Saturday, January 30, 2010

3 days, 8 months and 3 days

Since May 23rd of last year Brad has found a replacement for me. Since I've gotten too old (and large) for him to snuggle me in his lap before bedtime he has just flat out replaced me with no hesitation. Every night we literally rip half of Brooks' leg off fighting over who gets to feed him his last bottle and sing to him and put him to sleep. It is really my favorite hour. He is so worn out from the day and he is so confident in himself from all the kisses and encouragement he was showered with that day that he just cuddles helplessly in the "winners" arms and he makes the most perfect exhausted baby sounds. He rarely gets through the bottle with out knocking out before he's done. I used to care because I was so stuck on him getting a "full feeding" (thank you, Baby Wise) but now I don't mind one bit. I love for him to get so cozy and safe in daddy's arms and fall fast asleep. Anyway, here is the infant Brooks cuddling with dad on his first night in the condo. Note the beautiful blue shirt which reappears in many of my photos of Brad (yes, we will take donations of clothing for the hard working man) and note how itty bitty Mr. Brooks was just 8 months ago!
Now he's a mere dozen pounds heavier which doesn't seem like much but when you are the height of a small plant - 12 pounds has nowhere to go but to the thighs! He is also much more attentive, inquisitive, teachable, giggly and mobile! We'll never stop fighting over night time duties with you, Brooks, even if it means sacrificing a limb!
And yes, he is still in his snowman pajamas. They are the only ones he can fit in of late! We are all in need of some shopping here!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hello sunshine!

The sunbeams are dancing through the sliding glass window right past the carnation bush in the backyard. I just love natural sunlight in the house and it has seemed to be so rare this winter. Well, not today. Brooks just took me for a walk around Lake Meyer near our house. This was a pleasant shift from our usual walk on the island. It was a little gusty on the backside of the lake which only made Brooks to feel like 60 pounds rather than a mere 20 ("mere", pghhhh...), nonetheless, the walk was so perfect for today. I think we are supposed to be in Savannah for this very day - 72 and sunny and sincerely one of the prettier days I've ever seen anywhere. Thank you, God!

This morning I read this while the little boss slept. He slept an amazing 2 hours which has been about as rare as the sunshine this winter! I cleaned, read, folded laundry (the never ending chore), read, wrote, and even.....duh dun dun (like banging on a piano) BATHED! Yes, husband, I bathed before the 72 hour deadline! Anyway, I read this wonderful little passage in My Utmost for His Highest this morning and it was music to my ears and sunshine to my heart. Enjoy.


As workers for God we have to learn to make room for God - to give God "elbow room." We calculate and estimate, and say this and that will happen, and we forget to make room for God to come in as he chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never looked for Him to come? Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for him. Expect Him to come , but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. All of a sudden God meets the life -"When it was the good pleasure of God...."

Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.

-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Muchos fotos, amigos!

Hey people, Brooks here. I am the youngest member of this crazy may have heard about me. I am ATE months old now and mama says she will remember this month as the month I ATE everything in sight. I'll remember it as the month I stole the rest of her heart with just a mere giggle.
(FYI - you can tell my daddy dressed me today. He had his Lucky jeans on, too, and some t-shirt that makes my mama's face look funny when she sees it.)

(Don't you love how my "resume" just doubles each month? It's hard being so amazing but someone's got to do it!)

Even though I am 8 months old, I am not crawling and still prefer to be toothless. But I can do an amazing plank and have actually thought about making these extremities work for me in a crawling manner but it just seemed like too much work. I'd rather my mama carry me everywhere anyway. (She's hot, by the way!)

Let me tell you my favorite part of the day, folks. After I attempted to crawl in my floor today my dad was supposed to be bathing me but when mom (she always ruins the fun) came back to hear the ruckus in her bedroom this is what she found. What she doesn't know is every night my dad and I wrestle around and jump on the bed naked. Well, he isn't naked, silly people, but I love to be naked and I love to flip around and scoot on the big bed. Mom put dad in time out after she saw all the commotion because it was way past my bedtime. He just stuck his tongue out at her and snuck right back in to play with me. I love my daddy! Oh, and go ahead, count the rolls. I work hard for those beauties.

Is anyone tired of my birthday yet? {This is Betsy again. Brooks was tired of trying to spell.}
Brad just raised his hand.
Well, this is the last of the never-ending birthday until next year. Oh, and go ahead and get ready for next year...the 30th will be celebrated from the day after Christmas to Valentines Day! Anyway, here is a picture that just makes me so happy. Here are two of our Atlanta friends and their little men before bed time at the birthday party last weekend. The boys are within 6 weeks of each other. Go ahead and blow up the picture, too, as you must notice my amazing "baby bangs." Yes, mothers to be - the after birth hair growth is just heinous and it ruins about every picture. Thank you, Brooks.

