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Ladybugs

We have had a spider mite infestation in our vegetable garden.  I don’t like to spray to keep our gardening as organic as possible, so we looked up what eats spider mites and turns out one of their main predators is the … ladybug!  I went on Amazon.com and ordered 1500 ladybugs for $11 (including shipping!) and they arrived yesterday and so we released them.  It was fun.  We may even do it again. A lot of them have stayed around but I think if I had misted the garden more frequently, we could have had even more stay – there sure are plenty of spider mites to go around!!!

Much to our amazement, there was not a single dead one in the bag!  Even after sitting in our mailbox for several hours.

We cut open the bag with some scissors and they immediately started streaming out.  So we placed it around the garden so they could get on all the plants having bug issues.  Here they are arriving on the eggplant to find plentiful food and water!

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The boys also enjoyed letting them crawl on their hands and arms.

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After a couple hundred took up residence on the eggplant, we moved the bag over to the tomatoes

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I checked on them tonight and there were still quite a few who have decided to make our garden their home for a while and help us not lose our crop of tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, watermelon and herbs that are still going strong!

Also, I mentioned one of our seashell projects – we grew crystals on them with Borax.  It was really easy and the result is pretty amazing.  You can do it with pipe cleaners too with some amazing results (google it!).  Here’s the recipe.  I would even experiment next time with using a little more Borax than the recipe calls for.

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Things I like

I’ve already missed a few posts out of my 100.  Since it was national breastfeeding week, of course, I got a plugged duct/mastitis from feeding Bo and it took me out for a good day and a half.  I had a fever, pain and felt like I had the flu.  Brilliant timing.  So, to kick off the week’s “Things I like” post, I’ll start with…

1.  This website: Kellymom.com If you’re a breastfeeding mom, it’s super helpful and I attribute it to helping me know what to do without having to spend time waiting in the docs office (to be told to go home and rest and drink fluids and some other things you can read about if you reeallly want to, but you probably don’t) and to know that an antibiotic wasn’t necessary unless the infection got worse!

2.  The Little Rascals (1994).  We had a movie night with the boys and they loved it!  All three boys laughed so hard and Wes and I enjoyed seeing it again too – it had been a while!  Thanks to Uncle Sam for singing “I got a dollar…I got a dollar” and giving us the idea!

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3.  Annabelle Hydrangeas and summertime in our yard.  I know I’ve mentioned the fun we are having with our vegetable garden, but I have also been loving our yard and everything that is growing in so well with all the summer rain and sunshine.  We’ve been constantly picking things to bring in or make arrangements with and it is so much fun.  It’s all exactly how I want it!  I’ve been in hydrangea heaven.

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4.  The Weekly Meal Deal from the Fresh Market.  It is only $20 and it easily feeds everyone.  Bonus that it’s one less meal to plan out for the week.

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(Last week was Tacos, this week was Kebabs – both were great!  Unfortunately next week is sausages…not sure how that will go over so we may have to take a week off…)

5.  The boys skin has been so dry from all of our swimming and we’ve been loving the the Baby Oil from Beautycounter.  Bo was the one that got us all started on it! It’s less expensive than their other body oil we’d been using and the kids like the baby one better because they are weird about scents and this doesn’t have a smell.   And I love not having to worry about it having anything unsafe in it.

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6.  The moms from “Wild and Free” – a group of homeschool mothers – I mostly follow them on instagram or their individual blogs but many of them have helped me to be more inspired about what’s next for us, especially as it feels like we heading down such a different path and everyone (including Rand) is talking about starting kindergarten, etc.

7.  These tasty drinks:  The fresh squeezed OJ at our massive Harris Teeter Juice Bar, Southern Pines Brewing Co. “Malty by Nature,” Cactus Creek “Butter Pecan” coffee (you can taste it at the Roast Office), and my old standby which I have yet to tire of… Peach Pear LaCroix with a splash of Organic Cranberry Juice Cocktail.

Cheers to Monday and a fresh new week!

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Seashells

Today Ema came over again and went through our seashells and sorted them and showed the boys how to clean them and identify them.

