November 2010

What a great day of giving thanks!

We began the day with Madeline seeing her first glimpse of the Snoopy balloon making its way through Times Square on the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade this morning. (BTW, why do people call it the “Macy’s Day Parade?” It’s not Macy’s Day.)

After Chick Pea’s nap, we were off to Tuscaloosa for lunch with my dad at Cracker Barrel. Yes, that’s right. We had Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant. It really doesn’t matter where you eat, does it? As long as you give thanks to the One who provided the food?

A visit with my mom and Jamie, a short drive home, and some Charlie Brown Thanksgiving rounded out the evening quite nicely.

We missed our South Carolina family today. ūüė¶ But, we’re hoping to get to spend some time with them at Madeline’s first birthday extravaganza next weekend! Oh, all the festivities! Over the next couple of months, we have M’s birthday, Christmas, New Year’s, our anniversary, and my birthday. Holy cow! I guess we’d better fasten our seatbelts, huh?

Once again, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I should have, but here are a couple to document Little Chick’s first Thanksgiving.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sweet Potatoes! Dressing! Pumpkin Pie! YUM!

She's not walking yet, but she does like to stand by the stairs and peek around at Daddy. ūüôā


1. I’m thankful for fall. I’m thankful for the absolute¬† joy that shoots through my being every time I see the flames of autumn leaves sparking through the trees and around my feet when the wind blows. I’m thankful for the coolness in the air and the first time each year that I can see my breath in front of my face. I’m thankful for the scents and flavors of fall foods that spice up my palate. I’m thankful for boots and sweaters and scarves and having to pull back my hair so the wind doesn’t blow it into my face. I honestly don’t think I could live without it. I would be so depressed if I didn’t get my autumn fix every year. This is the time of year when God really got creative. He starts the entire world over again, renewing and replenishing, preparing us for new life in the spring, and He does it in such a colorful, beautiful way.

2. I’m thankful for Norman Rockwell. I’m thankful that he¬†took the time to remind¬†us of those “Four Freedoms” that we assume we deserve and take for granted that everyone else has. There’s freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Do you have any idea how HUGE all of those are?? There are countries in which people are imprisoned, tortured, and executed for saying any negative word about their country’s leaders. We openly mock ours on national TV, and no one bats an eye. The same consequences are doled out in other countries for performing the unthinkable crime of worshiping God. We take for granted that we can just sit in a pew for an hour every week (or just neglect it altogether)¬†and be satisfied with our relationship with our incredible Provider.¬† Ever feel the feeling of real hunger? I don’t mean the vanity-inspired¬†hunger of having to be a certain size. I mean real, honest-to-goodness, having no idea where, or if, you’re getting your next meal: hunger. No.¬†I haven’t.¬†I have freedom from want.¬†I can sleep at night in a safe home with a deadbolt, with very little fear of someone taking¬†my freedom away from¬†me on a whim.

Thank you, God.

1. This may seem silly, but I’m thankful for warm water. Specifically, I’m thankful that we have clean, running, warm water. If you saw my facebook status, you know that the funk has made its way through our house this week. There’s just something about a clean tub full of warm water and some floral scented bubbles that makes everything go away. It was the only place I was comfortable.

2. I’m thankful for reliable transportation that gets me where I need to go safely. Have you ever had a car that you had to sweet talk and offer it money just to get it to start in the morning? Oh, I loved my little blue Toyota that got me ¬†(most of the way)¬†through the college years. But, she was wrecked more than once and the key had to be turned at least twice just to get the thing to start. I’m so thankful that I don’t have to worry with that now, especially with the precious cargo I now haul.

3. I’m thankful for Jell-O. Seriously. I’m not being flippant. What other food makes you feel so much better when your insides are fighting against you? It’s just good. Its humble beginnings are a little disgusting to think about, but now it’s flavored with fruity goodness. Plus, it jiggles. OK, I’m finished praising Jell-O now. I do think I’ll have another cup, though…

I know that a lot of people have been counting down this month by giving thanks for something every day. I’m a little behind everyone else, but better late than never, right? ūüôā

I truly am grateful for so much. I have more than I deserve and I have no one but God to thank for that. Here are my top three for today:

1. I am emphatically thankful for my husband. I know I’ve said this a million times, but you’re just going to have to endure it a million one. There has never been a more wonderful husband to any woman. I can’t imagine anything any woman could say about her husband that would convince me otherwise. He is honest, affectionate, and supportive. I have a little secret to confess – I’m no picnic to live with. But, even with my moodiness, insecurities, and my dreams about a war between the Muppets and the Monsters on Sesame Street, he stands by me. He works tirelessly to make sure that Madeline and I have everything we need and when I get so tired or stressed that I can’t do it anymore, he jumps in and makes sure everything falls into place. I know that he is the man God sent to me, without a doubt.

