Friday, December 31, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes


I have read several blogs today about looking back over 2010 and preparing for 2011.  So many of the posts talked about how much change these families have undergone.  I started reflecting back on our year and we have also had a lot of changes.

This time last year I was preparing to tell hubby goodbye for his training in the Army.  On January 4, he staying in Central Arkansas for training and I went back to work in Northwest Arkansas.  In late January he left for Alabama for what we thought was going to be 8 weeks.  Well, 8 days later I got the phone call that he was coming home.  

I felt such a mixture of emotions upon receiving this call.  Some of these emotions I am not proud of at all and made me feel like a failure in the wife department.  But, you know what?  Things always turn out for the best and follow the plan God has set out for us.  

We went for a couple months not really knowing where our path was leading.  Hubby spent some time working in my school and found his new calling.  In July, he started back to school to get his master's in teaching.  18 graduate hours later and his is still working toward that goal and has a full-time instructional assistant position in my school.

I have also continued my graduate study at the University of Arkansas, which I really love.  I have always wanted to be a Razorback and now I am.  

This past year has also drawn me closer in my walk with Jesus.  I find myself spending a lot more time in prayer and studying the Bible.  Hubby and I have also started a nightly Bible study together.  I love it!  I hope to continue these things in 2011.  I don't know if I really have any other resolutions in 2011, but I know I want to spent more time thinking about the positives in my life and not the negatives.  Life isn't about keeping up with the Joneses, but about finding happiness in what I do have.

I wish all of you a very happy and blessed new year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Here's wishing you and your family a blessed and wonderful Christmas.  I hope all of you enjoy your time as much as I'm enjoying mine.  It's our second day here at Disney World and we are enjoying it so much.  I hope to do some posts about the trip soon.  There just hasn't been anytime yet.  The best part is spending time with loved ones.  I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones.  Again, Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

I know a lot of us are very busy this time of year, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love Christmas vacation!  Tomorrow is Monday and it is so nice to know that I don't have to get up and go to work.  I have two whole weeks off and even though they are going to be busy, it is going to be different than having to go to work.  I know all the other teachers out there have to feel the same way.

Today we made to trip from NWA down to our other house in Central Arkansas.  We had Christmas with my mom and what a Christmas it was.  I'll try to do a post later on all the loot!  It's not over yet, either.  We opened a lot of our gifts that were big so that we wouldn't have to take them to Florida.

Right now I'm in the middle of make cinnamon rolls.  The recipe is courtesy of The Pioneer Woman and let me tell you, she doesn't disappoint with this recipe.  I can't wait to eat these things and I know my hips will definitely thank me for these yummy treats.

Tomorrow will be spent finishing the cinnamon rolls and packing the car for our 6:00 a.m. departure on Tuesday.  Truthfully, we probably won't leave until closer to 6:30, but a girl can always dream.  We stop in Atlanta Tuesday night and hopefully visit The Georgia Aquarium.  If you haven't been, you definitely should plan a stop there sometime.  Simply put, it is AMAZING.  On Wednesday evening we will head to Florida and will arrive at Disney World on Thursday.

I can't wait for this trip, I know we are going to have a blast.  I also have a few Christmas surprises up my sleeve.  I hope to have time to post a couple of times on the road.  If I don't get around to it, I hope everyone has a very blessed and merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Question Friday

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up with Mama M. Come on. Join in. It’ll be fun!

1. Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?  I have never regifted, but I am not totally opposed to the idea.  I also would not be offended if someone regifted something to me.  I feel that if I have been given something that I know someone else would want/enjoy more I wouldn't feel bad for giving it to them.  

2. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?  I don't know anything that I am getting for sure.  I really hope that Santa thinks I have been a good girl this year and brings me the pair of black Uggs I asked for.  I know I will really enjoy them and that my feet will stay warm all winter.  The brown pair I have just don't match everything I wear.  I'm sure I have said other things that would like, but I don't know what I will find under the tree!  I hope that others don't know what they are going to find under the tree from me, either.

3. Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?  Since we don't have kids yet, I'm not sure what our tradition will be.  Right now Santa usually only brings 1 each for us adults.  We'll have to see what happens when the little ones arrive.

4. What store do you love to buy jeans from?  I love jeans from different stores at different times.  I used to love jeans from Old Navy, but not so much anymore.  Now, I have been buying my jeans from Maurices because they carry Silver Jean, which have become my favorite.

5. Christmas meal: Big, All Out Meal or Snacks and Apps?  When we are at home, we go all out with a full meal of turkey, dressing, noodles, etc.  We usually eat this meal at lunch then pig-out again at dinner.   We aren't going to be home this year, but we are still having a big meal for lunch.  We already have the reservations so we can carry on the tradition.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Other Michael in My Life

Let me introduce you to my second favorite Michael in the world.  Of course, he comes after hubby!  Meet Michael Buble`.

