Catching up on Christmas

Oh yes, we are having fun fun fun on our two week Christmas vacation... week #1 in Ohio came and went with less sleep than I had when Reese was first born. (which isn't saying much since my kid has never really had a night when she hasn't slept through the night) Some overseas sister of mine who will remain nameless has harassed me for my lack of blogging, but what can I say... I had more fun with my sisters last week than I have had in years. I think I like us better as adults than as kids... :) Needless to say blogging was the last thing on my mind. I'm gonna do my best to catch up for her though over the next few days.

We opened gifts at our house on Friday the 19th... Santa was very good to us all! :)

We're now in Oklahoma celebrating with Reagan's family for the new year. Speaking of said overseas sister... I miss her bunches and wish they were all here with us... I'm super proud of them right now though.

Last night was spent with his Dad and tonight will be spent with Mom. Lots of pictures have been posted on Facebook... you can see them there if you'd like.

Hope you're all making as many wonderful memories as we are!

Christmas at Home

Christmas in Ohio

Christmas in Oklahoma



Playing in the background of my mind, I hear Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen, Rosemary Clooney, and that other guy singing on the train to Vermont... "snoW, snOW, sNOW, SNOW SNOW! It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow..." :)

Ooh I'm definitely gonna watch that movie tonight.

Anyway... here are some pictures of our fun in the snowy morning. Reese was not altogether interested... kinda more of the same "what are you idiots doing with me out here? and NO I don't want to touch that stuff... can't you feel it's cold?" :) So it lasted all of about 5-10 minutes...

And if you're really interested, you can see pictures of our snowy night here.

How The Grinch Iced Christmas

I dont' know how I've lived here for five years and visited The Opryland Hotel twice at Christmas and still and never heard of this thing... probably a good thing we learned about it after we had Reese though, cause she loved it. The lights mostly... she enjoyed looking at all of the sights and crawled up and down and up and down the stairs in the slide room talking to us about it the whole way. She actually cracked us up going down the slide. No smile, no laugh, no screaming or tears... just kinda slid down and lay at the bottom motionless and patiently 'til someone picked her up like... "OK morons why'd you shove me down that big sheet of ice? What was the point in all of that?" (now that I think of it, the motionless part was probably because she couldn't move due to how bundled I had her...)

I think her Mama enjoyed the colors as much as she did! :)

Since I already uploaded my pictures to Facebook, you can see them by clicking here!


A Mozart in the Making

This may go down in history as my favorite picture ever. You can thank my hubby for the clever Blog Title... :)

She may look like her Daddy... as long as she plays like her Mama! :)

Monkey See, Monkey Do


Tribute to My Karaoke Buddies

That little girl that used to pull the long skinny knobby things out of the top of her canopy bed and use them as microphones while she sang to herself in the mirror... she came back out tonight. Tonight I remembered how much I love music and not only that but Christmas music, and took more than one trip down memory lane thanks to a wonderful Christmas concert I got to sit through tonight.

See, where I've been living for the past five years, it's not uncommon to "know" and be around musicians as a part of normal life. When I first moved here, it was not uncommon for me to get all excited anytime I saw someone... like the first time I saw Keith Urban at Wild Oats, or the time I noticed Michael Tait a couple rows in front of me at the movie theatre watching "The Passion", or the time I almost rear-ended the guy in front of me watching Jeromy and Jennifer Diebler walking down Main Street in Franklin, and we all know what I did when I saw Toby Mac at the Mellow Mushroom... (c'mon people, 99% of the time I leave them alone and let them live their lives... I really just felt Reese deserved the opportunity to have her picture with a rock star that was cool when I was a teenager and is STILL cool today.) After you've been here long enough though, you do start to get used to it a little bit. If you knew me about 5 years ago and prior though, (my life pre-Tennessee), you may (or may not, who knows...) be a little suprised to know that my life was a different story when it came to my music. To be honest... my music was pretty much my identity.

So back up about 9 years with me to Heather-the-freshman-in-college and meet these guys... Stephen and Brandon... my two best guy friends in college.

