Monday, December 12, 2011

Tailgating Tails

CLEMSON TIGERS ARE THE ACC CHAMPIONS!!  


I watched the game at my parent's house while Trae was visiting a friend. After the glorious ending of the game, my father turned to me and asked, "Why didn't you convince me to go to Charlotte?" That seemingly simple reminded me of the years I spent at Clemson, the epic tailgates, and the Peach Bowl 2004 trip. While going to the ACC Championship game would had been wonderful, part of the magic would have been missing: the magic of friendship.

When I was a undergrad student, my parents would come to all the games and feed a gaggle of students. The tailgates would mass up to 30 plus students. Multiple tables of food, sagging from the mounds of food, would be set up in a grassy field. We would spend all afternoon eating and playing washers, a toss game played with metal washers. The menu would be extensive with fried chicken, ham, cheese, veggies, apple salad, chicken salad....the list could go on. The chicken salad was so good that one of my friends who jokingly get down on one knee with a sandwich in his hand asking my mother to marry him so he could live off this heavenly creation for the rest of his life.

My parents were the master tailgate party throwers with one simple goal: prove a clean, friendly environment for the students to go, eat, and enjoy. (My parents never allowed alcohol to any tailgating event.) This tradition continued all six years and two degrees later, with the numbers getting fewer as more of us graduated. By the time I graduated for the second time, the numbers had decreased to ten or less. Throughout the years, several stories stand out in my mind.....

Number Seven
 My parents feed a lot of college students. The numbers quickly grew from two, Corey and myself, to the double digits. Some of my friends would wake up, show up in their pjs, eat, go back to sleep during the game, and then get back up to eat again after the game. Many times friends would bring other friends with them or suite mates, and before long the new people were calling my parents Mom and Dad. Eventually the newbies would become permanent fixtures at the tailgates. One permanent fixture, however, never had a name or an origin. He wore a number seven jersey every game, and always hugged my parents before digging into the delicious buffet. 

Number Seven, as he was lovingly called, never missed a tailgate, talk with everyone else like he knew us, and would leave before the game started; yet we never knew his real name. My parents always assumed he was friends or roommates with one of the other regulars. After the end of the season, my parents asked me who exactly he was, and I could not answer them. Despite having no clue who Number Seven was, my parents never asked him to leave, always hugged him, and always packed him leftovers care packages along with the rest of us. Mom always figured that Number Seven needed some friends and some family, and she was more than happy to provide it for Number Seven. Even if she didn't know his name, she could still hug him and make him smile.

Chicken Toss
Fried chicken is a staple in the South, especially at large gatherings. The food would be sat under a Clemson-themed pop up tent as well as some chairs. My friend Ben would always sit in the Cadillac of tailgating chairs; it would fold out to be a lounger, complete with rigging to prop up your feet after a long game of standing to cheer on the Tigers. During one particular tailgate, Ben was devouring the fried chicken, and then in a redneck fashion, toss the bones into the grass. After finishing a piece of chicken, Ben threw the chicken over his shoulder, causing the bone to "ping" against the metal leg of the tent. Ben, the master of expressively emotional faces, had us all laughing at his "how did I just do that?!?!" face. He consumed another piece of fried chicken. Before throwing it from his Cadillac chair, he, overly exaggeratedly, looked over his shoulder and then with a cocky grin, threw the chicken bone....right as my father walked by and pegged him perfectly in the side. His face and our laughter has remained one of my most vivid and fun memories.

When Ben passed away in a tragic accident, the old tailgating group went out to eat after the funeral where we shared Ben stories. The chicken leg story, told by my father that day, gave us a reason to laugh at even the saddest of moments. Ben was a person of joy and happiness, and was able to share that joy with us when we needed his lively personality to cheer us up through his stories.

