Monday, September 29, 2008


Chris and I went to see Fireproof yesterday; we really wanted to support it on its opening weekend.

We were moved and have decided to get the book The Love Dare and use it as a tool to grow closer to each other and God. Check out the website and go see the movie. While the most of the acting performances aren't exactly Oscar worthy, the story and message of the movie are what are really important.

If you have seen it or do go see it, let me know what you think. The makers of this movie have made two other movies, Flywheel, which I plan to see, and Facing the Giants, which I highly recommend. You can get more info about all of these movies here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Song of the Morning Dove

Mom has an interesting clock in her kitchen. Each hour is represented by a picture of a bird, and that bird’s trill of a song plays out instead of a chime when his hours is struck. The seventh hour is marked by the song of the morning dove, which has a light, harmonious quality.

(In this picture, I have less than ten precious minutes left before I have to rush off to work. )

I try to make it to Mom’s house by 6:45 each morning to drop off Willow Grace. That gives me 15 minutes before I have to leave to make it through traffic and get to work by 7:30. What a precious 15 minutes! How fast it always goes! After I walk in the door, I’m busily talking with Mom, unpacking Willow Grace’s breakfast and bottles, and coaxing giggles from my little darling. Most mornings I get lost in the mini-visit and can’t believe that the time has zipped by so fast when I hear the morning dove. However, there are those mornings when tension seems to creep into my very bones while I await that little melody. As soon as I hear those dreaded notes, I gather my little girl in my arms and request a last kiss, which she sweetly gives. Then I pass her off to Mom, grab my purse and keys, and head out the front door while constantly looking back to wave bye-bye and hoping to see that chubby little hand waving back.

(This was taken just before I headed on the door from dropping Willow Grace off on Friday.)

While I miss my sweet girl so much each day, I do want to say that I am so thankful for my job, and I know it’s where God wants me. I am also thankful that Willow Grace gets to spend her days with, truly, two of the most amazing women on earth – my mom and my mother-in-law (on Wednesdays). We are amazingly blessed to have them in our lives.

Oh, and tomorrow, I actually get to take my little angel to work with me! We have inservice, and I don't have any meetings, so they're letting her spend the day with me. What an amazing gift!

Friday, September 26, 2008

~My Husband Rocks!~ Friday

Friday is such a great day for so many reasons, and we all look forward to it as we head towards our weekend. However, this meme gives me another joyous reason to look forward to Friday. I get to brag on my wonderful Chris!
Look at him wearing his "my wife rocks" t-shirt so proudly. That's one reason he rocks. Another reason he rocks is because he is so supportive of me and my crazy whims and dreams. I just can't figure out why that man loves me so much, but I'll take it!

By the way if you want to more information on My Husband Rocks! Friday or the t-shirt you see in the picture, see Katy Lin's blog. She rocks for starting this meme! She also has a give-away going on this week, so you might want to look into that!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A New Thing

I think I'm going to start a new Wednesday thing next week -- Willow Grace Wednesday. I always have pictures of her that I want to post, but I want to try to have some kind of limit on myself. Willow Grace Wednesday seems like a good option; you can't beat alliteration!

So, I know it's not Wednesday, but I'm going to go ahead and post a few from recent weeks today. I guess you can just call this a jump start.

The theme of our nursery is Winnie the Pooh, and Willow Grace truly loves all of her Hundred Acre friends. She received this Winnie the Pooh Super Sleuths riding toy for her birthday from her Gran-Gran and Pop Reed. She loves it! (I can't help but add a side comment here about how cute my hubby is! And what a great daddy, too!)

Just as much as she loves riding it in, she loves pushing it.

"I can do it myself, Daddy!"

I couldn't resist adding a couple pics of her sleeping. She fell asleep mid-bite!

