Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions... take II

 So, last year around this time I did a post about the 'resolutions' I wanted to work on for 2012. I thought this year I would take a look at those and reflect on how I did and in what ways I can improve for 2013. Ready? Here we go!

1) for 2012: {Get in shape. I know what you're thinking- "You just said that was typical!". Well making a big push to lose holiday weight is always a big deal, but that's not what I'm talking about. This past year I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, and it has taken its toll. My skin, my weight, my moods, my energy- no good!! I'm resolving to cut out simple carbs (this is kind of necessary due to insulin resistance I have developed) and to begin exercising regularly to get in shape!! This is going to be a biggie- and probably the hardest for me.}

for 2013: This goal has been a roller coaster. I had periods of time where I was losing weight and at each visit to my doctor my weight was going down. I've also had periods where I've felt overwhelmed and put the weight back on. And then I would lose it again. This goal is a battle for a lifestyle. As I go into 2013 I've got my eyes on not what I want to lose, but what I want to gain: feeling better and ditching the aches and pains from the weight, having energy to spare, starting a family, being able to work out with my husband, getting rid of the couch potato lifestyle, and finally- looking at photos of myself and enjoying the memory rather than feeling shame about how I appear.

2) for 2012: {Commit to keeping my house clutter free. I'm a pack rat. I married a pack rat. I have seen way too many hoarders episodes to be comfortable keeping junk anymore. So in 2012 I will continue de-cluttering and keeping my house simple and neat. I'm very excited about this one! Less clutter leads to more projects! And we all know I love projects!!}

for 2013: I rocked this resolution!!!! The only problem is I should have said "Get rid of the clutter" rather than "Keep it clutter free". It took the entire year to rid our house of most of the clutter. My biggest advice- take it room by room. Even today after I finish writing this post I will be cleaning and re-organizing my office because it looks like Christmas exploded in there. I have to refuse to be overwhelmed by the mess (being OCD I want everything in its place all the time and I have to fight the urge to be stressed when it's not that way) and just take things one space at a time. I am WAY more productive that way. So for this year I'm going to focus on painting the kitchen cabinets and reorganizing them to better suit our needs, keeping up with laundry and putting things away, and being careful about impulse buys so I don't bring things into our home that are not going to be used.

3) for 2012: {Be committed to serving in a church. God led us in an unexpected direction church-wise this year and it has been awesome to see God bless our obedience, but it is hard to get plugged into and committed to another church. Please pray for us that our hearts will ignite with passion and we will find a place to serve.}

for 2013: God was so faithful! Josh and I joined Newspring Church and not only attend church now, but we are plugged in serving God through being a part of their Greeting Team! We have seen so much growth in our relationship as a married couple through us taking care of our individual relationships with the Lord. We communicate better, we are in better moods, and we enjoy the time we get to spend together volunteering. We've made new friends and look forward to volunteering faithfully and continuing to take our next steps with God!

4) for 2012: {Get out of debt!! Honestly, I don't really consider 2 credit cards and a home loan a lot of debt but it's important to me to be debt free. We need to purchase another vehicle and will not be able to do so until I get these credit cards off my back.}

for 2013: Y'all. This is hard. Financial hardship always seems to hit you when you're down. We have worked really hard this year to pay debt off and make better financial choices. We were very blessed to be able to purchase Josh a vehicle (even if it is an ole rust bucket- we love it regardless!) but we still have debt to take on. We were wasteful with our income tax money last year and will be very disciplined this year in using that money in ways that God leads us. My best advice when it comes to living comfortably on a not comfortable income: tithe. Every time we have tithed and been faithful in giving our 10% back to God, He has been SO faithful in providing for us. Every. single. time.

5) for 2012: {Save, save, save money!!!! Our responsibility with money has matured a whole HECK of a lot (I'm not sure how much a heck is, but it's gotta be a bunch!); however, in order to visit one of my best friends in England, feel comfortable talking about having babies, visit precious friends that live in California, and be able to pay our bills without ridiculous juggling and pushing due dates- we gotta get ahead of the game. Paycheck to paycheck ain't gonna work.}

for 2013: Again- money is a hard one. We did an okay job of saving here and there for small things we wanted, but in the grand scheme of things we did not make very calculated decisions and were not able to save any big bucks for any big trips. We feel pretty good about where we are in regards to whenever God blesses us with starting a family. Ideally I would love to be able to stay home and raise our children and teach part time or substitute, but if I had to continue teaching we would trust the Lord for that and just be overjoyed He finally blessed us with a family. We also love giving and being able to do things for our families and would love to be in a better position to do so.


