Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elijah Paul Wagner

I can count on one hand the number of times I have spent with little babies, and I have had the opportunity to spend time with two sweet little boys this week! My toddler time was great, but I held a newborn baby for the first time in my life yesterday. It was pretty surreal! Elijah Paul Wagner is the beautiful and perfect son of our friends Eric and Jamie Wagner. He was born yesterday morning at 7:24 a.m., and from what I know of his birth story, his arrival was not like any I've heard before. I think Jamie might be a freak of nature because she laughed the whole time she pushed (and her epidural didn't work on one side), and she said the whole event was much easier than she thought! From the pictures I saw from minutes after Eli was born, she looked like she had done nothing more than take a walk around the block! Michael got to meet Elijah this afternoon, and I got to hold him again today. He is so sweet and tiny!
How does a baby look on us? I think Michael was scared he would break him at first!

I wish we would have taken a picture with him together, but Michael said it was best we didn't send the wrong message! Ha!

I love his nose!

Right before we left, Jamie unwrapped him to get him ready to nurse. He was so much smaller once he was unswaddled (is that a word?). He kept making the funniest noises because he was mad that his mommy was trying to wake him up.
I am so happy for Jamie and Eric! They have so many family and friends who already love Eli so much. He is going to be one spoiled little boy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Tillmans come to Birmingham!

Our good friends from Henderson, Richard and Lacey Tillman and baby Asher, came to visit us yesterday. They now live in Savannah, GA, while the rest of their family is in Arkansas. Birmingham is halfway between, so Richard and Lacey and her parents met in Alabama and stayed with us. This was our first time to see their sweet little boy Asher!

My experience with babies is very limited, but I was very impressed by this little boy! He is so precious and sweet, and he is very, very happy! Lacey and Richard say that he sleeps 12 hours a night and takes naps during the day. Now that's my kind of baby!

In the 20 hours we spent with Asher, I found out that he is definitely a daddy's boy, and he loves balls, stairs, and puppies! He kept running to his daddy and to his grandpa, but he also loved Michael too. I really liked this picture of him and Michael playing together.

Asher loved Scarlett. He kept walking around pointing at her and saying "puppy, puppy." He hugged her all night long when she would let him, and he would rub his sweet little face against hers. I don't think Scarlett knew what to think of him though. I believe she was a little jealous!

Big lick from the Puppy!

Asher and his daddy Richard! He looks so much like his daddy.

Oh yeah...Asher also loves food! He didn't get those cute chubby cheeks eating Cheerios! This morning, I caught him giving Scarlett a piece of bacon his mommy had just given him. Scarlett warmed up to Asher really quick after that! She was his little buddy because she likes food too!

Scarlett begging for a pancake!

Everyone left around 11 a.m. and headed back home. I didn't want to see them go, but just 20 hours around a baby, and me and Scarlett were pooped! We took a little afternoon nap together, and I think she was happy to have her mommy to herself!

I am so glad Richard, Lacey, and Asher got to visit us this weekend. And just in case your wondering...we did not catch baby fever even though Asher was a little convincing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago, I overcame two long years of panic attacks and anxiety to take that flight to Houston, TX. The occasion was seeing McGreevey Field dedicated to Michael's dad Kevin who had passed away months earlier. That flight was exhilarating and overwelming, and it ended a chapter of fear that had held me back for way too long! We will be flying again in May, and I am not nearly as nervous as I was last year. I am so thankful for the support I was given that helped me take that flight, and I am happy to say that a year later I am steadily kicking my anxiety's big fat butt! Just yesterday, my mom told me that I was much stronger than I give myself credit for. I think she may be right!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Excuse Me Doctor, What Did You Say?

