Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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Happiness is... New Beginnings in a New Year


Happiness is…. New Beginnings in a New Year

Let me just say that I am sooooo happy to say goodbye to 2013.  It has been one of the craziest, hardest, not great years EVER!  There were definitely highlights (and I will go over those in a bit) but man am I glad that it is finally over.

2013 Regrets or Lowlights (in Chronological Order)

~Leaving my childcare job at my church after 4 years.

~Leaving my pediatric dental assistant job that I LOVED!

~Leaving my friends that I loved and would not have survived living in Utah without.

~Working for an awful human being in the form of a dentist when I moved back to SC.  I’m still healing from the scars that man left after all this time.

~Realizing my marriage was over and asking for a divorce. (Number 1 suckiest thing this year!)

~ My husband realizing (months after we agreed to divorce) that I was really serious and it dawning on him how hurt I was from the things that happened in our marriage.

~My pappy dying. (Definitely ties for Number 1 suckiest thing!)

~Finding out the day after burying my pappy that Ian had already filed for divorce and I was being served the following week. (Due to court errors, I have yet to be served.)

2013 Highlights

~Moving back to South Carolina!

~Seeing and living near my family for the first time in 8 years.

~Spending quality time with my best friend in the world!  Getting to know her babies!

~Living less than 500 feet from my sister and watching our boys pick up right where they left off!

~Finding a new church home.

~Getting the job at the school.  Oh how I love this job and these kids.

~Becoming real friends with Ian after all we’ve been through.

~Receiving the TEACH grant and making plans to go back to school.

~Really standing up for myself and not settling for less.

~Watching both of my boys blossom and grow up.

Things I am Looking Forward to in 2014

~Starting over!

~Going back to school!

~My son becoming a teenager (maybe I am not really looking forward to this but I am so proud of him!)

~This blog!  I already love it.  I used to blog all the time and got away from it.  I am really happy to be back at it.

~Reading the Bible in a year.  I know I NEED God's word like I need breath.  It's one in the same!

~Expanding my baking.  Trying new recipes.  I have a HUGE passion for baking and it fills me with joy to share it.

~Spending quality time with my family.

~Seeing where God leads.  I'm making the resolution to seek God and be ready to say YES to whatever or wherever He leads.


So no I'm not sad to see 2013 go.  I am taking 2013 as learning life experience and I'm moving forward.  2014 Here I come!

What are your Lowlights and Highlights?

Are you making Resolutions?  Working toward a goal?  Focusing on a single word?



Friday, December 27, 2013

High Five for Friday (Christmas Edition)

I seriously had a great week!  We had a light week with many of the kids being on vacation from school.  There were no major scouting events.  I did miss my Tigers though.  I finished shopping and everything was ready for Christmas morning!  Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F.

1. I did some baking this week.  I tried my hand at making homemade cinnamon rolls using The Pioneer Woman's recipe.  I will be posting a little more on that adventure this week.  It was a huge hit.

2.  This year was the first Christmas I'd been back in SC to spend with my family in 8 years!  It was so much fun getting to spend time with them.  On Christmas Eve we went to my Aunts and ate and visited.  The kids played minute to win it and it was pretty hysterical.  Even  my cousin (around my age) got in on the action.  Fun was had by all!  017

3. We started a new tradition of Christmas jammies this year.  The boys all got Duck Dynasty and I got the cutest pink owl jammie set ever!



4. Seeing the genuine excitement on my boys faces on Christmas morning made me feel all warm and gooey inside.  I mean honestly who wouldn't with these two cuties??



5. I received the Urban Decay Naked palette I'd been wanting for a while.  I absolutely love it! I've tried a couple combinations of the colors and can't wait to try more out!


Christmas was amazing!  It was the first one in a long time I was at peace with.

So how was your week?

XOXO, Denise

Friday, December 20, 2013

High Five for Friday

This week has been a little crazy with trying to finish Christmas shopping, my boss being on a cruise all week so I was in charge of the school and working long hours.  However there were several highlights that made it so much better!

1. My secret santa at work dropped this little guy off for me at the beginning of the week.  I named him Owen and he makes me happy! :)

[caption id="attachment_278" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Owen the Owl Owen the Owl[/caption]

2. One of my parents brought me a gift for Christmas yesterday.  It is a bottle of perfume.  I thought it was so sweet for her to think of me.  :)



3. One of my favorite Christmas traditions in Charleston is the Festival of Lights.  I haven't been in 8 years since we lived in Utah but now I'm home and of course I wanted to go!  So we loaded up yesterday and headed to the island to see the lights.  We rode the carousel too.  :) I bribed Brennan to ride it with pie.  That boy loves some pie.



