Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

We've been listening to the radio and TV talk about the treacherous Hurricane Irene for a week now, we even discussed putting together an emergency kit, just in case (we didn't actually end up doing it, we didn't even get past discussing a flashlight, but still).  So yesterday, when I went to get some water during work and noticed that the waves were HUGE, it finally set in that we were actually going to experience some effects of the storm.  On a side note, I'd also like to mention that we were told, upon moving to Jacksonville, that hurricanes never hit Jacksonville-so it was nice to find out that that is true....sort of.

Mike and I decided to take Lloyd on a walk at the beach so we could go and check out the waves together and apparently we were not the only ones with this idea!  It looked like a Saturday in summer when we pulled in to the lot, people where everywhere.  It was an amazing thing to see once we got close to the beach though, the tide was so much further in than normal and the waves really were HUGE!  Even bigger than earlier in the day, it was so beautiful!
Serious surf from Hurricane Irene!

This picture does not do justice to how big the surf was or how intense the current was once in the water.  Mike was two feet into the water and it was mid-calf on him, so you can imagine how donkey-legs Lloyd probably felt with that much water!  He freaked out a bit and definitely swallowed some salt water, but otherwise did a great job keeping up with Mike and I, running in and out of the waves as they hit the beach.  Not that we encourage him to get wet or anything...

Scared little bobble-head!

It was just really cool to see the affects of the hurricane as the rains approached and passed Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville.  None of this is to say that we aren't very appreciative that we only got rain from Irene, we are certainly lucky that we didn't actually experience anything hurricane-like in the end.  And our thoughts and prayers are with our family and friends in North Carolina and New York over the next few days as the storm heads north. 

We need an emergency kit....other than wine, what actually goes in one of these?!  :)  A happy and safe weekend to everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weekend in Asheville, NC!

Yes, last weekend.  I'm slow on the blog front this week.  But, last weekend Mike, Lloyd and I treked west from the beach to Hendersonville and Asheville, NC for a short visit with Mike's Mom and Andrew & Ashley's wedding!! 

We got to Hendersonville really late on Friday (it was a great trip for Lloyd, he slept the entire way), crashed and woke up Saturday to cooler weather and Mike's Mom's banana pancakes-yum!  We had a great morning around the house and out in her garden-Lloyd especially loved his freedom, we couldn't stop him from running laps and playing in the dirt!-and then went out for lunch at our favorite, Hot Dog World, after a nice walk around downtown Hendersonville.  The weather wasn't too hot (love that about the mountains!), so we were able to enjoy more time outside than we've been experiencing, which was great for all of us! 

After a lovely day, we headed into Asheville to get ready for Andrew & Ashley Dugan's wedding!  It was a beautiful ceremony and reception, all at this great place called The Venue.  The weather was perfect, the food was delicious (trout, cous cous and grilled vegetables-yummy!), the cake was even better and the company was delightful!  It was great to catch up with Raleigh friends and chat with the newly weds about their night and their honeymoon in Riviera Maya!  Ashley looked ah-ma-zing, of course, and Andrew cleaned up pretty nicely too in his grey suit with sunshine yellow vest!  Ashley even talked Andrew in to a first dance (without the aid of an entire bottle of booze!)-very exciting and lovely to watch!
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew & Ashley Dugan!!

After the reception, Mike and I wandered around downtown Asheville and went for a drink at Vault.  Such a cute town, we can't wait to go back at Christmas time with our families!

On Sunday, we got up and treated ourselves to brunch at Tupelo Honey before heading back to Hendersonville to rescue Mike's Mom from Lloyd!  We had an amazing brunch, my eggs benedict were delicious and Mike had an amazing concoction of things in a bowl-it was ridiculously good (grits, fried eggs, pinto beans, bacon, and homemade salsa to name a few parts):

Best. Breakfast. Ever!

We finished Sunday in Hendersonville, playing outside and taking Lloyd on a walk to the grocery store for more puppy food (he's so cute that he talked Mike's Mom into giving him more food than we'd planned for, isn't that special of him?!).  He was so pooped from a full day of fun (and keeping Peg up all night the night before while we were gone), that he actually put himself to bed, with his new stuffed animal from Peg:
Exhausted from a day of fun playing outside!

Not a great picture, but we found him like this without any force or argument-which is not always the case.  On Monday, we got up and headed to Greenville, SC for lunch with Mike's cousin Lindsay, and Marc, before heading home.  We had a great weekend, busy but relaxing, and it was so nice to see everyone and spend some time in the mountains! This is how we all felt by the time we got home:

Pictures just don't replicate the loudness of the snores that comes from this creature!
Ready to pass out!  Another wonderful weekend...Lloyd's quite the traveler for 13 weeks, isn't he?! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lloyd Christmas Carlton Banks Mahoney Update!

