Friday, August 26, 2011

Come On Irene!

The latest track (as of 12:53 p.m 8/26/11). We're the red dot...
Okay, I know the song is actually "Come on Eileen," but I just couldn't resist! Irene is making her way to our shores...the rain just started a few minutes ago. Winds are predicted to reach 50+ mph this evening, then increase to 90+ mph tomorrow around noon. We'll get plenty of rain, but I'm hoping the flooding won't be too bad and that the power holds.

Just to take my mind off the seriousness of the situation, I came up with a Hurricane Irene Playlist:

  1. "Under Pressure" - David Bowie & Queen
  2. "Before the Storm" - Queensryche
  3. "Panic Switch" - Silversun Pickups
  4. "Only Happy When it Rains" - Garbage
  5. "Ocean Breathes Salty" - Modest Mouse
  6. "Please Don't Go" - Double You
  7. "Invisible Sun" - The Police
  8. "Ghost Town" - Shiny Toy Guns
  9. "Hurricane" - Panic! At the Disco
  10. "Rock You Like a Hurricane" - Scorpions
  11. "Wave of Mutilation" - Pixies
  12. "Flood" - Jars of Clay
  13. "Float On" - Modest Mouse
  14. "Destroy Everything You Touch" - Ladytron
  15. "Weather With You" - Crowded House
  16. "The Iron Sea" - Keane
  17. "Daylight" - The Judybats
  18. "Beautiful Day" - U2
  19. "Walking on Sunshine" - Katrina & The Waves
Like it? I think it's a pretty good mix. I just might have to put this together on iTunes as a way to remember this weekend.

Charles came home at lunch and says traffic is already miserable heading out of town. Grocery store parking lots are full and the line at the little ice stores that dot Highway 70 toward the beaches have long lines of folks waiting to fill coolers. Everyone seems to be waiting until the last minute to prepare. Thankfully, we did most of our preparations Wednesday night into Thursday, so we're ready to ride her out.

My big worry is the beautiful beaches that we've come to love. The weathermen here are saying that extensive beach damage/erosion will occur along Emerald Isle Beach/Atlantic Beach/Salter Path/etc. and that it make take quite a while to get things back to normal. I also worry about all the wild horses out on Shackleford Banks, but I've been told they've made it through similar storms just fine.

Wish us luck! We'll keep you posted...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pirates on the Brain & Art Worth Framing

All I can think about right now is pirates! The Beaufort Pirate Invasion is less than a month away and we're working on the ultimate costume for Riley. I've already ordered her a new, handmade captains coat and muslin shirt on Etsy and I even found a good baldric to hold her sword. All that's left is finding a good pair of boots and pants to complete the look.

I got the idea to make Riley her very own pirate flag. I don't know what possessed me, but I've started the design, pinning all the pieces in place, but now I have to sew it. Problem is, I don't own a sewing machine--I'll have to do all the stitching by hand!

I think it looks pretty good so far, but I just hope I can pull this off! I'm really excited to see everything coming together.

Riley's been busy the past few weeks attending weekly art camps offered by her art teacher at school. She's loving every moment there and has brought home great work! Our favorite is below...we actually framed it and have started a "gallery" of her artwork.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Drowning in a Sea of Stress

Can you die from stress? I know the answer is a solid "yes," but I'd really like to avoid that outcome. The pressures of work, combined with keeping the house clean, the laundry washed, the dishes done, cooking meals, carting Riley to Taekwondo three times a week, swimming lessons once a week and life in general--it's all becoming too much to bear. At 37, I feel like an 80-year-old woman.

On top of the stressers mentioned above, I'm in the middle of dealing with some weird, doctor-stumping skin issue. I've had two biopsies with no real answers and I'm now in the process of finding a doctor at The School of Medicine in nearby Greenville, NC. I'm also still dealing with problems related to my septoplasty surgery two years ago. I've been going to an ENT doc whose tried to solve my issues, but, following a CT scan and having an endoscope shoved up my nose, has decided to take a biopsy of the lining of my nose. I'm thinking it's not going to be a very plesant experience, as he's prescribed Valium for me to take before I leave the house on Thursday, again when I get to his office and again after the proceedure. Sounds like it's going to be fun, huh?

I'm just hoping I'm back to normal by the next day because we're driving to Concord, NC (just outside Charlotte) to take Riley to her next Taekwondo tournament. We're staying at my step-sisters house and my parents will be driving over from Tennessee to spend the weekend with us. I haven't seen them since Christmas so I'm super excited.

