below are just a handful of charities that i have happed upon recently. obviously, there are a million great causes, and these are just a tiny portion of the options. i'm not asking readers to donate unless they feel compelled to do so...just sharing things that are important to me.

march for babies
a friend's brother and his wife lost two precious babies at birth. they have walked in the march of dimes "march for babies" in their honor and memory.

the joyful life library
i originally read about this project here on lindsay's blog. you can read their story here. and see some of the good that's been done so far here. if you are interested in donating, you can send soft-cover child-appropriate books that are either new or gently used to this address:

Cardon Children's Medical Center
Attention: Erin Sinnema,Certified Child Life Specialist, PICU
1400 S. Dobson Ave
Mesa, AZ 85202

i learned about this at jennifer mcguire's blog. this is a "card drive" where crafters (or anyone) make inspirational cards for sick children and their siblings, parents, etc. i haven't done this year but desperately want to. there are prizes offered regularly as well.

operation write home (formerly known as *cards for heroes*) is another great cause for paper crafters. you can make two types of cards...ones that include inspirational thank you notes to send to our heroes overseas OR you can make blank cards that the heroes then use to send notes home to loved ones. i had one of spencer's elementary classes do a bunch of notes to them. then my paper crafting mom and sisters made blank cards for us to send also.



first post {flickr}

a post by katie the scrapbook lady inspired me to take a look at the first thing i ever posted to my flickr account. i remember that my relationship with the oddly spelled photo sharing site began slowly. eventually i made the leap to paid services and i have never regretted it. i love the site for many reasons and use it as my "off site" photo backup and a means of sharing photos with friends and family.

so, it turns out that my first post to flickr was on august 27, 2007. and it was this cutie shot of cooper.

it was a full month later before i posted anything else. i have no idea why. but i shared 27 photos at that point.

i added no photos to my account in october of 2007, only 26 in november and a whopping 88 in december. in 2010, i've averaged 400 photos uploads per month.

my flickr account can be viewed here



{summer survey}

ok, so i meant to post this on the last day of summer last week (september 21) but apparently, i got sidetracked... found this somewhere and thought it'd be a fun way to wrap up the super hot season!

sunflower 1
photo credit: olkaprill

1.What’s your favorite flavor of cool drink? mint
2.Describe your swimming-pool style: on a float, drink in hand
3.What’s your favorite book you’ve read this summer?  sadly, haven't read many. other than the obvious (The Bible), probably james patterson's 8th confession.
4.Describe this year’s swimsuit: last year's :)
5.What color are your flip flops? seriously? i have a ton...as many colors as possible.
6.Describe your favorite place to read in the summer:  on or near the beach
7.What’s your favorite ice cream? chocolate
8.Describe your favorite thing about summer: more time with spencer
9.What are you looking forward to about school starting? routine
10.Describe your favorite summer meal:  chicken salad
11.What is your favorite spot in the yard? anywhere in the shade where coleman can play
12.Describe your daily routine: i'm not even going to get into to it...
13.What’s your favorite flower? sunflower
14.Describe your favorite pair of shorts: i don't like to wear shorts
15.What does summer smell like? watermelon



music monday {zac brown band}

i  have been a fan of the zac brown band ever since they first entered the mainstream country scene, singing about how they like their chicken fried. i fell a little deeper when they did a crossroads episode with jimmy buffett. they just released their second album you get what you give and i was pleasantly surprised to see that (as of yesterday) it was the #1 downloaded album on iTunes (not just country, but of any album).

i downloaded their newest single, which has been all over cmt lately. it's a duet with alan jackson and i absolutely love it.

but while i was there, i saw that there was another zbb duet listed in the rankings...one with jimmy buffett...whut??? how could i not know this existed (it wasn't on their crossroads). so, i downloaded it without even listening to it (i mean seriously...how was it going to be bad???). i listened to it for the first time this morning on the way to work, and of course, it's great! take a gander... i'm pretty sure i'm going to just give in and download the whole album.

