Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friends, Firearms and Formals

We were lucky this past week to spend a lot of time with friends and family!

Wednesday, we went to Meagan's to eat dinner with friends - Megan, Web and Vance were there, too, so that meant that Dawson had a playmate!

One of the things I love most about my son is that if he loves you? He shows it.
"Dude, this is so the best part of the movie."
Watching Happy Feet together...
...followed by an adventure outside complete with caterpillars...
and bubbles! Lots of bubbles!
Dawson and Vance could've stayed out there for hours chasing them.
Saturday, Little Man and I surprised my parents with an unexpected visit at their house in Chattanooga! I love surprising people, especially them. It was a beautiful day, and so we spent most of it outside. My dad took the kiddies on a ride in the wagon...

"Don't be nervous. This isn't his first time out."
I'm not sure who had more fun - my dad or the kids?

The Apple Dumpling Gang rides again!

The firearms part comes up next...I shot a gun.

Yes, that's what I said...I shot a gun.

One of the benefits of having a brother who's a soldier? Target practice.

That would be a 9 mm Sig.

I have no earthly idea what that means.

But I? Am totally bad.

The formal part comes in next:
My baby brother went to his first prom! Isn't he handsome??? Aren't I ancient???

This will be a great picture to look at when Dawson goes to his first prom.

With his mom.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

What the Storm Saw

I have an amazingly good memory.

I remember things from years ago in sharp detail - some I wish I didn't. Details about funerals and illnesses and arguments and uncomfortable moments. Mostly, though, the memories are good - I can tell you what I wore to a certain party when I was 5, or how I felt when one of my friends let me hold a kitten for the first time. What I ate, smelled, heard and learned...lots and lots of little things over lots and lots of time.

However, when I became pregnant and had Dawson, my memory changed. It's not as sharp, and it takes me longer to remember things that should be no issue at all. I've read that some doctors think it's because as a mom, my mind is occupied with caring for another human; others think it's because biologically, my brain actually did shrink as my baby grew.

Whatever the reason, I know my memory isn't as sharp.

Which is why, for two weeks now, my mind has been haunted by thoughts of the woman that was killed in Good Friday's tornado.

There are two distinct memories I have from that day. The first is how amazingly loud and clear the birds sang after the storm was over. It was as if an entire chorus of birds were rejoicing that they were still flying. The second is how in the same moment that I heard the birds singing, I heard sirens. Sirens of police cars and ambulances and fire trucks, blaring just an octave or two higher than the birds, signaling that the destruction, was, in fact, very bad.

I had no idea. I had no power, no television, no internet, no way of knowing what was happening in the town I call home. I had a few friends calling or texting, telling me what they had seen. But it still didn't register with me how bad it was.

Then, Michelle told me, "There's a girl that's been killed - her baby, too."

Tears came to my eyes. Somewhere, in my town, a girl - like me - with a baby - like me - was gone.

I couldn't get it out of my mind.

Then, on Easter Sunday, after eating with family and hunting eggs, I returned home to finally see her picture on the news.

I know that girl.

But from where?

I watched the news story over and over again, went on-line to find her picture, read her biography, learned where she worked, what she was remembered for.

And still - my stupid memory wouldn't work. It was like a slow-loading computer - and the file still wasn't complete.

How many women in the town can be named Kori? Not many. Think, Lauren, think.

And then - Saturday morning, I woke up, and it instantly clicked in my head.

I rented to her. She was a tenant.

Yesterday, I went to the office, opened the file drawer to 618 C Fairview, and saw her name in black and white - in my handwriting.

Kori Dudek.

I knew her before she was Kori Bryant - before she was a mother and a wife. I knew her as the tenant who wouldn't stop calling me about her fireplace not working, as the woman who complained that she was getting colds because the dust in the fireplace was so bad. I remember thinking, "Woman, this is not the Hilton. This is a one-bedroom apartment in a 40-year-old triplex. Get a broom and some Claritin and get over it."

