Holiday Decor-- Day 3


Day 3 of Amber & Neely's Holiday Blog Challenge...Holiday Decor!

One thing they don't tell you in "grown up" school is that if you don't want to break the bank, you should probably start collecting holiday decor items in, oh, let's say, tenth grade. Then by the time you have your own home, you'll be all set and ready to go! Well, Kyle and I learned the hard way that you're just not going to have this perfectly decorated house right away, or at least not on our salaries! So, we're slowly building. But, we do always try to pick up a few items after Christmas every year when they're on clearance. That means that this year, we'll at least be in better shape than last year! Ideally, I would love my home to look like one from the Pottery Barn catalog during the holidays.

Exhibit A...

 I love their classy, yet simple way of piecing together everything. Last year we bought a beautiful table runner from there (red with white polka dots) and stockings from PB that I fell in love with at my lovey, Ash's, house...don't worry...we're pretty much used to copying each other and have been since our college days! We now have a tree skirt and tree lights. We had to compromise on the lights because I grew up with a "colored" lights Christmas tree, and Kyle grew up with a "white" lights Christmas tree. So, we have some of both! We also finally have lights to decorate outside. Luckily, Kyle and I have had a tradition of exchanging ornaments on New Year's Eve, my parents have bought ornaments for my brother and I any time we traveled somewhere,  and Beeb's and I have been sending each other ornaments in lieu of presents since college, so we actually have a pretty wonderful ornament collection! We're planning on decorating this weekend, so I'll let you know how it goes! 

Here are a few pics of decor from last Christmas...
Some goodies we picked up last year on sale after Christmas!
We finally got legit stockings...Pottery Barn!

Tree Skirt from Pier 1
Can't wait to decorate the mantle this year...looking so bare last year!
As you can see, we have a long way to go! The good news is that we set the bar pretty low last year, so I'm pretty sure we can do a LOT better this year! I'll keep you posted! Happy decorating!

Holiday Blog Challenge...Days 1 & 2


So, if we're being honest here, I'm still a little confused by this whole link-up thing, but there are so many that I want to try, so I'm just going to go for it! Please forgive me in advance because I will probably mess up the actual "linking up" part! Anyways, I've been seeing a few new blogs that I'm loving out there participating in Amber & Neely's Holiday Blog Challenge and thought it would be super fun to try! I think I'm a few days behind, but when have I ever been on time for anything!?

Here goes nothin'...

Day 1-- Favorite Gift Received EVER!

Well, I LOVE all gifts and have a really hard time choosing, but I must say that the one I remember being completely and utterly surprised and totally ecstatic about was the time in 8th grade when I got a Cell Phone from "Santa." Now, I know a cell phone is no big thang these days and 5-year olds are walking around with them, BUT I promise this was a huge flippin' deal when I was in 8th grade! I was one of the few to have one then (most of my friends got them in high school), and it was such a novelty to me that I hardly used it because I was afraid to break it! In fact, I didn't even know how to use the "Texting" feature on that phone and totally didn't know my ex-boyfriend was texting me to say he wanted to get back together. I got those texts about a year later! Whoops! Good thing I wasn't interested! Wow, I can't even believe there was a time I didn't know how to text! Needless to say, that was for sure a top gift in my book!
So it wasn't this exact one, but it looked kinda like this, only it was silver!
Day 2-- Favorite Holiday Tradition

I am all about some holiday traditions and have loved getting to start some new ones with Kyle and have boatloads of ones I'm scheming up for when I have kids one day. But, one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions used to take place on Xmas morning. Only my mom's parents are living and they're the only ones I've ever known, so we always spent Christmas Eve at their house in Wake Forest. My cousins would spend it with their other Grandparents, so my brother and I were the only Grandkids there. Now, I don't know how on earth we ever did this, but my brother and I used to get up at ungodly hours on Christmas morning. I mean, we're talking 5am. I literally remember going into the bathroom just to look at the clock because we weren't allowed to wake anyone up before 5 because if we could've we would've. So, when it was finally time, my brother and I would always get my parents up, and then we'd run into my Grandparents' room and jump on their bed to wake them up! We did it EVERY year for all of our childhood. Once we got into college, we obviously stopped waking up so early, and my Grandparents would always joke about how they were going to come jump on our beds at 5am for payback! I can't wait until I have kids or grandkids of my own jumping on my bed on Christmas morning. I will gladly oblige! Happy sigh...

