Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home Updates

We've had a rather productive weekend when it comes to our house. We spent Friday evening finishing our Crate and Barrel registry. I spent all day Saturday doing laundry, putting new bed linens on our bed, unpacking and washing all of our Crate and Barrel stuff, grocery shopping, and cooking a delicious meal in our kitchen.

Our new bed that we bought just a week or so before our wedding along with our new bed linens:

The meal we cooked together - chicken lettuce wraps. They were a new recipe, something we will DEFINITELY be eating again in our house:
And while we're at it, here's a good shot of our new dining room furniture. We got our table for a great deal the same time we bought our bed, and just got our chairs from Ikea a little over a week ago:

And today Kyle was able to put up the curtains that go in our dining/living room. My sister Amy made them as a shower present and they look perfect in our house. She also made curtains for many other windows in our house, and as we get them up I'll post pictures:

We not only did house work this weekend, but I had a very social Sunday. I was able to eat lunch with Kate and Katie, two really good friends from college. It was the first time I had seen Katie since she left for Bosnia a year ago on a year-long mission trip. It was so exciting to catch up and I'm ready for her to live back in Atlanta. Unfortunately it also meant saying goodbye to Kate, who is leaving for architecture grad school in Cincinnati in a month.

After lunch and hanging out with the two of them, Kyle and I headed to a barbecue cookout on the river by two of our good friends, Jen and Jared. It was fun to just relax outside before we had to come back and get busy. I had studying to do and Kyle had work to do this evening.

Another good weekend come and gone....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Silver on Tuesday - Gold tonight???

I went over to my sister's house to watch the women's team finals on Tuesday night. It was disappointing, the only goal for our team was gold, and we fell short. For the most part our gymnasts were solid, especially at the beginning, but it didn't stay that way.

However, China's gold has been mixed with controversy. Several news reports have supposedly found evidence that a few of the girls are likely younger than 16, the required age to compete in gymnastics at the Olympics. I remember when this rule was first put into place and I wasn't a huge fan of it. It doesn't allow gymnasts who might be 15 the year of the Olympics, and at their peak, to compete. And very often a 15 year old gymnast at her peak won't be at the same point four years later, when she is 19. Not that it's not done - there are several very talented 19+ gymnasts, but there are lots of gymnasts who hit their prime at 14/15/16. So while I'm not necessarily opposed to having gymnasts younger than 16 compete, I am opposed to a team possibly cheating. And my main reason would be the uneven playing field. If one team can have gymnasts of any age, and another team can only choose gymnasts 16 or older, then the second team's pool of possible gymnasts is smaller than the first team's. There's a good chance every country has several extremely talented gymnasts under 16 - and would possibly have used them - but didn't, because of the rules.

So anyways, all I'm saying is that whether or not their passports say they are 16 (which I personally don't trust), and whether or not the IOC believes they are 16, their gold will always be a little clouded by suspicion. It only takes the casual observer to be seriously doubtful that they are 16 (And to put this picture in perspective, I know all gymnasts are short and small, but I have read in several sources the shortest Chinese gymnast is 4'6", and the 3 smallest all weight around 70 pounds.) The last 3 are the ones I personally doubt. We'll probably never know.

Now for some pictures that matter - here's our team winning silver, followed by my personal favorite performances of the evening: Nastia Liutkin on bars and Shawn Johnson on beam. Nastia because her bar routine is so beautiful, difficult, and she does it flawlessly (she scored a 16.9 - one of the absolute highest gymnastics has seen this Olympics) and Shawn because she nailed that beam routine. Having been a gymnast, I admire confidence and rocksolidness on beam more than anything else. I know what that beam is like and I could barely do a cartwheel without some kind of balance check. She can do tumbling passes down the beam without the tiniest wobble. Both of these girls are favorites to win gold tonight in the All Around finals, and you better believe I will be watching.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The joys of home ownership

This weekend was much fun - had my parents, my brother, my sister and her husband over for dinner on Friday night since my parents were in town visiting. Then Saturday night we hung out some with Kyle's sister and her husband. And then on Sunday night we spent the evening eating a delicious dinner cooked by Kyle's good friend and old roommate Daniel and Daniel's current roommate.

