Jake Turns 3


Happy Birthday...

to You...

Happy Birthday...

to You...

Happy Birthday Dear Jake...

Happy Birthday to You!!!

And Ma-ny Moooooore!

Countdown to Birthday #3


This afternoon was the first of Jake's birthday celebrations, and this one was celebrated with his classmates.

There are 9 of them in all (10 including Jake), but I couldn't quite get all 10 pairs of legs in a photograph. (And no, none of these legs that you see belong to Allison. In fact, I didn't get a photo of her at all, but I can tell you that she was definitely there. In fact, when I arrived at his preschool - before nap time was over - I got to watch them sleep...side by side).

Jake's wonderful, amazing, loving, giving, teachers Miss Anna and Ms. Diane helped me set everything up and lead everyone in a chorus of "Happy Birthday." Jake was excited more than ever for his friends and teachers to be singing in honor of him.

But I definitely think his cupcake was what he enjoyed the most.

Or better yet, the icing was what he enjoyed the most.

WOW, that's a lot of icing. Tonight should definitely be interesting...in all 10 households! In fact, by the time I left, they were all either super excited over the goodies bags Jake helped me pass out or the sugar rush was officially beginning to set in. Yikes!

Well, that's one down...

and one to go!

Happy "Almost" 3rd Birthday, Baby!

So much to do...


and so little time to do it in. That's what I'm facing this week in a major way. I literally have "To Do" lists for my "To Do" lists. That sounds crazy to say, but take my word for it...I do.

The problem is that some of what's on my lists to be done, can't be done until Saturday morning because it's all for...you guessed it...Jake's big birthday bash we have planned. This drives me to the point of right. about. crazy! It's so hard to explain, but I'm hoping some of you who read this are the same way. I'm just the type of person who becomes overwhelmed when there is so much to do, yet there's nothing I can actually do to get it done.

But on top of what can't be done (until at least Saturday morning), there is still much that can be done. See, not only do we have the upcoming birthday party (which is going to be at my parent's house...which is out of town...which leads to packing for at least one overnight stay), Jim and I also have a date day/overnight date planned for Friday. These don't come around extremely often in our house, so I completley feel like I'm planning for not just one major event, but two (in a good way, though).

So looking back to about Monday of this week, I think I officially boarded the "Crazy Boat" and have been running around like mad ever since. Jim...not so much. But he is currently sitting in our living room putting together party favor bags (which I have already thanked him for doing...several times) for Jake's birthday party that will take place tomorrow at his preschool. (Check.)

I'm just hoping with all that's still left for me to do in the days ahead, that I'll find time to breathe and take it all in.

Hmmm...maybe I should put that on my "To Do" list.

Telling His Age


Yes, I know...If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, my baby boy will turn the BIG "3" this coming Saturday.

Well, now it's his turn to say it in his own little almost 3-year old way...

In Preparation


In preparation for Jake's upcoming birthday party, I pulled this

out of a spare closet in our house,

and I used it to make these...

And if you can't quite tell what these are...

they are "lumps of coal."

Well, actually they are 5" squares of black cotton fabric that I got at Wal-mart today filled with about 3/4 cup of Navy beans. There are six of them to be exact.

Their purpose? They'll be used in a game called "Toss the Coal into the Engine"...sort of like a bean bag toss.

The "toss" part...well, that was Jim's end of the bargain. He put his jig-sawing skills into action while I was at Wal-mart buying the fabric, chips, Kool-aid Jammers, and everything else on my usual grocery list.

Now all that's left to be done is spray paint it black to match the "lumps of coal" and let Jake and his party goers have a blast on Saturday.

I almost can't stand the wait...the wait for the BIG day and the wait to see if I can beat Jim at tossing around some lumps of coal!

I know I've been Home when...


my car looks something like this...

the result of snow and ice making a red dirt road very, very muddy.

Home is exactly where I've been recently. Actually, Jake and I made a very spontaneous trip there this past weekend. I decided on Friday night that we would leave just as soon as we could get packed, ready and on the road Saturday morning. We planned to spend the night and come back to T-town some time Sunday afternoon.

I love trips like this because they are "just because." Just because I was missing my family...just because Jake wanted to see his Gwanma and Paw Paw...just because we wanted to see if they still had some snow on the ground at their house (okay, not really)...just because we had nothing else planned.

We made the trip home this past weekend so we could do things like finish buying birthday supplies for Jake's party we'll have this coming up Saturday, play games (Spinners, to be exact), watch the Winter Olympics together, take pictures of my niece in her extremely stylish cowgirl boots, and share a super scrumptious steak dinner courtesy of my dad braving the cold temperatures to grill them for us.

Home is where I come back to center. It's where I'm reminded of what makes me who I am today. When I'm there I remember things like co-sleeping with my sister until I was 13 (embarassing, I know), listening to music my parent's didn't allow us to while they were at work during the Summer, riding horses and go-carts, Sunday School party bonfires, getting in trouble for staying out too late, Christmas', birthdays.

