Monday, December 26, 2011

a story unfolded

Merry Christmas, y'all! 
Well...technically I'm a day late, but I just couldn't take myself away from the festivities long enough to blog yesterday. I was either fixing the tofu-veggie scrambler that I contributed to Christmas breakfast, eating pumpkin bread, resting in my pumpkin bread-induced food coma, enjoying (very amusing) family story time, or...eating pumpkin bread. 

Now for the more important part of yesterday: As my family and I were doing our Christmas devotional yesterday morning, my mom brought up something I find really interesting--and sort of incredible. We were talking about the three gifts the wise men brought and why they brought what they did (gold, frankincense and myrrh). I've always been taught that wise men brought these three things to Jesus after He was born, but I had never been told why
Gold represented His royalty as a King; Frankincense symbolized His divinity, as it had been used in Old Testament times (under God's command) on the meat offerings unto the Lord; and the Myrrh was actually a foreshadowing of His future death, as myrrh was then used in ointments to embalm those who had died--in this case, He who would die.
The wise men didn't just bring any gifts..they brought gifts that symbolized the enormity of Who they were coming to see: the King of Kings, the perfect and ultimate Sacrifice, and the One who would die for the world--even those who killed Him.

Knowing that changes things a little, I'd say. Gifts to God are not to be flippantly brought--it is, after all, God that we are bringing them too. What gifts am I bringing? What gifts am I not bringing? The story of Jesus' birth suddenly becomes much more than just a story. It is a command--a command to bring only the best. May we only bring the best. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

christmas whirlwind

The last time I blogged I gave you a sneak peak of my friend Grace's engagement, so here I will finish what I started. I would post every picture, but I think my blog would go on image overload, so I'll try to give you the best captured moments of the night:
Grace's parents and sister drove from Atlanta to celebrate at Normal Bar with us--love this sweet family so much!
The whole family

All the girls crowding around Grace to see the ring and hear the proposal story
The ring is literally Grace in a piece of jewelry

Of course we ordered Grit cake for this special occasion :) 
It's surreal, getting to that point in life where friends getting engaged becomes so normal. By the end of the night, my cheeks were quite literally sore from smiling so much. My happiness for these two goes beyond description, so I can only imagine what it's like to be the one with the ring on your finger! 

Here are some other (maybe not as exciting) moments from my Christmas break so far:
Lots of moments attempting to enjoy popcorn in the living room, only to have Ellie bombard us for her share 
With Christmas only 4 days away, I find it appropriate that Ellie channels Mother Mary here
Okay I lied...this really is as exciting! My Meme got married last night to Dr. Tom Hodges, the second love of her life. We hadn't expected a wedding over Christmas break, but love knows not here she is, getting ready for the ceremony. Such a beautiful bride, especially with the sassy feathers she got put in her hair for the special night!

Needless to say, the past week has been a whirlwind--an exciting, overwhelmingly happy whirlwind. But I wouldn't have it any other way, because these moments all mean that the people I love are happier, and what more could I ask for?

OH, and one last thing...
Today marks the 26th birthday of my sister, best friend and soulmate. I love her more than words and am beyond thankful to be able to celebrate another year of her life, because without Morgan I am not Sarah Beth. 
I love you, Moe!

Okay...for real...that is all for now. xoxo!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ellie goes to school...again

Well Wednesday brought (the yummier) round two of gingerbread house making! It also brought payday, so that's always good news. (Who doesn't want to be paid in gingerbread families and gumdrops?)

While I didn't have my own gingerbread house to drown in candy canes and marshmallows, some of the students were kind enough to let me in on their constructions. Oh, to be back in second grade...

