Our 7th Christmas Together!

This year marks our 7th Christmas as a couple and our 3rd as a married couple. You know I can tell you exactly what he gave me for our first Christmas, it was a pretty little sterling silver necklace he bought at Leslie's in Searcy, it had three (faux) diamonds. I really liked it, until I wore it to his mom and dad's and saw that his sister had gotten the same one. Ha ha. I can't remember what I bought him, it was probably clothes!

Here is a trip down memory lane, boy have we changed!!


check out Jarrod's shoes. . .yeah he still has them, but isn't allowed to wear them in public!



What possessed me to wear that sweater?? Jarrod looks so young in this picture!



I remember this is the Christmas Jarrod surprised me with my Caerleon ring! After telling me over and over that he didn't get me one! 



Woohoo! Now that we're engaged Jarrod made it to the family picture at Nanny's, he's moving on up! Can you see how long Jarrod's hair is? That's the longest it's been since then, too. And by the way I am not wearing the same sweater I did last year, it's a NEW black turtleneck, I love them I buy a new one every year.

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Our first Christmas a a married couple, and we didn't think to get any photos of us by our tree at home. This is the only photo of us together I have! Notice Jarrod's beard? I think it looks nice. And I didn't wait long after the wedding to whack my hair off!

family shot at christmas 2005


Last year was a lot of fun, little did we know it would be our last Christmas in that house! We started the tradition of having breakfast at mom and dad's house on Christmas morning.

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Our first Christmas at our house in Jonesboro. Doesn't Jarrod look handsome in his new shirt and tie!


Group picture at Nanny's. I don't like how my hair looks in this picture, but it's a good one of everyone else. . .


Hopefully there will be so many more Christmas' shared in the years to come!

This year Jarrod and I exchanged gifts on the 23rd, which was a little weird, but hey I'm all for opening presents. The sooner the better!! Jarrod got me a new watch, a pretty purple stone for my Caerleon ring, some perfume, and a FABULOUS lime green oval dutch oven. I got him a cd player for his truck (it has be be installed at a later date by a professional other than myself!), a new pair of running shoes, a pocket knife & cap light, some John Varvatos body wash (it's a brand of cologne, but since I can't get him to wear the cologne I got him the body wash, it smells soooo good!), and a Razorback pullover jacket.

We had a good Christmas with our families also. We ended up going to Jarrod's parent's house for Christmas with them on Christmas eve for lunch, which was nice. We had Christmas with the Wilson's on Christmas eve and then Christmas morning we had our present exchanging with my mom and dad and Dillon & Brandye. Then we had lunch at Nanny & Papa's and Christmas with the Gibson's.  It was busy, but all worth it when we get to spend time with our family!


Dillon's Birthday

Since Dillon's birthday is on the 23rd of December we've always had to make a big deal about it, so as to not confuse his birthday with Christmas, or make him feel like his birthday isn't special, or that he isn't special. So, for the last few years on his birthday mom and dad take us all out to eat and to the movies for this special occasion.

This year his birthday fell on Sunday, so Dad, Mom, Dillon and Brandye met us for Church at Valley View and then we went out to eat and to a movie, but not before taking some family photos!

repaired group


We ate lunch at, Dillon's choice of course, Cozemel; a mexican restaurant in Jonesboro that he really likes. After lunch we went to the National Treasure movie, again his choice. It was a pretty good movie. . . I give it a B- . . . Then we came back to our house for an oreo ice cream cake. It was a fun day. Mom and Dad even stayed that afternoon and ran some errands and went to church with us Sunday night.


Progressive Dinner Party Pictures

 Here is the inside cards of the invitations that Kali and I worked on, these were enclosed in a square chocolate brown folded card. The front was decorated with a fun polka dot ribbon and a stamped circle embellished in the center of the card. They turned out really cute. 

invite copy

schedule card copy

All these pictures were taken by Christina. I was so busy running around I forgot to grab my camera!

Pictures from Brian & Christina's house. . .


Her appetizer spread makes mine look pretty pathetic!



Here are some pictures that Christina took at our house. . .

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Here are some from Kali & Nathan's house. . .


The hostesses: Christina Ann, Me and Kali


Here's a funny one of me and Jarrod, we were cutting up as usual!


It was a fun party and I think everyone had a good time. It was the first time I had that many people in my house and it was pretty crowded. I fixed soup and sandwiches, which in theory sounds simple enough. But no.  My soups that were cooked the day before and had sat in a slow cooker for 4 hours weren't very hot when my guests started to arrive and so I was shoving bowls into the microwave trying to get them hot, as the guests had to sit and wait . . . it was a little embarrassing, for me not to have it all together, but live and learn and next time I'll order pizza! ha!ha Just kidding!  It was fun, but next time we have something like that it won't be on a work day!


