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Showing posts from April, 2013

Books I Read in April (#9-10)

Here is a recap of the books that I read in the month of April.
First up was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Typically speaking, for me books always trump movies. The Wizard of Oz is an outlier in that I love the 1939 movie more than the book.Maybe it is just because I grew up watching the movie and never got around to reading the book, but the book is really different and I felt like the screen did a better job of telling the story. I have not seen the recent remake, Oz the Great and Powerfulso I can't say if it did the book (or original movie) justice. But this is one case in which I loved the movie more than the book. I gave this book a 3/5 on Goodreads.


My second book in the month of April was the third in the Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin. The Strength of His Hand continues the story of King Hezekiah from the Bible. While it is a fictional account of history (my favorite genre), it did a great job of bringing to life the story of the kings and the p…

High Point: Cheaha Mountain

As a part of our first camping trip with Jack, we decided to hit up the highest point in Alabama
in an effort to work toward visiting the highest points in all 50 states {No.5 on my life list}.


Cheaha State Park in the Talledega Forest is home to Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 ft above sea level.


We actually camped on the ridge that is home to this high point. First thing in the morning, we walked from our campsite, up the hill to the observation tower. Since we were the only people there, we let Sophie come up into the tower with us where we had 360ยบ views of the surrounding forest. This was probably the easiest high point I have been to {to date anyways}.


After we packed up camp, we drove around to see what else was in the park.


We found a short trail to Bald Rock that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and offered more great views. Jack continues to be a trooper as we drag him on various hikes.


One of these days he is going to insist on doing the hikin…

First Camping Trip with Baby

Daniel and I just got home from our first overnight camping trip with our 1.5 year old. How did it go, you might ask. Well, here is an update that pertains specifically to camping. I will have a follow up post later about our hike.


Since becoming a parent, I have really had to learn how to adjust my expectations for any major event. Typically Daniel and I choose to continue to do things we love, but we find ways to incorporate Jack. We have also learned that the best thing for us is to have a general game plan and then just go with the flow.


In another life, Daniel and I would go on overnight backpacking trips and avoid campgrounds like the plague. On this camping trip, we decided to compromise. We went to a campground that had "semi-primitive" sites {i.e. they had water, but no electricity} but we could still drive to the site.


Additionally, we decided to make things simple by not cooking at camp. We grabbed Chick-fil-a on our way to camp and then ate breakfast at the par…

Throwback Thursday: Camping

Back in the day we used to camp and hike. A lot. When we were first married, it was an every weekend affair. After we moved to Charlotte, we still did it but the regularity diminished – thank you house renovation. In recent years (besides living in a campground for 3 months), camping has become more of a yearly thing, if that. Case in point, our last camping trip was to the Sipsey Wilderness in 2011.

So I can't tell you how excited I am that we are doing a quick overnight camping trip this Friday. It will be a first for Jack – really for all of us since we have never camped with a baby before. I cannot wait.

I thought I would share a couple of our early camping experiences with you...



One of our very first camping trips (after we were married) was to the Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness Area located south east of Sparta, TN. On this particular trip, Daniel's sister Amy came with us. It was July, 2003 and I believe we were celebrating Independence Day. The main thing I remember from…

See Jack {mid March 2013}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.


See Jack sit backwards on his tricycle. {mid March}

See Jack play peek-a-boo in the car. {mid March}


See Jack practice (or not practice) following instructions.
{mid March}


See Jack play in a box. 
{mid March}


See Jack play with his soccer ball. Ball is one of the newer words he currently says.
{mid March}

The "Three Year" Theory

I have this theory that it takes about 2-3 years to feel like you belong somewhere, like you are a part of the community, that you have a place. Being someone who has moved about 12 times in my life, I think I have a pretty good grasp of what it means to try to fit in somewhere new. I even wrote about this back in 2008.


It is hard to believe, but we have been in our current home for 2.5 years and Daniel has been at his current job for a little over 3 years. Looking back, the 3-year time frame has once again held true. 


At first I felt lost and alone. It has been hard to make new friends while living in a small (very small) rural town. But it was also hard to make friends in a huge city like Charlotte, NC. This time around has been different in that we have a baby in our mix, but it still has taken almost 3 years to begin to feel plugged in.


In the past couple of years, we have been blessed to make friends in not one, but two cities: Huntsville, AL and Chattanooga, TN. I am so thankful …

See Jack {early March 2013}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.