since we're talking about music, what did everyone think of the season premiere of glee??? i thought it was good, but not the best. i enjoyed some of the more current music (i'm a big fan of the billionaire song), but there wasn't anything that was moving into the ranks of my top ten. i thoroughly enjoyed the musical throwdown in the girls' bathroom between rachel and sunshine. i'm really looking forward to the britney/brittany episode tomorrow night. i think it's going to be awesome.



this week {9.19 to 9.26}

~ i had a meeting at the charlotte motor speedway ~

~ spencer had a baseball game. they won. ~

~ i got caught up on clipping and filing coupons ~

~ i took a vacation day from work ~

~ i reorganized coleman's clothes for fall ~

~ i reorganized coleman and spencer's bookshelves ~

~ matt put together spencer's new ikea furniture...got spencer's room mostly set up ~

~ i ironed spencer's new bedding ~

~ we watched the season premiere of glee ~

~ i finished reading the book of ecclesiastes ~

~ spencer had another baseball game. they lost. ~

~ it was the last day of work for one of my coworkers ~

~ i found out i'd have to make a pretty big decision at work ~

~ i worked on finding a sign for the hoa ~

~ scott came over to hang out ~

~ coleman turned 19 months old ~

~ i had a lazy friday night ~

~ i read the book of solomon ~

~ coleman and i spent saturday at sherry's house ~

~ mom, michelle, marion & maggie were in town ~

~ i went to hobby lobby with mom and michelle ~
this is what happens after five minutes alone at aunt sherry's house...

~ we celebrated bo's 18th birthday ~

~ we watched the gamecocks lose to auburn ~

~ coleman and i went back over to sherry's on sunday morning ~

~ i bought the first new christmas items of the year ~

~ i finally bought a 12"x12" baseball scrapbook for spencer ~

~ i began sorting through digital items for matt's parents' anniversary party ~

~ i bought fabric for my mom to make me an apron ~

{savings tracker}
spent = $118; saved = $133 (53%)
ytd savings = $3,494 (41%)
4wk avg = $118; ytd weekly avg = $132



photos {engagement}

christina - my niece on matt's side - is engaged to johnathan and getting married in the spring. they just had their engagement photos done at the beach and they are so incredibly gorgeous. i had to share. these were done by crystal lee photography. here are some of my favorites that i stole from facebook...
i'm pretty sure these were taken near or at huntington beach state park on the coast of south carolina.



musings {joy comes in the morning}

if you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that sometimes i need a little *pick me up* and i use this my corner of the web to accomplish that (like this post back in april). today is one of those days. i'm actually feeling better now than i was this morning when i first decided to do this post, but i still think its therapeutic.

yesterday, i had a discussion with my boss that is most likely going to lead to a very hard *career versus family* decision. i was an absolute mess last night and this morning didn't look much better. as i said...feeling a little better this afternoon (after a chat with a co-worker). so, with the weight of this decision on me, i have focused all day on things in my life for which i'm feeling lucky & blessed. i was happy to run across this on a blog this morning:
“Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning”
(Psalms 30:5).
so...with that in mind...here is the "joy"
  • thankful that God made me get behind on reading certain blogs so that the scripture above showed up this morning when i needed it.
  • coleman was in a good, cute mood this morning (granted, this made the decision thing worse, but makes you smile anyway!).
  • spencer is really enjoying his fall season of rec baseball and i'm so happy that he's found the passion for the game again.
  • fantastic ankle boots. loving that i'm slowly breaking out the fall footwear. loving that they are nine west and only cost me $15. loving that they remind me of a pair i had in high school and loved. loving that they are comfy.
  • so appreciative of my husband who tolerated my blubbering last night and has been gentle and reassuring with my fragile emotional state.
  • excited about my mom, sister, niece and brother-in-law coming into town. celebrating my nephew's 18th birthday.
  • pumped about the britney/brittany episode of glee next week.
  • amused that our friend is coming over tonight for a few cold ones because my husband thinks i should drink my sorrows away (sarcastically, of course).
  • anxious, but excited, about the usc/auburn football game.
  • totally excited that the gamecocks are currently ranked 12th in the country and this is their third consecutive week of being nationally ranked.
  • having spencer's room makeover 99% complete.
  • that i have a super coworker that can make my mood better.
thank you chronicle readers for serving as my own personal therapists...much appreciated.



web wednesday {9.22}

hello chronicles readers...
i just wanted to share some things from around the web that i have found to be of interest, inspiring or just darned cute. enjoy.

