August 2011

No, I’m not talking about my due date. We still have a bit longer for that. Yesterday was my 32 week appointment and all is well. We’re still right on track for a mid-October delivery. Baby D_____ sounds strong and healthy, thanks be to God!

I’m talking about the 23-day wait we have until…




Now, before you go reminding me that I don’t live in a place that looks like these pictures during wonderful, glorious autumn, or that Alabama’s actual seasonal fall weather only lasts for a few weeks, I’ll thank you to let me have my delusions for a little while. I’m OK with that, as long as I can still put on my sweaters and boots, mull my apple cider, put some pumpkins outside my front door, and put icing on something that contains cinnamon.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look up the word “mull” before I try to do it to an apple.


I usually save my posts on thankfulness for November, but I have some thanks to dole out, so bear with me.

Through the magic of Facebook, I recently had a chance to reminisce with a childhood friend about the way we used to sit side by side with a Sears catalog (or JC Penney, or whatever our parents had on hand) and pick out all the stuff we were going to have when we grew up and had our own husbands, children, and homes. Needless to say, I do not have the country blue  decor with geese and ganders that I wanted in 1985. I was eight, and it never crossed my mind that styles might change in the time it would take for me to grow up.

For instance, in 1985, I assumed that when I grew up and became a mom, I would look something like this (the ladies, not the creepy guy gawking at them):

I thought that because, well, that’s what everyone’s mom looked like, right? That’s just what a mom looked like. Well, except for mine. My parents looked like this until 1997:

Um, yeah. I don’t look like the JC Penney ad seen here. I also do not look like contemporary ads that detail what a woman in 2011 should look like.

When I was eight, I assumed that when I was a grown up hauling my kids to school, I would be hauling them in one of these (because, again, that’s what many of the moms who came to pick up their kids at my elementary school drove):

Hey! What do you know? I actually do drive a Honda Accord! However, times have changed and the general consensus today is that, in order to keep your children safe and be a good mom, you have to drive one of these:

This is for one child. You must add an entire extra row of seats for each child, so that by the time you have three or four, you morph into Shirley Jones and start chauffering your brood in a multi-colored bus from gig to gig.

Do you know what I realized a few years ago, that I didn’t know in 1985? I’m a square peg who is never going to fit into a perfectly coiffed, bone thin, expensive brand wearing, football loving, potato salad eating, Top 40 music listening, ginormous SUV driving, McMansion dwelling, round hole. I think those are fine choices for those who do fit in somewhere. I just, well, don’t.

Please understand that I am not judging the choices of those who do enjoy the things I mentioned. It’s just that I spent a good portion of my life – most of it, actually – trying to fit into one particular place or another by doing what other people did, and I just never quite felt comfortable doing that. I used to think that if I didn’t become like them, I would never be normal and my life would never be complete.

 It has taken me until now to be OK with admitting that I’m shy and say dumb things when I’m nervous, or that I miss my Doc Martens and really don’t care if someone else likes my haircut or not. If you like potato salad, good for you. But, I don’t like it and I don’t have to like it just because everybody likes potato salad and I’m a freak if I don’t.

But, the awesome thing is that I have friends who don’t care what I wear, what I drive, where I live, or whether I have the same things they have. God sent them to me, and I am so thankful for them.

I have an incredible husband who knew I was a square peg when he fell in love with me. He knows I’m quirky, and that I’m never going to fit the mold of the…um…whatever the Southern equivalent of a Stepford wife is. He loves me. Not my waistline, not my hairstyle, not my clothes or my make up. ME. He loves my nose in a book, my stupid questions when he’s watching sports, my picky eating habits, and my soapbox rants about education and theology. He makes me glad I’m the misfit I am, and I don’t tell him enough how thankful I am that God chose us for each other.

I serve a God who does not give two figs whether I drive a Honda or a BMW, whether I wear my best dress to worship on Sunday or my favorite jeans, or whether I went to Alabama or Auburn. (I know some of you are looking that last one up. I promise, it’s true!)

In 1985, I wanted to grow up to be a teacher, wife, and mother. It’s 2011. Well, look at that. 3 for 3.

Not bad for a square peg, huh?

I know I already posted this on facebook, but I absolutely love this picture.

It was so sweet. Madeline was playing like the good girl she is, and she saw me pick up my phone to – of course – take a picture. I mean, she looked so stinkin’ cute in her striped pants and purple bow.

Anyway, SOMEONE has had her picture taken one too many times. She looked so excited and said, “I mile! I mile, Mommy, I mile!” Then, she showed me all her sweet little teeth as she “miled” for me to capture her beautiful image.

I love this kid.

Happy, Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband from your adoring wife and precious babies. We love you to the moon and back!

The first thing is this: I have been TERRIBLE about keeping you updated on baby Hamish’s progress. I was so diligent about making sure everyone knew how every doctor appointment went when I was expecting Madeline. I documented every little thing. This time, I just haven’t had that kind of time because, well, I have Madeline.

So, I thought I’d give you the latest on the new kid. You’ll notice we haven’t revealed a name yet. Yeah. Don’t get me started.

Today was my 30 week appointment, which means that we only have 10 short weeks to get Madeline’s new room cleared out and done, Baby _____’s bedroom stuff purchased and put in place, a firm plan made for Madeline’s care when Baby _____ is arriving, and a name set in stone so we can stop calling this poor kid Hamish.  You know me. I’m a planner. I’m in panic mode because everything isn’t done yet.

