31 December 2009

Reflections from 2009

It is hard to believe that this is it. Today is the last day of the year. Where does the time go? (To quote John Donne from "Song": Tell me where all past years are.)

Overall, it has been a very good year. Much less drama that 2008, and for that, I am grateful. ;) John and I spent as much time as possible at the lake. We still don't have our mansion (hahaha) but we love our little trailer. We may never have the cabin we want up there, but we'll take what we have. I would like to have something so that we can actually go and spend time during the winter months, though. The trailer just isn't equipped to be comfortable when it's 32 degrees outside. (We do have heat and indoor plumbing. hahaha)

Phillip, Katy, and Sam are still in Birmingham. Sam has gone from a baby to a little boy! He is running everywhere, and he is such a little ham. He sure knows how to work that charm. Phillip's team lost only two games in the regular season, and they went pretty far in the playoffs. He was excited for them, but both he and Katy were glad when the season was over so he could be a husband and daddy again. Being a coach can be tough on families. Katy is a wonderful mommy, but from August to whenever the season ends, she gets to do it all on her own, and that can be hard! They still have their sweet pups, Sadie and Lola. Lola just had surgery to remove stones from her bladder, but the patient is doing well. :)

Jessi and Lance are living in LaFayette, but they are looking for something in Auburn. The drive from LaFayette to Montgomery is getting to her, so they'd like something that would cut her drive in half. :) They added Chipper to their family. He is a white lab, and he is SO sweet! I knew they were getting him from somebody in Alex City, so I asked who. Come to find out, John and I work together. :) I keep him updated on Chipper. He's hoping to breed Chip with another of this labs. That would make me a great-grandmother! LOL They lost sweet Lulu this year. She got out and was hit by a car. The idiot didn't even bother to stop, either. And it wasn't like you couldn't tell that Lulu wasn't somebody's baby. Not long after Lulu crossed Rainbow Bridge, they added Sophie, a Jack Russell terrier. TOO CUTE! She and Ali are very close in size (right now) so they are good playmates. And Scruffy Pup is still the sweet little man. He and Bama have the same personality when it comes to the younger pups: LEAVE ME ALONE.

My dad gave us a scare a couple of months ago. This is the man who has basically never been SICK, but in the last year and a half, he has had several hospital stays. Hopefully, they've gotten everything straightened out and he's good to go for another 25 or 30 years. Or more.

Mom is still busy as ever--Ladies' Bible Study, hospital volunteer, this committee, that committee. Whew! I get tired just thinking about all she does! I never know when to call her or whether I should call the home number or her cell number. I'm glad she and Dad stayed busy after retirement, though. That helps to keep them young.

John's mom's Alzheimer's is steadily progressing. She has started becoming belligerent and argumentative. When we were there for the family Christmas, she got started on something and no matter what Connie or I said, she would not change the topic. And of course, Connie and I were W.R.O.N.G. This is bad to say, I know, but I have started dreading the weekends that we are in Hartselle because they are SO stressful. Honestly, I don't know how Connie, Danny, and Tim handle it being right there. She will call them repeatedly --as many as 25 or 30 times--with the same questions. They don't answer every time, but to have your phone ring ten times in five minutes gets old in a hurry. She only does that to us if she knows we are on our way to Hartselle, or if she and Aunt Kat have talked and we need to get something from Aunt Kat. (Two of my friends [sisters] from work have BOTH parents suffering from Alzheimer's. The home health nurse told them to pray they died from cancer instead of getting Alzheimer's. A cancer patient may feel differently, but if I were given a choice, I think I'd take cancer any day over Alzheimer's.)

Hmmm...let's see what else. Oh, football! HOW could I forget my beloved Crimson Tide??? For the second year in a row since the 70s, the Tide has gone undefeated in the regular season. They were again the SEC West representatives for the SEC Championship Game, and this year, we beat Florida. And it was GREAT to be at the Dome and see Mr. Tebow's crying face on the screen. (I am NOT a Tebow hater, but over the last four years, I have gotten VERY tired of hearing of nothing from the talking heads in the world of sports talk of nothing but how wonderful and great he is. There are many, many other players out there how have done wonderful things, but they just aren't as high profile or maybe they don't come from such a financially well-off family.) So anyway, next Thursday, the Crimson Tide and the Texas Longhorns will meet at the Rose Bowl for the Citi BCS National Championship Game. (Aren't the names of the bowl games ridiculous now???) The Tide and 'Horns have played eight times before, with the 'Horns winning seven and the teams playing to a tie in one. I think this might be the year that the Tide proves successful. :) This season has gone right from the beginning. Sure, there were some scares along the way (Tennessee) but they played as a TEAM and they figured out how to win as a TEAM. Because of that, there have been several individual awards, six First Team All-Americans (the highest number previously was five from Oklahoma two times), and Bama's first Heisman Trophy winner in Mark Ingram. This team has what it takes to win on January 7th.

