Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010

I've got a little over an hour left in my work day, which also happens to be the end of my workweek. In fact, I'm really not expecting to post again in 2010. I can't believe how fast this year has flown by. Each year as January rolls around, summer, fall & winter activities seem SOOO far away and then before you know it, they've come and gone.

I feel like this year was all about just enjoying myself. There were certainly trials, some more difficult than others...but for the most part Hubby & I were able to just enjoy our time together and experience life. Hubby & I traveled all over..taking trips to Riviera Maya, Northern Michigan, and most recently Breckenridge, Colorado. Add in my girls' trip to Natchez, Hubby's golf trip to Chicago, a family trip to Dallas, and a few trips to St. Louis & Kansas City and we definitely had our share of road trips. We survived another tax season and Hubby survived a little scare caused by the sun. We had some incredible teaching series' at church, where we both learned so much about ourselves and realized how little we know about the incredible God we serve. We spent time with our families, time by ourselves, and time alone. We planted flowers and trees and bought new outdoor furniture for our deck. We examined our budget & I started couponing. We welcomed several new babies into our lives with several friends having new little ones, including our precious godson Cohen.

God blessed us with so many things. Nothing completely just absolutely extraordinary, but we're both healthy, have good jobs, have a truly great marriage--not perfect but wonderful, great families who love and support us unconditionally & an incredible small group/church family who have been walking through life with us. When I look back on it, I guess that is pretty extraordinary!

Only God knows what the year of 2011 will hold and as much as I'm a control-freak, I'm trying to be ok with that. I'm trying to be ok with knowing that no matter what happens He'll be there, with open arms, waiting to point me in the right direction and catch me when I fall.

Happy New Year...see you in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Operation UnChristmas

I don't know about you guys, but one of my least favorite tasks each year is putting away all of the Christmas decorations that have been filling my house for the last 30+ days. Every year when December 26 rolls around I couldn't be more ready to put my Christmas away. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Christmas decorations and I feel such a sense of joy & happiness as I'm decorating each year; but after the crazy Christmas season, I'm normally ready for everything to go back to normal....and fast!

This year Hubby was off work on Monday while I wasn't. I had dropped a few casual hints that he could start the process of UnChristmas-ing our house, but I honestly only expected the tree to be down or for my Christmas dishes to be boxed up and put away. Imagine my surprise when we met up for lunch and Hubby tells me that almost EVERYTHING is put away. Even then I was a bit skeptical, but I came home that evening to a practically COMPLETELY UnChristmas-ed house! The only thing still up was the tree, but with all the ornaments completely boxed away.

It only took me a few moments to place the standard home decor back in it's place, and I was able to feel like my house was back to normal. A quick vacuum job in the living room to get rid of the stray pieces of glitter and I'm feeling as if I now have a very naked house. Sure, we've still got a few holiday treats sitting here and there; but for the most part everything has already been packed away--ready for next year when I'm able to get all excited about getting it out again!

Can I just say for a moment how incredible my husband is? While he certainly had some help from my in-laws, he spent most of his entire day off picking up the house and boxing away Christmas decorations. It was one of those moments when I seriously don't know if I could have loved him anymore!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Rewind 2010

Well the Christmas weekend has come and gone & I can't believe that 2011 is so close! Hubby & I had a fabulous Christmas with tons of celebrations with family & friends. We truly could not be more blessed and I am always so humbled at this time of year as I reflect on the incredible blessings that God pours out on us each & everyday. Thank you God for sending your precious baby boy to die for the sins of this world--we truly are so unworthy of your love.

Our Christmas gatherings started out on Christmas Eve morning and before the presents started being handed out, I snagged a photo of our tree with presents piled underneath.
I just love the twinkle of the lights and all the colorful wrapping paper!

I also grabbed a quick photo of the completed advent calendar. Unconventional...yes! My mom bought Hubby this Lego advent calendar. Each day there was a small item to build & it was fun to see what the Lego engineers came up with. There were certainly a few items we didn't understand but in the end it was really cute.

Christmas Eve morning has always been reserved for my mom's side of the family. Thankfully this has been able to continue after my brother & I both got married. We gather together as a small group, open presents, & have pizza for lunch...every single Christmas Eve morning. I'm so thankful that both sets of my grandparents are still with us and are all in fairly good health. I'll treasure these family photos for many, many years to come.
Nick & I, Grandma & Grandpa Herndon, Mille & Nick, Mom & Dad...and Romo posing on the couch!

