Sunday, December 23, 2012

no room in the inn

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

on goals

In this post I listed some goals for 2012.  Let's see how I did with those.

  1. potty train my son (CHECK)
  2. go on a rather expensive vacation with my hubs (sans kids) (CHECK) (sorry I still haven't done the Mexico post)
  3. read 40 books (CHECK)
  4. run a half marathon (CHECK and CHECK)
  5. spend more time playing games with my kids (CHECK, etc)
  6. lose some weight (I got to 30 pounds but I'm back to only 26 down since Thanksgiving but still, it's a CHECK)
  7. get a new passport (CHECK) (I was too embarrased to show you that picture.)

Next week I'm going to post some goals for 2013.  I've got to start thinking about that, but in the meantime don't forget to enter this giveaway for my favorite John Green book.  It ends on Friday and your odds of winning are pretty good!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 books + giveaway

I've done a lot of reading this year.  My goal was to read 40 books throughout the year and I managed that.  Next year I hope to read as many if not more. 

I always enjoy reading other people's thoughts on books and ratings.  I write recommendations down as people post them on blogs or Facebook or whatever and I add books to my library queue and to my "To Read" shelf on Goodreads.  I thought I'd share my 2012 book list for those of you who are interested. 

Here's the list of the books I read this year and the rating I gave them on Goodreads.  I also included the average rating each book received on Goodreads in case you are interested. 

Title, Author, My Rating, Average Rating
  • Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane, 3, 3.96
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher, 4, 4.06
  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, 4, 4.01
  • Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2), Sylvia Day, 3, 4.37
  • Bared to You (Crossfire, #1), Sylvia Day, 3, 4.19
  • Where We Belong, Emily Giffin, 3, 3.87
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed, 3, 3.99
  • Rules of Civility, Amor Towles, 3, 4.02
  • Night Road, Kristin Hannah, 3, 4.14
  • Insurgent (Divergent, #2), Veronica Roth, 4, 4.3
  • Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, Bristol Palin, 3, 3.33
  • The Principles of Running: Practical Lessons from My First 100,000 Miles, Amby Burfoot, 4, 3.45
  • Lock and Key, Sarah Dessen, 3, 4.03
  • There's Something About St. Tropez, Elizabeth Adler, 3, 3.46
  • The Fault in Our Stars, John Green, 5, 4.55
  • Still Missing, Chevy Stevens, 4, 3.96
  • Riven, Jerry B. Jenkins, 4, 4.04
  • The Giver (The Giver, #1), Lois Lowry, 4, 4.11
  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards, 3, 3.53
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy, 3, 3.93
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3), E.L. James, 3, 3.92
  • The First Husband, Laura Dave, 3, 3.55
  • If I Stay (If I Stay, #1), Gayle Forman, 3, 4
  • Where She Went (If I Stay, #2), Gayle Forman, 3, 4.19
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2), E.L. James, 4, 3.95
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1), E.L. James, 4, 3.6
  • You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), Vanessa Williams, 3, .58
  • The Book of Jonas, Stephen Dau, 3, 3.73
  • Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1), Marissa Meyer, 3, 4.04
  • Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, Geneen Roth, 2, 3.52
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern, 2, 3.99
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Beth Hoffman, 3, 3.87
  • Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, Stephanie McAfee, 3, 3.43
  • Paper Towns, John Green, 3, 4.15
  • Looking for Alaska, John Green, 3, 4.27
  • The Rules of Inheritance, Claire Bidwell Smith, 4, 4.19
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, 3, 4.06
  • The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1), James Dashner, 4, 3.98
  • Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay, 3, 4.07
  • The Underside of Joy, Seré Prince Halverson, 3, 3.84
  • Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever, William D. Lassek, 3, 3.43
  • Crossed (Matched, #2), Ally Condie, 4, 3.56
because I'm feeling happy this morning and because I like to read and because it's close to Christmas and because I already have a new hardback copy of the book I'd like to give away one of my favorite books I read this year.  There were several that I would highly recommend, but one of them is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I will mail this book to a random commenter on Friday.  Just tell me a book you've read lately that you've loved.  Feel free to share on other social media sites or blogs for extra entries, just leave a comment to let me know you did.  Thanks!

