o holy night

"O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Savior's Birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees!  Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born."

My favorite Christmas hymn.  I've been reflecting quite a bit on these words through this holiday season, and it is the meaning of why we even celebrate Christmas.  We should constantly fall on our knees to our Savior and be in awe of His presence with us and how we were chosen as His.

Thanks to my friend Aud (and pinterest), I'll have these words hanging in our house throughout the season as a constant reminder of why we are celebrating Christmas.


well hello there...

...little neglected blog....  Life is great and we are enjoying it and staying so so busy (like I'm sure everyone else in the world is).  Starting two new jobs has been wonderful and I love them both very much and am very blessed.

We had a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday with the Carter family (and the extended Carters, too!) in Oxford.  The weather was awesome and we had some delicious food.

It seems as though every year when December comes, there is something scheduled EVERY day.  Why is that??  It is all usually things I enjoy attending, too, so then we are busy... a fun busy though!

I did finally manage time to make a little desktop calendar for December, so I hope you enjoy!  You can get it by clicking here...

Merry merry to everyone and let's all remember the reason for the season.



It's November y'all... My favorite time of the year continues.

A few years ago when I trained for the marathon, I spent a lot of time in our neighborhood and in surrounding neighborhoods.  This is when I really grasped the awesome-ness of a gingko tree.  The leaves turn BRIGHT yellow and they have the most unique shape.  No other leaf has this shape.  The thing about a gingko is that they are the SLOWEST growing... so if we planted one in our backyard to enjoy, we would probably never see it like the ones I see in Memphis.  Now that I'm working downtown, I've noticed they are all over downtown too and some huge ones on Front street.  As you can see, I love them.

That year, I put gingko leaves on the November desktop and brought it back this year.  Go download it here.

This month I'm reflecting (daily) on the things that I'm thankful for.... There are so many blessings in our life.


october time

It's October.  It's getting cold(er) outside finally.  Hunting season opened yesterday.  Fall is upon us.

Now I just need some pumpkins and mums.  I've been waiting while the weather wanted to be at it's last 90 degrees last week (hopefully).  This is my favorite time of year.

Check out the October desktop calendar here!


new gig

Well... it seems I've resorted to posting only desktop calendars and no life updates or any other non-important information.... but today starts a new chapter for my work-life!  I'm pumped about this new gig working with a gal I met right when I quit the previous job.  She has her own business and I'm working as her assistant on various fun projects, one being promoting overton square reno here in Memphis.  It will be a lot of fun so I'm really looking forward to see where I'm headed from here!

Also, it's turning into fall around here (my favorite time of year) and we had a perfect taste of it sitting around a neighbor friends fire-pit yesterday.  My kind of relaxing Sunday....

Lastly, if you need a new pandora station to listen to, I recommend Counting Crows.  It's my current choice of "the music I'm listening to lately."


they're back!

It's September 2012 and it's been 2 years since some of our best friends left America to live in Italy.  At the time it seemed like so far away that they would be back, and I feel like it's gone by so quickly and here they are, back in the states!  Welcome back Stephens!!

We can't wait to see them and I know they will continue to long for loving people and living for other people as they have done for the past 2 years.

Laura sent over this cute desktop for the month of September.  Fall is coming soon (I hope) and maybe I'll start sharing more life stories here.. life is happening and I continue to try to live in the present.

Go over here to find the September desktop calendar!


back to school

I'm working at a preschool now, so it's come back around that August means back to school time.  We had "meet the teacher" last night and it gets you ready for the upcoming school year and the excitement of something new.  More new-ness to me than my co-workers, but I'm continuing to live in the present and put my heart into what I'm doing at the moment.  Being present.

Another SUPER exciting thing for me in August is a trip.  Leslie and I are going to see our [not so] little brother in LA and are pumped.  Neither of us have been further in the US than Colorado/Arizona. We are calling it our first annual "sister retreat."  We haven't ever traveled on a trip just the two of us and I know we will have such fun and crazy-ness.  I'm sure she'll spill on me (and not her) or roll her suitcase over my foot multiple times, but that's my sister (right Jesse?) and I've recently come into her clumsy-ness so maybe I'll get her back.  :)

Also, our family celebrates 3 birthdays this month... My mom, Granny (she'll be 92!), and now Juliette.

