Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at our House

We had a wonderful day! Braxton was sooo excited this year! He did not get as much as he has in the past, but he was so happy with everything he got! Devin too, they were both so greatful for everything! We had so much fun watching the boys faces light up!! Sunday my sister and dad will come over to my house and we will have our family gathering! Can't wait!
My hummingbird feeder, my husband knows I love to watch the butterflies and hummingbirds.
A Christmas hug!

Robert showing off his Syracuse shirt!

Braxton showing off his Syracuse shirt!

Braxton got a digital camera, he was surprised!

Devin and his Converse shoes! (or are they boats?)

Devin's new hoodie!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas traditions

This year my sister is in Florida and won't be here on Christmas day so we are going to have our Christmas dinner that I usually do on Christmas Eve on the Sunday after Christmas, so Robert declared that I will not cook 2 big meals, it is too much work and he won't allow it! I was glad to hear it actually.

I told the boys that I thought I would make Nacho soup on Christmas Eve and we would have our "big" dinner when Tracy came over and they were thrilled! Devin even thought we should make the Nacho soup our new tradition for Christmas Eve. He said, mom, you work so hard that you can't enjoy the time with us, so why don't we just make the soup our new tradition!

What a smart husband and kid I have. It will be so much more fun to cook the big meal with my sister on Sunday, she plans to come and help me! The older we get the more fun doing things like that together are! I am so excited about our new tradition!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Service Rocked

New Spring Christmas service was awesome today! Perry is so awesome, he used the Christmas story in a way that I had never heard it used before. He focused on King Herod! Over 200 people received Christ today throuhgout the 3 campuses. It was really cool, because Robert had invited a girl from his work to come, he has been on her for a while and she conceded tonight and she accepted Christ tonight!!! How awesome! Inviting people, well sometimes even begging or bugging people to come to church works!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas with my boys

Storm came over on Sunday and spent some time with me and his brothers! He will be with his daddy on Christmas day so I wanted to spend some time with him and give him his gifts. We had such a good time! I love it when all 3 of the boys are together! I so love my boys!!!

This is such a good picture of Braxton and Storm, I don't know what Devin's problem is! What handsome boys I have!
I thought the days of them picking their noses were long gone! They had such a good time!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The "Real" Santa is in Charlotte, NC

We had a wonderful night last night. We decided to go to Charlotte, NC (about a hour trip) to Bass Pro Shop because they have Santa's Wonderland until Christmas Eve night. They have Santa and some retro games like a Red Ryder bb gun shooting range! It was so fun! We did not tell the boys where we were going. We told them we were going to the store, when we got past Gaffney the boys realized that we weren't just going to the store, but had not figured out where we were going. In fact, Devin figured it out when we got off of the exit, but Braxton did not until we pulled into the parking lot, and he had no idea that Santa was there.

We went inside and found Santa, when Braxton saw him he looked at me and said, "how did they get the real Santa". Look at him, he has a real beard and everything! He is the real santa! He was so excited! We played the games for a while and then left.

On the way home Robert decided to go through Macadenville, a town in NC that everyone in the town puts up lights! It was great. We went on a good night, it only took us about 30 minutes to go through the entire town. On the weekends it takes 2 or 3 hours due to traffic!

The boys enjoyed it. Even Devin said that even though the activities weren't some that he would have chosen, he enjoyed the family time!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WOW! Girls are sooo different than boys!

