Monday, December 6, 2021

weekending-- everything Christmas and someone we love has a birthday today edition


Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? I'm so curious to hear what your weather is like, wherever you live. Today it's cold and clear where I live, but up until today it's been unseasonably warm. It's been nice as I have been out in that weather, but I prefer cold weather when the weather is supposed to be cold. The cold helps it seem more like Christmas, as least to me. It hardly ever snows here in west Tennessee, but you never know from one year to next. At the beginning of this year (in January or February), it snowed an astonishing amount and lasted for almost a solid week! I was so claustrophobic and ready for it to be gone by the time it all melted.

I had a lovely weekend. I stayed home Friday night and watched a Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel. I had a yummy and comforting dinner and enjoyed the night. Two of my sons left Friday afternoon for Tuscaloosa, Alabama to go spend the weekend with a couple of their friends. This was Drew and Noah. I think it's funny and ironic that on the weekend they went there together, this came up on my memories on Facebook.

This was Drew and Noah (right) six years ago. As a homeschooling family, we would often get the work finished and would do things like going to Costco for a few things and lunch. I distinctly remember this day and just thought about it the other day! I was on the coffee aisle and turned around to grab a bag of our favorite kind and turned back around to find them doing this. They'd stepped into the refrigerated area and stood just like that for a couple of minutes. 🤣

I couldn't take them anywhere. Who am I kidding? I still can't take them anywhere. I have loved being a mom to boys and was made for the job.

Back to my weekend, so Noah was gone and it was just Graham and Jonah here at home. They went to our annual Christmas parade with friends that night, but I stayed home because Todd worked and I don't love a large crowd anymore. I would have gone if someone had wanted me to and I offered to go with them, but they were with friends and I was happy to skip it and stay home. It worked out well, because I was so tired! I had been up since four a.m. that morning and it caught up with me at 7:30 that night.

I was so excited for Saturday. This is a day I look forward to every year, the day when Mom, Trish and I shop in Memphis. We usually don't venture out much past our little town, but this is always a fun day together as we go to adorable little home décor shops and do Christmas shopping. We had lunch first, then went to Le Fleur (pictured above). This is a shop to buy cute things and trinkets and the old building that used to be a garage or shed is what they turned into a floral shop. They were getting ready for a wedding on Saturday and it was fun to see them hustling to get it all loaded. Here's the other part of the shop that I love below.

I could spend hours in this shop. I bought a few small Christmas gifts to finish up our shopping. One year I am going to buy myself one of these beautiful houses that are decorative like these below.

After this shop, we went to another cute shop called Social.

I bought a tiny gingerbread house filled with matchsticks and a set of battery operated candy cane fairy lights (with a timer) for the bookshelf in our bathroom. After this place we went to our local candy store, Dinstuhl's. I bought some things for stockings and myself a treat to eat once I got back in the car. We went to the Williams Sonoma outlet after this and ended the day by going to another local favorite—Gibson's donuts. I bought a couple dozen donuts for my favorite guys and know they'll love having them even today. They love blueberry and cake donuts dipped in chocolate. 

We headed back to The Ville after all that and I went out to Mom's house for dinner that night. While I did all of that, the guys watched football and Graham built himself a bed for Christmas. It's a low platform type bed that is simple and modern and looks so good! He did a great job and it only took a few hours before he finished. He cut all the wood himself and did the whole thing, but Jonah and Todd helped him by talking it through with him. He added some of those LED lights that come in a strip from Amazon and put those underneath to make it look as if it's floating. He got a new comforter and new black out curtains to finish off the room. I'll share a picture this week sometime. 

We spent Sunday at church. I was there by 8:15 to do the words for our choir as they sang, then back at four for choir practice. After that I went straight to the fellowship hall at 5:30 for The Jingle Bell Jam, a jazz music night of instrumental music and worship songs. My dad and stepmom and in-love's met me there for the concert and we enjoyed coffee and desserts together as we listened. It was a great night and weekend! 

Other fun things I didn't mention are as follows:

Lots of puppy cuddles and finishing my book. 

Today is such a special day for our family! Bill, also lovingly known as Big Daddy (or Bug Daddy according to Erika's girls) is the patriarch of our family and today he turns seventy years young! Let me tell you about this wonderful man.

(This picture is from last year, since I'm writing this at 7:45 a.m. Sunday morning.) 

