Our Journey…

Today Timehop reminded me that exactly 5 years ago we announced that we were leaving our Florida life behind and heading to Pennsylvania to start a new adventure. I remember writing that post with such a mix of excitement and anxiousness. We were about to leave behind friends and family that we loved and jobs and a home that were familiar and comfortable. You couldn’t make a bigger transition than Clearwater, Florida to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. But, we had no idea how much life would change!wp-1490660191843.jpgwp-1490660191832.jpg

Two weeks after arriving in our new town of Lititz that summer, we found out we were pregnant with Baby #2. Surprise! It was terribly inconvenient timing. We were learning our new surroundings, trying to adjust to a life where we knew NO ONE, and Chris had just started a new job where he traveled. Often. wp-1490660191846.jpg

wp-1490660191770.jpgwp-1490660191818.jpgwp-1490660191775.jpgwp-1490660191819.jpg

Our time in PA was a bit of a blur when I think about it. I remember being pregnant, having a newborn, going to playdates with my awesome mommy group I found (by the grace of God), snow, and Amish buggies. Looking back, we actually fit quite a bit into that not quite 2 years we were there. We took lots of trips and made the most of our crazy situation. (And loved the heck out of that surprise Pennsylvania souvenir baby!)25wp-1490660191788.jpgDSC_0419

Then Chris got wind of a position in what he described as his “dream territory” in North Carolina. We had had many talks in our marriage where Chris told me he pictured himself living in North Carolina. It seemed ridiculous to up and move again with a 2 year old and not quite 1 year old, but I guess I figured, what the heck?!  I made him promise, that was it. No more moving after that! (HA.)wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-03-11-14.45.39.png.png

So, we fell in love with our new town of Raleigh. We knew for sure that’s where we pictured our family staying. We had the food of the South, proximity to mountains and beaches, and were slightly closer to family. It totally made sense to build our “forever home” and put down some roots. wp-1490660191820.jpgwp-1490660191712.jpg

Again, we made the most of those 2 and a half years.  We took road trips, visited the mountains, loved the change of seasons, and dreamed of buying a summer home in the Outer Banks one day.

wp-1490660984128.jpgwp-1490660984129.jpg

wp-1490660849359.jpgwp-1490660849336.jpgwp-1490660849321.jpgwp-1490660849324.jpg

THEN, Chris heard of a position at a company that he described as his “dream company to work for.” This particular job was located in North Florida (2 hours from my dad & stepmom and an hour and a half from the rest of my family). It just so happened that we had had little talks where we mentioned that we could never see ourselves leaving Raleigh unless it was for a company like that in an area that would bring us close to family. Sooo…

And now, here we are. I never dreamed our journey would circle us back to Florida. Dude, life is full of surprises. Just when I think I have a grasp on what to expect or how to plan, God’s like, “You’re cute. I got this.”20161010_16012520161016_153554(0)

20161015_175605
So in case anyone is counting, our kids have visited at least 10 states and have lived in 3. We’ve created countless memories and never have to look back and wonder “what if” when it comes to new opportunities. I’m sure ours is a journey that many people might find overwhelming or possibly crazy, but it’s ours. Can’t wait to see where we’ll be in another 5 years! #OurBlessedAdventures

Thanksgiving!

For our first Thanksgiving back in Florida, we decided to host dinner at our new home. We had my Aunt, cousin, his girlfriend, my mom, and Chris’s brother and his family join us. It was a very relaxing day full of food, football (Thank you Jesus for letting the Cowboys win for Chris) and fun. The kids played outside in the bounce house while we got to have adult beverages and play corn hole and enjoy the perfect weather.

Here are some pictures from not only Thanksgiving day, but also a few from the Thanksgiving celebrations at the kids’ schools.

20161114_101705

Please note the little turkey in orange and blue who is blowing kisses to his mommy and daddy before his performance!

20161114_102601

20161121_112237

Look at that little Indian! Side note: Nolan put down an embarrassing amount of chicken nuggets at his school feast.

