Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year...Happy New Decade!

So, 2009 is winding down....and as I write, there are only 3 more hours left. Everyone is talking about the New Year, but are people forgetting that there is a new decade on the horizon as well?!?!

I know a lot of people like to look back on the year that is ending, but I think I will recap my decade.

2000: As everyone was worrying about Y2K, I was living life as a college student. As long as email worked and I could write my next term paper, I was good. I didn't do a stockpile of food and water. I just wanted to finish school. I have a very distinct memory of New Year 2000. Buddy, his brother-in-law Brian, and I ran up and down the street in front of his parents' house with sparklers screaming Happy New Year at the top of our lungs! Brian even got a battle scar, as the sparklers burnt his scalp.

2001: I had two major moments this year. I got engaged in March that year. I also, like everyone else in the world, lived to witness the 9-11 attacks on our country.

2002: This was a hard year, as far as school goes. I had my toughest round of classes that spring, and in the fall I had my semester of student teaching. But I worked really hard and that December I became a Clemson Graduate....magna cum laude, thank you very much!

2003: Buddy graduated Clemson. We got married in June that year. I got my first real job teaching that fall.

2004: This year was a pivotal moment in my life. This was the year we made our big move. I left a town I had lived my whole life (where all my family and friends were) and moved to a town where I knew only 2 other people...Buddy's college roommate and his wife. This was a tough year, since he had to start his job here in April, and I didn't move up until the summer, so I could finish my first year of teaching. I had quite an adjustment and it was very hard on me for many months. ***I do like living here now*** Buddy joined the fire department this year.

2005: We bought our first home this year. It was so much fun taking an empty house and making it a home. And our house has a Bible verse. If you know me in real life, ask me and I'll tell you the verse.

2006: I joined the fire department and took classes to become a NC EMT.

2007: This year started out tough but ended up great. We decided to try and start a family, and in January of this year, we became pregnant. Unfortunately the Lord saw fit to bring this child to be with Him in Heaven in March, at only 9 weeks gestation. However, the Lord was gracious to us, and later on, we became pregnant again. This time, it ended in a happier way!

2008: This was the year I became a Mommy (1-9-08)!! This year started out very sleep deprived, but life was so grand. Seeing my son smile, roll over, crawl, pull up, and begin to walk were just some of the many highlights!

2009: This year was just more of the same joy of last year, with running and jumping and climbing taking the place of crawling. We had some tough times and scares with Buddy's job, but again the Lord was gracious to us. And if you want to know all the details of 2009, just check out the archives!

So there you have it. My decade in a nutshell. When you look back on 2009, don't just consider the past 365 days. You really have 10 years to look back on. I think back to all the good times, when the Lord and I walked side by side. I think back to all the rough times, when He carried me through them. I am so looking forward to being side by side with my Saviour in the next decade of life, knowing He will continue to scoop me up and carry me through the hard times when they show up.

I'll do a post later on about our Christmas...some really cute pictures to share. But for now, I will say goodbye to 2009....Hello 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Photo Session

I wanted to have our family pictures made for Christmas like we did last year. When I called two weeks ago to get our appointment the only thing they had that fit our schedule was this past Sunday. So I've been using last year's picture as my blog's main picture until now. I just could not get over how stressed I was taking the pictures this year. I guess with Quinn being almost 2 years old made a big difference. Last year, we just plopped him down and that was it. He did great for the pictures by himself, but in all the pictures of the three of us, you can tell he's trying to squirm away.

I cannot believe how much Quinn has grown this year! He doesn't look like a baby anymore. :-(

I know he's got to grow up and be a big boy but does it have to happen so fast?? Take a look at these next two pictures. The first one is Christmas 2008.
Here is Christmas 2009.....see what I mean. He's so big!

Ok, this next picture has a story behind it. I remember from last year, at the photo place, they tried to get Quinn to lay on the floor and look at a book. That was the one thing he wouldn't do, so this year, I hoped he would do it....and I had the perfect book for him to look at.

When I was a little girl, my Grandma used to read a book to me and my cousins called "Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree." A basic plot summary of this book is this: A rich man, Mr. Willowby, gets his Christmas tree delivered, but the tree is too tall. His butler cuts off the top and gives the top to the maid. She uses the tree top but it is still too tall. She cuts off the top, and throws it out. It is then found by the gardener, then other animals. Each time another character gets the top, it it always too tall for their little space, until only the tiniest part of the tree top is left. It is found by a little mouse, who's mouse home is inside Mr. Willowby's home.

