Sunday, September 28, 2008

20 years ago.....

I haven't been tagged to do this, but I saw where Julie did this post and it looked kinda fun, so I thought I'd jump in and do it too. I'm supposed to tell what I was doing 20, 10, 5, and 1 year ago, also yesterday, today, and tomorrow. goes!

20 years ago (1988)

I was a sophomore at Greater Atlanta Christian School and 15 years old. it bad that I can't seem to remember too many details? Anyone reading this who knew me then feel free to help me out with this one! I was living in Lilburn, GA (suburb of Atlanta) and attended Campus Church of Christ. Likely friends to hang out with on the weekends: Alethea, Tracy, Cheri

10 years ago (1998)

Chris & I had gotten married August 1994, and we were living in Uvalde, TX after having lived in Abilene & Lubbock. I was in my 3rd year of teaching (2nd year of teaching 2nd grade). We hadn't bought our house yet, so we were still living in our rent house. That rent house was really neat. Not to say that I'd want to still be living in it because it also had some odd things about it, but it was neat. It was out by itself on some other guy's land and it was quiet. I'm not sure I appreciated that too much until we moved here to Houston! ha! :) We were attending church at South Getty Church of Christ and had a nice group of 'older' Christians to look up to: the Royal's, the Lester's, the Forehand's, the Hale's, among others. No children yet at this point.

5 years ago (2003)

We were living in Aiken, SC having moved there in May 2001. Our precious Gracie had been born in July 2000, so she was just over 3 years old and I guess by this point we knew we were pregnant again although we didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl yet. (We didn't find out for sure until Katie was born in March 2004) We were attending Aiken Church of Christ and had many friends in our same "stage of life."

1 year ago (2007)

We were still living in Aiken, SC and still attending the same church. We didn't yet know we were pregnant with our adorable Ellie although maybe we actually were???? Close anyway if not since her birthday is June 24! :) At this point we had NO idea we would be living in Houston, TX less than a year later although I think Chris was starting to feel quite unsettled with his job, so maybe he had more of an idea of a move than I did! Wow! What a change! Gracie was 7 and in 2nd grade at Millbrook Elementary School. Katie was 3 and going to Mother's Day Out one day a week at First Baptist.

yesterday (September 27, 2008)

I actually stayed inside most of the day and slept a good portion of the afternoon since I've been feeling quite under the weather. Allergies, sinuses, etc. Hard to believe you can feel so bad from something like that! I did go through some of the girls' clothes trying to figure out what they have for this Fall.

today (September 28, 2008)

We went to church this morning. Gracie went out with a group from church for a service/fun project. Katie & Ellie napped. Chris watched football. I went to 2 grocery stores. Ellie & I stayed home tonight because I really wasn't feeling well. We watched the premiere of Amazing Race when Chris got home-our favorite show!

tomorrow (September 29, 2008)

Chris will go to work. Katie, Ellie, & I will take Gracie to school. Provided I feel like it, we'll work on getting the house ready for Grammer to come visit this week! Another week will begin!

I'd like to see these people complete a post like this of their own:
*Jennifer R.
*Cindy D.
*Krista B.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ellie Hollyn is 3 months old!

Today my sweet Ellie is 3 months old. It is hard to believe that she has already been with our family for that long. These last few months have been such a whirlwind for our family, and I'm glad God chose to bless us with this sweet baby girl to enjoy the ride with us.

At 3 months this is what Ellie is into:

*She drools a lot these days. Could have something to do with the fact that she chews on her hands a lot. She also will grab her burp cloth and stuff it into her mouth and chew on it. Speaking of burp cloths....these are a necessity around here. She spits up A LOT! I'm actually a little worried she may have reflux or something. She will sometimes get quite choked on just saliva or drainage...I don't really know. But sometimes it happens even when she hasn't recently eaten. The other day she was strapped in her car seat at the library when it happened and I had to scramble to get her out of her seat so I could put her up on my shoulder and pat her back. It was so sad-she was struggling to breathe and was looking at me like, "Help me Mom!" If she had been my 1st child I probably would have been screaming for someone to help me. However, being my 3rd child, I was definitely concerned and worked quickly to get her out with my heart racing, but I knew as soon as I got her upright and patted on her a little that she'd be okay. I just worry about it happening sometime if I'm not right there with her.

*She has such a pretty smile and offers it quite freely which brings a smile to our faces of course! She also 'talks' & 'talks.' I love to hear her little coos. She has started to laugh a little bit.

