Welcome to the Peach State!

Well, we're here!

And as usual, it takes me a while to get around to updating the blog, but we've been back in Buford, GA for a full week now.  And I will finally say it.  "It feels good to be 'home'".  Maybe it's because it's Christmas time.   Maybe it's because we haven't been away from Durham for too long yet.  Maybe it's because it's only been a week since we've seen all of our Durham friends, co-workers, and been to the Summit church, but so far, it does feel good to be here.

I know I alluded to it being hard to leave even though we were moving "home", but it was actually really hard for me.  Close to awful, actually.  That last week in Durham was just sad.  It was sad because it was such a great week filled with all of our favorite things that it made it just that much harder to leave.  The last day we were there was Sunday and I literally was on the verge of tears the entire day.  It started with the first song at the beginning of the church service and I finally did burst out in tears when we bumped into some of our friends from our small group on the way out.  We stopped by our friends' Adam and Melissa's house for a little bit that afternoon, then had Matt, Wes and Adam over for a steak dinner Sunday night - "the last supper" we called it.  boo. hoo.

Anyways, even though we were headed home, I just dreaded it.  Surprising, isn't it?  I always thought I wanted to live back in Georgia eventually, so why was it so hard to move back?  I think because God blessed us tremendously during our two and a half years in Durham with amazing friends who became our family while we were there, with an incredible church that is serving that community in awesome ways, and just surrounded us by great people that were SO hard to leave.  Not only did He provide for us in so many ways, but He also taught us so much while we were there.  If we stay in Georgia for the rest of our lives, I'll always be thankful for the two and a half years we had in Durham.  I think being away from home was the best thing for us and for the start of our marriage.  We really learned so much these last couple of years and have learned to depend on each other and fully rely on God for everything.  And those lessons have been priceless.

We got a late start headed south last Monday, and didn't get here until that night.  But ever since our arrival, it has just been nice to be home.  We unpacked and visited with Ryan's parents on Tuesday and ran some errands at the mall for things Ryan needed to start his job.  He started working on Wednesday, so I've been on my own.  I thought having the days to myself, being alone and without a job to keep me busy right away, would be the worst thing since I was away from everything I had just left behind, but I have actually stayed really busy and friends have just so warmly welcomed us back.  Some things that have kept me busy and also helped the transition tremendously over the past week have been:
  • Going to lunch on Wednesday (Ryan's first day of work) with two of my best friends from childhood, Erin and Julie.
  • Taking an afternoon on Thursday to visit the old college campus and have lunch with Jamie in Athens...and check out her dorm, buy a new "UGA Alumni" car decal for my car, and get frozen yogurt with her and Jennica.    
  • Christmas errands and Cheesecake Factory with my mom and her best friend, Lisa.
  • Making it to a Friday night Buford football game.  They're still good - playing in the state championship on Friday!
  • Going to my good friend Susan's baby shower for the twins that we have prayed for and waited for with Susan and Chris for years. 
  • Watching the SEC Championship game with good friends (and Auburn grads), Julie and Rob.  {Ryan has had his heart set on a German Shepherd for two years now from being around their dog, Bo.  Being with them Saturday only made it worse!}
  • Decorating the Wood's Christmas tree by the fire...ahh, love it!
  • Going to church at Blackshear Place and seeing so many family friends
  • Decorating my parents' Christmas tree and hanging the stockings on the fireplace
  • and of course, some Christmas shopping at the good ole' Mall of Georgia!

And this weekend, we have - well, just on Friday alone, we have the Buford State Championship game at the Georgia Dome, then Ryan's company Christmas party (any advice on what I should wear for the "South Beach Chick" attire??), followed by a tacky Christmas sweater party with some friends in Atlanta we haven't seen in a long time.  Then on Saturday, we have an engagement party for one of my best friends, Breanne and her fiance Knox. a lot going on!

Lots of fun stuff to welcome us back and make it feel like we never left.  Lots of friendships that have picked right back up where we left off two and a half years ago.

Still to be determined though... a job for me, where to live in Atlanta, and what church to get plugged into.  Anyone hiring? :)


The way to travel...

