Thursday, December 31, 2009

Toodles, 2009!

Last blog post of the year. Nothing earthshattering to report, or profound to say. I still have yet to recap Christmas, but that will have to wait till next week. I'm in Tennessee right now and celebrated a belated Christmas last night, and will celebrate a huge crazy New Year's tonight and tomorrow. My aunt and uncle and their 3 kids are coming in today, and tomorrow all of George's family is coming over for New Year's Day dinner, so altogether we're going to have 19 people in the house. Mama B is a wreck trying to figure out where we're going to put everyone! I'm just happy to be here spending time with everyone, and can look back at 2009 with fondness. Bring on 2010, baby! (Can you believe it's been 10 years since the Y2k scare??)

Friday, December 25, 2009

O Holy Night

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

This is a video of me singing O Holy Night at our Christmas Eve service last night. (Due to camera error, the very first part is cut off.)


Funny story, a little Behind-the-Music, if you will, is that I panicked before I was supposed to sing and forgot the start of the second verse. I grabbed my phone and texted Laura and Ari in the middle of church to ask them because I needed a quick response. Laura, I knew, has an iphone and could look it up quickly, and Ari I thought would know the lyrics offhand. As I stood there full of anxiety as we sang O Little Town on Bethlehem as a congregation, suddenly the words came to me on my own, and I went up when it was my turn and did just fine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cookies for (Santa) Bradley

I almost forgot to put of cookies and milk (and carrots for the reindeer, and cheese for Santa Mouse) in our rush from getting home late from church and getting Bradley bathed and in bed. Luckily we remembered, and posed Little Man up on the kitchen counter with a glass of milk and a plate full of cookies.
Bradley didn't really get that this stuff was for the Jolly Guy and his helpers, and so he helped himself!
Ooh, what are these?

Yum, mom, this second batch of mint chocolate chip cookies is amazing!

In the time it took for all of our photo ops, Bradley enjoyed most of the cookies and left very little for Santa. The reindeer and Santa Mouse are covered though, because he didn't touch their treats.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UK2K

Monday night my beloved Kentucky Wildcats accomplished something that no other college basketball program ever has, cementing our claim of being 'home of the greatest tradition' of any NCAA program. The Cats claimed their 2000th win in front of 24+thousand fans, and thousands more watching the game live on ESPNU.
I fell into neither of these 2 groups. I took it for granted that I would be able to watch the game online (since we don't have ESPNU), and so I didn't make alternate plans. Instead I had to listen to the audio commentary of the Big Blue sports network online, and missed all the hubub and celebration after-party. Nevertheless, it was a huge night for Kentucky basketball and I am so proud right now to be a wildcat.

This win put Kentucky at 12-0 for the season. I read a great quote the other day leading up to the historic 2000thwin that sums it up best: “Anytime Kentucky can beat North Carolina, if they can beat them to the bathroom, it’s a big deal. Our fans feel like if we do it first, we’ve earned the respect.”
Brian accuses me of shutting everything else out when a game is on, and asks if I'm going to be like this for long. We're ranked number 3 in the country right now, so what do you think??

Meet Chandler

Please allow me to introduce you to our newest family member, Chandler Bing Vilendrer!
Chandler (formerly Horace) is a 33 pound, 5 month old male retriever/labrador mix. I call him a mutt. He has light green eyes, and so far has been a welcome addition to our family.
Brian brought him home yesterday afternoon, and thankfully the weather here was mild enough that we could all play in the backyard together before bringing Chandler inside. Check out all that luscious green grass in our backyard, too!
He's already playing fetch. Bradley likes giving him treats, which he gets every time he goes potty outside. So far we've had one slip up in the house, with more to come I'm sure. Thank goodness for hardwood and tile floors!
So why the name Chandler? Or rather, why not keep the name Horace? Well, while Horace is certainly a unique name, H sounds are hard for little kids to make. Also, there's no way to shorten Horace without it becoming Hor, or sounding like Horse. So we chose a character name from the tv show FRIENDS that is very near and dear to us, and there you have it!
Yep, he's already made himself at home!

And this morning, I realized just how quickly Bradley and Chandler could become partners in crime. I walked out of the room to go to the bathroom, and upon entering back into the living room, I found Bradley in the cabinet where we keep all the candles, with candles spread out all over the floor around him, and Chandler up on the couch with a tasty candle he was demolishing with his teeth. Oh well. I needed a reason to learn how to use all my vacuum cleaner attachments anyways.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Never did I ever...

Never did I ever think I would be ecstatic that the Titans are 7-7.

