Nov 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Dressed up for the Thanksgiving service on Sunday
Jason was put in charge of turkey-carving duties at Marmee's

Uncle Isaac & Camryn

Camryn & Caleb
Jason and his sister, Alison

Two cute cousins

Aunt Alison, Camryn, & Caleb teaching Alden to play Hi Ho Cherry-O

Camryn gets so excited playing her game!

Burley family picture

The turkey made everyone sleepy!

Drawing with Alden
Camryn showing her picture off to Uncle John

Camryn with her great-grandmother

With her great-grandfather

My mom cooking the turkeyPre-dinner conversation

Justin had the turkey honors in Cheraw

My mom and sister getting everything ready to serve!

Camryn didn't waste any time digging into Grammy's cooking!

Neither did the rest of us!

Me & Jason

Nov 26, 2008


I've noticed we have been using a lot of bribery with Camryn lately. I am not sure if this is an approved parenting technique, but at the moment, it is working for us. The biggest thing we are bribing Camryn with right now is a big girl bed. I know, I know, I thought we would have her in a big girl bed by now, too, but there are a lot of things I thought she would be doing by this point - done with potty training, preparing her own meals, helping with major chores, reading on a 12th grade level, contributing to the household income ... but, I digress.

So, anyway, Camryn is a master staller at bedtime. Once she's in bed, she's constantly calling to us for something. She needs to potty, she needs to blow her nose, she needs chapstick, she needs help with her covers, some noise scared her, she doesn't like noise in her room, she wants the nightlight on, she doesn't want the nightlight on, she wants to know where she's going when she wakes up, she sneezed and we didn't say, "Bless you." The list goes on and on. To end some of this stalling, we have started to bribe her with the promise of a big girl bed (truthfully, though, she's getting it no matter how she acts). We've told her she will not be allowed to have a big girl bed in the new house if she can't show us she can be a big girl at bedtime (a boldface lie) and go right to sleep. We've talked about all the wonderful benefits of a big girl bed, and she is sold. She cries now when we remind her she is behaving in a way that will cause her to lose the big girl bed, so we're having to be careful how much we throw that one around.

Then, there's the ever popular dessert bribery. She asks for dessert, we tell her she has to eat the other 3/4 of her dinner that is sitting on the plate before she can have it. It's simple, gets the job done. And, of course, at this time of year, we're playing the Santa card. I have found myself, more than once, letting this one fly:

"RememberSantaonlycomestoseegoodboysandgirlsandyouarenotactinglikeagoodgirlrightnowandifyouwantSantatobringyouthedrumsyou'vebeenaskingfor(Heaven, help us!)thenyoubettershowmeyoucanbegoodbecauseSantais

So, how are you currently bribing your kids?

Nov 22, 2008

Saturday Randomness

1. Our past few Saturdays have been spent hanging out, watching football on two TV screens (thank you, Morrises, for your awesome media set up in the basement!), and just being lazy ... just the way I like it!

2. We went out on Friday to Buca di Beppo for Covenant's staff Christmas party. Early, I know, but everyone's schedules get so busy when December hits, we wanted to make sure we had a time when everyone could get together. Jason and I tried to listen to some Christmas music on the way there to get us in the mood, but it just didn't happen. We mostly ended up making fun of the music and the radio stations for playing it too early!

3. One thing we love about living here is all the great restaurants we have access to. I have a running list of new places I want us to try. Buca on Friday night was pretty good, but it's family style eating, and Jason and I had a hard time agreeing on something.

4. I never realized how much laundry my little family of three generates! Since I've been without a washer and dryer for the past 4 months, I've become painfully aware of just how many loads I have to wash each week!

5. We are getting closer to the completion of our house! So close, there is a closing date on the table! I hate to say exactly what that date is because I don't want to jinx it, but it is close ...

6 .... which means our friends from Anderson can start coming to visit soon! :) Have I mentioned lately how much we MISS everyone there?