Happy Tuesday!

Christmas pictures and one warm glass of milk

My sister-in-law took these pictures of our kids a week ago.  I think they turned out great.  I probably won't get Christmas cards out this year, but I am so thankful I have these! 


Monday, December 17, 2012

Julianna wants to know

"Can a little girl, like a girl my age have a baby?"

"I suppose it's possible but not likely.  Usually you have to be about 12 or 13 to be able to have a baby."

"Well, wouldn't it be crazy if a one year old had a baby?"

"Yes it would."

"What would happen to the baby if a one year old had it?"

"Well I guess someone would have to take care of both babies."


uh oh...  I have a feeling harder conversations are coming...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A is for Beautiful Madlibs: Christmas Edition

First come up with the following words or phrases and jot them down somewhere.  Then read the story below, filling in the words from your list.

  1. noun
  2. adjective
  3. person
  4. noun
  5. verb ending in -ing
  6. an exclamation
  7. food
  8. food
  9. adjective
  10. noun
  11. relative (like aunt, cousin, son, grandmother)
  12. exercise
  13. way you like to relax


My favorite Christmas gift of all time was when I got a ___________ one year.  Santa must have really known I wanted it because there it was waiting by the fireplace when I got downstairs.  It was so big and ____________ and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!  

I asked _____________ to set it up for me and so he/she took it outside and placed it on the ____________.  The kids were looking at me funny when I smiled real big and starting _______________ in the yard.  My gift was perfect and I was thrilled!

Then one of the neighbors drove by and saw us outside.  They slowed down and rolled down the window and shouted, "______________!"  I guess not everyone is as excited about Christmas as I am.

After the thrill of opening presents we went inside to eat breakfast.  Dad had fixed ___________ and _________________.  It was _____________! 

We spent the afternoon at my grandparents house.  They live in a __________ so that was a little different, but it was good to see everyone especially my ______________.  After a nice game of ____________ we headed home to ________________.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

just got my first Christmas present

Look what came in the mail yesterday!  I was so excited!

I already had published blog books from 2007 and 2010, but yesterday I got 2006, 2009, and 2011.  Now all I need to order is 2008 and 2012.  I thought I had posted about this before but I can't find it so no link.... Anyway.... ta da!

I love having this record of our life and of course I keep a backup digital copy, but now I have the permanent hard copy as well.

FYI: I ordered them from Blog2Print which I love.  They were running a 20% off sale and I've never seen a discount code that high so I ordered three years.  I've heard other people mention that they've used Blurb with great success as well so if you're in the market for this sort of thing check them out too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

show off

Josh has turned into quite the show-off.  There's no other way to put it.  He's got a smart mouth and he is a pretty quick thinker for a three year old.

He pulls these kinds of stunts all the time. This weekend I told him that if he screamed again I would put him in time out because he was inside and needed to use his inside voice.  He asked, "Why?" and I replied that he hurt my ears.  He said, "It hurt mine too."  I quickly told him he needed to apologize to which he quickly responded, "I'm sorry, Josh."

This boy is trouble.  Please pray for his future teachers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

what I love Wednesday

Most of these things I found on Pinterest so you've probably seen them before if you follow me there, but nonetheless here are a few things I love.

  • Wouldn't it be great to have some of these artwork frames for all of those pictures the kids bring home each day?

  • This is a little hokey but I still adore it.  I would love having an alarm clock that makes me lift weights just to shut the thing off.
  • Also, I'm a total geek at heart that would covet any of this pop-culture jewelry.

  • Finally, I NEED one of these darling clutches.  It's not something I would buy myself because it's not practical enough to use everyday, but it's so cute.

What do you love this Wednesday?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Girl in one of my classes: Do you like Nicki Minaj?
Girl beside her: Girl, NO!  Do you know she's Republican now?!