Wake Up, Grandaddy!
Bryan is clearly eye-balling my gifts!
All Pink Everything!
Thank the good Lord they invented a hair straightener...look at that poofiness!
First Christmas morning with Kyle!

Birthday & Turkey Day Recap


So the theme of the last week would have to be "indulge" because that's exactly what I did between my birthday and Thanksgiving! I haven't quite gotten up the nerve to hop on the scale, but I definitely bought lots of healthy foods at the grocery store to help counteract some of the damage!

Here's a little Birthday/Thanksgiving Recap...

Monday was my birthday, which started out a little rocky considering my students TOTALLY forgot it was my birthday (except for a few!) despite my TA's request that they make me cards, but the Room Parents made up for it with an ice-cream sundae party and a huge pile of books from my wish-list at the school book fair! Is it totally lame that I get excited about childrens' books for my birthday!? My sweet teammates brought me cupcakes at lunch, too, which was a perfect excuse to not plan my guided reading lessons and socialize instead...priorities, peeps!

Kyle spoiled me with flowers, lots of Under Armour goodies, and a sweet, homemade gift certificate good for 25 back rubs! Love, love, love me some back rubs! I really wanted a cozy evening in at home, since it was a Monday, and we had already celebrated with my family and friends, so we ordered in PF Changs and got Something Borrowed from the redbox, which was absolutely a perfect birthday evening in my book.

My girl, Beebs, also came through big time with some more adorable Under Armour! She works for UA and pretty much is the reason for my obsession! They have the cutest and most comfortable stuff, and I, of course, have to support her! The UA zebra print bag is Ah-mazing, and you should all run out and buy it now!

And, of course, I got lots of other fun goodies from my parents and Kyles, some mula from other family members, and I have a few more gifts on the way (maybe at grad class, Ash!?)! Did I mention that I love gifts?

Fast forward to Wednesday...

Kyle and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:30am on Wednesday morning to make it to the airport for our 5:30 am flight to NY to visit his family for Thanksgiving. Let's just say I would be happy never seeing those numbers on the clock ever again! But, it was totally worth it! 
7am arrival to NY...feelin' rough
We had a wonderful visit on Wednesday with his grandparents and cousins before heading to Connecticut that night to visit with his other side of the family. 

Kyle and his brother, Ryan, and cousins ran in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.  I was their cheerleader because I couldn't run due to my injuries. They all did a great job and only one person got sick afterwards (cough, cough, Ryan!).

Kyle's Uncle Jim & Cousin Kelsey
Cousin Kelly is the first to finish from the fam!
Kyle crossing the finish line, just behind Kelly!
Ry didn't win, but he def gets best outfit in my book!
 I wasn't sure what to expect at this Thanksgiving feast because Kyle's extended family is a hoot! And they drink. A lot. I've only spent Thanksgiving with them once before, and the highlight of the night was Kyle's cousin and her boyfriend getting hammered and having a heated discussion about Lyndon B. Johnson's failed policies. True story.

But, the good news, was that this Thanksgiving feast was a lot calmer, maybe due to the fact that Kyle's daddy baptized the 2 newest additions to the family, baby Caroline and baby Tatum. It was a feast full of laughter, love, and yummy food!
Baby Tatum & Baby Caroline
I did not venture out with the crazies for any Black Friday shopping too early, but did manage to make it to the mall before all the good sales went away at 12pm. No major exciting purchases to report, though!

We flew home late Friday night so that we could make it to State's last home game on Saturday against Maryland with my parents. State gave us quite a scare, but ended up coming back for an exciting win! Good thing we didn't leave at halftime like we were tempted to!

It was definitely a busy week, but we got lots of great family time in, which is always good! 

Now, if we could only fast-forward a few weeks to Winter Break...

An Attitude of Gratitude


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am cuddled up on a comfy couch, in a cozy house, wafting in the smells of sweet potato casserole, surrounded by Kyle's doesn't get much better than this! Of course, I am missing my own family today but am so excited to spend time with them on Saturday. It's times like these, when I feel so overwhelmed with blessings. There is so much to be thankful for! It's funny how my 3rd graders would list things like cookies or video games when asked what they were thankful for, but one girl, totally blew me away with her answer of "I am thankful to be alive."

