Christmas Decor '09

This is just for you Uncle LaDaryl...
"I give you the Griswold family Christmas tree."
Ok, maybe not as exciting as theirs, but here are the pics:

Pictures of the nursery will be up after it's complete...hopefully by tomorrow night.


It's a War Eagle Christmas!

If you are an Auburn fan, appreciate Clark Griswold's determined and optimistic effort to light every inch of his house, or if you just have any ounce of the CHRISTmas spirit in you...watch this video. It's long, but pretty cool. I promise all you non-Auburn fans, if you can survive (or just skip) the first 53 seconds, you will enjoy the rest of the show.


Weekend Update and Lily's Arrival

Last Sunday night, I was unloading the groceries and realized that I didn't make it home with my trail mix bars. I paid for them, but they were never put back in my grocery cart. I knew then that there must be a whole bag of groceries missing and I wouldn't notice it until I decided to cook something and didn't have all the ingredients. That occurred Friday night. Allison came into town for the weekend. She got here around 8:30pm and since my sodium diet restricts basically all restaurant food, we decided to make potato soup and broccoli cheddar cornbread. Unfortunately, the missing grocery bag held the potatoes and the Jiffy cornbread mix. Needless to say, we didn't have potato soup and cornbread for dinner. It would be one thing to be missing the cream of onion for the soup or the cheese for the cornbread. It's quite difficult to make potato soup without potatoes or cornbread without cornbread mix. Instead, we ordered Steak Out and didn't eat dinner that night until 10pm!

Saturday, Ashley and Brian came up and they, along with Brent and Allison, worked in the nursery all day--washing clothes, hanging pictures, organizing closets, sanitizing bottles, etc. It was such a blessing to have their help! The nursery is completely ready for Lily, minus the bedding and curtains (which Santa Claus is bringing this week--I put in an early arrival request once I went on bedrest). Saturday night, Brent and Allison went to the Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree. I had decided I would be ok without a Christmas tree this year (which is SO unlike me, but I figured it would be easier on everyone) but Brent insisted. So, they came home with the largest tree I've ever had in my house...getting close to the size of Uncle LaDaryl's tree (and that's really large...the circumference of the bottom of the tree is usually greater than the height). Brent had to cut off a foot from the top of the tree to get it to fit in the den. I'm thankful that we still do not own a tree topper, because it would not be on the tree this year. Brent and Allison claimed that it didn't seem that big on the farm. Well, of course not, because the sky is the limit out there! After buying 300 more lights, they decorated the tree while I laid on the couch and kindly gave orders. And of course, Elvis serenaded us with beautiful Christmas music. Although the tree is large, it's definitely my most favorite tree ever. I could stare at it all day long. It's colossal size just adds to the many memories that will be made this Christmas season. And, I must add, Elvis brought my BP down that night (104/59). That's the lowest it's been, so I guess Elvis will need to come with us to the hospital.

I went to the doctor today. Heard some good news: my doctor no longer thinks I have preeclampsia, just PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension). PIH can still be a serious issue, just not as serious as preeclampsia. My BP was high again (160/80) but it's never been near that high at home. I showed her my BP readings for the past week, and there were only a few that were high (140s/80s). It's always after a shower or eating a meal that my BP goes up. Sadly, that's the most activity I get these days. I've lost more of the water weight that I gained! My stomach measured 39 cm, so Lily is quickly running out of room. The doc hooked me up to the fetal monitor again and said we have one happy baby :) I go back this Thursday for my 36 week ultrasound, again next Monday for one final check-up...then, Monday, December 28th, at 8:30am I will be in the OR having a c-section!!! So 2 more weeks of bedrest, one more run with the orange jug (yes, I have to do a third urine test!), a crazy Christmas, and Lily will be here!


Our Crazy Weekend Part 3

Part 3: Bittersweet Bedrest

Sunday night I thought I needed to go to the emergency room. One of the symptoms of preeclampsia is a sharp pain/tenderness under your right breast. The tenderness has been there for weeks, but I just recently started getting the sharp pain. It all hit me Sunday night that I had high blood pressure and had all these tests done, but since it was the weekend I hadn't heard about the results. What if I really had preeclampsia and was on the verge of being eclamptic (seizures)? So I started crying hysterically and asked Brent to take me to the hospital. Being the wonderful husband that he is, he knew that 99.9% of my emotion was hormonal and he made me lay down in the bed on my left side. He took my blood pressure and I counted kicks. All seemed to be fine. I decided I would call my doctor on Monday morning to find out the test results and see if the pain in my chest was reason to come in again. So, I called my doc office Monday morning and had to leave a message. The nurse called me back within an hour and told me the results were normal and the pain in my chest was just heart burn. But I knew it wasn't. I explained that I've been taking Zantac twice a day for indigestion and it has cured all heartburn, I also feel the heartburn in my throat and never in my chest. So she had me come in at 3:30 that afternoon. When I got there, the nurse weighed me and I had lost 3 lbs! Then, she took my BP and had this horrid look on her face. "So, what is it?" I asked her. It was 160/100. Not good. She hooked me up to the fetal monitor, gave me some cold water and had me lay there for 25 minutes, monitoring Lily and hoping to get my BP down. Lily's heartbeat was good and I wasn't having any contractions, but my BP remained at 160/100 after laying still for 25 minutes. The doc came in and did a quick exam, told me my cervix was hard as a rock and my pelvis was too small and "not favorable", gave me orders to go straight to Labor and Delivery, told me that I was on bedrest in the hospital until delivery, and said she would come visit me in the morning. I could have sat there and just cried until the office closed, but I put my big girl panties on, marched myself over to L&D, all the while making numerous phone calls, and got placed in a room. I went through the whole admission process of paper work and a ridiculous amount of questions, and after 30 minutes I was in a HUGE robe that the nurse wouldn't let me tie in case they had to perform an emergency c-section, had yet another orange urine jug, hooked up to the baby monitor, blood pressure cuff, and had an IV started. Before Brent could get to the hospital he had to go home, turn off the crock pot with a yummy roast in it, take care of Sanibel, and pack our bags. It wasn't until he arrived that I was able to breathe like a normal person. Ahhhh. So then it just became a waiting game. I was on a sodium diet and was restricted to only hospital food, so my dinner selection was extremely limited. I had chicken, cold mixed veggies, salad with fat free dressing, water, and pepper. Haha...no salt packets for me! I had quite a few visitors that night. Monday night was the faculty Christmas party at school. After the principal, teachers, and secretary went to dinner, they came to visit me. They brought me a book with the lyrics and CD for "A Baby Changes Everything" by Faith Hill. I refused to listen to it that night, I knew the tears would be non-stop. The nurses moved me to another room and shortly after that my mom and aunt came to visit me. After that, they went to the house and got my first "child", Sanibel, and took her back to the Ham to hang out with Uncle Sparky until further notice.
Monday night was my first time to ever spend the night in the hospital. I was dreading it, knowing I would get NO sleep. I actually slept really well, minus all the bathroom trips. I went through 3 IV bags of fluid while there, and I still drank as much water as I normally do. Bathroom breaks were very frequent! And unfortunately, due to the IV cords that didn't reach the bathroom, the location of the toilet paper, and that dumb orange jug, going to the bathroom was a two person job. Despite all the times I woke Brent up during the night for bathroom breaks, he also slept pretty well. My doc came in at 7:45 Tuesday morning and told me that if my blood pressure continued to be normal throughout the day, that I could go home after the urine test was over. She also told me that I would most likely have a c-section and that she wanted me to get to 37 or 38 weeks. The nurses there were extremely nice and helpful. I always had a cup of ice! I LOVE hospital ice, that's the one positive thing about hospitals. By 6 pm Tuesday night, the urine test was over and my blood pressure was stabilized and I got permission to go home for the remainder of my bedrest.

So I've been on bedrest for nearly 4 days now and it's been bittersweet. My days are spent with TV, iTunes, Facebook, thank you notes, reading, phone calls, texting, and meals and help from sweet friends. I had an intuition throughout this entire pregnancy that I would not make it to Jan. 10. I didn't know it would end with bedrest, but I just knew the end of my pregnancy was not going to end as planned. That's why I was so stressed about getting things done. People kept telling me, "Oh, you've got time," but I've known all along that I didn't have time. I knew the time would be cut short in some way, and it has, and there is still so much to be done. Thankfully, my loving husband is doing so much for me and, like I've mentioned before, he does it all with a willing and cheerful heart. Never complains, never gets impatient, just completely selfless and loving me as Christ does. We also have wonderful friends and family that are bringing meals and coming over to help with whatever, from bringing me DVDs to hanging pictures in the nursery. I am overwhelmed with blessings and grateful beyond words.

