Sunday, November 29, 2009

Berry Thankful

I reached an adult milestone last week....I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. Brandon and I decided to host Thanksgiving at our house this year, and we invited my parents, his parents, and his brother and sister-in-law. Pepper offered to help me, and boy was I glad for that (she's not only a great cook, but also was so helpful in keeping me organized so I could get it all done by dinner time on Thursday!)

John and Pepper arrived on Tuesday night. They got to see a sleepy, but still awake Ella, and then we all went to bed to get ready for a long but fun-filled few days ahead. On Wednesday, John and Brandon went to work refinishing a table and chairs that HAD to get done if we wanted to seat 8 people all together. We had been given the set by Brandon's mom, but it sat in our garage, in desperate need of attention, for months. The task seemed to loom over us, so it ended up being a good goal to set: if we have Thankgiving at our house, we have a deadline to meet. There's nothing like a looming deadline to make you move, right? Well, I didn't take before pictures, but here is the finished product. We sanded off countless layers of grime, paint, and stain, then restained it a dark walnut color, cleaned and replaced some hardware, and repadded and upholstered the seats. I think it turned out to be beautiful, and was so thankful that John was willing to work on it with B.

Meanwhile, Pepper and I got to cook and hang out with babies for a while. We made casseroles and pies and vegetables....favorites of our families that we were proud to serve. I lost count at how many sticks of butter we used (or cans of cream of mushroom soup, carrots, celery stalks, etc...).

On Wednesday night, Brandon went over to the church for a youth concert, and John and Pepper took the girls out on a date. They were gonna go to Chuck E Cheese, but Ella pitched such a fit that they wisely decided to go more low-key and hit up Chic Fil A instead. Ella's never been to Chuck E Cheese, so it wasn't that she didn't want to go there, but she was just in a pill of a mood. I found myself with a few minutes of peace and quiet (which I used to cook dinner for me, make stuffing and greenbean casserole and then sit on the couch for a few minutes.)

By Wednesday night, I thought we had the bulk of the cooking done, but found on Thursday morning that there was still much to do. Breakfast casserole (by Pepper), lots of different appetizers and munchies, setting the table, roasting the turkey...finishing the table!!! We threw in a couple of quick trips to the Dollar General for some last minute items such as parmesan cheese, gravy (we decided against the homemade stuff because we couldn't find the giblet bag in the turkey...little did we know there were TWO openings in that bird...I didn't find the bag until after we had all finished eating and I was cleaning up and putting things into Tupperware!), and a newspaper so we could check out the deals for Black Friday.

So, for the official 2009 Thanksgiving menu, we had:


Sausage balls

Pigs in a blanket

2 different cheese balls w/ assorted crackers

Fresh veggies w/ dip

Chips & Salsa

Homemade Spinach Artichoke dip

Main Course

Roasted Turkey

Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

Maple Butternut Squash with Bacon

Collard Greens

Green Bean Casserole

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Macaroni & Cheese


Cranberries and Harvest Apple Casserole

Cranberry sauce

Yeast Rolls


Aunt Jane's Famous Pecan Pies (made w/ Brown sugar, not Karo syrup)

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

Paula Deen's Gooey Pumpkin Bars

Cool Whip

Honduran Coffee w/ assorted flavored creamers (Thanks to John who brought us the coffee from his latest mission trip!)

Needless to say, we were in need of a walk and a nap after that extravaganza!

But, friends, there's no rest for the weary because at 4am Pepper and I were on our way to save our husbands lots of money at Target! :) We arrived to find that at least 400 others were thinking that BEFORE us! We stood in line and got what we wanted and were home again before anyone else was awake. Target actually did a great job with organizing the shoppinig event, and I was thankful for the order that they brought. Hats off!

After a round of golf for the men, everyone met back up around our new table to help us get rid of the ridiculous amounts of leftovers we had, and by 4pm it was all over. Brandon and I sat face to face with full bellies and a smile on our faces. We had pulled it off (with some major help from John and Pepper!)

Sooooooooo unbelievably, incredibly thankful for the amazing blessings in my life.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Date

I remember during our first year of marriage when we had a weekly date night. We were beyond poor...in mounting piles of educational debt as we both were in Masters programs. We lived in a tee-tiny apartment in Pasadena and often times stood in line for free food to make ends meet. (Those cans that just said "beans" were always a surprise...what kind of beans would we be eating tonight???) But every Friday night we knew that we were going to get out of our tiny apartment and go somewhere...do something. Sometimes we would hit up a two-for-one happy hour for dinner, other times we'd use our precious gift cards that we were given for wedding gifts. Sometimes date night just meant a walk through downtown Pasadena or laying out a blanket in a park and hanging out, or driving to see sights of Los Angeles. It didn't have to cost anything; we were just glad to put away the books and ministry thoughts and focus on each other for a few hours.

