Friday, December 31, 2010

10 Years - Wow!

On Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, Craig and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! I have been married to my best friend for a whole decade - and even more surprising - I have spent over 1/3 of my life with him. I remember the day we were married as if it were yesterday - my mom fixed my hair so that half of it was pulled back away from my face, but then it spiraled down in pretty ringlets. She even added a touch of Baby's Breath, which I loved! Then we headed to the Spartanburg County Magistrates Office, where we were joined by my mom and dad, Craig's dad, my sister, Craig's brother and his wife. At 12:00 pm on Friday, December 29th, 2000, I became the wife of Craig and our lives became one.
We have had so many wonderful experiences in the past 10 years - the birth of our son, Drew, and then the birth of our daughter, Mikayla, top the list!! We found a church to call home, and Craig and my children were even there when I was baptized. We survived on one salary while I completed my student teaching, and Craig was the first one I called to tell I had my first teaching job!! He was the one that I called when I was selected as our school's Teacher of the Year, and then again when it was announced that I was our district's Teacher of the Year. He attended the Teacher of the Year banquet for our district where I had to give a speech. I will never forget the words of my principal after his observations that night - "I was watching your husband as you gave your speech and his face was so full of love." "I could tell that he is so proud of you!" I will also never forget my husband's words when the State Teacher of the Year was announced - "You will always be our teacher of the year. God knew what He was doing - He knew that the kids and I couldn't survive without you for a year." You see, the SC Teacher of the Year takes a 1 year hiatus from the classroom and travels the state. Those very words have brought such joyous tears to my eyes, even as I recall them now. We experienced all of the "firsts" of our two precious angels - first bath, first smile, first time rolling over, first tooth, first haircut, first steps, and all of the other firsts along the way - together as husband and wife.
We have watched as Craig's brother, Jason, graduated from the Highway Patrol Academy and began his job serving our great state. We have loved getting to know our sweet nephew, Haston, and our sweet nieces, Belle and Ella! We have watched as my daddy bought his very first brand new truck. We have watched my brother purchase his first home, and we watched my baby sister grow up right in front of our eyes - from the shy 13 year old hiding behind me when Craig and I first met, to the beautiful, confident 24 year old that she is today. We have enjoyed 10 years full of birthdays, family gatherings, Christmases, Vacations, and memories that we will hold dear forever.
I won't say that the past 10 years have always been easy, and I won't say that we have been without our share of trials, but He never promised it would be! What I will say - and what I believe with my whole heart - is that everything happens for a reason according to the Will of God. Craig and I believe we are right where we are meant to be, and we are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives making many more memories together as husband and wife. Happy Anniversary to my best friend, my soul mate, and the love of my life! I thank God every day for you!!
Craig surprised me with these beautiful roses on Wednesday - I was all smiles when I saw them!!My daddy agreed to keep Drew and Mikayla (Craig called and arranged this for the first time, and it made me such a happy girl - it's the little things that mean the most!!) so that Craig and I could go out to dinner! They always like when we go out on dates because they LOVE staying with their Poppi!
Daddy and Poppi talk to each other after we got back from dinner.

Another picture of my beautiful roses - this was such a thoughtful gift!! There is one rose for each year we have been married, for a total of 10!
10 years of marriage is such a big milestone, and I can't wait to celebrate many, many more with my sweet husband!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

School Programs 2010

On Thursday, November 4th, the Annual Veteran's Day Program was held at our school. All of our second graders perform in this program, under the direction of Mrs. Jana Curry. Drew loved participating in this program when he was in second grade, and Mikayla couldn't wait to participate as well, as school programs at our school begin with our second graders.Mikayla was so excited that she got the part of one of the flag bearers in this program. She was following in big brother's footsteps - when Drew was in third grade, he got the part of SC flag bearer during the third grade SC Program (pictures of that are hopefully coming soon). Mikayla was peeking at her Mommy, Daddy, Mimi, and Poppi by looking over to the side as she held the flag.After holding the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance, she joined some of the other second graders on the stage to sing. All Mikayla had been talking about all week, was how Mrs. Curry expected them to open their mouths wide while singing on stage. My girl is a good listener!
Mikayla, as well as all of the BSES second graders and Mrs. Curry, did a fantastic job of honoring our Veterans that night! There were several Veterans in attendance. I know this is something that Mikayla will always remember!

