An Arizona Christmas

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Adam and I were lucky enough to join the family on a trip to Phoenix, Arizona for a Baker family reunion over Christmas. I had never been to Arizona, and hadn't had the chance to really get to know the Baker side of the family, so I was especially excited for the trip.

After a long delay in Atlanta, we finally arrived in Phoenix at around 12:30am local time (2:30am Atlanta time). We obviously went straight to the hotel and passed out, since we had to be up and at the house at 8am the next morning for skydiving!

Friday, December 23
Today was skydiving day! Out of the 23 family members that were in town, 18 of us jumped (Thank you, Grandpa Baker!). Adam and I were part of the first of five groups to jump so it was a balmy 3 degrees when we jumped out of the plane. Seriously, so cold. I didn't think my hands were ever going to thaw out once I landed.

This was my third jump and Adam's first! Here we are defrosting after our jump.

All of the cousins jumped, and so did Grandpa Baker and his three kids (Liz, Susan and Dave). Here they are before Grandpa's jump.

And here's a picture of the original Baker sibs after they landed. They all got to go on the same trip, so that was fun!

It was a long day, especially after our super delayed flight, but it gave me time to get to know all of the other cousins which was awesome. Adam, who generally can't fall asleep anywhere but in a bed, fell asleep at the airport and the skydiving place (which was Skydive Phoenix, if you're interested).

Saturday, Christmas Eve
Merry Christmas Eve! We started the day with family pictures at The Baker's. I don't have a family shot to share, but here's one of me and Adam. Sorry your face is in the sun, Adam.

I also caught this picture of Adam and his cousin's daughter, Willow. She is too adorable, but is very wary of strangers so it took awhile for her to warm up to us. This picture really makes my heart melt! Adam is so adorable with little kids.

We spent the rest of the day at Dave's cousin's house - Mary Beth, and then went to a wonderful Christmas Eve Service at Grandma and Grandpa's church. Another great day of family fun!

Saturday, Christmas Day!
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas! We had another wonderful day with the Baker family, but it wouldn't be us if we didn't kick start the day with a little incident, would it? On our way to the house we were stopping at CVS for some chips and salsa (guilty) and some Benadryl (my skin does not do well with climate changes). So really, you could put all the blame on me for this one. Anyway, we were driving through the CVS parking lot, and all of a sudden Meagan screams. About .02 seconds later, we nailed a random, diamond median in the middle of the parking lot - and I'm pretty sure we caught some serious air. The poor car limps over to a parking spot, and we all get out to assess the damage. Turns out we popped two tires in the process of our unplanned joy ride...whoopsie! Adam and Nathan changed the tire in like 10 minutes - seriously so fast - and then we hobbled over to the Baker's house. I could go into more detail on what a hassle that incident caused, but I won't bore you with the details. Oh, and the CVS was closed.

We spent the day playing Dirty Santa and hanging out by the pool (jealous?), and then ate a delish Christmas dinner courtesy of the Leonards! I was also able to swing by Jack in the Box for a couple amazing post-dinner tacos.

However, it was never lost in the day what today, Christmas, is all about. We are so very thankful for all of the amazing blessings He has given us in our short lives, and constantly make a point to not take Him or any of His blessings for granted.

Our first Christmas as Bakers!

Monday, December 26
On our last day in Phoenix, the boys and girls split up to do what they do best: golf and shop. So the ladies headed to Old Town Scottsdale for the day. We ate Mexican food for lunch (all of my Arizona goals have now been accomplished!), and then walked and shopped for the rest of the afternoon. And of course we had to stop for ice cream and milkshakes!

We had such an amazing time in Arizona, and Adam and I are both so happy we got to spend some quality time with the extended Baker family! Thank you again, Grandpa and Grandma, for bringing us all together for the holidays!

Happy New Year!

Our First Christmas...before Christmas

This year marked our first Christmas! Since we were traveling to Arizona for the Christmas holiday, we celebrated ours a little early (December 21, to be exact). It didn't seem too Christmas-y since I worked all day, but it was still so wonderful.