No, I didn't decorate my own kitchen table for my own birthday! This is the table setting for my "Mexican" birthday dinner last night with our Atlanta-Savannah friends. I really don't have words to tell you how special I felt last night. I thought we were just getting together because it had been before Christmas before we all checked in but these friends went over the top and even had my favorite dessert - ice cream sundaes and fudge! We also played some "Betsy-themed" games at dinner and you know how I love games (though I've never actually been the subject of the game before!) Anyway, God is good. These sweet friends moved to Savannah about the time we did and though we don't see each other too often I know the Lord has us all here for each other. We get together and talk about new Savannah places we've found and things we crave back in Atlanta. I have never left their presence though not feeling a little more optimistic about our surroundings and about God's hand in this story. What a perfect way to top off the birthday week!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Love wins all the time. That is your cozy thought for the day. Yesterday I made a shabby blog-plea for some of your valued thoughts regarding meal time and me-time (ie:books). I hit the PUBLISH button and expected to hear from one or two of you mainly because you know that I know that you read the blog daily. But really that was all I was expecting and I would have been happy with a new recipe or two from you two faithfuls. Well, I came home from my first night out on my new town with some girls that don't know my last name and I was overwhelmed by all the recipes and book love sitting in my inbox! It felt like we were all sitting in our snuggies next to a fire, real close, just giggling and sipping hot chocolate. It's amazing how a little love even through the internet can surely be felt. So, thank you, thank you, thank you! In perfect timing, I also got a 30% off coupon at Borders in my inbox so Brooks and I are going to make a trip to the world of books today! And, I can't wait to add some new recipes to my arsenal. Thank you sweet cyber friends!

And to return the favor, here is one of my weapons in the kitchen. Super easy. Super yummy and my version is pretty healthy. Enjoy!

Parmesan Chicken Fettuccine (though not the kind you might first picture). Disclaimer: I scale everything down for two people and I am a dumper in the kitchen rather than a measurer. Maybe this is my problem but I just use my instincts which sometimes prove to be too salty or too dry. Nonetheless, you can't go too wrong with this guy....

2 chicken breasts, sprinkled with salt, tenderized and then cut into bite sized pieces
2 TBS flour
1 TSP seasoned salt
1 TBS butter or olive oil
1 TSP minced garlic
1 cup sliced white mushrooms, washed
1/4 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/2 cup-1 cup half and half (or heavy whipping cream if you want to go all the way) This just depends on how thick you want the sauce
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
Finely chopped pecans (optional)

Place chicken pieces in large Ziploc bag with flour and salt and pepper. Shake the bag to coat chicken pieces. In meantime heat skillet on medium heat and when heated add butter or olive oil to coat the pan. Then add garlic to pan. Dump contents of bag in skillet and cook until chicken is browned (about 5 mins). Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes stirring often. Add wine, cream, and scallions cooking for 5-7 more minutes, stirring. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve over your choice of pasta or add cooked pasta to skillet with chicken mixture and get it all good and mixed right there and then top with parm. I should write a cookbook using that kind of lingo. Enjoy!

If you come to visit me I will probably serve this to you along with one of my "catch-all-way-too-expensive" salads.

And because babies are more fun than cooking and reading, here is what happens when you allow the 8 month old to eat a cookie in the exersaucer. Cookie all over face and cookie on feet. Oh buddy, did any get in your tum-tum?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I need your help. I have no clue who "you" are and I fear asking for "your" help because "you" may not even exist. I am not one to beg for comments. I am too prideful for that and I like to believe there are readers out there that don't think I am wasting my free time by writing about the ups and downs of motherhood and the weather, whether or not I ever see a comment. Wow, I wouldn't read either now that I recap it like that....But I do need some help here.

Last night I finished The Help that I read the last week and a half. Brad literally started dancing around the living room when I closed the book with a nostalgic sigh. He hasn't been able to even lay a finger on me since I opened the book. Unfortunately, when I find a good book I jump in head first with no life saver and I just immerse myself in the story. Therefore, any physical contact with reality (being a husband) hinders me from sinking to the bottom of the novel as I so love to do. So as you can imagine Brad was counting down the 455 pages one by one until he could be near me again. Well, atleast for today, honey, I am all yours!

That's where "you" come in to the picture. You and I both have 15+ novels scattered throughout our respective houses waiting to be devoured. I bought one that I overheard while on a flight somewhere. You took your sisters copy of the book she read in a week. Either way - I have boocoodles of books I could read but I don't want just any book right now. I want another story that pulls me in so hard that I literally dream as if I were in the setting of the book all night long. And I want to feel a little empowered when I am done....that's all. Please send me your latest suggestion. I'm not scared of weird titles or forbidden subjects or super thick books. I just want another good one to keep me on the cloud I've been riding the last few weeks. Thank you dear readers.

