Tuesday, December 28, 2010

They're In!

A few days before Christmas I went over with my mom to pick up the wedding invitations! While they are a bit more 'crimson' than I had expected, I still love them!

We're having a few of the girls come over mid January to work on getting them all assembled so they can be sent out in the mail at the end of February! I can't believe we're getting so close. 123 Days as of today. EEK! I still have SO much to do! I sure hope my stress level can handle it!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Can't Believe It's Already Here...

I hope each of you has a safe and wonderful holiday! May all of your Christmas dreams come true and  hope you get to share them with the ones you love.

Wishful thinking, but hopefully everyone's on Santa's Nice list!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Luckiest Girls in Nashville

I blogged a bit ago about how excited I was for the Garth Brooks concert...well, it was everything I hoped for AND more!
The Rescue Party Tour - Nashville, TN 2010
So the story begins like this. I was running 30 minutes late to get home while Kerri, Scott and Mike waited on me. Luckily, we didn't hit traffic so we still made it to Nashville in enough time to check in, get our stuff together and make it to our 5pm dinner reservations. Dinner was great, good food, good company and good laughs.We made it to the arena about 45 minutes early and made sure to get a t-shirt and grab some beers to get us started!

While we were there early, Kerri and I decided to go on a little walk to keep us entertained for a few minutes. While on our walk around the arena, Kerri and I went to visit some friends in the upper deck. While we were walking up to them, a nice guy stopped us and asked where our seats were. Baffled, Kerri and I responded that we were sitting in the lower level, but we were up to visit friends. He then asked if we wanted to sit closer and then proceeded to give Kerri and I FRONT ROW SEATS! The best part, they were free!!!!! This guy happened to work for Garth Brooks and we were at the right place/right time and got to enjoy the best night ever because of him. Needless to say, were definitely the luckiest girls in Nashville! We went back to tell Mike and Scott the good news and moved straight down to the front row ... dead center ... all up in the face of the soon to be legend that was about to take the stage.

Kerri and I were giddy like school girls and couldn't stop freaking out. That concert was beyond amazing and I don't even think I have the words to describe the experience we had. The friends we were visiting in the upper deck got lucky as well and with a seat upgrade (to our old seats of course!).

I give to you, Garth Brooks....Up close and personal :)

look how close we were! those boots kicked me :) 
favorite part of the show!
even Tricia Yearwood came out to sing!
so cool!
hanging with the fans!
By far, the coolest night of my life! So happy Kerri and I could experience it together and to the men who came with us (ie: my fiance and her husband) thanks for understand when we left you to go live up our dreams of rocking out (with fingertip distance) to Garth!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Journey with the Gentle Giants

My sister-in-law has always had a knack of finding really cool gifts for my brother. She does the best job and always find gifts that are interactive and fun! Recently she got him a 'Journey with the Gentle Giants' at the Georgia Aquarium.

If you don't know about the Georgia Aquarium or haven't visited when in town or if you live here, well you should! It's pretty neat and they have some amazing aquatic life and exhibits, including the dolphin exhibit which is set to open in 2011.
Checking in for the Swim!

The Ocean Voyager portion of the Aquarium houses what I like to call "the big tank". Filled with TONS of fish, various species of sharks, 4 Manta rays (which are huge) and some whale sharks (even bigger!). The gift my sister-in-law got my brother was a swim in this tank!
Manta Ray in the tank
Whale Shark
My brother, along with 5 other people took the dive into the tank this past weekend. It was pretty neat to see how small each of the people looked compared to these huge fish and sharks! We were able to snap some photos while he was in the tank!

that fish is pretty close!
My brother in the tank!
Holy moly that thing is huge and right next to you!

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Look Ma! I'm 3 months old!

