Friday, December 19, 2008

The SMELL of Christmas!

I just LOVE the smell of Christmas ... well Christmas trees to be exact! I'm so glad my "smeller" is working again! I was thrilled when I first smelled our tree!

Our tree this year is a little smaller than last year, but I love it just the same! The place we got our tree last year - wasn't there this year! We loved getting the tree together - Jonathan mostly just chased Benjamin around - and I picked out the one I liked! The guys at the tree lot tied it to the top of our car - and we headed home - tree atop!

Benjamin helped Jonathan get it in the stand AND helped get the net cut off (note Benjamin is using SAFETY scissors)! It was a "process" to decorate it - because we got it when I was so sick. I was so excited to decorate it once my energy was back! I love all of the memories that putting the ornaments on the tree brings. When I was growing up - I always said I'd have a tree with a "theme" - not one like my mom's tree with random ornaments. And what do you see - an "un-themed" tree ... with all the memories a tree can hold - and I LOVE IT! My mom gave me this little mouse ornament - that she made for one of her first Christmas's when my roommates and I needed ornaments for our tree! Now it is PERFECT for little hands to move ... wherever they so desire for it to be on any particular day/moment! Somethings that may have seemed so "dated" when you were growing up ... become TREASURES!

I LOVE my house being decorated - and having the stockings (or Santa's BOOTS, as Benjamin calls them) hung! I love the smell of Christmas cookies, treats and the sounds of Christmas songs! I love all of the traditions and talking SO much about our Savior and remember the story of his birth and life! I wish we could celebrate TWICE a year!

More Christmas to come...

Nephite Christmas!

Benjamin and I went to our ward Christmas party last weekend. Jonathan was busy studying for his boards! We had the choice to dress up like people in Jerusalem OR Zarahemla ... so we chose to be Nephites!
Benjamin is wearing a costume that I wore in 1st grade ... and I'm wearing one that I wore my Freshmen year of college! We had lots of fun ... and especially taking pictures when we got home!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tiny little feets!

Tiny Little Foot:

We are thrilled to "announce" that over the last couple weeks ... I've started to feel tiny little feets kicking away inside my tummy! We are so excited for Benjamin to have a "BRUDER" and can't wait to meet our new little boy! We were able to see him ... and all of his little body today. My favorite are the little fingers and toes! He hid his face as LONG as possible, but finally showed us just before we headed out! We LOVE him already and can't wait to meet him! He should arrive sometime around MAY 3rd ... although we are hoping that maybe he'll wait a few days so that Jonathan can graduate on May 8th! We'll take him anytime he is good and ready!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Still Thankful!

I'm a little behind ... and still haven't uploaded all of the pictures from Thanksgiving! Other than being really sick for the past two weeks ... well sick for a week and a half ... and then getting better, we had a GREAT Thanksgiving! The upside to being sick on Thanksgiving is ... you don't eat as much! Thank goodness for antibiotics!! I will try and upload our family "group" picture... and the picture of me and my brothers/sisters!

Here are two pictures from our attempts to take family pictures on Thanksgiving Day... I'm not sure if I'll ever get these two boys of mine smiling at the same time in a picture ... for no good reason (taking family pictures)! We did have fun walking through the woods - and I LOVED climbing up to the hay-loft in my parents barn ... somewhere I haven't been in probably 10 years ... but spent so many summer days playing "house" in ... searching for newborn kittens, and having the time of a little girl's life!
Christmas pictures and MORE (wink ... wink ...) coming in the next few days ... I'd love to say TOMORROW ... but we will see!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Breaking the ICE!

Yesterday we decided to go and feed the ducks some old cereal that we've been saving for them. Although we couldn't get the ducks to come over, we had a great time playing in the leaves and seeing the ice and leaves floating on the pond until...

I gave Benjamin a stick to "break the ice" with. Somehow I failed to tell him he had to stay on the bank -and use the stick to break the ice ... boy did he break it - he ran RIGHT in to the pond! He quickly realized that unlike the leaves and ice that were floating on top of the water ... HE DID not float! We both "panicked" and I hurried to get him out of the water ... then I was worried that his toes were going to freeze off on the way back to the car -- poor kid! But all was well -- got him back to the car, socks off, shoes off, pants off - and drove the 2 minutes home and got new ones!

(wet pants!)
Just goes to show ... mom should have explained the joy of breaking the ice a little better!

"Little Boy" ...and your big cardboard box!