Overall I have to say we did a bang up job growing together as a couple and doing our very best to soak in every drop of joy and opportunity given us by this one wild and precious life.

I have a feeling 2013 is going to be the best yet. :)



Friday, December 28, 2012

A Very Special Gift

I love surprises. I love to be surprised. However, (and our family knows this) Josh and I are horrible at keeping surprises from each other. We get so excited that we end up either spilling the beans or handing over the surprise early... (e.g. my new camera and Josh's iPhone).

So you can imagine that when my stepmom told me on THANKSGIVING she had connections to Chad Morris of the Clemson Tigers and that my husband (one of the most devoted Clemson fans I've ever met) would be receiving a football for Christmas autographed by Mr. Morris and Dabo and some of the popular players (Tajh, Sammy, Ford, Ellington to name a few... I hope I spelled all those right) I had to try my absolute.hardest. to keep this secret. I was so dang excited for him. I knew it was something that he would cherish and I just wanted to blurt it out so many times (especially while watching the games) but I am very proud of myself- I kept the secret! I did and his reaction was so worth it.

My husband works so very hard. And he loves even harder. If I mention that I want something (within reason) he will do whatever he can to get it for me. It's how I got my Young House Love book, how I convinced him to help me repaint the living room the weekend before hosting my sister's bachelorette, how I got my amazing teacher bag, and how I am able to do all my fun projects. He would move Heaven and Earth to make me happy, so when it came to keeping my lips sealed about this treasure I was happy to hold the secret because I knew just how happy this gift would make my sweet Josh.

Need proof? No? Well here it is anyway:

Sneaky, sneaky JoAnn. And sneaky, sneaky me. :)

Looking forward to sharing photos of our Christmas with you later today!

Until then,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Has it already come and gone?!

The day after Christmas always brings with it a certain amount of sadness. I blame it on my mom. No offense to her (different strokes for different folks), but when we were little Christmas decorations came down on Christmas Day. I wish I was kidding. Granted, we were up at 4am celebrating Santa's arrival and departure so when later afternoon came around and my mom and dad would make the switch so we could spend the afternoon with him and my grandparents, my sister and I felt like it had already been 2 days. It was still an abrupt ending to come home that evening or the next morning and see that life was 'back to normal'; that all the Christmas magic was put up in the attic to wait out another year.

Now that I have my own home, my love and I draw out the Christmas cheer as long as possible. I'd probably keep decorations up longer if it weren't for getting back to teaching so early in January.

Regardless, I tried to document a lot of our cheery moments this year on Instagram. I realized if I made my own hashtag I could see all of those moments at one time. So- until I can get good pictures taken of our holiday home and posts written about what we've been up to to share, I thought I would revive my poor, neglected blog with some warm fuzzies courtesy of Instagram- (Followers welcome: ajatkins4120).

I kicked off my decorating with my Gingerbread Scentsy in the kitchen!
First fire of the year. No stockings hanging- safety first! (Thanks Dad!)
The tree in all its clearance decor glory. I love my tree!
I handmade our stockings this year. I love them.
White silk and spice. Y'all. It's good.
Autumn's first Christmas!
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
Another view of our tree.
So glad we get to take time in the year to celebrate our reason for living!
Our wreath. I'm not sure I like the 'a' hanging in the middle. Will tweak for next year.
Someone special got an early Christmas present! Free iPhone 4 upgrade!
Good stuff. Given to me by one of my students. I <3 my church!
Went with simple brown kraft paper and decorative tape this year.
Three sweet snowflakes. We're adding icicles next year.
Christmas lab- turning Poinsettias into pH indicators!!
We spent our last day before Christmas break at school making snowflakes for Sandy Hook children.
First morning of Christmas break!
Someone got a little too excited with his gift... we still can't find the head. Poor hedgehog.
We couldn't wait to give all these presents
Waiting for Santa
The Year Without a Santa Claus- He's Mister White Christmas, He's Mr. Snow!
I made this for my nephew. And it was too small. Boo!
So pleeeease, celebrate me home! Beginning our Christmas festivities!
New tradition- Movies on Christmas Day. We saw Monsters, Inc in 3D. So good!
So, that was a quick run through of our holiday week! I'm looking forward to doing a recap of our Fall (I was horrible at keeping up with this blog. Sorry!) and editing the pictures from Christmas I got to take with my early Christmas present: my new Nikon SLR! Hurrah!

