Monday, December 29, 2008

Pictures of our nieces...

I was cleaning out my inbox of my email and found these pictures that Lisa sent us awhile back. I figured I hadn't posted any pictures of our nieces in awhile, so I thought I would post some. Cecilia is now 6 years old and in the 1st grade. She has started signing up for rec sports at the YMCA, and has really done well being a team player. This fall, she played soccer at the YMCA. According to Cecilia, sometimes she loved it and other times she said she would never play again. Last time I heard, she wants to play again. These last two are of Caroline. She really doesn't look like this anymore because her hair has fallen out and is A LOT bigger. Her hair is now a lot lighter and has a red tint to it. She is also in 9 month and is 6 months! She is a big girl!!


I love these girls like they are mine own!!! I can't wait to take some new pictures of them for everyone to see!


Best Friend Reunion '08


This past Saturday, December 27th, me and my 6 best friends had our annual Best Friend Reunion, otherwise known as P PHI G Reunion '08 (our secret sorority.) These girls are so special to me. We are spread out across the US, but everytime we get back together, things always pick up where we left off. I feel like it is impossible for the 7 of us to ever grow apart, and know that these girls, my sisters, will be apart of my life until the day I die. I look forward to the day when we are all married and have children. Maybe some of our children will get married to each other?!?! I am open to an arranged marriage! Thank you, Meredith, Dana, Lilly, Audra, Lelia, and Katie, for being the best friends anyone could ever ask for. I love you all so much and am so blessed to have you!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Few pictures with the new camera...







Christmas '08 Recap


Merry Christmas to everyone a little late! Our Christmas holiday was very eventful, to say the least, but was so incredible. Unfortunately, I took no pictures of any of our celebrations (mostly because I didn't get my NEW CAMERA until Christmas day), but I have taken a few pictures to just play around with it.
Our celebrations started last weekend in Enterprise with Clayton's family. We left the Thursday before Christmas so we could spend a long weekend there. Before we left, I was feeling really crappy, my throat was killing me, and I had a low grade fever. I was afraid that I might have strep, and unfortunately, I did. Great way to start Christmas, huh? After a good shot in the butt and three prescriptions, I was feeling Great! So great, in fact, that we decided to go to Cecilia's, our niece, school for her Christmas party. Looking back on it now, this might have been a mistake.....I will explain later, just stay with me. So anyways, we went to her school party, took her to paint pottery (of course, I did a little painting myself), and went to her basketball game.
Saturday, we had "Christmas Day" at Lisa and Bryan's, Clay's sis and bro-in-law. It was so great to spend time together, watch Cecilia get so excited about presents, and watch Caroline actually enjoy playing with new toys! I wish I had some pics of Caroline because this was the first time we have seen her have a little personality! She is starting to crawl.... well, she would rather walk and just skip the crawling stage. She loves to smile at anyone who pays attention to her, and her smile is so darn cute. She crinkles her nose and squints her eyes. I know a lot of people say this about babies in their families, but I truly mean it when I say she is the cutest baby in the world.
So everything was going great on Saturday, so we went back to Clay's mom's house that night fairly early because we were leaving to go to Mississippi for my family's Christmas the next day. Well, my body had other plans. (This is what I was referencing to earlier... I must have caught something from the children!)Around 11:00 pm I started feeling a little queasy. From then until 4:30 in the morning, I threw up and.... well you can guess.... every 20 minutes or so. Finally at 4:30, Clay and his mom decided that it would be best to take me to the hospital. To make a long story short, we were at the hospital until around 9:00, missed going to Mississippi, and was sick until the day after Christmas. Some holiday huh?

Despite being so sick, I had a great time with my family. Galen and Katie were in town for a few days, so we spent great time watching movies, going shopping, and laughing our heads off, like we usually do. They were able to stay until Christmas morning, so we had our normal Christmas at my parents new house. It was a little weird being in a new place, but it was basically the same. While we opened our gifts from Santa, Mom had three different, breakfast casseroles in the oven. It was just really special for me to be with my favorite people in the world. I actually cried a few times on Christmas night because I was missing everyone so much and didn't want it to be over! I'm a sap!

We really lucked out this year with gifts. Everyone did just too much, but I am really excited about everything we received. I thought I would show a few pictures of some of our favorites this year. First, we got a new camera, from my parents. It was much needed and I have been taking pictures constantly. This is, basically, what camera we got, a Sony Cybershot. It takes amazing pictures and is so tiny! I just love it! Another gift I received from my parents was a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer! I was so excited about it because I would like to venture into making cakes for family and friends on the side. My Nana made and decorated cakes for many years, and I really love to do it too!
Another gift that I just love, and am going to do a little promoting for her on here, is my new magnetic chalkboard made by Joanne Holloway at Down Mulberry Lane. I used to babysit for her family and she is an incredible artist. Here is a picture of the chalkboard.
Clayton also did VERY good this year! One of my big gifts was a Garmin. He and I both believe this is a very necessary device for me because I am constantly getting lost.
My other big gift, which was a HUGE suprise, was a weekend trip to Atlanta. I was so excited about this because I love for the two of us to take short trips, even if it is just around the corner. The BIG surprise was this though:

Clay got us tickets to a Cirque Du Soleil show and to Body World!!! I was so surprised and soooo excited! I really do have a great and thoughtful husband!