Our little Houdini! She's trying once again to escape the barriers we've set up in the living room. Too bad she got stuck!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Last Saturday morning, we rose early in order to get ready for our mini-vaca to Gatlinburg. Having packed the Rover the night before, we had little left to do other than getting ourselves ready, so we took a quick breakfast and headed out. We stopped briefly to pick up my cousin, Bootsie, her husband, Stacy, and their 17 month old son, Christian, who would be our traveling companions.

What a beautiful weekend! We enjoyed perfect weather, great company, a spatious villa with a full kitchen, a thrilling visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, yummy food, and lots of time out on the balcony taking in the gorgeous view from our rocking chairs. Bootsie and I especially loved rocking our babies to sleep in the evening out on the balcony. We didn't come back until Monday, so I've been pretty busy and have just had the chance to blog about it all.

Here's a few pics:

These are mostly from our time in our villa. The one of the kids is from the front porch of the pancake house across the street from our villa.

These are all pics from the aquarium:

On Sunday, Chris, Willow Grace, and I journeyed to Knoxville for our nephew’s baptism. This is the one good picture I have from Drew's baptism. (Chris, Willow Grace, and her Pop -Ronnie)

Friday, September 19, 2008

~My Husband Rocks!~Friday

“What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man! Yes, he is!”

Do you remember that song by En Vogue and Salt ‘n Pepa? Well, it certainly applies to my Chris. He has been amazing this week. While I could gush on and on, I will limit myself to three reasons why my husband rocked this week:

1. Support: On Saturday night, I had a very unpleasant disagreement with someone. First, I’m so grateful that Chris was there and stood by me; otherwise, it would have been much worse. Second, I am so proud of him for holding his tongue and letting me deal with it instead of defending me like he wanted to do, which would have taken it to a whole new level of bad.

2. Understanding/Laughter: Saturday was also our daughter’s first night away from home. Since our plans were going to keep us out late, we decided to let Willow Grace sleep over at his parents’ house. While we knew she would be just fine, it was still hard for us with this first separation. Seeming to take no thought for himself, he spent his time listening to me and doing all sorts of things to make me laugh hysterically.

3. Care Giver: On Tuesday night, I had a migraine. Without hesitation, Chris snapped into action. He took care of me (warming the Bed Buddy, getting my cold face mask, and making me go to bed early), the baby (put on her pj’s, read her some books, gave her a bottle, and rocked her to sleep), and the house (cleaned the kitchen, cleared all the toys off the living room floor, and set up my work out equipment for the morning).

Because his name, Christopher Reed, is so closely related to another Superman, the famous Christopher Reeves, he was given that title by some of his friends in high school. To me, he is Superman – super husband, super father, super friend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Under the radar....

I'm flying low today since I went to bed with a developing migraine last night which only grew worse overnight and was full-blown this morning which meant that I didn't get to workout. ): I don't generally drink Coke during the week, but today I started the day with one. Cokes always help to decrease the pain. The good news is that the pain has finally started to abate, and I so I should be my normal bouncy, cheerful self by this afternoon. I really need to be since I'm planning a quick trip to the mall to return a few things and pick up a couple birthday presents.

I hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good Day to Live

Upon being asked how I was doing earlier I happily replied, “It’s a good day to be alive!” “Why,” you may ask. Well, this morning before I left my mom’s house, Willow Grace laid her sweet head on my shoulder and gave me a hug. What a great send off for work!

And just a few moments ago, I had the most delightful conversation with Jimmy Gentry. What an amazing story teller! I know that many (most) of you probably don’t know who he is, but he is certainly a person worth knowing. Today he is speaking to the eighth graders, and they are in for a treat. He was already in full story telling mode, and it was almost as if my soul breathed a sigh of joy as I listened to him. I first met him when I was in seventh grade as he taught my Tennessee History class. He had lived so much of the history he was teaching us, and it was absolutely fascinating to learn from him. After our lessons (and sometimes before or during), we would beg him to tell us stories about growing up on his farm in Franklin, Tennessee, and he would regale us with tales of hunting, fishing, and mischief with his brothers and friends. Sometimes he would tell us about some of his experiences during WWII, but it wasn't until years later that I learned that he was actually in the company of men who liberated the concentration camp of Dachau. In recent years he has written a book about his life, and a documentary was made as well—both of which I highly recommend. In addition to this, he just told me, much to my delight, that a feature film is being planned. These days he tells his story to all sorts of groups and also runs a farm complete with a summer camp and lots of autumn activities. We can't wait to take Willow Grace to see the pumpkins and all the farm animals this fall. Go here to read a bit more about his life or here to find out about the documentary. His story certainly helps to bring some perspective to our own lives.

