Sunday, May 31, 2009

What I Did On My 30th Birthday

Yesterday was a wonderful day. First of all, I have to comment on the weather. If you live in my town, you know how beautiful it was yesterday. For those of you who don't live near me, let me just say it has rained off and on for about two weeks or so. Yesterday, the sun came out and it was a clear, blue sky with hardly a cloud in the sky. I think the Lord knew I needed to see a pretty day. Someone at church told me I should have a birthday every day, if that's the kind of weather we will have!

The day started off with Buddy and Quinn giving me cards, each with a sweet message written inside. I guess Quinn told Daddy what to write down! Then my two favorite guys took me to breakfast, since Buddy was not able to take me out for supper. We came home and I did some things around the house and then Quinn and I did our usual Saturday morning trips to the grocery stores.

While Quinn napped in the afternoon, I debated cutting the grass, since it was dry (finally) and a nice day. I decided not to, saying, "I will NOT cut the grass on my birthday." I should not have listened to myself and cut the grass anyway, since today, it rained hard early in the morning, causing the grass to be too wet to cut.

Some friends at church found out that, due to certain circumstances, I would be spending my big birthday evening by myself, so they got together and took me out. One friend, Kim, who is my pastor's wife, and her sister Jenn, even arranged for Quinn to stay with their mom and Kim's daughter Claire. So not only was I getting to go out with girl-friends, but I didn't have to be a mommy!

We met at Olive Garden, which is one of my favorite places to eat. My friend Alycia, who's son Alex is Quinn's best friend, also came, along with two other girls from church, Kelly, and Elizabeth.

This balloon was on the table. It was big enough that I think the whole restaurant could see it, and big enough that when I got it home, my dog Tillman was scared of it. (He's only 10 pounds and the balloon is bigger than him).

We all ordered our meals and we had lots of "girl talk" at dinner. Did you know you can order the "lunch portion" during dinner hours at Olive Garden? The portion is much smaller, and a few dollars cheaper, yet is enough to fill you up. After we finished, all the waiters and waitresses came to the table to do the typical sing-happy-birthday-and-embarrass-you-in-front-of-everyone thing that most restaurants will do. But our waitress took it one step further and ANNOUNCED to the restaurant that "Kimberly is turning 30 today. Raise your hand Kimberly so we can all see who you are!" I about died! But after that we got to eat this yummy cake!

It was decorated in orange, since I am such a huge Clemson fan. I love the flower, too. Here I am with the cake.

The girls had all signed a card for me. The individual messages were all very sweet, but it was the verse on the card that really hit home. It just further impressed on me my new take on becoming 30. The card said "Some birthdays are more meaningful than others because they remind us of where we've been, what we've learned, and where we've yet to go...." I know that my 20s brought so many good things into my life. I am excited about what the 30s will bring.

We had originally talked about going to PF Chang's, a Chinese bistro restaurant, that Kim has talked about so many times. Buddy really wanted to go there too, so I decided to wait and go when he could come too. When I opened my gift, it was a gift card to....PF Changs!! I already know when we will be using this....for our anniversary coming up in June.

Kim, Jenn, Kelly, Alycia, and Elizabeth: I had such a wonderful night! Thank you all for such a fun, friendship-filled evening. If I couldn't be with my husband or other family on my birthday, I can't think of 5 other people I would have rather spent the time with! You girls are AWESOME!! I am so thankful that the Lord has brought each one of you into my life. While I love my husband and am thankful for his friendship as well, there's just nothing like having good friends!

(L to R: Kelly, me, Kim, Elizabeth, Jenn, and Alycia)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I heard from a birdy....

....that someone is turning thirty. And that someone would be YOURS TRULY!!

Yes, today is my 30th birthday. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to this birthday. There's something about no longer being able to say you are twenty-something. I think it's how you say turn 30. No one turns 20, or 25 or even 29. You just say "I'm 25 today", or whatever. But "turning 30" sounds wierd to me. When stuff in the fridge "turns" sour, you throw it out.

But then something happened yesterday that completely changed my thinking about this birthday. I was at the DMV because it occured to me that my license was expiring....due to my birthday. The lady that was helping me noticed my birthday on my license and commented about it. I said, "Yes, I have to turn 30 tomorrow." She told me that her 30s were the best years of her life and that I shouldn't be worried. She asked what all happened to me in my 20s. I graduated Clemson, got married, moved from my hometown to NC, bought a house, and had a baby. She said, "See all the good things that have happened to you....what more good things must be in your future."

