Monday, July 24, 2006

You can't do THAT on a plane!

Top 10 things we experienced on our road trip to Idaho.
Also titled: You can't do THAT on a plane!

1. Read road signs that say "Next exit - 57 Miles"
2. Buy REAL cowboy boots and hat from a Cheyenne cowboy named Logan
3. See an antelope in the median of a busy intersection
4. See Mile High Stadium in Denver, the Cardinals stadium in St. Louis, and the Royals stadium in Kansas City
5. Drive for hours with the Rocky Mountains as your backdrop
6. Look over and see Abraham Lincoln's face carved into a rock (not Mt. Rushmore)
7. Watch the sun rise over windmills in Wyoming
8. Play the lotto in Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee and break even
9. See a dog enjoying a ride on the back of a motorcycle in a mesh pup tent wearing driving goggles
10. Check off 4 states from my "States-left-to-visit" list! Only 22 to go! It was good to see you Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas!

The Nebraska corn
The Kansas oil riggs (there were hundreds)
The Wyoming rock formations
The St. Louis arch

Here are a few pictures from the trip...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Next stop, Idaho!

So, we leave on Monday! I can’t believe the trip is already here. We have decided to drive to the potato state. Call me crazy, but it’s true. We will leave after work on Monday and drive about 5 hours to get a head start on our trip. Here is a map of our cross country trek. I’ll update you all once we return. I doubt I’ll have access to my computer in Idaho. What will I do?! No Blogger or MySpace for EIGHT DAYS!

A closing date and a renter!

Well, here are a few pictures of the new place. As you can see, there’s still quite a bit of construction left to do, but all in all, we have been VERY pleased with the building process. We will be closing on our new home on August 2nd. Last weekend, we spent HOURS looking for the perfect refrigerator. Thanks to our good friend Daniel, we will have a top-of-the-line GE stainless fridge delivered on August 3rd. Impeccable timing! I’ll post pretty pictures once we get settled.

Justin peering through the windows into our living room.

Our kitchen (don't you love our refrigerator)!

Looking from the kitchen into our living room.

Second note, we have a renter for our Homewood house!!! The first person who came to look at it called that night and will be here at 10:00 tomorrow morning to sign the lease agreement. We were so blessed to have more than 75 phone inquiries! The renter’s name is Ashley and she is a young nurse here in Birmingham. We are so happy to have someone professional and neat (we think) to take care of our house, which we are sad to leave. Her time frame and ours matches up perfectly! We’ll be able to take our time moving out and getting everything clean for her, and she’ll be able to take her time moving in! Thank you, God, for working everything out so nicely.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Birthday America! and Random News...

So, July 4, 2006 we got up early and headed down to Lay Lake, about an hour drive from our house. Our friends from Church, the Presley’s have a house there and invited all of the youth sponsors for a play day on the water. We rode SeaDoos (which we completely turned upside down and crashed a time or two), rode three-wide in the intertube, swam, and soaked up the sun on fast and slow boats. We also ate some of the best Boston Butt I've ever had (sorry, Dad), tasted, for the first time, Uncle Red's "white sauce," which was fabulous, and had various delicious trimmings and sweets. Here are some pictures from the event.

Justin and me on the pontoon boat.

Justin and me riding the Sea Doo (this was post-crash while riding with Stephen, but pre-crash while riding with Justin).

Gangsta Whit and Andrea (this was sort of a joke, but ended up looking pretty funny).

Me, Andrea and Alicia on a rough tube ride on beautiful Lay Lake!


