|2013-09-16 19:27:35 958|
I wrote this about a month ago and forgot to put it into the database:
Eliza Jo is one year old as of Friday!
Emiy did a great job planning the birthday party. She had been trying out different baked goods for a month. We both took Friday off and I took Eliza Jo to Rachel's so that Emily could start baking. My parents got up here by early afternoon so I went and picked EJ back up. After a bit we headed out to Mathiston to get her first birthday photoshoot done. Got back home and EJ played with my parents for a while Emily baked some more. I smoked a pork loin, mixed up some baked beans, and made lemonade for the first time. Late that afternoon, we set up at the Patriot's Park pavillion. Emily did a great job with the decorations. Everything tied in with the baked goods. Everyone showed up around five and we had a great time with way, way too much food. Eliza Jo put on a great show when she opened her presents. After a while we headed back to the house and cleaned things up. Eliza Jo spent the evening playing with her new toys. She was so wired, we could not get her to go to sleep until after ten. We did make up a new sport, chasing EJ across the bed is loads of fun. When she makes it to the footboard, she picks herself up and lungest backwards. She is going to be walking any day now.
|2013-08-05 22:26:32 957|
Vegas was loads of fun. Emily's AANP conference was there in late June. We dropped off Eliza Jo in Maben with the grandparents on a Sunday afternoon and headed toward Memphis. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southaven. We flew out of Memphis because it was a direct flight. Landed in Vegas at 10AM and got to our rental car, a brand new convertible Mustang. Headed to the Hoover dam and stopped at In-N-Out on the way. I loved it. Emily still votes for Five Guys. Dropped the top after we ate. Ten miles down the interstate we put it back up. It was way way too hot in Nevada for a convertible in June. What were we thinking? Driving up to the Hoover dam was a lot of fun because the desert and hills make it very interesting. The Hoover dam area was an oven. We did not get to do the dam tour because the elevators were broken. I really wanted to see the powerhouse. Maybe next time. From there we headed up to the train tunnel trailhead a few miles from the dam. We made the best decision ever not to try to walk to the first tunnel because of the heat. From there we drove up the western edge of lake Mead and got plenty of good landscape pictures. Then we headed back into town. I took us toward downtown on the interstate so that we could experience a lot of Las Vegas Boulevard. It was bumper to bumper traffic all of the way down to the Palazzo. Our original plan was to have the top down all of the way down LV Blvd but we decided we would rather not cook. Because we had an Avis rental, when we got to the hotel, we were able to return the car by leaving it with the valet. Emily played the 'tip the clerk' game at check in and we ended up with a corner suite a few floors short of the top of the Palazzo. The suite was literally almost half the square footage of our house. From there we went exploring to get Emily checked into the conference. We were exhausted so we ate at Sushi Samba which was very close to the elevators to the room. It was ok.
We woke up at 3:30AM Tuesday morning. Our Grand Canyon pickup with Papillon tours was to be at 4:20AM. The short bus got to us a right around 4:40. It took us to a full size bus at another hotel and then we headed to Boulder City. The airport there was really neat because it is so small. Everyone was assigned a color code to be called to get on their airplane. When we were called to board, we realized that we were the only Americans on our flight. The rest of the plane was filled with a group from India that was on a two month tour of the US. We were assigned the back two seats. In a DHC-3 Otter, the back two seats are awesome because they are just a pair of jump seats on the back wall. The rest of the plane is in a 1-2 seat configuration. The inflight entertainment via headphones telling us about what we were flying over was wonderful. We got great views of the Hoover dam on the flight. We landed and had to wait for a while in the little terminal. They assigned us to a helicopter group that consisted of us, one of the guys from India, and an employee who was getting a ride to the bottom. The helicopter trip down was amazing. I was worried about feeling queasy in the copter, but it was way more stable feeling that I could have imagined. It was absolutely gorgeous and I managed to video the entire ride down. At the bottom, we walked down a surprisingly rugged trail to get to the boat ramp. There, a Native American took us for a ride on the Colorado. Once again we were the only American passengers along with members of the huge Indian tour. Emily and I were rather entertained by the direct questions the Indians asked the Native American skipper. From the boat, we climbed back up the trail to the staging area for the helicopters. We saw several groups come in and had a good laugh at one poor girl who had showed up in stripper heels to try to make it down to the boats. Eventually it was our turn to head back up and we had another amazing helicopter ride. We headed back to the terminal and caught the big bus to Guano Point. We skipped Eagle Point entirely because we had no interest in the skywalk. Guano Point was awesome! It really sticks out into the canyon. There were no safety fences anywhere so we got some great pictures. We walked out to the abandoned cable house and then came back toward the bus stop to have lunch. It wasn't gourmet, but we were starving so the BBQ beef meal was great. Plus there were pretty decent views for our meal. You know, since we were sitting right on the edge of the freaking Grand Canyon. We caught the bus back to the terminal and after a little wait we were back on the plane. The return trip was a whole lot more turbulent and it made me feel bad but I survived. There was a short wait in Boulder City and then a shuttle took us back to the hotel. We were back in the room right at 1PM!!! I am so glad that we sprung for the flight version of the trip rather than the bus version. It saved us at least eight hours of travel time. After some recovery time in the room, we headed out to Gordon Ramsay's Pub and Grill, where the food was great and the service was horrible, and finished the night at Terry Fator's show.
