Tuesday, May 19, 2015

8 is GREAT!

Today marks 8 years. 
The moment before we saw each other for the first time that day. 

8 years since we said "I do" and walked down the aisle as husband and wife. 
It certainly hasn't been all rainbows and roses and butterflies, but I can honestly say that 8 years later, we are a stronger couple, more in love, and more a team than ever before. 

Life has certainly thrown us some curve balls but through it all, we've remained focused on our goal...of loving God and putting him first, serving each other, and finally, raising our girls' in a picture of God's grace & mercy.

Happy anniversary Hubby, you still are, and will always be my favorite! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

We had a family-filled Mother's Day weekend, with just enough relaxation, busyness, and quality time to make for a pretty perfect weekend. 
Friday night we just hung out at home and I snuggled some chunky baby toes while Elyse helped Hubby mow the yard.  And let's be honest, that didn't last for long so after I put Nora to bed, Elyse & I played CandyLand before bedtime. 

Saturday was the 10th Annual Running of the Squirrels 5K in my hometown.  We are known for having native white squirrels, hence the name of the run.  Also, our family business is the title sponsor for the race so we've tried to participate for the last several years.  It's become a family tradition! 

Saturday afternoon Hubby & I worked on some long, overdue house projects while the girls napped and then we headed over to our neighbors' house for a very impromptu dinner.  They have children that are both exactly a month older than ours so it works out perfect.  The two older kids play wonderfully together and I'm so glad that we have some new friends to spend time with! 
On Mother's Day Sunday we were joined by Nora in our bed around 5:30, and Elyse woke up at 5:50.  I snuggled with Elyse in her bed while Hubby snuggled with Nora.  Although I was not thrilled about being up so early, it was made quite a bit better when Elyse--completely unprompted--gave me a big hug and said "I love you.  I love you so much!"  The girls (with a LOT of help from their daddy) got me a card and a spa day which I'm super excited to use. 
We actually went to church with my parents' as I knew Mother's Day would be a tough day.  This is the first Mother's Day without my Grandma Kay, and I was hoping that surprising my mom would be a nice distraction.  I was definitely right with that assumption and I was glad we could join them. 
After church we headed to my parents' house for lunch and just a fun afternoon.  Elyse did remarkably well without a nap, and she got in plenty of playtime with Cousin Harper. 

Nora was napping during picture time! 
My "little" brother and my momma!
We headed back home to meet up with Hubby's parents at our house for an extremely casual dinner consisting of McAlister's take-out!  We'd all had huge lunches so a big dinner really wasn't necessary.  We spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and playing, and Elyse rediscovered her dress-up basket.  She had several personalities...TinkerBell, a doctor, Sheriff Callie, and Cinderella all made an appearance!

And maybe my best Mother's Day present of all...before Hubby's parents arrived, Elyse had crashed in the car.  She really wanted to go to bed, but it was WAY too early for that.  So I told her she could just sleep in my lap for a bit.  I never expected her to go along with it...but she sacked out again and we cuddled for a good 45 minutes before I decided it was in all of our best interest for her to wakeup.  We haven't cuddled like that in months and it was a nice reminder that even though she's growing up so quickly, she's still just a little girl who every once in awhile wants to cuddle with her momma! 
I'm certainly one blessed momma.  My girls are my world, and I thank God for them each and every day! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hubby's Birthday Weekend

I haven't done in a weekend rewind in ages, but I couldn't let this past weekend go by without some serious documentation.  Hubby celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday, but it seems as if we celebrated all weekend with fun family activities!  

We already had plans on his actual birthday, so we planned a little dinner/cake gathering on Friday just for family.  Elyse helped blow out the candles, and we had a great evening playing outside and watching Elyse be the crazy three year old that she is!  

Saturday morning we headed to the zoo for our first visit of the year.  My in-laws bought Elyse season passes for Easter and this is such a fabulous gift because we definitely get our money's worth.  Elyse's favorite part of the zoo is the simple petting zoo...and she gets braver and braver each visit as those goats & sheep and donkeys can be a little aggressive!

Next up was my favorite part, the giraffe feeding deck.  Our zoo has a pretty large population of giraffes and you can buy these crackers to feed them.  Elyse still isn't too sure about the size of the giraffes, and as soon as we checked this off our zoo to-do list, it was on to the next thing!

We stopped to see the elephants, but Elyse is always more interested in this little baby bronze elephant than the real thing.  She actually asked to take her picture with it this time...so precious!

We didn't leave Nora at home for this outing...but this is pretty much what she looked like for the entire time we were there.  Sweet baby girl was sleepy & just enjoying the stroller ride.

I think Hubby was wishing we had brought in the umbrella stroller for Elyse, she definitely got a little tired of walking.

Before coming home, we had to make one more stop...back to the petting zoo and then home for lunch and naps!

We took Hubby out for dinner at a new Italian place & Andy's Frozen Custard before coming home for some more outdoor time.  I went inside to feed Nora, and came back out to see this.  Hubby is quite the golfer, so it certainly warmed my heart to see Elyse interested in his hobby!

Sunday, his actual birthday, was a wild & crazy day that started out with present opening before 7:30am.  I had a meeting before church so we all loaded up early & headed out.  

The big event was an end of the year small group trip to Silver Dollar City.  We almost all have season passes and a lot of our kiddos are similar in age so nearly 30 of us met up after church & lunch to spend the afternoon.   We left Nora at home with my in-laws so we could make it a special day about Elyse and that was seriously one of the best decisions ever.   It was beautiful and a fabulous trip.  Elyse was a trooper and survived almost 6 hours in the park with only one minor meltdown.  She didn't even fall asleep on the way home!  
Elyse & her sweet friend Jaylee
The new Fireman's Landing area was fabulous. Elyse thought it was all about the 101 Dalmatians movie and so she loved the puppy ride!  
Such a big girl riding the swings all by herself!  

Brooks is the only boy of this age, so he had quite the following of little girls!  The frogs were another favorite ride...

as were the butterflies...

...and the big swings with Daddy!  

And of course, who could forget Dumbo the Amazing Flying Elephant!  
We did manage to snag a group picture before we all went our separate ways and the big kids headed off to the bigger rides.  We love our church, and this picture is an illustration of why.  We have such an incredible support group, who lift us up and pray for us, and encourage us, and we just do life together.  God has blessed us with some amazing life-long friendships, and I thank God for them each day.   

Our visit was an end of the year party, but it was also a goodbye party to one family who will be moving to Colorado on Wednesday.  We will certainly miss them, but we know God has big plans for them as they start working for Focus on the Family.  

And then it was back to the rides...Elyse convinced 2 other daddies to ride the teacups!

And we managed a quick family selfie with the birthday boy!  

Elyse also got brave and gave Lucky the Firedog a high-five...

but surprised us all when she actually stood there and took a picture by herself!
 Towards the end of the day, one of the other dads decided to take his son on a "special ride" called American Plunge.  Hubby asked Elyse if she wanted to go, and she said yes...so off they went.  However, neither daddy told the kiddos what was waiting for them at the end of the ride...  

And this is what their faces looked like as they came down the American Plunge!  Elyse's first comment after the ride..."Daddy, I need a new shirt!"  Little Miss doesn't like being wet, but thankfully we were prepared with a full change of clothes in our bag.  
It was a pretty fabulous weekend, and it was a great reminder of how blessed I am with such an incredible family.  Elyse is already begging to go back to Silver Dollar City, and I know there will be many more visits in our future...but maybe not another ride on American Plunge for awhile!