And as for my random news... Averee, one of my lifelong friends is having twins! Amber, one of my good college friends is having a boy. Justin and I still need your daily prayers. I'm not off to a great start with my exercise program, but I am going walking with Ashley in the morning. Justin and I are headed to the beach this weekend. AND, I now have 45 "friends" on MySpace!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Finally, RAIN! and MySpace

So, first of all, the picture has absolutely NOTHING to do with this post except for the fact that we took it yesterday at lunch and I haven't posted since then. I really only have two things to report today. #1 It rained today at my house for the first time in a month... literally. We are experiencing semi-drought conditions here in the Ham and it's been miserably hot. Oh, and my grass is 100% dead. Thank you, God for the rain. The only drawback is that when I walk outside, I have to peel back and paddle through a curtain of humidity. I can literally breathe the thick air. Welcome to Alabama! #2 I think I'm officially addicted to MySpace! I created a page one week ago while my husband was out of town and I was bored. I really did it to reconnect with old friends and to direct them here... to my blog, which I update fairly regularly. So how was I supposed to know that after only a few short days, I would have 34 (as of today) "friends" who I can now keep in touch with at the touch of a button. I mean friends from elementary school, high school, church youth group, fun college pals, AND my new post-college buddies. It is AMAZING how many people are in the loop! If you are a blogger, I suggest also linking yourself on MySpace. You'll be overwhelmed. CAUTION: MYSPACE IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE AND SHOULD BE USED CAUTIOSLY BY THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY ADDICTED TO BLOGSPOT.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

And in other news...

In a previous post, I asked you to pray for a situation that Justin and I are dealing with that is very serious and very difficult. I am doing an "all call" for anyone and everyone to pray for us. You don't have to be specific, but just pray that God will watch over us and protect us.

Also, in addition to the people we are praying for, please add Wanda Mann. She is my Mom's best friend and is pretty much a second mother to me. She had a lump of cancer removed from her breast today. Doctors will know the outcome once lab tests come back. Pray the surgeons were able to get all the cancer and that she will be strong.

We appreciate the prayers!

Hitting the Grindstone...

I'm 26 years old, right? So, why is it that I already see ripples and bumps where they're really not supposed to be?! My thighs, for example. I'm tall, and relatively lean, but I have just recently discovered that area just below my behind that is just a little on the bouncy side… okay, maybe more than a little. And also, my hips are becoming boxy, yes, like SQUARE! Is that normal???!!! I don’t think so! So, I am confessing my "sin" and repenting. Repenting requires ACTION, right? Okay, so here’s my plan…

To lose the jiggle and to not be embarrassed in a bathing suit.

1. Exercise.
a. MWF morning spin class or walking/jogging.
b. Th afternoon spin class.
c. Take Tues, Sun, and Sat off.
2. Eat better.
a. Take my lunch to work.
b. Eliminate the chocolate runs and eating the yummies that our gracious homeowners bring us.... okay, that's impossible. I'll change that to one mini candy a day and if a homeowner brings us something yummy, I will have one small taste. I'm not looking forward to that part.

1. Bad habits.
SOLUTION: Accountability. Kate will be my accountability partner at work. Ashley R. will be my exercise accountability partner.
2. Laziness.
SOLUTION: Know I can never let Ashley R. down by not exercising, and remember the ultimate goal and how good I will feel.

Okay, does anyone have any suggestions or words of encouragement?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I've got a peaceful easy feeling...

Rarely does something happen in my life that revolutionizes my spirit instantaneously! So, you can imagine my surprise when, after only one month of having a housekeeper, I am lighter in spirit, happier, and more rested!!! I know, I know, you must think I’m crazy. A HOUSEKEEPER? After all, how much trouble can it really be to juggle my responsibilities – my job, my pets, my husband, God, church, etc.? Really, I don’t have any more on my plate than other women do… perhaps even less because we do not have children. But of all the things in life that I need to do, cleaning ranks absolute last. Most likely because I would rather have a root canal, run 5 miles in the sweltering Alabama heat, or smell my husband’s dirty socks (well, maybe that’s stretching it a bit) than clean my house. Some women love it. I detest it. Debra, our housekeeper, has come twice now. I have discovered that I LOVE living in a clean house. AND I have more motivation to clean between cleanings than I have ever had before! The best part of having a housekeeper is that “peaceful easy feeling” I get when I come home after a long day. When I’m watching a movie with Justin, I no longer have to worry about what I should be doing in order to keep things straight in our home. Justin is also much happier living in such a fresh home. So, if a service like this fits into your budget, I would highly recommend it. In fact, I would give up entire meals if had to, in order to keep Debra… my new best friend.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A call for prayer...

