Thursday, November 27, 2008

What do YOU call it - dressing or stuffing?

This is the great Thanksgiving debate of '08. I suppose if you actually stuff your turkey, it is stuffing. If it is served strictly as a side dish, it is dressing, but its all the same thing...right? Either way you stuff it or don't stuff it, Sabian doesn't like it, but he did try mine today. Far from family, for the first time we celebrated Thanksgiving just the two of us. A little earlier in the week (well, maybe just yesterday) I pulled myself together and finally figured out that we could make it a good day.

We hit the beach first thing, checking out the shells and numbing our toes in the cold, cold waves.

Then it was back home to prepare our meal...and prepare we did.

I have to admit, I'm a little proud of ourselves. Granted, we were only cooking for two people, but I think we did a pretty good job. A turkey with just enough for lunch and a couple of rounds of leftovers, which is very important, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Picture some crescent rolls in the blue and yellow dish on the end (they weren't done yet) and we were set. We threw open the windows, said our thanks, and dove in. Of course, it is always over quicker than the time it took to prepare, but it was well worth it. After cleaning up we took a short walk to a neighbor's house for a visit and some pecan pie and then came home to crash on the couch before catching Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special. All in all, it has been a good day and what makes it even better is that the doors are now thrown open for Christmas preparation and celebration. It really is amazing how quickly the time goes, and it is amazing that saying that makes me sound very old. Sigh.

Adding a little humor to the day, as we left for the sandy shore this morning, we saw this:

Recognize anything? While it is a different boot than the first that we found in our yard, I personally look at it as a holiday token given to us as only our gray friend from across the street can give. In return, I hope he enjoys the turkey bones we have left for him under the trees.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Breakin' the Rules

I try to give each holiday it's time. It really bugs me when there's Valentine's Day candy out while you're still sifting through Christmas clearance, or pumpkins and ghouls right next to the fireworks. That last one might be a stretch, but you get what I mean.

I have a self-imposed rule, one that has turned into more of a tradition than anything, and that is putting up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It's certainly not an unusual tradition, just something I like to do to ensure that Thanksgiving gets the appropriate recognition. Then, the Christmas tree is up for long enough to enjoy and it turns into something to do the day after the holiday, when it seems, for some reason, that there is nothing to do. Well, shopping, but that's another story.

The rule I have broken is playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving for that, too, but today I was in the mood.

My music of choice is the Christmas set from Sufjan Stevens, which includes some new takes on some old favorites. Along with the good music, you also receive some fun stickers with the set. It might be in the 60s outside, but I can still enjoy some Christmas spirit indoors.

Today I am thankful for grace. I need a lot of it. I may not deserve it, but I need it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"A chicken's not a bird, it's a chicken."

I promised myself I wouldn't blog just to blog, that I'd rather have something to say than throw a post out there "just because." But, since I haven't had any bunny sightings lately and all of our shoes currently have their partners, I'll just recap what's been going on the last few days.

I did see something unusual the other day and it does involve an animal. We normally take care of our bigger grocery shopping trips "in town" (otherwise known as Panama City) but there is an IGA in Wewa that is available for last minute food runs. Earlier this week I went on a last minute food run for some potatoes to try out a new recipe. Of course, I did see someone I know, as often happens when you go anywhere in Wewa. After catching up and then grabbing my couple of items, minus my Cocoa Krispies due to their $4.09 price tag (cheap or responsible?!), I made it out to my car, but not before I noticed the bird. It was sitting on a man's shoulder as he, too, walked out to his car. Could I grab my camera? Was it possible to be so unassuming that he wouldn't notice me snapping a picture? I decided against it, but I was pretty disappointed. I really wanted to show you.

On to more avian related news, "A chicken is not a bird; it's a chicken," was one of the many memorable quotes retrieved from some of our kids at youth convention this weekend. This is not my first fond memory from playing a friendly game of Catch Phrase and it certainly won't be the last. We spent a good, although chilly, weekend at the beach for the West Florida youth convention although Sabian did cause a Santa controversy. Who knew it would make such a mark? Oh, and just one real glitch - Sabian lost our leaders raffle tickets and they gave away, among other things, an iPod Touch.

I saw the boot earlier this week, it was in our neighbor's yard, but I'm not sure if it was the one that had been in our yard or of it was the partner, mourning his loss.

It is Thanksgiving week and although I'm sad about not being home for this holiday, I can still be thankful. I think today I am mostly thankful that for the friends and family who are having babies lately (and there are many of them!) they have all been healthy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Talk

What's the significance of 24? The number of hours in a day, a popular TV show, and apparently 24 is the largest number divisible by all numbers less than its square root. It also happens to be how many weeks along I am in my pregnancy.