After some time relaxing and chatting, Hubby & I headed to the next destination---Hubby's sisters' house. It was time for Christmas with Nick's immediate family and we had such a fun time with our nephews.
Hubby has passed on his love for Legos to our oldest nephew Hunter---he absolutely LOVED his airplane. In the words of Hunter..."It's just what I've always wanted!"

Hunter also got an "Army Man" costume from Toy Story. He's really in to dressing up and it's so cute!
Jackson, our youngest nephew, also enjoys dressing up...and mixed with a costume from YoGabbaGabba, he seriously could not be any cuter! He loved being DJ Lance!
I was also thrilled with a new Santa for my collection! He has sequins on his coat and some other beautiful accents. Can't wait to display him next year!

Hubby asked for a sheep headcover for his driver, this was quite the hilarious gift but he was really excited about it! I guess now he can golf in style!
We headed home for a new Christmas Eve tradition at our house. When I was growing up my grandparents always bought us new Christmas pajamas. I miss getting new pajamas each year so we decided to start this between ourselves and then we'll continue it when we have children. I love an excuse for comfy pj's!
I'm definitely still a child at heart and I think the first time I woke up on Christmas morning was before 5:00am! I forced myself back to sleep and laid in bed until 7:00am--Hubby was excited as well & we had a wonderful Christmas morning with just the two of us. This is a perfect schedule for us to enjoy our gifts.
I got Hubby several things, but I was most exciting about this putter headcover. It was Halloween based, but couldn't be more perfect for our household....The Bogey Monster!

I was pretty excited about my new shoes, Uggs & brown BCBG riding boots! Notice I'm also still wearing my Christmas pj's---love them. And don't even mention how horrible I's a Christmas morning photo so I get a pass right?!?
We made a quick trip to visit Hubby's parents for a bit and then headed down to my parents' for our Christmas celebration with my brother. We had probably too many gifts, but tons of fun and some fabulous pepperoni & Italian sausage lasagna. Thanks mom & dad for all of your hardwork! We all got tons of things we asked for and a lot of things we didn't, but regardless we loved every moment. I received a nookColor and I can't wait to get the hang of it, plus some new clothes, jewelry, & other fun stuff. I still can't believe it, but I failed to take any very good shots on Christmas day!
The day after Christmas came church, and then another Christmas celebration...this time with my dad's family. Almost everyone was able to be there, but sickness kept away my cousin, his wife, & their two little girls...we definitely missed them!
My beautiful momma & I

Relaxing a bit before the rest of the family arrived...I'm seriously going to love my Nook!
Almost all of us--love my family!

We also took the time for some good family shots...
and also decided to get Bogey in on the fun! This was definitely the calmest of the shots!
We spent the afternoon exchanging gifts and just enjoying each other's company. The night was finished off with our traditional meal: Ham, peel & eat shrimp, cornflake potatoes, caesar salad and crunchy French bread! Of course dessert was also involved with rum cake & a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake! Wow...we were all SO FULL! The night ended fairly early so Hubby & I headed home to our house, which happens to look like a tornado went through! We were able to just veg out and chat with his parents who are staying with us for the next few nights before heading back to Michigan.
This morning it's back to work, but Hubby is staying home to play housewife! With some help from his mom I'm hoping to come home to a partially de-Christmased house, laundry done, and lots of odds and ends taken care of. I just love Honey-Do Lists!
Tonight it's off to one last Christmas with my mother-in-law's family!
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and were able to take some time to reflect on the awesome gift God sent us so many years ago!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! May this Christmas bring you lots of joy & love with those you hold close...and most importantly may we always remember the reason for the season & the most precious gift any of us will every receive--Jesus Christ is born!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Breckenridge Trip Recap 2010

I've finally had some time to get the photos uploaded from our ski-trip. That's the one negative about going skiing right before Christmas, everything is always so hectic and crazy when we get home!

We left last Wednesday evening with plans to drive about halfway, which would have meant us stopping for the night in Hays, KS about 11:00pm. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans for us and about 1 1/2 hours into our trip we hit black-ice like I've never experienced before. Hubby was driving and did a great job, but man it was definitely a stressful situation for quite awhile. We finally pulled into our hotel in Hays about 1:30 and we were all thrilled to have a good night's sleep.

