Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Not So Extreme Makeover

I've been feeling sick all week but kept pushing myself and just getting worse. Yesterday, I finally took some time just to rest. Other than taking care of Willow Grace and doing laundry, I didn't do much else. I did, however, spend quite a while yesterday playing on a virtual makeover site. You can find it here. Too much fun! You can try on all types of hairstyles, change your makeup, and even change your eye color. It was interesting to see myself with green or blue eyes; mine are caramel brown. You'll have to click on the collage in order to see the eyes better. Check out my new looks!

So, what do you think? Interestingly enough, I think the ones that look most like I do now are my best ones. Which ones do you like?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Willow Grace!

Since our camera doesn't work any longer (have to get another very soon), we were just able to get pictures back from Chris's mom from Willow Grace's birthday. I can't believe that she turned one already! What a year it's been!
We celebrated at Chris's parents house with about 30 guests. Among other things, for our refreshments we had Tigger's Terrific Tortilla Chips and salsa; Eeyore's Dressed Eggs; carrots, grape tomatoes, and broccoli from Rabbit's Vegetable Garden, Roo's Red Grapes, and Piglet's Party Punch. I displayed little cards next to each item. Though she seemed quite confused by all of the attention she was getting, she seemed to enjoy all of her presents. Some of the best moments were watching her face while she heard "Happy Birthday" being sang to her for the first time, seeing her dance while her daddy and Uncle Marty played their guitars, and finally getting her to eat a bit of her cake after everyone had gone.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Busyness Continues

If my report on how crazy my Saturday was gave any indication about how my weekend was going, then you won't be surprised that the flurry of activity kept up a healthy pace. On Sunday we traveled to Crossville for a family reunion. We spent two and a half sweltering hours in a picnic pavillion with about 75-90 of Chris's relatives from his paternal grandmother's side. Thankfully, there was a lake nearby, and we benefited from a bit of a breeze drifting in to keep us from getting too uncomfortable. I think my favorite moment was watching Willow's fascination with the geese that had gathered around as some of the children fed them leftover rolls; she stood quite still and stared at them in wide-eyed wonder. Afterwards, we went on to visit with his maternal grandmother and a few other relatives. There, Willow Grace entertained everyone in the living room as she practiced her newly acquired skill of walking.

On our way back to Nashville we took a little detour through Murfreesboro to pick up a little gift Chris found for me on Craig's List. We've decorated our kitchen in Coca-Cola (of course), and he found a little Coca-Cola tiffany-style lamp for me which he knew that I had really wanted. I already have the little tiffany-style juke box and telephone, so it goes quite well. Kudos to my thoughtful husband!

For my Monday, I had BIG plans, even if they were just a bit unrealistic. I really wanted to get all of my errands and running around done for the week. I planned to visit Sam's, Walmart, Target, TJ Maxx, Linen-n-Things, Party City, The Dollar Tree, the bank, the Range Rover dealership, and a couple other places. Sounds crazy, I know, and I didn't even get half of that accomplished. I've been a mom for almost a year now, and I still haven't completely figured out that I just can't do as much running around as I used to. There are meals to be prepared and served, naps to be taken, diapers to change, and play time that must be had. I was halted even before I left the house by a very sleepy Willow Grace who settled in for a morning nap. When she finally awoke, I scooped her up and went to pick up Mom who spent the rest of the day with us until Dad came to fetch her back from our house last night. So, even though I didn't get all of my running around done, I had my sweet baby girl and my sweet mom with me. What better shopping buddies are there?

This week I will spend checking and rechecking my lists for Willow Grace's first birthday party. While I run all over town picking up odds and ends for the party; I'll also be looking for just the right present. I just can't seem to decide what to buy for her. I really want to find her a little toy vacuum cleaner that makes realistic noises. She loves watching me vacuum and chases the vacuum cleaner all over the living room. Shopping for a one-year-old is hard. While there is certainly no shortage of fun toys out there, there's so much that is just not age appropriate for her. I really want to get something great for her, but what would that be? I need ideas!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

4:13 AM and...

I can't get back to sleep. I awoke well over an hour ago to the strained little cries of Willow Grace who had a very wet diaper. She had not finished her bedtime bottle, so I gave her that. Still she did not go back to sleep, so I rocked her for another 45 minutes before gently placing her back in her bed. Finally, I lightly treaded my way back to bed, but between being slightly chilled and the million thoughts swirling around in my head sleep would not come. I thought of a half a dozen things that I could get up to do, and this one (writing here) won out.

Just fourteen hours ago I was preparing for a Pampered Chef party here at the house. Most of my guests had never been here before, and I was nearly quaking with anticipation and excitement as I took each of my guests in turn and gave them a tour of my nearly completed home. I've been working so hard all week to get each room ready -- cleaning, carefully hanging pictures, placing odds and ends. Finally, this morning, I could think of nothing else to do to prepare, and so while Chris busied himself on the computer and Willow Grace took her morning nap I stretched myself across our sleigh bed with Marley & Me and settled in to read a few chapters. What a delightful book it's turning out to be.

