Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

2011 was a great year for our family. We welcomed baby Daniel, started Pre-school, and bought a new house! I can not even begin to write how incredibly blessed I have felt this year and the contentment that we have had as a family. It has just been an overall great year. The year started out with us living in an apartment and trying to survive the first trimester of pregnancy! We also experienced first hand the ice storm that hit Atlanta. The entire city shut down for almost a week. Both of our offices closed for 3 days and you literally could not leave your house. By mid week I was beyond stir crazy so I tried to walk to my car only to realize there was no way I could even walk in our parking lot! In February we decided Atlanta was for sure the place we were going to call home so we started the process of looking for houses. I do not remember a single thing we did in March other then continue to survive my pregnancy and I started to get REALLY busy at work!
In April we had 3 Easter Egg hunts (1 at Emma's school, 1 at our apartments, and 1 at my brother's country club). She was not a very good egg finder because she would let the other kids just pick them up if she thought they were going for the same one.

In April we made a trip to TN to celebrate my sister's 18th birthday. I love the below picture of Emma Kate.
In May we celebrated Mother's Day at the Melting Pot which is a true gift of love from Jeff. We used to eat there a lot then Jeff got sick one time after and now can barely mention the place without feeling sick again! He did a great job sitting through Emma Kate and I enjoying our fondue :)
We also took another trip to TN to celebrate Jenny's graduation.

In June we finally were able to move into our new home. It was a short sale and was touch and go for a few months on if we were going to get it or not. Two weeks after we moved in I caught our kitchen on fire! We spent the rest of the month with cleaning crews in our new home and replacing all of our appliances. In the end, it worked out to our advantage because we were able to do a lot of work to the house that we wanted to do it just happened on a much quicker time table then expected! We LOVE our home and I am so thankful to have a place of our own again. I also turned 31 this month and we had a fun date weekend attending the U2 concert in Nashville with some friends.
We had so much fun this summer playing outside and swimming in our neighborhood pool. It is an AWESOME pool with a water-park slide. By the end of the summer Emma was starting to swim by herself and LOVED to go down the slide by herself as long as we were at the bottom to catch her.

July continued with lots of swimming, I had my work baby shower, Emma attended a baby and me class, and I went to NYC for work. It was such a fun trip. While I was there I also went to see Wicked. I stayed on Park Avenue and so much fun exploring the city for a couple of days.
My feet looked this most of the summer.August was a big month for the McKenzie family. Emma Kate started Pre-School and LOVES it. At her parent/teacher conference her teacher raved about her. I was most proud of the fact that her teacher said she was a great friend and is always willing to help her peers out and is very encouraging to them.
We also did some more swimming and I hit what we call "contest" at my office. Part of hitting "contest" includes an all expense paid for trip to Cancun that Jeff and I will enjoy the week of Valentine's Day!

We ended the month of Aug. (Aug. 31st) welcoming Daniel Edward McKenzie into the world!

The month of Sept. was busying just loving on Daniel and playing at a local park.

October was another busy month that started with Emma Kate turning 5 years old! I have no idea how my first baby is 5. She is a true delight and keeps me and her daddy laughing and on our toes every day. I am so thankful for her. The below picture is her with one of her best friends Tia.

I also took doughnuts to her school on her actual birthday and read a story to her class.

In November we made our first trip to MS with Daniel so he could meet his great grandmother. On the way there we broke up the trip and stayed at the Enloe's one night. We celebrated Thanksgiving with my oldest brother and his family and the week after that I started back to work.
December was busy with all the normal Christmas festivities that I already wrote about on the post below. We had my family Christmas in Atlanta during the 2nd weekend which ended with a trip to the ER for Daniel. We attended both of our work Christmas parties. We had Emma's school Christmas program which was the talk of our house all month :) Christmas weekend MiMi and Paws came to stay with us to celebrate with us Christmas morning.
Our first Christmas as a family of 4
We are so excited about what 2012 has in store for our family. In this current season I feel beyond blessed and honestly can not think of one thing I would change.

