Friday, October 31, 2014

Goodbye October...Hello November!

It's the last day of October!  What??  How is time going by so fast?  I can't believe tomorrow is November.

That kind of starts the holiday season spinning in my mind, doesn't it you?  My thoughts begin to turn towards Christmas lists and Thanksgiving recipes and dates to put on my calendar.   Speaking of Thanksgiving and fall recipes, this one is on my list to make very soon.  Doesn't this look yummy?  And I love any crock pot recipe!

I bet it makes your house smell amazing, too!

I am thankful that we are heading to the mountains this weekend.  I am looking forward to that peace and quiet and stillness that I love.  There is something about the silence there that is like no other.

I think the leaves will be at their peak, but it is also supposed to snow 3-6 inches on Saturday, so that will add an extra beauty to it!

I love spending time with good friends and playing games and watching football and drinking hot chocolate by the fire and wearing my flannel pajamas.  It will be a perfect way to kick off this busy season we are about to start.  Plus we get an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night!  Woo hoo!

I will miss seeing David and Caroline and Will all dressed up tonight and I am sad about that.  But I know Ashley will take tons of pictures of all their cuteness!

So...goodbye October and hello November!  I'm ready for you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkins and Conferences

This week was our Parent-Teacher Conferences.  When I first started teaching, I honestly used to dread them.  But, over time, they have become something I really enjoy!  I always feel like I know my students so much better after I get the chance to sit down and talk with their parents for a while.  And parents get a chance to know me better and know my heart.  One of the things that I love about teaching in a Christian school is that I get to pray with parents.  That is such a privilege for me and I'm pretty sure most parents love hearing their child prayed over.  So it has been a good few days.

When I had a break for a few minutes today, I met Ashley and Caroline for lunch at McAlister's.  Caroline has pink eye, so she couldn't go to school today. It is fun getting to do things with just one child at a time.  That hardly ever happens!  She is my sweet girl.  I sure do love her!!

I think I told you in my last post about how jealous I was that Laura got to go to the NYC taping of Michael Buble's holiday show?  I'm really just kidding (sort of.)  Anyway...she ended up having the BEST time and said the show was amazing  Here is the picture she took inside Radio City Music Hall.

Isn't it beautiful??  Apparently, Michael Buble thought it was pretty good too!  Haha!

Anyway...I can't wait to see it on TV!

Since we have had conferences this week, I haven't had to go into work as early as I usually do.  Because of that, I have been able to stay up later!  Yay!

Last night I went with a few friends from school to see the Nicholas Sparks movie, The Best Of Me and then out to dinner.  That movie was your typical Nicholas Sparks fare (predictable and melodramatic)  with a little bit of a depressing ending.  But it was fun getting together for girl time right in the middle of the week! I love my teacher friends!

And a few nights ago, we carved our pumpkin.  Even though we don't have kids at home any more, it is still fun!  The flowers at our little pumpkin stand were so bright and pretty!  Lindy took this picture, but to me it almost looks like someone stuck a pumpkin sticker on a picture of purple flowers!

We put on some music and made hot apple cider and got to work.

Every time I carve a pumpkin now, I think about the first year we carved a pumpkin with David.  He was only about 20 months old and we thought he would have so much fun, but he gagged when we started taking all the seeds out!!  Ashley and I laughed so hard!!  I literally thought he was going to throw up.  So funny.

I don't like scary faces, so our jack-o-lanterns are always happy!

And this weekend is our annual trip to the mountains with our neighbors.  We have been going for years and we always have so much fun.  But this year it is going to be SO COLD!!

Oh my word....I think I'm going to need my Uggs and lots of hot chocolate!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's Finally Fall!

It has been a beautiful fall week here!  It seemed like it took a long time to get here this year, so I am so glad to see it!

We have had lots of fun things going on.

I don't know if it's because I have three girls or because I teach children, or because I loved playing with baby dolls so much when I was a little girl, but I have always been such a big fan of American Girl dolls and all the stuff that goes with them.  My girls all loved them when they were growing up, too, and they loved all their cute clothes and accessories.   I still have fun looking through the AG catalogs and I think I could seriously collect American Girl dolls right now even though I am all grown up!   I just think it is a classy company.  I love that many of the dolls are tied to a period of history and that they come with books that tell stories about what life was like during various eras.  I also love the quality of all their products and that they represent everything that is sweet and innocent about childhood.  Anyway....needless to say, I was super excited when I heard we were getting an American Girl store here in Charlotte!  Last weekend was the grand opening and I was so excited to go!!  Now that Caroline is getting old enough to start playing with dolls, I know I will be spending a lot of time (and money!!) there!

