Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I think I've been in vacation recovery mode this week.  On the flip side, I have also been abnormally busy during the week.  I do not love leaving my house everyday, and I think I've had to leave for hours on end every day this week.  I'm slowing down again for next week, and plan on doing a major clean out of all the kitchen cabinets. 

I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals, and her friends, for the writing of this blog post.


Vacations are my favorite.  This past one was probably my favorite of all the vacations to date.  (I do say that every single year, but I really mean it this time.)  Night walks on the beach are part of my favorite things about last week in Myrtle Beach. 


Our location was perfect!  I loved the mix of green and sand, and their foliage is beginning to change, just like ours.


Also, apparently, I love bridges and piers.  I took several pictures of so many of them.

The things that are my favorites are as follows:

The laughter.  We genuinely have fun together. 

The memories.  We always make a ton. 

The food.  We like to eat well, when we go on trips. 

All the uninterrupted time together.  Let's face it~my boys are growing up, or have grown up, in the blink of an eye.  Who knows when the last family of six vacation will take place?  We never know what one year looks like from the next, especially when you factor in a serious girlfriend.  Perhaps that is why the tears were flowing as we pulled away from the condo we stayed in last week. 



I've not been great at quiet time recently.  I prayed about it, though, and asked the Lord to help me with this, and He has done that this week.  I am so glad.  I've loved where I've been writing from and reading. 

Some of my favorite moments ever have been spent pouring over the word of God, and in praying.


When I was a teenager, Steven Curtis Chapman was my favorite Christian recording artist.  I got to see him live Tuesday night, thanks to my friend and neighbor, who invited me to a Life Choices fundraising dinner and event.  He was the speaker and the entertainment for the night, and he is even better sounding in person than he is over the radio.  I love his heart, and the ministry that he and his wife started, Show Hope. 

I love the family of God.


These clouds are gorgeous!  Wednesday nights are usually for church, but Todd and I had a very last minute double date with our oldest boy and his sweet girlfriend. 


It ended up being one of my favorite nights from this week.  We ate sushi at one of my favorite Japanese restaurants, and then I went to buy makeup. 


Scripture writing is one of my favorite parts of my quiet time each day.  This plan is from Shannon at swtblessings.com, and takes about ten minutes to do. 


Here is the plan for October.  Go visit her blog for the printable version, or check out another plan for October, on kindness.


I found this recipe yesterday, but it wasn't my favorite.  It was way too rich for my taste, but I may try another adaptation of it some other time.  Jonah and I had fun making it together, though.  We took this to our friend's house out in the country last night.  We always love going to their house and catching up.


Lastly, I saw this today and loved it enough to share it again.  I love the Willis' and their Instagram accounts on marriage.  It's one of my favorite accounts that I follow, and this is solid advice. 

We haven't always made our marriage priority, because let's be real here and admit than when the kids are little, it's hard.  And never really practical.  But we did what we could, and now that they're older, this is a whole lot easier.  I cherish our time together. 

Well, thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

an honest account of our vacation

The title makes me laugh.  You know how we're all guilty of always putting only our best foot forward on social media outlets?  (I am speaking to myself here!)  I won't do that when I talk of the vacation we just returned from.  Though there were parts that were wonderful and so very restful, there were also parts that were a tiny bit stressful and not quite as wonderful.  Though that stuff happened, it was still so much fun, and we left there rich with the many memories we made together as a family of six.  We never know where another year will take us, and perhaps that is why I left this place a week later, with tears running down my face.


We left bright and early Saturday morning, though not as early as I had originally hoped.  I think it was around five thirty, though.  We watched the sunrise from somewhere in Mississippi.  I knew it was a long drive, and I wanted to leave at like three a.m.  Nobody else was on board with that, though.  We arrived at our destination at six something that night.  With stops and such, it was a bit longer than we had thought it would be.

The property that our time share was on was beautiful!  The only problem was that we were nowhere near to being close to the beach.  I had thought we were right on the beach, and I still think the website was a tiny bit misleading, but I digress.  We were easily able to drive there, though, and would reach sand in less than five minutes.  The parking and walking was what made it that long, not the drive.


This was us, and our first night there.  We unloaded, ordered pizza, unpacked, ate dinner, and hustled out to the beach.

The sand was so wonderful!  I love the cool, nighttime sand.  We put our feet into the water and rode around the property for a while to try to find the pool, then went back into our condo.  We finally found the pool, after we dropped Todd, Jonah, and Noah back at the condo.  Graham drove us around and we had the guard point us in the right direction.

