Memorial Day by the Lake

Boy did we need a day to relax, and this past Saturday provided just that!  Memorial day was one of my holidays to work this year.  But, somehow I also was scheduled to work 5 out of the last 6 days.  That’s right, I worked Thurs, Fri, Sun, Mon, Tues.  It was rough.  So when I knew I was off Saturday for the holiday weekend, I wanted to make the best of it.  Since the weather has been mild lately, I really wanted to have a day in the sun.  So Greg and I decided to go to my grandaddy’s lake with my mom and Dwayne and enjoy a peaceful day with the dogs down there.  What better way to spend Memorial day than enjoying the lake my Grandaddy (a veteran) built and remembering him.  It was great! The sun was shining all day, the dogs had a blast as usual, and I finally got to put on a bathing suit for the first time this season. 🙂May25-MemorialDayWknd (1) May25-MemorialDayWknd (3) May25-MemorialDayWknd (17)May25-MemorialDayWknd (26) May25-MemorialDayWknd (25)Me and mom pretty much hung out on the dock all day, listening to music and reading magazines.  We brought our friend Michael with us, and he and Greg spent hours out on the water fishing.  Michael caught a huge catfish!! Definitely the biggest fish I’ve seen out there, although Dwayne does a LOT of fishing out there and he’s caught a few big ones too!  Of course this was the most exciting part of the day…we decided to filet the fish and take it home to cook later 🙂  I have several memories of my Grandaddy skinning fish that he caught and brought home from this lake.May25-MemorialDayWknd (7)May25-MemorialDayWknd (8) May25-MemorialDayWknd (10) May25-MemorialDayWknd (11) May25-MemorialDayWknd (12) May25-MemorialDayWknd (14) May25-MemorialDayWknd (20)

May25-MemorialDayWknd (16)We grilled burgers that night and sat by the camper after a long day in the sun. We were all so content 🙂  Such a great day!May25-MemorialDayWknd (28)May25-MemorialDayWknd (22) May25-MemorialDayWknd (29)

Blessed Easter

Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne, Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.  Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee, and hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity!

What a wonderful Easter we had yesterday!  Oh how I love this holiday.  It does my heart good to be reminded of God’s beautiful story of the resurrection.  What a miraculous story!  Our LORD Jesus was beaten, mocked, spit on, yelled at, forced to carry his own cross and then nailed to it to die.  But He did not fight it.  He did not yell back.  He was silent, like a lamb to the slaughter.  Bearing the sins of the world so that we may have salvation.  Someone had to pay for these sins, and Jesus, who was perfect and without sin, took the burden upon Himself as God commanded, so that we could be saved.  But death was not the end.  After 3 days, He rose and walked and was alive!!  God gave Him life again.  He lives eternally as our Savior, on His throne with our Heavenly Father.  And what a blessing that we can join Him one day when our time comes.  Happy Easter, indeed!

We started our Easter morning out with a great service at church.  I love singing the older hymns.  They just fill my heart with happiness.  After church Greg and I went to my mom’s house to meet up with the rest of my family.  We all enjoyed lunch together and had a good time.  My mom is the best. She cooked dinner, set a beautiful table and even still had some Easter goodies for us 🙂IMG_5474 Mar31-Easter (11) Of course we took family pictures.  Nothing new 😉  Considering we grew up wearing Easter dresses my mom hand-made every year until we were probably 10 years old, we’re used to the family portrait sessions!  And the guys are quickly learning 😉IMG_5477 IMG_5467 IMG_5468 IMG_5469 IMG_5470 IMG_5473IMG_5482After lunch, Katie and Chuck scooted out to go spend time with the Abbey family and Greg and I did the same with the Boggs.  But not before having some fun watching these baby squirrels that hang out in mom’s kitchen window sill a lot these days (the mama is in the tree nearby)!  Seriously, HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!  Every year there seems to be a new set of babies hanging around 🙂

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Then we were off to hang out with the Boggs and these babies 🙂  Greg’s extended family all met up at aunt Kim’s house for yummy desserts.  It was fun to see them and love on these sweet babies!

