Tuesday, July 31, 2012

London 2012: A Spirited Olympic Movement

Our weekend was spent sitting in front of the TV mesmorized by the Olympics from the opening ceremonies to the Michael Phelps letdown to the women's volleyball domination over Korea to the unbelievably twisted men's cycling race and everything in between.

For me, the Olympics is a time to watch amazing athletes compete for something more than just the win. The pride of their country riding on their backs. The team component not otherwise found in many individual sports. The spirit of our world coming together, putting our differences aside, and being part of something so touching for athletes and fans alike.

The purpose of various countries hosting is to allow them the opportunity to show the world about their history, their culture, and their glory. I loved how London showcased all that has made it the United Kingdom/Great Britain from the four corners: Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England, as well as the various periods that the country endured to make it the posh place that it is today. From the rich history as an agricultural nation to the industrial, war plagued nation to the arts & literature aspect of Shakespeare/JK Rowlings/Mary Poppins that has enlightened all of the world's imagination to the unparalleled musical talent of the UK. Plus let's not forget the Queen floating in via plane thanks to Bond, James Bond (seriously what a neat stunt for her majesty).

The march of nations was amazing as the upbeat tempo kept the athletes hopping at a great pace to make for a more pleasant watch from our couch :) And the lighting of the torch was genius. Starting with the steamy Beckham arriving a la boat followed by 5 time Gold Medalist Olympian Steve Redgrave and lit by 7 aspiring, young Olympians sponsored by former British greats. The use of GB's youth throughout the entire ceremony was beyond moving as it recentered and humbled our focus to the future and remembering to inspire those who look up to us. And in grand finale fashion, Sir Paul McCartney rocked the crowd with tears in his eyes.

If you missed the opening ceremony, do yourself a favor and check it out. Keep an open mind and tap into your inner child recalling what the "Games" are all about.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Music Mondays

Country music is making moves this summer...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Date Night: Gavin DeGraw Concert

If Music Mondays are any indication of how much I heart music, then you all know that a good tune brings a smile to my face. And I've always been a fan of a good concert. There is something about live music that makes my heart beat and my soul soar. It doesn't hurt that Groupon was offering 4 tickets for $80 to Gavin DeGraw at Rye's Playland.

So we decided to make a date night out of it...easing back into the swing of things post vacation! We headed down south and east to Rye which is situated right on the beach in Westchester County. It has a serene and soothing feel plus an adorable downtown area. Playland is an amusement park with boardwalk restaurants, roller coaster rides, and water slides that happens to double as a lawn-type concert venue. All tickets are GA so we decided to bring our REI camp couch to sit in. **Preggos and sitting on the grass do not make for a good combo I imagine** And they allow you to bring your own food 'picnic-style' which made for a nice little Chipotle treat for us.

We really enjoyed the evening complete with cool weather, fabulous music, sweet snuggles, and great people watching. We shared several laughs at the surrounding concert go-ers who were either teeny-boppers singing along to all of Gavin's new lyrics or old foggies dancing moves that had us in hysterics. Ahhh to be young again and to make a list of things NOT to do as we age.

One thing is for sure, some things have definitely changed since becoming pregnant when it comes to concert hopping...


2009: Music Fest in San Fran 

2008: Kenny Chesney in Atlanta

2007: Memphis in May

2007: Memphis in May

2008: Tim McGraw & Keith Urban in Chicago


sitting, not standing

eating, not drinking

far back, not crowd surfing ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Collins Family Olympics: Greenbrier 2012

In the spirit of the Olympic games and the nature of The Greenbrier, we decided to have our own little family competition while vacationing. Opening ceremonies kicked off on Tuesday evening when Amanda & Shane arrived. We were all sitting on the front porch in our Collins Family Olympic shirts with the "torch" lit and ready to roll.

Dad, the President of our Olympic committee, made the itinerary and official uniforms for the week's events. Each night our uniforms for the following day were laid out on our beds with the schedule of events. Competing in 3 divisions, men-women-couples, the compeition was fierce.