Then, on Tuesday, December 14th, Drew and the fourth graders at our school participated in the 10th annual Singing Tree Program, under the direction of Mrs. Jana Curry. This was also the last Singing Tree Program as next year the fourth graders will leave our school and go to the Intermediate school, instead.
I know it is hard to tell who is who, but Drew is the one almost directly in the center of this picture - on the row in front of the back row (next to last row).
These fourth graders are doing a great job of opening their mouths as they sing on stage, too!
Drew looks out at his Mimi and Poppi while he sings.

Again, looking over at his Mimi and Poppi! Mrs. Curry, our wonderful music teacher sings O Holy Night for the audience. She is one talented lady!! Drew, and all of the fourth graders and Mrs. Curry, did a fantastic job in this program. They got all in attendance in the Christmas Spirit!
Craig and I are the proud parents who love watching our angels perform!

Meeting Marcus!!

Lattimore, that is!! On Saturday, December 11th, between the Christmas Parade and looking at lights at Roper Mountain, our family had the honor of meeting Marcus Lattimore!! He is an SEC running back and he just so happens to play for my favorite team - University of South Carolina Gamecocks!! He attended high school about 20 minutes from where we live and I was thrilled to find out he would be attending USC - my Alma mater this year!! He has since been named Freshman of the year for his accomplishments this year as a Gamecock!!

Lattimore is a super nice guy - even Craig said so, and that's a lot coming from a Clemson fan. He happened to be at a church here in our community as he was attending a youth basketball camp. One of my friends called (while Drew was napping) to tell me that he was there - she knew he was my favorite and she said her son and husband had just come from there and got his autograph. As soon as we got there, we asked some friends if he would mind if we walked over, and their response was "no - he's been doing it all day"! As soon as we walked up to him, he stood up, shook our hands and hugged us. Craig said he acted as if he had known us our whole lives. He was very mannerly, and went out of his way to talk with us. I also found out during the time that we spent with him that he had been shooting hoops with the boys on the court a little, too! He took time to talk with our family, take some photographs, and he even signed a football for Drew! Craig told him that I had been wanting to put him in our Christmas card, and I told him I tell people I want him to be our "Michael Oher" - he said that would be okay to both of those. We all just laughed!!

The football that he signed for our boy!! A lady tried to buy it from Drew on the way out, saying "you wouldn't want to sale that would you?" Drew said "no ma'am"! Then we heard another guy talking as we were walking out the door that they were going for 800 dollars on the Internet. The Internet will never see this football - for sale that is! This is one that our son will treasure for his whole life!!

This was an incredible experience for our family, and it was so nice meeting a "local sporting celebrity" to find out that he is the awesome person we knew he was all along!!

Christmas Parade 2010

On Saturday, December 11th, our family went to the annual Boiling Springs Christmas Parade! This is a yearly tradition for our family - one that we have never missed. We love to see all of the different floats, and Drew and Mikayla especially love catching candy and seeing Santa at the end! We always sit in the same spot - year after year, and Poppi always joins us for the fun. He likes the catching candy part as much as we do!!
Poppi, Mikayla, Daddy, and Drew watch as the parade begins to move down the street. Mikayla is excited about something as Drew waves and wishes them a Merry Christmas.
Poppi and Mikayla collect some candy from the middle of the street while waiting for the next group to move by.

Drew sits in his chair. He started sitting about half-way through the parade. This surprised me because Drew never sits down during the parade - he is usually always too busy collecting candy. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied with "my head and throat hurt". My first thought was oh no, please not strep. He had his fourth grade Christmas program three days from this date, and we had been waiting for this for years. He could not be sick.
Both Drew and Mikayla wave at Santa as he rides by!!

We always go to Mimi and Poppi's house each year after the parade, just because it is easier with all of the traffic. While there, Drew kicked back in my daddy's recliner and asked to be covered up. We really knew then, that all was not okay. We took Drew's temperature and it was 99.6. We decided it was time to head home so that Drew could rest. Once home, Drew ate very little for lunch and then curled up in mine and Craig's bed to take a quick nap. Luckily, he felt better after a little rest - as you will see on a later post!!

The Blackwell House and Pacolet Mills Christmas Lights 2010!

The Blackwell House is always beautiful at Christmas! I love this house - even without the decorations I'm sure it is beautiful. See the arches out front? Like I said, just beautiful. Our family discovered this house last year, and we said we would be back every year. Drew and Mikayla couldn't wait to visit again this year, and mommy couldn't, either! We decided to go on Tuesday, December 21st.
The "snow gazebo" where Santa stays.

The beautiful Nativity - Mikayla's favorite part!

