Walking Through Life One Step at a Time

Walking Through Life One Step at a Time

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Kodak Moment....

Happy New Year, Faithful Readers...all 10 of you!  I have officially been blogging a year and I must say I did better at it then I thought I would.  You see...I like to start projects, but usually struggle in finishing them. 

You all know how I feel about resolutions.  I just set myself up for failure when I make resolutions, therefore I don't.  I certainly have things I want to work on this next year, but I would rather take life one day at a time.  I always get nervous for new years to start.  2012 has been a good year for us and I always wonder what the next year will bring.  Will it be better?  Worse?  Hmmm....we shall see.  Whatever the new year brings, I know I am thankful to be healthy and alive to experience it.

I thought I would end this year's posts with my favorite pictures from each month.  Looking back on these photos brings back so many memories.  That's why I'm such a picture taker...how in the world would you remember an entire year without pictures? 

So enjoy these monthly pictures...I hope they make you think back on your year as well.  Our family is not perfect and our lives are not perfect, but we do enjoy life.  I hope you plan on doing the same in 2013!

January: This picture makes me laugh.  Emily and I were so leary of who was in that costume.  YIKES!

February: Celebrating with my dear friend, Beth, on the arrival of her miracle, Delaney Jane.

March: Brad Paisley with the girls.  A fab night almost ruined by tornados.  Glad we got to rock our cowboy boots!

April: Easter with my family and the large snake that decided to move into our front porch.

May: Field Day with my sweethearts.  Loved watching them "play" their hearts out!

June: Our anniversary trip to Kauai.  This picture represents my happiest place...any beach...any where.

July: So many pictures to choose from this month, but this little man stole my heart on this trip. So blessed to have him as my nephew.

August: I love this picture of my birthday night.  It reminds me that I love to meet new people...I think our funny glasses connected us. ;)

September: Our last official lake/pool day of the season.  So many great memories spent by the water this past summer.

October: My parents first time at Disney World!  Priceless family time.

November: Well...kind of October...but this was close to November 1st.  Loved my boys' costumes this year!

December: Sheesh.  I don't even know how to describe how much I love this picture.  I won't try.  Thank you Leah Price Photography for capturing the love between Noah and I. 

So from my family to yours, Happy New Year!  Enjoy every season, every month, every week, every day....and for goodness sake...take pictures!!!  I'm so glad I captured these moments!
Bring on 2013!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

6 Years Ago....

My darling Noah,

6 years ago today we waited with expectation for you.  Nervousness....anxiety....impatience....as you waited and waited...and waited to come.  You were not early, nor were you on time.  You came late...you came when you wanted to...when doctors forced you to.  I'm convinced you were doing it on purpose already to your "I hate being late" mother. :)  A sign of things to come.....

5 years ago today we celebrated your first birthday.  Slews of people came to celebrate with you.  It was Western theme...you were our little cowboy.  You made a mess of your cake...threw it at your party guests....laughing the whole time.  A sign of things to come....

4 years ago today you turned two!  Boy, was it a circus!  We worked so hard to transform our basement into the perfect circus for our boy.  Bouncy houses, games and pinattas....you shot people with the ping-pong gun.  A sign of things to come....

3 years ago today we watched you turn 3!  You wanted a shark themed birthday.  We "Shark-Taled" it up.  You wanted a cookie cake...we got the biggest one they made.  We bought you underwear and made you giggle.  You threw your new underwear at your friends.  A sign of things to come...

2 years ago you were our Superhero!  You turned 4 along with Captain America, the Hulk, and Iron Man.  You begged for bounce house...we obliged.  You wanted me to make your cupcakes...I did....and they rocked (if I do say so myself).  You got in trouble for climbing on top of the bounce house.  A sign of things to come.

1 year ago Chuck E. Cheese was no longer avoidable.  It was your 5th birthday and we entered the 7th layer of hell on a Friday night at CEC.  You wore a shirt that lit up to music...it was rad.  You played with every single one of your friends and tried to make them all feel included.  I cheated in the ticket blaster and got in trouble with the waitress.  A sign of things to come....wait....