I know a lot of this post was about presents, but I do know that that is not the reason for Christmas. I am so grateful for all of the many blessings that Clayton and I have been given from God. We know that we would have nothing if it were not for him. Hope everyone had as special of a Christmas as our family. I have been reading many of your blogs, but would love to hear from EVERYONE!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Incredible!

I just had to document this. In less than two days (well really, it was just one day) I wrote a 40 page paper.... A 40 PAGE PAPER!!!!!! I really am in shock that I just did that. Other than moving to my bed last night at 1:00 am and eating 1 meal in 2 days, I have not moved from the couch......no shower, no talking to the outside world, other than saying a quick hi to Clayton yesterday when he got home from work, and barely any bathroom breaks.... I am really tired and hungry. I just wanted to have record of this to remind myself how stupid it is to wait until the last minute to write a paper documenting my entire time in OT school....Incredible!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Copy Cat

I was reading my best friend's blog, and she did a post about New Years. She really doesn't love new years at all and just wanted to express her apathy, I guess! Haha. She had this little survey at the bottom of it and I thought it would be fun to fill it out, especially because all of my other posts are so boring without pictures. Don't worry! I have been good this year and I HOPE that Santa is going to bring me a new and improved camera. Hope you enjoy the post!



New Years or New Habits?!


1) What is the most annoying part about New Years? How expensive it can be! There are tons of great parties and great places to visit, but they are so darn expensive! Don't they think of the young couples out there?



2) What is your favorite part of New Years? The countdown until the new year and getting a kiss from your someone special. I love that I will always get that special kiss on New Years eve for the rest of my life! ;) I also love eating the traditional New Year's Day food: black eyed peas=luck and turnip greens=more money.



3) What is the most important decision you need to make this year? There are a lot of important decisions that Clayton and I will be making this year, and some are just going to have to stay a secret! One decision is where I would like to work. I will be graduating in 2009, so finding a place of employment is very important!


4) What habit would you most like to establish this year? Having a quiet time every morning where I can read the Bible and my devotions. I usually do it at night, but I would love to start my day with God!


5) What book do you most want to read in the new year? Ummm... If you know me, it's not going to just be one book that I read this year. It will probably be more like 50, haha. I am going to start reading the Twilight series and I have some others that I can't wait to start.


6) What's the most important trip you would like to make in the new year? Clayton and I would love to (and are really going to try to) visit my brother and his wife in St. Louis this year or whereever they may be in 2009. This could be anywhere from Chicago, Austin, Seattle, or more! They are in the process of deciding what they want to do now that Katie has graduated from grad school! Depending on where they get stationed, we also are going to take a trip to visit Clay's sister and her family when or if they move!


7) What is the best piece of advice you will take with you into the new year? Not to let the little things stress me out.... that God already has plans for Clayton and I and we just need to trust that these are the right plans for us!


8) In what area of your life do you most need change? Probably more faith. There are a lot of life questions that we are unsure of. This kind of goes back to the previous answer.


9) What is the most important new item you want to buy this year? Hopefully not a whole lot! We are saving for another down payment on a new home!


10) What is one regret you have from this past year and how will you grow from it into the next year? I know this maybe really cheesy, but I never have regrets. Everything I do is for a reason, even if it is just a learning experience. I truly believe I have grown a great deal as a person this year, though. I don't get as stressed, I make sure my priorities always come first, and I have put more trust in God when I am

Monday, December 1, 2008

I should be studying...


Yes, I really should be studying for my final in Mental Health tomorrow...but it's 10:45 at night and I really don't feel like it anymore! I'm just too nervous to go to bed though because I feel like I should be studying. Hmm... I think I have a predicament! =)

Our Thanksgiving, this year, was great! We actually got to enjoy a two week extraveganza beginning with T.G. in Enterprise the weekend before. Our bro-in-law's family lives in Wisconsin and they were planning on spending the holiday there. It was such a fun time getting to play with Cecilia and Caroline! Caroline is now a little more than 6 months old and is so much more fun! She giggles, reaches for toys in front of her (which I was very proud of...my OT coat was coming out!), and really is interacting with everyone. I will say the one drawback is that she is a Momma's Girl! Anytime she see's Lisa (Clay's sister) and she isn't being held by her, Caroline threw an all-out fit! I know it can be frustrating for Lisa, but it also must feel so good to be so loved!
I continued the T.G. holidays with a great potluck with my OT school friends! Everyone brought a side or a dessert and we ordered a ham and a turkey. I will say that I have some talented friends who should probably be cooking for a living and not being an OT! (haha, just kidding!)
Since I am talking about T.G., I do want to say how thankful I am for meeting these incredible girls. They have quickly become some of my best friends, and I always have the best time with them. I'm sad to say that I will only have one more semester with everyone before we all go to our separate fieldwork sites (and all move away). I really don't want to think about that!!
On Thanksgiving day, my family went to Tupelo, MS for our annual T.G. dinner. This was actually really special for me because I haven't been to MS for T.G. in three years!! Last year, we went to Enterprise, the year before we were in Altus and didn't come home, and the year before that we were in Enterprise again (Getting ENGAGED!) I was really happy that I got to spend our holiday with my mom's family again!

I was so grateful to get to spend the week with my brother, Galen, and my sister-in-law, Katie. I haven't seen them since their wedding in July, so it has been a long time! The majority of the time, we just watched movies, played games, and laughed our heads off. I love both of them so much and wish they lived closer!
By the way, did anyone notice my new picture on the header? It was taken by Melissa (who I mentioned in the previous post). She did such an incredible job with all of our pictures, and we have already picked the lucky one that will make our Christmas card pictures. Thanks so much for the fun time and be prepared to do this quite often!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strike a Pose!

