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!