Monday, December 21, 2009

This Christmas will be the last time...




I love Christmas morning. I love Christmas morning every bit as much if not more than any child on earth. Christmas morning is the happiest time of the year for me and it always has been. I loved it as a child, but I have loved it even more as a mother. I love it because I get to see my children gathered around my tree and I get to give them things. The sight of my children sitting around our tree on Christmas morning does something to the deepest depths of my soul that I am woefully inadequate to describe. I only know that it fills me with joy and my heart runs over with love.

When I discovered I was pregnant with Austin I cried for four months. It was not in my plans to start over with my oldest child away at college! The thing that made me stop crying was the thought that I would have a believer again at Christmas!!! That got me through and I've since learned that he was to be much more to all of us than just a "believer" at Christmas. As the big kids grew up, they enjoyed the whole "Santa Magic" thing all over again through Austin. So, even though they were grown up and even married, Christmas morning would find them rushing over here on Christmas morning (even in PJ's), so they wouldn't miss Austin coming downstairs to see what Santa brought. Austin was their joy on Christmas morning. He was mine too, but what they didn't realize was that them being there was just as vital to me as Austin was. You see, it doesn't matter how old they are on Christmas morning, they are my babies and they belong around my tree ! For several years, Emily wasn't here, and the void was felt. It wasn't something that I ever got used to. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Christmas to me is having my children surrounding me as daylight dawns and all of our traditions begin to unfold time after time. We listen to the same music every year, we have the same breakfast every year, we go through the same routines every years and I never, ever, ever tire of it.

Today at Sarah's we were talking about Christmas morning this week and I asked Sarah what time she and Bennie would be coming over. And she said, "Early". And then she said that this would be the last year that they would be over early on Christmas morning because next year Brooks would be older and that they would want to stay home and watch him wake up and see what Santa brought him. And my very first thought was, "Of course they would". And that's when it hit me. That's when I realized that these Christmas traditions that we so take for granted can and will change over time. I don't know why in the world I hadn't thought of it before. It. just. hadn't. occurred. to. me.

When I think of it, it doesn't really matter where we are on Christmas morning as long as my children are with me. So, one of the suggestions was that next year, we come to Sarah and Bennie's house bright and early and we'll get to see Brooks wake up and run to the tree. That's probably what we will do. I can't imagine it just being Jimmy and I watching Austin opening presents on Christmas morning and then waiting for the afternoon to roll around for the big kids to come over and opening gifts with them. It would just seem so fractured and splintered.
And just this minute I realized that one day (and sooner than I want to think) Austin will be grown up and not living here. And, how in the world am I going to manage being around all four of my children's Christmas tree "bright and early" on Christmas morning to watch all of my grandchildren open their presents from Santa?

I guess I always knew that "someday" that tradition would change. Of course it would, children grow up and have babies of their own. And when that happens, it's only natural that they want to sit around their own tree on Christmas morning and watch their children open presents from Santa Claus. And you know what, that is how it should be. I want them to know the joy that a parent feels as they experience that. I've had it for 29 years now so it's their turn.

As wonderful as it is to have adult children I have dreaded seeing each of them leave home and my nest. I often laughingly say that I had children because I wanted children in my life and I didn't understand why they had to grow up and move out! I've said it kind of as a joke but it's really the truth of my heart. But time marches on doesn't it? Sooo, I will march right along with it and I will remind myself that I've had my time, and now it's their turn to develop their own Christmas morning traditions with their own children and be grateful for every Christmas morning I've had with them around MY tree. Yep, that's what a graceful, inspired, loving mother does. But that little devil that sits on my shoulder is saying, "Isn't it bad enough that you now have wrinkles, bad knees, need reading glasses, and have to get your hair color from a bottle. Do you have to give up your traditional Christmas mornings too?" Don't worry, I'll get her under control and next year I'll be at Sarah and Bennie's bright and early with the Alabama Christmas CD and all the breakfast fixins and this Grandma will learn to love every traditional minute of it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wow! Did you guys see this?



Looky what I found! You can win a prize valued at up to $675. Verrry cool stuff. Even without the giveaway it's a very cool site. Head on over there and get yourself entered. And be sure and tell them that melissa-justanotherdayinparadise.blogspot.com/ sent you. Good luck everyone! Click on the link here: Fantabulously Frugal

Monday, November 30, 2009

I won! I won!

