Thursday, December 18, 2008

I heart Anna Quindlen

I tend to go through periods of literary obsessions... Lately I have been transferring my Hemingway affections over to another of my favorites, Anna Quindlen. I have a journal with inspiring quotes, and it is filled with pages and pages of hers. Here's one:

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

Any of you who have been to my home know that my walls need instead to be built-ins... I believe that a home should feel warm and cozy to its inhabitants, and, therefore, should be filled with the things most cherished. For me, it is books. Patrick has actually put me on a "book-buying freeze" in reaction to the "technology freeze" I initiated. But, I digress.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sadness at my second home

To all the Auburn faithful and any real sports fan, watch this video. I LOVE Paul Finebaum. The last line is priceless.

Like so many of my dearest friends, I too "believe in Auburn and love it." I cherish my 5 and a half years there more than many others, but in recent weeks, it has been so sad to be an Auburn Tiger. I love Tommy Tuberville. I love that he believes in Jesus; I love that he wins football games; mostly I love that he is NOT a good ole' boy. But that exception ultimately got him fired.

I hoped and prayed that the Auburn powers that be would redeem themselves and make a good decision regarding our new coach, but the corrupt board of trustees have muddied the waters again. I know nothing about Gene Chizik except for his 5-19 record. I know nothing about Turner Gill except that the Auburn fan base was behind him and he is in a biracial marriage.

There are many issues I could discuss at length here--the corruption of the BOT, the incompetency of Jay Jacobs, to mistreatment of Tommy Tuberville, the horrible timing of it all, the underlying issue (as the media is claiming) of race... I am still getting my thoughts together, so I'll just briefly share my thoughts...

As an Auburn loyal, I am behind Gene Chizik and hope that he has a successful career at Auburn. I am sad, however, in what is being discussed as a result of this decision. What is the saddest (well maybe not, but in my heart it is really sad.) is that none of this would have been discussed had Tuberville not been forced to resign... Jay Jacobs and our BOT looks a-fool.

Racism is such a sad condition. Living in Montgomery brought me face to face with it in a way that I had never before been exposed... I thought that I developed a broader world view there, but with personal case-by-case issues, I have since realized that it is not a black and white issue. Pun intended... What will it take to overcome our biases and truly just love humanity...?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Being Gentle

"Be gentle with yourself," wrote one of my assistant principals in an email to me after I had met with her to talk about the balance of being a working mommy--a balance that she seems to be on her way to mastering. It was one of many encouraging remarks made to me upon my return to the working world. I returned to this world not as the AP3, HONORS2 English teacher who had so proudly left her treasured role for a bit, but rather as a MOMMY who also teaches. I choose to work outside the home, and I value my career-- feeling grateful to be able to contribute to my family while also hopefully touching lives and enriching knowledge. But it is crazy how in a matter of 10 weeks my priorities have changed... and how steadily the tears flowed as I left my little girl in the arms of another that first day.

The challenge I am currently faced with is how do I balance my roles. I love all of them: Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, writer, colleague. I don't know if I can do them all well at the same time, and it makes my perfectionist self a little scared. Scared to fail at any of them. I do believe, though, that if I can figure it out--even just a little bit--I will become a better mother for it.

One of my dilemmas has been the decision about whether to continue nursing. After I got over the trauma of having to cut dairy out of my diet, I decided to keep at it for a bit more--making a deal with myself to take the pressure off and just go feeding by feeding, day by day. With the help of my aforementioned assistant principal setting up a curtained area in her office and my hooter hider*, I am figuring out my pumping schedule. I even am able to take bottles down to the nursery and play with my Addy-girl at breaks during the day--her smile keeps my heart soaring through the rest of my classes.

One of the things I am learning is that I WILL become efficient at managing my time. When I am at work, I will work. When I am with Patrick and Addison, I will play, and laugh, and love fully. When I write, I will write. The rest of my roles, I'll just try to figure out as I take each day one at a time.