Although being on bedrest is not ideal and definitely not full of excitement, I thank God for it. I was getting stressed at work, trying to tie up everything and get ready for a maternity leave, then coming home and staying stressed with my "Before Lily Arrives" to-do list, I was getting little rest--going to bed at 11 or later and getting up at 5:30. Regardless of whether I have preeclampsia or not, God knew I needed to be forced to rest. Despite the boredom, I've enjoyed it. It's been a time for me to reflect on what a wonderful marriage/husband I have. I have definitely grown to love Brent more and more each day as I watch him serve and take care of me. I've always known what a gentleman he is, that's one of the reasons I fell in love with him way back in 10th grade. I'm not amazed or shocked by his behavior, because he's always done a wonderful job of taking care of me. I'm just more and more thankful and humbled by God's provision for me and care of me displayed through Brent. Bedrest has also been a time for me to really realize that my life is about to be flipped upside down, for the better of course. It has been very bittersweet for me to lie here and think about how soon Lily will be here. I don't want to miss a beat. I compare it to my wedding day. I looked forward to that day my entire life. It came, I enjoyed it, and it went. I'll never have that day again, never experience my wedding day again. It's over. Same with Lily's birth--I'll never be pregnant for the first time again, I'll never see my first child for the first time again, etc. A lot of "firsts" are about to come and go. I don't want to wish away this time. I want to thoroughly enjoy every second as I look forward to Lily's arrival. I am absolutely elated. Remember the song "A Baby Changes Everything" that I refused to listen to in the hospital? I listen to it at least once a day and cry every time, as well as all the songs on the "L&D" iTunes playlist I have created. From this point on, I will always think of the Christmas season in a new way because I now have new Christmas memories. For the first time ever, I will spend Christmas in this house and either be on bedrest or recovering from a c-section. When I hear a Christmas song, I will think of my bittersweet bedrest and the very quiet time that Lily and I shared together before she was welcomed into the world. I can't wait to meet her, but I want to learn to bask in this time so that when she does arrive I don't just let the moment pass me by. I'm learning just how precious a newborn is, especially my own. I pray that I will soak up every bit of time I have now, during and after her birth. I love my sweet Lily.

P.S. Sanibel, I have NOT forgotten about you. I'm sorry that the next time you see me, there will be a new person in the house stealing attention away from you. But you will be a big sister! I hope Uncle Sparky is teaching you a lot about having siblings. It's a big task. You have to be gentle with Lily, love her, and set a good example for her. I promise to still love and play with you. That will not change. And, yes, we can teach Lily how to play soccer and racquetball.


Our Crazy Weekend Part 2

Part 2: Childbirth Class

Oh, the dreaded 10 1/2 hours. Saturday from 12:30-6 and Sunday from 1-6. We were pleasantly surprised. The time went by fast and there were parts, many parts, that made us laugh. Even Brent enjoyed it...WOW!

The Instructor: although her personality reminded me of Miley Cyrus, she did a GREAT job! She is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital where I am delivering and I would love to have her by my side. She delivered all of her children via c-section and said she wouldn't have done it any other way...which gives me a lot of hope and encouragement!

The breathing exercises: Well, my giggle box was turned over (since I've been pregnant my laughter has been completely uncontrollable and unstoppable) so I really couldn't focus on breathing the right way. It didn't help that Brent apparently can't count to 5 either. We had to look each other in the eye to do all this AH-HEE AH-HOO stuff, and we are so immature that it was impossible. I was the one fighting the laughter to try to help him do the breathing techniques the right way. It better not be that way when it's time to really breathe!

The weird couple: This was my favorite part of the whole weekend. I brought a notebook to write down important notes (duh!), but it ended up being my "blogworthy" notebook. I made notes all weekend of things I need to tell you about this couple. On Saturday, the wife didn't have on quite enough clothing. She wore her sweatpants below her big belly (which I understand, some pants just don't fit over the belly) but her shirt also didn't meet her pants. Her DEEP v-neck white see-through shirt revealed way too much and the bottom of her shirt hit her belly just below her THIRD belly button ring that was still in tact. When we moved to the floor for breathing and relaxation exercises, she decided that she already knew what to do. She ignored what the rest of the class was doing and started doing yoga moves and stretching her body in all kinds of weird positions...all along, her shirt revealing even more than any of us needed to see. She was sitting by us, so I blame her for not being able to correctly do the breathing exercises. I was distracted. On Sunday, the instructor was going through a power point about normal characteristics of newborns...one of them being swollen nipples. The weird couple were the only ones in the room having a boy. The instructor assured them that the swollen nipples are not "man boobs" just a result of the maternal hormones that he has been receiving for 9 months. The wife disgustingly said, "As long as he's got balls!" Yes, that is an important body part, but must we shout it out loud? Not necessary.

The emotions: Like I said before, my giggle box was turned over. It especially got bad when the instructor showed us a really old video about what to expect postpartum. The lady on the video looked like Pat (the SNL character who's gender is unknown). We were warned that she looked like Pat, but it wasn't until I saw her on the video that I busted out in uncontrollable laughter. My biggest mistake was looking at Brent because he was doing the same, so I just laughed even more. And, all you mothers out there know, you have to be careful how much you allow yourself to laugh when you are preggo. You may need another pair of underwear soon. Thankfully, that did not happen to me this time. But my laughter was embarrassing because no one else laughed as hard or as long as I did. My emotions quickly shifted when we watched the birthing videos. The instructor showed us 3: one all natural birth, one vaginal with an epidural, and one c-section. Normally, these types of things cause me to cover my eyes like I'm watching a scary movie. This time, I got extremely choked up and found myself wiping my cheeks with my sleeves when the mom saw her child for the first time. Ah, I can't wait! But I will NOT be able to stop crying and I can guarantee you it will be the ugliest cry I've ever had! I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life.

The Fear: This girl is NOT going to have a vaginal delivery! Thankfully, my doc doesn't think I will be able to. God knew what he was doing when he combined my creepy fear of hospitals and my unfavorable pelvis...there's no other way out than to cut me open! Honestly though, I left the class Saturday, called my mom and asked, "Can I just tell my doctor that I prefer a c-section and go ahead and schedule one?" Unfortunately, insurance won't approve that. It's not that I have no tolerance for pain, I have an anxiety/hyperventilating issue. When I was 6 years old, I had to get stitches for a dog bite. The dog bite hurt of course, but it wasn't until my parents told me we had to go to the hospital to get stitches that I FREAKED OUT! I was so hysterical in the emergency room that I had to be strapped down into straight jacket so the doc could give me a shot of anesthesia. That straight jacket is all I could think about while I was in the class. Brent kept reminding me that I was 6 when that happened and I've matured since then. I don't know if that's true. I still believe I will be hysterical and forget to breathe (like I do on roller coasters, even though I love them) if I have to suffer through hours of labor. I know that a c-section is major surgery, but surgery is a much shorter process (the surgery people, I'm well aware of the recovery time) and that means less time to build up unimaginable amounts of anxiety and have a hysterical break down. I think it's in the best interest of all involved in this delivery process.


Our Crazy Weekend Part 1

Where do I begin? Thursday started a whirlwind of events. Read "The Orange Jug and Unconditional Love" to get caught up on what happened Thursday and Friday of last week. This blog is broken into 3 parts, so just bare with me!

