Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas Story

I just want to share with you all a true story my mom sent me a few days ago. Last Wednesday, Woodstock and other parts of ATL experienced an ice storm which created a nightmare on the roadways. Our friends back home were telling us stories of how it took them 4 hours to make a 5 mile drive. Accidents were occurring everywhere. My mom actually had to walk home from the top of the hill in our neighborhood because her Xterra started sliding and ended up sideways in the middle of the road. Anyways, below is a story about what happened that night to one of her coworkers at the highschool named Erin. It's such a beautiful story of God's love and loving our neighbors. I asked Erin if I could share it on my blog, so I am grateful she said yes, as I think it will make a mark on your day!

Merry Christmas, friends! Rather than a card this year, I want to share with you a Christmas moment. Wednesday night was a crazy experience on the roadways, as I'm sure you know. But, as the holidays seem to remind us, sometimes the best moments come out of chaos. I wrote down my thoughts below as Wednesday night unfolded . . .

So, tonight was supposed to be our Church Christmas party … a meal, games, and wrapping gifts for children in need. When the ice and sleet began at 4:00 ish, we had to make a call, but dinner was pretty much prepared already. A few of us gathered at the church to handle the gifts, and make plans for wrapping them another time, as it was clear that we all needed to get home. All activities were cancelled, and four of us left at about the same time. After an hour, none of us got more than a ½ mile from church, because of traffic at a stand still in the ice. Accidents were everywhere, and one road was iced so that traffic could not get up. No one was moving anywhere.

Jake and I decided to get out of each of our vehicles, and walk back to the church. Our minister of music, David Harrison, called Jake (the pastor) to say he was walking a mile back to the church, and was picking up folks along the way. As we ventured out of our cars and into the ice and sleet, we stopped at cars near us and said “Don’t know where you’re headed, but if you want to come inside and get warm, we’re walking up to the church. There’s food there. Come on.” Almost every stranger we met thanked us, and prepared to leave their cars on the side of the road. We had to climb the icy hill to the church. A young mom, her son, and I held hands as we slipped up the hill.

Once we got inside, the meal was waiting for us. We began taking the Wednesday night supper out of the fridge; most of it was still warm. Jake stayed upstairs, welcoming half-frozen people inside. We made hot chocolate. We ate a glorious meal of ham, potato casserole, veggies, and warm rolls. People kept piling inside. About 70 strangers, ended up sharing a meal and getting to know one another.

The best surprise was that one group of folks from the road were a group of teens heading to dress rehearsal for “The Nutcracker.” So, after we all ate and warmed up, the kids put on a live performance of the ballet in the fellowship hall. It was wonderful! Judy Brandon searched the pantry and found ingredients for a cake . .. she and several moms – strangers before tonight – baked a cake together. Kids and teenagers made themselves at home, having fun like they had been at this church all their lives. This has turned out to be one of the best Christmas parties I’ve ever been a part of.

An officer stopped by the church, and filled us in on the road conditions. It was clear that no one needed to be traveling until things thaw in the morning. So, we decided it was time for phase two of the party. We set up the screen and projector in the sanctuary, let the kids fill the center aisle and showed the Charlie Brown Christmas movie. Adults spread out on the pews. Most of them are drifting off to sleep now.

The church is warm, and safe, and full of people tonight. I have so many thoughts I want to process about this night … a change of plans, welcoming strangers, offering a meal, sharing a table … but I’m pretty sure that what happened here tonight was truly the gospel. And my heart overflows with that thought.

After this amazing experience of unexpected joys, my hope for your holiday is this. . .

- unplanned parties with friends you haven’t met yet

- a hand offered to you when you slip and fall

- friends who invite you to walk alongside them on the road

- peaceful rest in the most unlikely settings

- joy that surprises you

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh What a Day!

