Thursday, December 31, 2009

on new moon

Sometimes I'm a holdout just for the sake of being a holdout. When I received an invite to Facebook from a friend and saw that my grandmother's sister is on, I realized that possibly I am the last and only living holdout when it comes to Facebook. But my postponed viewing of New Moon wasn't so much because I was being an obnoxious holdout so much as it was because Twilight was so UNDERWHELMING and didn't give me much of a reason to get excited about its sequel.

But I finally saw it. And here's what I have to say:

1. The vampires look so much better than they did in Twilight. As in not totally lame. Thank you big budget for allowing Carlisle to look almost like my imagination made the vampires look. Their lipstick wasn't half bad, and their eyes were rad. R-A-D.

2. Jacob's long hair. Come on. Why bother with that ratty, nasty thing?

3. The first time a werewolf emerged from the brush, I laughed outloud. It was pretty good CGI, but still, I laughed. I also snickered a few other times when the rest of the audience was swooning.

4. Why are these movies so dang slllloooowwww? Arg. More than once, I wished I'd brought my pillow so I could take a snooze while the always moody characters worked through their angst, always averting their eyes as they spoke so emotionally. (Seriously - why can't they talk and look at each other at the same time?)

5. The moment that Bella runs to save Edward and flies into his arms, that moment? That is the reason that pre-pubescent girls, stay at home moms, and grandmas alike, plus some of your husbands, love Twilight. It's that moment that we all want - we're searching for it, longing for it, hoping for it. We all want to feel that love, both from someone and for someone. That all consuming, overwhelming, can't-see-straight kind of love. And I think that some of us have it, or more correctly, have had moments of that love. Some of us are still looking, and some of us are trying to find it again.

Whatever the case, that is why even if you're in the Taylor Lautner camp (yes, he's wayyyy hot), there is something in you that longs for an Edward of your own. Not a vampire, not someone who secretly wants to eat you, but someone who loves you, every single ounce of you.

But still. I wish I'd had a pillow.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the four dresses

As many of you will recall, we didn't find out if we were having a boy or girl when I was pregnant with Belle. (Remember - "Ha! It's a girl!") Due to this lack of information, my mom basically crocheted an entire layette for either a boy or girl, including sweaters, burp cloths, blankets, and booties. Included in the pretty little pieces were blessing (christening) ensembles. The beautiful dress that she had crocheted for Annabelle was tiny. Too tiny for her projected baby blessing date at the end of the summer.

So Grandma and her flying fingers had another dress made before the sun rose the next day - still beautiful, just a little bigger.

Then, we decided that we'd do the blessing at the end of the year, at Christmas, when more family members could assemble.

So Grandma's flying fingers went to work again and created a dress for a six month old. Of course it was still exquisite, and Annabelle considered herself lucky to be worthy of yet another dress.

And then Annabelle decided that being average was way over-rated. And the "big" dress was soon obsolete.

Grandma went to work once again, this time making a dress for a one year old baby, adding length for Belle's new height. She added a new (bigger) sweater, with beautiful matching pink trim and rose buttons, and then created a new bootie pattern that would accommodate her bigger feet.

And finally, after four dresses, our baby Belle was blessed in a dress made (four times) by her Grandma.

She was exquisite, the blessing was tender, and the fourth dress was the most beautiful one yet.

Thank you Grandma.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

merry christmas eve

Christmas is a totally different experience when you're small. Everything is new and magical. For Belle, it's mostly about the PAPER. CAN I PLEASE EAT THE PAPER? Someday though, she'll be waiting to hear Santa's sleigh bells, just like I did (and still do when I'm at my parents'). Someday she'll be hoping and wishing that she got that one perfect gift. And the magic of Christmas that is a distant memory of mine is suddenly being revived. A breath of fresh air has been blown into Christmas.
And it's magical.

We had our own Christmas in Durham before we left. This is Belle opening her first present - a doll named Belle, from Beauty and the Beast (it's the baby version).

