Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Jumble of Thoughts to Go With Some Pictures

It's Thursday! And time for some random thoughts. It's been an incredibly busy week, so I thought I'd share a jumble of random thoughts with you.

Last Friday, the boys and I went down to my grandma's for lunch. My cousin was in town with her two kids and I wanted to see her baby. We had a great time catching up. I wish we lived closer, especially now that we both have kids.




After we left my grandma's, my sister, mom, the little girl my sister babysits, the boys and I went to our local park to go to the Splash Pad. Unfortunately, they had to close due to a mechanical problem, but we got a free pass to go another day. We still had a great time walking on the nature trails and sky bridges.



My MIL made my day a few weeks ago when she gave me a pin George W. Bush had given her.



I ran my fastest timed mile last weekend. I was having a rough run and ran my first mile in 7:01. When I turned the corner on my second mile, I was around 6:24 which is normally close to where I like to be. I kept speeding up and once I got to 6:16, I decided to try to break 6:15 and then 6:10. I finished with a 6:08. I was happy!

I love finding the random photos the boys take on my phone. Right now, you can see Kevin brushing his teeth, me getting ready, a nerf gun piece, K.C.'s self portrait and some videos of play hammerhead sharks and planes. It always makes me smile.

We're having a party for our big boy in a few weeks. Can you guess what the theme is going to be by these?



I've had a clumsy week which has included spilling many things: my entire Chick-fil-a Cobb Salad (you should try it if you haven't) in my car seat right before a press conference, water all over my dress the same day and then mandarin orange juice exploded all over me when I was eating lunch at my desk earlier this week.

Want to guess what I'm tackling tomorrow?



Have you read my friend Kayla's awesome honeymoon posts? She was the most gorgeous bride and I'm so thrilled for her as she's become a wife!

Speaking of marriage, I found Kevin's anniversary present this week. Yes, I know we have over three month's until our first anniversary, but I found his gift and I'm excited about it!

Linking up with Megan a day late!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Your Questions, My Answers: Running


When I opened up the "floor" for questions, many of the questions I received (and I get many emails about this same topic) were about running. I thought it might be fun to talk about one of my favorite things today by answering the questions I commonly receive. The picture at the top of the page was taken at a race by my run club and posted on Facebook as it appears. I love it and think it goes well with this post!

Did you run in high school/college?
In the sense of competitive running, no, but I ran. I've always run. In fact, I can't really remember a time when I didn't run. Consistently, no, but I ran.

When I was in middle and high school, I figure skated competitively. We had a minor league hockey team in my town which meant we had ice about eight months a year. When I watched Kristi Yamaguchi win the gold in 1992 (I was five, almost six), I knew I wanted to figure skate. When I was around twelve or so, my dream came true when we started having ice skating. I trained under an ice dancing couple who were coached at Lake Placid and competed nationally, and in the summers, I trained a few days a week in Charleston with the Figure Skating Club of Charleston. But because we had iceless summers, I ran to stay in shape (and trust me, you use far more muscles - or at least vastly different ones - running and skating).

Did you start out running 5Ks first or were you always a long distance runner?
First, thank you, Erin, for the long distance runner bit. :) I don't think of myself as a distance runner, but that made me smile. Majorly. And then I had to Google "what makes a long distance runner" and according to Google, I am one. So that's cool. But I digress.

My first few races were actually the Cooper River Bridge Run which is a 10K held in Charleston each Spring. I ran it a few times with friends who aren't really runners and it was more for fun.

My first true race about a year and a half ago was a 5K. My husband's best friend is a runner and got me to run this local 5K with him. I finished just below 24 minutes and ended up being the fourth female overall and first in my age group. You could say that this race hooked me.  Since then, I've raced a good bit and have drastically improved my times with a PR of 20:25 in the 5K. It's amazing to see what consistent running does.

Are you going to run a half marathon or marathon?
I've talked about running a half marathon for a long time. I've written about it, I've almost signed up for one, I've contemplated training for one, but I haven't done it. At this point, I don't know. Here's the thing: I like shorter, fast races. I've only run two true 10K's (take out the CRB). My 5K PR is 20:25. I like to go fast.

Could I run a half? Yes. I don't think it would require that much training either. But I don't know if I really want to. It's one of those things I want to mark off my list, but I just don't know if I want to do it. Is that bad?

I've felt before that running a half or full will make me more of a runner, but then I realize, it won't. I'm just as much of a runner today running 5Ks, 10Ks and just my normal runs as I would be if I trained for a half or full. I can tell you that the prospect of running 26.2 miles is not something I have a desire to do. I just don't.

