Monday, October 27, 2014

A fun fall beach weekend

We spent this past weekend in Holden Beach, NC, with Kevin's parents and our niece. We had a great time and the boys were in heaven having Michaela all to themselves this weekend! I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

We drove up after work Friday night. Kaden slept most of the way and K.C. filled our ears with many stories. The boys are at such a fun age now. I love having conversations with them!

We woke up Saturday and spent the morning on the boat. The boys each caught a fish.

The Festival By the Sea was going on, so we went there for lunch. The kids had a great time playing on all the inflatables.

When we got back to the beach house, my MIL watched all the kids and my FIL, Kevin, and I went back on the boat to fish. We didn't have any luck, but we had a great time. When we got back, the kids all got to go on a boat ride and then we got ready to go out to dinner.

Sunday was similar. After breakfast (my FIL's good breakfasts spoil me when we're traveling together!), Kevin and I rode out to fish. When we got back, we went to lunch, then packed up and drove home.

It was a quick trip, but a fun one!

Kaden is happiest with snacks!


Even though we worked and the kids had school Friday, it felt like the weekend started on Thursday. It was  my dad's birthday. We went out to dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant and then everyone came back to our house for cake and ice cream.

K.C.'s card for Hot Rod had a picture he drew of him driving his mule on the farm.

 Kaden serenaded us on the accordion BeBe gave him.

 My grandma makes the best cakes! Caramel decorated in chocolate icing, all homemade of course.

My sweet parents!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Confessions [October 24, 2014]

1. I'm kind of a snob when it comes to nail polish. I usually only use OPI, but last weekend, I saw the 3 for $9 deal at ULTA using their polish and went for it. I really like it! It goes on really smooth and has lasted all week -- through dishwashing, too.

2. I'm really good at starting projects, but not as great at finishing them. I learned earlier this week that my dad has the same problem. He's building a new clubhouse/barn himself (for the most part) and just hasn't gotten around to finishing it -- since last year. Same goes for our home office, boys' bathroom, and a few other places.

3. I can't tell you the last time I watched a movie. It's been a long time. There hasn't been anything out that's interested us and we haven't watched one at home in a long time. This calls for less busyness and more movie time, especially now that's it's almost officially time to begin watching Christmas movies!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saying "No" to the Good Things

Y'all, I can't even tell you how much the book "The Best Yes" is helping me. I think I could spend a whole week talking about it. I just might do that, too.

You see, I've always had a hard time saying no. I haven't really had a hard time saying no to things we typically think of as bad and those things that are in front of us in our teenage years, but I've had a hard time saying no to good things because I think I'm superwoman and can do everything. But I can't. Well, maybe I can, but if I tried, everything would fall apart because there's just no way one tiny person can be everything to everyone all the time. Inevitably, something/someone gets left behind.

From a young age, I've been really involved in many things. I get this from my mom who also can't say no to good things as well as my grandparents who have always been "yes" people (though they've always done their "yes" things with way more grace than I could ever dream). I've always been the first to volunteer to do whatever needs doing, I've always been the one that does more than is required, and I've always been the last person to say no.

But then, life happened. I was blessed with real responsibilities outside of my career in the form of my husband and two sons. No longer did I have the time every night to go to the gym, dinner and movies with friends, and time to volunteer that affected no one but me. I got a family and that has been the biggest blessing in my life (yes, I've had a family forever, but you know what I mean - I have my people that I look out for now).

With those new and awesome responsibilities came the need to say no. It wasn't a want, I can assure you, because I want to take on so much because I love being involved and helping others, but with two young kids, I had to start figuring out how to use that two-letter word.

I think the first thing I said no to was being the director of VBS at my home church. That was a really hard no to say. When I was asked to take on that job (which I adored) for the sixth or seventh year in a row, I reluctantly said no. At that point, Kevin and I weren't married, but we knew we would be soon and I had started going to church with him, so I felt like I wouldn't be able to give it my all and I don't like committing to something that I can't do to the best of my ability.

Shortly after that, I decided to resign from the Junior League. I had been in the League for three or four years and during that time, was over several committees including our largest fundraiser, Merry Marketplace. That took up a lot of time! While I loved going to the Boys and Girls Club to volunteer on Friday afternoons, my job became more demanding which meant I wasn't able to go as often as I liked. Our meetings were always on Thursdays which is the night we don't have the boys, so I felt like it was important to spend that time with my husband. My career allows me to be pretty involved in the community, so I didn't feel too bad bowing out.

