Friday, December 19, 2008


I am just giddy about tomorrow! Tomorrow we will celebrate Christmas with our boys, our little family. They are SUPER siked about it and have been counting down for days. I just can't wait to feel the joy and excitement in our home tomorrow as we make memories. Christmas '08. Even tonight as we put the little ones to bed they we just giddy. Giddy that in 12 hours from now when they will be bouncing on our beds saying, "Is it time, can we open our gifts, can we, can we!" They are definately at the age of surprises, and love every minute of it. So, tonight I'm giddy. My stomach is almost nervous just thinking about their smiles and fun that will hppen in the Vinson home tomorrow! :-)

Just a side note, can I just tell you how much I love hearing Owen pray! The last few nights he has really gotten into it, and I absolutely love hearing his heart unfold in those moments. Precious I tell you!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Card Funnies :-)

Each year I just love trying to capture the season of our life to share with all of you near and far. To make the cards is fun, relaxing, joyful, and creative, but to make the pictures it can be frustrating. Trying to get three little guys to all "pose" is a funny, unrealistic expection in and of itself. God is definatley giving me more of a sense of humor to enjoy them and their sillies where they are at 5,4, and 2. So this year, I had an image in my head as to what would be a cute pic. Well, the pictures we settled on were not what I invisioned... but better. We just had fun traveling around the yard, wearing our infamous crazy hats, changing hats, being silly, and doing things they wanted.

I won't spoil the surprise of opening our card. Not because its ours, just because getting mail this time of year is so fun! So have a laugh on us as you see some of the pics that we saved for a slide show versus our card. :-) Isn't it crazy that the pictures that are usually the ones you want are the ones taken first or last, and not the 50 in the middle:-). At least for us, that was the case this year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sanctuary for our Soul

Chad and I had a wonderful get-away this weekend to Whitestone Cottage Inn. It is a 360 acre sanctuary nestled in the east TN mtns. about 45 minutes from Knoxville. We took off after lunch on Friday and loved the travel with a quiet car. At first it was a little weird (Chad even turned around as we left the driveway and said, "Everyone o.k?" :-), but we quickly settled into the peacefulness. We arrived early evening so it give us some time before appetizers at 6:00, then dinner at 6:30. Our room was in the top of the entrance barn, and then we just walked down to the Farmhouse for the meals. The food was fabulous, scenery fabulous...I mean what's not to love about God's creation?, and the peacefulness that just surrounded us was healing.
We have had an emotionally stretching fall and some friends had given us this getaway which was much needed. We both returned refreshed from lots of sleep, minimal texts, and time together to remind us of how blessed we are to have each other. It so easy for me to forget that as the "dailys" pour on, and the urgent takes front seat.
I would HIGHLY recommend this sweet place for anyone to venture to and slow down. I know we would have hiked more or gotten on the lake had it been warmer, so there's lots to do outside while you're there.

Whitestone Cottage Inn

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Perfect Tree

On the way home from Charlotte, we rekindled a sweet memory of my childhood and visited a Christmas tree farm. Having grown up with an uncle who had trees on his farm that we sometimes cut, this was just yummy! This was Chad and the boys first time and we all had a blast. Since having moved out of NC, we either had not put up a tree, because we were always gone during the holidays, or put up our 4 foot artifical tree which seems to be getting smaller and smaller each year. ha Plus, at this farm we could cut a Frasier Fir, my favorite. The boys loved the hunt, the adventure of hiking the mtn. and the fun of rolling down the hills. Yes, Chad included! Did I say we have 3 or 4 boys? I truly do love his playfulness with the boys :-) So there's to our perfect tree.

Thanksgiving '08

Chad and Haywood workin' on the bridge
Hallsey and Griffin helping with the bridge

Yes, this is me trying to relive the wonder years

Here comes fun.... He loved his big cousins

Haywood showing Owen how to jump a scooter...great?! :-)

Yes, I's past Thanksgiving, but I just wanted to share about our time in North Carolina. We went to my brother's home and spent three days with his family. It was full of non-stop noise and the hum of excitement. Part of each day the boys spent time with Uncle "Bird", Haywood, Hallsey, Hamilton, and Chad down at the river (behind their house) trying to build something! To their dismay, the bridge did collapse when Uncle Bird "tried it out" at the end of the day.

