Monday, December 1, 2008

Home Again

On Saturday, I woke up in Cocoa Beach. It was sunny, it was 70-some degrees outside, and I spent a bit of time on the beach before heading back to Orlando. It was sunny there, too. And warm. Around 7:30 pm I got in the car and started driving. It was warm then too.

On Sunday, I woke up in Buford. It was raining. It was 40-some degrees outside. I spent the whole day in my pajamas on the couch. In mourning.

I just hate the end of vacation.

But on a positive note: I have a new camera. And we spent a whole lot of time getting to know each other last week. So when my internet decides to cooperate long enough to upload some photos, I should have a nice, long slideshow for all of you to watch!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Interesting* Stuff About ACL Surgery

Jamie started his physical therapy last night and we learned two fascinating things about ACL surgery. He had what they call an autograft where the tissue to repair the ACL is taken from his own body (the other option would be tissue from a cadaver). But the physical therapist told us the tissue they take is not ligament but tendon. So right after the surgery, the new ligament is actually stronger than the original from-the-factory ACL because it's not a ligament at all. Then the tendon has to learn how to function as a ligament and it actually loses strength. Over the next few weeks as Jamie heals, he'll be losing a little bit of stability in that knee until his grafted tendon learns its new job.

The second interesting fact involves the quad muscle. Jamie had noticed that his leg felt weak and looked a whole lot smaller than his other thigh. I didn't really understand this because he really hasn't rested the leg much. It's not like he was in a cast for 8 weeks. The PT said the atrophy of the muscle has to do with the sack of fluid that surrounds the knee joint. According to the PT, when the surgeons work on that joint, they first pump it full of saline to expand it and give them more room to work. This swelling trips out all the receptors in the lining of the fluid sack which then tell the brain not to use that quad muscle. And that's what makes it shrivel up and what causes that leg to be so weak following surgery. Jamie asked about going on the 60 mile Orlando to the Coast Thanksgiving bike ride again this year. The PT said his knee would be absolutely fine and handle the bike ride no problem. But there's a good chance his quad will get tired out and he'll have to stop. Of course, he's Jamie and if he said he is riding, he's riding. Guess I'll be driving the chase car.

*Please note the word "interesting" in the title means only interesting to me, not necessarily to anyone else on this planet. But it's my blog, so deal with it. I meant that in a nice way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In honor of the Phillies win last week, I'd like to share a few small victories of my own:

Game 1: Tara vs. Heater
It started to get cold here a couple weeks ago (not to worry, it's back up to the mid-70's this week). Night temperatures were down in the 30's outside and in the 50's in our house. It was nearly impossible to get out of bed in the morning. We had the timer on our thermostat all set so that the heat would keep the house comfortable for us, but no matter how low the temperature went it wasn't cutting on. Clearly something was wrong. I mentioned it to my coworker Matt who happens to live in the same neighborhood as me in a house built by the same builder with all the same builder-supplied appliances. He said they had had the same problem and told me what he did. Jamie and I went home for lunch that afternoon and I went out to the garage to fiddle with it. And lo and behold! I made it work! I was giddy with excitment the rest of the afternoon. There's something about being female and fixing something around the house that's so empowering (to be fair, there may be something about being male and fixing something around the house that's so empowering, too. But I've never been male and so I can't comment on that).
Tara - 1 Heater - 0

Game 2: Tara vs. Jamie's Hair
As long as I've known him, Jamie has refused to get his hair cut at an actual salon because he's too cheap to pay for it. His mom has cut it his whole life. Unfortunately, he now lives several hundred miles away from his mom and his hair needs to be cut more than once every few months. And I refuse to do it. I have my reasons. So the cycle has gone like this: hair looks great and is at the perfect length, hair gets too long, hair gets RIDICULOUSLY too long, I beg him to go get it cut, he insists he can do it himself, I beg some more, he shaves it all off. Which makes me sad because I prefer him unbald. But this weekend, I prevailed! Our house was a little messy before Jamie's surgery. After his surgery he was not contributing at all to the housekeeping (slacker) and I was so caught up in providing him with excellent care that I didn't have time to clean. Or I was just using his surgery as an excuse not to clean. It's all in how you look at it. Anyway, our house was gross and needed to be cleaned thoroughly. Every room. So the plan we devised was after church on Sunday he would straighten every room and I would follow along behind doing the actual cleaning - dusting, vacuuming, etc. Well his hair was well beyond the ridiculously long stage. So when we got home he started straightening and I said, "You don't have to clean at all anymore if you'll do one thing for me: go get your hair cut." Now Jamie is really good about helping me around the house. But he HATES it. He hates to clean. So I thought this was a pretty good offer. But he was ready with a counter offer: He said he'd go for it if he could also play Age of Empires for a couple hours when he got back (I hate that game. With a passion. But that's another story for another time). Ok, deal.

