Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year Meme

I actually went googling for an end of the year topic, and found this. If you would like to participate, leave your link in the comments. It seems fun and contemplative at the same time....

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Coached my 4 year old's soccer team!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I accomplished some of them, failed at some of them. To be updated in 2009 in a blog post I am sure!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not someone really "close" to me, but someone very dear to our family. My husband's great granddaddy passed away. A true saint!

5. What countries did you visit?
The good old U.S.A! ha ha!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More control over our finances!!!

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I don't keep up with dates well...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Staying on track with homeschooling (a consistent daily schedule), keeping the house in better order, coaching soccer, losing 30 pounds!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Quitting running. It was making me feel so much better!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really. Some personal issues, but nothing to write about :)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Size 10 jeans! WOO HOO!!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My wonderful children! They are so smart, obedient, sweet, and just awesome in general!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Parents who don't "parent."

14. Where did most of your money go?
To pay bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Planning our trip to Disney World. ha ha!!! Christmas!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
I have absolutely no idea. The song that comes to mind right now is "Counting on God" because that was one of my favorites that the band at church played on our "opening" Sunday.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) poorer or richer?
(a) Happier!
(b) Definitely thinner! YAY!
(c) Richer and Poorer! ha ha!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting in shape!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with the kids!

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I was already in love!

22. What was your favorite TV program?
The Office

23. I skipped this asked if you hate anyone now that you didn't hate last year. Bad question! Can't think of a good replacement...any ideas?

24. What was the best book you read?
I read so many great books this year! I have to say the two that I am thinking of right now are: Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers) and my most recent Bible study/book club book: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (Joanna Weaver).

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Beethoven's Wig...a really really great CD for kids!

26. What did you want and get?
A girl's trip to Disney! I won it in a drawing!

27. What did you want and not get?
A complete new wardrobe. The price you pay....

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I really enjoyed Wall-E. I don't see very many movies actually.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 27 this year. Some friends and I went ice skating after eating at Sweet Tomatoes. Great fun!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Succeeding at all my New Year's resolutions. Getting published....winning a million dollars...

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Jeans and t-shirts.

32. What kept you sane?
Praying and blogging, friends, and family.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election.

35. Who did you miss?

I miss no one really.....I miss friends living really close by so we can visit daily :)

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a blogging friend in real life...that was fun! I also met lots of new friends at Graceland, which has been so great for us!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Don't worry!!!! God does not want me to worry! Though, still working on it....

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. from "Counting on God:"

Joy unspeakable that won't go away
And just enough strength
To live for today
So I never have to worry
What tomorrow will bring
'Cause my faith is on solid rock
I am counting on God

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So, the other night the kids were playing and apparently they had made up a game. When Corey got home Katie was being really hilarious, showing us the "move" she had come up with to "win the game." Corey took a video and posted it on his blog...Click HERE to see the clip. So funny!

Oh yeah, you will have to pause his music player to hear them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bizarro World!!!

I have a blog double! And, if you know me, you know that I am having to try very hard to not be completely freaked out about this!

So, a friend had told me that her mom found my blog by Googling "carrie thompson's blog." I decided to try it myself since I was impressed with having shown up on a google search. Sadly, I did not find my blog listed under my search results. ODDLY, I found another blog with the name "Carrie Thompson" associated with it. "Carrie" spelled the same as me (not the most common spelling I see most of the time).

I clicked on the link to this blog and started browsing. Hmmm....I see a list of homeschooling curriculum listed in in the sidebar. Wow...she posts topics similar to mine, including a posting yesterday about playing a new game they got for Christmas. I HAD to post a comment on her blog. She is a Christian, homeschooling mom with my same name and a blog! How odd is that? So, I posted a comment, and this morning I had a comment back from her saying that she ALSO has a daughter named Katie!!!!!!

BIZARRE!!!! When I visited her's again this morning I also noticed that she has the snow effect on her blog right now like I do on mine. This just gets crazier and crazier! ha ha! I am afraid to ask what her husband's name it, though I could probably find some more things in common if I go and read more of her posts.

I did add her to my bloglist, she is "the Story of My World."

And, no, we don't look alike. That would just be INSANE! ha ha! So, Carrie Thompson, in Texas, Welcome to MY world as Carrie Thompson, in Georgia. Nice to make your acquaintance!

We found out we have the same middle name also!!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friends, Family, Christmas, and Quelf

We headed down to Newnan for another Christmas celebration with my Granny and Pawpaw on Friday. We did not go to the "big" gathering on Christmas Day, so we opted to visit them the day after. We had fun visiting with them and getting some pictures of them with their great-grandchildren.

Yesterday was Christmas with the Freemans and game night. We met them at 9:15am at the Waffle House! Yum! ha ha. Then we came back to our house to open gifts, visit, and play our new game we got for Christmas: Quelf. Well, we actually took a break in the middle of the day to go to Barnes and Noble to look for calendars and for me to pick up a new Disney travel book (ha, yeah!)
I had mentioned it before, but I have to tell you, the more we play this game, the more crazy and fun it becomes! You can click on the name to go to the website. This is the most ridiculously random game I have EVER played. We played it once early in the day, then some Trimonoes. Then, later in the evening, Chris and Hannah came over to play it with us. Well, first we warmed up with a rousing game of Clue (ha!) then we broke out this crazy game. If you love playing games that make you get silly and don't care about acting just plain silly, then you NEED this game! ha ha. Just to give you an example....during our first game, Corey had to talk like a pirate for half the game, I had to do the chicken dance for about 20 seconds, and we had to name countries where Spanish is the official language. Last night, Hannah had to build a fort out of blankets and chairs and stay in it until her next turn, Chris had to put the game box in his shirt until further notice (the rest of the game actually) and Bethany had to make a sock puppet and name it and keep it on her hand for the duration of the game. It is just so completely random what you may have to do, but it is SO good for laughs! It was a great night with old friends!
So, here are some photos from our day visiting with Granny and Pawpaw, our day with the Freemans, and speaking of old friends, a pic of me with my best friend from high school: Aura. I met her on the 23rd and hadn't seen her in over a year. It was great to see her and catch up. There are also a few pictures of the Quelf game we played!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day: Part Two

