Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Labor Day Weekend 2011

As a teacher, I just *love* holiday weekends.  Trust me when I tell you that I count on them!  I was really looking forward to Labor Day weekend because it was the first holiday of the school year.  It's sometimes really hard to get back into the groove of things, so a break so early is helpful!

When I got home on Friday, we spent some time outside as a family.  The weather was gorgeous - not crazy hot, just comfortable.  We also spent some time pulling weeds.  Sad to say, The Hubs and I are NOT great at keeping a very cute yard, so pulling weeds is kind of a big deal to us.  One day we'll hire a landscaping person to do all of this for us!

We're guilty of child labor - haha.

Look at all of those weeds *I* pulled!  I deserve some kind of prize...

Saturday morning, we got up and headed out to Downtown Farm Days.  This happens the first and third Saturday of the month during the summer.  Local farmers/merchants set up booths around our towns old courthouse and sell things.  We had wanted to go all summer, but somehow never made it until now (two weeks before it's over - haha).  We had SO much fun!  We bought some AH-MAY-ZING guacamole (we ate two jars of it within a week!), bought a crepe (Chunky Monkey - peanut butter, chocolate, and banana) and just enjoyed walking around.  LL had a blast!

This is hands down the best guacamole EVER!

This is the crepe we got.  Ya'll - it was to DIE for!

LL wasn't so sure...

After we left the Farm Days, we stopped by the park on our way home.  We have no parks near our house, so getting to one is a pretty big journey.  We try to stop when we're already in town if we have the time.  LL's new obsession - swinging.  She really doesn't want to do anything else!

She's also getting to the age where she has to carry a little toy with her all the time.  See that in her hand?  It's a magnetic picture of her and Pop.  She carried it around all weekend - and even wanted to take it into church with her.  I was scared it would get lost, so I didn't let her.

When we got home from the park and LL went down for a nap, I headed to the grocery store for our big monthly trip.  While I was there, I bought this tiny dinosaur cake and LL was obsessed with and talked about all the time!

On Monday we had a cookout at our house for all the fam.  All of our parents live in town (that's six parents, folks!), but rarely are they all together in the same room.  My parents are divorced, and, let's just say, they aren't the best of friends.  I'm going to give them mad props though - since my sis and I have had kids, they've been trying SUPER hard.  I know how much this means to me (and I can imagine my sis, too) that they're willing to put their differences behind them for their grandchildren.  For some families, this may not be a big deal.  For mine, it's huge.  I think that it's important for LL (and Ben!) to see all of their grandparents at the same time - and not just on their birthday.  When I invited everyone over for Labor Day, I honestly didn't know what would happen.  But everyone came (along with some good friends!), and it went PERFECTLY!  We had good food, and LL was so happy to have everyone that she loves most (well, almost everyone - minus the aunts, uncles, and Ben) in the same room.

Didn't she look sweet for church on Sunday?  I love this dress.  You can order one, too, here!

LL helped make her breakfast!  She cut up the banana (mostly) on her own, and helped spread the peanut butter on the toast.  And as a treat she got some chocolate milk!

Helping me shuck corn for dinner!  She did great getting the "hair" off!

She LOVED having everyone there!

I was so glad that Clint and Sarah decided come, also!

Our spread - ribs, Boston butt, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, and baked beans!

She knows how to chow down!

I was so happy to have most of our family there to celebrate with us!  Maybe we'll make this a tradition?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I bet you didn't know...

My photobucket is acting CUH-RAY-ZEE and won't upload any of my pics.  :(  This means that my schedule post for today (Labor Day Weekend!) won't be up because I can't get the second half of my pictures to upload!  So on to plan B...

Some of you dear followers are my IRL friends.  And I love you for that!  And some of you are people that I've never met - and I think that's totally cool!  So today I'm going to give you 25 facts about me - and maybe some of those who know me in real life will learn something, too!

