summers in Nashville.

 Late May 2008 - Lee, Jordan, Jared, and I drove through Nashville on our way to STP in Jacksonville. It was my first time in Nashville and I remember the city was much smaller than I imagined it would be. We stood on the Shelby Street Bridge on the east side of downtown. I was between my second and third (last) year at K-State.

June 2009 - I returned to Nashville after graduating from K-State to work as an editorial intern at LifeWay. Here I am touring Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Two short months later, they hired me as a production editor on the preteen team. I began looking for a house to buy.

June 2010 - I've been living in Nashville for a year and in my house for about 8 months. My roommate Jennifer and I went with some of the new summer interns to see Audrey Assad at The Rutledge downtown. This was the day Nate e-mailed me asking if he could visit me in Nashville. :)

June 2011 - Nate and I were 11 days away from our wedding day. We grilled dinner in the backyard. Nate took the year off from school. We had one cat, Miles, and I was super excited about becoming a Jones. (I let Nate grill … this picture was totally posed.)

OK, so this picture is also from 2011 because it's from our engagement photos, but here I am back on the Shelby Street Bridge! Three years after my first landing in Nashville, with much longer hair, and a husband! It was freezing cold that day, a freak day after some beautiful days that week.

I don't have any pictures with me of me and Nate recently. Basically Nate's beard is really big now and two weeks ago I cut my hair to my shoulders again. I'm now a content editor and Nate is two years away from getting his M.Div. and he is working full time as a team lead at Starbucks. I'm looking forward to this summer; there is so much to do in Nashville in the summers! We are looking at things to do for our one year anniversary in July, and I think we have decided on Atlanta because it's a fairly short drive and there is a lot to do. We'll have a long, five-day weekend around July 4.



One of our local Sweet Cece's had a contest on their Facebook page every day this week. Customers submitted their favorite froyo recipes, and they picked a winner each day to win free frozen yogurt. I was Monday's winner! (I wasn't really surprised. I win a disproportionately large number of contests I enter.) My recipe was cake batter froyo, chocolate covered raisins, Oreos, strawberries, and cheesecake bites.

We also had a punch card filled up for a free froyo, so Wednesday after work Nate and I went to Sweet Cece's for an after-work treat. I opted for my winning recipe. The punch card covered mine ($5 value so I did have to pay $0.89) and then I used my win on Nate's. He managed to get $9.44 worth of all sorts of sugary goodness in his cup … for free!

Last night Nate grilled hot dogs, brats, and zucchini + squash for dinner. Tasty. This was our first time using the grill this year. Considering it is going to be in the 90s this weekend, I think summer has arrived.

I'm heading out mid-morning to drive to Columbia, MO to visit my sister, JR, Mom, and Mark. It's an 8-hour drive. Nate has to stay home because he works this weekend. :( He said, "How are you going to drive 8 hours? You haven't driven more than 1 hour since we've been married!" It's true. But before I was married I drove all the way back to Kansas several times. It's just when I don't have to, I don't. I'd much rather sleep while Nate drives. :) But I've got CDs to listen to and I'll be driving during the day so I think I'll be fine.



Here's another quick clip filmed with the 8mm app on iPhone. Nate was using another photo app to get a picture of Odie (yes, we are those people who take pictures of their cats … or in this case film themselves taking pictures of their cats). Nate thinks this video is too overdone on the looking-oldness but I was just trying out some of the app settings and I like it. :)


8 mm.

Nate downloaded this app for our iPhones called 8mm. It has lots of different filters and settings but basically it's like using your phone as an 8mm camera. Pretty cool! We thought it would be fun to start documenting more of our lives on video, so here is my first shot at it. There is no sound and it kind of has the 1960s/Wonder Years feel. I'll have to figure out a good way to edit our videos, but for now, enjoy "Monday Night at the Jones House."


may days.

Monday night this week Nate surprised me with a date night. As soon as I got home from work, we drove down to Franklin and saw a matinee of The Avengers. It was good, kind of what I expected for an action-packed movie about comic book superheroes, but it was also much funnier than I expected. Just a lot of little quips and nonchalant and witty remarks. My favorite was when someone said, "How did they get them to be their flying monkeys?" Thor: "Monkeys?" Captain America: "I get it. I get the reference."