For as long as I can remember my mom has loved seashells. Walking the beach with us as children every summer we’d find them and then she’d teach us about each one. It was fun to see her teach the boys today. Sailors ears, brown cockles, slipper shells, jingle “toenail” shells, olives, moon shells, turbans, etc. I hope they will love finding seashells next time we visit the beach too!

 Bo hung right there with us too…
Bo gets a lot of attention from his brothers. Sometimes a little too much. And sometimes it’s hard to feed or change him because he’s trying to catch up with and watch what is going on. And there is always something going on!

 Today the boys took turns having Popsicles and some porch time while the other had a swim lesson! Can’t wait to show their progress they all have the confidence now to dive down for rings and can do some basic swim strokes. In just 6 lessons it is amazing how they have become such good swimmers!

After swimming Wen and Rand made beds in the living room and watched a show (we love peppa pig! A great vocabulary builder for English learners!) while I rocked Bo and Philip napped.

 I love my boys.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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100 days

My sister-in-law, Kristen, is doing this cool project where she does a painting every single day for 100 days.  I think maybe I should try to do the same with my blog to help me get better about writing and posting… a post every day for 100 days… which would be from today until November 4th… I wonder if I could do it?  I’m not as disciplined, but I guess that’s the point.  Some days, I forget to even answer my text messages (I answer them in my head, but then it never quite gets alllll the way back to the person…)!

Today was “Ema” day (my mom came over) and A LOT got done! Not in order:

2 loads of laundry (1 of which is folded but maybe not yet put away), 1 kid to eye doc, pilates class, 3 blackberry cobblers made (one for us and 2 to take to a family gathering), library books read, garden picking (eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and cherry tomatoes), all kids toenails and fingernails clipped, I showered!, kids bathed and fed dinner, cleaned out fridge, set up hummingbird feeder, learned how hummingbirds build a nest, and drew and colored pictures of hummingbirds, picked up some things we needed from the store…

Phew!

I also was able to get a little work done for Beautycounter and for Jessie Mackay, a local artist and friend who I help with marketing and sales.  We decided to try something fun and are setting up a daily auction instagram account!  You can follow it here.  Each day, we’ll post a new painting for sale and first person to reply in the comments with their email address we’ll send the invoice to.  Most all of the paintings will be under $200 and are unframed oil on board paintings.  A few that are odd sized will come custom framed.   The first one will post on Friday, July 29th – so go follow @jessiemackayart now!

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My little cutie at the eye doc.

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One of the blackberry cobblers. Recipe is here but it doesn’t need as much sugar as it calls for. You can do less than a cup and also we just sprinkled a teaspoon or two on top instead of 1/4 cup!

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1/100 done!  99 more posts to go…

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Summer Reading

Summer reading for the kids, that is – because children’s books are pretty much all I can handle right now!

One of my favorite things we’ve been doing this summer is checking out books from the library!  We’ve also found a few at a local book thrift store which has been fun too and the boys got some new ones for their birthdays we’ve been enjoying.

A few of our favorites so far have been…

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These first three got a lot of laughs – all 3 boys like silly books.  And Little Babaji will make you want to eat some pancakes.

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The BFG we are working on, I read a chapter or two at a time.  Before starting the BFG, we read the first book in the series of the Boxcar Children and the older two boys really got into it.

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The Raft has been my favorite one so far!  The day we read it we also had a baby deer show up at the door, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why that was so cool!

Our favorite place to read is on the porch.  Especially during a summer storm, it’s my favorite place to sit in the whole house!

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Bo also likes to hang out on the porch while we read.

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What are you reading these days?

 

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More news…

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(Photo cred: Meredith Macy Photography)

 

We are still waiting on our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China – this is the last major approval before we get our travel approval and we think we should get it in the next few weeks (based on the time it is currently taking other adoptive families to receive it).  Once we have our LOA we will travel within 3 months to China – it was exactly 3 months with Philip’s adoption.

In the meantime…the Lord has blessed us with a miracle…a baby!  We were surprised to find out I was pregnant and my due date is April 2nd.  We had an ultrasound today and it looked a LOT like it is probably a boy but we will keep you posted on that since it is really to early to tell “officially.”

We told the boys this afternoon and they were really excited.  Rand can’t stop smiling and talking about “the baby in mommy’s bump.”  We told WenXuan a little over a week ago (through a contact/friend who was visiting the orphanage) – since he’s our oldest, we thought he should get to know first!

