Friday, December 31, 2010

Music City Bowl Game

My recovery has been coming along quite well, and my vision now is about 20/50. Because of my progress, my doctor allowed me to go to the Music City Bowl game in Nashville yesterday. Alan and I went with my brother Patrick and his wife Elizabeth. We had a great time tail-gaiting on Broadway before the game and ran into some friends which was fun. The weather could not have been better: it was cold but perfectly clear even though there were forecasts of rain earlier in the day. The loss at the very end was extremely frustrating, and we were sad for such a heartbreaking end to the season. I guess there is always next year! After the game, we went to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville which just opened downtown and had a great dinner. My sister Maggie who was also in town for the game stopped by to see us too. We are headed to Memphis to ring in 2011 with Alan’s grandmother. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Scary but Merry Christmas

Alan says that every family needs at least one Christmas story they tell every so often. This year certainly qualifies as being memorable, and this is what happened.

Alan and I left Saint Louis at 3pm on Friday (Christmas Eve) to drive to Knoxville and surprise my family on Christmas morning. Alan's family was in on the surprise, so they played along and helped to convince my family that we were so sad that we were not coming to Knoxville this year...but we were! I got off work early, and we intended on arriving in Knoxville by midnight. It had been snowing all day, but the roads looked pretty clear. The interstate didn't really get bad until about 3 hours into our drive. Alan was doing a great job driving slow (about 40 mph at times) and very carefully.

At one point in Kentucky, around 7:30pm, Alan hit ice and our car fish-tailed sideways. Alan has had lots of experience driving on ice, and easily corrected, and steered us to the median where we stopped. We took a second to take a quick sigh of relief, and Alan preceded to then get the car at the right angle to pull back onto the interstate. While we were waiting to pull out, another car hit ice, over-corrected and hit our car head on. There was a loud crash, our air-bags deployed, and then everything was silent and dark. I began screaming Alan's name, and he responded letting me know that he was okay. My nose was bleeding badly, and the right side of my face was starting to swell up. Alan grabbed the airbag in front of me and held it under my face to catch the blood from my nose. Once he confirmed that I was alright, he called 911 and then got out of the car to talk to the other driver. Everyone in the other car was okay. Alan also called our parents to tell them what happened, and Alan's parents got right in their car to head our way. Alan came back to check on me, and gave me some napkins to start getting the blood off my face. I flipped down the mirror to begin cleaning up, and it was then that I realized I couldn't see anything out of my right eye. It was like trying to see through wax paper: I could identify sources of light but that was it. I thought that I had gone blind. It was so scary. I began yelling for Alan again to tell him what happened. Alan was very comforting, and so loving and supportive. He kept repeating, "God has a plan, everything is going to be okay...."

About an hour later a tow truck arrived, and the driver called 911 back to have them send an ambulance for me. Another hour or so passed and first responders came, and then an ambulance, but the ambulance could only take me to a local hospital (which did not have an Ophthalmologist) so we declined going with them, knowing that Alan's parents weren't too far away and could take us to Vanderbilt in Nashville. We continued waiting on the police to come because the tow truck couldn't load our car until after the police inspected the accident. About 4 hours after the accident, police finally arrived. After documenting the report, the tow truck loaded up our car and drove us to their garage. They dropped us off at a gas station down the road where we waited for Alan's parents. Susan and Mitchell got there about 30 minutes later (at this point is was about 1:30am) and loaded up everything that was in our car, and then headed to Vanderbilt. We got to the hospital around 3:30am and I was quickly admitted.

The diagnosis was that I had Hyphema, which is bleeding in my eye that prevents me from being able to see because the red blood cells are blocking my vision. The Ophthalmologist stated that she could not see any structural damage to my retina and a CT scan confirmed no fractures or broken bones. This was a huge answer to prayer. The Doctor said the recovery timeline is about 1-3 weeks and for me to basically do nothing and keep my head as still as possible. I was released at 8:30am on Christmas morning, and we drove home to Knoxville.

The rest of the day was spent rejoicing with our families that we were okay, opening stockings and presents, and celebrating the birth of our Savior. God is so good, and we are so thankful!

