Thursday, October 30, 2008


Since Jill and I will not be calling the city of Nashville and state of Tennessee home next Tuesday, we both made sure to participate in early voting. Jill voted late last week and I did my duty as a citizen this morning. Is that a great feeling or what!!! :-)

We all know how important this presidential election is for our country, and the theme for both major-party candidates has been about changing the culture of government in Washington. No matter who wins, I truly hope the stagnant, bi-partisan politics of today's US government is on its way out and our politicians (Democrat, Republican & Independents) can all work together in the years to come to get things done for the American people.

Alright, so if if you haven't already voted then make sure you do so by next Tuesday.

A Fabuloso! First Day by JILL

My arrival in Marietta was smooth yesterday. The fun filled day started with the early morning drive. Then I stopped by American Signature to buy what we're going going to use as a changing table for Abby. I met the Realtor to get the key to the house and then waited for the DirectTV guy to arrive. Matt and I picked out a refrigerator and he got that ordered (and it was delivered this morning at 7:30am!).

Family friends, Robert & Jeri Menendez and Betty Rodriguez, dropped by to see our new home. They had also been commissioned by my mother to unload my car for me, their help was much appreciated. Meanwhile, DirectTV showed up and DID NOT get things hooked up. He had some lame excuse about his ladder being broken and needing to move the satellite (to a more visible FRONT corner of my house - not happening!) so I needed to get a second opinion. Lame! Now I have to wait another couple days for the supervisor to come out, an absolute waste of my time.

Then I waited for the homeowner to arrive. He brought extra house keys, a list of helpful hints for the neighborhood & good places to visit near-by and to approve our paint colors (since we're not buying immediately). I headed out to pick up something for dinner and came back to the house to wait on my Dad and Bob Ball to arrive (they've come up from Tampa to help with some pre-move in tasks). While watching Dancing with the Stars online from Monday, I decided to see how difficult the wall paper in the dining room was going to be to remove. Dad & Bob showed up, got a tour, and we attacked the dining room wall paper together.

Dad thought he was mixing warm water with liquid soap, but when he sprayed it on the wall paper, I smelt Fabuloso. (Now if you're not familiar with Fabuloso, it's a floor cleaner. It is purple and has a floral scent, quite pleasant. My mom became hooked to the stuff while working at Bombay Company years ago, they used it there to clean the wood floors; and now I'm hooked on it too.) Well, Dad discovered a new wonderful use for Fabuloso, it works much better than the wall paper stripper I purchased at Home Depot! And it's cheaper too!

Now, still early in Day Two, the horrible wall paper is now just a memory. Dad and Bob are finishing removing the glue layer; I'm on a break and it's good timing because the remnants must be reached by step stool and ladder. (For the record, MOM, I'm leaving all step stool and ladder activities for everyone else!) It's nice seeing the progression so far...and it's only going to keep looking better! Matt is going to be so impressed when he arrives on Saturday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Last Day in Nash by JILL

It's officially my last day in Nashville. I'm heading to our new home tomorrow morning so I can meet up with a few utility companies to get things rolling before Matt arrives with the movers on Saturday. Then my dad and cousin (Bob Ball) are driving up tomorrow night as well (to help with some pre-move-in painting). **And by 'help', I really mean they'll be doing all the work. The pregnant one is not allowed to be around the fumes.**

Matt and I had a full day yesterday. I had my last Nash OB appt (32wk), picked up a smell-good Toby from the boarders, and checked a few other items off my list. And before you continue reading, I asked my doctor today about what I could and could not do. She said I'm not allowed to lift more than 25lbs (and really anything more than that is too awkward with a belly so I can't do it even if I wanted to!). She also recommended taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated - which I do both!

Once we returned home, we had a fun-filled evening of packing and stacking (yes, Matt did all the stacking). Our garage is looking more and more like how Bombay's storage room used to looked (full of boxes on boxes on boxes). Matt worked on the office. I tried to tackle some weirdly shaped items, creating boxes for them (like fireplace tools and the cool metal centerpieces from our wedding). My goal this time around: everything in a box! This way we can maximize all the space on the truck (I think this is where we got in some trouble last move - so many things were not stackable and we ran out of space). The Titans v Colts on Monday night football distracted Matt a bit, but their victory kept him energized enough to help me take apart the baker's rack before we headed to bed.

This morning, I'm heading to breakfast with a few co-workers from Hotel Preston (Yum! IHOP!). Then I'll be here at the house the rest of the day doing more packing. I really WANT to splurge myself with a pedicure today, but I'll have to hold off, there's much to do...and I don't need to waste any time (I'll waste enough time just being myself, either procrastinating (like writing this blog) or easy distractions (Toby needs pets!).