Bill is such a patient, kind, loving and an incredible chef. I blame him entirely for the expensive eating habits he taught all of our boys when they were young. We used to go to their house one weekend night every week and did that up until they started turning sixteen and getting more of a social life. I tell you that because he taught the boys to cook. Graham used to make the best sautéed Italian spinach, thanks to this wonderful man and he is the one who taught Drew to love good food. My favorite story about this is that when Drew was young, he was with Mom and Bill at McAlister's and Bill had ordered their French dip sandwich. Drew wanted a bite, so Bill let him have a bite and then went on eating. A few minutes later, Drew said, "Big Daddy, dip that sandwich in that sauce and give me another bite." and thus his love of good food began.

It's entirely appropriate that on this night when we're having them over to celebrate Bill, that Drew requested French dip sandwiches for dinner. 

I look forward to tonight and though tonight's dinner won't be as elaborate as some of what Bill makes, it'll be simple and delicious. More than that, the family time and conversation will be even better and I look forward to lots of laughter and reminiscing. Bill, I know you're reading this because you're my most faithful reader—I love you so much! WE love you so much and appreciate the man you are and the many countless ways in which you've been a blessing to our family. You are the master carpenter, the most talented chef, the wine connoisseur extraordinaire and the one who makes the best catfish and tartar sauce I've ever eaten. We are so very thankful for you, for your example and the integrity that you display to all and mostly, for the way you love all of us.

You are a treasure. Happy, happy birthday to you! We will see you tonight and celebrate even more. I'll leave you with some of our favorite memories to enjoy and cry over. Because I know you will, just like I am right now. 

We always loved the zoo. ❤

McAlister's, where a love for all good food started. Noah always was your cuddle buddy, remember? I think you said that he would be cuddling with you still when he was a teenager. 

Oh, all the nachos you and Drew shared! Remember the day when you discovered he was old enough to start ordering his own?? 

And then how he would get really cold after he ate every meal?

We were at the middle school for one of Graham's band concerts!

Teaching all your ways in the kitchen and it was Jonah's turn!

And my all time favorite memories ever, our trip to Eureka Springs and Drew almost falling down the mountain. I'd never seen Todd run so fast! 

If the rest of you are still around, thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. ❤ 


  1. Sounds like a fun, full weekend! I have never been to LeFleur, but it looks so cute. Flower shops are always so pretty this time of year. I have only been in Social once, but it was a cute store.

    Oh, I miss my homeschooling days in so many ways. These memories will get ya every time when old pictures come up for us to reminicse.

    Enjoy your Monday!

  2. Those shops look really nice. I love shopping at places like that. I love the photo of your boys in the freezer at Costco. lol

  3. mmm...mcalisters tea - is there anything better?
    I love little shops like that - there's so much to look at!

  4. We have a birthday at our house today as well!! Woo Hoo for family celebrations! I think for my birthday...I want to go shopping in Memphis! Looks like so much fun!!:) Thanks for taking us a long -

    Have a great evening!!

  5. Our temperature just took a big dip... south. It was 55 degrees this morning (though raining heavily) and now it's the low thirties and windy. I am literally sitting in front of the fireplace right now because I was just outside. That picture of your boys is so cute! Looks like a great time shopping and spending time with family.

  6. Marilyn, you have to check it out! It's the prettiest store. I would love to work in a place like that...but then again, it's best I not. I'd never bring home a dime! I miss those days too. Sometimes the memories that come up just about do me in. Having kids that grow up is not for the faint of heart.

  7. Thanks, Cathy! I love supporting small, locally owned businesses. Isn't that picture a hoot???

  8. Rebecca Jo, I know several people who would agree about that McAlister's sweet tea! My friend Barbee lives on sweet tea everyday. It's like her coffee. Ha!

  9. Jennifer- how fun! And that would be an amazing birthday gift! I would love that gift for you as well, because we would get to go shop together. It's always fun to dream!

  10. Maria, it did the same here today in west Tennessee. It started off at sixty this morning and dropped all day. Now it's 38! Burr! I started the day in flip flops and a t-shirt. Thank you! I love looking back on older pictures. I hope your day was good!

  11. Up until this week, our weather has been really warm too! Last Monday was 70 degrees and the rest of the week was around 60!!!! As much as I love that, we need snow! Our fire season was bad last summer and we don't want a repeat. Actually, we had some bad wildfires out here LAST WEEK! One, on Thursday, burned down 30 buildings and homes. :(

    I LOVE that picture of the boys IN the freezer, LOL!!!!!!!!!

    Glad you had a nice weekend. Shopping with your mom and sister looks like so much fun.

    1. When I think of Montana, I do not think of warmer Temps in December! I hope you get lots of snow so there aren't wildfires again! That's scary.

      Thanks, Bri! Isn't that hilarious? I smile every time I see it.

      We always have fun together! I feel so fortunate to spend time with them each week. ❤


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