Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Remembering 2008

Oh my goodness, where does the time go? It seems like yesterday I was sitting here wondering when my baby would be born, and today I was filling out invitations for his 1-year birthday party!

2008 has been a wonderful year for our family. I spent the first 8 days of the year hugely pregnant, and the 9th day of the year was the day the Lord gave us Quinn! (I think that was the longest day of the year, as I labored for over 12 hours...and still had a c-section.)

January was a sleepless month, as you can imagine. I cherish in my heart the memories of sitting with this precious tiny baby, holding him in my arms, and not ever wanting to put him down.

February and March I spent loving on my little boy while on maternity leave.

April and May were spent finishing up the school year.

June, July, and August were wonderful months, spent watching Quinn learn to sit up, crawl, and eat "real food".

September and October seemed to blur by, as I dealt with a new school year, a very active, crawling baby, and Buddy's job got very busy.

November was spent being Thankful for a wonderful year.

December is now in its last hours, but another month filled with memories of watching Quinn take his first steps...yes, at 11 months!

I can hardly believe that 2009 will be here in just a little bit. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless our family as we strive to follow His plans for us. I pray that you and your family will be blessed in 2009, as well!

Our First Family Christmas

I have always loved Christmas. The special songs at church, the beautiful decorations, and the fun times spent with family at all the different events. This year had all those things, but it did have one new thing....Quinn!! It was so special to see Christmas in his eyes. At 11 and a half months, he may not understand all that is going on, but he is able to have fun. Next year, I'm sure, will be even better.

I thought I would share a few memories from this Christmas.

This is a picture of me with the Moravian Star we got my FIL for Christmas present. Unfortunately it was too large to take with us, so I took this picture to show him his present.

This next picture is of the Christmas tree at my cousin's house. We have a tradition every year of spending Christmas Eve at their house. We have a huge dinner with my grandmother's brothers, sisters, their kids, their grand-kids, and for some, their great-grand kids. This would be 65 people total, although not everyone can come each year. The majority of these people live in my hometown in SC, but some live out of state and can't always be there. Each family brings a dish and we exchange presents for kids under age 12. As a cousin, it's always a sad time when you "age out" and can no longer get presents, but it's fun watching the babies open theirs.

This next picture is what Quinn saw on Christmas morning when he woke up. The pile by the couch is what Mom and Dad and Santa brought.

Here is Quinn on Christmas morning, enjoying some milk. Check out those special Christmas Jammies!

Here is Quinn playing with some of his new toys. The activity table is from Santa, and the rest from Mommy and Daddy!

Here is my father in law cooking up a Christmas breakfast of French toast, Sausage, and other yummies.

And here is Quinn eating it! We had a great Christmas and hope you all did too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hodge Family December Newsletter

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I will be posting pictures of Quinn's first Christmas soon.

I posted a while back about my friends, the Hodge family, who are becoming missionaries. I will be posting regularly on this family as I get their monthly newsletters. This is exciting for me, as I have known missionaries before, I've never known people in the beginning phase of missions work.

I just received their newsletter for December 2008. They have had their commissioning service and have finished up their time at my home church. They will be leaving in January for 8 weeks of orientation in Virginia. They have been packing and crating personal items that they want to take with them to Argentina. Due to many people's generosity, they have been able to purchase a brand new washer/dryer set to take with them to Argentina as well! That is a blessing.

They do have a few items for prayer.
1. Pray that they receive all their needed paperwork before leaving for orientation.
2. Pray for a smooth transition to the orientation training.
3. Pray for their kids to have a healthy adjustment to this new life.
4. Pray for the other missionary families going through the same trainings as them.
5. Pray for people to continue to give to the Lottie Moon Offering for Foreign Missions. All the money from this special offering provided by the Southern Baptist Convention goes directly to foreign missionaries.

I know Michael and Amanda are thankful for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This will be my last post for a few days while I celebrate the Christmas season with my family! We are so looking forward to Quinn's first Christmas, as we teach him the real reason we celebrate this day. While it will be fun watching him play with wrapping paper and boxes (while the toys sit off to the know how babies are), I hope he grows to know that this is really the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I use this blog to tell the story of our family.

I want to leave you with the story of our Savior.

Luke 2: 1-14

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. This census first took place when Cirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them "Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is CHRIST THE LORD!! And this shall be a sign unto you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host, praising GOD and saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men."

I pray that you also know the true reason for this season is our Lord, Jesus.
May you and your family have a Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Gift

Today Buddy, Quinn and I did all our Christmas shopping.

Yes, you heard me correctly. We did ALL the shopping. TODAY.

(Yes, I know we waited to the last minute. But we scored some major deals!!)

Shopping today reminded me of last year when we did all the shopping on a Saturday afternoon. It was cold, and I was 9 months pregnant. (So technically, Quinn was with us that day too.) Usually I do all the shopping myself, but last year, Buddy insisted on going with me. He was convinced I would go into labor in the middle of the Christmas crowds.

I remember we went to several stores and then several stores at the mall. Then before heading to some other places, we decided to stop for lunch. We went to a particular restaurant because I had a craving for their potato soup. We were sitting at a booth fairly close to the front door, so we got to see anyone who came in or left the restaurant.

We talked and laughed as we realized this would be our last Christmas as just "the two of us". You see, we have shared Christmases since 1997, the year we started dating, and this would be the last one before the baby came. We had a wonderful lunch and it was nice to rest, since I was hugely pregnant and knew we had more stores to shop at. We finished our lunch and told the waitress we were ready for the check.

