Thursday, December 31, 2009

all about the alleys: the year in review

we've had a fun and exciting first year of marriage here in the alley household and i thought a neat way to document it would be on the blog. (i fully intended to include pictures but then decided i would just link back to the individual posts...humor me, i'm sick...yes, again...and it's easier.)
we spent lots of time in january organzing the house, figuring out how to live together (we'd both been single for a takes some getting used to living with someone...especially for a girl who'd never shared a room or a bathroom with a BOY ;), and for me figuring out how to cook yummy but fairly easy and healthy meals (here's an example for you).

ahhh, the month of love :). besides valentine's day (which i have to say, hubs totally brought his "a game" on that was one of the sweetest, most romantic, and thoughtful days of the whole year) the month also brought with it one of my favorite blankets ever (also proving that i really have no shame) and apparently, it also brought a whole lot of sickness. we also, though, traveled to dallas, texas, for my good friend stephanie's wedding and i had a lot of fun showing hubs where i had lived and all the places i loved in dallas (as well as getting to spend time with some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for).
technically, we returned home from texas on march 1 so the trip overlapped two months. coming home from texas deserves it's own little mention here on the blog because we flew home from dallas into winter storm blast of '09 (or whatever the local weather people here named it. i named it the-winter-storm-that-caused-us-to-spend-two-additional-hours-in-the-air-and-then-drove-me-to-the-brink-of-a-full-on-meltdown-whilst-trying-to-get-out-of-the-airport-and-then-drive-the-typical-30-minute-home-from-the-airport-trip-in-two-hours...yeah, i'm sure all of you charlotteans remember it that way, too ;). the trying to get home wasn't so much fun (that's putting it mildly ;) but playing in the snow the next day was worth remembering! we also had some more experimenting...err...i mean cooking in the kitchen, redecorating the guest bedroom AND being a host home for our church's disciple now, making one of my very favorite purchases...ever...all while acting like a junior high school girl with a crush ;), celebrating the anniversary of when my prince asked me to be his bride, and this daughter realizing that her Father and King desires to dance with her in the ballroom of her life.
the beginning of april brought with it a season of remembering all that led up to Holy Week and allows us to rejoice and celebrate on Easter. we also kicked off the month with a fun roadtrip to myrtle beach. we packed as much as we could into that little 24 hour trip and it was so much fun! april also held some exciting (decided to get a puppy!) and not so exciting (joel had a crazy busy and stressful end to his semester) times as well as more cooking adventures and a fun, surprise date night!
a new haircut kicked off the month of may. i have to say, looking back on those pictures, i really like it. i am currently hairdresser-less and seriously am itching for a little change in the hair-do part of my life. but back to may... we (my mom, sister, niece, and i) had a super fun girl's day to celebrate mother's day at daniel stowe botanical garden. the month also included a little bit o'randomness, documenting my first pound cake, AND a new addition to our family. our little paisley alley...what an adventure she has been :).
june turned out to be a sparse blogging month due to a little thing in my life called vbs. we did, however, have a guest blogger {hubs, himself} who hijacked my blog and wrote all manner of nice things about me (he also threatened me that if i deleted that post i would be in serious i didn't. but i think his assessment of me is not objective at all AND he is quite biased...anyway). besides being super swamped with work, we managed to celebrate hubs' birthday in true, grayson style (which means that we celebrated for about a week :) with birthday celebrations with my family, with his mom and dad, and then with a fun day i planned just for the two of us to enjoy. we also had several fun date nights (including a brad paisley concert...we had great seats) and ended the month at an amazing resort/spa to celebrate our two year dating anniversary.
i made quite the bold statement to kick off july that, "nature is dead to me" and i'm here to report that after an unfortunate incident that occured on the hayride at my birthday party (but that's november so i have to keep the details to a minimum for now ;) nature is still, in fact, dead to me. i gave it another chance and it left me, again, itching and covered in insect bites. we also enrolled our spunky little paisley in puppy school and i can report that while she has not graduated, she is has transferred to a more advanced, uncoventional type of puppy training AND is making great progress :).
if i were to sum up august in one word, i believe i would say that it was difficult. you could probably not tell it by reading the first couple posts from that month because i tried to stay very lighthearted and "surfacy" (is that a word?) but the Lord had been dealing with me regarding some big changes that were about to occur in our life and it wasn't the easiest road to walk. by the end of august, i was able to share our news that the Lord was leading joel and i down a different that included me resigning my position at church and him transferring to a different seminary and taking on a completely difficult and stressful work/school schedule. while i was overwhelmed and excited at the Lord's clear and consistent direction in our life, i was scared out of my mind to let go of something that had been such a huge part of my life for so long.
while i announced my resignation at the end of august, i continued to work until the third sunday in september. so september was full of wrapping things up at work, packing my office, saying my goodbyes but it was not so much a month full of blogging. i did, however, get to post some of my most favorite and quite possibly the most random pictures ever from a very random neighborhood in a nearby town. hubs and i had a lot of fun being serious dorks taking those pictures.
october ushered in one of my favorite seasons {hello, fall}, taking my daddy to one of the best (and unfortunately, one of the few ) panther games of the season, some kind of random sickness (though i don't remember being sick), some difficult lessons , and a super fun mini-vacay to the mountains with hubs.
hmm...well, if i thought blogging was sparse in june, i hadn't realized how bad it was in november and i don't even have a work-related excuse for my slackness. i can say that november holds the beginning of the grayson/burgess/alley birthday and holiday extravaganza in our families and that is probably part of the reason for my absence. my mom, sister, niece, and i had a very fun time at the southern christmas show (where i purchased a lot of our christmas decorations...yay)! we celebrated anna's birthday, my mom's birthday, my birthday and thanksgiving was thrown into the mix, as well. my daddy had surgery and then hubs and i prepared for our disney trip to celebrate our first anniversary. whew, it was a busy month!
and here we are, back to december. hubs and i celebrated our first anniversary of becoming husband and wife with a fun trip to disney world. we decorated the house for the first time for christmas AND had a big party for our friends and family. i decided to work harder to act like a duck (which, believe it or not now when something bothers us or has the potential to get to us, hubs and i just look at each other and say, "quack." obviously, we don't do it in public but it's been a great reminder to just let. it. go.) and i shared a little "not me!" with everyone. i just realized i have about 3 posts that i meant to write but just haven't gotten around to writing (and for the record, probably won't....sorry). all in all, it's been a fabulous year.

