One is Not a Negative Number

I know I mentioned in my previous post about Nancy's weekend visit that I am a member of an ezboard calling "Looking Good." Anyway, one of the girls who frequent that thread posted this interesting article in the Parenting thread.
It poses alot of interesting questions, and also has me nodding in agreement at some of the crazy antics this woman shares about her son - like keeping the pediatrician on speed dial and freaking out over minor illnesses.
It is comforting to know that the possibilty of only having one child is not a stigma that the child will be a total brat for the rest of his/her life.

If you are a parent, what do you think? Do you think you only want one child? Do you think only having one child makes you selfish? I'd love to hear your comments on this article.


Weekend with Nancy!

Okay so for those of you who didn't know, this weekend marked a huge milestone in my life. Well, not exactly. Heh. When my mom was in the Air-Force, we were stationed in Hampton, Virginia for a few years. We moved there just before my seventh grade year of school, and I went to Benjamin Syms Middle School where I met my bestfriend of many years, Carolyn Hankins.
When Carolyn and I started ninth grade at Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, we met several new friends: Tiffany Sargent, Angela Novak, and Nancy Allen. We formed a close group with these girls and that lasted until I got devastating news the summer after our tenth grade year-they were sending my family to a base in Montgomery, Alabama. I was born in Alabama, and my mom's parents and siblings are all from the area. However, Virginia is the only place we've lived in longer than one or two years (it was actually bordering on four years, I believe) so I was devastated. And being a military brat, I was heartbroken to be leaving friends I'd known for quite some time.
Fast forward a few years when I gradually lost touch with all four girls and then found a home video of my "Going Away" video they had made for me. I managed to get the number to Nancy's parents home and get back in touch with her, and since then she, Tiffany, and I are members of an ezboard called Looking Good.
A few weeks ago, Nancy posted on the board about how her job was relocating her to New Orleans for two months. I quickly shot her an email, telling her that mapquest said it was only a four hour commute from New Orleans to Millbrook. What's funny is Nancy replied saying she had mapquested the locations too!
So we made arrangements and decided on this weekend, and around 11:30 Friday night, Nancy finally arrived. I told her and I will tell all of you that she has not changed. She has less freckles, but it is still the same 'ol Nancy that I knew. Yes, we've both grown (that going away video I mentioned? We tortured ourselves yesterday afternoon by sitting through the hour and a half it took to watch it!) but for the most part are still the same.
Nancy and I have not seen each other since my spring break in 1993, so it was nice to be reunited with her even for a short period of time.

We got up around 7:30 Saturday morning and after breakfast with Bryan and Gracie, Nancy and I went to get out nails done. Then we picked Bryan and Gracie up, and headed to Montgomery to meet Bryan's mom for lunch at Chappy's Deli. After lunch, Nana Kay took Gracie home for a nap and Nancy, Bryan, and I went out to Eastchase. We stopped in a few of the stores and then because of the icy winds decided to head over to Eastdale Mall. None of us bought a thing at the mall, but Bryan had a pretzel and Nancy and I grabbed some cookies on the way out.
When we picked Gracie up from Nana Kay's house, we headed back to our neck of the woods and watched the previously mentioned video before heading to O'Charley's for dinner. Oh my gosh, I ordered the Prime Rib Pasta and was in no way disappointed. If you have a chance, you should definitely give it a shot! The leftovers I had today were just as good at the restaurant last night. Some pictures from dinner...

Gracie in the car before we went into the restaurant.

Nancy and Gracie (who isn't looking!)

Take #2 was better!
After dinner at O'Charley's, we went by Circuit City (I found the cutest holder for my iPod!) and Target just to look around. When we came home, Bryan took a few more picture before I put Gracie to bed....

Me & Nancy

Me, Gracie, and Nancy

This morning, Nancy, Gracie and I (Bryan had to work) got up and got ready for church. Before we left, Tina took some pictures of us decked out in our Sunday best:

Me & Gracie

Me, Gracie & Nancy

After we came home from church, Nancy and I had a small lunch before she left about forty-five minutes ago. I truly enjoyed being able to have Nancy come and stay with us, even though the visit seemed very short. We really got to catch up yesterday during our morning mani/pedi at the salon, and I was excited to see pictures of some of our old friends from highschool. Plus, Nancy got to meet Bryan and Gracie who are two very important people in my life now. I told Nancy that maybe we could make plans and take a trip up to Virginia sometime in the future. For now, I'm heading off to enjoy being a lazy bum before choir practice!