Please continue to be in prayer over my recovery as there is still quite a lot of inflammation to my eye which is causing my vision to be about 20/60. My Ophthalmologist in Knoxville, Dr. Hildebrand, believes that my eye will heal on its own over the next several weeks with the proper treatment of Atropine which will keep my eye dilated until it heals, Prednisolone which are steroid eye drops, and rest, but he is still not making any promises. Alan and I would also appreciate prayer as we now are also in the midst of handling all post-accident reports, insurance claims, etc. While this was a very scary time for us, we are so thankful that God spared our lives and protected us. We give Him all glory, honor, and praise!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Nutcracker

This afternoon, Alan and I went to see The Nutcracker. Having never been to the ballet before, I was excited. It was fun for me to observe all the little girls twirling around in their dresses waiting for it to begin. I really enjoyed the performance, and Alan admits he did too. I did see him doze off a couple of times... What a fun beginning to the week before Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Sweaters

Alan and I have had so much fun going to Christmas parties this year; however, tonight we might have reached the summit when we "won" the Tackiest Christmas Sweater Contest as a couple! I'm not sure if that is really something to be proud of or not...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

You've asked for the recipe, so here it is! A Rockwell Christmas tradition and delicious treat for any holiday gathering. Enjoy!

2 cups peanut butter
4 sticks butter, melted
1 Tbsp. vanilla
8-10 cups powdered sugar
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick paraffin
Christmas M&Ms

Mix peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in mixer. Add powdered sugar 2 cups at a time mixing well between each addition. Roll peanut butter mixer into small balls and put on tray. Put tray in freezer for about 30 minutes. On stove, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and paraffin in double boiler (you may use a regular pot just make sure the chocolate doesn't burn!) Take the peanut butter balls out of freezer and stick toothpick into each one in order to dip into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to dry. After about 5 minutes, take toothpicks out and cover hole with a Christmas M&M. (I put a little bit of the melted chocolate on the underside of each M&M in order to get it to stay in place) Recipe makes about 100 chocolate peanut butter balls!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let It Snow

This morning Alan and I woke up to snow covering the ground! We heard last night that it might snow, but didn't really think we'd get any...we were wrong! All of Saint Louis got between two and four inches! When we left for church this morning it was still snowing. You can imagine me freaking out as Alan was driving, but he had no problem at all! We spent the rest of the day Christmas shopping, studying (well this was Alan), and enjoying a lazy day at home.
Let it Snow...Let it Snow...Let is Snow!

And a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY shoutout to my wonderful mother, Michelle Rockwell!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

The Christmas cards went out today! I had the best time looking through all the possibilities and making our card this year. Our good friend, Laura French, took the picture for us downtown by the Arch... thank you Laura! :) I commissioned Alan to write the letter again (perfect timing I know, right as he is trying to study for exams!) but I think he enjoyed it, and saw it as a break from studying. Hope you like it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deck the Halls

This weekend Alan and I began getting ready for Christmas. We braved the crowds on Saturday morning to get some shopping done and find a Christmas tree. With all of our Christmas stuff packed in boxes that are still in Knoxville, we decided that a small little fake tree would be easiest this year. We found one at Target that was just the right size! I do miss the smell of a real tree though! I spent the afternoon messing with the branches and hanging ornaments (which really took all of about 30 minutes) and Alan watched the SEC Championship. We are happy that Auburn won only because lots of our friends up here went there and several I think are now planning on going to the National Championship game which is exciting for them! We haven't done much else as far as decorating our little apartment, but just getting a tree up and turning the lights on is fun and reminds us of the season. Sunday morning in church, a family lit the second advent candle, and it was neat for us to see that being celebrated here as we did the same thing with Alan's family at their church last week in Knoxville. Sunday afternoon I worked on our Christmas cards and Alan studied for exams. Please pray for him over the next two weeks as he takes all of his finals!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tis the Season

I realize that it is only the second day of December, but I am already finding myself extremely distracted by the fact that Christmas is almost here! Everywhere I look, I see lights and garland...thank goodness I've started my Christmas shopping or else I would feel like I am already running behind!

I am so excited about Christmas this year! For Alan and I, this year will be new and different having never celebrated Christmas in a city other than Knoxville; however, God has been so good to us in providing a great church and wonderful friends and because of His provision, we go into this holiday season with joy and anticipation!

Several of the girls I have met even decided to do a Christmas Cookie Exchange similar to what I've hosted the past couple of years in Knoxville, so I'm really looking forward to that! We also have a couple Christmas parties already on our calendar! At bible study this week we talked about taking time just to talk to God throughout the day, so despite all of the hustle and bustle this time of year, I will remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Time to be Thankful

Alan and I drove to Knoxville on the busiest traffic day of the year: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The drive was awful due to yucky rain, but the weather could not dampen our excitement of going home for the holiday weekend!

