• marriage

    Two Whole Years

    I can’t believe that today marks two years since I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend! Each day is a blessing and I’m so thankful to spend my life with Kevin!

    I’ll save the sappy things for the card, but Happy Anniversary, Kevin! The past two years have been the best of my life. I’m so thankful that I get to be your wife each day and share my life with you. You are more than I ever hoped or dreamed for in a husband and I’m so glad to call you mine. I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store.

    I love you with all of me!

  • marriage

    Maintaining a Great Relationship with Your Husband Post-Kids

    A few months ago, my friend Kaitlyn asked me to write a few posts for her. One of those was on maintaining a strong relationship with your spouse after kids. I ran across this post yesterday and realized I hadn’t shared it on my blog. You can read the original post on Kaitlyn’s blog by clicking here.

    _____

    It’s so important to maintain a great relationship with your husband after kids. In fact, I think maintaining a healthy and loving relationship with your spouse is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids as well as one of the most important things you can teach them.

    As you know, when I got married, I not only became a wife, I also became a mother. I didn’t have a true adjustment issue because in reality, once Kevin and I started dating, we started doing everything as a family. The only things that officially changed were my last name and address and the whole marriage thing. With that said though, my husband and I both know how important it is that we keep our relationship and connection strong.
    Life with children is busy. (Who am I kidding? Life without kids is busy!) There’s the juggling of schedules, the extracurricular activities, the things at church and homework that has to be done, not to mention those other things that are given, too, like eating, bathing and household chores. And if you’re like us, you want to spend good quality time with your children every day that doesn’t involve soccer practice and writing the alphabet.

    For us, I think the key is balance. For the most part, we do pretty much everything together. My husband doesn’t race, but he’s always there at the finish line. I’m not a big fisher, but I love being out on the water just spending time with him. Plus, there are some times the boys aren’t at home with us which means we have time for just the two of us – automatic date nights. For us – me at least – I think learning how to carve out that time for just my husband and me is something that we all have to work on continually when we become parents.

    I strongly believe (and know) that in order for me to be the best mother I can be, I need to be the best wife I can be. That means taking time to talk with my husband about his day (and he does the same for me), sending an e-mail or text during the day just to let him know I’m thinking about him and planning time for just the two of us to do something whether it be dinner and a movie out or staying in and just having fun together. 

    I’m very fortunate that I married an amazing man. He’s someone who understands the true meaning of partnership, who puts us and our family first and he knows the importance and value of time spent together. Our family only gets stronger as we grow even stronger as a couple.

    Here are some of my tips for maintaing a healthy, close and intimate relationship with your husband no matter the ages of your children (and it even applies to those of you who don’t have kids!). This list isn’t in any particular order because I think all these things are important!

