April 25, 2012

Ah, Memories

Before reading the story at bedtime a few nights ago:

Me--"You're precious, wonderful, beautiful, smart, funny and amazing."

Macey--"OK. Read the book, mommy."

Couldn't help but giggle...

April 21, 2012

Dear Nana...

Today, for the first day in my entire life, I woke up without my Nana here on Earth. It's a weird feeling. Even before the days of cell phone and cheap long distance calls, she called our house EVERY Sunday at 7:00 (maybe 8...) to talk to us about our weeks. When I was really little, she lived in Memphis like us, but then she lived outside of Chicago for a while, then she and my Grandpa made the move to the big town of Dover, TN to spend their retirement. Regardless of how far away she was, we talked and talked and talked. I spent at least one week and many weekends in Dover throughout the years with my grandparents--sometimes with Rob and my parents, sometimes friends would go with me, sometimes my cousin Jena, sometimes all alone.We'd sit up for hours just chatting and watching TV.

Almost every time I visited in Dover, Nana would give my money for a simple chore and tell me not to tell Grandpa. And every single time, Grandpa would do the same thing. About two and a half years ago, I lost my Grandpa. Yesterday I lost my Nana. Doesn't seem real.

Nana was, without a doubt, the greatest woman in the entire world. No offense to the other women in my life because I'm sure they would agree. She was really smart, very independent (I'm sure that went over real well back in the old days), always cheerful, beautiful and simply a blessing. She was someone who truly loved unconditionally, no matter what. She just loved and accepted people--simple as that. I'm sure it happened in all her years of life, but I really can't ever think of a time when she said a bad word about anybody. She certainly didn't agree with everyone, but she had a unique ability to just love and accept everyone, faults and all.

This morning it hit me that she's in Heaven with my Uncle Rex. It probably sounds stupid, but I was jealous. My Uncle Rex passed away when I was about 6 months pregnant with Easton. Rex was one of the greatest men I've ever known, and I think about him often. Now, my Nana is up there visiting with him and Aunt Kat (Rex's wife, Nana's sister, who passed away when I was in middle school). Wow. That's awesome. I'm sure she had quite a reunion with so many loved ones we've lost along the way. One day, I'll be there, too. That's the blessing in all of this. It may sound trite, but it does help to know that death is truly overcome by Jesus, and Nana is no longer hurting or struggling to breathe. She's breathing, running, healthy and whole.

Selfishly, I'm sad for me and my kids and my family. I'm sad that if Greg and I have another baby one day, he or she won't know Nana. But I know that we'll tell any future babies about Nana, and we'll always talk about her with Macey and Easton.

You know, Easton is really too little to know what's going on, but Macey understands that she won't see Nana anymore. Last night, we explained to her that Nana was so sick that she had to go live with Jesus in Heaven to feel better again. She thought on that for a minute, then said, "Nana's all better!"

Yes, my sweet girl, Nana is all better. 

Nana at my college graduation (December 2006)
Nana with my Macey girl (July 2009)
Mom, Nana, Macey and me (July 2009)
E Paul and Nana (Easter 2011)

April 12, 2012

Let's Hug It Out

Can't you tell Easton is thrilled?

Kids Are Funny

Macey was reading a story from her new children's Bible she got for Easter. I overheard her say, "Jesus, do you need to go potty?"

Ahhh...I wonder how Mary handled potty training Jesus? I'm just going to go out on a limb and assume she didn't have the luxury of having a goody basket filled with treats from the Dollar Tree. Good times.

April 9, 2012

Some Favorites

I hope you had a happy Easter! We had an awesome weekend! So blessed to have precious family and friends and so thankful to have a risen Savior who died for my sins.

Below are a few of my favorite pictures from our busy weekend.

Time to walk to Cryssie's for the Easter egg hunt with our friends!
The kiddos racing to hunt eggs!
The kids checking out their loot!

Easter morning goodies!
Easter morning before church!
Playing at Granna and Pop's after church.

Macey, Easton, Christina, Brooke and Lizzie
Macey, Lizzie and Brooke
Sweet cousins!

Easter egg hunt at Grandma and Papaw Joyner's!
Joyner cousins holding a picture of their newest cousin, who will arrive this fall!

Yummy Mexican Pasta Dinner!

I like trying out new recipes, but it's no secret that I'm a picky eater. Thankfully, a friend at work is just as picky, so we trade recipes a lot! Last week, she gave me a recipe for this really yummy beef-stuffed pasta shells that called for jumbo pasta shells...which I couldn't find after trying two different stores.

So, I changed it up, and it was delicious! Greg said, "This is so good, I don't know if I want you to find out the real way to make it!"

  • Pasta shells (I used about 1/3 of a Barilla box.)
  • 1 pound of ground beef (I prefer at least 90/10 ground sirloin.)
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • Taco sauce (hmmm...about a cup)
  • Taco seasoning (I like the low sodium kind.)
  • Shredded cheeses (I used a mixture of cheddar and Mexican style)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef, drain and mix in seasoning according to the directions on the package. Mix in cream cheese and stir until the cheese is melted; set aside to cool. While the meat is cooling, cook pasta. After the pasta is cooked, pour about 1/2 cup of taco sauce (or salsa if you prefer) on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Dump in pasta and meat mixture and mix it all up! Pour about 1/2 cup of taco sauce on the top and mix it around a bit. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle shredded cheese on top and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes. ENJOY! 