 

20161124_082552

Thank God he used the non-Fitbit arm. Ain’t nobody got time for a fitness tracker in their turkey.

20161123_193914

It just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without Grandma Dot’s pumpkin bread.

20161124_182035-1

Me, Aunt Claudia and mom

20161122_222333

Brady all tuckered out after a day of food and fun. (Again, obsessed with sleeping pictures!)

The day after Thanksgiving we went to Savannah to spend time with my dad and Pat. We got to hang out downtown, see Santa, go to our annual Christmas light event at the Botanical Gardens, and watch the Gators get destroyed by FSU (boo.)

img_09951.jpg

img_09881.jpg

The only Santa lap Nolan will be sitting on this year!

 

img_09931.jpgimg_09721.jpg

img_09671.jpg

So much to be thankful for, today and always!

 

 

 

 

10 Year Anniversary

.Dear Chris,

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since we got married? Also, can you believe that we were practically babies when we got married?!

2016-05-23-11.48.27.jpg.jpeg

In some ways it feels like more than 10 years- we’ve certainly packed a lot into that decade! Between job changes, countless moves, Gator games, trips, concerts, pets, loss of loved ones, births of children, and more bottles of wine than I care to mention…it’s been an adventure to say the least.

1 - Copy
Honeymoon in St. Lucia

 

2 - Copy

3 - Copy
Horseback riding in St. Lucia

 Thanks for going along with every “Hey, you know what sounds fun?” idea I come up with. Thanks for thinking something sounds insane, but still going for it.  Thank you for making every moment of these last 10 years count. Thank you for always finding ways to make our life together meaningful and memorable. In short, thank you for a life that’s never boring.

4 - Copy
San Antonio,TX

 

5 - Copy
“Still wearing jerseys even though they middle-aged.”

 

6 - Copy
Boston, MA

 

7 - Copy
Just a couple of bad asses…”Every thug needs a lady.”

 

8 - Copy
World Series: Bucket List Accomplishment!

 

9 - Copy
1 of thousands of sunsets selfied together…

 

10 - Copy
Tampa, FL (Gasparilla)

 Thank you for being the world’s best teammate. Whether it’s splitting another bottle of wine or helping me untangle yet another necklace or earbud situation, I can always count on you. Thank you for never making me choose between the fried chicken sandwich or fish tacos because you always get one or the other and go halvesies. And thanks for always being up for a song, dance, game, or anything we can “win” at.

11 - Copy
Countless drunken karaoke nights…”Don’t Stop Believin'”

 

21

At one of many concerts together…Jimmy Buffett

Thank you for never wanting “another shot-gun rider beside you, singing to the radio.” Thanks for knowing that “when the kids are old enough, we’re gonna teach them to fly.” And, thanks for getting all those references…because “I love you more than songs can say.”

14

Gatlinburg, TN

12 - Copy

Red Rock Canyon, NV

 

 

13

 

17
Key West, FL

 

18
San Francisco, CA

 Thanks for being the best person to raise kiddos with. You make this journey of parenthood so special. You treasure moments with our boys and work diligently to ensure their future will be amazing. You also do a pretty fantastic job of showing them how to treat their future wives.

19
Baby Brady in the belly!

 

20.1

Baby ’bout to come out!

 

20.2
We made ourselves a friend!

 

 

22
Philadelphia, PA

 

23
Lititz, PA

 

24
New York, NY

 

25
Pittsburgh, PA

 

26
Niagara Falls (AKA coldest moment of my life)

 

27.1
Virginia Beach, VA

 

27
Boone, NC

 

 

2016-02-13-21.55.57.jpg.jpeg
Grandfather Mountain, NC

 

img_163081830205347.jpeg
Thank you God for letting me marry a Gator!

