Monday, May 31, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

I have been looking forward to Memorial Day weekend for weeks, and it did not disappoint. (Warning--long post with LOTS of pictures!)

Our div school friends Anna Russell and Chris got married on Saturday. They came to our wedding 3 1/2 years ago as a couple around the very start of their dating relationship, and we were so happy to see them tie the knot. They are a terrific couple and it was a gorgeous wedding (as we knew it would be!)

A.R. looked amazing--her dress and veil were so classic-looking. And I loved the peach roses (my favorite!)

I admit, part of the reason I had been looking forward to the wedding was the opportunity to wear my green dress that I love. I've only worn it one other time and we forgot our camera that time! (Yes, the color coordination with Matt's tie was intentional. Anyone that knows me--did you expect any less?)
The reception was held at the bride's grandmother's house in Belle Meade, with the cocktail hour in the house and gardens, and dinner/dancing under a tent on the lawn. Simply gorgeous--love the flower-laden chandelier and checkerboard dance floor.
Funny aside--the ground was a little soft, so when I wasn't on the dance floor, my heels would sink into the ground a bit. At one point, my four-inch stillettos sank all the way in, such that my feet were flat on the ground, and I couldn't move!! Matt had to grab me around the waist and pick me up to "free" me! It was really funny.

We did spend a lot of time on the dance floor, though, so no worries! The eight-piece City Lights Orchestra was great, and we had so much fun with all our old "trivia gang"--the friends we played trivia with every Wednesday night for about two years in 05-06.

We saw the happy couple off around midnight, and then went back to our hotel. It may seem silly to get a hotel when you live 50 miles away and have close family 15 miles away, but we decided to make an event of it, leaving Kate overnight with Matt's parents and having a night to ourselves. We slept in until 9:30 (9:30!!) and went to church at the Episcopal Cathedral where the ceremony had been held. I actually went to that church for my first six months or so in Nashville (having been active in an Episcopal church my last year or two of college), and it was lovely a) to have a Sunday as a "normal couple" going to church together (oh, how I long for that!) and b) to enjoy high-church worship (which I appreciate as much but for very different reasons from contemporary worship, as I wrote about here).
Then we went to get Kate at Matt's parents' house, and start the second half of our wonderful weekend (yes, you're only halfway through this post. If you're busy, at least scroll through the pictures :0)

Granna, Opa, Daddy, and I took Kate to the Nashville Zoo, which we decided to join and enjoy multiple times this summer.

Opa and Kate checked out the zebras.
And Granna pointed out the meerkats.
Kate loved the petting zoo, where she got to pet a real, live goat. This one was so docile, it had human infants sprawled across its back just before we took our turn.
One goat tried to eat my dress, nipping my leg in the process. (Don't worry, it didn't hurt near as bad as when Kate clamped down on my finger earlier this week!) And this big goat stole Lloyd's map right out of his pocket and swallowed it down.

We can't say we weren't warned, though. The chalk graffiti reads "Goats love Hay (and maps)".
It got pretty hot and sunny, and periodic rainshowers made it pretty humid. Kate looked cool sporting her shades, though (for the 10 seconds she left them on).
We got ice cream to cool off, and Kate ran back and forth between her attending adults, getting bites of ice cream, Dippin' Dots, and sno-cone.

The Nashville Zoo has an amazing playground--the Swiss Family Robinson-style fortress behind us in this family portrait was only part of it. There were tunnels and swings and slides, and even a separate little-kids' area that was basically a big cushioned floor across which to run. If we lived closer, it would be worth using our membership (unlimited admission) just to pop over and play on the playground.
There is also a gorgeous carousel with all different animals to ride. This spot made a great escape from the rain when it really started pouring. (An escape for Kate and I, at least, as we rode the carousel. The others still got drenched from the knees down as the rain came in sideways under the canopy!)
We chose the baby-monkeys-on-a-log to ride, and it was really fun. She sat on it herself for one cycle or two, but then she wanted to be held, so we just stood there with the monkeys.
The downpour stopped enough for us to grab a quick look at the elephants and giraffes before it really looked like it might storm. Next time, we'll start on that side of the zoo, so we can spend more time with the big animals and check out the historic farmhouse there, which I have yet to see!
We had a great holiday weekend (and it's not over yet--we just have nothing planned for today!) and I hope you've had a great weekend too!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Granny's Day Lily

The "Granny Day Lily" bloomed this week, right on schedule. It always blooms at the end of May, right around the time of my Granny's death in 2002.

I wrote about the significance of this plant last year.
It was much easier back then to hold Kate in place for a pic with the special flower that reminds us of her namesake, Emily Barry.


It was much harder to get a good pic this year, with little Barry-Bear being rambunctious as she is. She wanted to run off to play, be silly, and have fun swinging on her back yard tree swing.

