Wednesday, December 17, 2014

20 Weeks


It's hard to see the bump in this picture but I promise it's there! We are half way there and 20 Weeks has been an eventful week as we finally found out the sex of our baby GIRL and shared the news with family and friends! 

Finding out the sex is only a small part of the anatomy ultrasound they perform at 20 weeks and y'all it was just marvelous to watch as the technician moved around and pointed out all of the little intricacies of our baby. We could see the heart, the head, the spine, the bladder, the kidneys, the blood flow, the umbilical chord, the feet, the arms, the bones, fingers!, and so much more! It was amazing to watch her wiggle and squirm in there (and bizarre not to really feel it). After our full anatomy scan we got a good report on baby's growth and stats. At 13 ounces and a heart rate of 151 bpm she's growing strong and looking good! 

Here's a glimpse:

I am also starting to feel tiny kicks and flutters every now and then. Looking forward to feeling her move more and more! 


It's a....



In case you missed our big announcement last week! 
Matt was right all along! It's a girl! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

16 Weeks


We had our 3rd visit to the doctor this week. All looks good! Baby's heart is beating at 152 bpm. And we scheduled our next big doctor's appointment--which is when we will find out if it's a boy or girl!

Thought I'd just go ahead and answer a few common questions:

1. How are you feeling?
Much better now that the 1st trimester wooziness is gone. Feeling much more like myself (except for the whole growing out of my clothes business).

2. Will you find out the gender?
Yes! See above. I've not had any inclination whatsoever as to boy or girl so I'm anxiously awaiting the 20 week ultrasound. Matt thinks girl. I'll keep you posted.

3. What hospital are you using?
St. Vincent's. They've been so good to us throughout the past year with all of Matt's pancreas trouble--how could we not go back?

4. Are you still exercising?
Yep. I'm still following my usual routine of Zumba, Body Pump, Body Flow, Body Step, Yoga, running/walking--all with modifications when needed! But still feeling good!

We have a few pieces for the nursery headed our way in the next week or two so we have begun the great clean out of the office. We can't wait to begin to piece together the baby's room!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

12.5 Weeks


We finally shared our news on Monday, October 13, after our 2nd trip to the Doctor with a healthy report. We shared with our close friends (and extended family) the week and weekend before to make sure they could all celebrate our news before it went "public." 

While it still feels a little unreal, it also feels wonderful to be able to share our excitement with the world. We are so thankful for such a supportive and loving community to walk with us along the way! 

8 weeks and a few days


After the longest wait ever we finally went to the doctor today and confirmed that all is well!

We were both eager and anxious this morning. I really didn't sleep well at all last night mostly due to my own worry about finally getting "official" word. After a regular check-up we headed in to the Ultrasound and saw that little peanut for the first time. Baby was measuring right where it should be and the heartbeat was nice and strong at 184 bpm. It is truly an amazing thing to hear that heartbeat for the first time. I think it's still sinking in.

We set our due date which is April 23, 2015! We got a generic doctor speech and a packet FULL of information about all that is ahead. Woah. They also took some blood and set up our next appointment.

We are planning to FINALLY share our news with our immediate family tonight. I can't believe we've kept the secret this long. We will thankfully be able to share with Matt's parents in person but we will have to settle for Google Chat for my family this time around.

But all in all, we are SO very excited for the journey ahead!

6 Weeks



We've made it to Week 6 and yesterday we finally made our first prenatal appointment for September 15. It all still seems so surreal.

So far still feeling pretty good. The nausea is pretty come and go. I may have it one day and then the next day I won't really experience it at all. But I tell you what when it hits it does not feel good. And the tiredness....yeesh. We've been hitting the bed closer and closer to 8:00pm the past several nights.

I am trying to focus on the positives and not spend too much time worrying or being anxious about the things I can't control (which is really hard for a control freak like me). Working on being thankful for every moment, every feeling, and all the good things going on all around me.

So onward in the journey....

It's Happening....

So I've really known for quite some time. It's hard to explain because you don't live in my body but I just had a gut feeling (and I have a pretty reliable gut) that something was different. Anyway, even though I've known since I was probably about 1 week (no, really, I'm serious), we finally got some confirmation on Monday, August 18 that I am in fact pregnant.