Update on IVEY: She was moved to a regular hospital room on Thanksgiving, and then to a rehab facility on Monday. God has been so good to provide her with healing to start rehab. She still has a long way to go, but seems to be adjusting. Mom visits daily and Ivey is making the most of all the holiday entertainment. They just roll her in and she listens to holiday music from various performers. The rehab takes a lot out of her, but she's a fighter. Thanks for all your prayers and concern.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Girl Talk

I precious friend of mine sent me the link to a wonderfully encouraging blog. It's a blog that inspires, encourages, and loves on moms and women. I would highly recommend you adding this site to your "daily browsings."
Sit back, giggle, relate, and unwind has she speaks to your heart-

Friday, November 21, 2008


This picture was from the week we spent with Mom, Ivey and Grandma Jo at the beach. What a fabulous memory. Unfortunately I don't have a more recent picture of her from their trip out here 2 weeks ago, but oh well. After spending the weekend with us, Mom and Ivey went back to NC and Ivey became more disoreinted and tired. The beginning of this week Mom took her to her dr. and she requested a chest exam due to some wheezing in her lungs. On Tuesday she had a slight trace of pnuemonia in her left lung, but within 12 hours and some antibiotics, it had filled her whole lung. She was rushed to the hospital, UNC, and has been there ever since.

Please pray that her body would continue to respond to the meds, restfulness as it is a struggle to breath, and for the dr. 's discernment. Please pray also for mom, as she is caring for her and spending most of her days with her at the hospital. I am so grateful that we just recently saw her, but I do long to visit her during Thanksgiving.



It is that time again . . . (thanks, Anna)

1- Post Rules on Your Blog
2-Answer the Six "8" Items
3-Let Each Person Know They Have Been Tagged

8 Favorite Shows
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. Numbers
3. The Unit

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Homeschooled Owen
2. Went to a consignment sale
3. Got my haircut (8 in)
4. Did some Christmas shopping
5. Had coffee with a friend
6. Changed a stinky diaper
7. Read books to the boys
8. A few loads of laundry

8 Things I Look Forward To
1. Painting pottery with the boys
2. My date tomorrow with Chad
3. Going to my brother's for Thanksgiving
4. Traveling
5. Decorating for Christmas
6. Seeing Ivey next week
7. A little gateaway coming soon
8. Meeting and loving on my new little neice, Isabella Kate, at Christmas time

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Bonefish
2. Mellow Mushroom
3. Macaroni Grill
4. PF Changs
5. Sam-n-Stus
6. Morels
7. Mom's kitchen
8. Grandma Jo & Grandma Emmie's kitchen

8 Things On My Wish List
1. To see Ivey in the hospital
2. Less laundry
3. A loving attitude all the time
4. One-on-one time with each child
5. A healthy winter
6. Bagels for breakfast
7. New floors
8. Quiet evenings with Chad

8 People To Tag
1. Jen D.
2. Mandy N.
3. Rebekah B.
4. Karen K.
5. Kolby N.
6. Chrystal B.
7. Mandy W.
8. Michelle B.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Future Boy-Brother Band - haha

Yesterday while Chad was getting ready, I caught Tate dancing solo to a certain rap song Chad was playing. (Oh yeah, while Tate was dancing, Owen and Griffin were riding cushions down the stairs. Can you tell it's gotten a little colder in TN? ha) So by the time I got the camera and got one good video, all the boys wanted in on the action. So there's to the latest brother boy band in the making. Check out Tate's facial expressions... they just make me laugh. So, I'm warning you about the giggle and the at the end.

Our past weeks have been full with lots of Fall fun buzzing in our home. Owen is doing really well with reading and writing as well as beginning to draw. Last week we went over to a youth student's home to have "drum lessons." That's a little dramatic, but let me just say that Owen loved it. He was in awe of the full set. The student was trying so hard to help Owen understand playing two parts of the drum in different rythyms. When we came home Owen wanted to know when his next lesson was..can we say..he loves it! So of course the little guys wanted in on the action. I'm so thankful for this opportunity, and just love watching his face light up. We'll see how tomorrow goes with the next "lesson." FYI grandparents, we are good for now WITHOUT our own set :-D

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Nashville Zoo

This morning after some work, Owen and Griffin went upstairs for some playtime together. About an hour later, I was invited to the opening of the "Nashville Zoo." Enjoy their tour and take note as to what happens with the sea creature in this zoo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Time

This prayer was shared with me and I thought it quite appropriate to share with you:

Holy Father, we pray now for the entire election process today. I pray there will be no violence at the polls. I pray protection over the candidates. Restrain evil men from doing harm to either of the men running for office. I pray that the voting machines will work. I pray that everyone who is eligible and wants to vote will have that opportunity and that every vote will be counted. I pray that the winners will celebrate in humility and that the losers will face defeat with grace. And though we thank you for the opportunity to live in a free and democratic nation where our vote counts, let us never put our trust in any person, political party or institution. We trust in Your sovereignty over our nation and we thank you ahead of time for giving us the leaders that you have ordained for this specific time in our history. Let us submit to the governing authorities you give us as unto You. Call us back to a standard of godliness that will bring you glory and allow us to impact our world for Jesus' sake. Give us, your children, courage, strength and Holy Spirit power in the days ahead to stand before our country in righteousness, which is a gift from You through the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One of the many....

A while back Chad ventured to UNchartered territory with the fellas. We had been given four tickets to see Disney on Ice, and Chad took the plunge. It was a night that I had already planned a movie night with the youth girls, so I missed it. But I was so thankful to have a husband that would take my fellas to she Disney. He said all eyes were glued to the rink! I know I don't say it enough as a wife, but this is one of the many reasons I love him so.....and extra kuddos for taking the camera and coming back with pictures! :-)

Just a little excited!

Little Mermaid Scene

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Walden Pumpkin Farm

This past Monday we went to a local pumkin patch to do all that fun. We had a great time and was able to persuade a dear friend, Zack to experience it with our family. So, to those of you far away....we didn't just pick a stranger up to have a family of six. He is part of our "extended" family! New to the farm was the corn maze...definately a thumbs up! We got to feed the goats (the two story contraption), ride the mini tractors, do the hay bale maze, check out the pumpkins, and enjoy some roasted pumpkin seeds! Yum, yum!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I really can't think of a good title for this one video because it is just so random. Today while I was fixing lunch the boys wanted to play a little b-ball, so out the door they went...raising the gargage door all the while....then all of a sudden I hear Owen yell, "Wow, Griffin that's awesome, can I try?" So, curiosity killed this chick and I peeked out the door. Let just say they both spent the next 5 minutes taking turns doing this. I'm thinking what are we in for later with adventures like this at four. What do ya'll think? :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Birthday Bash for Two

The line of creativity
Griffin and Gracey cooling off under the "jungle gym"
Tate's not sure what to do with ALL these peeps
Emma, Owen, and Mollie
Austin and Garrett
Yeah, for Griffin!
This past weekend we celebrated Tate and Griffin's birthdays together. We had so much fun. The boys wanted a zoo/safari theme, and so it was. It was great wonderful to have all of our local friends come celebrate with us, as well as Grandma Jo. It is amazing to think these two little guys are 2 and 4! I just love watching them play together and really enjoy one another, talk about making your heart swell up!

I must say I was probally a little insane to have 22 children in our backyard ranging from 15 months to 9, but nobody got hurt(to my knowledge) and everyone got some cake and ice cream. In my mind, that's success. Not to mention the children did such a CUTE job on their "party favor." They all got to make themselves shirts with zoo animals stamped on them. I just loved seeing their little creative minds work as they were deciding where to put each stamp.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Owen's got Jokes

We are making jokes in the car today and this was one of Owen's:

Owen: Hey mom, what has 8 legs and says, "Hee-haw, hee-haw"

Me: Gosh Owen, a spider?

Owen: No mom, a donkey spider!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Birthday Boy is a Ball Boy

As you can see, our little baby has given up any bed blankets and bears to have a new bed friend. A basketball. He started this about a week ago, but tonight is the first time I got out the camera. I just love these pictures! Today when I got him up from his nap, he was literally holding the ball rocking back and forth until I startled him. PRECIOUS!!!
We had a sweet day celebrating Tate and the joy and laughter he has brought to our home. I just can't believe he is already two! The last picture is after we finished making some brownies for the family-gluten free:-) Do you think he liked them?

A little this and a little that

The last two weeks have been pretty emotional draining on Chad and our family so I have not really spent my "extra" energy here, but that doesn't mean we haven't been doing lots.'s an attempt to share some of our happenings:

~School's In Session~
Owen started school a few weeks ago, and we are really falling into a good groove. I truly can't imagine what life would look like any other way for us right now. It's beautiful. It's challenging. It's fun to see him grow. I love watching he and Griffin really enjoy one another. It's exhausting, but restful in the same breath. In this picture he is creating some way to write the letter I. Throughout our day we do table work, art work, read, and read some more. I love that he is learning to create his own ideas versus being told to make "x" from some model. Life is good!

