Monday, October 14, 2013

We Were Just Kids

Six years ago yesterday and it's hard to believe how strongly my heart has become connected to his.

To fill you in, our relationship began unexpectedly.   So unexpectedly, that I can personally say I was greatly taken by surprise when he asked me out to dinner that first time.  I even told him I'd need to think about it and I'd get back to him. (What was I thinking?!)

This was before our relationship began, by at least a year or more.  Baby faces.
Since I accepted his dinner offer, there has not been one day pass where I have wondered about our belonging together.  Not ONE single day.  I have been confident since our beginning that we were meant for one another.  I was not nervous at our wedding.  I had not one single doubt about the decision we made to get married at 22 years old.  Oh yeah, looking back, we were just kids.  But I wouldn't have done it any differently if I had it to do over...again and again.  Spending even one less day with my best friend, my team mate, my soul mate, my love, my support, my encourager, my challenger, my partner in this journey would be like losing a part of me.

Our story is unique and one that will be written in our history books and told to our kids, and their kids, and their kid's kids.

Our first home and Christmas.

In our 6 years we have travelled abroad together, pursued adventures together, lived in places that some have referred to as the "end of the world" together (Spruce St., that was you), fought tooth and nail with one another until we laugh so hard it hurts, watched stars shoot across Maine's vast, uncorrupted night sky together, learned to appreciate (and attempt to identify) the songs of birds and leaves of trees together, and, as if that's not enough, we've come to the point in our journey where the love we've experienced we thought would only cause us to explode if it could grow any bigger, is doing just that.

In two and a half short months we'll have a little one.  Something we've only briefly thought about since our life together began.  Because of this, we have grown individually and as a pair over the past several months.  Thinking about what it means to be a parent, how we want to raise our child, and the teamwork it takes to survive 9 months of pregnancy has truly brought us closer to each other.  I love listening to Dustin talk to my belly and feeling our baby move to the sound of his father's voice.  I love watching and feeling the love that Dustin has for our child even before this baby is a tiny, tangible person to him.  The way he thinks about and considers his role as dad is inspiring to me.  My love for Dustin has grown because of this baby. And I hope that for the rest of our lives.  No matter what life brings or how many kids we have, I believe that our love for one another will grow and grow and grow.  Though it almost seems impossible for my heart to have that much room.

Pie Makers.

He proposed in May of 2007 and we were married in October of 2007.  Five months of preparing for the greatest moment in our lives.  This time, six years later, we are on the brink of another life altering occasion that is only two and half months away.  Since we had dinner at the Canyon Grill on the night of his proposal and we celebrated our 6 year anniversary and the coming of our first child at the same place, we decided that the Canyon Grill is our catalyst.  The place that propels us into a vastly different place in life, causing us to examine and potentially change our perspectives about everything, whether we know it or not.
Last night at dinner, as we revisited this significant place, we talked about our life, our love, and what the future is bringing.
I looked over at him from across our business card covered table and felt overwhelmingly connected to his soul.  I needed to tell him exactly what I told him, that I couldn't imagine living my life without him in it.

And I can't.  Not for one second.

So, I raise a glass to us.  Here's to more living and loving and doing it all plus one.

the rave

P.S.  He just walked in the door carrying Chik-Fil-A chicken mini biscuits.  For me!!!!  Our love is strong.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hiking, Beach Trip, Belly Pics, Etc.

Busy, busy, busy.....

I won't waste your time explaining or excusing my absence from the blogosphere.  Instead, I'll get straight to the pics taken over the last month.

Miles' 5th Birthday.  He got a birthday crown at school that day.

Team Tommey and a Sunday hike on the Cumberland Trail.

It's hard to remember how small we are compared to creation and the world around us.  This view was a great reminder. 
Oh, and Wendell Berry was with us too.
Another Sunday morning comes / And I resume the standing Sabbath / Of the woods, where the finest blooms / Of time return, and where no path / Is worn but wears its makers out / At last, and disappears in leaves / Of fallen seasons. 