(ooh they're gonna love me for that one)
Stephen... well the first time I met Stephen he got me in trouble with this crotchety old professor we had who wouldn't hesitate to embarass the junk out of you in your very first day of Old Testament Survey by calling you out for "talking" because you were politely listening to the crazy guy sitting next to you pulling pictures out of his wallet and telling you all about his girlfriend in Clearwater (who at the time I was certain didn't really exist... lol. ) Just kidding, buddy... :) ok maybe I'm only kidding a little.

Brandon... well Brandon and I had a little bit of family history... meaning that I was actually engaged to his cousin rather quickly after meeting, but anytime we visited his home, rather than hanging out with my fiance I wound up becoming better friends with and spending more time with Brandon, singing together and playing around on the piano. I think that fiance actually thought Brandon and I were running away together after our break-up... that however, is a different blog for a different day. :)
Again... if you knew me pre-Tennessee, you also know that as far as having girls for friends... well, I had one before college and one in college, (who is now actually married to Brandon.) and then other than that... the rest of my friends were guys. These two guys are still the only guys I've ever known that shared my "freak-out" level love for music right along with me. (I honestly don't even know if Reagan has seen the full side of what was once music-freak-Heather.) I had a blast and the privilege of travelling with these two and 6 others guys and gals for a year, (living out of a 15 passenger van and a trailer), in a college recruiting ensemble, seeing most of the country east of Missouri. It was during this year that Stephen and I earned (or rather gave ourselves) the nicknames Karaoke King and Queen. To this day when I get to go to a good concert I always think of them while I am there and wish they were with me. (and Reagan now... hi honey :) )
So back to said concert... The Gloria Tour with Travis Cottrell, Shaun Groves, and the reason for said walks down memory lane... Cindy Morgan.

Travis- Travis just rocks my socks off. I play it cool when he sings y'all, but you have to know that I think it is the most awesome, coolest thing that they go to church with us and I get to hang with his kids and hug his wife. They're just a neat and crazy family. If anyone ever had a reason to be a snotty musician family they would, and they're just not like that. Travis, your music blessed my heart tonight, along with watching your proud wife smile from ear to ear as she sang backup to you in the choir.

Shaun Groves- Shaun sang "Welcome Home" tonight at a Christmas Concert. I don't care if it was a Valentines Day concert... as long as he sings "Welcome Home" I'm a happy girl.

and last but not least

Cindy Morgan- It's 1996, I'm 15, and as much as I can be in love... I'm in it. :) My best friend bought me the soundtrack to a song she'd heard because when she'd heard the lyrics "being so in love that you can hardly eat" all she thought of was me and my new boyfriend. :) Those lyrics were from Cindy's song "How Could I Ask for More" and to this day makes me giggle to think of me and Ruthy when I hear it. (I actually wound up singing it in a few weddings later on in college... including Brandon and Stephen's.) Then a year later when that boyfriend dumped me with a note passed to me in chemistry class nonetheless, it was her song "You Were There" that got me through the summer." and tonight when she sang "Praise the King" I couldn't stay seated long. I could tell a few more stories, but needless to say Cindy and I had quite a relationship through my teenage years.

So tonight, sitting in my own church at a great concert, (geesh, what am I talking about. compared to where I come from, every Sunday morning is like sitting through a concert in my church) I couldn't believe how I found myself reverting back to music-freak-Heather, singing at the top of my lungs with the musicians on stage and wishing my co-freak-out-buddies were there with their wives and my hubby singing right along with me. I miss you guys! Hope you get to experience some awesome Christmas concerts of your own this year!


In A Blogger Slump

Whatever hormone that you lose that causes you to stop thinking clearly and gives you Mommy Brain after you have a kid... I think I lost a double portion.

I've always been a very organized, clear-thinking person. Now traveling to my mom's for 5 days and coming home to Christmas musical preparations and Christmas recital preparations and just plain Christmas preparations puts my brain in a whirlwind.

