Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Onward 2010!

I've been thinking a lot about Resolutions for the New Year, and I've basically summed in up in one big motto:  Fine Tune.  Yep, Fine Tune.  Fine Tune what, you ask?  Does that mean exercise more?  Firm up those flabby areas?  Yes, in a way - but to Fine Tune myself in general.  I've got some really great things going for me right now: I'm blessed to have a wonderful husband that God designed specifically for me to challenge me, grow with me, and live life with me.  I've got a supportive family; fabulous set of friends; roof over my head; two insane adorable pets; an awesome new job.... to sum it up: blessed beyond measure. 

So, I'll be doing some Fine Tuning in 2010:
  1. Fine Tuning my new "Mrs. Smith" role - Can I work at being a better, more supportive, nuturing, caring wife?  Yes.
  2. Fine Tuning my relationships with Family and Friends - Can I be a better daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, or friend? Yes.
  3. Fine Tuning my relationship with God - Can I make my life better as a more focused Christian?  Yes.  Can I seek a deeper relationship with Jesus through more regular Sunday mornings in church and Bible study?  Can I challenge myself to grow by reading more spiritually rather than leisurely? Yes.
  4. Fine Tuning my financial fitness - Ok, I'm actually pretty good here.  As the CFO, I'm OCD about our monthly budgets and financial planning.  But am I doing enough "Saving More and Spending Less?"  Doing enough planning for our long-term and retirement goals?  Yes, we're only in our 20's, but I want to enjoy my retirement, not skimp on it. 
  5. Fine Tuning myself, in general.  Ok, you get the picture now.  I will casually work on eating better and working out more.  There's no "Big Day" this year to motivate me to squeeze myself into a teeny, tiny wedding dress, but there are several bridesmaid functions happening.  Will I be as small as I was on the Big Day six months ago?  Lord, no.  But I can represent myself as the best possible version of myself. 
Actually... that's the mission statement of the "Fine Tune" goal:  to be the best possible version of myself.  Will it happen everyday?  Hahahaha, no way.  But I can try.  On the News the other night some anchor mentioned that the last decade was one of the worst decades in history.  Mr. Smith and I looked at each other and discussed it.  Our last decades were overall pretty good, we decided.  We grew up, got educated, got together, got further educated, got married, got domesticated, etc.  It's exciting to think where we will be when we contemplate this decade... let's see that will be 2020, and we'll be in our mid-thirties.  Yikes.  Never mind, no more contemplating!  That's enough for now!

Monday, January 25, 2010

R.I.P. Pink Chair

Okay, so the Smiths were incredibly boring this weekend.  Mr. Smith ventured off to get some much-needed hunting in on Saturday, while I stayed home and got caught up on really fun things, like laundry.  My parents also came into town for their anniversary dinner (Happy Anniversary guys!) and came over to meet their newest grandchild, The Pooper, who instantly captured their hearts.  The Grandparents lovingly brought over a whole bunch of new toys for Cooper, and he was smitten with them as well. 

Since we were so boring, I'll tell you all about a funny adventure that happened to Mr. and Mrs. Smith over the Christmas holidays that did not make its way to the Blog.  It's about a beloved pink chair that my mom had bought me somewhere (probably at an antique or yard sale... it's where I get the frugalness from!).  This pink chair traveled with me to DC after graduating, back down to Alabama, and has lived with me for about 5 years.  Until Christmas Day.  When Mr. Smith murdered it. 

You see, upon realizing that the pink chair was taking up a tad too much room in our guest room, we decided to take it back up to my parents' house on Christmas Day, and swung by our home on our journey from T-Town to Cullman.   We were taking two cars, since Mr. Smith wanted to go hunting that Saturday, and he easily swung up my pink chair into the back of his truck... ready to go.  "Wait!"  I cried.  "Don't forget to tie it down!" 

"No, no, no, silly.  I have much experience in moving furniture," said Mr. Smith "And this chair it totally fine just sitting here in the back of my truck.  Don't be dramatic."  (Who, me?)

This back-and-forth went on for a solid ten minutes until I said (like any good wife), "Okay, fine.  I'm sure you're right." 

