Thursday, December 29, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new to me!

In July of 2003 I had just graduated college and become a homeowner and was looking for a cheap way to furnish it - as any recent college graduate would. So, me and my mom went to an auction of a lady who recently passed away. She had a ton of furniture and appliances and I was lucky enough to get her brand new refrigerator (papers still hanging inside and everything) and her washer and dryer. The washer and dryer were not so new. In fact, they were 1964 models! They worked and I gave $100 for them, so it was all good to me! The washer lid was not connected, so for the past 8 years I have been taking the lid completely off and putting it in the floor to load it. It has been a running joke in my family that I have the special "lift off lid" version for years!

A few years ago the dryer quit working and we had to wash our clothes at home and then load all the wet clothes up and dry them at the laundry mat - it was not convenient but it worked and was kind of fun after awhile. It was our own little date night, McDonalds at the laundry mat :) Other than that, the dryer has worked great!

I am always getting accused of overloading our washer - I disagree. Just like the dish washer, I like to use all available space so I get the most out of the energy and water used! Well, on Christmas day I was washing a load of clothes and it started making a high pitched squealing noise. Then we smelled something burning. My poor 47 year old washer had died! It was a sad day :( Nathan and I usually just buy something for the house for Christmas each year and a new washer and dryer was on our list next, until we started pricing them! Unless they go way down in price soon, it was not feasible for us to do. So, it was kind of strange to me that the washer quit on Christmas day! It was a sign! I advertised on Facebook that I was looking for a washer and within an hour I found one. A friend of ours got a new washer and dryer set for Christmas and sold us their old ones for an amazing price thanks to me being "such a sweet girl"!

My old washer - she was a good ole gal!

So, Nathan and his brother went and got them yesterday and we were back and doing laundry again last night. I was thankful because when we were trying to fix the old washer I kept having to finish washing the clothes in the bathtub because it would quit in the middle of washing the load. That is alot of work! I am so thankful to have a working washer again! I always find myself thinking about situations in the future about what would cause me to have to part with things like that - furniture and appliances, etc. (weird, I know). It is crazy how things work out and God provides things just at the right time - even washing machines! I am really sad to see the old washer go, but I got my moneys worth out of it and it had a good life! :)

The new washer - isn't it beautiful?! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Chistmas day...

I finally had the Momma Christmas I dreamed of! I loved wrapping everything up and setting it up for Santa. I got Noah up and fed him breakfast while waiting on Nathan to get up and shower. I told him that we had a limited number of Christmases where we get to sleep in until 8:00 and take showers and eat before presents, so we might as well take advantage.

Santa came!

Tearing in!

Checking out his new books!

He is a professional unwrapper!

He had to check everything out very carefully!
Noah LOVED his toys. Santa brought him a tent and tunnel, some toys and books. He is a professional unwrapper! I loved watching him get excited and rip presents open and play with them. It is just like being a kid all over again! Nathan opened his Santa presents and we all just relaxed for about an hour. Then we had to head to my grandmas. We had lunch at my grandmas and then it was nap time and Noah was ready to go "bye bye" again. I tried to get him to take a picture with me and Noah and my Grandma - something I will love to have later. But, it was too close to nap time and Noah wasn't having it - at least we tried.

This is as good as it got :)

After Noah's nap my mom called and said Santa had left a stocking for Noah at her house. So, Noah and I went over there and opened his stocking. It had a banana in it - of course, the boy eats SO many bananas - he is addicted! It also had a Moon in My Room - it is so cool! It is a night light that looks like the moon on Noah's wall. It even goes through the moon phases like the real moon. Then there was some trucks a football and candy - all favorites of Noah. Santa did good - Noah is blessed!

That night I invited my Dad over for dinner. He doesn't have any family here except for us kids, so I like to have a dinner for him each year. My brother Eli, his wife Kesha, and their kids all came too. The kids all played together and the food was good. It was a good night. Nathan played with baby Greyson alot - I think Nathan has baby fever ;)

Nathan and his buddy Greyson

Eliza Nell working on Noah's truck ;)

Monday I had the day off of work and I was SO excited to do absolutely nothing all day. Noah and I hung out and played with all his new toys and I took the Christmas decorations down. I went with the "less is more" approach this year and was literally done un-decorating and had it all put away in 45 minutes. I also decided to do this while Noah was awake. I usually wait until he is napping to do this, but I thought he was old enough for me to try. He did so good. He tried to help me a little and he kept putting the ornament boxes back on the tree after I took them off, and that was kind-of sad. But, he is getting so much bigger and self-entertains easier. I love this age!

