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we did our annual ‘tour o the south’ for christmas again this year. the huge difference this year was that Chuck was given Christmas Eve off since he didn’t have a direct role in the services. this was the first Christmas Eve in years that we were able to spend as a complete family (usually my parents drive up a few days before christmas, then mama drives me and the boys back to her house, and daddy and chuck make the 13 hour drive on christmas eve after the services). this year we left home on december 22nd and will return home on january 3rd. we started out in rome, ga this year. we went to the mall and let the boys try bungee jumping, ate at the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, then opened presents on christmas eve morning with Mimi, Pawpaw, and Mawmaw (chuck’s grandmother) & then drove to rutherfordton, n. carolina to get ready for Santa at Gram & Grandpap’s house. after 4 1/2 days there, we drove back to Rome for a week with Mimi & Pawpaw.

i think i will always miss having Christmas at my Meem & Pap’s house. we used to get together with my grandparents, great grandmother, 6 aunts, 6 uncles, 6 cousins (and their spouses and kids) for Christmas Eve dinner and gift extravaganza. most of us would spend the night filling the bedrooms, couches, and most of the extra floor space. the next morning, we would wake to see what Santa had brought in a blur of excitement. the Biscuit Maker (my Papaw) would whip up some biscuits and Meem would work on various other breakfast foods. we would eat and hang out all day. the last few years, the adults would go see a movie Christmas night while Meem & Pap watched the babies. since my Meemaw left us for Heaven in March of 2001, Christmas has never been the same. after she died, the 4 sisters started doing their own thing for Christmas. i miss it. i miss my extended family. i really do.

we have started some of our own family traditions at Mama & Daddy’s house. we make cookies for Santa (and us) on Christmas Eve, eat dinner at Chili’s (the only open restaurant in town), spread ‘Reindeer Food’ on the front lawn, etc. josh, nikki, and eli arrive in time for dinner on Christmas Night. we open gifts with them after dinner and birthday cake for Jesus. we also have a hotdog & s’mores cookout at the firepit one night. and (can’t forget) we have our round of photo sessions throughout the visit. this year, the boys got to pick suckers off the sucker tree everytime they were good in a photo session. the promise of a sucker helped them focus on getting a good picture! i have posted a slideshow of some of the images below. most of them are from my camera, but i included some of the ones that nikki (the professional) took as well. the pics will be interesting next year as we’ll be adding two 6 month olds to the gang and I CAN’T WAIT!

the first slideshow is from our time in Rome for Christmas & New Years Eve:

this second slideshow is from our time in N.Carolina:

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i’m not going to call it a ‘resolution’, but i’m going to try to post more blogs in 2009. my mama & m-i-l have both been getting on to me about my lack of posts. so, i’m going to start this year off with a couple of posts about the end of 2008 (November and December).

- our large backyard trees provided an abundance of dead leaves when “Fall” rolled around again this year. the boys LOVE to play in them, though chuck HATES to rake, vacuum (with the leaf blower/sucker), and bag them. the pics below are from 2 different days out in the leaves. they play while chuck rakes & bags them. this time there were so many leaves that it was a 3 day affair!

- one day i walked downstairs and found a strange looking blob in the middle of the floor. i discovered the ‘boys club tent’. i peeked inside to find a ‘secret boys club’ of block play by flashlight. the guys were having fun. after that grew old, they broke out into wrestlemania. i happily just sat back to watch & snapped a few pics.

enjoy!!

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our ‘nanny’ Chris (HA!) introduced me to the author Karen Kingsbury. i had not read a book written for people over the age of 5 years in the last 8 or 9 years (pathetic, i know). the first book she loaned me was a stand alone, but then she turned me on to the Baxter series (actually 3 different series of books about the same family). i fell in love. i started out reading about one book a week, but towards the end I was finishing them every 2 days. i was reserving them at the library and picking them up sometimes before i finished the last one just so i didn’t have to wait! they are addicting! when i got to the last one, i was a little sad that i was going to have to say goodbye to the Baxter family. as i picked up the last one from the library, my sadness quickly dissipated as i opened the book. it was a LARGE print version. i cracked up laughing. i know the library just puts them on reserve as the title comes in and doesn’t pay attention to the age of the reader, but geez. i am not 85 years old. chuck said that i am a fast reader, but on this one, i felt like i was constantly flipping pages since there were so few words per page. anyway, below are pics of a regular print versus a large print. if you wear contacts or glasses, you can probably remove them and still be able to read the large print version!

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i’ve seen a lot of blogs lately that have a “wordless wednesday” post where they just put one or more pictures without any words. i thought about doing that with these random pics, but today is friday, not wednesday. and i am never short on words! so, here is “Random Pictures Friday”.

rotten boy Trip


sweet boy smile


handsome Quinn sporting
Trip’s new UGA hat


Quinn in mid lisp
(click on picture to enlarge)

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so, i’ve been waiting to share some news about my family for… oh … uh … over a week now (hmmm.. seemed like a lot longer until i calculated it). it’s not really my news to share, but none of the parties involved seem to be blogging the news. i check the blog every couple of days for the news, but it hasn’t been published. i even check other family blogs to see if anyone of them are spilling the beans. welp…. i’m tired of waiting & am just going to put it out there for the world to read…..

JOSH & NIKKI are expecting again. this time it’s TWINS!!!!!!

Whoop… Whoop! I am going to be an Aunt again!! Doing double duty this time around & I could not be more excited! I know that they are probably still in shock & may not get over it until the babies are safely in their arms & they have survived it a while! Nikki told me that I needed to move back to Georgia to help them. I would be all for it if Chuck could get a high paying job and we got a house close by. I, seriously, would be unbelievably happy & honored to help! She went to the doctor today & everything went well. They did an ultrasound, but I’ll wait & let her share that picture. (Well… I’ll give her at least a week to share it. After a week… it’s fair game sister!)

We LOVE you guys so much & don’t know how we are going to wait a whole 8 months to get our hands on the babies!