After the movie we went to dinner at Chuy's. The Monday night special was enchiladas blancas, so that's what I got. Well the menu said it was made with spicy sour cream sauce. Didn't seem too unusual but it was SPICY!!! sour cream sauce. I could only down one of my two enchiladas and I may or may not have chugged more than one glass of water and handfuls of tortilla chips in order to do so. So I wouldn't recommend that dish but Chuy's is usually pretty good otherwise.

Tuesday afternoon my friend Kierston was in Nashville. She is moving here in two weeks! We've known each other since first grade, probably one of my oldest friends. I hadn't seen her in five years (since my sister's wedding) but we caught up and laughed a lot, and it hardly seemed like much time had passed at all. Since my zoo membership is expiring at the end of the month, we took advantage of a "free" trip to the zoo. Not many people are at the zoo on a Tuesday afternoon, but the animals were pretty active. It was fun. I'm trying to decide if I should renew my membership; Nate has two more years before he finishes school, so it's pretty guaranteed we won't leave Nashville before he graduates, not that we have any plans to leave really. You make up the cost of a 2-yr membership in like two visits so it's definitely worth it.

I took Kierston to Baja Burrito for dinner (a local Nashville eatery) and then we went to Sweet Cece's in the Gulch for dessert. Then we went to Centennial Park. This is Kierston in front of the Parthenon. After the park, we went by Starbucks because Nate was working. Then we did a quick drive down lower Broadway and called it a night. We hung out for a bit on Wednesday night before she flew back to Kansas Thursday morning. I'm excited to have another Kansas friend in the city. I'll have to get back into the swing of cooking so we can invite her over.

The blueberries on the bushes in my front yard are getting big and very blue! They are starting to lean so I need to stake them. I have no idea how to tell if they are ripe. These are still pretty firm. July is National Blueberry Month so maybe that's when they'll be ready. I'll have to Google it. There could potentially also be strawberries in our backyard from when I planted them two summers ago, but I didn't box them or anything and Kevin regularly mows over them so I'm not sure they'll come up.

I came across a video on YouTube of kittens riding a Roomba and started thinking how dirty our floors get with cat hair and litter and those Roomba things look pretty nifty. I looked into them, and they are stinkin' expensive! But then … Craiglist! There was a guy selling his that he had only used twice (he didn't need it anymore because he bought a Dyson) and he was asking for just 30% of the retail price. So we used Nate's tip money and bought it from him with a "this thing works" guarantee. (I've watched enough Judge Judy to know that everything is considered "as is" unless you get an agreement in writing; in this case I got him to agree via e-mail, so we're safe.)

But it works great! I'm not exactly sure what its strategy is. It kind of moves around until it runs into a wall or something, not in a back and forth or up and down pattern like I use when I vacuum. We pretty much need to move everything off the floor (including chairs) for it to be most effective. It's easy to empty and does a good job. Pretty good deal. Oh, but the only thing is it scares the beejeezus out of Miles and Otis!

Nate doesn't like me to go to Great Clips (and I agree; I have never left that place and felt pretty which is kind of how you should feel after you get a haircut) but I didn't really know of a good salon in Nashville. But I found the best rated one online, and Nate's former roommate (Joey) is dating a girl (Laura) who cuts hair there. The place is Style Kitchen on 8th Ave. S., and it's priced like your typical salon but they got me in the same day I called for an appointment and they wash and style your hair and spend an hour with you. My hair felt plain and straight and blah so I wanted to go back to shorter hair. So that's what she did and change is fun. Otis looks kind of drugged in this picture haha but I promise he's not. I just grabbed him as a prop so it wouldn't be like "Oh hey, I'm taking a picture of myself!"