I had a scary doctor's appointment yesterday. I'm proud to say that I have not been to the doctor in a year, but I guess yesterday's appointment made up for it! I admit I let my symptoms pile up before I finally made an appointment to get myself examined yesterday. I've been feeling tired a lot lately, I've always had trouble sleeping, I've got a bad case of TMJ, and I found a decent sized lump on my neck the other day. It was the lump that finally made me make that call! Trust don't want to search WebMD for "neck lumps" or you will scare yourself to death! The lump is more toward the back of my neck, so I assumed it was just a knot in a strained muscle since I sit at a desk all day. I figured the lack of sleep is just a symptom of my anxiety, the TMJ is something I am just going to have to live with, and being tired is just my nature! I rattled off all of my symptoms to the nurse, and she said the doctor would be in to see me in a few moments. Instead, a few seconds later, she came back in with the news that my doctor wanted her to prick my finger and check my white blood cell count because of the lump and my fatigue. HUH?! Prick what? I have Cancer? I have a Disease? White Blood Cell Count? Nerves rising, stomach sinking, clammy palms! How am I going to tell Michael and my mom I have cancer? And you wonder why I have anxiety! It's not self induced I promise!!! Finger pricked, and I'm back in the office. Doctor checks the lump, and she says it's definitely a very swollen lymph node we need to watch. She asks if I feel bad other than the fatigue. I don't feel sick or anything, so I'm confused about why my lymph node would be so swollen. But into the conversation, I draw a connection to the fact that I pulled a tick out of my head last week (I know, it's so gross!) after we had hiked in the Boulder Fields. My doctor concluded that most likely, that little tick bite is causing my lymph node to swell. I was feeling better, but then the doctor moves on to my TMJ and tells me that there is really nothing that can be done. Here are the progression of steps I was offered: 1. Start with an anti-inflammatory 2. Move on to a muscle relaxer 3. then see an oral surgeon and have my jaw broken! I DON'T THINK SO!!! I left the doctor's office a little shaken up, but I was over the experience pretty quickly. Last night, however, I opened up my anti-inflammatory for my TMJ and antibiotic for my tick bite. The anti-inflammatory didn't scare me, but you should see the freaking horse pill I have to take to cure my lymph node! It's huge! As I always do, I read about the antibiotic before taking it, and I was shocked when it stated plainly that it is mostly prescribed to TREAT and PREVENT MALARIA! All I have is a tick bite from the Boulder Fields in Hoover, Alabama. I haven't been treking through the continent of Africa!!! I hate taking medicine, especially something strong enough to cure malaria! I felt doomed! Well...I sucked it up and have taken two horse pills so far, and that little lump seems a bit smaller today. I hope I'm in the clear, but I promise you I don't plan to have my jaw broken anytime soon!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Six Days of Randomness

This past Friday, my cousin Sydney and four of her friends from UCA stayed with us before heading down to Panama City for their first spring break trip. They got in late on Friday and packed up early Saturday, so I didn't get to spend much time with them. They were sweet girls though, and I am glad we could let them stay with us. Having them around made me think about my first and only experience with Panama City Beach my freshman year circa 2002!
Here is the group on Saturday morning before they left! Syd is the cutie on the far right.

I desperately searched high and low for a picture of me and my four sorority sisters who went to Panama City Beach nine years ago. So much has changed since then, most importantly, the fact that we didn't have digital cameras! We were rocking the wind up disposable cameras in my day! I went through all of my albums to take a digital picture of my film pictures of spring break, but I came up empty! I just think it would have been funny to compare the two. We dressed so differently, we definitely didn't text, tweet, or facebook, and we didn't use a gps system to get us from Arkansas to the beach.

After the girls left on Saturday, I went shopping while Michael went to work. On Saturday night, we dropped off Scarlett with our friends Nicole and Chris before heading to Auburn to watch the girls NCAA tournament game between Samford and Florida State University on Sunday. It was nice to stay the night away, and it felt like a mini-vacation! I think Auburn is such a cute town! The campus is so beautiful, and the town just feels so homey. I wish we could have stayed more than a night, but unfortunately Florida State beat Samford and we headed back to Birmingham on Sunday.

While in Auburn, Michael and I ate lunch at the original Momma Goldberg's just a block from campus. They have the best sandwiches, and the weather was perfect for sitting outside for a nice lunch.
We drove through the campus after lunch because I wanted to see the trees at Toomer's Corner. It is awful that someone would poison these magnificent trees, and I hope they are going to be saved. You can see that they are still alive, but the ground around them is blocked so you can't get close. I hope there is some way to save them. Rolling Toomer's Corner is one of the best traditions in college football, and I know that so many Auburn fans hope their children and grandchildren will partake in the same tradition twenty years from now.