Ok, today has been the most comical day full of irony and mishaps and it's only 12:45pm! I just have to write it down so I don't forget it.
It all started last night when we put Ava to bed. Today was pajama day at school, so I thought, "how great! What a time saver for the morning because Ava will already be dressed when she wakes up!" I did hesitate though for a moment because normally she can be a bit messy eating breakfast, and I didn't want her to get her pj's dirty in the morning. BUT I decided to take the easy way out and put her to bed in her new pj's that she would wear to school the next day (todaY).
WELL, at 5:30 this morning, I hear Ava and Bobby in our bathroom with the bath tub water running. Before I even crawled out of bed (clearly, I was zonked out considering I didn't hear anything until they made it to the bath!), I thought, "oh noo...." Sure enough, Ava had an accident last night- of course it was her first one in like 3 months- and so her pj's and sheets needed to be changed. I would like to say that it was Ava who was so upset about her wet pj's, but really it was me! She looked soo cute in them and they were so warm and cozy, so I decided to run downstairs and throw them in the wash before school. The other ironic part of this story is that up until the LAST time I changed the sheets, I always put a towel down under she sheets just in case of an accident so it won't soak through to the mattress (I really need to get one of those plastic sheets). But since she had not had an accident in so long, I decided not to put a towel down when I changed her sheets last week, and OF COURSE, that backfired!
So we finally make it back to bed...well sorta. By that time, we all were pretty much awake. Despite being up so early, the kids and I somehow managed to be late taking Ava to school, which means I have to unload everyone and check her in at the office AND walk her to her classroom. Now normally I am still in my pj's with slippers on when I take Ava to school bc the school is so close. Well THANK GOODNESS I got dressed today! All I kept thinking when I was checking Ava in was, "Thank you Jesus that I put my tennis shoes on today!!" LOL
After we take Ava to school, Lucas and I drive to Bobby's office to say hello. On our way there, I pick up my phone to call my friend Deb from work because she is letting me borrow a sweater for our Ugly sweater Christmas party tomorrow night! Bummed, I realize that I cannot find her number under my recent calls. I tried asking a friend from work, but she didn't have her number. So then I ended up calling the hospital and asking my charge nurse for her number, which I hated having to do because I know they are soo busy in the mornings. As I dialed her number, it popped in my phone as a saved number. UGH! I had it the whole time!!
Now that we are home, I am stricken with a case of LOST things...yesterday I made an ornament for my mom for Christmas, and I think someone in our house who is under 3 ft tall, took it and hid it somewhere! He recently has a love for putting things in our trash can, so I have a feeling it's in our dumpster outside right now since I just took the trash out....And there is NO WAY I am digging for it in there!! This culprit of mine also LOVES our tv remote, so much so that we have taken the batteries out of one of our remotes as a "decoy" with buttons that he thinks is real! hahaha. That being said, I accidentally left the real remote within his reach earlier this morning, and now it is GONE. Nowhere to be found (probably also in the trash...). This is a bummer because I was excited to watch 19 Kids and counting while the kids napped, and I caught up on laundry! But since it's the Comcast remote that is missing, I can't access our DVR :( so Sad!!
Let's see...I think there was something else funny that happened, but I think that's all my brain can remember at one time! Hahaha. So glad that Bobby and I are going out on a date tonight! I need a brain refresher!
Well before I go, I will share something precious that Ava has been doing lately. Every morning when she wakes up, she runs downstairs and pulls up a chair to get closer to our nativity set. She says good morning to all the wise men and animals and spends a few minutes talking to Mary, with such things like, "Mary, I need to pray for more snow. Do you ask Santa for more snow?" And then she always asks me where baby Jesus is. I remind her that baby Jesus is still in Mary's tummy and that he will be born on Christmas day. She gets really excited because she will say, "MOM! Mary has a baby peanut just like you?!?!" Ohh, how I love my Ava!
Merry Christmas!

The Annual Dave Ramsey Christmas Party- Such a FUN night!!

Our best friends Branden and Lauri O'Neil

The First snow of the year! Our house looks so pretty at night- Bobby did a great job on our lights!

Our Christmas Angels :)

Making cookies with our favorite buddy Steph at the Breakfast with Santa at our church

The Annual downtown Franklin Christmas parade. The kids LOVED it and so did I!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Breakfast with Santa!

This past Saturday, we took the kids to our church for Breakfast with Santa. They both loved it! I thought for sure Lucas was NOT going to be a fan of the big bearded stranger all dressed in red, but he didn't care at all! There was a photographer present who I am so grateful for because she captured some cute pics of our kiddos.

Click here to view these pictures larger

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FALL-ing in LOVE!!!!

