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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Culmination of a Year

So, here it is...

My Blogging Book Goal #50

The New Testament

I really enjoyed reading through the New Testament (the second part of the Bible,) in a seamless reading. It helped to connect alot of dots that did not seem associated!

Which really finishes my reading goal, my Bible reading goal, and, as this is my 300th post for the year, my blogging goal!

I am so excited to have reached all of these goals this year and have learned alot about setting my sights on something that seems impossible and working hard at accomplishing it. I have set 3 new resolutions and will reveal my 2010 resolutions tomorrow morning!

And so, as we ring in 2010, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

It's Party Time!

Ian and I decided to throw a New Years Eve party and I have spent the entire day cooking (with only one major meltdown when I ruined a cake,) and Ian spent the entire day cleaning the house (isn't he just the sweetest?!)

On the menu....

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

Dressed up Mac N' Cheese

Fresh Veggies

Deviled Eggs

Hummingbird Cake (cake with bananas, pineapple, and walnuts!)

Cherry Snack Bars (with a layer of yellow cake, cream cheese, cherry pie, coconut, and walnuts!)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


It was a LONG day of cooking and I can't wait to spend the evening with friends!

Blogging Book Goal- Book #49


Not much time because I'm about to throw a New Years Party, but for my 49th book, I read:

Don't Waste Your Life

by John Piper

I just finished this an hour ago, and I really liked it. SInce I was trying to meet this reading goal, I felt like I rushed through this book instead of sitting on it and chewing through that information like I should have.

Definitely one I will pick up again and work through instead of breezing through!

(Talk about not pushing it to the last minute!)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day in the Life of a Sickie

{which is much different from a sickO, trust me}

Monday morning, Ian and I both woke up with head colds that settled in for the long haul (thanks Dad for giving us these wonderful germs. It's an awesome Christmas present.)

So, through the 11 hour car trip on Monday, then unpacking and moving in yesterday, we just toughed it out.

Then, today happened.

It even started off bad, with me waking up to cracked lips. No big deal, usually. But on this fateful morning, I realized that my cracked lips had actually bled on my mother in laws BRAND NEW pottery barn sheets.

And the sheets are white.

And the awesomeness continues.

Ian and I had a meeting with our shipping consultant, to find out what size of crate we need to ship all of our home goods to Jordan. That was actually uneventful, so I'll move on.

I came home and started laundry, because even in my feeble state I must.be.productive.

I got the first load of jeans in and showered, getting ready to go to the grocery store for all of our New Year's Party supplies when I realized that I had washed every single pair of pants.

Even my work out pants.

And we don't put any of that in a dryer.

I have no clue why.

SO, I got back in my pj's and collapsed into our {sheetless} bed. Sniffling and sneezing every 7.5 seconds.

My poor father in law isn't used to having a sick female in the house. Especially since he can't tell me to stop being a "girly man," which is kind of his catch phrase.

I think he thinks I'm dying.

I'll just let him keep thinking that.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful too. More laundry, more elimination of things that can't fit in our 5 suitcases, more party planning.

Now, I feel relieved to have whined on here for a good while and will go put on my outfit (ehem, workout clothes with a cute fleece,) and head out to eat with the family. Then, on to the movies, to see Sherlock Holmes with the fam.

I hope the people in the row in front of us doesn't mind if I sneeze on them

Because, let's face it.

It's kind of inevitable.

Rockettes Recap

In all of the hububaloo over the holidays, I got a little carried away and forgot to post about our trip to go see the Radio City Rockettes!

My parents treated Ian and I to this special occasion and I was so psyched to go see them!

There were alot of "blue hairs," and they seemed to have come in droves to see the Rockettes, but it was still alot of fun!

We sat in awe and wonder and watched as they sang, danced, tapped, and flitted through their performance.

I wasn't too fond of how they used "little people," to play elves....I thought we would be past that sort of thing.

And I didn't really like how they had some non-rockette scenes, along with a pretty annoying Santa monologue, but I guess them Rockettes have to do costume changes at some point, right?

We had hot cocoa and m and m's while bundled in our coats.

And I may have snuck my crocheting in my purse for a before show/intermission activity.

We took our pictures in front of the stage, once it was permissible of course.

And we just loved hanging out with my folks, despite the near frigid temperatures.

I especially loved how cute hubby looked in his candy cane striped shirt and new Gap sweater.

Cute, cute, CUTE.

Not to mention his adorable dimples....

Heaven help us, don't get me started.


And, as my friend Courtney texted me, the nativity was the most gorgeous reenactment of Jesus' birth I have ever seen! Just breathtaking!

If the Radio City Rockettes ever come to your town, you should really check them out!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blogging Book Goal- Book #48


The Memory Keeper's Daughter

by Kim Edwards

When I worked at 'the bookstore,' last fall, I was constantly adding books to my list of "want to reads," and was always jotting down titles on scraps of paper and stuffing them in my pockets {the lists, that is, not the books, because that's stealing.}

The lists usually got forgotten about and put through the wash come laundry day, however I had a mental list that did not get so easily destroyed.

So, when at a used book store recently, I found a cheap copy of the book, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, and snatched it up knowing that I would like it!

The premise of the book is that a man, who is a doctor, helps deliver his wife's baby one night. First comes a perfectly healthy boy. Then, when the wife is unconscious, she delivers a baby girl with Down's Syndrome. The husband makes the choice to send his daughter to an institution and tell his wife that the baby girl died. Only, the nurse sent on this rather sinister errand decides to keep they baby girl and raise her. The rest of the story is about how his poor decision making affected the rest of his, his wife's, his son's, and many other people's lives as the husband is haunted with grief and regret.

Sounds uplifting, doesn't it?

Okay, well maybe it isn't a feel good type of book, but I thought it was very well written and poignant about how decisions affect many people, for many years, and for many generations.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a book that will give them something to mull over!

Arrived

We arrived in Orlando late last night after a LONG day of driving.

It was compounded by the fact that we had so much stuff in the car, that the passenger seat was sitting straight up and could not be reclined. Which meant not alot of napping.

AND we had to put a giant box on the floor of the passanger front seat. Which meant I had about 4 inches on either side of the box to slide my shoeless feet into. Which also meant that Ian's big honking feet couldn't have fit there so he had to drive the entire 11 hours.

Phew. It was long.

Did I mention that?

We did stop at Ian's favorite restaurant from his childhood, The Varsity, in Atlanta, Georgia, which ended up being a nice break.

Praise God that we had no accidents and got no speeding tickets! Traffic was particularly bad because everyone was headed home after Christmas.

Six hours of unpacking and 4 industrial sized garbage bags to donate later (I told ya'll, we still have a lot more to downsize!), and I am headed for a much needed/much deserved nap.

Expect several Christmas recap posts and some book reviews in the next 24 hours or so. I must get caught up on my reading and blogging in order to reach my goals for this year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Moving Day...Take #3!

Today is our moving day, from Nashville, TN, to Orlando, FL!

It is our third move, out of six, in a year.

For all of you wanting to know that chain of moves, it goes a little like this:

Gainesville, FL to

Orlando, FL to

Nashville, TN to

Orlando, FL to

Richmond, VA to

Vancouver, BC, Canada, to

Amman, Jordan!

Please be in prayer for safe travels and kind attitudes.

I'm SO glad that our time of driving is coming to an end! I can't wait {almost} until the day when we get to fly everywhere and we no longer have to pack and fill a car!

Hurricane-d

I feel like I just survived a hurricane of the past few days.

Especially today, starting with a 5:30 wake up to say good bye to my sis and her fiance as they left to go back home. The day continued (without stopping or crawling back in bed despite my fogged brain saying "what are you doing?!?) with laundry, a workout to the 30 day shred (I'm on day 15!) shower, breakfast, and reading, all before 9 am.

Sheesh.

Ian and I spent the morning packing and strategizing. We were each able to fit ALL of our clothes into two suitcases. And we each have a small carry-on suitcase for our laptops, books, and personal items.

We haven't really figured out what to do with hygiene items or shoes yet, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Our good family friends arrived around noon, along with their cute son Jack, who happens tobe my god-brother! Jack is turning 3 next week, and it was alot of fun to see how much he has grown and learned in the past year!

We packed up the car after they left, and even figured out how to fit our new Christmas tree in the backseat!

My parents treated us to dinner at a restaurant and my mom and I decorated those Christmas cookies that were baked but never decorated.

