Friday, September 30, 2011

Honeysuckle Hill Ridge

Hill Ridge finally took our first group field trip! (And we also took our first real group picture!) With Fall officially here, we simply couldn't resist the temptation to go to the pumpkin patch. Brad and I had visited Honeysuckle Hill Farm with a different trio of friends, three years ago, but it was such a different experience this time with the babies in our party!

We had such a great time playing on the toys, checking out the animals at the petting zoo, cheering on our favorite piglets in the pig race, picking pumpkins, and posing the girls all over the place for sweet photo ops! Between the three cameras, we got a ton of pictures. And since I'm not good (at all) at narrowing down my favorite images, let's just have a picture post! Shall we? (Just click on any of the collages to enlarge them.)



Seriously, I love our friends. And their babies. The end.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Bucket List

Happy fall, everybody! Today is officially the first day of autumn. Holla! Time to whip out that seasonal decor, pick a pumpkin, and set out some mums! I'm so excited, because this is my favorite weather season of the whole year. I'm so ready for all things Fall.

Here's our bucket list for this wonderful, crisp season.

[click to enlarge]
And speaking of bucket lists, here's the updated summer version. There were a few activities we didn't get a chance to cross off our list. Oh well. There's always next year!

[click to enlarge]
Are you excited for autumn? What's on your fall to-do list? Are you sad to see summer go? Did you complete all of your favorite summer tasks before the weather turned chilly? Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We are Warriors!

Seriously, you're never going to believe this. In fact, I was there, and I hardly even believe it, myself.

Last Saturday, Brad and I, along with some friends - Kris, Jeremy, Madison, and Josh, completed the Warrior Dash. Yep, you heard that right. I did the Warrior Dash. It's a 5k that includes 12 obstacles. Wait. Let me rephrase that: It's running. Forever. And having to complete boot camp training througout!

Obstacles included jumping over walls then rolling under barbed wire multiple times in a row; running through tires then climbing over old cars; crawling through a pitch dark tent; climbing rope nets; climbing over giant walls with only a rope to pull you up; crawling across suspended rope nets; jumping over burning logs; then finally swimming through mud underneath barbed wire to get to the finish line. Yeah. I did that!

This was the final result:

Here's Brad and Kris first thing in the morning. For some reason, Brad decided to run the entire race as a California Raisin. Random. I still haven't figured out how he saw to complete all of the tasks through those tiny eye holes.

The race had professional photographers throughout the course. You have to purchase their photos, which I am too cheap to do. However, since they literally covered each of them with a million watermarks, I don't feel too bad about "borrowing" them for the sake of this blog. Doesn't Bradley look totally B.A. jumping over that fire and crawling out of the mud?

This is proof that I actually crossed the finish line. I was basically dead by this point. I had visions of me running through with my arms held high to the cheers of the crowd, but when it came to it, I was huffin' and puffin', just glad to be alive.

Jeremy and Madison were a power couple, totally finishing the whole course like champs.

Kris actually showed us all up. From the start, he ran ahead and dominated the entire thing. And since he was willing to purchase (and doctor up) the photos, his pictures look friggin' awesome.

Here we all are after the "shower." aka, mass party under a firehose. Gotta love the viking helmets.

I agreed to run the Warrior Dash with Brad under two conditions: He stay with me the whole time and go at my pace for the entire course; and he promise to not laugh at me when I cried. He only fulfilled one of those promises, because I never ever cried! And I completed every single obstacle! Booya!

It was actually quite fun to do with him. We both really enjoyed it, and I love that I got to exprience something so extreme with my One And Only. Brad says he'll definitely do it again the next chance he gets. I say I'll definitely be waiting there at the finish line, cheering him on and taking muddy pictures of him and his equally crazy friends!

And after such an exhausting morning, sweet Layla's welcomed us home with a pretty banner expressing her support. Love her! ♥

You better believe I'm proud of that Warrior Dash viking-helmet-shaped medal I received at the finish line. Brad teased me for wearing it to our friends' house. And to the grocery store. And to church. But I totally earned that baby, and I'm going to wear it with pride! It's currently hanging from the rear view mirror of my car, constantly reminding me of what I'm capable of. Slow and steady. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taylor's Big Announcement

Taylor is releasing a Live Album and DVD of her Speak Now tour! Yea!! Now, I get to relive the concert over and over again! And for those of you who don't also get the awesome opportunity to go to her show, you will still get the chance to watch her performance and see how awesome it is for yourself!

Yea! I'm so excited!! And that video was taken last weekend in Nashville!! Depending on which night, there's a good chance I'm one of those screaming fans you hear! Yahoo!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Enchanting Evening

I got so see Taylor Swift perform live! In person! I had been waiting over seven months since I won the tickets on the radio, and the night finally arrived for us to go to her concert! Oh, you better believe I came prepared with a nice, sparkly poster!

Brad was a great sport. He not only allowed me to let my crazy soar, but he also stood up with me for the entire show, and even sang along with the songs that he knew.

After waiting through two opening acts, one of which was decent, and the other of which was awesome (Needtobreathe), Taylor finally rose up through the stage floor amongst fog and thousands of screams and cheers.

Her show is so incredible! Just completely awesome. She is such an amazing entertainer! The show seemed like a Broadway musical that she was singing the soundtrack to. Nearly every song had a different costume and a different set with her, the band mates, and lots of dancers acting out each story. There was so much going on that I didn't even know where to look at times. She even had aerialists doing stunts from the ceiling at one point! And Taylor played so many different instruments, including multiple guitars, a banjo, a ukulele, and a piano. 

She looked like she was having a great time on stage, and talked about how nice it was to be "back home" in Nashville. She did such a fantastic job of engaging the crowd, and seemed to genuinely appreciate the love and applause from everybody. She humbly thanked us for "choosing to hang out with her" on a Friday night, and said "I love you" to us fans multiple times. I'm pretty sure she was mostly talking directly to me, though.