Day One:

  • Women: Kendahl "Ken Dogg" DeZarn
  • Men: Ryan "Rhino" Thompson 
  • Couples: 3 way tie between the Thompsons, the DeZarns, and the Wm S Collins duos

  • Women: Sandy "Sammy" Collins
  • Men: Ryan "Rhino" Thompson
  • Couples: The Emperor & Sammy

Day Two:

Laser Tag
  • Women: Kendahl "Ken Dogg" DeZarn & Yours Truly
  • Men: Peter "P-Diddy" DeZarn & Ryan "Rhino" Thompson
  • Couples: The Thompsons & The DeZarns

Day Three:

Golf Skills
  • Women: Yours Truly
  • Men: Ryan "Rhino" Thompson
  • Couples: The Thompsons 

Day Four:

Shuffle Board

  • Women: Sandy "Sammy" Collins
  • Men: Kevin "Daddy-O" Collins
  • Couples: The Emperor & Sammy

And the medalists...

  • Women:
    • Gold: Amanda" A Man Duh" Collins
    • Silver: Sandy "Sammy" Collins
    • Bronze: Kendahl "Ken Dogg" DeZarn
  • Men:
    • Gold: Kevin "Daddy-O" Collins
    • Silver: Ryan "Rhino" Thompson
    • Bronze: Shane "Shaneen" Collins
  • Couples
    • Gold: The Emperor & Sammy
    • Silver: The Thompsons
    • Bronze: The Wm S Collins

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Greenbrier: America's Resort

Nestled in the mountains of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia is an all American resort perfect for family vacation. In every single way. Anything and everything you could possible dream of is a reality here.

My parents had visited The Greenbrier several times for business and had been itching to do a family trip here. After a few years of attempting to coordinate schedules, we finally made it happen. A short 8 hour drive through 6 states and we arrived on Sunday afternoon to kick off the vaca, our last without a baby!

don't mind the ghetto-ness that took place on the way to GB

Our cottage, equipped with 4 separate bedrooms & baths, a kitchen, family room, front & back porches, fits the family of 12 like a glove. Privacy for each couple is key for nap-taking, prepping for the Olympic events, and romantic activity. The kitchen provides easy breakfast and lunch opportunities as well as snacking...especially for the kiddos. And the living room creates lots of laughs, game playing, and memories for a lifetime.

The grounds are stunning with mountainous views, gorgeous decor & architecture, 5 star facilities (from tennis courts to golf courses to croquet lawns to bowling alleys to indoor & outdoor pools to first class spa). Activities cover a broad range from shuffleboard to hiking to skeet shooting to biking to horseback riding to carriage rides to laser tag. Let's not forget the casino as well as the plethora of shops and delicious restaurants. And perhaps the most exquisite part of the entire place is the good ole' Southern hospitality and service of the all-star staff.

We could not have asked for a better vacation with our family and last pre-parenting hoorah. Just the right amount of fitness, relaxation, laughs, and bonding. Definitely looking forward to making The Greenbrier a regular vaca spot for our ever-growing family!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blog Swap: Childhood Summer Vacation

Well I was supposed to be taking place in a blog swap about childhood summer vacation, but my partner never sent me her post...so I am posting mine here :)

