Friday, November 30, 2012

We chose Jesus

As I think I've told you, we live in a small house. So small that we don't have much room for furniture in the living room. And our kitchen is so very small there is no room for decoration. So, our Christmas decorating has to be at a minimum this year. Minimum!

We have a sofa table that can be decorated and that is it. IT. I can't believe it, but its true. I, like you I'm sure, have tubs and tubs of Christmas decorations. This year I've had to decide what to decorate with.

I usually have a table with Santa's and snowmen. A table with my Christmas villages that Stephen bought me the second year we were married, it's the kids favorite. I decorate something, a table or mantle with garland and solid color ornaments.

Don't get me wrong. My house never, ever looks as grandly decorated as Abby's. We are sisters but somehow I missed out on the decorating gene. But I do like to make the house look festive for Christmas. I owe my kids that, right?

We've chosen to decorate our lone table with the nativity set this year. We'll have a tree full of lights and colorful ornaments,  but our only other decoration will be the reason for the season. It sits on the table by itself, no decoration, no fanfare. Just a wood box with ceramic figures. But Jesus is represented there. Jesus, the reason we celebrate.

Our Great-grandmother, Granny, made a couple of nativity sets.(Not the one I have, it came from Walmart.) She painted them and fired them herself. They're beautiful and I remember loving to look at them as a child. I can just imagine her praying and thanking God for sending His Son to earth as she painted each figure. Oh, the Godly heritage that has been passed down to us. I pray my children remember how we celebrated Jesus at Christmas when they are grown.

How do you decorate for Christmas?

Julie

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not just for Squirrels

Since I share so much about my life on this blog, I decided to tell you one of my quirks. It's odd, but brings me so much joy.

I love to step on acorns.

See I told you. Odd. The tree in our front yard is huge and just full of little acorns. I've been happy all fall! I enjoy walking to the mailbox just so I can step on them. My friend Nomi knows of my great love and brought me a basket full of them. She gave them to me quite a while ago, the basket was about full, I've stepped on most of them! I love to hear the crunch under my feet.

I try not to think about the squirrels that aren't able to use them to store up for the winter. I don't see many skinny squirrels, so I think they are making out just fine despite the shortage of whole acorns in my yard!

So, do you have any quirks? Do you like to step on acorns? Please tell!!

Julie 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas is Rolling In


This picture is not the best, but it is priceless to me. This was Henry's first reaction to our den Christmas tree the night before Thanksgiving. He had not seen it turned on until then. He was in awe. He pointed to Mickey Mouse, the photos of us, etc and would say "look Daddy!". It was precious. I love the innocence.


Black Friday afternoon I rolled back into town and the first thing we did was make this gingerbread train. Randall said he had been asking for it all day and they had it laid out waiting on me. We turned on Christmas music and put on our hats and got busy.


 Henry was excited about all the candy in the box but did not participate in the making of it too much. He ended up eating Christmas colored Goldfish while I made our train.


It is an act of love, that is for sure. The reaction from Henry was worth all the green fingernail beds and sticky hands. We have it displayed on our kitchen counter. He checks on it often.


 Henry also checks on the Christmas tree in the den often. He will just sit on the hearth and stare at it or stand in front of it with his hands behind his back. He has not touched it yet, thankfully. I decorated it in the middle of the night last week while he was asleep. We have a "no touch" rule...not even Randall nor myself are allowed to touch it in front of him. It is working so far...so good! I just love Christmas with a child in the house. It has all new meaning. I look forward to all the fun this season has in store for us.

Abby

Thanksgiving (with pictures)

We spent Thanksgiving weekend at Silver Dollar City in Branson. The entire park is lit up and decorated for Christmas.

One of our favorite parts of SDC at this time of year is the train ride. During the rest of the year, the train stops 1/2 way through and "robbers" rob the train. But during Christmas, this man tells the REAL Christmas story. He even pauses and gives the people time to pray. Awesome!

