Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back home again!

Well, Mallory and I have been home since Friday and I JUST haven't had the chance to dedicate time to my blog. I've enjoyed looking at everyone else's updates (which reminds me...I WOULD like to make a blogroll one of these days...). Our travels to FL were just as we had expected...full of visits and HOT. Our itinerary stayed on track almost perfectly, but we did have a few hiccups on our trip (power outage our first night in Jacksonville for 5 hours, flat tire in Ocala, visits during Mallory's nap time which lead to a 20-minute nap day). Mallory was a great little traveller, which was SO wonderful, despite that I didn't get around to purchasing a DVD player like I had planned. For the 14+ hours that she was in the car (total for the week, mind you), she was an angel. We even hit a few developmental milestones while over the last week or so:

1. She is clapping!!!
2. She can stack blocks!!!
3. She can wave!!!

At 15 months, I figured it was about time for those things! She just decided to procrastinate a bit.

Anyway, I'll have to post pictures soon; I really haven't had a chance to go through them all. Since we've been back, we had to catch up on lots of daddy time. I've also been running errands like a mad-woman and today, I've been cooking and baking for a girl up here that just had her second baby. Tonight is my night to bring her dinner. But, now that Mallory is napping, I desperately need some down-time as well, since yesterday was taken up with bill-paying, cleaning, laundry, etc. It is good to be home. I missed my bed and my body-pillow. I missed sleeping next to my hubby. I missed the comforts of my kitchen and familiar foods. I missed my recliner. And I missed SOME things about my dog.

There's just no place like home.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Road Trip!

Mallory and I will be heading to Florida tomorrow for 5 days! My parents told me last Saturday that they were planning on making a trip to FL to see my grandparents and some other friends and family. After talking with Patrick about it, I asked my parents if they minded if Mallory and I went along. They were excited to say yes, so I had a few days to tie up loose ends at home and ready ourselves for being gone the entire week.

We're currently at my parent's house in Elberton; we arrived this afternoon around 2pm. We're leaving tomorrow morning to spend a few days in Jacksonville, which is our first stop. We'll stay at my Uncle Bob's house on Saturday and Sunday night. On Saturday night, I'll be able to see one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kristin - just me and her for a little girl time. It will be great. Sunday, we'll go to church with Kristin's parents, who are some of my folk's best friends. We'll leave Monday morning to go to Ocala to see my grandparents (my mom's parents) and visit with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. We'll be there until Wed. morning, after which we'll probably go and visit my brother-in-law's parents (who live close to my grandparents), pick up my bro-in-law (who is down visiting his parents) and head to my sister's place in Albany, GA. On the way, we'll make 2 additional stops to visit more friends and family (one stop in Gainesville and one stop in Lake City). We'll be in Albany until Thursday, which is when we'll head back to my parent's house. Mallory and I will probably leave on Friday sometime to head back home.

This is the plan and hopefully we'll stick to it! Mallory is a great little traveler and I'm sure it's going to be lots of fun to show her off to old friends and family. I'm glad I'm able to go on this trip, thanks to the sacrifice of my loving husband who I KNOW will miss us while we're gone. Thanks, Sweetheart!

So, until next weekend...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Video from Farm Fest

Here's a video from the Farm Fest...it's really not that impressive, but you can hear the Bluegrass band in the background as Patrick chases Mallory around...

Farm Fest!

Patrick, Mallory and I went to an event up in Kingsport, TN called "Farm Fest". This event was a part of a 2-week annual event called "Fun Fest" that Kingsport puts on all across the city (for more info, click here).

Our decision to go to Farm Fest was last minute and we really only spent about 30 minutes there before it closed for the evening. It was a free event at an historic restoration park called "The Exchange Place", which is a big working farm that has a bunch of old, historic buildings (like a school house, smokehouse, and log home) that you can browse. There are a bunch of animals there and a large garden that is producing HUGE amounts of crops. While we were there, all the homes were opened up with people inside giving demonstrations on how to, for instance, grind corn for bread, play the dulcimer, write with a quill and ink, sew, and much more. It was free to the public and included live bluegrass, free lemonade, corn on the cob, and watermelon slices. The gardens were open for the public to paruse, there was a huge area where kids could have hay fights, there were trackers set up for the kids to climb on, there were hay rides and buggy rides, and lots of "stations" where kids could wash clothes with a old-timey washboard, make fabric dolls and paint a quilt square. I must say, I was HIGHLY impressed with the event and I KNOW that we'll make this an annual visit.

Apparantly the park is open for tours (free!) and there are events happening in the fall and winter that look like a bunch of fun. The park is about 20 minutes from our house and I can see MANY learning opportunities for our kids in the future. Here are some pictures that we took:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yummy Spaghetti!!!

Comings, Goings...and Things to be Thankful For

Well, I think I can say I just successfully completed my first wedding photo shoot this past Saturday. Though it was a hot one outside, God gave me the strength to stay physically and mentally apt for the job. Thanks to the assistance of my friend Jason (see his pics sites here and here), we were able to capture beautiful moments of the bride, groom, their families and friends.

