Saturday, December 29, 2007

Vino Anyone?

There is a neat little winery down the road from Montgomery and Jason and I have been wanting to visit it for a long while now. Today was a lazy Saturday for us and Jason suggested we go. So, we loaded up Eli and headed to Clanton, Alabama home of The Winery on Main. Clanton is 45 minutes from Montgomery and is in Chilton County, which is best known for it's peaches. In fact, if you're driving on I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham you'll see a giant peach in the sky, which is the water tower in Clanton. Not a lot going on in downtown Clanton today, but we did find a locally owned Southwestern grill and enjoyed a great meal of quesadillas and steak before going next door to the winery. (yes, the winery is downtown -- this ain't exactly Napa). We tasted a nice sampling of intense, robust reds and light, fruity blends. We both liked the same red and the same fruity so we got some of both. The red is a Henry VIII and is a bold blend of Syrah, Cab, and Viognier. The fruity is the Prince of Wales, a Blackberry Merlot. (yes, I liked the names too)
Eli just had milk, a nice 2007 vintage, light with a hint of cream.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

Jason and I just got back from seeing Charlie Wilson's War. It was my request and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We think it's the first movie we've seen since we saw We Are Marshall last Christmas (excellent movie, by the way). For this girl who used to go to movies most every weekend, that is quite a long time! I loved the movie, it was just what I wanted it to be. Of course Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Phillip Seymore Hoffman were extraordinary. The movie is about a liberal US Congressman from east Texas (Hanks) who, along with a conservative millionairess (Roberts), and a CIA operative (Hoffman) fund and orchestrate a covert war between the Afghan mujaheddin and the Soviets who had invaded Afghanistan during the Cold War. Based on a true story, Charlie Wilson's War is an entertaining and informative look at contemporary history. Some Reagan administration officials have criticized the movie for its linkage of the CIA backed, Congressionally funded Afghan war against the Soviets to the rise of the Islamic extremists who carried out the attacks of 9/11. I might have misunderstood this, but based on an article I read I think the movie producers cut out a portion of the movie that overtly linked the two events. In the final cut, there is just a quick reference at the end of the movie when Hoffman tells Hanks "we shall see" what the long term implications are of their actions in Afghanistan.
This movie is a prime example of why I love the study of history. Historical events are inextricably linked, like it or not. It was difficult for the players in the 1980s who were trying to halt the spread of Communism to imagine the jihadist influenced terrorist attacks of 2001, however, from the vantage point of history we can see the link fairly easily. Thus we are encouraged to think of present events in terms of future consequences because of what the past has taught us.
I must add one caveat to my ravings about Charlie Wilson's War. It is rated 'R' for a good reason. Having worked in DC for several years, I can attest that the language used in the movie reflects everything I heard on Capitol Hill. I told Jason it made the movie more realistic to me but it was bad. Beyond that, it made me really miss DC. My experience there was life changing and has not since been matched. It is a place of power where the impossible can happen, and often does. Cheers to the exciting life inside the beltway and cheers to Charlie Wilson's War.

Christmas Morning 2007

It is sleeting outside, so Hugh & Grant are enjoying one of their new dvds and Eli is napping. We had a wonderful Christmas morning. Grant got up first, Hugh was close to follow. Eli didn't wake up until almost 8:30 so we started without him. He was tired from his big day yesterday. We ate cheese biscuits and blueberry muffins and opened our gifts. We will have a relaxing day, the boys will play with their toys and Jason and I will enjoy having all of our family together. My folks will probably stop by later today to see what everyone got. Then tonight Jason and I are going to go see the movie Charlie Wilson's War. A tradition my girlfriend April and I always had was to go see a movie on Christmas Night. So, that was my request. Eli is going to stay with his grandparents while Jason and I have a Christmas night date. It's supposed to be a good movie, I'll give my review tomorrow. Here are some pics of our fun morning!

Hugh got a set of golf clubsGrant got a bb gun
Josey got a stuffed reindeer
Eli got a ball
Jason got some tools & Ronda (not pictured) got some beautiful gold plumeria earrings!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve afternoon we all took Eli to get his picture made with Santa Claus, he loved it! Everyone keeps asking me "did he cry"? I guess that is a normal reaction for babies when they see a crazy old man dressed in red with a big white beard reaching for them. Eli did fine. He and Santa posed like professionals. Afterwards we went over to Starbucks and everyone enjoyed a holiday beverage. Jason had a White Chocolate Mocha, I had an Eggnog Latte, and Hugh & Grant each had a peppermint hot cocoa. Eli was happy just to be there. Then we went to our service at church, which has become a tradition with our family. We sing, hear a short message then each family goes down front to take Communion with one of our church ministers. They have about 6 ministers down front so it goes quickly, as there are always a lot of people there. While we wait on the other families, Jason and I always reflect on our year. We are always overwhelmed with how blessed we are, and how each year keeps getting better for us. God is so gracious. After church we had a delicious supper at mother and daddy's and exchanged gifts. It is always a fun time there! On our way home, we stopped by a house in our neighborhood that does a HUGE Christmas display in their yard, music going, the whole nine yards. They had even started a small bonfire and were letting everyone roast marshmallows. We took a picture of H&G with their Mr. & Mrs. Claus.
Well, two of our three boys just got up so we're off to open presents!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas Eve!

