Good Bye 2011

The fireworks have started and the girls are fast asleep.  I'm watching the countdown on tv and reflecting on what 2011 brought.  Some good and some bad, but I'm thankful for it all.  Every bit of it.  I am most thankful for my amazing hubby and my two beautiful girls.  I'm thankful for our families and for our friends.  Most importantly I am thankful for His grace. 

I am praying for blessings abundant in 2012.  Thank you for taking the time to check in and read what I have to say.  I so appreciate it.  Thanks for sticking with me through the ups and downs.  Love and blessings to you all.

I must go wake up my hubby who is asleep on the couch and give him a kiss. 

Christmas Recap

We had a wonderful Christmas.  We opened presents at our house early that morning and then headed to Indiana around lunch time.

The girls love their new cardboard house.  We have slowly, but surely, been coloring it.  I think it might take use awhile.  If you have the room, they are great and inexpensive.  Only $20.
I made this Lego table for the girls.  It's super easy to do.  I found the idea on Pinterest.  I just glued 4 large Lego plates to an Ikea Lack table and they know have a lego table for their Legos.
The only bummer about traveling on Christmas day is that nothing is open.  Well, except for a few McDonalds and Waffle House.  Two of my favorite restaurants ever.  (Note the sarcasm).  We decided to stop at a Waffle House right over the KY border and we didn't realize that KY still had smoking in their restaurants.  TN did away with smoking in restaurants a few years ago.  By the time we were done, we smelled awful and we still had 5 hours to go.

The girls did great in the car and it's getting more fun to travel because they are so good.  We finally made it to Indiana that night.  We had a great time with Brian's family.  Unfortunately, his grandma got the stomach bug so she had to cancel her party on Tuesday night.  We got to see her for a few hours on Monday morning and I'm thankful for that.  I hope you are feeling better grandma.

Here is the whole gang.  Brian has 2 brothers and a sister.  His sister Kelly and her husband Dave have 8 year old twins and 1 1/2 year old triplets.  Brian's mom is in the middle and his two brothers are right next to him in the back.  I love when we can all get together.

The girls were so excited when it snowed on Tuesday.  It was time to go sledding.

A Time to Rest

I had to take another glance at the date of my last post. Has it really been 17 days? This is the longest break I have ever taken. Even when we lost Jonathan, I still blogged.  I guess it's the busyness of the season and I haven't been feeling well. I still don't know what is wrong, but I've been having really bad lower back pain and pelvic pain. I've had ultrasounds on everything imaginable and all looks fine. I went to a new chiropractor who took an x-ray and he said my L4 and L5 are degenerating. Fabulous. Has anyone else ever experienced this? I still don't know if that's the cause, but for now, we'll go with that diagnosis.

The dizziness is still really bad, so we've decided to fly to Tampa next month to see a specialist. I'm hopeful that they will be able to help me. I'm also excited because we decided to take the girls and make a Disney World trip out of it. They have no idea. We are going to tell them the morning we leave. I can't wait. I will be sure to get it all on video.

I'm just about ready for Christmas.  I just got done wrapping all the presents while the girls and Brian are fast asleep. On the girls wish list this year was a Fijit and a Perfect Petzzz.  I can't wait to see their little faces light up.  We have plans to go to church with my family tomorrow and then enjoy the festivities at my sister Stacy's house.

If you are still reading my blog, thank you.  Thanks for hanging with me this long.  I am really going to try harder to keep it updated. 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! May you remember the true meaning of the holiday. A babe who came to save the world. He is the reason for the season!

Tuesday's Tip- Are your Smartphone pictures luring predators?

I haven't done a Tuesday's Tip in forever, I apologize.  However, this video made me realize I had to post it for all of my readers to watch. If you have a smart phone, and take pictures with it, and then post those pictures onto your blog, Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else on the internet, you MUST watch this video.  You could be luring a predator straight to your doorstep and not even know it.

After I watched this video, I grabbed my iPhone to see if my camera GPS was turned off. Thankfully it was. Is yours? If not, please switch it off immediately. Please share this video with your friends and family members. If your child's grandparents take pictures of your kids and post them to their Facebook page and their GPS is turned on, they are potentially putting your child in harm's way. Please help me spread the word. Let's practice safe photography. :)

Will you choose Joy?

I wrote this on the chalkboard I have hanging in our kitchen.  I've been learning alot about joy these last few weeks.  Maybe it's because we are entering one of the most joyous times of the year. 

It got me thinking, what is joy?  Webster defines joy as "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight"  This is what the world say is joy.  Notice it says success, good fortune, getting your desires.  Those are all things that are temporary.  One day you can have all of those things and the next day, it can be all stripped away.