As Christmas is just around the corner ... we are getting more and more boxes in the mail! One of Benjamin's current favorite books is:
This short story with wonderful illustrations is about a little boy ... and his adventures - and so many of them with his BIG CARDBOARD BOX! So as the boxes come in ... I try and save the ones I need for wrapping gifts ... but I often let Benjamin have them to play in - and he LOVES it... as you will see for yourself!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kids Shoes!

So ... I've been LOOKING and LOOKING to find Benjamin some Sunday shoes ... that will go with kakki pants OR some of his John-John type outfits ... and I FINALLY found some! They have cute boy and girl shoes ... I don't exactly like ANY of the clothes on the website, but they do have cute shoes! Here's the link if anyone's interested:
They came today and they FIT -- he loves them because they "squeak" although we will have to take the squeakers out before church!!
Here are his SHOES!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Latest and GREATEST free-bies!

So ... Jonathan and I love getting "free" things...
some we have to do a little work for but not a LOT!

Here's our latest and greatest...

** $30 for doing the Nielsen TV Survey -- if an 888 or 800 # from Florida calls... answer it! This year it was just a week survey - but they send you CASH at the beginning of the survey!
(Last year we did a month long survey and got $150 ... just in time for Christmas!!)

** Order and Shipping FREE from Snapfish! I stayed up until 11:45 getting some pictures edited... 30 free prints for being a "good customer" a free 8X10 that I've been wanting of Benjamin and FREE shipping on the whole order!

Quantity Item Total
13 4x6 print(s) $1.17
17 4x5.3 trueDigital print(s) $1.53
1 8x10 print(s) $2.99
31 glossy finish $0.00
30 Customer Service Credit for 4x6(s) $-2.70
1 free 8x10" print credits $-2.99
cost of prints: $2.46
Subtotal: $0.00
Shipping & Handling:standard: $0.00
Prints Order Total: $0.00

** 10% off some shoes I ordered for Benjamin online ... PLUS no sales tax

**30% off Gap/Old Navy ... I think all in all a few friends and family and I ordered $600 or $700 in clothing ... so the net savings was about $200!! And the 30% off was even on SALE stuff!

** We currently have (Jonathan and I) two $100 airline credit vouchers ... where can we go... those were from our trip to Boston ... where we ended up driving back from Charlotte and getting the rental car paid for, $130 credited back to our credit card for the flight ... AND ... the two $100 vouchers... all I can say is Jonathan LOVES customer service!

** Lastly... this week I get 20% off on Kroger items for being a Kroger employee... thank goodness for a GREAT job!

Probably a lot of work for a few bucks here and there ... but all of the pennies add up to dollars ... did I mention that I was able to get gas for a TOTAL of $25.00 yesterday! That was NONE of my doing ... except the 20 cents off per gallon that we get at Kroger for buying groceries there!

Sorry no pictures... I'll try and post a couple ... soon!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Incline Railroad!

Train Is A' Comin'!

Yesterday ... instead of watching football ALL Day ... I BEGGED Jonathan to take us somewhere fun in Chattanooga before and afternoon/evening of football! I was originally hoping for a hike - but we decided to go to Lookout Mountain and try out the Incline Railroad -- it was a LOT of fun - especially since Jonathan and Benjamin love trains!

The train ride was nice and slow (just one car) ... and went down the steep moutain. I was a little nervous at first about the speed ... but after we got going and I realized how SLOW the ride was going to be, things were GREAT! The leaves were AMAZING as the train passed the hardwood trees and being up so high and seeing all of Chattanooga was spectacular! We had a blast being together as a family!

Here's a cute shot of Mary and Benjamin looking out the window just before we left for our outing...


Halloween .... 2008!

Benjamin had a HAPPY Halloween ALL Day! He got to dress up (as the mailman ... which was the costume he picked out!) for preschool - where they got a HUGE bag full of candy! He was thrilled! They got to have a pizza party as well that day with pizza, cheetos, ice cream and juice boxes -- my kind of party!

I picked him up from school a little early ... so we could head up to North Georgia. He was AWESOME in the car - and we didn't even have to stop... a HUGE bonus was the Atlanta traffic was not bad at all!
Benjamin got to trick-or-treat with lots of his cousins ... and got just enough candy for him!