 This is David and Daniel at their best. The train ride had a 40 minute wait (and that was at its shortest), so they got a little silly. I love it!
Friday, Stephen, Daniel, David and Anna, went down into Marvel Cave. Samuel and I walked around the park. It was such a fun time with him. I don't get much one on one time with Samuel anymore, so this was an hour I treasured. We laughed and had a good time!

Thanks for waiting around for my pics! Love ya'll!
Julie

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tennessee Turkey Times


My little loves and I headed to my Aunt Babs and Uncle Joe's for Thanksgiving. She is my Daddy's sister and my second mama. She loves me like her very own. I lived in their home on and off in college, and then after I graduated I lived with them until I got married. They are my "people".


Henry had fun celebrating Thanksgiving at school this year. He did his "Turkey in my belly time" dance at his class party and all throughout Thanksgiving day. He was most precious and had lots of hats to wear, as you can see. It was cute and fun times.


I loaded up some fabulous cookies made by a new cookie girl in town, along with the dressing and pumpkin pies I made, and headed over the mighty Mississippi . We left early T'day morning to watch the parade and cook with Hollye.


My cousin Hollye lives across the street from Babs and Joe (her parents). It is a wonderful arrangement. She is an only child and like a sister to Jules and me. We are a lot a like in a lot of ways and it is such a comfort to know we have her to do life with. She and I prepared the bulk of the lunch and had fun doing it. Hollye did most of the work, but I looked good riding on her coat tails. I was getting credit for stuff I did not fix but then they all soon found out it was all her and she was getting credit for what little I did prepare. Never a dull moment.


 Henry had so much fun watching the balloons on the parade and looking at toy ads. He wanted everything he saw, of course.I could eat him up. I love that child.


Claire is Hollye's daughter. Henry loves chasing her around and she actually enjoys it, thankfully. She is in the 6th grade and plays on the varsity team at her school. Henry was smart enough to run away when he saw the ball in her hand.


Henry told everyone at school that he was going to his Aunt Barbara's for Thanksgiving. He was so excited to get there. I look at this picture and smile thinking how much this little boy is loved by so many. Our family is beyond blessed to have the love of the Lord bond us all together forever.


Uncle Joe is behind the camera saying "fuzzy pickles" as he always does, instead of "cheese", and I am of course repeating him as he snaps the photo.This photo is pre ham and turkey slicing. I attacked the ham and Hollye got the fried and roasted turkey. I looked at her at one point and asked "When did this happen?". Seriously, we are the generation in charge of the food and it baffles me on how on earth this happened so soon?! We rocked it though.


Thanksgiving at Babs' is not complete without a little laugh and love from my sweet ole daddy. Henry adores his Grandaddy. They are funny little friends. This photo makes me giggle. Henry is looking at me like "get out of our business, woman!". I have to watch these two because they are liable to get into lots of trouble together. I am so thankful for my daddy and all the laugh lines he has caused on my face.


It was not only Thanksgiving, it was also the birthdays of these two. Randall celebrated 36 years and Connie Sue celebrated another year also! Babs had special cupcakes for them but we forgot about them until after everything was cleaned up. We staged the photo. I think Connie looks a little afraid Randall might bite her instead of the cupcake! I know sharing your birthday with a holiday has to stink. Daddy shares his with Jesus and Barbara Mandrell every Christmas.


Henry saw cupcakes and did not care that lunch was over and cleaned up. Babs hooked him up with an orange one. Rotten little sweetie, he is.


Turkey time with my boys was once again a memorable one. They headed home Thanksgiving night and I stayed in Memphis to shop with my girls.


Claire, Hollye and I braved Walmart in Cordova and then Target in East Memphis. We had this photo taken in the line to get into Target. We were behind the store in line. It was insane fun.


 Our Thursday night haul. Claire had never experienced such shopping craziness and loved it. We may make her into one of us afterall! I love the laughter and memories we made together.


