Prayers, Warnings, and Stuff Christians Like

Please remember to keep the family of Todd & Angie Smith in your prayers. Todd's sister, Nicol, just lost her little boy to what apparently has been determined as SIDs. If you remember my previous posts about Angie, she and Todd lost their little girl, Audrey a few months ago. This family has suffered some devastating losses, so they need our prayers.
And a quick warning; blog posts will be few and far between in the upcoming week, considering that VBS starts this Sunday and will run until next Friday. Then that same weekend, Bryan, Gracie, Kayla (my sister) and I will be going to Atlanta to visit the zoo and the aquarium. Please pray for us during out travel/trip because this is Gracie's first official vacation away from home. That is part of the reason we're keeping it short and sweet.

And in other news, I have absolutely fallen in love with Jon over at Stuff Christians Like. Not a romantic kind of love, just a "gosh you are so funny and you think God is funny, so why didn't I think of that?". Jon's website is absolutely awesome, touching on subjects from church dates to one of my favorite posts about Thinking faith is an event.
Not to steal from Jon's own blog, but my absolute favorite part of this particular post can be found right here:

I think that is something we Christians forget that we need to be found. We think it's already happened. We ascribe events to our faith and say things like, "I became a Christian in the fourth grade" or "I gave my life to Christ last year." I like the present tense better. I like how words like becoming and being and giving, capture that faith isn't so much an event as it is an experience. It isn't so much something you do once, but rather something you do. We need to be found. Not once in a single moment of salvation but daily. Hourly even, we need the God of the universe to come running. To find us. To know us and love us.

I don’t know where you are right now. Maybe you’re found, maybe you’re lost, but regardless, please know that there is a father watching your road. It is all he does. His beard is growing long, his stomach is going empty as he waits by the road for you. He won’t leave. He can’t leave as long as you’re still out there. You need only get up and go and wait for the sound of desperate feet in the distance.

I am absolutely floored, amazed, and in love. Jon you are awesome!


Tuesday Toot

So I mentioned in my last post about some "exciting news" I had, which I consider the beginning of a major accomplishment. Before I got pregnant with Gracie, I had joined Weight Watchers with my mother-in-law. Please, all the anti-diet people who are reading, just hear me out for a second.
Weight Watchers is by far the best diet I have ever been on. No joke. Weight Watchers allowed me to continue enjoying the foods that I love, only in moderate portions. And some things are considered "free" point items (most green veggies) so you can literally eat all you want of those!
Anyway, over the last few months I've noticed a serious decline in my overall health. I understand that I am overweight and have been for most of my adult life, and probably (from the looks of my parents) that there is a good chance I'll never lose ALL the extra weight. But I believe I lost a total of 40-50 pounds on Weight Watchers the first go-around.

And now, I'm doing it again. I'm not going to the meetings, but I am familiar with the point system and how it works. I also have an activity slider, so if I work out I earn extra points. (You have to understand Weight Watchers to know what the whole "point" thing is about).

Anyway, when I was perusing the internet this morning, I found out that Curves is offer three weeks of membership FREE if you bring in three milk caps! And it's literally down the road from my church, so it might actually work out. Curves is great because you go in 30 minute workout sessions that work around your busy schedule.

That said, I look forward to Tuesday Toots in the future so I can share my weight loss tips, secrets, and struggles with all of you. Please keep me in your prayers. Dieting is not something that comes easy for me, I am not ashamed to admit that I am a boredom muncher. And leave me a comment of encouragement from time to time!

Edited to add: By a decline in my overall health, I do NOT mean that I have been diagnosed with anything serious. I've just noticed that even going to bed and getting 7-8 hours of sleep, I'm still exhausted the next day. I also have very little energy, and feel weak alot. I think that the majority of my health issues have to do with my weight, and I don't want to cause any future health problems by continuing this vicious cycle of unhealthy eating habits.

Wild tales

So I just overhead Gracie tell Elmo something about the post office as she's putting his pappy in his mouth (Elmo is a stuffed toy. Please keep this in mind).
She then told Elmo something else about the poost office - that Mawmaw lives there. I am scratching my head in utter confusion at the simple thinking of a two and a half year old. She must have misunderstood what I said when we sent Mawmaw her first colored picture. Or when we shipped her "important" mail to her.
Then I started thinking, maybe kids (toddlers more specifically) don't think that far ahead. You know how they say that younger children have no real conception of the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing? The hide-the-toy and then show it again game doesn't work until they understand that just because the toy is gone, it isn't actually gone. Is that making any sense? That's why normally until they are somewhat older, they cry when you leave the room. Even if the room you step into is just outside the door, it is confusing to them because when Mommy is gone she's GONE!
Maybe Gracie can't understand the concept of Mawmaw living someplace other than where she always has. That's why she still associates our new living arrangements as "Mawmaw's house", but she has yet to tell me that Mawmaw just isn't here. Now, she does understand when I tell her that Mawmaw is in Qatar, but then I have to wonder if she even knows that Qatar is another country. My guess is she probably doesn't.

