Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's "Improvements"

What are resolutions really? In my mind, they are ways to improve upon your life in the upcoming year. I never keep resolutions, so instead I am aiming for ways to improve my life, hence New Year's Improvements.


You see this gorgeous little girl in the gray fur lined sweater? See how clear and vibrant she is? Yeah, me too! See the lady behind her...a little blurry, not as in focus? Yeah, I see her too. How can I improve upon this picture and what does it have to do with New Year's Improvements???? Well, let me tell you.

While I do make an effort to spend quality time with Paige, it could happen much more frequently. She dances soooo much and the times that she is not dancing, I try to spend time with her but it could be so much more productive.

My New Year's Improvement is to be less of a blur, as in the pic above, and be more clear and present. Starting Jan. 1st, I will ONLY get on the computer in the evenings when she is at dance. Goodness knows that if I can't get my FB or blog fix in during those hours then I have a real problem. I want to spend time talking, cooking, praying, reading, playing games, etc...with my family.

Life goes by in the blink of an eye and I don't want to look back and have regrets. If I were to leave this earth today and I think it would be fair to say that I am not living the way God would intend me to or how I want to. So, family FIRST!

Another New Year's Improvement is going to be my overall health. Physical, emotional, spiritual health. I have plans for all three.

Physical plan: I am rejoining WW. It is the only way I lose weight. I am also joining a local church's gym with my mom. We are going to walk while Paige dances. This will also help she and I to spend quality time together. I am going to make and go to doctor's appointments. I have a tendency to cancel appointments, because I am "too busy". Yeah right!

Emotional plan: I will NOT be around or entertain others who have a negative attitude. I won't, I won't, I WON'T!!! There are too many people in my life who have a glass half empty mentality. They are only hurting themselves, but ultimately, they bring me down, too. I am going to surround myself with people who genuinely are happy and care about my feelings. I am not going to be the "dumpster" that I have been in the past and listen to everyone's problems and feel like I have to carry them as mine. NOPE, not going to do it. I love my friends and am here for them wholeheartedly and will stand by their side, but I also have trials and tribulations and for crying out loud, they can listen, too!!!

Spiritual plan: I am going to set out to read the Bible in one year. I am going to use the plan that several of my friends have. I am soooo excited, but a little nervous about this. I think I can do it, though! I am stoked!

I am going to purchase more books and read for pleasure. I am going to learn more about my camera. I am going to plan a big trip for the summer. I am going to enjoy all that 2011 has to offer.

BRING IT ON!!!! Out with the old and in with the new!

Happy New Year, Friends~!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Highlights and thoughts of Christmas 2010

We have had such a nice Christmas here in Tennessee. As Amy Grant sings, "Another tender Tennessee Christmas, is the only Christmas for me". I couldn't agree more. For the first time since 1993 (I was 19 yrs old), we had a white Christmas. It was truly magical. The snow began falling right as the sun went down on Christmas Eve. It hasn't really completely stopped until today, although we didn't get tons of accummulation. It made for the best memories and photos.

I have never been a fan of Christmas. It started when I was a little girl. My emotions always get the best of me...can't fully describe it. I am very nostalgic and love the Christmas music, lights, decor and such, but something about the holiday depresses me. Maybe because Christmas is always such a grand event and there is a let down afterwards. I'm not sure I can quite put my finger on it. I think I feel that it is a holiday geared for children and I am PERFECTLY OKIE DOKIE with that. I don't like sitting around watching adults unwrapping unnecessary things that just don't matter much. I sound like a grinch don't I? I don't mean to, really.

Our family has decided that next year, we are going to buy for the littles (Paige), but instead of buying for one another, we are going to put the money that we would spend on each other and adopt a family. I cannot think of any Christmas gift in the world that I would enjoy more.

Enough about all of was a lovely holiday. I was glad to spend Jesus's birthday with the people that I have been blessed to call my family. We slept in (thank goodness for the teenage years in that regard).

Here are some thoughts about the holidays and Christmas:
1. Start pulling out decorations with the Halloween decorations. Have them assembled and ready to go the evening of Thanksgiving. We spent entirely too much time decorating this holiday and didn't have everything done until...until... oh, who am I kidding, we still don't have it all done! :)
2. Adopt a family and provide them a Christmas meal and tons of goodies to make their day happy!
3. Don't expect a lot from extended family. Everyone was on edge this year. Make a plan so that if someone gets testy, I have an escape plan :) hee hee just kidding...well, not really :/
4. Do NOT spend so much money on Paige. Rather, spend time doing activities that unite us. Not purchase things that will put her in her corner doing her own thing. More board games, more project based activities.
5. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE CHRISTMAS SHOES OR WATCH THE MOVIE!!!!!!!! Most people think it is utterly cheesy. I do not. I feel sorry for the little boy whose mama is going to meet jesus tonight. Deadgum, I want the woman to have some nice shoes for crying out loud.
6. Stop trying to hold in my emotions and cry when I miss my daddy. Like, the ugly cry, the kind where you have swollen eyes, snot flowing, fists pounding cry. Get it out. I missed my dad sooo much this year. I always do. It's heightened during the holidays.

