celebrations in chucktown

Thursday, January 31, 2013

When we got married in January 2011 no one else we knew were getting/had gotten married in January. We also received quite a few "WHY January??" comments from friends and family. However, this year we attended two weddings in January!  Adam and I are obviously (very unintentionally) wedding trendsetters.

First up was Ryan and Carissa's wedding in Charleston on January 19. Adam and I went to high school with Ryan, and he's part of the group of high school baseball boys. The wedding was held at Boone Hall Plantation and was so beautiful. (It's also where Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively got married and where they filmed part of The Notebook, FYI for my fellow celeb stalkers.) The wedding was outside, and although it was a little chilly, it was worth it for the gorgeous backdrop. We then moved to the reception area that was just as pretty (but warmer, thank goodness). We had such a great time and were so happy to be there to help celebrate the Bishops!

Since their wedding fell on MLK Weekend and Adam and I both had Monday off (woo woo!), we decided to celebrate our anniversary by staying an extra day in Charleston. I have always loved Charleston and even contemplated moving there at one point, but I never remember just how much I love it until I'm back. My goodness, I could move there in a heartbeat! It's such a perfect mix of historical town and beach village... and I'm kind of obsessed.

Isle of Palms!

It was so nice to spend the whole day just me and Adam. We stayed at the DoubleTree and I highly recommend it. The location could not have been better and the room was as nice as can be. We spent all day Sunday walking around (literally, we walked around for three hours) and soaking up each other's company - the weather was perfect. I could say this a million times, and I still don't think anyone can comprehend just how much I love spending time with that handsome hubs of mine! We have the best time together, and there's no one else I'd rather hang out with.

We tried to make it look like Adam was holding up this ship, but he couldn't flatten out his palm - ha!

It's hard for me to believe that a guy would be comfortable wearing these... in public.

After all that walking, our feet were near death so we popped into a sports bar (Mac's Place Pub and Grub) to eat some lunch and watch the Falcons play. Although they lost, it was a fun game to watch! (And yes, I actually watched most part of it.) After checking into the hotel, we headed to the Market Pavilion Rooftop Bar - my one demand for the weekend. That bar is Charleston to me, for some reason. I just love it, and I feel so fancy. (Even if my date is wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.) Then we headed down the street to Mercato for dinner.

This picture does the Market Pavilion bar no justice!

Monday morning we woke up and headed to Toast for brunch. I've never been a huge breakfast person, so going out for breakfast or brunch is not really ever on my to-do list. I'd rather just get moving. But we felt it was a perfect way to end our trip, and I'm so glad we did. I guess I could use a little more french toast in my life.

The weekend was so perfect, and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate being married to that handsome guy for two years.

two years of wedded bliss

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today marks our second wedding anniversary! Sometimes I think "how have we only been married for two years?!" and sometimes I think "wow, two years already?!" We've had our good days and our bad days (duh), but overall they've been the best two years of my life. I constantly wonder how in the world he puts up with me sometimes, but I'm sure he thinks the same thing...right? :)

We got married young (not 'childbride' young, but definitely 'the first of our friends to get married' young), and I'm sure a lot of people had their doubts because we were so young. Lucky for us, we went into it knowing that marriage wasn't all kisses and rainbows, we knew it was going to be hard work. I think having that mindset going into it was super beneficial. I know we've only been married for two years, but we've been through a lot together and it certainly hasn't been all kisses and rainbows. :)

At the end of the day - I love him a whole lot and don't know what in the world I did right to deserve him or what in the world I would do without him. He's my very best friend, makes me laugh everyday and the one person I can trust with anything. (By the way, he deserves a medal for being my best friend - can you imagine how much of my talking he has to endure on a daily basis??)

Today's a Tuesday (read: workday) and I've already spent way too much time watching our wedding slideshow and going through all of our wedding pictures. I was not one of those girls who had their whole wedding planned out by the age of 8, but I must say my mom and I somehow planned a pretty rad wedding without having any initial direction or experience (mom and dad got married at the courthouse). It was such a perfect day - especially since Atlanta had been frozen over the whole week, causing me multiple breakdowns. We had the best time with the people that mean the world to us and didn't want the night to end!

Here's to a million more! I love you more than anything, hubs.

fighting childhood hunger and celebrating birthdays

Monday, January 14, 2013

What a terrible blog post title... give me a break.

