Tag Archives: family

Currently: Christmas Edition and Photo Explosion!

Well, it’s time for a little Christmas update! We had so much fun hosting my family here for a few days, eating a TON of food (can you say 8lbs of prime rib?) and sweets, and giving and getting copious amounts of presents. Hubby and I spent most of Christmas Eve leading worship at three services at our church, thankful that our kids could enjoy the day with family, even if it was without us. Here is a little more about our Christmas, and what we are currently doing…

Smelling || my new candles from my brother and his girlfriend. They. Are. Magical. And no pun intended! 

Playing || dress up! In addition to a few new games and building-type toys, the big kids got several new dress up outfits, and they’ve been hamming it up big time. They both love playing dress up and pretending, so between my mom and me, we spoiled them with some new outfits. 

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Eating || this hunk of prime rib. It was so amazing I forgot to take a picture of it cooked before we ate it all! 

Enjoying || several days with family we don’t see as often. It might’ve felt chaotic with so many people and so much stuff, but I totally enjoyed it.

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Waiting || to take down our decorations and lights until New Years. I really enjoy the way my house looks when it’s this time of year, so I am rarely in a hurry to take them down.

Anticipating || seeing Moana later this week! I’m excited to go to the theatre again, and I’m hoping the kids all do as well this time as they did when we saw Finding Dory a few months ago. Snacks seems to be the best thing for maximizing their attention span.

Well, that’s pretty much it for what we’ve been up to. Here are a few more pictures that don’t really fit anywhere, but are super cute. I sure love my people.

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40 Things for Which to Be Grateful

While I’ve been doing this NaBloPoMo, it’s been interesting to see what I have to write about. I decided for the last day in November, I’d write forty things I was thankful for. So here they are. 

1. The roof over my head. A roof that is also known to be atop a hospitable place, known at least for good food and friendly faces, if not insurmountable messes.

2. The clothes on my back. I am always dressed in clothes without holes, appropriate for the weather, and typically at least a little bit stylish. I can be grateful for each of those things, and the incredible blessing that is all three.

3. My little big girl. At four and a half, EK challenges me every single day to be a better mama, have more patience, and pray about everything. I can see that my strong-willed daughter will be much like I was growing up, and I must prepare my heart for what is to come. But I am also immeasurably grateful for her heart, her energy, her intelligence, and her defiance, because they make her who she is. And who she is is wonderful.

4. My marvelous middle child. Even at not quite three, I can see J’s sweetness and gentle heart blessing others. While he certainly has his moments (I mentioned he was two, right?), he is generally thoughtful and kind. I don’t know how he does it, when the dominating females in his life have little patience (I mentioned EK and I are the same, right?) but he lives with us well. Just like his daddy.

5. My miraculous baby boy D. Spending a month not knowing whether you would live to see us or not was the scariest thing I have ever done, and I will be forever thankful for your healthy, joyous self. So full of smiles and giggles, you are the sunshine of our lives.

6. My kind and talented Hubby. He loves me unconditionally, and is a true saint in the way he treats me and puts up with my messy heart. He is patient with me when I am at my worst. He is an incredible father to our children, and I look up to him in every possible way.

7. The sheer number of good friends we have in our town. We have countless friends, new and old, that we love to hang out with, and that we could depend on in a time of need.

8. My church family. I really, really do consider myself blessed (#blessed, y’all) with a huge group of people who do life alongside me, who encourage me, teach me, push me, challenge me, and celebrate with me.

9. My women’s small group. These women are fun, insightful, encouraging, and genuine. We often have deep discussions, but we also enjoy hanging out together. Those are both so important, and I’m thankful for them and their discipleship alongside me.

10. My community group. These families are kind, funny, loving and helpful. We get together a couple of times a month, but I always find myself wishing we hung out more often.

11. The Bible. I know it sounds a little cliche for a Christian to say they’re thankful for the Bible, but I really am grateful for the comfort, encouragement, and conviction it provides.

12. My jobs. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the loosey-goosey, different-every-day nature of my jobs, and I often remember to do something or attend a meeting at the last minute. But these jobs allow me to spend an immense amount of time with my children and my husband. I am very grateful for that.

13. Food on the table. In the fridge. In the pantry. In my belly. Many people in this world – a staggering percentage – do not have enough of this basic thing of which I have an abundance.

