Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ashby Girl's First Haircut

It's summer. It's hot. Ashby needed a haircut.

But... what she got was maimed! Dave and I had been holding out on getting Ashby groomed because we loved her just the way she was - ball of fur and all. But as the summer progressed we noticed her having a little harder time on walks and figured she was probably past due on being groomed. Because we adopted Ashby from such special people, Mrs. Sharon sent us home with specific grooming directions for us to take when we took Ashby for a haircut.

Please remember: She's NOT a poodle, nor should she be cut like one. She's a Goldendoodle. The groomer the vet suggested in our new area, however, did not feel the same way.

Prior to Dave taking her to this new groomer, he emailed her, asked her about having Ashby cut, sent her the step by step instruction Mrs. Sharon made and asked her IF she felt like she could give our little girl a proper summer do. Much to our shock, she said sure.

The result of this "haircut" though, was a l.o.t. of tears on my part and a visit back to the groomer to let her know just how unhappy I was that she maimed by dog. UGH. And to make matters worse, we had to take the poor pup to the vet the next morning. Ended up, she had a double ear infection, probably caused by the grooming the previous day :(

Why the haircut bothered me so much, I'll never know, but for about three days, I thought she might have given us the wrong dog back. You know how people will say getting little boy's hair cut "brings out the mean" in them? Well, Ashby followed suit here. It was as if this puppy thought she had a new leaf on life. U.N.C.O.N.T.R.O.L.L.A.B.L.E. was the word.


I am happy to report, though, she is beginning to fluff back out, and we will NOT be returning to that particular groomer. I'm sure Snuff enjoyed being a little "lighter" for a few weeks, but I'm sure happy to have my curly monkey back. Eye boogers and all ;)


Love having your nails done?

I do. And I love that I've found something that lasts for at least two weeks (if not longer) without chipping or peeling off.

I had this Shellac by OPI put on my nails before heading to NYC, and was amazed at how well it stayed. Since nursing school ended I have been enamored with having my nails done, and after realizing how well this Shellac stays on my nails, I don't know if I'll ever go back to having a normal manicure done!They paint it straight onto your nails (none of that acrylic stuff here, ladies), and then place your hands in a little heat/blue light contraption and more or less bake the polish on your nails. They do that with each layer and you leave the salon with hard, dry nails. You can literally dig around in your purse the minute they finish!!! You have to soak your nail to remove it, but they're not damaged or anything when it comes off. Just buff them a little and they're good as new. Mine were peeling really badly before I got married, and now that I've been putting the Shellac on them for about two months now, they're almost as strong and healthy as they used to be.

I love it! I have them do a french manicure and there are times I can go three weeks without being able to tell I need to go back.

I know this post was a little out in left field, but it's awesome and you should try it! You'll be amazed and in love immediately ;)

Mr. Pound Cake

Pound Cake's are yummy, yes?

Well, come on over to our house. We're averaging one a week from bakery Chef Davis, though each of them keeps coming out oh so differently.

The first one he made, eh way back at the end of May, was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. It was moist, came out of the pan well... everything!

The second one had a little too much flower on it (which Dave tried to literally wash off), but still tasted yummy.

The third one wouldn't come out of the pan for love nor money, and was dry as all get out... but we ate it nonetheless.

Pound Cake #4, however, was gooey on the bottom, with a hole all the way through the middle, all the way around. I've never in my life seen something like that happen, but it has and it's weird.

He keeps trying to make the perfect cake, just like his Ninnie's, and won't stop until it happens. No matter how they look, they always taste delicious and are eaten before the weekend's over.

This, too will probably make me as big as the side of a barn... Here's to hoping I can learn to breath while running and love the hurt it causes :) 'cause right now, I'm struggling.

Yard Work and Gardening

Yes, those are two separate entities around our house, maintained by two separate individuals. Both of which, however, have been working very hard to make our house a home!

Dave's been throwing fertilizer and watering our grass like nobody's business since April. When we moved into our new little abode, the grass was, well... lacking a little life. It needed a lot of love and a ton of attention, and that's just what my man gave it! He now has to cut it at least twice a week and the neighbors are beginning to inquire about what he's using to make it look so good. That makes me so proud... and I know it makes him feel good, too. He's worked hard to make our little place a home, something that's got our little stamp on it, and I think he's done a wonderful job.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've been tending to plants. A colorless yard drives me crazy, and though I know very little about plants and flowers, I have four lovely ladies that have been giving me wonderful advice on what I need to plant, where it should go, and how I need to keep it alive (key word there being alive). So, while Dave was gone to Boston, I bought some red Begonias and Jew (this lovely, hardy purple stuff) and started digging away at our front yard.I planted them once, waited a few days and decided I didn't like the way it looked, so I dug 'em up and planted them again. I think I like them now, if only a certain yard man would keep his lawnmower wheels from running over them, I think they'd live :)

Beyond that, Sandye sent me some hosta that I separated and planted in the back yard along with some daisies and day lilies. I'm praying it all lives, or at least makes it through the winter and comes back strong and healthy next year. We shall see.

