Wednesday, April 29, 2015

21... Again.

One of Julia's friends sent me a text that said, "Happy 21st Birthday, Miss Christa".  Too cute.  I've been 21.... several times now.  For my birthday, we celebrated early with the fam since the end of April is always inventory for De.  We went to The Melting Pot in Mid Town Atlanta for a birthday dinner.  We enjoyed all four courses and had a great time.  I will say that if you go, allow plenty of time.  Fondue takes a while!  Our reservations were for 7:30 and we left a little before 10:00!

... a haircut was what I wanted for my birthday - and he got one!

I think the kids enjoyed the entire experience, I certainly did.  This was a great way to celebrate being 21!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Showers

Our church celebrated everyone's birthday Sunday night.  Everybody, no matter what age, got a party - all on one night!  All guests sit at a table decorated for their birthday month.  I decorated - most appropriately -  April.  I had a great time at the party and felt special to have such a fun event so close to my real birthday.  In fact, I had two parties in the same weekend.  Awesome!

While learning to decorate cakes is on my bucket list, I'm not there yet.  Take the Cake in Winterville helped me out here with both a cake and matching strawberry cupcakes.

Favor bags with seed packets inside said "April Showers Bring May Flowers".  Kenneth made and hung a cloud and we used ribbon rhinestones as "rain".

One side of the cloud was sunny and one side was a little more ominous!

I felt that the table needed a little more color and it was Mama's idea to use strips of crepe paper for color.  That turned out to be a pretty and inexpensive solution .
I wish I had gotten pictures of the other tables.  I decorated early in the day and many of the months were not quite ready.  I thought all the tables looked great - maybe the best year ever.  The party is so much fun and it is something I really look forward to year after year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SAVL Championship

Friday night, April 17, Julia and I packed our tired little bodies into the wagon and drove over to Spartanburg for the final volleyball tournament of the year. Honestly, I was very tired - and it was raining very hard - and we left very late, so I really didn't have high expectations for the weekend.  But... what started out as something I dreaded turned out to be so much fun.

We played in the beautiful Upward Bound facility just outside Spartanburg.  I cannot say enough nice things about the cleanliness and beauty of this place.  It was spotless despite the crowd, the tournament was well organized and conducted and the guests were made so comfortable and welcome. (Like if Disney World ran a Volleyball tournament.)

I loved how the Upward organization used Bible verses as decor throughout.

I especially love this one from Matthew...

We entered the tournament 3rd from the bottom.  We finished the tournament as the Number 3 team.  Not bad...

We enjoyed being with the families of the other team mates.  We ate together and went to the movies on Saturday - after our biggest win of the season. 

In fact, we had so much fun, I had to admit it was worth driving very late through very hard rain and barely sleeping to make it happen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prom 2015

Palm Sunday, Easter, Spring Break, Beach, Volleyball tournaments, Prom, school, work - a birthday - and two puppies. It's been a wild ride...

Beginning with prom... Julia and I were in South Carolina for an all weekend volleyball tournament the weekend of our high school's prom.  So... we left De trailing John and M and he got a few good pictures despite the rain.  M sent me some absolutely stunning pics as well that were taken at the home (garden) of a friend.

NOHS 2015 Junior Senior Prom, April 18, 2015

A limousin took the group to a catered dinner in Madison and then to the dance.  They had a great time and my prayers were answered as everyone arrived home safe and sound.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bye Bye, Winter

Spring is (hopefully) on its way, but this winter left us with some pretty good memories, too.  Club volleyball is going at full tilt and John is gainfully employed.  Good times.

January 31, we finally got to meet our puppies.  Less than a month after Baby A passed away, I began corresponding with an Airedale Terrier breeder in South Georgia.  His new litter was born on December 17 and they were available to be picked up the first week in February.  We got up really early on Saturday, January 31 and were in Americus, Georgia by 11:00 AM.  Look who we found waiting for us there...

Julia on "Puppy Day" at New Point Kennels in Plains, Georgia.
(The home of Jimmy Carter, Linus and Lucy)



Since I now work all. the. time. aaaaand we are playing club volleyball aaaand we need to start thinking seriously about college aaaaand De is contemplating an MBA, we thought this was a great time to get two puppies.  You know what?  It is.  They keep each other occupied and are precious in every way.  (Except the house training and the chewing - oh and waking up at 6AM ready to play every single day...)

Speaking of Club Volleyball... what's not to love about paying through the nose so that you can get up at 4:00 AM and drive to places like Spartanburg and Columbia, South Carolina and sit in a gym from 8:30 AM until 6 PM?  Actually, it is fun and the other parents are the best.  I have made good friends and have thoroughly enjoyed myself at the tournaments.  But.... I'm also thankful that De takes his turn at getting up at 4:00 for some of these all day destination tournaments! 

