Monday, December 31, 2012

For Sale, One Dreamhouse.

“Say it isn’t true,” my heart says.  But months of prayer has left us with this resounding answer though – who are we to close a door that God opened? 

We built our dreamhome, our forever house, and about a year and a half later we received word that my husbands’ company would be leaving the area in 2013… well, the state to be exact.  That was two years ago.  Two L O N G years of living with this immense weight on our shoulders.  Stay and find another employer.  Go and continue with a prospering company and fulfilling career.  Wow. Say that fast and it seems like a rather simple decision. Cough. I assure you nothing was easy about this decision.

This house, the one that I brought home two healthy babies to… babies, that doctors told me I would never be able to have.  I’ve walked those babies a million miles on these floors, letting the creaks & squeaks soothe them to sleep.  I’ve watched as those babies have taken their first steps here, watched their sweet hands learn to wave to Elmer through the windows and witnessed their special birthday celebrations here.  I’ve watched their little eyes light up time and time again when they ask to see NaNa & Papaw and in mere minutes they have looked out to see them at the doorstep.  I’ve watched my Lifetime Love & Rooney drive for hours across these pastures in the Jeep having “boy time,” and I’ve strolled that driveway in the warm sunshine singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and “Good Old Noah Built an Ark” more times than I could possibly count.  This house, the one so full of memories… so full of GOODNESS.

I’ve perhaps seen the best and maybe the worst of every season in this house, both literally and figuratively.  Our first spring here was filled with rain and we saw flooding that those who have lived in this area their entire lives say has only occurred a couple of times.  I’ve stood and watched as a destructive tornado rolled by on the ridge across from us and delighted in a white Christmas that I will never forget.  Every fall here has been a spectacle, watching the leaves change through thirty windows in this farmhouse, smack in the middle of a pasture has only deepened my love for trees and leaves.  The summer season here has taught me I’m no gardener. In this house we have felt love grow deeper than we ever knew possible between us, we’ve seen new friendships blossom here, and together we have shed tears over the loss of both family and friends to cancer.

This house, the one where we chose absolutely EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL.  I completely rearranged the kitchen and had the cabinets custom made to coordinate with my favorite bookshelves.  I’m certain we changed something on the plans in nearly every room, even deleting windows, though you would never guess that with thirty remaining!  I lived with my nose in farmhouse books, being sure that all the details were true to form.  I shed a tear or two designing the stairs, newel post, and mantle – they were so very important to me! Every paint color, stain, cabinet, knob, faucet, fixture, appliance, window, door…well, you get the idea.  Every. Single. Detail.   Rosewood countertops, oh how I will miss your beauty!  This house, the one so full of memories… so full of GOODNESS.

This house has been a blessing to our little family and we are praying that it will bless the next family who chooses it.  I can tell you that never in my dreams did I ever think I would be writing an announcement telling friends we were moving to Alabama… but I can also tell you that never did I dream I would be so fortunate as to actually own my dreamhouse before turning thirty.  We are “house people” afterall, so we would be lying if we said we weren’t excited about starting a new journey with a new house.  Prayer has brought us a great deal of peace and understanding and while I readily acknowledge that there are difficult days ahead in this process of selling our home and saying goodbye to it, I know that in this world where I have friends who have lost either a spouse or a child to an illness, this friends is nothing to worry over.  If this is the battle chosen for me, then how blessed I am!  I’m choosing to see the GOOD and ask that you join me. 

This house, the one so full of memories… so full of GOODNESS is for sale.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

31 Ringing in '13

So I’m 31, soon to be ringing in 2013, and I suppose that has made me a bit introspective.  ((Actually, I personally feel that if you are a Christian, a spouse, a parent, and/or a friend you NEED to slow down and be introspective…that is a part of the growing process, right?))

