Sunday, December 26, 2010

More travels...

We safely made it to PA today. We left snowy Richmond earlier than we expected to in order to beat the worst of the snow. Now for a week with the Ford family before heading back to St. Louis. Praise the Lord for a long Christmas break this year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Travels...


We traveled from Missouri to Roanoke to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins- 11 hours

We traveled from Roanoke to Norfolk and visited with lots of friends- 4 1/2 hours

Then we traveled to the Dickenson's lovely home in Glen Allen, VA for dinner- 2 1/2 hours

Then we traveled to the Cates in Colonial Heights- 45 minutes
We will be here until the 26th weather permitting...

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Lots of random thoughts on a random Thursday night:
  • I am currently loving Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea. Just add a little milk and some sweetener and you have a delicious treat in the morning.

  • I have currently been finding joy in the rare morning that my car is not all iced over. The past two weeks I have become VERY familiar with my ice scraper. Is there a product out there that stops your car from icing up? If not, I am going to start inventing one!
  • People out here don't say y'all or you guys, I am still trying to figure out what is the appropriate plural form of you.
  • For the past 3 weeks I have eaten the same exact salad- spinach, goat cheese, cranberries and pine nuts- for lunch at school. Could there be such a thing as too much of these things?
  • Today was Shop and Save's $10 off / $50 purchase Thursday deal. Thursdays are incredibly busy because of this deal, yet to me it is worth it so I go. I waited in a super long line- with people who seemed to be stocking up on groceries for life...anyway I spent $51 at the register, yet my $10 did not come off because I bought milk, and milk and alcohol don't count towards your $50 purchase- who knew. So- I had to go back and buy 1 more item that cost $2.15 or more...she wouldn't just let me grab a diet coke and gum that was in the aisle...annoying!
  • We are traveling to Roanoke, Norfolk, Richmond and West Chester this Christmas- all in two weeks starting next Saturday...we can't wait!
  • Marty and I went through an entire bag of muddy buddies/puppy chow in two days, and he wonders why I don't ever make it.
  • Tomorrow at chapel I will hear 300+ children ages 3-12 sing worship songs and that fills my heart with such joy!
Happy Thursday Y'all!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

30 Before 30 update

At the beginning of November, we had a good friend who is also a professional photographer take some pictures of us.  I have always wanted some nice pictures of the two of us, and I am happy to be able to cross it off of our 30 before 30 list...
 14. Get professional "family" portraits made (just Marty and me)
  It was a beautiful Fall day, the leaves were at their peak.  The pictures turned out lovely!  Thanks Kacey for all your hard work!  Check out some of her other work here
Here are some of my favorites:

Saturday, December 4, 2010


We have a great movie theater "chain" here called Wehrenberg Theaters. Today, if you bring 5 canned goods to donated to the Red Cross, you can see any movie before 5pm. We have been waiting to see Harry Potter at a discounted price, but since it has been so new there has been nothing available. Well, today we can go and see Harry for $3 each, and feel good about donating canned goods. We are going to an early show so we can come home and watch the Hokies play at Charlotte- GO HOKIES!

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You know you live in the Midwest when...

your school handbook states that children may play outside for recess unless it is below 20 degrees.

I think I need to update the winter wardrobe with some of these to survive the winter here...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy 4th Hayes/ Thanksgiving

We have some good friends from our home church in Norfolk that are also in seminary here at Covenant. They are in their 3rd year, and live on campus with us. To say the least, they have helped in our transition to St. Louis a ton. In a new place, it is so nice to know people that already know your story.

Yesterday, we celebrated their youngest child's birthday along with them. It was Toy Story themed with a yummy Buzz cake! He is turning 4, so we decided to get him some Legos. There is every theme of Legos out there, you can even build Hogwarts and Harry out of Legos. I decided to get him a knight theme set with a castle and a catapult. When he opened it up this is what he shouted...

"Its Legos and it has the shooting thing I've been dreaming about!!!" He came up to me and gave me a big squeeze and said Thank you Thank you Miss Meredith.

He continued to come back to the Lego set throughout the party, and look at it and study it and talk about putting it together.

This is such a neat picture of thanksgiving for the smallest of things. There are so many times I covet what others have, or grumble about having one very small salary. But, we are truly blessed. We have been provided with jobs, support, a great apartment on campus, friends at home and friends going through seminary with us. We have never had to rely on the Lord for our finances until this year, and He has provided and will continue to provide. Praise the Lord that we are healthy, we can fix dinner every night, we can pay for tuition and books, and that we can give to others that are in need. All too often Marty and I take these things for granted, and do not stop to say "Thank you Thank you" like little Hayes. What a wonderful day of the year to have the opportunity to stop and praise the Lord for His love, grace and provisions.
James 1:16-17-
"Do not be deceived, my beloved dear brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Target Ads

I love Target! My sweet friend, Amanda, and I used to spend hours in Target when we were roomies at Tech and when we both lived in Hampton Roads. This holiday season, Targets ads are seriously cracking me up. The over enthusiastic shopper in BIG pears, side ponytail and sweat suit is hilarious. I hope there are more Target shopping tips to come :)
Have a laugh:


I can't quite believe that the holidays are right around the corner.  It feels like we just arrived here in St. Louis with all our belongings and no clue as to what this huge life change was going to look like.  Teaching around the holidays in a Christian school has been a completely different experience than I had in public school.  We are putting on a huge Thanksgiving play, complete with pilgrim and Native American outfits for the children.  In this play, the Pilgrims praise the Lord for their safe arrival on Plymouth Rock and sing hymns of joy.   I can't wait to prepare for Christmas with the little ones, and be able to talk about Jesus' birth for the first time in school. 

