Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Flashback


I had not seen this pic in years before a former teammate posted it on Facebook.  It was funny seeing all the comments from everyone.  And I can't help but giggle at the crooked little pyramid.  And gosh, we were tiny. 

That would be me at the tippy top.  I was in 8th grade here and still loved the sport.  I went on to cheer all four years of high school.  By the time I was a senior, though, it wasn't so fun anymore.  I tried out my last year because I was sort of expected to.  Cheering was my identity in high school (you know how that is), so I couldn't NOT try out.

Another reason I wasn't so into it my senior year is because I had a bad fall during a summer practice and was on a crutches for a few days (sprain -- no broken bones).  After that, I was all of a sudden afraid of stunting.  I'd been a flyer for over six years and one bad fall made me terrified of it all.  Then it was the first time in my cheer career that there were people smaller than me on the squad, so I had to learn to base that year, too.  I totally underestimated the upper body strength of those girls because I struggled with that position.  I clearly remember one of our routines would make me want to go home and cry after practice.  In one part, I was a flyer.  Then in a later part of the routine, I was a base.  Being terrified in one part of the routine and struggling to make a stunt stick (as a base) in another part of the routine was no fun.  That, of course, let me know that I wouldn't be trying out for my college squad.  I was done.

Despite all of that, I really enjoyed my years cheering. Many, many memories are from cheering, and I wouldn't take back one day of it.  Even the rough times taught me a lot.  I'll always be a cheerleader at heart.  Go Tigers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birthday and Wedding Cake

This is the third time in the last few weeks I've titled my post something "cake."  I should probably stop doing that before it becomes obvious people start thinking that we go to celebrations just to eat the cake.


I haven't been to a wedding recently, but I may or may not have made another trip to GiGi's to try the Wedding Cake cupcake.  Last week I had the Italian Cream Wedding Cake and was a little turned off by all the coconut in it.  So I had to find SOMETHING on the menu that works for me, right?  And let me tell you -- this WORKS.  I may or may not have bought two yesterday and had one for breakfast this morning.

Don't worry, I haven't gone on a cupcake binge -- especially since I had birthday cake over the weekend.  Real birthday cake (not a from a cupcake shop).


Cute little Kinsley (my cousin's daughter) turned one over the weekend, and my mom and I went to the party.  It was at a bouncy gym place, and the kids had a blast. (Morgan was out of town, so she missed it this year.)

Cousin, aunt, mom, and brother.

My cousin Mandrell was there!  He moved to Virginia a few years ago, so I don't get to see him often.  I had no clue he'd be there, so it was a pleasant surprise (and he brought his two adorable kids)!

My brother with his girls.

Spending time with family is always awesome.

As for this week, I've been busy.  I'm pooped, and it's only Tuesday.  Today was the last day of summer school, so that meant final exams and grade reports.  Then I went and took a final exam of my own for one of my grad school classes.  After that I went to a Race for the Cure captain meeting.  You'd think my list of things to do would dwindle down after today, but nope, not yet.  I still have a paper and portfolio due for my grad school class, so I can't rest just yet.  But soon.  Soon.

Then the regular school year starts back.  Soon.  Very soon.

I can't believe summer's almost over.  Gonna enjoy what's left of it!  

Have a good week, y'all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Flashback


Okay, I've been really slacking with the Friday Flashbacks.  And that's because I'm still looking for my flash drive with all the old pics I scanned.  I actually spotted it during an organization project in my house a few weeks ago (a never-ending project), but have no clue where I put it.  Ironic, huh? 

So thanks to Facebook (other folks' pictures), I have a few other flashbacks I can post.  This is from my college days, shortly after I did AKA.  I'm kneeling on the front row (on the right).  Do you think I can look this young again if I grow my hair back out? Say yes.

Have a good weekend, y'all. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Prizes and Cupcakes

Today we went and redeemed Morgan's summer reading log! 

With her list. 

