Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Fall Fun!

I warned you that I LOVE fall! We decided that even though Anderson attended boo at the zoo and the pumpkin patch he still needed a little more fall fun. Tuesday night we took him to campus for the annual Trick or Treat down sorority row.
I wish I had video of all the little sorority girls squealing "Awwwww....Charlie Brown" as he streaked by with utter indifference. Jeff says he can't wait to tell him in 20 years that he was more interested in potted plants on the porch than all 25 of the beautiful girls on each porch oohing and ahhhing over him.
I do have to tell on one poor sweet soul though...this poor little girl at the Pi Phi house asked me what he was and I replied "Charlie Brown" then she said with a sound of recollection...ohhhh followed up by the unfortunate question....which character is he from Charlie Brown? Wow!! That's really all I can say about that...

On Wednesday the mother ship FINALLY landed in t-town...Barnes and Noble!! Yeah!! I dropped off Anderson at school and headed over to check out the store. If you read this blog often you know that my absolute favorite place to be is a bookstore!! I spent the morning there...with Jeff calling to make sure I didn't get so caught up that I would forget to pick up our child! Anyway...I did pick up a goody for Anderson. A baby einstein video all about Christmas. I didn't even know they had one like that! I can't wait to break it out and properly introduce Ho Ho!!On Wednesday night Anderson had developed a bit of a cough so we stuck close to home. We only took Anderson to two houses in our neighborhood of close friends and then went over to our across the street neigbors (The Ingrams) for some chili and margaritas! Yum! We still had little man home and in the bed by 7:45 that night. THe next morning his cough was worse and I took him to the Dr. which leads to my next blog...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Whew...what a weekend!

This weekend was a busy, but fun one for all of us! Friday was Western Day at Anderson's school. All of the kids dressed up and were treated to a hayride, pumpkin games and a pizza party! Ms. Alicia said he giggled so hard on the hayride that she thought he was going to stop breathing! Meanwhile, Jeff took a well deserved day off and headed to Talledega with my Dad and my step-dad, Mike. We had given them both "ride-alongs" for their most recent birthdays. Jeff is going to blog about that later! After I picked Anderson up from school, we headed to GiGi's house for a fun-filled weekend! Fall is my FAVORITE season, so anything involving the words festival, pumpkin, hay, etc...I am sooooo there! Now that I have Anderson it will probably be even worse!!

Friday night after Jeff met us back at Mom's we headed to "BOO at the Zoo". They had everything decorated for Halloween. They also had little booths set up for trick or treaters and for carnival type games. We dressed Anderson in the warm version of his Charlie Brown Halloween Costume and enjoyed the evening. He had such a great time taking it all in! The staff was thoughtful enough to label the events that might be scary for younger children, so we breezed through the night without incident. It was a blast seeing all of these kids in their costumes!

Saturday morning after sleeping in until almost 9:00 am...Praise GOD!!!...we headed to Old Baker Farm in Harpersville to go to the Pumpkin Patch. It is about 15 minutes past my mom's house, so it wasn't too bad of a ride. We had a blast there too! We were treated to a tractor parade, which Anderson watched in awe! I swear he didn't blink! We also go to pet several farm animals and see a Turkey! They had booths there selling everything from roasted corn on the cob to stationary! We also watched Native Americans do traditional dances and rode a hayride to a real pumpkin patch to pick out Anderson's very own li'l punkin! Our little guy also enjoyed dancing to a bluegrass band! I love to watch him dance!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I can't figure out how to rotate it, but here it is anyway...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mommy... I picked you a flower!

Anderson has become obsessed with all things outside...including flowers. This has meant more than one casualty for my potted plants on the back deck. How can you be mad at that sweet face though!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Congrats Dawn and Mike!!

This past weekend our good friends Dawn and Mike got hitched in Ohio! Dawn has been in my bible study group for the last 3 years and Mike and Jeff meet on Friday mornings for their own bible study. You may remember Dawn from Anderson's birthday extravaganza! She is the music therapist from the RISE school and played the guitar and did some fun and silly songs at his party.
We are so happy for them and can't wait to hear all about their big day when they get back!! These pictures are from a shower a few others from our group and myself hosted for Dawn a few weeks ago.

This group of women have had a huge impact on my life. We are a very close knit little clan that even earned us a knickname that is VERY Cheesy, but never fails to make us laugh...the "Soul Sisters". They prayed over my belly when I was pregnant with Anderson and have watched him grow and grow and grow! We have all shared so much, and I can't imagine missing Tuesday nights although I have had to attend the morning sessions lately due to childcare issues. They are a fun group and I miss them very much!!

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer!

