Saturday, November 29, 2008

Opryland Hotel FUN!!!

Paige and I went on our annual after Thanksgiving trip to the Opryland Hotel and it didn't disappoint. She was not too thrilled with the fact that I asked her to dress up today, but then I pulled out her boots...oh my, Miss Diva came out in full effect. I mean, afterall, don't all girls love black leather boots?
We always head out, with our Christmas music blaring, eager to see the beautiful lights and people watch. The hotel was packed to the guild today. I think everyone had the same idea today and decided to come out decked out in their holiday finest.
It never fails, year after year, we run into numerous families who have adopted from China. Today, we met a super sweet family with twin 12 year olds from Alabama. Paige and the girls really hit it off, as did their mom and I. We have exchanged email addresses and numbers and plan to get together over Christmas. It's a small world.
After we walked around and took pictures, we went to our favorite restaurant that is constantly moving. I enjoyed a good glass of bubbly and Paige enjoyed her Shirley Temple. While we were enjoying each other's company and our drinks, music started blaring. It was a live Rockabilly Christmas band and they were GREAT! Paige took my camera and video camera and took off. When she came back she charmed several tables nearby with her rendition of Elvis' Christmas classics. Below are some (uh hem, I mean a lot) of my favorites from the night...also a cute video of Miss P. We have visited Opryland every single year since she came home, so this made year number 8. I don't think I will ever tire of this holiday tradition with one of the most important little people I know.

She is SO shy...poor baby! NOT : )

Eeee scop ugus

The other day Paige had just gotten home from Nutcracker rehearsal and she kept asking me how to say "the thing your food goes down"... : ) She had some trouble, but eventually got it.

PS-Her hair usually isn't gelled back like this : ) It had been in a bun from rehearsal and we have to spray it SO much. They don't like any baby hairs in their face.

I just had to record this for her to look back on!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Product reviews and apologies

I shopped for about an hour today and gave up. It was TOO crowded. So, I came home and hopped online and found some things that Paige has mentioned that she would like for Christmas and wanted to see if your kids or anyone has any experience with:

1. Guitar Hero for the Wii
2. Rock Band for the Wii
3. MarioKart for the Wii
4. Mp3 player vs. an ipod (which is better?)

Also...I received a private email ( you know who you are, you turkey : ) and she scolded me for writing so much on this blog and not posting as many pictures. Point taken! : ) I promise to start becoming the "sistarazzi" again and will post more photos. We are going to Opryland Hotel tomorrow and it is a mecca for a photography crazed sister and her sweet, yet, not excited little sister! We are going to sweeten the deal by surprising her with her first horse and buggy ride. That should appease little Miss Priss : )

Thursday, November 27, 2008

With gratitude

Wikipedia defines Gratitude as:

Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

Today, I am grateful for:

  • my precious family. We are one less strong this year and that is a hurt that I cannot even begin to explain. With that, we are hanging on to each other tighter than ever before.
  • my mom. She is a little bitty woman with her 4ft. 11in. stature, but is a mighty woman. She is strong in her convictions and she would move mountains to protect her family. I am forever grateful for her strength. I look up to her more than she could ever know.
  • my brother. He was such a turkey (pun intended) growing up. We fought like cats and dogs and I thought to myself, we'll never be close as adults. Thankfully, I came out of my fog and am so blessed to have a brother who is one of my best friends. He is so kind and funny and adorable and smart and witty and....
  • my sister. I think it is fairly obvious by my blog, Paige is my whole world. She is the apple of my eye. The day she was given to us, she didn't want anything to do with me...anything. She wouldn't look my direction and if she did, she screamed and cried. I even had to get my own room, away from her and my mom so she would calm down. Fast forward to almost 8 years later, she waits for me by the door to get home from work. I am greeted with hugs and squeals of "Sissy, Sissy, Sissy...You're home!!!". She is genuine. What you see is what you get and I am grateful for her honesty. I am grateful that she has one of the biggest hearts of any person I know. I love her. Enough said : )
  • my dad. While he isn't with us anymore, his legacy lives on. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful dad. I don't think I realized while he was alive how much I adored him. It is sad that it sometimes takes losing someone to realize how much they truly mean to you. I am so grateful that I got to watch my dad parent Paige, even if for only a short time. It taught me that love is greater than fear of the unknown. He used to tell my mom when she was nervous about the unknown of adopting a toddler..."all we have to do is love her. The rest will fall into place". He was so wise. I miss him today and everyday, but am grateful for our 34 years together.
  • my friends. They know my deepest, darkest secrets and love me anyway. They are my sisters and I will always be grateful for their friendship.

On this day, a day of thanks and gratitude, take time to let your friends and family know just how much they mean to you!

Happy Thanksgiving to my blogger buddies! I count you all amongst my biggest blessings!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank you blogger buddies!!!

When Paige and I got home last night, my mom said that there were two packages laying on my bed. We went back there and opened them up, not knowing what they could be (all of my Matilda Jane orders are in : ) The first box had a bag of goodies and the sweetest card. Paige asked me if she could read the card to me. She got about three lines into it and I began to weep. Kerry was so thoughtful to remember us during the holidays. Kerry, I am so grateful for you! Your words were so tender and genuine and were exactly what I needed to hear at this time. I just love ya, girl! You are a precious friend. She also sent Paige a beautiful Nutcracker ornament, two American Girl books and a book of panda stickers. You made Paige's night! She started reading the Julie book last night : ) Thank you for your heart of gold!!! Love ya!
The other package was very strange. It had Paige's name, our address (duh : ), but on the return address it said Blogger Doe and didn't have a return address. WHO ARE YOU??? : ) Whoever you are, and you know who you are...THANK YOU for Paige's mouse hat!!! Oh my word, it is the cutest hat I have ever seen! She was so excited that she wore it to school this morning. She really cannot wait to be a mouse in the Nutcracker and you gave her a gift that made her beam! I wish you would email me and let me know who you are!!! We loved the gift so much!
Here is Paige this morning before school. She wanted me to take a picture with "Binky" her elf in the background. We have learned the hard way not to place Binky anywhere that she can see him when she first wakes up, as it startles her. This morning she found him perched up on her head board and he had a note attached with some of the other elves signatures. That was a BIG hit : )
Kerry, she LOVES the books and is all ready to get the tree up so she can hang her Nutcracker. Tell Grace and Maddie thank you, too : ) We love y'all!

Thank you secret blogger for the mouse hat! It is just the cutest little thing I have ever seen. We love it!!! She is wearing it today to rehearsals : )

During this holiday season, I would just like for Paige to know how thankful I am for her. She is such a loving, compassionate, spunky monkey of a child. She brings her jie jie more happiness than she will ever know! I am thankful for you, Paige!


Friday, November 21, 2008

This and that...part deux

  • Please say a prayer tonight for a fellow blogger buddy and her family (TongguMomma). She lost her FIL today.
  • Through a chain of crazy events, I learned that my prom date my sophomore year is Paige's teacher's brother-in-law. Get that?
  • Paige has reported that she WILL be in the Nutcracker again next year. She is LOVING this production. She is talking about wanting to be a Prima Ballerina. (This coming from a little girl who is a self proclaimed tomboy, who would rather wear cargo shorts and a football jersey than anything pink).
  • I have a sinus infection the size of Texas and want some relief!!! Any suggestions or old home remedies??? I went to a walk in clinic and they didn't give me an antibiotic....aye yi yi!!!
  • It snowed here in TN. today...only briefly, but yet there were flakes. Speaking of flakes, I bought some of my dear friends the cutest little Christmas dish towels today that say, "Some of my best friends are flakes" and they have little blingy snowflakes all over...cute, huh?
  • Paige just sent me into an asthmatic fit because she is sitting here beside me on my bed, hair gelled back into a mullet ( had Nutcracker practice and this is the way it has settled after taking it out of her bun ), and she has her toes curled and she is intently eating pancakes. I looked over at her and she said, "Don't stare at me. Can't a girl eat her flap jacks in peace?)
  • Life is great! Happy Weekend to YOU!

Elf Yourself!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Elf on the Shelf

I have had several questions about Elf on the Shelf, so I thought I would give ya the low down. Elf on the Shelf is a little elf that is accompanied by a book. The premise is that the elf watches you and then reports your behavior to Santa (whether or not you have been naughty or nice). Many people do elf on the shelf differently and for different reasons. A lot of my friends who have little children use it for the naughty or nice reason. For example, my friend Carol Ann has a five year old little boy, Lance. She told me today that last night Lance drew on his bedroom wall with a crayon. She wasn't going to pull out her elf until after Thanksgiving, but she thought it was in order seeing that she didn't want a budding artist in Lance (well, not on the walls anyway). So this morning, Lance awoke to his elf on his bedroom chest of drawers. A little funny...she said he started crying as soon as he woke up and apologized to the elf and begged him not to tell Santa : )

I am using Elf on the Shelf to keep the spirit of Santa alive in Miss Paige's little mind. Too many of her friends are not believers anymore and she is questioning Santa and all of the logistics.