Sounds like we are in for fun in August!

Oh, and you can catch the August desktop calendar (if you're interested) ----> here.


busy life... lately... a few things

Since my new work adventures I've felt more busy than having a full-time/40hr job, but I'm loving it.  I love being able to do multiple tasks and I love the opportunities that have [graciously] fallen into my lap.  We are blessed.

A few things as of late...

Last week on Audrey's day off we got to play... Sno cone time (of course) and some gardening.  Trying to help her develop a green thumb... but I might just always enjoy being her friend to inspire her (and really help her) garden because I enjoy it!  I love how her front urns turned out--sweet potato vine, verbena, and vinca.

Margie is expecting baby Jewel in September and we had a shower for her a couple of weeks ago.  I made a little onesie with a J on it.  I've always wanted to make a onesie with a colonel reb on it (hotty toddy!), but it was one of those things where I didn't know if you'd be able to tell if it was actually the colonel.  T printed out an image of colonel reb for me to cut out a cute fabric of him.  I just couldn't tell if it was noticeable, so I waited to attach it and get the Lotts opinion.  Well Aaron (of course) immediately said it was colonel reb.  Yay--mission accomplished.

Last Friday night Leslie and Jonathan came down with an awful stomach bug (that I ended up getting as well on Saturday--AWFUL!), so I went to scoop up the little niece and played with her Friday night with Grammy and Grandad.  We had a ball, but she is a busy bee... but also the cutest thing I've ever seen!  She and Grammy and Grandad and Uncle T are lucky to have not gotten that bug!

 reading the eensy weensy spider and BUSY

This week we had a going away dinner for the other Memphis Guinn family.  My uncle's family is moving ALL THE WAY to Portland, OR (they left today!) and Tuesday we had a nice family time, good food (burgers, a Guinn favorite), and fun memories shared.  I can't remember my Uncle Gary and Aunt Gwynne not living in the same town as us, so we will miss them and Henry and Mae in Memphis!

And of course, went to Jerry's again this week but took Geritta for the first time!  Mandi had taken Gerisha the week before and they guessed she would probably get a root beer supreme.  They were right!  She loved it and we had a great time.

It's almost time for Streets to start back up, and she will be at a new school this year!  I'm excited to see how she transitions to the school and enjoy her high school experience much more.

Whew!  Busy end to a couple of weeks and ready for the weekend again and time to spend with T-dud.  I can't believe it's almost August...  Summer has flown by this year.


july desktop calendar has arrived!

Check it out over  --> here.

Sorry for the tardiness, been all over town.  Who enjoyed some fireworks last night?? We did.  It was called,  The Bamboozle, and it was awesome.


Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

We spent the morning at my childhood neighborhood parade with popsicles, firetruck water fountain, music, parade, streamers, flags, all the works.  Always our favorite event of the year.

Uncle Sam (aka, t-dud) visited our house last night and left us an amazing flag in our driveway.  Happy Independence Day everyone!  I'll be back with a July desktop soon...


last week of june

So I know my last post discussed the craziness of May... but June continued to be just as busy.  I can't believe it's already the last week of June.  We welcomed a new member to the Carter fam the first weekend (yay Katy & Sam!), celebrated Overton Square and Margie & Aaron's baby the next, and I went to our church's summer camp last week, which was an incredible week.  It's been a fun summer so far and it's not even to our favorite holiday yet!

Today I'm playing catch up... and doing laundry.      :)


running around

So....... We've been crazy busy this last month and it's going to keep being super busy until probably mid July?  Our Memorial Day was so fun with the Lotts for our annual weekend in Shreveport (Margie posted briefly about it here).  It was a beautiful day for a drive, and this year we took a much more scenic route.

She and I did our blueberry picking again, which was perfect, and then we spent the rest of the time in the pool and/or eating delicious foods.  She's probably the cutest little pregnant woman!  Next year baby Jewel will join in on our annual Memorial Day festivities and I just can't wait!