Can you believe this?  It stayed on me for a good 60 seconds or more.  And it kept coming back.  A little odd, but it made for a few good pics.

Identify this butterfly please.

The waterfall and swimming hole that I don't think you're supposed to swim in.

Labor Day Beach Trip - The Digs.

Like father, like daughter.

Team Tommey

Sweet Miles helped us build a sand castle.  Of course his picture had to be taken with the end result.  Feather and all.

Teaching him the art of "War", the card game only.


Sis and Brantly

She's got them wrapped around her finger. 

The Crazy Whaleys.

The Miss and Mrs. Independents. 

Hudson practicing to be the next Naked Cowboy.

Blurry, but sweet.  Just figuring it all out.
Cait's baby shower, last Sunday.

Keep Posted,

the rave

P.S.  A fun snippet for the day - Dustin and I have had this song stuck in our heads and laugh every time we recall some of the lines....Go ahead, humor yourselves.  Hmmm...Amos Moses Wilde Tommey has a nice ring to it!?  Who knows!!

Also, if you didn't watch the ad for "Poo-pourri" or if it wasn't the ad that showed up for this video - please do yourself another favor and watch it.....Hilarious!!!  If you don't think bathroom humor is funny, you won't like it.  But if you're in for a treat.  This is a real product.  Believe it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It's A....

It's not a reptile....

It's not just a tiny foot....

It's not a hitch hiker....

It's not an alien (though I will be the first to admit it's a bit creepy looking)....

It's definitely a tiny human (what a cute side profile!! I love that nose.).....

It's a little baby BOY!!!!!!

I been dying to share the news with you guys!  Finally!  We're thrilled and can't wait to meet him!!  World, watch out for the next Tommey boy!

Keep Posted,

the rave

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back South

What a crazy two weeks!

I can only say that it's been so wonderful to be in such a familiar place with so many familiar faces.  The names of faces elude me almost daily, but oh the faces!  Besides, who doesn't love a good awkward interaction from time to time, meaning every day.

When we first moved from Georgia to Philadelphia, it took about a year or so for me to adjust to the differences in culture and life.  I knew that moving back to Georgia from Philly would be easy, but there has also been a degree of adjusting that I've had to/still have to do.  For example, in Philly,  I am one in 5 million.  A stranger to a vast many.  You don't just bump into people you know in Philly.  Oh it happens/has happened and it's a crazy occurrence when it does.  But in GA, I have a constant awareness of familiarity.  You can expect to see people you know at the grocery store, the Chattanooga Market (which is an AMAZING place!), the bank, restaurants, random outings, etc.   If I don't know them, they know me via family/friend ties.  Quoting the sweet lady at the bank, "It's a full circle here".

Another example....I drive EVERYWHERE!  It's not just a quick 1 minute drive versus a 10 minute walk to the bank, it's a 15 minute drive and walking isn't even an option.  Gas is cheaper, but the frequency and duration of my driving is exponentially greater than it was in Philly.  I don't mind driving, but I do miss the lifestyle of not having to drive everywhere and having the option of biking or walking (though I usually didn't bike, but could have if I wanted).

I could really keep going, but that not's all this post is about.  All I'm trying to say is that moving is an adjustment.  Oh, and I am dying not having some kind of structure/routine in my days.  I am extremely satisfied by "checking off" my to-do lists and doing things.  I don't like/loathe sitting around trying to think of things to do to fill  my time.  (Dustin, I MISS YOU, come home!!!!!! 9 more days!)

Okay, moving on to the fun stuff/things I'm filling my time with.

