Sunday, March 30, 2008

Not So Long Ago

20 years ago on March 29th, the "boy from church" and I had our first date! He was 17 and I was 15. He came over to watch TV at my house. I vividly remember his acid washed jeans, pink and blue plaid shirt and cowboy boots! That's right, ladies!

Saturday night, Derek and I celebrated the 20th anniversary of our first date. He took me to the Butcher's Shop. It was deeeelish. We had steak, baked potatoes, rolls and topped it off with this Heavenly brownie dessert.

Normally this day comes and goes every year without us giving it much thought, but we felt like 20 years was definitely something to celebrate! We had a lovely meal and then headed off to a movie. We went to see Drillbit Taylor. It was cute but not the best movie I have ever seen. If we would have still been 15 and 17, we would have loved it (if that tells you anything)! Ha! It didn't matter though. I was so happy to be out with my wonderful husband and reminiscing about what wonderful things had happened in 20 years!

Here we are before we left for our date.

The best products our of 20 years together...Evan and Ella Grace!

For kicks, here are some pictures from our 20 years together...

I particularly enjoy that I was not ashamed to display my love for Derek with my clothing. Notice the "Leigh Ann & Derek" t-shirt I am wearing and completing the outfit with cutoff jean shorts and teal tennis shoes!

This is the love seat we spent so much time on watching TV. I think we were getting ready to watch King Kong in 3-D.

The first dance we went to together. Gotta love that Saturday Night Fever vibe Derek has goin' on!

At my Senior Prom 1991.

A lovely portrait we had taken at the mall during our college years.

Our engagement party.

The strange thing is, it doesn't seem like it has been 20 years at all! I guess what they say is true. Time flies when you are having fun (and I've loved every minute of it)!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

So Long, Ernie

As I am running Ella Grace's bath water, she is behind me with one of her favorite toys, a stuffed "Ernie." I hear her say, "poo poo." I turned around and this is what I saw...

I guess she was helping Ernie to the potty. She seems to be quite fascinated with the potty and often tells me when she goes (or when anyone else goes for that matter). Is it too early to potty train at 17 months? I don't want to rush it, but the interest is definitely there! Poor Ernie. She still calls his name. It's kind of sad!

Monday, March 24, 2008


We had a fabulous Easter. We celebrated all weekend. Saturday, we spent the day at my sister, Millicent's, house. We had a delicious meal of BBQ with all the trimmings. The kids played outside, dyed Easter eggs, and then hunted eggs. We all had a great time.

Evan dying his eggs.

My niece, Sarah, dying eggs. She is quite the artist!

My nephew, Stone.

Ella hunting eggs for the first time. She loved everything about Easter!

Evan finding eggs.

Sunday, we surprised my grandmother by going to the Easter service at her church. My mom and my grandmother were both in their Easter program. My grandmother sang in the choir and my mom had a part in the play. It was a really good program and they did a great job. We sat in the back of the church just in case Ella was too loud, but she did great! She waved at my grandmother in the choir loft and kept calling for, "Gwanny." Here are the children before we left for the service. They look sweeter than they were acting! They were both ready to go and had no patience for pictures! Ella was crying two seconds before this...

After the service, we went to lunch with my sister, Millicent, and her husband, Phillip. No weight watchers was happening this weekend! We ate huge cheesesticks and cheeseburgers! They were so good!

What a wonderful weekend! I love spending time with my family, and it was great to go to a wonderful service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. I think my blogfriend,
Mrs. Judy, said it best, "We should celebrate every day!"

I want to give a special shout out to my Aunt Barbara *(aka "Burb" by all the grandkids). She reads my blog! :) She is a wonderful lady and I'm so thankful she is my aunt. She does so much for my entire family. She helped me a ton with Ella Grace while Derek was deployed. I don't know what I would have done without her.

Isn't she cute!

I hope you all had a great Easter celebration!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm 17 Months, and By the Way, I Can Count!

Today, Ella Grace turns 17 months old. Time is flying and it is so bittersweet. It is impossible to relate the joy she brings me and the fun we have. We were shopping one day this week and she LOVED these sunglasses, so we just had to get them. She wore them around the mall making all kinds of admirers along the way! She cracks me up!