Last week (specifically Thursday) was an amazing week for fighting childhood hunger in Georgia. During the afternoon, I was able to attend a press conference at the State Capitol where Governor Deal was on hand to announce Arby's Foundation's $3 million donation to end childhood hunger in Georgia! We are so lucky to have a Governor who recognizes what a major issue childhood hunger is, and makes sure that it is publicized. (In case you aren't aware how big of an issue it is, 1 in 4 children in Georgia don't know where their next meal is coming from. Nationally, it's 1 in 5 children.)

That evening, I attended the Verizon 4G4Hunger Reveal Party at the Sub-Zero Wolf Showroom. (Click here to learn more about the campaign.) I brought Alysa as my date and we had a great time mingling and eating some yummy food. The best part of the night came around 8pm, when they announced the winner of the Challenge. I honestly felt like I was in the Miss America Pageant... they started with 3rd runner up and worked their way up, and I stood there with my camera ready and fingers crossed. (I honestly would have been happy no matter what - the winner was donating to their hunger charity of choice, so there wasn't really a loser.) When they announced the first runner up and it wasn't Chef Mike, I frrrreaked! WE WON!!! Thank you and congrats to Chef Mike of Del Frisco's Grille for winning the challenge, thus gifting Share Our Strength $4,000!

Keeping the celebrations going, Adam and I spent the weekend celebrating two Alysa's birthday!

First up, Alysa's 25th! Adam and I treated her to a drink at Del Frisco's Grille (we had to go congratulate Chef Mike...again!), and then a group of us went out to the Dark Horse Tavern in the Highlands. We always have such a fun time with our crazy group of high school friends!

On Saturday, we headed over to my aunt and uncle's house (which we learned is only 5 miles from our new house) for Aly's 4th birthday party. Aly was our flower girl, and we just love watching her grow! She was just a shy barely-two year old in the wedding, and now you can't shut her up! She is one of the funniest little kids and we love her. She had 4 wardrobe changes in a 3 hour span - my girl. For her birthday, I got her some Disney Princess stuff - very relevant since it was a Disney Princess party - and a wine glass. A wine glass for a four year old? WHAT? Well, when we were over there in the fall, Aly came storming into the kitchen demanding "wine in a glass". Turns out her parents let her have Kool Aid in a wine glass so she can feel fancy, so Adam came up with the cute idea to make her one! She loved it!

She didn't love any of her presents as much as she loved Adam. He is the cutest with kids and it just melts my heart. Most definitely going to be the best dad, ever.

SIDE NOTE (this is kind of becoming a normal thing, isn't it?): Adam and I started our "lifestyle change" last week... no drinking on weekdays, eating clean(ish) and doing the same transformation workouts he did last year. If you know me, you know I love having a drink everyday after work, but it honestly hasn't been too terrible! In fact, I kind of love it. It's so much easier to get up in the morning (520am...barf). I totally don't party every night, but even just not having that one drink at night makes a huge difference. Overall, it's really been pretty great because we haven't been depriving ourselves, we've just been eating healthier and in moderation. In one week, we've already seen pretty rad results. 

getting deep in 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ok, so I'm not really "getting deep" in 2013. For the most part, I'm about as deep as a puddle (although I constantly try to convince myself otherwise.) Lucky for me, there are some real witty, deep thinkers out there that do the work for me. In the spirit of "resolutions" I found these two lists that I think are awesome.

I'll start with this amazing mama who made her 13 year old son sign a contract in order to get his iPhone. Some of these are general rules, but for the most part home girl sees the big picture. I just love these - I'm guilty of 90% of them and this list may or may not have made me question my entire life. #14 is my favorite.

1. It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2. I will always know the password. 

3. If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever. 

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.  It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected. 

5. It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire. 

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10. No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father. 

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling. 

18. You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You & I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.

This one was said to have been written by a 90 year old woman, so I guess she probably knows a little bit more about life than I do. Obviously, #13 is my favorite one here. I also really love #34.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step..

3. Life is too short - enjoy it..

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it...

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to be happy. But it's all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive but don't forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Just some food for thought!

family fun to kick-start the year

This past weekend (because us Bakers only do exciting things on weekends) was one filled with family time for me, and educational baseball-y stuff for Adam.

Last Thursday, Adam headed off to the Windy City for the first time. He was asked to attend the ABCA Conference with a couple of the other Lassiter Baseball coaches, and I was so very proud of him. He may not be eligible to teach yet, but it's nice that the coaches already see him as one of them. They had a great time and Adam loved the speakers. While he was away on his fun-filled vacation until Sunday, Ruthie and I decided to get some QT in with the fam.