Wish me luck on my last day!!! May it be filled with tons of productivity (and relaxation)!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mason's 3rd Birthday Party

I'm really tired and we have to get up early to go to church, but I made sure to edit all of the photos I took today of Mason's 3rd birthday party. Here are just a few that I've posted on Flickr.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tampa Bag Swap

Tampa Downtown

Alright, we're down in Tampa for the weekend for another series of events (Mason's B-day party & Baby Shower for Abby). Despite a stressful start to our trip (arriving at the airport 30 mins before our flight departed), we made it onto the plane and had a fairly easy flight down. Once we arrived at Tampa we were greeted by Wayne & Anita, grabbed our bags for baggage claim and then headed over to International Mall for dinner with Wes and Mr. Charlie O'Reilly at the Cheesecake Factory.

Unfortunately, the smoothness of our arrival was interrupted when I opened Jill's bag to find a bunch of stuff that did not belong to us. Yep, I managed to grab the wrong bag. Now before you give me the speech..."Matt, why didn't you check the tag???"...I will go ahead and say that under the circumstances I just didn't even think that was necessary. You see, I noticed our main black bag almost immediately when I walked up, and only a few bags down was what looked to me to be Jill's sporty duffle bag. Now this bag is unbelievably unique unlike all those black suitcases you normally see. It's a blue bag with some tan trim (blah, blah, blah), and as luck would have it that there would be a person who would somehow possess this strangely unique bag as well. We never even use this bag...ever...but Jill needed a large expandable bag so she could be able to pack all of Abby's goodies from the baby shower. And so we used the bag...and it was cursed. I still can't believe that someone out there owns the exact same bag, much less that one other person in this world who owns it managed to take our flight. Unreal, but that's just my luck. And honestly, are you surprised by this story?? Come on, this is Crash here so you shouldn't be. :-)

Anyways, we (Southwest Baggage Team) managed to reach the guy who had also grabbed Jill's bag without even noticing until he was at his hotel. After a short wait, we both swapped handshakes, apologies, and bags of course. Within minutes Wayne and I made it back to the mall to join up with everyone else for a tasty dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (Pasta Da Vinci rocks!).

And so we're about to crash for the night before getting up tomorrow morning and going to Mason's 3rd birthday party. The theme will be SHARKS!, so stay tuned for a few photos. And as I mentioned above, our baby shower for Abigail will be Sunday. Both events should give me plenty reasons to snap away on the camera so look for photos at some point. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Packing Stinks by JILL

Moving Makes You Tired

I slowly started packing over a week ago. We saved some moving supplies from last year, so that was helpful. I've been picking up booze boxes from the liquor store and Matt brings used boxes from Griffin. Somehow, we're filling up the garage more and more of packed boxes, yet it still seems there is so much stuff for us to pack!

We mostly attacked the kitchen this evening. And since it looked like a disaster zone, we called out for pizza to make it easy. There's only a few remaining things left in the kitchen. No worries, I bought paper plates and we have plastic cups! Luckily, some box sizes allowed for us to pack some wall art as well. It was really a challenge to match frame sizes throughout the house to pack like sizes with like.

Toby must really get worn out watching us work! We get started packing, and he starts snoring. Maybe he's just storing up some energy for the fenced back yard? (Maybe that's wishful thinking on our part!)

I'm exhausted and tomorrow is my last day at The Hotel good night for now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Our New Home in Georgia

After much waiting today, we received the seller's counter offer. They had a few modification, but no deal breakers. After dealing with such crazy buyers on our Pelham house only a year ago, we weren't sure what to expect. I'm excited, but when I really think about it, it's more relief. After five months of house searching last year, we managed to find a home this year in one weekend. Wow! We have ourselves a home in Marietta!

Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of work to be done! Officially, our townhouse went on the market today. We've been slowly packing and are accumulating quite a nice stack of boxes in the garage. I'll be on the phone tomorrow with the movers getting them finalized, and then with utility companies to get the Arden home all switched over to us. There's still a lot of packing to be done. While I'm off work tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday will be my last two days at Hotel Preston. Then Friday we'll be heading to Tampa for the weekend for Mason's 3rd Birthday (expect lots of pictures!) and then a Shower for Abby (probably lots of pictures too!). We'll return to Nash Monday, then I'll be heading towards Atlanta on the 28th or 29th to prep with my dad & friends before the movers arrive on November 1st. Time is really going to fly in these last few weeks before Abby's ETA.

Here is a link to more photos of our new home:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update by JILL

Matt and I returned from Atlanta this evening. We had a very productive weekend. After looking at a bunch of homes Friday & Saturday, we put an offer on one today. The seller should respond in the morning.

