April 30, 2013


I just got back from four glorious days of vacation with two of my very best friends and sweet Amos. Food for my soul, to say the least. Melissa (AKA Melbert) and I left with Amos on jet plane from Asheville on Thursday morning and arrived at the Orlando airport just after noon to be greeted by Carolyn, her mom, grandma and aunt. Her grandma and aunt were on their way back to Illinois flying out of the same airport so it ended up being a perfect exchange spot. "Trading fun for more fun," as her precious grandma said. (: Since we arrived at lunch time we had plenty of time to beach it for a couple of hours before having dinner at a local dive - Oasis. I tried conch fritters for the first time ever and liked them (when I texted this to Mike, his reply was "Who are you?!"). We spent the rest of the evening in our PJs playing games and watching The Expendables.

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Friday morning brought about a trip to the store for some staples and a lazy morning since it was pretty overcast. We finally meandered down to the beach only to realize that the wind made it unbearable. After about an hour of fighting the wind and sand we packed up and headed to the heated pool. I was super excited to see Amos in the pool for the first time! He LOVED it. I seriously think we're going to have a water bug on our hands. After a good swim, we packed up (again) and headed in to clean up for an afternoon of outlet shopping and a trip to downtown St. Augustine. We shopped 'til we could've dropped, then Carolyn took us to AIA Aleworks, one of her favorite restaurants downtown and it didn't disappoint! My Cuban pork, rice and fried plantains were d e l i c i o u s! Melbert ordered seared tuna which I tried and liked. Now Mike was seriously wondering, "who am I?!" (I still don't think I could bring myself to order it though.) Post dinner, Carolyn gave us a tour of her favorite shops downtown and took us to Whetstone Chocolates for dessert. After much deliberation, we decided on peanut butter chip and white chocolate caramel fudge (to go with the leftover fudge Carolyn had from her mom, grandma and aunt's trip). We capped off the evening in our PJs (are you seeing a trend here?) with Zero Dark Thirty.

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We decided on Friday that Saturday would be our beach day since we (Melbert & I) were running out of time to get a tan. We took our magazines, books, umbrella and snacks (or lunch for this nursing mama) down to the beach and layed out for hours. It was glorious. Carolyn still wanted to show us the Taco Shop so we had an early dinner there, followed by ice cream at Coneheads and a trip to Happy Cakes so we could pick up cupcakes for dinner. Don't judge us. We were on vacation. (: We got back, had an NCIS marathon (yep, in our PJs) and played Bananagrams until about midnight since we had to get up SUPER early for our flight home! Seriously, this vacation was a lot like our college days, except now I have a baby to tote along. It makes my heart so happy to see Mel & Carolyn loving Amos & actin' like it ain't no thang to bring him along! (Kudos to Mel for traveling with me and the boy.)

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We set our alarms for 5AM since our flight was at 8:40AM and we had what turned into a 2 hour drive since roads were closed. (We didn't know the roads were closed until we were literally making the turn onto one of them...) It was seriously the Lord's will that we made it to the airport on time because Allegiant didn't have another flight into Asheville until TUESDAY! Carolyn did an excellent job navigating the unmarked detour and got us to the airport with enough time to walk right onto the plane. The timing couldn't have been any better if we'd tried. It was sad to tell Carolyn goodbye knowing it'd be possibly July but most likely August until we see her again. I very much enjoyed reliving my college days with two of my besties (and my baby - haha) and am already planning (in my head) our next girls getaway (since we three made a pact to have girls weekends at least 2x a year 'til death do us part).

April 29, 2013

[s h u t t e r s]

shutters for 12 tyler street 

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Mike had cedar shutters handmade for our little abode. To say we're smitten with this small face lift is an understatement. 

*Mike also had help from the cutest neighbor we know -- sweet baby Lucas!  

April 23, 2013

loving lately

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peanut butter cake from Brick Street
these sweet little drawer pulls
memories from our latest big adventure
most recent ink
blue + blackberry pie 

April 22, 2013

bed frame tutorial

I found this picture on Pinterest and decided that I wanted the mister to build us a new bed.