Until then,

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baby Will

Dear Baby Will,

You're here. Well, I guess you've been here for around nine months now- but I can now kiss your chubby cheeks and stroke your fuzzy strawberry blonde head.

I want to tell you a story surrounding your birth. This is a story that I hope will help you understand one day just how precious you are to me. See, I'd been checking on your mommy because I knew she had been having a hard time this past week. Truth be told, so was I; but for very different reasons.

You see, Baby Will, Aunt Andie had been kind of sad lately. A lot of sad things had been happening around her and she was kind of unhappy. In the words of your Nana, "Andie, you have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees." And she is right.

This world is a beautiful place and you get to grow up in one of its most beautiful spots! Each year you celebrate your birthday God Himself will be decorating the trees in gold, garnet, and shades of brown and green just for you! You will get to play in the woods with your dogs and drive your Mama crazy lookin' for you while you chase critters and mud up your britches.

I know this because it's where I grew up; it's what I used to do. I've been sad lately because I don't get to do that anymore. I have to be a grown up now. On the night you were born I was especially sad, especially tired, and especially ready for some happiness. I was by myself at my house waiting to hear news of how you and your mama and daddy were doing. I couldn't wait to hold you in my arms and whisper how much I love you in your sweet little ear. A little bit after 8pm that night, the night you were born, your Auntie A called me and told me you were here! I didn't think I wanted to see a picture; I thought I wanted to wait until I saw you for the first time. But I did not want to live knowing I did not get to see you on your birthday, so your Papa sent me the first picture I got to see of you:

And the tears came. Big, fat, happy, proud, auntie tears. I loved your innocent eyes wondering what in the world just happened, your chubby cheeks squished up while the nurses cleaned you and the look on your face- already planning what you are going to do with this one wild and precious life. Your Uncle Josh got a picture from your daddy while he was working at a football game, and he too could not wait to cuddle you and spoil you rotten!

So Saturday morning bright and early (it was hard to wait those hours... I wanted to leave Uncle Josh at his game and come up by myself!!) we hit the road to come meet you!

Not only was I bursting with excitement because I was going to do what I could only dream of for a long time, but everything was perfect. It's as if the Lord knew what a special time it was, Will, because the changing leaves on the trees were vibrant, colorful, and swaying in the wind as if in celebration of your safe arrival.

After what seemed like forever, we made it to the hospital. I greeted your Mommy and hugged your Daddy, and I got to lay my eyes on you... perfect. And then perfect took on a new meaning when they placed you in my arms. I became your aunt.

You are one special little boy. Your tiny ears, a little button nose, the sweetest most innocent eyes a baby ever did have. I fell completely in love with you! You didn't seem to mind hanging out with me either. You were breathing softly and sleeping deeply. I couldn't hog you forever. I wanted to; but I had to give you back. It's okay though because that freed me up to take some photos of you being welcomed into this world:

Mommy protectively watching over you.
Snuggles with Daddy.
You couldn't be a more loved little boy. There hasn't been a person to meet you that has not been moved by the tiny miracle you are.

After meeting you I set out on a mission: to find you a Halloween outfit. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and there was NO WAY you were going to miss having something to wear for your first Halloween! Luckily I found two.

Then the next day you came home! I made sure we got there a little bit before you guys so we could put up balloons and properly welcome you to your home. Daddy was so excited and beeped the horn a bunch of times as y'all pulled up.

Mommy brought you inside and you must have felt right at home because you let it all go in your diaper! You made sure we knew you weren't happy about it either, and I was privileged to help your Mommy change your first diaper at home! (And by help I mean stand by taking funny pictures)

Two very special people (to me at least and hopefully to you as well) got to hold you then. Your great grandma and Uncle Josh! I thought it was so heartwarming how Ma snuggled you close like the most fragile baby doll and imparted on you the love and wisdom only a woman like her could give.