2. I am thankful for that beautiful, amazing little girl we call Madeline. We also call her Sweet Pea, Babyhead, Chick Pea, Little Chicken, and sometimes, Stinky Booty. Yes, she’s cute and cuddly and cracks me up when she laughs so hard her face turns red. But, it’s so much deeper than that. I never knew I could love this much. It’s amazing to me that someone so little, who has been in this world for such a short time, could have grown and learned so much. Last year at this time, she was still trying to claw her way out through my rib cage. Then, she was so small and helpless. Now, she feeds herself cheese and crackers and tells me, “Nu” when I tell her to bring Mommy the ball. She knows who I am and who Dan is, and calls us by our respective titles. She sees babies and pictures of babies and exclaims, “Day-Deeeee!” (Baby, in case you needed that translation.) It’s not just the words she says. She inspires me to be the best mother I can be. Just fine is not good enough for her. I want her to have the best. I adore her. I thank Almighty God for creating her and letting us raise her for Him.

3. I’m thankful to have a roof over my head. You know, God didn’t have to choose for me to be born in America with two parents who love me and worked to ensure that I had a home. It’s a luxury that more people than we realize cannot afford, all over the globe. Every day of my life, I take it for granted. I whine that my bedroom furniture isn’t as nice as my neighbor’s, when there are millions who don’t have a bedroom to put furniture in. I complain about how few nice clothes there are in my closet, when I should be thanking God that I even have a closet. I did nothing to earn what I have. It’s only by the grace of God that I’m not sleeping on the dirty ground in a dangerous place, rather than a warm bed in a nice house.

Thank you, LORD, for all that you provide. Forgive me for assuming that I deserve it. Please send your comfort to those who have less, and especially those who have nothing. Help me to remember them in my prayers and in my giving. Amen.

Congrats to Daniel and Angela on the safe and healthy arrival of Hannah Marie! We know the two of you will be awesome parents and Hannah is blessed to have you.

“Children are a heritage from the LORD…” Psalm 127:3

I’m sure you’ve all seen this picture:

It’s the dress Madeline has worn all football season. That is, all football season except twice.

The first Saturday she didn’t wear it, Alabama played South Carolina (and lost). The following couple of Saturdays, she wore the dress and Tide fans everywhere were satisfied with the wins they expected.

She didn’t wear the dress last Saturday. Need I say more? (Sorry, Bama fans. My bad.)

I think the dress might be a little short for her now, and I also think it’s a little too chilly to wear the dress. So, to be on the safe side and to satisfy superstition, Madeline is wearing a Big Al onesie under her cute purple polka dots today.

We’ll see if that helps.

I love teaching. I love it. I truly enjoy the satisfaction I get when I watch the lightbulb appear over an adolescent head when they finally get the difference between irony and sarcasm. It thrills me when they start to love a work of literature that  I love.

But, there’s something else I love more.

Here’s a hint:

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I’m ready to give up on teaching (even though we spend more time doing paperwork and sitting in data meetings than teaching now). It’s just that I’ve started looking at things a little differently.

I have friends who have held the distinguished title of “Teacher of the Year,” and it’s a great honor. I’m proud of them. But, it’s an honor I will probably never have. When I look at my desk, covered in forms that I still need to fill out, papers that need to be graded, and the phone numbers of parents who need to be called, I know it would be easy to take it all home and do it. It would make sense and earn me some kudos to stay at school until 6pm every day, just to get my head above water – just like all the other teachers do. (It’s true. Your kid’s teacher doesn’t saunter in at 8 am and go home to take a nap at 3 pm. They usually get there some time before 7 and leave around 5 or 6. Surprise!)

And, there are teachers who have spouses and kids, and still¬†put in those hours. They’re the ones who arrive at 6:30 am, stay until dark, volunteer for every menial task, take care of fundraising, lead SGA, and write the morning announcements. They put so much effort and pride into their work, and they do it all for the students and they are AWESOME!! It really takes a lot of dedication to do all of that for kids who aren’t even yours.

But, what about the kids who are yours? How many times have I seen kids sitting around their parent’s classrooms, coloring (or making mischief out of sheer boredom), and wondered if they would rather be home, doing their homework at the kitchen table while having a snack with Mom or Dad?

I have a theory that if I don’t put my marriage before my career, it will turn out like:

And, if I don’t put my child before other people’s children, Madeline will become one of those kids we teachers talk about at the lunch table. (Surprised again? Yep. We’re not perfect. If your kid sleeps in class, doesn’t work, has a smart mouth, or skips class often, we talk about him/her. Regularly.) I want more for her than that.

I want her to have a good work ethic, impeccable manners, and a strong moral compass. How is she going to get that if her mom is too busy to teach her those values?

OK, so I won’t be teacher of the year. I think I can stand the disappointment.

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