7. We put together our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes tonight. This is one of the things I have the most fun shopping for during the Christmas season! I love it that Camryn is old enough to be involved now. I feel like we are teaching her so much about giving and blessing others just through a shoebox!

8. Does anybody out there have a vacuum cleaner that you are just in love with? When we move in, we getting a new vacuum cleaner. I'm so dissatisfied with the one I have now, and we are willing to invest and get a really good one. Any suggestions? The kind with a bag or without ... I don't care as long as it's good!!

9. If you are doing any online shopping this year, check out before you make your purchase. This is a site that keeps up to date codes for discounts and specials. It's worth checking out just in case there's a recent code. I've saved a little money here and there making my online orders this year.

10. I would love to do some Black Friday shopping this year! I'd even be willing to do some of the shopping that starts at midnight! I don't know if it will happen because we will be with family Thursday and Friday, but if we were staying around here, I would sure make the trip up to Charlotte to join in the fun!

11. Which reminds me, I am so ready for Thanksgiving, family time, and some GREAT cooking!

Nov 20, 2008

An Open Letter to Target

Dear Target,

Oh, the love affair we have experienced for the last several years! Together, we shared my wedding registry, my baby registry, date nights with my husband, girlfriend shopping trips, mommy-daughter excursions, and me-time. You've provided me with everything from personal items to impulse buys, and my love for you grew and grew over time. Then, slowly .... you began to change.

First came the Christmas shopping I tried to do online last year. I found the perfect toy for my daughter advertised on the main page for toys. I searched and searched for it by category, age, and brand but could never find it. Finally, I gave up and called the customer service line to inquire about the toy. Guess what I was told? You don't always carry all of the items advertised in pictures on your website, so that item probably wasn't even available for purchase from Target. Um .... what?!?!

Then, came the day I was quietly shopping with my daughter. She was being such a sweetheart that day, sitting quietly in the buggy, eating away at her fruit snacks. Suddenly, an employee appeared out of nowhere and practically shoved me aside as she reached into the cart to buckle my child in with the seat straps, all the while lecturing me about shopping cart safety. She walked away and happily chirped for me to have a nice day as I stared at her with my mouth wide open. It was that day I learned you have crazies that work for you.

One of the things that really began to mark a turn in our relationship was your new return policy. I know it's not just me, dear Target, who has a problem with this policy. I've heard many of your other faithfuls complain about the way you've changed in this area. I now shudder any time I think of making a Target return. It's the biggest hassle I've ever experienced at any store.

And, now, the Britax carseat fiasco, which I think may be the final nail in your coffin with some. You began to regain some of our affection when you offered this $280 carseat for $43. It was as if it was a small sign you still cared and wanted good things for us. So many moms jumped right on this offer. I, even though I wasn't in need of a carseat, considered buying it because you were offering us such a good deal ... for the next one I told myself. Although I didn't make the purchase, I can only imagine how enraged the other moms must have felt when you canceled their order citing an employee error for this pricing. Oh, sweet Target, do you realize what you are doing to your reputation with us? We're slowly, slowly growing apart because of your new ways. How we wish things could be the way they were.

With a heavy heart,
Your Friend

Nov 14, 2008

Five New Things I've Tried Recently

1) Arm & Hammer Complete Care Toothpaste
I really had to get used to the taste of this at first, because it's not the same as the minty toothpastes or gels. But, honestly, my teeth have never felt as clean as when I've used this toothpaste. I really like it.2. John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shampoo & Conditioner
I generally have pretty healthy hair. I think that is the reason I haven't really noticed dramatic results using this shampoo. I can use just about anything, and my hair comes out looking pretty good. So, for close to $11 for both shampoo and conditioner, I'll probably just stick with Suave.

3. Dark Chocolate Klondike Bars
Who would have ever thought they could improve on Klondike bars? But, someone genius decided to make them with dark chocolate and YUM!

