28 December 2010

Post-Christmas post

I'm finally getting around to posting a Christmas post.  I started one on Sunday, but I decided to delete it because I was about half-way through it when Mom and Dad got here, and I didn't want to have my nose stuck in the computer when I could be visiting with them.

Christmas Day here at the Vest house was very low key.  It was just John, me, and the pups.  John had gotten some DVDs of old westerns at Books-A-Million, so he watched some of them, and I read/watched.  (More read than watched...)  All day long it looked like it would snow, and I saw several friends posting on facebook that it was snowing in North Alabama.  Every so often I would look out, hoping to see a few flakes, but I never did until about 5:30.  It was so pretty, and it didn't take long to get a nice dusting.  I can now say I have seen a white Christmas.  :)

We did our immediate family Christmas on Sunday.  Mom and Dad got here about 10:30 after driving through some fairly heavy snow showers.  Jessi, Lance, and Peanut got here about 11:15.  Jess had gotten up Sunday morning not feeling so great, so we weren't sure she would be able to make it.  I told her that even though we would LOVE to see them, if she couldn't make it, we certainly understood.  Her health, and the health of our grandbaby, is much more important than coming here.  She said she thought she would be able to make it, and they did!  And her bump is so bloomin' cute!  Katy, Phillip, and Sam got here about 12:30.

After lunch (ham, green bean casserole, potato salad, corn, peas, rolls, frozen cranberry salad), we did gifts.  It was so much fun watching Sam this year!  Grana and Poppa got Sam a Tag Junior and some books to go with it. (I think his mommy was more excited about them than he was.  LOL)  Papa Joe and Grandma got him trucks...a HUGE metal Tonka truck and a couple of other ones that make noise.  (I think Sam's daddy liked them more than anybody.  LOL)

I didn't get to hang out long with everyone because Connie and I had planned weeks ago to do a "sister trip" to Ross Bridge Resort and Spa for some pampering, so I left about 3 headed to Birmingham.  Connie rarely ever does anything for herself (she is always putting the needs of others WAY ahead of her own needs) so this was a treat for her.  Because the Retirement Systems of Alabama (of which I am a member) owns the Renaissance hotels in Alabama, I was able to get a special rate for the room.  (And believe me, it is an AWESOME rate!!)  Yesterday, we did some R&R at the spa.  I had a warm stone massage and a pedicure, and Connie had a deep tissue massage and a pedicure.  While I cannot speak for Connie, I can tell you that my massage was heavenly.  I've never had a warm stone massage (other than the hot stone pedicure I get at the walk-in nail salon I go to) but I can promise you that I will have another one! 

Our original plans were for us to do some shopping (or looking in my case) today, but Connie had a doctor's appointment, so she had to leave yesterday afternoon.  She tried to reschedule but they were unable to.  If she'd known then what she knows now, she probably could have spent the night and gotten up this morning and driven to Huntsville. 

After she left, I decided to run to Barnes and Nobel to look.  I ended up getting a few books.  I got a copy of Beowulf, and I got two No Fear titles from Sparknotes:  one for Shakespeare's sonnets and one for Macbeth.  I use the online version of Macbeth, but this way I can jot down notes and if a student needs to use it, I can "loan" it out.  I also got two daily warmup books:  one for writing, and one for spelling and grammar.  Only a teacher would go into B&N and walk out with five books that were useful only in a classroom.  LOL  I did get Mennonite in a Little Black Dress to read before I went to sleep. 

I got up this morning and headed home.  Boy, was it nice to walk in to a couple of happy pups!  Neither of them has left my side for long all afternoon long.  Sadly for them, I'll have to leave them tomorrow because I have my yearly checkup.  Oh joy...

Unless something changes, we're heading to the lake to stay at Danny and Linda's for the weekend.  They invited us up to watch the ballgame and to celebrate New Year's.  If this year is like the last several, John and I will be asleep before midnight.  No wild parties for us.  hahahaha

I guess that's about it for now.  I think I'm going to get my book out and do some reading.

Have a GREAT day!

23 December 2010

We have a baby bump!

No, NOT me!  At my age, if I had a baby bump, I would crawl into a hole and never come out. 

Jessi has a baby bump, and it is too stinkin' cute!  She will be 12 weeks prego on Sunday, and bless her heart, she has been soooo sick for the last 7 weeks.  Between weeks 5 and 8, she was in the ER twice for fluids, and then right at week 8, her doc admitted her for a couple of days to get her re-hydrated.  Once she was discharged, they were able to get her on home health, and that has helped a lot!  She has still had some really rough days, but she has also had some really good days.  I'm still praying that she won't get as bad as Katy got!  We are ALL praying that she's going to hit that 12 week point and it's all going to go away for good.  Hey, I believe in prayer!!!

