Looking Forward (random post)

So the message at church this morning (during observance of the Lord's supper) is not to stay in the past or look back, but yet to look forward at the possibilities of what God has in store for us in 2008. A really good message by the way!

My mom is coming home this afternoon from Korea, actually she should've landed at the Montgomery Airport thirty minutes ago. Since I am at home with Gracie who is napping, I'm sort of sitting on the phone watching In her Shoes, based on the book by Jennifer Weiner with the same title. While the book gives more of the minor details I love (kind of like A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks) the movie is still just as awesome.

Speaking of movies, Bryan and I rented We Are Marshall last night. Depressing, but good - and based on a true story. Even better! And before I switch gears totally, Nana Kay got me The Devil Wears Prada for Christmas. I totally wasn't expecting this movie to be as good as it was, but...it was!

Now for more randomness: a picture of Gracie on her new bike with her new helmet (we found the Helmet for $7.99 at Target yesterday), and also a picture of her in a dress Nana Kay gave her for Christmas. She wore it to church this morning.

And the phone just rang and it wasn't my mom, but Tina, to tell me the flight was delayed. My mom won't be home until around 5. Time to go finish my movie and nap through my boredom! (The house is clean, there is nothing for me to do!)



This video is from Christmas Eve. We just managed to get it done on Youtube and uploaded today.


Christmas Day

Unfortunately, for those of you sitting on the edge of your seat wanting to see videos of Gracie, you will have to be patient. Apparently Youtube is way more complicated than I thought! Our Christmas Day was definitely more eventful than Christmas Eve as far as travel, not to mention the fact that the weather was absolutely horrible - overcast, raining, and cold. I told Bryan it was almost like it was raining ICE outside!
Here are some pictures to highlight our day:
These first three pictures are a few of Gracie opening presents from Santa-two new outfits, a Memory game, four music toys, a sticker book, and an Elmo Christmas DVD.

After opening her presents and a quick breakfast of pancakes, hashbrowns, and sausage, we packed up and stopped by to visit Granny before we headed off to spend the afternoon with Nana Kay. Here is a shot of Nana Kay, busy in the kitchen, and Gracie taking up space on the counter:

Opening some presents from Nana Kay.

I think I liked the dress from Aunt Tara and Uncle Joe more than Gracie did (although the boots REALLY got bad reviews from Gracie!)

After our lunch with Nana Kay, Granddaddy, his friend,Mary, Tara, and Joe, we headed home so I could cook dinner for my old friend Kim. (By Old I a mean how long we've been friends, not how old she is!). I made a crumb crusted pork loin, loaded mashed potato casserole, and honey carrots, a Christmas Dinner receipe I found in last month's Southern Living magazine. I decided to go all out with the table setting. Here is the finished product:


Christmas Eve

Okay, so since I accidentally deleted most of the pictures I took of Gracie and my sisters last night, here is what remains. And when Youtube stops being a royal pain and will upload my videos, I will share with you the excitement of Gracie's presents from last night (I let her open the ones from the girls, since last night was our Christmas together).

This picture is the neatest thing! The girls got Gracie this washable coloring book thing with washable markers. You can - literally - throw the book in the washing machine and color on it AGAIN!

This is a picture of my aunt Gail and her daughter, Katylin, opening their gifts. I gave Gail some perfume and a scrapbook frame picture of Gracie. Katylin was given this purple passion body wash and lotion from Claire's.

Gracie and Katylin coloring, Christina (l) and Jessica (r) helping supervise.

L to R: Kayla, Jessica, and Christina at their dad's house after our Christmas here.This is useless information to everybody else, but I just realized they are sitting in their birth order! (Kayla and Jessica are twins, Kayla is 15 minutes older).

Like I said, I will upload the videos when Youtube decides to stop being a Grinch!


Jesus Party

For those of you who don't know, Gracie attends a Wednesday night class at our church called Preschool Mission Friends. I am one of the teachers for that class, and this month instead of discussing missionaries (we do not have our materials yet!) we have been doing different activities involving Christmas such as the birth of Jesus, God giving his son for us, God giving us all special abilities, and how God made each of us different. Our final activity this past Wed. night involved a birthday party for Jesus with a gingerbread theme, and included a birthday cake as well. We usually have a fairly small class of about four students (we've been doing a Dave Ramsey class instead of normal services on Wed. night) so it was awesome to have EIGHT kids show up, including two new faces!
We started out with coloring sheets while we waited for all the kids to arrive, and then moved on to our activity that involved a card stock magnet of a gingerbread man that read: God didn't use a cookie cutter when he made me! He made me special!. Then while Mrs. Jenny and I made up the plates of food, Mrs. Debbie read to the kids about the Nativity story. After they ate it was time for cake!

Group shot: from the back-Avery J, Avery S, and Mackenzie. front-Gracie, Noah, and Adam. (not in the shot: Sam and Katilyn.)

