Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Closing Out 2016!

So, let's see what the end of our year was like! Quick Re-Cap of all things October-November-December!

October was pretty normal, live in the groove of things, so that's good!
We did have a relaxing evening near the end of the month with Damion's mom and brother, hanging out in Ragley where they live. We set up a little fire and roasted some hotdogs and marshmallows.

In November, I changed up my work schedule and moved into a different classroom. I'm still working with babies, but they're a little younger and my shifts are all in the morning now. I really like this room! The babies are sweet and I love watching them learn so many "firsts" with us! My co-teacher and I work well together, and we've had a good time getting to know each other! (sorry, no school photos! :o))

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Damion's family. Everything was super delicious! We had a fun time playing games together, as always! This is the only photo I have of the day for some reason. LOL! <3 you, Dylan!

 Exciting news for me was that I grew my business so much that I was able to hit a new rank! I'm REALLY proud of this accomplishment!! I am so grateful for such awesome leadership and all their help and support! I even got a ruby pin from the company. Woot!

Here's a quick shot of an Executive Leader call that we do each month. 

December is always such a crazy busy month! Christmas parties, shopping, traveling.. Here's a photo tour of our time! Those are always more fun than my rambles!

Damion's brother spent time last year working as a Volunteer Firefighter. We were invited to their Christmas Party - our first one of the year! I got brave and wore my new boots. This might not seem like much to most folks, but I haven't work any kind of heel in 4 and 1/2 years since my leg injury! Falling and breaking your leg in 7 places + surgery = flat shoes 4 lyfe! :o) I made it home safely, though.. so I guess I'll keep the boots. LOL

My Mother-In-Law, Molinda and Damion's Brother, Dustin

The guys before dinner


Hubby and I always go drive around and look at Christmas lights. I love those drives! Here are some of the fun lights from Lake Charles.

Next up - Christmas with family!
First, we spent the weekend with his family. Back-to-back days of gifts, yummy food, and fun games!
Elaina enjoying opening her gifts

So much yummy food!

Gotta have that gumbo! Two kinds!


I learned how to play dominoes... and I lost really badly! HA!

Next up, Christmas at Mawmaw's!

Molinda with her "sister" Sophie. LOL

Dustin's turn to pick his White Elephant gift!

When will it be OUR turn??

All the ladies! :D <3

Three days later, we were off on our journey to North Carolina to visit my family!
He's so good to me to drive all that way! We did decide to make it a two-day drive this time (both ways) because it's just easier on us, and our vehicles!

Family Pics first:

Sweet Reagan with her pet bunny!

Daddy and Mama with their gifts

Reece beginning to tear into his pile


Oohhh... she got some boots! ;o)

Santa knew to make his delivery in NC. ;o)

And more goodies for Christmas morning.

Killer, the newest member of the family

Me and my cousin, Coleby!

I got to show Damion the Forest City lights <3

Game time with the kiddos!

We got to see some friends, too! YAY! (Some in Hickory, Raleigh, Virgilina.. we forgot to take pictures in all the places we went. :o( .. here are a few, though!)

So excited that we got an opportunity to see the Omondi Family!
We both happened to be in Hickory, so we snagged a few minutes to hug and do a quick catch-up!
<3 <3 <3

Dinner with my college besties. We've all been friends for 20 years!

Sweet Rhylee! My friend Dawn's daughter.

Lunch with Carmine! One of my besties from my old job.

Breakfast with another bestie, Hallie, in Pensacola on our way home!

We also got to have a quick visit with Kathleen when she cut all my hair off for me!, Alicia and Alex (and Luca!). We had to cancel some dinner plans with more friends because of illness, but that's okay! There will be other opportunities!

I also got to take him to see South Mountain Baptist Camp. This place is SO SPECIAL to me! I don't even know how to explain it. I started going to this camp the summer after 2nd grade. My church took us for a week every summer, and when I got older, I went as a leader with our church girls, then worked there in college. Such an amazing experience... and I hope I always have ties to that place! Here's some photos from that visit! (Thank you Al and Mischia!)
The front porch of the Retreat Center.

Do you know how long I waited to hold a boy's hand here?? :o)

Precious family!

Faith Lodge... oh SOO many summer weeks spent here!!

We started our roadtrip back on the 30th and landed back in LA on January 1st - 2017, we're coming for you!!