4. We drove through the lights, walked Santa's village and rode the carousel.  We ended the night by roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate.  It was Jaxon's first time to go and Brennan hasn't been since he was 4.  I loved spending the time with my boys.


5. Tonight is my office Christmas party.  I'm so excited for tonight.  It should be a blast.  Definitely going to round out my week nicely.

What traditions do you look forward to every year?

Hugs, Denise

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Crazy How Much Everything Changes

The tradition has been to either snap a photo or get pictures taken at Christmas to use as our Christmas card.  I love this tradition because we have ended up with some really cute pictures and cards!  So this year, with everything that's gone on with the divorce, the kids schedules, and our school/work schedules, I just wasn't thinking family pictures this year.  Besides, I pondered if taking a family picture (all 4 of us) would be a huge lie any way since we are in fact in the process of divorce.  Don't get me wrong, Ian and I are getting along fantastically and spending time with the kids together for the first time really ever.  So maybe it's not that much of a stretch.  I wonder though if people will think it's weird that we are sending out a card together.  Ian wants and is trying to convince me to work it out.  I'm just not sure.  I'm praying about it.  That's all I can say.

Anyway, at B's boy scout Christmas party we snapped a quick family photo and I thought "Hey, I'll just use that one!"  So yesterday I open up Walmart's photo center and logged in. There was my pictures from the last two years right there.  I started looking at the differences in our appearances from 2011 to 2012.  Then I uploaded this years picture and thought "WOW!  Look at how much my kids have grown!" I mean last year my son was shorter than me!  No seriously! Look at this picture!CF 2012-0114Look at the differences from 2011 and 2012.

[caption id="attachment_269" align="aligncenter" width="72"]Our 2011 Christmas picture Our 2011 Christmas picture[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_270" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Our 2012 Christmas Picture Our 2012 Christmas Picture[/caption]


Just the differences there are incredible to me!  I thought they looked so much more grown up in the 2012 picture than 2011.  But wait till you see 2013!

[caption id="attachment_271" align="aligncenter" width="300"]2013 Christmas Picture 2013 Christmas Picture[/caption]

Brennan is TALLER than me!  Like not just a little bit! A whole LOT!  And look where Jaxon stands compared to how tall he was in 2012!

So I thought how cool would it be to use all the pictures in ONE card and show the changes.  If it blew me away, maybe everyone else will think it's cool too.  So here is how our card turned out!  I absolutely LOVE it!



But seriously my kids can stop growing.  I mean Brennan is ONLY twelve and he is already so much taller than me.  By the time he hits high school, he is going to be taller than Ian!

What do you think?  What does your Christmas card look like?  Do you have a "tradition" as far as that goes?  I'd love to hear it!

Love, Denise

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

My almost teenager! I cherish these moments!

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Birchbox

002003So a few months ago I came across a blog post by Kate at The Small Things Blog about her Birchbox subscription.  I had never heard of them before and when I saw it, I thought "You mean it's like getting a surprise present every month? Sign me up!"  So I put in my request for a subscription.  I've really enjoyed getting these every month and love trying the new products that I get in them.

This month my box has:

~ Harvey Prince Hello Perfume

~Sheer Glo Pearly Lotion from Manna Cosmetics

~Number 4 Non-aerosol  Hairspray

~Organic Healing Balm from The Honest Company

~ Printed Hair Tie from Twistband

The perfume has a light fruity/citrusy scent.  I really like that.  I prefer aerosol hairspray but I can leave this little bottle at work so that if I ever need a quick spritz, it will be right there.  The healing balm and hair tie are already in my purse. :) I am not sure about the sheer glo lotion but maybe I'll give it a try when I need a little color.

Friday, December 13, 2013

High Five for Friday

So this week went by in a BLUR!  I can't believe everything that happened this week!  So excited to look back and see that it was a great week!  Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth and Jenny for High Five for Friday!

[caption id="attachment_252" align="aligncenter" width="224"]So excited for his gifts! So excited for his gifts![/caption]

1.  On Saturday we attended Jaxon's first cub scout Christmas party!  He is so excited to be part of scouts after waiting so patiently while we attended all the fun things for Brennan while he was a cub scout!

[caption id="attachment_253" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Christmas Parade Christmas Parade[/caption]

2. We were part of the town Christmas Parade with the pack on Sunday!  It was cold and rainy but our float was so cute with all those cutie scouts!  I adore these kids like none other!  I am so proud to be a scout mom and Tiger den leader!