Then we moved to Greenville and life got even busier...date nights became a little less frequent, but at least we could somewhat afford to go out to eat a little more often.

It seems that date nights became an anomaly after Ella was born. Exhaustion had set in for both of us, and the whole, "we have to find a babysitter" thought didn't make either of us want to do a little dance...it almost always added at least $20-$30 (by the way, this figure has gone WAY UP since I used to babysit) to a date night bill. So we took them when we could...when free babysitting was being offered by the grandparents or our adult friends.

Since Allie's been born, date nights have become few and far between. We've since employed the help of pairs of some of our youth group girls who can each entertain one baby while hanging out at our house and eating our food.

But on Saturday, we were really wanting to go on a date, yet had not figured out what to do with the kids. Brandon called his parents who agreed to watch them OVERNIGHT at their house. We just had to get them up there, which we did and then we happily came back home, showered, and got ready for a fun night on the town.

Our first stop was Sushi Hana. We had never been there, but Restaurant.com had offered 80% off gift certificates, so I grabbed one from Sushi Hana: $25 that I bought for $2. Not too shabby. After all was said and done, we saved over $30 on a meal that both of us thoroughly enjoyed. Neither of us are very experienced in the sushi realm, but our friendly server helped us pick some good choices. The restaurant located on Haywood Road, was a pleasant surprise. The atmosphere was nice, and the food even better.

We had gotten a late start, and determined not to allow ourselves to turn in early, we headed next to Starbucks for some caffine and sugar. I chose a pumpkin spice frap and he a venti caramel macchiato. Next we got arrested by Kispy Kreme's Hot Now sign all lit up, so we got a dozen to eat and share with others.

Our final destination of the night was the HandleBar where Need To Breathe was performing in a sold out show. We had been put on a list to get in (thank you!!!), and met up with some of Brandon's friends from Furman. The lead singer from N2B, Bear Reinhart, played football with Brandon for Furman, so there were a lot of people out to support him. The show was awesome, we were so glad to be there. The band is really making it big now, and it's cool to think that they had their beginnings at a place so close to our heart.

After the show, the caffine and sugar kick had worn off, and we remembered that we're not 20 anymore and were ready to hit the sack. Brandon woke up the next morning and had to be at the first service at church, but I had planned on making it to second service so I found myself at home...with no one else there...completely quiet...for a couple hours! Bliss!

As much fun as it was to have a kidless evening and morning, I was sure glad to see my baby girls at church when B's parents brought them down. We spent the rest of the afternoon cuddlin' on the couch with them and remembering how blessed we are to have them in our lives.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Battling PH

I started a new blog that will follow Mom's battle with PH. http://battlingph.blogspot.com . Of course, I still plan on updating Our Berry Good Life with thoughts and pictures of our life and family.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Can You Praise and Pray?

I feel like I've been bombarded with prayer requests lately...so many people are getting sick, dealing with diseases, fighting for life. "It's not the way it's supposed to be", I think to myself.

I was at a women's conference at my church this weekend and one of the speakers, Cynthia Brazelton brought light to this subject in my life. She was talking about how we are the apple of God's eye (Deut 32:10). It says that He found him (us, the people I'm praying for, etc) in the wilderness, in a wasteland (in a dry place where they don't have the healing they need). It says that He threw His arms around us, lavished His attention on us and guarded us as the apple of His eye. Well, praise the Lord!!! When we are struggling, he is wrapping his arms around us, giving us all the attention and love we need and guarding us as very precious to His heart.

Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of his people. We are to praise Him, and He simply can't help but be present when we do so. He longs to visit us when we are praising Him--what parent doesn't love to hear his or her kids say how much they love Mama or Daddy? I know when I'm putting Ella down for the night, I long to hear those words, "Wuv you, mommy" pass through her pacifier, especially when they're unsolicited.