    • Make sure you put your spouse first. This doesn’t mean that you neglect your children or take your focus off of them at all. It simply means that you put time and effort into this vital relationship because you know that having a strong marriage means having a strong family.
    • Remind your spouse how much you love them. And flirt a little! I love it when my husband tells me I’m beautiful, that he misses me during the day and how happy he is that I’m his. I like to remind him of those things, too. Stick a note in his bag for work, send him a flirty text and just remind him how lucky you are to be his.
    • Reconnect when you get home. If you’re like us, you both work and when you get home, it’s time to feed the kids, get things ready for the next day and have family time. Make sure when you walk in the door you give your spouse a hug and kiss and ask about their day. I like seeing that Kevin is excited to see me when I get home and wants to hear about my day.
    • Take care of yourself. If you read my blog regularly, you know I’m a big believer in a healthy lifestyle. I’m a runner and while I run to take care of myself, I’m going to tell you that I also do it because I want to look good for my husband (I think we all want that!)!
    • Pray for your spouse and your marriage. I’m a Believer, and each day I pray for my husband and I pray for our marriage. I think it’s so important to do these two things.
    • Carve out time to spend together. Some days are going to be long. There’ll be nights when you’re up in the middle of the night because your child had a bad dream. You may have had a rough day at work. Whatever the case is, make sure you make time to spend with your spouse even if you only get 15 minutes of face time with just the two of you. For us, it’s getting up after the boys go to bed. Some nights it’s really tempting to just go to sleep when your kids do (we still put the boys to bed and sometimes it’s a long process, but its our favorite time of the night), and that’s ok. But don’t make a practice of it. You need that alone time with your spouse whether it’s vegging out on the couch, having a talk or spending – ahem – some grown up time together.
    • Make sure you take plenty of time for the two of you. I’m going to say this in a delicate way because my mom and my in-laws read my blog, but make sure to keep a healthy intimate life with your spouse. That’s one of the biggest blessings of marriage and don’t take it for granted. Every one wants to be loved and feel loved. Share that with your spouse. And don’t let too much time go by without it.
    • Have date night. It doesn’t have to be weekly or even the same day, but set aside some time to go out on a date and just talk and connect as two people madly in love with each other. Plan something to surprise your husband with that you know he’ll like, cook dinner at home and rent a movie or make a weekend out of. Just don’t neglect couple time because when you do, other things suffer.
    • Enjoy things together. I’ve already told you that my husband and I do many things together and I love that. Find something that the two of you both enjoy, both want to learn or take turns picking something new to do together. It’s important that your fun is had with your spouse, not just your girlfriends or extended family members. 
    • Support your spouse. If your husband is into sports like mine is and is still active in some city sports, go and watch him, cheer him on. You’ll find that you enjoy cheering him on as much as he enjoys playing. My husband is my greatest cheerleader at my races and I feel so loved that he not only goes with me, but he wants to be there.
    I’m sure there are a million and one things left off of this list – I’m learning all about marriage and motherhood at once. Be sure to share your tips – I’m all for learning more! 
  • anniversary,  Five on Friday,  fun,  K.C.,  Kaden,  Kevin,  marriage,  running

    Five on Friday on Monday

    I started this post last week, but I stopped at number five and forgot about it. What’s that saying, “Better late than never?” Here’s my Five on Friday, Monday-style.

    1. Celebrating our first anniversary.
    We celebrated our first anniversary this past Sunday. It was great! We’ve really been blessed.

    2. Going on a run with my Kaden.
    Last night (Thursday), Kaden and I went on a run together with him in the stroller for the first time in a few months. Let’s just say my load was heavier or I’ve gotten weaker, and I don’t think I’ll be using the jogging stroller much until there’s a tiny one in it!

    3. Staying home with K.C.
    Our sweet big boy is sick and while I don’t like that one bit and would rather be sick myself, I was able to spend much of the day at home with him today (Friday). We had some great K.C. Annabelle time. We played, we painted and we finished our new Magic Treehouse book.

    4. Soccer season is over and my first gym class ever.
    The boys finished their Fall 2013 soccer season on Saturday. This season, they were the Tornadoes. This was K.C.’s 4th season and Kaden’s third. We had a blast! Next season, the boys will play on separate teams due to their ages.

    After soccer on Saturday, I went to the gym. My friend and I went running which was a treat, and then we went to a class together. It was my first class ever. I’ve been going to my gym since I was 15 or 16, so for 11 or 12 years, I’ve gone to the gym without ever stepping foot into a group class.

    The class was Body Sculpt and I about died. It’s Monday and I’m still sore. It was about 45 minutes of lunges and squats holding weights. I thought I was in shape. I do weights three days a week normally, but they’re using machines. This free weight thing is no joke. I went for a run this morning and I was wincing in pain the first half mile. I’m running a 10K race this weekend, so I think I need to go back to this class before then to work the soreness out. I want to see how I look after 6 weeks of the torture class!

    5. Sunday fun.
    We had a nice day yesterday. Last night, the boys wanted to plant the 50 pounds of bulbs we purchased a few weeks ago. 50 pounds may be an exaggeration, but we did have 80 tulip and daffodil bulbs. I hope they grow this spring!

  • fun,  husband,  love,  marriage

    A Year

    I’ve been reminiscing this week about our first year of marriage. It was great, for sure, but it also dealt us some things we wouldn’t have expected. But despite those things, we had an awesome year.

    We had a great time in Holden Beach.
    We had a fun Halloween.