We ended the night at a wonderful Ringgold High School football game ... it was perfect football weather - where you needed a coat and mittens for Benjamin and just someone warm to cuddle up next to! Ringgold won by a landslide ... Benjamin was THRILLED to be at the game for the first 3 and 1/2 quarters ... and yelled, "Go TIGERS" as much and as often as he could!
ps ... sorry for the bad coloring on some of the pictures... I don't have my PhotoShop!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A fall mix!

Here's just a little bit of what we've been doing lately ...
no exciting adventures ... but lots of time at home! Jonathan did take one of his board exams yesterday ... only 4 more days of testing to go - spread between now and March! We are excited for fall ... and ESPECIALLY the holidays!

We celebrated my birthday last Sunday - Jonathan and Benjamin made me breakfast in bed and a yummy cake!
If Benjamin could do ANYTHING in a days time - he would play little people almost all day long! Most mornings he will wake up, turn on his light, and just start playing! These are his best friends ... he often lines them all up - like seen below, probably kind of quirky- but I'm sure there's a reason behind it!
Here is a picture of Benjamin and I when we went on a REALLY fun picnic with the Nixons! The fall weather has been so wonderful this year ... and the leaves are just beginning to fall and change colors!
Jonathan and Benjamin carved our pumpkin this morning ... Benjamin wanted a scarey face ... does this look scarey or WHAT!
We are hoping to make it to trick-or-treat with Benjamin's cousins and younger aunts and uncles this weekend ... all depending on our car situation! Our Avalon at 154,000 miles is having a few transmission problems ... the cost will be roughly somewhere between $2000 and $3500 -- if only MCG wasn't SO far away - we'd probably just finish the year with one car!! We pretty much have to fix it though - because if not, we can only get $2500 for it! YUCK ... fixed - we will be able to re-coop what we had to spend plus hopefully a little when it comes time to sell it!
On a lighter note ... we are thrilled to do some fun FALL activities this week!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Special Weekend away...

Just thought I'd share a few pictures of our AMAZING weekend in Utah. Jonathan's mom and brother, Albert, came to keep Benjamin - which was WONDERFUL! He went to the park pretty much everyday, they played toys all day, watched Conference, and even went on a picnic...He had a blast ... and we did too!

We flew out Friday - grabbed our rental car and headed up to Logan to the BYU game - which was LOTS of fun ... especially sneaking our Cafe Rio into the game - which was not too difficult! Did I mention that Jonathan hit some sort of coyote (medium-sized animal in the canyon after the game... luckily not really any major damage to the rental car!)

Then on to our hotel in downtown Salt Lake, a block from Temple Square and the MOST amazing view of the Salt Lake Temple ... not too sure why I didn't get a picture! (Although we did get a picture of the Logan Temple: see above.) Jonathan probably said a hundred times ... isn't this view better than our view in Boston - and of course I did ALWAYS agree that it definitely was - we even saw them turn the lights off on the temple early the next morning.
The weather for the Saturday session was RAINY ... but I did get in to the afternoon session, and Jonathan got into the Priesthood session. Conference was amazing, and I probably cried more during the Saturday afternoon than any other - thank goodness for Jonathan's step-mom who was there with a full supply of tissues for me! It is always such a great feeling to be in the presence of President Monson and the apostles ... and the children's choir was so touching!
We did get to see a good bit of friends and family (including Jonathan's grandparents who actually live in Florida: see below) ... missed some, but excited to hopefully visit them when we are out for skiing in JANUARY -- it will come so fast!
The Sunday sessions were just as good! A few quick visists Sunday evening, then to the hotel for a night's rest - then back on the plane by 6:50 am Monday morning! A HUGE thanks again to Cheri and Albert for keeping Benjamin ... just was I needed for sure!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grovetown Ward Campout!

Jonathan and Benjamin were thrilled to be able to go on the ward campout ... and had talked about it all week ... I on the other hand - LOVE camping - but was not thrilled with the idea of no sleep - and Jonathan being gone all Saturday -- so I rode back with Emilie Nixon - who lives in our neighborhood and got a FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP!

Other than the fact that it was RAINING - and Jonathan left the tarp in the garage -and had to drive to the nearest Wal-mart to get another -- we had a GREAT evening. While Jonathan was "shopping" - Benjamin and I roasted hot dog and marshmellows and enjoyed visiting with friends in our ward.