***paper scrapbooking***
there must be something in the air... three of my favorite scrapbooking websites/blogs have gotten recent "face lifts". i encourage you to go look at them. they are very visually pleasing. 
i have never really given much thought to my "style" of parenting. and honestly, i don't research much in regards to how we raise spencer or coleman. we basically do what seems right, try to work through the disagreements and when i struggle, i'll search online for some assistance on the particular topic. but on occasion, i run across blog posts that *hit home* on parenting. this was one of those. 
{preserving family memories the simple way} @ steady momthis is a great memory keeping idea for non-scrapbookers!

{blog design basics for blogger} @ jessica spraguei signed up for this class and i'm very excited about it. i've been itching to really makeover the blog but i'm not very tech-savvy. hopefully this class will give me the knowledge boost that i need. it's a self-paced class so i believe you can sign up at anytime.

{love everyday} @ life your way
this blog is featuring a series of 27 posts which are also available as a free e-book download. it is "how to make your marriage extraordinary amongst the chaos of life". go to this post to read one portion of it and get the link to the download. i just printed it myself and i'm looking forward to reading it.
***a little bit of everything***
this is brand new blog (i believe it began 9.6.2010) and it is a pretty freakin' cool concept, if you ask me. it talks about SO MANY different aspects of life. the best part is that you can subscribe to the whole shebang, OR you can choose the categories of interest to you and stick to those! the category blogs include: home, organizing, technology, blogging, green, productivity, success, decorating, finances, food, motherhood...it's almost as if they read my mind! needless to say, i subscribed to the whole thing (for now) and so far, it's worth it!



tv tuesday {glee}

ok...i know i already devoted yesterday's music monday post to glee, but considering how giddy i am about it's return tonight, i figured it'd be ok to have a second one.

on the show's website, there are some nifty (albeit, cheesy) things to entertain fellow gleeks.

take this quiz to find out if you are a sue or a shue...

what a relief to find out i'm a shue...

you can also test your glee n.a.
this is basically a bunch of silly games...but the best part is there are trivia questions after each one.
and they are tough!

there is also a glee photo booth

here's mine:



music monday {glee top 5}

after a few weeks of vacation, music monday is back!

tomorrow marks the biggest night of tv this year...the season 2 premiere of glee. when the promos come on tv, i do a little dance in the den. literally. i'm dead serious. my glee playlist has been in active rotation the last week or so, building up to this big moment. i'm excited about the addition of john stamos and apprehensive about rachel's new competition, charise.

so, in honor of this momentous event, this week's music focus is going to be glee music of course. i have 85 glee songs on my iPhone right now. below are my 5 favorites with you tube videos for your viewing and listening pleasure. enjoy.

somebody to love
confession: i am pretty sure i had never heard this song prior to watching this episode...blasphemy, i know! now it's my favorite glee song.

don't stop believin'
the song that started it all...the love, the obsession, the phenomenon. right here. one song. one performance. one episode.

dream on
since i am in the habit of being blasphemous...i will confess that i do not like aerosmith. but this version of the song with mr. shue and doogie howzer...wow!!

poker face
i already shared this in this post but it's in the top five so i had to include it again.

defying gravity
the best part of this song is singing it at the top of your lungs!

ok, did you really think i could stop at 5??? here are five more, just for shiggles...
each song title is linked to you tube if you want to listen to it:

bohemian rhapsody
don't stand so close to me/young girl mashup



this week {9.13 to 9.19}

~ i walked coleman to daycare ~
nice that it was actually cool enough to do this again.

~ blog design class started ~
i was able to spend a little time on the lessons.

~ spencer had his first rec ball game of the season ~
they won 7-2, but he didnt' have a very good game.

~ i ordered coleman's halloween costume online ~

~ i worked on a handout for the baseball team ~

~ i shopped at dick's, party city, and tj maxx ~

~ i got this funny photo message of coleman at daycare ~
aj said he kept going back to the wagon and looking at the wheels to see what was wrong with it and why it wouldn't move. it never occured to him he might not be strong enough!