I know most of you like to send out photo Christmas cards to show your family and friends how much you have changed, introduce new family members (babies, dogs, husbands), or just because they are cuter than regular cards! The only problem is the picture.... I know I have the hardest time finding someone to take our picture, and even when they do, it never turns out great. I have always wished that I had the money to hire a real photographer to take our picture and make our cards look soo cute. Well......... this year, I found one! My best friend, Melissa Echols. Melissa has decided to start doing some free-lance photography work and would love to start this journey by taking people's Christmas card pictures or anything else you might want.

She is an incredible photographer and takes great pictures that are professional looking. She is willing to work with a variety of clients, both human and animal (haha, that just made me laugh) and is cheaper than your average photographer. If you would like to contact her, please visit her blog, http://hunterandmelissa.blogspot.com/, and check out some of pictures while you are there!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Four Things

I have been very uninspired, lately, on posts for our blog. Because we have no camera (our faithful camera broke and we are holding out until Christmas), I feel like all of my blog posts are boring... I always think that posts with pictures are so much more interesting than posts with no pictures... hence, my lack of posts. I've been looking on other blogs for inspiration, and have a few ideas. Please feel free to do this on your blog!

Four Jobs I've had in my life:
1. Student for 18.5 years
2. School age teacher at Altus AFB Youth Center
3. Vaccumer at Anthony's Car Wash
4. Cookie Extrordinare at Mrs. Field's

Four places I have lived:
1. Birmingham, AL
2. Tuscaloosa, AL
3. Tupelo, MS
4. Altus, OK

Four TV shows I like to watch:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. America's Next Top Model
3. Jon and Kate Plus 8
4. Private Practice

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
1. The Bahamas (stayed at Atlantis!!)
2. Cozumel, Mexico
3. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
4. San Antonio, TX

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Macaroni and cheese
2. Cheesecake or anything chocolate
3. Steamed vegetables
4. Potatoes of any kind

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. The beach
2. At my parents' house with my whole family just doing nothing (playing games, watching movies, spending time together.)
3. Shopping
4. Cuddling with Clay

Four places I like to shop:
1. Home accents stores
2. The Summit- I love to just walk around outside and window shop with Clay
3. Victoria's Secret online for clothes
4. Pier 1

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!!

What do you think of my new layout! I wanted to get into the holiday spirit with a little change to my blog layout.

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Prayers

I just wanted to write a short post to ask for some much needed prayers! Two of my friends have lost important family members this weekend, and would really appreciate prayers and/or good thoughts. It's always hard to put into words how you feel when someone you know passes away. Someone I know explained to me a great analogy last week regarding death. She explained that life on earth is like a train ride. People get on the train at different times, and they get off the train at different times. Some people's trip last a long, long time, while some are just on the train for a short while. Either way, their trip on the train (on earth) is only a temporary. Eventually, they will finally make it back to their final destination, their home, in heaven. I love you both, if you are reading this!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!

After getting out my strong reminder for everyone in the blog world to go vote, I am going to center this post on a completely different subject.... THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS!! I really haven't thought too much about the holidays yet because it is still hot as a butt (that's for you Lil) in Alabama and I don't think of much but school these days. However, as I was driving home from class today, I happened to stop on 96.5, which was playing Christmas music. All of the sudden, my mood completely changed from being hungry and stressed out to soo happy. I sang every song at the top of my lungs, not caring who was around me. I am officially in the holiday spirit from now until the new year! In honor of this new-found giddiness, I have decided to copy many of the other blogs I read and talk about what I am looking forward to most this year!
  • First and foremost, I am always so happy about celebrating our Savior's birth. I am given so many wonderful gifts and opportunities because of God's love for me. Although I give thanks a million times a day, it is wonderful to have an entire day that is devoted His birth. I can't wait to have children and spend hours talking and teaching them about the Christmas story and engaging in activities where we get to praise God!
  • This weekend, Mom and I are going to Christmas Village at the BJCC. This has become a tradition for us, and is something we both look forward to every year. This will be our third year in a row to go! We always find the cutest gifts for others (and ourselves) at this arts and crafts festival. This year, we are going in with a plan and know exactly what vendors we are visiting first! I am soooo excited!! I definitely recommend this to any woman... I don't think this is the scene for many men, so you might need to take someone other than your husbands!
  • Our High School Christmas Party- One thing I am so grateful for is my friends from high school. I think our friendship is very unusual because most friends from high school get distant as time away from high school passes by. However, we are still the best of friends and have so much fun together. I can truly say that these girls are the sisters I never had. They know me better than almost anyone on the face of this earth and still love me for being me! All six of them, Lelia, Lilly, Dana, Audra, Meredith, and Katie, were all in my wedding and will continue to be vital parts of my life forever...... Okay, I have lost the point of this post. Anyways, we always get together for a big Christmas hurrah and this year is no different! This year, we are trying to do a progressive dinner with a spend the night party at the end! Nothing makes me happier than food and dance tapes....
  • Work Christmas Parties- I love to go to Clayton's work Christmas parties and hang out with his coworkers. Plus, there is always free food and fun entertainment!
  • Time with faraway family- A lot of our family lives in other states or not close by. Holidays are always times for us to reconnect and spend much needed time together. Some people I can't wait to spend time with include my brother and and sister-in-law (Galen and Katie) who live in Missouri, Clay's family who live in Enterprise, and my Mississippi family!
  • A time and a reason to bake- I love to bake and love to eat the foods that I bake. Because Clayton and I are constantly trying to eat and live healthy, junk food is typically not in our house. However, the holidays are centered around junk food, which means I get to bake bake bake! Be prepared for many tasty concoctions!
  • Speaking of time off, I get a lot of that for Christmas! This year, I get a whole month of school off.... As much as I complain about the workload and time that accompanies grad school, I am so lucky that I get this much time off.

