Category Archives: cj

blackwelder beach trip 2014

this post is about a year late…but here it is anyways.

we joined andy’s family at the beach again last summer and got to spend some time away from work and with family.

the drive down was long (it always is) but the views were beautiful and then we hit a ton of rain!

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we went dolphin sight seeing.  most of my pictures are of dark specks in the ocean but there are a few that turned out.  ellen was less than impressed but she had a great nap.

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cj told us that she saw three pirates.  we didn’t see them, but she saw them.  i think they were nice pirates because she waved once and then that was it.  they showed us some “trash” that the shrimp boats get and that included a baby shark and andy and cj where thrilled.

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we had fun at the beach playing in the ocean and in the sand and before we know it beach trip 2015 will be here for more sun and sand!

Dec. 2013

if November was long and exhausting December was just as crazy.

that tree that we brought home from charlotte got put up (not really in a timely manner but it got put up and decorated (finally).  each year at Christmas we have a real tree.  i grew up in a home with a fake tree (we always traveled at Christmas so it didn’t make sense to have a real one) and andy grew up in a family that had a real tree.  we compromised and now we have a real tree (the compromise is that andy will water the devil out of the tree because i am so scared it will catch on fire – too much rescue 911 as a child).  back to my point…each year when andy brings the real tree in the house Otis gets so excited his entire butt wags.  this year he seemed overly excited so we sat him down and explained that the tree wasn’t his and he wrinkled his forehead and dropped his ears and looked at me like i ruined his life.

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dec 5th would have been leslie’s 30 birthday.  i can’t believe it.  i miss her so much.  on top of being a little sad anyways it was a day from hell at work.  there were cancelled clinics, emergency case to go to surgery, bumped surgeries because of the emergencies, rude people and nothing went right.  tension was high among all and at the end of the day we all just looked at each other and shook our heads.  it was a train wreck of the day and i was glad to get home and be off that train for a night.  i will say with as bad of a day as it was my coworkers are rock stars and make even the worst day manageable.

the next day i was freaking out because i couldn’t find my camera cord.  i looked everywhere and called all of the places i had been to make sure it didn’t magically jump out of my camera bag.  this panic went on for a few weeks.  (no worries i found it after a few weeks – in my bag that i never unpacked from thanksgiving – that will teach me to not unpack).

dec 7th dr. scott (nat) took the girls to Asheville for our Christmas gift.  we did some shopping and went to grove park inn for dinner.  it was so much fun to hang out with all of the ladies outside of work.  we shopped until we almost dropped and thankfully we ran out of time because we ran out of room in the van.  on the way home we ran into some thick fog and thought we were going to die…but we didn’t.  we laughed and laughed.  i love these ladies!

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i bought a lawn ornament (ok yes i did but i love it and i have no shame).  it is a tobacco stick with two old records melted and painted to look like a flower.  i will post pictures this spring when andy lets me put it in the yard.  he wasn’t all that excited about it.

we put out Christmas decorations.  each year a little more gets added to our yard and i LOVE it.  this year we added a little snowman and some deer to the doghouse and the word noel.  it looked so great.  the wind was really bad so we had some issues with our big snowman and the deer but it all worked out.  one night when i was doing laundry i heard the wind blowing really hard and looked out the window and saw that a deer fell over and the snowman had his head blown back and arms out so it looked like he was praying for the deer.  it was really funny (or maybe you had to be there).

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i will share other Christmas decoration photos of the inside of the house soon (in another post).

Otis had a seizure on thee 21st.  he seems to be doing ok with it and had no lingering effects.  just slows him down for a little bit.  i had this long to do list and in the middle of being productive he had the seizure.

other big news in dec is that we updated our phones.  we both now have iPhones.  i no longer have a flip phone.  it has been a little weird.  i still don’t really use it other than to call, text, and take some pictures.  i don’t really use the internet or anything that will use up data.  just don’t feel right about that for some reason.

we went to a surprise graduation party for david (nat’s husband).

we had Christmas here.  Otis got boots and hated them.  once we get his nails trimmed we will post a video of him wearing them.  he played with Bryson.  they ran in the house and chased each other.  they howled and screamed together.  it was really funny.  my grandmother got a headlight and it was so funny to watch her and my great-aunt open gifts.  Otis also had a blast playing and wouldn’t share with dad even when he got in the floor to play with him.  we were also very thankful that Andrew got back to the states.  he was deployed overseas and it was great to see him and to know that he is “home.”