He is one of my favorite singers.  I think this is because his music is classic.  I love the fact that it never really goes out of style.  I became acquainted with Michael because of Jazzercise.  Yes, I really did workout once upon a time and truly enjoyed it.  After doing several Jazzercise routines to his music, I went and bought his CD.  The rest they say is history.

I have been to four of his concerts, the most recent one last week with my mom.  Hubby had class so he wasn't able to go this time.  He went with last summer, though, for our anniversary.

Here is Naturally 7.  They were the opening act.

Here are a couple pictures I took on my phone that night.

This group is amazing!  Everything they do is with their voice, no instruments.  They describe themselves as doing vocal play, not acapella since they make their voices become instruments.  Here is a clip of them performing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

After Naturally 7, Michael Buble` came out and entertained us.  I enjoyed him as much this time around as I did all the previous times.  The highlight was that he threw in a Christmas song.  Here are a couple pictures I took at the show.

Michael Buble` performing with Naturally 7 backing him up.

Here is a video of Michael performing at the Juno Awards.  I hope you enjoy!

P.S.  Only two more days until Christmas vacation!!  Yippee!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Race is On

And I'm not talking about Christmas, either.  I actually feel really good in that area.  All the gifts are bought and just a few more left to wrap.

I'm talking about work.  There is so much to do to finish out the semester.  My school doesn't even really get too much into the holidays, but we sure are trying to cram in a lot before the break.  Please remember me today, as I am getting one of my formal observations today. Between having conferences and trying to get the last bit taught, I am just exhausted.    I know a lot of other teachers are in the same boat I am. But, we only have three more days after today.  Then, I am on vacation!!

Some awesome news is that hubby has finished another semester in graduate school and we can now enjoy the next month with no assignments or papers to finish!  Yay!!

I have a couple prayer requests for some real life and internet friends.

1.  Pray for my friend Jenny's dad.  He is having bypass surgery after suffering a heart attack.

2.  Pray for my friend, Alana, and her baby girl.. The sweet little girl has been having reflux issues and has had to undergo surgery.

3.  Pray for my friend Rachel, who had to undergo a C-section yesterday after be 17 days overdue.

I know that God can provide all of us the love and comfort we need.  I'm really trying to keep that in mind as we are celebrating Jesus' birth this time of year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Five Question Friday

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up with Mama M. Come on. Join in. It’ll be fun!

1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?  When we are at home for Christmas, we open them Christmas morning.  However, we travel a lot and aren't home for Christmas.  This year we will be at Disney World so we will open the gifts that are too large to pack in the car with us before we leave.  We will take the smaller ones with us and open them there are Christmas morning.  We are taking a small Christmas tree with us, too. That way it will really feel like Christmas!

2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?  I absolutely love Peppermint Bark.  This is something new I just discovered a few years ago.  The mix of milk chocolate, white chocolate, and peppermint bits is just divine!  My aunt also makes a hard cinnamon candy that is coated with powdered sugar that I could just live on.  Yummy!  All this is making me crave something sweet.

3. What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?  I don't think I have ever been given a bad gift.  At least not one bad enough to stick in my memory.  My gradmother, aunts, and uncles usually give money/gift cards so if I get a bad gift with those it's my own fault since I picked it out.  Mom and hubby don't give me bad gifts because we usually tell each other things we would like.  The surprises I get from them are always good because they know me so well and know what I really like!  In turn, this question has really got me thinking and hoping that I don't give bad gifts. 

4. Christmas song that you love?  Wow, so hard to boil it down to one.  I absolutely LOVE Christmas music.  I have so much Christmas music that I have to take it off my iPhone after the holidays to make room for other music.  I love it that much.  My favorite would be O Holy Night.  I like just about every version/arrangement of that song that I have ever heard.  It tells such a special story that I think it's important not to forget this time of year.

5. How many trees do you put up?  We normally put up four trees.  A big one that has a snow/snowman theme, a big one that is our "everything" tree that has ornaments from places we have been or ornaments that we have been given, a small Disney tree, and a small Razorback/Chiefs tree.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What a God Thing!

A couple of months ago I wrote about my friend, Jenny, and her family's adoption journey.  Their journey toward getting their little girl, Joleigh,  from Ethiopia began on October 15, 2009.  Last Tuesday they got one step closer, they got their referral.  They were matched with a 15 month old little angel.  I am over the moon for them.  Their journey is not over, but they have seen pictures of their newest member.  They still have to travel to Ethiopia twice and will get to bring her home on their second trip.