These are just a handful of the reasons why I love this season! This list will be continued on throughout the holiday season, so expect more to come!

Reminder!

Just wanted to post a reminder (in case you haven't heard enough about it today) to go vote tomorrow!!! It is so important that you make time for this and don't let this PRIVILAGE fall by the wayside. Take the time to research the issues before tomorrow and make a smart and educated vote. This is a very crucial election and YOUR vote is so important! If you don't vote, then don't complain on the state of the nation and who gets elected!!
And since this is MY blog and I have all the freedom I want, I want to take the time to say show my support for my candidates of choice, Barack Obama and Joe Biden! I truly believe in what you both stand for and can't wait to see you both as our nation's leaders!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Awhile...

Yes, it has been awhile since I last posted. School has overcome me the past 2-3 weeks and has not allowed me any free time. The only fun things I have done in the past 2-3 weeks are go to my parents house to watch the AL game and go to dinner with our great friends, Joe and Kathryn at Jackson's in Homewood. My family keeps that place in business, so if you are ever there, look for a Collins/Hollinhead. Yes, my life is so painfully boring. The only thing that helps is to remember I only have ONE semester left after this one!!! I thought it would never come and that Clayton and I would be in student debt forever! Of course, that was never going to happen, but now there is an end in sight for both of us, which selfishly means, another paycheck. Haha!

Nothing that fabulous has been going on lately. Clayton is, once again, at drill this weekend and will be home any minute. Thankfully, this is the last time he will go until December.

To change up the pace of this blog, I have been asked to complete a list of 15 things that I am not afraid or embarrassed to admit, thanks to my best friend, Melissa Echols.
  1. I am a very controlling person, in all aspects of the word. Everything in my house has a place and I get really upset if it is moved. I also hate change, whether it be a daily schedule or life changes. When change occurs, it typically falls on Clayton or my mom to "fix it." I don't show my true colors to many people, but when I do, I'm a handful!
  2. I love to hoard things. I always have and always will. When I was little, I would refuse to buy just one of something (books, notepads, Barbies, etc.) Instead, I would have to get multiples of things, then only play with one. To this day, I still do this! I will buy new clothes then refuse to wear them for months at a time!
  3. I am very dependent on others. This is actually something I have been working on for a few years, and I am doing so much better on it! However, I still feel the need to be on the phone whenever I'm in the car by myself.
  4. I have never met any other siblings that are as close in age as my brother and me. We are about 11 monts apart, meaning that my mom got pregnant with my brother 1 MONTH after she had me. We are Irish twins! Can anyone beat this?
  5. I love to make people feel awkward or embarrassed. I do this by asking random questions, like "Would you rather..." I think I am known for this by all of my social circles.
  6. I can't stand watching movies, commercials, etc. with sick, hurt, or sad animals. This is especially true with dogs. I break down into hysterical sobs. One of Clayton's favorite stories of me involves this. One Sunday afternoon, I was in our room studying and watching Air Bud, while he was in the den watching something else. While coming back to check on me, he discovered that I was crying really hard. Of course, he thought I was just really stressed with school. But in fact, I was crying over Air Bud because he little boy left him on an island and was yelling at him. To this day, I still cannot watch that movie!
  7. Other than Clayton (who is by far my best friend) my mom is my best friend. There is not a day that we don't talk on the phone or see each other. We tell each other everything and love to spend hours and hours together just doing nothing. It is so special when you can have this relationship with a parent, especially when you are no longer a child.
  8. If I werent in school and money was no option, Clayton and I would already be pregnant or be trying to get pregnant. Now, don't be shocked! We will not be getting pregnant anytime soon! However, we talk about it all the time, have our children's names picked out, and dream of the days when we will have lots of babies running around!
  9. This kind of goes along with the last confession. I do not want to be a stay at home mom. I feel selfish when I say that, but I really don't think I would be happy doing that. Yes, I want to spend lots of time with my children, but I would be so bored just staying at home. Best scenario, my mom will retire and watch my children in the morning and I would come home in the early afternoon!
  10. Clayton and I are yet to find the perfect church for us. As most of you know, I grew up Methodist and Clayton grew up Catholic. After researching it a lot and doing much praying, we have decided that we want to raise our children in the Methodist church; however, we don't want to just go to the church where I grew up. We have tried a lot of churches in Birmingham, but have not quite made a choice. This is actually one things we are struggling with right now because it is so important to be part of a church community. I grew up in my church, and even though it was a really big church, most people knew my family. I want the same experience for my children. We are always taking suggestions, if you would like to offer them to us!
  11. I love the show, Jon and Kate Plus 8, so much. If you know me at all, you know that a lot of my conversations involve this family. It really is an unhealthy obsession! I frequently talk about them like they are my own children and feel like I really know them. Don't worry, I would never steal them though! Haha!
  12. I love arts and crats and anything crafty! I wish I was better at it and would love to be taught how to recover furniture, smock, sew, and refinish furniture like a professional.
  13. I sometimes think that I should be a baker/cake decorator instead of being an occupational therapist. I love to bake and make anything sweet. I got this from my Nanna, who used to make all types of cakes before her arthritis prevented her from continuing. I would love to open my own business on the side, if possible.
  14. I'm a people pleaser. I have always wanted to fit in with different groups and never wanted to be different. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. I would definitely be the person who would "jump off a bridge because my friends did it." This is another thing that I try to work on.
  15. Despite my need to please others, I hold grudges. I think this is one of my worst traits. It doesn't matter who it is and the time that has passed since the event occurred, but I never seem to forget when others hurt me. I have prayed many hours about this, but I still seem to hold grudges. I really hate this about myself.