While I was at work, I told Adam that I wanted to start some fun Christmas traditions (since I'm trying real hard to start fun holiday traditions). He told me that he had a few in mind, and he would surprise me when I got home. Seriously, he's the best.

When I got home, he revealed our new Christmas traditions!

1. He ordered pizza (specifically Papa John's)! We obviously won't be continuing this tradition, since I don't think Papa John's delivers pizza on Christmas morning, but it was so perfect for that night.

2. We had to say "Merry Christmas!" and give each other a kiss after each present was opened. I'm sure this one will wear off after awhile, but we had fun laughing about it!

3. While we open presents, we will always wear tacky hats. His original plan was for us to wear tacky sweaters, but he couldn't track one down for himself at the Thrift Store - so tacky hats it is! I'm sure our kids will be thrilled to partake in this fun tradition.

We both totally racked up on the loot (and Ruthie got a yummy bone, too!), but I obviously think I got the best presents. This one was my absolute favorite! Mainly because he made it all by himself, and I didn't even tell him it's what I wanted. In case the picture doesn't really make sense, I'll clarify. He bought those two frames and got rid of the backing. Then he nailed two rows of string to each frame, and the pictures are held up with clothes pins. So creative!

We had a wonderful first Christmas together, and were really looking forward to Christmas/Family Reunion in Phoenix! Stay tuned...

5th Annual Lassiter HS Baseball Christmas Party

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last night marked the 5th Annual Lassiter HS Baseball Christmas Party, and even though that title is plenty long, I think it requires some background discussion.

Adam has played baseball his entire life. Ever since he could talk he would walk around with his toy bat and say "I play baseball?" When we first started dating our junior year of high school he was just kicking off baseball season at Lassiter High School. Their team was amazing - they made it all the way to the Georgia AAAAA State Finals, only to lose to Chattahoochee. The next year, there were 12 returning seniors that were lovably coined The Dirty Dozen. We thought the 2005 team was incredible, but in 2006 they were unstoppable - finishing the season 32-4 and going 10-0 in the postseason. Adam was an integral part of the team both years and I will forever cherish all those hours I spent at baseball fields watching the Trojans play. Senior year, Adam hit a walk-off home run in the semi-finals and the AJC got a great picture of it. It is one of my most favorite pictures.

Adam went on to play college ball at Western Carolina and North Georgia, but nothing will ever compare to the Lassiter Trojans. Most of the boys had been playing baseball together since they were kids, so the parents and families were all close. The December after everyone graduated high school, the Bishops decided to host a Christmas party for the boys and their parents. It has been five years since that first party, and it has slowly grown to include wives, fiancees and girlfriends. Although there is always one or two that can't make it - everyone makes their best effort to not miss it. (We also noticed last night that all of the parents are still married! In this day and age, that is really something amazing to see.)

Out of the 12 boys, four of them are married and two are engaged. And out of that, two are married and one is engaged to their high school sweetheart (Adam & I included). We have been invited to all of the weddings, and they were all invited to ours. It is such an amazing group, and I'm so happy the Bishops continue to invite all of us into their home every year.

Here's a picture of 11 of the 12 at our wedding. So far we've had the best attendance out of all the weddings! Due, in large part, to the fact that no one is ever doing anything in January.

And here's a picture of the group last night. Such a fun time!

Merry Christmas Week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Even though Christmas is still 6 days away, Adam and I celebrated Christmas with our families this past weekend as we will be in Arizona for the actual holiday. We had a wonderful weekend full of friends and family, which are my absolute fave!

Saturday was the Baker Christmas, where we exchanged gifts with Adam's family. Then the whole crew headed to Canoe, a delish restaurant in Vinings, for Debbie's birthday dinner. The food was amazing, and even though I was beyond full - I headed to Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park to celebrate a long-time friend's birthday. Here's a picture of our good-lookin' crowd at Jared's birthday.

On Sunday, Adam, Ruthie and I went on a 4 mile hike around Lake Allatoona with Debbie, Dave and their pups. It was such a beautiful day, and we had a great time chatting with the in-laws. I think Ruthie will sleep for the next week, at least.

