Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back on 2010

We have been blessed in so many ways during this past year. Here are some of the highlights!
We wish you all a blessed 2011!

We rang in the New Year at home with our neighbors
We had our first snow on the year on 7 January

Marlie got her hair trimmed for the first time
Bryan turned 29

Bryan & I attended an NGCSU "Reunion" at the home of General Townshend
We found out that Bryan would be deploying at the end of the summer
I signed up for SwagBucks and have been hooked on it since!

We attended my sorority's Alumni Easter Egg Hunt in Athens
Marlie had her first swim lessons
We enjoyed our 3rd Easter as a family of 3
I ran the 2010 Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville

Bryan spent the month at JRTC at Fort Polk, Louisiana
Clarksville experienced significant flooding
Marlie & I went to a strawberry farm for the first time
I enjoyed my 3rd Mother's Day with Marlie

Marlie was a flower girl in Chelsea's wedding
I joined Stella & Dot as a stylist

For Bryan's block leave, we visited St Augustine Beach, Club Med at Port St Lucie, Walt Disney World, & Sea World
Bryan & I ran the Peachtree Road Race
Bryan & I attended his unit's St Barbara's Ball where he received the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara Award and I received the Molly Pitcher award.

We had our annual family pictures taken
We had Marlie's 3rd birthday party a few weeks early so Bryan could take part in the festivities
Bryan deployed to Afghanistan as a battery commander
Marlie & I celebrated her 3rd birthday with friends by taking a trip to the zoo and eating cheeseburgers and ice cream.

Marlie & I visited Georgia and I was able to attend a UGA football game for the first time in a few years. We also spent Labor Day weekend in Helen.

Our friend, Aaron, was wounded in Afghanistan. (He was just discharged from Walter Reed this week and will now be receiving outpatient care.)
Marlie & I attended a special production for military families of Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3 compliments of MetLife, Cracker Barrell & a local businessman.
Marlie & I visited Christian Way Farms, which is a local pumpkin patch.
Marlie was a strawberry for Halloween & we enjoyed trick or treating in our neighborhood. We also won a costume contest at my favorite sushi restaurant!
I ran the 2nd Clarksville Half Marathon

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Georgia with our family

I ran the St Jude Memphis Marathon!
I turned 30
We celebrated Christmas in Georgia with family & we had snow on Christmas Day!
Marlie got her first "real" hair cut

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Decorating for Christmas with a 3 year old

Sometimes when I get behind on my posts I just refer back to my pictures in iPhoto to see what I've missed. For today, I'll just share these 2 pictures. Anyone with children has probably had a similar experience.
Marlie really enjoyed helping decorate the tree. She had a little bit of a hard time understanding the concept of evenly distributing them though.

It didn't take me long to realize that ornaments had started disappearing from the tree. I soon found them in her microwave!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the Year Sale!

Stella & Dot is currently offering an EXTRA 20% off already reduced sale items! You will have to hurry though. Quantities are limited and the sale ends January 2nd.

In addition to this great sale, I am offering my own personal discounts all week on the regular price items!
Today, 28 December: 25% off
Wednesday, 29 December: 20% off
Thursday, 30 December: 15% off
Friday, 31 December: 10% off

Because these are my own discounts, you must contact me to place your order:

Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 13, 2010

St Jude Memphis Marathon

I was waiting until I had all the pictures to do a race weekend recap. I still don't have them all, but I have enough. My friends, Molly, Marcia, Whitney, and I all left for Memphis on Friday morning. When we arrived in Memphis we grabbed a late lunch and then went to the expo to pick up our race numbers and packets. I always enjoy seeing all the vendors' booths and what gear they have for sale.
We didn't want to fight the crowds downtown so we stayed close to our hotel and had dinner at Pei Wei. We followed that with a light dessert at TCBY (you don't see those much anymore!).
I was a ball of nerves on Saturday morning so I didn't sleep quite as long as I had hoped to. Marcia & Whitney ran the 5k which started an hour before the marathon. We hoped to see them finish before we started but we somehow missed each other in the crowd.
Molly & I eventually had to go get in our corral for our start and we finally began about 8:26am. It was cool and overcast when the race began, but by early afternoon it was sunny and in the high 50s - perfect race weather!
The race took us through downtown & Beale Street, historic neighborhoods, the Mississippi River, Sun Studio (where Elvis first recorded) and most importantly the campus of St Jude. There were tons of people cheering for us including patients of St Jude. Seeing those children smiling and waving to us made me forget about any pain I was having. There were also lots of signs in honor and in memory of the kids of St Jude and they were just as motivating!