She came back a few minutes later and told us we were free to leave whenever we were ready. "But we need to pay our check first", we told her. She smiled brightly and said, "Oh, don't worry about that. Your bill has been paid. Another customer, who wishes to be anonymous, paid for your bill!"

We left the restaurant that day with the biggest smiles on our faces! I thought things like this only happened in movies. It's never happened to me before. It ranks up there as one of my most memorable gifts.

We never found out who did this for us, and I'm sure we never will. All I know is that these people were still in the restaurant when we found out. Did they have any idea how much this gesture would mean to us? Did they know that exactly one year later we would still look back on that day with such good feelings? What was it about us that made whoever it was decide that they should buy our lunch? I can only hope that the look of surprise on our faces filled them with as much joy as their thoughtfulness filled us.

Here's a look at our family picture for this year, and you can also get a peek at two of the best gifts God has blessed me wonderful husband, and my beautiful son.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The HoneyBaked Ham Surprise

Today was a C-R-A-Z-Y day. When you're a teacher, the longest week of the fall semester is the week before Christmas break. The kids are all excited and full of energy. Thanks to the off and on rain we've had for a couple of weeks combined with no sunshine, our school's playground is a soggy mess. So we haven't been able to go out for recess like we usually do. On top of which, today was our class party. (The Monkey Munch was a hit, by the way...)

I was pooped when I got home and not really in the mood to cook. I pulled in the driveway and checked the mail as usual. When I looked up from the mailbox, I noticed a big package sitting by the front door. What could this be?

I brought Quinn and all our stuff inside, let the dog out and went to get the mystery package. All of our relatives live out of town, and we are going to see the majority of them next week. I couldn't imagine who would be sending us something.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the words HONEY BAKED HAM on the side of the box!!!! Apparently, one of the sub-contractors that Buddy worked with on his latest project at work sent him the ham as a "thank you / Merry Christmas" gift. A 7 pound ham, to be exact!

Is there any doubt in your mind what we ate for supper tonight?

And yes, Pam, I am saving the ham bone for soup later this winter. (Aren't you proud??)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Making Monkey Munch

Ok, Ok, so I haven't posted in over a week. Sorry but I've been busy. For a quick re-cap, after Buddy's work party, I spent last week in several meetings at school, planning and organizing the fire station Christmas party ( a catered meal for 100+ people) and trying to get through this week of school. The kids have gone Christmas Crazy, but of course I remember those days too.

So tonight I made Monkey Munch for my class. We are having our "winter holiday party" tomorrow. (Don't get me started...that's for another post).

I already hear you asking, "What in the world is Monkey Munch?"

I first heard about Monkey Munch on an episode of Jon and Kate plus Eight. This show is about a young married Christian couple who have been blessed with twin girls and sextuplets (3 girls and 3 boys). Yes that's 8 kids! Monkey Munch is a treat that Kate, the mom, often mentions on the show as something her kids like to eat. There's even an episode showing her and the 3 little girls making Monkey Munch. (New episodes are on Monday nights at 9pm on TLC, but you can see re-runs on there all the time.) **No, I do not earn commission for plugging this show** :-)

Basically you take a box of your favorite Chex cereal and pour it in a large bowl.
In another smaller bowl, take 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of peanut butter (creamy for me), and 1/4 cup of margarine. Melt this in the microwave for about 1 minute and stir. Zap it 30 more seconds and stir until smooth. Then pour this over the cereal and stir until all the pieces are coated.

(I had to do this part in two batches.) Pour half the cereal into a gallon size ziploc bag. Take a cup of powdered sugar and pour it over the cereal. Close the bag and shake until all the pieces are coated. Pour out onto wax paper and let it dry. Repeat this with the rest of the cereal. You will need another cup of powdered sugar.

Then put it in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator. If it lasts that long. Trust me, this will go fast.

I hope my students enjoy it tomorrow. I had a lot of fun making it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All dressed up with somewhere to go

Last night was the Christmas party for Buddy's office. His company has offices in several of the major cities here, and they host one large party for everyone. It is always held at a local country club and it is our one night of the year to get fancy. (Unless of course someone gets married or something.). Last year's party I was 9 months pregnant and did not have as much fun.

There is always a time to mingle as everyone arrives. Then they serve dinner in the large ball room. This year's meal was a salad of spinach leaves and a dark almost purplish leaf (not sure what it is called) with mandarin oranges, pecans, crumbled feta cheese, and a vinaigrette style dressing. The main course was braised short ribs, au gratin potatoes and a vegetable medley. The dessert was sliced strawberries in a white creamy dressing, sitting in a paper-thin caramel flavored shell. (Sorry--but I don't know the official "food network" words for describing food.)

After dinner there is a band that plays instrumental jazz while we eat dessert, and then dance music for later. They always do a set of "beach music": The Drifters, Chairman of the Board, etc. They also do your typical party-dance-songs, as well as a few slower numbers.

We always have a fun time at this event. A big THANK YOU to my parents who came up to play with Quinn so Mommy and Daddy could go out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Hodge Family

I've recently found out that a family at the church I grew up in are in the process of becoming missionaries in Argentina!

Michael and Amanda Hodge are a young couple who joined my church (First Baptist of Gowensville) while I was in college. They came originally to be the youth pastor. I had already "aged" out of the youth group when they came, but I was amazed at how many great things the youth began doing. The two of them really made an impact on the young people at this church.

