Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas is Over

I have loved every minute of Christmas.

Our celebrating started the weekend before Christmas with Haley and Austin coming home for the weekend. Bryan and I had a wonderful family Christmas with all of our girls (and Austin). And, we met the new addition to the family for the first time. Puppy Carley spent the weekend with us, too! She is just as sweet as Haley says she is. She was very well behaved, and I think she enjoyed her visit. Our cat was totally freaked out, but we kept any major confrontations from happening. It just took Scooter a day or two after Carley left to get over the shock of being temporarily dethroned.

We traveled to Blairsville on Christmas Eve and stayed until last night. Five whole days of continuous eating. We were all waddling when we got home! We have never been so stuffed! It was a real blessing having such wonderful home-cooked food, but it was definitely time to come home. Any more time in Blairsville and we probably would have exploded. But, visits with the family are always special. Each and every Christmas is memorable, and I know how truly blessed our family really is!

For those that might have been expecting a Christmas card from the Plott's, I apologize. The Christmas cards just didn't materialize this year. With the year we have had, my heart simply was not in to writing the traditional family Christmas letter. Sorry, friends. No Christmas pictures, either. I will definitely try to do better next year.

It was actually nice to get back to routine today. Bryan and I worked while Hannah and Hadrian enjoyed another day of vacation!

Thanks, family, for a wonderful, wonderful, Christmas! As fast as the years fly by now, hopefully we will recuperate before we get to do it all again. Maybe my food will be digested by then! : )

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ready or Not, Christmas is Here!

Christmas is coming sooner than I will be ready at our house! We are celebrating Christmas on Saturday, the 20th. It is so hard to make the rounds and see everyone in such a short amount of time that we have decided to celebrate early. I am really excited that all of our family will be together for the weekend. (We will be meeting puppy Carley for the first time as she makes her first visit to our house!) And, we will have the whole weekend to hang out and chill! Fun!

Last year, Haley and Austin came home. We opened presents. We packed the car and left for Blairsville. It was just way too rushed. And, though we love our time in Blairsville, it seems that we have been cheated out of our own family time at home. So, this year, we are trying the "early Christmas" thing. I think we will all like this better. It will be special time at our house just for us. But, the problem with celebrating early is that I have to be ready early! So, I am frantically trying to finish shopping, wrapping, cleaning, decorating, etc. for the "early event!" Ready or not, here it comes! : )

Haley and Hannah are finished with their classes! Yippee! I am so relieved that another semester is over. I know Haley is busy in Byron getting ready for Christmas. It is so nice to talk to her without the subject of school coming up. I know she is loving it! She had forgotten what it felt like to be free!

Hannah has been so busy with her volunteer work that we barely saw her for days after she finished classes. She has been wrapping gifts outside of WalMart in the freezing cold, staying up all night serving pancakes to students at UGA while they studied for exams, gathering gifts for a needy child, and cooking and serving meals to the homeless in downtown Atlanta. This kid never stops. And, once she finally found some free time, she started wrapping my gifts and helping me with things at home! It is so nice to have her home. I miss Haley being home on a regular basis, but I know she has her own life to attend to. Obviously, this just makes her visits even more special!

Hadrian starts final exams tomorrow through Friday. She is ready to be done with school, but she is really excited about the idea of "early Christmas!" I think her friends are a bit envious that she gets to open her gifts a few days early. What a wonderful reward for getting through those final exams!

I have to mention some wonderful news that we received about Hadrian. She made it to the next round - the state level of competition for the Governors Honors Program. Wow! The competition is so strong in Gwinnett County that we are amazed that she advanced out of the regional level. The Governors Honors Coordinator at Grayson High School spoke to Hadrian today and told her that the judges were extremely impressed. Double Wow! So, on to state competition we go! We will keep you posted, but either way it goes, it is an amazing accomplishment for our baby girl.

Well, considering all I have to get done in a short amount of time, I better quit blogging and start "doing!"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Watch Out for Falling Prices

Wow! I just passed the QT and gas is under $1.50 a gallon. Wasn't it just a short couple of months ago that we were paying over $4 a gallon? Were we not just waiting in gas lines here in Atlanta and didn't care how much we paid as long as we found some gas?! Did we not all think that once gas hit $4.00 a gallon that there would be no turning back?

I have to say that this is a bright spot in my world right now. With everything going wrong with our economy, who would have guessed that gas prices would turn out to be the best thing happening? It is amazing how things can turn around in such a short amount of time. Once the prices started to drop, we would give reports at night about who had seen gas for what price? Each day, the prices have fallen lower and lower! And, they seem to still be falling! I can actually fill up my car without feeling depressed! Hallelujah!

While on the subject of the economy, I have become a fanatic about searching the web and finding great deals and freebies. I didn't know so many deals were available online. I have printed out numerous coupons and have searched daily deals, etc. to do my Christmas shopping.

I will share a couple of things I have found over the past couple of days:

Arby's - Free Regular Roast Beef w/any purchase
Posted 2 days, 22 hours ago
Although we didn't find this deal in time for lunch today, there's still 12 more days to enjoy it. Take this printable coupon to participating Arby's restaurants to receive a free Regular Roast Beef sandwich with any purchase. Valid through 12/14/2008

Office Depot - $10 off $30 in-store purchase coupon
Posted 3 days, 3 hours ago
Stop by your local Office Depot armed with this printable coupon to save $10 on orders of $30 or more. It's valid on most office supplies, and furniture. It won't work on include gift cards, tech or electronic products, postage stamps, and HP ink and toner. Expires 12/08/2008.

New: HP Smart Buy 2-Button Laser Mouse for $4 profit after rebate + free shipping offers the HP Smart Buy 2-Button Laser Mouse, model no. GW405AT, for $16.26 with free shipping. This $20 mail-in rebate yields a net profit of $3.74. That's one of the best mice deals we've seen.

Barnes & Noble retail stores have several printable coupons available. For instance, get a free cookie with beverage purchase via this printable coupon.

New: coupon: Free sample gift set with $30 purchase + free shipping
As part of its 10 Days of Happiness Event, now offers a free sample gift set with any $30 purchase via coupon code "TRIO". With free shipping, that's one of the best deals we've seen from Clinique in recent weeks. The set includes a Repairwear Intensive Night Cream (0.21-oz.), All About Eyes Rich (0.17-oz.), and Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss (0.17-oz.). Deal ends today.

Papa John's Pizza offers a free medium cheese pizza when you sign up for its email list. While not as good as the Facebook-based coupon which expired last month, it's still among the best discounts we've seen from this merchant. Deal expires January 7.

Now, on to personal stuff. All of my girls are winding down their semesters, and we are all a bit stressed with tests, finishing projects, etc.

And, No Shave November is over and done with! : )

Good Luck to our Grayson Rams Football Team tonight as they play Peachtree Ridge in the state semi-finals. Look for Hadrian on TV! (she will be at the game)

Until the next blog . . .