11 Years!

It’s hard to believe that we have been married eleven years! When we talk about our early years of marriage it’s such a different life than what we have now.

It’s funny because we’ve been talking to the kids more about some of our travels we did before they were born. Parker was asking about the Eiffel tower and if I had ever been.  Then we got on the subject of scuba diving, and we talked about submarines and helicopter rides that we did in Hawaii many moons ago. Things have changed over the years for sure!

We’ve definitely had some adventures, but have had some hardships as well. One thing remains true. Dan makes me a better person, and I love him more every year that we’re together.

One way we love to connect is travel. We love our kids, and we really enjoy going on trips with them, but there’s something about getting away without the kids that brings us right back to where we were early in our marriage. A time when we were more intentional with our time together, without the interruption of little ones needing our time and attention. This is what we did when we decided to go to Blue Ridge to stay for a few nights.

It was such a great getaway! Dan found this cute little log cabin (another reason why my husband is amazing) that was just perfect. Honestly, if you’re looking for a nice, affordable place to stay near downtown Blue Ridge, this is such a great place. It is a two bedroom overlooking a valley with a view (in the early spring at least), quiet and peaceful, with a great outdoor hot tub.  We were really impressed with the town of Blue Ridge. I had not been there in years, but the shopping was great there. We were very disappointed with downtown Helen last year, even though the place we stayed (Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa) was nice, the town itself left more to be desired. It was also nice not to have to rush in the morning to get to breakfast. We’ve felt the need to do this at previous B&B’s so we didn’t miss out on the food. With this cabin, we didn’t rush at all. We woke up slow and got to sleep in and it was heavenly! We’d definitely stay there again!

We found a fun trail on our way to Blue Ridge just outside the falls called Fall Creek Falls. It was absolutely beautiful and it had a rocky, mossy enchanted forest feel heading up to the falls. One nice bonus, the path was super quick and easy for a hiker of any skill level. We didn’t want a super long trail because we wanted to get to the cabin and clean up and head to town.

In town, we ate at several Restaurants. All of them were delicious!  My favorite was Harvest on Main. We got a table on their front porch during the day on Saturday for lunch, and they had great food! They menu was different without being too weird. I like weird, but Dan likes familiar! We actually ran into some good friends of ours as we were leaving the restaurant.  It was so fun to be in the exact same place at the same time so far from home! We welcomed the hello from them, and then enjoyed some nice shopping after.  I found myself some super comfortable italian leather shoes from a company called FLEXX and Dan found  a knife store, and git a survival-type collection that had been discontinued, so we were both happy campers. We really enjoyed each other’s company the entire day. It brought me back to being a newlywed!

 We also ate at Blue Ridge Brewery which was also nice, but we didn’t drink their beer, so we can’t really give a full review, although the food we got was tasty. Dan loved their pretzel. I got a blackened trout that was D-lish! We ate breakfast twice at Serenity Garden Cafe. Their food was good, but never had any fresh fruit, which I found pretty odd. I was doing the whole 30 at the time, and really wanted a fruit option. Their food wasn’t bad, the atmosphere could’ve been better, but not bad for a breakfast place.

For our Anniversary evening, we went to Cucina Rustica. It was a little outside of town, but a very nice upscale Italian Restaurant.  How we came to eat at this restaurant is kind-of a neat story. We met an elderly  couple on the streets of downtown Blue Ridge.  They were coming out of a restaurant and we were asking them about good places to eat around the area. We got to talking and come to find out he was Tom Ledford, the town’s county commissioner, and the person who helped get alcohol into the restaurants in Blue Ridge. It was a dry town for a long time! I had no idea that even existed, I mean, sure everywhere was dry back in the day, but this was recently, like within the last ten years. They said you were allowed to “brown bag” wine and bring into restaurants, but the restaurants couldn’t sell it.  So, he recommended his buddy’s place who helped him get elected to the board, and they were ultimately able to pass beer and wine.  I’m glad they recommended the place too, because it was very nice and the food was delicious. I got an appetizer of bacon wrapped lamb and a salad, Dan got a ravioli dish.  I indulged in wine and dessert since it was our anniversary and it was heavenly after over two and a half weeks of being good on the Whole 30! Dan also gave me the sweetest necklace for our anniversary. No hints at all, he picked this out on his own. I will certainly treasure it all the days!