I've been thankful for the rain we've been getting and smiling when I pull into the driveway. It's so nice to have a little color smiling back at your when you pull up at home.

Buckle Up for Safety, Flash

Safety in the care has always been A #1 in our house (both growing up and now), so why should Ashby Girl be excluded?

When my mom found out that Ashby has a tendency to ride shot-gun, or even better, in your lap, she started her hunt for a doggie seatbelt. ...And she found one!

Dave wasn't too thrilled about it, but seeing as though it's meant for MY car, he shouldn't really wrinkle his brow too hard.

As you can see, though, neither of them were really having fun testing this new appliance out.

It does however, keep this wild thing contained in the car! We immediately took her outside and strapped her in, and boy oh boy does it ever keep her still. She didn't know what to think about it, but I know her Honey will be happy to know everyone is being kept safe while on the road!

Thanks Mom!

"See ya in the morning, Snuff"

This is what happens every afternoon before I leave for work.

Ashby doesn't quite understand why I leave in the afternoons and don't come back until it's time to wake up, so she feels like she needs to go with me :(

Talk about making you sad.

Working on the Night Shift


Work's been going great over the last six weeks or so, but this last week I started my normal shift on nights. To say it was an adjustment isn't even coming close!

If you know Dave and I at all, you know Ashby gets us up every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 am. From that point on, we're going full steam ahead. So imagine, just for a second, trying to keep the puppy quiet long enough for me to sleep all day and then make her understand what I won't be coming back again in time for bed time. Not only does Dave manage to keep Ashby quiet, but we always have a bowl of cereal together while watching The Today Show when I get home. After breakfast, Snuff and I have a little snuggle time and then it's bedtime.

That's pretty much been our routine this last week, and will continue until the end of time... No, not really, but for the immediate future, however. As far as the shift change goes, it's pretty great. The pace on night's is completely different than working days, but it's a good different. I like seeing the other side and feel like having this experience is only going to make me stronger - both as a nurse and a wife.

Dave and I are both on this learning curve together, so working through how things need to change has been interesting. He's done a fabulous job holding down the daily stuff I obviously can't take care of anymore, all the while keeping Snuff-a-luff-a-gus (Ashby) quiet and making dinner! Yep, ladies, that's right. My man makes dinner - and the good kind, too :)

Thursday afternoon he woke me up saying he had a surprise. Little did I know he had been slaving away grilling chicken, boiling fresh corn and making fried okra! Homemade meals are the best, but they're even better when the one you love surprises you!

Heading out to work on a full tummy was definitely good for the soul that evening, but it made me long for morning even more than the days before. I'm finding out more and more every day what a catch God placed in my life... and I get more and more excited about him every day.

(Dave and Ashby walk me out every afternoon and wave as I leave. If this doesn't make you want to turn the car around, I don't know what does.)

Sourdough Waffles

Have you ever had Ninnie's sourdough waffles?

I hadn't until last Sunday, and boy was I missing out. I used to think Waffle House was pretty darn good, but I was w.r.o.n.g.

After leaving the lake, we headed straight to Ninnie's for a little visit and catch up session. Earlier in the week, Dave had called Ninnie to inquire about making waffles and she just happened to remember in enough time to whip us up some of her special sourdough waffle mix! She told us how she had been tending to this sourdough starter since the early 70's and how you have to keep adding certain ingredients back into the bowl to keep the contents up, and told us that when we felt we were ready to tend to such a task, she would send us home with some of our own.

At first I was a little skeptical about whether or not we needed such a thing, but after Davis woke up early Sunday morning before church and started whipping those baby's out, I now understand. We quickly decided that we needed to make Ninnie's waffles every Saturday morning and that in order to do that, we were going to need a starter. Dave quickly informed me that he could eat them every day for breakfast, but to that I quickly reminded him that they were only for Saturday morning.

So, in true traditional form, this Ashley house had waffles yesterday morning for breakfast... and now we're completely OUT of waffle mix. Good news though: Dave's going home at the end of the week, and should be coming home with a little starter (hopefully). Here's to hoping I'm not the size of the side of a barn within the next month.

Special thanks to Ninnie: You're wondrous and delicious cooking never ceases to amaze me! Thank you for teaching me and loving me as your own! I cherish the special time spent in your kitchen.

Ashby's First Swim

Since the day we brought Ashby home, we've been wondering how she would react to water. All dogs can swim, right? And with her being part retriever, we figure she'll love the water.

