Monday, June 30

Weekend with the Pensacola Woodwards and Disney Princesses

We arrived at the Pensacola Woodward home Thursday night around 10 PM. A tired Doug and a glowing pregnant Tiffany welcomed us at their door… the kids, Mackenzie, 5, and Will, almost 2, were asleep. We stayed up for a while catching up and talking about the weekend plans.

Friday morning, planning to go to the beach, Jared and I woke up to the pitter patter of Mackenzie trying in a mischievous way to wake us up so we could play. Around late morning, Jared and I decided to set aside our beach plans so we could spend more time with our niece and nephew. After an intense game of Disney Princess checkers (I won but Mackenzie is very good), Jared joined us in an attempt to play Disney Princess Go Fish (we later found out that we didn’t play it the right way), 2 games of Disney Princess Old Maid, and 2 games of Disney Princess Crazy 8. The morning full of games was a great learning opportunity for Jared, he now knows every Disney Princess character by name:). Soon after lunch, Jared joined Doug at the golf course while Mackenzie and I put in a DVD that instructed us on how to draw Disney Princess characters… we drew and colored Arial, it was tuff stuff but Mackenzie was satisfied, so I counted it as a success. For dinner the adults went to a delicious restaurant called the Atlantis at the Dockside Restaurant then went to the movie Wanted, which was fabulous (but beware of the goriness and language)!

Saturday morning Jared woke up early to play golf with Doug and some of Doug’s golfing buddies at their club. I began my morning playing Twister, the only non-princess game; this is the first interest Will had in joining our fun. Mackenzie and I then played one more game of Disney Princess checkers before getting ready for the beach. After picking up lunch we arrived at the parking lot near the beach at 12:30ish and lathered up the kids with spf 50. Then we hiked through the sand finding our spot in front of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Missing my feet, I then lathered myself with spf 50 before beginning the search for seashells that lasted the rest of the afternoon with Mackenzie and Tiffany… In between time Tiffany and I took turns filling Will’s bucket with water so he could pour it in his face, he is so cute! Tiffany’s dad, Luther, joined us around 2ish, with freshly cut watermelon, yum!… shortly after coming on the scene Luther took the kids up to their condo’s pool because the purple flag was up at the beach- meaning, there were many jellyfish in the ocean. Tiffany and I enjoyed the sun for a little longer then joined the kids at the pool where we were met by Doug and Jared. Following the relaxing pool time, we all went up to talk and spend time with Kathy, Tiffany’s mom, and Luther, who are the sweetest people! The men took the kids home so Tiffany and I could catch up while waiting for pizza to take home to the crew. Will finally warmed up to me and wanted me to sit by him while we ate dinner, yay! Our final game with Mackenzie took place after dinner. We played Disney Princes Monopoly, Jared’s pawn was Mulan, Mackenzie pawn was Aurora and my pawn was Bell... it was a quick version of the real monopoly game but after an hour of play it was past Mackenzie’s bedtime, for a 5 yr old her unwavering concentration is amazing!... I must confess I slipped about $20 into the bank leaving me with $3 so that I would lose and the game would end. The results of this game - Jared won by A LOT, Mackenzie came in second, and I lost. Before Mackenzie went to bed she asked her mom if Aunt Rachel was going to be here tomorrow to play, Tiffany told her no, b/c I had a baby shower to be at the next day, Mackenzie then said “Well, can uncle Jared just stay?” :)

Both Jared and I enjoyed our weekend at the Pensacola Woodward home. I loved catching up with Tiffany and playing with Mackenzie and Will. – Sorry there are no pictures from the weekend, I left my camera in my sister’s car from the previous weekend travels... oops!!

Friday, June 27

4 year Anniversary

The celebration of mine and Jared’s 4 year anniversary began early in the week when I received a beautiful yellow rose & Peruvian lily Bouquet at my office on Tuesday morning. My sweet husband’s note said that he knew they were early but he wanted me to be able to enjoy them since we were leaving for the beach Thursday, June 26th, the date of our anniversary.

Long story short…Jared and I grew up in church together at the University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Katie, my mother-in-law, and my mother played match makers during a church ladies night out... shortly after that night our first date took place on October 24, 2001. 2 ½ years after our first date we were engaged, 14 months and 2 days after that we were married at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tuscaloosa. Now 4 years married we are more in love then ever enjoying our life in Birmingham, Alabama.

Friday, June 20

CHILL BUMPS

Jared and I are avid American Idol fans. I have to say that Idol 7 is the best season so far. I love that the right David won. Jared picked out David Cook to win at the very beginning of the competition but Cook wasn't my number one until the top 6 night. I know American Idol hype is so 4 weeks ago but I have been looking for the top 6 night when David Cook sang Music of the Night by Andrew Llyod Webber on iTunes for a while... so until I can find it to buy the YouTube video has had to fill my void.