Christmas lights


Jarrod decided that he didn't want to mess with putting lights on the house this year, and since I wasn't going to help him, I couldn't argue. It ended up looking very nice indeed! We were the only ones in our cul-de-sac with lights. You can't see as well as I'd hoped, but our "Outdoor Display" included . . . . 12 mini trees along the sidewalk, two larger trees by the door, lights throughout the shrubbery, two deer and a spiral tree.


Christmas is almost here!

I haven't gone overboard decorating for Christmas just yet. We bought a few new things, but not many. I'd love to buy a ton of new stuff to decorate our new place for the holidays, but have managed to be rational! There are still a few things left to do, but the main thing- the tree- is done! We are still tweaking the outside decor. I hope to have all that wrapped up this weekend. Maybe I'll have some good pictures of the outside up after the weekend. . . we may be getting some winter precipitation Saturday night!!




I'm three gifts shy of being completely finished with my shopping! And all the gifts I have bought so far are wrapped and under the tree, that's a first for me!

We are having a progressive dinner party for some of our family on my mom's side, next Friday night and we have been busy trying to finish up some projects we've been putting off.  The party is going to be lots of fun!  We are having appetizers at Brian & Christina's, then the main course at our house and finally, dessert at Kali & Nathan's. I expect there to be about 20 people, so I'm sure we will have a good time! I'm a little nervous about getting all the cooking and cleaning done though.

Here is a rundown of our Christmas weekend schedule for those of you asking what are plans are this year. . . We are having our Christmas party at work next Thursday. Friday night is our progressive dinner party.  I will start cooking on Saturday and finish up any last minute shopping. Sunday is Dillon's birthday so Mom, Dad, Dillon and Brandye are coming to Jonesboro and going to church with us and then we will all go out to eat for lunch to celebrate his birthday. Monday, Christmas eve, we will get together for dinner at Grandma & Grandpa's for Christmas with the Wilson's.  Tuesday morning we will have Christmas with my Mom & Dad and Dillon & Brandye. Then we will go to my Nanny & Papa's for lunch and Christmas with the Gibson's. And later that afternoon we will head to Searcy to do Christmas with Jarrod's family.  Then back to Jonesboro that night, Jarrod has to work on the 26th! I will be off that next week and am so looking forward to it!  Among the many things I have planned to do, sleeping as late as possible is at the top of my list! haha!

Taki's new napping spot. . .

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. . .  is in a laundry basket on top of the freezer!


Ladies Devotional Annual Christmas Party


At the Hickory Ridge Church of Christ it has been a long standing tradition for the women of the congregation to have monthly devotionals.  I have been so blessed over the last few years by meeting with this special group of women. When I came home from college I began attending and I have learned so much from the short time spent among this circle of ladies.

My mom tells stories of times in her life as a young wife and mother when the guidance and advice of the wiser women in this group, many of whom have already left this world, helped her deal with problems and struggles she faced.  While the number of ladies that are attending the monthly meetings are down, those that are still participating should know that they are an encouragement to others whether they think so, or not.  The devotionals and prayers are no doubt uplifting, but sometimes just the friendly conversation and general concern for each other makes the most difference when you're having a bad day or need a little cheering up.

We also have secret "Prayer Sisters", which is another long time tradition. I think they said last night that they have  been doing it for almost 30 years! Throughout the year each lady has a  "sister" in the congregation they pray for and remember on special occasions. At the Christmas party we try to guess who our prayer sister is and exchange gifts.

The highlight of the annual Christmas Party is  the "Dirty Santa" ornament exchange . For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you're in the minority. Email me about it and I'll explain it to you! These sweet Christian women you see pictured can get a little aggressive when it comes down to someone taking their ornament away! We had such a good time, as always. Teasing and aggravating, laughing and giggling like a bunch of little girls. We finally wrapped the party up around 9pm.

Since I have moved to Jonesboro, I will not be participating in the prayer sister program this year. But, I hope to occasionally drop in on their monthly devotionals.  I will miss the prayer sister program and getting presents for special occasions, but I will miss even more the special ladies that I have come to know so well and love so dearly!!

Whew! What a weekend!

Every year we, or Armor Beans I should say, hosts a meeting in Branson, Missouri for our MAP (Maximizing Agronomic Profits )advisory board participants (farmers) and some Cullum employee's to get together and discuss the events of the past year and concerns for the upcoming year. There were about 35 participants  that were able to attend this year's meeting.

I start planning the event, along with help from our meeting moderator and soybean agronomist, Dr. Lanny Ashlock, around late September-early October. It's something I look forward to working on every year. It's a fun event to plan. The location is awesome and the people I work with at the Chateau are all so nice and helpful, it makes my job very easy!

