Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We have so many good friends, but many of them don't live in Birmingham so we don't get to see them very often. Our friends Leah and Rick who live in Seattle were in Atlanta visiting family for Christmas. Our other friends Katie and Trey who live in Chattanooga were in the Atlanta area also visiting family for Christmas. We were all able to meet up and have lunch and visit for a few hours. It was so nice! All of them were a part of our wedding and they are very special to us! Thanks guys!

Rick, Chad, and Trey

Katie, me, and Leah

I'm 30!

Well, I can't believe it, I'm 30! Chad is very happy that he is not the only 30 year-old in our household now and he does not want me to forget it. For the last few years I have had the privilege of celebrating my birthday with Chad's family and my family so the celebration gets drawn out. It's fun to celebrate more than once! Thanks to everyone for going out of your way to make my birthday so special.

First celebration-Dec. 27th: Chad's uncle Mark's birthday is on Dec. 31st so we get to celebrate our birthday together. This year we each got our own ice cream cake. Yum!!

Second celebration-Dec. 29th: My very own homemade cookie cake-my favorite! Plus a gift bag with nothing in it. My mom wrapped a gift card in the small bag you see in the picture. When I went to open it there was nothing in it. We think the cats got to it!
Thanks for such a wonderful birthday! It is so nice to be able to celebrate with family.

A Wonderful Christmas

We had a great Christmas this year! Here are some pictures:

Our unsuccessful gingerbread house
Christmas morning with Chad's parents and grandparents.

My new pashmina scarf that Teah and Ryan bought me in Prague

Dustin and Shannon-the newly engaged couple

The Pickle Game-We started this last year. My mom hides a small pickle in the Christmas tree and we take turns trying to find it. The one who finds it gets a special gift. Chad found it last year and I found it this year. So far it's a James family sweep. In the picture Dustin is looking for the pickle.
Thanks to everyone for making our Christmas so special and enjoyable!

First Sewing Project...

Here it is! I made 2 pillows this size for my couch and a smaller one for my chair, with a little help of course. They turned out well and I'm very proud of them. I hope to tackle some more difficult items soon. We took a break with our sewing classes during the holidays since everyone is so busy. We hope to start up again in January and learn to make some children's clothes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas! We are so thankful for all God has provided for us in our lives. We are so blessed by wonderful friends and family who support and encourage us. We are having a great time in Chattanooga with Chad's family. We will be here a few more days and then we go to my mom's for a few days before heading back to Birmingham. Enjoy the holidays, spending time with family, and get some rest!
Our Christmas Tree

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wishing You a Merry Christmas...

The Christmas decorations are all up and we are about half way finished buying presents. Hopefully this week we will get all the presents bought and my goal is to wrap the ones I have this weekend. That way we can have a stress free week next week with not much to do.

We survived hosting our first Christmas party at our house this past Sunday for our Core Group at church. We spent most of the day on Saturday putting up our lights and decorations outside, which you can see here:

This year we added the wreaths, which I LOVE, and the lights on the small bushes. Chad did a great job cleaning up the yard and putting up most of the decorations outside. We also cleaned the house on Saturday. Secretly, I love having people over because it forces me to clean my house really well and I'm always so glad it's clean when I finish!!! Last, but not least, we decorated our tree on Saturday night and it looks so beautiful. We didn't take a picture yet, but we will try to post one later.

On Sunday I finished some last minute things in the house and made some appetizers for our party while Chad went to the Samford track Christmas party. We worked really hard on our table decor and really enjoyed using some of our wedding gifts that we have not used yet. Here is the table we set up in the study:
We also had our kitchen table set up, but we didn't get a good picture of it. We had a great time visiting with everyone and of course the guys played the Wii for a while. We would love to do it again some time soon.
We are going to Chattanooga for Christmas this year and then to my mom's afterwards for my birthday and New Year's. So, lots of traveling, but we are looking forward to seeing our family and hopefully some friends along the way.
We have officially received 5 Christmas cards as of today and we are looking forward to receiving alot more! We love seeing pictures of all those babies!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