Woah. It feels crazy to write that out. I'm actually further along than I thought I was--I never knew how you actually counted the weeks but as I type I am rounding up to week 5. I haven't felt too terrible yet, just the general aches and super tiredness. I've also noticed that I get really short of breath a lot quicker than usual. That was really one of my first indications was when I was at a class at the gym that I can normally rock and about half way through I thought I might die (of course I didn't but it was a tip that something in my body was different).

All is well. And we are over the moon excited. Now we just have to wait it out to get over the major fears and worries (or perhaps those never really leave....). So we are looking to fill our days with things that will make it move quickly and also savor the amazing things that are happening in my body.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stitch Fix #5


Well box #5 has now come and gone. When I opened it, I thought I might end up keeping it all. But after taking a look at some of the prices and trying things on, I decided against it. Here are the details:

1. Top left- Navy blue terry shift dress
This was a good looking dress. It was very simple but had a great fit and was oh-so-soft. However, the $84 price tag just seemed too much for what it was. And so I sent it back. 

2. Top middle- Aqua and white birds on a wire infinity scarf
This was cute but I'm not in scarf season. It's too. hot. in AL to even think about scarves.

3. Top right- Off white chevron crochet tank
At first I didn't think I liked this top but after trying it on several more times, I had a change of heart and loved it. This was the one piece I kept out of this box and I can't wait to pair it with my mint green skinnies. 

4. Bottom left- Orange and white striped tank
I came really close to hanging on to this one. It had a good fit and, like the terry dress above, was super soft. But once again, the price tag just seemed too high for what I was buying. 

5. Bottom right- Chevron maxi 
I loved this skirt. And I wanted to keep it. But after trying it on multiple times, the fact that it was see-through never went away. It wasn't the kind of see-through you could hide or ignore. Obviously I didn't keep it. 

So that's a wrap on box 5. I'm still loving Stitch Fix and highly recommend it to anyone teetering on the edge of ordering one of their own. 
Here is the referral link just in case: http://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3492278

Stitch Fix #4


These were the contents of my 4th Stitch Fix box that arrived in June. I once again loved the contents of the box but only kept 1 item. Here are the details:

1. Top left- Black & White striped cardigan with hot pink accent
I liked this but didn't really love it and decided I don't really need it. 

2. Top middle- Chambray coral necklace
This just wasn't really my style. It was cute but really chunky for a necklace. 

3. Bottom left- Beige blouse
I came close to keeping this peasant style blouse but in the end decided it hugged too tight around the mid-line. The sleeves on this top were super cute but not enough to move it to the keep category.

4. Bottom middle- Pink Chevron swing skirt
Didn't like this one. At all. 

5. Far right- High-low tribal print dress
When I saw the "high-low" part I thought I'd hate this dress but I was so very, very wrong. I love everything about it. The print is awesome, the fit is perfect, and it's hardly a "high-low" style dress. I kept it. And I love it. 

So that was my fourth box. I'm still loving all of the different things the stylists pick out for me--so far they've done a pretty stinkin' good job. If you're ready to take the plunge and order a box for yourself, here's the link: http://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3492278 You really won't regret it! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Stitch Fix #3

I am once again incredibly late in posting my review of Box #3 but we will blame it on the fact that I've been out of the country (more on that later!). Anyway, I loved my third fix and am definitely still hooked. So here is what I received in my box: 


1. Top left: skinny jeans
This is the first time something hasn't really fit at all--way too tight. Easy decision to send them back. 

2. Top middle: blue chevron 3/4 sleeve dress
The fit was a little funky on this too--just a bit too big. It was a pretty cute dress overall but didn't fit well enough (nor was it quite right for our hot summer coming up) to keep. 

3. Top right: coral lace/pleated top
I didn't like this one much. It just didn't do anything for me. 

4. Bottom left: floral tank
I LOVE this top...like really really love it. It had a great flowy fit and the print is absolutely gorgeous. I wore it on my vacation and felt fabulous! Here it is on: 

5. Bottom right: navy striped tank
I also quite like this shirt. Same sort of flowy fit as the shirt above and super cute with skinny jeans! I can't wait to wear it. 


If you haven't tried Stitch Fix yet, you definitely should. You will NOT regret it. I know I have several friends that have signed up in the past month or so and they are loving it as much as I am. 
Here is my referral link should you decide you want to take the plunge: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3492278

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stitch Fix #2


I'm a little bit late updating on Stitch Fix #2 as it arrived around April 15 or so but better late than never right? I am still pleased with all of the items that came in my box and ended up keeping two of the items this time around! So here is what I received: 

1. Top left--Terry cloth beige and black striped blazer. I loved this. I really did. I came oh so very close to keeping it (ask my sister, I even called for her advice!) but I decided in the end that it's about to be too warm for a blazer AND I already have 3 others. I hope I don't regret it.