Monday, December 26, 2011

December in pictures

We celebrated Christmas with my family Dec. 9th-11th. Michael and his family came in Friday night and stayed at our house. We woke up Saturday and I cooked breakfast and then we went out to do some last minuet shopping. We picked up pizza for lunch and then headed to my oldest brother's house to meet up with the rest of the gang.

My siblings and mom. I am so thankful I have these guys to share life with. We are so different yet so much the same.

This year my mom decided to give each kid a target gift card so we went to Target and help the kids picked out the toys they wanted from Nana. It was fun because they got to shop with the rest of their cousins and Nana got to spend time with each of them. Emma Kate picked out a big bathtub for her dolls, a kitchen set that had a coffee maker, a mixer, and a blender, and some Barbie’s. Daniel decided he wanted a car set and a new toy for his car seat.

Jeff won this amazing sweater during dirty Santa and LOVED it! He had a tacky Christmas sweater party to attend with the youth a few weeks later.
The Thursday night before Daniel started coming down with a bad cold....thanks to his sister. By Saturday night it had gotten a lot worse so after we left my brothers we headed to the emergency room to make sure he was ok and his oxygen levels were where they needed to be. Thankfully after a chest x-ray we found out it was indeed just a cold and we went home with a little bit more of a peaceful mind but poor baby was sick for a good week after that visit. Look at how pitful those eyes look. It broke this mommy's heart. The following weekend Jeff and I had my work Christmas party. It was at a hotel in Dunwoody. It was fun but by that time I had caught what the kids had so I did not feel good at all.
Starting to feel better.
Morning Glory hair
Santa baby
Emma LOVES her little brother
Emma at her school Christmas program.
The last day of school was Grinch day in her class. Thankfully my sister was here so she could fix the Cindy Lou hair :)
December was FULL of family Christmas celebrations, both of our work parties, school plays, and me getting adjusted to being back at work. We were so thankful my sister was on Christmas break. She came and watched the kids for us for 2 weeks so our nanny does not start until the first week of January. We are looking forward to taking this last week of December putting our house back together and gearing up for 2012. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day post coming soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A new thing.

I am sitting on my couch watching my sweet 9 week old sleep in his swing with my Bible open to my right and some hot chocolate to my left. In this moment I am exceeding grateful for my God and the journey he has had my family walk over the last 3 years. I remember 3 years ago not being able to fathom any good coming out of our situation. I looked around me and all I could see was destruction. Destruction of our home, our family, the student ministry God had entrusted us with, friendships, the lifestyle we knew, the security I felt, and the church I called home. The first night I found out my world had changed I drove to Atlanta to stay with my brother and his family. I barely remember the 3 hour drive. I remember being so thankful to God that Emma Kate slept the whole way (even though it was not her normal sleep time), and we arrived there safely even though I had not slept in 28 hours.

I remember being in their guest bedroom that night with my mind racing and my Bible open. I looked up every verse on divorce I could find! I wrote in my prayer journal begging God to protect Emma and the students at WWBC. I remember the Holy Spirit reminding me of my favorite name of God which is El Roi The God who sees. It was 3:00am and I knew I needed to sleep but every time my eyes closed they went places they did not need to go and my mind raced. I told God how much I needed His Word. I told God I was going to close my eyes but I believed even in my sleep His Word could minster to me. It must minister to me or I did not think I would survive. I closed my eyes with my hand on the Bible and had the best 3 hours of sleep I have ever had. I woke up and searched scripture again. I was desperate to find my way out but still be in God’s will. What I studied over the next few hours would be the glue I needed to stay in a marriage that was broken and with my limited vision beyond repair. It was in those hours I read about the “exception clause” and how God stated he put it there because people had hard stubborn hearts. I read how God hated divorce. I was comforted by the verses on justice and consequences for sins , and moved by a covenant keeping God who never lets me go. The Holy Spirit reminded me of things I learned when I studied covenant in the Saturday morning Bible study I attended. It only took one person to uphold a covenant. If I wanted to be like Jesus (and not hard hearted) then I would keep my covenant as Christ keeps His with me regardless of my sin.

