A Special Visit

Kelly and Aunt Livy

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! My girls were up at 5:15am, so we had a LONG morning! After opening gifts (and once the sun finally came up), we loaded up for our annual Christmas morning visit to take the dogs to the beach. I'll share a few pictures of that later in the week, but today, I wanted to tell you about a special visit.

I've talked here about my Great Aunt Livy quite a bit. My last visit to her was in August for her 90th birthday. Since the annual birthday visit has grown from just being me, to being me and the girls and Benny, to now being me, the girls, Benny, and my sister, her husband and daughter AND my father, the August trip has gotten a bit hectic. As we were leaving in August, Aunt Livy quietly told me she missed spending time with me. We've always been each other's favorite! My birthday was earlier this month, and for the first time that I can ever remember, I did not receive a birthday card from Aunt Livy. I called her a few days after my birthday just to check on her, and as soon as she answered the phone, she said, "Oh! I'm so sorry I forgot your birthday!" I told her that was fine! I was just calling because I was worried about her! After that conversation, I started thinking about driving back to up to visit her for Christmas.

Even with the hectic pace that the holidays always bring, I still couldn't get that thought out of my head. So! Christmas afternoon about 2pm, I got in the car and drove up to North Georiga. She's in Rock Springs, about 20 minutes south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I got up there about 9:30pm, and in dense fog, found a hotel. Yesterday morning, I called the nurses at her home (she's in an extended living facility), and told them that I was coming but wanted it to be a surprise. They said, "No problem! We'll make sure she's up and dressed!"

I told them I'd be there around 11am, and when I arrived one of the nurses greeted me at the door and said, "We have her all ready for you! We told her she had a surprise coming, but she thinks we were just trying to get her out of bed!" When I walked in, she was sitting next to the Christmas tree reading some mail, and I snuck up to her and said, "Merry Christmas!" I think if she hadn't had already been sitting down, she would have fallen down!

We spent about three hours together, talking and telling stories, and having a nice lunch in town, just the two of us. One of the things we talked about was my mom, both knowing the time of the year. Today is the 12th anniversary of her death. I know that the reason I am so close to my Aunt Livy is because my mom was so close to my Aunt Livy. I remember so many times with her growing up, and it was so special for the two of us to have this time together alone to share stories and, yes, share some tears.

It was a wonderful three hours, and worth every bit of the nearly-18-hour round-trip drive. I promised Benny I'd get back on the road by 2pm, so that I did. The drive back home took more than nine hours with all the day-after-Christmas traffic, but I'd get in the car and go back tomorrow if she needed me to. Every one needs an "Aunt Livy." I hope you have someone like that in your life.

Notes to Santa...

Note to Santa Sarah 2011

The girls wrote their notes to Santa earlier this week, and they've been taped to the door ever since. I couldn't get a good picture of them on the door because of the glass, so I gently took them down and laid them on the porch for these shots. Aw, the innocence of childhood. I so hope they still believe for years to come. And I can say that I've had a little talk with Santa, and his elves have created two little Sarah and Olivia look alike American Girl dolls. :-)

Note to Santa Olivia 2011

Here in our home, we celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, so Merry Christmas to you, in whatever way you and your family celebrate the day.

Christmas 2011

Eight-Year-Old Computer Graffiti Art

Sarah's Masterpiece

Sarah has discovered the Paint program on my new computer! Here's her first shot at her graffiti art. In case you can't quite read it, it says "Sarah and Mommy Warren."  My last day in the office and the girls' last day at school before the break was last Friday so we've been enjoying our time at home. My dad, his wife Kathy, and my sister Kim, brother-in-law and baby niece were here this last weekend, so Kim and I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen baking. The girls are I seem to be subsisting very well on Snickerdoodles, Molasses Sugar Cookies and Buckeyes this week! Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

A Day at the Office

Secret Santa party 12-13-11

Days at the office have been rather stressful lately (I'll just keep it at that...), so times like the one captured in this picture are precious. Yesterday, we had our office Christmas Party and Secret Santa exchange. Really this is all about my students. My "staff" consists of a whopping four people, and that includes me! Only three of us are in this picture; the fourth was taking the picture (my assistant Angie has been my assistant for 17.5 years, and she becomes a ghost when the camera comes out). The rest are my students...Student Government officers, Student Ambassadors, and office Student Assistants. They are the reason that I attempt to maintain my sanity when other things happening around the College really make me want to pull my hair out. They are a great group! (Did I mention things have been rather stressful lately? My Christmas vacation leave is thankfully only two more days away...deep breaths...deep breaths...).  In this picture, I'm even wearing the owl necklace I shared with you Monday!

Mix It Up Monday: Steampunk Owl

Steampunk owl

Happy Monday! Ours here in North Florida is very rainy and windy, so I hope you are fairing a little better. I actually created this little guy over a month ago and have worn him quite a few times. He gets tons of compliments! I got the idea from Dime Store Emporium, a great little shop that sells lots of fun, inexpensive steampunk and brass findings. I'm not planning on getting into creating steampunk-style jewelry on a regular basis, but I have a few steampunk pieces that I've purchased from other designers that I really enjoy wearing. I wish I had finished this little guy in time for my Chi Omega reunion back in October. We did a great little owl exchange!  I hope you have a wonderful week ahead of you.

December Free Bling

December Free Bling

Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 11 as the winner of my November Free Bling, so congratulations to Catalina from Pomona, California!

As we hit the end of the year, I thought I little piece of Father Time might be appropriate for December's giveaway. Here is my Watching Melrose photo sized down to a 1" glass tile pendant. To be eligible to win, simply visit either of my Etsy shops (here for jewelry and here for photography) and leave a comment in the comment box below with the link to your favorite piece along with a way to reach you and where you’re from by midnight January 5, 2012. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, January 6.

Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday?  Click here to sign up for free weekly email updates or subscribe in the reader of your choice over there in the right column. And be sure to join my Facebook Fan page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

Tuesday Treasury Shout Out: Mama Stowe and FEST

12-6-11 photoandhappy

Thanks to Mama Stowe for including my work in this festive treasury featuring the members of the Florida Etsy Street Team. My tulip photo earrings are second row, first spot, and my red daisy photo is third row, first spot. Thanks Mama Stowe! Visit this treasury is all its clickable wonderfulness here, visit the FEST blog here, and visit Mama Stowe's shop here!