So, I got home from work tonight and everyone was asleep (where most people are at midnight on a Sunday night!). And me, being me, I grabbed the laptop and decided to check out some blogs. I couldn't believe my eyes when I realized that I was the winner of this awesome little Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbook from Pat over at Nonna's News! I mean, people, I don't win things! But I did! I won it! I can't wait to get it and whip up some yumminess for Christmas!

She made the announcement in such a cute way. She made a video of her little granddaughter, Avery drawing the winner out of a little Christmas bowl. Oh, and the cutest part was that Avery actually let her stuffed Minnie Mouse do the actual drawing. I was so engrossed in watching the cuteness of Avery that I forgot that my name was actually in that little bowl. So when Pat said my name I was beyond shocked. Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that people actually do win these giveaways and it's tons of fun.

I'm going to pay it forward and come up with my own little giveaway here soon. I think I'll hit my craft room and come up with something. Stay tuned.

And Pat, thanks a million. I will so enjoy cooking from this great little cookbook.


And Cindi, if lightning should strike twice and I win that gorgeous little angel, she's coming to your house!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Too many to count...

(There is a short video at the bottom, don't miss it! )

I'm speaking of blessings. I simply have too many to count. We have not had the best of times in regards to my husband's business for the past several years. There are many times when I feel like throwing up my hands and giving up. But then I look around and see all the blessings and realize that I am rich beyond measure. It's the people in our lives that matter, not the things. And when it comes to people, I'm truly blessed. I have both of my parents living and happy. I have wonderful brothers and a sister and their families. And then the icing on my cake are my wonderful children. I know my children aren't any more wonderful than yours, but their mine and they are my reasons for breathing. Children truly are the most wonderful treasures. And then, of course, (just in case it escaped any one's notice LOL), we were all blessed with our little Brooks this year. He makes up for any lack we may think we have around here. So fresh from heaven, so very loved and wanted.


I have to work a double tomorrow so I won't get to spend the day with my family, but that's okay. I have Thanksgiving every day just knowing that these wonderful people are in my life. I also console myself with the fact that the patients I will take care of tomorrow don't want to be there either. And so, I will try to make their Thanksgiving a little brighter since they have to spend it being sick. Blessings are everywhere if we look for them.

But....today...I got to keep Brooks! I shot a minute long video of him playing and 'talking'! So, I just had to share it with you all. Can you believe he is soon going to be 4 months old!? It seems like yesterday we were praying for his existence. And now here he is, a gift to us all. We are so very rich in all the ways that count.

I wish you all a wonderful day of Thanksgiving every day of your lives. The blessings are everywhere if only we take the time to look.
video

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More Giveaways. Because they're FUN!

Cindi from Wishing for My Turn posted about the giveaway she found for this little beauty on her blog. Now really, who wouldn't want this little angel in their home this Christmas?

Harvest Moon Primatives is where you go to sign up for her

Then, she told us about this Gooseberry Patch Cookbook giveaway. I just bought some of these little cookbooks for my girls for Christmas gifts and they are awesome. I've been using some of the recipes from them (shhhh, don't tell them!). I'm sure this one is just as wonderful as the ones that I have and I bet you'd love it. If so, head on over and enter the giveaway at Nonna's News.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I sooo heart this little scale!




Vintage Junky

I am working on a plan in my head for redoing my kitchen sometime soon and I have been browsing some decorating blogs for inspiration. While reading through a very neat blog tonight called Vintage Junky I almost jumped out of my chair when I got to the bottom of her post and saw this little gem. Would you look at the words on the face of that scale!!! OLD KENTUCKY HOME!! Helloooo! There is my inspiration. I absolutely love this little scale. Is it not the cutest thing??? And she is giving it away!


Anyway, even though I want to win it, I want you all to have a chance to win it too, not to mention you'll get yourself introduced to a very cool blog. So head on over there and feast your eyes on some inspiration.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I really am alive!


