Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the past, this time of the year has brought me more stress than happiness.  However, this year I am going into the holidays with a different frame of mind.  I have had an incredible year, and really have so much to be thankful for.

This year started off as many do, with goals of what I will do differently and how I will better myself.  But this year wasn't like the others because I had my walk to Emmaus in mid January.  So my year started off with a time of reflection and renewing my faith.  After I returned back to my reality, I spent the next several months meeting weekly with other Emmaus friends to pray for those around us.  Though summer proved a little tough to continue our weekly meetings, I now have a bond with two special ladies who I know I can count on for prayers, support and love.

I have also felt so lucky to be able to travel again.  I used to travel so much before I had my children, but with them being so little the past few years had made that a little difficult.  Now I wouldn't have traded these past three years for anything, but being able to get out of Birmingham for long weekends or longer, has helped me keep my sanity and make me feel more like myself.  I am thankful for spending 5 days alone with Steve in Park City, Utah skiing in March.  I am also thankful for my long weekend getaways with friends to Lake Oconee twice, to the beach once this summer and most recently to Houston to visit with college girlfriends.  But the trip that I look most forward to each year is my family reunion beach trip to Avalon, NJ with my immediate family including my parents, cousins and aunt and uncle.  This year I coupled it with a week long visit back to Peoria, so I was away for 2.5 weeks!

Now Steve and I are excited to entertain all of these family members here in Birmingham for Thanksgiving and the Iron Bowl.  Everyone arrives tomorrow, and I will post stories and photos after everyone departs.  But know that I will be thanking God for all of my blessings on Thursday....big and small.  God is good!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Snack

Friday was the last day of school before the Thanksgiving break, and each of the kids had a special day.  Preston's side of the school had a Thanksgiving snack, where each class brought a bowl of something to share.  Then they mixed all of the items together for a wonderful chex mix that all of the kiddos enjoyed!

Of course all of the parents were invited, but only I could attend since it was so early.
I attended his little party and he was so happy to see me (even though I had just dropped him off at school 30 minutes beforehand).  You've got to love that genuine excitement.  He brings a smile to my face each and every day with all of his little antics, and I am so thankful for him.

An hour later, Bennett's class organized a Thanksgiving feast for all of the students and their parents.  Typically only I would attend that as well, but it was a special treat to have Steve there.

They enjoyed a typically Thanksgiving meal (except the turkey was from a can and everything was mass produced, and kind-of disgusting).  As it turns out, I didn't attend since Steve could, so I allowed "B" to have some one on one time with just her Daddy.  She loved it, even though she chose not to eat her lunch (smart girl in my opinion).  Unfortunately, no photos were taken, but just know that a little girl had some very special time with her Daddy who she loves very much.
How lucky are we to have two beautiful, happy, loving children? 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Addition

Today we made the decision to get a new addition (well additionS) to our family...two goldfish.  Steve and Bennett went to the pet store and bought the bowl, rocks, food and fish. 

When Pres and I got back from a birthday party, he was anxious to check them out. Bennett introduced him and then they fed them a little food.

We have tried to get the kids to name them, but they just don't get it.  They just call them "fish," which in reality is probably just fine.  However, they don't name anything, so we are trying to teach them. 

So check back to see how long these two fish bet is a week or two.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Railroad Park Outing!

Today on this gorgeous Veteran's Day, I took the kids to Birmingham's new 25 million dollar park spanning 19 acres.  I met three of my girlfriends and their kids down there and we just let the kids run wild.  They played on the playground, road their bikes, ran across the grassy fields and we all enjoyed a delicious lunch.  It was a perfect way to spend several hours!
This park was "in the works" when I moved here, and approved several years later.  Everyone wondered if people would actually utilize the park since it is in the middle of downtown Birmingham, not near anything in particular.  Though it has only been open a couple of months, it has been a huge success.  Everyone is raving about it.  Now there is talk of moving our minor league baseball team from Hoover to downtown (into a new modern stadium), which would greatly impact this area.

The kids were so worn out that Pres kept falling asleep on the short drive home, and then Bennett fell asleep on Spencer's dog bed in the living room while I was putting Preston down for his nap.  I know it was only our first time, but I'm a fan.  Hopefully there will be other visits in our near future (especially if we continue to have this 70-80 degree weather)!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

48 Hours Away!

Though I was only gone for a little more than 48 hours, I feel recharged!  Several months ago, I planned to a girl's weekend with my two closest friends from SMU - Elizabeth & Kris!  We met in Houston, and had a wonderful time together.  Kris and I flew in on Friday, and returned to Elizabeth's home to just chit-chat before heading out for a Tex-Mex dinner.  (sadly we forgot the camera that night).

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early for a morning at the spa!  We started with manis and pedis, followed by lunch together, and then a massage for me and facials for them.  We all raved about our services, and I felt so relaxed afterward.  For the next several hours, we just went back to where Kris and I were staying and lounged around and talked.  Though we haven't all been together for a couple of years, we pick up like we have been living in the same city all along.  To be comfortable with friends who you know aren't judging you, and love you just the way you are is such a gift.

Saturday night, Elizabeth made reservations at one of her favorite restaurants, Benjy's.  We had a cocktail before dinner, and then moved to our table for several more hours of catching up, eating and drinking.  We all loved our dishes, and had such a fun night!

This morning we went for another yummy meal before heading to the airport.  It was sad to say farewell, but it is never "good-bye" with them.   I know we're all busy running our households and keeping our children safe, we vowed to do it again next year!  With friendships that span 20 years, you certainly have to do everything you can to maintain them!

I love you girls!!  Thanks for more fun memories!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mama's Hitting the Road!

I'm going on an excursion this weekend, so stay tuned for stories to come!  I am going to visit two of my besties in Houston for the weekend!  I CAN'T wait!!  I know Steve will do just fine with the kids by himself, but for those that read this regularly...please check on him.  I want everything to go smoothly so I can do this again!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween as much as we did! It was the first year that both kids understood the concept of going to people's homes and trick or treating. To top it off, it was a beautiful evening to be outside...a perfect Fall night!

We started off visiting Steve's parents and then came back to the neighborhood. We went to a party at a friend's house and then hit the pavement with the kids traveling in the wagon. They went to a few houses, road for a bit, then hit a few more houses. Of course they wanted to sample the goods along the way, but after an hour or so, we all had had enough, and decided to head home.