My grandmother's copy of this book was printed in 1963 and she let me have the book this year to read to Quinn. And it's in black and white, except for the tree, which is green. So I thought how cool would it be to have Quinn's great-grandmother's book in the picture with him. I still can't believe how sweetly he laid down on the floor to look at this book.

The only thing I do not like about our family picture is that it is on black background. That just doesn't say Merry Christmas to me. But we are all smiling and Quinn is cooperating, so here you go!

These next two I just thought were precious. They had a fake plate of "milk" and "cookies" and a fake "Santa" arm. It was actually just a sleeve and a glove and the photographer's assistant put the sleeve and glove on. Then they crop off the edge so you can't see the assistant.

We had a few more pictures made this day, but these will have to wait. They are Quinn's 2nd birthday pictures...which happens in only 18 days!! Slow down Quinn. Mama's not ready for this!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Been "SNOW" Fun!

I can hardly believe all the snow we've gotten this weekend. When the weatherman said it would start at noon, I figured it would be more like 3pm. So I was extra happy when I got the phone call from the school system saying school would let out two hours early yesterday. That meant Christmas Break would start sooner.

Much to my surprise, after lunch, it started snowing and we were still at school. I glanced at the clock, and it was about five minutes after 12! I could see the excitement building inside all my students, but especially my two from Burma, who have never before seen snow, given that they grew up in a tropical country. So all 25 of us bundled up and spent the last 15 minutes of school playing in the snow!

It snowed most of the afternoon, with just enough let-up to allow me to get home safely. Thank you Lord! Then it snowed pretty much all night long. I measured in 3 different places to see how much snow we got and got the same measurement in all the spots.....5 and a half inches!

So Quinn and I spent some time this morning playing in the snow. Buddy was at the fire station yesterday and this morning. Here are a few pictures of our wonderful, almost Christmas, snow!

This is our house.

Here we are in the front yard.

Quinn could walk on the snow without falling through, but my steps crunched down. Quinn was walking along and fell into some of my footsteps.

You can see some of my footprints behind him, which shows how deep the snow is. Five and a half inches is a lot for North Carolina!

And here is on of Quinn's cute little snow prints! He didn't even make a dent in the snow, except if he fell down.

I was trying to remember the last time it snowed so close to Christmas. I believe it was 1996 because I was a senior in high school, and that was the year I had jaw surgery. Some friends wanted to visit me in the hospital but their parents wouldn't allow them to drive in the snow. (Which was the right choice.)

Now, we just have to sit back and enjoy this snow. And we will see if we go 2 for 2 Christmas weekend....I hear we have another "system" coming through. In my 30 years of life, I've never had a White Christmas. It would be a wonderful thing to experience.

And the Lord says to the snow "Fall on the earth."
Job 37:6

Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa Run 2009

Each year at Christmas, our fire department does something we call The Santa Run. Basically, we take one of the big fire engines, some candy canes, tins of cookies, and Christmas cards and go visit all of our retirees and families of current members with small children. This is one of my favorite things that we do. Usually we get one of the "new guys" play the part of Santa. We have our own costume and everything. Some drivers will even decorate the truck with Christmas lights. There are plug-ins on the trucks to run different pieces of equipment, so we have a place to plug in the lights.

Side note: Buddy's first year in the department, he got the "honor" of being Santa...we had to stuff him with pillows. Earlier that year, due to lots of intense fire training, he lost a bunch of weight. We called him "Skinny Santa"!!

Anyway, tonight was the Santa Run. Buddy and I used to ride this every year. A lot of our retirees are getting older and have a hard time getting out, and it was always a blessing to hear about how these guys got our department started. So many have passed away since we have joined the station. Of course, it's always fun to see the little kids light up when they see Santa.

The past two years, though, we haven't been involved. Two years ago, I was pregnant, and Buddy stayed home with me...just in case. Last year, I can't remember why Buddy didn't go, but I know I was home with Quinn. Maybe he had a meeting. But I do remember that by the time the truck came by our house, Quinn was asleep already.

Anyway, Buddy was the truck driver tonight. I asked Buddy to be sure to come by our house tonight, since I have something at school tomorrow night. I wanted to see Quinn's reaction. Buddy called and gave me a head's up as they pulled onto our street. I could see the fire truck's lights from the front door, so I grabbed Quinn and we headed outside. He was a little apprehensive at first about "Santa", and would not let Santa hold him. What's funny is that the guy who was dressed as Santa, Michael, is one of Quinn's favorite guys up at the station. Michael even came to see us in the hospital when Quinn was born.