Materials & Tools:                                   
  Shopping List:
4 – 2"x8"x8'
1 – 2"x4"x8'
1 – 2"x6"x10'
1 – 1"x2"x8'
3 – 1"x4"x8'
– 4"x4"x8' [cedar post for legs] 
16 – 1"x3"x8' [for bed slats, these come in bundles of 10 and are really cheap]
*All lumber = untreated pine unless otherwise noted
2 ½” pocket hole screws or wood screws
2” finish nails
wood glue
wood putty

measuring tape
circular saw
mitre saw
countersink drill bit
finish nailer / compressor 
wood chisel 

   Cut List:
2 – 2x8 @ 80” [frame sides]
2 – 2x8 @ 63” [frame head & foot]
1 – 2x4 @ 80” [slat ledgers]
1 – 2x6 @ 80” [center slat support]
1 – 1x2 @ 60” [head trim]
1 – 1x4 @ 60" [foot trim]
2 – 1x4 @ 84 1/2" [side trim]
– 4x4 @ 22" [all 4 legs should come from 1 cedar post]    

16 – 1x3 @ 59 7/8" [slats]

*Read all instructions before beginning this project. Also, make sure to pre-drill all holes so the screws don't split the wood. Countersink all screws to enable patching with wood filler to conceal screw heads.  

Step 1:
Build 2x8 frame as shown, fastening head and foot 2x8 onto ends of side 2x8s with wood glue and 2 1/2" wood screws.
step 1
Step 2:
Using circular saw, rip [cut in half length wise] 2x4 making [2] 2x2s. Fasten 2x2 ledgers to inside of 2x8 frame with wood glue and 2 1/2" wood screws as shown, 1 1/4" below top of 2x8. 

step 2
Step 3:
Fasten 2x6 center support to head and foot 2x8s using 2 1/2" wood screws as shown, 1 1/4" below the top of 2x8s [center support should be on level with 2x2 ledgers]. 

step 3
Step 4:
Trim time! Using circular saw, rip 1/2" off of your [3] 1x4s, making them true 1x3s. Add 1x3 trim to top of frame [sides first], keeping flush with inside of side 2x8s and at head of bed as shown, using wood glue and 2 1/2" wood screws. 

Next, add head [1x2 trim] and foot [1x3] trim in similar fashion. 

step 4
Step 5: 
The legs. You can be as crafty or unoriginal as you want here. We chose to use the cedar 4x4 to increase sturdiness, and because we love cedar [maybe it'll keep the moths away]. This part can be a bit tricky, but the point is to form a mechanical connection between the frame and the legs, adding a ton of strength. [Mike likes saying "mechanical connection"...]. Make sure to refer to the pictures. 

Set blade depth on circular saw to 1/2" and create a 3 1/2" notch on two sides of each 4x4 by completing following steps:

1. Measure 3 1/2" down from top of 4x4, and cut 1/2" deep cross ways along 3 1/2" line
2. Continue to cut multiple 1/2" deep lines cross ways. The goal is to leave as little wood as possible from the 3 1/2" mark to the top of the 4x4. Once cuts are made, you should have a bunch of wafer thin 1/2" deep pieces of wood in between cuts.
3. Using claw side of hammer, knock out wafers and smooth the notch you've created with a wood chisel.
4. Repeat on adjacent side of 4x4.

When finished, you should have [4] notched legs that the bed frame can actually sit on. Seat bed frame onto legs and fasten legs to inside of frame using wood glue and 2 1/2" wood screws.
step 5 
Step 6:
Attach the legs. You'll want to flip the frame upside down to do this. Once the frame is upside down, fit the legs into position. Screw them into the frame with wood screws as shown.
step 6

*All drawings are thanks to Mike! (: 

April 20, 2013

Palmetto 200 Recap

Whew. Where do I even start with this beast? First, let me say THANK YOU to all of our sponsors (KIND, The GoodOnYa Bar, and Cape Cod Potato Chips) and to every single one of you who were thinking about us and praying for us at home. Believe me when I say that your prayers were heard and answered.