Part 1: Christmas Trees, Waffle House, and a sick Sanibel

Friday night, I returned my jug of "tinkle" as Brent chose to call it and we ate dinner at Moe's. I'm not a fan of that place, but we are never on that side of town, and Brent loves it, so to Moe's we went. I must have gone straight to bed when we got home, because I have no recollection of the rest of that night. Saturday morning, we set out to find a Christmas tree. We didn't have a lot of time because our 11 hours of childbirth class started at noon. Normally, we go to a Christmas tree farm about 45 minutes away and cut down a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because the childbirth class consumed most of our weekend, we decided to check out the Boy Scouts or Lowe's for a tree this year. We went to 5 different places, and found plenty of beautiful trees, but no one had the means to drill the stump for us. We have a spike stand that we purchased after our first Christmas together, when our tree was lopsided all season and we were constantly nervous that it would fall over. The Christmas tree farm introduced us to a wonderful spike stand and I will never go back to the stand that screws into the tree. I also will never have an artificial tree...that was never an option on Saturday. We have no time to go across town to the farm, but we did find another small farm closer to our house that does drill the stumps, only we now have no time to go get the tree. So, after we wasted our entire morning merely looking at trees that would be beautiful with ornaments, we ate a quick lunch and headed for our classes.

After Saturday's class, once again, it's all a blur. I was obviously tired. We probably ate dinner and came home and I proceeded to go straight to bed. Sunday morning, we got up early to be at church to teach youth SS. Because of our 2nd childbirth class we didn't have time to go to worship. Instead, we went to brunch with some friends of ours, Katie and Britt, who also teach youth SS. Britt had to be at work and they also didn't have time to go to the worship service. We ate at...make a drum roll with your fingers on your desk...Waffle House. Oh if you only knew how much it took to get me in that place! We were first greeted in the parking lot with a very kind family. Waffle House was packed, so parking spots were few and far between. The closest spot was by a car that was parked crooked--actually, they were borderline perpendicular to the two yellow lines. The family was still in the car when we pulled up next to them. Our car was straight, very straight and definitely well within our yellow borders. The teenage boy got out first and looked me up and down in annoyed anger as he got out of the car. Then, the mom had barely enough room to squeeze herself out of the car. I watched her in the side mirror as she cursed and complained about how close we were. We were close, but only because of the poor parking job by dad, who also complained and compared the distance between bumpers as he stepped out of the car. Please...can you really look at the two parked cars and think that we, the ones who are parked straight within the yellow lines, are to blame? Black Friday Pregnant Brittany almost made an appearance, but Brent made her stay in the car until the family was inside.

Back to Waffle House...two places I refuse to eat are Waffle House and Lloyds (in Birmingham). I haven't been to a Waffle house in 6 years and I haven't eaten at one since 4th grade. I have a thing with germs, and I think I've mentioned this before. It's because of that 2 week long unit on germs in Mrs. Stanley's 2nd grade class. When I think of germs, Waffle House and Lloyd's always come to mind and I immediately associate them with filth. It's not so much the food I mind, but the atmosphere. It's sticky, old, and greasy. And if the atmosphere is that way, then the food must be that way as well, right? Ugh. But, Brent likes Waffle House and I've been telling him since we got married that I would eventually go with him to Waffle House. So I did and I've got my Waffle House fix for about 5-10 years now.

In the midst of all this, Sanibel must have eaten something that didn't sit well with her stomach. She was sick all weekend...on both ends, at the same time. We went through a lot of old towels, sheets, and even threw away an area rug because it was beyond repair.

The weekend ended with a freak out at 11pm on Sunday that almost sent me to the ER. See parts 2 and 3 for the rest of the story.


The Orange Jug and Unconditional Love

I'm lying in bed because I've put myself on bedrest. I went to the doctor yesterday and learned that I may have preeclampsia due to rapid weight gain (10 lbs in 2 weeks actually, and I'm not sure why I feel comfortable telling you that lovely fact. I'm not exactly thrilled about it, but I know it's all fluid and will disappear soon), high blood pressure, and swelling in my feet and ankles. I was sent to the hospital lab for blood work and to get the oh so exciting "urine jug". Basically, I had to collect my urine in a large, bright orange jug labeled "Urine Specimen" for 24 hours. Thankfully, it's over. However, it was inconvenient at school today--having to strategically plan my numerous bathroom breaks when students were not expected to be in the bathroom. I didn't feel like explaining to a 5 year old what was in my orange jug and why I had it in the bathroom. I have another doc appt next week, but if there is any concern with the lab results, they will call me in sooner. Meanwhile, I am monitoring my blood pressure at home--which, by the way, was completely normal this afternoon. I think part of the reason I had high BP at the doc's office is due to a very stressful week at work and the fact that I sat by myself in a quiet, sterile room for 10 minutes after the nurse told me I had gained 10 pounds. Any girl's BP would be high after that kind of information! So, even though I haven't been told to, I'm playing it safe and resting a lot until I have an all clear. I've had plenty of time to think while lying in the bed. Most of my thoughts have been filled with how blessed and thankful I am to have Brent. He has been more than wonderful to me throughout this entire pregnancy (and marriage)--completely selfless and willing to do whatever needs to be done...with a cheerful and joyful heart. No complaining, no impatience, nothing but his tremendous love for me in action. I'm very humbled. I don't understand why or how he could love me unconditionally. Then, I remember that he is loving me as Christ loves me, Who's love for me I really can not comprehend! God created the PERFECT husband for me and I hope and pray that I show my love for Brent as much as he shows me. I can't wait for the day that I get to see him hold our sweet Lily for the first time!


For the Alumni

I don't know much about football. Really, I just know that when a player has the ball in his hand and crosses into the endzone, 6 points are scored then the team has two options...an extra point or a 2-point conversion. That's the extent of my knowledge. Thanks to the "The Blindside", I now know what a left tackle is, but I can't find him on the field. I also learned just this football season that the quarterback can't throw the ball past the line of scrimmage, but he can run the ball past the line of scrimmage...and I'm not even sure if I said that correctly. I don't understand penalties, referee calls, plays, positions, and sometimes I can't even tell who has the ball. I have a hard time remembering the difference between offense and defense. I'm telling you , I know very little. But what I do know is that an alumni knows that it's more than just a game. If you are a graduate of Auburn or Alabama, you know exactly what I am talking about. The Iron Bowl means more to you than a scoreboard with more points on your side at the end of the 4th quarter. It's about the memories, the traditions, the friends, the city, the education, the professors, the stories, the tears, the laughter, the campus, etc. When you pull for your team, you are pulling for what's embedded on your heart...your love for ALL that is Auburn or Alabama. I grew up thinking that orange and blue were evil, ugly colors. Even as a student at Auburn, I pulled for Alabama during the Iron Bowl. It wasn't until I walked across the stage at Beard-Eaves, received my long awaited diploma, and moved my tassel that I truly became an Auburn fan. For me, it's not a competition of who's the better player, who's the better coach. It's about the feeling I get when I think about those 4 years in Auburn; or when I return to the town, walk down College St., and know I'm at home. There is just something rewarding about being a part of the Auburn family. I feel honored and privileged, first of all that I had the opportunity to attend a 4 year university, and second, that I am a graduate of Auburn University. There's nothing like it in the world. And I don't doubt that an Alabama alumni feels the same sense of pride about UA. You will never hear me say anything discouraging or negative about UA or it's football team, joking or not. Part of that has to do with my upbringing, but most of that has to do with the fact that I just don't play that game. I don't talk bad about another team to make myself feel better. I think it's low, very low, and shows poor sportsmanship. All that talk just doesn't matter to me--someone who is devoted to my team no matter the outcome. Auburn could lose every single game from here to eternity and I would still stick by my team, because it's more than football to me. So this blog is to all of you that attended and/or graduated from AU or UA--to those who know and understand what it's like to watch the Iron Bowl and have more passion and concern about the game than just a score at the end, because your love for your team is far greater than a number.


Lily's 4D Pictures

Holding up the number 1

Our favorite and probably the one that shows most of her face. We think she has her daddy's nose.


Jock Jams and Crocs

All apologies for my lack of posts...Lily Reese keeps me pretty exhausted these days. Here's some updates.

