Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Memory Lane

I can't help myself. I was looking back through some pictures & decided to share a few of my favorites with you all.

My niece was enamored of the whole wedding process. She wouldn't leave my side.

Our last dance before she left.

Hugs before she left - she wanted to stay & dance.

Tears because she couldn't stay with me.

One of my faves of Mr. Potts and Maddy. Wasn't she beautiful?

She was such a great walker - you never feared she would jerk away.

My nephew thought the camera might be tasty!

Mr. Potts in New Orleans - had to get him with the Hand Grenade!

At a Hole in the Wall in New Orleans - Johnny White's.
At the River Shack in New Orleans - all the stools are like this. They have the best fried pickles EVER!
Oh so typical. At a wedding last summer.

Same wedding - random hat. I think everyone at the reception tried this hat on.

Where's Waldo? Can you spot Mr. Potts?

Now, here is a happy couple!

We participated in a bar crawl/scavenger hunt. This was one of the pictures we had to capture - someone being dragged caveman style by their hair. Since I had the longest hair, I was it!

Good Friends!

My niece's first trip to the fair. Isn't she precious?

Definitely towards the end of the night at our reception!

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Picture time

My sweet little nephew adores Mr. Potts. He thinks he hung the moon. He wants to be just like him - as evidenced in this picture:

Hand behind head? Check! Leaning on Uncle Mr. Potts? Check! Little devilish grin? Check!

This has to be my favorite picture of my two favorite boys!

It's all about the pets

In the past few weeks, I have had such a longing in my heart to have my Maddy back with me. She was my constant companion for 9 years. I watched her grow from a gangly, uncoordinated little puppy to a huge, drooling, 156lb gentle giant. There are times when I walk downstairs and see a blanket on our love seat and think that it is her, sprawled out. It takes me a moment to realize it's not. I thought I'd share one of my favorite pictures - it was taken by a wonderful friend the day before we went to the vet for her final visit.Look at all that gray on her face. She was such a sweet girl and helped me get through so many tough times in my life.


I've often thought it would be interesting to know what animals think. I've often in my head pictured conversations between Maddy & Hayden. These two were so good in our home together. They'd lay on opposite ends of the room - a requirement for when you're 156lbs is that you get your own love seat. I would picture Hayden lifting her head & in her spastic voice "saying" to Maddy, "Hey! Maddy! Wanna trade spots??!! Yeah! C'mon! Please???!!!" I could then imagine Maddy lifting her big head & telling Hayden in a very laid back, California voice, "Nah - I'm feeling pretty fine right here. I don't really want to move. Maybe when mom gets home I'll get up."

Kind of silly that I would imagine all this in my head, huh?

Well, I also imagine that our cat Pepe speaks in a heavy French accent- his name is short for Pepe le Pew since when I rescued him he smelled like he'd crawled through sewage & had brown spikes for hair.

This past weekend, I watched Pepe stalk Hayden. Once Hayden had laid down with her ball, Pepe pounced. This is what I imagined - don't forget to read Pepe's part with a French accent:
Pepe: "I've got you now you big ball of yellow fur. I will eat your leg!"
Hayden: "What? You're going to eat my leg? Please don't. No, that hurts! Owww! Mom, Pepe tried to eat my leg!"
Pepe: "Harumph! I've got much better things to do than try to eat her leg." After saying this, he swishes his tail over Hayden's nose & walks away.

I do really wish I could hear what they think. Although I doubt it would be as interesting as it is in my head. Do your pets talk? Do you give them accents or personalities?
Please tell me I'm not the only one that does this. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shin Splints

Ouch! I have shin splints. I've been working out pretty hard lately, but that's not it. I wear heels all the time, but that's not it either.

Did anyone else have absolutely gorgeous weather this weekend? We did. On Sunday I decided to take Hayden (or Hade dog as my precious little nephew calls her) for a nice long walk. We used to walk together pretty much every day - with occasional days off for rain (no one likes the wet dog smell, right?)

This past winter, however, the weather was just not conducive to walking. Plus, I was traveling so often that we didn't really get that many chances to.

I've just recently moved to a pair of training shoes - ones that I can use lifting weights, using cardio machines and in fitness classes (which while I love the after effect, while I'm in there I'm cursing the instructor!). So my shoes are not specifically for running or walking with Hayden.

Which shoes do you think I wore to walk her on Sunday? Yep - those training shoes. Now I'm hobbling around with shin splints. Ouch!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why did we plan this?

