Sunday, April 21, 2013

Two Trees & Toilet Paper

It'a a tradition that began long ago, way before I was ever thought of. No one knows for sure when "it" began. It is said to have really become what it is today back in 1972 when Auburn beat an undefeated Alabama team that was ranked #2. "It", being rolling the two large oaks at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, AL.  After a major Auburn victory fans rush to Toomer's corner and roll the trees. Rolling the trees is an understatement. It appears as if it has snowed toilet paper when the Auburn faithful are finished celebrating a victory on that special corner in town.

The tradition began for me in 1997. That is the first year my parents decided to order season tickets to the Auburn football games. It is the year a spirit grew in me that will never leave me. It was on September 13, 1997 to be exact. It was my first-ever Auburn football game to attend. I vividly remember walking into Jordan-Hare Stadium and seeing and hearing the sea of Auburn fans. I was in awe. We played Ole Miss and won 19-9. After the game we headed to Toomer's. It was my first experience there. I can't explain the feeling I had seeing the trees being rolled and hearing the fans chanting the Auburn cheers. That's the day the Auburn spirit got in me.

For the next 8 years we continued to go to all of Auburn's home games. I am ashamed to admit that after the late home games I did not like going to Toomer's.  I guess I was just tired. My momma took us there anyway, though. And I am thankful she did.

In 2005 I became a student at Auburn. I met Britt there that year. We occasionally went to  Toomer's through the rest of our college career, but did not take advantage of the tradition as we should have.

In 2010 Auburn had an undefeated season and went on to win the National Championship. A mean-spirited fan of another school took the liberty to poison our beautiful oak trees. We knew our trees would not survive the poison he fed them, but the Auburn family continued our tradition of rolling those trees. As each season came and went, the trees began to look sicker and sicker. It was devastating to watch such a slow process. It was like there was hope they would make a come-back. However, they did not.

So on April 20, 2013 Auburn had its annual spring A-Day football game. We also had a celebration of our Toomer's oak trees. It was called "One Last Roll". A record 83,000+ fans piled into Jordan-Hare Stadium to see what this new football team may have to offer. After the game ended, everyone filed out and headed to Toomer's Corner for one last roll of the trees and a huge celebration of what that tradition means for our Auburn Family. I thought I would cry like a baby during the last roll, but instead I was just happy to be there and experience it one last time.

Britt and I are devastated that our babies will never have the opportunity to experience such a beloved tradition. We took pictures, though. We also bought the book "The Spirit Tree at Toomer's Corner" so we can tell the tale of our tradition to all of our children.
The trees may be gone, but the memories they provided us will forever live on in our hearts! This quote seems to be only appropriate--"I am sorry," said the tree, "but I have nothing left to give you." -Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

Some pictures to remember this special day...
Before the A-Day game.
 Walking to the stadium. I can never get enough pictures of this beautiful building. 
 The cups they were giving out.
 I loved seeing my brother. I miss getting to see Ashton and Brooks whenever I want to!
 During the celebration. It was SO crowded we could not get where I wanted to stand. This is the best picture I could get. The trees were much more rolled than this! 
Love, Jess

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Play Ball!

If you're not from the Birmingham area, you may not know who the Barons are. You also may not know that they got a new baseball stadium that opened this week. But they did.

Growing up in Birmingham you don't have many options of teams to root for. It's either Auburn or Alabama. That's it. There aren't any pro teams in the state. The closest you can get is to become a minor league fan and root for the Barons! Obviously, Britt and I {he more than I} are Braves fans. But it doesn't always fit into our schedule to drive to Atlanta for a Braves game. It also gets pretty pricey when we make a trip to Turner field.

