this week {11.23 - 11.29}

~ i fell down a few of our stairs. ouch. ~

~ coleman officially has some **serious** separation anxiety ~
this photo was sent to me by aj to show me that he was fine just a couple of minutes after i left

~ i did 5 loads of laundry (not bad) ~

~ i watched: csi miami, football, modern family, ncis la, glee, two and a half men. ~

~ i shopped at: kids korner consignment shop, walgreen's, and wal-mart (three times) ~

~ i was pleased to discover a nice sized balance at the consignment store. and i dropped off more stuff. ~

~ i assembled and ordered a free photo book from american greetings photoworks ($40 value) ~

~ i was super excited to see the new iphone + software makes picture messaging possible ~

~ i worked from home one day and was off two days for thanksgiving ~

~ coleman's latest obession is the dishwasher ~

~ matt was off for a few days and then worked days over the weekend ~

~ i worked on some things related to the free jessica sprague class ~

~ we had a "working mom's thanksgiving" on tuesday night with spencer since it's not his year to spend with us ~

~ coleman stood up and sat down on his own ~

~ coleman had his nine month doctor visit. clean bill of health. 21 lbs 4 oz (75th percentile) and 30" (95th percentile)

~ we had thanksgiving with matt's family and his parents' house ~

~ i bought the new sugarland christmas cd "gold and green" ~

~ i received the christmas cards i ordered. stuffed envelopes, labeled and stamped all of them. a majority, but not all, have been mailed ~

~ i ordered some christmas gifts online on "black friday" because i don't do the crazy crowds ~

~ coleman slept through the night twice ~

~ i was able to renew two of our magazine subscriptions for $5/year through amazon ~

~ i finally finished up coleman's birth mini album. it's been 95% done for a while and i needed to borrow my sister's cropadile to finish it ~

~ downloaded a ton of glee songs ~

~ coleman went for his first wagon ride through the neighborhood while i delivered neighborhood newsletters. he did really well. ~

~ the gamecocks crushed the tigers. awesome win, but a little sad that football season is over (other than bowl games) ~
first photo is of coleman intensely watching the first half of the game. the second photo is how he spent the entire second half.

~ scott came over saturday night for a while ~

~ had coffee with tara twice (friday afternoon at her house, sunday morning at mine) ~

~ coleman has a bad cough and runny nose again ~

~ my niece, maggie, went to the hannah montana concert on saturday night ~
camera phone photo sent by my sister

~ my sister and family were out of town for the holiday weekend ~
these are two phone pictures she sent me...her in a crazy hat and then teddy with his fish

~ coleman had his picture taken with "santa" at wal-mart (it wasn't a very good santa, thus the quotation marks) ~
this is how coleman spent the first half of that wal-mart trip. i can't believe how long he slept like this!

~ coleman and i hung out on the front porch with some neighbors ~



holidays in hand {days 2 + 3}

now that i've gotten through a few of the lessons, i'm beginning to have a better understanding of this class. even though the actual class only lasted a week, it's designed to walk you through the month of december (and the associated forums and gallery on her site are open all month). i'm more excited about this now that i better "get it". since i'm not doing the *daily december album* like i did last year (inspired by ali edwards), this is perfect.

day 2:
jessica provided 31 of these prompt pages, which i printed out today. (i chose the smaller, 5.5" square size). each one includes a quote, a memory jogger, a writing assignment and a photography assignment. then she has provided blank "do" and "make" lines.

day 3:
she provided some starter lists of things to do and make that we can add to the blank lines. our assignment is to fill these in. it's unreasonable to think we can make and do 31 different things (2 a day), but i'd like to get 31 ideas of each down on paper - just for inspiration and variety. i have started my list by taking some of her ideas and combining them with mine. i want to work on building this list, and not rush into it, so i will probably skip ahead in the project while still pondering some of these. my current list is 21 "things to do" and 13 "thinks to make". i will post it when i'm done.