Last night was Christmas at Nana and Poppa's House. We had a delicious and wonderful dinner that she slaved all day to prepare, complete with homemade coconut cake and red velvet cake. I brought some home for the fridge (for now) and for the freezer (for later). Then, we opened gifts. Katie got her prized "Alive Cub." Noah got a very cool Batmobile. We all got stockings full of goodies. We had a great time visiting and spent a good while trying to get a photo of the entire family. Here are some shots from the evening. Today is Christmas in Newnan with Granny and Pawpaw.

Noah with his Batmobile.

A shot of everyone.
You should see all the rejected takes and the ones while we were waiting to get the camera set up correctly!
Katie with "Gigi", her Alive Cub. It moves and makes noises.
A cute picture of me and Katie.
The camera we used actually takes three shots at the end of the timer countdown. I jokingly said, "do something silly on the third take" and the guys and the kids are the only ones who did it, ha ha!

Merry Christmas!

Last night we continued our family traditions that we started last year. We had a birthday party for Jesus, complete with decorations and birthday cupcakes. Then we opened a gift. Actually, this year we opened two gifts since one was for the entire family together. We talked about the Christmas story, and in memory of Jesus receiving three gifts, we also receive three gifts (well the kids do anyway! ha ha). We opened our "something we need" and "something for the family to enjoy together" last night. The gift for the family was our 7 day Disney tickets! WOO HOO! Then, the kids each opened their "thing they need," which was a giant book for collecting autographs, a small autograph book, a wallet, and a t-shirt. Things they need for our trip, of course! :) So, then it was to bed to bed and wait for "Santa." We haven't really pushed the Santa thing on them, we have read the history of Santa and they know he is pretend, but Katie really loves to play Santa. She put out cookies and milk and at about 7:30 this morning Noah was waking us all up. We went to see what "Santa" had brought. It was a GIANT box for each of them and a GIANT stocking. These would be the third gift in the tradition: "something they want." And, who can keep "Santa" from bringing a giant stocking full of tons of other little things, right?!

Katie found her wooden princess castle with mini princess doll collection, and Noah found his Indiana Jones Legos and Nerf gun. Corey is still putting together the Lego set. Noah did help for a while and he put together the airplane all by himself mostly. Their stockings had lots of goodies! Here are photos from the morning, including the Christmas breakfast I made (doesn't it look cute on the platter? ha ha!). Merry Christmas everyone! We are so excited to be spending the day together at home. We plan on watching a movie, taking a nap, then heading over to the other grandparents for the evening.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve: Addis Family Gathering

The Addis family gathered this morning at Cracker Barrel for the annual Christmas Eve breakfast. We ate, hung out, then headed to the grandparents' house for stocking opening. Here is a photo of the gang in front of Cracker Barrel. We all look a little shocked because we are trying to get the photo quickly on the first try since we were blocking the door.

Here is a photo of the matriarch of the Taylor Maw Maw.

Here is a picture of Corey and I, ha ha. I guess this personifies our day. JK. The only one taken on this camera actually and I thought it was kind of funny.

Here is one of Chris and Hannah. Cute picture of them.

Finally, one of Katie and Noah. My mom's camera was the main one used so I don't have tons of pictures to share. We had a fun day though. Spent lots of time opening gifts from our giant stockings and playing the new game we got called Quelf (super fun game by the way, but not for the faint of heart or light of humor!)
Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Once in a lifetime!

I finally got around to baking yesterday. I actually started on Saturday, just making a few of each kind to take to Corey's grandparent's house because I just did not have the time to do everything I wanted to do before we saw them.
Yesterday, as soon as we got home from eating after church, I started and FINISHED my baking. Well, I finished at about 1:30am. Corey's estimate was that we baked about a million dozen cookies! ha ha. Actually, it was probably close to....30 dozen. My oven was on all day, and it was smelling GREAT in our house! I am so thankful that Corey stayed up with me and helped with the bagging and cleaning. It would have been very sad to have to get up t
his morning and face the "aftermath" ha ha.
So, we made: Santa Cutouts, Peanut Butter Munchies, Giant Ginger Cookies, French Vanilla M&M Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Tea Cookies. The French Vanilla M&M cookies are a combination recipe. I found a recipe for an "award winning soft chocolate chip cookie" and instead of plain vanilla pudding I used "french" vanilla, and instead of chocolate chips, can guess. So, they taste SO good! The french vanilla pudding really made the kitchen smell like a coffee shop! Mmmmm.

I only took pictures of the Santa ones really, because I was so very proud of the way they turned out. My roly poly Santas fell apart, and I just didn't have it in me to try and repair them. These Santa Cutouts are a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity family and friends! Limited Edition...never to be repeated! ha ha! It was a lot of fun decorating and seeing them come together, but the cleanup just about did me in! Anyway, next year is "dipped in chocolate" year...I am DONE with cookies for a while! ha! (This pic wasn't rotated, oh well.)