It seems that there are a lot of people in my life who need God to step in on their behalf. Please remember these people in your daily prayers.
1. My uncle Jimmy was just diagnosed with malignant lung cancer.
2. My sister-in-law's brother, Shawn, is undergoing treatment right now for alcohol dependency.
3. Justin's cousin Benny has a very rare condition involving internal bleeding and several surgeries. He has been in the hospital in Michigan.
4. My co-worker and friend, Andy Lange had an accident a few months ago and crushed his leg from the knee down. He has already had several surgeries, and another could be in the wings. We are praying he is able to avoid this and any future surgery.
5. My good friend Roni has a good friend named Shea. We were bridesmaids together in Roni's wedding. Doctors found two tumors on Shea's mom's brain. She is a breast cancer survivor. She is having a very concentrated radiation treatment tomorrow and hopes the tumors will react. Surgery could alter her mom's lifestyle forever because of the tumors' proximity to the portion of the brain that controls speech and motor skills.
6. Justin and I personally are together, fighting a battle that I can't really share anything about, but also keep us in your prayers.

Thank you for stopping for a moment and taking time to call upon God to help my friends and family.

Let's Play "Mom and Dad!"

So, we spent the night in Mobile Thursday night. We got there late, but everyone was still up – Scott, Hilary, Meghan, Caitlin, Hilary’s brother Shawn, and Hilary’s friend Marla. Friday night, Meghan and Caitlin woke us up early. They knocked on the door and crawled in the bed with us for a few minutes while we were getting used to the morning. We played and danced a little before packing everything up and heading to Gulf Shores. We weren’t really sure how the girls would handle being away from their parents for 2 nights, but they did great!!!

Friday, we went to the beach, ate hamburgers, and visited our friends Daniel and Dana and their new baby, Chase. Meghan got a new boogie board, so she spent most of the day in the water… except for the hour that she refused to get in because I told her I saw ANOTHER sting ray! I don’t know why in the world I have gone my entire life spending weeks out of every summer in the gulf and am just now, at 26 years old, seeing sting rays. Caitlin was afraid of the water, so she spent ALL day in the sand. Every inch of her little body was COVERED. Caitlin was sleepy from dinner through our visit with Dana and Daniel, but she didn't fuss too much. Meghan is like a little adult, so she loved seeing the little baby.

Saturday we lathered up in sunblock and went to the beach again. I was paranoid that the kids were going to get a sunburn (their skin is fairer than mine), so we reapplied 45 SPF multiple times throughout the day. Our biggest accomplishment was getting Caitlin to get in the water. By the end of the day, she was splashing in the gulf and asking me to bend down so she could get wet! It was the first time anyone was ever able to get her in the water, much less enjoy the experience! We were so proud. ;-) After the beach, we went to a cookout at Dana’s and Daniel’s house. We got to hold the baby (who fussed a lot), and Meghan “earned” two dollars by winning a bet she made with Justin and Daniel.

We made the “Kid Exchange” on Sunday. We were 20 minutes late for church, but considering we had to get 2 adults and 2 kids, up, dressed, packed and taking the hour drive into considerations, we think we made pretty good time. ;-) We left right after lunch in order to make it to church in Birmingham Sunday night. We always spend Sunday nights with the youth group at church. This Sunday, we cleaned the church bus. If I had known that beforehand, we might not have rushed back to Birmingham so quickly! Just kidding… not really. ;-)

This week has been typical. It is officially summer, as temperatures climb into the mid-90s. Walking houses that don’t have power yet (a huge part of my job), is pretty miserable, but at least I’m not jailed in a cubicle all day. I really can’t complain!

