Forever thankful

You know, Amy and I typically seem to call each other whenever Angie updates her blog about Audrey. Today when I called Amy I was actually calling to follow up on Jackson, who apparently has had the misfortune of coming down with a fever virus. I know it's no fun when Gracie is sick, so I can definitely empathize with Amy. And pray for the Wades please, because while Amy and Jeremy will be out of town this weekend for a work-related conference, Amy's mom will be caring for Jackson. And take it from someone who knows - it's hard to be away from your kids, especially when they aren't feeling well.

And I am getting off the real subject of my post....anyway, when I got Amy on the phone and found out Jackson was doing somewhat better this morning, I mentioned Angie's most recent post on her blog simply called"Tilted".

Amy and I are forever amazed at how women like Angie Smith or even Rachael can cope with such a devastating loss and continue to have faith in a God who in some ways others might consider He had betrayed them. Or not come through on something when he could have. Couldn't he have spared Audrey and let her little life last more than 2 1/2 hours after her birth? Yes, he could have performed a miracle. And in their hearts, Todd and Angie both know that.

And in Rachael's case, Hannah's life could have been spared as well. If you haven't followed her blog, Rachael and her family are approaching the one year anniversary of losing 5-year-old Hannah to a drowning accident.

That's not even the end of it! Thousands of families all over the world are robbed of children who, like Audrey, may not have lived long after being born. Or in Hannah's case, lives that seemed cut short by a devastating accident or in other cases a terminal illness.

Amy and I talked for a few minutes about Angie's continued faith in a God who might not have performed his miracle in Audrey, but is using her 2 1/2 hours of life to change the world. I know Audrey's story, having never known her at all, has impacted my own life. Amy mentioned sitting on the couch watching TV while Jackson was playing on the floor, and feeling almost selfish and ashamed when someone else like Rachael or Angie is grieving for a child taken too soon.

I am without a doubt certain that God is faithful, but I am amazed even in these storms that others who believe in Him can continue to have faith and not doubt that He is there. That He still loves and cares for them. I am forever grateful to the God who has blessed me with this wonderful little being I call my daughter. I am grateful for so much more than that, but it is through the heartache of mothers who have lost that I continue to praise Him on a daIly basis for the child he has brought into my life. Words cannot possibly express the joy I have as a mother to watch her in wonder everyday, doing whatever it is that she does. She is so sweet to me telling me "I love you SO much", and then so funny at the same time that sometimes she has me in stitches.

Amy just called me to inform me that Jackson has a SEVERE case of strep, so they will not be at church.

That's all I have for right now.

And for my mom and father-in-law, I have two of the best videos in the world!!:
Enjoy these and leave me comments!

Gracie singing Jesus Loves Me

Gracie singing the Barney theme song!



If you haven't read my blog and heard me mention Angie Smith and her daughter, Audrey Caroline, then you should probably read the beginning of Audrey's story before viewing this video.
Or don't.
Either way, this video will move you. It will make you grateful for the little ones you are able to hold close, and then those (like Audrey) you might have to let go before their time.


Parties, Picnics, and BEANS!

Okay, so maybe not in that order and not exactly all at the same time. Could get kind of messy! First off, I apologize to my loyal readers (yes, all four of you!) for not having updated sooner. However, to compensate this blog will be totally packed full of Gracie-style fun!

First order of business....Miss Amy's recipe for Crockpot Beans was an absolute hit with Gracie. While I can barely get this child to even sniff a bean, she inhaled an entire bowl of crockpot beans, served over white rice as Amy recommended. And while I doubt this dish will become part of a weekly rotation at our house, it is actually quite tasty and pretty simple. I can't begin to explain the taste, you'd have to try it for yourself. Photos below as proof that Gracie had a good time eating her crockpot beans!

Next up! This past Sunday, we attended Zoe, Emma, and Josh's birthday party right after church. Zoe and Emma are my cousin Celena's little girls, born a year apart to the day (and a few hours). Their birthday is April 17th, if I'm not mistake. Josh is my cousin Scottie's little boy, and Scottie is Celena's brother. His birthday is April 16th. Anyway, they had one big party for all three kids at Celena's house. Pictures below.

