Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas at Church

Here is our annual picture in front of the Christmas tree at church. We took it today because we will be unable to make the Christmas Eve service at church this year.

Christmas Fun

Our Christmas season has been fun but certainly one of my favorite activities so far took place last night when Sarah, Jennifer and I managed to get our entire families together for dinner. While it always is a struggle for the three wives to get together, we have only had all husbands, babies and wives together....never. We have had all couples together at once but not since Miss Emma Grace came along. So last night we met in McDonough and had a dinner at Red Lobster. It was a lot of fun and all six of us were happy to celebrate that we are off of work for two weeks ( as we are all school employees). I hope that this could become a yearly tradition for the Rayburn/West/Dillard families. Below we have some pics....

The Happy Crew

The Girls

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nothing Too Exciting But I should Post

It is one day til holiday break and I am so happy about that. While work has been fine, the week has been frustrating. No longer being a traditional classroom teacher comes with its pluses but also its downsides. Since the kids are participating in holiday and end of year activities and tests, my schedule for seeing them this week is very inconsistent. That means I have to stay in my room in case they come. But usually I end up with a bunch of Meredith time set to Christmas music. I appreciate that but I also had some fun activities to do with them for the holidays that aren't getting executed. You take the good with the bad I suppose.

Today I am getting my haircut and I am finally doing something different. After having this shorter hairstyle for a little over a year, I am going to try a bob. I am excited to try something different again. With all the photo opps around the corner with the holidays, let 's hope it is different good or there may be a missing Meredith noticed in Dillard and Griswold Christmas pictures. When I get home, my sister and her husband are coming over. I made cheesy chicken spaghetti for dinner with them tonight. Thanks to Jennifer for the recipe and for advising me to make it in two dishes. There sure was a lot of food produced! We are to play games together tonight and watch the new Muppet special that aired last night.

Tomorrow is the last day of work. I am psyched. In the evening we are meeting Brandon and Lindsay ( my elementary school boyfriend and his wife) for dinner in Buford. Then Saturday we are going to McDonough to meet Sarah and Thomas and Jennifer, Jeremy and Emma Grace for dinner. Sunday will bring the Christmas service at church and then Monday we are keeping Carter all day. The holidays sure do bring some fun times!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Survey

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I enjoy opening wrapped gifts. I also have become pretty good at wrapping so so far all of Brad's gifts from me are wrapped
2. Real tree or Artificial? I am a firm believer in real trees but my husband isn't so we have a fake. I told him that when I am pregnant one day I will get a real tree and he said I would probably have pregnancy brain and forget....cute :0)
3. When do you put up the tree? It has always varied. When I was at home as a child, maybe around the tenth of December and then when I was at college it got later and later. Dad and I went and found a tree one year for $7 since it was so close to Christmas. Those were special times. This year Brad and I put ours up the day after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? I like to have a birthday tree for my birthday on the 30th so no earlier than the 31st.
5. Do you like eggnog? Have never had it but it sounds gross
6. Favorite gift received as a child? This is hard. My favorite gift was pound Puppy but I got him for my birthday. For Christmas, I got a Cabbage Patch Baby that smelled like baby powder... Alaina Violet was her name
7. Hardest person to buy for? my dad and this year Brad in some ways
8. Easiest person to buy for? my mom
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail -I did a photo card this year but I have always been the one to send out Christmas cards.....even when we were a family I did it.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't know....
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Muppet Family Christmas - they all go to Fozzie's mother's house. The Sesame street gang, the muppets and fraggles are there. It is great.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? before Thanksgiving a little, In the past few years on Black Friday some and then here and there til I am done
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? yes
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? my mom's apple cake
16. Lights on the tree? colored
17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night and Mary Did You Know
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Travel locally
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!!!!!!!!!!!!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? angel
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We do Brad's parents house on Christmas Eve. Otherwise, we wait til Christmas Day. The last three Christmases when Brad and I were together we waited til Christmas night so this will be the first time we get to open our gifts to each other on Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? people without Christmas spirit
23. What theme or color are you using? There are a lot of snowmen in our house.
24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? my mom's apple cake
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace and time with my family

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Hours and Counting

In two hours, I will be leaving work and rejoicing in the fact that I will not be back for five days! Hip, hip, hooray!

I am ready for a break and while I will still be working on Masters items ( as the term comes to an end in two weeks), I will be working on them in the comfort of my home.

Tonight brings a fun night with my husband. We are going to see the Gwinnett Gladiators play at the Gwinnett Arena. This was part of my birthday present to Brad, and we will be sitting second row. It should prove to be a fun night. I will try to take pics.

Tomorrow brings with it the joy of sleeping in. However, I am also excited about my goal for myself tomorrow. I am going to try to use my Nannie's Red Velvet Cake recipe to make a cake to take to my Grandma's house for Thanksgiving.

Here is a look at our schedule for the rest of the break:

Weds Night - Dillard Family Thanksgiving - We will be eating at Brad's parents with Mr. Jack and Linda, Jack, Christina and Carter and Daddy Jack and Mama Dorothy.

Thursday Night - Griswold Family Thanksgiving - We will be eating at Grandma's with Grandma, Dad and Jan, Suzanne and John, my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Ken and maybe my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle William.

Friday - Black Friday Shopping?!?!?! We did this big time two years ago with Jack and Christina ( like we were no later than 4:30 and were in major lines, tag teaming with cell phones, everything) but I don't know what this year will bring with Carter and all.

Saturday - Thanksgiving with Mom - We will eat with Mom and John, Suzanne and John.

Here's to being on Thanksgiving Break in 1 hour and 50 minutes!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Have Been Tagged!

Twice actually. Two of my blogging friends have tagged me to list seven things about me, Meredith Griswold Dillard, that you probably don't know. This is hard so we will see how it goes.

1.) I was co - president of chorus at my high school my senior year. I had been in chrous since seventh grade and loved to sing. Although unlike most choral presidents before me, I hated to sing solos. I could sing in an ensemble but never by myself. It is kinda funny because I can dance on a stage by myself forever but can't sing. One of my regrets is that I am not singing anymore. I will at times work with the sopranos in the youth choir at church and our music minister at church says he needs me in the adult choir, but I just don't have time right now.

