The closing of a decade

December 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm (blogging, memories, random)

I was reading over at The Vanderbilt Wife today and she did a great re-cap of her life this past decade.  I thought it was a great way to think about the last 10 years and highlight some of the major events in my life.  Also a way to remember it for many years to come.  So I apologize in advance if this is super boring,  just know I’m filing this one away for my personal memory bank!

In 1999 I was celebrating New Year’s Eve with my brand new husband on the beach in Destin FL.  We were with some friends & it was a great way to ring in the new decade because we got to celebrate the countdown twice – once for “Georgia Time” and once for “Florida Time”!  That way if the world came to an end when Y2K hit in Georgia, we had at least an hour to prepare – ha!!

2000

  • Working at my church as an Assistant to the Children’s Ministry Pastor and the Pre-School Pastor.
  • Attending school Full-Time.
  • Celebrated my Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary!
  • Graduated from school with a Business Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

2001

  • Took my first post-degree job for a company that I can’t even remember the name of (I didn’t stay very long because they were scum-bags … literally!!).
  • Accepted a job with a now-defunct division of LandAmerica OneStop.  This had nothing to do with my degree, but only to do with a paycheck!  I will however, always remember that job as the place I was when I heard of 9/11.
  • Visited the Bahamas for a summer vacation.
  • Purchased our first car as a married couple – a Toyota 4Runner … which I still drive today!

2002

  • Began my career with Alucid Solution – a user interface company in Atlanta, finally getting to put my degree back to use!
  • Visited some dear friends in California & got to see parts of LA, San Diego & Beverly Hills for the first time.
  • Pepper and I both lost a grandparent this year.

2003 – this year is marked heavily with good & bad.

  • Closed on the house that we still live in today.
  • We lost Pepper’s 18-year old brother to a car accident.
  • Pepper quit his job in the Life Insurance Business because life was short and he didn’t want to sell something he didn’t believe in anymore!  (side note:  He believes in life insurance – it’s important & we have it!!  But he didn’t believe in how the company sold it … not looking out for the customer but only selling what gave the biggest commission!!).
  • Vacationed with my family on an Hawaiian Cruise!!
  • Became an Aunt when Pepper’s sister had her first child.

2004

  • Purchased our first of four “flipper houses”.
  • Began traveling for work a fair bit … DC, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles several more times.
  • Vacationed at El Dorado Royale in Mexico for our 5-year Anniversary
  • Visited the lovely state of North Dakota with some dear friends ~ a real life ranch experience that I never dreamed I’d ever have!!!
  • Found out I was pregnant with Evan in November of 2004 …

2005

  • Finally announced to friends & family that we were expecting in February of 2005 (yes – we waited for 2.5 months … it was our little secret only!!)  I waited an entire month before even telling Pepper!!
  • Water broke just as Pepper was dealing out the poker chips of his last ‘free-man’ weekend party!!
  • Delivered a healthy baby boy 8 days early weighing in at 8lbs 6 oz.
  • Visited the Neurosurgeon with Evan for the most scared moments of my short life as a mommy … all was well though!!
Evan ~ 2005

Evan ~ 2005

Oh my gosh, we’re only half way there!!!

2006

  • Stopped working at Alucid Solution to stay at home full-time with Evan.
  • Vacationed in Orlando with my family.
  • Celebrated Evan’s 1st Birthday with a Luau-Themed Party for our families.
  • Helped my sister-in-law open an All Natural Skincare Clinic.

2007

  • Celebrated Pepper’s 30th birthday in Las Vegas ~ a first time trip for both of us!
  • Wrote my very first blog post!
  • Began working part-time with my sister-in-law  & went back to work part-time for Alucid Solution.
  • Started Evan in a Mother’s Morning Out Program two days a week.
  • Found out I was pregnant with Megan in November of 2007 …

2008

  • Finally announced to friends in family that we were expecting again in January of 2008 (yes – we still waited … but we told everyone a whole month sooner this time!!!).
  • Finished my part-time work with Alucid Solution.
  • Delivered a healthy baby girl 2 weeks early after having to stop & get gas (while having serious contractions) and having to wait in the waiting room for a room to open!!!
  • Celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary over hospital food since Megan chose to come into this world on our Anniversary!!
  • Celebrated my 30th Birthday!!