And Uncle Josh was proud as a peacock! He got to be the one to put you in your swing for the first time, and he must have folded your blanket 5 times to make sure it was perfect! He loves you so much and can't wait to take you out in the woods huntin' with your Daddy.

I wish we could have stayed longer; but I take heart in the fact that I get to watch you grow. I get to share a very special place in your life. I hope to be the rainbow after your storms, Will, because that's exactly what you were for me.

You woke me up to life happening now. You allowed me to step back and see the forest instead of one or two trees. I hope one day to give you another special person in your life: a cousin. When God says so, I hope to introduce you to someone who will share in the adventures that await you. Until then- sleep tight sweet boy; grow big and tall. Listen to Mommy and Daddy, don't ever regret being small. Kisses upon kisses and love upon love. You are forever being protected and watched from above.

Lots and lots of love,
Your Aunt Boppy.

PS. Your Halloween outfits rock.

I love the "Mom?! What are you doing?!" look on your face!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Oh, how I wish this post were about a real fair. Rides, an array of life-shortening fried foods to choose from, bright lights, cheap thrills.

Instead, tonight I'm being vulnerable.

It's been awhile since I've posted. I have to say honestly lately my heart hasn't been into it. I whined some earlier this year when I was SO busy. 3 wedding showers, a baby shower, a wedding. Lots. Now that all of that is done it's time to decompress.

It's my favorite season.

My favorite month.

Waiting for my sister to go into labor with my favorite nephew.

My favorite fall flavored coffee by my side tonight.

And yet I'm incredibly sad. Is it okay to blog when you're sad? I would hope so. I love reading the blogs on my favorites list and soaking in all the greatness and motivation, but sometimes I get overwhelmed feeling like I need to rearrange my life and get it together so I can be happy.

Lately, I've been alone with my thoughts more. That's especially dangerous when I'm moody.

You see- I always had big dreams for myself. Huge dreams. And God placed incredible people in my life that helped me feel like I could achieve those dreams. As I grew and matured those dreams began to change and take more shape.

When I was a youngun in high school, I had big plans to become a Christian motivational speaker. I had it all planned out- I would have awesome hair with blue and red and purple and green streaks in it and I would have a rad wardrobe and be madly and hopelessly in love with and betrothed to a gorgeous punk rocker with a raging love for Jesus. We would tour the world and I would share my story with it; a story to help others who have struggled with feeling inadequate and ugly, a story to heal hearts and point to a Man who loves us more than we could ever fathom.

In college, those dreams changed slightly. Instead of being a part of some flashy music tour, my studly husband (oh yes- Mr. Punk Rocker was still there. Except at this point I decided he would have deliciously scruffy facial hair and a British accent) and I would instead be missionaries living on prayers and the things we carried around with us; sharing Jesus in the most destitute and desperate of places.

Well, Piedmont isn't Beverly Hills or anything; but it's not destitute. There is some red in my hair; the summer sun turns the ends a lovely auburn shade (that I can get away with now without dying because of this new 'ombre' trend. Take that, you dark roots!). My husband is from Taylors, SC and isn't a famous punk rocker. In fact he's just a humble servant for the Lord, doing his best however he can to help us survive. He does have some pretty sweet piercings and ink, and he can grow a sumptuous beard. There is a little punk rocker with a crush on me at school- I find it precious because when I was in school I never got a second glance. Now I'm old and married and middle school boys are always vying for my attention. :) I guess the part where I'm the teacher is the main reason, but still- puts a little more bounce in my step to know I'm admired.

My dream did not come true in any way but this- I get to share my story. Looking into the eyes of children desperate for an ounce of identity and recognition, I see a lot. I've been desensitized to a lot of heartbreak. I deal dry-eyed with things that my younger self would (and did) weep over. But I do get to share that someone cares. Someone sees the treasure inside the eyes that have seen beyond their years and will be there to cheer for their A in Math or their art project that won an award. And some days I go home ashamed that there's not more I can do for these children. I wish my home were big enough. I wish our bank account was big enough. I wish my arms were big enough.

The point of my sadness tonight- I feel the weight of life not being fair. As a child we dream of the days we are an adult- free to choose our own paths and to knock on the doors of our dreams and finally receive an answer. As an adult my heart cries out desperately for a shred of the magic I felt as a child, wide eyed and thirsty for this world full of wonder.