 

28

Outer Banks, NC

If this is what 10 years together looks like, I can’t wait to see what we’ve accomplished at 25, 50 or 70 years married. I’ll continue to give you a hard time about all the gray hairs you’ve earned, and you will go on making fun of my inability to make a pot of coffee. We’ll live life laughing at stupid jokes no one else gets and making decisions other people think are crazy or irresponsible. I’ll always be in awe of your ability to charm everyone you meet and you will continue to make me feel like the most loveable girl in the world. Thank you for this life, Chris. It is so much more than I could have ever hoped for or dreamed of.

16

“A thousand miles seems pretty far, but they’ve got planes and trains and cars. I’d walk to you if I had no other way. Our friends would all make fun of us, and we’d just laugh along because we’d know that none of them have felt this way…I can promise you that by the time that we get through, the world will never ever be the same.”

Happy 10 Year Anniversary- Cheers to us!

Winter Get-Aways

This winter has been surprisingly manageable. We’ve only had one weekend that gave us some cabin fever, but thankfully most of that crazy blizzard missed us (with the exception of a little snow and quite a bit of ice.) While we haven’t had to deal with extreme snowfall, it still gets a little dreary and boring in the winter. We find ourselves missing being able to play outside every day and let’s face it, wearing socks all the time isn’t this Florida girl’s cup of tea.

Thankfully we were able to break up some of the winter blah by taking two quick trips out of town. One was a tag-long work trip for Chris to Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte and the other was a weekend get away to see the mountains in Boone.

Great Wolf Lodge was a much needed chance to get our bathing suits on and play without fear of freeeezing! The kids loved the arcade, bowling alley, and water park. They also had a blast in their own little wolf den, complete with bunk beds and their own T.V. (I’m telling you, these kids have got it so rough.) On this trip we learned that Brady is ridiculously fearless when it comes to really high water slides and Nolan is just cool with the really shallow kiddie pool area.

20160125_16582520160125_172145

20160125_172157

20160125_171453

2016-02-02-16.19.15.jpg.jpeg

20160125_191327.jpg

My water baby in his glory.

 

20160125_17520420160126_093522

20160126_120506

Our next adventure was a weekend trip to Boone. We wanted the boys to be able to play in the snow and check out the mountains in the winter. (And secretly we just wanted to go eat at some of our favorite restaurants.) The Boone/Blowing Rock area is quickly becoming one of our family’s favorite vacation spots and it’s awesome that the boys are becoming familiar with the area and making so many memories there.

Our first (and most important) stop when we got to town…Come Back Shack. Holy milkshakes!

20160130_130025.jpg

Traveling…I’m in it for the food.

Next stop, Grandfather Mountain.

 

20160130_154048.jpg

Cute lil’ mountain climbers!

20160130_153712.jpg

Family selfie before crossing the mile high swinging bridge.

DSC_7925DSC_7936DSC_7939

DSC_7951

Brady was once again fearless on the mountain. He always wants to climb higher!

DSC_7955

Whatever you do, don’t look down. (MILE high!)

DSC_7968

first of all, he’s ridiculously handsome. second, he threw a snowball at my camera.

DSC_7983

Snowball fight!

DSC_7991

Sit on the side of this mountain. Don’t move. Don’t fall. Now, smile!

DSC_8010

The otters on the mountain really liked the boys!

DSC_8012

DSC_8027

Ahhh those views. North Carolina rocks.

We also spent some time in Downtown Blowing Rock. One of the cutest little towns ever!

20160131_110702.jpg

20160131_111801.jpg

More snowball fights!

 

 

 

 

20160131_113349.jpg

And, more eating. Like I said, we mostly travel for the food.

And Brady’s favorite part of the trip…the Jacuzzi tub in the hotel suite. Livin’ the life.

20160130_202307.jpg20160130_201500.jpg

I love our adventures, big and small. Anytime I can combine travel, food, and my sweet boys, I’m a happy girl. No winter blues here!

Fall in NC!

Oh hey, blog. Nice to see you again. No seriously, it’s been forever since I’ve written a post. Time to get back at it!

I thought I’d do a quick re-cap of some of our Fall shenanigans. There’s been lots of football watching, leaf gawking, travel, and enjoying cooler temps.