After our jaunt around the lake, we headed home to get ready for family Christmas round two at my parents' house. We ate some yummy, yummy Mexican food, opened presents, and watched Christmas Vacation (a family fave). Adam scored big time this year with a guitar! He's been wanting one for some time, and my parents surprised him with one for Christmas. He was nice enough to wake me up this morning by attempting to play me a song (did I mention he doesn't know one thing about guitars?).

And now we have a busy, busy week full of more family and friends! I'll be sure to post pictures of all my handmade gifts when I get a chance.

Merry Christmas!

'Tis the Season!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I've been a bad baby about updating my blog, but I think it's understandable during the holiday season, right? We've had a pretty eventful season, so I'll just give you a quick run down...

Moving Day!
On December 1, our little family moved into our new home! Here's a picture of our first morning in the new place, and Adam and Ruthie playing with a dead tree (gosh, that's ridiculous) in our new backyard.

Merry Christmas from MLT!
Last year at work, we all received iPads as our Christmas gift. And this year they surprised us with iPhones! This is so crucial, especially for Adam because now he doesn't have to listen to me complain/beg for one.

Go Trojans!
My little brother, Mitchy, is a senior left tackle on the Lassiter High School Football team (#74!) and they made it to the state semi-finals for the first time in school history! Although they ended up losing, it was an amazing game and they are the winningest senior class at LHS! I'm so glad Adam and I were able to make it to most of his playoff games - it really was fun to be a part of.

 It's so cold in the D!
We had client meetings all last week, and they happened to be in Detroit. It was absolutely freezing, but it snowed on Friday which was so gorgeous. Below is a picture of the cutest little area called Royal Oak, and a picture of me in the snow!

Happy Birthday, Debbie!
December 13 marked my beautiful mother-in-law's 50th birthday! The whole family gathered at the original Bakers' and ate some yummy 'za. I got her the best present (obviously), it's the pretty frame on the left! It's actually pretty cool: Instead of a picture, I put notebook paper in the frame. Then I added those perty flowers and left her a note! I also hot glued velcro to the back of the frame and the dry-erase marker so she could change out the message, and not lose the pen. Here's where I got the idea.

Adam and I are blessed to have a pretty packed schedule between now and the New Year, and are excited to spend some QT with our family and friends.

Merry (early) Christmas!

A Month of Thanks: Part III

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holy cow, it's DECEMBER! Everyone at work always makes fun of me for getting so worked up at the beginning of each month, but it really does shock me how fast time goes by. I'm kick-starting this month by wrapping up my month of thanks.

November 21
I am thankful for random acts of kindness. I am thankful for how little it takes to make someones day - that every smile matters. I am thankful for the kind people I have in my life that just constantly warm my hear.

November 22
I am thankful for traditions. I am thankful that Adam and I get to start making our own holiday traditions this year. I am thankful for Pinterest for giving me so many good ideas for traditions to start this year and carry on forever.

November 23
I am thankful for vacations! I am thankful that I have the next four days off of work to spend time with the hubs and our wonderful families. I am thankful that I don't work in retail, so I don't have to prepare for the craziness of Black Friday/Weekend.

November 24 - Happy Thanksgiving!
I am just plain thankful! I am thankful that I was able to spend the day with both of our families. I am thankful for the crazy, loud, informal Thanksgiving at my parents' house and the calm, formal Thanksgiving at Meagan & Nathan's. I am thankful that I got to enjoy the best of both worlds on such a wonderful day.

November 25
I am thankful for the holiday season. I am thankful that I can officially start listening to Christmas music! I am thankful for the quality time we will be spending with our families, and the overall joyfulness of the season.

November 26
I am thankful for Coach Irwin of the Lassiter HS Football team. I am thankful that my little brother, Mitchell, gets to play often and that he has not been hurt. But more so, I am thankful for Coach Irwin's giving heart to the Foster family. I don't think he has any idea what kind of impact he is having on that family. Click here to read more.

November 27
I am thankful for lazy weekends with my hubs. I am thankful that we have the opportunity to spend so much quality time together, when I know that is not the case for many couples and families. I am thankful that no matter how much time I spend with him, I never get sick of him...yet. ;)

November 28
I am thankful my mom is a realtor! I am thankful that she held our hand during this rental process and that we officially have the keys to our new house! I honestly don't know how we would have done it without her, and I most certainly don't know how people go through the process of buying a house without losing their minds!