Hello from Witty Whit’s Words! I am thrilled to be participating in the 20SB Blog Swap and even more excited to be reliving my childhood vacation memories! So fasten your seat belt and get ready to travel back in time with me!!
As I sit here on our family vacation, the last before we welcome our first child, I am reminded of how giddy vacation makes me. Even now as an adult. Like the saying goes, some things never change.
For me, vacation as a child meant entering a whole new world filled with endless possibilities of activities and chances to create memories. It meant a week with mom and dad, my two sisters, and my brother where we swam for hours, put our toes in the sand, ate extra dessert, and stayed up late. We played endless amounts of tennis or shuffle board or UNO. Our dad told stories from his childhood as we listened intently, hanging onto every word. Our mom spoiled us with toys and treats to commemorate the destination.
A favorite spot for our family was Captiva Island nestled on the west coast of Florida, slightly north of Fort Myers . A small town with big thrills for adults and kids of all ages. We were repeat vacationers to this quaint place mostly during spring break week. We visited with other families making for even more memories and competitive games.
One of our favorite features on the island was The Bubble Room, a bubbly restaurant with a bubbly atmosphere and bubbly staff. Fit with bubbly memorabilia and bubbly photo ops for the whole family, a night at The Bubble Room was always a staple in our yearly visits.
can you guess which one I am?!
Still to this day, my siblings & I laugh and reminisce about our vacations down to Captiva Island. We regard those memories with fondness and often flip through the picture books to relive the glory days. And as we begin to have our own children, expanding our family one baby at a time, it is our hope that we can create these wonderful memories for our own children; hoping that we can provide them with the same amazing experiences that our parents provided for us!
Thanks for traveling along with me to my favorite childhood vacation spot! Now whip out your photo books and hit the road to your own travel destination…Bon Voyage!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Music Mondays

So loving this sweet country tune right now...reminds me of my cowboy hubby

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Lesson in Child Birth

Terrifying. Simply terrifying. Watching 3 videos of a child coming out of a woman's wooha is disturbing. I could definitely give birth to this child without seeing the graphic-ness of the whole process. Thank you very much. But aside from the up, close, & personal look, we learned many useful tips and tricks as we prepare for labor & delivery. Plus I always love seeing the newborn babies in the nursery to remind me of what is coming so soon!

Here are a few things we learned:
  1. Eat, eat, eat prior to coming into the hospital as they do NOT feed you once you're there.
  2. Early labor does not mean rush into the hospital...active labor will not come for a few hours unless you have a turbo baby.
  3. Hee, hee, whooo will work so long as you, my hubby, are not all up in my face. If you choose to get within my personal space, you will most likely get knocked out.
  4. Water is your friend. From now until you give birth.
  5. We are as ready as we'll ever be to become real life parents. Bring it on!

Alright already-mommys and soon-to-be-moms, what did you learn from your child birth class and/or own birthing experience??!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

21 Jump Street: A Movie Review

The beauty of OnDemand is that I can watch a movie of my choosing from the comfort of my own couch whenever I feel like it. Now the problem has been finding the time to sit still long enough to enjoy a flick. Insert last week when I was attempting to rest post 4th of July and pre GB vacation.

I had been wanting to see 21 Jump Street since the previews from early February. Schedule non-permitting delayed seeing it in theatres. So as I was crafting up some Christmas gifts for friends, I decided to purchase the movie.

Three adjectives: comical, witty, hysterical. I have a pretty normal sense of humor and thoroughly enjoy the slap-stick jokes of Jonah Hill and the subtle charm of Channing Tatum.

Plot: Two pseudo-enemies from high school find themselves in cop school with one another and use their different skills to become fast friends. The high school prom king and the nerdy outcast are paired together once passing their physical and written exams. Dreams of taking down bad guys are replaced with park patrol and rent-a-cop style exercises. Until the two join the 21 Jump Street squad where they go undercover on a high level mission. As they journey back to high school to bust a drug ring, the two reverse roles as they learn to navigate the changes of youth.

Cast: Good looking Jenko (Channing Tatum) provides eye candy while Schmidt (Jonah Hill) whips out one liners like candy. Supported by a slew of small named actors & actresses, the high school kids remind us of how caddy and bizarre those 4 years can really be.

