Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quarter of a Century

Today, I turn old. Well, maybe not old perse', but definitely older. I'm saying "Good-Bye" to my younger years, and officially welcoming Adulthood. Yikes. That's even a little scary to just say.


*Shudder* There's no pretending to be a young whipper-snapper anymore. On forms, I will no longer fill out the youthful "18-24 year old" box, but rather the "25-34 year old" one. That's the real deal. The Big 2-5 springs me forward into the next age group.

I really do feel like I'm entering a new stage of my life with this particular birthday. The stage that includes babies, and the years of our own little (or possibly big) family. A stage that also includes a closer relationship God, as well as my church family and especially my husband. A stage that consists of challenges and growth and opportunities to further establish the woman of God that I strive to become. I pray that I can live up to His expectations in the coming period of my life. Every day, I live to make Him proud.

We'll see what the next 25 years has in store for me. It is such a relief to rest in the fact that God already knows. I know the past 25 have been filled with blessings of great magnitude, that I could never have imagined. If the next 25 have even a fraction of what I have already received, it will be much more richly blessed than I deserve.

**Edit: Let the spoiling begin! Look at this beautiful spring bouquet of daisies in an adorable water pitcher that my momma had sent to my office! So beautiful! Thanks, Mom! I love you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let the Games Begin

Brad is helping coach a 5- and 6-year-old little league baseball team this season. It's Coach-Pitch, and he's the coach that pitches. He pitches until they hit a ball. If they keep missing after a whole lot, they'll bring the tee out and let them bat off of that.

But, most of the kids actually aren't that bad. Some of them are hitting it all the way to the fence! (Well, it's rolling to the fence, not soaring. And the fact that they don't know how to field a ball yet helps with the home runs...)

It's so cute to watch these miniature little guys running all over the field trying to figure out what to do. Every time the ball is hit, the entire defensive team runs for the ball. They don't keep score, so even if somebody gets out, they just keep on running the bases. Since they don't keep track of outs and scores, each player gets the chance to bat every inning.

You should see the faces of those little guys every time they make contact with the ball, whether with a bat or glove. It's priceless.

Speaking of priceless - Look at the team making their "silly faces."

Brad's going to be such a great dad. Watching him interact with those young 'uns makes me fall more and more in love with him.

If you wanna check out all the great action shots from last weekend's game, click here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cookout of the Century

To celebrate the first Saturday after Tax Season, Brad and I had a group of friends over for a cookout. We're always looking for an excuse to give ol' Weber a workout, and we've been needing to show off our new house for a while, now. So we invited a few of our friends that we love lots, but don't get to see as often as we'd like over in order to kill two birds with one stone.

Even though it was a little challenging for Brad to leave the lid on the grill instead of continually checking on the meat, the boys cooked the hamburgers (er, cheeseburgers) and hot dogs to perfection. Much thanks goes to his friends who offered the encouragement and support to be patient, that he needed in order to accomplish this tricky task.

We all littered our back yard with camping chairs as we lounged and visited over the greatest cookout ever - complete with the main meat items and all the toppings, as well as baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, mac 'n cheese, and chips and dip along with Southern Sweet Tea, pink lemonade, and Ko Koler. (That's Southern for Coca Cola, for you Yankees.)

It's still early enough in the season that no bugs bugged us, and the weather was perfect, even though the weatherman forecasted some rain that evening. Once the sun went down, we did need to whip out a few blankets for all of us cold-natured girls, however.

But the small chill in the air didn't stop us from enjoying Adam's incredible milkshakes! He made regular vanilla and chocolate and then wow'd us with Reeses and Snickers variations. Talk about Yum! The perfect way to finalize a perfect cookout.

Oh, and look at the adorable kids that we got to play with all evening. Love them so much! Also, look at Emily's future baby!! So excited about the Big News! Yahoo!

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

I didn't even realize it was National AP Day until the partners presented me with a gift certificate and a "Thank you for all that you do for Frasier, Dean & Howard," this morning. Wow. What a great surprise! I am so completely blessed to work at this firm. I, honestly, could not ask for a better job. (And that's saying a lot, considering it is after Tax Season.)