We try to get in the Fall spirit with a little bit of decorating. Some pumpkins, leaves, and of course a Gator shrine help us enjoy the season a little more.

20151015_101702 20150924_111349-1 - Copy 20151013_090620 - Copy 20150905_093912 - Copy

20151001_172303 - Copy

Grandma Dot’s Pumpkin Bread recipe is my favorite Fall decoration!

We’ve also been busy with school and soccer the last couple of months. Brady has loved school from day one, where Nolan took some getting used to. He liked the idea of school, but did NOT like mommy leaving. He has finally come around to the idea and now looks forward to it as much as Brady.

20150917_130737

A happy, post school, selfie!

Brady had his first school field trip this Fall- a trip to a pumpkin patch complete with a hayride, goats, and a bounce house.

20151008_095631 20151008_104424(0)

Brady’s Soccer Team…

20151013_181012

Go Lions! Brady is so darn cute out there and tries SO hard!

We recently took a trip to Blowing Rock, NC with my Aunt Claudia. She got the best condo for all of us right in Downtown. We were walking distance from restaurants, bars, shops, and a park. The leaves were spectacular along the parkway, the boys enjoyed going back to Tweetsie Railroad, and we had fun exploring Downtown Boone. We even got to check out some cool views of Appalachian State and are highly considering brainwashing our boys to make that their back up school (if they don’t get into UF of course!)

Downtown Blowing Rock…

20151025_111657

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway…

20151025_142951 20151025_142943

Exploring Downtown Boone and App State…

20151025_121325 20151025_120721 20151025_115747

20151026_123555(0)

One of the Boone Firefighters invited Brady into the station as we were walking past and let him get into all the trucks- so exciting for him!

Tweetsie Railroad…

20151024_161944_001 20151023_170748 20151023_165146 20151023_163714 20151023_163238 20151023_161730 20151023_155756 20151023_152632

20151024_152155

Halloween was super fun this year. Both boys really got into it and were pretty much the cutest dinosaurs ever. They got to trick or treat twice. Once at the park near our house and then again in our neighborhood. They enjoyed the candy, but really liked just hanging out in our driveway with a fire pit and our neighbors. (And the T.V. Chris set up so we could watch college football, of course.)

Pumpkin Decorating…Can you guess which is Nolan’s and which is Brady’s?

20151028_165433 20151028_165543

All about the costumes…

20151030_090607(0) 20151028_170504

Trick-or-treat the Trail at White Deer Park…

20151030_165706 12 8 20151030_165646(0) 11 10 6 3 2 dinos

Halloween night at our house…

DSC_0092

Nolan demonstrating how Triceratops walked on 4 legs.

DSC_0087

He had the best time running up and “scaring” people with is ROAR!

 

DSC_0083

Brady teaching our neighbor Sophie how to pose like a T-Rex.

20151031_124519 20151031_184128 20151031_175048

So that’s our Fall so far. We’re looking forward to our first Thanksgiving in our new home and enjoying the last little bit of color on the trees. The days of playing outside without sweating or needing puffy jackets are numbered so we are trying to make the most of them! Happy Fall, y’all!

20151001_171144

 

August Adventures

Summer is coming to an end. We’ve wrapped up the last of our family travels and the boys’ backpacks are all set out on the table to start school next week. While I am looking forward to the structure and routine that school provides our day to day life, I’ll miss our carefree days of summer. We were lucky enough to get to tag along with Chris on several work trips, visit family, and have visits from lots of our friends. Most of all, I’ll miss spending the whole day with my little guys. I know I’m beyond blessed to have the opportunity to spend every day with them, and I’ve especially loved getting to see new places and go on “adventures” with them over the last few months.

Some of my favorite times with my boys were the small, silly moments when they were just all boy-sweet, innocent, and loving life! They wore super hero jammies to the mall, rode their toy dinosaurs around the house, and made me laugh all the time!

