Saturday, November 29, 2008

What are you thankful for?

This will show you who my nephew is thankful for:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Elf Yourself!

My sister, Lindsey, does this "Elf Yourself" every Christmas for her family and I always find it so amusing so this year, I decided to do it for me, Justin and Giz. Enjoy!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Letter To Me

So have any of you heard the Brad Paisley song "Letter To Me"? I heard it a while back and liked it, but I heard it again recently and it got me thinking. If I were to write a letter to myself back when I was in high school, what would I say? I feel like so much has happened to me over the past 10 years and I have definitely matured. Sometimes I look back on things I said or did in high school and think to myself "what the heck were you thinking?"! So because I am bored at work because it is a holiday week and not much is going on, I figured I would share some of the things that I would have told myself in a letter. If you didn't know me that well in high school, some of this may not make sense.

  • Don't get mad because you have to work through high school. Later in life you will realize how great of a thing this is and you will be thankful that you weren't handed everything on a silver platter
  • Never regret anything that happens in your love life and don't wish you would have never dated somebody. You learn countless things from every relationship, especially the ones in high school. But at the same time, when your family tells you that the person you're dating is NOT the one for you.....LISTEN TO THEM.
  • Try to stay away from drama. There are people that you're hanging out with that cause nothing but trouble. Stay away from them. Drama is inevitable in high school, but don't make it worse than it already is
  • Keep going to the church in Hoover. You will meet some great people there that will change your life forever
  • Prepare yourself for mom and dad. After the divorce you will keep hoping that things will get better. They're not really going to. The fighting will continue forever, but as you grow up, you will learn how to stay out of it and it will affect you less and less as the years go by
  • Do not go to UAB, even for him. Later you will realize that he's not worth it. Go to Alabama and dance. Because when you look back at your favorite times in life, it won't be high school that you remember, it will be college
  • One of your friends has a midnight blue mustang. No matter what happens and what situations occur, DO NOT GET IN THE CAR WITH HER IN THE MONTH OF APRIL. She will get in a car accident that will break your arm in five places and cause you not to be able to compete with the dance team your junior year. It will happen right before your 16th birthday.
  • If you and Jennifer do decide to have the party at mom's house in Greystone, don't let Anna make flyers and pass them out at school. Remember that Lindsey works there and she will come across the invitation in the teacher's lounge. Actually, I take that back. That's going to be funny in a few years
  • Keep your passion, but learn to use it in the right place. You are headstrong and you know what you want and you fight for it. This attitude will make things happen for you in college and in your professional career. Don't lose that passion, but try to control it a little bit better. Remember, you do not know everything!
  • There's going to be that one guy in high school that you wish would commit to you, but he's not going to. You're going to try to get over him by dating pretty much anyone else. It won't work. Stay single because you'll end up breaking someone's heart in the process
  • Please remember that everything happens for a reason. There will be a lot of break-ups, cheating, fighting with friends, fighting with family, and there will inevitably be days where you just have no idea what is going on with life or how to fix it. God is there with you even though you don't think about it or talk to Him all that often. He is doing what is right for you and you will see that later in life. Just keep your chin up and don't let anyone make you feel like you're not good enough or that you are asking for too much
  • When you are 16, a 22 year old that you work with is going to ask you out. Say no, quit your job, and go work somewhere else
  • Don't give mom such a hard time. She's doing the best she can to raise you and Jennifer. She makes mistakes and she's not perfect, but she's doing what she can
  • When Katie comes back in town from Ohio, don't skip school with Lindsey and Lauren to pick her up at the airport. Or, if you do, get gas somewhere else other than at the BP on Highway 150
  • Finally......when a guy in a red jeep pulls up to the house and asks you to go with him to Wendy's....go with him. You will look back on this summer as the best of your life and most of it will be spent with this one guy. Have fun going off roading with him and sneaking out with him at night and walking home with him from school. Just be aware that the relationship may not evolve the way you want it to right then, but keep a smile on your face and don't let it get to you. Because one day, 10 years after this summer, he will find you. This is the guy that you will marry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our last trip of 2008

So a long long time ago Justin, Aaron (Justin's brother-in-law) and I planned to go to New Hampshire to climb Mt. Washington before the end of the year, so we decided to fly up on December 20th and come back on December 23rd. We finally booked our flights last night!!! It was taking us FOREVER to book a flight because the flights were WAY more expensive than we anticipated. We almost weren't able to go, but Justin used his flight finding powers and managed to find us a pretty darn cheap one that flies into Providence, Rhode Island. I've never been to Rhode this will be a first for me! Justin knows that I'll be singing "We're off on the road to Rhode Island. We're having the time of our lives." (If you don't watch Family Guy you won't get the joke).

I've been saving money for months to be able to buy all the required clothing/equipment that I am going to need to do this hike. I spread it out over the course of two months so that I wouldn't be completely broke at Christmas time. If anyone wants to climb Everest and needs clothes....come to me!

We'll rent a car in Providence and drive to North Conway, NH. Once we get there we have to go rent our ice axes, boots, and crampons. Some of you may not know what crampons are. I know I had no idea until Justin told me. They're the picks that go on the bottom of your boots when you hike in snow or ice to keep you from falling and keep you steady.