Overall, it was such a nice time of bonding with my sweetie. I truly value our marriage, and I am so glad that God brought us together. He makes me so happy.

Over a decade of Love!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since we’ve said “I do”!  We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary on March 19th! Our journey has been anything but easy, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that my life got infinitly better the moment we decided to take our vows in marriage!

Danandsharonwedding

In ten years, we’ve gone through some challenges.  Between the deaths of several family members that are close to us, miscarriages, surgeries, health issues, job changes and other marriage strains… we’ve had our fair share of heart ache.  We’ve also enjoyed some amazing blessings; welcoming three healthy babies, getting to be a  stay-at-home Mom to them, finding a great church home, moving into our dream home,  meeting some incredible people, taking memorable vacations and watching precious milestones… we’ve been by each other’s side through these immeasurable blessings!

There is one thing I am absolutely sure of.  Cliche or not, we couldn’t have done any of this without us leaning on God through the ups and down. Relying on him again and again to help us with life.  I seriously wonder how unbelievers get through the struggles of marriage without having God in their life! Whether it was bringing the right people in our life at the right time to love on us, encouraging us through our church, small group, or our pastor’s message or prayer.  Sometimes it was allowing us to make mistakes so that we can further rely on God for his purpose and plan.  We certainly couldn’t do it without his guidance! We are still working on submitting ourselves to one another and to God {We are FAR from perfect} so that we can be a better spouse, child of God, and a living example to our children. We are constantly a work in progress.

One of the passions that Dan and I both share is our love of travel! We wanted to get away for our ten year, but we didn’t want to be too far away from our three munchkins so we decided to head up to the Georgia Mountains. Helen to be exact.  I had been there as a young child, but I don’t really remember it much, and we go to Dahlonega so frequently that we decided to try something different.  My Mom offered to watch  the kiddos so we could get away, and we are so thankful for her. The kids love spending time with her, and they were so happy to have her stay for a night.

Dan gets major brownie points for finding this amazing Bed and Breakfast outside of Helen with some of the most beautiful views of the mountains I’ve ever seen! The name of the place is called Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa and it is absolutely everything they claim that it is. A beautiful retreat with amazing views, a delicious selection of desserts in the evening and a delicious breakfast in the morning.  We got a fairly standard room and it was really all we needed.  We also took advantage of their spa and enjoyed a nice couple’s massage on the last day.

We drove up on Saturday and we decided to take a short trail walk up to Ana Ruby Falls.  It was beautiful and the weather was in the 60s and warming up, so it was perfect for the hike.  The falls were beautiful and it was so nice and peaceful being in nature together!  After the hike, we went to explore Helen.  It is cute town with the German inspired charm but a little more touristy than we would’ve liked.  Touristy in the sense that almost every store had cheap souvenirs instead of real mom and pop stores that housed mountain art or authentic house ware goods and/or designer boutiques.  Not that I need a boutique-style shopping everywhere I go, but I could do without the cheap shot glasses, lighters, tshirts, etc in every shop. I did buy myself a selfie cam in one of those ridiculous shops.  I couldn’t help myself!

One of the best things we did while we were there was go to Habersham Winery.  The wine was great and it was just nice getting to try some wines and learn more about them.  The winery was right beside a huge antique mall, and we took our time roaming through the various vendors to see.  After wine, antique shopping, mini golf, and relaxing some more at the Inn, we headed to dinner at Mully’s Nacoochee Grill.  The food was delicious, the owner and staff were wonderful, and they had live music that made for the perfect setting.

One perfect day!

 

 

Our little get-away was just the thing we needed to reconnect as a couple and celebrate our ten year anniversary!  I’m so thankful that God brought Dan into my life, and I look forward to many more adventures to come in our marriage and family!

Day in the life

My typical week looks something like this…

Workouts. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I take Les Mills Body Pump class and I run a mile beforehand on the treadmill in the morning. Sometimes if I’m running late, I don’t get time to do the treadmill, but most of the time, I can squeeze in a mile or if I’m lucky, over a mile.

On Tuesdays I have Storytime with Sienna and Mason at the local library and then we all play at home,  I start washing clothes, and tidying up the house until it’s time to pick up Parker at 12:45

On Wedneday after the gym I have laundry. Lots of laundry. Typically takes me all day long. This is when I take all the clothes that were washed the day prior and sort, fold, hang, etc. Fortunately, the boys have become very helpful in this area and they both now put away and hang up their own clothes! We also have small group on Wednesday nights and we’re doing a parenting study now and it’s going great, but that also means squeezing in reading two chapters a week and answering questions to prepare for our discussion.

