Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weekly Dinner Planner (Episode 3)

Because life goes on and peeps gotta eat even when you wish you could sleep through the rough stuff, here's our menu for the week.

Wednesday: brats & fries

Thursday: orange pineapple chicken

Friday: Friday Night Pizza Night

Saturday: take-out (yay!)

Sunday: spaghetti

Monday: shrimp creole

Tuesday: fajita tacos with cilantro-lime rice

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday Funday

This is a rough time for the Templeton family, and I don't just mean our immediate family. If your name is Templeton, ever was Templeton, or if you're related to someone named Templeton, run for the hills, find a cave to live in, and don't come out until you get the all clear. I could type out the details, but whenever I try to express anything of substance, I turn into an inarticulate, bumbling idiot. So to spare you all that mess, I'm sticking to a surface-level scratching of what we did Sunday.

Our usual post-Mass Bruegger's breakfast with Pawpaw and Tutu.

Then out to Leiper's Fork for lunch at Puckett's before a little chill time at GieGie and Bob's country oasis.

Pee Wee? or Wee Pee?

Weston loooves the "seyseys"

Nonnie getting some "seysey" love
RayBob getting some Roscoe love :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

I married the cabana boy (Fifth Anniversary Edition)

Five years ago today I married this guy.
  Ok, actually by that time he looked like this.
Still yummy, but in an "I'm responsible. Let's get married and have some babies" kinda way.

Anyways... because the five year mark seems significant, I thought it would be fun to go back to the beginning and see how it all started. Strap on your tennies cuz we're walking down memory lane...