She (we) read over 1,300 pages this summer.  This year was the first time Morgan picked her own prize, which was funny to watch (imagine a mini person saying "Ummmm...Mommy, I want the purple one" while looking through a glass case of prizes.).  We also redeemed her list for Barnes and Noble's summer reading program*, which only required you to read eight books to get a free book (piece of cake)!  

Speaking of cake, a GiGi's Cupcakes just opened in our area!  I'd heard about this place from my sister-in-law, but never got a chance to check it out -- which is why I was thrilled when I learned that one was coming our way! Yesterday was the grand opening, and I heard the lines were out the door all day. I wasn't trying to stand outside with an impatient toddler. So I crossed my fingers and went today (during hours when most people were at work), and we were just behind a few people. And I'm sort of glad we went because GiGi herself visited the store today (though we only caught a glimpse of her -- she was working hard just like everyone else in the store).

I haven't had my cupcake yet.  Could you eat a cupcake when your two-year-old digs into this?



No, you save your cupcake for later and try your best to keep her from getting icing everywhere.  Luckily we both made it out of there clean.  We grabbed some cupcakes for Morgan's teachers since tomorrow is her last day in her current class.  Can't go wrong with huge cupcakes!

I haven't had dinner tonight, so I guess I'll have the Italian Cream Wedding Cake instead. :)  Bedtime went off without a hitch for us tonight since it's Thursday night.  I didn't have to hear "Noooo!  Mommy, I want to play" and I didn't have to catch a very fast two-year-old as she runs through the house.  Thursday nights are easy because all I have to do is remind Morgan that she has WaterPlay at school tomorrow.  She loves Fridays at school because she gets to wear her swimsuit and play in the sprinklers. Mommy LOVES Thursday nights!

Have a good weekend guys!

* You still have time to earn a free book at Barnes and Noble -- it doesn't end until September!  Go here to download the reading log, read eight books (or record some books you've already read this summer), and then take it to your local B&N. :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mandela Day Celebration


Earlier this week Morgan and I attended our area's first celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day.  The United Nations declared July 18 Mandela Day (in honor of Nelson Mandela's birthday) to promote service to humanity.  I'd been looking forward to the event for weeks.
We saw the Umdabu Dance Company perform.  I've seen them perform before, but I can't remember where.  They're actually a local dance company dedicated to preserving and presenting the history and culture of the Zulu people of South Africa. 

These women and girls were actually visiting from South Africa.  They are high school students from Johannesburg, and were here as part of the International Legacy Youth Leadership Project.  We walked up just in time to see the last of their impromptu dance performance.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Insitute sponsored the event.  I had no plans to take Morgan to this museum for a while because she's used to museums where she can touch everything.  But since admission was free that day, we gave it a try.  We made it about halfway through and got to the bus exhibit.  My child is obsessed with buses, so of course she wanted to get on.  How do you explain to a child that you're in a place where things are just for show and not to be touched?  Well, you try.  And then you lie and say the bus is broken (I guess that's not exactly a lie).  And when that doesn't work, you leave and go back outside where they have Italian ice and bouncy houses for the kids.


And on your way out, you snap this pic (to compare to the one you'll take a few years from now when she's old enough to come back). 

By the way, I'm so thankful for apps like Instagram that spruce up cell phone pics.  I didn't take my camera that day, and I'm sort of glad I didn't.
The museum is next door to 16th Street Baptist Church.



Dancing.


The weather was good to us that day.  It was high 80s with low humidity, so we could actually breathe.  The best part about the day?  Sitting on the lawn with my sweet girl drinking homemade lemonade and watching the performers. We didn't take a blanket to sit on.  I happened to have on a long flowy dress that was just the right size to protect my sweetie and me from the itchy grass and "buggies," as she calls them.  It was a beautiful day.

We can change the world and make it a better place.  It is in your hands to make a difference.
-Nelson Mandela

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fellowship and Friendship


We had an awesome weekend.  DK and I quietly celebrated our anniversary Friday night over dinner.  Saturday I attended a women's conference with my mom, which was cool.  My grandma and aunt were there, too, so that was awesome. 