Do you do anything besides run?
Yes. I work out at the gym about three days a week. I focus on my upper body, back, glutes and abs. I love the 8 Minute Ab workout from YouTube and do it about 5 days a week.

What's your normal running week?
I typically run 4-5 days a week. I did 60+ days straight beginning in April during which I did four races including 2 PR's. My body needs rest though. Once I finished the second challenge I participated in, I took 10 days off and my body loved it. I feel so much better now and I didn't lose any speed. In fact, I had my fastest mile ever during a run this past weekend.

What are your running goals?
I like to set goals, but I don't usually post them. I have two goals I'd like to complete when race season gears back up this fall. I want to break 20 minutes in a 5K and I want to qualify as competitive for the Cooper River Bridge Run. My 10K times aren't indicative of my true times as I haven't run a 10K race in a long time. My 10Ks in practice are right below 43 minutes.

How do you train?
I love to run so I don't think of my runs necessarily as training. If I am preparing for a race, I try to not go all out in the day or two before a race so I have fresh legs. I normally run at least a 5K when I run and I don't go much slower than a race. My 5Ks during the week are typically run at right below or at 21 minutes; my Saturday races are around the 20:30 mark. Races don't seem hard because I'm used to running race pace during most of my runs, but on the other hand, I may improve my speed by running slower normal runs. It's something I was to test. I do track all of my runs and workouts in a spreadsheet, so if you'd like a copy of that for yourself, e-mail me (thethingsimlearning@gmail.com) and I'll be happy to send you one.

What's your favorite running gear?
I did a post on this last year and it's mostly the same.

I run in Brooks PureCadence2. I love these shoes and am on my third pair in a year. Nike Tempo shorts are my favorite. I don't run in much other than them. I do have some Old Navy shorts that are monogrammed and fit just as good as the Nike. Sometimes, it's fun to add a little monogram. I like dri-fit tanks, mainly Nike or Reebok. I use dri-fit socks as well. I also have a Garmin Forerunner 110.


If you'd like to read a recap of my races, click here.


Favorite Running Posts

If you have any other running or fitness questions, I'm happy to answer them! I'd also love to hear your running stories and how you train!

Monday, June 24, 2013

52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: Ten Things I Live For


My husband. I don't think there's any question as to how I feel about my husband. He's hands-down my favorite man. It's weird. I can't really remember life before Kevin. And I think that's just how it's supposed to be. I want to be the best wife that I can be for him. Sometimes, I know I fail, but I want him to know each day how much I love him and care for him. He is my top priority. I want him to always know how handsome I think he is, how my heart still flutters when he walks by, how I melt watching him play with our sweet boys and how my favorite place to be is in his arms.


My children. I'd always heard how a child will change your life, but I didn't know how dramatic that change would be until I had children of my own. Besides Kevin, K.C. and Kaden are the greatest gifts I've ever been given. And I think of them as my special gifts. The depth of my love for them is like nothing I've known. It's so different from the love I have for my husband and the rest of my family. It's really indescribable. I'm thankful for the gift of being their Anna Belle. I love playing with them, learning with them, watching them as they discover they can do something on their own for the very first time, snuggling and cuddling with them, nighttime stories, sweet kisses and "I love you's." It's my prayer that they will always know how totally and completely they are loved.



My family. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am so fortunate to have the family I have and I know it. I was blessed to both be born into my family and to marry into Kevin's family. Outside of faith, family is the most important thing in this world. I love spending time with our family. 


Running. It's no secret that I love to run. It's one of my most favorite things to do. I love the way I feel while I run and after. I love that it's something that I not only love, but it's good for my body and sets a good example for my children. 

My faith. God has been so good to me, overwhelmingly good. And it's not because I've crossed off a checklist of things, gone to church a certain number of times, been involved in different aspects of the church, read my Bible a certain number of days straight or prayed with all the right words. It's because He loves me and cares for me. His grace amazes me and His forgiveness is the greatest gift in this whole world. I'm thankful for my Savior who loves me despite my flaws and shortcomings and who guides me and directs me and gives me grace. I want the words I say and the things I do to bring glory to His Name.



The beach. I love the beach. My family loves the beach. It's one of our favorite places to be. I love the sounds of the waves crashing, the heat of the sun beating down, running around with the boys and walks hand-in-hand with my husband. I love the laid back feeling and relaxation that comes with the smell of the salty marsh air.