It's 10:25 pm (well, it was when I started this post - I got a little sidetracked between then and now though...) and we've been home from Georgia Tech for two hours already.  Team travel is the way to go.  Seriously.  If I could travel everywhere like we traveled this weekend, it'd be amazing and I'd be fat.

We had planned to drive to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech game, but when I mentioned our plans to Stan, one of the guys I work for, he made arrangements for us to be a part of the travel party and travel with the team to Georgia Tech.  Talk about the way to travel - it's like VIP treatment!  Stan hooked us up since he knew it would be way more convenient for us than driving, but also as a fun last hoorah before I leave. 

Apparently guys are a little less detail oriented than us girls because none of them...not Ryan, not Matt, not TJ...has ever mentioned the treatment they get on away trips before. 

It all started before we even departed from the airport.  We parked at general aviation, never even stepped foot in a terminal, just went through a single line of security set up specifically for our travel party.  Then we walked straight up to the airplane and boarded via the stairs.  It reminded me of the President boarding Air Force One...on a smaller, less important scale of course. :)   Before boarding the plane, we grabbed a food bag and chose between the sandwich, philly cheese steak and chicken fingers.  When I opened my bag of food on the plane, it was never-ending!

Then, when we arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson in ATL, one of the busiest airports in the world, we got off at a separate area - not a gate- where the charter buses had pulled right up next to the plane.  We had a police escort to the hotel and this may have been the craziest part of the whole thing.  We got on 285 during the middle of 6 lanes of stand-still traffic and the police just stopped the cars in all lanes and we made a beeline for the HOV.  Once there, I was like well that was cool, but what one in front of us can go anywhere and it might as well be a parking lot.  Cars weren't moving.  Well, with that police escort, cars pulled over out of the HOV lane and we went right on ahead.  When we reached our exit, the police blocked off the lanes again so all four buses could just dart over to the exit.  It was like the parting of the sea lol.  The cars in all lanes just stopped on the middle of the highway for us to cross. 

When we got to the Westin Peachtree Plaza, we got our room key and to the horror of my elevator phobia, our room was on the 36th floor. Juuust wonderful! Actually, these elevators weren't too bad and the view wasn't at all bad, so it was fun.  Seriously though, my second thought after Stan made arrangements for us to travel was "oh crap, the Westin is one TALL building - I sure hope we're not on a high floor".  And I was legitimately concerned about it until we got there.  Crazy and stupid, I know. :)

view from our room to the left - downtown Atlanta

...and view to the right - my beloved Georgia Dome, where the Falcons play! :) ...and CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, etc.
  Several of the parents greeted the team (my parents and Wes' parents who were staying at my parents' house included), so Matt and Wes came down and we all hung out for a couple hours before dinner time.  For dinner, Ryan and I went with a large group of athletics and campus administrators to Ray's in the City - delicious!  Then we hung out in the Sun Dial room afterwards until we headed to bed.

At Ray's in the City with Stan and Ramona

After a Starbucks breakfast in the hotel, we once again loaded the charter buses and headed to the stadium with our police escort.  We hit a couple of tailgates - one with some football alum guys and one with the player's families.  Then Ryan and I headed up to the AD's box for the first half of the game, which included...of course...more food!  We moved down to the stands for the second half to sit with my parents, Jamie and a couple of her friends.

Ryan and I in the visiting AD's suite

Duke Athletics ladies I'm going to MISS!!!  Cindy, Nina, and Ramona! ...and "Bubba King" in Nina's belly! :)

Matt and Banks' high five ritual before kickoff

and Egboh making a play!

After visiting with the players after the game, we loaded up and headed back to the airport. 

Mom, Dad, me, Ryan, Matt and Jamie + Summer and Jamie's friends Alysha and Elizabeth

Banks and Matt showing off their 'staches for no shave November.  Wes really has the best mustache going on, but he was already on the bus. 

This picture is majorly lacking TJ!!
 Again, we walked straight onto the plane after grabbing yet another heaping bag of food, which was followed by Dove ice cream bars that the flight attendants handed out once we were in the air.  And by 8:15 pm, we were back in our car, headed home! And with our days in Durham dwindling, we gained a much-needed free full day by being in Durham all day tomorrow instead of spending our day driving back. 

