Santa Baby

Mackenzie is our little Santa Baby. She turned 2 on December 18! It's funny her due date was on Christmas Day, but me the OCD planner induced her a week early so we could be home together for Christmas. (If she were our firstborn I probably would have let her come whenever, but with a 2 year old.... missing Christmas could have been tragic!) And knowing my luck, I would have gone into labor slap during Christmas dinner.
Anyway, it has been SO completely different raising a little girl. I feel like I have 2 extremes. David is as wild of a little boy as you can get. Crazy. Loud. Busy. Active. Wild. But, Mackenzie is a little princess and the most girly, delicate thing you've ever seen. Sensitive. Dramatic. Squealy. Sassy. Attitude. Pink.
It just is so different. And I love that I have gotten to experience both, hard at times, but worth it! Mackenzie has changed all of us. She has stolen her daddy's heart and her brother's also! They are different men because of her. And I am a different mom because of her... I just love Mackenzie and having a daughter is so special. She already wants to take care of mommy. Mackenzie is our little sunshine!

We had a big dinner party for her on her birthday and she loved it! We've also been trying to do fun things together this month. Santa, Christmas Light drives, building gingerbread houses, story times, and making cookies! These are the things I remember when we were small and my mom stayed home with us, so I hope my kids have the same fun memories!

Thanks to everyone for making my little girl's birthday special!


Holly Jolly

I write holly, jolly with a little bit of sarcasm... the first week of December, I seem to get sick. Last year, I got pneumonia. This year, I got strep throat. I've decided next year, we are going on a cruise and going to peace out during my sick season!
Getting sick wouldn't have been so bad if that was my only issue. I just updated Nellie Mae, but Tim just got our HVAC hooked up this past weekend. So, last week when it was cold and I got sick, my mother in law came over, helped me pack up, and we moved in with them during the week. It was too cold to stay at Nellie Mae! They were so amazing and took care of us, and we were warm! Meanwhile, Tim moved in with my parents b/c they live near his work and he was pulling some serious hours. By the end of the week, miracles were happening. He finished the system, I was well, and we all moved back in together. Let me also tell you about our Refrigerator miracle.
The one we bought off craigslist died. So, Tim was angry about it (he tried fixing it) and he shoved it out the back door and it was laying in our side yard. Nice. Real Nice. My grandma had an extra one we borrowed so we brought it over. Then, my sister called and hooked me up with a brand new one she found for $125. So, we moved that one in and Tim put my grandmas on the front porch.
At this point, we had 3 refrigerators on our property. OH MY GOSH, GET THEM OUT!!
So, my stipulations for moving back home were 1. Heat and 2. Get all the refrigerators off the property. Am I that high maintainence really???
One thing I love and hate about Tim is that he is so ambitious. A little too ambitious at times. He wants to do it all himself and has so many great ideas.... but, fleshing them all out always takes longer than expected. He wanted to take these old refrigerators to the scrap yard and get money for them. So, after we both realized we had more important things on our plate with him working on the HVAC and me recovering than going to the scrap yard.... Some man pulls up into our driveway and asks if he can have the old refrigerators. He was my refrigerator fairy. He made them all disappear!
Other than that, we are at home, getting ready for our open house on January 2 so friends and family can come see Nellie Mae. We are shopping, decorating, and getting pretty festive over here!
Here is some pics of Dec so far: I dyed my hair, visits with my sister and her kids, and our little nephew, Joshua, spent the night!
Happy December!


Tips and a Freebie

It's that time of year, time to get your Christmas cards together, decorate, and find the perfect gifts! We like to keep things pretty simple over here in the Willis household. The kids always get 3 gifts like Jesus did. We make a birthday cake for Jesus and try to make the holidays really about the birth of our Savior. It's funny how that can get lost when that's what the holiday is really for!
This is a great Christmas for us, we'll be celebrating Christmas in our renovated house! We are very excited and Christmas was a finishing point for us in so many ways. And end to our crazy year. A celebration of our year and what we made it through.

Needless to say, we are days away from taking our family picture with the house this year. To keep it simple, I love using Shutterfly for Christmas card photos! They have so many different styles you have tons of options. They also run sales and are shipped straight to your house, which is the best part. We have used Shutterfly for other holiday gifts, our favorite is the calendar. If you love taking pictures, its a perfect gift to display them. Grandparents love these!
Miss Mackenzie will also be turning 2 this month so it makes it even easier that shutterfly has these birthday invitations. They are perfect because you can choose any theme and have them printed and shipped for just as cheap as invitations from the store.

Good luck pulling out all the Christmas decor. Don't forget to keep the main thing, well the main thing!
If you are a blogger, check out Shutterflys 50 FREE CHRISTMAS CARDS! It's a great present from them!


Jens Fall Favorite Things.