When Jonathan got back - he and Benjamin QUICKLY set up the tent ... I headed home and they had a FUN night ... going to sleep about 11pm and Benjamin waking up at 4 am to go to the bathroom, and never going back to sleep! Sorry to all the "neighboring campers" who Benjamin probably woke up!
They had pancakes and bacon for breakfast - which Benjamin was so excited to tell me about. He is already asking if they are going camping again. I think Jonathan will take a "rest" from camping at least for AWHILE ... as he went to the Cannery in Atlanta and the to the UGA game ... and didn't get home until 12: 30 last night!

Eli's blessing!

Just a few pictures from our nephew (cousin) - Eli McGuire's blessing ... We were able to go to North Georgia to Jordan's (Jonathan's brother) football game - Benjamin LOVED the Tiger... then for a meeting with a recruitor - while my sister watched Benjamin. She took some adorable pictures of Benjamin and William (her little boy) ... which I still need to get!
Eli's big day was Sunday ... here are a few pictures!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recipe Exchange!

This is for all the "locals" ... we are doing a recipe exchange as one of our Enrichment activities... a fun night out for Moms!

When: Friday, September 19th
Time: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
821 Michelle Court (Pamir Place Subdivision)
What to Bring: A fall favorite - along with the recipe

Plese pass the word along ... and invite a friend! Let me know if you'll be able to make it so I can plan on how many to expect!
If you decide to come at the last minute - PLEASE COME!
See ya Friday!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Little Piper and Trig!

This will probably go down in history as one of those genuine acts of sisterly kindness!


So ... I am a HUGE Sarah Palin fan at the moment. I wasn't quite so sure about John McCain ... but after his choosing Sarah as his VP choice ... and hearing her speak ... and knowing she's a mom just like me ... as of now they have over the top won my vote... not that Obama was ever in the running (where would our country REALLY go... and who would my doctor be ... and where would my kids go to school ... and HOW many taxes would we have to pay ... now that Jonathan will soon have a REAL job...) don't get me wrong - I am a 100% fan of helping the poor, homeless, father-less and any person in need - and we feel that we give very generously for what we have -- BUT I don't think it should be the GOVERNMENTS "right" to take freely from me/us -- and give to the millions upon millions who choose to sit at home and get on every government "free" list that they can... NOTHING in life is truly "free" ... it is a price for someone, somewhere. We will continue to give to the poor, needy - but I'm not about to let the Democratic party go down without a fight.

Aside from all of that ... for those of you who did or did not stay up to watch Sarah's speech last night ... I really did enjoy her speech AND this special moment! Amid laughter and tears ... the Palins showed that they are a true American family - just like me! Piper, what a GREAT big sister to little Trig!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Daughter of a King!

I usually posts about the comings and goings in our family, but today is a special day for our little family. August 17, 2005 - we were blessed with a choice spirit. Not as most would think, but our first little one here on earth. We went to our routine doctor's appointment -thrilled to finally be pregnant. Everything looked just normal - but the doctor decided to do a sonogram.
To our disbelief, the baby that was in my tummy had already come and gone. Of course there is a wide range of opinions on when life really is life - but for us ... this was our first child. We have a few sonogram pictures that we cherish -as you can see the tiniest little body... and because of the size, the doctor could tell that this little one had at one point had a heartbeat.
With this all said ... I'd like to share some of my thoughts and feelings as a mother - more fore me, than probably for any readers.
Within the few short weeks of being pregnant, I had many impressions that this little one would be a girl. The first an only thing that I bought for "her" ... was these little pink shoes. They are a treasure to me and to our family... as they are one of the few things that were hers in this life. I believe that each spirit that comes to earth is truly a son or daughter of our Heavenly King, and thereby making our little girl -a daughter of the most-high King. She had hands and feet and a beating heart - she needed that tiny yet frail body to complete her mortal existance. Both with this little one, and with Benjamin - I kept a journal of thoughts and experiences prior to their arrivals here on earth. Because of the short time -I just had one journal entry for her ... and her journal became Benjamin's... and he will always be able to read about her.
Here are a few thoughts from the journal entry to her (dated: August 14,2005):
"We know you are a chosen and special spirit, reserved to come in these latter days. You have a strong and everlasting testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ... Heavely Father has held you in His arms, hs walked and talked with you, and is excited to see you again in His presence... You will be a great help to your Dad and I... You have a spirit that my spirit knows and loves. We were close befoer we came to earth and I cherrish every second I think of you. With all the Love a Mother could have for a little one, Your Mommy"
This little one has been a HUGE help to Jonathan and I - probably our biggest trial in life was losing her - but the greatest blessing to bring the two of us closer to eachother. Now that three years have gone by today - tears still fill my eyes to think of her as joy fills my heart that I will be able to see her again, as I sometimes feel her presence so near. With all the majestic places on earth, I sometimes wonder what the heavens will be like. I'm grateful to have this daughter of our Heavenly Father and King, as part of our family as I look forward to the day we will be together again... and I will know her then, just as I know her now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Boston and MORE!