2. Top middle--Chevron striped cap sleeve top. This was by far my favorite piece. I love it. It's a great fit, great material, and super cute. Since I live in Alabama I'm sure people will claim it's "Auburn" colors but your wrong it's actually a deep pink and navy. So ha! I kept this one and have already worn it!

3. Top Right--Deep Orange (think coral really) cropped trouser. I thought I would hate these. Seriously. They have no zipper, they are sort of stretchy type material and you just pull them right on up. So I gave them a chance, and I ended up keeping them! They were a bit of a splurge but they are so unlike anything else I own. It was also the only piece that I would have NEVER picked out for myself.

4. Bottom Left--Eyelet dress. Meh. I'll be honest I didn't like this one that much. Sent it right on back.

5. Bottom Right--Black skinnies. These were cute but I really already have a pair that I love.

So I would say it was another success for Stitch Fix! Box #3 is set to arrive in May just in time for our big trip to Rio. If you still haven't taken the plunge, here's my referral link:

http://stitchfix.com/sign_up?referrer_id=3492278

You will not regret it! (and keep me posted once you get it...I love seeing what other folks get in their boxes)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lent, the rest of the weeks...

(A photo from our Maundy Thursday service this year. We ended the evening in our courtyard as a representation of praying together in the garden. It was beautiful and holy.)

We failed pretty big time at our Lenten practice this year. 

But I suppose in some ways, that's part of the point of it all, right? That we try something new, that we experience sacrifice in new and different ways, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  
And I'm ok with that. 

So while we perhaps didn't actually keep to our list (turns out we do better with 1 task rather than changing it up every single day for 40 days), I think we did indeed still live in the darkness of Lent for a few weeks. We spent a lot time thinking about death and sacrifice as we said goodbye to our Maggie. But we also spent a lot of time reflecting on our belief that death does not have the last word. We mourned the pup that we loved so much, but we also celebrated the promise of new life as my sister and brother-in-law announced that they are expecting their first child. We spent time in our dead (for the winter), ugly, weedy yard and over the weeks have watched it slowly transform into the beautiful garden we know and love. We planted two new apple trees and have watched them root into their new home and blossom. We have watched, experienced, and felt the season change from cold and gloomy to days filled with sun and warmth. 

And so, yes, we did not follow our well intentioned list of practices. But I think that we still learned a lot during this Lenten journey about what it means to love and to lose, to trust that death is not the end, to cry and yet be at peace, and to live into the beautiful promise of resurrection in our every day lives. 

We hope you and yours had a very Happy Easter! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Apple Trees for Maggie


Last week we decided that we wanted to plant something in memory of Maggie Mae. For those of you that have been following the blog for a while or just know us in general, you know that each year we plant a garden and relish in the beauty that is our backyard. Maggie LOVED the garden...she loved helping us plant and following me outside each spring and summer morning to water and check the progress. As we thought about the best way to remember her, we could think of nothing else than to plant something special for her in the backyard. While driving home one evening, Matt had the wonderful idea that we should plant an apple tree. 

Mags loved to eat apples--straight off the core nonetheless! 
And so the decision was made.

We had actually been looking at fruit trees at Home Depot last week so it wasn't a wild and crazy thought at all. But it turns out you can't really just plant one--like many other fruits, apple trees produce better (and more) fruit when you cross pollinate. And so we walked away with TWO trees!

Our Fuji apple tree

And our Gala apple tree (my all time favorite)

In addition to the apple trees this year, our backyard is also now filled with the beautiful sounds of the Corinthian chimes my parents gave us for Christmas. I love them. When we kept the house quiet last Tuesday morning to grieve and rest it was so comforting to hear them blowing in the wind. 