We sure hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas Eve. We just finished our traditional Christmas breakfast of red & green chocolate chip pancakes. Now we're watching cartoons before getting ready to take Eli to get his picture made with Santa Claus! This evening we will go to a candlelight service at church, then to my folks' house for supper and a gift exchange.
You'll be glad to know Hugh got a good night sleep last night. I think he wondered what I was doing waking him up in the middle of the night to check on him cause he was sleeping just fine! His head is sore today, but he's not complaining or in a lot of pain. We'll just keep taking it easy and have a relaxing day.
Eli is napping right now, resting up for his big meeting with Santa this afternoon. Wonder if he'll remember meeting Santa at Shoney's last month?! I'll make sure to share his first Santa pic. with you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Hugh and Grant were at the driving range with Jason this afternoon and Hugh walked into Grant's 7 iron. Hugh told his Daddy, "Grant put a hole in my head". Sure enough, it was a pretty bad gash. Jason took Hugh to the ER and it took three layers of stitches to fix his head. In fact, you could see all the way to Hugh's skull. Praise God the CT scan indicated all was well beyond the cut. Hugh is home now, cuddled up on the couch watching movies with his contrite brother. He requested we grill steaks for supper, so Jason is getting that ready. Then we'll have Christmas cookies and hot cocoa for dessert. He has to take it easy for a couple days then go back to the doctor next week. Here's a picture of Hugh at the hospital then both boys at the house.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Candyland Christmas!

Every year Hugh, Grant, and I have a tradition of making Candyland Christmas Trees. My girlfriend April gave me the idea. We cover styrofoam cones with frosting then stick on candy (usually leftover from Halloween). This year we decided to mix some food coloring into the frosting. I think they're the best trees yet! Tonight is our first night of our holiday celebrations...we've got lots more fun things to do!
I thought it would be fun to share pictures of all three years of our Candyland Trees, starting with 2005:


Monday, December 17, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mary Emmette "Memmette" Claunch

I wanted to share this obituary with you.  This is Jason's aunt, his mother's
sister. It is also the grandmother of my dear friends Tammy Claunch Matte
and Thomas Claunch. It was on my visits to see Memmette and Aunt Carole
with Tammy & Thomas that I met Jason.
Memmette will be sorely missed.
CLAUNCH, Mary Emmette ''Memmette'', a resident of Hayneville, Alabama, completed her long race and joined the cloud of witnesses on December 11, 2007. Celebration services will be held in Hayneville, Alabama on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 11:00 A.M. from the Christian / Methodist Church with Ministers Mark Jackson, Dale Braxton and Tim Steward officiating. Burial will follow in the Mt. Willing Cemetery. Mrs. Claunch was preceded in death by her husband Thomas Howard Claunch (Col., U.S. Army Retired). She is survived by her daughter, Carole Claunch Scrushy of Hayneville; two sons, Thomas Howard Claunch, Jr. of Hayneville, James Emmett (Sharon) Claunch of Panama City, Florida; one sister, Jane (Robert) Crum Walker of Hueytown; two brothers, James Colvin Crum of Lowndesboro, Edward (Barbara) Craig Crum of Auburn; nine grandchildren, Traci (T.R.) Bowser, Jonathan (Kristi) Claunch, Mary (Lane) Davis, Joshua D. Claunch, Thomas H. Claunch, III, Tamara (Paul) Matte, Sonya Belle (Ray) Abner, Kathleen Leigh Scrushy, Emmett Claunch (Brenda) Scrushy; five great-grandchildren, Will Abner, AnnaBelle Marie Abner, Taylor Ryan Bowser, Mallory Belle Matte, Michael Paul Matte; one very special family member, Catherine ''Cat'' Cannion. Visitation will be held on Friday, December 14, 2007 from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at White Chapel Funeral Home. Pallbearers will be, Paul E. Crum, Gene Dismukes, Richard V. Harrell, Jr., Jason Walker, Robert (Edward) Crum and Dwight Julian. Honorary Pallbearers will be Ted Bozeman, M. E. Marlette and the Men of the Christian/Methodist Church. ''Memmette'' will lie in state one hour prior to the service on Saturday- at 10:00 A.M.. In lieu of flowers the family request that memorials be made to the Hayneville Christian Church. White Chapel-Greenwood Funeral Home Directing