My first day back to work was last Wednesday. I completed my 3-day week fairly well, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. I'm ready for Monday--as ready as I will be. I'm just going to be gentle with myself

*Hooter Hider:

Monday, December 01, 2008


Well, our whirlwind of Thanksgiving festivities is over, and I'm thankful for time spent with family, but I'm also thankful for some quiet days to recoup before I go back to work on Wednesday. I have all sorts of mixed emotions about that, but it will be good to resume life and get on a more routine schedule with my new family. {Plus I'll be supervising a student teacher next semester, so while she teaches my classes, I plan to stop by the Eagle's Nest to check in on my little Addypillar.} Addison turned 2 months old on Thanksgiving Day, and we found out at her appointment that she weighs 10 pounds, 14 ounces which puts her into the 50th percentile for weight, and she is 24.5 inches long which puts her into the 97th percentile for height. She is LONG!

Anyway, we spent Thanksgiving Day at my parents', and with my mom's help, I was able to prepare "dairy free" dressing and sweet potato casserole, giving me my annual feast fix. It was pretty tasty too, and dairy free living is still working out for me and Addison. We enjoyed a day spent with both sets of grandparents and watching the little girls discover each other. Savannah was walking all day, and she LOVED sweet potatoes, emphasized by her pointing and saying "peese" {please} repeatedly. Adorable.

Friday we enjoyed spending the day with P's family in Decatur. There, Addison discovered her cousins Hanna Claire and Haley Beth, but pretty much slept off and on all day being held in everyone's arms.

Saturday we watched the Iron Bowl...

Last night, we closed out our holiday by going to a Jason Mraz show with L and D at the old Ryman Auditorium downtown. He seriously is an incredible performer and entertainer. It was amazing! It was good for Patrick and me to get out and feel "young." :) {I'm closing in on the big 3-0 in a couple of weeks afterall...} Jaydee and Bear kept the girls, and we returned to find them in matching "Life is Good" Love bug pajamas. I'll post that picture soon.

Wednesday it's back to the grind! Be praying for all of us as we adjust...

I'll close with one of my favorite quotes that my friend Micah recently reminded me of:

And by the way, everything in life is worth writing about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. - Sylvia Plath

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our story of the stocking...

So, here's the real reason why we decorated early--we got Addison's Christmas stocking in the mail, and we couldn't wait. Strange, maybe, but stockings are our thing...

When we got married in October of '05, we registered at Pottery Barn and were blessed with a surplus of gift cards and store credit. One of the first things that we did upon returning from our Seaside honeymoon cottage was order our personalized stockings from the PB holiday catalog. We were so silly with excitement for those things... We took such pride in decorating our mantle that first Christmas--hanging our new stockings representing our newly formed family.

We added a family member in June of '06 when we got our precious puppy Maggie Moo--our first "child." So, of course, as soon as the PB Christmas catalog came out, we ordered her stocking--a smaller version that matched ours.

On our way home from the hospital when bringing Addison home for the first time, we looked at each other and laughingly affirmed that we needed to check to see when Christmas stockings would be available from PB. Hers was ordered within the first week she was alive.

Our mantle feels more complete now. It represents our family, our blessings, our union. I love drinking my morning coffee in the living room with our lit mantle. It makes me happy.

Here are some of my recent favorites of Addy-girl...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beautiful Stationer

I love paper. When I was a little girl, my friend Susan brought me a birthday present to my house one afternoon. I unwrapped a stack of colored notebook paper and giggled with glee. I used it to write my PeanutLand Stories starring Popsy Peanut for the "Christina, Kristy, Katie, Inc." writing company that I co-founded. {We wrote and sold our stories at our lemonade stands and at church... Thanks, Mr. Charles, for buying so many!}

My love for paper has only grown over the years. From unique stationery to giftwrap to journals and planners to books to invitations, it has remained one of my greatest passions. :) When getting married, the decision I spent the most time on and had the strongest opinions about was my invitations. When hosting a party, I always volunteer to do the invitations. After giving birth to Addison, I searched and searched for the perfect announcement to send to our family.

My friend from college Katie has a business called Micah and Me and uses her graphic design education to create beautiful stationery. She custom made my announcements, and I LOVE them. If you are in the market for some fine paper, you need to definitely check her out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Move over Thanksgiving...

