Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses {Halloween Edition}

I'm smiling about linking up with House of Rose for this edition of Stop and Smell the Roses.  I've missed the last few link ups and I'm glad to be back sharing with you the things that are making me smile today and seeing what's making you all smile, too!


Ok, first, please excuse the crazy ending of my video when I mutter something like "I'll talk to you soon."  Truth is, I would've edited it or re filmed, but I just didn't have time to do so and get everything done this morning so you can just laugh with me at my awkward ending!  (You can laugh at this great screen shot, too!)



Things that are making me smile:

Halloween!  We love Halloween at our house. Last night, I made a Mexican dip, brownies with caramel, and my very first Pinterest recipe to take to our family's Halloween Bash tonight.  

I found this on Pinterest and it's a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Bubble Necklaces.  I fell in love with these when they came out, but only recently bought my first ones.  I have an orange, a black, and a bubble gum pink.  I feel like I wear them almost every other day!  


Ice Skating. I used to figure skate competitively (about 10 years ago), but hadn't laced up my skates in 5 years.  Disney On Ice is in town, so our arena that used to have ice, has it down for the week.  Stephanie, Meredith, our nieces, and I went skating last night.  It was so much fun!

Join us at House of Rose and tell us what's making you smile this week!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Pumpkin-Filled Weekend

We had a great weekend which was mostly filled with Pumpkin Fun!

My sister, Stephanie, is a senior in high school and was recognized before the last home football game of the regular season on Friday night.  After work, we loaded up the boys and went to see her get her award and watch the Bobcats play.


Saturday morning, I ran my first race since August.  When I woke up, the wind was howling and I just knew I was going to freeze.  I got ready for the race and walked out the door with two long-sleeve shirts and my ear band just in case.  When I got outside, I was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt.

It was in the mid-60's and overcast during the race which was about perfect.  I ended up finishing second overall and was the top female finisher with a time of 21:39.  I felt great during this run, but wish I had pushed it.  I wanted to finish below 21 minutes and PR, but I didn't start off as fast as I usually do and had to run over an Interstate overpass twice, so I'm blaming my extra 39 seconds on that.  I didn't know if Kevin and the boys were going to make it, but when I got close to the last traffic light we ran through, I saw them.  It always makes me feel so good when I see him and our sweet boys at the finish line! {You can check out previous race recaps here.}

The boys also got to participate in a Pumpkin Run to get candy, but I didn't get to see it as it was during my race.  They looked happy with their pumpkins full of candy though!

Madeline, our niece, and me after the race.  She finished 3rd in her age group!

We had a great time playing outside after the race Saturday and I ended up running another 2.15 miles with K.C. in the jogging stroller.  If you want a good work out, try running with a 40 pound five year old in a jogging stroller that weighs probably 20 pounds in the wind... after you've run a race! 

We spent the afternoon watching the South Carolina* game (ok, so I might have written some posts and looked at the proofs of my bridal session) and playing outside before we went new shoe shopping for the boys and to eat Mexican.  Poor Kaden was so tired and fell asleep in the car when we were on the way home at 7:00 PM (and didn't wake up until almost 7 Sunday morning!).  Kevin was able to get him in bed without him waking up, and the rest of the night, we had some one-on-one time with K.C.  He wanted to color, so we did that and made treat bags for his and Kaden's class.

After church Sunday, we went over to Kevin's parents for lunch and to carve our first pumpkin.  The boys were so funny about cleaning out the pumpkin.  They don't really like to get their hands all dirty and sticky (for which I'm thankful!).  


Sunday night, KT and I went to my parents for dinner, more pumpkin carving with my grandparents, and to move some things.  Since I was little, my granddad has gotten a pumpkin for my sister and me each year and we've carved it with him.  The last two years, it's been Bruce Hall, Kevin, and me.  We had fun (and I may have stolen Kevin's diamond nose from our first pumpkin!)!


Do you have any Pumpkin Carving Traditions?

Monday, October 29, 2012

{Our Wedding} THE Dress

When we decided we were going to get married this fall, I started looking for dresses.  While the wedding dress is hardly the most important aspect of the wedding, it's the most talked about.  And I think we can all agree that wearing a beautiful dress to marry the answer to our prayers is something we all want to do.  

I had a general idea of the kind of dress I wanted, but I couldn't decide.  When we walked in The Little White Dress, I immediately chose three or four dresses I wanted to try and passed over one.  After trying on a few, both my sister-in-law and the attendant told me I needed to try on this one dress. I reluctantly agreed, but maintained my thought that the dress was just not my style.

