Sunday, May 10, 2009

Living Room Tour

Kelly has continued her "Show us where you live Fridays." This week it is the living rooms/family rooms. At the moment, my family and I only have a living room, which we are proud to say we do ALOT of living in. HA HA! Here's our comfortable living room, hope you enjoy. Next week is baby nurseries, which I am really excited about.

Here is a full view of our living room. We bought this leather furniture a few years ago after much debate on whether to or not. My husband was worried that in the winter it would be cold and in the summer it would be warm and that our skin would stick to it if we were sweaty. Well, we fixed those concerns by not sitting on it while being really "sticky or sweaty" (hehehe) and usually you can always find a comfy blanket across the couch to keep you warm.

The pillows are NEVER on the couch, especially the large rectangular ones. They are too stiff and bulky to actaully enjoy using, so we place them out only when we are having company over. The two prints I got at Kohls, I love them. I don't know why but I can't stand for pictures to be symmetrically placed on the walls. I like everything staggered on the walls. BAd Habit that I am having trouble breaking out of. I actaully don't even think about it when I am putting stuff up, it's just so automatic now.

The lamp to the right we received as a wedding gift and I love it because our ceiling lights are way too bright at night and this lamp has the softest most calming glow. I usually sleep at night here lately (since the birth of our little girl Sadie) on the couch with this lamp on.

This chair is definitely my husbands refuge everyday after work. This is where you can find him at all times while in the living room.

This is my door entryway table.

I got this trunk a few years ago because it matched the furniture perfectly. I store all of my extra blankets and throws in it.

Fireplace, not used as often as I would like or EVER! hahaha! Wedding photos from one of the best moments of my life and two decorative urns.

Coat rack/umbrella stand. Highly recommended for an entry way.

I love this display shelf. It contains many special things on it ranging from pictures to gifts. The statue of the two people dancing we bought while on vacation in Cozumel. The angel to the top left was a gift from a dear friend of mine when my mother passed away last year and the horse and foal statue belonged to my mother and always sat in my bedroom on a shelf while growing up.

This would be my jewelry chest that I got for Christmas this year (the only thing that I really wanted or needed). It has remained in the living room because the bassinet was suppose to go in the bedroom in the same space as the jewelry stand but neither of them have made it to the bedroom. On top of the stand is Sadie's laundry basket, yes it is full here complete with blankets, socks and onesies.

Our T.V. Stand that I am growing tired of. I just thought of an idea as I sit here staring at this eye sore. We should place a flat screen over the fireplace and place another sofa here for extra seating. Toby probably would not go for this idea. HA HA HA!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kitchen Tour

Kelly over at started a home tour space, where every Friday bloggers can share the insides of their homes with fellow bloggers & it also helps in sharing some decorating tips and ideas without leaving the comforts of your homes. I thought that this would be fun, so here it goes. Hope you enjoy my kitchen.
I love this piece of furniture from Kirklands. We use it as a DVD holder. The pictures are of my two dogs Bailey and Noah. Candles came from Target and the decorative wooden circle from T.J. Maxx.

My dining room feels like a little bistro, so I found this plaque at T.J.Maxx that fitted the theme.

Vase pictures in the dining room that came from Kirklands.

Dining room. I love the over sized vases that I got at Pier 1 on clearance. I would like to get some decorative tall safari grass to place in them soon. Notice the electrical box to the far left, I am looking for an elongated picture at the moment that is similar in color and style of the two vase pictures to the right, which I got at Kirklands.

On my table, I got these candle sticks at Hobby Lobby and the floral arrangement at T.J. Maxx. the table runner came from Pier 1.

Dining room with light fixture. The light fixture needs to be brown instead of silver. When we were building, I loved this fixture but had no clue how I was going to decorate the rooms so I ended up just choosing to ignore the fact that it is silver.

Hurricane vases from Southern Living that are great for holidays when you want to decorate. You can put ornaments, plastic fruit, candles or candy in them.

I cheated, I cleaned the clutter out of these little Southern Living Pots for this picture :)

Trivets from Southern Living & a cutlery set from Target...I think.

I have this serving tray displayed right beside the coffee station, decoration only. I found this at T.J. Maxx-noticing a pattern?

I have to admit, it is a southern tradition to display a cook book on the counter, staple right? Well, I have to be honest, I have never even cooked a recipe out of here before. I bought it at Barnes & Noble on clearance only because it matched my kitchen colors. I don't cook low fat either:)

Here are a few pieces I bought at Target because I felt that they matched the Southern Living trivets above the stove really well. I only use the napkin and paper towel holder when we have company over. Any other time they just serve as decorations.This is the door that is off of our kitchen and leads to the back deck and patio area. I placed this iron piece that I got from Kirklands (another favorite store of mine) above the door.

This clock, I fell in love with when I found it because the background color was exactly the same color as my kitchen walls. It is simple and convenient. He laundry room here is painted in a Terra Cotta, keeping with the Italian theme. I also got these awesome dark brown wicker baskets to place above the washer & dryer to serve as decorative organizers.

I love this huge clock, it sits on a decorative book stand. I also got it at T.J. Maxx.

When I first thought about placing family photos in the kitchen on the counter tops, I assumed it would look a bit silly but I love it! The three little pots here are from Southern Living and the two vases came from Tuesday Morning ( similar to T.J. Maxx). Again, we have the basic white refrigerator that will be another appliance that I choose to have in a dark color in the future.

I like to sit out decorative items on my counter tops. Some things that I sit out, I rarely ever use around the kitchen. Like what is pictured here.

The basic stove, in the future I have learned that I want a dark stove such as black because white shows everything. I love hanging decorative hand towels off the front handle of the stove, but I struggle to get my husband to not use them to clean up with because it stains them. The trivets above the stove are usable (not just for decoration). They are from Southern Living, what you do is place them above the stove for decoration (instead of having to store them) then when you cook a hot meal, you can easily pull them down for serving on.