Lets add to the strangness factor. I know I've never posted this here before, and may not have even told some of my loyal blog followers about it. Okay, so I know that some people who hear the word "Kah-kah" might actually giggle because they are thinking of something that is eliminated from your body, but I believe "Kah-kah" is actually the name (or nickname) of Gracie's imaginary friend. Now, my sisters think I'm nuts. Nana Kay understands! Gracie talks about this person (Kah kah) like she has a family, and even point blank told me this morning that Kah-kah is her friend. As a parent, what do you do with this information?
Do you encourage it, as I've heard we're supposed to encourage "imaginative" play? I mean, what's more imaginative than an imaginary friend?
It doesn't really freak me out I guess because she's an only child, and while she has been in child care surrounded by other kids, she is currently just being taken care of by my sister, Kayla, so she's alone most of the time. Granted, we play with her in her room and with her toys but what about the times when she might play by herself?

Now that I'm done pondering the strangeness of my morning, I'm headed off the CVS and Walgreens to see if I can succeed in some of the same bargains Mrs.Nespy found!
I'll post my Tuesday Toot and some more exciting news this afternoon.


Gracie & Jackson

Okay so for those of you who are totally in the dark and have never, ever heard me mention Miss Amy Wade (which would be strange, because I have mentioned her alot on this blog) you might also not be aware that Amy has her own blog about her little family, particularly her little boy, Jackson.

And I know I haven't mentioned this before, but Amy, her husband Jeremy, and I are in the same Sunday School class at church. And after one invitation was extended weeks ago, it has now become part of our routine for me, Gracie, and Bryan to meet the Wade's at Zaxby's for dinner on Wednesday nights before church. I agree with Amy in that Zaxby's is reasonably priced for a sit-down restaurant, which technically doesn't let it fall in the "fast food" category. Plus, Gracie loves the chicken strips. I, however, am not impressed at all with their lack of toddler-friendly kids meal toys. Maybe I should write a letter.

Anyway, if you kind of hop between my blog and Amy's, she made a post today about scrapblog. Which is where both of us came up with our new blog headers. And in the spirit of loving everything about that website, I snapped a few cute pictures of Jackson and Gracie tonight. I went to scrapblog and created a page and wanted to share it with y'all!


Murphy's Law

**This was originally posted around 5:30 this afternoon but because of computer malfunctions and Tina's softball banquet, it was saved as a draft instead**
Be careful what you say to others. Take my word for it, please. God is everywhere and he sees and knows everything you do. When you feel justified at taking some annoyance out on the helpless Apple Care rep who is busy locating your information, YOU might feel justified but God might see you picking on someone who doesn't deserve it.

My lesson at taking my frustration out on others taught me just how easily my whole day can get screwed up. Maybe it's teaching me a lesson, I don't know. It started at my dental appointment and went from there. Suffice it to say if I could call back the poor Apple Care rep and apologize, I probably would.

Anyway...my crummy day is almost over. Here are those pictures I promised in my last post.

Our preschool Mission Friends class on WMU Recognition Night.
Back row: Bella, Camryn, Rett, Avery J.
Front row: Faith, Gracie, Avery S., Abby, Noah, Graham

Gracie with her Mission Friends plaque

Up close photo of Gracie in her Mission Friends t-shirt

Gracie, in her swimming pool. Milo decided to join her.

Gracie swimming.

Pappy Gate Continues...

Thank you, Amy Wade, for the "Pappy Gate" mention. That is almost what it's turning into!

So from my last post, you know that Nana Kay started the attempt to initiate Pappy Gate. Gracie has been pappy-free since bedtime Friday night. However, Saturday she had her emotional breakdown but I never budged. We managed to get through that. Sunday afternoon, we went down for a nap just after church. She asked for it then and when I said no, she lightly giggled as if she had been joking anyway.

Last night when she went to bed, she asked for it but didn't cry. Twenty minutes later, after I'd left the room, loud wailing can be heard all through the house. When I go in (which I don't normally do, unless she's having major issues like she apparently was last night) and sit down with her, she's again doing that "crying so hard I can't catch my breath" and insists that she needs her pappy. I assured her she didn't need it. I told her how proud I was of her that she was going to be okay without it. She wanted Mommy to sleep beside her. I told her I had to sleep in my bed. She didn't want to go to sleep. I told her she had to or she'd be grumpy. (This is the only way I know to reason with her that she needs a nap or needs to go to bed).