And now, I am going to head for bed, because I feel like I have just survived a hurricane of a day! Night all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

MOH Diaries, Entry One

Today, since my sister and her fiance are in town for another 24 hours, we are heading out of the house to work on wedding plans!

My sis and I are dragging around our men, while our Dad is staying home, because really, he knows what's best for him.

First up, is some venue shopping.

Then, we'll drop the boys off at a battlefield or something, and we girls will go DRESS SHOPPING!

I'm super excited about this part, because my sister wasn't originally planning on doing any dress shopping with my mom or I this weekend. Which would mean that we would have NO part of her dress selection, which just made me weep for 2 days straight.

But through careful persuasion (aka nagging,) we are going today, even if it is just to appease my mom and I, and even if Heather just tries on 2 dresses and we call it quits!

I'm so grateful to have a chance to be apart of these plans. With all of our moving and training requirements, it was possible that I could have missed my only sister's wedding, but my sis and fiance really worked with our crazy schedules and made sure to plan it during the one weekend when we were free. (seriously, one weekend out of the next 6 months when we could have come!)

Have a wonderful day after Christmas!

Christmas bells have stopped ringing in my head, and now it is totally wedding bells!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Ya'll!

I hope ya'll have a very, merry Christmas, filled with love, laughter, family, and food!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blogging Book Goal- Book #47

I decided to read A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, because, well, it's Christmas time! We were going to read it as part of book club on Bound to Books, but, let's face it, no one really pays attention to that, so I just read it by myself.

I had found a 3 dollar copy of it at a used book shop (hardcover!) and was really excited to read through it, even though I know the story backwards and forwards.

I loved it! (but I knew I would!) Yes, it is a dark, DARK story. Yes, it can seem rather depressing at times. But.... YES, it completely redeems itself!

Then, as a reward for finishing it, and because he loves me, Ian took me out to see Disney's The Christmas Carol. If you haven't gone to see it, please do! It sticks to the book almost word for word. Seriously. The character's lines are exactly from the book! It is just unreal! Don't go expecting a happy, jolly, feel good all the time, Christmas movie though. It's purpose is true to the book's purpose though, and can sometimes be dark and suspenseful! I also wouldn't recommend it to kids either. A little scary.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cooking, Cleaning, and Packing, OH MY!

{alternately titled "Packing...AGAIN."}

That's right, we are prepping for our 3rd move out of 6 for the year!

Today, my mom, Ian, and I spent all day cleaning and baking. My sister and her fiance will arrive from DC at around 4 am tomorrow morning and we decided to bake molasses cookies and snickerdoodles today, along with a batch of Orange Fluff, or Amish Salad.

Ian and I packed as much as we could. Everything that we want to take with us during this move to Orlando, and the move to Richmond, AND the move to Vancouver all has to fit in 2 large suitcases, 3 carry on sized suitcases, and our backseat of our car. Eventually, it will all need to fit in the suitcases + a travel trunk, but this trip around we are taking some stuff back to our storage unit.

Right. So, we got everything rounded up from my parents' house and is all in our bedroom now, so that we can try to downsize anything necessary before loading up and heading out from Tennessee. The next time we come back, will be for my sister's wedding, in April. Isn't that just unreal?!

And also, I have a confession. I like to sit in between the cushions on a couch. Like, in the crack, instead of on the cushions. I sit really awkwardly when forced to sit on the cushion. Is that weird?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree!

I am so excited ya'll.

I had the best thing happen today, and I'd love to share it with you!

Ian and I had planned on getting a fake Christmas tree to put in our cargo container that is being shipped overseas. That way, next year, when we live in Amman, Jordan (where hubby and I will be learning Arabic before moving on to work for The Company, a faith based non profit where Ian will be teaching business skills) we would be able to have our own little Middle Eastern styled Christmas!

About a week ago, we browsed the taRget trees, in hopes of finding one we loved.

And indeed, we did. The Caldwell Spruce was perfect. Not too fake looking, nice and full, with branches able to hold heavy ornaments.

Alas, there were no more in boxes, so I went home and tried to order one online (after all, they were 50% off!)

I was disheartened to learn that they were all sold out online, but encouraged thinking that "at least it means it is a well liked tree!"

So, today, when my mom and I ran out to get some stocking stuffers and groceries, I pulled her into the Christmas tree aisle once more in hopes of a seeing a boxed up Caldwell Spruce.

No, none there still.

Buy my momma had a brilliant idea! She told me to ask and see if they would sell me the display model, and sure enough, they would!

I got a little quesy about the purchase though. We have been unemployed for almost 8 months now, and our funds are certainly running low. I didn't want my holiday fesiveness to get in the way of my financial practicality.

So, when I say I was nauseaus, I really mean it. I broke out into cold sweats, turned pale, and felt akin to vomiting.

The $260 dollar tree was listed as 50% off at 129.99, and we were told that we could not receive any additional discount just because it was a display tree. So the tree was hefted off to customer service and I followed soon after to purchase it.

Imagine my surprise, when the cashier told me my total......62.99!

I was shocked. Floored! I even had him double check it. And when I saw the receipt I about passed out. It said....

You've saved 196.45.

Awesome.

Thank you, God, for such an unexpected blessing! I can't wait to unpack it next year and remember how He provided this tree for us!

And, if you are wanting to get a good looking fake tree for next year, I highly suggest you make a quick trip up to Target and see what you can find!

Dream Home

Every once in awhile, I try to dream about my dream home. I say "try," because it's really hard to imagine ever owning a home.

You see, since we don't really know when we'll be back to the states, we don't know when we'll have the opportunity to own a home!

This doesn't make me as sad as it might sound, but it is hard because most people my age who are married are thinking about buying their first home.

After all, we'll be living in apartments in the Middle East for at least the next 6 years.

And that's not really the same, now is it?

So, I was daydreaming and researching to find out more about my "dream," home, a craftsman style bungalow, like this:

When I came across this house:

Isn't she a beauty? I'd move the front door to the middle of the front, and get rid of the mudroom entrance and make the craftsman styled porch wrap around the front and that one side on the right.

Here's the back:
I LOVE all of the windows and the neat little features that makes these homes unique.

Here's the floorplan for the first floor. Like I said. The main entry would be moved to the center, with the powder room on the left. The upstairs is pretty normal as well, with a master w/ a sitting room and walk in closet, and 3 additional rooms. I could see making the master room a little smaller and turning the landing into a more usable space!
*Sigh* One day, one day.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Portrayal



Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

We took the time to do our "family pictures," in front of the tree.

Dad tends to be a little goofy in pictures.

Poor soul.

The joy can not be contained.
And Brandy, well, she was her regular self.

Plus, she has a Christmas Vest, so she's extra special.
And although Ian's eyes look a little creepy here, we wish you all a Merry Christmas this week and promise you non creepy eyed pictures from the events to come!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Deck the Halls

Now, be forewarned, none of these pictures are particularly flattering.

Especially since "point and shoot," does not mean "finds the best angle and lighting."

Or even "photographer even gave it a minute of her time."

After all, I was decorating, and that's all that really mattered to me then!



My mom and I scope out the tree, making sure we have the best side facing forward.

The trees, that is. Not ours. Clearly.

Mom and Ian give their "cheese smiles," while Dad wishes there was a football game on.

Traditional "look I'm putting an ornament on the tree," pose.

Well done.
I clearly am so lazy that I decorate from a sitting position.

Bravo, Brittney, Bravo.


My dad, asking were our African church ornament is.

Oh, don't worry dad, it's there.

Wouldn't want our tree to be racist.

And, even though it is really my sis' year to do the angel topping, she's not here.

So I won.

Nah, nah, nah, nah, boo, boo.

The tree is just gorgeous! I love how it looks all lit up!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

{Savor}ed

Ian and I got our pictures done by Rachel, aka American Mum, at Savor Photography in Naples last month!

I had been looking forward to this for literally a year, and was so pleased that she was available on such short notice!

Rachel was the best to work with! She was a real person, though quite professional, and she made us feel right at ease. I had no doubt that the pictures that she took would turn out gorgeous and I would highly recommend her services to anyone!

We had some weird requests too, so her flexibility really impressed me! We needed some "couple," pictures that didn't necessarily have us all over each other, since we are moving to the Middle East for work and want to be able to display our family pictures without offending anyone.

That also means that we needed to be dressed more conservatively, which wasn't really an issue, it just meant our wardrobe was more limited to winter ish clothes on a warm Florida beach. Which was just odd.

Well, here you are, tell me what you think!