I'm glad I didn't say it out loud. I'm glad I was kind. I'm glad I went out of my way to make sure the fireplace got fixed and cleaned. I'm glad I called and apologized and thanked her for always paying on time and making my job easier. I'm glad I complimented her on her unusual name when she signed her lease and told her she could plant as many flowers as she wanted around the front door after she moved in.

I'm glad I remember all of that.

Because on Good Friday, the storm saw me, ignorant, holding Dawson in my closet, wondering what all the fuss was about.

It saw Michelle's son and mother, crouched in the bathtub, waiting for the wind to stop blowing.

It saw Kori and her daughter, Olivia, huddled in the hallway surrounded by mattresses, with no idea that the night before would be the last night they would sleep on them.

My memory isn't as great as it was, but I will remember Kori Bryant.

I will remember the next time I take rental calls or sign a lease, go to the grocery store or the carwash, the drive-through or the bank - that those people are not labeled by what they do or who they are to me. They are real; they are moms and wives and daughters and dads and sons and brothers.

And I will remember that you cannot do a kindness too soon, because you don't know how soon it will be too late.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We Loved You So Much, We Threw a Party for You Before You Were Born!

And that is exactly why I absolutely love baby showers. This little person is about to start his life - that's a pretty awesome occasion! So what could be more fitting than a party?

We had one at my house this past Sunday for Baby Jack Hutchings! He is due to make his world debut on June 12th, and we are very excited to meet him and have him join his mama, Megan, daddy,Web, and Big Brother Vance!

Jack's nursery is themed with little woodland creatures, so Meagan and I thought little birdies and nature-y things would be a good theme for the shower.
Me, The Mama, and Meagan. Like we need an excuse to party. However, during the shower, I did picture wee Jack wearing a party hat and holding a fork, wanting a bite of some cupcake in utero.
Megan and her sweet mama...

Some of the ladies that attended the shower...Megan had friends from work, Junior League and her sorority help her celebrate!

Kim, Megan and Rachel...seriously, I had a hard time eating because Kim and Rachel were making me laugh so hard. They are two of the funniest people I've ever met. They're also two of the most creative...
...and are responsible for this amazing "tablescape." Rachel made the addictive peanut-butter-filled-chocolate cupcakes, and Kim painted the plates upon which they were displayed and the eggs in the nest. They have more creativity in their eyelashes than I do in my entire body.
The menu...chicken salad croissants, pineapple cheese casserole, broccoli salad, spinach dip, the fab cupcakes and fruit tea. I haven't heard of anyone becoming deathly ill after leaving, so I think the food was ok.
Little Moo opening her prezis...she got some very cute outfits, some baby basics and a bouncy seat that converts into a toddler rocking chair!
Guests were asked to leave a little note of advice or encouragement for Megan...
...and put them in a little album for her to read after Baby Jack arrives!
My gift for Jack...a personalized basket I made and some of the blankets that match his nursery bedding.
And last, but not least, a sweet "tweet" for the guests to take with them!

We cannot wait for Baby Jack to get here!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Megan!

My sweet friend, Megan, celebrates her birthday today!

I want to wish her a very Happy Birthday. Megan is the most thoughtful person I know - hands down - and I can always count on her to make even a bad day much brighter. She is a ray of sunshine!

Happy Birthday, Moo - I love you!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crazy Eights

The ever-so-hilarious-and-fun Natalie at The Brocks Rock has tagged me to share the following:

8 Things I am Looking Forward To:

1) Disney World in December with the fam.
2) The night I get ready for bed and do NOT discover that I've been walking around with an assortment of Goldfish, yogurt bites or rice puffs down my top/dress all day long.
3) The arrival of Megan and Web's baby, Jack! We are quickly working on creating our own recreational football team.
4) The day Dawson doesn't try to eat everything in sight, including business cards, pennies, electrical cords and paper towels.
5) The day the real estate market goes back to being the way it was.
6) The day Dawson says, "I love you, Mama!"
7) Girlz Trip 2010 to Savannah, GA. Watch. Out.
8) The fact that I will not be pregnant and therefore resemble a beached whale when we go on Girlz Trip 2010, as opposed to Girlz Trip 2008. I'm pretty sure that's why the jelly fish stung me. It thought I was going to eat it.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1) Worked on some things for Megan's shower!
2) Made a grocery list.
3) Came up with at least 10 reasons why I didn't have to go to the grocery store right then.
4) Wrote "go to grocery store" on To-Do List.
5) Pulled Dawson out of a cabinet.
6) Wondered if Oprah realizes that hair extensions do NOT make you look thinner?
7) Wondered if the makers of Lean Cuisine intentionally make their portions so small that it drives you to go eat fast food, thereby insuring you'll need to buy more Lean Cuisine?
8) Did laundry.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1) Math without using my fingers and toes.
2) Eat Double-Stuf Oreos all day long.
3) Travel to Belize, Brazil, Ireland and Greece.
4) Adopt a little girl from Honduras, Panama or Cuba.
5) Sing. Like, really well - not like, in the shower.
6) Speak Spanish fluently.
7) Keep Dawson as little as possible for as long as possible.
8) Arrange a marriage so that I won't have to deal with freak in-laws one day.

8 Shows I Watch:
1) Intervention (So. Good.)
2) Desperate Housewives
3) Grey's Anatomy
4) Morning Express with Robin Meade
5) Dog the Bounty Hunter (I heart Leland!)
6) Manhunters: Fugitive Taskforce (Makes me want to carry a gun and speak with a Jersey accent.)
7) The Sopranos (I'm sensing a pattern?)
8) American Idol

I tag: Rachel, Leigh Ann and Whitney!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Zohan Has Left the Building

Normally, on Tuesday mornings, I'm awake at 6, awaiting the arrival of Zoey so we can go back to bed and snuggle while becoming informed by watching Morning Express with Robin Meade and waiting for Dawson to wake up already.

But today, I slept in til 7:30, and I am without a snuggle bunny and am wholly uninformed about the events of the world.

Since Jason is back, he is now in charge of the Zohan while Krystal is at school. Which makes sense seeing as how he's her dad. But part of me wants to call him and make sure he knows that she needs to watch Robin Meade while eating her blueberry Nutri-Grain bar.

It's hard to believe that eight months have passed so quickly!

This is Zoey on her first day at my house:

And on her last day:

Who will suffer through my leopard-print-and-hairbow obsessions??

Who will harass Dawson and use him as a jungle gym??

I love you, sweet girl!

Make sure you tell your daddy to change your diaper. More than once a day.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend - With a Twist

I wish I was talking about a fun, fruity drink, but I'm actually talking about a twister - one that came through Murfreesboro on Friday and did damage like this:

This used to be the building that housed a title company we use. Thankfully, everyone made it to the first floor in time and no one was hurt.
You can see where the individual offices used to be.
This is inside the first floor. It's amazing that wind can do this to a brick building!
This is a piece of metal from a car or building that the tornado wrapped around the power line like a twist-tie that you use to seal your garbage bags.
The cars in the front parking lot. No one was in them, thank heaven.
The tornado hit about a mile and a half from our house. Dawson and I hid in the closet for about 20 minutes, and the worst we experienced was hail and a day-long power outage. Other people, though, like Michelle's mother, lost their entire homes.

Due to our lack of power and hot water, we decided to head to Chattanooga early for the Easter holiday. Dawson was only 3 months old last year at Easter, so I was excited to see him hunt eggs for the first time!
Me and my distinguished little gentleman.
"Yay! You found one!"

A wee man on a mission...
"Out the WAY, mama. I got to find these things. They have candy inside."
And then, after the egg hunt...
"HALLELUJAH, Gran!! You brought the bubbles!"
"Ok..so, it's not as easy as it looks."

You might be a redneck if, after inhaling a cooked pig, you and your folks gather in the driveway to talk about weather and dental work while propped up on the back of a pick-up truck.

Happy Easter!!