Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So Much To Thank Him For

While I should be thankful year-round, I'll shamefully admit this is really the only time of year I STOP and think just exactly how THANKFUL I am for the blessings God has bestowed upon my family.

There is the frequent "I'm so thankful" or "Thank you Lord" during other times of the year, days, weeks, months, etc. but this is the time of year I really, really focus on being THANKFUL.

I can't help but think of a song that a group in my church sings, called "So Much To Thank Him For"....here is the chorus, and it has been in my head all day long today....

"and I've got so much to thank Him for, so much to praise Him for, well you see He's been so good to me, and when I think of what He's done, (insert tears right about here), and where He's brought me from, I've got so much to thank Him for"

It's a well known fact that we're a bunch of "criers" at the church I go to. (is crier a word?) I tease a lot and say that to be a member, you have to donate a box of tissues!

If you know me and are from 'round these here parts, you are laughing, cause you KNOW it's true! We cry about everything! We cry when the preacher preaches (not cause it's bad, because it's not), we cry when we sing, when we pray, when we take an offering, when the piano plays, when we watch videos, we cry, well...you get the picture. We cry about most things. Suffice to say, when the song I mentioned above is sung, we cry about that too.

I'm nearly certain in the back of the membership guide it tells women to wear waterproof mascara! HA! (and now I'm really laughing because if you remember the OLD Church of God, you'll know that they did not let the women wear make-up--my how times have changed! Let me tell you if I showed up with no make-up, they would probably ask me to go home and put some on before I came back to church and grieved the Holy Spirit!) HA-HA! All in good fun, don't worry, I'm just kidding about all that! (well, not about the old church, but you know what I mean!)

In light of the fact that Thanksgiving is Thursday, here's a small list and by no means complete of what I'm THANKFUL for this holiday season.....

-my family
-children who are healthy
-good friends
-a home
-my job
-American soldiers fighting so I can have freedom!
-MANY MANY other things!



Monday, November 23, 2009

Pier One

Y'all remember a few months ago when I won a contest from fellow and friend blogger, Lemonade Makin' Mama? I got a gift card to none other than....

Yes, I realize this was MONTHS ago-and yes, I realize that I just now used the gift card.....want to see how far I stretched it? Mind you, I hardly ever shop at Pier 1, because I can only afford their items on sale, errr..clearance.

Here are some paper plates and matching napkins--I really like the colors! I like to use these plates and such when I'm home alone during hunting season, etc. and when the kids and hubby aren't home.

A cute wrought iron wall hanging that says Love.....now if I can get my "lovely" husband to hang it up, we'll be doing great!

Last, but not least, my FAVORITE purchase of the shopping trip....a darling Christmas platter! I LOVE THIS PLATE! Oh my mind is conjuring up all sorts of different treats to put on this plate!

Thank you LMM for makin' my day a little sweeter! I had a great time shopping at Pier 1!

Until next time........


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Girls Day Out, Ending with the Cheesecake Factory

Last Saturday, two of my best friends and I went to Orlando for a girls day out. We hit up a huge outlet mall and did a little bit of shopping. We all agreed we just needed a break from everyday stress and got together for a day of shopping and catching up with one another!

Normally, we go to a big Prime Outlet mall in Ellenton, but this time, we decided to try a new Prime Outlet mall in Orlando. We were very impressed with it. The stores were high end and seemed to be bigger (space-wise) than the ones in Ellenton.

After shopping for about an hour or so, we decided it was time for lunch! I had never eaten at one of these places.....but heard it was delicious!

Look at these hot fried pieces of delight!!! YUM! I love french fries!
We ate our oh-so-delicious lunch, which went straight to my hips (and is beside the point) and continued on with our happy shopping trip. We enjoyed the great weather, and the even better sales and discounts for several more hours.

After we finished at the first outlet mall, we moved on down the road to the next one, and decided after going in a few stores, it wasn't going to be worth our time. It was now about 5:00 in the afternoon and we decided it was time to eat again. (you sensing a pattern here? Shop-Eat-Shop-Eat)

Scarlett used her navigation system and put us at the nearest mall--which happened to be the Mall of Millennia (sp?). Guess what's there?????

