Tina Turner Howard

Monday, December 29th, we lost our 11-year old cat Tina.

Tina was a real trooper. We got her when she was just a tiny abandoned kitten, and we had to feed her milk through a syringe. She apparently took to that, because she ended up loving food....she weighed about 20 pounds. One time, she fell in between the attic floors, and we had to bust a hole in the ceiling to pull her out! About 7 years ago, she broke her back 2 days before Thanksgiving. We thought we'd lose her then, but she was a fighter! She was in a kitty wheelchair for awhile (completely as dumb as it sounds!). But eventually, she taught herself how to walk again, although she was never able to jump. She sure did know how to get around...quickly if necessary!

In the last few weeks, though, she had begun to shut down. She'd lost several pounds, and had stopped eating. Last week, we noticed that she could no longer pull herself up to stand. She had developed a cough and we could tell that she didn't feel good at all. So we decided to take her to the vet.

The vet said that her liver and kidneys were failing, and that she'd never be able to walk or stand again. That is no life for any animal. So we had to make the difficult decision to end her suffering.

We've never had a cat as loving or sweet as Tina.....we miss her greatly.

Christmas Holiday

We spent Christmas in TN this year, and a really good time was had by all! We made it to The Howard's house fairly late on Christmas Eve, and woke up to a yummy breakfast Christmas morning. We headed to Tanner's grandparent's house for brunch and hung out with the family there until we headed to Nashville to see our friends Sam & Sarah Neil. It made for a busy and fun day!
Bo and his dad at the Howard's house. So cute in their vests!
Katie and Bo discussing world events at Grandmother's house.

Ben catching up on the latest kitchen must-haves. Grandmother is known for her massive supply of top-notch catalogs!

Randi looking happy as a clam that she got the Scrabble game she wanted!

What's the day after Christmas without shopping, right? So we headed to Franklin to shop w/ Bo's parents. The malls were overstuffed with people, but we still had a great time. After that, we headed down to Madison, AL, where we met a big group for dinner at Red Robin, the home of Gourmet Hamburgers! Tanner's parents & grandparents came, as well as Bo's parents, Sam & Sarah Neil, and Sarah Neil's parents. It was a blast! It was so great seeing everyone, and this was one of the best holidays we've had in a long time!

Jeannie & Randi having a blast catching up.

Sam & Sarah Neil

Tanner's Grandparents

The Whole Gang!

Merry, Merry!

The bags are packed, the dogs are wired, and we're almost ready to head to TN for the holiday weekend. We're planning to laugh, sing loudly to our ipods, visit family & friends, eat too much, remember it's Jesus's birthday, and just mostly have a good time. Hope you all do the same! Merry Christmas!

Christmas Boat Parade

One of the most fun things about living on the coast is the annual Christmas Boat Parade and this year's did not disappoint. Held last Saturday night, the parade begins at Lulu's Restaurant and heads down the intracoastal canal toward The Wharf. It's such a blast to watch the boats...from huge multi-million dollar yachts to the smallest skiffs...all decked out in their holiday finest. You've got to get there early to watch the land-and-sea holiday revelers singing, yelling and living it up! Most of the pictures we took didn't exactly turn out, but check out the alligators pulling Santa on this boat!

Wolf Bay Lodge

Wolf Bay Lodge, a Southern Living "must-visit" restaurant, tragically burned almost 2 weeks ago. Around 3 in the morning, Tanner's parents (who live across the Bay from the eatery) were woken up by the glowing flames from the Lodge. The fire was thought to be an electrical fire, and the owners have jumped into action to try to get the famous establishment back open as quickly as possible. Until then, we'll all have to wait to enjoy the great food and laid-back atmosphere!


The fun begins!

This weekend, we started gearing up for the holidays. Saturday, we got a start on our Christmas shopping list, but we had to hurry since we HAD to be home in time for the SEC Championship game! Due to Bo's "lucky outfit", the FL Gators pulled out a win over Alabama. Sunday, we headed to the Eastern Shore to pick up more holiday cards, then we spent the afternoon baking cookies, addressing Christmas cards, decorating (photos below), and planning out our gift lists. Hopefully the early planning will help us keep enjoying the season!


November Updates

Well, November has gone by in a flash! Tanner left MRE to become a gift rep and headed to Atlanta to get acquainted with her new lines for a few days. We've gone on a cruise to Mexico, Belize, Honduras and the Bahamas, and we got home just in time to head to TN for the Thanksgiving holiday. Whew! We've posted some of the highlights of the month below. Stay tuned for updates of the fun that December always brings. Happy Holidays, y'all!

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving was spent in Tennessee this year visiting family and friends. A wonderful Thanksgiving lunch was enjoyed thanks to Tanner's grandmother, who is an amazing cook! Later, we headed to visit our friends Sarah Neil & Sam at her parent's house. We had so much fun catching up with them!