Black Friday morning we headed out with Babs. We got more great buys and had some interesting experiences in Stein Mart. I did get 93 cent pajamas in Stein Mart, so it was worth it! I will say that the Lee 3 will be wearing their Xmas Eve matching pjs to the tune of 93 cents this year due to may savvy shopping...stay tuned for the cuteness!

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of food and fun!
Abby

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We spent Thanksgiving in Branson this year. We enjoyed lunch at Golden Corral with about 300 of our closest friends. HA! I had made turkey and dressing Monday night so we weren't craving a traditional meal, Stephen and I ate steak. It was delish. We spent Thursday evening and Friday at Silver Dollar City. I know I've praised SDC before, but it really is the greatest place. They are intentional about telling the "real" Christmas story,and the whole place is decorated and lit up. We all have such a great time. We did a little shopping but I've decided that the crowds of black Thursday/Friday are just not for me. We went shopping around 9 o'clock Friday morning and had fun with less people. I had pictures to post but for some reason I can't get them to load. UGH!! if I can figure it out, I'll post them. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Julie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Looney Tunes




Henry shakes his booty and sings "Turkey in my belly time. Turkey in my belly time" and it is the cutest thing.  He is so ready to go to Aunt Babs' house and eat turkey this week. He asks everyday, "Today we go to Aunt Barbara's and eat turkey?" He also thinks Santa Claus is going to be there. He is a touched confused. I love my Henry Patton. He makes me smile. Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping with my Babs is one of my favorite things. I am itching to get across the bridge and get the fun started!




I switched my gym membership from crossfit to the regular ole gym. I had a little injury and it has caused me to step back from the heavy lifting and such for a while. I actually love my early mornings on the eliptical machine. I have this song on my playlist. I found myself singing it outloud this morning. I looked in the mirror wall in front of me to find the trainer and 2 ladies he was working with grinning. I am sure it was not very pretty, but I am glad it made them smile before daybreak. It makes me smile every time also. I must admit I also have Beyonce and Rihanna on my playlist for the steep incline and high resistance portion of my workout....this girl has got to have something loud and mean to get her through it! (I do try not to sing those songs outloud though)




I just LOVE this version of this song. Bob Seager's version is my all time fave, but this is a close second. Henry has been watching the corn out of this DVD lately. We had it on while we took the trees out of the attic last night to fluff and such. I just sort of laughed thinking about watching Christmas Vacation or listening to adult pop Christmas tunes while prepping for Christmas...and now it is this. I love this little time. I hope to never forget these precious little years with my Veggie Tales loving boy!




And as you know, if you have read our blog at Christmas...this is my song! I actually have it blaring in my office already. My work girls are sweet to let me rock out to it before Thanksgiving. There is something about Dolly & Kenny singing that makes everything rosey.



We are getting so excited about turkey in my belly time this week, black Friday shopping, decorating our home, birthdays galore and Jesus' birthday celebrations. Bring on the weight gain, the drowsy days, a full camera card, and all the grins and giggles that come with it. Festive fun is among us!

Abby

Stephen Update

Friday was Stephen's last day at Wings To Go. Instead of saying that he was quiting, he called it retirement. I guess he doesn't want to return to the restaurant/cooking business. This was the fortune in my fortune cookie at lunch on Friday. How appropriate!

We are so grateful for Wings To Go. This job was an answer to prayer. I know i've told the story here before but let me tell you again.
One of the local pastors, in a deacons prayer meeting, asked for prayer for Stephen as he looked for a job. A couple of days later one of the deacons called the pastor and said he had a job for Stephen. WOW! The restaurant business wasn't anything Stephen had ever worked in, but Wade gave him a managerial position. God is so super good!

Stephen is now doing music at another church in town and teaching a Sunday School class. This will take the place, financially, of the restaurant. YAY!!!!

