Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

After Thanksgiving and the infamous "Black Friday with the Family" experience this past weekend, the holidays are officially in full swing. We went down to Chattanooga this year to my Aunt Tina's house for Thanksgiving with the whole family. It was the first time Erin, my brother's girlfriend, had been to a big family holiday gathering at one of our houses. I hope she doesn't think we're too crazy after this weekend, although I will say we were rather tame in comparison to most years :) We had family photos made, courtesy of Image Photogrpahy by Matt Wolcott, for the first time in WAY too many years, at Chester Frost Park. The scenery there was great, despite the fact that I sat in some kind of animal excrement... But anyway, it was great to have the whole family together to document how much we've grown since the last real picture, and I can't wait to see how the photos turn out!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving meal, with everyone crowding in the kitchen to help. Even Justin and my cousin Matt pulled their weight, whipping up some very tasty mashed potatoes. There's a story behind the potatoes... a few years ago, Justin and Matt saw my grandmother using a mixer to mix the potatoes to the perfect "mashed" consistency. The boys were insistant that these were not mashed potatoes, but "whipped" potatoes, and vowed that they would take care of the potatoes the next year. However, they didn't take the job too seriously, and every year since, they have been hijacking the potatoes and coming up with some weird concoction of ingredients that normally don't belong in potatoes and serving them to us with evil grins. It's gotten to the point where we are afraid to eat them, which is positively a downright shame, since who doesn't love mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? This year though, they finally got their act together and made some really great mashed potatoes, which is one of the things we were all extremely thankful for!

The next day all the girls in the family went Black Friday shopping. In previous years, we did the whole getting up at 3am thing to hit all the stores with the doorbuster deals and we went through all the ads the day before and made lists of everything we needed to get. But lately it's just too much hassle, and there are always those crazy people camping out at midnight that get all the good stuff before you anyway, so we've been taking it easy recently. We left the house at about 8am and spent the morning at the big stores like Target and Academy Sports, then took a break for lunch at Fuji Steakhouse (best fried rice I've ever had, by the way), and then finished the day with an afternoon at Hamilton Place mall. It was a pretty good day, and I don't think we scared Erin too much :) Below is a picture of me and my cousins and Erin showing our holiday spirit in Target.

Snowflake, reindeer, snowflake, reindeer

Saturday, as any avid Vols fan would know, was the last regular season football game of the year. Tyson's family came into town and his brothers stayed with us Friday night so we could get up early and tailgate. We got to UTFCU on the strip at about 7am (in the 25˚ weather, no less...) and proceeded to build a fort out of our Tennessee tent and sleeping bags and blankets. Then we cranked up the generator and plugged in the kerosene heater and one electric heater and huddled together for a few hours until it was warm enough to venture outside. It was pretty hilarious, and I'm sure we looked ridiculous out there, but we had a blast at our last football game for nine months. Here are a few pictures of our makeshift fort:


The fake fire is a nice touch, don't you think?

The kerosene heater was a God send, although it kind of
looks like it's catching someone's leg on fire right now...

Erin and I got these awesome shirts in Chattanooga on Black Friday!

So now our fun weekend is over and it's back to work and the real world. We used Sunday to pack some more boxes and then we went to Home Depot and ordered the refrigerator for the new house. Thanks to our many family and friends who gave us Home Depot gift cards for our wedding, and the great sale they were having on major appliances, we got a fantastic deal on a big side by side fridge!

The house is coming along great too. Our closing date will be sometime between the 15th and 23rd of December, so we are officially moving in about three weeks. So crazy to think about! I turned in our 30-day written notice of our last day to our apartment complex yesterday, along with our last rent check EVER, and it was a very liberating feeling!

Here is the most current picture of the outside of the house:

This week is another full week, with a little Christmas shopping last night, dinner with my good friend Abbey tonight, our first knoxAchieves mentor meeting tomorrow night, a meeting with the DJ from our wedding on Thursday to do our post-interview, and MORE Christmas shopping this weekend. It's only going to get busier from here on out too, with a trip up to Ohio to visit my dad's side of the family next weekend, and hopefully moving in to the new house the weekend after that, and then Christmas, New Years, and our ski trip to Massanutten! I love the holidays, but man do they tire me out!

Thanks for sticking around to read this (if you made it this far), and I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season with your family too!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mi Casa es....well, Mi Casa

I kid, I kid. Once we get moved in to this thing we can't wait to have everyone over to see the new place!

Anyway, things are coming along VERY quickly... In fact, it's looking as if we'll be in by the end of the year after all. We've already started packing up the apartment since we won't have all of our time to devote to it during the holidays. Neither one of us is all that thrilled about having to go through the moving process again, but once it's done I know we'll be so glad to be able to be sure that we're going to stay in one place for awhile!

Here are some of the latest pictures of what's done so far, although a lot has been accomplished since even these were taken!

Half way done with the siding, and stonework complete
(although you can't really tell in this picture).

Accented ceiling in the living room.

Doesn't look like it yet, but this is the kitchen.

The entryway, looking at it from the living room. Dining room is to the
right, office is to the left.


Most recent updates on the house are as follows: Siding and exterior are done, minus the shutters, real front door, and garage door (temporary doors installed for now). Drywall is completely done, and the painting is almost finished. The trim package was supposed to have been delivered on Monday, but I haven't been over there since Saturday to check. The interior will really start moving along now that everything on the outside is pretty much done.

I am already mentally moving in in my mind. Where to put the couch and tv, how to arrange our bedroom furniture, how to set up the kitchen, ideas for all the extra space we have now... My mind is going non-stop with the possibilities! (Of course, I stop short when I realize a lot of my ideas require having a certain disposable amount of money, so...well, maybe next year.)

So like I said in the last post, exciting things are happening for the Patricks! Keep checking back for even more pictures as the house nears completion, and definitely stay tuned for a house warming party date!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When Did We Become Grownups?

So... we bought a house! Or, we're under contract on a partial construction rather, and I guess we technically don't BUY it until we close. But either way, we are SUPER excited to be starting this next new chapter in our lives!

The house is in the Hardin Valley area off of Pellissippi, and zoned for the coveted Hardin Valley Academy school district. It's a two-story, three bedroom plus bonus, two and a half bath starter home in a medium-sized subdivision with a community pool...perfect for those little Patricks that'll be running around in the next few years or so! Here's a sketch of the front elevation of the house:

We just ordered a custom garage door and opener for the house today, and we have a meeting with the designer on Tuesday to start picking out our interiors, like paint colors, lighting fixtures, etc. Our contract date for finishing up construction is January 14th, but the builder wants the house completed by December 15th so he can have it on his books for 2010, so it's possible we may get to move in by the end of the year!

In addition to our house excitement, we are also going to Memphis this weekend to go out on Beale Street, and most importantly, watch the Vols finally win a game. The only time I've ever been to Memphis before was on a connecting flight and I never even made it outside the airport, so I'm really excited about this trip. We have a Friday night dinner at Rendezvous lined up, and our hotel is one block from BB King's and the rest of the Beale Street hype. We have a few friends making the trip over there with us too, so it should be a really good time!

Exciting things are happening for the Patricks. It's been a whirlwind of stress and surprises in the past few weeks, but I would trade it for anything. I can't wait to see what's around the corner next! Bring it on!