Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Traditions... Advent Devotions

I just love Christmas ... it is probably my favorite holiday. It is such a special time to celebrate the birth of Christ and to make memories with our family. The past few years, we have intentionally tried to do special things each year ... making traditions and special times with one another. We pray that our children will remember these times, holding a special place in their hearts.

One of my favorite traditions is the advent devotions we do each night as a family. We have a special calendar and book that we read. The kids really like doing this together. The little ones are excited about participating this year and our bigger ones are taking more of a leadership role as they are reading the passages to their siblings. Love this time with them!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Week...

We spent the week of Thanksgiving in Georgia. It was fun to visit with all of the girl cousins from Macon, GA. The weather was warm, actually hot a few days. It was such a relaxing week spending time together with family. We are thankful for that time away and to make memories with friends and family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Still Thankful...

I am still thankful even though I haven't been posting...

I am thankful for this week away with my family. It is good to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and have an entire week of 'down' time. Brian gets to spend each day with us and we are loving every minute of it. We wake up a little late and snuggle in the bed with Carter (since he wakes up first). We get to eat breakfast, lunch and supper together - it's been so nice being together all day!

I am thankful for less laundry this week. There is a limited amount to wash and that is so great. I think maybe I should just get rid of the rest of our clothes when I get home! ;)

I am thankful for the warm weather this week. The kids have been able to play outside. I love sitting on the porch watching them laugh and play.

I am thankful for the tradition of our Thanksgiving dinner - especially the same dishes we have each year. I love the broccoli casserole, the carrot casserole, and the cornbread dressing. Mmmmm - can't wait until tomorrow.

I am thankful .... for this month of being thankful. It has been a blessing each day to remember how much I have to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful... playing catch-up again...

The end!! Time was 2:22...

Afterwards with my people - they were so excited to see me and I was excited to see them. That thought carried me the last mile! :)

So today I am thankful that the half marathon is over!! :) It was fun (in a different way). Not 'woo-hoo' fun but fun like an exciting, nerve-wracking, adrenaline-pumping sort of way. I actually felt good the entire time and enjoyed running the route around Richmond. I never thought I could do it and am proud that I did. Looking back, 3 out of the last 4 weekends, I ran double digits runs so needless to say, my legs are tired!

I am also thankful that my husband got all 5 kids up and dressed and to the CRAZY race site downtown. He's such a trooper! I am thankful he didn't have to hurt the big tall man who tried to step in front of the kids after they had waited patiently for a spot to 'open up' so they could see me! ;)

I am thankful that he let me take a nap yesterday and basically do nothing the rest of the day!

I am thankful that he rewarded me with a Chick-fil-A peppermint chocolate chip milkshake last night.

I am thankful that he let me sleep in until 9:00 this morning while he got up and fed the kids.

Yes, I am blessed!!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Thankful today for ... our sweet homeschooling friends and the fun Thanksgiving feast we shared together today. Priceless memories of 20 or so little Pilgrims and Indians ... thankful for the blessing of sharing school times together with these friends!

Also thankful for the opportunity to go to our fellowship group Bible study tonight. Love studying the Word with other believers - and the best part is that I got to go with my best friend - and we were able to spend 45 minutes in the car talking on the way there and back! It's been a blessed day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This afternoon, I sat for just a few minutes...and it was great. I find myself rushing from thing to thing ... always thinking of the next task that needs to be done, the next thing that I can check off my list. It makes life seem overwhelming at times - and I know that I'm not cherishing time with my children.

One of those sweet things just came up to me and sat by me so ... I just sat with him. And I cuddled with him and kissed his sweet head, knowing that it wouldn't be long before he ran off to play some more. What a gift - to love on him ... even if just for a minute.

I know I need to find more minutes in each day to do just that. If there's one thing I've learned recently, it's that the list never gets done, there's always more to do ... so why rush so hard and so fast to complete it all and miss the most important things right in front of me?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful ...

