Merry Christmas

December has been full of merriment, lots of unexpected joy, the thrill of hope, more Christmas songs, smells and experiences than we thought possible.

Tonight on Christmas Eve we prepare to celebrate the gift of salvation and grace. 

I had plans of actually sharing things in a timely manner like our Christmas card, the passage I wrote for my church's advent guide, and all the fun we've had with family and friends during this special season.  Maybe the new year will bring me a little more time to do that, but I'll try and jam in all in at the last minute, just like I did this morning when I took James to see Santa :)

He obviously loved it...

 Our card's top ten list made a comeback in 2013, I know everyone was eagerly anticipating that!
I must make Christmas Eve dinner before we celebrate a little more tonight with friends and family.  Lots of love from our family to yours!!

Here's what we had to share about the Christmas Conspiracy back on the 15th, sorry the formatting is horrible, but my ham isn't going to glaze itself,  so I've got to go to bring peace, love, joy and glazed ham to my family.

Sharing Joy in the Grocery Store

Mark 5: 1-20

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[a] When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has mercy on


It’s not uncommon for a stranger to come up to me in the grocery store and tell me what a happy baby

I have. I always say a quick thank you and usually joke that he’s just excited to be digging into a carton

of blueberries before lunchtime. The truth is I’m thrilled of the joy and happiness they see him express

while we walk up and down the aisles.

Deep down I hope the joy they see in his eyes is the reflection of the love his father and I have for him.

We both try to show our family the love we have for each other in small and large ways every day. From

cooking healthy dinners, showing compassion, spending special one-on-one time together, encouraging

each other to follow our passions, saying thank you, lots of hugs and kisses, apologizing when I’ve done

something wrong and offering my forgiveness when they have. I know the reason why I’m able to show

this love is a direct result of the mercy God has shown me.

Just like the man in the passage above, God has cast my demons away. Now instead of anxiety, I’m

filled with peace knowing the Lord will always provide for our needs. Instead of insecurity, I feel

confidence and joy that can only come from one source. I have hope because Christ gave me salvation,

and that is how I’m able to share His love with my family. During this season of excitement and

anticipation, how will you tell your family how much the Lord has done for you?


Fall Round Up

I've been doing my very best to focus on James, which means some all of my extracurriculars (aka blogging) have suffered.  Sorry Junior League and my mom's club and any/everything I volunteer for.  Naptime and bedtime are cleaning and meal prep time, and I try to spend as little time as possible on my iphone/ipad during the day, except of course for calling Jame's grandparents and Elmo.  Adding the call Elmo App to my phone was probably the worst parenting decision I've made so far.  Elmo has been "taking a nap" for the past few days and I'm getting better and better at just saying no.  After all, I am the one in charge...

Needless to say I've spent more time in communication with Elmo than blogging.  But I like to do it and look back on our lives and events, so hopefully I'll be able to carve out time for it a little more in the future.

So this fall, we watched the Gators loose a lot.  I still love them and a loosing record makes it a little easier for me during this season of my life where it would be near impossible to be a die-hard fan.  Plus coming off a season like this will make it so much easier to buy good season tickets next year.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway.  Because, you know, I plan to have lots more free time for football games and tailgating activities next year.

In addition to football, James and I had lots of fun going to fall festivals, farms and pumpkin patches over the past few weeks. 

He loves riding horses (no pony's for this guy) and hay rides.

Because nothing's better than a hay ride with best buddies

 With his favorite 'big boy'

Then we toured a farm, where we caught some chickens
Watch out chicken your about to get a smack-down one-year-old style
 Milked a cow

 Rode another horse
 and got to pet lots of animals including 'dabbats'

We also had a few more pumpkin patches to stop by

And if someone would be kind enough to explain how the heck this happened, I would appreciate it.
This pumpkin patch picture from last year has graced the bakground of my phone for the past 12 months and I don't think I will ever be able to change it.  I just can't believe how much he has grown, it doesn't seem possible.Time marches on, which I guess is why at the end of November I'm finally sharing the pictures I took in October.


Thankful for their service

How indebted are we to the servicemen, women and their families for our freedom?

So very glad that we are able to thank them all today.