So there's an update on Stephen. I think I'm caught up on the family. Now, back on to other things!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Country Christmas At Opryland Hotel


My boys and I loved Shreking The Halls at ICE! in Nashville this past weekend. We drove over to soak up the sights and sounds of Christmas at the Opryland Hotel. We had SO much fun at ICE!. I think you can tell by our Christmas size grins in the above picture.


 Randall and I went to this in 2003, our first married Christmas. This nativity was the same as it was then. I love that they put it in a room by itself and it is the last thing you see as you walk through. It is beautiful, just beautiful! I especially love the light under Jesus. Just perfect!


I had a ball going down the ice slides. Randall and Henry just watched me partake in the fun and did not join me. Henry loved mama going up and down.  It was a cold, fun time.


   Shrek came out the year we fell in love. It is one of "our movies", as sad as that seems, it is true. We bought it and watched it so much we memorized it. Donkey has always been our fave. I loved the Shrek themed ICE! this year, yet so wish it had been Charlie Brown like it was in 2009. I would have LOVED that so much, and I know a little boy named Henry who would have also. None the less, it was wonderful just the way it was.


Henry's prize for being so good at ICE! was a Rudolph nose. Bless his heart!


We then went to watch Shrek The Halls Live. It was super cute. Henry adored Gingy the best. It was a really cute show. It kept me entertained, and I am usually pretty critical since I secretly always wanted to be a stage performer!


 Our next stop was to see the big man in the red suit. Santa Claus. Henry was excited and nervous. He knew exactly what to tell him he wanted. He came up with it on his own. "A big red coke truck with a trailer". I had to partake in the Santa visit in order for Henry to partake in it. He sat right down and told him what he wanted and then he emphasized the "RED" at the end of it. If you know Henry very well you know he adores red. He hugged Santa goodbye. It was so sweet. I was so proud of my big boy. Now...to find the big red coke truck with a trailer!?


Randall and Henry were going to ride the train together but at the last minute Henry declared to him, "Not you ride...mama ride!"...so off I went to get my seat on the train! Daddy got to sit on the bench and eat pecan brittle. Lucky Daddy!


We ate dinner at the Cock of the Walk. It was not stellar. I think we may have classed it up a bit by just being there  - ha! We were shocked, honestly. The one in Little Rock is not that way. Oh well, it was an experience and we filled our bellies.


We wore our little Santa baby out! He loved every minute of it though.I am so glad we got to start off the Christmas season in such a fun way. We plan to do it again next year. A fun little tradition we hope!


 Of course no trip to Nashville is complete without a little redneck excursion. We found the General Lee at Cooter's Museum and store. It was so funny to see the people crowded around it taking photos. And then we did the same thing.


Because I was most unexcited about touring a bunch of Dukes of Hazard junk, Randall made me grin and pose in front of Daisy Duke's Dixie just to poke at me a little more. I could have died at the people standing behind him watching me. Oh well, at least Daisy made it in the photo with me. I make her look good, dadgumit!


Henry found a little ride just his size. He was ready to roll. Thankfully it was not mobile. Henry has a love for all things that have a motor and wheels. He also loves those things to have bright colors. He truly comes by it honest. I love that about him.


And no little trip is complete with my Rand Man without a little pose with a statue. This was in the Willie Nelson store. This store took junk and redneck to the next level. We did not stay long and bought nothing. We did make purchases at Cooter's though, of course.


 As we searched for a Krispy Kreme before we headed home on Sunday morning we found this elephant. We did a u turn to snap a shot. My favorite part was the huge weed growing up the middle of the trailer it is sitting on. One day I will be able to do an album of just Randall and inanimate objects. 


Our little quick trip to A Country Christmas in Nashville was so much fun. I am so blessed to make such special memories with my boys. I will treasure these fun times in my heart always.