The summer after I graduated from high school, I spent most of my time at my parents' beach condo in lovely Destin, Florida. On the first day of the first trip, I looked out of my bedroom window and saw this tan, blonde curly headed, lean mean beach-chair-carrying machine running back and forth along the beach setting up umbrellas. That was all I needed to see to convince me that this was going to be a really good summer. Of course, my idea was that this super cool guy was gonna love me and wanna hang out all the time and maybe even be my boyfriend, but in reality I was way too self-conscious to even talk to Caleb... at first. Instead I went swimming in the ocean every day while he was playing lifeguard crossing my fingers and toes that he would come talk to me. DE-NIED! But Caleb would always go talk to my mom. I got so frustrated because he kept ignoring my bikini clad self but was chatting it up with mi madre instead. The minute I'd walk up to our beach chairs, off Caleb would sprint toward some other ancient homeowners. Ouch!
After being totally ignored for weeks using my passive tactics, I thought "what the heck do I have to lose?!" Soooo, I started leaving him my phone number totally unsolicited. The first time, I went to pay him for our beach set-up, and I think I said something really cool like "this is for the chairs (hands over the money), and this is for YOU (sheepish smile, hands over the digits). He seemed not upset that I gave him my number, but then... nothing. nada. no phones ringin'. So the next time I was visiting I left a note on his car. Still nothing. The weeks flew by with no response from el beach boy (other than "Oh... hey... uh... Later Mrs. Underwood! *sprints away*), and in no time at all, I was off to college. A few weeks into school I brought a couple friends down to the beach for a weekend, and I asked Caleb to hang out with us. I'll bet you can guess what happened. That's riiight- nothing. And there was yet another weekend I came down to the beach by myself, and AGAIN asked him to hang out. Yep, same result. Nooooothiiing. (Thank goodness he was a good guy, or I could have gotten myself into some big trouble.) At this point, I'm pretty sure it was just a game to me to see if I could get him to acknowledge me at all, because it was pretty clear that he was not interested.
Winter came along, and only Canadians go to Destin in the winter, so I actually kinda forgot about my beach boy. But right before spring semester ended I took a group of friends to the beach and oh shoot, guess who was back running chairs? Dang it! I thought I was done with him! But since there's strength in numbers, I decided that I didn't give a rippin' flip if Caleb thought I was a total psycho stalker, so I invited him to hang out one more time. That night my friends and I were sitting around the dining room table playing Spades, when oh my... heart pounding, cheeks flushing, there he was! At my door!! (My heart still pounds thinking about it.) He was wearing orange cargo shorts and a black Perfect Circle t-shirt. I really think I knew that night that he would be my husband. It just felt... different. He sat down next to me at the table, and we all hung out and finished our game. I felt completely comfortable and natural with him from that very first moment. At some point in the evening we were running low on liquid refreshment, so Caleb and I made a quick run to the store. Just before we got out of the car to go back up to the condo, he leaned over and kissed me. (You can thank Caleb for providing that detail. I would have sworn our first kiss was on the balcony. But no... no, that's right... he kept trying to kiss me on the balcony, but after a year of torturing me with his aloofness, I had to play it a little cool.) But the point is, it happened... our first kiss!! 
I went back to school to finish finals giddy at the prospect of dating Caleb, but then *brace yourself* HE DIDN'T CALL ME!!!! Are. You. Freaking. Kidding me?! Lemme get this straight... I stalk you for a year... you finally give in and come hang out... you KISS ME... and then you DON'T CALL?! Eh, whatever. I won my own little game of "will he acknowledge me," so I wasn't too upset.  But two weeks later I was back in Destin, and before I could even get out the words "I'm in town" he was at my door to take me on a date. (And yes, that is what you wear when you're 19 and going on a date at the beach.)
One year after I-spied-something-cute for the first time.
Now pause... this may be the single most recurrent fight of our relationship:
Jenny: "Why didn't you call me that whole year and even after we kissed?! You broke my heart!"
Caleb: I was just settin' the hook.
J: Uh! But what if I hadn't been so persistent?!
C: I don't know honey... It doesn't matter because you were.
J: Ok fine. But still... why didn't you call me?!
C: I thought you were out of my league.
J: But I gave you my number! And we kissed!
C: I thought you were just being nice!
J: *Dumbfounded look*
Although it makes no sense to me, my husband is exceedingly honest, and I totally believe he wasn't being a jerk. I do wonder what would have happened if I had been more reserved about persuing him, but I know that Caleb is the man who God picked for me, and perhaps somewhere deep down I sensed that from the first look at him from the window.
Ok, resume.
So... we went on our first date to a Chinese restaurant, and the same sense of comfort I had the first night continued. It was a good first date, but the clincher was the fortune Caleb got.
heck yeah we saved this beast!
We laughed that night and we still laugh about this, because we both knew it was true.
I was living at my parents' house in Birmingham for the summer, so unfortunately I had to leave the suspended reality of the beach. I was a little scared to leave not knowing if I would hear from Caleb once I was gone, but this time he DID call me. And this time he never stopped calling. A couple weeks after the fortune cookie date, Caleb was driving through Birmingham on his way home to NASHVILLE for his middle sister's high school graduation. He stopped off at my parents' house to visit and to take me to lunch, but he ended up taking me back to Nashville with him. And this is where all the buttering up of "Mama U" came in handy. I do not have a permissive mother, so when he asked if I could go to Nashville with him I was bracing for a laugh in the face. But nope, that's not what happened at all. Despite a few of Caleb's exterior features that might make a mother nervous, my mom had seen his work ethic and heard him share his heart, so she determined that it was safe for me to go. So in one brief and terrifying weekend I met his mom, dad, sisters, stepmom, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. And I loved every single one of them!
After that trip which totally sealed the deal for us, we continued to see each other throughout the summer whenever I could make it down to Destin. Caleb was essentially running the beach service by then so he couldn't take days off. Before we knew it, fall semester started, and we saw each other even less. Just when then logistics of our relationship started to take its toll, lo and behold, hurricane Ivan hit and completely obliterated Destin. Not good for Destin, but great for us! You can't run a beach service without a beach, so Caleb came up to Starkville and pretty much camped out at the house for the month of October. During my fall break, we drove up to Nashville, and while we were there Caleb's grandad got sick. We spent most of the weekend at the hospital, which just happened to be across the street from Vanderbilt, and on one of our breaks from the stand-by vigil, I decided to go check out the campus. I came to find out they were still accepting applications for transfers for the spring semester, so I applied mostly as a joke. But then I got in! (WHAT?!) After three years on the beach, Caleb was ready for a change too, so January 2005 found us living in the same city for the first time.
Winter 2005
Honestly, my time at Vandy was the hardest time for us. We were both trying to make a new life in a "new" city together, but we were at different schools. We were spiritually ungrounded and searching, and trying to lean on each other. It was a total roller coaster and we barely made it through. But by the grace of God our Christian foundations prevailed, and once we both got back on track spiritually, our relationship flourished.
summer '05
fall '05
summer '06
 Spring break of my senior year we went to Destin (where else?). One night we were grilling out and Caleb said he forgot a plate for the burgers. Of course I ran up to the room to get it, but when I got back I saw something that did NOT make me happy. My boyfriend was talking to someone on the phone, and he was positively giddy! I had NEVER seen him that excited. I just knew he was talking to some other girl, and I was ticked! So the second he hung up I lit into him with the, "Who was THAT?! Who is it that makes you THAT HAPPY?!" And with that set up, my always calm Caleb began his speech: "Well Jenny, that was your mom" *gulp* "and" *gulp ... it all goes fuzzy... oh BEEP, he's on one knee...* "its YOU! Its you who makes me that happy! Will you marry me?" Or something like that. Unfortunately I don't remember his exact words, but I do know that I said yes.
this picture was totally staged, but this was the basic set up
Sixteen months later, we were married.
And a lot has happened in the five years since then; a master's degree, a house, a baby, another master's, another baby. We've been broke and comfortable and broke again. But despite all the ups and downs, I am so proud of and thankful for the life we've made. Sometimes things are simple, and we look like this...

