Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Program


I love, love LOVE Gracie's school! They are so wonderful to her and to us. She has sweet sweet teachers and is directly across from my Chick-fil-A. Here are some pictures and a video from her program....



video

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane..hoping I'll be back again

Blake and I leave for Colorado in an hour. (It's 3am) I have been awake since 1:30am after four hours of restless sleep. For some reason I am really struggling with leaving Gracie this time. Is it possible that my love for her is stronger than last time we went away? Is it because I know that she will notice we are gone? I know Gracie is in great hands and will have a great time while we are gone. However, I think she will miss us a little.
My greatest fear is that we won't see each other again.
It is what kept me up all night. I had a dream that our plane was hijacked. Then I realized all the things that I haven't prepared for. We don't have life insurance. I have a little I think but not enough. It is something we start to do but never finish. We get too busy. This should be a priority.
We also don't have a will. I don't know who should make our will. The main reason I haven't done a will is because I don't know how to decide who cares for my daughter if I can't. How do you decide something like this?
I think that the greatest importance is for her to be with someone who has a little bit of Blake and me in them. I want her to have a life close to what we would provide her. Siblings, dogs, a swing set, good schools, precious outfits, and lots of hugs and laughter. I also want her to see all her grandparents and great grandparents as much as possible. She loves to go stay a week or weekend. That means, she can't live too far away.
Once I make a will and assign a caretaker, I am giving someone else the authority to make decisions for her when I am gone. Being a complete control freak- this frightens me. it could be the longest and most Type-A will ever written.
I better get ready for this flight. Say a little prayer for me. Although, no one will read this before our 6am flight....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

15 Month Check up

Gracie had her 15 month check up. She was amazing! The doctor is extremely impressed at how much she can say, suggesting that she is a social genius. I know that! When she said "Thank you" to him, he almost fell on the floor. She is growing great. 50th percentile for weight and the 95th percentile in height! Tall like her daddy. I hope she is ok with that.
I tried to give her a sucker when she got her shots to take her mind off of it...but it was not successful. She went to school after and had a great day regardless of the shots!
She is such a joyful baby and has been my bright spot at the end of each day. The past few weeks at work have been very stressful and disappointing. I have watched my store suffer and I have battled with the consequences. I won't allow that to happen again.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Furniture time


Blake and I got a new mad awesome TV. It's a 55 inch 3D LED TV. We felt a little funny buying something so pricey, but after some soul searching we decided that it is ok to splurge here and there. "As long as you can pay cash for it," Dave Ramsey was whispering in our ears.

Blake's original plan was to hang it on the wall but all the components would hang below it in open shelves. I can see Gracie trying to climb the shelves- there is no doubt in my mind that this would be a daily battle with any toddler in our home. (And I hope there are several more) ;-)

So I suggested we get a nice entertainment center that would have the components in a cabinet that closes. (Right now Gracie loves to push the buttons on the cable box which is usually during Grey's Anatomy) So we went shopping!!! We hit up Ashley Furniture, Spiller Furniture, and Havertys. If we got the entertainment center, we might as well go ahead and get a sectional sofa. Are we getting out of hand?

Blake and I have been married for 4 years. During this time we have not bought ANY furniture together. Well....we bought a recliner. But that was from Big Lots. My parents gave us most of our furniture and I bought a few pieces before we were married. It is time to make this house presentable.
Pictured above is the entertainment center we selected. Now we just have to bite the bullet on the sofa. Ashley's Furniture said it will take 4-6 weeks to get our furniture in. That is bogus.
Side note: We are getting Direct TV because they have the 3D channels. We called Charter and asked them to disconnect on Tuesday when we get our other cable installed. They went ahead and disconnected on Friday. I suppose we will be bloggin a bit more until we have cable!

Friday, October 8, 2010

An attitude of gratitude?