I've also said no to some other good things recently. I've been asked to ring handbells at church (I would adore doing it), but with our stage in life and situation with the kids, it would pull me away at a time I don't want to miss. I was also asked to be the GA director which would be a lot of fun and fits in with a strong passion of mine - shaping young girls - but again, it would require more time than I have available right now in this stage of my life.

None of the things above are bad things, they're all great things, but they're all things I couldn't say yes to.

At this stage in my life, I'm having to learn how to say no to good things more than yes to those things. And it's hard, but it's necessary.

The thing I've struggled with most recently is saying no to choir for a brief season. I love singing in the choir at our church. Choir practice is one of my favorite times of the week. It's a time where I feel refreshed, energized, and hear God speak, but lately, I've had to miss. I guess had is too strong of a word, but I've felt like I need to miss.

You see, my big boy needs me. Second grade has been a little challenging for us. He's as smart as a whip, but we've recently learned he is primarily an auditory learner (which is why he can tell us practically everything about nearly anything he hears), but in big second grade, everything is read independently. Thankfully, we have been blessed with an amazing teacher who is right on top of things. And right now, he needs me. That choir practice slot is also homework time and until we're confidently where we need to be, I'm saying yes to the child God has entrusted us with instead of yes to that time of refreshment for me. I don't resent it one bit because I know what a blessing it is to be in the position that I'm in and we can see all of his hard work paying off.

Choosing to say no to good things, particularly things we would enjoy, is hard, but sometimes, saying no to those things frees us up to say yes to the things God has called us to do. It's easy to be a yes woman especially when so many good opportunities present themselves to us, but it's important to differentiate between those things we say yes to because we know God is telling us to and the things we say yes to because we know we can do it and it sounds fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Midweek Randoms

I only have time for a quick post today, so what's better than a list of random things on a Wednesday?

- I feel like I've been in a blogging rut lately. I have about 25 partly finished posts sitting in my draft folder.

- It's starting to finally feel like fall here somewhat consistently. I love this time of year!

- I'm looking forward to a fun little weekend getaway with my boys!

- I can't believe Christmas is two months away. Every year, I say I'm going to start shopping early and I don't. Kevin and I have a few things we know we want to get the boys, so we'll start with those.

- Allergies are no fun. I'm very rarely sick, but allergies are killing me this week. I feel bad for my poor husband who battled these for years until finally starting shots which have seemed to help him tremendously.

- I love the way these pumpkin topiaries look, but I'm not sure if I'm up for another DIY project yet. Has anyone made them successfully?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our weekend: the end of soccer and house projects

This weekend was really fun!

We started out with a fun parents vs. kids soccer game in both of the boys' last practices. I didn't make it to play in K.C.'s game due to an event at work, but he had a blast. I was able to play in Kaden's and let's just say there's a reason I won. Between my husband and I, we knocked over about four kids and smashed another parent in the face with the ball (that was my husband). We may be a little too competitive. Really, it sounds dramatic when I type it out, but it wasn't. We all had a great time!

After the fun, we went to dinner at our favorite place and called it a night.

I had to be up and at work early Saturday morning for an event. The boys had their last games of this season and I hear they played really well. I made it to the last 30 seconds of K.C.'s game. I am so proud of them!

After soccer, Kevin rode with me to work to move a few things and then we ran to the mall to pick up a birthday gift for my dad and some new clothes for the boys. They are growing like weeds!

We watched the Clemson game that afternoon. It was a little intense!

After the game, I worked on my mirror framing project. When I was finishing the edges of some of the molding, too much paint came out and let's just say I needed to get it off. I sat in the garage and worked on that and when I was done, my sweet husband finished painting them. After church yesterday, we got them hung.

I can't wait to share the full project with you later this week (once the tape is gone!).

We also finished decorating for Halloween. I thought we were done, but the boys wanted the old light-up pumpkins on the porch. And like any good mother, I put them out despite their yellowing. (Read: Does any body know where I can find some good light up pumpkins for next year? Ours are pretty big.)

Kevin also put up a new picture of our family. I originally printed the photo and got the frame to go in the boys' bathroom upstairs, but it looked really good when he got it together, so we decided to put it in the entryway. I'll share pictures soon.