Definitely worth checking out on an evening where you have some free time. Comedies are a great way to relieve stress, take our minds off of life, and enjoy a less serious approach for a few hours. Plus who doesn't like looking at Channing Tatum??!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Music Mondays

Relationships aren't always easy...especially when life throws you curve balls or overwhelms you with too much all at once. It is refreshing to know that when you are in marriage, your spouse won't give up... ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

4th of July: Red White & Blue Recipes

Here are a few of the recipes I used to make our 4th of July party all that is red, white, and blue:

EASY AS 1,2,3...

Independence Pretzel Sticks (makes as many as you prefer):

  • pretzel sticks
  • white chocolate
  • sprinkles
  1. Melt white chocolate
  2. Dip pretzels in chocolate
  3. Sprinkle sprinkles onto chocolate
(on left side)

"RED" Strawberries (makes as many as you prefer):

  • strawberries
  • white chocolate
  • colored sugar
  1. Melt white chocolate
  2. Dip strawberries in chocolate
  3. Sprinkle colored sugar onto chocolate

Red, White, & Blue Candy Bark (makes as many as you prefer):

  • oreos
  • pretzels
  • white chocolate
  • M&Ms
  • sprinkles
  1. Place crushed up a oreos (dozen) and pretzels (handful)
  2. Melt white chocolate and pour over oreos & pretzels
  3. Sprinkle with M&Ms and sprinkles
**Let harden then break into pieces to serve

(on right side)

1776 Punch (makes as many as you prefer):

  • cranberry juice
  • blue frost Gatorade
  • Diet 7-Up
  1. Fill glass/dispenser with ice
  2. Pour in cranberry juice
  3. Pour in Gatorade over top a layer of ice
  4. Pour Diet 7-Up over top a layer of ice
**Be sure to pour over a layer of ice and not directly into juice/Gatorade or it will mix as opposed to flow nicely


Star Spangled Pie (makes 8 servings):

  • 1 1/4 cups Keebler Chips Deluxe Rainbow Bite Size cookies
  • 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping
  • 1 Keebler Ready Crust graham cracker pie crust
  • sprinkles
  1. Chop cookies
  2. Mix beaten cream cheese and sugar together in small bowl
  3. Fold in cookies and whipped topping
  4. Spread into crust
  5. Refrigerate for 3 hours
  6. Garnish with sprinkles


    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Home Makeover: Before and After (Take Four)

    You probably recall takes one, two, and three from the previous months. We have been working diligently on getting the house ready for Baby T as well as hosting our families in November for Thanksgiving. *Yep* that's right we will be housing 14 people in our 4-bedroom just months after I give birth and we adjust to being parents. Call me crazy, go ahead.

    We continue to chip away at our list, pre baby and pre turkey day as often as we can, but it always helps when we have helpers. Insert Nana & Pops who flew up for 10 days of work (and some play: here and here).

    The main areas of focus this trip included finishing the purple room, the upstairs foyer, the main basement, and landscape clean up. A rare treat, Ryan was able to help 4 days thanks to the mid-week holiday which makes the work go by much faster. Two hands are always better than one!

    The boys get the major projects (i.e. painting, drilling, power washing) while the girls get the fun stuff (i.e. baby assembly, crafts, party prep).

    Without further adieu, here is what we accomplished...

    Upstairs Foyer:



    *missing Ryan's portrait that should be here next week!

    Goodbye wallpaper, hello paint! We liked the yellow (and since the blue is on the lower level) so much that we decided to stick with it. Adding a mirror and corner nook to spice it up. We added the wedding canvases up the stairs: one of bride, one of groom (to go on right side), and one of the happy couple! Once the baby comes, we plan to add 3 canvases of him/her up the other stairway.

    Purple Room:



    No more kiddie border or lime green :) This is the perfect guest room for girlfriends with all of the little purple touches. 




    Toodles to the orange & green. Love me some "U" but not enough to have our basement painted those school colors. We chose neutral colors with a darker brown for the playhouse to make it an accent. The theme is "travel" so I whipped up a little Pinetrest craft with the map on a canvas idea along the stairwell. We also have some art work that needs to be hung to strengthen our theme.