Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mmmmm...the warmth of home and all things cozy

It's been a little more difficult this holiday season to get in the the "feeling" of Christmas because I'm at home all day with the girls. When I was teaching I had to attend every Christmas program and party imaginable, brought home yummy goodies from my students, and by the time Christmast rolled around I was ready for a break. Well now that I'm home I don't have all that, and I've been sort of a loss as to how to celebrate or bring that feeling back. So I've found myself decking the halls and blaring Christmas music all the time. I've made our traditional holiday goodies, and now I'm just waiting for Christmas to arrive. I'm learning to find joy and comfort (or comfort and joy, ha!) in the little things of Christmas--the musicbox my mom made MANY years ago in her ceramics class, the sight of 2 new stockings hanging by the fireplace, and I can never get enough of my Christmas tree. Here are a few sights I get to enjoy:

And then I finally got some time to do a little scrapping too.

I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year too!
See ya'll in 2008! I'll be a year older and a year wiser (yeah right!). Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

a dear, sweet friend

more precious than words can describe, more valuable than they'll ever know. When I thought that no one would remember, my thoughtful friend surprised me yet again. I came home over a week ago to find a decorated tree waiting for me on my front porch. Not only was it festively decorated and strung with clear lights, but it's "ornaments" were different Scripture references written out on strips of embossed paper, each adding its own comforting words. At the top of the tree near the bow a card read, "In memory of Claire Hoffman Misner We loved you too."

You see, my dear sweet friend had remembered that I wanted to start a Memory garden for my precious little Claire, Sarah Kate's twin who was lost at 20 weeks after inutero surgery. And on the anniversary of our loss, standing valiantly on my front porch was a living tree bearing words of encouragement and standing tall in an altered bucket that read "Emmanuel, God with us". When I thought no one would remember. We never really had a funeral, so there wasn't an event that would trigger people's memory. So, I thought we'd have to suffer the pain/loss all by ourselves. But no. My friend remembered, dedicated her time during a crazy holiday season, to think of us, to create a special keepsake for us, to let us know they really cared. I can't even begin to tell you how much that has meant to us.

The tree now stands in our dining room even though it's a live tree. We didn't want the rain or anything else to harm it's decoration. Eventually I'll plant it outside, but for now it stays lit in our home. Each time I pass it, I'm reminded that God has provided for us in ways unimaginable, has used the people in our lives to show us His graciousness and endless mercy. I'm simply reminded, as it reads, that "God is with us." What a comfort! What a gift!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ironic don'tcha think?

Okay, like I've said earlier, I love taking little quizzes like these. Here's the latest.

You Should Have a Blue Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

I think that this is a hilarious prediction/revelation because I HATE anything BLUE that has to do with Christmas. I know that the "blue" tree is supposed to represent my personality, my attitude toward the season, but still. Blue??? I don't think so.Christmas is about red and green despite the recent push to include pink and lime, etc. It's NOT about BLUE! And on top of that I CAN'T STAND TINSEL!!! It's messy, it's cheap looking, and it does NOT belong on a tree! So, so far my quiz predictions have not been so accurate. Scott Baio is a no go, a blue tree is hideous, and tinsel? Yuck! But, it's all for fun, so I'll keep taking them. I'll keep posting them. Why? Because my inner teenage girl still likes to giggle at the outcomes. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yummy Christmas candy!

Just a quick post that'll hopefully make you smile. Caroline's two newest words--"andy" and "ookie"!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas trees

We've had our tree up for a while now, but with all the bustle and busyness of the season, I haven't posted in a while. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the whole "tree" experience, everything from picking it out to decorating Caroline's personal tree


"Do you think this one'll work?"

Yep! This is the one!!!

