Monday, June 23, 2008

One Wild Weekend

As I said in my previous post, I went to Birmingham this weekend for several different reasons: 1) Justin really wanted me to go to Thirsty Thursday 2) We wanted to go hiking in the Little River Canyon 3) Anderson turned 2 years old and 4) I got to get my favorite meal with my favorite Bama girls Carina and T and of course Johnny Cash. (Yes, his actual name is Jonathan Cash). The weekend started off with Thirsty Thursday. Justin and his roommate Rob were waiting on my flight to get in and we all were riding together to the Hoover Met. To their disappointment, my flight was delayed, which meant that they only got one good hour of $1 beers at the game. They were truly devastated, trust me! I got to briefly hang out with Katie and Lindsey, two of my best friends from high school. We tend to refer to ourselves as the "Fab 4". Lindsey and Lauren Owens and Katie Windham and I have been pretty much inseparable until we had to be. Katie moved to Ohio our Freshman year but then met back up with Lindsey and Lauren at Auburn University. I was the black sheep of the group and went to the University of Alabama so I didn't get to see them much. After college, Lauren got married and moved to Seattle and I moved to Nashville after grad school, so it is a VERY rare occacion for us to all be in the same place at the same time. Sometimes we get lucky with three of us. We missed you Lauren!

On Friday, Justin and I woke up at the crack of dawn to drive to Fort Payne, AL to go to Little River Canyon and Desoto State Park. Well, once we got to the exit to get off the interstate, Justin said "We're only an hour away from Chattanooga, let's go to Ruby Falls and Rock City". So very unexpectedly, we drove into Tennessee. Rock City was amazing! I've heard of it, but never had a desire to go there. I suggest it to everyone! I'm hoping to take Anderson there when he gets bigger if his mommy will let me. Here's some pics from Rock City:

We also went to Ruby Falls, which is a cave in Lookout Mountain. The entire time we were in Ruby Falls, Justin was telling me about going "caving" in Chattanooga. This is a new thing for me and I'm a little scared to do it, but apparently there's a cave in Chattanooga that you go into with small groups because you also crawl on your belly BACKWARDS into the cave. You have to crawl backwards because there's a four foot drop into some water at the end and you need to hit it feet first instead of head first. This makes me incredibly nervous....I'm a pretty adventurous person for a girl, but even I have my limits. I told him I would do it though. Here's a pic of Ruby Falls:

After leaving Chattanooga, we started heading for Fort Payne. As soon as we got there we went straight to Little River Falls. See pics below!

Funny story: The bottom of the canyon is usually underwater but since there hasn't been much rain, it was very dry and you could walk right next to the waterfall as you can see in the above picture. In order to get on that side of the falls, we had to jump across the part that was flowing water on top. Justin jumped first, very gracefully might I add, then I jumped....and fell in the river. Well, I didn't fall in all the way. I slipped on a wet rock and my right leg from the knee down was pretty soaked the rest of the day. I have 2 amazing bruises that I like to call "battle wounds" on my knee and a scratch on my LCD screen on my camera....awesome!

At Little River Canyon you can drive down what they call a "23 Mile Scenic Road". Justin and I drove down this road and stopped frequently to take pics at the overlooks into the canyon. We finally found a trail head on the road and pulled over to hike down it. FYI: hiking a canyon is totally different than a mountain. You hike up a mountain first and get all tired and then the hike down is much easier especially when your legs are tired. In a canyon, you hike downwards first, get all kinds of hot and tired, and THEN hike up the steep sucker!!! It really wasn't too bad though.

After leaving Little River Canyon, we headed to Desoto State Park. Another funny story here. We parked near a trail head and followed the trail through the woods. In total, the hike was suppose to be 3.2 miles roundtrip. The trail was marked by paint on the trees. The purpose of choosing this trail was to see 4 different waterfalls that was close to the trail. We didn't even get a mile in and the paint colors changed on us. We were slightly confused so we pulled out a "Hiking Alabama" book that Justin had and found out that paint colors did change throughout the trail, but also found out that we started where we were suppose to finish. We were doing the trail backwards so we had to be careful about forks in the road and paint changes in order to get out. We were doing a pretty good job until about 7:30ish (which by the way is about the time the sun goes down). I was walking behind Justin and I was looking down and all I heard was him say "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME". I looked up and realized that the park was under construction and all the trees had been cut down. We didn't know where to go because the trees with paint on them had all been cut down and we were about 2 miles into the woods. We were losing daylight and we had no idea where we were. (Of course, if SOMEONE had brought the GPS it wouldn't have been a big deal...just kidding baby!). Luckily, a park ranger was walking around the construction area and was able to show us where the rest of the trail was. To top it all off, since there was no rain in the past few months, none of the waterfalls were "falling". Sad times. But we had some great laughs along the way so it was worth it.

