Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coming soon...

Hold on to your hats, because a MASSIVE post is coming your way.  It will include the Thanksgiving holidays, Ethan's 4 month update, and a little bit of Christmas too!  Stay tuned!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Girl's Night Out!

Tonight I am thankful for a fun night out with great friends and a dinner bill that came up to a grand total of $5, tip included!  For those of you who don't know, Johnny Carinos has family portion meals that are half price on Monday nights, which means for $13.50 you get a HUGE portion of your entree and 4 individual salads.  Divide that by 4 people, you've got a grand total of $3.38 each!  You just can't beat that!  I'm thinking we should make this a regular ladies date! ;-)

Weekend catch-up!

Well, I didn't get a chance to blog at all over the weekend...we were very busy!  2 going away parties, grocery shopping, house cleaning...oh yeah, and this small little guy who demands food and attention one to two hours out of every three... ;-)  However, I did remember my commitment, and took time each day to consider what I am thankful for- here's what you missed!

Friday: Clay and I had a yummy home-cooked dinner--I made pot roast with gravy, roasted carrots and potatoes, and biscuits--and just spent the evening hanging out and catching up.  And we were in bed by like 10 o clock!  On a FRIDAY!  Oh yeah, we're wild.  I don't know what it was- maybe I was just really hungry, ha ha- but as we were eating, I thought, "This is definitely what I am thankful for today!"  In all seriousness, though, sometimes a nice night-in with your sweetheart is balm for a weary soul!  I am so thankful that I have a man who is just as happy to spend time with me when I have on no makeup, am already in pajamas when he comes home from work, and our big plans consist of eating pot roast on TV trays while reruns play in the background.  Clay can make even that hum-drum scenario fun...we laughed our heads off (...until 10 o clock, when we promptly passed out!)

Saturday: This one is short- the weather was absolutely BEAUTIFUL this weekend!  I have been loving the fact that even though it's November, most days are in the high 60s!  This Florida girl is SO thankful for the mild weather, and I'm hoping it continues to stick around! 

Sunday: Last night our church had a going away party for The Wakefields, our preacher's family.  They are moving to Dothan, Alabama so that Greg can pursue a career he's always dreamed of having.  As you can imagine, it was a very bittersweet evening.  Everyone is happy they've been given this opportunity, but, of course, are simultaneously sad to see them leave.  Although Clay and I don't know them as well as many of the members at Westwood- we've only been there for a little over a year now- I have still been impressed by what awesome people Greg and Sandi are.  They were both very warm and welcoming when Clay and I came to visit our first Sunday.  We had been in Albany for a few years, and still hadn't found a congregation that fit.  I still missed my home congregation terribly, and was just desperate to find a place that felt like home.  Westwood was the first congregation that gave us hope!  I'll never forget Clay saying, as we left the parking lot that first morning, "Everyone seems genuinely happy and excited to be there."  And it's true- every Sunday morning you can tell that people are there because they want to be there; I think the Wakefields have a lot to do with creating that culture.  Greg and Sandi both obviously really care about people, and Greg is so clearly filled with passion for God's word, it reflects in his messages.  And their kids, Mason and Katie Beth, are terrific too!  I really enjoyed having Mason in class when I taught the "tweens'" Sunday school class, and Katie Beth is just the sweetest, prettiest little girl you could ever hope to meet.  As I looked around last night, I was blown away by the amount of love there- it has got to be an incredible feeling to know that you have touched so many lives...to have inspired so many that you can pack a room full with well-wishers, people of different ages, from different walks of life, all there to say goodbye and thank you.  I know that Westwood won't be the same without the Wakefields, and I'm thankful I had the opportunity to get to know them all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day, so I know I'm not the only one who is taking time today to say THANK YOU to the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces.  It is too easy to forget that these men and women are willing to risk their lives every single day to protect freedoms we take for granted. 

It is important to remember the families of these brave soldiers too, and not just those who have lost loved ones.  Being a member of the military often involves leaving your loved ones for extended periods of time, sometimes to go to places that are dangerous, or where communication isn't very easy.   Soldiers miss their babies being born, or growing up, their partners are left to run households alone...I can't imagine the strain that kind of separation puts on relationships, and am grateful I don't have to experience it.