Here is the full view of my little cozy kitchen & part of the laundry room to the far back leftr corner. I chose the color gourd from Lowes. It looks much brighter under the camera flashes. It is actaully a duller and darker tone in person. My objective when starting to decorate my kitchen was that I wanted an Italian feeling theme. So my colors were based around yellows, reds, and greens.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Finally, our prayers were answered once again with the news of another pregnancy & we were filled with joy to find out we were having a beautiful, healthy baby girl whom we call Sadie. I am have started a little journal for her as well to document her journey in life as she faces her little goals and new experiences.

Journal for Sadie
-my heart has been divided to possess two components: an unwavering love for my sweet baby girl that consumes me and the other for my admiring husband and his admiration for his family; it is an infectious opulence I find in that my life has been refreshed & refined!

Birthing Experience

We had the most perfect pregnancy. I did get a bad case of acne, swelling in my feet and legs, and heartburn but nothing out of the ordinary. I gained an average amount of weight, in the early months I gained more very quickly, the Dr. even said on one visit to my dismay that I was 4 lbs over my target weight. But around the six months I stopped gaining weight and from that point on, I lost some. I was lucky enough throughout the pregnancy to not even have to purchase very many maternity tops because it was winter time and all of the sweaters were made long, so I just bought them in “bigger” sizes. Now, I did have to purchase maternity pants in a variety of styles, couldn’t really get by with that one.

We arrived at the Dr.’s office on Tuesday March 31st for our weekly checkup at 10 a.m. that morning. I checked in as usual with no worries or concerns and I was anticipating lunch with a co-worker and her friend that afternoon around two o’clock. When I was called back, I was weighed, had my blood pressure checked as well as your little heartbeat. Everything checked out perfect, your heartbeat always remained around 140 BPM and my blood pressure remained consistent throughout the entire pregnancy.

When the Dr. came in her asked me the usual questions, checked my swelling and measured my belly. When I told him I hadn’t felt you move the day before he asked me why I had not called him and I simply explained that I figured since the appointment was the next morning he would simply say that he would see me then. But he said, No, I would have sent you straight to labor and delivery. That statement terrified me! I wondered what that exactly meant. So he decided to hook me up to the stress test machine. I sat there for twenty minutes before finally telling the nurse that I had not eaten that morning or at all that day. So they brought me some OJ, in hopes that your activity would spike. When it still did not another red flag was raised.

So we moved to the ultrasound machine to do a Biophysical Profile for 30 minutes, where you were supposed to move at least 8 times. To our surprise, she said that you were sitting on your rump, which meant your head was that huge knot I had felt for two weeks under my left rib. Automatically, after a choice word, a C-Section ran through my mind and that was the last thing I wanted to experience. But I held onto the thought that there were movement things they could do to turn you or we could wait and see if you would turn yourself. Twenty minutes in and nothing, no movements, I kept trying to read the ultrasound tech’s face and her eyes as she watched you on the screen that I could not see. When I mentioned to that lady that I thought it may be due to myself not eating that day she stated that it may be a good thing to have not eaten in case the Dr. wanted to take us in for a C-Section that night. My mouth dropped and I could feel the warm tears swelling, I couldn’t breathe and the room started spinning. I felt sick, so she offered me some water and let me bend my legs towards my chest. I nearly passed out because I was so nervous and I knew it was still too early for your arrival.

So once we finished the US and those dreaded words of “nothing” in relation to your movements came from her mouth, the tears streamed and my heart began to crack. The Dr. looked seriously worried which for his usual laid back demeanor, this was unusual. I sat and waited clinging to his words to understand something from this day. I couldn’t wrap my head around it because your heart beat was great. He explained to us that you had no movements in almost two hours of monitoring and you were not practice breathing on your own. Then he stunned me with, “I am going to need to take you in tonight,” and I asked all too well knowing, “for a C-Section?” I can remember the nod of his head and then he stated that he didn’t know what you were doing and he would feel better knowing you were out. Then he said, “I am not giving you the option, I want you to go home, pack a bag and be back by three & we will do it around five.”

When we got back to the hospital, things moved so quickly. We were immediately placed in a room and were surprised when they told us that the Dr. wanted to move the surgery up to four o’clock. They hooked me up quickly to several monitors and asked me many questions. I froze when they asked me if I had a living will. Nothing I had really thought about, I looked over at Toby with fear found in both of our eyes as my voice broke when I said, no.”

Next, the dreaded Epidural nurse rolled in his cart and I looked away because I didn’t want to see any of the things he was about to use. He made me sit up on the edge of the table and the nurse laid her arms over my shoulders as I curved my back. Worst of all they tell you to remain as still as possible while they stab you in the back. With the first try, my right leg all of a sudden started jerking; I quickly told him and asked the nurse if that was normal. She didn’t respond the first time I asked her. When I asked her quickly a second time and with more assertion, she said it was o.k. So he had to take it out and try again because he had hit a nerve. With the second one, I could feel the warm fluid in my back run down my bottom and then down my leg on the right side. It was a very uncomfortable feeling.

Once that was done, I was tucked back into my bed and watched Toby put his scrubs on and I thought, wow this is about to really happen. To my relief, a friend of ours who works at the Medical Center made a special call in to my Dr. and the hospital to have a very nice nurse go through the surgery with me. Then I remember saying my good byes and wondering would I make it through this to see this people I love so much again. I remember being rolled out down those long halls with the bright lights. I remember wiggling my toes the entire way to the operating room and asking the sweet nurse if it was normal to be able to still do this. She said it was a really good sign and then my uncontrollable shaking began. It was like an out of body experience, I had no control over my body.

I remember the operating room vividly, it was small and they had 80’s music playing. They said that my Dr. requires it for all his surgeries. I freaked out once they strapped my arms down outward to the sides and the blue shield went up. I felt so alone because Toby wasn’t supposed to be in there until I was prepped and I felt misunderstood. I wasn’t supposed to be here, this wasn’t supposed to be me. I felt really out of it, I remember my eyes were drifting as if I could go to sleep, but I kept trying to look around while I moaned and cried. My doctor graciously tried to comfort me. They tested my skin by pinching me 10 times, which I never felt. I felt relieved when Toby finally came in. He was such an excellent coach.