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Happy blessed Easter everyone!

Happy Heart Day

I am such a sap for romantics!  I know Valentine’s Day may seem silly to some, and you’ll hear people say, “we show our love every day so we don’t let Valentine’s day be anything different.”  Well that’s great and all, but I soak up every bit of a chance to do something special with my sweetheart this time of year.  Yes, it’s a “made-up” holiday, and maybe it is just a big tactic for some sort of retail stimulus, but again, I’m a sap for any sort of romantic gesture.  So if declaring a holiday for sweethearts helps ignite those gestures, I’m all for it!  Let’s get real.  We all know life gets hectic.  The every day routines and demands of our jobs are always trying to eat up our time.  So to those of you who say, “we show our love everyday,” well I’m thrilled for you!  Really.  But I’m here to say I love Valentine’s day, and I hope it always means something special every year.  And yes, I hope my husband reads this and get’s the message 😉

Again, does that make me selfish?  I don’t think so.  It’s not like I’m asking for a diamonds every year.  You’d be amazed how just a simple bouquet of flowers makes my heart happy.  It’s that special day when it truly is the thought that counts.  It’s just that little reminder that says, “hey, I was thinking of you and this is how I want to show you.”  We all have different emotional needs.  Seriously. Did you know there are 5 love languages?  For some, gifts really are the language of love.  For others it’s physical touch…which is why Victoria’s Secret probably does really well this time of year 😉  And for me, it’s quality time.  I would even go further as to say it’s intentional time.  By that I mean sometimes it’s not enough just being available to spend time together, or always saying, “well, what do you want to do.”  Intentional quality time (to me), means actually putting effort towards spending time together.  There’s nothing I love more than when my husband actively plans something for us to do!  Sometimes it takes a little encouragement from myself, but hey, our men aren’t perfect.

So yesterday, I asked him if we could do our Valentine’s date last night (since we’d already decided we weren’t gonna fight the crazy crowds of actual Valentine’s day chaos).  He said sure, what do you want to do?  Of course in the back of my mind I’m wishing he would have already stepped up and made us some plans at this point.  But again, he’s not perfect and I can’t expect him to be.  I suggested a restaurant and figured that was that.  Well to my surprise, when I got home later, there was a beautiful bouquet of roses in the kitchen and he told me he called another restaurant instead and made us some reservations.  So last night we enjoyed a nice quiet date for two at Ruth’s Criss, and it was absolutely delicious!

Feb13-Valentines (1)I love spending one-on-one time with my husband.  His job has been really demanding lately, and I know he’s working really hard to benefit us, but I often feel like my time with him is very precious and never enough.  I try to be understanding, and it’s a learning process for us both.  So I’m very grateful for a special Valentine’s day.  I hope everyone feels loved today!

Crazy Busy December- part 2

Christmas morning started bright and early, as most Christmas mornings do.  However, instead of sleepily walking into the den, I put on my candy cane scrubs and rushed off to work.  At least traffic wasn’t bad 😉  (You gotta look on the bright side!) Working on Christmas day was fine.  I had a good assignment, sweet families, and I even got to watch some of the Christmas day parade (as I rocked a sweet baby!).  But I was ready for my 12 hours to be over as the shift came to an end.  I met up with Greg’s family after work for a quick dinner and gifts.  It was pretty calm. The kids were already in bed, and it wasn’t too long before we headed home and crashed in bed too.

