Friday, June 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Nanny and GiGi!

In our family there are lots of dates that overlap or are right next to each other. Our mothers' birthdays are both next to each other falling on June 26th and June 27th. So, here's to both of you! Thanks for being such wonderful grandmothers and loving our kids so much. We love you both more than you know!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Halfway to the holidays and hoping this year is better...

I love the holiday season. It is by far my favorite time of the year. Really, the second half of the year is my favorite because one thing quickly leads to the next with it all culminating with Christmas. This year was HARD. Our kids were sick all winter with them both being really sick at Christmas and all the way in to the new year. Since then AG has had his tonsils out and Avi-Kate has had ear tubes put in her ears. I'm hoping that this year is better and that they can enjoy the holidays this year because this year was not fun for them or us. Poor Avi-Kate didn't even care to open her presents on Christmas morning and the year before she was only 6 months old and had no clue what was going on. We didn't even manage to get a good Christmas pj picture this year...I snapped one because I felt compelled to but you can tell AKs is hating life in it. So, I'm hoping and praying as we head in to the second half of the year that this year will be better and that they will be well and enjoy the wonder that is the holidays in the coming months. 
The last happy picture that we have before the wheels fell off and the both got sick.
 Avi-Kate is miserable in these next two photos...poor thing was so sick and we didn't realize at this point how impacted her hearing/speech was due to how bad her ears were.

 AG came down with croup and ear infections...on our way home from the pediatrician.
 And these are a few of my favorite things...brown paper packages tied up with ribbons.

 New ornaments to commemorate the year...Alice for Avi-Kate and Peter Pan for AG.
 Vintage Pinocchio because it's Andy's favorite Disney movie and an ornament that AG made at school.
 Everything is better with hundreds of Christmas lights glowing in a quiet house late at night. 
 2013, I pray that you are better than 2012 and everyone is healthy. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Words for Wednesday...Die hard fan at 4 edition...

AG's reaction to the Braves come from behind win in the 9th on Saturday. If this doesn't epitomize die hard fan status I don't know what does. In reality I should have videotaped it because his reaction was priceless. Either way a picture is worth a 1,000 words and this is definitely one of those photos.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Time to re-evaluate my home management system...

Back in September I did a post about how I stay organized during the year. And that system worked great till the holidays and then everything spontaneously combusted. This spring I felt slightly disheveled and all over the place. (My house reflects this at the current moment as I'm trying to reclaim my space!) After reflecting back on the year I've come to a few conclusions...

-I still like using a file folder system to help me manage life from week to any system it needs some tweaking.

-Since I run my system August to July it's to start figuring out what I want to do for the upcoming year.

-I feel that part of the reason I wasn't able to get back on track was due to how sick my kids were this winter. Honestly, everything was put on hold as we were constantly dealing with one or both kids being sick. Add in some outside extenuating circumstances, running two half marathons, a stress fracture, and unemployment it's no wonder I couldn't keep up with everything.

My current To Do list includes the following:

-Brainstorming planning sheets for said folders...last year I used templates that I found for free online and I purchased a weekly ripoff calendar that I stuck in each folder. I'm trying to decide if I want to take the time to design my own or just repeat what we did last year.

-Scout out and buy supplies. I may replace my folders this year if I can find something that I like. If not, I'll reuse what I have and just get new labels for them.

-I need to rework my desk. It needs a complete overhaul. Ideally, I'd love to claim the desk in our master bedroom as mine because I love the size of it. (It use to be an old library desk/table and has one drawer.) However, it's too big for the den, where my current desk is located, and Andy needs the desk in our room for work since he telecommutes everyday now. One day it'll be my craft table...most likely when we have a different house.

-I feel like I need some sort of home management binder but I am not sure. I like the idea of one, however, I don't know if I'm crazy to try and add another element to my daily routine or if I should wait a bit on it. I'm currently in the process of rereading all of Dawn's posts on home management/File Crate System/organization for ideas and inspiration.

