Saturday, December 31, 2011

If 2012 is the end of the world....

...Then I feel like we made good progress with making 2011 count (as our last full year on this earth)!  As you all know, "Big things to happen" was all about my goal to make 2010 count, and I think I did that well by finding the love of my life and somehow convincing him that it was a good idea for us to spend the rest of our lives together.  But 2011 really showed 2010 what big things are all about! I know everyone's going to make lists of how wonderful their year was, what their thankful for, and what their 2012 New Year's resolutions are, and I'm no different.  The year of 2011 was gigantic for our little family, when we actually stop and look back at it all....

Cheers to starting 2011 celebrating love!

We rang in the new year in Savannah, celebrating Suzie & Joe's wedding!, and momentum just sped up from there.  Within a month of 2011 starting, I had rented the pod, put my notice in at the Marriott RTP (after almost four years of servitude working there!), begun interviewing for jobs in Jacksonville (that's another story entirely though!), moved out of the pod (thank you Mummy & Daddy for having me for a few weeks, it was lovely), and was preparing for a whole new life in Florida with the love of my life. 

February & March were spent moving, unpacking, talking the cats in to not killing each other, and finding me a new job.  I started working at the Renaissance at World Golf Village, which didn't last long, as I quickly received another offer to come and work at the Courtyard Oceanfront, my current work home!  We enjoyed the weather and made the most of our beautiful new beach surroundings!  April brought the start of wedding mania with Bridal Shower & Bachelorette/Bachelor weekends (amazing-see back to the blogs for details!), and an Easter trip to Raleigh to see family and pick up our marriage license!  And then the floor fell out, because we all didn't have enough going on already....

Moving in day!
Valentine's 2011
Drugged Georgie on the drive to Florida
We found out Grangy wasn't well.  So not well that Mummy booked a flight to England to go and help him right away, only 4 weeks before the wedding.  Unprepared would be an understatement.  At no point in my neurotic, over-the-top organization of The.Best.Day.Ever. (which it was for us!) would I have imagined that everything would shift so quickly.  It was hard, to say the least.  Nana and Grangy were what I always hoped to be in my marriage-truly in love, with "real" moments to keep us humbled, a Scorpio & Cancer "love of a lifetime" kind of thing.  And I found my Cancer, which Grangy thought was great news, considering his granddaughter had been telling him for years that they were the best match in the Zodiac (I love love, what can I say, always have?!).  Losing Nana was incredibly hard in 2010, but the idea that I wouldn't get to see Grangy again or that he might not even get to meet Mike was unbearable.  We talked on the phone one day and he promised that he would be there when we got to England in June, but that he knew I would marry someone really wonderful and that I wouldn't pick anyone underserving.  Good news, he was right (most days ;) )!

Love these ladies (And William & Kate)!

Beerfest for Bride's!
So in mix of everything, we finished wedding plans and everyone arrived in Raleigh for Memorial Day Weekend (including my Mummy coming back from England, with a possible worry that more ash clouds from Iceland might stop flights again, can you believe that that could happen two years in a row?!?!  And on our wedding week?!?!).  It was a wonderful weekend (see blog(s) about how much we loved everything and everyone!), and we still, to this day, couldn't be happier with our big day!!  We are so completely happy to be together and be married (when I'm not making Mike crazy), and we appreciate that fact almost every day still.  The day after the wedding, we got up, gushed about the wedding some more, had a delicious breakfast and then went to gather our things, as we had to drive back to Jacksonville that day. 

Panic, I think?! ;)

Mr. & Mrs. Mahoney!

We both had like 5 missed calls from my family members after breakfast-weird.  As it turns out, Grangy left us that morning to join his Joanie for their eternal dance together.  To this day, I can't put into words the excess of emotions that day.  Normal people don't celebrate the happiest day of their lives, followed by one of the saddest.  And happiest still, because we were so happy.  And saddest because now Mike really wasn't going to get to meet him and he really wasn't going to be in England when we got there.  In five weeks, we went from normal Bride psychosis to Bride psychosis and family loss, big style.  Cancer is terrible.

