Monday, August 31, 2009


This weekend was great. Josh and I are really getting settled in and starting meet a lot of people. On Friday night we had Josh's buddy from Finance at UF Mike and his wife Jacquie over for dinner. We played a very long and exhausting game of GATOR Monopoly and also taught them to play Capitalism. On Saturday we had lunch at a wonderful Thai Restaurant here in the Ham called Surin. We went with some friends we made in our small group, Cathryn and Matthew. We have so much in common with them - they just moved 9 hours from home as well (from Ohio) so that Matthew can attend the Law School at Samford. We went shopping through Homewood in the afternoon.. very nice. On Saturday night we went over to the Turners house for dinner. The Turners are a wonderful family that also attend the Church at Brook Hills. They were friends with Josh and Joanna Tillman up in Lousville. We brought the dessert and I made a DUMP CAKE... this is the recipe from Josh's Mom - it is so yummy and very easy!! (Hence my excitement!)


1 Pkg Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake Mix
1 20oz Can Undrained Dole Crushed Pineapple
1 21oz Can Comstock Cherry Pie Filling (I actu
ally used Apple Pie filling this time...)
1 cup Chopped Pecans

1 stick Butter Cut in Thin Slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 glass pan. Dump pineapple into pan and spread evenly. Dump in pie filling and spread into even layer. Dump dry cake mix into cherry layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over cake mix. Put butter over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

We finished up the weekend at the Birmingham Gator Alumni season opener BBQ. It was great to meet some fellow Gator alumni who are now residing in the Ham. Their token phrase is "Birmingham Gator Club - JAWS OF STEEL." Kinda cheesy, but very original, I love it! (For anyone who does not know... back in the day Birmingham was a "Steel" town with tons of manufacturing plants downtown.)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We have found our new church home... The Church at Brook Hills. Here is the website if you would like to check it out. You can even download sermons to here the pastor, David Platt as well. We have been trying out the service on Sunday for the past couple of weeks and we love it. I went to a Women's small group on Monday night and Josh and I went to a Young Married Couple's small group last night. We absolutely love it. The church is completely focused on Missions, Service and Discipleship - exactly what we need. We have met so many people who we have so much in common with and are completely focused on the same thing we are - honoring, serving and obeying our Lord. We are so excited to see how God can use us in this new place. We are planning to join the church this fall when we can complete the required membership class.

Josh and I have been praying a lot over the last few weeks for re-assurance. We knew that God had to moving us out here for a reason... after last night, we really feel like we are here to serve and grow at Brook Hills. I am very excited to see what comes next!! I'll keep ya posted...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Birmingham really does have great shopping... I was a little nervous moving here when I realized that they did not even have a WestElm... however, what I have found so far seems to be even better. My favorite store is in an area of town called Homewood and is called At Home Furnishings. I love it. I also love a certain round leather ottoman that they currently have on their floor... if I only had a job. (In due time!!) They seem to have a great story for their store - they travel a lot and have a very eclectic sort of collection of furniture and accessories. (But the good kind of eclectic, know what I mean?) Girls - could this be a good business model for our future boutique?!?! I am excited. Everyone should come to Birmingham just so that they can see this store.

IO Metro is another very cool store here that we have here in the Ham that cannot be found back in Florida... although it is not one of a kind, it is definitely a different kind of store. (Be careful, their website is accompanied by some crazy techno music.) It is great. It reminds me of a Z Gallerie or maybe close to a West Elm but a little more affordable? They have some great dining room tables and tons of unique light fixtures. Check it out!!

Hope everyone is having a great week!! Josh and I are very excited... we are trying out a new small group at the church we have been visiting tonight. More details to come soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This past weekend we took a trip to Dallas to see my Dad's family and to SURPRISE my Grandma for her 80th Birthday. My Aunt Sissy and her family threw a very nice party at their house for Grandma and invited all of the Russell clan and some close family friends. The party was a lot of fun and I think my Grandma was truly surprised!!

The weekend actually started last Thursday... Josh had to go to a retreat with school (That's right, a retreat, you should ask him about it...hehe) and so my mom drove in to Birmingham on Thursday so that she could stay with me and
I could show her around. We went all around town on Friday... mostly to the malls as that is pretty much all I know how to get to at this point. We also went to see the movie Julie & Julia - it was so cute!! I highly recommend it.

