Monday, May 31, 2010

Colby Boy

We had to put our dog down last night. It was so sad. We haven't necessarily been the best parents of this dog. After we had children, we made sure he was an outside dog. He hasn't always gotten a walk everyday, and there have been many times that I have thought, "It will be nice when we don't have a dog anymore." I know... I'm an awful person. But, even though he hasn't always been the easiest dog, I really cared about our sweet black lab. He came to us at a time that we could care well for a dog, and a time that he needed a home.

I know that it's not totally a Marly and Me scenario, but it was still very sad. I patted his head and told him what a good boy he had always been. How he was such a good dog for our family. And I cried. He was suffering so much that I know he was glad to be at peace.

River made up a song for him...


"Puppies, puppies. I love puppies. It's hard when you have to give up your puppies."

Classic Colby...wanting to have his tummy rubbed

The kids made him a "house" this past winter

Thanks for being such a great dog, Colby. You'll always be our "Boy"!

Even though this is a more sad post, it still was a time for our family to grow together. I love seeing how my sweet children encounter all of life. The good, the bad, the gifts and even the losses. Join others over at Chatting at the Sky today, and celebrate all that we have been given.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home Is...

When I think about what makes my house beautiful, it's not the stuff gathered from here or there. It's not all the trinkets and treasures that I've found along the way, even though I do love all of those fun things. It really is how precious the people in the house are to me.

Reluctant Entertainer is doing her "Home is" link up, and at the risk of posting twice in one day (i think it may be a first for me), I wanted to post a few things about our "artwork" around here.

I have 2 kids. And I keep 2 other precious girls during the day, along with my two. So, as much as I don't want my house to look like a preschool, it does. And, maybe it's that I'm getting older and that I don't care as much anymore, or maybe it's because I'm starting to see that they really are the best artists I could ever ask for. Either way, this is one wall of my kitchen cabinets.

Several years ago, my sweet husband asked one of my best friends if we could hire her to do a photo shoot of us. We had never gotten engagement pictures, and we had never had the money to do a real "session", but thankfully, she's one of the best photographers I've ever known...and she was tickled pink when he asked her. She followed us around where we use to go on our first dates, and where he asked me to marry him, and she didn't mind getting all mushy one bit. So, several of these great pics are hanging on our bedroom wall. Over the years, we have added to the wall with prego pictures, and then the sweet babies that came into our lives, and blessed us beyond measure with being able to call ourselves their Mommy and Daddy.

Friday Finds: (a day early) Happy Memorial Day!

Gearing up for a great Memorial Day? If you happen to be having people over to celebrate this patriotic holiday, make it a great one! Here are some sites to check out fabulous ideas for a fun weekend.

I think I may have to throw a party now, after seeing all that goodness! Blessings to you on your Memorial Day. And may we never forget all that we have been given by so many people who have sacrificed for us.

* I'm hoping to have "Friday Finds" each Friday where I link fun tips, ideas, or just snippets of celebration to help brighten your weekend just a bit. Here's to a new tradition! Maybe I'll even be all fancy and do a link up...well, eventually. ;) This one's a day early for two reasons: 1. I sincerely with all my heart thought it was Friday when I was writing this. 2. To give you an extra day to prep for the weekend.

Have Fun!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Becoming More Than a Bride

One thing I love about planning weddings is that I get to know the bride, their closest friends, and their families. I truly become friends with them, and learn all types of things about them that I would have never known, if I were just getting coffee with them. They become much more than just a "bride".

This past weekend, my sweet friend (who started as just another bride) invited me along on her bachelorette weekend. We had a really fun time being silly, singing in the car, laughing until our sides hurt, having margaritas on the back deck, and celebrating our friend.

This bride in particular has an amazing voice and one of her favorite things to do is sing at the top of her lungs with all her friends who don't have a voice as quite as beautiful as hers. But, she doesn't even try to be the star, she loves us all singing together, our raspy voices and all!