     We spent Thanksgiving with our families.
    And had a great time celebrating our first Christmas as an official family.
    We had our first snow. (And Kevin may or may not have had the flu during Valentine’s and the snow days and I may win the best wife award for brushing off his “I don’t feel goods.”)
    We celebrated countless birthdays and other holidays – Valentine’s Day, Easter, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

     Kevin played a lot of ball, I ran a lot of races and we watched (Kevin coached) the boys through soccer and baseball.
    We watched my sister graduate and made tons of other memories.
    We took a long weekend trip to Garden City this spring and spent a week at the beach this summer.
    We spent a weekend in Georgetown and went to our first college football game together.

    We spent countless other days on the beach and with our family. 

    Most of all, we filled every day with love!
    I’m looking forward to this next year and all it has in store for us! 

  • anniversary,  husband,  love,  marriage

    Our First Anniversary!

    Happy first anniversary to my better half, best friend and love of my life! This past year has been filled with so much love, laughter and fun. Thank you for always loving me, supporting me and putting us first. God blessed my life tremendously when He brought us together and I’m so thankful to Him for you every day. You are everything I ever dreamed of in a husband and more. I don’t think I will ever be able to describe how much I love you. I’m looking forward to a hundred more happy anniversaries!

    I love you!

  • husband,  marriage,  Sapelo Island,  vacation

    Sapelo Vacation Part Two

    If you missed the recap of the first part of our vacation yesterday, check it out here.

    On Tuesday, we decided we’d spend the day on the water. It was absolutely beautiful!

    We headed out to Doboy Sound and rode around for a while. We decided to dock at a pretty island across from Sapelo. While Kevin caught some bait, I walked around the shell line of the island. There were conchs everywhere! When I say this place was undisturbed, I’m serious.

    After finding fifty or more conchs, we made our way back to the boat. When we got in, we noticed a small shark swimming around our minnow bucket. Kevin decided he was going to try to catch it in his throw net. He threw the net, but came up sharkless (which was fine by me!). He decided he wanted to try again, so he put a minnow on his line and in a second, the shark was back and bit the line. I have the whole thing on video. It was crazy.

    He pulled the shark into the boat to take the hook out of it’s mouth. (If you’re wondering if I was scared about this part – yes, I was.) We had to take a few pictures before he let it go.

    We drove around some more and ate some lunch (if that’s what you want to call peaches and a Clif Bar) while we (Kevin) fished.

    We made it back to the house in time to get ready to go to the Reynolds Mansion for a tour. Barbara works there and offered to take us to see the house while there wasn’t a group visiting.

    The mansion or South End House has been there for over a hundred years. The R.J. Reynolds family purchased it in the 1900’s and his widow sold it to the state years ago.

    It was pretty, but it wasn’t what I expected. I’ve toured many of the historical homes in Charleston and I expected the Reynolds Mansion to have been restored in the same manner as those homes. It wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun exploring. Well, except until we got to the part where we went into the basement. I’m claustrophobic and can’t stand to be in elevators or tight places including a basement. I think that was Kevin’s favorite part – there was a bowling alley and a whole room that was where Reynolds kept his hunting guns.

    A statue in the Circus Room. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a Circus Room.

     

    Later that night, Barbara brought dinner over for us. It was delicious and the pecan pie was to die for!

    On Wednesday, our last full-day on the island, we decided to split our time between the beach and the water.

    We started out at the beach. We determined that we must have walked about 10 miles that morning, about 4.5 up the beach and back and then the .5 mile to our car each way. The beach was just littered with sand dollars. They were everywhere. We brought home so many conchs and sand dollars. I don’t know what we’re going to do with all of them!

    This was part of an artificial reef from our coast (SC) that had washed up on the beach. 

    We went back to the house after the beach to grab some lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening on the boat. We rode around, stopped back at the other island to look for more treasure and then fished.

    When we were riding back in, we noticed a few pods of dolphin. We turned the boat off and just watched them put on a show. It was like Sea World: In Nature. It was really cool!

    We had to leave early on Thursday to make it across during high tide. The boys had soccer that night and we didn’t want to miss it and Kaden had Doughnuts for Dad on Friday.