Elf (Paige named him Binky) appeared tonight. He was on our mantle with a note written very sloppily ( I know, not a word, work with me here : )) The note said, "Hi Paige. I decided to make an early appearance so that I could keep a close eye on you and report to the Big Man. He is hoping that I have good reports to share, so be on your best behavior and help make my job easy. PS- I get awfully thirsty every night on my way to the Pole, so could you help a brother out and leave me some water and a saltine? Love, Binky"

We had already gone to and registered Binky and printed off a certificate and then tonight he magically "appeared".

It has CRACKED me up, because she will walk through the den and will glance his way and then start "fast walking". I think he freaks her out a bit. Of course, the goal is NOT to scare the child, but to help them to believe or behave.

Most gift shops carry the Elf on the Shelf kit. In the kit, there is a little elf and then a copy of the book. It is about $30, but so worth it to create some extra magic.

She is now asleep, so I am going to nibble the cracker she left, drink the water and move Binky to a plant that is right near where she has left her backpack. You can move your elf every night or as much as you'd like.

Hope this all helps!

I have a feeling that this is the last year that my mom and I can play "you know who" : ( We are going to work it this year, so we create some lasting memories!

Now run out tomorrow and get your elf. If you get one, leave me a comment and share how it is going!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This and that

I just got home from buying The Elf on the Shelf and am SO hopeful that this will keep Santa Claus alive in Miss Paige's heart. She is 10 and hasn't said anything about not believing, but I think she has her doubts. Have any of you ever done the Elf on the Shelf? It is all the craze with my friends and their kids, so we shall see if it is magical.

Nutcracker is going well. As Paige says, "I am enjoying dancing with the Company now" : ) Ooh la la, huh? The first performance is less than a month away and we are all so excited. She has tons of friends and their families and my coworkers coming to see her. She has pics taken this weekend and I will try to scan those in, as we cannot photograph the performance. The hall that they are dancing in seats 2400 people and they say that is just too many people to be taking photos. Here is a link to the hall she will be dancing in:
Take a virtual tour at:

Some more exciting news is Paige and my mom just came home from rehearsal and said that Paige was invited to audition for the part of a munchkin in the Musical , Wizard of Oz. This will also be at the performing arts center.

I am SO proud of her and all the she accomplishes, but I am even more proud of the amazing little girl she is. She has a heart of gold. She walked in the door tonight and heard me coughing my head off, came running over to me, put the back of her hand to my forehead and said, "Poor sis, you don't have a fever. Can I get you anything? Bless your heart". : ) You know you are from the South if you end a sentence with "Bless your heart"!

Anyway, that is about all that has been going on with us. Busy, busy, busy! Lots to do in the next few weeks, so please understand if I don't get to visit your blogs as often as I'd like.

I'll be BAAA CCCKK!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sneak peeks

Parker, Jimmy, Dana and Caroline
Jimmy, Dana, Parker and Caroline

Sweet siblings, Parker and Caroline

Parker and Caroline

Parker and Caroline



Olivia and Jackson

Jackson and Olivia



Today I had the great fortune to photograph several families for their Christmas cards. We had great weather here in TN. It was a bit cold and windy, but everyone did very well. I have only received permission to post sneak peeks from two families so far. Once I get permission from the others, I will post them here as well. The first family was so sweet and coordinated so well. I love their clothes choices! They have two beautiful children, Parker and Caroline. Jimmy and Dana, your kids are gorgeous and I hope that you enjoy your sneak peek. Talk to you soon.
The other family just wanted pictures of their kids and I completely understand that : ) I had such fun photographing Olivia and Jackson. These two kiddos have the most beautiful eyes and eyelashes ever! It was a fun day and I hope that you are happy with your images!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas Card List

It's that time of the year again! Now that I have the Christmas card photo, I am ready to send it in and get my cards printed. We have always sent Christmas cards, ALWAYS! We love it. We also love to receive them, as they line our mantle and we have a special little hallway that is perfect for the cards.

Anyway, I would love to send anyone a card who would like one. Email me your snail mail address to : and i'll add you to our list. I'll be ordering cards in about a week!

I LOVE this time of year, don't you???

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Go to

Scroll down to "Rockin' it in style"'s the first sneak peek and check out my girl! I LOVE THESE PHOTOS!!!

Which one should I have put on canvas for my mom??? Suggestions?

I am so not worthy. Angela Crutcher was the photographer and ROCKS!!!

"I have to practice saying his last name if..."

So here's a little history on these two cuties. They have been friends since first grade. They are two very smart and sweet kids. They have many of the same interests. He likes Harry Potter, so does she. He is on the Chess team, so is she. He is a 4H officer, so is she. He is on the social birthday party circuit, so is she. He swims on the swim team, so does she. He loves cats, so does she. So what is the problem you might say???

His last name is very difficult to pronounce. Why does that matter others might say???