Monday, December 21, 2009

cutest. thing. ever.

So the husband spent some time in Zion National Park a few days ago. It's possibly his favorite place on earth to set up his tripod and snap snap snap away. He takes hundreds - and I mean hundreds - of photos. And they're so beautiful. We don't always accompany him on his adventures, so I love that so much of what he sees is preserved. I just perused his most recent collection, and came across this sweet little thing.

Possibly the cutest face I've ever seen.

Next to this one, of course.

But a close second, most definitely. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

the newest fad diet

So if conventional weight loss methods - diet, exercise, starvation, liposuction, etc. - don't work in getting rid of those pesky last ten pounds, here's a suggestion: cut several inches off your ponytail.

I feel as light as a feather.

A feather that is a tad more billowy in the mid region...

...but a feather nonetheless.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

i'll take the sliced hammer

So we made our weekly trek to Sam's Club. And while we were walking down the aisle of huge hunks of cow, shrink wrapped and ready for carniverous consumption (ah, the alliteration), we hear over the loudspeaker: "Ladies and gentlemen, if you're interested in receiving a free paring knife - that's right I said free - just head on over to the red table, located next the potato chips and the wine, just in front of the bakery." I kept walking, but Jess was like, "Hey, it's free!"


So I listen to this dude make the announcement a few more times, and when he said it was my "last and final" (as opposed to my last and first?) chance to win a free paring knife, valued at FIVE NINETY NINE, I made my way over to the bakery area, next to the wine and the potato chips, and told the husband he'd have his knife.

So the dude jumps into his booth and starts making clever quips. And before we know it, dude is CUTTING A HAMMER with a stainless steel knife. A hammer folks. Then he whips out a tomato, slices it thinly (with the same knife), grabs the skewering knife and skins the other half of the tomato, and I'm like, as long as you don't want my first born child (I have my limits people), I'LL TAKE IT.

And so before you could say "smooth talking con artist," Jess found himself purchasing a lovely set of knives (with bonus Eurochopper, for buying NOW). So now not only can I slice tomatoes at the speed of lightning, but we can also serve sliced hammer, should our guests appreciate such fare.

And Jess has his free knife.

Monday, December 7, 2009

that caviar is a garnish!

So my last year at BYU was a rough one: I had a really good friend, and roommate, who turned on me in a number of ways. She didn't know that her voice carried through the ventilation of our apartment, but I heard the things she said about me. They were untrue, and they were brutal. She and the new roommate didn't know that I knew they were leaving me out quite a bit, but I noticed. I knew that when one was going to "the grocery store" and one was going "to get gas," they were actually "going to Del Taco." I wasn't stupid. But I was hurt. And I can usually see a lie on someone's face.

In any case, it was rough. I was very much alone that last year. Luckily, I had my mom, who is always my friend - thank goodness for technology and speed dial. And then there was Meg Ryan (before that awful botching of the lips she had done) and Tom Hanks. Every night, when I'd go to bed, so I didn't have to think about being sad, I'd put on my favorite movie, "You've Got Mail." It wasn't so much on because I wanted to watch it; it was mostly on just to play the part of my friend. And I only had a few movies, so it was almost always the best choice. I'd fall asleep to it almost nightly.

Time passed, I graduated, moved home, and mended my very broken self. Looking back now, of course, it's a small bump in the long road of life. But at the time, it was serious. And ever since then, my love for "You've Got Mail" hasn't diminished. I know it inside and out. I can sing the soundtrack - I know the transitions between scenes. "You've Got Mail" is my friend.

And then I started dating Jess. Long distance. Often through email and online chats. And suddenly I was living my movie. (Except, of course, I knew who I was talking to.) I was ShopGirl and he was NY152. And life was magical, just like a movie.

And so my tribute to one of my favorites - some of the best lines. Those of you who have been sucked into this movie, as it so easily happens, might remember a few. :)


"For example, what should I have recently said to the bot-tom dwel-ler....who recently belittled my existence?"

