Saturday, November 29, 2014

Life in Pictures: My "take some time for you" day.

When I woke up this morning, the BHE said, "Take some time for you. The boys and I are going to go and do something fun all day. Do whatever you want and don't worry about us."

So you know what? I did just that.

You know what I wanted? Time with my woman friends. Yes. That. That always recharges me.

I sent a text to my girlfriend Sherie H. We've been failing miserably at getting together. On a wing and a prayer, I asked if she, too, might have a kid free window and availability on short notice for breakfast.

And she did! Yay.

Sherie and I met through Jack and Jill. She's such a good soul. I'm glad to have her as a friend and was even gladder to finally line up our busy schedules to break some bread and clink coffee mugs with her.

After I left Sherie, I decided to knock around in a few little boutiques. Mostly window shopping, but enjoying my "time for me" un-rushed time. The BHE and I call it "not being 'book-ended.'" That's when you not only get a pass to do what you want, but you also get to go for as long as you'd like.

So that's what was going on when this picture below was taken.

This lovely woman, Nancy, came up to me and said, "Excuse me--are you 'gradydoctor?'"

And y'all already know how completely giddy this made me. Again, it continues to blow my mind that anyone other than my mother reads this blog. But it turns out that my mother and Nancy read it. Ha. Nancy had a beautiful light shining from her and the kindest eyes. Can't you see it from this photo?

So nice meeting you today, Nancy.

After I left my boutique window shopping (which actually became a bit more than that), I picked up a few Christmas gifts for the kids. While shopping, I realized that the button had popped off of one of my insanely overpriced Ugg boots.


Well. Then I remembered that Harry had gotten them for me from Nordstrom. And the reason we always will pay a wee bit more for Nordstrom is the excellent customer service you get in times such as this. I strolled right in, button-less Ugg boots on my feet and explained to the kind customer service representative my situation.

At which point he promptly went to the back, and returned with a replacement pair. Complete with intact buttons. Yes, he verified my purchase. But still. All of it was super easy and super low key.

5 points for Gryffindor. And by Gryffindor I mean Nordstrom.

Next, I called my BFF Lisa D. to see if, perhaps, my luck would continue. Turns out that she, too, had a kid-free afternoon. Grandparents were doting over her 3 year old son, which opened her up for time with me.


My friends Hillary D. and Verna C. opened up a new business and were having a grand opening today. A really, really, really super cute place called Atlanta Olive Oil Company which features savory artisan olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I couldn't wait to try them out and knew Lisa would love it since she's a total foodie.

I'm pretty darn sure that Lisa and I tasted everything in there. For reals. I didn't meet one thing that I didn't like. And as someone who is SUPER picky and who has the palate of a sixth grader, that's saying a lot.

My favorite surprise was this:

The flavored balsamic vinegars! Oh my goodness. Such a treat.

But here is the kicker. . . . Hillary and Verna let us try a glass of prosecco with a bit of flavored--yes, balsamic, yes, vinegar in it. I cannot even begin to explain to you how amazing it tasted.

Even though it is called "Atlanta Olive Oil Company" I left with almost all balsamic vinegar. My favorite of them all was the "Espresso Bean" flavor. I can't wait to drizzle it over a steak or some fish.

Yum. Yum. YUM.

Oh yeah--and they are not only super delicious, but also reasonably priced. You must, must, must make your way over to the west side of Atlanta to this place. It is WELL worth your time. (Angella, I think your daughter and husband would fall in love with this place.)

As we were leaving, a group of Jack and Jill sister moms from our Atlanta Chapter came in. All of us Jack and Jill mommies paused for a picture. That box in my arms is my big bounty of yumminess which I'm slightly embarrassed to say was rather excessive.


All those tastings left us wanting some food. Inspired by the olive oil and balsamic experience, Lisa and I decided to hit the best pizza place in Atlanta--Antico Pizza (also on the west side.)

This is a fattening food that is always 100% worth every single fat gram, calorie, or work out. Yum, yum, YUM.

Lisa is nice enough to offer you some.

Whoops. Too late. Hope this slice of life I'm sharing suffices.


Regrettably, BFF time had to eventually come to an end. Both of us departed on a Neopolitan pizza high.

Called the Manning boys to see how they were. "We're kicking it!" Harry told me. "About to go get you a Christmas tree! We'll see you later on!" And in the background the boys were cheering. So I didn't bother trying to barge in.

Besides, I had another stop I wanted to make.

This sweet girl was having a wild and crazy first birthday party. What a delight it was to have things work out for me to be able to stop by to celebrate with Francois and Jess R. Their darling Claudia is a walking, waving bundle of energy. Look at those bright eyes!

Turns out that last Thanksgiving when everyone else was rubbing their "food babies," Jess was at the hospital having a real one. The result was this little pumpkin.

What's that you say, Claudia?

I love how it looks like she is having a full on conversation with her dad here.