Also, when I am not reading these days and tending to a little person I am either eating or thinking about eating. I need "your" help again. I am tired of my 4 stand by meals at night for dinner. More so, one night a week I usually do some kind of big salad which is really just a conglomeration of everything left in the fridge. Somehow though the ingredients I use tend to make my salads the price of a 3 course meal at Chops. Brad doesn't understand this but I am sure you know what I gotta have fancy cheese for your salads and the perfect mixture of crunchiness and depth. Well, we are about tired of these over-dressed salads along with the 3 other meals I whip together. So, please, again, dear readers, send me the first "go-to" meal that comes to your head. There are no prizes here - just alot of gratitude and admiration from afar.

I'll pay your kindness in both of these areas forward.

Desperate homemaker in Savannah

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today I like Savannah

Put your sunglasses and favorite summer sundress on....and flip flops, too.....Don't worry about your winter-toes. Grab a tall glass of ice water with a fresh slice of orange on top. Don't forget the book on your night stand and maybe even a little SPF. I have an Adirondack for you on the dock waiting. I just put a blanket there, too, just in case you need to shut those pretty eyes. The water is coming in steadily so there is a constant ripple that will remind you that you are part of a bigger story. Your baby or dog or whatever chores inside you need to do need to be left alone right now. They need a break from you anyway. A lanky, white bird just landed on the rail of the dock to peer at the lunch selection below. There is just enough breeze to move the trees slightly to and fro. There is the perfect, distant sound of boats enjoying the water and the sun on a lazy day.

I'm waiting for you and I hope to finish the last few pages of my book before you get here so we can have plenty of time for some much needed conversation. Oh, and there's leftover birthday cake should you get a sweet tooth. Does it get any better? See you soon. Hurry, my cheeks are getting pink.

Not to mention that my seat here on this quiet dock feels all the ore inviting after waking up this morning with a sudden urge to clean. With Brooks on one hip I literally cleaned this over sized and underused house with a toothbrush. 5 hours later and a few crazy hallucinations after taking in all the chemicals and I have never felt more worthy of sitting in the sun with my book. My mama would be so proud.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cookie cake, chocolate cake, ice-cream, oh my!

The quirky weather man here tells me to expect 72 degrees today. I won't accept a degree less. Were it not for this news I would have been ultimately dysfunctional today....coming off of a birthday weekend high in Atlanta. Admittedly, I was such a baby yesterday. I literally wanted (but didn't) to sit Indian style behind the Explorer with my fingers in my ears and choose to be flattened by my own husband rather than to have gotten in the car and drove home like any mature just-turned-29 year old mother. Like I said, I thought about it hard but somehow shut my mouth and instead pouted the whole drive home.

So obviously the birthday weekend was that good. It was! Brad and I ate cookie cake in the car on the way up to the homeland Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get my act together Friday to actually make it to "the surprise" so it has been postponed for my next trip. We stayed with some of our favorite people and honestly, felt so welcomed and relaxed that the couple and their sweet baby may regret their hospitality when we knock on their door again this weekend! Saturday was rainy and was technically not my birthday but because Friday was spent in the car I elected to really feel like it was a birthday on Saturday. I took my favorite exercise class at my old gym. be known even by the crazy ladies I've worked out with for years is such a simple joy! We ate at a favorite lunch spot and did a little shopping. Saturday night we cooked out with a few couples that we hadn't seen in what felt like 5 years though I am sure to them they were wondering why we were back so soon....ha! Anyway, I was in heaven Saturday night.....yet another scrumptious cake, burgers on the green egg, friends for Brooks to be entertained by, great conversation with dear friends and a late late night!

This was truly one of the best birthday celebrations I've had in a while. Sunday we went to our church and had a great brunch afterwards. Get this, Brooks even reclaimed one of his toys he left in his classroom nearly 5 months ago! What other church holds on to the lost and found until truly the things are found? I was so thrilled and so was the little guy!