When I put it on and walked out to look in the large mirrors, I knew it was the dress I was going to get married in.  I had tears in my eyes along with Meredith.  It was THE dress.

iPhone picture from the day I found the dress.

I am absolutely in love with the dress and it is my style completely.  I'm so glad I decided to try it on even though it wasn't something I thought I would like.  Luckily, I was able to buy it on the spot, have a fitting later that week, and picked it up just two weeks before the wedding.  

These are some photos from my bridal session.  I loved them and my photographer!
















All photographs by Amber McKenzie, Carolina Moments Photography.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Letters {October 26, 2012 Edition}



dear kevin: I love being married to you.  I love being your wife.  I love that you're my husband.  You make every day better just being you.  I love you! dear k.c. and kaden: We are so absolutely proud of you!  You are the two best boys in the world!  I'm amazed at how fast you're both growing up.  I'm looking forward to a super fun weekend!  I love you to the moon and back!  dear stephanie: I can't believe it's your Senior Night tonight!  It seems like it was just yesterday and you were cheering for your first varsity game and today it's your last home game of the regular season.  I am so proud of you and I love you!  Can't wait to see you tonight!  dear blog: I've missed spending time with you lately.  I'm looking forward to lots of good posts and a revamp!  dear readers: Thank you for taking the time to check out my little tiny corner of the Internet.  I love writing for myself and my family as a way to remember things, and I love being able to share things with you!  dear twitter: So we've met again.  (@learningthings1) dear self: I know you're excited for your first race since August.  Enjoy it!  dear God: Thank you for teachable moments and thank you for teaching me.


Teachable Moments

Have you ever had one of those moments that just smacks you in the face, and after it, you think "wow"?  I had one of those last night.



Kevin had an early softball game, so the boys and I went by Chickfila (we love it) and then I took them to watch him play.  Although we didn't end up getting to watch our church's team play because of a forfeit, I had an awesome opportunity to talk with the boys about Jesus and church in the car.

One of the boys mentioned something about how he knew that we need to go to church, but he doesn't always want to go.  (If you're like us and have a 3 and 5 year old, you might can relate to this somehow.)  When he said that, it kind of hit me.  You know, I don't always want to do things I know I need to do.  I will admit that there are times when instead of focusing on the message during church, I'm thinking about the things I need to do.  (I know that sounds bad, but I'm really being honest here.)

I took that opportunity to share the above thought with the boys.  I think sometimes it's easy to forget that our precious little children are also precious little people.  As adults, we sometimes have difficulty paying attention and we sometimes don't want to do things.  As children, it's even harder.

As we talked, they asked a few questions.

We were able to talk about Jesus and how God sent Him to live on the earth and not make any mistakes.

We talked about how people didn't believe He was who He said He was and how they hung Him on a cross to die.

We talked about how God raised Him up three days later and how these true events save us from our mistakes.

We talked about how we use an eraser to erase mistakes we make when we're doing our homework and how Jesus is just like that eraser and erases our mistakes and forgets about them.

We talked about how we pray, read Bible stories, and go to church to worship God and show Him that we love Him.

We talked about how the two most important things in the world are how we love Jesus and how we love our families.

We talked about how it doesn't matter how many trophies we win, how many awards we get, what we do for our jobs, how much money we have, or what kind of cars we have because all that really matters is loving Jesus and living for Him.

After the three minutes we spent talking about the above, we got out of our car and walked to see Kevin.  I whispered a silent prayer of thanks for that teachable moment and those sweet hearts.  I pray that our boys grow up knowing and living their lives as men who know how to love Jesus and know how to love their families.  And I pray that we live our lives showing them how to do just that.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Planning a Wedding in 5 (Yes, 5!) Weeks

Ok, so we really didn't plan a wedding in quite five weeks, but we did throw it together fast!


That's 39 days or 5 weeks, 4 days!

Early this summer, we decided we wanted to get married this fall.  We looked at dates and decided on October 13.  I joke with Kevin that he picked out this date because it was Clemson's off week.  He said that wasn't the case, but if he had thought about it, he would have made sure we picked that date anyway!

We held on to our little secret for a few days, but had to get planning.  I know it's very non-traditional (and we're both very traditional) to begin planning a wedding without an engagement ring, but time was of essence.  We decided not to talk about it with others except for our immediate families, but planning couldn't wait.

The first decision we had to make was where to get married.  Kevin was in favor of us going off somewhere by ourselves to get married.  I loved that idea and the romance of it, but I really wanted to have our families, especially K.C. and Kaden there, to witness our commitment to love, honor, and cherish each other forever. 