We left from Simpsonville on Friday at 7AM (approximately 30 minutes behind schedule) after a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes and coffee fixed for our team by Mimi & Papa (thanks y'all). In car one was Mike, Zach and myself. Car two was Brian (driving), Ben, Brock and Mel. We arrived at the start line and checked in while Zach, our number one spot runner stretched. At 9AM he was off with the whistle!

Instead of all of the gory details of who drove who to what exchange point I'll give what legs everyone ran in just a bit. My first leg was 6.02 miles - mostly down a dirt road. We'd been instructed at the start line that a tree was down on the course, so the support vehicles would have to find another route. Mike and Zach were not interested in finding another route. When I was just hitting mile 4 I turned around to see good ol' Edmund chugging along behind me. The boys had tried to pull the tree out of the way and when it wouldn't move they decided to drive around it. By the time I finished (before 11AM) it was already hotter than any day we'd trained on. These hot temps were definitely going to be an extra challenge that the monkey tribe did not need.

Mel started the 3rd leg a little before 11AM picking up where I was leaving off. This leg was 9.26 miles long, hot and Mel felt like crap. We didn't realize at this point how sick Mel was, but during the course of this leg we knew it wasn't good. We finished out the first six legs without a hitch.

We started the 2nd set of six legs (7-12) moving along ahead of pace until leg 10 (Brock's 2nd leg). Come to find out, we'd printed last year's maps that were incorrect for this years race course. We'd dropped Brock off thinking we had plenty of time to drive 2 legs ahead to set up camp at Santee State Park so we'd have somewhere to sleep for a bit. Much to our disappointment we realized we were off course (in the cars) and turned back. By the time we got back to Brock he'd been at the exchange zone for over 5 minutes unable to get in touch with any of us. (Note to self: next year, the driver's phone number will be Sharpied to our forearms.) Mike quickly threw on his running gear & hit the pavement. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise that he picked up this 6.8 mile leg. At the time it just threw the monkey tribe for a loop because we were having to rework legs to even out the numbers. I drove Edmund on to Santee State Park with Brock, Mel and Zach in the car. Brian drove Ben to the next exchange zone so he could stretch and in turn, pick up Mike. Ben stepped up to the plate and crushed this 8 mile leg in the scorching sun to meet us at Santee State Park.

From here we knew that Mel wasn't in any shape to keep running. It broke our hearts to send her home, but she was absolutely miserable just riding in the car. Symptoms of shakiness, lethargy and lack of appetite turned into nausea, chills and finally a gracious spewing of pink Gatorade. So, Mike made the call to Papa and he jumped in the car (for a 4 hour ride) to come scoop up Melbug. At this point, the remaining 5 of the monkey tribe divvied up her remaining 4 legs. Kudos team, for good attitudes and for stepping up the plate.

When Zach left Santee State Park, the night running had "officially" begun. It wasn't actually dark yet, but per race rules every runner now had to wear a reflective vest, 2 blinking lights and a head lamp. We were also not allowed to use music from 7PM-7AM. He crushed his 4.2 miles and passed the slap bracelet off to me. I ran the sun down on this 5.6 mile leg and for the first time since the race began felt good while running. My pace was right on track, my breathing was controlled and my legs weren't tired. Don't ask how this happened on my third leg, because I can't tell you. I will say, once the sun went down and the temps dropped slightly it felt nice. I will also say, at this point a lot of you were at home praying for us and I won't discount that one bit.

I handed off to Brock for an 8.8 miler in the pitch black and here's where things got dicey (again). This was somewhere between 8 & 9PM. We'd told Brock that we'd be about 2 miles down the road with water, however there was no good pull off so we kept driving until we found a spot where other cars / vans were pulled off. This just happened to be about 5 miles from where he started (instead of the promised 2). We sat at the pull off for a bit, watched a few runners literally whiz by (here's where the full teams started bringing in runners who hadn't been running all day) and finally heard from another team that our runner was hurt and walking. Shocked, Mike jumped in the truck and back tracked in the dark until he saw Brock's headlamp slowly bobbing up and down. Brock expressed with visible frustration that something was wrong with his knee, and that he'd been unable to run for more than 30 seconds at a time. He limped in to the pull off where our other vehicle was waiting, and the boys got right to work (like a pit crew). With Brock on the tailgate, Mike massaged his knees with Bengay while Brian crammed Ibuprofen down his throat. After a few stretches and a swat on the butt, they sent him back out to complete his remaining 3 miles, whatever the cost. Little improved and Brock was forced to walk these miles in the lonely dark while the rest of the team pushed on to the next exchange to regroup and rest. When Brock arrived to hand off to Ben the monkey tribe was sleeping however we could (in the grass, across back seats, hunched over drooling in laps, etc.). We did manage to have a spot in the back of the Expedition waiting for Brock to crawl into (he later dubbed it "the crib"), hoping some good "R & R" would be good for his knees.

