Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Derek's Last Hurrah

2011 wasa particularly good year for Derek's business. His company ran some promotional sales incentives on big ticket sales, and Derek was fortunate enough to make MANY during the year which mean he took home some sizable bonuses.

I'm fairly certain that I've talked a lot about the time that we've spent outside entertaining friends. If theres one thing Derek absolutely LOVES to do, it's grilland especially for other people. On average, i would say that we grill out at least 3 times a week yearround. One thing he's always dreamed about doing is building an outdoor kitchen/entertaining space. So when his bonuses began coming in, we did some serious talking and planning and decided that, given the current economy, reinvesting in the house seemed like a wise idea.

And then the pipe dreaming began. He started sending me photos of his dream kitchen elements. Naturally, it had to have a top of the line built-in grill. There had to be a sink and fridge. And I insisted on a fireplace, both for warmth and as a design element. And no doubt the whole shibang had to be covered so that there could be a big screen to keep the boys entertained.

And so with ideas and rough budget firmly in hand, we set about finding a contractor. And then Derek's dream became a reality. We had all of our wish list items and added a few more along the way - an ice maker for those bigger parties, a built-in tap for the beer aficionados, drawers for storage, a cutting board for the prep area, a warming drawer to keep items warm as they finished cooking, and an extended high top bar for extra seating (and to keep people out of the prep area while cookie did his thang). Yep, this was going to be perfect. With all of the elements chosen, we selected building materials - granite countertops, Omlahoma limestone, exposed cedar, salted concrete - and then the real work began.

It took roughly four weeks to go from this

to this

Naturally, we had a party (or three) to christen the new space. The biggest reason to celebrate though....we would be welcoming a new family member! And that's why we call this project Derek's Last Hurrah.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Bahamas

Almost a year ago (shudder), I promised to tell you all about our last-minute R&R cruise to the Bahamas. It may be long overdue, but here it is. Because I know you've been waiting with bated breath and everything. Ha!

I think I've mentioned many times before how much we love cruising. Nothing beats a floating hotel with 24 hour food service! We did a little something different his time - a) we booked a 5 day and b) we went whole hog and booked a suite. We were pleased with both decisions. 5 days was perfect for putting the pep back in our step - not so long that we got tired of each other and not so short that it wasn't worth the suitcase full of dirty clothes! We sailed roundtrip from Miami and stopped in Freeport, Great Stirrup Cay (NCL's private island), and Nassau.

Freeport was our first stop and we opted to go reef fishing. It wasn't my first choice, but in the end, I had a great time and I know Derek was glad to have me along.

Next stop - the ships's private island, Great Stirrup Cay (pronounced "key"). This was going to be a lazy beach day, however, the weather was uncooperative, and given Derek's penchant for getting a little green around the gills on tender ships, we opted not to leave the shop. Instead, we relaxed aboard ship. I read a book on the balcony all day and Derek, well, truth be told, the crazy boy worked. Yep, you heard that right. He spent the day in the Internet cafe talking to his associate.

Last stop was Nassau and, by far, our favorite of the trip. We spent the day at Atlantis, an impressive resort property complete with water park, aquariums, dolphin experience, and beaches galore. We spent half the day at the water park and the other half swimming with dolphins.

We enjoyed this cruise so much that we've talked about repeating it! It really was exactly what we'd hoped and then some!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Time Really Flies

Today, our little guy is FOUR months old! I can't tell you how hard it is to believe that. I feel like the last four months have been on fast forward. Oh sure, we've had our low moments, where getting through the night felt like an endurance run combined with 10 Iron Mans, but it's true that those moments are fleeting and quickly overshadowed by the good nights and the great days. Nothing melts your heart like a coo and a wide, toothless grin - no matter what time of the day or night that he gives it. Little MT has totally stolen our hearts and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Who can tell me what movie that line is from? *insert Jeopardy theme while you think about it* Why, it's only one of my all-time favorite movies EVAH! (And rather than telling you, you're just gonna have to Google it. *snicker*)

And said movie quote is actually germaine to today's topic of conversation: waxing. What?! Yep, that's right. We're actually gonna go there. Not up for it? Well, you should just mosey on along now.

Up until about a year ago, I had not waxed anything. Ever. I gave the EpiLady (remember those??) a whirl once when I was in college and all but died from the ridiculous pain of said medieval torture device ripping each hair follicle from its happy, deeply-rooted home. Smooth legs be damned, I wasn't finishing that job! Razor it is and will always be, amen!

But ... I decided to get brave last summer before we embarked on our cruise to the Bahamas. I polled my girlfriends about waxing. How many did it, how many liked it, how many could endure the pain, etc. and the general conclusion pointed me in the direction of the good ol' college try. (pun only partially intended.) Let's face it. No one hates shaving more than I do, and I come from a long line of hairy Scot-Irish-Germans (dang those Germans!) so when you want to sport shorts and a swimsuit for a week....well, something must be done to prevent the hostile takeover.

So I took the recommendation of a friend and booked an appointment with her esthetician. Her what? You know, the person who takes care of people's skin (waxing, facials, etc.). I was as a nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, but I was determined not to wuss out. Going to a spa to have it done was a good idea...with the zen-like decor and soft music playing throughout the whole place. It also didn't hurt that my wax girl was as nice as could be and chatted away during the whole thing. Strange? Not really. It was a great distraction.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn't hurt nearly as much as I had imagined it might. Granted, my only point of comparison was that dreadful encounter with The Ripper back in college. So anything else was bound to be a step up. Seriously though, if you can stand the twinge you feel when plucking your eyebrows, then you too can handle waxing. To me, it was the same.

So when all was said and done, I was beach ready and none too worse for the wear. In fact, it was such a non-traumatic experience that I've been going regularly ever since, even throughout my entire pregnancy. So I guess it's true what they say - once you wax, you never go back. Hahaha!

Back in the Saddle

I really had no intention of letting the blog sit fallow this long. Somehow, time just got away from me. What with a new baby and all. But now that we're settling into a routine here on the homefront, it's high time to get caught up here. Besides, I can't think of a better way to pass the time in the middle of the night, can you? *wink* So I'll start writing and scheduling posts to fill in the gaps. And you can once again enjoy laughs at my expense. Until the next post, stay cool, my friends! Lord knows it's hot!!!