• boys,  faith,  K.C.,  Kaden

    Yesterday was a joyous day in the life of our family. K.C. and Kaden were baptized!

    Over the past year and a half, they’ve both accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord and asked Him to come into their hearts. Over the summer, they took the step of joining our church which is when they made a public profession of their faith in the Lord. That was such an exciting and proud day for us and one that surprised us. While we knew they had asked Jesus into their hearts, they were both slightly nervous to walk down the aisle to join the church (a practice in the Baptist denomination). During the service that Sunday, they told us they were ready and were going to do it.

    About a month ago, we moved into a new sanctuary and yesterday was the first baptism in our new sanctuary. The boys have been so excited about their baptisms and woke up ready to go.

    We are so proud of the decision they made to follow Jesus. It is the greatest decision they’ll make in their life. It is our prayer that our boys will always allow the Lord to lead them, will be beacons of light for Him, and will “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

  • boys,  celebration,  family,  father's day

    Father’s Day 2015

    It’s been a long time, blog world! Between life, work, and some vacations, I haven’t taken (or really, had) the time to write much. I want to get back to it because I really enjoy it, so what better way than recapping Father’s Day.

    We had a great Sunday celebrating our favorite dad’s! My SIL hosted Father’s Day at her house and we chose an Italian theme simply because we knew the men wouldn’t help with it! We spent the afternoon and most of the night swimming. It was great!

    Every year, I try to ask the boys what they love most about Kevin. Here are their responses from this year:
    K.C. – 7
    1. He plays the race car game with me.
    2. He plays baseball and soccer with me and we play football in the backyard.
    3. He loves me.
    4. He gives good hugs.
    5. He takes me places.
    6. He takes me fishing.
    7. He tells good stories.
    Kaden – 6
    1. He’s my dad.
    2. He’s very nice.
    3. He plays with me.
    4. He’s funny.
    5. He gives good hugs.
    6. He tickles me.
    7. He gives good snuggles.
    Kevin is a great dad! When I thought of all the qualities I wanted in a father for my children, I thought of Kevin. He is all those things and so much more. I’m so thankful the boys have his example to follow (and I’m glad he’s mine!)!
    For Father’s Day, we gave him a Garmin running watch. He doesn’t talk about it too much, but he’s started running a few miles at a time every other day or so. He’s been using my Garmin if he goes out when I’m not running, so I thought he’d enjoy having his own. We also gave him a few other things and some new running shoes. 
    Kevin and I are blessed to have really great dads, too.
    Many of my childhood memories revolve around time with my dad. He always made everything fun and did so many active things with me. I can’t recall many of our conversations, but I loved to just ride around with him. He always jumped waves, rode bikes, and played ball with me, too. I’m thankful for the person he is. His love and actions have molded and shaped me into the woman I am today!
    I’m also thankful for my awesome FIL who took me in as one of his own immediately. He is such a special person and we’re blessed that he is ours.  
  • boys,  food,  weekend snapshots

    SNAPSHOTS FROM OUR WEEKEND | January 12, 2015

    We had a really fun weekend!

    We started our Friday night with a quick dinner at McAllister’s Deli. I had their “grown up” grilled cheese and fire roasted vegetable soup. (Sidenote: Did you know you can get soup samples? I’m not usually all about soup, but Friday was cold and soup sounded good. I asked how spicy the soup was and I got a little cup to taste. It reminded me of when I was little and I would sample different ice cream flavors.)

    After we ate, we went to TJ Maxx and Target and picked up a few things.

    K.C. had his first basketball game (and Kevin’s first as a coach) Saturday morning. Our team played well even though we didn’t win the game. Watching 8 and under kids play basketball is entertaining.

    After his game, Kevin and I got to work on hanging up his fishing rod holder his dad made for our garage. It looks good if I do say so myself!

