Monday, August 22, 2016

Happiness is...

To fight off the Monday blues, a little list of things that make me happy at this stage of my life: 

Fresh flowers
Date nights with my hub
Life Group
My children laughing together
Fragrant candles
Warm laundry
Cucumber vodka in the summer
Cookie dough 
Friday nights on the couch
Pure Barre
Baby snuggles
Momma dates with my kiddos
Banks' passion for football
A clean house
Photodocumenting my days
Girl weekends
Quiet time in the mornings
Reading blogs
Beach days
Crab legs and mashed potatoes
Haircuts for me
Painted nails
A good book
Raleigh's ringlets
Early bedtimes
Amazon Prime
Doing nice things for others
Red wine in the Fall
Good music
Board games
Feeling healthy
Andy Stanley's sermons
Singing in the car alone 
Harrison's personality
Clemson Tigers
Pumpkin-spiced anything
Being outdoors
Meek cheeks
Lazy Sundays
Christmas music
My village

Take that, Monday! I feel better already. :) 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Cheers to the Weekend, Hello First Grade Edition

Whelp. Our school year has officially started! And with it, alarm clocks, packed lunches, signed folders, and a quieter, lonelier (albeit more productive) home. Although Raleigh and Harrison won't go to school until after Labor Day, Banks began first grade on Monday and hasn't looked back! So. Here's what we're saying CHEERS to this week/end:

A great first week in first grade. Banks had an awesome week! We drove him to school on Monday morning, and I walked him in (although he asked to ride the bus on the first morning of school when he goes to second grade next year). Initially, a little piece of my heart broke when, as we started walking into the school, he shimmied his little hand out of mine. I stopped to talk to a friend for a moment and he kept walking. Siiiiiiigh. But then!!! Oh, but then, I saw him stopped, halfway down the hallway, looking for me. As I caught back up to him he grabbed tightly around my arm and then re-grabbed my hand. Heart mended! I know it won't always be this way, but for now, I will hold his hand every chance I get! Then, he walked straight into his class and was greeted with a big smile and a "Hi Banks!" from his new teacher. With that, the school year began. We are hoping for a great year!

Downtime with the little two. Raleigh, Harrison, and I have been taking it easy this week while at home, which has included plenty of outdoor play and picnics, reading, snuggling, etc. It has been a nice, slow introduction back into the early school schedule.

Gymnastics fun. Raleigh is really loving gymnastics so far and had another great class earlier this week. Then, we came home and practiced cartwheels and handstands in the back yard, with ol' Momma here even throwing a front handspring or two. Not sure I could whip the back handspring or tuck back out after so many years of retirement ;) but it sure is fun reliving the old days with my girl!

Tupperware success. Have I mentioned before a time or two how much I adore our village--the people who love us for all our faults, who are walking alongside us and doing this life thing together? Last Friday, a wonderful group of women gathered for an awesome evening of Tupperware partying, with proceeds going toward our adoption fundraising. Y'all. My dear friend Jenna outdid herself. There were all kinds of prizes and incentives (e.g., four floor seat tickets to the "I Love the 90s" concert--as in Color Me Bad, Vanilla Ice, Salt 'N Peppa, and more, coming together for 90s rad-ness). :) What's more, she had 38 boxes of donuts ready and waiting for each of us mommas to take home, so that breakfast would be easily served for our kiddos in the morning following our night of Tupperware shenanigans. 

Additionally, my amazing friend, Emily, launched a pre-sale of a gorgeous, brand new Reece Blaire bracelet we designed together, "The Luton." Emily and Kaitlyn, the owners of Reece Blaire, so kindly and selflessly offered to create the bracelet and have all proceeds go directly toward our adoption. I'll talk more about this gorgeous piece in a future post, but y'all, it brings tears to my eyes seeing how many people are rallying around us to help bring our girl home. I love you all with all my heart! 