20150804_200723 20150806_090213  20150808_133451

The boys were super excited to have a visit from their Auntie Jill (my best friend!) We showed her around downtown Raleigh, all our favorite parks and took a day trip to Chapel Hill…where we had the best BLT’s of our lives! Brady gave it a big ol’ thumbs up- or is that a Donald Trump impression? Either way…

20150810_152754-120150808_124058 20150809_131431

One of Brady’s favorite trips was when we went to Hickory, NC for Chris’ work. Not only did the museum there have an aquarium (Nolan’s favorite!) but they had a remote controlled dinosaur exhibit (Brady’s favorite!)

20150812_142207 20150812_150941

The boys also got their back to school haircuts. Have I mentioned how much Nolan HATES haircuts? It’s torture for all of us. But, we got it over with. These are the best pictures I got of their new do’s. Nolan is covered in a chocolate ice cream sample and Brady wanted me to get a picture “like this” so he could see what he looked like with his eyes closed. Sigh.

20150814_165207 20150814_165349

We had a fun day at Wrightsville Beach as a family this month. It’s about 2 hours from the house (our closest beach). I just love how much our boys have become little water babies this summer!

20150815_131602 20150815_131622(0)

wpid-20150815_134020.jpg

We also had a visit from our friends the Richards. It was awesome catching up with them and the boys loved hanging with their cute kiddos, Lynlee and Bennett!

20150819_133750 20150819_170239

We made another trip down to Savannah this month as well. This time we toured Fort Pulaski with Grandpa and Nana. The boys loved hearing the big cannon firing demos. Nolan wasn’t quite sure if it was fireworks or what.

20150822_121816

It’s always fun when you’re taking a selfie on the second story of a big fort and you happen to see on the phone screen, in the background, one of your kiddos climbing over the super high wall of said fort. We were all, “cheeeese- AHHH!”

20150822_122438 20150822_123324

From Savannah we headed to Charleston for a few days. We ate yummy food, walked around downtown, hit up some cool parks, and checked out the South Carolina Aquarium.

20150825_101017 20150825_110813 20150825_114145 20150825_114504 20150825_153420 20150825_153930(0)

20150825_153542

Me and my love in Charleston!

I had to capture the boys on the way home from our last trip. We came home later in the evening and Brady slept the entire way. Nolan slept about half and then spent the rest of the time watching Pharrell sing “Happy” on repeat. So typical.

20150825_202708 20150825_213706

The boys and I spent one of our last days of summer at one of our favorite places, Pullen Park. It’s right by downtown and we had fun riding the train, playing on the playground, and we can never leave without getting a Loco Pop.

20150826_114513 20150826_124459

This has been a great summer. It was full of celebrations, travel, friends and family. We had big adventures and small moments that I’ll always treasure. The boys will never be 2 and 4 again, so I tried to soak up as much of their sweetness as possible. Boo for summer being over, but yay for Fall adventures to come!

20150816_133442

Sweet, lazy days of summer!

July Adventures

Is July seriously over? That went fast! It’s hard to believe we’re onto our last month of summer before the boys head back to pre-school. We had a fun month- it was a mix of relaxed summer days, travel, and visits from friends and family. Oh, and it was also the month of the big red cast.

Not that it slowed us down at all!

wpid-20150628_110429.jpg wpid-20150628_110330.jpg

It was also the month that Nolan showed us that yes, he is indeed in his Terrible 2’s. That delightful mix of sweet and crazy.

wpid-20150715_140346.jpg wpid-20150724_170839.jpg

We had a very All-American 4th of July weekend. We had sparklers, cookouts, fire pits, S’mores, time with neighbors, adult beverages, and of course, fireworks over the golf course.

wpid-20150704_194843.jpg wpid-20150704_210258.jpg

Chris had meetings in Virginia Beach, so we decided to keep him company and tag along. I’m always surprised at how much I love that area. The boys were obsessed with all the fighter jets going over the beach, and we enjoyed some awesome seafood and great views.

wpid-20150708_133926.jpg wpid-20150708_134348.jpg

And yea, that cast was very full of sand by the time it came off.

wpid-20150708_1520200.jpg wpid-20150708_1520410.jpg

wpid-20150709_103735.jpg wpid-20150709_105251.jpg

We had a fun visit from our friends, the Hootens. It’s so cute to see our kiddos growing up and getting to know each other.

wpid-20150711_184250.jpg wpid-20150711_200633.jpg

wpid-20150713_180310.jpg

Me and my sweet Goddaughter, Taylor!

After 3 weeks, Brady got his cast off. The bone did not heal completely, so he had another 2 weeks of wearing a boot, but he sure was excited to get that cast off. Although, I have to say, he really did not complain about it at all. He’s our lil’ trooper.

wpid-20150714_091402.jpg wpid-20150714_091714.jpg wpid-20150714_091957.jpg

One of our favorite parts of the summer, has got to be our trip to the Outer Banks. Again, Chris has customers out there that he had to visit, so we tagged along. (The perks/trade off for having a husband who travels a lot)

Our first night, Nags Head greeted us with an amaaaazing dinner with the best view I could imagine. Right away, we knew we’d be coming back to Outer Banks as much as possible!

 

wpid-20150715_185930.jpg wpid-20150715_200122-1.jpg wpid-20150715_200439.jpg

Cornhole and drinks on the water? Yes please!

wpid-20150715_192041-1.jpg wpid-20150715_195935-1.jpg

wpid-20150715_200033-1.jpg wpid-20150715_200231.jpg

While Chris was at work, the boys and I explored the beach at Kitty Hawk. Holy waves. It was truly the prettiest beach we’ve been to. (Sorry Daytona & Clearwater! We still love you!)

wpid-20150716_093727.jpg  wpid-20150716_093932.jpg

wpid-20150716_093826.jpg

Nicholas Sparks, I so get why you love North Carolina.

After Chris was done working, we were able to explore more of the area/ plan our next vacation!

wpid-20150716_142637.jpg wpid-20150716_143138.jpg

wpid-20150717_094542.jpg wpid-20150716_171055-1.jpg

wpid-20150717_100830.jpg wpid-20150716_171107-1.jpg

wpid-20150717_104338.jpg wpid-20150717_104306.jpg

wpid-20150717_094455.jpg wpid-20150717_1021461.jpg

wpid-20150717_104909.jpg

One of our most memorable parts of the Outer Banks was exploring the Sand Dunes at Kill Devil Hills. They were…breathtaking. Such a cool experience. So obviously, it goes wihout saying that pictures do not do them justice. There’s no way to properly capture the magnitude of how big and expansive those sandy hills are! If you look closely in each picture you may be able to see tiny dots in the background (people in the distance) that give you an idea of how far they stretched out. Oh, and props to Chris for carrying B up those hills with his big booted foot kicking him in the face. Poor kid. Poor daddy.

wpid-20150716_195546.jpg wpid-20150716_201548-1.jpg

wpid-20150716_201736-1.jpg wpid-20150716_200931-1.jpg

wpid-20150716_201107.jpg wpid-20150716_202657.jpg

As soon as we got home from the Outer Banks, Grandpa and Nana came up for a long weekend and we celebrated Chris’s birthday. They kids had a blast planning his little family party. I let them loose in Party City and they picked out the best decorations!

wpid-20150718_144937.jpg wpid-20150718_145119.jpg

wpid-20150718_145035.jpg wpid-20150718_155422.jpg

This month also marked Nolan’s first time going to a movie. He did surprisingly well. For Nolan. We’ve been going to $1 movies they show for kids in the mornings, but we even went to see the Minion movie with Grandpa and Nana one afternoon. He mostly loves the popcorn.

wpid-20150720_164211.jpg wpid-20150720_182055.jpg

We also had lots of ordinary, every day moments, that helped pass the lazy days of summer and remind us just how precious this time is with our sweet boys.

wpid-20150722_123643.jpg    wpid-20150726_102212.jpg

wpid-20150726_120551.jpg wpid-20150725_104406.jpg

July…memory making at it’s finest!