This weekend, Sandi and I had the pleasure of going on the Cougarette Winter Retreat. We had a GREAT time hanging out with my sweet dancers! I never get to just spend time with them without the stress of school and practice. They are the SWEETEST girls, and as a high school teacher I know that girls that age that are as smart, kind, beautiful, and talented as they are are very hard to come by these days. We watched movies, went out to dinner, had a bonfire, ate S'mores, played lots of games, and got very little sleep! Here are some photos...
Since he (http://meredithmlatimer.blogspot.com/2007/12/great-loss.html) passed away, I still find myself missing him and thinking of him quite often. Sometimes memories hit me hard, like I am running and just hit a wall. Most often I remember him when I am riding in the passenger seat of the car, because that was when I spent the majority of my time with him, going out into the field. When we took our trip into the Southern Appalachians, I was the "master navigator," so while everyone else was able to change seats every few days in the van (he made sure we had assigned seats so that we would get to know the other people on the trip and spend time with them), I was permanently in the front passenger seat. Little did I know that reading the map while riding would make me carsick, or that his smoking cigarettes out of the car would exacerbate the car sickness. I remember once when we stopped at a gas station to pick up our "dinner," George bought a plastic wrapped cheeseburger and put it on the dashboard, still in its brown paper bag. He didn't eat it for dinner that night, but brought it out of the bag and ate it two days later, as I cringed and gagged and watched in amazement. He knew he wouldn't get sick, or maybe he was just eating it to show me I shouldn't worry so much. I remember this time last year when I found out about his passing, and I cried and cried all day. I had just found out I was pregnant, and I was so looking forward to telling him about it. I cried so hard that day that I could barely see that night, my contacts were so dry and my eyelids were so swollen. Hays came home and found me sitting in the closet, surrounded by pictures, and he sat there and held me while I remembered him and told stories.
Every time we drive into Auburn I think of him. When I would go back there before he died, I would always be excited that maybe we would go to Buffalo's and meet up with George, and now I find myself having that thought and then realizing that it can never be again.
The last time I saw him, he met Hays and me at Buffalo's and insisted on buying us drinks, and we sat and talked for a while until he let it slip into the conversation that Molly, his daughter, was having her 18th birthday party at their house as we spoke. I immediately felt guilty and special at the same time because he missed some of her party to go to Buffalo's and meet up with one of his former students. We didn't stay long, but I will always remember that last visit. He looked so good, so healthy, and was ready to take me back into the field the following spring to "renew my spirit." Oh, how it would have, and what I would give to be able to go out into the field with him just one more time and absorb some of his knowledge and philosophies on life. I will always miss him, and I will always think about him. I will always have what he gave me, which is a level of knowledge and experience and a way of thinking about things that always leaves room open for more and better explanations. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of year, because I know that it has to be a difficult time for them. I am so thankful that they shared him with us, and I am grateful to God for making sure someone like that was in my life.
Well, we had a pretty busy and exciting weekend! On Friday afternoon right after school, we took Margaret Anne to Portrait Innovations to have her picture made. Now, let me give you a tip. Don't wait until the last minute like me to get Christmas pictures if you are planning to go there. They do a good job, but it is a ZOO at Christmas. We were there for 3 hours, and by the time they actually got to us. MA was really tired. We still managed to get some good shots though :) Afterwards, I went to the basketball game where my girls were performing and Hays took MA home. She was asleep in her crib when I finally got home at 9:30, so we decided to leave her in there for the night to see how she would do, instead of putting her in the bassinet. Well, she slept til 6:00am! I put the bassinet away on Saturday, because I knew if I didn't that it would be way too easy to put her back in our room. It was sad to do it, but I think we all sleep better with her in her own room. She is getting so big! On Saturday my parents came to keep MA and Hays and I went to see the Rockettes. It was one of the perks of Hays' job, because it was actually a client event but we got to go. The show was so good, I highly recommend it! I saw them in NYC at Radio City Music Hall about 4 years ago, so I wasn't sure what it would be like at the BJCC, but it was still really good! We had to miss sweet Bentley's first birthday party though, and I was really sad about that. Happy birthday Bentley! Yesterday Hays and I were so tired, we just relaxed most of the day. Margaret Anne and I went to run a few errands in the afternoon, and Hays went fishing for a little bit, but didn't really have any luck :( Margaret Anne has a new toy! We got her the Rainforest Jumparoo for Christmas and gave it to her a little early. She LOVES it! We have to put a pillow under it because her feet don't quite touch the ground, but she gets in there and just goes to town! I hope to have a video up of it soon.
