100 facts about Penny

My friend Ashley has tagged me in the 100 useless random facts game. And I'm up for the challenge. I already know who I'll tag next...Ron and Anna. Are y'all up for it? I know you both have some interesting things to share.

1. I was born January 9, 1976 Penny Layne Banks in Birmingham, AL.
2. Depending on which parent you asked I was named after the Beatles song.
3. I was very much of a tom-boy growing up. I guess I'm still a tom-boy.
4. My first pet was a dog named Brownie.
5. I became a Christian when I was 6.
6. I was a bossy kid and never minded my own business in pre-school. I was assigned chores to help the teacher just so she could keep me from telling the other kids what to do. (I didn't find out until high school the reason for those chores...I thought she just really liked my help.)
7. I enjoyed going fishing with my dad when I was little.
8. I have an older brother, Stannon Kyle Banks.
9. He's married to Jennifer and they have 3 kids.
10. I took ballet for 3 months when I was 6 and quit because the teacher kept pointing out my big booty. I'm sorry, Mrs. Barker...I just couldn't tuck in that butt.
11. My best friend's name when I was little was Susan.
12. I fell off my bike when I was in elementary school and broke the bottom half of my front tooth.
13. The cutest boy in the neighborhood helped me up from my fall and walked me home. I was in love.
14. I wore braces for 11 months to correct an overbite.
15. I went to public school in 8th grade just to see what it was like.
16. All my other years of schooling were at Briarwood Christian. Go lions!
17. I know now how great of a school Briarwood is...I wish we had one here in Huntsville.
18. My 1st grade teacher was Mrs. Whiting. She was beautiful and I thought she looked like Cinderella.
19. My 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Rooks. She was mean.
20. We had a Mexican girl live with us during my 3rd grade year so she could go to school in the States. She was in 8th grade and spoke NO English when she arrived. Her name was Nadia.
21. When I was in 5th grade, I was running out the double doors to go to recess and forgot there was a metal beam in between the 2 doors. I ended up at the doctor's office with a very messed up knee.
22. I had my first kiss in 9th grade.
23. My brother was in 12th grade while I was in 9th. His friends looked out for me and even threatened to beat a couple of guys up for picking on me.
24. I walked out of the bathroom 9th grade year with my dress tucked in to my underwear. One of my brother's friends let me know my underwear was showing...I was so embarassed.
25. 9th grade is when I started trying to "be my own person" so as not to be compared to my brother.
26. I started my rebellious stage in 10th grade.
27. I used to carry vodka around school in a water bottle. Sorry Mom, you probably didn't know that...
28. My science teacher invited me to his parent/teacher conference with my mom. When asked what he could do to make me a better student, I told him "Nothing, I just don't like you." My mom was so embarassed.
29. I hitch-hiked once in 11th grade with a girl-friend of mine. I won't tell the whole story...it would take too long. Long story short the man who picked us up ended up being a Christian and shared Christ with us on the way home.
30. June 10, 1993 God grabbed a hold of me. I saw life in a whole new way.
31. That summer before my senior year marked a huge change in my spiritual life and relationships.
32. My senior year of high school I wrecked my first car, a Toyota Tercel, by not putting it in gear and it rolling down the hill.
33. This is also how my brother wrecked his first car, a Toyota Tercel. We both assumed the emergency brake was good enough and just like that, within a few seconds, totalled our cars. My poor parents.
34. After I graduated high school I went to Auburn.
35. I only attended 2 quarters; my dad made me come home due to my 1.5 GPA.
36. Then I went to Jefferson State Community College.
37. Northeast Lousiana University.
38. Montevallo University.
39. Troy State University. (I finally graduated from Troy, 11 years after high school graduation.)
40. While at Auburn I was on the Praise Team at RUF (Reformed University Fellowship).
41. I was a Match Mate at Auburn. Personal assistant/cheerleader/ego-builder for one of the tennis players. I loved tennis.
42. I came home and worked at Lemstone Bookstore in the Galleria.
43. That following summer of '95 I went to live in Panama City for Campus Outreach Beach Project.
44. I worked at McDonald's and LOVED it.
45. I came back home to Birmingham and worked at McDonald's.