Fifteen minutes into our journey, Mr. Smith is following me up I-65 and right about the University Blvd exit, he proceeds to call my cell phone to let me know that the pink chair has flown out of the truck and is sitting in the middle of the Interstate.  Peeling back around, we see the chair (in all its glory) in the middle of the 3-lane interstate with Christmas traffic zooming in and around its perilous perch.  Pulling over, we debated what to do, and Mr. Smith decided the best thing would be for him ro run out into the busy Interstate, grab the chair from the middle lane, turn around and run back over. 

I burst into hysterical tears.  You see, I'm not a crier.  I hardly ever shed the tears.  But I just knew... I KNEW... I was going to watch Mr. Smith be killed before my very eyes on Christmas Day.  I blubbered to please call 911... that they would know what to do... all the while sobbing my eyes out.  Alas, we were both so taken aback by my hysterics that we were frozen in place on the side of the Interstate.  Lo and behold, a miracle.  Two very nice Birmingham City Police officers pulled up in their expert cruiser, flashed on those beautiful blue lights, and safely guided out Mr. Smith into the Interstate to retrieve the now very-battered and abused pink chair.  A Christmas miracle!!! 

Poor Mr. Smith.  It was a gut-wrenching moment where he had to both apologize and accept that I had been right.  Nevertheless, we continued on our journey to Cullman, after he had wrapped up that chair like a mummy in the back of his truck.  And then we had to show the parents what had happened.  Luckily, they were just thankful no one had been injured, as were we. 

Moral of the story: Husbands.... listen to your wives.  They know what they are talking about.  :) 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mud, Mud, Everywhere There's Mud!

And by that title I mean that all that mud is in my house, thanks to The Pooper.  He gets great joy in tracking it in and then chasing Mom around the house while she is trying to sweep.  We've been keeping an old beach towel by the back door to rub down Coop when he first comes in from his backyard play, to no avail.  And then last night when I returned home from a girls dinner, Mr. Smith had traded in the old beach towel for one of our new, wedding towels.  Which is now covered in the Mud.  Sweet.

Got to go out on the town a little last night to experience a new restaurant in the 'Ham called Dodiyo's.  Be prepared to wait for an hour for your table.  Eight of us gals sat around catching up on the gossip for a good 60 minutes before we were seated, and the whole sha-bang lasted almost 4 hours.  But, I guess that's nothing when you've got great company, great food, and a great atmosphere, right?  We also had the joy of celebrating the engagement of a Miss CeCe Brown!  Congrats girl - we're all so happy for you! 

In other news... me thinks Rufus the Squirrel has fled the premises.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith have not heard this rascal in a couple of weeks now, so I'm hoping the coast is clear.  Perhaps the Pooper's arrival scared him away?  He is so ferocious. 

Tonight we are having the future Mr. and Mrs. Carroll over for dinner - roast, yum!  I'm pumped about another night of fellowship with some good friends who can't wait to make the acquaintance of The Pooper.  Cross your fingers he does not get the Mud all over them! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Live in a Zoo

I can't believe it's already Tuesday and my glorious 3-day weekend has come to an end.  Not there was anything producitve done all weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were actually at the mercy of our sick Cooper.  Saturday and Sunday was spent snuggling with the Pooper on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, and wiping his nose with a roll of tissue we kept handy.  Is this what having a child is like?  Because it sure felt like it.  I even contemplated making the Pooper some chicken noodle soup, because as we all know - that cures everything. 

The Pooper was back in action yesterday though, so no worries!  We spent most of my day off playing outside, and he even gave me the chance to visit Mr. Smith for some lunch downtown.  This morning we were back to our usual routine of "The Morning Zoo."  Which usually involves Mr. Smith getting out the door as quickly as possible and leaving Mrs. Smith as the mediator between the Pooper and our first born, Abby "the Princess" cat.  I really do wish wish someone could tape our mornings before work, because I know it has to be hilarious to the outside viewer.  The movie "Marley and Me" sums it up pretty well.  The Pooper also likes to grab on to one of the legs of my hose in the morning, with one leg already in.  I'm not a fan of hose by any means, but when you've already got one leg in and you are chasing a lab puppy around your bedroom, it's not pretty.  Change of Plans:   I'm wearing pants today.  :) 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby Love...