It was so fun to experience traveling with the team - to see what it's like from the player's perspective.  With Ryan, Matt, and TJ doing this on a regular basis, it's fun to see what game weekends are like to them!


The Move (and all the details!)

Well - it's official.  Official because it's now been posted to facebook...and everything becomes official at that point right?  So, for anyone who missed it on facebook...

We're moving to Atlanta!!!

In two and a half weeks! 

And I am just a mess of all kinds of emotions.  So excited yet SO sad! We're going to be close to both of our families, and the parts of our families that are not in Atlanta (TJ in Gainesville, FL, and Norrises in Tuscaloosa, AL will be 5 hours closer than they are now. TJ 5 hours away instead of 10 and Norrises 3 hours away instead of 8.  But Matt will go from being a couple minutes down the road to 5 hours away...until he graduates in May anyways.  At which point, he better move to Atlanta too because I've become quite attached to having him close-by. 

Ok, so here's the scoop.... So, first of all, we bought a house a couple months back, that I've mentioned in passing on here, but not given the details of yet.  How's that for crazy timing??  We've lived in it and become quite attached to our "first home" over the last couple of months, fully unpacked and decorated it and made it home.  And let me mention that I am NOT A FAN OF MOVING!  yuck!  It was my first ever big move in my entire life and it was not fun, so you can imagine my excitement at having to do it again in such a short amount of time! (any volunteers??? haha...i'm kidding.  kinda :))

So, we buy this house, then out of the blue...Ryan gets an email from a commercial real estate company in Atlanta saying that they are hiring for a position and had his resume on file and that they'd like to interview him.  First question we had was "where did they even get his resume?"  He did have a couple of contacts in that company, so looking back, we remembered that before he graduated and secured his job here, he had set up some meetings over Christmas break two years ago with some people in Atlanta just to network and one of the meetings that never worked out had asked for his resume to keep on file, so we assume that is where it came from.  So they still had it and I guess it got put in the stack of resumes when they started the hiring process for this position.  Both being from the Atlanta area and with that being where our families are, we had hoped to end up back there sometime down the road...although the longer we've been here in Durham, the more we were getting settled here.  So we weren't sure how serious we were about the position initially, but how do you turn down an interview like that, in our hometown and everything?  So, if for no other reason than networking for future opportunities, he went down to interview.  Long story short...three trips to Atlanta, and lots of prayer later, we felt that it was a really good opportunity for him and the direction we should go.

the house goes on the market and it's time to pack up everything I've just finished unpacking!
(can't you just feel my excitement??) ;p

And since everyone is asking what comes next for us, here is the plan for now...

Ryan starts his new job, working as an Industrial Broker for Jones Lang LaSalle in Atlanta, on December 1st.  We are both going to work until theWednesday before Thanksgiving, then we'll be here through that Saturday for the Duke/UNC football game - Matt's last college football game! - and then we'll move the next day on Sunday, he'll start work that Wednesday.  We're planning to live in Ryan's parents' basement right away to give us a little time to sell our house and scope out the areas that we could live.  The debate is between living in the city (and if so, what area...Buckhead, Vinings, Virginia Highlands have been recommended) or living outside the city in a suburb of Atlanta (Alpharetta, Marietta, Smyrna...??), but not as far out as our families because that would probably be way too much of a commute when you factor in rush hour traffic. 

I don't have a job lined up yet and have not quite started searching yet.  Between having a ton to wrap up here at work and feeling like I'm running out of time to finish it all and then not having any idea what area of Atlanta we'll be living yet and since the move is only a couple weeks away, I'm going to wait til we get there and see where we think we'll be living before starting to job search. 