2.) I LOOOOOVVE Christmas time! I know most people love Christmas but I go all the way. Last year while Brad and I were engaged, we had a Christmas shower where everyone bought us Christmas decor and Christmas household items. It was fantastic. I think that we have enough to decorate each room. My favorite Christmas decoration themes are penguins and snowmen. To me, there is no greater joy than sitting in the den by the light of the Christmas tree lights, drinking a warm beverage and cuddling close with someone you love while watching A Muppet Family Christmas. It may have something to do with the fact that I am a December 30th birthday person.

3.) Brad and I got married exactly 6 months to the day after he proposed. He proposed at UGA on October 5th. We at first thought about May 31st as it would have been the first Saturday after school got out and our first date had been on July 31st. However, we reconsidered and placed the date on April 5th because it was the Saturday leading into Spring Break, and we would be husband and wife sooner! Turns out this was a good move because our nephew was due at the beginning of June, and if he had decided to come early, things could have gotten interesting :0)

4.) I consider myself very lucky to have loved and known my great-grandmother for 20 years before she died. Most people don't get a chance to share such a long and deep relationship with great-grandparents and sometimes not grandparents. Memaw was the most giving, sweet, caring individual, and she always made me feel special. Both happily and sadly, she lived longer than my grandmother, her daughter. My favorite memories with Memaw involve picking apples and putting them in five gallon buckets when I was shorter than the five gallon bucket at their house on Rockbridge Road, the way she would always bring me into her Sunday School class every Sunday at church and brag on me to her friends and enjoying eating her coconut cakes with her. To this day, we still don't have her recipe and it makes me sad that I don't have that piece of Memaw history to remember her by.

5.) One of my best friends, Jennifer, and I share the same birthday but we are a year apart. I was born in 1980 and she was born in 1981. Still, we are both December 30th babies. Our poor husbands have to find enough presents to fulfill the expected Christmas and birthday gifts all at one time.

6.) I struggle with my body image big time. People think it is crazy, given the size that I am but I still get caught up in it. I always have. When I was growing up, my sister and cousin were thin as a could have spoon fed them butter by the stick and they wouldn't have gained weight. I , on the otherhand, held on to my baby fat for awhile. It was hard to be the "chubby" one of the bunch. Then I got older and started dancing and my body image really changed. I do realize that I am on the small end of things and have very little room to complain but I still don't like the idea of gaining weight. No matter what size you are when you start out, it doesn't feel good to get on the scale and see a higher number or to try on a pair of pants that fit a year ago and realize they don't. I just know that this has plagued me all of my life and I want to do everything that I can to prevent any future daughters of mine from letting this haunt them like it does me.

7.) My parents are two of my best friends. I am very close to my dad as a result of living with him from the time my parents got divorced through college and then for six months after I was divorced. I believe that my dad and I have an openness that most fathers and daughters don't share. I feel very fortunate to have that bond with my dad.

My mother and I have a great time just being girls together. We shop and lately we have gotten into a trend of going to see movies together which is fun. On Election day, we went walking together. I just wish my mom lived closer so that we could see each other more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Let me preceed this entry with the suggestion that if you havent read the previous post, you will be wondering about some of what I am talking about.

But on we go....

Granddaddy reported for surgery this morning at 6:30 and was supposed to go in for surgery at 8:30.

The doctors first paged my mom , Uncle Michael and Aunt Brenda at 10am. They were panicked because they thought that must mean something was wrong. Actually, the doctors just wanted to let them know that Granddaddy didn't go into surgery until a little before ten so it would be longer before they heard anything. Also, they shared that Granddaddy's vitals were very good going into surgery.

I called Mom at 12:50 pm and she said that the doctors had come out again and said that things were going well. His vital signs were still good too. They said if all went according to plan they would be in surgery for approximately two more hours. Then Granddaddy would be in recovery for two hours.

Mom just called at 1:40 and told me that Granddaddy is out of surgery. The doctor says that the surgery went well. He says if there is no interior bleeding (which could be a happening for anyone having this surgery) and they don't have to go back in to remedy that than Granddaddy will be in ICU for three days and then in the hospital for up to six after that. This is a serious surgery and he will be weak afterwards. Right now, the possibility that he will need to go to a rehab center after all of that is still out there. We will just have to see what each hour and then day brings us.

But for right now I am optimistic! Keep praying for my Granddaddy. This is just the first step to a long recovery.

Pray for my Granddaddy

Hello my friendsI wanted to ask you all to lift my family up in prayer today. My grandfather has been in poor heatlh since Brad and I got married in April. As a result, he has lost a lot of weight, a lot of spirit and most of all a true will to live. This morning at approximately 8:30am Granddaddy will be undergoing surgery to remove an anyeurism from his aorta. This is a major surgery, especially given his age, his frail nature right now and all that he has been through the past seven months. We don't know that he will make it through the surgery, but the alternative of not going through surgery provides a bleaker outcome of the anyeurism eventually ruptruring and causing him to go into shock and bleed to death.

At this point, I am turning it all over to God. I want His will to be done. Granddaddy is ready to go if this is his time and if he did die, he would be reunited with my grandmother who passed in 1997. He told my mom one night this weekend that he knows that Nannie is waiting for him and is going to "beat his tail for making her wait so long for him". Still, I am not ready to let go. I went to see him yesterday and thinking that it may have been the last time I see him is so hard. I am really a shell of a FOCUS teacher today.

I enjoyed my visit with Granddaddy. He looked a lot better than I thought he would though he was in his pajamas when he greeted me at the door :0). He greeted me like he always does with a joking " Who is that? Who is coming up here to see me?" and a hug and kiss. I told him if I had known we were having a pajama party then I would have dressed more appropriately. He still cut up and joked like he always has and I thought that was a good sign that he still has some spunk in him. We sat on the couch and my sister took some pictures of us. Then I encouraged him through eating a bowl of soup and jello. He had preop procedures done to him yesterday and he was there from 11 to 2. They had a very hard time getting blood from him ( it took four people and he cried and Doris that took him there cried) and when he started to think about that, he talked about how he did not want to go back there anymore. Of course, that is where he is going today and we told him that he had to go back in order to get well enough where we can get him out raking leaves and cutting the grass again.