I think that becoming friends with my "brides" is the best compliment that I could ever receive as a wedding planner. That I get to walk beside them on a journey that may in fact be one of the most exciting, but challenging times they have faced thus far. That I get to help them make decisions about how they will celebrate the beginning of the rest of their life. That I get to be there when they first say, "until death do us part". Talk about something to celebrate!

How do you remember the planning part of your wedding? Is it something you felt like you were all alone in, or did you have someone there holding your hand through it all? I'd love to hear your stories!

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Picnicking We'll Go!

This time of year I get so excited about being able to be outside in the warm weather. And my favorite kind of meals are the kind that are delicious, and easy, and you don't have to clean up. So, when you pair those loves all together, you very simply get the answer...picnics!

I think sometimes we can get trapped by the thought that it's just too much to get together, and not enough time to do it. But with a few helpful hints, I think that this "out to eat" plan is a lot more simple than we realize...not to mention affordable!

1. I like to keep a stash of reusable plastic dishes and cups in my favorite picnic "basket" for whenever the mood strikes. (It's also great to have a little travel size of hand sanitizer and napkins or wipes in there so you're totally prepped!) Usually I keep mine on top of my fridge, so that I can just grab it and fill it with whatever goodies I have on hand. (Not to mention, it makes my kitchen have another little pop of color!)

2. Grab your favorite quilt to either have a gorgeous tablecloth or just to be able to cop a squat somewhere outside. If you don't have one, hunt one down on etsy! There are some that are simply delicious.

3. I try to keep a few things on hand that are easy "on the go" healthy snacks. I very rarely make sandwiches for every person and individually wrap up everyone's food. I just grab a couple apples, some cheese, hummus, the bag of pretzels, some baby carrots, and to be really fun and fancy, I love to throw in some french soda! Once you throw those all in your tote, you have yourself a little french picnic!

4. If you're really doing it up, check out these award-winning picnic recipes. You'd be sure to impress your guests!

5. One great thing about being outside together, is that you're more likely to play together! The Ogo sport disc is a family friendly game that can be used in a variety of ways. This was a Christmas present we gave to our kids this past year, and we all love it! You can play frisbee, catch, bouncing water balloons, or just to be silly!

6. Another timeless favorite is the hula hoop. These fun hoops are handmade and collapsable...not to mention will work those love handles right off!!! (can I get an amen!)

Let me hear if you have any awesome picnic tips!

Friday, May 21, 2010

You Gals Know How To Party

Well, you sure know how to make a girl happy. Thanks, y'all for the support with all the changes! As you can see, I have a problem with change. Did anyone see how many different backgrounds I have had in only 3 days!!!??? Seriously, if you can guess that, I think I might have to give you a prize. Oh my goodness.

I do the same thing when I rearrange a room in my house. Sometimes I make my husband stay up with me until wee hours of the morning, just to get it done exactly right. Oh, wait...that's what I did tonight, too! I love him so much.

Ok, so onto the fun part. **(ok, just to let you know...i just typed "party" when i went to type "part" and had to backspace. that's how engrained it is in me!!!)** Sorry...I digress.

Drumroll please....

The lucky winner was EMILY C !!! Yay girl! Good things come to those who follow! ;)

So excited to be on this little journey with you all. Thanks for making this transition such a fun time!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Celebrating Change with a Give Away!

Ever since I started this blog, I've been having a blog identity crisis. Well, no more. I'm deciding (kind of with a heavy heart) to combine my two blogs. Eeeekkk. I know, I need therapy.

I've been posting over at A Resting Place for several years, now, and part of me feels like I'm quitting on her. But, really, I just want the two to become one. Now, I sound like I'm coaching one of my newly engaged couples.

This morning, as I was trying to sit and write a post that would be meaningful and encouraging, I kept being interrupted. The three year olds kept needing something, the kitchen was a disaster, and I had a meeting in an hour. After about 10 interruptions, I frustratingly hit the quit button. It made me realize that trying to keep up 2 blogs just isn't possible right now.