I am sure that compounding her pappy withdrawal is the fact that we are trying to potty train as well, but she seems to catch on to that quickly except she's not going! Miss Priss seems to think that sitting on the potty qualifies her for an "any-nim" (M&M). When I tell her she has to potty to get one, she very simply informs me, "Mommy I'm trying!!".

And just in mid-post, as if reading my mind, she tells me she needs to potty. We're off! I'll post some pictures of Gracie playing in her swimming pool later.



Okay, so I'm slipping in here really quickly before a trip to Circuit City to share my HUGE news in "Life with Gracelynn" history. I realize I might've said this before, but I'm seriously being honest. Typically because of our work schedules, Bryan and I usually designate Friday night as Gracie's day to spend the evening with Nana Kay. Nana Kay lives in Montgomery, and this way she and Gracie get to spend some much needed quality time together.
So Nana Kay tells me on Saturday that Gracie went to bed Friday night without a pappy (read:pacifier) and didn't even ask for it. At nap time Saturday afternoon, the same thing occured. So I'm feeling very confident that by Saturday night, she'll have forgotten all about her precious "pappy". Not so fast, Mom. I had to talk my child through a literal nervous breakdown. She, sobbing, told me she needed a pappy, and I (being the adult and quick thinker) very politely said no. I explained that big girls who go to preschool who are learning to tee tee on the potty, they don't need a pappy. YES I DO she wailed. I wasn't going to budge. Not even for desperate, sobbing, can't catch my breath crying that ensued.

And then I said very calmly, "Please stop." She takes a few big gulps, looks very sternly at me and says, "Mama I can't find my pappy ANYWHERE!!!" Brilliant. So I said, kind of softly, "Do you think, maybe, that one of the babies (sorry Jackson, no offense) in your class at church may have found it?"

"BABIES don't NEED a pappy, Mama!" she cries. Silly mother. What was I thinking?

"No, Gracie, babies DO need a pappy. Big girls DON'T." so then I tried to remove the pappy from the topic of conversation (since the tears had stopped) by offering a teddy bear, her stuffed lamb. I suggested saying our prayers, which we did. She rolled over and I left the room, breathing a sigh of relief twenty minutes later when a quick peek revealed she was sound asleep. Without her precious pappy.



Fun Stuff

Okay, so I know that Mommy Fest is almost over, but I thought I'd do a fun little blog all about me just for new visitors passing through, or the nice folks who already stopped by and left me comments about my previous blogs.
I thought I'd just start spouting off random facts about myself....
1. I am the oldest of thirteen grandchildren on my mother's side of the family. Out of those thirteen grandchildren, only two of them are boys. Except for my mother, all my aunts and uncles have three children. (My mom has four). All of my cousins also have three children, or at least two. I am still sticking with only one.
2. I don't know my father very well, and haven't for most of my life. In some ways that has hurt me and in some ways, it has made me stronger. I do, however, have a Father in my life now. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior in April of 2006.
3. Having my daughter taught me what God's love is like, and I totally get that now.
4. I am a germaphobe. Ask anyone who works with me, they will tell you. I had to switch from liquid hand sanitizer to foam because using it so much was making my hands break out.
5. I love men with accents. There was a man from Bright House (our cable company) at my house today with a Puerto Rican accent.
6. I am a fan of boy bands and don't care who knows it! I traveled all over the place to see the Backstreet Boys, and met a few of them in the process. In fact, when I met Nick Carter I was five months pregnant with my daughter.
7. I remember when Neil Patrick Harris (from How I Met Your Mother) was known as Doogie Howser.
8. I remember when layering your socks was cool (like ice cream cones?)
9. I like to sing, but usually when I sing, I prefer slow or ballad style songs to upbeat songs.
10. My daughter = the true joy in my life
11. I am almost four years older than my husband. That means I was a senior when he started ninth grade.
12. My bestfriend of twelve years recently moved to New York with her fiancee to be closer to their families, and I am going through withdrawals.
13. I love popcorn.
14. I love to have get togethers at my house.
15. My husband and I will be losing our house shortly when it is foreclosed on because we had to file bankruptcy (yes, we are one of "those" people who were suckered into an adjustable rate mortgage).
16. I am not upset (anymore) about losing our house. Where God closes a door, he opens a window.
17. My daughter will start preschool in August, and I'm already getting nervous.
18. I am habitually late to work.
19. I have become obsessed with getting pedicures.
20. I am out of random thoughts on myself, so I'm stopping at twenty!