T and I never seem to take photos of ourselves any more, so I managed to get one on this trip.  I look a little tired?  We had so much fun our our travels.  After we spent the long weekend with the Lotts, we headed over to Dallas to visit my grandma (Martha) and my aunt and uncle.  Grandma has recently moved out of her house (that I grew up going to) and I hadn't gotten to see her new place yet.  

We spent an afternoon eating at her new place and catching up with her.  It was a wonderful time to spend with the beautiful woman I'm named after, and she seemed to love telling her friends I am her namesake.

My aunt Melissa and uncle Joe are such fun hosts and we loved being in their house and exploring some of their favorite places.  Uncle Joe was recently introduced to Friday Night Lights, so T and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Dillon (and Tim Riggins) folks again!

It was a perfect ending to May, and we will spend the rest of the summer with the green egg in our new backyard and eating a bunch of Jerry's I'm sure.



It is May 9 and I just now got around to getting a desktop calendar together (for those of you who still enjoy these), and you can download it over here.

There has been a bunch of things going on in casa carter and we are challenged, we are enjoying life, we are loving spending time the two of us, and we are still gardening (and loving it)!

We were able to attend the first two grizz home games of round 1 in the playoffs and had a blast cheering for our hometown boys.  Tonight is game 5 (we will be watching from home), but maybe we can actually win the next 3 games to win the series??

Be back soon with a backyard update!  There are shrubs now and we are loving our egg.


the egg

Well we finally pulled the trigger (and stained the table) and got our little [big] green egg!  We had no idea what we were doing, but everyone said "it's so easy and heats up in like 10 minutes."  So here we go.... 2 nights in a row and they were both a big SUCCESS!

Night 1: Hamburgers and Apple Crisp


 apple crisp...

After much research (and youtube video watching) T found that you should start the egg off by cooking things that require lower temperatures.  So we started with burgers.  I'm not a huge burger eater really, but I will say this one was perfectly cooked.  So even. So juicy.  My favorite part though was the apple crisp.  What can I say, I'm a dessert kind of girl.  Remember when I made apple crisp for 2?  Well, we were celebrating Ross' bday on Monday night and I wanted to do a dessert on the ol' egg and thought this might just be the thing.  It was SOOOO good.  I mean I can't explain why, but it was much better than the oven version.  Thank you, green egg, for living up to my dreams of making desserts on you.  MMMM good.  We topped it with blue bell, just for Ross.

Night 2: Pork Tenderloin and Biscuits

We threw out the idea of doing a pizza our second night, but T read those require higher temps so he found this pork tenderloin recipe instead.  He made his own rub, which is now called the "fiesta rub" and it was the best most perfectly cooked pork I've ever had in my life.  No joke.  No part of it was chewy.  I'm telling you, perfectly cooked pork tenderloin.  We put our homemade biscuits on there to cook, too, and they were just as amazing (if not better) as baking them in the oven.

 fiesta rub

The Green Egg has lived up to the hype so far, and I know it'll only continue to be so fun for us!  Like T said on Monday, if you need us this summer, we will be here...



Is it really mid-april already?  Sheesh!  Where is the spring going?

We've be working away in the backyard on a few projects--beds and that darn green egg table.  T man tilled up the beds in the back, then we poured in some additives, then he tilled again.  Resulted in perfectly prepped beds, but blisters on his hands, tired arms, and sore back.  I decided that raking is not my idea of fun, but he probably didn't really think tilling was fun after the first 20 minutes.

April, May and June will be busy months for us! 

Also, it's 100 days to the Summer Olympics.  I love the olympics and can't wait!  USA


some recent favorites

I thought I'd share a few things on my 'favorites' list.  Then later on, I can look back to see the things I was enjoying at this time of life...

• My Monday night Bible Study : My bff aud invited me to join her bible study group this year on Monday nights and I've been loving it.  We are studying the gospel through the book of Galatians and it has really been changing my thoughts to be more in line with the gospel.  It is always encouraging to know that there are 10 other women who struggle and battle with the same sinful thoughts as I do and we can spend a couple hours in discussion and prayer for each other.  Tim Keller's Galatians study is amazing and I'm truly blessed to be a part of such a real group.
• Morning Coffee, as always.

