My Number One Unnatural Fear…

Birds. I hate birds.  And let me tell you why.

It all started when I was in college. My friend Shannon was going away for a week and asked me to house sit.  Being home all summer, living with my parents  again, I jumped at the chance to spend a week by myself.  I knew that house sitting also involved taking care of her sweet dog and her bird.  It would be easy.  After all, I absolutely LOVE dogs and the bird was safely ensconced in a cage, so as long as I fed it once or twice a day, it would be fine.

My first mistake was assuming that the bird would like me. WRONG!  The first time I fed it, it nipped at my finger. OK, so nipped is not the right word.  It practically ATE my finger!  I  mean, here I am trying to feed the darn thing and it’s attacking my hand like a Hannibal Lechter with wings.  Suffice it to say, it was a rough week.  And the bird talked- all the time. It talked all night; it talked during my favorite TV shows; it talked while I was fixing each and every meal.  It seemed to talk during those times that I wanted peace and quiet. Oh, it knew how to push my buttons.

Fast forward 10 years to when I got married. For the first year of our marriage, we lived in an apartment complex in Tucker.  One day, I came home and was walking up the stairs to our third floor apartment when I suddenly heard this horrible screeching sound. I turned around just in time to be grazed on the nose by a, yep- BIRD!  And when I say “grazed” I really mean “ran right into me at 30 miles an hour.  My nose actually hurt.  Dazed and confused, I ran upstairs to my sweet husband, who I knew would comfort me and hopefully, go kill the bird.

I walked into the apartment and this was our conversation:

Me: (holding my nose) – Hon, I just got attacked by a bird.

Chris:  No, you didn’t.

Me:  Yes, I did!  It flew right at me and pecked my nose.

Chris:  A bird did not attack you. It probably flew close to you and just scared you a bit.  Maybe it nipped you with its wing or something.

Laurie: No, it attacked me.

Chris:  (placating me, obviously):  OK honey, whatever you say.

You can imagine the stare I then gave him and the choice words that came out of my mouth.

The next morning, Chris got up, got dressed, fixed his coffee and left for work.  As I was getting in the shower, the phone rang.  It was Chris.  “Hey.  Um, yeah, that bird will attack you. Just wanted you to know.”

Really, Sherlock?  How do you know that?  Did the bird just happen to attack you too?  HA!  Redemption 🙂  Apparently, the bird had built its nest in the bushes next to our stairs and was just protecting it’s babies. Whatever. I parked on the other side of the building for the remainder of our time in that apartment.

I mean, have you every really noticed birds? All they do is sit in trees and on power lines, just waiting to attack some innocent bystander. And they incessantly chirp, chirp, chirp away.  It drives me crazy!

Yes, I hate birds.  And I think the feeling is mutual.

I Know He’s There

Every year, it’s the same thing.  Chris, Henry and I go to someone’ s house, visit with relatives, watch some football, eat a huge meal and come home exhausted.  That’s our usual Thanksgiving.

Where is God in all that?

Well, I know He’s in the car as we travel, keeping my family safe. I know He’ s in the kitchen with the cook, adding His special touch to the meal. And I know He’s sitting at the table with us, laughing at our family  stories and silly jokes.

I’m pretty sure He wonders why He tags along to this celebration every year. I mean, we hardly notice Him and only acknowledge his presence for a brief moment before stuffing ourselves full of turkey.

That’s pretty sad.

So, I am going to begin a new tradition this year. Sure, we’ll go to someone’s house, visit with relatives, watch some football, eat a huge meal and come home exhausted.

But, we will thank Him when we wake up in the morning.  We will thank Him as we’re stuffing our faces with turkey and all the trimmings. We will thank Him in every mundane moment and in every decision we make, including the most important one:  pumpkin pie or chocolate cake?

We will, quite simply, thank Him.

My List of Blessings

I went to a funeral today.  Granted, it was a beautiful funeral, but a funeral nonetheless.  Always sad.  Always heartbreaking.

It’s been a tough year. Not just for my family, but for many of our friends.  There’s been illness, divorce, death, job loss…and a myriad of other things that just suck. But, what I’ve discovered is that in the midst of all this bad stuff happening, there’s been some amazing blessings.  Finding love again after a painful divorce; creating a new life after a brutal loss; celebrating an engagement…the list goes on.

Every year around this time, I create my list of blessings.  It’s a simple list of about 15-20 things that I’m thankful for. The list is different every year, depending on circumstances and life changes.  Some of the things on the list are sentimental, some are quite creative and some are just plain cheesy.  But, every single thing on the list comes from the heart.  Yes, even the Chicken Tortilla Soup from Los Hermanos that was in the top 5 last year came from the heart.

Three things are NOT on the list simply because they will NEVER leave the list.  It goes without saying that what I am most thankful for is a Savior who holds my hand in the darkest of hours and doesn’t let go until I can see where I’m going. And even then, He stays right beside me.  I am most thankful for a wonderful husband and a healthy marriage. And I am most thankful for a beautiful son who gave me a new heart when he entered this world. He’s also given me a few bald spots from the times I’ve pulled my hair out…but that’s a whole other post.

So, here is the list. I encourage you to make your own.

1. I am thankful that God took Granddaddy to heaven quickly and that he lived his life with no regrets.

2. I am thankful for indoor playgrounds.

3. I am thankful for unexpected surprises and that birth control pills are only 99% effective. (This one’s for you Shannon!)

4. I am thankful for Project Runway marathons.

5. I am thankful for classical music.  Beethoven still calms the little man down!

6. I am thankful for Target. What did people do before Target? How did they live?

7. I am thankful for Coke Zero.  BEST. INVENTION. EVER. This should really be at the top of the list.

8. I am thankful for Margaritas.  I don’t think this needs an explanation.

9. I am thankful for Spanks. I can’t say that enough. Of course, I’m not real thankful for the price…

10. I am thankful for Wells Fargo.  I can now deposit my checks straight into the ATM without an envelope AND have the receipt sent to my e-mail!  Fascinating!!!!

11. I am thankful that my husband has a job he loves that is truly his passion. And for being able to travel with him sometimes (Hawaii this year, South Africa in 2012!)

12. I am thankful for Henry’s preschool. I seriously want to have another baby just so I can stay there longer.

13. I am thankful for my Smoke Rise girls – girls I can chat with about God, parenting, marriage and of course, circumcision.  What, you don’t talk about that at your monthly bible studies?

14. I am thankful for my Kuerig Coffee Maker.  I am totally in love with it. If it was legal to marry coffee makers in Georgia, I would totally do it.

15. I am thankful that this was the year I realized my destiny. Stay tuned for that one…

New Parts

A friend of mine recently wrote an article about his 4 year old and a dream he had.  Here is a snippet of that article:

“My son got really quiet at our dinner table one night a few weeks ago and began to tell me a story. He started out by setting the scene, as any good story teller will do. ‘Yesterday, I was in mommy’s car and I fell asleep,’ he said. ‘And when I was asleep, I dreamed that I was playing in the road and I accidentally got run over by a car and I got hurt.’

Concerned, I asked where on his body he had been hurt and he pointed to his little belly and his legs. He added that, in the dream accident, his legs had been broken. As any parent would be, I was a little worried. Unsure, I tried to calm what I thought were his fears by explaining that he didn’t need to worry about getting hurt because his mommy and I would always take care of him.

At that, and to my surprise, he looked at me very matter-of-factly and said ‘Oh, I’m not worried because you gave me new parts.’ Thinking maybe I had misunderstood, I asked him what he had said. He repeated, slightly louder this time, ‘You gave me new parts,” as he pointed to his belly. “And mommy gave me new legs.'”

This really threw me for a loop.  This child was so sure of his parent’s love and devotion to him, that he was not the least bit worried about getting hurt because he knew his parents would be there to fix him.  Wow. But, my friend went on to make a good point.  He said that as he reflected on this conversation with his son, he realized that it was he and his wife who got the “new parts” after their  son was born.

And as I read his article, I began to understand what he was saying.  I think that when Henry was born, and as he’s grown older, Chris and I have developed new parts.  We have new eyes to see new things.  The little things that I see, and hardly notice,  are huge in my son’s eyes.

As parents, we also have new hearts.  Hearts that are able to experience sacrificial love and truly understand what it means.  We have new arms and legs – arms that can hold a 20 lb child for hours while they sleep and legs that can chase little ones around the park.  And finally, we have new hands. Hands that can heal with just a touch.

I will be the first to admit that parenthood was a hard adjustment.  But, it was well worth it to get all these “new parts.”

My boys

The Art of the Consignment Sale

If you are a Mom, you know what the title of this blog means.  If not, then this post will be one of the most important pieces of information you will read once you decide to take the leap into motherhood.  Trust me on this.

When I think of Fall, I think of five things:  College Football, Halloween, Cooler Weather, Back to School and Consignment Sales. At one or two consignment sales, I can buy ALL of Henry’s clothes for an entire season!  Yes, that includes shoes and socks. And I can get him that 217th train that he’s been dying for at a reduced price!

But, there is a method of madness that you must learn before even attempting a kid’s consignment sale.

1. The mothers and grandmothers  at these things are not messing around!  They WILL push you out of the way to get to that 50 cent Buzz Lightyear toy that you might have glanced at for half a second. If there is even a hint that you are going to buy something, and they want it, WATCH OUT!  If you’re lucky, you will simply get knocked out of the way by a rogue elbow, but you will more than likely get the “Touch it and die look” that scares you to the point where you avoid anything Buzz Lightyear for at least a week.  Yes, every once in a while, you will hear an extremely polite woman tell  you that Buzz is their toy, even though they are standing 50 yards from the table.  At this point, it’s best to just let it go.

2. Never go to a consignment sale without some way to transport your loot.  For some women, this is several large trash cans. For others, they simply need a grocery cart.  Amateurs bring a suitcase or laundry basket. And if you arrive with a large bag, you will just get laughed at.  I mean, the moms will know you’re not serious.

3. Don’t bother making a list.  It’ s nothing like the grocery store.  Case in point:  At my previous sale, I asked my friend Allison to make a list of things she needed for her boys.  At the top of that list was 4T jeans with adjustable waistbands.  I arrived at 7:30, when the sale began.  At 7:33, as I made my way to the 4T clothes, I noticed a slightly rotund woman toting around a suitcase full of jeans.  As I approached the pants section, she was nice enough to inform me that she had taken every pair of 4T jeans available.  And yes, she did say it with quite the smirk.

4. That’s another thing…don’t expect friendly camaraderie at these things.  It’s  not a Beth Moore conference.

5. When you see Moms filling their various trash cans with loot, note this:  they are not going to buy everything.  They will take as much as possible, then go sit in a corner and go through it with a fine tooth comb and more than likely, put half the stuff back.  But, in the meantime, that Dora the Explorer sweatshirt that your child has been wanting for 3 years is being held hostage. Your only option is to stand in front of them and wait it out…in which case they will most likely keep the sweatshirt.

Don’t get me wrong- these sales are great!  I have truly found some wonderful things for Henry.  And if you have daughters, you will most likely hit the jackpot  because there are, as always, four times the amount of girls’ clothes.  Just have a game plan.  Here is my suggestion: Grab five or six of your closest friends.  Each of you descend upon one section of the sale and grab everything you can.  (Make sure there is someone in charge of ALL Buzz Lightyear and Thomas the Train toys). Then, find a corner, whip out your cooler full of libations and go through your loot as slow as possible.

It will be one of the best times of your life, I promise!

The Love Affair Comes to An End

Here are some photos from our last few days in Hawaii.  It was such a wonderful experience. We cannot wait to go back!

Another beautiful Hawaiian sunset!

Chris had this breakfast every morning - belgian waffles with berries and coconut syrup.

Our footprints in the sand!

Chris: "This is a lot harder to do than it looks!"

Ahhh...the lovebirds!

Chris and I at the Paradise Cove Luau!

My first tattoo! Not my first drink 🙂

I just thought this was a cool picture to commemorate our luau experience.

Taking the pig out of the ground. It really was good!

This was a wedding dance. The girl danced and the dude just smiled at her. It was weird.

Complimenting the Hula Booty!

Saying goodbye (Aloha) and thank you (Mahalo) to Hawaii!

A New Love Affair

Chris and I had a love affair while we were in Hawaii – not with each other, but with a hotel.  While staying in Waikiki was fantastic, the decision to move to the J. W Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa in Ko Olina was downright genius!  I cannot describe in words how much I loved this hotel – it was so luxurious and was truly a resort experience.

It is set on one of three private beach coves and includes an award-winning spa with breathtaking views. Chris and I spent the majority of our time hanging out by the pool or beach, snorkeling and eating.  The resort had four exquisite restaurants – including a bar where we’d have a “sunset cocktail” each night.  But, I cannot do it justice without photos.

Our balcony - Seriously!

One view from our balcony.

Another view from our balcony.

Another view- with breakfast!

The first of many sunsets in Paradise.

"Our" beach cove.

The resort had these amazing freshwater lagoons with hammerhead sharks and beautiful fish.

A beautiful wedding at the resort. This is in the middle of tons of slippery lava rocks. I can't imagine how the bride got up there!

They served all their exotic drinks in frozen pineapples. Not as cool as it looks. The fruit was freezing - and when the pineapple defrosted, it collapsed!

"Our" beautiful infinity pool.

The cliffs in front of the resort were made out of lava rocks. They also housed these beautiful tidal pools.

This is my daredevil husband standing as close to the water as he can on those slippery rocks! As you can see, I was standing on solid ground!

A private lagoon next to the resort. Lots of couples hang out here for some PDA!

Another pic of the daredevil hubby!

This beautiful church is right on the beach.