    We went to the first birthday party that afternoon and had a movie date to see Mockingjay: Part 1. It was good. Kevin has been wanting to see it, but I’ve been iffy because I heard it was slow and not worth seeing in the theater. I’m glad we went though because it was really good. I’m looking forward to the last one.

    We spent some time doing fun things around the house like dusting and sweeping Saturday afternoon and got take out for dinner. Later that night, Kevin’s best friend came over to watch the football game.

    Yesterday was spent at home for the most part. When we were leaving church, my phone started ringing and it was Kaden (they weren’t home this weekend) and he wanted me to buy some things for his science experiments (they got a book with 101 different science experiments in it) so when he got home later that day, we could do some of them. When I got groceries, I picked up what we needed for some experiments. We had one happy scientist last night!

    Last night, my parents and sister stopped by and had dinner with us (Sunday Night Stew – more on that later). It was nice to visit with them for a few minutes.

    What was the best part of your weekend?

  • boys,  Christmas,  K.C.,  Kaden

    The First Christmas Party of the Season and the First Santa Picture Ever!

    Last Wednesday, my organization hosted it’s annual Christmas party for employees kids. It’s always a great time and the kids love it. Kaden was counting down the days!

    There are gingerbread houses to make.

    Faces to get painted.

    Food to eat.
    Horses to ride.

    And Santa to see. But until this year, the boys wouldn’t sit with Santa (as in ever in the history of K.C. and Kaden). I don’t know if it’s that they’re older, or the fact that they knew the Santa at the party wasn’t the real Santa, or if it was the bag of candy they saw the kids walking out with after sitting on Santa’s lap, but whatever it was, for some reason, they chose to sit with him this year. That made for a very happy mama. 

  • 2014 races,  5K,  boys,  clemson,  soccer,  weekend

    Snapshots from our weekend

    Our weekend started out as it normally does this time of year with soccer practice right after work. We decided that Fridays would be the best night for soccer since the boys are both in real school and K.C. especially has a lot more homework. I didn’t take any soccer pictures because I’m helping Kevin coach. (I use the term “coach” loosely!)

    After soccer, we went to our Friday night spot for dinner then went to pick up a birthday gift for Kevin’s best friend. That night, we watched the special Saving Dr. Brantly on NBC. It was really interesting.

    Saturday was a busy day that started off with us leaving our house at 6:45 for a race.

     My friend Kayce and me before the race.
    It was H-O-T, but I was very pleased with my time. I’m still about a minute slower than I normally am (finished in 20:32 Saturday), but with temperatures in the high 90s even first thing in the morning and high humidity, I’m happy. I finished as the first female and 3rd overall. Racing season has officially started again!
    As soon as the race was over, we headed back to town for the boys’ soccer games. With them playing on different teams this year, we’re thankful that there are only two days that they play at the same time. This past Saturday was the first day. Thankfully, their teams played on teams side-by-side, so I ran back and forth so I could watch them both. 
    Kaden played so hard! He only walked over to me on the side one time, and if you know our Kaden, you know he likes the snacks and trophies. I’m so proud of him!
    K.C. played awesome, too! He’s in an older league and he played so strong! He hardly sat on the bench. Watching him wearing number 4 (Kevin’s number), made me think of how Kevin must’ve looked when he was little and played. Our boy is competitive! 
    (Most of the pictures are from my phone and I was at Kaden’s game the same time K.C.’s ended, so I didn’t get his picture with my phone.)
    After the soccer game, Kevin’s best friend and parents came over to watch the Clemson game. Brian’s birthday was yesterday, so we celebrated with a cake.
    We had dinner with some friends Saturday night. Maggie is one of the best cooks in the world. Kaden loves cooking with her, so she had some cupcakes waiting for him to ice when we got to their house.

    We had a real Southern meal complete with fried chicken, rice and gravy, macaroni and cheese, beans, and to-die for biscuits. And banana pudding for dessert.