46. I was even an assistant manager.
47. I got my first tattoo when I was 20...and yes, I made sure my parents were okay with it.
48. I moved to Louisiana with my parents when I was 20. I didn't want to stay in Birmingham alone.
49. My dad suddenly passed away from a stroke a year later, 4 days before my 22nd birthday.
50. It's probably safe to say my dad was my best friend.
51. Since his death, my mom and I have grown so close that I can say she's my best friend.
52. I met my hubby Ron 3 months after my dad died.
53. The first thing I noticed about Ron: he was wearing Birkenstocks. Birks were a big trend in Birmingham but not in Louisiana...I knew he was special. :)
54. We met at a Christian Coffee House.
55. My boyfriend a few months prior to our meeting told Ron I was from Birmingham, since Ron had lived there, and that he needed to meet me.
56. So after me and "the other guy" broke up, Ron introduced himself.
57. We met in April, started dating in May, and Ron bought my engagement ring in June.
58. My brother walked me down the aisle on July 31, 1999.
59. Ron and I have been married 8 1/2 years and have moved 9 times.
60. Our house is for sale now, so we're close to move number 10.
61. The second thing I noticed about Ron: his legs. He has fine legs!!
62. I've lived in Birmingham, Monroe, Mobile, and Huntsville.
63. I've worked many jobs since I was 14.
64. My first job was at Lifeline Adoption Agency. I answered phones, filed, etc.
65. I worked at "Be Happy Yogurt and Deli" my freshman year of high school.
66. I worked at State Farm during my high school and college summers.
67. I worked at a cafeteria, bank, clothing store, gas station, Baptist Student Union, as a part-time nanny, and more. I seriously can't remember all the jobs I've had.
68. My shortest job lasted 2 days: Lerner at the mall in Monroe. They had me on the schedule until 9pm...I stayed until after 10 to clean and told them I really needed to go. They fired me the next day for leaving before I had finished my duties. I told them it was only right for them to let me use my 50% discount one more time before I was no longer an employee. So I racked up on some clothes before leaving!!
69. I've never been afraid to ask for what I want (see previous story).
70. I'm brutally honest, which Ron loves and sometimes doesn't love at the same time.
71. He says my honesty is what first attracted him to me.
72. The third thing I noticed about Ron: he was genuinely kind.
73. At one point in our marriage, Ron and I lived in a 400 square foot garage apartment that cost us $150 a month. We almost killed each other... :)
74. My favorite color is purple.
75. My favorite candy bar is 3 Musketeers.
76. I hate to shop.
77. I love getting pedicures.
78. I presently have 3 tattoos.
79. I plan on getting my 4th tattoo this summer after Luke is born.
80. I'm 7 months pregnant with Luke.
81. Ron and I already have one son: Sam.
82. Sam was named after his two granddads. My dad's name was Sammy, Ron's dad is named Freddie...we couldn't name him Sammy Freddie Philley, so he's named Samuel Frederick.
83. We haven't picked out a middle name for Luke yet, but we're leaning towards Ronald...
84. I love babies!
85. We were a foster family during my junior high and high school years. We had 18 babies over the course of about 6 years.
86. I love being a wife and mom...it's my dream job. Hard work but so rewarding!
87. I finally ended up getting a degree in Psychology...previously majored in education.
88. Even though I LOVE Huntsville, I still think of Birmingham as home.
89. My mom and her husband Dave are in B'ham along with my brother and his family.
90. I have some wonderful friends here in Huntsville...I'm blessed.
91. My best friend is Stacey and she lives in Boston, MA. We met in college. Which one you may ask? NLU.
92. In general I don't like to read, but I love a good C.S. Lewis book. He's brilliant.
93. My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 10:6 and following: "No one is like you, Oh Lord; Your name is great and mighty in power."
94. I've already mentioned my sis-in-law Jennifer, but there's also Ron's sister, Rebekah. She lives in Montgomery. Her husband is Jeff and they're both teachers.
95. I drive a mini-van and love it.
96. I like reality TV. (even though it's far from real)
97. I wish I had a good nickname. Ron likes to call me something different every few months...nothing ever sticks.
98. I like sports in general, but football is my favorite.
99. Two places I'd like to vacation are San Antonio and Seattle.
100. I want a dog even though it's not practical for our family right now.