*Don't forget to say "Thanks!" to your own administrative professionals, today. Believe me, they work harder than you can imagine!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Eggstravaganza

Brad and I celebrated Easter the old-fashioned way, this year - quietly at home with our own little family. Well, we did enjoy a great Easter service at church Sunday morning, and we did join a family for lunch afterward. But, when it came down to the actual Easter celebration, we did it all on our own.

Since I didn't think Chester would be very interested in finding eggs, he was spoiled with his very own Easter Treat Hunt. He was extremely interested in finding his Scooby Snacks! Brad had to hold him captive while I hid his treats. With his hound dog senses, he sniffed out those treats in no time. It really wasn't fair
Afterward, Brad and I colored our own Easter eggs. We, of course, used the vinegar solution to insure the very brightest colors. Look how vibrant they turned out! My favorite were the "secret sayings." I loved writing with that clear crayon. It was like magic how the invisible wax showed up after they were dyed

However, it turns out that I was a little mistaken about Chester not being interested in the eggs. When I set them up on our fire hearth, it was nearly impossible to keep him from investigating these strange decorations. He licked one and got a little sticker stuck to his nose. Before I could get a hilarious picture of it, he had licked it off of his nose and got it stuck on his tongue. You should have seen him going crazy trying to get it off! It was more entertaining than a dog eating peanut butter. Finally, I forced his mouth open and peeled the sticker off of his tongue. How in the world did it even get stuck on such a wet surface? Who knows. But, I think he learned his lesson...

Over all, it was a pretty successful Easter. We're still munching on the Bunny's treats.

Introducing Weber

Brad's parents were in town Easter weekend as they were making their journey back up to Indiana from their visit in Florida. As they stopped through, they bought Brad and me a grill as a housewarming gift. As you can see by those flames, he really does help keep our house (er, patio) nice and warm.

To break him in, we grilled some kabobs with Don & Elaine, Matthew & Heather, and Alex & Amber. How fun! I've never made any kind of kabob before, and we had a great time assembling them. I did get one (giant) splinter from the skewer, but it was totally worth it when I experienced the savory taste of chicken and pork and peppers and onions and mushrooms and tomatoes all grilled to perfection. Yuummmm...
While the boys were outside "being men," Heather was inside making a wonderful Dirt Cake dessert. It's her mom's signature recipe, and it's incredible. Thank goodness we had a dish that was (barely) big enough to contain the whole batch.

The guys got distracted by the tree in the backyard. They couldn't resist challenging each other to climb to the top. Brad won, by the way. Alex didn't get any higher than the trunk. I guess even men need to act like boys every once in a while.

I believe it was a successful inaugural cook out. The first of many, I'm sure. (Sidenote: Every meal at home since then has been cooked on the grill. Brad hasn't quite mastered the culenary art, yet. But he's determined to keep trying!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day!

Well. I believe I have made it through my first tax season.


But, I survived. It was a little more overwhelming than I anticipated, even though I was sufficiently forewarned. I just had no idea what to expect. I stayed and helped during the late nights (9:00 most nights, midnight on the 14th - but still not nearly as late or as often as the real accountants!), talked with so many clients over the last few days that I literally lost my voice, and, worst of all, I neglected my blog. But it's all over with now, and I'm proud to say that I didn't get one single paper cut while processing all of those tax returns.

The firm is closed tomorrow, as it is the 16th of April every year, to provide a little rest for the weary. Brad was able to use one of his vacation days, and he took the day off work tomorrow, as well. We're sleeping until 9:00 (at least), and then going to the Nashville Zoo for the first time, ever. I'm so excited to spend some stress free time with my beloved.

By the way, in case you're wondering how incredibly incredible he is, check these out:
He definitely wins the Best Husband of Tax Season '09 Award. Don't you think?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Too Blessed To Be Stressed

Oh, I have so much I want to share with you! But work is waaayyyy too crazy. (2 Days, People! You better get cracking if you haven't already filed your taxes!)

