Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pleasant Surprises...Let there be SNOW!

Christmas eve is always a busy day for the Wilbanks family. For lunch we go to my great-grandmother's (Gran Gran's). This year we had 28 people come (we had all of the cousins there plus 2 husbands and 2 boyfriends) and it was an interesting time as usual.
After lunch we played dirty Santa (which takes a while with that many people) and then took the party out back for a little skeet shooting. We quickly ran out of skeets after everyone had taken several turns, and moved on to shooting jugs off the fence post. This activity took up a good hour or so, and was good to get us all out of that tiny house. Bridgett impressed us all with her aim when she knocked the jug off the post on the first try! I think she even surprised herself, because she chose to quit while ahead and refused to try again.

After our target practice, great-aunt Leonel wanted us all to get back to the house for the traditional family photo. When we piled back into the house,
great-uncle Hugh had his karaoke machine fired up and was taking requests! I signed Bridgett up to grace us with a thrilling rendition of "Achy Breaky Heart" by none other than our favorite mullet sporting country singer Billy Ray Cyrus! Entertaining is an understatement. Next up was Chelsey's husband, Jake. His song of choice was Conway Twitty's "I'd Love to Lay you Down". He even threw in a few line dancing moves, and hit every note! After his brilliant show, Bridgett and I dazzled the crowd with our Shania-like skills and performed "Man! I Feel Like a Woman"! I don't know that I've seen Gran Gran laugh that much since we explained to her what a shart was, and I can guarantee that the whole family enjoyed the show. As much fun as that was, I regret to inform you that my grandmother took video footage of all performances, and will most certainly blackmail us with this evidence in the future. However, I don't fear for myself so much as I pity whoever has the misfortune to someday view this tragic display of sober karaoke. We all made great attempts to postpone the family picture time, but as usual we lost the battle. Leonel shut down th
e karaoke fest and told us all to line up. After 25 years, I've learned the best thing to do is line up fast, keep smiling, and maybe everyone else will do the same so it won't take half an hour. Once the family picture was taken, the party moved to Pucky's (my dad's mom).

Several years ago we decided that we always eat way too much when we get together for holidays, so instead of the traditional Christmas feast (AGAIN) we started making snack foods and dips to eat at Pucky's. Of course, that just means that I will still eat more snacks, but it's a nice change up from the same ole same ole. We played more dirty santa, drank a little wine, ate our snacks, and played cards. My family plays a card game called Shanghai that I can never seem to win, and the game takes 40 years to play. It's always a good time hangin with that side of the family!

On Christmas morning, we woke up to SNOW!!! I can't remember the last time we actually had a white Christmas (where the snow actually stuck to the ground). Once I had a chance to wake up and realize that it was still snowing, I made Stephanie get out of
bed so we could go play in the snow!!! After we suited up in our "winter" gear, we hit the snow running (or falling in my case). We made 2 snowmen, had a snowball fight, sled down the hill, and played with Steph's new puppy. Dad came out to play with us, and we had a great time. After working up a good appetite, we went inside and mom had Christmas breakfast on the table! The final Christmas stop was my mom's parents for the weekend. They were very excited when we gave them 2 new recliners for their present this year!!! After church this morning, we loaded up and made our way back home.

The past couple of days have been packed full of activity. Tomorrow I will probably go crazy around the house with nothing to do, but then again, I only have 3 days before I have to pack up and hit the road again. Wednesday I will be heading to Birmingham to meet up with Jordan so we can go to New Orleans for New Years Eve, and I will leave from there to get back to work. 2010 has been a blast so far, can't wait to see what the last week has in store!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thought for today....

So this is really more of a thought for me to remember, but what's meant to be will be. However, it's up to you to create you're own happiness, so don't wait around for life to come to you. Face life head on. Have a plan, but don't be afraid to live in the moment.

Life is scary, but that's what makes it interesting. Value and cherish the friendships you have because that's what makes life worth living. Even on my worst day there are so many things to be thankful for, and I realize how truly blessed I am!