Fun-filled lazy days. I know fun-filled and lazy don't normally go hand-in-hand, but you know exactly what I mean when I say fun-filled lazy days. Those days when you don't have anything you have to do and can just do whatever all day. The days when you have a morning that lingers, an afternoon full of playing and a night spent outside. Those fun-filled lazy days.

Cuddles, kisses and back rubs. My husband will say that I stole back rubs and that they're his thing, but I love them (I also use the excuse that they make me run faster!). There's not much that makes me happier than these three things. Some of my favorite moments of the day are family snuggles at night when we read the boys stories and those few quiet moments with my husband in the morning when we hit snooze.

Good food and conversation. I love good food and talking over dinner. There's just something that makes good (Italian) food so much better with great conversation when I'm out to dinner with my husband. And I love big dinners regardless of what we're having when my family is enjoying each other's company.


Laughter, smiles and the little things. I love the little things in life. Hearing the laughter of my husband and our children. Building all sorts of things with K.C. and Kaden. The smiles that spread across my loved ones faces. The tiny details that make the most ordinary things extraordinary.

Making and preserving memories. (This is 11, I know, but I can't leave this one out.) I love to preserve the memories we make. While there are so many memories etched into my mind forever, I like to have them in books. I want our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to see all the love and good times shared in our family. I make a family book of these memories each year as well as separate books for the boys on their birthdays each year. They asked me to tell them the story of our honeymoon a few nights ago and it was so much fun pulling out our honeymoon book and looking at the pictures and reading it together as a family.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Conviction of Busyness

Do you ever think to yourself, "I wish I had time for that!"? I do. And sadly, too often. I feel like my life moves at a million miles and hour and the only time I have to relax is when I get in bed at night. I don't like it.

I've always been a busy person and I thrive on having things to do, but sometimes I wonder what all the busyness is getting me. It doesn't make me enjoy things more because I rush through them. It doesn't give me a chance to soak it in like I really wanted to do in 2013. And it certainly doesn't help me relax.



A few weeks ago, I was really convicted (and that's not a word I use often) of busyness, of filling every minute. It wasn't making me feel like a good person and I didn't feel like I truly was able to enjoy anything because I was looking ahead at the next task. I'm very goal-oriented and hard on myself by nature, but I started to realize that something had to change. And that something? It was me.

Before we left for vacation I got sick. That yucky virus, can't do anything and have to lay around all day kind of sick. I was miserable. And when I started feeling like myself a few days later, I was relaxed. Totally relaxed. I wasn't worried about things that needed to be done or how I was going to fit things in. I just relaxed and soaked in great fun with my three guys.



I mentioned to my husband a few times as we left vacation that I wanted to try to cut out some of the busyness and just relax when we got home. I really need a few minutes each day to just chill and recharge. And I'm so thankful that I've been able to do just that.

One of the main things that kept popping in my mind was what do I have to show with all of this busyness? And I realized I had nothing. I realized that the time I was spending doing who knows what was actually time I was missing doing the things I love. Most of all, I realized that to be the best person I can be for my family and myself, I needed to slow down.



The world doesn't end if the laundry isn't folded the second the dryer buzzes. It's not going to hurt me to run two miles instead of five on a busy day. In fact, I took ten days off of running and I think it's the best thing that ever happened for both my body and my motivation.

For me, it's been a change of perspective and it's been a huge blessing.

Last week, our first week home after vacation, was busy. We had Vacation Bible School at our church every night which meant that I left my house at 7:30 AM and got home after 9 PM. Even though I was naturally tired at the end of the week (anyone who has helped with VBS can understand), I didn't feel frazzled, I didn't feel rushed and I was relaxed.



During last week, I made some changes. I made a concerted effort to start my day with prayer and a devotion, something that sadly, falls by the wayside many times. I also made it a point to have a real lunch break everyday. And by real I mean instead of running 4-6 miles, showering and eating at my desk, I made lunch and took a lunch break by myself two days during which I was able to read (something I love to do, but don't do too often) Porch Lights. Another day, I did go for a run, but on the last day, I had lunch with a friend.

Instead of spending my Friday morning trying to paint the kitchen or rush through another of my summer projects before picking up the boys from their babysitter at lunch, I picked them up after my hair appointment and we had a fun afternoon together and then I went shopping with my sister. On Saturday and Sunday, I woke up early (I always do), but instead of jumping up to go run or do something else, I stayed in bed and read some. I can't tell you when the last time I did that was.



This week has been the same. I've kept that intentional prayer and devotion time in the morning, I've had a lunch break most days (although I did run during lunch twice) and I've been relaxed. It's been great. We've had a blast playing with the boys outside after dinner every night and I've managed to stay up later and feel so refreshed in the morning.