I've mentioned this exciting news in an earlier post but I realized I have not said much more about it. It isn't because it isn't a focal point of my life (obviously!) but I err on the side of not knowing who wants to know what and how much so then I end up not saying anything. I am ending the silence! It's not really that, either. Simply put, I just haven't gotten to it.

So, I thought I'd just give a quick history regarding what's been happening the last 24 weeks. Okay, so NOW 24 seems like a lot, right? How about just the highlights?

We discovered on a Monday, June 30, that I was pregnant. Just one month after moving here, it was not a surprise in the grand scheme of things, but the reality of it happening and so soon after making a huge change in our lives was, well, one of those moments you won't forget. We were happy. Very happy.

It was also a bittersweet moment, knowing we would be experiencing the joy of this process far from family and close friends, but this was something we knew to expect once we made the decision to move. It didn't make it easier, but it was the way it was. This aside, we have been blessed with friends and a church family here who have been extremely supportive and helpful. Shout out to Ivory's parents, Jason and Lee Ann, who have been a big help in steering us in the direction of a great doctor's office and a pretty great consignment store, among other things!

Speaking of doctors, we've been visiting a practice in Panama City and have been seeing a midwife who is on staff at this particular office. She is wonderful. Barring no unforeseen circumstances, we are praying she will be with us when it is time for Adelaide's arrival. Now, just because we are seeing a midwife does not mean that we'll be having the baby at home or some such thing. We'll still be going to the hospital, etc., etc. We chose Suzie because she was recommended and has been great with us.

Without going into too much detail, pregnancy has had its ups and downs. For those who are parents already you are all too familiar with some of these things, even if all pregnancies are different. I was pretty sick in the beginning, not so much now, but I still have my days. Getting tired easily is an adjustment, as I am accustomed to go, go, going, but pregnant or not, a nap is always welcome. I've been feeling the baby move for a few weeks now, but the last few days she's really ramped up her acrobatics or, at least I can feel them more.

I must say, it's pretty awesome. Not so awesome that I'd want to be pregnant for forever, but for the time being it is very, very cool. It's also humbling. I often think how wild it is that God would design our bodies to be able to do this.

Currently we're in the midst of the planning stages - furniture, clothes, doctors, the works. I've not read so far in the books to read through the birthing process. Right now I've skipped that part and moved on to bringing her home. Yes, yes, I realize something BIG has to happen in order to bring her home - I'm not ignoring it, I'm simply placing it on hold at the moment. But, I am looking forward to lamaze classes starting in January.

She is a she. At 18 weeks we found out, pretty clearly, that we were having a girl. Sabian and I will both tell you we expected boys, it was just a natural thing, but a few weeks before the tell tale ultrasound I started considering that it could be a girl, and I was okay with it. Discovering there was a little girl in there really made me feel more of a connection with her and watching the DVD of the ultrasound made it more and more real. There were arms and hands and little feet moving around in there and that "there" was me.

We've already named her, which seems to have really given her, in my mind, a personality. Adelaide Bell Chaney. Adelaide means "of noble kin." Now, the name itself, not the meaning, was what sealed the deal. We liked it, agreed on it, and that was it. Bell was my maiden name and was a suggestion made by my sister. Again, it was something we liked and agreed on. This does mean her initials will be "ABC," which doesn't thrill me, but her dad likes it, and I'm not willing to change the name just because of the initials. I suppose this just means we'll be able to buy stock monogrammed items when they clearance them out. Ha.

There are more weeks behind us than there are ahead of us and that is a crazy, crazy thought. I get more and more "ready" in my heart and mind as the time passes, and a little nervous, too. I really can't wait to meet her, see what she's like, and see if she has escaped the curse of naturally curly hair. Until then, I realize there is plenty more to experience in this process and I am praying that all continues to go well.

Oh, one more thing. Cravings? For some reason, Pizza Hut always sounds good. Good thing there's one just around the corner from the doctor's office. Seems our appointments always happen to end around lunch time...

I am thankful for a healthy baby and God's protection and provision during this time. I am also thankful for this opportunity. The weight of that is not lost on us.

P.S. - For those of you without Facebook, here are a few more photos:

Friday, November 14, 2008

AC in November

Yes, that's right, air conditioner on in November. It is too muggy outside to have the windows open and if they're not open, it is too hot. So, AC. Yet, tomorrow we'll turn it off and as of Sunday we may have the heat on. Not too sure how I like this...

So it seems I have not been singled out by my gray friend from across the street. The other morning I woke up, got out of bed and peeked out the front door to see what the weather was like. This is the scene I saw in my front yard:

This boot, smack in the middle of our yard, struck me as pretty funny. We left it there for a couple of days, thinking possibly that the owner might see it and want it back, as it does look like it could be a very nice boot. A friend of ours who came over last night snagged it and brought it to the front porch thinking it was ours. I suppose now there is only one thing left to do, which is to throw it away. It does not escape me that as long as it has been sitting in the yard, my furry friend has not come back to play with it. Rather, he has left it there, either taunting us or letting it stand as some sort of trophy. One thing is for sure...he has good taste in footwear (no pun intended).

