Family Wedding Weekend

Brian’s sister got married June 6. It was a very fun time with family and her wedding was absolutely beautiful! We recently got pictures back, so I am finally posting about it.

The rehearsal dinner was at Pete & Sam’s. Margo’s teacher kept the kids so we could actually eat a meal and talk with people. 🙂

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The wedding day was very exciting! The day was a bit crazy, because Brian was helping his dad in the morning and then had groomsmen activities that day. The kids didn’t have to be at the church until later, so we hung out together and I had to figure out how to put P’s tux together. I think I did okay! Brian came home for about an hour and half so that I could go get my hair done. I loved how she did it – two little braids on the sides and fastened in the back. My big curls stayed all night!

The wedding was at St. Louis and the kids did a fabulous job as ring bearer and flower girl. The reception was at The Columns downtown. Here are my iPhone pics!

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And the professional pics!

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Congrats to the happy couple!

Learning to Swim

We signed Preston up for swimming lessons this summer. He did one week of private lessons with a home-based instructor, then we took a week off. Then, he took from the same instructor, a Level 2/3 swimming class with 4 other kids.

The first week of private lessons were great! He went from not swimming at all, to swimming to pick up rings off the pool floor, and jumping off the diving board and easily swimming to the ladder. His main areas of weakness were swimming with the kickboard (this teaches him to put his face in and kick his legs at the top of the water) and remembering to take a breathe. He would jump off the diving board and swim under water all the way to the stairs. He really needed to come up for air! Here is the video I took on the last day of swimming:

We were excited to see how he would do in a couple weeks when we went back for Level 2/3! He was so excited about it and seemed want to do more in the pool. Well, on the first day of the group class, he was doing fine until she wanted him to swim from one end of the pool to the other. He had a complete meltdown and wouldn’t jump off the diving board, wouldn’t swim, etc. It was horrible to watch! I had to hide from him, because he was screaming at the top of his lungs “Mommy, save me! Save me!” I don’t know if it was a combo of him being scared, other kids watching, his super strong will, or what was going on, but he fell apart. No telling what the other parents in the class think! Unfortunately, that was pretty much how EVERY class went for the rest of the week. However, the teachers stuck with him and he finally did it. He still cried about it and was not happy with any of us, but he did it.

The thing is, he can swim and he CAN go the whole length. It is 100% mental.

He ended the last class with an emphatic “I’m never swimming again!” so that was super fun. After I talked to him, he said he actually did want to swim again, but didn’t want to swim the length of the pool. His teacher told me that her son had a major mental block when it came to swimming the length of the pool. She worked with him every day for 4 weeks before he would finally do it. My nerves could not take much more of hearing him scream, and I am not going to lie, I was pretty happy for the second week of lessons to be over! I will say my comfort level with his swimming is much better, and now at least if he jumps in or falls in, I know that he can save himself. SO, it looks like if we sign up again next year it will be for private lessons. Those seemed to be a much better fit for him, and we are only doing ONE week! 🙂 Oh well, in parenting you live and learn.

 

 

No itch here!

Happy 7th anniversary to my soul mate.

Each year that goes by we are more perfectly in sync and I am so thankful for our marriage and all that is has brought us. We read each other’s minds, anticipate needs, and work as a team. You are still my favorite person to be with, and I’m heart sick when you’re gone. From the first time we said I Love You when I was just 19, all the way to now, thanks for loving me no matter what. After our wedding, I had many people tell me that they had never seen such an ecstatic bride and groom. When the “life coordinating” slows down each day and kids are in bed and it’s just me and you, and we finally get time for the two of us to hash out our days and talk, it’s really true that those are my most peaceful and happy moments. We’ve grown up together, and truly lived our vows. It’s a privilege to be your wife!

You read this quote at your sister’s rehearsal dinner, and I also think it’s a great one:

“There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”
Homer, The Odyssey

Love you, B! Happy Anniversary!

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Another kitchen update – Floors, counters and exterior

The kitchen renovation continues! I think we probably have about a week and half left at this point. Here is the current state:

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We are thrilled with it so far, and truly these pictures don’t do it justice. I told my mom this kitchen reno is very much like the half marathons I’ve run in. I am doing great the whole time, exhibiting mental strength, feeling good, and then I get to mile 11-12 and I start shutting down. I lose the mental energy and suddenly the race becomes a thousand times harder. Those last two miles are killer! That is exactly how this is. I’ve been fine up until this point. Now that the finish line is near, I am losing my mental strength and just want a kitchen! I want easily accessible ice and milk! I want a SINK! Oh, how I have missed a decent sink. The small bathroom sink in the playroom doesn’t cut it. 🙂 I just want to be done and I want my house organized again. It’s incredibly difficult to come home after a long day of work, and the last crazy hours with children before bedtime (why are they the craziest before bedtime???) and never feel like you can relax in your own home! However, after my last half marathon, I told Brian I was pretty sure I could have kept going for another few miles. I am trying to remember the lessons running has taught me through this – the finish line will come and you won’t remember those last difficult miles!