Next up in the backyard? Planting garden #5! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why Maggie was so important to us


Like I said in my previous post, Mags was with us through some of our happiest and scariest of days together. She was by our side through so much of our life thus far it's been difficult to figure out life without her. This post is mostly for Matt and I to remember. So here's a list of some of the major events Maggie lived through with us:

-my graduation 
-Matt's first job (after he deferred his first appointment and we weren't really sure where life would take us because of that)
-our engagement!
-our marriage!
-both of our ordinations 
-both of our first positions in ministry
-our travels around the world (including Spain, Japan, South Africa, and Australia)--and of course we always brought her back souvenirs :)
-Matt's appendectomy only 1 month after we married
-our move from Atlanta to Birmingham
-buying our first house and helping us love it and love it well
-painting and making minor renovations to our new home
-our first several gardens
-Matt's transition to pastor at Church of the Reconciler (which was a very difficult transition)
-my dad's near death sickness and road back to health
-my sister's wedding
-many trips to and from Texas
-my sister's and then my parents' move to Virginia 
-Matt's 3 hospital stays for pancreatitis (I seriously don't know how I would have made it through some of those long hard nights at home alone without Maggie by my side)
-bringing home our first puppy, Lennon
-many sick days, rainy days, and snowy days 
-many days filled with sunshine and working in the yard 
-thousands upon thousands of car rides--which were her favorite thing ever! 

She was my best bud and kept me company even in times when I didn't feel like I had many friends. She was Matt's greatest comfort when he didn't know how the road ahead would play out. She was our biggest cheerleader and she knew just how to make us smile. We will carry pieces of Maggie with us for the rest of our lives because she was with us for so many pivotal moments in our life as a young family. She taught us so many lessons about life, love, and being family. And for this I am forever grateful. We love you Maggie Mae! (the link is to the first time I introduced her on the blog)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Maggie Mae


Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our sweet Maggie Mae. While we know it was the right thing to do, it was by far one of the hardest. We miss her SO MUCH. Because I don't want to forget, here are some more details about the way the day rolled out. We've known she's had Congestive Heart Failure since August and that this day would be sooner rather than later so we had already established some things about how we would know when it was time. We had always said we didn't want her to be in pain. We also knew and trusted that she would let us know and yesterday she definitely told us it was time to let go. 


We had a hard morning from the get-go. She wouldn't take her pills, she was a bit wobbly on her feet, she threw up, and she just seemed really off to me. I eventually decided I wasn't leaving her side. So we laid on the bed and listened to NPR...Lennon even came and snuggled up with us. We looked like this for most of the morning....(this is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us)


I eventually had to get up and get a tissue because I was so sad....I could just tell that the end would be closing in sometime soon. When I got up she all the sudden started to bark/howl in pain and when I ran back in her head was arched back and she was sitting in a puddle of pee. I still regret that I got up when I did but am thankful Lennon was still on the bed with her. I quickly scooped her up and held on to her as tight as I could. Her back right foot was paralyzed so she couldn't really stand well on her own. She was also really disoriented and her eyes were just darting back and forth. I called Matt and he called the vet who thinks she had a stroke. We decided to just try to get her comfortable and attempt to get her to eat and take her pills. 


Around lunch time Matt came home to sit with her while I went in to work for a bit (although there is still a part of me that wishes I would have just stayed). While I was away at work she just got progressively worse. She wouldn't eat, she wouldn't lay still, and eventually fell off the couch. Her breathing was extremely labored and Matt said at one point she was even whining while she was breathing. He called and told me to get home. He was right. When I got home I picked her up and took her outside to enjoy some sunshine which she loves (see below!). She was finally still while we were out there and she looked up at me and looked right into my eyes, remember she's mostly blind, but I felt like she could really see me, and I could really see her. And she was telling me it was time and that she loved me. 


We are so thankful that our vet, Dr. Stowe, was able to come to our house to help us say goodbye...that was something we had decided a long time ago as well....that we wanted her to be peaceful and surrounded by warmth and all of the people and things she loved most. We are thankful we could honor that. I laid with her while we waited and she licked away my tears even in her discomfort. She didn't look or act like herself all that much but I wanted to savor every moment. When Dr. Stowe finally arrived we were able to gather around her, pet her, and hold her head as she was put under and as she eventually was able to find peace and rest. 


We are still grieving and will be for quite some time. Maggie was with us throughout all of our major milestones as a couple/family and was with us during some of our hardest and most difficult days. I'll write another post about that later but I didn't want to forget the details of yesterday as we said goodbye to our best buddy and first child. She was an amazing dog and our life has been so much better since we made the decision to bring her home with us five and a half years ago. We thought we would have so many more years with her and mourn the time we won't get. But we are more than thankful for the time we DID get with her and for all of the love and joy she brought to our home and to our family. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stitch Fix #1


A break from Lent to share about my first Fix which arrived Monday! So if you don't know about this yet, it's like BirchBox or BarkBox but for women's clothes. I've been pondering the idea for quite some time and finally decided to take the plunge. And even though I only kept one item, I feel like Fix #1 was a success and am already looking forward to my next Fix. 