John and I went over to see her yesterday after he got home from work.  It's the first time I've seen her since the night she called to tell us they were expecting.  When I've had time, she has been really sick, and I just didn't want her to feel like she had to "visit" when I knew she really needed rest, and when she's felt good, I haven't had time.  Luckily, everything came together yesterday--she was feeling really good, and we had time.  :)

She's staying at Wayne and Kay's during the day, so they are making sure she has anything and everything she needs.  (Our girls got some of the BEST in-laws ever!  I know how wonderful it is to be welcomed totally and completely into a family!)  I told John that I feel bad for not having done more (and we have told both Jessi and Lance to call ANY TIME they need us and we will be there!)  When we got there yesterday, Wayne and Kay were gone, but Jess had made her a grilled cheese sandwich and was eating it.  You have no idea how happy John and I are to see her eating and drinking!  She said the only thing she can handle as far as drinks are concerned is sweet tea.  I told her that Peanut is going to be bouncing off the walls, but heck, if she can drink sweet tea and keep her fluid intake up, I say go for it!

She still has her IV, but her nurse is hoping that in the next week or so, they can reduce her fluids and then completely wean her from them.  She said Lance wasn't so sure (after all, the poor guy has watched his love be so sick she could barely get out of bed, so his concern is understandable!) but the only way to know if she is over the worst part is to take her off.  I would guess that once they cut her fluids back, if she can't handle it, they will know before they got her completely off.

Like I said, we're all praying that she's over the ickiness once that magic 12-week mark gets here.  Wayne told her yesterday while we were there that he will take care of her until then, but then she is on her own.  LOL  Of course, we all laughed because we know he would walk to the moon and back for her. Like I said, she is a very lucky girl!

That's it for me for now.  The pups have been begging for some play time, so I need to give it to them.  Have a GREAT day!

22 December 2010

What a happy birthday to me!

I celebrated my 44th birthday yesterday.  I was just sitting here thinking about what I was doing this time half my life ago.  I was living in Tuscaloosa, attending the University of Alabama, thinking I was in love with someone.  When I think about what has transpired in my life in the last 22 years, I'm kind of amazed.

I completed my degree in secondary education, met and married the love of my life, became a (step)mom, began a career I love, and made some of the best friends a person could ever hope to have.  This is in no way the complete list, but these are the highlights.

One day last week, Susan sent me a text to see if I was busy yesterday, and if I wasn't, she wanted to treat me to lunch for my birthday.  I had no plans, so I took her up on it.  I got up early yesterday (6:30), got ready, renewed my driver's license (ick!  At least my picture isn't so bad I'll be embarrassed to show my ID ), and headed to Birmingham.  Susan and I sat and talked for a bit before we headed to Chuy's for lunch.  YUM!  This was my first trip to Chuy's, but it won't be my last.  After lunch (and sitting there for, oh, a couple of hours just talking...) we went to Coldwater Creek.  And EVERYTHING in the store was 50% off...on sale stuff, too!  Happy birthday to meeeee!  LOL  I did get a top that I have been wanting but I wasn't willing to pay full price.  We made a couple of other stops before grabbing some Starbucks and heading back to Susan's.  We talked for another hour or so, and then I headed home.

I did get a huge surprise during the day.  After we got back to Susan's, my phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number, but I answered it. It was my dad...calling me from his cell phone!!!!!!!!!  Mom added him to her plan a few months back, but he never even showed any interest in learning how to use it, so it ended up in his drawer.  So imagine my surprise when I discovered the call was from him.  He decided he needed to keep it with him after he fell a couple of times lately. 

He has some nerve damage in his legs and feet (quite certain it is from his exposure to Agent Orange during one...or both...of his tours to 'Nam.)  He said that a couple of times lately his feet don't "keep up" with the rest of his body and he falls.  So he will be going to Princeton tomorrow for a nerve conduction study.  He also has to have an MRI on his head, AND he is going to see an oncologist because something isn't right with his blood work.  Please keep him in your prayers.  For now, I'm trying not to worry.  Easier said than done, though!

I need to get myself busy this morning.  I need to wash dishes, grade some papers, and shower.  I think we're going to ride over to see Jess this afternoon if she feels up to having company.  I've got a few goodies to take to her, so maybe she'll feel up to visitors for a little while.

That's it for me for now.  Have a GREAT day!

20 December 2010

18 and counting

John and I have been married 18 years today.  The "official" time that we became husband and wife will be approximately 4:15 PM.  One thing we were set on was a short and sweet ceremony.  The fact that our ceremony was at 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon meant it needed to be short and sweet, too, so attendees could go back for evening worship services.