I'm so happy that Christmas is so close. I just love this time of year! We are doing well with our decorating. I decorated the house before we left for Thanksgiving and we bought our tree when we got back. Now all we have to do is decorate the tree and put up the lights and decorations outside. We are hosting a Christmas party this weekend for our Core Group and I'm excited because I love having people over to our house! So, we must finish all our decorating by then. Also, our Christmas cards are just about ready to be mailed. Everyday I go to the mailbox hoping to get our first Christmas card in the mail and we have yet to receive one. Maybe tomorrow will be the lucky day. Now I've just got to start buying Christmas presents!! Better get started!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sew Much Fun

I know that is a cheesy title for my blog, but I thought it was appropriate. My first sewing class was lots of fun and very successful. It was just me and a friend from our core group, Karen, along with Chris, our "instructor." Chris was very patient with us as we are both very much beginners in the art of sewing. We started out by refreshing our skills on sewing a button and then quickly learning how to hem pants. That's all thanks to me since I brought my whole wardrobe to be fixed according to them. Then, we cut out all the fabric for our pillows and began making the cording. Chris finished up by making one of my smaller pillows so we could see what we were going to do next time we meet. I went to Hancock Fabrics today to pick up a few things for my new hobby. Luckily, they were having a sale for Veteran's Day. Many things were 50% off! Now, time to go practice! I will post some pictures once all the pillows are done.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ready for the Holidays

The James household is ready for the holidays! The holidays are always great for us because we both have time off of work and we get to spend alot of quality time together.

As I'm writing this Chad is at the Alabama State Meet recruiting athletes for next year. I'm trying to get some things done around the house today as usual. We'll see how much actually gets done! We have been very busy lately! There has been alot going on at school that I have had to help out with and Chad is winding down the cross country season. They have one more race next weekend and then they are done racing until the end of January.

Tomorrow I am starting a sewing class and I'm so excited about it! One of the mentors in our Community Group is a wonderful seamstress and has agree to teach some of us the basics about sewing. I'm really looking forward to learning how to sew so I can make things for around the house, gifts, and hopefully children's clothes one day. I'll keep you updated on how it is going.

For those of you that don't know, my mom had surgery last Wednesday to remove a benign tumor on her ovary. We were all very relieved to hear that it was benign! God once again showed us that He is in control of everything and we just need to trust Him.

We are going to Houston for Thanksgiving this year probably for the last time because my dad is moving to Florida! He has been out of a job for a while and finally got an offer in Melbourne, Florida. He has already started working there, but will go back to Houston to be with us for Thanksgiving. I'm sad that this will be the last time for me to stay in the house I grew up in.

I've already begun my Christmas shopping and I have found lots of presents that I'm excited to give! I'm about half way done at this point and I'm hoping to finish early as usual. I love getting my presents wrapped early and under the tree to admire.


Chad was out of town for a cross country meet for Halloween this year. I invited 2 of my new friends from work over for a girls Halloween night at my house. We had so much fun! I made a big pot of chili and chocolate delight for dessert. We carved pumpkins, which you can see below, ate, played the Wii, and watched a movie. Unfortunately, we only had one group of trick-or-treaters so we had ALOT of candy left.
On Sunday, Nov. 2nd, our Community Group had a Fall Party where we dressed up in our Halloween costumes. We dressed up as Olympians! We had so many clothes to choose from that it was hard to decide what to wear. Here is a picture of us and our Core Group at the Halloween Party.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall is Here!