There are a ton of unknowns at this point - not having a clue where we'll live...not even what town, not having a job lined up is kinda scary, and then of course... finding a church, making new friends, finding a new "community".  While it sounds like we're just "moving home", we will actually likely be 45 minutes or more, depending on where we land, from our Gainesville/Buford community, where all our family and friends are, so while we'll be much much closer to them than we're used to being, we'll still be far enough away that we can't just stop in and visit on the way home from work or do dinner on last minute notice.  So, we'll definitely be starting over in the sense that we'll be finding a new church and new "community" of friends closer to Atlanta, wherever we end up living.  That's the part I'm most sad about leaving here - we've found such awesome community and close-knit friends here that live right around us and moving there all of our friends will end up being a good distance away.  It'll be such a tease to live in Buford for a little bit so close to everyone just to move farthur away soon after.  But we know that the Lord has guided and directed our steps our whole lives and throughout our marriage so far and we know he will continue to guide and direct us in this situation as well.  So, we're moving to Atlanta and just trusting Him to provide all of our needs and enjoying the peace of knowing that He is in control and He has a plan (Jeremiah of my all-time favorites!).

In light of moving away, I thought I'd do a series of posts on things that I love most about Durham. For those of you who have never been here, it'll be an introduction to all our favorite spots, people, things we'll miss, etc... but for me and Ryan, it'll be a good way to record and remember all of our favorite things about Durham that we can look back on.  I'm holding myself to actually blogging about this one, so y'all hold me to it too! :)

And for all of you who have been asking "when are you going to put pics of the new house on the blog?", they're coming!  The house is one of the things we'll miss about Durham, so there will be a post about it. 

Also, to all of our friends in Gainesville/Buford - we're excited about seeing you in December!  And to our friends in Atlanta - we're excited about hanging out and having y'all show us around! :)


Tuscaloosa Trip

Well, as usual, we've been busy! So busy that I can't even hardly get my pictures loaded onto the computer, much less into a blog post. So I apologize for the lack of updates. But blog posts are not as fun without pictures, so when I'm not caught up on pictures, then I just don't blog.  A quick recap: lots of traveling, lots of football, lots of house projects, lots of big decisions (more on that later) and lots of work!  That pretty much sums it up!

A quick recap of our football weekends lately...

We went to Tuscaloosa for the Florida/Bama game a few weeks back and stayed with Ryan's sister Rachel and her family and had a lot of fun with them. I hate to brag, but I'm pretty sure our nephew and nieces are the cutest kids in existence. I mean, just look at them...


And seeing Ryan with those sweet little girls just melts my heart. It has me convinced that he's going to be a really good dad one day (not that I ever doubted that). And I thought it was so cute - but surprising - when Jeff (bro-in-law) asked if we want a girl first or a boy first whenever we have kids (Jeff always asks us random life questions like this lol) and without hesitation, Ryan said "a girl". [I had no idea that he even had a preference]. Needless to say, I think those cute little nieces have won over his heart. :)

They just love him!  Samuel loves Ryan too, but in more of a play with me outside, rough and tumble, guy-to-guy kind of way. The girls though, they just love on him and snuggle up with him.  Ellie Kate in the picture above (top right) kept fighting falling asleep but finally just conked out laying on him.

We had lunch with Samuel at school and played lots of legos throughout the weekend!  

The girls had a dance party after they got all dressed up in their gameday attire.  So cute - check out all of Abigail's moves and facial expressions lol!

But then when she realizes she's the center of attention, her classic "shy face" comes out...


When game time finally rolled around, we headed over to campus and had dinner at the Alpha Chi house (Rachel's sorority) beside the stadium.  I love that tradition and wish UGA did the same thing!  Sorority row at Alabama lines the stadium and on game day, each house hosts a catered meal for all the current girls and their families and guests as well as all of the alumni and their family and guests.  So it's a good way to bump into all kinds of people you went to school with that you might not normally keep in touch with and gives you an excuse to reconnect with all kinds of people.  They just all bump into each other on game days and keep in so much better touch that way.  We saw a lot of the Woods' family friends at the sorority house - I didn't realize they/we had so many Alabama Alpha Chi ties, but being the outsider, I actually knew a lot of people at the house.  Ryan's pastor's wife was one and they were there, a friend of Ryan's and my family from high school is a current one so we saw her there, Jeff's sister was one, so his parents were there, Rachel and Ryan's cousin is a freshman Alpha Chi, so she and Ryan's aunt and uncle were there.  It was so much fun! 

