Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Boy...He is Into EVERYthing.

Hey Mama! Whatcha doin??? Are you trying to be productive? 
Why do you even TRY, Mama???

Ooooh, my favorite. Your camera strap! 
Mmmmm... lemme at it...
What else you got up there? 

Hey! Snap a (blurry) picture of my first toofy, Mama! 
Here, lemme give you a better look....

Swimmin' with the Fishes

D. made a 100 on his first spelling test of the year, so we made an extra-special bedtime snack...

Needless to say, stickin' the fish on toothpicks and submerging them into the Jello was his favorite part. 

I take that back...EATING it was his favorite part!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Monday, August 25
Slow-cooked Green Beans
Sauteed Cabbage

Tuesday, August 26
"Core" Cornbread

Wednesday, August 27
Corn on the Cob
Fresh fruit salad

Thursday, August 28
Grilled Sirloin Steaks
Slow-Cooked Green Beans

Friday, August 29
*on the road*

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Don't Wanna Miss This

I'd heard the song, probably as I was driving, but hadn't really let the lyrics sink in.
Then, last night on the sixth row of the Grand Ole Opry, I heard Trace Adkins sing the song "You're Gonna Miss This," and tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to the words and applied them to my own sometimes-hectic life.

Just that morning, I had slipped under the covers of my 6-year old's twin bed and wrapped my arms around him for a few precious moments of snuggle time.  In our day-to-day rush, there are very few times when we get to just spend uninterrupted time in silence just being "together." A few minutes later, we were in an all-out tickle war and then it was off to Saturday morning breakfast with Daddy.

We have a lot going on in our world. Two full-time jobs outside of our home life, trying to get this house leased before we move into the one we are in the process of buying, selling excess furniture, getting involved in a new church, school activities and responsibilities, keeping up with family and friends as well as trying to stick to our new habits of eating healthier and getting some exercise. Sometimes, it seems as if every single moment in our day is booked...leaving us no time for the important things...the "I want to remember this for the rest of my life" kind-of things.

Life with two boys ages 6 years and 9 months is never short on excitement. Just this morning, our baby pulled my drink off the table and into his lap at the restaurant (even though I had tried my best to position it out of his lightning-fast grasp) and our 6-year old was running around the house wielding a Mickey Mouse sword and donning his fiercest cowboy hat and Bob the Builder tool belt. It's hectic. It's crazy. But, it's our home.

And those lyrics come floating back to me......

"You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back...."

I know this to be true. The moment D. figured out that "dello" was really pronounced "yellow"...oh how I missed his sweet little mispronunciation. 

"You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast..."

And as soon as Baby J. didn't need me in the middle of the night, I missed that hushed-whisper dialogue intermingled with the creaks and squeaks of the glider rocking back and forth as I sang him to sleep. That was our time. And I missed it. Even though it was 3am and I was past the point of exhaustion during many of those middle-of-the-night sessions...I missed it.

"These are some good times, so take a good look around...
You may not know it now... but you're gonna miss this."

I don't want to take this time of my life for granted. I feel as if I have wasted too many days wishing for the next best thing to come. Remembering the sweet times as newlyweds in our little apartment in Birmingham with few responsibilities. We didn't have much but we were so busy trying to get to the next stage of our life... that whole time seems like a blur. 

I want to begin to look at each day--each hour-- of my life as a morsel of a wonderful feast. Bite by bite, I will taste the sweetness and not take it for granted. We only get one life and I want to savor this one as long as I can.

I don't wanna miss this.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Weigh-In Day

Slow and steady wins the race!

Since I had been a bit under the weather this week and unable to exercise, I dreaded tonight's weigh-in. But, much to my continual surprise, I dropped 2.4 pounds!

One change I'm going to make in my "total weight loss button" is the 8 pounds I lost in the 2 weeks before I started Weight Watchers. I worked hard to lose those... but, each week when I post my total loss, I only include my loss since joining Weight Watchers (May 13).

So, from now on, my total will be all the weight lost since April 30-- the day I made the decision to get off my bum and do something.

So... here goes:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Favorite Movie Scenes: The Lump

absolutely one of my favorites.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Return of the PUMAS

You'll probably remember my sorta recent post about D's shocking revelation: whatever this "PUMAS" thing is that Mom keeps talking about...well, it makes her grumpy.