Never did I ever think that I would like Sandra Bullock in a movie, but I saw the Blindside on Friday and thought she was great! Now Tim McGraw on the other hand needs to stick to singing, or at least not opening his mouth when he's on camera.

Never did I ever think that I would be a brunette again.

Never did I ever think that reaching down to pick up a piece of rotten banana would turn out to be mushy poop, and that this would be all in a day's work of being a mom.

Never did I ever think that the curse of oversleeping would follow me into adulthood, and I'd wake up 2 minutes after I was supposed to be at church for a sound check this morning.

Never did I ever imagine seeing Santa Claus ride through my neighborhood on a firetruck.
Never did I ever beam with pride so much as when I saw my little boy sitting on Santa's lap.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Only a few more days to go, and I'm looking forward to the relatively quiet week ahead... that is, until Horace gets to come home! Then, bring on the chaos!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Horace, the ugly puppy

Holy Moly Batman, is Christmas really less than a week away? Yes. Yes it is. And do you know how I know that? Because I was stupid and I went to Walmart today, on the Saturday before Christmas, and have never seen such a jam packed store in my life. It was atrocious. We had to go though because we had to buy supplies for the newest member of our family, Horace, the ugly rescued puppy that we adopted on Friday! We get him in 2-7 days so we had to be ready for him to come at any time.

Getting a dog is a big decision that one should not rush lightly into, so of course there is a story behind us getting Horace (or whatever his name might ultimately end up being).

Brian and I have been talking about getting a dog for forever... or at least the last two years since we've been married. We wanted to wait til Bradley was old enough (aka not a newborn helpless baby), and decided that a good time frame would be Christmas of this year. We discussed breeds, and agreed on a male yellow (his choice) or black (my choice) lab puppy.

I pictured in my head getting a puppy on Christmas morning. Specifically, a tiny back lab puppy with a red bow on his collar. Yes, I had specific expectations in mind, and perhaps the fairytale part with the bow on Christmas was a tad unreasonable, but I think I'm just a girl who knows what she wants. Brian made me see that getting the dog right at Christmas would be next to impossible to pull off. Someone would have to have the exact puppy we wanted and be willing to hold him until Christmas Eve, and where would the puppy sleep the night before we presented him as a Christmas gift the next morning? Okay, so maybe all that pomp and circumstance wasn't important after all, and so I resigned myself to waiting until after the holidays to look for our newest member of the family, after all our travels were done.

However... On a whim Friday, Brian calls me from work and asks me about getting a dog now, sends me a website to look at, and tells me he's found one on there he likes- a dog named Horace. I checked the site, a humane society in Ft. Walton, and see none of the specifications about a dog that I want, and so as we discuss our options looking at available dogs at other places in the area, I realize matter-of-factly that no place has small male lab puppies, and so I'm prepared to wait to get exactly what I want. If I can't have him on Christmas with a big red bow, then why settle for just anything? In the end, I ended up putting my foot down and telling Brian that I would wait as long as it took until someplace had the type of dog we were looking for, and that was that.

Only it wasn't. I caved and let Brian go back to the shelter on his own that afternoon and play with two of the puppies we had looked at earlier that day. One was a precious little black lab 8 week old female named Mistletoe. The other... was Horace, a light-eyed, yellow lab 6 month old mutt. I swear to you, out of all the sweet dogs we looked at that day, Horace was the least cute of them all, but for some reason, he struck a chord in Brian's heart, and Brian got a good feeling about him. And then I got a good feeling about him too, so we'll see if our good feeling gamble pays off. Horace will join us in 2-7 days after he gets his man-parts removed so there won't be any other ugly puppies running around.

I know you're just as excited as I am to meet the newest member of our family as I'm sure he will grace the pages of this blog with many horrible and funny tails. Pun intended.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Full of glee

Finally, it seems it's cool to be a choir geek!

I am totally obsessed with the new show Glee. I have the first soundtrack already and have serenaded Bradley far too many times. We had a little singing and dancing party the other day in the living room when I got the cd finally (thank you, St. Nick!). I will be catching up on the couple of episodes I missed tonight online, since Glee comes on when I'm in choir on Wednesday nights. Yes, it's outlandish. Yes, there are gaping holes in the weak plot lines. But it's supposed to be over the top! It's the music that makes the show shine, and as a result, I am a happier person upon finishing an episode. I'd be willing to be no CSI follower can say the same thing with all the gory crime scenes they endure week after week. Glee is positive and uplifting, and has great messages to share. And did I mention the singing is phenomenal?

Piggybacking off Glee's popularity, this week only, there is a reality sing-off show for a capella groups called The Sing-Off that I will be tuning into. Tonight was the first episode where 8 groups performed but only 6 move on to tomorrow night's show. Check it out on NBC at 8pm Central.