Thanksgiving Day morning was cold but clear, and Alan participated in the Turkey Creek Hot to Trot 5K. I didn't run with him this time because he ran for time and he is quite a bit faster than me!

That afternoon, we went to Mimi's (Alan's grandmother) house for the traditional big lunch with all of the family. It was so much fun seeing all the aunts, uncles, and cousins! The food was delicious! I even participated by bringing a dessert that is traditional to St. Louis...ooey gooey butter cake!

On Friday, we went to my parents' house to celebrate Thanksgiving with all of my family. We got there right as Christa and Annie came back from shopping all of the doorbusters. It was relaxing to just spend the day cooking, hanging out, and greeting everyone as they arrived throughout the day. We had a big dinner that night with all of my favorites...especially mom's stuffing! Yum!

Saturday, we went to the UT game! I was so excited to make it to Neyland Stadium this season! We saw several friends tailgaiting before the game which was fun and the Vols brought home a win which will mean a Bowl game too, so that was all very exciting. Later on that night we went to Barley's to hang out with some more friends.

We went to Christ Covenant on Sunday to light the advent candle with Alan's parents and Katie which was special. Before leaving to go home, we went to my parents' house for lunch to celebrate Maggie's birthday. It was so much fun being home, but with everything that we did the weekend went by so quickly. Regardless, God is so good, and we have so much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chocolate Bar

I have a new love in St. Louis and it is the Signature Martini at Baileys Chocolate Bar.

This afternoon we went downtown with some friends, Laura and Mike French, to take pictures down by the Arch. We met Laura and Mike at church and they have quickly become great friends of ours. Afterwards, since it was too early for dinner, Laura suggested we go to one of her favorite places: Baileys Chocolate Bar.

Since it was my first visit, I decided to try the Signature Martini. It was amazing! It was a blend of Chocolate Vodka, Irish Cream, Pure Dark Chocolate, and Milk and was served chilled...delicious! Alan had the White Hot Chocolate and said that was great too! Our server also brought us mini chocolate chip cookies to munch on. I'm already trying to think of an excuse to go there again. Come visit us and we'll take you there!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This past weekend, Alan and I drove 4 hours south to Memphis to join the rest of his family for a UT football game!

On the way there, Alan and I stopped at Lambert's: home of the throwed rolls! Lambert's is a place that Alan remembers going to as a kid when his family went to St. Louis for Cardinal games. The best way I can think to describe Lambert's is that it's a glorified Cracker Barrel. Take everything you love about Cracker Barrel: southern food, country store, rocking chairs, and times it by ten and you get Lambert's! We loved it! There is a sweet little old lady who plays the piano non-stop which is oh so fun and all of the servers come around with bowls full of mashed potatoes, okra, mac 'n cheese, and so many other things and just ask if you want some! Of course, I can't forget the "throwed rolls"... servers come around with rolls fresh out of the oven and literally throw them to you, and then someone else stops at your table to bring you apple butter and molasses. Delicious! After eating way too much, Alan and I got back on the road and got to Memphis late afternoon.

Susan, Katie, and I had to hit up the outlets while we were there, and Katie got a beautiful rug at the Pottery Barn outlet, and I picked up a few little things for Christmas! That night we went to the Commissary, a traditional Memphis BBQ place for dinner, and later on went down to Silky's on Beale Street to meet Maggie, Ben, and some other friends who were in town for the game.

Saturday was spent tailgating with Alan's family before the game. It was really good to catch up with Nonnie, and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins, as we don't get to see them as often as we would like. The game wasn't until 7:00pm so by the time we headed towards the stadium, it had gotten cold outside! We bundled up, but by the time we arrived, I wasn't thinking about the cold anymore because I was so happy about seeing the Vols play! And they won this week! I know that's not saying much considering they played Memphis, but it would have been very embarrassing had they lost, and it is so much better to see a win!