**Door opens. All male readers make a mad dash out of my bloggy room as they realize that a "girly, "time-of-the-month" talk is happening.)**

I haven't had to deal with this PMS stuff on a regular basis since, well, never. I have always lamented the fact that I don't experience the full measure of womanhood like others and have even been ashamed not to have the requisite "supplies" in my purse ready to whip out if a friend was in need. But, I think I secretly relished the fact that there were no days of bloating, crankiness (well, not for menstrual reasons anyway) and PAIN. Boy, has that changed.

And not for the better, mind you.

Ever since I committed to my weight loss plan and the pounds started coming off I have had a pretty regular period. At first I was kind of excited. Well you can HAVE IT BACK because this whole period thing? yeah, well, it's FOR THE BIRDS. For the past week, I hve been struggling to get over a nasty case of bronchitis only to have Aunt Susy or Cousin Val or the "monthly visitor"-- whatever in the heck you might have decided to call it--pay me an ill-timed visit.

I tried to explain to my hubby how I'm feeling right now and I don't think he had a single solitary clue in the big blue yonder what I was talking about.

"You see honey, (sniffle, sniffle) I just feel all emotional and mixed up in my head. Even the littlest thing grates on my nerves like a proverbial fingernail on the chalkboard."

::blank stare::

I guess we'll all have to adjust to the new addition of mommy hormones around here. Yes, I'm a wee bit glad that this whole weight loss thing is working; but...if there were one benefit of our new life change that I would gladly give up?

Three guesses as to what that'd be.

Friday, August 15, 2008

(click image to enlarge)

(click image to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Last Day of Normal

The warm blanket of a late summer morning greeted me as I peeked out the front door to see the big yellow bus pull up to the curb. That's when I saw her standing there, her brunette hair a little mussed and her expression slightly forced. Her two kids--boy, then girl--hopped on the bus as she bravely waved goodbye...smiling a smile that she hoped they wouldn't be able to discern as unauthentic. The bus slowly pulled off, she turned and found me waiting at the foot of my driveway with arms offering safety and comfort.

She could no longer pretend and she began to weep. And I wept, too.

You see, my friend, my across-the-street neighbor, had just put her 10-year old son on the school bus for what she knows will be his last "normal" day in a very long time. Because at 5 o'clock last night, the phone rang and she received the news she had dreaded for so long.

"It's come back."

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), that is. He had fought the disease around age 4 and they had won the battle. He doesn't remember any of it because he was so young. But now?

"This time it will be different," she uttered through tear-filled eyes. "He doesn't know yet. We are going to tell him after school."

Just then, the bus made one final sweep past our cul-de-sac and she quickly blotted away tears, put on her happy face and waved at her children. My heart broke in two. It was such a momma-thing to do. I hurt for her and wished that I could somehow make her pain disappear.

For this family, life will not be normal for quite some time. This afternoon, they head to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital where they will have their daughter matched for possible bone marrow donation...a procedure that, while painful, could save her brother's life.

"I can't believe I might have to cause one of my childen so much pain to help save the other's life," she said. I thought to myself how hard that situation would be as a parent.

This family could use your prayers on a variety of levels:
  • Bone marrow match from sister or another donor
  • For Brendan, age 10, and how he will deal with this traumatic change in his life
  • For Mikki and Jeff --they have struggled through a recent job transition and now the news of their child's illness returning
  • For Haley, age 7, and her understanding of her brother's illness and her potential to help

We sat on the stoop for a while and, after more tears and a long hug, she turned to walk home...lost in a sea of obligations and details, oncologist appointments to make, work schedules to put on hold, school officials to inform and decisions to make on the best way to tell her children.

I turned to head back inside, more aware than ever how life can change on a dime.

Please keep them in your prayers. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Life Lesson Smacked Me and Now We're Under Contract!

Remember when I was talking, just a few days ago, about a life lesson smacking me in the head? Well, would you believe we are now under contract on a fabulous house just 5 minutes from where we are right now? Do you know what that means? It means D. can stay at the same school...we can shop at the same stores and I can keep my precious Mia as a workout partner!