Josh was sitting on the couch beside Daddy one day while he was looking at Instagram or Facebook or something where someone had posted a picture of a gender reveal baby cake with a big question mark on the top.  I heard Josh ask, "Dad, is that a mouse-ka-tool?"


Driving by the Winston-Salem Dash Baseball Stadium on Interstate 40 one night I hear Josh exclaim from the back seat, "There's the old ball game!"


A discussion about spankings was going on in my backseat the other day and Julianna leaned over and very seriously told Joshua, "Do you know that when Daddy was a little boy and he was bad his teachers would give him spankings with an oar!"

Monday, December 3, 2012

the funny red velvet cake roll and the explanation for why Josh asked if our tree would still be there when we got home this afternoon

This weekend we
  • spent hours in urgent care waiting on x-rays for Josh since he stuck a Lego piece up his nose (fortunately, he's fine and we're pretty sure he swallowed it)

  • watched a holiday parade

  • picked out our Christmas tree and decorated it

  • made goodies for our neighbors and a red velvet cake roll (that didn't turn out red)
  • made snow globes (major FAIL)

  • played in the yard in gorgeous weather
  • made a dinosaur toothbrush holder and a yummy snack

  • watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas (and on the way to school this morning Josh asked if the tree would still be here when we got home)
It was one of the best weekends I've had in a long, long time and I am so thankful.  Only three more weeks 'til Christmas!  Happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Jonathan and I ran the Mistletoe Half Marathon yesterday.

After ten weeks of training we both crushed our goals.  Jonathan's final time was 2:17:26 and I think he'd said he would have been very pleased if he'd completed the race in 2:30 although his minimal goal was about 2:40.  I couldn't be more proud of him. This was his first half marathon and he's only completed one race longer than a 5k.  He did phenomenal!

I completed the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon in March.  My official time for my first half marathon was 2:57:52 and yesterday I beat that time by more than 20 minutes.  My final time for the Mistletoe race was 2:37:05.

It was a rough race for me.  I ran with my friend Michelle from training and she really pulled me through the last 4 miles.  We started out at about a 12 minute pace when we'd been running our long runs in training at about a 12:30 pace.

Here's an awful picture of us at a Hot Chocolate fun run last weekend.

We passed Jonathan's group on the loop back from Country Club and I tried to get a couple of pictures.  They're not great, but I was running.

I saw that Jonathan had pulled out slightly in front of his pace group and didn't know what that was all about.

My sister was signed up to run the half again this year but came down with a high fever Friday had to back out.  She PRd with a 2:07 three weeks ago in Savannah so hopefully she wasn't too disappointed that she had to drop out.  I was surprised to see her at this point in the race standing there cheering for us despite her raging fever.

Anyway, we picked up our pace slightly around mile 3 and held steady at about an 11:40 mile.  We hit the hills in Graylyn, Reynolda Village, and then Wake Forest with no problems really.

I saw a couple of my former students and it made me feel old.  :)

I told Michelle about my three goals: one - just to finish without walking, two - to finish in 2:45 or 50, three - to finish in 2:40.  She said she had similar goals.

We passed Jonathan's group shortly into Wake Forest and he'd pulled further out in front of his group so I knew he must be doing well.  I'd thought we wouldn't see anyone else from our training class anymore during the race so that was a nice surprise.

When I got further into Wake Forest I thought I would die.  I tanked and thought I was at the bottom of all lowness.  I realize that makes no sense.  At any rate my point is that was about mile 8 and then I got to mile 10 and realized that I had been wrong.  Mile ten was the bottom of the bottom of all lowness.

I don't think Michelle and I spoke for the last 3 miles.  She did encourage me a bit and I kept telling her I wasn't going to quit but it was rough since I was going at a faster pace than I was used to.  I really couldn't have finished without her.  We slowed down the last three miles and our average pace got back up to about 11:50.

When I saw this 12 mile sign on Runnymeade I was ecstatic.

Shortly after I passed these little cuties and was on cloud nine.