Without the sacrifices of these people, we wouldn't be blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.  I thank God for our soldiers and their families, and am reminded today that I need to keep them in my prayers today and always.


“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”  -Elmer Davis

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Phew!

Naps went much better today, thank goodness!  We had a rough afternoon yesterday- he just did not want anything to do with sleeping.  I think he napped for a total of 2 hours the whole day, which made for a very cranky man- totally unlike him.  He conked out for the night at 6:30 and slept until 2 am (he was tuckered out!), and after I fed him, slept until 7 am!  So I'm feeling thankful that my happy man is back in the groove today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3 months!

Today marks Ethan's 3 month birthday!  It's funny- sometimes it feels like we just had him and I can't believe he's already been 3 months, but other times it feels like we've always had the little guy; we are constantly saying we can't really remember life without him now that he's here (despite the fact that we spent the first 4 years of our marriage just the two of us).  Here are some fun 3 month facts about our sweet man:


-He is a BIG fan of his hands- they are his favorite toy!  He's constantly chewing on them, or attempting to stick his entire fist (sometimes both!) into his mouth.  Let me tell you, it's quite entertaining to watch!  ( ...no?  Just me??) The downside is that this gnawing produces a lot of drool.  And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT!  Homeboy lives in a bib these days.  I am fearful that these are signs of teething...something that causes me a lot of worry as a nursing mother.  Pray for me! ;-)

-He can roll over!  Not all the way, but from his stomach onto his back.  Tummy time has become a thing of the past now that he's discovered he can flip himself over.  This is how a typical morning goes: I put Ethan on his blanket stomach down.  Walk into the kitchen to get myself a cup of coffee.  Walk back out to living room to find E laughing at the ceiling fan.  Flip him back over.  Let the dog out.  Walk back over to find E on his back again.  Flip him back over...and repeat...over and over and over again.  He gets SO mad when we can't immediately roll over.  Once he learns a new skill, he works it hard!

video

 -He is a chatterbox.  I guess I should say he is still a chatterbox, as this isn't really a new development...he's been "talking" for at least a month now, and he still "talks" all day long.  This is one of my favorite things about him.  It's like he's a little adult.  He just stares at you, keeping eye contact the whole time, and just coos his head off.  It's so funny- he makes little facial expressions the whole time- I just know that he thinks he's having a very interesting conversation.  This can be especially distracting at church.  If he is awake, he is making noise, even if it means shouting or cracking up unexpectedly during the sermon.  This month, though, he's added a new element to his repertoire: when one of us reads to him, he coos and grunts the whole time, like he's reading along with us.  It is quite funny!  And it's not just us- he kept the childcare staff at the YMCA entertained last week- they pulled a book out of his diaper bag to read to him, and he "read" with them too.  They thought it was hysterical!  As an English teacher, this early interest in books delights me! :-)

-He laughs.  LOUDLY.  In fact, his laughs are more like shouts.  It's the best sound in the world!  (One of these shout-laughs is in the clip below).  I can get a laugh out of him, but he thinks Clay is hilarious!  He is getting more and more expressive by the day, and is still such a happy boy.  He is constantly smiling and is a ton of fun!

video

-He blows raspberries.  This is another big-time spit producer (and another reason he lives in a bib), but he has so much fun blowing spit bubbles and making the razz noise, it's hard to care.


- He is strong!  He has been blowing through the physical milestones since he was born.  I am not exaggerating when I say that he has been able to hold his head up since he was born- he has never had the wobbly newborn head.  I will never forget holding him in the middle of the night our first night in the hospital, when he reared back off my chest and looked me in the eyes for a good half a minute!  He was sitting up in his Bumbo at one month, and has been able to bear weight on his legs while standing since he was two months old.  Now he likes  to "walk" along (while we hold onto his hands).  This is cool, except for now he thinks he should constantly be upright! (the same once he learns a new skill it's all he wants to do thing I mentioned earlier)  The kids DOES NOT want to bend his legs..ever.  Now that he has had a taste of standing up, it's pretty much all he's interested in.  This makes feeding him a struggle- he's constantly wriggling- and burping him a near impossibility; I have to bend his legs for him and  make him sit just to burp him!  And rocking him?  He'll have none of it!  But he's happy as a clam if you'll let him stand up on your lap.  He just looks around with the sweetest expression;  he lifts his eyebrows (which makes him look exactly like Clay, down to the forehead wrinkles!) and has this little smile like, "Hey, look at all the cool stuff I can see!"   He really is Clay's mini-me.  I passed on blue eyes, and it looks like red hair...everything else is his daddy's!  Clay and I both think he is going to walk early.