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Sick Baby

Josey has been shaking her head vigorously the past 3-4 days so Eli and I took her to the doctor today. Jason met us there since I can't manage a 6 month old baby and a 65 pound puppy at the same time! Poor Josey has a bad double ear infection. They gave her a shot and cleaned out her ears really well and now we have to put drops in her ears twice a day for the next week then go get them checked again. Hopefully the drops will clear it up. When we got home she ran outside, still shaking her head, to play in the yard and enjoy the 80 degree temps.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I love a Saturday

Today was just wonderful. We got to sleep in, which is always great. Eli usually sleeps until 8:00AM, so this morning I did too. Jason and Josey got up around 7:00. Of course after Josey took a bathroom break and ate a little she came back to bed and snuggled with me. Jason fed Eli his bottle while I scrambled some eggs. After breakfast and Eli playtime I went to the YMCA, something I do 4-5 times every week (no, it hasn't paid off yet). When I got home we basically had a wonderful day at the house cleaning up a little, finishing up the Christmas decorating, and playing with Eli. For supper Jason fried up some of his world famous chicken wings and we ate those while watching the Alabama High School 6A Championship game. Congrats to the Prattville Lions for their second straight Championship! Now Jason is cleaning up the kitchen and I'm blogging (YES, I have an exceptionally wonderful husband).
It has been such a nice, relaxing day. I highly recommend you take some time out of your undoubtedly busy holiday schedule and just spend some time with your family at home. Sit around and look at your tree, race each other to the mailbox to check for Christmas cards, watch Christmas movies, take a walk. Whatever is fun and relaxing for you and your family. No need to overplan our lives.
That's my new soapbox, what do you think?
Merry Saturday!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Great, Easy Recipe

My friend Kim recently brought this dip to a Sunday school class picnic. I asked her for the recipe and wanted to share it because I just loved it, and it's easy, which I also love! It's great for parties, tailgating, or just to have around the house.

Black Bean Dip
2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kernal corn drained
1 can petite diced tomatoes or Rotel, undrained (I recommend the Rotel)
1/4 - 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (do it to taste)
1 Package Dry Salsa Seasoning mix (made by Concord), you can get it in the produce section at Brunos.
It is one of those recipes you can add stuff to, (cilantro, onions, green peppers) whatever you like.
Mix all ingredients and serve with your favorite chips.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Decorations

We have our Christmas decorations up and I wanted to share them. We keep it pretty simple. If you're wondering why we only have 4 stockings on the mantle, we've just got one for each of the kids. Not pictured are the small trees we have in Jason's room (our 2nd den) and the boys' room. The boys like to leave their tree up year round. Our big tree is real. Every year Jason picks out a beautiful tree for us, (that pine smells so good!) And last year I went old school and bought the colored lights. Nothing is better than sitting in a dark room enjoying the glow of those colored lights!

Monday, December 3, 2007


Jason took the boys out to his boss' hunting land for an afternoon of shooting and 4-wheeling on Saturday. When it was time to leave they wanted to know when they will get to go back! Meanwhile, Eli got to see his first ever Christmas tree...maybe next year he'll get to enjoy guy time.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ahhhh Sugar, Sugar

Congratulations to the University of Hawaii Warriors who are Sugar Bowl bound! UH will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs on January 1 in New Orleans.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Motley Crue

Every year Jason's mother gets a portrait done of all of her grandchildren. After we were done with pictures today, on a whim all the kids threw on some dress up clothes and we got this picture. Isn't it fun?! I've put some of the other poses below. You can see in the last one that Eli was DONE with sitting on the floor!

Rob & Joy's kids Emme, Luke & Jackson
Craig with Bailey & Carson

This is my girlfriend Mai Ly's daughter, Arwen. Is she the most adorable little girl in the world OR WHAT?!?! This is a picture of her enjoying a Starbuck's cocoa. Check out her mom's Hawaii Starbuck's blog linked on my page. Funny stuff.
Some of you might remember, Arwen was at mine and Jason's wedding when she was only 4 months old (kudos to Mai Ly for traveling from Hawaii to Alabama with a baby!) Arwen is 3 years old now and I can't wait to see her and her mom in January!