Megan ~ 2008

2009

WoW – if you made it to the end of this you should entered in a giveaway or something!!!  But sorry, I don’t have anything!  Thanks for letting me remember though!! Did you do a decade recap post?  If you did be sure to leave your link … I owe you the courtesy of reading it all:)

Happy New Year!!!

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Cookie anticipation

December 30, 2009 at 9:09 am (Christmas, Megan, Wordless Wednesday)

Over the holidays we’ve baked our fair share of cookies (and certainly eaten more than our fair share!). 
Megan waiting for a batch of cookies.

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Top ten tuesday … surprises of 2009

December 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm (Top Ten Tuesday)

This is the last Tuesday of 2009.  The last Tuesday of this decade.  So incredibly crazy.  I’m kind of looking forward to saying 2010.  What about you?!?

I know a lot of people like to reflect deeply before a new year, but I’m not that deep.  So, here’s a pretty shallow version of my 2009 reflection.  Also known as a few things I’ve done this past year that have surprised even me!!

1.  Baking a Made-from-Scratch Pumpkin Pie – I didn’t even know there were specific pumpkins to make pumpkin pies with.  Who knew?!  I’ve never even made or had a desire to make a pumpkin pie from a can, so why on earth did I want to try one from scratch??  I have no idea.  But, I’m glad I did.  I used this recipe from Getting Freedom.  It was super easy and tasted pretty darn yummy for my first try!

2.  Attempted a Once A Month Cooking Day – I’ve always been intimidated by freezer cooking.  I’ve always loved the idea, but none the less been intimated for some reason.  But one day of freezer cooking & you’re cured!!  Here’s a recap from my experience with Simply Staci & ohAmanda.  And of course I give all the credit to Ms. Once A Month Mom herself!!!

3.  Homemade Pop Tarts – As in I made homemade Pop Tarts.  Yep, that one definitely surprises me!!!  Why would I make them when I can just buy them at the store?!?  I used this recipe from Once A Month Mom.  It was on a total whim.  I read her post in the morning, realized I had all the ingredients and thought I’d give it a shot.  I liked them better than the kids, but that’s probably because I was trying to make them a tad healthier and used sugar-free jelly and NO icing!!  I’ll have to try the icing & sprinkles next time!

4.  Blogging – I have actually kept up with this thing a little better this year.    I didn’t say any of it was good or interesting, but just a little more frequent.

5.  I signed up for a Blogging Conference – how’s that for trying to keep up with this a little better.  It’s a combination of being excited about attending Blissdom 10 and also being excited about a girls weekend to Nashville!

6.  Became a Pampered Chef Consultant – Yep.  Surprising and not so surprising all in one.  I’m a sucker for those kinds of things.  It was going to be cheaper (in the short run) for me to purchase the Consultant Kit in order to get everything I wanted.   So that’s what I did.  We’ll see how it all works out in the long run!!  But in the mean time (shameless plug to begin), if you’re interested in stocking your kitchen with some awesome products in 2010, you know who to contact!!!  We can have in-real life or online parties!

7.  Losing Weight – Yippee!!!  I’ve needed to do this since before Evan was born.  And then definitely after he was born.  And then really & truly definitely after Megan was born.  And I’m definitely not done.  In fact after this last month I might likely be starting all over again!!  But either way I’m very proud that I actually started a diet and got weight off in 2009.  I should finish the year at 29lbs lighter than I started it.  So I am very happy about that!!  Now it’s on to those last ten pounds (and the extra I gained over the holidays!!).