On Friday night Josh got home and we went out to a great Pizza place called Salvatore's... also very yummy. We left at 4:30am on Saturday morning for the 11 hour drive to Dallas and arrived a couple of hours before the party started. The party was so much fun - it was so great to see everyone!! W
e left after the "Power Breakfast" on Sunday morning and got back late to Birmingham on Sunday night. Although I think we did spend more time in the car this weekend than actually in Dallas, it was still a lot of fun. We tried to make the trip back to Bham on Sunday a little more interesting... Mom took us on a tour of Forest, Mississippi - where she was born and we also got off I-20 in Tuscaloosa to see how the other half lives - it was nice, but I still believe that Gainesville is the promised land.

Me and Grandma - I still can't believe she is 80!!

Grandma's Birthday Cake, made by Aunt Sissy - She is so talented!

Josh with some of our favorite San Antonio cousins - Russell & Ryan

Side note - there is definitely a lot going on today!! Today is Josh's first day of school (please pray for him that everything goes well), my cousin Miranda is getting married Jacksonville (we love you and we are so sorry we cannot be there!) and it's my Grandma Wheeler's birthday (Happy Birthday!!) Yesterday was also my Grandpa Russell's Birthday - Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


We are finally all settled in!! I am so excited to be all unpacked and set up in the apartment. Sorry for the lack of posting the last few days... This week has been crazy with running errands everywhere, unpacking boxes, organizing and PAINTING!! We absolutely love our new apartment... it is very nice and secluded with lots of trees everywhere. (Side note - it is definitely taking me some getting used to with driving through all of the mountains, I mean hills around here.) Here are a few pics of our new home...

Dining room, Kitchen, Living Room

Red wall in Living Room - My Favorite!!

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom (Rebecca's Bathroom)

Gator Guest Room - If you come, this is where you will sleep!

Guest (and Josh's) Bathroom

Hope to see you all very soon! HOTEL HEWIETT is open and ready for visitors!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Our last three weeks in Jacksonville have been absolutely amazing. We have such a wonderful family and so many great friends who we are going to miss dearly - AND WHO BETTER COME TO VISIT US A LOT!! We also got to visit some of our favorite Jacksonville Restaurants and places to go before we leave as well... Here is an overview of the past couple of weeks:
We had dinner last Tuesday night with Winnie, Alan, Emily and Spencer. We went to Barbara Jean's Restaurant out in Ponte Vedra. There truly is nothing better than eating wonderfully Southern food with some very good friends. Winnie grew up at First Baptist with us - but is slightly older (wink, wink) and so we did not really get to meet her until we went to the Newlywed class at FBC. We met Winnie and her husband Alan in the class and became instant friends. They are such a sweet couple and we have loved getting to know them and their beautiful baby girl Clara. We also met Spencer and Emily in the class. They came into our small group late last year. They are such energetic and fun people to be around - and even better... THEY ARE TEXANS. Since a lot of my family still lives in Texas, it is fun to talk about cool things to do and see there with them. We are planning to make the trip to Dallas this year for Christmas so we may get to make a short detour to Waco to say "hello" to the Capertons.
The whole gang at Babara Jean's
Just the girls - Winnie, me and Emily
Last Wednesday night we had dinner with some my very best friends from Interior Design at UF. Paula, Jackie, Liz and I all ended up in Jacksonville after school (well Liz followed last year as she just could not stand to be apart from us) and now I am breaking up the group. No worries though - we have already made plans to meet back up in _________ (insert cool city of choice) in a few years and open our own boutique. Of course, as we are all type "A" Planner personalities, we all already have our jobs lined up for us - Liz is the purchasing agent as she has the best style, Paula will be the display and floor designer, Jackie will be the daycare manager for all of our kids in the back room and I will be the business manager (scary huh?) We went to Mimi's Cafe for dinner - mmmm good!! Jackie's fiance Billy was able to come with us too - Josh was very relieved that he had another guy to talk to as our "design talk" can get a little carried away sometimes. Side note - one of our many trips back to Florida will be to go to Jackie and Billy's wedding next April. (I am so excited for you guys!!)
On Thursday night we hung out with Adam and his fiance Tyler. We ate at the new Mellow Mushroom at the beach. Adam was one of Josh's roommates and very good "buds" at UF - he was also a groomsmen in our wedding. Our FIRST trip back to Jax will be in October to go to their wedding. Josh is in the wedding and we are so excited for them! We love hanging out with Adam and Tyler - they make such a great couple and we are so excited to see how God is going to use them and their marriage for His glory. Side note - Adam actually came on a family vacation with us 3 summers ago to England. Long story short, that trip was amazing.

On Friday night we went over to Josh's Grandparents house for dinner with Josh's entire family. It was so good to be able to see everyone before we have to leave. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family who truly cares about us and supports us as we make this transition to Birmingham. We ate lots of great food all prepared by Josh's Grandma, Mom and Aunts. We closed out the night with a good card game of Capitalism which has become the new family favorite.