That was the moment I decided I am going to embrace this being 30. I am excited about this day. I am PROUD TO BE 30!!!!

So, on this day, I want to share with you some pictures of me through the years.

This is me and my grandmother. The back of the photo says Jan. 1980, so I am 8 months old here. My mom thinks it looks like Quinn is in the picture and not me.

I am not sure how old I am here...probably 3 or 4. I am rocking the bed-head though. And my mom still has some of those Christmas ornaments!

I am not sure how old I am in this picture either. Again, probably 4 or so. I don't remember why we had so much wood. According to Buddy, every little kid needs a picture by a big pile of wood. Notice how sweetly my hands are folded....and yes, that is a Clemson jacket. I was a fan at an early age.

Ok, this is what I've termed as my "mushroom head" look. I sported this style for quite a while. Again, I'm probably 4 years old here. This was a spring picture at the daycare I went to.

All right, fast forward to May 1997. This is me on my prom night Senior year. I did not have a date, but some girl-friends and I all dressed up, went out to eat, and then went to prom as a group. We had the best time and got to dance with whoever we wanted to. (Wasn't I skinny back then? I think I was about 95 pounds.)

This is in October 1997. I was 18 years old. This is the first picture of Buddy and I together. We had been dating about 4 months or so. We were going to Homecoming at his highschool that night. That was my favorite outfit. I loved the plaid pants. And that's my dog, Desi. I got her for my 16th birthday, so she is about 2 years old. (She's still alive by the way, living with my parents).

This is my 21st birthday. Buddy took me to see Travis Tritt perform at an outdoor concert. Back in Greenville, every year on Memorial Day Weekend, they hold a hot-air balloon festival and there is a concert outside each night. My family threw me a surprise party and then Buddy and I went to the concert.

This picture is November 2002, so I am 23 here. We were all decked out for the Clemson/Carolina football game, last game of the season. ( SC, Carolina stands for USC Gamecocks, not the Tarheels). The other couple was my roommate, Stephanie, and her boyfriend-now-husband, Josh. Steph was my maid of honor (since I'm an only sisters), and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. We got married 4 months apart.

This was taken in the Fall of 2004. I was 25. This was our first apartment after we moved to NC. That is our dog Tillman. He was 3.

And this was taken last Sunday before I'm practically 30 here.

I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with 29 wonderful years of life. I have had good health during all this time. I have a wonderful family, with whom I am very close. I have had many good friends over the years, who now live in many different places all over the world. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to bless me.

And to quote a Tim McGraw song "My next 30 years will be the best years of my life...."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Bargains This Week

I found some incredible deals this week and can't help but share them with all of you.

First, let me explain the green beans, since the clear Mason Jars makes it pretty obvious I didn't buy these in a store. My parents are here for the weekend. They have a pretty decent sized garden and usually grow a lot of green beans. My mom and grandmother spend many days during the summer canning beans. We have done this my whole life....I cannot stand the taste of green beans bought in tin cans at the store. Anyway, I had run out of beans, so Mom brought me 6 pints and 6 quarts, making the beans FREE for me.
Ok, now let me talk about the deals I got this week. The groceries were bought at Food Lion, so all the sale prices I mention are for this store. (If only Food Lion did double
Kraft Salad Dressing: 16 ounce bottles. Regular price $2.62 each.
On Sale 3 for $5, making them $1.66 each. I had 3 coupons for $1.50 off.
Final price......$0.16 each!!
Kraft BBQ Sauce: An 18 ounce bottle marked 55% more....actually makes it a 28 ounce bottle. Regular price $1.69.
On Sale for $0.99. I had a $0.75 coupon. Final price.....$0.24 (Would have been free if FL did double coupons.)
Kraft Cheddar Cheese: Regular price $2.85.
On Sale 2 packs for $4.00, making one pack $2.00. I had a $1 coupon.
Final price....$1.00
Tyson Chicken Patties: Regular price $6.99 per bag.
On Sale for $3.99 a bag. I had a $1 coupon.
Final price.....$2.99 per bag.
I bought other groceries, but these were my best deals this week.
For other great savings, visit Super Savings Saturday at MoneySavingMom!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Testing, Testing, 1..2..3

For those of us in the public school system, it is that time of year again. End of year testing is once again upon us. This is a very stressful time of year for me. I have spent all year doing my best to teach these students all the things they are supposed to learn in their fifth grade year, and now it is their turn to show me what they've learned. I feel very stressed as I walk around the room watching them complete their tests each day, knowing I can do nothing to help them. I can't explain anything if they ask me a question. I can't do ANYTHING at this point. Some students tolerate this testing pretty well. I have others who completely panic. And then there are those in between.

