Monday, October 26, 2009

The Bunch does the Mash

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

smoothies & sweet potato fries

Kyla Rose & Miss Tina
We put our toesies in the fountain:) Shhh.. don't tell!
Avery sipping her yummy smoothie:)

Last week I was lucky enough to spend the morning hanging out with two of the sweetest girls:) Kyla was in my class this past school year and Avery is her adorable little sister. The Davis family is moving to Virginia this week and I wanted to sneak in a few more hours with these sweet girls before they headed out of town:) We spent the morning at the Promenade window shopping and playing in the fountain. When we were finished with our shopping fun, we headed over to what I think is one of my favorite places to eat in Charlotte-Just Fresh! Avery has quite a few food allergies, but I came armed with the knowledge of what she could eat and how to have it prepared:) To say the staff was helpful was an understatement! They went above and beyond and Avery's burger came out perfect! The only problem was she was less than interested in eating said burger! All she cared about were the yummy sweet potato fries! She was even nice enough to share some with Mr. Rusty and me:) I will miss this sweet family-I definitely see a trip to Charlottesville in my future! Thanks Pete and Sarah for sharing them with me!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I don't want to offend anyone, but.... really???

Monday, May 25, 2009

my friend Jared...

Our friend, Jared Pike, is a creative genius of sorts:) Check out his latest masterpiece!

*** side notes - the crazy "old" lady driver is our great friend Eva, who just happened to deliver both Abby & Carter-and for the record... it was a wig:) The frustrated driver, is none other than Eric Foster... husband to Mandy and dad to two gorgeous boys. Last but not least.... the nut in the black pickup was a professional balloon artist who spends his days cracking necks, other wise know as Dr Rob!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"i thought she was asleep..."

this is what happens when a three year old is left alone in your bedroom...
I love that kid!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

strawberry pickin'

This morning, Rusty and I loaded up the kiddos and headed to the Hall Family Farm to go strawberry picking. The kids were so excited! When we lived in Ft Myers, we usually went at least twice every season....but this was our first time since we've moved to North Carolina:) The kids had such a great time, they just went from row to row looking for the 'big ones'! They loved it so much that we ended up with 7 pounds of beautiful, fresh strawberries! So far, we've had plates of strawberries and sugar, and strawberry syrup with our pancakes for dinner (yes, we had pancakes for dinner:) I'm looking forward to trying out some new recipes with the strawberries we have left. Here are some of the pictures from this afternoon.

Carter with his first row's bounty

Abby checking out her berry

beautiful berries:)

Paige's handful

starting a new row

roller coaster

I know, I know, it's been a long time..... Please forgive me - it's been a crazy, crazy month. Some days I feel like I'm on a roller coaster that won't stop and let me off. So many things all happening at once. It's been hard to process it all. Last Sunday was Mother's Day. I knew this would be a tough day for Rusty, but I wasn't prepared for it to hit me as hard as it did. I woke up that morning just feeling so blue. I missed my mom, I missed my grandma, I missed my sister and I missed Janice. I have been so blessed by having such amazing women in my life.... It was just so hard knowing how far away they were on that day. The next day, our house in Ft Myers was finally auctioned off from the foreclosure. That was a hard day for me. There are a lot of amazing memories in that house. I know it was just a building and I also know that so many other people are going through the same thing, but on that day, I felt like we were the only people in the world who had just lost their house. Then, Wednesday was our 14th wedding anniversary. We had such a great time that night! We went to dinner and a movie and spent some much needed time alone. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband! 14 years married to my best friend-Who could ask for more??

So, I hope that sums up some of the reasons about why I haven't blogged lately and what our Bunch has been up to this past month:) I promise to try and be a little more consistent with my posting over the next few months! Thanks for your patience:-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is AMAZING!

I know some of you may have already seen this, but if you haven't, watch this:)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

a day in paris

Well, Paris Island anyway:)

Kyle showing Brittany and Paige around

Carter trying on Kyle's coke bottles (excuse me, I mean his military issue glasses!)
He couldn't wait to get back to the house and put on his contacts!!

Seeing him for the first time after the ceremony.... have I told you how proud I am of him??

Kyle's platoon.... if you click on the pic it will make it bigger.. he's the 3rd from the left, front row:)

Early in the morning, on March 1st, Rusty's brother Brian called to tell us the news that Mom was gone.... We knew it was coming, but it was still hard to hear those words. That following week was so very bittersweet.... because on that coming Friday, Brian's son, Kyle, was graduating from Marine boot camp at Paris Island, SC. We wanted to be there to visit with Kyle, after all, who knew when the next time we would be able to see him? Also knowing that we might need to head to Florida for Mom's services at anytime made us stop and think.... could the kids miss that much school and could Rusty and I miss that much work?? Well, as usual, God's timing is perfect! Mom's memorial was scheduled for the next Monday, so we were able to stop in SC for the graduation and then all caravan the rest of the way down to Florida:) So on Thursday, we packed up the car and headed down to South Carolina to meet Brian, Lisa and the kids for dinner the night before graduation. Then the next morning we all drove onto the island to find some good seats for the ceremony. I have never been to a military graduation, but let me tell you, that day left an indelible mark on me. It was breathtaking to see the rows and rows of men and women who volunteered to serve our country, especially now, when their safety is so uncertain. We sat together in the bleachers, in between other families whose children, grandchildren, siblings and spouses, all made that same selfless decision to serve. It was like one huge (and somewhat loud and obnoxious!) family! All of us tied together with a common thread:) I was so proud of Kyle.... seeing him in his uniform just brought me to tears.... I know it sounds so clique' but I honestly do remember holding him in my lap when he was just a baby. Where does the time go?? Well, he's not a baby anymore! He's a Marine!! Our Marine! Grandma's Marine! Kyle, please know that we are so proud of you and praying for you everyday! We love you!!

I'm back!

It's been awhile.... I know...... To be completely honest, I been struggling with coming back to blogging since Janice passed away. I knew that since we made the move to North Carolina, Mom had probably been my most faithful reader. Then last summer, when she started getting sick, I felt the need to step up my game. I wanted her to feel like she was a part of what we were doing. I didn't want her to miss out on pictures of the kids and seeing what our crazy family was up to. Whenever we spoke to Mom on the phone she always told us how much she missed us, but she always ended with something along the lines of, "you are right where God wants you, even if we'd love to have you closer". That always meant so much to me. Being away from your family is not easy, but knowing that your family believes in you and what you are doing, means the world. Now I know there are more of you out there that read this sad excuse for a blog (although, I'm not sure why?? lol) and I know if I don't post something soon, my brother in law, Brian, and my sister, Sam, are going to have my head :) So, I'm back.... but now I'm trying to figure out how to "catch up"???? So be patient with me ~ I'm sure the next few posts will seem really random.... I've got everything from a Marine graduation, to Family Night, to KidVenture with Ridge and everything in between:) So here it goes......

Sunday, March 8, 2009

rough week

I know I haven't posted lately.... it's been a very difficult week. Rusty's mom, Janice, passed away last Sunday morning. Even though it was expected (she had been sick for quite a while), it has still been a hard few days. We arrived in Florida on Friday evening and it seems like we've been going and going ever since. I have alot of things I want to write about.... my head is swimming with thoughts I know I need to write down.... but not now. My feelings are too raw. So many of you have asked what you can do for Rusty and I, and we have been so blessed with the amazing outpouring of love from our friends and church family. We appreciate it all so very much:) If you can, please continue to pray for us today and tomorrow..... It's going to be a tough, tough 24 hours. Please pray for Rusty, his brothers, Brian & Jimmy, and their dad, Larry. These 4 men are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders right now.... Thank you for all the love and support.....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

family night ~ camping

Last night our family night theme was 'camping'. It's February in North Carolina, so needless to say... we did our camping indoors! We started out the night making jiffy pop popcorn and 'smores over the campfire
(AKA the microwave & stovetop!).
We watched the movie Open Season 2 and ended the evening sleeping in (and all around!) the tent we had set up in the living room. We woke up this morning to pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon! What better way to end a camping trip?? The kids had a great time and I'd have to say that this was the easiest family night yet:)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

love this group...