And you know what? Everything is good. Our house is clean, the laundry's done, I've cooked every night and we haven't spent the whole night in the kitchen, I've run as many miles as I normally do, I've had so much fun with my family and I've just felt relaxed. I'm full.


I'm so thankful for that conviction of busyness and even more thankful that I am letting go and letting God guide me. The one thing that is helping me the most is that prayer time each morning. It's something that helps me stay grounded and focused and gives me calmness every day.


What do you do when you feel overwhelmed with busyness?

What do you cut out so you have more time to relax?

Why are you busy? Is it because you need to organize better, try to fit too many things in or feel more accomplished when you're calendar is full? (I'd have to answer all of the above for myself!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesdays are better with water balloon fights and some other midweek randoms

I had the best time with my husband this past weekend. We went out to dinner Friday and Saturday and saw The Internship Saturday afternoon. It was great (both our dates and the movie). 

Tuesday nights are way more fun with water balloon fights. The boys love water balloons and last night, after we went for a walk and they were already soaked from jumping in puddles, Kevin filled up water balloons for them. By the end of the night, we were all soaked!

The lasagna I made for Father's Day dinner only had 10 cups of cheese in it. Ten. And that's not counting the ricotta.

I read one whole book last week and finished another yesterday. I love to read, but I don't have as much time as I'd like to do it. I read Dorothea Benton Frank's Porch Lights last week and finished Churning Waters yesterday. They were both fantastic! I'm dying to start Frank's The Last Original Wife today.

Speaking of books, how cool is it that my SIL wrote a book? And it was one of the best books I've read (and I promise I'm not saying that because I love her). I can't wait for you all to have a chance to read it!

I'm excited to paint our kitchen. Well, maybe excited is too strong a word, but nevertheless, I'm looking forward to getting that project behind me. I painted our dining room a few weeks ago (reveal coming soon) and the kitchen is next on the list. I want to go ahead and paint it so I can cross it off of my mental to-do list. I know it'll be more challenging than the dining room though with its high ceilings over the breakfast nook and space between the cabinets and ceiling, but it's going to look so good.

I can't cook chicken. And I'm telling you this because I'm hoping you'll all come to the rescue and tell me how to cook it so it's tender and moist. I took some chicken breasts out of the freezer (this could be the problem) to thaw this morning and plan to cook some tonight along with some squash from my FIL's garden.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day a Few Days Late

I can't let this past Father's Day go by without writing a few words. I didn't open my laptop last weekend which is why I didn't have a post dedicated to my husband and father, but I simply can't write anything else until I say some words about them.




To my daddy,

Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for instilling in me a love of life as well as confidence in myself. Thank you for always listening to me, talking to me and simply being there for me. My love and respect for you knows no bounds.

Most of my childhood memories revolve around the fun times we had. I remember you pitching softballs to me nearly everyday and that one time I sent a ball flying through the kitchen window. I remember the long bike rides on hot summer nights with that scary dog chasing us. I remember riding around with you on the four-wheeler singing "The Wackiest Witch" every Halloween.

Those times we went fishing with the GA's for Father's Day, the big cook out you and Mama always hosted each fall, the buttery bread you'd always let me fix on the grill as you grilled us steaks for lunch almost every Sunday after church are etched in my memory as well. I remember sitting beside you in church and not always being still, hearing you cheer on your little slugger in rec softball and the drives to and from ice skating. I think about the times on the boat at the beach, jumping waves and boogie boarding in side by side. I remember the stories you told, the laughs we all have and the many memories we've made.

I think walking down the aisle with you by my side as I walked to the love of my life. I think about seeing you and him talking and having fun together. And I see you, with our two sweet boys who adore their Hot Rod so much and my heart just overflows.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! I love you!

Anna





To my husband,

There aren't words adequate enough to describe what an amazing father you are (husband, too). The love and devotion you have for our sweet boys shines through in everything you do. You are the kind of man I always wanted my children to have for their father and I'm so thankful they have you.

The way you play with them, read to them, pray with them and love on them is the sweetest thing. You are their hero (and mine, too). You are everything a father should be and so much more. You invest into their lives, show them how valuable they are and always tell them how much they're loved. You're giving them confidence and teaching them independence, showing them the importance of faith and family. Your actions and words show them how to be an amazing father and husband.

Your dedication to our family is appreciated more than you know. We don't ever have to question how you feel about us. You put our family first and it shows. It shows in the love, the hugs, the laughter and fun. It shows in the smiling faces, the glistening eyes and the "I love yous." It shows in the two tiny people who've been entrusted to our care.