After those epic few days, the rest of the trip is a blur of things that we did around Emily's class schedule. For most of the time she was in class, I was exploring. On Wednesday we ate the Bacchanal Buffet for lunch and we hurt ourselves. Bad. That night we went to Fremont to see the old casinos and lights.
On Thursday we ate lunch at Solaro, Wolfgang Puck's place at our hotel pool complex. We started the evening at the Goretorium because I had a Groupon. The actors picked on Emily so I had a wonderful time. After the experience as a whole, it is not surprising that they filed for chapter 11 in early July. We at at Ramsay's burger place, BurGR afterward. It was a thirty minute wait in line that was worth it for the parmesan fries. My blue burger was awesome and Emily got plenty of cheese on her cheeseburger. Then we headed to the Bellagio to check out the gardens and the chocolate fountain before seeing Cirque du Soleil O.
On Friday we ate lunch at Morel's Steakhouse in the front of our hotel complex. I had a croque monsieur for the first time and it was wonderful. Emily had a steak and fries that was not as good as my sandwich but she still loved it. I headed to the Atomic Testing museum while she was in class. It was just ok. Would not do again. We spent the evening checking out things on the southern end of the strip. We both ordered half salads at the PBR Bar and Grill and still had too much food.
On Saturday we ate MGM's brunch buffet. It was wonderful, though it paled in comparison to Bacchanal. At least it was cheaper. We did the Titanic experience at the Luxor. At this point I have done two Titanic experiences within pyramid structures; one at the Memphis Pyramid, and one at the Luxor pyramid. For supper we decided to keep it close to the hotel and decided on Zeffirino in the canal shops. Best decision ever. Emily ordered the prix fixe and I ordered a grotesque amount of seafood with a side of fresh alfredo pasta. It was so good.
On Sunday we had lunch at the Top of the World, near the top of the Stratosphere tower. It was our second best meal in Vegas other than Zeffirino's. The prixe fixe was wonderful; lobster bisque, filet and crab cake entree, and a fancy dessert while sitting in a spinning resturant way way over the Vegas Strip. From there we headed up to the Mob Museum and had a great time. Checked out Fremont again and then headed back to our hotel. We had supper at I Love Burgers which was right around the corner to the elevator to our room. I loved the garbage fries. The burgers were great too.
Monday morning was early. Dragging our luggage through the casino floor at 5:30AM was weird. The Palazzo desk seemed to take forever because of the slow people in front of us, but we needed the receipt to expense the lodging. We got long hauled by the taxi. I should have cared but I just wanted to get home. Had a layover on the way back in Minneapolis. Of course the plane had a maintenance issue that made us almost two hours late getting into Memphis. From there, it was a race to get back to the girl. I swear she grew a a whole head of hair while we were gone.
My tips for Vegas:
|2013-06-15 21:39:50 956|
Today is ten years since Emily and I watched Bruce Almighty together.
On June 15, 2003, Emily came over from Hannah's and I cooked her waffles for breakfast. Then she took me to church at Starkville Church of God, and I met her parents for the first time. Afterwards we ate at Oby's with her parents for lunch. Emily and I headed to the movies and we consider that our first date. Then that evening we went back to church and then had Bulldog Deli afterward. It ends up being a wonderful day even though it was a bit stressful as I was experiencing it.
|2013-06-15 21:33:36 955|
March travel season was epic this year!