"If I ever get out of here, I'm having my eyes lasered."

"What is that?! What are you doing. What are you doing?? That caviar is a garnish!"

"No, I am in the book business."

"Whatever it costs it won't be as much as that exquisitely uncomfortable mohair experience...that is now all over my suit."

"Joe. Just call me Joe."

"I'm in the middle of a project that needs a little...tweaking."

"She had to be! I knew she would be! She - had - to - be!"

"What about you? Is there someone else?" " there is the dream of someone else."

"I once read about a butterfly on a subway, and today...I saw one!"

"Mr. 152 Felony Indictments." "Mr. 152 Insights Into My Soul!"

"I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

"Frank, I've decided I'm going to go the mattresses. Do you know what it means to go to the mattresses?" "Sure, from the Godfather." Dum, dum (sorry...the music)

"This place is a tomb. I'm going to the nut shop, where it's fun."

"We should bomb Fox Books."

"Maybe he's fat. Yep, he's fat. He's a fatty."

"Joe Fox. Tell me, how do you sleep at night?" "Oh, I use this wonderful over the counter drug...Ultradorm"

"It's like they're an entire generation of cocktail waitresses. Don't they know you're supposed to have a last name?!"

"So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"

"If she turns out to be even as good looking as a mailbox, I'd be crazy not to turn my life upside down and marry her."

"The odd thing about this form of communication is, you're more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just wanted to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings. So, thank you."

Friday, December 4, 2009

easy toned

POST EDIT: So apparently I'm not the only one who wants to marry these shoes. I've received some feedback indicating that they're going, going fast. If anyone wants to jump on the EasyTone train (they really do something, but don't expect major miracles), I've found Google's shopping function pretty handy. Those of you with normal sized feet will have the hardest time finding them. I suppose there are times it pays to have paddles for feet.

Okay, so yes, I totally fell for the commercials for the EasyTone shoes. As one who suffers from post pregnancy body image issues syndrome, I'll bite anything that says it will tone my legs and butt just by wearing them. However, before buying I did do some research. I read numerous reviews, and almost without exception, they were positive. People were very matter of fact about it, mentioning that of course you won't lose weight, per say, but that they did feel as though their legs did some extra work by walking on these shoes. (It feels a bit like you're walking on sand - you have to kind of balance every time you step.)

Now I have what my podiatrist has termed chronic Achilles tendonitis. This means that my Achilles tendon will flare up from time to time - almost always from over or misuse. The most recent bout occurred when, in an effort to drop pounds quickly (running really does it folks), I started running about three months after giving birth. (Previously, I had done almost exclusively the elliptical.) As it turns out, I jumped in way too soon. My podiatrist guessed that not only do I have the chronic thing going for me, but that also my tendons and ligaments had not yet hardened back up after pregnancy.

I rested for two weeks. Resting in my language means poking my eyes out. There is a part of me that believes neglecting a day's work out equates to automatic weight gain. (Remember when I mentioned I have body issues?) I did the ibuprofen, the icing. And it got sort of better. I can do the elliptical again, but most of my closet's footwear is obsolete as they touch my tendon (its scar tissue has made it bigger than my other foot's - awesome, ay?) and irritate it all over again. Most recently, my arch has begun to hurt, most likely plantar fasciitis, yet another running injury, Achilles tendonitis' first cousin. (Does anyone else feel like my right foot should be checked into a rest home?)

So I fall for the commercials. I buy the EasyTones. And I've been wearing them for a few days now. I don't use them to exercise, but I wear them during the day. And by the end of the day my legs are legitimately tired. But I'm not here to report about my newly toned calves or my ridiculously firmed butt (ha). I'm here to tell you that my foot - the one that needs a wheelchair, three Aspirin, and a nurse - hasn't felt this good in months. MONTHS. I go for hours without thinking about icing my foot. I walk without gingerly stepping so as to avoid undo pressure on my arch. I can touch my foot without wincing. THIS IS HUGE.

