Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey...take THREE

MR and I were supposed to go to "the farm" for a third turkey day celebration, however, Papa S (who NEVER gets sick) came down with something awful, that had been passed (in no particular order) through R, Gigi, SIL, BIL and well, if there were more, they weren't telling!

Side note: last year for Christmas I came home with a bug that had me in bed for days!!! It was a gift that just kept giving (and not in such a holly jolly way...)

So needless to say, MR and I were a little gun shy and decided to stay home.

ONE problem... I was in charge of roasting a turkey for the family! I bought a 20 pound bird, and it was in the brine soaking up some flavor and I was not sure what to do with that much turkey!!!
Look at that purdy bird...

Well, I am lucky enough to be able to call in the troops, my parents, MawMaw, Cathy (plus 13 weeks of a little human), James and Kyla headed over to help us out. I hadn't planned to serve an entire meal, but we made it work with some asparagus, knishes, fresh baked bread and sweet potatoes.
I sent my Dad home with a turkey leg to boot!

Maw Maw and Kyla giving my boys some Turkey take THREE lovin'

Just kidding! After we "cleaned" the turkey, I wanted to take a pic that looked like the boys had gotten a hold of the bird, they didn't, and I am the only thing that looks funny in this picture!

We were sad not to make it to "the farm". I missed seeing everyone and getting some quality time with the kiddos! Looks like they were having a great time...
Cute R & C hangin' out at the farm.
So, Thanksgiving day has come and gone, but I am going to try to keep the spirit and continue to be thankful for all the blessings in my life, they are many and they are big!

Next up... birthday week, it's the dirty 30 + 5 this year... I am going to enjoy the last week of 34! 

keep in touch...

Turkey... take TWO

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I don't know if it is Maw Maw's tasty turkey and dressing or the simplicity of the holiday spent with family, but it has, is and probably always will be my favorite!

Thursday we headed over to Maw Maw's for a feast! All the usual suspects were there and we had a wonderful day together! Best part was the game of charades. My Aunt Cathy and James were up first.  James (who is usually pretty quite around this rowdy crew) volunteered to go first. (this game is very loosy goosy, no rules, and most of the times we make it up as we go). So in written word, this is my best explanation of James' charade:

James: holds 3 fingers up
turkeys: 3 words
James: 1 finger up
turkeys: first word
James: pulls ear
turkeys: sound like
James: motions putting a hat on his head
turkeys: hat
James: pulls ear
turkeys: sounds like hat... cat
James: finger to nose
turkeys: nose, snot...
from the gaggle: finger on nose mean you guessed the right word
James: 3 fingers up
turkeys: third word
James: turns to side and rubs belly, then extends his hands to show big belly
turkeys: belly, pregnant
James: again with the touching nose
turkeys: again with the snot/nose response
turkeys: cat is pregnant??? what cat? huh?
Cathy: "and I am due in May"
turkeys: cat is pregnant, AHHHH CATHY IS PREGNANT!!!

yep folks, Cathy and James are adding another little gobbler to our family! AND as tradition would have it, my grandmother had Cathy at 40 and Cathy is going to have her bundle of beauty at 40!!! How awesome is that???

This gave us another thing to be so thankful for! AND I am super excited that I will get to hold that sweet baby next Thanksgiving!   P Daddy was super pumped too, Cathy is the first preggers lady he has met!

Best Thanksgiving a girl could ask for!

We all went home and fell deep into a turkey induced coma!

Keep in touch...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

turkey... take ONE

We attended our first Turkey Day gathering. G Daddy's side of the family gathered to eat, drink, and laugh our way through a wonderful get together.

I totally forgot my phone/camera, so there are no pics, but here are some (not all) of the highlights...
There were a lot of these there, and one on the table...

total chaos- it is inevitable when you get all of us together!

inappropriate- always inappropriate...  have you seen a Griswold's Family movies?  it's like we remake that movie every time we are together...

fun- there was so much laughter, so many smiles. Young and old found giggles and cheer!

LOVE- even when cousins tell your secrets, children repeat things they might not should have, Grandmother's hear stories grandmother's are not meant to hear, father says something that makes new family member VERY uncomfortable... there is always love!

Grandma prepared a feast for all of us, she always outdoes herself, does your grandmother do that too?