The next day was the little man's big day. It was his 2nd birthday party!!! He was so adorable all day. It was a bug themed party since Anderson is all into bugs now-a-days. Lindsey had the cutest cake for him and "dirt" desserts for everyone that included crushed up oreos some creme pudding type thing topped with a gummi worm. It was pretty good. I am sure Lindsey will post more pictures of his party than the ones that I have, so feel free to go to her blog to see those pics. After the party Justin and I headed to my grandparents house in Moundville, AL to have some of that famous chicken casserole and then to my dad's to see my puppy Belle. Belle is a miniature schnauzer that I got from a breeder right when I moved to Nashville. I realized after a while that with my long work hours, I couldn't be there as much as a puppy needs so I gave her to my dad. After visiting with him and my step-mother for a few hours, we drove back to Tuscaloosa to have dinner and drinks with my BAMA BUDS!! T and Carina and Cash (we call him Cash, but his real name is Johnny Cash...weird, I know) met us at El Rincon, a mexican restaurant in the heart of UA. This place was literally me and Carina's favorite place to eat while in college. Justin was surrounded by Bama fans and it was killing him to be in Tuscaloosa, I could tell :) We stayed with them for a few hours before driving back to his house in Birmingham. The next morning we went to church and lunch with his parents and then he dropped me off at the airport to head back to Nashville. Definitely a full weekend, like every other weekend when I come home. My next adventure? Not sure at this point. Might be tomorrow if I find out that I'm going to Miami for work for a couple of weeks. If not, probably the week of July 4th when I go to Birmingham again. I'll be in town July 2nd through the 6th. All that we have planned so far is to go canoeing down the Cahaba River and spend a whole day in Tuscaloosa so I can have a longer visit with Anderson and actually go out with my bama friends. There also might be a Six Flags or White Water trip thrown in there somewhere....who knows :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recent Updates....Warning: Long Blog Ahead!

Since it might be several days before I can make another post due to going out of town for the weekend, I figured I would go ahead and share on some recent updates that have happened in my life. Many of my friends can tell what's going on in my life simply by looking at my myspace or facebook profiles, but I rarely sit down to explain some things in full detail. My complete boredom at work may also have something to do with it....

One of the main things that I can't stop thinking about and can't wait for is the birth of my niece Lydia Adelane Smith. My sister Lindsey and her husband Jeff are such wonderful parents and at times it is definitely still odd to see my sister (who use to pay me to do her chores) raise a child! But she's a wonderful mother and has raised such an amazing little boy. Anderson was born when I was still in graduate school at the University of Alabama so I was privileged enough to be able to see him pretty frequently when he was a little baby. I moved to Nashville when Anderson was about 6 months old. I was very afraid that he wouldn't know my name or recognize me since I wasn't around much anymore. Luckily, that is not the case. Lindsey and Jeff and my mother tell me all the time that he's asking for his "Auntie M" (he actually says Marcie instead of Auntie M...well he more of says "Maaaacie" since he hasn't quite mastered the "r" yet). I look at Lindsey's blog on a daily basis and see how much he has grown since the last time I've seen him.

This is Anderson after taking swimming lessons with his daddy. Isn't he the most adorable thing ever? OK I'm a little bias...sue me!

Anyway, we found out at Christmas last year that Lindsey and Jeff were expecting another little bundle of joy. The way they chose to tell us was definitely interesting. Keep in mind, we come from a VERY creative family. Lindsey and Jeff told us about her first pregnancy by giving my dad a picture frame of Anderson's ultra sound in a frame that says "I love my Grandpa" or something similar to that. When Jennifer, my middle sister who lives in Tampa, got engaged, she surprised us by coming home for Thanksgiving when we didn't think she was going to be able to. So when Lindsey was ready to tell us about the 2nd pregnancy, she did it by bringing little man over to my mom's house in a shirt that was bright blue that said "Big Brother". It was a TOTAL shock for all of us! We all were hoping so badly that it was a girl but Lindsey and Jeff seemed to be sticking to their guns about not finding out the sex of the baby until the birth, which naturally, WAS KILLING THE REST OF US!!! However, Lindsey couldn't hold it when she found out that it was a little girl. She got me to set up a conference call with the three sisters to tell us that she was having a girl. I cannot wait until little Lydia arrives! I'm so ready to spoil a little girl :)

This is the most recent pic that we have of little Lydia. That face....I can't wait to see what she looks like. Lindsey has already asked me to film her birth, if possible. If she comes on time on 8-8-08, I will go to Tuscaloosa and spend the night with them on the 7th and go to the hospital with them in the morning to film her birth.

