Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Flock of Birds, One Stone

You know the saying "kill two birds with one stone?" Well I'm not sure exactly how many birds make up a flock but we were able to kill a lot of birds with one stone this weekend. This weekend we traveled to Pensacola. Not only do we have 3 sets of friends who already live there but our best friend from Auburn Jeff was in town visiting. We were so excited when he told us he was coming to visit in the town where we already had so many friends that we love to get to see. Then we heard from our friends Ryan and Jill in North Carolina. They were planning to come to Gulf Shores the same weekend that Jeff would be in Pensacola. Could that have worked out anymore perfectly?? Not for us. Everyone was basically in one place and we were able to make one trip.

Shay and I met Jeff our freshman year at Auburn. The three of us, along with our friend Adam, were inseparable for the rest of our college years. Then we all graduated and moved away. Jeff actually got to stay at Auburn for one more year as a graduate coaching assistant then moved to Austin to do the same thing at the University of Texas. As if that wasn't far enough he has most recently taken a job as a defensive coach at Iowa State University. Seems like he is getting farther and farther from us, which makes us really sad. However, he is living his dream of being a college football coach at the age of 26. What an accomplishment. We could not be prouder of him. Plus we have racked up on free Auburn, Texas and now Iowa State paraphernalia in the mean time. Jeff was excited to get to see Mary Selwyn. The last and only time he has seen her was when she was 6 days old. She warmed up to her uncle Jeff very quickly and they played and shared many kisses. I wish we all got to see each other more often.

Jeff happened to be staying with our friend Chad Stacy from high school. Now we spend almost every Saturday in the fall tailgating with the Stacy family so we see Chad very regularly during football season. The off season however, not so much. It was a fun treat to get to visit with Chad too. He is so entertaining, as you can probably tell by this picture of him and MSN.

Saturday morning we were lucky enough to have Jeff join us for breakfast along with Rachel and Chad Friday and Brad and Maile. Rachel is my best friend from High School. We've been friends a long time and I only come to love her more and more. She met her husband Chad at Troy and they have two of the most beautiful children. We had quite the crew at breakfast and the kids were very well behaved. I managed to sneak in a few pictures. It was a little bright for Turner, who is growing his hair out like Tarzan by the way. They are so cute.

I was also reunited with Maile Saturday morning. I realize it has
only been like a month but it felt like it had been years. I was so excited to see her. Mary Selwyn was very excited too. She went straight to her and sat in her lap for a very long time. She has missed her too, I could tell. Maile was mistaken for MSN's mommy twice this weekend. Must be the red hair, oh and the way they adore each other when they are together might make it seem that way too. It was GREAT to see Maile because I have missed her so, but I think it just made me miss her more.

After breakfast we were off to Gulf Shores. I could have stayed with the crew in Pensacola for a week but I was excited to see Ryan and Jill. Ryan and Jill lived in Dothan with us for the first year we lived here. Shay and Ryan worked together and became very good friends. We spent so much time with them that first year and we were sad when they moved to North Carolina. We had a fun dinner and then the boys rode go carts like a bunch of kids while Mary Selwyn and I played in the arcade. It was fun and good to see them. Here is a picture with Mary Selwyn and the Huffstetlers.
One thing we learned this weekend is that you can't do the same things with a child that you could do without a child. We wouldn't trade Mary Selwyn for anything in this world, I promise you that. I think this weekend we just pushed her to her limits and attempted things that just aren't feasible anymore. Like a trip to the beach. We tried to go with Ryan and Jill to the beach Saturday afternoon.....bad idea. Mary Selwyn was tired, didn't want to be in the water, didn't want to be in the sand and did not want to be put down. We lasted all of ten minutes before making the long hike back to the car. Overall she did really good this weekend. She slept well and was very pleasant but I know she is glad to be home. We finished our trip with breakfast Sunday morning with Maile and Jeff again, they both happened to be in Gulf Shores so we met at the Waffle House.

Mary Selwyn spent so much time in the car this last week. She went with her Meme back to Prattville for a couple days to surprise Papa at his retirement party and then the same day I picked her up we immediately turned around and left to see our flock. She slept most of the time but she was very relieved to be home and out of that car. First thing she did is trade her pants for her princess cape and crown. I promise this is the first thing she found and brought it to me to put on her. She wore around for a was so funny. It was a fun weekend with friends we love and don't get to see enough of but there is just nothing like home sweet home these days!
Well I got half of my pictures to upload...I'll keep trying on the rest but chances are they won't make it. I promise to put the princess cape pictures on my next post...they are the cutest!