November 29
I am thankful for books (and I can't believe it's taken me 29 days to be thankful for this!). I am so thankful that I absolutely love reading. I am thankful for the many worlds I have been transported to through reading. I am thankful that I can get lost in a good book for hours, even days. I am thankful that no matter what my mood, I can always count on a good book to instantly relax me.

November 30 
I am thankful that I have so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful that over the past 29 days, it has been relatively easy to be thankful for something different every day. I am thankful for all of the blessings I have received in my short life of 23 years.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Let the good times roll!" as they say in New Orleans.

Adam and I had a wonderful weekend with my cousin, Michael, and his adorable girlfriend, Maggie, She is a high school science teacher and Michael is in the Coast Guard, and they both (conveniently) live in Biloxi, Mississippi. On Friday morning, Adam and I packed up and drove down to spend the weekend with them.

We spent a couple hours in Biloxi while Maggie finished up her school day, and then we all piled into Michael's Tahoe and headed to New Orleans for the night! In one short hour, we arrived at the Holiday Inn French Quarter. We were literally a block from Bourbon Street, which was both amazing and dangerous.

We started the night with dinner at River's Edge - right across from the famous Cafe du Monde.

After dinner, on our way to Bourbon Street, we stopped in at The Cigar Factory so the boys could purchase some stogies. All of the cigars are made in-house, and you can watch the talented guys roll them - Michael was absolutely fascinated by how fast they worked. I was told that they make 30,000 cigars a month! And I believe it based on how fast they're made.

Being the girls that we are, we also made the boys pose for a picture in front of the fleur-de-lis tree in the French Quarter.

I was told that we had to partake in a Hand Grenade at Tropical Isle, so that was our first bar. The drinks are DELISH, but deadly! As you may or may not be able to see from the picture, they come with these baby grenades that float on top of your drink. The bar has an elevated net for patrons to shoot these grenades into, and of course Adam was the only one in our group to make the shot.

Our next stop was another Nola staple, the piano bar Pat O'Brien's. It was here that Adam and I reconnected with one of my very good friends from high school, Meghan, and her boyfriend, Peter. They have both lived in Nola since college graduation, so it was great to finally see her! Of course, I also had to try their signature drink, the Hurricane.

Through the wonderful world that is social media, I found out that another friend of ours was in town! Now this is just ridiculous - Adam and I met Bailee and David when we were honeymooning in Jamaica. They both live in Rochester, NY, but Bailee was in town with her mom while David and the boys were hunting. It never ceases to amaze me how small the world really is. (Please excuse my terrible posture in this picture.)

Bailee and I decided to try yet another signature drink - this time is was the Shark Attack. It was a clear drink, but then they stabbed these sharks into our cups, which gushed out some sort of red liquid (appetizing, right?). And for old times' sake, we had to take a Jameson and pickle back shot to bring back the good ole days in Jamaica!

I want to believe it was the final Jameson shot that sent me over the edge, but I'm sure all of the signature drinks I enjoyed didn't help. Needless to say, our Saturday in Biloxi was anything but exciting. I was a mess the entire day, and am still so mad at myself! However, we did get to spend some quality time with Michael and Maggie - so that was awesome! I think it's safe to say I got Bourbonized.

We made the trek back to Atlanta yesterday, and I am rejoicing this three-day week before a family-filled Thanksgiving on Thursday!

A Month of Thanks: Part II

As I stated in my last post, I'm breaking this month of thanks challenge into three posts. So here goes the second one!

November 11
I am thankful for my wonderful friends. I am thankful that my best friends from high school and college are still my best friends today. I am thankful that our times spent together always include hours of laughing.

November 12
I am thankful for the way Adam and I handle our finances. We are lucky enough to have a financial planner (at 23, I know), and although we don't have many finances to plan, the lessons we've learned are priceless. I am thankful for our little 'nest egg' we've saved up, and I am so thankful that we have absolutely no debt. 

