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Wife to Adam, mommy to Alexa & Adlee Grace, Christ follower, owner at NewSpring Church, lover of Clemson football, and all things monogrammed. Looking for ways to simplify, serve, and teach my girls what life is all about.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Never Ending

As a parent, one of the (many) things I struggle with is the amount of stuff Alexa has. I know she is going to have toys, and I'm glad that I am able to buy her things, but when is it too much? Well, today we started going through her toys and picking out things she doesn't play with, or is too old for, and we are going to give them away. We also put everything together and put them away. She helped some, but for the most part Mimi and I did the work.

One of my goals as A's mommy is to equip her with a sense of organization and neatness that I have always struggled with. I want her to appreciate what she has, and to take care of it. We organized everything today, and now we are going to have a time designated for clean-up every night. Now I'm going to show you the before and after pictures.

These were taken after we had already cleaned up a bit...I'm sure you find it hard to believe that it was actually much worse than the picture shows!


Now everything is in it's place! Hope we can keep it this way :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

And the Winner is...

#63 Amy L.

Congrats Amy, look for an email from me within the next day or so and we can talk about your prize! Thanks to everyone who entered. For the next week I'll be offering 15% off everything in my shop (minus shipping) just enter the code Bloggy Giveaway in the comments and wait on an adjusted invoice from me. Thanks again to all who entered!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweet Baby!

Here are some more pictures of our sweet baby Cameron. Isn't she BEAUTIFUL??!!

This was just a few minutes after she was born, she was in the warmer, and the nurse kept bothering her!

I love that face, and she was holding my finger!

Such a sweet girl :)

One proud Mimi

Giving baby Cameron a kiss

She told me on the way to the hospital she was going to hold her really tight!

Proud Pop holding baby Cameron

Alexa helping Pop hold her

What a silly girl

Tell me that isn't a funny face LOL!

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's that time again!

This week we begin the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival, and I am super excited about it! I love hosting giveaways, and the more people who join the merrier right??!! So, I've decided this time to giveaway one of my new creations from my etsy shop. Check back later this week for another giveaway!



The lucky winner of my giveaway will win one personalized hair bow holder of their choice. You can pick your character, ribbon color, and initials or name on the character. Other characters not pictured are: Turtle, butterfly, dragonfly, giraffe, and frog.

Now, rules for the giveaway...
  1. To enter visit my etsy shop and leave a comment listing your favorite item, or if you don't see a favorite give me an idea for a new item.
  2. If your comment does not reference an item it will be deleted and you will be removed from the contest.
  3. Giveaway opens today January 26th @ 9am and runs through January 29th @ midnight. Open to US mailing addresses only. I will randomly choose a winner and announce their name the next day. Please leave a way for me to contact you. The winner has 3 days to claim their prize, or another winner will be chosen.

***If you would like extra entries, you may do one or all of the following: Post about my giveaway on your blog and link back here, talk it up on twitter, or follow me on twitter (@alchristopher). Please leave a comment if you qualify for any of these entries.

Don't forget to head over to the main giveaway page and check out the other great items available!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It has begun!

Someone is having contractions!! Don't know much more than that, but I promise to keep blogland posted. If you want more frequent updates check us out on twitter @jodicwilliams and @alchristopher. I can assure you twitter will be on fire as soon as there is progress! Can't wait to post pics!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I don't want ANY one...

I want THE ONE!

Last night in my home group I was hit with some hard TRUTH! As most of you know I have been single for a little over a year now, and it has not been an easy road for me. I have had thoughts like: 'is something wrong with me?' 'why isn't anyone asking me out?' 'am I ugly??!!' 'am I EVER going to get married?' and a myriad of other lies Satan likes to put in my head. So, let me first of all address those questions...
  1. Yes, there is something wrong with me...it's called I'm human, and as a result I will NEVER be perfect...thankfully I have Jesus and He has made me right with God, but only by His grace!
  2. Because it's not the right time, and by right time, I mean God's time! Don't get me wrong, I would be happy to have a date...but not if it's not God's plan!
  3. No, I'm not ugly! The bible says that God thinks I'm beautiful, and quite frankly, that's all that matters!
  4. I can honestly say I HAVE NO IDEA!!!! Truth be told, I really hope I get married one day, but God doesn't promise me that.

For home group last night we had a panel come in, it consisted of 2 married couples, and a single guy. They did a great job of answering some questions for us single gals, and I think we all learned a lot. I'm going to list a few of those things here...