As I cleaned the entire house by myself that afternoon (it took me over 4 hours) while a sharply groomed Jamie played video games and watched TV, I couldn't decide whether I'd won or lost. I guess at the end of the day, his hair was cut and the house was cleaner than it's been in a long while. So...Go team!
Tara and Jamie - 1 Dirty House and Too Long Hair - 0

Overall score: Tara and Jamie - 3, The Forces That Are Against Us (namely the heater, the messy house and Jamie's out of control hair) - 0

I guess we're ahead in the series so far. Unfortunately, I have no idea how many games we have to win before the trophy's ours.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hiccups from Hades

Jamie went back to his doctor today for a post-op appointment. His knee was very swollen and hot, so the doctor used a syringe to remove some excess fluid. He was really sore afterward from having his knee handled so much, but it relieved the throbbing a little. Dr. Seidman said the fluid was normal and everything looked good and gave him a referral to start physical therapy next week. The nurse practicioner told me his loss of appetite is most likely his body's reaction to the trauma of the surgery. But after his appointment, he ate a big dinner at Zaxby's so I feel better.

While Jamie is sore and getting around on the crutches has been a pain, the biggest annoyance for him has been a case a hiccups that will not quit. They started when he was in the recovery room sleeping off the anesthesia. If there's anything worse than that post-surgery anesthesia-induced wooziness, drowsiness, pain and nausea, it's post-surgery anesthesia-induced wooziness drowsiness, pain and nausea AND a horrible case of hiccups. The nurse at the hospital Tuesday afternoon said she has heard anesthesia can cause hiccups. Unfortunately, the nausea and lightheadedness have gone away as the anesthesia worked itself out of Jamie's systems. The hiccups have not. So for the past few days as Jamie has tried to rest and recover, he's been plagued by the worst case of hiccups known to man. We have tried every remedy I've ever heard of, but have had no success.

Any suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update on Jamie

Well we spent a nice looooong day at the Duluth Outpatient Surgery Center, but Jamie's ACL is now all repaired. His doctor said the surgery went very well and that his ACL was actually completely torn and not just partially torn or stretched as he previously thought. The anesthesia did a number on him and he was pretty nauseous afterwards so we stayed in the hospital recovery room for quite a while. But we got home and got him settled in and now he's doing well. He ate and took his medicine and is feeling just fine, all things considered. Hopefully the medicines' drowsiness side effect will kick in and he'll sleep well tonight and have a good, restful day tomorrow.

I'll keep everyone updated!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jamie's Surgery

For those of you who haven't heard, Jamie injured his ACL playing soccer about a month ago. After several doctor's visits and an MRI, it was finally determined that it's not torn, but badly stretched which means it's not really doing what it's there to do. It's like when the elastic waistband goes in an old pair of underwear. It might still be there but it's not keeping those bad boys up if someone tries to pants you. The doctor said because Jamie is young, he feels the surgery is necessary. If he continued to try to run and play sports on the badly stretched ACL, it would eventually tear and could do other damage to his knee.

So next Tuesday Jamie will be getting surgery. I haven't gone to any of his doctor's appointments so I don't have too many details on what the surgery entails. His homework for next Monday when he has his pre-op appointment is to bring me as much paperwork as he can rustle up. But I do know that it's an outpatient procedure and he'll be home by Tuesday evening. He'll be in a brace and on crutches at first, but should be off the crutches within a couple weeks. Then he'll have physical therapy. I'm not sure how long the physical therapy will last or how long he'll be in a brace. I do know it'll be about 6 months before he's back to playing soccer or anything else strenuous. So if any of you were hoping to beat him at basketball or soccer any time soon, now is the time to do it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumnal Despair

All I wanted was spiced wafers. The kind that come in the orange box and go perfectly with hot apple cider. But our grocery store here does not sell them. And now I'm sitting at my desk with a cheap box of ginger snaps that get soggy after a quick dunk in my cider.