Well, that's all I've got for now. I forgot that when I took pictures of the girls decorating the tree, my memory card was still in the computer. :( I'll have to download them later. TFL!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tree of Memories

I'm in the most warm fuzzy, nostalgic Christmas mood right now. I've just finished putting up the last of the lights on our tree. There's a smooth jazzy Christmas CD lully me back to Christmases of past as I rummage through all of our ornaments. And I realize that yet again God has been so good to me and my family this year as He has been in years past. As I shift through our boxes, and I mean BOXES, of ornaments, I'm reliving all the memories that are attached to them. There's the silver photo frame of me and Josh on our honeymoon. It's only been six years but that trip seems like a lifetime ago, and we looked so young. We had no idea where God would lead us, and no clue what all we'd go through together but we knew we'd stick together no matter what. Then there's the medallion I made at "parents night out" at church when I was in 3rd grade with my permed 80s hair and my "Coca-cola" shirt. There's all my sport memorabilia, like the time I first made the volleyball team, and my All-star banners. I always loved Santa shooting a lay-up. I went through a Winnie-the-pooh phase in high school. I'm sure Caroline will love those. But then there's more sentimental ones too. I can't write more about them, because as I type I'm crying, no idea why. I guess it's the wonder of it all. The countless symbols that adorn my tree, my house, that are a reminder of my life. My memories, good and bad, represent who I am, who I've become, and how gracious, faithful the Lord has been throughout my life.

As I'm sifting through the ornaments and my thoughts I realize I'm setting a precedent for my baby girls. These are the traditions that have been passed down to me and now I get to pass it to them. Like red balls placed deep into the tree. Mom told me that Granddaddy used to do that to give the tree depth. And now I get to pass that on. It's such a precious thought to me. I can't even begin to explain it. But decorating the Christmas tree was such a big even in our family. Egg nog, Christmas music, retelling the stories behind the ornaments as we hang them, it's one tradition that I still cling to. I hope and pray that my girls have as many vivid memories of Christmas, of family, of friends, and of blessings that I have. Tonight they'll get to join in all the fun. I know that they won't remember their first decorating experience, but I'm looking forward to it. One day I'll tell them all the stories behind the ornaments just like they were told to me. And they'll begin to build up their ornament collection just like Mom started one for me. And tonight I get to watch my little girls' eyes glaze over in delight at the sight of their first Christmas tree. I get to enjoy that moment!

So I guess this was my Clark Griswald walk down memory lane (if you haven't seen Christmas Vacation, you MUST see it.) Thanks for letting me share, even though it's my own blog. I knew this thing would come in handy! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just settling back in

It feels like we've only just gotten back home when in fact we've been home for 2 days now. Thanksgiving was quite a whirlwind of excited family, yummy food, and traveling on the road. In all we ate 4 Thanksgiving dinners. That's a lot of turkey! But it was all yummy nonetheless. I did my best to take lots of pictures, and I'll share a few. We went to the farm (on Dad's side) and we went to J's parent's house. Most of the pictures were taken at one of the two spots.

My Grandfather bought this farm when he was a teenager. I thought it looked gorgeous with all the leaves changing colors.

This would be our Christmas picture if the girls were actually looking at the camera!

Caroline and her cousin Gracie. They're only 9 mos. a part, and just starting to play together. It's so cute!

Me with my baby! I can't believe she's almost 9 mo. old! Where does the time go???

And this is how we all felt when it was finally said and done!

Now that I'm feeling settled in, I just realized last night that we'll be out-of-town EVERY weekend in December. I guess it's a false sense of settled, then, because after these loads of laundry, I'll be re-packing everyone only to hit the road again! Sheesh! This time of year is CRAZY!!! But I wouldn't trade it either!


