baby’s all grown up

I cannot believe my “baby” sister will be graduating from high school today!  Sometimes I have to remind myself that she can drive (probably cause I can count on 1 hand how many times she has actually driven me around, instead of vice versa!).  What’s even harder for me to believe is that in the fall she will go off to Auburn to begin her journey through college. I think I actually stopped and thought about that the other day in the car…how we may not see her until Thanksgiving, and I might have had to hold back a tear! 

And my mom! Oh goodness. Let’s just say with two daughters getting married this year, and baby girl going off to college, my mom will be a wreck!  Seriously.  But I don’t blame her.  How do you go from having your girls living at home in and out throughout college, to slowly one by one becoming an empty nester?  Both me and Katie lived at home for our first full year out of college.  Katie just moved out about a month ago. So, it’s back to mom and Emily.  My mom is a tough gal though. And luckily me and Katie are still in town.

But back to Emily.  That girl has blown me away with the young lady she has grown up to be.  First of all, she’s beautiful. Seriously. We kinda tease her all the time about getting all the good genes.  Me and Katie got “blessed” with our dad’s nose and not so great skin.  Emily got all the right genes. She’s tall like my dad’s sisters, she’s brilliant, and beautiful!  What more could you ask for? 🙂

So congrat’s Emily!!  We are all so proud of you!  LOVE YOU!!!

sand, sun and music!

We had such a great weekend! The beach was awesome!! The weather was perfect- not too hot (most the time) and sunny every day.  So many of our friends were down there and we were able to come and go as we pleased from the music festival, trying to meet up with one another when we could. Most of the bands didn’t start until the afternoon, so every morning we went to the pool.  One of my good friends Dana turned the big 2-5 on Saturday!  And our friends Steven and Mallorie even came home early from their honeymoon to attend the festival!

There’s not really much more I can say!  Actually, I will say some of my favorite shows were STS9, Avett Brothers (even though I took an awesome nap on the sand during their show), Foo Fighters, and Paul Simon!  We heard several other bands, but those were the best (in my opinion!)

And now for the pictures 🙂

time to Hangout!

Gulf Shores is having their 2nd annual Hangout Music Festival this weekend, and we are SO EXCITED!!  Last year was the 1st year and Greg and I couldn’t go, and since it was the first year we didn’t really know quite what we were missing.  Well, after a few of our friends went last year and absolutely loved it, we decided this year we had to go…along with every single one of our other friends!  Seriously, almost every mutual friend we have is going…I’m pretty sure there’s about 20 of us. 

We’ll be on the beach for 3 days, listening to awesome music, and hanging out with good friends.  Unfortunately, I don’t really know many of the artists that will be performing, but there’s a few here and there that I like.  What’s really annoying is of those few that I know, pretty much every one of them is playing at the same time as another one.  Go figure.  So, I’ll be spending several hours listening to bands I’ve never heard of, and then for the next hour I’ll be wanting to go back and forth between 2 artists I like!  Whatever. It’ll be fun anyways.  The bands I DO know include Pretty Lights, Michael Franti, GirlTalk, Amos Lee, Foo Fighters, and the Avett Brothers.

Also, we will be celebrating my good friend Dana’s 25th birthday this weekend!  It should be a good time.  I can’t wait!

1 wedding down, 4 more to go…

Saturday night we went to the wedding of one of Greg’s buddies from college.  Steven and Mallorie are just perfect for each other. They are outgoing, friendly, silly, and they compliment each other so well.  And you can tell they are just crazy about each other!  Friday night we celebrated the a rehearsal dinner at The Club, which was beautiful! Then on Saturday the guys hung out at the pool and grilled out, while Mallorie and her girls had a brunch together.  They got married at Canterbury Presbyterian Church followed by a reception at Avon Theatre downtown.  The ceremony was lovely, despite a few unruly flower girls and ring bearers on stage. Note to self: young children do NOT need to stand on stage during a wedding ceremony!!  I kinda thought that was an understood rule, but apparently not.  I love little Evey to death (our flower girl), but she will sit on the front pew with her daddy after she walks down the aisle 🙂