I hate Kroger and all that they stand for.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Toys for the Hotalens

When Jamie and I got married, we had two old tv's both of which Jamie brought into the marriage. I honestly have no idea where they came from. We put the nicer - and I use that term very loosely - one in our living room in our apartment and the other we kept in our bedroom. At first, we had rabbit ears in the living room and just used the one in the bedroom for the occasional DVD. Then football season rolled around and the rabbit ears would no longer suffice for Jamison. Every time Florida State played he had to walk down to the complex's weight room and run on the treadmill for a few hours to watch the game. So he talked me into getting satellite (not without much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and I don't mean that figuratively). So we watched football and tv movies and college basketball in the living room, but kept the one in our bedroom for movies only. I'm unwavering in my no-tv-in-the-bedroom stance.

The hand-me-down tv's from I-don't-know-where worked just fine for most of the first year of our marriage. But as time wore on, it became impossible to read anything on the screen. Movies with subtitles were out and sporting events had to be watched from beginning to end to keep up with the score. But we made do. And I did not want to spend the money on a new tv. If we were going to get a new one, it would be a nice one not another cheap set, and we did not want to spend money on that at that time. We might not be able see the score, but we could watch a game or a movie and still enjoy it. We didn't need a new one as far as I was concerned.

Then we moved into our new house. The living room is bigger and when we put the little hand-me-down tv on our lovely built-in shelf not only was it impossible to see, but it looked like a big ol' ugly heap o' trash-picked yuck. Jamie had been talking about getting a new one for a few months, but I was not on board until we moved. I finally had to admit that yes it is impossible to see the picture and, more importantly in my eyes, it looks really tacky. Not to mention that because of the configuration of our living room and the shape of our couch, etc., there's only one place in the living room to put the tv and the couch does not face it.

So I said to Jamie that we could start looking at tv's. And he did. Here's something you should know about Jamie if you don't already: when he decides to make a big purchase, it's a major commitment. He looked at cars from the time we got married in June until the following January (if I remember correctly) before finally buying his Camry. And when it was time to leave the apartment, he spent hours and hours online looking at houses. The positive of this? He becomes very familiar with what he's looking at and recognizes a good deal when he sees it. And then he jumps on it. We did great price-wise with both the car and our house. Jamie held out until he found what we really wanted for a good price and I'm learning that his patience is usually to my benefit. So a few months ago Jamie started looking at tv's every time he was close to a computer. Or in an electronics store. Or came across a flyer in the mail or newspaper. We had agreed on a flatscreen, 42" (those do not look big in the store next to the 50" and 78" and 942" tv's). And I figured we might get one for Christmas. Maybe early next year. It would take months for Jamie to find just the right one for just the right price, I assumed.

We were at Jamie's grandparents this weekend visiting with his mom and siblings who were up from Florida for a few days. Jamie picked up the BrandSmart flyer from the Saturday paper and pointed out a good deal to me on an LG 42" flatscreen. I glanced at it (they all look the same to me) and said, "Um hm yeah that's nice," and didn't really think much of it. Until later that day when we were headed back from Stone Mountain and Jamie said something about everyone coming with him to get our new tv. And then drove to BrandSmart (a short aside: if you've never been to a BrandSmart, you need to. It's fascinating. It's scary. It's huge and full of appliances and electronics and people spending lots of money. And it's very neon. You need to go. Trust me on that one). Well, we went in, looked at the tv he'd seen in the flyer in person, liked it (I'm sure it didn't hurt that the tv was playing the Florida State game and they were winning); he decided it was a good deal and he pounced. Next thing I know, we were trying to figure out how we were going to get this monstrosity into a 7-person minivan with 8 passengers and broken trunk that doesn't open. We couldn't.

So on Sunday, we drove back to BrandSmart (everytime I say BrandSmart I hear it sung in my head choir-of-angels-style like StuffMart from Madame Blueberry...anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone?). Now we're in our Camry which is not much larger than a minivan crammed with 8 passengers. But we figure out how to get it in there, drive home and set up the biggest - and nicest - tv I've ever owned. It looks much larger in my living room than it did in the store with all those enormous ones next to it.

And so we can read scores again. And I assume subtitles, though I haven't tried yet. And there's a cable cord running across the top of my fireplace and a cable box where my cute little basket of pumpkin spice potpurri once was. I'm told that will be resolved soon. But I do like our new tv and Jamie's very happy about it. And he let me get the Swiffer Wet Jet he's insisted we don't need for months. All I had to do was play the "We just spent a whole lot more than $17 on a new tv I think we can afford a $17 Wet Jet" card.

So if anyone is free on Thursday, I'll be watching Survivor Gabon and The Office on the big screen. With very clean floors. Feel free to join me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Autumn in North Georgia

Fall falls differently in northeast Georgia. Not being a huge fan of heat and humidity, I don't love the 80 degree weather we get straight through September, but I have to admit it does make the summer feel longer. Especially since I'm no longer in school and therefore have no schedule changes to mark the seasons. "Summer" is just whenever it's hot. And it's hot from May through September. So I guess summer lasts longer in Georgia. Man, I love it here!