I know I'm probably leaving something vitally important out, but if I realize that I did, I'll post about it later. If I didn't have so much to do, I'll just sit here until I thought of it, but dishes and laundry need to be done, and there are research papers that won't grade themselves (much to my dismay.) And I think we might be going to Hartselle, but I'm not sure. John won't give me a straight answer. When he first mentioned going, I said he needed to let Danny and Linda know since this is their weekend to stay with Billie. He said we'd probably stay at Ron and Cindy's, but when I said something yesterday about going, he asked me what I thought. I told him it really didn't matter, but I'd like to know so I'd know how to plan the next few days. Still no answer. MEN! LOL

I hope that you have a wonderful New Year's Eve, a restful New Year's Day, and a perfect 2010!

30 December 2009

Two movies in just over a month???

I LOVE going to the movies, but John isn't a big fan of it. He would rather wait until they come out on video, or better yet, he'd rather catch them on HBO. His reasoning is because he can pause the movie if he needs to get something from the kitchen or go to the bathroom. And while that is true, there is just something about actually GOING to the movies that I prefer.

We used to make it part of our anniversary date. We'd go to a late lunch and then to a movie, or we'd go to an early movie and then to dinner. We did that almost every year until about three or four years ago. I'm not really sure why we stopped. There was probably something going on that we couldn't get out of. Who knows. I'd like to get back into that "habit" though.

Thanksgiving weekend, Linda suggested that she, Danny, John, and I take Zac and Will to see The Blindside on that Saturday afternoon. I had been wanting to see it, and since we had been at Billie's since Wednesday night, we needed a short break from the questions/complaints/etc. So we went. When we got to the theater, Danny and Linda wanted to run grab a quick bite to eat, so we got Will and the four of us went on in and got our tickets. When Danny and Linda got there about 15 minutes later, tickets were sold out for the movie! We never really even thought about going ahead and getting their tickets, too. We took the boys, got our popcorn, drinks, and candy, and went to find seats. There weren't four seats together in the theater, so I sat with Zac and Will and left Uncle Johnny to fend for himself. :) He was only three or four rows behind us on the end, so when I had my fill of the large popcorn and Coke, I took it back to him.

I absolutely loved The Blindside. I am a sports fanatic, anyway, and especially a college football fanatic, so I knew I'd enjoy it. Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses, and Tim McGraw...well, I could look at him ALL day long! Quinton Aaron, who played the role of Michael Oher, did a FABULOUS job. As a teacher, I was so touched because I have SEEN that lost student walking the halls of our school. He (or she) has sat in my classroom. And I have to be honest when I say that I know I didn't always do my best for him or her. And that makes me sad, and it makes me angry at myself.

Yesterday, Dolly and I went to see It's Complicated. It was SO funny!! I laughed so hard, especially when Jane and Adam are at the party "poking smot." There were some scenes that tugged at my heart, but overall, it was much more of a comedy. And I love the way it ended. Not gonna give anything away, though. You need to watch it for yourself.

There are several movies out or coming out that I would love to see. Dolly and I talked about trying to get together about once a month with some of the other girls to see a movie. And if I can get John to go maybe every six months, I wouldn't be SO far behind on the blockbusters. hahaha

That's it for today. I've got to get myself in gear and finish grading these research papers. UGH. YUCK. BOO!!!

Hope you have a GREAT Wednesday!

27 December 2009

Christmas 2009

Just a few pictures from our 2009 Christmas. Hope you enjoy!


John's mom, Billie. The reason we're all together. :)

Danny & Linda

John, the reason I get to be a part of this wonderful family. :)

Tisha (talking to Jay by Skype) and Tim

Connie was missing Blain. He was stuck in a snowstorm in NC. :(

Amy is the oldest of the grandkids. She's giving somebody a very serious look. :)

Allen belongs to Amy. (They are Will and Maggie's parents.) He is very intent on something.

These two beautiful girls belong to John and me. Katy is the third of the grandkids, and Jessi is the fifth. (No one is really sure where the second one is. NC, we think...) The handsome guy is Lance, Jessi's wonderful boyfriend.

And John and I claim this handsome guy, too. This is Katy's hubby Phillip. They are Sam's mommy and daddy.

Libby Ann is the grandkid between Katy and Jessi. She was missing her hubby (Jay who was in Iraq at the time, but he is now home for three weeks.)

Zac, the oldest of the great grandkids. He and Will had been playing hard, but they stopped long enough to eat (very little) and to open presents.

Will is the next in line. He is one funny kid! He loves to ham it up for the camera.

Next we have Landon. And yes his hair really IS that white. Every time he opened a gift, he would exclaim "It's perfect!" or "I can't believe it!" His daddy is Jay.

