Monday, December 28, 2009

The First Christmas

It's been 2009 years... In a million years I could never imagine what it would be like to know that God has chosen me to carry the Savior of the world. Knowing that I would be giving my precious baby up for the saving of everyone else. What was Mary thinking that first Christmas? Even though I think the song has been overplayed in the last few years, I just wonder if Mary really knew what her life was going to be like after the birth of her baby. In the last 1o months, I have been almost daily surprised at what all Olivia does. Was it the same for Mary?
This has been such a special Christmas for me. I have really seen this year from someone else's point of view. I spent Christmas morning misty-eyed just thinking about what it was like 2009 years ago in a stable filled with animals. I have been amazed this year at the love that I feel for Olivia, and the love that she shows me, knowing that the only person who loves her more than me is her Heavenly father. Such an amazing thought...

So, this year, because it was our first family Christmas, Michael and I wanted to establish some traditions. I wanted to start this year with a birthday party for Jesus, but didn't think Olivia would really understand or care, so I decided to wait until next year. Before we started opening presents though, Michael told Olivia all about why we have presents and what Christmas really means. It was very sweet. Also, in an attempt to thwart the beginnings of materialism, Michael and I have decided to follow in the footsteps of some of our friends (with a little modification). We decided that we wanted to do three gifts from Santa Claus to represent the three gifts from the Wise Men to Jesus, and one special or sentimental gift from us. This year, her three gifts from Santa were toys: a polite tea set, pink mega blocks, and a sit and ride toy. For her special gift from us we chose the Guess How Much I Love You book - two copies - a board book to play with now, and a special copy for her to have when she won't tear up the pages. Her stocking contained the practical...bath stuff and fruit snacks!First, Olivia opened a gift from MawMaw and PawPaw Parrish. A sweat suit outfit with some tee-shirts. Sweet!
Then she opened her stocking. The bath soap was a big hit. She kept going back to it. She loves bath time!
Checking out the gear shift on her new riding toy. It is also a walker. It collapses down into a rider.
Mega blocks! We have since decided to put these up for a few months. They're meant for 1+ ages, so we'll probably get them out around February. (GOSH - she's almost a year old!!)

Working on opening a present with Daddy. She still isn't sure about tearing the paper!Although it was after 7am, she was still sort of sleepy!Reading her new book. Having tea with Daddy! (And yes, that's a booger bubble. Sorry.) The soda in the background was in my stocking! :)This year's tree. Notice the lack of ornaments around the bottom third of the tree. Those are the ones she could reach...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Early Christmases

Like every year and every other family on the planet, our Christmas time with family spans several days. Thank goodness though it's not hectic, because it normally starts early in December, and goes through Christmas Day rather than cramming it all in within just a few days. Our Christmas season started a few weeks ago with Michael's Granny's Christmas party in Pell City. The family is so large that Granny Harris rents a building to house everybody because they just don't all fit in a normal size home. Although, unfortunately, key people were missing, it was overall a great day. From her Pe-Paw David and Nana Lisa Olivia got a Baby Einstein (you know the obsession...) book and a car steering wheel that sings the ABCs. She likes the steering wheel - she LOVES the book. It has been the first thing she plays with in the mornings, and she usually gives it to us several times throughout the day to show us the pictures. She doesn't read it in any particular order, and loves to randomly flip the pages.

Reading with Mommy
Showing her book off

Her new thing: randomly standing!

Last Saturday our friends Jeremy and Karri came over for supper. Olivia is secretly in love with Jeremy! He was showing her (for the 1456th time) how to open a present. She is, unlike her mother, a gentle unwrapper.

She got an Olivia DVD and Granimal pop n' lock heads! We sing the Olivia theme song to her all of the time (It's just her name over and over again...), but she had never actually seen the show. When I put it in the DVD player the next day, she froze when the song came on! It was too cute!