On December 26th, we did our final Christmas celebration with my family at my mom and Dwayne’s house.  We all cooked food and fried a turkey again.  There was a little impromptu photo session at one point…

We decided to do gifts first while some of the food finished cooking. Some of the highlights included lots of great gift cards (Katie loves shopping at World Market, and Emily lucked out with 2 Francesca’s gift cards). Greg and I got more of our nice dinnerware from Pottery Barn.  Dwayne got some guide posts for the boat trailer from all us kids (sounds boring, but he was thrilled!).  Mom got a sonic jewelry cleaner (which ironically, I got as well from the Boggs!). We are gonna have some sparkling jewels this year!  Chuck has been wanting some new tires for his triathlon bike, so he got lots and lots of cold hard cash 😉   To throw him off, we even put our cash inside this box.  And yes, the item inside is now a part of our kitchen decor…(thank you Boggs family Dirty Santa, haha)

But the best gift (in my totally unbiased opinion), was this little pie-safe type of cabinet Katie found on one of our flea market shopping trips several months ago!  Ok, background story…we were shopping and literally as we are heading to the counter to check out she passes this cabinet and brings it to checkout.  It was only $20!!  And I immediately begged her if I could buy it instead. It would be perfect for holding all my canning goods.  I even offered to pay her more than the $20 she was about to pay for it.  Well, over the past several months I’ve been eying her kitchen to see if she was using it yet (which she wasn’t).  I even posted an Instagram pic one day of a bunch of salsa I had just canned, and made a comment about how little storage space we have and how MUCH storage space her kitchen has, and asking if she was using this little cabinet yet 😉  We much to my surprise, she decided to give it to me for Christmas!!  I was SO excited when her and Chuck brought it into the room 🙂  And I promised her I would can lots of goodies for her next summer!

After all the fun and games and food, we all settled into the den and watched one of Emily’s new movies…Wall Street.  It was a long, great, wonderful Christmas!  Can’t wait to see what another year has in store for us!

Crazy busy December- part 1

Boy, did December fly by!  One minute you’re decorating the house, hanging the trim, celebrating TWO birthdays, and then before you know it Christmas day has come and gone.  We did Christmas a little different this year.  It’s always a challenge trying to coordinate 2 nurses’ schedules.  Katie had to work Christmas Eve and I had to work Christmas day.  But, to tell you the truth, I think it worked out better this way than how we did it last year.  Last year I was off on Christmas so we spent much of the day going back and forth between Boggs and Graves family celebrations.  It was exhausting.  But this year, since I had to bow out of Christmas day celebrations, we were able to spread Christmas out a bit, and who doesn’t love doing Christmas 3 times! 😉
We celebrated part of Christmas with the Boggs on Sunday night with dinner and Dirty Santa.  The Boggs have a tradition of making a pajama party of it all, and this year they picked out reindeer attire for us all to wear.

The kids were their usual adorable selves.  I asked Evey to take a picture with me in front of the tree, and she made sure we got one in front of the “grown-up” tree and “her” tree. (unfortunately, I’m terrible at taking good self pics with my phone 🙁 )
We went ahead and exchanged some gifts, because I wanted to see the kids open their gifts from us (they’d be in bed by the time I got off work Christmas day), and Houston would be in Dothan for Christmas.  I was so happy Evey LOVED her toboggan we bought her during our trip to Nashville.  It looks SO cute on her!!  And we got Bennett a t-ball set, and thankfully found out that same night he can slug a baseball! So I’m sure he’ll get lots of enjoyment from it this spring.

After Sunday’s fun, Greg and I decided to do our Christmas together on Christmas Eve morning.  And I really enjoyed it actually.  It was kinda nice being done with our Christmas and then getting to relax and enjoy Christmas with everyone else over the next few days.  His big gift was some new hunting boots, which he loves.  He’s yet to go hunting, but believe me, he’s worn them. 😉  And I got a food vacuum system so I can vacuum seal meats, but also will come in handy with garden veggies next summer. OH! and I might have gifted myself one of the bracelets I also gave Jordan and Callen. I just loved it so much!  (It’s from POSH!) We did Christmas casserole for breakfast (my family tradition) and realized we were out of OJ to drink.  Well, Greg thought he would just run to Publix real quick to get some…in his pajamas.  I tried telling him it wasn’t actually Christmas morning, but he was certain no one would be in Publix on Christmas Eve.  HA!  When he got home, he told me it was packed!! That night on Christmas Eve those of us who could make it to the candlelight service at church (mom, Dwayne, Emily, Mr. and Mrs. Boggs, Evey, Greg and I) did that together and then we met up with Jordan, Eric, the babies and some cousins for dinner at Ichiban. 