Well, we headed to the lake last weekend to spend some time with family and let Ashby take her first dip... EVER.
I hate that we don't have more picture of the "after" part of this, but let's just say, our sweet puppy needs a few swimming lessons.

Ashby loves to fetch, and will run after whatever object you throw as many times as you'll let her. When you add water to the equation, however, she'll go about as far as she can touch and then she just turns and looks at you like you're crazy. So, Dave got IN the water with her, and tried to show her she would be ok. Her outlook on the situation, though, was a little different. Poor thing couldn't figure out how to get her rope without losing her whole head under the water, which then resulted in her panicking and fiercely paddling - with her front two feet only - until she could touch again :( It was both the funniest and saddest thing I had seen all day. I wanted so badly for her to be this super dog that would just jump off the pier into the water for her rope and bring it back to us... But she's not.

Maybe it'll come with time... Maybe it won't. Either way, she's ours and perfect nonetheless. We'll just have to swim WITH her until she figures it out. Fun, right?

Good Bye Country Blue

Remember how I posted about our trip to Dogtown to look for some new furniture way back in April? Well, our prize finally arrived :)

So... you know what that means, right? See ya later, Country Blue! You've been a good friend. You've made it through quite a few football seasons, a l.o.t. of lazy Sunday's, and even held up for all the extra company we had. We shall miss you... but only a little.

Dave's mom and dad hand delivered our special prize one Saturday morning back in June and I can't being to tell you how excited we were - and still ARE!!!

We l.o.v.e. the new addition to our family and can't wait until she's all broken in.

Ashby, on the other hand, doesn't quite understand what's going on and would like for Ole' Blue to move back in. He's been her buddy and chewy for so long now... I'm sure was hard for her to see him go!Special thanks to Mike and Sandye for the sofa and loveseat! They are incredible and we love them dearly.

Big Girl Job: Day Two...

...Was no different than Day One, but I was holding on for a very special evening with my daddy!

While working at Griffin's over Christmas break, I heard on the radio one morning that James Taylor was coming to Birmingham! I've grown up loving his music and longing for the day I could take my dad. I knew immediately that morning I had to have two tickets, and knew I wanted them to be a special wedding day prize for my daddy. Keeping these tickets a secret for over four months was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but boy was it worth it!

(Sorry for the side-ways view. I couldn't get them to stay horizontal after loading them to blogger)

Daddy picked me up from work that afternoon and we had one of our original kind of father-daughter dates! Daddy always made special time for us while I was growing up, and just because I'm a big kid now doesn't mean those dates have to end. He's a special man in my life, and always will be. So, to Olive Garden for dinner it was, and then off to see our man!

The concert was in the smaller concert hall and it did not disappoint!
We managed to stay up way past both our bedtime's, but for a legend like James Taylor and a little quality time, I know it was well worth every minute!

Thanks for all the special things you did with and for me growing up, Daddy. I hope I can only begin to return the favor for you!

Big Girl Job: Day One

The day I had been praying for came without me being 110% ready.

To my disbelief, I had managed to come home from our honeymoon with an ear infection, which landed us in an urgent care facility way too early on Sunday morning. So here I am... about to start a new job (May 24th) and I've got a double ear infection. Let's just say I was NOT feeling too swell.

But, Monday came (go figure), and I put on my big girl clothes and headed out to my big girl job. Dave stepped into my mom and dad's role quite nicely that morning! He got up with me, made sure to take my picture - documenting my day - and gave me the encouragement I needed to get through it... feeling like poop. He's pretty good that way... pretty good :) I made it through the first half of the day, and felt the need to keep Dave in the loop with a picture of my "provided" lunch. Contrary to what it may look like, it was actually pretty good. Looking back though, I don't know if it was because I was more overwhelmed with everything being thrown at me, or the simple fact that I had just gotten off a cruise where everything you ate was like a four course meal! Some times you just need a sandwich, you know?

So, as I sat through my first day of orientation, I realized just how much I had enjoyed spending countless hours at home, giving my puppy and new husband, my undivided attention. Being away from them was going to be an adjustment, but I quickly remembered that as long as I, too, continued to document my day (and send pictures), they were really there with me!

To end my day, though, I came back to my car in th parking deck to find that I couldn't even get in the driver's side door :( I was upset/panicked and wasn't quite sure what to do. I was also holding my breath that when I finally did get inside and was able to back out, I wouldn't find any damage done to my car. Luckily, there wasn't a scratch. HOW?... I haven't a clue.
Over all, Day One was just as overwhelming as the first day of each semester of nursing school was... I went back and forth between crying and being excited all the way home and learned quickly that my sweet Ashby Girl was always going to be waiting for me with lots of hugs and kisses at the back door! And that made whatever happened at work, all the better.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Did I tell You? I got a job!!!

Yep, that is correct.

