December 31, 2008

Grandma Baker

Todd and I had 9 homes to visit/Christmas parties to attend while in Missouri and we finished number 9 yesterday. If you know anything about my family, it's dysfunctional at best. Number 9 was at my ex-step dad's. Yes, that's what I said. My mom married Steve when I was 7 and they got divorced right after I turned 22, so he was a big part of my life although we never really got along until he divorced my mom.

His family on the other hand is amazing. His parents were the closest thing to real grandparents I could have asked for. His mom and dad taught me so much and watching them live out their lives strengthened my faith. There is such a special place in my heart for Steve's mom. She's just amazing. She may not be my grandmother by blood, but she adopted me into her family even after I technically wasn't her family anymore. If you want to see someone live and love like Jesus, meet my grandma - Maxine Baker.

Me and Grandma Baker - Christmas '08

Happy New Year! Hope you spend the holiday with the friends and family you love. :)

December 28, 2008

We Need More Pictures!

I'm showing Dad pictures of our house because he hasn't seen it since the week we moved in and I want to show him my interior design skills. Unfortunately he says our house looks like a spec home. I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not. I mean, I do love walking into spec homes, but the thing about a spec home is that they're not supposed to look like anyone lives there. That's not what I want our home to be. I want someone to know that they are in "Todd and Tara's" home and to feel comfortable and welcome. So I got to thinking. Todd and I don't have many pictures of ourselves or our families anywhere, and since we're swinging by the Pottery Barn outlet on our way home, I'm giving myself a little project. To find (inexpensive) frames and get more pictures on the wall of the people we love. No more spec home for this girl!

A picture of our living room now.

A picture of a living room with lots of great pictures - courtesy of Pottery Barn.

December 27, 2008


Today was a lot of fun with my family. I forget how fun they can be and how hard they can make me laugh. I spent the morning shopping - ran into a few people I haven't seen in forever, including one of Todd's best friends (who was also in our wedding). After hitting the mall I saw Marley & Me with a few of my favorite cousins. Great movie by the way! Bring a kleenex. We had coffee at Rendezvous - they didn't have white hot chocolate, but the vanilla chai was great. We played board games and talked about Hannah's love life. Doesn't get much better than that.

After the movie and coffee it was just me and my boys - my dad and brother Drew. We made turkey sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies and somehow they convinced me to play Risk. I'm not into war or games that involve war, but I took one for the team and had a blast. They had me laughing so hard and believe it or not, I ended up winning!

Funny thing about risk. Todd and I took a huge risk when we moved to Nashville. We left everything we knew to chase a dream God put in my heart as a little girl. I can definitely say that the risk was worth it. Our lives have changed and God has blessed us in so many ways, but tonight sitting around the table with Dad and Drew, I was reminded that the risk required us to leave the people that love us most. The great thing about living away from home is that when I'm in town, I soak up every moment with my family like a sponge. I'm so glad we took the risk, but I'm also so thankful for a family that supports my dreams and took the risk with me. I love you guys!

December 26, 2008

Heading Home for the Holidays

I have learned that packing for 12 days is not easy - especially when it's for Christmas. You can't pack Christmas presents, sweaters and winter coats into one suitcase. So on Christmas Eve, our living room looked like this:

After 8 hours in the car (the trip took longer because we got stuck in a rainstorm in Kentucky), we made it to Todd's grandparents for our first of 9 Christmas dinners. Being with Todd's family is never boring. This year everyone decided that when someone opened a gift, it was necessary to acknowledge the gift with Bon Jovi's signature "overhead clap!"

And to top it off, Todd's mom has had issues with bicyclists on the road, so his uncle Tyler got her this lovely gift:

After seeing these creative gifts, I can't tell you how happy I am that his family decided to furnish our bedroom for Christmas. We will definitely be swinging by the Pottery Barn outlet in Memphis on our way home!

December 22, 2008

A New Recipe

After reading so many great blogs, I am officially hooked. So hooked that I'm a blog stalker (these are my favorites here and here) and I'm giving in to the urge to blog myself, so here you go. :)

Christmas is in three days, and since Todd and I will be away from home for nearly two weeks, we're having two great friends over for dinner so that I can get a feel of what it's like to have Christmas in our own home. One of these days when we have little ones (or a little one), we'll be lucky enough to stay in our own home, but for now we make the trip to Ozark to spend the holidays with our families. Don't get me wrong, it's wonderful! But I'm starting to see why people say after you move away, your trips back home become fewer and fewer. I used to think that was ridiculous! But when you move away and your "new" home becomes your home-home, it becomes harder and harder to leave. I'm just thankful that we have amazing parents that keep us coming back holiday after holiday.

Back to tonight. Josh and Christi Rush are coming over for dinner and I'm trying out a new recipe that I found in Good Housekeeping. I know, I'm only 26 years old and I'm reading Good Housekeeping (and Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and other magazines I never picked up before owning a home!). I think the day we closed on our house I aged 20 years. :)

I was reading GH on my way to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago and found a recipe for Beef Carbonnade and had to try it. So Josh and Christi will be my guinea pigs!

Here is my inspiration:

You can find the recipe here.

I'll post later tonight and let you know how this dish turned out. I'm praying that we don't end up ordering pizza.


Josh and Christi just left and dinner was a success. It needed a little more seasoning, and I'm sure the next time I'll get it right, but for tonight it was edible.

Todd helped add the finishing touches to our dinner.

I love spending time with those two. God gave me a wonderful family and I am so thankful for them, but when God brings complete strangers into our lives and they become family, it's a true blessing. Todd and I look forward to many more dinner date nights with the Rushes.