from our family to yours, we pray that you will have a blessed and happy 2010!

happy new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a sneak peek

we had a great christmas this year and it's hard to believe it has already come and gone! i am currently working on editing all the pics from christmas eve and christmas morning (and waiting on some from my bro-in-law) but just had to post this picture. it truly captured how absolutely excited and joyful hubs was when he opened his gifts from my parents. it makes my heart so happy to look at that picture and see the expression on his face. i'm blessed beyond measure with such an incredible husband and a family who loves me and him more than i could imagine.

we truly had an amazing christmas spent with family and friends celebrating the birth of our Savior.

more pics to come soon...i just couldn't wait to share this one, though :).


Monday, December 28, 2009

not me! monday

it's been awhile since i joined in on the not me! monday fun but thought i'd jump on the bandwagon today.

in preparation for a big christmas party at my house last week i most certainly did not clean my entire house (we're talking top to bottom scrubbing) all except for my bedroom. there's no way i would have just decided to close the bedroom door and use the bedroom as the gathering place for all the party supplies that needed to be returned and christmas presents still waiting to be wrapped. nope, not me!

along those same lines, i would never wrap empty boxes and fill gift bags with wal mart bags as filler just so i had pretty presents under my tree for the party (and to conceal the christmas tree cord). since i would not do that i absolutely would not have my hubs wrap his own christmas gift because it was the right shape box to conceal said cord. i'd never do that...not me!

last week when i stopped by the nail salon to have a much needed manicure, i did not succumb to peer pressure from the nail ladies to let them wax my eyebrows. of course i would not do that because i regularly keep my eyebrows waxed, right? so of course it did not bother me when one lady completely ignored personal space rules and pointed out that she could wax my eyebrows for me and i'd be "so pretty." then it most certainly did not bother me after i politely said no that her friend from the next station invaded the same personal space rules to shake her head, click her tongue, and tell me, "you need eyebrows done...she do it for you and you be soo pretty!" so, of course i did not let her wax my brows just so they would leave me alone...nope, not me!

since i'm definitely not a procrastinator, i did not wait until last monday to do most of my christmas shopping and i most certainly did not send hubs out to purchase the last gifts on my list the morning of christmas eve. of course, i would never do that, not me!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

act like a duck...

anytime something completely out of my control would happen, a past co-worker of mine {someone who i always approached with questions, concerns, or problems because she always gave me great, wise advice} would tell me to act like a duck. i know that sounds crazy but she had a good point...her point was that i needed to let things go the way water runs off a duck's back. got that? let. it. go.

from experience, {and hubs just confirmed this about me} i tend to be more like a sponge...i soak things up and let them bother me {and the bad thing about a sponge, is that if you squeeze it a little or once it fills up to capacity, all that water has to come out some way...and for me, it's usually in the form of tears}. i don't do it on purpose but recently i've been trying to figure out how i can "act like a duck" and just let. it. go. believe me, i've had several moments lately where i've tried very hard to process how to be more like a duck and i have to tell you, i have no idea.

but i think i know a good place to start...i do know this, i serve and love a God who tells me to "cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me." so, today, that's my goal. the desire of my heart and my life is to please my Lord and then my husband. after that, i'm casting all my cares and anxiety on Him. period. i'm not picking it up to worry about it again...once i've handed it over, it's gone. {do you know how hard that is to do? let me tell you, it's very hard and very tempting.} so, today, my goal is to let. it. go. and if you see me walking around quacking every now and then, you'll know why ;).


