Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A few of my favorite things, lately.

It has been a while since I have posted about some of my favorite products, so I thought I would give it a whirl.  Around Christmastime, I started looking at and pricing fitness monitors.  One of my sweet church friends got the Nike Fuel for Christmas, and I loved the concept, but not the price, ha! Upon researching and looking, I found this pretty thing.  
It's called the Up band by Jawbone, and I love it.  I got mine in March when David and I went to Atlanta for the Timothy Barnabas marriage conference.  I had been saving up my money, and thanks to some extra earned from a consignment sale, I had enough to buy it.  The Up band monitors everything, including my sleep, which is my favorite part.  I knew I woke up a lot in the night, and boy do I!  The Up band syncs with my phone to tell me my daily activities.  I keep up with my steps taken, workouts logged, and sleep.  For my sleeping patterns, it tells me how long it takes me to fall asleep, how many times I get up in the night, and how many hours of deep v. light sleep I am getting.  Very enlightening!
My mother-in-law introduced me to this awesome product.  She gave me a bottle for Mother's Day, and we love it.  My girls may love it more than me.  I am a lotion fanatic.  I cannot shower or even wash my hands without lotioning up afterwards.  This product is perfect for me to use after my girls take their baths at night, too.  Thanks, Gigi!  We love it!

I am by no means a fashion and beauty expert!  In fact, I barely wear much make-up at all.  That's just not something I ever really got into.  However, I do love mascara, and I have learned the hard way that I cannot use mascara from the drugstore!  A few years ago quite by accident, I discovered , Definicils by Lancome, and I love it.  They were having a free gift that was really great, and I was all out of mascara, so I gave it a try, and it's my new favorite.  My lashes don't clump, and the brush easily glides over my lashes without any trouble.  Even this non make-up wearing girl can't mess this stuff up!  
It's no secret to those who know me well, that pregnancy ruined me for smells.  I was a perfume loving fool before the babies took over my belly, and now, three years since having a babe in my womb, I still have not found a fragrance on my skin that I can tolerate.  In fact, the way that I knew we were pregnant with Tilly was I walked into the faculty bathroom where I was teaching, and someone who had used the facilities before me had put on Coconut Lime Verbena from BBW, and I about lost my breakfast.  I called David to tell him the news!  He was freaked out!  Summer was barely sleeping all night, ha! All joking aside lest I yuck someone's wow by talking badly about their favorite smell, I will move on.  I am loving the smell of Gain. I use Gain to clean my counters, my floors and my clothes.  I cannot get enough.  I wish they made body wash and body lotion that smells like this stuff!  It's amazing! 

My sister-in-law told me about this great site while we were on vacation this summer at the beach, and I love it.  Sadly, I somehow missed out on reading blogs via and RSS feed before now.  I guess with Google reader going away and with the emergence of this site, I became more aware.  Before, I was just reading blogs via my blog roll and the blog rolls of others. Now, I have the neat little blog lovin' app on my phone, and  I will never go back!  Are you on bloglovin'? I am, and you can follow me, too!  Well, there you have it, some of my favorite things lately.  I'd love to hear about some products you're using that you're loving!

Monday, July 29, 2013

One last trip for the summertime!