-He's a big boy!  I can't believe how much he's grown- he already looks like a little man to me, and the difference between how he looks now and pictures of when he was first born is unreal!  I don't know how much he weighs for sure, since there isn't a doctor's appointment this month and we don't have a scale (I need to get one!), but he was 13 1/2 lbs at 2 months- the 90th% for weight and the 80th% for height.  Even though Clay isn't super tall, he's a big guy (especially his broad shoulders), and both he and I have huge dads that are well over 6 feet tall, so I'm thinking Ethan's gonna be a big guy.  Clay and I predict that he's destined to be a linebacker, with his size and strength! :-)


-He's a good sleeper.  He doesn't sleep in a swaddle anymore, and is only getting up once in the middle of the night (around 3 or 4 am).  He is going down for the night earlier too, and has even slept all the way through the night a few times.  I'm hoping he'll be a through-the-night sleeper by 4 months!  I can dream, can't I?

A few of his favorite things these days:
- He loves to be sung to, especially "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "You are my Sunshine."  He likes "Patty Cake" and "This Little Piggy" too (every time I do "This Little Piggy" with him, I think of the GEICO commercial).
- He loves being read to- his favorite books are the classic Goodnight Moon (thanks, Aunt Cait!), two Little Golden Books: The Fire Engine Book and There's a Monster at the End of this Book (my favorite from when I was a little girl!), and these fantastic interactive pull-out type books by Reader's Digest that I got at a school book fair when I was pregnant with him:  Farm!, Ocean!, and Zoo!.  He also really likes a book that a librarian we attend church with gave him recently: Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales.  I had never seen this book before, but it has HUGE illustrations- I think that's why E likes it so much! (*I included links in case any mommies or mommies-to-be want to get them for their own little ones!)
-He LOVES bath time- it's one of his very favorite things.  He kicks and splashes and makes the funniest faces the whole time.  He doesn't even mind if water runs over his face (don't worry- he aren't mean parents- we discovered this accidentally, while rinsing out his shampoo).  Clay sprays him with the nozzle after he's been washed, and that's probably Ethan's favorite part- we call it his jacoozi time. :-)
-He's not really into toys on his own yet, but he likes this musical Baby Einstein turtle we use to play with him, and he likes to look at himself in mirrors.  He is starting to notice and smile at his rattle blanket toy, and has a good grip, so I'm guessing he'll start playing with blankets, rattles, links, etc. soon.  

I know this is an exhaustive list, but what can I say?  I'm a first-time mom, and I think everything about Ethan is fascinating!  Everything is going by so quickly, and I want to remember it all!!  We just love this little guy to pieces- I can't wait to see what month 4 unfolds!

Blah, but still blessed!

I am not really in the mood to blog today, but I already missed yesterday, and I made a commitment to stick to this blogging thing, so here I am!  I am feeling exhausted this evening, and a little overwhelmed by the fact that the amount of things I need to get done in a day has grown, but my ability to get things accomplished has decreased...something about a pesky little guy needing to eat and be entertained every 3 hours... ;-)  But I am not going to complain! Instead I am going to catch up on my blogging; here are two of the things I'm feeling especially thankful for today:

I am thankful that my Papa wasn't hurt last night.  He is struggling with Alzheimer's, and left his house in the middle of the night last night.  Luckily, a kind neighbor found him wandering the street barefoot at 3 am with my grandparents' dog (bless sweet Sandy's heart for staying with him!  There's nothing like a dog) and brought him back home.  Thank GOD that a good person found him (he even checked back in on him this afternoon), and not some thug or criminal.  So thankful that he didn't wander into traffic, or fall down and hurt himself...I shudder to think about what could have been.