Mom and Melissa
Aunt Lisa, Josh and Me
Family Group Shot
Josh and Joey
On Saturday afternoon I had lunch with my friends Kelli and Zayna. We went to PF Chang's - it was delicious! It was so great to be able to catch up with my long time friends before we left. Both Kelli and Zayna went to highschool and college with me. They are definitely the kind of friends I will have for a lifetime. Definitely be praying for my friend Kelli, she has a great job possibility coming up for a teaching position here in Jax. Just pray that everything will work!!

On Saturday night we went out to the Party Barn at the Dorminey's house (Winnie's parents). Winnie, Alan and Mr. & Mrs. Dorminey threw a wonderful party for our Sunday School class. It was a going away party for us and our good friends Tama and Stuart who are also moving away so that he can go back to school. Tama and Stuart are moving back to Kentucky (where they are originally from) so that Stuart can get an engineering degree from UK. We are very excited about a possible trip to visit them for the UF vs UK football game this fall!! Very exciting!! The party at the Barn was amazing - the Dorminey's truly out did themselves with all of the wonderful food that they made!! Mr. Dorminey should seriously open a BBQ restaurant - it is some of the best I have ever had.

Lots of our really good friends came to the Party at the Barn including our good friends Steven and Laura Hunter who came up from Gainesville just for the party. Steven was another one of Josh's roommates at Florida an
d we absolutely love to hang out with both of them. Their place is our home away from home in Gville during football season or "just need to go hang out with the Hunters" season. Laura is a fabulous cook and makes everything from scratch - we can all take a lesson from her! Steven is getting his doctorate in Physical Therapy now at UF and so Josh makes it a point to somehow trick or coherce his way into getting a massage every time we see them.

Ben and Jess also came to the party on Saturday...
. even though it was BEN'S BIRTHDAY!! They are such great friends of ours... they are actually the REAL reason we are moving to Birmingham. Since they both grew up in the HAM, they have talked about it so much that we just felt like it was time that we experience it for ourselves. They both graduated from University of Alabama and then Ben went to UAB and did the same program that Josh is about to do (Master's in Health Administration.) They have been such a great insight to us for places to go and things to do in the city as well as a great contact for Josh to have to navigate through the program. We are really going to miss them - especially during this football season - it was great to have good SEC rival fans/alumni to watch games with. No worries though, I know they will be visiting us a lot. (I mean I guess they will have to go see their families when they are there too... but we like to think that they are coming to see us.) UF vs UA at the SEC CHAMPIONSHIP 2009 IN ATLANTA!! WE'LL MEET YOU THERE!!

On Sunday night we had dinner and watched a movie with our good friends Eric and Cassie. We have known Eric and Cassie for a long time - t
hey both went to my highschool (although Eric is slightly older and Cassie is a year younger.) We always love watching movies at their house - they appreciate and critique movies similar to us. We were glad to be able to go over to their house one last time before we left. We will miss them!! (Thank you guys, please make sure you come to visit!)

On Monday night we went out to Rita's Italian Ice for one last "see you soon" meeting with Ben, Jess, Alan, Winnie, Clara, Emily, Spencer (and Bailey and Lola.) We brought Molly and had a doggie play-date/ goodbye get-together with some of our best friends. It was a lot of fun... Rita's even brought out doogie treats for all of the pups. Lola proceeded to eat hers in one bite, cup and all - I guess this needs to be added to the "Things Lola has Eaten" list?

On Tuesday night... (yes, that's right, one full week of good-bye celebrations and we still have three days left before we leave) we had dessert at my Mom's house with all of my family. My mom made a fabulous dessert that is actually an adaption of a recipe from Josh's Mom - Dump Cake (but instead of Cherries, she used Apples.) Josh and I have always loved this dessert when his mom makes it and now my Mom's family loves it too! I think it will become a request at all gatherings from now on. It was so good to see everyone one more time before we leave, but we know that we will see you very soon! Jason and Morgan's wedding is in five and a half weeks and we will meet you in east Alabama!! We love all of you and will see you very soon!

Me and Mom
The whole family
Gabriel and Molly playing
Josh and Molly
Me and Aunt Lala
That about does it for the goodbye dinners, meals, celebrations, parties, meetings, get-togethers, etc. We are going to miss everyone so much and will be waiting for each of you to come and visit very soon!! WE LOVE YOU!

P.S. I will supplement with pictures ASAP... I left the cord to my camera in a box that is now in BIRMINGHAM with everything else I own!! Check back later...