Those were the evenings. The days were spent busy being working outside. And this is what we accomplished between the two of us working all day Saturday and me working all day Sunday: It doesn't look like much, especially since I don't have any "Before" pictures to point out the difference, but we managed to pressure wash all of the top of our driveway and front door stairs. It looks much better than it did and puts a smile on my face every time I walk outside. Its not easy owning a house and having so much work to do on it, but the feeling of accomplishment and pride that comes along with ownership is worth it.

Kyle also spent Sunday afternoon using the weedeater we just bought with our wedding Home Depot gift cards. He was able to destroy the jungle that had built up in our backyard and the sides of our house. There's still more lawn work to do, and I will definitely post pictures when we get around to it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Olympics

I had a very eventful weekend - but I'll get to that in a later post.

For now, it's all about the Olympics.

I've always loved the Olympics. I just love to watch hard core athletes finally making all their work worth it. And it brings out national pride - its so much fun to cheer on the US, regardless of the sport.

I wasn't quite as excited about the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. I don't know if it was because the media attention wasn't as strong, or if I just didn't care as much, or I just didn't have as much free time. But the last Olympics I've been this excited about were the '96 Atlanta Olympics.

Back then I was 12. I had just quit competing gymnastics, due mainly to the fact that the gymnastics home I had grown up in was closing and the only other gymnastics option seemed cold and impersonal to me. I was still coming to terms with the change in my life from spending all my time at the gym to having much more free time. So watching gymnastics that year ws bittersweet.

I watched every second of the womens gymnastics competition. I jumped up and down in my living room crying when Kerri Strug landed her vault. We were able to actually attend the Women's All Around finals since they were in Atlanta. I was completely caught up in the Atlanta spirit.

It is so hard for me to believe that was 12 years ago. So hard for me to believe that the young gymnasts now barely know who Dominique Moceanu and Shannon Miller are. That moment when our team won gold is still the ultimate Olympic moment for me. I will never forget this scene:

Twelve years later the USA is once again a gold medal favorite in the women's gymnastics team finals. I watched the prelims today and as I watched Shawn Johnson nail every single pass on her beam routine, I can't help but feel that same excitement. When gymnastics is on, my eyes are glued to the TV. I am so excited to share in the Olympic spirit again and I can guarantee you that if you come over to our house, Olympics will be on TV, regardless of the sport. And I promise that whenever women's gymnastics is on it is being TiVoed just in case I am busy that night.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another wedding

Prior to moving into our new house in May, I lived in a large 3 bedroom/2 bath apartment in Buckhead with awesome roommates, Julie and Chrissy. When we all moved in I was already dating Kyle but not long after Chrissy started dating Chad, and then not too long after that Julie began dating Matt. Last December is when Kyle proposed to me and within 3 months our whole apartment was engaged and planning weddings.

Julie's wedding was this past Saturday night. It was always fun to hear about all of the planning for a wedding, being around for all of the important decision making, and talking to each other about our weddings. I think some people could feel slighted, wanting all the attention to be on them, and wouldn't enjoy being surrounded by other engaged girls. But I think the 3 of us enjoyed it. We all made sure to not get caught up in our own weddings but were geniunely interested in the others.

So getting to be a part of Julie's wedding was a lot of fun - it was fun hanging out with some friends Kyle and I haven't seen for awhile, there was great food, it was gorgeous, and it was even more special since it was the first time attending a wedding being a newlywed couple.

Here's a picture of the happy couple:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One Happy Island

Now that we've had time to get settled a bit, I thought it would be a good chance to put up honeymoon pictures. I already can't believe it's come and gone - and I already feel like I need another vacation.

Relaxing on the beach. Our typical day consisted of sleeping til 11, heading to the beach for the afternoon, sipping a margarita, a cold Caribbean coke, or an Amstel Bright (best beer for the beach - only in the Caribbean) and reading underneath our personal lanai. Time to head back in around 4 or 5 to get ready for dinner out, taking a taxi to one of the many fantastic restaurants we went to, and then heading back for a happy hour drink and more sleep. Trust me, that is the life.