A festival for the rest of yall

This weekend was a busy one! I spent a chunk of my Saturday afternoon in the salon chair (more on that to come later) and then dashed home and back out again to go to our Sunday School Christmas party that night. I absolutely love the people at our church, and even though Brian wasn't able to go with me (he's in Wisconsin right now, visiting family), it was great to get to spend more time getting to know the couples in our Sunday School class. And oh my gosh, the food there was great that night. Since I was running late, I was lame and brought a veggie tray from Publix instead of making this awesome Buffalo Chicken dip that I had planned on. Good thing I didn't make it though, because another woman made the exact same dip I was planning on making! Wouldn't that have ticked me off if I was late, and slaved over a dish, only to have it duplicated? So I was happily late with my veggie tray, and I'm still noshing on the leftovers a day or two later. I have tried giving Bradley little tastes of the vegetables, and even dipped them in ranch to try and make them more appealing, but alas, no luck! Interestingly enough, at his checkup last week, his doctor assured me that as long as Bradley was getting 4-5 servings a day of fruit or veggies, that he was fine. So I guess we're good for now, and I'll keep pushing broccoli, green beans, and zucchini on him every chance I get (my faves).

Anyways, Sunday in church the choir sang 3 Christmas anthems we've been working on, and I got a chance to show off a little. There's a high B flat at the end of one of the songs that I got bored with the alto note one night in rehearsal and decided to sing instead since no one else was singing it. From then on I got the go-ahead from my music minister to let loose, and it turned a few heads in church this Sunday. It's very hard to hit a high B flat without blasting it, and I'm good, but I'm not that good, so for me it's loud and proud or not at all. Hardly anyone here even knows I can really sing because I am never given the opportunity to do so. Hopefully 2010 will be a different story there.


The Titans won again on Sunday (Whoop Whoop!) and the Cats won big on Saturday against IU (sorry, mom)! I had Bradley dressed in his cute basketball uniform that Ellen sent him just for the occasion.

Sunday evening was our church's Christmas festival. The idea being that as Christians, we should celebrate Christmas better than anyone, so we did! With pony rides, popcorn, cotton candy, balloons, face painting, bouncy castles, hotdogs, fried oreos and snickers, and tons of food brought by the church members. There was a tiny Shetland pony named Babycakes that Bradley got to ride. You can check out the video on the video bar to the right for the live action footage.


Bradley is not too sure about wearing this helmet!

He also wasn't too sure about the pony ride itself, but he made it around twice on Babycakes at any rate, and posed for photo-ops to document this first wild animal encounter!
Inside the gym, Grandma Anna convinced me that Bradley wanted to go down the big blow up slide, so she took him... again and again... I'm still not sure who had more fun- Bradley or Ann!? This picture is the first time they went down. With each successive trip down the slide, Bradley's grin was wider and wider, but my camera battery was dying, so the apprehensive shot is the only one you're getting!
Bradley and Grandma Anna, posing for a picture in between trips down the slide!

We hung out at the church for several hours that night, meeting new people, and getting better acquainted with others. Bradley ate, and ate, and ate. He mooched food off of friends and strangers alike. This is becoming a trend for him. People are beginning to wonder if I ever feed my child, I'm sure. I finally got to try a fried oreo, after the unfortunate experience at the Wilson County Fair several years ago. They were good, but not what I expected. The oreo was mushy inside. I was expecting some crunch of the cookie under the pure-fried goodness. Maybe they're not always this way and I just had a bad apple? Perhaps someone else who is more knowledgeable about fair food could educate me in the ways of fried oreos. But it was worth the wait, and I can definitely tell you no one in their right mind would want or need the 6 fried cookies those crazy fair vendors were trying to pawn off on me. Highway robbery I tell you!

Kim, David and the kids met Ann and myself at the church too, so we got to hang out with them and watch the kids play, or in the case of Kim and Ann, play with the kids. Good times were had by all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

18 month stats

This past Tuesday Bradley went for his 18 month checkup. Crazy how time flies. Crazy how I still say "I have an 18 month old," rather than "I have a year-and-a-half year old." Crazy how I swore I would never count my child's age in months after he hit one year! Anyways, Bradley's 18 month stats are as follows:
  • Bradley is "perfect" according to Dr. Bryan, his pediatrician
  • Weighing in at 25 pounds and 6 ounces, he's in the 44% for his weight
  • 31 3/4 inches long puts Bradley at around the 30% percentile for his height. Yep, we knew he was short for his age!
  • Iron levels are back up to the normal range. 10.5-11 is normal for kids his age- this summer Bradley hovered around 10.2, and now it's up to a 10.9! Yay!
  • Bradley has 14 teeth, with his top 2 incissors having just come in, and not counting the bottom 2 about to break through.
  • He is obsessed with throwing objects into bigger objects, or emptying containers.
  • He's also way into climbing into things- like his bottom dresser drawer, the laundry basket, or his book containers.
  • Can now throw and catch a ball
This is Bradley and I on St. Nick's Day, the day before his official 18 month birthday.