4. Chex Mix Bars
These are pretty good. There are two kinds - Chocolate Chunk and Turtle - and I've only tried the Chocolate Chunk. They're not huge on taste, but there are also not many other things you can eat that give you real chunks of chocolate for 3 grams of fat and less than 150 calories!

5. Duncan Hines Whipping Frosting
YUCK! I made cupcakes the other day and bought this, forgetting I had tried it once before since it's so few and far between that I buy canned icing. I thought it was gross the first time and had the same experiences this time. I ended up throwing half of my cupcakes away. Don't believe the "Great New Taste!" lie on the side of the container!

Nov 13, 2008

200th Post!

Today is my 200th post! In recognition of my accomplishment, I am giving away a FREE photo album through Snapfish! Well ... not really me, but Oprah is, and even though I'm not a fan, I sure don't mind getting something for free on her dime! Click here, and this will take you to a link for a free 8 x 11 photo book (you are responsible for shipping, though, so keep that in mind)! Hurry because you have to get the coupon before 11:59 pm Friday and have to use it by 11:59 pm Sunday. I started mine this morning and am having lots of fun with it! Thanks to my friend, Kelly, whose blog I found this on earlier today. Happy 200th post to me!

Nov 11, 2008

Mommy Thoughts

I have had a lot of emotions about being a Mommy lately. No, I am not regretting it :) ... well, except for that incident with the poopy diaper that got spread all over the crib (just kidding!). I think it all stemmed from this post I read last week. Silly, I know, but I read it, had it in the back of my mind all day, and then cried myself to sleep that night because I dread my "empty nest day" when it comes. But, after I got off my emotional, crying roller coaster, I did start to really put some thought into how I'm doing as a mommy. I'm more than 2 1/2 years into this mommy thing now. Not very long, but realizing how quickly 2 1/2 years have passed, long enough that I think it's time for some self-assessment. Am I letting the things that are most important take priority? Am I on the right track for teaching her all of the values and things that I think she needs to know in order to be a successful, happy, respectful, Christian adult? Am I equipping her with what she needs in order not just to survive in life but thrive in life? Am I teaching her to make the right decisions? Am I using my time with her wisely? I want to do better. I know I already have a great kid, but I don't want her to be great in spite of me and any of my screw ups as a mommy! Then I read this post today (same blog - I'm telling you, it's great!) and it summed up everything I've been thinking lately. I want to be more patient, more available, more understanding, more loving. This is not an admission that I haven't done any of these things up to this point but just the realization that my time with her is short, and I want to excel at these things for her. I want her to be the Camryn God intends for her to be one day, I want to be an integral part of making that happen, and I want her memories of me to be some of the sweetest memories she has.

Nov 10, 2008

My Blogging Peeps

One of my blogging friends did a pretty neat post a few weeks ago where she listed all of the people on her blogroll and explained how she knows each of them. I warned her I was going to steal her good idea! If you're like me, you probably love to check out the other blogs on people's sidebars but wonder who all of those random people are! So, let me introduce you to my blogroll . . .

Just Me: friend from church in Anderson

Just Me and the Boys: friend from college, and although we didn't hang out much back then, now one of my closest friends! She's also the wife of one of Jason's college roommates.

Living Beyond Ourselves: friend from college; we lived on the same hall

Me & My 2 Men: friend from church in Anderson

Meet the Smiths: my sister

Melissa, Gary, Caedyn, and Eli: friend from Winthrop; she was one of my Resident Assistants when I was a Resident Director in Wofford Hall

Moove Over Munchkin: friend from college

Newsome Notes: wife to one of Jason's college roommates; we also were at Winthrop together

The Allens: friend from church in Anderson

The Cassidys: friend from Winthrop; also one of my RA's

The Devescovis: friend from college; we roomed together one summer

The Edwards - A Duet: my sister's college roommate, but now one of my closest friends

The McConnell Moments: my BFF

The O.K. Corral: friend from college; we lived on the same hall

The Phillips Family: my sister-in-law

The Yarboroughs: Jason's cousin

Three Football Boys and a Girl: friend from college; we lived on the same hall, too

Also, these are a few blogs I think are good reads. They are either complete strangers or friends of a friend, but I usually make a point to check them out regularly!