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we went to charlotte for Christmas.  we had fun with the family.  andy, erik, and Katie got hornets gear and had fun reminiscing with that!  we got the girls a bug this year (ellen is too young to use it but it should last until she is older so that they will get a lot of years out of it.  cj isn’t so good at driving (at least she wasn’t when she got it) hopefully she will get better before she turns 16!

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andy also decided to do no shave november and i didn’t notice until the middle of dec that he still didn’t shave – so he looked pretty shaggy.

a little cousin was born in december:  logan ross made his appearance and him and his mama are healthy and his daddy is proud.

church was crazy.  we had a ton of events that seemed to be unending.  we had the progressive dinners for the youth as well as a ton of special services.

as much as i enjoyed seeing family and friends this wasn’t the best December.  it just went by too quickly and i felt like i wasn’t able to enjoy it like years past.  we didn’t get any Christmas cards out this year and i hate that.  i felt like we rushed and scrambled to “do” Christmas and all we accomplished was barely surviving it.

to celebrate enduring the end of a crazy year, 2013, we went to the cabin for new years eve to relax.  we did nothing but relax.  we went shopping one day for a little bit but the other time we spent playing a new great game – crack the code on the dvd player.  it was bought at an auction and has a parental lock on the dvd player and we couldn’t watch any of our new movies.  we still have a great time.  Otis woke me up one morning and i got to see the sunrise.

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happy end of 2013 and beginning of 2014

nov. 2013

 November was a long month in many ways.

my mom and dad both have birthdays in November.  dad the 5th and mom the 18th.

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(my mom was awarded nurse of the year!  ok maybe not but she should be!  she was awarded for being at the hospital for so long)

i cried my first time (maybe second time) at work (i mean really cried) because i was so angry at a mean person who wouldn’t stop yelling at me it just frustrated me to tears.  it was also a time i was reminded at how awesome it is to work with wonderful people.

one morning we got a call that my aunt ann passed away.  November 19th.  (i am going to get on a soap box for a few minutes…sorry in advance – listen to your doctors and communicate with your family).  ann was my only “real” aunt.  my mom was an only child and my dad only had the one sister.  sure i had several great aunts but she was my only real aunt.  i have so many memories of her – good and not great.  i can remember when we stayed in tn for part of the summer that sometimes we got lucky and would go to her house to eat dinner and spend the night (if my grandparents had meetings).  we would make personal pizzas from scratch and would set up our tables (ironing board with a sheet over it) and would watch movies with her.  it was something that we didn’t get to do often, but will and i enjoyed it when we got to.  i remember baking with her growing up.  i remember helping at the green house when i was little (planting and helping deliver).  i remember many conversations with her and her support.

there are some iffy memories in there too that aren’t as positive…i remember the time that i offered to help her at the green house after we moved and she snickered and laughed at me because it “wasn’t my thing” and the unending comments about city people and country people.  but in a time of mourning and death i think it is customary to try to push those out of ones mind.  looking back those things don’t change the fact that she was my aunt and i loved her and i will miss her.

the other day we were standing in the green house and it was very surreal (as death is to me) knowing that she isn’t coming back.  i looked around and part of me was mad that she didn’t take care of herself better and that she wouldn’t listen to what the doctors told her and she was so guarded with her personal life that nothing we could say would change her mind about that.  that was who she was and at her funeral that was the message that we got.  even in her stubbornness she was who she was.  in those moments of anger it made me think of her funeral and at her funeral we laughed.  we told Jamie to keep it light and real and he did.  it was the most beautiful memorial service and the perfect send off.  in the good and not great, and the anger and laughter, and expectations met and not met there was love and at the end of the day that is what i choose to cling to.

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my aunt was an organ donor at the time she passed away and i was the one that talked to the screening people at the donation organization.  i am an organ donor because i like the idea and thoughts behind it.  i will be honest i never really knew what that meant.  i never really thought about what that means for the people that are left behind.  while i understand completely the need for the questions i was asked, somewhere in the middle of the million and a half questions i thought i have no idea on some of these answers.  on my soap box i would like to tell everyone and anyone who will listen – talk to your family…make sure they know your history and wishes as detailed as possible.  after i got off the phone (an hour conversation) i was exhausted.

will came for the memorial service (actually the service was delayed 10 minutes waiting on him since his plane was delayed.  we took him to the farm and it was so funny.  the ganged up on him and tried to take the treats.  i will post pics of the farm in another post.  but here are a few with the family.