Despite all the trials and frustrations that we experience along the way, it's important to remember that life is precious. That little hug I received this morning was a significant moment, and it served to remind me that it truly is a good day to be alive.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ode to Bella

Four and a half years ago, Chris and I had just been dating a few months when we drove out to a farm near Spring Hill to see if we wanted a take home, for free, a puppy. A family had a large litter of half Great Pyranees/half Lab puppies. Even though he said we were just going to look, Chris knew that we’d end up falling in love with one and taking it home. This sweet, little black and white bundle of fur scampered up to Chris and plopped down on his feet as if declaring, “Here I am. I’m yours; take me home.” It was over; our hearts were won, and we left with her.

(This is Bella with her brothers and sisters before we took her home. She's the black & white one stretched across the middle.)

What a dog she turned out to be! Massively large at over a 100 pounds, slobbery, endless energy, mighty booming bark, so loving and affectionate… we miss our beast of a dog, but she’s happily residing with Ronnie and Donitta, Chris’s parents, and keeping their Huskie, Tasha, in good company. They’re just a couple of girlfriends hanging out in the yard.

Willow Grace’s favorite word to say is “Be-wah.” She loves that crazy dog just as much as Chris and I. Even that startling thunderous bark draws giggles from her every time. There’s just something about that sweet Bella that causes Willow Grace to repeat her name about 100 times a day all week long. Every Wednesday, Donitta keeps Willow Grace for me while I work, and so she gets to visit with Bella a few times on those days. Not only does her Gran-Gran taker her out but Ronnie, Willow Grace’s Pop, always comes home for lunch and makes sure to take her outside to visit with the dogs and to see the birds gathered around the different feeders.

For our part, Chris and I miss Bella patrolling our home to check on us when we’re in different rooms, running back and forth under our legs when we’re laying across the bed with our feet hanging off one side, sleeping in a patch of sunshine coming through the window with one paw over her eyes, going for walks with us, making us laugh when she would pass gas and then stretching back to confusedly look at her backside like she just couldn’t understand what just happened, and keeping us company when one or the other of us was away from home.

(This was taken in our old apartment when Bella still lived with us. She's big, huh?)

Yes, we miss that sweet girl, but we are so glad that she is safe and happy and where she needs to be. It’s a blessing that Willow Grace still gets the joy of knowing and experiencing Bella and that we can see her whenever we want.

We love our Bella!

Friday, September 12, 2008

~My Husband Rocks~ Friday

I get to brag on Chris again!

This week I have 3 reasons:

First, I love his voice. To begin with, he has a very soothing speaking voice. Willow Grace and I both love to sit and listen to him read. It's so calming, and he's been known to read us both to sleep. Also, he has a great singing voice. I love it when he plays his guitar and sings or when he sings in the car or really anytime he chooses to sing. Sometimes I ask him to sing to me, and he usually obliges.

Secondly, he can do all sorts of accents. His favorite one to to is an Irish one, and he slips into it so easily, often when we're out shopping which spices up the trip. He makes us laugh all the time with his great accents.

Thirdly, he's a great writer. While neither of us has actually published anything, we're both working on writing novels - both separately and together. I really hope that we'll be able to finish the one we're working on together first. It's been such a fun thing to do together.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Wish....