We are staying in St. Louis for Thanksgiving this year, and having dinner with friends. We are attempting to make part of the Thanksgiving meal and are looking forward to making the turkey, sweet potato casserole, pecan pie and Marty's grandmother's tea rolls.  Yum!

Happy Saturday! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stacy's Wedding

We had a wonderful time in Virginia celebrating our friends wedding.  We were in central Virginia, about 45 outside of Charlottsville.  No cell phone reception, no cable TV, just a good ole' country weekend with friends.  We stayed in a cabin with two other couples and stayed up way to late catching up and doing puzzles.
The wedding ceremony was held in a quaint old church near town.  The reception was held in a picnic lodge, and was decorated with lights on the ceiling white pumpkins as centerpieces, and a huge fireplace warmed up the room.
Cute little country church up in town

There were mason jars hung from the ceiling with candles inside.  The place cards were tied onto the branches in the center of the table.

We wrote Stacy and David a note and put it in these tiny envelopes attached to a scrapbook.

The ceiling was covered with stings of white lights and a huge fireplace warmed the room.

White pumpkins with gold splattered paint were the centerpieces.

Cute stamped napkin rings and apple butter as the favors

We had such a wonderful time visiting with friends in Virginia.  It made us miss living on the east coast a lot.  I am glad that Christmas is right around the corner and we will be able to visit again soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We are flying back to Virginia tomorrow to celebrate the marriage of our dear friend, Stacy. Here is the happy couple:
We can't wait to celebrate with these fun folks:
And I can't wait to visit with my two sweet college roomies Friday morning!
I got 5 magazines and 3 books from the library, the new Taylor Swift CD is on the ipod, and clothes are packed...we are ready to go! Pray for safe travels, and for Marty to get some studying done on the plane.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas card promo!

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards in the mail from friends and family. I especially love the cheesy/sweet photo cards! I remember one Christmas in high school, my Mom put a picture of my sister and I in our marching band uniforms ( yes, we were in marching band...) on our Christmas card. We had on tall hats with a huge feather on top, high pants and all...super cute! We ended up being mocked for the entire holiday season, yet I still love photo cards! Whether you enjoy photo cards, or mock them endlessly people enjoy receiving cards during the holiday and feel loved by the gesture.
My friend, Ashley, found this Shutterfly giveaway. All I had to do is fill out a simple survey here. They e-mailed me today and I just have to post about this giveaway and I will receive a code for 50 free cards. Here are some of my favorite photo designs!

The card above is my favorite so far. I think we may add a verse in the green section on the bottom.

I loved the polka dots incorporated in most of the designs. They have a lot of different styles to choose from, I don't think I will be able to choose just one! You can look at the following links for other items that Shutterfly offers:
Christmas Cards
Desk Calendars
Greeting cards

Have fun exploring their website!

Friday, October 29, 2010

We are official

Today was parent-teacher conference day at school, and because I am an assistant I got the day off! I have never been happier not to be teaching. Conferences were my absolute least favorite part of my job as a teacher. I took advantage of this day off to become an official resident of Missouri. It is sad to see my Virginia tags and license replaced, yet the experience was way more pleasant than I expected. In Virginia, you go to the DMV and wait and wait and wait. After waiting, you may receive the help you need, you may not. It is extremely complicated and stressful procedure. Here in Missouri, they have no DMV (gasp). They have little License Bureaus that are located in small store fronts in strip malls. There are many of these offices. Yes, you take a number, yet there are usually only 2-5 people in line ahead of you. I went to get my license and my plates separately today, and each trip took a total of maybe 20 minutes until everything was said and done! 20 minutes! I have to say, that this is one thing that Missouri does better than Virginia.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kids say the darndest things

At my new school, I am a kindergarten teacher in the morning, and a reading intervention teacher in the afternoon. During my reading lessons, I use Post-it Correction tape to cover up the kids writing mistakes. Instead of calling it "Post-it correction tape" to the kids, I call it boo-boo tape, because it covers their writing "boo-boos". I have been meeting with these students for about 4 weeks now, and a student just asked me why I keep calling the tape booby tape. Ha, for 4 weeks he has assumed I have been saying booby tape multiple times throughout our lesson!

Yesterday we got a new student, and I did some testing with her to determine what she knew. After about an hour of testing, we took a break and walked around the school. During this time she just looked up and me and said, "You know what Mrs. Cates, you sure do sound like a cowgirl!". HA! I guess we don't talk like everyone else here :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beer with the Cates :)

The Budweiser headquarters are located here in St. Louis, so we decided to visit last Saturday with the Cates. Even though I am not a beer fan, I enjoyed learning about the company's history and the process of making a beer. The plant was very beautiful, with nice landscaped lawns and old brick buildings. At the end we got two beers to try. I tried the Bud Light Lime, yet being 11:30 am did not need another sample. Here are some pictures of the tour:

Beautiful stables for the Clydesdales.

This used to be an old schoolhouse for the Anheuser and Busch children. Once they figured out that running a school on the property of a large factory wasn't smart, they turned the building into an office building.
The inside of the buildings were all in use, yet they were beautifully crafted with intricate iron work and huge chandeliers for lighting.
It was a fun visit that lasted about 2 hours complete with a beer tasting at the end. We decided it was a great St. Louis attraction that we will do with most of our guests that come and visit. Best of all it was free! Happy Monday!