I am SO late in sharing this info, but it came on Friday, Nov. 16th. I saw a really foreign area code pop up on my cell phone, and I almost didn't answer it, but I thankfully I did. On the other end was Debbie, from Crop Addict, calling to ask me to be a member of the CROP ADDICT DESIGN TEAM!!!!!I was sooooo completely excited I couldn't stop smiling! But then I didn't want to seem like the big dork that I am, so I didn't say too much either. On top of that, the girls were both sleeping, so when I wanted to scream and shout and jump for joy, all I could do was call Josh at work and tell him in a muted whisper. Then after I'd accepted the positiion (like I'd decline it! HA!) she said that I couldn't tell until it was announced on the site! UGH! I thought I was gonna explode if I didn't tell someone, so I called my SIL Sarah and told her the big news. She's not into the online scrap scene, so I knew my secret would be safe with her. Thankfully, Debbie decided to announce the DT a day early. I was happily surprised to see that several of my other online friends made the DT (and CT) too. (In my delirious excitement I forgot to ask Debbie who else made the team when she called.) So now I'm beginning to stalk my mailman for my first DT kit to arrive! I CAN'T WAIT!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just a few fun quizzes for today! I love doing little quizzes like these. It's like I'm reading Seventeen magazine all over again! Hope you enjoy!

You Are 64% Creative
You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

Here's another one:

Your 80s Hunk Is

Scott Baio

Okay, I think that it's really funny that Scott Baio is my 80s hunk. I LOVED him on Charles in Charge (too young for Happy Days). I used to daydream that he was my nanny! LOL! Anyway, about a month ago i saw some of his reality show, "Scott Baio is 40 and single" and HE'S SUCH A JERK!!! I couldn't STAND him! So, I think it's really funny that he's been deemed "my humk". No thank you, I'll keep the one I've got!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's confirmed: we've hit toddlerhood

Yep, today calls for a 2 post day. It must have been deemed Rites of Passage day for Caroline, because I promise you if it's a toddler cliche then it happened today! First she woke up, opened her diaper, and played with her poop without making a sound. Then she climbed up onto the dining room table and destroyed the altered picture frame I'd made the night before. She tore all the flowers off! Later in the morning I caught her with 4 brownies in her hand and one in her mouth. She also got a hold of Josh's deoderant and had it caked underneath her fingernails. After her nap, which was not very long, she decided that she didn't want to wear her tights and skirt, so I let her run around bottomless. No big deal, we've been introducing the potty training concept. Well she had one accident (to be expected, not biggie) and DID pee pee in the potty. For that huge accomplishment she got to choose one piece of candy, a sucker. About 15 min. later she got angry with me, and threw the sucker at me. Tantrum #1 which was followed by #2 and #3. This came after she took my lipstick out of the diaper bag and painted her lips/hands with it! Then came time to make dinner. She was a huge help "stirring". She loves to help cook. Of course, as soon as Josh walks in the door all goes well. So, I guess we've hit toddlerhood. I would say it's "terrible 2s" but she's not 2 yet. And then I'm told that the 3s are worse than the 2s!!! What a rollercoaster of high highs and very low lows. Sigh, it may be a long year in 2008.

Scrapped ALL weekend

I got to scrapbook ALL weekend long at the Simply Obsessed online crop, and I loved every minute of it! Weekends like that are few and far between. And, I can honestly say that I'm all scrapbooked out! (Thought I'd never say that.) But I feel very accomplished! I got six layouts completed and two altered frames. I think I completed 12 of the 24 challenges. Half isn't bad, right? It's beyond what I thought I'd get done, so I'm VERY satisfied. Oh, and I also won 112 ft. of ribbon in a guessing game! You can't beat that!

This was only my 2nd online crop, and I'm thinking that this is the way to go. I know I didn't shower Saturday, just woke up and started cropping nice and comfy in my pajamas. I also usually talk too much at regular crops and so I don't get as much done. So, I really like having the challenges there for me to push me a bit, but I also could stay focused on the work at hand.

That is, until Caroline came creeping around the corner. She's obsessed with buttons! That's all she wanted to do--play with my buttons. But then again, that's all she ever wants to do. She snaps and unsnaps her clothes, her sister's clothes, and tries to undo Josh's collared button-down when he gets home from work! Buttons! She can only say "butt" not the whole word, so every time she starts unsnapping she repeats, "Butt, butt, butt..." It's actually pretty funny.

Well, that's what I got accomplished this weekeng. Off to clean up the house ;)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Everything I know is from HGTV

I think that I missed my calling in life as far as my degree is concerned. I majored in Elem. Ed. because I knew I loved children, liked working with them especially in Language Arts. But since graduating I've realized that I have a passion for interior decorating. I LOVE IT! Especially when I get to work with my mom. We call it "playing" with the house. (Some of my favorite moments with her have been when we're "playing".) I've jokingly told her to retire, she's also a teacher, and we'd start our own firm, J & D Design. Well, it's all been playful up until now.

I have a friend who's remodeling her kitchen and she asked me for some advice. She says I have "the gene". Guess where I got it? and my expensive taste? (haha, only joking, Mom) Anyway, she's consulted me on the tile selection, grout color, cabinetry, and hardware. I was afraid at first and kept telling her I didn't know was I was doing, that "everything I know I learned from HGTV." But she's been really pleased with all the decisions so far, and I've enjoyed giving my opinion. She even passed my name on to a mutual friend who was trying to pick paint colors. Being an impromptu decorator it's really gotten me thinking. Could I do this for real??? How would one go about doing design consultation from home? Can it be done with 2 little children? I may have to dig a little further. My design firm can be in the storefront next door to the scrapbooking store I'm gonna open! Ha! Ha! Yeah, right. Well, one can dream can't she????

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Look Mom! No hands!

Well, not really. Anybody who knows me knows that 1. I can't cook and 2. I don't like to cook. But when we went to the Apple Festival, Sharon gave me half of her apples and ever since then Josh has been begging for an apple pie. So here it is. I had to document it because it's my first, and probably my last. It's still cooling on the stove right now, but I'll let you know how it tastes. I'm very proud of myself though. It looks edible! AND I even did the crosshatching thing with the dough (felt very professional), and even basted it with egg whites to give it a golden glow---just like Martha Stewart! Don't worry Mom, I'm still gonna let you do all the holiday baking! :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

recent layouts

the day after the chaos known as Halloween

Whew! Nobody told me how tired I'd be the morning after Halloween! It's a whole day after that and I'm still feeling the effects. We've been busy for sure. On Halloween we first went to Josh's office so the ladies there could see the girls in their costumes. Then we went to the Jones' to eat dinner and trick or treat in their neighborhood. It was Caroline's first official T-o-Ting excursion, and she wasn't quite sure what to make of it. It took her a couple of houses to get the hang of it, and even after that she immediately wanted to eat the candy that'd just been handed to her. At one point Josh caught her trying to eat a KitKat wrapper and all! Caroline and Kelsi did a great job a walking the streets (never thought I'd say that about my child and her friend), and they looked so darn cute in their costumes! Reagan and Sarah Kate kept the strollers warm. Well that is until Sarah Kate decided that she didn't want to have any part with the stroller anymore. Then Josh carried her until she almost fell asleep. It was a long night, but I loved every minute of it! My only wish is that I'd gotten a picture of my girls together in their costumes. In all the chaos of coaxing Caroline into her costume (for the longest she refused to wear anything but the pants) I forgot to get one of her with Sarah Kate. Oh well, I still got some good ones. Hope you enjoy the season! We have LOTS to be thankful for!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quest for the perfect Fall picture

Fall is absolutely hands-down my favorite season. I love the crisp cool air, the beautiful array of leaf colors, and all the activities we associate with it. From football games to Halloween costumes the season is packed with photo opportunitites. And I've had my share. But the perfect fall pic has been elusive. Either the sun's too bright, the shadows too dramatic, Caroline doesn't want to cooperate, or I don't have my camera with me, whatever the case I haven't captured what I had hoped to be a season full of great pictures. I'd love for my pictures to reflect my love of the season. But alas, my quest for an awesome Fall pic continues and my poor family will have to endure until I've gotten it! On a side note, I did catch this 'in the moment' picture yesterday when I was trying to get a "good" one of the girls with our pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pictures from Oxford