Admission Ceremony

Last Monday was Alan's Tennessee Bar Admission Ceremony. It was a very special day for all of our family to celebrate Alan's success in his law career thus far. The Admission Ceremony was held at the City County Building in downtown Knoxville. It was important to Alan to be admitted in Knoxville because that is where he hopes to practice :) It was so interesting to attend and witness the whole thing! Alan was sponsored by one of our good friends, Will Edwards, who presented Alan to the court. He made it! The Justices all had wonderful words of acknowledgment of the success that had brought all the candidates to this day, and also challenging words of encouragement as these future lawyers looked to their futures. Alan kept saying to me, "It's not a big deal..." and my response continued to be, "YES, IT IS!" (does that really surprise you though...) I was so proud of Alan that day and most likely over-excited about the whole thing. After the ceremony, Alan also got his picture made for the Knoxville Bar Association and then we all went to lunch at Aubrey's, a Knoxville favorite of ours, before getting on the road to head back to St. Louis. What a great day filled with celebration and family!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween this year, Alan and I went to a costume party on Saturday night that my manager, Josh, held downtown at his loft. Everyone from my store came and it was so much fun to see all the creative costumes. Alan and I actually got our costumes for free from a co-worker of mine whose mom who is a nurse at a hospital here in St. Louis. I think that Alan wished our costumes were a little more extravagant, but we had both procrastinated in deciding what to be, so doctors were the end result. We did get to keep the scrubs though! It was a great night-everyone had a blast! Alan really enjoyed meeting the people that I work with and talk to him about, and I enjoyed introducing him to all of them!

On Sunday night (which was actually Halloween) Alan and I were in Knoxville and went over to Maggie and Ben's house and ate a delicious dinner, and then helped pass out candy to all of the trick-or-treaters. Maggie and Ben had prepared for about 300 kids based on a recommendation from one of their neighbors; however, we only had about 100, so we ended up with LOTS of candy left over which Alan was excited about!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Moolah Theater

When watching a movie on the couch with a beer in hand, most people think of their own living room, but not St. Louis residents!

The Moolah Theater was a rundown city landmark until 2004 when it was restored into a unique venue for movie-goers. It has the largest screen in the city and people enjoy the movies from couches and loveseats...but you better come early to get a good seat!

Last night, Alan and I enjoyed a typical Friday Date Night. We went out to dinner and then headed to the Moolah Theater to see The Social Network. We had heard about the theater from some friends and then Alan spent some time checking it out online. It's apparently something everyone "has to do in the city" so of course- we wanted to check it out.

The architecture was beautiful and the atmosphere was awesome. I'm glad that Alan and I did get there a little early in order to get a good "loveseat" to watch the movie. Alan got us a couple of drinks too so we could have the complete experience. The movie was good too! If you haven't seen it, The Social Network, is one I would recommend. Especially for those of you who have Facebook!

Friday, October 22, 2010

White Cheddar-APA Soup

You know it's October when the weather starts getting colder, and you start longing for the perfect Fall comfort food...soup! This is a delicious recipe from Schlafly Bottleworks' chef Josh King. Schlafly is a local St. Louis Brewery, but if you can't find it in your own grocery store, any APA beer will still work for this recipe. Alan and I enjoyed this a couple nights ago. Hope you do too! Happy Fall Y'all!

White Cheddar-APA Soup
2 sticks butter
1 cup flour
½ cup olive oil
1½ cups diced carrot
1½ cups diced celery
1½ cups diced onion
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 cups Schlafly APA beer
5 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. ground white pepper
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
¾ lb. sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups heavy cream
• In a large pan, make a roux: Melt the butter and then add in the flour. Stirring constantly, cook over medium-low heat until the roux smells slightly nutty. Set aside
• Place the olive oil, carrots, celery, onions and garlic in a stockpot and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft. Do not brown.
• Add the beer, vegetable stock and all spices and simmer for 15 minutes.
• Add the roux in small amounts until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, stirring well after each addition. (You might not use all the roux. If you prefer a thicker soup, add more roux, but remember that the cheese will also thicken the soup.)
• Add the shredded cheese a little at a time, stirring after each addition until completely melted.
• Add the heavy cream, remove from the heat and stir well.
• Serve warm. Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Break

This past weekend was Alan's Fall Break and we decided this would be a good time to go home to Knoxville. It was so great relaxing and spending time with our family and friends!

We arrived Wednesday night just in time to have dinner with my family. It was great seeing them, especially since we would miss them the rest of the weekend because they were going to Washington DC for Knox County's Fall Break. Figures...

On Thursday, we had a wonderful lunch with Jessica & Brian Strutz at the Apple Cake Tearoom. It was so much fun to catch up with old friends, I just wish our time could have been longer. Alan and I were able to get a few "Knoxville" errands done that afternoon, and then we met Nicole & David Lipsey for dinner at Aubrey's. We enjoyed celebrating their recent pregnancy and Alan passing the Bar. I was sad about forgetting my leftovers...we don't have Aubrey's in St. Louis!

