Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Anne!

My birthday gift to Anne? An uncooperative scanner, preventing all photos pre-2008 from making their appearance in a birthday post.
Anne and I have known each other since the seventh grade. We've bonded over morning announcements, speech, McDonald's runs pre-track practice, thirty-five hour roadtrips, and many many long-distance phone calls.
It's truly amazing to me how much we've grown since we celebrated our first birthdays as friends almost 15 years ago. Going off to college, transatlantic flights, heartaches, career changes and marriages haven't been able to seperate our friendship and it feels like babies and more moves couldn't keep us apart. Anne has been my rock through thick and thin and I am so grateful to have someone to share my life's ups and downs.
She's the same ambitious, talented and thoughtful friend from middle school and I don't see that changing anytime soon. It'll be a joy to grow old with a friend that no matter where we are, we always have someone to cheer on and support. Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flashback Friday: Coffee Maker Edition

April 2007, Walland, Tennessee

I am not sure there are many kitchen gadgets that could elicit this sort of overjoyed response out of a groom-to-be. Sure, its a lovely Krups ten cup coffee maker with insulated carafe. But come on, really?

The lovely ladies at Walland United Methodist Church hosted a fabulous shower for us just a couple of months before our nuptials. I think over half of the congregation was in attendance. I got the chance to sit down with some amazing people who knew not just Little Rock and Big Rock, but Rocky the First too. I can only imagine what they really thought of this Yankee girl stealing one of their own to take him home to Washington, DC of all places. Yet, they graciously accepted me with open arms and plenty of appliances.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Minnesota Niiiice

I remember being a cocky high school senior and discussing with my family the fact that we'd never have a high school reunion because my friends and I were dispersing all over the country. My wise Uncle Kevin said that people don't stay gone long. Family brings you home. He was right and he wasn't. Half of the girls that got taxed with the lifelong commitment to planning reunions at 18 are Minnesota residents, and the other half are not.

My case seems to be a little different than most. When my parents semi-retired to Nashville, it felt like they were making me a new home. They were making it easier on me to be so far away from my family because maybe one day, I'd be there too. Life has served us all some suprises along the way and I don't think any of us imagined our path would look quite like it does today. So going "home" to Minnesota doesn't feel like home anymore. I can't curl up in my childhood bed. I can't ride my bike to the park. I can't hit up LeeAnn Chin as soon as my plane lands. Yet, I will always be a Minnesotan.

With that said, I am not sure I can quite do my weekend justice. I was busy, well entertained and very well fed! It took a village to get me around town, find a place to sleep and keep me busy. Although it didn't feel like home, it didn't feel like a stranger either.

The weekend just wouldn't have been nearly as much fun if it weren't for my cousin Casey. She did such a wonderful job shuttling me around town and making sure I could squeeze an entire Minnesota vacation into a 48 hour stop. Friday afternoon, her and my new cousin-in-law, Nick, picked me up at the airport and whisked me away to (Maple) G. Love for some special sauce (and waffle fries). We also managed to squeeze in pedicures, a trip to the outlets for tax free shopping and dinner on the Mississippi.

A highlite on my whirlwind weekend may have been a tour of Target Field. See, I leave for a couple years (ok, ten) and a lifelong staple of my childhood is no longer home of the Minnesota Twins. How dare they change things on me! Even more appaling, apparently Mauer and Morneau didn't read my letter requesting that they come home special just for me. At least we did get to tour it from the outside and I have to say it is one of the most amazing stadiums I have seen in a while. Much less commercial than most. Although some would argue it isn't a good thing, it looked more like a municipal building.

The emperor strikes back with a rare straight hair sighting and a a golden glove throne.

Looks like a fancy college library, doesn't it?!

We were up and at'em bright and early Saturday morning. Casey and Karen hosted a little shower shindig for B.B. King. It was such a wonderful excuse to see my family. B.B. was quite spoiled too!

With Grandma June and a fine Grape Juice.

With the diaper cake and the hostess with the mostess.

Saturday night my over-achieving friends continued to over-achieve, hosting one mighty successful 10 year reunion at Solera in downtown Minneapolis. For those of you keeping tally, I was not the only pregnant one there. However, I was the only pregnant lady without a date. Unfortunately, my dress didn't leave the question to debate.

With Ro, Anne, giant bump, and Ami. Beautiful, smart and all insanely talented.

With my very first friend in New Brighton, Erica. Now mommy of two! Its amazing how we took very different paths and somehow ended up with very similar life stories. Now this is why people go back for reunions!

In yet another wonderful turn of events, I got a chance to see Mary. Nothing says sisterly bonding like dining at the Mall of America, complete with faux thunderstorms to set the mood. It made me feel like maybe home is simply with your sister.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Half Baked!

That's right ladies and gentlemen. B.B. King is half-baked. I am halfway there! Twenty weeks down and twenty to go. Whoo-ah!

This time no blaming the nachos, blame the ice cream. And three cheers to the husband who went to multiple grocery stores after bedtime on a school night so you could have this beautiful portrait.

I have lots to post about my Minnesota Nice weekend. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flashback Friday

I am flying to Minnesota today for a whirlwind weekend. I gotta get some Minnesota in me, the fresh air, the accents, the cheese curds and the mosquitoe bites. What really made me get my act together and get home for a quick trip is the Irondale High School Class of 2000 10 Year High School Reunion. To mark this festive occasion, I am instituting a new feature here on Shrimp and Kings, FLASH BACK FRIDAY! I hope to post lots of embarrassing pictures of myself and my loved ones from way back in the day, like circa 1996 when this picture was taken:

TWIN DAY, a right of passage for all nerdy high schoolers on the Student Council. But I wasn’t a nerd, I was so cool I wore hot pink jelly shoes to match my styling daisy shift from Target. Sassy.
Welcome to the blog, High School BFF Annie! My twin all four years of high school spirit weeks. Here we are standing in the most significant of all backdrops, the locker room.