OK. You all know that I have 3 boys. I have gotten used to dealing with boys and realized last night that I have no clue how to deal with girls! A friend of mine had a Christmas gathering to go to last night and did not have a sitter, her parents usually watch her kids for her but they were out of town for the weekend, so I agreed to watch Haley 7, and Zack 3 1/2. They are such good kids and had lots of fun with my boys. Well, when it came to bedtime I took them upstairs and put them in bed. Zack asked for something to drink, because he may get thirsty during the night. I explained to him that I did not have a cup for him to keep upstairs. He told me he knew I had cups and I told him that I didn't have one with a lid on it. He proclaimed that I needed to get 2 sippy cups for the next time he was here so that one could be washed while he was using the other one. I agreed that I would have them next time he stayed and he rolled over and went to sleep.
Haley on the other hand did not want to sleep in the same bed as her brother, so I explained that I did not have another bed and that she would need to sleep with him or in Braxton's bed and Braxton would sleep on the couch. She said that she would just stay in the bed with her brother. I thought that was the end of it and went downstairs to watch TV with Devin. In a few minutes I heard someone coming down the stairs and looked up to see Haley, tears streaming down her face proclaiming that she wanted her mommy and daddy, she missed them. I explained to her that mommy and daddy weren't home and the she could not go home tonight, she would have to go back to bed. She turned and went upstairs and again I thought that was the end of it until I heard the bathroom door close and Haley sobbing loudly. I went upstairs and talked to her again and had her to lay down again.
By now I was beginning to lose it, I had done everything I have always done with my boys and their friends that have stayed over and it had always worked in the past, what was I doing wrong? I called Robert exasperated and told him of my plight. He explained to me that girls are different, he has a daughter and remembers some of the drama from her childhood. He told me to see if she wanted to sleep in the papasan chair that is in the bedroom they were in and to console her a little bit and remind her that we had church in the morning and how much fun she would have. So I took his advice and went back upstairs.
When I walked into the room she was still crying, so I asked if she would like to sleep in the chair, to which she replied with a smile, yes and she climbed out of the bed. I laid the papsan chair down flat and it resembled a birds nest because the cushion is brown. I told her that it looked like a birds nest and she agreed and laughed. She climbed in the chair with her baby doll and I covered her with her blanket. Within 5 minutes she was sound asleep. When she got up this morning she declared to the boys that she got to sleep in the birds nest. We went to church and she was completely happy until her parents came and got her.
As much as I wanted girls I am now greatful to God that he gave me boys!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today is Rene' Day

My husband has declared today "Rene' Day". He told me that if he came home and I have cleaned anything he will be angry. So, I decided I would start the day off with some Starbucks. I got so excited when I got there, they have Gingersnap Latte, that is my favorite, yes even better than Pumkin Spice! And now I am back at home now, I am going to sit around and read my book, "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks, (it is going to be a movie next year) and just enjoy doing nothing (if I can). I am like most females, it is hard for me to sit here and see dirty dishes and not wash them, but I will fulfill my husbands wishes and take a day to relax, just for me, so I will be nicer, just for him!!!

In this time of year, remember to take some time off for yourself, it is so important.
You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself!! How do you relax and take care of you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas without Parents

I was on facebook today and read a note that one of my friends from high school wrote. She lost her parents several years ago in a bank robbery. She was saying in her note how this was such a hard time for her because everyone talks about going to be with their family and although she is close with her brother and sister and she has great in-laws, she still misses her mom and dad. She talks about having a Santa collection because her dad had one and baking the bread that her mom used to bake.

I am so lucky to still have my dad, but I do find myself thinking of my mom a lot during this time of year, she was such a child around Christmas time! She loved everything about Christmas. She loved having everyone she loved near her and packed as many people in our house as she could. She loved decorating the house, as my sister put it, it looked as if Santa's shop exploded in our house, every room, including the bathrooms was decorated. She loved the Christmas lights, we would ride around every year and look at lights. Every Christmas Eve she read The Night Before Christmas and dad followed it with the True Christmas story from the Bible. I find myself doing a lot of the same things, my way of keeping her alive and passing her on to my children. She was so much the Spirit of Christmas, you felt the love of Jesus when you were in the room with her, I miss her dearly.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Big Boy

Braxton was helping me get wood in to start a fire yesterday and I told him he needed to put on some shoes before he went outside. There were several pairs sitting at the front door and he chose Robert's work boots! He was so cute. It amazes me how big he is getting!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