And that is it! Those are my 15 things, so please don't look at me differently or judge! =) I would love to see this from others!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Our Angels!

Obviously I am really stalling in doing my school work. This is my third post of the day! Ridiculous! Oh well.... I wanted to do a short post on our dogs because I realized I have never posted or talked about them. This is crazy because our lives really are centered around these dogs and anyone who knows us knows that we are always talking about them. The picture above is Clay and Cecilia, our niece, with our dogs last Christmas. As you can see, they are both so well-mannered (Yes, it took FOREVER!!!) and they are both so great with children. Cecilia loves them so much, and everytime she sees them, she can't wait to play with them. This is definitely a great thing for us for when we have children. Many times, Clay and I will make up stories about how our future children will yank on their ears and tails and laugh about how the dogs will just sit there and let them.
This is Bella. She is a yellow lab and is 2 years old. If you do the math, you will realize that her age matches up to how long we have been married. Any guesses why??? YES! She was Clay's wedding present to me. After we got back from our honeymoon, we picked Bella up the next day and then left for Oklahoma that day. She has been with us through thick and thin and through MANY tears. I don't know about Clayton, but I would have never gotten through living in Oklahoma for a year if it weren't for Bella. She has definitely kept us on our toes and always makes us laugh. She loves to cuddle and have her belly rubbed. She also is our circus dog! She knows lots of tricks and is always willing to show them to you. This picture shows her best because she knows how to look pitiful to make you pet her. It's all in the eyebrows.....

This baby is our Charlotte! Charlotte is 1 year old and is our rambunctious puppy. We adopted her from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society when she was 5 months old so Bella could have a friend to play with. At the time, Bella was very lonely and would lick her paws until they bled. Our vet said it was a lot of anxiety and boredom, and thought we should get another dog to keep her company. Since we have gotten Charlotte, Bella has definitely cut down on the licking and loves her so much! Charlotte is very different from Bella in that she is a lot more timid and hesitant to be around new people. We suspect that she was abused as a puppy. It has been really hard to discipline her because she just shakes when we pop her or yell at her. Also, she will growl at new men that come to our house (especially if they have hats on.) She would never do anything to them, but it can be alarming to new visitors. We have worked really hard with her and she is finally starting to listen to commands and stop growling (although she loves to bark.) She is not the best with tricks, but loves to play frisbee with Bella. They both are soo good at jumping to get the frisbee and will do these flip-like jumps in the air. It's hilarious.

Okay, this post turned out a lot longer than I thought! Whoops! Hope you enjoyed my post on our girls and if you have a dog, they would love to play with them anytime!

My first redo project!

This is actually a very late post...about 2 months, which shows you I really don't have a lot of extra time! Since our camera is all messed up, I wanted to go ahead and make this post before something else happens to it. I also am delaying doing some much needed studying. Oh well!

Okay, our first do-it-yourself project was to refinish this bookshelf that Clayton's dad built for him when he was growing up. It's original state just had a thick layer of polyurathane (sp?) on it and was just a cherry color. After starting grad school, I realized that I needed some bookshelves to hold my thousands of dollars worth of textbooks. Before buying a new one, I wanted to see if we could refinish this old bookshelf, which would be cheaper and would still allow us to keep this special piece of furniture.

Here is the original bookshelf.As you can see, we had already sanded off the gloss, but this is basically what it looked like. Here is the after! After sanding it, we painted on a gray primer (a few coats) and then did a few coats of black, semigloss paint. In addition, we added bead board to the back of the bookshelf to give it a back. We painted the bead board the same color as our trim on our crowned molding. For a first project, I think we did pretty good!In addition to painting the bookshelf, we also got three backets for extra storage. These are great because we have so many little things that have nowhere to go, such as checks, stationary, labels, etc. I just got these at Hobby Lobby during a week that had all baskets for 50% off. All together, they were less than $20, which is a great deal for such nice baskets!Here is the finished product in it's current location. Since we have no children and there is no need to have two guest bedrooms, we made one of the additional bedrooms into an office. I frequently need a room where I can just shut the door and study so I can block out outside noises. As you can see, the bookshelf did a great job of holding my many many textbooks and binders for OT school (everything on these shelves are for OT school.)I thought it would be nice to show you our other addition to our office. We purchased this desk about 6 months ago from AAFES, which is the military mall. If you have any family members or have a great friend that would allow you to log into their account, you should check it out. It has great furniture you would find at any furniture store, but it is a lot cheaper. You pay no tax (because it is a military website) and many times, the furniture is already so much cheaper than you would get it at a normal store. The other new buy in this picture is my favorite item in the house: My damask chair! We got this chair from Pier 1 (as you can guess is my favorite store.) I had been eyeing it for months and months. I knew I wanted it, but didn't have anywhere to put it in our house (we don't use these colors anywhere else in the house.) So in deciding to redecorate the office, I centered all design decisions around this chair. So far, I am loving everything we have done!

