Monday, November 30, 2009

Setting up Christmas, 2009

As always, we came home from spending a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend at Kenny and Jamey's and pulled down our Christmas decorations out of the attic. The kids were so excited this year--they really wanted to help with everything.

I cleared a place in our playroom, because last year our living room was just so crowded with the tree in it. This is where I thought it would go, but turns out that our tree was even bigger than I remembered it. We ended up having to rearrange the entire room to make room for it!
I wonder what the tree would have ended up like if we had let them continue without any direction... a little uneven, maybe?

With the tree in its new official spot, the corner, the real construction gets underway.
Examining their work and seeing how neat the inside of a Christmas tree looks...
Oh, to be that little again...
The kids really loved pulling out all the ornaments that had their names on them this year. Everytime somebody came in our house, they would try to bring them over to show them their ornaments. It was a great evening to kick off our Christmas season.

Friday, November 20, 2009


When I went to MI in November, I snapped a pic a pic that my dad had on the wall. I am guessing it was taken when I was a little over 2 years old. So, I found some pics of Jordan--One is 2yr,7mo and one is 2yr,9mo. What do you think... Is she my look-alike?

Stacy, circa 2 years 4 months.

Green Beans...

So, I have some serious catching up to do, again. Nothing new there. But for now let me share this photo-opportunity with you.

Last week I made a home-made meal for the fam. Ham, potatoes, green beans...nothing too un-ordinary. And most days, she likes green beans, mind you. This day...not so much. Too bad you can't hear the obnoxious crying that went with each of the 5 torturous bites I made her take. Maybe I should have named this particular post "Should-I-feel-guilty-for-laughing-and-taking-a-picture-while-I-torture-my-child-Friday"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Story of the Litter Box Apartment and the Nasty-Asty House

The weekend that the kids and I went to Arkansas with Betsy, I drove past the first house that Jon and I lived in after we were married. I told the kids why that house was significant. Oh, the memories of that first few months.

During the Spring semester that Jon and I were engaged we were both living in apartments with our roommates. We were planning on being married 2 weeks after graduation and moving back to Searcy, so we decided to start looking for a place where we could start our married life together.

We initially found a great townhouse, and were so excited about getting some paperwork together so we could sign a lease. We told the manager that we needed to call our parents to get some of the required documents together and we would be back in an hour to sign. He said that would be fine, but when we came back ready he said he had just leased the apartment out to the couple who had just left the office. We were so upset, but he told us that he had one more just like it. We asked to see it, but he told us that someone had just moved out and it was being cleaned; we could see it later.

When we came the next day, we walked in and were hit in the face with the pungent mix of cleaners and cat pee. We figured it just needed to air out some, so we started bringing loads of our things so we could get things ready before we left for the wedding. I started cleaning, trying to get the smell out, but it was disgusting. Jon's allergic to cat's, and it was so bad that after spending one night his eyes were swollen and itchy in the morning. We bought a black light, and were DISGUSTED to see all the spots that revealed themselves under the light. Our friend Michelle and I spent hours on our hands and knees trying to clean each spot with professional strength solvents, hoping the smell would go away.

We finally decided that no amount of cleaning would ever allow the apartment to smell bearable, so I started looking for a rent house in the area. Now we were really on a time crunch--only a few days to find a place, move our stuff, and get Jon graduated. I found a house that I thought was so cute from the outside (cute through the eyes of a love-sick college girl who was sick of living in dorms and apartments). I called Jon and told him I found a place we should look at, so we called the number on the sign and planned to meet at the house. As we rode the the house, I said the words that will live in infamy in our house... I told Jon, "Now, when we get there, don't judge it right away. It's such a cute house." Ahhh, if I could only take those back!!

We looked at the house, and I'm sure we decided to rent it because (1) we were desperate, and (2) Jon didn't want to tell me no. We spent a day re-moving all the things we had already moved to the Litter Box Apartment over to the house. Jon graduated, then we headed home for 2 weeks to get ready for our wedding and honeymoon.

We came "home" nearly a month later and began the process of going through all the furniture and clothes and shower gifts we had crammed in our hurry. Thus began the adventure. The first night we arrived after a long trip from Michigan, then couldn't even find the sheets we had been given--we gave up and went to a hotel.

After that we spent the summer battling ant trails on the counters and floors, scorching temperatures that the piddly little window air conditioners couldn't tame, and hanging all our washed clothes up to dry because we were too broke to replace the dryer that broke.

That winter was even more insane...the whole house only had one little wall-hung propane heater. We spent our entire first winter freezing and shivering. We hung blankets over the doorways trying to keep warm air in. We bought electric space heaters. We taped our favorite shows on tapes (this was before Tivo!), then went to hang out at Walmart because it was warm there. Then we'd come back after our shows were over, quickly make some macaroni and cheese, then watch our shows back in the bedroom--with the space heaters and the electric blanket on.

I bought a thermometer, just so I could know how much cold we were enduring. One morning I woke up and it said 37 degrees. INSIDE the house! After one of us took a warm shower, we could get out and the entire house would have a thick 5-foot fog from the ceiling. It was insane.

Another "side effect" of the house, that we weren't even completely aware of, was that at least once a month during the entire 8 months we lived there I was sick and had to go to the doctor. We never knew it had anything to do with the house. One day, though, I decided to start packing up some of our books and things. We had about 3 weeks before our lease was up so I was going to get ahead on some of the stuff we didn't use very much. When I cleared a bookshelf and took it away from the wall, that entire area of wall was covered with black mold. As I moved more and more things, I discovered that the inside of every exterior wall was covered in black mold. We decided to move immediately.

The first night in our new apartment (literally, it was less than a year old) we laid in bed looking at the ceiling. We heard the heat kick on, and we both sighed in relief. It felt like we were living in the nicest hotel in town. It was amazing.

