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I tried to ignore the blitzkrieg of Facebook tags for this “25 things” business, but alas! We’ve been blog-tagged, which seems to carry more authority than Facebook. (I don’t know why – it just does.) But as much as I would love to say that I’m doing this begrudgingly, I’ve actually enjoyed reading various people’s entries, so what the heck – why not join the bandwagon?

I’m going to try to make these fairly original and entertaining for you people, none of these obvious crap answers like “I don’t like it when people are mean to me.” So here goes:

  1. I love driving, but only when the route is a new one or one I haven’t done for awhile. I abhor my work commute, for example. And I used to hate the drive to and from Salisbury, but now that I only drive down there once a year or so, I actually enjoy it. (Gasp!)
  2. Our life group is becoming one of my favorite things about life right now.
  3. Hygiene is pretty important to me. It irritates me when someone who has the means to bathe themselves chooses not to and subjects the rest of us to their rancidness.
  4. Drea and I both have lists of people we would date if we weren’t married. If that sounds weird to you, then…well yeah it actually is pretty weird.
  5. I love my family. Ackermanns represent – for real. The older I get, the more I appreciate my parents and the way they raised me and my sisters. I don’t think Drea and I will do everything exactly the same, but I hope our family has the same closeness and healthiness as mine.
  6. I love books. (Yep, I stole this one from both Lammy and Leslie.) I became a reading junkie right after college, and I regret not picking it up sooner. Sometimes it actually makes me sad to know that there are great books I’ll never have a chance to read in my lifetime. My favorites of 2008 were The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, A Generous Orthodoxy, and In a Sunburned Country. I also love getting book suggestions from people, so keep those coming!
  7. Drea and I love our new (used) Prius. We drive it everywhere, and are looking forward to taking it on some road trips this summer!
  8. We used to want to get a family dog once we start having kids. But a few months ago we spent a week dog-sitting a puppy who was cute, but who also vomited and projectile-crapped all over the place. Repeatedly. So, yeah, we’re having some second thoughts about that.
  9. I love Google, and I use them for everything – email, calendar, documents, maps, web browser, news, RSS, even weather. Google is like the official sponsor of my life. Honestly, if they approached me to do a commercial, I’d probably do that crap for free.
  10. I hate to steal another one from Lammy, but here goes! I absolutely loved college. I met some of my best friends at Salisbury and had some of the greatest experiences of my life there. I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything, but sometimes I get hit with a wave of nostalgia for my college years. St. Martins 118/120 – good times.
  11. Casual dating is still something quite foreign to me. Drea and I already knew each other pretty well when we started dating, and I’ve never really dated anyone else, although there’s been an “almost” or two in there! :) I wonder sometimes how I’d be at the casual, get-to-know-you kind of dating. I’m guessing pretty sucky, as I’m generally not so great with the small talk, or, for that matter, the suave, debonair flirtation skills. Drea’s a lucky lady. :)
  12. I’m not much of a sports fan, but I did enjoy watching the Super Bowl last night. Probably like the third football game I’ve ever watched in its entirety. Who knows? Maybe I’ll nonchalantly follow the Redskins if they make the playoffs next year.
  13. My dad took our family on epic summer vacations when we were kids. Some of my fondest childhood memories are playing the license plate game or 20 questions in the car on the way to Colorado, Wyoming, San Diego, Seattle, or wherever. I can’t wait to do this with our kids.
  14. My verdict on the timeless toilet paper debate: over is right, under is wrong.
  15. My other verdict on the timeless toilet paper debate: scrunching is right, folding is wrong.
  16. I’m all about it when people take pride in their work, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Intentionally friendly cashiers, knowledgeable salespeople who actually help you find what you need, fast food workers who make an effort to move the line quickly – I’m all about it.
  17. I would never want to live somewhere that doesn’t get all four seasons.
  18. I tend to remember movie lines as being funnier than they actually are. Like, the part in The Wedding Singer where Adam Sandler’s sister and her husband are getting ready for a date, and the husband’s not ready to go, and the wife sticks her head in the door and yells “BILLY, MOVE YOUR ASS!” That line is hilarious in my memory, but when you actually watch it, it isn’t that funny. (And I don’t think the guy’s name is Billy.)
  19. This one is weird. Sometimes a certain moment of music and lyrics in a song will just blow me away, and I have to hear it again. For example, I love the line “dreaming of the Osaka sun” from the Coldplay song “Lovers in Japan”, and I rewind it multiple times whenever I listen to it. I do the same thing with the line “let us sing one true tune” from Switchfoot’s “The Beautiful Letdown”. Inexplicable, I know.
  20. One thing God has recently brought my attention to is my tendency to think unkindly about people I feel wronged by; a basic disregard of Jesus’ command to love my enemies. Sometimes my attitude just sucks. I’m really trying to work on this.
  21. My first car was my dad’s old ’88 Honda Accord which ran like a champ until it finally died at 264,000 miles. I’m now on my third Accord, and I love it. It gets good gas mileage, is reliable, handles nicely, and I wouldn’t change a thing about the dashboard layout. I’m sold on this car, and will probably keep buying Accords for the rest of my life.
  22. I wish we had a Denny’s in Upper Marlboro so I could get a French Toast Grand Slam anytime I wanted.
  23. I hate having to shave every morning.
  24. A good way to punish me would be to force me to sit and listen to country music for several hours.
  25. I eat breakfast cereal for all three meals, and I freaking love it. I’ll take a bowl of Life or Honey Bunches of Oats just about anytime.