Several years ago Michael became the Associate Educational Pastor and started getting more involved in missions work. He and Amanda have gone through several stages of interviews and meetings and have been appointed as missionaries. Tomorrow (Sunday, December 7th) they are being commissioned during a special service. Then they will head to Virginia for a few months of orientation, and then they will go to Costa Rica for about a year to become fluent in the Spanish language. After that they will head to Argentina!

Please pray for Michael and Amanda, as well as their two children, Alexis and Jarrett, as they begin to follow God's plan for their life.

Please also pray for the pastoral staff at First Baptist Church of Gowensville as they search for the right person to take Michael's place on the church staff.

To follow the Hodge family on their journey, or if you want to read the background of how they decided to become missionaries, or if you want to see what all they've had to do to get to this point, click here.

Picture credit...The Hodge Family blog

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree....These ornaments mean so much to me!

When I was growing up, my parents and I always decorated our Christmas tree on the 2nd Saturday in December, after going to a pick-it-yourself-and-cut-it-down tree lot. We found it hard to believe that people would decorate any earlier for Christmas.

Fast-forward to 1997...the year I met my husband. His family always decorated the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He couldn't believe that people would wait and decorate so late.

Fast-forward to 2008...I now decorate my tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I still find it hard to believe that some people were decorated for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving. If you are one of those people, I still like you, but I can't decorate that early.

Anyways, I said all that to say tree is up and decorated. It is a 7 and a half foot, pre-lit tree, with 3 strands of extra white lights. Love me some all white lights. I wanted to share with all of you my tree and some ornaments that mean a lot to me. Quinn is too little to make me any hand-made ornaments this year, but I'm sure next year I'll be posting about that. :-) Right Beth?

Ok. Here is my tree. The tree skirt was made by my husband's great-grandmother.

The first ornament I want to share is this one. We had it made while on our honeymoon in 2003. We went to the Poconos and there was a shop there that was all Christmas stuff. I love snowmen, so this was just perfect.

Ok, this next one is for fun. My in-laws have this ornament too, and got one for us after we got married. It is the Christmas Pickle. It is a German tradition. You hide the Christmas Pickle on the tree. The first child to find the pickle gets a small prize.

This next picture shows 3 ornaments at once. The one with the mouse was given to me by my parents the Christmas after I declared my major in college to be Elementary Education. The ornament on the left, the clear one, is actually an icicle. We got these at the Poconos Christmas shop too. There are about 20 of them scattered all over the tree. They catch the light and look so pretty. The gold one on the right is part of a set of 4 that we got for our first Christmas when we didn't have any ornaments of our own.

The next one I bought a few years ago. I love the Celtic look of this cross. Buddy and I both have Irish background in our families and we thought this one represented not only our earthly heritage, but also our Heavenly Reward...the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

The final ornament I want to share is this one. It is a firefighter snowman, only the snowman is made out of ice blocks, and not snowballs. Can you see the fire hose he is holding? The bottom of it is a bell. We got this one after we joined the fire department to represent a new time in our life. He is one of several fire related ornaments.

So this is our tree for 2008. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I wish I could show all the ornaments, but that would take all day. Each one is special in its own way. I can't wait to start collecting ornaments for Quinn so when he is my age, he can look back and remember all the fun times.

Do you have favorite ornaments? I would love to hear about them, or read a post on your blog. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Mom's Miracle

Today I am participating in Miracle Monday, hosted by Beth at A Mom's Life.

I want to tell you about a little miracle that happened to my mom last week.

If you remember last Friday was the day of our little snow. I was driving to work later than usual, but still wanted to call my mom, as I do a few times a week. I had just dropped off Quinn at daycare and while I was driving on to work, I called my mom. I had wanted to thank her for the diapers she had brought to our house on her last visit, because I had to take more diapers to daycare that day.

We had only been on the phone for a few minutes when I heard this weird crackly static sound. I thought one of us had driven through a "dead zone". I asked Mom what in the world that sound was. There was a small pause, and then she spoke the words that sent a chill down my spine..."I've just been in a wreck and it's real bad." Then the line went dead.

Oh My Goodness. I had heard the wreck happen! The crackly static was actually the crunching of cars and squealing of tires! And here I am, 3 hours away. Is she ok? What could I do?

PRAY. and PRAY. and PRAY!

I dialed my parents' house and my dad picked up. I'm sure I scared him to death. I said, "Daddy, get dressed and go find Mama. We were talking and she had a wreck." So Daddy went after her, following the route she usually takes to go to work.

And I waited. And PRAYED. And waited. And PRAYED!

About an hour or so later Mom called! She had been approaching an intersection and would have been the first one in line. She had let off the gas and when she tried to apply the brake, nothing happened and she slid right through the intersection.

Her car was totaled....but she was not! Not even a scratch or a bruise.

God was with her that day. She could have been seriously injured or worse. Cars can be replaced, but Mamas cannot!

If you would like to read about more Miracles, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gotta love those snow days!!!

Since I am a teacher, it makes it easy for me to "think like a kid".

So when the meterologists start talking snow, my ears perk up. That always means a delay or an unexpected day off of work. Even as a kid, I remember the excitement and anticipation as you go to bed, praying that God would let it snow. I don't pray for snow anymore, but I still wonder what I will find on the ground when I wake up.