Sunday afternoon Nise watched Brooks while Brad and I spent an evening at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead. We first had our favorite sushi and finally went to see The Blind Side. I know, we are waaaayyy late on the movie scene. The night was just perfect but the best part of the birthday weekend was knowing there was no baby waiting to arouse us from our sleep around the 7a.m. hour. We slept later than we have in years and spent the morning walking around our old stomping ground just reminiscing. Of course we couldn't leave without a trip to Taqueria del Sol which is where I tried to make my stand by plopping on the ground behind the car momentarily. As you know, I came to my senses and put on my big girl panties and rode home with a frown the whole way. Isn't there some kind of saying like " dont frown because it's over, smile because it happened?" Well, that's a piece of crap. I didn't want this weekend to end and not because it was my birthday weekend but because it was so so wonderful to be home and to be around friends that know us and care for us. It's official: I am homesick! But like I said earlier, it's sunny and in the 70's today which usually means on the island it will feel a little warmer. Brooks and I are going to spend much of our day outside on the dock and walking by the water. There are some wonderful things about our home that we rarely get to enjoy so today I will do my best to enjoy every single positive aspect and not think about where I'd rather be......

So, the ice-cream part came in last night. On the way home we stopped at a place for dinner that I honestly hadn't stepped foot in since high school summers in St. Simons. Yes, mates, Outback Steakhouse. Brooks was not happy to be not in his bed and I was still a little blue until....the 6 waitresses abound from the kitchen with a chocolate covered ice-cream scoop for the birthday girl. Oh goodness, I don't think I even had brushed my teeth yesterday and all of a sudden everyone in Savannah (because obviously Outback is the place to go at night) turns to delight in my humiliation. Thank you dear waitress for overhearing our conversation about our splendid birthday weekend and choosing to call me out in front of the restaurant (but then really make me happy to end my night with yet another birthday dessert!) When is the last time you had the restaurant staff sing to you on your birthday? I like to think I was 7 and at the time it was pretty cool. "Aussie, aussie, aussie. Oy, Oy, Oy. It's your birthday.....Aussie, aussie, aussie, oy, oy, oy!"

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The word makes me want to jump. I love a good surprise but unfortunately for those that love me the most and actually care to surprise me - I am no an easy target. Actually I am not a target at all. I've told you this before. I am a little too in the details of things to not notice a funny charge on the Amex or a supposedly subtle inquiry to find out my favorite sweet of the day. I hate that I am like this but I can't do a thing about it so instead I just try to act aloof when my sweet husband is scurrying around with his camouflage and binoculars.
Tomorrow is the day that I am officially a year older than Brad in numbers...atleast until May. He loves this day every year and he spends the next 4 months reminding me of my wrinkles and sagging parts. We are headed to Atlanta to celebrate for the long weekend and I couldn't think of anything more I'd rather do. We'll eat our favorite foods probably over and over again and see many of our friends that we haven't seen since this summer before we said our good-byes. There doesn't even need to be an ounce of surprise this weekend because it's going to be that ideal.....that good! Oh, and Sunday we are treating ourselves to a hotel stay somewhere while Nise watches the little guy. We could stay at the LaQuinta Inn and I would be thrilled just to have a night of uninterrupted sleep (sorry grandma, he likes to get up these days for some reason!) What a perfect birthday treat!
But wait there is one surprise....tomorrow I have an appointment scheduled at 3pm. That's all I know. No, "what to wear", "where to park", "how long I'll be away", "whose babysitting" type details. Just the time - 3pm. Goodness, I couldn't sleep last night out of anticipation. I love a semi-surprise! Even if my appointment is with the dermatologist or something I'd be thrilled just knowing someone else planned it for me and has even taken care of child care (I think). I could start to do some interrogating and probably find out the skinny but I like it this way. I know just enough to not have plans scheduled at 3pm but nothing more!

I hope you enjoy a nice, long, hopefully warmer weekend! Because it's my birthday - take Monday off of work. Tell 'em I told you so! (In elementary school I used to think that is why I was out of school. Ouch, hurts finding out the world doesn't revolve around me! Ha!)

2007: Brad and I were barely dating this year but he drove an hour north to get my favorite cake! Surprise! We ended up at Johnny's Hideaway this of my favorite nights in Atlanta for sure!

2008: Once again....a yummy slice of my favorite cake after a fun dinner at Two Urban Licks.

2009: Surprise - I'm over half way through the pregnancy here and therefore enjoyed many birthday cakes and meals. This one was with some dear girl friends at Eclipse di Luna. And below with Brad at Cirque du Solei with my parents. I love Birthdays and finding any reason to celebrate!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sippy cup?

Eventually I do want Brooks to be able to eat and drink on his own. Not tomorrow, but eventually. If this is any indicator though, he has absolutely no interest and would much rather me do the work. And he'd much rather chew on anything near his mouth then sip it. Plus, I don't think "sip" or "taste" are in his vocab. It's more like - "devour, conquer, and attack" when it comes to food or drink.

Note the mis-matched pajamas. It's the cool thing to do if you are under 1 or if your mom doesn't do laundry anymore. Any suggestions on how to help your growing baby learn to drink from a cup or how to actually get on top of the laundry?

What are the odds?