Something happened when I turned 30.  I began to really embrace the idea that “I” was responsible for my own happiness and in trying to find myself- because face it, most people are still searching in their twenties and well into their thirty somethings- I realized something HUGE… I “am” a part of a club.  How many years of my life have I spent wanting to feel like I was part of the club, or click?  I’ve been told repeatedly, "there is no club, there is no click."  Let me tell you – I’m facing reality, there are many clubs and many clicks in ALL walks of life.  But that is the beauty I FINALLY learned to embrace.   When you approach life with a heart prepared to welcome new friends, the fact is that beautiful friendships are lurking everywhere.  I have the option to belong to LOTS of clubs, some by mere accident!

You see, I share a connection with anyone who…

-is a Christian

-is a sinner

-is a wife

-is a mother

-is a daughter

-has a son

-has a daughter

-has a redheaded child

-has had a c-section

-graduated college (& isn’t using their degree!)

-married their highschool love

-has owned a dog or a horse

-was in 4-H & FFA

-has built a house

-is learning to sew

-loves to cook

-is a “foodie”

-loves to thrift shop

-loves to craft

-owns a Jeep

-loves Instagram

-is a blogger

-craves Hobby Lobby like a fat, juicy cheeseburger ((seriously, there are others with this craving, right?))

-has a slight addiction to magazines

-wants to learn to crochet

-lost a friend or family member to cancer

Yes, some of those “clubs” I don’t necessarily want to be a member of, but the fact remains, I truly have a connection with SO MANY people around me.  So, at 31 I’m ringing in ’13 and no longer wishing I was “in the club.”  I’m embracing the clubs I am a part of.  I’m celebrating the connections & relationships I share and praying that my heart is preparing room for even more friendships. What a blessing “30” and this new perspective was to me… I’m excited to see what 31 and 2013 will bring!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas Story in Pictures - 2012

Rooney had Santa's cookies out...

... and even made some special food for his reindeer.
He & Sister-girl had spent a fabulous Christmas Eve together.  Neither wanted to go to bed, but to my surprise they both slept sound and didn't wake till nearly 8am!
FINALLY, THE DAY HAD ARRIVED!  I had spent WEEKS counting it down with the kids and then all of the sudden, in what seemed like a mere blink, the big day was here!
Watching the magic of Christmas unfold was truly beautiful to me!
There was plenty of excitement.... ((he just spotted what Santa left by the tree!))
Watching the magic of Christmas unfold was truly beautiful to me!

Loads of loving...
And more "costume goodness" than you can imagine!
Rooney LOVES spending his days in character.  Every day he wakes up a "new" animal.  He's been a dog, horse, bull, walrus, giraffe, snake, penguin, donkey...probably more, although I try hard not to forget!  Apparently Santa is aware of his love for costumes, as is the rest of the family....our entire day was filled with Rooney opening one costume right after another.  As you can see above he frequently was multiple characters at once - no doubt the days ahead are going to be entertaining!

Oh yes, several other family members got to join in on all that costume goodness!

There was cooking today also. Someone needed to test out the new kitchen Santa brought ;)
A bit of picture posing took place.  Sure some folks hate posed photos...not this girl!

Now, I'm beat. Ahhhh-mazing just doesn't even come close to describing our day. Such special memories! Honestly, so proud of how enjoyable my children were the entire day...we all tried to savor every moment!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Baking for Santa!

I have baked cookies with Rooney for Santa since his first Christmas ((2009))....

Sister-girl was a mess today with teething, so early into the day I made the decision that Rooney and I would bake cookies for Santa while she took a nap.  Within a few minutes of us being in the kitchen I knew it was going to be such a special memory for us.  He was SO EXCITED, and was loving having my undivided attention, and honestly, it was a treat for me to be able to give him all my attention.

My handsome man & Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Coconut Macaroons...rumor has it they are some of Santa's favorites!

So proud to have them in the oven!
Watching & waiting...

Thankgoodness his Daddy was close-by with his cell so Santa could be tracked on Norad while the macaroons were baking!

Oh, yes, he was happy to test them.... you know, because he had Santa's best interest at heart.  Rooney approved.

I love his heart.  Such a beautiful memory made....


