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?