I would love to tell you that because God had confirmed in me His desire for me to stay in my marriage that it was easy to do so. However, it was not. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. Not because I did not love my husband or believe in him but because it required me lay down my pride. My family’s situation was announced from the pulpit and our life was on display for all to see. I knew from the very beginning that there much more at stake then just the survival of my marriage.It was HARD. It was HUMILIATING. It was UNFAIR. It was UGLY. It was DEVASTATING. I wish I could say that I handled it with grace but I did not. I struggled. I struggled with my own sin of pride. I struggled with God and why He would ask us to walk down this path. I questioned MANY DAYS if I should stay. However, our God was so faithful and tender to me. It has been 3 years and we have had some speed bumps along the way but God has done an INCREDIBLE work in our lives and in our marriage.

I have the privilege right now of walking beside several women who are currently walking down the path I had to walk. It has been an honor to see God redeem my hurt by allowing it to minister to them. I have been reminded several times how far we have come and how much God has healed because they will ask me how I felt about something and I honestly cannot remember. In my journal from those early days I wrote “God I know that you said you can bring beauty from ashes. Right now I only see a bunch of stinking ashes set on fire by hell itself. I am trusting you and believing that I will see beauty and that I indeed will experience Psalm 126:6 “He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” God has been so gracious to us and has redeemed our mistakes. I am thankful that we serve a God who never lets us go. He has given me immeasurable more than I can ask or imagine. I only asked for survival and at the time thought I was asking a lot! He not only gave me that but allowed me to experience Him in a new way, restored my marriage to something better than it has ever been, and gave me firsthand knowledge of His grace that is sufficient. We have been singing a song the last few Sunday's at church that I are a few words:

"Kneeling on this battleground
seeing how much you have done
Scars and struggles along the way
But we can say never once did we walk alone."

God is currently doing a new thing in our family. I will not write about the former season anymore on this blog unless I feel God strongly urging me to.
The old no longer defines us.
The chapter is closed.
What was intended for harm God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done (Gen. 50:20).

God has written the story. May He receive all glory and honor for the ending.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Daniel Edward McKenzie

This post is only 6 weeks past due but I have a new man in my life that is keeping me very busy! On Wednesday Aug. 31st at noon on the dot weighing 7lbs and 1 oz Daniel Edward McKenzie entered into our world. He has been a complete joy and very laid back just like his daddy. On Tuesday Aug. 30th I was on my way to work and started having pretty hard and active contractions. I decided to go ahead and go in so I could check off my to do list because I knew if it was indeed time that I would not be back in the office for 13 weeks. I timed my contractions all day and left work around 4:30. I had talked to my mom earlier that day and she decided to go ahead and come to Atlanta because she was pretty sure that I was going to be going to the hospital and indeed she was right!

At 3:00 in the morning I woke Jeff up and told him it was time to call the doctor. I spoke to the midwife and she told me to go ahead and come in to get the party started! We went upstairs to tell my mom and Emma Kate woke up and was SO EXCITED! We prayed together for the safety of mommy and baby Daniel and headed to Northside. We got to the hospital and settled around 4:00 and I received my epidural around 8:00. Once I got the good stuff Jeff and I just hung out and tried to rest. My mom took Emma to school and then headed to the hospital. She said Emma Kate was so excited and told EVERYBODY she saw that her baby brother was coming today.

At around 10:00 I started feeling some tingling during my contractions and it did not take long for the "tingling" to turn into full blown pain. They gave me more meds (PRAISE THE LORD!) and checked me again around 11:30. When she went to check me she said "Oh my....I see a head full of black hair. I think you are only going to have to push one time." Those words were music were to my ears and she was right....I pushed ONE TIME and Daniel Edward McKenzie joined our world.

