calling all prayer warriors

if you have read my blog at least twice, then you have most likely seen the little "mckmiracle" button on the right.  it is a link to a blog of a family i don't even know, except through the world of blogging.  baby stellan is the "mckmiracle" and is currently in the picu fighting rsv.  please pray for this little guy and for his family.  for updates from his family, visit mckmama's blog here.


the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

when i was in tn, mom and i (yes, mostly mom) made new stockings for the pets so they would match mine and jay's. we now have a lovely, coordinated mantle. (and dave's stocking doesn't have feathers, it is already stuffed a bit.)

... in hope that dave nickolas soon would be there.

so, jay bought dave a new santa hat, complete with beard. i will let the pictures tell the story.


a little time in tennessee

yes, it is true.  i am in franklin.  live and in person!  i am just beginning my last full day in tennessee (car mechanic willing) and should be heading back to NC tomorrow. (i drove our 1999 land cruiser here in order to have the timing belt changed.  why here?  because we have a great mechanic here who saves us lots of money... worth the drive!)   it has been a short but definitely good trip "home."  i have completed most of my christmas shopping and have spent lots of good time with my family so far.  did i mention i have eaten a lot, too?  yeah.  saturday evening i had dinner with the dennis side of the family at sportsman's grill.  good food and good company.  sunday i had breakfast with my parents and my aunt janice at cracker barrel.  my grandparents came over to mom and dad's on sunday afternoon to visit and we watched some of the titans game on TV.  then we spent the evening with (my brother) phil, (my sister-in-law) samantha, and (my niece) courtney.  we had our christmas together and exchanged gifts and had a lot of fun watching courtney open and enjoy her presents.  i made her an apple hat and bought her some elmo house shoes/slippers.  she loved both of them.  she will be two at the end of january, which was showing in her inability to sit still for long periods of time.  however, it made the evening much more enjoyable, having an active little one there to enjoy the fun part of christmas.

courtney really liked phoebe's new toys (cotton and barley got her a bad cuz and a nylabone)

courtney trying to figure out why elmo is on her feet (and a great shot of the apple hat!).

she enjoyed pulling the hat down as far as she could....

...to the point where she walked around with it over her eyes.

attempt at a self picture

this is the cutest elmo toy ever (she got that from her pops and mimi)

today i am going to visit my favorite hair stylist, kristie, because i am stealing mom's appointment at a moment's peace (she really can't go) and then i am going to meet mandy and rachel at stoveworks in the factory  (yummy!), followed by some shopping with mom.  it should be a fun and busy day!


our christmas tree

ok. i have now tried to make this post happen 3 times. i will blame it on my allergies/cold. :) we put our tree up last wednesday night. the dogs are still trying to figure out why we have a tree inside the house. dave, however, is used to christmas trees and is loving having a tree again. if he could talk, i think he would say this is his favorite time of year. a special blanket (tree skirt) beneath a tree... he is in kitty heaven. we haven't put up a big tree since jay and i have been together... only little trees. so dave has missed them and the dogs have never seen them. they don't bother it too much. thank goodness! it definitely makes it seem a bit more like christmas in our house.

dave checking the tree out

the girls watching as i put the lights on

the finished product


a great mckcause

again, i am sure many of you have seen the mckmiracle button/link on the side of my blog, telling the story of mckmama and her msc (many small children) and the miraculous healing of her last child, stellan (mckmuffin). mckmama has a great new raffle and give-away set up on her blog. it is for 3 great causes, so follow this link and check it out.

"i wanna soak up the sun"

they will be sad when a christmas tree is in the corner tonight.

the original sun-lover

barley loves the sun, too, (and is laying in it right now in the "tree spot") but will sometimes lay with dave and share a spot of sun between them.

yes, you heard correctly, we are going to buy our tree and decorate it tonight. it has always been my family tradition to have a live tree the first year in a new home. i have a bit of an allergy to christmas trees (and all things pine) and tend to end up with allergies that settle into bronchitis. so we'll see how it goes this year. jay grew up with live trees most years, so we're giving this year a trial run...


within 72 hours

this post has everything you could ever want! this post contains a TON of pictures, which include the beach, the snow, and the dogs. what else could you want? so, as the title gives away, jay and i have been on the beach, walking in the sand and playing in about 4 inches of snow within the last 3 days. insane, yes? it is hard to believe. we spent thanksgiving in hilton head with jay's family (his dad, larry and his wife mitos, uncle kenneth, aunt brenda, and cousin brian) and had a great time relaxing and listening to the ocean, watching some football, and enjoying good company. so, without further delay, pictures from the beach...

porpoises in the ocean

sunlight breaking through

perfect sand dollar... he didn't survive the trip home

brian, jay, and kenneth on our friday morning walk

"big waves" breaking with high tide

my feet in the ocean (yes, it was cold)
it did rain and was cloudy most of the weekend, but it was nice to get away. the upper 60 degree weather was nice, too. :) in fact, when we departed on sunday morning, it was 65 degrees. when we got home sunday afternoon, it was 39 here in asheville. cold! so where was all the snow? well, it was NOT here in fletcher at our house. but it was up about 30 minutes north in madison county. we took the dogs and drove up the interstate in search of the snow. the elevation is much higher and the snow was definitely falling up there. we stopped at the rest area that is just south of the nc/tn border. the dogs, well, we all, had a great time and were even able to get the perfect picture for our christmas card. (that will still be a surprise, but you can get a good idea from these pictures.) so, without further hesitation, here are some pictures of snow!

winter wonderland

this beautiful picture was at the rest stop (before the girls played!)

they loved chasing snowballs and not being able to find them!

me and the girls (getting ready to pose, maybe!)

cotton took "stay" so seriously, we got a great picture of her.