Friday morning was woke up early. Our plan for the day was to go hiking in the Smokies! We decided to hike the Chimney Tops which is a beautiful trail this time of year. It was a gorgeous October day and the trees were dressed in all of their fall glory! The hike was about 4 miles which Alan and I felt every step of it by the end, but it was worth it! We even ran into a few friends on the trail, what a small world! That night, we met his family at the boat and took it to dinner at Lakeside Tavern. You don't realize how much you love the lake until you move away from it! It was fun cuddling up in blankets and cruising to dinner as the sun began to set. It was pretty cold on the way back though!

Saturday, Susan, Katie, and I went to get manicures at SoHo in Turkey Creek. You definitely need a little bit of pampering on vacation, and my nails needed it after our hike on Friday. My only request for this weekend was to go to Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge, so that's where we headed next followed by shopping at the outlets. It doesn't get much better than that! That night we celebrated Katie's birthday at the Moore's house with hamburgers, sugar-cookie cake, and presents.

Sunday morning we went to Cedar Springs and were able to connect with a few more friends there before heading back to St. Louis. I will say that it wasn't much of a "break" since we were so busy but Alan and I came back refreshed by feeling emotionally encouraged and socially caught up. Now we are back to school and back to work!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This afternoon Alan and I went to Oktoberfest. The festival was in Soulard which is a historic community located just south of downtown St. Louis. Having gone to Germany last year, Alan and I were excited to come here this year and enjoy brauts and beer back in the states! 2010 actually marked the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest which first began in Munich in 1810. We also had fun walking through the tents and listening to traditional Bavarian music...everyone was having such a great time! Despite it being in the 70s today, Alan and I both considered Oktoberfest to be a good realization that Fall is here! What a Wunderbar day!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

He Passed!

For those of you who may be interested, we are excited to announce that yesterday, Alan found out that he passed the Tennessee Bar! This was a huge answer to prayer (and a relief to Alan I'm sure) and also a very exciting step in Alan's career. We are so thankful for God's faithfulness! For me, it's almost like I knew Alan would pass due to his diligent commitment to school, but at the same time I cannot help but praise the Lord too! Last night we went to dinner at a little place called Anthonino's on The Hill with a few friends from church to celebrate! I think that I am more excited about this than Alan is...or maybe I just show my excitement more... Nonetheless, I also just want to take this chance to thank each of you for all your love, support, and prayers for Alan and myself during this time- we are so thankful.

If you click on the link in this post, it will take you to the list of successful candidates where you can find Alan's name! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weekend with Family

This past weekend Alan's family came up to St. Louis to visit. The crisp fall weather could not have been better or the company is good!

Everyone got here on Friday, and we started the weekend off by going to dinner at Blueberry Hill in the Loop. Blueberry Hill is one of those landmark places you just have to take people to when they visit St. Louis. Everyone enjoyed onion rings, burgers, and of course, toasted ravioli!

Saturday morning, we began the day with breakfast at our house and then headed down to the Cardinals baseball game. Alan's family really enjoyed walking around and looking at everything as this was their first visit to the new Busch Stadium. Today was also Stand Up for Stan Day, and at the end of the 7th inning, Stan Musial was driven around the field waving to all the fans! After barely scraping by with a win, we rushed home to watch the end of the UT vs. LSU game. What a disappointment! UT "won" and then "lost" in a matter of minutes. But the Vols loss did not keep us from enjoying the rest of the day! Alan and I took his family on a tour of Wash U and then stopped to get "concrete" at Ted Drewes! Yum!

Sunday morning, we went to the early service at our church, Kirk of the Hills, and then came back to our house to eat chili before the Cardinals game. Then, we headed to the game and since it was Fan Appreciation Day, we each got a voucher for a game next year! I'm already looking forward to going! One of Alan's friends, Michael McKenry, who he played baseball with at Farragut was actually just called up to play with the Rockies, (the team the Cardinals were playing this weekend) and played catcher for the whole game today! Alan went down to the bull pen before the game to say Hi! It was a beautiful day today and we sat in the bleacher section which was a lot of fun! During the 7th inning stretch, Alan and I actually made it on the Jumbo Tron as we sang "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"! With our family here with us and the Cardinals winning again today, it was the perfect end to a really fun weekend!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 Years

