Monsters of Destruction

So this last weekend, me and my man went on a date night without the little man. We went and saw Monsters of Destruction, which was basically a monster truck/demolition derby show. Kind of ironic we went and saw trucks without the little guy when he loves trucks so much. We showed him some videos/pictures the next day, and he loved it. He kept asking to see it over and over. (and over and over!)

While waiting for the show to start, they did bus rides for anyone around the track. When I was watching this, I thought the bus was flying around the track, but I had no idea what was in store. Cars went so much faster.

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There were tons of funny/hilarious “stunts” they tried to do. One of the first ones was that they stacked cars like so, and then they had a fence in front of the first car and smashed into it and created a car domino effect. I wish I had gotten an after picture. Cars were destroyed and flipped in the oddest angles.

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And southerners are already pumped and excited for football, so they figured out how to make a a game of football with cars. They used the car pictured below as the football. There were two teams of 4 cars with end zones and everything. No one ended up winning, but a car caught on fire, so that’s close enough, right?

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^^^Here’s a pic of the mayhem as it was happening. Basically just turned into a demolition derby.20140805-085517-32117355.jpg

^^^There’s the “football”

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^^^And here’s the after pic.

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^^^Here’s the car that caught on fire. It took the emergency team a good 2-3 minutes before they realized there was a fire. They were just chilling in the middle completely unaware with the announcer repeatedly saying there was a fire and the crowd roaring. 

Another fun race was the “skid” race. They took the back wheels off of the cars, and put them on “sleds”. They turned off the stadium lights so that we could see the sparks, and it turned out really cool. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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There were also 3 monster trucks. So huge and loud! I can’t believe how much air these machines can get!

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I think my favorite race (which I didn’t get a picture of) was the “Gauntlet” race. They had two vans that were racing each other trying to get around the track 8 times. Then there were 4 cars behind the vans trying to prevent either of them from making it around the track. One of the vans was an ice cream van, so it had a huge cooler system on top. Each time one of the cars tried to spin the ice cream van out, it would teeter back and forth like it was going to flip over. At one point, it did actually flip over. It fell on the driver’s side, which is a safety concern because the driver could get seriously hurt. They stopped the race, and everyone waited to see if the driver was okay. The crowd was waiting, everyone holding their breath, concerned that he might be hurt because he wasn’t getting out of the van. All of a sudden, he popped out of the back of the van! With ice cream cones for everyone! No, that didn’t happen, but he did pop out the back in a grand flourish and it was really comical because in true southern redneck style, he was wearing cowboy boots, his pants were falling off, and he had to repeatedly keep pulling them up.

Overall, it was a fun night! It started out a little rocky because the tickets could not be found, we were running late, and Kenny was freaking out because he knew we were leaving, but everything worked out and it was a blast! I love continually dating this man.20140805-085457-32097660.jpg

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Grandma and Grandpa!

Uh so maybe I’m getting a little behind on blogging. I’m going to try to be better at blogging regularly (we’ll see how that goes).

So anyway, Ken’s parents came to visit us here in South Carolina recently! It was a lot of fun to see them and show them around our town. I am embarrassingly didn’t take one picture the whole time they were here! (What was I thinking?) But I was able to bum some off of Ken’s dad.

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^^^Kenny loved his grandma time playing with her on the piano.

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We loved hanging out with them! We took them to our favorite restaurant in town (Sullivan’s! Their dessert is to die for!), went to the local flea market, fed the ducks, went to the antique store, and Ken’s dad did a fireside on Sunday called God’s Hands in America’s Birth (and it was a great talk and there was a great turnout!). Kenneth and I were also able to go on a date! We saw Frozen, and I loved it, and Ken tolerated it. (Thanks for watching Kenny, Mom!) We also went on a bazillion walks with Kenny. (This was right when he was getting pretty good at walking and when it was starting to get warm enough to spend a lot of time outside.)

Unfortunately Kenny and Mom got sick with a cold, but both were troopers. And boy did Kenny warm up to Grandma and Grandpa quickly! When Grandpa left to get something from the car, instant tears. And when they would come down the hall for breakfast in the morning, Kenny was down and running towards them to say hi and give a hug. The day they left was a sad day. Kenny had to go down for a nap, so they sad goodbye to him before the nap. When Kenny got up from his nap, I explained where they were went he went looking for them. I told him that they had to go bye-bye. He was so sad! And the next morning he woke up early and tried to go looking for them, and lost it again. He definitely loves his grandparents!