The store is sooo nice!  It has a little bistro in it and is so pretty with everything you could ever dream of.  I loved it.  I called Ashley when I left and told her all about it and she and Lindy went the next day.  They loved it too.  I think Santa may be bringing Caroline some fun goodies from there this year!

Our week was busy like always with school and work.  Ashley and I have been laughing all week at a new obsession Caroline has.  It's puzzles!  Oh my word...she is addicted!  She wants to do them over and over and over again and one night she even wanted to skip dinner so she could work a puzzle instead.

When Ashley tries to take them away from her or tell her it's time to do something else, she has a major meltdown.  We have both been amazed at how much she likes them and how good she is at them.  Her little nineteen month old brain must be very spatial and logical!

On Friday, we went to hear one of my favorite authors and speakers....Bob Goff!  His book Love Does is definitely one of the best books I have read lately, so I was so happy we got to go hear him speak.  I even got to hug his neck!

On Saturday Ashley and John went to a wedding, so we kept the kids all day.

We had the best time!  We played in the park, went to Chick-Fil-A, and Target.  We let them each pick out a toy.  David picked out a Lego set that he and Steve worked on for a long time.  David stayed so focused and intent on that project even though it took them a long time to finish it!  He was so excited when it was finally done that he even put it by his bed when he went to sleep!

Caroline picked out a grocery cart.  She pushed it all the way out of Target and all the way to the car.  Then she wanted to hold it all the way home.  Haha!  I think she liked it!

After naps, we went to David's soccer game and then we came back to our house to play outside.

I made Mexican and ice cream with chocolate syrup and sprinkles.  Then we gave them a bath over here and took them home.  They were so sweet and precious the whole day!

Today was another beautiful fall day.  We went to church and then ate lunch outside to enjoy the pretty weather.

Meanwhile, we have been texting with Laura who is in NYC going to the taping of the Michael Buble holiday special at Radio City Music Hall! What!!???  If you have been reading my blog long, you know how much I love Michael Buble.  You may have read about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, or lots of other posts!!  Haha!  So...I am just a tiny little bit jealous of her today!!

And, before I leave, I just wanted to share a Facebook post from Jen Hatmaker (another one of my favorite people) that I read today.   I feel like I could have written it myself.  It is exactly the way I feel about my mom's ALS diagnosis.  I just love this.  Anyway....I will leave you with this and now I am off to the pumpkin patch with Lindy to get a pumpkin to carve.  I hope you have a great week!

I always wondered how I would feel about God if one of my main people got really sick. What would I think about Him if, say, my mom gets cancer? I am here to tell you that this isn't the conundrum I thought it might be: God is still good and He still loves us. I just know that. I suspected I would know it but you can't be sure about your beliefs when all is well.
I got up early today and sat with God awhile to see how I felt about Him.
I determined after a bit that I loved Him, mainly because He loves me so well, but even the Bible said we love God because He first loved us, so I think He'll take it.
Isn't it good to know? That okay, here we are, we have cancer, we have surgeons and oncologists and this is OUR BEST AND ONLY MOM and we don't know how this is going to go, but God feels as true and good as He ever did when no one was sick. It doesn't all disintegrate. The anchor holds like we hoped it would.
Don't be too terribly afraid of life, dear ones. God loves us and is for us in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, as long as we all shall live.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

God Is Good All The Time

Mark came home this weekend for a wedding and one of the first things he asked me was, "Mom!!  Why has it been so long since you've blogged??!  I miss it!"  Awwww...he does?  He teased me about it all weekend and made me promise I would update everything before the weekend was over.  It really has been a while since I have gotten on here.  I guess today I will attempt to catch up on our life over the past few months!

School started and it was confirmed that I officially have THE sweetest class on the planet.   Our parents are pretty amazing, too, and always treat us so well.  During the first few weeks of school they brought us hot apple cider and donuts from Skytop Orchard just to get our year off to a good start.

We celebrated Lindy's birthday by going to Paco's Tacos.

