Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy New Year!

We rang in the new year with dinner at our favorite restaurant, Bricktops, then played Christmas Pictionary and Wii dancing at the Sonn house.

Strike a pose!

Ian was trying to pop the champagne can see I was scared for my life.
He was right on the time though, microwave behind him says 12am!

Bring it 2012!

Best and Worst of 2011

Best of 2011
  • Made some new friends!
  • Joined a great new church and small group
  • Attended my 10 year high school reunion
  • Babies -
    • BFF Jessica Tuten welcomed Briggs into the world in May
    • Laura Bargatze is preggers, coming July 2012
    • Amanda Lomas welcomed Paisley into the world in July
    • Jessica Haeuptle welcomed Stella into the world in November
    • Elizabeth Bullen is in the midst of the adotpion process for Mathieu
  • Travel
    • Maggie Valley
    • Stooksbury Family Vacation to Myrtle Beach
    • Grand Canyon
    • Hoover Dam
    • Las Vegas
    • Orlando
    • Atlanta
    • Marco Island
    • 3 trips to Ft. Lauderdale / Miami
    • 2 trips to Phoenix
    • 2 trips to Mexico
Worst of 2011
  • Broke my tailbone while snowboarding
  • Broke my back jumping off a cliff into the lake
  • Friday Night Lights ended (I still miss Coach Taylor)
So very thankful my worst category is  limited but this year my goal is to make it even shorter AND to eliminate the word broke.

Now THAT is a treehouse!

On the way back home after Christmas Mark and I stopped to see the world's largest treehouse. A friend told me about this and I was so surprised to hear that it was so close to home. You can read the story here. I love to see unique places/things so I was anxious to stop on our way through Crossville. Mark is scared of heights so we didn't make it to the top but it was still so impressive to see.

Oh.....there it is!

2011 Christmas

This year we got to spend Christmas Day with my family so we went to Bradley and Casey's on Christmas Eve so we could see the kids with Santa on Christmas morning.

Santa did not disappoint....the boys were so surprised (after we finally woke Drew up)! They got several toys but the most exciting thing was a drum set and their own bean bags for the play room. I wonder if Santa regrets that drum set yet?

We got to visit with Granny Jessie too!

We had lunch at Mamaw Butler's then headed to mom and dad's for a nap and gifts!

2011 Christmas Party

We kicked off the Christmas season with our annual party held at our house. We always have such a great time and this year was no different. We had a huge crowd of over 30 guests which included a night of food, fun, dirty santa and Wii dancing!

I'm so glad my friends accommodate me and my picture-craze. I love having a group picture!

And we ended the night with Wii dancing, a little Michael Jackon, some Black Eyed Peas and Dance 3!

Small Group, Large Friendships

When Mark and I joined our new church we immediately wanted to get involved with a small group. That was just a little over a year ago.  We walked the "small group tradeshow" and felt a connection with a young couple in their late 20s/early 30s. We went home and talked about it and decided we wanted to join their group. Elizabeth looked so familiar and so did her name on paper. We were going to be traveling the next Sunday so I emailed the church and told them we wanted to join the Bullen small group. Well Elizabeth Bullen emailed me right away. I responded from my work email and we finally realized we DID know of each other already. We are in the same professional organization! So that was a connection right off!

The small group included 4 other couples in the same life stage as us and totally hit it off. We have been blessed with such an amazing group that encourages us, laughs with us, keeps us accountable, prays with and for us, we serve together, we study the bible, celebrate birthdays, births, career accomplishments, we share Thanksgiving dinner, etc.I'm looking forward to the friendships that continue to grow, seeing each one of us grow spiritually, and the changes that will occur as we go through life!

Love you all!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photo 20: Routine

Mark and I have started a new daily bible study, Night Light. It's just a short devotion we do at night that gives us just a few minutes with each other and God before we turn in for the night.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza

This year we went to Rockwood for Thanksgiving. Shopping on Black Friday is a regular event for me and mom and this year was no different, well it was somewhat different.......We go shopping whether we have anything major on our list or not. This year Casey had several things on her list for the boys so she was on board. This was the year in which many stores opened early Thursday night or at midnight. So we got our (somewhat) game plan together and hit the stores. We started at Toys R Us at 7pm on Thursday night. We were probably 30th in line and the doors didn't open until 9pm. It was cold but not unbearable so that helped. We each memorized the list and were ready to shop once those doors opened. Well, that store was probably the quickest of them all. We were in and out very quickly. We were so hungry since we really hadn't eaten since lunch. So about 10:30pm we headed to IHOP. There we refueled and headed to Kohl's, which opened at midnight. We've learned in years past to get in line immediately and then we'll take turns shopping. By the time we reach the cash register we'll be ready and it won't seem like we've been standing in line so long. So we did just that. It's hard to remember but I think after that we went to Target. We weren't really looking for anything but we were there just to kill the time until Belk opened at 3am. Here is where Casey bailed on us - she just couldn't hang. :)  So we did find some things we "needed" so the line at Target was probably the longest line we stood in all, night. We then made it to Belk and needed to hit Penney's when they opened at 4am. There weren't any doorbusters we needed at Penney's so we decided to take a nap in the parking lot. We then carried on our shopping spree to other stores and finally made it back to Rockwood around 11am Friday morning. Dad and Mark were installing a new front door for mom and dad. Thank goodness, that allowed me to nap until Mark was ready to hit the road back home. It took me all weekend to recoup. We had a great time, as always, but we HATE going at (or before) midnight. It was so hard. Neither one of us do well with no sleep. So, it's decided, if there is nothing we "need" we are waiting until 4-5am to get started, as we've done in previous years. I'm afraid one day soon Black Friday will be a thing of the past. That my friends will be a sad day.

Lucky Ladd Farms 2011

We couldn't miss our annual trip to Lucky Ladd Farms with the boys. We had such a fun time on the farm. This year Alex was much more into it. He just loves animals, it was hard to get him to keep up! He would have spent hours with the first goat we saw. :)  We always enjoy having them visit! We need to do it more often.

Phoenix to Las Vegas

Back in October I was in Phoenix for work and mom flew out to meet me for a little road trip. We began our drive in Phoenix and ended up in Vegas baby!

Our first stop was Sedona. Here we took a Pink Jeep Tour of the red rock. This was so fun and we had a great tour guide. There were some awesome photo opps and of course it was much prettier in person. The red rock just has such a pretty color. We had some duds in our jeep that I thought would keep us from having a fun ride but they turned out ok. Thankfully we went over some huge rocks that kept the tour interesting. My friend, Laura, had taken this tour a few months earlier and suggested I sit in the front seat since I had just gotten out of my back brace. I think I had the best seat in the house! We finished the time in Sedona by checking out the little shops and having a fried cactus snack. Then we hit the road for the Grand Canyon.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon very late that night and were starving! There wasn't much in this little town but we did find a Pizza Hut that definitely hit the spot. Our plan was to see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon so we had an early start the next day. Since we were exhausted we had a great night's rest. We got the Grand Canyon National Park and were so surprised that we pretty much just drove right up. I'm not sure what we expected but we were right there all of a sudden. We had a great spot to see the sunrise! It was definitely God's hand at work. As planned, we didn't really spend a lot of time there. It's one of those things, once you see it, you've seen it. We went to El Tovar Resort for breakfast and had a nice view over the canyon while sitting by the fire.  Then we took one more stroll by the canyon before heading on our way to Hoover Dam.

Throughout our entire drive, this is pretty much what we saw....flat. brown. desert.

 I've heard the road to Hoover Dam used to be a nightmare however, now they have made some great changes so it was a breeze. They've built a bypass so if you want to stop at the Dam, you can. If not, you won't get hung up in all that traffic. So we got there late that afternoon and man it sure was something to see. It was so interesting to see the stats of the building of the bridge. Hard to believe man can build such a thing.

So finally we reached Las Vegas, Sin City, The City of Lights. I've been there many times but it was fun to see it with mom. Again, we arrived starving. We stayed at Mandalay Bay so we just got something to eat in the hotel. We were planning to hit the ground running to see the city! We bought tickets for the double-decker tour bus, we thought this would help with some of the walking and the guides are usually pretty good about sharing some history and interesting facts that you wouldn't hear if just walking on the streets. We rode all the way down the strip then walked all the way back. Now, if you know Vegas, Mandalay Bay is at the very end, I mean the very end, of the strip so it took a toll on us but we made it. We then ended the day with dinner at Lavo and then saw Jersey Boys.

We had such a great girls trip - we should definitely do it more often! Thanks for such an amazing time and making some lasting memories, Mom!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Photo 20: From A Distance

Tonight I took some pictures of the moon while grilling our burgers for dinner.