Somehow, I missed the snow talk yesterday. I don't remember it being mentioned, or maybe I was still half-asleep since Quinn didn't sleep well on Wednesday night. Whatever the reason, you can imagine my surprise when I woke up to see a light dusting of snow on the grass and the deck! It's not even Thanksgiving for crying out loud! I wasn't expecting snow this early in the season. But of course, the "kid" in me kicked in and my first thought was This is enough for a 2-hour delay!!

I ran to turn the TV on only to find no school delays scrolling. Oh well. About half an hour later, the phone rang. I thought who in the world is calling me at 5:45 in the morning. It was the call center from the school system advising us of......A 2 HOUR DELAY!!! WooHoo!

Being a teacher does have its perks, you know!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogging for 5th Graders

At school these days we are taking various trainings and workshops dealing with technology and helping prepare our students for the 21st century. One point that was mentioned is that the jobs the kids of today will do in the future have not even been invented yet! Isn't that amazing?

I got to thinking about what I could do differently in my class that would also fit with these new ways of thinking. And it finally occured to me....I could create a class blog!

I talked with my students about what a blog is and why people make them. We talked about what a teacher and some students could do with a blog. Then we decided to make one. We are going to use this blog to discuss what we are reading (books that are assigned, as well as books the students read for fun). We are also going to write about daily activities, such as guest speakers, assemblies, field trips, etc. The kids are doing the writing, but I am posting for them.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited the kids are about doing this. Especially when they found out it would be on the Internet for anyone in the world to read. We already have some comments from some of the other teachers. I'm hoping some of the parents will start looking in on it too.

Due to privacy issues for my students, I'm not going to disclose the name of my classroom blog. If you would like to view it, I will email you the link. If you choose to look at it, feel free to comment, but know that these comments must be approved by me first. And also, please DO NOT share this link on your own blog.

I only wish I had known about blogging years ago!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why I've been M.I.A

Well, I haven't made a post in almost a week. But I've got some good excuses.

The main reason was that the computer crashed. Hard to make a post without a computer. I really discovered how much we use the computer in this day and age, especially when you need to use it and can't.

Thursday is my "pay the bills" day. Couldn't go online to get the bank statement. We went out and bought the fanciest virus software they sell....couldn't get the computer to work.

Friday--Quinn had to stay home due to a fever (That's my other reason for not blogging). While at school dropping of the lesson plans, I printed the bank statment. Came home and had to pay the bills the regular way, since I couldn't go online and pay them that way. Friday night we went and got a new computer. Not the plan we had in mind, but it is nice.

Saturday and Sunday I spent trying to keep Quinn happy. He has cried more this weekend than he has in his entire 10 months of living (and that includes the crazy first couple of weeks). We found out Sunday that he has an ear infection. Praise the Lord for "by appointment only" Sunday Doctor's hours!! We've got the antibiotics, and he seems to be getting better.

So, there you go. That's why I haven't been here in about a week.

And since I'm home today with Quinn as well, let's see how much housework I can get done....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Update on the Citizen's Arrest

Last week I posted about Buddy being able to help his boss locate a stolen truck.

Our local news has a link about this on their webpage.

I read this article and I am just amazed. This guy is just a year younger than us, and now he is in for a world of trouble.

To see what happened to this guy, click here.

Buddy said his boss emailed this link to everyone at the office and mentioned that Buddy had a hand in helping find this guy. If Buddy had not noticed the car while driving behind it on the interstate, then this guy might have made it back to the county he lives in. Justice is served!

Thank You Veterans!

Today is Veteran's Day, a day to honor our men and women who have served or are currently serving in the military. The men and women who have put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the freedom that our forefathers fought so hard to earn.

What strikes me a little funny about today is that I am off work. This would be a perfect day to teach my students about what Veteran's day is all about. Instead, I'm just sitting here enjoying a day at home. A guy on our fire department mentioned last night that it is ironic that he, a Vietnam Vet, has to work today of all days. Interesting.

I got to thinking about all the men in my family (13 of them to be exact), who have served in the Armed Forces, and I wanted to do something to honor them. So I called my mom and my grandma, and here is my Soldier Salute for Veteran's Day 2008.

On my Mom's side of the family:

  • Grandpa was in the Navy. He joined during WWII after Pearl Harbor was bombed. He drove PT Boats (like JFK did) and was also the chauffeur for the Admiral.
  • Uncle Bus and Uncle Doug (my grandma's brothers) were both in the Navy.
  • Uncle Taylor, Uncle Marvin and Uncle Melvin (my grandma's brothers-in-law) were in the Army. Uncle Taylor was wounded while fighting on the European front of WWII.
  • My cousin's husband, Scott, is in the Air Force. He was in Iraq during the first Iraq war back in the early 1990s. His group dropped bombs on Baghdad. He is still in the service as part of the Air Force National Guard.

On my Dad's side of the family:

  • Uncle Herman (dad's brother) was in the Army.
  • Uncle Howard (dad's brother) was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
  • Uncle Randy and Uncle Tom (dad's brothers) are both retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service each.
  • My cousins Danny and Frank (Uncle Howard's sons) were both in the Army.

Thanks to these men, and countless other men and women, we as Americans can continue to enjoy our freedoms. God bless our troops, and God Bless America.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our Weekend

We found out late on Thursday night that Buddy's dad would be in town this weekend and not traveling for work. We decided to take advantage of this, and headed to SC for a quick trip.