We spent last Sunday afternoon and evening at my Mom's house to celebrate Christmas with my parents and brother's family. We had a great visit. Olivia got a stroller from my parents that she has to push. She is doing such a great job walking behind it! Such a big girl!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Greeting

As any teacher knows, the last few days before a big break are always the toughest. I was so looking forward to being home; it was like I couldn't drive fast enough. I walked in the front door, and Bitty was sitting in the kitchen floor. She could see me as the door opened, and when I walked in, she started clapping! My heart immediately melted. But, it was just a fluke...I thought, until she did it again today! She may not be saying "Mommy" right now, but I know that she loves me!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bye Bye, Bitty

Bitty's tricks seem to be multiplying daily! She says "bye-bye" fairly regularly, and often not at the appropriate moment. She has vocalized "da-da", but it's not always clear that that is what she is saying. She doesn't put sound behind it, but I have seen her several times mouth "m-m-m-m", which I feel confident is directed toward me. :) She can "patty-cake", and has corrected her thumb/hand clapping with hand to hand contact. Although she doesn't sing with the "patty-cake" song, she does love it when someone else sings it. As far as movement is concerned, she crawls quick as lightning. She pulls up on anything and everything, and "walks" up and down the furniture a lot. Michael said that Thursday she just stood up where she was in the middle of the floor. Granted, she only stood for a few seconds, but she did it without holding on to anything! The video is of her saying "bye-bye" and waving backwards...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving -- Part Two

Normally, on the day after Thanksgiving we celebrate with my Mom's side of the family. However, this year, several things interfered, so the decision was made to move the gathering to the following Saturday. Other than being five hours early :), the day with family was good! Bitty surely enjoyed it!

Hanging out with Gramma My nephew Carson (He WAS smiling :D)

Sweet, Sweet Calin!! (He was drinking Carthon'th Coke!)

Bitty and her buddy, Cousin Emily! They played for what seemed like hours!
Before everyone got there, Bitty hung out in her walker. She scoots all over in that thing!

Iron Bowl 2009

So here it is was close, but Alabama came out on top! After eleven ballgames, the only one that truly matters came down to the last nail-biting minutes of the fourth quarter. I know that many Alabama fans thought we were going to trample all over Auburn and come away with some astronomical win, but the truth is, we barely won it. HOWEVER...all that matters is that final score, and that Alabama had the most precious cheerleader!!

Thanksgiving -- Part One

Family tradition has been set for a while now. We always go to my Aunt Sherry's house on Thanksgiving day to celebrate with my Dad's side of the family. This is one of my favorite times, not only for the gathering, but for the most amazing food!! Man, my family knows how to cook! My favorite? The cornbread dressing. Nothing can top it; it is the food that I live for on Thanksgiving day!!

Bitty and PawPaw sharing secrets. Who knows what they were talking about!

Bitty + Spots = LOVE

Bitty and Gramma both have the prettiest smiles!

Bitty and Daddy

Enjoying Bath Time...Finally!

When we first started this whole "bath" thing...Bitty was NOT digging it. I don't know if it was the water, the sink, the soap, or what. I just know that she didn't like it - at all. But the table have finally turned! She loves bath time. She loves playing in the water and with the toys in the tub. She tries to drink the water as it pours over her from the cup, and most often gags if it gets in her mouth. These are some of the many faces of Bitty in the tub...

"RAWR" means, "I Love You!" in dinosaur!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our First Halloween!

When I bought Olivia's costume, I was afraid that the Alabama weather would once again be the bane of my existence, but for once, it actually did what it was supposed to do! It was cool on Halloween. Not cold, but cool, and comfortable for Bitty to wear a fleece giraffe in a tutu! That said, she really wasn't to sure about it, and really wouldn't move about in it. It was virtually impossible to get her to look at the camera (and it didn't help that the sun was in her eyes...). However, she was cute all the same! We went trick-or-treating at my Mom's and at our friends, Jeremy and Karri's house. Maybe next year we will venture beyond the two houses! We did not go to the church's fall festival this year.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Tisket, a Tasket, a Bitty in the Basket!

