Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorites of 2011

Favorite Books in 2011:
1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
4. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
5. When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent

Favorite New Foods I Learned to Love in 2011:
1. Mushrooms
2. Roasted tomatoes
3. Quinoa
4. Elephant Ears
5. Red Cabbage

Favorite Accomplishments of 2011:
1. I had zero surgeries.
2. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and nobody said I looked crazy old.
3. I got very crafty and hugely exceeded my goal to make 3 crafts. I made about 18.
4. I cleaned out my car.
5. I learned how to download an app.

Favorite Trips of 2011:
1. Breckenridge, Colorado
2. Myrtle Beach, SC
3. Prosperity, SC
4. Charleston, SC
5. Charlotte, NC

Favorite Sweet Moments of 2011:
1. Hearing Connor say his first word. Waiting a long time. Praying. Then hearing him say a bunch more.
2. Loads and loads of encouraging morning coffee chats with Jennifer.
3. Serving, praying for, and loving the college and young singles at our church.
4. Pizza and a Movie Nights with my sweet little family.
5. Teaching precious 3rd-4th grade girls each Sunday with Susan.
6. Watching Landon learn to ride a bike without training wheels.
7. Watching Reagan pretend to be a teacher.
8. Walking the streets of Breckenridge while eating a crepe.
9. Celebrating my beautiful grandmother's 80th birthday.
10. Trip after trip after trip to Spartanburg to visit my family. I love them!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Precious is.....

...visting Nathan's grandmother, Mom-Mom, at the Lowman Home.

...watching my kids literally turn the nursing home's common area into a playground.

...seeing my 6-year-old play with the toys my husband played with when he was 6. And finding out that his mom also played with them. Realizing that Mom-Mom has kept these same toys for 70 years and is sharing them with her great-grandson.

...wearing the toboggans she made each great-grandchild.

....walking her back to her room, so thankful to have enjoyed Christmas with Mom-Mom.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Days

December 11th: The kiddos stayed home with Miss Stacey while Nathan and I went to our Sunday School class Christmas Party at Holly and Patrick's house. We had a White Elephant gift exchange. Once again, the gift everyone fought over was the 8 x 10 framed photograph of Nathan and me. Completely understandable. Meanwhile, we went home with one of the funniest books on the planet and a turkey hat. Normal.

December 12th: We had our small group over for a fancy pants dinner party. I made place cards out of candy canes because I'm obsessed with Pinterest. My favorite part of the evening was when we all heard fire sirens and the couples without children got all scared while the couples with kids yelled, "IT'S SANTA!!!!!" Who was correct? Come over, look at all the candy in my pantry, and you'll have your answer.

December 13th: Landon got to choose what we did so he chose "singing Christmas carols as a family and cleaning Landon's room". Sneaky, son. Very sneaky. We sang Christmas carols. We did NOT clean his room.

December 14th: Nathan took the boys to church for Music Night while Reagan and I went to see one of my precious former students, Faith Savannah, play Mary in her church children's musical. She was wonderful!

December 15th: I don't remember much about this day except for the chocolate waffles I split with Sally at Outback. Ok. I'm not using hyperbole here....STOP right now. Get in your car. Drive to Outback. And order the chocolate waffles. Sally, are you reading this? Can I get an Amen? Oh, I just remembered what I did that morning. I volunteered in Landon's school by helping first graders play with Chinese yo-yos.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Days 6-10

December 6: Nathan and I went to the deacon Christmas party while the kiddos stayed home for a fun night with Miss Stacey!

December 7: We took the kids to our church to see the children's musical. Our kids aren't currently in the children's choir but it was so much fun to sit beside them as they cheered and clapped for their friends! And afterward, a ton of people told Reagan and Landon, "You did a great job in the musical tonight!" and my sweet kids said, "Thank you." :) Apparently, all children look the same to old people.

December 8: Thanks to Pinterest, I got the idea to make snowman pancakes for dinner. We ended our evening with a Veggie Tales Christmas movie.

December 9: Reagan got to spend the weekend all by herself with Gammy and Papa and Spartanburg. So Nathan and I got a full weekend with just the boys! Friday night, we bought Christmas presents for a 6-year-old we adopted. His mom is having a hard time right now, so we wanted to help her out by providing gifts for him. Landon had an absolute ball picking out just the right clothes and toys for this special little boy. Landon also helped me wrap every single present. I love his heart!

December 10: We took the boys bowling and then out to eat at Monterrey's. The whole evening was hilarious.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The First 5 Days

December 1: We drove through the Living Christmas Story at Union United Methodist Church. The next day, Reagan said "Shalom" to everyone she saw about a million times. We love this sweet beginning of the Christmas season tradition!

December 2: The younger two kiddos enjoyed Fun Night at our church. The older kiddo got to go to his first ever sleepover birthday party. And we got a date night!