This vocal performance by Cook gave me chill bumps I listened to it over and over on my DVR and wanted to share it with you.


Jared’s favorite performance from Cook was the night he performed Billy Jean, a modified arrangement of Chris Cornell. Please enjoy below.

Friday, June 13

The Giving Hand

This week was the anniversary of my Aunt Barbara’s death. Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer the summer of 2003. She was cancer free for almost a year. In December 2005 we found out that it had spread to her brain. Christmas 2005 the Bradford family spent in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at UAB. She was a fighter and went through treatments again. 6 months later, June 7, 2006, Barbra passed away at Hospice in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Barbara taught P.E. at Vestavia Elementary in Northport, AL she loved wearing fancy hats, strawberries in her wine, children, running, being girly with her fabulous nieces, but mostly hanging out with her 3 boys. Her husband, Brad, and 2 sons, Jake and Joe Claude were her world! She always had a smile on her face and more contagious energy than a high school cheerleader at a Friday night game… throw in 7 cans of red bull and that gives you a glimpse of a night with Barbara’s personality.

Below is a quote from the book September by Rosemound Pilcher that Nonnie, my Grandmother, read to me the day of Barbara's funeral. It was good for me to read again in remembrance of my loving aunt.
“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that is always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that is ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is an absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you for an interval somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.”


Below is the poem called The Giving Hand wrote in honor of Barbara and read at her funeral by my sister Jessica Bradford.

The Giving Hand

She’s the “hello” you love to hear
Because her voice is full of delight
Even when cheering in the fall
For the Tide on Saturday night

She’s the giver I wish I could be
The most thoughtful person I know
She wrapped presents all by-herself
Finished off perfectly with a hand-made bow

She’s got her own language,
Barbara-isms you might say
Yepper and Ugger to name a few
There was a new one from day to day

She’s always in the cutest clothes
Pink is her favorite color
She loved polka dots too,
Especially with fur on a hugger.

She’s the Mama to the college boys
Those Sigma Chi’s so far from home
Dinner at the Bradford’s in Northport
They didn’t have far to roam

She’s the first smile you see
When you walk through the door
Entertaining family and friends
There is nothing she loved more

Than to throw a party at her house
No matter the occasion
Christmas, Graduation, and Birthdays
Going to Aunt Barbara’s took little persuasion.

She always outdid herself
And made the parties grand
So thoughtful and humble
She has the giving hand

Proverbs 21:26 says
that some people always want more,
but the godly love to give.
Aunt Barbara was godly to the core.

Her giving hand is rare
But comes easily to those chosen few
Aunt Barbara had that gift
A role model for me and you.

But what gave her the most pride
What gave her the most joy
Was just to be in the presence
Of her three favorite boys

Aunt Barbara, Thank you for every memory
We will miss your energy and your love
Your humility and your smile
We’ll see you again in heaven above.





CORE Group SawGrass Weekend 2008 Extravaganza

Our CORE group went for the 3rd Annual CORE Group SawGrass Weekend Extravaganza. Filled with food catch phrase, Mexican train dominos, a numbers game, more food, four-wheeler riding, sidekick riding, horse riding, more food, fishing, tanning, more food, blog talking, teasing, even more food, late night laughter and uplifting devotionals this year’s trip was an exhilarating success!
Just about all the ladies that went are bloggers and posted something about SawGrass so please check them out and excuse my late post.Since Martina is now Prego, check out her blog and see her prego-ness, she wasn’t able to ride horses this year:( I know Cisco (AKA.. Sylvester) missed her terribly.All who came had been previous years except the Cosby’s. Ashley and Shawn Cosby joined our group last year soon after our 2007 trip to SawGrass. It was unknown to me that Shawn knew how to handle a horse until we were saddling them up… he was a huge help in taking out two groups so I could get out of the 98 degree weather. I just wanted to post a big THANK YOU to Shawn for the break;)

Thursday, June 5

The Graduate

My fabulous cousin Calli Jean graduated from Russellville High this past Friday night, which I wouldn’t have missed for SawGrass… this is saying a lot and can be taken literately:) Calli and I share many bonds but only she is the friend I can share my Gilmore-isms with and we can reminisce all that is Gilmore Girl... I’m so proud of my Calli Jean for graduating!!
Below is a video clip of Calli and her classmates throwing their hats along with pics of important viewers - without whom the ceremony would not have been the same.

video

Yay for the Graduate!!