When I started discussing the opportunity of adoption, someone said to me, "I bet an orphan from another country would be very grateful to you for adopting them." WHAT!?!?! That got me really thinking.....
Have you ever met a child who was simply grateful for a comfortable lifestyle? I sure haven't. And I will not be disillusioned in thinking that my adopted child will one day express her gratitude. Mostly because I do not think any gratitude is owed. Every child is deserving of a stable home, people to call family, consistent meals and clothing on their backs. They deserve to sleep in a plush bed with as many stuffed animals that will fit. They deserve to have someone come running when they wake up from a bad dream or fall off their bike. Someone to kiss their boo boos and cut the crust off their sandwiches.
It is my experience with children, that they feel entitled to these rights. Generally, very little gratitude is expressed when we meet these needs. I'm sure I rarely thanked my mother for putting me in clean pajamas before bed or reading me a bedtime story. On the contrary, I probably demanded one more story be read and that she bring me a glass of milk. At which, I'm sure, she let me pick out one more book while I drank my milk. Why? Because she loved me.
I will never expect a birth child or adopted child to feel grateful for these things. I do, however, pray that I will provide my children with a childhood worthy of repeating. A childhood that they will look back on when they have their own children, and hope to supply them with the same sense of belonging and security. I hope my children have a childhood that teaches them unconditional love, self-confidence, stewardship, leadership and compassion.
Whether I birth a child or choose a child, I will know that God hand selected that child for me. And I should give them all that is within my power because that is what they deserve.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Video from June

video

China Doll

The Lord has been working pretty hard on me the past several months. Actually, I felt this tug back when I was pregnant with Gracie, as the Lord began preparing me for motherhood.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faithless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

There is no substitute for having a family. Not an orphange, foster home, nor a government agency can give a child the true assurance of belonging as a forever home can. What is God's purpose in telling me all this? He has blessed our family richly in so many ways. We live in a comfortable home full of love and laughter. We have secure careers that give us so much joy and sense of accomplishment. All that we have is His. We are not worthy.

"A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his Holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing." Psalm 68:5-6

Last night we watched a documentary called National Geographic: China's Lost Girls. If you have Netflix, I encourage you to watch it tonight. These sweet girls were discarded in the street, parks, government buildings, hospitals because of their gender. It is considered preferable to have a boy traditionally, and since China's "One-Child Policy" is controlling the family size, women are forced many times by their husbands to give up their precious baby girls immediately after birth. It is illegal to discover the sex of the baby during an ultrasound, so most of the pre-natal care given to these babies (whether they keep them after birth or not) is excellent.
The orphanges are over run with children. Rooms with 20 or more cribs full of babies. These children do not know they were abandoned. They do not know they live in a desperate situation that they have no control over. They are stuck until someone comes along and rescues them. The lucky ones are adopted around age one. For the first year of life they do not know the feel of a mother's arms or the sound of a father's voice.
How can, with all we have been given, deny that right to a precious child? How can I read about children left in "dying rooms" in orphanges to die of pure neglect and not feel the need to act?

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." Mother Teresa

Blake and I must both be 30 before applying for adoption in China. That gives us two years of waiting. Currently, the wait for a referral is about 30-40 months once China has given you a "log in date." After you receive the picture of your daughter, you wait about another 2 months. That is a whole lot of waiting. The positive side is, Gracie will be old enough to go on a China vacation!

What can I do in the meantime? Originally, my heart was set on fostering children here at home. I am still very interested. Although, I have my fears. What if I can't let go? What if I don't know how to deal with issues from their past? What is God calling me to do? What if I don't have the time?

These questions plague me all day and night. I go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. Right now I am just trying to listen. I like to jump into action, so sitting back can be very out of character.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stupefy!

