An Open Letter To Our Mom On Her Birthday

Norak, today is your double nickels, the big 55. (no worries, like anybody really reads this blog so your # is safe). This is another day we celebrate the best Mom, ever. OK to the two people that might be reading this, Norak is pretty effin amazing. I am a firm believer that Mikey, Andy, Heather and I have been blessed with the world’s most awesome mom.

I give you a few of the countless reasons why our mom is aces:

Nurturer
This woman makes a big deal about everything and everybody. If you have a birthday, I don’t care how un-monumental the year, Norak goes big or goes home. For our 21st birthdays, we got a card AND present in the mail while we were away at school for the 21 days leading up to our birthday. She always puts other’s first and makes sure everyone feels special. Share or be damned is what we learned quickly as kids. This woman puts on a Thanksgiving meal at each UGA home game, not because she likes to tailgate, but because she likes to 1) feed people 2) be around the people she loves.

Enthusiasm
Her cheerleading days in high school gave way to her cheering us on at anything. Dance classes, little league, softball, school graduations – she was always the mom in the crowd screaming at the top of her lungs, praising us for even the smallest of things. Did your mom stand up in the middle of the Parenthood movie and yell, “Catch it Kevin, catch it!” during the famous little league outfield scene? She took motherhood on with passion and dedication. She has always been a source of inspiration and motivator for us.

Commitment
She raised my brother and I with the highest standards and always pushed us to go beyond what we thought we were capable of. She made many sacrifices as a mom, but always – always – made time for our dad. The balance between wife and mom was never a struggle for her. Her marriage was equally as important as us. I’ve learned a great deal about marriage and what it means to be a good wife.

Coach
Sure she taught us the stuff that most kids normally learn, but she also took time to teach us about faith, working hard, and how to devour an entire box of chocolate covered cherries without getting caught. She worked relentlessly, to not only spoil us but to raise us right.

And Many More
And lastly – this one is open for the future, because we have 50 more years to celebrate. There is absolutely no telling what you’ll be doing, be it working at Disney World handing out balloons, or selling books on the beach. I do know that we can’t wait til you can spoil your grandkids the way we were.

It’s hard to find a stopping point to all the ways we want to celebrate you today, mom. Near or far, you’re always close to us and we always feel your love. Thank you doesn’t seem to be appropriate, so please know that we feel beyond blessed to have been given the best mom in the world.

Happy birthday, Karon. We love you! Now don’t you have some kind of cake or ice cream to go get into?

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Now what is a wedding? Well, Webster’s dictionary describes a wedding as: the process of removing weeds from one’s garden.

What four years of marriage has done to me:
Made me more married.
Made me older.

Four years ago today, I enjoyed the most amazing rainy day in Georgia.

And what is marriage? Sure, marriage means you have ridiculous pet names, jokes people get but don’t find funny, agreed side of the bed, a partner to run the errands you don’t want to…

I don’t know how what love or marriage is for everyone, but I know for me, it means Andrew’s happiness is crucial to my own.

I don’t divulge too much mushy relationship stuff on here, get your fix now.

To the hus:
10+ years of knowing each other, and here us crazies are, celebrating 4 years of marriage.

We’ve laughed more than we’ve cried. Travelled more than we sat still. Challenged each other more than we’ve accepted the norm.

Each year of marriage has shown us something different about the other, pushed us to love something about the other even more. Or maybe we’ve finally succumbed to accepting the quirks, mwhaha. I never really liked The Simpsons before you, and now tragically my humour has gone to crap as we quote ad nauseam from the show. And your knowledge of pop music and reality TV has grown substantially.

In the sandwich of life, you are my peanut butter.

My boo. You’re my best mate. Biggest Supporter. Problem-Solver. Personal Chef. Personal Trainer. Cheerer-Upper. Shoe Putter-Onner. Fellow Explorer.

On that note, looking forward to celebrating soon in Cinque Terre! Guau Guau – er, Ciao mi amor.

Spring Birds & Bees


I’m retiring “unseasonably warm” from my vocabulary. It’s spring; it’s time to be somewhat not-cold.

I am fairly certain I’ve been hit in the face with a pollen powder puff. I did Google, “Does England have pollen?” to be doubly sure this is why I’m a sniffasaurus.

I need a visit from that cute little Spanish-sounding allergy bee in the states…you know, the Nasonex bee. That bee from the adverts sounds like actually is Antonio Banderas. Make that Antonio Beederas.

I’ve whipped out the shorts and open-toed shoes. Hallelujah, rejoice.

Did I mention we don’t have air conditioning?

And yes, I still miss Mikey and Heather. At least I can look at the beautiful flowers Mikey bought me as a little reminder of his visit. Yep, first time in — ever??– that he bought me flowers. Well job, Heather!


Doubling The American Population in Shrewsbury

Today, I’m sad. The past few weeks have been filled with family and yesterday we sent the honeymooners back to the states. Mikey and Heather popped into Shrewsbury for a few days. (I am spoiled rotten.) We filled our time with visits around Shropshire, including a stop to Ludlow for an afternoon.

Mikey and Heather dominated London and I certainly haven’t experienced all that they did, even though I worked/semi-lived there for weeks. Coming from the city to our small town, it was great that they had the experience of both British worlds.