Great Grandma, Grandmother and Granddaddy patiently waiting for the ceremony to begin




Codie impatiently waiting for the ceremony to begin




Codie and Rachel




Rachel, Calli and Jessica




Rachel and Calli

SawGrass

For you avid readers it is important to know about SawGrass b/c it will be a constant topic. It is my family's hunting lodge on 2,000 + acres of beautiful Gainesville, Alabama countryside with eight ponds throughout the property. At SawGrass I enjoy doing just about anything outdoors but riding horses is how I spend most of my time. While I do enjoy many travel spots SawGrass is my favorite place to be so naturally I reference it frequently while talking to friends and co-workers- which leads me to my next story... A fellow co-worker had learned of my love for horses and after sitting down for lunch on my second day of work at WMU she knavishly brought up that she loves horses and takes riding lessons. I immediately told her that I frequently go to my parent's lodge to ride and am always looking for people to go with me. She and others with us got excited about this so we made plans for that Saturday to drive to SawGrass for the day. Below are pics of our perfect day at SawGrass.



Leah riding Comet


Melody riding Whiskey


Sarah giving Cisco a kiss for the fabulous ride

Starting our ride toward the Southwest end of the property

We are almost across the Snake Pass, where we heard several snakes falling from the trees into the ponds

Time to feed all the horses




Below are SawGrass scenery pics

Snake Pass


Look closely and you can see a snake laying across the branches



















An unforgettable beginning and ending of our day.... On the way there and back I did introduce them all to Tuscaloosa's Taco Casa - the best food ever and under the biggest cactus in town.

Wednesday, June 4

Girls Trip

My wonderful husband is an accountant so April is obviously his super busy month when I NEVER see him... foreseeing the many lonely nights leading up to April 15th my best friend from Nashville and I planned a trip to Colorado for just the girls. Some history... I met Stephanie my freshman year at Lipscomb University. My very first college class was American History. I got there early so while awaiting the arrival of my first professor and trying to act busy texting my boyfriend at the time my husband now, Jared, a petit blonde came and sat in the desk chair beside me... I can't remember who spoke first but we began talking about our boyfriends we left in Alabama and how we should arrange for them to drive up together and visit us... they did and so began our first fun trip together... our next trip was to Miami for spring break 2003... which led to our next trip to New York City in the summer of 2003... many stories could be drawn from our many trips together but that might be a little much. Below are some pics to enjoy from our Colorado Girl Trip 2008.

Stephanie and Rachel, just a couple of snow bunnies:)

A pro skier like Steph can handle a blizzard... no matter how freezing it is!!!


Our beautiful view from our cabin porch

video video

Snow Tubing is our way of relaxing from 2 days of skiing and preparing for the next two days of skiing

(Can you tell I'm enjoying my camera and my new 4 gb mem stick)

CORE Group and Mystery Fun Night:

Although Mystery Fun Night took place in April these are great pictures to introduce to you my CORE group at Church. Let’s back up a bit... Jared and I moved to Birmingham in August 2006. Growing up together at the University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa we knew what we were looking for in a church home. So began our search. We went to Homewood one September Sunday Morning and the first person we met after walking in the door was an elder named Butch. Butch walked us across the church building to the Young Marrieds class which met for the first time that day. Jared and I walked up to the first table (which of course was in the back of the room) and sat down beside this loud girl who introduced herself as Martina Penter. I had an instant draw to her b/c of her bubbly personality and inviting nature!! She instantly told me that she, her husband Cameron and the Craigs (which I had not met yet) were starting a CORE group of Young Marrieds with no kids (totally stressing the NO KIDS part). My first thought was wow this is what we have been praying for… so Jared and I joined, along with the Walters, to make the original four couples of the Young Marrieds CORE Group with NO KIDS. This group has been a blessing to us as we have had a lot going on in our lives the past 2 years! The CORE group as a whole has been blessed as well because we grew too large to stay one group... we "multiplied" into two groups at the beginning of 2008… around the time the Penters announced they are having a baby… We are now Young Marrieds Group - Babies welcomed …So in an effort to keep our two groups in touch we arrange fun nights like Mystery Fun Night where we had a husbands vs. wives scavenger hunt... let us not rehash the details of the wives nasty loss;) Enjoy the pictures.





The husbands making fun of the wives


(Top, Right to Left: Jared, Shawn - Bottom, Right to Left: Justin, Mike, Camron, Hal and Whitney)


The Wives with two random guys walking out of Walmart


(Top, Right to Left: Rachel, Whitney, Heather - Middle, Right to Left: Ashley, Jessa, Maghan, Martina - Bottom: no clue)


The Wives with a motorcycle man

Tuesday, June 3

Initiation

Jared and I are part of a small group of young couples at Homewood Church of Christ where blogging is turning out to be a must to be a "true" member... we are late starting but on the up side I now have a lot of fun ideas for my blog which I knocked off my creative friends' blogs so... Thanks Ladies!
Viewers look around and enjoy reading about us and our busy lives at What's Up Woodwards.