"yummy! snow tastes good. barley, where is your face?"

barley bounding in the snow (look at those ears)

"see cotton, it is fun to stick your face in it."
beautiful snowfall

my feet in the snow (yes, it was definitely colder than the ocean)

sweet barley's portrait time
so that is the fun and the sites we have seen in the last 3 days. i don't go back to work until thursday (nice, yeah?) and am planning to do some decorating for christmas. we are planning to get a live tree this year and might possibly get that this week! we listened to christmas music on the radio while driving in the snow yesterday, and it definitely got me in the christmas spirit.
i am going to make this post interactive... comment back and tell me what gets you most in the christmas spirit!


happy thanksgiving

greetings from hilton head island. jay took this picture as the sun was rising this morning. (i was still in bed.) but i have since been up making blueberry bread for breakfast. (thanks southern living.) the coffee is hot, the ocean is cold, and the sand feels good in between the toes. hope you all have a fantastic weekend.


contest and awareness

hey there everyone. i am sure you have seen the little "button" on the right side of my blog about a "mckmiracle." i have been reading/following a blog and praying for a family whose 4th child was diagnosed in-utero with supraventricular tachycardia and a "fatal" arrhythmia. they were told that their baby would probably die before it was born, or if it lived through delivery, it would die shortly after birth. they began praying and inviting everyone they could to join them in prayer. well, 3 weeks ago, little stellan joined his 2 big brothers, 1 big sister, and his parents and is alive and well and a healthy newborn baby with a healthy heart. prayers do work. it's amazing. you can check out their story on mckmama's blog.

mckmama is having a contest of sorts and is really trying to raise awareness about a great cause, too. the cause is string of pearls, which provides professional photographs for parents who receive a diagnosis of fetal death in utero or a fatal diagnosis post delivery. they provide this service free of charge and run their ministry strictly off of donations.  she is working on a new project on her own of ways to help funding for string of pearls and has enlisted those of us who follow her blog to help her in her cause (with the bribe of a small prize).

so read up on mckmama and baby stellan (and her "msc"... many small children) and the miracle of healing in their lives.  then read up on string of pearls and their ministry to help parents grieve while providing them with beautiful memories of the short time they have with their little ones.  and keep on praying.  (it does work.)


it's snowing.....


it is true...

i cannot help it. i have been spoiled and i cannot convert back to any other grocery store. my heart belongs to publix. jay and i drove down to traveller's rest, sc (which actually is only about a 35 minute drive) and with cooler in tow, did some shopping at publix on sunday. it was worth every penny, too. we also discovered (and were not shocked) that the gas prices in sc are much lower than here. compare theirs at $1.95/gal to our $2.18/gal. so, we have decided that a couple of times a month, i will be driving to traveller's rest to visit my beloved publix and fill up with some cheap gas.
so what is wrong with our grocery stores here? we have ingle's. ingle's is sort of like kroger, but with fewer selections. i would much rather shop at kroger than ingle's. and they are everywhere. (they are based here.) we have a few bi-lo's scattered around (worse than ingle's). we have one harris teeter (too expensive with not nice employees) and some earthfare's and one greenlife. (both with many organic choices and some very "natural" customers. it is great if you have a cold and cannot breathe well when you go there. ok, it isn't that bad all the time. but it can be.) if you have ever been to a publix, or you currently shop there now, then you know what i am talking about. we weren't in publix 5 minutes, and an employee, who was seemingly in a huge hurry with lots of boxes, still slowed down long enought to ask us how we were and were we finding everything we needed. to me, that makes a huge difference. it is what i miss.
and now, we have a solution.


you still have time to...

Vote Button


meet orion.

this sweet baby is orion. he is matt and alicia's new "gsd" (as jay calls him), their german shepherd dog. he is 8 weeks old and, so far, hasn't given them too much trouble. alicia has been wanting a puppy for a long time and jay and i think that after one night with barley a few weeks ago, they just had to get their own! okay. so that probably isn't exactly the way it went, but regardless, they have a sweet new baby. he came over to our house last night to meet the girls while we all ate dinner. he was slowly introduced and cotton and barley demonstrated that they can play easy and gentle with him and cotton even reluctantly shared her tennis ball with him. orion even met dave and seemed curious about the creature he knew wasn't a dog, but was his size. it was a successful meeting, and we can't wait to watch him grow up!

(tired) orion. he really likes the back door. (anyone's back door.)

our three, closely watching. (and getting lots of attention.)

it really did snow!

so last tuesday, after a monday of wind gusting up to 50 mph, we had some snow. i admit that i was sleeping during the snowfall here at our house. jay took these pictures. (i slept late b/c it was my first night going back to work for the week.) it was still very windy last tuesday, so nothing stuck on anything for long down here. however, in the higher elevations, especially in madison county, it accumulated anywhere from 3-8 inches! in october! craziness. and it has been so nice and warm almost since then. here is proof that we did, in fact, have snow on october 28th.

the wind was blowing so hard on monday night the flag was straight out.

i told you we had snow!

our backyard view has changed a bit, too, with the addition of many new homes.

the lot next to us is still empty, and we hope it stays that way for awhile.