Throughout our adoption journeys I’ve been asked the question a lot… “do you think you’ll ever have another baby?” While sometimes this catches me off guard as not really anyone’s business, I usually try not to be offended and share what’s true:   I have always had a desire to have more biological children and I believe that desire is from the Lord.  I have prayed “Lord, if a baby is not something you have in store for us, if you would take that desire away”…and the desire has never gone away.  Sure, it has taken to the back-burner lately as all we’ve been able to think about are Philip, WenXuan and also some really special kiddos we know about in China and are praying for the Lord to send them families, but the desire of having another baby has always been there.

We had help with Rand and our doctors told us it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant without help, but that it was probably unlikely.  For the past few years, we’ve just left that up to the Lord to decide for us and truly have believed that if HE wants us to have another baby that HE will guide us to the help we need or make it happen!

I do think the Lord also knows me so well and my heart for adventure, even though I never expected my next adventure would be adding THREE children to my family in 1 year!!!!  But we are up for the challenge and have never felt so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  A little over 5 years ago I remember being so sad that we didn’t have any children and now am experiencing the overflowing joy of knowing we will be a family of 6 by April – it is truly incredible.

And we know what everyone is thinking…who knows what that crazy Smith family is going to tell us next time they say they have news!?

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Blueberry picking

Last week, at the recommendation of a friend, we set out to find a local farm in Carthage, NC – Olde Carthage Farm – for pick-your-own blueberries and blackberries.

The boys were excited and loved picking the blueberries.  It was an easy activity for them to do! Philip was more interested here in eating the blueberries than smiling for the camera!

(Sometimes I have a hard time finding boys clothing that we like – for those who have asked, both boys are wearing similar shorts: Rand’s are H&M and Philip’s are J. Crew factory.  Rand’s shirt was a bday gift from his friends and Philip’s is from our trip to Vieques.  Shoes are here and here.)
The boys also picked some blackberries, but Philip is used to eating raspberries at home and had trouble not picking the red ones!!!!!  SO…we purchased some of the blackberries they had there on hand ready to buy for anyone that doesn’t feel like picking!
Isn’t the farm beautiful? I wanted to stay all day.  Best thing of all, it’s CERTIFIED ORGANIC!  And…so is Philip apparently!
They also had lots of flowers and tomatoes for sale.
The owners were really nice and great with the kids.  They even let Rand and Philip borrow some nets to catch butterflies and June bugs.
There were also lots of bees but thankfully they kept to themselves!
If you’re passing through Moore Co. or are local and need some blueberries or blackberries go check it out!  I think they said they would have blueberries for another few weeks and blackberries through August 1.  We will definitely be back soon.  Next up…some blueberry recipes;)

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Saturday through Tuesday

On Saturday, I set up a table at a local event to promote my Beautycounter business.

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I’ve been on a mission to spread the word about safe products/cosmetics for the past year now.  So, since I’ve got your attention, go and check the ingredients in your products.  And your family’s products.  If you need help, the Environmental Working Group has an app you can download and scan barcodes that saves loads of time.  It’s called Skin Deep.  Or you can go here and type in the names of your products.  Even if you don’t buy Beautycounter, find something safe to use – we can’t control everything in our environment but we are 100% in control of what we put in and on our bodies!  Ok, there’s my PSA for the day.  Also, if you do want to try Beautycounter, or want more info, let me know.

Philip and Rand’s favorites:

Nice Do Shampoo – we squeeze a little in the tub for bubbles too!

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Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary Citrus – this is the only “lotion” I can get Rand to use (strong smells bother him) and Philip gets mad when I tell him he can’t have more.  I put it on both boys immediately after the bath!  And for me, I mix it with a little of the hydrate body lotion.  There’s actually a Mother’s Day promo now with the lotion/oil combo.

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And the boys have been taking frequent baths because we’ve been enjoying springtime and have been outside as much as possible in between rain showers.  The boys collected some “wild” flowers on our walk and learned about dogwoods and azaleas.  Thankfully no shoes were thrown.

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I did a smoothie experiment with my Pilates friends and I’m convinced I might need to sell my juicer and get a vitamix.  These were delicious.