Ahhh... isn't there a vitamin I can take for this?

And so while there's been plenty of bloggable material, like our wonderful Thanksgiving in Ohio, or the very first Turkey that I cooked all by myself, or the beautiful table that my sister and I put together (and really thought Better Homes and Gardens would've come knocking on our door to photograph for their magazine...) or the fact that my dad's first round of chemo has been a small bit successful (meaning his counts have dropped a little), or my niece's new "evil-eye", or the fact that my mother in law has managed to make it to the other side of the world in one piece all by her lonesome, or the fact that my daughter walks around like a drunk zombie now practically all the time, my brain simply will not let me sort it all out long enough to put it in writing.

There are pictures, however, on facebook for your viewing pleasure. Should you be so interested, you can find them here and here... though I still haven't even put all the pictures onto the first link yet. Maybe tonight.... we'll see.

Until then... it's time for six hours of piano.


Ree-See Phone Home

Hey Mia... Do you see what's in my hand? It's Mama's cell phone. She was trying to do her homework this afternoon and the only thing that could make me even remotely cooperate was for me to be allowed to play with this normally forbidden object... so I turned it on, pushed a bunch of buttons, held it up to my ear, and proceeded to shout for you over and over (and over) again...
MIA.... MIA.... MIA!
I couldn't seem to understand why you never did answer, since everytime Mama uses it, I can shout your name and all of the sudden I hear you talk to me.
Oh well... maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow.


Her Father's Daughter

As I was pulling Reese out of the tub this morning... rubbing her head with her towel to get all the extra water off... I looked at her in the mirror and saw...

...her daddy. :)


Guinea Pigs

So I shot a couple of families yesterday...

with my camera people- come on.

Check 'em out here and check back soon... I hope to put some more up of the H fam tonight!


Fave Fotos Friday

A few shots from around our cabin in Pigeon Forge this weekend...

I look at this picture and think I really need to call Vandy and make sure they gave me the right kid... (not that I'd give her back at this point...)


Sweet Sweet Sweet Silence...

What you're about to see should be an advertisement for PraiseBaby DVD's, and will probably only be found amusing and sweet by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and maybe a second cousin or two...

It's 45 seconds of my child sitting nearly perfectly still for what was a full 30 minutes of our Wednesday afternoon.

Ahhhhh... Thank you PraiseBaby. Thank You very much. :)


Bad wife. Bad Bad Bad Wife...

Well folks, I did something unbelieveable yesterday.

Something I am not proud of.

Something I would never ever dream of doing intentionally.

And I have terrrrible aim... so it's nothing I could've done on purpose if I'd tried.

Thing is, I like a good foot massage... anywhere, anytime... and night before last I begged Reagan to rub my feet, but seeing as how I asked him at 11:00, I was just out of luck. So, he promised to give me one while we watched the election coverage the next night.

Well, with each polling result as I grow more and more bitter to the news, I'm thinking... "OK, time for that foot massage and then I'm just going to bed. I just don't want to hear anymore."

So, I hop up, run into the bathroom to grab some lotion, and toss mind you... toss it onto the bed.

That's when it happened.

I hit him folks. And you would've thought that bottle of lotion weighed 50 pounds.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I felt so bad. I just stood there with my hands over my mouth trying to figure out if that really just happened.

But it did.

Needless to say, I never got my foot massage.... and if Reese is an only child, you'll know why...


I Need You All to Pray

Hey Friends,

Many of you know about my dad's cancer. While all of his organs and everything else seems to still be very healthy, the protein counts are still climbing, finally bringing them to the decision to start chemo. He did this last week.

Night before last he was playing on the floor with my niece, and some kind of crazy sharp pain in his side hit him out of nowhere. He had a skeletal xray done, but no signs of anything yet, and the pain is increasing with each day. My dad doesn't tell anyone when he's hurting, and my mom just called me in tears asking me to pray... said he's in a lot of pain right now. She wanted me to ask anyone and everyone that I know to do the same.

