Saturday, January 07, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #7

A Year of Gratitude #7: My House

Our House

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. I've mentioned people, and I do have more people to list (I have 358 more days left... I'm sure I'll be mentioning a lot more people), but I wanted to express my gratitude for some other things in my life that are THINGS and not people.

When we came to GA in November for house hunting, I had two houses that I LOVED on paper. In fact, I was certain that it'd be so difficult to decide which of the two we'd make an offer on. Little did I know that the two that I loved so much, would be so disappointing to see in person. 

We spent the entire first day getting in and out of the car (with Gus) only to be disappointed. It wasn't until the last two houses of the day, that we felt like we finally had something to work with. One was way out of the way for Steve (45 minute drive to work on a good day) but had an amazing lot (it was on three acres and had a creek running through the back and was surrounded by woods). We rated it a 10/10 and then came to this house. We had just visited a 10 home, and then came here and we were blown away by the interior of this one. 

I think I just had a feeling about this one... I "knew" it would be our house (if everything worked out). I loved it and instantly could see us living here and raising Gus and future children in this home. I loved the colors on the walls, loved the high ceilings, loved the basement, loved all the storage space, the backyard, but I LOVED the master closet most of all.
Not only am I thankful that I live in this gorgeous home, but I'm thankful that we're able to afford it. I'm thankful that I have nice things to put in this home, that I'm able to have family visit and they have a comfortable place to stay, and that I can have people over for playdates and entertaining, and I'm proud to have them here.

I am very blessed and fortunate and I know that there are so many people losing their homes, not able to buy a home and are "stuck" living in a home that they don't love, and there are people that can't afford a new home. I am thankful for what I have and for my living situation, and so thankful to love my home as much as I do.

I am very blessed.

A Year of Gratitude #6

A Year of Gratitude #6: C & H

I could write a book about C & H and how thankful I am for them. They are Gus's birth parents and are two of the most amazing people that I've ever met. Not only are they good people, but they are selfless and put the needs of Gus ahead of their own. 

Sure they could have decided to parent him. They could have sacrificed their youth, their schooling, and their futures to raise him. I'm certain that there would have been some major struggles and it would have been extremely difficult for them to give him all the things that they would want for him to have. I'm sure he would have had the basics, and they would have had to work their tails off to make ends meet.

But they looked at their situation and through prayer and discussions with each other and family, they decided to do the scariest thing of all... they decided to place him into our arms and allow us to be his parents. I can't even imagine how difficult that decision had to have been for them. 

We weren't sure what kind of relationship we'd have with them since they weren't sure if they wanted an open adoption. Fortunately we were able to agree to an open adoption and not only do they get to see him, but so do their families.

I can say with the fullest of my heart that they placed him into our arms out of love. They wanted the best for him and they were willing to put their needs aside in order to give him the best possible future. It's my purpose, as his mom, to ensure that he never forget that his birth mother and father love him so deeply, and care about him more than anything on this Earth. They care more about him, than their own desires and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Gus has always been a special little guy. He's always had a very happy nature, always been very laid-back and chill, and never been one to fuss. He's content, secure, and loved by more people than you could imagine. He's extremely blessed to have birth parents that want to be apart of his life, and birth aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great-grandparents too!

I pray that Gus's birth mom and dad are able to have a family someday in their future, when they're ready and the time is right for them. I think they'll be exceptional parents, and I pray that they love parenthood as much as I do. 

Children are a miracle and a blessing regardless of how they come into our lives. I'm grateful that C & H entered my life and will always, always have a piece of my heart and will always have my gratitude for giving me the gift of motherhood.

Saturday Recap

We tried to put Gus to bed last night without a sippy. He ALWAYS has a sippy for bed... usually it's just enough to get him to sleep, but I decided that he is big enough to not need it. As expected, he cried for about ten minutes and then fell asleep.

All was right with the world and I felt like I had won that battle. 

Until 12:30am. He woke up screaming. We waited to see if he'd stop and just fall back asleep (sometimes he does), but not last night. I decided that he probably needed the sippy, so I went about dealing with that while Steve changed him. When I walked into the room with the cup, he was beyond excited and eagerly got back into bed to get his cup.

He was asleep before we left the room.

We came back down and got back into bed and then I woke up and it was 8:15. I felt refreshed, but a bit confused. I didn't hear Gus at all... surely he was with Steve and woke at his usual 6:45 -7:00 right? 

I decided to get in the shower while I had the chance, and when I got out, Steve came in and I asked him where Gus was. He said he was still in bed.

Let me repeat that...

Steve got in the shower... and it wasn't until 9am that Gus decided to wake up. I could not believe how late he slept!!! We were both able to sleep in on a Saturday... something that hasn't happened since May 8th, 2010!!!