As always, it was hard to go to work on Monday. I love my job, but I like weekends much better. When I got to work Monday, there was a huge cake to celebrate our company's 15th Anniversary in the breakroom from Edgar's Bakery. Oh my gosh this cake smelled heavenly and sinful at the same time, but I couldn't eat a bite because of Lent. A little wouldn't hurt, right? Just a lick of icing?! Don't worry, I was a good girl! It hasn't been that difficult to refrain from sweets (Michael would disagree), until this week, and I'm suffering a little bit! Today the cake was still there, and I can only hope they eat it all tomorrow and get that thing out of the office!

So last night, Michael brought home the first season of Mad Men. I've always wanted to watch the show, and I know I'm about 4 years late, but we started with episodes 1 & 2 last night. I loved the show, and now I know what everyone has been talking about for so long. I've heard it gets better, so I think I might just have to go on a Mad Men watching spree very soon! It is hard to get past the "man's world" mentality at first, and I am so glad I don't live in the 1960's! But I really do like the show.

Today, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed to say the least. I haven't slept well in two days, and I woke up several times last night-once to Michael sleepwalking and turning on the bedroom light because he swore he saw something! I yelled at him to come back to bed and after a session of mumbling, he finally turned off the light and went back to sleep. I could have killed him! I don't function well with no sleep, and my coffee didn't help this morning. I was already late to work and hustling to get there, and the most annoying thing happened on my drive in. This girl was behind me, and she was driving way too close to me. I could feel my blood pressure rising because she would not back off, and then she started putting on makeup while she was driving less than 20 feet away from me! I was ticked! I am pretty sure that if its against the law to text and drive it should be against the law to put on mascara while driving!

I promise I felt better later on today and finally snapped out of my crabbiness! We made a really delicious dinner tonight, and now I'm just hoping for a good night's sleep! Thanks for letting me be a little random tonight!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Caught by the TV Camera!

On Monday night, Michael and I went to the Samford Women's Basketball Team NCAA Selection Party. The women are 2011 Southern Conference Champions, and this is their first trip to the tournament. I think it's exciting that Michael gets to be a part of Samford Athletics history, and I am glad I got to go to the Selection Party with him. All the local news media were there interviewing the basketball coach during the party, and one reporter just happened to be interviewing the coach while Michael and I were in the background. You can't really see me until the end, but you can definitely see Michael. And it is FUNNY!!! His boss Grant has the cutest little girl named Maggie, and she loves to flirt with Michael. Well...the video shows Michael flirting right back, and even though he realizes he is on camera and tries to get out of the way, you can see him the whole time. If you want to see my goofy husband, check out the Samford Selection Party! On a different note, how is everyone doing with the one or more things you have given up for Lent? I gave up candy and sweets and Michael gave up sweets, cokes and sweet tea. Luckily, it hasn't been too hard for me, but I think Michael is struggling a little bit. He keeps counting down the days! Last night, he said "7 days down, only 33 to go!" I am pretty sure he was addicted to sugar! Giving up something is so simple, and it is irrelevant to give up sweets when I know all that Jesus gave up for me. But whenever I want some candy or a piece of chocolate, it feels so good to be reminded of the many blessings God has given me! Let's just hope Michael will survive :)! I hope you are all having a great week! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Perfect Weekend

After a week of rain in Birmingham, we were blessed with the most beautiful weather this weekend. We spent the entire time outside, and we had so much fun! Saturday morning we got up and started working on the outside of the house. Michael and Eric fixed the screen porch in the back, and they took down all the screens and Michael washed all the windows. I was so scared watching him clean the top windows. I'm a little afraid of heights I guess because my stomach had butterflies the entire time he was on that ladder! While Michael cleaned the windows, I raked the leaves in the front yard...and sadly, I was so sore from raking the next day!

