Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

The beginning of summer.
No work!
Grillin' steaks and drinkin' beers.
Flying flags.
Finally painting the bedroom.
Catching up on laundry.
Making cupcakes for mom's birthday.
Finish mulching the beds.
Grocery, Target, Lowes...
...but more importantly, a day to remember the soldiers who died while serving our country. There's a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 p.m., which I just realized is NOW. Everyone, please bow your heads for a moment of silence...

Thank you, soldiers.

In other news, our Murphy dog got his Lifeguard license for the summer. If you were drowning wouldn't you want this cute pup to save your life???

Monday, May 24, 2010

Turning 28

Turning 28 isn't anything special for me. Just another year closer to 30, but I don't mind. I've always wanted to be older...because I think older means wiser (at least I'm working on the wisdom), and I want people to take me more seriously. Each year that I age earns me another notch in the belt of wisdom, and so I'm always accepting of my new age. So here we are: TWENTY EIGHT. I couldn't have asked for a better day. I wanted to spend the entire day by the pool, and Susan was gracious enough to let me and my friends take over her back yard. The water was cold since it's early in the year, but it was quite refreshing once your body temperature adjusted. We baked in the sun, lounged around and sipped brews, and did a little swimming. Dad and Susan were amazing hosts and served BBQ and her delicious blue cheese cole slaw recipe - yuuuuuummmm.

So what now? What does 28 hold for me? I don't see anything special on the horizon, so I guess only time will tell...At the very least, I expect to be hanging out with these cool people a lot more:

With his Mr. Miyagi-like leadership, Jeff was able to coach Cannon how to "surf" on the pool floats. He was up here for 2 minutes without falling.

Kaylee doing some cheerleader pyramid stands on my back

Susan, Dad and my friend Melissa just chillin'

Me and Crystal under the shade

Thanks for making my birthday so fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Love (and mosquitos) are in the air

Readers (all 3 of you),

Did you know that when your city experiences a 500 year flood that it will increase the mosquito population by 5 Billion? Yes...I'm certain that my calculations are correct. 5 BILLION. My flesh is being eaten alive every time I step outside.

People are still trying to clean up from the flood damage. My uncle's neighborhood in Bellevue was one of those that went completely under water, and he said it still looks like a war zone out there. Most the residents are still in the process of gutting their homes down to the studs. And whatever they rip out goes straight outside to the curb to wait for pick-up. Sean was able to take a couple of days off work to do some volunteering (hooray for the FedEx Office crew and their support!). Sean and a crew of 11 co-workers gutted 2 condos. Demolition can be fun if you're working on a do-it-yourself home project, but I suspect the families who saw their homes being torn apart were quite unsettled about the whole cleanup process. It's going take a long time to completely re-build. Here are some more pictures from the flood that I didn't have time to post before.

Sean and the crew from FedEx Office doing some demo to help clean up from the flood
The house where I grew up in Cottonwood - looks like the water rose to the 2nd or 3rd siding board and their floors got soaked. I think those green things are blow dryers.

This is a spooky image of the rear entrance to my mom's neighborhood. I think Tom White did a great job of capturing the flood images in Franklin

Several streets in Downtown Nashville are still closed for cleanup. Thankfully, none of Sherri's wedding venues suffered any damage, and she and Keith were still able to have their wedding on the 15th. It was my first time to be a bridesmaid - a job that I was honored to accept! We ran around for 3 days trying to fit in all the pre-wedding celebrations and last minute preparations. So much work to be done! I'm glad that I've already checked the marriage box :) Sherri's wedding reminded me of being caught up in that wedding whirlwind almost 4 years ago. I was glad to be there to help Sherri in any way that I could, and I was proud to stand up there with her in the ceremony. Friday night before the wedding, Sherri asked if I would give a toast at the reception. I'm not afraid of public speaking, but I was worried that I'd say something foolish to embarrass Sherri and Keith. Thinking of ruining their day is what made me nervous! Considering that I didn't really prepare and didn't write anything down, I think I did an OK job, and I got a couple of laughs out of the crowd. Both the ceremony and reception were held at a rooftop venue on Broadway called Aerial. The ambiance was set off by the neon lights of Broadway, the Nashville skyline with the "Batman Building", and a perfect view of The Ryman Auditorium. The setting was perfect and Sherri was a beautiful bride. Plus, they served yummy mac & cheese and AMAZING cornbread (it's really popular in the South...I don't know about the rest of the world).
The Happy Couple on their wedding day. Wait...this was just the cake topper.

Here's the actual couple on their wedding day just after they swapped vows
I took some time out from dancing to steal a shot with the bride

Jenny and Sherri having a good laugh while dancing

The view of Broadway from the wedding venue

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

Life is drying out and getting back to normal around these parts. While others were cleaning out their water-damaged homes last week, Sean and I went back to work. I feel like such a MAJOR JERK for not helping anyone clean up, but we did donate to the Red Cross. Believe me, I would've rather been ripping up soggy carpet than sitting in my cubicle all week...