    Yesterday was promotion Sunday at church. The boys moved up to a new class and we moved up to teaching 5K which is Kaden’s class. After church, we went to lunch and then had the best day at home. We built forts and tunnels and after practicing spelling words that included the word “mine”, the boys went mining for treasure.

    After dinner, we took my sister to her new apartment and the boys had fun exploring and Kevin fixed a few things for her. 

    We stopped by Wal-Mart (one of my least favorite stores) to get a few things and the boys saw these ninja costumes. And we got them. And they were only $6. And they’ve been Ninjas a million times already, but it makes them happy, so there. haha

    We had an awesome weekend and I’m looking forward to a great week!
  • boys,  K.C.,  Kaden,  school

    The first day of school.

    Today, our boys start kindergarten and second grade and I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday that Kaden started 3K and K.C. started real school (kindergarten). This past week has been a mix of emotions for me. I typically do pretty well keeping things under wraps, but I’ve been a little off this past week just thinking about how fast they’re growing. I’m so proud of our children and can’t wait to see what this year has in store!

    We were able to meet their teachers last week and I believe we hit the jackpot. We requested specific teachers for them and even though Kaden didn’t end up in the class we initially wanted, I think his class will be even better. They both have extremely enthusiastic teachers which makes me happy.

    All summer long, we’ve been working with the boys on various things. Kaden has been practicing his letters and K.C. has been reading books to us and sharpening up his math skills. He’s definitely left-brained.

    K.C.’s first grade teacher was great and he loved school, so we’re not worried about him in second grade at all. He’s really excited that he’ll have science as an actual subject this year as he loves it.

    Kaden (and K.C.) went to an awesome preschool, so the only concern I really have for him has more to do with being at school for nearly seven hours a day because that’s different than the four hours he’s used to (and our baby likes his sleep!). The things he has to know by October of this year are things he had to know in the middle of 4K.

    I’m thankful for the good foundation both of our children received in preschool and I’d like to think we do a good job with them at home. There’s always room for improvement (my Type A personality is continually wanting to do more and more), but I think we do a good job. We spend at least 30 minutes and usually closer to 45 reading with them each day. We also work on things they’ve learned in the past. I’m a big believer in doing more than just the four things they have to do for homework each week, so instead of doing four of the eight choices, we typically do six. The more the better in my opinion.

    I loved school and I’m thankful our boys have that same outlook. I always want learning to be fun for them.

    After church yesterday, we had a first day of school picture dress rehearsal. The boys weren’t home with us this morning for their first day which I’ll admit has led to some sadness for me, so we improvised and took pictures yesterday afternoon.

    They picked out their new L.L. Bean book bags earlier this summer. Kaden chose an orange camo book bag and K.C. got red. We also got them matching lunch boxes. They each have their name embroidered on their book bag and lunch box, too.
    I always write them notes in their lunch boxes, so since I couldn’t do that for the first day, I put their notes in a pocket in their book bags and showed them where to find them so they could read them today. We also sharpened a few pencils, sent in a pencil sharpener, snack, and some change. We turned their school supplies in last week at open house, so they didn’t have to carry anything with them today other than lunch.
    They had a great morning going into school, so that makes me happy. I can’t wait to talk with them later today to see how much fun they had!
    This year, it’s my prayer that they’ll each have a good year. I pray that they’ll love their teachers (God has already answered our prayers by giving them good teachers), be leaders, have a thirst to learn, want to do their best, and make good friends. 
    I’m praying these verses over them this year, and I urge you to do the same for yours!
    Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
    Proverbs 22:6

    Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.
    Isaiah 30:21

    This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
    Isaiah 48:17

    Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
    1 Timothy 4:12

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
    Proverbs 3:5-6


  • boys,  Home,  house tour

    Home Tour Tuesday: Our Clemson Room

    Welcome back to the next installment of Home Tour Tuesday! Today I’ll share with you our boys’ room. 