*She has discovered television. I can tell it really grabs her attention, so I'm planning a trip to the library to look for some Baby Einstein dvd's. She likes to sit on our lap facing us and have us do 'patty cake.' Of course, she tries to put her hand & ours in her mouth!

*She is pretty strong and holds her head up really well-for a time-then it's watch out because it flops! She will sometimes put weight on her legs when you hold her up.

*She is about to start moving I think. When we put her on her back under her little gym thing, she pushes herself backwards. Also, when we put her in bed at night she is frequently in a slightly different place in the morning. She moves herself around somehow. I have also found her pacifier in a different place like maybe she picked it up and moved it. She is still sleeping through the night 99.9% of the time and has been doing so for quite some time now. I am soooo thankful for this! It makes all the difference in the world in how my day goes. Those first few weeks of getting up over & over in the night just about killed me. I've never done really well with those hard nights, so I'm grateful that she is sleeping well!

*Sometimes she looks like she has red hair so I'm still holding out some hope for it! :) She has quite a little temper sometimes so that points to being a redhead, right?! One thing that almost always calms her down is her biggest sissy singing, "Sing and Be Happy" to her. It is very sweet! One of Katie's favorite songs right now is, "Sanctuary," and that is very sweet to hear also.

*Katie & Ellie are forming a sweet relationship now that Gracie is in school. Nurturing Ellie comes very naturally to Gracie and they've had a special relationship from the beginning. Often she will jump to help her before I will! Katie has seemed to view Ellie as a bit of a nuisance for a time (after all, she took her place as the baby in the family!) Now that Gracie is in school, Katie will ask for Ellie to be brought to her room and she will dance for her and show her toys and just enjoy her being in there with her. Ellie likes it and will watch her (and the ceiling fan!) sitting in her bouncy seat and be happy for quite some time. She still doesn't nurture as naturally as Gracie does but that may just be her nature. I can totally see Gracie as a stay-at-home mom one day, while Katie I picture going on a medical missions trip to Africa or something! I just see her as being more 'on the go' while Gracie & I are happy to sit & read for longer periods of time. It's fun to see how different they can be!

*She still loves her bouncy seat and endures the portable swing sometimes although it's certainly not her favorite! She likes to lay on the floor for a little bit but not her favorite either. When she's really fussy, she calms down best if you hold her horizontally, stick the pacifier in, and pat her bottom pretty hard. (other than feeding her of course). She is mainly nursed although she does get 1-2 bottles of formula per day-usually just 1. The girl is a BIG burper! Goodness. It's embarrassing sometimes! She also rarely fusses in the car or stroller. I think she enjoys the 2 walks she gets per day as we walk Gracie to & from school. I'm glad she's getting the regular fresh air. Around here we'll probably be able to walk her year round!

Ellie is a precious part of our lives and we're blessed to have her as part of our family!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall 2008

I love looking at these "Fall-ish" pictures because I love Fall, but it sooo does not feel like it~or look like it~around here! I will close my eyes and picture it often and pray for some cooler days like we had last week. I did put my Fall wreath on the front door and my "Fall-ish" tablecloth on the table last week, but that's about all I've done in the way of decorating for Fall. I may get around to doing more of it later...but then again I may just walk into Kirkland's and enjoy their Fall decorations. I just don't have it all together right now. I'm loving our new house and trying to keep the laundry caught up (ha!) and the kitchen clean and getting those last boxes unpacked. Maybe NEXT year I'll do more decorating. For now, I'll look at these pictures and remember that there are places in the U.S. that look like this.

I also want to remember my blessings each day because they are many. I am thankful.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sisterhood of the Traveling Bracelet

In April of 2007, a friend of mine was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This was devastating news to me. I mean, this girl was younger than me and had 3 young children-under the age of 3 years old. She had been sick for awhile and the doctors had just discovered what was wrong. I think all of us were in a bit of shock. It just didn't seem real. We heard that this was the "good" kind of cancer to get, but we were still scared for our friend.

Holly, the friend, decided to do something special for our group of friends-to make something good come out of her scary experience. In Aiken, our church was somewhat small-around 150-but we had a large group of girlfriends who were somewhat the same age with children who were also somewhat the same age. This was-and still is-special. Sometimes we didn't-and still don't-always get along for one reason or another, but the bond between young mothers with common faith & values is one that should be treasured. These relationships are blessings sent from God. Holly wanted to do something that would make each of us pause for a moment and cherish each other despite the differences we may sometimes have. After all, Holly was being faced with an uncertain future which tends to make people realize what's really important in life.

