Monday, November 29, 2010

that darn dog!

Preston peed in the house TWICE today! He was doing so well...

Tis the Season

I love everything about the Christmas season.

Ornaments. Trees. Cookies. Homemade bread. Smells. Candles. Cooking. Decorations. Lights. Snowmen. Santa Claus. Family. Friends. Wrapping paper. Ribbon. Sleeping. Time off from work. Spending lazy days with Bill. Traveling. Christmas carols. The fact that my ringtone is now "I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas." Gingerbread men. Christmas movies. Watching the Grinch on Christmas Eve with my dad. Reindeer. My snowman watch. Snowflakes. Parties. Cold weather. Baking. Traditions. Cards. Elves. Parades. Glitter. Mistletoe. Hot chocolate. Giving (and getting, I admit) gifts. The Holiday Market with my mom. Stockings. And of course, Jesus - He is the "reason for the season," after all.

So, to kick off the season right, I'm going to share ten of my favorite Christmas songs... (these are not my top ten, mind you, just ten of my favorite... I could never narrow it down!) Some are traditional, some not, but these are songs of the season that I think everyone should know! They're probably all available on iTunes or Amazon MP3, but I've posted links to youtube, so you can hear them for free!

1. I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas - Bon Jovi
Christmas music (one of my favorite things) + Jon Bon Jovi (another one of my favorite things) = best song ever.

2. O Holy Night - Pretty much any version. But Faith Hill's is especially great.
Love, love, love this song. It's not the upbeat kind of Christmas song I usually enjoy, but this one just gets me.

3. Another Christmas Song - Stephen Colbert
I dare you not to laugh.

4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen 
(Fast forward to about 1:30 to start) This has always been one of my favorites... they play it on most radio stations I listen to, even the ones that don't play holiday music 24/7, so it's always exciting to hear!

5. What Christmas Means to Me - Hanson
Don't judge! A lot of people love Hanson's Christmas CD, right Lisa?

6. Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
My mother is a huge Elvis fan, so this always reminds me of Christmases growing up... Plus, the song is from (not this version, of course) "The Year Without A Santa Claus," which is one of my favorite classic Christmas movies!

7. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Love this song, love this movie.

8. It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas - Johnny Mathis
This song just screams "Christmas" to me! I love hearing it for the first time each year.

9. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
My dad and I watch this movie every Christmas Eve night (the original cartoon one, not the live action version with Jim Carrey).

10. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys
Just a cheery little Christmas song... even though it's sung by the Beach Boys, it makes me think of snow!


There you have it! 10 of my favorite Christmas songs... I'll probably post version 2.0 of this list later to share some other favorites... I am just so happy the holiday season has arrived!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I hope this doesn't jinx me...

but Preston has not peed in the house FOR A WEEK. Really! He hasn't had an accident since last Sunday! Maybe all I had to do was blog about it for the problem to go away.

And if that's the case, I really don't want to write my belief statement for my assessment and planning class... (come on, blogger, make my paper write itself!)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Bill and I had three Thanksgiving dinners, plus some other great homemade meals on a smaller sale, so needless to say, we were stuffed for about 72 hours straight. But it was awesome. We got to see our families and spend some relaxing time together, without stressing about all the work we need to get done. And we even started our Christmas decorating! My favorite time of year has officially begun!  Hopefully we'll get our tree this week...

And of course, it's not a good post without some pictures, so here we go!

The doggies loving on Ruby... this picture cracks me up!

Bill and our niece in her NC State outfit... as much as I hate to admit it, she was adorable in it!

Preston - laughing!

See all the dirt? Sensei has recently discovered the joy of digging.
So that's it for now... I have a feeling that blogger isn't going to solve the problem of my homework, so I'm off to attempt it myself. Happy start-of-the-Christmas-season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is it.

The post you've all been waiting for!

Today, I am thankful for Bill. For anyone new to the blog, Bill is my husband of 2 months and six days. Of course, we dated for more than five years before tying the knot, but who's counting? We dated long distance for the majority of our relationship (first, he was finishing school at NC State, then I went off to Furman and then UNC when he had moved back home after graduating). But now we are together in the same town, and we see each other more than once every two weeks. In fact, we see each other every day - it's awesome! We're also the proud parents of these two guys.