Did you ever own a Jock Jams CD? I know you did. Just admit it. Well, when I think about my size, I sing the cheer in my head from one of those CD's, "My back is achin', my belt's too tight, my booty's shakin' from left to right." It's my theme song. I knew for sure I was just absolutely huge until a mother of three at my school said that I haven't really gotten that big. In my opinion, it really doesn't matter what I look like, but more of what I feel like. And I feel huge, especially when I have to get up out of a chair, couch, or bed. I don't know...you can decide, but if you think I'm huge, please keep that to yourself. I'm already aware of my size.
Overall, my pregnancy hasn't been bad. But, I'm super ready to get this show on the road. I'm tired of being tired. It's so strange how I can be full of energy one second and the next, I'm suddenly stripped of all energy and I can hardly hold my eyes open. Of course, I only get that tired during the day when I can't sleep or on the weekends when I can afford to go to bed late. When it comes to sleeping on school nights, I've given up on a good night's sleep. It's not possible. I'm either uncomfortable, going back and forth to the bathroom, or breathing fire and taking Tums...and any combination of the three is a guarantee of no sleep that night, which happens at least once a week. I know that won't change once Lily is here, but at least when I get up in the middle of the night after she is born I will have a purpose. Laying in the bed wondering when I will go back to sleep is such a hopeless feeling. Many nights I have this awful pain in my left chest, thanks to an increase in hormones that slows down my digestion. It's pain like I've never felt before. I'm not supposed to lay on my back, but that pain comes when I lay on my sides...so, many nights I just sit up in the bed and sigh really loud until Brent wakes up and feels sorry for me, haha :) I've also had a rough time with back pain. Last week, it was so bad that I thought I was having signs of preterm labor. So, I slightly freaked out and called my doctor who said that it was most likely just growing pains from my growing uterus. She suggested getting a support band and if that doesn't do the trick, then I will have to go to physical therapy (as if I have time for that!). I haven't gotten the band yet...wearing another layer around my belly doesn't sound appealing right now. I'll get it eventually.

Our families have been up recently to help us with the nursery and other things around the house. The VK's were up here in September. They helped us stain the changing table that Brent's grandfather made for his brother Ryan. The drawers have always been white, but we stained the top part a darker color. Brent used chalk paint on either side so one day Lily can write on her furniture...yes, we are already teaching her bad habits. They also helped us change the ceiling fan in our den. It's taking us nearly a year to change all the lighting in our house...we would never financially survive a house flip. Last Monday, my grandparents (Mom and Pop) came up to fix our air conditioner. Something about a pipe being clogged, I don't really know. But it's fixed, and that's what matters! This past weekend, my parents and brother came up to help us paint the nursery and trim down some limbs in our front yard. Trimming the limbs didn't take as long as we thought, so Dad and Brent made the executive decision to cut one whole tree down. You can see our house now from the street! And, hopefully we will have some grass grow! We are so blessed to have family that will come up here and help with things that we can't do on our own! THANK YOU!!!
I'm in need of warmer clothes and new shoes. I guess we'll be headed to Kohl's this weekend. I can't wear anything but flip flops because my feet swell since I stand all the day long. But, I've got to find some comfortable closed toe shoes that can go with dress pants. One of the teachers at school suggested getting Crocs. I swore I would NEVER own a pair of Crocs, just like I've never owned a pair of Birkenstocks, but it actually sounds like a wise idea. Now that they have other styles, I might be able to find some that go with work clothes.

According to babycenter.com, I have 98 days until January 10. I'm starting to freak out a little because that is not a long time. There is still so much left to do. I'm not worried about being a mother, I know that will come naturally. I'm more concerned about labor, the thought of it scares me to death. I've never had any major operations and the only time I've been sent to the hospital was when I had to get stitches above my lip when I was 6. I was put in a straight jacket just so the nurse could give me the anesthesia. I hate going to the dentist, the doctor, and I especially hate going to the hospital for any reason. It's such a sterile environment and it makes me uncomfortable, not knowing what to expect.

I know this is a long post, but I have to brag on Brent before I'm done. He has been the most wonderful husband. I am so grateful for him, his patience, his selflessness, and his unconditional love for me. He does the laundry, cleans the house, fixes me water, brings me Tums, helps with dinner, cleans the kitchen, goes to the grocery store. He does it all and hasn't complained once. I am so undeserving, but he does everything with a servant's heart and tells me all the time, "I do it because I love you."

I leave you with a big kiss from the proud big sister, even though she is completely unaware (I think).


Respond and Rework

I haven't blogged in almost a month, which I think is a record for me. Sorry!

Ashley at Johnson and Johnson tagged me to Respond and Rework! Thanks Ashley!

Rules: 1. Respond and rework: Answer the questions on your blog, Replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, and add one more question of your own. 2. Tag other un-tagged people.
What's your favorite article of clothing?
I'm a tshirt and jeans kinda girl. I would wear that everyday if I could. Currently, my favorite article is any of Brent's tshirts because they FIT!
What is your favorite board game?
Oh there are so many: Clue, Life, Catch Phrase, Taboo, Mad Gab, Call to Order, Sorry...and the list goes on.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Growing up, we always decorated our Christmas tree while listening to Elvis Presley's Christmas album. Brent and I do the same...the tree is not decorated unless Elvis is singing in the background. My favorites are "Santa Claus is Back in Town" and "Blue Christmas". If you are ever over for our Christmas tree decorating, I guarantee you those songs will be on repeat and I will be singing and dancing around the tree.
What was the last thing you bought?
Ingredients for Poppyseed Chicken for Sunday lunch
What are you listening to right now?
Fox News and Brent talk to his dad on the phone about FSU and AU football
What is your favorite weather?
True Fall or Spring weather...weather that is not too cold and not too hot. Unfortunately, we don't really get that type of weather here.
Say something to the person who tagged you:
Hey Ashley! We need a coffee date soon, whenever I am in town again. Love you!
What is your favorite dessert or cool treat?
Warm chocolate chip cookies and a big glass of milk
What did you want to become as a child?
A teacher...but for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to be able to drink Coke in class, heat up my lunch in the microwave, and talk to other teachers in private behind a file folder. Come to find out...it's MUCH more than that :)
What do you want to be now?
A wife, teacher, and in 16 weeks I get to be a mommy to our sweet Lily Reese!
What is your favorite song?
This should have been the question I deleted because I HATE this question. How can you possibly think that someone can choose one song out of the 35,000,000,000,000,000...songs that have been recorded? I'm fickle with my music. It depends on my mood. But my only requirement is to be able to sing along to at least the chorus of the song and, if I'm able, dance as well. I enjoy a plethora of music genres. Therefore, I do not have a favorite song.
What is your favorite family tradition?
Laughing (the kind of laughter that squeezes your eyes shut and gives you an ab workout)for hours at the dinner table. I guess it's not really a tradition, but it's something that happens every time we sit down to eat.
If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Only for an hour? Wow, that's not a long time. If I could ignore the 12ish hours it would take to get there, I would go to Sanibel Island, FL.
What are your most challenging goals right now?
Effectively and efficiently teach two grades at one time; getting the nursery ready; saving money
What is your 5 year plan?
I don't know if these goals are set in stone, meaning I haven't really discussed them with Brent...but, have enough cash to go all out in Disney World for Lily Reese's 5th birthday and have land to eventually build a house on.
What is your favorite sport to watch?
SEC football
What show would you want to be a cast member on (reality included)?
The Office...without a doubt. I mean, Jim and Pam found out they were preggo the same week we did. It's kinda like I'm already on the show...minus the occupation and relationship status.
What is your favorite magazine?
House plan magazines...they always have been. When Brent and I were at Auburn and needed a cheap date, we would go to Barnes and Noble to get coffee. I would look at house plans while he would read Popular Mechanics.
What is your most prized possession?
I have 2: My wedding rings, because of what they symbolize. And, I have a box full of letters from my parents and grandparents that they sent me while I was college.
Name one favorite childhood memory.
Playing "Save Me" with Ben. Some stupid game we made up. The bed was the ship and if we fell out of the boat, we had to save each other before the alligators got us.
What is your favorite book of the Bible?
Either Proverbs or Psalms
What is your favorite quote?
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.' "
What is one country you aren’t interested in visiting?
Romania...it's just the first country that popped in my head that sounds like a boring place to be.
What is the link to your favorite YouTube video?
SNL Lawrence Welk Show 1
SNL Lawrence Welk Show 2
I know these aren't YouTube, but since it's my question, I can cheat.