Shew, I feel better having said all that. Here are some photos to prove that we really, really did enjoy ourselves. As a matter of fact, the fun isn't over yet...we still have a couple more celebrations to attend.

If you are still reading at this point, you are my new hero. If you stay for the pics...well, you are still my hero, just a SUPERhero!

Olivia Grace and Paige Frances Christmas Eve 2010

Kids being silly!

Our dear friends, the Craigheads


Brenda and Bob

Me, mom and Paige Christmas Eve 2010

White Christmas Eve

Paige and Moo on Christmas Day! I swear to you my dog is camera is a running joke in our household.

Blake and Paige...friends/like cousins since they were babies, because...

...their moms/sisters have been friends for 33 years. Suzanne and I. We know EVERYTHING there is to know about each other. She was my across the street neighbor starting when we were three. She is like a sister to me.

Suzanne and my friendship started because our moms met at the mailbox and started chatting. They quickly learned that they had kids who were the same age and husbands who were golf obsessed. My dad and Suzanne's dad were best friends since I was three, too. They are truly our family.

Now our brood has grown by husbands/kids etc... Sadly, we are missing my brother, Greggie Poo, as we used to call him. We also miss my dad terribly. Suzanne and her sister, Stacy, pictured with her boys, thought of my dad as their own.

My mom, Eileen (Carol's mom), and Carol (Suz and Stacy's mom). Three women whom I love and admire. I could cry just looking at these ladies and thinking about all we've shared.

Lastly, my little fam.

A funny about this last I was scrolling through the pics that I was going to upload our conversation went like this:

Me: Ughh, I am so overweight. I hate it!
Mom: One day you will be skinny.
Me: (giggling)...Thanks for the encouragement mom, but no I won't.
Paige: Sure you Heaven!
Me and Mom: CRACKING UP!
Me: Thanks for the vote of confidence, Paige. You were supposed to say, sure sis, you'll be skinny one day! lol!

Now everything that we say, we end it with "In HEAVEN"...and on that note, hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!


Missy and Paige

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ten FAB years!!!

Sunday, we celebrated a decade, YES A DECADE, that we have had Paige in our family! I just cannot believe that we have been a family for 10 fabulous years! She is the laughter, the heart, the sweetness in our family. She makes all of the bad days, beautiful!

She had open house at her dance studio so we spent the day there, but afterwards, we went to dinner and she received her first little blue box. She was sooooo excited! It's a paloma heart necklace. The solid heart represents her, the surrounding hearts represent her biological parents, my parents, me, Greg and God. She LOVED it! She has been showing it off with such pride...sooo cute!







Blurry, but the BEST gift of all!!!

Here are a few favs from her Open House and a video clip that I LOVE!!!




Get it girl!!!




Here is the dance that won them BEST OVERALL in the City Parade for the fifth year in a row! It's sooo cute! I love the little hip hop girls in the purple. Paige and friends are in the powder blue eskimo outfits.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love moments like these...

A friend of mine just came home from Uganda with his two beautiful baby boys (well, toddler boys, but babies in my book). As I was reading his FB wall and seeing all of the pics and videos my heart was all a flutter with the emotions of bringing home new lives. It is suuuch an overwhelming experience, isn't it? Whether born under your heart or in it, it is all such a miracle. Sometimes I am on an emotional high and I think I have been floating in the clouds all week.

Tonight I went to tuck Paige in bed. She was on top of the comforter, basketball shorts and tshirt still on, mismatched socks and drool on her pillow. Her CD player was still playing and as I started to pull off her socks and pull the covers up, Cinderella from Steven Curtis Chapman began to play. I seriously froze in my tracks and just looked at the little miracle that was in front of me. I mean seriously, how in the world did WE (my family) get so lucky to have HER? I sometimes feel like I am so unworthy of her. I hope and pray that I teach her right from wrong and that she knows just how loved she is. I don't know if I do a good enough job telling her exactly what she means to me. I am going to be better at expressing myself.

Her family day is coming up and I get all choked up just thinking about it. It's a special one, with some extra special surprises for her. I hope she loves what we got her. It is very sentimental and we loved picking it out for her.

Children are such blessings! ...just sayin' :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A simpler life

I have done a lot of reprioritizing and looking inward. I have decided to scale back on so many aspects of my life that were draining me and so time consuming. Some examples: I went from 800 to a little over 200 friends on FB. That has made SO much difference with the amount of time I spend on this silly computer. I was finding myself so intrigued with what families were eating for dinner, clothes little ones were getting, hearing tidbits of people's lives, etc... Yet, I was glued to the computer at night instead of living my life.

I usually send out over 100 Christmas cards. This year, I only ordered 40. I thought about the most important people in our lives and they are the recipients of our Christmas cards this year.

Paige has five packages under the tree, albeit expensive (realllly expensive gifts), but I don't feel the need to go and buy lots of fillers just so she can feel like she received a lot. That is not the reason for the season anyway.

We are spending time going to activities with close family friends rather than spreading ourselves thin and trying to attend every.single. party we get invited to during the holidays!

I am really feeling waaaayyy less stressed~! I think I can get used to this. NO, I know I can get used to this!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Parade 2010

Today was our town's annual Christmas parade. Paige's dance studio always performs in it and has won best performance for the past four years. The verdict will be out for a couple of days, but I can say, the dancers did a phenomenal job this year.

Now, I love bundling up for a chilly parade, but today it was below freezing, spitting snow and LOTS of sleet. It was sooo cold and as you will see by my pictures, Paige wasn't as bundled up as I would have liked. At the completion of the parade, her little cheeks were so red and her teeth were chattering. Poor baby. She had fun, though! Here are some of my fav. pics of the day...







My best dance mom friends :)
We had a ball!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't let em' fool ya!


Beautiful girls, right? Right! Sweet little faces, so angelic, right? WRONG!!! lol!

I received my cell phone bill and OH.MY.WORD!!!! Paige has a line on my package. I bought her a cell phone, because she dances, takes gymnastics and is at church every night of the week. There is not one night during the week that the child is home with me, so I needed a life line.

For the heck of it, I inspected my bill to see how many texts I used this past month. An astounding 200! To me, that is A LOT! So, why not check out Paige's texts for the month? 5,012!!! Yes, you read that correctly, five thousand, twelve texts in ONE month....mostly between those angelic, sweet little girls from above!

Good gravy!!! I had a HUGE talk with Paige and she promises to limit the texts to a minimum of 5 per day. Geez...seriously, what could one have to say to their friends that they can't say at school, dance, church, gymnastics? I mean, seriously?!?

I have a feeling that this little preteen is going to keep me hopping! As I type, she is away at a "girl's night!".

I have created a monster! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A little stalking anyone?

Last night Paige and I were in our pjs and were cuddling and watching a movie, when all of the sudden I get a text message from a friend. She said, "Tayl@r Swift and J@ke Gyllenhaal are sitting across from me at An@hor High!!!!". I told Paige and she jumped up soooo quick and set "Get dressed!". I couldn't believe she was so excited to see T@ylor Swift! Well, she wasn't!!! She was more excited to see Mr. Gyllenh@@l! She said, "You do realize he is the HOTTEST guy on the planet, right?" OH MY!!!

I looked at her like she was crazy and then a flashback ran through my brain...I remember when I was young (er) and Justin Timberl@ke was at a restaurant in Nashville and I begged my friends to go with me.

You only live once, right? We hopped out of our pj's and into some cute clothes and drove to the restaurant. I had texted my friend and told her we were on our way and she had us seats ready once we got there.

I had my camera with my zoom lens in my purse, just knowing that I would be brave enough to take a pic. Well, we get there, and low and behold there they are. Just a cute, young couple eating dinner and listening to live music. No one was bothering them, as a matter of fact, there were only about three families in the entire restaurant (it's a summer hotspot). Paige gawked (and I did, too, when they weren't looking :). We decided to let them eat in peace and not pounce. It was so tempting, though.

They smiled at Paige several times and she would look away real fast, embarrassed!

It was such a fun night and we have giggled about it all day! For sure, one that goes down in the memory book!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We had a nice day and I have so much to be thankful for. I love my family and friends with all of my heart. Here are some of my favorite pics of the day!

The most important people in my life!

My little brother, Greg, and me!

Paige adores Greg and her kitty :)

My favorite girls!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


bw wednesday

Thankful for:
Coffee (Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte to be exact)
Snuggly fur babies
Sweet students to educate and mold daily
Good health
My new lens for my camera ( a little vain perhaps ).