Here is a photo collage of the Santa cookies, some of the cookies in baggies ready for the boxes, my favorite diamond Santa (which we kept for the kids :), and the packed and ready boxes. Corey is off work today so we are going to be out and about delivering our goodies! It is only supposed to get up to 49 or so today, so it will truly feel like Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Gathering with the Thompsons and Graceland

Our festivities continued yesterday evening with a visit to Corey's grandparents house. We had a great dinner with lots of delicious desserts. Thanks to Memaw and Paw Paw Thompson for hosting a wonderful Christmas gathering and showering your great grandchildren with fun gifts, they have enjoyed them so much already!
This morning, the kids sang in the Christmas program at church and then we had our preschool class party where they exchanged books. You can read more about it all on the captions. Now, I have to get back busy baking!

Friday, December 19, 2008

School's Out!

Yesterday was our last official day of school until January! What did we do on our last day? Well, we did not have a party, since we kind of did that the night before :)
What we DID do:
-Completed our December calendar, counting the days until Christmas and our usual "calendar" stuff.
-Sang all our favorite songs from the Get Set for School CD, and created some letters with our wood pieces.
-Made home made stamped, glued, and glittered, Christmas cards.
-Made an ornament.
-Sorted, counted, and graphed green and red M&Ms and almonds.
-Ate the M&Ms and almonds after we finished!
-Played Cranium Hullabuloo.
-Had a great last day!

I am really enjoying our year of home school so far. Here are some photos from the day. You can see the homemade cards they made as well as the "Santa" faces they made with their hand prints. There are also photos of us working on our candy/almond graph. They are so smart!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"The First Gift of Christmas!!!!!!"

We had our first Christmas "gift" event of the year-last night-following our "school Christmas program."
First, some background about why we had a school "program."
We have been learning these really cute color songs, where you learn to spell the color by singing it to the tune of a childrens' song. We also sing a days of the week and months of the year song. As well as a number song. We have also been learning a character word of the month with a Bible verse to go along with it. So, a couple of weeks ago I thought of getting them to sing all those songs and say the vereses for their grandparents....thus, the school "program" was created.
They were super excited about putting on a "show" for everyone, and Noah even wrote a poem for the occasion. When we were practicing one day I asked them what else they wanted to do for the show and Noah said, I think we should say this...and he recited this right off the top of his head:

"Lights, lights, everywhere lights,
lights until the day is light.
How much presents is under our tree...
then you all can cheer for me!"

So, we all learned and recited his poem since I just think he is a genius four year old to have just made that up first time through. (Now someone is going to tell me that is from a cartoon! ha ha!)
As a grand finale, they sang "Jingle Bells" with guitar and "bells." Then they handed out ornaments they had made to moms and grandmoms.
It was SO cute! If we can get the video on the computer I will post a bit of it at some point.
After the show, the Christmas festivities for the year began!
We went to eat dinner at Cracker Barrel with Jason and PJ and Kaitlyn and Brendan. Then, we went over to their house to open gifts and just hang out. Here are photos of the entire night. Watch out for the extremely cute picture I got of Katie, Noah, and Kaitlyn!

We had so much fun with them and we are thankful that we have such a great family to be friends with and to start our Christmas celebrations together!

Also--on a side note: Jason's mom brought us a tin of Christmas candy last night. It had peanut butter balls (you know like buckeyes) but it also had the same kind of idea but made with Nutter Butters on the inside and my new favorite Christmas candy--OREO balls!!! YUM!!!! Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas next year?!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Children, Go Where I Send Thee"

That was the Christmas song that Katie's ballet class danced for their recital this afternoon. Here are some pictures. It was a very cute song and they did a great job! They had a party with a cake afterwards.

Katie was actually feeling nervous about her recital this week. I want Corey to comment and tell the story about what she said last night as she was going to bed. Apparently, before last night, Katie had aspirations of being "perfect, like God." What a sweet girl!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I haven't put my Christmas cards in the mail yet...but I had fun doing this today!

Click HERE to see this year's version of our Christmas letter!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookie Queen: Concluded....

Here are pictures of the goodies I won at the cookie swap last weekend: the cookie jar prize and the cookie queen tray that will be passed on next year (maybe! ha ha)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Makes a Cozy Day?

What is cozy? (first imagine there is a fire burning in the fireplace)
Cozy is.......
Sitting in a big comfy chair. Watching and feeling the warm fireplace while it is freezing cold outside. Listening to Christmas songs and the sound of Corey, Katie and Noah playing games in another room of the house. Pondering all these things and how sweet life is while I work on my current knitting project....
THAT is cozy!
That is peaceful and relaxing, and overall just a wonderful blessing of a day from God!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baking, and more baking!

Two discoveries:
It is imperative that you use a brand name peanut butter when making peanut butter munchies, and I think that White Lily flour makes them better as well. Other peanut butter will result in a dry, rather than moist and chewy, center.
Other news: My giant ginger cookies won for best cookie at last night's scrapbook cookie swap! Woo hoo! They were a "big" hit...ha ha, sorry for the joke.
I just got through baking cookies for another cookie swap tomorrow night. I decided to make Giant Ginger Cookies. All the recipes I have been using recently have been from this magazine that I bought several years ago. Apparently they print it every year because I saw it on the rack at Hobby Lobby today. I plan to make the cute Santa ones you can see on the front as gifts this year.

The Giant Ginger Cookies are turning out GREAT! I have never been a huge ginger cookie fan, but the magazine said that when they first featured the cookies on the front of the magazine in 1998 that they got tons of calls saying they were the best ginger cookies ever, so I decided to give them a try. They really are good. You can click on the link HERE to see the recipe.

Here are some photos of the cookies during and after baking. See how big they are??? Mmmmmm...they are so chewy!