Last night we went over to Mattie and Katherine's new house (YAY for y'all!!) to eat. We hung out for a bit and played board games. Olivia particularly loved hanging out, as usual. Their new house is beautiful and I am so happy for them, even though I think the idea as a whole is poopy.

Olivia was answering a particularly difficult question during "Battle of the Sexes". She got it right though. The boys still think that the game is gender biased toward the girls...

Bitty sat around in a basket just for fun.

She also thoroughly enjoyed playing with Jack, Meagan and David's new pup.

8 Months

Time changes everything. They grow right before your eyes. "They grow up so fast..." on the lips of everyone who has children who are grown. I reply, "I don't want to talk about it!" mainly because I know that if I do, tears will well up in my eyes and I would probably embarrass myself. I do get teary thinking about her first day of kindergarten, her Sweet 16, her wedding... I love her more every day - even the whiney ones - because I know she gets it from me...

So, she's eight months old now. She is a crawling machine. It is no feat for her to get from the living room to our master bath in a minute. She pulls up on anything that will stay still long enough for her to latch on. Michael found her in our bedroom the other day standing at the side of our bed. She is eating lots of solids. She is more interested in whatever is on our fork - even if she's already eating something. She has four teeth, and we're pretty sure she's getting a few more, based on recent whineyness. She has a great little personality. She gives big hugs. She is precious. She is mine, and I am thankful for these eight months.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Up until Friday night, the Bryant Stampede held the longest running losing streak in the state of Alabama. Not something necessarily befitting of a name that represents the legend of Paul "Bear" Bryant - a football champion. However, that streak is over. For the first time in 3 years, Bryant High School walked away with a victory. After 30 straight losses, the scoreboard finally lit up, and remained so, in our favor. It was miraculous. I screamed loud. I sobbed hard. I prayed harder - along with everyone else there. "Please God, LET THIS BE IT!" As we pushed through the line the final time, the refs threw up their arms in indication of a touchdown, and I had never felt so high in my life! This night now ranks up there with one of the most important days of my life. No, football does not mean that much to me. I am not some crazy person who paints her face and goes all crazy. But, I do love these kids, and I know how much this meant to them, and how much this victory can and will change our school. For most of the players on our team, they have never experienced a win as a Bryant Stampede. For the Seniors on the team, they had never worked so hard. I am SO proud of them. I want the best for them. And this is it. The score was 19-13, in overtime against Central High School -- a team that two years ago won the state 4A championship. Words just can't express the elation from that night -- that has carried over to Monday morning -- the start of Homecoming week. What better way to welcome home our alumni?

The players and the coaches stormed the field, as did almost EVERYONE else in the stands. You would have thought we won the Super Bowl!
One of our quarterbacks, Taylor Swinney, celebrating!

My superhero, Dewayne Vanhorn, as he charges the line for the umpteenth time that night. "We're goin' 10 and in!"
Congratulations guys!!!! I am SO proud of you! Let's do it again Friday night against Hillcrest!
**All photos courtesy of the Tuscaloosa News**

The Helper

Olivia is now of the age when she can start helping out around the house. Why else do people have children??
Helping Daddy cut the grass:
Helping Mom fold clothes:"I don't WANT to do the towels!" She's just so cute, I won't make her help with the towels until next month!

Monday, September 21, 2009


In preparation for being the awesomest (word?) Bryant fans ever, several of us gathered before the Hueytown game for some tailgating - I mean, what's football without food, right? And did we have some food...Man, Bryant has some great cooks!
Bitty in her "Future Stampede" shirt waiting on some grub... The tent outside the stadium:

Me and Bitty celebrating Paul W. Bryant's birthday, in hopes that will bring us luck on the field...
But, no such luck. Bryant did not beat Hueytown, but there is hope! Our team is showing improvement each week. A win is in the air...I can feel it!