Friday, December 31, 2010

A lot of Nothing

While we were in Atlanta, Caroline got to take Lanie to get her hair done at the American girl store.

Since we have returned home from celebrating Christmas with Mark's family, we have been doing a lot of nothing.

We put up the Christmas decorations.

We cleaned up the loot from Christmas.

We have played our new Wii games.

And apparently, Will has avoided all cameras. :)

This is Caroline totally in the Christmas spirit!

This is Mark trying to get out of the driveway in his snow covered car. :)
We took my car to the dealer to have a noise looked at and afterwards, Daddy treated us to lunch at Steak and Shake. Be jealous Leigh Ann!
When we returned home, Caroline got out the guitar and her microphone and began singing and strumming away. She SO wants to be a singer/songwriter/performer. I think she looks pretty cute and she writes some great songs about her very eventful five year old life. :)

Happy New Year's Eve to you all!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday

Not too many pictures...I was slightly preoccupied with Christmas lately to snap photos. But here is what I do have...

Linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Recap

WOW! I never thought I would be ready for Christmas morning and now I cannot believe how quickly it ended! :) It was a great Christmas--Will even said it was his best Christmas ever. :)

We spent Christmas Eve with friends playing with the kids and then playing a mean game of Spoons. We laughed until our sides hurt. Then it was home so we could all go to bed and wait for Santa!

Will enjoyed Air Hogs helicopter and motorcycle, an electric scooter and a note from Santa declaring that one gift was too big to fit under the was the basketball goal. As he opened the front door to see what it was, the snow started to was magical.

Caroline loved her American Girl doll clothes, her barbies and her CD player and Taylor Swift CDs!!! She even serenaded us a little!
The picture on the left was the dusting we thought we were going to get. The picture on the right is what it looked like as we left our house Christmas morning and headed to Mark's mom and dad's. We got about 4 inches...which is like 30 feet in Colorado snow! :)

We had great fun playing in the snow...we just are so unprepared for water proof shoes, only one child had snow pants, no water proof name it, we probably don't have it! :)

This tree just screams Christmas to me. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and that your New Year is amazing!

Much love,

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Monday, December 27, 2010

50 Things We Love About Lynn

Today is the birthday of someone very special to our family. She has been in our lives for 8 years. When we welcomed Will into our lives we also welcomed Lynn.

Lynn was new to our church when I was pregnant with Will. I needed a long-term sub for my maternity leave and could not find one. Someone suggested asking the new pastor's wife since she had a teaching certificate. I was intimidated...after all, she was the PASTOR'S wife. I finally had no other I called her. She could not have been more kind and she agreed to do it (mainly because it was half days... :) )...and she has basically been a member of our family ever since.

She toted my child everywhere with her and loved him like her own. When I had Caroline, she watched her for me for 4 weeks...always doting on her and never saying anything ugly about my whiny, fussy baby with colic. She even still lets us all in her house all these years later.

But more than being a babysitter or job-sitter for me, she has been my friend. Sometimes she is the one standing there when I don't want a friend...when I would rather stew in my selfishness or bad attitude. Sometimes she is the one who makes me laugh so hard my sides hurt. Sometimes she is the one who takes my breath away with her beauty or grace. And sometimes she is the one who tells me that Jesus has given me a special crown with velcro that they are easily put on and taken off, depending on my attitude and words. :0 She even makes the sound velcro makes when it is tearing apart whenever she thinks I may have just done something to lose a jewel.

She is my forever friend...she knows too much to ever leave my life. :)

So here are 50 things we love about our Lynn!