Why a Sunday afternoon wedding you ask?  At first, we were going to have it on Saturday, but it didn't take long to realize how hard that would be.  First of all, John was working in Alex City and living in Eclectic.  Because he was taking the entire week off the very next week, he wanted to work a full day on Friday.  Plus, he wouldn't be picking Katy and Jessi up until 6 on Friday.  Add to that a 3-hour drive, and you can see that having a rehearsal on Friday night was out of the question.  I wanted to do things the traditional way and not have us see each other before I began down the aisle, so that ruled out a Saturday morning rehearsal.  The next weekend would have meant Christmas night rehearsal, and we didn't want to do that, either.  So, we decided to begin our life together on Sunday, December 20, 1992.  And I have never regretted that at all.

When I sit here and think about the last 18 years, my first thought is about how quickly the years have flown by.  It truly seems like it was just a couple of years ago, but the creaks this body makes now tells it was definitely more than just a couple of years ago.  :)  When I try to think of all of the memories we have made, I become overwhelmed.  Whether it was time spent with family, friends, or alone, we have made thousands and thousands of wonderful memories, and I can't even begin to list them all.  I also wonder what our future holds for us.  We have been so very blessed, and I pray that God continues to bless us as we face the next year and every year that follows.

I am truly the most fortunate woman alive.  I have the love of my life, my best friend, my confidante, my biggest supporter...and I thank God each and every day for him!

I love you, John, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.  Happy anniversary!

18 December 2010

Happy anniversary!

At precisely 4:00 PM on Sunday, December 20, 1992, I began the journey down the aisle of First Christian Church in Jasper, Alabama, to the man with whom I will spend the rest of my life loving.  I can hardly believe that in fewer than 48 hours, we will be celebrating our 18th anniversary!  The years have flown.

Even though our anniversary isn't officially until Monday, we decided to go out to dinner tonight.  I had suggested a couple of places that are in Opelika, but neither of them are open on Mondays, so we thought about going Tuesday to make it a combo anniversary/my birthday dinner.  (Combining the two was my suggestion.  I'm perfectly fine with killing two birds with one stone.)  We were on our way to Auburn about a week ago and saw the sign for The Yellow Hammer Restaurant.  I told John that we should think about going there, too.

Wednesday, I asked him if he had decided where we were going, and he said he wanted to go to The Yellow Hammer.  I looked it up to give him the phone number so he could call to make reservations.  They are open Wednesday-Saturday, so we decided we'd go tonight.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I now have a new favorite restaurant for special occasions.  The building which houses The Yellow Hammer was built around 1912 and was a Ford dealership.  (They sold the Model T here.)  The walls are the original brick, the floor is the original concrete, and the bay doors are still in place.  Needless to say, this place has a neat ambiance. 

We had looked at the menu online, so we had a pretty good idea what we wanted, or at least I did.  I was going to have Tiger Shrimp Alfredo. BUT when I looked at the menu, the first thing I noticed was Blackened Tuna Nicoise.  DING DING DING!  Winner!!!  I love tuna, so it didn't take much to change my mind.  I have had tuna at a lot of restaurants, and I have had tuna that John has grilled, but NONE of them even come close to the tuna I had tonight.  It was FAB. U. LOUS.  John had the Australian Filet Mignon, and while it was good (we shared bites) I much preferred my tuna.  He said that the next time we go, he'll have the tuna.  (Of course, because this is a special occasion place, we won't be going back anytime in the real near future.  LOL)  Following our meal, we decided to share bread pudding for dessert.  Again, we've had bread pudding at a lot of places, but again, this was the best.  (John has had it at Commander's Palace, and he said what we had tonight didn't even compare.)

Now we're home, and I'm in my comfy jammies.  Bama is snuggled up next to John in the recliner, and Ali is snuggled up (under a blanket) with me in the chair.  Not much could make this evening any better!

I hope you have a GREAT Sunday!

15 December 2010

Family Christmas

Vest Family Christmas 2010

We got together this past Saturday for our family Christmas.  Not everyone got to join us for lunch.  Jess and Lance didn't come because SHE IS PREGNANT!!!  And she is feeling really, really sick.  It looks like she's going to have to go through her pregnancy with hyperemesis like Katy did, but I will keep on praying that she manages to overcome it.  Libby, Jay, and Gavin didn't get to come.  Libby is still recovering from her surgery, and sweet Gavin is still just sooooo tiny and didn't need to get out in the blustery cold.  Luke and Amanda were at her grandmother's.  After we had lunch, we all went over to Tim and Tisha's for dessert and so the kids could open gifts.  Billie also didn't have lunch with us, but Tisha picked her up and took her to their house, so she got to see everybody.

It was a very relaxing day.  Nobody was rushing around fixing casseroles or making sure that all of the dishes had spoons.  Nobody had to clean anything up after we all finished eating.  (Well, Tisha probably had a few odds and ends to wash up.)  I vote that we do it this way every year.  Hopefully, next year we can all meet at the restaurant and just do everything there.

As the holiday season continues, I pray that you and yours have many opportunities to share past memories while making new ones. 

Merry Christmas!

13 December 2010

An answered prayer

My dad just turned 73 on November 27.  Growing up, I never saw him darken the door of a church unless it was for a wedding or a funeral he HAD to attend.  My memories of Pawpaw are slim, at best, so I don't know if he attended church regularly or not, but I know Mawmaw did, so I know Daddy was exposed to religion.

Mom approached him about attending worship with us, but he basically said no, and he wouldn't change his mind, so after a while, she stopped.  She never stopped praying though.

Not long after John and I got married, Eddy (my brother) began having problems with substance abuse.  He literally put my parents through hell.  Finally, Daddy decided to give church a try.  Do you have ANY idea how weird it was the first time John and I went home for the weekend and Daddy got up and went to church with us?  That was about 15 or 16 years ago, and for the most part, he has gone faithfully and participated in various activities. 

After one particularly hellish episode with Eddy, Daddy decided he was going to stop going to church.  He was angry that prayers had not been answered, and he blamed God, so he quit attending for a while.  For those of us who have been in church since infancy, we know that God does not always answer our prayers the way we want, and sometimes, it seems our prayers are never answered.  What we have to remember, though, is that while God DOES have the power to completely turn our lives around, He has given us free will to make our own decisions, so even though thousands of prayers were made on Eddy's behalf, it was ultimately up to him to change his life.

Once Daddy began attending church, the prayers for him changed.  Instead of praying for him to start going to church, the prayers were for him to be baptized.  Mom and I have had numerous conversations about the subject.  I told her several times that I just didn't see Daddy ever taking that step out into the aisle during worship service.  I thought that if he ever did decide to take the plunge (literally), he would do so without a huge crowd around...maybe during the week or after church services were over and not a lot of people were around.

Imagine my joy when I read the text from Mom today saying that Daddy was baptized this morning at 11:00!  I had tears of joy, and my first thought was "I have to share this with Karen."  So across the hall I went.  She was at her desk, so I had to walk across the room.  When she looked up and saw me with tears in my eyes, so was immediately concerned, but the huge smile on my face let her know that nothing was wrong.

One of my biggest prayers was finally answered, and all I can say is THANK YOU, GOD, for helping Daddy realize the importance of this decision.

Have a WONDERFUL day!  I know I will!

08 December 2010

Stille Nacht

"Silent Night" has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs.  I found this version by the St. Thomas Boys Choir.  Simply beautiful!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

04 December 2010

Playing catch up

I've gotten so far behind on reading blogs that I'm not even going to try to go back and catch up.  I'll just start at the current post and go from there.  This is what happens when life gets busy!  Between football, going to the lake, going to John's mom's, work...

Hopefully things will slow down for a while.  With football season essentially being over (except for bowl games, but they won't start for a couple more weeks or so), lake season being over (until about March),  and John's mom being in the nursing home (we will still go visit, but we won't necessarily be tied to a particular weekend), I should have more blog time.  But there is still work.  And I still have research papers to grade.  ICK!

From what Connie has said, Billie has settled in fairly well at the nursing home.  Connie said she still says she wants to go home, but it's easy to change the subject with her.  We haven't been up since she's been there, but our family holiday gathering is next weekend, so we'll see her then.

We decided back in the summer to do the family gatherings different this year.  Normally, we have a HUGE traditional meal for Thanksgiving, and then we turn around and have a HUGE meal the Sunday before Christmas.  I don't remember who made the suggestion to combine the two into one celebration this year, but I'm really glad she did.  I know it was a she because I don't know if any of the men honestly care one way or the other.  I know John doesn't.  I did run the idea by him before I gave my input, and he was actually very much in favor of combining the two into one.  For most everyone else, it isn't a big deal because everyone else lives right there in Hartselle.  For us, they always ended up being crazy, busy weekends, and when they were over, we were exhausted, and we didn't get to go home and put our feet up afterwards.  We had a three-hour drive home. 

So this year, we are combining our Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations into one family dinner next Saturday.  Another thing we are doing that John and I really like is that we are having our dinner at a restaurant, SO that means no having to rush around the morning of to cook and make sure everything is done.  In the past, we (well, the females) have busted our butts getting everything set out...What tray does this need to go on?  Does this need to be heated?  Where are the spoons?...while the men sat around and talked.  Then we eat, and then the women rush around clearing everything...Are you taking this with you?  Toss that because I'm not taking it home!  Where is the Saran Wrap?...while the men sat around and talked.  And then we do the gift exchange, clean up, and head our separate ways.  Very little relaxation, or even visiting--unless you are a man---was done.  I think this year will be better.  If not, we can go back to the old way.

Only two weeks of work until Christmas break.  Where does the time go?  I have so much to get done.  I desperately need a clone!

Guess that's it for now.  Have a GREAT day!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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