Last night I had the joy of visiting one of my dearest friends and her one month old bundle of joy, Miss Madilyn Grace.  I made her a big 'ol pot of black bean soup and hauled myself up to Hayden after work, where I spent the evening soaking up some baby love.  Miss Madilyn is precious, and I hogged her the entire time.  We watched Two and a Half Men, Vampire Diaries, and Grey's Anatomy together.  (I had to cover her eyes some in Vampire Diaires because those scenes are inappropriate for children.)  I got to catch up with her fabulous Momma as well!

Precious angel. 

In other news, Mr. Smith took Cooper the Pooper to the vet to get the staples removed from his loss of manhood surgery and Puppy has a sinus infection.  Really?  Dogs get those?  He has a pretty killer sneeze and a little cough right now, so the vet has given us antibiotics.  Plus heartworm medicine.  Plus ear drops.  Owning a dog?  Priceless.  Lucky for Pooper that's he is so cute.  Otherwise Mrs. Smith would not be a happy camper that her monthly budget has gone awry. 

Speaking of budgets, many of you know I have been in a relationship a fan of Dave Ramsey of over two years now.  Dave is awesome.  He is fierce, but he is awesome.  Mr. Smith is getting the opportunity to get to know Dave now that we are living the newlywed dream.  We like to call ourselves with titles around the Smith household:  I'm the CFO, and Mr. Smith is the CEO.  And Pooper is not sharing the CFO's vision right now.  Oh well.  At least Mr. Smith is a happy camper with his new buddy!  :)  To watch the two of them snuggling on the couch everyday does a heart good. 

Toodles Poodles!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We all scream for ice cream!

Last night I had the pleasure of organizing an Ice Cream Social out at Gateway's Campus.  It was so much fun, and I think the kids out there really enjoyed having a "normal" night eating some good ice cream with their pals.  We had four big tubs: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry swirl, neopolitan, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, strawberry syrup, whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles, cherries, and Oreos - a sundae delight!  I may have found my missed career as an ice cream lady, because I had a blast scooping bowls and bowls of it... all with my latex gloves on, in true "lunch lady" fashion. 

Not to get on a soap box or anything, but I feel so strongly about getting involved with your community.  I hear friends say all the time, I just can't afford to give to charity right now.  My thought is that there are so many ways to give: money, time, prayer, service, etc.  Everyone can carve out a few hours every month to volunteer or serve on a Junior Board... and you know what?  It doesn't cost a dime, but it's worth so much because you're bettering the lives of someone else.  My ice cream social took 3 hours max last night, and 25 kids got to have a wonderful, fun-filled evening!  There are tons of charities and nonprofit agencies here in Birmingham where you can find your passion and serve.  Visit the Nonprofit Resource Center at or the United Way website at to find an agency that you can really get excited about.  Hands on Birmingham keeps a running list of volunteer opportunities in the area, if you feel you cannot commit to just one agency -  As Leigh Anne Tuohy says in The Blind Side... "you can thank me later."  (Love her!) 

Please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith were just down there for our honeymoon six short months ago, and the people down there are awesome.  I'm sure they are devastated and need our prayers more so that ever before! 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Birthday Weekend

The Smith's enjoyed a wonderful birthday weekend - full of relaxing, good food, and family visits.  We're sure the family visits were really to visit the newest addition... Cooper the Puppy.  Yep!  After much deliberation, Puppy has officially been named Cooper.  (Special thanks to Sister and Sister's Fiance for their assistance Friday night!) 

Mr. Smith's family took us to a fabulous dinner at Bonefish Grill on Saturday night, and afterwards we all came back to our home for cake.  Not just any cake, mind you, but Snowman Cake.  Mr. Smith's grandmother made him these special winter-y creations for his birthdays growing up, and every year I always hear about the awesome Snowman Cakes.  This year I decided to bravely gone where no KitchenAid mixer in the Smith home has gone before... the creation of a Snowman Cake.  I must admit, it was my version of homemade (thanks, Pillsbury) and not "from scratch" like grandmother's version, but still really, really good.  And it took a really, really long time to do, but I had fun and the result was applauded by Mr. Smith.  I mean... who could ask for more?  A Snowman Cake and a black lab puppy?  Sounds to me like a perfect birthday party. 