It is with great pleasure that I would like to report that I've canceled my foot replacement surgery (I'm sure I could find some third world country to do this for me) and instead I'M GOING TO WEAR EASYTONES UNTIL I DIE.

Note: I have one complaint about the EasyTones - the styling is a I chose a pair that I found the cutest among their styles (pictured in the below post), and I do like them, but the shoe in real life is much more shiny in the plastic regions and is something quite reminiscent of the L.A. Gear shoes I sported in third grade.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

kate winslet is my sister

So today we went to Sam's Club, one of the best places on earth: chocolate sold in bulk, free samples everywhere you turn, and slightly discounted baby formula (expensive substance that formula). But today, this place won a spot in my heart forever. You see, the trainer at the check out counter, who we've talked to before because of our baby and the questions she elicits, said as our dollars went flying through the air with every scan, "Now she reminds me of that woman from Titanic."

"Me?!" (I honestly thought he was talking about Annabelle - although I really don't think she looks that old.)

When he applied in the affirmative, I sucked in my baby fat, and walked out a little taller. He was totally lying, and I look nothing like her (except that we share the same skin tone), but it did wonders for my self esteem.

As we left, he said to Jess, "See ya Leonardo."


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

cinco de baby

For five months,
I've been waking up
to this face.
And for five months,
every night,
when I go to bed,
I can't wait to wake up,
so I can see
this face.
For five months,
I've been falling in love
with this face.
Haven't you? ;)

Monday, November 30, 2009

work it

So remember when my little bug

(remember her? yeah...she looks so innocent doesn't she?)

gave me a cold?

Well, it has really thrown a wrench into my working out schedule (as if I needed more excuses to not work out). So to compensate for my sedentary nature, I'm sporting the Christmas present I ordered for myself (from Jess, of course). My EasyTone Reeboks. They're guaranteed to firm my butt and legs by simply wearing them.

Yes, I fell for their commercials. Bring it.

So do you think I actually have to get up off the couch to make these EasyTones do something for me?

Working out is way easy you guys.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

even though...

...I think egg nog is one of the more revolting concoctions ever devised - raw eggs people, RAW EGGS - I love the flavor. Enter Silk Nog. Soy milk has improved this world not only by replacing that icky white drink that exits a cow, but also by creating a special version of egg nog, free of egg, full of Christmas flavor.

...I stopped running to try and heal my Achilles tendon, it seems that even the elliptical has knocked my arch into inflammation. Enter orthotics. And geriatrics. Geez.

...I sanitize and wash my hands to the point that the skin is literally peeling off in order to keep germs from getting to Annabelle, I caught her cold. Oh the irony. It might have something to do with the fact that she gnaws on my fingers quite regularly? Maybe I should stop gnawing on mine.

The Christensen girls will appreciate Belle's look above the most - is it possible that she speaks our language already? NAR!

Oh, and for those who haven't yet seen that red mark on Belle's belly, it's a hemangioma. It's a collection of blood vessels - sometimes called a "strawberry" - that will break apart with time. It's kind of like her first tattoo. She should be aware that it will be her last as well. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the right size

This weekend, we made a trip out to the mall - mostly because we just wanted to wander and join the Christmas throngs, but also because I'm in dire need of skirts that fit. I found a sale going on at one of the department stores so I grabbed some to try on. I was met with extreme disappointment. Nothing fit. The size I had to go up to in order to fit into one was a size that I'd never worn before. I almost cried. And I think that is mostly because I've been working so hard - I thought surely something would fit. Suddenly, I felt like all my efforts were pointless. I suddenly regretted all of the chocolate I hadn't eaten.

The next morning, as I dressed my sweet baby girl, I realized the ironies of our lives: she's four and a half months old and the majority of her clothes are sized for 12 months (and up). And I realized that if she actually possessed the ability to realize that she's bigger than the other girls her age, this is not something I would point out. I would pray that she didn't understand or see the difference. I would never encourage her to slim down to a six month onesie. She's beautiful, big or not. She will always be perfect and beautiful to me, no matter her size.