What an amazing experience we had in Orlando! We went down for a family trip. First we hit Universal Studios so I could visit Hogwarts!! An absolute dream come true,,,I'm ready for my next trip! Universal Studios was amazing, definitely easier than Magic Kingdom with a little one. We drove through the night on Wednesday night and arrived in the parking lot of the Royal Pacific Resort at 5am. While the men who drove the whole way slept, Ashley 2, mom and I went to the hotel lobby bathroom and freshened up. My I add that driving through the night was awesome. Gracie slept the whole way and there was no traffic. We cut serious time off the drive! The breakfast and coffee shop opened at 6am where I bought $5 cups of coffee and a $2 banana for Gracie....it was worth it to see her smile and say,"Nana!" These prices set the pace for the rest of our purchases at the happiest place on earth.
Since we stayed at the resort, we got to go into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter before anyone else! This was lucky because there was a two hour wait to just get into that section of the park......crazy! We sampled butterbeer, visited Professor Sprouts greenhouse, had a family style lunch of English proportions at the Three Broomsticks, visited Ollivander's wand shop where I got a wand that resembled a Death Stick..I hope I'm not a dark wizard. We saw the frog choir, bowed to Buckbeak, ate chocolate frogs, waved to the Hogwarts Express conductor, and visited with Dumbledore in his office. If you understood all of this, you deserve a magical trip too! If you don't, READ THE BOOKS!

Gracie was an amazing travel buddy! She slept in her pimped out stroller whenever she needed a nap, and slept well in her crib provided by the hotel. All of this with a terrible head cold! She was so sick those first days that I had her doctor call in a RX. Her stroller was the mack daddy of strollers....people stopped and stared and other children slapped their mommas when they saw it. It fully reclines, had an umbrella that clipped on so that she was always in the shade, and a fan that clipped on for a constant breeze. Amazing!
After two days at Universal and living out my wizarding fantasies, we headed an hour and half to the coast of Vero Beach to visit with Mimi and Grandpop. It was Gracie's first time to meet her great-grandparents and she was a doll. Although, I was afraid that she was going to break something at their house with every move she made. She first went after ceramic keepsakes. While I am moving those, she hits up the silk flowers, as I pull those away she is crawling around with the remote control in her mouth. Poor Mimi was not happy about the remote one bit. It is very stressful to try and control a one year old who is desperate to get down and explore after being strapped in a car seat or stroller for days, but at the same time improvise with what is appropriate to touch. In this particular situation....not much.
We had a great visit though and stayed in an amazing resort on the beach where we had a few hours of beach time before we headed BACK to Orlando!
We made it to Disney where we stayed at the Swan and Dolphin resort so we could have one day at Magic Kingdom before my meetings started. Magic Kingdom was great because Gracie was able to ride a lot of rides. She love Winnie the Pooh's ride the best. And then she met him at lunch! God was with us, because we had our character lunch during the only thunderstorm we encountered. It never rained on us! Praise Him! However, it was very very crowded! Too crowded. and the express pass system was useless. No point! The next two days of our trip, Dad and I were at a Regional Growth Summit where we really learned alot. Blake and Gracie enjoyed time at the hotel, pool and Disney Boardwalk. He was tired of themeparks and she was happy to hang with daddy! Mom, Jason, Ashley and Sydney spent one day at Animal Kingdom. I have never been there and hate I missed out. All in all, it was a trip of a lifetime that I can't wait to do again and again and again!

Gracie even made a friend in the playground at Toon Town while Sydney rode a fast roller coaster!

If you want to see more pictures of the fabulous trip you can view my facebook page.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gracie's Baby Dedication







Gracie had her baby dedication finally! We did it at the Church at Tuscaloosa where we have been attending for several months now. I am very happy with this church and can't wait to get involved. She was a perfect angel.



Gracie wore the dress I wore for my christening. My Nana made the dress. It was so so special. Then we all went to eat at Cypress Inn!



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gracie Update

I need to get better about my blog! So sorry! Here is an update of where Gracie is and what she loves!
She is 11 months old TODAY! We are only 1 month from her first birthday. I can NOT believe this! She is an infant..a helpless baby that needs her mommy for everything. Or is she.......?

  • Gracie can show me where my nose and mouth are.
  • Do the motions for the Itsy Bitsy Spider.....sort of.....
  • Clap
  • Blow Kisses
  • Wave
  • Shake her head
  • Say five words (mama, dada, byebye, night night, uh oh...her fav!)
  • Follow simple commands (Gracie, go get your blanket)
  • Crawl, unless mama is watching
  • feed herself
  • Pull up on anything
  • Stand briefly without holding on to anything
  • She knows what the dog (woof Woof) and the cow (moo) say but they both sound like boooo when she says them.