So, I'll just give you a sneak peak at upcoming posts about our new friend, Weber, and his initiation into our family at our first cookout...As well as our Easter Eggstravaganza, and Chester's very own Easter Treat Hunt.

I hope this piques your interest! Come back after the 15th for some super exciting posts!

If you want an even sneakier peak, you can check out the pictures here and here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today is Friday. It may seem like a hopeless defeat...

But Sunday is coming. And He LIVES!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Could Do This In My Sleep

We're super busy. My desk is piled high with returns to mail out and others to keep here to be picked up by the clients. In the midst of all of the crazy workload, I'm still exhausted. You'd think the multiple tasks, phone calls, and clients constantly parading in and out of the office would keep me nice and alert. You'd be wrong.

Here I am, accidentally dozing off for just a split second. The phone rings for the bazillionth time today.

"Frasier, Dean and Howard, this is Mindy. How may I help you?" spoken in my sleep. (I say it often enough...)

Then I hear, as if through water, "Hi Mindy. This is Jane Doe. Could I please speak with Mr. Accountant?"

I answer, "Just a moment," but it comes out all muffled. After the words miraculously come out of my mouth on their own, more by habitual reaction than true response, I was confused about what to do next. It took me a second to relive the groggy conversation before I could transfer the call to the correct employee.

Oh goodness. This can't be good.

But, I guess I'm so awesome at this job that I could literally do it in my sleep. Sweet.

And besides, being zoned out for one out of a bazillion calls can't be too bad, right?...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

T Minus One Week

It is officially the last week of Tax Season. Everybody claims that I "haven't seen anything, yet," even though we've been super busy for weeks, already. Apparently, the final week is complete chaos,and everybody runs on overdrive, fast food, and negative amounts of sleep. Basically, we'll be all work and no play for the next seven days straight. Which translates to "no time for blogging."

This is my formal farewell to the blogosphere for a while. I probably won't see you again until next Friday, thanks to our firm holiday on the 16th. (Thank goodness.)

Alright. I'm ready. Bring it on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

We had quite a busy weekend. Get ready for this lengthy documentary of it... Our very favorite friends in all the land came to Nashville for the weekend. Jake and Tiffany became our bf's way back in college when they practically lived with us our senior year of school. Once they graduated, they moved back up to their hometown in far away Boise, Idaho. We haven't seen them since their wedding last summer, and have missed them terribly. They flew down to Tennessee in order to attend Freed-Hardeman's Makin' Music, the annual student led musical production hosted by our Alma Mater.

Their flight landed at 10:30 Thursday evening, and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning visiting with each other. The late night was easy for most of us... Jake and Tiffany obviously didn't have to work Friday, and Brad conveniently had his wisdom teeth removed the day before and had a nice little excuse to skip work. Looks like I was the only loser that had to wake up Friday morning and actually go to work, while everybody else hung out together. Humph. However, they were nice enough pick me up for lunch, so I wasn't completely out of the loop. That was really nice, and fun.

When I got home from work that evening, I found them all lazily napping in the living room. As if they hadn't gotten enough rest the night before. Sheesh. I woke 'em all up and we headed out toward downtown Nashville. We had big plans to live it up, Music City style. The four of us went to the Wildhorse Saloon for a delicious BBQ dinner, Southern fried pickles, live music, and some entertaining line dancing lessons.

Afterwards, we walked around Broadway street and hopped in and out of a couple of the bars to enjoy just a small fragment of the overwhelming musical talent that fills the streets of Nashville. Each time we spend an evening downtown, I am reminded of why Nashville is called Music City. People everywhere are serenading you with their gifted abilities.

When we got home, Brad's family was already at our house. His parents had travelled down from Indiana to attend Lipsomb's simultaneous version of the annual musical production, Singarama, in which our youngest brother, Jeremy, and his girlfriend, Madison, were both performing. We enjoyed our family reunion, while I showed off our new house and my mother-in-law showed off pictures from their anniversary trip to Chicago. However, I couldn't stay up too late. Because I, you guessed it, had to work in the morning. How lame. (I'm about tired of tax season.) So, Brad and I went to bed (in the office on an air mattress) before the party was over.