After eating at the house, we went our separate ways.  Us Florida folks over to catch the team getting off the bus and the Bama ones continued visiting at the house.  I was so excited to see TJ - for the first time since he came to Durham for Matt's birthday in July - but goodness gracious, I had to shove like 5 girls off of him to just hug his neck.  As soon as he got off the bus, he spotted us and headed our way.  When he got over to us, this girl standing in front of us thought he was coming for her, so she grabbed him as soon as he was in reaching distance and gave him a big hug...and then I think she realized "oh and sister...that's probably who he was reaching out for" haha.  Then another girl was like "TJ, can I have a kiss?" and when he was reaching over the first girl to hug mom, she just jumps in there and plants one on his cheek.  {Really people?  I'm amazed at how girls are these days....right in front of the kids parents...WHILE he's in the middle of hugging his mother, she asks for a kiss?} As soon as TJ walked away, he texted me and said "who were those girls y'all let in front of you?" LOL.  I know he's cute, but the protective big sister in me came to the surface and I just wanted to be like "back off!"

Another awesome thing about the sorority house is that it is RIGHT. BESIDE. the stadium and Alpha Chi happens to be right by the player family gate for the opposing team too.  So when we were in line, a security lady told me I couldn't bring my zoom lens in.  To say I was annoyed was an understatement - I mean people were taking shuttles to campus from their cars parked miles away...what would I do with the thing if we were parked really far away?  Anyways...beside the point... so I ran over to the Alpha Chi house where Ryan's family was still hanging out and was going to leave it there, but ended up just shoving it down in the bottom of Martha's bag underneath her sweater to sneak it in.  Rebellious I know - but no other stadium has had a problem with it and I really wanted my pictures.  Anyways, I ran it to her and got back in line before we had even reached the ticket table. 

The BAD thing about Alabama though is that they stick their opposing team's family in their newest nosebleed addition of the stadium where you can't even make out the numbers on the players jerseys.  I'm not even kidding either - literally could not tell what their numbers were.  So even with the zoom lens zoomed in all the way, and when the team was at the closest end of the football field, this was as good as the pictures got. 

TJ's #45 in at full back on the right with Trey Burton in at QB.

Clearing the way for Trey...

I can't remember since this was a few weeks ago, but I don't think the ref called it a TD. :(

Gotta include a pic of TJ lined up behind John (Brantley) too.  Now if they'd just put Sam (Robey) in at Center instead of Pouncey, then all three roommates would be lined up behind each other.  Sam at Center, John at QB, TJ at FB. 

Every time I see this picture (taken by Tim Casey), I think it would be such a cool shot if they were all three in at the same time.  It would be the roomie line-up.

Since our trip to Tuscaloosa, we've also been to GA/FL two weekends ago, which was a crazy trip.  We went from Durham to Ponte Vedra, FL to see TJ at the hotel on Friday night, then we went to Jacksonville for the night, then we went to Gainesville after the game to spend Sunday morning with him and get to see his, John's, and Sam's house that we haven't seen in the last year they've lived there, and then BACK to Durham.  All in 48 hours.  Then this past Saturday was a fun Duke win against UVA followed by a shrimp boil with the Banks...and no driving!!  All of which I "plan" to blog about, but am behind on pictures with, so we'll see if it really happens or not :)

And as someone signed their email to me today...

"Happy Hump Day" everyone!


We have a winner!

Congratulations Debbie from The Adventures of Three Little Byrds! With your 3rd comment out of 30, you have won the $60 CSN Stores gift card!

Thanks to all of you who commented and joined in the giveaway!! 


Extended to Monday

Running out the door with no internet access all weekend and I'm late (no way, not me!), so I'm going to extend the giveaway until Monday!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Does it ever slow down?

Sorry for two posts in a row with no pictures - I know that's no fun!  But so many times the pictures are what keep me from posting because I don't have them all on the computer yet...and I always think I'll get to them, but never here goes anyways, just so you know what we've been up to.

So, life has been BUSY lately.  I keep wondering when I'm going to be able to stop and catch up, but things just continue on full speed ahead.  Ryan was out of town Sunday through last night so I had three evenings to myself and I was actually kind of excited.  (Sorry babe!  I missed you ALOT though!)  I had all kinds of "catching up" plans.  I was going to finish sorting through all 400+ pictures from Tina's wedding, finish editing them and put them on flash drives for my aunt and cousins.  I had full intentions of FINALLY tackling the "office" and unloading all of the boxes in there - it basically looks like a storage room right now...still, a month after moving in.  I intended to find some pillows for the couch.  AND I thought I would have so much time to myself that AFTER all of that, I envisioned myself sipping coffee and reading a book at the end of the day!