Like many of you, I struggle with my body image; I always have. Cue the completely insane running I used to do (until my knees started buckling and my Achilles tendon just stopped allowing it). But I want to have Belle's mindset, oblivious and clueless as to what the world - or the percentiles - say she should be. I want to be happy with my size like she is - guzzling bottles, gnawing on apples slices - happy with these hips that are never going to be the same. I want to embrace the idea that the number on the tag doesn't matter - it's more about inner beauty, about loving myself regardless of the baby weight. I want to be encouraged by my daily efforts, by my relentless rolling out of bed in the morning to complete a work out that my body barely has energy to do.

And so today, thanks to my sweet baby girl who is big and beautiful, I resolve to be better. I resolve to stop sulking and start smiling. And I'm going to try to accept this post baby body, grateful that it had the capacity to be a pregnant body in the first place. After all, if I didn't have a post baby body, I wouldn't have my Belle.

And of course, as always, she is worth it. Worth it all.

Miss Annabelle, 4 1/2 months old, 12 month old clothes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

even though...

...Even though it makes me sad to see the leaves fall, I'm secretly giddy that winter is on its way.

...Even though I swore off Glee, every week I find myself resisting the urge to turn off the TV after SYTYCD ends. I suppose the immoral factor is a little lower, but still. Let's be honest, I'm just totally obsessed with the songs.

...Even though I actually enjoy Christmas crowds from time to time, I have to say that Christmas shopping online is the smartest thing I've ever done. Next to eating chocolate before and after every meal. And sometimes as a snack in between. (Why can't I lose this baby weight?!)

...Even though Thanksgiving is still a week away, our stockings our hanging already. This is mostly because there's no room to store anything in this tiny apartment, so instead of stashing them, I thought we'd start celebrating.

...Even though I'm not pregnant, I will not be eating ham for any holiday meal. Pregnancy killed the small tolerance I had for ham in the first place.

...Even though I promise myself I'll clean my closet every day (there's got to be something in there that fits!), a little girl with brown/blue eyes usually ends up persuading me that playing with her would be more fun.

...Even though my fridge is full of leftovers, I keep cooking. I'm totally obsessed with new meals. (Have I mentioned I'M NOT PREGNANT ANYMORE?)

...Even though I wanted to post yet another photo of my Belle, I refrained and instead you are enjoying the smoky clouds that give the Great Smokies their name.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

there's nothing like....

The innocence of
pretty baby eyes.
The deep sleep
that exhaustion produces.
A kiss on the forehead
from the man you love.
A baby's smile,
first thing in the morning.
Cherry flavored chocolate
to signal the holiday season.
Diet Dr Pepper
in the morning.
(Or afternoon. Or night.)
Crawling back into a warm bed
for just one more hour of sleep.
A new tube of mascara
to open up sleepy eyes.
A happy,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

things they don't tell you

The baby weight does not "just fall off."
Not for all of us. In fact, in my case I'm pretty sure it fell on. Now I only nursed (if you can call the meager supply I had "nursing") for about a month, so I'm sure that didn't help much, but really? I know some of you walked out of the hospital in your size zero jeans. For one thing, I've never worn size zero jeans. For another? I don't know if I'll ever fit in my jeans ever again. But with dedicated morning workouts and cutting back on the chocolate (just cutting back, elimination is like suicide), it seems to be slowly coming off. Slow. Lee. Like a turtle slow. Like watching grass grow slow.

Small accomplishments become huge victories.
This goes for baby and mom. Watching your baby figure out how to finally hit that hanging toy she's been waving her hand at for a week is literally thrilling. When she discovered that she herself could remove the blanket from her face (that she had put there in the first place), I broke out the pom poms. The world is new in her eyes, and I love watching her discover the things and abilities that I take for granted. But small things are huge for me too. Like when I finally got to the point that I could manage to put on makeup and do my hair (not just one or the other), I felt absolutely victorious. The week I managed to make it to the fitness center six days in a row was like one of my life's greatest achievements. I'm being totally serious. I felt like I should be bronzed. A nice statue of me would suffice.