I'm glad tomorrow is Friday because I am ready for a weekend to rest. I'm on Day 10 of my 30 days with a heart monitor, and this week I'm on a beta blocker. They're messing around with different medications so all in all I feel pretty awful with side effects/withdrawal symptoms. The metoprolol mostly just makes me nauseated and sleepy because it drops my blood pressure but my heart rate has been back in the high 50s instead of 120s so that's good, and my monitor alarm hasn't gone off like it did almost every day last week due to arrhythmias.

Nate has two test to take tomorrow and then a 10-page paper and a handful of 1-page reading response papers to finish before June 1, and then he's done for the summer! We thought about him maybe taking a class this summer but he has things going on with church and is still working full time and I miss him so he might just take the summer off. He probably is two years (4 semesters) away from getting his M.Div.

We want to go somewhere and take a little vacation to celebrate our first anniversary this summer, but it's hard to figure out when we can get off work and for how long. My work schedule is pretty busy this summer because I have some major August deadlines. I'd love to go to the beach or Appalachians or something, but we also haven't been back to Kansas since Christmas. I am going to see my sister, JR, Mom, and Mark over Memorial Day weekend in Columbia (without Nate unfortunately). Not too excited about a 14-hr roundtrip drive but it'll be good to see the fam.



It's not uncommon for Nate to get comments about his beard these days. Mostly positive comments. Last week I put it in a little ponytail. :) I told him we could just cut it off right there at the rubber band, but he didn't like that idea. Did you know there's actually a word for this? It's pogonotrophy—the growing of facial hair (i.e. beardedness).


the day to day.

Nate says I'm allergic to dishes. I think he is right. I just don't like touching old food and water that has been contaminated with milk and soggy cereal and whatever else we ate. Since we were dating, dishes has always been Nate's job. I'll do laundry, vacuum the floors, clean the bathroom, change the litter box, and cook ... but Nate does the dishes. Well, Nate's schedule has been crazy and he writes papers during the day and works in the evening, so our dishes have been neglected. So last night I put on my yellow rubber gloves and got it done. I felt so accomplished. :)

Last fall I planted four blueberry bushes along the sidewalk in the front of our house, and they are doing very well! I don't know much about growing blueberries, but the bushes have gotten a lot bigger in the last few months.

Nate has been working until midnight, and I typically go to bed around 9 p.m. So Odie has been keeping his side of the bed warm. :) As I write this, Otis is nestled up next to me. He doesn't make up for Nate's absence, but it definitely beats being alone. Miles is meowing at me because he wants fed. He's a little less of a cuddler but I love him just the same.

Joe Thorn (pastor/author/bearded gospel man) is nominating Nate for Beard of the Month on a blog. Nate is very proud of his beard. It is getting very long! In case you're wondering what it's like to kiss a man with a beard, it's actually softer when it's long and not pokey. I just have problems sometimes when his beard hair goes up my nose. :) Nate wants me to keep his hair trimmed so I do what I can even though I really don't know what I'm doing. I think he looks very nice. :)


2 years ago.

Two years ago it started to rain. And it didn't stop.

I woke up Saturday morning knowing rain was in the forecast, but it didn't start until I was about an hour into my day. It rained hard, it rained constantly. Then it began to flood.

It was such a strange experience. The news covered the flooding non-stop, commercial free, for three days. They told people to stay home. They dispelled rumors. I watched as the news showed live footage of cars floating down I-24 at Bell Road, a stretch of interstate I drove along often. I watched the water creep up to my neighbor Margaret's doorstep. The shed in her backyard was flooded. I had water in my crawlspace, but was spared any damage.

When I finally left the house after three days when the rain stopped, I had a new connection with every person I saw. We had all experienced the flood. We had all survived. I volunteered to help clean up at the LP Pencil Box, a free school supply store for teachers in West Nashville. Everyone volunteered. Strangers came in armies and ripped soggy drywall and saturated belongings out of people's homes.

The Cumberland River crested 12 feet above flood stage. It was certainly a time Nashvillians will never forget. The locals were proud that despite receiving little to no national media coverage, Tennessee recovered and rebuilt. A spirit of "We are Nashville" rose as the waters receded. Check out more photos from the Boston Globe here.
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