Noah self-entertaining himself while I de-Christmased the house!
I can't wait until next Christmas, Noah is going to be talking so much more and maybe even understanding the whole holiday better. It only goes up from here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's the most EXHAUSTING time of the year!

I said it at Thanksgiving, and not a whole lot has changed since then. Holidays with a toddler is exhausting! I literally chased Noah around 3 houses ALL DAY LONG on Christmas Eve. This too shall pass and someday I will wish Noah needed me to chase him around and keep him out of trouble (ok, he may need me to when he is a teenager too!). Don't get me wrong, I love Noah and all his energy, but holiday schedules and food and unfamiliar houses make for a crazy toddler. By the time we got to the last house on Christmas Eve Noah kept saying "Momma bye bye" over and over again. He was done and just wanted to go home. I hope everyone understood and didn't think he was just a brat. At that point, I honestly didn't care if anyone understood, I wanted to go bye bye too!

We started the morning off with brunch at my moms house. I love that we do brunch because it is a whole different type of food than what we eat at all the other parties. I made breakfast casserole and it was SO good - if I do say so myself. I rarely cook, so when I do and it is edible, I get excited! Noah got a grill from my mom and step-dad - it is so cute! It is all wood and it came with wooden food too. His cousin drew his name and got him Toy Story Mr. Potato heads - they came with outfits to dress them like Woody, Buzz, and Jessie! I love it! Noah loves it too because he is all about putting things together and taking them apart and body parts! Perfect! Nathan and I got some gift cards - which are perfect for us, we are picky about our clothes :)

Noah running around at my moms.

Noah with his new Woody potato head.

Noah's new grill!

It came with cute wooden food!

We went home from there so Noah could take a nap and I could unload Christmas presents and put together Noah's grill. Noah's nap was short - it is like he knew he needed a good nap for all the places we had to go and decided "Nah, not today!". So, as soon as he woke up we were off to Nathan's parents house. Noah got a puzzle and a Cars 2 bag, clothes, and some money for his savings! He is one loved little boy! Nathan and I got some more gift cards and I got a digital picture frame. Noah was running around their house like crazy - I had to get him out of the shower twice! The boy has energy that doesn't quit!

Noah was hiding in Nathan's moms room - Boo!

Noah in front of Meanie Donna's (Nathan's mom) tree.

Noah turns the lights and fan off and on with a remote and has to close his
 eyes when the lights come on! He is so silly!

From there we went to Nathan's grandparents. I was already exhausted at this point so I had Nathan take the long way there so I could sit down and relax for a minute. I was dreading this one for two reasons: stairs and porcelain dolls. We have a big flight of stairs at home and Noah never wants to play on them. They have 3 steps into their living room and 3 into a bedroom and I cannot count how many times he went up and down them. Noah wanted to touch every porcelain doll there was. So, for 2 hours I followed him around - up and down the stairs and keeping him away from the dolls. This was the house he started the "bye, bye" at and never quit until we left. He even melted down when opening presents. He was just over it all. He got lots of cars and trucks at this party - so all the big boys (Nathan and his brother Brandon) ended up taking them over and racing them - they are big kids! :) We played the lamest game of dirty santa - no one stole anyones gift! I guess everyone was happy with what they got - next year I expect it to be dirtier!

The Stillwells 2011

Nathan's family: Nathan's brother Brandon and his wife Whitney
Nathan's mom Donna and dad Chuck
Me, Nathan, and Noah

This was all just on Christmas Eve - I am too tired from re-living it all to even start on Christmas day - more on that later!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Noah's 2nd Christmas

A few things to mark Noah's 2nd Christmas:

Noah saw Santa:

Noah wrote a letter to Santa and it was ran in the local newspaper:

I want to start by saying that I hope we didn’t get off to a bad start when I was screaming and crying for my Momma when I came to see you at the mall - sorry about that, I think we need a long-distance relationship. What I meant to say then was that my name is Noah, I’m one and a half, and I have been a good boy this year! For Christmas I would like some new lego blocks (for Momma to step on) and a toy grill so I can burn things, I mean cook like Daddy! Also, I could use a Power Wheels Jeep to get around outside in - I am not trying to lose all my baby fat just yet. Thanks in advance - I will leave you some milk and cookies again. If Daddy eats the cookies before you get there, check the first cabinet on the left, that is where Momma keeps the good stuff!
Love -
Noah Stillwell

and Noah got his own video from Santa, to view it click here!