After all that happened, my aunt was coming in and my sister, mom and I were going to go get something to eat. I went to hug him and I told him how much I loved him. It didn't feel like I was done so after Mom and Suzanne hugged him I went back over to him and told him that I needed another one for the road. We stood there and embraced each other and I told him slowly, " I Love you so much Granddaddy......You look really good today " and as I said that I looked at him , holding his hand and he started to tear up and sob a little as he tried to talk ,almost like a child and I told him through my own tears "I am proud of you and you are strong you can do this. I love you" Between sobs, he said" I am proud of you too and I love you" He embraced me and Suzanne and then we left to go get something to eat.

When we got back from eating, I walked back in the house first, and he lit up and he said " Well look who's here?" His face lit up and while I don't think he remembered that I had been there earlier seeing that I caused that reaction in him was very comforting. After that, he went back to the back of the house and as he left the room he said " I will see you all next week." I hung on those words thinking they might be the last ones I hear from him and yet ...wouldn't you know always the jokester. .. He came back out for an encore. He walked through and said " I am going to bed and as he graced the doorframe to the hall, did a "broadway kick" in the air and went down the hall.

I don't know what to expect from today, in a lot of ways I don't know why I am here today ( I am going to be teaching for 30 minutes due to the early release schedule conflicts and do carriders today...that is it.) but just know he is expected to go into surgery at 8:30 am ( though everything around this has been late) and the surgery would take four hours if everything were to go okay.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Savannah , how we miss thee!

So it is ten days since I posted last...Shame on me! But as busy as I am, it makes me miss our time in Savannah more! So here is a tribute to Savannah as well as a catch up for my blog readers. Here is our trip to Savannah in the middle of October. We had a blast hanging out with each other and Jack, Christina and Carter. This is my slideshow. You have to click on it and then it will play. Enjoy!

Click to play Savannah Vacation
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Dont Count Me Out.....

I have not blogged in over two weeks and that makes me really sad! I actually have a lot of really good blog-worthy material to post. Our trip to Savannah, Brad's birthday and carving our first pumpkin together. However, sometimes the mechanics get in the way. Here's how:

1)I am really busy with my Masters. I don't know why I feel so much more overwhelmed as I am starting to wind down the program ( only 9 more hours of classes after this term) but it is that way right now. So that means time is a problem.
2) We don't have an internet active computer at home so in order to do the blog I must take my work computer home or bring my camera and cable to work. Sometimes I am not mentally present enough to do that.

Despite these problems, I will be taking my computer home this weekend to work on Masters work so I will strive to make updates.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Relaxing Times

Today is Columbus Day and I am at work. A lot of my friends have had a fall break or at least a holiday today. Not Gwinnett County. Our next holiday is Election Day and that will be the first since Labor Day. With calendars like this, we really cherish the opportunities from our relaxing times. This weekend Brad and I went on a date Friday night. We went to the Lawrenceville Town Square and ate Italian. After our meal, we ventured to a new establishment on the square and had frozen custard for dessert. Definitely relaxing! The weekend before that brought time at the lakehouse. This week will be relaxing as I am Masters class free! We are going to see Wicked Tuesday night and leave for Savannah on Thursday. I am looking forward to our mini vacation. Brad and I just need some us time!
Here are some pictures of us at the lakehouse:

Before the boat ride

Thinking about how to get in the boat since the water was so low that morning

Figuring it out

Sailing off with Captain Jack and First Mate Brad

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Because I am Putting Off Doing Masters Work....


35 Random Questions About Me

1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? NO! But my husband loves it.

2. Do you own a gun? Nope, but I have shot a rifle and this past weekend at the lake shot cans with a bebe gun.

3. What’s a favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee house? hot chocolate ( which it is slowly becoming time for) or a strawberry and creme frappucino no whipped cream

4. What do you prefer to drink in the morning ? milk, maybe hot chocolate

5. Do you do push-ups? no, not really

6. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My engagement ring

7. Favorite hobby? sleeping, walking, shopping, blogging, reading when I have time

8. Do you have A.D.D? Based on the fact that I am doing this survey because I refuse to concentrate on the task at hand....yes!

9. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? physical: my hair has a mind of its own. otherwise: I care what other people think too much ( in limitation, this is a very good thing)

10. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I wish I was done with this paper. I would love to go home. What will I find to buy at Kohl's today while I am paying my bill?

11. Name 4 drinks you regularly drink. water, milk, cranapple drink and more often than anything else, nothing :0(

12. Current worry right now? My professor is going to give me a bad grade on the final I turned in electronically three days before it was due but for some reason she did not receive. I have sent her a picture of my screen where I sent it in and everything and all she has told me so far is that at least she has it now and I needed to press the submit button or it won't send. Considering I have sent seven weeks worth of work successfully using this method, doesn't she think I know that by now?

.13. Current hate right now? Getting up early.

14. Favorite place to be? at home under the covers and ready to relax.

15. Do you like to travel? yes! I wish I could do more!!! I am so psyched about our upcoming trip to Savannah. Even thought it is Savannah, it is still exciting.

16. What color shirt are you wearing? camisole that is white with black yellow and brown flowers on it with a black sweater on top

17. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I did as a child in the summers.....would always have flannel sheets in the fall

18. Can you whistle? no

19. Favorite color? chocolate brown, purple or black

20. If you could would you be a pirate? Nope.

21. What song do you sing in the shower? Now that I am married, I don't sing in the shower.

22. Favorite girl’s name? Lillie, Corinne, Hannah, Faith

23. Favorite boy’s name? Braden, Jackson, Daniel, Cody, Josiah

24. What’s in your pocket right now? nothing

25. Favorite bedsheets as a child? my teddy bear flannel sheets and my pound puppy blanket

26. Worst injury? sprained ankle or pulled groin muscle
27. Do you love where you live? I would like

28. How many TVs do you have in your house? 3
29. Who is your loudest friend? umm Dustin Sosebee hands down!
30. How many pets do you have? zero, my cat died earlier this year
31. Does someone have a crush on you? maybe, I mean who can resist this personality? ;-)
32. What is your Favorite Book? I don't know. Nicholas Sparks is my favorite author for adults.
33. What’s your favorite candy? Reese's Pieces
34. Favorite Sports Team? The Georgia Bulldogs
35. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Already?