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Other than that we’ve been hanging tight around the house.  Rand went back to preschool today after a week off for spring break.  We’ve still been enjoying lots of yummy meals and sweet visits from friends & neighbors coming to welcome Philip.  Don’t tell Charlie McWilliams (aka the chicken connoisseur), but last night we enjoyed the most perfectly grilled chicken – our friend Caitlin is apparently going to have to teach me how to make chicken because mine has never turned out that good!

Here’s a shot of the boys eating some pretzels today that we made!  Our sweet friend Amy brought us a delicious dinner and her son Walker suggested she also bring us his favorite snack – “make your own pretzels” and lemonade.  Perfect for our rainy afternoon.

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I thought this was cute of the boys and Nina watching Wes pull up in the driveway the other day.  You can tell it’s towards the end of the day around here because of the missing/mismatched clothes.  Ha.  They seem so little yet they make so. much. dirty. laundry.

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And with that, I’m off to bed.  Yes, everyone has asked – we are sleeping great!  However just not in our regular places yet.  We’re still divided up one of us with each boy in separate beds for the night. Eventually we’ll all be straight but we’re taking our time and just savoring that everyone is sleeping until at least 7am  (A real miracle.  Even pre-china, Rand rarely slept past 6am) AND taking 2hr (Rand & mommy sometimes too) and 3hr (Philip) naps every day as well.

Tomorrow is a very important day – Philip turns 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We’re around

Sorry for the delay in a new post, but we’ve been really busy just doing life!  The kids take a little longer to fall asleep at home vs. in a hotel room for some reason and by the time we get them down for bed, it hasn’t left much time (and some nights we’ve fallen asleep trying to get the boys to sleep…) – although Wes and I did sneak in the season finale of Downton Abbey the other night! And have caught up on a few episodes of Madame Secretary.  It’s pretty good if you haven’t seen it.

Also, April is one of my busiest months!  I have not one now, but TWO boys with birthdays coming up, window boxes/planters to be planted and my garden to plan – these are a few things I really look forward to all year!!!

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It’s a good thing our car didn’t have room for more or we’d go broke.  I think I would be really happy working at a nursery/garden center some day.  There is something about plants and greenhouses that I can’t resist.

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In addition to the window boxes/planters, we planted 30 hosta and 30 ferns for some little “shade gardens” in the new landscape plan.

We also celebrated Easter!  Since we’ve been staying in for the most part in order to teach Philip we are his parents, and to not overwhelm him, we hadn’t planned to go to church – it’s not like he will be able to go to nursery or Sunday School for a while (without one of us), BUT Easter morning, at breakfast, Wes and I decided we couldn’t NOT go to church so we decided to go get dressed and give it a try!  Rand went to nursery and Philip sat with us.  He did really well, considering every time I tried to tell him, in Mandarin, that he needed to be quiet, he thought I was telling him “I love you”…Mandarin is HARD y’all!!!

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After church we went to “Ema and Pops” house for Easter lunch and then took the boys home for naps.  After lunch, Ema and Pops and Uncle Sam and Aunt CeCe did an Easter egg hunt in our yard for the boys and Uncle Fred and Aunt Tina, along with Uncle Wellborn (Rand and Philip’s great, great uncle!) came over to meet Philip and see the egg hunt go down.

The candy and toys were a big hit – Philip caught on right away and wanted to eat as he went…thankfully Ema only put one or two jellybeans or one gummy worm or one graham cracker bunny in each egg!!!

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And Uncle Sam helped the boys work out some of the sugar rush.

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We’ve also taken some walks in the past few days, one to our local Arboretum – as I shared on Instagram (follow me @annafranklinsmith I post a lot more often on Insta!) – on that first walk together, Wes and I marveled at how many walks we’d been on with just Rand and Nina and talked about Philip the whole time and what we needed to do, what was the next step, dreamed what things would be like…etc. We waited a long time for this inaugural walk!!!

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It was “very real” too – because we had to get on Philip at one point about throwing sand and he wasn’t happy that we made him get back in the stroller…so he threw 2 shoes and a sock…But all in all, it was a good outing!