All the screens are gone, and the windows look so much better now. They are clean and shiny and ready to sell the house! Saturday night, we had our friends over for dinner. We grilled out and ate delicious hamburgers and tons of other yummy food! After dinner, we challenged each other to a game of Scattergories. It was so great to all get together! I love it now that the weather is warmer because everyone wants to hang out more often.

All the girls and Baby Elijah who is going to be here in less than a month! Nicole and me with our fur babies Zeus and Scarlett
The love of my life :)

On Sunday, Michael, Scarlett, and I went hiking in the boulder fields. It was a gorgeous day, and it's best to get all of the hiking in before it gets to hot around here. Exercising in Birmingham can get pretty miserable pretty quickly in the summer.

There were several waterfalls and pools for Scarlett to play in while we hiked, and she loved it. I wish she would swim more because she loves the water, but every time she gets in she will only go as far as she can touch. If she gets too deep, she freaks out!

The wet girl after a little plunge!
She got so muddy, but it was worth it!
Scarlett and her daddy!

Some people hate losing an hour, but I personally love spring daylight savings. It may be one of my favorite days of the year because it means more daylight to hang out in once I get home from work. I love spring and summer, and the longer days seem to melt my anxiety away! This was a perfect weekend, and nothing could have made it any better!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

McGreevey News!

On Friday, Michael's brother Sean and his girlfriend Caroline got engaged!!! Caroline called us late Friday night to tell us the big news, and we are so excited! Michael and I love Caroline very much, and I am personally so happy to have a new sister-in-law who is as cool as she is! They are perfect for each other, and we are blessed to have both of them in our lives. We can't wait for Caroline to officially join us as Caroline McGreevey!
Congratulations to the fabulous couple!

Me and my soon to be sister-in-law!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scarlett Goes to Work

Recently, I told you how I have been blessed with a really great job. Just when I thought I was going to have to tough it how at a job every day that I hated, I was given the opportunity to work for a really great company who took a chance on a girl with no accounting experience. Today, I love my job even more!

Late yesterday, our real estate agent called to ask if we would be able to show the house. We really need to sell this house, but I really don't want Scarlett in the house while we are trying to sell it. It's pretty common that babies are allowed to join their mommas in my office (yes, they are that flexible!), and I hoped they would make an exception for Scarlett, my little fur baby!

No problem! My boss said I could bring her anytime!

So today Scarlett joined me in the office. It was nice having her around, but I doubt I will make a habit of it. She's spoiled, but not that spoiled!

Here are some pictures of our fun day at the office.

She slept most of the morning!
Chilling out looking out of the window in my tiny, but cozy office!

She was so good today, and she chilled out on her pillow most of the time.

I wonder if she hopes that we will show the house more often?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Some Things Never Change

Just as all weekends go, this weekend was not long enough. I feel like I blink my eyes and it's Monday again! Some things never change I guess, and I feel like a few things that occurred this weekend made me realize just that!

Michael and I would like to think of ourselves as free and spontaneous, not tied down by anything that would hold us back from late date nights and spur of the moment plans. But really, life for us isn't much like that; in fact, how we spend our time away from work hasn't changed much over the years. We are pretty good at being homebodies and more than anywhere else, home is where you will find us. Friday night, we spent the evening at home cleaning and doing laundry, and I am pretty sure we were in bed before 10 pm! I think it was 9:30 pm on Saturday. Spontaneous huh?!

Saturday morning, we helped out at the Dream Center before Michael dropped me off at the salon to get some highlights. Again...some things never change! I am officially on my way to bringing blonde back into my life. I liked my darker hair, but I honestly don't know why I ever change it because I always go back blonde. It will be a gradual process to get back to the color I want, but as you can see, I'm getting there!

This is me and Scarlett in November after going auburn/brown
This is me and Scarlett on Saturday after my appointment. This is a pretty bad picture of me, but you can see there is a little more blonde. I think it's going to take a few more times to get it where I want it.
P.S. Every time I look at this picture of me, I see my mom!

Another thing that unfortunately never changes is the unpredictable weather in the South. It was so dreary on Saturday, and I thought the rain would never stop! Yesterday, it felt like winter again, and it was very, very cold and gray. After weeks of gorgeous weather, it was depressing to feel like we were still dealing with winter.