Washers Olympics
Corey, the Crocodile Hunter from Indiana, brought to the South a strange game: washers. The game is fairly simple with two large wooden boxes that have large PVC pipes. The boxers are placed apart from each other, and a player then throws typical hardware store round metal washers at the box. If the washer lands in the box, the player gets one point, balanced on the side of the box is two points, and in the pipe is a ringer, worth five points.  Corey would constantly brag he was the best at washers, so one day we teamed up and help the first annual (and only) Washer Olympics to determine who truly was the champions. Four people would play against each other at the same time in teams of two. The games were taken very seriously with a bracket being drawn out and our own lighting of the torch. (The torch being a burning leaf run around the tailgate site by Corey.) The very last game was Corey and a girl named Jen against my cousin Ryan and Jen's boyfriend. Corey was confident, especially since he had the extremely competitive Jen on his team. My cousin Ryan, however, wanted to beat the smack talking team, despite Jen's boyfriend not wanting to beat his girlfriend.  Ryan lead the team to victory, and to this day, when my days of Clemson get brought up, he pipes up and says, "Well, I am and will always be the real Washers Champion!"

Graduation Gaming 
A large group of us graduated at once. We started at Clemson together as scared freshman and were graduating as equal scared adults. Even though the future was uncertain, we did know one thing: we wanted to celebrate this milestone together. While Clemson does have nice restaurants, these places couldn't not accommodate us with our extended families. Instead, my mother offered to throw a graduationn-gate. We set up at the tailgating spot, ate, played washers, and shared memories. Over 60 people were at the graduation-gate. Mom did it next year too for the second set of the group who were a year younger and graduated a year after we did.

Tailgating, to us, was more than a way to kill time before a football game. Tailgating was were friendships were solidified and memories were made. In all honesty, it is only fitting that my college years started and ended sitting in a fold out chair with a paper plate filled with yummy delights. After all, isn't college just one big tailgate? A place to mingle and try new things, talk to people, learn new things, and laugh?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Holiday Season

I have started two Thanksgiving blogs, and yet, cannot seem to finish them. I was afraid of being too depressing. I had a good Thanksgiving with Trae's family, but I also had a hard time being away from my family. This Thanksgiving would be the first major holiday without Fanny.

I am using Fanny's beloved skinny tree this year. The branches, especially at the bottom, are really starting to look Charlie Brown-ish. I believe that more wire than fake green needles are left on those branches. I do know, however, that Fanny and Grandpa are smiling down on Trae and I, especially when we were putting the ornaments on the tree.

I have a lot of hopes to bake this holiday season. So far I have only used Evangeline to make some cookies; I haven't even broken her out for cupcakes! The department I work for that the community college is putting on a Christmas party, so I might have to make holiday cake pops for it! Even though my boss did mention she wasn't sure why people took the time to make homemade marshmallows, so I might make some to see if I can convert her. I was thinking of making "S'more Bites," which would be homemade marshmallows dunked in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker (maybe even homemade graham cracker).

I have also started bookmarking a huge list of holiday treats. Maybe I will even attempt a gingerbread house! I do know lately I've been reading a lot of Disney blogs and my urges to go back are swelling. I wondering if I did Disney themed baking if that would help contain the desire to get in my car and drive to Orlando.

Well, I do believe I should end this blog post. I do believe this post is the most rambling and non-directional post I have written. I just wanted you to know that I have not disappeared, but instead I am rambling...rambling towards the end of the semester and to the break when I can bake and blog with no papers to grade! So until the break, give me suggestions in the comments on what I should make with my wonderful Evangeline, the kitchen aid.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meet the New Member of the Family

Meet Evangeline, the star of the kitchen*. 
 
She is my brand new tangerine-colored Kitchen Aid mixer. My stand mixer, that once belonged to my grandmother Fanny, died a glorious death. The mixer was in the middle of mixing delicious nutella cupcakes. I am glad the mixer died while in battle, but in some odd way, I felt like I had lost my grandmother again. I never saw her use the mixer; the bulk of my memories surrounding mixers include my mother. During Christmas, my mother's mixer is the hardest working member of the family. Even though my mixing memories do not involve my grandmother, my grandmother does invoke many memories surrounding food.

