Posted by: Bethany Davis | December 14, 2013

Hunger Games Capitol Tour

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Sci-fi, futuristic, and written in the first-person present tense, Suzanne Collins weaves together an engaging story through The Hunger Games. We’ve been fans since reading the books in spring 2011 (fyi, starting these books during exam week is not a good idea!). And, warning: if you haven’t seen the movie, the following post may not be for you. So, go watch the movie and then come back. :)

There were always rumors of the books making it the silver screen, but it finally happened in March of 2012 while we were in Utah. On Black Friday of this year, Brian and I were able to see Catching Fire in Raleigh. It didn’t disappoint and we may have both teared up a little bit at times.

I discovered that not only was part of Catching Fire was filmed here in Atlanta, but that you could tour the “Capitol.” Since it was my turn to plan a date night, and decided to surprise Brian with the tour. (and note that at this stage in life, actually surprising one another is tricky!)

The Atlanta History Center’s Swan House was approached by Lionsgate Films to use their grounds and a few inside rooms for scenes from the Victor’s Ball. Since the movie came to theaters, the Swan House set-up a tour showcasing props and rooms used during the three week shoot. Here’s a quick clip from the movie showing Catniss and Peta’s ascent to the Capitol…

We were fascinated seeing the historical elements from the Swan House juxtaposed with the futuristic set. The original owner, Edward Inman, is known for his business in the cotton industry, and fictitious owner, President Snow, for shutting down District 13 and their mining and nuclear science/technology industry.

Below you can see the front steps to the Swan House. The photo to the left shows the production crew at work.

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One of the photo opps was in President Snow’s office. Our tour guide explained that the History Center tried to acquire the desk that was used in the movie, but immediately following the shoot it was purchased by the president of Mexico. (field trip to Mexico, amigo?)

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The photo below is taken from the steps where President Snow gave his speech and then winked at Catniss during the fireworks.

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Besides feeding our sci-fi addiction, The Hunger Games tour gave us a chance to see a historic Atlanta landmark. Our ticket gave us admission to all the exhibits and the Margaret Mitchell House in midtown (next date night, perhaps?). It’s exciting to see Atlanta hosting so many movies lately. And who knows, maybe they’ll take us as extras in Mockingjay?!

Posted by: Bethany Davis | November 26, 2013

Tour de Smyrna

I was blown away on my birthday. A new tandem bike was not what I was expecting! Part of the gift included a date afternoon the following Saturday. Since the bike is difficult to transport, we decided to explore and ride along the Silver Comet extension, which crosses through our cul-de-sac.
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It was a cold day for a ride. We bundled up and set out for our first destination: Mcentyre’s Bakery. This family-run business has been around since the 40s, and makes some delicious cakes and chicken salad croissants. We took our lunch to go and rode on to the lake at Smyrna Village for a picnic.
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We weren’t sure how far we’d be able to ride (since our 30-year-old bodies aren’t what they use to be!), so we improvised the rest of our ride and found ourselves at a local favorite: Rev Coffee.

We had both been wanting to try a “new” coffee brewing method. Pour-over-coffee has been around since the 1950s, but recently made a come back. Rev has a pour-over for two (only 3 bucks!) so we tried it out. I thought it kinda went with the day… A bicycle made for two…. Coffee for two…. :)
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During the ride I spotted an old van, which looked to be the exact make and model of the van my family had when I was 16. Seeing it took me back to the first time I drove completely by myself. After school I took the old blue Honda Previa van (which I remember being embarrassed that I had to drive!) to Cary Town Center Mall. What I remember most is not what I shopped for, but the feeling of freedom I had driving there being by myself.

Riding behind Brian in the tandem, feeling the chilly wind on the face, brought back that same satisfying freedom. I wasn’t in the driver’s seat this time, but was freed by willingly following another. I could trust Brian to carefully steer us and lead us where we needed to go. I had no will of my own. My contribution was pedaling at the speed and in the direction he picked.

How interesting that my definition of freedom completely flip-flopped. Giving up freedom to gain freedom. Sounds odd, but also makes perfect sense in God’s Kingdom. Consider the beatitudes, which at first sounded like polar opposites: the meek will inherit the earth? In the same way, The Lord calls us to yield our lives to Him. It truly “tis so sweet (and freeing!) to trust in Jesus.”

And so it was riding the tandem. We rode through the town together, me feeling free and nostalgic. What a joy it was to trust and follow my husband.

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Posted by: Bethany Davis | November 26, 2013

Back in the Saddle

I love my husband. A lot. He is so attentive to me and always looking to serve and show his love. He’s the “real deal” – striving to live out Ephesians 5 every day.

Birthdays are one of those times when he spoils me more I deserve. He handmade a beautiful card (and even incorporated some of Vera’s drawings in it) and listed 30 things he appreciates about me and 30 of his favorite moments we’ve has together. It was a perfect way to speak one of my love languages – words of affirmation. Oh, did I mention the boxes (yes, that’s plural) of chocolate he gave me?! And, chocolate must be one of my top love languages, too!