Who was I kidding???

The ONLY thing that got done on that list was that I did find some pillows from Target (on my lunch break!), haha.  No editing/sorting pictures.  No cleaning up the office...although I think I did shove one or two...or five...more piles of things in there.  And NO (frown face) sipping coffee and reading a book.

I did actually START to edit pictures, but as soon as I got on the computer to do that, Matt called to tell me about the candy that  he and Wes got on their Target run and upon realizing that I was staying by myself, he and the rooms drove 20 minutes at 9:30 at night to come stay at the house so I didn't have to stay in our big, dark house by myself. I love brothers - I think everyone should have one :) (I got lucky with two...Matt AND TJ!) They act all big and tough on the outside, but really they have a soft, protective spot for their sisters on the inside - even their big sisters.  Funny how it wasn't like that when we were kids, ha! 

So, I watched like 45 minutes of "Hitch" on tv and ate candy with Matt and Wes instead, then we all went to bed.  And I have yet to return to the pictures. 

They ditched me the next night though because of a 6 AM practice the next morning and not wanting to be 25 minutes from campus. Can't blame them.  So I did have to man up and kill a giant spider in the garage by myself...Ryan didn't believe me when I told him about that. :)

I knew going into these evenings by myself that we were hosting our small group on Thursday night, but the house was for the most part already clean.  But then, on Monday, my friend who was hosting a baby shower on Tuesday night got sick, so I volunteered to have it at our house instead.  AND, I am having a jewelry party for the same friend (she's selling jewelry) next Tuesday and I was going to have it at work, right after work.  Well, I ended up changing my mind about having it at work and decided to have it at home instead.  So, I went from only hosting small group Thursday night and making a pan of brownies to having a baby shower the next day with lots of munchies, small group on Thursday night with a pan of brownies, AND having a jewelry party at our house next Tuesday night with munchies to prepare (and we're out of town this weekend, so nothing will get done then!).  So instead, my evenings turned into grocery store/home goods store/BabiesRUs runs to get snack foods, baby gift (because I'm a procrastinator like that) and speed up my pillow selection process so that the couches would have pillows. 

Needless to say, I shut the office remain that way for a while! :)

{Don't forget to add a comment (or four!) to my last post to enter the drawing for the $60 gift card!}


Up for grabs: $60 gift card!

~ who wants it?? ~

So, a couple months ago, I got an email from someone at CSN Stores asking if I wanted to host a giveaway or do a product review on my blog.  Not gonna lie, I was skeptical and didn't respond for a while at first.

For like a month...

Well, that and I've become a little bit of a personal email slacker lately.  As in like 300 emails in my inbox currently...

But then, I happened to come across a couple other blogs who had CSN stores giveaways, and it turned out to be legit.  I started looking around on some of their websites and realized that they carry a TON of stuff/brands...and I even signed up to win on someone else's giveaway, so I dug up the old email and wrote back, hoping it wasn't too late.

It wasn't.  (Yay!)  Turns out, I have the option of reviewing an item for myself or having a giveaway. 

Hmmm...what shall I do?

While the idea of using the gift card for myself just to review an item was pretty tempting, I thought I would share instead.  Besides, sometimes I jump on my little tracker thing at the bottom of the page and see where people visit my blog from and it's all over the place.  And curious person that I am, I'm always like "well, who could that be in Texas/Arizona/California...even Africa?  I don't know anyone there!" And I always wonder how people in those places find me...what brought them to little ole "Livin' the Wood Life", my teeny tiny corner of the world wide web. 

Or there have even been times that someone will tell me "oh, so and so told me about such and such...they saw it on your blog" and I'm like how the heck did "so and so" know that I even had a blog.  I know I put links on facebook after posting, but half the time "so and so" isn't even on facebook. 

Sooooo....I decided that I will give YOU the gift card in exchange for satisfying my curiousity and knowing who is visiting and keeping up with us as we live the "Wood life". 