Anyway, even when fall does come (as it's been trying to do in the last few days), it happens a little differently. First off, the trees start to change before the weather does. It's an odd thing to me. The temperature outside is telling me it's summer, but the foliage says it's autumn. Secondly, fall sneaks in during the night and then goes back into hiding as the sun rises. It's not unusual for morning temperatures to dip well into the 50's. But by lunchtime, it's a sweltering 85 again. Layers become a girl's best friend (unless a girl happens to work in an office with three men who consider an arctic environment perfect working conditions; then said girl is dressing in sweaters year round anyway).

Last week on my way to work I heard a DJ announce that we would be having perfect football weather that weekend - sunny and 85. Sunny and 85? That's perfect for football? When I think "football" I also always think "cold". Maybe some flurries. And ok, I know, the football season has started in New Jersey now, too and it's still warm there. But before too long every athlete in the northeast from pee wee up to pro will be wearing layers under and over their uniform. Fall sports are supposed to be played in the cold. In college, we played two games in Kentucky one year. It was raining and 40 degrees the whole time. And I loved it.

Next month the trick-or-treaters will be out (some of them anyway; Halloween's not so popular here in the Bible belt. Last year Jamie and I bought a bunch of candy and had exactly 0 visitors. I purposely bought candy we don't like to keep us from eating it all. I think we still have it). I remember having to plan Halloween costumes that allowed for warm clothing to be layered underneath. Around here, kids can just wear the fairy costume leotard without a sweatshirt stuffed underneath.

I can't say my new state of residence is better or worse than my home state, but I can say it's definitely different.

Here's a fine example of Jamie's and my inability to leave our home states behind: this was last December, we'd just returned from purchasing our first Christmas tree. It was pretty warm that night, even for Georgia. Certainly not hoodie and hat weather, dumb Jersey girl. And not tank top weather either, crazy Florida kid (to be fair, he had a long sleeved t-shirt on when we were out). Be sure to check back this December to see if we've adjusted our wardrobes in time for Christmas tree shopping 2008!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Long Weekend

Most mornings when we wake up I beg Jamie to call in sick and stay home. And then I can do the same and we can spend the day together instead of working. He never says yes. Slavedriver. But about a month or so ago when I was once again whining about going to work, we agreed that we would pick a day and take off just to relax and have some fun together. So this past Friday, we played hooky (well actually we both told our bosses well in advance we wouldn't be there) and did just that.

We slept in a bit and then drove up to Lake Burton. We didn't have a plan when we got in the car, but we were spending the night at his grandparents in Toccoa so we headed that general direction and ended up following the signs to Moccasin Creek State Park. Which is really not a park so much as a bunch of campsites on a lake. But it's a beautiful area and the drive to the park is really pretty. It reminded me a little of Wisconsin - lots of cows and hills and pretty views.

At Moccasin Creek State Park we rented a canoe and paddled around Lake Burton for about an hour. It was pretty windy so rowing was tough (at least that's what Jamie said. I really just sat in front and dipped my paddle in once or twice to look like I was helping), but it was really nice. There are a lot of pretty houses on the lake and we paddled around and checked those out. Then when we got back, I hopped out first and tried to pull the canoe up on shore. I was doing good, but Jamie couldn't keep his balance and fell out into the lake. Bwahahaha!! He surprisingly was not at all upset with me, mostly because I managed to keep his precious blackberry safe and dry. His clothes, however, stunk like nobody's business. I'm not sure I will ever be convinced to swim in that lake if the water makes a person smell that foul.

The lovely Lake Burton

Jamie - dry and happy

Canoeing duo (I spent a good portion of our time holding the camera up and taking shots of both of us. I think I did a pretty awesome job. This is just one of many fine examples).

Jamie post-swim. No longer dry, but still looking pretty happy.
Right now he's thinking: "She's so lucky she didn't dump my phone in the lake..."

After canoeing we drove around some more and enjoyed the scenery and then headed over to Toccoa. We met up with Arri outside of the gym on campus and she invited me to practice with the girls soccer team. I did and it was fun, but I am definitely old and out of shape and no longer a college athlete. Jamie meanwhile went to hang out with his extended family and then met back up with us for dinner at Arri's house before the volleyball game (which Toccoa won easily). We spent the rest of the night visiting with Jamie's family and then watched the girls and guys soccer teams play on Saturday (girls won, boys lost) before heading back home.