We don't have too much to choose from in our fridge after a very full weekend that did not include grocery shopping. So I decided to stop for lunch on our way home from music class today. So glad Tijuana Flats was honoring our veterans with a free meal and that we were able to stop at their table to express our gratitude as well.

Thankful to my father for his service in the National Guard and my brother who is currently deployed with the Air force.

Hope we can find a few more ways to thank those who served today.

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Sixteenth Football-a-versary

This weekend marks my 16th Florida Georgia game. I had been fairly consistent with Tennessee and LSU, until James came along. But I've never missed a Florida Georgia game (or at least tailgate) since my freshman year in college. When I was pregnant I stayed back at the RV and watched the game with Riley Cooper. Josh of course ended up tebowing with the tebows that game-ha!

But that's just the thing you never know what's going to happen at Florida Georgia and that's what makes it so much fun.

I've slept with 17 of my closest friends in one hotel room, in fancy hotels that require wristbands for everyone who is staying there, lots of slumber parties at my friends parents houses, in the back of Joshes car even. We've stayed at the same Marriott for the past few years and it feels like home when they welcome us back.

They were keeping a tally of gator and Georgia fans and when we arrived at one am last night we were the first to represent the Gator nation. Last night was also the third night I've spent away from James. And 6:45 the latest I've woken up in months. I feel very well rested with five and a half hours of sleep!

It's great to be here with my sweetie and hope to see lots of our friends soon. Not sure what tomorrow will bring, other than a good time and I'm sure some prayers to the football gods.

I traded my Maxie dress for Joshes soft ball jersey and Starbucks for a Goonbay Smash. It's 3 in the afternoon and we've got the tailgating started, can't wait for a fun weekend ahead.

As always Go Gators!


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Happy Halloween!

Love my little ducks!

Painting pumpkins with dada at his preschool fall festival.

Treats for some of our friends.

Halloween Platter I made with James' foot print.

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Loving this time of year

We are having so much fun with all that October has to offer.

Yesterday after church we met one of my besties for brunch, while daddy played golf. Doesn't James look cute afterwards?

We also carved pumpkins last night and had so much fun, it's almost indescribable. I'm finally 'starting' to feel like I'm at home in our home. Having these special family moments sure does help! I love my guys so much my heart can hardly handle it.

We were also lucky enough to be invited to a sweet friends Halloween party on Saturday, and boy did they pull out all the stops. It was so fun! I loved all the activities and Pinterest coming to life. James loved playing with all the pink versions of his own toys, and sneaking a few sweet chocolaty treats.

A little preview of his Halloween costume, which is currently being treated for pre-Halloween chocolate stains. You know it's a good year when that happens.

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Where I've Been

Well, October has a brought a pretty full month for our little family.  James and I are doing a program at the library on Wednesday mornings where activity stations abound and specialists come and speak to us about child development - obviously I we love it!  I'm fairly certain that in addition to learning lots of great new things, we picked up lots of not so great new germs.  We had runny noses and congestion around here for the past two weeks, which just kind of throws things off kilter.

In other new developments Josh and I started eating clean, a take on Whole 30/Paleo lifestyle.  So I've spent hours upon hours meal planning, and cooking healthy meals for us.  Most of what used to be a spare moment have been spent chopping vegetables, like hours upon hours of veggie chopping.  Actually my knife skills have come a long way these past two weeks.  It's been great for us both and with all the working out I've been doing (lots and lots), I can't tell you how nice it is to see the scale finally move.  I'm also happy because this is truly the way we I want to eat.  I asked Josh to join me in this adventure for the month of October and I see sticking to this 80/20 through the holidays.  Then back at it (and hopefully all organic too) come January.

It's much easier to avoid gluten/soy/processed everything than sugar.  I've had to make an exception for cough drops and even with those I bought ricola (the closest thing to crunchy without driving 30 minutes to Whole Foods).  I'm also the proud owner of a mason jar of Organic Coconut Oil, which I think may officially make me a hippy (just one of the crazy ways becoming a parent has changed me).

So I made some major priorities for our family this month and even though I wish writing a blog post everyday was one of them (like way more than loading the dishwasher and folding cloths), it hasn't been. 