At her last tournament two weeks ago, she took third place in forms and first place in sparring. We were so proud!

Master Cann gives Riley last-minute instructions.

Giving it her all!

Excited to get her first-place trophy.

The over-celebration.

Presenting her form.

Showing off her third-place trophy for forms.

So, this week and weekend will be busy: Lots of time in the car and not enough time visiting with family. The tournament will be an all-day thing, but at least my Mom is going with us--I can chat with her the entire day!

Oh, we visited D.C. for Spring Break. Click here to see some of the photos posted on Charles' Facebook page.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Holidays are Over...Finally!

Ahhh, the holidays are over...well, kind of. Charles' dad leaves tomorrow and then we'll take down the Christmas trees, lights and other decorations. I can't wait for it all to be over--the holidays this year were a bit too stressful for my liking.

Mom and Doug arrived on the 24th, Riley's birthday, and we had a blast opening presents and eating one of the coolest birthday cakes EVER...

The birthday table is all set.
The presents are waiting...

Seriously, how cool is this cake?

Eight yummy layers inside!

Cool! A Darth Vader Lego alarm clock!

Play-Doh and Lego games!
The birthday celebration was fun, but we made sure to get in bed at a decent time for Santa. Riley left him a special red and green donut with sprinkles from Dunkin' Donuts with a glass of milk. She also sprinkled special "food" she made at school out on the lawn for the reindeer.
Santa left lots of presents...and an AT-AT!!
Opening presents Christmas morning with Daddy.
Riley and Papa testing out the new toys.
Late Christmas night, it began to snow. And it kept snowing. And snowing. Mom and Doug (mostly Doug) insisted on leaving in the middle of the storm to head back to Charlotte and, then, on to Morristown. We tried to get them to stay, but no dice. They said it was the worst trip ever and that, at one point, it took them over an hour to drive 5 miles. I doubt they'll ever make the drive to our house for Christmas again. Bummer.

The snow was beautiful here though--the weatherman said it's the most snow the area's gotten since 1989. We got just a bit over 4 inches--it doesn't hold a candle to a New England storm by any means, but we'll take it. It was really cool to see palm trees covered in snow!

Preparing the snowman.
Riley and Charles discussing strategy...
The finished product.
The neighborhood covered in snow. We got about 4 inches.
I'll finish with a picture of one of Charles' gifts which, ironically, I'll most likely be the one to use.
New toys for Mommy and Daddy for the New Year.
Okay, now for some random items:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I've decided that I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love the "feeling" that the holidays bring, but I hate all the school functions, work functions, parties, gift buying/wrapping, decorating, planning, cooking, cleaning and increased stress that come with Christmas. Thankfully, we're not travelling at all this year--everyone is coming to us. I think if I had to add 16 to 18 hours in a car to this season, I might just go crazy!

We attended the town Christmas parade a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time, but it was frigid!

I snuck away before the parade to look around in a few of the shops downtown and came accross an empty alley and a great view of Christ Church...

After the parade we had planned to watch the Christmas flotilla, but it began to rain (eventually turning into our first snow of the season!) and we decided to go back to a warm house. But, before we did, Charles made a trip to the local nursery to pick up his very own crab pot Christmas tree!

Today is Riley's last day of school until January 3, so we'll get a bit of a break there--I'll get to sleep in!

We've ordered her birthday cake as well and should be picking that up this Thursday. I found a woman locally to bake it and who thinks she can tackle Riley's request: Boba Fett with a Santa hat. I'm confident she can pull it off--what sold me was a Seymour (from Little Shop of Horrors) cake she did. Amazing! Don't believe me? Take a look...

One issue did come up with the cake though--to make it look correct, the baker needs to make the cake a certain size, big enough to feed 35 people! I think we'll be eating cake for a full week after Riley's celebration.

Our house will be full for the next several days: My parents are coming in on Riley's birthday, the 24th, and staying through the 26th; Charles' mom Nancy is coming the 26th through the 30th; and Charles' dad is coming the 30th through January 2nd. Whew! It's going to be a busy holiday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tournaments, Teeth and Turkey

So, I haven't posted in quite a while--I get so busy that I don't take the time to log our lives like I would like to. Work has been all-consuming lately, but I'm hoping that additional help will arrive along with 2011.