I haven't blogged much about Bradley's speech development, but it's begun to take off finally. For a while it was just dada and mama, then hot. Now he says about 10 words clearly. It's exciting to be able to understand what he's saying, and such an amazing thing to be able to watch him connect what he sees with the word for it. Airplane, or plane, is the best example. Planes fly over our house all the time, and whenever Bradley hears one he looks up to the sky and points as he says plane- even if we're inside the house and he can't see the airplane. Since I'm behind on Bradley's scrapbook, here's a list of the words he is currently saying:
  • dada
  • mama
  • hot
  • hat
  • no
  • cat
  • car
  • hi
  • bye
  • plane
  • uh-uh
  • uh-huh
  • pretty

I'm not sure which words I am missing at the moment, but it's late and I'm itching to go watch an episode or two of Glee online that I've missed in the past few weeks, so that'll have to do for the moment!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... and Fall!

Too much time has passed since my last post. I obviously haven't been chanting my mantra to myself. I accomplished a lot today, and plan on getting more done tonight after B goes to bed, so let's hope that next week is better for me!

Last Sunday our family celebrated St. Nick's Day. This is the day when St. Nick comes and fills your stocking with presents. Growing up I think we knew that St. Nick was mom and dad, and Santa filling our stockings on Christmas was something else completely. How we never put two and two together I'll never know! Since we were all in our church clothes, and Bradley and I were semi-Christmasy, I corralled us in front of the tree for a family picture.
I give you, the Griswald- I mean, Vilendrer- family Christmas tree! Ain't she a beaut?

And last Sunday instead of watching the Titans lose to the Colts (since it wasn't on TV here!) we put up our outdoor lights instead.













In other news of the weird, the fall season that I missed so much this year has finally come to Florida... in December! While most of the landscape here consists of palm and pine trees, there is a smattering of Oak, Birch, and Bradford Pears that are Just Now revealing their orange and red colors... you know, now that it's December and the Christmas season and all... very strange. Also, the other night me Jess and Kim went running through our neighborhood, and I was in short sleeves, and looking at people's Christmas lights as I ran. Sometimes I still can't get used to living in Florida! I just keep thinking how weird it is to myself!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Remembering my mantra

Take a deep breath. Yes, it's December, and yes we're officially in the crazy holiday rush, but that doesn't mean we have to be one big ball of stress until New Year's. Oh, are there other people reading this blog too? I thought I was just chanting this mantra to myself!

Truth be told, I am 100% guilty of getting caught up in the "holidays" and letting all the little projects like decorating and baking and wrapping presents, and errands, on top of my usual busy-ness, really get to me. Yesterday I was wound so tight that I skipped my run with Kim and Jess and took a relaxing trip to Walmart by myself. Yes that's right, I reveled in my solo trip to the store, got what I needed, and left Walmart feeling more relaxed than I was before I went in. Has that ever happened before in mankind?!

Anyways, I haven't blogged since Thanksgiving, hence another reason I am stressed out. Writing relaxes me, so even though there's nothing new to report here- except that "brrr, it's cold in here!" but I figured an update was overdue for my loyal readers.

The Christmas cards will get mailed. The house will get clean. But in the meantime I'm taking a big breath, and crossing one thing off my list at a time. Jesus is what's important. Not just during the Christmas season, but every day, and every day if I can keep my focus on him, then everything else will fall into place.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks Given

We spent Thanksgiving in Tennessee this year.  In fact, we're still here as I write this blog!  We got up here Wednesday night after I got up that morning and ran a 5K on base with Jess and Kim, with each of us pushing our kids in strollers.  This was my 2nd ever 5K, and I finished in 34:57, having to stop and walk a few times to catch my breath.  Pushing a kid in a stroller while running sure isn't easy.  My last 5K I also ran in 34 minutes, so given the fact that I had Bradley with me this time, I was pleased with my results.  Running that race Wednesday morning and getting up and running at the park with Brian on Thanksgiving morning gave me the liberty to eat as much as I wanted yesterday, treating myself to extra rolls and scooped out potatoes!  
Here's me & Bradley, Kim, Catalina, & Andrew, and Jess & Wesley
Yes, I know it's wrong to do this to the cute little Publix man & woman pilgrim salt & pepper shakers, but it's become a family tradition to place the couple in a compromising position when no one else is looking!