The next day dawned with better attitudes for us all.  We had discovered that we could rent a golf cart for the week to drive around, instead of our car, which made it more fun and gave us an extra set of wheels.  We also came to the realization the night before that the condo was really, really nice, and even though it wasn't on the beach front, we would make the best of what we had and have a great week.  Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a little pep talk.  Todd went and got the golf cart that Sunday morning, then we headed to the beach after we had eaten breakfast at the condo.



It was a little cloudy, but the sun eventually came out, and it was glorious.  They played in the water, all my boys whom I so love, and then Noah and I walked down to a pier that was nearby.


We stood here for about half an hour and were in awe of how the waves were crashing against this pier.  Isn't it beautiful?  The picture doesn't do it justice.  One thing that the boys loved is how big the waves were.  Not being in the gulf, and on the Atlantic Ocean, they were huge!  They had a blast playing on the boogie boards we borrowed from friends.  Also, I loved that this beach was full of shells!  We had fun hunting for whole shells, and we brought home several.

We went back to the condo and got dressed, then went out to eat at a steakhouse.  We didn't say hardly a word as we were thoroughly entertained by the group of people who were sitting at the table behind us.  We laughed as much as they did while they were joking with their waiter.  We shopped a little after dinner, for groceries and touristy things, then went back to the condo.  We unloaded our purchases and changed to go out to the beach again.  I had finished that book above, and this was me after we got back from the beach, with my next book, and a little late night snack.


This book was AMAZING.  The author is Sally Hepworth.  I won't spoil the book, but you should consider reading it!  The next morning we ate breakfast, I had my quiet time, and then we went back out again, to the beach and the pool afterward.


Proverbs 4:23 is one of my very favorite verses, one that I love to pray for me, my husband, and all of my boys and the girls I get to help lead in the youth.  "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."


On this beautiful and warm Monday, Jonah stepped on a conch shell, and we brought it home.  It is whole and absolutely perfect.  I had thought that he sat on it, but I was wrong.  He stepped on it instead.  That night I made dinner in the condo, one of their favorite things I make that they requested, and then we walked down the pier again, but this time we paid to enter it and walked the length.  I wanted to see the sunset from the pier.


We were up high in this picture, though it doesn't seem like it, and I was struggling with the pier moving under the weight of the waves crashing against it, and the fact that we were so far out over the ocean.  I got better, though, and was able to enjoy the sunset.  It was beautiful.


Here was our walk out to the beach as the light was fading.  I love a good and pretty pathway.

After this, we went for a night swim.


Well, the boys did, not us.  It was chilly!

The next morning, I was up earlier than anyone else, so after quiet time, I finished the book pictured above.  I started a new one, and then after brunch, we left to go shop.


This book was also really good, and fascinating, as it takes you through the day to day life of the wealthiest people on earth.  It's about family, dynasties, scandals, competition between family members, and love stories between all the couples written about.

I mentioned shopping~we have this tradition of letting them shop at outlets while we're out of town.  We did that on this trip, and they all ended up with fun and really cute tee shirts from an equally adorable shop called Palmetto Moon.

We stopped at one point and had frozen lemonades, then we went to an early dinner at an amazing seafood restaurant.  It was a buffet, the best and nicest I've ever been to, and after about five pounds of crab legs that Todd, Graham, and Drew ate, I lost count.  We ate, and laughed, and Drew tried to flirt with one of the cute waitresses that kept coming by our table.  Also, he tried raw oysters for the first time.  I had tears in my eyes at one point, from laughing so hard, as the boys admitted things to us that we had been wondering about.  I love nights like that, around the dinner table.  It doesn't matter if the table is inside our home, or at a restaurant.

We went back to the condo after dinner, and headed back out to the beach.


So beautiful!  This is not a filtered picture, the sky was that color as we walked down to the water.

I will stop here and say that the night before, Todd killed a roach in the dining room part of the condo.  I didn't think anything about it, because bugs come inside sometimes, and it wasn't a big deal.  That night after we had gone to bed, I got up one last time before I fell asleep, and when I turned on our bathroom light, I SAW TWO ROACHES.  One normal sized one, that was on the shirt I had had on earlier (I wear different pajamas around the house and the boys before I go to sleep), and one huge and giant one was on the floor.  I think I screamed.  Todd came to my rescue and killed the big one first, because it was the easiest.  The second one ran and hid.  It would come out and run and he would jump, and I would scream again.  He finally killed it, and we had a good laugh.