If you're a squirrel and you're in Wewa, watch out. Squirrel season opened up last week and from what I hear, the moment it was time to start it sounded like the 4th of July.

Today I am thankful I am NOT a squirrel.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've Never...

I've never worn flip flops to a bonfire.

Instead of having a regular youth service tonight we had a bonfire at our neighbor's house. We had all the normal bonfire fare - hotdogs, s'mores, and...flip flops. I suppose that's what happens when you have a bonfire in Florida on a balmy November evening. It rained earlier today, making it rather muggy, but it was a good time and quite certainly the hottest and at times, tallest, fire I've ever seen.

I've also never been to a "signing." There is a girl in our youth group who is one of the best softball players in the state and has been given a full scholarship to a Division 1 school. FULL scholarship. We were invited to go to the school today and watch her sign the papers and then have a few refreshments. It was actually kind of neat to take part in this occasion. A few other friends and family were there, as well as the local NBC affiliate. We recorded the news and caught a glimpse of ourselves as we watched. From what we heard, this is the first time a student from Wewa High School has had this opportunity, so it's a pretty big deal. Congratulations, Sam!

I am thankful for neighbors who are willing to host a group of teenagers at their house, complete with the trail of grass leading to and from their bathroom.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Animal Kingdom

Dogs and cats rule the streets in Wewa.

Before living here I'd see the occasional stray cat or a random meandering dog, but since living here I've come to understand that animals have a freedom in Wewa that some animals may never know. Our first couple of months here it struck me as odd when I would see a cat or two sprawled out in the middle of a road without a care in the world, reluctantly tearing themselves away from the pavement as the car inched closer. Now, it is the new normal. On walks we encounter several dogs, some just taking a stroll, others more willing to charge us and check us out. Today on my way home from church I even saw a horse sauntering down the sidewalk. Of course, he did have a rider, but it is way more fun to picture a random horse trotting down the road. In fact, I'm not ruling it out for future sightings. Oh, and don't forget the bunny.

We have a friendly pit bull who I believe lives across the street. He's a pretty color gray and will have a rest in our yard from time to time. He's never bothered us and looks awfully endearing when standing at attention on the back of our neighbor's boat as he tows it to the river. However, I have reason to believe he is a thief, albeit a thief with a conscience.

One morning last week I had to run out for about 20 minutes. I threw on a sweatshirt and some pants and figured I would grab my flip flops that were sitting on the front porch by the door. I stepped outside, looked down, and stopped short. This is what I saw:
Notice anything missing?

My first thoughts turned to my neighbor next door. Maybe Matthew was playing a trick on me? I looked over at his house, then scanned the yard. I immediately had my answer. In the middle of the yard I saw a shape, a shape that resembled my flip flop. As I slowly walked out there to view the carnage, I replayed the events of the previous night.

The jingle of a collar. The growls and rumbles of a fight. Nothing to be seen in the darkness.

Now, I don't want to point any paws - oops - fingers, at anyone, but after seeing my shoe, you be the judge:

You might wonder what the big fuss is about. It's not much of a fuss, but I'll admit I love these flip flops. They're extremely comfortable, old, guys flip flops I bought at a Nike Outlet on a shopping trip with my sister and I really do like them and I will most certainly clean them up and wear them again. One might argue that I should have been more responsible and should have brought my shoes inside. I do believe my friend across the street had a mind to leave the shoe behind, but I have learned my lesson and I will be bringing my belongings inside at night.

The moral of the story - don't mess with animals in Wewa. Even if you haven't messed with them, they may mess with you, so its best to just take care of your stuff and leave them be.

Today I am thankful for women at church who make dinner after church, eliminating the need for me to do it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy to you me Eden!

On Thursday, November 6th, Eden Bell made her debut. While I am sad that I was not there to help welcome my newest niece into the world, I am happy to report that my brother, sister-in-law, and Eden are all doing fine. Can't wait to meet her and kiss her cheeks and touch that hair!

I am thankful for this family of three and am anxious to see you all.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics, Bunnies, & ANTM

I'm not going to say much about the election. Yes, we voted, yes, we got our stickers proving we voted, and yes, it felt good to vote. But, I would have been just as happy to go to bed and wake up to hear the news rather than watch the play by play. However, I did watch as the numbers changed, along with a group of people that came together for a "political party" at my house. A few cookies, Mike 'n Ike's, and Doritos later, we had a new president elect.