And this year, on your 6th birthday, you made an ultra-fabulous gingerbread house at school yesterday.  Your teacher is amazed with how smart you are.  You are a reading machine.  You are the class clown (as I witnessed this week in your room).  The girls giggle at everything you say.  You "forget" to eat lunch because you talk too much.  A sign of things to come.

And on this day, my heart literally bursts with love for you.  I don't know how to love you more, but everyday I do.  4 days ago, kids your age lost their lives in a senseless tragedy.  They will never have another birthday.  So even though every birthday in the past is memorable, this one....even more so.  Enjoy every moment, Noah.  The times we drive you crazy....the times when rules get on your nerves...the times when your feelings get hurt...the times you laugh so hard you can barely breathe.  Enjoy them.  Celebrate them.  Embrace the things to come.

Today...I celebrate YOU.  You are my greatest joy.  You are my biggest adventure.  You are the best thing I have ever done.  I can't wait to see what is to come.

No....I love you more,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What I do Know....

I consider myself a writer.  I have no published books and no one knows my name as an author, but writing is definitely one of my top forms of self expression.  I know it's time to write another post when my fingers are almost itching to get to a computer. 

In light of what happened in CT on Friday, I realized how many things I do not know.  How many things I do not have answers for now and will never have answers for until I am with Jesus for eternity.  I know God will probably wait as long as He can to call me home because He just isn't ready to deal with my rapid fire questioning.  And who knows...maybe He will just bless us all with ultimate knowledge upon arrival so He doesn't have to answer a million questions.  Can't you just see Jesus saying.."Now Amanda...you know there are no stupid questions but I really need to get back to the business of being God"...;)

In this post, I thought I would just write some things that I do know.  Remember, you may not always agree with the things I say and that's ok.  I can certainly respect you for your opinions and beliefs and I know my friends do the same for me.

So in regards to what happened on Friday, here's what I know....

1. I know God is in control.  Our generation is not the first to experience evil.  God didn't take a snack break at 9:00 on Friday morning and return for the angels to fill Him in on what happened.  These things happen because we live in a sin filled world with sin filled people...myself included.

2. I know that regardless of what the news said about the gunman being "Brilliant", "Remote"  "had a personality disorder", etc....let's just get down to business and be honest.  This guy is a total jerk-wad.  Plain and simple.  (I could have used a more grown up word than jerk-wad, but didn't want to offend.)  However, once I've said that in anger, I have to think a little more maturely.  Had he not killed himself, perhaps one day he would have come to know Jesus.  Perhaps he would have asked for forgiveness.  Would Jesus have forgiven him?  Could I forgive him if my child had been one of his victims?  Whew....on this rainy Sunday, that's a tough pill for me to swallow.  Honestly, I know God would have...not sure I could. 

3. I know that what happened at that school is every teacher/school administrator's worst nightmare.  I am on the safety committee at my school and we have a plan.  Every school has a plan.  Plans just don't always work in situations like this.  I have probably run through in my mind what "I would have done" a thousand times this weekend.  And I honestly get nauseated every time I try to run through it.  I've been in lockdowns before...real ones.  Sitting there in a dark corner of your classroom with 20 kids, not knowing what's going on in the halls of your school, doing everything you can to reassure the worried little faces you see, pretending it's just a drill.  Your heart pounds out of your chest.  Your mother's instinct takes over and you go into protective mode.  What those teachers did?  Not surprising at all.  That's part of our job.  Those kids in my classroom are MY kids from 8-3.  I wouldn't let anyone hurt Noah and I'm certainly not going to allow anyone to hurt my other 19 babies. 

***Some of you are still worried because I said I'm on the school safety committee..I know it.*** ;)

4. I know that when I look at the pictures of these victims, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it could have been me.  It could have been any of us. And it could happen again.  We like to build our lives with false security.  We like to think we are safe.  And we should be able to think that.  We shouldn't have to worry when we drop our kids off at school, or go to the mall, or go to the movies.  But I do know we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  Plain and simple.  Whether it be an illness, a car accident, or a horrific event that we happen to be a part of...LIFE IS FRAGILE.  It is fleeting....it is fast. 

