Monday, June 27, 2011

Dog Days of Summer List!

 So, as my  husband obsesses over our beautiful yard that he has groomed and cared for, I am obsessing over this list! One thing I LOVE about summer is the ability to do, and do, and do, and do around our home! This morning, during my caffeine high, I wrote this list down. I have to say I am pretty pumped about it!

*Continue my Organization Overhaul of our house - Kitchen, you are next!
*Learn how to make gluten-free bread
*Master the art of the soft, chewy sugar cookie
*Hit up the gym at least five days a week - today: cardio, chest, and back!
*Take two yoga classes a week - thanks to my new SportsBarn membership, this is easy!
*Learn how to Dougie - I am serious.
*Sell, sell, sell on E-Bay!
*Re-do my Beowulf Colonial Units!
*Finish Beach Music by Pat Conroy (book review to come soon) and start another by him, South of Broad
*Read Rebecca and Secret Life of Bees for my classes
*Get wake-to-wake consistently on my wakeboard
*Get the PCC Remodeling website ready for launch by Labor Day!
*Lay out by the pool - thanks, SportsBarn!

Disclaimer to Myself: this is a NO PRESSURE list :)

Later Gators,


Thursday, June 23, 2011

"If God had meant for us to fly, he wouldn't have given us the railways..." :)

For our recent anniversary, we visit the Crescent City of New Orleans, LA. We did not fly...we did not drive...instead, we took a TRAIN! This ingenious idea spurred from the mind of my ever-planning, creative husband and let me tell you, everyone should travel via train at least once in their life!

Our adventure on the rails began in Birmingham, AL since Chattanooga does not have an Amtrak station, nor does anywhere in TN besides Memphis I believe. This is something that I plan on writing some letters about in the near future! Back to Birmingham definitely started as an adventure because the train station was straight up looked like an abandoned warehouse from the outside and I personally did not take any photos, but just to give you and idea:

Think circa 1970 (might be pushing it) with a touch of horror movie meets antique store
However, as it goes most of the time, there was more than meets the eye to Amtrak. Once we boarded the train, we found our seats in coach relatively cozy and cushiony (yes, I made up a word - move on - it's called artistic license). Please see this lovely photograph our train mates took of us:

Also, this is the train we road on "The Crescent"
As one can see, we are impeccably dressed for travel - personally, I never go anywhere on a train without my lucky ruffled blouse..haha. Moving past the sarcasm, I loved this photo because honestly, this is what it looked like! Mike and I were able to stretch out our 6 feet plus bodies on a train, which was good because it was a seven hour trip. Forget 7 hours in coach on a plane!

So, after our fun weekend in NOLA, we boarded the Crescent once again. However, this time we had a sleeper cabin! It was so neat! Check out the pictures below (some are mine and some are Amtrak's):

In our cabin!

The couch I am sitting on turned into a bed! Cozy!

We got to eat in the dining car twice (breakfast and dinner) - it was yummy!

In the dining car! We enjoyed talking to all of the other passengers on our train...

 The photo to your left is a better view of what the sleeper cabin looks like when you first enter it - there is a sink, a shower, a toilet, bunk beds, a chair, and a table - all in that tiny, but comfortable space! Definitely splurge for this when you go Amtrak! Also, to add to the benefits of a sleeper cabin, your meals in the dining care are included - and it is great food!

Overall, it was an excellent way to travel! We are looking forward to making a trip to Washington D.C. via Amtrak soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Lessons I Have Learned in the First Year of Marriage

It seems hard to believe, but Mike and I have been married a year already. We just returned from celebrating our anniversary in New Orleans - we traveled via Amtrak Trains, which was awesome! ( I will post on this later...)

In honor of this milestone, I thought I would reflect on what I have learned during this amazing year of marriage. Ever since we began announcing our engagement, there were those who had advice for us. People wanted to help us- to tell us what worked for them and well, what didn't. The genres of advice ranged from wedding tips, to where to go on our honeymoon, to how to "survive" married life.

I listened...but I thought I knew what to expect (insert "I-Told-You-So's" and laughs from family and friends). Little did I know, I was about to embark on an exciting and sometimes confusing road with two little words on June 19th, 2010.

Mike is no doubt, the man that I was meant to marry. We were absolutely created for one another. From our loves to our hates, we have always had so much in common. He once was my "dream guy" in college - I never, ever thought he would be interested in ME. Now here we are; one year of marriage behind us and oh the lessons I know that I have learned.

1. Marriage is hard. Now, don't go thinking I am not happily married. Go an ask anyone that is married. To keep it together and functioning, you have to work at it.

2. My husband loves me for who I am all the time. He loves me with no make-up, sweatpants, and a t-shirt. He loves me when I make mistakes. He loves me when I embarrass myself. He loves me all of the time. Due to my insecurities, this was a huge revelation to me. Often, out of nowhere, I will smile when I think of this.

3. I AM STUBBORN...and so is Mike. We have argued about some of the most ridiculous topics this past year from opening and/or closing the blinds to the wording of a question. However, due to our stubborn traits and the resulting "arguments" we now have a plethora of inside jokes and laughs about these instances.

4. I am still learning to compromise. Prior to marrying Mike, I thought I had this one the bag. Hahaha...not at all. However, marriage has made me better at it. :)

5. I am not the calm, cool, and collected person that I often portray myself to me. 95.7 percent of the time, I explode situations and/or problems into something more than they should be. Of course, to anyone but my husband, this goes unnoticed because I keep it all upstairs, in my head. Mike is always my voice of reason and comfort - this is one of the many reasons I am blessed to call him my  husband.

6. Laughter is always the best route. If married couples can't laugh at themselves then they are missing out. Some of the most fun and memorable times I have had with Mike this past year involve hilarious, ridiculous situations.

7. I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about Mike. Currently, one of my favorite things out of each day is to learn more and more about the wonderful man I married 366 days ago. For instance, I recently learned that he doesn't like pudding - haha- trivial, yet in the Holtzhower household, we go by the motto "I don't eat to live, I live to eat". Food likes and dislikes are vital ;)

8. This final lesson is probably the most influential of them all. As I prepared to marry Mike, I started to realize how similar the love a husband and the love of God are. God loves us unconditionally - no strings attached. He forgives us - he supports us - he adores every fiber of each of our beings. He laughs with us, cries with us, and smiles upon us in moments of happiness. Mike loves me in these same ways and it is my hope that everyone can feel this kind of love from a spouse. I truly think that it what marriage is all about - love, comfort, respect, and support.

So, those are the lessons I have learned while soaking in a fun and special year with my husband. By no means am I an expert, nor do I think I will ever be. However, it was fun to reflect and think about how blessed I am to be married to such a wonderful man. Honestly, most of the posts I put on this blog are for me ;) - so selfish...

Until next time :)