Our family friend Tommy (and particular good friend of Conley's) had Thanksgiving dinner with us, and then of course it was mom & dad, George & Laura, and me, Brian, and Bradley.  Besides the traditional meal, we had pumpkin pie, carrot cake, and a homemade chocolate truffle cake for desserts!  Here's all of us, minus me, the photographer, gathered around the table about to eat.
After the big meal everyone crashed except for George, mom and Bradley.  Some crashed sooner than other though, and pictures were taken.  Bradley didn't understand why Grandpa wouldn't play with him!
We lounged around the house the rest of the day watching football (Go Packers!), and Christmas movies on tv, and then played a game of Scattergories after B went to bed.  This morning Laura and I went to Walmart and Kohl's to get a few deals on Christmas presents, and given all the hype about the Black Friday crazies, we really didn't think the crowds were that bad.  Tonight Brian and I are meeting up with Emily, Rhonda & Joe for dinner at the new Chuy's in Cool Springs.  I am all geared up for Mexican, so I hope the wait isn't too outrageous.

I am so thankful to be here with my family, and share in the holiday, and yummy food with them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the fairer days of football

So far I've been relatively quiet on here this season about football. It seemed that every team I cheered for would lose, making this season a cursed one for me. However, the season isn't over, and both of my favorite teams are making a run towards greatness in their respective divisions.

The Tennessee Titans have won 4 in a row now, after starting the season 0-6. Though it's not likely, we even still have a shot at getting a wild card spot and playing in the playoffs! All it took was for Kooky McCrazerson, Vince Young, to decided that he wanted to be an NFL quarterback again, and all was right in the Titans' world. That coupled with the fact that we have this awesome running back Chris Johnson who has come alive once again, and you've got yourself a ballgame folks. No longer are people talking about what draft pick we're going to get, they're talking about the post-season- unbelievable!

I was privileged to watch my Kentucky Wildcats stun the Georgia Bulldogs this past Saturday night on national TV, and had a difficult time not screaming at the tv while I watched it. Bradley was in bed though, so I had to reign in my fandom, and cheer in whispers. We are now bowl-eligible for the 4th straight year, and it looks like we may finally break into one of the big bowl games this year instead of the crappy Liberty Bowl, or the Been-there-done-that Music City bowl. This weekend we play Tennessee, and I am calling it: UK will beat UT finally this year, and I'm gonna be in Tennessee to watch it happen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where the Green Grass Grows

If you know Tim McGraw, then know he was talking about my house when he wrote that song.

A few weekends ago we had a yard sale. With the profits, we purchased the materials for a sprinkler system for the yard, and grass seed (yes people, I am a homeowner living in domestic bliss, I tell you). Already look what is popping up in our front yard!

Grass!!! Not weeds, and not an eye sore of dirt and dead weeds, but real, live, verdant, green grass!
It's a little sad how excited I am about something growing in our yard that most people in the rest of the country takes for granted, but here in Florida, with the scorching heat comes a great price to pay when it comes to maintaining a lawn. It's impossible to have a nice yard full of grass without watering regularly, and expensive and a pain in the you know what to water unless you have a sprinkler system and can hook into the reclaim water. With the reclaim water, you pay a flat $5 rate a month, whether you use the water or not, and it's not safe for drinking, but okay for watering your yard. This saves you an arm and a leg from an exorbitant water bill, but the sprinkler system is key. Our neighbor across the street did his own, so he helped Brian install ours, even working on it when Brian wasn't able to help him, and they knocked it out in a few days.

(Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE my neighbors, and the street where we live?? It's awesome. It's like Cheers. Everyone knows your name. Everyone knows your business. But everyone is more than willing to lend a hand with your child, your yard sale, borrowing tools, or sharing a last minute cup of milk or sugar. But I digress.

This afternoon Bradley and I went to Brian's squadron's Thanksgiving lunch on base, and then when we got home we enjoyed the lovely 70 degree and sunny weather in our sprouting front yard.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Hey, McFly!!

Why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here!

Whip It!

I learned the hard way that my new glass blender is one of the items that should have been stored in one of the locked kitchen cabinets. I received my new replacement glass jar for the blender today free of charge, thanks to the amazing customer service people at GE and Walmart. As I moved the blender to a new home, I swapped out a couple other items, and put them in the "safe" cabinet as they are not breakable.