So, I want to praise God for who He is, in light of a few people who are close to me and need to be wrapped up in His arms right now. In fact, they need Him to move in a mighty way, and I'm believing for them that He will. In Acts 16, we find Paul and Silas...they had been preaching the gospel through a town and casting out demons and healing people. Some people got mad at them and had them thrown into jail. They weren't just put in a holding cell. They were put in the deepest dungeon in the jail. No doubt there were rats and all sorts of nasty things down there, and it was dark and wet and....ewwwww! Then they were shackled and so their hands were bound and they couldn't do anything about those rats and creepy crawlies all over them. (Double ewwwww!) What did they do? They were praying and singing to God. And not just some woe is me kind of, "I praise you, God. (sniff, sniff)"...No, they praised and prayed so loudly that the other prisoners who were not underground heard them through the thick stone walls and dirt that separated them. This was a serious praise. And then do you know what happened? An earthquake came (I don't think it was a coincidence), the foundations of the jail shifted, and all the doors opened and everyone's chains were loosed.

What Paul and Silas did was praise. What God did was free everyone who even heard them praising. Everyone who was bound. Paul & Silas were in jail for no good reason, so maybe some of the other prisoners really were innocent, too. And they all were able to be free.
My three big prayer requests have been for:

1) My mom, who is battling the last stages of pulmonary hypertension, and has been for 4 years now. We are at the point where we have to have a miracle or lung transplant. She is #1 on the transplant list, but her antibodies are so that there is a very small percentage of people who would match her. I am praying for God's healing touch to touch her, heal her. OR...if He'd get more glory through a transplant process, then I am praying for the match, or a change in her antibodies...anything.

2) My friend and college roommate, Ashley. She and her husband are missionaries in Botswana, and she has always been someone who I've looked up to spiritually. This girl is a ball of fire for God. She recently gave birth to their second child, a boy named Caleb. Unfortunately, during the birthing process, his oxygen was diminished, and now there is significant damage to his brain which, barring a miracle, could mean a lifetime of round-the-clock care and almost no quality of life. Ashley and Percy have each felt God telling them to believe and ask for healing in this situation, though they were prepared to simply deal with the diagnosis and still give Him glory.

3) My "aunt" (she's related somehow through my marriage on my dad's side) Leslie who is in the last stages of cancer. She is fighting and battling, but has been dealing with it a long time, and I'm sure she's tired. I can't imagine how hard it must be to go through all that she's gone through, and as a mama, I can't imagine the torment that she deals with when thinking of her two sons and husband. I am praying for a miracle in this situation, too.

Overall, may God's will be done...He is worthy of praise even if things don't turn out as I have hoped and prayed. He's amazing and his ways are higher than my ways. I'm going to praise Him because of these situations. I am going to continually give Him the love and admiration He deserves, and He will inhabit these praises and the anointing that comes from it can be transferred into their lives, just as it happened with Paul and Silas.
Will you please take a minute and praise God with me? Thank Him for answering these prayers. Thank Him for wrapping these three people in His arms and lavishing His love of them and guarding them as the apple of His eye?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


FYI, I had installed a Twitter application to my page a couple days back, and it worked at first, but apparently got switched with some random's tweets. If you read any of those wierd ones that didn't sound like me...they weren't! I deleted it. If you really want to follow me on Twitter, my username is coleyberry. Sorry bout that!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Been Thinkin'

I've had some time to think. It's an anomaly in my world, actually. Here's a look into my brain lately...nothing profound or special...

When going to two stores across the street, parking lot, etc... (or nearby each other) it's just easier to take the kids and walk with the cart than to load them back in the car, then unload them again in 2.5 seconds.

I did this the other day when I just had Allie. We were at Target (ahhhhh...) and I had her in the Baby Bjorn (by the way, I think I'm gonna need a chiropractor soon). We also needed to go to the sports store across the street, and since it wasn't a busy street, I decided to just keep things as they were and hike it. I mean, I was going to a sports store, why not actually get some exercise doing it!?! This is good for one, but especially true for shopping with two kids. In and out of the car routines can shave precious minutes off of melt-down free shopping/errand time.

When deciding whether or not to purchase designer jeans, one should take into account the probability of getting pregnant again soon...