Earlier that day, and less significant for the rest of the world, I met a new friend. A bunny, to be exact. Rewind to last week when Sabian and I arrived home to find a black bunny roaming in our yard. It was immediately obvious that this was no wild rabbit, this was someone's pet. It was also obvious it did not want to be caught, as Sabian was trying, unsuccessfully, to do. I was afraid for its future, as I assumed that one of the many dogs that run the streets here in Wewa would make a nice snack of him before sunrise. Boy, was I wrong. A few days later I was out for a morning walk with a friend and a few streets over from my house was, surprise!, the black bunny. We discussed the odd nature of a seemingly domesticated rabbit roaming the streets like a stray, promptly dropped the subject, and moved on to other things. Fast forward to yesterday. Sabian and I were toting items from inside the house to the storage area around the back of the house and as I opened the back door, right in front of me, showing no fear, was this bunny nibbling on the grass. I gasped. Why? Not sure, but frankly I just thought it was cute. Maybe he reminds me of the rabbit (where are you now, Shakers?) I had when I was a kid or maybe I'm "nesting." Either way, I ran inside, grabbed the remaining lettuce in our refrigerator, and watched as he devoured it. I even got to touch him, but just for a second, I'm sure he's filthy, what with wandering the streets and all. But, here's the thing about this bunny...where does this happen? Where in the world do you see a bunny, a bunny, that is obviously someone's pet, roaming around a town just like a stray cat or dog?

It seems our furry friend has a following. In fact, as soon as I mentioned him last night, several people piped up to offer their bunny sighting stories and claimed he's as "big as a dog." "He's huge!" they said, and would not hear otherwise when I argued he was of normal size. I'm just going to take it that I've been the only lucky one to get close enough to really know him. Either way, this is one of those things that, until I see it somewhere else, I'll add to my Only in Wewa list.

As for America's Next Top Model, Marjorie won the vote and is hanging on another week. Buck up, mon cherie, and find some confidence.

Yesterday I was thankful for cooler weather for a cooler morning walk.

Today I am thankful for finally getting through to my husband, who left the room to spare me the wrath of his death cloud.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Livin' in the 32465

On May 23, 2008 we embarked on a new adventure. Moving from Illinois to Florida came fast - decision made in April, out of town by May. Next thing we knew, we were driving a packed to the gills UHaul towing a packed to the gills minivan and a, you guessed it, packed to the gills Pontiac (complete with two bettas tucked safely away in the floorboard - separate bowls, of course) to the small town of Wewahitchka (Wee-waa-hit-ch-ka), FL.

Fifteen hours later we arrived in town. Five months later, we're still unpacking.

Wewa, as it is affectionately known (even says Wewa on the ambulances, no joke), is a small town about 25 minutes east of Panama City, FL. Small, maybe about 1800 people, and located in Gulf County, the only county in the United States that offers two time zones. Maybe I'll explain how that works in another post, but for now it is important to remember that our town is in the central time zone, so we are just like home. For me, that's a comfort.

Summing up the last five (almost six!) months is best described as an adjustment. Still adjusting, still learning. The people in our church have been great, we have a roof over our heads, and learning the nuances of a small town is nothing short of interesting. It really is different than the Midwest. I've been accustomed to visiting this area of the country since I was in junior high, but for so long it has only been a spot to stay a week and then return home. I won't lie, a 20 minute drive to the beach is nice, but there's way more to it than that. Taking the "vacation goggles" off and learning to live here is another ballgame.

So, I'm still learning. Knowing God has us here is really all that matters in the grand scheme of things, but learning to deal with both that and my human nature is an ongoing process. I suppose that is something that could be applied to not only moving, but to much of what we all deal with on a daily/weekly/hourly basis.

Oh, and the bettas, Henry and Harry, both made the trip just fine. Unfortunately, Harry bit the dust about a month ago, so now we have Hal.

I missed noting what I was thankful for yesterday. Sunday afternoon naps.

Today I am thankful for our church here. They have been very good to us and sometimes I need to remember that more.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


This blog has been a work in progress - thought about many times, dismissed, considered again, and now, finally begun.

There's something about spending time on the beach and realizing it's November and that I'm on the beach. That realization came this afternoon, and that is how we celebrated the beginning of November.

Speaking of beginnings, there are many taking place in the Chaney household. One new beginning, and possibly the most obvious, our move to Wewahitchka, FL in May of this year. Another beginning, and soon to be even more obvious, the anticipation of the arrival of Baby Adelaide, who will take up permanent residence in our home in March. Now this beginning, this blog and the start of a new month. I've always been one to enjoy organization and order, and while I may not always be successful at either, somehow starting this blog on the first of a month seems appropriate, and somehow even more so given that I didn't plan it this way.

This being the month in which we will celebrate Thanksgiving, it seems right to begin (and end) with something I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my family. I am reminded often of how far away I am from them, which in turn reminds me of how much I love and appreciate them, which also reminds me of how thankful I am for a husband who is supportive and comforting when missing them is plain ol' tough.

Funny how when you think of one thing you're thankful for, it turns into a whole list.

You should try it.