Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Five years ago...

Every year around this time, I reflect on where my life was compared to where I am today. It's hard to believe that 5 years ago I was 7 months on the job in Corporate America, working hard to move up the ladder but at the same time wondering if my life would have more substance than just work.

I had moved to Charlotte in June of 2001 to start my job at "Big Power", only a month after graduating from college. I started going to a mega church and quickly plugged into a Sunday School class in order to meet some friends and, of course, maybe a guy I could date. The class I attended was a singles class and almost all of us were young corporate guys and gals in the same boat as me. We ended up having a ton of fun together going to movies, dinner, and other outtings, all the while feeling the waters for something deeper with the opposite sex. A lot of the group started coupling off, finding connections with the friends we had made, gravitating to the ones who had what we were looking for.

One Sunday in November '01 during a "Bible Trivia" day, this new guy, introduced as the SS teacher's best friend, visited our class. He apparently was a student at Elon college and was home on break. He was on the opposite team as me and answered a bunch of the questions right and I remember thinking I had to meet that guy. A few of my friends knew who he was since they went to college with him. I don't remember meeting him that day, but a month later when he visited again and I made sure I sat right next to him to introduce myself. "Hi, I'm Melanie. So, you're Dave's best friend?" "Yes I am. I'm Patrick". And there it began.

A few weeks later, my roomie, Courtney, who knew him from college, planted a bug in both of our ears about the possibility of dating. We were both interested, but didn't make any moves. We just sort of let the dynamics of the Sunday School class lead the way; we went out to dinner with the group, went to see a movie with the group, and just hung out with a bunch of people, which helped ease the awkwardness of the immature phase of "I like you. You like me. But what the heck do we do with that?"

On January 29th of 2002, Patrick asked me if I wanted to go to lunch with him after church, which I accepted, suppressing the true excitment I was feeling about it. I guess you could call this our first "official" date, though we weren't dating at the time. We had a nice lunch and I was impressed at how attentive he was in our conversation (though to this day I don't remember what we talked about). Later that night, we were supposed to play indoor kickball at the church gymnasium with the SS group, but I suggested that we could be each other's excuse to not go and just hang out together after the evening service. He thought that was a good idea. So, we met back up a church that night and afterwards, went to Blockbuster to rent a movie. He suggested "Les Miserables", which I had never seen and was shocked that he chose such a movie (he scored MAJOR points with that one). I thought it was romatic of him. So, we went back to my place, I cooked dinner and then we watched the movie. We held hands during the movie and afterwards, we agreed that we'd like to be more than just friends.

This was the first time in a long time I had dated a guy and my history accredited 2 prior relationships, both of which lasted a few weeks at the most. I went to bed that night thinking that I hope it would last for longer than 3 least getting me through Valentine's Day since I had never had a boyfriend on that holiday (let alone other holidays...). I know, I know...that was a very shallow thought of me, but I would say that I was a bit shallow when it came to relationships at that time. As the anniversaries of our early relationship milestones pass, I will jot them down and share them with you...there are several in Feb!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let the gaming begin!

Well, we've took the "plunge" and made an offer on the "pool house" this evening. After a lot of thought, research, discussion, stress, and (most importantly) prayer, we decided to move forward on this house. We're in a good place in this game of house buying; if we don't come to terms on a price, then we're willing to walk away knowing that God has something else for is. But, if we do come to terms, we will be very happy and humbly pray that the house will be used for God's glory. I'll keep you posted and ask that you keep us in prayer!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pool? Or no pool? That is the question...

The house hunting has been well underway for several weeks now and I've experience little frustration in the process...up until now. We've probably seen over 50 houses since we first learned of our move to TN and each one has had some kind of drawback. I've finally found a house I REALLY like (Patrick likes it too), but it has a swimming pool in the backyard. We both were not wanting a pool and this is the first house we've seen that has one. I wasn't even going to originally look at the house because of the pool, but I was in the neighborhood this past Sunday looking at open houses and decided I would just drop in. I loved it.