Meal Plan Monday

I find that we eat much better dinners (tastier and healthier) if I plan ahead a little bit, but I always seem to get stuck in a rut with the same meals over and over. I thought it I started adding ideas to the blog, maybe others could join in with some ideas of their own.

Monday--Grilled chicken (marinated in Italian dressing), brown rice and corn on the cob

Tuesday--Homemade tacos (my absolute favorite!)

Wednesday--Dinner with my friend Ashley. Sorry, kids--daddy's in charge of this dinner!

Thursday--Chicken and broccoli Alfredo

Friday--Maybe a homemade pizza night...

Does anyone have a good recipe for homemade chicken nuggets? What about sweet potato fries?

April 6, 2012

20 Questions with Chase Landry

I have to admit that my blog title is misleading because I've never gotten to ask Chase Landry 20 questions. But wouldn't that be great? In fact, I think I'd like to ask quite a few of my Swamp People buddies a few questions. If given the opportunity, here are a few things I'd like to know.

Chase (It's no secret that he's my favorite this season, if you've read my previous Chase Landry post.)

1) Who's your lucky lady?
2) Are you the proud father of any swamp cuties?
3) Where'd you learn to be such a sharp shooter, big fella?
(Disclaimer...Because I'm happily married with children of my own, the first two questions are just out of curiosity. Plus, I'm sure many inquiring minds out there want to know.)


 My one and only question: Sunscreen? Please tell me you use it. You have a lot of exposed skin, brother.

Jay Paul

1) Just between us, do you ever get tired of hearing your dad say, "bro"?
2) How do you always seem so calm? The only time you ever seem to have a worry in the world is when there's a threat of poachers!

So come on History Channel, what do you say? Hook me up with a question/answer session for some of the Swamp People crew?

I'm a big HUGE Swamp People fan. This might be surprising if you think about the fact that I'm not exactly a fan of the great outdoors. I mean I appreciate the beauty in nature, but I thoroughly enjoy the conveniences of air conditioning and buying my dinners at the grocery store. Maybe I live vicariously through these men (and women!) because I am way too big of a wimp to even think about an encounter with a live alligator. But boy is it fun to watch.

Really Good Friday

This has been an awesome day at home with the kiddos. We just wish Greg was home, too! After Easton woke up from his morning nap, we headed to a nearby park to eat lunch and play! We have a park that's walking distance from home, but for a change of scenery, I decided to drive over to another park that's about 10 minutes away.

She wanted to ride in the baby swing like Easton!

This was fun for a minute, but then I got nervous one of them would jump in!

Doing what Easton does best...getting dirty!
Waiting for Macey to come down the slide!
As always, she thought it was more fun to walk up the slide.

Little man, just chilling.
I'm not sure what caught his attention, but he just stopped and played in the middle of the walkway.

This Face...

...makes me smile every single day. This is how he wakes up! How can you not get a huge smile on your face when you see this preciousness?

April 5, 2012

Money, Money, Money

If you know me very well, you probably already know I'm cheap. I worry about money too often...except when I walk into Target, but that's neither here nor there.

Lately, God has really convicted me about that specific worry because it wastes too much of my time, not to mention the fact that all of my worries should be given over to him. Well, if God's been preparing me to give up this worry, he's clearly decided it's time for me to take the final exam.

About two weeks ago while driving to work, a good Samaritan flagged me down to tell me one of my tires was dangerously low on air. He was right. Turns out, three construction-grade staples somehow made their way into my tire, which had to be replaced. Tires aren't cheap.

Last week, as the temperatures got hotter, it became obvious that our upstairs a/c unit wasn't working, so we had a visit from our trusted HVAC buddy. He explained the problem and said we had three options, each one more expensive than the last.

The next morning, we took both dogs to the vet. Bailey needed all of her annual shots, and we wanted the vet to check out Dorsey's leg because she's been limping for a while. Yeah, she might have to have surgery. Fun. Taking her back to the vet tomorrow for x-rays to find out the real damage.

Last night, as I was feeding Easton his pre-dinner meal (this child eats a lot!), I heard a really weird noise coming from our laundry room. It sounded like a really loud buzzing or a motor trying to run. I cautiously went to the laundry room to discover that the washing machine was basically stuck in the middle of its cycle and couldn't do the final spin. Who knows how we'll get that fixed!?

But you know what? I'm thankful. Far too many people in this world don't have a car to take them places, a home to feel safe in, a dog to love or a machine to wash clothes. I'm way more blessed than I should be, and my worries are unnecessary.

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

April 1, 2012


I am very blessed to have such an amazing husband, and my children are extremely blessed to have such an amazing daddy. I have a lot of reasons for loving Greg, and one reason that ranks really, really, really, really high is how awesome he is at loving our children and being the best father he can be. We love you!

Yes, Macey is in pajamas...after dinner...and a bath...playing OUTSIDE! :-)