I am Loving...

There are a few things I am not loving so much right now--this rainy weather, Bert's 14 hour work days, having to give Gillie back this weekend, spending 3 hrs at the vet finding out Bridget has a torn ACL, and that Loulie has gone to bed every night for two weeks at 11 and then woken up at least once in the middle of the night. How is it that I haven't had a newborn in 4 years and yet my sob story is always "I never get sleep." In lieu of my brief complaining (thanks for letting me get that off my chest), my "Love List" far outweighs any negative I might have going on.

Right now, I am loving..

- That we can finally announce that my sister is having a baby!!!!!!!!!!! Not due until Jan 9th so this might be the longest pregnancy ever. Loulie asks me everyday when Aunt Meme's baby is going to get here. Seriously, everyday! I cannot wait to hold that sweet little baby. I am not so secretly hoping for a boy since our family has never had one but obviously, I love girls and really just hope the baby is a big, healthy ball of squish. I'm pretty sure that being an aunt is going to be the greatest thing ever--I get all the benefits of loving on a sweet baby without raging hormones, sleepless nights or saving for college.

- The Office reruns on Netflix. How in the world did I go the past 8 years without getting into this show? Have I really been watching Grey's Anatomy instead of Steve Carrell every Thursday night? A friend posted some comment about the series finale on Facebook and I decided to check out the old shows (there is nothing on in the summer anyway). Obsessed! Jim and Pam are now in my top five favorite couples. Love the dry humor, the sexual innuendos, the random cast, LOVE IT!

- That tomorrow I am leaving for a week with Loulie to go on our annual Southern Tour (SC to Newnan to Atlanta to Knoxville to Charleston). I'm a little nervous about the long hours in the car alone with Loulie but I cannot wait to see my friends and their families and my parents. 

- The 9 day deep cleanse I just finished! I tried it at the suggestion of a friend after feeling sluggish and puffy all month. Amazing results--soooo much more energy, lost lbs and inches, and my skin is clearer. Definitely explaining in more detail in another post. I would recommend to anyone.

- A new favorite author, Rainbow Rowell. I just picked up her recent book from the library. It is like a John Hughes movie to the Nth. Seriously, the cutest misfit love story set in the 80s. You will love it from page one. The good news is she already has another book coming out with just as endearing characters and apparently as unique a plot. I love finding new authors--it's always nice to have a few favorites that you know you will enjoy their book when you pick it up. 

- That I won the $25 Trader Joe's gift card for bringing my own bag this week. I was beginning to think they never pick a winner. I enter every week and have never won. $25 at TJ's will be spent before I can even get past the flower section but there are few places where I would rather have free $!

- That 105 Charleston high schoolers left for Young Life camp this week. It's the first time in years that the number has been this high. We have been asked to pray for a specific few and I would love for anyone to join me in that. I cannot wait to see where God will move this week and how he will work in their lives when they return. We really feel like James Island is home and have started to try to dig more into the community. Of all the things we try to involve our family in, this mission gives me the most hope. That lost high school kids have an opportunity to hear about Jesus because some college kids have decided to commit their time to hanging out with them--it's just awesome! And I am so blessed to get to play some very small part in it.

So, that's it for now. I have a lot of packing left!

Happy Fourth Week!


Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend was near perfect. Yes, Bert had to go into work everyday but thanks to technology and new monitoring systems, we were given much more time with daddy on a holiday weekend than in years past. I woke up Friday with all the grief of the previous days gone. It was gorgeous weather, unusually cool for Charleston. That coupled with kick offs for all the quintessential Charleston summer events, I couldn't have asked for a better start to summer.
I love that we have traditions with Loulie as well as other family friends that we now anticipate. It's a benefit that I didn't realize would come with Loulie getting older and it's a joy to see she and her friends at the same events year after year but experiencing it a new stage in maturity. Friday we packed up our picnic for the first of hopefully many Freshfields Concerts with friends down at Kiawah. I wish I had taken pictures because watching all those girls jam in front of the band was hilarious!  Loulie stayed front and center all night and never quit dancing!
Saturday we woke Bert up bright and early. I'm sure after a night of beer drinking, he loved having all three girls jump on the bed to T Swift. He finally gave in and got up to take us to the Piccolo Spoletto Kid's Festival, probably one of my favorite events of the year...
 All the children were mesmerized by this fairy that didn't say a word but sprinkled magic dust (glitter) on all the kids. This would have been Loulie's favorite part had we not then run into the pony rides, wall painting, face painting, a marching band parade and music performances. The downtown farmer's market now has an insane amount of food trucks compared to last year. Loulie is obsessed with Tianna, the Disney princess from New Orleans. She has asked 100 times what "Tianna's man catching beignets" are so we waited in line forever so that she could try that yummy goodness. Needless to say, she didn't really want to share.  