I could feel a vibration when they started, they explained what they were doing during the whole process and I kept reverting back to mental images of C-Sections I had seen on TLC and the discovery health channel. I could feel the pressure placed on me the entire time. Then when they started pushing on my abdomen to get her out, I got really scared and Toby coached me to breathe in and out.

Then those precious words, “there is a leg, and another leg, and a back and here she is.” Then he brought her around and held her up so I could see her. A memory I will never forget. She looked pitiful, lifeless arms and legs, bluish grey in color, and silent. As they worked on her, I kept asking if she was o.k. and finally I heard her little scream that brought tears to my eyes.

As they worked on me, I started feel a tingling sensation and vocal me immediately told them and they gave me more of something in my IV and I was out. I slept through the whole sewing up portion of the experience. I could remember being wheeled through the halls and wondering if I was alive, was I dreaming, and did I make it. I kept trying to lift my head to see down the hallway where there were so many people gathered. I could hear their voices wondering if that was me on that stretcher. I couldn’t contain my smile when I finally saw our family and friends waiting.

Month One
My heart melted the moment I laid eyes on you……..

Sadie, you were born on Tuesday, March 31st at 5:44 p.m. You weighed 6 lbs 7 oz and were 19 ½ inches tall when you entered our world, Daddy got to show you off to all the friends and family waiting to meet you.

It was noon the next evening before I got to finally come see you again; I had a moment of tears while watching T.V. I saw a commercial for a new show about chimpanzee rescues, there was an infant that the handlers were trying to resuscitate and they were worried it may not pull through. It made me think about you and how I couldn’t help you, I felt so alone and vulnerable as you were.

You spent your first nine days of life in the NICU, fighting off fluid on your lungs, in taking pressurized oxygen, a small tear in one lung and Jaundice. You were given fluids through an IV in your tiny hands and feet and an antibiotic and your little tummy struggled at first to digest the first bit of mommy’s milk you had.

You were spoiled to the bottle that the NICU nurses fed you on and that made it hard for you to transition to actual nursing. You would fuss and cry but eventually latch on, but only to get easily tired and result in both of us needing to sleep.

You enjoyed the opportunity to do skin to skin with mommy. The body heat kept you warm and you would nuzzle your little head into my chest to fall asleep.

Mommy had never changed a diaper or bottle fed before you, so she was really nervous as to how to hold you, burp you and pick you up. To add to those fears, all of the corded connections to you and the monitors intimidated me beyond comparison.

The NICU nurses were so good to you, they made you a little hat with your name on it, your first scrapbook page that stayed on your little bed, an Easter dress, and love dolls that mommy could hold then place with you in your bed at night. They all talked about how beautiful and sweet you were.

You had some little room mates. Our favorite we called baby McKenzie. She was much smaller than you but she could move, kick and scream with the best of them. The nurses would say every time they came over to you, she would get jealous and throw a fit for their attention.
Mommy and daddy stayed with you throughout your entire stay. We were blessed to be given a free hospitality room for four days through the TLC program.

While we patiently waited for you, mommy and daddy talked with many people, got to know many of the hospital staff, had several visitors and went through a lot of training and preparation (lactation nurse, CPR/Choking).

There were so many people at the hospital to welcome you to this world.

We were so thrilled when it was time for you to come home, I can remember the excitement I had putting on your first little outfit to finally take your hospital pictures in before coming home. You certainly did not like the bright lights of the mobile camera, but the lady was able to get a cute shot of you lying on your pink polka dot blanket with the little lamb on it.

Nurse Autumn helped us buckled you into the car seat and walked us out. It was such a beautiful warm sunny day, GOD truly blessed us. It had been cold and rainy the three days leading up to your dismissal from the hospital.

On the ride home, mommy couldn’t stand to not see you, so at every stop light I would stop, turn around and look over the car seat to see if you were breathing well. Then half way home, I pulled over at the IGA, got out and checked on you again before continuing on that long path home.

We have had many interesting little experiences along the way so far at home. While in the hospital, you wore a little button up shirt but you came home in a precious Biscotti outfit that was entirely too big for you. You are in those in between sizes, not really a preemie but not full term yet either, so everything literally swallows you.

Mommy is over protective. At first I didn’t want Bailey and Noah to roam free about the house around you, I needed complete silence throughout the house to not disturb your slumber (that included the T.V. doors shutting and daddy’s footsteps) and I was consumed by fixating my attention and eyes on you 24/7 to ensure you were breathing.

You really don’t like to have your diaper changed, clothing changed or to take a bath. You scream at every opportunity to let us know what you think. You also don’t like to sit in your bassinet, bouncer, or swing (which doesn’t work). As soon as you leave our arms to be placed in any of these you wail until someone comes and places you back in their arms.

You really are a good baby! You cry only to communicate that you are hungry, have a messy diaper or uncomfortable (gas & bloating).

You are still wearing swaddlers new born diapers, which fit you comfortably. No leaks, yet!
You did have thrush in your mouth and a small diaper rash all as a result of having to take that antibiotic while in the NICU. The pediatrician gave us some good medicine for both areas called Nystatin.

You tend to get really bad gas problems in your belly. Your little belly will swell up and make you very uncomfortable when being held, placed on your back and sometimes on your belly hurts too. You make the funniest grunting noises and whining sounds when trying to have a pooh or pass gas. You wine and jostle around on my chest or in our arms making these noises when you are like this. We are giving you Mylicone drops to help soothe this problem.

It is hard for you to sleep, related to the gas. You are not on a consistent schedule yet. You have your bottle, and then wrestle about an hour before relaxing enough to sleep.

You love your butt and back to be patted on all the time, this is usually how we get you to sleep.

Daddy likes to walk you around the house for a bit. We also rock you at every chance we get.

You sneeze all the time; usually three tiny precious sneezes at a time escape you. I can always tell when you are going to sneeze because you raise up or stretch your body, your face contorts, eyes squint and you purse your little lips out and around into a circular shape as to say “oh”and then your mouth opens really wide. Same goes for your infectious yawn, which I adore watching.

You love to lie on your tummy on mommy and daddies chest and we love it too. We like to feel you breathing as you lay there, cheeks smooshed into a little pillow for your head and arms either tucked under your head or stretched out the sides. We like to think that you enjoy the warmth and listening to our heart beats.