Each box contains 5 items. It can be anything from pants, dresses, shirts, to bags and jewelry. Here were my five items (see above). 

1. A t-shirt material dress with pink stripes and twisted detail. The dress was cute and had a good fit, I just didn't feel like I needed it in my wardrobe. 

2. A pair of Kensie skinny jeans. The fit was ok on these. The size was right, it's just that I'm very particular about my skinny jean fit. They were super soft material. 

3. Fold over purse with zipper detail. I loved the style of this purse but bright pink is not what I'm in need of right now. But it was a super cute look. 

4. Black and white striped dress. I loved this. But talked myself out of it because I always buy black and white! 

5. Navy striped tank. I loved this. And I bought it to add to my summer wardrobe. I have the perfect cardigan to pair it with and can't wait to wear it someday soon. 

So that's what I received in my first box and I think they pretty much hit the nail on the head. The sizing was good, the clothes were fun, and I loved getting it all dropped on my door step! I definitely recommend giving it a try. 

Should you want to give it a shot, use the following link (b/c I'll get a credit for referring you): 

Lent, Week 2 Reflections

We failed. Big Time.

I think I did days one and two....with day 1 being to spend 5 minutes in silence at noon. I read through my book of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals and spent some time being quiet. Easy enough. Day 2 was to look out the window and find something beautiful that you haven't noticed before. I looked out the window but didn't really take the time to recognize the beauty.

The rest of the week? Well, we only did a few of the challenges.

We did not give clothes to Goodwill, not because we don't have any or don't want to, it was more a matter of taking the time to sort through clothes and drop them off. Sad, but true.

We were only half way successful at no bitching.

And we couldn't really figure out which chores we should switch up....we are pretty good at balancing the work in our household.

Nor did we buy $5 gift cards for the homeless--although I really do plan to do this at some point.

So, week 2 was a flop for us. I'd make excuses but really they aren't all that valid. But I suppose this is part of the journey too. Sometimes we just don't practice or live like we'd hoped.

Here's to a better Week 3! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lent, Week 1 Reflections

Well we've made it through the first few days of Lent, so I thought I should write a few reflections about the journey so far. 

Day 1: Pray for your enemies. 
We realized that in our experience, we aren't really sure we have true "enemies" per se. Of course, there are people with whom which we disagree, people we don't like much, or just people who annoy us but enemies? We are working to really dig in deep and understand just what that means for us today. Matt prayed for the drug dealers that continue to show up at Reconciler and prey upon addicts working to recover--I'd say that's a pretty good parallel. I prayed for those folks with whom I disagree--like on the big issues--LGBT inclusion for instance--most days they seem to be my biggest enemies. 

Day 2: No TV. 
We've done this before but it was good to bring it back. The worst part of it really was only upon climbing in bed. I'm one who likes to keep the TV on to fall asleep but it was also kind of nice to climb into a dark and quiet room for one night. I'm sure Matt loved it the most! We will definitely be working to keep this one around. It's always nice to enjoy a TV-free day/night. 

Day 3: Don't turn on the car radio. 
It was so. quiet. Matt said he didn't mind it much but I think I tried to call every member of my family when I headed out for errands :) I did force myself to drive home from a church event that night in silence. It was kind of nice after having been surrounded by 100 hyped up teenagers! This is a good practice but probably not my favorite. 

Day 4: Give $20 to a non-profit of your choosing. 
This was no problem for us. We are regular givers at our respective churches BUT that's not who I chose to give to this time around. It was nice to branch out and think about what other organizations are important to me and where we want our money to be given. 

So we survived the first few days and already feel like we are learning more about new ways to practice devotion in our daily lives. Here's to the new week......


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent 2014


If you've been following the blog for a while, you know that Matt and I enjoy taking on a Lenten practice each year. It seems we've captured all of the big ones in years past No Excess, More Time Together in 2013 (the year in which Matt began Lent with a week long hospital stay) Simplify in 2012 (in which we rid our house of excess clutter), living on a food stamp budget in 2011 (I think that one is self explanatory but there are lots of posts on what we learned), and eating rice and beans in 2010. This year we decided to take a different approach.

