Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My First Toothy!!!

Ashlyn's first tooth has made it's debut! Her bottom left toothy is barely poking out of the gum! She has been such a trooper through her teething so far. Poor baby girl has been teething since about 6 months, which is when we started looking for a tooth to pop through!
Hanging out with Daddy after Mommy fixed my hair!  I have the longest hair in my class!

 We lovingly refer the the pack and play as "Ashlyn's Cage".  She is scooting all around the room now.  She has the cutest little crawl!  She gets down on two hands one knee and keeps one foot flat on the floor and scoots her little self wherever she wants to go.
 I spent part of the day Saturday purging all the clothing items that don't fit Ashlyn any more from her room and reorganizing it.  I found this cute little bonnet that used to be Mary's when she was a baby.  I bleached the yellow from the material and lace and as I was doing that...I realized that the pattern matched a little dress that Richard and his Mary had given to Ashlyn before she was born.  The dress just started to fit her so we had a little photo shoot!

Snoozing after church Sunday while Mom and Dad eat lunch!  She's such a good baby!
 Couldn't help but add a comparison shot.  She is growing up so beautifully! Still pokes those cute little red lips out when she sleeps though! :)

Memorial Day 2011

For some reason...the University does not give us the day off on Memorial Day...we get about two zillion other days off...but alas, on Monday I was working.  I could have had a bad attitude or for that matter, just taken a vacation day (which would have been fine with the University), but I really do have a lot of work on my desk since the fiscal years are coming to a close.  I was actually pretty grateful to be able to work on Monday for this reason - I chose my career.  I chose accounting, which about 20 years ago was a male dominated field.  For that matter there are still countries in which the citizens have no choice in their work.  They, both men and women, are tested and groomed from a very young age to work in whatever area their government sees fit.  They are told how much food they can have and where they have to live.  They are told how many babies they are allowed to have and if they go over that number...they murder the unborn (and often times newly born) child!  Can you imagine this???  I can't!!!  I am so blessed to have been born in this country and I am so grateful to those who have gone before me to ensure all the freedoms that I hold so very dearly!  I have been guilty of taking these freedoms for granted on many occasions...but today I openly acknowledge that the freedoms we enjoy did not come freely.  Many men and women paid a very high price for that freedom and I am grateful.  I am also very aware that we have men and women still fighting this day to protect the freedoms that were hard won.  I am grateful to them and their families for the daily sacrifices that are made by them as they fulfill their duty as servicemen and servicewomen.  I have several family members that served many years in the armed forces and I remember them today also.  I feel very proud that my family played a part in fighting for our freedom.  I am really big on "putting your money where your mouth is".  I have really been feeling a tugging at my heart to give back to the veterans that gave so much.  We have a great VA hospital in Tuscaloosa and I went online to fill out an application to volunteer.  I don't know what I can do to help, but I truly hope there is some way that I can show my appreciation.  Actions speak a lot louder than words in my opinion!  Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2011


I had the privilege of attending my step-sister Lindsey's graduation last night.  I can't believe she has grown up so fast!  She was in the 5th grade when she came to live with us.  It feels like just yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time.  She is such an intelligent, beautiful, sweet person and I pray that God blesses her beyond imagination.  I pray that she has the diligence and perseverance to pursue her dreams with passion and achieve things she never thought possible!  It was fun to see my other step-sisters Becca and Caitlin and my Dad and Step-Mom Jacque.  David and I were running a little late (there's a big surprise for ya), so they saved us some seats.  By the way...I've recently discovered that Ashlyn's junk takes the place of a full sized person, so we always need three seats now-no more getting away with 2 1/2. :o)  It rained yesterday, so they moved the graduation from the football feild to Locust Fork Bapstist Church.  It was squooshed and hot in there, but it beats a wet backside and I was very glad we were able to go.  Afterwards, we went to Outback - apparently just about every graduation in Birmingham was last night, so we had a little wait, but everyone behaved and it was nice to have some hanging out with the fam time.  Everyone's meal was perfect and we were quite entertained by Ashlyn who sat in the middle of the table and reached for anything and everything that she could see almost immediately.  It was a mad dash to get all the silverware and glasses out of her reach.  Aunt Lindsey and Ashlyn are like two peas in a pod.  They love each other and it is so cute to see them together!  We got home earlier than I had expected.  I thought we wouldn't end up at home until almost 1am, but we were nice and snug in our bed by 12:30p.  P.S. Ashlyn was so tuckered-she slept through her 1:30-3:30 wake up call for us. :)  That was nice.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Bad Day Really Can Get Worse!