Miss Kona is now 3 months old! She's growing up so fast (gosh I sound like a psycho puppy mom!) and her features are really starting to change/show. She's got one heck of a personality and she's a cuddlebug like I've never experienced before! Here are some of her latest shots!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wrap Up : First Wedding Meeting

We had our first big wedding meeting yesterday with the design team for Flint Hill. Needless to say, I went in there pretty prepared to discuss flowers, cake, design and anything and everything else. What I thought would take only about 2 hours actually took closer to 3 (almost 3.5)! We got A LOT accomplished and I was able to stick pretty darn close to my budget. While I don't want to ruin surprises for those attending the wedding, I'll let you in on a few secrets!!

As far as flowers go, we decided to go with a mix. Here are the main players in the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages.
White Anemone with green center
Schwartzwalder Calla Lilly 
Green Hydrangea
Picasso Calla Lilly
Centerpieces will be a mix of height and will have vases filled with fresh cut limes and topped with spider mums.
Green Spider Mum
Design for the ceremony and Flint Hill itself was easier than I thought it'd be. This is my favorite part and I don't want to give it away, so you'll have to wait til after the wedding to find out. Here's a hint, there's no flowers involved! Just some moss, grapevine and lights!

I wish I had a sketch of how my wishing tree will look. The way they described it, it's going to be beautiful and I hope it blows my guests away. Along those lines, my buffet centerpieces are going to be pretty cool too! I can't wait to show you guys pictures afterwards!

Last, but certainly  not least...the CAKE! While I'm still considering altering the design a bit, here's a rough sketch of how it'll turn out. It'll be done in ivory buttercream. The layers will be different flavors/fillings. Stand by for a sketch of the grooms cake...we're still waiting on this one!

Sooooo..... what do you think!?!

**photos via google
**cake drawing via personal image

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking It Back Old School

While working on our wedding video slideshow, I got to dig through old photos of Mike and I. I thought I'd share a few gems with you all.


already a hellion
once a country girl, always a country girl
this was my thinking face
with my Grandaddy, brother and dog, Gates

one of my fav pics of Mike as a child
who doesn't love footie PJ's and a barrel of monkeys
little slugger
ready for his scuba lessons!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let The Frustration Set In

My update from yesterday's post isn't exactly what I was wanting to write...

My afternoon ended in pain, frustration and a few tears. While the new Neurosurgeon was nice, promptly on time and helpful to get me into tests the same day, she had no new news to report and no conclusive findings. Shocker? I think not. I've had so many tests run and so many tests come back saying there is nothing wrong, yet as soon as a surgeon operates on me, they clearly see the issue and are baffled that it never showed up on tests before.

Again, for the I don't know how many times, I had an EMG Nerve test done. This test is painful and I'd be willing to say the worst of the bunch I've had. While I was in the room, I snapped a few shots to show you what I mean.

The mean machine
This machine monitors the waves of your nerve system. They can see and track the response they get from shocking and making the nerves twitch as well as when they do the second and more painful part of the test, the needle sticking.

the spots they shocked me at...well some of them at least
Once you are hooked up to the machine, they measure out different points on your arm to test the nerve. All the dots you can see here are places that they shocked me at to test the nerve's reaction. They also did some shocking on my elbow, which I'll admit hurt so bad I wanted to scream.

The second part of the test is worse than the shocking. They stick these needles into your hand/arm/wherever and measure the sound wave/activity of the nerve. This is beyond painful as once the needle is in, they move it around. They only did 2 pricks this time (versus the 8-9 I had before). The first one in the fatty part by my thumb hurt the worst...and still hurts!
needle pick 1
needle prick 2
Needless to say, the doctor again, came up with a confused look and said I needed to go back to my previous surgeon who did my first rib resection. At this point I'm frustrated, annoyed and confused. I just wish someone could find the answer.

I think maybe after the wedding, God willing I can hang on and not be in too much pain before then, maybe I'll try alternative medicine (aka: acupuncture, chiropractor, etc) and see how that works.

So thanks for your thoughts, prayers and well wishes, I wish I had better news to report! For now, I'll just have to grin and bear the pain some more until we can get an answer or try some new things.