Jonathan and I are celebrating our 5th Anniversary this August ... so we decided to take a trip together ... saved all our pennies and headed to Boston! We had a WONDERFUL time together here is a quick bio on our trip to Boston! We enjoyed so many things about the trip, I'm sure I will miss a few things!

This is me in front of the USS Constitution - that is stationed in Boston. It is a pre-Civil War Navy ship - and will never be de-commissioned. So we actually had to go through security before we got on board. Also known as Old Ironsides ... probably because a large portion of the wood is from GEORGIA... enough history - on we go:

Well here is a bit more history - one of our FAVORITE stops - Plimoth Plantation - note the spelling is the CORRECT spelling! There were actually families living here that depict the first settlers and also the Wampanoag Tribe (that are still members of the tribe) - even spoke with the English accent... but thankfully not in Wampanoag language. The little town was amazing ... we couldn't get enough of this little place!
The vegetable gardens were AMAZING... and probably NO deer in this place like at our house!
Here were are at one of the MANY Harbors on Martha's Vineyard ... probably one of our other favorites ... as we saw amazing gardens, beautiful lighthouses and homes We really enjoyed this little island.
A light house in the distance with ships coming in and out!

So we debated on moped ... or bikes. Thank goodness we went for the moped - especially after Jonathan's WRONG turn that took us on a 11 mile ride in between two of the towns. BUT then again - we probably should've gone with the bikes for 2 reasons:
1. Jonathan had a hard time turning a few times ... once landing us on a sidewalk for a whole entire block -- thank goodness no pedestrians were on the sidewalk at the moment!
2. We had a yummy lunch AND ice cream... we could've used the exercise!
All of the homes had beautiful flowers and the houses were all nice and tidy ... to live here, or own a house here requires LOTS of money! Thank goodness for those who do so we can enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth!
The Boston Temple at NIGHT!
This was probably the highlight of our trip! Jonathan and I were able to go to the Boston Temple - which was an amazing place. We always enjoy going in August - to remember our wedding day - and also a little one we lost (miscarried) August 2005. We were running a little late - so sorry for the night time shots!

Here we are in front of the Mayflower II - a reproduction of the original - but WOW ... I'm still not sure how they made it over, and in such a tiny ship! The Plimoth Rock was being "renovated" ... so we could only see the tip-top under the scaffolding.

Fenway Park ... oldest baseball stadium in the USA... and they still have some of the TINY wooden seats!
Here I am at the Museum of Art ... I'm not really up and up on art - think it is pretty... so I had to take a picture in front of paintings I actually knew: MONET.

This was another favorite! This is at the Old North Church - where the lanterns were held for Paul Revere to see ... but the best part was the pew boxes ... it is a square box - that your whole family sat inside. What a way to keep the kids entertained. AND you got to bring furniture/pillows/blankets etc. from home to decorate them with!
This was our last day in Boston - running from the pastry shops back to our hotel to grab our luggage ... sorry you can't see more of the downtown!

Among other things ... that are not "pictured":
*Cape Cod potato chip factory - Jonathan would probably die if I didn't put that on here!... *MIT museum, *trolley tour around Boston, *110% amazing buffet breakfasts at our hotel... that came with our room (thanks to Jonathan) - which would've been $45/morning... for 3 mornings! Our favorites were the specialty omelets, waffles and fruit, * dinners at East Bay Grille, The Daily Catch and Morton's Steakhouse, *cannolis and cream puffs from Mike's pastry shop, *to-die-for raspberry-blackberry tart in a dark chocolate crust, *$150 off our hotel bill because it was the "city-view" and not the "harbor-view"(again thanks to Jonathan), *riding the T (or train/bus system), *getting incredibly lost in Boston, *running LOTS in the rain - because it rained EVERYday... and we were to cheap to by a $5 umbrella until the last day, *Jonathan bargaining for the moped... $69/day instead of $89 and most of all just being together.
A HUGE thanks to my mom, dad, Laura and even Daniel. Benjamin had as much or more fun staying at "Mom Mom's house!" We were so glad to see him when we got back... and he couldn't stop smiling either!