Gracie (left) and Birthday Girl Emma (right). Emma is three, she's actually only about eight months older than Gracie.

Josh (Birthday Boy), my Granny, and Addison (Josh's little sister)

Josh's Birthday Cake

Zoe and Emma's Birthday Cake.

Birthday Girl Zoe, getting ready to nose-dive into her cake!

Zoe and Emma


Upclose of Miss Gracie!

Mommy & Gracie

Gracie playing Stick the Mask on Spiderman

Tina & the Birthday Party

And then the final order of business - Brooke and I took Mason and Gracie to Pratt Park today, to have a picnic and play at the park. Our picnic ran a little longer so we didn't end up playing, and we almost got attacked by some ducks and geese but managed to survive the ordeal and make it safely home!

A seemingly harmless duck approaches our blanket

Gracie enjoying her picnic. We had some much food to choose from I don't think we ate it all!

More attack ducks

Gracie in her brand-new umbrella stroller!


Many thanks

It is late and I am tired, but I wanted to post a quick one to tell my bestest friend, Susie, thank you for making the new header for Gracie's blog. LYMI MUAH!

Oh and I will be posting pictures sometime this weekend to show how much Gracie loved Amy Wade's recipe for crock-pot beans. In the mean time, I am off to enjoy some lactose-free icecream and watch a movie with my hubby.


Random Updates

Topic #1 - Babysitter Woes

Not seriously. Okay, well sort of. Checley, Gracie's in-home child care provider, has just recently informed me that at the end of the school year she will be moving back home to Ohio. I am sad for her because I know she wanted to make this work out but realistically, it is not financially possible for her to do it. And she has four children depending on her, so I get that while she hates it she has no choice. In other exciting news, Gracie will most likely be going to Victory Baptist Preschool here in Millbrook. We had intended to enroll her to begin with, but when Chelcey mentioned she was going to attempt to stay, we decided to hold off on enrolling Gracie at Victory. Our circumstances have changed, and thankfully they are still taking applications for this coming year (the Preschool runs off the school system calendar).
Topic #2 - Potty-Training

As part of their program, all students at Victory must be potty-trained by age 3. While that makes me uneasy because Gracie will be three in November, I am reassured that hopefully this summer that is a task that we can tackle and hopefully she'll be fully trained before she ever starts school. Any suggestions or encouragement would be appreciated!

Nothing else to report really...we're just not being very exciting this week! But Mother's Day is creeping up on us so maybe we'll have some fun posts by then :)


Germs Be Gone!

Okay, so remember how in my "I've Been Tagged" post, we discussed how much of a germophobe I can be?
Guess whose 2-year-old daughter decided that today would be a fun day to get sick?

If you guess Gracie, you would be right!

When I picked her up from the babysitter's house today, first off she had her pacifier in her mouth. For those of you anti-pacifier folks, save me the trouble of lecturing me, okay? Gracie typically only still gets her pacifier at nap time and bedtime and then it is
immediately taken away. So that was clue #1 that something was wrong. Chelcey said Gracie acted all afternoon as if she wasn't feeling well, but took a good nap. I asked about lunch. Not too great. When I reached down to pick her up, I could literally feel the heat from the fever just from underneath her arms. Her head was on fire.
In my normal panic mode, I would have blasted her for not calling me at work but in a sense it was actually better because I would've left work. And that costs money. So I called the pediatrician from her house and they told me to bring her in.

Rewind a bit.....Chelcey's son, Phoenix, was diagnosed with strep throat last Thursday after a nasty cough had lingered since Monday. He showed no signs of fever, and only when he complained of an earache did Chelcey call the pediatrician.

So guess who has strep throat now? Again, I'm not dogging my babysitter because she is by all accounts wonderful.....and I can handle strep throat better than anything else that can possibly be thrown at me.
However, my plans to make cookies tonight have been foiled by a somewhat whiny and very hot 2-year-old whose only comfort right now is her Mommy.