What Holly decided to do was get a charm bracelet and put a charm on it and to also get a journal that would always stay with the bracelet. She placed a charm on the bracelet that signified what she was going through at the time-a cross-and also wrote in the journal about her current circumstances and her hopes for the bracelet and what it will mean to all of us. Since then, the bracelet has been passed on to 7 other girls-the 7th being me. Each girl who has had the bracelet has added a charm to signify what they're going through and has written in the journal.

The bracelet has received a crown to represent the prince a mother's baby boy is to her, a heart charm for the mother of a baby girl who had open heart surgery, an elephant for our "Alabama" fan who moved away from Aiken, a dove to represent the peace a mother felt on the birth of her 3rd child, a key for the mother who says her sons hold the key to her heart, and a '4 seasons' charm to represent the mom who recognizes that our lives are full of different seasons. I can't express how honored & thrilled I was to receive a chance to wear the bracelet and to write in the journal-especially since I've moved away. I received the bracelet for the events of moving & also for the birth of our precious Ellie. I have had such fun looking at charms and trying to decide on the best one to add.

My girlfriends in Aiken are special parts of my life and I miss each of them for different reasons. I recognize how special it was to have those ladies & their children in my life and I think it makes me appreciate the relationships I'm forming with new girlfriends here in Houston even more. These new friendships don't make me not miss my Aiken friends, but rather to appreciate them & the memories I created while there even more. I so appreciate the ones who have taken the time to keep in touch with me and am thankful for all the avenues we have these days that allow us to keep in touch so easily.

I am happy to say that Holly is now free of her cancer and I pray it stays that way!

Dear Lord,
Please bless my girlfriends in Aiken for they are special to me in so many ways. Bless all of us with the ability to love as You would have us do. Bless all of our children and please keep us close despite the miles that may sometimes separate us-with some of us being in South Carolina, some being in Colorado, and some being in Texas there are many miles between us. Bless us all with the wisdom to appreciate each & every day we have with our true friends and help us all to bless each other as often as we can. Thank you for the blessing of Christian girlfriends and bless us as we welcome new girlfriends into our lives as we experience the different seasons you have planned for us.
In Jesus' Name,

Here are some pictures of some of us at a 'girls' night out' right before Holly's surgery.

Got milk?

The past week has been a bit blah at times. We were preparing for Ike to show up and now we're 'recovering' from his visit. Thankfully, as mentioned in the post below, we don't have any major damage and no injuries because of his time spent here in Houston, but there's just kind of a general feeling of "eeriness" in the air. I had to go to 3 different stores the other day looking for regular 2% milk. I would have bought whole milk or fat free milk, but all I could find was lactose free 1/2 gallon and organic 1/2 gallon or smaller. I think the 1/2 gallon organic was even lactose free. I finally found some at the 3rd grocery store. I bought 2 gallons and eggs while there. It's just weird to try going in Kroger and see a sign that says 'no dairy' before you get inside and to go in Super Target and see no produce and yellow tape roping off the produce & frozen food section. Also, seeing security guards monitoring the line at the gas station....just strange! However, things are looking better each & every day!

I know we are so blessed with our own personal outcome from the storm, and I feel so badly for those still without power and/or with major damage to their homes. Hurricane Ike has certainly left his mark around here! Gracie is out of school for the whole week-her sweet teacher has sent numerous emails updating us on the status of school and asked us last night to let our kids know she says 'hello' and that she can't wait to see them on Monday morning.

Our church building still has no power so we aren't able to have nighttime services right now. We met with a few families last night, and it was nice to have a devotional in a small group setting.