Weekend of the 1st was at the Sestis'. Then we headed off the next week on Tuesday night to the Alabama coast. Drove down to Daphney where I had booked us a room on points. Eliza Jo travelled like a champ. We got up, had a good free breakfast at the hotel, and then proceeded to the outlets at Foley. Once we had another new wardrobe for EJ, we headed south, and had some great burgers at City Grill in Gulf Shores. We hit the worst grocery store in the world, Bruno's in Gulf Shores, and then drove out to Fort Morgan. My Garmin was bad and did not direct me to the correct road but we eventually found Garraway. We had a great time on the beach with loads of awesome food to eat. EJ had a wonderful time and was a very good model for all of the pictures she posed for. This was our first seriously laid back beach trip and we loved it. Especially since we were dragging a 7 month old along and everything went to plan, this trip was full of win. On the way back we stopped at the huge craft fair at Fair Hope. It was so big. We ate fair food while sitting in the grass. We managed to buy EJ a wood puzzle so it worked out well. The drive home was wonderfully uneventful.
The weekend of the 22nd was Jeremy Gray's bachelor party trip to Houston. We all flew out of JAN. I had Hotwired a minivan but National did not have one. So they put us in a Tahoe. I loved it because I love driving huge vehicles. Seriously though, I hate it. We started out perfectly with breakfast at the Breakfast Klub. In the end it felt like a thrown together trip but we still had a lot of fun and ate a bunch of awesome food. Other than my first trip to Dave and Busters, my favorite part was the food truck festival. I have never had such an epic grilled cheese. Of course I added it with a bacon addon and it was wonderful.
|2013-03-07 22:24:20 954|
This has been a crazy week. Started out on Saturday morning: kenneled the puupies and dropped EJ off at the Pierces'. Then we headed to wonderful Madison via the brand new Canton Parkway. Fastest route to the Sestis' yet, cuts off several minutes and many redlights. The girls went shopping and Andrew and I went to the Turcotte shooting range. I managed to shoot my revolver twice. This is what happens when I take things apart and put the hammer strut in backwards. We still had a lot of fun shooting Andrew's .22 and 9mm. Then we headed to Fresh Market and picked up some ginormous steaks and organic broccoli. Got back to the house and had a wholesome meal. I ate my entire ribeye. It was wonderful. Later on the girls got back from their lingerie shower for the eventual Christy Gray. Got up on Sunday and had brunch at PF Changs. Emily spent a good while shopping while I warmed up a bench. Had a great conversation with a 71yo man with 6 children and 21 grandchildren. We finished up at the mall with another trip to Fresh Market.
For supper Monday night, I cooked the salmon patties and deviled crabs that we had picked up at Fresh Market. They were very delicious. Tuesday morning I woke up and felt like I had lice. I had scratch marks all over my face and neck. I am not sure if I did this to myself or if it was all rash. I took some benadryl and went to work. By 5 I was in bad shape. I got up Tuesday and took this awesome picture of myself. I did not go to work, instead I headed to Emily's clinic in Maben. Got a shot of dexamethasone and a prescription for more. Makes my first $4 Kroger prescription ever. Yay for 50 fuel points! The meds did not do much for me on Wednesday. By Thursday morning I was in a lot better shape. Now, late on Thursday night, my face is kinda cleared up, but I still have a lot of rash on my torso and legs. I am planning on heading back to work in the morning. The big question is, where did I get this crap from? Emily blames the crab I had even though I have never had an issue with shellfish. I blame the Lone Star Tick I found on my leg 14 days before the rash showed up. Lone Star's do no carry Lyme disease at least. It seems like I suffered from STARI, except that the rash I had was not correct either. Anyway I did not end up with a bacterial infection, just a lot of crazy itchy rash. Emily's diagnosis of a crab shell allergy may be the correct one after all. Who knows.
|2012-11-18 22:45:26 953|
Last tailgate of 2012 is in the books. Had a super busy week so finally got to make my Kroger trip on Friday night. Emily got busy with a sweet potato casserole and cornbread dressing. I got the truck loaded and started building a meat tree. Then I met Jeremy out at the tailgate spot and unloaded the truck. Jeremy and Jennifer dropped me off at home and I put chicken and waffle kabobs together and also contructed a bacon explosion. At this point it was around 10:30PM so I decided to give up on finishing the meat tree. The turkey breast was finally thawed out so I stuffed a good bit of minced garlic under the skin, put it in a ziplock, and doused it with pineapple juice and a bit of Tony's. I fixed the ham up by rubbing it with mustard and brown sugar. By this point it was pretty late so we finally called it a night.
