It's not often we get a White Christmas in the South. Here in the North Georgia Mountains, we may get a cold Christmas or a Christmas with a light snowfall but rarely do we get a 6 inch snow.
Miss Katie loved the snow.
We got up on Christmas morning and made the decision to stay put. Or at least I thought that was the decision. The guys were convinced they could make it to Granny and Papa's house. They were sure their 4-wheel drive trucks could handle the road.
I think they just wanted to play in the snow...big boy style. Instead of sleds and snowmen, they wanted to slip and slide in their truck.
Instead of driving the main roads, we chose the National Forest Service roads. The drive through Cooper Creek Wildlife Management area is one of our favorites. The snow was beautiful. I could have taken pictures the entire day!
Here the guys wait on me while I snap a few more photos. We were the first ones to ride through the area.
My Alma Mater
This is the smallest school in the state of Georgia. It houses grades k-12. I graduated with a bumper crop of 12 students! I love this school.
We safely arrived at Granny and Papa's house for Christmas Dinner and were only 25 minutes late :)
Just a few pictures from Christmas 2010 at the Williams' Arena
Adam playing his new Washburn acoustic guitar. He was just a wee bit excited. Actually he was blown away. He posted on facebook that he got the "best Christmas present ever!"
This picture is for the in-laws in Iowa. We had plans to travel to Iowa next week but the snow is keeping us at home. This was the third or fourth shot. They were actually smiling in the first two pictures...unfortunately someone had their eyes closed in each picture. By the time we managed to get a picture with everyone's eyes open, the smiles were gone. I didn't press my luck and ask for another picture.
So far Christmas 2010 has been a quiet, restful season. Everything has been scaled back this year.
Fewer shopping trips. (Thanks to the internet and free shipping!)
No Christmas cards.
No over-the-top decorating.
There wasn't a conscious decision to scale back or slow down. It just worked out that way....very nicely, btw.
Everyone's home this Christmas eve morning. The boys are sleeping and the house is quiet. Bob has a fire going in the wood heater and I can hear Stanley, our rooster, crowing. (Love that sound)
It is a good morning to reflect on the past year and thank my Heavenly Father for covering us with His love and grace...His guidance and protection...His gift of salvation. To thank Him for taking up residence in our home and our hearts.
A morning to quietly worship with my Savior.
"God with man is now residing, Yonder shines the Infant Light; Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King."
Clay came home last night with an armful of boxes and a big grin on his face. It seems he had made the "purchase of a life time." He had several boxes of Mustang car parts that were going to make his truck run faster. *ahem*
He was out the door early this morning to get more needed parts for the truck transformation. Something about having to design and build a one-of-a-kind air filter...
I looked out the back door and this is what I saw. I thought to myself, "Well, Clay's found his happy place this morning." My next thought was, "and he's working in his new jeans and shirt." Ughh....
Oh my goodness, how I love this boy. He is such a delight.
He assures me he will stay clean and not ruin his clothes. I have my doubts.
Here's my kitchen table with all the "goodies" spread out.
His automotive genius can't be bothered right now with cleanliness and organization :)
The view from the back door this morning. What was supposed to be a 60% chance of snow became 100%. We had around 2-3 inches...more than enough to cancel school for the day. Our driveway is on the other side of the picket fence and curves around through the trees in the background. Bob can easily get up the driveway in his 4-wheel drive; it's going down the other side that gets tricky. Too tricky for me, I'd rather sit in my kitchen and watch the rest of the neighborhood slip and slide on the hill.
I was more than happy to stay at home by the wood stove. Which also happens to be Katie's favorite spot.
What was going to be a hectic week filled with work commitments and meetings suddenly became manageable.
Picture taken in front of the Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast
This year I bought the guys ground floor/Pit tickets to a Toby Mac/Skillet concert. We traveled to Greenville, SC for the concert. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast just two blocks from the Bi-Lo Center. Bob and I walked with them to the concert, turned them loose, and then went back to our room.
Here are a couple of links to the bands. While I love Toby Mac, I'm not sure I could handle two hours standing in front of the stage. Not to mention I would stand out like a sore thumb...a rather old sore thumb :)
Today is Zach's 17th birthday. He was born on a Monday morning (2 weeks early) before Thanksgiving. It was a quick and easy birth. We arrived at the hospital around 7 AM and he was born around 9:30 AM. He was tiny. 6 lbs, 9 oz. and barely 18.5 inches long.
The nurse handed him to me and I was blown away by his blue eyes...not the ordinary dark blue eyes of a newborn. His eyes were a bright and clear blue. I remember thinking, "where did those come from?" Through the years I've actually asked that question, or a similar version, many times.
"Where the heck did that come from?"
"Where did he learn that?"
"Where does he get that from?"