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Weekend

So happy the weekend is here. Tonight we are finally spending some time with our good friend Andrew. We don't know what we are doing yet but I would kinda like to go to the park on a walk or something outdoors.

Then tomorrow we are headed to a Patterson family reunion. The Pattersons are my paternal grandmother's side of the family. My grandmother just turned 80 at the end of September and is the last of her siblings so it should be a special day to celebrate her. Plus it will be a great chance to see family. We never really had many Griswold family reunions because outside of our family, my Aunt Joyce's family and Uncle William's family, there weren't many Griswolds. Pa's brother drowned when he was in his thirties. While he did have children and my dad has family on that side, we just dont see them very often. So Griswold reunions happen every holiday plus some.

After the family reunion, Brad and I will head down to the lakehouse to meet Linda and Jack for a night at the lake. We were down there this time last year. In fact a year ago Sunday is when Brad proposed to me when we stopped in Athens on our "way " to the lake. So special times and restful times will occur this weekend!
In regards to the hair, I am continuing to look at something to do with mine. This is really more for me than anyone else, but this is a more accurate portrayal of what I want to do (as of right now) than what I posted earlier.

The Back

The Front

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I haven't blogged in awhile so I thought I would. Currently, my life is full of Masters work. Next week is the last week of the first fall session. I currently have a 100 in one class and a 98 in the other. I just finished a powerpoint that wasn't due til Thursday. It feels good to be done early. I now have one final due this Sunday and another that I have to request to have sent to me. That one must be completed that same day and must be completed by next Friday. I also have to write up my cultural immersion project. Sigh. I can do it though.

On the work front, I had a first. Today was the second day of school pictures and I opted not to have my picture made. It wasn't automatic like it usually is since I didn't have a class to take. It will be the first year I won't be featured in the yearbook. It is sad but I am in a horrible hair phase right now. I work really hard to curl my hair each morning and by thirty minutes into my day, it looks like I haven't done anything. I think I am done rocking this haircut. I started this one last Labor Day. It is the haircut I had when Brad proposed ( a year ago this coming Sunday), when I started my Masters, got my new job, got married ( though you couldn't tell that day) but it isn't working for me right now. I am thinking a bob or something a little bit longer and with less maintenance. We will see. Like Jennifer Aniston with short hair in the later year of Friends maybe? This picture isnt exactly what I am thinking but it is a bob.

Then on the home front we had a first last night. I made our first pot of chili for the fall last night. I love chili . It is so simple yet so satisfying. Dad and I used to eat it over noodles or rice. Now Brad and I eat it with cornbread and I tend to make it spicier than Dad. We had a picnic in the bonus room last night and watched our slew of Monday night programming ( Dancing with the Stars, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes and One Tree Hill) as we savored the warm goodness of cold weather foods. It was a great time. I can't wait til it actually gets cold and we can take the chili out on the back patio to eat in the cool by citronella candle light like we did last year. There is nothing like it. Tonight we reheated chili and had it with baked potatoes. Later this week, my hubby will be able to enjoy chili dogs. Another good thing about is plentiful.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Victory!

Yesterday my mom and I headed out to the Avenue at Webb Gin to go shopping. We hit Aeropostale first and that is where we celebrated our first victory in the battle against jeans. While I tried on several pairs with much success, I ended up with a pair of 3/4 short and a 1/2 short curvy. They are the exact jeans, but they fit differently. The 1/2 curvy short actually fits looser than the 3/4 but I don't mind because that gives me a great, big ego boost! My mom was just happy that something worked because she didn't want to hang out with a grumpy Meredith!
Overall, at Aeropostale I bought two shirts and two pairs of jeans for $60. Really great deals.

Then we mozied down to Gap which was having a big sale. While I tried on many things, the only thing that managed to come home was a significant find: a pair of black dress pants on clearance for $18. They are a size 2 and are actually short enough I can wear flats with them! Unheard of.

The rest of our day centered around a venture to Yankee Candle Co. Mom bought some pretty autumn candle holders and spice scented candles, a light lunch at Doc Green's and a quick trip into Kirkland's and DSW. Kirklands was full of great holiday items, both Halloween and Christmas. I especially fell in love with a little scarecrow man with a pumpkin face but at $40 I couldn't justify purchasing him.

Overall, it was a great day with my Mom and I scored a victory in the battle against the pants manufacturers.

Friday, September 19, 2008

All the Hard Work Paid Off

I received my midterm scores back. I got a 100 on my Advanced Psychology midterm. I received a 97 on my Counseling Multicultural Populations midterm. In both classes, my score was above the class average! Yay!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jeans....not a Girl's Best Friend

Due to the generosity of a fellow colleague, I have been able to wear jeans to work every daythis week. Teaching is usually a Friday Only Jeans Setting. However, we are having a Dress Down for the Cure Week to raise money for our Relay for Life team and Suzi very generously paid for my participation. This has caused a problem because I only have one pair of jeans I can fit into right now. This means there is a lot of washing going on at the Dillard house. Yesterday, I tried to solve that problem.

I had a 30 % off coupon so I went to Kohl's. I picked up size 5 and 5 shorts in the Juniors Dept, 2 Petite and 4 Petite in the the Petite section and a 4 in the Misses department. Not to mention a various selection of different brands. Here is a little recap:
2 Petite - Too tight, the right length
4 Petite - Fits in the rears and thighs but too long
5 - Fits but way too long
5 Short - Too tight ( does that make sense when a five fits?) but right length
I was very frustrated by the time I left the store. I almost purchased a pair of Levis that was a 3 short and fit but I decided they weren't really what I wanted. I prefer a dark wash and the Levis weren't that. I have been through this frustration recently at Old Navy too. The styles that they offer in the store in a short length ( don't even get me started on how it is discriminating against short people that I have to pay extra money to get jeans they make but don't offer in the store...sizes 1 and 2 Short) don't fit me in the hips and thighs but then the styles that fit me in the store and I decided I would be willing to pay extra for by purchasing online, they don't even offer online at all. AHHH.......
I have said for a long time now that the woman who ventures out and decides to size female clothes the way they do mens' with a width and length measure would be a millionaire, and I am more convinced of that more than ever now. It is ridiculous to assume that two women that are the same waist size are automatically the same height. It truly feeds into the negative body images that teenagers ( and me in my late twenties) suffer from. I have gained some width since I got married but I still weigh the same and I would be okay with that except the clothes manufacturers don't think I should be able to find pants short enough for me if I get wider. My last efforts to find jeans is going to be this Saturday with my mom as we go through the Avenue or the Mall of Georgia looking in Aeropostale ( I have had luck with them in recent years and better yet they are $20 on sale), New York and Company ( I have a 30% off coupon) and Ann Taylor.
Sorry to rant. It just gets me a little sad and frustrated. If anyone has any suggestions, then they are welcome :0)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Little Things Help Get Me Happy

