Friday, December 31, 2010

BLOOM holiday update {and giveaway!}

many of you know that we have a non-profit - BLOOM project.  this is our little way of promoting orphan care and adoption in our community.  despite the craziness that the holidays and our impending move and sick babies has brought over the past month, my friend minette was still able to talk me into attempting our first holiday fundraiser.  boy, am i glad she did!  



we kicked off our alternative gift-giving  at a holiday party a few weeks ago.  but...the giving didn't stop there!  many folks continued this movement by spreading the word to friends and family, posting about it on their blogs, hosting events at schools and other venues.  what started as a simple idea raised nearly $2000 and resulted in the collection of even more items...all for the orphans we support in haiti and dr congo!!  one local elementary school class even made a personal contribution by writing letters to the orphans of haiti to share encouragement and love!

i wanted to make sure that i give a personal shout-out to our vendors who participated in this year's event...

::baubles and bags::
::heraldry clothing::
::arbonne::
::wood by chuck::
::little joy company::
::madison lane photography::

with this much success the first year...we can't wait to see what next year holds!  



and speaking of next year...it's almost here!!  we have gone crazy brainstorming ideas for growing BLOOM over the next 12 months...
what ideas do you have for supporting orphans worldwide through community events and outreach???  i will stick a starbucks giftcard in the mail to the best idea posted in the comments section of my blog (or the BLOOM blog).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

white christmas {almost}

our whole family was delighted when we woke up to the winter wonderland that surrounded our house this morning...
a few highlights from yesterday...
one last breathing treatment for mr. o - ain't no rsv spoiling his christmas fun!
he had places to go on his new supercool scoot-n-zoom
the doodlebug woke up yelling 'JESUS!' and could hardly wait for our birthday party celebration...
...when we opened the last gift under the tree and found the baby inside...
...our nativity {and our christmas} was complete...

christmas blessings all year long from our family to yours...





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the toddler chef cooks::christmas cookies

these are seriously the easiest christmas cookies ever.  they are actually a variation of a halloween cookie that my sister-in-law made using candy corn instead of marshmallows.  making them was just what lucy and i needed to really get the christmas spirit flowing around our moving box-filled home.
step-by-step from the toddler chef herself...
get some candy cane kisses {we also used 'hugs' because i can't resist their deliciousness}...
line {or, if you're 2 - 'scatter'} a baking sheet with the square 'snaps' pretzels...
this is the tedious part...unwrap the kisses and place them on top of the pretzels
stick them in the oven {300 degrees} for 2-3 minutes...just long enough for the kisses to get soft.  remove and gently press marshmallows on top of each one.  put them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to let them set up {this was the hardest part...waiting...}.  then - as lucy would say, 'ta daaaaaa!' yummy salty/sweet goodness! 
and if baking these doesn't get you in the holiday spirit you can always dress up like a reindeer...






Saturday, December 18, 2010

our house on the {snowy} hill

joey and i spent a few chilly days in tennessee this week.  we are now the very grateful owners of this pretty little snow-covered home...
everyone keeps telling us that it's REALLY not usually THIS cold in the tri-cities this time of year.  i guess we'll find out if they are telling the truth.  just looking back at some of the pics i took makes me shiver...
these were taken at the eureka inn in jonesborough.  we learned that this is the oldest town in tennessee and apparently the inn is about as old as the town - which would explain why we had NO HEAT...seriously...thank goodness we booked the room with the fireplace!  beautiful, quaint little town.  i can't wait to check out the local charm a little more once the weather warms up this spring.  i have a feeling the kids and i will find some fun things to do here.
soo...the countdown is on...3 weeks to move-in.
but first...a little thing called CHRISTMAS.  we are committed to stepping out of 'moving mode' this week so that we can fully observe this most joyous of seasons with our little ones.  we have a birthday party for jesus to plan, decorations that still need to be displayed, cookies, crafts, and much more ahead of us.  reports on all of these festive events to come!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

fashion on the farm...

{note: regular ole southern girl + video shoot = not the most professional thing you've ever seen...thank goodness they guy behind the camera IS a professional!}

we recently had a little out-of-the-ordinary excitement on the farm. my friend and very talented video guru, grant haun, captured a little bit for y'all...check it out...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

make new friends, but keep the old...

...one is silver, and the other gold.  i wasn't a girl scout very long but i do remember that song from our meetings and camp outs.  it sort of haunts me.  


i've never been very good at the second part.  making new friends...easy...piece of cake...i love meeting new people and getting to know them beyond a shallow conversation.  keeping the old ones...that's another story.


the handful of friends that i have maintained long distance {and long time} relationships with have extended me a tremendous amount of grace.  my friend meg and i joke that we are best friends because we are the lowest maintenance people that we know.  
i'm terrible at returning phone calls.  my email inbox is so junked up that i frequently miss a message or forget to reply.  i write letters and then can't find the address or a stamp so the note sits on my countertop {under piles of other stuff} until i find it months later and decide that it's too late to mail it.