It gives me a great feeling...to go Home...and an even greater feeling to come back here...to my Home. My husband definitely puts it best when he says, "Home is wherever we are", and I have always found that statement to ring true. He and I together have moved almost more times than I have fingers to count on, but I can't think of a time when either of us felt homesick. It didn't matter that our address was not the same or that we were no longer living in a particular house or with our families...we were there...our stuff was there (furniture, pictures of us)...things that made a house our home were there.

Of course no matter how old I get or where life takes us, I will always call my parent's house "Home" because it's where I grew up...it's where my roots are. But even though I miss "Home" and go there as often as an opportuntiy presents itself (like this past weekend), it will still nothing quite like my home...

because (as Jim says) it's where we are.

These Boots


Well these boots

are made for walking

And that's just what

they'll do

One of these days these boots

Are gonna walk

all over you!

Introductions Please

On Valentine's Day, I shared a picture with you of someone who I have not "properly" introduced. You definitely guessed that the child in the photograph was not Jake...obviously...because, well, the picture is of a girl which he is definitely not.

And no, this is not my second child that I've never mentioned before...

but she "almost" could be seeing how she belongs to my sister.

She is my brown-headed, green-eyed, niece.

Her name is Emily, but she will also respond if she is called Em, Emmy, Emmy Boo, or Boo Bear (which only my sister calls her and I'm sure stemmed from Emmy Boo).

She is over-the-top energetic.

She is 4 years and 7 months old.

She has wavy, almost curly hair.

She is (one of) Jake's best "fwiends."

She has more clothes in her closet than I do (Seriously, she does. And if you knew my sister, this would not surprise you at all).

She is a cheerleader at her school (and is very good at it, I hear).

She was hardly on a schedule and was more of a "power napper" as an infant.

She can write every letter in the alphabet but is still working on knowing which letters to capitalize when writing her name, etc.

She has the biggest goldfish I have ever seen thrive in a home aquarium and a cat named Fred.

She is the first of my parents' two grandchildren.

She has one of the best mommies in the world.

She has the most adorable pair of cowgirl boots I have ever seen (pictures of those will follow, I promise).

She is a non-eater of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

She is quick to let me know if Jake's not sharing.

She loves the outdoors and is so not afraid to get dirty which makes her daddy proud.

She loves her Hula dancer outfit that we brought back to her from Hawaii and rocks it out better than any dancer we saw in one the whole time we were there.

She has the most mesmerising pair of eyes and eyelashes, and I'm completely jealous of them.

She is loved, and she is special.

She is truly unique and makes our family unique, and none of us would be the same without her in our lives.

Still Burning


Just in case you've been wondering...

Yes, the fire is still burning...

between Jake and Allison.

Today was their Valentine's Day party (it was postponed due to the snowfall that we got last Friday), and there just so happened to be a little "gift exchange" between the two of them.

Jake gifted Allison an assortment of little things like a silver, heart necklace, a four-piece box of Russell Stover chocolates, a small red teddy bear, a Toy Story Valentine's Day Card (How romantic, eh?), and a pack of Fun Dip (It's the little things that count, right?).

Her gift in return was this...

and as you can tell, he's completely enamored with her token of love and friendship.

He kept repeating all night that Allison was the one who gave him his doggy and how he "wuvs him."

And so tomorrow we'll return to school with a "Thank You" note in hand and sincere hope that Allison is as in love with her Valentine's Day gifts as Jake is his and that this little fire of love doesn't burn out any time soon.

Not Me! Monday

This past week, I most certainly did not forget to pack Jake a lunch on the day he was asked to bring one from home. Oh heavens no! I'm always, always on top of these kinds of things. I'm never rattled by a change in routine like this. And hypothetically if I did forget to pack a lunch to send to school with Jake last Thursday, I would not have whipped through the drive-thru lane at Chick-fil-A and then pretended like I meant to send him lunch from there that day, calling it a "special" lunch. Not me! I definitely would have just owned up to the fact that I forgot and said "Thank you! You saved the day!" when I paid the cashier for a four piece nugget meal with fruit and apple juice.

And if it was me who forgot to pack her child a lunch this past Thursday, I would not have thought, "Oooh! I could get myself a three-count chicken minis meal if I went to Chick-fil-A!" Absolutely not! I would never use forgetting my child's lunch as dual purpose for buying myself breakfast. I would never stoop to such a level as doing something like that!

And finally, this past week I also did not visit the dentist, only to be told I had...are you ready for this?...a cavity! I'm certain I was not the one who went for a routine visit, had those miserable x-rays taken, and then heard my dentist say, "Well...you've got one tiny cavity on the top right side, third tooth from the back." Oh heck no! He could not be talking to me! I'm the one who can't remember the last time I had to have a tooth filled for reasons of having a cavity. I'm definitely still very much in denial on this one! If only I could read those x-rays myself. Only then would I own up to this one.