Almost 2 months after the date, Alan and I decided that we could not miss celebrating our 3rd anniversary with our traditional dinner at The Melting Pot. We were excited to find out that St. Louis actually has 2 locations, and we went to the one in Town & Country. They had a brand new Big Night Out menu highlighting French cuisine: it was wonderful! Even though we have had the chance to do a lot of fun things together since our "real" anniversary in July, taking a night just to celebrate 3 years of marriage was really special for us both. It was also fun to see how we have grown over the past 3 years and see where God has brought us individually and as a couple. I am continuously amazed and humbled by God's graciousness to us.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Alan and I went to Forest Park to see the Balloon Glow. It is a beautiful scene of inflated hot air balloons lighted by their burners. We had to walk quite a ways since traffic was so bad, but getting to Central Field and walking through all the beautiful balloons was awesome! Every 5 minutes or so, an air-horn would sound and all the balloons would light up in unison. Tomorrow, Energizer presents the 38th Annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race. All the hot air balloon contestants will "chase" the Energizer bunny balloon. We will not be at the race since we will be cheering on the Vols, but still-it sounds pretty cool! After the Glow, Alan and I wandered through the Central West End and had a wonderful dinner on the patio of the Drunken Fish, a great Sushi place! The variety of great activities in St. Louis amazes me!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alan's 27th Birthday!

Alan and I began celebrating his birthday on Friday night with dinner at Hacienda's. It's a great little Mexican place that Alan found about 5 minutes from our house, and we enjoyed dinner, a few coronas, and a fried ice-cream birthday treat!

On Saturday, the festivities continued with breakfast at Companion Bread which it a cute place in Clayton that had wonderful egg quiches and breakfast sandwiches. From there we explored the Clayton Farmer's Market and then headed to the annual St. Louis Art Fair in downtown Clayton. It was really fun to walk through all the tents and see the art. They had everything! I think Alan's favorite part was smelling all the good food, and peeking into the little bars that lined some of the streets to check in on the football games (does that really surprise you...) That afternoon, we headed to Chesterfield which is about 30 minutes west of where we live to watch a Polo match. Sadly, when we got there we found out that the match had been cancelled due to the rain the night before. Hopefully we'll be able to make it to a match at some point this fall. Saturday night we stayed in to cheer on the Vols from our couch. I surprised Alan with a cookie cake, but his excitement was not enough to bring home a win for the volunteers. We are keeping our fingers crossed for next week when they play Florida!

Sunday was ALAN'S BIRTHDAY! We started the day off right with donuts from a local donut shop called Ray's, and then headed to church at The Kirk of the Hills. This was our second Sunday visiting this church, and we think that this is where we'll settle. We have met several great couples there and we are going to visit a Small Group this Thursday night. After church, we celebrated some more with lunch at Whole Foods Market (thanks Patrick and Elizabeth for the tip) It was really good, the only problem was there were so many good things we both had trouble deciding what we wanted to eat. When we got home, Alan opened up his cards and presents! We then spent the remainder of the afternoon watching football and spending some time out by the pool. All in all it was a pretty successful weekend, the only thing that could have been better is if we got to share the day with all of you! Love from St. Louis- we miss y'all!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Labor Day in Chicago

With Alan and I both having a 3-Day weekend for Labor Day, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take a quick road trip. We considered going home for the first UT football game, and then decided that it would be fun to do something a little bit closer to St. Louis. So, we decided to visit Chicago: The Windy City!

The weather could not have been better! We arrived on Saturday afternoon after a 4 hour drive, checked into our hotel, and headed out to explore the city. Our first stop was Millennium Park where we had fun taking pictures of the big "bean" :) We then went to Navy Pier where we ate lunch, had a drink at the Beer Garden, and just walked around people watching. In the Family Pavilion, Alan spotted one of his favorite things...Garrett Popcorn! We waited in a 20 minute line to get the famous "Chicago Mix" of cheese and caramel popcorn-it was worth the wait! We then headed to Grant Park where the annual Jazz Festival was taking place this weekend. We also stopped by some of the major sites in Chicago: Buckingham Fountain, Field Museum, and Shedd Aquarium. Next we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our dinner reservation!

We had dinner Saturday night at The Signature Room which is on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. Even with a reservation, we had to wait an hour for a window table, but if you're going to eat at The Signature Room- you must have a window table! We both got the surf n turf which was excellent!

On Sunday, our main plan for the day was to go to the Chicago Cubs game. I asked Alan if I could get a Cubs t-shirt at one of the little places selling them in Wrigleyville, and his response was, "Erica, wearing a Cubs shirt is worse than wearing a Florida Gators shirt!" So needless to say, we remained neutral in white that day. Alan and I met up with my friend, Lindsey, and her boyfriend, Cody, at Cubby Bear which is a little bar in Wrigleyville and had a few drinks before the game. We then went to the game which was a lot of fun! Wrigley Field is one of the oldest stadiums in the country, so it was really cool being at a place that had so much character. The Cubs lost (which Alan was happy about) and we had a terrific time.

