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Friday, August 29, 2014
Happy Friday Y'all!

It's been a good week. It has flown by getting back Monday night from the North Carolina beach trip and leaving this afternoon for a weekend in Atlanta. Here's a little bit about our week.

We hosted lifegroup Tuesday night and it was the first time we were all back together since baby Bethany was born. It was great to see that sweet baby (and her parents too).

Perry has been sporting some orange and blue this week in honor of the beginning of the college football season. We have also been training him to say "war eagle, hey!" So far we have gotten "waaaar...hey!" Eagle is a tough word to say. 

P is loving preschool. He was looking super cute and preppy on Wednesday. He looks like such a big boy! Who said dressing boys is not fun?

Meanwhile across town at HudsonAlpha on Wednesday, we hosted a large scale ice bucket challenge to being funds and awareness to the ALS society. Over the last month social media has been a flurry with people posting videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on heir head for ALS. HudsonAlpha does a lot of ALS genomic research so it was only fitting that we participate and take it up a notch. 100+ people congregated out on our helical park and one after another dumped cold-ish water on ourselves (it was hot and the ice didn't stand a chance).

I love that this little guy is learning to be more self sufficient. Evidence A: gnawing on a corn dog for dinner Thursday night. Thanks Granna for the reminder that it was 50 cent corn dog night at sonic.

Silly boy in a laundry basket! He is not so much the best helper in folding clothes. He likes to unfold things rather than fold them.

Then this afternoon we loaded up the car for a road trip to Atlanta for the weekend. We have so many fun things planned. It's going to be an awesome weekend. And it's the first weekend of college football. We will be cheering our tigers on from somewhere in Atlanta. War (Eagle) Hey!

GC Beach Trip 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014
I just got back from a truly amazing weekend in Ocean Isle, NC with my grad school classmates. I call them classmates as a descriptor, but they are so much more than that. We are all best friends and have been since about day one of grad school. I can't imagine being a part of any class other than the UNCG class of 2010.

We had an amazing weekend. We did a whole lot of talking and laughing and laying on the beach. And practicing our synchronized jumping. I would love to say that this picture was our first attempt...but that would be a lie. It was more like our 20th. See the outtakes below...seems like somebody or another jumped prematurely or disregarded the instruction to "tuck in your legs."

We rented a little house just right across the road from the beach. It was called "sweet tee." It was perfect with 4 bedrooms, lots of open living space, a private pool, and multiple porches (note the rocking chairs even up on the roof). Ocean Isle is a really nice quiet beach area about an hour north of Myrtle Beach (or an hour south of Wilmington depending on your perspective).

This was the amazing view from our roof-top deck. We spent an evening just sitting up there chatting, working a communal crossword puzzle and watching the sunset.

Our private pool!

The beach was fabulous. The water was surprisingly warm. Our previous experience with the atlantic ocean beaches of the outer banks a couple years ago was really cold water even in the dead of summer. This time the water was perfect and we spent quite a bit of time playing in the waves.

But we spent more time like this...

We went out for dinner each night and snacked at the house for breakfast and lunch. We went to some really yummy local places for seafood. This particular night we went to this place called the Boundary House we had heard good things about. It definitely lived up to its reputation. Many of us had the crab cakes which were amazing. We also got super nerdy and sat in our appropriate places around the table for dinner. For two years in grad school we sat in class along a single table in the same exact order...this order. We just needed to have our director, Nancy, at the head of the table and it would have really felt like home.

We had an early dinner reservation so after we got back to the house we decided to go for a walk for ice cream. Nothing quite like a cup of mint chocolate chip in a beach town.

When we were not by the beach or the pool, or distracted playing the ridiculously addictive game of 2048 on our phones, we played some board games. And came up with nerdy team names. Maybe if Theresa had manned the timer a little more closely the Gene Queens would not have been so far behind...

It was vacation...but Kristen and I still managed to get a run in together the last day (she ran another time too...but I was a slacker that day). We did two miles of running down the road and then walked (and ran a little) the two miles back on the beach. 

It was an amazing three night mini-vacation with some of my favorite people. I am so glad (and a little in awe) that we were able to get all eight of our schedules coordinated to make the weekend happen. Leave it to genetic counselors to create an online doodle pool of potential dates to get a vacation organized. Leaving this view and these girls was hard. But hopefully there will be many more class reunion trips in our future! And check out those 8-person selfie skills.

Recap from a rocking chair

Friday, August 22, 2014
Blogging has taken a backseat this week because it has been our annual planning retreat at work which occupies almost all mental processes, and nothing else all that interesting has been going on. But now as I sit in a rocking chair in the Charlotte airport (I love flying through here strictly for the ample presence of rocking chairs) I finally have some time and mental capacity to reflect back on the week a little.