Then Greg and I split ways.  He went to Jordan’s to “help Santa” 😉 and I went to my mom’s to hang out for a bit before having to get home and get to bed.

So the first part of Christmas was great!  I love having all my family together in one city.  I can’t image trying to juggle families in different cities or even different states. I’m so thankful God has kept us all together at this point.  I’m sure in the years to come that will not always be the case. But for now, it’s so nice being able to see everyone for the holidays!

It’s beginning…

…to look a lot like Christmas!  Our home is completely decorated for the holidays, and I love it so much 🙂  With all the lights and garland and wreaths and of course, the tree, the house feels so warm and cozy. I wish I could keep these decorations up all year round.  But then again, I guess it wouldn’t feel as special doing it that way.

Each year I try to arrange things a little bit different (if I can), just to mix things up a little.  Obviously, the tree will always go in the same spot.  And since we don’t have a fireplace with a mantle, I make do using the media stand.  Oh how I wish we had a fireplace and a mantle!

Anyways, let’s do a little Christmas home tour 2012!

These are some of the newest ornaments on our tree this year.  The first 2 are from our anniversary trip to Charleston.  Then I got one for each of the dogs, Lily, Jack and Sophie.

This one I got on our Disney trip in January 2012 (it was exactly 1 year after we had gotten engaged on our Disney trip 2011).  So, I got this ornament and had it engraved to say “Engaged” and “01-08-2011” on either side of the middle pendant.

And these little jingle bell ornaments came from my Nana’s house.  I love the little things I have of hers 🙂

I asked my mom if I could have a few items from her Christmas decorations that I remember being in our house growing up.  She and I both know there’s no way she can put all her decorations out that she has collected over the years.  So, she let me have a few memorable pieces…and I love seeing them around our own house now!

But I think my favorite thing this year is the display of vintage Christmas prints I printed and framed for the dining room.  The botanicals that normally hang there just didn’t seem to fit for the holiday season.  So I found some vintage prints online, cropped and edited them to fit in the dining room frames, and I think they look GREAT in the dining room!  There’s an elegance to them that fits perfectly with the holiday decor.

Where did November go?

The month of November flew by!  How have I gone almost 3 weeks without writing a blog post??  Well, just as I said…November was here and now it’s almost gone.  Whew.  But to be honest, there really hasn’t been much to write about this month.  We had our friends in town for their baby shower the first weekend, and then I worked (and even picked up overtime) the next weekend.  Greg went to Kentucky for 5 days to go to the Samford vs. Kentucky basketball and football game.  He and Aidan rode up together, and even the rest of the Boggs clan made a trip of it.  I had to work some of those days, so I stayed in Birmingham.  I did NOT enjoy being home without Greg for that long.  Especially since I didn’t have a lot going on to keep me busy.  I might have gotten a little moody from missing my hubs 🙁

Before we knew it, it was Thanksgiving week.  Last year we tried to incorporate ALL our families in Thanksgiving, and I think it stressed some of us (cough, Katie) out a little bit 😉  Last year we did a Graves family lunch on Wednesday, then Katie and Chuck went out of town with his family on Thursday, while Greg and I (plus mom, Dwayne and Emily) went to Georgia for the Boggs’ Thanksgiving.  And even last year at Christmas it got a little chaotic trying to juggle all our families, so I think we’ve realized it becomes a little stressful when you’re trying to be with everyone and be a part of everyone’s holidays all at the same time.  So this year we talked about it and just decided since neither I nor Katie had to work Thanksgiving this year we would just do a Graves Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday and not try to juggle time with our in-laws this time.  (Don’t get us wrong, we love our in-laws!)  But, sometimes you just have to make a choice.  Such is the married life 😉

Sooo…Thursday we all went over to my mom’s house and celebrated Thanksgiving together.  Katie and I cooked some sides, mom cooked a ham and desserts, and we gave the guys the job of frying the turkey.  I decided to cook sweet potato casserole for the first time (and it turned out really yummy!).  It really was such a great day!

