Sunday, August 31, 2008

This is Alabama Football ...

Well, not quite since we weren't in Tuscaloosa. But, a Clemson butt-whoopin' was a nice way to start the season and Will and I had a nice parents' weekend out in the ATL. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house early Saturday morning and headed to Atlanta where we checked into our hotel and then grabbed lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. We got a super-great deal at the Doubletree Suites in Marietta, where we were greeted with a warm chocolate chip cookie at check-in. We booked our room through Hilton's website and got a deal because we booked a non-refundable room. I think we paid $80 for our room and it was super-nice (see photos below). After lunch, we headed downtown to the Georgia dome via Marta (Atlanta's public transportation). Even more than 4 hours before the game, we were packed like sardines on the train. Once we got there, we met up with some friends at the CNN center where we hung out until game time. I have to say, after spending many a Labor Day weekends in Tuscaloosa for the first game of the season, where it is sooooo HOT, it was nice to be in the air-conditioned dome for the game. When we were assured a Bama victory with 7 minutes to go in the game and a 21 point lead, I convinced my husband to head back to the hotel since the clock was quickly approaching midnight. So, we packed back onto the Marta train and headed home. Let me just say that the Clemson fans we saw after the game were the most gracious losers. We rode the train home with mostly Clemson fans since they were really the only ones leaving the game. We were in quite the minority to say the least and if I had been packed on the train with a bunch of UT or Auburn fans, I don't think I would have felt quite as safe.

Here is my funny story of the trip. We got into the stadium about an hour before the game started and decided to go ahead and get something to eat before the game started. We stood in line for about 20 minutes and finally got our 2 orders of chicken tenders and fries. As we were walking back to our seats, I stepped in a very large spill of beer on the floor and BUSTED! Will was walking right behind me and said I fell hard. I mean, my feet just slipped right out from under me and I landed on my butt. I was a little sore and bruised the following day, but fortunately, I did not have any major injuries. I did however, loose my chicken tender meal (to the tune of $8) and smelled like beer for the rest of the game. Honestly, I was more upset about the food than anything else.

We finished off the weekend with breakfast a Cracker Barrel and a stop at the Georgia outlet mall on the way home. The kiddos survived the weekend with Meme and Poppy despite the fact that Claire came home with a black eye (see photo below) and David apparently spent the night on the dog bed in my parents' room. (It made a good pallet according to my mom. Hope that the dog didn't mind giving up her bed to the baby for a night!)

A photos of Claire's "boo-boo" under her right eye. She ran into the corner of my parents' kitchen table. I am surprised she did not make me put a band-aid on it. She is all about band-aids right now. I think she thinks they are stickers. She is also very attached to the masking tape name tag they put on her back in the nursery at church and wants to wear it all day long.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday: Papa God

Now for a more serious post. If you read my first post, you know that one of the reasons I started this blog was to become a more thoughtful and reflective person. At the beginning of the year I joined a weekly bible study with some girls from our small group at church. We just finished a book called "Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas that I loved. So ... I plan to post each week what I learned from the study about "how raising children shapes our souls" (that is the byline of the book-I didn't come up with that myself). Here are a few bullet points from the first chapter:
(1) The process of raising children requires skills that God alone possesses and I am not God.

(2) The genius of children from a spiritual standpoint comes from their helpless state-we are fallen, helpless and in need of someone to pay the price on our behalf and then imbue us with a foreign power to live life the way it was meant to be. Parenting daily reminds me of my need for God.

(3) Having children is not about us-it's about God. He commands us to "bear fruit" and raise children who will love Him and obey his commandments.

(4) We must see parenting as a process through which God purifies us-the parents-even as he shapes our children. If we neglect our own spiritual well-being, our motivations for parenting become polluted. Parenting will lead us to confront spiritual sins that we never knew existed. Paul defines the process of parenting as "perfecting holiness".

(5) A God-centered parent acts out of reverence for God-it doesn't matter how my children respond to me as much as it matters what God has called me to do. When God does not supply our motivation, we may raise courteous, obedient children, but we won't pass on what is of ultimate importance.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. This book has some good stuff in the coming chapters.
"Dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." 2 Corinthians 7:1.

A little political humor

I lifted this from a friend's blog (see Everyday Bailey). It is too funny. Now, I hope that no one takes themselves to seriously and is offended by this. I was laughing out loud ... and I think I want to move to France.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when one cow drops dead.
You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.

You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.

You have millions of cows.
They make real California cheese.
Only five speak English.
Most are illegals.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I am a cheap date!

This is what my hubby told me on our way home from dinner last night. I consider that a compliment in today's economy ... especially when a date involves the added expense of childcare. We can thank the Entertainment and Citipass coupon books for our cheap date. We ate dinner in Nolensville at Bricks Cafe for $16 (including tip) and then stopped at Cold Stone Creamery on our way home for buy-one-get-one-free ice cream for $5. The babysitter cost $26 for a date-night total of $47 (not including gas of course). I am very proud of our thriftiness. NOTE: Several people have told me that you can check the Clipper magazine for good deals too and they typically have coupons for Bricks Cafe, which I highly recommend if you are not in a hurry. The food was great and they have a good variety of food, but the service was SLOW!

Friday, August 22, 2008

David: 4 months old

David is now 4 months old. At his well-check last week he weighed 14 lbs., 5 oz. and was 24-1/4 inches long. This past week has been a big week of firsts. He had his first ear infection (yeah for antibiotics!), he ate cereal for the first time, and he rolled over (from his tummy to his back). Here are some photos of his big accomplishments.