I know, I know! I'm such a bad blogger! I never seem to be able to get anything posted here anymore. My life is certainly not boring, it's just that I run out of energy!! I am going to try to do better. But in the meantime, I'll leave you this adorable new picture of Brooks. That's better than anything I would write anyway! I know that I am biased where he is concerned, but I tell you truly that this is the best baby in the world! He is so easy to take care of. Mr. Laid back!! He smiles constantly and only cries when he's hungry. He looks so much like his mother and thankfully he inherited her disposition as well. I used to say that she was the best baby in the world. It's kind of like having her all over again. We are all enjoying him and looking forward to watching him grow up. I knew that I was going to love him like crazy but I had no idea how wonderful it was going to be to be a grandmother. I. mean. really!

I watch him while Sarah Kate works on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I was kind of worried about how I was going to do that after working double shifts on Tuesday and Thursday nights but he is such a dream baby that it's working out fine. I pick him up on my way home from work in the mornings and when we get home he goes down for a 3-4 hour nap. He wakes up, takes a bottle, plays with me for about an hour and then he's falling asleep again! I get another 1 to 2 hour nap and then we're up and ready to go. I'm loving every single minute of it and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brooks' Bad Manners

Sarah just posted this video on Brooks' site and I just had to share it. The little hat was made for him by one of the doctor's that Sarah works for. The grandmother who taught hin this trick is not me!! But I wish I had!

I was just informed that you needed a password to view this video. It's bbrooks

Click here to view this video

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The New Mr & Mrs.



First of all I must say that the wedding was absolutely beautiful and everything went off without a hitch. They were both so happy and the fact that they are very much in love couldn't be missed.

I have loved Amber like my own for a long time now. Patrick married the perfect girl for him and I couldn't be happier with his choice. Because of how I feel about Amber I really didn't expect to have the feeling and emotions that I experienced in the lead up to and during the actual wedding. Now matter how practically I tried to talk myself out of feeling what I was feeling, the thought simply wouldn't go away. I was losing my son. Now, I know I haven't really lost him. He's a self-professed mama's boy (aren't most boys?), and we have a very close relationship. I know that I will continue to see him very often and that the love he has for Amber is a completely different kind of love from the love he has for me. One doesn't push the other away any more than one child being born takes love away from the other children. I know all of this and yet I had several emotional moments (don't worry, I kept them to myself!). I am so proud of the man he's grown to be and the way he lives his life. He has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known and I am so grateful that I am the one God chose to be his mother. When Patrick loves you you know it. He's the first one to help out a friend or anyone in need. His compassion for other's is often witnessed running down his cheeks. He's the champion of the underdog and every child's best friend. I've never met an old lady who didn't love him.


Patrick is every one's "go to guy".


Patrick is love personified.


Patrick has married a wonderful girl and we love her.


Patrick's mother misses him.

*****************************

These pictures were taken by a friend, when we get the professional pictures back I will share them, I'm sure they'll be much better than these snapshots. But for now you at least get a little idea.

I love this picture! Look at what is going on between Patrick and Austin. I didn't catch this as it was happening but someone told me about it. Apparently right before Patrick and Amber turned around to face everyone after they'd been pronounced man and wife, Austin reached over to give Patrick a fist bump. Then, when they turned around Patrick turned his palm up kind of behind his back and Austin "gave him five". I can't wait to see it on the video. Candid things are sooo awesome









We took the opportunity to have a picture of our immediate family taken with everyone all spiffed up! (Jimmy and Austin shared Best Man duties) Both Sarah and Emily served as bridesmaids. Benny was a groomsman as well.

The happy couple are now on their honeymoon cruise and we can't wait to see them when they get home next Sunday.

Patrick and Amber's Engagement Pictures


Here is the post I was trying to get up last week BEFORE the wedding. Needless to say, I didn't get it done. I did sit down and try to put into words what I was feeling as Patrick's wedding was just days away. I, quite simply, couldn't find the words to express all that I was feeling. So, after this post, I will put up one about the actual wedding and try once more to give you a glimpse into a mother's heart.

Here are their engagement pictures.


















Monday, October 19, 2009

My funny and sweet friend Cindi at Wishing For My Turn gave me an award that defies explanation. I'm humbled! And hey, I wouldn't want any of you to be pecked to death by Zombie Chickens, so I'm hoping that by posting this award here you will all be safe forevermore!!


"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken-- excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."
I cannot possibly pick just five people to share the honor with so if you're game (pun intended) grab it and protect yourself and your readers.
Thanks, Cindi, you are the best!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Engagements and more engagements!