Here's a picture. This is not my foot, I just pulled it off yahoo to give you an idea :)

We will wake up SUPER early on Sunday, December 21st to head to the mountain to start the hike. Just to give some background info on the mountain, it is actually in New Hampshire. Most people hear "Mt. Washington" and think it's that big mountain in Washington. That's Rainier. Mt. Washington is in New Hampshire. This mountain is 6,288 feet to the summit. That number is deceiving. Since we are doing this hike in the winter, it makes it one of the most difficult climbs of all the highpoints. Allow me to explain. Right now (Tuesday, November 18th at 3:28 central time) it is 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit at the summit of the mountain with a -22 degree wind chill and 25 mph winds. This mountain is referred to as "Home of the World's Worst Weather". On December 17, 2007 (only 4 days prior to when we will be doing it this year) the high was -3 degrees and the low was -16. There was 12 inches of snow on the ground with 84 mph winds. Yep, that would be hurricane force winds. SO PRAY FOR US!!

This is a picture off of of the observatory at the summit. Everything is completely frozen. I am sure that I have officially made my family members that read this blog incredibly nervous and that my phone will be ringing off the hook all night.

There is a slight chance that we won't be able to make it up the mountain. We're pretty adventurous people, but we also value our lives and if the winds get up to hurricane speeds, we will have to turn back. Hopefully that won't be the case! We won't be doing much after that hike, but on Monday we're going snow skiing at one of the nearby resorts. I haven't done that in forever so I'm really excited about it! After we are done skiing, we will drive to Boston, MA. We'll be staying in Boston on Monday night and we'll get to do some sight-seeing Tuesday before driving back to Rhode Island to get on a plane to come home. I'll be knocking out three states that I've never been to though!!! And you know what the best part of all of it is???? Our connection is through Newark, NJ (neighbors New York City) so I'll get to see my FAVORITE city, even if it is out the window of a plane :)

The next week will be awesome because I won't get back until Tuesday night from our trip. The next day is Christmas Eve and unfortunately I do have to work, but I have the 2 days off after that, so basically I am only working one day that whole week! I am really excited about this trip but I would be lying if I said that some part of me wasn't scared of the weather and avalanches. So please keep us in your prayers as we do this hike in the hardest time of year to do it.

This is the marker indicating that you are at the top of the mountain. It will not look like this if we make it up the mountain. The walkways where people are walking will be covered in snow, probably about 15 inches of snow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do I have the cutest nephew or what???

"Atticus" in the video is their dog by the way :)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jingle All The Way....

YAAAAAAY for Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith!!!! We have officially exceeded both of our goals for the Jingle Bell Run. We had a group goal of raising $3,000 and as of right now, we've raised $3,590!!!! We also had a goal of recruiting 100 people to run with us and as of right now, we've got 105 people running! We are in first place by far for other teams signed up to do the Jingle Bell Run. The second place team has raised $1,267 and recruited 10 people to run! I think it may be safe to say that we've got this one in the bag :)

Also, we got the proofs back from our photos from doing the Vulcan Run. I can't save them to my computer to download, but I can give you a link to go to:

When you get to this screen, click on the Vulcan Run symbol in the center of the page. This should take you to another screen where you have to enter the "bib number". Justin's bib number was 590 and mine was 723. Enter these into the blank and click continue underneath the blank. We're not real sure why Justin only has one picture of himself and I have four....

Monday, November 10, 2008

The secret trip was to.....MAINE!!!

So come to find out, I was right about the trip being to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. Justin lied to my face....sneaky sneaky. He has profusely apologized for lying ever since he told me where we were going. The weather wasn't really cooperating with us on Saturday. It was the deepest fog I have ever seen and you really couldn't see further than 20 feet in front of you. We woke up at about 5am on Saturday morning (this was after getting to the hotel and going to sleep after midnight so we barely got 4 and a half hours of sleep Friday night) to drive the 20 miles to Acadia in hopes of getting there in time for the high tide to come in. We went to a place called Thunder Hole and if you go right at high tide, you can see walls of water crashing on the rocks of up to 40 feet!!!


This is us at Thunder Hole. We saw the crashing and lots of water, but never made it in time to see something as big as 40 feet. We did however take a funny video. Make sure to watch it all the way to the end:

We enjoyed our time in Acadia, but after a whole day of not being able to see much because of the layer of fog, we decided that we would come back to Acadia on Sunday to see if the weather was better.



This is us at a place called Bubble Pond. You can see the fog in the background and imagine how hard it was to see the sites with that all over the park! And in case anyone is wondering how on earth we got so many pictures together, it is because we had a small tripod that can be clamped to pretty much anything.


This is us at Bass Harbor Lighthouse. I was very much looking forward to seeing these lighthouses (Maine has HUNDREDS) but again, the fog made it a little hard.


Bar Harbor Inn...BEAUTIFUL!


Doing some light shopping in Bar Harbor


This is at a small park near Bar Harbor Inn. This was one of the very few places that still had leaves in the fall colors. We came during "off-season", which had its pros and its cons. The park was pretty much empty which was great! We didn't have traffic and it was very romantic to not be surrounded by tons of people. However, all the fun restaurants and shops and stuff were all closed for the season, so it was hard to find places to eat and buy things.

