Friday, September 22, 2017

Big Canoe Girl's Weekend!

Bet you thought I disappeared again, huh? Me too. Ha! Nope, I've just been getting it done over here this week. My to do list was obnoxious and stressing me out so I tackled the bulk of it over the past few days. Totally soothes my soul to make a list and mark stuff off of it. 

So yay me . . . I got to enjoy another girl's trip with my fabulous mama friends. It was short and sweet for me because I had to come back early, but it was just what I needed. We laughed until we cried, connected and comforted each other about mom stresses and drank LOTS of wine. Oh, and took way too many pictures, thanks to Shelly! 
We headed north and decided to stop in Elijay for lunch and antiquing! We enjoyed a delightful little meal at the Cantaberry Cafe and then strolled around town.
Who can resist a photo op?  Not us apparently!
The best part was accidentally finding a wine tasting . . . and the owner of Chateau Meichtry vineyard just happened to be there to say hi!
Our friend Deb likes to think she invented (and has perfected) the "group photo in a line" technique. Funny enough, it usually works . . . but it's our job to make fun of her every time.

So after strolling in and out of the shops killing time until we could check into our Big Canoe rental cabin, we headed out for what should have been a quick trip . . . emphasis on should.  Y'all, it's like we went stupid and couldn't find our way out of a bucket.  

Shelly and I finally make it to one of the Big Canoe entrances and are high-fiving ourselves for beating those other fools. We listened to the directions to the house from the security guard and off we go counting the stop signs. We are chatting on the phone with our friend Christy because she had already made it to the house after leaving work . . . back near Atlanta. We keep asking her if it sounds right and she can't remember . . . mostly because it turns out she had gone a different way than us. We roll up to the top of a steep hill only to discover we were literally at the top of the mountain and were clearly off course.  Luckily for us there was a cute fireman there who directed us back down the mountain to our house. Gah. What should have taken 30 minutes took about 2 hours. Dumb.
Our rental house was adorable, but it was at the bottom of a scary hill.  Like so scary nobody wanted to leave the house again . . . well that and because we had no clue how to get out of Big Canoe.  
But alas our growling stomachs required us to brave the hills and directions so we headed to a cute restaurant only about half a mile from our house in my swagger wagon!
I cannot remember the name of it but it was absolutely delicious . . . like we were all surprised at how tasty it turned out to be! And it had quite the lovely lakeside view . . . perfect for a group photo!
After stuffing ourselves silly, we headed back to the cabin . . . retracing our steps because it was dark now. And then I had to back my car down the driveway so I could have place to park on what felt like a mountain ledge. I was the DD so it was now time for a serious drink.
And luckily for us, our crafty friend Tina brought us all the most fabulous wine glasses with personalized wine charms attached. How thoughtful was that? Very. That's how thoughtful. 
Speaking of thoughtful, my friend Deb needed her toes painted and believe it or not, I volunteered to do it . . . everyone else was running in the other direction.  And I was the sober one . . . lol.
But not for too long because poker, drinks, tasty snacks and some 70's sing-a-long music will make life better! Clearly I have no shame. And neither do Deb and Tina . . . that's why I love them so!
Up and at it Friday morning . . . because this was wine tour day!!! Woot. Being the super responsible mamas that we are, we hired a driver for the day to cart us around to four different north Georgia vineyards. I know that's a super blurry van photo, but it was so twisty and turny that we couldn't get a steady picture.
First stop was Monteluce Vineyards . . . this place is huge and lovely. It looks like you're rolling up on an Italian villa when you first drive into the place . . . grapevines everywhere.
These folks were generous with their tasting pours . . . thank goodness for our lovely driver Anna. However, they were not very generous with their wine costs . . . Tina liked one that was $59 a bottle . . . uh, pass. But yay for fun photo opportunities!
Sorry Tina . . . it was the best photo of the bunch.  And of course we had to do the "line" photo . . . our genius way to make sure everyone is included in the selfie and not have to bug the other customers.
Next up was our lunch reservation at Wolf Mountain Vineyards . . . very delicious . . . and more amazing views.
We didn't get a chance to do a tasting here because we were on a time line, but we all enjoyed a little something with lunch. Cheers.
Now, off to Kaya Vineyards . . . and wow, this one was stunning with it's rolling hills.
We finally all agreed to stop for a photo op at the entrance sign because we never seemed to get it done on the way out.
Our cute little waitress was super sweet and fast on the pouring so we got back on schedule . . . well we used our time to take a ridiculous amount of photos.  
I've spared you from most of them . . . but holy gorgeous, right? And the backdrop isn't bad either. I crack myself up.
And you know it . . . we're making the line photo famous . . . or infamous.
Last stop of the day . . . The Cottage Vineyard . . . and the last sign photo.
At this point, we were all tired . . . I mean drinking and chatting and wine touring is exhausting. 
We ordered food on the way home and had the driver stop to let us pick it up so we didn't have to leave the house that night . . . genius idea.
After chilling out for a bit . . . we played our nightly poker and took one last group photo because Christy and I had to take off the next day. It was a comedy of fools trying to get that photo taken with a timer . . . and perhaps we should have done it earlier since we were all ready for bed at this point . . . can you tell?