So, this is where the Birmingham Barons new facility comes in. Prior to this year, the Barons have played in Hoover at the Hoover Met. It wasn't in a great location and it had no intimate feel to it. It's old and there was never a great crowd Britt and I were so excited when we heard the news of a new baseball stadium being built downtown. A new home for the Barons. We are huge advocates of reviving Birmingham's downtown area. We see this new facility as another spark to get the city moving in the right direction. We went to our first game at Regions Field on Friday night. It is a beautiful park with an intimate feel. It is located right cross the street from a local brewery, Good People Brewery, another great for the brewery and the Barons.

Before the game we went to Good People and Britt enjoyed the beer while I sipped some H2O.
We bought cheap tickets for all of $27.00 and had great seats behind home plate. We had bratwurst and and fries for dinner, then some peanuts for a snack. Who can go to a baseball game and not have any peanuts?! The crowd was great. It wasn't a sell-out, but it was mostly full. The only complaint we had was that the food and beer lines moved TOO slowly. I see it as a minor glitch that will have to be worked out. The employees are new and will have to learn to work a little lot faster to get people through the lines. All in all, we enjoyed our night cheering on the Barons and plan to go back several more times this season!
And after we left the game Britt was craving Momma Goldberg's we went to the one in Homewood and indulged ourselves.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Whooah, we're half way there...

As the Bon Jovi song goes, we're half way there and livin' on a prayer! I'm 20 weeks pregnant, Britt is 6 weeks shy of graduating from law school, and searching for a job...that's a lot to take in all at once. But we are grateful and excited about these big changes coming our way. God is good and never fails us! We are praying like crazy over our sweet baby, over Britt's upcoming exams, the BAR exam in July, and his job search. It's hard to fathom that in 20 short weeks we will no longer be a family of two, but a family of THREE. As anxious as I am for that time to come, I also want to freeze {or just slow down} my pregnancy and keep this baby inside me for as long as possible. I know I will miss being pregnant when it's over! Here's a look at what being 20 weeks pregnant looks like...

How far along: 20 weeks

Size of baby: Baby is about the size of a banana. She/he is about 6.5 inches from head to bottom, and about 10 inches from head to toe. That is crazy to me. Our baby is almost a foot long! Baby weighs 11 ounces right now according to our last ultrasound...inching closer and closer to a pound!

Weight gain: Once again, hard to look at the scale each day! But at the doctor last Friday I had gained 10 pounds...double digits...blah! However, the doctor made me feel better when she said 10 pounds at the halfway mark is great. I'll just continue to eat healthy and exercise so I don't gain more than I'm supposed to!

Stretch marks: Still a negative and still using cocoa butter.

Gender: We could have found out at our last appointment, but we didn't. It was not as hard as I had expected. We went through the whole ultrasound looking at all of our baby's vital organs and saw that everything looked perfect. By the time it was time to look at the gender it honestly didn't matter. We have a healthy baby, that's what I was focusing on! The sonographer turned off the monitor and did her thing to make sure the gender was healthy and that was that.

Movement: All the time! And Britt felt the baby kick for the first time on Friday morning! He usually sleeps through my alarm in the mornings, but for some reason we were both awake before the alarm went off. Baby was awake too, which is usually not the case right when I wake up. Anyway, I felt the baby moving like crazy and it felt stronger than it sometimes does. I told Britt to see if he could feel it and he was the coolest moment!

Sleep: Aside from waking up at 4am every morning to go to the restroom, all is good in this department.

Food cravings: Still nothing crazy.

What I miss: The usual. Beer, wine, sushi. To be honest, sushi is what I miss the most. I think I just miss the idea of beer and wine.

Symptoms: I have occasional back/hip pain, but nothing unmanageable.

Belly button: Definitely still an in-y.

Wedding rings: Still on!

Maternity clothes: I'm magically still in all of my regular clothes--pants included. They are still tighter than usual, but they still button and zip without a problem! I'm ready for the weather to get warm and stay that way so I can sport all of my summer dresses!