Watching you with our boys is one of my favorite things to do (besides joining in on the fun of course). I fall more and more in love with you just seeing you with them. I'm thankful for the blessing of sharing life with you and raising a family together. You are more than I could have ever imagined.

Happy Father's Day! I love you!

Anna


And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other amazing fathers in my life: I'm blessed to have a grandfather that I adore and who has had a tremendous impact on my life and to have an amazing father in Kevin's dad. I'm truly blessed to be surrounded by this awesome men and though he isn't here with us anymore, I'm thankful for my other granddad who taught me so much.

Monday, June 17, 2013

52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: Who I Am

When I read about this series on Becky's blog last week, I knew I had to join. 

When I think about my life and who I am, I tend to think about all the parts - all the roles I hold - because together, these are the things that make me who I am. The things I do, the things I work for and the way I carry myself are all done because of these roles I am blessed to hold.


I am a wife. On October 13, 2012, my life changed forever when I married my husband. God could not have picked a more perfect man for me to spend the rest of my life with. Our story is one that only He could have orchestrated and I'm thankful every day that He brought me together with the love of my life and my best friend.

I am an Anna Belle. When Kevin and I got married, I became Anna Belle to our two precious boys. They are the lights of my life and along with Kevin, my most precious treasures. I thank God every day that he chose me to be their Anna Belle. Along with being Kevin's wife, being a mother to K.C. and Kaden is my most important and most rewarding job.

I am a daughter, sister and friend. I love my family. Family is so important to me. I was fortunate to both be born into the family I was born into with incredible parents and a younger sister whom I dearly love and marry into a family that has felt like my own from day one. Our families get along well and enjoy spending time together which is just the icing on the cake.

I am a runner. I love to run. I've always been active and have run since I was in middle school, but a few years ago, I started racing and running consistently. I am addicted. My favorite races are 5Ks because I like to run fast and be done, but I also love to run longer distances in my almost-daily runs. Besides running, I work out and do strength training because to be the best runner I can be, I know I have to be in the best shape all around.

I am a marketer. I don't talk about my profession on my blog, but I work in marketing and PR. I have an undergraduate business degree in marketing and a master of business administration. I began to work for my dream company last August and love that I get to go to a job I love every day. I

I am a Christian. While this is written at the end of my list, it's certainly not indicative of it's place. First and foremost, I am a daughter of the King. I'm not perfect and make so many mistakes each day, but I have a God who loves me and sent His only Son to die for me to save me from my sins. I've experienced God's grace and mercy in so many ways. I am so thankful for His love, care, guidance and mercy.

All these roles define who I am as a person. And as a person, I have so many things I love. I'm optimistic and Type A. I like things organized and still use a paper calendar (hello, Erin Condren!). I do a lot of social media for work, but rarely Tweet in real life. I say things like "in real life" to mean in my personal/non-work life. I love the beach more than any place else in this world.

I love to take care of my family, tickle my sweet boys and cook meals that they all love. I love to read, preferably books by Southern writers and Emily Giffin, but love biographies. I love the Bushes and was given a few autographed books for my birthday by my sweet husband and my MIL made my day when she gave me a pin he gave her when he was campaigning in 1999.

I could swing in a hammock all night while listening to the crickets and looking for lightening bugs. I'm not so good at relaxing although I'm trying to get better. I am addicted to Pinterest, but I'm not a crafter. I love to daydream about the future and live fully in the present. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my sweet family.

There are so many more things I could write about that are me, but I won't. The most important thing to know about me is that I'm a child of God who is saved by His grace. I'm a woman who knows what an amazing blessing she has in the form of an incredible husband and two precious sons, someone who loves hard and deep and will do anything for those she loves and a woman who wants to be the best she can be for her family and herself and as a light to shine other's to Jesus' love.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Our Beach Week Part 2: My husband tried to catch a shark with his bare hands!

If you missed Part 1 of our beach week, you can check it out here!

Wednesday was another rainy day, but we made the most of it. We went out in the boat and Kevin and my dad fished. They caught a couple flounder and I just enjoyed being on the water. The boys were so excited when they caught fish and had fun helping them reel them in.



After lunch, we decided to go down to the Point. It's one of our favorite things to do. On the way, we stopped at a shell island to look for some larger conchs. The Conch Finder found a huge one and I pulled it up. It must have weighed five pounds!