The first question they addressed was: Can a guy and a girl just be friends? The easy answer is yes, if both have the intention of just being friends. Let's break that down a little bit...face it, most of the time at least one party has ulterior motives, and even if they don't, in the end there are going to be problems. One of the panel members gave light to a new thought...why would you invest so much time in someone or a relationship that is ultimately not going anywhere? I had never thought it like that. Obviously if a girl is really close with a guy who isn't her husband, when she gets married that pretty much ends. Creating hard or hurt feelings in the process.

One of the points our single guy brought up was that he had always been told to treat single women around him like his sister, but that wasn't really right. He said he wanted to protect his sister, and console her if something was wrong, and that wasn't appropriate for all the single girls around him. Then one of his married friends pointed out to him that he should be treating the single girls like they were another man's wife, because ultimately they are. I had never thought about that either...it seems innocent enough, because you would treat your sister/brother right, but you really don't need to be developing a close intimate relationship with every girl/guy you know.

One of the married guys made a point that simply blew me away! He said, it's not about how many Christian guys are interested in you, it's about the right one being interested in you. I suddenly realized that I have been looking at this from the wrong angle. I don't want just any guy to ask me out, or to pursue me. I want the right guy to pursue me! I am content to wait on the right guy until I am ready, and he is ready.

I have to say I thought the panel was great, and I really learned a lot, and God challenged me a lot as well. I am pretty sure the other girls felt the same way by their reactions.

I'm going to chase Jesus with everything I have, because I know His plan is the best. Philippians 4:11 says: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever my circumstance. That is my prayer!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

**NEW** Etsy Items

This week after a little inspiration from my sister I made some new craft items that can be found in my Etsy shop. One of the challenges I face as the mother of a girl is hair bows. I typically just put Alexa's hair up in ponytails, but occasionally I use a barrette, and sometimes I have a hard time finding them. Enter my new craft...hair bow holders! These are so cute :)

This is the one Alexa picked for her room

I think this one is my fave...but I really like orange! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I didn't know it started THIS early!

On Wednesday of this week when I took Alexa to school her teacher informed me there was a note in her cubby. I went over to investigate and I found an envelope addressed to her. Sure enough, it was a birthday party invite! I was excited...and surprised all at the same time. I had no idea that she would be invited to a party this early. Maybe that sounds funny, but so far the only birthday parties Alexa has been to were either family, or children of my friends. This is the first party for a child that is her friend through school.

Anna Kate or Anna "Cake" as Alexa calls her...turned 3 yesterday, and we went to her Hannah Montana party today. All of the kids seemed to have a good time, and Anna Kate was so cute dressed up as Hannah Montana. We started off by playing a game where eat child drew a card, and when one of the girls got Hannah Montana they got to dress up and take a picture with the birthday girl. Then AK's mom had a picture frame for each child with their name on it.

After that AK opened her presents, and then we had cupcakes, popcorn, and ice cream. Then the grand finale was a 3D Hannah Montana concert. All in all it was a great day, and Alexa really enjoyed it. Here are a few pictures of the event...they were so cute!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When was the last time...

...you got uncomfortable for God? A friend of mine posed that question today via Twitter and it really struck me. I'm not sure I've ever really considered my life in that fashion. I don't think as Christians we are called to lead miserable boring lives, but I also don't believe God promises we will live easy, uncomplicated lives either.

I have been praying about some different things, and some of them might cause me some discomfort, but I know that in that discomfort God is going to receive all the glory and that is why I'm willing to get uncomfortable. There are so many things that God has blessed me with, and more than ever I want to take the blessings He has poured out on me, and pour into other people. Isn't that why we receive blessings after all?

One of the questions I've heard Perry ask on Sundays is What would you be willing to do for God if you knew you couldn't fail? I think we can all admit that we are afraid of failure in at least some aspect of our lives, and there are things we won't try because of it. Last night at my home group one of my girls read this scripture to us Psalm 37:22-24, and it says
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, the will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
I think these verses are extremely encouraging to us as Christians. That while God doesn't promise it will be easy, and it won't always be fun, He won't leave us and He holds our hand so we can't fall! Thank you for that comfort Jesus! So, the question now is...What is God asking you to do that might make you uncomfortable?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Financial Goals 2009