Then, on the way to dinner tonight, she starts counting. I knew she could count to five, but she counted all the way to ten without missing one number! Derek and I just looked at each other. "Did you teach her that," I asked him. "No, did you," he asked me. I guess she picked it up from Evan or a video. It is so cute! I tried to get her to do it again. I was able to catch it with the video on my camera. Of course, this time I had to prompt her a couple of times, but she did it. She was counting my fingers and I couldn't get my other hand going while holding the camera at that same time. I know she is sideways and there is all kinds of craziness at the end...I'm still learning! :) Here it is...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Derek!

Awwww! Isn't he cute?!

Today is my sweet husband, Derek's, birthday! He turns 37 today! I told him this morning I had been thinking it was 20 years ago, the day after his birthday, that he called me. I was 15 and he had just turned 17. I don't think that was the very first time we talked on the phone because I remember the first time he called me he referred to himself as "This is the boy from church." My family had joined a new church when I was in eighth grade. It was a much bigger church than I was used to with a large youth group, so when he first called me I didn't really know who he was. He came over to watch TV one night and was around A LOT after that! He says he "wore me down," by his persistence and eventually we were inseparable. There was a strict rule in my house that my sisters and I could not date until we were 16, so Derek and I did our time holding down the sofa watching TV. I vividly remember my mother telling us one evening we could go to a movie, and we were beside ourselves with excitement! I wasn't 16 yet, but I think my mom knew even then that Derek was a good boy and she trusted the "boy from church." I jokingly tease her even now that I think she loves Derek more than me! Ha!

Here he is as a Boy Scout.

Now, here we are celebrating his birthday 20 years later, and I could not love him more. Anyone who knows Derek will tell you instantly he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, and he IS! He is a lot more than that to me though. He is my best friend, and I'm so glad God brought us together at such an early age.

Me and the "boy from church" going to my Junior prom.

Tonight I made one of his favorite dinners...pot roast, creamed corn, roasted potatoes, rolls, and I also had a chocolate birthday cake for him with cream cheese icing (ala Duncan Hines). He loved his birthday cards and presents. He got a couple of shirts but was more excited about these...

I think he liked these so much just for the Razorback emblem!

He also got a "Memory Man." Sounds like something I need more than he does. I can't remember anything these days (memory loss due to children I think)! Anyway, Derek is quite a guitar player. I admire him because he pretty much taught himself by ear and by watching "how to" DVDs. He is a huge fan of the band Boston and can play all of their songs. I tell him all the time I think he was born in the wrong era because he loves just about all 70's music. He also has played guitar and sang praise songs at church. He is really good! This is a picture of him in his "office." Evidentally, the "Memory Man" will loop and layer (whatever that means). He is so happy to have it. I guess that's all that matters, and I'm sure there will be masterpieces emerging from the office soon. : )

Happy Birthday, Der Bear! I love you so much!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Today is my sweet Evan's 6th birthday. Evan didn't go to school today. He slept in! Derek, Ella and I woke Evan by singing "Happy Birthday." Then, we started the morning with lots of birthday calls from family and friends with wishes for a Happy Birthday. Evan opened his presents from us and loved everything he got...a Scooby punching bag, a frizbie, a Playmobil castle, and a fire hose that shoots balls. Then, we were off to get portraits of the kids made. This probably was not Evan's most favorite part of the day, but Christy thinks she got some really great shots of the kids. She did give us a little sneak peek, and I think I'm going to have a hard time making up my mind. We then went out to eat at Chili's for lunch, and I thought it was a MUST to take him to see "Horton Hears a Who" tonight. Evan had a great time, and Ella enjoyed her very first movie. We have had a great day celebrating Evan's 6th birthday! Tomorrow is his big birthday party, so we are in for more fun.

Opening presents first thing. He loved this castle.

Going to see "Horton Hears a Who"

Snacking and watching intently.

Ella Grace loved her first movie. I love the look on her face here.