One of these items was my combo bamboo cutting board with colapsable rubber strainer. Bradley immediately decided this was a fantastic new toy, and grabbing the collapsable strainer, he decided to Whip It, Devo style!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You know how much I love Amoxicillin

I bookmark and check this blog on a regular basis. I usually read it every couple of days and scan through the entries and at least one of them makes me laugh out loud. Well now I have my very own post to contribute to the "Blog" of unnecessary quotation marks.

Last week when I took Bradley to the doctor and got his first-ever antibiotic, I couldn't help but laugh upon reading the label... what does the pharmacist think I'm going to do? Take my kid to the doctor and scam them so I can take the antibiotic myself???

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

17 on the 7th


A few weeks belated, but these pictures were taken the night of Bradley's 17 month birthday, and Wesley's 11 month birthday. Bradley and Wesley are next door neighbors, and born 6 months to the day apart from each other, Bradley on June 7th and Wesley on December 7th.
We were all hanging out at Wes and Jess' that night and thought it would be fun to let Bradley and Wesley take a bath together. Unfortunately, as soon as B got into the tub, Wesley decided that bathtime was over for him, so we didn't get any great pictures of them together.
Bradley went to the doctor last week for a cold, and they weighed him at 26 1/2 pounds. He's still not talking a lot yet, although he does repeat words that we say, sometimes with shocking clarity, but never again to be repeated. I'm sure he's still just finding his voice, and am not worried that the only word he says with any regularity is still "hot."
The other funny thing about this age is that Bradley is obsessed with shoes- both his and mine, and he will carry them all over the house! He loves to try and put his own shoes on, and he's extremely adept in taking them off.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

IDA... No!

So in my last post I alluded to the powerful Category 2 hurricane Ida coming our way. No disrespect to those who've suffered through hurricanes before, but as an avid hurricane follower since I was a wee girl in landlocked Tennessee, I've been excited at the very real possibility of experiencing my own hurricane first-hand living here in Florida. After a very quiet hurricane season, last week I thought I was finally going to get my chance. And it was perfect- Brian was home from deployment, and this was a Cat 2, coming straight for us. No catastrophic damage likely, just wind and rain. And so I waited, and I watched the Weather Channel obsessively.

I have to say that Ida was underwhelming all the way around. I didn't even make the effort to go to the beach and take pictures of the waves because the ones I saw of what others took was not worth the trouble of getting Bradley out of the house and driving the 15 minutes there. Sure, it was exciting to know Jim Cantore was a few minutes from my house broadcasting live, but it was pathetic how they positioned him behind some wavering sea oats to show the powerful "wind" in the background.

My choir rehearsal Monday night got canceled, and Brian was off work Tuesday, but otherwise Ida was a big fat NO big deal. There was wind and rain Monday night, and of course by then she was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, so I have suffered through many thunderstorms that were far worse than the conditions we experienced here. So just in case you were wondering, we're here, safe and sound, done cleaning up our hurricane damage.

Monday, November 09, 2009

BGID

Thank you Clay Travis for coining this phrase! BGID stands for "beard getting it done" and perpetuates the philosophy that men with beards are more successful than men without beards. This was Brian's 2 1/2 week old beard that he got to enjoy in all of his post-deployment time off work. Alas, this morning, the beard had to go as it was back to work for him.

We have enjoyed our time together and it's weird already not having him home this morning... especially when there's a hurricane headed directly my way! Stay tuned to your favorite blog for weather updates and pictures!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

One man's treasure...

Today is Day Two of the Multi-family yard sale we're putting on. For the past 2 mornings I have gotten up at 6am, pulled on sweats, and drug out all of our treasures into the driveway. We had been cleaning out closets and Tupperware bins full of things to get rid of, and finally started to accumulate so much stuff in the give away pile that we decided to have a yard sale a few days ago. We let our neighbors know so they could contribute to the effort as well.

Here's the thing though... yard sales have never been my thing. I hate watching people go through my stuff and debating over whether it's worth a piddly dollar. The items are worth so much more to me, that I can't bear to watch them be rifled through, or worse, sold to someone else! Dislike is not a strong enough word for my feelings towards yard sales... abhor is much more fitting. So I stand outside to be supportive (because hey, we're getting rid of stuff we no longer need and are making a little extra cash to buy grass seed, and a sprinkler system for our yard) but as soon as a customer walks up, in I go to take care of some "important" need. I warned Brian about my strong feelings of disdain for these things, so he was under no false pretenses before we began this shindig. He on the other hand does great talking to people and wheeling and deealing, so have at it sweetie. I'll be in here blogging if you need me!