14. Clean water. So many places do not have this luxury that we as Americans take completely for granted!

15. Sunshine. It is healing. I know, I know… it also could get you burned, but I think just knowing it’s right outside the window can make you feel better than a rainy, dreary climate.

16. Coffee. That precious, delicious treat that borders on necessity. Whether I make it, Hubby makes it, or the local barista makes it, I do so love it.

17. Wine. That deep red, or that bubbly… it’s a perfect addition to dinner or a snuggle on the couch watching TV. It’s certainly not a necessity, but it sure is a nice treat.

18. My family. For this one, I mean the dynamic between the five people that live in my house. We love each other and play well together. Sometimes we fight and get on each others’ nerves, but that won’t really go away. We work through it and move on. We love being together and for that I’m thankful.

19. My family. Like, the extended, everyone’s included family. I’ve got the best parents, brother, grandmother, and more I could ever ask for. They might live far away, but I love to see them!

20. My in-laws. You guys, I really hit the jackpot with in-laws. It’s a HUGE family, and I love every single person in it. I’ve got cousins, aunts, and uncles galore now, and also three more brothers, three sisters, and adorable nieces and nephews. I win on the family thing.

21. Music. It makes me feel all the feels. It relaxes me. It allows me to be in community with others in a special way.

22. Running and exercise. This is huge for me, since I use it as a stress reliever. I like being healthy enough to go on a run, blow of some steam, and sweat the feelings out.

23. Leggings and boots. They cover a multitude of sins (like not really wanting to be dressed, and feeling fat).

24. My health. I might not be the healthiest person in the world, by choice or genes, but I am far from unhealthy. I exercise, eat fairly healthy, and have been blessed with little sickness or other issues in my life. I’m thankful for that!

25. My car. I am blessed to be able to get from point A to point B with three children in tow. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to use public transportation with three kids under 5!

26. The right to vote. And to take birth control. And to drive, to stand up for myself, to work, to not work, to make money, to spend money, to be a person who can have any life I want. Women have come a long way. I’m particularly thankful for the right to vote this year, when it seems to have mattered a little bit more.

27. Technology. It’s proven to be dangerous sometimes, and when used incorrectly it can be awful. But it’s nice to be able to do things like check the weather, talk to friends, take pictures, and look up recipes all on my phone.

28. Heat. I’m particularly thankful for this one at this time of year, when it finally has gotten cold here. I’m thankful I don’t have to be chilly at night.

29. Gifts. The fact that we are able to buy gifts for our family and friends without worrying about what we gave up.

30. Humor. We love bent funny in our family. All things silliness are a blessing to me.

31. My love of reading. I truly do love getting lost in a book. It’s an enjoyable activity for me, and has been all my life. I hope I can pass it along to my kids!

32. Books. In addition to my love of reading, I suppose I should be thankful for what I read. I have learned so many things, been transported so many places, and felt so many emotions (all the feels!) due to the books I’ve read.

33. Sunshine. What a mood lifter! I never tire of seeing the sun.

34. God’s glorious creation. He has crafted each colored leaf, each ocean wave, each mountain’s peak, and ray of sunshine into a perfect masterpiece.

35. Modern medicine. I am thankful for vaccines and medicines that keep my family healthy, and the access I have to pretty much whatever we need.

36. The fact my kids are siblings. I love that they’re learning to share, love, give, and solve problems alongside each other. They are fiercely loyal to each other and rude to each other all at the same time. Perfect.

37. The holidays. I love seeing my family, Hubby’s family, lots of friends, and my kids all together. I love celebrating (no matter the reason) and I love all the sparkles and lights this time of year. I love sharing the wonder with my children, and helping them learn about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas (and other holidays as well). It’s such a warm and fuzzy time of year right now!

38. Dessert. Specifically cookies. My favorite. I don’t need to explain myself. 

39. The rain. What a cleansing and healing thing for the earth, and often for my soul. Especially thankful for it in the mountains right this moment. 

40. My town. Y’all, I love Winston Salem. I love this community, the diversity, the cool spots and nice places, the parks and playgrounds, the shopping, the eating, the beauty of a perfectly sized downtown. I just love it. 

Currently: The Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Monday! Are you all feeling as fat and happy as I am? I dressed in my workout attire all day today, thinking I was going to squeeze in a run or something, and nope. Still doughy from the week of indulgence. I’ll get back on the (exercise) horse tomorrow.