Well I underestimated how busy my midterms would keep me this week. I have spent a lot of time in our bedroom this week ( the last two nights) alone working on my midterms and sadly away from my husband. I think Brad could tell it was taking its toll on me because yesterday when I got back to the bedroom after a meal, this is what I found:

My husband had set up my own cheering section to encourage me to smile through the hard work. How can you stay discouraged after something like that?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Less Thing to Miss

I saw Carter for a short time on Sunday. He was decked out in Falcons gear though his bib blocks it in the picture. We had a good time. I used the excuse of needing to use Jack and Christina's internet connection to send one of my Masters assignments off in order to get to see my nephew. Now only if I could come up with a Masters related excuse for getting my haircut.....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Miss My Blog!

Wow! It has been too long since I blogged. A week actually seems like a long time. That is because this week has been FULL of Masters work. I just completed a ten page paper that was nothing but a busy work assignment. I had to provide an intense summary of the first nine chapters of the book. Since it was a busy work assignment, I put it off til today. It is due tomorrow. All week I have been reading the boring book I had to summarize. Next week should be less work even though it is midterms. This is because in light of it being midterms I have no reading to do. One of my midterms will be sent to me on Monday and is due the following Sunday. The other one will be sent to me Saturday and is due by the end of Saturday. So while I won't have an exciting Saturday next weekend, I will have a less hectic week.

I am still loving my job. Yesterday I actually had a cookie decorating party with my favorite group of third graders. They were so into decorating their two cookies and were so appreciative of being given the party as a reward for their good behavior in FOCUS for the month of August. Then we watched a Wallace and Gromit short. It was so precious how deeply engaged they were in that film. We have a great time when we are together.

In the personal life, Brad and I celebrated five months of marriage yesterday. We went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse and had ice cream at Marble Slab. It was fun. My husband is being the most supportive force in my educational endeavors. He has cooked dinner every night this week, done laundry, washed dishes, acknowledged it was our five month anniversary before I remembered and even went to the grocery store. I am blessed to have someone in my life that will afford me these conveniences so that I may make these steps forward in my education.

Overall, life is good. Sometimes the Masters thing just takes over a little too much. Other things that I have missed as a result of being too consumed with Masters work:

* A haircut....I need one badly
* Carter.... Brad saw him yesterday and I didn't.
* My mom....I think it has been a month since I saw her
* My friends... Although I happily saw Sarah at the John Mayer concert last week, I miss most of my friends and have been missing them for a while. Jen....Nicole.... it has been too long.
* A decent night's sleep
* Jogging

Monday, August 25, 2008

Overheard in FOCUS class

We were still working on choosing a mascot in third grade FOCUS today. These cute comments were overheard while doing so. We are currently down to choosing between an otter, a tiger, a shark, a monkey and a dragon.

R: Tigers eat antelope.
B: Yeah, that's a fruit.
R: I think you mean cantelope!

While talking to a student in the group presenting on the Mako shark....

Me: Are you guys almost done? You only have five minutes left.
J: Yes, we only have to write one more thing.
Me: Then it looks like you guys are going to make it.
J: Don't you mean that we are going to mako it ?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Well if we are going to share about our students....

I just got done reading Jen's blog and enjoyed a good laugh over some of her students' comments. I thought about what I had experienced with my students the past few days and realized that I also have some comments that are worthy of sharing and may bring brightness to someone else's day.

Ironically, the grade levels I am enjoying the most right now in the FOCUS classroom are 3rd and 4th. I think that is ironic for two reasons:

1) Those are the two grade levels I have taught in the classroom since I graduated: 3rd grade for four years and 4th grade for one year

2) The fifth graders are the students I know the best. I thought I would enjoy them the most. However, sometimes I think that results in them feeling too comfortable so we have to lay down the law hard the first few weeks. Then I thought I would like second grade because that is the grade I originally wanted to teach. While I love them and they are precious, I am new at working with people that young. I am having to remember it just takes them longer to do things.

So with my precious third graders, I have had some really good conversations. They all have what I think of as old souls in a way and many of them have classic names. The first day I had FOCUS with them only one showed up on time so we had some extra time to talk. We talked about a variety of things but then the subject of the presidential race came up:

J: I am so glad that Hillary Clinton didn't get the vote to run for President.
Me: It is not because she was a woman is it?
J: No it is because she was a CRAZY woman.

Then this week we have focused on goals and setting good goals in our third grade group as a team. Since we are a team, we have decided to have a third grade FOCUS mascot. Yesterday we opened the floor for suggestions. I started by saying maybe we could be the otters because they are not only super smart but fun. We want to have fun in FOCUS and we want to work hard to be supersmart. I had no idea how equally and deeply they had considered their suggestions

Suggestion One: Turtle - We don't want to go fast and get all the answers wrong in FOCUS. This suggestion carried on with a detailed example of a case of going to fast and the consequences associated with it.

Suggestion Two: Ninjas - Ninjas stand for grace and grace of mind. Ninjas are smart.

Suggestion Three: Monkeys - This stands for being crazy about FOCUS. We want to be Crazy about everything we do in FOCUS so we can reach our goals.

Suggestion Four: Stegasaurus - The stegasaurus was the smartest of the dinosaurs and we want to be the smartest of the students.

Suggestion Five: Shooting Stars - Our school mascot is the comets and shooting stars are like comets. We would be reaching for our goals. They are light in the darkness.