Another group shot: Mrs. Debbie helps some of the kids finish up their coloring sheet.

A shot of the whole cake. This was done by Nikki at the Winn-Dixie where I work.

A closer look at the picture. I actually found a picture on a sympathy card, and the cake turned out beautifully!


Here We Go!

Okay, so Bryan and I got a new camera last night before church, and we tested out making videos with it tonight. I will probably post the pictures from our "Happy Birthday Jesus" party tomorrow in between making lots of yummy goodies for the Nelson Family Christmas party tomorrow night.

Sorry for the way these videos look, Bryan thinks the resolution might be set too high and that is why they are fuzzy. But it's my first attempt at making my own videos on youtube.

Video #1 - Gracie saying Merry Christmas!

Video #2 - Gracie doing the teapot song (ignore the off-key singing, that was Tina!!!)

Remember, check back for the party pictures from Gracie's Mission Friends class either later tonight or first thing tomorrow!


Quiet Thoughts

Please forgive the crappy way this double photo was put together. The one on the left is of Gracie when we took her to have her first "professional" photos done at Wal-mart. I believe she was exactly one month old. The one on the right is a much newer photo. First of all, I'm amazed that her hair has lightened that much and I'm wondering when I first noticed it was changing colors. And I can't remember exactly. I know that some changes in her I don't see because I live with her and stare at her in constant wonder on a daily basis.
I was just visiting Amy's blogand giggling about how much of a blog-stalker she is. Well, I am too! And besides Amy's there are a few others I visit daily. When Amy was talking about Jackson and the wonderful afternoon they spent together Sunday doing basically nothing (which is the best type of afternoon to spend with your child, it make me think of Rachel's blog.

I found Rachel's blog through another website I visit, right after she lost her little girl Hannah in a drowning accident in July. And I can honestly tell you that just reading about the pain and heartache she deals with on a daily basis has been a hard dose of reality for me. It is very hard to read about someone you don't personally know, and have them openly lay out their feelings in words so much so that you want to hold your own children a little closer.

I don't know when Gracie grew up. I mean I know she's not "grown up" yet, but I remember how much she used to depend on me and how totally frustrated I can become now when she doesn't need me so much or even flat out rejects me. There are days I feel like cooking or cleaning the house or just wanting five minutes of peacefulness to myself I am robbing her of five minutes of my time. And I feel extremely guilty about that sometimes.

So when she's not being Miss Independent and she'll let me cuddle and hold her, or I am permitted to sit down in the floor of her room and play with her dolls....that's the wonderful feeling I live for. She talks so much now I wonder where she learned all the words and phrases from. She can sing songs I have never taught her. She has this wild imagination when it comes to her toys, or even her family.

I feel like I'm just rambling about this little baby of mine who is now turning into a "big girl" while I'm trying to rush behind her and keep her from getting too big too fast. Rachel talks alot on her blog about not robbing her daughter, Lily, of things that she kept putting off with Hannah. In my own way, I find myself wanting to delight in the things that Gracie enjoys so that I can remember those moments. Like riding the train at the mall, or singing silly songs in the car. Or letting her help me "cook" in the kitchen (even if there's nothing in the mixing bowl she's stirring with a wooden spoon).

We are not promised tomorrow and while I don't want to spoil her until she's totally rotten, I know that I don't want to regret things we never did because there is never enough time. I mean I blinked ONCE and she's already two. I'm afraid if I blink again she'll be graduating from highschool tomorrow!

Bryan and I have talked alot the past few weeks about his Nanny, who we lost very suddenly in April. I guess sometimes we take for granted how fleeting life is, beating ourselves up about the should-haves and such. I just don't want to let outside things like work and other obligations get in the way of what matters the most.

And I guess I'm being all sentimental because Christmas puts me in that kind of spirit to be thankful for everything in my life. I am blessed!


New Pictures!

OK, so not new as in "brand-new" but new as in "never-seen-before-today". Anyway, these are pictures courtesy of Natasha. This was the night Gracie and I went to Tasha's before the big FPU Yard Sale, so I got first dibs on new clothes! In order to keep Gracie occupied, Tasha whipped out the big exercise ball and her camera. Enjoy!


Being goofy (she gets it from her Daddy!)


Gracie & her side-kick,Tasha. These two together can only mean TROUBLE!



Busy Little Bees!

Sorry for the lack of posting this week, but I've been extremely busy rehearsing for our church's production of "Uncle Phil's Diner" dinner theater, with performances tonight and tomorrow.
Because of my hectic schedule and normal lack of preparation for Christmas shopping, Gracie is spending the weekend with her Nana Kay and will be tucked into bed by the time I come home tomorrow.

And so, I thought I would increase your knowledge of Gracie's ever broadening knowledge. She has learned new songs! Baa Baa Black Sheep, Mary Had a Little Lamb, the Wheels on the Bus, and 10 Little Monkeys.