Thursdays have just changed to another gym day, and I’ve so far done Body Combat and RPM (stationary bike) class. Another workout in the morning and then back home to play with Mason and Sienna since Mason is home from preschool on Tues and Thurs.

After the boys get home from preschool we all have lunch, and Mama gets a break. Mason and Sienna take their nap and Parker either takes a nap in his room or takes the time to look at his pen books or have some alone time playing quietly while the others nap.  After naps, we try to play outside if weather permits. It’s hard to do so on Wednesdays because I’m typically still in laundry madness trying to get everything sorted and hung. Otherwise, we’re either outside or playing in the playroom together.  The boys LOVE to have dance parities. Their favorite musician is the Laurie Berkner Band. They LOVE the “I’m going to catch you” song!

Once the kids go to bed, I get time with Dan at night. Right now, we’ve really enjoying snugging up on the sofa and watching the Walking Dead series.  Sometimes he likes to have his guy shows that he watches, or shoot his bow in the basement while I blog, edit photos, read,  or catch up on a girlie show (Bachelor, Parenthood, etc.). It’s healthy to have time alone as well as together.  Sometimes if we’re lucky, we get a date night, a girls night, or a guys night out.

Life is busy. Work outs. Carpool drop-offs and pickups. Kids running around without pants. Grocery shopping. Playing dress-up. Messy playrooms. Books before bed. Tantrums. Hugs. Building a “lego city”.  Riding bikes and playing outside. Washing dishes. Watching their favorite show. Making lunches. Cleaning. Meal planning. Cooking.  Goodnight kisses. Repeat.

The life of a stay-at-home Mom means running a household and making sure it not only runs smoothly, but with love and patience. Reminding ourselves that grace is needed for ourselves, our kids, and our marriage.  Being intentional about serving others, bringing God into our everyday conversations, leaning on him for strength, making sacrifices, and above all being grateful for where you are in this stage of life.

What does your day look like? I’d love to see a blog post from my readers!!

New Years Babymoon

Parker is now 15 months old, and until recently, Dan and I have  never spent the night away together since he was born.  I have to admit, it’s mostly my fault.  I can be slightly neurotic…okay very neurotic when it comes to taking care of my most precious little boy.  The thought of Dan and I leaving him with someone was pretty terrifying to us.  However, my aunt Angie is a rock star.  She and her husband and family are some of our most favorite people.  I couldn’t think of anyone more fit to watch our little boy than them.  Even though I still obsessed over every detail of his little schedule-eating and sleeping habits (any any other tidbits in between)  for weeks prior.  When it came down to it, none of that even mattered.  It was more for my own sanity to have every detail written out.  Deep down, I just knew he would have a blast visiting with the family and enjoying receiving all the love they had to give.

It was with this peace of mind that we headed to Highlands, NC for a little New Years Babymoon.  This would be our last time away before baby Mason is born.  We really needed time to reconnect.  Time that didn’t involve a blurb about spraying baby poop out of a diaper, or picking up baby toys so the dog wouldn’t eat them, or putting away laundry.  Some time where we could really enjoy each other and fall in love with each other all over again.  We left on Friday later in the morning and dropped Parker off.  It was so nice driving up to Highlands without having to reach for a “silencer” toy for Parker every few minutes.  It was strangely silent in the backseat and we were loving it.

Highlands is a really cute town nestled in the mountains at 3,832 ft.  They have the most amazing alpine trees and there was still a beautiful 1-2″ of snow everywhere.  On the way to the bed and breakfast we were welcomed with daring switchbacks with frozen icicle waterfalls bordering the roads and frozen ponds where ducks made their way across with their little baby ducklings.  It was a nice change from Atlanta for sure.  It had a purity that was magical and beautiful.

We made reservations at the Inn at Half Mile Farm, which is an adorable bed and breakfast just outside of the little town.  We got a package that included a room with a fireplace, and a jetted tub and also a New Year’s dinner with a champagne toast- but sparkling cider for me!, live entertainment, and two gourmet breakfasts.  New Years was pretty low key.  We met some nice people at the B&B, but most seemed pretty shallow…bragging about their yachts, vacation homes, and what high-end private school they’re trying to get their child into.  Most of all,  I really enjoyed great conversation with Dan and the candle lit dinner.  It was just the relaxing night that we both needed to ring in the New Year and ease into a nice weekend together.