My grandmother's house, especially at the holidays, was always full of food. My grandfather was a man who loved his food. The kitchen was never empty at that house. One of my favorite memories is eating french toast made by my aunt. She would lovingly cut the bread for the french toast into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Also, every dinner has dessert, and most of the time that dessert was ice cream eaten out of pink plastic bowls. (I have two of those plastic bowls, and nothing brings more comfort than eating ice cream after a bad day out of those bowls.) My grandfather had a great, aptly slightly annoying, habit of tunneling out any "goodies" (chunks of brownie, cookie dough, whatever was in the ice cream) and then smoothing the top of the ice cream back out. You would unknowingly go to scoop out the ice cream only to discover an ant farm tunnel like structure.


So while I do not remember the mixer really being used at my grandmothers, the mixer was just a part of her kitchen that I still had. But now, I have Evangeline, who is a constant reminder that I have wonderful adoptive grandparents. MaMa and PaPa, Trae's grandparents, have opened their arms wide and pulled me into a great big hug. MaMa is constantly declaring she just loves having a granddaughter, cause I am not a grandaughter-in-law, I am a granddaughter! Their love is not shown in big, beautiful mixers, but in little ways. Ways that remind me of my grandparents. Cards are sent during the holidays and birthdays. (My birthday cards are "To our granddaughter" and they even sent us an anniversary card for our one year anniversary.) Desserts are a must and you will offend MaMa if you don't have a slice of pie. If you cannot stay for a meal, then care packages are made, complete with chocolate candies. Those little things, the cards, hugs, phone calls to say hello, are all constant reminds that even those we may lose people we love, reminders of their love will always be around.

*The mixer is named after Ray's love, the North Star Evangeline, from Disney's Princess and the Frog.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Coffee

I have no problem admitting I am coffee addict. I cannot function without two cups working within my system; without those two cups, I'm as worthless as the Tin Man without his oil can. One cup will not do. My mouth can move after one cup, but limbs move only after two cups. These days, I have to keep them oiled with a third afternoon cup.

When I was in Italy, I devoured the strong dark liquid locals claimed was coffee. The texture was like the red clay of the Carolinas, yet dark brown in color. If I stopped stirring my coffee, the spoon would not fall and clink against the side of the mug. No, the spoon would stand at attention, waiting for me to continue to stir thick cream into the mixture or to remove it to a saucer.  The coffee would roll down my throat, slowly, like molasses being poured out of a jar. The taste was divine.

The side of effect, full body wake up, was a necessity when studying aboard with a very energetic and enthusiastic professor who powered us through 10 hour daily marches of sightseeing. Fueled by coffee, I was able to keep up with my professor through two Italian study aboard adventures. I saw amazing things, made wonderful friends, and received more than a text book education. The second time I went to Italy with this professor, I was able to go to Venice.

While I was in Venice, my father was also going to be in Milan, Italy. He flew in a day early, and met us students and professor in Venice. Venice was the last stop on our six week whirl wind educational tour. While we had wonderful times and lots of coffee, hot showers, comfy beds, and fluffy pillows had absent in every hotel. In Venice, we were staying in a convent with board beds and space saving bathroom with shower head and toilet in one closet. My father was staying in a Marriott.

I was able to stay in the American staple hotel with my father for one night. Fluffy pillows, cushioned mattress, and most importantly a shower that did more than just dribble water. While Americans might not know a lot about high culture and art, we do know about beds and showers as well as gluttonous feeding.  The next morning before going down to the endless Americanized breakfast buffet, I decided to shower. The water burst forth at a scalding temperature; I stayed in the shower long enough to give a planet saving hippie a heart attack. The weeks of dirt and fatigue poured down the drain. Well rested and clean, I walked out in the shower in my pjs to see a hot cup of Italian coffee waiting for me.

My father had gone to the lobby area where breakfast was being served in order to make sure I had a fresh cup of coffee when I was done showering . What my father had not expected was for his daughter to spend that much time in the shower. Not until many months later did I know how much went into the small gesture of a warm cup of coffee. 