Got up at 6:30. I dressed Eliza Jo in her maroon romper. The three of us made it to campus right at 8:00. Ben had beat us there from Madison by leaving at 5:45. I warmed up the grill and started cooking the bacon explosion. The heat was low so we had to start more charcoal to finish it. Also toasted the chicken and waffles on the grill. I learned an important lesson about the Kroger chicken. Kroger was out of the precooked strips that I usually get so I went with the "restaurant patties." The problem is that those patties have a slight pickle flavor to them. Not the best thing to accompany waffles and syrup. Other than that snafu, breakfast was great. I had the smoker lit by then and put the turkey on the bottom grate and the ham on the top grate. Shortly after getting the smoker going, we headed into the game. We ran into John Kennedy and then Jeremy Brown as soon as we got into the stadium. The game was rough starting out. Eliza Jo was a doll. Emily held her the first quarter and I took over in the second. Nearing halftime she was waking up and antsy so we got out as soon as the quarter was over. Of course we had to stop to get Emily two bags of boiled peanuts. We headed back to the tailgate where my smoker's charcoal was pretty much cold. I started new charcoal and pretty quickly had the smoker heated back up in the 250 range. Emily and I had Jeremy's TV so we did not miss any of the game. By tailgating north of Scott Field, we were able to hear good things happen about five seconds before we saw them on TV. Poor directv folks would have been another 10-20 seconds behind us. Right as the game finished, my turkey breast clocked in at 160. I took the turkey and ham off, wrapped them in foil, and put them in a dry cooler. Around the same time I got the pans of dressing and sweet potato casserole on the grill to warm up. Everthing turned out so awesome. Emily did a wonderful job with dressing and sweet potatoes. I was really happy with the turkey. It had a really strong garlic flavor on the skin side. The ham was a typical ham and everyone loved it. We finished the day off with pie that Jimmy brought. I was so full. So full.
Today is Emily and my sixth anniversary. I bought us a cast iron fondue set. because the sixth anniversary calls for iron and sugar. I made an awesome cheese fondue for supper. We used toasted Kroger texas toast bread and leftover smoked ham. Then I cleaned up the pot and made a chocolate fondue to count for the sugar. It was great. Yay food!
|2012-08-24 00:41:48 952|
It has been an awesome last three months. Emily's last trimester was a blast. We are so glad to have it over and have Eliza Jo home!
On August 7th I took off for the afternoon and went with Emily to her last office visit before the birth with Dr Whittle. He set our schedule for the week by telling Emily to come back to the hospital the next evening. We came back to Starkville and had our last meal together as non parents at La Terraza. Spent a fretful Wednesday around the house tidying up. Drove over to West Point a little after 6. We picked up candy at CVS and then went to Dollar General for more candy, a small box, and some tissue paper. Emily used these supplies to put a gift together for the nurses on the short drive to the hospital. We checked in through the ER and got taken to a the same labor and delivery room that we were shown during our birthing class. I left Emily to move the car around the hospital and the nurse let me know that we would have room 23 for the night and after Eliza was born. Getting room 23 was AWESOME because is is the corner suite at the West Point hosptial. We got moved from the first room to room 23 to spend the night. We both slept horribly. At 5AM a nurse came in to get Emily up. She got a shower and we were moved back to the first room. The Pitocin drip got started right at 7AM. Pastor Hank came to visit us around 9 or so. My parents made it up by 11 and Daddy and I went to Wendy's to get some lunch. Afterward I was bad and snuck Emily some Coke and mints even though she was only supposed to get ice. Emily was such a trooper through all of the contractions she was happening. Dr Whittle came in a little after 6PM and gave us the verdict that it was section time. Baby Eliza was facing the wrong way and Emily was not progressing. So that was the scariest thing ever for us. Emily got wheeled away into the OR and I got put into the staging area to put on my scrubs. Sitting there with a mask and hairnet was one of the most stressful waiting rooms of my life. From there I was summoned into the OR and got to sit beside Emily's head. Lucky for me there was a sheet between me and the operating field. Horrible sounds came from the operating field. Dr Whittle told us that he had a smiling baby looking up at him. After a few more minutes he was able to show us a freshly born bloody baby girl at 8:05! She was a screamer. The nurses cleaned up Eliza in a corner of the OR and I stayed with Emily. They brought Eliza over to us and showed her to Emily and I. Then they let me carry her to the nursery. It was awesome! She was so calm. Her eyes were opened and they looked at me the whole time I was carrying her. After I handed her to the nurse, all of our family swarmed the nursery windows. Long after this, I finally realized my mom got a picture of me in the nursery trying to take off my shoe covers. It seemed like forever until Emily got out of recovery. She was so groggy. The nurse pulled Emily's bed up to the nursery window so she could see Eliza. I was so happy to finally see Emily and know that she was OK. At that point it was late Thursday night. Section patients have to spend 48 hours in the hospital. So that would be late Saturday night which made discharge on Sunday morning the earliest possible. So we got to spend two wonderful nights in the hospital. I purchased lots of fast food for Emily and I to eat in West Point. We finally got discharged late on Sunday. Getting home was the greatest thing ever.