I love this! Evan would not stand next to his sister. Signs of things to come I guess.

Evan at 2 years old. This is one of my most favorite pictures of him.

The name Evan means "The Lord is gracious" and "God is good," and oh how I have seen God's grace and goodness working through Evan's life. Evan has a big story for a little guy of only six years. I'll share more about that real soon.

Happy Birthday, my precious son. You are my heart, and I love you so much! -Mommy

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Weigh-In and a Shishimi

Yeah! I lost the 1.25 lbs. I gained last week, so I'm back down to 25 lbs. lost. Now, I probably gained it back because right after I weighed, I went out to eat with my girlfriends at a new restaurant called Shishimi, a Japanese steakhouse that just opened in our community. Is this really happening to me? Shishimi and a new Wal-Mart all in the same week! Wow! I must be dreaming. :)

My girls and I had a great time catching up! We hardly even watched the chef as he prepared our food. Actually, the only thing I really remember about him was the big tub of butter he put in the fried rice (which I'm sure will lead back to the 1.25 lbs). It sure was good though and as always the company was the best!

Abby and Michelle

Kim, me and Toni

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Beautiful Day, a Great Lunch, and Toys for a Birthday Boy

What a beautiful day! It's 78 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I LOVE Spring. I just feel better all the way around when it is warm outside and I feel sun on my skin. Derek is off the rest of the week. I just love that! We went out to lunch today and then went shopping for Evan's birthday presents. We went to this little toy store called Toy Up. They have the neatest things there...things you won't find at places like Toys R Us. Then, it was off to pick Evan up from school. I can't believe in two short days he will be six years old. It's so bittersweet. I'm hanging onto every hour between now and then. I know, I'm so sentimental. I can't help it!

Derek and Ella Grace at lunch at Buffalo Grill.

Ella and her new friend, the buffalo head mounted on the wall. She wanted to touch it so bad, but I just couldn't let her (notice Derek holding her hands down). It kind of creeps me out! She loved it!

This is the cute little car that sits outside the toy store. It reminds me of the police car in the "Andy Griffith Show." As a matter of fact, if you look close, it says "Barney and Andy" on the side. I like the little wind up thing on the back. The man that owns the store says he does drive it occasionally.

For a girl that loves babies, life doesn't get much better than this! There were so many!

She loved this baby in a grocery cart. I see this toy in our near future!


Right now, this is what my wonderful husband and children are doing...

Evan's shirt has a puppy dog wearing a crown that says, "The Duke." That says it all!!! :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm So Excited

I'm so happy because the little community in which we live just got one of these...

It wasn't that far to drive to the nearest Target, but now we can zip down the road for essentials and now have more than one option for a grocery store. We went to check it out this weekend for the "grand opening." It is really nice and we had a good time just browsing. It even has a sushi bar. Who would have thought??? My thought is if I'm in the mood for sushi (I don't eat raw fish, so I'll never be in the mood for it), I'm not going to Wal-Mart to get it!!!

Kelly's encouragement, I'm getting a little bit braver on taking random, and, if you will, dorky pictures of myself. I, did, however make sure there was no one else on this isle before Derek took it. I wanted to take Derek's picture with the kids, but he insisted that it be with me in it. I think I embarrass him sometimes! Ha! This is a terrible picture of me, but I'm posting it anyway because the kids look cute! Doesn't Evan look thrilled in this picture? He wasn't quite as excited as I was to shop at the new Wal-Mart. Ella, however, was tickled pink, especially with her new purchase of a piggy bank.

It's the simple things in life that make me happy!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Calling All You Designers Out There

I need your help. My dining room is lacking something. There is a huge picture window that I'm debating whether or not needs drapes. I have never been a window treatment kind of girl, especially if there is trim around the windows, but I'm thinking this room just needs something. If you were me, would you put drapes in my dining room? I'm thinking I would hang them from the top window and maybe allow them to puddle at the bottom. It's so hard for me to visualize how things will turn out, so all of you out there with your cute decorating ideas, I need you. Our dining room flows into the great room and I'm getting a new couch that will be a deep red. It is replacing the one we just bought in October (a whole other saga). So, I was thinking tying in the red into the drapes in maybe some sort of pattern (or should it be solid). I'm also thinking panels. Anyway, if you don't mind, let me know your honest opinion. Here are some pics of the window at different angles:

Thanks for the help! : )

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's Snowing...Finally!