Chocolate and a card would have been plenty, but it didn’t stop there. On my birthday, Brian gave me a large box where I found 2 helmets – one wrapped in pink paper and one in blue. I was puzzled for a moment, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what the other half of the gift was…

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A NEW TANDEM!!!
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I was shocked and completely surprised. We had rendered our old tandem unridable and pretty much beyond repair without spending more time and money than it was worth. So getting a new bike with all the bells and whistles (even a gear shift!) made my heart happy.

Even though we had chosen to let the blog go to the wayside lately, I decided this life event merited coming out of our cyber silence. Especially since we’ve blogged about restoring our first tandem.

Tandem bike riding is (quite obviously) a shared experience and carries many parallels to the marriage experience. [More on that later, perhaps.] When we took our inaugural ride on the new bike, it all came back to us – metaphorically and literally! You truly don’t forget how to ride a bike, no matter how long it’s been.

20131126-020334.jpg Here we are in December 2010 with our original tandem :)

Posted by: Bethany Davis | July 7, 2013

A Wedding & Mini-Vacation in North Georgia

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Vera at the creek – it was freezing!

Just when we thought we’d seen the best of Georgia, we discovered there’s more to be explored. Brian’s college friend, Nate, was getting married in Cornelia. We were able to make a mini-vacation weekend out of the trip and turn Habersham county from a dot on the map to a place pull of life, adventure, and memories.

I happened to mention to a friend from church (Katie) that we were headed that way. Through our conversation, we were able to arrange for her to watch Vera during the wedding and rehearsal dinner and for us to stay with her parents who live in the county.

Why was it a mini-vacation? We got to stay in a beautiful house on the creek, have adventures in some small surrounding towns, and of course, attend and be in a beautiful wedding.

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At Mark of the Potter with Mitch and Katie

Mitch and Katie knew all the best local places. We visited the Mark of the Potter, a unique pottery studio literally situated over the creek with a working gristmill built in the 1800s. The potter was even spinning pottery on the wheel while we were there. The mugs were beautiful! On the back porch they had some fish food available to feed the swarming trout below.

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Elfmade Toys, the highlight of Vera’s day

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Vera painting her name

The next stop was Elfmade Toys in the town of Sautee (pronounced SAW-TEE, not pronounced the French way, “sauté” !) The store was filled with originally-designed wooden toys, handmade from recycled wood. The prices were great and Vera had a blast painting her name and a few other items. Such sweet owners, too – please support them if you visit the area!

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bubbles at the Old Sautee Market

Lunch was at the Old Sautee Market across the street. Great sandwiches and a neat bubble station for kids.

For town with a population of 647, Sautee has a lot to offer. The Stovall Covered Bridge (not pictured) is rich with history and was built in 1895. Downtown Clarksville is also a cute town. We had hoped to visit the Soda Fountain Cafe, but learned they are closed on Sundays. We did enjoy Natalie Jane’s Tavern and Sweetbreads, where the rehearsal dinner was held.

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Sweetbreads rehearsal dinner

 

 

 

 

The wedding itself was in Cornelia. It was wonderful to see Nate and Brittany wed, and it was great chance to catch up with friends we don’t see as often as we’d like. I’m so thankful I’m healthy, the baby is healthy, and I’m feeling well enough to spend time with friends and explore. We had a great trip and would love to come back to the area again some day!

 

 

 

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this groomsman was my hot date

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Brian’s college friends

Posted by: Bethany Davis | June 26, 2013

Relaxing at Lake Nottely

Each of the four years I’ve been apart of the Davis family, I’ve spent a few days at the lakehouse. It’s a chance to getaway from the Atlanta buzz and enjoy an agenda-free weekend with Brian’s dear grandparents. We’re spoiled with good southern cookin’ and an amazing view of Lake Nottely in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We loved every minute of it! On the drive home we asked Vera what her favorite part of the weekend was. Her answer? “The perfect food.” :)

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Posted by: Bethany Davis | June 17, 2013

4th anniversary trip :: Ashford Manor B&B

IMG_3095We love to get away together. Although we had a lovely dinner on our actual anniversary, June 7th, we decided a getaway trip was in order. Plus, with the baby coming in August, it was kind of like a 2nd babymoon.

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We packed up and headed east to Watkinsville, Georgia. What was supposed to be a 1.5 hour trip was delayed by Atlanta rush hour, making us very excited when we finally arrived at Ashford Manor Bed and Breakfast. The house, built in 1893, is located on the Antebellum trail and boasted gorgeous gardens complete with a swimming pool. We stayed in the “White Room” and fell in love with it as soon as we opened the door.

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We spent the first evening in Athens (only 15 minutes away) and ate at Cali N Titos, a local Latin American place. Turns out the good food and cheap prices make it a pretty popular place, but the wait was worth it. The atmosphere and outdoor seating reminded us of our honeymoon in Cancun!

