Before we even moved here, Derek started checking the tropical weather forecast on an almost daily basis during hurricane season. Derek just loves weather {remember his homemade snow gauge from the winter of Snowmageddon & SNO.M.G. in VA?}, and it's important for us to be prepared for the event of tropical weather. Well, up until now we've really only experienced one tropical storm in the 2 years & 2 months we've been living here. Tropical Storm Lee came through Biloxi last year, but it really wasn't a very intense storm at all. We basically just had four really wet days, and a lot of sand got washed up from the beach..but that was it. No damage & no loss of power.

But now we have good ole Isaac. He has been getting a lot of people's attention on the MS Gulf Coast since about the middle of the week last week. Forecasters had Isaac coming right for us as a Category 2 Hurricane. This is our first hurricane. We knew we wanted to ride the storm out here if possible, so we started to prepare. We listened to friends' horror stories of Katrina to know what to do/what not to do. We withdrew cash from the ATM, topped our cars off with gas (Many gas stations around here ran out of gas or had lines of 30+min! Thankfully, we got our gas early on base with no issues whatsoever.), stocked up on supplies (plenty of water, batteries, candles, food, etc.), brought everything from our patio/porch inside, reinforced our garage, etc. After paying close attention to the tropical weather forecasts for so long, it seemed so surreal to actually be preparing for tropical weather.

The base issued a voluntary evacuation order for all dependents about two days ago, and we have several friends that did evacuate. We made the decision to stay unless a mandatory evacuation order was issued, but thankfully as time has passed the storm has shifted more and more to the west putting us further away from the brunt of the storm.

Derek, Shelby, and I went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner last night just to get out of the house once more before we get cooped up. We were so glad we did..it was a fun evening! First of all, Shelby actually ate Chick-Fil-A food for dinner...then she figured out how to climb up to the top of their indoor playplace by herself! Big day, people. Anyhow, we went to Target after dinner just to see what the shelves looked like...people have definitely been preparing! Then we drove around town for a bit...it was so weird to see stores that we frequent on a regular basis all boarded up. Such an eery feeling. As of yesterday, most places were already closed for today & tomorrow with Keesler AFB included. The base will be shut down for two days with only "mission-essential personnel" reporting. Thankfully, Derek is not on wards this month (we got lucky b/c he was on wards the previous month & is on again next month!) so he is considered "non-essential"...which is/was a huge blessing! So we get to have Derek at home with us for two days for a little "hurrication," and had we had to evacuate he would have been able to come with us. Very thankful that we could all stay together!

Today has been pretty quiet so far--just very overcast & windy. We spent a good portion of the morning outside at our neighborhood playground, but the rain is now starting to arrive. I'll leave you with a few photos, and we'll try to update again soon!

Empty boat slips at the Keesler Marina yesterday evening

Boats anchored out in the middle of the back bay hoping to weather out the storm away from shore
{taken yesterday evening}

No planes left along the Keesler flight line as of yesterday evening

Shelby playing with Daddy on the playground this morning despite the wind

The back bay in our neighborhood as of 2pm this afternoon

As you can tell from the picture, the piers are already under water before the rain has even started!

A Little Geography Lesson


Feeding the Ducks...

After our trip to Pittsburgh, we spent two days in GA before heading back to Biloxi. One of those mornings we went to a park near my parents' house to walk the trails a bit and play on the playground, but the highlight of the trip was feeding the ducks! :) Here are a few pics, but please bare with me on the formatting--Derek recently upgraded me to a smartphone, and this is my first attempt at blogging from my phone!


Whew! What a week! Things have been hectic & busy since we got to Biloxi! I figured I better hurry up & get a recap of our trip posted before it slips my mind....