    If you don’t like orange or Clemson, you’ve been warned. 
    I live with two boys, well, make that three, who love Clemson. It only seems natural that the boys’ have a Clemson-themed bedroom.
    At this point, the boys share a room. I realize that in the future, they may want their own space and we’ll gladly let them each have their own room, but for now, they love sharing a bedroom. 
    I don’t know about you, but our kids don’t play in their room. It’s pretty much just the place they go at bedtime. I’m sure at some point that will change and that will require some readjustments, but as is, this is it.
    We use the dresser and chest in here to store their off season clothes (and some of ours!). At one point, I tried keeping some of their current clothes upstairs, but it was a hassle. They take a bath in our big tub even though they have a bathroom of their own. It’s just easier to put their pajamas on where they take a bath and brush their teeth. It’s also easier in the mornings, too. They always come to our room and get ready themselves with the clothes I’ve laid out. 

    Kevin’s sister painted the canvases above their beds.

    I gave this framed jersey to Kevin for our first anniversary. He had gotten the jersey for some occasion and I thought it would look nice framed in the boys room.

    The helmets go with mini Clemson uniforms the boys have.

    We also like trophies in our family. This collection has been added to with the addition of baseball trophies since I took this picture. The medals are from fun runs or different things at school, like knowing all of their letters in preschool.

    We had this shelf and I didn’t have a good place for it, so I decided to put it in here. It’s not really a bookshelf, but it serves that purpose. We do have another bookshelf in another bedroom that is full of the boys books. I really should move it to their room at some point. 

    The dresser has some mini signed helmets on it that we’ve given Kevin. There are also some pictures of the boys in their Clemson jerseys. 
    The humidifier you see has been so good. It’s by Vick’s and during allergy season, we put the Vick’s Vapor Rub Pads in it. It really helps K.C. as he has horrible allergies. 

    There you have it – our Clemson room. 
    To see other rooms on the tour, click on the links below:
  • boys,  K.C.,  Kaden,  parenting

    The bond of brotherhood.

    Brothers.
    These two.
    Their bond.
    A few weeks ago, we were walking to the car from somewhere and this was our view. Two perfect little boys holding hands. My heart skipped a beat at this sight. How blessed we are to have these two precious ones who love each other dearly.
    Watching our boys and their love for each other is one of my favorite things. It’s interesting to see how they go through phases and how their relationship changes.
    Kaden is enamored with his big brother. Totally, completely, 100% crazy about him. He thinks he hung the moon. K.C. is the same way about his little brother. He wants to protect him, lookout for him and help him.
    Sure, we have squabbles every now and then. What kids don’t? But for the most part, the kids play together really well and it’s a rare occasion these days that we have words with them.
    I’m so glad the boys have the bond that they share. They are each other’s one constant no matter the day. It thrills me that they have this person that they are free to be with. And I love seeing how close they are being only 20 months apart. 
    I don’t normally have the opportunity to pick K.C. up from school, but during my summer work schedule, I get to pick him up the last few Fridays of the year. Each Friday, as he’d jump in the backseat, he’d reach down and say “hey, brother! I love you!” as he gave Kaden the biggest hug and kiss. So sweet.
    It’s my prayer that these two will always share this bond and this closeness. I pray that they’ll always have each other’s backs.
    K.C. definitely has the traits of a first-born. I’m one. I should know. He’s independent, strong-willed (not a bad thing in my opinion as long as it’s channeled in the right ways; my mom may disagree because no matter how many books she read on raising a strong-willed child, my strong-willed self didn’t change. Oh well, I think I turned out ok.), conscientious about things, a perfectionist and definitely a leader. He likes to instruct, to show and to teach. He cheers his brother on and shows him how to do new things. I pray he’ll always be a good example for Kaden to follow.
    Kaden is a nurturer and compassionate child. Those words come really easy when I think of how to describe him. He loves attention – he’ll dance around, sing, do cartwheels, whatever it takes to get us to laugh and smile. He also loves being right there with us not in an “I’m so attached to my parents I can’t let them out of my sight” way but more of an “I want to be near you and play with you and talk to you” way. He adores his big brother and wants to make everyone feel good. He’s also our more sensitive child. I hope he’ll always keep these traits and serve others in this way.
    These two boys are so different, yet so similar, but one things shines out above the rest: their love for one another. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of this bond.