Sorry no pictures to post this week. I will be getting a new camera soon!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dreamer of Dreams...

Last night, I had a dream, bear with me...
Justin and I were in New York with my family staying at the Waldorf Astoria. We were attending a political fundraiser for Candice Bergen at Madison Square Garden. A local boy had been kidnapped, and was found inside a locker in one of the locker rooms there at The Garden. The police asked me to get the boy out of the locker, that he was harmless, but scared. I opened the door and there was a chubby little black boy squeezed inside. I got him out, but he was all but harmless. He tried to hit me and bite me, but I was finally able to hold him on the floor by standing on his back and holding his hands. He continued to get one hand loose, and would grab my bottom, which really really irritated me. Finally, the police took him off my hands and I went back to the fundraiser.

Back upstairs, most of the political hoopla was wrapping up. Justin was there and we were talking to some of the local politicians, including the lady of the evening, Candice Bergen. After we left, I realized I had left my cell phone and needed to go back and get it. Justin didn't want to come with me, so I went alone... begrudgingly. On the way, I called Michael Moore. A friend had given me his number. I asked him to go with me to get my cell phone, and he DID! When I got there, Justin's phone was right beside mine, so I got his, too. He didn't even know he had left it. Michael Moore walked me back to my hotel and we talked about dogs and politics. I asked if his dog was a Republican. I'm pretty sure he said no. He was very nice and gave me a hug when he dropped me off.

Any ideas on what this means?
Here are a few tips...
1. I've never been to the Waldorf Astoria (wasn't even sure it was in New York)
2. I had to look up Candice Bergen on the internet to find out who she is! (Murphy Brown)
3. I have never been to Madison Square Garden.
4. I HATE Michael Moore (the anti-patriot).
5. I love dogs (mine are Republicans).
6. I love my husband (and I hope he wouldn't make me walk back by myself to pick up my phone)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Swimming with STING rays...

We are almost settled in at work after a great Memorial Day weekend! I actually had the weekend off, so Justin and I headed down to the beach Thursday night to get our monthly dose of the sun. I spent two wonderful days wiggling my toes in the white sand and swimming in the crystal clear Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I am rejuvenated and sunkissed!

Friday, I was swimming in the gulf. I was out further than I normally go, but the water was unusually shallow. I glanced to the right and saw grey shadows under the water on the gulf's floor. I walked toward them, just curious about what the shadows were and I suddenly realized it was a group of sting rays swimming my direction! I counted eight in all as they passed me, four on my right, and four on my left. I was a little scared because of the word STING. Any creature with a name like that, I try to avoid. Not knowing much about sting rays I did a little research. I found out that their tails sting like a scorpion, they have mouths on the bottom of their bodies, and they are related to SHARKS! As with most dangerous creatures, they usually don't attack humans unless aggravated, but with all these RARE shark, alligator, snake, and you-name-it attacks lately, I'm glad I survived! ;-)

Justin and I were also able to spend some time with Justin's family who lives in the area. We are going back in two weeks and will be taking his nieces (ages 8 and 2 1/2) to the beach. I should have something interesting to report after that weekend as Justin and I play "Mom and Dad."

Oh by the way, I sold a house today. Yeah!

15 Seconds of Fame...

I know this is old news by now, I just haven't had time to post recently. Here are my stories from the past week...