The next munchkin is Sam. It was SO bloomin' hard to get this kid still for pictures. He was all about getting in with the big kids and playing ball. He'll be in the midst of them for sure next year.

And the last of the great grandkids (for now...) is sweet Maggie. She is our only girl, but she's just as happy with a ball as a baby. Will is her big brother (in case you can't tell by looking at their pictures.)

This is someone who just wandered up and decided to join us. LOL Seriously, it is Keith, a cousin. He is the entertainment at most family gatherings. LOL

My handsome dad

and my beautiful mom...they have celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Vests for many years.

June is Blain's mom. I'm hoping she'll be joining us for holidays for many years. :)

The sad thing about family gatherings is that we are missing so many loved ones, but we are making so many wonderful memories with the new ones. I think one thing that is just as hard as missing those who are no longer with us is the fact that only a couple of hours after these pictures were made, Billie didn't remember who was or was not there. Several times later that night she said that she would love to see Mom and Dad because it had been so long since she'd seen them, or she would ask questions about how big Sam is getting. Alzheimer's is the most horrible disease there is. Both parents of a friend of mine have it. Their home health nurse told Jan and Beth to pray they died from cancer instead of getting Alzheimer's.

Dadeville 2009

Aunt Jessi playing with Sam

I LOVE this picture of Katy and her daddy. This man could not love his daughters any more than he does!

My mom and dad

Phillip, Katy, Lance, and Jess opening gifts

Aunt Jess and Sam again

Katy was playing with her...I mean Sam's...Little People Farm. lol Actually, I think we ALL played with it. Sam seemed to love it.

Isn't he a gorgeous kid?? Looks JUST like his daddy! YUMMY!! Poppa John fixed breakfast for him.

Just LOOK at those eyes!!!

22 December 2009

Christmas Memories

As I decorated the house today and wrapped gifts, I listened to Christmas music and reflected on some of my favorite Christmas memories. Of course, there are those from my childhood...waking up at 1 AM to see what Santa brought (Dad will never let me forget that one), snooping for gifts (found a bike under Mom and Dad's bed, clothes, house shoes...), and making sure that Misty and I drew each other's names. As a teen, I was still pretty much into "what am I going to get" but I don't bring those things to mind when I bring up Christmas memories.

No, my teenage memories revolve around our youth group getting together to practice Christmas carols after church, make fruit baskets, and then to go caroling to the elderly members of the congregation on the Sunday night before Christmas. There was Mrs. Gray, Mrs. Lizzie, Mamie, and Grannie, just to name a few. Then we would go back to Wheeler and Judi's (our minister/youth minister) for chili, sloppy joes, and more singing. It didn't matter how cold it was, we had so much fun. I miss those days.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was waking up Christmas morning of 1992 as a new bride. John and I had been married only five days, and it was our first Christmas ever since we had not been dating the Christmas before. Because we had our wedding on the Sunday before Christmas, which is the weekend the Vest Christmas usually is, we did the Vest Christmas on either Christmas Eve day or Christmas Day. Don't quite remember that specific detail, but I do remember that it was at Danny and Linda's house on Thunderbird Lane.

That was the only year, besides 2002, when we weren't at our house on Christmas morning. Even though Katy and Jessi always spent Christmas Eve at their house and came to our house Christmas Day, I was insistent that Christmas morning was spent at HOME instead of traveling. By the time John and I married, they didn't believe in Santa, so it wasn't like we had to be home to see what Santa brought. I just wanted to be home. I still feel that way.

Now, the memories that are being made revolve around the grandkids/great nephews/great niece. (Libby and/or Jessi, y'all need to work on getting Maggie a girl cousin! Believe me, it's not a ton of fun having ALL boy cousins! I prayed so hard for a girl cousin, so I was THRILLED when Misty was born!!) Anyway, being able to watch the excitement and anticipation in their little faces makes me smile and warms my heart. It won't be long before they aren't little any more. In just four short years, Zac will be a teenager, and the magic begins to disappear. Will and Landon have a few more years left to be kids. Fortunately, our "babies" Sam and Maggie have a LONG time before the magic begins to disappear. Who knows, we may even have a new baby by next Christmas (hint, hint Libby and Jay!!) And Jessi and Lance could add to the mix in a couple of years or so (I'd like to be a grandmother again before I'm 50!! LOL)

I hope you and your family make some wonderful memories this Christmas.

21 December 2009

Reunited and it feels so good!