The plan is to work on this over the next few weeks and get everything ready to go for the first of August. I'll post more as I make decisions and get my system for the year in place. In addition to this I've already started thinking about my holiday binder for the year. For years I had read about Dawn using one to help juggle everything during the holiday season and the teacher in me who loves a good system/notebook/something to craft/office supplies loved the idea of such a thing. However, I never got my act together to make one until this past year. The only that I would change is when I make it. This past year I made it the first of December and while it was invaluable during the season I wish I had made it months earlier. Ideally, I'd love to make my notebook for the holiday season this summer and then pull it out when the season is upon us. (With one less thing to hassle with/make/do.) The other reason for this is that I'd love to have a section either dedicated to Thanksgiving or make a separate notebook that is Fall/Thanksgiving since we tend to have lots of special activities that revolve around that season as well. Still mulling this but I love, love, loved having it for Christmas this past year! It was amazing to have a spot for all our Christmas receipts that was organized. As presents arrived we would just stash packing slips in their designated spot. After Christmas it made it easy to give people receipts for exchanges, etc. It was just a nice way to have things recorded and organized for the season. We'll see what I come up with. This year I have a Silhouette and I'm itching to use it to make stuff holiday cut outs. :) Can you blame me...they keep posting Christmas themed items in their weekly clearance shape sale.  This post has gotten to be quite wordy and I need to do some chores. Hope everyone has a good Friday and a great Father's Day weekend.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why not run 19.3 instead of 13.1?!?

Today runDisney opened up registration for the Princess Half Marathon and the eagerly anticipated Glass Slipper Challenge. For the Glass Slipper you run a 10K on Saturday and then the Princess Half on Sunday for a total of 19.3 miles. Earning yourself a medal for each race plus a third medal to commemorate completing the challenge of doing both back to back. Registration opened at noon and the Glass Slipper was sold out before 5pm. Crazy. I'm not sure what's more crazy how quickly it sold out or the fact that I am signed up to run 20 miles in two days. I guess I'm hoping it's redemption for all the things that were out of my control this year. (Sinus infection and a stress fracture. Not to mention a 100% humidity and a starting race temp of 70 degrees at 5:30am.) So, here's to new hardware and new goals, new mileage and new race gear, running and eating at the happiest place on earth, and new memories. I'm excited. 

Looking forward to tackling another runDisney race with my sweet sister-in-law, Caroline.
Excited to be able to share another Disney experience with my dear friend, Evan.
Looking forward to bringing home not 1 but 3 medals this time around!
Alice and crew. Home to my favorite pit stop before running out of Cinderella's Castle during the race and the always tasty frozen raspberry lemonade for post-race enjoyment.
 Being able to say you ran in the Magic Kingdom while thousands of people cheer you on is absolutely priceless.

Guess it's time I lace my shoes up and go for a run...I've got to get back on a schedule.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

So God made a farmer.

I often talk about the's one of our favorite places in all the world. Life takes on a different rhythm when we are there. It is a place where we can slow down and recharge. It's a place with beauty as far as the eye can see. Fields and fields of gently rolling hills covered in crops. Pastures with cows scattered amongst the fields of crops. Where rustic structures meet modern day. Where you actually use the phrase, 'ride in to town'. And some of the most breathtaking sunsets I've ever seen have been painted. I'm grateful we have such a unique place to raise our kids. I always look forward to time spent there. This weekend we are headed down to celebrate Avi-Kate's birthday and spend sometime just being. Life is simpler. As long as I live I will never tire of the simple beauty that surrounds me when we are there. Here are a few snapshots from when we were there in May. 

Field of's been several weeks since we've seen it and I'm betting it's huge now. 
 Sun setting over the cow pasture in front of the farm house.
 The road in front of the house. 
 Stories on the sleeping porch with Nanny. 
 Farmhouse. It's the house Andy's mom grew up in.

 Sweet, deep sleep at the farm due to working and playing hard. 
 A trip to town can include checking out the chicks and ducks at the local hardware supply store.

 There's always an opportunity to get your hands dirty.
 Our dog is happiest when he is roaming the farm and playing with Lou. (One of Andy's cousin's dog.)
 Cows in the distance next to a field of corn. 