Every year we kick off retreat (or entrench as we call it when we stay on-site at the institute) with our bead jar celebration. Filling a jar with beads representing all the people reached by education outreach in the past 12 months. I can't remember the exact number this year but I know it was >400,000. So awesome! And the black and white color scheme is really cool too...nicely done boss. The jar has now found its home by the previous years' jars as a reminder of why we do what we do.

It was a busy, but incredibly productive week that started with beads and ended with giant calendars on the wall as we scheduled out the next 18 months at work. 

After a morning of calendaring, we all went to lunch and dessert to finish off the week. For dessert we went to this place called Sub Zero where they make ice cream fresh right in front of you using liquid nitrogen. So cool, and a little nerdy. I got a s'mores flavor with marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. Yummy!

Meanwhile, in the rest of our family, Perry had a much improved week at Preschool. I love seeing this on his daily "sunshine report." Even when he is teething, he is such a happy kid.

I think that is the highlight reel from the week according to my phone photo roll. I am currently mid-trip, on my way to Ocean Isle, North Carolina for a long weekend beach trip with my grad school classmates. Looking forward to getting away for a couple days and spending time with those girls. And thankful for Granna and Granddaddy who are spending some extra time with P this weekend so this mommy could get away. Speaking of Granddaddy, the other big news this week is that he got really great news from the doctors in Nashville this week! The scans were great with a some tumor/node regression. So so thankful for a good report and for the wonderful month they have had getting to explore Europe with friends!

Now I am going to go back to airport layover people watching, and rocking in my chair. Happy Friday!

Pink and frilly baby shower

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
This past Saturday, we got to throw a very pink and frilly baby shower for Reagan and baby Hadley who is on the way. Gina and I were already dreaming of hosting a baby girl shower before we even knew gender (even though we were pretty sure we knew). We knew we wanted it to be over the top pink and girly. I think we achieved that goal. Here's a peak into the day.

Even the outside got a girly make over. Tissue paper wreaths on both doors. Travis made us a wooden sign for the yard that turned out super cute. And balloons and a tulle bow on the mailbox helped point the way to the party. The weather on Saturday was just perfect.

Inside, Gina did an amazing job with the flower arrangements and in the process found a great source for wholesale flowers. And we made a banner for the fireplace out of ruffle, pretty printed fabric and of course a pair of monogrammed bloomers. 

My favorite trick for parties is to hang something (streamers, fabric, etc) from curtain rods to make a backdrop. This is especially true in the kitchen were our normal curtain valence is great everyday but never matches a party theme. For this one we just use basic pink and white paper streamers and tied strips along the curtain rod. I think it turned out perfect behind the food table.

We had so much fun planning the food and in the middle afternoon you can let yourself get a little carried away with sweets since it is not meal time. We did have little chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, fruit, and cheese and crackers to off set the cookies, cake pops, marshmallows and rice krispie treats.

One of our favorite parts despite the incredibly cute works of art that were the cookies, were the dipped marshmallows that were so stinking cute and easy to make, on sticks and used as vase filler. Another inexpensive colorful vase filler was gourmet popcorn. We got the watermelon flavor from What's Poppin' locally...but we all agreed it did not taste very much like watermelon (probably a good thing) and was just a good sweet popcorn. Most importantly it was bright pink. : )

The cookies were just spectacular. Telah's Cozy Cookies always does an amazing job. We were totally smitten by the little details on the girly "onesies." For drinks we had water, pink lemonade, and sweet tea. 

Our pantry buffet made an appearance back out in the living room to make space for a wish book, favors and a display frame for newly made headbands. The wish book idea came from one of my baby showers. The idea is that everyone fills out a little card with wishes for baby Hadley based on prompts like "I hope you become..." "I hope you aren't afraid of..." etc. We had a little album with scrapbook paper backgrounds ready to go to put the cards in as a gift for Reagan. I know I love looking back and reading Perry's wish book. I know Reagan will too. We had secretly had her and Jay's parents send theirs in ahead of time so they would be there as an example. It had the expected result of tears when Reagan saw it...just like we planned. : )

Other party activities included writing sweet, encouraging or funny messages with sharpies on diapers. To bring a smile to Jay and Reagan while they change those diapers all day and night after Hadley gets here. My favorites were "give to Jay" and "wish I was there" (written by Reagan's mom).

We had a headband making station (aka bow bar) set up in the dining room. We knew we wanted to do one of these, but it took us a while to figure out exactly how to go about it. We learned you can buy cute pre-made elastic headbands at hobby lobby, but the pre-made bow selection was more limited (and expensive) we decided to DIY the fabric flowers. That will be a good skill set to have in case we ever have a little girl...or have another bow bar at a shower. All that was left for guest to do was to pick a headband and embellishment(s) and glue them together, write their name on a tag and clip it to the display frame. Easy peasy. And so so cute.

