We started our Thanksgiving with lunch with the Roses. As usual, there was a house full. Family from Nashville, family from home and this year we had a special treat. It was my Dad's birthday. We also celebrated my sister's birthday from earlier in the month. Mom even ordered a real birthday cake so as to make the whole event official!
The birthday girl and boy
Blowing out the candles wtih a little help from friends

Erik and Lucy share a piece of cake
This next picture is of Ella standing on her make-shift stage singing the Thanksgiving song and reciting the poem her class memorized. She was so brave and was so very proud. (So was her mommy!) I bet there were close to 20 people in the room and she never batted an eye.
After a great lunch and even better conversation, we loaded up the van and headed East. As usual, the girls did great traveling and we were there without any problems. We were able to stay for a few days and enjoyed our time with Erik's family. One of our favorite things to do at Grandma and Grandpa's house is roasting smores. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...it does not matter to us. We are going to roast some marshmellows and make smores no matter what!
This, my friend, is a PERFECT smore...roasted by my darling husband.
What goes better with smores? A sticky, ooey, gooey smile.
This year, to make matters a little more difficult, the 3 neighborhood dogs decided to join in the fun. At first it was cute and we had some good laughs over those dumb dogs. Then...Lucy the dog jumped up and ate Lucy the little girls' smore right out of her hand. Not once, but twice! Poor Lucy (the girl) was so upset. Tears ensued and our marshmellow fun was tragically shut down with a bitter halt.

Just the other day as we were driving to East TN for Christmas, Lucy says --entirely out of the blue---"If Lucy the dog eats my smore this time I'm not ever, never going back to Grandma and Grandpa's house." Little brains remember the funniest things.

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Thanksgiving Thanks

Right now I am sitting at the dining room table with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law just talking and hanging out. It's a great night. The kids are exhausted from playing outside all day and the adults are exhausted from eating too much and doing too little. I hit a few of the Black Friday sales with my SIL to no avail. We really toyed with the idea of getting out at 5am, but decided (rather smartly) to shoot for a more attainable goal of like 7ish. While we missed out on a lot of the biggest "deals," we did pick up a few items and had some great conversation.

My "in-laws" are one of the things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. My other SIL and her daughter were not able to make it. We have really missed them this weekend. I often joke that I love my in-laws because I only see them 4 to 5 times a year, but I think its more than that. They are wonderful people who have fully embraced me and love me--even with all my OCD and high maintenance qualities.

Then there's my family, with whom we spent most of the day with yesterday. Boy do I love them, too! My husband and children, my sister and her husband, my baby brother, my Mom and Dad, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their husbands. They were all there. Celebrating Thanksgiving and my Dad's Birthday. We had a great time visiting, laughing and sharing stories.

Thanksgiving holds many fond memories for me. For as many years as I can remember until I was about 18 or so, my family would make a trip to my Aunt and Uncle's house in Nashville to spend the Tgiving weekend. Everyone gathered that Thursday for a huge dinner and to watch football. Later that afternoon all the men would make the trip back to Covington to hunt all weekend long. All the ladies would stay in Nashville for a weekend of shopping and girl bonding. Thanksgiving night we would eat pizza and then go watch whatever Christmas movie was playing at the theatre. We would wake up early the next morning and head to the mall for shopping ALL DAY LONG!! But it was different back then. There was no manical Black Friday silliness, just some good bargains to be had. At the end of the day we would gather back in my Aunt's living room and all take turns showing our bounty. It is such a wonderful memory for me. Things have really changed now. We all have our own families now and have to divide our time in different ways.

Most of all, though, I am thankful for God's amazing Grace. Grace that is so great I can lay my head down at night knowing that I will spend eternal life in my Father's kingdom. Thank you God for loving me despite me being me.

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To Post or Not to Post

Going back to work has really, really changed my life. Although I only work part-time (in theory, that is), I don't have time for anything "extra" these days. No more sewing, no more experimenting with new recipes and no time for blogging. I miss it so much. No matter how many time I tell myself that tomorrow will be a new day, life continues to happen and I just get further and further behind. I don't regret for even one minute taking this preschool teaching position. I love it and I am convinced that I am where God wants me at this time in my life. Who knows where He will place me tomorrow? But for now, I'm staying put and I'm going to give it all I've got.

That doesn't mean that I don't still struggle with trying to do it all. I want to make my life fit into a puzzle that apparently has a few pieces missing. I had a lightbulb moment last night standing in the 40 degree weather talking to some great "new" friends. For the past year and a half I have been obsessed with controlling a certain issue in my life. On a monthly basis I have been consumed with its thoughts. I have even sought out professional help to make this "issue" become a reality. But as I talked to my friends about my desire for God to use me--for me to be open to doing His will-- I was overcome with a flood of guilt and shame for being so hypocritical. How can I want to be God's servant in some ways of my life, but totally unable to hand over even an ounce of control in other areas? It made no sense. So through tears of shame and joy, I think I have finally handed over my burden. The burden that I have carried for so long now. That does not mean that I don't still want my issue to be resolved, I just feel as if I am finally able to take a backseat and let God drive. I'm sure there will be days of struggle and doubt, but I pray that God will continually throw me back into the pit of shame when I start to try to take over the reigns again. And that is what He does. He brings us to our knees so that the only place we have to look is up!

But in an effort to get back on track..yet again..here are a few pictures from our Disney trip. I want to write more about it tomorrow, but to be very honest I may not. I have bought a nice scrapbook and developed close to 200 pictures. I've never done a scrapbook before, but wanted to make sure I went the extra mile to remember our Disney trip. Blogging about it can't do it justice. So...you'll just have to stop by after Thanksgiving and take a look at the scrapbook. I'm sure it's going to be great!

The girls got tattoos in Animal Kingdom

Nanny, Pops and our family in front of the Epcot "Ball."

One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.

The climax of the trip for Lucy. I cried when my baby got to see Buzz Lightyear. It was truly magical for her.

And we lived Happily Ever After!

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Grandparents Day at TCA

TCA celebrated its first Grandparent's Day in early September. We had 100% participation on both days and it was a huge success. My girls were so honored to have their Great- Grandparents join them for a special lunch. These are my grandparents, Maw and Paw Paw. Although neither of them will probably ever see this post, I wanted to document this special day.

I am honored to have such wonderful, Christian grandparents. They are shining examples of Christ's blessings. I pray that my children have many more years to know their Maw and Paw Paw and look forward to many more memories to be made.

Ella's Kindergarten class performed a song for the grandparents. If you look at her face you can see that she is utterly enjoying herself. She loves to sing and perform. They are singing their favorite class song, "Jump!"

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Gotta Get to Work

I can't believe its been a month since our Disney trip and I still have not posted about it. What is wrong with me? I think the question may be more "Why don't I have the time?" I would have never guessed that a 6 and 3 year old would keep us so busy. Oh, well. Here is one of my favorite pictures from the trip:

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