Here are some pictures from our trip to Oxford, MS. It's so beautiful there, I just can't explain it. A few of the pictures are from the Square--the courthouse, which sits majestically in the center of town and Square Books with its balcony, which sits on the corner--one of my favorite places to study when I was a student.
We actually took the double decker bus (like the ones in London) from the Square to the Grove, and it was neat to see Oxford and the campus from a bird-eye view. We drove up Sorority Row, and were dropped off at the Grove--a great way to avoid walking forever, and not paying for parking. (It's free on the Square.)Here are a few I took from the bus. On game day the Grove becomes a small city of tents canopied by the massive oak trees that the Grove is known for. And my trip wouldn't have been complete without seeing/hearing the band too. We caught it just as it was marching down Univ. Ave. on its way to the stadium. Even though we lost the ballgame, it's always a treat to be able to go to Oxford. So many memories, so little time.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A small victory can go a long way!

Friday, as I surfed one of the scrapbooking message boards where I'm a member, I got a little jolt of excitement. There on one of the threads was my name as the title! It read, "Congrats DMisner LOTM!" Well, I'm still kind of new to this whole forum thing, and the lingo as well, and I didn't really know what it meant. When I opened the thread, I realized that I'd won something, but I still wasn't exactly sure what. An email from the site coordinator explained (after I'd written an embarrassing email to ask what I'd won)that each month the site's design team votes on their favorite layout and that this month they'd picked mine!!!! :) :) :) I was elated to say the least! It's my first little victory in the area of scrapbooking--a little validation I guess. For so long I've debated whether or not I'm good enough to post to these sites or if I just need to do this for my family (even though they get a bit tired of me shoving scrapbook layouts in their face). Not helping matters any, I recently I had a very negative teaching experience with a local scrapbook store. It's safe to say that my scrapping self-esteem was a bit low. This little acknowledgement has given me the confidence to keep on going. It's just a tiny, almost insignificant, achievement in the grand scheme of life, but it came at just the right time for me--the boost of confidence that I so badly needed. Somebody (from the industry) likes what I do! It's made a world of difference for me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

crayons, scissors, and glue

= no fun for 3 yr. olds or their teacher! Whew! I just had my first experience in helping the 3 yr. old class at church with their evening craft project. Let's just say that we got it done! The directions were to color, cut out, then glue the symbols to the matching seasons on the corresponding page. Well, the coloring went fine. All 3s know how to color. But cutting--uh uh, no go. Then the gluing, even a worse idea, not to mention that the 3 yr. olds can't read. So, I have to assist each one of the 15 kiddos with the gluing and reading. (There may have only been more like eleven of them, but it seemed like much, much more.) Anyway, I'm supposed to take over the craft curriculum soon---note to self: No cutting, or gluing for the younger ones!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Let the countdown begin!

(to the tune of "The Wizard of Oz")
"We're off to see the Rebels!
The wonderful, wonderful Rebs!
and there too we'll see lots and lots of
all our wonderful friends!
We're off to see the Rebels!
The wonderful, wonderful Rebs!"

Can you tell I'm excited? We're leaving soon, and I've got my sights set on Oxford! Dinner on the Square (some shrimp and grits maybe), then a little music afterwards. In the morning its the stirring sounds "Forward Rebels" and "To Dixie with Pride" on the steps of the Union as the Rebels wind their way through the Grove, marching toward victory. hmmmm........I can't wait! Lots of red and blue, pop tents with candelabras hanging just above the floral centerpieces, old friends bearing hugs and clasping hands in rigorous handshakes, a cloudless crisp Fall day with a slight breeze blowing through the stadium. Oh yeah, it's time!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Annual Pilgrimmage to Oxford, MS

I can't tell you enough how excited I am that we're going to Oxford this weekend! It's the most anticipated Fall weekend for me. I can already hear the Pride of the South bellowing through the Grove, feel the breeze and the warm sunshine on my face, I can smell all the delicious yummies sitting out on their elaborate spreads, and yes, I even smell the bourbon and coke. I can't wait! And I hope to do it all! Hopefully, depending on what time we can get away, we'll have supper on the Square Friday night, wake up early to wish the Rebels good luck as they parade through the Walk of Champions, yell my sweet little heart out at a fiercely fought ballgame that is triumphant of course, and then spend time roaming the Grove, catching up with old friends, and reminiscing about old times. Yes, I can't wait to be in Oxford on Saturday!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Back-to-back Champions!