Thankful that I read this quote today:

The cross must be my only story. I meditate today on what it looks like at each turn of my day to rest in its shadow.

Go read this blog for more truths like this ... prepare to be wowed!!

Thankful...I Have Some Catching Up to Do...

We are so thankful for the parents and grandparents in our lives! We are blessed that our children can know their grandparents and that their grandparents also love the Lord. Brian's parents live in the same town as us (what a blessing)! It is so special to be able to share our lives with them and to have special 'babysitter's who truly love our kids!
My parents live in Georgia but make an effort to visit several times a year while we also plan several trips down to see them as well. It's nice to get concentrated visits with them and see them love on their grandkids! We cram in as much fun as possible whenever we have visits.

We know that it is a rare thing for kids to know and love both sets of grandparents! We treasure that blessing and thank God for it so often. We love you all!

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Today I am thankful the the little things: being able to run after the sun comes up, a husband that cooks pancakes for everyone on Saturday mornings (and today he unloaded and loaded the dishwasher too), watching my kids laugh and play together this morning, a warm and cozy home, laughing with my husband, and just being together as a family today...

Running Update!

The half marathon is next Saturday so by this time next week, I'll be done (probably in more ways than one). But I think I am actually getting a little excited.

The training plan I have been following had my longest run at 10 miles. But I have found that for me, half the battle in running is mental. I know some people say "if you can run 10 miles, you can run 13." But for me, I feel like 'if I can run 10, then I can run 10.' So I was hoping to try and do a 10-mile and a 12-mile run before the race.

A couple of weeks ago I did a 10-miler and it went better than I thought it would. Last week, I did my first 12-miler! I just decided to take it one mile at a time, trying not to think about how much farther I had to go. It went pretty good for the majority of it - but I did feel like I was slowing down on the 11th mile and then the 12th mile really hurt - pain in muscles that had never hurt before. I decided to just listen to my music and take it slow - my goal was just to keep going without stopping.

I finally made it and was sooo glad to walk again. I walked it out some and then got in the car to head home - then I found out really quickly that I hadn't walked it out enough! My calves started just burning like fire and my calves had never ever hurt after running before. I called Kim when I got home and she told me to ice them so I did the ice bath thing and popped motrin and that helped tremendously.

I'm sure I will get sore at the end next weekend but I feel better just mentally knowing that I have run 12 miles before and just have to go a little bit further this time. Hopefully adrenalin and the sight of the finish line will help me do that last mile!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thankful for Surprises...

This past weekend we had the opportunity to surprise my parents for Halloween. They live about 11 hours away in Georgia and had no idea we were coming! We showed up at their door with the kids dressed in their costumes saying 'trick or treat'!
It was worth the ride just to see their faces! It was one of the first times my Mom didn't know what to say! ;)
The crew getting ready to head out - for a 3 hour candy collection!! (We had no idea)!
I think they were still in shock at this point.
It was fun for the kids to ride in the back of the car- but it got tiring lifting the littles in and out of the car - so I offered to drive and Brian did all the lifting (what a man)!
One of the many houses...One house left a big bowl out even though they weren't home...On Sunday evening, we got to go to the Fall Festival at Mom and Dad's church. I think Mom told everyone she saw the story of the weekend! Cute to see how excited they were.
The kids loved playing on the church playground.

Free pony rides...
Yee-haw Larry Boy!!

Needless to say, it was a whirlwind of a weekend and I think we are still recovering from traveling 22 hours within 3 days but it was so fun and such a great memory. I am thankful that I had a husband who thought of doing this and then sacrificed to make it happen!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


It's that time of year again to focus on Thanksgiving (thanks for the reminder Kelly and Kim). (I'm a day behind getting started...)

Today I am thankful for freedom ...

freedom to vote...

freedom to speak ...

freedom to believe in God...

freedom to live our lives for His glory... (without persecution)

freedom to worship with other believers ...