That night we met up with Lindsey and Cody again and had traditional deep dish Chicago style pizza at Giordano's. It was really good, but Alan and I agree that we both like Stefano's in Knoxville better. After eating way to much pizza, we took a walk down by the riverwalk and the Magnificent Mile and window shopped all the designer stores. I think Alan was relieved that they were all closed so I didn't have the option to drag him into them and shop, but it was fun just to look and see everything. Monday morning Alan took a run and ran to Soldier Field to see it, and then we headed back to St. Louis. It was a quick trip, but a really fun time to get away for a couple days and see a really great city.

Wine Country

Alan and I have been so pleasantly surprised by all the things to do in St. Louis. A guy that Alan met at Wash U recommended the St. Charles Wineries for us to go see, so a couple of weekends ago that is just what we did. We headed out around 11:00am and about an hour later (after getting lost twice) we arrived at our first stop. The first winery we visited was Augusta Winery which is one of the oldest wineries in the area. We tried several different wines here and ended up getting a bottle of the Norton which is a somewhat famous wine in the area and was featured on the Today Show. The next stop was Mount Pleasant Winery which was probably the most "touristy" of all the wineries but still very fun. The next winery was Montelle which has the same owners as Augusta, and it is beautifully situated on a hillside overlooking the vineyards. We ate lunch at a cafe here, and relaxed while listening to live music and enjoying the sunshine. Our next stop was Sugar Creek Winery which was a little more laid back, and not quite so much going on. The last stop of our little tour was Chandler Hill which is a newer winery in the area, and overlooks a lake on the property. We really enjoyed the tastings here, but were not able to stay as long as we probably would have liked because the place was being set up for a wedding reception. One thing that we thought was interesting was that there were a lot of Bachelorette entourages out at the different wineries. While bachelorettes go out at night in Knoxville, apparently visiting the wineries on a Saturday afternoon is the thing to do in St. Louis. In addition to tasting good wines, Alan and I really enjoyed driving through the countryside and just seeing more of the area around us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cardinal Baseball Curse

Whether it is the fact that Erica and I went to our first Cardinal baseball game or the fact that Sean Daigle came to visit us in St.Louis while training to fly a new plane, the fact remains that the Cardinals have not won since those things happened.

This past Saturday Erica and I went to our first Cardinal baseball game together. They played the Cubs and Chris Carpenter pitched. Before the game began, I made Erica go and watch batting practice with high hopes of getting a baseball. About halfway through the Cubs taking BP a ball was hit about 20 feet from where we were and almost hit a few fans. I, being the observant one, was watching the fans fight over the ball, when all of a sudden I hear Erica yell and a thump. As it turns out a ball went about a foot from my face and landed right at my foot. It is for this reason that Erica and I are holding a ball with shocked faces.

However, the rest of the game didn't turn out so great and the Cardinals did not come out on top. After they lost the next day and then their next game against the Brewers, I decided that I MUST go back to reverse the curse. Adam Wainwright was pitching in a day game and I was certain they would win against an average Brewer team. However, they were not able to hit until the 9th inning and in the end it just was not enough to win. So although we have had a great time at the ballpark, I'm scared to go to any more games. However, I can guarantee that will not happen...

But that wasn't all we did this past weekend. As it turns out, Erica has a cousin, Sean Daigle, who is the son of Erica's mother's brother. Sean is a pilot for Colgan Air who you know as Continental Connection, United Express, and US Airways Express. Sean has been in St. Louis the past 2 weeks training to fly a bigger plane. Over the weekend we got the privilege of having him stay with us and between Sean and Mom and Dad Rockwell, we have now had as many guests as we had in 3 years at our old apartment.

On Saturday Night, we took him to eat at Ozzie's restaurant and, like the Rockwells, we walked around the Arch and riverfront. On Sunday we visited Covenant Presbyterian. That afternoon we visited the Budweiser Brewery then went to Ted Drewes for some frozen custard. Having Sean here was great, he told us all about flying, his fiancé, and updated us on his family. If only all our guests are as interesting as Sean, then living in St. Louis will be quite the adventure.

School is getting closer and Erica is getting more responsibility and excitement in her job everyday. Keep praying for us and please, come and visit!