I love this group and this is one of those songs I could listen to over and over again, and it never seems to get old.... I found this video today and I thought it was so great, I wanted to share it with you:)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Week of Love ~ Part 3

So, I just realized that I totally forgot about finishing these posts during the week of Valentine's Day!..... at least, I had such great intentions....... Shall we continue?? My sweet Abigail Faith is up next! Oh, where do I begin?? I adore this child.... she is most definitely one of a kind and I consider myself blessed beyond measure that I have her in my life!

I LOVE the way she can take the foil leftover from a Qdoba burrito and make a cruise ship out of it! I LOVE the way she chews on her tongue when she's concentrating... I LOVE her little notes of love that I find all over the house. I LOVE that when I straighten up her bedroom, I can usually find at least 10 things that I know I threw in the trash that week! (She insists that nothing is truly trash, only a treasure undiscovered:) I LOVE her sweet, sweet spirit... She loves everyone and isn't afraid to tell them! I wish we all gave our love so freely. I LOVE that she is the peacemaker in our family..... She'll always be the first to say, "I'm sorry" or "I forgive you"...... I LOVE her love for reading..... I finally had to ask her to empty her backpack of all of the extra books she had in there. I was afraid she was going to start walking like an 80 year old woman with osteoporosis! I LOVE to hear her pray for other people..... She loves her Jesus and wants to share His love with the world:) I LOVE that she calls me "momma" and not mommy, or mom.... I don't know why that touches my heart so, but it gets to me every single time:)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

meatballs & more

Yesterday morning, Rusty, Megan and I headed out to Charlotte's newest adult amusement park! IKEA:) We had so much fun! If you've never been to an IKEA store, be prepared to be overwhelmed....

The place is enormous.... I believe I heard it said that the store is as big as 6 football fields! They also say the average time you will spend shopping in an IKEA is two and a half to three hours.... Well, let me tell you ~ we arrived as soon as the store opened at 10:00 and pulled out of the parking lot a little after 1:30!! The place is so big, they have built a resturant in it! We had heard everyone rave about their swedish meatballs, so, of course, that's what all three of us had for lunch. We also had chocolate cake and a swedish apple cake that was totally yummy!!
It's amazing the amount of items you can buy at one store.... they have everthing from baby sippy cups, to bamboo plants, to mattresses and sofas! It was too much to take in on one day:) We will be heading back in a week or so... next time we're taking the kids so they can play in the kid's area ~ Oh, did I forget to mention that they have a kid's area, where your children can play (and not follow you around and whine why you look at every single item in the store) for FREE???!!! The kids that came out of the play area looked like they had so much fun. They had a clown doing face painting and balloon animals..... It took all I had to keep Rusty outta there!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I am SO excited!!
I have been anticipating the release of this book for well over a year now. I first heard it mentioned on his blog, which then lead me to Anne's story. The first time I read the title and found out what this book was going to be about, I was hooked. I know most of you know our story..... My husband served on staff at a large church in Florida for 12 years... I was also on staff for about 10 of those years, on and off, in several different capacities. The first few years were wonderful. We both worked there, our children went to school there, all of our friends were there, basically, all of our relationships centered around our church. Somewhere along the way, I don't even remember when, things went south. Some weeks my husband was working 50 and 60 hours a week and we joked and called those 'slow weeks'. Slowly, but surely, we began to burn out..... Our church had a number of resources for the pastors and their wives, but you see, the problem was, my husband wasn't a pastor. Those resources, no matter how wonderful they were, were not for us. It's was hard for us to know how to deal with the stress of it all. Talking about it sounded so much like complaining. And really, what are you going to say??? Do you ask if all the programs were really worth the stress it brought on the staff?? Sounds selfish, doesn't it?? Don't get me wrong, I can't and don't blame the church.... The decisions we made, were our own. We loved the people and we loved the Lord.... but we were tired, burned out, fried.

That little detour brings me back to this book. The title is MAD CHURCH DISEASE - Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic. Do you see where I'm going with all this??? I am excited that there is finally a resource out there for those of us in the ministry (or married to someone who is:) One of the lines in this book that struck me right between the eyes, was a quote by Bill Hybels. It states that he once said that "the way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in my life". Powerful stuff, huh? Rusty and I are commited to doing everything in our power to not allow that same burn out to invade our lives again. I'm sure I'll be sharing more of what I learn as I dig deeper into this book. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy 36th birthday!!

happy birthday, my handsome mountain man! i love you so.
if you get a chance, go here and send him some birthday wishes!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

family night ~ valentine's day

So, it's been a REALLY long time since we've had a themed family night....We've had lots of 'spur of the moment' family time in the past two months ~ but, for some reason, I just couldn't seem to get myself together enough to plan out a themed evening of fun:)
So, we started off slow tonight.

In honor of Valentine's Day, we had family night complete with heart shaped pizzas, a bit of bubbly (Cherry Sun Drop w/raspberry sherbet punch in fancy glasses) and strawberry cupcakes with chocolate hearts on top! I had big plans for us to make Valentine's for each other, have a daddy/daughters & momma/son dance and a "heart hunt" (like an egg hunt, but with hearts!!)
Unfortunately, I think I over planned the evening, and by the end of dinner, all 3 kiddos were on the couch with their jammies on. So, since tomorrow is actually Valentine's Day, we decided we'd save some of the fun for then!

Week of Love ~ Part 2

Paige's turn..... Here are a just a few of the things I love about her:)

I love the the smile on her face when she is surrounded by the chaos that only 10 preschoolers can bring to your Sunday morning:)

I love her willingness to help out with just about anything that is asked of her...

I also love her stubborn streak that runs a mile wide..... it reminds me that we are two peas in a pod!

I love when she asks me to flat iron her hair in the morning.... and we get a chance to chat about what the school day may hold for her.

I love when I see her back into her daddy's chest for a hug.... she thinks she's too big to actually 'ask' for one:)

I love her passion for serving others.... and pray that she never loses it.

I love how she laughs at her daddy's silly jokes (hey, someone's got to!)

I love watching her grow into the amazing young woman that God is calling her to be!

There is a special place in my heart for my firstborn.... Maybe it's all the trials and errors we've had together.... both of us trying to 'get it right"..... She is such a precious gift, and I am so blessed to be her mom!

Now it's your turn ~ tell me one thing you LOVE about your oldest!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Week of Love ~ Part 1

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought we'd have a week of "love" here @ theburchardbunch. (I have to admit that I borrowed this idea from a fellow blogger.... it was too great an idea to pass up!) So, for the next few days, I'm going to share a few of the things I love about my hubby and our kiddos:) and lucky Rusty, today, it's his turn! So here it goes....

I love the way his hair curls up behind his ears when he wears a hat.

I love the way he winks at me from across the room.

I love Saturday mornings and his pancake breakfasts.

I love that whenever I smell popcorn, I think of him.

I love listening to his voice when he prays every morning.

I love when he finds me on Facebook and starts a chat with the words,"Hey Sexy!"

I love the dimple he has in his chin (although I haven't seen it in months due to his 'winter beard')

I love walking into Ridge, seeing him standing behind that sound board, or up on the stage, and the smile he has on his face....and knowing how happy he truly is.

I love the way he loves our children.....and how they all think they're daddy's favorite!

I love Fridays and our "date day" and how I always know that for those 6 hours, it's just us.....

I love how he hits the snooze button every morning, then rolls over and puts his arm around me.