I took Patrick by to see it yesterday and he agreed with perception of the was great, but oh, that pool! Here are our main concerns (though we may not share the same intensity of feelings for each one, we agree on the list)
1. Mallory could fall in and drown (applies to Cayman as well)
2. Mallory could try to walk across the liner, fall in, and drown (applies more to Cayman than Mallory, but it could happen to both) or drown in the standing water in the liner
3. The general maintenance of it would be a hassle
4. Higher maintenance costs because of the pool

The pluses of the pool are as follows:
1. It would be a great way to excercise for me (and Patrick)
2. It would be fun to play with Mallory in the pool
3. Birthday parties could be raised to a WHOLE other level
4. Pool parties with friends would be a blast

Patrick is very hesitant about the pool, which I respect since I have my hesitations too. I get upset thinking that we'd disregard this house, though, because of it, though I'm willing to do so. But, the fear of our children (and dog) being hurt (or more!!!) because of it is great and I'm struggling with being too unreasonable about the fear. I keep going back to other things about backyards that can be fearsome (i.e. a high deck that the baby (and dog) could fall off/jump over, too hilly of a yard that could cause a broken bone if running too fast down, too close to a busy road that the baby (and dog) could cross and get hurt by an oncoming car). These types of fears plague so many parents, but I don't want these fears to overwhelm us to the point that we can't make a decision about a house. Fear is sin, but I know we need to heed our intuition on what is best for our family according to the wisdom imparted to us by God. But, what is hindering our decision in this case - Fear or Intuition?

Anyway, Patrick and I have wrestled quite a bit with our home decision and are coming down to the wire on ending or extending our lease based on us finding a house. It's frustrating, time consuming, draining, yet exciting all at the same time. I went to the bank yesterday and we're pre-approved for a loan far above what we'd ever take out, but I see God's grace on us and know that He'll bring us to the house that we're supposed to settle in.

So, to humor me, what are your thoughts on a pool...both good and bad? It may help us think of things that we haven't yet concluded.

Redneck Timeout...

My mom sent me this picture a few weeks ago and I ran across it this morning. Have any of you ever felt like doing this to one (or more) of your children?


Monday, January 22, 2007

Mallory's 9 month pics...

Friday was Mallory's 9-month birthday. Gosh, it's hard to believe she's been alive for as long as I was pregnant! My pregnancy seemed to have taken FOREVER, but these past 9 months have flown by. On Saturday morning, we took Mallory to Willow Springs park, even though it was a crip 27 degrees outside. The sun helped take the edge off the blistering cold, but it was still cold! Mallory was bundled up in a snow suit we bought for her off eBay and this was the first chance she had to wear it. It was slightly big, but it kept her from the cold! We brought Cayman as well and she enjoyed barking at the others out there with us braving the chill. Patrick brought his remote-control plane that he got for Christmas and enjoyed flying it around the wide-open spaces. He even had a chance to climb a tree (fetching his plane, of course). We had a nice time together and was able to capture some great memories digitally for us to enjoy and share with you!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mobile Mallory!

Yesterday was Mallory's 9-month birthday. Today, Patrick will be helping me take her monthly portrait; it's much easier to take more formal pictures of her with Patrick's help than by myself these days. Mallory is getting around pretty quickly now! Though I think her means of travel can me a lot more efficient, it works for her. I don't think I'm ready for her to be moving around any faster, though I know it's inevitable! Here's a little video I took of Mallory yesterday scooting around in her "army style" crawl.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Current reads...

Well, I used to be ashamed that I was a lover of fiction. No, not your classic literature like F. Scott Fitzgerald or Jane Eyre, but current fiction books. Christian authors I enjoy include Francine Rivers, Lori Wick, Janette Oke, and Karen Kingsbury. Other authors I enjoy include Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, and K.C. McKinnon. So many of my friends love to curl up with non-fiction, classics, or other intellectual literature during their down time. I used to think something was wrong with me because I do not really enjoy reading those kinds of books and I'd hide my true affinities when it comes to reading. But, no more. There's no shame in liking a romance, which is what I prefer. There's nothing better to me than a cold, rainy day with my favorite blanket, a hot cup of tea, and a heart-warming romance. It's my brain-candy.

I just finished reading a series by Lori Wick called "A Place Called Home".