My life did not turn out like I expected, and while most of the time I feel blessed beyond measure that God would allow me to live this one wild and precious life, I can't help but tonight to be disappointed. To be sad.

It makes me long for things that used to bring magic to my life- making leaf piles, climbing trees, my nose running because it's cold and I don't care one bit because the sun is setting and I want 5 more minutes outside, sandcastles, secret emails, late night walks, catching snow flakes on my tongue, making up wild fairy tales to put Ashley back to sleep, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that red light I saw in the sky was Rudolph and I needed to get in bed and to sleep fast so Santa would visit.

I guess I'm mourning for the person I thought I would be; and grieving for the loss of the liberating innocence I had as a wee one.

Maybe one day I will find this magic again. Maybe my heart will soften. Maybe God will hear my prayers and allow me to make my husband a father. Maybe He will allow me to be a mother, because  to give my children even a sliver of the magic my mother brought to my own life would make me deliriously happy.

Just maybe.

I'm sorry I'm sad tonight; and if you read this entire thing- thank you. And please know if you ever want to be sad around me, my hugs are warm and my door is always open.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Liebster Fever

Disclaimer- I'm sick today. Like, stomach virus + common cold sick. It sucks big time, so if anything I say in this post sounds weird, I blame it on being drugged up and not of sound mind. :)

Back in March of this year I was blessed with the Liebster Blog Award from a friend, and now I'm honored to be given the accolade again from one of my best friends. Seriously. I love her dearly. From making Spice Girls music videos and giggling about boy bands as kids to now sharing coffee and conversation about real estate and home DIY, she's an inspiration to me and I am so blessed to call her friend! If you haven't ever read Kayla's blog two plus bink, or if you're not already following her on Pinterest, you need to. Like right now.

This go around I get to share some info with everyone! I like that. Probably because I'm kind of an oversharer anyway. Here we go!

11 factual truths about this gal:

1. I'm insecure about a lot of things, but one thing I know without a doubt, 100% is that I am a great teacher. God blessed me with a talent and I am very passionate about taking children others give up on and showing them they can succeed, whether they want to or not.

2. Every day I wake up it almost takes me by surprise to see the sweet man beside me. I never thought I would be blessed with such a supportive, encouraging, shmexy husband.

3. When I get stuck on something, it drives me nuts until I can either do or make or purchase whatever is on my mind. It's an OCD problem. I'll get out of bed at night and go arrange the pillows on the couch if they are messy and I let it get to me. Mind over matter.

4. Coffee is my life blood. Caffeine addiction, thy name is Dunkin Donuts. aand Starbucks. aaand Folgers. aaaand Keurig. aaaaand I'll even throw in the Nascar themed coffee maker in our teacher's lounge. I wish I was kidding.

5. I have a bleeding heart for animals. I have gone through quite a few pets in the past couple years trying to balance wanting animals to have loving homes with being able to financially support them and finding animals that fit our lifestyle and what we have to offer. Right now we are rehoming our cats because hubs has developed an allergy (sad. boo.), but the silver lining is we just rescued a sweet little Visla mix that we have fallen head over heels for. We've named her Autumn and Scooby is in love. Normally he dislikes our new arrivals for a while. Not with this girl- they've been buds since go. I think we have finally settled- we are a two dog family. With my classroom guinea pigs when I'm not in school.

6. DIY makes me incredibly happy. I love the pride and joy it brings me to know my home is the product of my and hubby's time and energy and hard work and the Lord's provision. Good feeling.

7. I'm super excited to become an aunt very soon!! My nephew William Lane will be here by the beginning of November and I can't wait to snuggle and spoil him rotten!

8. My favorite color is green; except for kelly green. blech. But any other shade of green- color me in love!

9. I'm looking forward to starting a family. We're not sure when God's timing will allow it to happen, but my husband is going to be an incredible father and I look forward to being a mommy and doing everything I can to make my baby's childhood as magical as my mom made mine. :)

10. 3 blogs I HAVE to read every day: Young House Love, Bower Power, and Enjoying the Small Things. Little slices of happy.

11. I LOVE my church- Newspring. I can't say enough about serving in a church that seeks to give people Jesus. I am so blessed.