But sometimes life is crazy and hard and you've just gotta do this...
But no matter what life throws our way, I know we're in it together, and that makes it possible to face anything. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine when I was looking out that 5th floor window at the beach boy that in ten years I would look out that very same window and see this:

I can't wait to see what the view is like in another 10 years. Happy anniversary Caleb. I love you.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five Favorites

Linking up with Hallie, I mean Grace, for Five Faves. Oh wait, is that a Wednesday thing? Hmm... Well, I've heard that "procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday," so by those standards I'm right on time! (Plus I need a Thursday post for my uncommitted undertaking of Jen's blogging challenge.)

1. Chex has a Muddy Buddy mix!!! Did anyone else know about this and not tell me?! I ate a whole bag in 24 hours and have no regrets!

2. My morning "runs"

Thanks for the support, girls!
(please ignore the terrifying baby doll... if you can)
Its free, its effective, and I don't have to figure out what to do with the kiddos. (However, it does NOT meet my usual requirement of "exercise disguised as fun." Oh well, sometimes you just do whatcha gotta do.)

3. My new found appreciation for my 2-year-old.

4. Philosophy Amazing Grace lotion. I'm not a big perfume person, because I get really annoyed when I pick up the baby and then she's scented for the rest of the day. (Smelling like a baby = cool; smelling like a racy lingerie store = not cool.) So scented lotion is my go-to. It's much more subtle than a spray, and its a multitasker! I'm not particularly choosy about the type of good smellin' lotion I use (a bottle of good ole Bath and Body Works lotion is just fine), but my SIL wears Amazing Grace and I could smell her all day long.

5. Mia's preschool days. I actually have a love/hate relationship with Mia going to school. I am SO much more productive on the days she's away, but I miss her like the dickens! When she's gone I'm kind of an emotional mess and count down the hours til pick up, but once she's back and incessantly asking for snacks and trying to pick up Olivia and pulling on my clothes and negotiating every command and... I always wonder why I rushed those 5 precious hours.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weekly Dinner Planner (take 2)

Here's what's on the menu this week.

Wednesday: fish tacos

Thursday: pork tenderloin and roasted zucchini

Friday: Friday Night Pizza Night

Saturday: party!!

Sunday: brats and fries

Monday: beef stir fry

Tuesday: chicken enchiladas

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We have a sweet little girl

It just hit me today how sweet Mia really is. I feel like I spend so much time and energy reprimanding her that I don't really notice what she's like in between time outs. But today I noticed.

Mia woke up super early this morning, so I asked Caleb to bring her into bed with me. She read an American Girl doll magazine while I dozed, but at one point I remember feeling her little hands on my face. I don't know why she was touching me, but she was being so tender and loving.

Later this morning the girls were playing, and I ran to the potty or something. When I came back, Olivia was crying, but before I could even ask what happened, Mia said, "I was teaching her how to be gentle with Hawley." She went on to tell me that she was trying to get Olivia to sit in her lap so she could show her how to pat the dog sweetly. *Mom goes mushy* Mia still needs to work on being more gentle with Olivia, but her actions were motivated by such kindness toward her sister!
And the baby dolls. Oh, the baby dolls! I think we have about 15, and that's even after donating some. Mia LOVES them! As on most days, she played with her babies almost all day today. She gives them bottles, nurses them, changes them, reads to them, "doctors" them, swaddles them. And she tells me, "I'm the mommy and you're... the... GRANDMA!" She is so loving to her babies.
There are a hundred more sweet, precious things that I appreciated today-- like hearing Mia giggle when Olivia kept grabbing the pages of the book at naptime; or seeing her blow raspberries on Livi's tummy while they were playing in the bed. I don't anticipate needing to do any less disciplining just yet, but I hope that at least now I will see past the her terrible two's and enjoy my first little friend.
This thing, this crazy little thing, gives the sweetest kisses
 and the greatest squeezy hugs!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wedding Weekend Recap

So, truth... In the weeks leading up to this trip we were kind of uncertain about our decision to go. We really wanted to support Lauren and Alastair, but financially, logistically, and emotionally going to New Orleans didn't make a whole lot of sense. But from the moment Nonnie arrived to take us to the airport, little details kept falling into place that I can only see as God's affirmation that we had in fact made the right decision.

