Sunday, April 29, 2012


This morning, my mom and I went to Plains (~45 minutes away) to hear President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School at his home church, Maranatha Baptist. Talk about an AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!! I'm still kind of bowled the fact that we live within a short distance of this opportunity, by the fact that Mr. Jimmy still does this, and by the man, himself. He is the most intelligent and kind man I've ever met. He absolutely exudes brilliance and eloquence with every point, but in the least pompous, most humble and approachable way I've ever encountered. He embodies compassion, yet commands gentle respect. He is a truly rare character.

Our arrival: this is the TINIEST country church - regular members are ~30 a week; visitors when President Carter teaches Sunday School ~300! :-D When we pulled into the old, quiet church parking lot, we had to have the Secret Service dog sniff our car for explosives before we could park. :-P When we walked up to the front door, two agents went through our purses and had us turn our phones & cameras off & on to show they were normal. Then before we went in, we got wanded with metal detectors. It was very respectful & didn't feel extreme or invasive at all; but it was no joke!

The point of President Carter's Sunday School teaching was: no matter what your station or circumstances in life, always honor Jesus through your behavior, b/c He stayed true to His mission through His suffering, which is so much more than any of us will ever be called to do. Scripture - 1 Peter 2:18-25

We were honored to get to have our photo made with President and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter after the worship service:

It was such an inspiring experience...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Annelise's 6th Bday Party & Barbie Doll Cake Details

We celebrated Annelise's 6th birthday today at Chuck E Cheese. [CEC isn't my fave; but boy, do my children (& my husband! ;-)) love it! We only go for birthdays, and it's the only indoor place that will let me bring in my own cake & drinks. Our kids do NOT drink soda; there is NO WAY I'm going to pay extra for it to be served at their party, you know? At CEC, I can bake & bring my own cake (special for me :-)), and we don't have to pay for anything there but tokens = best deal! No paying for more food they don't eat or stressing over getting a perfect head count (b/c almost no one RSVPs anymore) at places where you can only have an exact number of guests and must pay extra per child. Lowest-stress still-special party! :-D]

Doing the Cupid Shuffle with Chuck E:

Cake time!

Half-gone cake, exposing ballerina Barbie's legs :-P

2nd round of the Cupid Shuffle + free tickets from Chuck E:

...complete with video! (Awww, yeah! :-D)


Cake Details:
Everyone keeps asking how I made it, so of course, I'll share! I've done it two different ways now: here's Ariel from two years ago. This time, I baked one cake recipe in my large Pampered Chef glass batter bowl and another in two 8 or 9" rounds, stacked them all, gently shoved Barbie down the middle, and iced it with 7-Minute Icing. :-) [Icing notes: I grew up with this version, but I used this one last night & think it's better: no corn syrup & no candy thermometer.]

Friday, April 27, 2012

Way to Go, Will!

Will had a stellar day at school today! He started off being honored as Good Citizen at a special breakfast. It was so precious to see the teachers fawn over him!!! (I mean, *I* think he's fabulous, but it's always edifying to have it confirmed by people who aren't necessarily biased! :-D)

He then rocked Field Day:
[How amazing is this shot?! Thank you, Misty!!!]

2nd Grade Field Day is all teamwork with classmates (as opposed to the pouty hell that was 1st Grade Field Day, which was all individual events) so we had an absolute ball cheering for the whole class together. Y'all know I am a team spirit junkie, and our class was on fire for each other! They placed in every single event except one, and Will ended up with one 1st place and two 3rd place ribbons. [Trophies, medals, & ribbons = pure gold to this kid.]

Let me close with a flashback to Thursday. His class is doing this really cute "Last 26 Days of School From A-Z" activity, (B: Beach Day = bring a towel & your fave book; F: Family Day = bring in family photos for a collage project; G: Game Day = bring your fave board or card game, etc.) Thursday was H: crazy Hat or Hair Day =
Awwww, yeah!!!! :-D

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Happy 6th Birthday to our daughter, our Prinkie Princess Pumpkin Peach!

