Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Best and Worst Anniversary Ever

On April 22, Brett and I had our 4th Wedding Anniversary. Brett surprised me with a totally awesome gift that I love. He got me. . (us) an outside swing for the backyard. It is so nice. The "worst" part about it was that I was really sick. I started feeling sick monday night. We had already gotten a babysitter lined up and we never get a babysitter. We really debated whether or not to go out and decided in the end that we couldn't not go since we already had a sitter. So we went to the cheesecake factory and then to a movie. The bread was delicious (and my meal was delicious the next day when I could actually eat and enjoy it) and the movie was fun. Brett and I were the only people in the theater so we could cuddle without anyone complaining of to much PDA. That was awesome. So it was a nice anniversary. . . .It would have been wonderful if I wasnt sick.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Heart Sings

Last week I had one of those really special "mother" moments. Emmeline has loved to "sing" for as long as I can remember but that "singing" involved doing the actions to songs such as "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" while I sang the words. In nursery they have been learning this song from the primary songbook called, "I am Glad for Many Things". They clap along as they sing it and so Em calls it the clapping song or the Glad song. Anyway, last Monday, we were swinging together and singing. She asked to sing that song and so I started singing while she clapped along. I stopped singing after the first verse. A few seconds later Emmeline started singing "my heart sings, my heart sings" while touching her heart. Apparently these are the words to the second verse of the song. It melted my heart. Then she touched my heart and said "mama's heart sings too." Yes my heart certainly was singing.

Since then Emmeline has started singing up a storm. She sang her first song all the way through all by herself. . .Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or according to Em, "tinkle tinkle ittle sta". She has also now sung "itsy bitsy spider" and "snowman" all by herself. It is so fun to listen to her grow as well as to watch her grow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Career Day--A Huge Success

Throughout this past year, Brett has been a co-chair for an organization at UAB called Industrial Roundtable. He, along with his fellow co-chair and their committee, has organized monthly seminars with speakers from around the country. Each speaker has a PhD and shares with the students different opportunities and career paths available to them outside of academia. Industrial Roundtable also organizes a career day for graduate students to attend in April. Career day was last saturday and Brett did a great job getting things ready. They had 90 students (give or take) attending and about 12 speakers. This year they more then doubled the turnout from last year. The speakers were from all over the country. Some represented government positions and there were others representing industry such as pharmaceutical companies. The Keynote speaker was from the WHO (World Health Organization). This has been a great opportunity for Brett. He has been able to make some great contacts with different companies and he has really been able to grow as a leader. I am so proud of all the hard work he has put in to IR this year and I congratulate him on his very successful career day!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Zoo Experience

Last week while we were at the zoo with some friends, we discovered the petting zoo area. I dont know why we havent seen it before. . .somehow we have always missed it. But theres a a small area with little goats and sheep free roaming where the kids can go in and pet them. Great. Of course Emmeline loved it. She had a great time running from animal to animal having to pet them each at least twice. We did have one close encounter. The rule is that you cannot pet the animals on their heads, only on their backs. Emmeline would often go at them from behind and pet the south end of their backs. . . .if you catch my drift. Well, she was headed for one big sheep and just about upon it when the zoo keeper helper hollard "wait, get back, I think that sheep is about to pee." I grabbed Emmelines arm and got her away just in time. We saw the evidence dripping from the thick coat of wool. Not clean animals those sheep, not clean at all. But we did avert a mess and I'm sure Emmeline will go back in to give it another shot on another occasion. :)

Gator on the Move

We have been regular zoo visitors for the past year and we have passed the gator swamp dozens of times. Always it is the same. . .find the log that looks like a gator and move on. Nothing is ever happening. Well last week we saw some gator action and it was really cool. Emmeline loved it (it was the longest we have ever spent by the gator swamp before) so I thought I'd share it on our blog. enjoy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

General Conference Weekend

The first weekend in April the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which my family and I are members) had a general conference meeting. It was very special because it was the first general conference since our beloved prophet President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away and therefore we were able to sustain and listen to the next prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.

Brett and I decided to go over the Atlanta and listen to the conference sessions with the Parker family (My aunt, uncle, and cousins) in Atlanta Georgia. We thought we left early enough in the morning to arrive in time for conference to start, but we forgot about the time change and so were going to arrive in Atlanta and hour after the meeting started. We really wanted to hear the sustainings of our church leaders. So we called my mom on our cell phone (thank goodness for free weekend minutes) and had them put their phone right up to the t.v. speakers and we put our phone on speaker and held it up between our two heads. We actually could hear what was being said and we were able to raise our hands in support of our leaders. The part of all this that was the most interesting to me was that while President Monson was being sustained as the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Brett and I each raised our hands in turn, despite the distance in which the broadcast was happening, despite being bounced from Salt Lake City to a television in Virginia and then running through a phone line to our car somewhere between Birmingham and Atlanta, despite all of that and despite the noise of the traffic on the freeway, I could still feel the strength of the Spirit witnessing to me that President Monson truly is called by God to be the Lord's Prophet on the earth today. I'm sure the spirit in the Conference Center must have been overwhelming because I felt it so strongly just in my little car. What a wonderful witness to me of the power of the Spirit of the Lord and that It can come to each of us individually to relay important truths to our hearts.

Well, we did make it to the Parker's house and enjoyed a nice relaxing couple of days in Atlanta. When we weren't listening to conference, we were playing card games, eating delicious food, hanging out in the hot tub and playing at a very cool castle park. I'm not sure what Emmelines favorite part was. . ."swimming" in the hot tub or playing in the sandbox at the park. Or perhaps it was seeing Cassie and Chippie (the two dogs). Either way, we all had a wonderful time and are very glad that we were able to go to Atlanta.

* Note * If you would like more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can visit

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food Glorious Food

Mabel is obsessed with food. If she notices that Emmeline has dropped an Apple Jack on the floor (or a noodle, or a pea, or anything at all) she will make a mad dash for the coveted item. Unfortunately for her, her "mad dash" is still slower then mama and the food item gets cruelly intercepted. She has begun demanding that she get to sit with the family during dinner time. She is sneaky. She sits calmly on my (or Brett's) lap and then when I least expect it---she swipes for my plate. She is usually quick enough to get something in her hand, but not quick enough to get it to her mouth.

Well the other day we finally gave in and gave Mabel what she wanted. "Real" food. And by real, I mean the pulverized mesh that Gerber calls baby food. We started Mabel off with sweet potatoes and she sure loves it. She already wants to hold the spoon by herself. She has now also enjoyed peas and applesauce. I believe a whole new world has just opened up for our little Mabel Jane.

Blogs 2 Books

My friend has a friend who created this program Blogs 2 Books. It is a pretty cool way to print out your blog and have a hard copy to flip through or save. Plus it is free and easy to use. I thought it was pretty cool and that I'd share with any of ya'll who are interested. Just click on the Blogs 2 Books icon located on the right colum of my blog.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Squirrel Babies

I should have written this blog a week ago right after the event happened because I was so freaked out. Now I've had time to simmer and so this blog will be much more mellow then it could have been. Last Wednesday Tyler the pest control guy came by. He knocked on the door and we talked about how much we were hoping he could take down a dead hanging squirrel. But there was no squirrel to "take down," only a new hole the squirrel had been chewing away on. He told me he had some poisoned seed he could put up there and that that might be the next best step. (Actually his most preferred next step would be to shoot the squirrel himself. . .but he was concerned that our neighbors might get suspicious of some guy sitting around waiting in a truck with a very real looking bb rifle complete with scope. I think he made a valid point.) He decided to pull out the ladder and see if he could fit a live trap in the rafters where the squirrel had been nesting. . .although he was skeptical that there would be enough room. Luckily for me, Emmeline was napping at this point and I was just outside holding Mabel. We were watching Tyler climb up the ladder. He pulled down some more of the siding and was able to reach farther into the space then Brett got to a couple days before. He found some more nest and started pulling it out and throwing it down on the grass. We were laughing and joking when all of the sudden I saw a little pink body squirming in the air and land on the grass with a thump. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH. I dont know if I was more freaked out because I saw the little baby squirrel, that it was born and living in my attic, or that I didnt have any shoes on at the moment. Tyler exclaimed, "I think we just found the problem" while I ran to the front door and told Tyler I was sorry but I'd just let him take care of the issue on his own. While Tyler was working I scarfed down a Reeses Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg to help me calm down. Those things are magical. . .but I regress. After he cleaned everything up he came inside and told me he found 2 little babies which he estimated were born sometime within the past week. Apparently squirrels usually only have 2-3 at a time and he was pretty certain that he got them all. That was much better then the litter of 8-12 I had been imagining. (Sometimes my imagination runs a little wild if you hadnt already noticed from previous posts). Finding those baby squirrels explained a lot. It explained why the squirrel had been so persistent in getting back into the attic and also why rather then running away from Brett and me the previous morning she just gave us this demon stare. She was trying to be protective. I suppose I would give anyone who might mess with my babies a heck of a lot more then just a demon stare (and we are back to the scratching out of eyes). Tyler told me that the momma squirrel would certainly come back again but after finding her babies gone she very possibly would not return. So far that has been the case. We did hear her rummaging around Thursday morning but it stopped quickly and did not resume. We havent heard it since. (Well we havent heard it for certain since. I keep thinking I hear it. . .but Brett insists I am only hearing the wind or the rain or the neighbors next door. I admit I am a little paranoid now.) I think our next plan of action will be to close up the holes and keep our bb gun at the ready. And if the squirrel is as smart as she has heretofore proven herself, she will learn to stay away pretty quick!!