• Our backyard and gardening with T (as you can tell from this post).  When we first moved into this house he wasn't that interested in having any plants, but last year he really started to get into it with me and we've loved looking for different kinds of plants to enjoy and loved spending time outside together.

Arizona tea's Arnold Palmer packets.  I don't love sweet tea or unsweet tea, but I do love the combo of unsweet tea and lemonade.  Much more satisfying.  I'd been mixing a Crystal Light unsweet tea and lemonade packet (to make my own Arnold P), and then Leslie Poe told me that there were now pre-made Arizona AP packets.  GENIUS!

• Hanging out with Geritta and Gerisha and getting to know them has been so fun!  They are twins that Mandi and I mentor together at Streets Ministries and we see them weekly for tutoring time.  This past week we got to go to the Grizzlies game with them.  I never truly understood the whole "twins" thing, but now I do.  They love to be together and feed off each other, but they also want to be completely independent.  Mandi and I love to watch them grow and laugh and tell us hilarious stories.

 Mandi & Gerisha

Geritta and I

When we first met them in 2010 they looked SOO much alike and it was hard to tell them apart, but now it's so easy and they don't look alike at all to me.  Isn't that what all parents of multiples say?? Now we understand.  :)

• And this face, as always.  He really is the cutest dog in all the world.  We tried to get him to wear some bunny ears for the upcoming holiday, but he didn't understand.  I guess he felt safe in his bed.

Life is so great around here!  God has really blessed us and we are loving this stage of our lives.


hot fun in the springtime

It's definitely spring around here and it's definitely already in the 80's! Wowee... can't wait to see how the summer is....

T and I spent all weekend picking out plants and planting them for our patio.  We had a blast picking out "designs" and then searching the nurseries and even finding some new flowers/plants we'd never seen.  The weekend started getting some ferns from Leslie's MIL.  She has a ton of them and wanted to share some with us.  I got a few things to go with those in our front urns and I'm loving the creation... Also loving that these things all potentially might come back next year?  We will have to wait and see...

Southern Shield Fern, Licorice vine & 2 different color Caladium

For our patio....

Went in all this...

 Spikes, lifelime coleus, red begonias, orange symphony, red salvia, pretty much picasso supertunias, pink verbena, vinca vine, creeping jenny, and some dusty miller

 pink angelonia to go with the ranunculus (that's starting to sprout!)

 pot-o-coleus : jade green, some dark kind, and this cool tie-dye looking one! (forgot those color names)

 mint in the owl

 cilantro, basil and mint beside the strawberries

 asparagus fern, aka: foxtail!
This is the pot that T put together all by himself.  He saw these awesome whiskey barrels at our local nursery and they had a price-tag on them, so he wanted to get one to put in front of the chimney wall on the patio.  He put together his own pot of plants : licorice vine, sweet potato vine, those 3 coleus varieties, and purple fountain grass.  I think he did a great job.  :)

 starting to look like a fun patio finally!

AND our azaleas in the front of our house look absolutely amazing... and just in time for the Masters!  We planted these George L Taber azaleas in late summer 2010.  Last year the didn't bloom all that great and didn't last that long.  This year... they look absolutely stunning.  I can't even describe it.  Maybe our mild winter helped them look awesome and bloom for so much longer... we will never know.  My dad said they will probably never look this great again.  All the azaleas around Memphis are just beautiful and more than a usual spring.  It looks like this all the way across our house!

 I promise this won't turn into a gardening and what we are planting blog, but it's just so much fun right now!  Happy spring everyone!

Oh, and there is a desktop for April over here.... Go get it!


over the weekend... and happy day

This weather in Memphis is just amazing... and everyone is talking about it, I know, but it just is.  We spent all weekend in the backyard, and Gibson was loving every second of it too.  We mowed front and back, planted our climbing roses (super pumped about these!), and I'm attempting and growing some strawberries.  We'll see how that goes.

The process for our backyard beds has begun.  We flagged off the shape the beds would be, then T scalped it as low as the mower would go, and he finished it off by spraying it with roundup.  We will be able to just till that in to make our beds and get them ready for shrub and flower planting.  It's already looking so much better.  The rest of the weekend we just sat out on the patio and enjoyed ourselves and the weather and watching our dog skip around.  Life is good.