My father diligently watched my coffee and at any sign of the coffee losing warmth, he would rush back to the lobby and get me a fresh cup. He made three separate trips to  the lobby so his only daughter could have a warm cup of coffee. I would have drank luke warm or even cold coffee, but my father wanted me to have hot coffee. He didn't even need to go get me a cup considering we were just going to walk to the lobby to eat breakfast, but he wanted to show me that he loved me. Gestures of love do not have to be grand or expensive. That one cup of coffee meant more to me than plush pillows or hot showers; that cup of coffee was a father's way of saying I love you and will always be here for you even in the smallest of ways. And many years later, I know that statement is just a true today as it was then, and that it will always be true.

My dad and I, Venice 2006  
 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friends are Family

When people get married, the spouse knows that he/ she inherits a new family. Yet, the newlywed does not always realize that friends are family. To many people, the term family seems synonymous only with terms such as mom, dad, grandmother, but not with friend.

I do have a wonderful family unit with awesome parents, aunts, and cousins. Yet, I also have a huge extended family; my friends from college are family. My husband had the chance to meet both of my families, who fell in love with him immediately. I, however, never had the chance to meet one of the closest members of Trae's friend family until our wedding day.

With Facebook and texting, I had met Niki in a cyber-sense, but never face to face. Wedding days are not a good day to meet and bond with new family members. Yet, Niki and her husband Paul found a lovely way to let me know that despite never really meeting and not having said my vows yet, I was family. The gesture was small in the big picture of life: but really, aren't the small things what matters most?

Niki and Paul bought my two bridesmaids and myself a delightful Chick-fila lunch. Sitting there, with fried chicken sandwiches, hugging a girl I knew by name and photos only is truly a special wedding memory. I loved being able to meet someone who was a huge part of Trae's life since high school. Niki was and is one of Trae's best friends, and before walking down the isle to my future, I loved seeing some of his past.

Niki and Meredith enjoying a wedding day feast! 

After the wedding, I did not get to see Niki and Paul again until yesterday. After a year of being Mrs. M, I got to finally bond with Trae's friend family. I won't lie; I was scared. I knew that both Niki and Paul were great and kind people, but i wanted to impress them. I wanted to show this family that their boy was taken care of. Those fears left the moment Niki hugged me.

Not even thirty minutes later, the four of us were laughing. Several hours after that, we entered Zombie-land, better know as the Burke County fair. The rides looked sad while spinning their bright colors, hopelessly longing for riders. Framed by over-sized stuff animals, unpopped balloons lazily waited for dart throwers. We ate carnival food of corn dogs and cheese fries as we took in the surreal scene. Horses bobbed on a carousel without riders; funnel cake friers didn't sizzle. The only sound was our laughter as we analyzed the site. Afterwards, we got to feed goats as well as pet cows and horses. I can safely say that the goats outnumbered the humans.













A few hours later, we were relaxing at the apartment before Clemson kick off. We strolled over to Harris Teeter and bought a deli cheese pizza that we made snazzier with Canadian bacon. The pizza was eaten between shouts and hollers as well as jumping and happy dancing. (After a heart pounding game, the Tigers won! GO TIGERS!) Two a.m. rolled around before these old married folks decided to go to bed. Stories were shared, memories were made, and new family members were bonded. 




This morning was lazy as we woke up early and make a hearty breakfast of bacon, toast and eggs. Sadly goodbyes were being exchanged too soon with promises of visiting them soon.

Not once over the weekend did we go to a restaurant and sit in comfy booths, or get tasty take-out. My whole relationship with Niki has never been based off comfy boothes; we are paper bag girls/ princesses who do not need fancy dresses and gussied up outfits*. We are ourselves and do not put on airs. Instead we have the comfort of family.

