Monday, July 31, 2006

Sunny Florida!

And my, what a sunny Florida it was! Mallory and I took a 7-day long adventure down to Florida to visit some friends and family that I haven't seen for a while. My mom wanted to go down south to see her mother and I asked if we could join her. Patrick was so wonderful to let me take off for a week with his precious little daughter so I could take this trip. It meant so much to me for him to be so supportive! He at least had Cayman to keep him company!

Mallory and I headed off on our adventure on Sunday afternoon, July 16th. Our first stop was Elberton, GA to meet my mom. We left her place on Monday morning around 8am after Mallory's first feeding of the day.

We stopped about an hour and a half later for Mallory to eat and stretch before we got back in the car. She was such a trooper during the entire trip! She napped well and played with herself while she was awake. My mom bought her this cute little mirror that allowed us to see what she was up to and gave her some distraction from the long trip! I loved having this mirror!

After one more stop on the road, we made our first destination around 3:30pm, which was Orange Park, FL. We made two stops here; one stop included cookies and ice cream with a long-time family friend, Mary. Her house was the only house I didn't take a picture at!!! But, it was nice to visit with Mary and show off my baby! The next stop was at my Uncle Bob (my dad's brother) and Aunt Gail's house, which was also in Orange Park. They lovingly made us dinner and we enjoyed having another opportunity to stretch out our muscles and play with the baby.

After we left their house around 8:15, we headed up to Jacksonville Beach to stay with one of my best friends, Kristin. We got there about 9pm and were TIRED! It was good to see Kristin's house, though, which was about 9 blocks from the ocean. The next day, we headed out to the beach for a few pictures, but we were only outside briefly, since it was so HOT! But, I got several pictures of Mallory's first time at the beach. She slept through it all!!!

We at lunch at a really neat beachy restaurant in Atlantic beach (2 beaches up), visited a little more, and then headed off around 2pm to go to our next destination, which was my brother-in-law's parents, who live just within the border of the Ocala National Forest in Silver Springs, FL. Now, if you've never been to the Forest, it's pretty dismal! Nothing but pine trees for miles! It's been a LONG time since I've asked the question "Are we there yet?", but I think I asked my mom that question a couple of times on that leg of the journey. We FINALLY arrived at the Latonas around 4:30pm on Tuesday. They LOVED seeing Mallory and it was so much fun to have them gush over her!

It was nice to be able to visit them and catch up on their lives. After Mrs. Latona fed us some delicious coconut cream pie (one of my favorites), we headed up to Candler, FL to see my grandparents.

We briefly visited with my grandma and grandpa on Tuesday night, but we were so tired that we headed over to my Uncle Dave (mom's brother) and Aunt Maureen's house for some dinner and bed!!! On Wednesday, we went back to my grandparents to visit. It had been over a year since I've seen grandma and grandpa and it was SOOO good to be able to hug them! I've missed seeing them. I have so many good memories with them as a kid and it's hard to be so far away. But, the time I do get to spend with them is always sweet. My grandmother has been struggling with her health over the past year or two and is gradually getting worse. I was expecting the worst when I went to visit her, but she looked really good and I was able to have some very nice conversations with her. She was very happy to comply to a "4 generation" picture!!!

She enjoyed Mallory so much and I was so thankful that she was able to meet her second great-granddaughter! This picture was actually taken on Mallory's 3-month birthday, so it will actually be Mallory's 3-month picture. It was such a sweet time! Here is a picture of my grandpa and grandma with Mallory...

We spent all day on Wednesday in Candler with my family. I have 5 cousins on this side of my family and I was able to see 3 of them. My cousin, Aaron, and his wife have 1 1/2 year old daughter, Peighton, who came over on Wednesday night to visit. I also have a cousin, Elisha (a girl...pronounced "Alicia"), who is 1 year older than Mallory (my aunt had her at 39!!!) and having all three little girls there was so much fun! We had a big dinner together that night and it was nice to just catch up and watch the girls! Elisha's sister, Kenzie, is 11 and she's such a beautiful girl! We spent a lot of the day on Wednesday with her, too. I took some beautful portraits of Kenzie and Elisha that I can't wait to show them.

On Thursday, we said a tearful goodbye to my grandparents and headed up to Albany, GA to see my sister and brother-in-law. We stopped in Gainesville (my hometown) for a brief visit to some old family friends, the Clendenins. It had been over 10 years since I had been to their house, so it brought back a lot of memories for me! It was fun to show off Mallory, yet again, and she was being so always! Later that afternoon, we headed up to my sisters (finally!!!). It had been several years (probably around 6 years) that I had see my sister's dwelling place, so it was LONG overdue for me to go and see her! We had a great time together!!! My cousin, Charmaigne, and her family came over to visit that night, too! Goodness, we had LOTS of visiting going on! Anyway, we stayed in Albany for a night and my sister had the opportunity to show us around her city for a few hours on Friday, after a mean game of Texas Hold'em, which I beat out my brother-in-law for the VICTORY!!! It was a nice visit, but too short! I wish I could have stayed longer.