Five Things About this Mom

Okay, so I'm making my third blog for this Tuesday! And it's all related to Mommy Community's Mommyfest blog party. This next contest has to do with five things about me so here goes. (And I'm trying to think of five interesting things that most people don't know.

1. I can sleep - all night long - with my glasses on.
Yes, my husband thinks I'm crazy. That has yet to bother me.
2. I have this weird habit of when I drink any kind of soft drink from a can, I will swish it in my mouth before I swallow it.
My husband (again) noticed this right after we started dating.
3. I secretly enjoying cooking, but I especially love cooking for others. And I like to experiment with recipes. Alot.
My husband doesn't usually like my "experiments".
4. I am ashamed to admit this, but I planned on getting pregnant before the end of the year (Gracie was born in November 2005) so we could write her off on our taxes. Is that not terrible?? She was planned that way!
I bet you thought I was going to mention my husband again...wrong!
5. I am addicted to popcorn. They should have a group for addicts like me
Popcorn Lovers Anonymous, anyone?

Mommyfest Potluck

So if you notice in the upper right hand corner of my blog, MommyFest is having their annual blog party. One of the contests involve posting one of your favorite recipes on your own blog, and posting a link back to the potluck site. So here is my favorite recipe that is (and still can be) family friendly. I call it Italian Chicken Salad, and here it is:

1 bag rainbow rotini pasta
small bottle italian salad dressing
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small vidalia onion
1 small yellow squash (optional)
1 small zuchinni squash (optional)
Parmesan cheese

Marinate the chicken in some of the italian dressing for about 30 minutes. Chop up onion and squash into small pieces (not really small, maybe make thick slices and then cut in half. Mix onions and squash, and put in foil packets with italian dressing to go on the grill.When chicken is ready to be cooked, toss it on the grill until done. While that is on the grill, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and add about 1/4 cup of the italian dressing (more or less, depends on what you like) also add parmesan cheese. To finish it off, toss the squash and onion mixture in the same bowl with the pasta. Top with parmesan cheese. You can either cut up the chicken and eat with the pasta, or have the pasta be a side dish.

My family is huge on pasta, but we like to try it different ways and this recipe is AWESOME. This is a quick standby for me because my husband can grill the chicken while I do everything else - and Gracie LOVES it! (Okay, not so much the squash part though.)

Tuesday Toot

Okay, so last week I mentioned the fact that I had a BA in Sociology, and a double minor in Juvenile Justice and Psychology.

While I can't physically post my other accomplishment here, I would like to tell you about a paper that I wrote while I was in college. The paper was actually submitted where I received recognition for it at the AMSA conference in Tuscaloosa. And now that I think about it, I totally freaked myself out because my professor bought us drinks at the hotel bar that night and I found out about a week later that I was pregnant with Gracie. Not that she has suffered any life-long damage from my strawberry daquiri or anything.

I should probably start out introducing my paper by telling you that as a young teenager, I found myself addicted to true crime novels. One of those books was called "Small Sacrifices" and it was written by Ann Rule. The book basically spins the story of this woman, Diane Downs, whose three children are shot by a bearded stranger out in the middle of nowhere. As the story unfolds, you discover that this woman shot her own children because her boyfriend did not want children.
You've probably heard other names. Susan Smith. Andrea Yates. You might not know there is also a man who was in the service who back in the 1970s shot his two young daughters and his pregnant wife, claiming a band of hippies broke into their home and did it.

There might also be other names you've heard. Remember Melissa Drexler AKA "Prom Mom"? Being a mother now, back then I was absolutely fascinated and at the same time simply stunned that women could give birth to these children and then kill them so maliciously.

On to my Tuesday Toot, which is my paper. It was entitled "When the Bough Breaks: Studying the Differences in Maternal Filicide". It basically took a look at the differences in mothers who kill their children. I looked at older mothers like Susan Smith, but focused mainly on Andrea Yates as the older mother group. Then I looked at younger mothers like Melissa Drexler, mothers who hid the pregnancy and didn't bond with the baby.
I also explored countries like China, where mothers who kill/abandon their children there is basically part of the cultural norm (China has/had a "one child per family" law where if they didn't have a boy, it was somewhat socially acceptable to get rid of the girl, abandon her, etc.).

While I won't send a copy of my paper to every single person who asks, I would be glad to share it with those of you who know me fairly well. It may not be the best paper in the world, but before I had my child it was my little baby. I enjoyed working on it and uncovering the information I did. Being a mother now and knowing what I know from my research, this act of crime is still just as upsetting and maliciously, sometimes even more so than it was.

Anyway, I was proud of myself for submitting it for the conference and at least getting recognition for it. And I think I did a good job writing it too!