Yep, you read that right. My little ole middle school volleyball team is the first ever back-to-back championships in school history! I'm so proud--tickled pink to be exact! They did so awesome! I just have to share details.

Our first match was against St. Jude, who was the regular season champs, and they were our only loss of the season. So, here we are playing them a second time and we got creamed the first game. The second game was better, but we still lost. That sent us to the Loser's bracket where we faced Lookout Valley. We beat them easily, and faced the daunting task of beating the unbeaten St. Jude team not once but twice!! (It's a double elimination tourn.)
The first match my girls were doubting, but we kept the score close. Towards the end of the match, we got on a roll--several served aces and huge hits for kills--and ended up winning the game. We apparently took the wind out of St. Jude's sails, because we rolled over them in the second game. However, we weren't finished. We'd beaten them in one match, tarnished their undefeated season, BUT we had to do it again.

The third match against St. Jude was my girls' fourth match to play in a row. They were exhausted to say the least, but they had heart!!! It wasn't easy, but we won game one, then I could just "feel it" in game two. My girls did too. They played with such passion, such emotion, I could tell they wanted it badly. It was as if St. Jude folded, because they had a lot of unforced errors. We ended with a 7th grader (one of the youngest on the team) serving for game/match/championship point. It was an ace, and we all stormed the court! Who knew middle school sports could be so fun!!!!

Of course we took pictures, and handed out All-Tournament honors. (I can't post the pics, until I have permission from all the girls' parents.) My only regret is that I couldn't give ALL my girls All-Tournament honors. I had starters that worked their tail off and busted it all over the court. I had big girls (middle hitters) block, hit, and tip over and over and over again. I know they were exhausted! I also had great backrow players who had some amazing digs, and sprawled all over the court make some crazy saves (one in particular was a pass that a girl made sitting on her butt, her back to the net, and it still made it over the net! They weren't going to go down easily, I tell you!). My subs were huge too. Not only were they an encouragement to the others on the court, but when someone needed a rest they jumped right in there and did their job just as I asked them too. We even had one sub have such a HUGE block that it almost went out-of-bounds on the opposite side!! They all deserved awards for their accomplishments!

Anyway, we had a blast last night, and not just because we won. At one point I looked down my bench (we were all tied then) and I said aloud, "Man, this is fun! I don't even care if we lose. You guys are playing your heart out! This is SO fun!" They all agreed.

I think that that's why I'm so passionate about volleyball. It's not my first love as far as sports go, but it's so emotional. Things can happen in the blink of an eye. Momentum can shift so quickly. I had one parent comment that last year's middle school tourn. and win was the best and most exciting sports competition he'd watched all year! (And his girls are involved with just about every sport.) With middle schoolers, it's usually some of their first experiences on a "real" team not a rec league. They end up learning about first string, second string, etc. but they also learn to "gel" as a team. Honestly, I don't think my team "gelled" until last night. Good timing, huh?

I'm so proud! Words can give justice to how much I love these girls, loved coaching them, and will miss them next year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My first post!

One of the biggest lessons and attitudes I'm trying to learn/maintain is to enjoy the season--my season in life. (Hence the name of the blog.) It would be really easy for me to complain about how hard it is to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) or how that difficulty is multiplied by the fact that my girls are so close in age. But I believe that this is the season in which God has placed me. I also believe that this is where He wants me to be. So I must honor Him in everything I do, and enjoy the season. My girls will only be babies once. And it's hard not to miss the fact that they grow SO quickly. I want to enjoy this season of their lives too. I choose not to dwell on the hardships, but focus on the fun, the memorable, and even the little things that may irritate me at the time (like coloring on the wall) but that are reallly a rite of passage--something all kids do as they're growing up. So, here I am. I want to enjoy the season! I hope you will too!