Hope your Hearts are filled with L O V E today...

on this very Happy Valentine's Day!

A Different Story


Today told a completely different story...

with a much different ending from the last time snow was predicted for our area. To say I was disappointed when we waited and waited and nothing really happened worth blogging about, would be an understatement. Any kind of snow is definitely rare for us, so when it's in the forecast, I can't help but get all geeked up about it.

So when all the talk started that there might be another chance to see some of the "white stuff", I refrained from getting my hopes up too high and settled to hope for at least a three-day weekend. Well, this time I got the best of both worlds...a nothing-planned day at home with the two men in my life and IT SNOWED!

It really started coming down around 9 this morning...

and it didn't stop (even for a second) until mid afternoon.

At first, it wasn't "sticking" to anything, but as the day went on, it really started to pile up a bit.

It was absolutely gorgeous...

and this guy had the best time ever!

I think we went outside three different times!!

We had the most fun catching snowflakes on our tongues,

making snowballs, and playing kickball with an extremely slippery ball.

Today's story definitely could not have had a better ending.

And I couldn't be happier that I had a part in it.


Meet "Fishee"


So I've talked a LOT about the human members of our family, but I feel like I've barely mentioned the non-human members of our family, if at all. I figured it was high time I better, so I've decided to start with our fish.

We've had him since May of this past year, and in my opinion, he still has not been given a "real" name. When we first brought him home I asked Jake what he wanted to name him, and he replied, Fishee. He never would change his mind no matter how many times I tried to convince him that "Fishee" really wasn't a name per se, so Fishee it was. And still to this very day, that's all he's ever been called.

He's a blue, male, Betta fish, and he's the lowest maintenance, least "exciting" of all three of our pets. He's also mostly my responsibility, although Jake really enjoys helping me feed him (when he happens to be around for the job). He's also not quite ready for task of changing out Fishee's water, but he likes to sit on the counter and watch me do what I do to keep his little home clean and his water fresh.

Last night, that's exactly what we did...we made his water fresh and new, and his home clean.

We started by cleaning the rocks and artificial plants and, of course, his little aquarium.

Then we put everything back in, added new water, and about half a dozen drops of this stuff...

We waited about 30 minutes...long enough for the conditioning drops to do their magic,

and then we put Fishee back in his little home that's now full of fresh, clean water.

And even though he's not the most exciting pet, he's still ours, and he's a member of our family!



I mentioned just the other day in this post that I've been wanting to share with you some of the photographs that my amazing photographer friend, Melissa, took for us a little over a year ago. I also mentioned that my reason for having not posted them yet is because I wanted to make sure I could link you to her photograpy blog and website, which you can tell I now know how to do, all because she took the time to "school" me in the art of adding links. See! I told you she was awesome!

It's hard for me to pick just a few to share.

But I'll try to narrow it down as best I can.

Our location of choice was an easy one. We were in front of the President's Mansion on the campus of the University of Alabama.

It's where we work, spend lots of time in the warmer months going for walks and having picnics, and definitely hang out as many Saturdays as we can in the Fall surrounded by friends and thousands of fellow football fans.

It's what Tuscaloosa is "famous" for, and since Tuscaloosa is the city where our family grew from two to three, there was no place better to capture memories of our family.

There's not one picture that I have of us together as a family that I love more than these...

which is why I can't wait to have Melissa photograph our family again this Spring.

And I'm sure I'll feel the same way all over again...I won't love any others more!

It will also be amazing to see just how much time has changed Jake and the way we look as a family.

And I promise to not keep anyone waiting and will share them here as soon as I can...since now I know had to add a link and all.

In the mean time, we'll keep hating on Punxutawney Phil and wait for warmer, sunny days, greener grass, and flowers in bloom.

That should happen in no time, right?

Simple Pleasures


Last week on Kelly's Korner, she extended an invitation to her blog readers to post some of the things that each person calls "Simple Pleasures". I purposefully took my time in posting a few of mine. I thought it would be great to save my thoughts for a "rainy" day (by "rainy", I mean a day when I need to remind myself of the little things in life that make me smile, bring me comfort), and I've decided that today is that day. So here are just a few of the things that I call "Simple Pleasures"...

A phone call from one of my best friends that I haven't talked to in a while

Trips to the tanning bed (which also means I'm going on vacation because that's the only time I bother with going faithfully

Putting new refills in the wallflowers that are strategically placed throughout my house

Clean sheets and pillowcases on my bed

Sitting in our porch swing

Feeling like I just took some extra great photographs no matter who or what they are of

Watching Jake play in the bathtub...