holidays in hand {assignments 1 thru 3}

now that i can get back on the site, i was able to look at the three assignments associated with *day 1*.

assignment 1:
in addition to our values, we are supposed to write goals that we have associated with the holiday season.

here are a few goals of mine:
 ~ start new traditions with coleman, while continuing existing traditions
 ~ get organized with a plan so that we all can enjoy the season
 ~ increase the focus on Christ in our celebrations

assignment 2:
we are supposed to commit to spend twenty minutes every single day in december to recording, writing, photographing, savoring, printing, gluing, scrapbooking, remembering, or slowing down. at first it seems a bit intimidating. every single day??? but if you look at what she's talking about... i probably do this anyway. it'll be fun to take it on as a challenge, though.

assignment 3:
organize. she provided this link as a good place to start: organized christmas. i've only spent a few minutes on this site and i'm in love. not just organization, but just super cute ideas. their six-week organization plan actually starts at the end of october. i need to remember that next year!



holidays in hand {day 1}

a while back i mentioned that i signed up for another free class at jessica sprague's website. it started about a week ago but because of my traveling, i haven't been able to do anything with it. the first lesson said we need to use a journal or blog for some things. well...i'm much better at blogging than keeping a journal, so you will see things related to this class for a short while.

the first thing we are supposed to do is think about our holiday values. What we treasure, hopes we have, what we want to instill in our children, etc. we are supposed to start with a list of words.

here's what comes to mind for me:
- tradition - fun - christ - family - food - memories - faith - warmth - comfort - crafts - baking - charity - anticipation - believe - awe - coziness - peace - contentment - welcome - home - bond - friendship - giving - sharing -

all of a sudden i can't get her website to work for me, so i can't go on to read what our first official "assignment" is. i think this is a way for my computer to tell me to go to bed. GOOD NIGHT :)


this week {11.16 - 11.22}

this week...

~ i did 7 loads of laundry ~

~ i shopped at wal-mart and cvs ~

~ i received my free address labels from vistaprint. i was very pleased with the quality (i blocked out the address in the photo) ~

~ i watched castle, brothers and sisters, the mentalist, desperate housewives, ncis la, private practice, cold case, law and order (got caught up on a bunch of dvr'd stuff while matt was working)

~ i worked from home two days (monday, friday) ~

~ i traveled to cleveland for three days for our national sales meeting ~

~ i sent a bag of "personal items" to school with spencer for his class's collection ~

~ i watched the space shuttle launch ~

~ matt was off most of the week and worked nights over the weekend ~

~ spencer brought home his veteran's day project ~

~ i cried when i saw the "teasers" from our family photo shoot ~

~ i got a car charger and case for my new iphone. matt got an auxillary cord and case for his ~

~ i cried when i left coleman to go on my trip ~

~ i finished reading reckless abandon by stuart woods ~

~ i bowled three games and our team came in second place (won $40!) ~

~ i drank a GP1tini (long story) ~

~ i missed my baby in a serious way ~

~ i was excited to discover lots of christmas music on the sirius channels ~

~ i synched up my christmas playlist onto my iphone ~

~ coleman hit his head on the coffee table. not that unusual but this time it left a mark ~

~ i didn't get to see spencer all week (he was here the three days i was gone). felt weird. ~

 ~ coleman keeps getting better with his walker toy ~

~ i made a welcome basket of muffins for the neighbors ~

~ i worked on several things for the social committee (welcome card, website, newsletter, distribution list, advertising form) ~

~ coleman's favorite toys were an empty coke bottle, wisk, koozie and measuring spoon ~

~ i ordered our christmas cards. proud of myself for having that done already ~



{there are no words}

this is going to be one of those long-winded posts to get to a very simple point...feel free to "fast forward", but it's my blog and i feel like rambling...