1. I have always been fascinated and borderline obsessed with music and with people who are unusually musically gifted. Mostly because I consider music to be my outlet, but also because I wish I was one of those people who could just pick up an instrument and play effortlessly.
2. I enjoy a one-on-one conversation much more so than a group conversation. It is too hard to engage in a meaningful discussion with everyone trying to talk at once.
3. I am completely obsessed with crossword puzzles! It drives me crazy if I have to put one down incomplete. It also drives Meredith crazy when I do them because I tune out my surroundings.
4. I have had migraine headaches for as long as I can remember, and I would not wish them on my mortal worst enemy. It's not just a headache; it makes your whole body feel bad!
5. I think I still have and wear some of the same clothes that I had my freshman year in college! I have a tough time picking out new clothes, and I am also a bit of a cheapskate. I don't like to spend money on THINGS, but I don't hesitate to spend it on trips or events (i.e.- concerts, AU football, travel).
6. If I had the time, I would go fishing every day, regardless of the weather. Great time to clear my head and enjoy the outdoors!
7. When I met my future wife (Meredith), I was at a point in my life where I had the least desire to date anyone seriously! To the point where I broke up with her, for no reason whatsoever, after one great month of being together. Needless to say, I did my share of grovelling to get her back! Best decision I ever made!
Ok, we were tagged by The Grizas to play this game, so here is mine! I will let Hays decide for himself if he wants to participate.
1. I am very anal about cleaning my house. I hate to do it, but I can't fully relax when it is messy and I feel so good when it is clean!
2. I like to make up words to songs and insert facts about my dog, and/or her name. For example, I like to take the Coldplay song "Fix You" and change the lyrics to:
"Tears stream down her face when mommy and daddy pack the suitcase"
when the lyrics actually are
"Tears stream down your face when you lose something you cannot replace"
3. My daddy can make me cry just because when I call and I am the slightest bit upset about something, he can tell, and then he asks me about it and sounds so concerned. I may not cry immediately, but I will as soon as I hang up the phone. Daddies are just good like that.
4. I love instant gratification. If I get something new to wear, I want to wear it right that second or that day. I was the little kid who got new shoes and had to wear them out of the store.
5. I have also begun inserting Margaret Anne facts into songs just like I do with Daisy. :)
6. Hays and I have a million different names for Daisy and we very rarely ever call her by her real name. We call her Doogal, Doogs, Gimley, Moing Tai, Yoggie, etc.
7. I gag and usually throw up EVERY time I brush my teeth. I always have to brush before breakfast, because if I don't it just defeats the purpose and I will throw up my breakfast.
That was fun! Now I want to see Amanda Moon, Britt Buckler, and Julia Kennedy try it!
Yes, I know we owe everyone some Thanksgiving pics, and unfortunately we don't have very many! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, because we sure did! I was a little eventful with the array of dogs (6 dogs) and sweet Sparky was uber excited about them, but it definitely made things interesting!
Now we are all getting ready for Christmas, and I must say that I am really excited about Christmas this year! Margaret Anne has already gotten a few gifts from her Aunt Sandi and Uncle Alan (they got her a beautiful Juicy Couture baby coat that will be modeled and put on the blog very soon, I promise) and her Grammy (Ronnie) got her some PRECIOUS outfits as well, some of them also Juicy (you will get a little sampling of those too)! I am NOT at all caught up on my Christmas shopping, though I do have an idea of what I am going to get everyone. We are going to have a very slim Christmas this year as I am sure everyone is, and while the only person I have actually bought presents for yet is MA, I am not giving her too many because A) she will have no idea what is going on and B) she doesn't really need all that much right now! I am still up in the air about what to get Hays although I have a few things in mind :) We usually tell each other what we want for Christmas and then go out and get it but I would really like to have at least one surprise for him this year.