I often take these freedoms (and many more) for granted. Today I am going to vote and let my voice be heard, all the while trusting in God's sovereignty over all things.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I started back running about a year ago. Running is a term I use loosely, because I'm not really a runner. I mean, I go out and I run, but I still don't feel like a runner. I'm still not very fast but my goal is to just go the distance without stopping.

Anyway, I decided a few months back that I would 'maybe' do the Richmond Half Marathon in November. I said 'maybe' because I wanted to leave the door open for me to back out of it. So I ran through the summer (which is miserable in the heat and humidity) and did a few races the past couple of months.

A few weeks ago, I paid my money and signed up for the half! I can't believe that I am actually paying someone money, a huge chunk of money, to torture myself for 13.1 miles. But since the money is paid, there is no backing out now!

Training has been going pretty good - the distance has increased now. This is my second 20-mile week so we'll see how I feel after Friday morning. I am sort of enjoying it - I really like how I feel after I'm done running but I am starting to enjoy other parts of it as well. I am not normally a morning person so I have been working hard to get my tired self out of the bed at the crack of dawn (actually before the crack of dawn). I listen to my praise music and try to use that time to think and pray. It's been good for me to have that time in the mornings.

So the half is coming up soon - I still wonder if I can do that many miles. But I have a friend who just did her first half (go Kelly) and she is giving me some inspiration!

Until then, the training continues...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

An Amazing Date Night

Sunday night a week ago Brian and I were able to sneak away for a few hours for a date (thanks for watching the kids Granny and PawPaw)! We headed to eat a quick dinner at one of my favorite places: Chipotle! I really enjoyed sitting down to eat with Brian and being able to talk together for a few minutes.

After dinner we went to see Matthew Smith in concert at a local church. We thought it may be crowded so we got there early to get good seats. But it turns out that no one else was early - so we had a few more moments to chat while we waited on everyone else to come to the concert.

The concert was such an incredible worship experience. Matthew Smith's website says that he is "an East Nashville singer-songwriter who writes brand new music to centuries-old hymn texts." He is also involved with Indelible Grace Music.

I know that many people in churches cringe when they think of putting 'new' music to the old, ancient hymns. But I encourage people to read more at the Indelible Grace website and to listen to some of the songs. "It was common for people to compose new music for each generation for many of the hymns that they loved. There is no rule that says each hymn can only have one musical setting, and in fact, hymnals are designed for you to be able to mix and match words and music -- that's why they have a metrical index. But unfortunately, we lost this tradition and got stuck in a more modern traditionalism of associating one particular tune with one particular hymn ... Our goal is not change for change's sake, but to rekindle a love of hymns and to invite many who would never associate rich passion with hymns to actually read the words." (Indelible Grace website)

It was such an encouraging and worshipful concert. I am thankful for the incredible music we were able to experience. Thanks for planning this special evening, Brian!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweet fellowship...

We have been a part of our church family for almost 2 years now. The church has outgrown its building so there is no adult Sunday School time, making it difficult to get to know people. I had Carter not long after we started attending Grace so that added to the difficulty of getting to know people. I am just in a busy season with many young children so it has taken much longer to get to know other believers in this body.

Our church provides fellowship groups for its members/attenders which provides a time of fellowship and bible study for most adults. We tried a few groups last year but none of them really worked out. Some of the groups had something for kids, some of the groups didn't ... but most of them weren't close to our side of town anyway. We ended up just waiting to try to find a group this Fall.

Well, we finally found a group! We decided that we would get a sitter for our kids so that it would be a time for Brian and I to go to bible study together and be able to totally focus on the study and talking to people. At this point, if we took our kids, I would either be helping watch them or totally distracted thinking of them while someone else watched them... so since we meet just twice a month, this is our plan for now: bible time for Mom and Dad!

Now my favorite part is the teacher: Brian! He is leading us through the book of Hebrews. He is so gifted as a teacher and it has been so long since I've been able to sit under his teaching. It was so refreshing to listen to the Word being taught and to do that in an intimate setting with other believers. I am thankful for the old friends there with us and I look forward to the new friendships we have begun.