Brandon and I spent a morning date at Stax Omega and then wandered over to the mall. This was the first time we'd been to the mall in a loooong time. I guess my motto has been one-stop shops are better for shopping with babies, so I frequent Target or Wal-Mart, and occasionally have a few minutes and enough guts to hit up the TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross kind of stores. But we had grandma watching the children so we decided it might actually be FUN to walk around the mall like we did when we were in high school on a Saturday night. We looked at lots of great clothes in lots of great stores, but weren't there to buy anything. We went into this store called Buckle..it's all the rage here. You've probably seen something from there...the swirly, printed pieces of clothing with lots of flashy, sparkly things on them...We'd never really been in there, but walked through and I got talked into trying on some jeans...The nice girl said, "what kind of fit do you wear?" I answered, "The kind that fits a preggo belly and have a band on them." It's been at least 3 years since I've bought jeans because I've been battling preggo body since then. But I did, and while I found some really cute ones that actually fit this soccer booty and "powerful" legs (lol), I thought twice and decided not to take the plunge...yet.

Here's the problem. I don't really want to spend that kind of money on jeans that I love, only to find out in a couple of months that Baby #3 is on the way (no, this is NOT an announcement). My history of pregnancies says that I won't be wearing them long. That will leave me longingly staring at them in my closet every time I reach for the jeans with a band on the belly.

Soooooo....no new jeans for me. Maybe I'll use that money for something that will be better put to use.

Like I said...nothing profound. Maybe even a little trivial. Believe me, as the wife of Brandon (who I believe is gonna be used by God to change the world one day), the mama of Ella and Allie (also world changers), the daughter of Cris (battling everyday with a disease that wants to take her out), and the friend to so many who are really running hard after and doing great things for God's Kingdom...I have a lot of other things on my mind that go a bit deeper...that's why these silly thoughts stick out to me. I hope that they bring some relief and laughter to you as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Some Wonderful Summer Time Fun

We've been having a nice summer, and can't believe how quickly it is going by! How did it get to be mid-August already???

We had a chance to visit Nassau, Bahamas for both business and pleasure! While I won't get into the craziness that preceded our trip, let me just say that the devil didn't want us to get away! We had some amazing time by ourselves for a couple of days before I flew back to take care of the babies who were safe and sound at Pepper & "John-John"'s house.

We then spent some time together as a family at Myrtle Beach. We had fun riding waves, eating out, and sitting in the sunshine as much as possible. Ella had a blast playing in the surf, making sand castles, jumping in the pool, taking nice naps in a dark cool room after lunch, and hanging out with some people who love her a whole lot. My diet went out the window, but it was all worth it!

As soon as we returned from a two week hiatus, we hit the ground running and had 4 weeks until our annual youth conference. There were long, hard hours put in, but God seems to enjoy showing off, especially when the natural is all in order. I have to say that Brandon's team did an excellent job organizing and pulling off such a huge event. I think we had over 1000 young people from all over the country, and many dynamic speakers and musicians. Perhaps the best part was the unity that came as different denominations came together from the upstate and worshipped and served together...that was Brandon's heart, and it was awesome to see it happen.

We were also bombarded by a lot of...how do I say this?...crap. Someone hit our new car as Brandon was taking it to get serviced, we also started having unexplainable mishaps occur that tried to distract us, and Mom had some hard news regarding the progression of her lung disease delivered to her that we have all been dealing with since. All of us got sick, we were all way too busy, and didn't get much sleep...honestly we approached the youth conference on empty. But when we are weak, God shows his strength through us! Afterwards, we celebrated Ella's 2nd birthday Elmo-style, which was a lot of fun.

Now, I know I just talked about our vacation, but believe it or not, after one month of youth conference prep, we had to get away again to recharge. We did so in Charleston with some of our closest friends. This was a much lower key vacay...we spent a lot of time in the house, just being there together and talking. It was wonderful. On the last day, we visited Seacoast, my old church, and spent some time with our friends there. We hit Columbia on the way home, and celebrated my dad's 60th birthday with the family.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Doin' Better

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted! Thanks to those of you who called to make sure "just makin' it" wasn't my last post!

Let's see...so much has happened!

Allie: We went through a couple of different treatments for Allie's "cat hair ball" cough. And it went away! Don't know what did the trick, but it's gone, and she's not on anything for it currently. I guess she just grew out of it!

We did have to go to the hospital with her, though. A couple of weeks ago, she woke up with a fever and because she was under 2 months old and they were working on this cough thing, they asked us to come in and get tests done and allow them to monitor her. It really was the best thing for all of us. My in-laws picked up Ella and took her to their home in Hendersonville, NC, and Brandon and I were able to focus on Allie and each other for a whole day. We ended up spending the night, and actually got decent rest considering the sleeping arrangements. They determined it to be a virus, and she was released the next day. Since then, she's been doing great.