After seeing this list composed by Nadia Bolz-Weber, pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints, we decided to modify the list and create our own practices for the next 40 days. The plan is to reflect together at the end of each day (and to actually do some of the practices together--the ones that lend themselves to that) and I'll do my best to blog about our experiences to hold us accountable. Here is what we came up with (many of them are the same as the list above but some of the things seemed too easy, as in we already do them, and so we tailored it more for our day to day life):

1.     Pray for your enemies
2.     No TV
3.     Don’t turn on the car radio
4.     Give $20 to a non-profit of your choosing
(SUNDAY)
5.     Take 5 minutes of silence at noon
6.     Look out the window until you find something of beauty you hadn’t noticed before
7.     Give 5 items of clothing to Goodwill
8.     No bitching day
9.     Do someone else’s chore
10.  Buy a few $5 fast food gifts cards to give to homeless people you encounter
(SUNDAY)
11.  Call an old friend
12.  Pray the paper (pray for people and situations in today’s news)
13.  Read Psalm 139
14.  Pay a few sincere compliments
15.  No phones after 5:00pm
16.  Educate yourself about human trafficking (www.praxus.org)
(SUNDAY)
17.  Forgive someone
18.  Internet Diet
19.  Only use necessary electricity and water
20.  Check out morning and evening prayer (http://dailyoffice.wordpress.com)
21.  Ask for help
22.  Tell someone what you are grateful for
(SUNDAY)
23.  Go on a walk
24.  Read Psalm 121
25.  Bake cookies to give to a neighbor
26.  No shopping day
27.  Light a virtual candle (http://rejesus.co.uk/spirituality/post_prayer/)
28.  Light an actual candle
(SUNDAY)
29.  Write a thank you note
30.  Walk, carpool, bus, or bike
31.  Use Freecycle (www.freecycle.org)
32.  Make art
33.  Read John 8:1-11
34.  Experience a different worship service or faith tradition
(SUNDAY)
35.  Pray for Peace
36.  No sugar day—where else is there sweetness in your life?
37.  Give $20 to a local non-profit
38.  Educate yourself about a saint (www.catholic.org/saints)
39.  Have friends over for dinner
40.  Reflect together on what practices we like and want to keep  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Caring for an Aging Dog


Maggie Mae has been with us for 5 and a half years now. It's hard to believe how quickly time has flown by with her in our lives (and it's hard to believe all of the milestones she has been through with us). And while she has taught me a thousand lessons along the way, none seem quite as poignant as the ones she is teaching me now as we care for her in her senior years. (Maggie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure back in August and is now mostly blind in both eyes along with some other difficulties in her health). Here are a few of the lessons she is teaching me: 

1. Unconditional Love. 
She's taught me this all along but mostly it's come from her to me. And now I feel like the tables are turning a bit. She is teaching me what it means to care so much for something you feel like they are a part of you--like your heart might explode with love. She is teaching me that when you love that much, you learn to overlook accidents in the house, you learn to spoon feed when she won't eat, you learn to stay up with her at night to calm her down, you learn to hold her when she can't catch her breath, you learn to carry her so that she won't tire out. It's a two way street this unconditional love. 

2. Make Time. 
More now than ever, I am learning how important it is to make time every. single. day. to love on Maggie and enjoy her extra snuggles. We don't know how much longer we'll have with her us and so it makes each moment I have all the more precious. But really this is a principle that should apply to all of the people and things that I love. 

3. Enjoy Life.
There are many times when you would come over and never know that Maggie is sick. She still loves to play with her toys, loves to howl, love to meet new people, and upon occasion loves the chance to play with Lennon. She is teaching me the value of enjoying ALL of life--no matter how you may feel. 

4. The Importance and Value of Family. 
Maggie doesn't know it but she has taught Matt and I so much about what it means to be a family--and for that I will be forever grateful. She has helped us learn how to care for one another, how to be away from each other and reunite, how to play, how to rest, how to be silly, and most importantly how to be loyal and loving in all circumstances. Even more now that she is older, she is teaching us what it means to be a family of our own. 

5. How to Grieve Well
Last but not least, caring for Maggie in her older years is teaching us how to grieve and how to let go. She has been such a big part of our lives together, it's been hard to think about her not being with us. But at the same time, we are watching her change and we don't want her to be in pain. We are learning that it's ok to grieve but that we should also celebrate! What a gift she has been to us and what a gift we have been to her! 

Maggie girl....thanks for continuing to be my teacher!

Friday, February 14, 2014

We're Booked!