I'm sure Granny wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Church Is A Verb

Have you heard about the United Methodist Church's Rethink Church campaign? The whole idea is getting outside the walls of the church to BE the church out in the world, demonstrating God's love for all people by meeting real human needs. This new video is a lot of fun, and highlights some of the great work being done by UM churches across the world.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kate's First Words

We've decided Kate's first words are officially "cheese" and "shoes."

It's been hard to know what "counts" as an actual word. She has said "Mama" and "Dada" for several months, but they are not reliably attached to Matt and I as people, so we don't totally count that. She has said "peece?" (please) a few times, but not consistently, and she says "Ala?" (hello) when she is pretending to talk on a phone, but seems to assume that's only something you say on the phone and not in ordinary in-person greetings.

Anyway, last night Matt was trying to get her to eat some Asian shrimp and veggies over couscous (what we ate), but she kept asking for cheese instead, over and over. Finally, when it seemed she was not going to try our dinner, I pulled out a string cheese--her favorite. She saw me holding it, and just lit up, smiling and pointing and saying "cheese!" So we decided that constituted a clear connection between object and word. She does that with shoes too, so I'd say they are both her first words.

She says "cheese" at the end of this video we shot last night. Pardon the darkness and the fact that for the first half of the video, I'm trying to get her to make her monkey noise as she played with her Animal Train toy (which I purchased over a year ago at a consignment sale and just pulled out, so it is "new" to her).

Wordless Wednesday -- "Ala?" which means "hello?"

(for the record, she does this with remote controls, lotion bottles, anything remotely rectangular and palm-sized.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Project Life (May 17-23)

Monday 5/17: Kate loves to sit on the stool Popi made for her and play with her blocks. This night, we were playing like this when I said "it's almost jammie time, Kate." She promptly got up, walked into her room, and waited for me to put her up on the changing pad and put on her pajamas. So we put on her new heart jammies, then we went back to playing.

Tuesday 5/18: It was primary day in Kentucky, and my dad won his race for the Louisville Metro Council seat he's been campaigning for. We were so excited! It's a largely Republican district, so the primary was the toughest part, and he did it!

Wednesday 5/19: My friend Paula and I did "Art by the Glass" and painted these cool trees. It was lots of fun. For pics and explanation of the techniques used, read my post from the other day about it.

Thursday 5/20: Matt has been attending the Festival of Homiletics this week, which was held in Nashville, so no travel involved, but he did miss out on his "Daddy-Daughter-Days" as Kate stayed with Granna and Opa on her non-day-care days. She helped Granna do laundry, and was very proud of herself.

Friday 5/21: My boss is leaving us to become the executive director of SBL (the Society of Biblical Literature). It's quite prestigious and exciting for him, but we're going to miss him. His going-away party was this afternoon, and since he rides a motorcycle, we did a biker-themed party. Our colleague (who has done Sinatra and Elvis at other parties) dressed in full biker regalia and spoofed Steppenwolf, singing "Born to Be Mild." That's my boss in the blue.
Saturday 5/22: Kate and I made a whirlwind trip up to Louisville to see my parents. We played at the park and took a drive to see some horses. Too quick a trip, but we had fun, and my parents of course enjoyed seeing Kate.
Sunday 5/23: My trip was extra-quick because I had to drive back to Tennessee early Sunday morning to be at our church for Confirmation, since I was a mentor to one of the girls. Here are two of our sweet confirmands.
I wish I'd gotten a better pic of that cake. I might submit it to my favorite website ever--CakeWrecks. The cross was on edible photo-paper, the word "Congratulations" ran over onto the border, two of the three names were misspelled (but not in obvious ways, so I guess that's not so wrecky) and it was just plain ugly. If you've never looked at CakeWrecks, please, you must check it out. It is hilarious.

And also, if you didn't link over from there anyway, check out the host of Project Life Tuesday, The Mom Creative!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kentucky Weekend

As I mentioned in Friday's Ode to Louisville, Kate and I took a jaunt up to my hometown this weekend to see my parents. Matt didn't join us, since he would have had to return a mere 24-hours later to make it to church early Sunday. (Whereas I was able to stay around 36 hours, returning just in time to breeze into church mere seconds before worship began. Ordinarily, I would have stayed and worshiped in Louisville, but today was Confirmation, and I was a mentor, so I had to be there, yada yada.)
We drove up Friday night after work, and Saturday morning, our first stop was to go see Nana at the nursing home. She has spent less than two weeks at home since my grandfather's death in March, since she started having health issues soonafter and has been back and forth between hospital and nursing home for most of that time. The facility had a nice courtyard with a pond where a mama duck and her babies live. Kate loved chasing the ducks, and would have gone straight into the water after them, if we'd let her!
 We tried to take a four-generation photo, though Kate was screaming in most of them, overdue for a nap and wanting to go back out with her duckie friends some more.