Devastated into exhaustion

This past weekend's tornado brought havoc on the city of Prattville,Alabama which is about a ten or fifteen minute drive from where we live in my mother's home in Millbrook. Our church is located along the back side of where most of the damage occured, and many of our church members live in the areas devastated by the storm. In fact, our church is still without phone and internet but thankfully the power has been restored.
I work for the Winn-Dixie in Millbrook, and while I was at work yesterday there was a woman who came in from a local church in Millbrook called Grace Community Church. I told her that our church was still without power as of Monday morning (the storm ripped through Prattville late in the afternoon on Sunday) and asked what I could do to help her church out.
She told me that a group of their members had been given permission to set up grills in the parking lot of Krystal's, which is an area directly in front of some of the hardest hit areas. She called her husband, who advised me to be there between 4-5pm. I sent an email out to choir members from our church and around 5:30, Donna Parker, myself, and two of Donna's friends set out for Cobbs Ford Road. We had heard late yesterday that they reopened McQueen Smith and Cobbs Ford Road once the majority of the power lines had been cleaned up and most of the scattered debris was off the roads.
When we turned onto McQueen Smith Road where our church is located, you couldn't really see alot of the damage until we past the church. Then you begin to notice the swirling lights of State Trooper cars (checking IDs for people entering neighborhoods) and then chunks of privacy fences were upturned on the side of the road, or missing entirely from where they should've been. Coming up on Prattville Wal-mart you notice that the fence that lined the shopping center is caked in debris - plastic bags, insulation, metal pieces, stray tree limbs. The power is back up and running but the entire place looks like a war zone.
I heard someone on the news Sunday afternoon report that the Army National Guard recruiting center had damage. Actually, the entire half of that building, which was located just behind the Krystal's we worked next to, is completely gone. Damaged is kind of an understatement.
We had our first round of state troopers who were getting off work, and then came a flock of people from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. Following them was a trail of workers from the power and phone companies, and then the relief workers kind of died off. Donna, her friends and I chatted with some of the members of Grace Community Church and then left about 8:00pm when the crowd seemed to dwindle. They were looking for volunteers to come back and work during breakfast, and I went back at seven o'clock this morning.
When I arrived, there were some people that had been there the night before that greeted me. Many of the state troopers had pulled out of Prattville, but one of the GCC members volunteered to take biscuits back into the neighborhoods and I asked if I could ride along with him on his four-wheeler.
Practically blinded by the cold, it was unbelievable to witness the debris we just road right over. The sign that stood at Season's Drive was lying on the ground as we past that street and turned down one I didn't recognize. The pictures that have been taken don't do the damage any justice. It is shocking to pass one house, completely standing with maybe a bit of debris scattered and then to see the house nextdoor lying in a pile of rubble.
One of the girls I spoke to from my own church yesterday said that while her house was still standing, she could look out her back window and she no longer had neighbors. I have not been close enough to the damage at Wal-mart, but just looking across the street from Krystal's it looks like a warzone. The K-Mart that once stood on Cobbs Ford Road might as well be demolished, for all the destruction it took from the tornado.
I am absolutely devastated by this disaster, and I have not lost anything. Nobody that I know lost their lives in this storm. Yet in a sense, they have. Mike and Leslie Whaley, two members of our church, and their 3-year-old son Noah lost their home in the storm. Thankfully most of their belongings have been salvaged, but I certain this was still a heartbreaking ordeal for them. And my heart goes out to all the people who could not salvage their belongings or may not even be able to get back to their homes yet.
God was good in sparing lives, only a few people had to be taken to the hospital for injuries but from the looks of things it is going to take the city of Prattville a long time to recover.


Germs! Germs! Germs!

Okay so I just had leftover spaghetti for lunch, and now I feel sick because Debbie (one of my co-workers) sent me an email telling me about this link to a website that lists the Germiest Places in America. This is absolutely disgusting!!
Here is a quick rundown of the list, you can check out the website for more details. (The ones with ** by them are places I already knew about!) Germs! Yuck!

1.Kitchen Sink
2. Airplane bathrooms
3. Wet laundry
4. Public drinking fountains
5. Shopping cart handles** (I always sanitize the handle with a wipe or Germex)
6. ATM Buttons** (John Tesh says use a pen or your knuckles to touch the buttons!)
7. Purses (It says don't put them on the floor of bathrooms OR the kitchen counter!)
8. Playgrounds
9. Mats/machines at health clubs
10. Bathtub
11. Office phones**
12. Hotel room remotes

And now that I've totally grossed you out, I thought I'd mention how I'm going to copy Amy Wade's idea and post some of my favorite recipes. But with a storm brewing outside and the sirens going off, food will have to wait!