We left Albany about 4pm on Friday to head back to Elberton. Mallory had been so good on each leg of the journey, except this last one! Our nerves were pretty frazzled by the end of the trip. A normally 4.5 hour trip took about 5.5 hours....most of which included us entertaining a fussy baby! But, it was all worth it.

My dad was anxious to spend some time with Mallory before we went to bed that night, since he had only seen her a little bit on my brief stops there. But, he was able to get some of her sugar before we headed back to Charlotte the next day.

After loading and unloading the car several times in 7 days, I was ready to be home! It was good to be in Patrick's embrace again and he spent a lot of time holding and kissing Mallory. He missed his girls!

I was SOOO thankful Mallory and I were able to make this trip with my mom. She was so helpful with me and the baby; she seemed to know what I needed before I said anything. That was nice! Plus, we had a lot of time to visit with each other over the many hours we spent in the car. I don't think many girls can say her mom is one of her very best friends, but I can honestly say that! I have such an awesome relationship with my mom and I appreciate her so much more, now that I'm a mom myself.

I know this was a newsy post, but I wanted to get the outline of the week we spent in Florida down before I forgot it! Our life is about to go into overdrive pretty soon and my brain is not the same as pre-mommy days! I hope you enjoyed with account of my trip!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Well, it's been a while since I've "blogged" and I'll have to catch you all up on my Florida trip in another post. I'm currently packing to head out of town AGAIN this weekend, but will try to get a newsy post up soon! In the meantime, here are 13 facts you may/may not know about me...

1. I love crafts. I enjoy making things with my hands rather than buying things.
2. I'm a huge game player, especially cards. I'd play cards every night if I could. Whenever I go home to my folk's house, we would play cards for hours. Well, that was before the grandbaby arrived!
3. March is one of my favorite months of the year. Can anyone say NCAA?????
4. I love macaroni and cheese. That's my comfort food.
5. I played 1st base on my high school varsity softball team all 4 years of school. My nickname was "Big Mel"...I don't know if I should be sharing that...BUT I was told it was my nickname because I was the tallest girl on the team... :-)
6. I would like Mallory to learn how to dance. I've always loved dancing, but I've never taken lessons. Maybe one of these days I can drag Patrick to some.
7. I hate cleaning bathrooms. It's the chore that I put off the most.
8. I collect teacups
9. I love to sing...especially with my mom and sister. We watched so many musicals growing up and listed to records/tapes/CDs ALL the time. So, whenever we get together, we always burst into song if some random comment reminds us of a familiar tune. Some people say it's very annoying, but we don't!!!
10. I used to work for Duke Energy as an Application Developer. I'm now a mommy and pursue photography on the side!!!
11. I'm a sucker for a good chick flick.
12. I have crooked ring fingers on both hands. That's always annoyed me!
13. I LOVE going on a cruise! It's so nice being pampered for a week. If you've never been on one, you have to go one day!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

This was an idea that I got from my friend Jen's blog. On Thursday's, she suggested writing 13 things about yourself that people may/may not know. So, hopefully I'll remember to do this on Thursdays in the future. Please feel free to share 13 things about yourself in the comments! I love learning new things about my friends!

1. I'm 28 years old
2. My first job was a Burger King crew member when I was 14 in Gainesville, FL
3. I was on the drumline in band during highschool
4. I was a drumline co-captain my senior year of highschool
5. I received my bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia
6. My first car was a Chevy Corsica (lovingly referred to as a "Porschica")
7. My next car was a Mitsubishi Eclipse
8. I used to volunteer as a DJ at a Christian radio station in Gainesville
9. I love photography (that's a no-brainer, though)
10. I've highlighted my hair once about 12 years ago and will never do it again (it was bright orange)
11. I love Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (the movies...never read the books)
12. I've lived in 3 states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina)
13. I'm married to the best-looking guy in the state!

More to come next time...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A bit of catching up to do...

It's been a little while since I've "blogged", so I guess I have some catching up to do. Patrick and I headed down to my parent's house in Georgia last Friday for a visit. It was nice to show off my big girl to her grandma, grandpa, and aunt Amanda. She slept the entire 3 hour trip down there, which I was SOOO thankful for! Thanks to her snuggly Britax carseat, she sleeps like a dream whenever she get's put in it! When we arrived on Friday night, she was bombarded with hugs and kisses from her baby-deprived "Gwampa". He's SOO in love with his little "Gi-Gi" (Gwampa's Girl).