Then later Saturday I met up with my friend and cousins for a little girly fun.  Keauna, Alfreda, Taneshia, and I used to hang all the time years ago. And then life happened -- college, babies, different cities, etc. -- and we didn't hang out for a really long time. We're trying to revive that and get together every once in a while.    


We went to a painting class, which is always fun.  I think it's cool how our paintings look the same, yet they're all so different. Alfreda (in the green) gets the award for best work ethic. She took her work very seriously! :)



Keauna's birthday is next week, so they let her pick out an already-painted pic from the wall, too.  Since she's expecting a baby boy (on my birthday -- fingers crossed!), she picked out a cute little puppy dog for his wall. :)


My little munchkin spent time with her Honey and PaPa this weekend, and then her daddy took her to the McWane Center Saturday. So we all had an awesome weekend. :)

I'm wrapping up my summer grad school classes.  I was up super late last night finishing a paper -- I hate when I start my week already tired.  Maybe I'll go to bed early tomorrow.  I also have a final exam to start studying for as well as another paper due, so the next two weeks will be interesting for me.  Oh, well -- looking forward to another break soon before the regular school year starts back.

Morgan and I went to a Nelson Mandela Day celebration today and had a great time.  I'm going to try to post some pics tomorrow or Wednesday.

Have a great week, y'all. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Five Years

When I met Danny, I felt like God had created him just for me. It was like I knew he was going to be my husband.
 
Turns out I was right.  We were married four and a half years later.

And that was five years ago today.

I'll spare you the mushiness, but I feel so very blessed.  I thank God every day for this wonderful, perfectly imperfect life He has given us. 

Photos by Holloway Photography (Photos were scanned, hence the quality.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Little Drummer Girl

Okay, so I've mentioned a couple of times how my child is obsessed with drums and makes us play in her band.  She started liking drums back when she first started watching the Fresh Beat Band.  I got her a pair of wooden drum sticks a couple of months ago, and she plays with them at least 10 times a day.

Anyway, here's my girl in action.  If you listen, you'll be able to pick up on her little rhythm - ha! And excuse the chair.  It's been a victim of Morgan and her black crayon.  (My mom was over here this weekend and said that the chair had gone through TWO grandgirls before Morgan, and neither had ever vandalized it as such.  Only my child.)


Hope everyone's having a great week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our #1 Love and Your Chance to Spread Some Love

If you've been reading this blog for a while (or stumbled across my guest posts on another blog*), you know that my daughter and I are sort of obsessed with books.  Morgan's addiction is only recent (two years - ha!), but I should've been in BA (Books Anonymous - duh!) a looooong time ago.  Babysitters Club Sweet Valley High, anyone?

No, in all seriousness, I think books are the best thing ever.  And having a baby two years ago meant I could dive back into children's books.  We have a lot of fun reading -- especially when it's summer reading time.  We've done the public library's summer reading program since Morgan was a baby.  This year has been super fun because she's older and we can actually talk about the stories (and we've read over 1,000 pages so far)!

Anyway, I still read a good bit, though it probably doesn't count since I spend my time reading blogs.  (If you've mastered the skill of being a person that wears many hats that still has time to read actual books that don't involve curious monkeys or big red dogs, please contact me.  I'll pay you to school me.)  In my blog readings, I've come across something too special not to share.  A mommy (who lost her six-week-old baby boy Samuel to meningitis) has created a book drive to benefit several children's hospitals.  Awesome.  And she's made it so easy  -- all you do is visit one of the Amazon Wish Lists, buy a book (or however many you desire), and it ships to the hospitals.  That's it.  Did this make your day like it made mine?  Go to here to learn more and find links to this special mommy's Web site.

And if you need to be reminded just how fun books are for the little ones, here's Morgan last month reading her version of Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?


Now go spread the love! :)

{*To learn more about summer reading and how you can actually start when kids are infants, check out my guest post from a couple of months ago on The Young Mommy Life.}

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cake & the Park

I'm pretty sure that if Morgan's life revolved around cake and the park, she'd be the happiest little girl on Earth.  She got to enjoy both this weekend because she spent time with big cousin Carmelanie at the park and went to her friend KJ's birthday party.