Can't wait for our next fellowship group meeting!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to School

Where has the time gone? I don't know but the calendar tells me that summer has ended ... that's fine because my favorite season is fall but I will have to say I am going to miss summer. We had a summer full of fun with friends and family. We went to the pool all the time, rode bikes and ate ice cream cones (although not at the same time), saw free movies, visited with family, and so much more. It wasn't as slow (or relaxing) as I would have liked but we still made so many special memories.

So ...time moves on and we have said 'goodbye' to the summer of 2010! We have jumped into school and our fall activities with both feet. The days are starting earlier and they seem to be lasting longer - but I find that it is such a 'good' busy.

I have been looking forward to school this year with the kids. Coleman is 4th grade already! Emmie is right behind him in 3rd and Calvin is in Kindergarten. Ellerie loves to do school with Calvin while also trying to mother Carter all day long. And Carter - well he just tears up the house every time I turn around - but at least he's cute!

So ... goodbye summer and hello fall!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just a Few Minutes Makes a Big Difference...

Summer has been so much fun but so very busy. The craziness of being busy these past few months spilled over into my marriage. Although Brian and I were together a lot with the family, we weren't intentional with much of that time.

A few weeks ago, we started trying to take a few minutes each night (well, at least most nights) and chat together. We talk about what's going on that week and how to pray for each other. It has been so good - when we do it. Hopefully we will continue to be disciplined in this.

One of the other things we have been doing during some of these chats is talking about the questions listed here. Ideally, you discuss these over a date night, but our last date night was spent painting the kids bedrooms, so we are taking it just a few questions at a time. It's not that our marriage is bad but we know it can be better. It has been so encouraging to talk to one another about our marriage and how God can help us make it so much better - for His glory!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coupon Learning..

Back in March, I decided to learn more about coupons. I would set a budget each month for groceries but I would always seemed to go over that limit! I needed to do something to help out our budget so I spent some time researching coupons.

The first couple of months I stayed on target with my budget. I was a little disappointed but then I remembered how much I had been going over each month - so this was a small start in savings.

This past month of August was the best month so far in this coupon venture. I tried to be diligent and intentional in my grocery spending and I actually came in $150 under budget!! Couponing does take time and research but they pay-off is totally worth it!

When I decided to start doing coupons, I knew I needed to spend time learning about the whole process. So I spent a couple of months reading other blogs and websites. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mommy Snacks - Her site has great strategies for savings and walks you through step-by-step in how to get started.

Mojo Savings - This site updates all the time with great deals.

Money Saving Mom - Great ideas about savings and living frugally.

There are several more sites I use that I will try and list later. It's easy to get started and to start trimming you budget!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Diaper Deal!

I haven't been doing too many coupon deals this week - we have had VBS every night so it has been a busy week... but I did read about a great diaper deal at Amazon this week - and they arrive on my doorstep!

Go read more about the deal at Babycheapskate. You can choose the subscribe and save to get 30% off (I just need to remember and cancel after I get my diapers) and then stack more coupons found in Parent's magazine!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Here's Your Chance - Kroger This Week!!!

O.K - this is a great way to get started couponing or just to take advantage of these deals! Kroger is having a 50% off sale of select General Mills items from Wednesday - Saturday. Then use manufacturer coupons on top of that sale and you have a good deal. It's even better if you have a $ .50 coupon for an item because Kroger doubles their coupons up to $ .50, meaning you take off another $1 instead of just $ .50.

The items on sale this week include: (see pics above) Betty Crocker fruit snacks, General Mills Cereal, Fiber One Chewy Bars, Quaker Cereal, Quaker Instant Oatmeal, and Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters.

Haven't been cutting coupons in Sunday papers yet? No worries! Just go to SmartSource or and print out your coupons. There are several items on there that are included in the sale. You can usually print up to 2 coupons per computer that you have.