several weeks ago, we made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. i was excited since it was coleman's first time, etc. i had no idea just how much i'd gain from this little trip (enter dramatic background music). i warned spencer and matt ahead of time that i wanted to have a picture of the four of us taken (because we barely have any). while there, the first thing we did was a hayride. i remember seeing a lady in a cute hat with a big camera (can you say "camera envy"?)and a boy a little bit older than coleman. i guess those three factors combined made her stand out in my mind. later when we were at a spot ideal for photos, i waited for this cute-hat-camera-lady to finish her own set of shots and asked if she'd mind taking a quick photo of the four of us. given her large camera, i figured she could relate :) so, after she does this for us, she hands me a business card telling me that she actually lives in the area and just started a photography business.

now, i don't know why, but without any references or research (beyond a quick glimpse at her website), i knew she was "the one" for our family photo shoot. we exchanged some emails and i was really struggling with where to have them taken. i settled on the greenway, mainly because i like the place -- but not because i felt it was right for our photos. then lindsay (cute-hat-camera-girl) told me that the greenway had started charging a ridiculous fee to shoot there. so, i was stumped (this is less than 24 hours before our appointment now). she says 'here me out' and begins to explain why downtown fort mill might be a good location for us if we want something a bit more unique. after describing a few things, i was sold. not just sold, but pumped!

so, the next day, the four of us head down there. we meet lindsay - still cute, still big camera, but this time without the hat and baby boy :) she is full of energy and has tons of cute props. we bounce from bench to trees to cannons to railroad tracks to old brick walls to refurbished trains (you get the point). an hour and a half later, she has a camera full of photos, we have a tired baby, and three grumblin' tummies...but i have an overwhelming sense of *peace* about the photos.

she told us it'd be 2 weeks before we get the full selection of photos on a cd but that she'd post some "teasers" of her favorites to her blog within a week or so. needless to say, i was super excited to find out today that she already had posted them!

as i open her blog, i started to cry. ok, not crazy hysterical cry...just a few tears of happiness. i have admired amazing photos and awesome editing on other blogs and websites for so long...wishing we could get some like that, too. but i had no idea how to find *that* photographer (and if we could afford him/her without a second mortgage). and here i was, looking at my *those* pictures, that i've wanted for so long (and for the record, no second mortgage required).

i know it's stupid. i know it's cheesy. but for someone that loves and adores photos the way i do, i was truly moved by seeing these. and once you check them out...look at the one of matt by himself. it takes my breath away each and every time i see it (and trust me, i've looked at them a lot today!). there are even a few of myself that i like - and that's saying a lot.

so, lindsay - if you're out there - thanks again for making a dream of mine come true. there truly are no words to express how i feel (but i sure used plenty in this post trying to find them, right???) i hope you never stop this art of yours, as i'll never have to consider what photographer to choose again. and trust me when i say that i'll be referring you to everyone in the area that i know!

i know it kind of ruins the whole photo christmas card thing to publicly show all of our pictures, but i'm too excited not to share. now here is the part people actually care about:

you can see all of the *teaser* photos either on facebook or her blog (there are a couple on FB, that are not on her blog, but not many). i'm not 100% sure but you may be able to view the facebook photos even if you don't have an account. give it a whirl! of course, i will post and share all of them when once i get them.

this is probably obvious at this point, but if you live in the area, you SERIOUSLY need to consider using lindsay - you can find her here:


frugal friday {11.13}

friday i went to harris teeter on my lunch hour. got some great deals on baby food. good deals on diapers + formula.

total retail value = $100.38
out of pocket paid = $42.55
savings = $57.83 (58%)

i also ended up making an emergency "sick baby" trip to food lion. i didn't have time to shop the few sales they had there, so basically all i got were some jars of baby food and pedialyte. i was pleasantly surprised to get a $2.00 coupon on my next food lion purchase, from pedialyte!

total retail value = $20.70
out of pocket paid = $16.70
savings = $4.00 (19%...but 29% if you could the $2.00 coupon I earned)



this week {11.15}

~ i worked from home two days ~

~ i had a hair appointment ~

~ i did 7 loads of laundry ~

~ spencer's class recognized veteran's day with a parade ~

~ spencer didn't participate in the parade because he is the 'roaming reporter' for the school news ~