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, we have two more "gatherings"! 

keep in touch!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

do you pray...

Do you pray? Do you take time to communicate with God?

I do, me and THE Big Dude, we chat! I literally speak to him like he is an old chum sitting shotgun in my car rocking out to the most recent pop hit playing on the radio. Weird? I don't know, it's just what I do

Well, this morning we had a long chat and it made me think about how I communicate with Him.

 I asked for prayers for friends, family, Zambia, people and animals who sleep in the cold, the little piggie that I know he created for me that my husband won't let me have, my sweet furry animals, patience for our crazy cat, and well, you know the normal stuff. Then I went in to a 20 minute "Thank you God" thing.  I Thank God in all my prayers, but today, I was just gushing about all this thanks that was inside and needed to be expressed. One thing lead to another, I missed my exit to work and the Thanks just kept going!

I must tell you, I felt like I had run a marathon with winged tennis shoes on, it was awesome! All the accomplishment of the finish line, and all I did was give thanks! I am thankful for some silly things (i.e. my cozy handmade winter sock/slipper thingys, my very cute new bracelet that I made, a tube of new lip therapy to make my kisser super soft for MR) and I am thankful for the obvious things (family, my awesome MR, my friends, LIFE, love, happiness, a brain) and then there are things I find very odd to be thankful for, but I am (loss, heartache, pain, perseverance).  He got the details, and in good AOR form, it took way longer than it should have b/c i have to explain everything (yes, even to God) and I ramble on and on and on and on...

I am going to try to have more "proper" convos with my Big Man Upstairs, but honestly, I think He will think I am crazy, which makes me think I am crazy b/c does God think any of us are crazy? Well, what I am trying to say is, say "Thank you" to God, to your neighbor, to your friend, to your family, to the lady who checks you out at the grocery, just say "thank you" with a smile, it will make you feel SO good!

I think this sums up what I am trying to say...

Source: via Nicole on Pinterest

THANK YOU, and, keep in touch

footnote: I want to share this, b/c it is funny... today in my "chat" I asked God if I was dragging all this out a little too long and if he gets tired of listening to me, and I am sorry, I know you are busy, but I just gotta get all this out and if you want to send in someone to listen and give you the highlights later I will totally understand, but see blah blah blah...THEN I said this... God, you created me, you had to have seen this coming, RIGHT?

I love a God with a great sense of humor, how else could I have come to be if he did not...  xoxo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

favorite things...

...brown paper packages tied of with string, these are a few of my favorite things...

got the jingle in your head? Let that brain worm wiggle for a few! (winkie face here)

For the second year I hosted a "favorite things" party. We had a pretty healthy group going into the big event, however, kids get sick, bosses don't care about a girls social life and well, sometimes life happens and things get in the way, so our group shrunk, but by no means does that mean there was  lack of a good time! Fun was had by all and the products were awesome this year!
Here are a few "favorites" (we had such a good time i forgot to take pics) ...

<===  and here are some of the lovelies that showed up for the fun...

Another one of my favorites is the Nutcracker Market, I met up with super sweet Sarah and we got our Nutcracken' on. I love the shopping, but I mostly love the ideas I get while cruising around, OH and for some reason, I always buy food...  this year it was soup. Oddly, I bought something called red bean gumbo, when I got home to tell MR, his response made me realize how silly that sounds, but I firmly tried to convince him that it would be good (just like last years Nutcracker food, which he informed me was not all that dandy...WHAT???). So, I will keep you posted on if the red bean gumbo ranks as a favorite...
Nutcracken' happened the day after the aforementioned "favorites" party, so I was a little tired and didn't get any pics of the cracken', sorry!


are one of my favorite things, these little guys have been popping up everywhere and I want one, yep, IT is in fact going to be the first thing on my birthday and Christmas list, cute lil piggies!!!

This piggie, Pork Daddy, is going to become a regular around here. G Daddy (my father) found him for me and P Daddy has been showing up in the darndest places... here he is decked out in a party hat and tie with Mimi for her birthday!

These are not typically my favorite things, but yesterday, they were my friends.  Dear winter, we had a day of you, now please leave us to our hot Texas weather!

keep in touch!

Going back to Cali...