See Jack stack blocks. {early March}
See Jack dip fries at Five Guys. The first few times he did this, he would dip the and then put the undipped end in his mouth. He has since figured out how to dip and then eat the ketchup off of the dipped end. {early March}


See Jack zone out while watching YouTube videos with his daddy.
This is one of his favorite things to do.
{early March}


See Jack say "book" and "wow" – he is becoming quite the little imitator these days and learning new words all of the time.
{early March}


See Jack practice his music skills.
{early March}

When I am afraid...

The world is a scary place. There is so much that is out of our control – for someone like me who likes to be in control, this is tough. It would be so easy to stay home and not engage with this crazy, scary world. But if we chose to hide, we would miss out on experiences and relationships and opportunities. Even with all of the evil around us, I believe that the good outweighs the bad. 

I can't imagine the terror felt by those who were at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Having run a half marathon, I can only try to imagine the chaos and confusion that ensued, especially for the runners who were already physically and mentally exhausted as they came to the end of their race.

This quote from Mr. Rogers encourages me at a time like this.


{via Huff Post Parents}
It reminds me that good people exist and they are willing to help others, even in the face of difficult situations. Even those who were exhausted from having run 26.2 miles were willing to rally to help those who were hurt.
I am a…

While We Were Away...

While we were away, Jack was having a great time with his Nana (Daniel's mom), his Aunt and his Great Grandmother. We had a couple of texts back and forth, but it was nice to know that he was in good hands and that we didn't have to check in. We could just enjoy our retreat.


The funniest text correspondence was between me and Daniel's sister, Amy:
We laid Jack down about 15 minutes ago. No crying. He just laid his little head down and hugged pooh. Sweet boy.
My response:
Great. We thought it would be pretty easy :) Hoping "pooh" was a stuffed animal.
Saturday morning we received a cute photo of Jack at breakfast time from his Nana.

I know that Jack enjoyed all of the extra attention and it was great to be able to go spend some time on our own. Jack even convinced his Aunt Amy to practice high fives with him – he's getting pretty good at it.


Saturday evening Jack was happy to get to eat cake as we celebrated Grandmother and Amy's birthdays. Our boy loves cake – h…

Spring Retreat

It has been several years since Daniel and I had the opportunity to attend a retreat. I think our time in Cookeville, TN (8 years ago?!?) may have been the last time we got to have some time to reflect and grow in a retreat-type of setting.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to go and spend some time getting closer to our class from church by studying God's word together and sharing a time of fellowship.


{this was the picture texted to us at breakfast on Saturday morning}
This was the first time Daniel and I have left Jack for more than a few hours. Jack was able to spend some quality time with his Nana, Aunts and Great Grandmother while Daniel and I did our quick overnight trip down to the Hargis YMCA camp in Birmingham, AL. 

The general focus of the retreat was building community with a specific look at how prayer, our calling and the need to encourage one another play into the community that we are a part of. Daniel and I felt blessed by this time with this group of friends and…

See Jack {late February/early March 2013}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

See Jack discover how to open and close the straw on his sippy cup. {late February}


See Jack attempt to put on his sweater.
{late February}


See Jack eat with a spoon. He gets better at this skill with each passing day.
{late February}


See Jack climb into achair for the first time.
{late February}


See Jack play peek-a-boo with his daddy's hat.
{early March}


See Jack discover the joy of playing with a tape measure.
I love his sweet giggles.
{early March}

Jack in the Garage

Jack is definitely his father's son. He LOVES the garage. We have been spending more of our time outside (he loves the outdoors too), but if the garage is accessible, watch out! He will be in the garage in a heartbeat.


He loves to explore and look at all of the (many) tools and touch as many things as we will let him. Daniel encourages this, even letting him turn the handle on the vice that is attached to the work table.

He really enjoys it if we set him on Daniel's little mechanic stool and spin him in circles. If we don't sit him on the stool, he will stand beside it and spin the seat himself. He also likes to look under the stool – so inquisitive.


Daniel has been spending a lot of time in the garage lately. He is in the process of upgrading(?) the sound system in his car. This involved taking apart every door panel, removing the back seats and disassembling the dashboard. Recently Jack has been hanging out in the car with Daniel, observing as he puts everything back togeth…