Scwheet. Now to answer Sporty Spice's questions:

1. My favorite book of all time is Ella Enchanted. I can't count how many times I have read this book over and I was SO disappointed in the awful, cheesy movie version. Soooo disappointed. When I first read it in middle school it set my imagination on fire- it was magic to me. It sparked my love for reading and devouring words. I have read books that are more eloquent, more mature, that have moved me in different ways; but the magical Cinderella story in that book will be one I pass down to my kids. 

2. My dream vacation/adventure would be starting in England and visiting every single country of every friend I've made working at Camp Chatuga. So that would include Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Jamaica, Australia, Holland, and New Zealand in no particular order. :) The reunion would be sweet and there's no better tour guide than a native!

3. If I could get paid to do anything, it would be running an animal rescue. Every animal deserves a loving, understanding home.

4. Good one! How am I different now from what I dreamed I would be? I'm happier. I knew I would get married one day and I knew I would have my own home, but I never dreamed I would have such a loving husband and I never dreamed it would be such a beautiful home. I'm also sassier. I used to be very shy but since growing up I have gained the courage to go after happiness and stand up for justice. Sometimes a little too much. :)

5. When I get nostalgic I miss playing in the woods with Ashley when we were little. (Ashley's my twin sister for anyone out of the loop). We would play on this fallen tree that had lost all its branches and we called it "the log". The log was a stage, a see saw, an obstacle course, a tight rope; anything we wanted it to be. I also miss riding bikes to your house and knocking on your screen door asking your mama if you were home and could play. Then we'd get Ashley W and Laura and Kristy and we'd all ride up and down the road on bikes and skate boards, laughing and screaming and teasing Sean and Skeet, but not being too mean because after all Skeet had the trampoline and that thing was gold!

6. One way I'd be generous if I had the means would be to take in the kids I teach that are neglected. To give them a home, a mother, someone who's going to cook dinner and take them to football or soccer practice and fight over doing homework. The days I cry as a teacher are the days a kid leaves because he/she has been put in foster care or shipped off to a relative. It kills me to see that pleading face telling me 'All I want is a home'. I wish I could give that to every single one.

7. My three most favorite names? This is kind of a Friends moment- like when Rachel stole Monica's baby name. I'll share if there's no stealing, mmkay? And I have four, not three- Everett, Emmett, Evelyn, and Emmarie. I've got a thing for E names. And these are hubby approved. So maybe one day in the next year or two you'll meet someone (or two ;) ) with one of these names.

8. I am married, and there are two things I would do differently about my wedding- I would have chosen somewhere different for my reception. The fellowship hall at the church we got married at was lovely, but we had too many guests and not enough room for the fun and dancing that I had wanted to take place. #2 I would have gotten married in the evening with said bigger reception space so that we could have eaten and danced the night away!! I think being in the early afternoon people left before the send off because they had evening plans. Other than that it was perfect. :)

9. My best tidbit of life advice: Live simply, love deeply. ;) That phrase reminds me to slow down, take a deep breath, and remember less is often more. If I love deeply, I remember the love God had for me to create me and bless me with life and I try to give that love to others, perpetually pointing to Him.

10. A food I cannot live without- cheese. I sometimes wish I was a part of a "Cheese of the Month" club. Do they have those? Gah I love cheese. There's a cheese for everything! Yum.

11. My most embarrassing moment. Okay, I give. Cindy (mama in law)- If you're reading this you may want to stop right now. Please. When my mother in law got an invitation in the mail (because my friend had the wrong address some how) for me. She texted me and let me know I had mail so I told her to go ahead and open it since I didn't know what it could be. Well, it was for a party... that... well... was to come and learn about things you could buy to 'boost' your marriage in the bedroom. Cindy, I'm sorry if you read this and didn't know that's what it was. We don't ever have to speak of it. Ever. :)

So there you go!!

I wish I had a blogger to bestow this award upon, but as of late I haven't had time to connect with any new bloggers with 200 followers or less. If I do, I'll pass it on then.

I hope you guys enjoyed learning a bit about me and Kayla I hope you got a chuckle or two out of it. :)

Until next time, (when hopefully I'm not sick and busier than the paparrazi trying to get pictures of Prince William and -possibly pregnant- Kate)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sayonara Summer!

School is back in action! Tomorrow I get the pleasure of meeting most of my new kiddos! I'm really looking forward to this school year and you can check out my teacher blog here where I have been and will be posting about all things school related!