The party was a wild flurry of conversations and activity. I darted up and down the stairs at least a couple dozen times either giving tours or attending to some need of Willow's. I flitted from guest to guest engaging in excited conversation over Pampered Chef products, some detail of my home, the joys of being Willow Grace's mother, the happenings in their lives, workout routines, the two delicious dishes of enchilada casserole and strawberry trifle that had just been made, and fond memories of times we've shared together. On the whole, I would say that the event was quite a success, and I am so glad that I did it.

Not long after my last guest left, I quickly cleaned the dishes, tidied up the house a bit, gathered all the dishes and ingredients I would need to take with me for dinner preparation, prepared Willow's diaper bag, and headed out the door with my sister on our way to another party at my parents' house, this one a celebration for my uncle who has, quite impressively, become debt free! Our husbands had spent the last few hours together and were already there, so we woke Willow from her afternnoon nap and set out.

There I busied myself with dinner preparations. I made and served two pizza casseroles, and (to my delight) everyone gushed over how delicious they were. It's such a easy dish but is so tasty! Finally, after I cleared and cleaned the dishes, spent some time with Dad finalizing some details for the ministry's newletter, and had just a couple bites of the cake, which had multiple pictures of credit cards with the words "Paid in full" triumphantly stamped across each, we loaded up my now empty casserole dishes and our sweet girl and headed back home where I promptly put her to bed and took up my book to enjoy a few more chapters before drifting off to sleep myself.

And now I have snippets of conversations from the last 24 hours playing out in my head, rememberances of events from the novel I'm reading and even other novels I've read, scenes from TV shows and movies I've recently watched, plans for our travel to Crossville for a family reunion, to do lists, and so much else still bouncing around in my head and jostling for my attention.

It's now 4:43, and I really would like to get just a bit more sleep.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

2 1/2 hours....

of ultimate joy! Willow Grace took her morning nap in my arms this morning. Yes, there are so many things I need to accomplish today, but moments like this are so rare. I just held her and rubbed her little back and kissed her little face. She made tiny little noises and occasionally stretched just a bit seaching for another comfortable position. I could have put her in her crib and gone on to tackle the chores of the day, but why would I? I only have a few days left before I return to work full time, and I'm not giving up the gift of the time I now have with her. Some day she will no longer allow me to hold her. Some day she will pull away. But today! Today I was privileged to watch that little darling drift off to sleep and to hold her for two and a half deliciously wonderful hours!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Few Photos

Chris just loaded all of the pics from our cell phones onto our computer, so I thought I'd share a few cute ones with you. Of course they are a bit fuzzy, being from the cell phone, but they're still cute!

Willow Grace is wearing the shirt that we gave Chris for Father's Day. In case you can't read it, it says. "My daddy, Chris, is so cool!"

While he was on a business trip, I took this picture to send to Chris so that he could see his two girls.

This is another picture that I sent to Chris while he was travelling. She just looked so peaceful and beautiful, and I didn't want him to miss it.

Isn't this just the cutest? I couldn't resist snatching a shot of this. She is such a daddy's girl!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

4 Years Ago....

We were just starting out, and we were in love. Though we had been friends since 2001, we had only been dating for 6-7 months when we took a little vacation to Panama City Beach with Chris's parents and his brother, Johnathan. We had not discussed marriage or children; it was just about us and seeing how strong the bond between us actually was.

Our relationship had never been uneventful. We had broken up once early on but had found that we just couldn't be apart. Just after we started seeing each other I suffered an injury with a bruised sternum from a car wreck. Chris had actually been on the phone with me when the wreck occured; an inexperienced 16 year old driver darted out in front of me leaving me no time to stop. Chris heard my scream, the crash, and then silence; and he thought that he had lost me. He took care of me after the accident, helping in any way he could and making sure that I didn't let my Super Woman mentality take over.

On Easter that year, after visiting his family in Crossville, we took a drive on the Natchez Trace. Uncharacteristically, it was a nearly silent drive. I didn't know what kind of struggle he was going through, but when he whipped into a small parking lot and started babbling about not being able to "keep it in anymore," I thought that he was going to break up with me for good. Instead, he really shocked me by declaring, "I love you!" Pure happiness welled up within me. Not being able to help it, I laughed... a lot. And yes, I was able, after a few minutes, to say those words myself. And then, a few months later, we went headed for the beach. Though I had been around his family on several occasions, this trip really served to endear us to each other even more. The fact that they invited me showed me that they accepted that I was an important part of Chris's life. It was a wonderful trip.

Later we would suffer the loss of family members and friends, struggle with finances, and weather all sorts of other storms together, but on this trip we saw just how much fun we could have together and how well I fit with this family. We were looking at the world not with wide eyed innocence but with hope and faith and the joy that comes from knowing that we had found our "other."