The love is overwhelming, and it hits you when you least expect it.
You feel it the moment the baby is born, yes, but the moments, while they aren't constant, are also most definitely recurring. A few weeks ago, I was walking through the grocery store, chatting with Belle. And there was this moment. She looked up at me and grinned. And I was blown away, right there in aisle three, next to thirty different varieties of Mac & Cheese. Those moments of parental love, a different love than spousal love or sibling love or the love I have for my parents, are incredible. They convince you that you can be a parent, that even if you don't manage to put on the makeup and do your hair and work out and discover the cure for cancer, you will always love that baby more than yourself. And that feeling is reassuring.

And of all the things they don't tell you, and there are many, this love is the one that makes it all totally worth it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

greater than

So Annabelle had her four month check up today. If you recall, at two months, she was in the 94th percentile for her weight. And while she appears to have lengthened some, the kid is just big. She could eat kids her age for breakfast. She puts some six month old babies to shame when it comes to her girth. She currently wears 9-12 month old clothes.

Have I mentioned she's really happy?

So we go to the four month, pretty excited to hear the damage on the world's first potential female sumo wrestler. Our cute doctor (female, I'm not crushing on the pediatrician) comes in and starts looking at the chart.

"Looks like she's in the 50th percentile for weight...."

Me: "Whaaaa?"

Jess: "Nooooo...."

"Yeah..." Looks up at Annabelle, looks back down at the chart, looks at Annabelle.

Me: "Are you sure? She's...."

"Oh!" She starts cracking up. "I was looking at six months...oh I lied [laughing]...eight months. She's in the 50th percentile for eight month old babies."

As it turns out, Annabelle is in the "greater than 97th" percentile. Apparently they just throw really big babies into the "greater than" category, a catch all for those kids who break the scales.

Have I mentioned she's a really happy baby? :)

NOTE: Jess would like to add that she was also in the 97th percentile for height and 95th for head circumference. So it's all proportional.

 Sort of. ;) )

Sunday, November 8, 2009

dressing for the season

So I get the whole dressing for the season idea. I really do. I actually kind of like the concept - it's like we're trying to mimic nature. Warm browns, red, greens in the fall. Bright yellow and oranges in the spring. There's something very organic about it really, and something so appropriate about blending in with the earth, with God's beautiful creations. After all, aren't we as well?

But today we discovered that when you're four months old, you can wear




Seasonal or not. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the top three reasons i will NEVER lose the baby weight

and three
of the white chocolate variety

Seriously. Never losing it.
Not as long as there are Reese's trees around.
Or Reese's eggs.
Or Reese's pumpkins.
So as you can see, never losing it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

in the kitchen again

So when I was pregnant, my nose developed the ability to decipher the molecular makeup of all matter with a mere whiff. I'm not kidding. I could smell the flour in cookies, the trees in paper. Food smells of almost all kinds made me completely ill and/or annoyed, so I pretty much gave up cooking. I just couldn't handle the multitude of smells that clogged the air during meal preparation. And while I maintain that my sense of smell is still heightened, it isn't so bad that I feel like I can taste through my nose. (Try tasting dirty laundry.)

But with the parasite on the outside and my sense of smell somewhat normalized, I've found myself in the kitchen like crazy. Like. Crazy. I'm all about trying new recipes. In particular, I've developed a particular OBSESSION with this cornbread and honey butter. I make it at least once a week. It's the perfect texture, the perfect moistness, and it doesn't crumble all over the place, which drives me crazy about cornbread.

Now don't get too excited - I don't actually create recipes. I just troll recipe blogs. One of my hobbies is blog stalking (oh come on, it's one of yours too), recipe blogs included, and I've found a few that are here to stay. If you're looking for a yummy, easy (I only do easy) dinner, give one of these a try.