We live near the beach and it's a special place to both of us (we even got engaged there), so that was one option.  After looking into various places and checking with caterers and potential dinner venues, things just weren't working out.

Enter option two in late August.  Our church.  Shortly after Kevin and I started dating, we started going to church together.  We've both always been active in church and know the importance of being involved in a community of Believers together.  Neither of us had any opposition to getting married in our church to begin with, but knowing we were going to have a very small, intimate ceremony, we initially liked the thought of doing it somewhere else.

I know it's a really superficial thing, but one thing I was really worried about was finding a dress in time.  Please forgive me for being a snob when I say this, too, but I really didn't want to have to buy a dress from a store or order one off the Internet.  

When we were at the beach with Kevin's family the end of July-early August, I looked for a dress.  I had talked to Kevin about buying one before we had a ring and he was ok with it.  One rainy morning, his sister and I went out shopping.  Dress shopping.  

We ended up at The Little White Dress, a bridal boutique in Myrtle Beach.  I hadn't made an appointment and didn't think I'd be able to get a dress there, but we figured it didn't hurt to look.  The things that happened next amazed me and I can see God's handiwork in them.

The store was having a sample sale and I found a dress I was completely in love with.  (Full post about The Dress complete with pictures is coming Monday!)  After taking pictures to send to my mom and sister who weren't with me, I left with a purchased dress and appointment with a seamstress for a few weeks later. 

Later that week, as we were out on the beach, I got a call from the boutique asking if I could come in for a fitting as they had a cancellation. Everything worked out perfectly!

At this point in time (we'll say August 1), we had a date and I had a dress, but that was it.  

Later in August, we decided to have the ceremony at our church and a dinner after it in Kevin's backyard.  We booked a caterer which just so happened to be our favorite Italian restaurant (again, a non-traditional choice but so us) and had a cake tasting.  Things were moving right along!

My grandfather is a retired Baptist minister, so having him perform the ceremony was a no-brainer.  It was so sweet to me to have him marry us.

With the location, dress, dinner, cake, and minister secured, we still had the invitations, programs, flowers, decorations, music, and photographer to consider.

The photographer fell into my lap.  One of my good friends who took our family pictures early this summer but who now lives in Montana recommended a few local photographers.  After contacting several and not hearing back from many (In case you haven't tried it for yourself, it's tough to book someone for a wedding six weeks out.)  Amber with Carolina Moments Photography was available and amazing.  Amber and I met and hit it off immediately.  We also have similar stories, so that was cool as well.  

The music decision was easy, too.  We asked Meredith, Kevin's sister, to sing.  She has a gorgeous voice and a degree in musical theatre to boot.  She also runs her own musical theatre program.  My mom is also a very talented musician.  She has a degree in piano performance and I've always said that if I had a tenth of her ability, I'd be amazing.  Unfortunately, I didn't like to practice!  I didn't want to ask my mom to play for the wedding as she was the mother of the bride, but I had told Kevin how absolutely special it would be to have her play.  We were talking one night before she was making a call to ask someone to play and she casually mentioned that she'd love to play as long as she could see me walking down the aisle.  Music was done.  (A full ceremony recap including the music is coming soon.)

During the day, I'm a marketer.  I'm surrounded by talented designers.  One of my co-workers designed our invitation, program, some special cards for the dinner, and our thank you notes for us as a gift.  That was really special.  

When it came time for the decor and flowers, I didn't know exactly what to do.  I had a few boards on Pinterest of floral inspirations and wedding ideas, but that was it.  I normally have a definite idea of what I want and what I like, but that wasn't happening.  And I know it was because I wasn't worried about those things because what mattered to me marrying my husband.  

We decided to use round tables with ivory linens for our families and cake and a standard rectangular table for our food.  I ordered ivory table clothes, napkins, and chair covers from tableclothesfactory.com.  I was really pleased with the quality.  If you chose to order from them, make sure you allow ample time for shipping though.  

As far as flowers were concerned, it's also difficult to find a florist with only weeks before a wedding.  I love hydrangeas and decided I wanted to go with a southern chic look for the reception using blue hydrangeas in mason jars on our tables and burlap table runners.  White it didn't quite end up this way with blue hydrangeas conflicting with my sister's dress color, I couldn't have been more pleased with the final outcome.  (More on the decor and flowers as soon as we have our pictures back from the photographer.)

After much online research, we decided to order flowers in bulk.  My mom and Meredith are both very talented when it comes to arranging flowers, so we decided to use their talents and go this way.  We also later learned Kevin's dad is a master centerpiece maker!  I ordered large ivory hydrangeas from fiftyflowers.com and green hydrangea and Vendela roses from Sam's.  I was more than impressed with the quality of the flowers and especially the service from fiftyflowers.com.  I recommend both if you're ordering flowers in bulk.  

