Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

I have to say that 2009 was not one of my favorite years. To me, even though it had some really great moments, overall 2009 was a stressful and difficult year. Some years are just like that, right? I think one of the reasons for this is the fact that our family experienced so many life changes at one time. We had two children graduate from high school, one graduate from college, three to take to college (two for the first time), and one get married all in the same year!

This was the year the economy seemed to be in a downward spiral and it was hard seeing friends losing thier jobs. It was a really bad time to graduate from college, too. Ashley was on pins and needles all summer just wondering if she would get a teaching job! In 2009 we also lost several good friends. And many of our friends lost their parents this year. It just seemed like it was one thing after another.

Through it all, though, God was faithful to our family. With His help, we made it through all the bumps in the road and He blessed us in so many ways despite the upheaval and change. It reminds me of one of my favorite hymns ever....

Great is thy faithfulness O God my Father
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me!


And the good thing about years like 2009 is that they come to an end! I love looking forward to a new year! It's a new start with new goals and new opportunities and lots of hope. I am thankful that God gives us new beginnings.


Last year on New Years Eve, I answered 20 questions that helped me reflect back on the year. I had fun answering them so I thought I would answer them again this year, too. You are welcome to use these if you would like something to help you look back on your year!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you had never done before?

Saw Jersey Boys on Broadway, attended three weddings in one year and hosted my own daughter's wedding!, saw three of my children graduate in one year,




helped Ashley set up her very first classroom for her first teaching job,


saw the first African American president EVER get elected, and got a Palm Pixi phone that I can use to get on the internet and play games and even blog on! So cool!!

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I am sad to say that I did not do a very good job of keeping my New Year's Resolutions from last year. I really need help in that area. My resolution was to slow down and have more balance in my life. That totally did not happen in 2009. Heeelllppp! Anyone have any ideas for how to actually make this happen??? I am making the same resolution again this year, so I really want to keep it. :)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! My brother and sister-in-law had a beautiful baby girl, Brooklyn back in May.


Plus lots of our sweet couples in our Sunday School class had their first babies. It is so much fun watching their families grow!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. This was a sad year for us because two of our friends who were our age died of cancer. One of my very best friends growing up, Helen, died this month. And even though I don't get to see her much anymore, I was still so sad. She was beautiful and we had so much fun together and she was such a sweet wife, mother, and daughter. She left three children behind and I know they will miss her so much. This is her at her wedding...


Plus, several of our friends lost their own parents and we were so sad for them!

5. What places have you visited?

I went to two of my very favorite places this year....Florida




and New York!!




Steve and I also took a trip to Charleston and we visited Laura in Boone and Lindy in Greenville and Mark in Raleigh! Unfortunately, this was the first year our family didn't take a family vacation together. That has NEVER happened. But with all these teenagers working over the summer, it was too hard to coordinate their schedules. I hope we can do something together next summer!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

More balance...time to do the things that really matter and not so much time working.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched in your memory and why?

Well, that's a no-brainer! November 14, 2009....Ashley's wedding day! It was such a happy day for our family. She was beautiful and the wedding was perfect. I will never forget it!


8. What was your biggest acheivement this year?

I know I keep going back to this same theme, but honestly, pulling off a really big wedding and have it turn out so well and keeping my sanity was a really big acheivement for me. ")

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

God was so good to me. I can't think of a time I've been sick this year except maybe a little cold! Nothing serious. But Ashley and Mark both got the Swine Flu!

10. What was the best thing you bought?

Steve bought me my Palm Pixi and I LOVE it! I guess I like technological gadgets more than I thought. haha


11. Where did most of your money go?

College tuition and wedding expenses!

12. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Hmmmm....let's see...here are a few...

I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas-This is the song that Ashley's wedding party came into at her reception. So fun!

Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus-Okay...this is just a FUN song! My girls loved it when it came out and we danced to it at Ashley's wedding reception and had the best time. :)

The Best Day and Fifteen by Taylor Swift-I just love her and both of these songs remind me of Laura and Lindy and their last year at home. This song can pretty much make me cry my eyes out...



Chicken Fried and Whatever It Is-Zac Brown Band-I loved both of these songs this year!

13. What do you wish you would have done more of?

This is the same as it was last year...read my Bible, excercise, and read for fun! I really want to try to accomplish working in more time for all of these things this year!

14. What do you wish you would have done less of?

Probably worrying about my kids and staying too late at work. I've got to find a way to pray more and worry less. Really, I'm not a huge worrier, but I just want my kids to be happy and healthy. You moms know what I mean! And I want to do a good job teaching, but somehow I've got to call it a day earlier than 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon! That's too late!