I read these 4 books a lot when I was a teenager and picked them up from my mom's house while I was there over Christmas. It's been years since I've read them...and they were pretty cheesy...I guess I would equate them to plain ol' lolli-pops...they're good, but just flavored sugar with nothing in the middle. They're not the first ones I would choose amongst a whole passle of
I'm currently reading my first Karen Kingsbury book, "Ocean's Apart".
My sister bought 4 of her books for Christmas and she had the idea of trading them around with me and my mom and herself. I thought it was a great idea! I'm about half way through it, which is a great story so far. I would rate Karen at an M&M level...not has plain has a Hershey Bar, but not has great as a Baby Ruth. But, she does make the chocolate category. I will definitely read more of her books.
Anyway, that's what I'm doing in my spare time: reading, in addition to searching real estate listings, crocheting and catching up on a TV show or two. Soon, the reading will be replaced with packing. Aak! So, there you have it. It's out. I like fiction books. I don't like non-fiction, but will read certain books that will help refine my knowledge on current life experiences. I might pull out a classic someday and may even enjoy it, but when you find candy that you like, it's hard to choose another piece when your favorites are in the mix.


Mallory had her first taste of pizza while we were in Elberton over Christmas. Since my parents own a pizza restaurant, her first taste HAD to be their pizza!!! She loved it!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Good reports from all appointments!

I had great reports from my OB and my dermatologist! Thanks so much for all who remembered me in your prayers. I only had 2 moles removed, which is better than I had anticipated. My doctor chatted my ear off and helped redirect my attention from what she was doing. My novacaine is wearing off a little, so I can feel the stitches a little bit more tonight that I did earlier this afternoon, but it should heal pretty quickly. It's been nice to have mom here to help with Mallory during both appointments!!! Since I feel so good, we made 3 appointments to see some houses tomorrow with their respective realtors!!! I'm looking forward to the hunt now that this doctor day is behind me.

Thanks again for your prayers!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

24, OB/GYN, Dermatologist...OH MY!

Well, we're 49 minutes away from the season premiere of 24!!! Patrick and I are VERY excited about "our show" coming back to the air waves. We've been looking forward to this since the end of last season!!! Patrick is currently on a DQ run to get his sweets before the show!!!

We're also enjoying a visit from my mom this weekend. I called her last month to ask her to help me watch Mallory while I schedule a day of doctor's appointments for myself. I'm going to my first OB/GYN appointment here in JC tomorrow morning, which is not something to anticipate by most being one of them! Shortly after, I'll be going to see the Dermatologist for some irregular moles that I'm constantly plagued with. I'm always assessing my skin and feel like Sherlock Holmes as I try to figure out the enigmas of my epidurmis! I know that I'll be having some moles removed...the question is just how many! The last time I had moles removed I passed out, so mom will be there to help with Mallory and be my chauffer home. It will be an awkward week, but I'd rather go through some awkwardness than suffer with skin cancer.

Anyway, tomorrow will be a not-so-exciting day for me and I ask for your prayers!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Book Meme

Nicole tagged me to do the Book Meme. Here are the instructions:

1. Grab the book closest to you open to page 123
2. Go down to the fourth sentence
3. Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name the author and book title
5. Tag 3 people to do the same

There aren't any books in our office/guest room, so I look over to my left and into our bedroom and see a book on my nightstand, which is "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman. I'm reading this book in conjunction with "Sheparding a Child's Heart". On page 123, the chapter ends and the fourth sentence is the last one, so my meme will be from page 122 (sorry to break the rules...) Here is the quote for the meme:

"And because of my disobedience and neglect, my relationship with my children is not as intimate and open. Tension and frustration have crept into our relationship and robbed us of the openness and closeness that we usually share. We all suffer the consequences of my disobedience." - Ginger Plowman, "Don't Make Me Count to Three" - from the chapter on Setting the Standard of Obedience.

An interesting quote and one that makes you think about how our choices affect those around us, both the good and bad choices. In this case, our choice to disobey God will strain the most important relationships in our lives.

I guess I'll tag Courtney, Kristin, and Dana.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Gators Win! Gators Win!

"I say it's great - to be - a FLORIDA GATOR"!!!

It was so awesome watching the Gators win decidedly against the Buckeyes. UF is now the first school to hold basketball and football national championship titles for the same season. That's a pretty amazing feat for any program. Anyway, I had a great time watching the game!!!

Go Gators!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Go Gators!

The Florida Gators will hopefully beat out Ohio State for the National Championship title tonight. There's been a lot of talk about the SEC being the best conference (which is no questions to me, of course) and the Gators are out to prove it tonight! It's been 10 years since Danny Wuerffel led the 1996 Gators to a national championship and tonight, Chris Leak (from Charlotte!!!) has the chance. It should be exciting and we'll be watching! Will you?

Go Gators!

Cayman is home!

