Monday, April 28, 2014

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago yesterday an event happened that forever changed me.  It changed the way I did my job, it changed the way I cared for others, it changed the way I viewed my little town, and it changed the way I loved my family.  On April 27, 2011, a EF-4 tornado at 196mph came through my little town about 2 hours after it destroyed Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  That night and for the next several weeks, I had serious survivor's guilt.  There were 9 fatalities within miles of me and less than a mile from my house everything was destroyed.  How could this have happened so close to home?  I began seeing survivors as we cared for them at work and hearing their stories was the most humbling thing I've ever experienced.  The ones who were close to my age or who had young children just rocked my world.  If only the tornado had turned left instead of right less than a mile from my house, I would have been the one injured.  That was hard for me.

All of my life I've been an Alabama football fan (although I've added Tennessee to the mix after getting married).  It seemed unbelievable that a tornado did as much damage as it did in Tuscaloosa that afternoon.  The next day I heard one of the Alabama football players was in the hospital and had lost his girlfriend in the storm.  It was kind of like the final straw for me.  I could not imagine being 21 years old, holding my loved one in a closet and next thing I knew, she was gone.  Last Fall I found out that Carson Tinker, that 21 year old kid who had been through so much more than any kid should, was writing a book about his experience.  I knew I had to get that book!

It took me over 2 years to really shake the things I saw in the aftermath of that day.  Carson Tinker shares how he overcame so much in his book.  It isn't so much about the actual tornado, but rather how he kept his faith and chose to "be a blessing" rather than give up.  He tells his story of how he spent sleepless nights just reading his Bible, how he relied on his teammates, spent hours upon hours in rehab for his injuries, and how those around him encouraged him in so many ways.  He easily could have given up on his dreams, chosen to accept that his injuries ended his football career, and dwelled on the fact that he was here and his girlfriend was not.  Instead, he worked harder than he ever had and is now a NFL long snapper.  God has given him so many blessings, he is now giving back.
I want Nicholas to read this book one day and to know that no matter what circumstance God puts in your life, you can overcome it.  You do not let circumstance overcome you.  Let Carson be a blessing to you and read his book.  You will be so glad you did!

*I was given a copy of the book to read for this review.  You can preorder a copy today on Amazon or  It will be released on May 1.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Michael!

Today is our favorite guy's birthday!  Michael has been away camping all weekend and we cannot wait until he gets home to spend his birthday with him!  I know I say it all the time, but it is true.  God has blessed me immensely and I'm so thankful for Michael.  He works hard to provide for us, is a fun, but good Daddy, and my best friend.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the birthday boy  and Nicholas to celebrate his big day!  

Happy Birthday Michael!  We love you!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

First Baseball Tournament

As I mentioned in my post earlier today, Nicholas played in his first game a few weeks ago which was an exhibition type game in a preseason tournament.  His age group just played one game on a Saturday morning and they did great and had a lot of fun!  They earned their first trophies and saw how a game is played.

 After the game we took him downtown for some yummy ice cream.  He chose blue cotton candy and sure did seem to enjoy it!  Haha!

This weekend was our first real tournament and it was a full weekend of baseball!  They played THREE games yesterday and two today!  I still can't believe they made it all weekend!  Haha!  It was only about 5 minutes from our house, so we were able to go back and forth between games and I think that helped some.  The first game yesterday was a little touch and go, but the next two he did great!  

Here are some of the highlights of day 1:

Getting a hit on his first at bat!

During Game 2 they figured out exactly what they are supposed to do, catch the ball...but they ended up piling on and fighting over it...

 During Game 3 we began to slowly lose them.  This is how my child spend the last inning in the infield...  Haha!

We had a little later start today and only played two games.  The motivation today was that if they did well and everyone played hard, they would all get a trophy.  It's amazing what a trophy will do to motivate a kid!  Hahaha!

Nicholas' fan club came in full force this weekend!  Yesterday his Aunt Peggy came to his 1st game, today Lindsey and Katie came to both games and his Gigi and Pawapw stuck it out all weekend with us!  He is definitely a lucky little boy with such a large fan base!  :-)

Today didn't go quite as well as yesterday, but we still had fun!
 During the break today Nicholas had fun playing with his "new friends" as he calls them!
 We did have one little mishap today.  During the 1st inning of the last game, Nicholas got an abrasion to his arm and it was quite dramatic...and traumatic.  After we got him cleaned up and a couple of bandaids on it, he felt that it was just too hard to run, so he slowly walked from base to base while carrying his arm.  LOL!

When the games were over Gigi took him to the concession stand for 2 lollipops!  Pretty sure that was the highlight of his day, other than the trophy!
 We are sooooooo proud of these guys!  They played so hard all weekend and I just love our coaches!  Lori and Sue are awesome!  No way could I do what they are doing!
 Nicholas loved getting his trophy!  When they called his name he was so excited!
 As soon as we got home he ran and put it up on his dresser with his other trophy.  He should be proud of himself!  This was a hard weekend, but it was fun and worth how tired we all are tonight!

We Are Still Alive!

Just wanted to pop in and reassure everyone we are ok, just super busy!  Since I last posted, we've had baseball twice a week, a game, a tournament, I've been out of town for a work trip, trauma season is in full swing a little early so work has been crazy, and life has simply just taken priority.  Here is a quick recap of where we have been...

1. Nicholas is LOVING baseball and we are having so much fun!  He is doing pretty good when we can get him to stop playing in the dirt and wear his helmet to bat! Haha!  He had his first game a few weeks ago and is in a tournament this weekend.  I'm hoping to find time for a post about that tonight or later this week!

2. Three weeks ago I had an overnight work trip. That was a new thing for me!  I went to Knoxville for an OSHA class to help train for my new position.  It was a good break from the everyday routine, but I was happy to be back home with my boys when it was over!  I want to give a huge shout out to all of those Mommies that travel often.  I have no clue how you stay organized and pull it off!

3. Nicholas had a new babysitter a couple of Saturdays ago!  Nicholas has gotten to know one of my Dad's former players by seeing him at games and at my parents house a couple of times and has just fallen in love with him.  He came over and kept Nicholas while we went to a birthday party and it went great! They had a lot of fun and I'm so thankful Nicholas has someone like him to look up to! 

4. I have kept my resolution to spend more time with friends and having a monthly night out.  In January I went to dinner, February went to a wine tasting, and last Monday went to a paint and wine party with the ADPi alum group.  So much fun!  My cousin is also a member of the group, so it was fun to paint and spend some time with her.  This was our group

and my painting...
Not a masterpiece, but I think I'm going to hang it in my office to add some color.

5.  Last Friday we took Nicholas bowling for the first time.  He LOVED it!  He did pretty good too!

Michael won the first game, but I killed them the second!  :-)

That is just a quick summary and recap of our last month.  It has been wild and crazy, but mostly fun!