Anyways, I am very thankful to have found Bill. We have been through a lot, and we're still alive and well. Obviously life together is not 100% perfect all the time (but it's pretty great!), but there's a lot of love in our house no matter what. We've also been blessed with some of the world's most amazing parents, siblings, and friends. It's pretty amazing to have each other and such a large support system with us. Seriously. I am very lucky to have not only Bill, but his family, in my life. And I think he'd say the same about mine.

But that's not the topic of this post. No, I am just telling you about Bill. He is wonderful. He takes out the trash. He likes nerdy things. He'll listen to me talk all day long about nothing. He hides fake spiders in the shower and thinks it's funny. He thinks I'm funny. He takes long walks with me and the dogs. He will sometimes listen to Bon Jovi in the car without complaining. He hangs things on the walls so they're level. He introduced me to Dr. Horrible. He makes killer sweet tea. He falls asleep on the couch next to me while I'm typing this. (Let's be honest, he falls asleep next to me all the time, no matter where he's sitting. My dad said once that it was a good thing you stand up when you get married, or Bill might have fallen asleep!) He gets up early to let the dogs out. He closes the door to our tiny bathroom after he takes a shower in the morning so that it stays warm until I get in. He watches Castle with me, and sometimes even DWTS! He gives great hugs. He makes me do nerd things, and I usually end up liking them. He will watch Boondock Saints with me a million times. He dances with me in the kitchen - usually not romantic, but slightly spastic so I die laughing. He is so smart, I don't understand his job at all. He is a hard worker. He hides in the basement man cave when I am hanging out with my girl friends in the house. He is great with kids. He is nice to everyone. He is cute. See?


I don't have time to post enough pictures to do the hubster and my love for him justice, so I will just leave you with this one. Hopefully after Thanksgiving festivities have died down (and I'm able to move again after all that delicious food we'll be eating!), I will take the time to put together an appropriate photog journey of our relationship so far.

So thank you, Bill, for being the most loving, compassionate, funny, smart, smart-aleck, down-to-earth, patient, sweet, good-looking guy I know. And thanks for marrying me - you're the best!
I didn't mention this yesterday, but I am SO thankful for something that happened last week.

Remember my pal Melissa?

And how she was being brave, and moving to Korea to teach English?

Well, last week, right before she was set to leave (FOR A YEAR), she decided not to. Which I think is even more brave! She was having some bad feelings about it, and she decided to follow her instincts, and call it off.

Well, thank God she did...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/world/asia/24korea.html?_r=1&src=mv

Melissa was supposed to be teaching just nine miles outside of Seoul. I'm so thankful that she is not over there in the midst of this right now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bon Jovi



Today, I am thankful for Bon Jovi. For the nine concerts, 392 items on my iTunes, countless DVDs and VHS recordings (that's right, I loved them back in the era of VCRs), numerous t-shirts and posters, 2 Christmas ornaments, the solo albums, the 11 studio albums, one box set, one live album, and two greatest hits compilations. Anyone who knows me will tell you of my love, and I'm not ashamed. I love love love them, and I am super thankful that they exist!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Bro.

Today, I am thankful for my not-so-little little brother. It was very strange coming home from college one weekend freshman year to find him taller than me all of a sudden! Paul is a sophomore this year, and he is a manger for his university's basketball team. I am SO proud of him for what he's done, and what he's trying to become. We may not have always been the best of friends - to be truthful, we spent a large part of our childhood's trying to annoy the other - but we are now! We've experienced a lot together: the vacation from hell, high school, going away to college, holidays, road trips, that time he made me watch Jackass: The Movie, staying up late to watch Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reruns all night long together, the one day of the year when Paul gets up before me so he can wake me up for Christmas, concerts, TIMBER, dealing with our parents (Sheldon?), endless afternoons on youtube, frisbee afternoons at the park, basketball/football games, duets in the car, AND SO MUCH MORE. Here is a quick look at our 19.5 years of being brother and sister.