Usually if it means winning something like tickets on the radio (not that I have called a radio station since I was about 12) or a few dollars on the lottery or even catching a break somewhere - like finding a parking spot at Publix that's not in the neighboring strip mall when the weather is below 20 degrees - my odds are slim to non-existent. I like to work a little harder for my rewards so it's okay.
There are two exceptions to this theory that come to mind. Kindergarten, Mark Twain Elementary in Columbus Ohio, the year was 1986. I was new to the school and the town but not new to musical chairs. I won the contest involving all of the kids at the fall festival and got to pick out a cake of my very own for my prize. I picked the big yellow cake with a bit smile on it....kinda resembling the picture you have when singing the ever-popular "Don't Worry Be Happy" song of the day. To this day I still think of that fall day as one of those where my stars just aligned. Not to mention, I love musical chairs, especially on the Ellen show.

Many years of missed opportunity pass me by and I find myself with rather large speeding ticket in Fulton county. I could give you all the reasons why I didn't deserve that ticket but it doesn't matter...this thing just stole my joy especially being that the court date was the week of my 25th birthday. Eww. $400-plus ticket. Ewwww.

The court date comes around and I have done all of my legal research (meaning I phoned a friend and I was ready to take on Fulton County. After sitting for what seemed like a season in a fairly empty court room my fairy godfather dressed in a court worker type uniform came and took me and the few other hopeful criminals to a window with a clerk of few words behind it. All I can think is that my crime is too large and they aren't even going to let me plead my case. The lady behind a square pair of glasses stamps my ticket, asks for my license and says, "You are good to go." What???? When do I come back? I was ready for the fight....ready to earn my win. "The officer scheduled your court date on a date we don't have traffic court. You are good to go," she exclaimed again since I hadn't budged the first time. Then she closed her window and turned to her lunch. I don't even have to explain the relief I felt. I'm sure I turned on some girl radio song and rolled my windows down and felt like the luckiest speeder that ever lived.

Yesterday the tables completely turned. I received a notice in the mail from one of the only institutions in Savannah that even know we live here. Thanks to the City of Savannah Parking Services - we actually are somewhat known in this town. This town is serious about their parking tickets, too. No $6 fine like the ones I compiled in Athens. $15 per citation. Ouch. More so, they monitor the streets like there are terrorists under each car or can't get away with anything. Anyway, we received one ticket back on our first trip to Savannah when we were checking out our possible new home. Obviously a parking ticket for a 4 minute expired meter didn't help me fall in love. We paid it and forgot about the ticket and the whole trip thinking we'd never move anyway. 2 months later I find myself parking in downtown Savannah for lunch during my first week as a resident. Once again, I scour the streets for 45 minutes looking for one vacant spot and finally fin a jewel 2 blocks from my lunch spot. Yummy first lunch in my new town but only to be ended by another $15 welcome fee. We pay this one too and vow to never give the Parking services another hard earned dollar.

Until this notice. The FORD car in this household has a balance of $58 to be paid in 7 days or else! Or else! So I call immediately and put on my best negotiating cap and atleast get half of the fine removed. I am still not sure why there was more of a fine but I had rather pay it than deal with government employees. I hang up the phone and actually feel good about the money I just saved our family. Just leave me at home, Brad, and I'll find a way to "save" money.

Anyway, last night after another night of devouring the pages of my book and flipping through some of the American Idol premier the local news announces their 11pm story. Are you kidding me? So much for doing the right thing anymore. Read on and feel lucky that you just don't have my luck.

City forgives late fees on parking tickets
Posted: Jan 12, 2010 5:37 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2010 5:52 PM
By WTOC Staff

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - If you are one of the 18,000 people in Savannah with unpaid parking tickets, you may soon be debt free. The City of Savannah is offering a month long Parking Amnesty Program.

On Wednesday, the city will launch the parking penalty amnesty program that will excuse any late fees accrued on all unpaid parking tickets.

The ticket holder will just have to pay the original citation fine.

The Parking Amnesty Program helps clear citation off the books and offers citizens a chance to be parking debt free.

Our revenue investigators were coming back saying a person wants to pay it, but just cant pay this amount; so, by offering an amnesty program it will help clear a lot of folks out who really want to pay but just can't in the state it is now with the late fees," said parking services director Sean Brandon.

Violators will have the option of mailing in their fines, paying by phone at 912-651-6470, or paying in person at Parking Services headquarters, 100 E. Bryan St. Because the City's online payment tool located at cannot separate fines from late fees at this time, violators will not be able to take advantage of the amnesty program through the Web site.

The program runs through Friday, February 12.