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Rand’s been enjoying helping make popcorn – a snack we eat just about every day.  We’ve been really liking this recipe for a healthy version.  I omit the pepper and coconut oil (we have an air popper – $20 on amazon…) and drizzle with melted Ghee (you can see it melting in the top of the popper!) + turmeric mixed in and a sprinkle of sea salt! YUM.

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And we’ve been taking good naps every day (keeps everyone happy).  Sorry for the scary pic of me half asleep.  I’m not good at selfies, but I wanted to document how Rand likes to cuddle when he’s fast asleep.  I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be doing this, so I’ve been trying to soak it all in while I still can, it’s just about as sweet as it gets!

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Yesterday, we needed to run an errand in a nearby town, so we took the boys with us on a mini day trip and stopped at Smithfield’s on the way.  The waitress brought both boys a balloon.  I’m pretty sure they think that’s why we made the trip.

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Philip thankfully is really content to ride in the car.  I’m thinking we have TWO great travelers on our hands! He even caught a little snooze on the way home…

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Best shot I could get of the boys.  Wes is happy, Philip has a “hand up/peace sign” reaction every time we bring out a camera and Rand is getting down to eating his drumstick. Apparently with some texas pete?!?!

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I’m thankful for my boys and all of our moments of real life (even if some are without a shoe or two).

Thanks for continuing to follow us even though I’ll only be posting “often” and not always daily!

 

 

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Lately…

Wow – it has been so long since I last posted.  Sorry ’bout that.  A few things on my mind lately…

This new album by Ellie Holcomb is great.  Especially love Broken Beautiful.  Ellie married a good friend of my sweet college roommate and her husband…so I feel like I know her, even though I really don’t.  It was fun to see her project from kickstarter (which is also awesome btw) turn into her amazing album though!  Listen to it here.

Also, I made these scrambled eggs the other day and they are perfect.   I didn’t do the tomatoes and mushrooms but that would be good too.  Just never knew this was the way to scramble them right!  Promise me you won’t curse like Gordon does…even if you do burn your toast too:)

That’s all for today!  Hopefully I’ll be back more frequently!

Cheers,

Anna

 

 

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Best of Summer

Since I haven’t blogged in 3 months…a recap seems like the most appropriate way to restart.  Notice, it is called “Best of Summer” – I have left out the 2 year old tantrum moments, the awesome new recipes that I didn’t try and my window box/planter fail…so…without further ado, here is a peek into the best moments of a great summer:

Summer began early for us…we headed down to our favorite New Smyrna Beach, FL and were delighted to be joined by the Stokes family for a few days!
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We had to visit our sentimental place on the Indian River.
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And we found some fun new places…

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Staying in a small condo that, at high tide, felt like we were actually on the water was heavenly – especially since the upkeep was so easy. Every morning, Rand would line up his animals. I would say his summer fascinations have been: animals, fishing, golf (his own versions of the last two, of course)

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So it was especially cool, if not somewhat unnerving to me, to see the fisherman catch exciting things each day.
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We had a special evening with my Great Aunt Bebe, who Rand got to meet for the first time
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And Wes and I got to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary (10! I know!!!)
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With Sangria at our favorite New Smyrna restaurant, The Spanish River Grill.
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The highlight of the day was that we found out our Dossier officially went to China…a huge milestone in the adoption process for us…more on that to come.
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Who are those two young love birds???
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We also got to share the end of our trip with my mom, or “Ema” as Rand calls her, and got to see more family, including the Wallis cousins! Rand was overjoyed to get so much attention. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone!
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Coming home wasn’t so hard because the Kings came to visit! Here’s a photo of Jackson and Rand perfecting their snow cone eating skills:
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We are finally enjoying our pool (it warmed up mid-June!) this year too! Rand loves to walk around it and “fish” and he enjoys rescuing bugs and frogs with the pool net.
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Rand got to spend time with both of his grandmothers (and his pops and Aunt MD too!)
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The boys did a little more “fishing”
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I did a lot of blackberry picking
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and I figured out that Rand and I both share a love for the “Go Green” smoothie at 195 Nature’s Own. It has been our “special snack” place!
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This next photo deserves its very own post – the most major event of the summer – we were blessed with a new niece. Sweet baby Kara was born at the end of June (that’s right, we’re not even to July yet)! Here she is less than 24 hours old.
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Another important summer event included James’ ordination as a deacon in the Episcopal Church.
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We spent time with Wes’ family at Myrtle Beach (don’t let my amazing sis-in-law fool you – this photo was less than 10 days after baby Kara was born! We are all taking lessons from Jax and Matt on how to rally.
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Rand and MJ got to have some quality time that also involved lots of bubbles, duck feeding and swimming
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which all make for one happy kid
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We visited the Myrtle Beach Aquarium – which was awesome!!!  But then we realized they make  you exit THROUH the gift shop, which is also on the opposite side of the building as the baby ducks that Rand saw outside.  So going home was not as fun…
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We also took a trip to Wilmington to hear James preach on his first Sunday at his new church.
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And then we stayed for lunch and snuggles.  It is also important to note that this was the day that Rand first met “Buster” and “Maggie” – they are James and Samantha’s 2 dogs who have unknowingly been prayed for 2x a day (nap and bedtime) every day since.
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Overall we did a lot of swimming (bathtub, pool, ocean and lake)