    We absolutely had a great time on our vacation. It was definitely unlike anywhere we have ever been before. It was a great way to spend our first anniversary – early!

  • fun,  husband,  marriage,  Sapelo Island,  vacation

    Sapelo Island Vacation

    Last week, Kevin and I were in Sapelo Island, GA. It was absolutely magical! For those of you who haven’t ever heard of Sapelo, don’t fear; we hadn’t either.

    Sapelo Island is located north of St. Simons Island and Jekkyl Island on the Georgia coast. Most of the island (~95%) is owned by the state of Georgia while the rest (around 490 acres) is privately held. We have a friend who owns a home on the island and offered it to us. It took a few offers, but we eventually gave in and I’m so glad we did. It was a nice getaway and first anniversary trip.

    To get to the island, you either have to ride a ferry, take your own boat or use a private plane. Since we don’t have a plane, we opted for the boat. We put in at a private hunting and fishing club in Darien, GA, and made the trek through several creeks and rivers to our location on Sapelo. The trip was about twenty minutes, which wasn’t bad at all. When Chris and Barbara, the couple who was kind of looking after us during the week met us at the dock, they were shocked we made it over on the first try! I say thanks to a husband who can navigate and my iPhone’s GPS!

    Our first view of Sapelo.

    We arrived around 5 on Sunday. Once we unloaded our car, Chris and Barbara took us on a brief drive around the island to show us how to get to the places we were allowed to drive to on our own – the lighthouse, beach and dock. The roads were all unmarked and with the exception of the North-South Autobahn, single-lane. Oh, and they were all dirt except for a handful.

    This is taken from the yard of the house where we stayed. It’s one of the dirt roads we were allowed to drive!

    Since there are no stores or restaurants on the island and it’s cumbersome to get back to the mainland, we took a cooler full of food – frozen lasagna, frozen pizza, sandwich stuff and some other odds and ends. We made our pizza the first night which was delicious. We ended up falling asleep before 8 the first night and didn’t wake up until almost 10 the next morning! Vacation had begun!

    On Monday, we drove to the lighthouse. We both agreed that it was the most beautiful lighthouse we’ve seen.

    After we visited the lighthouse, we headed to Nanny Goat Beach. We had to park about half a mile from the beach as the wooden bridge wasn’t in good enough shape to handle vehicles. We had a picnic lunch on the beach and then explored several miles of it.

    The beach was gorgeous! The whole time we were there, we saw no one else on the beach. It was incredible. We found so many conchs near the dunes. We also found a sea turtle that had apparently died on the shore. (Sad face.) There were also a few pods of dolphin hanging out near the shore. We sat down and watched them for a while. It was really neat!

    Day 1 treasure.

    After exploring the beach, we went back to the house to get ready for our official tour. Chris took us all over the island for about two and a half hours. I don’t know if words can even describe how beautiful everything was, so I’ll let the photos do the talking. I can totally understand why they don’t let people who don’t live on the island drive around the northern portion of Sapelo – we would have gotten lost!

    The Spanish Moss in the oaks was so beautiful to me!

    This is thought to have been an old praise house. If you look closely, you can see that it’s made with oyster shells and mud.

    Every where we looked we saw beauty!
    Here we are in front of a barn at Chocolate Plantation. Unfortunately, there was no chocolate as the name came from a former Native American tribe.
    This is the Shell Ring. Chris told us that all the visitors get so excited to see it and he didn’t understand. We had to agree. Still, it was pretty cool to be standing inside a ring of oyster shells that accumulated over thousands of years when Native Americans inhabited the island. This is one of the only places on the East Coast where shells can be found like this.
      
    The original First African Baptist Church. The church was built in the late 1800’s using wood that washed ashore after a hurricane in 1896. In the early 2000’s, the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society, the state of Georgia and the Savannah College of Art and Design restored the church.

    Our first two days on the island were great and our last two were as well! I’ll finish up the recap of our trip tomorrow, so be sure to check back!

  • boys,  Five on Friday,  marriage,  running,  soccer,  vacation

    Five on Friday: An Update

    Happy Friday!

    I’m back, after a post-less week, with my Five on Friday, update style.