When you first came home, you ate very little and it was a struggle to get down 45 ml. That quickly changed, we noticed when you didn’t seem satisfied because you would wake up every hour and a half giving your little feeding cues with your mouth. Now you are eating 60 ml every three hours and attempting to sleep for about two hours in between. That first hour of the three is taken up trying to comfort you to a nap.

You have such good fine and gross motor skills. From day one, you were an expert at grasping things with your tiny fingers, especially mommy and daddy’s fingers during feeding time or whenever we would caress your little hands. You even hold your bottle now when you eat, as if to help mommy out at times. In the NICU, when lying on your belly, you would push up on your hands and knees to raise your little head. You continue to grow and get stronger in this area here at home when lying on our chests.

After we feed you, we attempt to burp you and we can always tell when it is coming up because you will lift your entire body by arching your back and hold yourself for a few seconds. We are so proud of our baby girl.

You love to kick your little legs and wave your arms. Mommy calls you a wiggle worm because you won’t stay swaddled in your blanket for longer than a few milliseconds. First you get your straight arms in a bend and literally wiggle them to the top of the blanket under your chin, and then you constantly stretch your legs until they are blankie free.

Mommy and daddy have contributed to many nicknames for you all ranging from Sadiekins, wiggle worm, baby girl, booger butt, missy and little lady.

You love your car seat and riding in the car. You sleep the entire journey even when mommy struggles getting you in and out of the car. Your poor little head worries me because you are so small that you don’t fit in the head rest, so your head literally gravitates to you right side and the car seat sits so straight up that you immediately get the what we like to call, “bull dog” sweet cheeks syndrome, where they hang down to your chest.

You are not a huge fan of the pacifier yet, you prefer you fingers and whole hand to suck and naw at many times. Soothies were your favorite in the NICU, but once you got your first taste of mommy’s milk you were smart enough to know that there was nothing coming out of a pacifier.
Mommy loves listening to daddy through the walls talk, laugh and daunt over you.

Not too big on the boppy yet, because you don’t quite fit into it yet. Serves as a great text book holder for now!

You don’t like your milk cold, you prefer it warmed in a glass of hot water.

Facial expressions, kisses

You tend to get hiccups on average of every other day. You whole little body jerks with each one.
We have spent our days listening and watching the CMT channel. Mommy sits and sings to you and at times you recognize some of the songs I sang everyday in the car to you.

When you have your bottle sometimes you cough because for one; gravity pulls the milk down for you and you eat too fast. You make the loudest slurping noises sometimes, it makes me laugh. I love when the milk drains down your chin and into the creases of your chubby neck. You like to hold your face when you eat, I am not a fan because you scratch you little cheeks and head when you pull down with your fingers. You have started to really drool milk and have some major spit ups that soil the collars of all of your little outfits. You like to spit up while we try to burp you so that it runs all down our hands, lap and the furniture.

You are not a fan of the nose sucker that we use to capture your boogies. You bend your little button nose in disgust and let out a whimper as you move your head away in the opposite direction.

You do not like the bright flash of the camera but mommy enjoys photographing you daily. It is one of my passions, ask anyone who knows me well.

You receive daily compliments on your complexion. This is something I never really paid attention to on other babies before you came along
You have so many cute expressions. Mommies favorite is when you lift your eye brows and form a circle with your perfect little lips.

Mommy and daddy banter over who you look like all the time. I see your daddy from your forehead, your little receding hair line on top (it’s starting to grow hair though), your double chin, and your dimple line across your chin. Well, what’s left for mommy to claim? I think you have my light brown hair, my button nose and those beautiful lips had to come from me!

You have some Poopy diaper explosions quite often, during changing time you scream because you don’t like cold wipes or lying on your back. It is a challenge to change your diaper because you kick so much that sometimes you pull your legs up and drop them right in your poop. You also like to roll to the left, this may be because your temporary changing table is a satin blanket covered couch for the time being and mommies new bed.

When we feed, talk and play with you. You watch us with your dark grayish blue/hazel eyes, we like to call them mammaws eyes. We are excited to see what color your eyes end up being since mommy has brown and daddy has bright blue.

We adore your chubby arms and legs. You have the most perfect little rolls.

48 oz coffee and 3 hours sleep a night is exhausting.

25 Things about Me

1. I love to travel, I have been to the Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos (Virgin Islands), St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico. Toby and I have actually decided that, just because we made the decision to start a family, we will continue to travel but just include Sadie in our future ventures. Did I mention I hate flying though? I have cried on all 4 plane rides that I have been on. Once pretty bad because we went through a storm and all the knocking, banging and quick drops really had me convinced that I was going to die!

2. I am addicted to celebrity gossip magazines: that includes In Touch, Star, US, Life & Style and People, oh and hair magazines! I will make people mad in a Wal-Mart line because I stand there and read while I am waiting, get so lost that I forget to move the line. I am also guilty of going to Barnes and Noble every weekend and spending hours reading my mags for FREE. I know it’s terrible. I also find myself addicted to reality T.V. , which my husband can’t standJ

3. I am a shopaholic and truly believe that Confessions of a Shopaholic is a tribute to myself and my compulsive name brand spouting behaviors. So bad, that I once opened a present from one of my first grade students, which was an ornament and I said, “Aww, it’s a Department 59 ornament.” REALLY, why did I say that? My favorite places to shop include online boutiques, Ebay, T.J. Maxx and Target.

4. I am fan of all things involving the ARTS, music, acting, art, photography etc. I was an avid artist from early adolescence through high school but lost the time for it in college. This is something I would like to pursue again, quite relaxing.

5. I have never experienced with any form or type of drugs. The mere thought or sight of them scares me. I once broke up with a guy in college for this very reason. He was a GREAT person and I adored him, but I could not accept that lifestyle because I didn’t understand it. I kind of felt bad because I never really talked to him about it seriously, I just moved on when I met Toby!

6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to decorate!! My husband doesn’t understand this trait. I could redo the entire house with each season, I DON’T, because I would be broke but I like the new and freshness it can bring, especially painting rooms.

