Friday, June 19, 2020

Sweet Summertime

The pools here in Kentucky are closed and will be through the end of the month. Normally I wouldn't care because we would just swim in the back yard, but we are in the apartment this year.  We even picked one with a fabulous pool. Go figure!

At first, I was super bummed out, but we've found the best little swimming spot.  The first time we went I didn't expect much because so many of these areas are packed with everyone else looking for a reprieve from the heat.  Luckily, I was very wrong, and we found a quaint little spot not too far where we live.

We ran into one of Ellie's friends from cheer and spent the afternoon, just us, enjoying the sunshine and water. I'm sure we will make good use of the pool once it reopens, but in the meantime, I anticipate many, many trips to the creek. Hearing the laughter, and splashing and playing was so good for the soul.

After working up a good appetite, we stopped on our way home for another summertime favorite...snow cones!!  The first one of the season is always the sweetest. Even the tween enjoyed it, he just doesn't want to let anyone know.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Girls Day

Throughout quarantine, Ellie kept talking about how she couldn't wait to go shopping once everything opened back.  No matter how may times I asked, she never once changed her mind, so once we were comfortable with new regulations, we ventured back into the world for a girls day.

She wore her mask like a champ! We eased back into things slowly and were on a mission to get some cute clothes for our beach trip later this summer.  First we stopped at TJ Max, but there was a line just to enter, so we stopped by Wal Mart and Target instead.  We didn't have much success, so we headed to a little consignment shop where we racked up.  She shares my passion for bargain shopping.

I have to say, that I very much enjoyed our girl time.  She was a pleasure to be around and we had some great conversations.  I really did have fun.  I look forward to many more days like this as she grows into a young lady and hope she will always let her Momma tag along.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Bonfires and Family Time

It blows my mind to think that when the pandemic started we had just listed the house with a realtor, and now three months later, we are living in an apartment while our home goes up.  So much has changed in our world and for our family.  Going from almost two acres down to an apartment has been interesting, but we're enjoying being renters for the time being. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have plenty of space to run and play at the land when things start to feel a little tight.

One thing that's been a constant for us during this season of crazy has been our bonfires at the land.  We burned a ton of stuff while we were moving and now we get to do the same with scrap lumber.  Last weekend when the kids got back from Nanna's house, we loaded up everything we needed for a bonfire and had the very best time listening to music and spending time together. The kids pretty much want to do it every weekend now.

Even has the world starts to reopen, we're realizing it truly is the small stuff that means the most and provides us with best entertainment.  I hope we will always carry this "secret" with us, especially as we return to our "new normal."

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Hiking Fun

One of the first things we did when the travel ban was lifted was to go hiking!  We often use the trails near our home at Mammoth Cave National Park.  It's such a blessing to have a national park in our backyard, but we were ready to bust of of this joint and decided that we needed a change of scenery.

We felt so much freedom driving to the trail and also kinda like outlaws because it's been so long since we've been out in "public".  It was a perfectly sunny day with low humidity and fantastic temperatures for early summer.  It was also super easy to social distance in the great outdoors! 

We decided on a whim to go, so we packed our masks, stuffed our bags with lots of snacks and made a short stop for BBQ at a little makeshift drive-thru. 

It had been years since we'd hiked the trail.  In fact, I was pregnant with Eli the last time we were there.  We also went during the winter months, so it was like a whole new world getting to experience it in the summer and with kids. 

It's funny how a pandemic makes you slow down.  We've talked about going back for 10 years, but we've never slowed down long enough to do it.  I'm so glad we finally did! It was such an amazing time as a family.

After the hike to the large waterfall, we went back to the more shallow area and spent more than an hour letting the kids swim, and splash and play! It was so much fun and I really think we will be visiting again in the near future.

Monday, June 8, 2020

We All Need A Little Bit of Pixie Dust

I don't think it's any secret that we are a Disney family.  Over the years it's become a happy place for us, and we have made so many precious memories. We have Disney playlists on our phones, play Disney games on Family Game Night, and have fun testing our Disney trivia skills or talking about our favorite rides, shows and resorts.

I absolutely love researching and planning for each of our trips. It gives me something to look forward to and there are so many amazing options that the experiences change and grow right along with our kids. The way we vacation now is much different that 2010 when we took our first trip, and it's rewarding for me to find new experiences for each trip and each child.

I was knee deep into planning our October 2020 trip when Covid-19 turned the world upside down. I had such a wonderful trip planned with the NBA experience for Eli and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique/princess dinner for Ellie.  We were finally getting to stay in a Deluxe Resort and we were even splurging on Park Hopper Passes so that we would have more flexibility.