Future Falcons. As of tonight, Banks is officially a "Future Falcon." The high school we are zoned for is located directly next to our neighborhood--it's where he took his football camp this summer. They have a program for kids who love football (umm...hello, Banks!) to basically become junior members of the Varsity team. They will be assigned a senior player for the season and will get a tshirt to wear with their player's number on the back. At all home games, they will get to run out of the tunnnel and onto the field with the players, even having their names announced over the loud speaker. Later in the season, they will get to play in a flag football. You could say Banks is just a leeeeeeeetle excited about it! So, tonight, we'll be heading to the Nation Ford High School football game. And here's an added bonus: they are playing MY old high school rival, the Irmo Yellow Jackets. Ha! It should be a fun family affair. :) 

And with that, TGIF! We will be spending a little time with Clay's brother and my sister "in law" this weekend while they are in town for business, heading to a birthday pool party on Sunday afternoon, and I'll have my first Sunday morning with my new little kiddo LifeGroup at church-hooray! Other than that, we are plan free and happy as can be. :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

'Twas The Night Before School

'Twas the night before school
And all through the town
New bookbags were ready
The beds all turned down.

Supplies had been purchased
And school lunches made
Before the moon rose,
One last night of play.

Alarm clocks were set 
And kids got in bed
As memories of summer
Danced through their heads.

It's time for a new year
of learning and fun
New friends and new teachers
It's all just begun!

So dream well, my sweet babies, 
And please always know 
My heart will be with you
Wherever you go.

First Grade or bust! Let's do this thing, Bankster! 

With All My Heart,


Friday, August 12, 2016

Cheers to the Weekend, So Long Summer Edition

I'll get in at least one blog post per week if it kills me! Whew. Every spare minute this week has been taken up with baking and decorating138 back-to-school cookies for local friends and neighbors to give to their new teachers once school starts back next week. It has taken forrrrrrevvvvvverrrrr but I know so many very deserving teachers will enjoy their surprise treats next week. :)

Anywho. A quick post to hightlight what I'm CHEERSing this week/end:

Girls lake/mountain weekend. Last weekend, six girlfriends and I headed to our friend, Jenna's, parents' lake/mountain house in Tennessee. I don't think we could have had a better time. Her parents spoiled us with fireside breakfast and dinner on Saturday and we spent the rest of the day boating and hiking and tubing and relaxing and laughing harder than I've laughed in a long time. It was so, so fun and so good for the soul. A few pics from our adventures:  


Gymnastics. My Raleigh Jane decided she wanted to do gymnastics instead of dance this year. So, earlier this week, Rals had her first class and it was a hit! She loved it, did really well, and was so happy to see one of her buddies is in her class! It's been really fun to watch the women's gymnastics this week with her, too, and see so many amazing athletes bring home the gold. :)

1st grade. As I mentioned, Banks returns to school next week. So. Yesterday, we got to go meet his new teacher, take her a personalized cookie bundle, and then stop for a Momma (ice cream) Date on the way home. It's going to be a great year!

1st birthdays. My precious nephew, Wilson, turns the big 0-1 tomorrow. We are sending all our love and well-wishes that he has a monsterific time at his party. We don't know what we ever did without this sweet boy! 

Week o' fun. Because this was our last week of summer, we wanted to squeeze in as much fun as possible! This meant some fun crafting, a family football game, a playroom slumber party, a family night at the pool, and a super fun evening at our Greenway last night, where there were food trucks, live music, face painting, games for the kids, and more. We saw so many sweet friends of all ages there and had a great time! 

Tupperware par-tay. Say what?! You read that right! I am PUMPED for the AWESOME Tupperware party one of my nearest and dearest (fist bump to you, Jenna <3) is throwing as an adoption fundraiser for us tonight. Y'all. She has working so hard to pull this shindig together and has all kinds of awesome surprises planned. And there is a big turnout expected (35+) of lots of awesome women. I cannot WAIT!!! Love you so much, Jenna. We are so, so blessed to have you and your amazing family in our lives. Now, let's party, Tupperware style!

And on that note, we are off to kick off our last weekend of summer! Have a great one!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cheers to the Weekend, Random Bits Edition

Geez Louise. I just cannot find time to squeeze in more than one blog post right now, mainly because I am now using the time I typically use to write to bake and decorate cookies for our adoption fundraising instead. I miss getting to write more than these summary Friday posts. One of these days, I'll actually be able to write more meaningful posts. For now, I continue on with my Friday Cheers posts so that I can at least document what's happening in our lives as the weeks fly by at breakneck speed. 