We left Bar Harbor to drive to Freeport, Maine that afternoon. It was about a 3 hour drive, but it was dark in Maine at like 4:30, so it felt much later than it actually was. We went to Freeport because of the LL Bean outlet store. Justin, Rob, Bonnie and Andrew came to Freeport back in June when they did their northeastern hiking excursion and I was fascinated with the things Justin had brought home from that store, so I really wanted to go there. I asked Justin a while ago (back when I thought I was going to Acadia) if I would need to bring money to "shop". He didn't want to give away where were going and was afraid that if he said "yes" that I would figure it out. So he said no. When I was in the Birmingham airport and found out that I was going to Acadia one of the first things I said was "Man I don't have a lot of money to go shopping at LL Bean". Justin responded by saying "That's why I also got you this" and gave me an LL Bean $100 gift card that he had ordered for me the previous week. I have the best man in the world :)
Once we got into Freeport, we went to our hotel and freshened up a bit to go to dinner. We ate dinner at a fancy place called Jameson Tavern. It was in a building that reminds me of those plantations back in the "Gone With the Wind" Days. Very similar to the Battle Friedman Home in Tuscaloosa, AL. Anyway, it was FABULOUS. Justin had lobster and I had steak. He said it was the best lobster he has ever had. Afterwards we went to other outlets like Nine West, Northface, Cool As a Moose, etc. We were so exhausted from only getting a little over 4 hours of sleep the night before so we turned in early that night.

The next morning we woke up and headed to Portland, Maine to see the Portland Head Lighthouse, which was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!! The weather was so much better that day!


This is the Portland Head Lighthouse. No picture does it justice. I was truly in awe!

After leaving Portland we drove the 3 hours back to Acadia to see some of the highlights from the day before now that the sun was out. We only had an hour and a half at Acadia before we had to drive back to Bangor, Maine to catch our flight back home. But we managed to hit the best parts of the park and get better pictures.



This is at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. If you were to be on the summit of this mountain at sunrise, you would officially be the first person in the United States of America to see the sun come up for that day. It was breath-taking (and very windy if you can't tell by the pictures)!


This is me at Sand Beach....I was incredibly pumped that the sun was out!!!


This is me and Justin at Otter of my favorite views in the park.

Great trip! I love traveling with this kid ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's "Secret Trip" time

It is finally time!! The long awaited secret trip is here!!! Well, it will be here tomorrow at least. In case you haven't read previous blogs about the secret trip, my amazingly wonderful and supportive boyfriend has planned a getaway for us this weekend. I have no idea where I am going, even though I was given a few hints. Our flight leaves BHAM around 5ish (he won't tell me the exact time because he knows that I will research which flights leave at what time and their destinations....I'm sneaky like that). I do know that our connecting flight is through Detroit, but that's it. I won't know the final destination until I get to the airport tomorrow.

I need to take just a brief second to gloat upon my significant other. How amazing is it that he would plan a trip like this as a surprise for me? He's paid for everything and I don't have to worry about any costs and he has even planned our "activities" for what we will do when we get to the destination. I have never had anyone treat me so well in my life. Just the other day I was telling Justin about how horrible of a day I was having and when I got home from work, I had beautiful pink roses in a vase waiting for me. He wanted to cheer me up so he got me some roses. I have never felt this way about anyone in my entire life and I really feel like this was God's plan the entire time I have known Justin. He is my life and I really do not know what I would do without his love and support for me. I love you bay!!!

Yes, I know it has been a while since my last post. I have been extremely busy at work the last week so it's been kind of hard to keep up to date. Justin and I ran the Vulcan Run 10K on November 1st. There were over 2000 people running and only close to 1600 people finished the full 6.22 miles. Justin's goal was to do it in just under and hour and my goal was to do it within an hour and 10 minutes. Both of us not only reached our goals, but exceeded them. Justin ran the full 6.22 miles in just 49 minutes and I did it in 1 hour and 1 minute. We were both very proud and very exhausted afterwards.

This is Justin and I right before the race started. My friend Alison from work took the picture. Oh and Alison got engaged the day after CONGRATS to her and Patrick!

This is the two of us after the race. We were both FREEZING!

Later that night we went over to Devin and Ashley's house to hang around the new firepit that Devin had just bought. I was suppose to bring smores but I left them at home, so instead we just hung around outside talking about the past and the future!

Me and Ash trying not to inhale too much smoke

For some reason Devin is never in any pictures. We're going to have to fix that Devin!

And to complete my running total of friends that are currently engaged and getting married in 2009:

1) Carina Sanchez and Jonathan Cash

2) Lindsey Owens and Justin Limbaugh

3) Ashley Daniel and Devin Taylor

4) Tiffany McCurry and Trevor Lobdell

5) Allison Waits and Chase Williamson

6) Ashley Brock and Trey Caldwell

7) Alison Cook and Patrick Cooke

8) Chris Hovanec and Kristi Kasper

I'm telling you....something's in the water....