The meeting went well and it seemed like everyone had a good time. There were no major problems like the pipes freezing and leaving us without water, like last year!

As the event planner, I usually get my room upgraded a little, but this year they put us in a beautiful suite, and it was so nice!!

chateau suite

We had a great view of the Lake from the balcony in the bedroom and the window in the living room.


A sweet treat from the hotel saying "Thanks". Chocolate chip biscotti and homemade candy. . .Yum-O!


The meeting started at 2pm on Thursday.  I usually stay around for registration and to make sure everything is set up right and there are no problems, but I don't attend the actual meetings.

Since my Dad has been a long time participant in the MAP Program, he and my mom get to go.  So my mom and I get to go shopping while the boys go to the meeting!

After the afternoon meeting Dad, Mom, Jarrod and I went to Red Lobster for supper and drove around for a little while.

Then on Friday morning, while the guys went to the meeting from 8-12, mom and I went shopping at the outlet mall!

When the guys got out of the meeting we had lunch at AppleBee's and then continued on shopping. My mom followed Jarrod around all day trying to peek his interest in things that she could buy him for Christmas. . .

mom: "Hey, Jarrod, what about a  ___(insert noun here)____?? Do you think you'd like to have one of these??"

Jarrod: "Nah." or "I don't see any need for that" or "No, I don't think I need one of those"

This continued on for several hours, at one point my mom threatened to beat him with a hanger (not a wire hanger, mind you she's not quite as bad as Mommy Dearest). The banter back and forth between them was pretty funny!

We shopped so much that Mom wore her shoe out.  . literally! Ha! She did get a new pair of shoes for those of you worried that she walked around all day like that!


After we had finished shopping at the outlet mall we went to Branson Landing for some more shopping. Jarrod and I had  stayed at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing this summer and really enjoyed it.


The whole place looked very different at Christmas!


We had dinner at Piztros, a pizza bistro at Branson Landing. It had a really cool, contemporary atmosphere and great pizza!


That night we went to Clay Cooper's Country Music Express , it's a smaller production show that is one of Jarrod's favorites. It's a really good family orientated performance. There is lots of variety in the show, with music and dancers and a hilarious comedian and even Clay Cooper's 4 year old son has some parts.  The music was good but the comedy is the best. My favorite part is when they imitated famous country music stars.  Their Brooks & Dunn act was by far the funniest! 


Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel at 11am and went to the Grand Village to browse the boutiques there. It was so busy and crowded that we didn't stay long. But I did find a few things in the Kringle's Christmas Store. We headed for home after lunch and of course a trip to the Coldstone Creamery!! We'd be in trouble if there was a Coldstone in Jonesboro!

Overall it was a nice trip, but were were glad to get home!


Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving is always a long day and this year was no exception! We left home at 11:30 had lunch with my Mom's family at lunch.  We left there at around 4pm to stop by my Aunt Kay & Uncle Doug's house to visit for awhile. Then it was off to Searcy to see Jarrod's family. We got back home around 11ish. So we were tired!! I wonder how in the world we are going to do that journey with kids!

Friday my mom and dad came to Jonesboro. Mom and I shopped while my dad and Jarrod stayed at our house and watched the Arkansas/LSU game. I'm not sure who was more worn out at the end of the day, us girls who'd been shopping all day or the boys who'd been sitting on the edge of their seats through 3 overtimes!!

It wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be, there were plenty of people out and about but it wasn't bad at all. I actually got a lot of my Christmas shopping finished! I hope to get the rest done this weekend at Branson.

I have a work conference at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson on Thursday-Saturday, so we will definitely be doing some holiday bargain shopping at the outlet mall at some point.

 I love the Chateau, it is something I look forward to all year!! It's so pretty at Christmas time!!

The Graham Girls Visit

Monday November 12th, I had house guests! Kristen & Kate stopped by to visit us on their way to Branson for Thanksgiving . She was traveling with her Mom & Dad and had dropped them off at her grandma's in Lepanto, before coming to Jonesboro to spend some time with us.  Kate was asleep when they got here, it was about 8 o'clock, but she woke up and was in a great mood. Kristen sat Kate down in the living room to floor to play with Jarrod while I gave her the house tour. When we returned to the living room we found Kate in  Jarrod's lap with her arm around him. . . it was too cute.



These are the only two picture I got of Kate. It was late when they arrived and Tuesday morning we stayed in our jammies until time to go to lunch. So we weren't really in a picture taking mood.

Kristen and I stayed up until after 1am catching up!! That is the latest I have been up in a while!! We got up around 7am and had breakfast and coffee and played with Kate and watched some TV. We just hung out until time to meet Kristen's parents for lunch. After lunch at McAllister's they got back on the road.