For the last two days I've been staring at a lighted sign on the wall to the left of my desk. Spelled out in white twinkle lights are the words "I Wish..." Tonight and Saturday the high school fine arts students will be performing the musical Into the Woods. Have you seen it? It's a hodge podge of different fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack & the Beanstalk, etc.) all coming together in crazy ways. All of the characters are wishing for different things which eventually come true but have unexpected consequences. It really makes you think about the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for."

What do I wish for? I have so, so many. Here's just a few:

Normal wishes:
-to grow closer to God & help others to do the same
-to have more time with my family
-to be healthy and fit
-to have more children

BIG wishes:
-to have enough money to take care of my whole family, not just Chris & Willow Grace but also our parents & siblings' families
-to own our own large farm on which we can run a camp

I could keep going. I have so many dreams. It makes me think of a quote from Clint Eastwood in The Bridges of Madison County. He said, "The old dreams were good dreams. They didn't work out, but I had them." Keep wishing. Keep dreaming. Some of them do come true.

What do you wish for?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Burnin’ Down The House

Well, not really, but there was quite a bit of smoke.

I tried, for the first time, to make hush puppies last night. It went very wrong. First of all, I didn’t even really mean to make hush puppies. I wanted to bake some blueberry muffins so that I could have them for breakfast this morning. However, somehow I grabbed the hush puppy mix and ripped it open before realizing what I had done. “Hmmm,” I shrugged. “I’ll just make these too.”

Do you know how to make sure the oil on the stove is 375 degrees? I don’t, and I guess I got it too hot because the second I dropped the pups into the skillet they started to burn. “Oh, well,” I thought. “Take two.” I turned on the exhaust over the stove and turned around to crank up the sound on my little Coca-Cola jukebox radio. That’s when I discovered that in such a short time our entire downstairs had filled with smoke! How did I not notice this sooner? I scrambled to open the front and back doors and raced upstairs to bring the fan down.

Willow Grace was napping in her crib upstairs, and somehow neither the smell nor the smoke made it up there. Thank you, God.

My eyes burned until I went to sleep, and the smell was still lingering this morning when I stumbled down for my morning work out. I won’t be trying to make hush puppies again unless we have a deep fryer.

Not all was lost, however. I did still manage to make a very nice dinner of grilled teriyaki pork chops, green beans, and mac 'n cheese. I also toasted a few slices of my mother-in-law's sour dough bread, which Chris absolutely loves. And, of course, I did succeed in baking those blueberry muffins.

Here's wishing you success in your kitchen!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Working Out in my Sleep

Sunday night/Monday morning I awoke at 1 AM and wasn’t able to go back to sleep, part of that due to the fact that Willow Grace had decided she needed to be up for a while in the middle of the night. After endless rocking, a late night bottle, and listening to an entire lullaby CD, she finally consented to go back to sleep. No, she did not just drift off; it was hard fought. And I just could not go back to sleep afterwards. However, I did manage to still rise early and slug through my work out before starting the rest of my day (a fact I am very proud of). I stumbled, zombie-like through the rest of my day and couldn’t manage to eek any fresh thoughts out of my numb brain –thus, no new post. I went to bed at 9 last night in an attempt to make up for the lost sleep and actually slept all night! Yea!

Speaking of working out, each morning while Willow Grace and Chris slumber peacefully, I am down in the living room by 4:45 working up a sweat. I actually really enjoy working out and don’t mind getting up early in order to get it done; there’s no time to do it later in the day. I told Mom that my plan is to get in really good shape by next summer so that I can get “knocked up” again. Ha! You should have seen the look on her face when I said that; I’m normally not that crude, but it’s fun to throw things like that out every once in a while just to see how she’ll react! Anyway, I’m punching up my routine a bit. I’m substituting the Pilates workout I’ve been doing for The Firm, which is much more strenuous and adds weights.