I feel like this poem, made famous (again) this winter in the Dodge Ram commercial, sums up life at the farm.

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Words for Wednesday...Avi-Kate is 2!

Happy, happy birthday to our sweet, spunky, fiercely independent, determined, fearless, and adventuresome second born. Life with you is certainly a joy and each day brings something new. We are so grateful that you are part of our family. We love you and your beautiful ginger curls more than you know! Happy 2nd birthday, Avi-Kate! We can't believe how quickly you are growing up.

Practicing her cupcake eating a few weeks ago in preparation for her upcoming festivities.
A few candid shots of our spunky girl at AG's last soccer game a few weeks ago...

More about her birthday this next week...we are off to the farm tomorrow for the weekend to celebrate. Looking forward to swimming and celebrating a very special two year old on Saturday.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Family Update...

My friend, Erin, did a family update post this week on her blog and it was motivation to get my act together. So much has happened these last few months and it's time I got back in to my blogging groove. Here's a little of what we have been up to:
Has signed on to run a service bureau for a former client of his and will now be telecommuting from home when he doesn't have to travel. This should make for a highly interesting summer since we'll have both kids at home. At least during the school year when he worked from home AG was in school during the day. I'm hoping we find a balance over the course of the next few weeks. Regardless, we are grateful for this opportunity and some other things that seem to be coming together. Soccer finished up and Andy had a great time coaching AG in his first soccer season.  Andy has also taken up Crossfit and is loving it. 

I'm in desperate need of getting my act together when it comes to my blog...I've never been this sporadic with it. In other news I'm doing some stuff on the side with These Southern Roots and am hoping to dedicate some much needed time to it this summer. In addition, I'm also trying to revamp some of our household organization systems for the upcoming school year. My goal is to work on this stuff this summer so that I can get the kinks worked out before AG starts back to school in August. I'm still very involved with hospitality/events at our church and that keeps me busy. Running...I took most of the spring off to let me left leg heal from a stress fracture. I've run a handful of times since February and it looks like I'm healed. (Hooray!) When I have run it is pain free in my leg...granted my endurance isn't what it was but I can handle that if it's pain free. My goal for June is to slowly ease back in to running on a consistent basis. No crazy mileage or fast pacing just easy, consistent runs. Andy and I are looking at a big race goal for the winter season to complete together. (It deserves it's own post.) Training for that will start in July so easing back in to a running schedule is key for this month. Around the's a mess! I've got several projects going on and need to take a few days to get caught up and on top of things. It's currently driving me crazy but I'm slowly tackling it and getting a bunch of stuff reorganized/purged/cleaned out. 


 Getting to be such a big kid. Can't believe he completed his first year of preschool and that we are one year away from having a kindergartner. He had a blast on vacation and enjoyed learning/asking questions about everything. Continues to be a diehard Braves fan and enjoys telling anyone who will talk baseball with him about his team. I'm hoping to work on some special activities with him this summer while he is home. My goal is to get organized so that we can do projects together several times a week while Avi-Kate naps. He's really looking forward to going to the beach with my family in July and Andy's family over Labor Day weekend. Andy and I are tossing around several ideas for his fifth birthday this winter. Ideally, we'd like to do something special at certain milestone birthdays...we are still trying to figure out what this looks like but I like the possibilities.


 I really can't believe that in less than 48 hours she'll be two years old. She has changed so much in these last few months. I am so grateful that we had surgery when we did. Her speech and vocabulary is really starting to take off. (And for that I praise the lord.) She is a sweet, independent ball of energy that is always in motion doing something. Girlfriend loves her art supplies and is quite content to color masterpiece after masterpiece. She loves to cook in their play kitchen and take care of her babies. And she absolutely adores her big brother. (The feeling is mutual.) She loves to do whatever he is doing and spends most of the day trying to keep up with him.

Lastly, I love these two photos that I took of AG and our niece, Ronnie, this past week on vacation and had to share them. They've changed so much since the last time we were in Williamsburg. (It had been 2.5+ years since the last time we were there.)