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It was a good summer and we were so blessed to be able to enjoy all the “new” things with a 2-year-old!

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A beautiful day

It was a beautiful day today so we went outside for the afternoon as soon as Rand got up from his nap (as a 21-month-old he’s doing really well with his naps. consistently sleeping from 1pm until sometime between 3 & 4)!  I was looking through some photos I took this afternoon and realized they were a great representation of this stage in the game.

Rand is such a little boy now!  I don’t know what happened.  We watch his baby video all the time (at his request) and I still think of him as that little baby.  Then I see these pictures and he’s all toddler.

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He’s SO BUSY. All. The. Time. And it is great. Daddy is really nice and let’s him play in his car…one of his favorite things to do.
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Rand also tries to do some things that he just can’t do yet but wants to…like riding this scooter. Almost…it won’t be long bubs!
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We don’t go anywhere these days without these two – “Meow” and “tut-tull” – Seriously. They ride in the car, they sit next to the crib, they come to breakfast and they LOVE to go outside. Rand found them in the garage a few weeks ago and remembered them from last summer. They are having a much more exciting off-season than most pool floats I know of.
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Lately, anything can become a horse. And this boy loves some horses.
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This is the “cheeeeese” face. We need to work on it some.
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There has been a language explosion in the past week or so. I have a feeling we are in for it. The kid knows what he wants.
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He’s also a great listener still.
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Thanks to a weekend project with Uncle Sam and Kristen (aka “Diddy and CeCe”), our trees all have bird feeders hanging from them.
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“Bird seed” and “Tweet Tweet” have been added to the growing word list.
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Here’s a proud face for making it up a step without having to hold on or crawl.
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Oh and of course the drool continues. Does it ever stop? That is one thing I will be happy to grow out of!
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Thanks for hanging out with us today!

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Bubs and Bubba

A few weeks ago at cousin Joely Beth’s 1st Birthday, Rand gave a salute to Bubba Watson.  And while we can only hope that our own Bubs is destined for record breaking drives (could it be a coincidence that Bubba was nicknamed for another great athlete…last name also Smith…?), we also wish Bubba Watson all the best.  We thoroughly enjoyed watching him win the Masters, as well as his recent interview on Feherty.  Good stuff.
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Image via ESPN

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Back

Whoever reads this is probably wondering where we have been.  I’m pretty sure it was January and then I blinked and now it’s March.  We’ve been up to so much I think I should just let the photos do most of the talking.

back in January…

Since it has been a pretty mild winter, we’ve been outside a lot.

In February, we celebrated Uncle Sam’s birthday…he is pretty good at blowing out the candles on 2 pies at once.

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We hung out with Sam and Kristen a lot
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We went to the park and did all kinds of new things like swinging in the kid swings
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Cousin MJ is a pro when it comes to parks
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I even took a little break from being the photographer

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We had lots of play dates with friends.  Last week, Ryder turned 1 and I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of his “Hungry Caterpillar” birthday party.  It was so darn cute.  I’ll have to see if I can find some photos for ya.

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Stay tuned…I won’t be away for as long, I promise.