November 13
I am thankful for Adam's patience. I am thankful that, while I am ridiculously impatient and impulsive, Adam rarely loses his cool and always knows how to calm me down. I can't imagine having to live with someone like me, let alone love them, but he pretty much rocks it on both accounts.

November 14
I am thankful for our health. I am thankful that other than getting sick here and there, Adam and I are overall very healthy individuals. I am thankful that we both have the motivation to go to the gym and take care of ourselves. I am thankful that our lives don't revolve around doctor's appointments, as so many do.

November 15
I am thankful for technology. I am thankful that because of technology today I have the opportunity to keep up with friends and family who don't live near us. However, I am also thankful that I have not forgotten the meaning of face-to-face contact amidst all of the technology we have available to us.

November 16
I am thankful for our troops. I am thankful that our beautiful country is protected 24/7/365 by the most selfless group of individuals in the world. I am thankful for every soldier that comes home safe, and I weep for those that don't. I am thankful for every second they spend away from their families to protect ours.

November 17
I am thankful for the roof over our heads. I am thankful that Adam and I have been fortunate enough to live in the world's most fun apartment. I am thankful that we are now moving into a house (renting!), that has a backyard for Ruthie to play in. I am thankful that we will be able to transform this space into a home.

November 18
I am thankful for the food on our table. I am thankful that Adam knows how to cook, otherwise we would both go hungry! I am thankful that we don't have to worry a lack of food.

November 19
I am thankful for travel. I am thankful for the amazing places I've visited, and for the many more I hope to visit in the future. I am thankful for the abundance of beauty and cultures this world has to offer. I am thankful for the advances made that can take us all over the world in a matter of hours.

November 20 
I am thankful for hobbies. I am thankful that Adam and I both enjoy things other than just work. I am thankful that we both have separate and similar hobbies, because let's be honest - it's unhealthy to do everything together. I am thankful for Adam's love of hunting, and my new found love of crafting!

Until next time!

A Month of Thanks: Part I

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We're a good way through November, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! At the beginning of the month I began the Thankfulness Challenge. I saw this on a few blogs and felt compelled to join in myself, but rather than make a new blog post everyday, I'm splitting it up into three! So here goes nothing...

November 1
"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
Although I haven't been one of his star students lately, I am first and foremost thankful for my everything - Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He is the only one with the Plan, and that he is teaching me everyday to believe in Him and His Plan.

November 2
I am thankful for my wonderful husband, Adam. I could write an infinite amount of blog posts about what an amazing human being that man is, but I'll save y'all the trouble of scrolling on and on. I don't know what in the world I did right to deserve such an incredible person, but I am so thankful for him every single day. I am thankful for his dedication to making me laugh everyday, for his thoughtfulness, for his motivation to provide for me and our future family, and for marrying me.

November 3
I am thankful for my Ruthie Roo! I am thankful for the patience and responsibility that sweet little pup is teaching me. I am thankful that no matter how angry she makes me, she makes me smile and laugh even more. I am so thankful that she picked us out at the Humane Society that day.

November 4
I am thankful for my mama. My beautiful, crazy mama. I am thankful for her giving heart and her lack of materialistic needs. I am thankful for her patience. I am thankful that we spend all of our time laughing until our sides hurt because we are both just so ridiculous.

November 5
I am thankful for my super smart daddy. I am thankful that he has spoiled me rotten while still teaching me to be a responsible, hard working member of society. I am thankful that he bent over backwards to give me a wedding anyone would die for. I am thankful for his amazing work ethic and for teaching me so many life lessons that have helped me thrive in the 'real world.'

November 6
I am thankful for my absurdly funny big brother, Jefe. I am thankful that, against his better judgement, he didn't kill me as a child. :) I am thankful that although we did not get along as kids, he is one of my best friends today. I am thankful for the lessons he has taught me, and that we never end a phone call without saying "I love you."

November 7
I am thankful for my baby brother, Mitchell. I am thankful that he has outgrown his craziness through the years...well, kinda. I am thankful for his motivation in school and sports, and for his excitement to go to college next year. I am thankful that, like Jefe, we have become close as we've gotten older.