the truth is - my behavior is not in any way a reflection of how much i care about my friends.  i actually believe that i am one of the most fortunate gals in the world when it comes to friendship.  i have dozens of precious people that love me like they are family {and i feel the same about them...even if i don't always show it}.
now that i am about to leave a whole bunch of precious friends behind in charlotte, as we move to johnson city...i find myself with a strong desire to stay connected to these people whom i have shared laughter, tears, and life with over the past 5 years.  they are part of my story.  an important part.  i wouldn't be who i am today without them.  


a couple of weeks ago i had the rare opportunity to see my dear friend kimberly {whom i have known and loved for 15 years} and her brood.  we now have 5 kiddos between the 2 of us.  here we are...
our visit was literally a whirlwind 60 minutes in between thanksgiving travels and football games.  it was definitely 'squeezed' in but so totally worth it.  when you have a friend that is this close you don't have to waste time with the typical pleasantries at the beginning of the visit...you jump right in to the good stuff and just soak in the opportunity to be in the familiar presence of someone who knows you so well.
a lot has changed for me and kimberly over the past 15 years.  here we are just 2 1/2 years ago...
...this was when we were 'living' with her family for 2 weeks after lucy's adoption {that's another story...}
i love comparing the pics of our kids then...
{lucy - only a few days old - and cecilia - 4 years old}

and now...
{big girls - 2 1/2 and 7 today...happy b-day cecilia!}

when i reflect back on our times together and that one sweet hour of reconnecting last month...it's way more precious than gold.  

here's to old friends...





Sunday, December 5, 2010

BIG NEWS: the wild frontier

i recently learned that, despite what the song says, davy crockett was not born on a mountaintop in tennessee.  he was born on the banks of limestone creek.  and right up the road from limestone creek in eastern tennessee is a town called johnson city...


we are moving there


i read a quote from davy crockett in which he described himself as 'fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust tree.'  hmmmm...that's someone i think i might like to meet.  
we have all more commonly heard crockett simply called 'king of the wild frontier'.


i looked up 'frontier' {yes - my fascination with words continues}.  here's one way it is defined...
::the extreme limit of understanding or achievement in a particular area::


i like new frontiers.  i appreciate opportunities to be pushed to the limit in knowledge and understanding.  it's the pioneer spirit at work again.


i'm summoning all of that positive energy around pioneering and exploring new frontiers as our family begins to do just that.  because...the truth is...this is really hard.


if i am completely honest - i wasn't planning on moving.  i love our little home in the country.  i love the friends and family that surround us.  i love my job.  i love my daughter's precious school.  i love my church home.  i love the comfortable community that we have established here.


but i love the lord more than all of that.  i love walking in his will and following where he leads.  why?  because in my experience...his plans for my life always turn out better than the plans i had in mind.


there are times in life that God answers a prayer in a way that is completely unexpected yet makes complete sense.  
this is one of those times.  

over only a month's time door after door has flung open to provide an opportunity for joey to begin a coaching career under one of the most well-respected coaches in all of college golf.  and more importantly, for him to step into a role that he is passionate about and completely equipped for.  this is life changing...life giving.  and our entire family feels like we have been lifted up and placed smack dab in the most incredibly peaceful and joyful place.  that's why i believe this is a divine appointment.  we could never come up with something this good on our own.


am i sad?  yes.  am i fearful?  a little.  
but i can say with confidence that i step out willingly and with great anticipation about what this adventure will hold for my husband and for our family.


so i'll put a coon skin hat on my head, hop into our covered wagon {a.k.a. the minivan}, and hit the road to tennessee to see where this next chapter of the story leads...
hope you'll join us for the bumpy ride...

Friday, December 3, 2010

a very clemson thanksgiving

{WARNING: this post may contain lots of pictures of people you don't know...but i'm sure they'd love to meet you}
this is my mom and her 3 sisters...
my grandaddy was a coach at clemson.  he always said that he spent plenty of time around boys so it was nice to come home to a house full of girls.  

whenever my mom's family gets together it is a 'lively' occasion to say the least.  this thanksgiving was no exception.  as a little girl {and the eldest grandchild} i always loved sitting in my grandparents' kitchen with the buzz of my grandmother and her 4 girls surrounding me.  it definitely was NOT a quiet house.  everyone was quick to talk over one another.  quick to laugh.  quick to offer you more to eat {and accuse you of 'reducing' if you refused}.  i think i loved my grandparents' house in clemson because it was so 'alive' and i never felt lonely there.
as i said...there is lots of laughter when my family gets together.  you can be sure that we were all busting a gut when my aunt was trying to figure out how to use my camera and couldn't get it out of 'timer' mode.  this was supposed to be a shot of me with some of my cousins...
...nice centerpiece.
this was the best of the 10 that she took...
...at least nobody's head is cut off.

in addition to thanksgiving, our family also celebrated clemson/carolina weekend together.  the result was not favorable for our tigers so i won't waste any time discussing the game.  the important thing is...we all got together to do what we do on most game weekends...
get decked out in purple and orange...
...eat lots of food...
...and display our competitive spirits.  
and this year - competition was taken to a whole new level...

introducing the mcfadden sisters' marathon corn hole match...
...don't be fooled...this is not just fun and games...
...this is an intense battle...
...i love these people...