Loving detail #1:
Nonnie came over at 7 AM to take us to the airport. The second Caleb stepped his toe across the threshold to get in the car, Mia very happily called out, "Bye Daddy!" (No "bye Mommy"; No "bye Olivia.") We were thinking, "Wait, kid! Not yet! You still have a good 30 minutes left with mommy and daddy! You need to freak out a little and shed a couple tears." But nope, she was ready to get rid of us. There was an initial sting when I realized that she doesn't need me like she used to, but I took a deep breath, and that was that! Because of her reaction, I was able to enjoy myself a lot more knowing that she was totally fine without us. I know... I know... Nonnie's the best, and Mia would have been fine anyway, but it was still good to leave Mia on a high note.

Olivia was an angel on the flight down! She didn't nap, but she didn't make a peep. She mostly just did this...
and this....
... and this.
And of course once we landed, she did this...
(Sorry all the pictures are fuzz-city. My camera battery was DOA, so everything was taken with my awesome, brand new (3 models ago) phone.)
Loving detail #2:
When Caleb walked out of la salle de bain in Nashville, he ran into one of his coworkers who happened to be on our flight. Scott and his wife were gonna be in New Orleans for the weekend too, so we cabbed it to the hotel with them and made plans to unpack and then meet for lunch. We checked in, dropped off our stuff, and decided to go exploring. We strapped Livi into the Bjorn, and off we walked.

Loving detail #3:
Lauren had planned everything perfectly, so the church was literally three steps around the corner from our hotel.

View of the bell tower. Yep, it was that close.
As we walked by, we noticed they had a 12 o'clock Mass, and (cue the bells and check your watch) it was 12 o'clock! So we ducked into the church for an impromptu Mass. 
gorgeous, right?
Do you know how amazing it is to attend Mass with two parents and only one child?! One small, very mellow child?! It. Is. Heavenly! I might have shed a few tears. And I am NOT a crier. But that's not all... There was benediction after Mass! *a few more tears* It was a beautiful reminder of the real reason we had trucked out butts almost 600 miles south with a baby. For Christ. For the love of Christ. To support Lauren and Ali in their sacramental union that is the sign of Christ's love for us.
So with souls fed we embarked on the trek to feed our bodies. Caleb's buddy Scott and his wife asked us to join them at Napoleon House, and uh, good call y'all! It was delicious! After lots of good food, drink, and laughs, our personal tour guides showed us around the French Quarter.

Livi's first look at the mighty Mississippi
When we were sufficiently hot and tired, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the rehearsal dinner.
not super thrilled she has to wear this dress,
but she got lots of compliments

Pawpaw was the evening's designate baby holder.
Loving detail #4:
After getting all pretty, we found out that there had been a little miscommunication about les enfants at the RD and that Olivia wouldn't be able to stay. I was bummed at first, but it actually worked out for the best. We went down to the restaurant for drinks, and about the time Olivia started to melt down, dinner was being seated and it was time to head back. Caleb's aunt generously got us dinner to go, so we ended up eating our delicious dinner in the room with our baby asleep next to us. It was very peaceful and kind of romantic. Definitely preferable to cajoling an expired infant into staying out even later. And we dodged foggy heads the next morning.

My only specific request for the trip was breakfast at Cafe Du'Monde, so that's where we headed Saturday morning. Grease and sugar with a side of caffeine? Please and thank you.
on our way to breakfast
After a yummy beignet breakfast, we walked across the square to the St. Louis Cathedral. No Mass this time, but it was still amazingly beautiful.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mia and Nonnie were living it up at the aquarium. (I'm still not sure if she even cared we were gone.)

The rest of Saturday was pretty low key. We went to lunch at the Red Fish Grill, and then took a family nap. By the time everyone woke up, it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Loving detail #5:
When the babysitter arrived I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Since we didn't know her at all, I had had some anxiety throughout the day about leaving my baby with a total stranger. But as soon as we met Megan, we knew there was nothing to worry about. This girl was perfect. I gave her the basic instructions for Olivia and then peaced out to the wedding. Livi is such a good baby that I was expecting her to be nooooo trouble at all. Bu-ut, when we dropped in after the wedding so I could nurse and put Livi to sleep, that wasn't exactly the report we got. Megan's first words were "She was pretty hysterical." Yikes! I felt SO bad for this poor girl! And then it took me the better part of an hour to get Olivia even close to asleep. Finally at 8:00 when I was noticeably frustrated with the baby, Megan told us to leave and she'd call us if she needed us. I didn't want to torture her any more with my screaming kid, but we left because this mama needed a drink! After a drink (or 2 or 3), some dinner, a dance, and this....
thanks to sweet Megan for making this pic possible
... we were back at the hotel bidding farewell to our hero of the night. Really... that girl. She was amazing! We would have given her 10 times our promised rate if we had it.

Bright and early Sunday morning we hopped on the plane and boogied back to Nashvegas. Livi did great on that flight too, and she actually slept this time.

Oh yeah! God's final little nugget of love for us:
The weather was actually bearable! I was expecting 100 degrees and 100% humidity, but it was more like 90 and 90! I can handle that.