After a nice naptime at home, we went to the park to play on the playground. Unlike our local playground at home, this one did not have a separate "little kid" structure, but Kate held her own on the big-kid complex, unphased by the elementary-aged boys who blew past her on the steps and got in the way when she wanted to go down the slide.

Last but not least, we went to "find some horses"--not a difficult task in these parts, the real challenge is finding some hanging out near the fence, not minding their own business an acre back from the road. We found this nice fellow, "Man What A Dream" (his name was on the brass plate along his bridle) and he was more than happy to nuzzle us and pose for some pics.
It was a short trip, but Kate and I enjoyed seeing Nala and Popi and our new quacking and neighing friends.

Let's visit again soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lovin' On Louisville

Today, one of my favorite blogs, Kelly's Korner, is doing a "Show Us Your Hometown" link-up. I would consider Nashville my home now, but since I'm actually headed to my real "hometown" tonight to visit my parents for the weekend, let me show you the wonder that is Louisville, Kentucky. (I have a lot of pride in my city of origin, in case you couldn't tell.)

Louisville is a great city--lots of local culture, traditions, and things to do. The pinnacle of all those, of course, is the Kentucky Derby. I've only been to the race in person once, but it is nonetheless a huge part of being a Louisvillian. The Kentucky Derby Festival lasts two weeks leading up to the big event, starts with Thunder Over Louisville, the biggest fireworks show on earth, and includes a marathon, a boat race, balloon race, and other fun stuff, and kids even get out of school on Oaks Day (that's the day before Derby). I always loved watching the all-day TV coverage on Derby Day, singing "Run for the Roses" and "My Old Kentucky Home."

I grew up out in the East End, about 20-25 miles from downtown, so my most local context was the Middletown area, and I grew up at Middletown Christian Church--a vibrant Disciples of Christ congregation that I actually wrote a post about here.

In 8th grade, I started going to Louisville Collegiate School (which looked nothing like this at the time, but I couldn't find a pic of the older part of the school online!)
It was kind of a culture shock, even within the same city, because Collegiate was much closer into town, in an area called the Highlands. It was 1994, and while us suburban kids were still wearing hot pink and hypercolor shirts, kids in the Highlands had discovered grunge. "Watch out," warned a family friend whose nieces went to Collegiate. "The girls don't shave their armpits there." Baggy pants, overalls, and plaid flannel shirts were all the rage.

To this day, I still want to live in an area like the Highlands. Lots of culture, artsy stuff, cool old homes, and you can walk to everything.
Matt loves the area too, and when we were looking for a church to get married in (Louisville for me, United Methodist for him) we chose St. Paul UMC, across the street from Highlands landmarks the Twig & Leaf diner and a Heine Bros. coffeeshop. 
Our reception was at one of my very favorite spots in Louisville--the Brown Hotel. The Hot Brown (bread, ham, cheese, smothered in hollandaise) was so named because it was created in the Brown's amazing fine-dining establishment, The English Grill. The lobby is so beautiful--I wish we had even more pictures of us in these arches!

Do you love your hometown as much as I love mine?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Art by the Glass

Last night, my friend Paula and I did a session of "Art by the Glass," basically a BYOB step-by-step painting class. It was a really cool concept (drink wine with friends and create an your own piece of art), in a cool space (in Nashville's hip Edgehill Studios) and we had a really fun time! We signed up for half-price with Groupon, the site that e-mails you a really good deal for your hometown every day. This is the only one I've actually used!

In this class, we would be painting the "Textured Tree." An artist leads the class in painting a particular piece, but you can do variations on it as you like.

We began by painting the whole canvas brown. (And, as you see, pouring a glass of wine. Some people even brought their own platters of cheese, crackers, and olives! I'll have to remember that for next time!)
Then we used a palette knife to put a layer of white over that in a criss-cross pattern, letting some of the brown show through, giving it a gritty, weathered look. It was like smearing cream cheese on a bagel. I really liked that step.
Then, we added some mossy yellow-green (and aqua--not shown) using the same technique as the white.
Lastly, we painted in our "happy little tree" (as Bob Ross says), using a brush and working in layers from dark to light to create depth and texture. I was uneasy for a while, not sure how it would turn out, but in the end, I loved my piece!
Here's Paula and I with our completed works. As you see, she went a more warm, autumnal route, whereas I followed the sample (visible in the top right corner of the pic) pretty closely.
They take a class picture at the end, to show all the variations. (That will be posted on Art by the Glass's Facebook page, but it's not up yet.) Some people's trees looked more deciduous, others evergreen. Some added apples or stepping stones on the ground. Some people decided not to do the "textured" technique with the palette knife at all, and had much smoother, flowy lines.

I took my painting to my office today, and enjoyed peering over the top of my monitor to see it on the windowsill. It makes me smile. We had such fun being artists for an evening, and will definitely do it again sometime!


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