I'm also at a crossroads of wanting to simplify things in my life and do what I do well vs trying to squeeze in too much and not be good at anything.  I'm never going to be a "business blogger" or even see my blog demographic growing much larger than the core group of my parents, in-laws and their friends who read this (which I love).  Also a lot of my favorite blogs have gone private recently, which made me take a step back to think, why am I doing this?  So even though I've probably gone longer periods without writing than the past few weeks.  I purposely didn't devote anytime to blogging and recording our life.  And I missed it.  I think I'm going to try to carve out a few moments here and there to write, because I like it.  I like connecting with my friends and family, and just keeping a record of the wonderful life God has blessed us with. 

Cherishing each and every moment with James is the main priority of my days, but I do want to spend a little more time over here talking typing about it.

This is so awesome!

Riding on a train at his buddies birthday!

So, when are you planning to potty train me already?

I couldn't believe he climbed this all by himself - he fell off as I was taking this picture - MOM FAIL!

Our afternoon walks now include 2 Elmos, Mickey, Goofy and a Teddy Bear (not pictured)


Beautiful Day

Haven't spent much time computing - just focusing on living life to its fullest.

And we are, loving every moment!

Wagon rides with best friends and watching airplanes fly by overhead.

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Tailgating Toddler

We made our first family trip to Gainesville on Saturday for the Tennessee Game. It was so much fun!

It took me a few days to recover from trekking all over campus and keeping up with a one and a half year old all day-wow that's a lot.

Josh loves tailgating and just has so much fun cooking up a storm. Although we would typically head up on Friday night, the past few weeks have been hectic for our little family, so we decided to head up on Saturday.

Breakfast is usually Josh's domain and this time was no different. We packed coolers on Friday night and set the alarm for 5 am (humm maybe another reason I was tired). We headed out just as the sun was rising for the two and a half hour drive. James was sweet and quiet in his car seat until the last 30 minutes or so. It was a fun little family road trip that involved very creative renditions of the Wheels on the Bus.

When we arrived we zipped into a parking spot and met up with our crew. Josh got to cooking and I got to teaching James about corn hole.

Love my boys!

We also did lots of puzzles and ran ALL OVER the field.

Oh that cowlick...

Cheese grits and hash browns. My kind of tailgate!

After breakfast we headed to the Florida bookstore, where James got his first Gator baseball hat and more books about Albert the Alligator (one of our favorite reading topics).

We continued on down to the Phi Mu house, it was so neat to see the beautiful addition, and one of my college roomies was inducted to the hall of fame. She pretty darn fantastic!

I couldn't believe how many ladies were there, it was really a special treat and I hope to run into more sisters soon!!

A lot of our friend were waiting for us back at the tailgate so we walked back over, and explored campus more. I love to see all the game day outfits. I never got a picture in my dress, but I'm sure I'll wear it to any other games I go to. Although I switched in and out of my orange and blue jacks with more comfy croc loafers for walking. My back hurts too much from toting James around to even think of wearing flip flops all day anymore-ha!

We went to Alumni Hall, but just missed Albert and Alberta-darn. James posed with this statue instead.

Before we knew it, it was game time. I had decided to stay back at the RV with James all along because I didn't think either of us would have the energy to go to the game. He may have, but I didn't!
He never stopped going all day, I was sure glad when everyone started trickling back from the game. It's always a great thing to beat Tennessee.

We won't be going to every game this season, but I'm looking forward to a few more with my fellas. As always, it's Great to be a Florida Gator!!

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Five on Friday

Five on Friday, linking up to share all the things I'm loving this week

Our roof is done! Looking a little red after the evening storms last night.

That James loves to help clean, he can even turn the central vac on all by himself.

-3- Fresh Flowers and Fall Candles - what's your favorite scent? I love Farmers Market from Yankee Candle.

-4- My little coffee & tea station for playgroup this morning

-5- That we are Gainesville bound tomorrow. Can't wait to tailgate with James, go to the reception at my sorority house, and let my kiddo go into Albert overload. He literally screams, "ALBERT ALBERT" everytime he sees the gator logo (both standup Albert and the standard gator head). It's gonna be a fun day. One of the pictures I sent for the alumnae reception at Phi Mu...

Ole Miss Game 2002

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