This will be my new schedule:
Monday: The Firm: Total Body Sculpt
Tuesday: Hip Hop Abs: Hips, Buns, and Thighs
Wednesday: The Firm: Total Body Sculpt
Thursday: Hip Hop Abs: Fat Burning Cardio
Friday: Hip Hop Abs: Total Body Burn

This morning was the first time I’ve done The Firm workout since before I found out that I was pregnant with Willow Grace. Whoa! It really kicked my butt! (And I love it!) Of course, it did throw me off my schedule. When I emerged from my shower, I found that I only had three minutes before I was supposed to be in the car! In five minutes I dressed, applied make-up, put on my shoes and jewelry, and was out the door! I don’t know how I did it. Talk about a mad dash!

Sunday, September 07, 2008



(Chris was actually at the game (lucky guy), so I had to take this picture of us. )
Have a great week!

Friday, September 05, 2008

My Husband Rocks!

Last Friday, I secretly ordered t-shirts from From Me Tees, one for me and one for my husband; I love that they refund your shipping on Fridays if you mention Katy Lin's blog and the My Husband Rocks meme. (Here is the one I ordered for Chris, and this is mine.)I was so excited when they arrived this week and couldn’t wait to show Chris his. At the same time I was a little worried that he might think it was cheesy, but he didn’t! He loved it and later told me, “My wife rocks because she bought me this t-shirt!” So cool! (I’m sorry that I don’t have a picture of us in our t’s, but I’ll try to post one later.) Today we got to wear jeans to work, and I wore my t. So many people have asked me questions about it, and I love telling them all about it.

Now, on to why Chris rocks…. I love that he loves to read as much as I do. We love strolling through bookstores, and last week we spent far more money than we meant to on books, but we've enjoyed lying next to each other each night and reading our books (although he always stays up later than me). As part of our first date over four years ago, we went to a bookstore, and it's continued to be something we enjoy doing together.

And one more reason he rocks.... Every night we spend time playing with Willow Grace in the living room, and her toys end up scattered all over. While I get her ready for bed, Chris always clears up all the toys so that the space will be clear for my morning work out. He loves doing stuff for me and is so loving towards his family. He’s always ready to help out a relative, friend or neighbor. I love his servant’s heart!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Four Shots

I couldn't think of what to write today, but I knew I wanted to post something. Well, what's better than a few pictures (especially when the subject is this cute).

These were all taken this summer with the disposable digital camera.

Willow Grace just loves to hang out on the ledge in front of the fireplace. Those are the pillows from our couch which don't spend much time actually on the couch any more.

This is Willow Grace with Papa (my dad) at Opry Mills Mall. Cute pair, huh?

She's watching Praise Baby in the next two shots. She just loves those videos; I highly recommend them. When she heard the intro music, she promptly laid down and propped her little self up on her elbows. (See how we've barricaded her in the living room with the exersaucer and bagged quilt? And yet somehow she would still find ways to escape. Little Houdini!)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ah, Labor Day!

Every August, as we start up a new school year, I look a few weeks ahead and start to anxiously anticipate that day off and blessing of a four day work week. This year Chris and I intentionally made no plans. As we had spent all day Saturday cleaning our house in anticipation of our dinner guests Saturday night (Burger Night with our community group-couldn’t have gone better, love those guys), our house was still relatively tidy, so that wasn’t pressing on our minds. Instead, we spent the entire morning lounging in our pajamas. What bliss! I cooked breakfast, played with Willow Grace, and then settled in for a nap on the loveseat with her. Chris snapped this shot while we were all snuggled up.

Chris titled the above picture “Sleeping Angels” when he emailed it to me. Sweet, huh? The nickname he most often uses for me, other than Kay-Kay (which is what my family & close friends often call me), is Angel. I have to tell you I love it when he calls me that. Let me tell you a little secret: If he really wanted me to do something for him, even if I was mad at him, all he’d have to do it call me Angel, and it would melt my heart and compel me do whatever he asked. The really cool thing about that is that even armed with this information, he would never use it to his advantage. But wait! It’s Monday; I need to save some of my bragging on him for Friday!

Have a great week!