These pictures are from the JVA Music City Battle, Nashville, TN -  February 14 and 15.

Since I was spazzing over the weather in Nashville and driving across Mont Eagle in what promised to be  record breaking snowfall this past Valentine's Day, I failed to post any of these precious pictures.  Julia, Mama and I had gone to a Volleyball tournament in Nashville and were so afraid we would get stuck in the snow there.  While we were hatching plans, John and Mc were shining up for the high school's Sadie Hawkins Dance.  

How cute is this? (I know that you didn't miss the theme being carried all the way to Mc's T shirt - a detail that any blogger would just love)

Thanks to Dwayne Allen Studios for some of the pictures.
He is the Dad of one of John's buddies and one of the best photographers around.
And...thanks to Mc for sending them to me.  Otherwise, I would have gotten, "okay... I will.. later..."  

Since the kids are now older and seem to be out of the house more than they are in it, we've been exloring new past times as well.  We found something that we are really good at...

Can it get any better than that?

Monday, January 26, 2015

9.11 Memorial and Museum

Likely, you remember exactly where you were on September 11, 2001.  I remember vividly every last detail of the day.  I watched it all unfold on television with two small children playing at my feet.  I remember the horror, disbelief and fear I felt.  Still, I was removed.  I was in Athens, Georgia, far away from the flames, the panic, the sounds and smells of pure t terror.

During our recent trip to NYC, we visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  It opened this past spring and kudos to the people who designed the building and all the exhibits.  I thought that the use of some of the remaining artifacts as well as the site itself was very creative.

The nearly 3000 are given names and faces through these exhibits.  The loss of lives, formerly categorized in my brain as a number, is made human.  One of the walls displays the name and picture of a man, roughly my age.  Underneath his picture and name are the names of two girls with the same last name as his.  Had he brought his daughters to work?  Was this to be a rewarding day with Daddy? What other plans had they made for the day? He never could have known that it would be the last for all of them.

Another exhibit featured quotes that would further chill you to the bone.  To paraphrase one of the most memorable for me,
"As horrible as it was, I didn't want the day to end.  It was still a day I had shared with Sean."

If you could read that and not cry, something's wrong.

One quote from a bystander on the ground tells how she could not turn away.  She forced herself to watch as people leaped from the burning tower.  She described how one lady, modest to the end, smoothed her skirt and held it down as she jumped.  The onlooker doesn't give or likely even know the lady's name.  I'd like to think that when that brave woman received her heavenly crown, it was laden with pearls.

If you've visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. or even seen the movie, American Sniper, you've had the eery feeling that such silence in a crowd brings.  The 911 Memorial and Museum was quiet as a church and rightfully so.

If you go, tickets can be purchased ahead of time, on line. The tickets are for a dedicated time of your specified day. The line forms outside the museum... and it's cold.  We were there on a holiday Saturday and we lined up 30 minutes before our scheduled time.  We didn't wait outside for the entire time, but we did stand there for a little while.  So, bundle up. It's well worth it.  We spent a little over 2 hours in the museum and we saw all the exhibits, watched a lot of the video footage as well as the movie.

Our children are 17 and 14.  We had lots to talk about after touring.  They have studied these events in school and were old enough (if that's possible) to handle some of the horror of that day. I don't pretend to be able to make age recommendations for this, though I will say that the crowd was very respectful, very quiet and very emotional.  I have no reservations, however, in recommending this for every American adult.

The 3000 innocent people had names, families, lives and jobs.  More than 4oo died in an effort to save others.  This can never be forgotten.  This museum will make sure.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Scenes

Time flies when you are having fun! No time is this more true than Christmas.  December is the fastest month of the year.  We had a lot of fun planned for this holiday season, too.  Because of our "suprise" trip, it was more important than ever for J&J to be on the "Nice" list...

The Christmas Card Picture - in just under 40 "takes"

Sunday, December 7 

The 5 Browns Concert
Monday, December 8 at Hodgson Hall

We've done piano recitals and done some more piano recitals, but no one compares to these 5 siblings, all born with three hands. Okay, I'm kidding about that, but click on the link below, hear my absolute, all time favorite version of my absolute, all time favorite Christmas song ( not Christmas Carol).  Amazing.

CPC Chili Cook Off Benefitting Extra Special People,
Sunday December 14

One of our favorite events at our church is the Annual Chili Cook Off benefitting ESP in Watkinsville.  I planned and schemed.  I tasted and tested... but still I lost... again. (This thing is fixed.) The picture above shows John serving a test serving.  I used the Chipotle Chicken Chili recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  It's really good.  Just not good enough...

Christmas Eve Service with friends...

The best book I've ever read has been made into one of the best movies I've ever seen.

The Wellington

Being together
It has been a great Christmas Season.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year... but cleaning up from that most wonderful time has to begin... ugh... to get ready for good luck in the New Year!