5.  I know that relationships are important.  In my life, relationships are a top priority.  Matt and I were talking last night that if it had been my school on Friday, and I hadn't made it out...what would I have wanted to make sure of?  My immediate answer was "that the people I love knew that I loved them."  Did I say it?  Did I show it?  It's what matters most to me.

So in all of the things that I don't know (which outweighs what I do know by a lot), these are just some things that I do know.  I also know no one likes a blog without pictures (fact) so I'll leave you with a couple.....

My Love Bugs.....

Keepin' It Real...Christmas Card Photo Prep...right after N smacked me in the face with that hideous hat. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Honest Confession Friday

Honest Confession #1: I am a total blog drop out.  I admit it.

So I have just been incredibly busy these past few months.  I've managed to keep up my Facebook page pretty well and post the important stuff and pictures, but my blog has really suffered.  However, I must say, if something in my life has to give...this is going to be it.  I'd rather be a blog dropout than have no social life..ha!

I thought it would be fun and interesting to do a little Honest Confessional Friday.  I have a lot on my mind and it feels good for me to write (type) it out.  It's my own personal relief and I feel it is long overdue for everyone to hear my skeletons again...I gave you so much in 2011 so I can't let you down in 2012! :)

HC #2: I am disappointed in the election results.  I mean..I'm not really into politics.  Listening to people just BS non-stop drives me crazy.  I work in education...I hear all the things both parties will "do for education" and yet.....well you get the point.

HC#3: I don't hate people who voted for Obama and I don't hate Democrats.  I have differing views, but that's what makes us Americans.  Do I believe people should work if they can?  Yes.  Do I believe we should get free handouts?  No.  Do I believe that everyone is really trying to provide for their families and just need a little assistance?  No.  When parents drop off and pick up their kids from school in pajamas, I don't believe they are trying.  Just my opionion.  It's my blog...I can say it. ;)

HC#4: I don't usually try to pretend that the things I like are what others should like BUT...Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee coffee with Almond Joy creamer is THE YUMMIEST.  Try it!

HC#5: I am getting excited about the holidays.  This year, we are not buying Christmas presents for ourselves (except for Santa gifts for Noah) and are instead choosing some families to buy for.  I've always known it's better to give than receive, but let's be honest...I LOVE PRESENTS!!  However, I think I am actually more excited this year to shop for other people.  We have SO MUCH and literally are in need of nothing.  Why not provide Christmas for those who are struggling this year?  Noah is not thrilled about the idea (yet)...he sees a new toy and says "Well..I guess we are going to get that for some other kid"...ha!  I think he'll grow into it (maybe). :)

HC#6: I am getting stressed about Christmas card pictures.  Do you have those friends who send their Christmas cards out and you get them on December 1st?  Yep...that's usually my reminder to actually get some!  Trying to be ahead this year, but I'm already behind.  Story of my life.

HC#7: I am obsessed with the song "Heart Attack" by Trey Songz.  I do that.  I latch onto songs for periods of time and listen to them incessantly.  Last month it was Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" and before that was the entire "Country Strong" album.  Songs speak to me.  I do feel like a 13 year old though listening to 1 song over and over.

HC#8: School has been RIDICULOUS lately!  I have worked more 12-13 hour days these past few months than I ever have before.  I am so thankful for my friends at work.  If I didn't love my co-workers, I would have been in a big ball of tears a long time ago.

HC#9: I cannot believe my baby boy will be 6 in December!  We are pretty sure he will be our only one (unless God plays a fun trick on us) so it's just unbelievable to me that he has grown so fast.  I get these glimpses of him when he was a baby, toddler, etc. and then I look at him now and it just blows me away.  Watching him sing "God Bless the USA" at school today literally brought me to tears.  His innocence and heart for other people is exactly what I prayed for in a child....his independence/stubborness...not so much...but it will be useful in the future.  I know it!

And last but not least, HC#10... I know this one will really shock everyone.  It shouldn't because I am a human being...but it will.  Even my family will read this for the first time....sorry Mom...ha!