Abby

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Catch up

We went to a Fall Festival at church for Halloween. It was a fun time for everyone. They had lots of games, prizes, hot dogs and even caramel apples! I just took a picture of these three because Samuel didn't dress up. I don't blame him!
Anna wore my cheerleading uniform from my 9th grade year at Kimmons Jr. High. Go Raiders! David went as Daniel and Daniel went as David. We had the most fun with it. They wore each other's clothes, shoes and even styled their hair like the other one. I stayed confused most of the night!

I mentioned the other day that Samuel is playing basketball. David and Daniel are also playing and Stephen is the assistant coach.
When I noticed all my boys were sitting on the bench at the same time I had to take a picture. I mean, how cute is that? Daniel had hurt his foot and wasn't playing in that game, Samuel was actually wearing Daniel's game shorts because I had ordered too big of a size for Sam. If he had worn his own, he would have had a wardrobe malfunction on the court. We lost that game pretty bad, but we've played better since then. Thank heavens!!

Ok, so I think I've caught up on phone pictures. Back to regular blogging!

Julie


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

Well, we are doing so much better than we were one year ago today! We are tear free, have a plan, and are in a home we will spend Christmas in.

One year ago today, friends we thought we had, proved to be anything but friends. We had a different view of church and its people, and we had decorated for Christmas.

This year we have new friends that can't take a job or our home from us. We have been loved by a church family, and we have not decorated for Christmas.

We have been first hand witnesses to God's provision, mercy and love this past year. Our children have seen the goodness in God's people, and have made good friends.

Stephen has worked a job that required him to acquire skills he never thought about having. And he did it with a smile on his face and a great attitude. He never complained, or whined. He has been such an example to me.

Thank you for your prayers this past year. We couldn't have made it without them. There were days that we should have turned off the alarm and put the covers over our faces and stayed in bed all day. But because of your prayers and God's perfect grace, we instead got out of bed, and made it through the day.

We're excitedd about what this next year holds. I'm praying for a lot less tears!!

Julie

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fashion Help

I love to read blogs. I've been reading some of the same ones for years. I feel like I know these people personally, it's the weirdest thing.

When Matt Turner died, I cried. I had read his wife's blog for the last couple of years, it was as if I knew her, I just wanted to call her or go to her and hug her neck. You're the same way, right? Ok, good!

I wanted to share with you a few blogs I've recently discovered. They're fashion blogs. I'm a nerd when it comes to fashion, I'd still be wearing mom jeans if Abby hadn't called me out on it a few years ago. Well that and if they sold them anymore. But since I've found Pinterest I have fallen in love with fashion. (Full disclosure: I'm writing this while wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt that says I'm the Mom that's why!) So, here are a few that I like to visit daily.

Sheaffer is a funny girl that is all about fashion. She finds a pin on Pinterest and recreates it from clothes from her closet. I love this one!

This one is a little too much for me. She is a skinny girl with great fashion sense. We are complete opposites but I like seeing what she wears.

I just found this one just the other day. Cyndi blogs about fashion for those over 40. Who would have ever thought!! She just wrote 31 blogs on fashion, skincare, hair, etc.. for those over 40. I want to meet her!

So, that is how I spend my mornings. Reading style/fashion blogs. I must say, I'm dressing a bit better and seem to have a better idea of what I should wear. But rest assured I will not be writing a style blog, but Abby would be great at it!

What blogs do you read???

Julie

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Samuel Update

I have to brag on Sam a bit. He is embracing his freshman year of high school. He's smack dab in the middle of his teen years and doing well. Don't get me wrong, we have our days. But overall, things are good.
This picture is of him in a hat that his friend Abi made him. (Abi is also pictured) Abi's mom is my friend Nomi, they came over a couple of weeks ago and made chicken tacos. Oh my, they were good!

A couple of weeks ago the church we are attending had Judgement House. Judgement House is a story that is played out in a series of rooms. Samuel was an extra in one of the scenes. He didn't have any lines, but he was committed to being an extra. After the first weekend, the key actor in the scene Samuel was in had a death in the family and he had to be gone for the 2nd weekend. The directors asked Samuel to step up in the role. The role was an important one in the production. It was the first and only time the gospel was presented in the scenes. I was so proud of him. He did an amazing job!