It's no secret our family spends a lot of time on the road.  A lot.  Thankfully, our children have grown up doing such and are really great travelers.  I don't know what we would've done had we been the victims of a car seat hatin' baby!  Last Tuesday, we loaded up for one last trip of the summertime.  The purpose of our trip was two-fold.  I wrote earlier about closing on our house, yay!  We also went to see my family.  The hope was that we would see everyone, T, the Hollands, and Mama.  Sadly, my grandfather's sister, Lois, passed away, so we did not get to see Mama on this trip.  I have a feeling Story and I will be making a trip in the near future to south GA to check on Mama.  
Tilly all bundled up in my jacket.  I guess she was cold, ha!  On our way to Georgia, we stopped to meet a sweet friend in Birmingham for lunch, Lisa and her precious boy, Ford.  Lisa worked camp with David and me in Mobile in 2005, and we have kept in touch with her over the years.  It was so great to see her and hug her neck and meet her sweet boy!  He's got some baby blues that will make you swoon!  Once we got into Georgia, we were hoping to see my two college roommates.  One visit was successful, as we were able to see Wendy and her four boys.  What a treat!  After leaving her house, we attempted to surprise Mary Katherine, but it didn't quite work out.  It sure was fun to try!  
This is blurry, but I wanted to show the big ole smile on her face.  In keeping with the tradition of the girls in my family, T bought Summer her very first American Girl doll for her 6th birthday, and we went to pick it up while we were in Atlanta.  She was beyond excited.  
We were staying in Athens, where my mom and Hart live, so Wednesday morning we loaded back up in the car to head to this place!  Summer was so excited!  I wasn't sure how it would go over with the others not getting anything, but they were amazing and didn't fret or pout, they were all just very excited for Summer.  
Summer chose Saige as her American Girl of choice.  Saige is the new doll for the year, and we have loved learning all about her.  Saige loves to ride horses, which is so apropos!  On the way to our closing, we stopped at the Redbox to rent a couple of movies for on the way home, and they happened to have the AG movie all about Saige, so fun!  
Summer with Saige.  Thank you, T, for such a wonderful and special present.  
When we got to ATL, we always love to hit up some of our favorite hole-in-the-wall eats, and there are lots.  We ate at this place for lunch.  Hamburgers are divine, served on grilled french bread, oh my yum!
When we got back to Athens, this is how we spent the next two days.  So great.  I didn't anticipate getting to spend so much time in the sun by the pool, and it was glorious.  Can you spot my blue toes at the bottom of the picture? My sister and her girls drove over to spend the day with us, and the children had the most fun at the pool.  
Something about swimming and being in the sun just makes you famished.  I love how Story is right in in the middle.  She thinks she is as big as they are!  After a few hours at the pool, we changed to go eat supper.  
After supper, we hit up this place to treat the children.  Then, Noelle and her crew had to head back home.  Haleigh left the next day for a drama camp with her church.  We weren't ready to turn in for the night just yet, so we headed over to my version of the Holy Land, ha!
One of the highlights of this trip for me was walking the children around the campus of the University of Georgia.  Now that they are bigger and will remember more, it was so much fun to show them places I had classes and spent time studying and playing.  Maybe, just maybe one of them will attend this amazing campus!  I know some of the best years of my life were spent here.  
The first night, we just did a drive by of The Arch.  We got out the second night and took our picture there.  
Introducing my little loves to one of my very first loves, Sanford Stadium! 
Wednesday night, Carter, Story and I had a sleepover at T's house.  They thought this was so much fun.  Carter slept on the pull-out couch, and Story and I slept in the guest bedroom.  She's quite the little snugglebug, and it was so sweet to watch her sleep for a little bit.  
Thursday morning, Hart took David to play golf at The University of Georgia golf course, so fun!  Meanwhile, T held court as she passed out the school supplies she bought for the children.  We were so thankful for her help because there are so many supplies that each of the children needs.  They had a lot of fun organizing them.  Now, I have the fun job of individually labeling each item.  Yes, every individual crayon!  So fun, ha! After getting organized we headed over to have lunch at CFA and let the children play on the playground.  Then, we went back to the pool for the day.  
Once again, we headed back over to campus after supper to show the children some more of my favorite spots.  
We took our picture in front of The Arches.  Story was over it, as you can see.  There's an old tale about The Arches stating that unless one has officially graduated from The University of Georgia that you should not walk underneath them.  Story did, and I flipped out a little, which made Summer freak out and ask a million questions, ha!  How do you explain to your 3,4,6 & 7 year olds about an old legend stating that whoever walks under the arches without graduating will be infertile?!? You don't!  So, I just played it off!  I was a little unnerved though, ha!
I think one of the things I love so much about my school is the rich, rich history.  
We took the children to ring the chapel bell, and they all loved it!  David and I even took a turn.  Traditionally after the dawgs win at home, people line up to ring the bell, signaling a victory!
And then, we had to climb into the fountain with our clothes on cause that's what you do.  
Golden hour.  So beautiful.  
After obnoxiously ringing the bell and getting soaked in the fountain, we headed downtown for a famous local treat.  Milkshakes from The Grill.  
The Grill is located right across from campus and has been serving old fashioned milkshakes since the early 1980s.  They are to die for.  We shared chocolate and strawberry shakes til our bellies could contain no more, and then we called it a night.  This time, Summer, Tilly and I had a sleepover at T's house.  Summer and Tilly started out on the pull out couch, and then I moved Tilly into the bed with me.  After the girls went to bed, my sweet friend, Mary Elizabeth, dropped by to see me before heading home to ATL.  Better known as Emmie, she and I taught together at The Heiskell School for several years, and it was such a treat to see her and catch up.  
This is how I found Summer the next morning, completely buried in the covers.  After waking early, we said gooodbye to T, Hart and the Classic City and headed to Austell to see our old house and get ready for closing.  Thankfully, all of that went off without a hitch.  You can tell so many were praying for that moment.  We are so thankful to close that chapter.  
And we couldn't leave town without seeing this precious couple.  We met Mr. Frank and Mrs. Shirley or Frankly and Shirley, as Story calls them for lunch at Red Lobster.  It was so great to see them and spend time together.  They hold a very special place in our hearts.  
Carter took this picture for us, not too shabby.  
And just like that our time in Georgia was over, and we headed home to Mississippi.  I wish that over the summertime we had logged all of our mileage because we sure traveled a lot.  David will leave today for Dallas for a conference, but the children and I are done with our travel until the holidays.  What a fun summertime it has been full of adventure and time spent together!  Before we know it, we will be dropping the big 3 off at elementary school and Story off at preschool.  I think we are ready!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