So, on this Thanksgiving day, I begin my list of what I'm thankful for with that...

I am thankful for being alive. Every day on this earth is a gift, a blessing.

I am thankful for the health of everyone in my family. My grandmother's sister passed away yesterday, and I can't help but be thankful for the fact that my grandparents (the only pair I've ever known) are still alive and that everyone else in my family is, and I pray that everyone will live long, healthy lives.

I am thankful for Kyle and our love. Marriage is hard work, and love is complicated. It's also the best thing in the world, and I am so grateful to have my best friend by my side.

I am thankful for having easy access to the basic necessities and so much more. It's so easy to take what we have for granted (food, water, shelter, medicine, healthcare, insurance), focusing instead on what we don't have, what we wish we could have. I easily get caught up in the materialism that surrounds me, and then I hear or see something that breaks my heart, making me feel so guilty for even complaining.

I am thankful for my job and the gift that I have to be able to shape children's lives. I may not be the most organized teacher or have the best ideas, but I know that my kids feel loved, and I know that I make them feel special.

I am thankful for my friends-- so much love, so much laughter...even if we're living miles and miles apart since college, I know I can count on them.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be in grad school...I complain about it. A LOT. But I know that education is a true gift.

I am thankful for the way I was raised and the values and morals my family instilled in me. I am thankful that I grew up learning to love and accept ALL people, that I grew up in a family who gives so much of themselves to society. I am thankful for my social consciousness.

And lastly,

I am thankful for a family who loves each other. My grandfather every year tells us how lucky we are to not be a torn family. So many families have rifts that tear them apart, grudges that are held for years. I'm so thankful that we haven't experienced this. Family is sacred to me.

Here's to a safe and happy Thanksgiving for everyone!

Birthday Blog Hijacking


Today is Laura’s 25th Birthday and last week, when it was my birthday, she wrote 25 things that she liked about me. Welllll, I decided to hijack Life of Lu today and write 25 things I like (or love) about Laura.

1.     I know it’s corny to say “Her Laugh”. However, Laura has this very particular laugh in which she can barely breathe and makes this creaking, high-pitched noise. It was dubbed “The Squeaky Chair Laugh” and is always a highlight when it comes out.

2.     She has tried very hard to be a Yankees fan like me, even if she complains that I have their games on TV all summer.

3.     Her dedication to her job. Teaching is the most important profession in my mind and Laura works long, hard hours trying to make school the best it can be for her students. I know I am biased, but she is the best!

4.     She accepts me for who I am. I am loud, slightly inappropriate, and have embarrassed her on a number of occasions. She always forgives me and loves me despite my flaws.

5.     She is extremely close to her family and has a great one at that.

6.     I love that Laura has this Blog. I think she is a very entertaining blogger and she loves doing it.

7.     I love her ideals. We are very similar in our principals and morals, and she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

8.     Laura is extremely goofy and if you can’t be goofy with me, I don’t want you around.

9.     She lets me have the remote almost every time I want it.

10. Laura has done a great job of trying out the music I like. I believe she has a blog post about it.

11. I love that she is rational, because sometimes I am not.

12. She lets me grow my beard out.

13. I love that Laura is friendly. I never hear her say a bad word about anybody and she does her best to do anything she can for her friends.

14. She makes lists for EVERYTHING! Some of them are just hilarious.

15. I love when she gets excited. She gets giggly and the aforementioned “Squeaky Chair Laugh” is often seen. Its just a really cute version of her already cute self.

16. I love that even when she is afraid of something, like needles or uncertainity, she pushes through the tears and overcomes it.

17. I like that she bakes. She may not cook a lot but she is always making some sort of awesome sweets.

18. She is always willing to try new things.

19. I love that she wants to travel. I want to see the world and she is a great travel partner.

20. I love that she is letting me doing my beer blog. I don’t know if she has mentioned it, but I have a blog where I drink 1 beer everyday for an entire year. She has been very supportive.

21. She is a huge game player. I mean like board games and stuff like that. Not “Playing Games With My Heart” style of games.

22. I love that Laura takes a lot of pictures. She won’t believe that I am saying this because I rarely want to take pictures. However, I look around our house and I see all these photos of great moments we’ve shared and it is really important to me.

