Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We decided to have a first annual tacky Christmas sweater party at Dana's beautiful home this year.  We had a blast hanging with good friends, participating in a White Elephant gift exchange (we brought home a "grow your own herbs" kit), and eating some yummy food.  As usual, there were LOTS of laughs. Check it out!
Julie & Dana...
I cannot even take Brian seriously! And Chels' sweet outfit came from MeMaw, I believe, who probably wore a similar outfit last week to a real Christmas party.
We looked up some tacky sweaters online- they range from $40-$70....seriously????
How much do ya think we can get for this one?
He makes the mock turtleneck look so normal!
Mom found these GREAT sweaters at GoodWill and decorated them for us. Isn't she brilliant? She brought our ideas to life!
How did we NOT win?? So cute!
No one ate any of our candy canes....
Trying to get some action...hah!
Ole Scrooge....
The dogs that you can't see on Dana's vest are named "Daisy" and "Duke"- haha!
Peter won the contest with his elf costume.
All the ladies!
 Please note Ryan & Jon in this pic...two peas in a pod? I think yes!
We are so thankful for our tacky friends!

Our Cottage

I am so grateful we had a full week off at Thanksgiving this year! It was definitely much needed and appreciated.  Dana (who always has the best ideas!)
 found an adorable cottage in the mountains on one of her favorite blogs~ The Nester.  We immediately fell in love with the pictures and booked it for two nights, which was not quite long enough, but still a fun getaway.  I had school the first Saturday of the break up in TN, so Jonathan, Ryan, and Dana met me in Ellijay to pick me up, and off to Waynesville we went! We had dinner at a cute little local Italian restaurant and then headed to Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries for our stay. We arrived at the cottage around 9 to find that the cottage exceeded all of our expectations! It was so quaint and beautifully decorated.  We looked around for awhile, admiring all the creativity, trying to figure out how the owner completed some of the projects. Surely we can do that too, right?
 We spent some time talking and finally decided to check out the hot tub.  It was such a cool view at night.  Unfortunately I spent the majority of our time in the hot tub annoying everyone with my fearful concerns...but geez, there were noises everywhere! (That happens in the mountains.)  There were men talking, flashlights, and gunshots in the woods just above where we were, and they kept coming closer- surely some crazy mountain folk coming to kidnap us! Oh no, just coon hunters. Finally everyone had enough of me and we headed back in for a restful night's sleep.
We woke up around 10 am the next morning. None of us could believe we slept in that late, but it was just so peaceful.  We found a great devotion in the drawer
and enjoyed a special time with Dana and Ryan reading about having a thankful attitude.  We also read the devotion that went along with each of our birthdates, and it was interesting to see how the devotion for each dated "fit" each of us.
 We made a yummy breakfast of eggs, sausage, toast, grapes, and coffee, and ate in the screened in porch area so we could enjoy the view. 
After lots more talking an sharing fun stories we decided to head out for a "nature walk."  The downhill walk was easy, but the boys didn't appreciate it burning the calories as much on the way back up. 
After our walk, we headed into town for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.  It was the best sopa de pollo I have ever had! Seriously!

When we returned to the cottage we snuggled up downstairs to watch the Karate Kid. 
Great movie.  For dinner the boys grilled kabobs and shrimp while we sauteed some veggies. 
 For dessert, our favorite, some s'mores over the grill.  Impatience got the best of us and we just used lighters- is that safe? 
We headed back in to play several rounds of Catch Phrase.  Then we decided to make a music video. Hahha!! (what? is that weird?)  Dana used her Mac to record us and and edit it.  It is HYSTERICAL, but a little embarrassing, so only those who we feel would truly appreciate it and not judge us were allowed to see it.  :) Trust me though, it will be looked back on as one of my favorite and most hilarious memories for years to come.  The boys were so into it! I guess they didn't do "stuff" like that with their friends when they were little like all us girls did, but I'm sure they always wanted to, so they finally got to live out their dreams.  We tried it several times, so the outtakes are my favorite part.

We were so sad to leave the next morning. I thought it'd be a good idea to stop at the Dillard House for lunch on the way home, and it was delicious!

 I can't wait till we get to visit "our cottage" again~ sooner than later, hopefully! We are so thankful for such dear friends.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chelsi's ENGAGED!!

So....since she doesn't blog, I have the privilege of blogging about my best friend's proposal story.  Chad contacted me awhile back with plans to propose to Chelsi. He e-mailed me a picture of her gorgeous ring and the cute puppy (sweet Daisy, who is deaf, by the way)

 he bought to surprise her with. I was so EXCITED for her and honored that he asked Jon & I to be a part of the proposal. I was totally impressed...he came up with the coolest scavenger hunt around Athens and invited several of her favorite people to be part of the process.  We missed her brother, Ellis, & his girlfriend though.  We all met in a parking lot to pick up our cards (which had pictures of the two of them on the front, a sweet message on the inside, and a voice recorded clue to the next location for the scavenger hunt) and find out our destination.  He left a card for Chelsi at her condo with the first clue, which told her to head to the dorms where they first met freshman year.  (That's actually when I first met Chad, too.  Isn't it cool how God works?)  Her mom & dad, Scott and April, were waiting at Creswell for her with her next clue.  It led her to us at Mexicali, which is where Chels & Chad had their first jobs together, and where their friendship & relationship really grew.

 She was precious & smiling from ear to ear; and did a good job holding back the tears when she saw us.  I was snapping away with the camera.  Haha, she said "Can you please stop photographing me?" but I know she'll appreciate all those pictures.  We gave her the next card that sent her to the Arches to where her friend/roommate Emily & her fiancee Nick were waiting.  Their clue led Chels to Chad's parents where they often visit and walk the dogs.  Her final clue led her to the chapel at the Botanical Gardens in Athens.  It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day, and all of us gathered to wait for Chelsi's arrival.  Everyone hid down behind the chapel while Jon & I gave Chad a quick pep talk. 
 He seemed extremely confident and calm, but I'm pretty sure it was just a good front.  :)  He was pacing the woods while we waited,
& then we heard Chelsi yelling for him in the distance.  Jon ran to join the rest of the group while I "hid" (in my bright red dress- so elusive I know- but hey, it was game day!) behind a post at the chapel doors.  She totally saw me & called me out...haha.  Oh well, I wanted to be there to capture the moment on film and I did!  She gave Chad a HUGE hug and then he dropped to one knee...It was picture perfect (just wait till you see them).  I couldn't hear him, but I knew what he said because he told me what he was going to say before she got there.  I can't remember it verbatim, so I won't attempt to write it, but it was sweet. 

After she said "YES!" and put that stunning ring on her finger,
 all of their friends and family came out to hug & congratulate the newly engaged couple. 
 We walked around the gardens for a short while, talking, hugging, and taking LOTS of pictures, before heading to DePalma's to enjoy a celebratory supper.  The food was delicious and Jon & I enjoyed the company. 
It was such a special day, and Chelsi is absolutely radiating in the pictures. She will make such a BEAUTIFUL bride and I am so very excited for her and Chad.  They compliment one another really well, so I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for them.  I am so happy for my two friends.  Love ya both! HAPPY PLANNING!!