7. My favorite sleeping position is on my belly and guess what, not happening and hasn’t been the case for almost 7 months now. Your only allowed to sleep on your sides, so I spend each night tossing back and forth from one side to the other.

8. I love dancing, even though I am not a very good dancer. I actually use to turn on the music in my dorm room and dance on my desk, pretty entertaining to my poor roommate. She would just laugh at me. I still do this when I clean house, I just dance around more so than clean though. I would LOVE to take Salsa classes because I think it is the dance of love!

9. I love to write not to entertain but to express myself, feelings and views of myself, others and the world. I would love to pursue inspirational writing as a side career. Two weeks ago was the first time I actually let my husband read my notes on here from like July and on, he was speechless and proud of me. I sat down to read them myself and I cried like a baby:/

10. I hate for my food to touch unless it’s made to be that way like a pasta dish. I don’t mix it all together like a trough, I know it all goes in the same place but I actually like to eat one thing at a time and in a certain order, kind of an OCD pattern huh? I will eat my veggies first, and then the carbs like a potato and then the meat, even if it’s one of those meals where it’s all together. Weird I know.

11. My husband is 8 years older than me. I like this because when I met him, he was set in his ambitions and knew what he wanted. It wasn’t one of those relationships where you have to wonder constantly what was going to happen. I actually only wanted to be “Friends” at the time because I was a couple of months out of a 8 month relationship. I have to say, I have the BEST husband anyone could ask for. Everyone who meets him adores him, literally. I pray every day that GOD blesses us with 60 more years together.

12. Toby’s nickname for me is LuLu. He has even given Sadie one already: Sadikins??? You would have to ask him, I don’t know where it came from. Maybe I should ask him, huh? I once made my mom mad because I was insistent of wanting to change my name to Heather when I was like 5.

13. I have received 8 speeding tickets in the past 8 years and even had to do community service, cringe. I chose to help out at the local library thinking that I would be organizing books. I ended up having to pull weeds and cut shrubs in the middle of July in 98 degrees of misery, for this sweet little old lady who owned the place. I haven’t had a ticket since.

14. I like to participate in Husband’s sports fishing, golf, softball, but I am not a sports fan what so ever. I would rather be at the game than to waste time at home, on the couch, watching a game.

15. I am a HUGE fan of the old Super Mario Brothers game. Some things you grow up on never change and you never find something that replaces it. I can beat the whole game and I know all of the secrets.

16. I am one of “Those” college students who got a bachelors degree in something she thought she would enjoy then actually began to loathe the thought of once she was near completion, finished though and now I am almost a two time graduate with a Masters in a field that I have to say, I love. Not that I don’t get stressed at times because I do.

17. I once threw a box of spoiled shrimp out of my top floor room in Bemis Hall. Totally illegal and clause for a fine. I thought it stunk so bad and the window was “open.” Once I did it, immediate regret set in so I looked down to see where it had landed or if it had hit someone and there was an officer staring back up at me. I was so scared, I ran down there, apologizing to him and with a ridiculous story of tripping and “accidentally” dropping it. He said, “Calm down miss, you need to get inside, there is a bomb threat. Please stay in your room.” Totally off the hook.

18. I am a list maker because I love checking completed things off.

19. I am a terrible night driver. I have no sense of directionality. Sometimes my eyes tend to play games on me in the dark, freaky, also another reason why I would never walk alone in the dark on Western’s campus.

20. I have the biggest lingerie collection of anyone I know of. Addicted to Victoria’s Secret, enough said. Ask my friends, I always drag someone there with me annually throughout the year.

21. If I break just one nail, I have to peel, bite, file or cut them all off immediately. I truly believe in balance and so all of my nails have to be the same length.

22. I am an passionately emotional person. I once cried during a college presentation. I had to give a presentation about a little girl with a serious disorder. I watched show about her and decided it would fit well in the presentation, of course when I watched it I cried in the comforts of my own home and then again after watching it in class. Totally embarrassing, but kids with disorders affect me in a bad way. Don’t watch the Discovery Health Channel!

23. I am terrified of clowns. Spans from the movie “IT.” I saw this movie way too young and it gave me a phobia. I also was terrified of “Chucky.” As a little girl, I would have to turn around my dolls, stuffed animals and toys of any kind so that they were not looking at me at night when I was trying to sleep.

24. When I was six, I saved my mom’s life by calling 911 after I came home and our house had been robbed and my mom had been stabbed. Very scary, but I am a firm believer in teaching little ones about safety and 911.

25. I have lived in a Foster home.

Where Living Really Began for Me: A Bit of Background Information on Me

Here is a journal of sorts that I kept while going through the hardest year of my life thus far (or make that the hardest 3 months of my life). I didn't want to dwell on these times because I want my personal blog to be of something that is more enjoyable, inspiring and insightful to myself, life, and personal experiences. So I decided to post my journal, not re-live it by re-writing it but to share with you how far God has brought my family and I out of the depths of sadness and into the joyful light of his precious grace.