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you and yours have a blessed holiday!

Hop on over to Lisa's pad for some black and white love!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

...then there's little ole' me :)

Thanks for allowing me to vent and be so vulnerable for the past few posts. I appreciate all of your suggestions for books and what to ask my doctor, etc... Amy, I also LOVE your holiday tradition and am definitely going to borrow that one. Afterall, HE is the real reason for the season and instead of being down and out, I should rejoice in the fact that it's a happy occassion! Love ya, girly!

So, this weekend I got together with some dear friends who were such a special part of my past. I was so stoked to see my old friends and talk about all of the exciting things that have been going on with them. You see, one is Mrs. Tennessee, the other is Mrs. United States, the other was the prom queen/homecoming queen, etc...and then, well, there was me :) One would think that being surrounded by such beauty (on the outside and the in) you would walk away feeling a little down about my overweight, bags under the eyes, hair needing colored, frumpy self. However, the opposite couldn't be more true. It's so nice to be around friends who love you for who you are. No put on, no pretense. I have so many incredible relationships and I want to give thanks for those this holiday season. I had so much fun reminscing about our past, present, and our hopes for the future. I feel sooo blessed to have such great friendships in real life and in blogdom.

I love the saying, "A good friend is someone who knows your past and loves you anyway!" These girls know my past and they still love me. I love them, too! I hope that Miss Paige grows up with as many lovely ladies in her life as I have in mine.

Thanks for all of your friendships! Mwah!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holidays get the best of me

As the holidays approach, I always get a little blue. My mom shared with me the other day that even as a child I was not into the magic of it all. She said that I would often become introverted (which I am not) and seem melancholy (which is not my nature). I feel that since my dad is gone and my brother is married now, our little family unit that was once so very tight is fading. While realistically I know that I probably have never been as close to my mom and Paige as I am now, I still long for the days of being a little girl and waking up on Thanksgiving to hurry and snuggle with my daddy and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. He would ooh and aah over all of the floats and in my true bah humbug nature, I would roll my eyes, while inside thinking that they were amazing and how I loved watching them with my dad. My brother would usually be bouncing about the house driving me crazy as he played with his nerf guns or bounce his basketball in the hallways. My mom would spend the day preparing dishes to take to my aunt's house. We'd usually be in a BIG hurry and would sometimes even fuss over the silliest of things in the car. It always was a hurried time, but even though things didn't always run smoothly, I enjoyed it. Something about traditions, good or bad, leave a romantic feeling inside. I may not express to my family that I wish for these traditions, but secretly I do.

I am sad that our hectic family days of old are now gone. I am trying hard to remain positive and happy for Paige, as she is such a sweetpea and deserves traditions to grow up with. It's just a hard time of the year for me.

Next week, I am attending a grief seminar in our town. It is held every year and is meant to help get through the holidays while missing a loved one. I haven't done too much in the department of healing and I think it's time. The one thing that I do hold on to is that my dad is with God and that he is complete and happy. If he can be happy and whole, then I think I owe it to myself to do the same. Sometimes easier said than done, ya know?

What are some of your fun traditions that you have for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Perhaps you would let this little family borrow some of them? I want everything for Paige to be magical and special. I want that for me, too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

36 feels awful today!

Ok, this might be "TMI" (too much info), but I am putting it out there for all of blogdom, hoping and praying that some of you can shed some light on what is going on with me!

As a teenager, I had a "fairly" easy time being a female (if you get my drift!). My twenties weren't bad at all. Short and simple monthly visits and I was on my way.
Lately, however, I have been MISERABLE! I am turning into a MEAN, grumpy gal once a month. I am weepy a week before, during and a week after. I cry and cry and cry some more. When I am not crying, I am sad, or OVER the top anxious. This is sooo unlike me.

I have cramps that bring me to my knees and often I spend hours on a heating pad. I am taking ibuprofen like it is candy.

HELP! Did any of you feel like this in your mid to late 30's? I have an appt. with my doctor, but it isn't for another month. I am a little stressed out, as this isn't the norm for me. Any advice or calming words would be appreciated :)

Again, sorry for the TMI, but I am hopeful someone can relate.
Thanks in advance! If I have any male readers, see the joys you miss out on!!! LOL!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sixth grade


I took this pic this morning before school. I mean, seriously, isn't she a cutie? Sorry I am biased, but when I was in the sixth grade, I had buck teeth, glasses, pimples, big hair and a goofy grin. I NEVER looked this adorable.

Paige has taken to middle school like a champ. Her day doesn't begin until 7:30, but she begs to be dropped off by 7 a.m. on the dot, so she can "hang" with all of her friends.