Thursday we slept in a bit, but then headed out to finish our trek across Kansas. We arrived in Breckenridge about 3:30, checked out our condo, and promptly realized we'd managed to lock the keys in our car. Thankfully we were in my dad's suburban and he has I quickly called them & after some confusion we were able to regain entry into the car. We finished up Thursday with a quick dinner at a local pizza joint & some grocery shopping for the rest of the trip.

Friday we woke up and were ready for the slopes as soon as the lifts were open! This was the view out our master bedroom window...absolutely stunning!
The boys & our condo...we had the entire right side! It was such a great location, we just had to walk across the road to the slopes and ski down to our lift! Way to go Hubby!
We spent all day skiing and finished up with a dinner of homemade chili & a game of dominos. It was perfect since we were all absolutely exhausted from a long day on the slopes!

Hubby & I heading up for a fun afternoon of skiing--the weather was gorgeous on Friday!

Me & Hubby

God's creation is so unbelieveable! The weather couldn't have been more perfect on Friday!

As you can see, they've had plenty of snow! Snow covered trees are so beautiful!

Saturday we all got up and headed out again...I was EXHAUSTED!!! and after getting frustrated with my skis, I just decided to stay in for the morning. I enjoyed lying on the couch watching a movie and then headed out to roam the streets for some shopping! Main Street in Breckenridge is so fun & I had a great time just relaxing and shopping on my own.

The weather was definitely a change on Saturday, with snowy conditions and clouds all day. I wasn't too sorry I had stayed in.

Saturday afternoon was a planned snowmobiling outing! It was such a blast, but definitely a little stressful. As we reached the summit, visibility was ridiculously low...we literally couldn't' hardly see 5 feet in front of us.

The whole group before heading out...

They had a photographer positioned in a few spots so we got some good action shots! Hubby definitely enjoyed himself!
I was definitely glad to have heated handlebars & a heated seat!
Hubby & I after the stressful trip to the summit--notice how you can't see ANYTHING behind us?!?
You might be wondering what this is...well, this is what I saw when trying to look around at the top of the mountain...nothing but white!
Nick waving to the camera!
I was a little scared at first, but once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed myself!
At the end of our tour we had hot chocolate and then headed back to home base. We were able to purchase all of our photos for the entire group and get one CD, plus a lot of scenery shots from the area. Glad we could get these since we couldn't see the view at all!
The contrast of the sharp peaks, blue sky, & pure white snow is just stunning!
Another shot of snow-covered trees...wish I could have seen this, instead of just a photo!
Unfortunately we never got to experience a mountain sunset, but this was a gorgeous shot!
We had a nice relaxing dinner after another stressful drive back to the condo. The snow was really coming down and the black ice was back...definitely not fun driving conditions. After dinner, it was definitely time for some relaxing in the hottub. There's just something so relaxing about sitting in a hottub with snow falling all around you!
Sunday we got up and headed back out to the slopes (after Nick & I both had our skis adjusted and loosened a bit). The snow was definitely still falling but the temps were really nice so I was able to stay really warm...almost too warm.
Hubby & I with my cousin and his girlfriend Lauren in front of the Dew Tour Snowboarding event.

Our hottub...and the gorgeous snow covered trees
Thankfully we all made it home with no injuries, of course that doesn't mean there weren't any falls! Sunday the slopes were covered in several inches of fresh powder, so a couple of us took some nice tumbles!

Kevin tried to get fancy and ended up buried in the powder...

and probably not 50' down the slope, my cousin Brian decided to make friends with a tree...

Nick had to help him out, thankfully I only fell one time and it certainly wasn't a wipeout fall--just an encounter with a little snow snake! ;o)

We finished off the trip with some shopping and dinner out at a little Italian restaurant. The mountains & mountain towns are gorgeous all the time, but when they're all decorated for Christmas it is just magical!
We headed out bright and early on Monday morning to avoid some traffic in the snowy roads...we finally made it home at about 9:00 pm. Whew...what a trip, but now it's time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back from the Slopes

Well, we made it back...and all in one piece. Hubby & I spent the last few days in Breckenridge, Colorado with 2 other couples skiing the slopes. We had a fabulous trip free of injury or any major catastrophe which is certainly a plus!