It's funny to me when all the weather men forecast 4-6 inches of snow and we wake up to barely any on the ground! This seems to always happen here! Everyone rushes to the grocery store to stock up and then nothing! Derek is like a kid when it comes to snow. He loves to watch the school closings like he is the one that is going to be out of school. It cracks me up. Being snowed in is definitely one of his favorite things. He was so disappointed when we got up this morning and there was no 4-6 inches. Pretty much all we got was rain with just a thin coating of white on the grass! However, the schools were closed, so we all have stayed in snuggled up together. In the last hour though, the snow has really started coming down. Derek is so happy!

Here is what our house looks like right now....

Here is what we have looked like most of the day (still in our pj's of course with bed heads and all!)...

It is still snowing and supposed to for about four more hours. So, hopefully I'll have even better pics to share later. Hope you are snuggled up under a warm blanket with your loved ones today!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Visit from Granny or "Gwanny" as Ella Calls Her

Ella Grace loves my mom. I think they have a special bond because my mom helped me so much with her (and Evan, too) while Derek was deployed to Iraq. Before Derek got home, my mom and I were the only caregivers she knew. Even now, she often asks for my mom. All of the grandchildren call my mom, "Granny." Today, Ella Grace kept saying, "Gwanny," so I called my mom and asked if she could swing by. Of course she came right over and Ella was delighted. They played and played. It warms my heart to watch my mom with my children. I think to myself this is probably how she played with me and my sisters when we were babies. She was the best mom. I hope Evan and Ella Grace feel that way about me one day.

Ella Grace and her Gwanny.

This is a little thing they do where they cover their mouths while they giggle. It's so cute!

I have to mention a few other cute things the kids did this week. One of Evan's teachers told me this afternoon that Evan looked her straight in the face and said, "You're pretty." He has never, ever said anything like that to anyone. He has, however, always loved blonds and this teacher is blond and also beautiful. I guess he just has good taste. His teacher was so funny and said, "I think he just knew I needed that today." I think he was just being honest. He loves Mrs. Stacy so much! Another funny thing...While taking Ella to Kroger and Target this week, every gray haired woman we saw, she would announce "GiGi" and wave. GiGi his her great-grandmother. It's sweet that Ella associates all old women with GiGi, but I sometimes am a little embarressed when she is calling them to look at her and saying it so loudly. They might be offended if they are not a GiGi themselves. However, our real GiGi gets a kick out of it when I tell her, "We saw lots of GiGi's today." It is really, really funny and cute! She has also started asking what things are. She says it really fast and asks as if it is one word, "Whatisat?" Oh, how I love my children and things they say and do!

Weigh In - Week Ten

Whaaaaaaa! Whaaaaaaa! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I gained 1.25 lbs. this week!!! I'm so sad because I exercised so hard this week. What in the world is going on? It makes me want to sit on my rear end again because I was doing a lot better before I started walking/running. The WW leader assured me that I should not stop exercising and this can happen when you first start exercising and it should level out soon. That makes no sense to me! I guess I'll trust her and see what happens next week. I knew this was bound to happen sometime, that I wouldn't lose weight every week, but I sure didn't expect to gain when I had been working so hard. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Hopefully, next week will be better.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

What a GREAT Weekend!

I LOVE Spring, and the Spring-like temperatures we had this weekend have really put a "Spring" in my step. Ha! We have done lots of running around this weekend and lots of playing outside. Evan is an outside boy and has been in Heaven this weekend.

We did a lot of swinging...

We drove around in the convertible...

We played soccer...

Did I mention swinging? We did A LOT of swinging...

We had a good time on the slide...

We rode the tricycle...

It's just been a great weekend spending time with my three favorite people in beautiful weather. What more could a girl ask for? I hope you had time to take advantage of this wonderful weather, too!