What does the Bible say about joy?  In James 1:1-8 it says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 

I believe that true joy comes from the Lord.  The world cannot bring me joy.  Sure, there are things in this world that can make me happy, but happiness is fleeting.  It's dependent on my circumstances.  Only the Lord living inside me, can bring me joy.  Being joyful is a choice.  I can choose to be joyful or I can choose to be sorrowful.  Which will I choose?  I have to say that most days I miss the mark.  I don't choose joy.  I wallow in my self pity and focus on what I don't have instead of the blessings that I do have.  I focus on my physical ailments instead of praying for the Lord's healing hand upon my sick body.  This sign reminds me daily that it's up to me.

Maybe you are in the same boat I am in tonight, having a hard time finding the joy through your trials.  Afterall, what is so joyful about the loss of a child, a spouse, your health, or your home?  The holidays can be a tough time when you are in the middle of the desert.  You are desperate for rest and water, but there is none to be found.  Call on the name of Jesus.  Look to the only one that can quench your thirst and bring rest to your weary bones.  Drag yourself to the feet of Jesus, where He is waiting with open arms to love you and refresh you.  My joy and my hope is found in Christ alone. It can never be taken away.

So, what is joy to me?  Hearing my girls say with a smile, "I love you mommy". That is Joy. To hold the hand of my husband and know he loves me unconditionally. That is Joy. To know one day I will live forever with my Savior. That is Joy. The hope that I will hold my sweet babies again. That is Joy.

I can choose to have joy now, even in the midst of my pain and tears. The choice is mine to make.

Let me entertain you

Tonights entertainment is brought you by Sydney Kate.  You will never guess that she arranged it herself.  Enjoy!

(Yes, that is our mattress in the bathroom. We were having our carpets cleaned yesterday and needed a place to put it. Don't worry about the germs. We got a new mattress today. YAY!  Also, look closely for the pink ghost who makes an appearance at the end.)

A Thankful Heart

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know we did.  I host Thanksgiving every year because we have a table big enough to seat my whole family.  We had a total of 12 adults, 1 teenager and 7 kids under 7.  We had a full house to say the least, but it was so much fun.  I was so stressed making sure everything was on the table, I didn't take any pictures of the delicious spread.  Shame on me.

We did our annual Turkey Trot 5K at 8 am that morning.  I can't believe this was our 7th year.  We started back in 2004 in memory of our precious Zoe.  The weather was nice and sunny, so it made for a comfortable walk/run.

The kiddos participated this year in a fun run after the 5K.  Here they are all lined up waiting to run.

And here's the whole Darin clan after the race.  That's my 15 year old nephew Mario in the blue morph suite.  He ran the whole race in that thing.  Crazy boy.

After we run off the calories, we put them right back on when we head here.

My mouth is watering just looking at them.  Donuts are my nemesis.

After we stuff ourselves silly, we all head home and take naps and prepare for dinner.  Then everyone comes back to our house for dinner.  After we enjoy our delicious meal, the adults go through the newspaper ads in preparation for Black Friday.  I love black Friday, but this year I just couldn't do it.  I was exhausted.  I was in bed by 10:45. 

Did you all do any shopping?  I actually got some great deals at 9am the next morning so I was happy.  We also picked up our tree this weekend.  I think this is the earliest we've ever gotten it.  If you are looking for a great deal and live near a Costco, their trees can't be beat.  We got a 7-8 foot Fraser Fir for $29.99.  I wish TN could grow Fraser Firs because they are my favorite.  Unfortunately, they have to be trucked in from NC.  The girls have worked hard all weekend putting up countless Christmas decorations and we still have a ways to go.  I've had to tell them that it all doesn't have to be completed this weekend. 

We're on our way out the door to celebrate my brother in law's 40th birthday today.  Happy Birthday Bill!  We love you.


Does the title of my post today bother you?  It bothers me.  I don't like when I see Christmas abbreviated like this.  Some would say that I am being too sensitive.  That it's no big deal, but to me, it is.  As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I am reminded all too much how "commercialized" this holiday has become.  I faced it head on this week when Brooklyn came home with this form for me to fill out.

Do you see anything missing?  I saw it right away and so did Brooklyn.  Where is the manger scene?  Yes, I realize the Christmas tree and Santa represent Christmas, but it's not my Christmas.  It's not what Christmas was founded on.  Let me say right away, that I do not fault my daughter's teacher.  She is fabulous.  I know teachers have a ton of work and they go above and beyond for our children.  I do not know who made up the form, but it makes me sad that Christ was left off.  (If you are looking at the picture next to Santa and wondering what it is, don't worry, so did I.  Brian looked it up.  It's a Scandinavian holiday called St. Lucia Day).

I was not offended with the fact that the paper was sent home.  I don't have a problem with that.  If I was a teacher I would want to know more about my kids and what they believe and celebrate.  What I do have a problem with is that if we are going to have other faiths represented, I believe that the Christian faith should be represented as well.  Yes, I am well aware that my child attends a public school.  It just seems to me that everyone wants us to be tolerant of other peoples religions and beliefs, but when it comes to being "tolerant" of Christianity, people get upset.