I haven't really written much about the goals that I set for myself around my birthday time.  For some reason- probably because it is so close to New Year's and there is so much talk about resolutions and self-improvement at New Year's - I usually use my birthday as a starting point or re-starting point if I made any on the 1st for resolutions (which I choose to call goals).  I stopped calling them resolutions because I felt that if I messed up after I made a resolution - well, that was the end of it - I failed at that resolution, but if I set a goal - something about the idea of reaching for a goal lets me allow myself to go one step backward as long as I'm headed two steps forward.  Anyway...I set three main goals for myself on my 29th birthday a few months ago:
1)  Get back into shape...now I am aiming for pre-college days shape (as in high school), but we all know that's pretty unrealistic...hello...I was a size 4/6, but a girl can dream, right!  Only 10 dress sizes to go! :o)
2)  Finish my Rosetta Stone...or, OK I admit it...move on from lesson one.  I really want to speak Spanish.  Last Sunday we had a guest speaker - a missionary that our church sponsors - from Guatemala.  I was definitely moved by his message and my resolve to commit to this goal was renewed!
3)  Get REAL!  By that I mean - filter all the fakeness out of my life.  I want to be genuine and I want to surround myself with people who genuinely care about me.  This was one of the things that prompted my privatization of the blog.  (I also want to protect Ashlyn and since there are so many pictures of her on this blog...that was another main reason.)  I deleted over 300 people from my facebook friends.  I "know" a lot of people...as in I've met them once or twice or I went to school with them or worked with them at some point in my life, but I don't really care about them.  I want good for them...as I do for everyone...but they aren't real friends...so I went crazy with that delete button...and can I tell you...it felt REALLY GOOD!  Well time to get to the point of the title of this entry- some of the steps of this last goal have been pretty easy, but others have proved to be pretty hard.  I'm having to really look at my own heart and examine my own actions without blinders on.  I can't have high expectations regarding how someone else treats me - if I can't control my own actions.  At the same time though, I am re-evaluating my priorities and having to figure out what I like and don't like about myself.  I'm learning to be proud of myself and not look to others for approval (that one is really hard for me!).  The other day, I put the filter on some things in my life and it was emotional.  I was having a rough day!  But even in the hard times...I feel like God is watching out for me and leading me!  A friend called me and I confided in her that I was having a hard day so she convinced me to skip out on work a little early and join her for a cup of coffee and a pedicure.  Well let me tell you how much thought I put into that one...about 4 full seconds...and my reply was "I'm in!".  I thought it would be nice to pick Ashlyn up early from preschool so we could have some quality girl time.  I LOVE spending time with this friend.  She is so "real".  It was the perfect person for me to be with on that day!  Well we enjoyed our coffee, made a quick stop at the bra shop (so happy to have them in the right place now!!!  No more breastfeeding.), and we were off to get the pedicure.  Ashlyn got a little fussy earlier when she wanted to eat, but she was much happier with her tummy full.  We sat down, Ashlyn in my lap, and started soaking our feet-then the fun began.  Ashlyn's tummy got a little upset so she spit up a little-no biggie-my friend could reach the hat in her bag-if it's washable...doesn't matter too much what it is to me...I'll mop up spit up with it. :o)  Then she got sleepy and she refused to be rocked to sleep...no ma'am...she wants her own space to drift off to dreamy land.  So I had the bright idea to go get her car seat out of the stroller and rock her in it...then I had the even brighter idea to get my feet out of the soapy water and walk to the stroller - the second after my feet hit the floor, my hip did too!  I was holding Ashlyn in my right arm and I honestly would have broken something if I had to in order to keep her from hitting the floor.  I don't think she even knew we fell-Thank God!  So I sit there for a sec...tell everyone I'm ok...and regroup.  I get up, get the darn car seat and sit back down - guess what it worked like a charm!  She was out cold in about 2 minutes of rocking!  My pedicure looks fantastic and the bruise on my hip is pretty impressive too!  As I was driving my friend back to her car...a Mercedes started backing out of their space right as I was passing by.  The second I saw movement I laid on the horn and by the Grace of my Merciful God! the car stopped and didn't hit me.  My friend commented that she didn't even see them moving and didn't know how I did.  I know how....  I said a little prayer of Thanks because as they said "God Knows..." I couldn't take any more that day.  Truly He knows how much we can handle.  I made some really funny (now!  weren't so funny then) memories with my friend and I feel like I grew a lot that day.  I learned a lot about myself and what I can handle (with God's help!).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Step 1