Ella: Our big girl started a Mother's Morning Out program 2 times a week which has been WONDERFUL. She loves it, I love it...enough said. She is getting ready to spend a week with her Aunt Pepper and Uncle John in NC while Brandon and I go out of town for a business/pleasure conference trip. She's growing so much and learning so many words, but her favorites right now are "No!" and "mine!" Ahhh...the life of an almost two-year-old.

Brandon: As usual Brandon's busy with work, and loving every minute of it. He is currently getting ready to host the annual youth conference in early August. He has been bringing two new employees up to speed, and they are really great assets to the team. Things seem to be really starting to move in a good direction with the youth ministry. He also just finished a class, Managing Conflicts, and enjoyed it immensly.

Nicole: I am riding around in a new/used Nissan Armada! On a recent trip to see Mom and Dad in Columbia, I was rear-ended while driving the Honda. We had hoped to replace B's truck with a family-sized car, but the Honda was totalled (everyone was okay-both girls were in the car with me). It actually ran fine still, but the bumper work and replacing the trunk would cost more than the car was worth (it was a '95). We ended up getting $325 less than what we paid for it 4 years ago, so we were happy with that. We were also able to give it to a couple that needed some wheels. But all that to say, it made our decision to buy a new car a little more to the forefront of our minds! We were able to get this awesome new SUV from some friends who kept it immaculate! It seriously has every bell and whistle I can imagine...dvd player with cordless headsets, nav system, 6 disc cd changer, sunroof, ipod connection...I could go on. you name it, it's got it. The first time I drove it after we bought it, I cried like a baby for a good 30 minutes. It's just an Ephesians 3:20 kind of car (more than I could have thought of or imagined)! Thank you, Lord!

I have also been working out trying to get my body back in shape. I began a program called P90X with two other girls, and am loving it! Our church just opened a new state-of-the-art gym/workout center, but this P90X thing is keeping my attention for the time being. I took before shots, and will take after shots when I'm done with the program. Hopefully, they'll be good enough to post! I am starting to really feel great. I have more confidence, energy, and peace. I love getting up early in the morning (the workout starts at 6), coming home to a sleeping family, making breakfast, grabbing a shower, and getting some quiet time before the house starts to stir...I am remembering that I really am a morning person.

The Berry family is going on vacation in July, and I'm excited for Ella to enjoy the beach this summer. I've bought Elmo kites and bubbles and toys...I think she's going to have a blast! I'm glad to be starting to make traditions in our family and the memories that go with them!

Well, the baby is done eating so I'm gonna leave it at that!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Just Makin' It

Phew! I'm typing this 1 handed with Allie in the crook of my left (dominant) hand...and I gotta tell ya...this 2 baby stuff ain't easy! Ella loves. loves, LOVES her little sister. She loves hugging her, climbing on her, snuggling with her, seeing if her fingers and toes are REALLY permanently attached, trying out her binkies (pacifiers), swinging in her swing, etc... Sadly, her super proximity to the baby has not been without its ramifications. Despite our attempts to keep both kids healthy, Ella got a cold and then passed it on to her sister. That was last week. This week was pinkeye.

So my infant who had the clear to not have to come back to the pediatrician for a 2 week checkup because she had gained all her birthweight back and was so healthy, has been to the doctor twice since then. Brandon and I have also felt crummy, although we managed to avoid the pinkeye mess.

Poor Allie still sounds like a litte rhino snorting and snuffing and trying to breathe. Her feedings, which were timed about 3 hrs apart, are now much closer because she can't get a full feeding-she has to choose btwn breathing and eating. She keeps gaining weight, but I feel like an open buffet.

But the good news is that we're on the upswing. This won't last forever. I promise...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Congrats, Huckabys!

Congrats to the Huckabys on their newest addition, Judah Pace, born on April 24th!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Allie Elizabeth Berry

April 6, 2009


7lbs, 13oz

20 inches

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hamming It Up

Nevermind the oversized, double-chinned giggling mama in the background. Check Ella out! She's such a little ham!

Leslie Coehlo took this and many more pics the other day at Cleveland Park. I'll post some good ones soon!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stupid Preggo Comments (Made Mostly By Men)

What is it about men that makes them utterly idiotic when they approach a pregnant woman? I personally think it's just because they have absolutely no idea what that woman is experiencing, and therefore, have absolutely no idea as to what to say. Even the men who have children of their own...their wives could have gone through it 2, 3, or 4 times and they can still really prove themselves to be major boneheads when they try to talk to a preggo.