So long, Brooks Drive!

Over 21 months ago, we left our home in Georgia to move to Mississippi, where the Lord had called us to serve at Hardy Street Baptist Church.  For the last 21 months, we have been trying off and on to sell our house in Georgia.  Yesterday, thanks to many, many fervent prayers on our behalf, and a miracle from the Lord, it sold.  We signed the papers and drove home to Hattiesburg.  
This is the picture I took of our little ones the day that we moved to Mississippi.  They have grown up so much over the last months since our move!  Yesterday, we drove back to our house to walk through one more time because we felt like we needed to for closure's sake.  
On our way, we stopped by to see this precious man, Mr. Jerry.  He has been a godsend to our family.  Mr. Jerry lives up the road from our house and has helped to look after it for the last few months.  During our time in Austell, he loved and encouraged us so very much!  Still does to this day.  
When Tilly and Story were born, Mr. Jerry and his precious wife, Miss Beverly (who has now gone on to be with the Lord) fed our family meals upon meals, so we didn't have to worry about cooking.  I always think of them when I take a meal to a new mom!  David has since become good friends with Mr. Jerry's son, Bill (Dr. Bill to us), who pastors a church in Rome.  We adore this family, and I am so thankful we were able to visit with Mr. Jerry before we left.  He provided snacks and drinks for the children, which was invaluable because we sat in the car during closing, ha!
And here we are.  On the front porch once again.  They've grown up so much! 
And one more picture on the swing.  We always took pictures on the swing after or before important events.  The swing was a gift from Mr. Jerry and Miss Beverly when we moved into our house.  It was there waiting on us when we came home from closing the first time.  So many memories.  
 This was taken on Mother's Day in 2011.  Tilly now wears that dress Summer has on, and Story wears the dress Tilly has on.  
This picture was taken on Father's Day, 2010, the day we dedicated Story to the Lord.  There were so many memories made on Brooks Drive.  All four children learned to walk here.  We brought home Tilly and Story from the hospital here.  We grew our first garden here.  We learned how to be parents on Brooks Drive.  We had many birthday parties here.  We spent a full week cooped up inside when a snowstorm hit Atlanta in the Winter of 2011.  So many memories.  We experienced heartache in this house, too. That's just part of the ebb and flow of life, I suppose.  Yesterday, we said goodbye to Brooks Drive for the last time.  Carter and Summer vaguely remembered our time here.  Summer remembers me making them run laps around the garden for exercise, ha! Carter remembers me crying in our playroom.  Tilly and Story don't really remember much about our time here.  They did remember where their room was in the house.  David and I remember a lot, some of those things we would like to forget.  I am sure in time, we will forget the ugly and just remember the good.  I hope so.  There was so much good.  So long, Brooks Drive.  New memories by a new young family are waiting to be made in your walls.  Thank you for being good to us!
When we finished our goodbyes, we drove over to the closing office in Douglasville to sign the final paperwork.  The children and I sat in the car eating Mr. Jerry's snacks and watching the new American Girl Movie while David took care of the bulk of the work.  He's always doing that for us, taking on the bulk of the work.  When it was time, we tag teamed, and I went inside to sign my papers.  Then, we were done.  It is still all very surreal.  I have to confess, I doubted we would sell that house.  I thought we would always own it.  Such little faith.  I am not proud of that.  So many people, dear sweet friends and family are responsible for the selling of this house.  So many have fervently petitioned on our behalf, and we are forever grateful.  One of my sweet friends asked me, "So what now?"  My response: "Now?  We we keep loving life, serving the Lord and making memories in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Not much different than before, but with a huge burden lifted!"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Girl's night out!