I had never been to a CF before and let me just tell you...it was SO GOOD!

Mandi studying the menu deciding what to have for dinner......

We knew we wanted to save room for dessert, so we ordered regular meals, but only ate half!
Here's what we got....looks good huh? It was delicious! The portions were huge and it was really tasteful!

Whew! All that shopping and catching up made us hungry for some cheesecake! I don't know if you can see this picture good or not, but it's 2 pages of nothing but different types of cheesecakes!

We each wanted a different kind of cheesecake. I got a red-velvet cake cheesecake (which was 2 layers of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing, and 2 layers of cheesecake and whipped cream). Mandi got a pecan-pumpkin cheesecake (I think), and Scarlett got a chocolate layer cheesecake (or something similar to that!). DELICIOUS!! We each took most of that home too!

We always have so much fun together and enjoyed just spending a day "away". We're already planning our next trip!

Mandi and Scarlett, if you're reading this...I had a great day with you girls! I'm ready to go again!!

Until next time....


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Third Time's the Charm

Carter had surgery last Tuesday. Again. For the THIRD time. (insert long, loud, sigh here).

In the waiting room.........

Since birth, both my boys have been plagued with ear infections and ear troubles. Apparently it's hereditary (which I did not learn until a few years ago). I'll go ahead and take blame for that since my brother and I both had many an ear infection in our youth.

Carter's latest ear infection lasted a few months and finally was cleared up with a few rounds of different antibiotics, but the fluid never went away. For this reason, his ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) Dr. wanted to insert a new set of tubes in Carter's ears.

Carter's first set of tubes was when he was 13 months old--then, he needed a new set of titanium tubes when he was about 25 months old.

During that second surgery, Dr. Walker (whom we adore) also removed C's adenoids. It was also during that second surgery that Carter's eardrum was (unbeknownst to Dr. Walker) attached to the tube put in on his first surgery. When they went to remove the tube, part of his eardrum came out with it. Yeah. Go ahead and shiver--I did too. In typical Carter fashion, he defied medical odds and you cannot even tell that his eardrum was ever torn, ruptured or anything! It looks like a perfect eardrum! Praise the Lord!

Anyhow--they were only able to put in one tube on C's second surgery. That tube fell out sometime this year and we thought we were on the "up and up" as far as infections go, but we weren't so lucky. Hence the reason we had a new set put in on Tuesday.

Dr. Walker was concerned that the fluid was going to cause speech and language issues in the near future, so the decision was made (after several conversations with 2 different doctors) to put in a new set of tubes.

Mind you, my Carter has NO PROBLEM talking--and he's very easy to understand, and pretty much always has been. Just ask Annie--she used to keep Carter for me every once in a while when I subbed at the high school. Carter and Cooper (Annie's little boy) were big buds. Bless Annie's heart, I know she just wanted some ear plugs sometimes to tune him out.

Surgery took less than 10 minutes, and all went well. They actually let Carter push the button to open the OR doors and his Dr. walked in with him, holding his hand. Carter and Dr. Walker are big buds too!

Here are a few pictures of Carter getting ready for surgery.....He's not nervous at all. He knows what's coming!

Carter and the OR nurse after pushing the door button. She's putting him down so he can grab Dr. Walker's hand....
Dr. Walker in the blue scrubs....ummmm..he's drinking coffee...I wasn't sure whether I should be worried about that or not. Sort of made me want to ask how long he'd been awake that morning!

Surgery began at 9:56 and we were leaving the surgical pavilion at 10:28! How's that for outpatient? HA!

Overall, we're so thankful to have Dr. Walker on our side and he is an amazing Dr.! We tease him and say that we've paid for his retirement 5 times over! (Nolan had a set of tubes and then when he was 4 had his tonsils, adenoids, and tubes removed; Carter has had 3 sets of tubes and his adenoids removed)!!! Whew! Talk about big expenditures!

Carter, right after surgery, in the recovery room. Yes, he still has a pacifier. At night only, or when he's really REALLY upset about something. Please don't judge or hate me. Trust me, if you had this child, you'd give him one too. He has passy for another 2 weeks an then.....the moment of truth--we're taking it away when he turns 4. Start praying for us now!