Margaret Anne is growing so fast! In the past week it seems like she has learned to do many more things. Instead of just swatting at her toys, now she is beginning to grab them, and she also has been staring at her feet a lot lately, trying to figure out where they came from and what they do. She gets REALLY excited when she sees her bottle, and immediately tries to grab it and put it in her mouth, but she doesn't quite have the coordination to get it there. She can even hold the bottle by herself a little. She has started fighting her sleep a little bit, so we have to let her get pretty tired before we are able to put her down for a nap! She has a lovey that Debby R gave her and she really seems to like it. It is easy for her to grab and of course, as soon as it gets in her hand, she tries to put it straight in her mouth. At least its washable :) Another cute thing she has been doing is talking - A LOT. She is still sleeping in her bassinet in our bedroom, and every morning she wakes up just babbling away, after sleeping through the night for a good 8-9 hours. She loves to talk in the morning and also when she has a full belly. I love waking up to that sound, I think it might be the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. We are so lucky that she wakes up cooing and not screaming. She smiles a TON, and she has started to get a little bashful with it... she turns her head away sometimes when you make her smile.
Here is a picture of her with her lovey. She especially likes to hold onto it when she is sleepy, like she was in this picture.
Also, this is one Thanksgiving pic from our night with Hays' family in Birmingham. I "stole" this from Bre's blog. Thanks Bre! Notice her drooly little chin?
We are heading to Dothan for Thanksgiving this afternoon, and will be there until Friday. We are staying with Dad & Ronnie, and Jordan will be there too, so we are very excited! I am definitely needing a break from work, and looking forward to some family time. As the financial markets continue to deteriorate, it has had a strange effect on many people I have interacted with. Of course, on the surface is concern and worry (and in many cases sleeplessness), but I think that many people have also used this as an opportunity to share what they are thankful for. I truly believe that this too shall pass (as it always does, even though it takes TIME and PATIENCE), and my hope is that people will use this troubling time to re-evaluate where their focus lies. This is an easy statment for me to make being as I don't have much at this point in my life :), but it seems to me that people who believe that money will provide them with happiness are always sorely disappointed. I will be the first to admit that one of my fatal flaws is thinking that things would be so much easier if I just had $____ more to take care of ____ or to buy ____. I think that is a very natural and human way to feel, but it doesn't make me feel any better. In fact, it usually makes me feel worse! If any of you readers have this same struggle, I challenge you (as I have to do myself) to reframe your thinking, and rather than focusing on what you want or don't have, focus on your many blessings and acknowledge them to those around you. Believe it or not, we all have alot to be thankful for! This season, I am very thankful that I have my family, because I can always count on them to make me happy, regardless of the ups and downs. Happy Holidays, and safe travels!
I am a sap for inspirational stuff, and as I was reading my Bible last night before bed, I came across what may be my favorite verse. It is my favorite (that I know thus far) because I have a tendency to think that, as an analytical and inquiring mind, I have to have all the answers and be the ultimate solver of problems. I have always wrestled with trying to understand everything, and this verse gives me great peace in the sense that I don't have to have any answers. Just thought I'd share...maybe you will find that it impacts you the way that it does me...
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
Meredith and I got as wild as a Monday night gets this week! After work, we had dinner at Jackson's in Homewood with Ladd and Danielle. The food was good, and the conversation even better. I'm not sure why I enjoy conversations so much more than I used to, but for some reason I do. We got to hear all about their wedding plans, and the trials and tribulations that go along with it. It reminded me of planning our wedding, which I am glad I will never have to do again! After dinner, we went to see Amos Lee at Workplay Theatre in downtown Birmingham, and he was spectacular. Some musicians are just meant to be heard live, and he is one of them. I have always enjoyed his music, but even more now that I have seen him perform. It is nice to be able to hear a musician share their faith in God through music, and that is one theme I noticed throughout the entire show. My only complaint has nothing to do with the band, more so with the drunk chick next to me who thought it was appropriate to giggle, whisper, and act like a complete moron during the most quiet, intimate moments of the show. That, and how random people in the crowd feel that it is appropriate to yell out the song they want to hear during a 15 second break between songs. This creates a snowball effect of sorts where others in the crowd feel it is appropriate to do this, and the end result sounds like 20 different people shouting different songs from all 3 of the artist's albums. Could I get rich creating a concert ettiquette manual? Probably not, but I might do it anyway. Get a clue people! You are not at a Green Day concert! Awesome night, and it reaffirms my thoughts that music is without question my "outlet", my way to throw off stress and focus on something that moves me.
