Thursday, December 30, 2010


We started off the Christmas season with my parents and Dawnie coming to our house to give the boys their "biggie" gift. It actually was a bit large, so Granddaddy put it together here at the shop. Oh the excitement of walking to the shop to see what's waiting.

We made them walk into the shop with their eyes closed. This is them waiting for us to say OPEN YOUR EYES. I love it because Mac thought they were going to put something in his hands. :) 

It's the mother of all activity tables. It's the perfect size. It has drawers for storage, four chairs/stools with cushions with storage under the chairs. It holds a roll of paper. On one side the top of the table is a dry erase board, then you flip it to the other side and it's a chalk board. It's just fabulous. We love it! I've gotten my butt kicked in tic-tac-toe (a game the boys are into these days) more times than I can count.

The next day we had Christmas at my mom and dad's house. We opted not to have a sit-down meal and just have an array of finger foods. It was something different, and I think we all enjoyed it. We always have a great time together, and this was no exception. Good food, good times together, and always lots of laughs.

A critter just for GaGa:

We LOVE fun stuff for bath time:

Umby is one person who cannot hide whether she does or does not like a gift. It's quite obvious either way. I think it's safe to say from this picture she was fond of whatever she just opened.

Snuggie - a precious soul:

Mimi and Granddaddy were so sweet to give the boys something they could beat the crap out of each other with. This is one of those "you had to be there" kind of things but my mom in the background of this picture about to burst from laughter sums it up. Hee-larious!

Martha always outdoes herself with gifts. Always. She's such a giver. She is also one of those people who, if she wants something, she goes and gets it. So it's really hard to buy for her. HOWEVER, this year mom and I were able to give her something she really wanted - a Kindle. I think she was pleasantly surprised. She hearts her Kindle. :)

B was so excited RaRa joined the club. haha

Jack, the taxidermist, has been busy again this year. Granddaddy and the grands found a raccoon skull one day while on a little nature walk behind mom and dad's house. Dad thought the boys would like it if he did the same thing with the raccoon skull as he does with deer and hogs. Not only did Grant especially think it was the coolest but so did Claire. You never know about that girl. She can be the sweetest little momma to her baby dolls one minute then hang with the boys like she is one the next. So for Christmas Granddaddy fixed them both up with their own little raccoon skull mount. :) Grant is so excited for school to start back so he can take it for show-and-tell.

My mom started the tradition of Christmas Eve pajamas years ago, and when Rachel and I had our own children we knew we wanted to continue the tradition with them. I have absolutely no pictures of my four opening their pajamas because we opened them in the middle of the day Christmas Eve. Reid is allergic to just about everything but me and I have to wash all his clothes before he wears them. We had to open early so I would have time to wash them before bedtime. Of course on Christmas Eve we always put out milk and cookies for Santa as well as reindeer food in the front yard right before we go to bed.

Grant asked Santa for a rifle but because that's something Chris wants Grant to remember as something his daddy gave him, he got it on Christmas Eve. Chris couldn't wait until Christmas - he couldn't stand it. :) I dearly love that they enjoy hunting together.

Making sure it's a good fit:

Christmas morning is always special. Experiencing the joy of Christmas through my children's eyes is such a blessing. When I was younger I always wondered why my mom would get just as excited about Christmas, if not more so, than we did. When I became a mom I completely understood. It gets better every single year. We are so blessed.

This year all of Bethany's Santas joined forces to get Bethany what she really wanted: A MacBook. She had NO idea. It would've been too easy to just give it to her to open, so Tara and I thought it would be fun to send her on a little scavenger hunt. Many thanks to Smitty for the clues because I'm a bit challenged in the creativity department. It went off without a hitch.

Finding her clues:

I have watched this video over and over. I love it. It makes me smile. I know Christmas is about so much more than presents under the tree, but I love it when I can give my children something they really want. I've said how she cannot hide whether she is or is not pleased with a gift. Well, folks, I think she was pleased with this one.

THAT was fun!

Santa left a note saying Mac and Reid had a little something at the shop. So once Sissy regained her composure it was time to head to the shop. It was early and COLD so they didn't ride much more than from the shop to the house, but they love their new Jeeps. 

A few of my favorites:

Santa knew a rifle would be something seasonal for Professor to use, so he brought him a pellet gun. 
And no, my child doesn't go around the house carrying pellet guns and rifles. Daddy keeps them in the safe, and we only get them out when he is home to help us use them.

I think Mac was more excited about the AirHeads Santa left in his stocking than just about anything else. 

Boy have we all had fun with this game. It takes me back to my childhood but has been updated with a few new "ailments" and sound effects:

Turbo finally got his red balance bracelet he's been asking for. He says it "makes me strong" and "keeps me safe." ;)

Bethany was pretty much a permanent fixture here for the rest of the morning:

And as I've posted already, as Reid predicted we capped off the day with a little of the white stuff.
Does it really get any better than that? 