The reception was so much fun!  The tables were covered with burlap, Ball jars with votives, and neat little twig arrangements.  Levoy’s Italian restaurant of Homewood catered the food, and it was quite yummy.  But the best part….the band!  The Negotiators (who will also perform at our reception) were so much fun! They play a mix of all kinds of music. And they really got the crowd going!  We all laughed hysterically at so many ridiculous dances going on throughout the night.  The groom’s grandmother was dancing with groomsmen, a dance ring formed at one point with some of the guys jumping in the middle to “perform,” we all joined in on the “Cupid Shuffle,” and even Steven, his brother and a groomsman got on stage and performed a song with Steven on the guitar and singing lead vocals, his brother on the keyboard and groomsman on the drums.  And they sounded AMAZING!   It was so great!  Such a fun night weekend!  Hope all our weddings this year can be that fun 🙂

 two of MY bridesmaids 🙂
 love me some DK!!!
all of us with the beautiful bride 
(can you believe she sewed that party dress herself for the reception!? So adorable)
 the guys performing their song (ugh, I wish I could remember the name!)
Best wishes Steven and Mallorie!

busy bee

May is one of those months that flies by because it’s so packed with stuff going on.  When you are in school it always seems so busy because you have final projects due, exams, graduations, awards programs, etc. etc. But even now that I’ve been out of school for a few years, May still remains a really buys month.

The last two weeks have flown by, because I’ve worked a lot, and when I haven’t been working I’ve been celebrating birthdays, Mother’s Day, and a wedding this weekend.  Yesterday was Katie’s bday, and we actually celebrated it with dinner and ice cream with the family on Thursday night since Greg and I have wedding stuff going Friday and Saturday night.  But during the day on Friday, Katie, Emily and myself had lunch together, did some shopping, and even spent some time looking at bridesmaids dresses for my wedding. It was a good day 🙂

Today, one of Greg’s fraternity brothers is getting married and Greg is a groomsman. Last night we went to the rehearsal followed by the rehearsal dinner at The Club.  It was lovely.  And after that a lot of their friends went out to celebrate some more, but this girl was tired and falling asleep in bed by 10:30pm.  If I knew I wasn’t going to have a long night tonight with the wedding and reception, I might have felt bad about it, but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer!  Here some pics from the rehearsal dinner…

Greg and I
roomie and her sweet boy
 
ah, and this would be the handsome groom so wonderfully showing off the city of Birmingham behind us. Thank you, tour guide Steven!
and of course, the lovely bride and groom
Tonight we will be enjoying their beautiful wedding followed by a reception at Avon Theatre.  And I’m really excited because their reception band (the Negotiators) is also the band we chose to play at our wedding reception. So I can’t wait to get a preview!
And after all of that, May still won’t slow down quite yet.  Next weekend we’ll be traveling to Gulf Shores for the Hangout Music Festival. Then Emily has her highschool graduation the following week! And somewhere in all that I’ve GOT to get some more wedding plans worked out!  C’est la vie!

What is a Doozy Strap?

Well ladies and gentlemen, the Doozy Strap is a koozie-like drink holder that is designed to be worn around your neck allowing you to be hands-free when necessary.  Say you’re at a party, and you hate to put your drink down.  With a Doozy, you won’t have to.  The best use I’ve gotten out of my Doozy was on a white-water rafting trip.  Obviously, you should have both hands on your paddle, but it’s a two-hour ride down the river and there are break points along the way.  So what’s the only solution for taking a bottled water along with you?  The Doozy Strap.  And since we are going to The Hangout music festival in Gulf Shores in a few weeks, I’m thinking that will be my next best use of the Doozy.  Who wants to hold a drink in their hands while walking around the beach listening to music ALL DAY LONG?  Not me.  Hands-free is the way to go.