I tag...
Sarah at The Chois
Kristin at The Sims



***Written by suggestion and with permission of Brent

I have officially diagnosed my husband with TRD (commonly referred to as "terd"): Tupperware Replacement Disorder. Seven...the number of times I have had to buy tupperware, gladware, ziplock containers, whatever you want to call it in the past two years. And, I don't mean I've had to replace a few items. Brent has totally wiped out our inventory of tupperware...6 times and counting. Brent can NOT keep up with it. Here's how the latest tupperware episode went:

Wednesday, August 19th--I give Brent leftover something or other for lunch
Monday, August 24th--Brent decides to finally remove it (the dirty, unrinsed tupperware) from work and bring it home
Thursday, August 27th--MORE THAN A WEEK LATER I sit down in the passenger seat in the Camry and my feet turn over a tupperware container. Juice spills out on my feet. You can imagine how that smelled as it saturated the carpet. Another container thrown away, and coincidentally the last container of the 6th set of containers we have purchased during our marriage.
Tonight--Guess what's on my grocery list? You guessed it...tupperware. However, I've learned my lesson. Instead of buying the good stuff that holds up in the heat of the dishwasher, I bought Food Club brand because I know that in about 2 months, I will be OUT of containers for leftovers and will have to replace them.

In the event that we are out of tupperware, or our ONE container is not clean, Brent often suggests that I give him a bowl...the real kind...and cover it with plastic wrap. Really? I'm not giving anyone with TRD 7 times over a real bowl.


It's a girl!

Lillian Reese is her name. We don't know what we are calling her yet (Lily, Reese, or Lily Reese). I'm all about a double name and Brent is completely against a double name, so we'll see what happens! She is named after my deceased grandfather's mom, Lillian. I never knew her, but she raised a wonderful man and he was a wonderful grandfather to me. The picture above is of Pop Pop and me Christmas 2007, right after Brent and I got engaged. He passed away in April of that year. Please ignore the bad picture quality and the shiny glare in my eyes. I've liked the name Reese for at least a year and knew I wanted my first daughter to be named Reese. But, since it's one syllable it needs to be a middle name (in most situations). I also wanted to use a family name. Lillian is what we liked the most, and really the only name that worked with Reese from both sides of our family. As it turns out, my mother-in-law, Teresa, is frequently called Reese by her dad and brother, so I guess we are using two family names. Brent didn't like the name Lillian when I first mentioned it to him (we were going with Madelyn Reese at the time) but now that it's official that we are having a girl, he LOVES the name and he is already wrapped around her tiny little fingers. She was 13 oz. on Monday and her heart rate was 148. She is about the size of a banana (in length). Sorry we haven't been keeping up with our family food portraits...it's just like housework, once I get behind a little bit, I'm completely unmotivated to catch up and I get even further behind. I'm not a quitter though...yet. Maybe we'll find time this weekend to catch up...maybe.

And for the poll results...

Looks like the SUV won the polls, but they are now closed. We originally anticipated it taking longer to find what we wanted...we have until September 10th to turn in the lease. I appreciate everyone's educated comments, suggestions, advice on the issue. Your comments were all considered when making our decision and the decision has finally been made. My father-in-law is a car salesman and found us a fabulous deal on a....VAN! It's a 2005 Honda Odyssey. Not only is the price just right, we are getting brand spankin' new leather, new brakes, new tires, and of course it will be shiny and clean when we pick it up Tuesday. We wanted something that was probably too large now, but that we could grow in to, at an affordable price and this particular van was right on the money. We looked at plenty of SUV's, but none of them ever felt like they were the right choice. If we went with an SUV, it would have to be a large SUV (ex. Ford Expedition or Toyota Sequoia) and quite frankly, I'm so short, I would need stairs to get a car seat/child in and out. It wouldn't be practical for me. And as far as my reputation goes...as my Cohort C girls know (because I always drive my mom's or grandmother's van when we go on trips together)...I've already proven that I can be a cool mom in a van. My mom and both grandmother's drive vans and I think they are pretty cool moms. So I know Lily Reese will be a happy camper :)


What would you do?

Brent and I have to get rid of one of our vehicles. While it makes complete sense that we would be getting rid of our 12 year old, 240k mile, rusting, permanently dirty, paint chipping, no more clear coat, full of character and surprises car...instead, we are getting rid of the 3 year old, mint condition SUV. Why? It's a leased vehicle (which we will NEVER do again) and it's due back in September :( I have loved it, but hated the ridiculous payments. I am happy to say that we made our final payment this month and it passed the final inspection...so no more of our money will be flushed down the toilet for a car that was never really ours in the first place! Obviously, we're in the market for a new car. And with a baby on the way, we've been looking into "family cars" a.k.a. large SUV's and, need I say that horrible "v" word that screams MOM? Brent has been convinced for a while that a van is the best investment. Before baby was on the brain, I had my heart set on a new model Camry since 2007 when they came out. I figured when my Camry finally died, I could afford a used 2007 Camry. My precious 240k car is still kickin' and it may look awful and really embarrass me in nice neighborhoods, but I'm dedicated to a Toyota Camry because mine has never caused me any issues...mechanically speaking. I've finally become okay with another larger sedan, such as a Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, or Saturn Aura. With a baby on the way, I'm thinking less of what I want and more of what will work best, all the while trying to remain a "cool mom." So that's where your opinion comes in. I'm in this for the long run. I don't want to buy a car now, pay it off in 2-4 years then buy another one. Once it's paid for, I'm driving that thing 'till it's useless. We went to CarMax tonight and vetoed a small SUV, like the Saturn Vue, even though I really like the looks of it. A small SUV is about the same size as a large sedan, and after a dog crate, a schizo dog, stroller, pack -n- play, suitcases, baby food, diapers, toys, beach chairs, floats, you name it...there won't be any room to breath. The choices are large SUV (Toyota Highlander or 4Runner, Saturn Outlook/GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot) or Van...there, I said it...a new model Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. Here's my thoughts:

Cool mom (esp. in the 4Runner because the back window rolls down...I've always loved that)
Room to grow
Room for vacation
Can get one with 3rd row if needed
Not as easy to get car seat in and out

Not a cool mom
Plenty of room, especially if the seats fold into the floor
Easy to get car seat in and out
Can serve similar to a truck if all seats are laid down
More room to grow than an SUV

Please vote in the poll and feel free to list any comments. Thanks for your input :) I guess my real need is for you to tell me that I can be a cool mom no matter what I drive.


Long overdue for a post

It was brought to my attention today through a conversation with my BFF that I haven't updated my blog in a while. Then we determined that neither one of us can complain about each other's blogs because neither one of us update often now that school has started back. I'm sent on a guilt trip every time I open my fridge...I see a turnip, bell pepper, and heirloom tomato staring at me because they are waiting in line for their portrait session with the VK family. I just haven't had the time. Really, Brittany, you haven't had the time to take a few pictures? It's true. I LOVE my new job...LOVE LOVE LOVE it! But it sucks all the energy out of me. I'm out of bed by 5:15 in the morning, back home in time to cook dinner, clean up, make lunches for tomorrow, then it's off to bed to do it all again. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. And I know that with the state my body is in right now, sleeping is far more important than a few pictures with food. But I will get to them, hopefully before this turnip turns black (or whatever color they turn when they are rotten) and mushy. Brent really wants to throw it away, but I won't let him. I'm determined to get a picture with that thing, no matter how nasty it looks. Updates: I feel the baby move everyday. I have felt what I think is a kick...my mom thinks it's a little early. But it's definitely been a poke of some sort. I find out on Monday (24th) if it's a blue baby or a pink baby. I use those terms because I always prayed for a blue baby when I was a little girl and I got a brother when I was 6...who, by the way, started college today! Woo Hoo! We (Brent and I, not my brother and I) have names picked...a girl name for sure and a few boy names we are undecided on. I'll let you know after Monday. Sorry for the lack of updates. Be looking for one on Monday!


Week 16 Family Food Portrait

It's a Black Friday every Saturday.

This past weekend, my mom's side of the family went to my grandparent's house to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. We all went up Friday night so we could get up early (6 am)Saturday and go to the Collinsville flea market...yea! I've never been before, but my Aunt Sandra and Uncle LaDaryl (haha, I hope I got it right this time) go frequently and always find great bargains. Normally I would care about bargains, but for my first trip, I was looking for blog fodder.

It's a Black Friday for Rednecks every Saturday. Just like the malls, you can get there as early as 4:30. You can't even SEE at 4:30 in the morning! How are you possibly going to shop outdoors? You can buy anything here: produce, strollers, axe handles, axe blades, toiletries, cereal, clothes, paintings, four wheelers, shoes, any tool you can imagine (Earnest keeps 'em in a barn), dogs, chainsaws, farm animals, designer purses and sunglasses, knives, swords, Amish soaps/honey/jam, and of course, people's junk that they want to get rid of.