I need to be better about posting to this blog! We have been busy little bees! I will start with our vacay.   MR and I went to Cali, it was beautiful, relaxing and just what the Dr ordererd (if there were a Dr and IF he were to order...)
 Found this little love in Harmony California, population: 18

MR treats me right! We ate tons of delicious food and stayed at some super awesome spots! Here are a few pics from our trip.

jumped a train from San Jose to San Fran...

dined on some yummy crab...

I made a new friend (I may be sitting in Pelican poo... grrrrrr!)

We biked the Golden Gate Bridge...

Drove Highway 1 to Monterey...

Hit up the Aquarium...

Oh My Pumpkin patch...

Big Sur, let's just call it a little bit of Heaven on Earth!

Morrow Bay, sand dollars everywhere, stroll on the beach with my MR

San Luis Obispo, Madonna Inn: HILARIOUS!!!

Wine tours...

MR and I are trying to figure out how we can move to Cali... right now we don't have a solid plan, but we can dream a sweet little dream can't we??

keep in touch.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

messages from dad...

if you know me, you know how close I am with my parents. Oddly, they are two very different relationships, strength in each at different times and different ways. Each of them have been my rock, the docks for my sometimes sinking ship as well as a solid place to return when I have been out to sea, always available to provide the shoulder to rest my weary head. They have had strength for me when I was weak, they have loved me when I have been hard to love, they have been friends when I needed them to be, they have celebrated with me in accomplishments, they have been amazing parents through it all. I am blessed to have them, I am who am b/c they have helped me be.

This post is about my Dad and Zambia....

Zambia proved to mean a lot more to my Dad than I would have ever expected. His support never wavered, he never asked, "why" or doubted my mission OR my ability to make a difference. He was interested in every aspect and jumped in with two feet when I hadn't even begun to ask for help! If you know my father, you probably think he is just a big tough bear, BUT (shhhhhh, don't tell anyone) he is a sweet, big hearted, soft, sensetive,cuddly teddy bear under that grizzly facade! He followed my blog religiously, and encouraged me to keep at it, he sent the link to his friends and printed it out for grandparents to read. I could not believe he was 100% behind what I was doing in Zambia. I LOVE that he was!  (please don't take this as the rest of my family was not, they are supportive, but my Dad was just a little a lot more vocal!)

I have struggled with this post, b/c honestly, it makes me cry, tears of happiness mostly, but also it brings so many feelings from my trip, the emotion I felt there, the complete happiness and utter devastation I felt all at the same time. My full heart exploding with love, fear, compassion, sorrow, and happiness. So... here are a few things my dad sent me while I was in Zambia and shortly after I came home.

email from dad:
Sitting on the porch, just fed the horses and now watching my dogs play around the pond.
As I watched my dogs and the video you sent it came to me that my dogs have a better life than millions of children around the world.
Your boys go to bed hungry, my dogs have a balanced meal twice a day.
My dogs are safe from "witches" (coyotes) behind a closed stall door every night, your boys sleep on dirt with no doors for protection.
My dogs are current on all vaccinations, your boys don't even know aspirin.
My dogs, get pets and hugs regularly. Your boys don't seem to get much attention.
I promise to give to one of your boys at least as much as one of my dogs.
How sad that we as humans are so blind that we will give more to animals than to children.
Be proud that your message has found and convinced at least one person.
~ Dad

"shout out" from dad:

As most of you know my daughter, Aimee, took her love and devotion to Africa. If you didn't keep up with her blog you lost out on a beautiful story. The short story is that she introduced us to some kids that truly needed help. We not talking fancy shoes, electronics, or summer vacation. We are talking a few hours of basic education and a meal ! I have questioned why people leave the good old USA and help in foreign lands. This past spring I had a chance to visit with a friend who does mission trips to Africa and asked her to explain why. I think the phrase was “you don’t know poverty till you have seen it”. No one in America has to go hungry, homeless, or in need of medical attention. There is some group, agency, or shelter available 24/7. It may not be what we want, but it’s a roof, food or doctor for the asking. Even in this economy if you want to work there are jobs, maybe not the position you think you deserve but there are jobs that pay money.
Carolyn and I have been blessed. Family, friends, health, and happiness have filled our lives. We have sponsored, donated, gifted, and just flat out given to lots of people, groups, and causes. But Isaac is special. I have never been so excited about a project, and yes it's a project. For less than a good steak a month I can help someone help themselves, their families, and hopefully the future. As I said, I have been blessed, and funding our little project will not cut into my lifestyle. This is not about us, it’s about some poor, truly poor, kids that could use a little help to improve themselves and hopefully the world around them. If you have any interest go to
Or go right to Aimee’s sponsor page and check out her kids.
Just thought I would pass this along. I recognize that we all have our own lives and priorities. If you are looking for something special and the special feeling that goes along with it, check out this opportunity.
Greg 0