What a weekend! I kicked off the weekend Friday by going to meet my mom to hand over Anderson for the weekend. My mom LOVES having Anderson for more than one day even though we've only let her do it 2 or 3 times in 16 months! I really think Anderson enjoys the change of scenery as well. I am sure he gets bored with me all day every day!! Besides at GiGi's naps are a "maybe" and bedtime is certainly extended. The milk also flows freely! When I called to check on him this morning, mom said he's not really eating that much, but he's had three sippy cups of milk....Hmmmmm, who wants sugar free oatmeal in the land of milk and honey!
Friday night they spent most of their time riding the golf cart around the property and playing with the dogs, Lucy and Libby. Saturday morning they headed out to the Mt. Laurel Fall Festival. A great time was had by Gigi, Pop and our little man. They even honored our request to dress him in his Alabama shirt during game time. When I called from the game to check on him at 2:15 they were still at Mt. Laurel. Nap time is at 1:00...oh well! Sunday was a lazy day. We slept until 9:30 and then headed to church. I picked Anderson up after his afternoon nap around 3:00. Mom also managed to squeak in time to make Anderson's Halloween costume. More on that later!

As for our weekend, it was also great even though we missed our sweet little boy. After dropping Anderson off I met my friend Jennifer for lunch where we actually talked about grown up stuff...not one mention of developmental milestones or the latest Baby Einstein release! Afterwards I did possibly my favorite thing to do...I lost myself in a bookstore. That's right!! I spent 3 entire hours in a bookstore. It was pure bliss!! In my single days I did that quite regularly. I spent many a Sunday afternoon at Barnes and Nobles, but it is hard to make that kind of time with a little one running around! Anyway..Then I drove back to Tuscaloosa and Jeff and I had a date night. We went to Chuck's fish for sushi...Yummy!

Saturday morning we slept in and then headed to campus for the game. I hate 11:30 games because there's no time to hang out on the quad beforehand. So we went a little early...just early enough for a stop by the Stadium House to see our friend Kathryn.
Kathryn reads my blog faithfully every week, so she'll be delighted to have "made the blog"! Then we went into the game just in time to catch the flyover, which by the way...they should really announce way ahead of time. Every time it scares me half to death!! We watched 4 full quarters of Alabama pounding Tennessee. We have a special place in our hearts for UA/ UT match-ups. Jeff is from Phil Fulmer's hometown in Tennessee, but grew up the black sheep in the family as a Tide fan. And if you do the math (remembering that Anderson was nearly 5 weeks early) you can see why Jeff sometimes calls him our little "Rocky Top". We capped off our fun weekend with a big pot of chili and an Auburn loss! What more could you want in a weekend!! Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Silversmith

I have really struggled with the death of our very young neighbor (see previous post). Even though I didn't know him that well I think it certainly brought to light issues that I, nor anyone else, like to think about...death, the possibility of dying young, etc... However, God in his perfect timing allowed me to hear this analogy Tuesday morning at a bible study. For some reason this little analogy really opened my eyes and I hope it will mean something to you as well. It really blessed me...thank you Lillian!

Some time ago, a few ladies met to study the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse:

"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Malachi 3:3).

One lady decided to visit a silversmith, and report to the others on what he said about the subject.

She went accordingly, and without telling him the reason for her visit, begged the silversmith to tell her about the process of refining silver. After he had fully described it to her, she asked, "Sir, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"

"Oh, yes ma'am," replied the silversmith; "I must sit and watch the furnace constantly, for, if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be destroyed."

The lady at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

God sees it necessary to put His children into the furnace; but His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us. Our trials do not come at random, and He will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.

Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "How do you know when the process is complete?"

"That's quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished."

-Author Unknown-

Isn't it awesome to know that no matter how hard the flames burn this poor woman right now that God will not take his eyes off of her until he can see his own image in her?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Words fail me....

I have spent the majority of this morning crying and have slept very little since yesterday. We had a horrible tragedy occur to some neighbors down the street. Please pray for our neighbor down the street, Beth Mann. Beth is about my age and 6 to 7 months pregnant. Last night she lost her husband, Dean, who was only 32. The initial thought is that he had a massive heart attack or possibly a blood clot. We didn't know them except in passing, but I am heartsick after witnessing what happened last night. Jeff and I were coming back in the neighborhood from an errand around 7:00 last night. The street was blocked with paramedics and fire trucks. All of the neighbors were out in the yard, and it was quite evident that something was very wrong. As we pulled over to the side and spoke with some neighbors we learned that Dean had collapsed in the yard. They had been painting the nursery, and he was moving a hutch from the garge into the front door when he collapsed. A neighbor started CPR and 911 was called, but after 15 minutes they had not been able to get a pulse or heartbeat.

Unfortunately, Jeff and I witnessed them working on Dean and him being loaded into the ambulance. We also witnessed Beth's shock and grief, and it is something I wish I had never heard or seen. I can't imagine the pain of being pregnant and knowing that your child will never know her father. Her reaction will surely be imprinted on my brain for the rest of my life. I barely splept last night. As a mother to a small child I guess it just hit very close to home.