Snowman Cake!

Apparently Mr. Smith and Cooper were so exhausted from the festivities, that this was their main position all weekend:

On the couch, stretched out, and either watching football or snoozing.  And yes, Cooper sleeps on his back like that, curled up next to Dadddy.  Precious thing.  Both of them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Smith!

Mr. Smith's birthday is tomorrow, and I've been seriously deliberating on what to get him.  With our birthdays right after Christmas, it's always hard to give gifts!  :)  Not to get them though, right?  Mr. Smith has wanted a puppy since we have been together, but there was always a reason not to get one.  We already have our "special" cat, Abby, so it's not like we are pet-less people.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and surprise him with a black lab puppy for his birthday!  Because of the weather and National Championship game, I went ahead and headed over to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society yesterday at lunch.  It's really close to where I work, and I strolled the precious puppy displays for quite some time.  This little guy just stuck out to me, and thankfuly we hit it off in the "Adoption Room."  He seemed so sweet, so laidback, so angelic.  What a ruse!  He is quite the rascal upon getting him home! 

I love surprising people with gifts.  It's probably one of my Top Three things in life to do.  So when Mr. Smith got home from work yesterday and strolled in like usual, there was me and Puppy waiting on him.  I really do wish I had taken pictures of his face, because it was priceless.  He was quite baffled, and just kept saying "Really?  I mean, really?"  So cute.  He was like a little kid on Christmas!  Mission accomplished! 

Now comes the debate on what to name this precious thing, because right now he is being called "Puppy."  As in, "Puppy, please don't eat my new Pottery Barn bathroom rug.  Puppy, stop chasing Abby.  NO PUPPY NO - DO NOT TEE TEE IN THE FLOOR!!!"  (Please note this is usually me doing this, because I am the "bad" parent and Mr. Smith wants to be the "good" parent.)

I like the name "Ingram" for obvious reasons :  Mark Ingram is my hero.  I love him, his athletic prowess, his Heisman Trophy, his National Championship and most of all his sweet and humbling demeanor.  I feel like we could be friends.  Mark... if you're listening, facebook me.  Mr. Smith came up with a few suggestions of his own:  Wyatt, Max, Attila (that one got quickly vetoed) and we also like Cody.  For Mt. Cody of the Crimson Tide, of course.  We will keep you posted on this charmer's name...  as for now, please keep Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Abby and Puppy in your prayers for their sanity and patience. 


Learning tricks with Daddy.

Being adopted into a loving home is so exhausting!

Yes, Martin, he is still breathing. 

Hi Mom!  When are you going to stop taking pictures of me?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Roll Tide Roll!

Anyone who knows Mr. and Mrs. Smith knows that we are Crimson Tide football fans... and that might be putting it lightly.  I love my team, and I ride the emotional rollercoaster with them every football season.  This year has literally been a dream come true for every Alabama, young and old.  You see, being an Alabama fan means that every season - regardless of your team or coach - you know that this will be the year of the National Championship.  That this year will be the lucky #13.  And you tumble down the rollercoaster when the reality comes home that this is not the year... but we'll get them next year!  Next year will be the one!  (Alabama fans... you know this is so true!) 

However... we are here.  Tonight is the night for our chance at #13.  And we're good.  So good that we've won the SEC Championship and my Mark Ingram has won his rightful Heisman Trophy.(Yes - my Mark Ingram - I've campaigned for him since the first game of the season when he showed his athletic prowess.  I also believe deep down I'm the reason he won the Heisman Trophy.  Me and my power of positive thinking, right?)   We are going for the Triple Crown this season, people.  THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!! 

I've gotten about a million of these emails, but will share the excitement of fellow Bama fans:


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Global Warming?!?!?

Okay, so it's freezing outside.  As in, below 25 degrees.  Yes, I know it's January, but this is Alabama.  God's country, some might say.  And I've never seen it this cold.  Bundle up everyone! 

So last night, I watched "The Biggest Loser" on NBC for the first time ever.  Where have I been?  How could I not have known this show would bring me a mix of laughter and tears in one concise hour?  I'm obsessed.  These people are amazing, and it's truly a humbling show to watch.  You go Biggest Loser people!  By George, I was so pumped that I started working out during the show.  Yep - sit ups, biceps curls, leg lifts... the whole lot.  I'll admit I'm a little sore today, but feel it's worth it.  What a great show! 