One of our first pictures together. Obviously, I wasn't too happy about the loss of my only-child status.
Proof he was cute at some point in his life. Just kidding, Paul!

Cheesin' with the pound puppies.
Our best gorilla faces - love the jorts.
Paul's "WTF" face, from our horrible day at Gettysburg that fateful summer.
Modeling some of Mom's old glasses- so stylish!
The day Bill and I got engaged.... I think Paul might love him more than he loves me!
Happy graduation! I can't believe you did it - hahaha
The best $1 we ever spent.
Sensei loves him, so you know he must be alright.
One of my favorite pictures from the wedding!
So thanks for all the good times, Luap... I'm proud to be your big sis, I love you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tar Heel bred.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I am thankful for the world's greatest, and the nation's first, public university. That's right. I am thankful for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was raised ABC (Anybody But Carolina), and while some ignorant members of my family still feel that way - cough, PAUL, cough - I eventually saw the light, and can say that I am truly a Tar Heel for life. All it took was one day on that beautiful campus and my heart was won.

Now, let's ignore the fact that we lost in football (to State, ugh! No offense to the husband, of course) and in basketball twice this weekend. No, instead, let's focus on some of my happier memories from this fine university (in no particular order).

Winning the 2009 NCAA Championship!

Jumping my first bonfire on Franklin Street...

Taking 1,000 pictures holding the "#1" sign in the air with every person on Franklin Street all night when we won aforementioned championship!

Being in close proximity to Roy multiple times. Adopt me, please!

Front row risers at the UNC - NC State basketball game last year... I circled my face for proof.

Looking up at those beautiful SIX banners.

Wasting time at Late Night With Roy

Graduation photoshoots.

Graduation day! So bittersweet, but it was an exciting time.

Obviously, a lot of my favorite memories occurred in the Dean Dome. Here I am, celebrating 100 Years of Carolina Basketball with my bff. Of course it snowed that night while we were inside the Smith Center, so we had a fun photoshoot around campus afterwards!

Finally winning tickets to a Duke game! (Sorry it is sideways, I'm too tired to fix it right now!)

Despite the face, I really did enjoy living with Blanket those two years...

This is from Fall Retreat with Campus Crusade my first year at UNC. It was an amazing weekend, where I first got to spend time with some girls who turned out to be some of my closest friends from Carolina!

In fact, it's where this girl and I first bonded. This photo captures a fun night we had camping at Jordan Lake - that was a great weekend!

Agh, why are all these sideways!? Another favorite memory: 80s parties at Cat's Cradle, where I met my twin.

Meeting this girl is another favorite memory from UNC, despite the fact that we grew close from spending 10 hours a week in a cell in the psychology building. And of course, I enjoyed the free champagne glasses from this particular night!

Bill didn't go to UNC with me, but it feels unfair to not include him in this array of memories. 
So there you have it. A quick look at my three years at Carolina. While I'm sad I didn't have 4 years like most everyone else, it was still an amazing time. (And of course, I left Furman with some great friends - E, L, and A - so it wasn't completely worthless)

Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices
Ringing clear and true.
Singing Carolina's praises.
Shouting N-C-U.
N-C-U !

Hail to the brightest star of all
Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem.
Receive all praises thine.

 I'm a Tar Heel born
I'm a Tar Heel bred
And when I die
I'm a Tar Heel dead.
So it's Rah, Rah, Car'lina-lina
Rah, Rah, Car'lina-lina
Rah, Rah, Car'lina-lina
Go to hell, Duke.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Even if I don't blog, I'm still thankful...

I did it again. I forgot to post. Two days in a row! And as Lisa so kindly pointed out - I am a slacker. (Please note she has not posted since November 11. Just saying.)

Sadly, I realized Tuesday when flipping through my planner that I have four papers due the week after Thanksgiving. One Monday, one Tuesday, one Wednesday, and one Thursday. I mentioned before that I was spending some quality time with my computer and the library, and that hasn't really changed since I last posted. As I just finished a homework break that included shopping at ZGallerie.com (I had a gift card!) and playing with the dogs, I figured I will just round out the break with a little blogging. Here's a quick list of what I've been thankful for the past few days...