We have completed step 1 - We picked a realtor (one of my boss' son-in-law) and he came out to the house last night to take pictures and we signed the listing contract.  He put his sign in the yard last night and should have our house in MLS sometime today.  We spent this entire weekend working our fingers to the bone getting the house ready...we still have some minor things left to take care of (putting another coat of paint on the trim and doors, touching up the baseboards, dusting everything, hanging the mirror above the bed, cleaning the garage, organizing the closets a little, putting monkey grass on the borders of the front yard by the door and around the tree, fixing the monkey grass border in the back yard, washing the siding and garage door, cutting down a random tree that is growing behind the bush by the garage, recaulking the fixtures in the bathroom)...ok so we still have a lot of minor things left - but we wanted to go ahead and get it listed because it will probably take some time to sell...hopefully not too long though!  We got pre-approval from the mortgage company that we used when we bought the house we're in now...so we are looking for a new house.  This is all exciting and scary and it feels right...so we'll see how it goes!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ashlyn's Dedication and my First Mother's Day

I can't think of a better way to have spent my very first Mother's Day than making a public declaration that we will teach our child to respect and serve the Lord.  I am immensely grateful to God for allowing us the privilege of having this child.  I pray constantly that God will help me be a good mother and David a good father to her.  I want for her to grow up knowing how much we love her and that we want good things for her with all of our hearts...but more than that... God loves her and wants good things for her even more than her Daddy and I could even imagine!

We got all dressed up and stood on the stage and made our promise to try our very best to be a Godly example for our daughter, to teach her God's word and help her grow in God's wisdom; then the pastor (Joel Gorveatte) of our church - First Wesleyan Church of Tuscaloosa - prayed over our daughter.  Teresa Mills made Ashlyn's dress as a gift and, honestly, that is one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received.  She made this beautiful dress in less than two days (our original plan had been for her to teach me to smock, but the day I was supposed to do that was the day after the tornado).  She pleated it, smocked it and sewed it and I couldn't have a found a more perfect dress for the occasion that fit Ashlyn more perfectly if I had looked all over the state.  She called me a few days after the tornado and offered the make the dress as a gift since our original plan hadn't worked out.  I told her I would love that - but she went above and beyond with this bishop dress...the sleeves even have tiny little lace fabric on the edges!  To really make me cry...her daughter Leslie ordered a little headband to go with the dress...it is a "Baby to Bride" headband.  I will keep it in a safe place until Ashlyn's wedding day - then she can wear it as a garter.  It will be her old...I think that is too precious!
Mary came to see the dedication and it was so nice that we got to spend Mother's Day with her.  She did a fabulous job video taping the service so that I can send it to my family to see.  Thank you Mary!  I am so very happy that she could make it (wink, wink Mary-I love you!).  We all went to Olive Garden to eat after church and it was delicious!  I am very blessed to have married a special guy who has a mom that I adore...I know that is the exception...not the rule.
I got to talk to my mom on the phone...I wish she lived closer...but I am so happy that she got to spend Mother's Day with her Mommy.  The miles apart don't make her any further from my heart and thoughts.  I love her very much and I am so grateful that she dedicated so much of her life to me and my sister.  I never grasped the completeness of her love for us...until I became a mother...now I know...there is nothing in this entire world that could stop me from loving my baby girl.  I also know now the sacrifice of being a mother and I am even more grateful to my Mom.. for all the sleepless nights and hours of anxiety...for the patience through the temper tantrums and hugs through all my tears...for having faith in me to succeed and pride in my accomplishments...for the thoughtful and wise words through the years...you have always been an amazing Mom and I love you.
Ashlyn painted a flower pot for me at preschool for Mother's Day.  It is a hand print that her teachers helped make into a picture of a flower.  It is adorable and I love it.  It came with a flowering plant in it, but bones thought that was edible - so no flower left.  Ashlyn's Daddy helped her buy Mommy a gift card to a local Day Spa so that I can have a little relaxation time.  Mommy really appreciates this gift!!!  All in all...I enjoyed my first Mother's Day a lot and I am looking forward to many more with my little one!