As I am sure most of you do, we LOVE fall! I couldn't be happier while playing outside with Ava and Lucas in the evenings when Bobby gets home from work, going to lots of fall festivals, inviting friends over for campfires in our backyard, leaving our windows open as much as possible, and of course taking lots of pictures to remember it all by!
This fall weather has also been a wonderful remedy to the early weeks of my pregnancy. Fresh air and sunshine make me feel soo good!
Lucas is now 16mos old and Ava is 3 going on 16....
A few things about Lucas are that he LOVES (and I mean, LOVES) balls- he actually is impressing us in his ability to dribble a soccer ball around in our backyard. It's crazy. LOL, as I type this, Lucas just came up to me carrying a football, saying (in his most deep boy voice possible) "Ball, ball, ball!" He also loves remote controls and of course cell phones. We finally just took the batteries out of one of our remotes so he could play with it without changing the channel!
Ava is a doll, the most loving, challenging, maternal spit fire!~ hahaha. She really enjoys going to her new preschool where she is a peer model. She is mixed in a classroom with children with special needs, and she serves as a typically developing 3 yr old to demonstrate 3yr old behaviors. There are 8 children in her classroom- 4 peer models and 4 with special needs- most of which are mild autism. Bobby and I are honored that she gets to be a part of this program and interact with kids that she wouldn't normally get to interact with. They are her friends, and we love that.

This is the new game Bobby has created with the kids....they throw a ball up the stairs and then giggle hysterically while they watch it bounce all the way back down...it's the little things! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Beginnings!

Well, as most of my posts start out....where do I begin?? The month of September has been so amazing for our family! The first week of September was spent moving into our new home. We love it. Everyday I wake up amazed that God allowed us to find this house that we now call our home. As is our style, we have already had 1 party, 2 cookouts, a garage sale, and lots of visitors! Finally a home to share with our friends and family. God is good.
And well, of course, it didn't take us long to find something to do with all the extra space...we found out last week that we are expecting baby #3!!!! A surprise? Maybe. A moment of great joy? No doubt!! So Bobby and I have decided that God is amazingly good at math because so far, all our babies are going to be exactly 23 months apart. I am due at the end of May, Lucas turns 2 in June, Ava turns 4 in July. Sounds pretty great to me!
Here are a few pics of September so far:

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I am feeling a little crafty lately, so I am using my blog as a place to remember all the fun crafts I want to try one day!



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday Blessings

What a wonderful birthday I had this year! I never intended to blog about my birthday, but after so many blessings came my way, I just had to share. First of all, I love Bobby so much. Not only did he give me the most romantic, heart felt, tender birthday card, but he put a tremendous amount of love into making me a birthday cake! I think he was trying to surprise me because on Monday night (the night before my bday), he needed to go to the grocery store, but wouldn't tell me what he needed to buy. I guess what he didn't expect was for Ava to leak the surprise, because after he left, she said, "Ohh Mommy, me and Daddy are making you a cake tonight!" Hahaha. Gotta love it.
When he got back from the store, I left to go meet my group of girlfriends in downtown Franklin. So wow, where do I begin about how grateful I am for the amazing friends we have made here in Franklin. It's a group of about 10 of us and each month, we all get together for a girls' night to celebrate whoever has a bday in that particular month. I was the only August birthday, so of course I picked to go to Sweet CeCe's for frozen yogurt! Another special tradition we have started is a "Spiritual bouquet" (I included a picture below). How it works is one of the girls volunteers to arrange a bouquet of flowers and then she emails everyone (except the birthday girl) asking for them to reply back with a prayer/special sacrifice/note about what they love about that person. Each response is printed up on a small piece of paper and then they are attached to each stem of the flowers. So on Monday night, I received a beautiful spiritual bouquet filled with love from my girlfriends! It was so special to me and I will treasure it forever (well, the notes at least...the flowers won't last that long!!)
Prior to going out that night, I had worked out at the gym and while exercising, I felt inspired by this idea to write each of my girlfriends a personal note expressing my gratefulness for their friendship and example in my life, and to give it to them that night at the party. These women inspire me so much in our vocations as wives and mothers. Each note was a little different, but here is what most of them said,
For my birthday this year, I have spent alot of time reflecting on the many blessings God has given me in my life. Something I find myself saying over and over again is how grateful I am for our amazing group of Catholic women that we have here in Franklin. I could never ask for a better group of friends to encourage and inspire me in our vocations as wives and mothers.
When Victoria died so soon after we moved here, I just couldn't understand why God had pulled me away from my family. But in all His loving wisdom, He knew I would be lifted up and immensely loved by our friends-our FAMILY- here. Please know that I will be praying for you and thanking God for our friendship on my birthday this year!