I’ve got a nice update full of photos for ya! I hope you had a wonderful holiday whether it was relaxing at home, traveling to see family, or hosting a million people (what we did). Thanksgiving isn’t a huge holiday as far as big get-togethers or high-stress functions (in my family at least) but we still had a big group come up from Georgia and a few friends around – including a “Friendsgiving” last night! Anyway, here’s a little about what’s going on Currently.

Eating || all the leftovers. You can see the menu we had planned here, but then we ended up with desserts on desserts, and then having a get-together with our friends last night, including even more food than we had had on actual Thanksgiving Day. Now our fridge is full of one serving of this and two servings of that, and we’re ready to just clean it out and stuff it full of salad for a while. Yikes.DSC_0033.jpgDSC_0078.jpg

Enjoying || so much time with family and friends! My parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother came up this past week, all staying for a few days to hang out with us, which was AWESOME. We also hosted some friends for Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and again Sunday night for Friendsgiving, and frankly, it’s been so nice. It was all pretty low-stress and enjoyable, for which I’m extra thankful.DSC_0053.jpg

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Loving || these placemats I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond just before Thanksgiving. I don’t use placemats all the time, but these were so lovely for a Thanksgiving spread!

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Decorating || for Christmas, of course! I haven’t gotten everything up yet (or even out of the attic) but it’s coming along. For the first time, we strung lights up on our front porch columns today, so I can’t wait for it to get dark and see our work light up! DSC_0325.jpg

Planning || Christmas music for the next few services. My women’s service is having their big Christmas feast and lessons and carols this Thursday, so I’m thinking through what music should be where, etc. And we’ve already begun Advent (I can’t believe it!) so the Sunday services have to include a fair amount of carols from now on, too. I LOVE IT!

Baking || our annual Christmas sugar cookies! We do them every year at least once during the Christmas season, and I’m hoping to get a second time in with some friends in a couple of weeks. I always love how they turn out!

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Well, those are the highlights from our busy week. Who else hosted their Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite Christmas decoration to put up?

Our Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow, I’m hosting my family for Thanksgiving. My mom and dad have been here all week, and Mom’s helping Hubby and me get things all ready. It is going to be a beautiful blend of traditional things in my family meeting the gourmet tendencies of Hubby’s family. It’s going to be some kid-friendly items, and some things that my kids likely won’t touch. I’m really  excited.

Here’s our list of things we either have/made already or are making tomorrow:

Prime Rib
Honeybaked Ham
Chicken and Dressing (For you northerners, that is not inside the chicken. The chicken is in the dressing.)
Green Bean Casserole
Potato Salad
Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Onion Pie
Cranberry Salad
Kale (prepared in the southern style of collard greens)

I know. No turkey. But don’t those other meats sound SO GOOD? And a little GBC can’t go wrong, especially coupled with potato salad, and cranberry salad. What’s a southern Thanksgiving without something called “salad” that doesn’t include lettuce?

My aunt is also bringing homemade rolls and various desserts… including her amazing rum cake (yum?!) and at least one meringue pie. FOR THE WIN.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Are you hosting or traveling? Either way, I hope you have some fun plans!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying a last day or two of prep for the biggest meal of the year! Here are a few funnies from my family this week…

EK, randomly: A school bus fell on my lip!

At dinner, J says to me: I put snot on you.

After J kicked his brother, I told him to say he wouldn’t kick his brother anymore.
He said: I won’t kick any more brothers.

J: Know what I wanna be for Halloween? A sea diber.
Me: A sea diver? Cool!
J: Yeah! With a mask and a lid on my mouth and one of those things you swim in.

J: You know what I want for merry Christmas? A crane. For snow.

After a fun evening out of town, we were getting ready to go home…
J: I don’t wanna go home! I wanna stay here!
Hubby: Well, you can stay here in the parking lot.
J: Well… is my family coming, too?

J was drinking out of this cup:And then he asked the question: Where is the blue sipper thing that you sip the beer out of?
I wasn’t sure how to respond.

EK to G-Daddy: Squish me as much as you miss-ed me!

Hubby and I were working out and talking about squats. J then exclaimed: I’m gonna do ten squashes!