We have a fireplace in our house, the real deal that burns wood, so we had to go to get a CSL (Creosote Sweeping Log) to burn to help prevent a fire in the chimney. We were at Home Depot and they were expensive ($14.00). I thought that Wal-Mart had them cheaper, so since Wal-mart is in the same shopping center I drove down to check out their price and left Robert and Braxton in Home Depot. While I was in Wal-mart they announced that Sant a was in the Children's section taking pictures with the kids and the pictures were free. I went back to Home Depot, because the logs were the same price at Wal-Mart. We finished at Home Depot and then went into Wal-Mart for Robert to look for something that they did not have at Home Depot that he needed, while he was looking I took Braxton to the back of the store, he had no idea why, I did not tell him Santa was there. When he saw him he was surprised and excited! This is the picture we got for free!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Braxton and Rudolph

Last night Braxton and I watched Rudolph, another one of those must watch Christmas shows. Devin was at church, but would not have watched it anyway, he is too old and too cool to watch these shows with me anymore. I am so thankful that Braxton is still into it. He has a little Rudolph that his "Aunt Grandma" had given him a couple of years ago, so he had to get it to watch the show with. He was sooooo funny, he acted it out with his Rudolph. I have attached some pictures below:
He and Rudolph are intently watching at this point.

Then came the moment when Clarisse told Rudolph he was cute!

I'm not sure what part this was, but he was talking for Rudolph! It was adorable!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dickens of a Christmas

It has become a tradition for us to go downtown Spartanburg for the Christmas tree lighting. It is such a fun time, they have people dressed up in Dicken's era clothes walking up and down the streets, Christmas Carolers, and live window displays. Santa, also dressed in the Dickens era is there. They have people in different areas reading Christmas books to the children, hot chocolate and horse drawn carriage rides and of course the tree lighting at Denny's plaza. It was last night and we did not get to go because it was quite chilly and Braxton has a cold and is losing his voice, so I borrowed a few of the pictures that were in our local paper (online of course) this morning.
The lighting of the tree!
Christmas carolers.

Horse drawn carriage.

And of course, Santa and Mrs. Clause.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Traditions


Tonight on ABC the cartoon version will air at 8:30 p.m. We do not miss this animated classic. My son Devin says that I am so funny because even though I have seen this every year since I was little I still act like a little kid watching it the first time. The boys and I will have hot chocolate and sit together in the floor and watch the Grinch steal Christmas. I can't wait!!!
What are some of the traditions that you do each year?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's beginning to look like Christmas!

Here are the pictures of the house decorated!
The kids tree upstairs.
The fireplace. Yes, the cat has her own little stocking.

My purple Christmas tree. I know that it is not "traditional" but last year Robert bought me purple ornaments because that is my favorite color and the tree turned out to be the prettiest one!

The table centerpiece with the tree in the background.

The tree in the dining room that Braxton and I decorated together!

The cat must have been worn out after all that decorating!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Decorations

The day before Thanksgiving we put up all 3 of my trees. I took pictures of the kids decorating the one that is upstairs. That one is theirs. I let them decorate it completely by themselves. I give them the ornaments that I use on that tree and let them do their thing. The two downstairs, I am a little more picky with. Braxton and I decorated one of them together and it was soo much fun. He loves telling everyone that we did it! It is one of the first things you see when you walk in my front door and people comment on it a lot! It brings a great big smile to his face and a sense of pride. I will post pictures of it and the rest of the decorations later. For now here are the pictures of the kids decorating their tree.
Devin "fluffing" the tree after we pulled it out of the box.
Braxton hanging ornaments.

The boys and our neighbors little girls hanging ornaments.

Devin did such a good job "fluffing" the tree. Here he is laying under the tree so he could get to the back of the tree!

He's 10

This is what happens when you let a 10 year old a camera!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unwelcomed guest

As I posted last week Braxton had a stomach bug. He was sick for a day or two and then he was fine. This bug started at his dad's house and everyone there has had it and all been really sick with it. So far we have all been fine though, well, today Devin came home from school and said his stomach felt bad and withing minutes was in the bathroom puking! He has done this about 5 times in the last 4 hours. I am starting to feel kinda yucky, but am not sure if it's the bug or just hearing him! I have to start cooking tomorrow and am trying to finish my Christmas decorations. I pray that I am not sick tomorrow, there is no way I can get everything done on Thursday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I love the Holiday Season

Don't you just love the Holiday season? Starting at Thanksgiving and ending at the New Year is my favorite time of year. I seem to focus more on the things that I have not on what I don't have and on making everyone else around me happier. Even though we have more things to spend our money on and I have a lot more stuff to do, I am always a little happier. I love to watch little kids and their excitement at this time of the year. I also love watching older people, they are almost as excited as the kids. This time of year so often brings back happy childhood memories. My favorite memories of my mom are around this time of year. I can remember getting up on Thanksgiving and smelling the turkey cooking, and her cooking all day and how much she enjoyed everyone being around and the fellowship. I remember "helping" her decorate the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. She always played Christmas music and we would have cookies and hot chocolate while we were decorating it. I remember Christmas Eve dinners with my mom's best friend, Wanda who had no family in SC, so she had her and her family at our house, this quickly became a tradition. I think that is why I am so happy at this time of the year, I remember the joy it brought my mom and in turn me.

I have tried throuhg the boys childhood to make memories for them that will last their entire lives. We have made the ornaments for the tree on several years. One year we made Ginger Bread People ornments, painted them and decorated them. Devin and I made the dough and cut them out. Storm and I painted them a gingerbread color and decorated them. We then decorated the tree together, Braxton helped to decorate the tree that year, but he was too little to help with the ornaments. I always took several days to bake cookies with them.

What do you do to make memories with your family?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crazy week!

This has been one crazy week. I have been running all over town trying to get everything I need to get done for school before the deadline. I had the funeral on Monday and then on Wednesday morning, the school called and Braxton was throwing up, so I spent all day Wednesday taking care of and cleaning up after him. Then on Thursday morning Robert had to be at the Airport for his one day trip to Alabama! We got up at 4:00 and I dropped him off at the Airport and then came home, woke Devin up and got him out of the door to the bus. I let Braxton sleep in, I did not want to send him to school until I knew he could hold something on his stomach. He did well, he ate pretzels for breakfast and then grilled cheese for lunch and had no problem with either of those and was acting like he felt fine so I let him go with his semi-weekly visit with his MiMi. I then had to go back to the Airport to pick Robert up. We got back home just in time for the youth group to meet at the house. This morning was another early morning, 4:00 again so poor Robert could drive the 3 hour drive to Atlanta for business for the day, he should be back sometime this afternoon. I then had to go back to the health department to get the 2nd part of my 2 part TB test. I am now back home, just finished cleaning the kitchen, started supper and potato salad for my neighbors birthday party for tomorrow night. Now to fold clothes and clean the house, because tomorrow I will be in school all day with my CPR class.

I guess it could be worse, I could be bored with nothing to do!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Running club and hot cocoa

I am thankful for my warm clothes, coat and mittens and hot chocolate. It is really cold in SC this week. Braxton had a "fun run" yesterday and we had to sit outside in the cold wind! My neighbors daughter, Abita is also in the running club and her mom had to work, so she and her sister came with us. Poor Ritika was freezing! She had to sit in the stands with me, in our school you cannot be in the running club until you are in the 3rd grade and she is only in the 2nd. On the way to the car, I said when we get home we will make some hot cocoa. Both girls said that they had never had it before and then quickly decided that they had tasted some in 1st grade when they had PJ day at school, but that it did not have marshmallows in it. I asked them if they would like me to get some marshmallows and some cocoa mix while we were at the store so they could try some good cocoa and of course they said yes! We came home and drank hot cocoa with marsmallows in it, not the little ones that are already in some mix, we bought the miniature marshmallows. The girls both seemed to enjoy it, but I think Ritika liked it more.

When we got home I started a fire before I made the cocoa, I think they liked that the best. Ritika kept saying, it is so warm! I am glad that it is getting cold, it is helping me to get into the holiday mood.

What things do you do to help keep warm when it is cold outside?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Busy Day

Today was the deadline to pay my deposit to hold my spot in the nursing program. I had to see my case manager at CareerSource in order to get the voucher for the deposit and take it to the school to ensure they got it in time. This normally would only take a few minutes, but of course, today when I was on a time schedule, it took about two hours. It always seems like when you are in a hurry it takes longer to do everything. I finally got that taken care of and then it was time to go to the funeral, so Braxton and I made our way there. I expected that the church part of the funeral would be around and hour, of course I was wrong again, it was an hour and a half. Braxton was good for the first hour, but kept watching the clock because I told him we should be through by 2:00. When it got to be 2:00 he started saying, it should be over soon, it's 2, and then he would whisper, it's after 2, why are they still talking? And then he just laid his little head on my shoulder. It was quite emotional for him, he cried most of the funeral. This is the 2nd person very close to him that he has lost in the last 11 months. His Gammy (his dad's mom) died on New Year's Eve at the age of 59 with a heart attack, and now Myra, who was like a grandmother to him. When the funeral was over, I left him with his MiMi (his dad's step-mom) so that he could go to the burial with them and then I was off to finish my to do list for school.

I then had to go get a drug test done. This is not the normal pee in the cup test, you pee in the cup, but the person administering the test stands in the bathroom with you and watches you go! I am glad that I don't have a shy bladder. After that it was off to the school to register for the CPR class that I have to take. Then it was off to Wal-Mart to pick up my allergy medicine. So finally I was through and able to come home and get in my really soft PJ's I got for my birthday! I am glad to be through for the day, tomorrow I will have to go get my blood drawn and then Friday I should be able to get my last shot and the last step of the TB test. I am exhausted and haven't even started school! What does January have in store for me???

Thankful day 4

I am thanful for my car and that gas has went down enough that I can afford to drive it. I don't think we realize how lucky we are in America that almost every family has 2 cars. I know I often forget that a car is a Luxury item in many countries.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Death and Love

This past week my ex-husbands aunt, whom he was very close to passed away. She had been ill for quiet a few years, but we were still caught off guard by her death. This aunt was like a grandmother to my boys, in fact Braxton called her "Aunt Grandma". She was part of my family and my life for 14 years. She was the one person that always remembered my birthday and made it special for me, she wanted to fill in the empty space my mom had left in the best manner that she could. She knew she would not be my mom, but she tried to fill that void as best she could. I am so glad that she was in my life and miss the role she played in my life. I will never forget the kindness she showed to me and the love she gave my children! The boys are so blessed to have experienced her unconditional love.

I talked to her dauhgter today and she was asking me how old I was when my mom died and we paralelled our experiences somewhat. I told her that I knew her mother loved her dearly and she replied, "I know that she loved me, I just hope that she knew I loved her, and she burst into tears". This shocked me because this girl was always there for her mom and sacrificed so much during the past several years. She then went on to say that she felt bad because in the past 19 months, since she had her son, she had chosen him, her own child over her mom. She actually felt guilty for taking care of her child over her mom. What do you say to that? I told her that I was sure that it made her mom proud that she was such a good mother and that she put her child's needs above everything else. I also asked her, didn't you tell her that you loved her every day? And she replied yes I did. I told her that there was no doubt in my mind that she knew how dearly she loved her.