When you visit family, especially your parents' home, you are familiar with them and do not expect fancy meals. You are comfortable in their home and do not ask if you can get a soda out of the fridge. Since they are family, you are in essence at home. This comfort can extend to close family members as well, and this comfort was embraced by Niki and Paul. They did not ask where things were, but opened cabinets, and put dishes in the dishwasher. Our home was their home, and will be anytime they come to visit, because they are family.







*I wrote the paper bag line with "The Paper Bag Princess" book by Robert Munsch.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Disney Fun Review

I want to quickly share my Disney vacation photos from almost two months ago, before I launch into a new post. So please, enjoy the photos and quick commentary!

On August second, Trae and I literally spent the whole day at the Disney Hollywood Studios. I got to see Trae in true childhood form as we rode the Star Wars ride three times. (It started to rain and we got to ride the attraction two times back to back...no line! And I was the rebel spy! Trae sure was jealous!!)






We ate lunch with the awesome Disney Dining Plan at the 50s Prime Time Cafe. We loved it! It looked like a TV set from an I Love Lucy Show or The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was so much fun with waiters and waitresses telling you to eat your veggies and keep your elbows off the table!


 We got a snack of R2-D2 popcorn. Trae saws it feel wrong eating R2's inter-workings, but as this picture shows you, he didn't feel too wrong digging in!



 The back-lot tour provided nerdom heaven for Trae with lots of movie props!


On August third, we did a double feature of the Animal Kingdom and Epcot.




We ate at the Tusker House and it was honestly one of the top ten meals I have had in my life. The buffet was extensive and delicious, with the staff willing to answer any question you had about the food. I went to great lengths to find the Mango Chutney recipe that was available for the flat breads.We ate soo much and it was amazing. I honestly have been craving a return trip and have been plotting our next Disney vacation around the Tusker House.

 Epcot was wonderful a well.. We enjoyed the mulch-cultured food, but more importantly the friendship! I met up with my old Clemson buddy Beth and my old Clemson roomie Melissa and her hubby Thomas.

The funniest thing happened on the Imagination Ride with Figment; we got stuck!!We got stuck at this odd part with a giant butterfly in cage, and the lights went down for ten minutes. All we could hear was the rusty squeak of the butterfly. Beth sent us oddly encouraging text messages about being rescued by Disney cast members. We weren't. And we got off the ride just in tme to watch Captian E-O, Trae's most fond memory of his last trip to Disney.


Well, the old gang wondered around the countries, including the Troll ride in Norway, which Beth hates. We also enjoyed Mexico and had fun singing along with the Three Caballeros. We finished the night at a German restaurant were Thomas and Trae heard a multitude of old Clemson "tails."

The next day, August the fourth, was a day of the Magic Kingdom, and it started off with a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace. During the whole vacation planning, Trae kept telling me that he was humoring my desire for a character breakfast; yet, when Eeyore came to our table, he almost knocked over the table to hug the ol' gray donkey!! We had a wonderful time eating breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and friends! We also got an anniversary card from the gang!!



I felt like I was cheating on my dad a bit here; he was the only other person I had ever ridden the Dumbo ride with!


 Good bye Snow White ride! With the new expansion coming in 2012, the Snow White ride will be torn down. I was truly sad knowing this was my last time around on the Snow White ride! Bye Bye Doopey!


 Beth doesn't like to share the piano in the Haunted Mansion line!

 I survived Splash Mountain! It was mine and Trae's first time on the ride!! I also got to be the guest conductor on the real steam train and say "All abroad!" At one point, I even got to wear the conductor's hat!

We ended the night was a fireworks dessert party. We enjoyed our glasses of milk and platefuls of dessert!!



On August 5th, we were suppose to head home, but we had left over Disney dining points and met Beth back at Epcot! We ate at Morocco, and said Hello to some of our favorite Disney characters.


Just remember that fez are cool!


Belle is confused because my shirt says "I'm with the Beast!" and according to her, he isn't hairy enough to be the Beast!