Sad, I know, but this year I'm just over it... Don't tell the turkey--or the pilgrims. We're ready for Christmas! This weekend, I decided that I wanted to be able to enjoy my last few weeks of maternity leave with a decorated home. Last night, Patrick and I ventured into our attic closet solely filled with our Christmas garb. As we pulled out each tub filled to the brim with decorations, we became giddy with excitement. {Patrick too. Seriously. He LOVES our house decorated for Christmas... and I LOVE that about him! :)}

To be fair, I gave my fall decor their due. I decorated in mid-September because with Addison's arrival, I knew that would be last on my priority list, and I wanted to come home from the hospital to a warmly festive home. Here are a couple of my favorite fall items.

#1 I LOVE white pumpkins, and this was my dining room centerpiece. I found the acorn branches at an antique store here in Franklin, and it provides a nice contrast to the white.

#2 This iron pumpkin is something I found at Holiday Market a couple of years ago in Montgomery. Sometimes it's my kitchen table centerpiece; sometimes it sits on the corner of my peninsula; in this pic, it is residing on my end table in my living room.

Now, for Christmas, I am obsessed with some of Anthropologie's new ornaments. We are thinking of getting the "P," "K," and "A," letter for our tree. I love and am totally into the cupcake fad that is currently "all the rage." {Note my cupcake tree in the former post as well as my "hot spot" post! Of course, they are on the "no-no" list right now with my dairy-free living...} I also am always drawn to owls, and I've been collecting them since the Chi-O days.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

my favorite time of year

Fall is my favorite season of all--college football, cool weather, beautiful scenery, our anniversary, Addison's birth, family birthdays, and the beginning of the holiday season. It just cannot be topped in my opinion. Throughout this season, I've had so many ideas to blog about, but I kept putting them off, so this will be an attempt at catching up in our family's life through words and pictures.

One of our biggest challenges with Addison so far is understanding her poops. I never thought I would be such an examiner of diapers, but I have become that way. During the last 2 weeks, we have been investigating a milk allergy with her. Some babies are allergic to the protein in cow's milk, an allergy which most outgrow by age 1, and Addison's poops have made us and the doctor suspicious. For me, that means that in order to continue nursing, I will have to cut out all dairy products--milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, chocolate, and anything any of those items might show up as ingredients in. That's pretty much everything I love--and everything that is found in my pantry and fridge. CHEESE and CHOCOLATE are my 2 staple items... This is brutal. So, with the help of my cool friend Kelly and trips to Whole Foods, I am now attempting a {temporary} life of dairy-free living. Hopefully this will lower my cholesterol and help me lose my last baby weight poundage, therefore benefiting both Addison and me! {At least I'm trying to tell myself that...} It's amazing what all is out there, and if any of you has any recipes/ideas/tips, PLEASE share!

In our pictures, we have celebrated many fun bath times. I love her bear hooded towel--it has paws and a tail too! :) For Halloween, Addison wore a bear costume for about 10 minutes--long enough for some photo ops with her cousin Savannah. She is a hot box, and she wanted that Bear costume off! We celebrated our 3rd anniversary and had an opportunity to get dressed up and be social! We've introduced Addison to her dual heritage during football season {and at least one of us is having a good year in that way... sigh...}. I helped throw a "baby-warming" shower for my good friend April and enjoyed making a diaper cake and using my cupcake tree. Then last night, we celebrated my niece's 1st birthday. Savannah was so precious and did all of the things a 1-year-old should do. She LOVED her birthday balloons and entertained us all.

We have more birthdays and celebrations ahead, and we cannot wait for Christmas!!!

Mostly during this season, we've been learning how to be a family and raise a daughter. We've been adjusting to job changes, sleep changes, diet changes, dynamic changes, and priority changes. I can't believe Addison is 6 weeks old. We are amazed by her and our Lord who made life possible!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Addy-girl is 1 month old

I cannot believe she is already a month old. Thought these were pretty cute!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Marriage is hard work."