Drew's favorite part is the huge tree with the trains circling it. It is very pretty.
On Thursday, December 23rd, Craig and I decided to take the kids to Pacolet Mills for the first time to view the lights. I had been one year with a group of friends before Craig and I met, but it had been so long I couldn't remember how to get there. We looked up the directions, and we were even more excited to find out that they have a Pacolet Polar Express for families to ride. Once Drew and Mikayla heard that, they couldn't wait to go.
We parked as soon as we got there and got out to walk the grounds. Drew and Mikayla always love the Nativity, no matter where we go. Next stop - the Train Depot! We listened to the story of The Polar Express and Drew and Mikayla looked at the book while we waited on the train. We each even received a special ticket - you can see Mikayla's in her hand.
We rode through a forest, across an ice patch, and right to the North Pole. Who do you think was waiting on us there? That's right - the big man himself. He greeted the passengers on the train and gave each of the children a "special treat" - a bell, just like in the book. Drew and Mikayla had the best time, and it is a memory we will never forget! Drew and Mommy on the train ride. They had blankets for the passengers as well because it was so cold.
Mikayla and Daddy on the train ride. Mikayla was a little worried about the ice patch...
After the train ride, we walked around a little more and looked at all of the decorations.
Mikayla took this picture of Daddy and Mommy!!
Enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights all around us is one of our families' favorite ways to spend the holidays. Merry Christmas, friends!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Roper Mountain Christmas Lights 2010!

On Saturday, December 11, our family went to the Roper Mountain Holiday Lights Display for the first time. It was beautiful, and we are excited about making this another family Christmas tradition!! This kids loved it, but can't wait to go back next year because we didn't get to visit Winter Wonderland. Instead, we waited in line to ride the horse-drawn carriage through the lights (we had never ridden in a horse-drawn carriage), and by the time our ride was finished, Winter Wonderland was closed. Drew and Mikayla didn't get upset - it just gives them something to look forward to next year. They had also already visited with Santa at Hollywild, and they would visit with him again at the mall.Drew and Mikayla help to feed the horses that were pulling one of the carriages.
Drew and Daddy on the carriage. The horses that pulled our carriage were named Butterfinger and Traveler. Drew was a little nervous - he didn't want these horse to run with us down a hill.Mikayla and Mommy on the carriage. It was so much fun! The horses didn't run down a hill, but they did run up one. It made us all laugh, and Drew wasn't scared at all.The pretty candycane lane.
Daddy, Drew, and Mikayla at Santa's sleigh.
Mommy, Drew, and Mikayla at Santa's sleigh.
Drew as a toy soldier.
Mikayla as a toy soldier.
They had some of the neatest lights that I had never seen before. Like this one was Santa's Toy Factory - It had elves putting toys in one side and the toys were dropping out of the other side.
After we left the lights display, we went to eat at Steak and Shake! We don't have one here, and the last time we had eaten at this restaurant was when we were in Florida. It is one of our favorite places - the kids (and me) love it because of the shakes, and Craig loves the burgers.

After we got home, Craig and I took this funny picture of ourselves. We had a wonderful evening as a family and made many, many, memories!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hollywild Christmas Lights 2010

Our family visited Hollywild Animal Park's annual holiday lights display the Saturday after Thanksgiving! It was pretty crowded, but we expected that on a Saturday night! We still had so much fun as a family, despite the crowd! We rode through the light display, visited the deer enchanted forest (where we got to feed deer, zebras, cows, emus, etc.), and stopped by Santa's Winter Wonderland for hot chocolate, roasting marshmallows, and more animals.The deer in the Deer Enchanted Forest weren't real hungry the night we were there. Craig gets ready to throws some food.
Mikayla tries to get the deer to come closer.This emu looks real interested - we just hoped it was in the food that we had to share.Drew tries to get the zebra to come closer.
This horse cracked us up - Drew gave him a cracker and he nodded his head and showed his teeth (like a smile) and flapped his lips. It was too funny! We assumed he liked the cracker.
I think this horse is interested in Mikayla's sucker.
Drew and Mikayla liked the albino bison.
Mikayla tries to feed these two cows - she wouldn't let them get close to her hands, and usually ended up dropping the cracker for them to get off the ground.
Drew loved feeding these animals - he was amazed by the size of their tongues (you would have thought this was the first time he had see them).
Mikayla pets the goats - they reminder her of Miley (the pet goat that she once had).
Drew wanted another Jackson (his pet goat).

Mikayla and daddy roasting marshmallows.

Drew roasts his marshamallow. The smoke was bothering his eyes.

Mikayla took a picture of mommy and daddy in front of the fire!

We have been going to the Holiday Lights Safari at Hollywild for years - sometimes even two and three times a year. Every year, we always have a wonderful time looking at the lights and interacting with the animals.

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage