Making Merry

 It was incredibly fun to see Christmas through Loulie's eyes. Between my birthday and parades and light shows and parties; we also managed to celebrate 5 blessed years of marriage. That is a A LOT to pack  into three weeks.

This week has been all about recovery. The Christmas season went by quickly and left me rather exhausted come Dec. 26th. So when Loulie told me yesterday morning that she did not want to put her clothes on, I didn't argue with her. Instead we stayed in our pjs, which never happens, until noon! I also knew that we needed to rest up before this weekend's festivities kicked off. Each year our family hosts a Polar Bear Plunge Party out at the beach. The costumes are hilarious and it is one of my favorite days of the entire year. A safe and happy new year to you! 2012--can you believe it?! Weren't we supposed to be living on the moon by now?


It came and went, now what?!

Whew! It is a lot of work creating the "perfect Christmas" for your family. After all the cooking and cleaning and wrapping; I now know why my mother was always so tired on Dec. 26th. But at Loulie's (much delayed) bedtime tonight, she asked to take Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus to bed with her along with a few sheep. She said "I take Baby Jesus to seep wiff you." Of course we agreed and at 10:30 she was still singing "Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus" from her crib. It was truly one of the best worst things ever! So even though I've spent the better part of my week leading up to Christmas doing beyond ridiculous preparations, I couldn't help but think "SUCCESS" yesterday when Loulie asked me when the Hoy Night was gonna happen. Because the one thing Bert asks for at Christmas is a house full of peace and happiness. Not stress and last minute preparations and a mother in a bad mood. But that we all celebrate Christmas for what it is--a time to be together praising God for the gift of our Savior.
I am ashamed to admit that I have spent a lot of time this season trying to create a festive atmosphere for my family and friends and not near enough time giving to those truly in need. That I have gotten caught up in the tasks of parenting and buying gifts and decorating and not done some of the things for others that I intended to. But a friend of mine says that God can be glorified in any situation as long as your heart is in the right place. So though I haven't been to a homeless shelter and the make a wish tree was empty by the time I got around to picking out a child, I do feel that our advent season has been one of anticipation. Of celebration. And of praise!
That glory can be brought to God in a room full of kids dancing and laughing and singing praise songs.  In a mother so thankful to have her child next to her helping to prepare dinner for their family. In a wall full of Christmas cards filled with pictures of loving families. In a family together praying around the dinner table. That glory can be brought to Christ through all types of preparation. And that the anticipation of advent doesn't end on Christmas Eve. 
That it is not too late to show the love of Jesus to others, to spread his message and to proclaim the good news. Tonight as I finally sat down and looked around at the unwrapped presents and leftover food, I admit that I thought "Now what?" But isn't that the question! Christ came for ALL people and the countdown of advent doesn't end Christmas day. It creates a beginning--that Christmas is a reminder that God loved us so much that he came down in flesh. A friend posed the question today "What if Christ hadn't been born?" I am thankful that we don't have to know the answer to that question.
I am also thankful that because of that gift, there is a new beginning. And that the answer to the question of "Now what?" is to go love on the unloveable, proclaim the Christmas story and continue to anticipate the coming of our Savoir!
Merry Christmas!


I'm too tired to think of a title..

You probably received a Christmas card from us yesterday if I didn't loose your address when my computer crashed this year. Thankfully after a few hours of entering names and looking up addresses, I have a good working spreadsheet again. And like every year, I have set a goal of having all the tasks of Christmas completed early next year so that I can do nothing but enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
It was about 3 hours after Thanksgiving was over that Snapfish/ Shutterfly/ Tinyprints sent me into a spiral with their "Buy early" sale email. I am not like others that think ahead enough and take some cute family photo in the summer when everyone is tan and relaxed. In fact, I'm not sure we even have a picture of the three of us this year. So before school one morning, we hit the back yard for a 5 min photo session. And like last year (see photo below), we were in the zone for about 3 minutes until everyone got a little tired of the activity.

So in lieu of last minute errands and gifts not getting sent in time and bad traffic, here is a little something that I hope will get a laugh...

Over it...
And the winner is...


May the odds be ever in your favor...

As of yesterday, I am officially in my early thirties. I do not believe in horoscopes or superstition, I know I have a heavenly father that has already numbered my days. However, I have noticed a pattern in those days over the years. It has become somewhat of a joke with my family and friends. I first noticed when on my 18th birthday I did not get into the college of my choosing. Talk about a sucker punch to the nose!
From then on, it has been that every odd year has brought contentment, surprises and adventure while most even years are a little more hit and miss. I would never say bad years because I have been so very blessed and we all know that times of trial draw you closer to the Lord. So I can look back and say it was ALL good! But if I were a gambler, I would up my stakes during an odd year. The year I turned 27, I jokingly told Bert that I felt like good things were coming my way. A few months in, I had a new car, my mother surprised me with my first trip to Europe and I was offered a great job. Bert told me he was ready for a year to be about him :) I ended that year with the best present ever--the expectation of Loulie Bug! Which followed me over into 28--all I remember about 28 is a lot of morning sickness, even more sleepless nights and a lot of excuses to my boss. See--point proven!
But as I roll into an odd year and an odd decade, I am not thinking about what good things may happen but that I have been an official adult for 13 years. That my 20s were about what I was going to do with my life, who I was going to spend it with, would I have a family and where would I end up living? Most of that has been decided by now--I've been blessed with good jobs, incredible friends, a husband who is my perfect match, a healthy child and I live in a beautiful place! So the question is no longer--what's next? What am I going to do? The question is how do I want to be seen? Am I  living each day fulfilling my Heavenly Father's purpose?
I was watching Easy A the other night because I may get older but will never outgrow a good teen drama. And Emma Stone and her friend were talking about mnemonics--basically if you were described what would be the first word the person said. Her friend's was big boobs--not mine. Her other friend's was that gay guy--again, not mine. So I asked Bert and he came back with something ridiculous and not worth repeating;) But it got my wheels turning.
So thats my plan for my 30s--work on my mnemonic. So that when someone asks, "Who is Lauren Dasher? Do I know her?" That person will respond with "you know Lauren, that girl who loves Jesus." or "oh if you don't know her, you should. She's a great friend--the kind that will give you the shirt off her back." or even better "Is that the kind lady with the polite children?" Friends, I am a loooong way off from a good mnemonic. I'm pretty sure right now that it's "that short girl that's hair is sometimes blond and has the kid with the weird name."
So as my friends and family, I am letting you know that is my business plan/ my check list/ my proverbial vision for the next nine years. Because they will go by too fast and I don't want to be wishing that I had spent more time helping others and with the people I love than on petty things or worry.
Hold me to it!
In other words, right now would be a great time to ask me for something--HA!

Lots of love and from the bottom of my heart thanks to everyone who has made up the last 31 years!


What's the hurry?

And just like that October is over. This is the time of year where I begin to feel like someone presses the fast forward arrow and everything starts going by a little faster than I would like. We got in the car after trick or treating last night and I checked my email only to receive one from a parenting/homemaking website that had sent out a blast at 5:35 p.m. Subject was "7 Little Things to Make your Thanksgiving Memorable." Followed by a trip to Target today where we passed aisle after aisle of Christmas decor. (on a side note: the OCD in  me could never work at Target. I would go so postal on the first person that undid my neat display.)
I resisted the urge to panic and yell at anyone who would listen that we are not in a race to see who can celebrate the holidays the earliest and with the most stuff. Instead, Loulie and I continued to honor our post Halloween hangover with a little flea of dog, went home and took down another handful of tootsie rolls, walked the neighborhood, counted everyone's pumpkins and put on her costume for the millionth time this week.
I can now say after my blood has officially turned to corn syrup, I am ready to move on to November.

(Here is the part of the post where I stain you with pictures of my Elmo Ballerina.)

Gators wear jean shorts,


(sorry--I couldn't help it! We won!!!)


A True Fall--finally

  Since it is still 80 degrees here and the only leaves on the ground are the ones we never cleaned out of the gutter from last winter, Bert and I decided Loulie needed to experience an actual fall--mountains, pretty leaves, football and cool weather. So what better place than to go visit Lovey and GDaddyBoy. 
It was such a short trip--less than 48 hrs but we packed in a lot.  It is so gorgeous there this time of year and I tried to get a lot of pictures but as usual my card filled up too quickly. Someone please remind to get a new one with a gazillion GBs worth of memory.
It was a great weekend that went by way too fast. As usual my mother and dad filled it with all sorts of special treats and activities that they knew we would all love. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 


 Black bear sighting. No lie! We had read all these articles on how bears were coming out towards the trails more this year and ways to keep them from attacking. Halfway up the trail, we spotted two--Bert tore off with Loulie up the trail and my dad stopped to get a picture. Now who would you be in that scenario? Bert always says, you don't have to outrun the bear, just whoever you're with but I wasn't taking any chances.
 Picnic by the river


 My parents received a little slack from some friends when they announced where they were moving (the whole Deliverance, foothills, orange team banter) so as a joke they said when friends and family come to visit; they are going to pull out the moonshine and Vols gear along with some lovely redneck wine glasses for a good laugh. Worked on us--I got a big kick out of the moonshine!
Now I finally feel like fall is here and we came back to a much cooled off Charleston. I actually had to pull out my sweaters last night--YEAH!!!!


Out on the water

About three years ago Bert built me a piroque as an easy way for me to get out on the water. It's made from plywood, although you would never know looking at it, so it is super light and was supposed to be easy  for me to cart around. Not two seconds after he finished it, did we discover that there is no way my 5'2 frame can throw that sucker on top of a car much less carry it to the boat ramp. Long story short, I still need the Husk to help me get it in the water.
Because it was a mega hot summer and Bert works 24/7 from April to September, he has not been able to fulfill his longstanding promise to help me take Loulie out on her first tour. So as soon as the suffocating humidity disappeared and the days of rain stopped, we headed over to the JI park for Loulie's first launch.

It was a success. The whole time we pointed out turtles and egrets and talked about how she looked just like Pocahontas. I really wish I'd taken my sister's waterproof camera to capture some of the scenery. This is my favorite way of being out on the water because you so feel a part of your surroundings and a lot of the wildlife is completely undisturbed since you aren't making a sound. We toured all around the park and waterways off the Stono River.
We were doing just fine until we circled back to the area in front of dog beach and found what looked to be a furry manatee. After a slight freak out and some flailing around we switched out and the manatee-esque creature got her own tour. 

If anything has ever convinced me that Bridget needs to be on a diet it was this boat ride. Every time she took a deep breath, I thought the boat was going to flip.
Speaking of getting out on the water, has anyone seen this boat in the harbor. It is the fourth largest sailboat in the world and docked in Charleston for a few days. My nephews were here this weekend and approximately 65% of the conversation was dedicated to this boat. It is completely amazing but at $400,000 a week, I think I'll stick to the piroque.



Possibly the best thing I have seen today. I could seriously squeeze that cute kid. In the meantime, Loulie is sticking to her guns on wanting to be a "bawawina" for Halloween. She suggested yesterday that Bert be one too. And though he will go to great lengths to please that child, I have not seen him running out the door to purchase some Baryshnikov tights. Bert as a ballerina?--talk about a haunting Halloween! 

What is your child dressing up as? What do you think of parents dressing up with kids--cute or ridiculous? I'd say in the below picture, my vote is completely adorable!

                                                                                               via here
P.S. Have you seen the Up house?


Pile Up

How did the end of September come so quickly?! I am backed up on blog posts, on work, on cleaning, etc. I finally found my desk last night and at least caught up on work emails. Loulie has been sick all week--high temp on Tuesday, fussy and just not herself. It has made it hard to get things accomplished with her so clingy and miserable but I have to admit it has been nice to have her usually busy body snuggled up and wanting to rest with her mama. That rarely happens anymore so I have made it a point to stop and cherish these fleeting moments.
But with a sick child and lots to do, I was high on stress yesterday and completely overwhelmed.  As I was sorting through piles on my desk, I found a list of grace prayers that a precious friend handed me this last week. My eyes immediately fell to the fourth prayers and I thought I would share it with you in case you are having that kind of day. 

When life piles up, give thanks...

"When stress mounts, I'll dismount it with gratitude. It's impossible to simultaneously feel stress and gratitude at the same time and I choose to feel thanks at all times!"
                                                                   -Anne Voskamp, Grace Prayers for Joyful Parenting