1. You don’t send Christmas cards.
2. You have loved our children since they were born—even if they did not come up with a cute, acceptable nickname for you.
3. You are pretty (“and I love her to my heart because she is so sweet”). (Caroline)
4. You did not know you had a double oven until you were heating up food for Bible Study and you were standing there thinking you could use another oven…and there it was.
5. You laughed out loud when you realized you DID have a double oven and you did not even hesitate sharing that story with the group.
6. You have the BEST laugh.
7. Your smile can light up a room.
8. You are positive---always.
9. You give the best hugs.
10. You make the best banana pudding.
11. You love NCIS.
12. You loved Jack Bauer.
13. You let both of my children stay in your Sunday School class for two years…even when they were way younger than they should have been.
14. You know how to use kissy fingers.
15. You, too, have a friend named Miss Kitty.
16. You are the best golf cart driver that GLBC never let on the parking crew.
17. You forget to turn your phone to silent in church and forget to turn it back on when church is done.
18. You know how to make it look like your neighbor’s phone rang in church when it was really yours.
19. You wished that neighbor was next you at that WEDDING when your phone rang and you were caught!
20. You love Pappasitos…and you took me there…and told me what I needed to order…which proves you love me the most.
21. You should have been an FBI interrogator. You can get anyone to spill any information in about 5 seconds—even if they were supposed to keep it a secret.
22. You did not know how to take a day off from work for the first two years you worked at NHE.
23. You love Diet Dr. Pepper.
24. You took my children shopping and out to eat when they were still in an infant carrier and you thought it was fun.
25. You play army men with Will and dolls/barbies with Caroline when they come over.
26. You got asked to pray in front of the WHOLE faculty at our Christmas party and never batted an eye.
27. You talk all through church when I sit with you but YOU never get called down publicly.
28. You love to shop.
29. You always have candy at your house for my kids to eat.
30. You are very competitive and it is rumored that you will even cheat to win.
31. You are a precious friend who will listen to my whining and complaining and my crying.
32. You write your lesson plans in every color of the rainbow.
33. You stand your ground and speak your mind…sometimes without other people realizing you have done it (it is that smile…captivating…hypnotizing).
34. You are a prayer warrior.
35. You are a great sister and daughter.
36. You picked a pretty good husband.
37. You are an amazing mother.
38. You use something called Bartender’s Friend to clean your stovetop.
39. You make THE best carrot cake (even if it did almost kill Caroline). :)
40. You are an amazing judge of character.
41. You were so excited that on your cruise your room had an ocean view. :)
42. You are nice (Will).
43. You saved all of Justin and Kalyn’s toys for us to play with. (Will)
44. You make special desserts for my mom because she said they were her favorite. (Will)
45. You had activities and beds ready for us when we had a “most unfortunate occurrence” in our basement.
46. Your glass is always over-flowing.
47. You are a faithful friend, always seeing the silver lining.
48. You are practical but you know how to enjoy life to the fullest.
49. You were an unexpected blessing in my life just when I needed you but didn’t know I needed you.
50. You are a picture of God’s love, grace and JOY and I consider myself the blessed one in this relationship.

Happy Birthday Sweet Lynn. We all love you (but I love you the most!)!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve


A memory is defined as "a mental impression retained; a recollection." Some memories make us smile. Some make us shake our heads. Some make us cry. And some just make us think.

Christmas is one of those times of the year when you expect memories to be made. Our house, at Christmas, was always THE most wonderful time of the year. Mom loves Christmas...LOVES. Dad does too, but not quite with the same gusto as mom. And I have come to love Christmas just like mom. I don't really know about my siblings but I seem to be more like mom in the buying gifts department and Mark is more like dad ("let's give intangible gifts like love...."). I had a friend tell me that is hard for Scrooge (Mark in this story) to hang out with Santa (me) especially in December! HaHa!!! Christmas always meant mounds of presents under the tree, egg and sausage casserole for breakfast and Kenny and Dolly singing "I Believe in Santa Claus" as we bounded down the steps to see what Santa did in fact bring us. Mom and Dad, thank you for all of the memories you have provided all of us and thank you for always emphasizing the true meaning of Christmas. I love you!

I asked my siblings to share their fondest Christmas memories with me. So here it goes.

First up: Leigh Ann

My favorite Christmas memory in our house growing up can be summed up in one word - anticipation. Christmas was counting down the days with the felt "pin the ornament on the Christmas tree" advent calendar...Christmas was seeing the number of present under the Christmas tree grow astronomically (as each pair of socks was wrapped separately!)...Christmas was cookies and lights and hot chocolate and Christmas specials on TV...Christmas was the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve...and finally, Christmas was waking up in the morning hours before we could wake up our parents and literally counting every second until..... Thanks Mom & Dad! It's still Christmas like this at your house :)

Next is Anonymous:

I have many wonderful Christmas memories. The Christmas season was always a magical time in our home...almost as special as the 4th of July!! My parents went overboard every single year...even the year we moved from Germany back to the United States and had to spend Christmas morning at Grandma's. There were always special touches (notes from Santa, thoughtful gifts, big surprises); we always enjoyed a big, fancy meal; and we always went to the movies on Christmas Day. But my favorite Christmas morning is actually the one where I ruined Christmas. I was 3rd or 4th grade, maybe 8 or 9 years old. We were forbidden to come downstairs on Christmas morning before my parents. They had to set up cameras and make the coffee (not necessarily in that order I have learned!) before we could see what Santa brought.