I felt like I was in a Mexican marketplace: crooked shacks placed in about 6 narrow rows on unlevel gravel/dirt and LOTS of people. We only walked about 3/4 of the way down each row and I didn't really know why. Uncle LaDaryl informed me that the top of the rows housed all the animals. Becaues I love animals, I thought, "Oh how cute, I want to go up there!" It's not "cute" animals, it's animals waiting to be slaughtered for dinner later in the day. That explains why I saw so many people carrying live chickens in potato sacks. There were plenty of cute dogs, though. Hopefully those were not being bought for dinner. I could have spent the whole morning playing with all the puppies. But I couldn't trust the handwritten neon signs that told me they were up to date on shots. The sign should have said, "We didn't fix our dog, and now we have a lot of puppies. Please take them home." Some of the booths had so many puppies in one crate and they were literally sitting on top of each other, just crying for someone to take them home. I felt so bad for them, but with a baby coming, Sanibel has enough jealousy to deal with. I also came across a booth with a carseat! Covered in MOLD. Someone sarcastically suggested I get it, and I replied, "It's got mold all over it!" The guy behind the booth yelled back, "Shutup, it's only 50 cents." And Ben, in all his wittiness, said, "You won't be the one riding in it." I can buy a coke for 50 cents that's not going to give my baby respiratory issues, no thanks. One thing I saw that I thought was SO clever, especially for our poor child that will be so confused about what team to pull for during the Iron Bowl...a homemade outfit for a girl. Half in Auburn and half in Alabama. I would have bought it, but I don't know what Baby VK is (August 24th, I will!) and it was a teeny weeny outfit that wouldn't fit the baby when football season rolled back around. That was the extent of my morning at the flea market. Did I buy anything? Yes, a bottle of water and an avocado...for this:

My family with Mom and Pop. Mom (grandmother Mom, not mother Mom, it's confusing) is holding the avocado. This was after our dinner at Canyon Ridge in Rising Fawn, GA. We came back to their house and had wedding cake from Edgar's...yummo! Thanks to Samantha (Pop's GPS), who kept taking us in circles, it only took us an hour to get back to their house after dinner. Happy Anniversary Mom and Pop! We love you!



Good, Great, Awesome, Amazing, Wonderful, Incredible...nothing describes Him well enough.

Money is tight right now. I quit work 2 weeks ago to vacation and get ready for my new job and I won't see another paycheck until the end of September. So, that's roughly 2 months of a mortgage payment, car payment and all those other lovely pieces of paper called "bills". We are trying to save as much money as possible. Trying is the key word because it seems like anytime you try to save money, unexpected expenses come up and you just can't save like you want to. As my dad would say, "Welcome to the real world."

We usually tithe at the middle or end of the month. That's just the way it works out with our budget and bills. On the first Sunday in June, I was sitting in church and felt the need to write a check for half of our tithe amount. Even though it wasn't what we normally do and we didn't have the money to do it, it's what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do and I couldn't say no. I've learned that when He bugs you about something, you can't say no. There is no choice, a quick "yes" is the only answer you have. So, I whispered to Brent what I was doing and he okayed it and I put it in the bucket during the offering. The next day, we received a letter from our insurance company telling us they credited our account $167. The letter did not explain why, but it didn't matter. We chose to be faithful to God, because He has always been faithful to us, and He provided and blessed us in return.

It's the end of the month and we spent more money then we usually do in July due to weddings, traveling, and a vacation. I admit I was tempted to not tithe. It would make it a lot easier to make ends meet in August if we had extra money. On Tuesday in the Bible study I am doing with the high school girls, the chapter we read in Crazy Love was about giving...our money and our time. There was a story of a man who consistently gave 20% of his income to the Church. When his income dropped drastically, he didn't decrease his giving. He actually increased it to 30%. And, of course, the Lord was faithful to him. When I was tempted to not give this month, I realized that I'd be one lousy example to these girls if I'm encouraging them to have faith yet I have none. I remembered the previous story and I also remembered a quote from Crazy Love, "When it's hard and you are doubtful, give more." It was hard and I was doubtful, but the Holy Spirit was bugging me again. I wrote a check and sent it in the mail today. This afternoon, I was in the kitchen cooking chicken fajitas (yummo) when Brent walked in with a letter from the city's utility department. I was thinking, "Great, another expense." Because we have paid our bill on time for the past 2 years, they are giving us part of our deposit back with interest which will be applied to our account. You can't say it's just coincidence. It's just God being Himself, which is a pretty powerful thing. I'm not surprised. I think it's more of a WOW factor than a surprise. But, again, I am amazed and humbled by the truth of His Word and by His love for me. I'm going to put the letter somewhere in my house as a reminder that God is ALWAYS faithful and has never and will never fail to provide for me. I hope this motivates you to say yes next time He bugs you about something...it's for His glory and you will be blessed.

"You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and all that you undertake."
Deut 15:10 (ESV)


This is not church, this is Church's Chicken

On our way home from the beach (Fort Morgan) last Sunday, we stopped at THE most fine dining establishment and I've GOT to tell you about it. We left around 10:30 am, which meant finding a lunch spot would be a tricky one because if we ate while still on 59, we'd be eating too early and if we waited until we got to Greenville or Montgomery, we would be starving. So we had to eat somewhere in between. Where? Atmore, AL! Now, I've never been to Atmore before and we didn't go far into town, so I'm only making comments based on my experiences at this particular establishment. The appetizing exit of choice was the Wind Creek Casino exit (if you are familiar with I-65 in South Alabama). Mom thought we weren't dressed nice enough to eat at the restaurant in the casino. So, our options were RJ's BBQ and the Creek Family Restaurant that mom had eaten at before and said it wasn't good (surprise surprise). As excited as we could be, we got off the interstate and began looking for RJ's, which was only .6 of a mile according to the sign. We drove and drove and drove...far past .6 of a mile and never saw it.

Background info: we were in two vehicles and each had a walkie talkie we used to communicate and make decisions. In our van was Driver Brent, mom, Granny Rosie, and me. In the other van was Driver Dad, Ben, Quinton, and TH. Dad had already decided it was in his best interest to allow me to decide where to eat in order to avoid the "pregnancy attitude of disapproval" (of course, he made that decision long before we realized we only had one option...RJ's).

Back to the story--So we are driving down the road realizing that RJ's is no where to be found and we are headed into the middle of no where, and our chances of finding a place to eat are getting slimmer and slimmer. The boys didn't care what we did, I hate making decisions, my mom was reading her book, and Granny Rosie just wanted us to make a decision. In the meantime we kept driving. My mom has that notion about her that maybe, just maybe, if you keep driving you'll come upon a town that will have places to eat; so we do as she says and "see what's over that hill." And we came upon Atmore. If it were up to me, I would drive around the entire town, see what there is to offer, then make a decision about where to eat. I like to be well informed. Who knows, although highly unlikely, there could have been a Moe's or Panera Bread. Instead, Driver Brent pulls into the first restaurant we see...Church's Chicken, which was perfect because it was Sunday. I was hesitant from the start. We walked in and we were all looking for a bathroom...and there wasn't one. If it's not inside, the only place it can be is, yep you guessed it, outside. Similar to the nasty outdoor gas station bathrooms that never get cleaned because they are "out of sight, out of mind." Maybe this is selfish, but I felt better that I went after my grandmother and mom because I felt like they soaked up the dirty germs before I got in there. But I'm sure those germs were so intense in that bathroom that nothing could be done to sanitize it. The bathrooms in the middle of no where Mexico were cleaner than this one. It was one of those bathrooms where I felt that I would be more sanitary if I didn't wash my hands. The less time I had to be in there, the better. So after hand sanitizer and 3 Wet Ones, I ate my white meat chicken basket with mashed potatoes and a biscuit. Well, more like I picked at my food with my nose turned up. Wow, I sound stuck up...but I'm just a huge germophobe thanks to Mrs. Stanley and her unit on germs in 2nd grade. I was sure there had to be a better place to eat, until I saw all the church folks coming in at exactly noon to get their bucket of chicken family meal. It's a happenin' place on Sunday's. We quickly finished our meal, had another round of hand sanitizer and Wet Ones, and headed back towards the interstate. We were determined to find RJ's BBQ so we could know what we missed out on. Turns out that RJ's is in a gas station, right by the interstate...if it had been any closer to the interstate, it would have been sitting on top of it. It wasn't like a Subway that shares a building with a gas station; no, BBQ from a gas station. Surprisingly, I think we got the better end of the deal.