Moving on to the relationship department....(Writing all of this is actually making the time fly by at work before my flight, so sorry for the length of this blog)

As all of my close friends and family know, I started dating Justin a couple of months ago. Actually, 2 months ago TODAY! Justin and I actually have a very interesting story about us. Justin is my sister's age, he graduated from Hoover High school in 2000 while I was a year younger and graduated from the same high school in 2001. We had pretty much all of the same friends and hung out all the time in high school. First off, he dated my sister Jennifer when they were in middle school. If that's not weird enough, he also dated one of my best friend's Katie our freshman year in high school. At the time, Justin and I both lived in Trace Crossings so we frequently walked home together from school. We never actually dated in high school, but we hung out all the time, most of which including going off roading with our friends in his red jeep that I LOVED! In the summer time, I would wake up in the morning and go downstairs and Justin would be in my living room eating food from my parent's pantry and watching TV in the living room. We both liked each other in high school and to this day we can't figure out why we didn't actually date. We even looked each other up in our high school yearbooks and in my yearbook (as embarrassing as this is going to sound) there is a bright purple heart around his yearbook picture dated 5/27/98. Crazy high school days...that's all I can say. Needless to say, Justin and I hung out all through high school even though we dated other people. After Justin graduated, I never spoke to him again. (I have to put a disclaimer here because there was one time that he called when I was in college and asked me to go on a cruise with was the most random thing ever and he doesn't even remember doing it). Anyway, he recently got on myspace and found my profile on there. He and I started talking about what we had been up to and what we remembered about our "glory high school days" and how we've changed. One thing somehow led to another and BAM....we're dating now. After 10 years....we finally got it right. I've never been so happy in my entire life and love every minute I get to spend with him. Here's some of my favorite pics of us so far:

This is a picture of Justin and I at Do-Dah-Day 2008 in Birmingham, AL. It was also the week after Mother's Day and my mom's birthday, so it was one very celebratory weekend.

This is the two of us at Second Fiddle, a very "honky tonk" bar on Broadway in Nashville. Lillian, one of my best Nashville friends, often makes me go to bars like this just to irritate me since I don't like country music.

In Gatlinburg, TN with Mount LeConte in the background. We hiked up that mountain the day before. It was pretty amazing!

Taken in the process of hiking up Mt. LeConte...

And this one is at the highest point in the state of Tennessee, Clingman's Dome. Amazing views!

Sorry for the long blog :) A girl has to do something to keep her busy when she's counting down the hours before getting to see the 2 most important men in her life: her babe and her little man!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My first blog....

So I figured it was time to jump on the blogging bandwagon! My sister writes an amazing blog that I read pretty much on a daily basis (The Smith Family) and my best friend Lauren just got a blog as well as many other friends of mine, so I guess its about time for me to do it as well. The only thing I can talk about right now is my excitement about going back to Birmingham this weekend. As soon as my flight gets into Bham, Justin and I are going to the Birmingham Barons Thirsty Thursday baseball game. I've never been to one of these yet, so it will be my first time and I am SO excited about it! Then on Friday, Justin and I are going hiking in Fort Payne and Gadsden, AL. I have a slight obsession with waterfalls and have managed to convince Justin to go with me to some awesome waterfalls in the Little River Canyon area in Fort Payne and the Desoto State Park in Gadsden. Here's some scenic views that we'll see on Friday:

After that fun-filled day, Justin and I will be attending my nephew's 2nd birthday party! You may see my name to the right as "Auntie M". Well, that is for my little man. When Anderson was on his way, my sister decided that Auntie M would be my nickname. (It comes from The Wizard of Oz). For those of you that don't know, that little boy is MY LIFE!!! I love that kid more than I could have ever imagined I would. Here's a pic of me and little man:
And after Anderson's party, while we're in the area, Justin and I are going to have lunch with my grandparents and dad. My grandmother makes the MOST FANTASTIC chicken casserole on the planet and those of you that know me best know that I absolutely love it! I will also get to see my favorite Tuscaloosa people for dinner that night! So basically I have a jam packed weekend. I'll post more pics after the weekend is over but I think I'm done now :) Oh and here's a pic of me and the most amazing boyfriend in the world (the "Justin" person I keep referring to). The story of us will go in another blog for another day: