Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bring it 2015

So writing on the blog isn't a common event anymore, but I won't miss my New Year's post.  

You can find past ones here (2011, 2012, 2013)

Going back and reading through the previous year's excitements leads me to believe one thing...I am an eternal optimist.  The new year never disappoints, our lives never disappoint and I always believe in the new and exciting.  Even better?  I'm never disappointed with the outcome either.  Whatever path we went down, was the one we were supposed to take no matter if it diverged from the original intention.

John coined this year "The Year of Bitter Disappointment" (coined right after the AU National title loss).  As an optimist, well, it just pissed me off.  Sure, some things didn't go our way and sometimes we felt like we took 5 steps back for every one we took forward but look where we are now.  We live at the BEACH.  Say that again.  WE LIVE AT THE BEACH.  WOW.

We started this year in a great place (despite the AU loss).  We started completely debt free, we sold our house, we started a new journey.  A journey to a place although we knew pretty well, we didn't know how we would fit in this little beach town.  To say we still pinch ourselves is an understatement.  We have met AMAZING people.  People that took us in immediately and said, "Hey. You're cool.  Let's be friends."  We have a full social calendar, we are outside a lot..we kayak, we paddleboard, we hike, we play on the beach, we swim, we bike, we walk...we LIVE and LAUGH a lot.

So what's on tap for this year?  We are building a home.  Not a house, but a home.  We have been waiting 10 years to be in a place we can call our own.  Our stamp on a place.  That is VERY exciting.

Anna will start Kindergarten (uhhh..HUH?  Impossible), Graham will start Pre-k (even more WHA??).  We will grow our businesses and we will love on our puppies for every extra day we get with them (Cooper is now 11 and Abbie 10).

Most of all we feel like we are where we are supposed to be.  THIS is our place.  We feel it in our bones.  We know something will happen that we didn't want.  We know something will happen that will surprise us.  But ultimately we know we can handle whatever we get.  So 2015, bring it on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Conversation with Anna.

So for those that are close to us, you might have known that age 4 with Anna was a bit trying.  She was sweet, don't get my wrong, but girlie-girl might have been a bit difficult to deal with most of the year.  The transition was really hard on her after the move which came with some lack of structure...girl was not having it.

But the good news is, she has really turned a corner.  The words "I just want to help you clean," "yes ma'am and no ma'am" are regulars, helping brother, cleaning her room....just general sweet girl behavior has blessed our home over the past month.  I just adore spending time with her, talking, reading and just relishing this new Anna.

(trying to upload a video of anna!!)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A is almost ONE WHOLE HAND!

Dusting off the ol' blog today.

And for a very good reason.  Sweet Anna is going to be ONE WHOLE HAND!!!  5 years old!!

This little bug:

I want to remember every conversation, every moment.  I want her to realize how amazing she is, how smart she is and how loving and kind she can and will be.  She says she is ready for Kindergarten, just like that, ready to be a "grown-up"...and one day later she will declare she will never grow up.  Just like Peter Pan.

I long to shelter her from the world of commercials, short shorts, mean girls, awful news....I want her to remain in her made up land of princesses, castles, brave Brother Knights and pretend.  Her ability to make up a story is remarkable, even once captivating her class for a full 15 min with a story since she didn't remember her show and tell (even her teachers were enthralled).  

I used to be sad that neither of my kids look like me, but as she grows older I know she has a lot of me in her.  She hates to be tickled, when there is too much going on- she just wants to curl up and watch a movie or snuggle in tight, she loves cereal, she LOVES watermelon, she has big feet (new shoes are a size 1!), she gets nervous about new things but still excited to do them, and she loves fiercely and she LOVES warm hugs.

Her Pre-K teacher told me the other day that she hopes we can keep in touch because she just has to know what Anna chooses to do with her life.  What an amazing statement.  She said she is so personable, so loving towards her classmates, always including, always answering and asking questions, she just can't wait to see who she becomes.

We say the exact same thing.  Who will this amazing child become?  Until then, I just want her to be my sweet 5 year old Anna.

We have a lot of adventures ahead of us sweet girl.  You are driving these next adventures, you are leading us into uncharted parent/kid territories.  We KNOW it will be great.  We KNOW it will be hard some days but we are absolutely CERTAIN there will be a lot of love.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's Captain Jack Sparrow to you.

So Graham continues his love for all things Pirates and insisted his 3rd birthday be a "Capt Jack Spaawoow" birthday.  Buddy Dude is THREE!!  3!!!  Unbelievable.  It's weird because some days it feels like he is so much older, it's like his year of two lasted more than just 365 days.

What else is Graham into?  Books! (typically the same one read in between a couple others...this week, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!").  He continues his love of Seaside and screams in delight when he finds out that is where we are headed.  SEASIDE!!!  He says, "I LOVE SEASIDE!!".  What an awful life, right?  He loves to make pirate swords out of anything and everything he finds (sticks, pens, erector sets, hairbrushes...etc).  He loves being at the beach and loves riding on the new bike attachment that goes on the back of my bike (like a half bike).  He LOVES the dogs probably a little too much and also enjoys torturing his sister every now and then too.  He is always looking for Anna if she isn't around and definitely chooses her as first priority playmate over anyone else.  He hates getting his finger nails trimmed, hair cut and wearing shoes.

And now that he is three, he insists on calling us "Mom" and "Dad" like he is some fancy pants teenager.  I tried to bring him back around to "Mommy" but he just won't do it.  Little buddy.

This next year is going to be awesome and you are just going to keep growing and getting more piratey!

STATS:  34lbs, 40in!  Wearing 4T tops and 2T bottoms, size 10/10.5 shoes!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Florida so far....

It was a rough start, I was missing friends, the kids were missing friends and our house, John was going back and forth to Nashville.....  People think just because you are at the beach, you should be immediately happy.  And well, you are, but there are some things you miss being in a new place.  Especially friends.

That rough start turned into something pretty great. We are lucky, we have been taken in by a community that loves new folks.  We meet new awesome people everyday, and everyone seems genuinely happy and wanting to be our friends!  This doesn't really happen in other places we've lived, or at least not as quickly.  And these people are pretty awesome.  The kids and I have been on playdates, beach dates, late night dinners with drinks on patios, lunches, church services and weekend fishing adventures.  John has been to happy hours, lunches and soon to be fishing expeditions.  Imagine when the kids start school and meet all those folks?!

So we are adjusting and it is getting better with every minute.  Here are a couple of Florida things I am learning...

1. There is sand everywhere.  And i'm not talking on the beach.  I'm talking bathtubs, floors, laundry room...

2. The cost of milk.  Goo.  Still can't get used to that one!

3. I might just love fishing from the beach.

4. We are so much more active here.  The tv is hardly on, instead we are outside, riding bikes, on walks, playing on the beach, mapping out state park adventures.

5. Going to the beach just doesn't get old.  And when we talk to friends who have been here for years, it still hasn't gotten old.  That. Is. Awesome.

This could be our greatest adventure yet.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A complicated contradiction.

I have been following Kelle Hampton's blog for many years now and sometimes she writes something so wonderful and so like me, that I have to share.  I swear she and I need to be friends.

Find her full post here.

"I cry when I stare at my sleeping kids--I can't believe they belong to me, and the quiet moments when I get to watch them breathe and contemplate their every smile, how they need me, how they've changed our lives--it overwhelms me.
I swear like a sailor and censor it all for this blog.
I believe in God, and communicating with him and connecting myself to his purpose is an important part of my life.
Sometimes, I question if God exists.
I believe strongly in owning your voice and making a meaningful impact in the world with what you have to offer.
I often feel vulnerable and unworthy of making an impact.
I am passionate about changing people's views on disabilities and making the world a more accepting place for marginalized individuals.
I read fashion magazines and stress out when my toe nail polish gets chippy.
I love classical music.
I love techno music.
I love ballet.
I love dirty dancing.
I care about the environment.
I use a lot of paper towel.
I respect Buddhist faith and Jewish faith and Muslim faith and Christianity.
I love my atheist friends.
I dream of living on a quiet prairie,watching my children run in fields of wildflowers,smiling in the hot sun.
I dream of living in the big city, hosting parties, visiting museums, hailing cabs to our next big adventure.
I want to help people, connect with people, make the sad feel loved.
I like to buy stuff.
I like to make stuff.
I like to give stuff away.
Sometimes I feel so pissed off, I could knock walls down with my anger.
Sometimes I feel so weak and weepy, I could crumble if you looked at me funny.
Sometimes I feel so strong, I'll say whatever I think and not give a shit whether anyone agrees or not.

But all the time, I am complicated--maybe even contradictory. "

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stitch Fix #1!

So I was turned on to this online personal stylist company called StitchFix.  Great concept...basically fill out a style profile, link your pinterest board (because we ALL have one), set your price and delivery date and voila!, a box arrives with 5 pieces of clothing!  You have 3 days to decide and send back what you don't want.  Want all?  Get 25% off.  Here are pics and comments from my first box.

FIRST...good grief and ignore my hair and face.  I did this pre-shower this morning!

I must admit, I was a little disappointed in variety of the pieces.  I was hoping for more out of my norm and "fun".  I received 4 blouses and a pair of pants.  A friend said her first box was pretty conservative as well so hoping my next will be different! From the three tops below, I am keeping the far left and far right!  The middle was too short and not my color preference.

The two below are the gray slacks which were a little tight in the hips and slight too short for heels and not long enough for flats.  SUPER bummed about the shirt on the right.  It was my fav but SO SMALL.  I literally had to have John take it off me.  :/

Overall, I enjoyed the experience.  With my $20 styling fee applied plus a $50 credit, it was an easy choice to keep the two shirts!  I will send a note with my next fix for more patterns and more non-traditional pieces.

Want to try?  Use this link!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Starting our goodbye.

We've been talking about moving for over a year now.  We have planned, calculated, read, visited, interviewed, discussed, and hypothetical-ed all our options and moving scenarios.  And now the time has arrived.  We are under contract with about 45 days to get our final ducks in a row.

I'm not ready to talk about leaving Nashville but I DO want to talk about my final Nashville bucket list.

So...tell me, where/what should we do/eat before we leave?

Things already on my list:
Personalized Hatch show print
See Dolye & Debbie show
Martin's BBQ

Traditional Nashville things we've had the pleasure of doing already (and I know i'm leaving many things off):

Prince's Hot Chicken
Lockeland Table
The Southern
Hattie B's
Loveless Cafe
City Cafe
Germantown Cafe
Eastland Cafe
Blackjack Cove
Urban Flats

Frist Center
Nashville Zoo
Adventure Science Center
Centennial Park
Percy Warner/Edwin Warner parks
Honky tonkin!
General Jackson
Country Music Hall of Fame
Bluebird Cafe
Schermerhorn Symphony
Seeing a ballet with Nashville Ballet

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Tigers.

This post is a bit late from our trip to the National Title game.  Honestly, it wasn't from being too busy (although I have been), it was more of just not being able to talk about it yet.  Our hearts were a little sad from the outcome, not for selfish reasons, but for those boys on the field.  We wanted this for them.  We wanted them to relish in a victory that was hard-fought...all season long.  But with a little distance from the game, we can even more appreciate the season and of course know how much love we have for that little town in Alabama...because we believe in Auburn and LOVE IT.

Here are some fun photos from our trip.  We decided to be kids on the Sunday before the game and head to Disney Land!!

Fun times in CarsLand!  And us in our "Bug's Life" 3-D glasses.

Top middle: TERRIFYING roller-coaster.  Hated every second.
Bottom left: Soaking in the beautiful California sun.  BR: Mrs. Incredible!  
We sent pictures to the kids throughout our day in the park and Pam said they LOVED it.  We would track down characters as best we could.  We wished they were with us but we truly had a GREAT time on our own.  Sometimes its just fun being a kid again.

Finally it was GAME day!  We were so nervous, excited, giddy, proud and just happy to be there!  It seems the Auburn fans outnumbered the FSU fans but we knew we were in for a tough game.  I won't go into a detailed play by play because, well, we all watched it.  We know the heartache of that last play.  But damn, we were proud.  It's always GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a New Year.

I've found that I've not been the best with the blog lately but one thing I don't miss is my New Year's post.  You can see 2012's HERE and 2013's HERE.

I am really excited about this year.  But first, before I talk about how awesome 2014 will be, I must sum up our 2013.

First and foremost, WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!!!!  (imagine a Dave Ramsey type scream here).  We paid off and cut up credit cards years ago, don't have car payments so all that was left was that darn Sallie Mae.  John paid his off in the beginning of the year and we called on Dec 31 and paid off the remaining balance on my student loans...I totally cried.  The customer service rep was super awesome and was quite excited for us as well.  What a GREAT way to start the new year!

I would claim 2013 the year of RUNNING!  Running a 5k, 2 10k's and a half marathon!  It is such a great feeling of accomplishment and can't wait to see what races we run next!

Graham:  Our self proclaimed little pirate.  He has grown leaps and bounds over this year.  Finally talking and bringing the cuteness (and feistiness) with it.  He still loves to give big hugs, especially to the dogs.  Started the year in a crib and he ended the year in a big boy bed and underwear!
Notable phrases of the year: "It's not fair mommy, Hmm (with pursed lips)" and "it's good fair, Mommy!!".
Fav book:  Spooky Box!  (great Halloween book)
Fav food: Peanut butter and Jelly sammies, Pizza

Anna:  Our little 4 year old (going on 14).  This hasn't been the easiest year with our sweet girl but still wonderful.  She is our constant talker (aka running commentary on life), constant clothes changer (minimum 4 times a day) and lover of all things princess.  She is in a Pre-K class even through she won't start Kindergarten until 2015 so she will repeat the curriculum.  She is eager to read and doing great with her handwriting!
Fav Book: Pinkalicious
Fav Food: Broccoli! Pizza

John:  Super busy, business booming like crazy, super weight loss, super runner!

This brings us to 2014.  House is on the market and are anxiously awaiting a contract.  For those that haven't heard, we are moving to sunny Florida and are just so ready to go!!  We truly LOVE Nashville and will probably miss it more than we realize but those sunny beaches are calling our name!

The kids will continue to grow and out-smart us, our businesses will continue to grow (God willing) and we will continue to love and cherish every moment.  This will be a year of change and transition!