Friday, November 30, 2012

Liebster Moment

So taking a quick break from our Virginia trip stories and pictures to provide information regarding the Liebster Blog Award. (Trust me... I'm not done with pictures or posts from Virginia).

Anyway, the Liebster award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. I'm not new and I don't think I'm up and coming, but I do have less than 200 followers... guess I qualify! Rock on!

This award is passed around to other bloggers to help support other self made small time bloggers... like myself. Guess it's a nice way of letting people know that other people value their blogs.

Ok... so I've received the award courtesy of Ashley Dorey and her blog: Everything's Hunky Dorey. And as a recipient I'm obligated to follow a few rules.

  1. Must post 11 things about themselves
  2. Must answer 11 questions provided by the person who nominated your blog
  3. Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate as well and link them to your blog.
  4. Notify the bloggers that you nominated them for an award.
  5. You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.

Rule 1: 11 Things about Myself

  1. I've been know to break out into dance or voices with outrageous accents at work.
  2. I'm addicted to taking pictures and blogging... can you tell? Have you really seen my blog?
  3. When I get pissed off... I clean and scrub the house and have a tendency to throw things... like mattresses and microwaves.
  4. I'm still surprised by the fact that I'm a mom, and at 32 years of age I still don't think I'm mature enough for the responsibility sometimes.
  5. I'm ALWAYS cold and sometimes in the summer... in Texas... I will have my electric blanket on at night.
  6. For one Christmas I got an electric blanket and for our first anniversary I got a space heater... both from my husband... who knows me (and my cold feet) all too well.
  7. My brother Nick and I used to talk in Spanish at home so we could cuss and say things we didn't want others to overhear. Unfortunately, someone started telling Mom what some of our Spanish words were. oops.
  8. I would go every day without wearing shoes if I could get away with it. And in some cases (like my job at the library and teaching college) I did take off my shoes and worked barefoot.
  9. My blue Honda Accord was named Rupert by a college roommate... and I still have Rupert with all his 180,000 miles.
  10. I dumped my husband after dating for less than 6 months. Then I didn't tell my parents I had dumped him because I knew they really liked him and would be disappointed. About 8-9 months later we got back together. 
  11. I hate surprises. I once hacked into Brian's email account to find out what my Christmas gift was. I also attempted unsuccessfully to break into his car to find my engagement ring.

Rule 2: Ashley (my Nominator)'s Questions
  1. Romantic comedy or action movie- honestly depends on the movie. I guess if Brian was at a Redbox and gave me the choice without naming titles I'd say Romantic Comedy because we rarely EVER watch those together.... go figure.
  2. Favorite mode of exercise? Seriously? Who on God's green earth finds exercise fun? Did you know treadmill's were used as torture devices in insane asylums? I guess if I had to pick a fun exercise activity it would be dancing. Dancing is exercising right? 
  3. Soda or Water? If you ever see me at home or work you know I'm addicted to Dr. Pepper... and not mildly addicted... I'm certifiable.
  4. Least favorite household chore. Dishes. No hesitation. I'd rather clean a toilet than have to wash, dry, and put away dishes.
  5. Technology I couldn't live without. A car. As previously mentioned... I hate exercising. So if I need to go to the store 5 blocks away.... I'm not walking... I'm taking the car. If I don't have a car... I find something else to make for supper or a way to do without going to the store. Yes... I realize this is pathetic.
  6. Color most found in my closet. Blue... I think. 
  7. Favorite go-to dinner. Probably On the Border. We practically drink the salsas and inhale the chips.
  8. Best book read recently. Hunger Games Trilogy. Love the analogy between that fictional world and the communist worlds of today (mainly North Korea)
  9. Guilty pleasure TV show. Not guilty about it at all... I love Castle. I try to never miss an episode.
  10. Favorite actor/actress. I don't really have a favorite. However, if I could set my alarm clock to be an actor's voice instead of that annoying buzzing... I'd LOVE to wake up to the voice of Antonio Banderas, Matthew McConaughy, or Clive Owen. Mmmmm.... accents. 
  11. Best Vacation. Well I'm posting about our family vacation to Virginia, but probably the best vacation was to Ireland in 2006.

Rule 3: 11 Blogs of my Choosing
  1. Mary Schoeder's For the Love- blog about a stay-at-home mom raising 5 kids and living on a budget.
  2. AJ Barr's Raising the Barr- blog about a stay-at-home mom raising 3 kids and living on a budget
  3. Karen Bonar's EriKaren- a self made photographer who takes the most amazing pictures and often gives photographic advice.
  4. Marianne Bass' Cool School Psychologist- who shares some of her insights on education as a school counselor and just perspectives on life.
  5. Kati Vollmer's Vollmer Family- blog about the Vollmer family
  6. Wendy Finch's Finch Family 4- blog about the Finch family.
  7. - 11. None. I'm afraid I don't follow any other blogs that have under 200 followers. But please take some time to read or check out blogs 1-6, I find many of them provide interesting stories and ideas.