~ i designed cupcake wrappers and toppers for spencer's birthday (based on his current baseball team - the orioles) ~

~ shopped at wal-mart and the dollar tree ~

~ i participated in a back 2 blogging event ~

~ i made cupcakes ~
big ones for spencer's team; little ones with leftover batter which i sent to daycare

~ i purged some technological items and scrapbook items ~

~ i made muffins and delivered them to new neighbors ~

~ spencer had a baseball game on his birthday ~
they won 7-5; he pitched and had a very good game

~ after the game, the team had cupcakes and baseball oreos and ritz crackers to celebrate ~

~ it was a busy and interesting week at work ~

~ i chatted with spencer online ~

~ the mortgage lady came over to our house to do paperwork for our possible refinance ~

~ we continued to try and get gamecock football tickets and eventually gave up ~

~ i had a work meeting at charlotte motor speedway ~

~ at work, we had lunch at a yummy italian place ~

~ spencer got his first middle school progress report ~
he got 3 As and 1 B in his academic courses.

~ i took a bubble bath ~

~ i wrapped spencer's birthday gifts ~

~ matt, coleman and i woke spencer up by busting into his room singing happy birthday with all of his gifts ~

~ spencer opened his gifts ~

~ spencer's *big* gift was a room makeover at ikea so we spent the day shopping (and eating) there ~
spencer picked up this stuffed dog for coleman but ended up getting attached to it himself :)

~ some friends came over to watch the usc vs. furman game (we won!) and clemson v. auburn game (they lost!)  ~

~ i got caught up on some photo editing and blogging ~

~ we went to my in-laws' for lunch ~

~ i met brigitte & strait at t-bones for a couple of drinks on the patio ~

~ i finished the book of proverbs ~

~ matt and i watched couples retreat ~


story {junior cotillion}

a couple of weeks ago, we learned about the junior cotillion program and the local chapter. other baseball moms filled us in and we found out that many of spencer's friends were participating. matt and i both had wanted spencer to participate in something like this and we were excited to get him signed up. spencer...not so excited.

we spent labor day scouring the mall for everything he needed to be dressed for his special dances & classes. again...spencer not so thrilled. last friday was his first dance/class. i left work early so i would be there while he was getting ready. matt ironed his clothes, giving spencer some lessons along the way, then walked him through how to do his tie.

100910 Junior Cotillion 01 - Matt helping Spencer with tie

after he was all dolled up, i escorted him to our front yard for some photo ops. the forced pose....
100910 Junior Cotillion 06 - Spencer before

and the unsolicited pose...
despite the attitude, isn't he seriously handsome???
100910 Junior Cotillion 08 - Spencer before

i drove him there but did not take my camera inside, in an attempt to not embarrass him (though plenty of moms were armed with them). when i arrived an hour and a half later to pick him up, they were still dancing. i ran to my car to grab my camera, but didn't make it in time. all i was able to catch was spencer escorting his partner around the circle and to the door as they departed.
100910 Junior Cotillion 09 - Spencer at end of class

100910 Junior Cotillion 10 - Spencer at end of class
and here he is politely thanking his hosts.
100910 Junior Cotillion 11 - Spencer at end of class

when we got in the car, spencer informed me that this definitely didn't qualify as "fun" but it was tolerable. however, he was on cloud nine. bouncing off the walls. he was quite tickled that he got to dance with a good lookin' high school girl. he was being a spaz in the car...dancing and singing.
100910 Junior Cotillion 13 - Spencer after

see, the thing is...spencer knew he looked good. he was all about being dressed up. he even voluntarily wore his blazer to the baptism on sunday. on the way home, we stopped at a local restaurant to pick up a to-go order. it was packed and he literally worked the room...talking to complete strangers about his night. it cracked me up!!!
100910 Junior Cotillion 16 - Spencer after

and then we got home, shared stories with matt and had a celebratory glass of champagne (no, spencer did not drink any alcohol!).
100910 Junior Cotillion 18 - toast

and just a random, cute shot of coleman...taken during the tie session. this is his "i am laughing hysterically" face.
100910 Coleman copy