Physically, though, all is well. His heartbeat is perfect, my blood pressure is good, and I’ve only gained 10 pounds! Actually, I gained 12 and lost 2. I have no idea how, since I am always ravenous and eat almost everything I see, but that’s what the scale says.

We’ll be sure to let you know when we nail down a name. 🙂

The second thing is this: Have you seen this??

Maybe it’s because I love pictures, but I think it’s awesome!

Does anyone remember the Staples back-to-school commercial from a few years ago, with the dad dancing through the aisles on a shopping cart while his kids trudged behind him like they were being marched off to prison, and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played in the background? I love that commercial!

And, I love this time of year. I know, it’s weird. But, I have always loved back-to-school time. Long before I was a teacher, I loved back-to-school shopping. There were new clothes, new routines, and best of all, new school supplies! I adore the smell of crayons, Elmer’s glue, and the plastic scent that wafts into your nose when you open a new binder. Or, in my case, a new Trapper Keeper. Mmmmmm… (Yes, I know I’m a high school teacher and there are no crayons or glue in a British literature class. I’m hoping to change that when I return to the classroom. More on that later.)

When I was in college, I worked 4 years in a school supply store for the best bosses anyone could ever ask for. ( What a perfect job for me, and I promise you that if Sam and Teresa had a store in Birmingham, I would go back to work for them before you could say tempera paint. I’m such a dork that I would actually get excited when new shipments would come in and I would have to open the boxes and check in the merchandise, because that meant I got the first look at all the cool new classroom stuff!

Once I started teaching, back-to-school time meant new students and again, new school supplies! I’m not going to lie; I am a little sad that I’m not teaching this year. But, Madeline and Baby ____ need me at home this year and this is where I want to be for now. I also don’t need to settle for a school where I’m unhappy, just to have a teaching job. So, I’m hoping that God opens up a door to a reading specialist/literacy coaching position next year. We’ll see. In the mean time, I’ll keep walking by pencil boxes and notepads in Target and thinking, “I need this!”

Back-to-school time means the door is open for fall to begin. There will be football games, and football weather. It will be time for little hands to make construction paper pumpkins, while high school art classes carve jack-o-lanterns for fall festivals. Text books will crackle as they are opened for the first time, and bonfires will crackle in celebration of homecoming events everywhere.

It will be a couple of years before we have to shop from a school supply list for Madeline, but I’m looking forward to it. Because I love the smell of crayons, Elmer’s glue, and the plastic smell of new binders.

And those scented markers that don’t really  smell like bananas.

And pencil shavings.

And rubber erasers.

And Crayola watercolor paints.

And dry erase markers…

I know the most popular vacation destination this time of year is the beach, but we decided to do something a little different. We got our country on and relived a couple of childhood memories.

Because I have some Canadian friends who read this, I’m going to give you a couple of instructions so that you can fully enjoy the pictures and the Southern summer experience with us. 1. Preheat the oven to the temperature at which you would bake a cake. 2. While you wait for the oven to preheat, go put on a wool sweater and your heaviest winter coat. 3. Go outside and run around your house 132 times. (Are you sweating profusely? Good! That’s what’s supposed to happen.) 4. When the oven is completely preheated, open the door and stick your head in. I don’t recommend doing this for an extended period of time, especially if you have a gas oven.

This is what the Southern states feel like from June – September. Ready? Let’s visit Nashville!

Does anyone watch the show, American Pickers on History? Well, we’re nerds and we do. So, our very first stop was a visit to Antique Archaeology, the store featured on the show. They had some really neat stuff, which was even cooler since we watched them acquire it on TV.

The next stop was the Country Music Hall of Fame. Yee Haw! If you know Dan and me, you probably already know that our tastes in music are vastly different. I like everything, with the exception of rap, contemporary country, and that whiny ’70s garbage that was supposed to make you feel your feelings. Dan likes stuff in the Garth Brooks vein. So, with a little Patsy Cline and a little Garth Brooks, there was something there to make both of us happy. Oh, and I love Hee Haw. Really. I got a little giddy when I saw Minnie Pearl’s dress.

Madeline taking a stroll through the cornfield.

 The pictures are a little dark because, well, it was dark in there and no flash photography is allowed.

"Dinosaur patroller/ Listenin' to Buck Owens/ Doo-doo-doo lookin' out my back door"

I’m not sure if my friend, Andy, is reading this, but if you are, this one’s for you…

I wonder which one is REALLY the reason their kids are ugly.

 On day two of our Nashville vacation, we took another trip through our early ’80’s childhood.

The reason I always wanted a white Jeep.


Dan introducing the next generation to the General Lee.

Now, I will expect all of you (all 5 people who read this blog, that is) to make Waylon Jennings proud and begin singing the theme song from The Dukes of Hazzard.

We took a riverboat cruise where Madeline was mesmerized by the two men playing “Duelling Banjos” on the same banjo, walked through the enormous and beautiful Opryland Hotel, picked up a birthday present for my dad at the Willie Nelson museum, and spent day three touring The Hermitage before hopping in the car to head home.

I would love to visit The Hermitage again and see more of it when it’s not very hot and I’m not very pregnant. 🙂  It is a gorgeous place and deserves much more attention than I was giving it.

(Canadians, take your head out of the oven now.)

49 days until fall!