Hope you enjoyed our mini-photo gallery!!! Disney better watch out in 2013, because the Murray family is coming back to the Kingdom then!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember

I remember where I was on 9/11. I know a lot of people can remember where they were on 9/11. I know as I get older a new separator will be put into the generation gap: those who can remember and those who can't. I teach and most of my students were in third or fourth grade with a few being in the second grade when 9/11 happened. For the most part, these kids do not know a country without the lingering horror and saddness of 9/11.

I just hope amongst all the TV specials, documentaries, coffee table books that the students don't think of 9/11 as something that happened a long time ago, but instead realize how much our nation changed in less than 12 hours.

I know that as a freshman at Clemson University, I didn't know how much things were going to change and on that day, how much they had changed. I had stayed up almost all night studying for an astronomy exam and hadn't even gotten comfortable in skinny dorm room bed when the phone rang.

Mom: Hi honey! Just called to say good luck on your exam. And you need to turn on your TV.
Me: Uggh. Five more minutes. I have five more minutes before I have to get up.
Mom: Trust me, turn on your TV. It is important.
Me: Ok.(realizing it must be important because my mom never watches TV)
Click of the TV. A tiny screen propped up on the top of a microfridge unleashed scenes of horror.

I went to take my exam right as a plane hit the Pentagon. I answered C for all the questions and went back to the dorm room. My roommate and I sat the rest of the day...rest of our classes canceled...watching the TV. We knew our lives had changed, but we could never imagined how much they had changed.

Now, ten years later, I can think back to the dorm room, full of cheer with crazy colored posters on cinder block walls, text books haphazardly on a generic college-issued desk, and dark images surreal on a TV screen. An innocent girl, barely a month into college and living away from home: how could she comprehend two planes and two towers? How can she express to her students, children just as she was ten years ago, the importance of 9/11 when ten years ago she barely understood it herself? I don't know if I will ever be able to express the importance  of 9/11 or how the world she knew and expected to be there when she graduated from college changed, but I know I will and can try, because change doesn't happen when people forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, hoggy warty Hogwarts

I am going to tell you a not so secret secret.....I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. My love for Harry Potter is only rivaled by that of my love of all things Disney. I re-read the books constantly. When the last book came out, I did an eight hour marathon of reading in order to finish it in one day. The Newsstand at Clemson use to have midnight release parties and before the store closed, my mother and I would make Harry Potter themed cakes for the parties. We have made a golden snitch and Hogwarts out of cake. For the last Harry Potter movie, I went as a golden snitch and Trae wore Harry Potter glasses.




Don't you love the wings?
Trae made them! True love right there!
 
 My love of Harry Potter is no secret to Trae and he vowed for our one year anniversary that I would have a real butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had the crazy plan of driving all day, staying in a cheap hotel, spending a day at Universal with me waving to Disney, and then heading back the next day. Thanks to a wonderful friend, we ended up staying for a whole week and getting to go to Disney too!




We started the trip on our one year anniversary, and on August 1st, I was dragging my husband out of bed at a very early hour to make sure we were at Universal by the time the park opened. (We weren't, but we were only "late" by 30 minutes.) While Trae might have wanted to sedated me that morning, my excitement wore off on him.

video 

The park felt like I had truly gone into the books or onto the movie set. Every detail was there, even in the bathrooms! When you walked into the bathrooms, you could hear Moaning Myrtle talking!! The Wizarding World, however, is small; the size meant we were able everything and not feel time crunched but also the lines were very very very long. We even did the other sections at the Universal Parks to let the crowds at the Wizarding World die down.

Since I read tips for visiting the Wizarding World, I knew a few tricks to avoiding some of the lines. Butterbeer, for example, is sold Hog's Head which is set up in the back of the Three Broomsticks and also has a back entrance. We did not have to wait in an unending line at a butterbeer cart to get butterbeer, and went back to Hog's Head each time we refilled our survivor mug. (A smart buy because it is ten bucks and butterbeer costs around six, so with the glass you get three dollar refills, and in some odd math way, evens out to the third butterbeer being free.)


Try making butterbeer at home with this recipe!