Until next year...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We've been doing a lot of this

And it's been great.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


If you're not a fan of this type stuff, you may want to turn away. :)

For a little boy who enjoys hunting with his daddy, what's even better than getting his very own rifle for Christmas?

Getting to kill his first deer with it Christmas afternoon.

Congratulations, my little Professor!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


And he was right. It's just started snowing here and already accumulating a little.

What a way to end a wonderful Christmas.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Christmas rush. Why do I do this to myself? Three days left. Really? Three? We're having Christmas with my family later today. I can't wait because we always have a great time but it also means today is spoken for. So that means two days, really, to get my last-minute shopping done. It has to be done without children and well, that's hard to do. I do this every year, though. And every year I panic a bit. And every year I get it done somehow or another so I'm sure that will be the case this year too. HOWEVER, may this be a big reminder to myself NOT TO PROCRASTINATE LIKE THIS NEXT YEAR.

Yeah, right.

Grant has been in a few Christmas programs. He was quite out of his element doing something like this. We're so very proud of him for participating. He did a great job, and I think he even enjoyed himself in the process. :)

"He sees you when you're sleeping."

"He knows when you're awake."

This is him playing Dave for Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Time is Here

Talk about the Professor stepping outside his comfort zone!

And after helping Grant's teacher with a few treats for us parents such as this:

as well as ornaments, t-shirts, etc., I have a much greater appreciation for teachers! That took work, people! Their job is hard enough as it is, without any extras.

My cousin, Anna, got married this past weekend. Bethany was a bridesmaid and boy was she ever so beautiful! She's been in a couple of weddings before but as a flower girl so it was quite different seeing her walk down the isle as a bridesmaid. 


Father of the bride with Mary Lou Grace:

So happy Dawnie could be there as well as Mayree. MC we loved having you visit Friday night and ride with us up there. And remember, what's said in Sweet Precious, stays in Sweet Precious. haha

Claire and Reid at the kids table. Although it looks as if Reid's trying to cheese it up, he's actually showing me he has an M&M in his mouth making sure it's not the peanut kind. :)

Anna was a beautiful bride, and we welcome Brent to the family with open arms. He's a sweetheart!

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Wells Benson

My sweet baby girl came down with the flu the night of the wedding. Her sisters have both been bitten by the flu bug too, and we hope they get well soon. This is one thing I hope B doesn't share with her brothers. Or Chris and me. So far so good, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. She's feeling much better now, though, thankfully. Although I will admit this mama hasn't had a chance to take care of her like that in a long time and I loved every minute of being at her beck and call. I hated she was sick but glad I could care for her while she was.

And last but not least Reid is apparently dreaming of a white Christmas. He tells me every day he can't wait until Christmas because it's going to snow. I can't bring myself to tell him that's really not likely to happen here in the deep South. I just say, "Well, Reid, I guess it could happen," and leave it at that. Which he seems to be okay with for now. I have a feeling Christmas morning even if there isn't any white stuff on the ground he'll be okay with it then too.

This is probably my last post before Christmas, so....


Thursday, December 16, 2010


One year of living away from home. One year without a cell phone. One year without having your own bathroom. One year of sometimes missing birthdays and family gatherings. One year of eating most meals in a cafeteria-like setting. One year of hard work, a lot of times physical work. One year of strict rules and discipline. One year full of attacks from Satan because that's what happens when you draw nearer to God. And one year completely worth it because it was also one year full of fun, meaningful quality family time together during our wonderful visits. A year of finding who you really are, the meaning of deliverance, the meaning of living life abundantly, and gaining wisdom and discernment through a personal relationship with the Lord. It was also a year so  powerful and meaningful to you that you want to continue on, helping others as you have been helped over the year. How blessed the women will be whose lives you are sure to touch.

I don't know how you did it, Dawn, I truly don't. But we knew you could. And would. And you did. When the going got tough you dug deeper, stood firm in your faith and tried a little harder - even when you thought you couldn't. We love you and are so proud of you there aren't words to do it justice. I was so glad we could all be there yesterday to help you celebrate your graduation from Alabama Teen Challenge - even if it meant traveling  on icy roads and through freezing rain which caused Rachel's windshield wipers to freeze while she was using them. The thought of that happening still makes me laugh out loud. :) 

They had a few special treats up their sleeve for her ceremony. My aunt was there and sang How Beautiful. And it was. If you've never seen a human video then you're missing out.

 Even our graduate was in one and let me tell you, it's powerful!

It was quite the emotional day and little Mary Lou Grace was overflowing with it:

Happy tears, though! All tears were happy ones!

The graduate receiving her certificate:

The fam:


As I always say, so much to post about - so little time. 'Tis the season to be busy I guess. :)