This week in a glance!

Since I am not frequent in my posts, I decided that I would just do a week wrap up when I don't have a lot of time to post! This week was definitely one of those weeks. We both have been so busy with work and school that we haven't had much time to think! Here are some things that went on this week:
  • Clayton went back to work after being at his yearly, two-week tour with the Air Force in Montgomery. We are both so glad he is back home and can get back into the normal swing of things. However, as all of you know (hopefully...) the market has been CRAZY the past few weeks, so work has also been equally as stressful. Thankfully, Smith Barney (primarily Citi) is doing pretty good in the grand scheme of things, so Clay is not looking at losing his job. They were a little disappointed that they didn't get to buy Wachovia, which Clay was excited about.
  • Clayton left this morning (it's Saturday) to go back to Montgomery for drill for the Air Force. He always has to go the first weekend of the month for the weekend. It was just unfortunate that it was the week after he got back from drill! Of course, he was dreading this weekend and really wanted to be home (So did I!) I just spoke with him, though, and he said the day is going good and he is really busy.
  • This week has also been equally crazy for me! School hasn't been too busy this semester up until these past two weeks. I just have so many projects due in the next month and I feel like I just can't catch up. For all of my friends, be prepared to not see me until Christmas, haha.
  • I went to my second day at UAB in the acute care unit, and I just continue to love it. It is really great when God shows you that you do have the strength to do things that you thought were too hard for you. I never thought I could work with adults, much less older adults. Since I have been at UAB, I have just loved listening to their stories and how their lives have changed as a result of disease, trauma, or impairment. As I mentioned last week, this really might be an option for me in the future, once I get some much needed work experience. I love how fast-paced it is and how you get to see so many different diagnoses. I get bored VERY easily and thrive on chaos. The acute care definitely delivers each week!
  • Clayton and my camera finally had it this week. I was trying to take pictures of our Halloween outside decorations and realized that it was broke for good. Guess it's a good thing that Christmas is coming around! So this means, most of my posts will be without pictures over the next couple of months.
  • My mom and dad are leaving for Canada next week, which is so exciting for them! Please pray that they have a safe trip and get to see so many great things there!

I guess that is really it. Tonight I am going to a wedding Fiesta shower for a great friend from OT school. She has really been so uplifting to me during my year and a half in school and has become a great friend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debate


Is anyone else watching the debate right now? I AM! If you are unsure of who you are going to vote for in this election, then PLEASE turn it to the debate right now! It is so important that you are informed on all of the issues before you place your vote on November 4th. Don't just vote for who your parents tell you to vote for, for who your husband/wife will vote for, or what party is popular in your state. Really take time to think about what you believe should be taken care of by the government and find out which candidate matches your beliefs. I'm not telling you to vote a certain way (although, if you know me at all, you know who I would LOVE for you to vote for.) All I am telling you to do is be smart in your vote, don't throw your vote away, and don't just settle for "not voting because you could care less."


If you care less about this election, then don't complain about what happens with our country!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Some favorites...

After reading my best friend's post on decorating for Christmas, I decided that I wanted to make a similar post on some of my favorite decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving! If you know me at all, you know that my favorite holiday of all time is Halloween! I love the spooky decorations, fall colors, and watching scary movies! If I could have an infinite budget, I would love to decorate my house with so many Halloween and fall decorations! So without further adeu, here are some decorations that I would love to have or am going to get!

I absolutely love this pumkin door hanger. It is a great replacement for the usual wreath! This is from Ballards. (So are the wrought iron pumpkins!)

This is a great doormat that can be used all throughout the fall season. You can get it at World Market (I'm going to get it tonight!)
I absolutely love this berry wreath. It's from Pier 1!
This cornacopia is great and would look great on a dining room or kitchen table. Around Halloween, you can fill it with different sized and shaped pumpkins! This is from Pier 1!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Endeavor!


Today was a very big day for me! I started a Level I fieldwork today at UAB hospital in Acute Care. This is a big deal for me because I have mostly done all of my OT experience with children, so working with adults is pretty foreign to me. As most people know, I did my last fieldwork with Dave Bledsoe, who does industrial rehab. That fieldwork was definitely a lot more layed back than my current fieldwork at the hospital. I was constantly on the go today, visiting various rooms all over the hospital. I got to see everything including amputations, organ transplants, COPD, MRSA (yuck!), CIDP, MI....just everything! It definitely the best learning experience I have ever had and was so high paced! I am loving it already and think this may change my opinion about always working with children.....well, maybe not quite!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Living room and do...




I forgot to put up a picture of my living room so you can help me decide about how I should redo the gossip table. Here it is! These are pretty old, so there are some changes. However, the general color scheme is still the same. So what do you think?




By the way, in my last post I put due instead of do... I know this is very stupid to post about, but I hate when people are writing something and use the wrong form/spelling of a word.... I'm a dork!

Update on life!