It was nice. It was relaxing. And now it's over and we're back at work :( But our church small group starts back up tonight AND The Office returns on Thursday. So this should be a pretty decent week!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Update to previous post...or "ARGGHH!"

No one has even read the post I wrote earlier today, and I already have to amend it. I have been doing a little bit more research and now it looks like I may have to rethink Liberty. Basically, if I want to get certified in GA as a school counselor, I need to go to school in GA at a "recommended" school (pretty much UGA or GA State). These programs are designed for people like me who have never been teachers, but want to counsel in a school. The LU classes, on the other hand, assume that I already have the teaching experience meaning some of the program requirements are WAY above my head. Going to UGA or GSU means taking GRE's, writing application essays, being interviewed by the MEd faculty, etc. just to START classes. So I won't be doing that anytime soon. It also means taking a traditional schedule, not fitting in classes online whenever I can as previously planned, doing many hours of supervision in a school AFTER I finish classes, but BEFORE I can get certified (how can anyone's budget handle that?), and basically not working in a school anytime soon. The other option would be to get an MA in teaching and work in a school as a teacher while I work on my MEd. Or getting my MA in counseling, getting my professional counseling license (600 hours of supervision there), and then taking exams to get school certified. In case you're not following, let me put it simply: I can become a school counselor, it can be done, but I will have to commit to going to school for a long, long time. It's not going to be easy. And it may be a bigger commitment than I'm willing to make.

Hello, Square One.


We've been moved into the new house for a month now. It's starting to look a little more like home, though my decorating skills are seriously lacking. We could use a few pictures on the walls and such. But we'll get there. After we hit the lotto. Adjusting to the new home was a little tougher than expected. I didn't realize how sad I'd be to leave our apartment (our first place together - sniff) and it took a while for the house to feel completely comfortable. I don't think we're quite there yet. But it's feeling more like home every day, and we've adjusted to sleeping there. That took a little while. I think we'll both be happy once we finish the last of the painting! Two more rooms to go...

I think everyone has heard this news, but in case you missed it - I'm going back to school this fall! Jamie and I have been discussing it for a while, and I've finally decided to go for it. So next month I start online classes with Liberty University to earn my Master's of Education in School Counseling. As my mom pointed out, I'll be starting at the same time as Rebecca and finished way before her! Hopefully I'll be done my December 2009, spring of 2010 by the latest. My hope is to become a counselor in a middle school once I'm finished, though I'd be perfectly content with a position in an elementary or high school at first. I'm excited and nervous - more for the job hunt part than the school part. I'm eager to start doing a job I care about and feel invested in. Most of the school work will be reading, online testing/quizzing and discussion boards. I'm sure I'll be spending a lot on books, but a class based almost completely on reading is right up my ally :) My first class - foundations of education something or other - starts September 15th. Jamie's really looking forward to becoming the cook and housekeeper for a year or so while I devote my attention to school work! pictures this time!

Monday, July 28, 2008

We Moved In!

We are all moved into the new house now. On Saturday, we rented a truck and Jamie's cousins came down from Toccoa to help us move everything. Some friends met us over at the new house to help unload and everything was done by 3:00 Saturday afternoon. It really wasn't too bad (although the guys might disagree with me since I didn't carry a single heavy thing and they carried all of our furniture down a flight of stairs into the truck). Now we have to figure out where to put everything! Jamie of course made sure the tv was set up right away and the living room furniture is pretty much where it should be, but other than that it's a disaster zone. We have SO much space, which is great, but I can't decide what to do with it all. Hopefully over the next week we'll get everything put away.

This morning there is someone coming over to put in our kitchen appliances so we'll be able to cook in the new house. Which is good because I haven't really cooked a real meal in weeks. Now we just have to go get some groceries.

We went out last night to look for blinds for our back windows. They are very sunny and I love how big they are, but it does feel a little conspicuous to sit in our living room at night with a large wall of windows right there. We didn't end up finding what we wanted, but we did get a new comforter and shams for our bedroom. I was VERY excited about that because I wanted something a little prettier. It's still just a khaki color, but it has a bit of a design and the matching shams are nice. I'm hoping to convince Haley to help me make a couple little throw pillows to complete the ensemble.