©2010 WTOC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh no

Last week I started to dream again just a little. I haven't felt all that great this winter so I've pretty much eliminated my usual exercise routine and removed my usual pressure to accomplish things all day long. This has left ample time to play with Brooks and while he is sleeping - dream - when I should be washing the piles of stinky baby clothes or making baby food as I have been doing the last few months or coming up with a plan to get back that exercise thing.
It started last week when I made a board of dreams. Right when you walk in the side door you can't miss my DREAM BIG IN 2010 board that housed all of our Christmas cards for the most recent merry season. Something must have slipped into my water last week and I realized it had been an eerily long time since I had dreamed up any adventures, crazy business ideas or future trips with Brad or even a party to host. I even started dreaming for Brad since he wasn't home and I wrote some dreams I thought he should dream too - train for a half marathon together or pick up a new hobby anyone?
I don't look at the board everytime I come in because it had already taken up so much time last week that I didn't come close to doing anything productive in the house and now Brooks is wearing his pj's around all day - and not just because it's cold outside as I would tell you. But I do glance at it when making the trek to the laundry closet and it gives me just enough pep in my step.

Then this weekend I went to Charleston. I lived in Charleston, South Carolina during the summer of 2002 with several of my favorite and first real girlfriends and the whole summer was heaven. Seriously, if I have closely experienced heaven on earth it was that summer where we all worked any job we could find just to be together in our small Charleston house and drink lemonade and dream about our future husbands and all the trips we would take over the years to come. We played games at night, laughed contagiously and I can confidently say we left a mark on the city but not quite a mark as big as the one the city left in our hearts. So anytime I go back to visit I automatically start dreaming again of the things I can do if I put my mind to it and of the pure, simple, joy that can come from the company of good friends. Good friends plus nothing. We didn't need anything else but eachother. So all weekend I continued on with my ethereal thinking and forgot about any sickness I was feeling or things that needed to be tended to at the house. More so, we spent Saturday wedding dress shopping for one of my soul mates who also enjoyed that surreal summer with me. What a better way to dream than to marvel with your friends over beautiful dresses and a beautiful bride to be along side of a glass of champagne! In heaven I think everyday you'll feel like you do/did on your wedding day. Just watching Ashley glow in each of the gowns she tried on made me remember the same girly, floating feelings I had just a few years ago. We came home from a day of shopping and doing everything girly to the boys who had been babysitting all day (sounds like a dream, too, right?). Somehow I felt like a new bride again too and I couldn't keep my eyes off Brad and I couldn't keep from smiling like we were just dating without a responsibility in the world. This recent string of flamboyant thinking is both dangerous and energizing for my marriage but I'll take the consequences and so will the dishes!

Lastnight while I anxiously turned the pages of a book that two dear friends have recently recommended Brad sat in his man chair and read over old emails we had sent each other during our extremely short courting period. It's safe to say he was happy reliving those silly old emails that we would die for anyone else to see and I was happy getting lost in a book with the perfect cup of hot chocolate and a warm fire near by.
The dishes were still dirty and the bed has yet to be made from last week but like I said - I think this has been so good for us. Unfortunately, today I promised myself that I wouldn't turn the page until something was checked off the to-do-now list and it's now nearly noon and we are all still in our jammers, dishes still waiting for some attention and the bookmark in my book is nearly to the middle. I forget how much I love to become a character in a good book. Today I am Skeeter in my book called The Help and Skeeter doesn't do the dishes or worry about the laundry....she just dreams about how she can change things.
For my family's sake I will finish this book soon, jump off my cloud, and face reality but lucky for me - I have a few more days of bliss! And I just added to my dream board to READ ATLEAST ONE BOOK A MONTH! Happy dreaming Big today......

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who needs to crawl when you can scoot?

And if you are home and unable to get out because of the horrid cold weather this smile will make you smile. Guaranteed.

Yes, the picture on the wall is slightly crooked and it drives me bonkers everday. So everyday I fix it and everytime I get Brooks up from a nap it is crooked again. I think he is playing tricks on me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

(No fretting....I didn't let him topple over the chair!)

7 and a half!!!!!

Yes, mom was lazy/sick/forgetful over the holidays and didn't take my 7 month big boy pictures. So, here are some pictures and my resume...a little late but still cute.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Slightly cruel but highly effective

You won't find this in the How To Be An Excellent, Well-Respected Mother handbook anywhere but it may be somewhere deep in Mothering for Dummies. It is a constant inner battle I face everyday....when to get me and the wee-man out of the house during the weekdays. In Atlanta we lived by no schedule during the day and seemed to spend 8 of the 10 daylight hours in the car. Here, lets just face it, we don't have that many places to go! Nonetheless, I have to get out atleast once a day to keep from turning into a sesame Street character or something. Lately, I have loved meeting Brad for lunch at some neat lunch spot downtown. I am sure he has plenty of other lunch companion options but we don't and therefore crave lunch time with the Big-man. Anyway, the only downfall of this noon time outing is that Brooks is destined to get all cozy in the car on the way home after lunch and almost always falls merrily asleep. As I have mentioned before this means I have to sit in a lawn chair and watch him snooze in the car if I want him to get any decent nap and be somewhat of a decent baby the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the moment he is out of the car and not tranquilized by the hum of the car he is wide awake and ready to play and usually I am in dire need of a little shut eye too.