Personally, I am tired of it.  It's time to take a stand for what I believe even if it makes people upset or uncomfortable.  I will never apologize for loving the Lord with every ounce of my being.  I won't apologize for raising my children to become all they can in Christ and for raising them to stand up for their beliefs.  When I asked Brooklyn if she saw something missing in the picture she said, "Mommy, where's the manger?"  She got upset and said, "mommy, you need to tell my teacher".  I told her that I wrote on the paper that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Maybe you are reading this and agree with me 100%.  Maybe you totally disagree with me and think I am over reacting and being too sensitive.  That's ok.  Let's agree to disagree.  That's what I love about this country.  We have the freedom to worship whatever God we choose to worship.  However, that freedom has come at a cost, and today, on Veterans Day, I want to say Thank You.  Thank you to the men and women who have served this country proudly and to the families that have lost a loved one, THANK YOU for the ultimate sacrifice. 

God Bless America!!!


The big day finally happened at the Lord house.  Brooklyn lost her first tooth.  It had been loose for a week or so and on Wednesday she came home with it literally hanging.  She said it bled a bit at school.  She told me right away that she wanted to try the dental floss around the door knob trick when daddy got home.  Well, daddy got home and here's what happened.

So yeah, she chickened out.  I don't blame her really.  I remember I did that as a kid and it was not fun.  After bath time it was bugging her and so daddy wiggled it a bit and out it came.  Yipee!

In case it's hard to tell in the picture, it's the bottom center tooth that came out.  She was so excited to go to bed that night.  She couldn't wait to see what the Tooth Fairy was going to bring her.  I gave her my tooth pillow to use from when I was a little girl.  I didn't save much from my childhood sadly, but this was one thing that made it over the years and I am so glad it did.

I love the letter the Tooth Fairy left.  It was so cute.  Brooklyn was happy to receive $1.  She put it in her piggy bank to spend after a few more teeth come out.

What's the going rate in your household for a lost tooth?  I told Brooklyn that I used to get a quarter for my lost tooth and she just started to laugh.  So know we sit and wait to see which tooth will come out next.

Trick Or Treat

I am officially "Halloweened" out.  I have to say I enjoy watching the kiddos have fun, but this is not my favorite holiday.  Truthfully, it never really has been.  I don't like most of what comes along with Halloween, but I allow my girls to dress up as long as it is completely innocent and non scary.  I tend to veer towards cute when it comes to picking out costumes.

Sydney has been saying she wanted to be a princess.  Big shocker there.  First she picked Sleeping Beauty.  We had the costume already, well my friend Brandy did anyway, so I borrowed it from her.  Then I went to Target and got her a blond wig.  She put it on and came running out of the bathroom screaming.  It was hilarious.  That was the end of that.  I guess seeing her self with blond hair freaked her out.

She then proclaimed that she would be Belle because she has brown hair.  Perfect, we have that dress too so I won't have to buy anything.  Win, win.

 I think she makes one beautiful Belle if I do say so myself.  Thanks to Auntie RoRo who came over and curled her hair.  I'm jealous of my daughter's hair.  It is so gorgeous.  Both my girls got lucky in that department.

Brooklyn decided she wanted to be Strawberry Shortcake.  Unlike Syd, she was determined to find a costume wear she could wear a red wig.  We settled on pink.

We had a great time in our neighborhood tonight.  We love our neighbors and feel incredibly blessed to live where we do.  We got home and the girls laid out all of their loot.

 We told the girls they couldn't keep all of their candy and that they needed to decide what they would keep and what they would donate.  Brooklyn was totally serious and I started cracking up when I saw her donate pile.  I don't think so baby girl.

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe time with your families tonight.  Who's ready for Thanksgiving?

Finally an app for Blogger

Yippee! Blogger finally got an app for the iPhone. It's the little things in life right? I'm curled up in bed while I write this little diddy on my iPhone. Maybe I will actually get more posts done now. Just maybe.

To write their names in sand

Years ago, I came across this blog and wept.  I knew that if I had a chance to spend some time at the beach, I wanted to write my kid's names in the sand.  As I watched Brooklyn and Sydney play on the beach, my heart ached, knowing I would never get that chance with Zoe and Jonathan.  I wanted somehow for them to be there with us.

So I wrote.....

and wrote.

It was just a simple way of letting my sweet babies know how much I love them and miss them.  Who knows, maybe they could see it from Heaven.


We spent a wonderful Fall Break down in Orange Beach, AL.  It was marvelous.  Grandma Sara, Brian's mom, flew in to vacation with us and it was so much fun.  We ate too much fried fish, stayed at the beach til dusk and just enjoyed being together as a family.

I was thrilled to have a new zoom lens to use, thanks Jamie for letting me borrow yours, and it made all the difference in the pictures I captured.  I think this lens is going on my Christmas list.  (In case you are wondering, I shoot with a Nikon D40 and used a zoom 55-200 lens.  I edit my pictures in Picnik.)



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