Steve went and got Gus and then we had a quick breakfast and headed to the credit union to finish opening our account. Gus was the star of the show... everyone kept talking about how cute he was, and of course, he was hamming it up by chatting to everyone!
Our account manager Christina loved Gus!

She let him sit at her desk and he was SO HAPPY to play with her mouse and keyboard!

Gus and Christina

Of course, as she was getting things ready for us, she was going in and out of her office and telling everyone how sweet Gus was. When we left, everyone wanted to talk to him and he was oh so happy to oblige! We opened a savings account for him and he was given a piggy bank that he was delighted to receive! 

We hope that friends and family will make deposits instead of gifts when it's time for his birthday or other holidays. :-)

We headed back home because I had a nail appointment at 11:00 and it was already 10:30. I was able to get to my nail place in time, and it was exactly an hour from the time I walked in the door, to the time that I walked out to my car. My nails look fabulous and I am so happy that I found Spa Nails!!

I came home and had lunch and then Gus was still napping, so I took a nap too. I don't know how long I was asleep, but Steve woke me and we headed to Home Depot and Target.
Gus at Home Depot
We got all that we needed at Home Depot and then I ran into Target to get the Motts for Tots Fruit Snacks that Gus likes so much. Steve stayed in the car with Gus. We got home just in time for the Bengals game... they lost.

We had a handy-man come by to look at the gutters (they're full and need to be cleaned out) and then I made dinner (ham and cheese hashbrown casserole). We watched the Bengals lose and Steve developed a bad mood.

That was our Saturday. We had some CRAZY storms rip through the area... the first since we've been here and with the high ceilings and skylight in the kitchen, it sounded like we were outside. It was loud!! The whole house shook when lightning would strike outside... it was a bit freaky!!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 06, 2012

5QF: January 6th, 2012

Here are the questions for January 6th, 2012
1. What is the weather like where you are and do you like it?
So far it's been weird... it's been cooler than North Carolina, which is odd since we're six hours south of Raleigh. You'd think it'd be warmer. I'm thinking that it'll eventually be warmer here than in NC, but it's been unseasonably warm in the south lately. 
I love the warmer temps. I can't do too hot (like Phoenix or Las Vegas) but I HATE the cold. I was so glad to move south for the warmer weather.

2. When you're sick what do you seek comfort from?
My bed. There's nothing better than just snuggling in my warm bed and being taken care of by Steve. I enjoy Mrs. Grass's cup o' noodles to make me feel better too.

3. What do you need to do before the end of the month?
Um... finish unpacking my desk stuff and get these boxes out of here so Gus will stop climbing on them and attacking my desk!

4. Have you ever served on a jury?
Nope... I've always wanted to be called for Jury Duty and the one time I got the summons, the day I was supposed to go, I had to call the 1-800 number to make sure that I was still needed and they had dismissed me.  :-(  I'm certain that's why I've never been called... anyone who wants to be called won't be, and those that are, HATE IT.

5. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I'd be my cats. They are spoiled, loved, and do nothing all day and enjoy it. 
Maybe I'd be a bird so I could fly and see the world from up high.

New Friends!

We had our first in-home playdate today!! I met Dina on AAM and her daughter Becca is only three days younger than Gus! Dina just moved here from Miami in October/November, and before that, she lived in Gilbert, AZ. Funny right? (My older brother lived in Gilbert for a few years.)
Gus singing this morning

Playing with his Baby Elmo

Anyway, Steve and I were able to sleep in a little this morning, and Steve went into work a little later than usual (he came home late tonight). I'm glad he woke me when he got in the shower... I was able to get up to Gus BEFORE he took off his pants or diaper! It was a pleasant surprise to open the door and not see him standing in his own waste.

I changed him and got him dressed and then he and I headed down for breakfast with Steve. We all enjoyed cereal at the table. :-) Steve headed to work and Gus and I watched some Mickey until Dina and Becca arrived.

Becca was shy and had been crying before she got to our door, and then Gus was up in her grill and she cried some more. She didn't seem to really get comfortable until we were downstairs playing, and even then she was still on the shy and reserved side.

Gus showing Becca how to ride the coaster
Playing... Gus got in her grill

Trying to carry his table

Riding on his horse

Gus had a great time with her though and was excited to have a new friend over. I found it so easy to talk to Dina and found that she and I have a lot in common... mainly our addiction to reality television. :-)

The kids played and we talked and it was a great morning. They headed home at noon and then Gus and I had quesadillas for lunch. He went down for his nap at 12:30 and was out until 3:00.