As Ben left out for his 5.6 miles, Mike delivered Zach to the start of his next leg and met Papa for Mel's extract. Finishing his leg with little fanfare, as it was the middle of the night and the rest of the monkey tribe was still one exchange back trying to sleep, Ben passed off to Zach for a quick 2.43 miler. Making even the fresh-legged 12 man team runners look slow, Zach squashed this leg so quickly that Mike barely had time to strap on his vest, strobes and head lamp for his 3rd leg and longest leg (9.67 miles through the pitch black, still forest). During this leg, and for each subsequent leg until dawn, we started continuous road support in the form of leap frogging the runner every 2(ish) miles offering encouragement, Gatorade and a bit of company. The purpose of this was two-fold: to ensure the safety of the runner and to help break up a long lonely run. From here, the slap bracelet when right back to Zach (who was starting to feel slightly abused) for short sprint of 3.75 miles.

Zach passed off to me for my first long leg in the dark around 1AM. Again, I felt good during this leg. For almost 10 miles it was just me and the open road; I literally saw no other runners. My boys took great care of me. Ben was driving Edmund at this point, with Mike in the passenger seat (half asleep) and Zach asleep across the back. They drove 1.5 miles ahead of me and waited with Gatorade - in the dark I could see their tail lights and had a target to hit. It was neat to be alone with my thoughts with only the sounds of my feet on the pavement and the night stirrings in the woods around me (remember, no music at this point). Running by headlamp has a way of making you focus on the very small here and now (do I even need to point out the spiritual metaphor here?). At mile 7ish the boys passed me one more sip of Gatorade and scurried off with Zach who was still asleep in the back seat and happened to be the next runner. As I came into the exchange zone there was a fire blazing in a barrel beside a port-o-john with lots of people standing around. I returned the slap bracelet to Zach (who was now confident he was being abused).

Brock took up the trusty slap bracelet for a 3.7 mile walk, enabling the monkey tribe to assemble at the next exchange and nab 45 minutes of much needed sleep. The bracelet passed uneventfully from Brock to Ben (3.84 miles), from Ben to Mike (2.32 miles), from Mike to Zach (8.91 miles), from Zach to me (3.75 miles) who got to run the sun up. I passed off to Mike who was scooping up Melbug's 7.5 miler.

Mike passed off to Brock who had the next 7.5 miles. We reached a dilemma here because while Brock was willing to walk, we needed to keep pushing out the miles at a decent pace in order to finish while the course was still open. Brock walked 2 miles and passed off to Ben who finished out his leg adding 5.5 miles to Ben's total. Ben finished this leg on a very busy HWY 17, passing the slap bracelet off to me for a 4.72 (leg 29) miler that continued on HWY 17. I was able to push out 3.4 miles before having to pass the bracelet back to Ben to finish out the remaining 1.3 miles. At this point, the monkey tribe was just doing what it took to finish this damn race. We would not be beaten.

During the mad rush that was our last 6 legs, Brian was awesome driving the monkey tribe hither and tither. He scooped me up where Ben took over for me and drove to exchange 30 where we had Chick-Fil-A biscuits waiting for us. I'm not kidding, if there's anything I was running for at some points, it was that biscuit. And it was worth every step it took to get there. That was the best Chick-Fil-A biscuit I've ever eaten. And definitely the one I've worked the hardest for. Ben had handed off to Mike, so Mike cruised into this exchange after 4.1 miles ready for his biscuit too.