 





After lunch I wanted to get some family pics of Greg and me with the dogs to use for a Christmas card.  Well we had also talked about going shooting (Emily had recently learned how to shoot a shotgun).  So we decided to knock out both at the same time.  We loaded up the dogs, and the whole family went out to the woods for a little family bonding…shotguns in hand 😉  It turned out to be a LOT of fun!!  Dwayne brought 2 of his guns out too, and we all got to take shots.  We shot skeet and coke cans. It was so random, but we stayed out till it got dark and we couldn’t shoot anymore!



HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Welcome fall

Fall is here!  I’m so excited.  We are getting closer to cooler weather, which means I can almost bust out the boots and scarves.  And of course I loooove the holidays creeping around the corner.  I’ve been itching to get my fall decor out, so last weekend I packed up my summer decor and filled my house with pumpkins and gourds, cinnamon scented candles and fun little Halloween items.  But first, I needed to get some pumpkins.  Mom, Katie and I went to the Finely Avenue Farmers Market and they have soooo many pumpkins to choose from.  We spent a good hour and a half picking out pumpkins, and man, did we do some damage.

 
 

 Yep, that’s our load in the car.  Kind of outrageous, but they’re so pretty 🙂  And now for a little home tour for fall 2012…

 
 
 

Happy 4th!

Would you believe it if I told you all these pictures came off my camera!?  Yep! It’s true. I just increased the contrast a bit to bring out the colors, but that’s it!  Independence day was a bit uneventful for me this year.  It was my holiday to work, and being on a Wednesday, it didn’t allow for any long 4th of July weekends.  But, Tuesday night Greg and I joined my family at Hoover Country Club for their annual fireworks.  I’ve always loved going to this show because you get to see the fireworks go off from only about 50 yards away.  So they are HUGE and right above our heads.

We realized once we got there that Greg had never been to a HCC firework show.  Last year we watched them at my friend Dana’s house (who lives right at the bottom of the hill from Vulcan).  The year before I would have had to work the 4th, and the first 4th of July we had together we went to his parents’ house at the lake.  Greg was pretty impressed.  Like I said, they are pretty incredible!

 
 
 

Happy Easter

We woke up Easter morning in Chattanooga, TN after our friends Aidan and Jinna Anne’s wedding on Saturday night.  We made record time driving back to Birmingham to make it to lunch with our families by noon.  It was a great afternoon.  Kim and Kendall had setup a long table in the driveway for us all to sit around and enjoy lunch.  We ate delicious home-cooking and had a great time visiting with everyone.  The kids were their usual silly adorable selves.  My mom, Dwayne and sisters were there too!  Katie and Chuck couldn’t stay but it was good to see them even if it was brief.  Emily had her friend Mary Kate home with her for the weekend because Mary Kate is from Augusta, GA.  And it’s the Masters golf tournament this weekend.  And yep, Mary Kate’s family rents out their house during the Masters to people attending the tournament.  So she came to Birmingham for Easter weekend.

I was sad we couldn’t make it to church this morning, but grateful to be able to spend time with our families today.  I love our families.  We all get along really well, and I enjoy being able to see everyone on holidays. 

Evey and Bennett quickly become center of attention as most grand-babies do 😉 And Cate is still sleeping most of the time, so she just gets held and passed around.
 
Do we have some cute nieces and nephew, or what!?

We spent the rest of the day laying on the couch watching the Masters.  It’s been a long busy weekend and we are exhausted.  I’ve got to get back to work tomorrow so I’m sure it’ll be an early night for us as well.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend as well with families and loved ones.  I’m so thankful for the blessings God has given us.  Sometimes I need to be reminded how blessed I truly am.  God has been so good to us and I pray I never forget that.  I have a wonderful husband who I am grateful to have by my side.  Happy Easter and happy 6 month anniversary to us!