November 8
I am thankful for my wonderful sister, Lindsay. I think the only reason we are not blood-related is because God knew our poor mothers would not be able to handle both of us. We fight like sisters, but we also love like sisters and trust like sisters. There is no one else in the world I would have wanted next to me on my wedding day.

November 9
I am thankful for the best in-laws. Adam has turned into a pretty incredible human being, so he was obviously brought up right - to say the least! They are such a Godly family, and I am so blessed to have them as such a big part in my life. (Try not to die of shock, but I am not in this picture! But it's from our wedding day, and I just love it.)

November 10
I am thankful for my job. I am thankful that in this rough economy I somehow scored the best job, ever. I am thankful for the crazy MLT family and for everything I have learned since the first day I started. I am thankful for my hens - without them I think I would jump out the window everyday. 


Moving on up!

Monday, November 7, 2011

After a very long, stressful week, Adam and I have officially found our next place of residence! We absolutely adore our current apartment - we can walk everywhere and Piedmont Park is literally our front yard - but we knew we would have to move when our lease is up January 1. Although it's an amazing location, it really is just so small, too expensive and far from Adam's new job. We will definitely miss our 'first place,' but I am stoked for our new place!

We're going from a one bedroom/one bath baby apartment to a three bedroom/two bath house! It is so very spacious (probably too spacious...), and it has a huge fenced-in backyard for Ruthie.  The cherry on top is that it is cheaper than what we're paying now. I know, crazy!

Here's a picture of our new abode. Not much to look at from the outside, but it is beautiful inside.

We had to jump through so many hoops to get this place (another story for another day), but I am so glad everything worked out. Ruthie is going to freak out when she sees all the space she gets to run around in.

Now the next challenge is figuring out how to fill up a house when we only have stuff for a one bedroom/one bath apartment. Pinterest is about to become my new best friend.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Well, now it's November - but I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! Sadly, ours consisted of sitting inside with the lights out and our pumpkin not lit. We sound like such Debbie Downers, but our apartment would more likely be visited by bums than children so we'd rather not tempt them.

Last week, I scoured the internet for a fun pumpkin carving idea, but this is the best I found. I've been carving pumpkins since before I can remember, and this was the toughest pumpkin to carve! I think I gave myself carpal tunnel, and it's not even that cute. We named him Felipe and the little baby pumpkin next to him is nameless. He used to have three babies, but Ruthie ate the other two. Typical.

 On Friday night, a whole slew of us dressed up for the Boos & Brews event at Sweetwater Brewery. Adam and I dressed up as Hawaiian Punch! I was a hula girl, and he was a boxer. Get it??

I wanted to capture a cute family picture before we left, but it didn't turn out quite how I had imagined. Adam looked absolutely adorable, Ruthie looked sad, and I looked pregnant. Awesome.

That picture doesn't do Ruthie's costume any justice, so I just had to post a close-up so you can get the full effect.

Eeeeeek! She is just too adorable!

What did you do to celebrate Halloween this year?

A Weekend of Celebration

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Monday! ugh.

I find myself starting off client emails with that dreaded phrase on Mondays. I guess I'm just trying to kid myself into thinking I'm happy that it's Monday. I think Mondays are the hardest when you have had such a fun, eventful weekend! Ours was that, to say the least.

First of all. Adam FINALLY finished his 12-week transformation diet/workout plan on Saturday! I am so very proud of him for so many reasons: the diet was absolutely insane and consisted of 6 meals a day of boring food and no booze (obvi I did not participate); he never missed a workout (this is especially hard since we have to drag our butts out of bed and to the gym by 6am. ugh); and his final results were absurdly amazing (he lost 40 pounds!). Although I have always found Adam ridiculously good looking, he is just even more gorgeous now. Below is one of his results' pictures - what a difference!

So we kicked off the morning with his final workout (woot! woot!), took all his final measurements and pictures, and then made a DELICIOUS breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and mimosas! Soon after, we headed off to Athens for the event of the year (other than my wedding, of course) - Kelly and Jason's wedding! It was such a beautiful wedding, and the weather could not have been more perfect. Congratulations to the honeys!!
Mr. & Mrs. Cooper!

 With the beautiful bride!

Outside the beautiful venue: Thompson House & Gardens

And now it's Monday. Boo!