    1. Kevin and I had a great anniversary trip/vacation this week.
    We just got back yesterday from an awesome anniversary trip. We’ve been in Sapelo Island, Georgia, all week. Google it. It was like being back in time. A full recap is coming next week.

    2. I ran my first half marathon last Saturday!
    I was so happy with my results from my first (and more than likely, last) half marathon. I ran the Darlington Marathon last Saturday and finished in 1:38:55. I was first in my age group, fourth female and 19 overall. I was more than pleased. I felt great until 10 minutes after when I nearly collapsed. Full story coming Monday.

    3. The boys’ played awesome in soccer last night and Saturday.
    I’m so proud of how well they’re doing in soccer this season. They both played great last Saturday. K.C. scored three goals! I’m pretty sad and upset that I missed his great goals and as it would be, the one game I miss, turns out to be crazy good.

    4. I’m guest posting on the lovely Kaitlyn’s blog today. 

    I’m so thankful that I’ve met Kaitlyn through blogging. She asked me to pitch in some after her beautiful daughter was born and one of my posts is up today. Check it out.
    5. I’m getting my hair cut and colored today.
    I had to cancel my appointment a few weeks ago and today was the earliest I was able to reschedule. I can’t wait!
  • engagement,  husband,  Kevin,  love,  marriage

    A Year Ago Today

    A year ago today, I was asked the best and sweetest question I’ve ever had to answer: Will you marry me? It’s hard to believe that Kevin and I got engaged a year ago today and will be married for a year next month. 

    In honor of this day, I thought I’d share what I wrote (and said) about our engagement last year! 
    And Kevin, thank you for making me the happiest girl in the world – today and everyday. I love you more than words can say!
    I am so excited and couldn’t be happier than to be marrying Kevin!  We got engaged on Tuesday, September 4!  The day could not have been more perfect!


    I’ll share our love story next week and focus on our engagement today.  I’m including lots of not important to you details, but they’re all important to me!

    After work on Tuesday, I sent Kevin a text about dinner plans.  Really, I was trying to bait him.  🙂  We have wedding plans made (more on those later, too!) and I knew that he was having a ring made and it was coming in that day (we’re really bad at secrets) and I really just wanted to see what he’d say.

    When I walked in, he met me at the door and told me we had dinner plans and I might want to change clothes.  Of course, a million possible scenarios passed through my head, and I ended up putting on a flamingo Lilly skirt with my pink ruffle top.  I happened to wear this on our first date, too!

    I was parked behind him and he said we needed to move my car or he would have to put some things in the back seat.  I moved my car and got in with him.  After driving a few miles, I asked where we were going and he told me it was a surprise.  I kept trying to figure it out, but couldn’t.  On our final turn towards our destination, he told me we were going to the beach.  We live only about an hour and a half from the beach, so it wasn’t too long of a drive.

    The beach is such a special place for us.  We both grew up going there a ton, and for Kevin, it’s a place that was a constant in his life.  He moved a few times around the state growing up, but always spent a lot of time at the beach, especially during the summers, at his grandparent’s beach house.  Through the time that we’ve been dating, we’ve spent a lot of time at the beach with our families, too.  There was not a more special place to get engaged for us than there!

    When we got down to Garden City, we parked at the Inlet Joy, his family beach house, and walked out on the beach.  He had picked up some sandwiches, broccoli salad, potato salad, and some red velvet cake from the Butcher Shoppe and had it packed, along with a blanket, in a picnic basket.

    We sat out on the beach and were able to enjoy our dinner as the sun set.  The beach was gorgeous!  The tide was falling, the weather felt perfect, and there weren’t any people around. 

    After we ate, we started talking about us: how we’re perfect together, how blessed we feel, and how fortunate we are to be with each other.  He got a note out of his pocket he had written several years ago and kept with the attributes he wanted his future wife to have.  He had told me about this list before and had said that I was all of them, but I saw it for the first time that night.  It was so special!  After that, he told me how he couldn’t wait to marry me and how much he wanted to marry me, and then he asked me to be his wife! 