Monday, December 21, 2009

christmas tour of homes (a week late...)

okay, so the nester's christmas tour of homes is now closed which makes me sad :( because i had planned to totally join in on the christmasy blogging fun this year but the last 3 weeks or so have been jam packed in our life (my dad's surgery, orlando for a week, and then a week prepping for our first...possibly open house). due to all the craziness, taking on the christmas tour of homes (as fabulous as it is) just didn't happen last week.

so, grab a cup of hot chocolate or warm apple cider and....

welcome to our home!

love this wreath...

our christmas tree in our foyer

dining room

wreath hanging over the doorway of our family room from the loft upstairs

LOVE my willow tree nativity...thanks mom and angela :)

our mantle (random fact: the stockings, the tree skirt, and the table runner on my dining room table all match. it makes me happy :)

kitchen table

Ho, Ho, Ho (or if you're in the kitchen looking into the family room, it's Oh, Oh, sis pointed that out. We thought it was funny and sometimes appropriate ;)

our advent it and look forward to making part of our alley Christmas traditions. it's super special because my mom bought them to give to me and my sister. my sister's kids have loved theirs and i'm so excited to finally hang mine in our home!

up close

love my jingle bell tree AND the happy birthday Jesus's right beside my kitchen sink and was a great reminder this week amid all the craziness of prepping for the party of the REAL reason for everything this time of year!

"santa, i can explain..." :)

our pantry door...thought this was a fun little sign

some of the food from the party yesterday

more food from the party yesterday :)

paisley even is getting in the christmas spirit with her fun little red sweater!

thanks for stopping by and from our home to yours, we pray you have a very merry christmas. take time this week amid the hustle and bustle to truly stop and soak in the wonder of the season and that Emmanuel has come.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

great giveway

so, i had great plans to blog about our first anniversary/vacation trip {and i will} but i was a wee bit distracted by a giveway going on at several blogs i often frequent...

you should check it out and then come back in a day or so and i'll have a real post up...with a very funny story about something that happened to hubs on our vacation. it will not disappoint :).

until then...happy saturday (oh and go check out those blogs and enter to win the computer...what a fun christmas present to give yourself)!


Sunday, December 6, 2009


"the man said, 'this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.' for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." ~genesis 2:23 & 24

happy anniversary,'s to many, many more!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

a year ago...

a year ago this week i was preparing for one of the most important days of my life. finishing last minute details, purchasing and putting together gifts for my girls who would stand beside me, packing for an absolutely amazing honeymoon, and most importantly, preparing to marry my best friend.

i honestly can't believe that it's been a year {well, almost a year...i won't be near a computer to blog on the actual day ;}. i had a lot of friends mention to me that they thought the first year of marriage is the hardest but for me, it's been the best year of my life. sure, there were moments that wouldn't rank in my top ten list of favorite moments but overall, it's been incredible. there is nothing in the world better than walking through life with your best friend and i have been amazingly blessed with such an incredible husband.

and i'm not the only one who thinks so...a couple fridays ago i had my niece in the car with me and we were headed to my house for a sleepover and then our annual "aunt amy and anna day" {for the last 4 or 5 years we would make a day of it and go to lunch, go shopping, visit santa, etc. as a prolonged birthday celebration for her}. somehow our conversation turned to uncle joel and from the backseat she said, "aunt amy, i hope i get to marry someone like uncle joel someday." yeah, pretty sure my eyes immediately filled with tears. i told i her i hoped so, too....that uncle joel was a great man and that the important thing for her to remember was to wait for the person God has for her...because His plans are always the best. it blesses my heart to know and see how much my nephews and niece love their uncle joel...they want to spend time with him....they want to know where he is if i show up and he's not with me but more than that, i've been able to see just how good and gracious the Lord has been in blessing me with such an incredible husband. he not only loves me {which, i can testify is not always an easy task ;} but he loves my family and loves being with them and i can say without a doubt, they love and adore him, too.

it's been a year with lots of changes and some challenges but it's been an amazing first year of marriage and i can't wait to see what this coming year will bring.