Sitting in his exersaucer. This is his new favorite toy ... if he can get into the seat before his sister beats him too it. Claire loves this thing. I have actually thought about buying another one for her at a consignment sale. It keeps her contained for a little while at least.

His first night of eating oatmeal cereal. I forgot how messy this was! He quickly got better with keeping the food in his mouth and is now quiet the proficient little eater.

Getting ready for the second night of cereal. We moved him to his big-boy highchair so he could sit at the table with sister. He seems pretty happy about that!

Sew What?

One of my favorite hobbies is sewing clothes for my kiddos. It invades a lot of my spare time (when I should be sleeping), but it saves me a ton of money and my kids have unique clothes that are made with love. On a side note, the kids clothing industry is OUT OF CONTROL. I refuse to pay more for my kids' clothing than I pay for my own when their clothes are about a quarter of the size of mine. I will give a shout out to on of my favorite kids clothing lines, Rosie Posie Children, that was started by one of my former book club buddies and a friend from church. Anyway ... I digress. The purpose of this post is to show off some of my handiwork. I hope to make this a monthly post so that you can see what I have been working on and so I will be motivated to get some projects finished. Below are some photos of outfits I have made over the past year.

Claire (18 months): October 2007. We will wear this again this year as a top with orange/white check pants.

Claire (21 months): January 2008 - Love the Snowman applique!
Claire and Hartley: August 2007-You can't see it very well in the photo, but the red fabric has little white elephants on it. The coordinating plaid is red/black/white check. Roll Tide! Hartley's parents are our best friends in Tuscaloosa and we stay with them when we go down to Alabama for football games. He is one month older than Claire.

Claire (15 months): July 2007

Claire (15 months): July 4, 2007

Claire (23 months): March 2008. This top to this outfit is reversible and the inside has a cupcake applique. She wore the top as a dress for her first birthday. For this past spring, since the dress was too short, we reversed the top and made a pair of matching pants.

Claire and Evie (2-years): Claire's top has super-cute clowns on the fabric (to celebrate her second birthday). Evie has on a little a-line swing dress that I made her and Claire with some super-cheap fabric from Wal-Mart. Both dresses cost me less than $4. Evie is my sister's little girl who is 3 months older than Claire.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A cast of characters

Here we are. A few facts about each of us below:

Will: He is patient and kind. He is calm and level-headed. He is loyal and outgoing. He is smart and hardworking. Likes: Alabama football, golf, snow-skiing, Chicago, travel and watching ESPN Sports Center. Dislikes: change, mayonnaise (or any white, creamy food), people who are high-maintenance, clutter.

Susan: I am organized and nurturing. I am quick-tempered and a procrastinator. I am a bookworm and observant. I am quiet and reserved. Likes: sewing, scrapbooking, tennis, snow-skiing, reading on the beach, celebrity reality tv shows (e.g., The Hills), a good glass of wine, girls night out, Disneyworld. Dislikes: laundry, being overwhelmed, feeling tired, telling people "no", whining/complaining.

Claire: She is our firstborn. She is my mini-me. She is a busy little bee and a good helper to mommy. Likes: playing outside, swimming, swinging, talking on the telephone, singing, jumping high, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Elmo, Barney, french fries from McDonalds (really, from anywhere), bathtime, Dora panties, riding in Mommy’s car (because it has a DVD player), visiting grandparents, her cousins Evie and Davis, cheese, hot dogs, candy, ice cream and going to Beth’s house (our neighbor). Her dislikes: nap time, bed time, leaving the playground, mommy’s tv-shows, fireworks and timeout.

David: He is our baby. He is all smiles unless it is time to E-A-T. He is very laid back and rolls with the punches. He looks more like his Daddy, but still a lot like his sister at that age. Likes: milk, his swing, the mirror in his crib, kicking his feet, television, pulling Claire’s hair, his blue fuzzy blanket. Dislikes: loud noises, shots, medicine.

Blogging away all my free time ...

After many months of stalking the blogs of both friends and strangers, I have finally decided to take the plunge and become a blogger myself. I don’t really need another hobby and my free time is very limited. Nonetheless, I decided to blog because:

1) I love reading other people’s blogs (even people I don’t know) and hope that people will enjoy reading my blog. It is fun to connect with people who share my daily struggles of being wife and mother ... of being a woman of God and follower of Jesus Christ.

2) To show off my greatest accomplishment ... my family! (I will introduce them in a post to come.)

3) To stay in touch with family and friends both near and far. Some of my favorite blogs are those of friends who live right down the street. I have accepted the fact that I am just too busy to keep up with all of my friends on a daily basis. While this is a sad fact and something I try to overcome with my closest of friends, I feel like I have gained some intimacy in my more casual friendships by reading these friends’ blogs.

4) To keep up with my scrapbooking. I am an avid scrapbooker, but once the kiddos arrived, I fell behind on my scrapbooking. My two year old does not have a baby book yet. I am finishing up our 2006 family album (a work in progress since the beginning of 2006). I have not even developed any pictures of my 4 month old. Thank goodness for my super photographer and friend Jadie Thomas or I wouldn’t have any photos of my sweet baby boy. I am thinking that if I keep up with the blog, at least when I get ready to scrapbook my kids’ lives (probably when they start school), I will have good notes!

5) Journaling/reflection. I have never been very good at keeping a journal. However, I am tired of looking back at a period of time and thinking "where did the time go" and "what did I accomplish." I am hoping to learn more about myself and grow in this process.

So ... there it is. I hope you enjoy the blog. Please feel free to comment.