The Heat of (the rest of our) Summer

Louisiana is so, so, so hot. :o(
I've always had hot summers, even in "North" Carolina, but the humidity here is like none other. I saw a meme one day that likened the heat and humidity here to soup. I'd say that's about right!
I'm not much of an outdoorsy person anyway, but the summers here haven't encouraged me to branch out! Ha! So, when Damion's Aunt and Uncle invited us over for July 4th festivities, I was glad it didn't start until the afternoon! I was also glad that we were eating inside. :o)

They grilled for a long time! There was a delicious spread! We enjoyed the company, and most of the family even joined in some family volleyball. I stayed near the air conditioner. :o)

The fireworks were fun, too. I'm probably the jumpiest person you'll ever meet, but I'm still always glad to see the pretty lights in the sky!

Aunt Michelle and Uncle Jamie are great hosts... and super yummy chefs! :o)

There was some outdoor time, as you can see. Ha!
I stayed on the porch for volleyball time. 
Elaina loves her trampoline... and photobombing

Aunt Michelle and Dylan

The rest of the month was pretty uneventful. We both work, and in the evenings, we're boring and watch tv/play Xbox. :o) I'm good with that as long as we're together and enjoying life with one another!

Near the end of the month, we did get to contribute for our first time with Bountiful Baskets! This is a pretty well-known co-op for fruits and veggies (among other things, but the fruits/veggies baskets are the most popular). I was apart of a MUCH smaller version of this in Raleigh with some ladies from church. It pretty much works the same way, actually.. but on a much larger scale. Basically, volunteers in your town work to set up the site. There's a huge delivery for the items, and the volunteers divide every thing up evenly. At the beginning of the week, you order the number of baskets you want for your family, then you just show up and pick it up! I was excited about finding out about this because we definitely do eat enough fresh foods in our home, and when we do, it's not in this large of quantity because foods like that are usually too expensive for us to afford. We know we need them in our diets, and we both like eating that way, but we do what we can. :o)

Anyway! So, for around $20 (there is a one-time charge for your actual basket, plus the week's food, and a fuel fee), here's what we ended up with:

It looks like a crazy line, but it's a super efficient process!

Here are our spoils! YUM!

Unfortunately for us, right after we "got in" with the club, things have taken a pause. The organization is working on some improvements nationwide, and right now Louisiana isn't one of the test states. So! We are back to not having this option... and we're anxiously awaiting the next availability!

Into August we went! More heat, and more family time.
We decided to join up with Damion's mom and grandmother for a big yard sale at our house. Yep.. summertime yard sale in Louisiana. Thankfully, since there were several of us working the sale, we could take quick breaks to come inside to cool down a bit. The sale was fairly successful - nothing major or anything, but we all got rid of lots of stuff, and that's always nice! Hubby was a trooper even the night before, helping to set up tables and get signs hung around town. By the end of the afternoon, he was working on a well-deserved nap. :o)

it's a good thing he's not manning the jewelry or money box, huh? ;o)

A couple of weeks later, I got to have my first in-person essential oils class here in Louisiana. A friend of mine opened her home for me, and we had a good time chatting together with some friends and family of hers; plus we got time to play and make some goodies! I had a great time with the ladies!

Damion began his 2nd year in school, as well. So proud of him! <3 These photos are a year apart, and I still think he's the cutest thing everrrrr!

My family said goodbye to my Great Aunt Peggy in August. She is a big part of many of my childhood memories. She was less than 5 feet tall, but her personality was giant. Always laughing, loving us little ones, and sharing her games and yummy treats! She battled illnesses for quite some time, so we are thankful she's not longer suffering, but sad to have her gone from our lives.

September was pretty calm for us, as we got back into the groove of life with both of us working, the summer busyness ending and school work. Have you guys played Bean Boozled? Hilarious, but SO GROSS. I don't know if I recommend it or not, but maybe you'd have fun. The jelly beans all look the same (grouped together), but the flavors are NOT the same. For example, if you choose the brownish one - you might get Chocolate Pudding flavor, or you might get Dog Food flavor. Gag! And that's probably one of the more mild choices! Other ones: Lime vs. Fresh Cut Grass; Tropical Fruit vs. Vomit (yep..); etc.. See? Its funny, but not when you're the one who ends up with the gross candy. BLEH!
I love Jelly Belly, but they've gone too far with this one. ;o)

One cool thing about living somewhere that's so flat is that you can see for MILES and miles on a clear day... and when God speaks, it's loud and beautiful!

Whew! We're ready for fall!