Point in case #1:
I won't drop names, but will say a very influential person in our community who has three children of his own said this yesterday as he ran into me taking lunch orders for some volunteers who were helping with a project: " You look like you've put away some cheeseburgers..." What?!? Did you really just say that? Then he tried to back peddle by saying, "well, darlin' you deserve every one of them."

Point in case #2:
I stopped by the church yesterday with my dad to show him some renovations that are happening at the Teen Arena. I was greeted at the door by the husband of one of Brandon's staff members. I think they have 5 kids. I got out of the car, and he said something about how are the triplets, er...twins, er... I had to inform him that I would take him out without remorse if he said one more word to me.

Point in case #3:
While shopping at the Fresh Market with my mom yesterday, we were ordering some meat at the meat counter. The butcher who was helping us was trying to be funny (I guess all these guys were trying to be funny...he was the closest) and said to his partner, "Call security. This lady is trying to smuggle a watermelon out of the store under her shirt." That was followed by "If you were in a race all by yourself, you'd come in second." Okay...those were somewhat cute. I told him that I'm so competitive that if I was in a race with myself, I'd turn around and cross the finish line backwards.

Men...I know that if you have had a wife or girlfriend who has been pregnant that you had to have been more careful with your words with her. Take some advice...stop trying to be funny. Just be the caring and sensitive guy that you were when your significant other was about to have a baby.

In fact, here are few phrases that a pregnant woman would accept coming out of your I-have-no-idea-what-you're-going-through mouth:
  • Wow! You look beautiful!
  • How are you feeling?
  • Is there anything I can do for you?
  • You carry that baby so well. You have such grace during this stage of life.
  • I remember when my (wife, girlfriend) was pregnant. I hope your man is treating you like the queen you are!
  • How far along are you? or When's your due date? (and if she lets you know that she's not as far along as you thought she was, don't say anything else!)

Ladies, if you have any other acceptable phrases, feel free to leave them as comments.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Block Party

I just wanted to let you know that I'm serious about this no-touchy the belly thing. Today I started taking actions against unwanted outreaches.

A girl came up and looked like she was about to dribble my belly like a basketball. I pulled a Karate Kid on her and "waxed on" (or was it "waxed off"?) and gave her a look that told her to stop immediately. Yes, it was awkward, but I didn't care!

Someone else blindsighted me before this incident, though. She came from the side, and had her hand on my belly before I could chop, block, kick or spit, so I was stuck getting a Buddah rub.

But I'm getting quicker. By the time I get my defense tightened up, my belly will be replaced with a squirmy infant!
35 1/2 weeks

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Craving Satisfied

We recently took a quick trip to Charleston for Claire's baby shower. Brandon was originally going to stay home and work, but decided to escort Ella and I down to the lowcountry so we could get some coveted family time. It was awesome. We stopped in Columbia to see Mom and Dad for lunch, and made it down to Mt. Pleasant in time for dinner before the shower.

Ever since I had decided to make the trip, I had been nursing an ever-growing craving for a favorite dish served up by a local restaurant:

A fried-green tomato, (homemade) pimento cheese, and ham sandwich with collard greens on the side from Boulevard Diner. Ahhh...I almost want to type it out again...this is not your ordinary sandwich or your ordinary restaurant. The restaurant owned by a family who has a few restaurants of different genres in the Charleston area; there's an Italian restaurant and a more upscale restaurant...and then there's Blvd. Looking at it on the outside, you'd never know it was such a gem. But once you taste and see...and you walk out with money in your pocket AND a doggie bag of extra food (the portions are great), you'll understand. Brandon and I laugh when we think of our first date sans other people. He drove 3 and a half hours from Greenville after working construction all day and was covered in red clay when he arrived at the door. But after cleaning up, he was hungry, so we went to Blvd Diner and I introduced him to fried pickles. He was a bit skeptical at first, but ended up loving them!

So we had approximately 45 minutes to get to the restaurant, order, eat, pay, change clothes and make it to the shower on time. As unreasonable as it sounds now, I was NOT about to miss out, and Brandon was NOT about to allow me to forgo satisfying my craving. Here are some lovely pictures of pure preggo bliss:

The even had red Texas Pete for the collards, although my heartburn would only allow minimal coverage.


I take full credit for my husband's love of collards.