Monday, June 23, 2008

MSN's Birthday Party

This weekend was Mary Selwyn's first birthday party. She won't actually be one for another week but with a birthday so close to the 4th of July you have to squeeze a party in whenever you can. This post will mainly be lots and lots of pictures from the party. It was so much fun! Birthday girl in her hat. Mary Selwyn had been sick all week and even though she was feeling better by the party the virus she had caused her to have a rash all over her body. So if you happen to notice red splotches in any of these pictures that will explain it. The doctor said it didn't hurt or itch her and it would bother me more than it would her....boy was he right.
We celebrated with almost all our family. MSN and Great Grandmother and Great Granddaddy.

Greatmama and Greatdaddy

Aunt Daphna and Uncle Bradley....we did miss Uncle Taylor
Mary Selwyn, Gran and Grandpa
Meme and Papa!
Mary Selwyn had lots of fun playing with all her friends.

Ross, MSN and Mary Townsend
Mary Selwyn, Price Thomas and Mary Townsend
Mary Selwyn and Gavin on the loose.
Mary Selwyn is only 8 days older than Gavin. It was so fun to be pregnant and have kids so close with some of our very best friends Chad and Stefanie. Won't it be fun to watch these two grow up together?

Mary Selwyn and Townsey. This has got to be one of my most favorite pictures ever!

Mommy's friends came to celebrate too. "Aunt" Brooke came all the way from Atlanta.

Meg and Braxton.

Auntee Amy came and gave Mary Selwyn a beautiful bracelet that she made just for her, so special.

The Cakes turned out perfect!

Yes, this was Mary Selwyn's face while everyone was singing Happy Birthday. There were some smiles and clapping during the song too don't worry...she was enjoying it.

She was trying to eat her cake like the little lady she is and then daddy shoved her hand in it. She made him clean it off immediately and went back to eating it her way, one bite at a time. I think she was savoring that sweet icing....a girl after my own heart.
Opening presents
Mary Selwyn was so excited when she opened her Madame Alexander doll.
Playing with her corn popper from Price. We have been playing with this everyday since.
It was a very special first birthday party. It was neat to have all of the people we love the most there to celebrate with us. I worked so hard to make sure everything was perfect and it seemed perfect to me. The fun isn't over yet either, we will get to celebrate again on her real birthday just the three of us!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Daddy's Day and Super Mitzi

Mary Selwyn has been blessed with a wonderful daddy. Shay and I have been together for 10 years and I have never had any doubt that he would be a good dad. Turns out he is so much more that just a good dad. He is a sweet and loving daddy. He looks at Mary Selwyn with so much love in his eyes. He will sit on the floor and play with her until she can't play anymore. He reads the same books over and over. It amazes me that the first thing he wants to do after a long day at work is scoop her up and play or read instead of turn on sports center and just sit.

More importantly his child adores him. She carries around his pictures during the day while he is gone and gives them little kisses until the real dada gets home. She also does the dada chant. She will walk around with her hands in the air chanting "dada, dada, dada," like we are at a sporting event. Doesn't matter where she is, Target, out to eat, in the bath tub, anywhere and everywhere she pulls out the chant. When I try to get her to chant "mama, mama, mama," she just looks at me and then smiles and goes straight back to "dada, dada, dada." She lights up as soon as he walks in the door and every time the door knob turns whether it is him or not she runs to the door and says "dada?" It is precious. They snuggle every night before bed and it is so sweet how they can never get enough of each other.

Mary Selwyn has been blessed with a sweet daddy and I have been blessed with a sweet husband. He works hard for us all day and then comes in and has the energy to spend time with us. He always gives us the love and attention we demand without any complaints. He is a wonderful provider and spiritual leader.....we could not ask for a better man. These are pictures from our lazy Father's day. We actually got to stay home for the weekend and just lounged around after church. That is probably the best gift Shay could have gotten for Father's day!

Now the reason this post is being done on Thursday as opposed to Father's day or the day after brings me to my next point. We have had an insane week. Shay's truck broke down Monday on his way home from work. So we had to track across town to pick him up then have it towed and worked on the next day, that was a nice bill by the way. This left me and Mary Selwyn without a car on Tuesday and wouldn't you know that Mary Selwyn woke up very, very sick that morning. What are the chances right. It seemed like I had called everyone in Dothan to try and hitch a ride to the doctors office for her to be seen. Once again the MARVELOUS Mitzi Chambers came to our rescue.

This woman does more for us than I can even begin to tell you. I must call her for everything! Shay and I have come to depend on them so much and we feel guilty because it seems like all we ever do is take from them. How they aren't completely sick of us I will never know. The Chambers are the sweetest, most loving and generous people. They are good people, the kind that you wonder if they even still exist. I promise, they do! She had the busiest day on Tuesday but didn't hesitate to drop everything to come pick us up and drop us off at the doctor. Wouldn't you know that on the way there Mary Selwyn threw up everywhere. All over her and the car seat and Mitzi's car. I was so mortified. At that point I almost lost it and burst into tears. Mitzi however was completely unfazed. I wasn't sure if she heard me say "Mary Selwyn just threw up everywhere," because she was so calm and collected. I felt terrible!