I just love the fall weather and colors. I bought mums a few weeks ago for our front porch. My mom advised me to get some that had not bloomed yet so they would last through the fall. I tried to chose the best one from the selection at Home Depot, but they are already dying and I'm so sad! I may just have to buy some more because they are so beautiful. I also bought our Halloween candy to give out at our house, which was a BIG mistake. I even tried to hide it from Chad so he would not get upset with me for buying it and then not having willpower not to eat it. Well, that didn't last long because he found it and every time he eats a piece I HAVE to eat a piece. It was in the low 60's today in Birmingham and so nice! I hope this weather stays around. It sure it helping out our power bill.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Back To Our Routine

Chad is home! He has been home for about 2 weeks and it has been hard getting back into the swing of things here at home. He has been so tired and has had a hard time adjusting. For about the first 2 weeks he went to sleep each night between 8:00 and 9:00pm. That is very uncharacteristic of him. I think it was a combination of the time difference and the lack of sleep he got while away. He is finally back to normal (I think) and we have gotten back in our day to day routine. I actually had to get used to him sleeping in the bed with me again so I did not sleep very well for the first few days he was home. We are as busy as usual, but we are hoping to make some time to do some more home improvements this fall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

24 More Hours...

until Chad gets home!!!! I'm so excited and I think he is finally ready to be home. I spoke with him briefly tonight and for him it was the morning of the day he leaves. The Closing Ceremonies were last night, but he didn't tell me alot about it besides he took his video camera this time. They asked them to not take cameras to the Opening Ceremonies, so he followed the rules and didn't get any pictures of his own. He was hoping to get pictures from other people though and I hope he didn't forget. Before he leaves he was going to try to take pictures around the Paralympic Village since he hasn't taken many yet. Well, it's time for me to go clean a little around the house so the house will look nice when Chad gets home! I probably won't post for a few days, please forgive me!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Well, I was officially initiated to Gresham today. I was on duty in the lunchroom this morning during breakfast when I look over to see two boys in the breakfast line with their arms around each other and one with his arms around the others neck. I could tell it would not be good. The next thing I knew, they were out in an open area throwing punches at each other!!! I have never been in that situation so I just reacted without even thinking. I attempted to break them up for what seemed like 10 minutes, but I'm sure was only about 30 seconds. At the same time I was yelling at the top of my lungs for them to let go of each other and stop. Right about the time I got them separated I was happy to see another teacher running in my direction to help. She took one and I took the other and we marched them straight to the office. My heart was pounding so hard and I'm sure I was beat red! It took a while for me to calm down, but by the end of the day I had forgotten about it. Needless to say, the two boys were suspended from school for 3 days. I really hope next time I'm not in the right place at the right time to break up any fights.

On another note, I have been glued to the news all night watching hurricane Ike progress. My grandparents live about 30 minutes from the Louisiana border and were able to evacuate. They are VERY worried about their house and are hoping the flooding is not bad. I hear most people in the Houston area are hunkering down, so I will call tomorrow to make sure they are all ok. Please pray that everyone will be kept safe and that there won't be much damage and flooding.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One More Week...

and Chad will be home. I will be picking him up at the airport next Thursday night at 8:54pm, assuming his plane is on time. I can't wait!

I have not been as busy this week, but it's been good. I have gotten quite a few things done around the house that need to be done, but I still have alot more to do. I will have all weekend to try to get some of those things done.

Tonight we have Open House at school and a Ribbon Cutting for the new renovations in our building. I'm resting a little at home before I have to go back to school. I used to stay after school until Open House because it was too far to drive home and back. It was so nice to be able to come home today after school.

School is going well! We finally know which children we will be working with and we will start our "real" schedule on Monday. I'm ready to start working with the children so I can start seeing some results!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Keeping Busy

I continue to keep busy. Yesterday I treated myself to a massage and it was so nice and relaxing. I sure do wish I could get one at least every other week. I am slowly beginning to get some things done around the house. I have many things on my "to do" list to get accomplished before Chad gets home, so I better get started soon! This week I have a few meetings after school and we have our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House on Thursday at school. By then, it will only be one more week until Chad comes home.

I woke up early this morning to call him. He had been shopping all day! I hope he didn't spend too much money! He had to go to a meeting so I'm waiting to call him back. He said the Opening Ceremonies were amazing and a few times while he was there he got overwhelmed and was so glad that he made the decision to go and be a part of it.