Irrevocable Coping
Monday, June 23, 2008 at 2:15am

I have learned a multitude of lessons in my life from the most minuscule.... ranging on the verge of annoying, to the ever so immense that have ravaged my world to inequitable terms that seem unacceptable to what I expect and demand out of life. Those of you who know me well, know that I am resilient, obstinate, but guarded. I have coaxed myself to be this way in many scenarios. Has this marred my quality of no means ..but I believe that it has caused me to question all facets and intentions of myself, others and life in general. The unknown....the most daunting and intimidating prospect to await. The unknown looms insecurities that become micro managers of our thought processes. Many instances, I have caused my own demise.... usually not by conscious effort, but as a result of naive adolescence or an unwillingness to alter, accept, or communicate. I am not evasive towards others but I don't gravitate, I deveiate and sometimes impel. I have loved and lost in many forms and grown no less perceptive to any of these circumstances. I have endured the loss of many loved ones from family, relationships, friends, co-workers, and now a piece of myself. Each circumstance has caused me to contemplate my being, experience a growth process to alleviate my own flaws that may hurt others........ and grow in doing so. But the loss that is uncontrollable , is the most ridgid to endure. I llike to have control of the situations in my life, that is my comfort zone. It's the unexpected tumult that blind sides me beyond comprehension.Don't get me wrong, I have been blessed with vast people and experiences in my life who have helped shape me to who I am today. Some who I don't know what I do, or who I would be without. For instance, mu husband. Someone I almost diverted the opposite direction, due to my insecurities with myself that I will always suffer from. I was determined to be solitary when we met. I played coy for months because I wanted and needed to find myself again....... I had such an unwavering desire to be independent and sovereign.......... and now I have no clue who that person was and could want nothing more than the opposite for the rest of my life. When I met Toby, I learned how to love unconditionally again, not that I had lost that but I had lost sight of that. I learned how to communicate on every level, which is the foundation we have built everything we have today on, without that we would be nowhere and we would have nothing. He has nurtured me through many trials and tribulations, he knows everything about me, the good, the bad and the ugly. He is the one person I have found that I can be completely honest with, even when not in my best interest..... and he remains non-judgmental. He helps me see the positive quality in all situations and he understands me as well. I have never met a more giving and understanding individual in my life.I have always pictured happiness in our lives together, from the day we said our vows, to every prayer said together each night hand in hand, every good morning and good night. I never imagined we would have to experience a loss in each other like this........I can remember the day, I took the test, so nervous, unsure, thinking "could this possibly be." I was so tired and exhausted physically, financially and emotionally from having to bury my mother the week of the hardest things a 25 year old girl should ever have to experience. From not getting to say goodbye or that last, "I love you." To not be able to comfort the pain or be there during that time. I remember getting that call. I was at school helping my students with their personal narratives. A little girl, whom I absolutely adore and would adopt her today, asked me to read hers. This was the same little girl I had walked to the school bus on a couple of occasions because she was so scared of the bad storms we had been getting. Knowing that she pulls at my heart strings everyday with her big hazel eyes, warm smile and grand hugs every morning, fresh picked flowers on occasion,and in having nothing she made sure to get me a special ink pen for christmas that had maze inside of it, I was interested in reading hers and felt important that she wanted to share hers with me. As I knelt down beside her, I could tell she was nervous, and as I read the tears welled up in my eyes like boulders ( I am a softie when it comes to these kids), but I finished it with composure of a breaking heart deep inside. She wrote about how her mother had just founf out that she had a tumor in her stomach about the size of a grapefruit and she was scared that she was going to die. Ilooked at her and as before said what I had said during every storm we had before I sent her on her way with a hug, "Your mom is going to be o.k." As soon as I said it, I turned at the call of my name to see my resource teacher with a concerned look, telling me there was a number I needed to call, and she thought that it was an emergency. When the voice on the other end said that your mother had passed away 45 minutes ago, I froze, dropped the phone and cried, "Oh my GOD" over and over. I stumbled forward, not knowing where I was going and was caught bythe grasp of a co-worker who wouldn't let me go. I felt as if I were in a bad dream, not knowing where or who I was. Then I thought about the little girl, I was trying to comfort, all of a sudden I was that little girl, yet I couldn't be comforted enough. I felt as if GOD had tried to prepare very quickly for what I was about to experience. Then a week later the confirmation, PREGNANT!!!! My eyes couldn't believe it or my heart. I ran out onto the front porch to stop Toby from going to his meeting, night gown and all it didn't matter at the moment. We were thrilled. He was nervous and spent the day eating chewable pepto and devising ways to manage future finances. I was torn on whether to grieve for mom or be thrilled for the baby. I have been extremely content and happy with my life but I have never been blissfully happy as I was before this experience. It hurt to smile, but felt good to laugh with one another again. Everyone told me, in a family, where there is a death there is a new life. I found comfort in that.... I still felt it was unfair to not have the chance to see mom's face when I told her the news, or those first greetings with her and the baby....but I told myself she is with me. Our whole lives changed, but for the good. The way we ate, the things we did, we were always so careful, from Toby willingly slowing down how fast he drove the boat over those terrible waves, to rolling up the windows for pumping gas. I had envisioned ten little fingers and ten little toes. We talked about names, very basic, we were having fun and enjoying this new journey in our lives. We wondered what perceptible qualities would the baby hold from each of us. Had discussed parenting issues, future obstacles he/she may face and preference was no attribute for either of us. I went from experiencing all symptoms to losing it all without choice or control in the matter.I had pictured the first Ultrasound and how it would go. I would leave with good news, a picture to put in a card for my mother in law, who we were on our way to see that afternoon and await the next visit. All to my surprisem, the opposite happened. I left with, you have a gestational sac measuring two weeks off your dates, two cysts on your right ovary, no picture and little hope to go on. After blood work and falling levels, I knew there was no hope left and yet another disappointment.I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum, which I had no clue could occur and told that I needed to go to surgery either that night or the next. When I went into surgery, I was so scared. I thought maybe I myself wouldn't come out of this. I have wondered through all of this, why me? I have been sad, mad, down right angry, and felt completely broken. I know in my heart that this was meant to be, but I don't think I will ever understand this time in my life. Will I ever heal from this. I think about others who have had exact, similar or worse experiences than myself and I ache for them as well. I can't imagine actually knowing my child and then facing a loss. I also can't imagine knowing my child and leaving them in this unaccepting world to face the pain of losing a parnet. I know it is all a part of life but..... I have seen and experienced both sides of it and neither is easier or more bearable than the other.If there is one thing I can share to help others, it is that you have to let others in during this time. You have to communicate with your spouse 100% to get through because they are feeling the same loss as you. I thank GOD for everyone in my life who has been there for me in unwavering support during these crazy two months of my life..... it means so much to me and I hope that I am able to do the same for you. You all know who you are, and I have learned so much from each and every one of you. Thank you for listening, even now when I just need to vent last time...this is it, I am not delving anymore after this because I need to move on and grow from all of this and thank you for your thoughts and prayers, you will all be in ours as well.