I have just discovered, while typing this blog, that I under-baked most of the cookies. I was sitting here waiting for the timer to beep and it was taking a long time, so I went to check and saw that I had forgotten to set a timer. I rushed to get the cookies out, only to discover that they were even bigger and looked even better than all the others I had made! Argh! We will see after they cool, but I don't think I baked the rest long enough. I think they taste great, they aren't doughy or anything, but that extra 3-4 minutes really made them "bloom" into true ginger-snap look-alikes. It could be that they turn into a crunchy mess, who knows...these pictures are of the "correct" cookies, as I took new photos and replaces the underdone photos! ha ha.
We were supposed to make 6 dozen cookies for the cookie swap, but needless to say I did not make that many! I think these cookies should count as at LEAST two each! (maybe three!) I used the same amount of dough that most recipes use, but it just called for you to make huge cookies. Even the first batches were huge, now these bigger ones probably could count as 4 cookies!
Now, I am sure I could have tried making smaller cookies, but I didn't want to mess with it this time since it was my first attempt. Maybe next time I will play around with the cooking times and try something smaller. I am hoping I can make smaller ones work because I think I want to do these for next year's "competition" cookie swap at church ha ha!

Speaking of baking, the kids and I have also been working on some Christmas baking projects. My mother-in-law gave us a Christmas Countdown book. Each day has a Bible verse and "word of the day" in a countdown till Christmas (of course)! Anyway, Saturdays have a family activity and this week's was to make salt-dough ornaments. We did it this week while Kaitlyn was here as a school project. The recipe is extremely simple (flour, salt, water), but I added some cinnamon and cloves to make it smell good and the house really did smell WONDERFUL while the ornaments baked. Our camera is still out, but I did get to borrow one so I could take pictures today of the three painting their ornaments. Here they are, and some pictures of Katie's and Noah's trees in their rooms, displaying their homemade ornaments.
There is Mod Podge on these, painted on to "seal" the paint and to preserve the cookie from falling apart or whatever. It dries clear.

Katie's white tree in her princess room. We now have a white/silver material covering the stand.Noah's tree. They decorated all by themselves.
Noah has a cookie print material covering the stand on his tree now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Interactive Edition

Next Wednesday will be our last week meeting about our book: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. It has truly been a great read, and I highly recommend it to any woman who is alive...ha ha...not naming a specific "problem" it addresses, but I think it really speaks for all women.

Anyway...I certainly want to start another book with the new year, but am struggling with what to do next. I would love to accumulate some ideas and see what all is out there. I did a google search for "great women's Bible studies and found a few.

What has been your favorite devotional/book/Bible study you have done, and why?

Thanks for any suggestions, I hope to get a good many responses so I have somewhere to start. Who knows? You know how book stores online or Amazon will give you suggestions or say what other people have bought who looked at this book? It may be that your suggestion, even if not used, may lead me to the place where I can find what God wants us to do next, so suggest away!!!!

Here are some I found-what do you think? Click on the title for a link to a description. Honestly, the more I read and research, the more I am leaning toward the second one.

40 Day Journey to the Heart of God an adventure in prayer. This one pairs you with a prayer partner, has 4 days of homework and has you connect with your partner on day 5...sounds interesting.

Believing God What does it mean to not just believe IN God, but to BELIEVE God? This is a book version of Beth Moore's study that was originally a DVD lesson and workbook type thing. I thought the regular book version might be a good way to experience this study. I found a link on that has a discussion guide for the book with 3 questions for each chapter. There is a devotional journal that looks like it would be a great companion and springboard for daily devotions: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beach Boys! The Music Game!

I was tagged by Amy to do this fun music game! Here's how it works:

1.Put your music collection on shuffle.
2.For each question, press the next button to get your answer
.3.YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!4.Tag friends who might enjoy doing this, as well as the person you got this from.

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY,” YOU SAY? “Mary Ann” (Kindermusik song)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? “Welcome to our World” Chris Rice
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? “America” Chris Tomlin
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? “New York State of Mind” Billy Joel
WHAT IS 2+2? “Track 13” ha ha! No name song! (it is a Keith Green)
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? “Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart” kids CD...first one that has made sense!!!
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? “Hallelu, Hallelu” another kids song
WHAT DO YOUR PARENT’S THINK OF YOU? “The Prettiest Thing” Norah Jones

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? “Chanson Du Vieux Carre” No idea what that means, it's a Harry Connick Jr. song.
WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? “Ain't no woman like the one I got” the Four tops, ha ha! what?!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? “Mountain of God” Third Day

HOW WILL YOU DIE? “Where do you start your letters?” A song from our handwriting program...ha ha, what is that supposed to mean? I will die writing letters? or teaching letters?!
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET? “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” Tony Bennett, ha ha, this one slightly could fit right?
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? “The Night is Still Young” Billy Joel
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? “Down on Grandpa's farm” kids song
WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST? “Run Through the Jungle” CCR

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW? “Stay” Jeremy Camp

I found out that I have some music that I have honestly never listened to! ha ha! I will just leave this open to whoever has the means and time to do it....pretty fun!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cookie Queen 2008!

Graceland had its first ever ladies cookie swap today! 25 girls from church baked 6 1/2 dozen cookies to share and swap. We all tasted ALL those different kinds of cookies and voted for: prettiest, tastiest, and best over all "cookie queen."

I WON the Cookie Queen title! Woo hoo!!!! My prize was a really really cute cookie jar, and a gingerbread platter that has "Graceland Cookie Queen 2008" on it. I keep the cookie jar, but return the platter next year. My name will be on the botton with the year I won and we will pass it to each year's winner. Here is a photo of my cookie jar. I don't have a photo of the platter because they didn't have the right marker for writing my name on the back so they are going to do that and give it to me later.
correction/update: I do not have a picture of the cookie jar. It appears that our camera has "passed on." We are going to try one more set of batteries, but it looks as though we are camera-less now! AGH!