Well there's a brief update. I know you probably want more pictures, but I got nothing for ya right now. If I did take pictures of the house right now, it would just be of the piles and piles of our stuff everywhere - not too exciting. But hopefully we'll finish up the painting and make it look all pretty soon and I'll have more pictures to share!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Progress Photos

Well, a TON has gotten done around our house, but nothing is quite finished. So here is a VERY short slideshow just to show you some of what's been done. Mostly it's painting and the colors are a little hard to see online - with the exception of the kitchen. Still, I hope you enjoy them and I promise there will be a complete before-and-after slideshow once there's some afters. So for those of you who've been harassing me to keep putting new pictures up, here you go! (note: if you put your mouse over the slideshow, a few buttons will appear along the bottom. If you press pause and use the right arrow to advance the pictures, you'll have more time to look and read. They move kind of fast).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New House Updates

Well, Shane and Dad Hotalen have been working their little hearts out on our new home! They have been here since Monday night and as of last night, they had spackled and painted the entire kitchen, hooked up the new fridge (all the appliances were delivered Tuesday except the washer/dryer which we'll get on Saturday), spackled and painted two of the living room walls, removed the bars from the windows (yayy!!), took out some bad outside wiring, got us into the bonus room (it had been locked from the inside by someone since we first looked at the house. They had to take it off the hinges to get in), got the water going, and I'm sure other things that are currently escaping me. It's AMAZING how much a little paint will do! I think once the cabinets get a good scrubbing and the new appliances are in, our kitchen will look great! I was nervous about the green color, but now that it's done I really like it and so does Jamie. The rest of the main living area will be tan and brown, so the green really adds a bit of sunny color to the room. The bars being removed makes a HUGE difference in the living room. The windows aren't in terrific shape, but they look so much better now that they're not framed by prison bars.

Last night Jamie and I finally got some time to go over and help (I am so grateful for Shane and Jamie's dad! All that they have done would have taken us weeks just working in the evenings). I caulked holes left in the siding by the window bars and Jamie and Shane removed nails and such from the master bedroom/nursery walls, spackled the holes and started priming so we can get those rooms painted.

Jamie set up an appointment to get the carpets deep-cleaned on Friday afternoon. I'm very happy about that for two reasons: first, they could really use it and second, I will be much more comfortable living there after the previous owners' cooties have been cleaned out of our carpet! We were considering getting all new flooring, but we all the expenses of buying and fixing up the house, we've decided that can wait. It will most likely get done next spring/summer when we get our tax refund (welcome to adult life - where you have your tax refund spent 9 months before you even file).

Last night we bought new locks for all the doors. Jamie took off work today to help his dad and brother so the three of them should be getting the new locks in and finishing the paint in the master bedroom/nursery today. We had hoped to move on Saturday, but that doesn't look like it will be possible. We could probably have enough done to the new house to live there, but we definitely won't have any of the apartment packed up yet! And we'll need to get the bathrooms painted soon in order to give them a lot of time to dry before we start taking hot showers in there.

Well, there's our latest updates! I'm sure I'm missing something but the guys have done so much it's hard to keep up!

Here's a picture I created to be included in the slideshow but had a hard time getting to work. It's a VERY rough, not at all to scale outline of the house. I just wanted to give everyone and idea of how the house is laid out.

I'll post pictures of some of the rooms once they are finished! There has been a lot of progress, but there is still a lot to do. And though I definitely could take pictures of everything that's getting done, that would be a lot of pictures. So I thought I'd wait until there was a lot done and post new pictures all at once. Sorry, Mom!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New House Pictures!

Tip: if you place your mouse over the person icon in the bottom left corner, a box will appear with a link to Picasa. If you click this link, it will open up Picasa where I created the slideshow. Then you can click on "slideshow" above the pictures and see a fullscreen version of this show.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Offical Closing Date

Monday, July 14th (Happy anniversary, Shannon and George!) at 11:00 am!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Closing Postponed :(

Unfortunately, Jamie and I found out yesterday that due to some unpaid home owner's dues and fees from the last resident, we cannot close on our house today. Big bummer. The good thing is the outstanding payments were taken care of yesterday and we are now just waiting to reschedule our closing. The mortgage company needs five business days between all the paperwork getting finalized and the closing date, so we are hoping for Friday. It may be next Monday before we can close. Either way, we will be happy! A Friday closing means we can get started on house projects this weekend and Jamie's dad and brother Shane might be able to come up and help. But closing Monday would give us a weekend off - something we have not had for several weeks due to all our traveling. We could both use it! I will keep you updated as soon as we find out!

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July Fun

Jamie and I spent the weekend with his family travelling up to Illinois for the Mueller family reunion (Jamie's maternal grandmother's family). Friday we drove up to Waterloo with Jamie's parents, brother Shane, grandparents, Aunt Judy and Uncle John and cousins Alex and Cameron and Alex's girlfriend Katie. It took about 10 hours to get there, but it wasn't a bad trip at all. It's a pretty area of the country to drive through.