Ooops. Here's where the monkey tribe had to be flexible again. We should've been "the flexible monkeys" instead of the monkey tribe! Since we had last years map, we were expecting Zach to take over for a long 7.39 mile jaunt over the IOP Connector. However, 2.8 miles into this leg we skidded to a stop because there was an exchange. Whoops! I jumped out ready to take the bracelet and his Camelback (because from 11AM-6PM we were required to carry water) and took off. The boys had decided to let Zach continue on this leg since he was prepared to run 5 more miles and pulled over at the next road crossing for me to hand over the bracelet and Camelback. I was all too willing because I knew that the IOP Connector was an uncovered uphill bridge. We ended up tag teaming this leg, with me finishing the last 1.86 miles.

I passed off to Ben who scooped up this leg (no. 33) for Mel, carrying the bracelet from Sullivan's Island to Mt. Pleasant for a total of 4.3 miles. Brock was up next, again willing to walk; after knocking out a mile of his 3.1 mile leg, Zach grabbed the bracelet and ran it to the exchange at the foot of the Cooper River Bridge. Ben (also feeling sufficiently abused at this point), charged up the Cooper River Bridge and carried the bracelet into downtown Charleston. He was feeling pretty gassed (and rightfully so), so I ran the bracelet 2.15 miles down to the battery to let him catch his breath, then passed it back to him so he could finish out the 6.42 miles.

If you've been doing your math through this rambling saga, you'll know that this brings us to leg 36 and the final 6.66 miles of this race. Ben neared the end of the battery to the sounds of a cheering monkey tribe and finished his last leg. Mike jetted out of the exchange with the bracelet, headed for James Island. This last leg was sheer excitement and a blast to watch as Mike warded off Ben's many attempts to relieve him of the beloved blue bracelet "for just a mile or two." Two boys refusing to share the glory of crossing the finish line. When Mike finished, we snapped a few quick pictures, had a celebratory beer, sent Brian and Ben back to Greenville and hightailed it to the nearest Mexican joint for dinner before crashing into comatose sleep at 8:30PM.

In the midst of this race we all thought ourselves crazy and swore we'd never do such a thing again. Buuuutttt, after a good night sleep (or two) and lots of reminiscing, we're already talking about next year and plan on running a couple more relays before then. I saw a sign that says, "Relays build memories with sweaty friends." I will forever be grateful for the incredible (sweaty) memories from this weekend with Mel, Ben, Zach, Brian, Brock and Mikey.

[race totals]
Zach: 40.41
Mc: 38.58
Mel: 13.8
Brock: 21.89
Ben: 39.12
Mike: 45.01











April 19, 2013

month five


Five whole months you've been here. Five whole months I've loved you with my whole heart.

In this past month big things happened! You started rolling over -- mostly from our laps to the bed, but you'll roll from your tummy to your back and vise versa too. We started feeding you baby food right after your 4 month visit to the doctor. You don't really care for rice cereal (and I'm not a big fan either, so we don't eat it a lot), but you've loved everything else (bananas, apples, apples + blueberries, squash, sweet potatoes, pears + cinnamon oatmeal, whipped cream and chocolate chili bacon milkshake). (: 

You've also been quite the world traveler. For daddy-o's birthday we took a 5 day trip to the Bahamas to see our sweet friends, Will, Toni and Belle! You were a stud on the airplane, loungin' on the beach and splashing in the water! Traveling is something that both your daddy-o & I love to do, so we hope by taking you all over the place now that you'll develop a love for it too. 

I'm not sure what's happened to your "good" sleep habits, but they've gone out the window. This past month we've had no sleep schedule and even had one day where you woke up ready for the day at 4AM. Mama is determined to fix this though. 

One of the sweetest things you do now is lay in your crib and talk to yourself when you first wake up. I love hearing you on the monitor in the morning jibber-jabbering in your room!

You still have no teeth. I've decided teething is for the birds anyway. I keep hoping / praying / wishing that one would just go ahead & pop through those little gums, as a reward for all the hard work you're putting in chewing / gnawing on everything in site! 

...and an outtake...

April 17, 2013