Unfortunately with the beginning of school I'm lucky if I can get a blog post done a week. That's pretty much my goal, but I know the past two weeks I've been pretty bad about it. I like posting frequently so that when I'm old and gray grayer I will be able to look back at my printed posts and be able to remember all of the fun, sweet times and blessings life has brought. And I can't forget bragging about all of my projects. :)

To send the summer out with a bang, I thought I would share the highlights of the summer!

The summer started with the end of school, and the end of my messy lab closet!!

The day school ended, I needed some serious stress relief, so Josh was very sweet to let me spend the rest of that week up at my mom's house. When I got back that Saturday- he had the most delicious cheesecake EVER waiting for me!

Soon after I got the 'project itch' and scratched it by painting over the black vinyl decal we had painted around when we first did our accent wall, creating more of a stencil:


I really enjoyed meeting up with friends throughout the summer, and one of my best buds Kayla ordered an Iced Vanilla Chai Tea Latte with soy from Barnes and Noble. I called her a hippie. Then I tried it a few days later and have been addicted hooked ever since!

Josh and I were so excited finally join Newspring Church! Perry Noble is an incredible pastor who speaks grace and truth and we love being a part of a church that is changing lives on a daily basis! We began volunteering as greeters every other week and really enjoy serving in that role.

June 18th, 2012 marked our very first wedding anniversary! The first year of our marriage proved to be 365 days of choosing to love each other and learning very quickly that life as newlyweds isn't always as glamorous as it's made out to be. We learned so much about each other and learned to truly embrace working as a team and with, not against, each other. We had plans to find a fancy restaurant and break the bank on a classy meal; but you can't deny what you love and we ended up eating at our favorite pizza place- Mellow Mushroom!

Forgive the crappy iPhone photo.
While there we looked back over our wedding photos, reliving a day that went by too fast. In the back of our photo book we agreed upon the most valuable lesson learned of the year:

We further celebrated our first anniversary with a long weekend road trip to Tennessee, where we spent our honeymoon. We rented a sweet little cabin and had a wonderful time! You can read more about that trip here.

We brought home two postcards and I turned them into this little souvenir for our home:

July 4th brought a day spent making apple pie and partaking in the second annual installment of the Atkins boys and their fireworks!

We were delighted to take a 'grown up' step and purchase Josh a truck! He'd been borrowing his parents' extra vehicle for a year and a half, and we feel very blessed to have our ole fixer upper!

I had the pleasure of redoing my younger sister Emily's bathroom for her as a gift for my upcoming nephew!


(Dim) After!!

In keeping with the 'redoing' theme, I tackled the last room that's needed tackling in our home- the office!

Before. Yikes.
After. :)

After. :)
Then came my 25th birthday! A sweet friend bought me the prettiest flowers and took me out to lunch and hubby took me out to dinner with his family and bought me tools! He knows me well!

My mom graciously bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I have had a blast doing lots of little projects with it. My first one was a dog bed for Scooby, and he loves it! The second was a set of curtains for my kitchen. :)

Then came the showers for my twinsie getting married in September. With two other wonderful ladies I threw her a couples shower and my mom hosted a bridal shower where I gave her a hanger with her new name written in wire.

My husband is truly somethin'. I love the little surprises I get every now and then. One day, after going to get gas for the lawnmower, he brought me back something I'd never had before: Mt. Dew in a glass bottle! Boy you just don't get better than a glass bottle drink!

My last trip for the summer was so much fun! My mom and stepdad graciously let me tag along and spend some awesome quality time with my baby sister in Pigeon Forge (Gah I love that place! Can't you tell?!). We enjoyed shopping, go karts, and the aquarium!!

I pretty much have the most awesome relatives. Ever.

This fella is straight outta Jurassic Park! Look at those gills!

I found Nemo!

I shall call him Squishie and he shall be my Squishie!

Silly Mama!

Anna and Glen. He loved her.
I finished up this amazing summer with one last little project. A combination of this pin and this pin gave me the creative juices (along with some stickers and scrapbook paper and Goodwill frames) to create this:

Wow! I am so very thankful to have such incredible opportunities. Going through all of these pictures and seeing all that God has blessed me with makes me so excited for this new school year and the adventures that await!

It may be a little bit before I get the time (and energy) to post again, but I will try!

Until then,