[caption id="attachment_254" align="aligncenter" width="300"]So proud of his gingerbread house! So proud of his gingerbread house![/caption]

3. On Wednesday, the kiddies had a half day so J's teacher had parents come in and make gingerbread houses with them!  I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out and giggling and building, getting messy with my boy!  I just love him soooo much!!!

[caption id="attachment_255" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Me and Santa Me and Santa[/caption]

4. Yesterday Santa came to the preschool where I worked and took pictures with the kiddos.  Ian made a great Santa didn't he?!  So thankful for him volunteering for my littles at school!

[caption id="attachment_256" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Merry Christmas Ian! Merry Christmas Ian![/caption]

5.  And last but certainly not least, Ian got his Christmas present early!  His all time favorite comedian, Gabriel Iglesias, came to the Performing Arts Center here in SC last night!  I bought Ian tickets and we made a night of it!  It was a great show and I laughed harder than I have in a long time!  Merry Christmas Ian!

So tell me what was your week like???

XOXO, Denise

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday~ Making Gingerbread Houses

034The first grade made gingerbread houses this morning and I was able to go help J with his! I love this kiddo!

Friday, December 6, 2013

High Five for Friday

This is my first High Five for Friday post!  I read through hundreds of these every Friday so I thought I'd participate this week!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth!

1.  We put up our Christmas Tree this past Sunday.  I love how pretty it turned out!


2. At Scouts on Tuesday night, we made the most adorable snowmen ornaments with nuts and washers.  This is J with his snowman!


3.   I received notification on Wednesday that I had been awarded the TEACH scholarship to go back to college!


4. Yesterday I received these beauties at work with a sweet note from Ian~ Just Because!


5.  I spent several hours at work helping put up and decorate this massive 12 foot Christmas Tree in the foyer of our school.  I think it turned out beautifully.  I love my job!

So tell me what were the highlights from your week??

Happiness is.... Going Back to College! Again!

That's right folks.  A few months ago I applied for a scholarship that SC has for Early Childhood Education.  I received a letter Wednesday night saying that I had been awarded the scholarship that pays 80% of tuition for an Associates Degree.  Part of the perks is that, in order for me to qualify for the scholarship, my employer has to agree to pay 10% tuition costs also.  Well, thankfully, I have an amazing employer and she is doing just that.  So that leaves just 10% of the tuition for me to pay.  Totally doable! So I went in to the college yesterday and submitted my re-admittance application (I attended there back in 1999-2000.)  Today, I did my orientation and met with the financial aid people.  I have to say that it's crazy how fast this is all going.  I have to go back in next week and meet with my advisor and register for classes.  I am hoping and praying that most of my classes can be taken online so that I am not away from the kids too much more than I have to be.  I already miss them a ton while I am at work all day.  It's only 2 years and it's such an amazing opportunity.  Another piece of my fresh start falling right into place!  I'm finally starting to feel a little more like myself instead of Denise Downer all the time.  One day at a time!  Happiness is being a college student again! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Can I be real honest for a minute?

I am truly the type of person that tries to look for the good in all situations.  I try to see the bright side.  I find happiness in the small things like a good cup of coffee, a text from someone saying they were thinking of me, a hug, my boys laughter.  I've never asked for much out of life.  I simply want to show the love of Christ to everyone I meet and be the best person I can be.  But let's face it, I fall short every single day.  Some days I fall short moment by moment.  There are some days that the pain in my heart feels like it's going to rip right out of my chest.  Lately, I've been feeling that a lot lately.  With the impending divorce, losing my grandfather and so much other stuff going on, my heart aches.  I never know how much to share.  I know that I will continue to find the little things that bring joy to my life even in the midst of the storm and pain.  I am praying for direction and clarity.  I want God to rain down HIS will for me and make the path so clear that I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  I know He will bring peace if I seek Him in obedience.  Will you please be in prayer with me for wisdom and discernment like never before?  I know He goes before and behind me.  I know He works ALL things (the good and the bad, the happy and the pain) for the good of all who love Him. 

Father, please hear my prayer.  Please make my path straight and as bright as can be so that I know exactly where I am supposed to go and do.  You are the everything I need.  You are the prince of peace and my comfort at all times.  Thank you for the work you are doing in me and around me.  Thank you for preparing me for your Will.  Thank you for providing counsel when I need it the most.  Thank you for those who are showing me YOUR love.  Thank you for just EVERYTHING.  I need you every single moment for every single breath.  Keep my eyes on you and a spirit of grace in my heart.  Thank you for letting me know over and over again I can trust You.  Father, I just thank you.  I love you.  Amen

Thanks for letting me share my heart today.  There is pain but there is always something to be thankful for and happy about. 

That's what Happiness is!