While we were at this shell island, we were wading in water that was about knee deep in some places. All of a sudden, Kevin yells "shark" and we see a smallish (about 3-4 feet) hammerhead shark swimming close by. I grabbed the kids and yelled to my sister and her friend to get to the rocks. Kevin decides to try to catch the shark. With his bare hands. I tell you, he's not afraid of anything when it comes to the ocean. He even went after it! He didn't catch it, but it was fun (and scary!) watching him try. He thought it would have been cool to pull it to the shore for us to see. I'm thinking him keeping his hands in tact is a little cooler!

After walking around the shell island some more, we headed across the way to the Point. The boys love running around there and it's absolutely beautiful even in the dreary weather. I didn't take my camera out, so I don't have any pictures, but you'll have to trust me on this one.

That night, we decided to go watch the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Single A baseball team in the Texas Rangers organization) play. This was the first "big" baseball game the boys have attended. I wasn't sure if they'd be into it or if they'd get restless during the game. They both loved it! Our seats were a few rows up from the first base line, so when it started raining during the game, we walked under the awning (where you couldn't see the game). The first time was ok because the boys got some cotton candy, but the second time, K.C. wasn't very happy about not being able to see the game. I did what any good Anna Belle would do and went and found us some seats in the upper deck portion that was covered. After the game, the boys ran around the bases. They loved it!




While Thursday wasn't exactly filled with sunshine, we did manage to spend a few hours on the beach that morning. Kaden and K.C. are fearless on boogie boards. They had a great time playing in the surf. Kevin and I went for a walk on the beach and got stuck in the rain, but found lots of olive shells, a conch and some other pretty shells on our walk back.



We decided to meet Kevin's cousin and her daughters at a bowling alley and arcade in one of the malls on Thursday afternoon. We had a great time bowling. The kids loved it to. Apparently, my mom has been hiding a secret talent from us because she bowled a strike or two.



We stopped at Carrabba's for dinner that night before going to Family Kingdom, an amusement park, where we luckily were able to enjoy some rides before the tropical storm came through. The boys love rides. We rode the Tilt a Twirl together and Kaden and I rode some kind of flying ride. They rode almost all of the kiddie rides, too.



Tropical Storm Andrea came through Thursday night/Friday morning, so we knew a day on the beach was out of the question. When we got up though, we had to walk across and see what it looked like. I've always wanted to see the ocean during a storm and it was really cool. We spent most of the morning under the covered portion of the dock with my dad and Kevin fishing and the boys playing around. They cooked their crabs and flounder for lunch and then we got ready to head out.

There's a semi-new attraction called Wonder Works at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. The boys asked to go to the "upside down house" all week, so we thought taking them there on a rainy Friday would be good. I think everyone else at the beach had the same idea! It was fun, but it wasn't as good as I expected it to be. The first floor had some cool things that we all did, but as we kept going up, there was less and less that we could all do. I was really disappointed. The top floor had a ropes course that I wanted to do, but the line was super long so I opted out of it. The same floor was essentially just an arcade, too. The boys had a good time though so that's all that matters.

We went back to Fudruckers for some burgers (I told you Kevin has turned my parents into Fudruckers lovers). After we ate, my dad and KT went to play Par 3 again and my mom and I took the boys to the mall. They have those big trampolines there, so I took them to jump and then they rode in some bumper cars. Once we finished that, we went to Market Common. I love Market Common mostly because it has good stores like Anthropologie and Pottery Barn and some really good restaurants. We let the boys play on the small playground for a few minutes and then ran in Anthro and PB for a few quick seconds. I think I could have bought half the store in Anthropologie, but left with a stuffed bear and monkey that the boys picked out.

On our way back to our house, we stopped for frozen yogurt. It was great!



After packing up Saturday morning, we headed home. We picked up our niece who had been down with some family all week to take back with us. On the way, we decided to stop for lunch at this great little hole in the wall place in a small town near my hometown. My mom stopped with us. The boys wanted to see their Hot Rod (what they call my dad), so we ended up stopping at my parents for most of the afternoon. I went through some old clothes I hadn't ever moved and sent Madeline, our niece, home with two big trashbags full of J.Crew, Banana and Gap clothes and took another two or three bags home with me. I had forgotten about so many clothes and I was happy that I was able to give Madeline some great pieces that are still in great condition (even some with tags) that I knew I wouldn't wear again.

We had an awesome time at the beach! And here are a few others pictures I forgot to share from my first post!




Thursday, June 13, 2013

To My Husband. 8 Months Later.