Well, this particular year, I woke up insanely early and was too excited to sleep. No one else was up, so I decided to take a peek to see if Santa had come. I crept downstairs, surveyed the goods, and discovered that Santa had brought me an extra special present that required my presence in the basement. I was feeling a little guilty about breaking the rules, but instead of turning around and heading back to bed and not fully ruining the surprise of Christmas morning, I went on down to the basement, too! Shockingly, I found the most fabulous balance beam that a young budding Nadia Comaneci could own in her own home!! WOW! I completely didn't see that one coming! I certainly hadn't asked for that -- who would ask for a balance beam? That's like asking for a pony - you just know you aren't going to get it. And then it hit me. This was the most fabulous present Santa had EVER brought me. How was I going to feign surprise in a couple of hours? The details of my acting performance later that morning are not important; I'm not sure anyone knew - or maybe they did and they just let me stew in my own guilt all day. What I do remember is feeling positively AWFUL all day, and the next, and the next...and so on...every time I stood on that beam. I was a Christmas fraud - a greedy child too impatient to wait. I never made that same mistake again, but I have never forgotten that feeling.

My walk with Jesus often feels fraudulent in the same way. I want what I want; I want to see it early and know what's coming; and I want it to please me. But that's not at all how Jesus works. He is constantly reminding me to be patient, to not worry about tomorrow, to wait on Him. And I find myself feeling like a little girl on Christmas morning when He presents His gift of love, forgiveness and abundant blessing on my undeserved life. Perhaps that is why my favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 1:3 - God reminding me that He has already given me all that I need in the person of Jesus Christ. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:3-6) (and now it would be appropriate to also apologize to my mom, who is no doubt mad at me after reading this...sorry! I DID learn my lesson!)

And last but not least...Bobby.

I don't think I have a favorite Christmas memory!

I can honestly say that I do not remember one specific Christmas at seems like they all run together. I mean, I can think back on when I got a game or something like that, but I can't remember how old I was or how much it really meant to me. I mean, this is sad, but from 1993 to 2003, I don't remember any of our Christmases...

Give me some prompts from your mind to see if it jars my brain at all so I can remember some of the Christmases...

It's sad on my end that I can't remember.

Seriously, Bobby--ten years of no memories--you might should look into that.

What is YOUR favorite Christmas memory?

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday

I am late...but better late than never...right? I made up for it with lots of photos! :)

Dress/tunic: Matilda Jane
Jean jacket: LOFT
skinnies: Ann Taylor
Boots: Ariat (ebay)
Jewelry: Silpada
Yuck on this outfit!
Tee: Gap
Sweater: Old Navy
Leggings: Gap
Boots: Uggs
Told you that you would see this shirt was party day at school!
White L/S tee: Gap
Tee: made by my friend Kristi
Jeans: Buckle
Boots: Ariat (ebay)

Yucky Saturday weather...and even yuckier outfit! :)
Shirt/Pants/Socks: Nike Outlet
Hat: Chapel Hill Sportswear

Tunic: Ruche
Black skinnies: Ann Taylor
Boots: Uggs
Scarf: Old Navy
Black shirt: Gap
jacket: Kohls
Pants: NY& Co
Shoes: Belk

Black L/S: Gap
Sweater: Kohls
Jeans: Buckle
Boots: Ariat (ebay)
Hat: Ann Taylor
Jewelry: Silpada

Linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Know Me?

We saw the newest Narnia movie last weekend. It was so good. My kids have been running through the house with (fake) swords yelling, "For Narnia" in their best British accent. It is super cute. I love them.