Last week I received some extra tomatoes in from my CSA box, so I made homemade tomato sauce. An italian friend had given me her family recipe so to work I went. I ended up with about 10 jars of sauce. Yummy!!!

~Grandmother Comes to Town~
My mom come to visit last weekend and what a great time we had with her. Our days were filled with walks, reading, playing, consignment shopping, and the zoo. In the pics you'll see some of the boys "new" treasures. A "guitar hero" type game for our budding musician and a 100 piece puzzle for Griffin. Tate got a bike seat to go on Chad's bike and a helmet. :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Isabella Kate (Vinson) Parker

A sweet little girl arrived in the Vinson family last night at 7:45!! yippee

Isabella-Kate (Vinson) Parker

8 lbs. 7oz

21 in

"Thank you Lord for the birth of this precious little girl. May you invade her heart at an early age to have a passion for you. We pray that Derek and Jenna would grow in wisdom and grace with parenting. Thank you for this beautiful, healthy blessing!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making sense of Grief

Late last night Chad and I got word that one of our dear youth guys lost his life in a car accident. Chad immediately left to be by the family's side, and is walking through the decision making today with them. This young man had the gift of bringing laughter to many situations, and He will be extremely missed by his family, friends, the youth group and every other person whose life he has touched. Please join us in praying for the ones he left behind to make sense of this grief- that God would be glorified - and that the youth can put words to their feelings......

Friday, August 15, 2008

Griffin's Gluten-Free Adventure

Over the last week, our family has taken on a new adventure. A GLUTEN and CASEIN FREE DIET....why you ask. Well, Griffin has always struggled with excema on his feet since he was a little fella. Not wanting to treat it the traditional way with creams and allergy meds, we have embraced a more holistic approach. A week ago he and I went to the Center for Restorative Medicine and met with a fabulous doctor. I was so encouraged that he would take over an hour and a half to meet with us, pray with us and learn about my little guy. Our goal is to purge his system of gluten, rebuild his GI Tract, and heal his allergies from the metabolic level. This so excites me!! So, after a week we have collected 2 stool samples, a urine sample, and bought out the gluten free section at Kroger. :-)
I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of removing everything from his diet, but thankfully we are getting it. I have had some sweet friends refer me to great websites and have talked with other moms in my shoes. We don't know if this will be temporary or not, but are hopeful and thankful to see his body healed.
I have attached a "before" picture of his feet. To many of you, this won't look bad, because it actually looks 100 times better than a few months ago.

Please pray for my stamina and creativity while cooking new meals, Griffin's attitude for trying new things, and for God's healing of his body.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ok Daddy, let go...

I'm sure this is only the beginning of that phrase in our home. As I parent you want you child to create that autonomy, but at the same time, we want to hold on to doing things for them.
Tonight before dinner we spent some family time outside. The weather was unusually cooler, so we took advantage of playing baseball, basketball, and riding around. One toy the boys don't ride often are their bikes. Well, that's about to change....
Owen and I were talking and he asked, "Who are my friends and Griffin's friends that can ride a two-wheeler?" So I answered and he said, "Why?" "Well, buddy, they practice and enjoy riding. Do you want to try your bike?" After some contemplation between whether he and Griffin should ride bikes he suited up. I mean, knee pads, elbow pads and helmet. "OK, Mama, I'm ready for you to push me!" Well, unfortunately he had to say that 3 times while I was juggling dinner prep, and just as I walked outside, Daddy drove up. Perfect timing. Owen was hyped, and wanted us to push him. Well, first time out Chad was holding on most of the way down our driveway...second time around Chad steered him towards the grass....third time Owen said after two steps, "Ok Daddy, let go!" Those words wandered in my head as I saw him "get it." So, here's a clip of how we spent our next 30 minutes and why we ate a cold dinner.... IT WAS WORTH IT! :-)

Watermelon Surprise

Yesterday we picked up our goods from the CSA, and as usual, the food was beautiful. Over the last few weeks we have gotten watermelon, cantelope, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, onions, cabbage and cukes. But tonight when we cut open our watermelon for dessert, we had such a surprise........

Now, have ya'll ever seen a yellow watermelon? It tasted wonderful!!! I actually closed my eyes to see if I thought it tasted like a red watermelon...and it does! I don't know why it would have tasted different, I guess it was just a mental thing for me. :-)