We had a lot of fun visiting with them. A lot of people apparently have trouble dealing with their spouse's parents, but not me! Buddy's mom and dad are wonderful people, and I always enjoy getting to spend time with them. When introducing me to others, they call me their "fourth daughter"! It's a nice feeling.

So anyway, we got to their house on Saturday and just hung out for a while and ate lunch. Quinn had fun playing with some toys that his Nana and Papa had gotten him on their trip to Germany. We also took some time to go to a store that had a large selection of CLEMSON shirts and sweatshirts. (Since we now live in the middle of Wake Forest, Duke, NC State, and UNC fans, we can't have enough CLEMSON stuff.)

The highlight of our trip was dinner on Saturday at the Rio Grille. This is a Brazillian style restaurant in downtown Greenville. Mr.Staton had eaten at this type of place on a business trip to Brazil last summer, and when he found out a similar place was in town, well, he wanted us all to try it.

You pay one price, and you can choose items from the salad bar (mostly pasta and bean salads) and then you get all the meat you can eat. Seriously! The waiters and waitresses come by with slabs of meat on this long skewer that looks like a sword. They announce what kind of meat it is, and if you want some, they slice it off. You get a small set of tongs with your silverware, and as they slice the meat, you use the tongs to put the meat on your plate. If you continue to want some meat, you take your coaster and turn it to the green side. If you want to take a break, or if you are finished, you turn your coaster to the red side.

They brought around chicken drumsticks, chicken filets and beef filets wrapped in bacon, sirloin, flank steak, scallops, tuna steaks, pork tenderloin, pork ribs, and grilled pineapple with cinnamon. Let me just say, that if you leave this restaurant hungry, it's your own fault!!

If you would like to see more about this restaurant, click here.

After we ate dinner (thanks for treating us Mom and Dad S), we went for a walk around downtown Greenville. When Buddy and I were dating, we came here a lot. There is lots to do, and since we've moved to NC, there is even more going on. We are definitely going to have to come back here in the daylight. I didn't get any pictures, because it wouldn't have done the town justice in the dark. Maybe I can get some pictures when we go back at Christmas.

We are back from our relaxing time at Buddy's parents' house and are already looking forward to our next visit! Thanks for a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Citizen's Arrest! Citizen's Arrest!

(Can you name the TV Show that made that line famous?)

I've just got to tell you all this crazy story that happened to Buddy this week.

Over Halloween Weekend, Buddy's boss's truck was stolen from his driveway. He told Buddy about it at work on Monday. Tuesday after work, while driving home on the interstate, Buddy saw a truck that looked similar. (He's only seen this truck once.) He called his boss and described the truck to him....and it was THE TRUCK!! But the truck exited the interstate while Buddy was in a different lane and he lost track of it.

Buddy's boss called us this evening to tell us that the police caught the guy! Because Buddy saw the truck in our town (his boss lives in a different town) it helped the police track it down easier.

I don't want to give out too many more details, but let's just say that this incident wasn't the guy's first pony ride...if you know what I mean. At least he's off the streets, and will be for a while.

Thanks to Buddy's obsessiveness in noticing and paying attention to details, his boss got the truck back!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008

picture credit click here

Today is Election Day. Buddy and I got up early so we could vote before work. There's just something about voting on Election Day that just seems more patriotic to me. I don't look down on people who did early voting or voting by mail...I"m just glad those people voted!! For me, it was all about casting my vote today. This was my third time voting for President and all three have been crazy. The 2000 election was when Al Gore won the Popular vote, but Bush got the Electoral vote. 2004 was the year of the "hanging chads". 2008--I think that unless you've been living under a rock, you know how crazy this one has been already.

My polling place happened to be our fire station. By the time I got there at 6:30am, the parking lot was absolutely full. I actually had to park in the grocery store parking lot that is beside the station and walk up the street just to get in line. I waited for an hour and a half in the RAIN. Luckily for me I was able to grab my umbrella before leaving the house.

At my polling place I actually had to bubble in my voting electronic screens for me. As I was bubbling in my sheet, I prayed that the Lord would take this vote and make it count. All we can do now is pray that the right man gets placed in the White House. Either way, I will be praying for our President and that he will make the right decisions for our country.

Did you vote today? Did you vote early? How long did you have to wait? I'd love to hear about your Election Day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Way To Go, Adam!!

When I think back on my childhood, a lot of my memories involve my cousins, as I am an only child. I grew up on a street full of family. My grandmother and her three sisters (my great-aunts) all lived on my street. I actually lived in my great-grandpa's house. Most of my weekends were spent playing at various aunts' houses, with whichever cousins happened to be visiting their grandmothers that day.

One of these cousins I grew up with was Adam. His grandmother had a pool, and he and his sisters and I spent many afternoons swimming and driving the golf cart all over our grandmothers' properties.

Adam is now married to a sweet girl named Ashley, who also has a blog. I haven't seen them since they got married a few years ago, but now that I know Ashley has a blog, I've at least gotten a small peek into their lives.

Today, Adam ran in the New York City Marathon. Yes, I said "marathon". That is 26.2 miles to be exact. Whew. It makes me tired just to think about it.

Since I am not a runner, I had no idea just how much training is involved in getting ready to run a marathon. I thought I would share some posts that Ashley wrote.
Click here for a post on how she helps Adam train.
Click here to see how much eating is involved in training for a race.
Click here to see what a 20 mile training run looks like.