What can a CSN stores gift card get you, you may ask?  Well, just about anything you want or need.  Having just bought a house, I'm in "furnishing" mode, so one of the first things I looked at was bed sets for our guest room, then bathroom faucets.  If that's not what excites you though, then you can buy shoes, clothes, school supplies, cookware, toys, pet supplies, housewares, appliances, name it, they have it, and probably in the brand you're looking for.  You can check out all the brands that they carry here on the CSN Stores site.

The $60 gift card is good for anything on their site, but does not include shipping, and the giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canada residents only

I'll pick the winner randomly from the number of comments left on this post so that everyone has a fair chance.  And you can enter up to four times to increase your chance of winning.

"So, get to the point can I WIN??"

I hear ya.  Here's how:

1. FIRST: Become a follower - and then be sure to leave a comment letting me know that you're already a follower or you've just become a follower (because the comment is what counts!).  For those of you non-bloggers, "following" just lets me know you read "Livin' the Wood Life" - all you have to do is click "follow" under the followers section on the left sidebar.

Then, for bonus entries...after your first comment, you can leave three additional comments:

2. Leave a comment saying how you found my blog...on facebook, from someone else's blog, etc...
3. Tell me where you're from.

4.  Since it's football season and lots of my posts this time of year are about which football game we're at each weekend, leave a comment with a shoutout to the team that you cheer for.

I'll pick a winner on Friday at 5 PM EST (to ring in the weekend!), so you have until then to enter.

{Be sure and leave your name and an email address on your comments so I can contact you if you win!}



Army Game

Well, we're in T-town!!  We flew into Atlanta last night, where Martha and Dexter picked us up and we all drove to Rachel and Jeff's beautiful home in Tuscaloosa, AL.  It's crazy that they have lived here for nearly three (I think?) years and this is the first time we've seen their home in AL.

After waking up to three of the most precious kids you have ever seen in your life, it makes me wish they lived 5 minutes away like they did in Athens when I was in college at UGA so this Aunt Erin could see them all the time.  Samuel and Ellie Kate were so cute this morning when I came downstairs.  They were so excited to see us and wanted to go jump on Ryan in bed to wake him up.  When they found him already awake, they were so excited and ran and pounced on him.

Now, Samuel's at school and the girls are at Mother's morning out, so we're going to go explore this town!  Rachel has a whole itinerary set for us, complete with seeing the campus, seeing the cute shops around here, Bryant museum, and Ryan and I are going to go eat lunch with Samuel at school.

It's so fun for me to see this town that they live in and the town that Ryan grew up coming to so much throughout his childhood for games and to visit his sister when she was in college at U of A. 

Anyways, while I'm on this whole catching up kick, let's just go ahead and get on
to this past weekend too before it gets overlooked...

One of my very best friends from home came up to visit - this was like her 7th trip to Durham since I've lived here, so if coming all the way to Durham to see me is any indication of how much my friends love me, then Britney loves me the most! :) Another unnamed friend did not end up making it this weekend. Something about a 5k that she planned way back when or something and the Britney trip was a last minute one that came together....clearly, she doesn't love me. 5 notches down the friend list she goes. I won't name any names though...Laura might get upset with me! ;)  I'm kidding..Laura has made the 5 hour drive more than once by herself to visit. 

But she did miss out on some good Cheesecake Factory cheesecake that we had to celebrate Britney's birthday with... mmm!

My parents also ended up coming up at the last minute so two weekends in a row we had a full house, which we love!

First time I've ever caught the three amigos walking together in the Devil's Walk before...and Mom getting a hug from Banks.

My parents at the Devil's walk...  ha, check out Mom's "Duke #10" bag.  She flips it around when she goes to Florida games and the other side says "Florida #45" in orange with TJ's button on it. 
Is she a soccer mom football mom or what?  :) 

BBB-ritney! Everything is more fun with Britney...I'm still trying to talk her into MOVING to Durham!  There's lots of medical opportunities here for a Nurse Practitioner I'm sure!  (that's my argument anyways)

We played Army for our homecoming game, so it was also Military Appreciation Day.  There was a flyover and parachuters brought in the NC flag and the game ball.