Michelle told me that we were going to beat all three of my goals and I got a little emotional. I'm normally not a crier but I did get a few tears in my eyes.  I wish I could have busted out an 11 minute mile for the last mile but I just didn't have it in me.  We crossed the finish line at 2:37.  It was Michelle's first half and I was amazed.

Here's Jonathan and I with our medals.

What a great start to December!  Thank you, Jonathan, for training with me.  Thank you, Michelle, for being there for me yesterday and helping me get through it.

I'm planning on breaking the 2:30 barrier in 2013.  Hooray!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

notes from Jules

Julianna's class at school had to write letters to Santa.  This was hers:

Dear Santa,

My name is Julianna and I am six years old. Thank you for giving me a DS last year. Can you please bring me a kitten that looks like my last cat? He had blonde fur and green eyes but this time I want a girl. I am going to leave you cookies and carrots for the reindeer.


Do-able, I think.  Husband disagrees.

Also, here's her school picture from this year.  It's probably the best yet.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I was taking Josh's pajammas off to get ready for school and amidst all the whining and complaining and dilly-dallying he exclaimed, "I don't like it when the cold gets on my pee-pee!"


Julianna's teacher wrote a post-it note and put it on a book she placed on Julianna's desk.  On the sticky note she'd written, "I checked this book out under my name so please make sure you give it back to me when you're finished."

Julianna took it back up to the teacher's desk and put the sticky note there.  On it she'd written, "OK."


While we were trick-or-treating Joshua must have told us a thousand times that "Halloween is my favorite!"


Riding in the car with Nanna one day:
Nanna said something about not being able to remember because she was old or something like that ad Josh said, "My daddy is old too because he has brown stuff around his private parts."

And that's how you know you're old. Apparently.


Coming out of church one afternoon Josh said excitedly after listening to our conversation with Jules, "You learned about God too?!"


Saturday, November 17, 2012

happy Saturday

It has been the absolute best day.

It started with an awesome 13.5 mile run with my running group.  I missed them severely while in Mexico and was reminded this morning how much of a difference it makes to have a buddy to run with.

As we were getting ready to drop the kids off in childcare Julianna told me that running seems to be "working out well for you, Mom."  When I asked what she meant she said, "Well, I'm not trying to be mean, but you look much thinner."

Made. My. Day.

Then after a lazy afternoon we headed to the mall for some leisurely shopping where a kind man told me I resembled Jennifer Aniston.

After that we went to my most favorite Mexican restaurant for some delicious food (and to make up some of the thousand plus calories I earned this morning) [and yes, I am indeed the girl who can eat real Mexican food one week and American Mexican food the next and still call it delicious].

In the car on the way home just now Josh said, "Dad, how did I get in Courtney's belly when I was a baby?"  I got such a chuckle waiting for that highly anticipated answer.

Now we're having family movie night and life is just good.

I hope your weekend is just as splendid.

Monday, November 12, 2012

a Pinypon party + there's only 6 weeks 'til Christmas

We got these Pinypon dolls in the mail one afternoon and Julianna was so excited to get them open.  I'd never even heard of them but apparently she had.... so naturally I made her teach me how to pronounce it first. [It's like penny-pahn in case you were wondering about such things.]

Anyway, we gathered round some friends and cousins to play and they really enjoyed it.  We had kids ranging in age from 2 to 12 and you can tell they all had fun checking the goods out, especially the caravan.  It comes with a Pinypon doll itself and is basically like an RV that opens out with house inside.

Each doll has an accessory or two that goes with them like a purse or dress that you can change around.  They also have two faces so you can put their hair on backwards and they'll have a different facial expression.

We also received a Nenuco baby doll to play with and Julianna was amazed that it could drink and wet it's own diaper.

Even Josh liked the little Pinypon dolls and surfing them across the floor.

We had a great time trying out these new toys.  I was just asking the other day for gift ideas for younger children and I could totally see getting a few of these for our friends because they do encourage imaginative play and I think these would be pretty fun gifts.

Thanks, Pinypon and MommyParties for letting us host this fun little event!

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this blog post but I did receive several toys, coupons, and a couple of extra toys to give away at the party.  The opinions expressed above are as always, my own.

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