Monday, January 23, 2012

Basketball Diaries-2

Part II: What time is it? GAME TIME!

Since Part I, my basketball team has gone to 4-1 on the season . Our first game was a bit rocky, but the good thing about having a bad game is there's always something to talk about/work on for the next practice. 

I've always had a great appreciation for teachers, but after coaching (and working with children) my appreciation has grown even more. It's always amazing to watch someone learn, but it's even better knowing that you actually contributed to their growth. We had our practice and prepared for the next game. 

Game 2 was a nail-biter we won in the very last seconds. It was very close from start to finish but it was awesome seeing my players execute and do the things we actually taught them in practice. Getting that first win felt good though. Really good. I told the kids to remember that feeling because we don't want it to go away.  Game 2 came just before Christmas so we had a long break before our next game. I was worried the long layoff would make my team very rusty and our first practice back was very unfocused and lax. Luckily, that wore off before game 3. We faced a team that I could tell we were better than. However, I knew if we didn't come out and play like we should, we'd lose.

We came out and played like we should. We won the game by 20-ish points and just about every player scored. I won't bore you with my raving of how well my team played, but just know that I cried imaginary tears of joy watching them blow out that team. So glad all of the work and things said by coaches didn't fall on deaf ears. 

I could tell now that my team is starting to play and think like a team. They're starting to trust in each other and counting on others to do their job. I get giddy just thinking about how good they could be! I also see why coaches get so excited about their team.

I actually missed our next week of practice due to puking my brains out. Then I missed that week's game helping Reuben move in down in Georgia. But, we still won the game because my players BALL SO HARD! 

Our last game was another nail-biter. We were tied for second place and facing the top ranked, undefeated team. Upon first look, they didn't impress me. Actually, upon many looks, they didn't impress me. Once the game started, I could tell they had 1 good player. He's really good too, but the rest of the team was too weak for them to be undefeated. It was time to change that.

We started the game so flat. It was very frustrating PLUS the refs had quick whistles which is always annoying. Despite all of that, we were still able to jump out to a 13-3 lead before foul trouble started getting to us. I had to sit our best/core players for the majority of the first half, and that's when our opponents began to come back on us. We couldn't buy a basket for about 8-10 minutes of the game. Halftime FINALLY came (with us down by 2) and it gave us a chance to re-group. I had a lot of talking points for them but the main one was that we weren't going to let one guy beat us. We had to pick up our defense since our offense was struggling. We switched up the defense and it worked. Everyone came out with better energy and we were back to our usual selves. We grew a quick lead and  were able to hold on in the end. The best part of the night was the over-bearing parent on the sideline arguing with the ref because his son's team couldn't stop us. I hope I don't become that parent in the future.

The team is heading in the right direction and I'm really glad I'm along for the ride. We're now tied for first place (I like the view from the top) and it feels great. I recently found out that my age-group doesn't get trophies in the end. I'm not necessarily upset they won't get a trophy in a rec league because, in my opinion, they're definitely old enough to understand winning and losing (they keep score for a reason). However, this news has cranked up my desire to win. If we're not going to automatically get some hardware, well then we need to make sure they HAVE to give us our prize.

I'm definitely excited for the last part of the season. We've got 2 games left until the post season tournament and it'd be nice to go into the big dance as the #1 seed. There isn't much more left to the season, so I'll do my best to keep everyone posted on how we finish!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why is it 70º in January?

Is it too late to post my January goals? We are more half-way through with the month already. Where has time gone?! I still have more than a week left so I think it's still ok to post some goals.

Let's first go over my December goals:
  1. Finish The Hunger Games series. DONE! If you haven't read this series, what the heck are you waiting for? It's so darn good! I'm in love with it and very sad that it's over.
  2. Keep Running. In fact, beat November mileage. I did manage to beat my November mileage. One problem. I haven't run since my last road race in December and I'm angry at myself for that.
  3. Create an engaging Cover Letter to go along with my new and improved Resume. I ended up doing this in January. It turned out to be the bomb diggity :D
  4. Have all Christmas shopping done the week before Christmas. I think this happened. Christmas was busy but let's just say I accomplished this task since everyone seemed to enjoy their gifts :D
  5. Beat Jeremy on Words with Friends AND Hanging with Friends. He's frustratingly smart/good and currently the reigning champ in our household. I MUST beat him. I FINALLY managed to beat Jeremy in Hanging with Friends. Not so much in Words with Friends.
And now for my January goals in which I will have very little time to complete:
  1. Join a Life Group within our church.
  2. Throw my sister the BEST Baby Shower ever.
  3. Finish Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. (I bought the book. I'm determined to finish.)
  4. Keep up with Jillian Micahels 30 Day Shred. (I'm currently on Level 2 and I want to diiiiiie *but in a good way*)
  5. Give my culinary skills a little challenge and make cake pops.
And there we have it. My January goals. And just because I like posting photos on our blog, here's a photo from New Years Eve. We hosted a get together at our place with our wonderful friends!