Without further ado, here is the latest picture of my flower love-child baby!
So today as I was at work I started thinking about pet peeves that I have. Do you ever have something that makes you SO annoyed every time it happens? I will be the first to admit that I have several irrational pet peeves. Here are just a few. And by the way, if you have ever committed one of these pet peeves without knowing it bothers me, I'm not mad at you! I will be the first to admit that this is totally irrational and I definitely don't hold a grudge.
My pet peeves: 1. Getting hit in the head or accidentally banging my head on something. This makes me angry to the point of shaking. 2. When someone spells my name "Merideth" instead of Meredith. This seems to bother Hays even more than it bothers me. Every time we get a piece of mail addressed to "Merideth" he goes on a five minute rant. 3. Tracy Chapman and Natalie Merchant songs. Strange yes, I know, but they are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. 4. When students continue to talk when I am talking, like I am not even there(this has only become a problem this year. Times, they are a-changin)! 5. When I open a cabinet and multiple pieces of Tupperware tumble out, due to the way they are just thrown into the cabinet. Not just Hays' fault, I do it too and then get ticked off about it later. 6. Use of the word "irregardless." This one has been mentioned before. IT IS NOT A WORD! It negates itself! 7. When I know people read the blog, yet they never comment! Hays and I like to know who is out there reading and what they think about what we write, or any funny things peeps would like to add. Let us know! We are still using our Google analytics so we know you are out there reading!
I am sure that there are several other ones, but these are the ones that really take the cake. I would like to know now, what are some of your pet peeves?
For some reason, it seems like the plans Meredith and I have made to spend time together all fell within a week of each other, so this week has been/will be uber-fun! As aforementioned, Meredith and I went to see Coldplay in Atlanta on Tuesday night, and it had been about 3 years coming (they punked out of the B'ham show a few years ago, something about the flu). As someone who has seen alot of concerts of the years (yes, I know they were the same 4 bands over and over again, but all shows were different and unique, OK!!!), I must say that Coldplay put on the best show hands down. From the first note, start to finish, it was an unbelievable experience. Awesome lights, great sound and equipment, and most of all, the band themselves looked like they were having a blast, which amazes me 4 months into an international tour. Definitely a 10 out of 10. Tomorrow morning we are headed to The Plains for the AU-GA game. We have awesome seats, but the game may get ugly quick. Oh well, should be fun.
On Tuesday night, Hays and I had a little adventure. Thanks to my wonderful mother (Nonna) who came and watched Margaret Anne, we were able to go to Atlanta and see Coldplay. We had tickets to see them 3 years ago when they came to Birmingham, but they canceled their show. We had been waiting to see them again since then. It was the best show I have ever been to. The sound and the lights were amazing, and the whole show was just awesome. I like Coldplay on their albums, but seeing them live was such a great experience. Chris Martin is one talented man. His voice was incredible. Our friends Fran and Phillip were a couple of sections below us, and towards the end of the show the whole band ran out and did a couple of songs in the middle of the audience, and they ended up being right in front of Fran and Phillip!! We are also going to the Auburn vs. Georgia game on Saturday (again, courtesy of Margaret Anne's Nonna) and we are really excited, even though it will probably be a massacre of huge proportions! We haven't been to a game yet this year, and it is going to be really nice to go and see some old friends. Also, on Monday night we are going to see Amos Lee with our friends Ladd and Danielle (this time courtesy of my fabulous Aunt Donna a.k.a. "Gaddy" to MA). It is really nice that we have people to help us and give us some "Hays and Meredith" time. We are really enjoying it!
Time seems to be flying by right now, and I think that's because Meredith and I haven't had a chance to sit down and catch our breath in a long time. We haven't even had time to realize that we haven't had time to do anything outside of our normal routine! Which is Wake up, Work, Drive Home, Eat, Clean, Sleep, Repeat. That may be an exaggeration, but sometimes it feels that way. MA has been doing great, sleeping like a champ and eating good and loving her bathtime. We have no plans at this point this weekend, which is the first time that has happened maybe ever, so we will hopefully have some R & R time.