To preface this post, I'm not pregnant! One might think that with my current fall favorite things!
Hands down. These 4 things are amazing and are making my fall fantastic. And I had to share.
Coconut M and M's. Grab a bag for 50 cents and they'll change your life.
Maxwell House Mochas. It's $2.50 for a whole tin of instant mochas every morning, all week! They are SO good!

For lunch, I am bored to death eating sandwichs, UNTIL i found this Chipotle Mayo from Kraft!!! Now, I will eat anything if it has this on it. It's $2 at Publix and sometimes it goes for B1G1. YUM.

Okay, last but not least! We aren't big alcohol drinkers, but we love having wine with dinner some nights. We just recently got into Prosecco! It's a carbonated, bubbly wine. Very light and good if you aren't a big wine drinker. A lot of people don't think about Prosecco, but it goes so perfectly with all the heavy holiday meals you'll be having. WE LOVE IT!!

Those are my fall favorites right now! Hope they become yours too =)


Road Trip!

We (me and the kids) took a road trip to see my sis and her fam in Savannah! It was the perfect week because of Tim's crazy schedule and me having the week off from cleaning!
Here are the highlights!

We went to the beach b/c Savannah was almost 80 one day, went picnicking, shopped downtown, and let the kids run wild! Savannah was full of celebrities the week I went. Extreme Home Makeover was there with Ty and his crew, Paula Deen, and Jillian from the Bachelorette. It will air in February.

Like any road trip with toddlers, it was a huge effort to get us all packed and down there, but.... was well worth it! The four of them are almost like siblings, its really sweet. They had such an awesome time together and they were all so good! My sister and I are best friends and we are both cleaning houses on the side. We both are also staying at home w kids until they start school, just like our mom did with us. So it's fun to talk about schoolwork we do at home with them and all the activities we have them in!

I love all 4 of these precious, sweet, angel babies. I can't wait until Thanksgiving to get them all together again!
They might just be the happiest little children on the planet after their week together!
Jonathan- 5, David- 4, Michael- 3, Mackenzie- 2.David and his new best friend toy, "crab". Even though its a lobster.
David took M for a ride in the boys powerwheel


Oh Tim

Tim is a great father. He loves showing David how tools work and what their names are, explaining how engines run, telling him what freon is, and reading him his HVAC textbooks. It's hilarious because David is interested in everything Tim does and says.
Well, the funny part is watching him with Mackenzie. She thinks her daddy hung the moon. Her cuteness level is always knotched up to the max when daddy is around to hear him Oooo and Ahhh over her!

Here has been our past week of the full time job and full time school!!

Tim gets to work at 7am. He finishes whenever he is done installing the system of the day. Sometimes that is 3 pm, sometimes it is 7pm. Whenever he is done, he drives straight to school and stays until 9p. HVAC school is not like a classroom. Its a huge warehouse with massive systems they install, diagnose, service, and learn on. It's "lab time" and he just has to get so many hours in!
On Fridays HVAC school is closed so we see Tim.....
after 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. He makes it home most nights to help bathe the kids and put them to bed. I also made dinner every night last week and transported it up to his school and he came out and we all ate together. I'm sure we looked kinda wierd, but my kids loved it! And so did I!

I have 4 current clients I am cleaning for with my house cleaning business, "MaidFaires." I clean one late Tuesday night when Tim gets home, Wednesday at lunch while the kids hang out with Momo (tims mom), and then Saturday mornings I have 2 families. I clean for all of them every other week so it's really not that hard to manage b/c its one week on, one week off...

As crazy as it is, we are grateful. Tim loves his new job and is thriving in school. I love being able to contribute and also having a mini break from the kids since my days are super long now without tim! This is temporary, school will end in Dec. and then tim will ease up on his class load to where he will only go half of what he is doing now. He also has a full scholarship to school, so praise the Lord we are on a good financial path.
I think long term perspective is key to a hard stage of life. Nothing is forever and sometimes to get through a rough patch, you just gotta pull up your bootstraps and press on!

That's are update, now here is what Tim taught little Mackenzie.

"Mackenzie! What does a kitty cat say?" - "Meow, meow"
"Mackenzie! What does a dinosaur say?" - "RARRRR"
"Mackenzie! What does a doggie say?"- " Arf, arf"
"Mackenzie! What does a birdie say?"- "tweet, tweet"
"Mackenzie! What does mommy say?" - "RARRRR"

Oh, Tim.


Happy Halloween!!

A few things I need to remember about this halloween. My kids went BIZERK when they got candy. Completely. I almost feel a little bad b/c of their reaction to it. It's like they've never had it before. Granted, we don't have it often, but they seriously flipped out. So funny. We are trick or treating tomorrow night, but today we took them down the street to the Avenue shops to practice there! They were obviously Spiderman and the Fairy Princess. Both fit their personalities to a "T". David was climbing the walls and bouncing off of them and Mackenzie was sassing herself around everywhere thinking the whole event was completely put on for her. She also didn't quite get the "leaving" part. She proceeded to stand with her hand out, i think she got more candy than any child there.