Later I'm going to post Patrick and Amber's engagement pictures and post about their upcoming wedding, but first I want to announce (if I haven't already) that Emily and Wendell are engaged and are going to be married in May. While they were here for Amber's bridal shower last month they went to the park and had their engagement photo's taken. I love them! They are so happy, and to see Emily so happy after what she's been through in the past several years is absolute balm for my soul. Wendell is an answer to prayer and we look forward to having him as a son in law. The love between them is evident to anyone who sees them and I think these pictures capture that.






























I FIXED IT! I FIXED IT!

My laptop has been out of commission allll summer. The desktop is so unreliable that I barely even check email on it. Besides, it's been a busy summer and I kind of figured that maybe not being on the computer so much was a good thing for me. But gosh, I've missed it. Anyway, after coming home from Sarah and Bennie's tonight, I discovered that the cable was out so I started reading. Then for some strange reason (I prefer to call it Divine Intervention) I decided to grab the laptop and see if it would suddenly work. I decided to do this because yesterday I asked the Universe to send me a new computer, and as I was reading I just felt "nudged" to try the laptop. I finally got it to turn on in safe mode and decided, "what the heck, see if system restore will fix it". Sooo, that's what I did and eureka! It works. I also asked my helper angels to show me what to do. And now I say....Thank you God and my helper angels that I have my laptop back.

Maybe I can now get back to checking blogs and finding out what's been going on with everyone all summer.

As for me, I'm so smitten with a certain little baby that it's ridiculous. All those things they say about grandchildren are true. He, quite simply, has stolen my heart. He's the best little thing and some people have had the nerve to accuse me of being a "baby hog"!! Hmmmph! As if!!!

And so, it's only fitting that my first entry back should contain pictures of Brooks, right? So here they are!

Here he is wearing his Daddy's hat. It's not often that it comes off of Bennie's head. He looks so much like Bennie anyway and with his hat on....well, can you say clone?


Here he is in one of his many Bengal outfits. And speaking of the Bengals, WOW! Football is fun again!! I've been a die-hard Bengal fan since 1980 and they've broken our hearts so many times. I cheered for them when they didn't win a game and always held out hope for "the next game", or "next season". So believe you me, I'm celebrating and having a ball watching these games. Having Brooks there with us is just icing on the cake. (Cindy, I know you'll love this picture! lol)

The next two pictures are just darn cute! I tell ya, I could just eat him with a spoon!




Patrick and Amber are getting married next weekend. I can't believe the day is finally almost upon us. Stay tuned for thoughts from the mother of the groom this week. It's hard on a Mom!



Friday, August 14, 2009

Want to see some adorable pictures????

I'm really hoping this link will work. This is the website with Brooks' newborn pictures. Make sure you click on all the little pictures at the bottom of the page. My favorite one is the one with all of his Bengal's gear. ( I know Cindi just threw up!).


http://www.our365.com/newbornportraits/babydetail.aspx?birthid=76d4fbbc-65d5-483b-8ea1-d82cd7c0fa35&babyid=dc519e17-91c7-4d0d-bb26-d0c0a2a5181f

Austin and I are still at Sarah and Bennie's doing the cooking, laundry and cleaning. Oh and we're also getting in a lot of cuddle time with Brooks. I tell ya, this Grandmother stuff is the BEST!.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More pictures from Grandmotherville!!!!

This is the sight we've all been praying for...Sarah Kate with her baby in her arms. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Great Grandmother and Emily trying to help wake up Brooks so he will nurse.


I'm tellin' ya, I could kiss those cheeks off. In fact, I have tried!





Our dear friend, Connie personalized his very own Bengals outfit for him. I wish you could have seen Bennie's face when he saw this!!






Pictures from Grandmotherville!!

Before Emily hits the road with her laptop this morning I wanted to get some pictures up for you all to see.

Here is Aunt Em getting her turn...

Here I am playing with that precious little mouth. He has very sensitive skin and is covered in a rash that has us all horrified. It looks like it would be so itchy but he doesn't seem to be bothered with it. They say it will just disappear over the next couple of days.


On Mommy's lap. She is a natural mother!



Brooks just being precious!