Margaret Anne with Aunt/Godmother Sandi in Sandi's christening gown
With Uncle Jordan
With Uncle/Godfather Alan
With Mommy, Daddy, and Godparents
With Mommy and Daddy!
Margaret Anne was christened on Sunday at St Thomas Episcopal Church. It was such a special day in all of our lives! It marks a very special occasion and it gives us a lot of responsibilty as parents, but we will be so proud to bring her up in the Christian faith and we will help her grow spiritually as much as we can. Alan and Sandi are her Godparents, and we had a great weekend with them. It meant so much to us to have our families there and we really appreciate everyone traveling to be with her on such a special day. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and we love you all very much!
Tonight we went to our friends Jamie and Trey's house to celebrate Halloween. We dressed up Margaret Anne in her ladybug costume and Charlie, Jamie and Trey's one week old little boy, was a pumpkin. They were so cute and didn't seem to mind their costumes, but weren't huge fans of the paparazzi.
Daddy and Margaret Anne at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
We had a great time at Jessica and James' wedding in Asheville, NC. Margaret Anne was amazing, she did so well in the car and at the rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception. She was an angel and Hays was such a good dad! He was very helpful and I was able to have some quality time with my friends that I don't get to see very often. We got in a little family time as well. Hays and I LOVED our little cabin and we can't wait to go back up there and stay again!
Meredith and I are off to Jessica Hughes's wedding in Asheville, NC this weekend. It is at the Biltmore, and everybody who has been there has raved about it, so we are pumped! I had booked us a room at the Springhill Suites in Asheville (which was grossly overpriced, might I add), but we found out that one of Jessica's dad's friends wouldn't be able to attend, so we are staying in a cabin that is already paid for for 2 nights!!! This made us decide to go up a night early, so we will be en route tomorrow night. The good news is that we will have a full Friday to knock around Asheville; the bad news it that I will not be able to watch the Auburn game!!! You can ask Meredith what happens when I don't get to watch the game (something to do with the South Florida game last year and Meredith's 10-year reunion; I still feel bad about that one). I WILL be hooking up my Sirius radio in her car, so we will be able to listen. Aahhhh, relief. How can they play well without me listening/watching? I can't wait to be back up on the mountains...it is one of my all-time favorite places. Hopefully, we will have tons of pictures to post, and everybody say a prayer for us that MA sleeps during the drive and we don't have to stop every 100 yards!! Here is the link to the cabin where we will be staying http://www.willowwinds.com/sophias.htm
I have to let you see this video of her beautiful smile! You can go down and pause the music on lthe left side of the blog to hear the sound better. Hays is doing some baby talk that he is embarassed of, but it is so worth it to see the video. This all went down while he was trying to capture the "cross-eyed look" that MA does when she is trying to poop. This video may not be up for long though, so I hope you guys are reading pretty often!
Margaret Anne's best friend Emily came to visit her yesterday, for the first time since she was born. Emily is the daughter of my best friend Amanda. Emily was so funny and cute and we can't wait until they can play together!
Wow, this week has flown by! While I have made a lot of progress at work, I have let a lot of things slide, like housework and blogging! Margaret Anne had her 2 month checkup on Monday, and Hays and I were a little nervous because we knew she would also be getting her vaccinations. She weighed 9 lbs, 15 oz, and is 23 inches long! The doctor was pleased with her weight gain and progress. She is only in the 25th percentile for weight and the 50th for length, but he said that was good because that is also where she was when she was born. He also said that breastfed babies generally tend to be a little smaller than formula fed babies. After he looked her over and said she was doing great, the nurse came in to give her the shots. I didn't want anything to do with it, so Hays had to hold her still. The nurse gave her two shots in each leg, and she did it really fast, but MA still didn't like it at all! I grabbed her up as soon as the nurse was done, and she stopped crying pretty quickly. I was afraid that she would have a fever or a reaction to the shots, but we gave her some baby Tylenol before and after and she seemed to feel fine! Thank goodness. She smiles so much these days, and it is probably my favorite thing in the world. Every day at work I miss her so much, and I just can't wait to get my hands on her in the afternoon. I just can't get over what a good, sweet baby she is. Next weekend we are going to Asheville, NC for my friend Jessica's wedding, and we are taking Margaret Anne. I am sure there will be lots of pictures to post!