Also, has anyone seen the HP commercial with the baby in the walker. I kinda love it. I found the song and put it on below 1. to annoy the crap out of my husband and 2. that baby is so cute i wanna steal it.

Anyway, Happy Halloween from us!!



We have great news. Great news.

Tim just accepted a full time job with Casteel Heating and Air. He will be Installing HVAC systems.

Here's how it happened. In the past 2 weeks, Tim has had 2 job offers! One from the company he has been doing some contract work for and the other was Casteel. His professor at school pulled him into his office last week and said the company had contacted the university and wanted 2 recommendations for a full time position they had. The program has 150 students. They picked Tim. Can you believe it??

The ironic thing about it all, is Casteel was Tim's #1 pick. Back in March when he got laid off, he literally interviewed with 13 companies and they all said "No, go to HVAC school." He interveiwed with Casteel and made it to the #2 man, but they told him the same thing. His 4 year college degree was good, but not good enough. So, when he walked in for his interveiw this time around he said, "You told me to go to school... so I did."

It is pretty awesome and God is pretty cool.
Since March we have been in the valley for so long, to the pit of hell and back it seems. Our house sold so fast, Tim lost his job a week before closing, we put all our belongings in storage, we moved in with his parents, we decided to renovate my grandmothers old rental property, we moved into her old condo down the street while we finished it, I started cleaning houses to make ends meet and Tim did some contract work outside of going to school.

But, we made it. We really made it. This whole time one consistent thing that has brought us through, is our solid, steadfast dependence on Jesus Christ. Emmanuel: God With Us. We have claimed that for 8 months. And although this might have been some of the worst 8 months of our lives and marriage, we feel triumphant. We came out closer to eachother and the Lord, we now have an investment property, and by God.... my husband successfully changed careers and landed a job with his number 1 company! I am so proud of him.

The craziness will roll on.... Tim will have 6 weeks left of full time school and now beginning a full time job. He is not finished with school, but can now stretch out the rest of his classes after he finishes this quarter.

Thanks for sharing in our journey... we feel like we are starting over a little, and couldn't be more excited. Here is to new beginnings!!!


Holy Cow at the Willis'

It's like our life is a joke, except it's not. This stuff really happens to us. I don't know why other than to tell you it's for comedic entertainment for others. That's what I have decided. We are having fun over here. Life is funny and God is good. So, here is an update....
So we sold our white mini van. Guess who bought it??

Thats right. Chick-fil-a called and wanted our van. Our van that Tim called "La Leche Grande" (The Big Milk) is now appropriately "La Vaca Grande" (The Big Cow). It's like it was it's destiny. We think this is hilarious. I have the happiest children in the world b/c their old van is now the chickfila delivery van. I am also the happiest mommy in the world b/c they called and paid full price for my old ride. Thanks chickfila, you really are the best company ever, I did work there for 11 years so its only fitting.

Next, we do not have our internet up yet b/c At&t might be the slowest people ever. I have been doing bigtime life management and unpacking all of our stuff!!! We decided to have a yard sale and low and behold made $600!!! I can't even begin to tell you what the heck I sold, but I went on a big time clean out and got rid of tons of stuff!! Our house may look a little institutional and bare right now, but I love it. It's so clean, small, and simple. I just put up pics of the kitchen finished. I am so in love with this little house. It's like my little doll house.
We have been doing lots of fun fall family activities =) Here is some pics of apple picking, hayrides, pumpkin farms, and my babies. I absolutely am in love with my family and in love with the fall. After the year we have had, the summer of renovating a house, this fall is a sweet time. I am so in love with my husband, and more grateful every day for my precious babies.

Happy Fall!! Sorry if I have not been in touch with you out there, you might have to actually call us if you need us right now since our internet is limited!! Also, Tim was the photgrapher is most of the ones above so he is never in the pics!


David is 4

David. His name means "beloved." And beloved he is!

He turned 4 on September 19, 2010. I have to say, reading back on my blog about little dave has made me realize what a big boy he is. He has gone from a wild and crazy, out of control little toddler, to an adoring little man.

I think the 3's were huge for him. He learned a lot from having a sister to take care of, we moved, and renovated a house. I also started preschool with him at home. He will always be "Baby David", but I can honestly say he is developing into such a smart, sweet, and fun little boy.

David is a joy. He lights up our life and tells everyone that Jesus is his best friend. I know he'll be a little rock, just like his daddy.