It was a really special visit, too short, of course, but we had fun catching up and getting to spend time with Kate was great too! Kate is not only beautiful, but she's such a fun and happy baby, I know Kristen and Brett are so proud.


Another room is done!

Last night after supper and a little "Dancing with the Stars", Jarrod and I worked on hanging the remaining pictures throughout the house.

The thing that took the longest was the office. Jarrod couldn't decide where he wanted to put his deer. He figured it out and we are finally done! Yay!


It kind of creeps me out, when you walk in it's staring right at you! I'm going to have to put some sunglasses on him or something.


We have big plans for this room. We want to eventually put a futon and TV in so that's it's more of a den. A place where Jarrod can look around at the things he's killed on the walls and really reflect on life. . . . or watch football, whatever works.

The Staggs Inn, now open for business. . .

I am supposed to be having company next Monday. . . . my best friend Kristen and her 11 mo. old baby, Kate are going to be stopping by for the night! I am so excited to have them come visit. It's not very often we get to see each other since they live in D.C.!

So, this weekend I worked on cleaning, organizing and re-arranging our "guest room". Like most guest rooms it had become sort of a dumping ground for stuff we didn't know what to do with. Now, however, it is clean and tidy and free of cat hair. Since Kristen is allergic to cats, we are keeping the door shut. This bed happens to be one of Taki's favorite napping spots!

 guest room copy


O'Charley's Prime Rib Pasta. . .

Prime Rib Pasta
Sunday Jarrod & I had lunch at O'Charley's and I got one of their new steak dishes. It was so good! You've got to try it! We also got the "Three Cheese Shrimp Dip" for the first time and it was excellent as well ! YUM-O!!

Here's the description from the menu. . .if this doesn't get your mouth watering, I don't know what will!

Prime Rib Pasta: Tender slices of Prime Rib tossed with penne pasta, bacon, fresh asparagus, mushrooms, and our signature Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo sauce. Then for an extra little kick, we finish it with a zesty Cajun Horseradish sauce.

Papa's Puppy Search

Papa has mentioned to several of us lately that he would like to get another Jack Russell Terrier, a female so his male Jack Russell "Stubby" could have a "friend". Since his Birthday is November 5th and we were having a party for him Saturday night we all decided to go together and buy him a new puppy.  Surprising him with a puppy might sound fun at first, but there's always the chance that he might not like the dog we picked, so to be on the safe side I called Papa on Friday and asked him about us going together and getting him a puppy for his birthday. Of course he was excited and liked the idea, but he wanted to pick it out himself to ensure that he got one that looks like Stubby.   Saturday morning I met Papa and took him to the only pet store in Jonesboro that had Jack Russell puppies.  After many questions, and a call to the litter's breeder, Papa decided that he wanted to wait and look around before he makes a final decision. I had a blast playing with the puppies, they were all very cute and very hyper!


After the puppy store adventure I assisted Papa with his grocery shopping before he headed home. I was a little disappointed that he didn't find a new puppy, but I want him to be happy. So, I guess the search will continue! For his birthday most of us gave him money to go towards the purchase of his puppy when he finds "the one".  So, if you know of anyone selling, or breeding Jack Russell Terriers in the area, please let me know!


Our First Halloween in Jonesboro

We had been advised by several people that live in Jonesboro that the area kiddies can clean house when it comes to trick-or-treating, so we got just two large bags of candy and decided that when we ran out we'd just turn out the lights and be done.  I was a little skeptical, I didn't think we'd have many, just because we don't know many people that live in the subdivision.

When I got home from work it was already past 5:30, We hurriedly got the candy ready, turned on our lights, turned on our fountain and lit the candles up the sidewalk. I assumed I'd be hearing the doorbell ring anytime. I cooked supper, we ate supper, we sat at the kitchen table and talked. . .and waited. . .and talked. . . and waited. . . and finally I gave up and started cleaning up the kitchen. About 7:30 we had our first visitor. After that a few more trickled by but not many. It was not definitely not the mob of children that I had anticipated!

We were a little disappointed that we didn't have more trick-or-treaters. Especially since the house looked so cute with decorations Jarrod had worked so hard on. I think we had a grand total of 10 or 12. We were the only one in our cul-de-sac that had lights on for a long time, and there just a few houses in the area that are completely finished and have residents. So I can see how the dark area and new construction sites might have deterred some from heading up our direction. But now we have LOTS of left over candy!

Uncle Brian and Christina brought the girls over to see us and they both looked very cute! A Cheetah and a Cheetah Girl!


I stole the above picture from Christina. You can see more of her pictures by going to her blog.  Isn't it funny that Isabella has to use both hands to carry her trick-or-treat bucket!!