1.  Blueberry Picking!!!
We picked a gallon. 
I went with my Mamaw on Monday to a blueberry farm out in Lafayette.   There are rows and rows and rows of blueberry bushes filling this property.  Basically, all you do is "park and pick".   In other words, you pull up in your car, get out, grab a bucket, and start picking those bushes like it's your job.  You pay for what you pick, at $8 per gallon.  Yep.  That's a good deal.  It is the end of blueberry season, so the picking was slim (we accumulated exactly one gallon).  However, there were a lot of unripe berries that needed a little more time.  So, if you're in the area, you might give it a go this weekend.  And go early.  It's nice and cool in the morning and the sun gets hot and the glare makes it a little more difficult to see the berries.

Road side produce.  We had to stop!


I've washed and dried them and they're in the freezer.  I don't have a project/recipe planned for them yet, just yogurt topping and smoothie additions!

2.  Fig Picking!

I don't like figs.  No, I've never tried one.  But I don't think that you have to taste something to decide that you don't like it.  Figs, for example, look mushy when they are used/cooked in things.  I have a big issue with mushy fruit, or vegetables for that matter.  And the insides of a fig look like the teeth of a meat eating plant. I'm just not interested eating them.  Plus, I never really liked Fig Newtons as a kid.  Too many little seeds. (I do like fig infused/scented/flavored things. So what. I can if I want to, right?)

P.S.   Figs EAT wasps.   Don't believe me, click here?  They have a symbiotic relationship.  Mother Nature intended it to be this way.  Gross!  I can't believe YOU eat wasps...I mean figs!

Now that you've been introduced to one of my many quirks and a strange piece of scientific data, I will counter that by telling you that my dislike for something can be balanced out by the usefulness of the particular thing that I dislike.  I also have an intense need to not waste anything.  I blame this mostly on my stepfather for making me eat all of the green beans on my plate as a child.

Case in point, my mom's neighbors have  fig tree.  It's not a small fig tree, it's a massive, old, almost as tall as a telephone pole, fig tree.  Part of that tree extends into my mom and stepdad's yard.  They get to pick those figs.  Stepdad calls.  Tells me there is an abundance of figs that need to be picked, and soon.  I hate figs.  I spend the rest of that day googling/pinteresting projects/recipes using figs.  I still don't like figs, but this is fun.  The next day, my mom and I scour their part of the tree for figs.  We collect about a gallon - most were way too ripe or not ripe enough - but a gallon is pretty good for 30 minutes of work.

Here's what I made.

1.  Fig Infused Whiskey with Chattanooga Whiskey (the white label)
Easiest thing you'll ever do.

2. Fig and Vanilla Infused Vodka with Tito's Handmade Vodka
Second easiest thing you'll ever do.

P.S.  I know, I'm pregnant.  I'm not drinking this stuff, though I bet it's gonna be killer.  I'm thinking if it's successful, these will be potential gifts for friends/family that like this kind of thing.  The only question is, how can I sneak this stuff across the PA border??

3.  Honey Roasted Fig Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
This is where I will tell you that I licked the spoon upon completion and it is one of the best homemade ice creams I've EVER had!  It's in the freezer at the moment, firming up before consumption later.
Roasting figs...covered in Bolt's Stinging Good Honey and brown sugar.  Yum.

Our ice cream maker.  It gets the job done.

The vanilla bean ice cream base.  Creamy.  Smooth.  Silky.  Perfect on it's own.

The roasted figs, pureed and added to the ice cream.

The end result.  Tasty.

4. Fig Newtons with Fresh Figs (not dried)
The majority of the figs we picked are going into this dish.  Mom and I didn't get to it last night because you needed to chill the dough for 2-3 hours and we were ready for bed.

I have few more things on the docket for the next round of figs:

- Apple Fig Fruit Leather  (think Fruit Roll Ups, au naturale)
- Fig Honey/Syrup (there's a version online for a "no added sugar" kind.  It requires a lot of figs, but hey, if they're abundant, they've got to be used up somehow).
- Fig Preserves (ew!)
- Fig Jam (maybe with a hint of ginger)
- Fig Tart
- and more Homemade Fig Ice Cream!

courtesy of Greg Slick Photography

Figs sure are pretty, aren't they?

Keep Posted!

the rave