Ryan and Dad waiting for the team to come out of the tunnel.

Here they come...and there's our number #10!

Here comes the team, led by our Matt Pridemore carrying the American Flag!  I was so excited about this because Matt is one of the most patriotic people I know and he was chosen by Coach Cutcliffe to carry the American flag on Homecoming/Military Appreciation Day against Army! 

Here he comes!

At the end of the game, our team went over to stand with Army during the playing of their fight song. 

It was a really cool game atmosphere and a really fun weekend with Britney.  

Now I'm off to explore this town!


Duke / Alabama

Now on to Alabama!  (In the blog post sense and in the pack-my-bags-and-fly-to-Alabama sense!) :)

Duke/Bama was a weekend with Rachel and Jeff and Martha and Dexter, if I can even call it that.  It was a weekend for Ryan and more like a fun 12 hours for me, since I spent the first half of the weekend at home for Tina's wedding, but the time we did have all together was fun!

And Crazy...

And Exhausting...

And the game ended with a big fat ugly "L"...

But it was still lots of fun.

Let's back up a bit so I can explain why it was so exhausting...

So first, I flew into Atlanta on Wednesday night, got to my grandmother's house around 9:30 PM, met up with a good friend around 10 of my college roommates who lives in the same suburb of Atlanta as my grandmother/cousins that I hadn't seen in way too long and had lots to catch up on...and turned out the light at 3:30 AM.  Night 1 of less than 5 hours of sleep...

Then, I had to get up at 7 AM on Thursday to run some errands and get to the Bridesmaid's luncheon.  Then ran errands with Tina all afternoon...picked up her dress from getting altered, booked their massage for their honeymoon while she tanned, etc...ran with Tina and Wes to Belk on the way to the rehearsal to have the sensor removed from her dress (emergency crisis!)...then rehearsal/rehearsal dinner (Jamie arrived from Athens, woohoo!), got back to Joyce's around midnight only to stay up until the wee hours of the morning hearing all about lil sis's college life only to have to get up again at 7 AM.  Night 2 of less than 5 hours of sleep.

Up early Friday morning, wedding day.  Wedding/Reception, get to Joyce's after midnight.  Shower, pack up, go to sleep at 1:30 AM.  Get up at 5:30 AM to head to airport.  Night 3 of less than 5 hours of sleep. And bless my poor grandmother's heart who also got up at 5:30 AM to drive me to the airport!

Land at RDU at 10 AM, get picked up, stop by the house briefly (have I mentioned we bought a house on here yet?  oops, sorry!  We bought a house! :) ), then head straight to campus for 90 degree game day...EXHAUSTED!

We did a little tailgating and watched the Georgia game, then headed toward the stadium to catch the Devil's Walk.  Ryan and Jeff (bro-in-laws) are talking football in their opposing team colors. :)

Devil's Walk!

Wes, Matt, and Banks' eyes peeking over Hatcher's shoulder

Bama fans had to check out Cameron Indoor.  We went in with Rachel and Jeff and there were a ton of Bama fans in there...they even started the Roll Tide 3 times. 

Alumni players on the alumni deck!  Fun to see some of the guys we don't see too often.

Where's Jeff??  I'll give you a hint.  He's the one in the red shirt. 
Still can't find him?  He's the one waving...

Game time!  Here comes the team....

Pridemore trying to pull off a mohawk lol.  Can you see it?

Love this pic.  Egboh taking down Mark Ingram! Go Egboh!!

I'm not sure if I mentioned that this was the first time that Rachel and Jeff have visited Durham since we've been married.  Unfortunately, because it takes 10 hours in the car to get here and we didn't have enough tickets (or so we thought...ended up with extras at the last minute though), they didn't bring the kids with them. 

So this weekend, we're returning the visit!  We're headed to Tuscaloosa for the Florida/Alabama game and killing lots of birds with one stone!  This will be our first trip to Tuscaloosa visiting Rachel and Jeff since they have lived there and we'll get to see the kids this time (yay!), we'll get to see Ryan's aunt and uncle and grandmother in Birmingham, hopefully get to see his cousins that are in school at Bama, and of course, get to finally see TJ and a Florida game...and a good SEC match-up at that!