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Back to School

I feel like I’m back in school.  A much more fun school though.  If you’re wondering, I’m currently enrolled in the school of YouTube and Pinterest.  You can learn how to do just about anything. Recently I’ve learned:

How to do an easy half-up hairstyle (check out all this girl’s videos…tons of ideas)

 

How to unclog a drain

How to make a teepee (we haven’t made it yet…but one day I will do this for Rand…and me…)

How to make a healthier version of a California sandwich

How to make a toga out of a bed sheet (4 ways!)

How to make something yummy with Quinoa (note: food lion in Pinehurst does not carry Quinoa.)

How to wrap wine (or beer) bottles for a hostess gift or to take on a picnic

Other things I’ve learned from the “School of PinTube” (can you think of a better name?) include:

boiling eggs perfectly

baking chicken without it getting dry

how to get stains out

how to play (just about any song!) the piano

how to install an infant car seat (Wes did this one, not me…I still have yet to learn it)

how to change the ring in the frontload washer (Wes again)

how to help a choking infant/heimlich maneuver

and so on…what have you learned that’s been helpful?

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Happy Monday

Happy Monday!

Here’s the “watching golf with daddy on Sunday afternoon” photo…

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Also, a heads up. Thomas Paul pom-pom scarves are on sale today (big time!) at MyHabit.com. They are so cute. I first saw the cute pom-pom scarves on Emily over at Emphasis Added (fun blog to read!).  I love the grey pom pom one and the cute flag one…

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Old friends

Ok folks…so my single friends are going to start running away from me because I’m getting involved in all kinds of matchmaking shenanigans.  And it’s SO MUCH FUN!

The “Show Us Your Singles” edition of Kelly’s Korner blog closes tonight, but not without one last entry: Ryan King.  I’ve known Ryan for TWENTY YEARS.  Yep, we were 10 when I became friends with Ryan and his twin brother Jonathan back in the 5th grade, and I always had a feeling I’d know them forever.  I often think about the people I’ve just lost touch with vs. the people I remain close to.  The childhood friends, who have also become dear to my husband now too, remain close because of our connection as brother’s and sisters in Christ.  It is friends, like Ryan, that we have something deeper in common with than just hobbies or our current locations.

So without further bla bla bla from me… Here’s Ryan (with me & Wes at a Mountain Festival a few years ago)
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Ryan currently lives in Lexington, Virginia but has family in the Boone/Linville, NC Mountains area and, of course, a soft spot for Southern Pines/Pinehurst where he grew up (and secretly we’d love for him to move back to NC!!).   He is a huge fan of the NCSU Wolfpack, his alma mater, and while he is open to living wherever the Lord leads him, he hopes that it will always be within a few miles of a Bojangles (or at least somewhere with a good chicken biscuit).

He turns 30 soon, and he’s tall…
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While he usually looks like he stepped out of either a J. Crew or outdoor catalog…

You can also find him serving the Lord looking like this because he’s currently the Facilities Manager at Rockbridge, a YoungLife camp in Virginia, NC.  So he’s usually installing irrigation, removing trees, planting trees, operating large machinery…you get the idea.  Rugged stuff.  He gets it done.

Here are a few pics of him with his (fraternal!) twin Jonathan.  Ryan is the redhead!

He’s a family guy and, with parents like his, I don’t blame him (they are the most hospitable people, they welcome our friends AND our babies to come and stay for the weekend at their home in the mountains…).  Here he is on top of Roan Mountain with his mom, dad and brother.

And most recently with his precious nephew Jackson (Ryan has 2 nephews and 2 nieces).

So…if you are interested or know a sweet girl who likes adventures, kids and has a heart for the Lord then contact me or leave a comment and I’ll put you in touch.

 

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Out

We’ve been out.  This week has been so lovely, I don’t even mind that the groundhog saw his shadow (I’d actually like to wear the coat I got for Christmas at least once this season without having to travel farther from the equator).

So with all the sunshine, we’ve been in our backyard, riding on “the red car” and in the stroller, spray painting some fun things (more on this later), checking out the pansies and the Carolina Jasmine that has started to bloom…

And we’ve also been out in our friend’s backyard.

3 cute friends (actually, there were 5 total…2 6-month-old twin boys went in for a nap!)

