Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a trip to "state"

Seven days after Dan and I were married we moved to the south and I worked at a church in Tennessee. I asked a recent high school grad where she was going to go to college and she replied, "state." Ignorant Yankee that I am I said, "Oh? Which state?" She looked at me like I had lost my mid-western mind. Evidently in the south there's only one "state"- Mississippi State, home of the Bulldogs. Lesson learned.

This past weekend our little family took a road trip to "State" to watch the football game and tailgate with some friends. Two of our friends went to LSU and had an extra ticket for Dan. We drove down on Friday afternoon to see Sarah P. and Andrew. We ate at a local restaurant famous for its hamburgers.

I inhaled so many fried pickles I barely had any room when my cheeseburger arrived. The few bites I could manage, whoa baby, were the best of any burger I've ever tasted. And I've had many a hamburger in my day. It was just as good several hours later when I ate the rest for dinner. If you're ever in Starkville, you MUST go to Mugshots!

The next morning we met up with the rest of the crew. The boys all went to the game while the girls watched it on T.V. from a house a couple of miles away. Our watch party consisted of five adults, three toddlers, an infant and a fetus-all girls. I was in heaven!


and Tigers coexisting in the same room. A round of Kumbaya was in order. Instead we discussed our children's digestive systems, discipline, pregnancy symptoms and ultrasounds. It's what mothers do.

And I'm so thankful I have these women as a source of wisdom and encouragement. Part of the reason I believe God gave us our daughter when He did was because, in all His sovereignty, He knew I would need women who are in the same stage of life. I can't tell you how many times I've found comfort in knowing someone else has been there, done that.

After the game, we reunited with the boys and had ourselves a tailgate. The kids ate, played and ran around. And I chased them with my camera. Crazy stalker mom.

Big Girl waiting patiently for her Dad to fill up her cup.

Even tutu wearing spectators need a drink.

I asked Dan if he thought someday we could re-create this picture when all the girls are seniors in high school.

Before they graduate and one of them heads off to "state."

Friday, September 25, 2009

woohoo for the weekend!

Yesterday when I dropped Chica off at her classroom, another little girl was sprawled out facedown on the carpet in the middle of the room. Her day hadn't even started yet.

I thought to myself, "Girlfriend I know exactly how you feel." It was all I could do not to collapse on my own little corner of the carpet.

If that scenario is any indication, I am thankful it's the weekend! And even more excited about our upcoming family adventure.

I'll be back tomorrow, most likely with a recap and more pictures than you'd ever care to see.

Happy Friday Bloggers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

this little piggy

Chica's loving her some toes. And I love hers!

Toes are the latest body part she's learned. Anytime I say "toes!" she scans the room for the nearest set, strolls over to their owner and gives them a good pinch. The other week we were at a high school volleyball game and she grabbed the toes of a lady sitting behind us.

We did not know that lady.

If it's any consolation, the lady had a CUTE pedicure with fiery nail polish. And since my toddler's latest hobby is snatching feet, at least she's going after those that are well groomed.

Chica loves the body part game. It comes in handy when we're in the car for a long period of time or to distract her when she's upset. Somehow locating her belly is instantly soothing.

If she's in the mood she can identify her:
*Eyes (You have to remind her to be gentle with her eyes, she likes to gouge herself.)

Visitors Beware- If you come over to our house wearing open toed shoes, don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

out takes

The other day while partaking in my photo shoot of revenge, I captured some fabulous pictures. Unfortunately, none of them will be appearing on our Christmas card. Because... well, see for yourself:

"All I Want for Christmas are My Front Bottom Teeth."

The eye. I have no idea where she picked this up but I guarantee you it was not from her mother. I've never made a face like this. :)

"Joy to the World!"

This is one of her failed attempts at snapping her fingers. Poor thing wants to snap so bad.

No comment.

These may never appear on our Christmas card.

But someday they'll make for one heck of an engagement slide show.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

my favorite picture

Throughout her (almost) 17 months of living we've taken thousands of pictures of our daughter. That's not an exaggeration. Of all those pictures, one I took this week is hands down my favorite.

A printout of her 18 week ultrasound still hangs on our refrigerator. That's the day we found out all of her major organs were coming right along as they should and of course, we discovered she was a girl. I'd look at that picture multiple times a day. Sticking it on the fridge was very strategic on my part. No pregnant woman who opened the fridge as much as I did could have missed it. Day after day it served as a reminder- to pray, to thank God, to realize how miraculous pregnancy is. That picture will always be very dear to me.

But a picture I took this week holds even more significance than that.

If you ask Chica "who made you?" this is what she does. She shoots her arm straight up in the air, index finger pointing to the sky.