Messages in Disguise
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 1:55am

Sometimes, God strategically places us in certain scenarios that permeate his messages of prominent value and potency.....whether it be for guidance, strength or as I believe... is to serve as a prelude to what prospect the future possess. I had a moment, what I would prefer to relate as a defining inspiration, a moment of sheer beautiful weakness, a captivating overture of belief in something so precious, that I could on no account contravene as anything but...... refined Grace.In my remedial state of mind, I had lingered for days within the comforts of my own home. Content and contemplative of perilous thoughts..... I was coaxed back out into the obtrusive "Real" world by the malleable hands of my my insistent husband. We quietly drove to Bowling Green, hand in hand..not opressed just content in one another. Lexis at times is unnecessary. The sun sparkled unnaturally compared to my vexed demeanor. I was adamant about not wanting to be out and about, daily routines and bustle about town was still intimidating ....but I conceded to his lavish charm. We arrived at Applebee's for lunch around noon. As our waitress walked us to our table, I decisively placed myself with my back to the world. I could feel Toby's eyes glancing my way over the edge of his menu. I knew I would just order the usual, so I stared at the silverware as I waited .... until my ear caught the sounds of juvenile chuckles and laughs. As I turned my head, conveniently our waitress seated a woman next to us, only a foot away, seated at the end of her table, the most precious baby boy. I was resistent to looking over and made it a point not to. It is difficult to impede thoughts that envision yourself in that aspect of life....rather than the present. But to my dismay, he stared at me, I could feel his gaze. Now I had two of the hardest gazes burning through me, waiting to see my reaction. So, I took a deep breath and I glanced back... he just smiled, with rosy cheeks and then he would quickly look away. It became a precarious game between the both of us. Finally, I broke a smile. I could feel the ache across every inch of my mouth as my smile got larger across my face. Then before I knew it, I glanced back over at Toby and saw a mirrored image of myself in him. He was beaming from ear to ear and the light had cascaded across his face and back into his icy blue eyes. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that boulders welled up in my eyes, I could feel my face contort with that same pain ...oh so familiar and the tears just streamed with ease. Toby chuckled at this, leaned across the table with a big smile to wipe my tears, and asked if I was going to do this everytime I saw a baby. I contemplated that question and thought....maybe...... I regained my composure and felt a bit relieved when it was time for him to leave. His mother picked him up, he turned to me, waved and said, "bye, bye." I returned the gesture with a large grin and felt comfort in that blessed moment.God has tested me in many ways....maybe to see if I can handle things as he expects me to. I have felt this intolerable pain once before in my life, not long ago. I had a time where my life revolved around someone else, entirely. When that was gone, I felt as if I was a disappointment and that I had lost everything. Oh how familiar feelings return but in a different fashion and form than before. I healed from that experience, but not alone. With the help of Toby, I was able to express myself , my position as well as others. I can't say that Toby was biased and on my side.....sometimes he sided with what I felt was the Devil. But in reality, I realized he helped me see the truth in life, in others and in myself. I think that GOD places us in predicaments to grow and learn from. Whether we choose to listen, revolt or accept is the key. I have learned from my own experiences that there is always some form of good that comes from the pain. When I felt as if I had lost everything a little over six years ago, I gained so much in return. I learned that I needed to let go of some of my fiery assumptions, altered judgements and pessimistic outlooks. When I started listening, I started receiving. GOD truely has always taken care of me. I have learned to let go of the minute things, to not waist energy on the small stuff and that if something doesn't hold value then just let it go, don't dwell.I have worked very hard over the years to become more accepting. I have completely changed who I am, to a point of where I look back and am in awe of things that I use to think mattered so much. This is simply a growth process that I believe we all experience, if we are open to it.I have learned to appreciate the things that matter to me and make my life whole. I look forward to lying my head down on my pillow each night. I treasure the sound that puts me to sleep everynight , the unison heartbeat of my husband when I lay my head on his chest. I anticipate the brush of his hand across my shoulder that lets me know he is comforting me unconsciously as he sleeps. I enjoy our long walks and talks about the silliest things. The daunting questions we challenge one another with :) I have realized I have so much to be thankful for and my selfish acts of personal pitty relinquish my ability to focus on the present. GOD put Toby in my life for a reason, and credit is due. Just as I feel that GOD led that baby in a restaurant to me for a reason, maybe to let me know that it is going to be alright in the end of this journey, when all is said and done. I know that we have lost for a reason unknown to us at this moment, and one we may never know. But if it is GOD's will, then we accept and move on with distinction and dignity in his path for us. I feel that GOD needed my mom and this baby for a reason, and find peace in my thoughts that she is dancing with that baby to the voices of angels waiting for the moment that she gets to introduce me to my baby instead of vice versa. Of all that my mom thought she didn't have, she holds the greatest gift for me right now......... I am blessed by this notion of truth.