I am very proud because I worked long and hard on my cookies! It is a recipe I found in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine called "100 Best Cookies." Here is a picture from the website of the cookies and a link to the recipe in case you want to try them! They are very yummy!

Peanut Butter Munchies: (click on the name for link)

They taste even better than they look!

Anyway, that was my fun day! And now I have tons of yummy cookies that I brought home to munch on for the next week or so...and another cookie swap Friday! I think I am making Chocolate Dipped Coconut Shortbread for that one. This one is just a swap, no prizes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still blessed...a year later!

It has been almost exactly a year since I posted this blog entitled "Blessed."

It was December 6th, 2007, when we discovered that Katie needed glasses. It was such an awesome day!

I also posted about another miracle (Blessed Again) when her glasses arrived the very next day when we were told it would be a week. She looked so adorable in her new glasses and the changes we saw so immediately were just amazing!

I also posted another update a couple of weeks later: HERE

Then, the next March, we went back to see how the glasses were helping and if her eyes had immediate improvement. We were astounded again when her vision had, in fact, improved dramatically in a short time. That is when I posted Katie's Eyes with the update. She wasn't seeing 20/20 with her glasses, they couldn't improve it to that point even with glasses because her vision was so bad, but you can read to see the improvements that occurred! The dr. said at that time that she may be able to acheive 20/20 with her glasses, at least in her good eye, by the one year mark.

Today, we went for a full year later check-up. The news was great!

Katie's vision in her "good" eye with her glasses is now between 20/30 and 20/25. She could do part of the 20/25 line! And, in her left (worse) eye, she is now 20/40 with her glasses! She was at 20/60 last time! (I am pretty sure that is right.)

She has been complaining of her head hurting and her eyes hurting some, so that is due to her reading so much. She absolutely is ALWAYS reading something unless we are watching a movie or eating as a family. She is a cereal box reader at breakfast! ha ha-just like mommy! The doctor said that is probably why her vision is improving so rapidly. Since she reads books with lots of words on the page she is having to focus her eyes and really exercise those still elastic eye muscles and is able to actually improve her vision!

I am just still so thrilled with everything. I am happy that her eyesight is getting better and better...and that we discovered the problem before she was too old to still exercise the muscles to improve her vision. I can't imagine if we had waited another year or two or five even-and had to just deal with the best we could do with glasses.

Since this time last year, Katie has gone from seeing the world every single day with 20/400 vision to seeing books and movies and flowers in 20/25-30 and 20/40!

That's why we are just SO STILL BLESSED and continue to be every day that she wakes up and is able to put on glasses and read the cereal box!!!!!

We were quite pleased as well that we were not going to have to pay for a new pair of glasses since her prescription is working fine...but...what do you think happened tonight? Her glasses got broken.How is that for irony? A full year later, I mean, those glasses survived being stuck down in a basketball goal a week after we got them (thanks to the ingenuity of our best local eagle scout friend we were able to fix them) and tonight as we were getting ready for bed she pulled them off her face and one of the earpieces came right off!!!

Corey is going out early tomorrow to see if we can get them fixed or if it would just be cheaper to let insurance get her a new pair. *sigh*
But hey, still blessed! At least it took a year...with a 5/6 year old that is pretty good I would say!

Christmas Meme....TAG Everyone's IT!

This is one of those "getting to know your friends" type of things. I don't like tagging people, so instead of that I will just say, if you want to do this one, then post a link to your post on the comments and maybe we can all read each other's responses and up our readership for a couple of days! ha ha! I like to see what everyone says on these type of things, so link away!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I use a little of both....I think they are both fun in their own way! Mostly I use gift "containers" that I put baked goodies in...and baskets.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Fake! As much as a real tree sounds quaint and traditional, I just don't think the sensitive allergies in this house could stand it. Plus, I LOVE pre-lit!

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend. I almost put it up earlier this year, but I loved our thanksgiving/fall decorations too much!

4. When do you take the tree down? The first free day we have after Christmas. It gives a fresh new start to the year to have everything down and cleaned up!

5. Do you like eggnog? NO!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A dress up trunk...I had so much fun wearing that stuff until I was just too big for it! ha ha.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Our kids!!!! They kept changing their minds of what they "really wanted" and we were afraid they would be dissapointed with their "thing they want."

8. Easiest person to buy for? My parents. They never buy themselves anything, so they are easy to buy for!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I have had several little cheap ones through the years. I just can't let myself buy the nice ones because the one I really want is the Willow Tree Nativity, which is expensive!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? both. Last year was the first year I did an online "chrismas card" letter and blog. It was really fun because it was a great way to review the year. I also love to mail cards, though it is getting expensive with the price of stamps.

12. Favorite Christmas Movies? I love the Charlie Brown Christmas movie! There is nothing like listening to Linus recite Luke 2!

13. When do you start shopping? We actually wait until after Thanksgiving. We don't really buy a ton of gifts. We are doing Samaritan's Purse donations for most of our gifts, baking goodies for friends, and we only do 3 gifts for our kids, so we can get it all done during the Christmas shopping season.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I am sure I have done this but I can't remember specifically....

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? baked goodies!!!!!! Cococut cake, cookies, breads, chocolate covered pretzels (not really baked but good!)

16. Lights on the tree?
yes, prelit white lights! Easy and beautiful!

17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh I just LOVE Christmas music and it is so hard to pick a favorite. I LOVE "Welcome to our world," Chris Rice version...I also love all the oldies...It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is playing right now on the Ipod....anything and everything except new modernized versions of the classics (like NSYNC singing Little Drummer Boy or something like that! ha ha)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? This is going to be the first Christmas Day I will spend at home in YEARS. I have only been home on Christmas Day one other time in my entire life! I am truly looking forward to it!