Grangy (left) xx
After that weekend, we were a hop, skip and nine flights away from another amazing wedding in England and  Honeymoon in Ireland and Italy!  We had a fabulous time and can't wait to go back and do it all again someday, with more food & wind, and food & wine!  My husband plans the best honeymoons, if anyone ever needs his services?! :)

Second ceremony at St. Wilfrid's

Ireland-Christ Church


Castalina, Tuscany :-)
Back from the HM, we were home for about 3 seconds when Mike fell in love with a puppy on Craigslist and our life was forever changed.  Lloyd took over our home on June 26th (Grangy's birthday) and we haven't been allowed to be calm or quiet since!  We love our Donkey and are so glad to have him as our first married child!  On the pet front, we had to say goodbye to my first love, George, in September.  He died of cancer, and it was a short, terrible event also.  And that's enough of that for this year!

6 weeks old

Lloyd and George in August

Taken the last week of August-George's last week with us :-(
We've had so many trips, visitors and other fun things go on this year, it's hard to keep up (that's what regular blog posting is for, right?!)!  We definitely feel like 2011 was a year that counted in the "life events" department, to summarize:

New jobs
Moved=new home  TOGETHER (wow!)
Lost Grangy & George to cancer (I do realize these are not equal losses, but I'm grouping anyways)
Gained The Lloyd
Had lots of loved ones marry, engage, get pregnant!
Put THOUSANDS of miles on our cars (Orlando twice, Raleigh-a lot, Asheville twice, Savannah, Tampa, Charleston...)
And so many more things...

Orlando in August :-)
Christmas 2011

Thanksgiving-St. Augustine

Meghan & Steve's Engagement-December

2012 for the win!
I used to think that doing one of these things in a year would be big.  I'm stopping because this is WAAAY too long, but I just hope 2012 is as productive and adventurous as 2011 was!!  Having my best friend there for it all made every big and small thing even better (or at least more manageable), I'm such a lucky girl! :-)  And to all of my AMAZING friends, none of it would have been possible without all of your love and support-you're the best friends a girl can ask for!!

Love these ladies!
Love our family and their support in 2011!
Happy New Year from The Mahoney's!

The Boss

The Dictator
P.S. Thank you for reading this far, and for wading through all of the wordiness with me.  I am glad to finally write down some of the mixed emotions of the year, there's certainly been a lot (just ask Mike, poor baby).  But I think that life has balance, so really great kind of has to come with really bad-ideally just not at the same exact time-to keep things even.  Maybe, I don't know.
Just a tease of what's to come in 2012 :-)

Delayed Christmas Post!

Mike & I had a wonderful 1st Christmas together with our famililes this year!  Last year, we saw each other on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, but we spent most of the holiday apart, because Mike had already moved to Jacksonville and I was still in Raleigh.

We left Jacksonville on Thursday evening and spent a nice, though quick, evening in Savannah.  We had a great dinner and walk around the historic district (with cocktails, of course!), then it was off to bed, so we could get up early to finish our drive to Asheville.  We had a fantastic few days in Asheville, complete with Biltmore tour, family time, and Gingerbread Houses at Grove Park!  Mike bought me an awesome camera for Christmas, so there are going to be LOTS & LOTS of pictures from here on out!!  He even let me open it early so I could take pictues at Biltmore and throughout the whole weekend!  Here are just a few (already posted on FB, so nothing new, but still):
Beautiful Biltmore!

Mummy & I

Cousins drinking 'nogg!


Group shot (minus Mummy & Daddy) on Christmas Eve!

At Grove Park-it was our only picture of the weekend, so I'm posting even though it's blurry!

And over the past month, we have acquired some new Christmas ornaments for our tree, which we LOVE!  We don't have many decorations yet, so new ornaments for the tree are always fantastic, especially when they're personal!

"Mr & Mrs" from Helen, "A" & "M" from Nichola, Lloyd's paw (amazing!) from Nichola, Gingerbread Man made by Jihan for Meghan & Steve's engagement party, Wedding heart from Auntie Tracy, "Milton" from Mummy & Daddy, and the Union Jack tree from Auntie Tracy-love them!