And, of course, his hugs and kisses

Extra blankets on my bed to keep me warm during the Winter time

Holding Jim's hand

Going for walks when it's almost dark out because I'm not quite ready to go inside

Folding warm towels right out of the dryer

Vacation days that I take just because...

And getting to watch game shows (especially The Price is Right) while still in my pajamas

Just thinking about my list and which ones I might can make happen very soon is making me smile more already!

It's 5am, and Yes, I'm Blogging


I've been awake since the 3 o'clock hour...again! I've been doing this lately, and I'm wondering what will make it end. It happened several days during the week last week which leads me to believe it's related to the stress of the work week (Because guess what?...it's Monday, and here I am...up and at em again while it's still completely dark out!), but I also feel like it's associated with "that time of the month" which is bound to arrive any day now. Good times!

I actually wouldn't mind getting up so early like this. The benefits could be endless. But I'm the only one awake in my house right now. I obviously can't do anything that makes noise or would disturb the two most important people in my life. So here I sit, trying to hold in my jealousy and resentment that they are still able to sleep soundly...and blog.

What I really wish is that when I'm awake like this (with only a few choices of how to spend my alone time), I could meditate and spend time with God. But when I miss out on the amount of sleep that I need and wake up so doggone early for no apparent reason, my mind just wanders all over the place. It's so full of just everything, and whether I try to lay quietly and pray or read a book or devotion doesn't matter. Because after a few minutes, I realize I quit praying and don't remember a thing I've read on that page I've been staring at in my book.

Like this morning, for example. So far, my thoughts have included the following since I laid eyes on the clock in our bedroom at 3:44...

I'm pondering whether or not to bathe Jake before school today. I usually don't do this. We are in a "nightly bath" routine for now just because it saves me time in the mornings that I usually don't have. But I realize as I lay here, that I didn't give him one last night. He really didn't need one...I don't think. We had not done anything yesterday that would have given him the opportunity to get "dirty." Not that the outdoors is the only place he could get dirty, but the most we were out there was long enough for me to snap a few pictures of his new haircut that I shared in my last post. But today may be different. Because now I'm feeling like he actually does need one.

I'm also thinking about my friend Rachel. She's finding out today whether or not she's having a boy or a girl. She due with Baby #2 in June. She has one girl, who is just 10 days younger than Jake. I think this time around, she's really hoping for a boy. I can't say I blame her on that one...not that I'm bias or anything. Ha!

I'm mapping out my lunch break in my mind. Target and the Bank...that's where I'll go today. I need to return some shelves I bought to hang in Jake's room that didn't match so well with his new furniture and also buy a gift from our office to give at a baby shower this coming Friday. In conjunction with that, I'm trying to remember who I haven't collected money from yet for the gift and making a mental note to send an e-mail when I get to work...or maybe I'll just ask them for it in person...yeah, I think I'll just ask in person. It's only three people.

I'm thankful my mom is feeling so much more like herself. She and my niece had a virus last week. It sounds just awful, and it's not the typical 24 hour deal that you hear about. This one had the possibility of lasting up to 7 days. Mom said in her case, it was more like 6.

Hmmm...wondering if I could make some hot chocolate. That would be sooo good right now. But will the microwave make too much noise? I'm sure it would, especially if I didn't open it before it beeped. I might get busy opening the packet and pouring the powder into the cup that I forget to watch it closely. Oh, well. Maybe I'll go for a pop tart and some milk.

The song "Unto Thee O Lord" has also been stuck in my head. Don't ask. I have no idea why. Just be glad I'm not singing out loud, and you can't hear me.

I also wasn't sure what I would find on tv now that I finally turned it on, but I'm happy to say Little House on the Prairie is on. I LOVE that show! It reminds me of my sister and I when we were little. It was her favorite, and we didn't miss an episode. Boy, Nellie really was a witch, wasn't she? Wow!

Thinking now about a post I've been wanting to do for a while but can't figure out how to "add a link." I really want to share some more of the family pictures like the one in the header of my blog that my amazing photographer friend Melissa took for us. I see the button up there, and I've added the URL, but I can't figure out how to add words that will be "underlined" so that if you click on it, it will take you to that place. Something to google later I guess.

Now I'm thinking I wonder if that was Jake that I just heard. Yeah, I think it was.

Guess it's time for the bath I think he needs.

A New Do


No. It wasn't me who got one.

I would like one.

I need one.

But it wasn't me who got one...

a new "Do" that is.

It wasn't Jim who got one either.


His is regulated by the United States Air Force.

It's measured by height, length, and probably weight even...

for the next 14 months at least.

So his "Do" isn't new either.

By process of elimination, that leaves just one certain soon-to-be 3 year old.

He got a new "Do"!

And we like his new "Do" very, very much.

Well, Jake and I do.

Daddy? Not as much.

He is still missing his former "Do".

But he knows this one will have to do...

for a while at least.