So there you have it. My 25 things. I’m sure that with enough harassment, Drea will post hers as well. :)

During the past two days, we’ve seen what must be the two worst movies of 2008: What Happens in Vegas and Four Christmases. The former we watched with our friend Jess (Smizz) over the weekend. Good grief, what a trashy and banal piece of cinematic crap. To be fair, our On Demand choices were limited and Smizz and Drea, wanting a chick flick, made me choose between this and Made of Honor. (I wanted to watch Transsiberian but was hopelessly outnumbered.)

Thinking it couldn’t be any worse than Vegas, Drea and I went to see Four Christmases with our movie theater gift certificates last night. I was looking forward to Vince Vaughn’s usually hilarious monologues (a la Wedding Crashers) but few were to be found.

We have more free movie coupons to use, so we’re hoping to redeem our slump by seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button during the next few days.

In other news, Drea and I used our Carrabba’s gift card last night (at Outback, as it’s owned by the same company) and couldn’t help but laugh/be appalled at the statement printed on it:

giftcard1

“There is no love more sincere than the love of food.”

Wow. “No love more sincere”? That is quite an asssertion. Let’s see, there’s Jesus, my wife, my family and friends, our church, good music, traveling, books…

I mean, don’t get me wrong. My No Rules Pasta with chicken and shrimp, coupled with cheesy fries and a cold Fosters was fantastic. But is it really being implied that enjoying a Bloomin’ Onion is the highest form of love I’m capable of? Wow, thanks for the pick-me-up.

Speaking of sincere love (how’s that for a segue?), my sister Allison and Rich got married this weekend! Their wedding was filled with good music, great food and drink, lots of dancing, and lots of joy – as all weddings should. Allison was beautiful and she and Rich looked immensely happy. I’d like to offer them my public congratulations (as I’m sure they’re taking time to read this blog on their honeymoon.)

The aforementioned Smizz was in town for the wedding and stayed with us Saturday night, which was fun. The three of us stayed up until the wee hours catching up and engaging in the usual irreverent humor. Good times!

I/we might write a blog about our 2008 highlights sometime soon. If not, have a Happy New Year!

The pluses and minuses of our jaunt to Nashville this weekend to celebrate Drea’s grandmother’s 100th birthday:

  • We flew instead of driving 11 hours. (+)
  • Realized after going through security that we had to go back to check our bag. Repeat process of standing in counter line, standing in security line, removing shoes, etc. (-)
  • Free entertainment watching guy at ticket counter COMPLETELY LOSE HIS MIND because the lady wouldn’t accept an expired driver’s license as valid ID. Totally worth standing in line again for. (+)
  • Flight delayed. (-)
  • Got to meet most of Drea’s extended family for the first time. (+)
  • Mild state of lingering nausea from riding around in the backseat of Drea’s dad’s convertible. (-)
  • Didn’t have to pay for a meal the whole weekend. (+)
  • Colder in Tennessee than Maryland (?!). (-)
  • Free breakfast (and great coffee) at hotel. (+)
  • Ridiculously saggy beds that gave you a backache in the morning. (-)
  • They have Sonic in Nashville! (+)
  • Got back too late on Sunday to go to life group. (-)
  • Drea’s grandmother is 100 and still looks great. (+)

A great Labor Day weekend it has been.  Drea and I spent Friday evening at my parents’ house for one of the last “family nights” for a while with all family members present.  My youngest sister Adrienne went off to Montclair State University yesterday in what may be the most gutsy leaving-for-college of the four Ackermann children.  Montclair is in New Jersey, just outside NYC, and Adrienne doesn’t know a soul there.  Talk about expanding your horizons!  I think we all know she’ll do great.

In lieu of our typical “movie night”, our family watched Barack Obama’s inspiring acceptance speech that my dad had taped the night before.  Not all of us are Obama fans, but it was still cool to watch together as our country named its first black man as a major party’s Presidential nominee.  What a cool time to be an American.

