Thursday, March 21, 2013

Do you think she gets her stubborness from me?

We've been trying to get Diana to try new foods:  sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, avocado, cereal...

So far, she's not a huge fan of anything off of a spoon.  After some assurances from my mommy friends, I know that she's not going to starve, and that this phase of eating is mostly about developing a palate and learning the skill of eating off of a spoon. 

She's found a good way to let us know her opinion about the food we are trying to serve her.  Do you think she gets her stubborness from me??  (God help me...if she's like this at 6 months, we are in for quite the ride!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Parking lot gratitude

Like most people, I have a jam-packed schedule, so today, when I found myself with a spare hour between appointments, it felt like a luxury. Truth be told, it is! I often schedule my days so tightly that I even have to remember to account for driving time between places because otherwise, I commit myself to being in two places at once.

With time to spare, I checked a few things off of my "to do" list: went to the baby store to get a refund for a coupon I had forgotten to use when I was there last, picked out Diana's first Easter basket, cleaned the trash out of my car....nothing major, but all things that have been nagging at me.

Before my next appointment starts, I am sitting in a parking lot listening to an interview with an incredible choir director on the radio, with the sun beaming through my windows and the windows down. I have an iced green tea in my cup holder, and just ate a scrumptious birthday cake pop.

In short, life is good.

Maybe I should start scheduling some time like these in my days going forward!

Usually, I compose gratitude lists to help turn a nasty mood around, but today, I just want to do it to take stock of this moment. Maybe that will encourage me to have more of these moments!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Sunshine. Lots of places don't have any today, and it's glorious here today in Alabama.
- Starbucks gift card - S gave it to me for Christmas, and it's the gift that keeps on giving. I was able to get a treat for myself, even though we are in hard core savings mode.
- Coupons - it's become a game to me to use coupons. I don't buy anything unless it is with a coupon or on sale. It makes me feel less guilty about spending money - and I've started to keep track of how much I have saved to see it stacking up. So far, I have saved $606 in the past 32 days! Incredible!
- Friends that remember to check in when they say they will - when someone asks for prayers or tells me of an issue they are dealing with, I worry. I appreciate them reporting back how things turned out.
- A great day care - I would never be able to do all that I do without knowing that Diana is in good hands every day.

Dear God, thank you for my many blessings - both those listed above and those You know are in my heart. Life is good. Please help me to continue to focus on the positive and outwardly show my gratitude. Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why I Take and Share So Many Pictures of My Daughter

It was a weekend of firsts for our little family:  first trip to see the Easter Bunny, first trip to Oak Mountain State Park, first time in a swing.  Of course, I had the camera going the whole time - I didn't want to miss a minute.   The professional photographer at the Walgreens where they had the Easter Bunny set up even had to remind me to let HIM take his photo first (the one we paid him to take!), before jumping in with my camera.

There's a couple of reasons that I want to take so many photos (and post them).  First, I do it because a lot of my family and friends live far away.  The only way for them to keep up with all of her "firsts" and fun moments is for me to take photos and videos and post them.  I wish they could all be with us all of the time, but the harsh reality is that we just don't get to see them that often.

The second, and more important, reason is because I know what it's like not to have them.  As most of you know, I lost my mom almost 13 years ago to breast cancer, at the age of 50.  It was long before I met and fell in love with husband, and long before I had the incredible opportunity to become a mom to Diana.

As we travel through the awesome journey of all of Diana's firsts, I would love to talk to my mom about them...but obviously, I can't.  The next best thing would to have photos of them, but most of those don't exist or got misplaced along the way.  

So, I've been taking photos of EVERYTHING so that Diana has a record of all of her firsts and fun moments along the way.  I certainly hope I am around for a very long time, and that I am here to have conversations with Diana when she has her first child...but just in case, I am playing paparazzi and historian.  If she ever wonders what her youth was like, you can just point her here.  (I've also started her an email account where I email her fun photos and videos, and share thoughts about her growth and life. It's kind of like a virtual baby book!)