According to Adam's Facebook page, his finishing time was 4 hours, 24 minutes, and 27 seconds.

Congratulations, Adam!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So Much Love

I read an article in our local paper the other day that really made me think.

The article told about how police had to shut down part of an interstate so that a mother bear could rescue her cub, who had been hit by a car. Apparently the cub was already dead, but the mother bear didn't realize that yet. She just knew her cub was hurt and she wanted to get to it. She had tried a couple of times to get to it, but couldn't due to the large volume of traffic. The article doesn't say how the police got involved, but I guess someone must have called and reported it.

So, the police shut down an interstate for 20 minutes so she could get to her cub and pull it off the highway. The article also said that when she realized the cub was dead, she would eventually leave it behind.

It just made me think about the love a parent has for their child. This mother bear was risking her life to get to her baby, just as any of us human parents would do for our own child. She was determined to help her baby no matter what the cost. How many of us feel that way about our children? All of us!

All this led me to think, that no matter how much this bear loved her cub, or how much I love Quinn, God loved me so much more. So much, that He gave his ONLY Son to die for me, so that I would have life eternal with Him in Heaven one day.

Just remember this: When you think you couldn't love someone more than you do, God loves you more than that!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bad Things Come in Threes....

That's what Mama always says....Bad things come in threes.

Today started off as a normal day. Got up, dropped off Quinn, went to work. Today's a teacher work day so I was hoping to get a lot of stuff done...mainly report cards. Then the office called my classroom saying that they had a phone call for me.

Bad Thing #1:
It was one of the directors from the daycare calling to tell me that Quinn had fallen into one of the shelves and bumped his lip and it was bleeding. Apparently he had pulled up on a shelf and slipped. I guess his mouth was open when he slipped because he bumped the little flap of skin that holds your upper lip to your gums. IT bled a lot, the teachers fixed it, he took a nap and slept off the drama. Now he's back to normal, yet slightly swollen.

So I continue my day and decide for lunch I would do what normal people do and go grab a bite. A lot of people forget that being a teacher means that your lunch every day involves being stuck in a loud room with about 75-100 children....doesn't make for a very calming, eating environment. So I decided to drive up the road to the Wendy's.

Bad Thing #2:
I am sitting at the red light waiting. As it turns green, I can't go forward due to about 7 cars being in front of me. The guy behind me doesn't realize that, and starts to go, hitting me from behind. Luckily he barely tapped me, and there's not much damage done to either car. We did do the right thing and called the police, exchanged information, the usual.

So I get my lunch, finish the day at school, pick up Quinn and head home. I was looking forward to the yummy smells that would be waiting for me, since I put dinner in the crockpot to cook this morning.

Bad Thing #3:
The crockpot scorched the food. Ugh. I even had it set to the appropriate temperature. I've made this particular recipe a million times. Some things you can cook in the crockpot are good all year long. This one is one of those crockpot meals that are only-good-on-a-super-cool-day. Today is just cold enough that it would have tasted so good. I tried a tiny bite and it has a scorched taste to it as well.

The best part of the day is the fact that I've had my 3 things go wrong. And if Mama is right (as she usually is) I should be ok for a while!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Growing like a weed

The whole time I was pregnant and buying things for Quinn before he was born, people told me if I liked something, buy it bigger because babies outgrow things so fast.

So back in September, I saw the cutest Halloween costume for Quinn at Target. A green dragon, complete with a spiky tail and wings. I bought a 0-9 month size, since he would be in the 9month range in October. I double-checked the tags and he fit right in the weight suggestion too. We put him in it and it fit, but seemed small. We assumed it was because he had on pajamas when we tried it on him.

We tried it on again tonight, just to make sure it still fit.

NOPE!! We couldn't get it over his shoulders. Oops.

So we rushed over to Babies-R-Us hoping to find something on clearance, since Target had no more dragon suits. We found a black spider costume for 40% off. We were telling the ladies at the checkout counter about why we were buying another costume. They told us the costumes would be on super-clearance tomorrow, but they felt so bad about the situation that they gave us the deal early! We ended up spending $4.50 on a $30 costume!

Stay tuned for pictures later this week!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where were you when the lights went out??

In the dark of course...

That's where we found ourselves tonight. There was a pretty bad car wreck not to far from our house. I saw it on my way home from work. It looked like a car had taken down a bunch of power lines or something.

About 5:30 or so the power went out. Buddy wasn't home from work yet, so Quinn and I went across the street to visit with Cookie for a while. When Buddy got home, the power was still out, and we needed to feed Quinn. We heated his baby food in a little sauce pan on the grill. We lit candles all over the living room and kitchen for a little bit of light so we weren't walking into walls.

I know people lived and survived with years before "modern" technologies were invented. I guess that's why the pioneers got up so early and daily life was "over" when the sun went down. But you know, now that we have these things, it really is hard to live without them. And having to live without these modern things and having an infant in the house really makes life difficult.

Thankfully the power came on a little before 8pm. Still, that's almost 3 hours.

I guess it could be worse. The last time this happened, it was mid-July, 98 degrees in the shade, and the power was off for 6 hours.

I'm sure life was great back then for those people. I'm just glad it's not me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Early Bird Catches the Apple

Or is it...A Worm a Day Keeps the Doctor Away....

OK. Let me just say with the crazy, busy weeks I've been having lately, it would make sense that eventually I would make a mistake.