I am also thankful that we are financially stable.  Since we've recently transitioned from having one paycheck to two (now that I'm staying at home with Ethan), we have had to do a bit of readjusting over the past few months.  Even though I didn't make a lot, it did provide us with plenty of fun money, and we're missing it!  That, combined with the fact that Clay's paycheck is bi-weekly, so we only get half of it at the first of the month, yet our biggest bills hit then, means that things are TIGHT until the 15th this month.  We've made the necessary adjustments so we won't run into the problem again (spread some of our big bills to the second half of the month), but it has still been a little stressful.  It is no fun feeling broke, and we at least have the peace of mind that it is simply an issue of cash flow this month- we know that ultimately there's more than enough money to pay our bills etc. this month.  I was thinking, though, that many families live with this feeling constantly, and without the security of knowing they'll be just fine when the next paycheck hits.  For some, every paycheck has to be stretched farther than it can, and every purchase causes anxiety.  I can't imagine having to live life that way- I only have to make it a few more days, and I don't like it!  Definitely makes me thankful that money is not something we have to worry about, and encourages me to be more generous with what we've been given to help others who aren't as fortunate as we are.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baby Ian!

Today I helped host the baby shower of a really good friend I've made here in Albany, Christy Black.  She is due to have a little boy, Ian Paul, on December 6th, and I couldn't be happier for her!  I now know firsthand how much joy a baby boy brings, and can't wait for her to experience it firsthand.  

When I first moved to Albany it was very hard to meet people, and I was pretty miserable.  I thought I'd never make friends, so you can imagine how thankful I was when I finally did.  Christy was the first good friend I made here; we bonded over being dragged by our husbands from Tampa to Albany (we both HATED it here), and our friendship pretty much saved me from being constantly down in the dumps.  I'm so glad I didn't scare her off with what I'm sure were excessive and desperate invitations over for dinner!  When you don't live near family, you need a really good group of friends as a substitute- Christy and her husband Aaron definitely are!  So I'm happy to be sharing the excitement of first-time motherhood with such a great friend, and for somewhat selfish reasons, I'm thrilled to have a friend who's going to have a baby close in age to Ethan.  It'll be nice to have someone to share milestones with, and for our little boys to be able to play together. 

Feeling thankful for friends, and thankful for the fact that I no longer hate Albany...gosh, I never thought I'd be able to say that!! ;-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Home sweet home

I am a perfectionist.  I like things just so, and I always think that my way is the right way (...but I try not to be pushy about it...unless you're family.  Then all bets are off).  And although I like to think of it as a character strength, I'll admit it is sometimes a hindrance to my happiness, mainly because (ahem) nothing in life is perfect!  An area where this is especially the case is my home.

Clay and I are blessed to own a beautiful home- I love love love it.  The layout, the light fixtures, the frosted glass laundry room door that says "Laundry" with a picture of a sudsy tub, the back porch swing- I fell in love the very first time I saw it.  We bought it at the age of 22, which is INSANELY young to become a homeowner these days, and have spent the last 4 years feathering our nest.  Given the fact that we were babies out of college when we bought the house, we had literally nothing, save a hand-me-down couch, and washer and dryer set, in the way of furniture.  Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by this, but I had a bit of a "beer budget, champagne taste" kinda conundrum going on when we finally settled in.  Everywhere I looked I saw the furniture, picture, or knick-knack that should be there.  I wanted to decorate the whole house all at once, and wasn't going to be satisfied until it was finished.  Thankfully, I had a sane husband to reign me in and explain that going into debt so that our living room would be "cute" actually wasn't a good idea.  4 years later the house is still a work in progress, and although we've done a lot, I still find myself focusing more on what we don't have than on what we do.  It's pretty bad- even when someone pays me a complement about the house, I find myself saying, "Thanks- it'll look much better once we've..."  It's my perfectionist ways!  I want my house to look just right, I can't help it!  And though there's nothing wrong with wanting to make your home a nice place to be, lately I've really started to think about my mindset in this area.  If I'm honest with myself, it isn't good.  Rather than concentrate on all that God has blessed me with, I get caught up in what I don't have that I think I "need."  And they're all material items!

So today I am concentrating on being thankful for my house.  So many people have lost their homes to foreclosure or natural disaster, and we are in a stable situation.  So many people lack the simplest comforts of home, and we have more than enough to keep us safe and warm.  When I think about my situation in this light, I feel ashamed.  How dare I be disgruntled about having to save up for Pottery Barn side tables , when there are others who would give anything to be able to sleep indoors tonight?