That being said, here's what I'm saying CHEERS to this week/end:

Football season. It is no secret my hub and I are huge college football fans and we also love our Carolina Panthers, as do my kiddos, especially our football-obsessed, Banks. Last year, my sweet friend invited he and I to join her at a Panthers practice and we were so excited to get to do it again this year. We were able to watch the practice (which is currently at Wofford College in Spartanburg seeing as how the Panthers are smack in the middle of training camp) from the sidelines and then meet and get autographs from the players afterwards. Several of the players were SO sweet to even play a little ball with my kiddos, including our favorite player, kicker Graham Gano. :) And as a bonus, we were on Sports Center the following morning! They had been covering the Panthers camp that day and apparently did some filming while my kiddos were getting autographs from Cam. Such a fun and special day!

Girlfriend time. My friends have always been a vital part of my life, and I am so lucky to have so many wonderful women in my village from all ages and stages of my life. I so strongly feel that good girlfriends are an invaluable part of life, as is making time with them and for them. All that to say, this week/end has been/will be chock full of awesome girlfriend time! First, three of my favorite mommas and I ventured out to see "Bad Moms" for a mid-week Momma's Night Out. And y'all. OhmydearLord. It was so freaking funny. Vulgar beyond belief but also laugh-out-loud funny. I was cracking up for pretty much the whole movie! 

And now, I am heading out in just a few hours for a much-needed girls weekend away with six other (awesome!) women. This is our second annual trip to my dear friend's mountain/lake house, and I CAN.NOT.WAIT. Last year, her gracious parents so kindly cooked us breakfast and dinner over an open fire while we sat outside among the gorgeous scenery. We spent the day lounging in a river having beverages and great girl talk and then being flung all over the place while tubing behind her dad's boat. Oh, and did I mention there is ABSOLUTELY NO CELL SERVICE in this Tennessee spot we'll be all weekend. I may be looking forward to that the most--being totally off the grid for a couple of days. It'll be hard to top the amazing time we had last year, but we will certainly try!!! 

Serial. Have y'all heard of this podcast? I am not typically a podcast kind of girl, but two of my sistas were raving about this and I just had to see what all the fuss was about. Basically, the series takes 11 to 12 episodes to deeply explore a real-life story line. The first season was about the conviction of a high school student who allegedly murdered his girlfriend. Or did he? He's been in jail for 16 years because of it, and the entire season is beyond fascinating. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't wait to hear the next episode. It was like listening to the most captivating "Dateline" episode ever. The second season, which I just finished, was all about Bowe Bergdahl (remember him--the solider who walked off his post and was captured and held by the Taliban for five years?). It was so interesting--hearing his perspective as well as those of many, many other soldiers and political officials from never-before-heard interviews. There are even interviews with members of the Taliban. So, anytime this summer I have been decorating cookies or driving to/from Pure Barre classes or lounging on the beach, you can bet your bottom dollar I was listening to Serial. Now, I need a new season of it to start! You should definitely check it out--oh, and it's free. :) 

Summer television. Between "Big Brother" and "The Bachelorette" and "Bachelor in Paradise," I am definitely getting my fill of mindless, can't-turn-away, entertaining, trainwreck tv. And I love it!

Children's LifeGroups. Our church is big on the sentiment that the deepening of our faith happens in circles not rows. In other words, it's great to come and listen and learn in church but our relationship with Christ deepens when we share fellowship with others. I can certainly attest to this. Our couples LifeGroup, which will be four years old this Fall, has been life-changing for my hub and me and has really deepened our faith while giving us a strong network of friends who we adore and love doing life with. Our church believes this is just as important for littles, and I am thrilled to say that I will be co-leading my own children's LifeGroup starting this Fall. I can't wait!

So. How's that for a random post? Ha! Y'all have a great weekend, and I'll be back next week, hopefully more than just on Friday. :)