I was seriously freaking out, and kept the bathroom light on the rest of the time we were there.  Roaches hate light.  Also, Graham and Jonah had one in their bathroom that they never found.

Needless to say, we requested an exterminator the next morning.  We never had any more problems, either, but we would see them as they were dying.  Also, we discovered that these were not necessarily confined to our condo, but were all over the area we were in.  They were all over the town that was near Myrtle Beach.  We encountered many.  Also, the big ones might have been Palmetto bugs.

B.L.E.H.


So, when I saw this the next day from the Marriage Mentality on Instagram, I shared it.  Because nothing says love like your significant other being your bug killer.  But also, it's good to love the ones we marry, is it not?

We did the beach and the pool again on Wednesday, then after dinner at Bojangles, went to play miniature golf.


It was a beautiful mini-golf course!  It was multi level, and the views were breathtaking.  We went back to the condo, then changed for another night swim.

I got in, and then froze half to death as I dried back off.


This was the next morning, as we attempted to catch the sunrise.  The clouds were in the way, but it was still beautiful.  The boys went deep sea fishing early that morning and didn't return until after two.  They showered and ate, then tried to go ride go carts, but it started raining.  They came back to the condo and proceeded to take naps.

ALL. FOUR. OF. THEM.


This hasn't happened since the days of their toddler-hood.

Is that not hilarious?  We let them sleep for a couple hours, then woke them up and ate dinner at a place called Cheeseburger In Paradise.

They went for a swim, but Todd and I stayed inside.

On Friday morning, we got up, ate breakfast, then they left to go ride the go carts again.  This was after we played Tripoley, a really fun and addictive game that involves poker, hearts, and one other game.

I stayed in the condo, and read more, starting with another new book, because I finished the one a few pictures above.


They came back, we cleaned up a bit and started packing, then went to dinner at The Cookout, and went back to the go carts track.


I read my book and watched them race.  I know, this makes me really nerdy, but go carts aren't my thing anymore.

Thursday was my last day to actually see the ocean and the pool.  I read most of Thursday and Friday, while they went out and did fun things.  The deep sea fishing wasn't anything I wanted to do, because I've done it once, and that was enough.  Also, I get really seasick.  And the go carts is something they love, but I don't ride them anymore.  I was perfectly content with letting them go have fun and them leaving me at the condo to read and relax in the quiet.

Our trip was wonderful, though, and I am so very thankful we were able to go.  It's not often that my husband gets to fully unwind and relax, and he did that on this trip.  We had a few little attitude issues at first, but all of that got so much better throughout the week.  Overall, it was a very chill and low key week, which is really how we like to vacation.  Well, I do, at least.  The boys may prefer a little more action, but if you were to ask them, they would tell you that it was one of our best trips ever.  And I totally agree.

We hope to go camping sometime soon, though that will be different for us this year, too.  We're not going with the big group we've gone with in years past, but will be doing our own thing.  I'm excited to go back to one of my favorite camping spots.

The good Lord willing, that is.  We will see.

Thanks for reading about our trip!  And thanks to the many of you who have asked us about it~it really was a great trip.  Love to all!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I am linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for the writing of this blog post.

This week has been a whirlwind of a week.  It has flown by and I know that today will be no exception.  I always have tons of things I like to do around the house before leaving for a vacation, and there are about thirty-eight things on my to-do list for this day.  My dad is having to make a quick out of town trip, so he won't be joining us at all today.  We'll miss seeing him, but I know I will fill that time quickly.

Here are some favorite things and moments from the week.


I'm still loving all things fall around my house.  I decorated a week ago, and I'm still loving it.  Fall is my favorite!  Another favorite of mine is Gilmore Girls.  I started watching it again a couple weeks ago, and somehow, each time I watch it, I like it more than before.  This is the fourth time I've watched this show.

Netflix had better not ever ever get rid of it!



We had family in town visiting for two nights last weekend, and that is always a favorite thing of mine!  We do not get to see Denise and Katie often enough, so our time always goes by fast when we're together.  Usually Joe (one of Katie's older brother) comes with them, but he wasn't able to this trip.  We missed him!  They were here through Sunday afternoon, and then they left to drive back home to Chicago (or, near there).


Sunday was a crazy busy day.  Right after Denise and Katie left, I left, to attend a house blessing for my best friend's new house.  I've been to one of these before, where we just prayed in every room, and though this one was a little different, I am so glad I was able to do this with my dear friend.  Their house is beautiful and I am so excited for them as they plant roots here in Memphis.