~ i shopped at bi-lo, harris teeter, kohl's, food lion, at&t, and best buy ~

~ i watched castle, supernatural, smallville, lie to me, modern family, private practice, 2 1/2 men, law and order, glee, the mentalist and fringe (yes, i watch too much tv) ~

~ i learned that over 2 million children read the very hungry caterpillar as part of the jumpstart program. also, 275,000 books were donated. very cool. ~

~ i finally updated my profile picture on facebook (it was 7 months old) ~

~i paid child support for matt ~

~ i picked up mcdonald's for supper one night (matt's idea) and ordered pizza another night (my idea) ~

~ i ordered a new carseat for coleman ~

~ i put together notes and agenda for our first social committee meeting ~

~ i made jambalya and lasagna for dinner; matt made spaghetti and burgers ~

~ i sent emails to family with christmas gift suggestions; also got some needed gift ideas ~

~ i ordered free christmas return address labels from vistaprint.com ~

~ i finally took down the halloween decorations ~

~i attended our first social committee meeting...lots of awesome stuff! ~

~ as a result of above-mentioned meeting, i typed up a TON of notes afterwards ~

~ two different women in the same store approached me thinking i was someone else. weird ~

~ i had to do a personality profile thingy for work (it turned into an area of obsession for matt and scott) ~

~ spencer pulled his math and science grades up to As. Woohoo. ~

~ coleman had a bad, bad, bad bout of diarrhea ~

~ i realized how long three hours can feel when your baby is sick and you're waiting to hear from the stupid doctor's office ~

~ i also realized how awesome it is to have close friends/neighbors with babies too (particularly when their babies had "it" first and can tell you what to do) ~

~ spencer completed a tesselation project for school ~

~ matt got a taste of what it really means to have a *bad night* with coleman ~

~ the gamecocks lost (again) but held their own against florida ~

~ spencer forgot about the new rule of "no football throwing in the house" ~
~ scott and cameron came over to watch the game ~
~ christy came over and fixed my internet (again) ~
~ we had a last minute location change for our family photo shoot. however, it turned out to be a very good thing. i can't wait to see the shots. our photographer rocked! her work-in-progress website is here~
~ i only took 16 photos and 2 videos this week (below are a few) ~
cooper + coleman + matt

yes, i still take pictures of the dogs (sometimes). i tried to get one of rio but he wouldn't cooperate.

we brought another *christmas* present down from the attic. i'm not sure whether to be annoyed that my advanced buying has been ruined or proud that my child is more advanced than i expected. anyway, he took to this walking toy immediately. and there's cooper again.

this will entertain him for a ridiculous amount of time.

scott getting some practice in...



more savings {11.09 + 11.10}

I had to go to Bi-Lo because they were running a great Beech-Nut deal. Everything I got was on sale + I had a coupon for it all+ the deal gave $5 instant savings if you purchased $15. So, in total, I got $23.00 worth of baby food items (jars + juice + cereal) for only $4.61!!! Woohoo.

Summary of entire Bi-Lo trip:
Total at full retail = $69.62
Paid = $35.89
Saved = $33.73 (48%)

I went back to Harris Teeter to only get free/cheap items. Spencer's class is collecting "personal care items" for a local food bank this month so my goal was to make sure I got a few things in that area. I got tons of rice for free or super cheap (this is not "easy rice" so most of it will probably get donated...I'm just that lazy). For his class, I got two bottles of lotion, dental floss, toothpaste, bar soap. None of it was free, but it was all very cheap. Free muffin mix. I also picked up some baby food and formula. Was hoping for some super cheap wipes, but the coupon beeped and then a pesky manager read the "do not double" and they ended up not being such a steal. Definitely worth the extra trip (and I was able to do it on my lunch hour since I wasn't getting anything cold).

