Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rained Out Snow Day and the Gingerbread House of Doom...

This morning started with SUCH anticipation! I got several phone calls telling me that Meridian was gonna have SNOW! Now, here in the south that is something worth getting excited about! School was cancelled and Wes and I were gonna glue ourselves to the window to await the snowfall...

Then, after a while, we needed some sort of fun diversion and I knew just the thing! We would decorate the gingerbread house his nana gave him! Oh visions of a Martha Stewart-esque, Sugar Plummed Gingerbread House filled my head! Wes was super excited, too, when he saw all the bags of candy that came with the kit :) I even got out the video camera becuase I just knew this would be a sweet Christmas memory to document :)

So, we get everything all set up and mix up the icing. Here we go :) First step, smooth icing all over the roof to look snowy. This took a little work and ended up looking great! Next step, criss-cross lines of icing on the roof and add little candies at all the intersections. Easy! No Problem, just pipe straight lines and let Wes add candies... For some reason, I was NOT prepared for how hard the icing would be! I think I gave myself a HUGE head start toward arthritis just pumping those lines! But, hey, the 1st half of the roof looked great and Wes loved sticking the candies in place. Then, I started working on the 2nd half of the roof... I had an even more difficult time pumping the icing out of its bag... THEN, with the camera still rolling, the icing tip popped right out of the bag and icing oozed out...

Ok, I didn't want to let that bother me... I paused the camera and went into action. I had to scoop out all the icing to put the tip back in... then I wrapped tape around it for good measure :) I corralled Wes and we went back to work. This time, however, it was extremely hard to get any icing to come out. A few moments later, the tip burst out AGAIN! I told Wes I might need a minute to figure out what to do next so he scampered off to his room. Hmmm... Next, I snipped out the corner of a gallon-size zip lock bag - Surely this would work :) It was then that I discovered WHY it had been so difficult to squeeze icing out before. The tip was full of solidified icing! No wonder it kept busting out! Ok, now that I have diagnosed the problem time to fix it! I cleaned it out and put it into the newly prepared gallon size bag. Here we go! The bag was a little unwieldy but I managed to pipe out about 2 lines before the seam busted! This time, the tip stayed right where it belonged, but icing oozed out the side of the bag... Great :(

By this time, an hour had passed and Wes could tell his mom was getting frustrated so he just kind of laid low. I cleaned out the tip and grabbed a quart-sized FREEZER bag... I knew those were pretty tough so I thought, "Ok, we're back in business!" I squeezed the icing from the broken bag into the new bag and away I went! The excitement was short-lived, however, when I discovered the icing was difficult to manage because it was all drying out... So naturally the tip dried out first and it popped out of the bag... AGAIN... Luckily, I was finally able to draw all the stripes on the roof before the bag malfunctioned... I needed a break from the icing bag so I grabbed a knife and looked for ways to decorate with the icing that had exploded out of the bag (before it, too, dried up) I was able to make a front door and a tree for the yard, but that was about all I could do without much precision involved....

:( Sooo... back to the drawing board... I added a little water, started a new bag and tried again. I don't even REMEMBER what happened to that bag, but when I had to move the icing for the 4th time I thought I'd try the original bag that came with the kit. It was all sticky and wrinkled up but it had also been the most manuverable. I rinsed it out and cleaned out the icing tip and filled the bag. Since the roof was complete, I only had to worry about decorating the outside of the house. I tried to draw a window, but the icing was too watery :( It dripped and slid and made my window area all mushy. I dried off the tip and tried again... This time, SUCCESS! Now, I admit it wasn't the most beautiful window but it did look like a window! I remembered that the kit's examples had little window boxes with flowers.... Surely I could do that, right? Well, I tried it and they came out looking pretty cute. I was all pleased with myself. I called Wes back in to see! He was impressed (and relieved that I wasn't fussing at the icing anymore) SO he helped me decorate the rest of the window and then we made a wreath and a walkway leading to the front door! By then the icing was drying up again and it was time to clean up the tip if I was going to decorate anymore. I thought about adding windows and decorations to the sides of the house, but quickly realized that we had done enough for one day. Wes was pleased with how it looked and, surprisingly enough, so was I.