Monday, Chris's office was closed because of the storm, so he was able to get some things done around here and go back to the apartment to do some things that needed to be done.Ellie enjoyed her first ride in her outside baby swing-well, for a few minutes anyway! Tuesday, he headed back to work and the girls & I went on a picnic at the playground and took a walk around the lake. I didn't quite realize how long the walk would be (over a mile) so by the time we got done Katie was READY, but it was a pretty walk. One benefit of Ike is that God has truly blessed us with beautiful, cool weather these past few days! It was a great day to be outside! Wednesday, the girls & I visited the local library and enjoyed getting new library cards. Both girls were able to check out some books & videos. We were very happy to learn that it is less than 10 minutes from the house as are most things around here we need to get to, except for church & Chris's work. Today, a sweet little friend of Katie's came over to play and we all enjoyed that. I enjoyed visiting with her mom too. We're planning to make this a weekly event to get the 2 of them together. Right now, Ellie is sleeping peacefully while Katie is supposed to be taking a nap although I'm not sure she's quite made it to dreamland yet. Gracie is having quiet time which would usually involve reading, but she's being punished for something that happened last night so she's not allowed to read today and she also had to clean the kitchen floor. Some kids may not care if their punishment is being told they can't read, but for her this is pretty much the worst thing we can do to her. I hate doing it, but she needs to learn a lesson.

This weekend, we look forward to going to a wedding reception for Chris's cousin that is here in our town since her husband used to live here. Katie most likely also has a birthday party to attend for her above mentioned friend. It was supposed to be last Friday night, BUT Ike made rescheduling it necessary.

Here are some sweet pictures of my little Ellie! My friend Holly made some bows for her and sent them to her this week. They are so cute, but she just doesn't quite have enough hair for it to stay in yet. She will soon though and then she'll be set as Holly was sweet enough to send her quite a few colors!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ike has taken a hike and for that we are grateful!

Last week we started hearing lots of talk about 'Hurricane Ike' and the further into last week that we got the more obvious it seemed that he was really going to make his presence known here in Houston. Chris was told he didn't need to come into work Friday (although he has to either use one of his personal days or make it up!) and Gracie didn't have school. Chris came home early Thursday and we gathered together some supplies, although not having ever been in a hurricane we weren't sure exactly what to gather. Sure, they post lists on the news and stuff but until you've really been in one there's no way to really understand. We talked about boarding some windows but there weren't too many people doing that so we decided not to. However, the next day more & more people were doing it so we ended up doing some of them. I kind of wanted to leave town but we were told to "shelter in place" unless we were in an evacution zone so we did just that. We'd heard 'horror stories' of people trying to evacuate and getting stuck on the interstate for hours & hours (and longer!) and being simply miserable so we decided to stay put since we were being encouraged to do so anyway.

The weather started getting worse as Friday went on. Chris boarded up the front door, I helped him board up some of the windows (I helped him mark the size of the boards & held the ladder-I was so scared he was going to drop one of those boards on my head! He did drop a nail or two on me!) There were quite a few people out in the neighborhood working on boarding their own homes and there was an energy in the air that said something was about to happen. The wind was picking up and we tried to sleep hat afternoon since we figured we weren't going to get much sleep that night. It was eerie just waiting for this big thing to happen, not knowing exactly what it was going to be like and wondering if we'd done everything we needed to do. In addition to boarding the windows, we had tried to get loose things into the garage and had bottled water and non-perishable foods ready along with candles & a flashlight. We were watching tons of 'Hurricane Ike' coverage on t.v. and were just bracing for this inevitable thing.

We planned for the girls to sleep in the closet in the living room while Chris & I planned to sleep on air mattresses in the living room and Ellie would sleep in her pack 'n play near us. We moved the couch so it was between us & the wall of windows. Katie ended up going to bed early because she was so hyped up she couldn't calm down (that whole barometric pressure thing) so we put her to bed so she wouldn't keep getting in trouble! Gracie stayed up until around 10:30. The wind kept picking up more & more while the rain didn't start until pretty late. I can't remember for sure, but maybe it was sometime between 10-11 before it came.

Around 11:15 I decided to try to sleep. From what I remember (and I think I've blocked some of it from my memory!) the wind was blowing pretty good but I thought maybe I could sleep some. They had said the hurricane would make landfall by midnight at the earliest but probably closer to 1 or 2 am. In my naive state of mind, I thought if we could make it to 2:00-at the latest-we could brace for 30 minutes or so and then it would pass over and be gone. HA! At some point, Ellie was fussy so I got her and held her for awhile and watched more coverage. I guess Galveston was getting it about this point. (maybe 1:30 or so???) Ellie slept in my arms for awhile but then fussed when I put her down so Chris ended up staying up with her. I think she could hear the wind plus her tummy seemed to be hurting her.