The home is in Marietta, off Powder Springs for those of you familiar with the area. It has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, two stories built in 1973. The kitchen has tile and granite counters while the formal living and dining rooms have wood floors. It has a "woodsy" living room and a finished sunroom. The entire neighborhood has mature trees and our future home is nicely landscaped. The bedrooms are very roomy, as well as plenty of closet space. And for all of my extra holiday goodies, a very spacious attic.

We're hoping to get keys on October 28th so I can get back down there and start prepping for painting. Then the plan is for the movers to pack up in Nashville on October 31st, then deliver in Marietta on Saturday, November 1st. All quick enough for us to get settled for Matt to start at Philips on November 10th.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Official...We're Moving to Atlanta

WoCC Skyline View

As some of you may know, the last few weeks Jill and I have had to make some tough decisions about our family's future, as well as the future of my career. Over the last 3 weeks I was pursued by Philips Design in Atlanta about the Sr. Structural Designer position, and so we began to consider our options here in Nashville versus another move. And let me just say that I was not looking for another job. This opportunity just seemed to fall out of the sky and really caught me by surprise. However, recognizing the brand name of Philips and their presence in the everyday lives of consumers, I was instantly intrigued. Of course, it always makes it that much harder when you least expect to be put into a career move & family move situation. That's the business world, though, and you've got to prepare yourself mentally for anything that may arise. So, after a 3 weeks of interviewing, negotiating and considering every possible scenario Jill and I came to a decision this weekend to make the leap. This morning I officially gave notice to Griffin that I would be leaving for the position with Philips in Atlanta.

Another move...

Yes, here we go again. This will be my 6th move and 5th job since college, which should earn me some kind of award, but I will say that 4 of my 5 career moves have been for the right reasons...the advancement of my career. And honestly, our move to Nashville was a ultimately a better career move despite being put into the position of finding a job due to losing mine in Birmingham. Losing my job allowed me to find a much better one where I further developed my skills in a completely different arena. Bye, bye corrugated boxes...hello product packaging! And so now I take everything I've learned from my time at Griffin and apply it to my new job with Philips Design.

Nashvegas, We Love Ya!

The journey to Nashville began when I accepted a job with Griffin, although it was a rough couple of months thanks to our housing situation. My first day at Griffin was June 18, 2007. We didn't officially move into our townhouse until the first of November 2007. That was a very trying time for us, but we stayed focus on the prize...calling Nashville home. As brief as our time here was, we really made the effort to become a part of the metro area community. Whether it was going to a Preds or Titans game, or attending country music shows and touristy stuff, we were making this city our home. And that came easy because Nashville is such a great place to live. Looking back, I will be able to see how much this place influenced and impacted our lives. Here's a few things:

1.) We Got Pregnant!!! Our baby girl spent most of her unborn life in Nashville. Yes, that means she gets to keep her pink cowboy hat and boots, Anita & Wayne. ;-)
2.) We made some great friends and got to spend time with existing friends (Clint & Fernanda). This includes all my peeps at Yazoo! Man, I'm going to miss those Thursdays after work downing a few pints.
3.) My photography hobby completely took off like a rocket. I went from a casual photographer to a semi-pro photographer whose work will be published in the upcoming Capture Music City book.

So, that's that. My last day at Griffin is October 31st. My first day with Philips is November 10th. I'm sure I will update as we go along in this transition. Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and prayers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Music Monday Returns w/ Apocalyptica

I've always thought that the blend of rock and symphony, when done right, can really compliment each other. This is one of my new fav songs by Apocalyptica, a Finnish group known for their cello renditions of Metallica music over the last few years. Being a huge fan of Metallica's S&M album from '99 where they played live with the San Francisco Symphony, it's nice to hear more of this "symphony rock" coming out.

By the way, it's a slow Monday here in Nashville, but things will be drastically changing in a matter of days for Jill and I. Look for updates soon. Have a great day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Passed! by JILL

I heard back from the OB today that I passed the fasting Gestational Diabetes test with flying colors! I'm very excited.

Tonight we have our 3rd Labor of Love class. We should be meeting with an anasteseologist and getting to tour the maternity ward.

Bye Bye, Tony

(Photo/Charles Goldberg)

And so the Tony Franklin era came to a screeching halt today at Auburn as head coach, Tommy Tuberville announced the firing at an afternoon press conference. I'm a bit shocked about this, but only because of the timing. Just yesterday Tuberville was singing Franklin's praises and saying how Auburn was looking forward to this weekend's matchup against Arkansas. Wow, what a difference a day makes. Franklin got canned early this afternoon, which means that either there was some conflict that arose before afternoon practice or the firing took longer to play out. Legal issues possibly? And while Tony was cleaning out his office, the team was already on the practice fields preparing for Arky. Of course, the media in Auburn got worked up into a frenzy and absolutely ate up this event that was unfolding right in front of them. There's even several videos of him packing his car and leaving the AU Sports Complex. Such is the case when it comes to anything dealing with college football in the state of Alabama. I really think this is best for Auburn's future, but I just hate for something like this to happen. It hurts the public perception of our University and Tigers football team, and I just can't imagine what kind of gut punch this was for Franklin. On the bright side, maybe we'll see more of Auburn's smash-mouth offense that's produced some somewhat common names as Bo Jackson, Joe Cribbs, Carnell Williams & Ronnie Brown. Only time will tell...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Surprising Turn of the Day by JILL