I know it's been awhile since I have posted, but life has been so busy! Since my last post, everything drastically changed from the plans I posted on. Here is an overview of the events of the past two weeks:
  • The Air Force people (umm... don't really know what to call them, haha!) called Clayton on Monday, September 15th, and told him that he needed to be in Montgomery the next morning! We suspected this was going to happen after cancelling his trip to DC. Despite the fact that he was able to go to his two week drill (which we really wanted for monetary reasons), he really was not looking forward to going to The Gump...He spends one weekend a month in Montgomery for his traditional drill requirements, and dreads it every month.

  • Clay is still in Montgomery and will be there until next Tuesday. In case anyone is curious, I have been VERY scared every night that he has been gone and have not gotten much sleep. Things just seem to be louder at night huh?

  • This weekend, I drove to Montgomery to see Clay and make a stop at the Eastbrook Flea Market (THANKS MELISSA!) It was definitely a worthwhile trip! Not only did I get to spend some much needed time with my husband, but I also got to get some great pieces of furniture for our house!

This first piece of furniture is an end table for our office! We are slowly but surely trying to fix up each room in the house. Right now, we are working on fixing up the office and we really needed an end table to put next to the chair and ottoman in there. This table will definitely do the trick! All we need now is a lamp to put on top of it!


Our next piece of furnituer that we bought is my all time favorite! This is a gossip table! It was used a long time ago as a storing spot for a phone, and when someone called you, you could sit on the little chair built into it! It is the cutest piece of furniture I have ever seen and just fell in love with it at first glance! Clayton was a little unsure of it, but I know it will make a great addition to our house! It definitely needs a little work (paint and recovering of the chair cushion). What do yall think? Should I paint it chocolate brown or black? Also, should I make the cushion red and cream/yellow checks, brown and cream checks, or black and cream checks? I am going to put a picture of my living room so you can help to make the decision!
  • Today has actually been a pretty terrible day for me. My day started off with a really hard, essay test that was like 8 pages long. But guess what? I only got to the beginning of the 4th page! So, I started off the day only finishing half of a test and crying as I turned it in. Next, we had a speaker during our lunch break, which meant no break. I DESPERATELY needed that break to calm my nerves, but had to just make due. Finally, the day ended with a surprise visit to the VA to give interview on vets with low vision. This would have been fine, but we got lost in the process and the man we interviewed wasn't really nice... I just really am ready to go to sleep and let this day be over!

So that has been our life for the past 2 weeks! I promise I'll update more!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So frustrating...

Don't you hate it when people change plans at the last minute? Don't you hate it even more when you were depending on those plans and had made some life decisions based on those plans? UHHH I DO!

Clayton was supposed to leave for Washington DC tomorrow morning to do his two week drill for the Air Force. They called him TODAY at 1:00ish to tell him that he would no longer be going to drill. Who waits until the day before you leave to tell you that you can't go? He has already bought his plane ticket, booked his hotel, and made plans to take off work! Despite both of us being very happy that we won't be apart for 2 weeks, we are very unhappy with this change in plans.

...the nerve of some people....

Remembering...

Today is a day that all of will reflect on until the day we die. Whenever someone mentions September 11, 2001 you will always think back to where you were, what you were doing, and who you knew that could be involved in the act of terrorism that day. Seven years ago, America lost thousands of brave citizens who just thought their day would be normal. Since that day, we have continued to lose more Americans in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. No matter our political beliefs and our view on our current president, we should be so grateful for the protection and freedom that our military has given us through their sacrifice.

Although he has never been to war or gone over seas, I still want to thank my husband for his commitment to our country. He has sacrificed many friendships, opportunities, and typical young adult experiences to be able to train and be a part of the United States Air Force.
Thank you to all members of our armed forces for all that they have given us the past seven years. I also want to thank all of the FAMILIES of these soldiers for their sacrifice! These individuals have had to live without their loved one for months and years at a time. Thank you for contributing to our freedom as well.

**By the way, please excuse this picture, haha. It was the only one I could find at the moment with Clay in his uniform!



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Continuation of Anniversary Fun!

DISCLAIMER: This is a very cheesy and detailed post. If you don't care about details from our anniversary, then I would skip this post! I am really just writing it so I can remind myself for future years!

Okay! I'm back to include details! If you remember, we decided to go to the beach for our big anniversary gift to each other. We had to go a month early though because of my school schedule (yes, school messes up EVERYTHING!) I have already told yall about our great time there, so there is no need to go back into it!

So for the actual day, we didn't go on a big trip again or anything. Instead, we went to dinner at the Melting Pot last night and man oh man, it didn't disappoint!!! We both agreed that it was the best dinner we have ever had! We got a 4 course dinner that included a cheese fondue, salad, meat fondue, and a dessert platter. All of it was great, but the dessert was the best thing I have ever put into my mouth (Clay agrees.) If you have some extra money sitting around....a good big of extra money....you HAVE to go there.

Now onto our presents! Clay and I decided shortly after we got married that we wanted to honor the traditional ideas for getting each other anniversary gifts. We just agreed that it made it special and fun to have to think about gifts that correspond with the material/thing that each anniversary is assigned... Okay.. that sentence sounded stupid so I will just give you an example, haha! For our first anniversary, we got each other gifts that involve paper. I got Clay tickets to a Braves game in Atlanta and Clay sent me a postcard from Charleston telling me that he had planned a trip to Charleston for a long weekend. He didn't actually write the postcard. The lady who owned the bed and breakfast wrote it for him and sent it to me (but he had told her what to write.) I feel like I am not making it sound as special as it was, but it was one of the most romantic gifts I have ever received. It was just so special that he planned an entire trip by himself without me even having a clue!