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Crafting & Crazy Kiddos

As I mentioned in a previous post, I vowed to celebrate more in 2012 and when I lost a friend to cancer in September, it really hit me hard --- everyday is a gift.  I mean, we say it, but do we really live our lives that way?  If we truly feel like everyday is a gift, then why don't we seek out more reasons to celebrate?!

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I should have a mini-Christmas party for the kiddos.  I was hearing of all the Christmas parties being planned by teacher-friends of mine, and it got me to thinking.... why wait till the kids are school age, lets start the celebrating now!

When I planned the party, I of course had no way of knowing it was going to be "one of those weeks". Both my kids had been sick and each of my grandparents paid a trip to the hospital ((one is still there currently)).  Sometimes you just suck it up and go on.  Yes, there were lots of small details that were sacrificed, but I'm sure none of the kiddos noticed, only the "blogger Mom".

I set the table the night before and premade quesadillas, cutting each out with a Christmas tree cookie cutter.  This really made for a stress free morning.

Jack was pacing saying, "friends here yet?" and Julianne stood guard by the front door.

I love this when they realized friends were pulling in the driveway!  Yes, as you can tell from the pictures it was pouring rain. Happy East Tennessee weather  ((insert wishful thoughts of beautiful snow filled days here))!
Christopher Popinkins, our elf, had appropriately stationed himself near the door to watchover all the children entering.

Miss "I can't get enough of showing everyone my belly" was so glad to see friends!
There was chip eating and lots of drawing...

Some beautiful snowflake crafting...

And cinnamon-ornament making!
A whole lotta' playing was thrown in the mix and apparently a-little-too-much marshmallow eating!
I love this look of "I will finish this handful of marshmallows!"
Such a blessing these kiddos are to me... so glad we took a day to celebrate!

A Celebration of Friends

In 2012 I was blessed to join the Paperdolls, a newly formed group of crafty friends.  We meet monthly and our group varies according to schedules.  While I have loved making new friends, one of the biggest blessings has been rekindling some friendships from highschool.  A few Paperdolls have really bonded with me for one reason or another.  I strongly agree with the quote that "friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime," and this group of girls has proven to be exactly that - each represents a friendship that has filled a place in my heart. 

I vowed to celebrate more in 2012, so a celebration with these friends who have really filled my heart was a necessity!

This evening was all about friendships and not really about the blog, so I put the camera aside for all but a few minutes.  I didn't document the food or the decor really... instead just sat back and enjoyed every laugh!

I've chosen to share this tiny glimpse of the evening with you for one simple reason - I want each of you to CELEBRATE MORE.  Celebrate those who inspire you, teach you, pray for you, grow with you, care for you and love you.  Seek out reasons to celebrate.  Seek out friends to celebrate.

And let me be honest..... this group of girls seeks out a reason to be CRAFTY! Ha!  It was only fitting that we swap gifts of a crafty nature!  Check out all the beautiful crocheted scarves Jenny made each of us!

Jenn made personalized coasters for each of us! Wait, to our surprise, Jaclyn made personalized coasters too!  They were completely different, but we had a good laugh when exchanging presents since it was totally unexpected!  I'm convinced both could sell their "product." Jenn (who "says" she's really not crafty), was in fact a master at coaster making, and I look at the coasters Jaclyn made using family photographs EVERYDAY.

Megan proudly showed off the stationary that I designed for everyone...

and Jenny was happy to show this great canvas art Megan made each of us!  There were several other gifts that I failed to photograph, including the Coconut Sugar Scrub that Megan also made (a frequent pin on Pinterest)... can I tell you how addicted I am to that now?
I should also mention that this was a "bring your spouse" party, but I kinda' felt like it would cramp their style to ask them to pose for a group pic too!  To our knowledge they didn't swap crafts, recipes, decor ideas, or childrearing suggestions as we did - I'm certain there was talk of cars, trucks, and baseball though!
Good times, friends. GOOD TIMES.
How will YOU celebrate more in 2013???