Friday, March 25, 2016

Alaska Trip 2015

Christmas continued in Alaska in December. My parents treated the kids and I to a trip to visit Sarah and her family in Alaska!  Such FUN!!

There are no words for some of the beauty that is there.  Places untouched by man seems to be a beautiful picture.  Mountains are high and valleys are low, clouds hover and the sun only peeks through the low lying clouds.  Very different from the south.  The air feels different.  Everyone says that, but until you go you can only imagine what that is like.  Everything is wet, slipper and cold in Alaska - and I mean everything - sidewalks, the air, the car, your clothes. 

The flight there was good - I was medicated enough so I wouldn't get sick - motion sickness is the worst sick I think anyone can get (I do realize I am biased to that opinion :) ).  Although we couldn't all sit together on the plane, the flights were smooth and the company was nice.

YES, my children dressed like to GOING to Alaska!  You know moms know little about fashion.  And I was told, "mom, we will be in the airport the whole time!  I'm not going to freeze!"  Post flight, he apologized for even thinking like that.  And just like that, I became smarter! LOL

Upon arrival, we were greeted by my VERY pregnant sister and her wonderful husband.  With the ice on the ground they were just as shocked at Chandler's wardrobe as I was.  Of course, tennis shoes prove unstable on ice also. *Note taken*
The next morning without sunlight and lots of snow it was time to venture outside!  And wardrobe was on point :)

Aaron loves playing in the snow.  "Ray Ray, watch me shobel this snow!"  "Haley, I can teach you how to shobel the snow!"

What is playing in the snow without snow angels? 

And then there is the view from the kitchen!  Such a beautiful VERY COLD place. 

My beautiful mom and I with the white mountains behind us!
Sarah and Tim took us sledding.  It was tons of very cold fun!

The parents - without them the trip wouldn't have been possible!! Blessed we are!!

Nana, Grandpa and the GRANDS!

Me and by babies.  I'm now the shorty!

Note to self: When borrowing snow boots, borrow insulated ones.  Sledding and walking through snow in rubber boots proved to be the worst mistake ever.  I could not feel my feet by the time we got back to the car.  I was literally worried frost bite was taking over.  Warming these feet was a HUGE job...thank you Lord for momma's!!

The moment I got home, daddy's socks were my new best friend!  NO shame!!
Visiting the local taxidermy was informative to say the least.  Some bears are smaller in real life than they are in movies while others prove to be bigger in person than in movies.  Mountain lions are beautiful creatures no matter what!
Here is a full snapshot of the sledding experience.  Aside from Grandpa not catching Aaron, it was a lot of fun. 

Car rides and sightseeing is fun - especially when sitting next to Ray Ray!  There are no words for the beauty of Alaska.  The sun never stooped below the mountain tops and the ice began melting the day we left.  Beauty in all things and a magnificent creator is to thank!

This is the glacier where we sledded.  My brother-in-law has an awesome GO-Pro camera (yes, I'm jealous).  But this captures how beautiful creation is!

Quote: Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! ~Albert Einstein

Monday, March 14, 2016

Healthy Things Grow

Healthy things grow
Growing things change
Changing things challenge
Challenges drive us to trust God
Trusting God leads us to obedience
Obedience leads to health
Healthy things grow

It is quite amazing at how growing in your personal life requires healthy people to surround you. It is not uncommon to look around and have nothing but people who need more from you than you can give. Now before you start calling me judgmental, just hear me out for a minute.  We all have battles.  Each battle is unique and special.  Each battle is a hurdle in life with life lessons attached.  During those battles, hopefully those around us are stronger than we are.  They know when to speak and when to listen; they understand hurt and pain; they hold you when you need to be held and hold your smile in their pocket until it can be returned.  It is important to realize that these times, whether they are hard times for us or hard times for someone else, require healthy people. 

We need healthy people - mentally healthy people to be exact.  Ones who lift us up and cherish us.  Ones who are willing to come sit with us for no reason other than to be in our presence.  Recently, I've met someone who actually "likes" AND "reads" my words.  I mean, whoa!!  This person encourages me beyond anything I'm worthy of and reminds me that this voice inside has something to say.  As I've shared before, it's easy to allow what you think others think of you to drive you to change.  Somehow, they devour those who are in a weak place.

Here is a video that talks about the people you should let in your life.  And trust me, there is so much I could say in that area, but I'll leave it to Medea!

So, when things are healthy growth is a given.  When there is growth change is seen and felt.  When things change challenges arise.  As we face challenges, we are reminded to trust in God.  Trusting in God is being obedient and that is healthy! 

Chin up!! GROW...GROW...GROW!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Christmas 2015

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly. ~Andy Rooney


It was an exciting Christmas holiday 2015!  The holidays are always emotional – and as a mother of 2 teenagers emotions run high.  Especially this year - the word bittersweet takes on a whole new meaning.  Having a 17 and 15 year old becomes a reminder that my babies are growing up!  They meticulously open each gift, looking for the garbage bag beside them to discard the paper.  They take a break between each gift to admire it in lieu of putting it down to immediately open the next one.  They stop and pose for each picture to ensure I captured the moment the first time.  The say thank you after each gift because they realize I actually was listening when they were talking about their desires. 
I’m not sure how babies become these little adult human beings – kind and appreciative of the hard work put into providing – wanting to savor the morning and the memories being written in their memory banks that will last a lifetime.  There was a time I was clicking photos AND picking up their paper at the same time (my goal was the less mess the better – never enjoying the moment).  Not this year, I just took it all in. 
Several things proved different this year also – learning to hide gifts at work – and not forgetting to bring them home; to getting a wish list – which was difficult this year; to sleeping until almost 10:00am – sleep “is so much fun” they say (and teenagers are always tired, unless it is midnight).   It was a blessed Christmas!!  Granted it rained all week AND it was almost 80 degrees – actually, it rained the week before Christmas also – so it was a warm and wet Christmas.  It has been a long time since we have had a warm Christmas in Alabama…usually we only have those in Florida. 


Here is a snapshot of Christmas Day

In the year of 2016 we look forward to not rushing the days by.  We  will cherish time around the table, conversations about our day and birthday's.  We will remember that today is a gift worth opening slowly and one to cherish even when it was crazy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 March Update

2013 has gotten off to a GREAT START :))

Chandler started baseball this Spring.  We love us some #5!!  He is playing second base and has done very well.  He is a great batter and a team helper.  It is hard to believe he is 14.

 Chandler was brave enough to be in the WOMANLESS beauty pageant.  As his mom, I was totally shocked - he has always been a very reserved young man.  He owned the stage - he walked up there and received a huge clap!!

He had a huge crowd there supporting him.

Oliver even enjoyed the show - Chandler was SUCH a trooper :)

Chandler also killed his first turkey.  The expression on his face says it all - he was THRILLED!!  His dad, Dustin, was just as proud.

Not only did Haley make JV cheerleader, she still makes a beautiful princess.  She was in the Spring Beauty Pageant at McKenzie and was absolutely beautiful.

My Cinderella!!

Here, she and I are heading out to the pageant :) <3

Haley won 1st place at McKenzie Science Fair. 
She "Counted the Rainbow" with Skittles - it was a FUN project

Yes, she and I are clowns...we just can't help's just in our blood :)

We enjoyed a night out with family at Ashley's wedding.  I just love this picture..Haley is so beautiful!!

Oliver played basketball for the Tigers.  He enjoyed the workouts and traveling to other schools.  Senior night was special. 

Number 50 was a great defensive player.  Such fun to watch!!

Blessing: Living, loving, smiling, memory making and happiness.  That is all.  Thank you LORD for your blessings - I will continue to count them.

JV Cheerleader 2013

Somewhere in my mind I always thought this day would never come.  Well, it came and went and I cannot believe it.
We prepared and practiced
We sat and waited
We watched and gave constructive criticism
We reassured and lifted up
We heard the same music until it made our ears hurt all while smiling the whole time
We learned the number was 12
We laughed and prayed
Then, the time came...
The SECOND name to be called out for JV Cheerleading, HALEY BALLARD!!
I could not be MORE proud of her!!  Let's go TIGERS!!

Haley reading her card ;)
It made her cry...awe!!

Cheerleader and Momma!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Football 2012...

Football is in full swing.  Practices.  Practices. More practices.  Haley and Oliver are really enjoying themselves this year.

Haley loves cheering and dancing.  As you can see, she and her friends have a good time!!

Isn't she the prettiest cheerleader ever?!

I am the head coach of these girls - they are all very special :) They rock!!

My Haley is ALWAYS smiling - LOVE IT!!

Coach Mom and Daughter team!! I LOVE HER :) even when she gives me bunny ears because to her it's funny :) :) <3

Oliver is the "Swedish Sensation" for the McKenzie Tigers...everyone is enjoying teaching him the game!

The proud American parent with the McKenzie kicker :)

Johnathon and Oliver :)

#34!!!  We are proud of you!!

I am ready to watch Oliver on the field for the first time tonight.  GOOD LUCK TIGERS!!

Such a blessing to make these memories that will last a lifetime!!!!!!!!!!!!