I miss my ELC loves and hate having to have so many long-distance relationships, but just having those relationships is enough to be happy about. This Christmas, I will enjoy the short (but seems like forever) time I have with my family, and then I will be on the road for my final semester as an ELC. That moment will be very bittersweet, and I look forward to what comes next!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa's Little Helper

Yesterday afternoon, some of the sisters at ECU went to help wrap presents at a local elementary school. They kindly invited me to join so we grabbed Santa hats and headed on our way. The school had set up a "store" in the auditorium for the kids to shop for presents to give their parents and siblings for Christmas. All of the volunteers were divided among several classrooms to get started on wrapping the gifts for the kiddos. Morgan and I took on the challenge of the pre-k class, and I must say that it was quite the experience. We met up with the class as they were making their "purchases". Immediately all of the little girls swarmed us and wanted to show us what was in their bags. They all made comments about my nail polish and couldn't understand why my fingers were purple. Lining up to go back to the classroom was a challenge, but everyone eventually made it all the way back. The teacher had the kids sit on the rug while she explained that we would be wrapping their presents for their families. The chaos that soon ensued was something that I haven't experienced on that level...ever! She kept telling them to turn on their listening ears, and I hate to break it to her, but I'm pretty sure their listening ears were all broken. Morgan and I each took a table, the teacher took one as well, and we all began wrapping the gifts. Of course EVERYONE wanted to help. They were running, and screaming, and grabbing my scissors and tape. While wrapping presents, I was hugged about 22 times, stabbed with a permanent marker, put kids down for a nap, some how managed to get glue on my hand, and found something sticky in my hair. We were there for an hour and a half...tops!

After we literally wrapped up the pre-school, Morgan and I went to help the 2nd grade class. All I can say is NIGHT and DAY! The children were quite, and sitting in their desks working in their books. The teacher spoke and they responded, one at a time. The bags were organized and labeled with names of who was to receive which gift. We simply had to call the name of the
student over so they could assist, and they were done and on their way. The difference in the stress level was remarkable. The best way I can think to describe the situation is to make a reference to Toy Story 3. When Andy's toys are placed in the room at the daycare with the younger kids who run, scream, make messes, and are out of control; that is how I would describe the pre-k class. Then the room where the kids are older and play nicely with their toys would be comparable to the 2nd grade classroom. Naturally, I had a great time with the kids all afternoon, and it was definitely an afternoon to remember!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

So as I walked downstairs this afternoon I was pleasantly surprised by the decorated Christmas tree in the living room. You know the feeling you get as this time of year approaches, where no matter what happens you can't help but be happy! The Christmas lights are on and the music is turned up. There seems to be an endless supply of cookies plus red and green m&ms. Then of course, there's the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family!!!

I can sense the holiday season is here! I've already done most of my Christmas shopping (all online this year), and only have a few gifts to go. The anticipation of spending time with my family is at an all time high, because traveling this year has made me really miss them. There's something weird about being so far away from home that I never thought would really get to me. I've spent the past 6 years living in Auburn, and went home just as often this semester as I did then; however, I guess being within driving distance last year made things seem a lot closer than it is now. Sunday, I will be packing up to go to Indianapolis where I will be reunited with all of my lovely ELCs, and this time next week I will be on my way back to Auburn! After a few days catching up with one of my favorites there, I will head back to the ville to have a very Merry Christmas with the fam, and then a Happy New Year with the crew in New Orleans. CAN'T WAIT!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Can't express how pumped I am for the SEC Championship game this afternoon. In two short hours, the (#1)Auburn Tigers will compete against the (#19)South Carolina Gamecocks for the 2010 SEC Title. The result of a win for my alma mater would be a trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Arizona this year.

Unfortunately, I am working today and will be interviewing sorority members for officer positions next year. However, I have internet and you can be sure that I will be watching every play possible. My last few interviews (the ones after kickoff) are aware of my infatuation with Auburn, and one of the girls I will be interviewing is even an Auburn fan! Her mom is an alumnae of my chapter, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind watching a few plays before her interview if the game is getting intense (which I anticipate it will)!