Now for some details.

Countertops

I will preface this by saying that Brian and I have never lived in a house/apartment with anything other than formica. I’ve never lived anywhere that had tile floor in the kitchen!!! Only linoleum, so I basically don’t know what to do with myself over all this stone and there has been a big learning curve for me.

In selecting the counters, we went with a two-tone look. Different slabs for the L-shape and for the island. For the L-shape, we chose absolute black granite from India. I liked this particular slab, because there were no purple tones, just a few white crystals that would coordinate nicely with the marble on the island. That was a pretty easy choice. We decided to go with a leathered finish, because I’m not a huge fan of shiny granite. I know, that’s weird, but I prefer a matte look. I am so happy with how they turned out!

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When you touch the black counters, it feels liked a honed countertop. It is still smooth, but feels matte. I am obsessed with it. I keep walking in there just to touch it. Oh, and we went with beveled edges, which ended up being a great choice.

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We chose a 60/40 sink because it is the most functional. We used to have one big sink, and I imagined it would probably be similar to having a farm sink and I absolutely hated the functionality of it. I like having two separate spaces. I would have preferred the look of a true farm sink in our colonial house, but chose function over form! We’ve got three holes waiting on a instant hot water dispenser, soap dispenser and the one piece faucet.

For the island, we chose carrera marble. We looked at a few slabs of Brazilian marble, but ultimately liked the carrera the best. It is one big piece and I promise to post better pictures in the final kitchen post. It’s hard taking pictures because there is no lighting in here at all, except all the sunlight. The veining in it is beautiful! So much movement in the stone. We will apply a special sealer on it that also gives us a 15 year warranty.

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The floors

We went with 12″ x 24″ slate tiles. We chose slate because of the texture and unevenness. Also, it feels like a natural, outdoor material which I like. The slate has caused us the most issues so far. We way over ordered because slate varies so much I wanted to hand choose each one. Well, my choosiness ended up in defeat when we ran out of slate and had to order more. We need 20 more pieces that meet my standards. I just didn’t want any that had purple or red tones. Some of them have minimal brown portions, but I was okay with it since we’ll tie in a little brown with wood barstools and accessories. I have no idea when the rest of the slate is coming in, but appliances are on their way, so we went ahead and grouted what we had installed! We went with a dark gray grout. These pics are WITHOUT the sealer applied. The sealer will enhance the colors.

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We installed a window seat under the bay window with drawers for added storage. This is already such a sweet little spot. I can’t wait to decorate it! This is the view from the sink. Perfect for seeing the kids in the backyard, now that everything is so open.

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Patio and walkway

Landscaping is on the list – I promise! One day it will happen.

A few weeks into the project, we decided since we would be using the french doors a lot more now that they are off the kitchen (bringing in groceries, kids running in and out) so we decided to extend the tiny patio that existed and put in a more functional walkway. Last fall, we had a big gumball tree removed from this area so we have a lot more light and space now.

So, we installed a new lantern by the back doors that had more light. Then widened the patio enough to add a grill and a couple chairs, and put in a flagstone walkway with pebbles. It looks so much nicer to have all that awful monkey grass gone. We still want to do some work to this bed – add an herb garden, put in some nicer landscaping. The guys that ripped out the monkey grass got poison ivy (sorry!) but it is everywhere in our backyard! So, Brian and I are scared to do anything ourselves.

All we had was a monkey grass lined walkway with a few stones leading up. They ripped out the grass and put the metal dividers down. Also, note the top right of this picture. Our next door neighbors are having major work done to their house and even hosted us for dinner one night while we had no kitchen! Happy to see all the progress in our neighborhood with home updates, but our street looks a little crazy right now with all the work trucks coming and going!

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Then they installed the stones and laid the concrete. It will be so nice having a grill off of the kitchen! We’ve had to walk through two rooms from the kitchen to grill the last five years, so this is exciting for Brian.