Daddy introducing Ella to fried pickles

She's such a good eater! She'll try anything!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Snow Fun!

Ella saw her first real snow this week, and we had a great time experiencing it with her. I tried to wait for Brandon to wake up naturally, but got too excited and had to become his alarm clock. Too bad, since it was an unexpected day off for him and one of his only opportunities to sleep in a little in weeks! But we needed to take advantage of all the fresh snow!

We quickly realized that we didn't have proper snow clothing for Ella, so she looked a little like a ragamuffin with all mismatched items, but we finally got her dressed enough that we thought she'd stay warm for a while.

Brandon's first order of business was to teach Ella how to make a snowball and throw it at Mommy. Here you can see the progression of his snowball throwing clinic.

The example:

The proper packing of a snowball:

The windup:

The release:

And yes, she hit me right on the belly (it's a nice, BIG target).

We also used a cookie sheet to go down a small hill in the back yard. She only liked that once. And...before we knew it, 10 minutes had come and gone in the glorious white stuff, and Ella was ready to go back inside, get in a warm bubble bath, and have some of mama's slow-cooked grits.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

33 Weeks Along...and Venting.

As you can see, Allie Berry is growing...and growing...and growing! We're at the point where random people are approaching my belly with hands outstretched. I have always wondered about that. They don't know me from Eve and I guess that because I'm carrying another life in my womb, they assume that I really can't be all that bad. They don't know. I could be carrying a weapon or just decided to judo chop their butts to the ground in the middle of Main Street. They'd look really silly then, huh? Getting beat up by a preggo. I mean, they wouldn't approach a business man or a homeless person or the guy on the corner with a "Turn or Burn" message board or a Mom with 2 kids running around or a college student on her laptop or an extremely obese person and just start rubbing their bellies! Why me?

People at church are funny, too. I guess that since they think that since we worship the same God that it makes it okay to rub and make pretty dumb comments about how big I'm getting. Maybe they think that since I'm a pastor's wife, I won't turn around and say something right back to them. I'd like to turn the questions on some of them and ask them if they are about to deliver twins when they ask me if I'm sure there is just one kid in there. One dude asked me if I was going to be the next octuplet mom! WHAT? He's a little hefty himself, and when I relayed this to Brandon, he suggested I say, "No, are you?"

Here's just a warning: I'm pregnant, I'm tired and sometimes I'm a little mean on top of my normal, everyday, I'll-come-right-back-with-some-comment way of life. So hands off and keep the fat comments to yourself. Right now what I need is a nap, an antacid pill, someone to watch my lively 18 month old, and some compliments about a pregnancy glow that I hear some women have.
There, I said it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Ever Growing Baby Belly

I swore that I wouldn't be that mom who captures every possible thing for her first child and has virtually nothing to show for the second child. I've seen parents who have baby books for their first that look like a volume of Encyclopedia Brittanica and scrapbooks that could be published in Creating Keepsakes, and then the second kid has a few measly pictures thrown into an album.

But here I am about to have number two and I need to publicly apologize to all the moms I've secretly judged in the past because I now understand why it is so incredibly difficult to keep up! So here's my sorry attempt at capturing a few moments of this pregnancy. Allie, if you ever read this, please know that Mommy and Daddy love you very much and are sooooo excited for you to come join our family! We just forget to record it sometimes! If it's any consolation to you, I haven't even started on Ella's scrapbook yet either!

27 Weeks Preggo

31 Weeks Preggo

I'm gonna try to keep up for the last few weeks...at least enough to show a difference!

She's Gonna Kill Me For This One Day...

Contains graphic potty training footage.
Enter at your own risk.
I remember watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 a while back and it was the potty training episode. I thought it so funny and kinda embarassing that Kate was taking pictures of the little girls by their potties after their first successful trip. But now I understand the big fuss. Sorry, Ella. I just couldn't resist.

I don't know if this means we are going to go full force on the potty training, but it's a start! She was very proud of herself!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Splish, Splash

Bath time has to be one of the best times in our house on any given day. Ella loves it. When I say, "It's time for your bath!" she runs to tub and starts tearing off her clothes and tries to climb in before I even turn on the water! Brandon and I love watching her talk to her bath toys and splashin' in the water, even though it usually means that we're gonna get wet, too. We also love the fact that bath time usually means the start of the nite-nite routine and that our little bathtub swimmer will be heading to dreamland within the hour.

So here are some pics of our bathtime fun:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bring on 30!