So here's my advice to you . . . find a tribe.  Women need each other . . . husbands are amazing, but they are dudes.  Dudes just don't always get it. Lift other women up . . . be a light. And take a second to read through these . . . and make sure you are one of the women doing the lifting. 
And cheers to the freaking weekend . . . and fall break for us Georgia peaches! No school next week so it's off to the beach! Catch you on the flip side!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Stone Mountain Girls' Weekend

Oh how I love a getaway with my friends! I absolutely love Getzy and the kids, but sometimes us moms need to just step away from the day to day and shake things up a bit with some girl time.  

I was invited to play poker a few years back with a group of fabulous ladies. Like seriously some of the best women you could have in your life. They are sarcastic, open, easy and above all . . . kind. These are the type of women that celebrate your wins and share in your losses.  

We leave for our annual girls' trip today so I thought I would throw it back to last year and recap our adventures in 2016. Strolling down memory lane has gotten me even more excited for this year!

Of course I knew I'd have a great time because of the company, but I wasn't thrilled about last year's location . . . Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta. I wasn't doing the planning so I also wasn't doing the complaining . . . believe it or not, I can occasionally just go with the flow.  

In the end, the location proved to be genius for a variety of reasons. First, it wasn't too far from home so when one friend had to come late because of kid obligations, easy enough. When another friend had to leave for a funeral in Augusta, she was able to return and finish the weekend with friends. When Getzy so rudely booked his work trip to leave on Saturday instead of Sunday, I was able to get home easily and not have to miss the whole trip. He was heading overseas so I begrudgingly understood his need to cut my trip short . . . oh, and his job pays the bills so I guess there's that too! But the main reason it was a great location was because there was so much to do without ever leaving the park!  

Let's back up to our adventures on the way there though! Our friend Christy suggested we try this place called Treat Your Feet . . . a 60 minute foot massage was $30. I thought she had her math wrong but just went with it! 

You guys . . . it was awesome! We were all together in one big room, each in a cozy recliner. They dimmed the lights and spa music was playing. All of the massage therapists came in at once and got started. It was like a reflexology massage . . . pressure points and all. About half way through they all left together and then returned with hot stones and rubber mallets. Hey now. They used the stones to rub our legs and the mallets to whack them . . . never had that before, but I'd do it again . . . get your freak on!

Then towards the end they ask us to turn around . . . like put your feet where your head was and your head goes on the ottoman at the bottom of the chair. Then they do a pressure point massage on your face and head and a serious arm stretch. Then just like that it was over. It was divine. They worked us over for sure . . . Lynn thinks the mallets should come first since they were not as relaxing and then the leg rubs. She has a point for sure! But I liked it all! And you can't beat it for $30 bucks!  No pics because the lighting was weird. 

