Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Catch-Up...Kinda

Don't you hate it when you run into someone that you haven't seen in awhile and they say something to the effect of "I've really missed seeing you...things have been really busy for me lately...I'd love to tell you about it, but I can't." You hate it, don't you? I do too...but I'm about to have to do that. Things have been crazy busy...some I can blog about...but most of it I can't. Guess all 2 of you that read this thing will just have to forgive me, and hope that one day I'll be able to share.

So the last post was three weeks ago...whoops! The days have been such a blur, but for the most part, it's been a pretty good blur!

A few weekends ago, I found myself snowed in...well, more like iced in. Birmingham got hit with some really cold weather, and since Alabamians don't really know how to drive in the snow, we were pretty much couped up. Thankfully, we knew it was coming, so I was able to get over to my Aunt and Uncles house. Let me just say, if you are going to have to be snowed in, there is no greater place for it to happen than there! We ate, watched movies, ate, napped, ate, played wii, ate, watched football and oh yea...ate. It was perfect, but after 2 days, I was thankful to be released to go home.

I've traveled, traveled and traveled some more. Colleges are back in session, so I've been traveling a lot for my job. My first days back were actually in Auburn. Things were pretty crazy those first days. Lots of toilet paper in trees and it seemed everyone was smiling. I did my best to stay away from all of that!! Things weren't all bad in the enemy territory...I got to see some of my favorite girls and was even introduced to a great breakfast place I had never tried before...Barbecue House. Yummy!

I finished up my meetings in Auburn on Thursday and spent Friday getting myself organized from the week...and the weekend. I had the opportunity to participate in Disciple Now at my current church. I was one of the leaders for the most precious group of junior girls ever. I hope they enjoyed it, because it was by far the best Disciple Now weekend that I have ever been a part of...and that's saying a lot!

Let's see...that gets me up to January 16. Goodness...I'm not doing a good job at this!

The past two weeks have been spent traveling, baby-sitting, church, hanging out with family, going to high school and church league basketball games...and tons more that I can't even think of.

Pretty much, I'm wimping out on this post...maybe February will be better!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Libby Lou

If you don't already think I'm crazy, I'm guessing you probably will after you finish reading this post!

For as long as I can remember, I have absolutely loved spending time with and getting to know high school girls. While not all girls are the same, quite often they are so full of life and ready to take on whatever it brings, they are searching for what's next in life, they are learning what it means to have real friends...and how to be one, and to top it all off, I have found so many that love the Lord with a reckless abandon. True, they make mistakes...but don't we all?!?!

For me, one of the best things about moving to Birmingham has been getting the chance to know and "do life" with some of the sweetest high school girls I have ever met.

I got the chance to have dinner with one of those sweet high school girls on Thursday night...Libby.

I remember the first time I saw Libby. She is a dancer for the same school that my cousin cheers for and was performing at a basketball game. I knew nothing about her, but out of a group of almost 30, I picked her out as my favorite. That was almost a year ago, and now she is still my favorite, but for so many more reasons than just being the best dancer. Her encouraging spirit, compassion towards others, strong work ethic, positive attitude and love for the Lord truly make her a young lady that is beautiful inside and out.

Dinner with Libby was by far the highlight of the day, but who wouldn't want to spend time with someone with all of those qualities?! We ate dinner at Zoes, one of my favorite places...we chatted...we laughed. It was perfect...and I can't wait to do it again!

Yet Another Week In Review

Since I work with college students, I typically get the same "holidays" as they do. I mean, I still have to work during December...but the work is totally different because I'm not driving to campus to meet with clients. My schools get cranked up for the spring semester next week, so I used this week to do get prepared...and do some things that I won't have as much time for when school starts and I'm traveling a few days each week.

At the end of last week, I got a call from someone that I baby-sit for. One of her dear friends fosters children and she had just gotten twins placed with her....8 week old twins to be exact...and she wanted to see if I could come and help out some during the day. It didn't take must time at all for me to agree to that. The mom works from home, so it was pretty much the perfect set up. We worked, fed babies, worked, rocked babies, worked, changed diapers. At the end of the day I felt so accomplished.

Since I was tied up with babies on Monday, I spent most of Tuesday at the house. Cleaning, laundry, organizing. I was exhausted by that evening, but had to push through because I had plans to go to go to a high school basketball game with my family that evening. I absolutely love watching high school basketball...especially when the place is packed out, and it definitely was that night.

On Wednesday I packed up my work things again and was off to spend the morning with my best friend, Natalie and her precious little girl. I couldn't get over how much little C had grown since I had seen her before Christmas! This picture of her eating her snack just cracks me up!

I love spending time with Natalie because we're both able to do our own thing---for some reason, it was a pretty busy day for me work wise, and she went to town with her new embroidery machine. There was nothing super spectacular about the morning, but I think that's why I liked it so much. There is just such an ease to our friendship that even when we are just casually hanging out, it makes for a great day.

The day just kept getting better when I met Lacey for dinner that evening. I was introduced to Lacey when I first started my job. She was..and still college intern at Auburn. She is the best intern ever and has become a dear friend, too. We enjoyed a relaxing 2.5 hour dinner, definitely one of the last groups to leave. I'll be a sad girl when she finishes up her grad school program and I have to find another intern, but hopefully she'll be packing up and moving to Birmingham so we can still have our dinner dates!

Thursday I headed back to take care of the twins in the morning, and then joined my favorite O'Henry's working buddy, Megan, for a few hours of work and catching up. The holidays have really gotten us off of our schedule, so we had lots of catch up on this time! I finished up the evening with my family, doing one of my favorite things...calling out anatomy and Spanish. No, really...I love it.

Now it's Friday. I had planned for this to be a relaxing day, but then I realized just how many errands that I needed to get taken care of. I spent most of my morning running all over Birmingham, but I finally got everything that has been on my list accomplished, so I can enter the weekend with nothing to do! YES!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Team, Verse 1

I realize I'm a few days late posting....but I wanted to try to keep my posts in chronological order. :) However, just because the post is late doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about this.

I've decided to join Beth Moore's Siesta's to commit to memorize 24 scriptures this year...two a month.

The first verse I'm going to learn this month is found in one of my favorite books, Ephesians:

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

I'd love it if you joined me....with this verse, or with any other that you'd like to memorize!

Since January 1...

---I've cleaned out my closet...three large trash bags of clothes are gone.

---I've played Wii dance more times than I can workout ever!

---I've watched a lot of love LOVE watching Alabama football with my family! ROLL TIDE!!

---I've held, fed, and loved on some sweet 8 week old twins.

---I've organized my office. Ready for the new school year to begin!

---I've gotten caught up on my blog...FINALLY!!!

---I've watched the Passion 2011 live stream and decided that next year I will be there as a volunteer.

---I've rejoiced with my childhood best friend who is now engaged!

I'm only 3 days in, but 2011 looks like it's going to be a great year!

New Orleans? Yes, please!

For the most part, I'm a very planful person, but every now and again I'll do something spontaneous.

Probably the most spontaneous thing I have ever done was when I was a freshman in college. A friend and I really wanted beignets, so we left around midnight for New Orleans....ate beignets...and drove right back to make it in time for an 11 o'clock class. Crazy? Most definitely, but still one of my favorite college memories.

Well, this past fall I drove my cousin and her friends to most of the Alabama football games. It worked well because they didn't want to ride with their parents and I needed someone to keep me up on the late night drives home. During one of those trips, I told them about my last minute trip to New Orleans. They decided right then that they wanted to go to New Orleans over Christmas break. I told them to ask their parents, and if they agreed, I was up for it.

Seriously...I doubted that the parents would go along with it. I mean, I'm only 26, it was the holiday season and there were going to be 5 girls so we wouldn't fit in my car and would need to borrow one of their parent's cars.

All I can say is that the Lord must have known how much all of us would need that trip, because it all worked out...and we were even able to convince them to let us spend the night! We left from my cousin's house early on Thursday the 30....drove to New Orleans, checked into the hotel, ate lunch, shopped, walked around, ate dinner and enjoyed some time at the hotel. The next morning we got up early and finished our time with the whole reason for the trip---beignets...and of course, a little more shopping.

Of course, when you're in a car with 5 16/17 year old girls for 5 hours at a time, you've got to know that car rides were quite eventful as well. We laughed a lot, took lots of pictures, there were some good conversations, and once I figured out a little system of ipod music sharing, there was great music for all!

I got home from the trip absolutely exhausted, but with a heart that was overflowing with thankfulness. I truly can't think of any way I would have rather spent some of the last days of 2010 than with Allison, Alston, Anne, Libby and Virginia! Five of the sweetest, God-loving teenagers that I know. Can't wait for our next trip!

Christmas Eve/Day

The Christmas Eve/Christmas Day recap is going to be incredibly boring because I don't have any pictures. It was easier to just use one camera, but my family isn't quite as quick on the sending of pictures as I'd like them to be. Sorry about that.

We got home form the beach on Christmas Eve morning and got to cleaning. For the past 10 years or so, we've always had a few families over after the Christmas Eve service for soup and sandwiches. The house is filled with people, but it's laid back and one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Now that Emma Kate is almost 5, she has really gotten into Santa. We had the Santa tracker pulled up, brownies out and reindeer food on the lawn.

Christmas morning was filled with more traditions....reading the Christmas story from Luke 2, taking pictures in our pajamas on the stairs, digging into the stockings, checking out what Santa brought, pancake breakfast and then all of the presents from under the tree.

My big gift this year was from my parents...a nice big contribution to my retirement account. Sure, I won't be able to use it for years, but I'm thankful, and will be even more thankful when I'm old and grey!!

I also got some fun and beautiful jewelry, a beverage dispenser---perfect for parties and "The Doors of Brewton"---a poster I've wanted for a long time!

Family Vacation

When I was growing up, we used to take family vacations every year. Now that we are all grown and out of the house, family vacations don't seem to happen quite so often. Back in September, my Dad decided that he wanted us all to go to the beach the week before Christmas. All expense paid trips don't come along in the Smith household too often, so we were all quick to say yes.

We arrived on Monday and left on Friday...had to be home for the Christmas Eve service and for Santa to visit my niece!

The days were filled with lots of laughter, yummy food, naps, reading, walks on the beach, swimming in the pool, visits to the steam room, shopping, gingerbread house decorating and breaking in my parent's birthday gift---a wii.

Ahhh!! Can't believe this "little" girl turns 5 this month!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Parties, Pet Sitting, Candlelight and Broadway

After two late nights...and lots of driving, I was pretty worn out after I got home from Nashville, but there was no rest for the weary.

On my way home, my aunt called to tell me that they were going to be having a party at their house that evening. Around 30 teenagers would be coming over after the Holiday Assembly presentation and she wanted to see if I could come and assist. I drove straight there and helped with some cleaning and preparations and then headed home to get a little rest before going back over that evening. I ended up not getting home until 2AM...way past my bed time...but worth it to be able to help out my aunt and see my cousin and her friends all dressed up.

In addition to the party festivities, I also got a little visitor on Friday. My visitor actually stayed with me for the weekend and had four legs. :) I by no means am ready to have a dog of my own, but I loved being able to help Sarah Beth and Brandon out by taking care of theirs for a few days. Brooks was on his best behavior the entire weekend. We took lots of walks, and he was an excellent napper.

Saturday was a pretty lazy day...thank goodness, because I was in need of one! I spent most of the day catching up on things around the house and napping. Brooks also enjoyed an afternoon of relaxing and since I couldn't bear to make him stay in his crate, he got the royal treatment...the bed.

That evening a group of us from my Sunday School Class met to go to the Candlelight Service at church followed by a nice dinner out at Tavern. I've been to many a candlelight service in my years, but I must say that the one done by Dawson was the best I have ever witnessed. The perfect way to get prepared to celebrate the birthday of our Savior!

I've been so blessed by this group of friends.

I wrapped up my fun-filled weekend Sunday night with a little cultural activity. This year I decided to purchase season tickets to Birmingham Broadway. I will definitely be doing it again next year because the plays have been excellent and my seats are INCREDIBLE! Sunday nights production of of Beauty and the Beast was wonderful. My cousin had been talking for weeks about wanting to see it, so I decided that it would be a good little cousin date time. Don't know why we didn't take a picture because it's not often that we get dressed up.


Over the years, I've done my best to surround myself with people that possess the abilities that I don't. One of those such abilities is being the social planner...and one of my favorite social friends is none other than my roommate from Atlanta, Christen.

We share a love for many of the same things, she's just the one that typically finds about the activities and signs us up.

About 6 weeks ago, she sent a brief message: Garth is going to Nashville in December. Wanna go? I quickly responded yes and before I could even get my calendar up to write it down, she had the tickets purchased and the hotel room booked.

Our birthdays are about a month apart, so we decided that it would be the perfect gift to each other. Little did we know when we set out for Nashville that Thursday afternoon how perfect it would end up being.

We usually ride up together, but since we didn't really have the time to meet up before hand, we decided to just meet in Nashville this time. We arrived just in time for dinner...Cantina Loredo. Hands down, best guacamole in town!

After dinner, we headed over to check in and take a brief nap before the late night concert. Garth Brooks performed a series of 9 concerts in a matter of a few days. Due to the number of concerts, many were back to back. Ours was the 10 o'clock concert, and when we got to the arena they were still cleaning up from the previous concert.

We somehow squeezed our way to the front of the pack and were able to get to our seats...behind the stage in the upper section...relatively easily. Since Garth hasn't had a concert tour in ages, we decided a trip to the merchandise table was necessary. Then, Christen had the bright idea to try to go and take a picture so that we could get the stage behind us. It would mean someone would have to let us in a different portal, but we were hopeful.

We found who we thought to be a security guard and asked if we could go in and get a closer look at the stage. He asked went on to ask a series of you like country music, are you big fans, are you from here. We answered the first two with resounding yes's and then explained how we come to Nashville often for concerts, but are from out of state. As we explained, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two tickets with the words "these should help you get a good view of the stage."

At first, I didn't know what was happening...and then when I looked at the tickets and saw that they were for row one, I thought it must be a joke. Seriously, Christen and I just stood there too excited to even scream. We found the nearest worker and he assured us that the tickets were in fact real and that our seats were on the FLOOR!!! We made our way down to the seats only to find out that not only were they on the floor...they were FRONT AND CENTER!

The concert was incredible. Garth sang all of the good ones...and his wife Trisha Yearwood even made an appearance.

We finished the trip off with breakfast at Pancake Pantry the following morning...followed by a little shopping at some of our favorite Nashville places. It was definitely a trip I'll never forget. Next year's birthday celebration has A LOT to live up to!

End of the Semester Celebration!

Last August, I lost a friend. Not to law school.

Sarah Beth was quite the diligent studier these past few months. All of the reading and typing of papers really put a dent into her social life. We often joked that I was more social than she was...and that's pretty pitiful!

I seriously don't think we would have ever chatted had it not been for g-chat...or the fact that her study group was full of guys and sometimes she just needed to hear another female voice!

Wednesday, December 15 marked the last day of her exams. It also marked the day that I got my friend back! So, I made the drive down to celebrate. A good time was had by all...can't wait to do it again in May!