Friday night after checking into our hotel and getting some dinner, we got a tour of Grandma Kerr's hometown. She took us past the house her parents had lived in, her old high school and the first home they had lived in after moving to Waterloo. It's such a neat town. The houses are so pretty and historic and people seemed to take a lot of pride in their lawns. There was a lot of very green, thick grass and gorgeous gardens. Back at the hotel, we played around with a frisbee and a giant rubber ball before heading over to St. Louis for the fireworks. Watching the 4th of July fireworks over the Mississippi River sitting under the Arch was a really neat experience. The light from the fireworks reflected off the Arch and looked so pretty. The sound bounced off of the high rises behind us in the city and made it probably the loudest fireworks show I'd ever been to. The traffic in St. Louis afterwards was insane and by the time we got back to the hotel, it was after midnight and we all went straight to bed.

Saturday was the reunion held at Camp Wartburg. We were there pretty much all day. In the morning, we met up with the family at the camp for family pictures and a LOT of introductions. There were 7 siblings in the Mueller family, so with all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it's quite a big group! The rest of the morning (and much of the rest of the day) was spent playing four square. After lunch, Jamie and I, Shane, Cameron and Glenn Tatum (a young relative...I could explain how exactly he's related, but is that really worth it?) went exploring through the camp. There was a high ropes course that we weren't able to use, but we went to have a look at it and found some low ropes elements in the woods nearby. So we played on those and then hiked through the woods. It's a really pretty piece of land. Later in the afternoon we went swimming at the pool (Grandma's brother had worked as a lifeguard at the same pool when he was in high school!). We had a family worship time (the Mueller family is very Lutheran) and then dinner followed by a talent revue. After the talent show and a little more four square, we went back to the hotel and headed to bed. We needed to get to sleep pretty early, because on Sunday we left at 6 a.m. Jamie's parents and Shane had to get all the way back to Orlando so that Shane could be in school Monday morning (he's taking a summer course to get ahead). I was really grateful we only had to get back to Georgia! It was probably right around 2 a.m. or so by the time they made it to Orlando. The travelling was a little bit exhausting, but the reunion and the time we spent with Jamie's family was definitely worth it!

Tomorrow is our closing! Look for pictures of the house soon!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Closing Date!

We have a closing date, folks! This feels like it has taken FOREVER, but we finally have a date set. July 8th we will be settling on the house. So get your back braces and come on over!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Anniversary Trip

For our anniversary, Jamie and I spent last weekend in Atlanta. We rode the Marta down after work on Friday and came back Sunday afternoon. The hotel we stayed at, The Georgian Terrace, is an historical building with a really neat background. It's across the street from the Fox Theater where "Gone With the Wind" premiered. The premier party was held at the Georgian Terrace ballroom and all of the actors stayed in the hotel. Our room was very nice and there was a rooftop pool with a great view of the skyline.

On Friday, we hung out around the hotel and ate dinner at a brick oven pizza place (I had lobster ravioli that was SOO good!). After dinner we walked to Publix to get some ice cream for that evening and donuts for breakfast. We had a full kitchen with a fridge, stove and microwave so that was nice. We had to buy utensils though because there weren't any in the kitchen. We swam (well Jamie swam, I thought the water was too cold) and hung out around the hotel for the rest of the evening.

Saturday we got up and decided to walk to Atlantic Station, which is about 2 1/2 miles from the hotel. The Marta bus runs between the hotel and Atlantic Station, so we figured we'd just hop on if we got tired (or too hot - it was over 90 degrees all weekend), but we made it all the way there. We ate lunch and shopped at Ikea and then stopped at Starbucks before heading back. Again, we figured we'd jump on a bus, but didn't end up doing it. That part of Atlanta is very new and visitor-friendly. There are a lot of neat stores and buildings to look at and no shady neighborhoods to go through, so it was a nice walk.

We were exhausted after our walk, so we took some time to rest and then got showered and dressed for dinner. Jamie had found a really nice little restaurant down the street from the hotel about 2 or 3 blocks. It was called "Silk" and was an Asian sushi/steakhouse. The food was delicious and we got a free dessert :)

Sunday we walked to the aquarium - a much shorter walk than Atlantic Station! We spent a couple hours checking out the fishes and sticking our hands in the "Pet a Sting-Ray" tanks. They have a few whale sharks there which are really neat and the sea lions and otters were fun to watch. We had a good time there.

It was a really fun weekend! I hope you enjoy all the pictures!