Now...that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep saving for those tables (they're TOO cute!), but it does mean that I need to not let the fact that I don't have them yet stop me from being grateful for the things I do have.  And it does mean that I need to be very cautious to not get caught up in thinking about things from a worldly, materialistic perspective.  The "I need it all, right now," instant-gratification, more-more-more mind-frame has got to go, and a great cure for it is to count the blessings I already have.  Isn't it handy that I've already committed to blog about that very thing all month long?! ;-)

**Ethan slept through the night again last night!!  Keeping my fingers crossed that this becomes a HABIT to be thankful for!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sleep!

9. Uninterrupted. Hours of it!

That's right!  My sweet little man decided to let his momma get a good solid night's sleep last night, and I feel like a million bucks as a result!  I woke up knowing exactly what I was thankful for today! ;-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh, thank heaven for modern conveniences!

Since I promised no cheesiness today, I am going to take a moment to pay tribute to a few of the modern conveniences that are a big part of my every day life.  That's right, I'm lookin' at you, dishwasher, and you too, washer and dryer. 

I have been a fan of the dishwasher my whole life, perhaps appreciating it more than most people since we never had one growing up.  My dad's favorite refrain when my sister and I would ask (or beg...or plead...or weep, while wrist-deep in suds) why we didn't have one was, "What do I need a dishwasher for?  I already have two!" Oh yes, my dad was a HOOT.  :-)  So I have never lost the appreciation for being able to get clean dishes by the mere push of a button.  But now more than ever, when I only have free time in snippets between naps and feedings, do I relish the fact that in a few minutes I can rake everything off the counters, shove it out of sight into the dishwasher, and come back an hour later to sparkling cleanliness!  It's like magic!  If only I could somehow find a machine that could handle all of my housework as easily!

I also want to give a big shout-out to my favorite purchases of 2010, my front-loading washer and dryer set.  Our hand-me-down washer and dryer from Clay's parents finally kicked the bucket early this year, and we went shopping for a new set with our tax return, fully prepared to resist the siren call of the shiny new front-loading machines.  After all, they're more expensive, and we wondered what in the world could make these machines so much better than the old-fashioned kind?  Did the fact that the door was on the front of the machine really make that big a difference?  I was fully convinced women were buying them because they were new and exciting, and came in pretty colors like robin's egg blue.  Well, the joke was on me!  Once I saw what these babies could do, I was sold, hook, line, and sinker!  We walked out of Lowe's the proud owners of two pieces of equipment that basically do everything but fold the stinkin' clothes for you! (Now that would be a priceless invention, wouldn't it!?)  They really do get our clothes much cleaner, and we live for the steam cycle on our dryer- it allows us to throw wrinkled stuff in, and in 15 minutes it comes out wrinkle-free!  Anything that allows me to avoid an iron is a welcome addition to my home, let me tell you.

I am THANKFUL for these tools; they sure do make my daily chores a whole lot easier!  I guess they'll just have to do until I am able to have a robot maid, a la the Jetsons' Rosie.  Now that would REALLY be something to be thankful for! ;-)

Random side note: speaking of the Jetsons, was I the only person who thought that by the time I was a grown up we'd all be living in those space houses, driving flying cars?  I watched that cartoon thinking it was forecasting my immediate future! :-) 

    

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First post!

I've decided to join the blogging world for a couple of reasons, but they both revolve around my sweet new son, Ethan. First, it will allow me to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away (especially the grandparents who are hungry for every Ethan update), and second, it is a good way for me to record all of Ethan's little milestones and sweet moments; it's much faster to type it up than to write it down, and I know I'll want something I can look back on once he's a teenager who's too cool to let me kiss his cheeks 8,000 times a day, as I do now!  But I also hope to pepper the blog with things not Ethan-related as well.  I think that having a place to write down my own thoughts and observations might be nice, and so I am going to begin with one of those posts today.