First, let me catch you up on Halloween. I didn't take a lot of pictures--I was too busy having fun! Charles' mom Nancy was here with us, along with our wonderful friend and neighbor, Jessica. We had tons of wonderful food and a great time trick or treating. Here's a couple from the night...

We went 80s old-school Pac-Man for our pumpkin!
Here's Riley as Harry Potter.

After yet another drama-filled few weeks, Riley lost her other front tooth. She would not let us touch it or even talk about it. One morning, as I was brushing her teeth, the tooth went completely sideways. She began freaking out and running through the house. Charles got her in the bathroom and asked to take a look--she let him breifly touch it, but then started crying loudly. She said she knew it would hurt to pull it out and didn't want us to touch it. She went on for 10 minutes.

When she finally calmed down, Charles said, "Take a look." He opened his hand and there sat her tooth. It had literally fallen out of her mouth when he first touched it! All that drama AFTER the tooth had come out without her even realizing it!!

All she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth!

Last month, Riley competed in her first Taekwondo tournament. She was so excited and did an amazing job. She did her forms, broke a board and showed off her fighting skills...

Showing off her forms.

She easily broke the board with one kick!

Ready to fight.

Great punch!

On the medal stand--second place out of eight!!
We are so very proud of her! There will definitely be more tournaments to come and she even has a "Taekwondo Camp" December 17-19. She's so excited she can barely wait!

We stayed here for Thanksgiving. I really missed being with my family in Tennessee, but spending the holiday here wasn't too bad. Nancy (with dog Snowy in tow) rented a house for the week at Emerald Isle Beach and we had dinner there with our neighbors Jessica, Marc and Bruschi.
View from the front porch.

Riley and Snowy.

Our view from the living room.

Thanksgiving morning.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ready for Halloween, Excited About Zombies and Finding a Black Widow in Your Breakfast Treat

Happy Halloween!!! Okay, I'm a bit early, but it's my favorite holiday and our decorations have been up since the end of September. Last night we enjoyed the Fall Festival at the YMCA--Riley played in a few bouncy-houses, painted a pumpkin and we all went on a hayride. Very cute.

Today we drove downtown and went to the pumpkin patch at Christ Episcopal Church. I'm in love with this church (it's the oldest in town) and we had a great time finding the perfect pumpkins.

Decisions, decisions...

Well, that's one way to display pumpkins!

A playground right next to 300-year-old graves.

The grounds of the church.

The front door of Christ Episcopal.

During a recent trip to our one-and-only bookstore, I found myself in heaven--a huge Halloween display with so many wonderful reads...

See what I mean?

Ahh, "The Walking Dead" series...
can't wait to watch this next Sunday! other news: A couple of weeks ago we went to Emerald Isle to enjoy a day at the beach and walked down to the pier. Too many fishermen, but it was worth walking through them all for the amazing view at the end...

View from the end of the pier back to the beach.

There had to be about 30 surfers enjoying the
waves kicked up by the tropical storm.

If you have really great eyesight, you should be able to
see about 15 dolphins swimming just past the pier.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Riley was up early, as usual, before school and eating breakfast. She really wanted some grapes so Charles pulled the bag out of the refrigerator, pulled out the grapes, washed them off in the sink and put them in a small bowl for her. Maybe 10 minutes later she comes running to Charles: "Dad!! There's a spider in my grapes!"

What the ...?!?
In case you can't tell from the photo, that's a Black Widow. Yes. In. Her. Grapes. What if she'd eaten it? The lesson here, kids? Even washing your fruit does not guarantee that a spider won't end up hanging out with you at breakfast. Be careful!

Several days ago we made the decision that the van had to go. She's old and falling apart--plus, we really don't need something that big anymore. We traded her in for a Hyundai Santa Fe and came out with lower monthly payments and cut our interest rate in half!

The new car.

Things to note and other fun facts:
  • Don't forget that what could be one of the best TV shows ever is premiering Halloween night on AMC--"The Walking Dead." Added bonus: It's directed and created by Frank Darabont! I will be glued to the screen!! Oh, and here's a fan-made intro for the series--so cool!
  • Baba Ghanouj  is very good...and my six-year-old child loved it! Great recipe here.
  • Did you know that Michael J. Fox wasn't the original Marty McFly? I had no idea! See orginial footage with Eric Stoltz here.
  • Are you a die-hard Democrat like me? Do you need a good laugh? Watch "I'm Voting Republican."
  • I want Charles do make breakfasts like this for me. The Angry Birds one is my favorite.
  • These vintage ads are hilarious! What were they thinking?