Beth is due on Feb. 2 with a daughter who they plan on calling "McKenna". She was admitted last night for observation and sedation, but is home now. The friend I spoke with said she really wanted her to stay overnight, but that Beth was adamant about going back home. In talking with some of her friends this morning I learned that Beth and Dean are from out of state (Ohio and Illinois...I think) and that she lost her mother to cancer within the last couple of years. They are members at First Methodist. The family is just starting to arrive now and it is heartbreaking to watch.

Please pray for Beth and baby Mckenna right now. She is certainly in need of peace that passes understanding at this moment. Pray that she could grow to undersand that God works all things to our good even if we don't understand his ways at the time....and cherish the ones you love. As we learned last night, you just don't know how long you will have with them. Every day is a gift.

(Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. {9} "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Friday, October 12, 2007

On the subject of Lovies....

Anderson has never really felt much of an attachment for any particular toy or stuffed animal. As an infant he never took a passie. Each time I would try it, he would just look at me like "Look Lady...this "bottle" is broken...nothing is coming out!" However, lately he has taken an interest in two stuffed animals. The first is his stuffed elephant from Aunt Susan (my step-sister-in-law). At the time she gave it to him it was bigger than he was. I swear it is the softest thing I have ever seen! Anderson has a habit of pulling it around by it's trunk and then every once and a while tickling himself with it! I was lucky to get that shot on camera!! Of course now whenever Anderson sees an elephant he says in his adorable little toddler voice..."Tide!"

The second animal is Lambie. This was a gift from Anderson's cousin Anna. She lives in Tennessee, so we don't see her too often, but she is always so excited to see Anderson! On one trip when he was only a handful of months old she gave him lambie. Sweet, I thought...however, I didn't realize how important lambie was to Anna. When Andrea, Anna's mom, saw that Anna had give us lambie she was shocked! It had been Anna's favorite stuffed animal since she was a baby and still sat on her bed even as a 5th grader! It made me tear up a little to see Anderson hug on it so hard recently. These pictures are from this morning when he first woke up. All he wanted was his mommy and his lambie!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tailgating Toddler Style and Happy Birthday Daddy!!

All season long Jeff and I have watched other couples with little ones bring them to the quad to tailgate before home games. Although the kids always looked like they were having fun, we decided to pick only one game to bring Anderson along. There are a few reasons for this...He'd get too hot, He'd be way too mobile and we'd be way too tired after chasing him and then there's the logistics!!!
We are in a tailgate with several friends, but if we are bringing Anderson we prefer to set up our own tent so we'll have plenty of room. This requires going to the quad Friday night to drop off the tent, table, paper products, chairs, etc...Then after the game we have to go home and wait for the crowd to clear before going back to get all of that junk when we can actually park near it! That's a lot of work to do week in and week out!
Lastly, we consider football games as kind of "our" time. It's like date night, but with a play clock! :-) If I were working I would have a hard time leaving him with a babysitter on the Saturday home games, but since I stay home...he's getting plenty of mommy time and mommy sometimes needs a cocktail and a break!

Now having said all of that...we decided to take Anderson to Homecoming this year. We were willing to go to all of the trouble to take our little man to the quad for a day of fun.
We gave away our tickets to our housekeeper in order to really make a day of it! Who knew that one week into October temperatures would still be in the 90's! We set up a tent with friends and fellow parents Matt and Jennifer whose little girl, Giulianna, is Anderson's girlfriend. Since it was Jeff's birthday on the 8th I brought along a cake for him and everyone to share. His present from us was a picture collage that I will post soon!

Jeff had the bright idea to make half of our tent a bigger version of a pack and play.
He bought some construction type barricade and used it around three of the four tent stakes. It worked perfectly! We put down a Neat Sheet to keep him from being completely in the dirt! We also took plenty of toys so that he would like being in "Jail"! This way we had a place to put him when we were tired from chasing him!It was so funny watching people walk by our tent and laugh. You could tell who had toddlers at home because there were many "What a great idea" comments thrown our way. What can I husband...Macguiver!

We walked around the quad a lot and went to kiddie land on the other side of the quad with all of the blowup kid toys. Anderson didn't quite understand why he couldn't jump in there with all of the big kids. We walked down sorority row to see the lawn decorations and watched the band warm up. Eventually we walked over to the Student Center to cool down. Of course Anderson "eagle eye" Smith found a set of stairs! His favorite!!I was a little worried about not being home at nap time, but it went exactly as I figured it would...when he gets tired enough he will sleep.
He slept for over an hour in his stroller even with all of the chaos surrounding him! It was a fun day...but again probably the only time we will get him out there this year! It was a lot of work!
Here are a few more pics...I know I post too many, but I can't help it. I love pictures, so it's too hard to narrow it down!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

A few random pictures...