Sweet Bennie holding his boy....I tell you guys, it would melt your heart!






Friday, August 7, 2009

My Heart Is Full With The Joy of Being GRAND!!!

He's here!!!! And wouldn't you know it, my computer issues of the moment won't allow me to post a picture of him right now. However, you can take my word for it that he is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen in my life!

Sarah has had placenta previa for the entire pregnancy and although it did move a little bit in the last couple of weeks, it didn't move enough to allow her to have a normal delivery. She was scheduled for a C-section for 10:00 this morning. They were to be there at 8:00 and we were going to get there about 9:00. I talked to her at 7:30 this morning and she was ready and waiting for Bennie to finish getting ready so they could leave. Ten minutes later she called me back in a panic. She was putting the baby's bag in the car and she felt a gush of fluid. She thought her water had broken but it was bright red blood. I told her to call an ambulance immediately and we hung up and I started moving fast. They didn't call an ambulance (the hospital is a 10 minute drive) they left all their "stuff" at home and Bennie drove her to the hospital. When I got there they had her back in a room with the fetal monitor on her. The birthing center was packed and BUSY! They started prepping her for surgery and since I'm a nurse and I work at that hospital, she asked if I could go in with them and they said YES!! I got myself garbed and masked and off we went.

I cannot describe the emotion I felt seeing my baby girl on that OR table It was just surreal. I tried to keep the fear out of my voice and tears out of my eyes and I managed it all okay until that precious baby was out of her and I heard him cry. At that point, all bets were off and I was just a blubbering Grandmother. I've asked so many of my friends what it feels like when you see your first grandchild and it seemed that no one could really put it into words that I could grasp and understand. Now I know why. It's just not something that there are words for. The closest I can come to explaining what I felt would be to say that an enormous love bomb burst inside of me and I know for certain that I will never be the same. It's love squared and then some! MY BABY HAD A BABY!!!! And he was PERFECT! And she was SAFE!. I just kept saying, "Thank you, God, thank you!"

To see Sarah and Bennie finally have the baby they've prayed for for so long was so wonderful.
Have I mentioned that he's beautiful??!!! He was born on 8/7 and weighed 8 lbs 7 ozs at 11:07. Sarah has always said that her lucky number is 7 and after today, we all believe her.

I work tomorrow night (but guess where I'll be on all my breaks!!!) and then I start a week of vacation on Sunday when they will probably come home. I'll be staying at Sarah's next week to help take care of her and be the chief cook and bottle washer ( even though she's nursing!). I promise to post A LOT of pictures from her house.

When we called Emily in Florida to tell her he was here today she decided on the spur of the moment to drive up here and as I type this, she is somewhere on this side of Atlanta headed home to get her hands on him. Some of you understand what a miracle that is in itself!!! My cup runneth over.

Let the Grandmothering begin.....I'm in heaven.

For every one of you who offered up prayers for my sweet girl and her husband I thank you from the bottom of my heart. God is so very good.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

You won't believe these pictures!!!

I'm sorry. I can't help it. I am madly in love with this new little person that will soon be entering our lives and I'm afraid that I just have to admit that I'm absolutely going to be one of those obnoxious grandmothers who talks about her grandchild to anyone who will listen. And....even if they don't listen, I'm still gonna talk about him.

Sarah had her medical ultrasound on Thursday, but this morning they went for the non-medical 3D ultrasound. I thought the picture of his face in the last one was incredibly clear. Well....that was nothing compared to THESE!!!!

He is SMILING!! In the womb, he's smiling!! Know why? He knows that he has a grandmother waiting for him that is going to be completely blind to any faults he might ever have!

Along with a cd of 39 still pictures, they also got a dvd of tons of video of him moving around with a baby themed soundtrack. Priceless! I love this one of him with his mouth open


I love this one too. It's like he's bored with this whole picture taking thing and he's thinking, "Would you all PLEASE just let me grow in peace?" They also say he's "chunky", get a load of the meat on his little arm....and he's got 11 more weeks to grow! His mother weighed 9 pounds 1 ounce. I can't wait to see how much he weighs.


Check out his meaty little thigh.


He looks exactly like his father.





I love the definition of his lips ( exactly like his daddy's). Don't know what's up with that shadow across his nose.



How will I ever wait another 11 weeks?