Please continue to pray for the family, their sweet new member, and the birth mother.  They are also continuing to collect aluminum cans through January to help offset their expenses.  I know they would be happy to get any you have.  This has been such a God thing and I know He will continue to send His blessings.  I am so excited and can't wait to see the family all together.  You can continue to follow the happenings of the Wallace family on Our Gifts From God.  I have learned so much about faith from this family and the journey they chose to go on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yesterday morning we woke up and headed to Branson for a quick trip to check out the lights and get into the holiday spirit.  Let me just tell you that this little trip worked miracles for the "Scrooge-ness" I have been feeling so far.  It was cold, so it felt like Christmas and there were so many lights.  At Silver Dollar City, the highlight was definitely the 5-story Christmas tree!

The lights twinkle and dance to music.  It was so refreshing to see it.  While at SDC, we saw a show that featured a lot of different songs to celebrate the season.  It was nice that the focus of the show was the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ.  My heart was just bursting with joy after hearing all that music.  I felt blessed and privileged to hear the beautiful music.  We even bought some CD's so be able to relive that music.

This is the group Pure Heart that we heard.  Two of these ladies are sisters and they have been best friends with the other one since growing up.  That bond really shines in their singing and harmony.  

This is Tracy Heaston and he is a piano extraordinaire.  He is also amazing on just about every percussion instrument known to man.  

This little getaway is exactly what I needed to get me into the holiday spirit and really believe that it's the most wonderful time of the year.  Here are some family pics taken at SDC.

Always in that Razorback spirit!

Mom and I trying to adjust to the cold!

I am going to leave you with a video of the tree lighting at SDC.  I took this video with my iphone, but you can still enjoy the lights and the music.  This was my highlight of the day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Five Question Friday

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up with Mama M. Come on. Join in. It’ll be fun!

1. What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?! We are going on vacation to Disney World this year so my holiday wish is that everyone has a good time. I want us to enjoy being able to spend Christmas together and to remember the real reason for the season. Hopefully, stress will not get in our way.

2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past? Wow, this is a really hard present. My favorite thing about Christmas has always been being able to spend it with family. I always get so many nice things that it is hard to pick just one. I always love picking out gifts for others and seeing their faces when they open it. Getting to spend Christmas at Disney World seems like one heck of a gift to me.

3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up? I can never imagine myself doing anything besides being a teacher or working in some capacity in the field of Education. It's what I have always known and felt comfortable doing. I feel like teaching is in my blood and constantly running through my veins. The only other option I could even fathom would be to be a stay-at-home mom, but I don't even know how long I would enjoy that.

4. When do you put up your tree? Since we are gone the whole week of Thanksgiving, we usually decorate the hose, including the tree. It seems a little early, but it is so nice to have it done when we get home the weekend after Thanksgiving. We don't turn on our outside lights until after Thanksgiving. I do feel guilty for kinda skipping over Thanksgiving,but my need for sanity wins the battle and the decorations go up early.

5. What is your favorite Holiday? I used to be able to say Christmas, hands down. But, now everything always seems so crazy this time of year. I love the spirit and the meaning of the season and wish that life would just slow down so I could soak it all in. When I can keep myself grounded and remember the reason for the season, I still just adore it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Road Trip Part 3 (The Final Chapter)

Black Friday was the last day we had in Chicago, and so we planned to go all out.  We got up and drove to downtown for lunch at Lou Malnati's, whick is by far, hands down, the BEST deep dish, Chicago-syle pizza.  If you are ever in the Chicago area, you have to try it.  There are several locations to choose from.  We had their classic pizza and it was totally amazing.

After lunch, we had tickets to see the Broadway production of The Lion King.  It was wonderful, too.  I am rarely disappointed in Broadway shows and this one was no different.  It was full of good music and fabulous costumes, and I just loved the theater itself.  The decor was elaborate and pretty.  I don't know all of the architectural terms that describe it, but it was very nice.  It was too crowded to take pictures inside, but I got a couple shots from the outside.

After the show, we met hubby's brother and his girlfriend for dinner.  It is always nice to see them and catch up when we are in town.  They are both artists and are very talented and fun to be around.  We stayed in an amazing hotel in Chicago, The Fairmont.  The best part was that we were on the 31st floor and had an amazing view.  We could see the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Millenium Park, and Lake Michigan from our window.

Night view from our room.

Morning view.

On Saturday, we got up bright and early and headed home.  The highlight of the trip back was our quick stop in St. Louis for custard at Ted Drewes.  Yummy!!

My cindermint custard, so good for the holidays!