My niece said so many funny things that day -- kids are hilarious!

We went to the park before dinner, and Carmelanie insisted we go back AFTER dinner, too.  Could you say no this face?   

I still think it's so funny when Morgan does this! 



And then for a little celebration...

Morgan's friend KJ is turning three.   His party was themed around the Cars 2 movie.  His outfit was, too.  It was so cute!

High-fiving the Birthday Boy.

The party was at a movie theater.  I had no clue you could do birthday parties there.  They had this cute little room -- it's definitely something I will consider in the future.  The movie the kids saw was Car 2 (duh).  We've never taken Morgan to see a movie (though she has seen an IMAX film with my inlaws), so I was anxious to see how she'd do.   


She LOVED the popcorn and fruit snack (and this is after she'd eaten her piece of birthday cake and most of mine).  She sat down and watched half the movie before she wanted to stand up and do other things (which was definitely our cue to leave).  She was so good, and it was pretty funny seeing her watch a movie and eat popcorn.  I had no idea she even knew what popcorn was until I remembered she had some at my dad's a few months ago.  She loves it, and I think that's hilarious. 

Anyway, we had a pretty cool weekend with family (my mom is who brought my niece, so Morgan got to see her MeMaw, too) and friends. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beach (and a Little "Me" Time)!

DK and Morgan packed up and headed to the beach with my in-laws earlier this week. I wasn’t invited. (I’m kidding. Work started back for me yesterday, and my going would’ve caused DK and Morgan to come back a day or two early. Which would’ve meant just a one- or two-night stay, and that would’ve been a tease.)

I missed them SO MUCH! I wasn’t too thrilled about my baby leaving. I even told DK he could go and I’d be glad to keep Morgan home with me. But he wasn’t having it. He wanted to take his baby. So she went -- and they had a great time! Morgan has been to the beach a few times, but when they’re so young, each time is like a new experience. This time she even got to hang out with some of her cousins who were also there this week.

My sister-in-law always does a great job of texting me pics and videos, so I almost felt like I was there at times. Morgan and I also talked “face-to-face” every day. We upgraded our iPhones a couple of months ago, so we now use Facetime. (Can I just say BEST THING EVER? I know some of you have been using Skype for years, but we never have. So when we finally upgraded our phones, we were amazed with the Facetime thing.)

So what did I do while they were gone? I was really sad and depressed the whole time. Okay, not quite. Would I be a bad mom and wife if I told you I actually enjoyed it? It was some serious me time.

Here’s what I did:

  • Listened to MY music in the car. Morgan likes to listen to her favorites (over and over and over...), so it was nice to listen to some of my music.

  • Watched TV. We don’t really watch a lot of TV -- mainly because of Morgan. I don’t think TV is an absolute no-no -- she does watch her favorite shows every morning before school -- but I do limit her TV time. So when we get home in the afternoons/evenings, we don’t even turn on the TV. And when we do, it’s after she’s asleep for the night. And many times not even then because DK and I are just that used to having it off. I even told Danny we could do away with cable. (He called me crazy.) So, anyway, yeah, I actually sat down and watched TV. Do people still do that?

  • Did grad school work during the DAY. Grad school work is another thing that doesn’t happen until Morgan goes down for the night. So it was nice to finish things up at a decent hour.

  • Went to the library and really browsed.

  • Caught an awesome consignment sale. I was checking my email one morning and saw where one of my favorite kids consignment shops was having this really good sale. Everything was between 50 and 90% off -- even NEW stuff. And the store opened in 30 minutes. Any other time I’d have to get myself together plus a toddler and then pack a bag to be sure we have a change of clothes, a snack,and all the other stuff you need with little kids. But no -- this time all I had to do was get myself together. I was out the door within 30 minutes and scored two really good outfits for Morgan that, after a little personalization, will be PERFECT for football season! I got both outfits for a total of $18. Totally bragging.