Only this mistake involved an apple, and yes, you guessed it.... a worm.

And this particular apple was packed into Buddy's lunch.

And yes, he almost bit into it. Oh well, like I said, it was bound to happen.

But, he must not be too mad at me. When I got home on Tuesday night, after a day at work, 2 (yes 2) meetings at the fire station, and feeling like I was coming down with a cold, I was greeted by an amazing sight!

Buddy had cleaned....the living room....the kitchen....BOTH BATHROOMS....

He had fed the baby and packed his bag for the next day!

He made me sit down and relax while he dashed back to the master bathroom to run the tub full of warm water with candles all around. I got to soak while he put Quinn to bed.

If he does all this on the same day I accidentally put a wormy apple in his lunch, I wonder what he'll do if I "accidentally" burn supper???

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fun Times at the Pumpkin Patch

This past Sunday, our little family went to the local pumpkin patch. This particular place is pretty special to us, despite the fact that it was our first time stopping to look at the pumpkins.

In the past, this location had a little old house that sat in the middle of the property. In April of 2007, the owners of the house donated it to a local fire department to burn for training. This happened to be the same department that our fire chief works at. He invited a few of our members to join the other department at the burn. I was so excited about possibly going into a burning building for the first time! But the morning of the burn, Buddy and I realized that there was a huge possibility that I might be pregnant. We decided that maybe I should just sit this one out. Later that night, I took a home pregnancy test and....I was!

*ahem*....back to the pumpkin patch story.....

So anyways, we decided to meet up with another family and their little boy, who happens to be Quinn's best friend from daycare. This little place had lots of places for good pictures. The only problem was getting Quinn to look at the camera, and not all the traffic that was going by.

They even had some really BIG pumpkins. Quinn had fun standing beside them and beating on them. I think he liked the hollow sound that they made.

They also had the pumpkins set out in groups by size, and then in groups of about 20 or so pumpkins. I found a group of nice ones with one pumpkin missing from the group. I plopped Quinn down in the middle of the group and caught this cute shot.

Near the area where we had to pay, they had another photo-op, and we got this cute shot of our entire family.

And finally, here is Quinn with all of our pumpkins. Notice that we have "Daddy", "Mama", and "Baby" sized pumpkins!

Now, my question is....what in the world do I do with all these pumpkins? I did see this link on the Money Saving Mom website a few weeks ago. I will definitely try the recipes for pumpkin muffins and pumpkin seeds. But how in the world do I cook pumpkins this big????

I'd love to hear some ideas!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quinn is 9 months old!

I took Quinn for his 9 month old check up today. It is so hard to believe that he is already 9 months old. (Of course those of you with older kids are probably reading this and thinking....boy she has no idea....) But remember, you guys were first time moms or dads at one time, too.

He got a very good report from the doctor as well. He is 19 pounds 2 ounces, and 30 1/4 inches tall. His height puts him in the >95th percentile....basically off the chart, yet his weight is only the 30th percentile. Looks like we'll be buying this boy the "slim fit" jeans.

He is crawling all over and pulling up onto everything. Now I wonder if he will be an early walker. Doesn't really matter to me so long as he's developing like he should.

I am so blessed to have such a sweet boy. See what I mean....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fire Prevention Week

Since Buddy and I are both Volunteer Firefighters/EMTs, I feel led to mention that October 5-11, 2008 is Fire Prevention Week.

Fire Prevention Week was originally created to commemorate The Great Chicago Fire, that did the majority of its damage on October 9, 1871. Legend says that "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" kicked over a lamp, setting a barn on fire, which in turn set the city on fire.

This year's theme is Prevent Home Fires. Cooking fires are the #1 cause of fires in the home, mostly due to unattended cooking.

Does your family have an escape plan in place? Do you know where the family would meet should the unthinkable happen? Do your kids know 2 ways to get out of their bedroom? (Hopefully there is a window.) Do your kids even know what the smoke alarm sounds like?

This would be a great week to sit down with your family and talk over some of these questions. Come up with a family plan....wouldn't you rather be prepared, instead of something like this catch you off-guard?

The next time you ride by your local fire department, stop by and take a look around. Our members love showing the trucks to families that stop by.

To learn more about Fire Prevention week, or to get ideas, lesson plans, etc, just click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Wish for America

At school this week the faculty put up a bulletin board in the lobby called "Our Wish for America." We asked all the students to write their wish for America on a red, white, or blue star. The purpose of this is to promote the up-coming elections, with the idea that if the parents see how much their kids understand about our country, it would encourage them to vote, or to get registered to vote.

Here is a picture of the board.

Here are some of the things the students wrote as their Wish for America. Students from Kindergarten all the way to 5th grade participated. I gathered a short list of some of the thoughts that stood out to me. Some were the typical "kid" thoughts, but some were very profound for kids of this age group.

The "fun" ideas:
  • Everybody should have a race car.
  • Everyone would get to go to Chuck-E-Cheese.
  • Everyone could have a dog.
  • Everyone could have a skateboard.

The "profound" ideas:

  • I wish no one would get cancer.
  • I wish that everyone could work.
  • I wish that nobody had to be homeless.
  • I wish the gas prices would go down. (See, even kids notice things!)
  • I wish that everyone could learn to read.
  • I wish that all children get a good education.
  • I wish there were no drugs or alcohol.

There were plenty of others that were just as meaningful, but my absolute favorite said I wish that everyone would obey God!