Thanks y'all... it'd mean the world to us right now.


Dear Tooth Fairy

Dear Tooth Fairy,

Hi, my name is Reese. I know you're usually pretty busy forking over dimes and quarters when big kids lose their teeth, but I was wondering if you had anything to do with those teeth before they actually fall out.... like as they are cutting through my gums?!?

At this point I'm thinking of re-writing a very popular Christmas song, and calling it

"All I Want for Thanksgiving (is My Two Front Teeth)"
It would save me buckets of drool.
It would save my runny nose from getting anymore raw from Mama wiping it all day.
It would probaby take away my cough.
but more importantly
It would save my Mama's sanity... because I must admit I have been the crankiest, whiniest child on the face of the planet today.
Lucky for me, I somehow found some patience during dinner tonight and made my Mama feel really sorry for me... to the point that I got to eat an entire chocolate chip cookie all by myself after dinner tonight.
And boy did I enjoy it. :)

So tooth fairy, since I'm sure you'll be in the area tonight('cause a big majority of the kids in the world live within a 10 mile radius of me...) feel free to stop by and help these things on through.

My Mama will thank you, and probably leave a quarter or two under my pillow for you to pick up.


It's Fall Festivus For the Rest of Us

When and how did my sweet little baby girl go from this...

...to this?

(please pardon the interruption for a moment while I express my frustration at myself due to the fact that I brought along my nice new camera and left the memory card stuck in the card reader at home... thus leaving the shutterbug mama with less than satisfactory pictures of our fun fall festival night.)

OK... now that I've got that out of my system.

Thanks to her awesome Aunt Alicia , our Reese Cup was the sweetest little china doll at the party. (and yes, sister, it actually fit her pretty well!) :)

And boy did she get the hang of it quickly. Didn't take her anytime at all to figure out that a."I play a game, (which means I either throw a ball at someone, Daddy pushes me around on a tricycle, or I splash around like a fish in the duck pond for as long as Mama will let me soak myself and anyone within 2 feet of me), b. "I figure out the nice people think I'm funny and cute, so I play it up even more until I'm invited to dig through the big bin of sugar heaven... and yes I know exactly what's in that bin", and c. "I try to eat the candy, paper and all... and when that doesn't work, I drop it in my bag."

Reese got to see and play with all her favorite people tonight. Here's a little video of our fun! :)

A couple of pictures worth special note... I felt my overseas sister needed to know that indeed I did get a couple of buns held together with "chopsticks" (tiny as they may be) out of this head of hair. :)

Needless to say, all that fun wore her right out... she didn't even last the whole three minutes it took us to get home.Happy Fall Festivus, y'all. :)

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far

I'm starting to think that Reese has been watching her Mama...

I found her in her room last night doing this.


Look Out Mr. Obama... Mama's on the Warpath

So tonight Reagan and I made the familiar trip up to my hometown in Ohio to #1. pick up our baby girl from her two week stint with Papaw and Mia and #2. spend Friday night with all of my mom's cousins and their families at the family farm for a fall barn dance.

As I've written about before, my parents live on a busy state route in one of the many po-dunk-ville's that make up the great battleground state of Ohio. Being as it is election time, yards are filled to the max with the little plastic signs promoting their choice for President.

Allow me to pause for a moment and show you something that has become a great conversation piece in our circle of family and friends... the fact that since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the VP choice for John McCain, my mother has more than once been mistaken for the Governor of Alaska. It's just a small resemblance, especially if my mom is wearing her glasses, but a resemblance nonetheless. See for yourself...

Not that my mom needed a look-a-like for her to jump on the McCain-Palin bandwagon (no pun intended) I remember throughout my life her always being one of the first to get involved when an election year rolled around. Beyond attending rallies and things like that, she's been known to collect books, calendars, and anything else she can get her hands on for President's Reagan and the 2nd President Bush. (She's already attended two Palin rallies in this area in the past several weeks.) Raised with strong morals and an even stronger work ethic, firmly believing in a person's right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, (and of course the right to bear arms) my mom is more than proud to call herself a licensed gun-toting all-American woman. This, I'm sure contributes to the fact that, (along with her palin t-shirt) of all the souvenirs she could've chosen at the Palin rallies she went to, she chose this one...