The weather welcomed them to the UK, an unseasonably warm and sunny weekend. We actually got somewhat of a tan – dare I say. Anything is more colourful than white. They got to meet some of our mates as well. The days went by all too fast.

In summary:
– Castles close on Fridays at 4.
– Never sleep in a car where others have access to a camera.
– Going up to a bar greatly increases your chances of service.
– You see one lamb, you haven’t seen them all.
– It’s completely heterosexual to share a Cadbury Egg between two men.
– Andrew will leave you at any time for food.
– Bringing champagne to the pub is not a normal British greeting, but it is not necessarily frowned upon.
– Florida has King George. The Severn has that w***e Sabrina.
– There’s always money in the banana stand, and working a dingy in the Severn.
– Heather rivals Morgan Freeman for narrating skills. She could tell you a story about each person that passed by.



I am totally OK with boohooing for a few days. Couple that with allergies and I am a walking hot mess.

We are blessed to have such an amazing brother and sister-in-law. Wishing the newlyweds loads of love and laughter. Which you’ll need when the videos we took are one day used a blackmail.

…off the Florida Keys


The wedding week was more than I envisioned. It went by all too fast, and I’m going to need some time to recover.

My parents definitely got the best of both wedding worlds, having a proper church wedding with Andrew and I, followed by a relaxing beach wedding with Mikey and Heather.

The weather was amazing, and it was lovely being surrounded by close friends and family.

I’ll leave you with a few highlights:
I took one look at the Harry Potter castle from the Universal parking lot and slapped myself for not flying direct to Orlando.

Braves spring training game was fabulous. I missed that good ol’ American pastime.

I chose to use SPF 100+ for my first days in the sun, but once we hit Duval Street I didn’t care if I turned flamingo-pink, I was going home with a tan. I’d sit anywhere in the sun.

Everybody loves a road trip.

You are never too old for adult spring break, but you are a bit slower. And those obscenely offensive t-shirts are no longer the least bit amusing.

Mikey and Heather were the most relaxed wedding couple. My inner JLo wedding planner came out and I was one headset short of taking over.

Slapping a St Patty’s Day tattoo on your 80+ year-old nanny, priceless.

I enjoyed all the things I missed in the states, but maybe I should have spaced things out. But thank you Chick-fil-A, Mexican Establishments, Coconut M&Ms, Peanut Butter Cheerios, Goldfish, Tums, etc.

A Three Hour Tour

A three-hour flight delay, before your nine-hour flight. Then arriving at your state-side destination and losing an hour due to Daylight Savings. Not my idea of an ideal Saturday.

Sunday I packed in as much Funday as one jet-lagged bird could do.

Our Sunday at Kennesaw.

Andrew’s Sunday at Snowdonia.

My 3-mile mountain was a hill compared to the miles he churned. Andrew trekked our favourite Snowdonia park solo to complete the “Horseshoe.” A 5+ hour hike, which with me would have taken 6, but going solo he completed in 4. Turns out Indy I might be bringing down Andrew’s hiking capabilities. I take offense, but for all the reasons tied to ego.

I might not have had mountains, but the universe was listening. Peanut Butter Cheerios greeted me Sunday morning via mail on my doorstep. I got to tackle Target, Old Navy, Coconut M&Ms and squeezed in a mani/pedi. How does she do it?!

Next stop, picture in your mind a cartoony map with a little car that makes dotted-line dashes all the way from Atlanta to Flordia. Orlando -> Key West. I win the reward for most miles traveled for a sibilings wedding, ever — well at least in my opinion.

Instragram

Treats from traveling abroad are my favourite part about Andrew’s trips. I am currently obsessed with baking Banana Bread and buying out Jack Wills entire spring collection.

Mary Had A Little Lamb-ing

It’s fleece was white as snow…and spray painted with a number.

Lamb(s): [lam]
1. A young sheep.
2. Like Indiana Jones.
4. Small cotton balls.
5. Feel like proper wool coats.

I know right? Go figure.

This weekend we hit up a proper farm to see what Mary’s lambs were doing. These munchkin sheep were noisy, adorable, dirty, and crazy. If you ever find yourself surrounded by lambs it’s best to stand still. Lambs run under and over each other. Tragic woolly bumper cars.

I was like a shepherd when they first saw me; they all ran straight to me, then as I inched closer – like a school of fish – they all hobbled away. Not necessarily the brightest animal in the barnyard.



The cutest: a sign of a healthy lamb is when it stretches after you wake it up from sleeping. Indy is a good lamb.

And as far as the numbers on the lambs, no they are not from Vegas or heading to Nascar. The farmer labels the ewe and lamb so that he can match up all the baby mamas. Big 57 matches little 57, large 30 matches tiny 30, and so on and so forth. I kept checking to see if there were any mismatched, but they seem to be able to tell each other apart.


The Weekend File

The weekend was busy. Petting lambs, dinner party, birthday party kind of busy. The hus got back from gallivanting in the states for a week. Three countries and nine flights; he was a bit shattered returning home. When the words, “Let’s power nap,” came out of his mouth on Saturday I could hardly contain myself. The only thing more exciting would have been, “Let’s go get ice cream.” Low maintenance.

Loads to get sorted this week. Booking anniversary travel plans and I owe you my ewe-nique encounter with the lil lambs.

Sidebar, there is a rumour going around about White Chocolate M&Ms. It’s a good thing my flight is already booked otherwise I would be on the next plane M&M over.