As I look forward to 2009 I can't help but think about the goals I have set for myself. I have several goals for the year...and some of them are relative, and my success will be totally based on how I feel at the end of the year. My financial goals are not. These are very much measurable, and I am very hopeful I will be able to sit before you (I don't typically stand when I blog) next December and tell you I have met all of them. So, in an effort to hold myself accountable, I am using my blog to lay them out.
  1. Get out of debt - I got rid of a bunch of debt in 2008, but I wasn't able to completely get out of debt. I am happy to say that I am no longer adding debt, but due to some circumstances beyond my control I couldn't pay off some of the things I had scheduled.
  2. Give more - One of the things getting out of debt will allow me to do is give more money. I truly believe that I am blessed beyond measure, and as a result the less money I have to give to my debt the more I can give to people who really need it.
  3. Start my emergency fund - I believe everyone should have an emergency fund with at least $1000 for true emergencies. Things like...the engine blows up in my car, or something else I truly can't predict. Beyond the basic emergency fund I also think it's a good idea to have a 6 month or years worth of necessities saved. Let me break that down a little...this type of emergency fund would kick in if I lost my job and was out of work for 6 months, or if Alexa got sick and I had to quit my job. This fund would allow me to pay our bills every month and not go back into debt. Basically to figure out what you need for your fund you would take the monthly expenses you budget for and multiply them by 6 or 12 and that would be your number. I am only hoping to start this fund this year because that is a big chunk of money and it might take a while to build completely.
  4. Save for a down payment - My parents have so graciously let us live here for almost 2 years now, and it has really been great for us. Alexa gets to see Mimi and Pop every day, and I get some much needed help with her. Having said that, I am really ready to have my own space again. Not because there is anything wrong with living here, but because it is just different when you have lived by yourself. I think it will also be nice for me to spend more time alone with her, and for it to be a treat to come to Mimi and Pop's house and spend the night, instead of something she does every day.
Those are my basic financial goals for 2009, and I will keep you updated on a monthly basis as I make progress. I am using Pear Budget to help keep track of my spending. They allow you a 30 day trial, and then it's only $3 a month after that. I am just in the trial period right now, but I plan to use it as much as possible and then evaluate at the end of the trial as to whether or not it was really useful. I also use some of the tools from Joe Sangl's site to put my budget on paper. There are lots of great online resources for budgeting and planning...and I truly believe that having a plan is one of the first steps to achieving your goals. Can't wait to give you an update in a few weeks!! What are you planning financially for 2009?

The Joys...or lack thereof!

On Tuesday of this past week we made the transition that I have been looking forward to least. Well, I say least, but that's not exactly true. I have been looking forward to this transition from the standpoint of, it will be a lot easier, and it will save some money...but the work/mess involved makes it less enjoyable. If you haven't figured out what I'm talking about, it's potty training.

After doing some reading and talking with people we made the decision to go straight from diapers to big girl underwear. There are multiple reasons for this decision. The first one is her daycare potty trains this way...there is no in between. I really felt like it would be silly do one thing at daycare, and something totally different at home. I know some people use training pants, and that is fine too, but they cost more money than diapers, and they slow down the process.

Tuesday was Alexa's first day, and she only had 4 accidents at school, and 2 after she got home. I thought that was AWESOME for her first try. Wednesday she stayed dry the entire day at school, and had one accident after she got home. Thursday she was with her daddy, and she didn't do quite as well, but then Friday she went the whole day with no accidents.

I still overreact when she has an accident, but we are both doing better. I am happy to say that this is going much better than I originally anticipated. She's not perfect...and neither am I...and we are working through this together. I will definitely be happy when this is over!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lazy Day

I start every Saturday with the intention of doing lots of things...typically they aren't extremely important, but things I want to accomplish nonetheless. I don't know why I seem to have such a problem just doing the things I want to do. I started thinking about it today, and this is the conclusion I have drawn.

All throughout the week I get up early and rush around getting ready so I make sure I am at work on time. Sunday is the same thing because we need to be at church early too. Obviously I'm not complaining about either of these. I am super thankful (especially in this economy) to have a good job, and I love NewSpring and everything that God is doing there...but sometimes you just need to relax. Saturday has become my day to do that.

I really wish I could find a way to have the best of both worlds...but somehow that just hasn't happened yet. There are so many things to consider...naptime, potty training, and the necessary cleaning that needs to happen. When I don't get home most nights until close to 6pm, how am I supposed to get anything done during the week so I don't have to spend my weekends doing them?

I just don't know. I wish I knew the answers, but I haven't quite gotten that far yet. I really am trying to make more of an effort these days, and I want to be more intentional about things as well...hopefully one day I'll be able to say that my weekends are restful and spent having fun. Until then, I'll continue trying to find ways to maximize my time, and minimize my stress. I hope you are enjoying your Saturday! I know I am :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Are you a Tweet?