  • Rented a couple of movies. 

  • Had long, uninterrupted phone conversations with my mom without Morgan playing her drums in the background or begging to talk to Memaw so she can tell her the same things over and over.

  • Visited my new classroom for the first time. The movers were done a couple of weeks ago, and we got an email from our principal saying that we were free to come pick up our keys. But up until now I had no desire to get over there. Probably because I just knew I didn’t have time. So yesterday I finally went up there and got an idea of how I want to decorate and organize my classroom. It probably would’ve been smart to be sure all of my stuff made it through the move, but that would’ve required some serious effort and opening of boxes. I’ll save that for August. 

Here are some things I wish I could have done:
  • Sleep in. I’ve always been an early bird, so I have a problem sleeping in. I woke up just as early as I would have if I had to go to work or if Morgan’s tiny hands were pushing my head telling me, “Mommy, Mommy, wake up! I want some oatmeal!”
     
  • Cleaned and organized around the house. I was home two days straight and did zero housework. And I didn’t feel bad about it...until this morning. I felt like at least Danny and Morgan could come home to a house with no grad school papers scattered about and bathroom and kitchen floors were that were swept and mopped. So I set my alarm clock an hour before I had to get up for work and gave my house some TLC.
     
  • Gotten ahead on my grad school work. Now this would’ve been really smart. But I don’t claim to be really smart.
     
  • Worked out. I’ve been really good with my 30-Day Shred workouts, but I was bad the last few days. I was busy (okay, okay -- busy having fun). I get an F for discipline. (I’m not even going to mention all the bad food I ate while they were gone.) What can I say? My family gives me structure. Without them I’m a big ball of unproductiveness. 
And all of that unproductiveness was fun and all, but I MISS MY FAMILY. I’m so glad they’re coming home today!

Here are some pics they texted throughout the trip (I have videos, too. I'll try to post one of those later.):
 
Walking out to the water with Honey and PaPa.



Can you spot the little girl running away from her grandparents?

Can you spot the little girl out there in the yellow floatie?

Eating pancakes.

Quick funny story on the pancakes.  I don't really make pancakes because I don't really like them. So we don't really eat a lot of syrup in my house.  And I don't think Morgan's ever had syrup until this trip.  Danny said she dipped EVERYTHING in her syrup.  And when it was all gone, she asked him if she could have some more "juice."  She called the syrup juice -- hahahaha!



She got her a good tan -- look at those cute little legs!  So glad I'll get to kiss that sweet chocolate face very, very soon! 

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Celebrating with Family


We actually celebrated the Fourth of July a couple of days early with family in my hometown.  We only live about an hour away from my hometown, but I don't go home as much as I would like.  So I'm always excited when I do.

The older I get, the more I appreciate homes with porches and swings.  Like the one at my aunt's -- so nice and  relaxing...

There was a kiddie pool in the backyard, and the kids had a blast.









Aunt Debra, the hostess.





The first picture in this post was a packet of games my aunt put together for the adults -- like word scrambles, word searches, etc. -- and we compete for prizes.  My family does this for every get-together, no matter the holiday, and it's always so fun.  She did one for the kids, too, and Morgan loved that!  She also made little goodybags for all the kids, and Morgan loved that, too (especially the lollipops)!



It was a great day!  I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your families!

Oh, let me tell you what I did:  DK and I had date night Sunday night.  We've seen all of the Transformers movies, so I felt the need to go see this one, too.  It was a 10:30 PM movie, and...let's just say I didn't make it. We had dinner before the movie, and I KNEW right after dinner that I'd be struggling through the movie.  These days I'm sleepy by 8:30!  I fell asleep probably 15 minutes into the movie and woke up 15 minutes before it ended.  Lame!  I remember the days of late night dinners and movies with no nodding off incidents.  Does this mean I'm old?  I'll just blame it on the late night dates I have with grad school work and the early wake up times required for jobs or moms of little ones (you pick one)!

Hope everyone's enjoying their week!

Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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