I have included this link of a Rickey Smiley (comedian) prank call about a lady who calls into Church's Chicken thinking it's a church. I would stop at 1:42. You can continue to listen at your own discretion...there is a dirty word at the end. Enjoy!


Family Food Portrait Week 14 and 15

I have failed miserably at my new tradition. Maybe I shouldn't have started it, but now that I have...I must keep going. Otherwise, one lonesome family photo of us with a lime is just lame. So, here goes week 14 (a lemon) and week 15 (an apple). I had great intentions with the lemon. I actually bothered to go to the store to buy ONE lemon. But last week got the best of me between finishing up my old job, getting started on my new job, and preparing for a week at the beach. So my lemon (the actual lemon, not the baby--that would be slightly impossible) sits lonely at home and I'm here at the beach with something other than a lemon or apple. I'm a little on the burnt side, so I went with my mom and Brent to the outlet stores today, instead of soaking in the sun all day. I was all excited about the Motherhood Maternity outlet. Smaller prices means it's easier to justify spending a small fortune on clothes that I will only wear for short period of time. I know I know, I will have other children and can wear the clothes again. But I'm sure I'll be preggo during another season, that would be my luck. Although the selection was greater than the actual MM stores in the malls, I was so very disappointed with the prices. I'm convinced they were higher than the non-outlet MM stores. At the least, they were not cheaper than the regular stores. I paid $40 dollars for a pair of jeans. I have NEVER done that in my life. My rule for jeans is $30 or less (unless, of course, someone is buying them for me). My mom convinced me to buy them, however, because they were the perfect length and length has been such a struggle for me when buying maternity clothes. Length is always an issue for me anyway, becuase I'm too tall for petite/short and too short for regular. If you are male, I'm sure you don't care. None of the talk about MM is all that important, I just wanted to share my frustration with you. I will say that a trip to the outlet mall that is usually an all day affair, is really cut short when there is only one store you can shop in :) After shopping, we went to Milo's for lunch. Probably my least favorite place to eat. For those of you not from the Ham or have no experience with Milo's...it's not just really sweet tea that you buy in the grocery stores. It's a fast food hamburger place that has their own "special sauce" that they pour all over your burger. Their theme song says, "Everybody goes to Milo's" but the song should say, "Almost everybody goes to Milo's." I'm not a fan, but it was either that or some chicken place and I didn't win. As my mom and Brent ate an apple pie, we discussed going to Wal-Mart to get a lemon and an apple for the family portraits. Then it dawned on us that we could do without Wal-Mart produce (nothing against Wal-Mart produce, I just don't like going there) and use the pie boxes instead, which so conveniently have pictures of lemons and apples on them. Wal-Mart still enjoyed a visit from us to get chocolate pop-tarts and a fishing license (which Brent still doesn't have thanks to the dept of transportation, but that's for another post). Here's the family pictures:

Week 14 Lemon. I'm covering the box so you can only see the lemon. BTW, we are on the longest pier on the Gulf Coast. It opened today after Bob Riley cut the ribbon. We're not fanatics or anything of piers. The weather was a little overcast, so we checked out the pier. Fish guts and rednecks galore.
"The pier is for fishing, not french kissing!" Name that movie.

Week 15 Apple. From the left: Me, Ben (brother), Brent, TH (cousin). Ben and TH are 100% redneck and proud of it.

So I realized tonight how much I LOVE seafood when I couldn't eat any of it! We went to our favorite restuarant down here, Shrimp Basket, and I always get shrimp skewers and crab claws. Not tonight. Chicken fingers for me please :)

Random: Babycenter.com (which provides all my baby updates, including the food for the week) informed me yesterday, on my Week 15 update, that I had "probably gained 5 pounds." Please! Wouldn't that be wonderful if I had only gained 5 pounds by now?!


Week 13

This week, this is as good as it gets. Of course, it would be my course of fate to start a new tradition and ruin it the 2nd week. The baby is the size of a medium shrimp. Now, there has been some confusion. Yes, a lime seems bigger than a medium shrimp. Babycenter.com is talking about length, so the lime was 2 1/2 inches and the shrimp is 3 inches. And the "bump" picture. Well, there isn't one for 13 weeks. Just trust me on this one...the bump is growing. And all of this food information changes tomorrow. I'll be 14 weeks tomorrow and starting my 2nd trimester. I'm so behind.

Here's what's going on in my life right now. Hopefully, this will help you understand why we haven't taken a family food portrait. First of all, I haven't been a typical teacher this summer, work still goes on from 6:30 am-4:30 pm everyday. Last week, I went out of town for Rebecca's wedding in Dothan. I left on Thursday night, so beforehand I had to make sure clothes were washed and Brent had food. The wedding weekend was SUPER fun! I had such a good time hanging out with my Cohort C girls from Auburn. However, for my exhausted growing body, I grew very tired very quickly. After 7 hours down and 7 hours back home, I returned on Sunday with a huge lack of sleep and a wonderful sinus infection. But that is the least of my problems. You see, it's tradition at the "Cohort C" weddings (the 4 girls that were in all my education classes with me) to dance to Hanson's "MmmBop" in a really loud, annoying fashion. Our signature dance move is jumping with one hand in the air, while we belt out "mmmbop, ba ba doo wop..." Many of you are probably wondering why I jumped while being preggo. I don't have an answer, but I do know that my baby will love to dance. Poppyseed has now been to 2 dance receptions in his/her lifetime and had LOTS of fun! Anyway, it's Tuesday and my calves are still recovering from jumping so much. I never realized how much I desperately need my calf muscles. Now, I've had sore muscles before from working out and what not. But it has NEVER been this painful. Anytime I have been sitting or lying down for any length of time, I first have to get my balance with my back hung over then I start walking. It's really more like a 100-year-old-woman-walking-really-slow-through-the Wal-Mart-parking-lot kind of waddle. I look ridiculous. My right calf is about 100 times worse than the left, so I also limp. I can't cross my legs and I can't even touch my calves for the screaming pain that is a result. And no matter how much I try to walk it out, I am convinced it's only getting worse. So moving on...I get home Sunday night and got in the bed at...drum roll... 1 am. I get up at...another drum roll...5:30 am. Surprisingly, I was FULL of energy yesterday at work. I had so much energy that after work, I went straight to the church to start working on my classroom until 10 pm. The exhaustion hit me today at work. I took a nap as soon as I got home for about 2 hours then I had Bible study at 7. So I'm here now, in the bed, blogging and checking email in between loads of laundry. My schedule for the rest of the week is crazy...Wednesday: work, classroom, youth service, classroom. Thursday: last day of work, classroom, pack for weekend mission trip. Friday: youth mission trip to a conference in the Ham. Saturday: back home, pack for beach, then back to the Ham. Sunday: AHHH beach for a week :)

Icing on the cake: Sanibel needs surgery to correct her Medial Patellar Luxation. If it's not one thing, it's always another.

Also, I received another Baby VK gift at Rebecca's wedding. She gave me a white bonnet for Baby VK to wear home from the hospital. Rebecca wrote a sweet note that said the bonnet was similar to the one she wore home from the hospital, and now it was her "something old" and one day it can be my daughter or daughter-in-law's "something old." Of course, I fell apart (no, it's not the pregnancy hormones. That reaction is pretty typical of me preggo or not) . I couldn't read the note and I could barely look at the bonnet. As soon as she handed it to me, the floodgates opened up and tears poured down my face--just imagining that I already have my child's "something old" and it's from a dear friend of mine. It really got to me and I thought it was such a sweet and precious idea. I don't have a picture yet. But it will be posted sometime in the future. Thank you Rebecca!


Family Food Portrait Week 12

I get fetal development updates every week from babycenter.com. The updates always compare the size of the baby to a type of food. Brent had the creative idea of taking family pictures with the food items each week. This week, our sweet poppyseed has grown to the size of a lime.

I usually have Bible study with the high school girls on Tuesday nights. But, I had to move it to tonight due to a family emergency on Tuesday (Brent's dad is in the hospital with a bad Staph infection). So, I took a picture with some of Baby VK's future babysitters. From left to right: Paige, Mary, Me, Tori, Whitney, and Katie. Notice that Sanibel is trying to eat the baby.