I'm also trying to make an effort to be IN the photos (totally against my nature), so that she has her mom as part of her memories.  Too many times, I see moms behind the camera - and left OUT of the photos, and I want to make sure that doesn't happen to our family. 

So, if you'll indulge me - here are some memories we made this weekend. 

Dressed up for the Bunny!

"Hmmm...I am not sure about this guy..."

Bundled up and ready to roll at the park!

She's a happy girl hanging out with her mommy and daddy at the park!

First swing - Daddy's pushing!

Mommy's turn to push!

"Okay, now, I am starting to like this whole swinging thing!"

And now, for the video!   

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pretty Girl in her Party Dress

On Wednesday night, we took Diana to dinner for a friend's birthday - and I decided to get her all dressed up in one of the outfits that my awesome mother-in-law got for her for Easter.  I have never really been a girly girl, but it is so much fun to dress Diana in pretty girly clothes!   The good news is that she seems to be a willing model! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meditation Fail

A few weeks ago, I got a personal email from Oprah (we are totally BFF's) inviting me to be a part of her 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It's a 3 week course with Deepak Chopra, where Oprah and I are going to better learn how to make meditation a part of our daily lives and how to deepen our ability to clear the mind.

I failed on Day 1.

On Monday, I noticed an opportune moment to go meditate - Diana was quietly playing on the floor with some blocks, she had been fed and changed and seemed content.  S was finished with his work day and was watching TV.   So, I told him that I was going into our room for about 15 minutes to meditate. 

He smirked, "Meditate? Really?"

My response:  "Shut up!  I need to get some serenity."  (Probably not the best way to begin...)

I carried my laptop into the bedroom, settled into a comfortable chair, and settled in to listen to my good friend Oprah teach me how to meditate.  After a brief introduction, Oprah turned things over to Deepak, who instructed me to close my eyes and focus on his words and a certain mantra.  He said to come back to that mantra whenever my mind wandered....

Which was basically the ENTIRE time I was attempting to meditate.  My little brain went into OVERDRIVE the minute he said to clear my mind and start focusing on my breath. 

"Do I need to get more granola bars at the grocery store?"
"Did I remember to start the dryer?"
"Is it time to book our summer vacation?"
"I wonder how K's doctor's appointment went."
"Do the dogs need a bath?"
"Remember that time in high school...."

Like a ping pong ball being batted around by Forrest Gump, my brain jumped from topic to topic, all the while Deepak was trying to get me to center my thoughts on the mantra. 

After several minutes of trying to focus and breath, my thoughts did eventually start to slow down, and I actually did start to feel more serene. By the end of the 15 minute segment, I actually felt pretty relaxed.

About 30 seconds later, my husband walked into the bedroom, with a smile on his face, "How did it go?"  I reported my progress, and asked him why he had come in.  He said, "Diana is taking a nap now, so I think I am going to 'meditate' too", and then, went to lay down to take a short nap.  (Silly husband, napping and meditating are NOT the same thing...)

He invited me to lay down with him for a minute and snuggle (so sweet, right??), but when I went to try to get under the covers with him, they were all tangled.  Immediately, I started wrestling with them, kicking wildly, muttering swear words, and S burst out laughing.  "How's that meditating working out for you?"

Apparently, not so well.

Maybe I should try it for more than one day in a row - what do you think?  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Progress Report on New Years Resolutions

I know you've just been hanging on the edge of your seat wanting to know how I am doing with my New Year's Resolutions - so, here's the update!  Yes, I am still plugging away on them...

1.  Get real estate license:  I have decided to get it through Realty South - but am putting off starting the course for two more months, because of working on a free lance voice project...more on that below.

2.  Clean out every closet/attic in the house:  I have cleaned out all of our linen closets (and as luck would have it, we had a neighbor that had a house burn down and needed linens the day after I did it!), and I have cleared out all of the maternity clothes from my closet.  I have also given all of the clothes that Diana has outgrown to other mommies that might be able to use them.  The bathroom and kitchen are next!!

3.  Run 3 different 5 k's:  I was GOING to run one last Saturday, but had to, that didn't happen.  I've been training, and think I might try to run in one called the Rumpshaker at the end of the month.