And how she is mean mugging me on this group selfie. Ha ha ha.

Such a beautiful family. Can't wait to keep watching Claudia grow up. And to see Team Rollin grow as parents. This picture of them was my favorite of all. It really seems like the love leaps off of the page. Celebrating milestones with special people feels good. And it's important.

To me, it is.

I came home to a a quiet house. And a few moments later was looking at this:

I told my man and those boys that they did good with that tree. "I love him," I said. "He's so big and handsome."  And Harry just smiled because whenever I give something a gender, he knows how much I really, truly love it.

Tomorrow we shall dress him up in lights and ornaments. And I bet you he will fix up quite well.

My "take some time for you" day was awesome. I highly recommend you taking one if you haven't. And if yours doesn't involve as much hustle bustle as mine--that's okay. Mostly I just hope you get a day to yourself that isn't bookended by anything other than a very handsome male Christmas tree and another very handsome husband who just happens to be a kick ass dad.


Happy Saturday. Live, savor, repeat.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Life in pictures: The days on and around Thanksgiving.

Yummy peppermint soy latte on Thanksgiving eve.

Red glitter is sentimental to me. This red glitter manicure makes me happy when I look at it for that reason.

Spending time reflecting on the lives of those who are no longer with us. Because remembering people has to be intentional. We had fun talking about C.J. and his life.

And of course, we talked about Auntie Deanna. We also reminisced on this:

"Super Turkey" -- the red glittered masterpiece that Deanna created with Zachary on the last night we all spent together. That red-glitered wattle led to a whoooole lot of red-glittered everything else.


Again. For memories of special people to stay on the front burner, we have to remain intentional. This always feels good when we do it.

I look at these guys and feel like my heart just might explode sometimes.

Small Group Delta is officially done with their preclinical work. Next stop, the hospital wards. Wow, how the time flies!

These images make me so happy and remind me of why I'm so fortunate to be a small group advisor. I'm super, duper thankful for them.

Nothing like waking up and running strong for 13.1 miles on a Thanksgiving morning. Especially when two years ago, you could barely run more than 2 or 3 miles.


I love that this is my second Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. It is a reminder of how blessed I am to have two legs that work, a heart that pumps and a soul that feels the magnitude of that.

Doing it with some of your best girlfriends? Bonus.

I felt strong when I smiled for this photo. Like I could do anything I put my mind, heart and soul into doing. Do you ever feel that way?

People kept running by me saying, "Way to go, Strong Mom!" I loved it because that's how I felt.

It is never official until the "Oh what a feeling" Toyota jump pic at the end. I'm now laughing because that reference shows my age.

This race yielded two medals. One for the half marathon and the other if you completed the "Triple Peach." Peachtree Road Race, Atlanta Ten Miler, and Atlanta Thanksgiving Half.

Run. Run. Run. And done. Cool right?

Another of my fit, fab friends getting her jump on. Loved this photo of Tamika W. and especially that she asked a stranger to take it. Ha. It made me so happy when I saw it.

My partner in running crime, Frieda AKA FreeFree.  We call ourselves "the beastie girls." Ha.

That name is quite fitting, actually.

Hair salon selfie. For no reason at all. Wait. There is a reason. I love my hair stylist and wanted to snap a picture of a happy time we were sharing that afternoon in her chair. I'm so thankful for Sakinah, her scissors and her beautiful spirit and smile.

Basketball practice with Zachary earlier this week. Basics first. I enjoy watching his determination with sports.

My brother was having fun with a new app he got on his phone on Thanksgiving. This creepy hybrid picture of my nephew and me was a result of those shenanigans.

I know what I'd look like as a guy now. Thanks, Will.

 Playdate nirvana: When the moms get along just as well as the kids. And look forward to hanging out with each other just as much. Wonderful time with my sisterfriend Nicole L. today.

Capri Suns for them. We opted for slightly different refreshments.

Beautiful inside and out. Love it when the heart makes room for new friends. Met Nicole a few years back while we sat around waiting for our boys to finish their golf lessons each Saturday. Not only did the boys hit golf balls, my Isaiah and her Alex really hit it off.

Lucky for me, Nicole and I did, too. I'm thankful for her.

Zachary insisted on giving me a massage after the half marathon. I let him.

With my mommy on Thanksgiving day. She wanted to put on lipstick but I told her she was beautiful as is. True statement, right?

And lastly this: The medal my sweet boy Isaiah added to my rack of race medals. "Hey mom," he said, "I like your new medal." It was before the Thanksgiving half marathon, so I wasn't sure what he meant.

So he told me to come and see for myself. And so I did.


This. This, this, this.

I have so much to be thankful for. The little-little things and the big things, too. All of it wonderful and all of it worth savoring. As my dear writer-friend Angella says so succinctly and beautifully:

"Love is the what."


Happy Thanksgiving-time.