Not only did she have throw up all in her car but she then dropped us off, went home, washed Mary Selwyn's clothes and cleaned out the car seat. Then she packed up some food for us to have for dinner and picked us back up after our appointment. She is like super woman. It's amazing and I cannot thank her enough for being our hero almost every other day. She is a huge blessing!!!! I will never be able to repay her for all she does for us. I sure hope the throw up came out of the car. The Chambers are headed to the beach next week. I don't know how we will function without her for a whole week but it will be for her a much needed and deserved break from us. We love and adore Mitzi Chambers. Everyone should be lucky enough to know her! Thanks Mitzi!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Sprinkle, A Splash and A Power Lab

A Sprinkle: Last Sunday we traveled to Columbus for our niece Kate's christening. Of course it was the sweetest thing. Kate just smiled at the preacher the whole time as he sprinkled her head and carried her around the sanctuary. Then she fell asleep in Shannon's arms for the rest of the service. Can you say perfect child? My child on the other hand made it through the christening but not without saying "cracker, cracker" the whole time. We were offering the crackers in order to keep her quiet. No such luck but at least she was being sweet. Then daddy took her out for the rest of the service.

It all went really well and my favorite part is that it was Kate's turn to wear the family christening gown. This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen I think. Shay's Meme made it almost 40 years ago for her all her grandchildren to wear for their christenings and dedications. It has the most gorgeous hand work and the bonnet that matches is amazing. And it is not just a dress but a slip that is just as intricate and beautiful to match. I'm such a sucker for meaningful family heirlooms and I think this is the best heirloom in the world. How sweet is it that not only all of her grandchildren wore the gown that it took her years to make but now all of her great grandchildren that never had the chance to know her have worn it and shared in this little piece of her. I think it is so special. Well I couldn't get the picture of Mary Selwyn to post so you can't see the whole dress but trust me it is beautiful.

A Splash: On Tuesday my friend Amber and her sweet little boy Price came to visit. Price and Mary Selwyn had so much fun playing together, pushing each other around and holding hands and sucking their toes in their car seats. However, I believe that highlight of the visit for the kids was our trip to Water World. Wednesday morning we took the kids to the small water park here in Dothan and they had a blast. Price wore Amber out going up and down the elephant slide over and over. He has no fear when it comes to the water which was a little scary for us. Mary Selwyn had more fun in the water than ever before. She played and splashed and slid on the little turtle slide with the biggest smile on her face. She was so sweet and we had a blast. They had so much fun that they were both asleep before we got out of the parking lot. It was a great visit.

I love to watch Mary Selwyn interact with my friend's children. I think it is so neat to see the next generation of us playing and enjoying each other. I can remember daydreaming with my friends and roommates about the days when we would all have families of our own and the play dates and family vacations we would plan. I cannot believe those days are actually here. I was watching Price and Mary Selwyn play and thinking to myself "I can't believe Amber and I are sitting here with our kids! Seems like yesterday we were on choir tour or moving into our apartment in Auburn." It is crazy to me but I'm so thankful I have sweet friends to share these moments with also. I look forward to our children growing up and sharing fun moments together. I realize they may not grow up to be the best friends that we had daydreamed them to be but they will always be a part of each other's lives and that is so neat to me.

A Power Lab: This week was Vacation Bible School at First Baptist. The theme for the week was God's power. It was all about experiments and what God gives us the power to do. I had the privilege of helping my friend Lindsey with the first grade class. Let me start by saying that I have a whole new respect for mothers and teachers of first grade children. I'm trying to prepare myself for the day that I will have a first grader of my own. The week started out a little rough. They were just learning the ropes of VBS and they were wild balls of energy. I must say I am severly dissapointed in the lack of imagination of those kids. My imagination is 100 times better than their's. I guess times have really changed. As the week progressed they calmed down and it was enjoyable for all of us. In all seriousness they were really sweet and loving kids. Turns out they really were listening and learning the whole time and I think they overall had a fun week. My prayer is that we were able to touch their lives in some small way.

We had four kids in our class that raised their hands during a prayer to say they wanted to know more about Jesus. It was so sweet to see them have a genuine interest in Christ. It is really all you can hope for. We made sure that their parents knew and those kids whose parents we didn't know we had a minister talk to. When our pastor asked one of the kids if he had asked Jesus to come into his heart his response was, "I don't know if I did, I just know that I want to know more and more about Him." Is that not the sweetest thing you have ever heard. It gave me chills. It had been years since I had participated in VBS and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to help this year. It made me realize how important it is to be praying daily that one day Mary Selwyn will want to know more and more about Jesus. I am in no hurry for her to grow up but I absolutely cannot wait for the day that she accepts and acknowledges Christ as her savior! I long for her to experience it and I pray that she will be lucky enough to do so at a young age. Turns out the Power Lab taught me a lot too! God is so good.

