Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fab 5K, Gun Shopping, Sailing, and Movies

Yesterday we managed to cram at least 3 Saturdays worth of adventures all into one day.

We started the day off by running in the 14th Annual Fab 5K at Greenhill Park in Salem. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for the race. We had a fun time running (I did, anyways...Andrew might tell you otherwise!). I finished with a time of 30:31, which was 175th overall and 10th in my age group. Andrew finished with a time of 32:54, which was 206th overall and 16th in his age group.

Andrew and me after the race

My friend Ruth and me just after finishing

After the race they gave away door prizes, but unfortunately we weren't lucky enough to win anything.

After the race we continued our gun shopping from the previous day. Yes, you read correctly, gun shopping. Earlier in the week I took a concealed weapons permit class with my mom. I also applied to get my permit on Friday, and so we have been looking for a handgun for me. I know it sounds very right-wing extremist of me, but you never know when you might be put in a situation where you would need to protect yourself. We decided to go with the Ruger LCR .38 Special.


It's really light and it felt easy to use. It should be arriving sometime next week, so hopefully Andrew and I can go shooting with it some weekend soon.

Afterwards we headed to the lake for the afternoon. We spent most of the afternoon sailing with my parents. Andrew got to do a lot of the work, and he did a great job!

Andrew and my dad getting everything ready for sailing

Andrew and me on the boat

After that we headed to the Mayberry Drive-In Theater & Diner. We've been wanting to go for a while, but we were either busy or they were playing movies we didn't want to see. It is at the lake close to the Smith Mountain Lake State Park, so we figured this would be a good night for it since we were already at the lake.

We enjoyed some yummy burgers at the diner (above) before the movies

The drive-in

Waiting for the movies to start

The beautiful sunset before the movie started

They showed The Other Guys and Salt. We were expecting The Other Guys to be funnier than it really was. We really weren't too impressed by it. I was so unimpressed that I slept through half of it (also partly because I was so tired from our day). Salt, on the other hand, was a much better movie. Even though they played it second, I actually stayed awake for the whole movie and we really enjoyed it.

Since it was a double feature and it was almost an hour from our house, we didn't get home until really late. Needless to say, we slept in today. In fact, it's 2:00 and I'm still in my pajamas! But, I can definitely say that my tiredness today is a sign that we had a great time yesterday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Trip to New Jersey

As I mentioned in my previous blog about our trip to the Biltmore, Andrew and I have stayed pretty busy this summer. With that said, I apologize again for being so late in posting about our wonderful trip to New Jersey!

For quite some time now, Andrew has been telling me about all of the fun things his family always did when they went to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey; everything from the boardwalk, to the really big beaches, the historic hotels, and the beautiful homes in nearby Cape May. This is one of those things that you really have to be there to fully experience everything...so we went! For as long as I can remember, my family has always vacationed at beaches in North and South Carolina, so I really had no idea what to expect from "the Jersey Shore."

We traveled to Andrew's parents' house in PA on Friday, and then continued our journey, along with Andrew's mom and sister, to New Jersey on Saturday. We were staying with Andrew's grandparents, as well as some more of Andrew's extended family.

Once we arrived we decided to do a little sightseeing since we couldn't get into the house yet. First we went to Sunset Beach, where there is a sunken concrete ship not too far from the shore.



Apparently because of the strong tidal flow hitting this ship, lots of little river rocks get washed ashore at Sunset Beach. Instead of sand on the beach, it's all tiny little pebbles. It's not too pleasant to walk on with bare feet, but it's neat nonetheless. At one of the gift shops nearby, they sell "Cape May Diamonds" which are those same pebbles on the beach that have been polished for a really long time, and then were cut and put onto a necklace. It's hard to believe that the rocks on the left (in the picture below) were turned into the necklace that I now have! It might not be a real diamond, but it sure has a neat story!


Afterwards, we went to (and climbed!) the Cape May lighthouse.


It was really interesting on the way up to look on the walls and see where people had signed their names a really long time ago. This one says August 26th, 1868!

The picture above is looking out one of the holes on the way up.


The view from the top was amazing! You could also see this old WWII bunker from the top. It used to be a ways inland, but due to shore erosion it's now practically in the water.

After we had finished our sightseeing for the day, we went back to the house, got settled, and then went for a long walk on the beach. That evening we relaxed, played some games, and also enjoyed this beautiful sunset.


The next morning (and Monday morning as well), Andrew and I went for a bike ride on the boardwalk. This is definitely one of those things that you just have to experience to fully understand. It's basically a 2 mile boardwalk along the beach with lots of food vendors and souvenir/beach shops running the whole length. There are also three amusement piers coming off of the boardwalk with all kinds of rides and attractions on them. In the picture below, you can see one of the roller coasters.


We rode to the end of the boardwalk and kept going until we reached the Hereford Inlet lighthouse. It's a much different style of lighthouse from the Cape May lighthouse, and it's also surrounded by beautiful gardens.