Well, that was our weekend, pretty much the same as most weekends are for us! I hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Year Later

Today, I took a look back at some of my posts when I began blogging last year. Boy! I had a lot of time on my hands! I blogged a lot! Much of what I wrote seems like it happened so many years ago, which makes me realize how much change we have been through in such a short amount of time. It's been almost a year since I took the flight I was dreading terribly, and I am already anticipating another flight in a few months for our anniversary. I don't even feel nervous! It was interesting to read over the blogs about my struggles with anxiety and panic disorder. It's obvious I was going through some rough days there for a while! I was also doing a lot of soul searching when I began writing. I'm not much different now, to be honest. I'm still doing some soul searching, and I still have anxiety, but something in my life is different.

Our lives are no less chaotic than they were a year ago; in fact, here recently, I believe we've gone through a lot. We have been living in Birmingham, AL, since June after making a decision to move here so Michael could begin his career in athletics and I could begin my dream job in PR. We were both so excited to move here for better jobs and to be around many of our friends who have known Michael since high school and who were a part of our wedding. Soon after we moved here, the honeymoon was sort of over, and I realized my job was more of a nightmare. I was so disappointed in myself! I went to work everyday miserable, but I felt so guilty because I was mostly to blame for moving us here.

In the meantime, we started attending church regularly for the first time in our marriage. Many of our friends attend this church, and I immediately loved it. The music takes some getting used to if you aren't into contemporary worship, but the messages have always been great. The more we went to church, the more I felt my relationship with God strengthening. With church came a small group bible study, a daily quiet time, a stronger marriage, and a better relationship with God. My relationship with God grew as the difficulties at work grew, and I could not imagine how life would have been if it were simply me trying to deal with everything without a little help from the man upstairs!

For a few months, life was hard, and I questioned why we were here. But as time unraveled, I quickly realized that we weren't in Birmingham for jobs, we were here because it's where God wanted us to be, I believe for several reasons. He wanted us here to be with friends, to take care of a house that was going to need some TLC, to learn to budget, to strengthen our marriage, to seek our purpose in both our personal lives and in our careers, and most importantly to find a place where we would grow closer to Him.

Early November, my friend Jamie called me out of the blue to tell me her company was hiring, and she thought I would be great for the job since it required a person who likes to talk to people. Her company is a sales tax auditing firm full of accountants and numbers people. I sort of blew her off to be honest, I've been around some accountants, and they can be really crazy and really scary!!!! I'm a word person for heaven's sake! But I was desperate, and I thought "what the heck!" I sent her my resume but never heard a thing. My mom came to visit me over Thanksgiving, and she saw how stressed I was about my job. The whole week she was here, I was more worried about a stupid brunch I had planned for early December, and I couldn't even enjoy myself. Yes, I was miserable, and I was making my mom miserable too! By the time she left, I knew I had to find a new job. I planned to call a temp agency first thing the next week. I did a lot of praying that weekend, but after talking it over with Michael, we decided to my dismay that I should stick it out for a few more months. I had accepted my fate and went unhappily to work the next day. Two days later, I received a text from Jamie saying that the person originally hired for the job I applied for didn't work out and I was asked to come interview. That week, I experienced the shortest interview of my life and was hired the same day. Before I could catch my breath, I had made the decision to give up the job I had worked so hard to get to, the job that was going to take me places, and accepted a job as an audit coordinator scheduling sales tax audits! In a million years, I never would have guessed a girl like me who is still terrified of numbers would be working at an auditing firm and loving every minute of it! It is the best job I have ever had, and it is the only place I have worked where everyone gets along and truly cares about each other. It's right where God wanted me to be!

So a year later, when I look back at some of my posts about soul searching and anxiety, I still feel like I am the same person who struggles with finding who I am while dealing with anxious days...but there is one fundamental difference. I have a deeper sense of gratitude, a stronger faith in God, and a better sense of self that makes life a little less fearful when dealing with the change and chaos that comes our way.

If you were to ask me where I have loved living the most since Michael and I got married, I would have to say Birmingham, Alabama because it's the place I began the journey towards a strengthened relationship with God! For now, this is exactly where He wants us to be!