Monday, December 31, 2012


I feel so old saying this, but I absolutely cannot believe tomorrow will be 2013.  I remember sitting her last New Year's Eve planning resolutions, creating goals, and dreaming big ole' dreams.

2012 ended up being a very hard year for us.  Without a doubt, it was full of so much good and yet so much heartache.  I am happy for all the great memories that were made and thankful for all the struggles, for I can truly say they brought me so much closer to God.

Per the status quo- I have SO much catching up to do on the blog.  Lots of Christmas to recap.  But for now, I'm going to continue focusing on enjoying time with my little family!  And, getting all our stuff packed for our Disney Cruise Vacation that we leave for on Friday!!! :D  Thanks so much to my Mom and Dad for gifting us with the most amazing present ever-a week to make the most magical memories with our little P.

{thankful for}
P's first movie theatre experience today!  SO fun
BWW 'lupper'
Play dough time with P and his log skidder
A master bath remodel that is well on its way-
SO grateful for J and my Dad and all their handy work!!
Two new fabulous blogs I've found

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tips for Being Merry and Bright

I can’t imagine that I’m the only one sitting here this evening wondering how in creation Christmas is NEXT TUESDAY???

I’ve waited all year for this day.  I’m one of those that starts counting down the days until Christmas on January 1.  Seriously.

I make it an absolute point to ENJOY the season.  I refuse to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and ridiculousness of the season, and each year I actually get better and better at it.

Here are my very random tips for helping one stay Merry and Bright during the Holidays:

1) Do not care about gaining weight during the festivities.  Walk an extra mile a week if you want to, but seriously.  TASTE and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8
Keep your New Year’s resolution in the NEW year.  Not now.

2) Start your Christmas shopping in January.  Now, I’m not saying that I am done shopping, but I will say, I only have 2 more gifts to purchase and I was sure that neither one must be bought at the “go to malls.”  Make it a goal to finish the majority of your Christmasing by Thanksgiving.  That way, if you have one or two straggling gifts, you have all December to buy.  Plus, you are not scrounging and willing to pay an astronomical price for something simply because you don’t have a gift.  Shopping all year long saves a pretty penny.

3) Keep a list of things purchased and start wrapping as soon as you buy.  Store them in a “gifting closet.” That way, the day after Thanksgiving, you can put up your tree and put gifts under it, all in the same day.  It also prevents hours of wrapping-which I’m not good at.

4) Wrap in brown paper.  So classic.  And beautiful.  And versatile.  And cheap!

5)Buy cookie dough at least a week before Christmas.  Freeze it if you must.  It never fails.  They are out of Sugar Cookie every Christmas Eve.  And we ALL know Santa’s absolute favorite is Sugar Cookie!!

6) Make Christmas breakfast the night before.  Quiche, omelet baggies (beat the eggs, add cheese, onions, peppers, ham, bacon, etc.  The next morning, throw each person’s unique baggies into a pot of boiling water.  Everyone’s omelet is ready at the same time!), or breakfast casserole.  That way, after everyone opens their presents and they’re hungry, all you’ve got to do is pop it in the oven or in the water.  Breakfast in ten minutes-guaranteed.

7)Have a hot chocolate bar on the counter.  Packets of cocoa, chocolate AND caramel morsels, marsh mellows, and peppermint sticks all within hands reach.  When you start to feel guilty about your nightly indulgence, refer to Holiday Tip Numero Uno.

8) Spend time telling the Christmas story to your children.  I {HEART} Truth in the Tinsel and enjoy doing it with P.  BE REALISTIC.  You will NOT get to every single day.  And that is PERFECTLY fine.  Minimize stress by preplanning and having things organized by day into zip lock baggies.  All your supplies are there and all you have to do is grab a bag and sit at the kitchen table.  Make it a priority to have this organized before Thanksgiving. 

9) Have at least three random gift cards on hand at all times.  For emergency gifting purposes only, as we all know, gift cards are impersonal.  Unless you’re gifting to your brother-in-law which is perfectly thoughtful and abundantly personal.  *Insert ‘I-have-no-idea-in-the-world-who-you-would-be-talking-about’ face.*

10) Order from small online businesses.  Shipping is not going to cost more than your gas to get to the store and your hassle anyway.  I {HEART} Etsy.  Gifts are unique, meaningful, you are supporting small business, and customer service is typically, oh, just about a BILLION times better than most major companies.