This parent stuff is so much fun! It is like you get to experience Christmas as a kid all over again!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We needed juice...

Nathan and I still haven't went Christmas shopping - for anyone, at all! I bought Noah some stuff a few months ago and he doesn't actually get the whole concept of Christmas yet, so I am not worried about him. I got him some books and a car, and a little pop up tent. Between that and what his grandparents got him - I think it is enough. Of course, if I can't think of where it is going to go, I have a hard time getting it for him. Nathan mentioned that if he sees something when we go shopping Friday (yes, FRIDAY! The day before Christmas Eve we are doing all of our shopping! I have a feeling this is going to be bad, really really bad) he will get it for Noah.

Sunday after church (where Noah didn't cry when he was left in the nursery at all - for the first time, by the way), I told Nathan we had a small Wal-Mart list of things. Noah was out of juice and there were a few other small things we needed. Nathan volunteered to go while Noah was napping.

Imagine if you will, Nathan comes in with groceries and then springs this on me:

I said "What is that?!"

To which he replied "A bounce house, duh!"

I asked what we were supposed to do with it.

He said "Watch Noah play with it, duh!"

I asked if he read the dimensions before he bought it.

I simply got another "duh" reply.

He claimed it was Noah's Christmas present, then proceeded to blow it up in the middle of the living room so Noah could play with it once he got up from his nap. I didn't ask why in fear of another "duh" reply.

So, when Noah got up he pointed at it, jumped out of my arms and has been playing with it ever since. About 10 minutes after Noah was playing with it and Nathan couldn't see the tv he said "maybe this wasn't such a good idea". HA! DUH! :) SO, it is still inflated in the middle of my living room. I have no idea what we are going to do with it, but Noah is having fun in it - and according to Nathan that is all that matters! Not so much according to my OCD!

He really does LOVE it!

Squealing with Excitement!

His graceful entrance :)

It is even big enough for Momma and Daddy to get in and play too!

Jumped until he dropped!

Noah's cousin Savannah came over to play and got a free hair-do!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Saw God Today...

When my alarm was going off at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning, I was really questioning myself. I always do that on basketball game days when I first wake up. Then, by the time I get out of the shower I am awake enough that it is no big deal. I hurried around (because 6:00 was the absolute latest I could get up and only be 5 minutes late picking my Dad up) and went and picked up Dad and one of our players that needed a ride. We were off to Perryville for a day of basketball!

About half way through our day of games, the Perryville coach came over and said he had a favor to ask. He has 4th grade boy playing that has down syndrome and they are really wanting him to score in a game. He asked if we would not play defense at the end of the half and let him score. I just stood there shocked. There was no way we were going to say no. I sent a text to Nathan telling him what was going to happen, and I was getting teary eyed just texting it to him. I am not much on crying in front of anyone, no one! So, I knew I was in trouble.

About an hour later the game started. When there was 2 minutes left in the half, the Perryville coach called time out. We called the boys over and explained to them what was going on. They did look a little confused, not many 4th graders understand down syndrome and we did not have time to properly explain it. We just told them they had a player that needs to score a basket and we were going to let him. I told them to let his shoot it until he made it and if he missed it to give it back to him. They all agreed.

Perryville threw the ball in and dribbled down and gave it to him. The little boy shot it and shot it and it was so close every time. Before I knew it, I was standing there on the side line yelling "come on buddy!" As soon as the buzzer went off, he made it! That little boy turned around, and once I saw the look on his face, tears started streaming down my face. The whole Perryville team and coaches, and parents rushed out and picked him up in the center of the court. Everyone was cheering - Lamar and Perryville both. I looked around and I didn't feel so bad crying once I saw the referees, scorekeepers, coaches, players, and both sets of fans were crying too! It was awesome.

I knew right then why God got me up that day, even if it was at 6:00 a.m. on my day off. He had something to show me and I am so glad I didn't miss it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Just a thought...

Cancer sucks

Infertility sucks.

Greed sucks.

Unappreciation sucks.

Forgetfullness sucks.

Money sucks.

Bad luck sucks.

Selective hearing sucks.

I have dealt with all these things directly or indirectly for the last few months.


Noah's smile is awesome.

Nathan's hugs are awesome.

Family is awesome.