For the last 6 weeks we have fallen more and more in love with the new addition in our family. Daniel has his daddy's laid back personality and is spoiled rotten. He nurses around every 3 hours during the day and has started to sleep 5-6 hour stretches at night. He wakes up between 3:45-5:00 for his middle of the night feeding. I know that those middle of the night feeding do not last forever but it sure feels like right now!!

When we went for Daniel's 4 week check up he weighed 10 lbs! The doctor said he was perfect and he is in the 50% of weight and height. I am so thankful to have a healthy baby boy.

Emma Kate is a great big sister. She LOVES "baby Daniel". She has to come into our room every morning and give him hugs and kisses before she leaves for school. She also reassures him that she will be back soon. When we pick her up she says " Oh baby Daniel you are so glad to see your sister aren't you? Did you cry for me baby Daniel? Were you so sad that sister was not with you today? "

Jeff is a great daddy and I love watching him take care of our children. They have no idea how lucky they are to have daddy who loves them, plays with them, and loves their mommy. Jeff is the perfect balance to our family.

I am praying Daniel 2:14 "Daniel spoke with wisdom and tact." over my sweet little man and can't wait to see what God has in store for him.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today 10 years ago....I was asleep in my home when I was woken up by a blaring TV. It was Tuesday which meant that my dad, who was sick with Alzheimer's, was going to be leaving to go to Cracker Barrel with our pastor and a deacon from our church. It was not uncommon for my dad to turn to the TV up REALLY loud because he did not know how to work the remote. I ran downstairs grabbed it from his hands and went to turn it down. As I turned around and glimpsed at the TV I saw the smoke and realized that my dad was not having issues with the remote...he wanted to hear what was going on. I sat in the living with room with my dad, pastor, and deacon and watched in horror as the first tower was being hit. I remember the serious look on the three grown men faces as they watched. My dad and the deacon had both served in military so they watched with different eyes. I also remember looking at my dad and wandering how much he was comprehending and for the first time being thankful that he might not be completely understanding what he was watching.

The men stayed and watched the news for a little longer and then decided they were going to head out to breakfast. As they were walking to the car the 2nd tower was hit and I ran outside to let them know. They all came back to the house and we sat in front of the TV for the next 2 hours as we continued to watch that awful day unfold. The thing that I remember most about that day is standing in my living room watching the chaos and the uncertainty all around me but the Spirit speaking very clearly to me and saying " This did not take me by surprise. It looks like chaos but I am still in control."

I am thankful today for the many acts of bravery that we saw. I will watch and read all the stories to honor the men and women who lost their lives. I will pray for the families who lost a loved one and the sweet children who lost a parent that day. I am thankful for the men and women and who have fought and who are currently fighting to keep this country safe. I am thankful for my brother who is currently oversees and the sacrifices that his family make every day. I am thankful to be an American.

Monday, August 15, 2011

1st Day of GA Pre-K

We have officially ventured in the world of having a child in "real school". Emma Kate started GA Pre-K on Monday and has LOVED IT! She was so excited for the few weeks leading up to "big school". She is going to the same church/school that she is in last year. Her classroom is just right next door to the one she spent all last year in. The only difference is they are in "real school" from 8:00-2:30 everyday. The week leading up to her first day the kids spent 30 minuets a day in their new classroom and with their new teachers. I was very thankful they did this because it helped Emma get geared up for her big transition. She woke up bright and early her first day and picked out our her outfit. She then came to my bathroom to put on some pink glittery lip gloss because every girl needs to be fancy for their first day of anything!

I love the above picture of Jeff walking into her school. He is such a great daddy.
Waiting outside her class for the doors to open.
Our big girl gearing up for her first day.
Emma Kate and her teacher Ms. Lindsey. We are so excited that Emma has Ms. Lindsey. She seems really sweet and I am sure it is going to be a great year. I am looking forward to watching Emma Kate continue to grow in wisdom and statue this year and watch anxiously to see what all God has in store for her and for her mommy!