It rained all day on Saturday but we still managed to enjoy ourselves with our umbrellas in tow, and walking in and out of the cutesie little shops in town.  There was one where we got to taste different local jams and mustards and I found an apple butter that I just couldn’t turn down.  We also got our grub on at a local pizzeria, which didn’t have the best customer service but had some amazing pizza.  Of course, we couldn’t leave without visiting the Kilwin’s- the best local homemade chocolate place in town.  Dan got his usual nonpareils, and I enjoyed some chocolate covered almonds.  Just the trick to bring some sunshine to the rainy day.

One of the most exciting times was coming back home to our little boy.  We missed him SO much.  We joked about who would get to hold him first, and we settled on that we would get to pick him up at the same time and give a group hug.  Strangely enough though, when we arrived to pick up our little love bug, he was happily eating cheerios in Angie’s lap, and barely even noticed that we entered the room!  Could he really be ready to adopt a whole new set of parents after two nights away?  Say it ain’t so!  Of course, he soon warmed back up to us and allowed us to smother him with hugs and kisses.

The trip was a success for all of us.  What a great way to begin a New Year.

Perfection

I’m not sure if the pressure to be perfect comes from society or my own internal pressures not to fail, but while fully enthralled in pregnancy hormones,  it’s hard not to get over-emotional about my imperfections and feel overwhelmed on how I can balance trying to succeed in all areas of my life without in turn muttering something’s gotta give

Although I know I’ll never be perfect in every area of my life, for some reason there still no desire to ever stop trying to be.  Is that a bad thing?

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Health

REALITY: I eat too much and I don’t exercise enough.  It’s that simple.  Not hard science.

GOAL: To eat healthy… meaning, plenty of the good fruits and veggies my body needs, and less of the carbs and junk food that makes me feel like crap.  To exercise every day even if its just a walk around the neighborhood and to take vitamins and keep up with annual dr visits.

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Professionally

REALITY: I work occasionally for my previous employer, but haven’t had a real desire to go back to work full time because of my lack of professional accreditations.

GOAL: Decide on what professional accreditation I’d like to pursue, and take the time to study and pass the exam.

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Ecofriendliness

REALITY: I have a big desire to use less, recycle more and reduce waste.  However, often times I’m looking for the more convenient thing to do instead of the right thing to do.

GOAL: To use less paper products, water and electricity.  To focus more on efficiency instead of convenience.

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Budgeting

REALITY: We have very minimal debt, but we could always do better to save more and spend less

GOAL: To get rid of the mentality that if I want something, and the bank account is low, then I’ll just slap in on the credit card and pay for it out of savings later.

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Spirituality

REALITY: I don’t pray enough until something bad or wrong happens.  I’m selfish and I use my free time for me instead of prayer and meditation.  I don’t take the time to read scripture like I should unless I’m preparing for a bible study.

GOAL: I would love to have that intimate connection with my creator and move from a “sometimes believer” to a living example of his grace and love. He doesn’t stop believing in me, so why do I act like I’ve stopped believing in him? I want to feel connected enough to know where he is leading me in the  journey through life, and I want to praise him more and more wholeheartedly, like the amazing God that he is.

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Parenting

REALITY: I have a fantastic son, but I’m not always a fantastic Mom.

GOAL: I have to learn to be clear about the things that are important, but then let the small things go.

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Friendships

REALITY: I sometimes selfishly wait for people to reach out to me before reaching out to them

GOAL: To enrich the close friendships that I have, be there for them when they need me and make some new friendships along the way

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Marriage

REALITY: I tend to over-analyze the efforts of what each of us put in, and somewhat critical and bossy over how things should be done

GOAL: To focus on being loving and supportive and do things to build on the marriage instead of focusing on being “right” all the time.

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Homemaking

REALITY: Cooking isn’t my favorite thing to do, but when I do cook, I expect heaps of praise and admiration.  Aside from making the bed and laundry, I usually only clean when Dan is on his way home from a business trip or the maids are on their way to our house.