We had a great time visiting, eating, laughing, and watching Reagan open all her precious gifts. She got lots of cute things.

We were so happy that Reagan's mom, sister and mother in law were able to come in town to help us celebrate. Love those sweet ladies.

I am so not a fan of some classic baby shower games (um no to melted candy bars in diapers), but we wanted to do something fun as a group and knew Reagan would be game for a quick round of "guess how round Reagan and baby Hadley are." We passed around a ball of yarn and a pair of scissors and each person cut off the length they thought would go around Reagan's belly. As seen in the first picture below, some of us thought Reagan was giving birth to a litter. lol. Kristin Engelkemier won with an almost perfect length of yarn and got a little bottle of pink nail polish as her prize.

Baby Bethany got to attend her very first baby shower. We were so glad that Kali and Bethany were able to come.

It was such a fun afternoon. I hope Reagan felt how loved she is by all these lovely ladies and how loved Hadley is already. We can't wait to meet that sweet girl in just a couple more months.

A weekend of baby showers

Monday, August 18, 2014
Baby showers. That pretty much sums up the weekend. It was oozing with pink, frills and girly-ness.

So many more pics and details to come, but the weekend was so special and so sweet. I loved getting to help shower Reagan and baby Hadley with love, and bows, and monogrammed bloomers on Saturday. Hadley is one well loved little girl already. And it has been so much fun brainstorming and putting together all the details of the shower over the past several weeks with this sweet partner in crime.

Tonight we had a shower to attend for another friend Christie who is also having a little girl, Norah Kate, in a couple weeks. We are definitely in the "baby" season of life, and it is so sweet and so fun.

No so happy nappy

Friday, August 15, 2014
You know Perry loves his sleep and his epically long afternoon naps are a wonderful thing for him, and his parents. Well nap time at preschool, affectionately called "happy nappy," is not quite so long and in a room full of other children...a far cry from alone in his crib in a dark room with black out curtains.

So I think he has been averaging 1-1.5 hours of nap on days he is at preschool. And most days I think he has been waking up from nap on the "wrong side of the nap mat." Those couple hours post nap and before pick up have been a little rough. Hopefully after the first couple of weeks he will get more accustomed to his new routine and he will wake up happy from his happy nappy.

Yesterday afternoon he was all manner of upset at the world when I got there to pick him up. But it was nothing a little chicken and waffle fries couldn't fix. It was family night at the mall Chicfila so we went and grabbed a quick bite to eat before getting to work on some baby shower prep at home.

The previous day he was also not a happy camper late afternoon after not getting too much nap. I sure thought he would be out cold by the time we drove over the mountain, but he didn't. Instead we went over to the Eckleys for dinner and the kids had a literal "blast" playing in the sprinkler. Ben and Kate were quick to show Perry the ropes in how fun sprinklers can be. They played and played until we forced them to come inside. 

Perry had long forgotten about being tired...too much fun to be had with his big cousins that he loves so much. I would have loved to have captured on video his reaction when we walked into their house Wednesday evening. He strutted right in and immediately started calling for "Matt...where's Matt" (who was upstairs with Ben and Kate). Then when the bunch of them came down stairs and P saw them  coming he started jumping up and down in the kitchen and waving his hands around out of excitement. He could not contain himself. It was so precious and we laughed so hard. So despite a few rough late afternoon hours here and there, we have had a good week.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ok, maybe a couple words. Our house has been overtaken with pink and frills this week as we are getting ready for a sweet friend's baby shower on Saturday. Many evenings lately have looked something about like this: glue guns, ribbons and bows...and cookies and milk for sustenance. I can't wait to see everything put together and celebrate with Reagan this weekend.

Nifty nifty dad is 60

Sunday, August 10, 2014
Today (or yesterday since it is technically after midnight when I am writing this), Perry and I spent a fun Saturday afternoon at the lake celebrating Dad's 60th birthday. We had so much fun visiting with family and eating lots of good food and cake. It stormed almost the whole time which kept us from spending time in or near the water, but it was nice and peaceful just sitting under the porch watching it rain and listening to the thunder.

When we got there, Dad and Krista came out to meet us and Perry instantly had them wrapped around his little fingers. Literally.

Krista's mom, Deane, celebrated a birthday this week too so they shared a cake and candles.

Perry was his charming self and had fun playing with everyone and showing off how well he runs and talks these days. He especially loved seeing mommyteen and papaw and learned to say "papaw" really well. He was talking about papaw all night.

Everyone was also impressed by Perry's fork skills which are still in development. You can tell he so badly wants to use it. I caught him once or twice picking the food up with his hands, setting it on the fork and guiding both the fork and food to his if to fool us into thinking the fork was helping the process.

Love this view. Even in the pouring down rain. It was a great afternoon. Happy Birthday Dad (and Deane)!

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