Wow, huh? Yes, that is right....third graders!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Being Busy is Working So Far

I hate to say it in fear that I may jinx it but so far juggling the triple role of wife/teacher/student is working out. Classes for this eight week session of my Masters started yesterday and I have already completed two chapters of work. I am all caught up and ahead of where I need to be in lesson planning at work and I am loving teaching this year. Finally, the wife thing is of course the favorite role I play. Brad and I have been so enjoying our evenings together curled up on the couch watching the Olympics together. We also had a great time hosting Dad for dinner last night. Brad cooked hamburgers on the grill, we played bocce ball in the backyard and ate up pecan pie that Dad brought over. It is a good time to be a Dillard.

This week is coming up to its halfway point and we still have a lot left on our agenda for the week. Tomorrow we both have to go to county headquarters but at different times so we have to drive separate. My meeting is after work hours ( :0( ). Brad will head to church after work. Thursday night IBM is hosting a retirement dinner for Dad. Friday night we are attending a housewarming party for a friend. Then Saturday we are going to White Water (YAY!). We stay busy around these parts but like I said, it's working for us so far. God has given us the patience, strength of mind and grace to get through agendas like this like never before.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

For Allison and Jen

Because I blog stalk, I sometimes find myself at Jen's sister in law's blog. These pictures are for her. I have 16 of these candles.

I have 8 of these glass bowls with scalloped mouths

I have six of these glass bowls with wrought iron stands.

Hope this helps ladies!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back at Work

It is Day Three with Kids and yet I have not seen any kids yet. All this week I am not to pull FOCUS kids. It is due to creating the schedule and allowing the students to get into a routine within their homeroom. It makes it where two things happen :

1) Teachers complain about the FOCUS schedule and I have to work miracles to find alternatives

2) I get a whole lot of planning done!

I love this new position. I will be serving 38 children total. I am not allowed to have more than 17 in the room at a time and my smallest grade level currently is second grade. I will only have 4 at once! This position is incredible. The best thing about it is that I am enjoying being a teacher again. I am actually enjoying planning things and seeing how everything ties together. I had lost that spark over the last few years due to the adult drama going on around me. For the first time in awhile, I can't wait to see my students! The fifth graders are the ones I am most excited to see as I have been with that grade level class the last two years since I looped with my homeroom from third to fourth. (It is certainly going to be hard to say goodbye at the end of the year) Overall, I am just happy to be doing what I am doing. Even though there is still a huge learning curve to come with testing and screening new children for the program, I enjoy myself so much that I am even finding myself staying late to work on things or bringing them home. I get to eat lunch with my fabulous mother in law everyday. The Specials team is awesome. I even enjoy car rider duty! God has really blessed me so far this year.

The weekend that led to this great week was fun too. I was a bridesmaid in my roommate from UGA's wedding. Jason and Nicole had been together the whole time I have known Nicole. Nine years, so this wedding was something I had waited for and was so happy to see happen. Everything went off without a hitch, and the newlyweds are currently in Hawaii....for two weeks! Not fair! I hope they are having a good time. It is even her birthday today. Here are two pics from the weekend -

Me with the Beautiful Bride

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So Long Summer

Yes, summer is officially gone. I have been back at work officially for two days. So far, I am really enjoying it. So far I feel a lot more prepared than I usually do at this point. While I have no lesson plans and my covered with cloth by me alone bulletin boards are bare, I have a room that is completely organized and could take children at this point. I only stayed late Monday because I had to wait on Brad to come and move a filing cabinet. I usually stay all nights of preplanning for as long as the building stays open. Tomorrow I am going to a training and meeting session with all FOCUS teachers in the county and will become reacclimated with the curriculum which will get me more prepared to make lesson plans. It is all just going really smoothly. I have some great ideas that I am excited about and the chance of me seeing children next week is low. The best thing is my grade level is the best! I am a part of Special Areas, the home of a crazy mix of people. We are the Gifted teacher, music teachers, PE teachers,Science and Math Specialists, Counselors, Technology and some technology people. I like how no one is clicky and we all include each other. The last two days we have all gone to lunch and had a blast. Everyone has a nickname. I think they have decided mine is Dilly (which is cool because people called Brad that in high school). I like my hangout time with JD, McG,JMar and the rest. They are still working on a nickname for Sheila. I am looking forward to a much better year socially and professionally.

But as I get excited about the upcoming events of starting a new school year, I wanted to think back on the top five things about my summer:
5) This summer felt long for some reason and I feel much more refreshed than I usually do at this point so I am grateful for that.
4) I got a beautiful new car which was a big deal for me as I often refuse to spend money on myself and it was an opportunity I afforded myself by being responsible with my money since college.
3) I got to see Sarah and Jen ( along with Emma Grace)which always makes me feel good. This is an exciting time for all of us as God has blessed us with exciting life events simultaneously and it is so exciting to see how He has touched our lives so we can enjoy it together. New homes, new husbands and new baby= fun times.
2) I became an aunt with the most beautiful nephew in the world. Keeping up with him is such a fun and new experience. He is changing and growing all the time. Every chance that we get to interact with him gives me a peek into what Brad and I have to look forward to in the future as parents. Plus, I look forward to getting to know his personality. He is already smiling.
1) I had a whole month solid with my husband to build a deep foundation of quality time together. Our trip to San Antonio was such an awesome opportunity for us to just be immersed in us. I hope we make a point of finding times to be immersed during work times. Things can sometimes get crazy , but my marriage is my priority.
And as we bid farewell to summer, we also bid a final farewell to Chester. My Escort sold last night at the price of $1540. I was sad but didn't cry. However, there is an interesting side story that some of you will be party to at some point.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Update on the Anniversary

Well not only did my husband arrange for us to go to see Wicked in October in honor of our anniversary.....he got much more sneaky than that, in a very sweet way:0) Shortly before 10am, when I was scheduled to ride with my dad to go to Grandma's for lunch, Brad called and asked me if I had found my present. I was surprised and had to answer "no". I had been around the house all morning and had seen no signs of presents. Where could they have been?

I found out soon enough. Dad and I ended up taking the Accord to Nicholson to see Grandma. When I cranked the car, there was a CD cued up to play. It was SugarLand. Brad had bought me the new Sugarland CD. I was touched and wanted to call and thank him immediately, but my dad's presence in the car makes it where talking on the phone while driving is not smiled upon :0) , so I held off. We picked up my sister at the farm and went on to Nicholson where we had a yummy lunch including homemade hush puppies. YUM! When we were done eating, Grandma invited us to come out to her garden and see her plants. We did but we ended up wandering around the side of the house to the driveway....where all of a sudden I noticed that the Accord was no longer sporting its dealership tag on its front but a UGA Alumni tag. My hubby had changed it out. I guess I didn't notice at home since Dad was with me when we got in.