Dear husband,

I can't believe it's already been eight months since we said "I do." It's been eight months since the doors were opened and I saw you beaming as I walked (what felt like raced) down the aisle to become your wife. Eight month's have passed since we promised to love each other and honor each other all the days of our lives. Eight months filled with adventure, uncertainty, happiness, laughter and most of all, love.



I'm thankful that I get to go through this life and experience it all with you, my best friend and forever love. I love you more than words can say and I'm so thankful that I get to call you mine.



Love,

Anna

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Midweek Randoms

I know what you're thinking. Two posts in one day? Really? Yes, really. I promise I'm not trying to make up for my blogless week. I really just have some random thoughts and thought I'd share them with you since I know your day isn't complete until you've read all my random thoughts!



I could really go for a Captain D's salad right now with one of those squishy rolls. Do they even still have those? I grew up in a small town and went to school in an even smaller private school in a slightly larger town. There weren't many "after school" snack choices. We had a Sonic, Pizza Hut, Captain D's and a few other fast food restaurants. My mom used to take my friend Jennifer and me to Captain D's to get a fried chicken salad (yes, I ate chicken at a seafood "restaurant." Later, I learned that I'm allergic to anything that swims so I stay far, far away from those places.) after school some days. We loved the bread. And the ranch dressing.

My sister is at orientation at USC today. She'll be a Gamecock this fall. And she just texted me after finding out her dorm. I really have mixed feelings about her being old enough to go to college.

I could use a J.Crew intervention. The boys, particularly K.C., are really interested in our currency and the people on each bill. K.C. is trying to collect one of each bill. He was talking about this after VBS last night and Kevin casually mentioned if J.Crew cardigans were currency, we'd be really rich. Yes, it's true.

We have about five loads of unfolded laundry at our house. We washed everything for the most part at the beach and we've washed about five loads (more like eight if you want to really be accurate because I'm known to cram as much as humanly possible in the washer) since we've been home. And it hasn't been folded or put away. And I feel slack. And it's not bothering me which is really weird for me. We've had VBS every night, so getting home after 9 after leaving before 8 hasn't been very conducive to folding clothes. I promise they'll be done before we host Father's Day dinner Sunday!

There's a new frozen yogurt store across from our neighborhood. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. I mean it's definitely a good thing if you think about the fact that I could really go for a run and stop there for a yogurt break and run back home. But it's not so good if you think about the amount of frozen yogurt that can now be consumed much easier. I've promised to take the boys there this Friday because you know we have to check it out and we're all froyo connoisseurs, that is if spending almost $8 on froyo for YOURSELF qualifies you as a connoisseur. Yes, husband, I just admitted that while you were playing golf last Friday night, I spent $8 on froyo for myself and I know this to be true because I bought the boys' first and let them start eating so I could then make my vanilla/salted caramel/raspberry pomegranate confection. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.



I took 10 days off of running for the first time in years and it felt good. I'll write more about this when I finish answering your questions in a post next week, but for now, I just have to say it felt good. After 60+ straight days of running and working out, my body needed a break. And it may have been induced by a yucky stomach bug, but if that's what it took to slow down, I'll take it. I wish this week was vacation because I feel so much better.

VBS is amazing this year. I'm having a blast leading worship for the little ones. I didn't realize how much I've missed doing it until Monday night. I love the light shining from these precious little ones while we jump, shout and sing praises to our King. There's nothing more important in this world than living for Our Saviour and pointing these precious children to Him. It's caused a revival of sorts in me, too. And for that, I'm thankful.

I gave my mom the same book for two Mother's Days in a row. Yes, it's true. I gave her Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank. When we got to the beach, she had the book out and said "Anna, I saw this book on the bookshelf. I think you gave it to me last year, but I'm going to reread it." I said sorry and I'd take it because I was going to borrow it from her anyway. It's a great book if you're looking for something good to read. I'm only about seven chapters in, but I love it.

Our Beach Week Part 1: Dolphins, Golf and Loads of Fun!

We spent a wonderful week at the beach with my family last week. When we "go to the beach", we go to Garden City Beach. It's a short drive from us and where Kevin and I spent our beach days growing up. It's nice to be able to make the same memories we remember making with our parents with our kids.

My parents rented Kevin's family's beach house which was really special. It's right on the inlet which is pretty much a requirement for our family because we love being out in the inlet and my dad likes to take his boat. It also has a nice boardwalk right in front of it to get to the beach. The location couldn't be better.

When we got down Saturday afternoon, the first thing the boys did was attempt to break into an old trunk in one of the bedrooms. When we were down after Christmas, K.C. was fascinated with this "treasure chest" and since he found out BeBe (my mom) rented the beach house, he's been planning to take his "tools" to get into the chest. While the boys didn't get the chest cracked, they did have a good time trying!