I know some of you may have certain opinions about public schools, testing, etc. This is not what this post is about. I am asking for you to say a prayer for my students each day this week at 9:00am. This is the time we will start the tests. Please pray for the students to feel calm as they begin the tests. Pray that they can remember all that they need to know to complete these tests. Pray for them to feel confident in themselves.

(If you choose to comment on this post, please keep it positive. Remember...I moderate all comments....)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Birds, you are no longer welcome here

It is very disturbing to go to your dryer to get out the clean, dry clothes, and instead find a pile of warm, still soaking wet clothes. This is what I had to deal with on Thursday afternoon.

I had put some clothes into dry while I was getting ready for work. I heard it cut off, but didn't take time to switch until I got home. That's when I realized the clothes were still wet. I turned the dryer on again and heard it cut off later on, but still too soon for the clothes to be completely dry. Buddy thought maybe we should change the flexible vent tube off the back of the dryer. I bought the supplies, he did the hard work and Friday we tried it again.

The dryer turned on, the clothes spun, and when I checked they were still wet. At this point I began to panic. I did not want to buy a new dryer. We are trying to become debt free, and a new dryer is not in our budget! :-)

This time we did some checking into the venting system. We had suspicions that there were birds nesting in the part of the vent that is on the edge of the house. We could see nesting material sticking out the of the vent cover. Buddy got in the attic and used a broom handle to push out all the nesting material. We also cleaned out the rest of the vents too. You would not believe the size of this nest. It probably went about a foot down the pipe! It was completely clogged. No wonder the clothes weren't drying.

The dryer is working perfectly now! Thanks to my husband's hard work, and despite his crazy schedule these days. Love you sweetie!

(P.S....two bird eggs were harmed in the fixing of the dryer vent....oh well. I'd rather two bird eggs broken, than the dryer. Do you know the cost of dryers these days? I bought the supplies to fix the dryer at Lowes, and the dryers I saw were in the $800 range! Sorry birds, but you wore out your welcome.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kids say the cutest things....

I received the cutest email of those forwards that I usually read, get a chuckle over, and then delete. But since we just had Mother's Day, and most of my readers are also moms, I thought I would share this with all of you. It's kind of long, as most email forwards usually are, but it's worth it...



Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us..
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones.. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mom like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?

1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world.. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him..
3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection.. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads ?

1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Hee hee...wasn't that the cutest thing ever? I knew you would love it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My 2nd Mother's Day

Sunday was my second Mother's Day. It ended up being a much better day than I thought it would be.

This is what I woke up to on Sunday morning.

How Buddy managed to pull this off with his crazy schedule these days means more to me than anything. I had resigned myself to the fact that if he simply remembered a card (homemade or bought) that I would be grateful. Instead, I got 24 red roses, a new study Bible, AND a homemade card!

We worked together to make breakfast. We had coffee, cheese grits, and something new that I have nicknamed "mock-elet". It was scrambled eggs with chunks of ham scrambled in, and cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. It tasted like an omelet, yet it was easier to make....get it....mock-elet! Very tasty. If only I had taken a picture.

Later on I went to church for Baby Dedication. My friend Alycia was dedicating both of her boys, and I wanted to be there, so I went to late service instead of early service. The message was very inspiring...encouraging mothers (as well as anyone who has contact with a child) to pass on our faith to the future generations, and to let our lives show Christ to our children.

The afternoon held a snuggly nap for me and my son! That was so special, because I know a time will come when he will no longer nap, much less in my arms. And while I held him, a memory came to mind of 16 months earlier, when we enjoyed an equally snuggly moment.
Thank you, Lord, that I get to be the mother of this adorable, precious child. He has only been a part of my life for such a short time, and yet I can barely remember what life was like before he was in it. You have given this child to me, to nurture and to take care of. Help me, Lord, to be the best mother I can be. Help Quinn to see You in the things that I do. Thank you, Lord, for this blessing that you brought into my life 16 months ago.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Mother's Day Tribute

Tomorrow is the day set aside to honor mothers, so I would like to take time now to honor mine!