Brad, being the super sweet husband that he is, knew how bummed I was that the extra required work was making me miss out on a lot of the weekend fun with our visitors. So, he agreed to wake up early Saturday morning with me and make breakfast before I had to head in to the office. Eventually, the smell of pancakes lured everyone out of bed, and I was able to enjoy their company for just a bit before I had to report to duty.

Frasier, Dean & Howard has an annual tradition of celebrating the weekend before the weekend before the national tax deadline with Hog Heaven BBQ. It provides a nice moment of relaxation in the midst of chaos, and right before the real storm begins. We transformed my desk into a (covered) buffet bar, and enjoyed some fellowship right out in the corridor of the office building. Afterall, nobody else in the building is crazy enough to work on a Saturday.<After lunch, and a few more processed Income Tax Returns, I joined the family as we all saw, for the first time, the wedding site for Matthew and Heather's Big Day. (Jake and Tiffany had already left for Henderson, TN by this point.) I can't believe how perfect this place is. Their wedding will be simply wonderful!! Oh, I can't wait!

Once the evening came around, we headed over to Corky's BBQ to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday. (Just in case your counting, that's 3 BBQ meals in 2 days.) All of us kids pitched in together and gave him the same framed family Coat of Arms and history of the Mehaffey name that we all got at the Celtic Festival, last month. Now each of the Mehaffey men have one to display in his home. I love it.

Jeremy had to leave the party early in order to make it back to campus for the second production of the day. We followed closely behind him, anxious to view the show. Jeremy and Madison were each in seperate performances, so we were rooting for two of the three shows. The entire presentation was incredible. Singarama is very different than the Makin' Music that I'm used to (much more of a musical play that breaks out into song, and much less over-the-top theatrical; also, much, much longer per individual routine). But it was extremely entertaining, and we were so proud of both of their performances. Sadly, the random third show happened to be the winner of the overall competition. But at least they could both mope together, rather than trying to put on a happy face for the other. They were able to band together and talk about how unfair the judging was. That's kinda nice, really.

Here are a few shots I managed to get of Jeremy from way up in the balcony and without a flash. (Isn't my camera amazing!? What a great Christmas gift, Honey!)
Here's our favorite family girlfriend at work. (Heather is a fiance.) She's in the pink shirt
After the production, we migrated to our house for a mini after party. Everyone was exhausted - Jeremy and Madison had 4 energy-consuming performances in three days; Matthew had worked that day, Heather had bronchitis, Brad had coached a baseball game that day, I had worked, and Don and Elaine were still recovering from the long and late drive the night before. We were more than willing to relax and enjoy our (three different flavors) of ice cream as well as the comfortable company of family.

Don and Elaine were on the road before Brad and I woke up for church, Sunday morning. They were on their way to visit family down in Florida. But, don't worry; they'll be back to our neck of the woods this Thursday as they pass through on their path back home. (Rumor has it, they're buying us a Weber grill as a house warming gift! Holla!) Jake and Tiffany travelled back to Nashville Sunday afternoon, and the four of us were able to hang out "just like old times." We laughed as we reminisced about our life back in college. My how time flies.

Speaking of flying, they flew back out to Idaho yesterday afternoon, and our lives were back to normal before we knew it. The dust had finally settled on the whirlwind of the weekend... and we were able to have Charles and Emily over for dinner, last night. We're meeting Aaron and Erin for a quick dinner, after work, before we head over to Brian and Bonnie's house for a little overdue visiting, tonight. Yep, our life is definitely back to normal. Crazy busy, full of friends, and so very, very blessed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Adios Third Molars

The last few months, Brad has been complaining about pain in his jaws. He even developed TMJ (something that makes your jaw lock up). The dentist told him it was from chewing too much gum, and if he would stop that habit, the TMJ would subside. He wasn't really satisfied with that solution, so he visited a chiropractor, and they decided that it was a result from when he got hit by a car when he was younger and landed on the windshield chin first. He made regular visits to the chiropractor, hoping that the massage therapy would relieve the discomfort. In the last couple of weeks, though, he's been saying it's getting worse and that it has become this constant ache in his mouth, specifically his back teeth.