23. I love that she has stuck by me even when I wasn’t the best boyfriend or finance to her. Although recently it’s been a lot easier because I am the best husband in the world (not to toot my own horn).

24. I absolutely love how happy she makes me feel. If you aren’t with someone who makes you the happiest person in the world then you are not with the right person.

25. I love that she is MY wife. I am the luckiest man in the world because she is the best wife!

Now for an embarrassing photo or two:

Happy Birthday My Love!!!

25 Rounds to 30...Better Get on That 30 before 30 list!


Happy 25th Birthday to me! 

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that it felt a little weird to type that number. I swear I just graduated high school like yesterday! I'm slightly freaked out that my age now rounds to 30, but I'm also trying to embrace all that comes with being 25, which really sounds like an "adult" the fact that you may end up using your birthday money to pay bills or that your Christmas present may be new tires. Who am I kidding...there ain't nothin' fun about that! But, instead of wallowing in the fact that I'm getting older, I'm choosing to put the positive spin on things and think about all that I want to accomplish throughout the rest of my 20's. 

So, without further official 30 Before 30 List!

In no particular order of importance:

1.  Get my Masters Degree...already working on that!
2.  Become a Tenured Teacher...1 more year after this, hopefully!
3.  Travel some place tropical...I don't care where, just get me to a pretty beach!
4.  Have a baby...God willing!
5.  Go Zip-Lining
6.  Ice-Skate in Rockefeller Plaza
7.  Get my National Boards in Teaching...lot's of work but worth the extra pay!
8.  Have a legit photo-session with all those cute couples photos!
9.  Go Deep Sea Fishing
10. Do Mission Work in another country
11. Do at least 1 random act of kindness every year leading up to 30
12. Go sledding
13. Take a carriage ride through central park
14. Go camping
15. Go to a professional football game...I'm guessing the Giants since Kyle's a fan!
16. Take a girls trip some place fun, like Charleston!
17. Have a picnic on a beach
18. Sing Karaoke at a bar...why have I never done this!?
19. Learn to Cook & love doing it...we have a long way to go on this one, peeps!
20. Have a spa day...maybe as a treat when I graduate?
21. Travel abroad again...maybe South America?
22. Have dessert at Serendipity in NYC...yum yum!
23. Read the Bible all the way through
24. Find a Church Home & Join
25. Video Tape or Record my parents memories from growing up
26. Try out Pure Barre or Hot Yoga...could be fun, right?
27. Participate in a Race...whether it's running or swimming or just plain walking
28. Learn to bake my Grandmother's rolls...they are superb and nothing compares
29. Do something nice for my parents...not sure what, but something that would mean a lot to them!
30. Plan a surprise trip for Kyle and me...he's always planning, should be fun to surprise him! goes nothing!

Birthday Weekend!


It has been SO incredibly hard to concentrate on my teaching this week knowing that my birthday was just around the corner and thinking about getting to celebrate it this weekend! But, Friday finally arrived. My parents were coming up anyways for the NC State vs. Clemson game on Saturday, so they came up early on Friday to take us out to a pre-birthday dinner at Tyler's and movie (Like Crazy...more on that in another post!).  A yummy dinner and a movie (with good company, of course!) is one of my favorite types of nights, so birthday celebration number 1 = success.

Saturday morning we were busy bees getting our GIANT cupcake ready (and ourselves ready!) before heading over to good ole' Carter-Finley stadium for some ACC football. My friend, Alex's, family and a few others were throwing a tailgate to celebrate the engagement of her high school friends, Megan and Glenn, who I also happened to know because Megan became two of my high school best friends' friend in got all that? Tailgate= super fun, hilarious, yummy food!
I heart Alex!
Kelly & Me!
Alex's infamous toast!
The Happy Couple!
But, the best part of the day was the whoopin' NC State handed Clemson! I could not even believe that was the WolfPack playing! If only they could have played this way the whole season...sigh! I did feel a little bad for my sweet Granddaddy, who is the world's biggest Clemson fan, but State needed that win!
Kyle & Me!
The Rents & Me!