1. I hate jello. 
2. I am a dog lover to the core!
3. I have only flown once in my life - but that will all change next month!
4. I, evidently, (according to The Hubs) don't "spit right" when I'm brushing my teeth.  He says I make too much noise.
5. I was thisclose to changing LL's name to "Claire" when we were still in the hospital.
6. I LOVE fall.
7. I was in the band in high school.  And at my high school, that was the "cool thing".
8. I've been a christian since I was in the third grade.
9. I have a letter that The Hubs wrote to his future wife (me!) when he was younger. 
10. I'm addicted to oatmeal raisin cookies.
11. After my next kid, I'm done.  No more for me.
12. I have a very large birthmark on my back.
13. I *hate* it when people use "Johnny and I" incorrectly when it should be "Johnny and me".  Bugs me!
14. I have one tattoo.
15. I have never seen a significant amount of snow.
16. I haven't been to Disney World in 10 years and I can't wait until our trip in November!
17. The only beans I eat are green beans.  The rest are nasty.
18. I'm a pretty funny person - but not around The Hubs.  I'm crazy funny at work when he's not around!
19. The only time my best friend ever got her name on the board in school - it was my fault.
20. I don't do spiders.  At.  All.
21. I love reality TV.
22. I'm as stubborn as they come.
23. My dog is mentally handicapped. 
24. Losing my teeth is one of my biggest fears!  I have nightmares about it ALL-THE-TIME!
25. I can raise only one of my eyebrows at a time. 
Anything else you wanna know?  Now's your time!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Your Love Never Fails

A few weeks ago, I posted about how I wasn't doing too well.  That was a hard post to write, but something that I felt like I needed to do.  After writing it, I stayed in a pretty dark place for a pretty long time.  It lasted for longer than it ever has before.  I just wasn't okay, but I didn't know how to get out of it.  It was like I just wanted to stay there -  I felt I had a right to be upset and hurt for awhile.  And I did.  But once I had been in that place for awhile, I didn't know how to get out.  About a week and a half after I wrote that post, I went to church.  This is nothing unusual.  But on this day, The Hubs was leading worship (which means that he doesn't sit with me, he sits with the band), and our friends that we sit with were on vacation and weren't there either.  That means that I was just sitting by myself (not too big of a deal).  I think that this was totally intentional by God.  Because I was sitting by myself, I had no distractions.  No one to put a happy face on for.  No one to talk to.  So what do you do when you have no distractions?  You listen.

I just listened to God and realized that, while I had every right to be upset, it was time to get out of my funk.  Don't get me wrong - this doesn't mean that there still aren't rough days ahead.  And it doesn't mean that I won't hurt anymore about this.  But I just realized that it was time to get back to life.  Time to be happy again.  That was a week ago today - and I totally feel like a new person.  I have just been constantly focused this week on the blessings that I do have.  And how I really and truly know that there is a bigger plan for me. 

I don't know how many of you listen to the songs that I post on here.  I hope that if you're taking the time to read this, that you'll also take the time to listen to them.  Even if this isn't your style of music, you aren't a Christian, or this isn't what you hear in your church: it still has a message. 

This song was in the line-up at our church this morning and I feel like it was there just for me.  In case you aren't going to listen, here are the lyrics:

Nothing can separate

Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good

This is EXACTLY how I feel standing on the other side of my "dark" time.  I honestly felt at times that I had no idea if I'd make it to the other side.  I felt totally alone.  But I never was.  And I'm not now.  God is ALWAYS on my side and His love NEVER fails!  That is such a beautiful promise and something that I'll try hard to hold on to next time I feel myself slipping back downward.

I do want to say thank you.  And specifically.  I honestly and trying as hard as I can to reply to all of you individually in my spare time (ha!), but I know that most of you know how limited that is with a full time job and a toddler.  But I'm trying!  These people sent me messages, emails, comments, prayers and texts of encouragement, and I want to thank you!

Emily M, Rossie, Amanda, Lindsey, Kelly, Erin, Ashley, Alayna, Kelsey, Grammy, Holly, Kelsey, Emily P, Lana and Laura.

Thank you all SO MUCH for encouraging me and lifting me up!  You have no idea how much it meant to me and I promise that if you haven't heard back from me yet - I'm getting there!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Driving Ms. Daisy

Or rather, Ms. Daisy driving us!  LL was SO HAPPY to see us when we picked her up after our trip to the Suwanee. 

She's at the age where she ALWAYS has to be carrying a little toy with her.  It's a little hoarder-ish.  This day it was a blue foam whale bathtub toy.

Her new favorite thing to do is to "drive" the car.  We let her when we get to the "little road" near our house.  I kid you not when I tell you that she asks to do this every single day.  It just makes her so happy!  Her favorite part?  Honking the horn when we get in the driveway.  :)  Doesn't this face just melt your heart?


Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend on the Suwanee

A few weekends ago The Hubs and I went on a mini-vacay with our longtime friends, Clint and Sarah.  Matt and Clint have been friends since they were 5 (crazy, right?!) and Sarah and I have been friends for about 9 years!  Clint's parents have a house on the Suwanee River, and Clint and Sarah have a boat - so this made for a fun, cheap vacation!  LL stayed with Oma and Opa for the weekend.  I didn't think spending two days on a boat would really be the her idea of a wonderful weekend - haha.

We left Friday night and got down there about 9:00.  It was obviously too late to go fishing, so we just sat out on their boat dock and watched the stars, listened to the Sturgeon jumping in the water, and talking. 

The next morning we got up and headed out on the boat.  This was the weekend that the hurricane was making it's way up the East coast of the US, so it was crazy windy.  The weather was beautiful, but the wind was blowing so hard!  This was good because it kept us from getting too hot, but bad because we couldn't go far out into the ocean at all.  We literally spent all morning out on the boat until around lunch time.

I think that Matt for sure had the biggest catch of the day.  ;)

While Matt was getting one of my fish off of my hook, it started to use the restroom.  It started to wiggle and shake, and I ended up with all of it's restroom all over me.  Gross.

Right about lunch time, we headed out in the ocean a little ways.  As soon as Matt threw the anchor out, guess what we saw??  Manatee!!  They were right next to our boat and VERY curious as to what we were!  They stayed around for a good bit, and Matt and Clint actually got to touch them!  It was SO COOL and the best part of the trip!

After lunch, we came back to the house and rested for just a little bit.  Then we traded boats and set out for Manatee Springs.  It's a little place off the Suwanee River where manatee go from November-April.  It's a spring and the water stays a pretty constant 72 degrees.  That's what draws the manatee there during the winter.  The water is crystal clear, but that 72 degrees is very chilly during the summer! 

Here's the part of the trip where things went down hill a little bit.  We traded boats and were using Clint's dad's boat to go down the river.  Usually, the ride to Manatee Springs only takes about 20-30 minutes (running about 35 mph on the boat).  Well, something was wrong with the boat, so anytime we went over 10 mph, it started beeping like crazy at us and we had to slow down to nothing until it stopped.  This dumb thing beeped at us every 5 (or more!) minutes.  This made for a looooong trip down the river!  It ended up taking us an hour and a half to make it ONE WAY!  I was in SUCH a bad mood the last 45 or so minutes on the way there.  Luckily we've all been friends long enough that everyone knew that I just needed to pout and be angry and they just left me alone.  ;)

We finally made it there was I was dang sure getting in the water after that long trip!

Matt had no hesitations about getting in that really cold water!

Get in?  Don't get in?  It took Sarah a little longer to decide!

We all got in!  It's was so funny - Sarah handed my camera to this Hispanic man and was asking him (very slowly) if he would take our picture (using gestures and all).  After she asked, he looked up at her and just said "sure" in plain English.  It was SOOOO funny!

After spending about 30 minutes at the Springs, we headed back (on ANOTHER hour and a half trip!) to the house.  Luckily, I was in a much better mood on the way home.  We all joked about how we took a 3 hour tour - much like Gilligan.

SO HAPPY to finally see our dock!

After we got back, we hung out for a little bit and they boys decided to do some swimming and jumping off of the dock.  There was NO WAY that Sarah and I were jumping!  

I wanted to get one last picture before he possibly jumped to his death.

Happy to be back and happy to NOT be jumping!

Isn't it a sign of a good trip when your feet look like this afterwards?

Bugs were EVERYWHERE, including ginormous grasshoppers and banana spiders.  This is Matt's hand, not mine!  Gross!

After the boys jumped for awhile (and after assuring us 1,000 times that there was no wildlife to be scared of), we saw an alligator across the river from us that was very interested in all of the noise and started to head our way!  The boys got out of the water (no more jumping!) and we kept taking pictures of it so that we could zoom in and see how big it was.  Turned out that it was about 6-7 feet!  Um, no thank you!

He's hard to see, but he's there!  And too close for my liking!

We went inside, changed clothes, and got ready to go out to dinner.  We ended up at some Greek place that also served pizza?  It was pretty random, but the food was good!

I guess this is how they roll in Suwanee?  We were suuuuper impressed, let me tell you.

When we got back to the house, Clint and Sarah went for a walk and Matt and I headed out to sit on the dock for a little while.

The next morning, we decided to just spend a little bit of time fishing off of the dock before heading home.  Clint hooked something HUGE, but it broke his line, and all Matt got was a sting ray.  Better than nothing, though, right?

All in all, it was a great trip with great friends!  I can't wait to go back next time with a working boat.  ;)