Valentine's Day Part II

Ok, so I got lazy last night and forgot about Part II of our fun! While I have this last ten minutes on my lunch break (and while the house smells of spaghetti sauce thanks to Amy Wade's crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe) I will finish up posting and sharing our Valentine's Day festivities.
I bought steak, salad, and made baked potatoes last night for dinner, and I also managed to snag the last Dora balloon for Gracie. Enjoy the photos! PS - Dessert was so "cute" I had to take two pictures!

Gracie showing off her Dora Valentine's Day balloon.

This little guy was our "dessert" and Gracie thought he looked just like Harley! (Tina's dog). I got a good laugh because Bryan ate the "back end" of the dog, and then when Gracie was done we had to call Tina and tell her that Gracie "ate" Harley!

Nikki at work makes these cakes, I just couldn't get over how cute they were. Too much frosting to let Gracie go nuts, but overall it was pretty tasty.

Now I'm headed off to go back to work! I will posts my thoughts on Amy's spaghetti recipe when we test it out tonight. Gracie has been asking for spaghetti for days now, and she rarely asks for a particular food.She was super-excited when I told her we were having spaghetti for dinner!


Valentine's Day Part I

Okay so the following random photos don't have anything to do with Valentine's Day, but they are just random shots of Gracie over the last week or so. The camera was MIA until last night (when I found it!) so that is why these weren't posted sooner. Enjoy, and then followed by these photos is a recap of our "Mission Friends" Valentine Party @ church last night. After dinner, I'll be posting more pictures of our Valentine's Day fun.

We have never had a cat because Bryan claims to be allergic, but living with us at my Mom's house is Tina's cat, Jade. This was before the trouble began and Jade would let Gracie love on her. Since then, she has bitten and scratched Gracie once. Gracie no longer loves on Jade :)

Gracie in her jammas after her bath, rocking her baby.

This was about two weeks ago, when Kayla was pushing Gracie around in the driveway on her bike. One of the "nicer" days in terms of weather.

Okay so last night was our Valentine's Party at church, and the Mission Friends class always seems to be full of kids if we have a party. My only prayer is that maybe the kids will be interested in coming for non-party nights too! Our theme was "We love because He first loved us" and the kids had a good time with coloring sheets, a Valentine's Day craft using the verse from John 3:16, and then snacking on M&M cookies, cheetos, and apple juice. We also gave out goody bags and had a bean bag toss. The three photos below were taken by Bryan.

The kids had a coloring sheet to pass the time while us teachers set up everything.

Working on their Valentine's Day craft.

Munching away on snacks!

OKay so part two will happen later, after our Valentine's Day dinner! :)


When your past comes back to haunt you...

You know, before I became a Christian, I don't think I thought much about God and his plans for my life. I mean we've been told numerous times in church (during sermons, and sometimes even during Sunday School) that God has a plan for our lives, even if we don't know what it is - He does. Is that not the absolute most amazing thing you've ever heard? Today, something (or rather, someone) from my past showed up unexpectedly, and I found myself later silently thanking God that the so called "prayers" I whispered back then went unanswered. Because boy, how different my life would be now.
Cherylle is one of my co-workers, and it's not often we get to take lunch together because typically when I'm leaving work, Cherylle is just coming in. Anyhow we got to go to lunch together today and we chose Hardee's, which is right across from Winn-Dixie where we work. I don't eat there often for lunch, and the food was fairly decent, but Cherylle (and for those of you who know her, know how true this is) makes a rather funny comment about some random guy walking in the door. Needless to say as she's making this comment, I look up and my past literally and figuratively walks right through the door.
This past I keep referring to has a name, and it happens to be...well, we'll just call him "K" for short. Not that I think he has somehow managed to find this blog and will be reading about himself in the near future. I had this mega-huge, teenybopper style crush on "K" when I was in the tenth grade. Wrote him this long, poetic letter and poured my heart and soul into it and at the end of my note asked if he had any romantic interest in going "out" with me. His simple and yet vague response was "We'll see". And that, right there, should have told me that I had no future whatsoever with "K". But ah, the heart is a tricky thing when you think you know what love is and you're just itching to find out.
I won't sit here and confess any secret details of what happened after that, without first telling you that I learned rather quickly that "K" is the type of guy who only wants something when someone else has it, and he is not ashamed to take it without asking first. I don't mean that in the horrible manner it might have come out, there was nothing violent about our relationship (or whatever you might call it). He was stringing me along basically, and I was just happy to be strung along no matter the consequences. Even if it meant breaking the heart of someone I claimed to care about, only in turn to have karma come back and bite me in the butt when I had my own heart broken by "K".
I was young and foolish to sum it all up, and I learned my lesson the hard way after I got burned. So seeing him today reminded me that no matter how old you are, a bad relationship can test your nerves when you are confronted with that person and both of you know what happened. Yet, you don't speak because you feel like it wouldn't be appropriate. But you hear nervous laughter and wonder - is he talking about me? And I'm sure "K", no matter how much self-confidence he always appears to have, is wondering the same.
But after I had time to get my nerves to calm down, I found myself thanking God for those prayers he didn't answer. How different my life would be! I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, and we have a beautiful little girl - who might not exist now, had my life taken another path.
It's just comforting to know that even when you are young and stupid, there is someone out there who is looking out for your best interests. Even if he's going to be the Father you know him to be, and let you make a few fumbles before He helps you clean up your mess. It's good to know that somebody is watching my back!