NYE 2011

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Basketball Diaries

Part I: Real Life Hoosiers… sort of.

This is the true story of a rag-tag group of underdog basketball players who came together with their awesome rookie head coach to win their league championship!

Ok, so my group my not be considered “rag-tag”, and my assistant coach isn’t the town’s basketball-loving drunk, but take away some of the technical stuff and my basketball story practically parallels with the ‘Hoosiers’ plot.

This year I’m coaching the U-14 basketball team (“Team 7” to be exact) and I have to say, it’s been waaaaaay more fun than I thought it’d be. I’ve never coached before, nor did I plan on coaching this year, but when our sports director asked me about it, I thought it could be pretty fun. I assumed I’d be with some kids between 6-8 years old and I figured this could be great practice for when I coach my own kid’s team (it’s on my ‘Life Goals’ list).

Surprise – I got middle schoolers! Usually, middle schoolers suck. They’re moody and think they know so much more than they actually do. PLUS, they don’t realize that middle school is your ugliest time period. Your limbs are out-growing everything, voice changes, acne, and you start becoming an “adult”. Not a glamorous list. This, however, was great because I don’t have to teach middle schoolers basketball, I just have to teach them how to play basketball better/correctly. I can do that, right?

I asked both my brother and our friend, Nathan, to help with coaching. (Coaching 101 rule 1: Get help.) I thought it’d be a good idea to not only have help, but also have other perspectives to share.

Our first practice finally comes around. For about 5 minutes before practice started, I had my “moment before the moment” when I realized I had no idea how this was going to go. What if the kids are all-stars and think my teaching is stupid? What if I start getting nervous and stuttering and teaching poor mechanics? Or worse, what if these kids just completely suck?

I blew my whistle (Coaching 101 rule 2: have a whistle) and practice officially begun. From that point on the best thing ever happened. I realized that coaching basketball came naturally. All of my years of playing on various teams with different coaches actually paid off. We started with some light stretching and some warm up shots. Of course we did our lay up drill (standard) and then got into some partner drills. Because this was our first practice, we wanted to basically see what we had. Our main focus was defense and rebounding. If we were going to be good at something, it was definitely going to be defense and rebounding. Our kids have a lot of hustle and showed that they wanted to learn and play, and that made the job easier. We finished the practice with a scrimmage and ran some laps for conditioning. I had to admit, I felt really good about this team. I was excited for our first game and to see how the kids played.

Coach Jeremy & Team 7

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Below is a post that was forgotten about and never published. Not sure why this happened, but it did. Oh well. I hope you just read and enjoy. It was written in July 2011.

Have you ever gotten a coupon in the mail for free food? Like, no strings attached, completely free, you don't have to spend a dime, free food. It doesn't happen very often. Well, Mario's Pizza in Matthews was nice enough to send us a FREE FOOD coupon. It read:

"To acquaint you with Mario's Pizza - one of this area's best restaurants - we give you this FREE GIFT CERTIFICATE. No cost! No tie-in purchase required! No strings! No kidding!

It's good for ONE ABSOLUTELY FREE MEDIUM PIZZA with 2 TOPPINGS (up to a $15.59 value) or ONE ABSOLUTELY FREE ENTREE (up to a $16.99 value). Choose dine-in, carry-out, or delivery (limited delivery area). Please mention your Gift Certificate when ordering. This offer is for new customers only."

It was quite the deal and I was all of a sudden so happy to be a new customer in the area! So obviously, we jumped on that and checked out Mario's. We decided to try some take-out pizza first. A FREE, Italian sausage and bacon medium pizza (and then I added a side of fried pickles -healthiest meal EVER!). Two words to describe it: Awe. Some.

It was some delicious, New York style pizza. It had a tasty not-too-thick, not-too-thin crust that was complimented by fresh, authentic ingredients and toppings. And just like that, we were hooked.

Now, the great thing about Mario's is that it's much more than pizza. They have take out and delivery, and also dine-in. THEN they're connected to John's Place bar which is open 2-3 hours past Mario's closing time. Talk about convenient. Anyway, a week or so later we went back for dinner. They've got a great menu with lots of options. Tons of appetizers and plenty of specialty pizzas to choose from. They've also got stuffed and deep dish pizza, about 8-10 salad choices and lots of pasta dishes! And theeeeen there are "Specialties of the House" which include chicken dishes, veal, seafood, eggplant parmesan and wings! PLUS calzones, stromboli and subs (hot and cold). Like I said, LOTS of options.