And good news: no icing in the hair that day! That may or may not have been pure luck. By the end of the hour, we were all a little tired--especially Ellie. So she plopped down right on the reading chair:

On a different, more grown up of my dearest, most precious friends, Grace Morris, got ENGAGED on Wednesday!! That's precisely why I have abandoned my blog--who can write with all of this excitement going on? I will dedicate my next blog post to that celebration a little later, but here's a quick glimpse into that night:

Many more details and pictures to come, but I just had to give you a taste of what I will undoubtedly be rambling about until May 26, 2012 :) I hope your Christmas break has been as full of happy things as mine has!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ellie goes to school

My mom teaches 2nd grade. 
Bless her.
She is literally the most patient, caring, encouraging, and enthusiastic teacher I have ever known, so spending the past 29 years with 7- and 8-year-olds has actually been wonderful to her. 
Again, bless her.

I love kids--I honestly cannot wait for the day when I have my own--but I can't say that I have the patience to do what she does everyday. However, I love short spurts of being in the classroom, so when mom begged me and Morgan to come help her classroom make gingerbread houses this week I gladly obliged! (Note that we will be decorating the houses we built today with candy tomorrow, and I have accepted leftover candy as my pay)
And Morgan and I weren't the only ones who made the trip to Clarkesville Elementary--Ellie came too! I want to say that the kids were most excited to have Mrs. Cody's daughters in the classroom, but I think we all know who got the attention...

But who can blame them? I wouldn't have been able to keep my hands off of this ball of fur at that age either! Who am I kidding?...I'm 22, and I still can't.

I was initially employed to help out, but I ended up building an entire gingerbread house for one of my mom's students who wasn't there today. And let me tell you, those things are not easy to make. The girls at my table and I took comfort in the fact that all of our roofs were collapsing, all of our graham crackers were breaking and none of us could seem to make our chimneys stand up perfectly straight. 
Did I mention that I ended up with icing on my face and in my hair?...somehow I managed to be the only one in the classroom with that problem.

I can only guess what tomorrow will bring...gumdrops in my shoes? Peppermint candy in my ponytail? 
There's no telling--adventures from tomorrow to come soon!

Monday, December 12, 2011

a catch up

I vowed that once I was through with finals I would be a free, blogging bird. I take it back. I have been a free bird, minus the blogging. But while I wasn't writing, I really was doing things that were just as good, like breakfast at Mama's Boy to wish my roommate off:
Amberleia was done with school early (lucky duck!) so we celebrated the beginning of her Christmas break at the best restaurant in town with probably 6 cups of coffee. Probably more.
And the annual Hampton Christmas breakfast--hands down THE best breakfast of the year, every year. 

Cinnamon rolls, homemade pumpkin muffins, bacon, pigs in a blanket, cheese grits, eggs, fruit salad,  and strawberry lemonade mimosas! I told you so. 
And lots of Lifetime Christmas movies...lots of Lifetime Christmas movies. Maybe too many. 
No, definitely not too many. There is no such thing as too many Lifetime Christmas movies. 

And then the weekend brought a whole new round of festivities! Classy Christmas at the Oak House (which I still have not uploaded pictures from, so those will have to come later) and two--yes, two--showers for Morgan. I continue to live vicariously through her throughout all of this. 
She didn't have time to open all of her presents at the shower on Sunday, so I volunteered to help her and Trey open them later last night. I mean...I was just trying to be helpful. And I love opening presents. And wishing they were mine. 
Trey's bulldog Moe helped out too! Two Moe's at one time made for quite the night:

Needless to say, by the end of the weekend we were all exhausted--myself especially, considering I didn't roll out of bed until noon today. Shameful? No, necessary. Cheers to Christmas break! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

let the christmas posts begin

I hate to sound so cliché, but Christmas is just the most wonderful time of year. While a lot of people associate the season with loads of added stress, the dreaded trip to the in-laws' and the pressure of finding the perfect (and somehow cheapest) gift for everyone on their list, I find the season to be nothing less than the happiest time of year. The house smells like Christmas trees, lights are everywhere, carols are playing incessantly, baked goods are never far from reach...I tell you, the list goes on. Oh, and the ribbons. Ellie loves having those around:

My home in Athens even has a cozy, Christmas feel to it already, special thanks to the craftiness of Amberleia! 

