Archive for December, 2012

just grateful


today I stare out my kitchen widow with the venus fly trap and mini volcano on the sill and realize:

I have a great life

it’s been a nobody gets dressed until noon, two cup of coffee, read a novel kind of day

Ava is still getting sick and I’m still the number one clean up crew

but I am so thankful we have health insurance, and Clorox, and a washing machine,

and Joey makes late night chocolate runs for Chick-fil-a brownies

I have a great life

2012 has been hard in many ways- my mom’s cancer, shake up at work, just daily life, bills, relationships but

I have a great life

so much more than I deserve, so many reasons to thank and praise God

He is faithful and good

I have a great life, I want to remember that for whatever 2013 holds


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merry, merry


with mega virus, not to be confused with the virus of epic proportions,

I’m just now getting to post our Christmas 2012


Christmas eve started off with Reindeer games at the Tree House


followed by round one of gifts (thanks Aunt Ann, they loved them!)


Christmas Eve dinner was Beef Wellington and Croce en Bouche


It’s just not Christmas without an Awkward cousin photo or 20


watching my dad, who raised three daughters, enjoy four grand boys is so very fun

there may have been some target shooting in the basement


we (all 14 of us) woke up Christmas morning in Jamestown

it was beautiful pandimonium


we came home for our little family Christmas


Graham wrapped up some of his favorite toy planes for Joey


Ava gave us a culinary creations by Ava gift certificate


we wrapped up the day with more celebrating at Greenback

Christmas 2012 was wonderful, loud, and lively

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I’m NOT a Cupcake


this precious girl has been sick, crazy sick

on our way to the ER, I kept asking her if she was ok

her response, “I’m NOT a cupcake”- I drove faster

poor baby has burst blood vessels in her eye from all the vomiting

I’m a basket case, day three and no end in sight

so I do what most southern girls would do:

call my mama, clean like there is no tomorrow, and bake a cake

a cheese cake, 40 ounces cream cheese, 5 eggs, and a boatload of sugar

let’s hope it helps this frazzled mom

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almond cake, doves, and rutabagas


today I went on a home visit that could only be described as a Saturday Night Live Christmas skit-

here’s the thing- instead of being freaked out, I laughed all day

and then the cake happened, oh that cake

not just any cake- a four layer almond cake with chocolate almond filling and almond butter cream topped with chocolate dipped almonds

it was an epiphany, I almost cried

because this person poured more than just incredible talent into this cake

and I knew that this inclination to find beauty and chase art has power

real power to impact people we don’t even know, people who eat a cake we make with such care

that one bite, just one bite

speaks hope and artistry

wow, deep stuff for almond cake

and then…..

I go to Target and pick up a few things

the young lad who checked me out inquired about the rutabaga

“um, mam what exactly do you do with a rutabaga?”

I explained roasted root veggies that I’m making later in the week and

as he finished my transaction, without a hint of sarcasm, he said,

“um, good luck with your root vegetables and merry christmas, mam”

epic, it was an epic day of ordinary life

so whether you find yourself baking an almond cake or ringing up a rutabaga-

know you affect the people around you in profound ways

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our kitchen tree


when Joey brought these magnolia leaves home-

my heart skipped a beat



funny frostys from my mom and who doesn’t need Christmas ornaments in an old candy machine

sweet A and I had a little craft time


her smile says it all


G joined in


hot gluey goodness


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a few weeks back, we made ginger people, dinosaurs, and ninja bread









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my rebellion


after a week of near constant stomach virus from all four of our family, I felt a little wonky

and then I heard about Connecticut and the bottom dropped out

I felt murky, slippery depression coat everything and slow my movements
sharp words and hot tears mixed with the grit of anxiety and the weight of doubt

I don’t have any great theology that makes this any less horrific, evil is real and shameless
my only solace is a small inclination in my head that tells me this is not the end of the story,
this is not the final chapter


I pray and cling to that truth- this is not how it all ends


with that said, I am fighting this depression, this disbelief, this evil
by clinging to truth and finding beauty- this is my mutiny, my rebellion against evil
I will love my family, I will rub my eyes and find beauty, and celebrate life
-this is not how the story ends

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Grinchy Green


Sweet Joey and I had planned on finishing our Christmas shopping on Monday. A stomach virus of epic proportions derailed that plan. We did make it to one of my favorite off-beat vintage stores: nostalgia. What’s not to love about a dried okra painted Grinch? Little did I know that in mere hours, the stomach virus would leave no one standing in our family. Fast forward several days, two ER trips, five medications we are almost back in the land of the living. It’s amazing how the glimmer of nausea and the slowing of reflexes makes you appreciate normal life so very much. Cheers to non-sick days and Cheers to dried okra painted ornament Grinches!

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so my eight year old may or may not have accidentally hacked a family member’s i-tunes account and racked up several hundred dollars of charges for her pretend ponies

I may or may not watched a child (not mine this time) crawl out the car widow and dance on top of the car today

I may or may not have had to use a mini gingerbread die cut for baby Jesus because there wasn’t a baby one- no biggie, just the son of God as a cookie in my craft project

sometimes I wake up and just wonder how I got here- to this being an adult and making dinner and laundry and paying bills and trying to be a good mom and wife and psychologist

I’m not sure I can make any sense of any of it-

maybe I need some chocolate or some prayer or some adult beverage or maybe a combo of all three

or maybe gingerbread baby Jesus, and car dancing children, and expensive magical ponies aren’t suppose to make sense

hard to say….

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it’s a tough gig

ginger bread 004

parenting that is, tough gig for sure.

we’ve had several questions lately about how we celebrate Christmas/elf/no elf/santa/no santa, ect.

so here it is, with the disclaimer that this is what works for our little quirky family-

not a prescription for a one size fits all anything for anyone else

we read to our kiddos about St. Nicholas and tell them this is how the legend of santa developed-

that it’s a fun, happy way to share with others but their gifts come from us

(but some families do play santa so don’t spoil the fun for others)

they receive three gifts just like the wise men brought baby Jesus three gifts

we’re not santa haters, we don’t rain on anyone’s parade, it’s just that we really want our kids

to know that we strive to be honest and direct with them

(they don’t let me forget the infamous mushroom dinner incident)

and for us it matters that we share with them about Christ

and focus on him especially during the Advent season

so where does the elf come into play?

Ava has been sharing zany stories from friends who have an elf on the shelf

she really wanted one……

so welcome Jingle Belle Thompson

we don’t tell the kids that the elf flys to the North Pole

we say it’s a fun, pretend way to celebrate Christmas

(I know with ages 5 and 8, the days of wonder are numbered)

our elf, Jingle watches for ways the kids show kindness

and other ways that they can share with others to honor

Christ on his birthday

and gets into a little mischief as well

it’s kind of all over the map but it works for us

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