No pregnancy would be complete without belly pictures. So, here I am at 12 weeks. And, yes, those are Powerpuff Girl pajama pants that I have had since 9th grade. They are my favorite PJ pants in the whole wide world and I especially love them now for the elastic waist :)


Baby VK's First Gifts

Baby Names around the World from Aunt Katie (Brent's sister). The names in this book are ridiculous! Here are our favorites, but they are NOT candidates for names! The descriptions are funnier than the actual names.
1. Hayfa = Arabic for shapely
2. Heltu = Moquelunmam for like a bear reaching out
3. Kudio = Swahili for born on Monday
4. Luyu = Moquelumnan for like a pecking bird
5. Ronaele = Greek for Eleanor spelled backwards
1. Bobek = Czech for from of Bob
2. Danior = Gypsy for born with teeth
3. Iniko = Ibo for born during bad times
4. Kamuhanda = Runyankore for born on the way to the hospital
5. Nalren = Dene for thawed out
6. Tiktu = Moquelumnan for bird digging up potatoes

Ok we still have not had a blog poll for my mom's grandmother name. So, until she can give me some options, I'm calling her MeMaw. Not only did she get me Haitian maternity dresses from her cruise, she bought Poppyseed t-shirts from Cozumel. Obviously, the yellow if it's a boy and the pink if it's a girl.

My mom is the children's minister at the church I grew up in. Every year, instead of buying Lifeway's VBS shirt, she has a t-shirt contest for the kids. This is the winner for the Boomerang Express and she got Poppyseed one. The shirt is a youth small so it will be a while before he/she can wear it.

This gift just makes my heart melt every time I see it :) My sweet friend, Ashley, made this for my little one. I met her for lunch on Saturday at Panera Bread while I was in the Ham and she gave me this onesie and a card. If it weren't for the distraction of the weird man staring at me and making me uncomfortable, I would have cried. I can't help but smile when I see this. I look at it everyday :) It's just too sweet. Thanks Aunt Ashley...I can't wait for Poppyseed to wear it!

"If you think I'm cute you should see my Uncle." From none other than Uncle Ryan (Brent's goober brother). He went to the beach at the beginning of the Summer and he didn't care for any other souvenir but this onesie. His rule: Poppyseed has to wear this everytime we come home.

"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praise to my God while I have my being" Psalm 104:33. A long time ago, long before the thought of children seriously crossed our minds, I dragged Brent to Hartselle to go antique shopping. I saw this wall decor and absolutely fell in love. I almost bought it, but the frugal and sensible side of me talked me out of it. I made a promise to myself that if I ever came back and it was still there, I would buy it. Back in the Fall, my mom and I were in Hartselle and I went back in the store to see if it was there...and it was! So my mom bought it for Poppyseed (who was non-existent at the time).

I'm now 12 weeks along and starting to show! I feel like a bloated, swollen whale all the time. And I don't care what people say to try to convince me otherwise, I still feel like a swollen whale. I've been to the doctor twice, had an ultrasound and heard the heartbeat, quickly beating at 160! I keep forgetting to scan the ultrasound picture! It's a pretty bad picture. The technician had a great shot and then moved the camera just before she took the picture, so it's really blurry. Be looking for our new series. I haven't come up with a name for it yet, but it will involve food and family pictures once a week (we hope).


Never dreamed He would say yes

First of all, I can't believe my husband is a tweeter now. I am so against twitter it's not even funny. That's not to say I won't change my mind in the future. I just think it makes no sense to twitter right now when we have Ice Age phones that don't have wireless internet capability. I think it's Brent's way of convincing me to get him an iPhone or Google phone. Good luck, babe :)

On to the good stuff...and let me just say that this entire blog entry is for God's glory. If you were led here by my facebook status, I simply want you to know of God's goodness. I'm not looking for more blog followers. I want all of you to know that the one and only God is faithful, shows favor to His children, and gives us the desires of our hearts. I don't want you to miss the details of God's plan. I hope you find this worth your time.

I believe I was made for this. I was brought to where I am for such a time as this. Knowing what I know now and reflecting on the past 2 years, God has been at work in every single second of my life, preparing me for what I will be doing starting on August 10, 2009---teaching at my church's new Christian Academy. And it's no ordinary job. It's a mission field where I will get to disciple students everyday of my life, while I use the gifts and talents God has given me as an educator. I can't tell you how much joy that gives me. My heart's desire since high school has been to minister to young people. I've been doing that for nearly 2 years with my wonderful girls in SS and bible study. He has already granted me that desire and now He is broadening my mission field to disciple my students as well. I want to give you a chronological list of events that have led me to this place, because I feel that every situation I have been in prepared me for the next step in God's plan.

July 2007--Brent and I leave Fort Myers, FL to unexpectedly move to Alabama.
August 2007--I begin a temporary position at a public elementary school teaching 5th grade. For 3 months, Brent and I are looking for a church to serve in.
October 2007-During a carpool duty conversation with a kindergarten teacher, I am invited to visit her church. We went the following Sunday and joined the Sunday after that. I quickly learn and become interested in the pastor's vision for a Christian Academy in the near future. I can't express how grateful I am for this lady and her obedience to God to invite me to her church. None of this would have ever happened. She was a vital part of God's plan.
November-December 2007--I become disgusted with my work situation and look for any and every opportunity to get out! A receptionist position opens up at my church. I apply, interview, get the job and turn it down. I knew God wasn't ready for me to quit the teaching profession.
February 2008--Taught the high school girls at a disciple now at my church. Our host home was one of the pastors at my church, who was also the church representative on the school board for the Academy. I was given the opportunity to make my interest known.
January-May 2008--My job at the first school ended and, thanks to my asst. principal, I was given another job teaching 5th grade at a different school. I was sure to get a permanent position at either school I had worked at and didn't.
May-July 2008--After lots of time spent in the Word and in prayer, I realized that it wasn't in God's plan to teach at the previous public schools, no matter how much it didn't make sense in my finite mind. I felt God calling me to just wait one more year and He would bless me with a job at the Christian Academy. So I began looking for something to get me through the next school year, while I prayed to trust God and His promise of something amazing down the road.
July 2008--Offered a job to teach Kindergarten at a preschool THE SAME DAY that I was contacted to serve as a volunteer on the Curriculum and Education team with the Academy. Coincidently (even though it's not a coincidence at all, it's the work of an Almighty God), I would be teaching Saxon Math and A Beka Reading which were 2 of the curricula I would be researching and reviewing for the Academy.
August 2008-May 2009--worked with 24 incredible Kindergarten students that challenged me and gave me such joy at the same time.
April 29, 2009--My first interview with the Academy.
May 11, 2009--This day is very important. I forgot to tell you that in the midst of all this job stuff, Brent and I began praying for a baby in January 2009. On this day, I signed the offer letter for a teaching position at the Academy AND found out I was pregnant!
Today--got back from one amazing conference on Kingdom Education and how to become a Kindgom educator. I had the privilege of getting to know the wonderful principal and teachers I will be working with.

I never dreamed He would say yes. I prayed for this. At times, many times, I doubted Him. But He said, "Yes, Brittany." And not only did he say yes, He said, "I have fully equipped you to do what I have called you to do . You have no reason to doubt or fear, for I am working in you, I am the one teaching and discipling these students. I just need to use your physical body to allow Me to manifest Myself in you to accomplish My will." He said yes to both of my desires. Why? Why did He choose me to show favor upon? Who am I that He would want to love me enough to actually give me what I asked for? I am nothing, but He wants to use me for His glory. Wow...just utterly humbled and in awe of Him. I have learned that I can't put God in a box. I can't pray for something and then think He's not big enough to make it happen. From now on when I pray, I will dream that He will say yes. And if His answer is not yes, I will dream that His plan is greater than mine. I hope that I will always reflect on the past 2 years and know that He is always faithful. He might not say yes immediately and He may never say yes. But I know that if He doesn't say yes immediately, He will give me the patience and trust to wait on Him and His timing. And if He never says yes, He will make me satisfied with a "no" and offer something better. He always desires the best for me, and for you.

As a little side note, my new favorite song is "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road. You need to download it now :)


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