She has become even more independent, if that is even possible. She asks to be dropped off at a "secret spot" so that she can walk in without us gawking or hovering. I giggle when I see her meet up with her friends as they walk into school. They are trying to act so growny, yet they are still so little and just adorable.

Her Vera Bradley bag is bigger than she is and yet she carries it with confidence. She wears lip gloss now and actually WANTS to brush her teeth before she leaves the house. No longer are the tree hugger days. Now, she cares about deodorant, abercrombie perfume, cute camis, and mismatched socks ( ? )!

Paige is not your "typical" asian stereotype. Yes, she is little and petite, yes, she is interested in math and science, but NO, she is not a genious. She is very smart, but has to work hard for her good grades. She has really done well so far and is striving to be on the Honor Roll throughout her middle school years. I have no doubt that she can do it.

She isn't too into boys just yet, however, a few have caught her eye. She got her first phone call from a boy last weekend and was so tickled by it. He is such a cutie, but they are FAR too young to be talking on the phone, so we had to put a stop to it. I am sure it won't be the last time.

Friends are not scarce. I love how social my girl is. She doesn't know a stranger. She is a friend to all and everyone loves her. She said tonight while at the basketball game, some of the kids got in a play fight as to "who loved Paige more". She said her response was, "I love you all equally and there is enough of me to go around" lol! She has such a dry little sense of humor, but when her giggle box gets turned on, it takes forever to turn off and will leave you in stitches.

She still pronounces her \r\ as a \w\ and while I shouldn't encourage it, I just can't help to think it is THE cutest thing ever. She said at lacrosse practice they "wan and wan and wan" (ran and ran and ran). I am not making fun of her...just documenting this precious little part of who she is. When she stops and thinks about it, she is able to pronounce everything correctly. I just love her...every single little precious part of her.

My sweet sixth grader is growing so much. I don't want to forget any part of it. I love her to the moon and back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010



Tonight I received a wake up call and it couldn't have come at a more crucial time. Tonight, Paige told me she misses me. She said that I spend way too much time taking people's pictures and editing them. I agree! She then went on to say that she missed me taking her picture (she must really miss me to say that :)

I have been SO busy taking fall portraits. I teach during the week and am averaging three to four sessions a weekend. Then I have to grade papers, edit pics, take Paige to and from her extra curriculars, help with homework, etc... I am not willing to mess up any quality time with my mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, friends, etc...

I lost a childhood friend last week. He died in an automobile accident. He was 35, newly married with a one year old baby boy. Life is far too precious to not spend it enjoying every last second with your loved ones!

I am hoping to blog more and post about all of the wonderful things my family and I are doing since I will have some free time!!!! YAY!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tough choice


A week or so ago, I shared that Paige had made the bball team and dance competition team. Well, turns out that bball practice and games were at the exact same time as dance classes. Paige was so conflicted. Anyone that "knows" Paige, knows that she is a tomboy to the core. She is all about being aggressive and athletic. She has been dancing since she was 5 and is really good at it. She had to make a choice...bball or dance. SOOO sad that a 12 year old has to choose between two things that she loves at such a young age...

...she chose dance.

Choosing dance came with a stipulation...she HAD to play something this spring. Lacrosse is big where we live and the Catholic school that we are playing on sending her to for high school has a GREAT program. Looks like my little tomboy will be gearing up for a different sport this spring...AND it isn't on dance nights!


Check out the other black and whites at Lisa's blog. She has THE most beautiful baby girl with her...send them some major LOVE!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


On this tenth day of the tenth month of the year in the year 2010, I thought I would document 10 things that make my little sister very special. Here's to you, Paige!

1. You are a great student and always go the extra mile!



2. While you are small, you are LARGE and in CHARGE on the basketball court! I love watching you hustle up and down that court and play with great sportsmanship!


my bball girly

3. You love your family and give us sooo many laughs on a daily basis!!!



4. You allow me to take many photos of you, even when you think my ideas are corny (they always turn out cute, though!)

black and white wednesday

5. You have such a tender heart for animals (particularly your sweet Sambo!)

paige and sambo2



6. Laughter is YOUR best friend!!!

      “If every word I said could make you laugh, I'd talk forever...”~anonymous

paige and olivia

7. You cherish your friendships and would NEVER intentionally hurt anyone's feelings!




8. You are a princess and tomboy all wrapped up in one!



9. You were such a sweet baby girl and provided us with so much love and laughter!

2004 1


2005 1



10. You are proud of who you are and where you came from!!!