Samuel is playing basketball again this season. He wasn't very excited about it, last year his team lost every game. And to a boy who has been competing since he could speak, (he would sit in his car seat at the age of 2 and yell for us to drive faster so the car beside wouldn't pass us!) losing every game was disheartening. I made him play this year. I thought it would be good for him and wanted him to play a competitive sport. I'm so glad I did, his coach is terrific!! And they won last night. I wish I had video of me after the game. I was one crazy mom!

Are you a mom of a boy? I've had my eyes opened this week. He is a typical boy and wants to stay in his room by himself all the time. But this week, we have had to spend some time together shopping for clothes. It has done wonders for our relationship. It turns out he still likes spending time with me! Please remember, (and I say this to myself also) your boy wants to spend time with you, he wants to know you love him. Don't let him down. don't give him his way and just stay in his room. Love on him and let him know you love him.

Julie

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rocking The Vote



Today as I set out bright and early to cast my ballot I was rejected. Kicked out of line. Booted out of the precinct... Ok, so it wasn't that dramatic, but it felt that way. Our county's election officials did a poor job of preparing for this HUGE election and I am proof.
 I showed up where I always vote to be told I was not in the system and not registered to vote. My name was not in their book and the officials on the phone had no record of me. It reminded me of the scene in Heavens Gates, Hells Flames when their name is not in the Lamb's book of life. Ok, maybe that is a bit dramatic, but I was hacked!
I quickly mouthed off something about being a working taxpayer and yes, I would vote come heck or high water. I did pity the sweet woman helping me. Her name was Linda Lou. Bless her heart. Any who, after a few phone calls to the courthouse, taking deep breaths, and sharing my story to anyone who had ears, I placed my vote in the opposite side of town in a run down neighborhood because for some strange reason I was changed to that precinct. Interesting, to say the least. There were a lot in my shoes today, so I did not feel alone, but still the frustration was high.
It made me laugh to drive across town to vote where I did. I was the minority in that community center, fo sho!  I am not political and you will not hear me voice my opinion here or anywhere else on the internet. I am just a hard working,  taxpaying, Christian American who likes to practice my  right to vote. I like having a voice, even if I have to fight for it and go out of my comfort zone to do so.  I hope you voted today and your experience was a little less stressful than mine. May God reign over our country!

 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


Abby

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Giddy Up


Our little cowboy was ready to giddy up on Halloween. We ate a festive supper with friends and trick or treated with them.


We decorated our wagon for our recouping little horse to ride in. He is still not 100% from his surgery, but we are getting closer every day, thankfully.


Henry loved trick or treating. He would walk up to the doors and say "trick or treat" and then say "Thank you". He was the cutest cowboy I ever saw!


After we trick or treated with our friends we headed to our little street and pulled our tired cowboy in the lawn wagon. We did the same thing last year and he loved it. He scored so much candy. Please come over and eat some with us?!


Randall and I went as something...not sure what. He says "white trash" and I sort of agree. I sported my wig and he sported a mustache from a Halloween goodie bag I received at work. It was hilarious.

Henry and his little buddies enjoyed passing out candy as much as they did receiving it. It is truly better to give than to receive. I loved watching them sit and serve. It was so cute.


I made "Henry's Boo Pops" for his class treats and cupcakes for his class party and then another dozen for our Halloween supper with friends. I was busy in the kitchen, but loved it . I made mummy dogs also. They were super cute.


Halloween with a kiddo is great fun. I love being a mama on Halloween. I see nothing wrong with celebrating it with fun costumes and happy decor. We don't do the scary stuff and see nothing demonic about it. I hope you also had a fun time celebrating the fun... and seriously, come eat some of this candy on my kitchen counter!
 
Abby