Apparently once the yard sale is over, we have someone on Craig's List who's offered to come haul away what we don't sell, making one man's treasure, another man's trash!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Marking the day

November 6th, 1996 is a day that I will never forget. Just 4 days after my 16th birthday, my mom took me out of school early so I could go and get my driver's license. I passed easily, and to celebrate afterwards, we went to the mall to get lunch. As I sat across the formica table from mom, sunlight pouring in through the skylights of the food court of the Cool Springs Galleria, I realized something was wrong. As I looked at mom, I knew there was something she wasn't telling me, and when I inquired she finally broke down and told me that my cousin Mark had died that morning. She didn't want to tell me earlier because she didn't want to distract me from taking my driving test. Through the shock and sadness I realized that every time I stared at my driver's license, my happy face smiling back, that the date, November 6, 1996, the date my license was issued, would always hold a much different meaning to me.

Mark was a year younger than me, and had been diagnosed with brain cancer the fall of my freshman year. If I remember correctly, the doctors gave him 6 weeks to live when he got the diagnosis. Mark proved them wrong and lived for more than a year afterwards. His illness brought our family together in a way nothing else has since, or will ever do. My entire mom's side of the family dropped what they were doing in the fall of 1995 when Mark was fist diagnosed with cancer, and we all made the trip up to Wisconsin to visit with Mark, my aunt and uncle, and the rest of my cousins. The weekend was bittersweet because we were all together, but no one knew how much time Mark would have with us.

Summer of 1996 came, and we began a legacy of annual 4th of July parties. All of mom's side of the family made the trek down to Tennessee, Mark and his family included, and we swam in the pool, ate way too much food, and set off fireworks. The parties have happened every summer since then, with the exception of one, I believe the first summer mom and dad moved into the Franklin house. Now the parties are held in Cannelton at my aunt Lisa's house, but it's still a lot of a fun, and a great excuse for everyone to get together. Had Mark never gotten sick, we probably never would have began this tradition. Something greater came of this tragedy for me personally though.

When Mark passed away 13 years ago today, I was already a Christian, but like anyone I struggled with the difficult questions about life and death. Why are we here? Why do good things happen to bad people, and how could God could be in something so sad? I reasoned then as a teenager that God must have really needed Mark for some other special purpose, a purpose that could not be fulfilled on earth.

Some people lose their faith in times of crisis, but my faith in Jesus is what got me through that experience, and facing that crisis strengthened and shaped my faith more so than any event has in my life. I could not fathom a world where life or death does not matter, and there is no afterlife, or purpose for living, and so the pain led me to Christ, and solidified my belief that He is in everything, even if we don't understand it. As I have matured in my faith, I understand that while God does have his hand in everything, He doesn't necessarily cause something to happen, but we can't know His mind or His purpose. Instead we must trust that He is in control, and that we do have a purpose. God created us to glorify Him, and by following His example set by Christ, that others may know Him, and know their purpose in life as well.

Every year on this day I think about Mark, and think about how old he would have been. But I also cling to Jesus and remember that I am not in control, and surrender my life to the one who is.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

V of Nov

Today is the fifth of November.... every year on this day I think of the movie V for Vendetta. The film begins with Natalie Portman narrating this line:

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason, and plot.
I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

It's based on a graphic novel, and I don't usually gravitate towards those kind of movies, but this one was incredible I thought. Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving were great in their roles, cinematically it was a very beautiful film, and I loved all the symbolism and the use of the letter V and number 5 (a V in Roman numerals).

So there's my short blog for the day in honor of National Blog Posting Month, and my plug for this film! Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Recapping my 8th 21st birthday

Well it's official. I am in my last year of my twenties, and I must say, that the birthday was such a great one, that I didn't mind the number associated with it.


Sunday night Brian and I left the house to go on a date. He knows how much I love going to the movies, and it's something we rarely get to do, so the plan was to go to dinner at Chili's and then to see Zombieland.

On the way there Brian faked stomach problems and stopped at a CVS store to try and "relieve himself." In reality, he killed time walking around the store while I sat patiently (hungrily) in the car. When he came back out to the car and asked apologetically if we could go home and said that he wasn't feeling any better, I tried to be the sweet supportive wife and not be too upset that our date night was ruined. Besides the fact that I was starving, I had showered and gotten all cutsied up for nothing! My one request was that we stop and pick up something for dinner on our way home. I suggested several restaurants to Brian, but in the end he said that his mom (who was watching Bradley for us at the house) had ordered a bunch of Chinese food and that we could just eat that. That was definitely not my first choice, but I kept my mouth shut and resigned myself to an evening at home.