I went today and got some good deals on snacks and a little more cereal!

Deal of the Day...

This deal was similar to the cereal deal... Buy 4 (of certain ones) and get a 5th FREE! Then I had 2 Target coupons for $1/2 boxes and 2 manufacturer coupons for $1/2. So the total for 5 boxes of 6-pack PopTarts was $6 or around $ .88.

So, I think we're set for PopTarts and Cereal for this month at the very least...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Coupon Deals This Week!!

This was a sweet deal at Target tonight! They have a special buy 4 get the 5th free on certain Kellogg's cereal. They are also 2 for $5. So that = 4/$10, well really 5/$10 since the 5th one is free. The great thing about Target is they will let you use a Target coupon (you can only use at Target) AND a manufacturer coupon (that you can use anywhere) on the same item - called 'stacking' your coupons. So I had 2 $1/2 (meaning $1 off of 2 boxes) Target coupon and 2 $1/2 manufacturer coupons.
So I got the 5 boxes of cereal for $6!! That is about $ .85 each!

You can find manufacturer coupons in the Sunday papers and online and you can find Target coupons here.

I got these tonight at Kroger for $ .24! That's only tax I think. They were on sale for 2.50 each. I had a coupon that was BOGO (Buy One Get One Free). When you use a BOGO then you can also use another manufacturer coupon with that. They took off $3 for the BOGO price. Then I had a $2/2 (meaning it takes $2 off when you buy 2). Therefore it took off $5, leaving me just the tax to pay! Nice for Brian's favorite!

Check out your Kroger this week! I got these last night for around $3. Kroger is having a Proctor and Gamble sale this week, like last week. Buy 4 items get $4 off! Then add in your coupons and you get a deal! For example, those Gillette body washes above were on sale for $2.99 BUT if you bought 4 of anything in the P&G sale, they ended up being just $1.99. Then I had a coupon for $2 off a Gillette body wash so those ended up being FREE!! The saving creams were around
$ .50 and the conditioners around $ .50 too!

I have just gotten going on this couponing thing and hope to learn more. I thought I would blog here about what I am learning and maybe others can learn with me. I am really trying to cut our grocery budget down to help serve our family

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Waco Weavers Visit Virginia

My brother and his family came to visit us at the end of June. We usually meet up and visit at my parents house in GA but they decided to do an east coast road trip this summer. So we went to visit Williamsburg on one of the hottest days in VA ever! Although we were hot, we all had a great time!

Playing in the jail...

I was glad for a snack break!

Calvin followed Joel around and wanted to hold his hand...

In the ballroom...

After a long day...

Funny Uncle Joel and Calvin

Since it was so hot during their visit, we made the next day a POOL day!
This is Becca and Ellerie playing together.

Becca and Carter

Joel teaching Coleman how to swim some laps...

Emmie and Anna...

That night we had a concert...

Then another pool day!

Finished off with a pedicure!!

It was so fun to have them come visit us and get to spend some quality time with them. We love you guys and miss you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homeschooling Q and A

Kim is doing a homeschool Q and A. Jump on over to her blog and ask some questions in the comments.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vacation - Part 2 - Beach Fun!

Emmie and Jenny (Brian's cousin)

Ellerie just loved playing in the sand...

Brian led the way in building a huge sand castle ... sadly, I forgot to get a pic of the finished product...

Calvin was helping too...

Barefoot Landing - one of our annual traditions as well...

We always love to get a pic here too...

Calvin and Ellerie's turn...

The funny mirrors!

Coleman and Ellerie on the cow...

Carter, Calvin and Emmie

An attempt at a family shot - don't want to even talk about the weather and what it did to my hair! Frizzy is all I can say!

Another attempt...

An attempt with everyone (except Jenny, Shawn, Gwen and Casey's parents)

PawPaw and Granny with the grandkids - at least everyone is IN the picture!

Whew! See why vacation was so tiring? ;) And this is just at the end of the day on Tuesday - 3 more full days!!