Gettin’ Caught Up to Speed…

3 Feb

Hey, y’all!!  Long time no blog!  I hope this post finds everyone well and as eagerly-anticipating-Spring as we are!  As some of you have seen on Facebook, John and I are heading to Hawaii on Sunday- yep, it’s just Thomas, Party of 2 this time as the islands have a wretched quarantine law :(- and we’ve gotten lots of requests to update the blog ‘Aloha-style,’ so of course, we’re more than happy to oblige!  But, I figured since our last chat was November 3- JEEZ LOUISE, we’ve been home 3 months already!- I better take a sec and catch everybody up as to what’s been going on in our neck of the woods!

So, as you might suspect, getting home just in time for the holidays was every bit as fabulous as we knew it would be, especially considering the fact that it’s ‘our time of year…’  A quick sidebar to explain our claim to the month of December…Many moons ago, I was good friends with John’s college roommate.  With me living in Columbia for grad school and him living in Charleston at the Citadel, we often talked online via Messenger.  Well, right before Thanksgiving 2003, he called to tell me that his computer was broken and that he’d be sharing his roommate for the time being, so that if I ever saw ‘John’ online, to say hello because it could easily be him.  So, for the next week, any time I happened to see ‘John’ online, I said hello and each time I was told that it truly was John, to which I’d apologize for bothering him and immediately log off.  Well, the weekend after Thanksgiving, as we were about to repeat the above for about the 7th time, real-John added an additional line to his standard, ‘Nope, it’s really me.’  This time, he followed it up with ‘And there’s nothing saying that you can’t just say hello to me and chat for a while!’  In that moment, we were instant pals as I just loved his feistiness.  Over the next few weeks, we chatted online every day, neither of us knowing what the other even sounded like, let alone looked like!  Well, just before he was to go home for Christmas break, he suggested we meet for Mexican food and margaritas.  And to make a long story short, let’s just say that his planned 3-week holiday back to Kentucky turned into just shy of 4 days while the rest was spent back here in Charleston with me…falling in love <3…I know, I know, it’s cheesy, but as they say, the rest is history.  December and January became OUR months :).

OK, back to our update.  Workwise (for me), the holidays weren’t particularly stellar.  At all.  Within just a few weeks of my being back, my lead sitter- yes, the one who had been with me for nearly 4 years and who had run LPS while I was away- up and quit.  Via email.  Sent 4 days after she had ACTUALLY quit.  What a nightmare, and right in the middle of our busy season!  Needless to say, I had LOTS of unhappy- that’s an understatement and rightfully so!- clients, LOTS of messes to clean up and fires to put out, LOTS of four letter words screamed at me, LOTS of eating crow on my part….And yes, I lost several clients who had been with me since the day I opened and it was heartbreaking to the point where I just wanted to crawl in a hole and stay until it all went away.  *Sigh*  Doesn’t work that way.   To make another long story short, I was lucky enough to have two AWESOME sitters stick it out with me and together, the three of us- plus John when he could take off from his ‘real’ job!- made it through the season all the better- and richer! ;)- for it!  And I’m happy to report that I’ve since hired another full-time sitter who is working out swimmingly and another part-time, fill-in sitter who is also always willing to help, so life is finally back to good on the work front!  (Thank goodness since otherwise we wouldn’t be going to Hawaii on Sunday, right?!)

Beyond the work snafus?  The holidays were great!  We hosted Christmas for the second year in a row- I think after being away for months, we both just really liked the idea of being in our HOME and best of all, having all the people we love come share it with us for a day.  Our ‘theme’ was ‘A Southern Charlie Brown Green Christmas.’  I know, I’m so odd, but I just embrace it.  Don’t judge.  Since we’d just done ‘traditional’ for Thanksgiving, we decided to change things up this go around.  Fried chicken, collards, shrimp and grits, biscuits, banana creme pie…Lord, if nothing else, our holiday group can COOK!  MMMMM….

First time we all got to sit together! Yep, living room and office became the dining room for the day 🙂

In the South, y'all, there's nothing wrong with designating the real dining room for 'desserts only!'

John’s family came from Kentucky to visit for the week between Christmas and New Years, so that was definitely a treat as we don’t get to see them near as often as we’d like to.  Plus, it’s always fun to have an excuse to play tourist in your own city, whether that means seeing the sights or eating at all the best ‘vacation restaurants!’ Ha!  So, one of the things they were most looking forward to was a break from all the cold, wintery weather…Yeah, well…

The day they arrived was the same day we got our second snow 'storm' in a year! Sheesh!

But we still made the most of it 🙂

Fortunately, the weather improved and we were able to spend some good family downtown and on the water, like visiting an old favorite, the Yorktown, Charleston’s famous aircraft carrier.

John with his sister and parents on the flight deck...

Heading up to the Control Room...

So blessed to call this city HOME.

Hmmm…Random notes of interest…Max and Dulcie are doing very well.  Like the rest of us, it took them a while to adjust to being home- to having a yard, to not being able to go absolutely everywhere with us, to not traveling to a different country every weekend…But all in all, they’re just thrilled to be wherever we are- and having their ‘Poppy and Goddess’ (that’s what they call my folks 🙂 ) around is definitely an added bonus!

Amazingly, this is a standard sleeping position for our duo...

As is this one...

Yep, this one, too. They always have to be touching!

Dulcie's favorite spot in the house, just as it was in our German apartment- surveying the street from the back of the couch and alerting Max of any passersby 🙂

John and his buddies have two batches of beer brewing, a black IPA and a Belgian dubble.  Those of you who know John really well- er, at all ;)- know that beer is one of his biggest passions.  He LOVES trying beers from all over the world, touring breweries all over the world, researching them, learning about them, etc.  For the last few years, he’s really gotten into home brewing and has actually built up quite the little operation.  Eventually, his dream is to open a brewery…

Mark, John and Robbie forming the gameplan...

Cooking away...

Robby cooling the first one in an ice bath, John and Andre cooking the next one...

Preparing to ferment for the next few months...

Oh, and just this week, John got the second ‘half’ of his tattoo, the boy ‘mate’ to the girl he already had.  It turned out beautifully, just like the first one, so vibrant and bright!  The flowers on each represent all of his family members according to their birth months…

This picture totally doesn't do them justice! And can I just say...My husband is so hot.

Well, I think that’s about it!  Now that we’re all on the same page, I suppose my next post will (hopefully) be from my warm, sunny lanai overlooking Waikiki Beach in Oahu!  Our flight leaves early Sunday morning and arrives 10 long hours later, although with the 6 hour time difference, we’ll still arrive before dinner time.  And speaking of food, I’ll leave you in true Foodie Erin fashion…with John’s (first) Authentic Dutch Apple Pie that he made completely from scratch after having the BEST apple pie EVER during our weekend in Amsterdam last October.  Not only did it turn out perfectly, but it was BETTER than the famous Winkel Cafe!  Yep, that’s my man 🙂


The secret is in the 'crust.' It's amazingly crispy, buttery, chewy and soft...all at the same time...And yes, it's at least 6 inches deep.

And the inside is nothing but apples and spices...Best apple pie I've ever put into my mouth. Hands Down.


One Response to “Gettin’ Caught Up to Speed…”

  1. PJ LePine February 4, 2011 at 5:11 PM #

    Erin & John- I hope you have a grand time in Hawaii. Pamper each other! :)))) Also, I need to have that Dutch Apple Pie recipe before Matt and Laura come for a visit in April. I’ve GOT to try it. Take care! PJ

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