It's official. My 30th birthday trip has been booked for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Can't wait to cozy up to all of the beautiful beaches, see one of the 7 wonders of the world, hike, eat, drink, samba, and just plain enjoy a beautiful new city! 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lennon's First Snow


I think she liked it....

Snowpocalypse 2014


It's been a crazy couple of days here in Birmingham. It all started on Tuesday morning. The weather forecast called for a light dusting of snow but nothing serious they said. Well it turns out the forecast was off by several miles. I went on in to work even though it was already beginning to snow (bad decision). After approximately an hour at work it became apparent that the snow was going to stick--so we locked up the church and headed home. Except the drive home (which typically takes about 10-15 minutes) took me 3 hours. 


All of the schools and businesses closed at exactly the same time and led to the mass chaos that you have seen coming from Birmingham and Atlanta. It was seriously crazy. Many people had to abandon their cars to make it safely to shelter and many children just had to spend the night at school because no one could get to them. 


Luckily, we work close to where we live and were both able to get home safely and stay put. We even brought a houseguest back with us! My friend Mary Elizabeth (see photo of us walking above) lives down 280 and I suggested to her Tuesday as we were both driving out of downtown that she come on over to our house and we'd make a game plan from there. 


3 hours later and the game plan became, "How about you just stay here and spend the night with us." Best decision ever! She actually ended up staying 2 nights because the temperatures didn't get high enough Wednesday for the roads to thaw out. So in the meantime we found our way to the top of the hill by our house and joined in the Crestwood sledding party! 


It was a bit scary there for a while in Birmingham. We had many friends who spent the night at work, at school, with strangers, or in shelters that opened. Thankful that today it looks like the roads will finally thaw and everyone will be able to make it home! 

Snowpocalypse 2014 was definitely one for the books. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The One Where the Red Sox win the World Series!

2013 was a good year for Red Sox fans! 
We decided that we would take the plunge and head out of town for one of the World Series games this year. While Fenway was a bit out of our price range, our dear friends Dan & Jillian recently moved to St. Loius, MO--location of games 3, 4, & 5. Convenient? Most definitely. 

And even better than just being able to attend Game 4, the Red Sox won! Here we are in all of our fan gear with the field behind us. It was so much fun! 

And then only a few days later, the Sox took the World Series! Here is Matt with everything Boston he could possibly find to celebrate (including our wee Boston Terrier). 

It was a fun year to be cheering for the Red Sox! Maybe next time we will make it to a World Series game at Fenway. 
(Note: the Sox also won the World Series the year Matt and I very first started dating. I was at his apartment, really still getting to know him, and he went nuts! It was fun to relive that moment) 

The Pancreas

We have learned so much about the pancreas over the past year. Since I finished off in April 2013, you've missed the two other times that Matt ended up suffering from Pancreatitis (that's 3 hospital stays total for the year--bleh). It was not fun, so maybe I wouldn't have written about them anyway, but it was an important part of our journey in 2013. 

(this photo has nothing to do with the pancreas but what's a post without a photo?) 

The long and short of it is that after the 2nd round (which was right after our return from Australia...) Matt had an endoscopy so that they could try to figure out what was going on. From that procedure they were able to determine that Matt has pancreatic divisum. Basically he has two ducts when the rest of us have one. And that 2nd duct is probably a bit small and causing the enzymes to back up. So we knew at this point that we would need to see a specialist should the pancreatitis return. 

And guess what, it came back. In November, we had an epic journey of craziness in order to get Matt to the right hospital to see the right doctor. It's too long of a story to type out. The important part is that we did finally get to the right specialist and in early December he was able to insert a stent into Matt's pancreas. And so far, it seems to be doing the trick!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Meet Lennon

Since 2013 our little family has grown by one! 
Meet our newest family member, Lennon. 

She was born on June 30 and this is one of the very first pictures we have of her at about three weeks old. 

Here she is on the car ride home on August 11. We brought her home with us at a mere six weeks old. She's so tiny! 


 We've loved watching her play hard and then crash.

She even had the chance to ear her own sno-cone this summer at the park.

Maggie is learning to love her new little sister. She particularly likes Lennon when she is sleepy and not trying to steal her toys. 

 Although she's gained a few more months since this picture, this gives you a better sense of what she looks like now! 

We have loved raising a puppy of our own and being a family of two dogs! It's hard to believe how quickly she has grown and how quickly she has become such an integral part of our little family!