Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


As I sit here and write, I am tickled pink with my new sprucerupper finds that I bought today from my local Dollar Tree. Occasionally I go in there and buy small things. Today I got some new picnic plates, bubbles, sand bucket, and pool toys. Riley was thrilled with the things she was handed to hold while I pushed around the cart.  If you know me and my crew well, you will know that we really did not like winter one bit these past few months. It was a effort everyday to find joy in what seemed like a never ending time of cold and snow. We really did meet each day with the attitude of make lemonade out of lemons, despite our friends back west sending us photos of them swimming and going to the beaches in January. Then today, I walked in that store and realized we made it, we made it through the winter and now we are ready to embrace spring and the upcoming summer months. Hindsight, the change of seasons has taught me to appreciate the smaller things that normally you take for granted. Just yesterday, we commented on how quickly it seems that the leaves fell off of the trees in our backyard during the Fall and now tiny little green sprig leaves are beginning to bloom again. It is beautiful and yet so simple. The cherry blossoms are out in full bloom too. Wow, who knew something so small could develop in to something so big, full and elegant. Being a southern girl, I would compare this classic tree to when the magnolia trees begin to bloom down south. While walking by it, you can't help but to notice the layers of color throughout each bloom. It's small, but they're stunning.  In bible class we have been studying to become more like the woman God designed for us to be. This week's lesson was on joy. I'm usually a happy person, confident, and generally not a worrier, so I was so surprised at how the lesson touched my heart. Maybe being sent here was a new chapter for me to learn along my journey with Christ.  Maybe it was for me to learn to appreciate the small things. Take time to stop and look at the things you take for granted every day. Don't let bad weather or obstacles you face in life, steal your joy! I love how God sometimes, can just jump right off of a page and speak to you. My heart was open and I heard him loud and clear. Take time to have Joy, real joy, not by materialistic or superficial joy, but HIS joy that only he can create.  Sometimes as a busy mama, you just get lost and caught up in the busy things in life. It's hard to slow down and listen to him, really listen to him. I have been training myself to be more intentional in my day. That's a whole new blog post of its own, but now even my girls are seeing things they have never seen before and they too are experiencing the joy! Funny, how joy can be so contagious!!! When every one is excited for what is happening in their life, I truly believe God is in the presence, smiling, nodding along, as if to say, finally you're getting it!  Kind of like what we do to our own children, when we tell them something over and over again until one day that light bulb goes off and they get it!

Now lets fast forward to our personal joy. Miss. Riley Joy. I am sure people are tired of hearing me say this, but truly she has been nothing but a joy since she entered this world. She brings a smile to everyone's face and we soak her up as much as possible every single day. She is a light and we are learning what joy really looks like through her. Recently, we got a diagnosis for her of neurofibromatosis 1 and let me tell you,  don't go googling that one. If your interested in accurate information, go to the children's tumor foundation. They have tons of wonderful information. However, our future is so uncertain with her right now and we have lots of upcoming appointments for her and one would say you have a reason to not be joyful and be worried. Yes, maybe, but we have fully trusted her care to the one only Savior Jesus Christ since the moment I found out I was pregnant with her. I remember being so sick with her and making a promise to him, as long as this sweet baby got here and I could hold and kiss her sweet little face, I could handle whatever came my way with her. Now here she is and we know our joy with her comes from somewhere else. We may have bad days and so many upcoming uncertainties, but HE knows the future of her. We trust that and have joy in that.

James 1:2-4 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters. whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Break 2015

One of the best things about living back on the east coast, is that we are much closer to our families. With that being said, for spring break, we hit the road and headed to my hometown of Pensacola, Florida. We left a day early and stopped in to see some of our dearest friends in Charlotte, NC. We  played, ate, played some more and just had a great time. Did I mention, we love the Jackson family. Here are some pics from our week long vacation.

Seriously, us girls are so lucky to have these handsome fellas and Riley girl is already in love with little man. These guys were our cooks for the evening while us mama's hung out and caught up.