Autographed, of course.

So why should it surprise me that in such a critical time in our nation's history that she would want to shout it out to the state of Ohio her choice for our next President and Vice President?
As a matter of fact, one of the last things she said to me on the phone tonight during our drive up was... "I can't wait for you to see the sign in our yard." I'm thinking... "oh it's one of those cute little pink ones, or maybe it has lipstick on it to match her t-shirt..."

So here Reagan and I come, down the road, past the spaceships, (again... see here) and what should we see several houses before we reach Mom and Dad, but this...

You can see measuring by the tree behind it, that this ain't no 2 foot plastic yard sign. And there aren't one, but two... one on each side of the driveway and in lights no less. "Booooo" I said as we drove by it. "How horrible... why would a person do such a th..."

And then I saw it. The next words out of my mouth went something like this...

"Ohhhhh. Shuuuuuuuut. Uuuuuuuup. They didn't!" Followed by several outbursts of uncontrollable laughter. "Reagan!!! What did she do? (I think I hit him in the arm about then...) Where did they get that thing? No way! No stinkin' way!" And then a little more laughter...

What was no more than the size of a small pin head at first sight grew larger and larger as we pulled into view.

Y'all... this. thing. is. HUGE. I promise. Ten feet tall at least... maybe a little more. And no- that doesn't include the flags on top of it.

Now c'mon... you're either laughing, or your mouth is gaping open, but you know you wish you would've thought of it first. And only my mom. Don't get me wrong... my dad is all about him some conversative moral leadership... mom's just always had a little bigger mouth than he has is all. :) (Unless it's at one of my brother's soccer games... but that'd be a different post now, wouldn't it?)

You'd have to know this Christian comedian Mark Lowry sketch I grew up listening to to really understand the meaning of what I was thinking as we stepped out of the car to see this sign, the yellow made of sturdy metal holding the wooden sign up with chains. All I could think was "GET IT MAMA!!!!!!" I immediately walked into her room and said "You told me you couldn't wait for me to see your yard sign... you didn't tell me it was ten feet tall and BULLETPROOF!"

Turns out that the Obama supporter down the street took these metal pieces in to my brother in laws tool shop to have 'em welded together, but never implied what they were for. When my brother-in-law's boss saw that Obama sign pieced together between those pieces he'd welded, he was pretty ticked off. Turns out he went right back to that metal shop and built him up a nice little bigger-and-better and parked it right in my parents front yard for all to see... including any undecided astronauts currently working on the space station.

So there you have it, oh great Buckeye State... vote for who you may... if I were you though, I'd make sure my Mama wasn't looking over your shoulder when you cast your ballot.

Consider yourself warned.


Question of the day... well my day anyway.

Q: What do you call it when you come home from a trip, jump in your tub for a nice hot soak, wash your hair, decide you're just too tired for anything else so you go to sleep on it wet, and then wake up to remember your hair dryer exploded when you tried to plug it in at the Asianese hotel?!?

A: Hat day...

Who's Next???

You know, I never have considered myself racist or above or better than those that I might consider less fortunate than myself... I still don't, let's just clear that up right now... after reading this book however, I think oblivious may be a good word for what I discovered about myself as my plane hovered somewhere over the Pacific last Saturday.