Those words began and ended each of our premarital counseling sessions with Brink back in the day. In the 3 years that I have been married so far, I have definitely learned them and their absolute truth--although sometimes with ease and others with more difficulty. Dying to myself every day as a Christian is hard; dying to myself as an individual for my husband is harder. But it is so worth it--when I am intentional enough to do it. On our anniversary, we went to see this movie with minimal expectations. We saw Facing the Giants and loved it despite the harsh criticism of the acting. We were willing to give this one a try--even though the cheesiness of Kirk Cameron can be a little retching.

It was so worth it. I would recommend it to any married couple--no matter what phase of life. In the past month our life has drastically changed--in awe-inspiring ways, in stressful ways, in celebratory ways, in devastating ways. A new child, a job loss/change, new roles to learn, new sleep habits, new hormones, being even more totally dependent than we realized was possible on the Lord, being blissfully happy and utterly hopeless in the same hour... This month has been different for our marriage. Difficult but wonderful. This movie helped us celebrate our three happy, adventurous, successful years of our marriage so far. It also helped us prepare for the ncxt 3, and then the next... It brought up many important conversations and it helped me look at Patrick with a more mature (I hope) love. We are learning.

The movie itself isn't magical, but I believe God's work through it can be.


Addison--fast asleep after all the stimulation of her play gym. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today is Patrick's and my 3rd Wedding Anniversary, and we cannot believe how fast time has flown. These 3 years have been the happiest of my life, and I feel so blessed to be married to such a wonderful man of character and compassion! Love you!

Friday, October 10, 2008

our life lately

Can't believe it's been so long since I blogged, but I've been stuck in babyland--and happily so.
Tomorrow Addison will be 2 weeks old, and I am shocked at how quickly the days have passed.

Today we had our 2 week doctor's appointment, and she has surpassed her birth weight and height and is just a content little thing. Patrick and I have thanked God for our special blessing repeatedly.

Her delivery went well. We found out on Thursday, the 25th, that the little Addy-girl was breech--her head right under my heart {just as I was inside my mom}, and our c-section was decisive and scheduled. Patrick and I enjoyed a dinner with my family at Loveless Cafe that night and a date night the next night, but all we could think about was how our life was about to totally change.

We went into the hospital at 7:30 a.m. and prepped for surgery at 9. I was holding my little sweetie by 9:26. The cesarean was surreal. My doctor talked me through the whole thing, and when I heard Addison's first cry, I laughed out loud. My family, who was in the waiting room just next to the operating room, heard both sounds and felt such relief and peace.

We stayed in the hospital until Tuesday, and then came home. My mom stayed with us for several days, and it was truly one of the most special times. I don't know what I would have done without her, and having a daughter--even just for a few days so far--has made me love my mom even more than I realized I could.

Our time at home has been measured from feeding to feeding. Time in between is either spent showering, sleeping, or writing thank you notes. Of course, mostly I find myself staring at my little girl.

We are completely exhausted, but we feel very blessed and humbled. We are learning to depend on God in a whole new way, and we are so thankful to be His.

Monday, September 29, 2008

She's here!

Addison Camille Crawford is finally here! I am in love. Here is a picture made when she was one day old. Notice her sporting her "faux hawk" after her bath. :) Love it! We are still in the hospital, but I will post more when we get home!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby Update and Current Musings

This morning I am 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I can't believe how close the time is nearing for us to bring a child into the world. As far as her arrival goes, she should be here soon! The finality/reality of our "date" approaching has left me with sleepless nights and anxious thoughts and unbelievable joy and anticipation. At my 39 week appointment, we set up an ultrasound for this week to see her exact position and estimated weight. She is a squirmy wormy thing and we're not sure if she is lodged with her head down. My "Doc" also thinks that she could be a big little girl, and a measurement combined with her positioning will determine which way we'll need to deliver her. Either way, we're "on the books" at the hospital for her special arrival, and unless she surprises us before then, she will share my "MawMaw's" {great-grandmother's} birthday. Of course I am scared and excited and nervous all at the same time, and I just ask for special prayers for this week--for her health and mine, for a safe delivery, for a clear decision, and for us to truly experience the Lord through all of this.

