Friday, January 29, 2016

Five on Friday | 01.29.16

This has been a great week! I had to be in Orlando for work, so we decided to make a family trip out of it and take the boys to Disney World for the first time. I'll have a full recap up next week after I dive through the thousands of photos we have, but for now, here are five snapshots from our week.

1| We were able to see family on Monday! My cousin lives in Tampa, so on Monday, she and her son drive over to see us. The boys all had fun riding rides together. 


2| Fireworks! Fireworks are always fun, but watching them with music makes them even more magical. While I love the display at Magic Kingdom, the Starwars show at Hollywood Studios was incredible! 

3| Watching the boys train to be Jdfi Knights. On our way back to our resort one night, a woman sitting by me on the bus mentioned the Jedi Training Experience at Hollywood Studios. The next morning, we jetted over to the park and stood in line for nearly an hour, but the boys made it into the show... At 5:10 that day. They were so excited, and it really was a cute experience! 


4| Motivation and rejuvenation for my professional and personal life. As I mentioned previously, the main reason we had to go to Florida was for a conference for work. I work in the higher ed industry in marketing and PR and this conference has been wonderful. It's been full of great insights to my industry as well as a time of rejuvenation for my enthusiasm for what I do (which I love). 


5| Spending a whole week with my family without (many) interruptions. Hands down, the best part of this past week has been spending so much uninterrupted time with my family. Sure, we took the kids out of school for the week and have been doing schoolwork each day so they're in good shape Monday, and yes, I have had to work, but prior to my conference, we've had so much time to spend together without the stressors and responsibilities of normal life. No cooking, no cleaning, no early bedtime, no soccer, no strict schedule, no laundry.... You get the point. My family is just the best and I'm so thankful we've had a week of fun together! 




Friday, January 15, 2016

Five on Friday | 01.15.16

This week has flown by! Being at home for the past three weeks and going back to work this week has definitely changed the pace! Here are a few things from our week.

1 | The main event this week was watching Clemson play for the National Championship Monday night. I had three excited boys at my house. We let the kids stay up a little later than normal and they were excited. They weren't too thrilled the next morning when they found out we lost.



2 | I'm getting so excited for Disney! I don't know who's more excited - the boys or me! Our MagicBands are here, Fast Passes are selected, and reservations for dinner are made! 



3 | We had to get a new refrigerator. Our freezer was being funny, so we bit the bullet and bought a new fridge. We ended up with a Samsung and really like it!


4 | It's the middle of the month and I've already read two books! 




5 | It feels like winter finally. After a mild fall and start to winter, we're having to wear our heavy coats! I'm been enjoying pulling out sweaters and vests!

I'm linking up with:




Thursday, January 14, 2016

Christmas 2015

I can't believe it's been three weeks since Christmas! The holidays seem like a blur to me this year. We were sick during the break, but still managed to have a really nice Christmas and were able to relax with our family.

I love it when the boys' are filled with the excitement of Christmas Eve! We have fun making cookies for Santa and putting out reindeer food.



K.C. woke up before 6am ready to see what he received. We (and by we I mean Kevin) had to coax him back to sleep (or bed) for a while longer. When he couldn't stand it any longer, we woke up Kaden and the boys' ran downstairs to see what Santa left.




Their big gift from Santa this year was an XBox One. We were a little apprehensive about purchasing another gaming system because let's face it, if you have little boys, they want to play more than they should. For the most part, the kids' are good about it, but sometimes, especially on the weekend as we don't usually let them play during the week, they'll want to play more (I know I was the same way about things when I was little, so I can't blame them!). That said, the XBox is going great. They love playing Minecraft (which I still don't understand) and FIFA with Kevin.



They also asked for legos, other Minecraft toys, and surprises. I think they were happy boys!

We decided to give them a Disney trip as their main gift from us! We go in a few weeks and I just can't wait! Their reaction, though, wasn't exactly commercial worthy!

After we're up and have opened our gifts, our parents and my sister always come over for breakfast. We decided to wait until they were there to give them the Disney vacation. They all had their phones out ready to video and as the boys opened the big box with a big balloon and other Disney items, the boys just looked a little stunned and didn't quite get it. It was only after pointing out Mickey and where he lives that they understood. Mom Fail! The reaction to the MagicBands coming in the mail was quite different and I wish I had recorded that!

On Christmas Eve, we celebrate with Kevin's family. His parents always do an awesome fondue dinner that we look forward to all year long. While I'm thinking about it, I think we should ask to start a new fondue tradition in the summer! After dinner, we all go upstairs to read the Christmas Story and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas as we wait for Santa to come fill our stockings. The looks on all the children's faces when they hear Santa come in are priceless!



We spent Christmas Day at my family's where we exchange gifts with them and then go to my grandma's for dinner with extended family. My mom makes ham delights for breakfasts and we just lounge around. It's nice!



I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#ALLIN

I haven't ever followed football much. Don't get me wrong, I like most anything that's competitive, but I'm normally the person who cheers for the team that's winning near the end of the game. This year has been different though when it comes to football. Like many of the last years, I've been a Tiger fan, but this year, I've really been #AllIn for Clemson. 


Clemson has had an awesome year and I've enjoyed watching each and every game. I didn't go to Clemson, but I have many family ties to the school: my sister is a student there, many close family members are graduates, my great uncle was a standout football player there in the early '60s, and my FIL, my husband's granddads (including one who was a soccer player), and many others from his side of the family are graduates. The ties run deep.



It's said that there's something in the hills up at Clemson and that's true. There really is something in the hills. There's a feeling of comfort, of home, and of promise. There's a feeling of possibility, of rejuvenation, and of hope. And during this season, I think the nation got to see what a special place Clemson is.