It made for a long afternoon because Steve didn't get home until late (6:15). We had dinner and then watched Grey's Anatomy from last night. I'm still not fully recovered from the events... I was sobbing uncontrollably. I hate episodes like that... and then the very end was so good... had me crying even harder.
Raging against the Tot Tower

Happy again

After we put Gus to bed (without a sippy... first time EVER-- wish us luck in breaking this habit) I came online to check my email to see if I was picked for Yelp Elite '12 status. I was not. I am terribly disappointed. Maybe it's more competitive here in the Atlanta area. It just sucks that I earned it in 2010 and again in 2011... I review and check into places and do what I can... but I guess it wasn't enough to get picked for 2012.  :-(

I have a nail appointment tomorrow at 11:00. Steve has a ten-item "honey do" list that I made for him. He should be quite busy (and productive) this weekend. The Bengals are on tomorrow (YAY) {note my sarcasm} and he wants to be home to watch them play. 

If you want to see more pictures from today... check the Walker Family Prattle. I'm uploading daily and that's where they are!

See you later.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thursday's Top Ten: Favorite Animals

Favorite Animals

  1. Three-toed sloth
  2. Giraffe
  3. Panda
  4. Horse
  5. Cat
  6. Dog
  7. Naked Mole Rat
  8. Elephant
  9. Penguin
  10. Frog

A Year of Gratitude #5

A Year of Gratitude #5: My Sisters in Law

I have two brothers and each has found the one to capture his heart. Dave married Heather in May of 2000 and Scott and Christie met in 2007.

My brothers mean the world to me, and I always wanted them to find someone to bring out the best in them. I wanted them to find happiness, love, and romance. I wanted them to be with someone that appreciated them for the great men that they are, and my prayers were answered with Heather and Christie.

As you'd imagine, they're both different from each other, but strangely, they're very similar in so many ways. I guess it's not too surprising, since Scott and Dave are similar and yet different. I'm just glad that I like them both and they like me. I'd hate to not get along with them-- that'd be about the most horrible thing that could happen to a family.

Heather and "the sweater"

Heather is so funny. She has a sense of humor that is awesome, she laughs at my jokes (always important), and she's goofy. I remember meeting her for the first time and being so nervous. I liked her immediately and she was warm, down-to-earth, and made Dave happy. I was sold.

I guess there are two lives that most people live. The person they are before they become parents, and the person they become after. The Heather before kids was funny, silly, and fun to be around, and the Heather as a mom is the same way, only better. She really is an outstanding mother and is my go-to person when I am needing help with parenting stuff.

She sews and creates the most amazing things, she teaches her children to be honest, compassionate, upstanding people, and she values each of them for the individuals that they are becoming. I call her "super mom" because she does it all and still manages to stay sane. :-)

Scott's partner in crime is Christie. She is amazing. I can't say enough positive things about her. I adore her, love her, respect her, and think she's incredible.

Maybe it's because I have a special bond with Scott that I don't have with anyone else, but I feel a special connection with Christie. She single-handedly changed my brother's life. She's as quirky and weird as he is, and as funny and witty as he is too. She's basically him in the female form. LOL

Scott grew up always saying that he'd never meet anyone, never settle down, and would NEVER have kids. She changed all that for him. After searching for the right one, he just about gave up looking for love. All I wanted was for him to find someone that would find him as amazing as I did, and would see the Scott that I see when I look at him. I wanted him to find someone that thought he was exceptional and special, and would feel honored to know him.

When I met her for the first time, we were in Washington DC. We drove up from NC and they drove down from MI and we met up for the weekend. I was SO NERVOUS to meet her. I loved her the minute I met her. She was just so sweet and kind. Above all, she looked at my brother the way I had always prayed he'd find someone to look at him. She adored him and saw the Scott that I saw... it was magic.

Christie is so giving to everyone. She and Scott are very alike in this matter. She puts her kids first, and she is the world's greatest mom. My nieces and nephew are SO LUCKY to have her as their mom. 

Heather and Christie are both the kind of people that I'd be friends with if they weren't with my brothers. They both welcomed me (and Steve) into their lives and have become important parts of my family. They both mean the world to me, and I am grateful that they are both in my life, and love my brothers as I hoped they'd be loved.

A Year of Gratitude #4

#4: My Brothers
Blurry- but it's Scott, me, and Dave

Anyone who reads this blog regularly should already be familiar with my family since I write about them quite often. I have a twin brother named Scott (above left) and an older brother named Dave (above right). They bring out the best in me and have made my life so very rich.
I can't fathom the concept of being an only child. I think I'd be so sad if I didn't have the two guys in my life that I am fortunate enough to call my brothers. They're so completely, I mean WORLDS, different from me, and yet, we're all three so very similar in so many odd ways.
My whole family (July 2010)

When I think about my favorite childhood memories, they include these two. They are near and dear to my heart for many reasons. I am 35 and still close with both, although I don't see either of them nearly as much as I need to/would like to. I live in Georgia and they're both in other states.