HC#10: I have been going to counseling.  (BIG SIGH OF RELIEF)  I don't know why it bothered me at first to admit it, but it did.  If I'm really honest, I think WE ALL NEED COUNSELING AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIVES...HAHA!  My mind has been a real battleground lately.  Matt and I have been married 10 years and for some reason I suddenly started to panic about being married FOREVER.  I started questioning everything we have worked so hard for...our marriage, our family, and basically just started questioning myself.  Talking with someone has been so helpful for me.  I think we (women especially) give so much and do so much for others that we lose a piece of ourselves in the process.  I started feeling like I didn't even know what I wanted anymore.  So I am discovering things about myself that I haven't discovered in a long time.  My first session, I literally just cried the whole time...what a mess...ha!  But now that I got some things out, I look forward to just going and talking to someone.  She probably wants to tell me to STOP TALKING sometimes, but she's a great listener (better than my 1st graders). :)

So there you have it people.  Great gossip material right?  I'm thinking some people got tired of reading at #4 and never even made it to #10!  I know a blog with no pictures is no fun so I'll put a few of my favorites up.

Mom's 1st time on Splash Mountain...BAHAHAHA!!!

Posing on Space Mountain with the kids' toys...priceless!

Living a dream...watching Rascal Flatts for the 1st time!

LOVE it when my friends have darling babies!  Sad I look more rough than the mother...but...this is my Sunday look. :)

Taught this precious girl in 6th grade and now she's taller than me.  Love you, R!

Don't post their pics on Facebook, but here is my life 5 days a week.  They wear me out, but I'm honored to be their teacher!

I just love this woman.  Plain and simple.

Keep in REAL.....


Sunday, August 19, 2012

32 is "Magic"

I was told this year by a friend that 32 was the "Magic" year.  I got really excited until I realized he was talking about Magic Johnson.  See...he equates every age with an athletes number and 32 just so happened to be Magic's number (I learned something new there).

To be honest, I have really struggled with this birthday.  I am usually thrilled to have a birthday and celebrate the entire month!  For some reason, 32 has thrown me for a loop.  I think I can finally start to tell a difference physically, emotionally, and mentally in myself.  I see my face looking different (not a bad different..just different), my body not fitting into those cute young clothes quite like it used to, and my eye sight slowly getting worse...darn Direct TV channel guide...ha!

Don't get me wrong.  I love my life.  I love what I've helped build, worked for, and I love the prospects of my future.  I also love my 30's.  I feel so much more grounded than I did in my 20's.  I know so much more about myself (as cheezy as that sounds) and am able to relax a little more in the knowledge that I am comfortable being me.  Why does it take so long to discover who you really are?  I guess maybe at some point you just run out of the energy it takes to try to be someone you aren't. :)

My birthday weekend started a week early because one of my work besties was going to be out of town on my birthday so we had to celebrate early!  It was a great back to school/Amanda's birthday bash with some of my absolute favorite girls.  I am blessed to be starting another work year with all of them with an extra special blessing of Kate.  Kate's worked at Claxton for a while, but now she is on our team!  Our RockStar status just went through the roof! :)

Happy 23rd!!!  I did switch the candles because this was way more appealing!  However, I don't know that I'd go back to 23...my 20's were stressful!

The day before my birthday, we ordered lunch at school from Firehouse.  Did you know you get a FREE sub at Firehouse on your birthday?  Well, you do now!  That week, I had caught the girls off guard a few times and blown my "teacher whistle" to startle them.  Well, on Friday, they got me back.  When I opened the door to lunch, they all blew their whistles at me and startled me..ha!  Rachel always says payback is tough! ;)

Rocking the pink party hats!  We bust these out for ALL the birthdays!

The day of my actual birthday (the 18th), a few of us went to dinner at the new Mexican place, Chuy's.  We were anticipating a long wait...I mean...when Cheddar's first opened here you couldn't get a seat there in under 2 hours!  Cheddar's, people!!!  I mean..it's good...but not THAT good!