  • boys,  Kaden

    My Little One

    A few weeks ago, I told you all about K.C. This week, I want to talk about my little love, my sweet Kaden.

    Kaden is growing up way-too fast. He’ll finish 4K tomorrow and if I told you that doesn’t make tears swell up in this otherwise not-very-emotional woman’s eyes, I’d be lying. I can barely pass by his school without a tear. Our baby is going to kindergarten in a few short months.

    Kaden is the sweetest child I know. He has the biggest heart and it’s full of compassion. When I think of Kaden, I think of sweet things.

    Kaden is the first to give you a hug and kiss in the morning or when you walk in the door in the evening. He loves to cuddle, hold my hand and he tells us all multiple times each day how much he loves us.

    He’s one super popular boy, too. At school, all of his friends’ parents tell me how much their kids talk about our Kaden. His teacher’s love him, too. And his friends in Sunday School always want to be the ones to play with him or sit by him. I hope he’ll always be this loved by everyone and I hope he’ll always be a good leader and have a positive influence on the lives of those around him.

    Kaden is fascinated by about everything. He wants to know how things work, why they work and many times, he can tell us about them. Right now, he’s really into learning about sharks and space.

    He loves to color and paint. And he likes to practice his writing. We bought a little workbook last week that has a page for each letter and number. He’s already gone through the whole book!

    He is our creature of habit. He likes the same things the same way. He notices when things are different, too. For instance, my mom gave the boys one of those little animals that grows in water in their stockings the past two Christmases. This year, we didn’t put the cup of water the same place on the cabinet as we did last year. He noticed and made a remark. Me? I wouldn’t have remembered where the cup was yesterday!

    He loves to play with his trains, Playdoh and cars. He also likes Transformers. Another one of his favorite things to do currently is to play Mario Brothers and Mario Galaxy on the Wii. He’s better than I am! Kaden also likes board games. We play the Berenstain Bears game and Pop the Pig quite often. He’s our little daredevil, too!

    Kaden likes to read, too. He likes Clifford, the Berenstain Bears, the Magic Treehouse series and any books about the earth, space, the weather and the ocean. He also loves to read the story of David and Goliath. Without a doubt, he picks this story multiple nights a week when it’s his turn to pick our Bible story.

    Kaden loves Jesus and he tells us about it. It makes me heart swell with joy. My greatest prayer is that he’ll always have this love for the Lord and want to do His will. When we say our prayers each night, he makes sure we don’t leave anyone out and if we haven’t listed the people we’re thankful for fast enough, he jumps right in. He also prays for the little things like a boo boo. We try to stress to the boys how important it is to pray about everything and how God cares about the little things.

    When he grows up, he wants to be a policeman. One day, we were driving along and saw a cop. I mentioned it to him and said something like “do you still want to be a policeman when you grow up?” With almost no hesitation, he said, “Anna Belle, I really just want to be a dad and have a wife when I grow up.” He’s definitely our sensitive child and so much like his daddy. He also asked me recently if I thought he’d have a pretty wife. Little statements and questions like these make me smile. We talk to the boys about the importance of family and Kevin and I both make a point to say out loud to each other and the boys how blessed we are that God gave us all to each other and what a great husband/wife/Anna Belle-mommy/Daddy we are. Kids learn about relationships and how to treat people from the way their parents are together and it’s so important to us that the kids don’t just hear how much we love each other and them, but also see it every day.