I chatted with Wes about the house and we both agreed that next year nana might have to decorate the house instead of us! When we were finished cleaning up, I thought I could at least get the finished product on video and have Wes show it off.... And he did a great job... As I was about to turn it off he said the house had turned out great, "even though we were so frustrated.. all because of my nana!" oy! Ok, so my image of the Chrismtas memory to record and cherish forever didn't quite pan out... and our Snow Day turned out to be snow-less and rainy... The kitchen was a wreck and when I spotted myself in a mirror, there was icing in my hair...

All told, it was a very stressful 3 1/2 hours, but at least we do have a cute Gingerbread House to show for it....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yes, We are ALL MOVED IN :)

Behold, the Happy Homeowners!
We are finally able to say goodbye to our crumbly old home and hello to a beautiful new home! Not only were we pleased to pack up and move out, but we're also thankful to be done with Brad's commuting! Needless to say I am glad to be done with packing but you know that only means the UNpacking is there to fill that void ;) We actually loaded and unloaded the truck on November 21 - with MUCH thanks to my parents, Brad's Parents, and Wes's Nana and Poppy for their tireless efforts both Loading and Unloading the truck - ALL IN THE SAME DAY! Without such an awesome crew, this would have been impossible! Then, the 2nd phase of moving began. Brad and I really put all our energies into getting settled quickly and I think the house is really coming together! We have MOST of the boxes fully unpacked and everything is being put into its proper home. The kitchen, I think, is completely set up and I can tell we're gonna really love all that space! We never had enough room to all be in the kitchen at the same time and now we can all be baking and not step on each others' toes! How cool is that?!

Lastly, We have been working on decorating our home. As some of you know, I've collected lots of artwork over the years .... Well now that I can finally hang it up and see it all together I really feel like this is OUR HOME! We've also gotten to put up our Christmas tree and it just looks gorgeous! I'll leave you with a sneak preview of the decorations... You can't see the WHOLE tree until our Christmas cards are sent ;)

It won't always be so messy, but here we are surrounded by BOXES!
Anyways, we've been very busy with more than just moving in :) This past Sunday, we tried out our first church and we really liked it! Actually, it turns out, the pastor is related to some friends of ours! Hmm, maybe it IS a small world afterall! We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the people at the church and the Sunday School class just seemed to welcome us with open arms and everyone was just SO friendly! It's a small church in a small community so almost everyone instantly recognized us as Visitors and made us feel so welcome! What a great experience!

In other news, Wes started his first week at his new school yesterday and we can already tell he's loving it! We took a tour and he was really paying attention to all the details. Then, when it was time to go into his new classroom, he waltzed right in and joined the other kids seated on the floor! I really think this is gonna be the beginning of an awesome new chapter for him! And check out how SHARP he looks in his uniform:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Packin Up • Getting Ready • Movin On

Hello All! We are in full-fledged Packing Mode nowadays! Brad is still driving back and forth every weekend, but his departure is more manageable now that we have an end in sight! (It's still NOT my favorite thing, but I don't get teary-eyed every time!)

So - this week is my last week at my job. I'll have my last official day on Friday. This week will be SUCH a whirlwind, too. Brad has Veterans' Day off and has to be in town Wednesday so he'll be home Monday night and all of Tuesday.. Then he'll be leaving again Wednesday only to return Friday! Pray for him with all that mileage he has to cover.

Meanwhile, I will be mustering a need to pack pack pack! The good news is that I can finally find the motivation to UN-DO all my pack-ratting! The bad news is our garbage men probably hate us by now! So pray for me as I battle boxes, stuff-itis, and packing tape!

Next week, the whirlwind continues....
Monday will be packing day and I *think* a fairy godmother may appear to help :)
Tuesday, I pack alone....
Wednesday, more packing and .... Wes's first ever FILLINGs at the dentist office.
Thursday - ~*~ WE CLOSE ON THE HOUSE ~*~
Friday, Wes goes back to have (sadly) more cavities filled. Then, Friday night will be time to load up the Moving Van.... so that...
Saturday - We MOVE!
Sunday - We sleep :)

We have a lot going on to say the least so and and all prayers will be appreciated! And do keep Wes in mind because I really have no idea how the fillings will go so having to go twice in one week might be killer! He's brave, but this will be tough.