8.  TwitterI jumped on the Twitter bandwagon in 2009.  And well, I love it.

9.  I let go of my Dining Room – it really broke my heart, but it was time.   We bought this house before we had children.  We really never planned on having children here.  Maybe babies, but not little children with lots of little toys!!  So without a separate play room I had to get rid of the one room we used the least … the dining room!!!  My dining room table has now been replaced with a Dinosaur Table!

10.  My 2010 Goals – one includes running.  That is so surprising to me.  I am NOT a runner.  But for some reason I have a crazy desire to want to be one.  I’ll let you know how that one goes!

So that’s me … 2009 in a nutshell.  What about you?

For more Top Ten Tuesday Lists or to link up your own, visit OhAmanda.com.

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The unexpected company … that wasn’t unexpected at all

December 28, 2009 at 6:42 am (Christmas)

I tend to think that no matter the age, most everyone has a little child in them at Christmas time.  As we get older it’s probably a combination of excitement for giving that one very special gift but maybe also the surprise or excitement of receiving one as well.

I still go to bed Christmas Eve with a little bit more excitement than most any other night of the year. This Christmas Eve was a little different for us.  We had an extended family dinner with my in-laws.  It was nice to see everyone – most of which we hadn’t seen since this same time last year.   However, it was also sad to find out one of the families was going through a really tough time.

We ended up having unexpected company. We invited two of my husband’s younger cousins to spend the night at our house.  We played the Wii, watched a movie, drank Hot Chocolate and just hung out together until early in the morning.   It wasn’t how I had planned our family’s Christmas Eve.  It wasn’t going to be the way I planned our Christmas Morning. 

It was unexpected.

Several years ago, I went to a Vera Bradley Outlet Sale.   I purchased a few things for myself but a lot of things to give away as gifts.  I had given all of them away over the last year or two with the exception of one cute little cosmetic bag.  I had been keeping that one for someone special – but I had no idea who.

Last month we went to a local craft fair. My husband likes to collect unique musical instruments.  He found and bought several unique thumb pianos made from really cool wood and gourds to give as gifts.  He bought one too many.

Earlier this month my husband ordered one “cute little bible” as I like to call them (for a gift for me); however two arrived.  For no apparent reason … it wasn’t even on the order form.

So on Christmas Eve night we had unexpected company.   Two young teenagers would wake up in our home on Christmas Morning.  They wouldn’t be there long as we’d be taking them back to their parents, but still … it was Christmas Morning … a morning that in my opinion all kids and kids at heart should go to bed with a little bit of excitement and anticipation for the next day.

But it was early in the morning after the movie was over and the Hot Chocolate was gone that my husband and I realized our company wasn’t unexpected at all.

That Vera Bradley cosmetic bag that I had held on to would finally be given to ‘someone special’.  That “cute little bible” that just happen to be shipped by mistake would be given to a teenage girl who could be reminded of its promises.  And that unique thumb piano that my husband purchased one too many of would be given to a teenage boy who loved music and could use a reminder that someone loved him.

We all woke up under unexpected circumstances this Christmas morning … but I think God was in the details.   And none of it was unexpected to him!

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The three wisemen just made me feel stupid

December 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm (Christmas)

Fisher Price Little People Nativity

I’m a visual learner. Back in my school days, I could remember a lot of things if I studied long enough.  But it would typically be just pure memorization & then ultimately I’d forget about it after I took the test.  Most of the things I remember for a period of time however, are visual.

Now I grew up in church & at church. If the doors were open, our family was there (and my Dad was always part of the lock-up crew … so we could open those doors whenever necessary!).  I was in at least 18 Church Christmas Plays and have probably seen another 18+ on top of that.  When I think about the traditional Christmas story, I think …

Baby Jesus.

In a manager.

Virgin Mary.

Father Joseph.

Riding a Donkey.

To a Barn.