Solution. Spray your 7 month olds face with water the whole way home. Brad says I should just roll all the windows down but I figured water in the face and 32 degree winds whipping around ones face is just over the top. So today he was eating a teething cookie which basically means he was spreading the goo of the cookie all over himself and the car and the car seat and he started to get those usual droopy eyes and with squishy cookie in hand he began to doze off until I attacked him with his sippy cup of water! I should have taken a picture because it wasn't as harsh as it sounds, I promise.

If you have any other tricks of the trade please share. Otherwise, baby trying to nap in the car = 0, satisfied mom = 1.

Why I like our baby

He sleeps with his bottom in the air.

He watches cheerleaders with his dad on tv.

"No, mom, I wasn't lookin at girls!"

He falls asleep the moment his dad holds him at night before bed with milk dripping from his chin. But then again, his dad falls asleep too.

And he looks like a rocker when he pulls up in the bathtub.

We love you, Mr. Brooks! You are the best and cheapest entertainment around!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Team Corrie!

You are probably thrilled to see that I am back to "normal" (watching mindless tv and talking about girly things) if you read the below post. Well, if you had a favorite friend who was offered a chance to be on the ever popular and ever life changing show, The Bachelor, than you, too, would be all giggles. My dear friend and fun co-worker when I was working at Nicole Miller last year; aka: the store where I spent my whole paycheck before I cashed it, is making her debut on tonight's premier On the Wings of Love - The Bachelor. Doesn't the title just make you long for a cheesy romance?

Anyway, gather all your girls and rally for Team Corrie tonight! She has a huge heart and I am sure will put a little stutter in the Bachelor's mouth when he sees her. Of course she is super cute but she is also a girl of outstanding character and a big faith....what a killer combo! Watch out, Mr. Bachelor! I haven't anticipated a t.v. show like I have this one since the first American Idol in college! 8pm EST on ABC - Monday night.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Years Purging of sorts....

The word alone makes me want to - don't you agree? Today I found myself on one of my memorable, solitary walks where everything starts to fit together in my head. It only happens when I least expect it but when I most need it and it almost always ends in some long overdue heavy tears on the pavement. I know I have funny thoughts thunk about me (I know thunk isn't really a word too) now in Athens, Atlanta, and on our Island called Hope. Who's the brown haired girl that waves her arms like a chicken (to work my shoulder muscles...killing two birds with one stone) while walking like there's a bomb glued to her backside (I like to have blisters when I'm done) that seems to have big alligator tears streaming down her face or a boisterous song on her lips (don't you agree that you always sound great blaring a song when out running with head phones on?) I am sure that is what they would all say. Fortunately, I am not phased. My best thinking and feeling usually happens on these monumental walks and afterwards I can truly remember change coming about and life seeming a little lighter.

Well, today, on the island I walked my usual (though not-so-usual since I've taken an exercise sabbatical for no apparent reason) flat route around the corner to the waters edge. I love the street along the waters edge. It's perfect, really. The homes are magnificent enough to make you dream but not overdone. They all look inviting and they certainly look like whatever goes on inside or on the lazy front porches is complete lollipops and lemonade on a sunny day! But I love the street before the waters edge more. The expansive oak trees line both sides of the street and they bend to meet each other at just the right point to where the afternoon-sun peeps through to make its presence known. This street is peaceful and though it seems like only blissful things happen there too, it's a little more quiet and reserved lemonade and Popsicle's on a slow Sunday rather than a bustling summer day. Anyway, as I was walking down my most favorite street and my second most favorite street on our island all the thoughts began to come out of me. They were busting out of my shoes and out from under my gloves and hat. My heart began to swell and all of a sudden I just wanted to sit on the lazy street with some paper and jot them all down before they ran and jumped in the water. They were the thoughts and feelings I had been missing for some time now and I was just so elated that they were back. I think you would agree but do you ever feel like your emotions around something aren't quite what you'd expect? This is probably just my personality but I am more disturbed by lack of feeling rather than negative feelings. I would rather just feel something than feel nothing especially when big things seem to be taking place.