My parents came over last night. It was good to visit with them. Kaden had to show off his new skill of swinging really high by himself. 

I'm looking forward to a great and productive week and a fun little trip this weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Happens When I Don't Run

I took six days off. Six. This is coming from someone who at the most, takes two days off a running each week. The first off day was planned, the second off day was ok because I was really busy and there was humanly no way to run that day. The next day was off because we were busy and the next three days were off because I had to take them off for a test I had to have.

I ran four miles this morning before work and it felt great!

Knowing I was going to have to miss a few days of running (not six), made me pay attention to how I feel when I don't run. These are the main things I noticed:

  • I have way less energy. I'm a pretty energetic person, but after about three days of no running, my energy was zapped. I can typically get up at 6 am and go full steam all day without a problem, but I found myself reaching for the coffee more than once these past few days.
  • I don't want to snack. Yes, I know that should be a good thing, but I like snacks (mostly healthy) and during a period in which I'd typically run 20-25 miles and a race, I did nothing. And I didn't want snacks.
  • I don't feel as productive. I think this goes hand-in-hand with the less energy thing. When I'm exercising daily (or near daily), I'm so much more productive. I don't feel like I've been very productive the last few days.
  • I feel "foggy." Foggy is the best word I can think of to describe what I'm trying to say. When I don't run for several days, I don't feel as sharp and on top of things as I do typically.
  • I reach for more unhealthy things. I eat pretty healthy for the most part, but over these six days of not running, my body wasn't craving fruits and vegetables like it normally does. I wanted cookies, chips, and fries. Not good.
I say all that to say these few things: If you don't run/walk/jog or engage in some kind of daily (at least 5x a week) exercise, start doing it! When I exercise, I'm energetic, productive, and sharp, and my body craves healthy things. Exercise is not something you do to look good (that's a bonus, but it's not the reason); it's something you do because you want to be your best self. I'm not my best self when I'm groggy and wanting to eat a million of those little butterscotch cookies my husband introduced me to. I'm my best self when I'm sweating, releasing endorphins, and making sure I carve out the time that's needed to run and exercise. Just try it for a few days and see how great you feel!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Two Whole Years

I can't believe that today marks two years since I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend! Each day is a blessing and I'm so thankful to spend my life with Kevin!

I'll save the sappy things for the card, but Happy Anniversary, Kevin! The past two years have been the best of my life. I'm so thankful that I get to be your wife each day and share my life with you. You are more than I ever hoped or dreamed for in a husband and I'm so glad to call you mine. I can't wait to see what this next year has in store.

I love you with all of me!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reminiscing about the '90s

It's so crazy to think about how things change so fast. When I think about the world my kids are growing up in and the one my husband and I grew up in, it's so different. And scary. And when I think about the things I had and thought were cool, it makes me laugh.

I had a great childhood. I have so many fond memories of growing up. My parents were so involved with me and everything I did. I played outside almost all the time, I baked with my mom, I hit softballs with my dad, and I spent a lot of time playing with my friends and cousins, and visiting with my grandparents. I watched cartoons, liked Disney movies, and loved to read Nancy Drew books.

And, I thought all of these things were really cool.

When I was little and got a Game Boy, I thought I was so cool. I had two games, I think. I took this from my parents not too long ago thinking the boys would like it. It's not quite as cool as the iPad and every other electronic device we have.

After school, I loved to watch Saved by the Bell and Family Matters. I wanted to marry Zach Morris!


I loved to play with my Puppy, Kitty, Bunny, and Pony Surprises (mildly creepy toy concept now that I think about it). I was always so excited to see how many babies they each had when I got one. I can't believe they make these things again. My youngest niece may be getting one for Christmas!

I also loved my Polly Pockets. I used to take mine with me to church. When I was in mid-late elementary school, I would sit at the back under the balcony with my friends. My parents were involved in different parts of the service (my mom is the music director), so I didn't always have an adult back there with me. I remember many times that my friends and I would sit on the floor in this back spot and play quietly with our Puppy Surprises and Polly Pockets during church. I wouldn't dream of letting my kids do that today and I don't know how I got away with it back then.

I also had a pretty awesome Barbie house that I loved to play with.

And my all-time favorite thing to do was to roller skate. I found this picture on Pinterest of the exact skates I had. I spent hours in the driveway roller skating to the soundtracks of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and other Disney classics (and Celine Dion). It was so much fun.