 We are never too short on entertainment with these middle girls. So much fun. Babies had to get in on the action too.
 Our sweet big girls giving each other one final goodbye. They have come a long way since being 4.
 Ahh, sweet Sara. Have I mentioned how much we love them. Well Sara is a gem and has one of the biggest hearts for the Lord that I know. As we say down south, she's a keeper. And this little man has us girls swooning. Not sure what happened to big man's photo, but if you think he's adorable, you should meet his big brother.
Needless to say that when we hit Florida, us girls were ready for the warmer weather and the beautiful beach. We were determined to make the most of our time. Even if it mean't everyone else felt chilly. =)
Caroline working on her strength and conditioning per coach instructions while on vacation. 
So my girls love, love, love their Uncle B and we were so thankful he took off the week to share in our fun. 
Home of the Blue Angels, Pensacola beaches allow for a free airshow of the demonstration team. Hubby took the opportunity to share in the moment with our G. I think he is officially homesick for those jets. Fighter guys and desk jobs, don't mix real well. We are crossing our fingers he finds his way back to the fleet after his time here at the Pentagon. 
Well here is our crew, plus a little friend we made on the beach. 
Sadly, Riley girl was not a fan of the beach. She did not care for the water or sand, so she just snuggled with myself or her sweet daddy under the tent. 
Not only did we hit the beaches, but we also went to the creek and did a little swimming and tree swinging. The big girls headed off with their Uncle B and Daddy and little and I hung out and watched the birds fly. Still not a fan of the sand, can't you tell?!?! 
So the one day we didn't hit the water, we went and toured the Lighthouse on NAS Pensacola. It was an awesome tour and we loved the view from up top!
In Easter preparation, the girls filled the eggs. They were great and Riley only ate every other piece ;-) Her favorite was the musketeer with marshmallow filling. A girl after my own heart! 
Next came egg dying with Grand daddy. Only in the south do you find a monogram kit with their egg dying kit. 
We couldn't stay away for long, back for some more sun. It really is our happy place.
A little night time bowling fun in the glow hours. Not to brag, but I won! =)
So not sure how I missed the group shot, but one of THE best things about being on the east coast is getting to celebrate our family's big moments, birthdays, weddings, pageants, etc. Here is Riley just hanging out in the big girl chair watching her cousins slide down the 18 foot slide. She looks so big here. Yay, Happy Birthday to our sweet P!!!
So not too many food posts, but this is God's gift to southern people. Crawfish, 10 pounds of them and not a one left.
Campfires and smore's
Sleepy baby hanging by the fire with this handsome guy! 
Easter Sunday was my favorite day there. I love being with all of my cousins, minus a couple not being  able to make it. It brings back so many memories of my own childhood and everything that I remember about being home. 

 My girls, plus their photo bomber cousin. Gotta love having boys around. They bring so much fun to the group.
 Well hilarious photo here. This is a family tradition of the crew getting their picture made on the church steps. We've always done this growing up. First us and now our kids. However, after a argument over who had whose bow, one sat in the back.  Love them and this. Although it is not perfect,  it really is perfect.
                                                                Family Easter photo.
 Another cousin tradition is to line the cousins up on the couch oldest to youngest. We were sad to be missing some of our crew this year, but hope next year they will be here too. We thought it was funny to recognize we have the oldest and youngest of the group present.  Cousins are your first best friends!

One of my favorite memories growing up, was going to the Waffle House on breakfast dates with my Daddy. Now we get to take my three girls and they are pretty much smitten with the fact that they care about how they like their bacon and waffles. What more could a girl want?!?!

Whew! That is a wrap from our spring break vacation. After traveling 18 hours back on Monday we are now back in school and starting into our routine. Grace began soccer this week and Caroline is pushing through her competition season and we are already counting down until summer break. We have lots planned with both sides of the family for summer and we couldn't be happier about that.