Saturday we started off the day with an amazing breakfast at the B&B. Mario and his “assistant”, a sweet border collie named “Schroeder,” prepared fresh fruit, quiche, and biscuits. I particularly liked the real silver silverware, elegant tall candlesticks, and bud vase napkin holders (anyone know where I can find some?!).

 

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After breakfast we walked 2 blocks from the front door to the Oconee Farmer’s Market. We found a few treasures including some organically grown leeks (for some paleo soup), Oconee county peaches picked that morning, and some pound cake for Brian’s parents for watching Vera/Father’s Day.

photo[3]As if the fresh peaches weren’t enough, we headed out to pick strawberries at Moon Famers in the nearby town of Colbert. The berries were delicious and the picking was too easy, which resulted in large buckets of berries for us to bring home to Smyrna. Bending over was a little tricky at 32.5 weeks, but my birth coach (Brian!) reminded me that it was a good time to work on my squatting muscles :). Before leaving we enjoyed a bowl of their homemade strawberry ice cream – yum!

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Lunch was back in Watkinsville at Kumquat Mae’s Bakery – which we decided was our favorite restaurant of the trip. Brian raved about his nut burger (no veggies or meat – just nuts!) and my ham and gouda sandwiches was delicious. We enjoyed the live music and before leaving the owner sent me away with a free chocolate chip cookie.

 

During the hot afternoon hours, we had the pool all to ourselves. The house adjacent to the property (leased by Ashford Manor for big events) had a wedding reception with live music and steel drums, which equals private poolside music for us!

Dinner was at Piccolo’s Italian Steakhouse. The half portion of eggplant parmesan was perfect for me. (And don’t worry, it didn’t cause me to go into labor like Scalini’s says it will). We made it back just in time for The Tempest – the Shakespearean play that was being held outside on Ashford Manor’s lawn. We didn’t know this was the weekend for a play when we booked our room, but were pleasantly surprised to find out we received complimentary tickets.

After another amazing breakfast on Sunday (fresh blueberry waffles!), we took a leisurely walk and did some front-porch sittin’ before heading out of town. It was a much needed break for both of us. We’d love to return to Ashford Manor for another visit!

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photo from the Ashford Manor blog

Posted by: Bethany Davis | June 10, 2013

Vera’s birthday video

My husband is very talented.

Brian put together a little video for Vera’s 2nd birthday, giving just a glimpse of some milestones (including her first steps!). Here’s a link to her 6 month video and 1 year video as well. She’s quick to remind us what a “big girl” she is now, and how she likes to “do it myself.” :)

Posted by: Bethany Davis | May 26, 2013

There’s 2-year old in the house!

On April 29th, Vera celebrated her 2nd birthday! I did a birthday interview with her just like last year (click here to read it.) Check out here answers from this year (the things in parenthesis is what I truly think her answer would be, even though she didn’t say it when I asked her!) …

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Vera at her birthday party with a few friends and family

Vera’s 2nd Birthday Interview

How old are you? 2
What is your favorite toy? Elmo doll
What is your favorite color? blue
What is your favorite animal? kitty cat (dog)
What is your favorite book? Opposites by Sandra Boynton (Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin)
What is your favorite TV show? Elmo
What is your favorite movie? Elmo
What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me
What is your favorite food? bagel
What is your favorite drink? water
What is your favorite breakfast food? cantaloupe
What is your favorite snack? raisins
What is your favorite outfit? rainboots (her Hello Kitty ones)
What is your favorite game? Elmo
What is your favorite toy? Elmo doll
Who is your best friend? JoshyWhat is your favorite thing to do? library story time
What do you like to take to bed with you? Doggie and Teddy
What is your favorite restaurant? “a food one” (Chick-fil-A)
What do you want to be when you grow up? a rhinoceros
What did you do on your birthday? eat cake

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cupcakes and smashcake made by Grammy

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balloons and a birthday hat in the crib

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and, of course, she wanted a birthday trip to Chick-fil-A :)

Posted by: Bethany Davis | November 22, 2012

Thankful Tree

Happy Thanksgiving! This year we are celebrating in North Carolina with my family. With my sisters scattered in Kentucky and Indiana, it’s special when we can all be together. At the beginning of the month, I found a great way to express our thankful hearts. I follow the blog of  [Emily] Jones Design Company and she provided some free printables to make a thankful tree with some branches from the backyard. We’ve been writing down the things we’re thankful for and asking our guests to do the same. Today, we verbally expressed some of these things around the dinner table including the Lord’s provision and wisdom!

Posted by: Bethany Davis | November 14, 2012

Our little cowgirl

For Halloween this year, Vera had planned to dress as a lady bug. But when it came time for costume parade with Moms for Must Ministries  it was in the upper 70s. The lady bug had a hooded fleece, so we had to improvise and threw together this cowgirl outfit.

Catherine had given her these super cute pink cowgirl boots for her 1st birthday. They are just now fitting her and definitely made the outfit!

Here’s a few pictures from her photo shoot before going to the costume parade. I love seeing her little personality come out!

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