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Monday, December 29, 2008

Tull Family Christmas

This was a special but unusual Christmas for Judd and me. I haven't had a Christmas while living with mom and dad in about 7 years. Also, my brother, Bryan, deployed two days after Christmas for his second tour in Iraq. Christmas proved to be a great opportunity to spend time as a family. Christmas eve night we made homemade gingerbread houses. The boys (Judd, Bryan, and my dad) all had various boy themed houses. Bryan had a gingerbread man domestic injury on his, Judd had our dog Cole made out of dark purple gum drops using the potty in the front yard, and dad made an outhouse to accompany the other homes. Although the boys weren't fully in the spirit of things, my mom, 84 year old grandmother, my brother's girlfriend Laura, and I all made sweet little houses. I liked grandmother's ginger church the best. :)

After opening presents on Christmas day, we worked one of the hardest puzzles ever. It was nice to do something like that together. Finally, the day after Christmas my Aunt Rosamary, Uncle Allen as well as my Cousin Monica, her husband Eric, and their son, Zack came to see my brother before his deployment. It was wonderful to see them. Judd and I had not seen them since we moved back from Philadelphia. The picture below is of all the Tull cousins and our significant others. It is so nice to be back in the south and near our family.

Cousins on the Tull side (left to right: Abby Langham, Judd Langham, Monica Snead, Eric Snead, Zachery Snead, Laura Weems, and Bryan Tull)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beautiful Christmas Music! Enjoy!

A colleague of mine forwarded the Casting Crowns Christmas album link to me this week. It will allow you to continuously play all of the songs on the album for free. It is such beautiful music. I thought it was so great that it needed to be shared. I hope you enjoy it too! MERRY CHRISTMAS! God bless you all! Thank you for being in our lives!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Scripture to Remember

I came across this scripture passage from Philippians the other day. It is something that Judd and I really need to remember.

We are so grateful to have the opportunity to live with my mom and dad while we look for a place of our own in Birmingham. Although, living in a household with 4 other adults has not been easy. This passage is one that we should think of often. We need to stay positive, thus having a positive influence on those around us. I hope the passage below will help you too. :)

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice." Philippians 4:8-9

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The House Formerly Known As Rent

Judd's parents have owned the home next door to theirs for years. They rented it to others in the past, but for the last few years it has been vacant. Colby, Judd's younger brother, has decided he wants to fix up the "rent house" and move in to it.

The house needed a lot of work. Colby has begun the renovation process. See the pictures below for some "before" and "under construction" photos. Since Colby has put so much time and effort into it and he will be inhabiting it shortly the house needs a new name. It is no longer the rent house--hence the title of this post. :)
We are so proud of Colby and can't wait to see the finished product!!!!!
I will continue to post pictures as the renovation develops. Check back for updates.
The "rent" house before

The "rent" house in the renovation process

Hooray for Judd

The Saturday and Sunday after Halloween The Preserve in Hoover hosted the Moss Rock Art Festival. The festival had a design competition of which Judd took part. He worked feverishly for months on a greenway/railway ecotone project that would run through Bessemer, Hoover, and downtown Birmingham. All of his hard work paid off. He won the 1st place signature award!!! I am so proud to have such a talented husband!


Our first Halloween back in the south was great. The entire time Judd and I have been married I have always wanted to have trick-or-treaters. Our house in Auburn sat really far from the street and was on busy road so no costume clad children ever came to our door there. I always turned on the light and bought candy just in case. :)

In Philadelphia, our building was full of children free professionals only. It was also not accessible to outsiders because of our door men and concierge. Obviously, no trick-or-treaters there.

Finally, a year with a real Halloween. Mom and dad's house had 57 children stop by on Halloween night--dad took a tally. My parents, grandmother, Judd, and I all sat on our front porch and watched as the little Elvis's, spidermen, fairies, princesses, and my favorite...a black bear paraded up and down our street. They were all so cute. Judd even made me some cat ears and put them on one of my headbands so I could dress up too. He also drew some whiskers and a kitty nose on my face. It was fun to greet the kids in a semi-costume. Yay for a traditional Alabama Halloween!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Boston-A great visit with Jamie and Michael Smith

As mentioned in an earlier post, our friends Jamie and Michael Smith moved to Boston around the same time that we moved to Philadelphia. By train, we were about 6 hours away from each other. It was so great to have some friends in the northeast the same time as us. Jamie and Michael thoughtfully invited us to visit them on Labor Day of 2007. The first Auburn game of the season was that weekend, so it was especially nice to be with some other Auburn tigers for our first game away from the plains. We were able to see so much of Boston while we were there. Like Philadelphia, Boston was the site of much of our nation's early history. It was so amazing to see it all first hand. We walked the freedom trail which led us to many historical sites. We saw the State House, Boston Harbor,the exact spot where the Boston Massacre took place, boarded the USS Constitution (Old Iron Sides), visited Paul Revere and Sam Adam's graves, toured Paul Revere's home, and much more. Michael, a current Harvard medical student, gave us a great tour of the campus. It was so beautiful and exactly what I had always pictured. To top off the trip we had some amazing clam chowder and a lovely meal in Boston's North End (Little Italy). Oh, how could I forget, we also made quick after dinner stop to Mike's pastry for some delicious cannoli. We loved Boston!!!!!!!!!!!!
State House and its gold dome