Now it's your turn.... Tell me what you love most about your significant other :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

71 and Topless

Today was absolutely beautiful! 71 degrees and sunny..... I had almost forgotten how good the sun feels on my skin. Rusty and I surprised the kids by picking them up from school in Daddy's Jeep... with the top off! Rusty could hardly stand it:) Two days with temps in the low 70's gave him the "bug" and he stripped the Jeep..... Unfortunately it is suppose to rain sometime tomorrow.... I guess the top will have to be going back on soon..... Sorry honey!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

friday funnies

A friend of mine sent these to me and I thought they were way too funny not to share with all of you! Happy Friday:)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Random Things about Me

So far I've been tagged about 12 times on Facebook to do this. So... since I went through all the trouble of coming up with 25 random (or maybe, not so random:) things about myself, I decided to share it here with you! No, not really~ I'm just too lazy to come up with anything else worth reading.

1. I was born in North Miami Beach, Florida and lived there until I was 15.

2. I met Rusty while wearing a bikini, twirling a baton and standing in the median of a highway.... long story!

3. I LOVE taking pictures. My iphoto cache has 8652 pictures on it right now and that's only since 6/07!

4. I was on an episode of Miami Vice when I was 10. I was an extra and the episode I was on was filmed at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant..... Explains a lot doesn't it?? BTW: If you happen to blink at just the right moment... you'll miss me:)

5. I was a competitive gymnast until I tore a tendon in my ankle and was on crutches for 2 months. During that time my grandfather took me to physical therapy at the Miami Dolphins training center. One of the many perks of being his granddaughter!

6. I started blogging when we moved to North Carolina as a way to keep in touch with family friends. I usually don't have anything worth reading, but I love writing down my thoughts, however random they may be:)

7. I love horses and my dream is to one day have one (or maybe 2, or 3...) of my own.

8. I am addicted to my Mac. I actually have withdrawal when I am away from it too long! Sad, huh??

9. I love the sound my phone makes when I receive a text! Especially from Rusty:)

10. I have always wanted a tattoo (It's on my to-do list for this year!) Any creative friends out there that wanna draw me a cross???

11. I love buying shoes..... Not sure how many pairs I've owned over the years. I get the same "warm feeling" when I walk into a shoe store that I get when I walk into a Starbucks:)

12. A sure sign that my house is clean is a candle burning in every room. Not sure why I do it, but I can't bring myself to light them until I'm finished cleaning.

13. I have 3 younger brothers and two of them are named John. Another long story...

14. I read all four of the Twilight books in 10 days.

15. I would love to have another baby..... praying about adopting....soon.

16. My sister is my best friend and even though we have lived in different states for a year and a half now... we still talk everyday.. sometimes 2 or 3 times a day:)

17. I have a crush on Louie Giglio.... I think it's the gray hair!

18. One of my favorite shows is "iCarly".... but don't tell my kids. They think I'm a cool mom 'cause I've let them watch every episode! Spencer is hysterical.

19. I am obsessed with counting my kids when we are in the car. As soon as everyone is buckled up, I count...1.2.3. then, a few miles down the road....1.2.3 again....and then... well, you get the picture! Maybe too many years in preschool ministry??

20. I can twirl fire and knives.... so don't mess with me! lol

21. I am a horrible typist... I have typed all of this using my thumbs and pointer fingers... mostly on my right hand:) Believe it or not, I'm pretty quick with those 4 fingers!

22. I was the Florida State Solo baton champion and competed in the Nationals at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. There's a huge trophy somewhere to prove it!

23. My husband and I moved to Charlotte to be part of a church plant. Who ever thought that my name and 'church planter' could be in the same sentence?? God is so good!

24. I LOVE Ridge Church and the people that call it their home! I am so blessed to be part of such an amazing church full of such passionate people! Ridge Church Rocks!!