Okay, so for this year. For a second anniversary, the gift should be cotton. For my gift to Clay, I knew I needed to be practical because he really needed a new pair of dress shoes for work. So I gave him some dress socks with a note inside that explained that we would go shopping for some new shoes! Not very creative, but sometimes you have to abandon sweetness and just go for practical! We went shopping on Monday and he got some beautiful Cordovan Cole Haan loafers! For me, Clay was, as always, so thoughtful. I have said since we dated how sweet I think it is when a guy gives the girl a dress that he picked out himself for her to wear for a fancy date. I don't know why I love that idea so much, but it just sounds very romantic. Well.... he surprised me on Monday night with.......... A BEAUTIFUL DRESS! He had spent a few weeks looking for the "perfect dress" and he definitely found it! I will post pictures later of us on our date (where I wore the dress.)

Overall, it was a great 2nd anniversary and I can honestly say I am more in love with Clay today than I ever knew I could be!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

700 and a little bit of cotton!

I will do a longer post in the next few days, but just wanted to write a short blurp about how special today was for Clayton and me. Today was our 2nd wedding anniversary!! 700 days ago today, we were professing our love for each other and becoming our own family in front of our family and friends. I hate to be too cheesy, but our wedding was definitely the best day of my life thus far. I'm not going to lie and say that everything has been newlywed bliss and everything that comes out of our mouth is love (we all have our tiffs!) But I can say that Clayton has made me a better woman than I ever would have been if I wouldn't have met him. I know for a fact that all of life's experiences would never be as special, fun, or full of love if I didn't have my best friend to share them with me. Since the day we have gotten married, I have thanked God everyday for bringing him to me. Love you babe!


Okay okay.... Enough of that mushy gushy stuff! When I have some more time (and not starting homework at 9:30 at night), I will go into more details of our gifts for each other and our celebrations! Until then, I will leave you with a picture from our wedding two years ago!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Caroline Bree Kraus

In my short time of blogging, I realized that I have failed to mention one of the newest and most important people in my life! Clayton's older sister, Lisa, had her second child, Caroline Bree Kraus, on May 24, 2008. She was 8 lbs 13 oz! She has been such a blessing to our family and is really a great addition! Clay and I have only gotten to be with her three times because they live in Enterprise, Al. But in those three times, we have fallen very much in love with our new niece. Her older sister, Cecilia Grace, has been a great help and is a great big sister! Cecilia is 6 and is in the 1st grade! She constantly gives her kisses and talks "baby talk" to her. I am so blessed to have these two wonderful nieces (and the fact that they are preparing me to be a mommy one day!) Here are some pictures of Caroline during the three times we have been with her!


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Monday, August 25, 2008

Last update on my grandfather

To keep everyone updated on my grandfather, I decided to make one last post about his rehab. He is doing so much better than we really thought he would get to! He is still at Brookwood Hospital, but has been transferred to the inpatient rehab unit there, which was great progress. As of right now, he will be released on Friday! YAY! Unfortunately, he will not be able to go back to his apartment, so my dad has made arrangements for him to move to an assisted living facility in Hoover. Both my grandfather and my parents are happy about this arrangement because he will be close to them and it is a nice facility. Thank you all for the many prayers for him throughout these weeks. We are very grateful! =)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our 2008 Summer Vacay!

Clayton and I took a MUCH NEEDED vacation to Destin, FL from August 9-14. We had planned this trip for a really long time, so we were able to rent a condo (our first time to rent our own condo!) and be able to go out to eat/do some fun things (shopping!) while we were there. We stayed at Luau, which is in the same gated area as the Hilton and the Sandestin Resort. It was nice to be close to the Hilton because they had live bands play poolside everyday, which could be heard from the beach! Overall, it was a very relaxing trip that allowed both of us to forget about work or school stressors, and be able to focus completely on our marriage. Sometimes, it's easy to put life events and obligations before your husband/wife, which unfortunately, Clayton and I both do sometimes. During this trip, we regained a new focus on our relationship, which we DEFINITELY will continue to do during our normal routines. Here are some pictures for everyone to enjoy of our trip!







This is our first night at our condo before we went to dinner at the Crab Trap.







This is dinner at the Crab Trap while we were sitting at the beachside bar! It was so relaxing, and I wish I was still there!


Dinner at the Fisherman's Wharf. As you can see, a storm is brewing in the background! It hit as we were playing mini golf a little while later!

Before we went to dinner and to spend time at Baytowne Wharf. Although I'm sure most people have been there, I will emphasize how much fun you can have there! There are a lot of different restaurants, shops, bars, and fun family activities at Baytowne! This was definitely the night that we had the most fun while we were there!






The big chair at Baytowne!




Dinner at the Red Bar... Once again, I'm sure most people have been here, but this is a restaurant that we recommend! It has such a fun atmosphere and the food is GREAT! However, there is only 5-6 items on the menu, so for the picky eaters, you might not be able to be picky for one night! =)


This was the result of the trip. I'm not sure if you can see this, but I acquired a red, itchy rash all overy my body after the 2nd day at the beach. I'm pretty sure it wasn't sun poisoning because I really didn't get sunburned. Maybe an allergy? I never figured out what it was, but it was nothing that a little Benadryl couldn't cure! Any ideas?

Now a chance for you to be involved! If you have any other fun restaurants or things to do in Destin, FL, I would LOVE to hear for our next beach trip!