We had a lot of competition come the winter of 2000. We were still nerdy, but cool enough to know that Senior Art is where it was at (and an easy A!). Here we are sporting our Tina Turner inspired skirts, matching hoodies and provocatively posing in front of our work bins.

I am so excited to get back and see all the cool kids who decided to go to their 10 Year Reunion, not the least of which, Annie who is flying from LA because we are still that cool. But surely, I can’t be the only pregnant lady without a date, right?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love this church.

It’s my kind of place.

We got sinners,
We got saints,
Chain prayers and snoozers,
We got yuppies,
We got old timers,
We got tourist church first timers.
And all the ladies dress up like movie stars.
Mmmm, I love this church.

All joking aside, St. Johns Lafayette Square Episcopal Church is one of the ways I was able to finally find myself at home in Washington. My former roommate, Whitley, talked me into trying an Episcopal church the first summer we moved here. It probably didn’t take much convincing after she admitted that every President since 1816 has attended at least once during his tenure. Last year, we even celebrated Easter service with the Obamas. It was a pretty incredible experience, despite the fact we almost didn’t make it in due to security.

I’ve been a faithful person since elementary school, attending mass regularly, weekly catechism class, and even church camp twice a year. However, it wasn’t until I came here that I can honestly say I had my first spiritual experience. I don’t entirely remember what prompted it, but I was suddenly so moved by the congregation and the music that I choked up. Embarrassingly, it has happened several times since then. I knew I was at home and this is where I belonged.

I think our Pastor, Reverend Luis Leon has a major part to do with this. He has some incredible life experiences, coming to the United States from Cuba as a child without his parents. Yet, somehow he found himself studying theology at Sewanee, University of the South. Yep, this guy is a Tennessean too. He is open and honest. Loves with an open heart and without judgment. He belongs on that pulpit. President George W. Bush thought so too (I never imagined he and I would ever have anything in common!). He said the opening prayer during Bush’s second inaugural in 2004. I was so proud sitting in the crowds freezing with my mom knowing he was up there, representing good old St. John’s.

As we are beginning to build our family, I am so looking forward to Rev. Leon baptizing my baby. St. John’s makes it such a special occasion. They perform the sacrament and then the babies are carried through the aisles as the congregation sings. It is so beautiful. And Rocky has even agreed to put our little linebacker (he’s already 11 ounces!) in an old-school baptismal gown. Now, can we get him in a bonnet too?

I like my pew.
I like my priest.
I like a guest speaker now and then.

But, I love this church.
It's my kind of place.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Before and After

4 whopping posts and I'm already slacking. Apologies. I hope my big return after a ten day absence is not a whopping disappointment.

Atticus a.k.a. Stinky, Stinks, or Bub, got a hair cut this weekend. I think you can see why:

My eyes! What have you done with my eyes!

Much better. And that stunning bandana really attracts the ladies.

A little bump update:

I thought I had a bump then. 13 weeks-ish.

And this is the bump at 18 weeks 1 day. I can't believe I am posting this scary picture to the public (hi mom!) but somehow I convinced myself that I look more petite and not quite as bumpy first thing in the morning. Pregnant women will tell themselves anything.

And now, its time for the crowning glory of before and afters...the moment you all have been waiting for... the unveiling of the kitchen remodel before and after! [And the crowd goes wild!!]

From the former dining room door, with the sellers' things.

A view of the dining room door, goodbye swinging dining room door!

Former dining room wall. Also pictured, annoying cabinet that you couldn't use because of that pesky fridge.

And tada! The after.

A not so pesky fridge. It even has an ice maker! That's almost as exciting as a car with automatic windows. Almost.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Actually We Had a Nice Little Weekend Planned

"Actually, we’ve got a nice little Saturday planned. Were going to Home Depot to pick out some wallpaper, then maybe we'll hit Bed Bath and Beyond... I don’t know! I don’t know if well have enough time!"
-Frank the Tank Ricard, Old School

And it was even better than I could have hoped. It was a great weekend doing mundane married things like going to Home Depot for tomato plant cages, Target for a new hose, and having a bbq/doggy play date. But then some other big things happened.

Friday we learned this:

Hereinafter referred to as Baby Boy King, aka B.B. King because he doesn't have a name yet. When he does you won't be getting another surprise reveal until he's made his 4D appearance. So there!

So we are crazy excited/happy/overjoyed. Being the sensible folks that we are, decided to celebrate our unborn babe at a bar. We headed to Jackson 20 after dinner to cross off an item on our cradle list.

From Washingtonian.Com (P.S. Don't believe their review of this place. They obviously didn't try the duck fat frites. P.P.S. They are not only for pregnant ladies).

Saturday we decided to trade in my trusty Corolla because I learned that even these 5'8" giants that we are can't squeeze in both a carseat and our legs. It was a sad day.

I bought it when I was making peanuts on the Hill and paid it off a year before the loan was due. Sure it had roll down windows and lacked anti-lock breaks. We all have to make sacrifices sometime. Especially when living on peanuts.

This time our greatest sacrifice was the wrong color interior. I keep telling myself black will hide the projectile vomit and marker stains.

I'm a little bit spoiled. Just a little.

So we celebrated by taking a car ride and walking this guy on the Potomac. 1/2 a Cradle List Requirement marked off the list!

Vintage Atticus

We also managed to squeeze in a bit of registering. Rocky was thrilled.

It was a great weekend. Really. Truly. When we are THAT couple at Target with the screaming child I am going to look back on Memorial Day Weekend 2010 as a quitissentially fabulous weekend. When we were just a couple. With a dog. And a long list of errands.