4.  Raise $5000 for Komen:  We are in FULL swing in trying to get sponsors and donations for this year's Chefs for the Cure (June 20th at The Club!).  So far, I have secured donations of auction items that should get Komen about $500...10% of the way there.  More to come!

5.  Rework my blog to make it profitable:  Haven't done this at all.  I need to get more consistent about posting before I try to do this.  This will be my second post this week, so that's progress....

6.  Create new profile for Voice 123/ACX and pursue voicework:  Done and done!  I won an audition to do an audiobook - and have started recording it!  I am really excited, and can't wait to share the finished project with you!!!!  It's very time consuming - which is why the real estate license/blogging has taken kind of a backseat. 

7.    Get back down to my wedding weight by my anniversary:  I am officially down 10 pounds since the beginning of the year!  I'll keep chipping away - and it will happen!!

8.  Beef up our savings account/emergency fund and save up for a down payment on a new house:  Emergency fund is FULLY funded and we are 10% of the way on our way to getting the amount we want for our down payment.  My wonderful husband is working a part time job to make more progress possible - and I am doing all the freelance/endorsement work I can find to make it happen sooner than later!

9.  Drink 64 ox. of water a day:  Most days, I hit this or get close, but I am glad that I am checking in on this because I need to be more diligent about it.  I can totally tell a difference when I do - and it's so simple to do!

So, there you have it!  Progress in most areas - and a recommitment to making progress in the other areas, too!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting ready for Easter

My fantastic in-laws watched Diana on Saturday night so S and I could have a "date night".  We all stayed over at their house Saturday night, and on Sunday morning, Nana gave Diana some very cute Easter, of course, we had to try some of them on!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Her eyes are still haunting me....

I can't shake this bad feeling I have this morning.  Last night, S and I went to go see his cousin Meghan play in the Alabama State High School Basketball Tournament at the BJCC in Birmingham.  We had a great time watching her play and hanging out with his family.

But something happened in the bathroom that disturbed me so much that I could barely sleep last night.

When I took Diana to the bathroom to change her, I witnessed something that made my stomach turn.  I was just finishing up and packing everything back up in her diaper bag when I head three loud smacks and then, a small child beginning to wail.

I looked up just in time to see an older, heavy set woman dragging a little girl, who couldn't have been more than 2 years old, by her arm into the restroom.  The woman then forcefully guided the little girl into one of the stalls and said loudly, "You get in there and go!"  The poor little child was terrified and complied, crying all the while.

I hadn't realized I was staring until the woman turned and made eye contact with me.  We stared at each other for at least 15 seconds.  It was almost as if she were daring me to say something to her.

I am ashamed to say that I didn't.  I broke eye contact first and quickly packed up the rest of Diana's belongings and scurried out of the bathroom, all the while thinking, "I should say something.  I should say something.  That poor little girl.  I should say something." 

Instead, I scurried off to go back to our seats, clutching Diana to my chest, and silently praying for that small girl's well being.  Ultimately, I chose not to say anything for two reasons:  I didn't want her to come after me and my daughter, and I didn't want to make her more angry and make things worse for that small child once I wasn't around.

The little girl's face is still haunting me.  Last night, as I was trying to go to sleep, I couldn't stop hearing those smacks or seeing the anguish in those big brown eyes.  After laying there sleepless for an hour, I finally drifted off.

This morning, I am saying a prayer for that child, and all the children in similar circumstances:  "God, please look kindly on those children who have been denied the gift of a safe and happy childhood. Protect them from abuse and neglect and let them find comfort in Your love and protection. Help all of us to show sympathy and compassion to troubled children whose words and actions test patience and understanding. Let these children see the world as the beautiful place You created. Help them find the courage to overcome their fears so they may learn to trust and love. Grant those who have young lives entrusted in their care Your wisdom and kindness so they may provide the kind of love all children need to grow and mature. Amen.”  (From 

Will you send up a prayer today, as well?  I am sure she can use it.