We waited almost 2 hours at Chuy's, but the atmosphere is nice to wait in.  We sat out on the patio, drank some margaritas, and had chips and salsa from their self serve bar.  It actually didn't feel like "waiting" at all.  I had to sing "Happy Birthday" to myself with the waiter because he couldn't sing.  Hey-you gotta do what you gotta do!

We missed you at dinner Jennifer, Beth, and Kate!

Sweet James offered to take care of all of us girls on my birthday!

Matt won big time husband points for taking Noah home after dinner and letting me continue celebrating with the girls!  So sweet of him!

After dinner, we headed downtown to meet Kate because her husband is the drummer in a band that was playing at Barley's.  The name of their band is Hot Shot Freight Train and they are great!  We just enjoyed a girls night listening to music and having some down time after a LONG first full week teaching at school.  Teachers need to have FUN on the weekends!

Rachel, Emily, Kate, and I having some girl time!

Kate's husband Caleb is the drummer for the band and he gave me a birthday shout out from the stage!  We love you, Caleb! :)  And yes...I'm rocking some pink 80's glasses because I'm an 80's child at heart...woo hoo!

Today, I had a great birthday lunch with my dear sweet Melody.  All of my friends, though different from each other, play a huge role in my life.  They each have a special place in my heart and I know they are in my life for a special purpose.  Love you, Mel!

Side Note: I think her daughter, K, looks like Malibu Barbie.  Or Skipper. ;)  And of course my son can never make a normal face.

As I was thinking of my past birthdays, there are some I remember so clearly.  My blue cookie monster cake birthday, a birthday on my mom's bed surrounded by balloons, my Minnie Mouse birthday when I was honestly a little too old for Minnie Mouse, and my 16th birthday party that was full o' drama..ha! 

Even though I love my home in TN and I love my friends more than anything, there are times when there is nothing more I want for my birthday than to just be home.  I love this song from one of my favorite movies, 'Country Strong', because it reminds me of...well...home. :)

Keep Celebrating....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Ramblings

Just a little random post to remind myself how we spent our last few weeks of freedom!

Enjoy looking at the pictures without having to read the monologue from me. :)

*One of my favorite Girls Night Out was at the Melting Pot.  I love the Melting Pot, but does anyone else SWEAT PROFUSELY at this place?  I just had to show you how "steamy" it gets in there!  I spent hours (not really) straightening my hair for no reason at all...it started curling up after 5 minutes of our steam bath.  Next time we go, I'm wearing my bathing suit. ;)

Can't wait to meet you, Eva Kate!!!

 *We spent countless hours swimming and sunning this summer.  It's our favorite way to spend those long summer days.
I took this picture of our friend, K, and was speechless when I looked at it.  She totally looks like Peter walking on the water! :)  Hallelujah.

I think this picture sums up Noah and K's relationship perfectly...or any guy/girl relationship!  She looks thrilled to be listening to him..ha!

Melody and I discovered that when swimming, my son has an uncanny resemblance to Eddie Munster or an Italian mob boss.  Ha!

 *When it was time to go back to work, everyone was kind of depressed.  So I found these fun mustaches at Old Navy and brought them for a good laugh.  It is so incredibly hard for me not to smile in pictures.  I think we all laughed uncontrollably the second after it flashed. :)
And Baby Minardo has a mustache on too! :)

*We enjoyed lots of company this summer.  I enjoy making dinner in the summer for friends because I have time to ruin food...cook.

Our new wine/glass holder from New York.  I love it!

*We have been looking forward to Noah's first day of Kindergarten all summer!  He is so ready for school and I can't wait to see how smart he really is. :)
Daily ritual of combing "the hair"

Could he be any cuter?  I think not.

Lola was just wondering when we would leave so she could go back to sleep.

Love this boy and the fact that we both have sleepy eyes and smiles together.

So special that Nana and Paw-Paw got to take Noah to Kindergarten.

Noah's wonderful teacher, Mrs. Smith.  God Bless Her Sweet Heart!

*And one last picture to "keep it real"....I have learned to "let it go" a little more this summer.  It's not important to always have a clean house.  It is important to always have a little fun. :)

 Keep Walking Friends....