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Eventually, Brian wants to add a deck to the side off of this area. In a few years! I swear our house will never be done. No rush though, because we the screened porch that we enjoy so much. But the kitchen will be done SOON! 🙂

 

P’s First Camping Trip

Back in May, Preston and Brian were invited by our neighbor-friends for an overnight “camping” trip in the courtyard of Christ Methodist. Preston was so excited and couldn’t wait to go! From what I hear, Preston and Tyler slept great (although the dad’s didn’t) and Caroline had fun playing with them until it was time to go home. They also stayed up the latest of all the kids, playing in the gym and on the playground until almost 11 p.m.! It was a free event, and highly recommend if they do one again! Thanks for the invite Brasfield family!

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Blue blankie needed a good washing after this trip!

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Off to Junior Kindergarten!

We celebrated Preston’s end of the year school program for the 3’s class. Because we ended up missing the Mother’s Day program and also the Christmas program, I was so excited about the end of the year program. It was so precious and the teachers in the preschool did a great job. Preston’s grandparents were there, and his aunts Mallory and Brittany. He did a great job performing and singing his songs on stage! Such a great way to end the year.

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Margo loved watching the show and clapped and cheered at the end!

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We also celebrated my cousin’s graduation from high school and my aunt came in from Pennsylvania. We had a nice time hanging out over there and at my aunt and uncle’s celebrating!

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Sister loves to eat!

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My mom and my aunts

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My brother and adorable sister-in-law who is expecting their first baby! I handed down all of my maternity clothes to her and it’s fun to see her wearing them!

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I love dressing little miss and doing her hair. So fun to have a girl!

A little weekend getaway with kids

With the kitchen reno in full swing and Brian heading to Atlanta for a work trip, we decided I would fly to Atlanta with the kids, meet Brian there and spend a weekend in Athens and Atlanta.We hadn’t been to Athens since 2009! We were excited to go to the Georgia v. Florida baseball game and walk around town. We were blessed with beautiful weather and we had such a fun time visiting again. We were gone three nights and stayed in three different hotels. The kids were awesome!

Not going to lie, a part of me was a bit nervous about flying by myself with the kids. But having flown internationally many times and seeing parents do that with toddlers, I thought how hard could a one-hour flight be? Other than sitting on the tarmac for an hour extra and running out of snacks, the kids were great and had the time of their lives flying. Preston was beside himself over the whole thing and loved every minute. Preston has always been an excellent traveler from the time he was born, so I knew he would be great. Margo was a wild card, but other than some major restlessness and kicking the woman sitting next to me (sorry!) because Margo wanted to run around, she did great. It was tough with her in my lap because she is so long legged. I brought Dum Dums with me in case of emergency and we had to break them out before the plane took off. Ha! Once we were in the air, they loved looking out the window and calmed a bit.

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Watching our plane come into the gate.

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We stayed Friday night for a brief overnight in Buckhead and got up early to head to Athens. We stayed on campus which was a fun experience! Even though I went to Tennessee and not Georgia for school, I have a special connection to the town because every few weeks in college I would visit Brian and we would have so many fun date nights. To me, it represents where we got to know each other and experience a lot of “firsts” so going back is always thrilling! Whereas Knoxville is dear to me for all the incredible friendships and growing up I experienced there. It is cool to sort of have two college towns you feel connected to.

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The scooter goes everywhere we go! It was a little tough navigating the old sidewalks in Athens, but he managed like a champ.

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The Dawgs lost the baseball game, but Preston got to meet Hairy Dawg. Another moment where he was ultimately beside himself.

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Preston wore himself out at the game and fell asleep on his foam finger!

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The kids became obsessed with hotels on this trip. Heading home Monday, Preston started crying. We asked him why he was crying and he said “Because I don’t want to go home! I want to stay in a hotel again!”

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No visit to Athens would be complete without a stop at Last Resort. We went to Sunday brunch and the kids loved their Mickey Mouse pancakes!

Sunday afternoon, we drove back to Atlanta and found a park in the city for the kids to burn some energy. They had fun running around we had fun playing with them. After that, we met our friends the Staub’s for dinner at their house in Smyrna. It was so sweet to see them and their precious kids! The kids had fun playing together too. We had a little love connection between Tripp and Margo. Poor Charlotte was a bit under the weather with allergies, but she stayed up and played as long as she could! Such a fun afternoon catching up!

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Showing us ninja moves.

IMG_8312 IMG_8321 IMG_8324 IMG_8287We headed home Monday and while we were happy to be home, it was so nice to spend a long weekend with the four of us. There is nothing we love more than family time, so it was great. As the kids grow, we can’t wait to take them to more and more places and on more adventures.