The Shepards.

And the Three Wiseman brining their gifts.

*Sidenote, all of those things are much more significant than I just gave them credit … but I’m trying to get to the point of this post in a reasonable amount of time.

So fast forward many years all the way up until LAST NIGHT. I was reading The Jesus Storybook Bible* to Evan.  I was reading about the birth of Baby Jesus and it talked about the Wiseman traveling days which turned into several days, which turned into weeks, which turned into months, etc. etc.  before they met baby Jesus!!!  But he wasn’t a baby anymore … he was a CHILD. The Storybook Bible even had a picture of a little boy sitting in his mother’s lap as the Wiseman gave their gifts!!  And they didn’t come to the manger … they came to their house!

Now can I just be flat-out honest & say I HAD NO IDEA!!!! Or maybe I did learn this at one point but then forgot.  I believed the nativity scenes, the church plays I grew up with.  Sure, I’ve read the story many of many times throughout my 31 years of life but like I said in the beginning … I’m a visual learner.

I can honestly say I was floored when I read this.  Of course I had to re-read the story & then today I asked my sister about it & of course she knew that it wasn’t in the manger and he wasn’t a baby-baby anymore!!  She would know that.  So I’ve been doing my research today and I guess I’ve learned today that he was anywhere from about 41 days to 2 years.  I won’t go into detail about all that … again, it’s significant – yes.  It’s important – yes.  But that’s not the main point of this post.

The main point is … So, what else in the world have I missed!!!! And why does every Nativity Scene & every Church Play lump the Wiseman in with the manger?!?!

*And one more sidenote – this is a really great book!!  We haven’t had it that long but Evan is enjoying it a lot & obviously even his mother (aka ME) can learn something from it too!!

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Top ten tuesday … christmas day countdown

December 22, 2009 at 6:22 am (Christmas, Top Ten Tuesday)

I’m making my list.

And I’m checking it twice.

Gonna find out if I can get it right.

Cause Christmas is comin’ in … just three nights!!

Man is it ever true that things come faster as you get older.   It’s going fast enough for me!!!

So I know everyone has a To-Do List right now.  Maybe mine will make you feel better about yours!!  Or maybe it won’t (sorry if it does that!).  But here’s my Top Ten Things to do before Christmas morning!!

1.  Buy three more gifts – I was doing so good until I realized that!!

2.  Make Becky‘s Sausage Ball Recipe – this was going to be for breakfast with the in-laws (it’s a several-year Christmas Morning tradition, but they backed out this year!!)  I already have the ingredients so we’re having a breakfast for dinner on Wednesday night.

3.  Make Paula Deen’s Garlic Cheese Grits – see #2.

4.  Make my family’s favorite Broccoli Casserole dish – because I’ll be taking this dish to my husband’s family Christmas … I think his family thinks it’s the only dish I make!!

5.  Pay the bills – because with Christmas on a Friday I need to make sure we’re paid up for several days!!  A missed bill would not be fun the week after Christmas!

6.  Get caught up on laundry – because I want the hampers empty on Christmas Morning … that would be a Christmas MIRACLE!!!

7.  Stuff the Stockings – it’s a Christmas Eve thing over here.

8.  Have  a “Happy Birthday Jesus Party” with Evan – because I like the idea of that tradition.

9.  Develop some photos – not sure if I’ll remember how to do that – ha!

10.  ENJOY the SEASON!!!  And most importantly the reason for it!

So, did I make you feel better about your list or worse?!?! I’m sure I’m forgetting something!!

For more Top Ten Tuesday lists or to link up your own, visit ohAmanda.com.

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Gingerbread days

December 21, 2009 at 6:04 am (random)

This is what the house looked like on the box …

Gingerbread House

This is what a certain four year old and his one year old sister looked like in action …

Fake smile:)

And this is what our finished product looked like …

Gingerbread House 2009

I was just happy it stood up!!!