Wednesday night (yes, a week ago) my mother and I decided it might be fun to go down to the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center to watch the American Idol results show with the swarm of Taylor Hicks fans. Of course, we love Taylor, too. I called and e-mailed about 10 of my friends, but none could join. Mom was able to get Dad and their best friends, Bob and Wanda to come. We had great seats and really enjoyed the show and all they hype and enthusiasm of the Soul Patrol. When the show was over, three guys who work for NBC (I read their press passes) pulled me aside and stuck a camera in my face (of course, I loved that). They asked me some questions about Taylor and what his winning means to Birmingham. Afterwards, I asked which show they report for. That's when I found out they work for the NBC Network in New York and shoot for the Today Show! We recorded the show the next morning, but they only briefly mentioned American Idol, and I wasn't "featured." ;-) After all, it IS the #1 show for their network rival, FOX. The next morning, my friend Christy from Baton Rouge, LA called me and told me she saw my interview on Access Hollywood!!! The show ran a few times over a 24 hour period, so my grandmother's friend recorded it. They say everyone has 15 seconds of fame... well, if my "appearance" on Access Hollywood counts, I've got about 10 seconds left. I better make them good!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Kim and Adam...

Every once in a while, when there's not that much going on in MY life, I like to pass on good news about my friends! Today, I wanted to share a picture of my good friend Kim Lee, who recently became engaged to Adam Pendleton. They live in Atlanta and will be getting married in August. I am so happy for them!

For those of you who read and watch, please vote for Taylor Hicks tomorrow night! Soul Patrol, Soul Patrol!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My American Idol pick...

Taylor, of course! Must support the hometown boy. Plus, Justin has actually sat in his living room and listened to Taylor sing and play and talk about wanting to cut a CD one day. He is so fun to watch! Taylor has something that has been missing from music... especially American Idol.. Can't quite put my finger on it... maybe passion? Katherine would be my second choice. I liked Chris better than Elliot, so I hope Elliot goes home this week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

THE book incident...

For the past two weeks, I have devoted pretty much every moment between work and sleep to creating a book of profiles on all the kids in our youth group for our new youth ministers, Tim and Andrea Mills. It was supposed to be a simple project. Every youth sponsor had a copy of the profile for the kids to fill out and it was their responsibility to get the kids in their grade to complete the profile and provide a digital picture or a hard copy pic that they could part with. We had less than two weeks to get profiles on all 100 kids (7th - 12th grade). I had help from ONE person. He is part of the youth support team, but between the two of us, we were able to pull together about 60% of the kids' profiles. It was stressful, but I just knew it would be worth it when we presented it to them. Sunday at church, I got about 15 more profiles and pictures. I printed the pictures at Walgreens (Snapfish was broken, so Justin had to take a CD and have them printed). I was stressed because we were running out of time. I still had to put the last of the profiles together and bind it at Justin's office. While at Justin's office, his old boss, Kirk drove by. Justin ran outside to talk to him and I continued working in his office. I finished attaching the profiles to the pictures and was ready to print off the documents from the computer, so I ran outside to ask Justin his password. I made it a point to hold the building door open so it wouldn't lock behind me... not thinking about the door to his actual office. I turned the handle to Justin's office... nothing. Tried the other two doors... nothing. I'm holding back tears at this point because not only is THE book inside, but so is my purse, my makeup, our phones, our keys and MY SHOES! You see, I had taken them off because I'm pretty sure I broke my pinkie toe Saturday and my cute shoes were hurting my feet. We called the emergency number, but they couldn't let us into the individual offices. We had to go to the youth event without THE book, I couldn't refreshen myself after my tears had pretty much washed away my makeup, and SHOELESS! I was disappointed, but Justin told everyone the story and he made it really funny. We met Tim and Andrea for breakfast Monday morning and proudly presented THE book. They were very appreciative. It turned out great! We are really looking forward to having them at Homewood. The kids really seemed to like them. So, that's THE book incident! Enjoy the read!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Our future home...

Some of you may know that Justin and I are building a townhome and will be renting out or home in Homewood. Stopped by the new place a couple of days ago and took some pictures. As you can see, it is still under construction... we don't even have drywall, but we're getting excited.

Thursday night, I played Bunko for the first time. My friend Lexy wanted to start a "Girls Night," so we find ourselved sitting in her kitchen and dining room rolling dice. We had a great time and got to meet some new people, too. Alissa, from church, and Carrie, who works with Justin, came with me. They had a great time, too.