I still have roller blades today, but I have a feeling my husband and boys would laugh if I started off around the neighborhood with them. 

What are some of your favorite things from your childhood?

Monday, October 6, 2014

I like pie and some other randomness from our weekend.

This weekend was a nice one and a productive one. We started out with soccer practice and pictures Friday night. 

They both took pictures Friday night. I happened to grab a quick one with this little cutie. I'm helping (I'll use that term very loosely) Kevin with Kaden's team, so I wasn't able to get a picture with K.C. The boys weren't home this weekend, so it was great getting to give them big squeezes at practice and their games. It certainly helps to see them just a few minutes.

After practice, we went to dinner at our usual Friday night place. Kevin's friend Brian ate with us and then stopped by our house to visit and watch some football. 

The boys both had games Saturday morning and played really well. I haven't downloaded the pictures from my camera yet, but as you can see, somebody is getting his picture taking skills from his Annabelle! K.C. is the same way, but at this time, he was on the field.

I'm so proud of how hard the boys are playing this season. They seem to really be enjoying it and their (especially K.C.'s) competitive drive is coming out.

After practice, Kevin and I ran a few errands. We stopped by TJ Maxx to return a console table I bought. I have this spot in our foyer where I really wanted to put a console table with two tall lamps because I love that look. I found a table that was the right size, but when I got it home, it just didn't look good, so we took it back. We also stopped at Chickfila for some lunch and I ate my first fries in over a month. They weren't that good.

After lunch, we ran over to my inlaws for Kevin's dad to cut the molding for my mirror framing project. I can't wait to finish it up this weekend.

We got home with about an hour of free time before the Clemson game. I used it to run 5 miles (33:29 - I'm working on my speed!) and get ready for the game.

We went back to Kevin's parents to watch the game. His dad always does great food, too. Nana made some apple pies for the first game and we left one in the freezer to heat up for another game. I may have enjoyed it. (No, I didn't eat the whole pie, but no one else wanted anymore, so I just picked out the apples and some of the crust.)

We spent Sunday at my parents. It was homecoming at their church, so we went to that and then hung around and visited.

When the boys got home, we played outside. We had so much fun playing soccer and baseball. We also mixed up some monkey bread to cook this morning for breakfast. It was so good!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Confessions

A little confession is always good for the soul, right?

1. I confess that I fall asleep way too easily. I'm going to blame this on the fact that I'm moving and active from the minute I get up until the minute I sit down at night, but still, it's bad. Last night, my sister and her friend were at our house and I sat down on the couch with Kevin and a few minutes later, I was sleeping. I felt so rude! I just get all cozy and snuggly and that's it for me.

2. I confess that I'm doing my first real DIY project. Sure, I've painted and done other things like that, but I've never tackled a real DIY project. I'm attempting to frame the mirrors in our bathroom and the boys' bathroom. I'll let you know how it goes Monday.

3. I confess that I've enjoyed Dunkin Donuts (and donuts in general) too much lately. There's a Dunkin Donuts not far from work and while I don't normally eat donuts, I've made my way there a few times the last few weeks. And some people from my office have brought in donuts. Not good. It's not the donuts, they're good, but I really don't like it after I've eaten them.

4. I confess that I went to the gym this week for the first time in a month. Yes, the girl who used to go 3x a week skipped almost a month at the gym. Now, I didn't skip exercise, I've still been running, but I've skipped weights. I have been doing ab work on my incline bench, pull ups, and push ups at home, but that's not a substitute for the gym.

5. I confess that I have a huge stack of magazines that I need to eliminate. I love magazines. I get Runner's World, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Gardens to name a few, but I don't always sit down and read them when I get them which means they find their way to a big stack in my bedroom. I've started going through them and I want to finish that this weekend.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

When God Shows Us Who We Really Are

Have you ever had one of those moments when you know God is telling you something? When you know that He's showing you something?

I had one of those earlier this week.

One of the first things I do when I get to work in the morning, is read a short devotional from the Journey magazine I get from church (it's published by Lifeway and is a great resource). On this particular day, the devotion was centered on wisdom and the author talked about how as moms, the decisions we make that are as small as what we feed our kids for breakfast really reverberate through our entire family.