Last week, he began wondering if it could have anything to do with his wisdom teeth, which he still had thanks to the "go ahead with that big mouth" that he got back in high school. We were both under the impression that he'd have room for them to grow in, and they would never be a problem. But with all of this soreness coming up, he decided to go to the dentist for a consultation specifically regarding his wisdom teeth this past Monday. Turns out they needed to come out ASAP, and were the cause for all of his troubles. They said that his bottom two were both impacted and scheduled him for an extraction appointment two days later. Yesterday.

Poor Brad.

He was so nervous about surgery. He'd never had any anesthesia, not even local; he's definitely never been "put to sleep." He hasn't ever even had a cavity that needed to be filled! My 25-year-old husband had never been numbed in any way, shape, or form in his entire life. He was nervous. (But in a really macho way, you know.)

The stories that were told to him by each person that he spoke to about the topic didn't help his nervousness. Many people had horror stories of ooziness and dry sockets. Not to mention, the only experience he had ever witnessed was mine, and it was not pretty. I reacted badly to the medicine and vomited continually for about 24 hours - not to mention all the stupid things I said and the random people I gave high fives. He did not want to embarrass himself the way I had. (I'll admit to it. I'm not ashamed.)

The surgery didn't last any more than 35 minutes. They interrupted my nap in the waiting room to inform me that he was done and they'd walk him out to my car if I'd just pull up to the awning. Wow, that's easy.

Or not quite.

He immediately felt queasy when we got in the car. His biggest fear. (Who likes to vomit??) So we stepped back out and knelt by the bushes. A nice doctor noticed us and brought us back inside where they gave him some alcohol swabs to smell. I was oh-so-concerned about my never-weak husband, and was trying hard to support him without making him feel too vulnerable.

That was until he started talking. I couldn't help but laugh every time he said a thing. With all that gauze in his mouth, trying to articulate himself as he was wobbling around in the chair. He over gestured every word, because he knew nobody could understand what he was attempting to say. For some reason, every time he talked, he opened his eyes really wide, flailed about his arms, and yelled. For real. One of the first things he said was, "At least I'm not crazy!!" while he through his arms back and forth above his head. I said, "What?? You're not??" "LIKE YOU!!" he shouted as he pointed vehemently in my direction. Apparently, he was relieved that he didn't believe that his worst nightmare had been realized. I could hardly keep him from noticing my laughter.

He insisted over and over that he "feels fine, but just might throw up. But other than that, I'm fine. Except I feel like throwing up. But I'm really fine." He probably told me that 4 times, each time making graphic hand gestures. He finally said, "I don't want to throw up in the car." As I was reassuring him that that would not happen, and that is why we were sitting back down in the office, he interrupted to say, "I'd throw up in YOUR LAP!" and gestured vomiting in my direction. When I began to object to that solution, he yelled, "APRIL FOOLS!!!" and threw his arms in the air before slapping his knees. He thought he was a riot. That was the point at which I stopped trying to hide my laughter. If he wanted to be funny and make me laugh, I'd just go ahead and let it all out.

The doctor suggested for me to give him the nausea medicine (that we had requested prior to the surgery) as soon as possible since he was already prone to having a sensitive stomach. Brad interrupted to inform the doctor and nurses that "It's just 'cause I'm a sensitive guy!!" (arms flailing about.) I had to translate for anybody else to know what he said, before a nurse acknowledged that there weren't many of those left in the world. He enthusiastically agreed and took the credit for being the last one standing on earth. She notified him that they've never had a man cry before, but he could be the first if he wanted to be. To which he tried, with all of his might, to squeeze out a few tears in order to impress the pretty nurse, and then gave up, throwing his hands in the air and unscrunching his face.