It's her sign for "God." We taught her how to do this of course, because we believe with all our hearts that God did make her.

My plan is to print this off as soon as I can and put it on my desk at work, stick it on the fridge and tape it to my bathroom mirror. Not as a proud mother, but as a believer in need of a daily reminder.

"Who loves you?"

"Who paid the ultimate price for you?"

"Who truly understands?"

"Who gives you purpose?"

"Whose opinion really matters?"

"Who deserves the glory?"

"Who will provide?"

"Who stands in your defense?"

"Who are you living for?"

This picture is more than a sweet toddler interacting playfully with her mother. It's spiritual accountability reminding me of the testimony God desires and the world needs. Focused, whole hearted, demonstrative, passionate.

When Chica does her "God" sign she rarely speaks. Her body language does all the talking.

Once again, this teaching mother has become her child's student. God sure does mean what He says.

Friday, September 18, 2009

if you want something done...

This week our entire congregation's getting pictures taken for a new directory. In preparation for our appointment I took care of all the necessities. I got my hair did, selected our complementing yet not too matchy outfits, told Dan what time to get there, etc. Our family was ready!

When it came time for our appointment, we had our group picture taken first. Then Dan and I each had to take individuals because we were dying to relive the glory days of school pictures. Who am I kidding? We needed individual shots for the staff page. Everything ran smoothly and I was feeling good about it.

Then the photographer ushered us into the "viewing room." We looked through our pictures, picked our favorite for the directory and then asked to see a brochure with package prices. Chica has four sets of grandparents so I was envisioning a small package with four pictures, one to mail to each of them. Grandparents eat that kind of thing up.

Imagine my surprise when the photographer/salesman explained they didn't offer packages. Everything was sold on a points system. After translating the perplexing points system we deduced that two 5x7 pictures would cost $50. Normally Dan is very cordial in these types of situations. Not me. I start to sweat bullets, avert my eyes and pray the customers after us are loaded. Apparently the recession has yet to hit the photography business. I wanted to disappear when we broke the news to the salesman and he indignantly crossed out our entire order form. We scooted out of the show room hot seat as fast as we could.

On the drive home we concluded that cutting our complimentary 8x10 into four pieces and mailing those to the grandparents would have to suffice. Once the sticker shock wore off and I had circulation in my appendages again, I turned my photo-less lemon into an opportunity. I marched through the house, picked up my camera and went to work, determined to take a picture I could actually afford. Granted, I'm NOT a professional. But I was driven. Here's what came out of my little picture taking frenzy:

You have the serious face.

So serious.

And some smiley faces too.

Now if I could just figure out how to photoshop my head into this picture, our Christmas card is ready to go!

*For the record, if you did purchase your directory pictures, I in no way want to belittle you for that. You have a right to spend your hard earned money as you see fit. To each her own!! (And if you did buy your pictures I hope you went right after us.) :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

should be in bed

Hi Bloggers! I have good news and bad news. The good news is, I'm finally resurfacing into blog world to reassure those (2) of you who feared the lack of updates indicated something was terribly, terribly wrong in the life of our family. We are present and accounted for! The bad news is, it's late and my brain is even mushier than usual, but I'm going to throw some words together and pray they come out in some sort of comprehensible fashion. Help us all.

Over Labor Day weekend, our little family made its way north to meet up with some of our bigger family in the great city of St. Louis. (And by "bigger family" I mean in quantity, not in physical stature.) Along the way our beloved Buick bit the dust. We sat on the side of a highway for three hours, were towed to a nearby McDonalds and proceeded to wait three more hours for my mom to come to our rescue.

Eventually, by the grace of God we arrived safely at our destination. The same cannot be said about the Buick.

One thing we did in St. Louis was visit Grant's Farm. It came highly recommended by several friends and it did not disappoint.

Here is pictorial evidence we actually visited said farm. Grant's Farm is owned by a wealthy family that makes adult beverages. I'd tell you the name of the family but I really don't want a Google search for adult beverage makers to land someone at our little blog. I'm thinking we're not what they're looking for. Although by the time this post is over, we might all need an adult beverage.

How about some pictures?


At one time Grant's Farm belonged to Ulysses S. Grant. During the tour, our tram passed by his cabin. The farm is also home to all kinds of beautiful animals.

Speaking of beautiful, doesn't my sister birth some of the most stunning children ever?? Baby Boy...

and Big Sister.

Here's our crew at one of the animal shows. Chica's hogging all of Big Cousin's snacks. You'd think we've never fed her!

My brother-in-law's a great dad.

Chica loved the ride so much, she started to cry when I unbuckled her seatbelt.

Thankfully, there were so many other things to see.

Plus, the Cousins make the trip that much more fun!