You know she didn't sit in Santa's lap at the zoo, but she has assured me that she does like Santa. Just not sitting in his lap. And speaking of the jolly fat man (is it wrong of me to say that?) Gracie likes the following Christmas songs: The Hippopotamus Song, Jingle Bells, and The Chipmunk Christmas Song.

She also enjoyed making her "reindeer" at church - a simple Candy Cane with a red pom pom nose, brown pipe cleaner antlers, and two wiggly eyes. However, Gracie has since broken BOTH of her reindeer and we've had to toss them out.

And she loves her Christmas tree so much, she likes to kiss it.

Other than that, everything is pretty much the same in our world. I want to wish all of you a good weekend! Look for a new post from us next week!


Happy Birfday to ME!

So my birthday was today, and while for the most part is was uneventful due to the impromptu birthday party my mom gave me last weekend, there was some fun stuff. Like the really nasty cupcakes my co-worker, Candy, bought me. Oh not once...but twice! Yes folks, they were nasty with a capital "N". "N"-e-way I still love her!
Then I got the total embarassment of them telling ANOTHER co-worker, who made an announcement over the intercom at work. Yes, I was embarassed.
Aside from that, Bryan and I had plans to have dinner with his mom (Nana Kay) at her house, and then for the three of us to take Gracie to see the Christmas Light Festival at the Montgomery Zoo. (FYI: The whole sitting on Santa's Lap thing? Yeah, didn't happen. There was, however, a TON of screaming, crying, and clinging to Mommy like a leech for your viewing pleasure!)

Gracie and me at home before the dinner with Nana Kay & zoo trip.

Gracie eating some of Mommy's "birt-day" cake (ok, half of a cupcake!)

Gracie standing next to one of the many lighted scenes at the zoo.

Me & Gracie at home after her bath (and yes, that IS a pacifier on the edge of the couch.)

Playing around.

So my birthday was a good one. I had some phone calls when I got home, from different people wanting to wish me a happy birthday. Gracie had a meltdown when we left Nana Kay at the zoo to come home. I think she was tired, and she's having attachment issues because Mawmaw isn't here. Although at dinner, she told Nana Kay that Mawmaw is in "Kuh-ear". I had to translate what that meant, of course.

I'm tired and it's been a long yet joyful day, so I think I'll call it a night.
PS - I miss my mom. :(


My apologies

For those of you who check Gracie's blog on a daily basis, I apologize for the lack of posts this week.

We've been busy adjusting to life without Mawmaw and I've had rehearsals for Uncle Phil's @ Church.

My birthday is tomorrow, and we plan on taking Gracie to the zoo for the Christmas lights. Then after work next week and more Uncle Phil's rehearsals, we are probably going with my aunt to "Breakfast with Santa" at Coosada Elementary.

Hopefully if we get new camera batteries tonight, I can post lots of pictures. We also were given this gorgeous little antique peach dress with pearl accents...so we might be having some professional photos done soon!

In even more exciting news, check it out! Miss Claire is walking! (ok it looks more like running to me, but anyway!)



My mother left yesterday morning, around 7-ish. Gracie hasn't really noticed yet that she's gone, even asking me yesterday when Nana Kay took us to the Prattville Christmas parade if we were going to see Mawmaw. I said no, Mawmaw wasn't here and Nana Kay was taking us to the parade. She doesn't seem to notice yet, I'm sure there will be some confusion with my Granny being at her Mawmaw's house when we drop her off next week. We'll see how that goes.
She had a good day today in Sunday School without Miss Lindsey being there. She had a minor meltdown but then calmed down, and I was told that she was fine during the shift change for worship service. So maybe we're doing ok...My sister Christina just told me this afternoon that she had heard from my mother and she made it to Korea, and we have a number to contact her also.

This picture is the only one of Gracie from the Prattville Christmas parade. She sat with Aunt Tara most of the parade, until I had to get up and move around and I took her down to the curb to catch candy. We ended up filling her little Dora bag full! She really enjoyed the lights, not so much with the police and fire sirens. She LOVED the horses and Santa at the end of the parade.

This is a picture for my mom, who tried to discourage me from transitioning Gracie's bed right now. Bryan and I changed it Friday night when Gracie was at Nana Kay's, and last night went unusually well. I put her down around 8:45 (we got back late because of the parade) and she had her pacifier, blanket, and all her favorite toys.

This morning at 7:00 when I peeked in, she had ditched the blankets and had her little butt up in the air. She is napping right now without any problems (this picture was taken a few minutes ago), so I'm hoping this change will be a fairly easy one.

If the video below actually posts on the blog, I just posted it to share it. Josh Groban is one of my favorite musicians and for some reason this song has really been putting me in the Christmas mood. And Gracie seemed to enjoy the movie the night we had our "Tailgate" Party.