Also, last night I got to talk to 2 of my friends on skype. Abbey and Jan somehow found me on skype and called while I was on my computer. That was fun! A little later, Chad called on skype! So, I got to actually see him for the first time. He was in a room that was set up like a computer lab. The computers had webcams built in and each computer had a headset with it. It was really cool!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Cell Phone

I finally spoke with Chad again tonight. Apparently, something was wrong with his old cell phone so they gave him a new one. He did not have much time to talk, but it seems he is doing well. Please be praying for a couple of the athletes and their classifications. Last night they reclassified several of the athletes, which may mean that some of them cannot compete at all. Their classification is determined by their disability and the amount of mobility they have in certain body parts. After going through tests with the officials, some athletes have been reclassified into different groups which means they may have to throw certain implements that are much heavier than they have been practicing with. Also, a certain mark is required in each classification to be able to compete. Since these athletes have not been competing in that classification they do not have the mark. That is the short version of the story! This is just very frustrating and sad for those athletes who have been training for this for 4 years. One more thing...the coaches were told they would not walk in during the opening ceremonies, but Chad found out that they are letting them walk in after all. How exciting!!! He can't decide if it would be better to walk in or watch from the stands so that he can see everything. Everyone that walks in is kept in a hallway and is not able to see the opening ceremonies take place. Personally, I would rather walk in to have the experience and watch the opening ceremonies on-line or TV later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Half Way

Tomorrow is the half way mark for Chad being gone. I REALLY miss him and it's especially hard not being able to talk to him much. I'm sure it will only get worse over the next two weeks as he gets busier and busier. I'm trying to keep myself busy to keep my mind off of it. Several of my friends here in Birmingham have been wonderful. I have gone to dinner with many people to catch up on life. Tonight I was invited to dinner at Adam and Karen Blair's house and had a great time visiting and holding little Charlie! Thanks to those who have gone out of their way to hang out with me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Week Down, Three To Go

As of tomorrow morning, Chad has been gone for one week. It's actually gone by really quickly, but I'm sure I won't be saying that in the last week. I have kept busy going out to eat with friends and doing things around the house.

There was an "exciting" happening in the James household earlier this week that took up much of my time and distracted me from missing Chad. Monday morning as I reached for my laptop bag to take to school, I noticed the strap was wet. As I investigated, I discovered the carpet in our living room was wet all along one of our walls. Lovely, and just after Chad left! Why does it always happen like that? I thought I was done taking care of these things since I now have a husband to do it! Anyway, I had to leave for school so I would not be late, but took half a day off to come home and deal with the situation. Before leaving school, I called someone to come look at it. Luckily, he was able to come by shortly after I got home. We are still baffled and are not sure where the water is coming from other than from under the ground in front of our house. We don't know exactly how to fix it yet, but are talking about our options. My carpet has dried out, but still smells a little musty. I hope it goes away!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

After a 4 hour nap...

I feel much better! Wow, I sure needed that. I spoke with Chad briefly tonight and he was telling me about all the clothes and things he got today! It's amazing what all they gave him. He got shirts, shorts, bags, socks, hats, shoes, and much much more. He got the entire outfit that the U.S.A. team wore in the opening ceremony and the outfit they will wear in the closing ceremony. I guess I will have more clothes to wash! :)


Wow! What a week it has been! Let's just say...I'm very tired and I think I will take a nice long nap when I get home from work today.

Since the cross country team had camp this week, Chad has been very busy with all that goes into that as well as trying to do their workouts for while he is gone and trying to get everything ready for his trip. I have tried to help him as much as I can this week, but I will be glad to have a weekend to rest soon.

I tried to get as much packed for him before last night as I could, but it obviously wasn't enough. We went bowling with the cross country team last night and did not get home until about 9:00 pm. Then, we stayed up until after 1:00 am packing all of his things, making sure skype was working, and taking care of some other logistics before he left. Then, we woke up about 5:00 am for me to get ready for school and Chad to pack the car and we left at 5:45 am. We made it to the airport and then I went straight to school.