Let's go back to last Christmas, which brought with it the most beautiful snow I've ever seen. Actually, it was the most beautiful snow on Christmas day in Georgia I had ever seen (as that was a first). This makes me want to reminisce.. 

Needless to say, my dad's truck was the only thing getting us out of our driveway

We couldn't stand it--after Christmas festivities we made the trip up to Lake Burton to see the snowy view from our cabin. b-e-a-utiful!
Now that I have successfully gotten my hopes up for another white Christmas, I pray that it actually happens (Jesus, I hope you're reading this blog). Let the countdown to Christmas begin!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

hello december!

Hey, world. For the past four days I have been nothing less than a social recluse, and I blame it on hell week. Most people have dead week before hell week--no, schedule skipped straight through dead week and right into hell, literally. But suddenly I find myself having this twenty minute-ish break, and the first thing that comes to my mind is, "I have time to blog!"
Blogging has become somewhat of an outlet for me, so in those moments when I feel like I need a break blogging is the first and only thing I seem to want to do. Since I don't have much time, I'll just share a little bit of my Thanksgiving break with you. But believe you me, after I turn in my portfolio tomorrow morning, I will be a free bird! A free, regularly blogging bird. Until then, here are some snapshots from our traditional Turkey Day photo shoot:

This is me not wanting to take any more pictures. Honestly, I was ready to eat turkey before we even started.

I don't know why, but I just couldn't take Thanksgiving pictures very seriously this year. We came out with significantly less pictures than we usually do, so it will be interesting to see what we do about a Christmas card...
On a post-Thanksgiving note, Happy December! Christmas is absolutely my favorite time of year (minus the cold), and so seeing "1" on my calendar today makes this week a little easier, because I know that the season is officially in full swing. Until tomorrow! xoxo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

it's the little things

Um, what happened to the entire first half of my Thanksgiving break? Is anyone with me?

Maybe it's because I love being home (way more than most college students do, I can promise you that) or because I am drowning in school work that I am struggling to find time to finish or because I'm 22 and apparently time goes by faster the older you get--maybe it's a magic combination of all three--but this break has flown. Right past me and into the oblivion of days gone it has flown.

But that's okay, because it has all been good. My days have been full, but they've been sweet from beginning to end. Especially on Monday night when I finally saw part 1 of Breaking Dawn. I told you I would.

The homemade pecan and sweet potato pies are in the oven, the turkey is smoking, and Ellie's tummy is growling (or maybe that's mine).
We're so excited for Thanksgiving!
I'm thankful for so much, but not thankful enough. It's so easy to take even the smallest things for granted, so I am going to dedicate this blog to the "little things," if you will. Because it's those that make every day that much more enjoyable.
This is my favorite tree in our yard--namely because it is the only tree in our yard. And it's not even really in our yard. That's probably because our house is surrounded with woods, so why add more trees?
Its leaves turn the most magnificent red every fall, and even though the last rain left it mostly bare, the skirt of red that envelopes its base is just as beautiful as the burst of red foliage that proceeded it.

What a scene awaited me at the top of my driveway when I came home today! I should thank God for sunsets more, because He definitely didn't have to give us those. But He did, and I am so glad that He did.
I'm loving getting to cuddle with this little snugglebug every night.
I take that back. I love it most of the time. There are those moments when Ellie, with the entire bottom half of the bed up for grabs, decides that she would rather squeeze herself in between mine and Morgan's legs. Or on top of my body. Or right beside my face.
This is her mid-dream the other night. She looks like she doesn't have a care in the world...which she doesn't. She gets rubbed and scratched and kissed and is then told that she looks cuter the fatter she gets. What a life.
And then comes tomorrow morning, which will bring a family viewing of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and much anticipation about the meal that will be soon approaching. 
Who am I kidding? I'm already anticipating it.
I hope y'all have the most wonderful, restful, blessed, turkey-filled Thanksgiving this year!