After Friday my internet activity will be hit or miss until we get connected in Meridian. So if you don't hear from me for a while that is why.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

What a great time of year! We've had lovely weather and big changes happening in our lives! First off - we seem to be getting all green lights on the house (!!!) and we are set to close November 20th! (!!!) That's just 17 short days away! This afternoon, I am hoping to put in my 2 week's notice at Blake Publishing. It's been a good learning experience, but I am very much looking forward to what the next chapter might hold :) God always has the best plans! Also, I am very concerned about tomorrow's elections and what they mean for our future! I might talk more about that after we see how they go... And I'll be sure to let you know how the meeting with my bosses goes, too! In other news, last Thursday we celebrated Halloween! Wes was a swash-buckling pirate and quite handsome, if I do say so myself! And he really got a kick out of decorating our front porch! We had a jack-o-lantern on one side, spooky ghosts hanging from the eves, and a creepy sound effects mat so when trick-or-treaters arrived they'd get a little spook :) We were happy to have Mom and Dad Smith along for the fun. Grandmom handed out candy while Granddad walked the spooky streets with me while Wes trick or treated :) Wes had a great time but was really bummed there weren't more kids for him to hand out candy to :) So, here are a few pictures from the night :)

Ok... I think Wes's Costume is better than mine...

He even had a Rough and Tough parrot tattoo!

The full effect :)

The Creepy Front porch - We had 3 ghosts flying, 2 pumpkins in the window and a mysterious skeleton in the main window... Ring the door bell If You Dare!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

!! Updates Galore !!

Well as most of you know, Brad has been officially working in Meridian since September 24th... It's been a bit of an adjustment to say the least! Even Wes misses having him at home! In fact, this Wanted Poster was recently sited around the house.... I asked Wes why Brad was "wanted" and he said, "I want him to come home... He's wanted"

In other news, all our house-hunting has finally paid off! We have found what we *think* is THE house!!! It's beautiful, in a great neighborhood and in a great school district. The neighborhood is tucked-away and safe AND full of young couples with children Wes's age! We have made an offer and are just waiting for paper work to get processed! BUT if all goes well we could be in the new home by Thanksgiving!


Wanna see it?

It's very pretty on the outside and already has flower beds with some pretty flowers - even Hibiscus which I LOVE

This is the view from the kitchen to the living area - very spacious and open
(the cute little girl is our realtor's daughter who kept Wes company while we browsed)

Ah, a pretty, clean, white kitchen :)
The aforementioned hibiscus bush is planted right beyond the window! :D

The den :) i LOVE the built-ins :) The fireplace has gas logs...
The door to the left leads to the 2 other bedrooms and bath

The Master bedroom is a cool blue color which might or might not be repainted
and the door to the left leads out to the back patio

And the Master Bath is a not-so-pretty pink which WILL be repainted ;)

Check Out the Stellar Backyard!

AND the playground equipment STAYS! :) We're so excited!

and the back of the house has a great back porch with ceiling fans :)
just needs a few plants and it'll be perfect :)

All in all this house is a perfect fit and we're super excited to have found it :) We'll keep you posted on any new events and once the papers are signed and we have the keys we'll be SURE to post the Big News!!!

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brad's First Day

Hello All! I just wanted to update ya'll on our little part of the world :) Brad started his new job yesterday and had a very positive experience! He said he'll be working with some great people and his boss seems to be ready and willing to teach him everything he will need to know! What a wonderful report! We were both nervous about how this would be but after talking to him last night I really can see what a positive experience this will be! Thanks to everyone who has prayed for both of us and please continue to pray as we still haven't found Our Home just yet! We know it's out there though :) And our realtor has a few new options lined up for us. We won't be able to go this weekend but maybe next weekend! As you can imagine at this point I am all about finding our house and Getting Settled!!!