I interviewed her tonight as I tucked her into bed, so we could remember what her favorites were on this first day of 6:

Favorite food: pasta
Favorite treat: Swirl frozen yogurt
Favorite song: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
Favorite sport: gymnastics
Favorite iPhone app: tie b/t princess dress-up, Cinderella Café, & math games
Favorite subject: Montessori growing work (addition games)
Favorite show: "The Amazing Race"
Favorite movie: "Kung Fu Panda 2" & What's in the Bible? series
Favorite toy: Flamingo & her Hand of Hope Teddy Bear
Favorite game: Life
Obsessed with: animals, cartwheels, books, make-up, princesses, Bath & Body Works PocketBac hand sanitizers, love
Future job: veterinarian
Favorite number: 6 ("Because I'm 6!")
Her signature phrase these days: "This is the best day EVER!!!" (I'm so thankful she finds ultimate joy in the simple days just as much as the extraordinary. ♥)

I got to come into her Montessori class today for her celebration. :-) We made this photo board of her first six years of life to share with her class - I love that every child does this!
[Y'all know I'm going nuts over how blurry this photo is... :-D]

I feel a little bad that we didn't have more of a to do today, but I did get to come in for her special time at school, LaLa is coming Friday, and her big party is Saturday:
[Yes, I made her a Lilly Pulitzer invitation! :-D]

She *did* dress Flamingo in a dress matching hers today, but we didn't think she'd be allowed at school; I should've brought her, though, b/c her teacher Ms. Marlowe heard about the matching and asked to see! :-P Next time...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hit Hit Hooray!

[*WARNING* - I scream very loudly on these clips. Don't feign surprise. ;-)]

Poor Will fell into a bizarre batting slump after Spring Break, but THANKFULLY he *FINALLY* broke his strike-out streak on his first pitch tonight!

He got to base on both of the first pitches he faced - total confidence boost. Our last Saturday practice was priceless... YAY for our 10-1 win!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Radio Silence Update

I know, I know. I've been oddly quiet around here. That can only mean a few things...but I can't talk about them quite yet. (And when they're the main focus of the majority of my thoughts, that forces my blog into virtual silent mode. :-P) So y'all will have just have to stew in curiosity & keep checking back in here over the next month to see what's up with us, whenever the duct tape is ripped off my mouth. ;-) [FYI: I am absolutely 100% NOT PREGNANT, nor is that ever another future goal for us. :-)]

In the meantime, I'll catch you up:

* Will was named Good Citizen for April! It's a really big deal and funny, as he was Good Citizen last April, as well. His teacher nominated him every.single.month, and I'm so happy the honor finally came to him, again! :-)

* Annelise got through all of her phonetic reading books in Montessori Kindergarten and is now officially dubbed a "Library Book Reader". This presents a new challenge: if she reads 100 library books (they must be either Dr. Seuss or I Can Read) by mid-May, she will get a medal. SHE WANTS THIS MEDAL. SHE WILL EARN THIS MEDAL. Our local library doesn't even have enough Seuss & I Can Read to get her there, so I'm going to order a bunch from other branches & have them sent over. She is a machine: she's read 30 in just over a week and a half...

* Baseball is still our life Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday every week. We love it, and Will's team is in 2nd place. He's trying to get out of a batting funk that descended upon his swing sometime over spring break, but we had an extra practice Saturday, and he seemed to be back in his groove. *fingers crossed*

* Annelise lives in perpetual cartwheels.

* Zumba is fabulous as ever. I've kept that Friday evening class, so I'm teaching 5 every week. :-) I love how I can feel myself getting stronger! I've never had an actual, defined arm muscle IN.MY.LIFE, and week before last, I felt something oddly hard in my arm. IT WAS MY NEW BICEP GUN!!! :-D I am so ridiculously proud to go sleeveless! :-P On the flipside, insoles are my new BFFs. #ouchmyfeet

* PERSONAL TRIUMPH: I'm not qualified to sew more than a button, but I sewed an elastic waistband into my sagging Zumba pants all by myself!!! I was scared I'd ruin them, but I rocked this. My classes can rejoice - no more skipping arms to pull up my pants! :-D