I did manage to get this picture, though. Quinn would not humor me at all and look at the camera. He was too distracted by the lights on the fire truck. Oh well...better than not getting a picture at all.

It's fun to think, that about 15-16 years down the road, Quinn might decide to join the fire department too. Then all three of us could do the Santa Run together.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hodge Family Update--December 2009

It's been a while since I've posted an update on my friends, The Hodge Family. I recently received their December newsletter. They've been so busy in Language School, that they haven't been sending out newsletters as frequently as they were before.

They have finished their second trimester in Language School. As you may remember, they are in Costa Rica learning Spanish for future missionary service in Argentina. In their spare time, they created a video to support the Lottie Moon Offering for Foreign Missions. They are being sent out by the International Mission Board, which is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and remember giving a special offering every year to help missionaries in other countries. 100% of this offering goes directly to the foreign missionaries.

This week, December 14-18, Michael and Amanda will be involved in a week-long conference on "Chronological Bible Storytelling" which is a way of sharing God's Word through a set of stories that will present the Gospel in a meaningful way. This will help them increase their ability to share God's Word in Spanish, and will help them while in Costa Rica and in Argentina next year.

Michael continues to host Spanish Bible studies. Amanda's Spanish has increased enough that she recently began hosting a Spanish Bible Study for single moms. Pray for them as they share God's word with Costa Ricans.

Here are their prayer requests.

1. For their Bible studies to impact the lives of the people who attend.

2. For new opportunities in 2010 to be able to share God's Word with the people of Costa Rica.

3. For the 2009 Lottie Moon Missions Offering to be a success so that the IMB will be able to continue to support their foreign missionaries.

4. For Alexis and Jarrett as they must say goodbye to friends whose parents have finished language study and will be leaving for the mission field.

5. For Michael and Amanda's final semester in language school, and that the learn as much as they can in these last few months.

6. And finally, pray for the entire family, as they prepare to celebrate their first of many Christmases away from family and friends.

Thank you for praying for this sweet family! You can follow their blog from my list, or you can click here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

You gotta be cool to be this H-O-T

Ok, so I've been a little slack in posting lately. What with extra choir practices for the church musical last weekend, tutoring two days after school, an almost-two-year-old who is wide open, I barely know what day it is. In fact, I wrote this post two weeks ago, and am just now getting around to publishing it.

I've mentioned before how Buddy and I volunteer with our local fire department. We both have our EMT certifications and he is a fully-certified fire fighter. In fact, he has the same credentials as someone who would choose firefighting as their career. Every Monday night we spend several hours at the fire station doing our weekly training. One week we have medical training, two weeks are spent on fire training, and the other week is our business meeting.

Back in November, our station hosted an LP Gas Burn. LP stands for Liquid Petroleum, and is used daily by many people. It could be someone grilling out on their deck with a gas grill. It could be used by a business. It could be traveling up and down the road on transfer trucks. We haven't had a training like this at our station since the first year Buddy was involved. I never got to see this, since at the time, I was not yet involved with the department.

Here are some pictures from the event.

Quinn couldn't help but notice that Daddy looked a little different once he got all his fire gear on.

What do you expect, when Daddy goes from looking as he normally does to this....

As with all fire scenes, whether it is training or an actual situation, you always have to meet with your OIC (Officer in Charge) to get assignments, information, etc. Here, our Captain (guy with clipboard) is letting the guys know which group they will be in.

You start with a couple of large tanks . I know this picture is hard to see, but there are two really large LP tanks. These tanks were actually hooked to a LP truck that pumped the LP into the tanks. Then different valves are opened and lit on fire so the guys could practice putting the fire out.

Now, there were about 30 firemen at this training, so in real life, it might not take this many people. But for training purposes (and to give everyone a chance to practice) there were several firemen on each hose. Two groups were "attack" groups, and the third group was a "safety" group. Basically, they had to push the fire off the tanks so they could get close enough to the tank to turn the valve off.

I was standing pretty far away from the setup, and the heat was so intense. I can't begin to tell you how hot it must have been closer to it.

It certainly makes for some pretty cool pictures!

If only all of our Monday night trainings were this exciting. And I'm sure the guys are glad that the LP Burn was rescheduled for November. We were originally supposed to do this back in the summer!