Our first 9 months of marriage were definitely filled with some interesting housing situations. That's not to say that we didn't have an amazing first year. In spite of the heat and the cold, the bugs and the mess, my memories are also filled with family and friends, games and fun. Those months held my graduation from grad school, our first Christmas, our first three pets, and a lot of other laughs and great memories. So many that I could never actually write them all down. The crazy stories about the apartment and the house just make for a lot of laughs and funny stories now. That's just part of our history. It's part of how our story started.

Even if it was a Nasty-Asty House.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, To Harding U we go...

A few weeks back, one of our favorite teens came up to Jon and asked him if we were up for a trip to Searcy. Betsy wanted to go see her sister Britney, (who is one of our favorite used-to-be-teen college students) who is a sophomore at Harding University. She knew we LOVE Harding, and would take her if we could.

It turned out that Jon didn't have free time to make a trip, but the kids and I called her to let her know when the greyhound (aka, our van) was leaving. I picked her up right after school on Thursday and we were off... Ahhh....sisters... :)

Well, Britney and Betsy had fun plans to hang out all weekend, and I was looking forward to visiting with lots of dear friends. The kids and I were staying with Kevin and Cindy, our good friends we met while we were college students attending Highway Church of Christ.

After some late night visiting and catching up Thursday night, the kids and I got up and went spend the morning at Harding. I saw some old professors, and told the kids about how much some of the landmarks on campus mean to their Daddy and me.
In front of the big ol' Benson
We ate lunch at my most favorite restaurant ever (b/c of the memories) with Britney and Betsy, then that afternoon we headed down to Little Rock to meet up with my 5-year roomie and one of my best friends Lynnette. We were planning on heading down together to South Arkansas to visit one of our other suities, Cody. It wasn't a long evening of visiting, but it was so fun to catch up with dear friends while my kids and Cody's two kids started to know each other.
Lynnette and I headed back to her home in LR and we stayed up til the wee hours talking, catching up, and remembering old times. Truly, even though distance has spread us out, I treasure our friendship more and more as the years pass.
Saturday morning we slept in, then went out for lunch before the kids and I headed back to Kevin and Cindy's. They were going to a bonfire with their Heart Group and invited us to go. It was fun to relax and visit with several old friends from church.
Of course, Sunday was wonderful as we worshipped at Highway, which was our church home during our entire dating and engagement, as well as the beginning of our marriage. From the time the first song started til the closing prayer and going to class, I felt so at-home that it was as if I had never left. Even after 6 1/2 years away, I still feel homesick when I am at Highway. It was wonderful walking through the building waving and hugging old friends and introducing them to the kids.

After a filling lunch we headed back to the house to get packed up before heading home. Can I just tell you for a minute how much Jon and I love Kevin and Cindy and their boys. Their family was there for us during the entirety of our relationship. They have been friends, inspiration, advice, fun. They mean the world to us, and they are part of the reason I still miss being there. When Cindy introduces us to others, she says, "This is Jon and Stacy. They were in our first group of college kids. They got married; We loved 'em; Then they moved away and had our grandkids in Alabama!" I love this sweet picture of Jordan and Cindy.
I cannot tell you how special it was to see their twin boys Logan and Dylan wrestling with our kids in the floor. When we were in college, and the boys were 2-5, Jon would come over and wrestle them. Crazy now that they're eleven and wrestling our kids.
And pillow fighting...
And learning how to be country boys...
Here are the "little boys", as Cindy always calls them. Hard to believe they're so big. And so darn cute.
Just for kicks I included this picture of the boys with Lawson the first time they came to visit after Lawson was born. This was June of 2005.
And here is a shot of Logan and Dylan with Lawson and Jordan.
It was a great weekend for me to spend some time with one of our sweet teenagers, my kids, and so many friends....Remembering old times and making new memories...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Are we going to a hotel??

One day in October Jon and I decided to take a quick trip to Chattanooga to go to the Aquarium because Jon had a Friday off but had to work Saturday. As soon and Jordan saw me in her room packing up her blankets and pillow after naptime she yelled (in a very excited voice) "Are we going to a hotel???" She immediately ran downstairs and told Lawson we were going to a hotel. My kids LOVE going to hotels. And, well, I do too!!! I always have! Part of the fun is swimming. And when you go to a hotel somewhere in the middle of October, there just aren't many people there. And when you go to that hotel's pool, there isn't anyone else there at all! So fun!

Anxious to get to the pool...but Daddy was watching the baseball game in the background.
Swimming...they stayed in the pool almost 2 hours!
Friday morning Lawson woke up and came to our bed to watch TV.
Jordan didn't wake up as well...the late night got to her!
Petting the stingrays
We got to see one of the dive shows in the skark tank. It was pretty cool... There were 2 divers, and the sharks just kept swimming all around them. Here's a pretty good pic of 2 sharks at once.
Jordan posing...
Jordan cheesin'...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Getting there...

Lawson has been writing his name for a while. This pic is from a couple months ago. Just wanted to post for all to see. We are working on writing on straight lines!! And not turning "E's" into ladders! For the longest time, he had no interest in learning how to write much of was very frustrating! He also didn't have much interest in coloring or drawing... Lately, though, he can't get enough. He is always asking how to spell words so he can write them, and practicing. His favorite thing to use is dry erase boards and makers. I never pushed him when he didn't want to do it, but now that he is all about it, I'm all about helping him! He is getting better and better at writing all of his letters, and I'm so proud of him!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Expired Popcorn

What do you do when you clean out your pantry and find that 5 bags of your microwave popcorn has expired?
Well, you pop it and take it to the park, of course. To feed the ducks.

September 30,2009