As I mentioned before, a very good friend of mine from my teaching days in VA was getting married in Pittsburgh, so we decided to make a little vacay out of it! On Friday, August 10th we drove to GA to drop Shelby off with Grammy & Grampy. Then on Saturday, we flew out of the Atlanta airport and arrived in Pittsburgh around dinnertime. We got our rental car & checked into our hotel. We had quite the adventure that first evening...everyone told us we should go check out "The Strip" to walk around and eat dinner. Well, leave it to us to not be able to even find the strip. We were so excited when we finally stumbled upon a restaurant as we were all starving by this point! We realized that it was an Italian restaurant that the hotel had recommended to us, so we quickly went in to grab a table. We learned a very valuable lesson that night--never sit down at a restaurant until you have at least glanced at their menu first! It was the most unique menu we've ever seen at an Italian restaurant! Derek's first words were: "Is this even English?!" When you started reading the description of a dish, it sounded all well & good and then they'd throw something crazy in there at the end like octopus or duck ragu..who even knows what that is?! Let's just say that I ordered a ceasar salad with a side of garlic mashed potatoes. Apparently, we are just Olive Garden People. ;)

Anyhow, Sunday was Erin & Matt's Big Day! We also had an adventure even getting to the ceremony..roads in Pittsburgh are pretty crazy! But thankfully, Derek & Steve managed to get us to the church on time. :)  It was a beautiful ceremony!

I love this candid shot Derek got of the newlyweds :)  Erin looked beautiful!

The reception was later that evening in the ballroom of the hotel we were staying in. It was a very cool hotel (and beautiful location for a reception!)--the building was previously a monastery that they converted into a hotel.

Erin's DIY "guest book"..it was so cute! Everyone signed their name & a little
message on one of the leaves.

This is Sarah (She taught Kindergarten in the classroom right next to mine for
3 years. We spent every day together and usually called or emailed one another at least
once a night..and usually more! I still miss talking to her everyday!) and her hubby
Steve. Their hotel room was right next to ours, and we had SO much fun with them
at the wedding and sight-seeing in Pittsburgh!

Derek always has way too much fun at weddings. ;)  He likes to
think he is the life of the party!

Sarah & Steve were able to stay through Monday, so we did a lot of sight-seeing with them.

The Duquesne Incline. These cable cars took us up for an AMAZING view of the city!

We have done the Duck Tour in Philadelphia & Seattle, so we knew we
had to do it again in Pittsburgh! It's such a fun way to see a new city!

This is us at Primanti Brothers. This is the sandwich places that everyone
from Pittsburgh raves about!

All of their sandwiches are made with a heaping pile of fries and
coleslaw in the middle. The sandwiches were huge!

Sarah & Steve headed home on Monday evening, and we were sad to see them go. We had so much fun with them! I love friendships that can pick up right where you left off. We hadn't seen them in a little over two years, but we didn't miss a beat.

After Sarah & Steve left we discovered there was a Cheesecake Factory in Pittsburgh, so we headed straight there for dinner! The weather SO incredibly perfect that we were able to enjoy a nice, quiet, uninterrupted dinner & dessert on their patio. It was pure BLISS!

Derek & I had two full days left in Pittsburgh on our own, and we enjoyed them to the fullest! On Tuesday we slept in late then visited the Heinz History Museum. (We needed an indoor activity since it was a rainy day). We had thought about going to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game that evening, but it was still a little rainy...so we just went to dinner at Red Lobster and then headed back to the hotel for a lazy evening. We were bummed that we didn't get to a few of the things we wanted to do due to the weather (the baseball game...and a 2 hour tour of the city via a Segway! Ha!), but we really enjoyed the laid-back day after a busy day of sight-seeing on Monday.

On Wednesday, we checked out of our hotel then headed out for an early movie (Derek's pick--The Campaign) and lunch on the patio of Panera. Again, the weather was DELIGHTFUL! After lunch, we grabbed a chocolate milkshake at DQ then made our way back to the airport to head back to ATL! We spent two days in GA before heading back to Biloxi--I'll do a separate post on our time in GA later.

We seriously had the best time! Thank you so much to Erin & Matt for letting us join you on your special day! Thank you to Sarah & Steve for such a fun time! And a huge thank you to Grammy & Grampy for making it all possible! :)


What We've Been Up To...

Things have been a little quiet on the blog lately b/c we've been enjoying life in Pittsburgh!