Last Friday was my first day back in the office since December 20. (Uhh, what?? I can certainly get used to this schedule.) After work, I picked up the pooch and headed over to the Bakers for Kelsey's going away dinner. No, she's not going to Africa again (yet...) - just 2 hours away back to college in Milledgeville. Since Adam wasn't there, we spent the whole time talking about him behind his back! Not really. Just some casual family time with my favorite in-laws.

The rest of the weekend I spent at my parents - yes, that means I got to sleep in the world's comfiest bed (aka my old one) two nights in a row. It would have been amazing, had Ruthie not woken up at 4 a.m. both mornings wanting to play with Phoebe... ay  yi yi.

Mitchell says I'm a loser for hanging out with the family all the time, but it's hard to take someone seriously who I found doing this at the age of 19. At his parents' house. BOO YAH.

My dad and Mitchy were headed to the Hawks game on Saturday night, so my mom and I planned our own girls night out. We went to the newly renovated movie theater at Phipps Plaza, and I will never see a movie any other way. The seats fully reclined. As in, I could lay horizontal the whole time. (Not the best idea if you're going late-night; I would most definitely fall asleep.) We saw The Impossible - a family's true story about the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. It honestly left me speechless - one of the best movies I've ever seen.

In true Karen and Elizabeth fashion, we just had to get Mexican food. We headed over to Mi Cocina (where Adam and I had eaten the week before) because I'm obsessed.

After a chaotic trip to Costco on Sunday (don't ever go to Costco on Sunday afternoons - rookie move) Ruthie and I headed back to the casa to clean watch TV and wait for Adam.

{I can't take her anywhere.}

To top off my family-filled weekend, I got home yesterday to this little gem waiting for me!! My Aunt Frances made one of these calendars for everyone in the family and I'm obsessed.

SIDE NOTE: My cousin Michael finallllllly proposed to his girlfriend Maggie!!! I could not be more excited!! I love Maggie and am so glad she's finallllly going to be part of our wacky family.

Bring it on, 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

With a handful of friends, Adam and I rang in 2013 from the comfort of our own home. I can't even put into words how nice it was to A) not worry about finding the perfect outfit B) not spend a ridiculous amount of money to go to some big party and C) not worry about finding/paying for a cab to drive us all the way up to Marietta at the end of the night. We just had some of our closest friends over and ate a lot of unhealthy food, drank a lot, played board games and laughed too much. Maybe it's a sign of us getting old, but it was one of the most fun New Year's Eves I've had.

In Baker tradition (you know, since this will be the second year...), I sat down and thought about my resolutions for 2013. [We heard a great sermon about resolutions on Sunday and when our church puts it online I'll be sure to link it.] 

Here are my 2013 resolutions (drum roll, please):

1. Don't get another dog. They say you're more likely to reach your goals if you write them down, so maybe that will help? Honestly, if having two dogs wasn't so expensive we would 100% have one right now. I just feel so bad for Ruthie Roo when we're at work. I think she needs a buddy to play with, but our bank account doesn't agree.

2. Be happy for others. Being happy for other people does not come naturally to me, jealousy does. That sounds so terrible, but it's true and I hate it about myself. Adam and I are so beyond blessed (seriously, it takes my breath away sometimes), but I can't help but look at others and notice what they have that we don't. I know when I'm doing it and I stop, close my eyes, and pray and remind myself of all the blessings we have. It's my hope that by the end of 2013 I can genuinely be happy for other people and not have to talk myself through it. This is something that only the big guy upstairs can help me with, so we're going to get super tight this year.

3. Quality over quantity when it comes to friends. Friends are supposed to bring out the best in you, not bring you down. PERIOD.

4. (This one is SO cliche, ugh.) I have got to start eating better. Adam and I work out on the reg, but for the most part eat TERRIBLE. I realize I was blessed with a legit metabolism (again, check out my blessings!), but that close friend of mine will peace out sooner than later. It's the whole "moderation" thing that gets me - why can't I just eat an entire bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos and not be healthy? I'm definitely going to have to (somehow) convince myself that I literally am what I eat. And I don't want to grow up to be a Flaming Hot Cheeto, but I wouldn't mind being Flaming Hot (ba doom ching!).

I'm going to think of some sort of physical goal, too - just haven't gotten there, yet. Last year it was a half marathon, and I can guarantee you that this year that will not be the case. I'm also not going to be unrealistic and hope for a six-pack by summertime. Hmm... I'll have to ask my fitness guru (aka Adam) for some ideas.

Random side note to end this post: Have you read Heaven is for Real? I read it in one day and cried most of the way through it (which is kind of embarrassing considering I read about 3/4 of it on a plane). I have always believed in Heaven, but it was so interesting to actually visualize it. It's an amazing, easy read.