25. I am married to the most amazing man. I know everyone thinks their husband is the best... but I truly believe mine is! He is amazing but I have to admit that it does make me a little sick how creative he can be.... He can make anything out of nothing and make it look spectacular!
30' Productions rocks:)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

no sleep

I have been having trouble sleeping for MONTHS.... It either takes me hours to fall asleep (going to bed at 11:30 and not falling asleep until 3:00 or so!) or I fall asleep pretty quick and then I am up five and six times in one night. I never realized how much not having a good night's sleep can affect a person! There have been times where I thought, "If I could just fall asleep and stay asleep, I'd need a full week, just to catch up!" Someone suggested Benadryl 4 days ago~and I think I may have found my new best friend!! Tuesday night I took it about a half hour before bed and when I woke up Wednesday morning, I realized that it was the first time I had slept through the night in about 3 months!! I can't seem to shack the "hangover" feeling I have in the mornings though. But, I'll take an hour of walking in a daze over no sleep anyday!! For all of those that are going to suggest that I see my doctor, don't worry.... I'm making an appointment for this coming week!
But, for now, Benadryl at bedtime for me:)

Friday, January 30, 2009

tithe rap

This outta make your morning:) You're welcome!

Monday, January 26, 2009

my baby is 8!

I have very mixed feelings about the birthdays of my children.... Every year they celebrate another candle on their cake, I realize that they are growing closer to the time when I will have to let them go. Some days it seems as though I will just blink and they will be adults and the decisions and choices they make will be completely their own. It creates a huge sense of urgency in me.... there are so many things I want to do with them, do for them and teach them to do for others. I want them to truly believe that their heavenly Father loves and knows what's best for them. Seems like such a simple truth, but one I know every decision they make on their own needs to be filtered through. Their birthday is a marking point to me that another year has slipped by.... way too fast. Then there are days where I feel like time stands still. Sitting across the table from the three precious children God has entrusted me with for such a short amount of time, makes me feel like the luckiest mom on Earth! Happy Birthday Carter-Man! Momma loves you <3

that was sweeet!

Carter's first run on the sled!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

snow day!!

I finally got him!
Paige sledding (or at least attempting to!)
Carter catching snowflakes!

We woke up this morning to find a blanket of white snow covering everything! The best part is that it's still snowing! Last year, when the kids saw their first snow, it had come down during the night and by the time they got got up in the morning, it was melting and pretty nasty. They were so excited to get bundled up and head out this morning to play in the snow:) Here are some pics and video of our fun this morning!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

happy birthday to me!

17 years ago today, I asked Jesus to come into my life as my Lord and Savior. At that time, Rusty was the audio engineer for a southern gospel group called "The HIS Quartet". One of the perks of that friendship was that we were lucky enough to travel with them to Boca Raton on January 18th, 1992 to see a group called, "The Cathedrals". I had felt the Lord tugging on my heart for quite a while before that night, but finally my stubborness gave way and I asked (no, begged) Him to take my heart and make it whole. I am so grateful for the people the Lord put in my life that laid the path to that night. That night it all became so clear and there was no use in fighting that "tug" any longer!

So, when is your birthday??

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Friday, January 16, 2009

how many layers do I need???

Mostly Cloudy
Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 35%

29° | 9°

I don't remember signing up for this!! Holy cow~It's freezing!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I bought Paige a copy of the book "Twilight" for Christmas after hearing some really good stuff about it from some friends. While we were vacation, Paige and her cousins all went to see the movie in the theater. Although she loved it, and her own words, "It was the best movie ever!!" she wasn't interested in reading the book when she had already seen the movie. When we got back home and finally unpacked all the Christmas gifts, I stumbled on the book again. I'm one of those people who will read anything I can get my hands on.... cereal boxes and Rusty's trade magazines will usually do if I can't find anything else! I picked up the book and before I knew it I was hopelessly trapped in Forks, Washington:) I read the first book in 2 days and the second in 2 more... I was so absorbed in this story that when I finished the 2nd book, I jumped in the car and headed to Wallie World to pick up the 3rd book! Couldn't find it, borrowed it from a good friend, and been reading this one for three days. I am ashamed to admit that I am addicted! I carry the book everywhere I go! I read it in the car line while I pick up the kids, I read it at a long stop light, and from the time I put the kids to bed until I fall asleep, my nose is stuck in this book!! Anyone else out there hopelessly addicted?? Please tell me I'm not the only 35 year old loving the idea of a werewolf and a vampire fighting for her love??? lol