It is also a blend of all the things we loved about the houses we loved and's a four-sides brick ranch on 2 and a half acres overlooking a lovely pasture across the way. It has a glorious kitchen, a laundry room that's bigger than our first apartment and a fully fenced in yard with plenty of room for the kids and Cassie (our golden) to play!

Good things come to those who those who have faith that something bigger and better is out there.

I'll post pictures soon! We're scheduled to close October 1 or sooner if we can get this house leased. Know of anyone looking for a lovely home to rent in the Nashville area? :)

Lil Bro

click on images to enlarge

Our First Grader!

D's First day of First Grade!

*update:  he just returned from his first half day and he is very excited! His new teacher is "so nice" and he's planning on having "lots of fun" this year!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

OK, so I've been traveling ALOT lately and am pleased to be able to get back to my Menu Planning Monday posts! There is a certain comfort--at least in the world of trying to lose weight--in knowing what you'll be eating for the week. It certainly helps remove some of the temptation of eating out. And no chips and guacamole this week!

Lemony Chicken
Crisp Rosemary Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus
Blushing Apples

Pot Roast
Baked Brown Rice
Steamed Broccoli
Fresh cut Fruit Salad

Grilled Pork Chops
Grilled Corn-on-the-cob
Stir-fry Cabbage
Cucumber and Onion Salad

Southwestern Chicken Soup
Core Cornbread
"Tastes Like Cheesecake" Dessert

Honey BBQ Meatloaf
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Slow-cooked Green Beans
Candy Apple Salad

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pardon Us While We Interrupt Your Moo Shoo Pork for an Important Message

I don't usually get into stalker-mode when I spot a celebrity. But folks, I love me some Melinda Doolittle from American Idol. I burned up the phone lines for her. She is one of my favorite all-time contestants. So, you can imagine when she walked into P.F. Changs last night in Franklin I was a bit starstruck.

She was standing right in front of me as I sat there with my little pager thingy and I couldn't say a word.

To be honest, I know how celebrities must get tired of the "aren't you....." or "oh, I love your music...." comments from strangers. I am sure she just wanted to be there with whoever the guy was that she was with...and just eat dinner. So, I kept my mouth shut. But...I watched her like a hawk. So much for being conspicuous.

So, when the hostess seated them two tables over, I almost couldn't concentrate on my Kung Pao shrimp I was so busy staring at the back of her head. As we were getting ready to pack up to leave, I couldn't stand it anymore. I took a scrap piece of paper and scribbled "My Momma Voted For You a Bazillion Times" with a big smiley face under it.

My eldest child. The things I ask him to do. Poor kid.

I gave him explicit instructions on which lady she was. He was to walk up, hand her the piece of paper and then smile and walk away. That's it. And, for his troubles, I would reinstate the dollar bill that he had lost due to an unfortunate incident of misbehvior earlier in the evening. All is good, right?

Except that as I watched him heading over to the table BESIDE hers and hand the note to a woman decked out in tight jeans and spiky purple heels, I was mortified. He turned away, proud of the role he played in my grand scheme, and we walked out of the restaurant.

I'm sure she'll wonder why that cute kid's Momma voted for her a bazillion times. I guess it'll always be our little secret.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Don't You Love it When a Life Lesson Smacks You in the Head?

I have been pouting.

Yes, pouting.

And, no, I am not in third grade.

I am a grown woman who should know by now how to handle life's little disappointments. But this househunting thing...well, I'm just plain tired y'all. Tired of living on our local real estate web site. Tired of scanning through neighborhoods for signs (not so easy to do in an election year, I might add) and tired of getting my hopes up only to have them dashed a short while later.

You see, we'd found the house of our dreams. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a little bit of land. Not a blue bazillion acres, just enough to let our children and our Golden Retriever run! We found this place on the top of a hillside a couple minutes from D.'s school. The house had real possibility and it's perch on the hilltop at sunrise and sunset was a sight to behold. It included 15 acres, a horse barn with an apartment inside...the works. It was also a foreclosure so the price was in our range. It was too good to be true but we put in a bid.

And we waited.

And we regaled our friends and family with stories of what we had planned to do when (Keith's line) or IF (my line) we won the house. Then we got the dreaded email. We had matched the highest offer and since ours was in first, we would have won. Except that we have a lease to get out of and the other couple didn't. So, instead, our offer came back with one word: REJECTED.

Not one for subtleties, are they?