When he was a little boy, he loved dinosaurs. Bob will tell you that Zach was not a little boy, he WAS a dinosaur. He could imitate dinosaur noises perfectly. If he wasn't pretending to be a dinosaur, he was pretending to be some type of animal. He wasn't really a truck and tractor kind of kid. He loved animals and videos of animals. His childhood hero was the Crocodile Hunter. He would put his stuffed animals in the middle of the floor and pretend he was Steve Erwin. I remember watching him "wrestle" an alligator. Fun memories.
He's my roller-coaster riding partner. He's my heart-stopping daredevil. He's the one who always got into trouble in elementary school for talking too much and not keeping his hands to himself. Now his teachers talk about how quiet he is and are shocked to hear how often he got into trouble in elementary school for talking. He's just traded talking for texting. (Remind me to tell you sometime about the cell phone bill he had in 8th grade....the one that took him a year to pay back.)
17. This is the age when you realize adulthood is just around the corner. Suddenly it is time to get serious about the future and life after high school. He's starting to think about what he'd like to do everyday for the rest of his life. He wants to play football after high school and he recently started talking about the Army. His 7th grade LARTS teacher, Mrs. Cattanach, was convinced he would grow up to be an Army Ranger like his dad. She wrote in his yearbook that she wanted an invitation to his Ranger School graduation. Who knows? If he does decide to go into the military, you can be certain Mrs. Cattanach will get an invitation!
I pray that he will follow the path God has chosen for him. I pray that he will seek God's will and be willing to accept the guidance.
I pray that I will know when to step in and help and when to step back and let him figure it out for himself.
Adam's middle school football team competed in the championship game this afternoon. We were undefeated going into the game.
His team will finish the season undefeated. The last time the middle school won a championship was 16 years ago when his coaches were in 8th grade.
29-0. Not too shabby.
They worked hard to make it to the championship. Weight training and conditioning all summer, games and practice Monday through Friday from 3:30-6:00.
The trophy and a drink cooler dumped on the head coach.
The memories that will last a lifetime.
Here are my two football players. Zach is looking a little woolly this week. We've been on fall break so he has skipped the razor a few mornings. Next year they will both play on the same team. Zach will be a senior and Adam will be a freshman.
This is a terrible picture but one I'm glad I caught. After taking the picture above, Zach whipped Adam around and made a comment about tackling offensive players and knocking them into the ground.
They do love to tackle.....I guess all those years rough-housing together had a purpose.
Last night we traveled to Robbinsville, NC to watch the football game. Everyone had high hopes that we would walk away with a win. We didn't. The offense was off all night and while the defense had three strong quarters, by the fourth quarter they were worn down. It was a hard night. Lots of yellow flags were thrown in the air against the visiting team. It seemed that every time we managed to gain ground on the field or complete a pass, out came a yellow flag that sent us back in the wrong direction. At one point in the third quarter the penalties became so ridiculous that everyone was on their feet yelling...including me. Our coach, who is very self-controlled, called the boys off the field and we started to leave. The frustration level and anger at the unfairness was brimming over. Luckily for us, the visitor's side was within 3 feet of the sidelines. We were able to pull Zach aside and tell him to calm down. Bob kept telling him to "do it right, do it right."
You sit there and you watch your son, who feels that his ability to get the "hardest hit in the game" is the main motivator for the defense and if he doesn't get that key hit, then he is the reason the defense is struggling. You watch him go out on the field and make some really impressive plays and then you watch him miscalculate and let a player slip through the line. You watch him beat himself up because he feels that he's let down the team. You sit with him after the game as he cries in frustration. Frustrated by his mistakes, frustrated by the bad calls, frustrated by the unfairness, and frustrated that he let down his coach and team.
So, what do you say? Bob shared with him how he always felt the same way when he played high school football. He told him how he remembered shouldering that responsibility. He told him how he learned to handle the pressure and the disappointment. We told him that on that field he learned one of life's hardest lessons....Life isn't fair all the time. Stuff happens that is beyond your control. How you handle yourself during the battle and after the battle is the real test of character.
Today I'll take the time time to relate last night's experience to our spiritual life. We'll talk about how the emotions he felt last night was similar to what many men in Bible experienced. For example, how that oppressive feeling of letting someone down was what Peter experienced after he denied Christ. Then we'll talk about what they did afterwards. How they took that experience and allowed it to mold their character and faith in a positive way. We'll talk about how to take that experience and use it to become a better person.
I love this boy. I've always known that God gave him a strong will for a reason. I pray that he will continue to allow God to mold him into a Godly man. A man who chases after Him with the same intensity he has on the field when he's chasing a receiver. A man who is bold for Christ and doesn't let mistakes distract him.
Football has taken over at our house. One middle school player, one high school player. Middle School game every Thursday and High School game every Friday night. Practice. Practice. And more practice.
Here are some pictures from Adam's game this week. They won 21 to 7.
His team is undefeated. He plays linebacker and is starting this year.
He had several good tackles in this game.