Oh, and Ken’s parents have a knack for bringing the colder weather with them. The week before and after they came we had 70 degree weather, but the week they were here it lingered around the 40’s. Guess that just means they’ll need to come visit us again to experience the nice weather, right? It was 85 degrees this last week . . . tempting. ;)

New Favoritest

Ken always jokes with me that I call too many things the “best thing ever” and “my favorite”. He says that I have too many favorite meals, desserts, movies, places to hang out, etc. In his mind favorite means one, used sparingly. I use it more liberally for whatever I deem to be especially delicious, fun, or exciting at the moment.

Well yesterday we found our new favorite restaurant. Ever ever ever.

Remember this post? Well we didn’t go the next day (closed on New Year’s blah), but it was worth the wait! Even Ken agrees with me that it was delicious and a new favorite.

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^^^Here’s the appetizer we got. It was crab dip. Delicious!

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^^^And we both got salmon. It was salmon with a cranberry walnut chutney, squash, and broccoli. Yum!

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^^^And then we both got dessert and shared. Ken got a milky way cake, and I got heath cheesecake. I can’t even explain how good this was. Gah, dying just thinking about it.

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Look at these two cute guys! Always fun to go out with these two, especially in the middle of the work week! It’s a nice way to break up the week and have some fun.

Hello 2014!

Time to ring in the new year!

We didn’t have a ton of plans for New Year’s Eve because Ken had to work, but we went out to dinner with some friends in the evening. We went here-

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Yep, Mellow Mushroom. It’s a favorite of the locals, and it is exactly like the name sounds. Vegan entrees, hipster decorations, and edgy lighting/colors. We totally fit in because we are soooooo hipster, ya know?

Ha, no not at all. But they really do have good pizza! Ken and I shared a pesto pizza. As we all know, you can put pesto on any food and it makes it ten times more delicious, so of course this pizza didn’t stand a chance of making it home for leftovers.

After dinner we went home and put Kenny down and tried to find the perfect movie to ring in the new year. After several failed attempts (movies not available, free rentals not working, google chrome not working) and our confidence in our ability with technology a bit shaken, we decided to settle with the movie Clue. Ken had seen it before, but I hadn’t. Overall, I thought it was pretty funny.

We then did the whole martinelli toast at midnight and called it a night.

The next day we had a lot of time to reflect on the year. 2013 was a really good year for our small family. Kenny was born, we graduated college, we moved across the country, and Ken started his first job. We feel so blessed and appreciative of our many opportunities and this fun adventure we are having here in South Carolina. Some days it is hard to not have any family nearby (ugh like when I was sick a few weeks ago), but overall we are really enjoying ourselves. We have learned a lot living here in the South. Even though I grew up in a big city, I have never lived this close to poverty before. It is really humbling to see people struggle to get the basics- food, a home, heat, clothing, safety, etc. We’ve had many eye-opening experiences, and I think it has been good for us to see these struggle and to try to learn to be more grateful and humble.

Most of all, I feel like in 2013 I have learned the most about myself. Becoming a mother has really helped me learn who I am, and the important role I have raising this little one with Ken. Motherhood has made me confront some of my weaknesses and helped me learn to just try my best everyday. It has helped me realize again and again that no one is perfect (especially me) and that’s okay. I have learned to take one day at a time and to enjoy the here and the now. I know that little Kenny thinks the world of me, and it doesn’t really matter if the dishes don’t get done for the day. Or the vacuuming. Or the laundry. Or if we are eating pancakes for dinner for the third time this week.

God has entrusted Ken and I with this little spirit and raising him truly is the most important thing. The joy Kenny has brought us this year truly is immeasurable. I am grateful for 2013 and the happiness it has brought my family and I.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us! I can tell it’s going to be a good year. :)

Anniversary 3.0

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We had a great anniversary! Our dinner date was crashed by this little cutie, but we didn’t mind.

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And I don’t think the people behind us did either. He kept on turning around and playing with them.

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And yes we are those parents that let our kid stick his hands in our drinking glasses. Kid loves water.

But yeah, we had a good anniversary! It seems like every year our restaurant plans fall through. (And by every year I mean this year and last year. Ken says that I always exaggerate things, but if you think about it, that’s 66% of our anniversaries! Ya see what I mean? :) Last year it was snow, and this year was . . . poor planning. Oops. The restaurant we wanted to go to didn’t open until 5:00 on Saturday, and we wanted to go out to lunch because hello the food is like twice as much when you order it for dinner. We didn’t find out that it opened at 5:00 until a couple of hours before we were planning on going.

We decided to go to a generic chain restaurant instead. I am not going to name names because I am going to tell you the truth, and I don’t want to rag on it. You ready for it? We were both pretty disappointed in the food. We aren’t restaurant connoisseurs by any means, but it was a bit lacking. I ordered a steak and it was so gristly that I didn’t even want to eat it. Yes, I know. I, Rachel Arleane Alford, did not want to eat a steak. And Ken wasn’t thrilled about his chicken either.