That was so much harder than I thought it would be. I hope you enjoyed it Ashley... I enjoyed thinking up things from the past.


our week

We had a pretty normal week...no falling down hills, Easter egg hunts, or otherwise notable events.  Sam did get to see his Pops, who was working in Decatur for the day.  We enjoyed several hours of visiting with him, which basically means I had 15 minutes of conversation while Sam got the other 2 hours and 45 minutes playing, reading, bathing, and eating with his beloved granddad.  Thanks for coming Pops!  We were glad to see you.
Sam has been in to Toy Story the movie for a couple of weeks now.  So I was tickled to find that Toys R Us had a 10-pack of action figures on clearance.  Of course that meant it was movie time at the Philley house.  We popped popcorn and sat down to watch the movie.  Whenever a character would come on that he had, he'd pick it up from the ottoman and play along with the movie.  
Also in this picture he's sporting his new soccer outfit Grandee gave him.  Matching shorts and a jersey and he's stylin'!

We're looking forward to a nice weekend ahead with a few activities:  Hank Campbell and his bride are coming to visit, we have a showing for our house today and an open house tomorrow...so our home should be spotless, normal church stuff, and Ron's on call this weekend.  


Easter Weekend

Looking at all these pictures from our weekend just makes me tired.  We did lots of fun things and made some great memories.  Saturday morning started with Ron running a road race over in Hampton Cove.  He ran 5k in 16:40 and placed third.  He was pleased with his time considering his last race a few weeks ago didn't go as well.

Later in the morning we went with the Jackson family to the Easter Egg Hunt and Parade at Burritt.  Sam got to meet their version of the easter bunny...a man dressed up in colorful attire.  :)

The Easter Egg hunt was fun.  Sam quickly realized he could go a lot faster if he let go of Daddy's hand, so off he went.  He ended up with 7 eggs; he was even more excited when we showed him there was chocolate inside.  On a side note, he's been walking around the house for the past couple of days referring to his eggs as "Easter Party".  We let him sleep with a plastic egg Saturday night and he woke up looking for it in the covers.  He kept saying "Mommy, my Easter Party go?"  (Translation, "where'd that stinkin' egg go?")
We visited some of the barnyard animals.  He made a point to wave to the chickens and say "Hi Chicken, Hi".  There was also a big bunny rabbit in a cage for the kids to look at.  When he got close to the bunny and saw it's poop he said "Look Mommy, raisins".  After laughing, we made sure to tell him those weren't the kind of raisins you can eat.
Saturday night Ron and I went on a date.  We ate at a new Italian restaurant in town;  it wasn't good so I won't mention the name.  But it was still a nice evening of adult conversation followed by some shopping and ice cream.

Sam and I got a quick picture at church.  I'm happy to say that even at 7 months pregnant with almost no clothes that fit I managed to pull off an Easter outfit.  (Thanks again Ron for the shopping date.)  We told him about the true meaning of Easter, but I'm sure he's too young to understand it...maybe next year.  Right now it's about getting to see bunny rabbits and eating candy.
After church we came home and had sandwiches.  I know, it's horrible that I didn't cook a meal.  I'll cook tonight...maybe.  :)  This following picture shows Sam running out of his room after we hid eggs for an indoor hunt.  We counted to 3 and told him to come on out...He was so excited to have another "Easter Party".  We put M&Ms inside the eggs and he devoured them.

To wrap up our fun weekend, we took Sam to his first movie.  I was nervous.  I thought he was too young, that he wouldn't stay focused, that he'd get scared in the dark, etc.  But Ron was ready to take on the challenge.  We went to see Dr. Seuss' "Horton Hears a Who".  It was 88 minutes long plus the 15 minutes of commercials and ads.  Sam had popcorn and Sprite to keep him happy; the theatre even provided a little booster seat so he could sit comfortably in the big seats.  He loved the movie and enjoyed the big screen.  He has already said he wants to go back. 


