Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A December to Remember: part one

Greetings from an unseasonably warm and sunny Big Orange Country!  (That's home of the Tennessee Vols for those of you that aren't from here!).  This Christmas will go down in the record books and will definitely be one to remember.  Very warm- like 70s.  It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit with those temps!

I love to look back at my blog and what we've done, where we've been, and the comings and goings of the kids.  I haven't done a December post, so I am going to cram it all into one!

I already blogged about my trip to Memphis to run the half marathon.  Just as soon as we got back, we hit to stage running with Nutcracker stage rehearsals and performance.

I have a ton more pictures but don't want to post them without permissions of the other peeps in the pics!  Caylee has so many friends of all ages in the show and they are like family to us.

After Nutcracker, we finished the week of school, engaged in the Christmas rush, got Carson some glasses, and got ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

About the glasses....  We (read, Chad) had noticed that Carson had commented that he had trouble seeing small digital numbers on clocks.  One night, Chad finally said, "Tina, I don't think Carson can see.  Make him an eye appointment."  We did and, he can't see.  Billy, our wonderful optometrist, basically said that Carson has Chad's vision (he's can't see squat) and that it will only get worse.  Turns out, he can see fine up close but not distances.  This explains some of the issues we have had with him at school, mainly, the planner.  He is supposed to write assignments in his planner but he hasn't been seeing them to write down.  So far, so good.  He has only broken one thing, and that is our rule.  Our rule is "face or case." They either have to be on your face or in your case.  One day, I found them laying on the table so I warned him that if he broke the rule again, there would be a five dollar fine.  He's only had to pay me $5 once. ;)

Fast forward to Christmas Adam.  We have gone over to Chad's aunt and uncle's house for dinner and presents for the last couple of years.  Carson was gifted an Eno hammock and Caylee got two American Girl mini dolls and some hangers. Chad and Carson mounted the hammock in Carson's room.  It is pretty cool- but his cute tween boy room is gone.  He loves it though!

On Christmas Eve, we went over to Chad's parents house for dinner and presents.  The most I remember from that night is the migraine headache I got.  UGH!I didn't take many pictures either.  Carson got a BB gun from Grampa and Caylee got a wardrobe for her AG stuff and a doll Jeep.

I woke up Christmas morning with the headache gone and ready to celebrate Christmas with my crew!  Santa DEFINITELY showed up at our house.  We must have been really good people!

Chad got this jacket he asked for but then he decided it provides no warmth at all, but it is water resistant.  
 He was excited for Beats!
 She had equal excitement for Grace's pastry cart.

 Funny story.... My goal this year was to have all gifts in boxes so I had to get creative.  And yes, there is a bag in the background.  Elmer ate the box that the particular gift came in.  #thankspuppy.
Anyway, back to the story...  Caylee was DYING to open this gift.  It was the largest box.  I had told her it was the Roomba box but she didn't believe me.  Her facial expression is priceless.
 The gift inside was a new backpack!
 I shopped for and wrapped one of my gifts- a St. Jude top.  I LOVE it!  Santa surprised me with an Apple Watch but I need to go to Knoxville to learn how to use the thing!  So far, I  am loving it!

 After cleaning up, we went to Mom and Dad's for the day.  My dad gifted the kids some cold hard cash!  Our day there wasn't rushed and was much quieter than the night before just because there was not as many people around.
Whew!  I am going to stop there.  Stay tuned for a post about our end of the year trip to Opryland Hotel!

Monday, December 7, 2015

St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon Recap

I want to blog about my experience this weekend before life gets "holiday crazy".  If you would have told me six years ago that I would be a FIVE TIME half marathoner, I would have laughed like a hyaena right in your face.

That's 13.1 miles FIVE TIMES.  Not including the hundreds of miles of training!

I started running with an amazing group of girls six years ago.  They started talking up a half marathon and I told them I would go with them and cheer them on but there was no way I could do a half......

Then Kellan got sick.

Kellan is Sarah's daughter.  Sarah was one of the girls in my running group.  What they thought were just a serious of headaches turned out to be a brain tumor.  Within twenty four hours, they were headed to Memphis.  Their world was ROCKED.  I will never forget Sarah telling us what was going on.  I decided then that if Kellan can endure what she was about to endure, then I was going to run a half marathon.  Since then, I have done FIVE.  (Sorry to keep repeating that!)

This weekend, Sarah and I headed to Memphis for the race and I basically asked her so many questions about their experience at St. Jude.  I am so grateful that she openly talked about their life at St. Jude.

