Saturday, August 18, 2012


Well, before I share about our summer, I have to back up and share a couple of things I left out from the month of May...Strawberry Picking!! This was our 2nd year to go with friends. The kids had a blast. Annelise got a basket full! I was impressed with her diligence to stick with the task! Their favorite parts, of course, were eating a few strawberries along the way and eating a fresh strawberry popsicle after the pick!

Caleb did a great job discerning between a strawberry ready to be picked and one that needed some more time on the vine. 

Here's the crew we went with- a busy bunch of munchkins!

And, Date Night for my 33th birthday! We went with a few friends to one of my favorite restaurants, Chuy's, and then bowling! I haven't bowled in a long time- it was a really fun night. 

We bowled in the VIP room! What fun!

Summer kicked off with a memorable event- Kathy and Jim's wedding (Austin's mother)! They were married in Georgia next to a beautiful waterfall. It was a really special weekend. Here is Kathy with her two boys! She looked beautiful!

Caleb and Annelise got to stand up there with her along with Jim's grandchildren.

Annelise was suppose to throw flowers but got distracted- Caleb helped! We enjoyed the rest of the weekend with family on both sides. They rented a nice cabin by a river- it was just beautiful. We love Jim and couldn't be happier for them!

On June 11th Annelise turned 3! She had a Hello Kitty birthday party this year, and I made the cake! My 1st! It was really fun.
 Last June Annelise began to cough in the night. We spent the next 4 months trying to figure out why moving from doctor to doctor in the midst of a sea of sleepless nights. We finally ended up at Vanderbilt and discovered she had asthma. It was an exhausting time, but Austin and I are still amazed at the grace the Lord gave us that was undoubtedly from Him. We have walked through some tiring seasons with two babies, but nothing compared to this time of literally hardly a drop of sleep for literally 120 nights. We were so incredibly needy- even Annelise- her prayers would just make us cry as she prayed for God to take away her cough in the middle of the night. As we look back, we are grateful for an answer, for sleep-filled nights, and for God's goodness to us.

Here are the kids eating lunch. Annelise has just grown and changed so much this year. Her curls have gotten curlier and her words have gotten clearer! She doesn't say,"Good Mo Mo," anymore- it's "Good Morning." And she doesn't call milk "mote" books "goops," or granola bars "oh ga ga's,"  anymore either- so sad for us. We have seen too that she is taking hold in her heart more and more the teachings of Jesus. Her prayers for others are just the sweetest heartfelt words; she sings "God is so good" and "Jesus in the Morning" as she plays on her own, and she asks me all the time, "Is God in here, Mommy? I can't see God." She is just a gem- so yummy and we are eating her up!

Here's family at the party having some lunch. With Pa (Austin's Grandfather) in the top picture and Ma (my grandmother) in the bottom picture we have 4 generations represented at her party- what a blessing!

After lunch we made hair bows like Hello Kitty's for the girls and leather bracelets for the boys. Annelise is my crafty child. She loves markers, paper, glue, and beads. And her favorite toys right now are puzzles- she's amazing us with some hard ones she's doing.

Here they are showing off their crafts.

Happy Birthday, baby girl- we love you bunches!
Posted by Picasa

For Father's Day Austin's dad came up and had lunch with us and Chase and Krystle. Afterwards the three went golfing together.

Here Caleb and Annelise are snuggled up together with their loveies. They have been becoming more and more each other's playmates. It's been fun to see them have such a good time together especially this summer as we've slowed down a bit from our regular routine.
 They have been loving the pool. Caleb has passed the swim test at the Y again this year and has become a little fish! His Mimi and Grandaddy taught him to dive this summer, and he's having a blast! One of Annelise's favorite parts of the pool experience is laying out- I'm not kidding! She asks (all by herself) the life guards quite frequently when the pool breaks will be so that she can lay out. She is truly going to be my beach bum partner one day soon!

Here we are at Grayson's 1st birthday party! I wish you could see him a bit better here, but he was just adorable in his cowboy boots! They took off his clothes for the cake eating of course. It's been so sweet to watch Grayson grow- his presence lights up the room at Mimi's house- everyone wants to hold him and give him kisses. And his favorite thing is to be held!

We are ready for some cupcakes!

At the end of June, Austin and I went to London for a wedding- the wedding of my life-long friend, Meghan. She and I met when we were 9 on the dance floor and became instant friends. We have stayed close all these years and miles apart for many of them. She moved to London 5 years ago to teach English at an American school, and she fell in love with another teacher named Chris- a true sweetheart. I just couldn't bear to miss her special day, and I was just thrilled that we were able to go. We decided to stay a week and tour London, Ely, Cambridge, and Paris! It was truly a trip of a lifetime! I've never been overseas and was just a kid in a candy store!!

Meghan and Chris were married in a small town called Ely outside of London that is surrounded by the beautiful English countryside. Chris spent 10 years there at a boarding school and was a choir boy at the cathedral here in the picture called Ely Cathedral. It was built 1000 years ago, and was truly breathtaking!

Here they are kneeling. Meghan's dress was gorgeous.

After the wedding, we enjoyed a reception on the grounds right beside the cathedral. It truly looks like a fairytale,doesn't it?

We were in awe of the enormity of this structure that was built so long ago with such attention to detail. It took 100 years to build.

The reception was lovely. I so enjoyed getting to know Meghan's friends from London that I've heard so much about.

Meghan brought a piece of her southern roots to her English wedding with a Blue Grass band! Here we are wearing their hats!

I loved catching up with Meghan's family as well. Brenna, Meghan's sister is on the left and her mother in the middle. I spent many hours growing up around the dinner table with the Tally family. I have such fond memories of Mrs. Tally's delicious cooking and the rich conversations we all shared together.

The next day was another really special day. Meghan and Chris stayed in Ely and spent extra time with a few of us. We toured the cathedral, had tea and scones (which I had never had before!), and shared a wonderful dinner together.

Meghan and Chris- I love you both dearly- Congrats and thank you for sharing your special day with us. It was an honor to be a part. And, I miss you already- can't wait for the holidays!

Here we are in Cambridge. Our favorite part was "punting" on the River Cam where we learned all about the colleges at Cambridge and heard old stories- my favorite! and we also were serenaded by our tour guide with some hilarious opera-style singing! Wow- talented fellow!

And the last stop of the week- Paris!!!!  Austin tries desperately to fit in ;)
We so enjoyed once again seeing all the amazing sights and historical monuments in the beautiful city. We LOVED their pastries, their chocolate,and their coffee!

Here we are in front of Notre Dame- just as amazing as Ely Cathedral.

We also got a chance to visit the Museum of Orsay and I got to see Degas, Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh. 

We enjoyed meandering around the back streets and alley's of Paris. We were amazed at all the tiny restaurants - so quaint and full of character. We were excited to eat fondue which was something I grew up eating with my family for special occasions. Our favorite was dessert! After eating all the fruit, I starting dipping a large wooden spoon into the fondue pot and licking the delicious chocolate right off the spoon! So much for manners!! ;)

This trip will forever be etched in our memories- what a gift this week was! Thank you to all who helped take care of our little ones and made it possible for us to go. We love you!

Posted by Picasa

On another note, something else that has occupied most of our summer has been house hunting! We have absolutely loved our home for the past 8 years and have felt very blessed to have the best neighbors in the world. However, we really want to move forward with adoption and bring another child into our home.  In light of that, we feel that moving is the next step toward that goal before we begin a sea of paperwork.  We began in May and ended up with a contract on a home that fell through in July due to appraisal issues. We were really sad because we had fallen in love with it; however, since then we found a home that a contractor friend from church has bought and is redoing. We are really excited to have a contract on this new house! What a blessing! So, we should be moving in sometime at the beginning of October!! We will keep you posted!  

To wrap up our summer, we decided to take the kids to Gatlinburg to the indoor water park. It was a blast! Annelise's favorite part was "staying in a hotel." -and Caleb's was riding all the fun, thrill seeking water slides!! We had a sweet weekend together before school starts back.  

Annelise drove her 1st go-cart!! She was so proud of herself!!!

look at that serious face! He was determined to not let the person behind him get ahead!
And, a note on Caleb...we just had his Endocrinologist appointment this week (hormone specialist). Clinically, he once again shows no signs of puberty and we are elated. He is on the fast side of growing but not in the puberty range- what a blessing...we also just received his blood results. His growth hormone levels are still elevated. So they will continue to follow him fairly closely. His puberty hormone levels however are down. This is really great news!

And these two pictures are some of my favorites right now. Annelise is just growing up and we are trying to cherish every moment. She is helping sort and fold clothes (Yes!), snapping fresh green beans, and her favorite thing to wear are her jeans!! 

And yes, Annelise is wearing a new winter hat in the dead of summer that I bought her at a consignment sale...she is such a silly goose!
Much love to each of you!
Posted by Picasa