As is my custom, I can't incur a transition without celebrating it. So, I'm going to throw my first party over here. I'm giving away one of my super cute and BRAND NEW mini market totes. See and drool...
If you haven't noticed these amazing market totes, they are the best things ever. I use my big ones all the time, and this new size is just so cute. Perfect for picnics, graduation gifts, bridesmaids gifts, or just leaving in your car to bring all your junk to and from your house. Not only that, but I'm gonna throw in a funky charm bracelet just to make it a little more enticing.

Now, to make this transition fun for me (because you know it has to be fun for me, too!) I'm asking that you "follow" this blog and then leave a comment letting me know which mini market you would want! If you're super competitive and want an extra entry, link back to this post from your blog, and then comment to let me know you did the "extra credit". (And if you are already a follower, just leave a comment, and I'll still enter you!) You have til' midnight on Thursday the 20th to link up. I'll announce the winner on Friday!

Change isn't always easy, but I know that with your help, even this little change in my life could be a really great way to celebrate everyday life. Now go check out all the other great ways to celebrate the gifts of the everyday over at Emily's! Tuesdays (Unwrapped) have become one of my favorite days of the week.

Oh, and I can't wait to tell you about the graduation party I designed last weekend!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

I know it seems like I won't get off the strawberry subject, but I just can't help myself. For the past several years, we have gone strawberry picking with my sister and her kids. You can read more about why this is such a special tradition here, but I won't go into all the sappiness again this year. It's always a really fun time, and we love being able to keep the tradition. I made a delicious fresh strawberry cake that was beautiful, and was devoured so quickly that I didn't even have time to take any pictures!

Anyway, back to the strawberry picking. Every year, I think I take more pictures than pick strawberries, and everyone else endures the pain of the camera. This is still the best way to explain how my kids pick. Now, they just look a little bit older, but still are very much the same.

Here are some shots from the day this year. Sweetness I tell you!

Go see what other sweetness you can find over at Tuesday's Unwrapped with Emily!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yay for Strawberry Season!

One reason I love May is because of strawberry season. All year we wait and finally the time has arrived. We love going every year to pick our own strawberries. It has become such a fun tradition that the kids start asking around March, if it's time to go pickin! This is a great site for finding where you can "pick your own" fruits and vegetables, in any state, in any season. These are some of my favorite local spots to go pick your own strawberries:

However, if you're one who would rather the farm come to you, make sure you check out this free event, tomorrow at the Farmers Market!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Your Big Backyard

I absolutely love the spring. However, these days it hasn't quite felt like spring. It has felt like more like summer. Hot, sticky, want-to-jump-in-a-pool summer.

One reason why I love to be around children so much, is how easily they celebrate life. You don't always have to have a can splash in a tub of cold water. Or, instead of going to a fancy water park, just water your grass, and while you're at it, run through the water.

I was going back through pictures, and I came across some from April 2008. This was one of them.

We didn't belong to a pool, and didn't even have the cash to visit one every now and then. And we definitely couldn't afford to go to any water parks. As the days are fast approaching that we're longing for pools to open and vacations to begin, it makes me remember that sometimes the best times are had right in your own backyard.

Here are some links to my favorite summertime spots that don't cost a fortune:
*(if you're not local, google "free" and your city's name)

Music for A Sunday Evening in the Park - free concert every week!
NC Festivals & Events calendar (find one close to you!)
Free Family Film Festival - how can you go wrong with free movies!?!
Public Library (there are always a TON of free events going on throughout the summer)

And remember, when all else fails, just get out the hose!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Song & Sterling Silver Sale!

I'm so happy now that it's May,
Birds are singing all day.
Flowers blooming,
Springtime is here.
I'm so happy now that it's May,
Birds are singing all day.

My daughter takes Suzuki violin and all day this song was in my head. Well, I am happy that it's May, after all! Anyone else have random May songs stuck in their heads today?

In other news, I have a half off sale going on right now for all my sterling silver! Any brides out there, this is a great gift for your bridesmaids and wedding party!