*They NEVER received a bill from St. Jude.
*They were provided housing the entire time they were there.
*St. Jude takes care of the entire family.  There were special activities for the siblings of the patients.
*St. Jude hosts proms/graduations, party after party after party for patients.
*If a patient wanted something, St. Jude went to the ends of the earth to get it.  If Kellan wanted to watch a movie and St. Jude didn't have it, they went out and found it.
*One patient there only wanted to eat "spaghetti tacos" (seen in a show on Disney Channel) so the chef did whatever necessary to make the dish for the child.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is they saved my friend's daughter's life and are saving the lives of others I have come in contact with.  Caylee and Kellan have become good friends.  This child will forever hold a special place in my heart- she made me a five time half marathoner.  If it weren't for her, I never would have set foot on the start line.

This race is incredibly special to me.  It is also very emotional.  The course goes through the St. Jude Campus between mile 5 and 6 and I cry like a baby every year.  There are patients (who are able), parents, doctors, nurses, and staff members out along the sidewalks basically making a tunnel for you.  I am getting emotional just typing about it.  All the while, they are thanking us for our support and calling us heroes, but they have it all wrong.  The patients and their families are MY HEROES.  I saw several little bald heads on Saturday with their faces covered in masks and I lost it.  I have a hard enough time running but running with tears streaming down your face is very difficult.  I also cried as I finished because I am FIVE TIME FREAKING HALF MARATHONER.  I am a runner because there are people out there who can't.  I figured that if parents can put their life on hold to care for a sick child, I can take a small piece of my life and dedicate my time to training and running for St. Jude.

About my time... well, I am a turtle.  I am the one in the back getting her race entry's moneys worth.  No joke.  I really wanted a PR at this race.  Saturday morning, I googled pace times to finish in 2:35 and I took a sharpie and wrote the times on my arm.

Ok, so, if you notice, I got off after mile 7 and forgot to include the time for mile 8.  UGH.  I was ahead pace until mile 7 then I learned that I can't do math in my head to figure where I needed to be at mile 8, AND TRY TO RUN THE RACE.  Ooops.  I was proud of myself for staying ahead of pace as long as I did.  I started slowing down between mile 5 and 6- the St. Jude campus and I had a hard time pulling myself back together afterward.  My walls are mile 8 (ironic, huh) and mile 10.  At mile 10, I was three minutes off but it took me almost 40 minutes to do the last 5K.  I was hurting but I reminded myself that there were kids in that hospital that were in a whole lot worse shape than I was and that I needed to suck it up.

After the race, Sarah and I headed to Sonic for the best tasting coke zero EVER.  I always give up carbonated drinks during race week.  I am convinced that carbonated drinks make my legs ache (worse than they do after a race away) and I think that giving up Coke Zeros is the right move.  I don't have one daily anyway but man that Route 44 drink  was AWESOME!  And, the panera cookie at lunch later in the day was the bomb dot com!  We drove back across the state on Saturday after the race because we both had things we needed to be home for.  I am so thankful for her, her friendship, and her stories.  I am forever changed and will forever be a supporter of St. Jude!

When we got home, my arch nemesis were these....

There is nothing like the pain of walking down stairs.  I walked down backwards!  But again, it is a good sore feeling- I don't mind being sore when I know that I accomplished something.

I am going to close with a plea...  When you are out shopping and they ask if you would like to make a donation to St. Jude....  DO IT.  DO IT.  DO IT.  Even if it is just one dollar because I guarantee there are ten other people who can donate a dollar too!  It takes 2 million dollars A DAY to operate St. Jude.  I was in a store the other day and they asked me if I wanted to round up my bill to the nearest dollar so my change can go to St. Jude and I did because what if EVERY customer donated their change that day?

I am going to get serious about my fundraising efforts for the race next year.  I think I have planted a seed in Chad too- he told me yesterday he may run the full next year.  I am hoping my family and I can make a trip to Memphis and tour the hospital.  If you would like more information on how you can donate to St. Jude, please email me at!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five on Friday!!!!

I don't know about you guys but this week has just about kicked my rear.  I think it is the adjustment to the new time.  I am linking up with these lovelies!

I am so proud of this guy for his Entertainer of the Year Win at the CMAs!  You all know he is my favorite!!!

I cannot go any further without addressing the whole Chris Stapleton/Justin Timberlake performance.  I thought it was AMAZING!!!!  I am still #TeamLuke  ALL.THE.DAY.LONG but I think we are seeing a bit of a split in country music.  You have "new country"- Luke, Thomas, Brett, Dierks, etc. and you have "classic country"- Chris Stapleton, Tim McGraw, George Strait, etc.  There is nothing wrong with either camp- I like the music of both but Luke will always be my favorite.  I also thought that Thomas Rhett/Fallout Boy did a great job too.  I thought it was so sweet that Thomas had a huge grin on his face the whole time.  You could tell he was in high heaven!

I am loving this book.  I checked it out from the library earlier in the week but I am going to have to purchase my own copy. I started it while Carson was at his private pitching lesson- hence the football practice in the background.