God used this read to overhaul the way I would see the teachers and children that I would be blessed to spend my time with in the days that would follow. Instead of just seeing a people lost in complete ignorance... devoid of the knowledge that there is Savior that loves them... who were ignorant to my "better" way of life... living a life that was forced on them by Communism and poverty... instead of just seeing them as sad, poor little people that needed my big wonderful American-ness to come in and save their day... to do them a favor by donating my time for the week... I saw that each of them, the teachers especially, had a history... a childhood... a life that they were living, most of them a spouse that they were loving, a person they were trying to be a friend to, and a future they were trying to provide for their families... just like me. I began to understand that I wasn't taking the message of Jesus to them just because they were pitiful and less fortunate and needed His help to make it through their difficult lives. They were just like me. A husband or a wife, mother or a father, living the same kind of life, facing the same kind of issues... just like me. Human, sinful, and in need of a Savior. That's it. Oh, our lives may be exponentially different in the houses we live in, our means of transportation, the food that we eat and the clothes that we wear. None of that really matters when you look at them through the eyes of Jesus, though. That's sounds like such a cliche I know, but it is a huge reality to me right now. Puts us all on the same lost, in need of a Savior playing field. Before I only pitied them because of their place in this world... as if I had something to offer in my own rite. Now I view these people, one woman in particular, as an intellegent, compassionate people, full of goals and dreams and the energy and ability to accomplish them. They're missing out on the most important thing, though. Not due to their rejection... they just have never heard of Him.

So here's the book... you can watch a video about it here. I watched it after I read it and think it will spoil part of the story if you watch it before you read. You can suit yourself though... you should know that in parts I bawled my eyes out. Sobbed, actually. Consider yourself warned. Thanks to Melissa and that little contest of hers. Let me know who wants it next. I'll put your names in a hat and send it on down the road!


Working My Way Back to You, Babe...

Hey Reese Cup... Guess what?!?
We spent all of yesterday and will spend today with Aunt Alicia, Uncle Rob, Hannah, and Hudson and had sooooooooo much fun.

A long trip still awaits us, but the first leg begins tonight around 8:00 and we are ready to kiss your sweet little face again!

We love you bunches and can't wait to get you back. See you in four airplane rides!


Knee-How! :)

Day two of English teaching is over... let me just tell you this is a different trip than any I have ever taken. I'm enjoying myself, don't get me wrong. And I'll do it again in a heartbeat. My brain is just in a different place than usual when you do something like this. Most of the time it's (pardon my code) EE, EE, EE... Make sense? Ask two questions... get results by the end of your trip. Let's see if I can explain... for one thing it's hard for me to even sit here and think straight while I type because my brain is straight up tired from having to think so hard of simple words that the teachers can understand... and I haaave toooooooo taaaaalk soooooo sloooooooow. (Please forgive me if my "L"'s still sound like "R"'s when I get home. If you hear me say "famery" instead of "family" I'd appreciate your patience as I detox. :) )

I don't know... like I was saying, most trips have an end in sight... by the end of your week or ten days or whatever... Take a group and build the building. Go run the children's program for 5 days. Hit the streets and win 'em over. Get as many as you can and connect them with your local contact for follow up. This isn't like that, and it isn't going to be like that... all of the "spiritual highs" that come with many things like this aren't here for me. It really feels more like just getting up and going to work everyday. The burden is no less- don't get me wrong. The burden is incredible when you see it with your own eyes and experience the gravity of having something you want to say soooo badly that you can't even remotely communicate. There is a big story unfolding though that Father is writing and in the recent days has just begun penciling our parts onto the pages of it.
It seems more like I just started a new book... an exciting one with lots of intriguing clues and insights into the coming pages. Except the pages haven't been written yet. A new page begins every time Reagan's phone/alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and invites us to put our ink to the paper. And it's incredible the way new characters are being added everyday. A new person with lots of influence in the area of education over this area of the country walks in and wants to begin relationships with us and more importantly the company we're representing. In two trips we haven't had to search for one person or hardly break a sweat to find the doors that Father is swinging wide open. They're coming to us! Teachers and education officials are coming from many places around the county to sit in on our classes and learn from us. News cameras were there today... yep- we're gonna be on asianese tv... :) Thank you for those of you who are holding us up... please don't stop! He is hearing you!

Here are a few pictures of us working hard! :)

Lots of pictures are being uploaded to a photobucket account. You can see them here... It's not supposed to be a private album, but if it comes up asking for a password I think "picture" will work.