His first home game is next week but we have to travel on Friday night for Zach's game. His game is across the state line in NC. We are playing a school that is literally in the sticks. Which is kinda funny since most folks think we live in the sticks :)
This picture was taken right before a summer storm rolled in. The rainbow curved around the cloud. It was so vivid.
That's me...a lazy blogger. Too many things going on right now and very little motivation to post.
This month we went back to school. I had to move classrooms again and it took me awhile to get settled. I have made it known that if I move again, it will be out of the building to another school. I'm tired of packing and unpacking every year. I was a little leery of my students this year. They had earned themselves quite a reputation last year. So far, they are great and I couldn't ask for better students.
Clay's off to college. The paperwork was unending and I'm not sure we still have everything in order. He came home last weekend to spend time with his best friend who left Monday for boot camp. His parents had a going-away party on Sunday evening and the boys started to relive their past exploits. Most of them were harmless but a few involved putting one of the boys in the car trunk and another involved being pulled over by the Pennsylvania State Patrol. Luckily, no one was harmed (or arrested). We did finally find out why Bob's Army Ranger tag on the front of his truck was bent. (For the longest time, no one at our house had any idea how that happened.) He also found out that his truck had made it to the top of Bell Mountain and went through a creek in Cooper's Creek that came up to the hood. The truck keys have now been moved to a safe location and poor Adam won't ever get a chance to drive the truck.
Zach and Adam are playing football. They both had their first games this week and both teams won. Adam is a lineman on the middle school team. He is one of the bigger boys on the team and is showing a lot of potential. He made several good plays. Zach is playing Corner and had quite a few tackles last night. He loves to tackle and he hits hard. It is fun to watch them play. Both of them practice five days a week. Adam finishes practice around 6 PM and Zach finishes around 7 PM. It makes for some very long days at our house.
The canning season is coming to an end. I have a few tomatoes and green beans left to can. I also plan to can applesauce in the next week or so. After that, I'll pack up the canner. I didn't can as much this year. My garden was pitiful and I've relied on generous neighbors to help fill my jars. My mom and dad are on a trip to Alaska. Dad was worried that his garden would "go to waste" so I've canned beans, carrots, and tomatoes from their garden.
August is almost over and one of my favorite months is about the arrive. I love September. Cooler temperatures and lower humidity make it a perfect season in the North Ga mountains. October is always beautiful and I enjoy the colorful leaves, but a part of me hates to see the green go away.
I'm getting a late start on this year's canning season. My garden is so bad that it is embarrassing. I should probably just pull up the tomato plants and put them out of their misery. Thankfully, my dad always has a garden with plenty to share. I've canned blueberry syrup, blueberry butter, and peach pie filling this week. I hope to get started on green beans and tomatoes tomorrow. I bought a new Ball Canning book this winter and I'm itching to try out a few new recipes.
I've also created a new blog to keep all my recipes. I'm always coming across a new recipe on the internet and then promptly forgetting about it. My hope is to create a virtual recipe box as a reference.
You know how your kids say something really funny and you think you'll remember it forever? Well, no matter how hard I try to remember, I forget. Then I wish I had taken the time to write down those funny moments. So here's my feeble attempt to keep up with those funny moments...
Adam: "Clay is amazed with his new truck. I rode with him the other day and all he could talk about was how amazing his truck was and all the things it can do. I think he's in love with it."
Adam: (A little background: my dad was complaining about the traffic in a nearby town) "Well Papa, you know the reason they are all in town is to celebrate Mom's birthday. It is a national celebration you know!"
This one wins the "snarky" comment of the week. Background....it is 11 PM on a Sat. night. He's hungry and tired which make a deadly combination. I hear him scratching around in the kitchen looking for something to eat. He comes to my bedroom door to ask if we have any mayo. We don't because I'm trying to get rid of the preservatives and I made a batch of homemade mayo. He isn't too pleased with my efforts to rid the kitchen of preservatives...
Zach: "What do you do when you go to the grocery store? Stand and stare at the wall for 30 minutes?"
OK, for some reason that one just cracks me up. Maybe is has to do with the fact that I can go to grocery store and within 5 seconds of walking through the door completely forget what I needed to buy.
Adam and I gathered up my niece and nephews for a visit to the lake. This lake is close to my parent's house. When I as their age, I spent many hot summer afternoons swimming in the cold mountain water.
It's fun to watch your kids make their own memories at places that are special to you.
Adam and Colton
Cage. He has sand on his face because Colton kept trying to throw sand toward the lake...but his aim is a little off. It wasn't safe to be within five feet of him when he was throwing sand.
Adam, Avery, and a friend on the dock. They are probably planning their next cannonball. They splashed so much that I'm sure the lake level dropped a few inches.
The twins spent most of the afternoon digging in the sand. I borrowed a couple of serving spoons and plastic containers from my mom. Just the things to keep a couple of two year old boys busy.