Friday, August 13, 2010

St. Louisans or still Tourists?

We have now lived in St. Louis for 2 weeks and I think it is high time we call ourselves St. Louisans, but there is only one problem: we are still acting like tourists!

After we settled in and our family left, we stayed at home for a few days and unpacked. I quickly found a sports radio station that talked about Cardinal Baseball all day and that became my best friend. And although most of you thought the next sentence would be that talk radio only lasts for so long, that is not how this story goes. In fact, with school not starting for another few weeks, I have grown to enjoy listening to all the interviews (as well as the whining and complaining) about a professional sports team where they can really criticize as opposed to the college stuff I was used to in Knoxville.

However, my radio interests will not carry you all through the rest of this, so I will move on. Erica and I quickly found the Brentwood Public Library and checked out some books and movies to entertain ourselves. We also got internet and cable and we were officially "moved in."

Erica and I began to research the city and find out what we could do here to entertain ourselves. It didn't take long to realize there would be plenty to do. Last Friday night, Erica and I went out to eat at Pappy's. Pappy's is a Memphis style Bar-B-Q place that we attempted to eat at when the Rockwells were in town, but were not able to since it was closed due to selling out of food. We later learned that it is so popular that they often sell out of pork and are forced to close, so if you want to go there, you have to go early! It was worth it.

Our night did not end there as we finished our date by going to the City Museum. I'm not normally one for a museum full of art, but this is not normal art. In 1997, the city bought an old building that housed the International Shoe Company and went out and got a bunch of old "junk". They then used the junk to make a huge adult playground of cages, slides, and tunnels. Included is an old airplane, school bus, the world's largest pencil, and a mini circus. After being on our hands and knees for about 3 hours climbing, sliding, and exploring we didn't even have to pay for souvenirs to say we had gone as we clearly had the bruises, scrapes, and aches to prove it.

Over the past week, Erica has gotten settled into her new job, and I have now read 2 books and watched several movies (oh how I will miss these days in a few years when I'm working all the time...). Erica and I also discovered Forest Park as a great place to walk. Forest Park is located just outside of WashU and it was the location of the World's Fair in 1904. All but 2 buildings from the Fair were temporary and were torn down, but they converted the rest of the park into one of the Nation's largest urban parks, which happens to be about 500 acres larger than New York's Central Park. Although we have enjoyed it, the heat is as unbearable here as it is anywhere else in the South and the grueling 105 degrees has made it hard to take too long of walks.

After a week of recovery, the following Thursday we went to went to see a play at the Muny. The Muny is a giant outdoor theater located on the grounds of Forest Park. The theater was built in 1917 and when it opened they had a section in the back where the seats were free. Today they still have 1,500 free seats and although they seem about a mile away from the stage, of course I was cheap enough to only want to sit in them. So Erica and I went to see the musical Showboat, which interestingly made it's premier outside of New York at the Muny in 1930. The musical was one neither Erica and I had seen before and so neither of us recognized the songs. Although it might not rank as our favorite, the experience of watching theater at the Muny is very exciting.

This weekend, we are attending our first Cardinal baseball game in the New Busch Stadium, which happens to be Erica's first Cardinal baseball game, and my first Cardinals game when they are playing the evil Cubs. So, as you can see, although we now call ourselves St. Louisans, we are still acting like tourists.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Meet Me in St. Louis!

After 8 hours, 4 states, and 1 big truck, Alan and I have now officially moved!

We hit the road early Saturday morning with my parents (thanks so much Mom & Dad!) and got into St. Louis mid-afternoon. We are living in an apartment complex called the Villas at Brentwood. The Brentwood community is about 10 minutes west of Downtown, and about 10 minutes south of Wash U. It's a pretty urban area with lots of shopping and eateries. It will hopefully be a fun area to explore. We unpacked the truck and then my parents took us out to eat at the Buffalo Brewing Co. The rest of the weekend was spent unpacking. On Monday, I started work at U.S. Cellular as a Sales Manager. The store that I'm working at is in High Ridge, MO which is about 30 minutes southwest from where we live. The associates there are very friendly and easy-going and I think it will be a pretty easy transition. My parents took us out to eat that night at Carmine's Steakhouse downtown and then we walked around the riverfront and the Arch. Tuesday my parents headed home and Alan and I tried to get into some type of routine. While I've been working, Alan has been setting up our utilities, cable, etc. and getting us settled in. He has also done fun things like signing us up for library cards and running in Forest Park. We're enjoying the city so far. There is so much to do and see! Miss y'all!