As I read it, my mind began to go somewhere else. Instead of thinking about those decisions I make as a wife and mom, I started thinking about myself as a child and that's all thanks to my seven year old.

You see, last week he missed school on Friday because he was sick. Friday is typically test day and he had three tests. He was going to take his tests on Monday, so after church on Sunday, I gave him the choice to go over spelling in the car while we drove home from lunch so we'd only have a few things to do that afternoon at home or he could do it all at home. He chose to do it all at home.

When we got home, we played and had some fun family time, but then our youngest asked for a nap (very rare!). This was, to me, the perfect time to get our studying done, but it was a different story for him.  He wanted to play. He didn't want to spell twenty words, he didn't want to go over the classification of animals, and most of all, he didn't want to read his story for his reading test because he said it had too many words (it was a long story). He just didn't want to do it. In his mind, it wasn't the right time and it wasn't what he wanted to do. He just wanted to play with his toys and have fun.

What should have taken about 30 minutes turned into a process that took well over an hour all because the mindset was not what it typically is when it's time to study. All because it was Sunday afternoon and Sunday afternoons are meant for fun and laughter.

When I read my devotion the next morning, I thought back to the afternoon before and I thought about my own life. My son made the decision to do all of his work at once, while I would have preferred for him to have practiced his words in the car so we would have had only a few minutes of work at home. I gave him the choice and he made what he thought was the better decision.

Oh, how this relates to my life.

How many times have I felt the Lord nudging me in one direction and I've chosen to turn the other way because it was easier, more convenient, or lined up with what I wanted to do? How many times has my Father been patient with me while I've done the opposite of what He's called me to do? How many times has the Lord been waiting there for me with open arms ready to embrace me, His child, when I finally decide that maybe my way isn't so great after all? How many times?

As a parent, I want to lead and guide my children to make the best decisions that they can. I want to equip them with the knowledge they need to know right from wrong and I want to show them, with my own life, how to live.

Isn't that what our Jesus does? He's shown us that life works best when He's the center. He's given us His Word to write on our hearts. He's lived as a man and has faced temptation, but He didn't give in. He is a model for us.

Just like I want to catch my children when they fall, just like I want to nudge them to make the decision that wisdom has shown me as best, and just like I want to hold them and love them every minute of every day, my Jesus feels that way about me. He wants to pick me up, wants to guide me, and wants me to feel His love and grace, but just as our children will fall, just as they'll make mistakes, and just as they'll want to play, I'll do the same.

Lord, open our eyes that we see you, open our hearts to your guidance, and let our actions reflect that great Love that you have lavished us with abundantly. We are your children.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello, October!

I LOVE October! It's always been one of my favorite months. I like it even more because it's the month Kevin and I got married. I can't believe it's been almost two years!

There are so many things I'm looking forward to this month:

Our second anniversary
Pumpkin Patches
Pumpkin Everything!
The Boys' Soccer
My Favorite Races
My Dad's Birthday
Pumpkin Carving

October is just a beautiful month to me!

In September, I set out to do quite a few things. I won't bore you with a recap of those things because, well, I didn't get them all done. This past month has brought an adjustment to us with two kids in real school and lots more work, but I feel like we're back to normal and I'm ready to tackle October head-first.

And since I love goals so much, I'm going to share a few with you I have for this month.

1. Finish the office/playroom/workout room. It's totally reorganized and all that's left is to hang some art on the walls.

2. Organize the playroom. Kevin and I have been hard at work on this one this week. We have totes full of things to donate and trash bags full of things that are broken.

3. Finally get our mirrors framed. I'm ready to go on this project. I hope to get the molding painted tomorrow and Friday and get the mirrors framed on Saturday. It's going to look good!

4. Make progress on photo books. There's no way I'll finish in October, but I'd like to have more done than I have done now. 

5. Start Christmas shopping. Every year, I say I'm going to shop around the year and that doesn't ever happen. I want to start this month so we have time to just relax and enjoy the holidays.

6. Make a list of everything we want to do this fall. The boys like to make lists (guess who they get that from) and Kaden asked me last week if we could make a list of all the things we want to do this fall.

7. Get my speed back. My speed has disappeared this summer. I mean, it's still there, somewhere, but this heat and not running or working out as much has not helped. I'm still (for the most part) running substantially faster than I was this time last year, but I haven't broken 20 minutes in a race in a few months. I want to get that back in October.