This week will be spent finalizing sub plans, cleaning, nesting, and waiting. I imagine it will be some LONG days. :)

In other thoughts, I have delved into the book Velvet Elvis. I noticed that Tiffany had read it, and it's been collecting dust under my nightstand for over a year along with the current craze The Shack--which I have started several times but haven't been able to get through. Last Sunday when I began reading it, I thought to myself that God' timing was so good--it has been just what I have needed to ponder over and recenter with. I'll include some of my favorite passages so far:

A Christian doesn't avoid the questions; a Christian embraces them. In fact, to truly pursue the living God, we have to see the need for them...Questions are rooted in humility. A humility that understand that I am not God. And there is more to know...Truth always leads to more truth. Because truth is insight into God and God is infinite and God has no boundaries or edges. So truth has layers and depth and texture...

More to come on this as I continue to read and process...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Hot Spot

For all of you Nashvillians, you have to show this new place some love: Curious Gourmet Cupcakery! , home of the "Keep it steady; they're a little top heavy" cupcakes. I had read about it in the VIP Franklin magazine, and yesterday, after an especially long day at work, my dear IHS friends {April, Becky, Heather} and I needed to relieve some tension and have some "friend time," so we made our way to Downtown Franklin's Main Street to enjoy this delectable treat. As we entered the cafe and saw the array of flavors displayed, we began salivating on the spot. These cupcakes are straight from Heaven and JUST what this pregnant girl needed! We each ordered a different flavor: peanut butter cup {pictured left}, vanilla bean, devil's food, and lemon meringue and tried a sample of each. We sat for two hours on comfortable chairs and sofas and destressed over good conversation, our devouring of our treats, and coffee drinks. I was able to bring home one for Patrick, and he agreed that we will frequent this place for after dinner dates!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Questions I'm Considering...

When is imitation NOT the highest form of flattery?

With the full acknowledgement that there is nothing new under the sun--that everything has been said, done, experienced, thought, etc. by someone before you, how is it possible to maintain uniqueness and individuality?

For example, I love decorating and personalizing my house with my unique flea market finds to reflect what Patrick and I are interested in and our sense of style. Admittedly, I get good paint colors, ideas about spacing and color combinations from Pottery Barn magazines, creative design blogs that I peruse, and sometimes even from my mom's house. However, my ultimate goal is to try to make it "us."

I love choosing clothes and making fashion decisions that are unique as well--trying to "pull things off" that sometimes I'm successful with and other times not-so-much. Of course I find inspirations from Anthropologie and JJill, but would I ever copy a friend's wardrobe from head to toe? I really hope not...

Another thing is names... Unless you completely make up a name by combinations of names like Kristrick or Patsty, or use bizarre spellings, hasn't every child's name been used at least once in all existence. Yet, it is still such a paramount decision because in choosing a name for a baby or child, you are giving that child its first sense of identity. After we named our baby girl, she has completely shaped into her name as far as we've been concerned. Many people over the years have used Addison and Camille in their names--Camille was my middle name that my parents chose for me. Can we "claim" those as hers/ours--as a part of her individuality? Of course not!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The waiting game...

{This picture was a PKCRAW collaborative creation and is now hanging on the wall to the right of the window}

Her room is done. Her clothes and sheets are clean. Our bags are packed. The presents have been opened and thank you's written. We're finally inside 20 days, and we are so excited to meet our daughter. So far, impatience has not set in, but we get more anxious and giddy each day.

I'm still working and feeling pretty good. I'm loving my kids and my classes and spending time with my work friends. I'm not cooking much these days because when I get home, I am wiped out, but working has been a nice distraction.

Here are some pictures of Baby Addison's nursery.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Running out of room... but still celebrating

{Me at 35+ weeks, Patrick, me, Savannah, Lindsay, and Daniel at the party, my grandparents beside their wedding cake}

With the beginning of another school year, a new crop of students, a new challenging AP class to teach, and an ever-growing belly {and nose too, at this point}, I have been exhausted! I've had stories to share and things to write about, but just not the energy... My school year has actually started off great, actually, and so far I am loving my kids and what I'm doing in the classroom.