**All photos are personal photos taken with my blackberry

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Left Arm....Please Start Working Again

It's hard to believe I started the journey of pain about 3 years ago with my left arm. What started as numbness, tingling and stabbing pain has turned into a complete nuisance. There was no mechanism of injury, no answer to be found. Only problem, my left arm was pretty dysfunctional. My right arm is much better, but not perfect. It didn't seem that we needed to be concerned up to this point with it.

The path started with a visit to Piedmont Hospital's Orthopaedic Surgeons group in 2007. Test after test was run and no point of injury could be found. The pain increased with the stress and use and the frustration set in early with this process. I had more cortisone shots, EEG Nerve tests and MRI's than I'd like to count during this first part of the journey.  With no real idea of what else to do, my Surgeon finally decided surgery was the answer. So May of 2008 (notice this started in 2007) I went under the knife. They performed an Ulnar Nerve Transposition  in outpatient surgery. I was sent home, pretty drugged up with a nice cast that I had to wear for about 2 months. Certain this would be the cure, I was confident going forward.

Flash forward 6 months...the pain and frustration was back. The surgery did not alleviate the problem, in fact now it was worse. The pain was still in my elbow, except now much more than before, was in my neck and shoulder. They said it was stress and that physical therapy and some more cortisone shots and EEG nerve scans, which would come up negative for nerve damage/entrapment. Finally about January of 2009, my surgeon believed that the problem was more than he and his team could handle. So I was sent to Emory to a Cardiothoracic Surgeon.

Again, MRI's, EEG's and Cat scans were performed. Again, they all came back negative. It wasn't until they performed the Doppler Flow Test that some results started showing up. Without a doubt, my new Surgeon had determined that a first rib resection would do the trick. It took some time to get into the bookings for surgery (because they were busy and because my work schedule was insane). Finally, in August 2009, I went under the knife again. This time, a much more invasive and serious procedure. They went in through my armpit and removed my first rib (which by the way, is in  your neck up by the clavicle).  I remained in the hospital in quite a lot of pain and on a lot of medicine (with an IV in my neck administering Morphine) for about 4 days. I was released on the 5th day to continue the recovery process at home. I wasn't able to drive for 3 weeks, couldn't work and had lots of pain, more than I could imagine having. Again, after the pain subsided and the healing process came closer to an end (much longer and worse than the first surgery), I was confident this did the trick.

Flash forward again to now. Today I'm having just as many issues as before. The pain in my elbow is ever present. My neck, shoulder and arm are constantly numb and the frustration is even more (if that's possible) than before. Today I head to the Neurosurgeon at Emory hospital. I'm not sure really what to think or what they'll find. With my track record, they wont find anything.

This has got to be one of the most frustrating thing I've ever dealt with. There is no mechanism of injury to relate the problem. There is no fix that has seemed to work. Maybe this new Surgeon will figure it out...or at least I hope! What I do know is that I've learned a lot about my body, pain tolerance and what I can/can't handle. My family, friends and Mike have been there for me since the beginning and know how much this wears on me and well, them too. I used to joke about just cutting off my left arm, though I know that wouldn't do the trick and would be a whole new set of issues. I just want to be back to normal.

So with that....I beg of you new Neurosurgeon, figure this mystery out.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Santa Pub Crawl

An Atlanta December tradition. I've attended the Atlanta Santa Pub Crawl the past 4 years. Every year it gets better and bigger! The entrance to the Pub Crawl is a gift for Toys for Tots. Each year it starts off at Front Page News, where you drop your toy and start your boozing. By 6pm and the second bar, the streets and bars of Midtown in Atlanta are filled with Santas, slutty elfs, reindeers and all the other Holiday characters you can imagine.

Here are some shots from this years Pub Crawl...
hanging at Deadwood Saloon
Santa's ladies!
Santa and his favorite reindeer
holy Santas everywhere
best looking santas around

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