GOAL: To make delicious meals I’m proud of, and that me and the family enjoys eating. To have self discipline to keep the house tidy each day and not just right before expecting company.

Give me a Five

It all began in winter of 2004. As a college student, I lived alone in my loft apartment nicely decked out with bohemian tapestries and other vintage lovelies with my BFF rescue kitty Chleo.  It was then that I decided it was time to join the new millennium by getting this new phenomenon called the internet on my old yellow tinged piece of junk some would call a computer.  Although it was widely used throughout the world in 2004, my little hotel front desk income could barely pay the rent, so I was a little late getting the internet. When I did, I decided I would explore a little bit. I became curious of things like Yahoo chatrooms. One in particular caught my eye. “Advice Central”  is where people can go to give or receive advice on any topic they wish or just view the open chatroom board. I chose to view the board to to see if there was something that caught my eye. That’s when I saw “Nocturnal_Poet” post A/S/L. Which means Age/Sex/Location (for those of you who are not familiar with chatroom lingo) which turned out to be 29/Male/Roswell, GA. Hmm…Roswell GA? I know where that is! I live less than twenty minutes from Roswell. So I instant messaged him and that’s when it all started.

We stayed on neutral topics and discussed things like favorite movies, favorite bands, what we did for a living, what I was studying in college, etc. I thought he was very interesting and enjoyed the online attention I was getting.  I found myself excited to login to see if he was online so we could chat and catch up on our day.  Even though I thought there may be a connection there, I was leery of giving my phone number out over the internet and I mentioned this to Dan when we were chatting. So, instead he gave me his number. I was unsure of whether or not I was going to call him. I actually sat on his number for a few days. I’m not sure if it was because I was afraid of what I might hear on the other line, or if I was afraid that we wouldn’t connect over the phone like we did over the internet.  That was until one beautiful unseasonably warm winter afternoon. I went for a walk in beautiful Soap Creek which has amazing trails through what I’d like to call an enchanted forest. It has old paper mill ruins with knee high fields of grass with beautiful overgrown wildflowers and a creek with rounded pebbles and gentle rapids. A tranquil setting that I have made my little sanctuary away from home to talk to God, clear my thoughts and get some exercise. It was there that it was made clear to me that I was suppose to call Dan. It became SO clear in fact that I started to get excited. I jogged back to my car with a spring in my step. We later talked on the phone and he asked me to join him for dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse.  Of course, I accepted and looked forward to that night.   As soon as I walked through the door I saw him right in front of the hostess stand with his arms open. I gave him a hug. It was with that warm embrace that I felt something different. I knew, without a doubt, that I was suppose to be there. I was suppose to be with him. The dinner went really well. So well in fact that we decided to continue the evening by going to see a movie. We saw Big Fish, which now is one of our very favorite movies.

About a week later I wrote in my journal. This is what I wrote:

2004-Our first picture together

2/03/04

“It’s been a little while since I’ve written and I can’t believe I have waited so long. I met the man that I’m going to marry about a week ago. I know those are very serious words, but that is honestly how I feel. There is absolutely not one aspect about him that I dislike. Dan has every quality that I want in a man. He is a Christian, he’s smart, successful, polite, handsome, funny, and so much more. He went to church with me this past Sunday and met my Grandma and Grandpa and spoke to them when we all went out to lunch. I could tell that they approved of him. I am so very thankful that I met him and I cherish every moment I spend with him. I am so in love…my days are filled with many smiles.”

I later went on to graduate college in Spring of 2004 and landed a job with a local interior design firm that specialized in hotel design.  Dan was working locally for a company that specialized in digital certificates.  We began to attend Peachtree Christian Church as a couple and it just happened.  We fell for each other hard and fast. We were engaged by late spring and married by March 19th the following year.  We got married at Peachtree Christian in its beautiful main sanctuary with amazing stained glass windows and we had our rehearsal dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse where we had our very first date.  Our wedding was beautiful yet small and modest.  The most important thing to us was that we made a commitment to each other and God in front of our friends and family in the house of the Lord.

Its been five years. Yes, FIVE I say. I can’t believe it. Never did I think that I would find someone who was so right for me. Someone who is such an intelligent, handsome, and good hearted person who has an incredible sense of humor and a wonderful father.  Now, five years later on our anniversary, we get to celebrate our love.  Nothing could possibly make me happier.