I don't know if you have heard of Twitter but if you haven't you definitely need to check it out. It's the latest way to keep up, without all the time and effort of a blog. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy blogging, but twitter is such an awesome way to find out what all of my friends are doing. The basic idea is short updates throughout the day when you have a chance. You answer one simple question...what are you doing? So, when you have something really funny happen, and no one is around to tell, you send out a tweet. Twitter is web based, but also works via text. You all know texting is my life line! :) So, if you are on twitter...leave me a comment w/ your username and I'll follow you. If you aren't on twitter...what are you waiting for??!! Hurry up and join, and then leave me a comment w/ your username. I'm @alchristopher and I'd love you know...what you are doing!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Step One

I made lots of resolutions last year...and even made a plan for a few of them, but because I didn't see the plan too often, other things quickly became more important. As a result I am planning on doing a goal update at least once a month to keep me accountable to the blog world.

The first goal I want to look at is organization. I am extremely organized in some aspects of my life, and others I fall way short! Most nights I don't get home until between 6 and 7, and that certainly makes the night fly by when you consider bedtime for A comes at 8:30. Prior to this year I have been in school several nights a week and that made the time I was at home with A much more precious. Now that I have a little more time at home, I can hopefully spend more time with her and not totally neglect my space.

Ok, now to breakdown my goal of organization.

Step 1 is to remove all of the unnecessary stuff from my room. (I have already made some accomplishments in this area)
Step 2 is to make my bed EVERY morning (I was in the habit of doing this for a while and somewhere along the way I let it slip)
Step 3 is to go through A's toys and weed out the ones she no longer plays with, or is too old for.
Step 4 is to get a better system for keeping my coupons together.
Step 5 is to maintian all of the above on a daily basis so I don't get behind again.

Well, that's my plan so far...I'll update in a few weeks as to my progress on the above!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Cutest


The Cupcake

Because I have the sweetest, prettiest, most creative best friend in the whole wide world...she makes things like ridiculously cute cupcakes and brings them to Alexa. Now, how sweet is that??!! I mean what could a 2 year old need more than a cupcake covered in lots of icing?
I would like to remind her that when she has children (and don't even say you're not) that I will be more than happy to give them lots of sugar and then send them home. It's only fair right?? :)
Yesterday Linds came to visit and bring Alexa her Christmas present, and she also brought her a cupcake...and after Alexa finally woke up she was really excited about it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Attitude

As I sit here on New Years Day reflecting on 2008 I am determined that 2009 is going to be my best year yet! 2008 was a great year for us. So many things have changed in the last year and I am really excited when I think about everything God has done.

One of the biggest changes for me was finding a new church. I have always gone to the church I grew up in...sure there were times I didn't go, but for the most part I have always been there. At some point that changed. I felt God telling me He had somewhere else I needed to be, I just didn't know where. I am not really the type to do things by myself...especially when it comes to visiting a new church. So, for Easter in 2008 Jodi & Brad invited the whole family to come to the service at NewSpring. I have been to some powerful services, but never one like that. I spent a good part of the service in tears and I could just feel God telling me I needed to be there.

If you know me at all, you know I am not a morning person, but Sunday is a different story. I look forward to NewSpring every week. After the first Saturday night service at Easter I became a regular attender. Then a few weeks later I joined the church. Originally I wasn't sure about moving my membership, but when you consider I knew God wanted me to be there, it didn't make sense to wait. I haven't looked back since. I started working with the Student Ministry at the Anderson campus over the summer, and even went to The Gauntlet in July. Then I got to help launch the Greenville campus in July and have been there ever since. I have never enjoyed church more than I do now. The best is yet to come!

My most recent step at NewSpring was to join a home group. I have met some of the greatest girls this way. My home group is amazing, and I am so thankful for them. We are really developing some strong bonds and great friendships are forming as well. I can't wait to see what is going to happen over the next year as we continue to grow closer to God as a group.

I also got a new job in 2008, and it has proven to be the change I needed! I became a hospital employee on April 14th, and as a result I changed offices. I have actually been at the hospital for a little over 2 years now, but because I was a contract employee the benefits were horrible. Now, not only do I have better benefits, Alexa has a new daycare. I was a bit hesitant to move her at first, but the truth is it only made sense. Now we are in the same building and she has the sweetest teachers. I am so glad I made the decision to move her when I did! She is also taking dance at the daycare which is nice as well.

2008 was a great year for us, and I am so excited as we look forward to 2009. I have been thinking about the goals I have for this year, and the goals I set for last year. I think one of my problems with goals is vision. I set goals, and I typically think they are attainable, but when they are out of my line of vision I totally forget about them. So to try and keep up with my goals this year I'm going to do monthly updates.

As I was reading Lindsey's blog today I got to thinking about the resolutions, scratch that, goals I have for 2009. So for now I'm going to post my major goals, and then in a separate post I'm going to break them down into specific steps needed to achieve them.

Be more organized
Be more intentional
Be a better mommy
Spend more time reading the bible
Eat better/exercise more
Get my finances in order

What goals do you have for 2009?