I've become (surprisingly) an avid reader of the stories on TigerNet.com. Sometimes, I even know things before my husband (shocking!). There's just something about this team that makes you proud.



The leadership of Dabo Swinney, his faith and character, and the optimism and hope he shares is refreshing. The sportsmanship of the players sometimes astonishes me, especially in games like the one last night. These young men have a bond and it shows.

Whether the Tigers won or lost last night doesn't matter. Sure, it would've been awesome to be National Champions today, but this team from the head coach to the ball boys, should be applauded. They had a tremendous season and put forth their best effort last night. The game didn't go as well as they wanted, but they should be proud. 




I feel totally out of character saying this, but this season will hold a special place in my heart. We made it up to Death Valley for two games and had an awesome time at both. We took the boys to the Appalachian State game with my family and then Kevin and I went up for the historic win against Notre Dame (and sat in the student section with my sister and her friends as we braved the torrential games). That was a momentous night. Our boys took pictures with many of the players and filled their autograph books full. We touched The Rock, watched the kids run down the hill, and ran on the field after the games. We watched the Orange Bowl victory with our family and last night, little Kaden put his hand over his heart to the singing of the National Anthem while in our den (he may have also been slightly nervous like his daddy). 

 


Memories of this season will stay with me forever because I experienced them with the people I love most, but more than that, the hope that this team and its leader expressed week after week has reverberated into my life. When I think about this hope, I think about my Savior and the Hope only He can give. Day-after-day (and minute-after-minute), He fills me with Hope. Life may not always be perfect or go according to my plan. Things may not always work out as I want, but above all, my Savior is holding me, strengthening me, preparing me, and filling me with His Hope that doesn't falter, doesn't break, and doesn't run out.

Remember this hope each day, no matter what. Remember it when you're taking your kids to school and your morning was too rushed or harsh words were said. Remember this hope when you feel all alone and are in despair. Remember this hope when you feel on top of the world and remember this hope through ever valley and on every hilltop. And if you need a little pick me, talk to your Savior and He'll give you what you need.

Thank you, Clemson, for an incredible season. Thank you for the enjoyment you've given all your fans. Thank you most of all for the hope you've shown all season long and the optimism and good sportsmanship you've shared. #ALLIN

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 2016 Goals

It feels good to be getting back to blogging! I've missed it!

This month, I have a few goals I'd like to accomplish.

1. Read one book. I started reading "What I  Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakmi today. So far, I'm enjoying it. It's not exactly a light read, but it's thought-provoking.

2. Clean out the cabinets in our laundry room. I don't know about you, but my laundry room cabinets are full of all those things I think I'll need one day, things I rarely (or never in the case of my Italian pasta maker) use, and more arts and crafts supplies than one household needs. I want to get our home organized this year and I think I'll do it room by room.

3. Organize our closet. Our closet is another area that needs some organization. Kevin started cleaning out some clothes from his side. I need to do the same, but somehow, everything else seems more fun!

4. Cross train. I run. A lot. I used to do really well about going to the gym to do weights and cross train, but with the busyness of life, that's gone by the wayside. This month, I want to get back to it.

5. Read my Bible and pray daily.

6. Start saving for Christmas. I read something a few days ago about how you should start buying gift cards each month to use for Christmas. I think that sounds like a good idea!

7. Try a new recipe each week. One of my Christmas gifts was Ree Drummond's new cookbook and I've already put it to use!


What are your goals for January?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Show & Tell Tuesdays | An Introduction

I sure have missed blogging! What better way is there to get back in the swing of things than to link up with Momfessionals for Show & Tell Tuesdays!



Today's topics are to introduce ourselves and to share our resolutions for 2016, so without further adieu...

I'm Anna.



I live in coastal South Carolina with my sweet husband, Kevin, and our two boys, K.C. and Kaden.



Kevin and I met five years ago and we've been married for almost 3.5. Marrying him and becoming a mama to our two precious boys is the best decision I've made.



By day, I work in marketing and pr and love my career, but my greatest roles are those of wife and mom.





I love my family and friends.




The beach is my favorite place in the world and I'm so thankful we can get there in an hour.






I'm an avid runner too. There's just something about pounding the pavement that makes me feel good and strong. You can find me racing local 5Ks and 10Ks many Saturdays.




I also love to read, shop, indulge in a few shows, and attempt to cook.

The number one guiding force in my life is my faith in Jesus Christ. Without Him, I would be nothing, and I thank Him daily for His grace. The latter part of 2015 provided many tests for us (more on that later) and clinging to Him is what has made the difference.

My verse for the year:



I'm also a pretty goal-oriented person, so with that, here are my goals for 2016:

Simplify. I tend to dive into many projects and commitments and this year (and last year and the year before... you get the point), I've wanted to simplify. This is going to be the year of simplification.

Finish reading through the Bible. I have about 30 days left on my Bible reading plan until I will have read through the whole Bible. I love seeing the things the Lord is teaching me and how many days, what I read is exactly what I need to hear and applicable to whatever is going on in our lives.

Spend more time in prayer. Prayer is so vital and this year, I want to spend more time talking and listening to my Savior.

Try a few new recipes a month. I don't know about you, but I often feel like I get in a rut cooking the same thing over and over again. This year, I pledge to dig into my cookbooks, follow recipes, and find some new meals for my family.

Save more and tithe. These are two goals I have every year that I just continue to do.

Read more. I love to read, but I don't always take the time to. This year, I want to try to read a book each month. That may not seem like a lot, but for someone who reads a ton for work each day, reading one a month for pleasure will be fun. My goal of simplifying will help with this.

Invest more into my family, friends, community, and health.