Now for those I've nominated (and please feel free to check their blogs out), here are my questions for you:

1. What movie best explains your life?
2. Best state in the U.S.?
3. Favorite sports team?
4. Which reality TV show would you most like to be on?
5. Something you vow never to purchase?
6. Pet peeve often violated at home or work?
7. Favorite flower?
8. Actor/actress you had a crush on in either middle school or high school?
9. Baby name you like that your spouse HATES?
10. Best type of M&Ms?
11. If you had to use a word to describe me or my blog, it would be...?

Hopefully everyone takes time to check out some of these blogs. I appreciate everyone who follows my blog and I truly enjoy writing and sharing my addiction with you. I promise more posts will follow in the next fews days about the rest of our trip to Virginia, Sophie's birthday, and other family activities. I'll keep you posted.

Meet Me in Monticello

Probably the 3nd most popular presidential house (#1 White House & #2 Mount Vernon) would be Thomas Jefferson's home outside of Charlottesville, VA- Monticello, which means "little mountain". It' s about 3 hours away from Washington, D.C., but worth the extra mileage for the astonishing views and clever house.

Especially with the leaves changing colors and the cool crisp air atop the mountain, the view was extraordinary. If I had to chose between the view of Mount Vernon (with the Potomac and hills) or Monticello's mountain surroundings I choose Monticello... no hesitation. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous! Thus explains the thousands of pictures.

I mean really... who would turn down views like this? Couldn't you just picture walking the grounds in the morning as the sun comes up? Or even in the evening as the fireflies come out?

Yup I could live here. Not exactly outside, but if you were to give me a little cottage on the grounds here I'd manage as long as I had hot running water for a bathtub and a fireplace, I'd be content.

Brian however, probably wouldn't be content to be so far away from a big city. Brian likes challenging jobs and opportunities... and a limited area means limited challenges and job opportunities. Guess I'll have to live here in my dreams.

We both also enjoyed the house tour in addition to the grounds.  Unlike Mount Vernon (which George Washington inherited and slowly had others make additions to it), Thomas Jefferson built Monticello himself and was very hands on in it's development and architecture... even when he was away in France or serving as our 3rd President in Washington, D.C. The house included 22 rooms, equip with several skylights, a dumb waiter which transported bottles of wine from downstairs to the side of the fireplace in the dining room for guests, weather vanes on patio ceilings, clocks which told the time as well as the day of the week, a copying machine (kind of like an old-fashioned Xerox machine), and multiple other scientific resources such as telescopes, globes, etc...

(Pictures inside the house were prohibited... sorry).

His construction of the rooms had many architectural styles found within France during his time, such as alcove beds and scroll-work along the trim where the wall meets the ceiling. But he also was brilliant in making everything functional. For example, food cooked and smoked typically needed to be furthest away from the house (due to the smoke, heat, etc..). But if the food was too far from the house, the food would get cold by the time it arrived in the dining room. So Jefferson made the South Pavilion (previously it was the first building on the grounds of Monticello where Jefferson brought his wife to live) into the kitchen. And when the food was done being cooked, the staff/slaves would take the food downstairs and under the walkway (which sheltered the food from the elements outside like rain, snow, heat,...) and into the main house where it would still be warm upon serving Jefferson and his guests and family.


Just brilliant! And that is only one example. But Brian and I both agreed that Jefferson was the Brian Oney of his day.

Jefferson, his wife, and children are all buried on the grounds of Monticello in an elaborate graveyard. The tall obelisk that covers the graves of Jefferson and his wife was later erected by the U.S. government in his honor.

In the graveyard is also the grave of Jefferson's mother. I thought that was kind of neat. 

However, the BEST part of this was that it was a kid-free date with my husband. We don't get too many of these and we had purposely postponed our anniversary in October until we were in Virginia with family... family we could con into watching our children while we escaped. You know sometimes I forget how much I like Brian.

I think sometimes with kids we forget to enjoy our spouse and get caught up in the chores, agendas, and damage control, and we forget the things we used to do together that we both enjoy. Like traveling, and hiking, and living in a small house in Virginia near Monticello... oh wait... sorry... last one is mine.  

Hope everyone takes some time to enjoy their spouse. And for more information on Monticello, click HERE.