After this, I drove straight to our church, for our annual church family picnic.  Sunday was full of a bunch of my favorite things, and this picnic was the icing on the cake.  I love it, Todd loves it, and the boys love it.  We are usually there the full amount of time, but this time I was a little late and met them there as soon as I was able to.  I love our church family!  I am so thankful to God for putting us here all those years ago.  We ate dinner, there were games to play in (like volleyball, above), there are jumpy houses, and a rock wall, and there are a thousand people to talk to, that I never get to see often enough.  I made my way from person to person before finally sitting at a table and being joined by a bunch of teenage girls, and eventually my best friend.  It was a great night and the weather was PERFECTION.  I love some cool nights.




Timehop is my favorite app, and this week has been fun to look back on.  I love looking through each day's memories from years before.  These three above have been my favorites from the week.  More about these images are on yesterday's blog post.


Reading is my favorite hobby.  I've been reading some great books this week, and twice, I've met with some sweet friends  to discuss books we're reading for book clubs.  I love my friends and love talking about books, so it's a win win.  This one above is one I'm reading on my own, for pleasure.  Two others I'm reading are for learning purposes, and for growing closer to God in my personal walk.  Well one is that, the other is teaching me about things I've never known before.  The other two are Adorn by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, and Identity Theft by Ron Cantor.  They're all so good!

Speaking of books, I'm taking a stack of them with me while we're at the beach this coming week.


List making is my favorite.  These are all growing, as we prepare to leave tomorrow morning.  I have a million things to do between now and then, two which involve us leaving the house, so I'm going to run.

Thanks for reading my blog!  I'll be taking a blogging break all of next week while I'm enjoying my family on vacation.  I'll be back again on Monday the twenty-fourth, with way more pictures than you care to view, most likely.

Love to all!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

throwback Thursday

I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite Timehop moments from the past.  I've saved all these to my phone because they're all so adorable.  There are others I've saved of times gone by that I just don't want to forget.  And I randomly text my friends these pictures, so if you're one of the ones who have already seen these, you may want to get out of this now.


I can't believe this was nine years ago.  We were in Hot Springs, Arkansas with Todd's parents, and we were about to be heading back home.  We had eaten a yummy breakfast at the local pancake house, and all the boys picked out toys from the cute little toyshop down the street from the pancake place.  Graham has a snake on his head that he picked out.

This was the first time we ever traveled with my in-love's, and it became a thing afterward.  We do something with them almost every year, and we love our time with them.


Same trip, different day.  This was back when they'd actually smile for me.  It's been forever since they've done that.


I love this picture so much!  This was right after Christa and Jason got married.  These boys love their "auntie and uncle" to this day.  They were so close to Christa, because she spent so much time over here before she and Jason married.  Todd would work at night, and she would be here almost every single time.  We would watch movies, and make cookies.  Nowadays their little girl isn't too far from the ages that Jonah and Noah were when this picture was taken.  Time flies!


Oh, this day is one none of us will ever forget.  We had been to Costco and Jonah and Noah decided they wanted to spend some of their money on these two giant teddy bears.  You should have seen us driving home!  We had them buckled into the back and middle seats of the Suburban, driving down the interstate.  We still have the dark brown one.  It's actually the thing that Crash sleeps on almost every single night.

I think their names were Beary.  #original


I don't remember where we were going with "our" girls, but we were going somewhere, and we were all having a blast.  Missy always cringes when I make her pose for my pictures.  (I wish I could remember that lipstick name.)


Last year in August, we vacationed in Branson, Missouri, and Christa and Jason used to live in Springfield, which wasn't too far away.  On this night, Christa and Annalise spent the night with us.  They had spent the day with us hanging out and swimming, then they ate dinner with us, along with Jason, and we had a sleepover.  Annalise was so excited about staying the night for a sleepover!  I am so glad they live here in Memphis now!


Oh, Drewby.  I think they were blowing compressed air at him, and this is what happened.  Todd sent me this in a text, and I about died laughing.  His hair was something to behold even back then, but you should see it now.  It's so long!  When it's wet, it's down to his shoulders.  Of course, you cannot tell this, because the longer it gets, the curlier it gets, and he just has ringlets all over his head.

Well, that was fun for me.  I can't believe my kids are all as old as they are sometimes.  We have had some great memories, and I am looking forward to making more this coming week as we go on vacation together.  We love being around these boys, and I wouldn't want to spend all my time with anyone else.

Love to all!

the weekend

This was me, attempting to wake up today.  I have no idea why I am so tired!  Now that I'm up, I'm fine, but waking up was anothe...