Row Houses in Boston

Abby and Judd at Boston Harbor

Harvard University

Sailing Old Iron Sides

Jamie and Abby in the North End

Friday, October 10, 2008

Philadelphia-Special Visitors-Abby's Mom and Dad

My parents came in March to visit us in Philly. It was my mom's spring break at her school. It also happened to be Easter weekend. We had some really rainy weather, but made the best of it. We were able to see lots of sites while Mom and Dad were with us. We toured the usual Philly historic sites. We had several Irish meals at some of the great pubs in the area and also ate at the oldest tavern in the country--City Tavern. This is where most of the Declaration of Independence was planned and hashed out. At the time the building that we know as Independence Hall was still the Pennsylvania State House and was property of King George. It was sometimes too dangerous to discuss all that needed to be said about the Declaration there, so often our country's founding fathers would debate over a pint at City Tavern.

City Tavern-Philadelphia

We also took Mom and Dad to New York City for a few days. We ate lunch in Times Square, walked to the Empire State Building, strolled through Central Park and also took a carriage ride there, played at FAO Schwartz, hunted for fake purses in China Town, got on the Today Show at Rockefeller Center, went to the annual flower show at Macy's, and had frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity.

Outside of the Today Show-We made it on camera!

Carriage ride through Central Park

Abby in Times Square

Abby and Judd at Rockefeller Center

Mom and Abby playing the giant piano at FAO Schwartz

Dad and a Lego Chewy at FAO Schwartz

FAO Schwartz Toy Soldier Guard

Dinner in NYC with my Fab friends Amy and Terri

Abby on street in NYC (Judd being sneaky with the camera)

After our days in New York, we drove out to Amish country in Pennsylvania. We took a horse drawn carriage ride through an Amish village, ate in Strasburg at a lovely Inn, and toured the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. It was so beautiful there. The Amish live such an amazing lifestyle considering that the rest of modern culture is all around them. It was so neat to see their buggies taking them on their errands, and their scooters gliding down the road. They are not allowed to have bicycles, so many have scooters. We actually saw a policeman pulling over an Amish man on a scooter. I'm sure he wasn't speeding or drinking and driving. Maybe his tag was expired. Hahaha. :)

Dad at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Philadelphia--Special Visitors--Jamie and Michael Smith

Jamie and Michael Smith are my friends from high school who also went to Auburn with us. They moved to Boston, MA about the same time that we moved to Philadelphia. It was so great to have some friends from home living in the northeast too. We were able to visit them in September of 2007 in Boston and they visited us in January of 2008. The weekend that they came down was the coldest weekend we had in Philly. Thank heavens Jamie and Michael's time in Boston had prepared them for the freezing weather. I don't think anyone coming straight from Alabama should ever visit Philadelphia in January. Bad idea. :) While Jamie and Michael stayed with us we took them to as many of the "must see" historic sites as possible. The entire weekend started off beautifully by them arriving at the gorgeous 30th Street Train Station. We then visited historic philly, had a crazy cab ride over to get some cheese steaks, went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, got hot chocolate at the Naked Chocolate Cafe, and had a wonderful dinner in South Philly (little Italy). It was such a great visit! Thanks for coming Jamie and Michael!
Abby, Jamie, and Judd in front of Independence Hall

Giant board game pieces in front of the court house

Pennsylvania Masonic Temple
Benjamin Franklin's Grave

Geno's Steaks

Naked Chocolate Cafe

Abby and Judd with Philadelphia sky line

Jamie and Michael at Marra's in South Philly

Philadelphia-Special Visitors--Brenna and Colby

While we were living in Philly we had some very special visitors. Most notably my parents, our friends Jamie and Michael Smith, and Judd's brother, Colby. Colby brought his girlfriend Brenna. We love her and were so happy that they both could come to see us. Brenna and Colby came to Philly in December 2007. It was such a great time for them to see the city. There was a little bit of snow on the ground when they arrived. It really made for some beautiful pictures. We took them to almost all of the historic sites mentioned in my other post.

View from their plane

View from our building's terrace of City Hall

View from our terrace of Love Park

Once we brought them down from the roof we took them into our apartment. Our first big Christmas tree was waiting there to greet them.

Brenna and Colby with Ben Franklin at the Constitution Center

Gates at the Pennsylvania Masonic Temple

The interior of Independence Hall. This is the room where the Declaration of Independence was created.

Us at Geno's Steaks. We couldn't let Brenna and Colby miss out on a real Philly Cheese Steak. Yummy!

Brenna and Colby at Love Park

Another Philly must see: The statue of Rocky Balboa in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

We also took them with us to New York City for the weekend to stay with my wonderful friend Terri Wolfe. It really turned out to be a great weekend because our friends Jamie and Michael Smith were able to come down from Boston and our friend Lauren Steed happened to be in New York for the Heisman trophy award ceremony. We all really had a blast.

Abby and Judd with Lady Liberty in the background

Delicious frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity!!!!

On our way to Serendipity we passed this red door. We laughed and said "oh, we're famous!" Turns out we were not the famous Langhams, but we were close. This is Judd's cousin Richard Keith Langham's interior design studio.

Lauren's timing to join us couldn't have been better! She had just gotten engaged! We were so excited to share in her joy in NYC.