A full recap of our vacay will be coming soon, but for now we are busy settling back into our regular routine and nursing our sick baby girl back to health. Poor thing came down with a little cold last night, which made for a rough drive home today. We just got home this evening around dinnertime, and we are so happy to be back...and even happier that all three of us will be staying put in Biloxi for a while! But before I wrap up this blog post, I have to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to my parents for taking such good care of our baby girl while we were in Pittsburgh. It's so nice to be able to fully enjoy our time away and not have to worry at all about Shelby. I'm not sure who had more fun while Derek & I were away--us, Shelby, or Grammy & Grampy!


Yard of the Month!

As we were preparing to make the big move from Northern VA to Biloxi, we were excited about all of the new opportunities that awaited us, but one of the things that Derek was most excited about was having our very own yard. Even though our yard in Biloxi is fairly small, Derek has taken such pride in it. About a year after we moved into our home, the base housing became privatized and a lawn service started taking care of everyone's yards (free of charge to the residents). Derek elected to forgo the service, and despite his busy schedule at the hospital has spent countless hours outside pulling weeds, fertilizing, watering, and mowing. I can still remember how pitiful our yard looked when we moved in, and Derek said he wanted the grass to be green and lush by the time Shelby was old enough to play outside..and he definitely reached that goal! And this month, we were recognized as Yard of the Month for our neighborhood! To say that Derek was excited would definitely be an understatement!


22 Months

This post is incredibly late, but I couldn't let Shelby's 22nd month of life get away without a post..even though we are a mere 10 days away from reaching the 23 month mark. Oh well, better late than never..right?! Okay, here we go!

Happy 22 Months, Sweet Shelby!

Shelby showing off her "cheesy" smile ;)

Mommy, are we done now!?

Here is what Miss Shelby is up to these days...
--loves to sit in her glider and "read" books by herself
--you officially know all of your letters and the majority of your letter sounds. Now whenever you see a letter, you automatically say its name and start telling us the sound. It's so cute to see and hear! You love learning!
--you are counting beyond ten now! You still often skip number 7 (not sure what you have against it!), but you can usually get up to 14 now with some encouragement. For the longest time, we think you just thought 10 was the end of the number line. ;)  You would just look at us like we were crazy when we kept counting!
--we started reading you some potty books {Mommy's TA from her teaching days in VA gave them to you as a baby shower gift before you were born} to you this month, and you have subsequently been very interested in the potty and like to accompany Mommy on all bathroom trips. ;)  Perhaps potty training won't be too far off if you continue to show interest!
--you love to watch people write the ABC's or spell words..with crayons, sidewalk chalk, in the sand, etc. It is so much fun for you! Your favorite words to spell are: Mommy, Daddy, Shelby, cat, dog, & fish.
--You still whine when things aren't going your way, and there are days that are filled with a LOT of whine. But thankfully, you still haven't shown any interest in throwing tantrums. Mommy & Daddy are really hoping it stays that way....but I have a feeling your time with tantrums will come! But for now, we will enjoy our tantrum-free days & try to remember that whining isn't really all that bad.
--you still love to play outside as much as possible!
--you are talking up a storm these days and repeating a lot of what we say! One of the funnier things you said this month occurred as I was ending a phone call with Daddy. I said "Bye, babe" as I was hanging up, and then you immediately yelled to Daddy: "Bye, babe!" It was too funny! Some of your other favorite phrases are: "Mommy/Daddy back!" (you say this anytime someone enters a room), "Dada work? Dada home?" (every morning when I go in to get you out of your crib, this is the first thing you say to me--you want to know where Dada is!), "thank you Mommy/Dada" (we are working on your manners this month), "What's up cup?" (apparently I say "What's up buttercup?" to Shelby a fair amount, so she has started saying it too ;), and "here we are!" (Shelby would say this every time we went back inside our condo in FL after swimming or playing at the beach).
--you love to pretend to go "night-night."

With each passing month, you are getting more & more fun! We are loving this almost-two-year-old age! There are many hard days where we are counting down the minutes until bedtime, but it never fails that once you are in bed Daddy & I can't help but recount all of the cute things you did or said that day. We love you, Shelby-girl!