It's good to have Cayman home (I say that as she's barking at something outside and the baby is napping...). Anyway, she's been running out of energy pretty quick over the last few days since she's been back from her "woods excursion". Part of me hopes she stays this lathargic, but it's OK if she bounces back to her normal self. We go to the vet today to make sure she's OK. She had a few cuts and her paws are very tender, but all in all, she's OK...just tired.

Mom made a celebration cake that we ate on Friday night after we arrived. This pic was taken a little while after we arrived in Elberton...

Friday, January 5, 2007

God knows even the sparrows...

Well, it's 3:30 in the morning and I just can't sleep. Patrick can't either. We're thinking so much about our little beagle!!!

My mom called us about 30 mintues ago and told us that Cayman found her way home. Oh, how excited we were to hear the news! We have no clue where she's been for the past 4 days and we have no clue how she found her way home, but she did. Mom said heard Cayman yelp outside their back door (the same door she escaped from!) and when she let her in, mom couldn't hold her tears back...she just couldn't believe that the dog was there. She said that Cayman ran around the house jumping on every piece of furniture as if to say that she was so excited to be home. I think we all truly have faith that God DOES guide and protect His creation - even the smallest, craziest of beagles!

We'll be heading down to Elberton tomorrow to reunite with our dog and are very excited to see her. We had been talking all day yesterday about heading down there with a few hundred fliers to pass out in order to somehow convince ourselves that we did all we could to find her. We had made the decision before we went to bed last night to go and was preparing our hearts that the probability of us finding her was slim, but we just wanted to do SOMETHING. We feel so blessed to now head down there with a sense of excitement that we'll be able to see our pet again.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow! Thanks to all of you for your thoughts, your well wishes, and your prayers for us and for our crazy, crazy dog.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

No word yet...

Cayman is still missing and we're very sad. My parents have done a lot to find her and SOOO many people know that she's missing. There's even an ad on the radio! I'm glad that people know and are keeping their eye out. My folks have received a lot of calls from people saying that they saw a beagle wandering around the area, but isn't it ironic that it's not Cayman? My mom and dad both saw this beagle and it looks a lot like her, but it's not her. I think it's odd that there is another beagle out there wandering around.

We're still trying to sift through our emotions and don't know exactly what to do. Should we go back and look for her? Should we just wait and see if she's found? Should we just start to move on? It's been a tough roller coster emotional ride for us, but we do trust that God works everything for our good and His ultimate glory. We are both trying to be thankful in this time. Thanks to all of you for your comments. I appreciate it!

Christmas at Gram and Pops

We had a good time in Charlotte celebrating Christmas with Patrick's parents. We were also able to spend time with our former pastor and his family. It was SOOO good to see everybody. We participated in our Christmas Eve Advent service with Patrick's mom and dad and really enjoyed exchanging gifts and humbling receiving so much from family! God has truly blessed us with generous parents! We had a great time and are looking forward to another visit with Gram and Pops soon!


I've got A LOT of pictures to post and it's going to be hard to select which ones I want to show you since I have so many! These posts will come in spurts, since I have little bits of free time here and there (you moms understand!!!).

Here are the pics that were included in our folk's christmas cards...

From my parent's card:

From Patrick's parent's card:

Other cute pics taken before Christmas...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

It's a new year...

It's hard to believe we recently celebrated a new year. It's no longer the year of my child's birth, which is strange to me for some-odd reason. The turn of the new year brings on new challenges ahead for us as we begin to pack again, search for a home and move. Then comes the unpacking, the settling, and the organizing a new home brings. But, I don't really want to think about that now...

We had a great Christmas with friends and were able to share some really good memories with both sets of grandparents, with my sister and brother-in-law, and extended family and friends. I will share more about those in a later post, though.

Our new year started sadly as our dog ran away while we were down at my folks house in Elberton. She was let out accidentally yesterday morning and she went on a mad dash to freedom (or so she thinks!). Though she does usually come back home or at least is in the near vicinity, we just couldn't find her. Patrick and our family searched for about 4 or so hours before we just had to leave because of our responsibilities here. So, we made the tough decision to leave Elberton with the promise of my parents to keep looking. Patrick and I have been very melancholy and sad and miss her tremendously. Yes, she got on my nerves and yes, she was very pilferous and annoying at times, but she was still our pet which we love and are responsible for. Anyway, there are flyers out and the animal shelter, police department, and neighbors know that she's missing. I hope she wanders up to someone's house who will care for her! I just wanted to share.