Mallory has been sleeping so well lately (about 7 consecutive hours after her 11pm feeding), but she was a little fussy in her new environment. My mom (and dad) didn't like hearing her cry herself to sleep, so after my permission, my mom held her until she fell asleep on her chest (which is about the sweetest thing EVER). On Saturday morning after I fed the baby, my parents watched the baby AND the dog and let Patrick and I get a few extra hours of sleep, which was SOOO nice! We're up at 6:30 every morning now-a-days, so it's nice to sleep a little longer than our norm. Thanks Mom and Dad! We spent Saturday hanging out at my folk's house and Mallory was always in someone's eagerly open arms for some lovin'.

Aunt Amanda was SOO obliging to hold her little neice! My sister and her husband live several hours away from us, but only about 4 and a half from my parents. Their house is a good rendezvous point for us to see each other. Plus, it gives my parents the opportunity to see both of their girls and, more importantly, Mallory :-). On Saturday afternoon, we ate pizza at Papa's Pizza To-Go (the best restaurant in Elberton, hint-hint) and my mom showed off her little granddaughter to all of her customers! She has pictures of Mallory up all over the restaurant! It's pretty funny, actually. Later on Saturday, my dad was playing with Mallory in their hot tub, which was so fun to watch! He blowed bubbles and was kissing her feet and she LOVED it! She was so cute watching him be crazy over her. I have a video that I'll post when I have a little more time...

Patrick spent a lot of time on Saturday lounging around the house and getting some much-needed R&R. He's been really busy lately and it's nice to escape the projects around the house and go to my folk's place. Since there is really nothing to do in Elberton anyway, it's easy to do nothing (not that I'm giving Elberton a bad rap!!!).

We had a nice visit, but it always seems to go by too fast! There was a lot to do when I got back....laundry, cleaning, etc. I had got sick on Friday when we went to my folk's house and I'm NOW just starting to clear up. Mallory was a little sick yesterday as well, but is getting better. We turned on the humidifier in her room and she cleared up really quick! Humidifiers are GREAT! I'm spending the rest of this week getting ready for a week-long trip to Florida. My mom, Mallory and I will be heading south on Sunday to visit my best friend in Jacksonville, my grandparents and other relatives in Ocala, some childhood friends in Gainesville and my sister in Albany, GA. It's going to be a lot of driving, but a trip I'm very excited about. It's been a year since I've see my extended family...and a lot has happened in this past year, so it will be fun to catch up.

Well, I may have time for another post before my trip, but if not have a great week and I'll see you all when I return from sunny Florida!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

And Cayman Too...

Here's a picture of Cayman I took while shooting Mallory's pictures. Cayman obeyed VERY well as I'll told her to "Stay" while shooting. She was itching to run, so I only got in about 10 shots before I finally let her play. She's getting better with obeying (and I haven't used the "training collar" yet!!!)

Happy 4th of July!

Patrick is unfortunately working today, but I took advantage of a some-what cool morning, an awake baby, and an ansy photographer itching to take some pictures!!! Here are some of the pics I took. Mallory did SOO much better than her 2-month pictures, but I still couldn't get her to smile. It's sort of hard when I have to be behind the camera, too. Anyway, let me know which one you like the best!!! I want to choose one to be her "4th of July" picture.






Monday, July 3, 2006


Well, I've painted the master bedroom...Again! For those of you who don't know, this is the 3rd time I've painted this bedroom in 3 years (can someone say WHY????). The first time I painted it was before Patrick and I got married. He told me that he wanted a bedroom "stone gray". So, I painted it gray and I was going to decorate with black and white. But, our dog came along and she totally ruined the white decor. So, I decided to do a different look. I wanted to paint it a soft coral color, but it turned out BRIGHT coral. It definitely woke us up in the mornings!!! I DID NOT like the way that color turned out and it took me 3 comforters to find the one that looked good with the loudness of the room. Once it finally looked with the bedding, I figured I could live with it, since it was pretty (just LOUD). So, with a potential of us moving, I figured I would tone down that room, so I've finally picked a color that works, though I'm still not crazy about it. The color I picked was called "Ivoire" (pronounced Ivory) and it looked ivory on the swatch, but I think it looks like masking tape, which is more yellow. So, I have a "desert camel" (deep yellow) living/dining room/foyer, a pale yellow nursery, a daisy yellow master bathroom, and a "ivory yellow" master bedroom. I didn't mean to have so much yellow in the house!!! But, it's OK. The bedroom is MUCH better than what it was before, so I can't complain too much. I've looked high and low in all my pictures to find a "before" shot. I thought I had one, but I can't find one! Here's an after...and I'm NOT painting this room again! One thing I've learned (after 3 times of painting this room): whatever color I like on the swatch of colors in the paint store, always get the shade lighter. :-)