Mr. Potts and I are heading to Key West in less than a month. Yesterday before getting in the shower, I took a good look at myself. This is what I noticed:

  • I am pasty white.
  • My stomach is not quite where I want it to be yet. I know this takes time, but I really wish I had a magic wand.
  • I need some new clothes. Some summery clothes. I'd like something like these to take with us. There is just something so simple about little dresses!
I honestly can't wait to get away. We'll be down there from Thursday to Sunday with average temperatures in the 80's. I think we should take a spring break every year!

Where would you go for a short "spring break" trip if you could?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I don't want to go to jail!

That was tricky, wasn't it? Using my title to draw you in. Sneaky Mrs. Potts!

I did want to make sure that I shared this with everyone, though. I have in the last year been able to volunteer with a local YMCA. This particular YMCA is part of a Community Outreach Program that benefits another Y. The second Y provides services in an area where the dropout rate is higher, elementary school children score below average on their national tests and where a majority of seniors are living below the poverty level. I've seen first hand what my time can do as well as where my money goes.

In light of the observations I've had the chance to make, I volunteered to go to jail in hopes of raising enough money to bail myself out. I wanted to take the chance today to remind you that there are people out there who need our help. There are children who would love help with their homework, teenagers who would enjoy the time spent with a caring adult and elderly people who may want someone to do puzzles with.

Part of my email to my friends reminded people that times are difficult and uncertain for many of us. I appreciate the fact that they even read my email - perhaps it will spur them to volunteer an hour a week to spend with children. I hope that reading this will remind you that often the greatest thing you can give is not necessarily your money, but your time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One Month From Today

We will be here
We may go see this
We'll definitely see this
Laying our heads down here
Definitely going here
And here
I can't wait!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spicy Green Bean, Ginger and Beef Stir-Fry

I made this dish on Wednesday night to rave reviews. If you're looking for a spicy stir fry dish that is incredibly healthy, definitely try this one.

I totally snagged this picture from Cooking Light since I can't seem to remember to take pictures until we're looking at empty plates!


  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 4 oz fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound boneless tenderloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 bag cut green beans (I use the packaged green beans in the veggie section)
  • Red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • Hot cooked white rice


Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add beef to pan, and sauté for 4 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan.

Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; heat over medium-high heat. Add beans and pepper to pan. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Return beef mixture to pan. Stir in broth mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Serve with rice.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

She's got it together.

Usually a phrase I use to describe someone who's life is together. I picture someone like this: Never a phrase I've used to describe me...although lately I'm rocking her hair:My friend P at work told me that I've got it together.

I laughed. She was serious. I hugged her and told her to come watch me in the exercise class and then tell me how together I am!!

I'm still shaking my head over that one.
Who do you think has it together?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why would she think this is ok?

Mr. Potts and I spent Saturday in the sunshine. Gotta love those high 70 days. We met our core group of friends out early Saturday afternoon for some beers, pizza and sunshine...ok, I had a salad. In our group of friends, most people are already married or paired up with a significant other. Only one couple has a child, which I have to tell you was an "oops" on their part. She was the most miserable mother to be because she didn't want to be pregnant & they had originally not planned on having children for a long time. She would tell you herself that she hated it.

In our group, we haven't publicly declared that we aren't going to have children. It isn't a conscious thing, but we haven't been asked about it yet. Apparently, however, Mr. Potts was asked on Saturday when we were going to start having children. We just smiled and he answered, "We're not." At which point, I would think the conversation would be over. Or perhaps some questions about why (which I still don't really think is appropriate). Yet the first thing out of our friend's mouth was, "You're missing out." This is when I shook my head & looked around expecting her to be speaking to the three headed monster behind me.

Seriously? Really?? We're making an informed decision together not to have children. What if our reasoning was that we couldn't? Would she still have said that?

I could look at her & tell her that she & her husband are going to be missing out. I just smiled & told her "We'll be ok - plus it is so much easier to be around kids and then get to go home."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips

How wonderful is this? I was in the grocery store getting ingredients for tonight's dinner (Ancho Chile Steak Fajitas) and saw these! I love Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips!