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The sisterchicks do christmas

December 18, 2009 at 6:26 am (Christmas, Finer Things Friday, random)

This past Saturday, we had our 10th Annual Sisterchick Christmas Party.  10 Years we’ve been getting together for Christmas!!  These are my very best girlfriends – some of them date back to diapers!!  Seriously.  I wore diapers when I first met ohAmanda and her family.  And now we’re changing diapers on our babies … crazy!!

Since we’ve been having an “official” Sisterchick Christmas Party for 10 years now, we’re pretty good at planning them.  In fact, I think next year’s is already half-way planned!!

Anyways.  Back to this year.

We always have the party at someone’s house.   My husband asked very sarcastically “why don’t y’all go out or something?”  Um (I said very sarcastically) because where would we go that we could spend one hour eating and five hours opening presents and taking pictures?!?!

Christmas 1999

Sometimes getting the date is the hardest part. It’s tough to do and there’s only six of us.  But the key is to plan a date early in the year & know that everyone can make it.  If someone says they can’t come, then we’ve been known to drive 2.5 hours to meet them in a different state!!!  We can’t have a Sisterchick Christmas Party without one of the Sisterchicks!

We can’t just have a get-together for Christmas.  Everything must be planned.  And everything is always theme-based.

Food theme – This is the fun part!!  We’ve had mexican, fondue, chili, soups & salads, pizza, casseroles, and more.  This year we had breakfast for dinner … YUM!

Gift theme – We each bring one big gift.  Sometimes we play steal the gift.  The last several years we’ve drawn names.  Our themes are always silly.  In honor of our 10th Anniversary, our gift theme was numbers.  Our gift somehow had to represent a number(s).  All six of us had a different spin on it.  It’s so fun to see how we each interpret the theme every year.  Explanation of this will require an entirely big & long post … maybe over the holidays!

This year we even threw in an Attire theme –  We’ve never done this before.  But this year, it just seemed appropriate to all agree to PJs since we were having breakfast.  Plus we usually hang out til after mid-night so it made for a comfortable evening & easy to hop right in bed!

Christmas 2009

It’s important to always take lots of pictures:

Pictures of pictures

Add a game or two:

"The" Prize

And have lots of deserts

served on the floor:)

These aren’t just my girlfriends … these are my Sisterchicks!

For more Finer Things Friday or to link up your own, visit Amy at The Finer Things.com.

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Works for me Wednesday … gift wrapping

December 16, 2009 at 12:42 am (Works for Me Wednesday)

Most every Christmas (and birthdays, mother’s days, father’s days, etc.) I do all the shopping … even for my husband’s family.  What a slacker he is!!!  Kidding.  Sort of.  I am also the one to wrap the presents.  So when it’s time to load up the car with presents for each family he doesn’t have a clue what’s going where!  Many years ago, I decided to dumb it down for him … by paper!  

I usually buy 3 different gift wrap rolls in coordinating colors.  I’ll wrap all his family’s presents in one color.  My family’s in another & our personal little family’s presents in a third.  That way, when we’re walking out the door I can just tell him to grab all the wrapping paper that looks like “this”!    

Pretty easy, huh?!?  

It works for me!  For more Works-For-Me Wednesday or to link up your own tips, visit We Are That Family!  

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Conversations with a four year old

December 13, 2009 at 11:17 pm (Conversations with a 4 year old)

On Saturday afternoon we were all sitting in the family room watching a movie together.  Megan was walking around & she picked up one of my Willow Tree figures – it’s a family of three.  Mom & Dad are holding a little baby.  She brought it over to me & I noticed some red markings on the faces.

So, I asked …

Me:  Evan, why is there red crayon on this?

4 yr old:  Well, I colored their faces so they could see their baby.  They couldn’t see their baby before.

Rule #1 - We only color on paper.

How can you argue with that?!?

Linking up to Tiny Talk Tuesday.

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