Harris Teeter Summary (Tripes trip #2)
Total at full retail = $82.32
Paid = $21.66
Savings = $60.66 (74%)



savings saturday {11.7}

i went to harris teeter saturday morning for "triples" week. though i got some good deals, the bottom line wasn't as good as it should've been. instead of focusing on all the freebies or super cheap items, i focused on things we truly needed and use, for which i had coupons under one dollar.

Total at full retail = $143.99
Actually spent (with tax) = $88.76
VIC savings = $26.51
Coupons = $28.72
Total saved = $55.23 (38%)
If you take out the beer that I bought, I saved 47% :)


this week {11.1 - 11.7}

~ i uploaded 300 photos to flickr ~
~ i was very grateful for matt getting up early with coleman a few times so i could get a tad bit more sleep ~
~ my mom had a birthday! ~
~ i worked from home three days (monday, tuesday, friday) ~
~ spencer started using a new reading log at school ~
~ i signed up for a free class at Jessica Sprague's website ~
~ spencer had his last two baseball games ~

~ coleman loved the swing at tega cay (during spencer's game) ~

~ we ate at the white horse ~

~ i learned that PSE 8 was just released (after i just purchased PSE 7) ~

~ i sent a bunch of plastic grocery bags to school with spencer for some collection thing they were doing ~

~ spencer began his position as "roaming reporter" for the school news!! ~

~ i checked out shannon and jeff's wedding website ~

~ i learned our pediatrician's office was out of flu shots, then took coleman in for a cough and found out they did have some shots left ~

~ coleman weighed 20 pounds 3 ounces ~

~ i sent out envelopes for three rebates ~

~ i attended our first hoa board meeting and was elected vice president ~

~ i made cinnamon melt muffins ~

~ i learned that a little two year old girl in columbia (a friend of a family at aj's) had swine flu, was misdiagnosed and died :( ~

~ watched lots of ncis reruns ~

~ traded coupons with katherine in greenville ~

~ bo (my nephew) ran in the state cross country race ~

~ spencer pulled out the mythbusters kit he got for his birthday and did some experiements in the kitchen floor ~

~ spencer and coleman got a halloween card from aunt michelle ~

~ coleman and john michael played in the backyard ~

~ i took this SUPER cute picture of our neighbors, les + christy ~
~ the gamecocks got their butts kicked by arkansas (that's why coleman looks a little sad here) ~

~ scott and spencer played a ton of football in the hallway. this eventually led to my lamp getting broken. nice. ~

~ i got some coupons from sherry ~

~ spencer showed me his stapler power point presentation ~

~ we ate lunch at matt's parent's house ~

~ i saw phillip (matt's nephew) drive for the first time ~

~ we all went to spencer's end-of-baseball-season party at sayago's ~

~ i finalized the letter/bios that will be sent from the board to neighbors ~
~ our internet went out again (which is why this is getting posted a day late) ~
~ i uploaded a bunch of old photos from my phone (have to remember to include that in my weekly photo upload from now on) ~
~ i took a total of 45 pictures (most of which were on saturday) see them all here ~




i recently learned about a new website (well, new to me) called tumblr. it took me a little bit of pondering to "get it", but i finally did and i think it's going to be an awesome resource for me. basically it's a blog, but a bit more standardized than the typical blog (like this one).
so, i started a page and it's mainly a resource for me. it's a place for me to corral all sorts of "goodies" found on the internet - home decor ideas, scrapbooking pages i like, tutorials i'd like to refer back to, etc. the posts are tagged also. so, if in a few weeks i think to myself "what can i do for spencer's teachers for christmas???", i can go to my tumblr blog and look at posts tagged "gift ideas" and sort through things that have recently caught my attention! or next year when i think "oh, i wish i could remember where i saw the idea of making mummies out of hershey bars"...voila! it'll be there on my tumblr page (tagged with "halloween").

i kept the same name over at my tumblr site for consistency. i don't expect anyone to hang out there, but if you find that you like the same things i do, you might find some inspiration there. also, my posts to this blog feed over there.