Greg and two of his buddies are in the business of selling the Doozy Strap. Doozies come in bottle ($6.99) and can ($5.99) sizes in a variety of colors (red, blue, white, gray, pink, and black). They used to have camo ones, but those are being redesigned and should be back in just a few weeks. The guys are also working on getting more colors, like purple and green, AND also in the works…*drum roll*…collegiate licensing, which means Doozies for your favorite college football teams!  And if all that’s not cool enough, they just recently came up with a new design in efforts to lend support to the Red Cross of Alabama in light of the tornado disaster relief.  It is called the “We are Alabama” Doozy, and it is awesome!  Take a look!

The Doozy Strap is only available through their website:  Beverage Outfitters.  “We are Alabama” Doozies are available in bottle sizes for $10, and all proceeds will go the the Red Cross of Alabama!  These Doozies have been on sale for just 2 days so far, and they have already raised over $150!  Way to go guys!  Here’s the catch though, they will only be available for purchase through the end of May, so get your orders in if you want to show your support and get a really cool Doozy!  I plan to get mine and wear it to the Alabama games next fall.  No, it’s not technically a UA Doozy, but it’s red, it says “Alabama” on it, and it supports disaster relief!  You can’t beat that!!

So go buy a Doozy!  These people did, and I guarantee they didn’t regret it  😉

 

“unto the least of these”

In the aftermath of last weeks tornados, and as search and rescue efforts are now shifting towards relief efforts, I wanted to share some ways you can help your fellow Alabamians.  I haven’t talked to anyone this week who wasn’t affected in some way by the tornados that ripped through our beloved state. MANY many people were without power for several days (myself included) and some are still without power.  Others have lost their homes entirely.  I can’t even begin to describe the losses that so many people are enduring right now.  Where do you begin picking up the pieces of your life when everything you have besides the clothes on your back are destroyed?  I can’t even comprehend it.  I find myself feeling guilty for just going about my every day life, doing normal things, as though nothing ever happened.  It just feels wrong.  I feel so blessed to have been spared the hardships that so many are facing right now. 

I believe God does everything for a reason. Maybe His lesson for me in all this is to appreciate what He has blessed me with (my family, my home, my friends…even the simplest things like food, water, and electricity).  There are people right here in our home state that have lost family, lost their homes, have limited food and water.  Because I have been blessed, I feel the need to give back.  I’ve been so caught up in work this past week that I haven’t really had a chance to act.  So, while I’m sitting here at work tonight, I decided to do a little research online to see what the greatest needs are right now in our state and what we can do to help.  Here’s what I found:

This website, Alabama Possible, has the most comprehensive list of up-to-date information on volunteer opportunities and donations for the state of Alabama. There are a lot of opportunities specific to various needs and cities. I’ve pulled some key organizations our to highlight for ya!

If you want to make monetary donations to help, you can do so here:

  • American Red Cross (online)  or by phone: Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. It will be charged to your next phone bill. (After you send the text, you will first receive a confirmation reply, then another message will ask if you want to specify your donation for Disaster Relief).  *I did this option, so I know this one works!*
  • Governor Robert Bentley’s Tornado Relief Fund
  • United Way Tornado Fund –  you can follow the link to donate online, or you can text TORNADO to 50555 to donate $10. 

If you have items you would like to donate, here are some local areas (around Birmingham) which are accepting donations:

  • Church of the Highlands
  • Walmart (in Homewood, Hoover, Pelham)
  • Urban Standard (downtown B’ham- 2nd Ave North)
  • Dawson Memorial Baptist Church (Homewood)
  • Prince of Peace Catholic Church (Hoover)
  • Academy Sports (Hoover)
  • Canterbury United Methodist Church (Mountain Brook)
  • YMCA (Pelham)
  • Mark’s Outdoors (Vestavia)

