okay.  She had been staying in a hotel next to the Empire State Building. 

Over the next few days she made it to my stepbrother’s condo in New Jersey, and then my aunt’s house in Delaware.  My stepdad ended up meeting my aunt in Pennsylvania to pick her up.  The next day at work, I learned that our boss was stuck in Chicago.  Since I didn’t have anything else to do, I made the 4 hour trek up to Chicago to pick him up.

That day will forever stick in my mind.  Before then, I’d never heard the name “Osama Bin Ladin” or the Taliban.  Four years later, my younger brother signed up for the Marines.  I am so grateful for him and all of the heroes of September 11 and since then who have protected our country and fought for the freedoms that we enjoy.

We will never forget.

Crazy Stories

Seriously, some crazy shiz has been happening to me in the last few months.

First, when we went to go get our joint checking account, I was informed that the debit card in my possession wasn’t valid.  (I’d figured it out earlier that morning, when it wouldn’t work at the CVS next door to the bank.)  Why would it work?  Because I had requested a new card on June 6th.  Ummm no I didn’t.

Then I get this letter in the mail from a collections agency.  Due to my nonpayment of a parking ticket in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, I now owed them $75.  Guess who hadn’t been in Rhode Island in like a year?  And definitely not at 3:04pm on Monday, June 6, which was my first day back from the wedding/honeymoon.  I called and was informed that the description and license plate matched my car.  If I wanted to dispute it, I’d have to go down to Providence and fight it in front of a judge.  After gathering some phone records from work (trying to prove that myself and my car were in Massachusetts at the time of the ticket), Matt and I headed down there last week to fight it.  It took us about 3.5 hours, $5 to park, and 1/3 of a tank of gas, but by gosh I got it dismissed.  It’s the principle of the thing, ya know!

Anyway, my latest crazy story is wedding related.  Specifically, wedding picture related.  A week or so ago, my dad received a phone call from a woman in a different neighborhood of Cincinnati.  She told him that her father had found these wedding pictures on the side of the road, and she believed that they belonged to someone related to my dad.  My dad met the woman and confirmed that yes, this was in fact my wedding album.  You know, the really nice expensive one from the photographer.  We think that maybe someone stole the package off of a porch and after realizing that our wedding pictures had no monetary value, discarded it.  My dad said that aside from some scuffs on the cover, the album was in pretty good condition.  I immediately made a phone call to my photographer asking “WHAT THE HECK!?!”  He then informed me that he had received our album the day before and it was sitting in his office in perfect condition.  Perhaps, the album company didn’t receive a delivery confirmation and decided to send another one.  What does this mean?  We now have TWO super-duper fancy-schmancy albums!  What a good Samaritan that lady was!  She had used a picture of our wedding program from the album to track down my dad.  Thank goodness my maiden name is rather unique!

So our super duper, fancy schmancy NON-SCUFFED album arrived today from Nathan Peel in perfect condition.


I guess now I really need to get on the ball with these recaps!  I hope that you enjoyed my crazy stories!


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