|2012-06-26 22:23:15 951|
Emily's birthday weekend was great. I got up Saturday morning and cooked breakfast of my normal standbys of eggs, grits, and biscuits. Experimented with filet mignon, red peppers from the garden, and onions to come up with a great meat dish. Shortly afterward, Emily and I got on the road to Columbus. My parents' present to Emily was a mom to be package at Brickerton. I dropped her off and took care of my own important business, like checking out the HUGE Lowe's, getting a current copy of 2600 at the mall, and checking out the guns at the pawn shops. Emily was done around 1 and we headed toward Birmingham. Had a great lunch at Five Guys on the way. Checked out a baby store in Mountain Brook. It was a lot of fun getting there because I was able to drive on some of same roads that the first triathlon bike course that Cory and I participated in. From there we headed downtown to another baby store but it turned out to be just a furniture store. We have plenty of furniture at this point so we did not even go in. Next stop was checking in at the Tutwiler. Awesome old hotel that has been made up as a modern Hampton. Nicest Hampton I have ever stayed in by far. Best part was that I had gotten us a king suite with Hilton points. We had a corner room on the third floor. Was nice to rest for a bit and watch a few episodes of Pawn Stars. Supper was at Metro Prime, the steak place that we ate at for Bryan's bachelor party. It was excellent for the second time too.
Had breakfast at the hotel. The Hampton breakfast was pretty close to what I have grown accustomed to in Slidell on my work trips but seemed better. I guess it tasted better because of the nicer location up on the eighth floor. Then we were out for more baby shopping. We drove all around the Summit looking for the Babies R Us and finally found it at the old Bruno's. It was the motherload of all things baby. I have never seen so many strollers anywhere but Disneyworld. Hit a few more stores at the Summit and then had PF Chang's for lunch. Drove down to the Fresh Market and loaded up on some good groceries before heading home. Had to stop in Columbus to buy some more dog food so that I could pick up the heavy stuff.
|2012-06-22 22:40:51 950|
What a week. A raise and no cavities on Monday. Had a great supper with Emily at Restaurant Tyler the night before her birthday on Wednesday. I had a two pork chop dish over grits that was covered in popcorn. Seriously. Emily had fish that was breaded in ground popped popcorn. Very interesting dining experience for little ole Starkville. On Thursday I brought home a great supper of McChickens and fries so that we could get on our way to West Point. Our trip to West Point was to the hospital for our first child birth class. I think I am forever scarred from the video. The video. On Friday things seemed to break at will at work early in the morning. Luckily everything was fixed a little after lunch. Tonight Nathan came down and the three of us watched Brave. Tomorrow is the beginning of Emily's birthday trip.
|2012-06-18 21:54:48 949|
Today has been a great day. Had my annual xray/cleaning dentist visit to Dr Ferguson and had no cavities. Then at work I found out that I did get a raise this year. Yay!
U-verse DNS is horrible. I learned this the hard way now that I am using the U-verse modem to handle DHCP for our network. What makes it worse is that the U-verse modem can not be configured to pass along any other DNS server than the ones they have defined.
The inlaws' Netgear AP died yesterday and I took them my airport. I set up time machine for them too with an old USB Seagate I had. The good news is that I have another airport ordered and on the way here tomorrow. In the meantime I've been setting resolve.conf on our macbooks manually to point to my local DNS server and I found an awesome new email to flush the DNS on Lion: sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
Blew out another rear wheel bearing on the fixed gear on Friday's ride home for lunch. It was nice and crunchy. Today my new 6901 bearings were in so I put them in the rear hub. Put everything together and it felt really silky. I had noticed a little wobble in my bottom bracket and just happened to have a Tange 115mm in my stash so I replaced it too. During this replacement I noticed that my poor Dura-Ace left crank has a small crack in it right at the bolt engagement area. Years ago I calculated that I had 11k miles on it after buying it used on eBay. Guess I have gotten my money out of it, though I plan to get a few more miles out of it. I also checked on the creaky headset. It is in bad shape and will need to be replaced before too long. The brake cable was in such bad shape that I had to replace it too and the casing. Good news is that a little tune up let me see some larger problems and get a lot of noises taken care of.