After we got the cars unloaded, we went out for a ride in the inlet. We love driving over to Murrells Inlet and just cruising around. I also love picking out my favorite homes (something Kevin and I would love to own one day). Riding on the boat always makes us hungry, so enter dinner time.

It's become sort of a tradition in our family to order in pizza from California Pizza Kitchen on our first night at the beach. Ironically, I was craving garlic bread as the first real food I ate after being sick for a few days. After dinner, we headed down to the beach. The boys loved splashing around in the pools left at low tide and Kevin liked exploring. He loves finding treasure in the form of special shells and conchs on the beach and I think his knack for this is (hopefully) rubbing off on me (I did find one or two of the more than ten conchs we found all by myself!).



We woke up to a gorgeous Sunday. Without a cloud in the sky, we headed out for the beach. We spent most of the day on the beach Sunday. The boys' had a great time boogie boarding (and having us pull them around, too). They were in heaven having my sister and one of her friends play with them, too. After a walk along the shore, we headed inside to hang out for a while.



On Sunday night, we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. K.C. (and I should include myself in this) is in love with the bread and butter they serve there. He always asks to go there when we're at the beach. After a delicious dinner, my dad and Kevin played Par 3 while my mom, the boys, girls and I went to play putt putt.


Monday was a rainy day, but we still had fun and made the most of it. Kevin, the boys, my sister and her friend and I rode across to a shell island for Kevin to catch some minnows to fish with and for us to just look around. As soon as we made it across, the bottom fell out. We toughed it out Survivor style for about ten minutes and then when the lightening started, I loaded up my little sweet boys and drove the boat home. Mr. I Want To Be On Survivor stayed. Can you spot him in the picture below? We all changed clothes as we were soaked and then waited for Kevin to wade down.

After this adventure, we hung out under the covered portion of the dock. Kevin had thrown a crab trap out, so the boys were really excited to see what was caught. See how fearless Kaden is?

Since it looked like the rain was there to stay, we got ready and went to Fudrucker's for lunch. Fudrucker's has quickly become a favorite stop at the beach. Kevin loves it and I think he's passed that love down to my parents who suggested we eat there another time later in the week.

After lunch, we went up to North Myrtle Beach. We went to the Bass Pro Shop for my dad and Kevin to look around. The boys love to see the big fish they have in an aquarium. I took the boys down to Books-A-Million to pick out a few new books. If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I LOVE books and I love that my kids love books. You should probably also know that I buy way too many. They each picked out a few books which we've enjoyed reading.

Before we left, we had to stop at the J.Crew Factory Store. My love for J.Crew is also something you need to know about me. I love it. Like capital L-O-V-E it. I left with three pencil skirts, a navy eyelet skirt, a silk top and an Artist Tee. If you haven't worn an Artist Tee from J.Crew, you're missing out. I love them. I wear them all the time. They are so soft!

For dinner Monday night, we picked up Mexican from my favorite Mexican restaurant ever. You should also know that Mexican is one of my favorite foods ever. After we ate, we went out on the beach and just ran around and had a great time. My sister decided she wanted to see if she could sprint faster than me which turned into having lots of races on the beach. I wish I could share the video of K.C. and my dad racing. I also decided I wanted to see if I could sprint faster than Kevin. I knew I couldn't (he's incredibly fast!), but I was surprised I was as far behind him as I was!


On Tuesday, Kevin wanted to go out in the ocean and fish for Spanish. Kaden isn't a big fan of riding the boat into the ocean, so he decided he'd go to the beach with BeBe while Kevin, K.C., my sister and I went out in the ocean. While we didn't have much luck with the Spanish, we did see some gorgeous dolphins. They swam around us for close to twenty minutes or so and even came up within two feet of the boat. I'm thankful that I had my camera with me because I was able to get tons of photos of them. We were all in awe!



Kevin's parents came down for the day on Tuesday. We enjoyed getting to spend time with them on the beach and went out to dinner before they left to go home. I'm so thankful our families really love spending time together! After California Dreaming, we took the boys to Sam's Corner which is a well-known arcade and short order grill across from the pier. They love to play the arcade games (and I love skee ball). After playing for a while and cashing in their tickets for rubber snacks and stickers that wouldn't stick, we called it a night!


What is your favorite thing to do at the beach?

Do you like to sit and read or get up and play when you're at the beach?

Are dolphins not the coolest?

Part 2 to come tomorrow!