Rand was enamored with his friend Janie

And food…he love’s these baby Mum Mum’s (least expensive at Wal Mart)


And cheerios (and grass too…)

Thanks for having us over Janie & Ginger!

Gotta run because I’m super excited that my 2nd StitchFix arrived in the mail today!  Can’t wait to see what’s inside…

Update: okay…so I know I promised a hair pic, but I gotta take a shower first and was waiting 24 hours to wash (not sure if that is a true rule for coloring hair, or if I just made it up…)

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Weekend Recap

This photo pretty much sums up the days around here (cheerios stuck to our faces), but what fun would only one photo be?

Saturday I went to two estate sales and found some awesome framed moths.  Moths? Really? Well, apparently if I’d gone the first day, I’d have gotten the butterflies, but I’m a bargain shopper and I always go the “50% off” second day of the sale.  I still think they are beautiful and I adore how they are framed.  I’ll keep you posted where they wind up in the house.

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Saturday afternoon, Sam and Kristen went with us to Weymouth Woods for a little hike to see the bridge that Sam built when he was in high school.  It was his Eagle Scout project.  It is pretty awesome.

Rand was excited to finally get to see it too.

Sam, Kristen, Wes and I have been trying to find the perfect shrimp and grits recipe and Saturday night, we tried our second recipe. This one has been the best so far, likely because it is from Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill.

The only changes we suggest: we added chopped red pepper (at the same time as the green onions) and decided next time, the shrimp need to be cooked separately and then added AFTER they have almost cooked all the way. Our shrimp were large and took longer to cook and I think it made the veggie/sauce mixture a little overdone.  Also, we didn’t add all the salt it called for in the cheese grits. Shrimp and cheese are already salty folks!

(image from myrecipes.com)

Okay, on to another very exciting part of my weekend – my StitchFix arrived and I now have a new sweater that I LOVE!  StitchFix is a fun new venture (I admit, I was skeptical and just wanted to test it out) that turned out to be very impressive!  First, I filled out a style survey, then I paid $20 and scheduled a “Fix.”  Each StitchFix shipment is 5 items especially picked out for you based on your style survey.  I had to admit, I really loved all 5 items that came in my fix, but could only choose this time (so I’ll have some cash left to do it again!) The $20 you paid to schedule your delivery is deducted from whatever you choose to purchase.   And you don’t have to purchase anything if you don’t want to.  When you’re done trying everything on you just seal everything up in the USPS bag that is enclosed and put it back in the MAILBOX.  So easy.  So fun.  So clever.

Here’s my sweater.  Sorry for the scary iPhone eyes.

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Sweater – RD Designs via StitchFix

Oh and I have to mention that there is also a little card attached to each item with “what to wear” instructions.

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Sucked in

Yesterday at lunchtime, I was minding my own business eating a bowl of leftover tomato-basil-parmesan soup when BAM, I fell down the rabbit hole…I was just going to check my email…

Anyhow, I stumbled upon a few interesting things…thought I’d share.  Some from friends’ facebook pages, some from Pinterest and so on:

A blog post with a really good list of recommendations for iPhone/iPad apps.  I am OBSESSED with RedLaser now and have been scanning everything in sight.  This app is a revolutionary timesaver for a bargain hunter like myself.  Thanks for the great list Eric!

Rand is eating new foods everyday and thinking about what is best for him has really been convicting to me about what I eat and SERVE.  In our home, I’m the one responsible for what is on our plates at every meal.  Found THIS and THIS.  BOOKMARK!

I was randomly googling about if you can still cook and eat spinach that is a little slimy (you can’t), and found what I should have done when the spinach was gettin’ there.

Saw this on facebook…a good read if you’re human because you probably have someone to forgive too.

I was catching up on my friend Martha’s hilarious blog and she posted this fun video…Wes and I have enjoyed having a few date nights on the sofa with FOX’s new series New Girl.   Zooey Deschanel is so funny!

Last, but not least, thinking about New Year’s, made me think about what we were doing last year on New Year’s: celebrating James and Samantha like crazy.  I confess, I will never grow tired of watching their wedding video.  Makes me wanna plan a trip to Austin to visit them…maybe tomorrow at lunch I’ll just check into a few plane flights…

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