Hotel Shots:
Georgian Terrace

The Lobby at Night
On the Rooftop Terrace:
More rooftop, less view:
The Pool and Skyline
Beautiful View of the City
Another Skyline Shot
These two shots are from the tower above the lobby in the hotel. If you look at the first picture again, there's actually two sections to the hotel. The front part is the original building. The glass tower that sticks up from the middle (where the American flag is) attaches the original building to the newer section. These pictures are from the top floor taken out of the tower. Sorry for the blurriness in all the nighttime pictures. Great idea for Jamie and Tara's Christmas present this year: New Camera!!
Tower Shot 1
Tower Shot 2
The Rooftop Skyline again
The living room
The bedroom
View from the top floor looking down

Pictures from dinner at Silk:
All Prettied Up
Jamie trying my Singapore Lahksa Noodles. They were good, but spicy and the bowl was HUGE!
Our dessert - so yummy! Courtesy of the Silk staff. It was a chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and fresh raspberries and strawberries. I think Jamie looks like free desserts really tick him off.

Pictures from the Georgia Aquarium:
In front of the big tank

Jamie looking for a sting ray to pet
We Love the Aquarium!

In other News: We should have a closing date set for the house before we come up to New Jersey. We have the utilities turned on and the inspection done. Jamie is finishing up some final things with the mortgage dudes and his aunt is hoping to schedule our closing for early July. We'll be moving on or before July 31st, when TreePark Apartments will be kicking us out. Hopefully we'll have a few weeks to steam clean the carpets and put some fresh paint on the walls before we move in. You can all start planning your trips to GA for August! (Or July if you feel like painting, cleaning and moving furniture!)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our New House!!

Jamie and I put an offer in on a house earlier this week and we just found out yesterday it was accepted! We signed some papers yesterday and we'll find out more in the coming week about closing, etc. Stay tuned for pictures and such once everything is finalized!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Coke Museum

A couple weeks ago, Jamie and I invited Arri and Joel to spend the day with us down in Atlanta. After church, we met up at our house to head downtown. We rode Marta in, which was a fun new experience for everyone but Jamie, who'd done it before. Actually, there's nothing too exciting about riding Marta, but it was nice that no one had to drive and we got to observe some of the really interesting characters who use public transportation. Here's a couple pictures of the amazingly long escalator we took up to street level at the end of our ride.

We went to the Coke Museum which was smaller than I thought it would be, but still fun. They had some really cool old Coke paraphernalia. The picture below is Jamie, Joel and Arri checking out some of the cool stuff. And a shot of the old vending machines, which I thought were pretty cool.

Here we are in our awesome classes before the 4D show. I'm still not really sure what it was supposed to be about. But we looked pretty good in the glasses.

This one is Jamie and Arri playing a game in the museum. I don't think either of them understood the rules. They just wanted to push the buttons.

The best part of the museum was definitely getting to taste all the crazy Coke products from around the world. There is one drink called the Beverly - a soda from Italy - that apparently no one likes. Jamie got a picture of Joel's and my Beverly faces.

After the museum we walked through Centennial Park. The wind was so strong that day we were getting blown over.

These are hard to see, but I tried to get a couple pictures of the damage that has yet to be repaired from the tornado. Several of the hotels still have broken windows patched up with tape and plywood.

Before heading home, we had dinner at Ted's Montanta Grill. It was a fun day! I hope Arri and Joel enjoyed it as much as we did!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Habitat for Humanity

Jamie and I spent some time working with Habitat for Humanity today down in Snellville with another couple from our small group. Our church is sponsoring a build for a lady who is an immigrant from Kosovo, She lost her entire family in the fighting there and was in a coma when she arrived in the US a few years ago (don't ask me to explain that. I'm curious myself. That was all the explanation they gave to us). She and her almost two-year-old daughter will be moving into this house in June or July. We had a good time hanging out with Jesse and Angel and discovered that hard hats are probably not going to become our accessory of choice (I'll post some pictures of that later). We were exhausted when we got home and were in bed by 10:00 Saturday night - we're such party animals! It was a lot of fun, but it definitely left me wondering how I ever survived a week at Reach!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Welcome to my blog! I have to admit, I feel like a nerd for having a blog. But after having enjoyed my sister's so much over the past several months, I thought I'd try it out. Sorry family, but I'm sure I won't be as funny as she is! Hopefully you'll still enjoy and be able to keep up with what's new with Jamie and I. I know I don't have any cute kids to write about (yet!), so I can't promise to have such cute pictures. But I'll still be able to share with everyone no matter where you're living. Happy reading!