A Week's worth of fun!

Wow! I can't believe that it's been almost an entire week since my last post! Well, a lot has been going on in "Life with Gracelynn", so I'm going to pack most of it all in this one post. For starters, we found out right before my last post that Bryan's dad, Ron, was given the green light to come down for a visit. Ron works as a civilian for the Air Force, and he comes down randomly throughout the year to teach seminars to new students/Air Force enlistees at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery.

On Thursday of last week, we received a package from Mawmaw that was all for Miss Gracie. In it was a Barnyard Wii game (Kayla has a Wii) and some sour Trolli candy, and the neatest little outfit. I don't know how much you might know about Qatar, but it kind of follows the same religious practices as Afghanistan, etc. I believe my mom told me the women there have to be covered head to toe, and some of the women have to cover all but their eyes. Outfits for the children, however, are slightly different and if I'm not mistaken the outfit she sent Gracie is Qatari children's pajamas.

Gracie wasn't too wild about it because the fabric was kind of "itchy" and I imagine the summer months it will be too hot.

I really love the pink top (not so much the pants) but the stitch work on the top is really beautiful.

Cute photo.

The next round of photos are from dinner with Pawpaw last Monday night. He arrived late Sunday evening and unlike his other visits, we only got to have dinner with him Monday night and visit for a little while Thursday evening. He had to go home a day earlier than usual because Bryan's step-sisters Tiffany and Brittney were having their prom.

Gracie and Pawpaw Ron having dinner at O'Charley's (I don't like many of our local establishments because kids don't eat free, but O'Charley's is awesome because kids eat free EVERY night!)

Gracie wearing Pawpaw's glasses. Too cute!

And on to Mother's Day! Gracie and I got up and got ready for church, and Nana Kay and Bryan met us for the regular church service. Our original plans were to have lunch at Olive Garden in Prattville. However, when we realized that the line was wrapped clear around the building we went to Applebee's instead. Some Mother's Day photos:

Nana Kay and Gracie coloring on the Applebee's kid's menu

Gracie with Mommy

Gracie, outside Applebee's in the dress Aunt Jessica gave her

This is the cutest picture. Ever!

I also had one nice suprise when I got home, and that was flowers and a balloon from my wonderful husband! Here is a quick photo of one of the flowers in the bunch:

Well now that I'm all caught up on the last week, I'll have to post about my Pampered Chef party tomorrow night or Mission Friends recognition on Wednesday!


I have signed up for Blog Momma, who in turn is also part of the Mommy Community. "Tuesday Toot" is all about mother's posting their OWN accomplishments(in other words-tooting our OWN horn), since we are more than willing to always post about our children and what they have accomplished.

I am very proud of the fact that while I have not put it to use job-wise, in August of 2005 I graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a BA in Sociology. I also have a double-minor in Juvenile Justice and Psychology. My ultimate goal was to get a job working with and/or counseling juvenile delinquents, but someone who worked at one of the youth facilities assured me that "counseling" at a detention center basically involved the kids telling me what I wanted to hear, they get released, and cycle back in six months later.

I still want to work with troubled kids, I'm just not sure in what aspect. But I am proud of the fact that I set out to go to college, knew exactly what areas I wanted to pursue, and graduated even when I was six months pregnant with Gracie. I had contemplated at one time going back to get a Master's in Criminal Justice, but financially and realistically that's just not an option right now.

But it feels good to have been successful in completing something I set out to do.



Okay, faithful bloggers, please remember to keep the Wades in your prayers this weekend. Remember Jackson, who is still working on getting over strep throat. (Gracie asked about him last night when we went to Zaxby's-too cute! "Is Jackson comin', Mama?" I said no and she thought about it for a second and said "Aw, man!").
Also remember to pray for Amy and Jeremy, who will be traveling for a conference for CWE that Amy has mentioned on her blog a few times. Pray for peace for her especially, because I know she's been really stressed out about getting all this conference stuff together and just getting things done. (She mentioned something to me about destroying every one inch 3-ring binder she ever saw....he he).

Also, keep the Easterling family in your prayers. I can't remember if I have mentioned them on Life with Gracelynn or not, but Jason and I have sang a few times together at church and in March he and his wife, Wendy, found out that she has lymphoma. They have been given good news recently that it is stage 1-E (whatever that means), and that they don't see other cancer cells. However, the doctors are going to do chemotherapy anyway to rule out any microscopic cancer cells floating around. Wendy's first day of treatment was yesterday and minus a few mishaps, it seems to have gone pretty well.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good weekend! Gracie will be with Nana Kay so we probably won't post much until Sunday.