* Our 10th wedding anniversary presents: we're not known for going extravagant. [I'm too cheap. :-P] This year, we went super symbolic & sentimental! When we left for NC, I left JB's present for him to find when he got home from work:
a Yankee Candle in "Pink Sands". We're not big candle people, but we honeymooned at Pink Sands on Harbour Island, part of the Out Islands of the Bahamas. The candle people didn't grab a random Corbis image - the cover shot *IS* actually our Pink Sands, so I thought it was just perfect. :-) [Plus, in the name of formal tradition, the candle tumbler does have a tin top. ;-)] JB also surprised me: when we walked back into the house from NC, I was BOWLED OVER by the scent of flowers - he COVERED the kitchen in vases! ♥ ♥ ♥

* 2012 is FINALLY a year of renewed heath for our household! I've got my Zumba practice, JB is losing a bunch of weight, and we're all making healthier eating choices. It really *IS* easier when the entire household is on board. We eat out much less, (except when we have or are houseguests, b/c eating out is STILL our most fave fun social thing to enjoy with others :-)) and when we do, we all make better choices. It really has made a change in our bodies! I had two Chinese take-out egg rolls last night for the first time since December, and while they tasted amazing, my body felt completely craptacular afterwards. I'm not glad I felt ill, but it did prove what a difference we've made in general.

* Last Wednesday marked the 15th anniversary of my Dad passing away...

* Annelise's 6th birthday is this Wednesday! :-)

* Stay tuned, y'all... ;-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grandmommy's 100th Birthday

This Saturday we celebrated my Grandmommy's 100th birthday in North Carolina!!! We are so incredibly blessed to have had this experience (& to have her amazing genes in us! ;-)) I wore her favorite dress that's over 40 years old that she used to love wearing to my mom's debutante things. :-) She kept saying, "I can't get over you in the dress! I just can't..." ♥ ♥ ♥ Then she kept telling everyone else how she wore it, how she gave it to me, and how I'll give it to Annelise one day. :-)

Annelise, Will, LaLa, Grandmommy, & Uncle David

Grandmommy made this visor at a beachy craft event and saved it to give to Annelise. :-)

The two best little cake servers! They were such a precious help:

Will & Sis so happy to see my BFF Wendy's son, their virtual cousin, Alex:

Party chat:

Grandmommy, her sister Aunt Frances, and allllllll of her grandchildren & great-grandchildren ♥

Silly grands :-P

Grandmommy and [almost] our whole family!

Posing Blakes, planking Alex:

My *favorite* Grandmommy smile!!! (With her sister Aunt Frances, my mom, & my mom's childhood BFF who flew in from San Francisco!)

Aunt Frances, Grandmommy, & me in Grandmommy's dress:

The top of Grandmommy's 100th birthday cake...which doubled as a 10th anniversary cake for me & JB - same flavors as our wedding: almond pound with raspberry & white chocolate ganache filling...

I am so thankful for my precious family!!!

Our 10th Wedding Anniversary

This past Friday the 13th (lucky! :-)) was our 10TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! So, how did we celebrate? Ummmm, we didn't. :'( JB had to stay home at the last minute for work, so I drove the kids up to NC Friday afternoon (for Grandmommy's 100th bday party Saturday) by myself. Not what we planned or wanted; but I have to say, I'm so thankful that I'm confident in our strong bond, that it doesn't upset me. We can celebrate just fine next week, and we've got DECADES more of April 13ths ahead of us. ♥

Some decade-old memories:

My bridal portraits:

My brother Andy, Grandmommy, my mom, & Hershel:

Me & my brother:

My bridesmaids:

With the groomsmen:

My brother walked me down the aisle...

Our [huge] wedding party:

Reception fun:

We left under a tunnel of sparklers!

Hysterical serendipity: last Wednesday - the very week of our 10th wedding anniversary - I used the LAST gift card from OUR WEDDING!!! :-D (It was a Belk's card I'd just found with $7 left on it, hidden in the side pocket of an old purse. :-P) The sales lady laughed at the old Belk logo! I wasn't sure it would work at all; I presented it more out of curiosity than desired value, but it DID work - even 10 years later! :-D