I know Chad is so tired because he has not slept much at all this week and has been busy non-stop during the day. I am praying that he will be able to get some rest while he is in Colorado over the next few days before leaving for Japan. His flight is about 13 hours to Japan, so hopefully he can get some rest at least by then so that he can enjoy every minute of his trip and be at the top of his game.

By the way...I still don't believe this, but I got my laptop from school yesterday, Wednesday, the day before Chad left! Isn't God so faithful even in the little things?!? It just takes a while for us to realize that has a plan for everything, even something as silly as this. I wasn't really too worried about it because I had come to the conclusion that if I needed to, I would just go out and by a new one this weekend because I WILL be talking to my husband while he is away from me for a month. Well, I won't have to do that now and it's a good thing because that would not be good for our finances. God continues to teach me that He will take care of me in all situations, now if I would just learn the lesson and stop worrying that would be great!

Please pray for Chad and all the athletes and coaches as the travel alot over the next few days especially. Also, pray that he would get some rest and be given opportunities to share Christ with others that he comes in contact with. Thanks!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

4 More Days...

until Chad leaves and I'm already sad and feel like I have not seen him enough. The Samford cross country runners are moving in to their dorms today. Chad has been at the school all day working and handing out dorm keys. Tomorrow at 3:00 pm they start their cross country camp and he will be busy pretty much 24/7 with the athletes until he leaves. The athletes will come over to our house on Tuesday night for dinner and games, so I have been cleaning today.

I will take Chad to the airport early Thursday morning, Aug. 21 and he will actually get back a day earlier than we originally thought, which will be Sept. 18th. Last night we set up a blog for him to write on while he is in Beijing. Check it out: it is on the top of my friends list in the left column. The site is He is going to try to keep it updated as much as possible while he is away.

I still can't get Skype to work on our desktop computer!!! It is so frustrating! We are actually borrowing an old CPU from Chad's parents and I can't even get the internet to work on it right now. Also, I can't get the webcam to work and I think I've figured out why. I think it's because the computer has a 1.0 USB port instead of a 2.0. I am supposed to get a laptop at school and was hoping to bring that home to use to talk to Chad, but we have not gotten them yet and I'm not sure we will soon enough. So, other than going out and buying a new desktop computer (which we know we need to do in the near future anyway), I'm not sure what other options I have. Why are computers so difficult?!?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School Begins...

TOMORROW! While I'm not ready for it to start because I LOVE not working, I'm also ready for it to start so that I can see how my new school works. We have had 3 teacher workdays now and the kids will be coming tomorrow. For the next few days I will be helping out in the office and anywhere else I am needed. On Friday we have a Title I meeting to learn more about our responsibilities this year. Next week we will look at data from our test scores last year to determine which children need our help the most. Then, we will go through the long and grueling process of making our schedules. I'm excited to begin working with the kids so that I can start seeing some results.

Chad leaves next Thursday, so it is getting closer and closer! He is very excited, but we still have alot to do and buy before he leaves. We have our skype accounts set up and Chad's webcam and headset are up and running, but we are still working on mine.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shopping with Chad...

is SO DIFFICULT! Today we went shopping for some large picture frames for our study and bedroom. We are going to print some pictures that we have taken on some of our trips and frame them. I went the other day to one of my favorite stores-Hobby Lobby-and found the perfect frames for over our bed. Since we wanted 3 frames I was trying to find some for a decent price because I am the thrify one in the family. I took Chad there to make sure he liked them and decide which size would be best. Needless to say, he did not like anything that I had already picked out, but instead he wanted to get some frames that were twice the price!! Now, you might wonder if he really cares how I decorate our house. The answer is YES! He does not like when I buy things without his approval and alot of times I have to bring them home and make sure he likes them first and then I end up taking many things back because he doesn't like them. As I said on an earlier post, we are learning (or trying to learn) how to compromise. By the end of the day and after checking several stores, we found something we both love, even though I had to give in on the price!! Once we get the pictures printed, I will post pictures of the final product.

Just a side note...we got to have a lazy day today and watch many of the Olympic events on TV, besides our trip to purchase the picture frames, which ended up taking WAY longer than it should have. This will be our last free weekend before Chad leaves for Beijing. Next weekend the Samford Cross Country Team comes in town for Cross Country Camp. Even though they will be staying in Birmingham for camp this year, they will be very busy the whole week before Chad leaves, so I will not see him much that week. So, needless to say, we are having a nice weekend spending lots of time together!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Home Improvements

We finally planted some things in our front flower bed in June and just this past week we lined the flower bed with rocks. We are very proud of ourselves since this is the first large outdoor project we have tackled. The hardest part was deciding which plants to buy. For those of you that don't know... Chad and I seem to have completely different opinons on most everthing, which makes things really difficult, but we are learning to compromise. Also, notice the hanging plant and potted plant by the door. We have a few of those in the back as well, but you will not see pictures of the back for a while because we have alot of work to do. The challenge now is keeping the plants alive and I think we are doing a pretty good job so far. Only one thing has died so far and they were some white annuals, which are cheap, so I was glad it was those and not something else. Take a look at our results:

The second improvement we made last week was in our study. We ordered a desk and file cabinet from Home Decorators on-line. I would highly recommend this company! We ordered the furniture on a Sunday afternoon and it was on our doorstep the following Thursday. We had to put the file cabinet together, but it was pretty simple and we only had to put the legs on the desk. So, we now officially have a study and we love it already. There are still a few other things we would like to do in the room like paint the chandelier, hanging a picture above the desk, etc., but it looks much better already. (By the way...we have not gotten rid of the ugly blue couch yet because Chad just can't let it go. It is out in our garage until we can figure out what we are doing with it.) Check out our new study:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Classroom

I went up to my classroom yesterday and I will go again tomorrow to try to finish unpacking all of my boxes and arranging my room. It is the perfect location because it is in the main building and basically just up the stairs from the office where I will sign in and out each morning and afternoon. Also, it is right across the hall from a teacher workroom that houses the only copier in the building and the only teacher restroom on that floor. I have enough space in my room to unpack all my things and put them in the cabinets and drawers. Also, I found a nice surprise of 2 brand new Dell desktop computers with flat panel monitors in my room when I arrived on Monday. I had heard that each room had 2 Dell computers already that were not that old and would be getting 2 more brand new ones. Also, each teacher is getting a laptop. Our principal e-mailed us and said they had been ordered. Well, I assumed I would only get the laptop since I would not have kids in my room, but as of now the computers are in my classroom, so we'll see how long they last in there. I'm hoping our laptops will be in soon since they were ordered at the same time. Also, I just recently found out that written into the contract with the newly renovated building was that each classroom would get a smart board. For those of you that don't know what that is it is an interactive whiteboard that you display in the front of the room, most likely by or on the dry-erase board or chalkboard. There is also a projector that is hooked up to your computer and you can either project something from the computer up on the screen or you can use a small hand-held "notepad" to write things up on the board. They are so cool!!! I am doubtful that I will actually have one in my room, but then again I would not use it much, but all of the regular classrooms will have one for me to borrow or use with the kids. I'm so excited about my new school. My old school was really nice and practically brand new when I started working there, so I was very spoiled. I'm glad to be at a new school that is almost just as nice and that has much more advanced technology!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday Chad!!

Chad turned the big 3-0 on August 1st! I had a surprise birthday party for him on Saturday, August 2nd and it was a success! He had a great time and it was so good to see some people we had not seen in a while. Thanks for coming! For dessert we had banana splits, which we also had at our wedding in place of a groom's cake. We all went in together and I made a money tree for his present to start his TV fund. Of course we went shopping for a TV the next day, but we decided we should save up a little more money before purchasing one. Here are some pictures from the party:
Chad blowing out his 3-0 candles on his banana split.

Chad and Tommy. Do you like their birthday hats?

The money tree.