In other news, we celebrated a Wonderful Occasion this past Monday while Brad was still in town... It was our One Year Anniversary :) In the past year, we have been so blessed and so happy that I can only imagine what the coming years will hold!

So I'll leave you with a fun photo from September 22, 2007 ♥

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quick Update :) Time to Pray

Ok so we were unable to go to Meridian to look for a house after the time we took Brad's parents. Our Realtor now has 4 options to show us but with busy schedules we can't go this week or weekend. Next week, Brad will actually begin working in Meridian full-time – His first official day is September 24th if you want to wish him luck! Thankfully he will be able to go stay with his friend, Tyler so we owe him Big Time! In the meantime, I'll still be at home and Brad will come home on the weekends :( So we are now in full Find a House Mode! We would love to have your prayers and support in the tough time until we move!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Photos

Here are two more fun Wes updates :)

That's right - He ate SHRIMP! and liked it!

and he's really improving on his bike riding :)

we had a fun co-celebration for my birthday and Mom Smith's

and, they sure know their audience! they gave me Chocolate Cool Whip - YUM! :)

In other news, Brad and I are off to Meridian again tomorrow - We're still houseless there ;) so I'll post any wonderful findings :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

House Hunting and Republican National Convention :)

Just a quick Update :) We are still in process of House Hunting...We recently took Brad's parents to check out the 2 houses we liked... And I think the Chili Pepper House really failed the test :) It just needs too much work... But the other house passed with flying colors... SO.... We actually made an offer on the House with the Pool!! Now we will wait and see what happens. In the meantime, here are more photos of our Current Favorite House :)

Also, in case you didn't tune in to last night's convention I want to post Sarah Palin's Awesome Speech here :) She really knocked it out of the park and I was immediately impressed with her! I was already a McCain fan and now I'm a big fan of the McCain / Palin ticket! Can't wait til November!
the embedded files won't work so try these links:
and you can click "play all" to the right

and this one has the complete text of her speech...and underneath that, naturally, there are LOTS of negative comments :(

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fun News

Well I have just 2 brief announcements :) FIRST, we are heading back to Meridian tomorrow to show Brad's parents our 2 favorite houses. The Chili Pepper House and The One with the Pool - Turns out, the owners of the one with the pool (which was too pricey before) might be able to make a deal if they take the pool with them when they move!

So here are the 2 options:

The Ever Popular Chili Pepper House

AND the One with the Pool

Lastly, I wanted to share a super fun, long-anticipated Photo!

He's SMILING! Need I say more?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is It Already August?!

Hello Again! It’s been such a busy Month! Wes has been traveling! He spent 2 weeks with his Nana and Poppy in Brookhaven and 1 week with his Granny and Papaw in Birmingham! In the meantime, Brad got the exciting news that HE GOT A NEW JOB! He’ll be working with the Department of Human Services in Meridian helping to enforce child support! We’re really excited about this great opportunity and I’m so proud of him! We should be moving sometime around the end of September or the beginning of October! Wes is really excited about this move and can’t wait to learn about a new town ☺
We actually went to look at houses one Saturday and found 2 we liked. One was a little too pricey but the other has lots of potential ☺ We talk about renovating the d├ęcor and we love the backyard. So for now, this is the forerunner:

We call it the Chili Pepper House because the kitchen has Chili Peppers in the border :)

School has also restarted and FINALLY Wes has a teacher he can be excited about! She’s a sweet young teacher who had Connor in her class in previous years so we KNOW she’ll be great! Wes thinks she’s pretty so we know he’ll pay attention ☺ haha
In other news – He is still embracing new foods and we now have two things he loves ☺ He is still loving the Chicken Alfredo and NOW he also loves Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas! He exclaimed that they were delicious because they tasted like scrambled eggs… We’ll take what we can get!