And, what better way to celebrate a big win like that and a birthday than with a delicious home-cooked meal. My dad is an amazing cook, and makes the BEST spaghetti sauce ever! It's so good that one of my college besties, which you guys probably know from the bloggy world, Ash, stood beside him and wrote down everything he did to make it because there's no real recipe for it! It was amazing, per usual, and the GIANT cupcake was a huge hit! Follow that up with a hilarious game of Things, and it was one of those perfect family days!
Sooo adorable & delicious!


The Birthday Peeps!

And, it's not even my real birthday yet! Too bad I have a silly grad school paper to right today because the perfect ending to this weekend would be lounging & shopping! Oh well, at least Kyle is taking me to breakfast before I have to get started!

What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I thought I'd try my first What I'm Loving Wednesday link-up with Jamie at This Kind of Love today!

So, here goes nothing...

I'm loving that I survived our field trip to the Planetarium yesterday without losing any children...hallelujah!

I'm loving that we had a great time celebrating Kyle's birthday on Monday!
Super Excited for his Tom's!
I'm loving that I only have 2 weeks left of grad classes for the if only I could get through these last papers and projects!

I'm loving that all of my neuro tests are over and that I should know what's been going on with me on Friday...finally!

I'm loving that my birthday is almost here and that I get to celebrate it this weekend!

I'm loving the amazing coupon I got to get TWO items for 60% off this weekend at either Gap, Banana, or Old Navy...that's like, the most percentage off I've ever seen on a coupon!

I'm loving me some Natasha Bedingfield's Neon Lights that I kept hearing at the Loft and finally figured out who sang it...totally gets me inspired every morning on my way to school!

I'm loving that my December calendar is filling up with holiday parties & secret santa exchanges!

And, I'm always loving my sweet, hubby Kyle, who's been my rock throughout all of my doctors appointments these past few weeks...he's definitely taking the "in sickness and in health" part of our vows seriously!

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

25 for his 25th


Yay! Kyle is 25 today...a quarter of a century old! So, this post, of course, is for my best friend and the love of my life. And, in keeping with the theme of 25, I thought I'd share 25 things I love most about my boo!

1. I love the way he takes care of me

2. I love how he gets so nervous when he watches an important game that he sometimes leaves the room or turns the's so cute!

3. I love that he has the best sense of humor and constantly makes me laugh

4. I love his passion for music and movies

5. I love that he just knows so much about everything...I know I did way better than him in school but I swear he's wayyyy smarter than me!

6. I love that he's already planned our dream home and our next 5 dream vacations

7. I love that even when he's being SO stubborn, he always comes around

8. I love that he loves to cook and is comfortable enough in his manhood that he doesn't mind sharing in the household duties

9. I love how he says he doesn't like my trashy shows but catch him watching anyways

10. I love how loyal he is to his friends and family

11. I love how it's really important to him that we try to figure things out on our own sometimes instead of going straight to our families for help.

12. I love that he can do that thing where you slap the ground and pop your booty up better than me!

13. I love that he talks about being a daddy one day. He's going to be the best!

14. I love that he's so comfortable showing how much he loves me.

15. I love that he's so selfless

16. I love that he's so generous, and does things like pay for his brother's beer because he's a poor college kid

17. I love that he stands up for what he thinks is right and for his family and friends...even if it's not in the most appropriate ways (remind me to tell you about the time at his high school bball game when he told the other coach to "shut up" in not as nice terms for saying something negative about his fellow teammate)

18. I love that he calls Valentines day "Valentimes" day

19. I love that he still married me even though I made his life miserable in middle school!

20. I love that he wants to live and experience so much in life...and share it all with me

21. I love that he leaves me notes in the mornings because I leave before him

22. I love that he goes into school with me to keep me company or help hang things just so I don't have to go in alone

23. I love the man he's's hard to believe sometimes that we've known each other for 12 years and that we've literally grown into adults together

24. I love that he knows how much I love presents and plays along with my constant request for "hints"

25.  I love that he pushes me to be my best self and let's me push him to be his

Happy Birthday, Kyle! I love you MORE!

And, my goal for birthdays to come...actually take pictures! I can't believe I could only find 3 pictures from Kyle or my's birthday celebrations over the last 8 years! Shame on me!
    Our 20th bdays...dinner at Maggiano's!

Kyle's 21st...dinner @ Village Draft House

22nd...b-day dinner @ Maggianos!
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