In hindsight, I probably should have said something about the steak, but no biggy. I am over it. (Especially since Ken promised me that we can go to that other restaurant that we were planning on going to another time! Like tomorrow I think!)

So here’s to three years and a try at another steak! :)

Gingerbread House Fail

In my opinion, Ken and I are pretty frugal. We try to save money where we can. We usually try to buy generic brand food/items to save money. However, we have come to realize that sometimes buying the name brand item is worth the extra dollar or two. Like floss. Ken and I don’t skimp on floss. We really like the mint-tinted name brand floss. Same with cotton swabs. Name brand all the way or the cotton just gets stuck in your ears and becomes a mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

We figured out yesterday that we will only buy name brand molasses from now on.

Every year we make a gingerbread house. It was what Ken’s family did every year growing up, so we decided to carry on the tradition. We bought all the ingredients last week, cooked the gingerbread several days ago, and tried to assemble it last night. When we were cooking the gingerbread, we commented that the molasses looked a bit unusual. It wasn’t as thick as typical molasses. We continued on our merry way, though.

As we started assembling the house, we noticed that the roof started getting flatter and flatter. It was beginning to sag!

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^^^As you can see in the bottom right picture, the two pieces that made up the roof were almost completely flat because it was sagging so much.^^^

We realized that the roof was going to cave in, so we started decorating as fast as we could so that we could try to get one good picture of it. But, alas, we were not fast enough, but I got a sweet video (*pun intended*) of the gingerbread earthquake of 2013.

We still wanted to decorate something since we had so much candy, so we decided to make a gingerbread mound. Then we iced the mound with the rest of the frosting and thus the gingerbread igloo was born!

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We love our gingerbread igloo!

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So moral of the story, don’t buy the cheap molasses and try to make gingerbread. The bread will be too soft and won’t be able to hold up all the candy.

Golf Section, Sir?

Guess what? This past Saturday Ken and I went on a date. By ourselves. Without the babe.

We had a bit of trouble going on dates without Kenny for the first 3 months of his life because he was extremely clingy and would cry whenever someone else held him. We were worried that he would cry for the whole time that we were gone and torture the poor soul who was watching him.

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^^^It didn’t happen all of the time, but it was fairly often.^^^

After Kenny got over the clingy stage, that is when he decided to stop taking a bottle, so again we put off going on a date without the kid.

Once he got old enough to go long enough between feedings and was on a fairly consistent schedule, we had just moved to SC and didn’t know anyone to leave him with, hence, not leaving him with anyone for the first 8 months of his life.

But then last Saturday happened! Our good friends, the Bairds, graciously watched him for us. I was worried that because we had waited so long to leave him with someone else that he would have a meltdown, but he didn’t. Phew, I didn’t ruin my kid (yet).

So Ken and I went to Outback for a late lunch/early dinner. Ken ordered salmon and vegetables, and I got the unlimited shrimp and a steak. (If anyone but the waitress had brought our food out, I think they probably would have thought that Ken had ordered the unlimited shrimp and steak, and I would have gotten the salmon and vegetables. Nope. Not in this relationship. Gimme that meat!)

So after our awesome meals and delicious dessert (cake balls!), we decided to stop by Dick’s Sporting Goods and get some bicycle stuff for Ken. (Ken just bought a new bike. Normally I would try to persuade him to write a blog post about it, but we all know that would never happen. ;)

And before I go on, you need to see what Ken was wearing when he went inside the store to fully understand-

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^^^Here is what Ken was wearing that day. Do you like his hat? He picked it out himself. So stylish.^^^

Anyway, the “hello, welcome to our store” guy saw Ken and was trying to be helpful and direct him to the section of the store that he thought Ken was looking for. He saw Ken and what he was wearing and said, “Golf section, sir?”

Gosh, so funny! It still gets me. This is probably one of those stories where you tell people and it isn’t nearly as funny as it was in the given moment, but let me try to shed some light. It is so funny because (1) Ken doesn’t golf. Like at all. Like at all at all and (2) Ken never wears stylish clothes or hats like he was wearing that day, so this comment was completely out of the blue.

Anyway, we really enjoyed our (long overdue) date! I would recommend it for anyone who hasn’t gone on a date recently. (But I would not recommend going on a date with me or Ken because we are married and that would be weird. Except the “hello, welcome to our store” guy didn’t know that we were both married, so it became a pretty awkward situation yet again. Gosh, poor “hello, welcome to our store” guy.)