All the way from England-how cute is this?!

Love it! :-)
We are so lucky and grateful that we have such wonderful families and got to celebrate with them in Asheville!  We missed our other family and The Lloyd (he spent Christmas with his girlfriend Maddie-pictures of the cute couple to come!), but it was a very happy holiday all around!!!  A great end to 2011 indeed!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Our wedding day was the best day of my life to date.  We were so happy and so in love (we're still there, don't panic!), and I told Mike over and over, "I'm such a lucky girl!", to which he would reply, "No, I'm the lucky girl!" haha.  We're special.  But I truly feel that lucky, everday.

While dating (I was actually driving to Charleston to celebrate Ivy's Bachelorette weekend), I heard Jason Mraz's song, "Lucky" and was brough to tears.  Sad, I realize, that Jason Mraz can have this affect on anyone, but the song totally embodied how I felt about Mike (this was about a month before we got engaged, fyi).  So I pushed and pushed, and it was allowed to be our first dance song! :)  I even wrote the lyrics in our engagement photo book/guest book so that Mike couldn't go back on agreeing to this song (he was hoping for Ginuwine or Keith Sweat ;) ), yup, I was that serious about it.

So this morning, driving to work with my make-up just done and a fun day of Christmas parties ahead, "Lucky" came on one of my Pandora stations. What happenend next?  I'm crying in to my coffee because I'm still, 206 days of marriage and two years of knowing him later, still overwhelmed with how much I love my husband.  I know this isn't very long in the grand scheme of things (no really, I do, we have 50 more years to go at least!), but I thought that I would have calmed down by now.  Especially at Christmas, I feel so lucky to have found my best friend! That's all.

This might have been the moment when I knew he was the one for me! ;)
April, 2010 at the Durham Bulls!
I'm gross with my sentimental waffle, I know, but even I have feelings to share sometimes (Mike might argue that I have too many feelings but he's the only one special enough to experience all of that greatness! ;) ).  Now, back to sarcasm and cynicism. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Lovebirds!

No, for once I'm not over-indulging in Mike gushiness!  This past weekend we traveled to Raleigh for Meghan & Steve's engagement party!  We are so excited to see them embark on their next chapter together and were really glad we could trek up I-95 with the pup to celebrate!

We did the normal run-around Raleigh with lots of errands on Saturday morning, prepped food and ourselves for the party, and set-up for a fun night with friends.  We ran downtown first, to meet Suzie & Joe for a drink and were so glad to see them both doing wonderfully (as always!)!  I miss my Smith sister a lot (other than my real sister, who I also miss lots!), so it was awesome to catch up, even if just for a little while. 

Then it was party time!  We got everything set-up, picked up the couple of the hour and enjoyed a fantastic evening at Suelee & David's house!  It was a really great night, complete with food, drink and the best quote of the night from any Brother-in-law ever, "Congratulations you two!  And Meghan....thanks for settling!" (obviously he didnt' mean it ;-) ).  Priceless!  It's going to be an amazing wedding, we can already tell!! :)

Pretty girls! <3

The beautiful Bride-to-be!

"Steve, give me an 'excited to be getting married' pose".  She's going to put a ring on it.
You know how much I love love, but it's even better when it's between two people that we love so much!  But that's enough sentiment for one day, here's the cute couple and the beautiful picture tree that the girls made!
Almost famous cake...coming soon to the Food Network in April!

Cute cute cute!
 A very quick but very lovely weekend in Raleigh indeed!  And speaking of quick, Lloyd had such a fun weekend playing outside with his cousin's Lily & Maggie that he was snoring in the backseat before we'd even left Cary:
I wish there were audio.
Cute little donkey!!  He's the best car dog ever, he literally does this for 7 hours, minus a couple of head lifts to check that we're behaving in the front of the car.  A Thank you also has to go to my lovely husband who drove us the 1,000 miles there and back, it's no small feat, especially when he had to miss watching the first half of the Lions game (we made it in time for the second half and was a great game!)!! 