Here are some pictures taken from the race.

We finished in the minor league baseball stadium downtown. I was fighting back tears at this point!


After finishing, we had to climb the steps of the stadium!

All 4 of us!

After the race we went back to our hotel room to relax for a while. Once we had a little break we went back down to Beale Street for dinner (BBQ ribs of course!) and to celebrate! Molly & Marcia had the idea of getting shirts made for the weekend and my friend, Brittany, designed them for us. We wore these out on Saturday night!

Although the race is over, you can still donate to St Jude Childrens Research Hospital. These kids and this hospital would appreciate any little bit you can give.§ionStyle=subMenuTwo&userId=479689

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 2

Day 2 - Something You Love About Yourself

Since my life has revolved around this marathon lately, it has helped me even more to learn to love my body. It's not the way you think though! I will never be the slimmest, most muscular person you know, but I love that God has blessed me with a strong, healthy body. My body has created life and carried it for 9 months! I am almost 30 and my body has carried me hundreds of miles over the past 4 months. Isn't that amazing?!
I feel like a positive body image is so important for a female now more than ever. Now that I have a daughter, I want her to always know that my body isn't perfect but it doesn't need to be. I hope that I will never talk negatively about my body in front of her and I purposely do not own a scale so that she won't see me judging myself by a number.

I saw this quote in Runner's World not too long ago and I hope you like it as much as I do:
It is the runner in me who understands that the beauty of my body is in the things it can do, not the way it looks doing them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This is a post from a couple of years ago, but I wanted to copy it and share it again. Sears is a big supporter of the military and I encourage you to please buy at least one thing there amidst all your Christmas shopping!
From 17 Nov 2008:

I originally posted this at My Military Life but wanted to post it here too. I came across the following in a military spouses forum that I participate in. Like the author of the message, Sears is usually not my first choice. However, I am going to pledge to buy at least 1 gift there this holiday season just on principle. I hope you will do the same. All of this information can be verified at:

Sears - Christmas shopping has already started

I know I needed this reminder since Sears isn’t always my first choice. Amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and they haven’t withdrawn from their commitment.

Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?

How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

Pass it on.

Decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it’s cheaper at that store.

This is their answer to my e-mail:

Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears. The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care

Please pass this on to all your friends. Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!!!

I think we all should shop there, and again tell the store manger why!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

My friend, Ashley, is participating in 30 Days of Truth on her blog. I thought it looked interesting so she shared the "questions" with me. Some of these are kind of deep and I haven't decided how I feel about that. There is no way I will be able to do all 30 days in a row though, so they will probably be posted sporadically. Here is Day 1 though!

Day 1 - Something You Hate About Yourself

I had to think about this one for a minute, but only a minute! I hate that I am not a good housekeeper! It's not that my house isn't clean, because it is totally sanitary and healthy. I'm just bad about clutter. It's a constant source of stress for me, yet I am unmotivated to do enough about it. I've tried FlyLady and Motivated Moms systems, but neither one seems right for me. It definitely doesn't help that Marlie seems to create a mess twice as fast as I can clean one up! I am trying to get better about teaching her to clean up her own toys, but that will definitely be a work in progress for a while (I'm guessing until she's around 18?). I can only hope that one day I'll get the hang of this...

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pumpkin Butter Cake

I took this to MOPS last month and it was another best dish winner! How can you go wrong with 2 sticks of butter and a block of cream cheese?!?


Here is the recipe for the basic butter cake. For the pumpkin version, follow the directions at the bottom.

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well.
Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point!
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful little cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way!

Pumpkin: Follow the original recipe, adding a 15-ounce can of pumpkin pie filling and an extra egg to the cream cheese filling. Bake as usual, remove from oven, and allow to cool. Cut into squares and top each square with a pecan half. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

One Month to Go!

One month from today is the big 26.2 miler! I've been able to take a break from running this week, but next week is our last BIG week! We will run a total of 20 miles Monday through Wednesday and then a 20 mile run on Friday! After that, our mileage will start to back down again so that our body can recover in preparation for the race. I am still trying to raise more money for St Jude until race day. Please consider making a donation to St Jude. You can click the link below and it will take you directly to a secure website where you can donate online.

If you have a blog of your own, please repost this!