While the movie was ending, the lion, Aslan tells Lucy, the little girl, that she will not know Him in her world the way she knows Him in Narnia. She has had time to get to know Him there so she will recognize Him in her world.

BAM! God just hit me upside the head with that...He gives me so many opportunities to know Him in my prayer time and my quiet time so that when I jump out into the big, loud world, I will recognize Him amongst the hustle and bustle of life. Am I listening? Am I soaking Him in? Do I realize how precious that time is? No. I get too caught up in ME and spend less time focused on Him. I am not proud of that. I am just being honest.

I will jump through all kinds of hoops to please all kinds of people...but will I jump through the hoops He asks me to? Sometimes...but I am like a kid in my class..."what's in this for me?" I wonder if I will ever figure out that dying for me was more than enough to show me how much He loves me?

I think sometimes I do not want to jump because I am so afraid of where He will ask me to land. What kind of sacrifices will I have to make? Is doing this going to ostracize me from those I am trying to impress?

Selfish thoughts, I know. But they are the thoughts that go through my mind. And oftentimes, sad as it is to say, I allow these fears to dictate my actions; or my inaction. You know, I went on mission trips in high school--was EXCITED to go--twice to Jamaica and once to Africa. I was so pumped...but not necessarily for what God will do in my life, but more because I could say, "I went on a mission trip to _________."

Some of that was just my baby faith, but some of those decision making skills have stayed around. You know, God knew my intentions were not completely sold out to Him, but He used me anyway. And He taught me. He stretched me. He grew me. I came back changed--each time.

So why can't I find the baby faith I need to jump and follow Him completely now? Maybe because I do not spend the time with Him that I need to in order to know Him better? Maybe because I need to grow my faith and look deeper for Him in my quiet time...

He is there...waiting for me. I should probably go...

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Called Out in Church

Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you did not do?

Yeah, me too. It comes with the territory of getting in trouble constantly for things I DO actually do.

But two Sundays ago, I was just sitting there in church, minding my own business. A sweet family sat down behind us. They are in our Sunday School class. We had not been to Sunday School that day so she leans down to say hi and tell me she is glad to see us. We talk about work (we are both teachers) and the conversation moves to more work talk. Only this time, me--the girl who can talk to anyone--was not talking. I was just listening.

In the background of that conversation I hear someone say, "Kerry, I am starting up here." I half think, "Hey--I am talking to a Kerry, but surely our pastor is not talking to this Kerry...he doesn't really know her...he wouldn't call her out in church." So I do not turn around--I just keep listening to her talk. Then I hear...

"Hey, Paige, I am trying to get started here. Pay attention." (I put quotes around that but in reality I can not say with 100% certainty that those were the exact words he said.) I do know, however, with 100% certainty that I almost died. I laughed. I looked at my husband who was shaking his head and said, "I wasn't even talking." He just patted my leg and looked away--he said later he did not want Charlie to call him out too. You know...he didn't want the bad apple to drag him down too. Thanks for the support babe.

When it was time to greet people, Kerry said, "Paige, I am so sorry. I got you in trouble." I smiled and laughed and said it was fine. She then added, "I haven't been called down in church since, probably, the sixth grade." I laughed again and thought, "Yeah, it's been about a year for me." :) When I mentioned that to my pastor later, he laughed and said, "It has been less than a year, Paige." :) :) I know, mom. You are so proud, aren't you?

You know what is so funny? THIS time, I was not talking. I was just listening. And the chances of that happening again (getting called out in church when NOT actually talking) is slim to none.
I know, mom, proud again, right?

Have you ever been called out in church?

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What I Wore Wednesday--fail

I am a failure again...I am sorry. We were home sick on Sunday...we had a snow day on Monday (with no snow...haha...I LOVE the south) and I forgot to take pictures on other days. Tis the season, right? The season to forget!!!!!!! Sorry!

Here it goes...linking up with Linds at the Pleated Poppy...join is not as hard as I make it look! :)

My first is my fav for obvious reasons. I am a teacher...and I am not all about the theme sweaters...but this is one shirt I am lovin'. My friend Kristy made it for me and you WILL see it again in the next few WIWWs.