Monday night was a great girls' night watching The Bachelor.  I literally wince while watching that show, because it's like, seriously ladies?  C'mon - pull yourself together.  However, it makes for great entertainment and comedic good times with the girls. 

I'm still getting my New Year's Resolutions together, and plan on posting them soon so I can be held accountable.  At church on Sunday, Rev. Turner told us that her three resolutions were:
1.  Choose Love
2.  Practice Forgiveness
3.  Bring Hope

As Christians we're not only given a New Year to ring in our goals, but also direction from our Heavenly Father to practice these three things on a daily basis anyway.  I'll be incorporating these three resolutions into my everyday activities.  No one said they would be easy, but I'm challenging myself to not judge, to not automatically point the finger, and to not spit out the first sassy words that come to my mind (Me?  Sassy?  No way!), but to Choose Love first and foremost. 


Monday, January 4, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside...

Good morning!  I hope everyone is warm and toasty wherever they are reading this!  Mr. and Mrs. Smith spent a very relaxing New Year's weekend together, which went something along the lines of Mr. Smith watching EVERY. SINGLE. FOOTBALL. GAME. on television, while Mrs. Smith cleaned, organized, and other "wifely" duties like that.  Mr. Smith did take a break on Saturday to go to his beloved Boligee for hunting, and I got the chance to make a big batch of homemade potato soup.  It really should be called "Patience Potato Soup" because it is a little time consuming and the result is not immediate.  However, it is delicious and also very economically friendly to the 'ol budget.  :)  Which I love, of course. 

Homemade (Patience) Potato Soup
You can really make as much or as little as you want, because the ingredients are flexible. 


  • Red skin potatoes - peeled and cut into about half-inch blocks (Most economical to buy one of those 3 lb. bags of potatoes.  I peeled mine while watching "20 Years of the Duggar Family" on TLC and the process flew by!)

  • Medium Onion - chopped - about a cup

  • 2 - 3 Cans of Chicken Broth (depending on how much you want; if you use 3 lbs. of potatoes, I suggest using 3 cans)

  • Half-and-Half - about 2 cups

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese  - about 3 cups (I used both Medium and Sharp cheddar cheeses)

  • Salt - about a teaspoon

  • Pepper - about a teaspoon

  • Crock Pot

  • Put potatoes, onion, salt, and chicken broth into crock pot and let cook for about 6 hours on low.  (You read that right - 6 hours.  Told you it took patience!)  You can also do it on High for 3 hours, whatever it takes to get the potatoes tender.
  • After the 6 hours, pour in about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of Half-and-Half and Pepper and stir together.  Cook on High for about 15 minutes.
  • Take Cover off of Crock Pot and let stand about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in Cheese until melted. 
  • Serve with Crumpled Bacon, Bread, etc.
  • Refrigerate Leftovers.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is basically fool-proof and so delicious on a cold day like today. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  Thinking back, 2009 was such a big year for Mr. and Mrs. Smith:  finishing graduate school, new jobs, getting married... wow!  Never a dull moment.  I'm excited to see what 2010 has in store for everyone.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith have had a rather uneventful New Year's weekend.  To be honest, we've been absolutely lazy bums.  It's glorious. 

I know you're probably tired of reading about Rufus, but that dang squirrel has evaded us once more.  During our low-key New Year's Eve fondue dinner (which is such an easy and delicious-in-my-belly meal), we heard the trap close in the attic.  RUFUS!  Mr. Smith barreled through the hall to search the attic, and low and behold, this is what we found:

An EMPTY squirrel trap.  The peanut butter crackers (which were in the middle of the trap) are gone, and the trap is completely closed on the both sides.  Dang you Rufus. 

After closer inspection, we found that Rufus did enjoy his peanut butter crackers, as he left traces of peanut butter on the side of the trap:

It's a little blurry, but you can witness the peanut butter bandit, like we did. 

Signing off for now... I'm making a new homemade potato soup recipe in the crock pot... will post recipe if it's everything I've dreamt of and more. :) 

Happy New Year!