And I was sad. But got over it. That was until I had to drive past it to go to a function at the school yesterday afternoon and, as we approached the driveway where we'd spent so much time planning and dreaming, I spotted a BMW and a minivan toodling down the long winding drive. The driver of the first car was laughing as she swung her hair back and forth...obvisouly giddy about her new home.

Blech. Double blech. It was a rotten feeling, I tell ya.

But how many times have I wanted something terribly only to discover God's much-better plan for me down the road? Have I not learned that the desires of my heart are just that? I have been dejected many a time only to discover that what God had in store was immeasurably more glorious?

Take my children, for instance. We tried for eight LONGGGGGGG years to get pregnant but to no avail. Now, as I joke with my almost-seven year old and cuddle my eight-month old as he's drifting off to sleep, I cannot fathom my life without them. Parenthood did not come easy for us and I now look back on the path that brought us here and would not change a thing.

Sure, back in the darker times when I had almost given up hope of becoming a mother, I wish I would have been given a sneek peek at our life today. But if I had, the trials and challenges and, yes, disappointments probably wouldn't have taught me the valuable lessons I learned.

And so with that, I am changing my tune on this house thing. Yep, we need to find a house. And I fully believe that God will provide the perfect one for our needs. He knows my heart better than I do and He also knows the Big Picture. It will happen. Perhaps not on my schedule , but it will happen.

So, instead of worrying and fretting and letting the little disappointments get the best of me, I am vowing to relax and enjoy watching this next chapter of our lives unfold.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

And Then There Was the Acceptance Speech...

I have been working towards a goal. Ever since we started Weight Watchers, the ever-elusive TEN PERCENT goal (a.k.a. 10% of your body weight lost) has been dangling out there in front of me. You know, like one of those rabbits suspended in front of the greyhounds at the track. Chasing it but never quite attaining it, I found myself getting discouraged as I'd come so close but end up being a mere two-tenths away come weigh-in day.

Well, I caught that rabbit and I was one happy camper last night. Since I'd been gone for a few weeks, I actually hit several goals including my total of 25 pounds lost, too. My leader has joked with me that I needed to prepare an acceptance speech so to surprise her I wrote a poem and delivered it to our group:

Ten Percent

Deciding to join Weight Watchers
Has changed me for the better
Even when I'm not following
My eating plan to the letter

The friendships that I've formed here
Make me feel secure
Even when this "life change"
Can seem hard to endure

Our fearless leader Dana
Is really quite a turkey
She keeps us motivated
By always acting PERKY!

I'm excited to finally reach
This goal of ten percent
It will surely keep me going
When all my points are spent

Let's hang in there together
And pretty soon we'll see
The scale will hit that magic mark
And Lifetime Members we will be!


I'm also excited that my hubby hit his 10% goal on the same day. I've lost a total of 30 (excited to gain back only 2.4 of the 7+ pounds I'd lost the week before) and Keith has lost somewhere around 34. Woo hooooo.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Grab a Cup of Somethin' and Have a Seat...

OK, I only wish I had enough time to share all the wonderful details about my trip to Vegas. But I don't. You're safe... for now!

Although my thoughts on Las Vegas would lead me to say and/or think things I shouldn't say (I dislike it that much), the event itself went really well and I could not have been happier getting to see all the folks I used to know when I worked for that association. They had not told the members I was coming to help out so it was quite comical watching the reaction on their faces when they'd realize it was me. And, of course, my appearance has changed some since I worked there, too, so it was also funny to hear comments like "how MUCH weight have you dropped??" It was nice to hear but, after hearing it over and over I began to think "OK, so just how bad was it??? [laugh]

Don't answer that.

One of my favorite times on the trip was when Keith and I went with my friend Debbie to hike in Red Rock Canyon. We were trying to time it for sunrise and boy did we get it right. Check out this spectacular view... if only all of my morning walks were this scenic!

I have posted some pictures on here from our trip:  (Click on any image to enlarge)

Red Rock Canyon at sunrise

The Red Rock Casino and Resort... 

Keith and I at the Welcome Reception

The SLMA Team  [l to r] Wendy, Debbie, Steve, Beverly and Katie

Keith and I playing "dress up" for the Chairman's Gala

Spectacular sunrise over Red Rock

The sun just peeking over the horizon