We left there ready for lunch. We were apparently having an Asian themed day so we made our way to a delicious Thai restaurant.
I love me some Thai food . . . not too spicy though. Most of the time I'm super boring and order the same thing . . . Massaman Curry. Yum.
Then we headed to an Asian bakery but opted for the Thai rolled ice cream instead. It was good but not worth the price, in my opinion. But it was sure cool to watch them make it.
Off to the Asian market next . . . we were just killing time until we could check in to our hotel. This place was fascinating. The diversity of the food was just amazing . . . like do people really eat this stuff?!? Why yes, yes they do!
Finally, time to head to Stone Mountain Park! We were staying at the Inn right in the park. It was a bit old and dated but the rooms were huge.  
We were all ready for dinner . . . except one! Here we are waiting (im)patiently in the car for her! 
On Friday we got to enjoy the 48th annual Yellow Daisy Festival! I've been for several years and just love it.  It's a craft fair with some antiques and food stuffs thrown in for good measure. It's always so stinking hot but totally worth it!
After that we chilled out in the rooms . . . ate snacks, drank wine and played poker . . . as poker ladies do! Then it was time to clean up and head out to dinner!
And here we are waiting on that special someone again! 
We ate at a restaurant right in the park . . . it was nice and didn't have to go too far! And we always have time to stop for a photo op!
More poker. More wine. More snacks. And of course I was the DJ . . . it's my jam! Geez, that makes me sound old.

I tried something new on Saturday though . . . so nah, I'm not old.  
It was so fun. Way better than I thought. I was kind of freaked out about falling when I first started but then once you get it, you get it. We were all so proud of ourselves . . . as you can tell by all the pictures!
And we zipped all around Stone Mountain Park. I really think it would be awesome to always tour like this . . . you can cover so much ground!
Here we are at the best picture spot in the park!
And of course, a picture with the best tour guides! We would totally recommend the Segway Tours at Stone Mountain.
And after that . . . boo, hiss. I left early to head home . . . but while I'm always ready to go, I'm more than ready to get home. I'm so excited for this year . . . we aren't going too far, but we have some fun adventures planned! I'll tell you about it next week!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Because mama wants me to!

I always want to make my mama happy . . . I don't think that will ever go away. She has been so good to me. I know, she's my mom and isn't that what mom's do? Well yes, but I swear my mom has given more of herself than most . . . she made sure I had the things I wanted, not just needed . . . never made me feel guilty for my choices (I mean the good ones, like moving away . . . she will give me the business for bad ones, as she should) . . . and is an amazing Granny to my children.
Back to making her happy . . . since she now has a new computer and WiFi (finally) at her house, she says she would like me to blog more often so she can keep up with our family. Y'all, she prints my blog posts. Prints them. She says so she will always have them . . . I guess like in case the Internet breaks. Isn't that the sweetest thing?

So I am going to try to give updates more than twice a year so my mom has something to print. Winky face.  

A new development in my life that makes updating my blog a bit more tricky (besides my general laziness) is the fact that I accidentally got myself a part-time job. I know, I'm as surprised as you are!

Our financial adviser called me one summer day as I was cleaning out my pantry and offered me a dream opportunity. He asked me if I would like to do personal finance for some of his clients. So I get to work from home, basically do the same thing I do for our family finances (pay their bills, enter their monthly expenses in QuickBooks, reconcile their accounts, etc.) AND get paid? Hold on, let me think about it. YES!!!!!

So I immediately went shopping for back to work clothes . . . so I could look good working from home.  You gotta dress the part, am I right?
Well, technically I get to go to client meetings on occasion so I felt justified in a few new things . . . as well as a new purse, wallet and shoes because duh, opportunity knocked.

The kids went back to school . . . on the last day of July.  For reals.  But we get some awesome week breaks throughout the year so I'm not complaining.  Now they were, but whatevs.  
I have two in high school and one in middle. Like whoa. That's all I have to say about that.

Let's see, what else has been going on lately?

We all watched the eclipse together as a family on August 21st. We were like 97% totality here in Atlanta. Loads of folks headed to the north Georgia mountains, but we didn't want to fight the crowds.  
Truth be told, I was a bit disappointed that it didn't get very dark for being so close to totality. Apparently those couple of percentage points make a big difference. I did let the kids skip school that day because it was a excused absence . . . and made them sit outside with me to watch "the show." Good ole family bonding time.  

My Kyle has completed his Eagle project. Phew. Although the paperwork is a whole project in and of itself, the physical labor is at least over.
He, and his amazing friends and fellow scouts, built a fenced in garden in the middle school courtyard. It turned out to be way more work than we thought, but totally worth it and looks amazing. So proud of Kyle. 

And I just love that those three boys pictured above have been friends since 2nd grade . . . and they are high school freshman now. They are also all playing lacrosse together. It makes my mama heart happy knowing Kyle has great friends who stick by him and help out when needed. Kudos boys!

Speaking of Eagle scouts, this fellow just celebrate his Eagle Scout Court of Honor recently. I don't do anything half way so I felt like I was back planning my wedding.  Ha!  
My brother and his wife flew into town to help us celebrate, and my mom drove in from Virginia as well. Not only was it awesome to have them for a visit, they worked hard to help me get this event prepped and set up!
Everything went great . . . so thankful for all the friends and fellow scouts who came out to support Ryan. And the clubhouse looked amazing and very patriotic!
Getzy prepared a slide show from Ryan's past 9 years of scouting . . . it was so sweet to see those old pictures of Ryan and his friends. I mean, look at this sweet face.
And a touching, albeit rather sad, story about this Eagle picture . . . I made my mama cry.
As I've mentioned before, my brother, who was just 21 months older than me, died in a car accident at age 19. He was an amazing artist and took art classes as a teenager. Mom framed several of his prints. She asked me if I wanted the eagle, and I took it in hopes of having an Eagle Scout one day so I could display it at their court of honor. Well, as you can see, that worked out. It made it feel like he was there celebrating with us.  

And one more brag on Ryan . . . that kid is fast. He's running high school cross country and getting it done this year. He just ran a 5k in 20 minutes flat. Rock on kid.
He takes after his daddy who was also a cross country rock star back in his day!  Oh, my heart is going pitter patter.
My little princess has decided to do horseback riding again! I actually love that she enjoys this and feel like being at the barn is a great learning experience for her. She is rotating horses so they can learn to work with several different personalities . . . here she is on the very handsome Tennessee Whiskey!
My niece came to visit us from out of town over Labor Day weekend and brought her very sweet doggie Chance. It was lovely to get the opportunity to just hang out, shop and enjoy a glass of wine together, now that she is of age.
I'm also super excited for her because she applied to her local college while she was here, hoping to start in January. She is such an amazing girl, her independence and strength of character makes me proud.  
Cheers to having amazing friends to do life with . . . I am blessed to surround myself with the incredible women. They make me laugh, support me when the crazy takes over and help make life better. And we do lots of fun stuff together, so there's that too!
And finally, my dogs.  Abby punked me recently by crying when I touched her belly so I rushed her off to the vet for blood work and X-rays for them to say nothing was wrong.  She's lucky she's so pretty.  Gah.
And this fool.  He is currently working with a Cesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) trained dog psychologist because he's legit nuts. He loves us big. Huge. But not anyone else. So frustrating. 

Well, that was a hot random mess. Hope you enjoyed the update mama! 

Let me close with saying that I'm lifting up all those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in prayer. (Yes poker ladies, I really said a prayer just as I typed this.) We have some very close friends and family who stayed put during Irma and are thankfully safe and sound, albeit without power right now. And it goes without saying that I had a heavy heart yesterday on the anniversary of 9/11 . . . of course we won't forget . . . life changed forever that day.