By the time the weekend rolled around, you would've never guessed we just had a torrential downpour. The weather was more perfect than ever for a Spring day in Tennessee. No heat, no humidity. In fact, we were wearing SWEATERS. I couldn't believe it. The cool breeze made for a perfect weekend outside. On Saturday Sean and I took my mom to Arrington Vineyards for an early Mother's Day outing, and we met up with my aunt, uncle, cousins and a few of their friends. The sun was setting over the rolling hills, the jazz band was playing, the wine was was bliss. I had never been to Arrington Vineyards before, and now I think I'm officially addicted. I'm already looking forward to our next trip - it can't come soon enough! All I could talk about on Sunday was wanting to go back to Arrington.

Sean says he doesn't like his "sunglasses face." I still think he's cute.

Me and Mom: Take #1. I'm pretty sure she will kill me for posting this picture.
Me and Mom: Take #2. Shadow and a cooler. Not good. Oh well, you get the point.

The view at Arrington Vineyards

On Sunday night we met up with Bonnie, Ed and Trevor for a Mother's Day dinner. This time we were chowing down at P.F. Chang's. We enjoyed catching up with the family and hearing about Bonnie's adventures as a wedding florist. Her schedule stays packed with all the weddings she books, so I'm glad we were able to snag her for the evening!

If I weren't so tired right now I write stories about how our mothers have inspired us. Let me just say that we love our mamas (no matter how much they may drive us crazy). We wouldn't be who we are without them!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rain King

(*pictures courtesy of FaceBook friends...I didn't go driving through town)
How about a Cherry Limeaid? Not so fast...

This is a street that Sean and I frequently use to get to work.

Here's the flower shop that Bonnie used to work for. Guess the roses are getting plenty of water right now...

Here's a car dealership about 1 mile from our house.

We knew there was a severe weather threat for Middle Tennessee over the weekend. My mom, sister and I were headed to Macon, GA for a friend's wedding, and our biggest concern was that the Derby parties would be rained out. Pretty silly, huh? There's always the threat of tornadoes, too. But who'd have thought that a near-Noah sized FLOOD would be coming?? Not us. The Nashville area hasn't seen this amount of rainfall since the 70's. It all came so quickly, and the Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers started bursting at the seams. Tornado sirens sounded throughout the night, and Sean and Murphy camped out in their "safe room" (our half bathroom downstairs.)

While the 3 of us girls were enjoying the wedding reception in Georgia, Sean texted me a picture of the TV...I-24 in Nashville was completely under water. Cars were stranded, people were being rescued by boat, and a floating classroom portable collided with a tractor trailer on live television. (I kind of wish I'd have been home to see that!) I've seen footage of flooding from other states, but never close to home. Never right in my back yard. This morning on the national weather channel they were saying "Franklin, Tennessee is under water." No one really cared about little 'ole Franklin until now.

Receiving all the text updates and pictures was similar to watching a story unfold on the news. It didn't become real until we started heading home today. First, we learned that only 3 roads were open in Franklin. We were so thankful that we made it home safely through all the rain and continuous flash flooding. Driving past all the standing water in town was kind of nuts. I've lived in Franklin for about 23 years and haven't seen it this bad. Sure, there were areas prone to flooding during a heavy rain, but nothing like neighborhoods being evacuated! During our 5 hour drive back to TN, we all received numerous updates from friends and family back at home. Some of them were saying, "You might not be able to get back! Just stay in Georgia!" But we kept driving, and the passable roads led right to my house. Mom had a difficult time getting from my house over to hers. Because of all the closures, a 10 minute drive ended up taking her almost 30 minutes. Her neighborhood has been watching the water rise into their yards for the past 24 hours. Her house remains dry, but the water is licking her front stoop. A kind neighbor rang their doorbell at 2 a.m. and told my step-dad Jimmy to move their cars to higher ground. Some of the other neighbors were not so lucky as many families had their cars completely flooded.

My uncle's family in West Nashville (Bellevue) was forced out of their home today. The water filled their basement swallowing the washer/dryer, cars, motorcycles, tools, speakers and anything else you keep in a garage. They were also without power, so they headed to higher ground (a.k.a. his in-law's house). It was risky, but with a 5 year old on his shoulders they decided to WADE their way through the rushing waters for several blocks until they reached the in-laws. Later that day, many families in his area were evacuated and taken out by boats. I'm so glad he and his family made it safely!

Check out the basement at our house in Nashville. There should be about 3 or 4 more steps that you can't see...

The flooding has caused a big giant mess for sure, but at least our homes weren't demolished by a tornado. Our tenants called to say that a big tree limb fell on the roof and now it's leaking into the house. Then later they called to report that the basement was completely full of water. Sean said it was at least 4 ft. deep. With me on the road, Sean kicked into full gear calling the insurance company and scheduling someone to check on the damage. He spent all evening using a pump to rid the basement of water. I'm thankful to have him! This is a major inconvenience to us, but we are safe...our family is safe...we still have our cars and other belongings that make our lives convenient. Sadly, some people have lost their lives because of this disaster. One elderly couple was trying to drive out of their flooded neighborhood and they got swept away by the water and drowned. It just breaks my heart...others may not have died, but they've got a house full of water and will spend the next several months trying to put things back together again. We have been blessed.
The farm that we bought our summer CSA crops from has been completely flooded. They lost all the crops, about 1200 chickens, and a $5000 fence that they just put up. I wish there was something I could do to help them. I really had my heart set on participating in their program this summer, and maybe many more years to come. I pray this devestation doesn't cause them to go completely under.