We got back into town last night so now it's time to play catch-up and also try and get prepared for CHRISTMAS!!! I've seriously been a horrible blogger with barely enough time to read the massive amount of entries in my Reader, let alone comment! Trust me, I've been reading & I hope to get back into my normal blogging routine after the holidays!

I also have plans for a full Breckenridge trip recap but that will just have to wait! So...for now here's a sneak peek at God's incredible creation!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday

Well after a few weeks hiatus, this week I've decided to share with you my Walgreens loot once again! My trip was hardly necessary but I had $6 in Register Rewards (aka free money) that needed to be used up so I made the best of it and still managed to get some good deals.

So...1 Axe Shower Detailer (which is really just a bath pouf but for men & I'm guessing men don't want to shower with a "bath pouf"), 1 Oil of Olay Total Effects Body Wash, 1 20 ct box of Finish Dishwashing tablets, 1 Axe body wash, 1 Loreal Decrease, 1 Blistex Lip Balm, 1 12 ct Goody hair bands, & 2 votive candles. All for a little over $11 with a savings of close to $30.00--I just can't remember the specific pennies on this one.

This certainly wasn't as good of a trip as I'd hoped for 2 reasons...1--they were out of the Oil of Olay lotion that would have been completely free with my body wash instead of spending extra cash I just left the larger one there & 2--I forgot to use a $2 coupon on my Loreal cosmetic purchase. Ughh....oh well, it was still a good visit with only spending about 30% of actual retail.

While I haven't been having my weekly incredible savings visits to Walgreens, I'm still doing incredibly well in regards to our monthly budget. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know that I've had very little grocery/household shopping for the month so far & we're almost halfway through--plus with a trip to Colorado & Christmas festivities I probably won't be cooking dinner quite as often. Every little bit counts and I'm still definitely full swing in the coupon game!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wintry Weekend

Well even though winter hasn't officially arrived, I think that most of the country would argue! We had a nice Friday evening, but on Saturday came plummeting temps & crazy high winds. Winter finally showed it's ugly face!

Thankfully, Friday evening was still really nice and we were able to enjoy a visit to Silver Dollar City with our good friends Tony & Dana! Tony is one of the pastor's at our church and we just love hanging out with them. We headed down after work and had a fabulous evening!

We asked a nice man to take our picture as gingerbread people!

Rejoice! I just love all the lights at Silver Dollar City, definitely incredible!

They have a good balance of religious Christmas symbols mixed in with the Santas & Snowmen...but all with Christ being the center!

The Light Parade...Santa at the beginning...

& Jesus at the end, the Reason for the Season!

Dana & I in front of the enormous singing Christmas tree!

It's absolutely stunning!

Hubby & I all bundled up...of course the cold that night was nothing like what was to come the next day!

Saturday morning I had to work and then came home to spend the afternoon in our warm house. The cold front came through about noon and it was totally obvious that the cole temps & wind were going to take over! However, it gave me a full afternoon to get the rest of the presents wrapped and also enjoy a little R & R.

Saturday evening was our office Christmas party at a local restaurant, Ocean Zen. We all ate way too much but had a wonderful time!
Hubby & I at home before heading out into the cold!

All the ladies, Coworker & cousin Kay, Grandma Smart (matriarch of the business), myself, Coworker Theresa, Coworker Delma, & my gorgeous mom!

Hubby & I at dinner

Mom & Dad
And the ladies of the office--I love that we all color-coordinated with no plans before hand
Yesterday we had plans pretty much all day with church in the morning, small group pushed up to 3:00 in the afternoon, & then our church Christmas party at 6:00. I was afraid it would be a crazy, crazy day but everything went well & Hubby & I had some time to relax between each activity. December is always crazy, so it's always nice to just have a few minutes to catch your breath.

Our Christmas party at church was really a time to bless & pray over the gifts our church brought for over 100 foster kids in our area. Those who could, adopted a child & brought a single gift for them...then last night we all gathered with our gifts to pray over them & the children they would be delivered to in a few days. It was so incredible see our church step up and do this again! Last year was our first year & a huge success as well!

Santa even came to entertain the kiddos!

Just about half of the gifts to be distributed!
The gifts are brought unwrapped so that they can be delivered to the foster parents & then wrapped in whatever wrapping paper they use for all the other gifts. Love this ministry & how it reaches out to those who need just a little pick-me-up at this time of year!
Whew...crazy, but fun Christmas-filled weekend! I can't believe that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away!