In just a few short weeks, we'll mark the first birthday of our baby girl and then three years of marriage. (More will come on those two topics as they draw nearer.) We're still new at all of this but just as cheesily in love as ever and still living on hope and faith and joy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I just sent the test below out in an email, but I thought I'd go ahead and post it here too for anyone I missed. These tests go on my list of guilty pleasures along with, among other things, Choco Tacos, People magazine, Brat Pack movies, and Will Smith's greatest hits CD.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV SHOW(s)? Friends and Gilmore Girls, nothing current
5. WHAT DO YOU USUALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? A bowl of cereal, but I’ve been trying to cook more when Chris is home
6. WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME? Kay, which is what most people call me, except for family and close friends who call me Kay-Kay (which I love)
7. WHAT FOOD DO YOU DISLIKE? Seafood, nuts, lima beans, hominy, brussel sprouts
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CD? It varies by my mood. Right now I have Michael Buble’s Call Me Irresponsible on heavy rotation.
9. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE? A white ’96 Range Rover
10. FAVOURITE SANDWICH? I’m simple. I like PB & J or a grilled cheese.
11. WHAT CHARACTERISTIC DO YOU DESPISE? Self-centeredness, haughtiness
12. FAVOURITE ITEM OF CLOTHING? Right now I love sundresses.
14. WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR BATHROOM? Medium butter yellow
16. WHERE WILL YOU RETIRE? I think I’ll always be near Nashville.
17. WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY? My 22nd. What an amazing day! (Do you remember that day, Lesley?)
20. WHO DO YOU LEAST EXPECT TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Anyone of the male persuasion
22. FAVOURITE SAYING? “Shoot a monkey!”
25. WHAT IS YOUR SHOE SIZE? 9 ½ - 10 (was ½ size smaller before pregnancy)
26. ANY NEW AND EXCITING NEWS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? My house is almost in order! At least that feels like big news for me.
27. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE? A hairdresser or actress
28. HOW ARE YOU TODAY? Pretty well but miss my husband (on a business trip) and miss Willow Grace (w/ my mother-in-law since I’m @ work)
29. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CANDY? I love chocolate – I suppose it might be between Hershey’s bars and Dove dark chocolate.
30. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FLOWER? I love tiger lilies.
31. WHAT IS A DAY ON THE CALENDAR YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO? Willow Grace’s birthday, July 27, which I am also sad about. I can’t believe she will be 1 already!
32. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Kettle corn popcorn
34. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Grass green, it’s so refreshing.
35. FAVOURITE STARBUCKS DRINK? Tea cider (with Calm tea)
36. HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW? 85 and party cloudy, perfect for a dip in the pool with Willow Grace this evening
38. FAVOURITE RESTAURANT? Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory
39. SIBLINGS? One extraordinary brother and one fabulous sister
40. FAVOURITE DAY OF THE YEAR? Christmas Eve – The height of anticipation (Also, Christmas Eve2006 was when I found out that I was pregnant with Willow Grace.)
41. SUMMER OR WINTER? Love both for different reasons
47. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Monday after Chris left for his business trip
49. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? Walked three miles, gave Willow Grace a bath, rocked her to sleep, washed dishes, washed clothes, folded and put away laundry, watched some of season 5 of Friends, talked to Chris on the phone just before drifting off to sleep
50. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? I refuse to be ruled by fear!
51 WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON? Articles for the ministry newsletter, a novel, getting into better shape
52. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? Currently reading Inkspell and Captivating
53. FAVOURITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Thursday night – because of the anticipation of the weekend
55. HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL YOU SEND THIS TO? All of the ones who get it

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

By the Numbers

1: wedding rehearsal and dinner on Friday – I was so proud of Chris and his toast. It was the perfect combination of funny and heartfelt. Way to go, Honey!

1: wedding on Saturday – Chris’s brother, Johnathan, married his childhood friend, Kara. They’ve known each other since they were babies! Such a sweet friendship! I loved how delightfully in love they seemed to be.

7 or 8: the number of fraudulent charges attempted on our bank account this weekend. Apparently, someone somehow obtained Chris’s card number and tried to use it a bunch of times, but the bank is taking care of it. Whew!

$1000: the approximate total of those charges. That would have made bill paying hard!

15: the number of chores I completed yesterday, some of them multiple times like folding and putting away loads of laundry and washing several sinks of dishes (on my day off). This does not include taking care of the baby (which should never be considered a chore but does take a lot of time).

26+: the number of chores still waiting to be accomplished. I’m sure that I can come up with several more or even break down some of the ones on my list. I will try to take care of a few tonight, but that proves hard after being at work all day.

3: the number of articles I worked on today for the ministry newsletter. I hope we can get this knocked out this week, Mom!

10-15: the number of words Willow Grace can say including: Mama, Dada, dog, Bella, Willow, Nana, Papa, baba (bottle), no, etc…. And new this morning – Ralph! (That’s the name of the elephant we bought her at the zoo!)

10,000: the number of steps I aim to take each day