Paige said, "If I am going to marry Weston, then I HAVE to practice saying his last name!"
She was quite serious : )
Then, tonight she says that the Music teacher announces to the class that they should be very excited that one of their classmates is dancing in the Nutcracker and will be accompanied by the Nashville Symphony. Weston chirps up and says, "Yeah, my family is MAKING me go and see Paige dance ballet". Oh well, MEN, they just don't appreciate a good woman sometimes, huh? As for Paige, she is flitting around the house, not caring one bit that Weston could care less about coming and watching her...she is skipping around and singing in a sing songy kinda way...
"Weston is coming to see me, Weston is coming to see la la la la la!"
Seriously, do you all remember being dreamy over a boy in the 4th grade???

Just look at that mischevious grin on her face...she is thinking about her Vera Wang wedding gown, the location, the bridesmaids dresses, etc... Hee Hee! Poor Weston doesn't have a clue!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall Pics

Happy Fall Y'all!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I had the honor of photographing this sweet family this morning. They were so much fun and were so loving. The grandma, whom they lovingly refer to as "Plain Grandma" : ) and I work together. She is our Guidance Counselor and is among the best in the state of TN. in my opinion. She was a blessing to me yesterday as I had a day that every teacher hopes and prays never will happen in their career. I can't go into details, but I would like to ask my praying friends to please lift up "little man" in your prayers tonight and in the nights to come. He chose me to share some info that I am sure was very difficult to share and I am forever grateful that he trusted me. Anyway, as I photographed this family today, it made me thankful that I am surrounded by so many people that have a GENUINE love for their family. FAMILY...what does that mean??? In my career, I see so many "families" who use one another to get "things". I see families who don't make time for each other or just exist together, or even worse...hurt each other, physically and emotionally.

I watched this family today and saw how much they loved each other and enjoyed one anothers company. Yes, they were there to have their pictures taken, but in the down moments, when they didn't know I was looking, I would see a mom caress her son, or a husband and a wife share an admiring glance, or a child hold the back of his "Plain Grandma's" shirt.

I hope that I show my family how much I love them every single day. I want my family to know that I think of them when I am driving to work, wondering what their day will be like. I want them to know that when I am pulling into our subdivision, I often smile, knowing I am seconds away from being around the sweetest people in the world. I wonder if my family knows I would lay my life down for them and would protect them...always?


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Thursday, November 6, 2008

She wants her brother home NOW!

Most of you who read my blog have been touched personally by adoption. As you know, adopting a baby or a child can be a blessing to everyone...including friends of the family. One of my friends and Paige's friend is anxiously awaiting word to bring home their SWEET son and brother from Vietnam. When they receive word that they can travel, they have to get plane tickets and make arrangements like YESTERDAY!!! Please head over to Lala's site and "CHIP IN" and help them raise the funds to bring sweet Coby home! Also, if you have a need or a want for some DARLING Matilda Jane clothes in sizes 8, 10 and 12, head on over to ebay to see my listings. All of the proceeds from these sells will go to help bring Coby home! The link to all listings is:

Go to Laura's site and chip in!!!!

Annslee is saying, "We're coming COBY!!!"

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election night celebration

Look who showed up at our election night celebration... why, none other than President-Elect Barack Obama!
How kind of him to drop by!
On a serious note, obviously I am excited to have Barack Obama as our new President. I just watched Senator McCain's speech and he was so gracious and very well spoken. I am glad that I live in a country where we have the freedom to have a voice and to be heard. No matter what anyone's political views are, I am proud that Americans came out in record numbers this year. I am looking forward to and praying for unity!

Sorry for the confusion...

I have gotten several private emails asking if this new blog is private or public and if they could add it to their sidebar.

This is a public blog. Feel free to add it to your sidebar, as it is public and I love all of my blogger buddies and want everyone to drop by and visit.

The way I have ensured a little anonymity is that my first and last name is not associated to this blog at all. So if someone put my first and last name into, say, Google...this blog would not pop up.

I had a parent at conferences tell me that she and some of the other parents stalked my blog, because they looked me up on the internet. They were commenting about Paige and her goings on, etc... I am pretty much an open book, but there are some things that I don't want the parents of my students to know : )

So, please add the new site to your side bar.

It is of course titled: Live Big and Laugh Often

My new email address associated with this blog is:
Those of you who I email with all of the time can reach me at either address : )

******I hope that everyone has gone out and voted today!!!! No matter who you vote for, I just feel so honored to be a part of a nation where we can have a voice. We are so lucky to live in the land of the free! I hope your candidate wins... either way, I am ready for our country to unite!*******

Monday, November 3, 2008

Welcome to our new little home : )


Welcome to our new blog!
Leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by : )