Going home! One sleepy little boy!

We sure are hoping and praying that the "Third Time's the Charm" for us on this set of tubes!

Until next time........


Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Tour of the New Digs!

It's a long one y'all, but there's lots of pictures! Grab some sweet tea, sit down, and get ready to read.......

A few weeks ago, the new Shands Cancer Hospital and Trauma Center opened. Because Cecil's Dad was one of the head people in charge of this new project we got the "hot" tour of the new digs! The hospital did tours for the public, but very few people got to see and go where we did!

First of all, let me tell you that this place is GORGEOUS! Just gorgeous. It seemed to me that the focus was really on the patient and making him/her comfortable.

For example, the roof in the elevator (I believe in the Trauma unit) has a beautiful picture of hot pink flowers on it, rather than the cold, hard, lighting. This is so when you're laying on a stretcher and looking up, you don't see the lights, you see a nice picture of flowers (I'm kind of hoping that I never have to be in that position, but if I were, I'm sure I wouldn't really be thinking about the roof of the elevator and sending in a complaint after I was released from the hospital, but whatever).

Here's the top of the elevator; is this awesome or what? Beautiful.

Also, the patient controls the lighting in his/her room by a button on the bed (or the remote control thingy...) That's great for when the nurses bug you death throughout the night. You know how the nurses come in at like, 2AM and flip on the lights just to take your vitals or something.....I've been in that position before and their sign that I'm okay should be when I sit UPRIGHT in the bed when you flip the lights on at 2AM! DUH! The patient also controls the window shades by remote control. Sweet!

Here's Nolan adjusting some poor unsuspecting soul's shades.....lordy be, they'll come in and have full sun at the noonday if they don't watch out! ha!

Grandaddy and Nolan adjusting a patient bed in the ICU

Anyhow, we rode the elevator up to the very tip top of the building to the helipad--this is where ShandsCair lands with trauma patients. My kids were totally awed by the view from the helipad! You can see Ben Hill Griffin Stadium behind us....yes, that's how high in the air we were...I was a little spooked, but did good. We all had TIGHT holds on the boys hands! The boys kept saying "I want to ride in the helicopter" and "Wow--I want to come here!" and I repeated over and over again...NO YOU DO NOT. If you are at this hospital, you are VERY sick, or a trauma patient, and trust me, you do NOT want that. It's a beautiful place, but I don't want to be a patient there!

Walking out to the heli-pad

See those metal "cage" looking things to the left and right of the walkway? There's nothing under them but earth and sky! It's just a metal cage thing......I was sure hoping no gusty wind came up and blew us around....not that any kind of hurricane-force winds could move fatty here, but still. I was nervous.

Cecil, our boys, and his daddy (Grandaddy)

Our family on top of the heli-pad--see how tight we have the boys' hands?
And while the heli-pad was the highlight of our day--THIS sight just makes me bleed orange and blue! That's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium!! GO GATORS!

After we came down off the roof (literally) Grandaddy (Cecil's dad) took us in a few of the OR's. They are amazing! This hospital has some of the most current technology there is and it's all in one room! There are x-ray machines, tv screens, and all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that I have no idea what their names are.

See how bright the OR light is? We turned it on and put Nolan's arm underneath it!

Here's the OR x-ray machine jackets. In classic orange and blue!
How's this for an air vent? Can you imagine paying their electricity bill? I complain about my $200 bill and I can't imagine theirs.

We had a great time touring the new Critical Care Center, Trauma Center, and Cancer Hospital. It's beautiful, but again...I sure don't want to be a patient there. But if I am, I sure know I'll be taken care of!

Until next time........


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Baby

Y'all--there ain't nothin' like a sweet baby girl! I only have two boys, so I won't know anything about holding my daughter, but I got to hold this sweet baby angel face a few weeks ago, only a few days after she was born.

This precious doll-baby belongs to some friends of ours, C and M--she was born very prematurely, and weighed only 3 lbs and some odd ounces at birth.......she's already out of the hospital though and doing great!

Look at that blonde hair!! And how TINY she is!! I could NOT get over the fact that when she was born, she weighed only 3 pounds! My first baby weighed THREE of her!!!!! Mercy!!