**Update**  I just wanted to add the wording from the Child Dedication Registration that David and I signed and returned to the church before Ashlyn's Dedication.
"By registering to dedicate your child you are testifying to your own commitment of faith in Christian religion, and also your desire that your child shall receive the benefits of consecration to God, and of the prayers of the church, and may early learn to know and follow the will of God; and therefore may live a Christian life.
In order for this to happen, it will be your duty as parents to teach your child early the fear of the Lord; to watch over his/her education, that they may not be led astray by false teachings or doctrines, to direct his/her mind to the Holy Scriptures as expressing the will and authority of God for all people, and to direct his/her feet to the sanctuary, to restrain him/her from evil associations and habits, and, as much as you are able, to bring him/her up in the Lord's discipline and instruction.
You will be asked before the congregation if you will endeavor to do these things by the help of the Lord."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ashlyn's Eight Month Pictures

Eight months have flown by so fast!!!  Our baby girl is growing into such a beautiful, sweet natured, smart little person!  I love watching her grow and learn.  She is thinking about crawling.  She has recently started to get on all fours and rock...I am one of the few parents out there that have appreciated that my child hasn't become mobile yet...she only goes where I carry her (minus where she can roll or scoot to) and when I come back....SHE'S STILL THERE!  I knew those days were numbered and I think they will be running out very soon!  She loves to stand up!  She will hold our hands and sit up from a laying position and then stand up.  She only needs our help for balance.  She still investigates everything she holds in minute detail.  She will focus so hard on one little detail of the item.  She LOVES tags...if it has a tag...it's her new favorite toy!  I am enjoying every minute with this little one...poopy minutes and all!

I found my camera!!!!

I was so excited when I looked to the very bottom of my breast pump bag...lo and behold...there was my shiny, little camera.  Now how it got into the bag in the first place...your guess is as good as mine. :o)  Here are some of the precious pictures that were on the camera...so happy they aren't lost anymore!

Such a doll!  I think this was one of the first times she sat in her high chair.
A bib I made for a co-worker to give as a baby shower gift.
I little shirt I embellished to give as part of a baby shower gift.
I can FINALLY keep a tablecloth on my table.  I saw a tutorial on someone's blog about how to make a fitted tablecloth.  I am so proud of mine!  And the great part is...even if I can't keep the cat's off my table 100% of the time...I can keep my tablecloth on my table 100% of the time...no more coming home to find my tablecloth and everything that had been sitting on the table in a heap on the floor!!!!
I found a little block like this for sale on Etsy and figured I could just make Ashlyn one myself.  I think it turned out pretty good...especially for a first try.
She liked it anyway and that's all that matters to me!

The infamous first feeding photos!  She HATED those carrots!!!...and continued to hate every kind of baby food we tried for two solid months.  She ate three containers of baby food for lunch yesterday and loved every bite!  Thank God she started liking baby food...I was really getting worried there for a while.

These faces are priceless!  She was not happy with Daddy!
Getting the boat ready for her first voyage...
Yes..It's raining and cold outside...and we went anyway!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I have to say that this week has just been weird.  Everyone is trying so hard to get back some sense of "normalcy"...but it will never be the way it was before...it just feels like we're pretending everything will be alright.  I know recovery is going to take time... a LOT of time...but it's already taking it's toll on everyone.  The streets that we can use are so overcrowded.  It took me over an hour to get to work yesterday morning and 45 minutes this morning.  I won't complain though...I am so very blessed.  Yesterday marked one full week since the tornado ripped through our beloved city.  It amazes how much a person can learn about themselves and those around them in that amount of time.  A person's true character is tested in times of trial.  I have to admit that God has used this circumstance to reveal ugly things about my heart that needed to be cleaned.  He has also used this time to show me a level of compassion that I never knew I was capable of.  God started a work in my heart a few months ago regarding priorities and perspective...I have seen a marked acceleration in that work while dealing with these trials and challenges.  When I say dealing...yes, there are some hardships that all of us are handling...but more so, I mean emotionally sorting through watching people overcome what may be the most painful experience of their lives.  A massive amount of people lost their homes, their cars, their pets, their job places, their school, and most importantly their family members...the list goes on and on...and so many of those people didn't just lose one or two of the things on that list...they lost them ALL... in about 1 minute.  In the time span of one minute everything went from orderly to looking very like a war zone.  I continue to pray for the people of my city and the other cities and towns of the south that were ravaged.  Praying is not the least I can do...IT'S THE MOST!