Our Day

Yesterday my friend Anna came to visit from Birmingham with her husband Brice and son Cole. They're spending a few days of Spring Break showing Cole all that Huntsville has to offer. They've done more here in 24 hours than Ron and I have done in 4 years. Sam has enjoyed his "new friends". He adores Cole and follows him around everywhere.
We managed to get a quick picture of Sam during bathtime tonight.
Anna and Cole were hanging out on the couch tonight. Sam hopped up there and got as close to Cole as he could. At one point, he patted Cole on the head then put his arm around his back. It was so endearing, which is why Anna is making such a funny face in this picture.
But the day didn't start out so sweet. Long story short, the Philley family was outside playing after lunch. Ron ran inside to get something and I decided to playfully chase Sam around with our new bubble blower: Nemo the fish. So if you don't know about our house, our backyard slants and ends with a wall of trees followed by a 3-foot tall concrete wall that drops off into a pit area. I've hated our backyard because of the numerous times Sam has fallen while playing, but today was worse than ever. While running, Sam's momentum picked up quickly and he couldn't stop. He was running out of control down the hill so I began chasing after him. Being 7 months pregnant didn't help. He's screaming "Help, Mommy" and I'm screaming "Please stop Sam!" He couldn't stop and I couldn't catch up. The row of trees stopped him which prevented him from falling into the pit...thank the Lord because he could have really been injured. I was 10 yards behind him the whole time and got there in time to pick him up and hold him close, but only after I fell face first flinging Nemo in the air. The first thing he said to me when I looked at him closely for boo-boos?..."Get Nemo Mommy". It is a miracle he wasn't hurt running full force into a bunch of trees: God was definitely protecting him. I'm so glad he wasn't hurt. I'm another story. I have some kind of hip strain and I'm walking around like a 90 year old woman.


Grocery Game Savings

Let me start by saying this post will have no pictures.  I know, it's a bit different from my usual posts that revolve totally around Sam and Luke.  But tonight's post is all about saving money on groceries.

I just signed on to The Grocery Game.  I heard about this a month or two ago from my friend Becky.  Check out her blog if you want to be educated, informed, and/or entertained.  She's a pretty funny gal!  I didn't want to join because, well honestly, I'm just really lazy and don't care a lot about saving money.  Isn't that pitiful?  But her sister Anna, who is one of my best friends, got on the bandwagon and said it's not as hard as you think.  So I caved.

Long story short, this lady basically tells you what to buy week to week according to the best deals.  You stockpile when the bargains are at their highest, using coupons she tells you to from your Sunday paper, and you end up saving a buttload.  Tonight was my first shopping trip using her system.  I took her list, coupons, and FAQs off her website to Publix and shopped.  Just in case you're wondering, yes I looked like a big dork flipping through pages while standing in the aisles.  But I managed to save $43.26 in one night!  It'll only get better, because my coupons will accumulate weekly and I'll be able to use them on top of the already great Buy One Get One Free deals.  I'm pumped.

So for my girlfriends out there who are in to deals, check out The Grocery Game.


Pictures of Luke

Ron and I got to see some 4-D images of Luke this morning.  It was so fun to see him wiggle around.  He opened his eyes and mouth for us a few times, crossed his feet, wiggled his toes, and more.  Here are a few pictures of him...


Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  I like this holiday because of it's deep history.  Read here for more details.  I especially love "St. Patrick's Breastplate" written in 1889:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.



As we arrived to church, it didn't take long to notice we all looked a little alike this morning.  Yes, somehow all of us young'ns wore black and white without any memo going out.  So for the fun of it, we took a picture.  Amanda missed out on the pic, but she was also dressed similarly.  After the picture, Ashley said it felt strangely like the old sorority days.  I wouldn't know since I wasn't in one, but I'll take her word for it. 
While the moms were getting their picture made, Sam and Virginia were doing a little posing of their own.  Virginia was all dressed up as a girl should be while Sam was in jeans, tennis shoes, and his LSU shirt.  Go tigers!


Pappy, Grandee and Baba Dee visit...

This weekend brought some wonderful visitors...Ron's parents and grandmother.  Sam was in heaven!  We went to a gymnastics class Friday just so Grandee could see what all Sam does.  She got to see him walk the balance beam, swing on bars, and more.

He loves gymnastics and loved it even more with Grandee participating.  She was a trooper;  we were both a little tired at the end of the class.