The reality of this final month of pregnancy has finally hit me, though... Friday, after school, I went out with some friends to Mellow Mushroom. Patrick was working late(r), and we had date planned for later in the evening with dinner reservations for 8:00 {We've only a few weeks left with just the 2 of us, so we've been trying to fill them with special times}. I got home about 5:45, laid down, and literally could NOT get up out of bed. He got home about 6:45 and found me limp and lifeless. We cancelled our reservations, made PB&J's and tall glasses of milk, and went upstairs to "On Demand" the movie 21--which we loved by the way. I felt so lame, but couldn't have enjoyed myself more.

I'm over it. You know? All the, "How are you feeling(s)?" the sweet "awe cute" looks combined with the pitiful smiles and "you poor thing--in all this heat" comments, the waiting... the preparation... oh, the waiting... I pray that Addison stays in my belly as long as she needs to, but I am READY to meet my daughter and be a mommy!

I am determined to enjoy these last few weeks, though, and fill them full of memories. One of those memories was the party that my parents hosted last night for my grandparents who are celebrating 60 years of marriage. They got married in someone's home, and never had a wedding or reception, so my parents threw them a nice reception last night with 60 of their closest friends and family. {Unfortunately, Cousin Carl and Dolly couldn't make it, but they sent their congratulations. :)} It was sweet and special and made was a nice reminder of just how sacred marriage is! We all had a great time, and that cake tasted just as good as it looks!

I'll start going to the doctor weekly this week, so please keep those prayers coming. I'm VERY nervous about these last few weeks!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

All About Addison

Seriously, she's all I think about. :) Even through the beginning of school drudgery, I have not been able to be too stressed because I cannot stop thinking about how excited I am to meet Baby Addison in less than 7 weeks. Today was a wonderful day spent with family and friends who are excited to meet her too. I'm hoping with school starting that time will pass quickly! Here are some snapshots of today...

Thanks to everybody who made today so much fun, and special thanks to Amy, Kelley, Mindy, Jesse, Lori, and Britani who traveled to spend time with us!

{Captions: #1--me at 33+ weeks and still growing strong :); #2--with fellow preggo friends: Amy 16 weeks, Britani 22 weeks; #3--with dear friends who threw Baby Addison a party: Amy, Kelley, Lia, Kelly, Mindy, Me, Katie; #4--with Linds and Lia}

Monday, July 28, 2008

Middle of the Night Madness

I've officially entered the stage where my sleeping comfort level has been compromised. I can't stay comfortable. Sleeping on my side--not my method of choice--has made my hips feel like they've aged 40 years in 2 weeks. When I get up to go to the bathroom INCESSANTLY, I move like I need a walker.

A couple of weeks ago, I began having leg cramps in my calf every third night or so. Patrick has gotten used to me crying out deliriously in my sleep, "MY LEG! MY LEG!" Very patiently, he goes to the end of the bed and pushes my foot back--relieving me of the strange sensation. I tell you, he's a trooper. He doesn't even flinch anymore...

Until one night last week. This story I am now going to recount is not one that I remember, but one that Patrick assures me I participated in ever-so-emphatically and wholeheartedly... So, it's the middle of the night, and I cry out, "My BUTT! MY BUTT!" Patrick, as usual, goes to the end of the bed, and thinking that what I really mean is, "MY LEG!", he begins pushing back my foot. I then cry out, "NO! MY BUTT! IT'S CRAMPING! GRAB IT! GRAB IT!" I'm sure at this point he's thinking I'm crazy, but not wanting to mess with his deliriously pregnant wife, he obliges my request, and I start moaning, "ahhh, thank you...thank YOU!" Like a light switch, I am back to sleep, and he lies there dumbfounded about what just happened...

The next morning, with a smirk on his face, he asks me how I slept. I said something about feeling really weird and remembering having tension in my lower back/rear end, and he busted out with the story through fits of laughter...

This is crazy... No more Vicky dreams, but man... There is no telling what I will do/say next...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Neigborhood Gestapo and Pregnancy Progress

Well, we thought our biggest concern in our new neck of the woods would be the "Blue Light Special"; however, we are learning about our new adversary, the "Neighborhood Gestapo." Don't get me wrong--as referenced in my original post, we love living in our planned community; we love most of our neighbors; we love the well-manicured lawns and respectable families that we are surrounded by. In many ways we are proud of where we live and can envision ourselves living here for many years--walking our family to the neighborhood pool and biking the trail to the neighborhood elementary school, but recent events have made us wonder if "Big Brother" really exists.