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it snowed.

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church harvest auction with guests jed and lisa.

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thanksgiving happened. it was later this year and to be honest it was bad.  it made me lose a week before Christmas and that was so bad.  we went to charlotte for thanksgiving and it was great to see family and friends.  andy was glad to see tall buildings.  we got to see cj and ellen which is always fun and an adventure.  i had another allergic reaction to thanksgiving dinner but i was prepared and had medicine on hand to stop the itching.  i think i have it narrowed down to what dish i am allergic too, but still researching that.  who knows?!  cj wanted to take pictures with my camera.  i only had a mild heart attack when she almost dropped it so from now on if she has my camera the strap has to stay around her neck (she is ok with this).  she took mostly blurry photos and picks of people’s knees but with a little help she can center people and take a good photo.

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we also went black Friday shopping.  it was great to be so close to stores…

we also got our tree from the church and brought it back to tn with us.  it was really funny watching all of the cars go back towards charlotte with trees from the mountains and we left charlotte and took our tree to the mountains.  it was very scary for me.  i had a slight freak out when we left charlotte and could envision our tree rolling off the top and taking out all the cars around us.  so i kept an eye on it.

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we made it home with no trouble.

the only other thing i can think of is that andy trashed ace of base (i love ace of base and am still slightly upset over that) but, that pretty much wraps up an exhausting November.

blackwelder beach trip

a few summers ago we went to sunset beach with andy’s family.  we took a few summers off but we went back this year.

did you know that it is a LONG ride to the beach from greeneville?  it wouldn’t have been so bad i don’t think but we went through charlotte and i think my brain was used to get to charlotte = you are there.  but that wasn’t the case…we were only half way there.  andy and i have always been ok in the car together (our longest trip was to orlando and miami last may) but this trip really made me frustrated – not at andy but just at being in the car for so long and being ready to be out of it!

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we got there and it started to rain like crazy and was flooding!  it was crazy!  we had a blast spending time shopping, relaxing, with family and playing.

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too cool

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andy (the perfectionist) colored with cj…

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we went to dinner the last night andy and I were there and cj started crying because she couldn’t come with us to see the cow.  we went and got ice cream and there was a fake cow out front and that was good enough for her!

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weekend highlight: pow, wow, and holy cow

something we have done with different youth groups (usually in sunday school or back home group meetings at camp) is to list your pow (worst thing about the day/week), wow (best part of day/week), and holy cow (time that you felt closet to God…like holy cow that was amazing).  since this weekend was a long one with a lot of things going on i think that this is the best way to do this past weekend update.

friday.5/24/13:

wow: got to see 7 youth graduate from GHS (2 of them spoke at it) and the graduates got to throw their caps and spray each other with silly string!

pow: wanted to get to bed early so we could be on the road early – but still got in bed really late.

holy cow: the moon was amazing as we were leaving.  we saw it coming over the mountain and it was a simply beautiful reminder to me that God is good. 

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saturday.5/25/13:

wow: we got to go back to charlotte and left on time (for us).

pow: it was a long drive because otis didn’t want to ride in the back and because he wouldn’t lay down on my lap.

holy cow: being surrounded by family and friends. 

sunday.5/26/13:

wow: got to hang out with everyone at the track and had a great breakfast. 

pow: didn’t win the race pool and made cj (our niece cry) – she was tired and ready to leave and i messed with her anyways.  😦

holy cow: two of the youth from monroe came to eat with us and see us and it was a great reminder of the time we spent with them and the faith journey we all went on together.  

monday.5/27/13:

wow: hung out with sandy and ginger, otis slept in the back of the car the entire way home, stopped at montreat and black mountain (got a new pair of sun glasses), no work which means a short work week! 

pow: traffic was bad and a ton of police were out and i was nervous (but thankfully we didn’t get pulled over or that would have been worse) and i helped andy make his to do list for the week and his pack list for his first summer trip and it made me sad (even though i love lists).  also on this trip there was little time to get together with other people. 

holy cow: going through the gates at montreat.

the rest of this week is going to be crazy.  there is so much to do with andy’s summer ramping up.  we had the pool party (end of year) with the youth and the rest of his nights are full of meetings.  we had a great weekend in charlotte and safe travels and great conversation and visits so even though my post isn’t full of fluff it was still wonderful.