Some items most needed:  UPDATE: My youngest sister updated me today saying she has heard on the news that most areas have been supplied with enough clothes and water.  The greater need now is toiletry items- like tampons, deodorant– and clothing items like underwear and socks. Thanks for the update, Em! 🙂

  • canned food (and can openers!)
  • bottled water
  • toilet paper
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • soap
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • deodorant
  • diapers
  • baby food
  • juice boxes
  • hand sanitizer
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • band-aids

Let’s do our part and help our neighbors.  Christ not only teaches us to share the gospel, but he teaches us to love one another.  We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. I want to leave you with this passage from Matthew.  This is God’s teaching…

 -Matthew 25:31-46
     When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
     Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 
    Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
     The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
     Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
     He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
     Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

happy kitchen

My kitchen got a facelift tonight!  When I moved into the house, all the kitchen appliances were bisque. That lovely  out-of-date off-white color.  About six months after we moved in, I replaced the dishwasher. I chose one with a faux stainless finish, simply because it obviously costs less but looks like stainless.  Good enough for me.  And now, a year and a half later, I finally got a stainless refrigerator!  We actually pulled it out of my dad’s old house, since obviously no one is using it there.  And it is real stainless 🙂  So, not only is it a really great fridge, and sooo much bigger than my old one, but we got it for FREE!  Can you tell how excited I am?  It’s only been in the house for a few hours, and I find myself passing through the kitchen just to take another look at it!  So, here, I’ll show you too…

First- the old fridge- that was way too small, slowly falling apart, and just plain not good enough (not to mention sticky from all the stuff that went bad and defrosted over the 3 days we were without power)…

And now- the new fridge- which is fabulously beautiful, much more spacious, and my new favorite part of the kitchen!

And since only the black sides are magnetic, it looks a lot less cluttered and messy with stuff.  This little space is all we have for posting important things, like upcoming bills that need to be paid, calendars, grocery lists, and some baby Lily pics 🙂   The essentials, of course.
Another great thing is we no longer have to make ice the old fashioned way.  Before we were using ice trays to freeze water for ice. Now it’s all in the door!  Would you like crushed or cubed?  🙂

Workin’, workin’, workin’ day and night

All of a sudden UAB got blasted with babies last week. However, I’m pretty sure it was in no way a result of the tornados, unless all the panic just caused every pregnant woman in the state of Alabama to suddenly deliver.  Not likely.  Well, I don’t think.  Anyways, between both the ICU and my unit, we have over 100 babies!  Our building was designed so that every baby has their own room to facilitate better family-centered care.  But when our census shoots up to over 100, sometimes we have to put unrelated babies in rooms together.  Which is not THAT big of a deal, considering in our old building we all worked with our babies’ isolettes placed side by side in an open unit.  It just makes for some tight quarters in some of the rooms.

One good thing about having so many babies, and needing more nurses to work, is sometimes when we are short-staffed for long periods of time, UAB will offer incentive.  Yep, not only can we get overtime pay, but we can earn extra pay on top of that.  🙂   I rarely take advantage of overtime, simply because I really enjoy having my time off. But this weekend, since we didn’t have power for so long, and Greg was out of town, and my roommate was working all weekend as well…I decided it was the best opportunity to earn some extra money.  Right now I’m on my fourth night, and I’m surprisingly not all that tired. I typically hate even working 3 in a row, cause I just get worn out and I hate being “down for the count” for so many days.  I just work, come home and sleep, work, and sleep…until I get back to my time off.  But, this time it has worked out nicely.  What else was I going to do in a house alone with no power?  Might at well sleep (and work)!

Tomorrow night (Monday), I am off.  And I have quite a to-do list.  Like, restocking my fridge.  Luckily Greg’s power never went out, so I was able to put some items in his fridge. But there is still a lot that has to be thrown out. Mostly condiments.  That should be fun….  Geez, listen to me complain!  At least I have a fridge, in a kitchen, in a house that is still standing (and has power again!).  Praise God for that!  I have so much to be thankful for.