A couple of weeks after we moved in last year, we went out of town and, in being away from home, inadvertently left our garbage can out over the weekend. Shortly after, we received a "friendly reminder" about keeping garbage cans out of sight from the road. Our initial reaction was, "GAH--Seriously!?! Welcome to the neighborhood..." but we also appreciated the dedication to maintaining an aesthetically pleasing neighborhood. This Spring we received another "friendly reminder" about vehicles being parked on the street overnight--after a weekend of hosting out-of-town guests. This one ticked us off a little bit. Meanwhile, we are discussing such events with some of our neighbor friends, and they brought to our attention that an HOA board member lives just a couple of houses down from us and frequently goes on walks with her dog {more to come on that momentarily} looking for violations to cite. Our neighbors had several similar experiences with privacy fences, basketball goals, pool codes that had been deactivated due to said violations...

Our blood began boiling, and we began keeping closer tabs on this "Big Sister." Patrick began noticing that she frequently walked her dog and allowed her to "do her business" in other people's yards including our own. Major violation. You have to have some variation of a pooper scooper when taking dog walks. Next, Maggie gets sick. She becomes lethargic, begins vomiting, and having trouble using the bathroom. In the vet's office as they freak me out with all of the serious implications of her symptoms, they conclude that her intestines are being severely attacked by a bacteria likely caused from her eating grass contaminated with another animal's fecal matter. Our visit{S} cost over $100 and we are NOT happy--concluding that the culprit is "Big Sister's dog."

Fast forward to this week. We receive a notice of a fine for $50 due to a repeat violation of a vehicle parked on the street. Patrick, fed up, calls the HOA pres and boldly demands and explanation. He supplies Patrick the date of the violation--a day that Patrick cleaned and organized our garage and parked our vehicles on the street for 2 hours. He then tells Patrick that it was reported by a board member who lives on our street, and Patrick let him in on the "pooping incident." Our friendly neighbors are irate as well, and we've decided this woman must be an extremely unhappy person. Nevertheless, our "fine" was waived... I think our cul-de-sac may take over the HOA in next year's election. If you can't beat them, join them-- right!?!

In other news, I'm closing in on being 31 weeks pregnant {picture above}, and I cannot believe that the summer is almost over. I'm still feeling pretty good--just having a little more difficulty getting comfortable as I sleep and tiring out a little more quickly than I am used to. We have chosen our pediatrician and begun our "Childbirth Education" classes at the hospital. I was a bit nervous about how I'd react to all of the information. Surprisingly, it reassured me rather than freaked me out--although I know there's probably more scary information to come... After our class last night, I had the first pleasant dream I've had in months... Have I mentioned that I'm having CRAZY dreams...? Giving birth to animals rather than people; I'm lost in an indecipherable hospital maze and can't find Patrick or Addy; horrible birthing experiences... etc. The latest disturbing nightmare was that Patrick was cheating on me with a woman named Vicky who looked like a younger version of Samantha from Sex and the City. In my dream, I am soooo pregnant, am wearing a moo moo {sp?} type of gown, am throwing things, and am cussing them a major blue streak as he shrugs his shoulders at me and she laughs. When Patrick woke me up the following morning for church, I rolled over, bawling, deliriously saying, "Why are you cheating on me?" I don't remember this moment, but I do know it took me about half the day to get over it--not being able to differentiate my dream from reality. Poor Patrick! What a trooper! We've had many laughs over this one--he's praying he doesn't meet anyone named Vicky, and we keep dropping her name at random times...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Addy's on her way!

Yesterday, Addy had her first official party hosted my Patrick's and my new church, 4th Avenue. I was incredibly nervous because we are such new members and are still meeting people, but my sweet friends who hosted it made me feel very special. And I got to have a combined party with my friend Jaclyn which made both of us feel more comfortable. Addy got a great new start for her life, and I'm so grateful and humbled. Here are a couple of pictures!