We headed home on Black Friday, but made sure to "stop and shop" along the way. We had to break up the trip somehow, right? Tanner's parents had filled us in on this great new retail center in Huntsville, AL, so we decided to check it out. It was so cute! Filled with great stores and restaurants, we had to snap a few photos. So here we are playing tourist!


We had a blast on our recent vacation! Along with Tanner's parents, we took a cruise from Port Canaveral, FL, to the western Caribbean. In one week, we ate authentic Mexican food in Cozumel, Mexico, snorkeled the world's 2nd largest reef system in Belize, got up close and personal with the local wildlife in Roatan, Honduras, and shopped the famous straw markets in Freeport, Bahamas. The weather was windy but pleasant and the crystal waters of the Caribbean did not disappoint! Since we took over 1000 photos (we can't help it....we're obsessed!), we're sharing some of our favorites below and giving you a link to our Top 100. We hope you enjoy as much as we did!

You know what they say.....location, location, location!

We took this photo moments before the boat had to be bailed out from the choppy surf!

Belize was so completely gorgeous....maybe that's why they say it's "unBELIZEable"!

You can check out our other favorite photos at Enjoy!


This week was full of big changes. Not only did we elect our new President (yea, Obama!), but it was also Tanner's last week at Meyer Real Estate. Wonderful friends have been made in the almost 2 years at Meyer, and this week was full of cards, gifts, well-wishes, and goodbye lunches. Melanie & Tanner lunched at Cafe Grazie (who after being dinner-only now has a wonderful lunch menu), Linda treated Tanner to the Lost Key Golf Club, and fun was had at Cosmo's with the girls. What a blessing to have made wonderful friends that will last forever!

Melissa and Lisa taking a break from the wonderful appetizer!

Kathy, Arlene, Mrs. Lynne, Tanner, Linda, Melissa & Lisa at Cosmo's.


Tanner's New Job

Guess what? Tanner has a new job! Sometimes things just have a way of falling into our laps, and this was no exception. Tanner has always wanted to be a giftware sales rep and now she is one! She'll be working as a rep for The Butler Group....selling tons of the things we used to carry at Buttercups! The territory is Mobile to Tallahassee/Dothan and includes Gulf Shores, Panama City, Destin and Seaside. Friday is Tanner's last day at Meyer, then off to Atlanta for 2 days of giftware boot camp the following Wednesday. Of course, she's going to be exhausted...she leaves on a cruise that Friday! But so what? She can sleep at sea!

Melissa's Wedding

Last weekend was Melissa's wedding. It was a beautiful day and the reception at Oak Hollow Farms was fabulous! All of the Meyer Business Development team showed up to celebrate with her. What a wonderful couple and we wish them all the best!

The first dance for the new Mr. and Mrs. Franks. So sweet!

My dear friends Linda and Mrs. Lynne!

Arlene and her husband. The guys were all thrilled to be there!

Random Updates

It's been awhile since we've updated the blog since Tanner's been sick (nothing big deal...just sinus issues with the changing weather!) and our internet service has been down. We're back now and we thought we'd update everyone on what's been happening in Gulf Shores, as well as share some photos we love.

A few weeks ago, Bo was able to see the Hobbs Family, some great friends of ours from TN, when they were down for fall break. Tanner couldn't make it...the sick part :(....but a great time was had by all at LuLu's!

It's been foggy here lately in the early morning, and our friend Kristen snapped this awesome photo from her office at the RSA Tower in Mobile. William, Kristen's husband, said this was just further proof that his wife's head was in the clouds!

Gus, the puppy we rescued during Hurricane Gustav, is growing like a weed! Wayne and Leslie are taking great care of him and keeping Uncle Bo and Aunt Tanner updated on his daily life. Here's one of the newest pics of him with his big brother Jackie.

Speaking of Uncle Bo and Aunt Tanner.....early this summer, Bo's parents met up with Bo's sister Leigh in Chicago. This is the cutest photo of our niece Mira, Leigh, and Bo's dad having a great day at the park. We hate that we weren't there, too, but hopefully we'll all get together soon....especially since Mira will soon be a big sister!

Here's a photo of the view from the balcony at Tanner's parent's. We spend a ton of time here...enjoying the view and aggravating Randi, which is half the fun!

Here are a couple of photos that Tanner took at work the other day. Part of her job is photographing the properties that are recruited into the rental program, and she couldn't resist snapping a few extras just for fun!

Shrimp Festival

This weekend was the 37th Annual National Shrimp Festival. Every October, over 250,000 people descend on Gulf Shores to enjoy the free festival. Bands play at 2 stages, booths are filled with artwork and crafts from local artists and local retailers, and then there's the food! Vendors have every version of fried treat and there are tons of seafood dishes....with Shrimp being the star, of course! And the location couldn't be better....right on the beach.

One of the entrances to the Shrimp Festival. People were everywhere!