This little rose bush (well 2 of them) will eventually climb all over.....

 This wall!

Wonder if these strawberries will grow?

Check out these curves...

Also, I'm late to this party, but who has done the gel/shellac manicure?? Why haven't I done this before?  It will look like this for 2 weeks. Amazing.

Last but not least.... It is my main man's birthday today.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world to get to spend life with T Dudley Carter.  Just sayin'.....  Happy Birthday bestest buddy.  Love you lots!


we have trees!

When we bought this house we had zero trees on our property.  That's right zero.  We didn't count the off-shoot magnolia in the backyard as a tree because it just always looked weird/awkward....

When we bought the house we knew the backyard had potential, but needed lots of TLC.  First step was demo-ing the rotten cover thingy that was over the patio.  T and his dad and uncle knocked that out one of the first weekends we were here... oh back in 2009.  The next step was getting rid of the azaleas along the back fence (they were overgrown with bamboo.. eeks!), and then our last step would be trees, plants, beds, flowers, grill etc.

Last summer we did full on front yard re-do.  Thanks to Adsit Landscape and our landscape designer (happy to share his name with you!), we got a full design drawn up for the future backyard and would do it in phases.

We completed phase 1 on Monday and it is already looking like a backyard!  We love to do yard work and be outside, but we wanted Adsit to plant our trees because they get awesome plants (come see our grass if you need proof).

Here's the backyard... the clean slate... No trees... No plants... No more bamboo...

Trees arrived Monday morning!

"Hey, what are you guys doing in my backyard??"

And here it is with all the new trees (and a ghost-doggie thanks to auto-stitch)!
Some crepe myrtles, magnolias, hollies, an oak and a beautiful cherry!  Eventually there will be a barrier/block/privacy line of trees along the fence.  Oh, and back in the right corner, a nice little pocket among the hollies for T's bow target to sit.

Oh and check out that trough.  That was the purchase over the weekend that we were excited about finding...at the tractor supply store!  Can't wait to put some flowers in there very soon.  It's already spring here and we are loving every second of it.


catch up, whew!

Such fun things have happened (since apple crisp) the past 2 weeks I can't ignore, so I'll post a photo timeline of the fun we've had lately.  It's been lovely.

Grizz game...

Babysitting my cute niece and taking her on a walking date with the Charlies...

A fun and blessed birthday with family and friends...

A fun wedding celebration at the zoo!

Grizz game vs Lakers... and highly disliking ALL faker fans... aka Kobe fans...

More babysitting and smelling the flowers...

The most enjoyable weekend (this past weekend) spent in Oxford with the Carters...  delicious food, fun shopping, beautiful weather, and great family...
Our little passenger...

First thing we had to do Saturday was take T-man to pick up this.... no comment.

We got this rug for a steal... I have a slight obsession with Kilim.
The store that had this rug had all these awesome "inside the house" flower arrangements in neat looking containers.  I loved how they all looked, but have always steered clear from inside plants.  Not sure why... I got a great concrete circle container for our circle table and was determined to re-create what they had in the store.  Those little pink guys are called "crown of thorns" and I love them!  Still have to add moss to cover up the little plastic pots.

Baby chicks!  I wanted some of these, and T just laughed.

Family walk to the park... Gibson stopped to smile for the photo with his momma...

Making sure his coyote is safe... Gibby loving shotgun...

The weather this weekend made us all so excited for spring and summer and planting flowers.  We looked ALL over Oxford for some planters for our back patio.  I wanted them to be tall and slender, but we just couldn't find any that we loved.  His parents surprised us by coming up right after we left because they were looking for some large forsythia shrubs.  We went over to Lowes, and there were the perfect planters.  Just what I was looking for, just sitting there, and an awesome price.  I finally got to plant my ranunculus bulbs in them yesterday!  The most interesting shaped bulb I've ever seen.

There was one other item that we searched all weekend for and finally found... but I'm going to save that for another post.

Such a perfect and refreshing weekend!  I can't tell you how much fun we are having in Memphis, and how much fun we have as a family with our little dog child.  This weather in Memphis has been crazy.  We never had a winter and it's already 60 in the mornings and 80 in the day... Wonder what summer will be like??