I haven't talked much about my half marathon training.  It's going.....  I will never be a fast runner but I get out there and pound some pavement.  I am not doing this to glorify myself, I am doing it to raise awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  This charity is close to my heart.  I am forever changed after being a part of the St. Jude Half. I ran seven miles in rain this morning.  It is still in the 60s here- it either needs to stay this way or turn cold.  These are a couple of shots I took on my run this morning.  I had a major hamstring cramp right before I came upon the sign in the top right.  I would KILL for a massage!
While I am typing this, I am recouping from my seven mile run and watching LBTV on You Tube.  That's Luke Bryan TV (I told you I loved him).  Anyway, they did a video of bloopers and I am crying I am laughing so hard!

I need to add this mug to my collection!  PERECT!
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday: A Day in the Life

I have wanted to do a day in the life post for a while but never forced myself to document everything I do in a day- now I know why.

I am a jack of all trades and a master of none.  

Sidenote: When I told Chad what I was doing and why I was doing it last night and that my realization is that I am a jack of all trades and a master of none, Carson asked what that meant.  Chad told him that I do a lot of things but I am not good at any of them.  Thanks for the encouragement, dear.  Kick me while I am down.

In all seriousness, I have spent some time lately pondering my current life situation.  I don't work, though I stay super busy (as you will see below) but I feel like I am a hamster on a wheel going no where.  I don't feel like I am accomplishing anything and that I am not doing good things or doing anything "well".  The root of the problem is comparison, and I know that.  I get too wrapped up in comparing my weakness to someone else's strength and instead of beating myself up because I can't do what they do, I need to spend my time finding something I can do.  More on that later.

I didn't mean to get off on the tangent, but let's get going with my day in the life.  I documented my day yesterday, Monday.  Mondays are nice because my calendar is typically clear for the day.

My alarm goes off for the first time.  I wasn't ready to get up on the first day back to school since the time change AND after the awesome weekend we had.  I hit the snooze twice and finally rolled out of bed at 6:20AM and headed straight to the coffee pot!  I think I am the only non-Keurig user on the planet.  I would like to have one, but the Kcups are expensive!  I still like my handy dandy Mr Coffee!

It was only appropriate that I use my Disney mug on Monday.

I poured my first cup and sat down to catch up on email, blogs, and social media.  I love my quiet time in the morning but it was cut short at 6:35AM to kids waking up.  #thankstimechange

The kids got up, ate breakfast, and got ready for school while I started the laundry.  We left the house later than normal- at 7:57AM.  We are always out by 7:45 but a certain 8 year old had other ideas this morning.  We made it to school before the tardy bell rang, and I headed to the mothership TAR-JAY.  I had planned on going for a run after drop off but it was sprinkling and once I checked the radar, I realized that I could get my Target trip in then run and not get wet.  I returned a top for Caylee then picked up the couple of things I needed and headed out.

Our town has some decent routes for running but I find myself running the same ones over and over.  I park at my former place of employment and run from there.  I chose those routes because I figure if something happens to me, I know enough people that if someone were to drive by, they would recognize me! ;)  I did my three miles.  I am battling a cold so I am  not 100%.  I was even slower than a turtle!

I get home and get myself cleaned up.  I headed upstairs to Caylee's room to put on her new bedding we got at IKEA over the weekend.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Her room isn't finished yet- we are transitioning from a yellow/red bedroom to a yellow/pink room.

Caylee is  my hoarder.  She sleeps with EVERYTHING on her bed.  She arranged the zoo of animals on her bed when I told her I needed to take a picture of her bed.  You can't tell in the picture but her new bedding is a yellow and white stripe duvet cover that we spotted at IKEA and knew it would be perfect!

I was getting hungry so I came downstairs and heated up my leftover Japanese food.  I love Japanese food!!  I wasn't finished in Caylee's room but hunger won out.  I ate my lunch while I watched a little Young and the Restless (yes, I watch it occasionally).  While I finished my lunch, I wrote my blog post about the weekend, ordered my 101 free shutterfly prints, and cleaned out my 584739 emails.  This took longer than I normally spend on my computer but I was glad to get the prints ordered and clean out the inbox!

I swap out the laundry again and went back up to Caylee's room for a few more minutes of cleaning up.  I decided that I wanted to leave early and swing by the mall to pick up soap at Bath and Body Works. #squirrel

They have their winter stuff out!!!!!  I still can't believe we are heading into the holiday season.  I walked out with 6 hand soaps in fall and winter scents, and a free pocket bac.  #forgottodocument

I pull into my parking spot at school and wait for the kiddos.  While I wait for them, I go through our mail and send a couple of texts.  The kids come out at 3:15 .  We swing by the vet's office to pick up Tank's medicine and meet the most adorable black lab puppies!  We chatted with the owner for a bit then head home around 4:00.  I go back up to Caylee's room to finish cleaning up and vacuumed and took the picture of her bed and head downstairs to swap laundry AGAIN and start cooking dinner.  And the witching hours begin.....