On Tuesday, my actual birthday, Bobby made us all breakfast (YUMMY), and then the kids and I went to Mass at St.Philip. It was so nice to start our day in prayer. After Mass, our dear friend Laura took Ava, Lucas, and I to Starbucks for a delicious coffee and a few pastries (Thank you Laura!!). For Lunch, we took sandwiches to the office and had lunch with Bobby. Taking the kids to the office to eat lunch with Bobby is one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel so happy to see him instead of having to wait a full 8 hours! And finally that night for dinner, we went to Chuy's with our great friends the Kerseys. It was DELICIOUS and FREE (thanks to my girlfriends who gave me a gift certificate the night before! AND to our sweet sitter who graciously volunteered to babysit for free when she realized it was my birthday! You rock!!)

(Can you tell we are getting ready to move??? Boxes are stacked EVERYWHERE!! Our poor kitchen table is also the desk,office, puzzle table, and catch all!)
Overall, this year was one of my most memorable birthdays to date. Why? LOVE and GRATITUDE. It was a day filled with love as is every day, but God especially placed on my heart a spirit of gratefulness for the many blessings He has given me in my family and my friends.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Birthday Party Luau!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Ava and Lucas' birthdays with a big luau party at our pool. We had a blast! Gotta love the Dollar Tree because ALL our decorations came from there! MY favorite was the fruit bouquet that I made after my friend Lindsey inspired me! I also felt very Martha Stewart-ish when many a nap time was spent handpainting sand buckets for all the kids for their take home gifts! 22 in all! We are blessed by wonderful friends. Our friendships here in Franklin is definitely at the top of my list why I love living here!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

God's Hand

God will NEVER be outdone in generosity. He reveals this to me time and time again. I am so happy to share that after MONTHS of searching, we have found our DREAM HOME!! Now I could be jumping the gun a bit here since we are going to rent the home first for about 12-18mos, but we are hoping and praying to purchase the house at the end of that time period if financially we are ready. Anyways, I can not tell you how many hours I have poured over craigslist, realtracs, and trulia searching for a home to rent. We walked through SOO many homes that were just not right for us. I admit, I was kinda particular about what we wanted: Garage, backyard (preferably fenced in), bonus room, hardwood floors, open floorplan...I started a joke to Bobby asking him how many "frogs" were we going to have to kiss before we found our "prince"?? I mean, we came upon some real DUDS!
I was starting to think that maybe we were just going to have to stay in our apartment because I just wasn't sure that I wanted to settle on something and go through the pain of moving if we didn't absolutely love it. But we are truly busting at the seams in our 1200 sf apartment (which for the first 18mos that we lived there, I LOVED it- you can't beat how easy it is to clean!) But we really want more outdoor living space for our kids. I have this image of them coming inside with green grassy feet after a long day of playing outdoors!
We knew our budget and were committed to not going over it so that I could continue to work just one night a week at the Children's hospital. Thanks to our best friend Lauri (or Tory I should say ;) ), she gave us the greatest idea EVER! After telling her how all the rental houses were either asking too much rent or were in poor condition, she recommended that we write a letter and place it in the mailboxes of houses for sale that we were interested in and ask them if they would be interested in renting. Talk about a great idea! That opened SOO many doors for us, literally! So as our excitement grew, so did our disappointment as many times we got our hopes up about a house, only to be beat out by other renters, etc. Finally one Tuesday morning last week, I went to daily Mass and had the opportunity to go to Confession. During that time, I poured my heart out to God asking his forgiveness for the times recently where I have lacked trust in His will and begged him to purify my heart and my intentions so that I can let Him reign in my day and in my family. After spending that time with our parish priest, I felt so much peace in my heart. And no joke, within 48 hours, we received a phone call for this house! AMAZING!
We prayed and prayed on the way to this house and we spent Bobby's lunch hour on Thursday speaking with the owner of the home. He shared with us that the night before, he and his wife finally decided to rent their home and the next morning (the morning he called us), he went to his mailbox and found our letter. Crazy. By Friday night, we had reviewed the lease and then we sealed the deal on Sunday. We move in on September 1! Bobby and I have been on cloud 9 ever since!~ We are thrilled to have more space for our family and have room to grow! The best part of the house is the lot. It's one of the biggest in tne neighborhood and backs up to a huge common area, which is a really popular feature in Franklin neighborhoods. It has everything we hoped for and MORE: 2 car garage, fenced in yard WITH built in playset, 4 bedrooms, hardwood floors, spacious kitchen, double vanity in master bathroom, etc. Thank you Jesus!!!
The furniture in the house is not ours, it's the owners, so I will have to post pics again once we move it and get settled.