I called my most awesome, romantic husband to thank him for my presents. He told me that he loved me and also told me that there was still one more present. I had no idea where it could be.

Since then we have talked again. He told me the case for the Sugarland CD was in the console. So I went out to look at it and up underneath it was another CD I had been eager to purchase. Brad has made this anniversary so special and we haven't even spent time together yet. I love it when he comes up with these special ways to show affection on his own. I had no idea I had all of these surprises in store when I got up this morning. I thought all the celebrating of our three year anniversary would happen tomorrow night at dinner and in October. What a great way to spend one of my last days before heading back to work. What a great way to have spent the last three years!

One Title Won't Work

I have so much to talk about that I can't think of a title that would work for all of what I am writing about so I am going to have little mini blog entries.

Jog, Party of One
Last night I got back out and jogged. It was the first time since I debuted as a jogger on Sunday. On Monday, Brad had blisters. On Tuesday, it rained over two inches. Last night, he was seriously tired. I was tired of not jogging so I went on my own. I did well. I positioned jogging stints in my course at the same places I did Sunday. The only one I couldn't complete was the third one again. However, there was a good reason. I added a length of five driveways shortly before that stint so I think it was too much right together. I also added a length of five driveways immediately before getting to our house. So in truth, I think I jogged more than I did Sunday. Yay, me!
Three Great Bargains
I went shopping yesterday with Mom and my sister Suzanne. We made the regular circle around Highway 124 in Snellville. Target, Belk, Kohl's. I ended up doing very well. I got three dresses for $45. That is great because not only can I add these to my teacher wardrobe, but one of the dresses was originally $65, more than all three dresses ended up being together. Now, that is shopping.
My Classroom
I went and worked on my classroom on Tuesday. I got some arranging done but I still have work to do. That will probably push me to go tomorrow, my last day off. The fun of working with your mother in law is that you always someone to go to lunch with when you go up on these random, unscheduled days to work. To follow in the footsteps of my other teacher friends, before pictures will be posted tomorrow. Then by the end of next week, I will post after.
Most Importantly
Today marks Brad and I's three year anniversary. We went on our first date two weeks after we met. We went to a sing along with our church and two other churches in our area. Then we went to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. It was a Sunday evening. By the next Thursday, I was cooking him dinner and he was cutting out laminated items for my classroom. It is hard for my mind to process that we have been together for that long but in other ways I can't believe it has been that short of a time. We both can't think of how life would be without each other and we don't really remember what it was. In honor of our third anniversary of being together, Brad bought tickets for us to go see Wicked at the Fox in October. We are also going to dinner at Johnny Carino's tomorrow night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So Long Chester

Who is Chester? Chester is my first and only car before the recently purchased Honda Accord (still unnamed). My parents bought him for me when I went to college. He is the only car I have ever really driven, and we have been through a lot together. Going to college, first real job, marriages, first wreck, only speeding ticket. While I am super excited about my Accord, it is a little emotional to face a change after so long. My head has already made the change. Only a week or so after the Accord was here, I tried to drive Chester somewhere and by the time I got to the entrance of our neighborhood, I had to turn around because it felt so foreign. My heart will get the idea soon I am sure. It seems like it will have to do sooner rather than later.

Why do I say that?

We took Chester to Brad's parents' house on Friday. Mr. Jack took him to work yesterday and put him out with a For Sale sign. Within the first hour, there was someone interested in purchasing him. Throughout the day, there were others that inquired about him too. It was just Day One and nothing final has come down the pike. It just seems like a little fuel efficient car will go quickly in these days of high gas prices.

It will seem silly but I took pictures with Chester before his departure last Friday. He was my first car.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blog About the Jog

It is 12:15 AM and I am at my computer blogging....and I thought I couldn't get into this.

I am blogging to announce I jogged tonight. Why is this a big deal? I don't run. I run for no one. I often am quoted as saying " I am not going to run unless I am running away from something/something is chasing me." I have never run. I can walk all day long....I could probably tap dance for miles, but running has never been me. Why you might ask? I attribute it to two things:

1.) My boyfriend in the third and fourth grade, Brandon (who is still a dear friend, I went to his wedding and he went to mine), used to make fun of me when I ran. I don't even remember what he would say, but the act apparently left its mark. Luckily, my male selecting skills were honed in on and perfected with time. You have got to wonder why I stayed with the boy who poked fun at me over my athleticism or lack thereof:0) J/K

2.) It sounds stupid , but I kinda forget how to breathe when I am running and shortly after starting have always felt like I wasn't getting enough air. Not one to get closer to death any sooner than I need to, I always stopped there. Before tonight.

Brad and I have been doing really well lately about getting out to our nightly walk around the neighborhood. It is 1.5 miles around our neighborhood twice. The problem has been lately that Brad wants something more vigorous than a walk, so I decided to let jogging come into the picture tonight. The deal was I got to say when we started jogging and he would slack off when he needed to. It turned out well. We jogged in four different spots of our walk course. Out of the four times that we jogged, there was only one time where I couldn't go as far or further than Brad did when he chose to stop. It was the third time. After that, I allowed my competitive side to take over and there was no way I wasn't going to go all the way the fourth time! Overall, I think I did well and I feel our efforts more. I just reminded myself that I didn't need to compare myself to Brad. With our height differences, our gates are much different so I need to just compare me to me and him to him. I hope we can go again tomorrow.

My body is not the only thing jogging today. My mind is going like crazy! With preplanning a week away, I can't sleep. Last night, my mind was racing about how to arrange my new room. Being only half the size of a regular classroom is going to have its challenges. Tonight my brain is running laps around different organizational tactics, projects and motivation incentives I can implement in my FOCUS classroom. Sigh, I hope to be able to sleep soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Week Since, One Week Left

This time last week we kept Carter, our one month old nephew, for the first time. It was great. Brad did a good job and the time went by FAST! I am hoping we get to keep him again some time soon. Since he saw us last, Carter went to his one month appointment. He is in the 90 th percentile in height and weight. 11lbs and an oz. 23 inches long. Growing boy for sure. Here is a pic of him on his Boppy ( he was really smiling up until the orange light before the flash went off)

" I have the best Aunt Meredith and Uncle Brad ever!"