Best moment of the week: Getting to see our sweet baby on the ultrasound. Seriously. What a miracle. I had never given much thought to anything being wrong with our baby, but when we went for the big ultrasound where they make sure everything is developing properly, etc. I did have a bit of fear in the back of my mind. "What if something is wrong with our baby?" "How will I help it and make sure it's ok?" But as we went through the ultrasound and the sonographer showed us each little part of the baby she would say "perfect" and "beautiful". I felt a sense of relieve. It was so amazing to see the baby's brain, heart {all four chambers}, kidneys {there's two there!}, arms and legs {all the bones are there}, fingers and toes {we have all 10!}, the umbilical cord {all three vessels are there}, etc. We even got to see the blood flowing through the baby. It's amazing how far technology has come. The baby was being feisty, too...she/he had their head nestled in my pelvis and would not flip over for us to see it's sweet face very easily. Baby must have gotten that from its Daddy because feisty is not in my description! All that being said, we praise the Lord that we got to see our baby and that it is HEALTHY.  We also got a DVD of the exciting, right?! We planned on making copies and sending it to our families to watch, but then we watched it.... And we decided that no one else could possibly find that DVD exciting but us! Perhaps if we set it to music it would be more entertaining! It is still fun to watch, though. We got a few pictures from the ultrasound...I know it's hard to get excited about the picture when you can really not tell much of anything, but we look at those pictures daily in awe of how precious our baby is!
Close up of baby's face :)
 The sweetest foot I've ever seen. I love when it kicks in my tummy!

Easter weekend we went to Atlanta. We enjoyed going to Buckhead Church for the Easter service. We love Buckhead Church and struggle to find a church we love just as much here in Birmingham. It was great to listen to Andy Stanley deliver a message about our Savior. After church a hodgepodge of Britt's family came to lunch at Debbie and Al's. I say a hodgepodge in the nicest way! Family from Al's side came, as well as family from Debbie's side. It's so nice to see two sides of the family be together to celebrate such a special occasion. We enjoyed each other's company and eat LOTS of food. I am so fortunate to have married into a family that I love like my own!

The night before Easter we dyed our Easter eggs!
I think they turned out pretty :)
Sunday morning we went to Buckhead Church for Easter service...Andy Stanley was great as always!
After church pictures!

 We had SO much good food...I made this feta asparagus recipe. 
 Debbie worked hard on the pretty table! Happy Easter!
Close up of the table. 
Grandmommy made this bunny cake for a centerpiece. 
We changed clothes to be more comfy for lunch!
It's hard to capture, but Debbie got lots of practice for Grand-parenting duty...since there were so many kids coming over she got out all kinds of toys! 
That's all I know for now. Check back soon for another update on our growing family!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A challenge...

I just got back from a run on this beautiful Saturday morning. I am hot, sweaty, and a little tired. But that's okay because I like that feeling. It means I just exerted energy and did something good for my body {and my baby}. As I was running I couldn't help but think "Gosh, it's so pretty outside. I love running, and I wish everyone else loved running as much as I do." That is a sincere wish from the bottom of my heart. There's several reasons I wish everyone enjoyed running: A) Cardio is one of the most awesome ways to keep your body healthy. B) If you choose to do your cardio outside you get to enjoy God's creation of nature {and it is gorgeous this time of year}.  C) It is a time to reflect on all of life's happenings {whether they be happy or stressful times in your life}. If those aren't three good reasons, I don't know what else is.

I wish everyone would plan a "get healthy" time into their day. I know life is busy and everyone is exhausted at the end of the day. But if you will just pencil in a time everyday to go out and move for 30 minutes you will feel so much better. Trust me, I teach 5 year olds I am tired when I finish. But when I come home from work I rest for 30 minutes, then change into my running clothes and head out the door. When I get back I am refreshed and energized. You will be too!

All that being said, here's my challenge to you-- Get outside and go on a walk, or run today. I promise you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, until it becomes a part of your routine that you can't live without. I promise you will start to long for your time outdoors once you see how peaceful it is!

With all of my  love, Jess