A couple of months ago, David shared with me that we had two tickets to this event in our town.  
It's no secret that our family is a huge fan of Duck Dynasty!  We talked back and forth and debated about who would attend.  Finally, we agreed on the boys going to DD and the girls and I going on a date together.  
Saturday was actually a pretty lazy and laid back day for us, and we have learned not to tell the children about exciting things too far in advance, so we had not even breathed a word of our plans, until it was time to get ready.  Carter and David got dressed first and headed across town to their event.  He was so excited!
Meanwhile, the girls decided it was time for us to get prettied up, too!  The girls insisted on wearing dresses and having me fix their hair.  
Here they are all fancy for our girls' night out!
We chose this place for our supper, mostly because kids eat free on the weekends, ha!
I think they are over the picture taking at this point, but don't worry girls, there's lots more where that came from!
My Tilly girl.  Summer was such a big big helper on this night.  She took Story to the potty and got us all refills whenever we needed them.  
After supper, we headed over to Bops to use our free ice cream coupon from the VBS we attended with our friends the Joneses.  

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  That dimple!  

Tilly wanted to know what color her tongue was.  Multiple times.  I do have to share, for memory's sake.  I went to throw away our trash when we were done, and these two senior adult ladies were sitting in a booth and motioned me to stop by their table.  One of the ladies told me how precious she thought my girls were, and I told her I definitely thought so!  Then, she went on to say how well behaved they were and how sweet she thought they were being.  Melted my momma heart right there on the spot!
Our silly faces!
My girls and me.  Love them, I do! After what seemed like hundreds of selfies on the front porch, we headed inside for baths and mani/pedis.  Such a fun night with my girls.  
While we were sitting on the porch, Summer wanted to take a picture of just the two of us.  Tilly was our photographer for the moment.  Then, she wanted to use the app on my phone to make our picture "pretty."  She picked out the border, the text, and told me what to write.  Then, she told me that she wanted me to print the picture and frame it so she could hang it in her room!  Sweet, sweet girl!  I am sure there will come a day when she does not want to have her picture made with me, and I want to always remember this moment when she did and was proud to do it.