I am shocked everyday at what she knows. She is an absolute joy to be around.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shhhhhhhhhhhh







There is no greater feeling after a long day, than to have a sweet angel sleep on your shoulder. Gracie no longer wants to be rocked to sleep. We are very blessed that we can just put her in her bed with her blankie and tell her night night. Then she sleeps 12 hours at night...Praise the Lord! He heard my prayers and saw my exhausted tears.

On a rare occasion, Gracie will fall asleep nursing at bedtime. On those special nights I will rock her for as long as I can...sometimes hours. I want to savor every second. Blake and I have gotten more joy out of this child than we could have possibly imagined. Every moment with her is filled with love and laughter...maybe a song and a little wacky dancing.

8 Months




Here are Gracie's 8 month pics with the cow...
I absolutely adore her in a headband but she adores taking them off and chewing on them. Maybe she will learn to love the.m.

Bath time and more!

We love, love, LOVE bath time! She doesn't get a bath every night because I am afraid it will dry out her skin but she is a huge fan of baths. Gigi got her the coolest rubber duckies ever because they light up different colors. She plays with them and her Finding Nemo bath book. You can dump a cup of water on her head and let it run all over her face and she doesn;t care. She will gasp for a second and then go back to the fun!





Gracie is getting so big! She is sitting up like a big kid now. She is showing no interest in crawling but I can't complain. I will enjoy her stationary for as long as possible. We are weaning now and have cut back to only one nursing session a day. I wasn't necessarily ready to stop nursing, however, I have been so sick with bronchitis and sinus infections that I just can't shake. The medicine I need for my asthma and congestion is not possible as long as I am nursing. I just remind myself that my goal was to nurse for 6 months and I should be thrilled at going 9 months!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sweet Gracie is growing by leaps and bounds. She has been the sweetest and easiest baby over the last several months. She is now 8 months old. She had one cold that last about 2 days and she was the best patient ever. Still so happy and sweet. I got her cold and have been sick on and off (mostly on) since January. My doctor thinks Gracie is sucking the immunity out of me and it is about time to wean her. I plan on having her strictly on formula and baby food at 9 months. She had her first taste of formula at 8 months and it didn't faze her. She will eat anything we present to her.
Gracie is so gentle. She doesn't grab my hair, but she will rub it and watch it flow through her fingers. She pets the dogs but doesn't pull on their hair or tails. I am very impressed with what a gentle girl she is. Becky is now keeping 3 other babies with Gracie. She will touch and hold their hands but she is so sweet and patient with them. She is sharing the attention better than you could ever hope. The other babies are younger and are getting adjusted to their surroundings so they take up a lot of Becky's time.
She has not figured out how to crawl yet but she can push up on her hands very well. She may never crawl...we will see. Her legs are very strong and once she gets her balance figured out she will be a great walker.

Gracie made her first trip to Auburn and I loved taking her to our favorite spots to show her off. She doesn;t meet a stranger.





Friday, January 22, 2010

Tacky Christmas Eve


We had a great Christmas! Santa caught Gracie out of bed on Christmas Eve! It didn't bother her. Santa looked alot like Uncle Jason..... Maybe that is why Sydney wanted nothing to do with that bearded man!
Sydney and Gracie took a good picture together under the tree. It wasn't easy keeping them both still and facing forward. I feel pretty sure they are both laughing at the way the two Ashleys are dressed.



Gracie was very uninterested in unwrapping gifts. In fact, on Christmas day she slept through the entire event! One of her best naps ever.




Ashley, Blake and I wore tacky Christmas sweaters. Mine is from elementary school and Ashley made hers. I found Blake's in the woman's section of Dollar General. Who knew Ashley had such a tacky talent?









Friday, January 15, 2010

5months!!!




Nursing Strike

Gracie seems to be going through a nursing strike. If I even think about nursing her, she starts to cry. Her eyes open wide in panic and she screams for help. I'm not real sure what to think, but it hurts my feelings. I made a commitment to nurse for 6 months because I felt like it was best for her, and relieved some guilt about going to work so soon. At this point I have had no interest in weaning her. Even with Seminar coming up in February...Gracie will be staying with her grandparents for several days. But now...