I was really bummed about today, since yesterday. I found out I "failed" the 28wk gestational diabetes screening by 4 points. I had to be at the doctor's office at 8am for a fasting gestational diabetes screening (meaning I was not able to eat past midnight last night- which really meant 10pm, since that's what time I was in bed). I was hungry while driving to the appointment. They drew blood at 8am then I drank the sugary stuff. Then they took more blood at 9am, 10am and 11am. I was bored out of my mind (thanks to those of you who pre-occupied me with text messages) and the hunger kept increasing. Since I had no energy and they were taking my blood, I was getting tired too. Finally that part of the day was over!

Then I had to get food, and waste time before a 1pm meeting at work. I wanted so much to bail and go take a nap instead!!! The hotel has been cutting back on hours, so I really could use the extra hours from the meeting. As I walked up to the hotel, I discovered the mailman (on his off day) was delivering a diaper cake, and he made it for ME! Well, Abby will be the one using the items. :) Needless to say, I was completely shocked and surprised. I mean, I talk to him a couple times a week, he's a nice guy and very social. He'll ask how my pregnancy is going, and he is actually expecting another child (a girl too) a month or so after Abby's arrival. The diaper cake is amazing! There's a bunch of travel size items and little clothes attached. The teddy bear topper is so soft too! What a wonderful surprise!

My favorite about the picture is Toby checking out the diaper cake. We've been telling him he's going to be a big brother, and sometimes Toby will even love on my belly (well, when Matt makes him). Very rarely, he'll come and lay with me, it's really's mostly self-fish because he gets belly rubs when he lays with me! He's going to be in for a big shock when he's not the center of attention anymore!

And if you're wondering about my health over baby gifts (presents are just so much more fun!), I'll get the test results back on Thursday or Friday.

Presidential Debate Comes to Nashville

Belmont Debate Flair-light pole
Originally uploaded by gwynefere213

As some of you may have heard, there's a Presidential Debate tonight here in Nashville at Belmont University. I look forward to seeing the two candidates spar over the issues in this "town hall" style debate. With our country at a crossroads, especially in regards to our economy, I'm interested to hear how each candidate would lead this country out of the current financial woes and into a brighter future.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tiger Blues in Nashville

Auburn Got "Vandy-lized"(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Nashville is known as the Country Music Capital where thousands upon thousands of sad country songs have been written and sung over the last half century. One of the most famous being "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" by the legend, Hank Williams. And after last night's losing performance by my Auburn Tigers here in Nashville, I honestly believe that given a little time I could write a few of those sad country songs myself. Here's just a list of a few I come up with so far:

"Tiger Blues in Nashville"
"Just Another Music City Heartache"
"Watching the Game, Singing the Blues"
"Defense Goes to Heaven, Offense Goes to Hell"
"There's Pain on the Plains"
"Tear in My Yazoo Beer (After an Auburn Loss)"
"The Night the Season Died"
"Everyone Loses to Vandy, Just Not in Football"
"The 'Dores Broke My Heart"
"Tears of Tuberville"
"Tame My Tigers and My Heart"
"The Tigers Went Down in Nashville"
"Vandy Broke My Heart, My Achy Breaky Heart"

Cheeseball, yes! But I'm honestly trying to find humor in the heart-breaking loss to Vanderbilt last night. Jill was an absolute gem in getting me a ticket to the game, and at first I thought I was going to see a much different Auburn team offensively than what had shown up the last 5 games. Unfortunately, a fast first quarter scoring performance to get to 13-0 was followed by a painful 3 quarters of unproductive offense. Vandy held the Auburn offense in check the rest of the game while their offense scored just enough to win the ballgame (14-13). I'll give it to Vandy, they have a small school, no football tradition, and such a small stadium, but that didn't keep the campus from being electric last evening. And the Commodores aren't a bad team by no means. It's just knowing how much more talent Auburn has, and how little we've managed to use it. Just goes to show how important coaching is in developing the players and using their abilities to the fullest to win. Of course, this loss hurts for many reasons and one of the most prominent is the because we call Nashville home, and now I must endure some of the weirdest and most humbling taunts from a fanbase ever...from Vandy fans. Ouch!