Our first nice dinner out was to a fantastic steakhouse. I do love some filet mignon!

The sunset sail came as part of our honeymoon package. It was just plain gorgeous.

The gorgeous view we had every day while lounging on the beach. This was taken before the tiny jellyfish larva got to me. On this particular afternoon we decided to swim in that gorgeous water. It was wonderful - completely clear, blue all around, the horizon was this cool looking purpleish-blueish, there wasn't many people around. Best ocean experience ever. Until I got back to our spot on the beach and began to itch. Then began to sting. I tried not to scratch but it was the worst itch ever. I noticed a rash-like redness spread all over my right arm, halfway up my neck, and all over my collar bone. Pretty soon I couldn't take it anymore and literally ran to our room to take a shower for some relief. You will notice in the next pictures that I'm wearing a short sleeve turtle neck. This is for a couple of reasons: 1) Because my neck and collarbone looked so bad, my vanity kept me from showing them to the world, and 2) Because all the salt in the wind and air irritated my skin and the best way to ensure I enjoyed the evening was to cover myself up.

The next day we went kayaking (no pictures because I didn't trust us to keep our camera dry). The salt water splashed all over me while kayaking and caused quite a bit of misery after getting out of the water. I stayed in the shower for at least 2 hours because the fresh water massaging my skin was the only way I could keep from going crazy. Kyle and I used one of the computers with free interntet to research what could have happened to me and the best answer we could come up with is tiny jellyfish larva that you can't see in the Caribbean. They end up clinging to you but don't sting until you get out of the water and you put pressure on them somehow. This made sense because Kyle got an actual jellyfish sting on his chest (the mark is still there now). We both agreed though, that his one real sting definitely beats the tiny little stings all over me.

Now back to pictures...
Our private dinner on the beach while watching a gorgeous sunset. I couldn't stop taking pictures because the view was so breathtaking. Our God is one amazing Creator.

Only real picture I got where you can see the tiny stings. Look at my right arm, collarbone, and neck. It looks more like a sunburn but you can tell it's different. Unfortunately it took almost two days for it to get down to this. It was much worse before.

Our last, amazing dinner out. This place was highly recommended by everyone we talked to and it definitely lived up to the praise. If you are ever in Aruba, we highly recommend a nice dinner at Madame Janette's. They even gave us free dessert and champagne cocktails...

Minus the jellyfish problem, we really couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon. It's been tough to come back to real life, but God has been so good to us. Now I'm ready for our next vacation together! Where will we go? Napa Valley? Ireland? Italy? Skiing? There are way too many vacations that are high on my list for the two of us...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Catch up on a few things

I feel like life has been so jam packed with the kitchen and the wedding, and there are a few things I have never really updated on:

Exam 3F
The ridiculously hard actuary exam I took back in May I found out I passed. Miraculously. With the just-barely score of 6. But the results of a 6 are the exact same as the results of a 9. I passed. I never have to test that material again. I get a bonus for passing on my first try and an automatic raise. And I get to move on to the next test...

For which I have already created a schedule for and ordered my study materials. They should come in tomorrow and after that it's hard core study time for the next 3 months. Back to the books... and once again, in a strange way, I am really excited about it.

Peachtree Road Race
I began training for the Peachtree (the world's largest 10K), applied and was accepted, made it to about 4 miles of running, and my knee just couldn't keep up. I began limping and dealing with serious knee pain and went to the doctor to get it checked out. Got sent to a sports medicine doctor, who diagnosed me with Iliotibial Band Syndrome. After rest (although I was by no means resting it like I should - since we were in the middle of kitchen renovations and I had to get walls painted and floors tiled) the pain subsided but a return visit to the dr. told me I was still no where near running again.

So, to get me back into running condition, I'm now going to physical therapy. I've learned all about how I stand, walk, and run incorrectly. And I'm re-learning how to stand, walk, and run. We'll see how it goes.

Just a couple of updates of my life. I'll try to do a better job of updating from here on out. Hopefully I'll have more time. :)