Ready for our next trip to Asheville for Christmas this weekend!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Donkey Update!

Remember the picture with Lloyd at Mike's leg when he was 6 weeks old (he was way below Mike's tatoo, looking up)??  This is the best I could capture, but he's just a BIT bigger now!
So, you know we're raising a donkey/lab puppy-Lloyd.  Everyone knows, we/I talk about him too much.  But my husband requested a blog about The Lloyd, so I thought an update after his vet visit yesterday seemed appropriate. 
The gigantor almost 7 month-old puppy now weighs 35lbs and is, by all accounts, very healthy!  The vet said he's heart worm free and in great shape so far.  They think Lloyd is only going to be 50-ish pounds as an adult, so not a huge guy.  He also didn't recommend that I start brushing Lloyd's teeth (great news for us!), and then we discussed the only *slight* issue that we're currently having with the donkey....

The smells.  The tear-inducing, run from the room smells that come from Lloyd's bottom.  This guy can clear a room so fast, you just don't know.  Unless he's sitting on you and does it, then you'll know.  Or, if you're his Mother, and you're trying to have a conversation with the vet and he lets one rip and nearly knocks the vet over.  Which, in case you were wondering, could be considered embarassing by some.  Geez, it's bad.  But, we did get a better understanding about why he's so "gassy" and how we can fix it, quickly, to alleviate Lloyd's discomfort (he doesn't EVER look uncomfortable when he's gassing out his parents during dinner), and our unpleansant surroundings...and boy does it surround you! 
Running around like a mad man on the beach!
So, all in all, great news for the puppy!  He and Milton are bonding slowly, sort of.  We like to pretend that they're making progess anyway.  We're ready for another road trip with The Lloyd next weekend as we head to Raleigh for Meghan & Steve's engagement party, he's already got his leash packed in anticipation of visiting his cousins, Lily & Maggie! :)

See-friends!  But not really, more like tolerance wrapped in disdain. :-)
We're just one big happy family, smells and all!! :-)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Our First Thansgiving as Mr. & Mrs. was a success!  Lloyd had a piece of turkey, we all ate and drank lots of yumminess, and had a great time spending time together.  "We" being Mike, myself, Nichola, Mary and Mallory, which as you can imagine, was a great combination!  Nichola spent all day Thursday helping me cook (thank you, sister!), Mary & Mal flew in that afternoon and we spent Thursday evening eating, having a little HT (Hot Tub, if you're not in the know) time, and hanging out on the La Nai.  Perfect weather, great company!
Lloyd loved spending time with his Aunties!!
Friday we spend the day in St. Augustine, which was great!  We had lunch at Sangria's (obviously there was Sangria!, stumbled upon "Occupy St. Augustine" and shopped a little, then headed to The Reef for Happy Hour.  The Reef is a cool restaurant on the beach in South Ponte Vedra, definitely a fun spot on deck, when it's not windy! :)
Lunch at Sangria's!
Occupy St. Augustine

At The Reef

Beautiful South Ponte Vedra Beach
Saturday Mike and I worked so the girls enjoyed shopping and pool time (more HT time really) then we all headed downtown to Intuition Brewery and Kickback's Gastropub in Riverside.  We played Apples to Apples at Intuition-Nichola spanked us all!-and tried some really great beers!  It was a great evening out with the sisters (and Mike!)! :)

On Sunday we spent the day relaxing, read more HT time, (Nichola had to drive the 7 hours home :( ), then took The Lloyd for a walk on the beach at Sunset.  It was great weather and the kid had a fantastic time playing with his new toy and his Daddy!  Of course, there were far too many pictures taken of this cuteness!  And then I found a rainbow, told Nana thank you for the lovely evening, and took some more pictures!  It was beautiful!
Goofy kid

Lasso-ing the Donkey!

Walking Daddy!

Riding the surf aka desperately swimming to shore!

Absoultely beautiful rainbow and sunset!
Overall a fantastic weekend with our family and a very wonderful Thanksgiving week/weekend!  Yay for family!  And my lovely Husband!