Blessed, Believing, and Blogging Browns

Random Ramblings from A Southern Girl Now Known As Mommy

Rocks In My Dyer

The Preacher's Wife

Tres Alejandros

Nov 9, 2008

Win a Wii!

Mary Ann, who is in my Wednesday night Bible study group, is holding a raffle for a Wii to help pay for some of the adoption expenses for her two sweet girls she and her husband adopted from Guatemala. What a great Christmas present this would be for someone! Tickets are 1 for $2, 3 for $5, and 7 for $10. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, you can go to her blog, The Shrum Family Adventures, and use the Paypal option on her sidebar, or you can send her an email to let her know you'd like to send her a check. November is also National Adoption Month, so what a great way to support adoption!

Nov 6, 2008

Camryn's New Song

Just sharing some of the cuteness we experience in our house each day! :)

Nov 4, 2008

Everyone is sharing their voting stories, so I thought I would join in. Our experience this morning was pretty painless. We heard the busiest times would likely be early in the morning, at lunch, and after work, so we aimed at a time in the middle and left the house at 9:00 sharp. Since we weren't sure how long we would be waiting and had Camryn with us, we took along necessary supplies - fruit snacks, books, MagnaDoodle, stickers, and water. We waited roughly an hour and 20 minutes, which was pretty good since our youth minister was in line behind us and later sent Jason a text to tell him they waited almost two hours and had to stand in the rain. Camryn did great. She was so good the man standing in front of us commented that he would prefer to vote for her since she was such a polite and pleasant young lady instead of some of the people in the local races who have been doing some nasty politicking. I took Camryn to the voting booth with me. She was funny, because she had a million questions while I was trying to concentrate, so for all I know, I probably voted for the Green party for president! So, now we are just keeping our fingers crossed that our candidate wins, but are remembering God is still in control no matter who our next president ends up being!

Nov 2, 2008

Homecoming Weekend

We traveled to Anderson over the weekend to attend Homecoming at Anderson University. We really weren't sure how the weekend was going to turn out, but we ended up having a BLAST! We've never gone back to the college for homecoming before but decided to this year, because we were invited to be part of the AU Reunion Choir. Jason and I both sang in the college choir, and it was such a memorable part of our college experience. Although we were a little disappointed that few people our age participated, it was fun to sing with alumni who graduated from AU many years before us, as well as with some of the current students. It was also great to sing again under our former conductor, Dr. Williamson, and he chose some of the best music for us to sing. We did a lot of reminiscing, catching up with old friends, and remembering how important Anderson was to us. I think we have taken our experience there for granted, because we still lived in town and could visit the college any time we wanted to. Being away for the past few months has made us appreciate it more and made our weekend that much more special.

Although there are no pictures, we also spent our down time this past weekend with our friends the McConnells who were sweet enough to let us stay with them overnight. They had a busy weekend just like we did, so by the time we were all sitting around their house, there was no picture taking because we were all just tired! But, we got to be part of their weekly football get-together, which was a lot of fun. We played along and were Dawgs fans for a few hours! Camryn and her BFF Alyssa got to spend lots of time together and I got to hold Eli, so it was great to see everyone and just hang out!

Friday night Reunion Choir Dinner
Jason & Kalon, who is currently a music major at Anderson! Yay - we're so proud!
College sweethearts
Saturday morning rehearsal
Reunion Choir performance (check out the lady beside me!)
Camryn and Jessica
Camryn with Jeff and Sarah Ellen
Lunch on the front lawn
Daddy & his girl on the swings

Denmark Hall, where I lived

Rouse, where Jason lived

Our Alma Mater

Anderson University - Class of 2028