December 3: Nathan and Connor went on a Daddy/Son date to eat pizza and ride the carousel while Landon, Reagan, and I drove to Spartanburg to attend The Twin Trees at First North. It was wonderful!
Align Center

December 4: For lunch, we met our long lost friends, the Burdettes, at Five Guys and enjoyed some yummy burgers! In the afternoon, Nathan and I attended "Glorious", a modern Christmas worship service, at Shandon Baptist Church. It was incredible. Nathan and I went to Shandon all through college and our first year of marriage. But it was just too far from our house to keep attending. It was so good to visit! That night, we celebrated our nephew, Jack's, 5th birthday.

December 5: I got to watch the six-year-old stud practice basketball. He's really good. That night, the kiddos took a green bath! After that, our small group came over and for dessert I served them the best Christmas sweet ever....Christmas Tree Cakes. Can I get an Amen? (Tip: They're on sale right now at Wal-Mart for $1.50 per box.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

A little predicament

A couple of months ago, Nathan and I bought some land. 0.29 acres of land. I keep saying, "We bought land" but I'm finding that it's confusing to a lot of people.

Usually, conversations go like this:

Friend: So, how's life? Anything new happening?
Me: Oh, yes, actually. We bought some land!
Friend: That's awesome. I love land! Neighborhoods are the worst. Land is way better. Only the best people buy land.
Me: The land is in a neighborhood. The land is 0.29 acres.
Friend: I'm a huge loser.
Me: Yes, you are.

And then I crack a joke to try to convince my friend that my feelings aren't hurt.

So, I need to come up with a better way to tell people we bought land that's in a neighborhood so people will stop putting their feet in their mouth and feeling terrible about it. I promise I don't care that they hate neighborhoods. I love land, too. And I love neighborhoods. Nathan and I both grew up in "landorhoods"....neighborhoods with tons of land. We are definitely advocates for both. Don't try to pigeonhole us. No sirree.

This is the weirdest blog post I've ever written.

I've been trying to think of what to name our land in a neighborhood.

I don't like "We bought a lot." Because then people would say "A lot of what?"
Heather suggested "a plot" but I think that sounds like "we bought a space to get buried in."
I thought of "We bought some agriculture."
Then I thought of "We bought some horticulture." But then I remembered I'm not exactly sure what "horticulture" means.
I thought of "foliage", "a plain", and "a space filled with living things".

Then Heather suggested "A lot in a neighborhood". But I vetoed that because after all my ideas, that just sounded really boring. So, now I'm convinced it's got to be all catchy and creative and fun. But not have a ton of alliteration. Don't even get me started on over-using alliteration.

As you can see, this is a very serious post. Stop wrapping your gifts and help a girl out. Name our land in a neighborhood!

Heather Ridings Couch, I can't stop laughing.

Homemade, Fun, Simple Advent Calendar

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Yay for Christmas! And yay for Christmas decorations!
Here's the den. The bow on top of the tree is from Carolina Pottery. I picked out the ribbon about seven years ago and the wonderful ladies there made it into a tree topper. Reagan, the 4-year-old, estimates there are 267 ornaments on our tree.

The stocking holders are each engraved with our names and have our baby pictures. Reagan had her picture made in the same dress I wore when I was her age. The stockings are from Target 9 years ago. We were at our friends', Heather and Kevin Couch's, house, and they had those stockings. I thought they were the most perfect stockings I'd ever laid eyes on and they told me they got them at Target. Nathan and I headed there. We went down the stocking aisle, spotted them, grabbed two, and were about to leave when the thought occurred to me, Wait a minute. I love these stockings so much. I want to have them for the rest of my life. When we have children, I want them to each have a stocking. So, that night, in Target, while we had been married only a few months, we decided we would have 3 children. And we walked out of Target with 5 stockings and our jaws hanging open.

This antique lamp sits in our kitchen year round. Usually it sits on a blue plate. I switched it out for a red one because I'm extremely good at decorating. You'll also notice Landon, the six-year-old, added some texture with the mini Lego sets on the plate. Nice touch.
The bird cage is filled with red and silver ornaments. I usually ask Nathan to put the ornaments on garland and display them beautifully over our kitchen cabinet but this year I poured the ornaments into a bird cage. He was stoked about my decision.
The Nativity Set. I made it look normal for this picture. Typically, my children try to cram every single item into the stable. And the 2-year-old loves knocking down the wise men with his sword.
I made those little trees that sit on our photo table. I bought green, foam forms from Michael's, wrapped them with yarn, and added red pom-poms.

This is our cross tree. I have been saving cross ornaments for several years in the hopes that one day I would have a cross tree in our foyer to greet all our guests as they entered. Last year, I found this tree on clearance after Christmas. I love how this sweet, simple tree turned out. Such a great reminder of the One who loves us so very much and is worthy of celebration all 365 days of the year.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast with Pretty Princess

The feast: turkey sandwiches, carrots, grapes and cheese skewers, Rice Krispy treat

My little turkey and me

Her biggest hero, her daddy

Both 4-year-old classrooms feasted together. One class dressed up as pilgrims, the other as Native Americans.

Each child in Reagan's dress got to choose their Native American name. She chose Pretty Princess. Shocking.

The class used their footprints to make feathers for the thankful turkey.

"I am thankful that Jesus died on the cross for our sins." -Reagan, age 4