We've come so far with him, birthdays are a milestone marker for me. We battled it out with David and sewed and sewed with him.... now I see the harvest it has reaped in his life.
Don't get me wrong, he still says crazy things, terrorizes but adores his sister, figured out to crank a car and open a gallon of paint this summer...... but, we've come a long way. He has also started to stutter a little bit, but I have read it is common for little boys around this age and then it just goes away. I'm hoping reading and preschool at home will help with this.

I made a slide show last year and his birth story. Also below is one of my favorite David stories where he decided to paint the walls with poop one day...

This year for his birthday, we had 2 parties for him. We had them at Nellie Mae! His big gift this year was a trampoline for the back yard!!! It is AMAZING! The kids love it and it gets all their energy out! We have no sleeping issues at all b/c they have plenty of exercise! And its perfect.... I'm trying to do something with our 1 acre backyard so the kids can enjoy this weather! Everyone is invited to come jump!


A New Ride

So here is the deal with our new (er) car, had to post pics for our fam b/c we bought it on our way out of town to Florida!
Our best friends had a friend that was selling this for an incredible deal, like almost half off. So, we decided to sell both our semi-reliable cars for one super reliable car and then just buy tim a little pick up truck for HVAC school.

It's a 2007 Saturn Relay. And by far the nicest car we've ever owned. It's a minivan on the inside, but kind of an SUV on the outside. A Crossover I think. I love it more than my minivan and old 4 Runner.

Anyway, it's the newest addition to our family. It makes driving with my kids and dog a little more fun =)


A Break

I am hoping to update the blog some this week while we are vacationing at the BEACH, yay! We took a much needed break from renovating our house to go to Florida for the week! David's birthday was yesterday, we got a new(er) set of wheels, and I have pics of everything to put up!

Check out our progress on the house so far, we are proud of our 61 year old baby. Hopefully this trip will give us a second wind to go home and completely finish. We are planning an Open House in October!


Best. News. Ever.

I only have about 5 seconds, but my dad got the call.... a good call!! He is in the clear!

All his tests came back negative. The cancer is all removed from his back and no cancer cells appeared in any of the lymph nodes that were removed. Wahoo!

Even though it was Stage 1 cancer, it was still cancer and they will watch him. He will still indefinitely be going to the doctor every 3 months to be checked, and has to go back to get his incision checked, but he is doing great!

We are blessed and so grateful that God has lifted this burden and sickness. We pray that it does not return.

Thank you again for all your prayers!


I won.

First of all, thanks for all the sweet messages concerning my dad. It is so encouraging to know that others around me are praying for him too. I hope to share some good results really soon!

Now for some comic relief, I won. Yep. I finally got the Storage Unit to clean our sofas. If you missed my post a few days ago, entitled "Buttholes", our sofas got a little dirty from a "Mice Break-In" into our storage unit. One corner was a little chewed and I was just generally grossed out and wanted them professionally cleaned. Chad, the owner, assured me he would do that. Then, he kept getting "busy" and "didn't have time." That didn't fly well with me because let me tell you something..... I assure you I am a heck of a lot busier than Chad who works 9-5 at a storage unit, okay?!! Well, 32 phone calls later (almost every day) and he finally consented. He just was showing poor business and not sticking to his word. And I have babies crawling on these sofas!! So, just in time before we move in, he finally consented and they are clean!
That's right, I said 32 phone calls. He was on my speed dial and I called him everyday when my kids were the loudest so I could be really annoying. But I am happy. They look and smell brand new. And I won.


Cancer Removed

When tough times hit those you love..... call me old fashioned, call it southern hospitality, but we bring flowers, candy, cards, and chocolate...
we make meals

We love on eachother and spend time together...
And we ask our good Lord to heal, protect, and see us through the storm.

Today, my father had his cancer removed. And although we don't know what tomorrow will bring... we focus on today. And eachother. And family. My sister and fam came into town so it is so great to see them. Surgury went well and we will not hear anything from 1 to 2 weeks on if it has spread anywhere else in his body. Please join us in prayer that he would be cancer free as of today.

I also love the fact that my mom has decorated for Christmas. Upon arrival for dinner many puzzled faces looked upon the Christmas tree. Only for my mom's response of, "It makes me happy." That's all we needed to know. If my husband gets cancer, I'll be danged if anyone tells me I can't decorate and make the house cheery whenever I want. There is something sweet about it being up right now, and I just might be putting my own tree up as well when we move in our new house! I love you Dad, you are the strongest man in the world!


The Best is Yet to Come??

Maybe, just maybe!!

Our house is about 3 weeks away from being finished, my Dad is having his cancer removed on Wednesday, and my sister is coming in town all week... but, more than that... God has given us a happy, positive, peaceful outlook in the midst of trials.

We are ready to have some uphill swing in our life right now, so we are working hard and trusting God that he will see us through!

Thanks for all the phone calls and emails! We might just have the best friends in the world =)

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