Like I said...ain't nothin' like a sweet baby girl!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Tailgates and Touchdowns - Part II

The Florida-Georgia game is my FAVORITE game every year! I've been to this game with strep throat--I've been to this game pregnant as a houligan, nearly weeks from delivery and against my OB's recommendations--I've been to this game in the RAIN--in the HEAT--well..you get the picture. I do NOT miss this game. EVER. Never.

This year was no different. Our babysitter arrived at the house real early like to watch the kiddies so we could go have some serious FUN! Cecil and Wiley (the host) left town at 2:00AM (yes, AM) to go get our parking spot (we're particular, what can I say?) and I left the house with my in-laws about 8:30AM (more my speed!)

We arrived in Jacksonville at the World's Largest Cocktail Party, OOPS, sorry--the SEC now wants us to change this to the World's Largest Outdoor Tailgate. You know, the politically correct term. Whatever. I'm not all about PC anyhow--we arrived in Jacksonville at the World's Largest Cocktail Party at 11:30 and got our "groove on" with Wiley's music!

Most of us that have been going to this game for any length of time try to get the same tailgate spot year after year. Those of us who are seasoned veterans know the rules. RENT YOUR OWN PORTA POTTY! No. In case you were wondering, I did NOT use our porta potty. Actually, one of our friends rented it this year and we were able to use it. Well, technically not "we" since I didn't use it, but you get the idea. And let me tell you how funny it was to watch the people get so mad when they weren't allowed to use it! We had it locked with a padlock and we had the key--

We've got some good friends that tailgate with us for this game and some other good friends who have their own tailgate, with their family. One of our good friends, Brad, stopped by our tailgate to visit--

Our good friend, Bill, who sits behind us at the games and his wife, Darla (a Dawgs fan) stopped by for a visit as well......

These two guys? Nothin' but trouble. They know "EVERYTHING" about football and they're tough to stump!

Our family always gets a picture done at the tailgate every year, without fail! I'm just glad that this year's picture shows me about 13 pounds lighter than in past years!! And YES, that's a Diet Coke in my hand, in case you were wondering that too.

Mine and Cecil's annual FL/GA picture.....

So......after tailgating and grooving for a while, we headed into the stadium (where STILL only Gators get out alive) and had an AWESOME flyover........(which gives me chills every time!)

The GATORS were ready to play ball!!! We were pumped up and ready to beat those DAWGS!

Yes, I'm still shameless when it comes to Tim Tebow, and yes, of course I took pictures of him, but I thought maybe you saw enough of him in my previous post.....

The neatest coincidence happened at the game too.......About halftime, I noticed a guy sitting in front of us that looked REALLY familiar. And I did NOT want to embarrass myself by asking him if his name was "MH". So...I let it go for a while and then looked again and tried to talk myself out of asking him a question so I could get a good look at his face.

Y'all know I'm not one for keeping my mouth shut very much and the suspense just got to me. I finally leaned forward and asked one of the guys with him if indeed the guy in the orange shirt was "MH"......He looked and me and said.........yes!

I couldn't hold it in any longer, I shoved my mother and father-in-law out of the way and called his name, gave him a big old hug and said "why don't you answer your emails?" I know, I know...surely after years of not seeing this guy I could've asked something like "are you doing good", "how's the fam?" or some such nonsense.....but I asked him why he doesn't answer emails. Sue me. Oh wait. He's an attorney. Mike, don't sue me!

I went to college with Mike at UF and we were also on the UF Ethics Debate Team together! We had a great trip with the Team to Cincinnati when I was a Junior(?) in college and to this day, Mike and I remain great friends! Mike also happens to be my attorney! The last time I saw him was at my wedding about 7 years ago! (p.s. Mike is getting married in January--which I never thought I'd see happen, but I'm SO excited for him and his fiancee!)

After we chit-chatted for a bit, we had to get back to watching the game--it's not all about socializing you know....ha! The Gators pulled this one off too and I was super-excited!!

Hope y'all had a good trip with me as I recounted my last two Gator tailgates! GO GATORS!

Until next time....