15. What was your favorite TV program?

Well, my favorites are still The View and King Of Queens reruns. But Steve and I also watched The Amazing Race and I loved American Idol. I watched a little bit of Desperate Housewives this year with Ashley, too!

16. What was the best book you read this year?

The best book I've read this year is the one I am reading now and am almost done with. The Help! You need to read it...it is so good!

17. What was your favorite film of the year?

No question, the best movie I saw this year was The Blindside. I LOVED it!!


I also saw Marley and Me way back last January and I loved that movie, too!


18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

Goodness...I turned 45 this year! Wow..I am getting old! :) This year my class spoiled me rotten with lots of sweet gifts. Then Steve took me to dinner downtown at a really good seafood restaurant called LaVecchia's!



19. What political issue stirred you the most?


The innauguration was a big deal at our house because Laura and Lindy were able to go! It was such an historical event and they stood outside with lots of their other high school friends in the FRIGID cold as the very first African American President was sworn in.





20. Who was the best new person you met?

I have met several new people this year...some at church, some through mutual friends, and some here in the blogging world. I love them all! Each person I have met has been an interesting and unique person and someone who I am looking forward to getting to know even better!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back By Popular Demand :)

Ok...I hope I am not boring everyone to tears right now. But....since YOU asked, I will happily share some more wedding pictures. (Ya'll are so funny!)
























It really was a fun and happy night!

I hope you are all enjoying some laziness this week like I am. I am happily reading my book and cleaning out drawers and cabinets and doing little projects in between.

Tonight on 20/20 they are showing the REAL story of the Blindside movie. I loved that movie so much, so I can't wait to hear about the real Touhy family!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nothing To Do

It has been totally wonderful not having anything to do for the past few days. I just can't get over how much fun it is to have absolutely nothing on my agenda! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that! :)

For Christmas, one of the things I got was a new book called The Help.


It has been so long since I have had time to read a book, so I couldn't wait to have the luxury of uninterrupted time. I started it last night and I already love it. I have had so many people tell me how good it was so I am going to go ahead and recommend it to you. If you are looking for a good holiday read, you may want to pick it up.

The Sound of Music came on last night, too. It was bliss. I was just lying on the couch with a blanket and some hot chocolate and a fire going. And in between reading my new book I was watching the movie. That is my idea of a fun night! haha

I am so excited because Ashley FINALLY got her wedding pictures back. Goodness...there were over 500 of them! I wish I could share the whole album with you, but that would probably be torture. Instead, I thought I would share just a few of them with you.




















They turned out so great. I know she is going to cherish them all her life!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

So...Christmas is officially over. Today we spent much of the morning digging out from under the avalanche of gifts and wrapping paper and boxes. I tried to clear off some room on our countertops where we had so many Christmas cookies and cheese balls spread everywhere. We put away the wrapping paper from our all-day-Christmas- Eve wrapping marathon. I stacked our Christmas dishes in the china cabinet and carefully boxed up our special silverware. And later on I am planning on changing out all our Christmas card photos on the refrigerator. Whew....the whirlwind that was Christmas 2009 has blown through. :)

It was a really good Christmas this year! We have all been commenting about that and saying how much fun we had and how it seemed easier and less stressful in some ways than in the past. It was a little different this year since Ashley was married and not living with us anymore. But I think we all adjusted well to that transition and made it work the best we could.

One of the things we always have fun doing the week before Christmas is having my brother Blake and his wife Angie and their kids over for dinner. We don't get to see them on Christmas day, so this is our chance to hang out and exchange gifts together. They came over the Tuesday before Christmas and we had a great time visiting and eating just spending time together. Our lives are so busy and theirs are too and I love it when we all slow down and just hang out. We also played a little Rock Band and that was fun! :)




On Christmas Eve we went to our traditional Christmas Eve service at church. I love that night because the church is always packed and we get to see so many friends that we love and give hugs and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Our family is so big we take up a whole row when we all sit together!

After the service we went to Steve's sister, Debbie's house. We just have appetizers and soups and it is very low key and relaxing. We took some fun pictures over there!










Christmas Day I had my parents and my brother Brent and his wife Britney and their kids over for breakfast and to open presents. I didn't take very many pictures, though, because I was just enjoying the morning! Here are Ashley and John opening one of their presents...



In these pictures Bailey's favorite toy was a tool set and construction gear and she didn't want to take it off! Brooklyn loved just playing with bowls! haha


Then on Christmas night we got together with Steve's whole family. We ate some MORE and opened gifts and played games and just had fun.




Goodness...we are all so spoiled. I got such nice things and so did everyone! It really was a great Christmas full of lots of family and fun and blessings from God! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, too. I am looking forward to hearing all about it!! :)