Creamy Pesto Crockpot Chicken (If you love pesto, you may find yourself in a committed relationship with this dish.)

And the photo? Why she's the most delicious thing around. Of course. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

she's like wine. or cheese.

fist sucking | item grabbing | kisses loving | whining whining whining | slobber expert | 6-9 month old clothes wearing | toy bug lover | eye color a mystery | tummy time hater | exersaucer attempter | shopping list eater | road trip warrior | tree hugger | left foot grabber | ever curious | bottom lip sucker | toothless smiles and random giggles | hair growing [finally!] | mommy's best friend | daddy's best girl | simply gets better with age

happy four months baby girl

Saturday, October 31, 2009


So I've never been a huge fan of Halloween. Dark shadows, scary costumes, blood and gore, deception and disguise. Things I prefer to avoid, not celebrate. (I do, however, love big pumpkins, changing leaves, eating lots of candy, my mom's chili [which I am attempting this year], and her sweet rolls [which I am not attempting this year].)

But I'm pretty sure I could learn to love this holiday given the fact that I get to dress this little monkey up every year.

As long as she knows she will not ever get to wear anything gross, evil, or scary.

And it's possible she'll be wearing this monkey costume every year.

Because it's ridiculously cute.

Thanks Grandma Cheney. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

sunrise, sunset

So Jess in The Smokies is quite the animal. He was entirely intoxicated (by the beauty not the bottle), both weekends, every minute. He couldn't get enough of the picture taking. He was up before sunrise every day in an effort to capture the perfect sun rising over the changing colors of the rolling Smoky Mountains.

We, on the other hand, were not up before sunrise. No we weren't. Well, we were, but that was to feed the Belle and then drop back into a deep slumber. Especially the second weekend, when we both had a cold, and it was our greatest pleasure to be lounging on the super sized hotel bed watching HGTV and hacking to our hearts' content.

He did convince us to come and watch the sunset, however, and let's be honest. This is even better than HGTV. (Hard to compete with in my world.)

Raise your hand if Fiddler on the Roof's "Sunrise, Sunset" is in your head now. ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

remember when we lived in our car?

So if you live in Durham, you live two hours from everything. It sounds like a selling point initially, like wow, I can get to the beach or the mountains in just two hours! Okay but it's not. Because EVERYTHING IS AT LEAST TWO HOURS AWAY.

The Great Smokies, destination Gatlinburg, TN, are about five (plus) hours away. And while the Belle is practically the best traveler ever, she just about loses her wits at roughly four hours, when the light up, singing, spinning attach to the carrier toy no longer holds any interest. Even more so, her mother completely spazzes out, but more like at hour three. Pregnancy and the sickness that accompanied being seated in a moving vehicle has caused me to have this automatic aversion to road trips.

My point: The Belle and I got in the car and drove FIVE HOURS each way to the Great Smokies. Twice. That's TWENTY HOURS in the car. And we volunteered. Well, the Belle pretty much doesn't have a say, but I placed myself and all of my stuff plus a load of the Belle's junk in the car and drove to the Great Smokies. Twice.

Why? Because I heart Gatlinburg.

So does the Belle.

Growing up, my parents took us on a yearly summer vacation. We did the regular California trips - Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, etc. - but soon realized that resort towns suited us perfectly. Beautiful scenery and small tourist trap towns stuffed with shops that were bursting at the seams with souvenirs and sweatshirts that we needed to buy. Plus, these places always have fudge. And in our family, chocolate is a part of our daily diet.

I grew to love these towns. I loved the beautiful weather, taking super artistic photos (I once thought I'd be a photographer, then I experienced the dark room and a lack of vision), eating delicious food, riding the ski lift/tram (every town has one), wandering around aimlessly. So when we rolled into Gatlinburg, I knew things were going to be perfect. Jess had his photo ops (he was up at sunrise every day, seriously).

And I had my fudge.


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