Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A White Christmas!

What an awesome surprise today! It started snowing around 11:00 this morning and hasn't stopped. We spent the day at the historic Dayton House in Worthington with Britney's dad's family. It was a great day with great food, cards and time with family.

These pictures are some I took really quick once we pulled into the driveway tonight. So far we've gotten about six inches of fluffy white snow and it hasn't stopped! I don't know how much we're due to get, but what a perfect way to end this Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

The last few weeks have been hard for me. Harder than I want to admit. Christmas is always a special time with my family. We have breakfast together and then go back to mom's house for whatever shenanigans she may have cooked up for the day. There are always lots of presents, but those are balanced with what's really important - Jesus' birth and some great family time. I'll miss that this year.

The Lord has used this year to teach me a lot of things. Faith, giving, trusting, the list goes on and on. When we decided to move, my gift of faith was really put to the test. But, there's a saying that I think is very true - "Faith is not believing that God CAN; it's knowing that God WILL." It was on the wall of our old house and was the last thing we looked at before we walked out the door to move here.

My whole family's faith was tested this year too as we watched my mom go through her battle with cancer. True, maybe it was harder on my sisters having to be there with her and watch her after her treatments. But, it was hard on me too - not knowing exactly how she was doing and only being able to see her over the webcam. It was so hard to leave Georgia knowing that she was sick. But, because our Lord has greater plans for her, she is now in remission and is doing well!

Letting go of Ashlyn when she started kindergarten was harder than I imagined. Preschool last year was a breeze! And even the first week of kindergarten was pretty easy. But there were several days I walked home from school with tears in my eyes after leaving her at her classroom door. I usually spent that time praying for her, her teacher and anyone that she may have contact with that day. Our prayer for her is that she would be a light in the school - that people would see a difference in her and want what she's got.

Ashlyn loves school. She's learning to read, making great friends and becoming more independent by the day. It's hard to watch that some days, but every day, I'm reminded that she's not mine to begin with - she's only "on loan" to me. It also helps knowing that she goes to a school where the principal believes in Jesus and the teachers really care about her. Some new things have developed in her too! She's quick to say I'm sorry and really cares about her friends. Her brother is sometimes a different story :) She's also really developed a love for animals and dancing.

My patience was also tested many days having only Carter to entertain. He is still the little tornado and has gotten into more than his fair share of trouble. He'll make a mess in a blink of an eye, but then flash you that mischievous smile and in an instant you're laughing with him. Somewhere along the way, he lost his love for Eeyore, but replaced it with a love for combines, tractors and football. Rarely a day goes by that he isn't running around with his gloves on and his football tucked under his arm. Apparently you can't carry a football without gloves on - you know, just like the big boys!

We spent our summer days at the lake or at a parade. Our falls days at football games and raking leaves; and so far our winter days inside playing or outside shoveling snow and building snow forts.

Today I went to WalMart to get the things I'll need for next week when Britney's family comes for Christmas. For some reason, getting that done and having a good talk with my mom this morning makes my spirit lighter. Christmas is a magical time of year for me. It's filled with wonderful memories and knowing that Christ was born, just so that he could die for ME! Spending time with family and opening gifts around the Christmas tree are what I'm looking forward to most this year.

I'm ready for whatever the holidays may hold now. I'm ready to put my nose to the grindstone and get my house cleaned for our company. I'm ready for our "virtual" Christmas with my family over the webcam. Years ago that wouldn't have been possible! But most of all, I'm ready to show our kids that even if you're far away from family or in a new place where you haven't figured out exactly what your traditions or plans are, Christmas can be magical because of what it truly means.

Wishing you a magical season of happiness and peace - knowing that Christ was born to die for you!

Want more pictures of our 2007? Click here :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mobile Murals

My friend Beth has a company called Mobile Murals Atlanta. She's one of my good friends but she's also a very talented artist. She did murals in both of my kids' nurseries and did a lot of work at the Journey Church in Georgia in the kids' rooms.

Anyway, she recently finished this nursery. I thought it was incredible! There are Beanie Babies that are velcroed to the wall. Can you tell which are the Beanies and which are painted on the wall? I could only tell on some of them. I thought it was a great idea and just had to share the beautiful work she did!

Anyway, when you get a chance, check out her website - www.mobilemuralsatl.com. The pictures of the girl on the moon are from Ashlyn's nursery in our first house. Now she paints on craft foam so that you can take at least parts of the "mural" with you if you move. We have Carter's airplanes from his nursery and she was nice enough to repaint the little girl on a canvas for us when we moved from Cumming.

If you ever need artwork for your child's room, call Beth! She does great work!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Snowy Pictures

I finally remembered to upload the pictures of the kids playing some more in the snow. We hadn't had any new snow for awhile. I'm just hoping what's here stays around until Christmas!

Click here to see the new pictures.

A Very Frugal Christmas

This always seems to be how Christmas is at our house. Partly because I LOVE to find bargains and see how far I can make the money go. Partly because there's never enough to buy gifts for all the people I want to buy gifts for. My love language is gifts, so I love to give them as much as I love to get them. I really enjoy shopping for gifts for people - finding the perfect thing for that special person.

Well, this year there were about 10 families that I wanted to give something to at Christmas, but I was having a hard time coming up with something special that wasn't going to cost a fortune. So, one day while shopping at Hobby Lobby, I came up with the idea of painting flower pots and filling them with goodies to give out to our friends.

I know we're not the only ones in this situation. Seems like everyone I talk to has people they want to give something to at Christmas but just can't afford to. So, I thought I'd use my blog as a way to "give" something to all of you! If you ever want to copy this idea, here's your chance :)

Not including the ingredients for baking (which I was going to buy anyway), each pot cost me less than $2 to make - it was actually probably closer to $1.25-$1.50. You can't buy containers for that!

Here in the Midwest, it seems that Hobby Lobby is the best place for buying the pots. They were only $0.99 each. Then I used some red acrylic paint that I already had and painted green polka dots on them, again with acrylic paint I already had. Once that was all dry, I used glossy polyurethane (again, that I already had) and painted the outsides of the pots to make them shiny. I bought the ribbon on sale at Hobby Lobby for $1/roll and only needed part of 1 roll. Hot glued them to the top rim of the pot so that if I needed to stack the pots inside of each other for some reason, it wouldn't smash or rip the ribbon off. Finally, I found the tags at Ace Hardware next to the keys. This is probably the best deal of all! For a bundle of 10 tags, it was $0.29!!! Going to a scrapbook store to buy these would've been a lot more than that!!

So, there you go! If you get one of these pots, please don't think I'm cheap :) Just know that you were special enough for me to pull out all of my creative stops to come up with a way to show you you are loved by our family at Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One Word

Last week I got an email from my sister Jill, asking me to describe her in one word. I have to admit, it was pretty hard for me to do! I tried to think of something that would describe who she is in her heart - not just on the surface. So, I came up with savvy. If you know Jill, I think you'll agree that's a pretty good description. By the way - Webster defines savvy as "practical know how." Jill knows how to practically do a lot of things!!

Now, enough about her :) Just kidding. I thought I'd share what some of the responses were from friends that I sent the same email to. I thought my friends did a pretty good job of describing me, or at least the person I hoped I was. So, here goes:

I also got supermamalicious and fabulicious, but those aren't real words, so I'm not sure what to make of them :) Hopefully something good!

I'm happiest in the kitchen or in my craft room, cooking or making something (domesticated and creative). I LOVE to have fun :) Intuitive? I'm not sure I wouldn't known that about myself, but my mother-in-law saw it. I hope she's right! Loyal and consistent - those are qualities I hope I always portray. The loyal one is really important to me. I've had far too many "friends" in my life who suddenly decided it was more important to stab me in the back than to stay my friend. Loyalty is a big one for me.

Which, ironically brings me to our dog Maggie. She's really a good, sweet dog. She's great with the kids and rarely gets in trouble - until she runs away. But, I don't like her AT ALL. If it were up to me, she'd be living with someone else now. She's NOT loyal (yes, we have a DOG who is not LOYAL). Our old dog, Hunter, was so loyal, he didn't leave my side for days after Ashlyn was born. He didn't like her getting my attention and not him. For me, he was the perfect dog because he was LOYAL and I miss him every day.

So, Lori, thanks for the ultimate compliment in your one word. I hope I'm always a LOYAL, fun, intuitive, creative, consistent, domesticated woman!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today is my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. What a long time to spend with someone :) Just kidding. They are heading to Disney World to celebrate. I hope they say hi to Mickey for us.

I just wanted to say thanks to mom and dad for being such wonderful examples of a loving husband and wife over the years. Growing up over the years, I hardly remember them fighting or being mean to each other. Sure, they got frustrated and I'm sure they did take each other for granted sometimes, but I remember them always loving each other.

I hope my kids can say the same about my marriage when we've been married 40 years.

Happy Anniversary! We hope you enjoy your trip and can celebrate 40 more years together!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Covered Up

That pretty much describes how I feel. I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done in the next couple of weeks before Christmas. Add in the snow and the extra "chores" that go along with that and you can imagine how busy things are here. I shoveled the sidewalk for the 4th time yesterday. The snow plows come along and dump snow from the street over the sidewalk I just cleared 2 days ago!

Want to see picture of the snow and imagine what life is like at 5 degrees? Click here to see our first snowy experience. We have about 5 inches on the ground right now and there is a little more predicted for tomorrow. Winter has definitely set in and so far hasn't been too bad. It's cold, sure. But if you have the right clothes (when are my boots going to get here?), it's really not too cold. The kids ask to go outside and play in the snow every day. They love it.

We have a lot more snow than what you can see in the pictures. The ones of Carter by the snow fort were taken last weekend, after we got the 5 inches. I'll try to get pictures of him by some of the piles made by the snow plow. They're as tall as he is!

Looks like we may have a white Christmas after all!!