His names seems to grow with his personality and every set of visitors we have....
Lloyd-Almost 11 weeks!
 I know, I know, too much puppy information and talk.  But he's just so cute and we just think the sun rises and sets on his cute little face.  Actually the sun does rise and set around Lloyd, as lately we've been up at all hours of the day and night with him.  We've had quite a few vet visits since we brought Lloyd home and he's growing well so far-every day you can see how much he's grown, his legs look like stilts and he STILL looks like a bobble-head!-but he's been up and down with feeling like a 100% healthy child.  Now, at 12 weeks, he's 10.5 lbs and we think we might actually be making progress towards stopping the "hershey squirts" and multiple middle-of-the-night trips outside.  Hopefully.  Fingers crossed.  Poor thing has been plagued with problems since we got him-round worms, coccidia, tape worms, fleas, tick (just one but he was gross enough) and now, apparently, we're not helping by giving him organic puppy food, it's too rich for his tummy to handle.  So Science hill, probiotis, some other pills, and lots of cuddles ought to do the trick.  Hopefully.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, he's doing well destroying shoes (Mike's flip flops mostly), the coffee table, and all the toilet paper he can get his teeth on.  He loves to play, go on walks with Mike and I, and eat George's tail or get beaten up by Milton-no, they are still not big fans of the new roommate.  All this to say that being a bit sick isn't slowing him down or making him any less fun to have around! 

Toleration has a new face...

Worn out from playing with Uncle Brian!
 We're obviously madly in love with the mini-calf thing that moved in a six weeks ago, but we think everyone should come and visit and see for yourself why he's so delightful!!  He'll be your best long as you have treats! No more puppy blogs for a while, I promise! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend in Orlando with The Smith's!

Lloyd had his first road trip this weekend as we ventured to Orlando to visit my Uncle Andrew, Auntie Sally, and Cousins Hannah & Matthew!  Mike and I went to Epcot in January (have to love drinking around the world!) and were excited to go back for more Disney action and family time!  We had a great first evening on Saturday with dinner, drinks, and pool time for everyone (including Lloyd!); it was nice to get away and spend some an evening relaxing with family.  Oh, forgot to mention that my beautiful sister, Nichola, and Brian, were there too-bonus!  They visited Mike and I before driving down to Orlando for one night, or should I say that they visited Lloyd before heading to Orlando, which was a nice treat too!

Lloyd after his first swim in the pool!  Just a bit damp-Brian had to wring him out!

Cousins!  Nichola, Hannah & I catching up after dinner.
After a great night's sleep (Lloyd actually slept through the night), we all headed to Typhoon Lagoon bright and early for a day of water park fun!  We went on all of the slides, swam with sharks-the shark reef is a cold, saltwater environment, very cool to see all of the sharks, fish and rays-and nearly drowned a few times in the wave pool!  We all loved the tidal waves, nothing like the fear of drowning or being kicked in the head by a stranger to keep things exciting!  It was a fantastic day, with a fun evening out at Hooters to top it off (yes, we went to Hooters, the family wanted to eat chicken wings, or something...)! 

I LOVE family time and nothing makes me appreciate my wonderful husband more than when he drives a hyper puppy and hyper wife across the state for a weekend of Smith Family Fun!  Now only 8 months to go until we're back in England (for Helen & Jon's Wedding!!!!) and can see everyone again!!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The legal kind, of course.   Mike and I were invited out to dinner with our friends, Sara & Alex, this past weekend to One Ocean Resort & Spa where Sara works.  As the Manager on Duty for the weekend, she is allowed to dine at One Ocean's amazing restaurant, Azurea, and she invited Mike and I along for dinner too! How fantastic is that?!  Mike had eaten there before, but it was a first for me and let me just say, WOW!  It was ridiculously delicious....all of it!  Fine dining has changed over time, but Azurea still manged to pull out all of the stops, etiquette-wise, which was awesome to see (and of course, what I would notice and love!).  More importantly though, the food and wine!  That's really what we should be talking about, it's what we do for fun! 

Mike and I started with a beautiful tuna carpaccio, that followed a fantastic shrimp salad amuse bouche.  Tangent: even the bread was served in a special way-we received a detailed explanation of all of the breads and then, blow your socks off right here, they brought us a plate of different additions for the bread (condiments just won't do as a word here): whipped butter, hummus, italian olive oil, roasted garlic (just to spread, like a whole clove!)!  Back to the meal, dinner was just as delicious as all of the things before it (yes, I was basically full when the meal arrived!).  Mike had a delicious NY Strip and I had Beef Tenderloin-AMAZING!  Everything about the plate was beautiful: the presentation, the meat, the whole combination of foods, sauces, and flavors on the plate (potatoes, haricot vert, etc)!  And then, to make the meal even more perfect, the waiter mis-heard Sara ask for a side dish of potatoes and brough not one, but two, side orders of mushrooms!!  Not just button mushrooms, but the most lovely combination of mushrooms ever experienced!  If we hadn't been in public, I would have hogged a whole plate to myself and just eaten the mushrooms, they were that good!  Needless to say, we all had some mushrooms, which were awesome with the beef tenderloin, and I even managed to sneak some extra on to my plate to be boxed with my lefovers!  Heaven indeed!  We finished the meal with cappuccino and desserts (Mike had a blueberry tart and I had a duo of creme brulee), finished our glasses of delicious red wine and said goodnight to our wonderful friends and hosts!  It was a wonderful dinner, definitely top three of all time for me, I think!  So, if you're ever in Jacksonville and want to dine out Five Star style, Azurea is the place to do it!

Yum, Yum Yum, we love great food!  On that note, I'm now starving and need more coffee to tide me over till lunch!  Foodies unite! :)