I am so glad we leaned on the talents of my mom, Meredith, and Roy as the flowers all turned out beautifully!

A few weeks before the wedding, we decided to have my sister be maid of honor and Kevin's dad serve as his best man.  I told Stephanie I wanted to use blue for her dress, but let her decide what she wanted.  She chose the Taryn dress from J.Crew and looked beautiful in it!


I don't think our wedding could have been more perfect!  We ended up doing most everything ourselves with the help of some family and my best friend, but even that was perfect.  I have to admit that I like to be involved in things and as event planning was an integral part of my former job, planning a wedding in five weeks, give a few, didn't bother me.  We had so many special, personal touches, too.  

Can you plan a wedding in 5ish weeks?  Yes, you can!


A Happy Wife in New Orleans

Fall Projects

Pinterest is amazing.  And it's given me so many great project ideas for fall.
(Follow me on Pinterest by clicking here or the Pinterest button the right sidebar.

The first project I want to tackle is this one:


This is from Woman's Day magazine.  I think the boys and I will have fun making these for their classmates.  

I also want to make this Halloween Oreo Bark.


I found this on Pinterest from The Girl Who Ate Everything's blog. 

I love the picture below and think it will make a pretty centerpiece on our table after Halloween.


We made a Thankful Tree on paper last year and thanks to this photo from Simply VintageGirl, I'd like to do something similar to this for our 2013 Thankful Tree.


I love the idea of scrap booking and journaling, but I don't have the time to make an actual scrap book so I use Blurb.com (and recently used mixbook.com for our wedding guest book) to make our family photo books.  My blog serves as a journal.  I absolutely adore this idea though: a jar filled with notes of great memories for the first year of marriage that we can open on our first anniversary next October 13.


And if you haven't seen it already, one project we made that made it to Pinterest was the Pumpkin on a Stick:


What are some projects you're going to tackle this Fall?






Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fabulous Fall Weekend

We had a great weekend full of so many fun things!

Kevin and I drove back from Holden Beach Friday night because we didn't want to miss our boys' last soccer game of the season which was on Saturday morning.  On our way home (!), we stopped by Ken and Margaret's to drop off the beach house key and enjoyed visiting with them.  They tell the best stories!  We then went by Chickfila for the first time in over a week!  I would say I had problems withdrawing from Chickfila, but we ate so good that I hardly missed it at all.  We visited with Kevin's parents for a while when we took their boat back to them before going home and unpacking.



Saturday was a gorgeous day!  The boys had their last soccer game and both played really well.  Sweet Kaden was excited about wearing a Halloween shirt under his jersey and decided he'd had enough soccer after the first quarter.  He ended up on the sidelines with me and some snacks the rest of the game.  K.C. played goalie during part of the game and we were so proud of him!  He did a great job and didn't let a shot go by.  It's amazing to me to see how much he's improved since the beginning of the season, much less since last season.  I think he's going to be a good soccer player like his daddy!








After our game, we had a team party complete with doughnuts and trophies.  The boys were so excited about their trophies!




We cheered our Tigers to victory Saturday afternoon, too (and watched our wedding video during half time!).  I really didn't enjoy watching football until I started watching it with Kevin.  It's fun to see how excited he gets!  We're hoping to make it to Death Valley in a few weeks to watch a live game.  I've been to more than my share of USC games, but it's been years since I've been to Clemson and even then, I think I've only gone to two games.  I'm looking forward to another first with my sweet family!

My dad's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated it Saturday night.  We went out to dinner and then everyone came back to our house for ice cream pie.  If you haven't ever had Brewster's ice cream pie, you're missing out.  They are delicious!










The boys had so much fun playing and it was great visiting with my family!

After a great church service Sunday, we took the boys to Cici's.  I think K.C. literally ate about 10 pieces of their alfredo pizza.  He loves it!

We also went to a corn maze Sunday afternoon.  Neither Kevin nor I had ever been, but both of the boys went during the week last week with their classes.  K.C.'s class didn't get to go through the big maze and he'd been asking to go back, so we took advantage of the gorgeous afternoon and went to the maze.  It was fun!










When we got home from the corn maze, I decided to go for a run.  This precious boy wanted to go with me, so off we went.  Not even a half mile in and he was out!  I ended up running a little over two with him in the jogging stroller and then laid him down inside while I finished my run for a total of 6.2.



I love this time of year and I'm looking forward to many more fun Fall weekends!

What are your favorite things to do during the Fall?

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