J, when first waking up: You know why I love everybody? Because I’m so happy.

J has a kids’ Camelbak cup. The rubber spout pops into a closed and locked position, just like the regular Camelbaks do, except it’s so tight that he often has trouble getting it back open. One day, he literally threw a tantrum about his inability to get it open. I saw that he was using his index finger, so I said, “Why don’t you try using your thumb instead? Our thumbs are really strong.” He tried it, and of course it worked. So now, every time he opens his spout, he says, “Mom! I used my thumb! Thumbs are REALLY STRONG!”

Well, are your kids excited for Thanksgiving? I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

I miss you, Graddy.

This time three years ago, I was pregnant with my first son (second child). I was getting ready for the holidays, and enjoying a visit from my mom’s parents.

During the course of their long weekend here in town, my grandfather became sick. He ended up in Urgent Care, and then on to the ED. After determining that he had pneumonia, he didn’t come home from the hospital. 

I was confused, I was shocked, and I am still totally wrecked that he didn’t get to meet J, and now D as well. He was a supporter, a lover, a hugger and a friend. He was a hard worker, with a servant’s heart. I am proud to call him my kin.

So now every year on Veterans’ day, I celebrate the veterans who have long served as protected our country, but I also say an extra little prayer in the hopes my Graddy will know I’m thinking of him. Especially since the grandson he didn’t quite meet has his eyes.

I’m thinking of him tonight, as I go through my evening routine, snuggling babies, helping with dinner, and settling in for the night. I’m a little somber, but full of sweet memories. Miss you and love you, Graddy. 

Currently

Happy Monday, and happy Halloween! I’ve never been more happy to not be in the classroom as I am right now. Monday + Halloween is the worst elementary school combo I can think of.

Since it’s already November,  I’m linking up with Anne in Residence and A Short Blonde for their first Wednesday link up as well. I haven’t done a little update in a few weeks, so here’s a little bit about what I’m currently doing!

Celebrating || my bestie’s new baby girl! She arrived last week, and I was excited to be able to spend most of my time in the hospital during her labor. It’s such an interesting and beautiful process, and it was really neat to be a part of it from the outside, versus being the mother in labor. Here’s a picture of sweet Adele being snuggled by my J.

Hoping || for a few good pictures for a Christmas card! My friend Mary Catherine was sweet enough to come take pictures of our family last night, and when I get done writing this post, I plan to go through them, and try to arrange a few for our Christmas card. There’s a sneak peek below…

Wearing || blanket scarves and ponchos and big sweaters. This is sort of new for me, but I found a couple of things at Target and one at TJ Maxx that I fell in love with, and they’re going to be my favorite accent pieces this fall. A couple of them are tribal patterns, which I love! They don’t work super well with coats, mostly because they’re bulky, so it’s likely that I’ll drop them when it gets really cold – maybe around Christmas time. This photo is a peek from our shoot with MC yesterday, and I’m wearing one of those pieces I love!

Enjoying || a quick date with Hubby yesterday afternoon! My mom has been in town for the past few days, and during naptime, she let us go to our local beer growler store and enjoy a couple of flights. It’s been a while since we were able to just sneak out like that. Our dates usually take a lot of planning.

Eating || So. Much. Pho. It’s such a good fall treat, and fairly healthy. If you don’t know anything about it, it’s basically chicken noodle soup, Vietnamese style. You can also get different kinds of meat, but it’s delicious broth, rice noodles, onions, bean sprouts, and toppings like cilantro, Thai basil, lime juice, and/or hot sauce. The weather cools off, and there’s nothing I like better to eat. The kids like it as well, so that’s an added bonus! But all this pho does remind me that it’s almost RAMEN TIME!

Googling || blog post topic ideas. I know that seems a little trite, but I’m going to join some writer friends in publishing a blog post every day for the month of November. It’s a spin-off of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which works for me, since I’m not writing a novel (and don’t really plan to). But I love writing, so NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a perfect excuse to write and write and write some more. When I began this blog, I wrote something almost every day for the first several months. But as I got busier and wrote about a lot of things that I’d been saving up for, ya know, the first 28 years of my life, I ran out of QUITE as much material. That being said, kids are constant fodder for writing, and the world is constantly changing. I plan to keep it up!

Well, this catches you up a little bit on my life. What’s going on with you currently?