When we opened the door, the house was completely dark, and before I could ask where Ann and Bradley were, a group of people jumped out and yelled "Surprise!" I was totally shocked, and thought the whole set up was hilarious! You can see in my face how shocked I truly was!














This is me in my birthday tiara, opening my present from Wes, Jess, and Wesley. The card was one of those musical ones, and it occupied Bradley the next morning while we were waiting for Chef Brian to finish our french toast. I loved that everyone gave me pink gifts in pink gift bags with pink cards. Good thing I wore my signature color that night!





Here's the delicious homemade chocolate birthday cake made my Ann and Brian's aunt Brenda who was in town this past weekend.









Here's the whole group shot of everyone who was there. L to R, Wes & Jess (Wesley made an appearance, but he was already in bed at this point); Tyler & Felicia, and their baby girl Nevaeh; Ami; Birthday Girl, Bradley, & Brian; Mark; Ann; Kim & Andrew; Paul, David & Catalina. Tyler & Felicia also had 2 friends there with them from out of town, but they didn't jump in the group photo.

Later on, hanging out on our back porch, me, Kim, and Ann

The morning of my birthday, Bradley woke up at 6:30am due to daylight savings. Thankfully I pulled him in bed with us and he fell back asleep til 9am! Brian made us french toast for breakfast, and afterwards I opened the rest of my birthday presents. Bradley got me a new blender to make awesome smoothies, and Brian got me a new fuzzy pink robe, and a creative spa-day-in-a-box kit, complete with a celebrity gossip mag to read, chocolates, new slippers, bath beads and a loofah. Among other things I was very excited about the HP movie from Laura, and the boots from mom and dad.



I spent the afternoon organizing my closet and switching out my summer and fall wardrobes. The weather was sunny and mid 70's so it was truly the perfect day.










That evening, Brian and I went out for dinner (a real date this time!) to Cactus Flower Cafe, a locally owned California style Mexican restauant.
We got Bradley fed and in his jammies, and he went 2 houses down to play with Catalina and Andrew while Brian and I enjoyed our grown up dinner complete with tasty wine margaritas.
It was such a great birthday, that I don't think I'll mind turning 21 again next year!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky sentiments

This was technically Bradley's 2nd Halloween, but it was his first to dress up and go trick or treating. Two thoughts crossed my mind tonight (well, two among many, but two that were "things that make you go hmmmm" thoughts anyways):

  1. I never knew how much more fun Halloween could be when you have kids and get to watch them dress up and get candy.
  2. It never occurred to me as being weird before to knock on strangers' doors, take free candy from them, and leave, until tonight.
This is what I like to call the Money shot of the night- Bradley in his elephant costume before going trick or treating. At the end of the night, he looked so cute in his costume that he went to bed a whole hour late because I couldn't bear to take it off him!


Here's all of us in our costumes. Brian and I are zookeepers/elephant hunters- Take your pick.

Bradley with Grandma Anna. She stayed at our house and passed out candy to all the trick or treaters.So easy, it's like giving candy to a baby... at least, I think that's the way the phrase goes...
Here's Daddy and Bradley walking up to a house to get candy. Bradley has learned how to knock, so he helped us out there. A couple of times he tried to go in the house once the door opened. I suppose he hasn't really gotten the concept of trick or treating yet! One older man answered the door and thought Bradley was a bunny. I promptly showed him Bradley's trunk and explained that he was clearly an elephant.
See our appropos tropical setting? Gotta love Florida. It was cool tonight- in the 50s- so it felt like fall, but it wasn't bitterly cold the way I remember some TN Halloweens being.
The whole time we were trick or treating it never occured to Bradley that the loot he was gathering was actually edible. He picked out the candy and dropped it in his bucket never bothering to pay attention to what it was, so I opened up a package of mini m&ms for him once we got home. Here's Bradley with all his candy, and his pumpkin with his name on it, thanks to Grandma & Grandpa B. After the m&ms, he had a whole Reeces cup, a dum dum sucker, and some Smarties. Ann and I both heard Bradley say "smartie" clear as day after I gave him the first one, but he wouldn't say it again. It was so plain that our mouths dropped as we looked at each other!
We Skyped with mom and dad so they could see Bradley in his costume, and I know that made their night. At that point he was eating the Reece cup and "sharing" his sucker with Grandma, holding the dum dum up to the computer screen.

Finally, the Halloween aftermath- with chocolate smeared all over his face, trunk, and sleeve! As soon as he dropped that sucker on the floor and wasn't paying attention, into the trashcan it went! That didn't stop B from peering into the trashcan every now and then though. He's no dum dum! We had so much fun going through the neighborhood that I can't wait til next year when he can go even longer!