This is my mom and I at Quinn's birthday party earlier this year. I would have to say, without a doubt, that she is THE BEST MOTHER IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!

Being an only child, I feel like my mom and I were able to have a more special bond with each other. When I was growing up, my dad had to do a lot of working out of town. There were many times when it was just me and Mama for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Daddy didn't want to uproot us from our home, so they made the choice for him to work out of town, so Mama could continue to work at her job, and I could continue going to school.

Mama and I had so many fun times together. We would go to the mall every Saturday. Most of the time, we didn't buy a thing. We just walked around, trying on clothes, checking out the sales, and mostly just spending time together. I remember many a Saturday spent dressed in orange, cheering our Tigers to victory on the football field.

My mom was very supportive of any activity I wanted to participate in.There were so many. There was ballet in Kindergarten (the only year I did that), piano lessons, playing the clarinet, trying out for Color guard in high school, and going to Germany as an exchange student. She helped teach some of my classes at church. All of my friends loved mom too, even bestowing her with a nickname of her own, Mama-D! She was supportive, without being pushy. She was tough and strict when she needed to be, which I didn't understand at the time. Now I realize what she was doing when she wanted to know where I was going, when I would be home, and who I was going to be with.

When I found out that Buddy and I would be moving out of the only town I had ever lived in, she was sad, but again, was supportive. Buddy had already moved here to start the job, and I was left to pack up the apartment and make all the arrangements to get our things to our new town. Mama came over every night after she got off work to help me pack.

When I found out I would be making her a Grandma, I think I saw one of the biggest smiles she's ever had!

Mama, I won't get to see you tomorrow on Mother's Day. I hope that you have a wonderful day and know that you are loved so very much. You have taught me so much about life and motherhood over the years. I can only hope that I am half the mother to Quinn that you were to me. I thank you so much for you and Daddy making sure I was brought up knowing the love of Jesus and going to church each week. I love you so much, my mother, my friend!

Her children arise and call her blessed....a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:28, 30.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It felt like Deja Vu....

A year ago on May 8th, my town experienced some pretty major thunderstorms that spawned several tornadoes. One tornado happened to touch down and sweep through an area that was within a mile or so from my house. I remember that night so well.

The storms began rolling in around supper time, and progressively got worse, with major lightning and thunder, and very heavy rains. It was bad enough that we began unplugging various appliances, and began to get in our "safe zone" of the house. Buddy turned on his fire department radios (he's an engineer, so he has officer radios that can listen to all information coming out of the control center.) We were able to hear both counties that we serve, as we live very close to the county line. We could tell by the type and frequency of calls coming in that the storms were getting closer to us. I was sitting in the hallway with Tillman (our dog) and Quinn, who was one day away from being four months old. Luckily for me, Quinn did a great job of sleeping.

Then we heard a call come in for our station that was only a mile from our house, and the information we heard let us know that the storm was REALLY bad. Buddy took off to help, and ushered Quinn, Tillman and I into the walk-in closet in our bedroom and handed us a flashlight. Good thing too because a few minutes later, the power went out. This meant our phone wouldn't work. I reached for my cell phone, only to see that the battery was dying. Then the storm hit. I could hear the rain pounding on the roof. I heard the clicking sound of hailstones hitting the windows and walls. I heard thunder, saw lightning, and heard crazy wind. I just prayed that the Lord would keep us safe.

Buddy, meanwhile, was sitting in the fire truck on the scene, when the tornado actually went past him. He said it DOES sound like a freight train. The tornado destroyed several homes in one neighborhood of our fire district, but we only lost a few limbs from the trees. God kept us safe!

So you can only imagine what went through my mind when the meteorologist on the news started describing similar situations were heading towards my area again last night! Luckily last night's storms ended up being nothing compared to what we went through last year. But, it sure did feel like deja vu!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

April Update on New Years Goals

Can you believe that four months of 2009 have come and gone? This year is flying by. Why is it that time seemed to creep by when I was a kid, and now that I'm an adult, the time just zooms along?

still trying to keep up with my New Year's Goals. I'll be honest. This is the first time EVER in my life that I still remember what my goals were by this point in the year. I've set goals for myself on New Year's before, like most people do. And usually by now I've forgotten most people do!