Also this month, Kim and I finally saw the culmination of all our planning… and sneakiness! We decided in March that we would throw a surprise party for Mom and Dad’s 35th Anniversary (August 11th) and this past Saturday we finally saw the results! Mom and Dad thought they were attending a Sunday School Class Social – Boy were they surprised when they walked through the door and we all shouted “Happy Anniversary!” The Sunday School Class was there in full force and we had several Louisiana Friends, too. The food was great, the friends were fun and the look on Mom and Dad’s faces was PRICELESS!
Soon enough, Brad and I will kick our House Hunting into overdrive and I’ll update you on what we see and houses we like. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some fun shots of the party ☺

Yes WE did this to you!

Mom hugs the Skinners

Dad greets the Dinglers

The spread! and the Gorgeous Flowers, too!

Ah, yes, Memories :)

Mom and Dad finally see the Recipe Book that has been underway for months!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Orange Beach ~ Fun in the Sun

Hello Again! What a great summer we’ve had so far!
Last Thursday, after work we headed down for the Annual Ozier / Smith / Adam gathering at Orange Beach. This is my first year to make this trip and my first time to ever go to Orange Beach. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the whole trip!

We had perfect, gorgeous weather so that was great. The first morning we were there Wes woke up with the sun - Literally, I think he came to wake us up at 6! We slept a little longer and then ate some yummy breakfast and it didn’t take long for Wes to declare he was ready for the beach! He had his new swimsuit on in no time flat! So off we go down to the beach. I don’t really remember ever taking Wes to the beach before so I know it’ll be a great morning! Instantly he sees the waves and he runs straight in! He LOVES it! So he is kind of running out a few feet and letting the waves carry him in while us poor parents are shuddering when the coldish water splashes us! Then, Brad and I each held one of his hands and swooped him through the waves. All of a sudden he cried out that a wave had hurt him and I noticed it had stung me too. It felt like several sharp grains of sand had blasted onto us. We had to get out of the water to investigate - It is later declared that we were stung by a jellyfish! OUCH! Luckily it was mild and Wes forgot about it once he remembered the pool at the condo! If I had to complain about anything it would be the JELLYFISH! I’d never seen jellyfish before so I had always thought you might see one or two and you’d just kinda stay away from wherever they were. The second morning when we headed back to the beach I was thinking our run-in with the jellyfish on our first day had been an isolated incident. No, no, no. When we got to the water’s edge we immediately noticed a small family all wielding nets looking for jellyfish. I thought surely that would take a while, but they were catching them left and right! They had a small bucket half-filled with grapefruit-sized jellyfish! I just did not realize there would be so many! You could stand in one spot and watch them wash past you onto the beach! Brad, Wes, and I decided to forgo the waves and attempted to build a sandcastle ... But that’s not nearly as exciting as swimming in not one, but two pools (one indoors) so back to the condo we went.
After that, the rest of the trip can be summed up as sleep, swim, eat, family time, swim, eat, sleep :) We had so much fun! - We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Foley’s outlet mall!

I also really enjoyed the chance to spend time with my new extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins, and , of course, my brand new niece, MACY! :) And Wes is taking right to his new cousins! He is very curious about Macy. In fact, the first day he begged to hold her and promised to be really careful not to drop her! When I said no, he wasn’t quite ready to hold her because she’s so small he switched gears and asked, “Well, when is her playtime so I can play with her?” How wonderful that he is already very excited about his new family! Everyone is so wonderful, loving and special so it really makes me blessed to call them My Family! I could not have asked for or expected such a great group!

On that note, I’ll close with some photos of our trip!

Oh is THAT how you make Good Sandcastle Sand! You add Water!

Aunt Ramona Snuggles one of the twins

Jackson copies Wes - Wes thinks this is pretty cool!

Wes copies and follows Sam - Sam is ok with that

Wes keeps an eye on Macy

What family gathering would be complete without CARDS!

OH ~ I almost forgot - Wes got a snazzy new haircut at the end of last month so here’s the During and After Photos :)

And, last but not least, a HUGE development in Wesley's World :) For most family members, the following photos won't need a caption but for some the explanation is below the photos~

Last night, Wes declared that spaghetti alfredo with grilled chicken (marinated in Italian Dressing) is The Best Dinner Ever! He also said he wants to have it "all the time... well not all the time because [he] still wants to eat other stuff too." He also said that it would be tasty with corn on the side. Isn't everything better with corn?