And we caught an end-of-summer Charlotte Knights baseball game with our neighbors.  I love that we can see the Charlotte skyline from the stadium.  It's not NYC or anything, but it's home.

My mom got pneumonia over the Labor Day weekend and was very sick.  It was a scary time for us and it took her a while to recover.  But she finally got well and is feeling much better now!

David started playing soccer, so we went to lots of his games...

And this little angel just goes along with anything and always has a smile on his face.

We went to the park and spent time outside with David, Caroline, and Will.

I was on the Deacon Selection Committee at church and had lots of meetings, and Steve was out of town a lot.  We were like ships passing in the night sometimes.  One day I walked in from a meeting and Steve had already left to go out of town.  But he left these for me on the counter because he is sweet like that.

Lindy and I went to the Farmer's Market several weekends and got lots of yummy stuff.  Lindy did the Whole 30 diet during the month of September and ate tons of fruits and vegetables.  She also brought some flowers to Sean's mom because Sean's dad was extremely sick during September and she wanted to brighten their day.

Before we knew it, October was here!

We celebrated Steve's birthday at home with dinner and a cookie cake.  He was really turning 50, but we only had 49 candles.  Haha!  I don't think he cared! :)

Then we went to Phoenix to visit Steve's twin sister, Susan.  They wanted to celebrate their 50th birthdays together. Two of Steve's other sisters came along, too!

We had so much fun while we were there just hanging out together.  Susan showed us a really great time.  We ate lots of good food, shopped, saw two movies, hiked, and did lots of sight seeing.

Susan works at an orphanage called Sunshine Acres and she actually lives on the Sunshine Acres property!  It is such a neat place.  It has lots of homes for boys and girls who live with foster families.  We toured one of the homes for the little girls while we were there.  I was so amazed.  Ten girls live in the home and each room is shared by two little girls.  The rooms looked like they were decorated by Extreme Home Makeover or something!  So cute!!

 It also has all kinds of animals like cows, goats, and horses, a school, playgrounds and parks, a boutique, a warehouse full of clothes similar to a Goodwill-type place, and a garden full of all kinds of plants that are native to Arizona.  Here I am in a cactus jungle!

This is one of the sights we saw while out on our morning walk one morning!  Seguaro cactus (cacti?) are everywhere in Phoenix!

One of the things Steve wanted to do for his birthday was a ropes course.  None of us had ever done that before.  It was definitely a challenge, but we had fun!

The night before their birthday, Susan's sweet daughter, Emma, and Steve's sister, Debbie,  made a cake to celebrate.  Susan's kids came over and we had fun singing and opening presents together.

For dinner on their birthday night, we went to the oldest saloon in Arizona.  It was so much fun and reminded me of something from Gunsmoke or some old western movie!

We also did lots of hiking...

And I saw my first live tarantula just walking down the road...

We went to Sedona, Scottsdale, and Prescott to shop and sight-see.

It was a great trip!  We brought David a little gun and holster set and gave Caroline some pink cowboy boots that I can't wait to see her in!  And we gave Will this little t-shirt!

The day we were coming back from Phoenix, Lindy called to say Sean's dad had finally lost his battle with cancer and had passed away.  I can't even tell you how sad we were to hear that news.  He was such a wonderful man and a great father to Sean.  He will be missed so much.  We spent many of the next days going to visit their family and attending his memorial service.  We know that he is healed now and he is with the Lord and for that, we are so thankful.  He had been so very sick for so long.  I am grateful that he is no longer in pain and suffering.  Still.  It's hard.

Laura came home from Boston the same day we came home from Phoenix and brought seven of her friends to stay at our house while they were on their way to the mountains.

I was so glad she was home right when Lindy needed her.  They love each other!

Despite all of that, we have been doing the normal stuff too--school, work, family times.  Last night we had Ashley and John and the kids over for dinner and a fire-pit.  We roasted marshmallows and had s'mores and gave the kids a bath over here.

There is nothing sweeter than cuddles right after bath!

These three angels bring me so much joy every day, no matter what is going on!

And, Mark came home this weekend for a wedding so I was so happy to be able to hang out with him!  He is such a sweet boy and I sure am proud of him!

So....I think that catches us up to today!  As has just been full of lots of ups and downs.  And that's the way it will always be.  And that's okay!  God is good all the time.