Best I remember, it was around 3 or so that I woke up to horribly hard blowing wind. I remember getting up and Chris waking up & saying, "what?" I said, "I can't sleep through this!" I was really scared-I won't lie! I remember the power blinking once but coming back on. As Chris describes it, he says I just kept pacing back & forth. I suppose that is true. I would go look out the window next to the front door then I'd peek through the blinds in the dining room then I'd peek out the blinds in the family room or kitchen. A couple of times I went upstairs to look through those windows. The wind was simply amazing how hard it was blowing. If I'd been able to look into the future and know for sure that we'd be safe I probably would have enjoyed watching it, but I was scared out of my mind! I prayed & prayed that night! The girls were thankfully sleeping through it all-except Ellie was kind of fussy but not too bad. One of our friends tonight commented on the faith of our children that they were able to sleep through it all not being scared while the adults were the ones up worrying.

It was right before 3:45 am that the power went out for good. I remember sitting on the couch at that point just terrified, rocking back & forth, crying & praying because I really was scared. I think the thing that scared me the most was that it just kept going & going & going. Before, it would blow and then have really strong gusts that would be scary. At this point, it was like one strong continuous gust. It just would not stop and it was soooo strong. I just didn't see how our windows weren't going to break or how a tree (or our playset!) wasn't going to come through the windows. I kept looking at the playset and being thankful that it didn't seem to have moved! It's really close to our family room windows. I tried to sleep some but I would just doze and then wake up and be scared again. I was really tense and my body literally ached and I know it was from being so nervous! That may sound crazy to some of you-even some of you from Houston who experienced the same storm-but I've never done well with storms and this was a big one. I don't think there's any way to really know what it was like until you've been in one. I CANNOT imagine staying in Galveston like some people did. It had to have been TONS worse than what we got!

Right before the power went out, I had heard them say that Houston was probaby not going to get the 'eye' of the storm which would have been at least a calm break. Instead, because of the size of Ike, we were going to get the outside parts of the hurricane which would be strong the whole time. They had also said that we had 'several more hours' of the strong part of the storm so I kept looking at the time wondering exactly what 'several' really meant! Around 6:30 or so our time, I called my friend in Aiken to ask her to watch t.v. or something to tell me when it was going to stop! She actually didn't answer when I called but called me back soon after. Our cell phones had been-and continue to be-acting really weird so I'm thankful for each successfully completed call!

I guess it was around 7:30-8:00 that it finally started really calming down. I'd noticed for awhile that it was calming down some because although it was still strong, there were 'calmer' times in between stronger gusts rather than the continuous strong gust, but at some point it was quite a bit calmer although still windy & rainy. I called my parents to let them know we'd somewhat survived and didn't think we had any damage to the house although we hadn't gotten a chance to look around too much yet. I also had a call from Melissa checking on us (she sure was glad she came to visit last week rather than this week!)

Once it was obvious that it had calmed down quite a bit, the exhaustion hit big time! Of course, all 3 girls were up by this point, but Chris & I took turns getting some rest. I pretty much passed out! I guess it was around 8:00 am that our power came back on! After hearing that some people might be without power for weeks & weeks, we were so happy! One time in Aiken we lost our power on a Monday and didn't get it back until Saturday (during an ice storm) so we know how horrible it can be for something like that to happen!

At some point in the day, we went outside and were pleased to see that our home had no real damage. It looked a tad messy but was intact! We do have a small problem with part of our fence that connects our house to the garage, but it was in pretty bad shape anyway so we're not real surprised that the wind caused it to truly be on its last leg! At one point we lost power again for about 45 minutes but it came back. We walked around the neighborhood a little bit and napped some more and took down the rest of the boards and welcomed our friends, the Deisters, to stay the night with us since they had no power. It was fun having a 'sleepover!'

This morning our friends left for Oklahoma to visit family since they're out of power, and we headed to church. However, it was rainy, yucky and we got nervouse about the weather causing more flooding (our church is right off I-10 and parts of it were underwater-not parts we used but we were nervous about that changing!) and/or getting caught in weather related traffic, so we headed back home. Chris tried to go back to our apartment to get some things, but he met up with some flooding so he turned around and came back. Maybe tomorrow. This afternoon we went to have a small church service with some friends who live nearby then went to find something to eat. Believe it or not, the weather turned absolutely beautiful this evening so went home and got the girls' bikes and went for a walk in the neighborhood looking at some of the hurricane damage. It is amazing to see the power of a storm and what it can do to trees. It is good to know that God is more powerful than the wind! He made the trees. He made the wind. He can control the wind! I also think it's amazing that even though we've seen lots of fences down and trees uprooted, it doesn't appear that many trees have landed on cars or houses. Surely God had a hand in that!