November is the month of Thanksgiving, a holiday that, all too often I fear, is treated like the red-headed stepchild between Halloween and Christmas.  People focus on the delicious food and the holiday sales, and sometimes forget to actually take a breath and be thankful for their blessings.  I know that a lot of people this year might feel like there isn't much to be thankful for.  The economy is in bad shape, many families are struggling financially or have lost their homes, and lots of people have been out of work for far too long.  However, I think that even in bleak times, it is important to realize that we are fortunate to live in a great nation, and even at our worst, we are still so blessed compared to most of the world.  And, although I might sound like Pollyanna here, I think everyone could benefit from remembering the saying, "If you can't change your situation, change the way you think about it."  I am certainly not trying to downgrade the validity of people's frustrations, but even when everything else is beyond your control, you can always control your outlook, and sometimes that's what makes the biggest difference of all.  For example: I hear a lot of people complaining about our current President, and while that's fine (after all, the freedom to disagree is one of the fundamental things that makes the United States wonderful), I often want to tell these people, "Look- you voted.  It didn't go the way you'd hoped.  You can't change that.  So you can spend the next two years complaining and being miserable, and bashing the President, OR you can pray for him."  Guess which one most people choose?  And at the end of the day, whether they choose to be positive or negative, these people are still going to have the same President for the next two years; they're just a lot more unhappy about it in one scenario!

Now, this is not intended to be a political post (so please do not write a political diatribe in the comments section); that was just an example.  This rule can be applied to even the most mundane aspects of everyday life.  Like this morning when I spilled wet coffee grounds all over my kitchen floor, as a sleep-deprived new mom, I was still SO thankful for the coffee, I couldn't even get upset about the mess!  I am not saying it is always easy to be positive; in fact, it is often the more difficult choice to be happy.  Let's face it- it's easy to be grouchy, to say the mean thing that comes to mind rather than to hold your tongue, to focus on what's wrong instead of trying to see what's right.  As I get older, I realize more and more that happiness is sometimes more a choice than a feeling, and we take so much for granted.  So, with this in mind and in honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to challenge myself to stop for a few minutes every day this month to focus on something I am thankful for.  My only rule is that I am not allowed to repeat items, since I know I have plenty of blessings in my life.  Since today is November 2nd, I am going to catch up and write down 2 thanksgivings.  Warning: these will probably be a little sappy, but take heart; in general, I am not a mushy gal.  Tomorrow's post will probably be something ridiculous like, "I am thankful for leftover candy corn!" 

1. I am so unbelievably, deliriously, incredibly thankful for Ethan.  God blessed us with a baby who is not only healthy, but SUCH a joy!  He is so easy and so happy, it's intoxicating; my cheeks hurt from smiling whenever I'm around him!  With a baby around, every day brings a new discovery (even though they are usually things only the baby's parents would ever care about, like, "Honey! He blew spit bubbles for the first time today!!), and I am blessed to be able to stay home and experience every single one of them; I am loving that.  And what's amazing is that I didn't even know he was missing from my life, but now that he's here, I truly can't imagine life any other way!  I know that every cheesy greeting card under the sun has said this in one way or another, but it doesn't make the sentiment any less true.

2. Sometimes I forget that most of the world probably finds my romantic history a bit nuts: I married my high school sweetheart, the first boy I ever seriously dated, and my first real kiss.  While I didn't know at age 15 when I met Clay that he was "the one," I can't imagine life any other way.  Though, of course, I am thankful to be married to someone I love with all my heart who is my very best friend, that's not the thing I am most thankful for; after all, every married person can (or rather, should be) able to say the same thing.  What I think is the best part of all is that I have already spent almost half of my life with him, and we're only 26!  My husband literally grew up with me.  He is a part of almost all of my formative memories, funny stories, and big milestones.  It is a closeness that is difficult to explain, and I'm sure some people might read that and think, "Yuck!" but to me, that's the best part of our relationship.  He really, truly knows and gets me, and loves me anyway.  He's seen every quirk, every flaw, every mood, and he stuck around.  He saw me at my most insecure, self-absorbed state (high school), and loved me then.  He saw me grow and change in college, and loved me then.  He saw me gain 45 pounds during pregnancy and loved me even then! :-)  When I stop to think about it, I want to pinch myself; I hit the relationship jackpot!  Clay is exactly the man I need to balance me out, perfect for me in every way; he makes me laugh, keeps me sane, and is just the best guy I know.  And having a child with him added yet another layer to our relationship- seeing him with Ethan makes me love him even more.  He is such a good dad!  I am so thankful for him, and for the fact that being married to him is F-U-N!  I can't wait to see what the future holds.    

So, I challenge you all (all 2 of my readers, har har!) to stop and be thankful for something today too.  Big or small, I bet it will help you have a great day!