Receiving to Give
Monday, December 8, 2008 at 10:37pm

I don't usually discuss these types of things because I am not a gloater but when it comes to doing for others, I have always been a softie. Does that mean things always work in your favor or that you should expect something in return, no, because typically that is not the case and in some instances you can get into situations where people decide to just use you. It is sad but true, yet I have learned that it is best not to turn your shoulder to those who have done you wrong but to keep giving to them and doing for them. I have all of this on my mind right now because yesterday at church our sermon was about giving even when you feel you don't have it to give. This is not what I consider to be of monetary value but of grace and goodness for those in need of whatever it may be. When I met Toby, I was so unsure of myself, who I was, what I had lost in myself, in others and what I would become. I believe God put him in my life for a reason, to show me who I was and who I could be. We started volunteering at the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving, which is something in my past, I would have not considered. I was touched by the families, the elderly, the big smiles and the bright eyes and childrens' little hands who brought up thier plates for a meal. For one of the first times in my life at the ripe age of nineteen, I had to step back and walk into the kitchen and shed tears for others and not myself. For all the things that I thought I had lost in my life to the things that consumed me with what I never had, meant nothing to the needs of these people because what they were thankful for that very day was people giving for them. From that day on, I made it my mission to do whenever possible. We have many great little stories that I would love to share, in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.Special moments that have touched me, consist of many strangers I never knew and may never see or meet again. From giving change to the firemen at the corner of the mall and walmart to helping jump another's car, we find so much satisfaction and content in our hearts to keep going. There was one time, I know many of you from BG will know this woman, a little old lady was walking down Campbell Lane pulling her pull along cart full of groceries in such cold weather. When we saw her, we instantly looked over at each other where our eyes met and we knew exactly what the other was thinking. So Toby turned around and we asked if we could help her by giving her a ride home. As we drove to her house, She had the sweetest stories about her children and grandchildren. It was so nice to meet her and share her experiences. And to our surprise, we still see her every now and then.Another time, in the middle of the summer when it was dreadfully hot, we saw a man holding that was requesting a job for money by the interstate exit. We knew we couldn't provide a job for him but we drove to Hardees and got him a huge burger meal and a couple bottles of water. He was so surprised and thankful for that small gesture that made a world of difference.What really brought me to this whole subject, was right after our wonderful service this Sunday. We decided to have lunch at Panera Bread where God showed me his Grace completely and brought tears to my eyes. As I walked to an open table, I passed a gentleman that looked like a drifter, carrying an army bag, and down on his luck. No smile across his face, no coffee, no food, just a warm setting area to get out of the cold and rest for his next journey. I sat there and literally stared at him wondering about his life, his family, his faith and felt compelled to do something for him. I couldn't eat, I lost my appetite as I explained to Toby what was going through my mind. Just talking about it, brought tears to my eyes. I told Toby, I wanted to send over a meal and a warm drink annonymously. He wimked at me went to put in the order. I sat there and thought, "What if that was my son?" When Toby came back to the table, he said that the cashier had said that someone before us had just ordered something for him. My heart melted with delight, the thought that there are so many other "good" "caring" peopel out there. I was truely witnessing God's work in such a sad time in our world. I became a ball of tears as I watched a little old lady come up to him, place her hand on his shoulder and just talk to him. I think she was asking for his extra chair at his table but still it was a nice gesture. Then his blessing arrived at his table and watched his face turn almost into tears as he slowly looked around the room from under his long hair in his face. I can not tell you how touched I felt. It didn't matter that I was not able to provide for that soul that day but what mattered most was that God is working through us in the most special ways. I share these stories with you only because I hope to inspire others to share God's grace when it is needed . The coming years are not going to be easy for anyone in the state that our nation is in but if we pull together and give when we can to those in need then you too can receive so much from your small gestures of hope placed in others.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.....
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 11:21pm

So if you know me at all and surely if you know me well, I am not one of those real superstitious people, although stories from others intrigue me and cause me to wonder, never really had one of my own to share. I must say, my day began with my mind wondering as it usually tends to in some form, from early morning dreams (which are so strange now that I am pregnant) to my mid day routines. Today's thougthts did not begin with much anticipation for this up and coming fast approaching new year. Not like me either, usually I am not apprehensive but delighted to have another year with new things, and I know most of you are thinking as do I, "well you should be excited, your having a baby." But have you ever really stopped to think about that. Well when your pregnant you will. It is the scariest feeling in the world, anxiety times ten, excited times a hundred and the fear of the unknown. That has been my new years thoughts. Don't mean to be bleak but I am in need of being honest I suppose. I have to admit, watching the Discovery Health Channel and TLC for an entire two week Christmas break from work has scared the you know what _________ out of me! I love medical shows to no end but when you are an individual potentially in the viewed scenario, you start to have the case of the, "What If's?" There are so many things that could go wrong with this pregnancy and leave either myself or my husband empty handed and I think with the year I just had (mom, pregnancy and work) it doesn't seem that far fetched. But, I try to be positive and upbeat about things, I am really good at disclosing how I truely feel to the outside world and sometimes even those closest to me. So in my worried moment tonight, I sat quietly in the car on my way to Bowling Green to see a movie (Curious Case of Benjamin Button, maybe one of the best films I have seen since the Notebook was beautifully written and produced without flaw and impecable special effects), only being moved by a couple of phone calls to two of my closest friends. Now this is where all my inspiration or babbling leads to. I had run into Wal-Mart really quickly to get a photo CD while on the phone with a friend. When I got off the phone, I stuck it in my pocket. I got in the car and heard my phone make a beaping sound. When I pulled it out, I noticed that my phone had just placed a call to my mother (no, I have not removed the number and nor do I think I ever will). Now this incidence really baffles me because I have a Blackberry Pearl for those of you who are familiar and can relate to, I pondered how this could of happened the entire time I was in the movie before relaying this to Toby. When you hang up on a Black berry, you screen remains on your call log, which I had not placed a call to my mother in over 8-9 months. So, what is even stranger is that to get to her number, you would physically have to exit out of the call log screen, scroll over to the address book, press enter, scroll through the names to the "M's" and then proceed to place a call to that number. Even more so, I had not even placed recent calls to the people above or below her name recently. If you are anything like me, there would be a singe of goosebumps crawling all over you right now. But in my heart I felt at peace. When my mom was here, I would always call her when I was upset or worried......... so after the day of thoughts I had, it doesn't surprise me that maybe GOD was sending me a message of relief from above to comfort me & let me know that everything is going to be okay in this new year. I am pleased to report that his efforts have comforted me as they always do and I know more than ever in my life that I have so many guardian angels looking after me :)

Poem for Thought

The following was a poem written by an elderly lady who died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland. It was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem.

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See me

What do you see, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
What you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try!”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe. . .
Who, resisting or not, let you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill. . .
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty-my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide, a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead:
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old woman. . . and nature is cruel;
‘Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer. . . see me.

Thoughts on Life

Kindness is one of the most undervalued commodities – which is too bad because it doesn’t take much of it to turn the day around. I wonder if we overlook kindness because it’s so simple. What’s really involved? Someone needs something, we help. Someone feels low, we console. Someone trips, we catch them. There’s a need, we respond. Then the other person is grateful and relieved –and were happy knowing we could help. Kindness is a low- effort, high return exchange. Joan Duncan Oliver

It is a gift to be able to paint a particular picture or to carve a statue , and so to make a few things beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium from which we look. To affect the quality of the day – that is the highest of the arts. Henry David Thoreau