Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Caroliner!

Well, I will continue with my desperately late posts with Caroline's 1st birthday party... yes, that was back in May.... Once again, at least I am doing it!!
Since I can't remember every little detail about that weekend (we have been to Enterpirse twice since that party, haha), I will post some fun facts about Caroline these days!
- She loves to do whatever her big sister does. Forget baby toys, give me Barbies, baby dolls, and bubbles! Of course, this leads to many bumps and bruises. According to big sis Cecilia, "Caroline is tough as nails!"
- She LOVES to eat, hence her delicious but chunky monkey thighs! When her family goes out to eat, Caroline is given her own kids meal.... and eats every bite plus more!

- She is no longer walking, but running! Caroline has to keep up with that big sister of hers.
-Adding to that physical activity, she loves to dance and play in the splash park. This child has NO fear when it comes to swimming. **Side note: I hope my children get this trait one day! It makes for a really fun time at the pool/beach/lake.
-She is talking up a storm saying words like Mama, Dada, Bye-bye, baby, etc. On top of that, Lisa (Clay's sis) has been teaching her sign language since she was an infant. Caroline is soooo good with the sign language and frequently uses it with her words.

-She melts my heart! She has absolutely NO separation anxiety and will go to almost everyone. She loves to cuddle, be held, and give wet kisses (with licking, hahaha!)

I love you so much, Caroliner! You make me and Uncle Clay so happy (and are making us want to speed up our baby process!! ;)


I am always a week or so late on my posts, but better to post later than never! I have read a lot of blogs who have posted on the newer furniture store located in Homewood, Nadeau. It's filled with contemporary, rustic, and funky furniture that is mostly 1 of a kind. On top of that, the prices really are great! All of the furniture is made by hand in countries like Indonesia or India. Nadeau is a wholesaler who buys the furniture from these countries and sales them in their stores all over the US (I think the owner told me there are only 6 or 7.) I had heard so many people talk about this store both at work and in the community that I was just itching to visit it last Friday....Of course, it did not disappoint! My first trip to Nadeau on Friday (yes, there was two trips... one alone and one with hubbie in tow) ended up with these two items and hopes to buy a little bit bigger item.

My 2nd trip on Friday ended with a happy wife and this beautiful and well constructed buffet/wine rack.

Clayton and I joked when we got home that night that this impromptu buy reminded us of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. One of the housewives, Teresa, had just purchased a new set of.... breasts... and in response, the husband replied, "Happy wife, happy life. Ehhhh, Forget about it!!" Clayton said he frequently thinks this phrase in his head (or says it out loud) when he does something to make me happy. Haha!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Master and Master Hollinhead

I don't have a lot of time to post tonight, but couldn't go without recognizing someone special on a HUGE accomplishment. Yesterday, Clayton found out that he was accepted into the MBA program at UAB!!!!!!!! YAY!!! We have been waiting for the acceptance letter (ahhh... email...) for a few weeks now, so it was a huge relief to finally hear some news (and good news at that.) Clayton will begin his classes in August and will graduate with a Masters in Business in two years. In case you are wondering, this specific program is tailored to individuals who already are working and want to obtain their degree through a night/weekend program. This is great for Clay because 1. He is our only paycheck at the moment (for only 5 more months though!) 2. His new job is turning out to be REALLY great and offers lots of opportunities for growth, which means he isn't about to quit it. I am so proud of Clay for wanting to go back to school after 5 years and wanting to provide our families with as many opportunities as possible.
In light of his acceptance, I think it is appropriate to mention how wonderful the military has been to us the past few years. If you know me well, I'm sure you have heard at least once how happy I am that we are no longer a "true" military family. Yes, Clay still has drill once a month, which ends up turning into more time than that; however, we don't have to live the everyday grind that active duty soldiers have to live. Even though Clay is no longer active duty, we have gotten so many incredible benefits that most US citizens do not have....
1. An extra paycheck that gets to all go into savings
2. Cheap but GREAT health insurance when Clay's new company wanted us to pay over $500 a month for theirs
3. 10-20% off at almost all stores, attractions, restaurants, etc.
4. An opportunity to use a VA loan (which requires no down payment... no one can get those anymore!!)Thankfully, we have not used ours yet.
5. Tax free grocery and clothing shopping
6. And what is most important to us right now.... FREE SCHOOL!!! Yes, Clay is using his GI Bill to pay for his entire Master's degree. From someone who owes 1/2 of a 6 figure amount on her grad school, this is heaven! We are very lucky and appreciative that Clay is able to use the GI Bill to pay for his school, but definitely keep in mind the price he paid for it.

***I don't want anyone to think that we are bragging AT ALL about the benefits we have acquired because of Clay's military experience. It makes us very happy and feel very fortunate for these opportunities, but we know that they did not come without a price. For the sacrifice that our men and women give to protect our freedom, they deserve SOOOOO much more than this. However, we are so grateful for these wonderful benefits!