He especially enjoyed time with Pappy.  They shared a pillow on the couch for a quick nap and did other "manly" things together like playing outside and playing with cars and trains.

He even got some good reading time in with Grandee and Daddy before bedtime.

A fun time was had by all and we hated they had to go home a day early; but we had a great visit and look forward to seeing them again when Luke arrives.


Music Practice

Our small little team from church got together last night at the Burgess home for a little music practice.  It's not often that our schedules align so it was nice to get together.  (And thank you Sarah for the yummy meal.)

As you can tell from this first picture we practiced with intent and gusto.  Scott, Tim, Ron, Amy and Sarah are seen here...along with Graham's feet.  I'm not sure what he was doing, but it probably included him playing with his little one Clayton.  Nice flops Graham!
Noah, Sam and Clayton played good together...sorta'.  Sam was extremely tired so he was a little fussy off-and-on.

The two younger boys got in some good reading time... Sam LOVED this little book; it had some pop-up feature that had him cracking up.

What a fun time to be with friends and enjoy some new music.  We also had the TV on in the background...who would want to miss out on Alabama beating Florida in basketball?


An Afternoon at the Playground

Sam and I went to the park on California Street to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.  It was the place to be...as there were a bunch of kids all over the place.  He met a sweet dog who became an instant friend.  It was a beautiful big poodle; and boy did we have fun playing fetch with her.

We kicked his soccer ball around...he tried sharing it with the dog, but she was only interested in her tennis ball.  There are a lot of rocks and roots to trip on out there, so Sam fell a few times, but we still had fun.  We can handle a few scratches.
And of course we slid down the slide.  I even got in on the action and took a ride down the big slide with Sam a few times.  After the playground we went and saw Ron at work for a minute; then we were off to McDonalds to share an ice-cream.  It was a fun afternoon.


My New Toilet

This will be a short post since a toilet doesn't need much attention; I just thought I'd share the highlight of my weekend with you.  Our hall bathroom has been a thorn in my side for a few reasons...one being the old toilet.  Our 1955 model toilet is loud and constantly in drip-mode and I'd had enough of it.  So I went to Home Depot, bought a new toilet, and thanks to our friend Matt it is installed in my bathroom.  I'm in potty heaven.  :)  It's so easy to make me happy...


Sam our Photographer

This first picture was obviously not taken by Sam, but was too cute not to include.  The following pictures were taken by our sweet Sam after Ron and I came home from a date tonight.  He'd been hanging with the babysitter and was wired up and ready to play with us when we got home.

I love that his "self portrait" is of his feet.  He's either brilliant with the camera or has bad aim...I'm sure it's the latter of the two.


Painting Sun-Catchers

Today Sam painted some sun-catchers from the local Hobby Lobby.  I don't know how much catching of the sun they'll do since they're plastic as opposed to glass.  But we got a train and fire truck for Sam to paint and an "I love you" sign to paint and give to Daddy.  Sam seemed to have fun...yet again the famous tongue sticking out helped  to aid him in his concentration.


We've had a few slow days lately which is the reason for very little blogging.  Sam came home from Mother's Day Out the other day with "Green Eggs and Ham" artwork.  He made a red and white hat (which he refuses to wear) and colored a picture of the cat holding his green eggs and ham.  I absolutely love that he does such fun artwork every time he goes to MDO.  I can't believe his teachers are able to come up with so much for him to do. 
Today we enjoyed the beautiful weather outside.  Ron ran in a 10k up at UAH and Sam and I cheered him on.  Sam did a great job at yelling "Good luck, Daddy" and clapping loudly.  He also found another little boy to play with while we waited for Ron to finish the race.  The little boy named Quint had just gone to the rodeo last night, so he was dressed in his finest cowboy hat and was playing with a bunch of horses.  He shared with Sam and they played pretend-cowboys.  Too funny...

Other than that it's been a slow day.  I left church not feeling well and came home for a nap.  I've rested up and am now prepared to go play Bunco tonight with the girls.  The rule in my house growing up was "if you're too sick for church then you're too sick to do anything else".  But now that I'm a grown-up I get to make the rules...so I'm going to Bunco.  :)