Well, I'm off to bed bloggers. Before I go, I'll leave you with a beautiful photograph capturing family, fun and Big Girl Cousin shoving her entire hand in her mouth. Impressive, no?

Sweet dreams!

Monday, September 14, 2009

back to school

Today my Baby started Big Girl School. Somebody make it stop. Please make it stop. My Baby is getting so big. How can this be???

Aaaaand end scene.

I tried not to make a scene. Believe it or not, I didn't even cry. The sky did it for me. Forty minutes before Chica was supposed to be in her classroom, I was flying through the aisles of Kroger grabbing things to complete her lunch. You know that Bible story where Jesus is teaching the crowd of people and only one mom had any sense to send her kid with some lunch? I would not have been that mom.

Just as the automatic doors to the Kroger parted, the sky opened up and dumped its entire contents on my head. As I ran through the parking lot, lugging my grocery sacks, nothing was spared. Who knew a cereal box could dissolve that fast?

Thank heavens for helpful Daddies. By the time I returned home, he had changed her diaper, ironed her pants and scrubbed breakfast remains from her face. She was ready for her First Day of School Close Up.

When somebody figures out how she grew up so fast, please let me know. It's mind blowing. It defies science. I was bracing myself for her to ask for some mascara to wear or for the car keys to drive herself.

I'm not quite sure what she's doing in this picture. Testing the stretchiness of her pants? You'd hate to bust a seam on the first day of school.

Overcompensating for her new backpack? She loves that backpack, by the way. She spent all afternoon zipping and unzipping it. Clearly, she belongs in the gifted program.

I call this the I-Don't-Got-No-Umbrella Look.

Want to know why her father escorted her to class? Last week at Open House a spunky little boy ran up to her and hugged her with all his might, almost toppling her over. She loved it.

Her father did not.

At the end of the day her teacher said she was wonderful but that someone woke her up during nap time. I didn't ask if it was Spunky Boy.

It would have made for one Spunky Daddy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

some colorful commentary of my own

Proof that I'm not the best football viewing buddy:

"Why didn't they just make that stadium in the shape of a circle like all the other ones?"

"Ewww, his wristband is sick! Did you see that?"

"Look at that huge clipboard! What do you think they write on that thing?"

"Does he own those heads or does he borrow them from the mascots?"

"Who are we cheering for again?"

"Are we into this game or can I change the channel?"

"Has that camera that hangs down ever been hit before?"

"They really should let the refs wear pads too."

"You know, Chica could be a football player because she's used to falling down all the time."

Poor Daniel. I'm expecting a call from ESPN any day now about coming on full time with the network. Happy watching bloggers!

Friday, September 11, 2009

a vehicle eulogy

Beloved Buick,
In the year of 1997, you rolled off the assembly line, shiny and new. At that time you were one owner and six years away from entering our lives. But you were wanted nonetheless.

Hardly the product of overindulgent parents striving to suffice sweet sixteen expectations, you were a used dream materialized when a young man purchased you outright and in cash. You were bought through the sweat of a teenaged umpire, sacrificing what limited free time he had at the ball field. Your air conditioning brought sweet relief after standing in the sweltering heat calling pitches. He was thankful to trade in the soundtrack of heckling spectators for the Matt Wertz that drifted through your system.

In college you made his rounds. Tailgating at all sorts of professional and collegiate games, your trunk was the perfect size for the mini grill. You picked up his girl from class when it rained and risked many a parking tickets while you waited for him to finish his dinner at the dining hall.

Several times you took him to summer camp. Since then you chauffered countless teenagers who had no other way of getting to church but by you.

In the summer of 2006, you pulled away from a wedding reception, sporting shoe polish and silly string. One week later and chock full of boxes of the newlyweds' belongings you forged three states to your new home. For the next three years you racked up the miles getting to Dallas and back for seminary classes. You never knew you could go that fast.

In the spring of 2008 you pulled out of the hospital parking lot with a seven pound bundle of joy as your newest passenger. You never knew you could go that slow.

Or carry that much stuff.

In your six years with us you survived fishing trips, diaper changes, sunflower seeds and shady parts of multiple towns. So when your transmission surrendered last weekend on that Missouri highway, we couldn't fault you. We weren't easy owners. But we sure are grateful.

R.I.P. Le Sabre. And if there is such a thing as Buick heaven, could you please have those belongings we left in you shipped to us? You know where we live.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

cheese ball face

Can you guess which parent taught her this?

cheese ball face from Rachel Hinton on Vimeo.

P.S.- I'm really hoping there isn't Swine Flu on that Wendy's condiment station.


"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Thursday, September 3, 2009

photography humor


getting your picture taken

can be so