Of course, being a twin has me close to Scott for a variety of reasons. I've never known a birthday without also celebrating it with him. I've never not been a twin, so the concept of being a singleton is weird... I feel so blessed to have shared my entire life, from conception to now, with him by my side. 

At my starter wedding... goosing me (grabbing my butt)

He's got a wit and humor about him that's unsurpassed by any other. Sometimes he takes it too far, but he always knows when to stop messing with me and can always read my mood. He knows when I'm mad, upset, or sad, and has always known just what to say or not say, or do to help me get through it.

At my starter wedding 
Dave has always been the older brother that I always looked up to and idolized. It's never been fair to him, but that's what you get when you're the oldest and the coolest. :-)  He's done some incredible things in his life, and I feel so proud of everything that he does. He's brag-worthy. From his family to his career, in my eyes, he's perfect. His views on politics and religion... well, we won't go there because we're a little different in those regards, but I still respect his views and opinions and always value his reasons for believing as he does.

My mom with all of her grandchildren (as of July 2010)
I am most proud of the parents that my brothers have become. They love their children with all of their beings, and they give so much to their partners in crime. They both sacrifice for their families, and they are both loyal, honest, and trustworthy. They'd both give you the shirt of their backs if you needed it. They make sure that their kids know that they're loved and they bump the "traditional" daddy roles and are very progressive in how they take care of their kids. They change diapers, they cook meals, they have "daddy and me" time with their kiddos and they love with their entire heart. Their significant others are strong women that have helped shape my brothers into the men that they are, and have helped to bring out their sensitive sides as dads.
I'm thankful that God has allowed me to be the sister in the mix of these two guys. I'm the only sister they'll ever have, and I'm lucky to be able to say that. I used to wish that I had a sister... but I'm so thankful that I don't. I couldn't imagine who I'd be if I didn't have these two in my life.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


This morning started with another pooptastrophy. This time I wasn't so lucky and when I went in to get Gus, the poop was all over the crib. I was so pissed...

So after I got him cleaned up and the crib taken care of, we headed downstairs for breakfast. Gus was snuggling Harry (his doll) while drinking some juice and watching Mickey. 

It was about 8:50 or so, and I let the dogs out for a bit. When I went to let them in, only Ned came to the door (which is pretty normal... I usually have to call Elphie at least twice before she comes inside). I called again... no Elphie. I called a third time, and still no Elphie. So I stepped outside to look and I didn't see her. 

I went down into the yard and looked back in the back where it's not fenced, thinking that maybe she got through the area, and it was still intact... but when I looked back at the house, I saw the gate to the backyard was WIDE open. :-(

I called and called for her but she was gone. So I texted Steve and then went back inside... stepped out into the front and called some more, but nothing. So I ended up getting her microchip info and called to report her missing. Just as I was giving the info on the phone, I looked outside one more time and saw her across the street. I immediately hung up and went out and called her, and she came running home.

I was so thankful that she actually came to me... instead of running away. I told Steve that she came home and that we MUST get their tags updated with our new info... they're still listed as living in North Carolina.

As soon as I got her back inside, it was time to head out for our playdate. We arrived about 15 minutes late, but pulled up at the same time as the other mom (Andrea). She had a little girl named Gemma who was 29 months, and then Kim hosted, and had a five year old named Caroline and a three year old named Lilah.
Gus enjoying the cash register

He liked the rocking horse too

We had a great time and stayed for about two hours and then it was time to head home for lunch and then naptime.

Gus went down for his afternoon nap at 1:00 and woke up at 4:00. It was SO NICE to have him get a nice long nap today!!

Once he was up, we played for a bit and then Steve got home. 
Gus counting bowls

We ordered pizza (it was yummy) and had dinner and while we were watching tv after dinner, Gus decided to take off his diaper... and this one was poopy. THANKFULLY it fell bottom up and didn't spill out at all, but my goodness was it gross.

We threw him in the tub and then it was bedtime.

We came downstairs, and this is what I saw:

I'm chatting with Kristen as I type this... so good to talk to her!! She was eager to hear about how our playdate went today... so supportive and such a good friend. :-)

Tomorrow we're staying home all day and I'm excited to just veg all day with Gus. Hopefully it'll be warmer than today. Friday we have a playdate with a lady named Dina... her daughter Becca is 19 months old too, and was born May 14th of 2010! How fun is that? I'm excited because she's new to GA too and doesn't know anyone here either. They're going to come over here around 10 on Friday and I can't wait!!