After MONTHS of job hunting, applying to countless positions and praying daily that God would open a door, a spectacular offer was placed in my lap - an offer that was just right, in all ways possible!

Everyone remember the horrible storm that passed through so many of our neighborhoods on April 27, 2011? Well, I most certainly do... and not only for the devastation it caused, but also because I was scheduled for an interview that morning. Dave and I knew there was a potential for the weather to be bad, but never imagined it being as bad as it was.

I woke up to the strongest, loudest straight-line winds I've ever encountered and quickly realized this wasn't going to be an ordinary day. I scrambled to get ready, say a prayer and made sure I wasn't going to be going at this alone. We (yes, we... Dave offered to go with me and I definitely wasn't going to deny the moral support he was offering up) left TWO HOURS early for my interview, and it's a good thing we did. It took one hour and forty-five minutes to drive 20.6 miles across town. Yep. Sure did. And I was nervous the whole flippin' way. But, we made it. I had a two and a half hour interview and then we came home and spent the rest of the day terrified of the unknown and then in awe of the aftermath and devastation of a place we had called home just six days before.

April 27th was such a bittersweet day... But little did I know, that Friday, April 29th would be one of the best to come. After all the sleepless nights and wonder and worry I had spent on my job search, the one I had been offered managed to hit a home run. I had been worried that when I found a job, there would be an issue about me getting married and needing to immediately take some time off. With the job I was offered, though, orientation didn't start until the Monday after we got back from our honeymoon, so our NYC/Honeymoon adventure plans turned out to be just perfect.

We returned from The Caribbean on Saturday, May 22nd, and I started my new job on Monday, May 24th. I was so excited, but so scared all at the same time. My "big girl" life was quickly unfolding before me, and I knew I needed to strap my seatbelt on tight and hold on... It was about to get super busy :)

Wedding Weekend Recap

To say we had a good time wouldn't even begin to describe our time in NYC.

The four days we spent in New York were nothing short of MAGNIFICENT. Every day was perfect - from the moment our feet hit Northern soil on Thursday, until we left and headed way down South in the pouring rain early on Sunday morning. My daddy likes to describe our weekend adventure as "magical"... and Daddy, I couldn't have said it better myself.

To recap, Dave and I left on Thursday so we could take care of "business". We had to be IN the city a full 24 hours prior to being married so we decided it would be best to plan one extra day as a buffer just in case something were to happen that would keep us from making that 24 hour requirement. So, our "Business Trip" Day = Thursday, went like this:

City Clerk's Office

Magnolia Bakery - for the most decadentcupcakes I've ever put in my mouth

Meeting with our wedding photographers

Tickets to be a part of the taping of The Late Show with David Letterman

Dinner with some wonderful people

A late night in Times Square
Friday was a fun day.

We got up early to be on The Today Show

Made our way to the Empire State Building

Fought the crowds through Penn Station

Got drug across the BIG Piano in FAO Schwartz

Had a moment in front of Tiffany's

Eased some sore muscles in Brookstone

Went through the NBC studio tour and saw the SNL studio (man is it small)
Friday night we made our way to Central Park for a quick run through of how things were going to be the next morning and then made our way back across town for a fun and lovely dinner at Ruth's Chris, only to top the night off with a big group picture in Times Square.

Saturday... Where do I begin?


I couldn't have imagined a better day. It was everything I had ever hoped my wedding would be... It was one of the most spectacular days I think I've ever had. It warms my soul to the ends of the Earth and back to know that every thing came together just so... wonderfully, that I still almost cry thinking about it. I loved that day... every part of it. Not a minute was bad - not even the hours leading up to me tapping my husband-to-be on the shoulder in my ivory wedding gown, with my closest friends and most loving family wrapped around us. It was perfect.

And even though there are over 500 pictures I could lovingly place on our blog for you to see, I'm just going to give you a taste.

Saturday afternoon Dave and I headed back to our special place in Central Park. When we were up there two and a half years ago, we came home with a list of things we wished we had done. This time, we were determined to cross some things off!

First things first, a boat ride!
Most importantly, a New York Yankees Baseball Game
So maybe our wedding "process" was a little different from the quid-pro-quo, but like Dave and I have talked about so many times, we wanted it to be a fun and memorable adventure... and I think we accomplished that.

Special thanks to my mom and dad for making my magical weekend more than I could've ever imagined it to be! Thank you to Sandye, Mike, Ninnie and Jana for being onboard with an adventure of a lifetime! To my brother and sweet friends: You guys are amazing and I couldn't imagine such a special day without you being there. To Doug, Kevin, Jason and Jeff: You guys are incredible. Thank you for helping us along the way, for making beautiful pictures, and for all the advice and direction you gave us through phone calls, emails and friends of friends. You four gentlemen will forever hold a special place in our hearts!