And I would be lying through my teeth if I said that the fact that ALL she wants is me is not THE best feeling in the world. So I'm off to watch my baby make a mess with her popsicle and I'll be posting more fun things tomorrow!


I've Been Tagged!!

Okay, so I could totally act like I'm not super-excited that Amy Wade tagged me...but why should I lie? I'm so excited that I'm spending the last half of my lunch break answering these questions!!

Five things on my to-do list today...
1. Go back to work and "work" as little as possible! :)
2. Teach Preschool Mission Friends tonight at church
3. Eat dinner with Jeremy, Amy, and Jackson
4. Work on the laundry a little bit when I get home
5. Load the dishwasher

Five snacks I enjoy...
1. Popcorn (if popcorn was an addiction, I would be an addict!!)
2. Cookies (not picky about what kind, but I do love fresh-baked!)
3. These apple slice things at Winn-Dixie with caramel creme dip and granola
4. Oat & Chocolate Fiber One Bars (don't knock 'em till you try 'em!)
5. Chips & Salsa

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire ...
1. Give to our church
2. Help my mom get out of debt
3. Take a family mini-vacation
4. Give to some charities that I love
5. Save, save, save!

Five bad habits...
1. I.Am.A.Germophobe. Please take me seriously when I say this, I have serious issues. Hand sanitizer, Lysol, wiping down shopping card handles, washing my hands to the point that I feel OCD, avoiding public restrooms. The only places I don't normally get OCD about it are church and home. Seriously.
2. I bite the skin around my fingernails. Not my nails (because they are too hard)
3. I am very unforgiving when it comes to forgiveness-but I'm working on it!!
4. I tend to overcriticize myself. Alot.
5. Always being late for work. Always.

Five places I have lived ...
1. Montgomery, Alabama
2. Morbach, West Germany (when they were divided)
3. Hampton, Virginia
4. Ft. Walton Beach/Destin, Florida
5. Millbrook, Alabama

Five jobs I've had...
1. Little Ceasar's pizza employee
2. Alley Coordinator @ Red Lobster (basically prepping plates for customers)
3. Waffle House waitress
4. In-Store Coordinator for Winn-Dixie Millbrook
5.MOMMY! (Most Important Job.Ever.)

I tag:






Monumental Moment in Gracie History!!!

Ladies and gentlemen of the blog-stalking world, I give you the FIRST EVER 100% OFFICIAL HAIR CUT!!!
(Sidenote: There was no crying on my part, or Gracie's, and I only had a slight mishap when I forgot the camera the first time we left the house!)

Back view, before:

Back view, after:

Front view, before:

Front view, after:

PS - Thank you Alex @ Hairmasters in Millbrook for a wonderful job! Gracie never once cried! (and we got sent home with an envelope full of hair!)


I am up early. And on my day off. Which doesn't annoy me as it often does, I know I was restless last night checking repeatedly for any update on Angie and baby Audrey. Audrey was born at 4:31 yesterday, and while doctors had said she wouldn't survive the birthing process, Todd, Angie, and the girls were able to love little Audrey until she passed at 6:45 last night.
And still, I am at a loss for words. I don't even personally know this family (I am familiar with Todd because of Selah) and had no idea of this story of theirs until Amy linked it on her blog. And even Amy doesn't know how she found their story. (Amy and I talked a few times last night because she doesn't have internet at home and I was giving updates on Audrey's situation).
Amy and I also talked last night about how Angie's unbelievable story totally puts life into perspective for both of us. And speaking of putting life into perspective, here is my greatest blessing....

A picture of Gracie and her BFF, Dora the Explorer.

My mom gave us money for Easter, and Gracie's money bought her a Dora table!

Decked out in her Easter best for Granddaddy's wedding.

One of the bushes outside my mom's house has flowers blooming. Gracie brought me one.

Isn't she beautiful?