I ended up ordering a pepperoni calzone (which was ginormous by the way) and Asha got the chicken parmesan sub. DEEEELICIOUS. My calzone lasted a couple days and made for some good lunch. I remember in elementary school when it was calzone day at lunch, we basically got hot pockets. And I thought that was awesome. My friends, this was no hot pocket. It was loaded up with some cheese and pepperoni that probably backed me up for a day or two, but my taste buds and stomach all agreed it was worth it!

Delicious food at Mario's!

Since then we've gone back to Mario's a couple times and our palates have fallen in love with their fried pickles. This is definitely a place you should visit if you're ever in the Matthews area and in the mood for pizza. Great price and even better taste! If/when you go, let me know and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Better Late Than Never

This past November I got the chance to put on my wedding dress once more. Not only did I get to relive the moment with my dress, but I also got the chance to get pampered once more which is always a plus in my book. Hair, makeup, a lovely flower bouquet...the whole nine yards. It was bound to be a great day!

If you were able to attend our wedding, you would have noticed one thing missing. My bridal portraits. I actually opted out of having my bridal portraits taken only because I thought I would look silly posing for pictures all by my lonesome self. I guess it's a weird phobia of mine. Instead of having bridal portraits, I had a friendship shoot with my bridesmaids. I loved being able to have some alone time with my girls, spending a days worth getting our hair/makeup done along with hanging out uptown for some pictures. The images came out great and I will cherish them forever.

After our wedding passed, Sunny (our photographer), contacted me and easily talked me into having my bridal portraits done. By this time, I had worked with her several times and knew that taking photos by myself wouldn't be an issue this time around. I knew Sunny would be able to loosen me up and capture some great shots. Speaking of great shots, these are some of my favorite!

While posing for pictures, I actually wasn't alone at all. In fact, I had quite the audience. More than a handful of people were flooding the streets, exiting the Panthers game which we sadly lost. I also got plenty of shutouts saying "Congrats!"...little did they know, I was already married :)

Photos weren't the only thing I was being featured in.  I was also being filmed for a promo video for Themba Imagery. I felt so lucky to be a part of it and I absolutely love the outcome of the video. You should watch below!!!

Themba Imagery Promo from Brian Bunn on Vimeo.

Thank you, Sunny, for taking the time to take photos of me while I can still fit into my wedding dress! The photos came out beautifully and I know that wouldn't have happened without you and your amazing team (Tisha Ross {makeup} & Brian Bunn {videography}).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top Ten Moments of 2011

Happy New Year! 2012 has arrived in style but 2011 happened to be pretty awesome. Here are our Top 10 Moments of 2011 captured on camera. Enjoy!

Pit Master Jeremy learns to make his own BBQ and boy are you missing out if you haven't tried it! His special recipe is mighty tasty. Since he cooks the meat for close to 24 hours, the house is filled with the smell of sweet savory meat. No worries. We'll invite you over this summer for a taste :)

This was a great day! We got to witness the Panthers literally BEAT DOWN the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Christmas Eve. Cam set a record, the Panthers won the game, and we got to repeatedly show off our quarterback's celebration dance all day long.

It was the "craziest frickin' day" of our lives. The second annual Warrior Dash was held in our home state of North Carolina and we showed up with the best costumes there; The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We had a blast trudging through various obstacles and of course jumping over fire and crawling through the mud. Cowabunga, Dude!

On a trip to Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate Asha's last moments as a single woman, her best friends and sister surprised her with a parasailing trip over the beach. It was a thrilling moment being suspended that high in the air but fun and forgetful, nonetheless.

We wanted to leave our wedding in style at the U.S. National White Water Center. We were able to do so by zip-lining into the sunset, waving to all of our friends and family below. The ride actually felt pretty relaxing and was a great end to the day.

On our last stop of our Honey-cruise at the Grand Cayman Islands, we had a visit to the Cayman Island Sea Turtle Farm. What was great about the turtle farm was that we didn't expect to do as much as we did there. We got the opportunity to hold not one, not two, but THREE different sizes of Green Sea Turtles. It was pretty awesome and we were excited to experience something so unique.

Not many families get to spend the holidays with BOTH of their immediate families in one place. Lucky for us, we got both of our families to come together for a delicious Thanksgiving meal all under one roof. It was a day filled with laughter, love, and family. Something we'll never forget.

How many people can say that they have zip-lined from the treetop to treetop only to land amongst the beaches of Honduras? Not many. But you can count us in. This canopy tour was an absolute thrill and a breathtaking experience. Being able to overlook the beaches, rivers, and jungles Honduras has to offer was an amazing, extraordinary feeling.

We are officially homeowners! Finding a home and calling it ours is something we are thankful for each and every day. We've had a fun time decorating the walls of our home really making it ours.

OF COURSE our number one moment of 2011 is the day we tied the knot! We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. We're forever thankful for all of the family and friends in attendance and we will cherish the wonderful memories made on THE BEST DAY OF 2011!!