    We kept talking about how blessed we are and I shared with him something, too. Shortly before we met, I sung for my childhood best friend’s wedding. After her wedding, I went to the lake for the weekend with my family and that Saturday night, I stayed up most of the night praying about my future husband and children.  I (and Kevin, too) had gone through some unpleasant things in the years prior to our meeting and I just had faith and knew that God was going to bring me through.  I distinctly remember praying that I didn’t want to get involved with anyone until God placed the person in my life He had made to be my husband. 

    Every thing I had ever prayed for in a man is in Kevin.  I also know that while God was preparing Kevin and me for each other, he was also preparing our family for each other.  Since I was a teenager, I’ve prayed for my husband and future children.  Little did I know I would get to become Anna Belle to the sweetest, most precious little boys in the world!  I couldn’t love K.C. and Kaden more if I tried, and I firmly believe that God, in His goodness, grace, and always perfect-timing, put us all together just as He wanted and allowed us to form the greatest bond nearly instantaneously. 

    Getting back on track. After I shared that late-night lake night story with Kevin, he asked me if I wanted my ring and pulled out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen.  We talked about and looked at different rings, so he knew the types I like, and what he designed is more gorgeous than I could have imagined.  It’s a beautiful round diamond with almost a cushion cut halo around it and pave diamonds around the band.  I love the way it sparkles and I’ve found myself staring at it all day!

    After this, the fireworks started going off.  There were some people down the beach shooting fireworks and we watched from our beach blanket.  It was great just being able to soak up the moment together.  We hadn’t taken a camera, but we took a self-portrait with Kevin’s iPhone.  The Instagrammed version is above.

    I am just so excited and thrilled to be spending my life with Kevin!  God is so good!

    I have found the one whom my soul loves!  Song of Solomon 3:4


  • Kevin,  marriage

    10 Things Marriage Has Taught Me in Ten Months

    Kevin and I have been married for ten months today! I can hardly believe it! On one hand, it seems as if we were just planning everything and on the other, I feel like we’ve been together forever. I can’t really remember my life before him.

    In honor of these ten months, I thought I’d share ten things I’ve learned and love about the last ten months.

    1. Waking up beside my best friend every day. I love that Kevin is the last person I see at night and the first person I see in the morning.

    2. Getting to use the word “husband” and my new last name. There’s just something special about saying “my husband” that doesn’t get old. I also love writing my new last name. There hasn’t been a single time I’ve written or introduced myself using my former last name since we were married, and no, I didn’t practice writing it before we said I do!

    3. It doesn’t matter how much steam/starch I use, my husband will more than likely re-iron his shirts. And I’m ok with that. I’m glad he likes freshly pressed clothes.

    4. Having someone like Kevin as my husband (see, I used it there!) makes my life so much fuller. He makes me laugh every day and smile more than I’ve ever smiled (and if you know me, you know I smile all the time).

    5. Having someone like Kevin as my husband means we have a very competitive home. I like to win, he likes to win which means games – whether Checkers, Connect Four or ping pong – get interesting.

    6. The little moments are more special when you’re husband and wife. The little things, though they really don’t mean anything more than they did before we were married, seem more special to me now that we’re sharing them as a married couple.

    7. To my husband, a walk on the beach is not this romantic occasion where you walk hand in hand at sunset talking about the future, whispering sweet nothings to each other and stealing kisses. A walk on the beach with Kevin means walking in the edge of the water looking for treasures. Sure, there are kisses, hands held and sweet talk, but the main objective of beach walks is to find treasure in the form of shells and conchs. And you know what? That’s quite alright with me.

    8. It doesn’t matter if I’m sleepy or not, if I get snuggled up beside my husband, I’m gone. There’s something so sweet and warm and cuddly and nice about falling asleep curled up beside KT, even if it is 9 p.m. on a Friday.


    9. My husband is my biggest fan, supporter, source of advice, laughter and fun and love. He’s always there thanking me, helping me, loving me and encouraging me (his goals for my running are loftier than mine!).

    10. I’m the most blessed girl in the world to have the husband I have. I know everyone thinks they have the best husband and I’m no exception. I’m thankful God brought Kevin and me together. I’m thankful for our love, our family and our marriage. I can’t imagine my life without him in it and I’m thankful I get to share my life with him every day.