Long sleeved white tee- Old Navy
T-shirt--handmade for me
skirt: Ann Taylor
leggings: Gap
boots: Uggs
and for your viewing pleasure...more pics of the shirt!
this one is because I had someone ask me what I looked like because the camera is always in my face. :) Here you go. Not too bad of a hair day...right Genn...(please say yes!)?
Look....even Caroline has one!!!!

haha...look at how my leggings are not even...cuz I did not have my long warm socks on it...goof ball.
shirt: gap
tunic: belk
leggings: old navy
invisible boots: Uggs
Me helping Caroline get her "Christmas on" at a craft making party!
shirt: old navy
gray tunic: Ann Taylor
Scarf: ???
Jeans: Ann Taylor
boots: three guesses and the first two don't count...Uggs.

Pajama Day at school and 15 degrees outside. Southerners don't do well in cold and I had no pajamas thick enough to keep me sweatpants and a spirit shirt for me...I know... you are jealous! Try to contain yourselves.

I will leave you with my favorite birthday present I received this year...
A PURPLE Coach purse!!! Thanks mom! You rock!

What have you been up and let me see!!!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Someone's Birthday....

Happy Birthday Mom!!! I have been blessed with THE BEST mom in the world. She is a wonderful woman of God, an awesome, giving mom, a dedicated sister, a faithful friend and just this year she added cancer survivor (I cannot even believe I just wrote that). I am very proud of the strength and poise my mom showed throughout her fight and I have never been more honored to be her daughter.

I wrote about my mom last year on the Fourth of July and I really feel like this sums her up. She rocks and so today is all about her!

So, have I mentioned that I have THE most patriotic mother in the world? Well, I do...she is all about America and what it stands for...she is all about love of country...she is all about honor, truth, respect...and flags.

My brother probably summed it up perfectly last night at dinner..."Our mom could open up a flag surplus store." No truer words have probably ever been spoken. Ever.

My mom is the daughter of a World War II veteran. She married a man in the Army and spent their first 28 years of married life traveling all over the world as her soldier marched from job to job. She kissed him good-bye as he left to fight in several wars--never knowing if it would be the last time she saw him. She was a rock while he was gone. As a child and as a teenager, when my dad was deployed, you would never know she ever worried. I never saw her cry about his absence...except for when he returned! But those were happy tears. She kept our family together; she carried on in his absence; she stood strong. She was a proud military wife. She tied the yellow ribbon around her tree (or trees as was the case for my mom)...she wore her flag pin faithfully...each day bringing with it a deeper sense of pride...a stronger love of country...and more flags. :)
She has so much "Americana" stuff now that we have one Christmas tree that holds ornaments collected over the years (as well our dog, Rotor's--don't ask about the name-- collar). But we also have the American Tree...the one that plays the Star Spangled Banner when you turn the red, white and blue lights on. My mom LOVES America.

And she has rightfully earned the title I have given her as the MOST Patriotic Woman on Earth. Because of her love of the USA, we kids all try to be with her on the Patriotic Woman's Big Day (July 4th...for those of you confused). And we go all out with red, white and blue.... and, of course.... flags. Our children have all learned at a very early age that the flag does not touch the ground...EVER! And our children have learned to also have that love for America. They wave a flag like a professional. They can sing all of the patriotic songs (sometimes doing a better job remembering the words than Grandpa does). I am proud of my patriotic mother...proud of who she has been in tough times in this country and proud that I can call the Most Patriotic Woman on Earth my mom.

We love you Grandma! Happy Birthday! We even got you red and blue balloons!

The static on these balloons was just too much for Caroline's hair to take! :)
Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday

I am a What I Wore Wednesday failure this week. I guess I forgot to take pictures...the sad thing is that I really don't remember why I did not take any more pictures. How sad is that? Must be the age...

tank (you can't see): Daisy Fuentes--Kohls
Shirt/Tunic: Ruche
Skinny Black Pants: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Uggs

We went to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game---our team lost but it was my birthday so it was still a winner kind of day! :)

Grey Long-sleeved shirt: Old Navy
Black shirt: Belk
Skinny Jeans: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Uggs
Hat: Ann Taylor

This is me and Caroline before we left for the game...she is decked out in her South Carolina cheerleading outfit and mommy's lipstick. Glad she got hers on because I apparently forgot mine!

And that's all I have! Sorry...I will do better, I promise! I am linking up with The Pleated Poppy.

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