Christmas lights. Bill and I had a gift card to Target, so we bought some lights to go outside (in addition to those we bought last year - you always need way more than you expect!) and for our tree. We both used different kinds of lights growing up with our families, so we broke tradition and decided on a new style of lights together. We didn't get a tree last year, because of Sensei, but this year we are definitely going to have one. We'll just put a baby gate up! But buying Christmas lights, and just thinking about decorating (which I can officially begin to do one week from yesterday!) gets me so excited for the holiday season. With so much going on, it's been hard to think about the holidays without thinking "OH MY GOSH I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO BEFORE THEN," but last night really got me in the mood! Targets $1 section ornament collections also helped :)

Lights on a tree Bill decorated in front of his home last year... here's hoping we get some snow again this Christmas!

My family's tree from last year! I love the lights :)
I also have been thankful for this:

It really is a miracle.
Preston appears to have regressed a little in the past couple of days, and has been peeing in the house more than usual. We go through a lot of this stuff. Really. We have the huge bottle that you refill the spray bottle with. Please keep your fingers crossed that Preston stops! He doesn't care when you yell at him... he will just sit there and keep peeing on your shoes/carpet/bare feet, while you are in his face scolding him. We don't hit the dogs, so there's not much else we can do. We do reward him for going outside, and you would think that'd be enough, since my little Chunky Monkey loves food so much.


There's loads more to be thankful for in my life, obviously, but I do need to head back to the wonderful world of Infant/Toddler Language Development. See yall soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Please forgive me, 2.0

Please read the below post before this one. Blogger is being weird, so I just decided to start a new post, rather than try to mess with the old one anymore.

Yesterday I was thankful for my parents, and today, I am thankful for the library. And books. And things you read in general. My little town built a new library a couple of years ago, and I spent the afternoon there today, working on schoolwork. (Also, pardon my french, but I really kicked ass today. I got SO MUCH done! Perhaps one of my most productive homework periods ever.)

Our cute little library.
I love libraries. Not just because they are so conducive to getting work done, but because they are full of BOOKS. I love to read! The first time I was ever in a university library was when I visited Bill at NC State one time, and I was in heaven. I could not believe that many books were in one building. And then I went to UNC, and met one of my best friends: Davis Library.

Davis Library. Perfect for writing papers, studying, printing powerpoints, gossiping in the corner, completing the DTH crossword, raving, and taking naps between classes.
Of course, the UL was great too. And let's be honest, Wilson Library was too intimidating to ever go inside, except one time when I was lost. One of my favorite library memories from UNC was studying with Michelle (I can't remember if it was in the UL or Davis, but it was a library and that's all that matters), and we were talking about how hard it was to stay focused, but we were going to buckle down that afternoon so we could do something fun that night. And then she looked up at the shelf behind me and saw a book on James Taylor and that was it.

I've loved to read ever since I was very little. I still have my library card that I got in kindergarten. I took very good care of that thing, because I needed to have it to get my books. It still has my little 5-year-old signature on it, that reads "COURTNEY #1." That's how I signed my name. I'll take a picture sometime soon. I spent so much time at the public library growing up, and I still do now. Yet another thing to thank my parents for - my love of reading! Sometimes I even like to read my textbooks for class (not that I do it in my free time, mind you... sometimes I just enjoy doing it for class, and it's not a huge chore). Although I'm sure reading has contributed to my horrible eyesight, it has been totally worth it. I read every day, and you should too.

And there you have it. I love my parents, and I love books. What do you love?

Please forgive me!


It happened, as it was bound to sooner or later. I skipped a post. It doesn't mean I wasn't thankful for anything yesterday, it just means I didn't blog about it. So today, I will tell you about two very important things I am thankful for. I had planned on blogging about how much I love my parents last night, so that'll be first! (And don't worry, little bro - you're getting your own post!)