Almost there!

Well the week is almost over, and as far as being better than last week we seem to be managing so far. There is still some confusion where Gracie is concerned that Mawmaw's house is now our house (she just doesn't seem to get it yet) but as far as the new babysitter and waking up at night, that seems to have died off quite a bit.

She is not crying that much at Sunday School anymore either, which is a nice change from months ago. She still has crying fits at night where all she asks for is her Mawmaw, and we've just decided that "Mawmaw is at work" will have to be explanation enough for now. She doesn't get that Mawmaw isn't physically here, and how do you explain that to a 2-year-old?

Tomorrow night she's going to her Nana Kay's to sleepover, and I am treating myself to hanging out at Mandi's house for a Pampered Chef party. I don't really need anything but I'm going because it's always fun to just hang out and socialize, minus the baby!

I have some pictures of Gracie riding her bike outside the other day when the weather was nice, but I can't seem to locate the camera. Oh well, I'll post them in the near future!


What happened to Britney?

Excuse the random off-the-beaten-path post for just a second. Can somebody please tell me when Britney Spears (and her career) took a life-threatening nose dive? I've heard people in the past week compare her to Anna Nicole, whose life was apparently doomed after the death of her son, Daniel.
What has happened to Britney? I don't consider myself a fan, aside from owning two of her albums and having been to one single concert where she opened for NSYNC. Most of the time any news about her leaves me rolling my eyes in annoyance because she is just that to me. Annoying.
Aside from that, she is the mother of two beautiful children who did not ask to be placed in front of a media circus of photo hungry paparazzi. And while "K-Fed" is nothing to write home about, he seems to be stepping up as a father and doing what he can to shield his children from this madness.
I've heard it all, from Britney is addicted to crystal meth to now they are saying she has a severe bi-polar disorder. Well they have medication for the bipolar issue!

I think that Britney needs someone to step up, give her a really hard shake, and tell her to get her act together. I don't mean that to be cruel! Being a parent is hard. I am not one to mock how easy my job is, because sometimes it can be trying. Children are a responsibility not to be taken lightly. And I'm sure juggling a career in front of the media can be just as trying. Britney, I have a secret for you-did you know they are all waiting for you to screw up? Like when you had the baby behind the steering wheel with you. They wanted to laugh and point the finger at what a terrible mother you are. Stop giving them fuel to feed their fire. Don't give them another reason to point and laugh. Get your act together, and fast, before those kids don't even get the opportunity to know their mother!

Somebody needs to tell Britney to re-evaluate the type of people she surrounds herself with, and if she cares at all for those two boys she needs to get her act together because they need their mother!


Is it me or what?

Okay so to say that this week, being the first official week my mom has been gone, has been a stroll in the park would be the understatement of the century.

I am still sick. Yes, and I've just decided since my antiobiotics don't work there is absolutely no reason to take them.
Gracie has tested my patience all week long and while I'm certain that I'm partly to blame because I haven't been feeling well and my nerves are on edge, she and I have both dissolved into tears several times this week.
She is, however, enjoying the new babysitter which is quite enough to be happy about for now.

There is confusion about "our" house, because it's actually "Mawmaw's" house and you can almost see the confusion when she demands to see her Mawmaw and is told she's at work in Qatar. You can see the wheels turning in her head, like I'm not telling her the truth and any moment Mawmaw will come breezing through the front door.

I, on the other hand, know that won't be happening for at least six months, untl my mom can come home on her thirty day leave.
So I'm crossing my fingers and saying a prayer that tonight when I take my cough medicine and pass out with the television on, that tomorrow Gracie and I will both wake up refreshed and ready to start a new week with a clean slate.
And no Mawmaw either.

Please enjoy the variety of random pictures!