This just reminds me how important it is to tell the people in your life that you love them, but more importantly go the extra mile to SHOW them how much you love them and acknowledge to them that you know that they love you, so that if tomorrow never comes they will have no doubts that you loved them and that you know they loved you!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thankful day 3

I am thankful for running water. I am thankful that I can go to the bathroom inside my house and flush the toilet and know that everything will be taken away by the runnig water, for the warm bath I take in my own tub, for the water I use to wash my clothes and dishes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pictures of I'm a Stalker Blog Party

Me, Carlos, Heather and Robert

Heather's Nana

Cookie chatting

Stephanie, who organized this wonderful event


And of Course Heather

Shot Day

I have to go today for my shots for school. I have to get 4 shots and my TB test to prove I don't have TB so that I can go into the hospitals for my clinicals. Of course, today I feel like I am going to puke, not because I know I have to get shots, I just feel sick and achy! And of course the shots won't help this at all!!! My sweet husband is going to take me to the Health Department so he can hold my hand like my mom did when I got them the first time when I was 2. I am lucky to have him.

Thankful day 2

I am thankful that I have a home where I can stay warm and dry and will stop complaining that it needs to be cleaned. I will be thankful that I have a house to clean.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful day 1

Starting today through Thanksgiving I will post at least one thing I am thankful for.
In these times of economic hardships it is so easy to complain about what we don't have and not focus on what we do have to be thankful for. So these posts are to help remind me of everything I do have.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to go back to school and that I was accepted into nursing school and God has provided a way for me to go and not go further into debt.

Sex everyday for 7 days

I was watching the Early Show this morning and they had Ed Young, the Pastor of Fellowship church in Grapevine Texas on the show. I don't know if you have ever heard or watched him, but he is great! In fact, I think that is the church Heather of Whittaker Woman was last week with Carlos. Anyway, Ed has issued a challenge to all married couples in his church starting this Sunday to have sex every day during the week. I am sure that he has some very happy men in his church and probably some very stressed women. He made the point on national TV that GOD invented sex and that we had let culture take it over and it is time to bring the bedroom back into church and God back into the bedroom! WOW! What a powerful statement. I can't wait to see the results of this "sexperiment" as Ed called it. My husband is on board and wants to know why Perry has not tried this one yet!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shots aren't just for kids!

I got the good news on Saturday that I was excepted into the nursing program at Spartanburg Community College, so on Monday I started getting everything together that I need to ensure my spot in the program. I thought that the immunizations would be easy to get so I went to the Health Department, they no longer have my records and suggested that I go to my high school, they should have it in my records. So I drove across town to my high school, they do not have the records on site so they will have to request them from the company that stores them off site and they cannot guarantee me that my immunization records would be in the transcript. Since this would cost $10 and take up to 2 weeks, I decided I would check at the college because they have my high school transcripts. I drive back across town to the college and go to the records department. Guess what? They no longer have them. So I decide that I will call Greenville Tech. to see if they have my high school transcripts and if my immunization records are attached. Of course, they have the transcripts but my immunizations are not a part of them. So now I decide to call my dad to see if by any chance he still has them. He looked where he keeps all of our vital records and found my sisters and my brothers, but not mine. I think he gave them to me before I went to Europe and after living in Germany, Kansas and then back to South Carolina they have been lost. So, I say all of that to say that I now have to get them all done over again on Friday, and this time I won't have my mommy there to make it all better!! I wonder if they'll give me a sucker or at least some stickers if I am good.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My 40th Birthday Party

Yesterday was my 40th birthday so Robert gave me a birthday party at my favorite Mexican Restaurant in Spartanburg. He invited our closest friends and family. Below are some pictures:

My BLACK cake! The black was sprayed on the outside of the white icing.
Daddy and Braxton.

The back of Tracy's (my sister) head, Liz Haynes, Me and Faith Haynes

The Snyder family Alan, Zack, Melissa and Hailey

The Gregory's- Thomas, Robert, Susan and Robbie

The Ghandi's Di, Kiran, Braxton, Ritika and Abita

Me in my birthday hat. My sister is sitting down behind me with her boyfriend "uncle" Mike.

Robert and the Birthday Girl

Di and Me

My daddy has to put icing on my nose every year. He has done it every year that I can remember!

Devin and Shannon.