Now that I have had a few hours to try to sort through them and make them all come together nicely with a pretty bow I can share a few. Had I had that piece of paper (or worse - the blog!) you would have quickly clicked to your next All-American family to check on their pretty happiness and most recent adventures to grandmas house. So here are a few thoughts nice and neat.

First, there is alot to be said for community. At times I hate this word because I think it is often overused especially in the Christian circles I tend to find myself. But whether you call it community or relationships or friends or whatever - I think we were all made in the image of God for just (relationships). Luckily, just because we moved 278 miles away we didn't lose our relationships but you would probably agree - it often feels like we are all alone. I have always thought of myself as a free bird - able to be lifted and plopped down anywhere to bloom. But I've also thought of myself as an athlete and that's obviously a wrong assumption. I am having a hard time blooming here. I don't think this is news to anyone. I am giving it my best shot - well, the best that I've got right now - but this circumstance is just one of those that has truly tested my faith and character. And goodness, on my marathon walk today I realized for certain that both have really been absent in this season. If character is what you do when no one is looking than you would really be worried. Brooks and I often don't move off the living room floor until 2:30 on any given weekday. We watch HGTV and long for creativity and we play with toys and long to be back home where everything is easier and there are more friends to play with our toys. I would like to tell you that I am putting together scrapbooks and writing letters and thank you notes and most importantly reading How to Be an Amazing/Generous/Selfless/Awesome Person type books but as helpless as I may be right now - that is one thing I am not; a liar. Unfortunately, I've spent way too much time wondering what in the world God was doing by bringing us here? Fortunately, I do know the answer to that question even if I spend much of my day looking for a better answer. I know that God lead us here for a reason. His reason may not have anything even to do with us. It may have to do with someone at Brad's work or a new mother around the corner or even less pretty - a stranger (gasp) but I do know He brought us here to fulfill a purpose and because of that truth I should act as though I were here on purpose and not by some large mistake. Nonetheless, I miss our Atlanta community. I miss being known. I miss the accountability that could come over a cup of coffee. Lord, I do pray if you keep us here that we will continue to find that similar community here. More so, help us to trust You whether or not we can see what you are up to.

And then there is this other not so pretty thought about selfishness. What a horrid word? We have all come across someone (or may even live with someone (not me...whew!)) who just owns the word selfish. Selfishness is one of those things you can't spot in the mirror though. Today as the moss hung from the trees and the wind turned my nose red I really had this terrible "aha" moment about my yucky selfishness in this season of life. Yesterday I read a dinstant friends blog whom I haven't caught up with lately. She and her friends had arranged a yard sale where they gave away all of the items to people in need. Live simply so others can simply live, they said. Maybe on any other given day the video and post wouldn't have had so much of an effect but luckily yesterday it did. Also, this weekend I learned of a friends' sister's sudden passing. She was 18 and had a huge heart for the Lord. Why am I talking about such sad things on this blog that is supposed to be about our family updates? Because as I hope you already know and remember everyday - every single day matters. If we truly see each day as a gift from the Lord than how can I squander anymore days thinking about myself and my contentment here in Savannah? There is so much more at stake and from what I have learned from past seasons - each day is so much more meaningful when you don't sit around thinking about yourself. I am so grateful my heart was reawakened yesterday to the bigger God's huge story for HIs kingdom on this earth. I am just grateful that I get to play a tiny part in that story but I know I can't truly be in His story if I am so concerned about my next chapter.

Lastly, I have never been one for resolutions. I wish I was that kind of girl. I've read all the books on how setting goals and writing them down actually almost guarantees that you'll actually meet them. My thinking has just always been a little too short term for long term goals. Needless to say, yesterday on my powerful power walk I decided that change had to happen and it had to start right away. Life is all about perspective and luckily I get to choose my perspective whether or not I get to choose the circumstances. I was listening to a Mat Kearney song on my last stretch towards the house and the sun had just started to dip behind the massive oak trees. Once again, I heard the Lord speak to my heart. The words of the song "Renaissance" say
I can be the wall when you fall down
Find me on the rocks when you break down
I heard it in the song when you call out
But I got to say now it's got to change

Yesterday I found You on the road when I was looking for freedom from my lonelliness. I found You in the trees when I was searching for answers. And I found You in the glare of the sun on the water when I just wanted to find purpose. And luckily, I was convinced that things have to change and luckily, too, I can resolve to do that right away. I know my Heavenly Father, the Ultimate Healer has been longing for me to come around.

Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Brooks' First Christmas

What do I do with this big thing? I can't eat it??

Uncle Carter made sure I was warm this Christmas

I loved smelling like a fire for 3 days after hanging with the boys around the fire!

Snuggling with Nise.

I am my mama's favorite present this year.

No more presents for me???