I am proud, AND I am eternally grateful that he "gets" it, no matter how the message is received or when it hits, I am glad that it is working!

I am going back to Zambia, I will get to be with "my" children again "my" 6 beautiful boys. I will get the hugs that I have been missing since they got on the bus to go the last day of camp in June. I am eternally blessed, thankful and appreciative of my Father's love, my Heavenly Father and my Earthly Father... I am one lucky girl!

Keep in touch

Monday, September 10, 2012


I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time wrapping my head around this day. I can not tell you with 100% certainty where I was on most of the days I have been alive, however, 9.11 is burned in my mind (probably like most everyone else). 

I didn't know anyone personally in the Towers, but my heart still pains for them and their families and friends.
I didn't know anyone on the flights, but I get the chills every time I think about what they must have felt when they knew what was about to happen.
I am going to switch up my thought process of 9.11, I am going to try to be nice to as many people as I can, partly to shrug off the feeling of what a selfish, terrible act that took place several years ago, and partly because, you never know if a little bit of kindness or a smile might stop someone you cross paths with from doing something they might regret later. SO for all you folks reading my blog (yes, I realize there are only a handful ((thank you Wanda, Mom, Dad and Tiff)) yes, I lost Matt, he doesn't keep up with me anymore) Okay, so for ALL you folks that read my blog, for me, be nice to one person you may have otherwise passed by. Simple, open a door, smile, let that car pass you and smile, give a granola bar to the panhandler, I don't know, just a little act... I think it could be contagious! AND as a nation, on this day, I think we could all use a smile or a tid bit of generosity.
keep in touch ~a

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good news, a few favors, and some rambling...

Let's start with the good news, well, it is actually GREAT news and I am so excited to share!

As you know I started this blog to share my experience in Zambia at Camp Life. I have said it over and over and I am going to say it again, and you will probably read it and hear me say it at least a million more times, I fell in LOVE in Zambia, head over heels, heart exploding, tear dripping, serious LOVE! Yes, I love my family, I love my husband, I love my dogs and, sometimes I even love Oliver the cat (rarely, bc he bites me and screams really loud, but sometimes), but my love in Zambia was like no other love I have ever experienced. Sometimes I lay in bed and think that I should have guarded my heart a little more while I was there so that I wouldn't have felt this love, because honestly, it can be a painful love! Some days I wake up and think, HOLY COW, how did I get so lucky to be put in a place so far away and share my joy with these children, how did I end up on the other side of the world and find a love that would weigh on me everyday, bring complete joy to my life and excruciating pain at the same time? WHY? HOW? I don't know the answers to all of that, but I am eternally grateful that I am asking the questions. Even if it hurts sometimes, I love the love I have for these children. I know, this is taking a while, but you are obviously still reading, so hear me out...

First off, if you have no idea why or what or who I was in Zambia with, check out this site:

Family Legacy

I had a terrible dream about Kennedy, I woke up crying, it was awful, I literally stopped in my tracks and begged God to protect him. I think it was just a dream, however, there have been some serious extra prayers going out for Kennedy. 

That being said, I drive to work in the morning thinking, my boys are sleeping, OH I hope the witches leave them alone tonight.  I am grocery shopping for food and it hits me like a brick wall, please let my boys have had food today. I lay in bed and think, it is afternoon there, I pray my boys are safe and no one is hurting them.  Honestly, I pray for all of them, but on certain days a certain boy will pop into my head and I always try to take a moment and ask God to protect that child, give them strength to survive and courage to keep trying.