Gracie doesn't have school for at least Monday or Tuesday and Chris doesn't have work for at least tomorrow. We will probably try to get the yard cleaned up and do some really fun things like that! We are so thankful to God for his protection from this storm. As strong as Ike was, God is so much stronger and I am thankful for that! There are so many who suffered loss of their homes, wind damage, FLOOD damage, and loss of power. These people need our prayers!

Below are some pictures of our preparation for Ike and of his aftermath, along with some of the beautiful skies God blessed us with both before & after Ike. Chris taking the canopy off the playset so it wouldn't rip. Chris & Ellie hanging out watching hurricane coverageThe girls beside an uprooted tree next to Gracie's school. Gracie found these cute acorns yesterday after the storm and turned them into our family!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

a visit with a true friend

My wonderful friend Melissa came to visit this last week, and we had such a great time together! It is so good to have a friend who continues to be a friend even though many miles may separate us! We talk almost everyday even though we've moved (yea for mobile to mobile!) but it sure was nice to see each other in person and go do 'girly' things and just have fun being together. I was so happy for she & Ellie to get to meet too!

I want to remember this visit in detail so here goes.

Friday, Ellie & I picked her up from the airport. It was so good to see her and let her hold Ellie for the first time. She had borrowed a suitcase from her grandmother and to her disappointment we saw that it had been destroyed. The handle wouldn't work anymore, a wheel had come off, and there was a hole in the bottom of it where the wheel used to be! The customer service was good though and they replaced it with a brand new one. Too bad it was red and her grandmother has matching pieces for the blue one that had been messed up!

We drove towards home and stopped for lunch at one of my favorite places-Goode Company Barbeque! I love a good chopped beef brisket sandwich! YUM! After we ate, we headed home with a quick stop at Super Target (which is now about 5 minutes from home!) and she got to get the tour of our new house which was fun. We then went to pick up Gracie from school. We also went to get a pedicure before dinner. I had cooked dinner that night so we all ate together then Melissa & I snuck out for some 'girl time.' We went to a bakery I wanted to try called "Sweet & Salty-A Gourmet Bakery." It was a fun little place. We also browsed through "The Bookworm Shop" and walked around some. I then drove her around the area some showing her a little bit of our new town. The girls enjoyed being treated to a manicure/pedicure!

Saturday, we took it easy in the morning, eating breakfast all together and not leaving home until around 11:30. We left the girls home with Chris and headed out to explore Houston. We went to a fun store called Charming Charlie's, then to a neat children's clothing store called Chocolate Soup and a really nice store called The Accessory Place. At this point, we headed over to browse through Pottery Barn Kids, James Avery, and Brighton. We were getting hungry but were planning on eating a big dinner so we decided to just get something small at the food court in the Galleria. Once we finally got there, we ate something and shopped around a little bit. We also enjoyed people watching as there are many interesting people who hang out at the Galleria. I think some of them think they're walking a runway in New York City when in reality they're living in Houston, TEXAS! Too funny.

We then ate at The Cheesecake Factory! Yum-we had been looking forward to this for a long time! It was soooooooo good!

Sunday, we went to church and came home for lunch that I had put in the crockpot early that morning. That afternoon, we went to Katy Mills for a little bit. We headed to church that night and to Pei Wei aftewards for dinner. YUM again! I enjoyed being able to introduce Melissa to some of my new friends and all of us eating together.

Monday, we did some shopping around here and ate lunch at La Madeleine. I then drove her around some more and we went to another bakery we'd seen called "Ooh La La-A Dessert Boutique." It was really, really good and had such pretty things! They had these huge cupcakes and then other desserts as well-like mini cupcakes that are the perfect size for 4 year olds! I definitely want to go back again! We ate at home that night for dinner then went to a movie and picked up Starbucks and came home to eat one of the desserts we had brought home.

Today, we hung out here at home for most of the morning after walking Gracie to school then decided to eat out yet again at Saltgrass Steak House. I figured she needed to go off with a really good chicken fried steak! It was good, too! We then headed to the airport and said our good-byes. It was sad to see her go and I've been a bit 'blah' tonight since she left. However, we've already made tentative plans for a visit from her whole family, and I hope it really happens! I'm thankful that God has blessed me with such a true friend!