Feeling needed is awesome.

Forgiveness is awesome.

GOD is amazing!

I am blessed.

The End.

I recently read: What if tomorrow we only have what we thank God for today. Seriously. Think about it.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Years ago - October 25, 2002 to be exact - Nathan gave me a promise ring. We had been dating for 4 years and he gave it to me in the spot where we had our first kiss - the Clarksville Junior High School parking lot. He accidentally dropped it in the emergency brake on my car and we had to fish it back out. I remember it all so clearly. I remember how excited I was to get it and how it seemed like such a big deal - so official! 3 years later I got my engagement ring and wedding rings and never have put my promise ring back on again. I had my promise ring listed in my Will to go to one of my nieces before Noah was born. Now, everything will obviously go to him. Maybe someday he will want to give it to his future wife as a promise to wait for him until the time is right like his Daddy did.

My promise ring

I LOVE my wedding rings! I went ring shopping with Nathan and showed him several I liked and told him he could pick. I was REALLY hoping he would pick the one he did though, it is just amazing. I remember how excited I was when he took my blindfold off the day he proposed and I saw he had gotten me the ring I really wanted. As beautiful as that ring is, I have had several problems with it. The center stone gets loose very easy. After having it worked on 4 times, they ended up telling me that they don't even make that setting anymore and asked me if I would like to upgrade. I am SO sentimental I could never do it. I told them those were my diamonds that were there when he proposed and they were at my wedding, so I wanted those diamonds. They offered me a new ring in the same style that I already had (one of the last rings in that style that they had left). I told them I didn't want new diamonds, I just wanted them to fix the one I had - ridiculous, I know. So, they fixed it. The center stone has been loose for years and just stays that way. I get it inspected every 6 months and they told me as long as I do they will replace it if anything happens.

Nathan with my wedding rings in his boutonniere on our wedding day

 So, I was there getting it inspected this month and not only was the center stone loose, but a side stone too! I have no idea how this happens - Nathan always asks me if I am punching things! HA! So, they had to send my ring off to the jeweler and get it fixed. So for the next two weeks I am single! :) I asked if they wanted to give me a loaner ring while they had mine, but they didn't go for that! :) I felt so naked without a ring on so I started going through my jewelry box and guess what I found?! My promise ring! I forgot about how small and cute it is. I showed it to a few people and I have gotten the "it is so cute" reaction and some facial expressions where you could tell they wanted to laugh. It is just SO different from my wedding ring. I will be wearing it until my rings are ready on December 23rd, and I am glad it is getting some more wear. After all, the promise it still there...

Our wedding rings and my bridal bouquet

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Gibbons Law Office Christmas!

We decorated the office last week. We moved into this office 5 1/2 years ago and started decorating with these big ornaments and snowflakes hanging from the track lighting and some other decorations here and there. It always seems like it is going to be so much work so no one wants to go to storage and get the decorations, but it never ends up taking very long and it always looks so good!

My office decorations.

Tammy and Laikkens area decorations

Our Stockings

Laikkens tree

Nativity Scene

We draw names at work and it always seems to work out that Laikken and I get each others name and Iva Nell and Tammy get each others names. This always works good because me and Laikken got each other the exact same thing - Buckle giftcards, and Iva Nell and Tammy got each other close to the same thing - sweater jackets. We always get our guys gag gifts and the kids a toy. Noah got Rockstar Mickey - perfect for him! There was so much going on at the party he didn't pay him much attention, but I have a feeling we will be hearing Mickey rock out for awhile at home. Tammys boys got lego sets and they were very excited. Now, on to the guys presents. We made them calendars. Not just any calendar, calendars with their faces and other peoples bodies! It was awesome. Some of the pictures I am not allowed to put on the internet, I was threatened with my life. But there are a few that I was given permission for!

David - Iva Nell's husband - checking out the calendar

Blake and Laikken

Danny and Tammy

Nathan checking it out

Iva Nell reading the script that went along with each month

Noah played in between the two front doors forever!

Then they drug an old cozy coupe out and he drove it around

We had a great time!
 And now, calendar pictures:
Blake as a mall cop (Blake just got accepted into troop school and he is working his way up!)  :)

The women of Gibbons Law Office on our last beach vacation! ;)

July sure is a hot month!

Our Jersey Shore Men!

Nathan Swayze!

Nathan can't decide if he is Team Edward or Team Jacob!

Merry Christmas from Gibbons Law Office!