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer’s? The real "Santa" doesn't have reindeer. ha ha, just kidding. I can only name them because I just read the list on my friend's blog just now...Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, actually I just forgot the rest after I deleted her answer!

20. Angel on the tree top or star? We have a topper that kind of looks like a snowflake star. It looks like it is make of vines.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? This year we will be having our Jesus birthday party on Christmas Eve night and opening one gift. Then Christmas morning we will open our other two gifts and stockings. So, both.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not enough time to spend with everyone...

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like "natural" looking decorations. Our tree has pine cones and red wooden "cranberry" garland.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham. Lots of appetizers!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I could say that I have everything I want or need, but that just wouldn't be true! ha ha! Actually, my want and need are one in the same: new clothes! I truly do need new clothes...most of mine are too big. I have some tee shirts and capris I got during the summer, but I only have 2 pairs of jeans that are the right size, one pair of khaki dress pants, one long sleeved shirt and two sweaters. I stay home, so I can make it with that, but I would love to have some variety in the shirt department! ha ha!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Photo Shoot

We had so much fun getting these adorable photos of Katie and Noah the other night. You can click on the photo if you want to see them bigger...I get frustrated that Picasa doesn't fit bigger pictures into my 3 column layout. There is one of Noah can tell which one it is if you look closely....what cuties!!! (if I do say so myself!)
No, Noah isn't cross-eyed. He just kept doing that for some reason..I think it is his first typical male response to having photos taken!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Katie's Game Day

I just realized that I forgot to blog about Katie's game day. She did have the next night to choose a game to play for the family.

Katie's game night was less involved and competitive than what Noah planned. Her game night was: tea party.

We had a tea party on the rug. All four of us. We had sugar in our tea, pretend cakes, etc...all the stuff that goes along with a tea party. It was fun..she was a great hostess!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Buyer's Remorse....

Ah the emotions of a 27 hour day!!!!

My experience started yesterday morning at 6:30...when Noah woke up crying and had to be fussed over and brought into our bed where he tossed and turned until 7:30 and then I was able to sleep until 8:30. At 8:30 we got up to get ready to drive to Newnan for Thanksgiving lunch. We stayed there until 2:30 or so and then we headed back home to do dinner at Cracker Barrel. Well, after that we came home and I finalized plans for my outlet adventure.

Me and three of my friends arrived to our local outlet center at around 10:30pm to join the line of people waiting among the "first 300" to get a bag with free pajamas and goodies. At midnight the line started moving and we were able to get our bags. The nightshirt was pretty cute, but the other goodies not as much...just some coupons and a Vitamin Water and Fuze. ha.
I have to say, the standing in line for an hour and a half wasn't truly that bad, especially with fun people to pass the time with...but I cannot believe how many people were out during the time we were there, with their very young children with them! Come on people!!!

Anyway, we then spent until about 3am browsing around the outlet stores. Gymboree had their kids pjs for $5.99. We all found some and stood in a thirty minute line to check out. No kidding! The line was completely wrapped around the store. Needless to say we ALL found more stuff besides our original awesome deal! First buyer's remorse!!! I got really cute outfits for the kids to wear in their holiday picture and to gatherings though!

Second buyer's remorse: NOT buying something. The GAP outlet had their sweaters for 50% off. I really should have gotten one. I was trying to actually buy Christmas stuff though and didn't want to get it for myself. The thing is though...I have lost 30 pounds since last Christmas and my pants and shirts are all huge! With the exception of 1 pair of jeans I bought this summer and some tee shirts, I really don't have clothes that fit. They actually had nice, soft, long fitting and crew necked sweaters. I can't remember the last time I found that combo in a sweater. I usually have to compromise on the length (show my back in the back, you know what I mean!) or the neckline...scoop low cut or something. *sigh* I am really really regretting not buying at least one of those sweaters!!!

Third buyer's remorse: NOT buying something else. Old Navy had their jeans (incorrectly) marked 50% off. They were taking the signs down, but had to honor anyone who already had them in line. I could have had another pair of pants that would actually fit well for $14.75. Should have gotten a pair! Agh!

Fourth buyer's/shoppers remorse: Arriving home at 3:30am and leaving again and 4:20am to head back out to shop! ha ha! It was fun at the time and I guess I was running on adrenaline, but when it was 11:00am and I was just heading home to rest, it was a pretty rough time!!!!!

My mom and I met at our local Toysrus because it was a good location and parked my car so I could go out to Wal-Mart and K-Mart for some doorbusters. The line at Toysrus was backed all the way across the entire parking lot!
We hit up Walmart first where all the deals were gone before we got there, then to K-Mart where she was able to get everything she wanted to get. So, that was good. I just had still not bought anything I needed for the kids, so we then blitzed through Toysrus (nothing good enough to stand in line for) and then to the Dollar Tree. Our local Dollar Tree always has some cute stuff for stockings. Then back to Wal-Mart after the crowds had cleared to do more stocking stuffer shopping. Oh, somewhere in there we ate the Chick-fil-a breakfast buffet! YUM!

I got home and laid down to rest for a couple of hours and I am thinking when I get out my Wal-Mart bag there may be some yet to come buyer's remorse....ha ha! I really had wanted to head down to the Disney Store to get some tees for the kids to wear to Disney and I still haven't made it to Target!!!! I can say though, that there is no way I would have survived Kennesaw today!!!

Oh husband also did his own shopping while I was out. Sitting on the couch next to the kids he was able to get some good deals from Amazon.

So, there you go...that was my 27 hour holiday shopping experience. It really was a lot of fun, but just one of those things you KNOW you are going to regret doing, but go for it anyway!!!!