I feel the need to be eloquent and choose my words carefully, but my mind is a huge jumble of thoughts right now and I can't really focus on one specific thing.

I have become somewhat of a blog stalker, and Amy Wade posted some blogs that she blog-stalks herself this morning. I was late getting back to work because I got so caught up in reading about Angie, Audrey, and their family.

I know who Selah is. I have heard many of their songs. Jason and I will be doing one of their songs (Faithful One) the next time we sing together at church. For those of you who don't know, Selah is a contemporary christian group (who aside from being absolutely awesome!) and Todd Smith happens to be the lead singer. He and his wife Angie, have three children and are currently expecting their fourth. Audrey will be born this Monday, and since Angie was 20 weeks pregnant they were told that Audrey will not survive life once she is born into this world.

And still, despite knowing that the odds are against them, Angie writes:

We are all just doing the best we can, minute-by minute, to love our sweet Audrey well. We talk to her all day long. Sometimes I just take a bath and tell her all about what swimming is like, or what it's like to be on the beach in the hot sun. I tell her about my favorite poets, my favorite memories of childhood, my love for God and for her daddy. The two of us have covered much ground in this sacred dance we call pregnancy. I feel bonded to her in a way I never did with my others, because I know this is all I have. And yet there is so much I can never give her.

And at a time in her life when others in her shoes would be angry or turning their back on a God who would (speaking frankly) "let this happen", Angie simply says that:
I want you all to hear me on this, especially those of you who are in a place of questioning as far as God is concerned. As much as I want to have my Audrey, I am (truthfully) completely at peace allowing Him to have the final say. It isn't because I'm so super-spiritual or because I have a more direct line to God than anyone else. It is because He tells us we can trust Him with our lives, and I simply choose to believe Him.

Please understand that I am in no way dismissing their situation as a struggle or saying they should not trust in God, because He is ultimately the one who is in control....it is just that in reading her blog, I understand what I myself have taken for granted when faced with Angie's story, which will in a sense be Audrey's legacy.

I already mentioned my friend, Jason. Just a few weeks ago, his wife, Wendy, was diagnosed with lymphoma. And I heard her say with my own ears Wednesday night that when she found out, it was as if God spoke to her and said,"Ok,Wendy, this is not about you." And she ultimately feels compelled to use this trial for His glory.

I read daily about the struggles that Rachael deals with in trying to come to terms with Hannah's death last July.
And in reading Rachael's story, I found myself wondering how many things I have taken for granted. How many times I've pushed Gracie aside (not in the literal sense) for other things. My own selfish wants, I guess.

I remember the sheer joy of being pregnant with her. I remember a mix of emotions of terror and joy in spending those first few months at home with her, getting to know her and adjusting to being a new mother. And while Angie speaks of Audrey in the sense that she is already here, it would almost seem as if this is her first child she is about to give birth to on Monday.

I wish that I looked at it that way everyday. I wish that I was always aware of every blessing that God has poured into my life, and could make note of it and be thankful to him for whatever it was.
I looked at Gracie this afternoon with wondering eyes. I don't know when she sprouted legs, but she is so tall it is unreal to me. When did she get taller? I forget and let days pass and then I realize that when she smiles - really smiles - that her little nose crinkles up. She takes big gulps of air when she's talking, like what she is telling you is the most important thing in the world.

She wants you to sit with her. Play with her toys. "Color with me, Mama?"
It is things like this, these little precious moments, that Angie will be robbed of. While she talks to Audrey as she carries her for the next few days before Audrey's birth, I tell Gracie I am "too busy" to sit down and color with her. And one more day goes by that my daughter grows up a little bit more.

And I miss it.

Dear Lord,
I want to thank you for every single blessing you have poured into my life that I have failed in the past to thank you for. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sweet angel you have brought into my life, who every day is a constant reminder to me of the love you have for us. Help me to not be so quick to dismiss her simple requests for time with Mommy, and help me to appreciate her life and the blessing she is to me through the stories that Angie and Racheal have shared with me and many others.