We had a great Mother's Day! A day off work, a good lunch with my mom (and dad, and husband and brother and sister-in-law), AND we got to meet the new youth misisters at church! The book incident, as I will call it in a later post, was quite another story. I'll tell you all about it when I have more time. Until then, Adios!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Our "Kids"

So, it's 3:30 in the afternoon, although it looks outside like its 8:00 in the evening. Clouds are dark and it's POURING! I don't think we'll have any prospects out this afternoon. Who wants to look at new homes in tornadic weather?! Just felt like posting pictures of my "kids" today, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to officially introduce Rez and Adler. Rez is a 2 1/2 year old Vizsla (she's the rust colored one) and Adler is a 1 1/2 year old German Shorthaired Pointer (she's the dark brown/white spotted one). Justin and I LOVE our dogs. They usually stay outside in our fenced yard, but when we're home, if they aren't right there beside us, they get sad... or do WE get sad? ;-) We did manage to train them to stay inside all day (if it rains or is really cold) without distroying shoes... although we had to sacrifice a pair of Donald Pliner's in the process. Just thought I'd post their pictures because I think they are just too sweet and adorable!

Oh by the way, for those of you who know Andrea (Alderman) Johnson, she found out last week that she will be having a baby boy! He is due some time in September. The pregnancy is going well and she and Kyle are very excited (especially Kyle... since it's a boy). Congrats, Andrea!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A month later...

Hey everyone! So, maybe I'm not the best blogger, but I'm trying! This has been a pretty slow week at work. Ross Bridge, the community where I sell homes, is hosting a Senior PGA golf tournament. We weren't really sure what to expect. Would the tournament bring people in droves? Or will everyone here be here just for the golf? As it turns out, the people here for the tourney haven't bothered to visit the residential section. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that no one can park anywhere near the community. All the spectators are parking miles away and being bused in directly to the first green. We do expect it to be busy this coming up week as more and more people hear about the community.

Last night, Justin and I took my brother and his wife, Amanda to the Crawfish Boil downtown. We ate Jim N' Nick's beforehand and made it downtown just in time to see Sister Hazel and Blues Traveler. We had a fun time. Pictures to come later.

Our church, Homewood Church of Christ just hired a new youth minister. We are looking forward to having Tim and Andrea Mills, and their son Caleb as part of our family. As youth sponsors, Justin and I have been working hard to put together a book for Tim and Andrea. Our goal is to have all the kids fill out a profile and we will attach their picture, bind all the profiles in a book and give the book to Tim and Andrea when they meet the kids for the first time on May 14th. It's an optimistic goal, but I know we can make it with all the other youth sponsors' help. We already have almost 30 profiles, just from our Wednesday night class!

Bored of reading yet? Next time I will post pictures... I promise. ;-)

5/7/06: See, I told you I would add a picture!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Day One

So, what's the Blog buzz all about. This is my first attempt at "Blogging," but I figure hey, why not give it a try! So far, life in the Hardy Home has been exciting. The house is already a little small for the four of us. Yes, that would be Justin, me, and Rez and Adler, our pups. But it's home and we love it! We're in the process of building a townhome for an investment, but it just happened to work out better for us to actually move into it for a short period of time. So, we'll be renting out our house in Homewood, and moving across town to Inverness. I'm actually excited, a little. The townhouse is bigger than our home, but the dogs won't have quite as much room to run. We'll keep you posted on the building process. Today, Justin and I took Rez and Adler to Oak Mountain State Park today. They had fun running and fetching sticks from the middle of a pond. We had ice cream from the Ice Cream Man when we got home! It's been a while, but I felt like a kid as soon as I heard that familiar jingle. I ran outside with money and ordered my all time favorite - Strawberry Shortcake Bar! We've not done much tonight except clean a little. We're about to settle in with popcorn to watch a movie. Stay tuned... I know this is almost TOO exciting!