ABCs and 123s

I am on a 45 minute break between shopping sessions and need something to keep me I am finally doing the "tag" that Bethany tagged me on probably more than a week ago!

The Topic is: 5 things you love...I decided to go with an "F" theme because that's just what I thought of first, some serious, some we go:

1. Friends! It's just great to be with friends...laughing, hanging out...being yourself!

2. Family! God's greatest creation!

3. Faithfulness!! Isn't is good to just be able to depend on God...your spouse....your family? I love that my people are faithful and I am blessed that my God is faithful!

4. French Fries! YUM! All varieties...McD, Zaxby's, Steak and Shake...all great fries! Good anytime!

5. Fall! Just the best time!

K, the other thing I wanted to do was the "ABCs of Thankfulness like Bethany did...but I just realized that my brain is too fried for A-Z thinking right nevermind!

Have a good night!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Of course, I had to do this post! ha ha! We will be heading out early in the morning to go to Newnan for my dad's side of the family get-together. We already had a dinner this past Sunday with my mom, dad, brother, mawmaw, and Hannah (brother's gf).

Anyway, after lunch with that side, we will head back here to Adairsville for some Thanksgiving Cracker Barrel style! I love their chocolate pecan pie! YUM!

Just in case any gift buyers are reading....I have a recently updated wishlist posted over to the left. See the cute Christmas tree picture? I pretty much replaced the entire wishlist with some new things they recently expressed interest in, and what would go well with their "big" thing they want from us this year...

So, Happy Thanksgiving, and have a fun Black Friday! I will be standing in the pajama line at the outlets in Calhoun, waiting for the midnight opening to get my free bag of goodies!!! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog Highlight!

I just discovered through my visitor tracking at the left, that a very old friend of mine has just joined blogland!!! I never realized that she was a reader of my blog...though I know I had sent her a link a while back!

Alicia and I met in the first grade and have off and on through the years kept in touch. She has just started a blog to keep their friends and family informed throughout the adoption process that they will be heading through in the coming days and months.

Please visit my friend and make her feel welcome to blogland, and leave her a comment! We bloggers all know how getting comments makes you feel great and I am sure a prayer for her and her husband while you visit would be much appreciated as well!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Game Night, Noah style!

We had a family game night tonight. Noah was our master coordinator of events and he actually managed to incorporate a floppy flyer, bean bag, monster golf ball, croquet mallet, and a soccer ball into a series of fun games....
First of all, he told us that we were going to be on teams. The girls were on a team and the boys were on a team. The series of games were as follows:

1. Throwing a floppy flyer and/or beanbag to each other.

2. Kicking a soccer ball back and forth down the hallway.

3. Croquolf (I just came up with that name) One person uses a foam croquet mallet to hit a monster golf ball into a bowl turned sideways while the other person blocks them.

Noah picked Croquolf first while Katie and I alternated throwing the floppy flyer and beanbag. At Noah's signal we all rotated and had a turn at each activity.

It was fun because Noah REALLY enjoyed making up the games and being boss as he explained the rules and procedures. At the end he announced that the winners were "the grown-ups" and we announced that he was the best game maker of the night.

Tomorrow Katie gets a turn. What fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Overcoming...(sort of a booking through Thursday)

*Stepping on my potentially offensive soapbox*
I haven't posted in a while because I have kind of been mad at the Internet. I have decided that some people like to use the internet as a way of spreading doom and gloom and I just simply avoided it because I truly just don't enjoy reading or hearing bad news. Now, I know that may seem like living under a rock, but I don't mean it to be that way. If there is something that I need to know, then I know that I will be informed. I do not, however, feel the need to be a newswoman by telling all my friends that if you go to Target you might get abducted by someone pretending to need help. I do not feel the need to warn people about the latest plot against women or how tylenol has been proven to kill you if you take any made between these certain dates. These forwards and emails are just meant to spread worry, fear, anxiety, and to keep people buried in their homes and being totally inactive in the world! There was actually a true warning going around recently about a suspicious van in Bartow county going around trying to trick people into opening their front doors...but my friends think me such an idiot that I would open my door to an unidentifiable stranger?! I have to wonder about what people think of me to think I would drink something that had been tampered with or to think that I would pick up a hitchhiker or that I would leave my kids alone in the car while I go in the store.
I do not pass these things on to 10 people and I DO love God. I have yet to have bad luck because I didn't share this important warning with others. Most of the time these things aren't even true. I do not use email and the internet to spread things that are not of good cheer or a source of encouragement for others. Our job as Christians is not to be the "downer" for other people, but to be encouraging to others, especially when bad things happen.
Even if something is true, doesn't mean I need to share it with others so they can be worried and depressed over it with me! If you are reading this and you are a "forwarder" I hope you don't take offense. I know people who forward things are just trying to share the "whatever info" with others, but really, you can take me off your list. It isn't going to go further than my newly instituted "FW" folder where everything pretty much just gets immediately deleted.
The next time you think about passing something along the world wide web....just ask yourself if it to encourage someone or if it is going to upset the person you send it to. The same thing goes for calling on the phone and being the bearer of bad news to someone who just really doesn't even need to know what you are going to say....why? What is your motivation? When is the last time you remembered to call or email someone when something AWESOME happened?!!!!
*stepping off the soapbox*

Matthew 5:13-16:
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? ... You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

As a mom, a teacher, a Christian...I want to be a light in my world. I want to spread GOOD news, because the last time I checked there is STILL GOOD news to be shared and spread. I want my children to know security in their know that Christ brings joy and hope where others have none.

