Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My favorite time of the year....

This is my favorite time of the year. I love going to the mailbox everyday to see who has gotten their Christmas cards out. I can't wait to clear off the front of my refrigerator in preparation for the pictures that are coming. I also love to go through my basket of old pictures and cards to see how things have changed in the past year, or two, or three. Even after all of my trees are down, all of my Nutcrackers are put away, all of the decorations tucked back in the attic, my cards will remain on the refrig (until Mark gets tired of them falling off)....and then they'll go in the basket until next year when I pull them out to start my favorite time of the year all over again!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fabulous Weekend Away...

This past weekend began with Ethan's Christmas program at his preschool. He's been singing tidbits of songs for the past couple of weeks, and we all know how he loves to sing...so I thought this was going to be his night. First of all, I dropped him off in his classroom and the other boys and girls were sporting red noses (that had been painted on) and reindeer antler hats. I went in to meet Mark and sit down and told him what I had seen - we knew it was going to be an interesting night. Ethan does NOT like any kind of paint on him like that, so I knew that might be a problem. Once the kids started marching in, several of them were not sporting their red noses and of course Ethan was one of them. He did have his antlers on though and they were all so cute. He went up on stage and sat down. It took him a few minutes, but he spotted us in the audience and was all smiles. He stood up and started waving. It was so funny. The program began and Ethan just sat there and never said one word - never sang one note. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen! He would see us (Cathy was with us too) and he would smile and wave, but would never sing anything. Several others were doing the same thing, but all I could do was laugh. Those of you that know Mark well, know his stare off into space look....well, Ethan has a great version of it as well and was doing it off and on during the program. All I could do was crack up laughing!

After the program was over, Mark loaded the kids up and went home....I headed up I-40 to Nashville. A 3 hour drive that was full of peace and quiet - and phone conversations that were uninterrupted. It was quite nice! I was heading to Franklin to Julie's house - a long time family friend. Courtney and I were her rice girls 23 years ago. Julie babysat us and yet we're still friends! Mom, Cleo, Leslie (Julie's sister) and Mrs. Hallford (Julie and Leslie's Mom) were there too. The drive from the interstate to Franklin was gorgeous - full moon, rolling hills, snow on the ground. When I got to the house, the ladies were just getting going chatting and catching up. John, Julie's wonderful husband, wasn't there - he had checked himself into the Marriott! How funny! He's got to be in the top 5 for perfect husbands! We all chatted for awhile and then decided to go to bed. I was sharing The Longfellow room (Julie names her bedrooms) with my Mom. She, of course, was exhausted, so she passed out quickly. I went to the Jane Austin room where Les and Cleo were staying and we stayed up until 3ish talking and laughing.

Saturday morning we all got up and took our time getting going. We went to the gorgeous and quaint downtown Franklin to shop and walk around. It was a Dickens Christmas in Franklin - people were in character/costume all over town. Carolers were singing, musicians were playing their instruments, the most fabulous aromas were in the air. It was a cool and beautiful day and was perfect to walk around and do a little Christmas shopping. We left Franklin and drove the Natchez Trace Parkway to The Loveless Cafe. I hadn't eaten anything all day long so I could be starving by the time we got there. Loveless is incredible and we ate and ate and ate and had the best time. After that we went to Phillips Toy Mart which has got to be the absolute best toy store I've ever been to - different from FAO and Toysrus in NY - they had anything and everything you could imagine. It was great and we all found some wonderful gifts. By this time, the 7 of us were already piled into John's Tahoe....now with all the stops and gifts...we were really piled in! Julie drove us around Belle Meade and through Brentwood looking at several country music stars homes....Nicole Kidman, Leann Rimes, etc.....and then we ended up at Alan Jackson's home. I had seen it under construction in 95, but had never seen it completed - wow! On our way back by it, a big Mercedes pulled through the gates.....it could have been.....Saturday we allowed John back in the house and all had another great evening hanging out.