Saturday morning I met up with Mike, Tom, and Patrick for a greasy breakfast at Al’s and some kayaking on the Patuxent.  It was good to hang out with just the guys, as being married tends to make “man time” increasingly scarce.  However, I must admit for good measure that as the other three enjoyed cigars on the river, I instead snacked on a granola bar.  A less manly choice, one might argue, but certainly a healthier one!  I’ll be throwing it in their faces decades from now when they’re all hacking up a lung while I win a triathlon.  :)

Drea and I met up with Allison and Rich, two of our most favorite people, hands down.  We grabbed dinner at TGI Fridays, followed by one of those meanderings through Barnes & Noble where you spend an hour flipping through books and sitting in their comfy chairs, and then walk out without buying a thing.  (Nowadays, I pretty much only go into B&N to “preview” books I will later order used on half.com.   Dude, I love Barnes & Noble.)

In other news, Drea officially launched her photography website and blog, proving once again her passion and fast-growing competence for photography.  In less than a year, she’s made an impressive foray into a brand-new field, built up her clientele base, and seen her business quickly blossom, largely by word-of-mouth.  People, my wife is just cool.

As I type, it’s 9:00 and we’re about to start a movie.  This is an atypical Sunday night for us, as we’re usually in bed by 10.  But such is the glory of holiday weekends, where we can stay up late and sleep in, just because we can.

Hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day!

This was a terrific weekend – and that’s an understatement. Disclaimer: this may be a long post. :)

The concert
Friday night was the long awaited Sara Groves/Derek Webb benefit concert for Blood:Water Mission. It was fantastic. Sara, who I have aptly named “The Groves”, and Derek are super passionate, super real, super talented people. They did not disappoint.

(Another disclaimer: the following pictures were taken with Drew’s old point and shoot…not my sweet Nikon. :) )

 

We saw some friends there! (Fisch and Megan were also there, but I forgot to take a picture.)

 

As Drew mentioned in his previous post, going to this concert may have been a providential thing for us. Derek Webb spoke right to Drew’s heart regarding this election, and Sara Groves spoke right to my heart reminding me of the kind of woman I want to be. Plus, the entire concert was to benefit Blood:Water Mission, a great organization that we want to be more involved with. There were displays and a great photography exhibit, which I will write about soon in the photoblog. Overall, a great night.

The engagement

After the concert was over, Drew got a call from his sister and my dear friend, Allison. He put me on the phone with her. The conversation:

Allison: Hey Drea! So I was wondering what you were doing on December 27th.
Me: Uhh, I don’t know…why?
Allison: Because I was wondering if you’d be a bridesmaid in MY WEDDING!
::screaming ensues on both ends of the phone::

That is right, friends, Allison and Rich are ENGAGED! Let’s tell the world! :) We couldn’t be more excited for them.

Kinda blurry, but you get the idea. :) That thing is blingin’!

 

 

The wedding
Saturday morning, we woke up at 4am and drove to Raleigh, NC for an old friend, Amy’s wedding. We got to ride with Allison, Rich and Kristen the whole way, which made the trip fly. Plus, the engagement kept us busy for a few hours :)

 

Stopping in a fast food bathroom to freshen up…

The wedding was lovely, but it could not have been hotter! The ceremony was in a gorgeous rose garden…with no shade. A little torturous. I realllly felt for the groomsmen in full out tuxes!

 

Amy and Matt had to be the cutest couple I’ve ever seen. They were SO HAPPY. The ceremony was totally them, and the reception was really laid back.

 

 

The boys were a little sad it was only root beer.

There was a pimpin’ disco ball!

 

Congratulations Amy & Matt + Allison & Rich! Long live good weekends!

I would like to preface this post with this: I am not pregnant. Now that that’s out there, let’s continue. :)

This was such a great weekend. But we can’t blog about it yet. There’s something we’re not allowed to tell just yet. To keep you guessing, here’s a hint. Three of these five things happened this weekend: a concert, a pregnancy, a wedding, an engagement, a birth. Guesses? :)

And because I want to start blogging more pictures, here’s a picture from this weekend (which may help in guessing the above events).

 

Stay tuned for our fun weekend.

…come back when it’s not family picture day!

We scheduled our family pictures about a month ago. I was so hopeful with the gorgeous weather this week. But of course, it is pouring. Maria and Drew (of Maria Vicencio Photography) are supposed to be here in 15 minutes. I am so bummed!

I just checked the doppler radar and it looks like there could be a break in the showers for just a little bit. Pleeeeease?

Not including Labor Day, Veterans Day or Halloween, Thanksgiving was our first official married holiday! We got the best of both worlds, spending the day with both of our families. We spent the morning with the Ackermanns, just hanging out. I got to take pictures of Allison and Rich (unbearably adorable) and the four of us got to play at a sweet playground. For dinner, we hit the Burchams :) My aunt, uncle and cousin came over, along with my sisters + husbands. The day was really sweet.

I made Drew stop in this field to take a picture of our first Thanksgiving :)

Here’s to Christmas! :)