11) Spend time with our Lord and Savior.  Take time to snuggle up to Him this Christmas season.  Thank Him for being Emmanuel-God with us.  You will feel so much more peaceful and joyful if you do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Tree Farm 2012

The Christmas Tree Farm is one of our favorite family traditions.  Each year, we go the day after Thanksgiving to choose our tree.  Last year was a little frustrating as we had not one, but two of the trees we chose swiped from under our noses.  This year, we wasted no time choosing our tree and then asking the workers to make 110% sure they didn’t accidently give our tree to someone else.  He assured me that never happened and I politely said, “It happened to us last year.  Twice.”  So… he kept a good eye on our tree! ;)

I must admit, I think this tree is the most beautiful Christmas tree we’ve ever had!  We’ve played with the idea all year long of selling our house and moving, so Justin wanted to get a large tree just in case this is our last Christmas in our home with vaulted ceilings.  So, our tree is 10 ½ feet of perfection!  (I’ll be honest, I’m already a little worried I might be disappointed in our tree next year because I just don’t see how another could compare.  So I keep telling myself that there’s NO way another tree could possibly shed as much as this one does so at least there will be a positive there!)

After nabbing our tree, we browsed the gift shop where we always choose one special ornament for the year.  Then, it was a visit to the reindeer, who were a bit antisocial this year. 

We managed to capture our annual ‘peep-hole’ photo where Justin is appropriately posing as the little angel girl… not sure we completely thought that one through. 

And last, but certainly not least in my book, is the obligatory sleigh photo.  I managed to sweet-talk Justin into not wearing his cap and sunglasses, FINALLY talked Perry out of his silly faces and captain Morgan pose, only to get a great family photo of everyone but myself.  But, thanks to Photoshop and a little head swapping, I am satisfied.

We finished off the afternoon with our tradition of Logan’s Steakhouse and a quick shopping trip to Lowe’s for some Christmas decorations.  We made it home just in time to slip P into his jammers and head back out to The Polar Express!!  

Friday, December 7, 2012

 I stumbled across one of the cutest things a few days ago, and it has become a nightly ritual in our home during this Christmas season.  It's called the Reindeer Cam.  You can go to and watch Santa feed his reindeer every night!!  Just check at the top of the page to see what time he feeds in your time zone!  It happens to be 8pm for us, so its perfect for right before bedtime!

And of course, everything in the South's more enjoyable with a little sweet tea with lemon! ;)

{thankful for}

51. Fun traditions
52. Sweet tea
53. Lemons
54. My MacBook
55. Comfy couches
56. Family time

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oh, the Lord is Good to Me!

We have loved teaching Perry to say his blessing, but little bitty is SOOOO funny blessing our food before every.  single.  snack.  random bite. meal time.  or midnight snack.

So, we decided to change it up a little bit and teach him a new one.  

And I just can't get enough of his cuteness during his learning curve!


{thankful for}

47. A little boy who loves the Lord
48. Blessings from the heart
49. Our food
50. An Aunt Becky who spoils P with the cutest clothes

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

May Your Days...

Be Merry and Bright!

{thankful for}

42. A SILLY boy 
43. Tiny piggies
44. A new strand of lights for my photography props
45. Pretend barn wood flooring
46. A husband who willingly helps me decorate for Christmas

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Who Needs Mistletoe? {Sunday Snapshot}

I had so much fun this past weekend practicing my photography skills and shooting a friend that I've known since Kindergarten and her sweet husband Tyler!

We had to dodge no less than a million Christmas decorations at our location,

but we prevailed and got this lovely couple lots of photos to remind them of such a fun afternoon!

I can't wait to share some other fun sessions I've done recently and to catch everyone up on all that's been going on behind the scenes lately.

A family member told me last week she "didn't think I was a blogger anymore!"  ;) Sooooo... I aim to prove her wrong!

Ni Hao Yall

{thankful for}
38. The opportunity to shoot such a sweet and photogenic couple
39. Electricity at our location
40. Beautiful weather
41. A delicious (and cheap) salad 

Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
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