Not so great when you then get back to the office feeling so virtuous, only to eat 3 bags in a row! I am seriously lacking in self control right now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Follow up to yesterday's question

I thought more and more about what I wrote yesterday and kept feeling that something was missing from the post. The more I thought about it, I realized that I had short-changed you all. Let me explain...
My sweet niece really is that. A sweet loving girl who wants desperately to please and be loved. She is the first to greet me when I walk into my mom's. She is the first to want hugs and kisses and she is the last to wave me off. When I call my mom, she always wants to talk and tell me about her day.

My nephew is just precious. The most loving little boy who really is getting the shaft due to the situation with his parents. Often he'll say, "Hold. Hold," while he lifts his arms for me to cuddle him. When we're cuddled, he is content to stay like that for a long time.

I love them both so much. Mr. Potts and I try hard to be the best influence that we can for them as we realize that we may be the only couple that they see in a loving relationship. I spend as much time with them and make sure to do extra, special things so that they'll know my love. We've taken trips to the zoo (Sweet Niece and I are going in March). My niece comes over to spend the night and we bake cookies. She loves going to church with Mr. Potts and me. I promised to take her for her first trip to the beach this year and on her first airplane ride - I'm thinking a short trip to Atlanta to go to the aquarium.

I'm not telling you this to show what a good aunt I am. I think I'm trying to tell you how much I love them and want to take care of them. It infuriates me (which is the nicest word I can come up with) that their parents seem to take no notice of the fact that they are children and need their unconditional love and guidance. They need to be cherished. It makes me mad beyond belief that there are people who would love them and cherish them as all children deserve to be - those couples who face an agonizing realization that their lives may not be blessed with their own children, but who would take these babies in a heartbeat and love them as raise them - yet these two parents of these wonderful children don't. I hate that my ex-sister in law uses them as pawns and that my niece begs for her attention and love. Who should have to beg their mother to want to do things with them??

Add to this the fact that my mother is stepping back and completely raising her two grandchildren when she should be enjoying her retirement. Instead, she spends her time raising these babies. She feeds and clothes them, she tries to teach them numbers and letters, she worries that she won't have enough money to take them to the doctor when they're sick.

I think the worst part of this is that my brother doesn't seem to see a problem with this. It enrages me that he would treat his own mother this way.

Maybe this wasn't so much about short-changing you all, but more about trying to explain why my first reaction to my niece's question the other day was such a harsh one. I don't want to be harsh, I want to be the loving aunt that these blessings need.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's the correct answer?

A quick synopsis of my niece & nephew's short lives so far is definitely in order.
My brother met a young "lady" - we'll call her N. N became pregnant. Brother and N got married. Beautiful niece (Sweet Niece) was born. Brother and N separate. N becomes pregnant again - which was totally unexpected. Uh huh. Brother and N try to work it out - it doesn't work. N has my sweet nephew (Wonderful Nephew). Brother and N finally divorce.
Sweet Niece & Wonderful Nephew live with my mother who takes care of them full time without much support from either parent. N despises Brother's new girlfriend, K and teaches Sweet Niece to say awful, horrible things about K. Needless to say, no mother of the year award nominations from me for N! I also understand that my brother is not perfect. I know that he has done wrong as well - I am happy that he isn't teaching his children to say awful things about people.

Sweet Niece has now repeated the things that her mother taught her. To Brother's new girlfriend, K. Awful, mean things.

Last night I went to see my mom, Sweet Niece & Wonderful Nephew. At one point during the meal, my sweet little niece looked up at me full of innocence that only a 4 year old can have and asked, "Aunt Mrs. Potts? Why did mommy get pregnant with my little brother?"

"Because your mommy is a evil calculating person who should never be allowed to have children?" That was my thought - not my answer. What came out of my mouth instead was, "You know, Sweet Niece, you should ask your mommy that when you're as old as I am."

I'm bad - but I didn't say what I was originally thinking.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Thank you to everyone who came, visited, commented & left as a new follower! A special thank you to all of those who were already followers.

Jaymie of and Charlotte makes three was the winner of my Spring Fever Giveaway! Congratulations Jaymie!

I also held a second drawing for a surprise smaller prize - super fun in my humble opinion! brown eyed girl was the winner of my surprise drawing! She's in for a treat - getting to pick one of the colors given away in the main giveaway as well as a set of my recipes!

If you both will email me with your contact information I'll get these sent out as quickly as possible.

Thank you again to all who entered!!

I utilized random.org for the random number generator - in case you're curious!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Isn't it ironic?

Sunday, March 1st
Spring Fever Giveaway (winner to be announced tomorrow)
Snow in Charlotte