Whew! Some of these were written by the little kids. Sometimes I don't think people realize just how much kids understand. If you aren't registered to vote, I urge you to do it. Our state's deadline is October 10th. That's just a few days away, if you want your voice to be heard on November 4th.

What is your wish for America?

Monday, September 29, 2008

In case you were wondering why....

Why did I decide to start a blog?? I have a friend at church, Pam, and when I was home on maternity leave with Quinn, she sent me an email checking on me. She also mentioned that she had a blog and I might want to check it out while the baby was napping.

My first thought was, "She has a blog? What in the world is a blog?" So being Curious Kim, I had to click and see. And I kept coming back to see what was new in Pam's world.

After looking at her's, and others, I decided to write one of my own.

We recently went to Pam's house after church. She showed me how to make homemade pizzas, with dough from scratch!

They turned out great, and tasted better than anything you can get in a restaurant! I think they were even ready in 30 minutes or less....hee hee!
After lunch we went out in their backyard to see their chickens. They live out in the country and have two hens and four roosters. They were pretty vocal while we were out there, and the hens are even laying eggs now.
Since Pam was one of my inspirations for starting a blog, I want to put in a couple of plugs. Click here for her main blog, and if you are in the area and in the mood for something that is "Tis So Sweet", click here!

Super Savings!

A few weeks ago, my church's MOPS group held a children's consignment sale. My parents had come up to visit that weekend and while Buddy and Daddy went to do "guy stuff" (skeet shooting), Mama and I went to grab bargains and stock Quinn up on some fall and winter clothes.

Here is a picture of all the great things we bought. We found lots of things in his current size as well as some 12 month items that he will hopefully be able to wear in January.

Believe it or not, all these items cost me just under $30! And on top of the great price, I got some more expensive name brand items for $3 or less! I think we got a great deal, and it looks like Tillman thinks so too.

If you have kids, I highly recommend consignment sales. Why pay full price for clothes that they will just out-grow in a few months?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prayer Needed

I found out tonight that my neighbor's daughter was diagnosed this week with breast cancer. My neighbor, Cookie, has several children, but Stacey is her youngest daughter. Stacey also has a young son that is about 4 or 5 years old.

According to her CaringBridge website, "On September 22nd, 2008, Stacey was diagnosed with “Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). IDC accounts for about 70 percent of all breast cancers. The cancer cells form in the lining of your milk duct, then break through the ductal wall and invade nearby breast tissue. The cancer cells may remain localized (staying near the site of origin) or spread (metastasize) throughout your body, carried by your bloodstream or lymphatic system.”

I've met Stacey several times when she has come up to visit with her mom and she is always so nice to talk with. Please add Stacey to your prayers.

Please click here to visit her CaringBridge site and see her story.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A peek into my classroom

I am going into my 6th year of teaching 5th grade. I really like this age group. They are kids on the verge of becoming young adults. I can treat them like they are older and I expect a lot of responsibility from them, yet we can still have fun together. I love how at the beginning of the year, the girls stand heads taller than some of the boys, but by the end of the year, the boys start to catch up. Sometimes the students end up taller than me!

This is what the door to my classroom looks like. As you can see, I love incorporating my fire department stuff with my classroom. The door says "Fifth Grade is on Fire" and each child's name is writing on a flame. Then I outlined each one with gold glitter glue. (OK, so maybe I am a little creative).

The next two pictures I wanted to share even though September 11th is over for this year. Since I just started my blog, I didn't want to wait until next year to show it.

My class and I created a flag from red, white, and blue paper chains. (I got this idea from The Mailbox, a teacher's magazine.) It took two other people to help me get this out onto the wall. The kids wrote papers telling why they love America. Some of the writings are really interesting, because I have a very diverse classroom. One child is from Vietnam and about 5 are from Mexico. They all remember what it was like to live in another country and could really explain why life in America is better for their families.

This is a close up of the top of the display. The red cross is called a Maltese Cross and is a firefighter symbol. Click here to read more about this.
The numbers stand for the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th, simply doing the job they had to do. Some stations in New York lost almost all their members. The paper is just a small write up that I made to explain in simple terms what happened. To put this into perspective for all of you, my students were only 3 years old when this happened.

Hopefully my students learned something from this....and why we should never forget.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008's what's for dinner!

This past Saturday night, we decided to cook steaks on the grill. Our favorite grocery store had ribeye steaks on sale, and cooking at home is much cheaper than going out to eat. Not to mention the fact that Buddy is a grill master.

Here is what they looked like after they had been put on the grill. We cooked the two little ones for our sweet neighbor Cookie, who also had a craving for steak.

Here they are almost ready. We use my dad's "not-so-secret" steak method of marinating them in Worcestershire sauce for about an hour or so, and then putting a little pat of butter on them as they cook on the grill. Daddy prefers using charcoal, while we use the gas grill more often.

Here is the finished product! We had au gratin potatoes and green beans to go along with our steak. Yummy! Who needs a restaurant?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Hi there. Come on in and have a seat.

This is my blog! I have been wanting to start a blog for awhile now. I have read some blogs over the summer while the baby was napping and have finally decided to give it a shot. So here it is. It is a work in progress, so bear with me as I figure all this out.

I look forward to writing down what all we've been up to, because, quite frankly I'm not creative enough to scrapbook.

I hope you will enjoy reading and will come back for more, because at our house, the door is always open!