 On Sunday, we played hookie from church to attend another one of our favorite events. The Abominable Feed & Seed Marching Band from Atlanta comes every year and performs a patriotic concert on the front steps of the U.S. Customs House. It is both crazy and heartwarming. There's a part where they play the song for each arm of the military and those that serve(d) stand up--lump  in throat moment for sure. Afterwards we headed to Amen Street for lunch with Meme and Bruce.

 And for Memorial Day, we laid low, went to the pool for the first time this year and made a fun dinner.  Loulie and I made a berry pie together and talked about how thankful we are for those that served our country and what it means to be free. It was a sweet weekend filled with great memories. I'm super excited about this summer and hoping to make the most of my time with Loulie before she starts school 5 days a week next fall. I'm thinking about making a mini bucket list so that it doesn't blaze by without doing all the things we want to do.

Happy June Friends!


Last Day of School

Well, I made it through. I may have cried when children I hardly knew accepted their diplomas for 4K graduation while Bert laughed at me but I made it through. Of course, there were about a million "last moments"--end of the year party, awards, end of the year performance--so that at least you are almost over it all by the time everything is wrapped up. Loulie got the "Best Imagination" award which doesn't surprise me. Anyone who claims to have African orphans living in her playroom, has three imaginary friends attend school with her and announced to all the teachers on Monday that she was going to have a baby completely deserves "Most Imaginative." It was lovely having to explain to everyone on Monday that "no, I was not pregnant," just my delusional child planning on giving birth at the end of the summer.
After a stellar performance in the church chapel, Bert treated his girls to lunch and then Loulie and I headed to the library to stock up on summer reading (one of my favorite parts of summer--sitting in a rocking chair reading book after book with my Bug).
We had a nice distraction that evening. The weather was perfect so we headed to the Harvest Dinner put on by the GreenHeart Project at one of Charleston's Montessori schools downtown. If you are local and not familiar with the Green Heart Project, then follow them on Instagram or check out their website. They are doing amazing things with students in the schools. I partly went to dinner to support the community but I also wanted to check out what they had been doing as we are hoping they will be involved with Loulie's new school next year. It was a truly impressive operation. All the food for the meal was grown by the elementary children and cooked by the Burke High School culinary club. It was seriously the best meal I have had in a while. Loulie didn't dig the vegetables but she was mesmerized by the students playing violin and giving speeches. Her favorite of the night--an indoor bee colony used to pollinate their garden. Students explained the care and use of the bees and then Loulie got to listen to them. It took the away the sting of school ending because it made me so excited for all the cool things Loulie will get to experience next year.
And tomorrow, kick off to Memorial Day weekend and summer! Wahoo!!!!


Over the Hill

We had the pleasure of being a part of the most creative 40th birthday celebrations I have ever heard of last Sunday night. My friend, Amy, is so incredibly talented and really went outside of the box this time. Not only was it a surprise, but I think this was such a meaningful celebration for our friend, Rick. I had to share because it was just too clever not to. 
Rick was turning 40--"over the hill." And being Charleston, there is only one hill--the bridge. So the two of them went on a boat ride to downtown where a rickshaw was waiting to take them to the bridge. Rick just thought they were taking a walk but quickly realized something was up when Amy handed him a note reminding him of his goal to do the bridge run under 40 minutes by age 40. So he just thought it was nostalgic that they were walking the bridge together after meeting that goal earlier this year. Things got a little more nostalgic as he reached the middle and began seeing all his friends at different points dressed up as significant moments in his life with masks of his face. Our pregnant friend, Lauren, was dressed in 70s attire representative of his mother on the way to the hospital. Another friend wore a wedding dress and you get the idea. Bert and I were 2007 when his first child was born. We had Layna hide behind us and jump out as he was approaching. It was emotional for everyone to just get to be a part of such a kind friend's momentous celebration "over the hill." But I cannot imagine how amazing it must have been for him to literally see his life pass before him. Afterwards we all shared beer and pizza at a local dive. I really can't imagine how we looked to people driving by on the bridge.
We also realized how little as adults we know about each other's growing up/college years. Sometimes at dinner parties we'll just pick a topic (college/how we met our spouse, etc.) because it is so fun to learn about each others' pasts--the people we were before being moms and dads and coworkers and neighbors. I  love all these friends and celebrating these milestones.
Speaking of milestones, HB celebrated 42 on Monday! Not a 'big' year but isn't every year big?! Each year he always remarks how grateful he is to have a family and girls that are happy when he comes home and a job and a home and his faith and how much God has truly blessed him. I'm grateful to have such a positive and thankful husband. And I really hope we get to celebrate another 42+ years of Bert! We love you!