I'm having issues posting pictures again so I will add them as soon as it will allow me!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Missed Call

Yesterday morning at about 8:30 I was sitting with Mary Selwyn, my mom and my sister, who had come to visit for a couple days when my mom asked if she could use my cell phone to make a call. When I picked up the phone I noticed I had a new voicemail. I thought that was weird since I didn't even hear the phone ring. Turns out it was still on vibrate from the night before. I looked at my missed call list and the call was from some 502 area code. I had no clue where that area code could even come from so I figured it was wrong number or telemarketer. So I checked the message and it was from my brother Taylor in Kentucky. My stomach got this terrible sick feeling hearing his voice and knowing that I missed the chance to talk to him. The worst part however, was knowing that I then had to turn to my mother and tell her who the call was from. Of course she immediately burst into tears. Believe me I wanted to do the same but I felt I should fight the urge as to not make the situation any worse. We tried to call the number right back but it wasn't a working number. I guess it was for outgoing calls only.

Then my grandmother called and said he had called her and she actually talked to him. The message he left me said he was "chilling and hanging out in Kentucky." He sounded great and my grandmother said he told her he was doing just fine. Now they told us we would not hear from him for at least 3 weeks so this call was a surprise. It also means that they haven't actually started the boot camp part of things. They said it would take a little while for processing so in the meantime I guess he is just hanging out. So who knows when we will hear from him again. I can almost guarantee that my mom will not be back to visit us while he is still at boot camp. I pretty sure she will be glued to that phone at all times from here on out. I cannot tell you how guilty I feel for missing that call. I feel like I took away my mom's opportunity to talk to her child that she has been crying over for the last month. I almost forced her to come visit to take her mind of this whole situation and it really came back to bite me. Plus I would have loved to talked to him too. I tried to act like it wasn't that big of a deal to me while she was here but now that they have gone back home it has really hit me how sick I am over this missed call. I pray that he will get the chance to call her again this week and I can start to feel a little better.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Sad Week

Last week was full of good-byes for me. First my brother, then I had to say good-bye to my dear friend Maile. I met Maile two years ago when we had just started attending First Baptist and she and Brad had just moved to Dothan. We had an instant connection. It was a little eerie how well we hit if off. We are so similar. Sometimes I swear we are sharing a brain. However, we are just different enough to keep things interesting.

So Maile's husband Brad took a job in Pensecola as a youth minister at his home church. Brad is going to be a wonderful youth minister and this is an amazing opportunity for them. I'm happy for them, sad for me. I've known they were moving for probably close to two months now but did that make it any easier to say good-bye? No way! We've been trying to spend as much time together as possible these last couple weeks before she left me for good and we have had the best time. Last week we went for pedicures and dinner and it was such a fun and relaxing night. Then Friday night we went to the movies to see Sex and the City (which by the way was fabulous, minus the nudity). How appropriate that we see a movie about such amazing friendship and then have to say good-bye right after. That night was our final good-bye. Shay has been telling me for weeks, "You know you are going to have to say good-bye to Maile eventually, right?" I apparently had been putting it off.

We shared some tears, I dropped her off and cried all the way home, because I'm just that lame, believe me I know. It's not like I'm never going to see her again, and I'm sure we will still talk every other day....we had better. I have just become so attached to her in these last two years and have come to depend on her a lot! I feel like I call her for every little thing and I feel like I can tell her every little thing. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to function without her here. Maile has been the biggest blessing. I cannot even put into words how much she means to me. Our friendship is just so unique and special. I needed that relationship. The Lord knew what He was doing when He put Maile Gowing in my life and I couldn't be anymore thankful for her. She has become one of my very best friends. I adore her and I know we will be friends always. We've shared everything these last two years have brought, including Mary Selwyn's birth and I'm excited to share the things the rest of our years have in store. I will travel anywhere in the world to be at the birth of her first child....I'm not missing that!!

To sum up last week, it was very sad and emotional for me. I'm not good at good-byes or letting go.....I think it stinks!! However, last week made me very aware of the blessings that my family and friends bring me. One of the biggest ways that the Lord reaches me is through my relationships with others. That is part of the reason I love Dothan so much is because He has surrounded me with the love and friendships that I need to be able to grow. I'm not sure if that makes any sense at all but it does to me somehow. I've said time and time again, I need my friends and have a collection of the most fabulous friends in the world. I try to never take the gift that they are for granted. I'm thankful I have Maile to add to that collection. Starting this new week without her and my brother hasn't been easy but I'm getting there....Surely I'll get used to it soon.