    Kaden definitely has the sweet tooth in our family. He told me one of his wishes when he blew out his birthday candles was that we’d let him have all the candy in the world whenever he wants it. I think he’d eat candy for every meal if we’d let him. I try to give in to his sweet tooth in healthier than candy ways by giving him FiberOne Chocolate Pretzel bars. He likes these and they’re not bad for him which makes this girl happy. He nor I have been able to quit our Nutella dates though.

    Kaden looks up to and loves his big brother so much. In his eyes, K.C. is it. I’m so thankful they have each other and pray that they will always be as close as they are now.  He is a spitting image of his daddy at this age.  

    He brings so much joy to our lives each and every day. If you don’t have a smile on your face, he’ll put one on it. He’s funny, smart, sweet and charming, and his hazel eyes sparkle with his smile. I love to hear him talk and when he tells me secrets (he’s not too good at keeping them though!). He loves to give and most of all, he gives to us each day with his sweet little self.

    He’s my favorite five year old in the world. I hope he’ll always have the sweet spirit that he has today. I’m so proud of the big boy he’s becoming. Along with K.C., he’s our greatest treasure. I pray that he’ll always know what a treasure he is to us and what a blessing and privilege it is to be his Anna Belle.

    I love you, baby boy, more than all the chocolate in the world!

  • 2014 races,  5K,  baseball,  boys,  celebration,  Kevin,  motherhood

    Mother’s Day Weekend 2014 and an 18:56 5K!

    I had a great Mother’s Day and weekend this year.

    My weekend started early with my first Friday off. While the boys were off at school and Kevin at work, I went to the gym to work out and ran 8 miles. When I got home, I put up the hammock, made a green smoothie and sat outside and had some Jesus time.

    I picked up Kaden from school and he and I went home to eat lunch with Kevin. After lunch, we went out and did a little Mother’s Day shopping before we picked up K.C.

    Once we picked up K.C., we went to the library. The boys love to read and I love books, and one day, I mentioned something about getting a library card. They latched on to this and chose to go to the library for our first fun Friday of the summer. A few minutes and 8 books later, they had library cards and mine had been updated.

    My sister was over at her boyfriend’s grandmother’s pool and they invited us to go swim, so we did that for an hour or so. I was pleased with how well the boys did swimming because it’s been a while since we last swam.

    That night, we had our third baseball game of the year. They did a great job!

    We got up early on Saturday morning for a race. I was thrilled with this run and PR’d with an 18:56! I didn’t go into the race expected to PR as I had tired legs from my run the day before, but I did and I am still walking on air!  Kaden particularly liked this race because there was cake!

    Yes, I am aware that I look more excited about my 18:56 than the winners of the Boston did.

    We had brunch with some friends after the race and my goodness, it was delicious!

    We spent a few hours at home doing nothing, then ran out to pick up some last minute Mother’s Day gifts before going home for dinner.

    I woke up early Sunday morning and decided to go ahead and get ready for church while Kevin and the boys were sleeping because I knew we had a busy day. When I got out of the shower, Kevin had cooked breakfast and the boys had made the sweetest cards. He did a themed “championship” breakfast. It was cute! I always eat scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast before races and that’s what he’d cooked. He’d also put a few recent trophies on the table and we all drank out of race cups.

    Kevin and the boys gave me a new Garmin Forerunner 220 which I am loving. The boys also picked out some jewelry by themselves. The cutest thing, though, had to be the clay pieces they made. K.C. asked me to get him some clay last week because he had made something for me in art for Mother’s Day, but his art teacher couldn’t find it. We got clay and he spent some time Saturday afternoon making a cup bowl (what he called it) while Kaden made me a pizza and chocolate chip cookie. While I love and will always treasure the other gifts, the cute handmade things like this just make my heart smile brighter!

    After church, we celebrated with our families as my SIL hosted lunch at her house. We hung out by the pool all afternoon and just relaxed.

    Kevin and the boys sure make me feel special and loved every day and Mother’s Day was no exception! I love my boys!