A light bulb went off in his mind (visibly, he was so expressive!) as he remembered he was supposed to call his mom when the surgery was over. "Call Mom!! Call Mom!!" I tried to hush him without falling over from laughter at his exaggerated behavior, and assured him that I would call her as soon as we were safely in the car. He would have none of it. "I want to call her!!"

"You? Honey, she won't be able to understand a word you say. You have gauze all in your mouth..."

"I know! It'll be hiLARious!!!!" as he throws his hands above his head. There was no arguing with this guy...

He wasn't quite sure about the numbness. He touched his cheek and let me know that he couldn't feel it. I told him that was because of the medicine. He touched his other cheek, and said the same thing. I assured him that he didn't want to feel his cheeks, and that it was a good thing. He proceeded to touch every inch of his face: "I can't feel that. I can't feel that. I can't feel that, either. And I can't feel that, or that. I can't feel that..." Honestly, how am I to handle this strange man that so closely resembles my husband??

We finally made it back out to the car (slowly and carefully). I buckled him in and turned the AC on in his direction to keep the queasiness down. He mentioned calling his mom again, and further insisted that he be the one to call her. I started to text her a warning message, but he saw me. He accused, "Who are you talking to??"

"I'm texting." - trying to avoid answering the question.

"Who are you texting??"

"Your mom."

He was completely offended that I was communicating with her before him. He passionately grabbed his phone and was further hurt when I offered to help him find her name in his address book. "HEY MOM! -pause- Hang on. (To me) Did they have any problems?? (To his mom) Nope! -pause- Okay, here she is." And he handed me the phone. Wow. She must know tricks.

He fell asleep in the car and continued to rest while I ran into the drugstore to get his prescriptions filled. I gave him strict orders to not move an inch. Once I had been carefully instructed by the pharmacist on how to implement his medication, I went back out to the running car and was very relieved to find Brad had not driven off anywhere. He took his pills right when we got home and sat on the couch. He was surprised at how refreshed and awake he felt after the short nap in the car. He gladly claimed the remote control and laid back to enjoy some baseball while he sucked on his gauze.

In about 4 minutes, he was out cold. He fell asleep somewhere around 2:30 in the afternoon and didn't wake up again until after 11:00 this morning. (Except for my regular interruptions every four hours to have him take the next dose of medicine before the previous one had time to wear off.)

Hopefully, he'll fully recover soon. We have friends flying in from Idaho to visit this weekend, not to mention his visiting family from Indiana, this weekend, as well. The doctor said that the anti-swelling medicine would stay in his system for 48 hours and to not be alarmed when he started "puffing up" after two days. Which means he's going to look like a chipmunk just in time for their visit. We'll have to take tons of pictures.

Edit: the pictures of Brad have been removed. "Someone" (I know who you are.) spilled the beans and Brad got upset. If you were lucky enough to see them, I hope you committed them to memory, because they are no longer available.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rallying the Troops

Prayers for Stellan

Please join me as I pray for baby Stellan. He's a precious 5-month-old who is very sick with a critical heart condition. He's been in the hospital for nearly two weeks struggling to have a normal heart beat. I have been a regular reader of MckMama's blog since Stellan nearly perished in the womb this past summer. Readers all over the globe joined forces as they stormed Heaven's gates in prayer for the unborn Stellan, and the Lord healed him completely. Stellan was born full-term and completely healthy, contrary to what all of the doctors (sadly) assured would happen.

The same heart defect that Stellan had in the womb has returned. And we need even more prayer warriors to battle together for Stellan's little life. Our God is BIG, and He can do all things. We are all confident that Stellan is a miracle baby, and that our Lord has plans for his existence. Whether He brings Stellan safely Home, or heals his tiny heart, let's just pray that it is done quickly and easily. This whole situation is so difficult for MckMama and her family (three other children four-years-old and younger). We can make a difference with our petitions in prayer on their behalf.

Here is a news article from their local news, yesterday, if you are interested in an overview of the current crisis. Or you can just check out her blog for the whole situation and frequent updates. Please, please, please help save this little boys life - again.

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