Who is going to want to join up with a cause (Christ) when the people who are already a part just seem depressed and worried all the time? I know you can't avoid troubles or whatever, but why don't people quit brooding over the state of the world and all the bad things that can happen if you leave your house and start trying to share the GOOD part that we know about, the reason that we can be hopeful and confident in our futures?! God has good news. God has hope and joy and great things for the future of His people! God has plans for us that involve GOOD futures and GREAT things. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news or worry or the cause of discouragement for others. Our children learn from watching us and is the job they will see us do as Christians be the "important" job of spreading fear or spreading joy?

I am also trying to break a cycle of fear and worry in my own life. I am being very candid on here, I realize, but I hope I can help someone by sharing this.

In our Bibly study/book club that I told you about before, we just finished reading two chapters, one of which I believe was written just for me. It is all about diagnosing fear and worry for what it is in your life and how it just completely stops you from being what you are supposed to be in God. WOW, it truly spoke to me and made me realize that living in fear is just not what I am meant to do and how if I want to do the right thing, I MUST move on and get over it! Whatever situation you are anxious about, whether it be something with your family, marriage, church, local or world issues....just pray about it, hand it over, and stop obssessing so that it takes over your life and prevents you from moving forward!
It isn't that I will adapt an attitude of "not caring." I do care. I care about my family and my church and all those things....but being anxious and worried is no way to live fully in all those things I need to be doing on a daily basis. I have found that fear and worry could stay in my heart and my mind that it would prevent me from enjoying a great day or keep me from doing something that I need to do for God because I am so worried about doing it correctly or obsessing about something totally unrelated. Am I no better than someone whose addiction keeps them from God? Am I addicted to being worried about things?! Am I totally bound by my thoughts that are straying constantly from what truly matters (fellowship with God).

Here are some key verses that really have been lifting me up in my quest to move on, and one thought from the book that I thought was particularly good:

From the book:
"The Bible tells us to not fear over 350 times! Why is the Bible (God) so adamant about our avoiding fear and worry? Because God knows that worry short circuits out relationship with Him. It fixes our eyes on our situation rather than on our Savior."

Proverbs 12:25
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but full-grown love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment and he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love.

Matthew 6:27
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy about your life.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

So, there you go. I admire you if you trudged through with me and are still reading. I have made it my goal to spread good news and hope and cheer. I will try to say things that are uplifting and encouraging. I will not spread doom and gloom. I will not allow fear and worry to ruin any more of my days or nights or to steal my joy. And along with that, one more verse that seems to be ever presenting itself in my life for many different reasons:

Philippians 4:8
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Year's Resolutions: Revisited

Well, if you want to feel like a failure, let's start revisiting those New Year's Resolutions you made at the beginning of 2008....HA! Here are mine....

1. Get out of debt!

Well...we're not out of debt. We have been more "aware" though. We have actually saved for big purchases rather than just buying them....but a good bit of debt is still there...which isn't exactly the correct way to do things. We have to be more disciplined...

2. Keep the house out of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome*).

I am very proud of us with this...though I am not sure it is really to our credit! We have done tons better since we finished our flooring project. Also, since we have another student coming over our house is truly presentable 99% of the time. But, you really don't want to ring our doorbell on that other 1% of the time!!!!

3. Eat dinner at home 6 out of 7 days per week!

Well....I would say we are at about 5 out of 7 on this one. Not exactly on par, but not too shabby either!

4. Stop biting my fingernails.

I did this for a couple of weeks, then decided long nails were more bothersome...ha!

5. Eat healthy.

I was a cheater on that one...I took a pill and lost 30 pounds (I know...cheater!) so now I am eating healthier just because I established the habit of eating much smaller portions. As for the "content" of my's better...but really we don't eat "terrible" for you things that often is mostly portion control. I HAVE been taking a vitamin every single day though..a good habit I established while taking the diet thing...I had to at that point so now it is a habit that I am very proud of...and doing well with my kids and daily vitamins as well.

6. Make an effort to be joyful about household chores.

Doing better.... This is hard! Our current Bible study may help with this too...(Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.

7. Do a Bible study devotion with Corey 5 days every week.

NOT successful....totally ashamed!

8. Finish the scarves I started knitting for Katie and Noah.

Pretty much done!!! WOO HOO! Just finishing left...adding embellishments. Now, if we could just FIND Katie's again so I can finish it completely (she started playing with hers when it was off the needles, so who knows where it is?!)

9. Learn to sew and make a curtain for Noah's toy shelf.

I have, kind of, learned to sew. I haven't made the curtains, but I did JUST make a pillow this past weekend.

10. If I don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all! (The most difficult one to keep of all I do believe!) The only way I see to accomplish this is to just NOT be around certain people, or to come prepared with plenty of things to daydream about while I am around them so that I don't pay attention to anything they are saying. Or perhaps I can work on my attitude.

Really and truly, I have done better on this one. God is helping me. On a slightly different note, but similar, I am trying to do this with my thoughts as well. I have truly been better at looking toward the positive side on things. Especially in the last couple of days :) Trying to focus on the big scheme of life and "keep on keeping on" and trying to not get down in the dumps like I used to do so often. God doesn't want me to sit around and "fret"...He wants me to be busy! So, I am very much trying to do that!

#11: Recycle.

Oh, we had such good intentions!!!! I think that if we had cancelled our trash service pickup then this one would be so much easier, because then we would be going out anyway. I think we need to do that, maybe I can talk to Corey about it. Our church is ON THE SAME ROAD as the recycling center/trash drop it wouldn't be that difficult...just a little extra work, and isn't that what sacrifice is all about? (perhaps a little different sort of sacrifice...but if you truly believe it is the right thing to do....) Hmmm...something to think about.

So, there you have it. Three out of eleven complete successes, a few "working on it"s and a couple of complete failures. I'd say that's just about how life goes, huh?! I will be pondering over these things the next few weeks...trying to decide what goals might be in store for me next year...