Thursday night Jeff's friend Greg offered to come and watch Anderson so we could have a "date night" to comemerate our mini- Anniversary. Greg and Jeff are big duck hunters. They have been on many a trip to Arkansas to hunt and kill these poor defenseless little animals...I don't get it, but hey...he loves it!
So anyway...Jeff got out his duck caller when Greg came over and Anderson loved it! He had never seen one before, but somehow knew to put it up to his mouth and blow. He walked around for 20 minutes blowing it and smiling at the sound it made. Then he would force Jeff's mouth open with his hand and make him blow it.


On many mornings after Anderson is finished with his breakfast he walks to the back door and in a demanding voice points to it and says..."Out". I can't say no to those baby blues too often. This morning I gave in and got some cute pics of him on the back deck in his PJs! He loves seeing "AAAHHHH" (that's what he calls Atticus.

This morning he also tried to hatch an escape plan as seen with this picture of him trying to squeeze his head through the rails of the deck! He was so frustrated when his head didn't fit! he also LOVES swinging or going down the slide as you can see from these pictures taken a week or two ago. I am so glad he loves the outside. I can't wait until we start getting some fall weather!!


Anderson is napping right now, so I am going to try to post a few things I have been meaning to get up for a while now!!

Our small group leaders, Stephen and Elizabeth, welcomed a little girl last Friday. Sophia Noelle will be joining big brother Brennan and older sister Bella. A small group is kind of like a Sunday school class, except we meet on Sunday nights and eat dinner at each others homes. Stephen and Elizabeth used to host at their home, but Elizabeth was on bedrest so we started going over to the Lowery's instead. We are so glad that Sophia is here and safe. She is beautiful!

Another friend of mine welcomed a baby this week as well! Karen and I went through middle and high school together and undergrad at Alabama. She moved to Augusta Georgia for a few years to complete her residency in Dermatology. Now that she is "Dr. Walker" she has moved back home to Tuscaloosa. She and her husband Jonathan have one son named John who is 22 months and now welcome baby James Wheat Walker to the world!! He is perfect just like his mommy.
She is one of those rare people that has it all going for her...she is Ms. America beautiful... and smart i.e. the whole Doctor thing, and most importantly she is the nicest person you will ever meet! James is lucky to have such a great mommy!

Jeff was nice enough to let me drop Anderson by his office for a few minutes so that I could go and visit Karen and James. When I got back to pick him up he was siting in a big boy chair...too cute!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

3 Years ago today....

...I met my sweet husband on a blind date on the corner of University Boulevard in front of Phil's Wings. We had talked on the phone for a week before that, but it was a completely blind meeting! A week earlier than that I was in Tuscaloosa (I lived in Birmingham at that time) for a wedding. I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle that night and the next morning after much prodding on their part I went to Sunday School with them. While in the Sunday School class, Renee, Jeff's former secretary, asked if I was single. I had never met her before and found it quite odd that she was so adamant about setting me up since she knew NOTHING about me! That was definitely a God thing! I decided it couldn't hurt to give my Aunt permission to give her my number to give to this guy! Renee was very determined to make it happen and tracked my aunt down later that week. Thanks Renee! 6 weeks later we were engaged! read correctly 6 weeks!! And we thought that was "waiting"! HA!!

We talked on the phone for a week before Jeff asked me to the Ua vs. South Carolina game on Oct 2nd. Normally, I would never have agreed to do that without meeting the guy in person first (afterall that is an all day long date!) but our phone conversations were so much fun I decided to throw caution to the wind! I had never laughed so hard in my life! I could also tell by our conversations that he was a really good guy, so I thought I would give it a try! I walked down the strip with my friend Ashley to meet Jeff and have a drink before the game.

Sometimes when we walk past that spot on the strip, usually on the way to a game, I think about how many "coincidences" had to occur for us to meet. I had to go to the wedding in t-town, go to a sunday school class for married couples that I never went to before, Renee had to be there and see me and think of Jeff. Jeff also had been talking to another girl that lived in Birmingham and suddenly decided that he wanted to meet me first before asking her out...he later called her after our first date to tell her he had met someone and politely bowed out of a planned date. We both had to agree to the set up which was quite a stretch. We had both sworn off blind dates at that point! I look back on it now and see God's fingerprints all over it, and I am so thankful!

I love you Jeff and I wouldn't want to live this crazy life of mine with anyone but you! I couldn't ask for a more compassionate husband or a more involved father for Anderson. You are light to everyone that has the pleasure of crossing your path. You have made me a better person and a better Christian. Your influence on my life is immeasurable, and I am so glad we both took that crazy chance...and that none of our friends or families held an intervention or thought we had completely lost our minds!! ha!! I love you like a fat kid loves cake!! Muah!!!