So today marks the end of an era in my life. It's the last day of my 20's. That's right. Tomorrow I will officially be the big 3-0. People have asked me, "what do you think about turning thirty?" My answer has pretty much been the same, "I love my life and am in a really great place right now, so thirty doesn't scare me. Bring it on!"

But today as I reflect on the last decade of my life, I am coming to realize how wonderful it's really been. God has done amazing things in and through this ordinary gal, making something extraordinary out of me. It's been His doing, not my own, which is why I don't mind bragging a little bit. I owe everything to God who has given me everything I have, provided for each experience I've taken part in, and grown me up into the woman I am today and the one I'll be tomorrow as I blow out my candles. 

With that being said, here's a snippet into what's happened in my life since I turned 20 in 1999:

  • Played collegiate Division 1 soccer
  • Been voted captain of my team by my teammates
  • Participated in 2 NCAA Division 1 post-season tournaments
  • Said goodbye to my paternal grandfather (Poppop) as he went to meet Jesus face to face as well as some friends who were taken much too soon
  • Graduated from Furman University
  • Traveled to Austria, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, England, Kenya, Italy, Costa Rica, Israel, Mexico, & Cayman Islands (my first cruise). 
  • Skied & snowboarded some of the best slopes in the U.S., seen the Grand Canyon, surfed in the Pacific Ocean, been on an African safari, and zip-lined through a rain forest
  • Worked in corporate sales, in the service industry, in professional sports, in full-time ministry, and in marketing
  • Lived on my own for the first time…and made it!
  • Made some life-long friendships which I cherish
  • Started my own business
  • Met, dated, and married the man of my dreams
  • Moved across the country to Los Angeles…and back again
  • Graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Master’s Degree
  • Seen my both of my parents come into personal relationships with Jesus!
  • Trained for 2 half-marathons which I never ran, and many 10k races which I have ;)
  • Bought our first home
  • Been ordained as a pastor
  • Been pregnant 3 times; Ella’s been a precious addition to our family, #2 is waiting in heaven to meet us one day, and now Allie is getting ready to make her Berry family debut!
  • Stood by my family as we have dealt with my mom’s lung disease
  • Spent time investing into the lives of hundreds of young people through various ministries including some in the country's most dangerous neighborhoods-no one can resist LOVE!
  • Learned how to be a mommy, and a stay-at-home mommy at that
If that's what my 20's looked like, I can't wait to see what God has in store for this next decade of my life! Praise be to Him, the one who can do more than I could ever ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

We had her in stitches...

Let me first just say that my husband is a great daddy. He really is. He loves our daughter fiercely and is incredibly precious with her. She adores him and is a complete Daddy's girl. She'll go around the house singing, "Dada, Dada, Dada, Dada...." and it melts my heart.

But Daddy has been feeling a little down on his parenting skills lately because it was on his watch that Ella had her first accident.

He had lovingly given me a couple hours of "Coley time" which I planned to spend at Target and Barnes & Noble...picking up a few household items and giving myself a little book and coffee time. I made it to Target and had just started down my list when I got the call...

"Hey babe." (Caller ID allows me to do this with relatively little chance of getting it wrong)

(Baby crying hysterically in the background) "Um, hey....um...I think you need to come home. Ella busted her chin open and is crying and bleeding and I think she's gonna need stitches."

So much for my time away. Unfortunately, we are a one car family at this point in our lives. Well, we actually have an old beat up truck that I like to call by many different not-so-nice names, but it's obviously unsuitable for a child to ride in (or me for that matter...I try my best not to go near it most days). And, while it may have not been the best move, I had opted for the more comfortable Honda to tote me to my day of "me". It had the carseat in it and everything that he needed to take her to the ER. So I dropped my basket of items in Target, jumped in the car and...

sat in post-Christmas traffic.

When I finally got to the wide open spaces of the highway towards home I put my hazards on. And, while I was not going outrageously over the speed limit, a cop stopped me. I leaned out the window and explained the situation and wouldn't you know...He let me go! I couldn't believe it!

(Disclaimer: you can't use this excuse if you're really speeding...that's lying).

20 minutes after I got the phone call, I walked into the house and saw my husband and my daughter sitting on the steps drawing on the Magna-Doodle a picture of a little girl with an owie on her chin. They both had blood all over their shirts but were surprisingly calm. We loaded her in the car and took her to the ER.

And 4 hours later we finally put her back in the car with 3 new stitches on her chinny chin chin.