After our bike ride, we ate lunch and then went to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. In my opinion, the water was really cold, so I didn't get in past my ankles. Andrew, on the other hand, was a little more adventurous and actually got in the water! It was so nice to relax on the beach on Sunday and Monday for most of the day.



The seagulls there were vicious!

Andrew and Katherine boogie boarding

During the night on Sunday and Monday, we ventured back to the boardwalk, which is a completely different place from day to night. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Lots of people!



This was Andrew's FAVORITE ride as a little kid.

I also got to experience a new food while I was there...Water Ice! I had never heard of such a thing until I met Andrew. It was delicious!

We went on a ferris wheel ride.

This was the view from the top

Then we enjoyed some funnel cake! mmmm.

One night we also went to the beach at sunset and took pictures of us sitting in the lifeguard stand, which is another tradition at the beach. The first picture is Nancy and Katherine and the next picture is of Andrew and me.



We also made an attempt to fly kites, but I don't think there was enough wind so we couldn't get them to stay up in the air...oh well!


Tuesday was there before we knew it and it was time to go home. But before we left we explored Cape May to pass the time before our ferry ride. The picture below is of some of the cute homes there. There were so many of them that were very similar in style to these.


This is the beach at Cape May...we just took this picture from the car because you have to pay to go on that beach.

We decided to take the ferry on the way home, mostly just for the experience of it. It was a lot bigger than any ferry that I have ever been on before, and it was really fun!


Us on the ferry...gotta love the windblown look!

On the way home on the Bay Bridge.

We got home late Tuesday night and I was very glad that I had already taken off work the next day! We had a really great time and we look forward to going back again!

P.S. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Brown for letting us come stay with you at the beach!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

End of Summer Project

Last summer our house project was giving our kitchen a makeover. This year's "Not So Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" was our bathroom upstairs.

When we moved in, our bathroom had wallpaper that was off-white with green stripes. The trim was an off white color. The problem with these colors was it made it look like the walls were just a little dirty. There was also a fairly small and cheap looking medicine cabinet in the wall to the left of the sink.

We decided to take down the wallpaper (using the newest tool in my collection, a wallpaper steamer) and paint the walls a tan color and the trim white. We also installed a new, bigger, nicer looking medicine cabinet next to the sink and a new shower curtain rod. Lauren then bought some new towels and a new shower curtain to finish it all off.

Here are some before and after pictures so you can see the results of our work!

Before:






After:






Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our 2nd Anniversary Trip to the Biltmore

Andrew and I certainly have been staying busy this summer! So busy, in fact, that I've been a little behind in keeping up the blog...Sorry!

Three weekends ago, Andrew and I went to the Biltmore to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. It's really hard to believe that it has already been two years! We went down on Saturday morning and went right to our special guided tour. We went on the Rooftop Tour, which takes you out onto the rooftop and balconies of the house. It was really neat to get a different perspective of the house and we learned a few new things about the house from our tour guide.

Andrew and I on our Rooftop Tour!


This is the view from one of the balconies on the front of the house




Apparently it is good luck to touch this grotesque's butt...so we did.





After our tour we walked around the beautiful gardens at the house. I had actually never been there when all of the flowers were blooming, so I really enjoyed seeing that.












For dinner that evening, we dined at The Bistro, a restaurant on the Biltmore Estate. It was delicious and both of our plates had such a creative presentation. After we were done with dinner, we met up with our friends Libby and Zac, who live in Asheville, for some ice cream in downtown Asheville. It was great to catch up with them and to see a little bit of the bustling downtown area.

The next morning we took advantage of some of the mountain biking trails on the Biltmore Estate. The trails were definitely a lot more difficult that we thought they would be, but I think the challenge made it even more fun!






I even got a video of Andrew going over one of the jumps! (If you get our blog through e-mail, you might have to go to the actual website to watch the video)

video


After we were done biking, we ate lunch and got ready for our afternoon kayaking trip on the French Broad River, which runs right through the Biltmore Estate. Unfortunately, the trip had to be cancelled at the last minute due to some pretty severe thunderstorms. But thankfully since we weren't planning on leaving until the next day sometime, we were able to reschedule for Monday morning. It was probably a good thing, really, because we were so tired from mountain biking that morning! After we had gotten all cleaned up, we had a nice relaxing evening and went out to eat at the Village Wayside Bar & Grille in the Biltmore Village area.

The next morning we checked out of our hotel and went back to the Biltmore for our kayaking trip. We were a little hesitant about it because it looked like it was getting ready to rain. And then it did. A lot. But thankfully this time there was no thunder, so we went kayaking anyways and had a great time, even in the rain! Hey, we'd be getting wet anyway, right? I brought my camera with me on the kayaking trip, but I didn't get it out because I didn't want it to get wet, so we don't have any pictures of us kayaking. Nothing too exciting though, so you're not missing much!

After we were kayaking, we changed into some dry clothes and headed home. We really had a great time on our trip and it was great to get away for a while and just be together. We're so thankful that God has blessed us with a wonderful two years of marriage so far, and we look forward to many more to come!