We made the decision in early May to postpone our trip for another year while this mess gets sorted out, and even though we know it's the best thing for our family, I'm still in need of some Disney magic. For several years I have wanted to make a little travel/Disney blog (and even attempted a few posts), but it always felt kinda silly and self serving when there are so many hard things happening all around us. What 2020 is teaching me is that you can create beauty and joy even in the mist of chaos.  You can be both transparent and real  about the hard things while also making room for the simple pleasures that bring genuine happiness.  In fact, sometimes those silly little blog posts are a welcomed breath of fresh air and a gentle reminder that it's ok to hope for better days.

That's why I've decided to relive some of my most precious memories, share my favorite restaurants and pass along some of my hard learned tips, tricks, and ideas. It seems a little silly, but I think right now we all need a little bit of pixie dust.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Kicking Off Summer

Remember two months ago when I said that I was going to be a better blogger?  We can all take a short moment to chuckle at that one. Actually, a lot has happened since then.  We sold our house, moved into an apartment, worked lots and lots of crazy hours and somehow managed to homeschool the kids.

It's been a weird season.  Not a bad season, but one that's unique.  As I'm writing this, the world is starting to reopen.  Our kids have gotten to visit with family for the first time in months, we're able to sit down inside restaurants, and there's a since of normalcy about our lives. There's been a lot of life lived and a lot of lessons learned throughout the course of this pandemic and I hope we won't soon forget them.

Memorial Day is, of course, the unofficial start to summer and this year I think it was more welcomed than ever before.  We all needed a figurative and literal transition into a new season!

Our original plan for the holiday weekend was to go visit Eric's family in Marion, but it was supposed to rain every day.  We decided that we didn't want to deal with that since we'd have the dog, so we invited Nan and Grandad up to see the progress on the house.  

The kids went home with Nan and Grandad for the week, so when we woke up to unexpected sunshine on Monday, we decided to take full advantage and head to a small lake not far from the house.  Eric fixed up a little John boat last year, and it's the perfect size lake for putting around.  He fished, I read, we talked and laid out.  It was fabulous!

It was the perfect little day date! We enjoyed relaxing and having time together. The pools here in Kentucky are still closed, so I see a lot of weekend trips to the lake until that changes.  In the meantime, we are looking forward to a summer filled with family fun and simplicity.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Quarantine Week Two

The second week of quarantine brought more changes.  For starters, Eric's work transitioned to an on a week/off a week schedule. This was fantastic but also completely flip-flopped our schedules.  I started waking up and heading to office during the 6:00 hour and then would come home around  lunch. I am most productive during the morning hours and loved being able to get the majority of my work done before noon. 

In full transparency, I really struggled at the beginning of week two.  I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I went to SEVEN stores over the weekend and wasn't able to find hamburger meat.  It's a crazy thing to cry over, I know. We had other food and plenty of it, but not being able to find it was a punch in the face about our current reality. 

On top of  that,  we still hadn't sold our house at that point and I was trying to let go of that "dream" while also holding on to  hope that it would all work out as it should.  I was tired, and sad, and mad -a complete and total mess.  I cried most of the morning at work but knew I had to get it together before going home to the kids. In hindsight, I also think that because of the schedule I was keeping, I hadn't let it truly sink it, so it hit me all at once.  

 Lucky for me, I married a wonderful man who knows how to cheer me up.  On Monday evening of that second week, after our office hours were closed, we took Eric's little John boat out for a cruise on a small lake near our home.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered!  It may have been a little chilly, but being together on that "maiden voyage" was precious.

 For my memory, there was a small amount of water that got into the boat and my Safety Sam Junior (that would be Eli) got into his head that we would be drowning and never make it to shore. Bless him. 

As the week went along, things got much easier.  Not only was my mood changing, the weather continued to improve as well allowing us to get some much needed sunshine and fresh air. Eric was also great about getting the kids' schooling done while I was at work, so I didn't have to mess with it when I got home. That was a major load off my plate and both Eli and Ellie agreed that Daddy was a much better teacher than I am. I can't really argue with that.

In addition to our little boat ride, we have passed the hours by fishing for hats (a game Eric made up) playing board games, and riding our bikes. On Thursday of week two, we had a showing for the house in the middle of the day.  I took the kids and dog up to the land while the buyers were at the house and we decided to pray for the person(s) looking.  I want to devote an entire post to this, but it brought me so much piece. I was beyond humbled when we got a call later that night informing us that the buyer wanted to place an offer!

The Lord's timing is not our own.  I had come into the week completely brokenhearted and overwhelmed but God so graciously redeemed it and brought us joy and hope with the potential buyer.  Who would have thought that in the middle and a recession and pandemic, we would finally sell our home? It was a week spent on an emotional rollercoaster, but it ended in the sweetest way!