While we were in Charlotte for the wedding, we had a great visit with Patrick's folks. Though I was in and out of the house because of the photo shoot, Patrick and Mallory spent a lot of time with Gram and Pops on Saturday. They went to Concord Mills for a few hours and while they were there, Patrick ran into one of his best friends and his family in Bass Pro Shops. What a bonus for him! Also, my great friend, Courtney, gave birth to her son on Saturday and we were able to drive up to Concord that night and visit with her, Donnie and the littlest addition, Michael Dean (9lbs 3 oz!!!!). It was the first time Patrick had held a newborn boy, which was a very special precursor to many hours of holding our little boy come November!!! We're SOOO glad for Courtney and Donnie and it was wonderful to see them.

It was great to be at our home church this past Sunday. Coty delivered a great message and we were able to hug so many necks and see so many of our friend's little ones who really aren't so little anymore!!! We miss our church so much and continue to pray for God's guidance as we search for a church home here.
Though our trip was quick, it was full of good times for all of us and a great opportunity for me to have a wedding under my belt (thanks, Julie, for the referral!!!). Now that we're home and I don't have the wedding to stress about and we don't really have any other immediate plans for the summer, it will be nice to have life return to some normalcy. Patrick is staying busy with work; the program he's a director for is launching next week. There are people from all over the company who are coming in for the training, which seems to be causing a little "hub-ub" over at the office. Patrick is doing great at keeping his cool and I honestly think he's going to greatly exceed his expectations, which are, for some reason, low. He's received great feedback from his superiors and I think this program will do well here in JC.
Since I've been home, there have been so many little projects I'd like to start, but I'm trying my hardest to have them not interfere with the time I spend with Mallory. We've had so much fun over the past few days!!! It will be easier for me to list all my projects/activities...
  1. Mallory is climbing up a storm! I love watching her use her toys to get up on our furniture, though it does cause me to catch my breath every now and then. She's also getting curious about the stairs...
  2. Mallory and I went to the park on Tuesday after we went to the OB to listen to her baby brother's heartbeat. She loves the park! She'll run all over the sidewalks and up and down the ramps, but she's hesitant about running in the grass. I try to tell her that the grass is easier on the knees when she falls, but after making a "strawberry" on each knee, she doesn't seem to care.
  3. I bought Mallory her first puzzle yesterday. She loves throwing out the pieces or chewing them. We've got some work to do where puzzling is concerned.
  4. We had a big brunch here at our house today for a mommy in our playgroup who is scheduled to have her son on Monday. We had 8 moms and 8 kiddos at the house today! Mallory was a bit overwhelmed at all the kids playing with her toys, but as long as she had her lovey, Doggie, she was fine! Though there were crumbs everywhere when the passel left, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. OH - while one of Mallory's little friends was playing in her room, she riffled through a box sitting on Mallory's changing table and discovered our baby monitor that I had been looking for for months now!!! It's amazing what kids will find! On a side note (which should be the fore-note), I'm so thankful to God for providing a house that will comfortably accommodate such a crowd. We're truly blessed!
  5. I bought some yarn to start crocheting edges around receiving blankets for our son. I started my first one yesterday. I love thinking about him while I'm making them, anticipating the moments he'll be snuggled up in one!!! I'm also planning on making a little blanket for him, like I did for Mallory when she was born. There's something about needlework that is a balm for my mind and my hands, which both like to stay busy. Now, if I can just think of a name for our boy...
  6. I'm planning on painting the kid's bathroom this weekend. Let's see if my energy holds for that. But, when it's done, it will be SO CUTE!!!
What's going on in your lives?

Friday, July 6, 2007

This weekend

Well, this weekend we're heading to Charlotte for a visit! I'm also photographing my first wedding on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity and I've been looking forward to this for almost a year now. It should be hard work but a lot of fun. In preparation for the long day, I was pampered last night with a professional massage. Man, I needed it! Patrick had given me a gift certificate for my birthday and I finally used it. It was nice to relax a little in between a busy week and weekend.

Thanks sweetie!

Last year and This year

Here's Mallory on 4th of July last year:

And this year...

Our 4th of July celebration!

We had a great 4th of July holiday. My sister and her husband came up to visit us from Sunday through Thursday morning. They were in the later half of a 2-week trip up to Illinois and Michigan, visiting family and friends in addition to seeing some historical sites (my brother-in-law is a history professor and LOVES researching our past presidents!). My parents decided to also come for a visit, so they were here from Tuesday night through Thursday morning. We had a full house during the day, though mom and dad opted to stay at a hotel at night. We enjoyed our own fireworks celebration on the 4th and were surprised to be able to see so many other fireworks displays from our back porch. We sat out there for at least an hour watching the horizon for splashes of red, white and blue. It was so much fun...and Mallory slept through it all!

We ate good food, watched as much Wimbledon as we could despite all the rain delays, and enjoyed each other's company. It was fun to host a family gathering and were very thankful the freedom we have in this country to do so civilly and peacefully.

Here are a few pics from our holiday:

The grill master cookin' up burgers and dogs

My mom and sister loading up their plates. What a spread!

Here's Mallory enjoying watermelon...one of her favorites! I let her get a *little* messier than I normally do...

The fam