I thought I would share the funny story of me making the money tree. I was planning on making it the day before the party, but ran out of time. So, that night I had to wait for Chad to fall asleep and sneak out of our bedroom into the guest bedroom to make it. I then stayed up for 2 hours making it and snuck back into bed without him even knowing!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Over (almost)...

Well, the summer is coming to an end. I'm very sad because it always goes by way too fast and I never get all of my summer goals accomplished.

This past Monday I finally moved all of my classroom items into my new room. I have a really nice big room and I won't even have kids coming in there. I'm excited to be able to spread out and have a nice space of my own. I will go up next week and try to unpack and get organized. The teachers start school next Friday, Aug. 8th, and the kids start the following Wednesday, Aug. 13th.

This week is filled with trying to get some more things done around the house. Today cleaning is on the agenda and so far I have just spent time on the computer, so we'll see how that goes!

Hilton Head, South Carolina

We returned from our annual family trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina last Saturday. That was our last vacation/trip for the summer and it is very sad it has come to an end, but it was a good trip to end on. We always have such a great time with Chad's family in Hilton Head! Some of the fun things we did in Hilton Head include: bike riding on the island, playing boche on the beach, laying out and playing volleyball at the pool, shopping, and flying kites. Here are a few pictures from our vacation:

A beautiful sunset.

Palm trees.

The James'.

The whole family.

Look closely and you will see our kites flying in the sky.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July Fun

Well, as usual July has passed by way too fast. Here are a few updates from this month and what we have coming up:

For July 4th we went to visit my mom and Roland in Big Canoe. My mom, Chad, and I ran the Peachtree Road Race on the morning of the 4th. My mom only started running about a year and a half ago and her goal was the run the Peachtree this year. So, we went to run with her and had so much fun. Our goal was to run the whole thing without stopping and we did it! It was very, very crowded so we had to dodge people and run around people pretty much the whole time. We had a great time and hope to be able to do it every year.

Last week I baby-sat all week. Since I was a sophomore in college I have been baby-sitting for this family. They have 3 girls and when I started the youngest was 2 years old and now she is 11. It's really crazy to see how quickly they grow up. The oldest girl had a leadership conference to go to in the Boston area so the parents decided to take her early to look at colleges since she will be in 11th grade this year. So, that left me with the 11 and 13 year-old girls for the week. We really had a great time and I feel more like I am just hanging out with them than baby-sitting them.

This week has been filled with doctor's appointments and getting some things done around the house. Also, we have started packing for Hilton Head, our annual family trip with Chad's family. We are very excited! We leave this Saturday and come back the next Saturday.

The Monday after we get back from Hilton Head I will move into my new classroom. I have most of my things in my house right now and I'm ready to get them out!

For those of you that don't know...Chad will be a National Team Coach for the Paralympic Games in Beijing. He will be gone for about a month from Aug. 21st-Sept. 19th. This is such a great opportunity and we are both very excited that he gets to go!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anniversary Trip to Gatlinburg

We went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee June 21st-24th to celebrate our one year aniversary. It was so good to get away, especially after having a rough last few months. Since we have not gotten to spend much quality time together lately, we needed this time to get away and just be together with no distractions. We had such a wonderful and relaxing time and it was definitely worth it! I know Chad is having a good time and is stress-free when he gets silly and he was very silly the entire trip. He needed to get away and not have to think about work for a while.

Gatlinburg is such a quaint little town and has some cute shops! We spent lots of time walking down the main strip and eating at several yummy restaurants there. Our cabin was perfect for just the 2 of us. It had a beautiful view, a hot tub on the balcony, and a pool table (let's just say that Chad was pretty impressed with my skills and he needs to practice alot before he plays me again). We tried to spend as much time there as possible so we could relax and enjoy the surroundings. One day we spent about 5 hours at Ober Gatlinburg and were able to do the Scenic Chair Lift, Alpine Slide (which I remember doing when I was a kid and was VERY excited to do again), bumper cars, and 2 different water rides. On our anniversary we went on a hike in the Smoky Mountains and got some beautiful pictures of the views. Here are some pictures of our trip. Sorry there are so many, I couldn't just pick a few.