I ask Carson to begin his homework at 5 and it is finally finished at 8:35PM.  Don't get me started.  We are having a hard time with homework some night and last night was one of those nights.  He and I just don't see eye to eye on it.  He had 50 math problems last night and on some he didn't show his work and on others, it was so messy I couldn't read it to tell if it was correct.

Chad got home at 5:30 (early for him) and took over the battle while I finished supper.  I fixed my chicken spaghetti (failed to document).  While I waited on it to bake, I sat down with my planner and started to fill out my week of to do lists and meal plan.  The meal planning didn't get completed (I normally do this on Sunday but since we were gone, it was pushed back) and at some point, Caylee does her homework and made a craft for her BFF.
After dinner, Chad said he would clear the table while I applied to be a mentor for Tennessee Promise.  We saw it on the news that they needed more mentors so I decided I would do it.  I am hoping this will help me fill my cup.  It took all of five minutes to apply!  I am excited to help high schoolers reach their post secondary goals!

After I did that, I went back to the kitchen to clean up the monstrosity of Monday.
I snapped this picture earlier in the day and it was much worse by the time I actually got to it.  The last dish was washed around 8:30.  I sat down and checked Carson's math (and bubble for him) and kissed the kids goodnight while Chad put them to bed.
I finally turned the lights out in the kitchen and retreated back to the bedroom and got ready for bed.  I climbed into bed around 9:15 and watched a little MNF with Chad and fell asleep around 9:30PM.  We try to get in bed earlier but it doesn't always happen.

WHEW!  That took a while to type!  I am off to fold and put away all the laundry I washed yesterday!  Thanks for hanging with me!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Epic Weekend Review

Caylee got in the car this morning for school and said the best weekends are the ones that go by fast because you are having so much fun.  She is so right.  We had a great Halloween weekend!

We kicked off Halloween with me hosting the fall teacher luncheon.  I couldn't have pulled it off without my girls- Tracy, Andrea, and the PTO President, Rachel- and of course, the awesome parents that sent in the food! I am over the hospitality committee for PTO for the fall so I planned and executed the teacher luncheon.  Here are a few pictures from the setup....

Drink table

Dessert table.  I may have visited this table!

This was all I used for a centerpiece.  A fellow parent at another school used the pumpkins and the concrete pot for her teacher luncheon so she let me borrow her stuff and idea.  She used fresh flowers instead of leaves.  The leaves came from my yard!

Thank you, Pinterest for this silverware holder idea!

We did soups for lunch.  Eight different soups!

Another look at the centerpiece.
I got lots of positive feedback from the teachers and staff.  I was worried about pulling everything together!

Friday night was the last home game for Dobyns-Bennett.  Carson did his field crew duties and Caylee danced with the Spirit Shakers.  She was in her element!
That's her shaking her pom poms waving to us.
We left the game in the third quarter :(  It was a great game but we needed to get on the road to Chattanooga.  Both kids were sad to leave early but we promised them the rest of the weekend would be worth it.  We arrived in Chattanooga at 1AM and got in bed at 1:30AM.

Chad likes to keep the hotel room at Eskimo temps, so Carson slept in his fleece pants, a long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt, a hoodie, AND socks.

We woke up at 7:00, quickly got ready and got back on the road to Peachtree City.  Yes, we were only at the hotel for 6 hours.  We went straight to the airshow.  I wasn't feeling well- I have been battling a cold for basically a month and I felt like garbage at the show but I made it through.  I had the worst headache at the airshow due to the cold but I still enjoyed the show.  The highlight was definitely the Blue Angels but there was this one pilot/plane that did amazing aerial stunts.  

Caylee waving to the blue angels as they prepare to take off.  

I wish I'd felt better because there was so much to do at the show.  After the blue angels show, we left but all of the vendors stayed and let the kids trick or treat.  The pilots were going to give out candy too but I just simply didn't feel up to it and the kids were ok with us leaving and going to Chad's aunt and uncle's house and trick or treating in their neighborhood on the golf cart.

The kids had a blast trick or treating on the golf cart and hanging out with our PTC family.  After trick or treating, Caylee came back and hung out outside and handed out candy outside.  We joked that it was a reverse parade- she was handing out candy as kids paraded by. :)

 We watched the UT game then I crashed.  The next morning, we went to my favorite place- IKEA!  We had lunch at the Varsity before making the five hour drive home!

As we left, I wanted to get a picture of the kids at this Atlanta icon.  This random guy had a hat on too and yelled "PHOTOBOMB" so I snapped the picture.  I think he still reveling in the Halloween cocktails from the previous night!  The kids thought it was funny!

I love weekends like this- making memories!