Basically, my parents rule. Unlike a lot of people, I really truly get along with both my mom and dad, and they are two of my best friends. I like to hang out with them, and I have for the past several years... I guess once I was mature enough to realize that parents are cool and do know more than their kids, I decided to take full advantage of that knowledge.

I know I was not the easiest child to raise (but I was the easier of the two they had - Paul has to agree!), but they still took care of me and went above and beyond their parental duties to make sure I had a good life. Even now, they do things for me and Bill, even though it's not really their responsibility anymore. But growing up, they really did so much for Paul and I. They drove us places, put up with our brattiness, took us on vacations, let us have hobbies that may have been a little expensive, taught us everything we know, and helped establish traditions along the way. They encouraged us in everything we did (no matter how ridiculous it was... who on earth thought it was a good idea for me to be on a school basketball team?!), listened to us when we had a bad day (or just wanted to talk about everything that happened that day, as was often the case with me), stood up for us, and helped us overcome a lot of obstacles. I was bullied a lot in elementary school, and my parents were my saving grace. They taught me to respect myself, and to love myself, even when others acted like they didn't. They also taught me about forgiveness (along with an important man I like to call Jesus), which was a virtue that took a long time to use. They sent Paul and I on trips that would have been impossible otherwise, they made sure every birthday and holiday was special, and even surprised us from time to time. (Can everyone imagine me, as a 13-year-old, finding out I was going to see Bon Jovi for the first time? It. Was. Pandemonium.) My parents also made sure that we had good relationships with our grandparents and other relatives. We were lucky enough growing up that our extended families were all within a 90-minute-drive (all our cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents.... in fact, a few were just across the street!), and they ensured that we got to know all of them. They embraced Bill into our family and treat him like their own son, and they both helped plan that wonderful wedding. (Even my dad went to some meetings that Bill and Mom couldn't make!)

In sum, I love my parents, and I could not have asked for a better pair. love you, mom and dad!

I loved my daddy from the beginning.
Hanging out one 4th of July with my family and Michelle, Brice and Nathaniel. My parents are so cool, they don't mind hanging out with my friends and me in public.

 Mom pinning on Bill's boutonniere before my senior prom. She can do anything!
My parents with Paul, before his senior prom. Full circle.
On the day Bill and I got engaged, Bill had a surprise dinner party planned that night... and of course, my wonderful parents were there!
My happy parents at the wedding rehearsal!
People say I look just like my dad... what do you think?
One of my favorite pictures of me and my dad.

The whole family, celebrating my graduation from the nation's best university.
Mom was nice enough to squeeze the life out of my right before the wedding. I can't stop laughing at this one.














Monday, November 15, 2010

Technology

Today's thankful post might be a bit more material than the others, but it's something I am really thankful for: technology. If you think about it, without technology, I wouldn't even be able to have this blog! I would have a hand-written journal, and no one would see it. Kind of like my one from high school. Except, I don't want anyone to read that. Ever. Anyways, technology is amazing, and I don't understand most of it, so I have a lot of respect and admiration for people who do understand. Like Bill. His job is basically to work with technology and it is so over me head. And I don't just mean fancy computers and that kind of technology, but phones, cameras, ipods, tvs, cars, anything! Technology lets me have friends (well, it lets me keep in touch with them in a more efficient way than letter writing...)

Here are some of the things I couldn't do without this miraculous aspect of my life:

I wouldn't ever be able to skype with these awesome ladies!
I wouldn't be able to watch UNC win the NCAA on television!
I couldn't have photoshoots in the back yard with my doggies!
Of course there are a lot more examples, but these just stuck out in my mind the most. And speaking of my pups and being thankful, here's a little story that I am thankful had a happy ending... Bill came home for lunch today and let the dogs out in the backyard. He looked out the window at them after a few minutes, only to see Preston in our neighbor's backyard! Apparently, he has learned that he is short enough to jump in between the bottom two steps of our back deck, and escape that way! But, thankfully, he came back (with Bill's help, of course!)

And now it's back to the wonderful world of online classes... See you tomorrow!