Bo enjoying a famous "Cajun Pistol"...fried bread filled with cheese and seafood.
Doesn't get much better than that!

Picnic in the Park

Well, fall is finally here! The weather has been amazing lately, so we decided to head out for a picnic on Mobile Bay in Fairhope. There was so much going on....people renting kayaks, sailboats everywhere, and plenty of people, dogs, and birds just enjoying the beautiful day. We found a shady spot to take it all in. Then, we walked out onto the pier, where we met the most social pelican. We also watched a young boy catch a 35-pound redfish. Once he finally reeled it in after a long fight, applause erupted from the excited crowd of onlookers that had gathered. What a great way to enjoy a lazy Saturday in September!
Bo setting up our picnic. He wanted me to quit taking photos so he could eat!

One of the at least 50 sailboats out on Mobile Bay taking advantage of the wonderful breezes.

This was the friendliest Pelican ever! He was quite the supermodel, posing for tons of photos.

Enjoying the views and activity from the Fairhope Pier.

Everyone...even this cute little birdie....was enjoying the weather and water!


Coastal Cleanup

International Coastal Cleanup Day is held annually the 3rd Saturday in September, with over 55 states and 44 countries participating to clear the waterways of trash and debris. Tanner spearheaded Meyer Real Estate's team of volunteers to "Get the Trash out of the Splash". Employees and our families were ready to go at 8am and found everything from car tires to bricks on our 1 mile of assigned shoreline. This year the 1 Millionth pound of trash was picked up on the AL coastline, and it was probably thanks to our team!

The Meyer crew, ready to roll at 8am.

Mom, fresh from a trashcan run. We wrote down everything
we collected so it could be tracked for the annual report.

A moment without garbage, but not without extra forms and garbage bags!

Ghost Ship

Hurricane Ike did not just affect Texas, as there were several properties in Fort Morgan that had sand and water damage from the high storm surges.....we had 20 foot waves the Thursday and Friday before landfall. The most interesting thing that has come out of the sand displacement is the uncovering of a "ghost ship".

A ship that has been buried under several feet of sand was unearthed when the surge pushed the sand inland. The ship becomes unearthed when storms are large, and has been making small appearances for years, but this is the first time that so much of the ship is visible. It's quite large, and supposedly there are still several feet buried under the sand, as the ship appears to be tipped over on it's side.

It is currently on private property, as it has been pushed upwards by the tide (the last time it showed itself, it was several feet closer to the water line). The homeowner wants it removed, since it is quite a liability. Plus, I bet he's sick of people traipsing through his yard at all hours of the day!

Check out our pictures of it, and also check out the back story at The link is below:

Bo and I up close and personal with the ship. There have been tons of people out to see it,
even my friend Paul who is standing behind me!

Mom and Dad show off just how big the "Ghost Ship" is.
You can really tell how much the ship is tilted on it's side here.

A close-up of the interior of the ship.
Most of the wooden shell has rotted away, leaving the metal skeleton showing.


Wonderful weekend

After several rainy, dreary weekends, we finally had a weekend we could go out and play! Friday night we went to Pensacola to pick up my new car's remote. We ended up meeting my parents at The Tuscan Oven (the most wonderful pizza place ever!) to celebrate my mom's new job! After eating, we needed some exercise, so we decided to walk dinner off with a good shopping trip.

Saturday morning was filled with running errands before meeting up with our friend Sarah Neil who was vacationing from TN. We had a girly afternoon browsing the unique downtown shops of Fairhope while Bo enjoyed Saturday football! We went to dinner at The Crab Trap, a very good gulf front restaurant where we watched the waves while we ate. After dinner we chased crabs on the beach before calling it a night (and back to more football!).

Sunday, we went over to my parent's home, and had a lazy afternoon swimming and grilling out. Afterwards, Bo and I made our way to The Wharf, where we wandered around the many shops. Eventually, we headed home to get ready for the work week. It was such a fun, laid-back weekend, and we're already looking forward to the next one!


Remnants of Hurricane Gustav

While preparing for our first hurricane, we were beginning to get a bit nervous about Gustav. We weren't sure what we were going to be in for! Fortunately, it turned out to be less of a monster storm and more of a bummer....especially since it arrived over Labor Day weekend! What it did do, though, is bring roaring waves and tons of seashells to the beach. It was so fun going out the next day and collecting the huge seashells that were everywhere!

Bo, the proficient shellsman, made sure we had plenty of bags to fill with our "loot".

So many little time!


While getting Alyson settled in to FSU, Bo's parents came out of their way for a brief visit to our coast! We headed to Seaside, FL, and had a wonderful time shopping, walking the beach, and enjoying the view from Bud & Alley's rooftop bar. Meanwhile, Alyson was having fun rushing Zeta Tau Alpha. Even though rush is a blast, I definitely think we were having the most fun!