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Well, time to conquer the fear of ice and embarrassment. Last night Delta Sig had their Annual Holiday Skate event at East Carolina University, so a few of the Alpha Xi's decided to attend and take me along for the experience. Information of my previous experience on ice was relayed to the group, and I found comfort in the fact that one of the girls going, Stewart, had never been ice skating before. None of us were fully confident in our balancing on blades skills, but Maryellen convinced us all that we could do it! Sure she said that, because as it turns out Maryellen CAN ACTUALLY SKATE! Thank goodness for her talent, because we took turns having her hold our hands as we made it so gracefully around the rink. For starters we stuck to the wall as a comfort and backup plan when our legs and feet failed us. To my surprise there were only 3 wipe-outs among the five of us, and Stewart was safe every time! =) (LOVE you Stewart, and that last one was amazing!)

Despite the slow start, we all eventually made it around several times on our own, without
the wall OR Maryellen! I experienced a moment of weakness when the three year old who was using the walker to skate decided it was time to go home. After the family left, I wobbled over to the walker and debated seriously if it was necessary for me to use such an aide to make my way across the frozen playground. As fun as it would be for me to attempt skating with the walker, my pride decided it was better to fall in embarrassment than to skate with a walker in shame. While I am not the most athletic person alive, I feel confident that I should be able to skate around a rink at least once solo! There were 2 mini pro skaters at the rink last night. They basically skated circles around me and I was throughly impressed with their ability to glide across the ice with such finesse and lack of fear. I should tell you that by "mini" pro I mean that they were around 8 years old, and totally dominated me on the ice. I guess that is to be expected, and I hope they feel I was a worthy opponent. This skate challenge I'm alluding to was only present in my mind, so they had no clue I was competing with them in any way. Had they known about said competition, I would surely have to face their tiny gloating and snickers at my attempt to "go fast". Fortunately they were too busy enjoying themselves to even notice that I was fighting to remain upright on my skates, and furiously making my way back to the exit! We all had such a great time, and I was very impressed with my ability to stay on my feet and not look like a total fool (and if I did look like a total fool, oh well. What's new?)

Here's a picture of the fabulous women who went on this scary/exciting adventure!
Bethany, Stewart, Maryellen, and Abby (Love yall!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Adventure on ICE! =/

The first time I went ice skating was my last. I was in 5th grade and it was a HUGE deal, because shockingly ice skating isn't a real popular past time in Alabama. Once I first stepped onto the ice, I knew immediately this would NOT be a talent of mine. Balance on dry land has never really been a strong suit of mine, then you add slippery ice combined with sharp blades, basically I was just asking for disaster. My coordination (uh hem lack there of) doesn't exactly set me up for success on escapades such as ice skating, so I was that girl clinging to the wall for dear life the entire time (and still managed to fall at least 5 times on the way around). This "fun" outing soon turned to blood and gore (and my fear escalating to an entirely new level) when a guy fell on the ice and had his neck punctured by someone else's skate!!!! Everyone was evacuated from the ice and the gentleman was taken out on a stretcher. In order to clean up from the accident, the Zamboni came out and quickly had the ice back in working order; however, my legs were not in working order due to shock and fear momentarily paralyzing me all over! After a while I was convinced to return to the ice where I made my way around the rink like a baby giraffe learning how to walk. Despite the pain I was in for the days after this icy adventure, I did actually survive (which I was not expecting at all, and I'm an optimist).

This evening I am again faced with the opportunity to test my Nancy Kerrigan-like moves (although I'm sure that Nancy could still skate circles around me even when her knee was all busted up way back in the day...showing my age that I actually remember that). When this option was first mentioned to me on Monday, my first reaction was HELL NO...yall have fun though! After considering my options a little more, I decided it was time to face my fear and get back on the ice after 15 years (said like I've actually ever been "on the ice" before). Later tonight after a Leadership program, the girls at ECU will be taking me ice skating, and I am excited and TERRIFIED at the same time. I'm sure that I will be following up this blog post with many pictures, and if you're all lucky videos of me workin' it triple lutz style! I will not be taking the pictures because my hands will have a FIRM grip on the wall, and chances of me breaking a camera when I fall (not if, but WHEN) are pretty much as close as you can get to 100%. In my mind I want to consider this hazing, but I enter this danger on my own accord, so let the "FUN" begin!

p.s. This means that you all should start praying for my speedy recovery asap. Thanks!