I've shared some of these before, but here are some quick facts about St Jude:

The daily operating cost for St. Jude is nearly $1.5 million, which is primarily covered by public contributions.

During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.

St. Jude recently completed an extensive expansion program that bolstered the hospital’s research and treatment efforts, while more than doubling the size of its original campus. The campus now has 2.5 million square feet of research, clinical and administrative space dedicated to finding cures and saving children. The expansion included the Children’s GMP, LLC, currently the nation’s only pediatric research center on-site facility for the research and production of highly specialized treatments and vaccines; an expanded Department of Immunology; and a new Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics for discovery of new drugs.

The Chili’s Care Center, opened in November 2007, integrates patient care and research where rapidly evolving CT (computerized tomography) and MR (magnetic resonance) technologies keep St. Jude at the cutting edge for radiation therapy in a pediatric/adolescent setting. Additionally, a state-of-the-art cyclotron enables St. Jude researchers to undertake many important new PET (positron emission tomography) studies. These imaging techniques facilitate the rapid evaluation of new therapeutic approaches and help choose those most likely to be successful.

St. Jude pioneered a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to treat childhood cancers.

Peter C. Doherty, PhD, of the St. Jude Immunology department, won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1996. He shares the award with Rolf M. Zinkernagel, MD, of the University of Zurich. Their findings have led to breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of viral infections and cancers, and in the development of organ transplant procedures and vaccines.

St. Jude patients are referred by a physician, and generally have a disease currently under study and are eligible for a current research protocol on clinical research trials.

St. Jude researchers and doctors are treating children with genetic immune defects and pediatric AIDS, as well as using new drugs and therapies to fight infections.

St. Jude was the first institution to develop a cure for sickle cell disease with a bone marrow transplant and has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell programs in the country.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Clarksville Half Marathon

This past Saturday was the 2nd running of the Clarksville Half Marathon. Last year's race was my first half marathon and the best thing I can say about it was that it was a learning experience! I have now run 3 half marathons (and 13.1 miles more than that!) so this year was much more enjoyable. Since my mom was in town, she was able to stay with Marlie and then come to see me finish the race. It was fun to have fans for the first time!

When Marlie woke up on Saturday, she told my mom that she needed to put on her cheerleader outfit since she was going to cheer for me! Here she is waiting patiently near the finish line.

Around Mile 12...

When Marlie saw me she took off running towards me. Mama panicked a little but I assured her that it was ok for Marlie to cross the finish line with me. This was obviously my favorite part of the race!

She's also my stretching buddy!

Me with my training partner/neighbor/friend, Molly!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pre-Halloween Festivities

We had quite a few Halloween related events to attend this year, so by the time Halloween weekend actually arrived, we were just about over it!
It began on the 22nd with a family friendly coffee group meeting. Marlie was excited to wear her costume for the first time and she enjoyed being able to play with one of her favorite friends, David (aka Buzz Lightyear!).

I finally decided that it would be safe to go ahead and carve our pumpkin the weekend before Halloween. Marlie enjoyed helping Bryan last year, but this time she would not come close to touching the inside of the pumpkin! Needless to say, I was left doing ALL the work!

On Thursday night, Bryan's unit held a Trunk or Treat for the families. Since I'm an FRG leader, that meant that I was in charge of our trunk and was working the whole night.
On Friday night, Marlie & I got dressed up again and we (along with my mom who was visiting) went to our favorite sushi restaurant. The restaurant was having a costume contest the whole week and the winner would get a $50 gift card. I found out yesterday morning that we were the winners!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Girl

Just some more pictures of our girl!
Marlie has become interested in the leg warmers I used to put on her with her cloth diapers. She came across her UGA pair and wanted to wear them so I helped her build another outfit around leg warmers!

This weekend I took apart her Anywhere Chair (from Pottery Barn Kids) to wash it, and she was clever enough to use it anyway. She shaped it into this formation so that she could still relax on her chair.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

St Jude Patient of the Month - October 2010

In less than a month and a half I will run my first marathon - the St Jude Memphis Marathon! This race benefits St Jude Children's Research Hospital. I have committed to being a "Hero" which means I am trying to raise additional funds for the hospital. Please consider making a contribution that will make a difference in the life of a child like Darcy!

6 years old

Darcy was found to suffer from an atypical teratoid/rhabdoid (ATRT) brain tumor in February 2009.