One thing is for sure about TSwift: she definitely connects with her fans. There's a whole segment of her show that she performs from the back of the auditorium, in an effort to make the "worst seats in the house, the best seats for a while." She walks through the crowd on the floor to get to the small rear stage, shaking hands, hugging fans, and even kissing children on the cheek the whole way there and back.

At the base of the slowly spinning tree (enabling everybody to get a great view), she sings an acoustic set. It was at this point that Brad leaned over to me and said, "Okay. Seriously, she's good. That girl can sing." {In your face, mean critics! Brad Mehaffey says she's the real deal!} She also uses this opportunity in the evening to sing a location-specific song. For our show, she chose to sing David Mead's "Going back to Nashville." Very fitting, huh?

She performs the final song of the evening, her classic "Love Song," in a beautiful ball gown from a floating balcony as she moves around the arena, soaring above the crowd and hovering close to all of the higher seats.

Seriously, she loves her fans so much that she even has crew members set out to invite about thirty random people in the crowd to join her from the T-Party after the show (T for Taylor) where they hang out with her and the band in their "living room," and eat pizza, drink soda, play air hockey, take pictures together and get autographs. A friend of mine and her young daughter actually got to go! I would have loved to have been picked, but I still had a great time in the crowd just watching the show! Besides, I'm pretty sure she looked right at me and my sign when she was sitting under the tree. So, we're basically officially best friends now.

I walked into the concert already completely loving Taylor Swift. But, honestly, I walked out just absolutely adoring her. She's so sweet, and funny, and kind, and humble, and relatable, and genuine, and talented, and outgoing, and pretty, and just plain wonderful. I still can't believe I was so blessed to win tickets. What a sparkling night. ♥

(All the Concert Pictures)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Big Plans in the Big Apple

Guess what Brad and I are doing this Thanksgiving. Give up?
We're going to New York City! Yahoo! Yea! Yippee!! Holllllaaaaaa!!! We're going to spend the whole week in The Big Apple, and the best part is, we are going to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live! Ohmygoodness. I honestly couldn't possibly be any more excited ever, ever. Eeeee!!!!

And while the Parade will obviously be the highlight of our trip, there's another event edging in at a very close second: We're going to see Wicked on Broadway. Holy cow, I absolutely cannot wait!

We have big plans for the week that we're there. We've spent months pouring over every available activity in NYC, including landmarks, tours, museums, shopping areas, etc. and grouping them by location. Our poor visitor's map has already been well worn in.

We've decided that this will definitely be more of a "trip" than a "vacation," since there will be no relaxing for us in the Big Apple. We plan to wake up early each morning (especially Thanksgiving morning), eat a quick breakfast at the hotel, then head out for the entire day, only to come back late in the evening to crash for the night. Our itinerary is jam packed, and it's just how we like it. (Don't judge me for my color-coded excel spreadsheet. The level of my nerdiness is directly proportional to my level of excitment. Just consider yourself lucky that you don't have to view all the other tabs in that workbook. Ha.)

(Click to enlarge)

New York City has so many iconic locations. The Statue of Liberty. The World Trade Center memorial. Central Park. The Empire State Building. Times Square. So many! I mentioned to my mom that I want to have breakfast at Tiffany's in honor of the classic film, even if it's just a donut by the entrance, and she surprised me by sending me this Tiffany and Co. coffee mug to prepare. I already feel so ritzy just from that pretty packaging alone!

Oh my goodness! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! I know that we're going over Thanksgiving, but I have to admit, I'm mostly excited about Christmas in New  York.  Can you believe we'll actually visit the real Macy's on 34th street? We'll get to see the Plaza like in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. We'll get to shop at FAO Schwarz and walk past the men dressed as toy soldiers at the door on our way to stepping on the Big piano. We'll get to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, all bundled up in our winter scarves. And we'll witness, live, Santa Clause starting off the Christmas Season at the end of the Parade!  This trip is a Christmas fanatic's dream come true!

Seriously, I have to calm myself down when I start thinking about it. Brad and I haven't been on a week-long vacation since our honeymoon six years ago, and neither of us have ever been to New York City. I can't wait to make all those wonderful memories!

Any recommendations, if you've visited the Big Apple in the past? Or if you love a movie scene or TV location in the city that's a must-see?

image sources: here, here, and here

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mama brings the cache

My mama came down for a quick visit to Nashville this past weekend! Oh, how I have missed her!

[Isn't she beautiful??]
She was only here for a short while, but we got to enjoy each other's company with yummy dinners, midnight pj talks, and geocaching!

Brad and I have never "cashed" before, but Mom loves it, and she quickly got Brad us hooked. Basically, people all over the world hide random things all over the world. (And also in the ocean, and even in outerspace!) They put the coordinates to the hiding spot online so that other people can go on little treasure hunts to find them! Once you find it, you sign the log in the cache as well as mark that you've found it on the website. It's actually quite fun, and can be as complicated and technical as you want it to. During her visit, we found four caches in our area, and I, of course, had to document Brad's first recorded find. 

[Brad's first discovery, with a little help from Mama Metcalf]
It ended up raining pretty steadily, but that didn't stop us! We just proceeded right on along with our treasure hunts. Family bonding, bragging rights, and a great memory are totally worth the sopping wet hair and clothes.

[Mom and Daughter soaking wet and starving]
I don't get to see my mom very often since we live so far away from each other, but I sure do enjoy it when I do! She was my very first best friend in the whole world, and she'll always hold that title. I'm super blessed to have such a great mama.

(Hopefully, one day, I'll get to be as good of a mama as she is... Here's hopin!) Love you, Mom!!
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