With that said, this Monday brings with it the last week before Brad goes back to work. That makes me sad. I will miss having him around the house to hang out with. We have done so many enjoyable things. This week we even plan to go through the old town of Stone Mountain and conclude the day with a viewing of the Laser Show. We are so fortunate to have this month of time where we are both off to nurture and strengthen our already flourishing young relationship as husband and wife. We have the time to do silly things like play Risk ( over the course of two days), healthy things like playing Bocce ball and taking walks (3.24 miles last night), grown up things like hosting our friends over for a cookout dinner and serious things like getting both of our names on bank accounts. It is all such a blessing.

I just hope we can capture the free spirit of our summer and let it absorb into the busy-ness of our work year. Sometimes with work, Masters work and bustle of our school year activities at our church, it can become stressful and difficult at times to find time to just relax. I just pray God gives us the strength to find the little moments that can make big differences in our repoire with each other whether it be in a small smile, an embrace that lasts a little longer or a dishwasher emptied without an urging :0) This summer has actually felt longer than usual and I think it is because we have made so much of it together. I am hoping that same approach can make going back to work less painful. Now, off to enjoy that last week together!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pictures from San Antonio

Just a few pics from our trip to San Antonio -

Me in front of our New Vacation Home... just kidding.
This is one of the beautiful Victorian Homes in the King William District of San Antonio.

Us with a new friend at Sea World. The Sea World in San Antonio is the largest.
I have a thing for penguins ( and monkeys....just ask Sarah, Jen or Brad)

Brad riding his 1st bull....

Yes, it's coin operated ( We didn't put a coin in though)

Upon arrival in Texas, we headed to the Alamo.

Wearing the New Eyewear of the Stylish

(Actually Getting Ready for the 4D flick at Sea World)

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Day Shaped Up

So with the husband gone, I didn't know exactly what I would be doing with myself for the next few days. While there is still a lot of cleaning to be done upstairs, it just doesnt scream a fun time. However, today social butterfly syndrome kicked in and I was out and about for a day of enjoyment.

First, I met Mom during her lunch break and we perused Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. It was a good oppotunity to catch up with each other, and she got a chance to see my car (still unnamed) for the first time. Then while I was still in Target picking up some extra gifts for Nicole's shower, Christina called me and asked if I wanted to meet her and my one month (to the day) old nephew for an ice cream date at Marble Slab. Of course I did! So the Dillard girls and youngest man had an afternoon of fun chit-chat and outstanding ice cream. Brad will be so jealous.

Now I am home and will be registering for my next session of Masters courses. I am excited that the University has decided to launch a 5 8 week session calendar in place of their 4 10 week session calendar. While that may mean the syllabus is laid out at a more rapid pace, I will be on track to graduate no later than next summer. It makes me excited that I would be eligible to be a counselor that soon. However, I have promised my administration that I won't jump ship after just one year as FOCUS teacher. So the pay increase will have to be enough of a benefit from the completion of the Masters for awhile.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We are Back from Texas, Well I Am

We made it back from San Antonio. Our flight came in at about 9:15 pm Tuesday night. By the time Dad picked us up and got us back to our truck at his house, we didn't make it home til 11:30pm or so ( 10:30 to our Texa time oriented bodies).

The trip was amazing. While it rained more than I anticipated ( I went with KDE in college and don't remember it ever raining), the rain didn't put a damper on our travels at all. It was so nice to travel together again. Sea World in San Antonio was so impressive. I think I liked it better than Orlando. The zoo was only $9 per person and had so vast a collection of animals that it puts Atlanta's zoo to shame. We saw some beautiful Victorian homes and walked the amazing River Walk area daily. There were incredible missions built in statement of huge religious faith. We went to Schlitterbahn, the best waterpark in the world according to the Travel Channel ten years running. Some of the best things about San Antonio would have to be the traffic (or lack there of), friendliness of the people, lower levels of humidity, historic value and the food. We ate some incredible Tex Mex, Southwestern, steaks, BBQ!!!, and ice cream. It was fabulous. I was even the guest of the day at our hotel upon our arrival. We got a free pay per view movie, refreshments for the room and Hilton memorabilia for that. Anyone looking for a unique vacation experience should definitely consider San Antonio. It is not the beach and not the mountains. Even though it was my second time going, I could've easily stayed entertained even longer than the 7 days we were there. Pictures will come. (They were going to come now but I am afraid with the new camera that I may delete all the images when I try to upload them directly from the camera to the blog. So wait in anticipation for those pics early next week.)

As the title says, I am back from Texas. Brad was back ( I didn't leave him there), but he left with the youth today to go to Jacksonville, FL. He will come back on Sunday. I was invited to go chaperone as well ( they were even going to allow us to stay in the same room without youth)but I am going to have TONS of bridesmaid fun this weekend having a spend the night party with Nicole following a day of a test run of her wedding day hair and H&M shopping ( a store she introduced me to on our trip to New York in '06) and leading into her final bridal shower Sunday. Nicole and I lived together all three years I was at UGA so I am so looking forward to this, (probably) our last chance to have a girl's spend the night party without planning around husband departure on both ends. It is the ending of an era. So therefore, Chestnut Grove Hits Jacksonville had to do without Meredith this year.

Though I know we will both have great fun this weekend and I love the healthy space we give each other by having separate interests and events, it is still hard to have Brad out of the house. It was our three month anniversary of being married while we were in San Antonio. That is so hard to believe. Time has really flown! But it has all been so great. After weathering what I have in my past, what God knew I needed to go through to grow closer and more dependent on Him and to make me stronger, I know how lucky I am to have such an incredible man in my life. We have grown so much in the nine months since he proposed and the three years ( July 31st) that we have been together. I am so blessed to have been given such a wonderful gift and faith that is only strengthened by the presence of Brad in my life. God is good.

My Favorite Engagement Picture Taken A Month After Brad Proposed

Three Months Ago On The HOneymoon