Darcy's Story:
Darcy and her siblings were outdoorsy kids who loved riding horses. At just 4 years old, Darcy was an accomplished rider and roper and had already earned a championship belt buckle for her skills. But life took a turn in late 2008 when Darcy fell and hit her head at school. She started suffering from terrible headaches and began vomiting within moments of opening her eyes each morning. Soon after, Darcy's parents were devastated when tests revealed she suffered from a deadly brain tumor known as ATRT.
"It felt like a freight train," Darcy's mom said of learning the news. "I was trembling and shaking. Your life as you know it ends."
Darcy underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove the deadly tumor, and her parents started to research the best options for her continuing care. That search led them to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and they obtained a referral.

At St. Jude:
Darcy received four courses of chemotherapy and 31 radiation treatments. Despite her often grueling treatment, Darcy thrived at St. Jude. She loved participating in all the activities at the hospital, especially arts and crafts. To see her flourish meant the world to her parents.
Darcy's family is appreciative of everything St. Jude provides for families, from housing to grocery cards. That they will never receive a bill from St. Jude means they can focus on what's important: Darcy. This has inspired them to help support St. Jude. "I'll keep giving," her mother said. "It makes a difference, even $20."
Darcy has finished treatment and is now home with her family. "My hope for Darcy is to keep having birthdays," her mother said. "We're so proud of St. Jude and what they've done for her."
Now that she is home, Darcy is back in school and she loves playing with her siblings. Darcy is also back to riding horses. She started slow on an old, gentle horse, but now she rides a fast one again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christian Way Farm

We usually only have about 1 day a week that is totally free. Last Thursday was that one day and I was watching my neighbor's daughter (who is Marlie's age & her buddy). I decided that it would be the perfect time to visit one of the pumpkin patches in the area. I wasn't sure which one we would go to, but ultimately decided on Christian Way Farm because of the values they share at their farm. As their name suggests, they try to incorporate Christian lessons into their farm tours. The kids had a blast and I was happy with our experience also.

Listening to the story of how a pumpkin is grown. They also explained how we can have yucky stuff in our heart like the pumpkin has on the inside. However, we can get rid of that stuff so that there is room for Jesus to come and live in our heart. The storyteller had a variety of pumpkin carvings to illustrate her lesson.

Grinding corn to feed to the animals

Ready for the hayride!

Walking through the corn maze. We had a hard time finding our way out, so like a true soldier's family we decided to adapt and overcome! We made our own exit out of the maze!

This was the kids' favorite! A few "tractors" were connected and pulled by a real tractor.

Looking through the window of the hay castle

Right after this picture was taken, I was reminded why I am not the mother of 2 small children!
In this picture Marlie is up on the highest level. At the same time, her friend, K, was on the first level (which is still around 10 feet up). M realized that she would not be able to get down easily and was basically stuck up there. Right when I was about to climb up to get her, K looked at me and grabbed her rear end. I asked K what was wrong and she told me that she needed to go potty (#2!). After considering my options, I knew that M would just stay up there until I could get her down. I decided to help K down first and take care of her. Once I got her down, we had to RUN across the farm to the potties. Luckily my friend was already in there with her daughter. I handed K off and went back to get M. Again, I had to climb up the hay castle to rescue a child! We ended up having to throw away some underwear, but everyone ended up safe!

The end of a fun morning!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stella & Dot's New Arrivals!

I just received a lot of new samples from Stella & Dot and am excited to share them!

Allie Pearl & Ribbon Necklace
The flower unclips to wear in the hair!

Lola Necklace
(flower unclips to wear in the hair!)

Gracie Headband & Barrettes

Teardrop Scroll Earrings
also available in gold

Coin Pearl Earrings

Garden Party Dot Earrings

Jolie Cocktail Ring

Baby Flower Post Earrings

Grace Pearl Earrings
also available in ivory & gold

Tiny Flower Necklace

Turquoise Sea Drop Earrings

Soiree Pave Bracelet

Clover Double Wrap Leather Bracelet

Clover Single Wrap Leather Bracelet

Nugget Wrap Bracelet

Signature Clover Bangle

Pave Ellipse Necklace

Alexa Fringe Necklace

Charlotte Statement Necklace

Stella & Dot has just come out with jewelry travel totes in 3 different sizes. I have the Medium in Teal and the roll in Navy (but I forgot to take a picture of it). They are awesome!
Medium Jewelry Travel Case

Here's a photo of all 3 sizes together.