Our little one-bedroom cabin.
The view from our cabin.
We ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company one night.
Hiking in the Smokies.
Alum Cave Trail in the Smoky Mountains.
A beatiful view of the Smokies.
Another pretty view.
Wow! I think we'll have to hang this one in our house.
Riding on the Scenic Chair Lift.
The Alpine Slide.
Chad loved this ride!
He talked me into riding this one and promised I wouldn't get wet.
Wet Tara after riding the water ride.

Monday, June 30, 2008

New Design

I have been seeing all these cute backgrounds on other people's blogs, so I decided I should look into it. I found out you can get free designs on-line. There are some really cute ones, so it was hard to decide. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

1 year Anniversary

Wow! I can't believe it! Monday is our 1 year Anniversary. We are taking a mini-vacation this weekend to celebrate. We rented this log cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee from Saturday until Tuesday. We are very excited to get away and be alone for a few days since our lives have been extra stressful over the last 4 months. There are many things to do in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area such as: horseback riding, whitewater rafting, shopping, mini-golf (which Chad LOVES), hiking, etc. We are currently working on the agenda for the trip and hope to get to do many of these fun things. We will be sure to post pictures after our trip.

Zac and Kristin's Wedding

Chad's cousin, Zac, got married to Kristin on May 24th. They started dating a few months before Chad and I did, so they dated for almost 7 years before getting married. Kristin and I have been "roommates" for the past 5 years on our annual Hilton Head trip with their family. We are both very excited to stay in the same room as our husbands this year! The wedding was outside in a garden and the reception was under a big white tent. It was beautiful and we were so glad to be there for it. Chad got to walk Zac's mom out after the ceremony, which was pretty special.

Memorial Day Fun

On Memorial Day we had our small group over for a hamburger cook-out and to play our Wii!! It was lots of fun. After we visited for a while we ate dinner and then the men played the Wii while the women visited a little longer. One couple in our small group, Adam and Karen, had their baby that day so we made a Wii character in honor of Baby Charlie.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Birthday, Charlie, and Arkansas

My brother, sister, and I (and of course the 2 husbands) went in together to get my mom a Kitchenaid mixer for her birthday. She has been talking about how she wants one for about a year now and I thought it was time to get her one. She absolutely loved it! Here are some pictures of her opening her present.

A couple in our Core Group (small group), Adam and Karen, had a baby on May 26th. His name is Charlie and he is so cute. We brought them dinner about a week after he was born and I got to hold him right away. He was getting a little squirmy so I put him up on my shoulder and he fell asleep curled up in a ball. It was so sweet and I was in heaven!

June 4th-8th I went to Little Rock, Arkansas. My high school friends and I had a friend reunion. They were all a part of my wedding last summer and we realized how much we missed spending time together. We all live in different places now and don't get to see each other very often and have not all been together in several years until last summer. Sarah lives in Little Rock and her parents and 2 sisters live very close as well. She showed us where she works, hangs out. likes to eat, and all the hot spots around Little Rock. We climbed up Pinnacle Mountain to see a beautiful view and got to experience many of the cute shops and places around the city. We saw Rachel, Sarah's younger sister, who just had a baby in April. Rachel's baby, AnnMarie, is so sweet and calm and I got to hold her for about an hour the first night we were there and I loved every minute of it. On Saturday we went to visit Sarah's parents and her other sister, Rebekah, and her little girl, Elisabeth. It was so great to see them, we grew up hanging out at their house alot and we all feel like they are like our second family. Elisabeth is so precious! She was born almost 2 years ago and was only 2 pounds when she was born. It is amazing to see her now. Although she has grown alot, she is still small for her age, but is very mature and speaks well.

Christie, Me, and Amber on our first night together having cocktails (or "sipping cocktails" for some of us).

Suzanne and Sarah

Me holding sweet AnnMarie.

Precious AnnMarie!

Sarah and Elisabeth-she loves her "la la".