Instead of using store bought sauce, I made my own with this recipe. If you don't have dark brown sugar, use light brown sugar and just add maple syrup to the pot.

We (or I did as Trae keep kindly telling me to stop gawking and keep moving) also enjoyed the extensive line for the Forbidden Journey Ride; the whole ride queue is set up like the castle. We even walked through Professor Sprout's greenhouse and see mandrakes! I loved actually going to Hogwarts, and wanted to jump over the ropes and barriers and start taking classes! Even the Fat Lady was there and the pictures talked!

The hat even talked in rhyme to you!!

 We finished off our Hogwarts excursion with a trip to the The Tree Broom Sticks.  The food was wonderful! I had shepard's pie and Trae had chicken and ribs with roasted corn on the cob. Honestly, I was extremely surprised at how good everything was. The atmosphere was also enchanting. Shadows of owls dropping off the letters and the Daily Prophet or the Quibbler could be seen overhead. A huge fireplace was in the center of the restaurant. It was the perfect way to end our visit and the best way to enter into the first day of the second year of marriage!

See my necklace? It is a time-turner that Trae got me for an early birthday present!


Oops

I am so sorry for not posting in a long time. I am afraid I have gotten a bit behind with school starting and having a full load of classes to teach. I have also taken on a second job per say, where I get to write and not get paid! I am a Disney Wedding Blog mentor for the Disney Wedding Blog! If anyone has any questions about Epcot in Flordia, I am the girl to ask. You can read my blurb on the website here.

I am super excited about this position, because it gives me a chance to write about Disney and also get this blog out there. I really want to try to take this blog "to the next level" and into the professional realm. My goal is to go to the BlogHer conference next year.

Anyways, here is my promise to keep updating on a more regular base. I also promise to finish telling everyone about my vacation.

Thanks!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Be Our Guest! Be Our Guest!

I have officially been married for one year! And to celebrate this very adult milestone, my husband and I went to Disney with a jaunt to Hogwarts!! Thanks to the help from one of my wonderful friends, we managed to take a very budget-friendly week long trip. We rode and ate our way through the various theme parks complete with penny press scavenger hunts.

We started our drive on our wedding anniversary, July 31st and made it to Orlando late that night. We met up with my awesome friend, Beth, at her apartment and she gave us our room keys for the All Stars Music Hotel as well as snazzy anniversary buttons. (Disney has awesome buttons they give away for free that you write your name  written on in a sharpie and they indicate if you are celebrating something.) Exhausted, we went to our room, and found a great surprise. The ride had left us feeling blah and far from romantic or excited about cohabiting in marriage for a whole year. Opening our hotel door changed all of that.



Beth had me do online check in so she could pick up keys for us and this was the reason why she insisted I do so! She had gone into our room and decorated it in an Up theme in honor of our one year anniversary! Beth remembered that the last time I was there (minus the man), we had a love of Wall-E and for our first dance at the weddings was to "A Married Life" from Up. She went on a hunt for Up stuff and came up frustrated with the lack of Up merchandise so she made her own.

Beth decorated a white photo box like the Up Mailbox to store our Disney memorabilia and had Wall-e and Eva along with Carl and Dug pins in the box. She also got us snack goodies (the Disney chocolate chip cookies are awesome...I want one every day please). The clincher of the decorations were the super snazzy "balloons" she hung from the mirror. that was above the table Those balloons are now hanging in our entry way and make me smile whenever I walk through the door.

It is funny how sometimes it takes an outsider to remind you of the joy and happiness you have in your life. The night before, July 30, we were extremely aware of our love and devotion to each other, but a 14 hour car ride had put on us edge....not unloving, just too tired to have that emotional epiphany from the other night. Beth's surprise rejuvenated us and got us very excited for the first day of our second year of marriage. One thing was for sure, we were starting off the second year with adventure, because "adventure is out there" and we were going to find it in Orlando, FL!

The next couple of blog posts will be about our wonderful vacation complete with pictures of us, food, and fun!!