Well, once again, my prayers have been answered! ALL six of my boys are

 sponsored! (see dad, I told you I could do it!!!) Kennedy, Tauria, Robert, Rabbi, Isaiac, Chola!!!! Each one will start school in January, each one will get a HEALTHY HOT lunch everyday, each one will go to a safe place and have people who care about their future guiding them, each one of my boys will have a fighting chance and be blessed with an education! HOLY COW! WOW! How awesome is that? I can not thank the folks who have found it in their hearts and pocket books to help these children, MY children, now THEIR children, THESE beautiful children!

I am not sure if you all realize, there are other kiddos in Zambia that need help, believe it or not, I didn't get the only 6 boys who need a sponsor!  I have another goal, Erin and Trish have children that need sponsors. Erin had Chola's (one of my boys) brother Francis in her group, he needs to go to school too! Erin had a tough group this year, 3 of her boys have already found homes in the Tree of Life orphanage b/c their situations were so terrible! The rest of her boys need to get to school!  Trish's girls need an education to become strong women in Zambia! They are all beautiful and deserving, they are so sweet and loving! Girls don't get much respect in Zambia, so many of these little jewels didn't know how special they are, an education will definitely help with that! SO... if your interested, let me know!! One child at a time, one life saved by you could make better and save the life of an entire family, a village, and quite possible a country. These children will be the future of Zambia, when they are shown compassion, they will show compassion.
Zambia is weighing so heavy on my heart and mind, I keep thinking that it will lighten up as the time goes by, but it just hasn't. I ask Matt at least once a day if I can go to Zambia tomorrow and stay for a few months, maybe we could just move there. Don't worry folks, although I would LOVE to do that, I can't leave my husband, and he hasn't agreed to go, something about work and money and blah blah blah. I will keep nagging asking him, he is stubborn, but I am persistent, and I keep thinking I am more persistent than he is stubborn.  stay tuned!

Good news is, he has agreed to me going back for camp, I will be back in Zambia, maybe not for months at a time like I want, but I am planning on going back next summer. I have already started gathering things for donations and gifts for my kiddos!

Did I hear you say, "OH, I would like to help with that". Well hot dog, you CAN!!!

Here are a few things I am trying to do, and if you would like to help me, that would be awesome! They need so much at the Tree of Life homes (that is where children who have been orphaned or abandoned live full time), so if you could help me get supplies that would be awesome, and my ideas are all totally free!
When you go to the dentist, ask them for the free toothbrush and toothpaste!
When you stay in a hotel, take the free soap and toothpaste!
When you go out to eat and your kids get crayons, take them home!
If you go to a conference and there are pencils, grab a few!
If you are cleaning out your kids closets and have balls or bows let me know!!!
You get the idea, right? If you don't mind having a bag/box at your house that you can toss these gifts in, I will gather things closer to my trip in June, but the kids would be so happy for these simple gifts! I can not describe in words the complete excitement and gratitude we received from the children when they saw their gifts. It is greater any joy I have ever seen.

Some of you have asked me about one time donations, and I have really been thinking about this. Trish, Erin and I talked about raising money for a specific purpose in Zambia, a school, clinic, home etc. we haven't landed on one particular thing, but the idea is there and I hope we will figure something out soon. So if you will hold on to your generous donations, I will keep you posted on what the plan is. If you have a strong desire to make a donation now, I would ask you to make it for use at the school in Chaisa. That is where all of our kids will be going in January, and
I know they can use the funds!

donate here

Thank you, MR, thank you Mom and Dad, thank you Kim, thank you Mr & Mrs H, thank you Bunny, THANK YOU!!!!
keep in touch ~a

Here and there...

Here are a few things I have been up to...

Sometimes I cook for my MR. This was one of his favorites! It's turkey meatballs meat lumps (they were a little big bc I didn't want to touch the raw meat long enough to make 20!) I have made it twice, found the recipe here- its delic!!!!  (I used turkey instead of beef and pork...)

I finished my stained glass class- this is my small project, I think it turned out pretty good! I gave my mom my second project- it was a flower.

Mr. and I went with my brother's family to a baseball game. We got to spend some time with these two super cute kids- I love them, they are awesome!

I found this cute frame for $2.36 in a clearance bin, I added some burlap and a ribbon (scraps I already had) and made this cute little thing! 

AND for some reason, I have had to remind myself of this a lot lately...