Sunday we went to church with Julie, John and Savannah and then all headed home. It was the best weekend and Julie is the absolute best hostess - her house is the warmest, most inviting home you could ever imagine! Julie, Savannah, Leslie, Cleo and Mom....I can't wait to be with you again in PARIS!!!! Thanks for a much needed weekend getaway! Love you all!!! Ethan playing pilotEthan and Nina before Ethan's preschool program - I made Nina's dress and appliqued the reindeer on both....ok Heather T., I'm going to go for it!Ethan found us in the audience and was standing up to see us betterClassic Mark Noble lookEthan and Nina with their favorite Cathy - what a fun Friday night for her!The fabulous gift baskets waiting for each of us upon our arrival Friday eveningWalking around downtown Franklin, TN
We had to take a picture in the snow (or what was left) for Ethan Alan Jackson's gorgeous home

Could it be......?
Mrs. Hallford, Savannah and I piled into the back of the truck - all smiles though!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

End of November and Beginning of December

When I went to upload pictures for this post, I realized that I hadn't posted since before Thanksgiving...so there is a lot! We enjoyed being in Georgia for Thanksgiving and the kids seemed to have a good time. Since being home, December has already gotten off to quite a busy start! Ro Ro was in town last week and that's always fun. Ethan and Nina loved having complete attention - Ethan especially! Ro Ro was a huge help around the house - unfortunately she came in the middle of the Christmas decorating, but she just jumped right in and did more than her part! I have 6 full size trees in the house this year!! We will be back in Georgia for Christmas, but I just couldn't not put everything out - I love it all!!!

Saturday morning I ran in my first half marathon. It was freezing that morning and the wind was blowing pretty hard during some of it, but I survived and had the best time! I ran with a friend from church, Kelly. She and her husband Jason have 4 girls and they both find time to train! He was in a coral ahead of us and finished in under 2 hours. We ran together the entire time and finished in 2:35:07 - I would have liked to done it in under 2 1/2, but that will be my goal for the next one. The race started in downtown Memphis, went by Bealle Street and by St. Jude's (thus the name St. Jude Marathon weekend), through Overton Park where the zoo is, and then back down Poplar and into AutoZone Park for the finish. It was a great course! Jason was waiting for us at the finish line and we went for the food.....HOT McAlister's soup, Domino's Pizza, KRISPY KREME donuts....was worth the 13.1!!! I'm going to sign up for the Country Music half in Nashville with Kelly (that's the end of April) and I might sign up for one in Atlanta in March. I never thought I'd do this - and at the half marathon and full marathon split, I thought there's NO way I could keep going for more - half is quite enough accomplishment for me! An incredible experience!!

The rest of the month is packed full, as I'm sure everyone elses is too! It's just that time of the year! Happy December!!! Papa on Thanksgiving Day with Ethan and Nina
Nana and Mema with Nina
My cousin Ryan with Nina - which one needs a haircut worse??
Ethan holding baby Hunter
Mommy and Nina about to have Thanksgiving dinner
Nona with her 3 grandkids
Courtney showing Ms. Margaret baby Hunter
The Friday night after Thanksgiving, a bunch of us met at Partner's in Peachtree City to have dinner and catch up - the Abrahams, Sims, Craddocks, Thompsons and Justices - we all had a great time!!
Matt Craddock with Melanie and Mandy - some things never change!
Mema with Hunter on his first trip to Partner's Pizza
The "kids" with their "kids"
Nana and Papa with their great grandkids
Mema with her great grandkids (but Nina wouldn't let Nona go, so she's in the pic too)
Picking out our Christmas tree
Ethan and Nina picking out our tree
For the 2nd year we've got to Collierville with the Maunds for the tree lighting and Santa's arrival. It was a lot of fun again, but very cold!
Nina was tired on the way home and I was running out of things to give her, so I gave her some gum....she LOVES gum - my child for sure - loves sweet tea and gum! But she was quiet and I looked back and this is what I saw.
Nina with her Christmas tree

Ethan with his Christmas tree
Nina getting her first haircut
She didn't really know what to think - but she didn't care because she had a sucker!
Mandy and Kelly after the half marathon - we finally found Mark and Ethan in the waiting area at AutoZone Park...and lucky us, he brought the camera!
Can you tell Ethan's looking into the sun???
Very proud - now it's time for a HOT shower and a nap!!!
Ro Ro with Ethan and Nina at the Bartlett Christmas parade
Santa arrives on Bartlett's Ladder truck - Ethan was so excited!!
There were numerous bands in the parade and Ethan loved them - I made the mistake of telling him that Mark had a trombone at home...so as soon as we got home, this is what happened. He loved it though and Mark actually could still play!
Below is the beginning of Christmas card attempts. I think I got one that I'll use, but if you notice wet spots on Nina's dress it's because Mark kept putting a sucker in her mouth before I'd take the picture so she'd smile - so there are drool spots on her dress! What do ya do though???