1. I read all of Deuteronomy and I'm now several chapters into Joshua. I've been reading using mostly my own Bible, but for some of Deuteronomy I used Buddy's study Bible. In reading some of the notes on this book, I learned a very interesting fact. This book is basically Moses reviewing the journey of the Israelites from Egypt and their wanderings in the desert, a recap of the 10 commandments and all of the laws the Lord gave the people. Here's what I learned...the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was a distance that could have been covered in about 11 days! But because they disobeyed God, they spent 40 YEARS wandering around in the desert. Makes me wonder...what do we miss out on because we don't obey God the first time he asks us to do something?

2. The month of April has given me quite the challenge on the wife/mother front. If you know me personally, you probably already know what we've dealt with. I don't really want to get into all that right now, but just know that I've definitely grown in my walk with God and I am learning to completely trust Him!

On another note, the FPU classes continue to go well. We completed our first month of the Dave-Budget, and using the Envelopes to pay CASH for everything. We did use our debit card a few times, but pretty much everything else came out of one of the many cash envelopes. Some envelopes even had some money left over, which will carry over into May. I guess my best deal of the month came from buying Buddy a pair of jeans, and 7 shirts for Quinn for $16 altogether!

We continue to work on becoming debt free. We've paid off all total this year about $7500, with most of this coming from tax refund money earlier in the year.

3. Weight-loss continues to be a regular roller coaster for me. I get encouraged when I weigh at home and see a loss. Then I get to school for our Biggest Loser weigh-in and see that for the past 3 weeks I've maintained....ugh. Officially I have to go with the school's scales for the contest. I'm #7 overall, out of about 18 teachers, so I'm still doing better than most. According to my scales I am down about 6 pounds. We have the rest of the month of May for our contest. I could still pull this off. I've done several laps around the block, pushing a toddler in a stroller, so we will see what happens.

4. I am buried beneath a mound of papers. It is so hard to keep up right now, as we are in what we call the EOG Blitz...the 3 weeks before the End Of Grade testing. This is the test students take at the end of the school year, testing them on all the objectives for the year. Any spare time I've had is spent going over material. My spare planning time has been spent finding work for my new student, who is from another country and has NO ENGLISH skills. No one at our school speaks her dialect (which is not Spanish, by the way), so I've been looking at lots of Pre-k and Kindergarten websites, looking for any and all activities that can help me teach this child. On top of which, there are only 28 days left, so this goal may fall by the wayside until August.

How have you improved yourself this month?

Hodge Family Update--April

Here is an update on my friends, The Hodge Family.

They have safely arrived in Costa Rica! After being commissioned at the end of March, they returned home to South Carolina for a few weeks of fun and fellowship with family and friends. Alexis was baptized by her father, Michael! They were able to attend services at their home church and also do some speaking with various groups to help gain support. They even attended a service in Spanish.

They arrived in Costa Rica on April 27th. They will be studying at The Instituto de Lengua Espanola in San Jose, Costa Rica. They will be here for the next year. Michael and Amanda will be in Spanish classes 5 days a week, while the children go to school and learn Spanish in addition to their regular academic subjects. They have been paired up with another couple who will serve as their Big Brother/Big Sister. I thought this was a great idea. Who better to help you know what to expect than people who have already been there for a while.

Last week they had their Spanish Language assessment tests to determine how much of the language they already knew. They also visited the Costa Rican version of Walmart, Hipermas. Did you even know there were Walmarts in other countries? I didn't. You can read all about their adventure here. They also visited an outdoor fruit/veggie market and attended their first official church service in Spanish. The kids are pretty sure they learned about Moses!

And that was week one in Costa Rica. Looks like the Hodges are in for a lot of fun and adventure on this leg of their journey.

Several of their monthly prayer requests have already been answered, since they had to do with safe arrival in CR. The family does ask that you pray for the loved ones they have left behind in the United States, who they will not see for a long time. Also pray for the other 9 families that have also made the journey to Costa Rica.

To follow the Hodges journey, you can use my sidebar, or click here. They appreciate your prayers!