Remember this from Peaches and Herb way back in '79? The year I was a junior in high school, my "true love" broke up with me, and I swore this would be "our" song when we got back together. (I thank God for NOT answering that prayer. LOL) So what does that have to do with this blog post? Let me just tell you. I am sitting here writing this post from my computer AT HOME. I have FINALLY been reunited with the cyberworld from my home. WOO HOO!!!! And yes it does feel good. hahahaha

As it turns out, there was NOTHING wrong with the motherboard. (And the HP service center was going to charge us over $600 to replace it!) John took the computer to the IT guru at the hospital, and he figured out that the problem was with Kaspersky, the virus protection. Apparently, the settings had gotten out of whack on it (and I could very easily be responsible...) and the firewall was letting nothing through. (And the techs at Best Buy and the HP service center couldn't figure that out???) So Ray reset everything, and sent the computer home. John and I were going to hook everything up one night last week, but (why is there always a but?) the modem we bought after the lightning strike fried the other one was fried, too. (Not sure when, why, or how.) Once again, Ray came to the rescue. He had a router/modem he had gotten as a replacement for someone else, but it wouldn't work for him. He sent it home with John to see if it would work here. It did, so when I have time, I'm going to get the laptop set up so I'll have wireless internet again, too.

To catch up...We went to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game and had a BLAST!!! It would have been fun even if Bama had lost, but winning and shutting up all those doubters sure did make it better! We had awesome seats...right on the 40 yard line in the lower section. Susan and I had our picture made with Archie Manning; we saw Verne Lundquist in the hotel lobby; and the morning we were leaving, John and I had a short chat with Tony "the Goose" Sirgusa. He was there for the Falcons game. We had sat at a table next to him for our coffee and pastry, and he began making small talk. Seemed very nice, and it I had had my camera, I would have asked for a picture. Oh well. I'll post some pictures later.

I would LOVE to say that we are going to Pasadena for the BCS National Championship game, but unless that rich relative I don't know exists sends me my inheritance, I guess we'll be watching from the comforts of home. Susan's niece Kayla is going, so I'll live vicariously through her. :) This should be a very good game, and it is one that I expect will be close. Although I did think that about the Bama-Florida game, and well, we all know that BAMA KICKED BUTT. (Sorry, my obnoxious side showed for just a minute.)

We had our family Christmas in Hartselle this past weekend. It was really nice to be able to spend the time together. It would have been much nicer if Jay had been able to be home from Iraq in time to share the day with us, but he was there via Skype and got to see Landon open his presents. Blain (Connie's man) was snowed in in North Carolina, so we missed him too. This year, Sam and Maggie were running around everywhere, so that made it a lot more fun, too. Sam was in HEAVEN because there were balls. Everywhere. He didn't care about much of anything else as long as he had a ball.

Yesterday John and I celebrated our 17th anniversary. It's hard to believe that seventeen years have gone by already. We've been very fortunate because the good by far outweighs the bad. I know you can't compare one couples marriage to another, but when I think about some of my friends' marriages, I know that John and I have about as close to a perfect one as possible. We don't always agree, but we have always been able to agree to disagree. When I said "I do, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health", I meant it. I still do. John is my best friend, my confidante, my support, my everything. I cannot imagine life without him!

He is taking me out tonight for my birthday (43...when did THAT happen???). (Yeah, anniversary, birthday, and Christmas in less than a week. Doesn't bother me one bit.) And then we're going to finish shopping. I don't have much left...just Katy, Phillip, Jessi, Lance, Mom, Dad, and Eddy. Sam's is all done. His was the easiest of all. And nope, there isn't a ball in any of it! LOL

So, that's a quick wrap up of what has been going on. Now that I'm reunited, I'll be back to posting more regularly. I can't wait to catch up on what all of my bloggy friends have been up to. It make take me a while, but I'll get around to everyone. Promise.

Have a GREAT day!

03 December 2009

We're headin' to Atlanta, my friend!

This time tomorrow Susan, Tim, John, & I will be soaking up the excitement of the SEC champpionship game. Well, tomorrow night will still be all of the pre-game excitment' but I'm sure the air will be E. LEC. TRIC. I get chills just thinking about it.

The four of us went to the game together way back in 1999. That was one of the most fun weekends ever. We're all hoping for a repeat. :)

Our hotel reservations are at the Ritz-Carlton. I think I'm as excited about that as I am the game. Oh, who am I fooling? Not much of anything could excite me more than the game. There ARE a few things, but not a hotel. Besides, we've stayed at some nice hotels. Not Ritz-Carlton nice, but nice.

The pups will be taking a vacay at Southern Star for the weekend. I won't be picking them up until Monday. It will be a LONG time to be apart from them. Maybe they won't hate is too badly. After getting baths tonight and being left all weekend may be enough to make them turn completely. Nah...Ali Bug will have more kisses then we can handle, and Bama will do his "where have you been? I've MISSED you" bark.

Gotta run. Have a GREAT Friday!

ROLL TIDE! It's time to be a Gator Hater!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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