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Pajama Party

Monday, August 31, 2015
Last Friday the women's ministry at church hosted a pajama and popcorn social. We were all instructed to done our best nighttime attire and come for a casual night of hanging out games, pictures and funny youtube videos. It was great to hang out with the lifegroup ladies, Emily and meet a lot of new women as well. There were several different jammie category competitions you could enter yourself in. Reagan and I were both vying for girly in our two piece plaid and pearls. Kali was in the best PJs stolen from a spouse category and Emily was in the best PJs from a mother in law (I knew better than to go down that road....j/k....Ann gives cute pajamas).

It was a really fun way to end a week with a girly night of encouragement and fellowship.

Life lessons at the paint store

Friday, August 28, 2015
We just had nearly our whole house painted so we have ended up at Sherwin Williams multiple times in the past few weeks. We have always had a good experience at that place. But Perry and I had one of the best customer service experiences I have ever had at a Huntsville Sherwin Williams last week and I just have to brag a minute.

This sweet guy, Anthony, made our very not shy and inquisitive little boy feel so special. Perry listened intently as he explained each step of the paint mixing process and he patiently answered the multiple "what are you doing" questions. P was even put to work helping haul the paint cans across the store. And when P wanted to give up, and said "it's too heavy," the sweet man encouraged him with a "nah man, I know you can do it." And you know what? P could do it. With a little encouragement he carried a full gallon of paint across the store. How's that for some work ethic building. Right in the aisles of the Sherwin Williams. 
I love when mundane errands turn into bright spots in the day.

Seven hundred twenty seven thousand, two hundred and seventy

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Last week was the annual Education Outreach team planning entrench (previously known as retreat). We spent the week looking ahead to the next 12-18 months and making plans. We also spend a little time at the beginning reflecting on the past year in EO, and filling our year's bead jar. One bead for every person impacted by a HudsonAlpha educational program. Each year the color of the beads and the final tally number is a mystery until the bead ceremony.

This year's number? 727,270. Good golly that is a lot of people. I posted a picture on social media last week and said that this is why we do what we do every day. And why we are so tired. And that is the truth.

Breanna is out on maternity leave with sweet baby Brantley. So she and the newest addition to the EO team attended the bead ceremony on the big screen via the wonders of technology and google hangouts. She, one of the few bama fans in our group, was quite smitten with the red bead color. Have it be known that both orange and blue have already been done. :)

Following entrench, the new jar found it's home along the credenza with the jars from the past 5 years. We have come a long way since that blue jar on the left full of 22,000 beads.

Wordless Wednesday: New Friends

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Wedding Birthday Party

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
We have had a lot to celebrate in our Lifegroup recently including a wedding and a first birthday. Since sweet Bethany (and her parents) were sick on her originally planned birthday party day we celebrated with her during lifegroup last week alongside a simple little wedding shower for Lacy and Richard.

I can't believe how big the lifegroup baby girls are getting. Seems like they were just born and nwo they are going to be literally chasing Perry around before we know it. And we are going to be looking for a lifegroup babysitter before we know it too... Seriously though, if you know of a high school or college girl looking for a babysitting gig Tuesday evenings let me know. :)

Lacy and Richard got married this past weekend and we had a great time celebrating with them and sharing in their festivities. We have loved getting to know them over the last few months and so glad they decided to join our crazy group. Can't wait to see what God has in store for them as they start their life together.

Playing Catch Up

Saturday, August 22, 2015
It has been a few days since I have had any spare time at all to turn on the computer at home and blog. This week has been just crazy with work and play.

As I look back at my camera roll since the last time I blogged I realize why I have had no time. We have been busy having lots of fun. So this is just going to be a kind of random catch up post with photos from the last week or so.

Granna wanted to go to Outback to celebrate her (big) birthday with the family. It was a really nice night despite having to wait too long to be seated and some service issues. And best part is they have invited us back for Granna birthday dinner round 2 on the house.

These three kiddos love their Granna so much!

A couple weeks back I got a tip off from a very athletic coworker that she was going to be participating in a triathalon in hampton cove that benefited college scholarships...which meant that Aubie and Big Al were going to be there to cheer. Well you had us at the word Aubie and Perry and I went on an Aubie hunt that morning and crashed the triathalon. It was about 1000 degrees outside. I have no idea how that poor "friend of Aubie" survived in there. Perry wasn't so sure about's a little out of context to see our favorite tiger friend walking the streets of Hampton Cove instead of the plains. But we succeeded in getting our photo taken and giving Aubie a hug (with a little bit of bribing) and said we will see you soon. 

Last Friday night we went downtown to watch the movie Despicable Me in the park. Since movies outdoors cannot start until sun down we knew we would not make it through the whole thing. We made it through about 30 minutes probably. But we had fun grabbing some popcorn and drinks and hanging out in the park on the blanket and chatting with friends. 

The GenomeKicks are getting better. We scored 7 whole runs this week. Or maybe the team we were playing just wasn't as good. Regardless, we had a fun kickball game Thursday night. But should probably keep our day jobs. Andrew and Perry came to cheer us on for a little while. P loves it at the kickball field. Pretty sure he thinks he is a member of team and just any second it is going to be his turn to kick.

It is a crazy busy season at HudsonAlpha with lots of changes and new initiatives getting started, most of which have major involvement of genetic counseling. We find ourselves in lots of interesting and varied meetings each week from interior design picking out tables and chairs for the new clinic, putting on hard hats and touring the clinic construction zone, and writing video scripts for educational videos explaining hereditary cancer. Never a dull day. 

We are excited that Dr. Bick our incoming medical geneticist has made the physical transition to Huntsville and can be live on the ground for discussions and planning. It was fun to all get to done hard hats and tour the clinic space we will be seeing patients in in just a few months. We have construction crews working overtime getting it all done and it is amazing what they can accomplish from one week to the next.

There is just a few of the things that have been happening in our family's life the past couple of weeks. On top of that we had almost our entire house painted this week (good riddance mannila tan, hello gray), have built-ins for Perry's new closet and the laundry room getting made, and are busy getting prepped for a big vacation next month. Oh...speaking of...check out our little buccaneer who is all set for pirate night on the high seas.

Perry the Ring Bearer

Thursday, August 13, 2015
It is wedding season. And this year we had an extra special wedding to attend. My sister Caroline got married a couple weeks ago to a wonderful guy named Nathan. They met at Lee Univeristy and the wedding was appropriately there on campus in the Lee Chapel.

Caroline was a stunning bride. So proud of the beautiful women she has become inside and out. 

She asked Perry to be her ring bearer. When she asked me back at Christmas if I thought he would do it, my response was "he will do something..." I really thought he would do well, but you just never know when you are dealing with a two year old though.

But, he did awesome. And is he not the cutest ring bearer ever?!? He looked so handsome in his tan linen suit. He got no nap at all and made it like a trooper all the through the wedding and to the very end of the reception. He was having too much fun to care about sleeping. Cake and candy helped too.

The plan was that he would walk down the aisle with the two flower girls, one on each side. Once down the aisle they would all three come and sit with parents instead of trying to stand at the front through the ceremony. It all worked perfectly. We had a couple hours for Perry and the girls to play and get to know each other before the ceremony began. He warmed right up to them and didn't want to leave their sides the rest of the night. The girls in turn doted on P and took good care of him. Which was awesome and gave me a little break from single parenting P since Andrew had to stay in Huntsville for work.

After the ceremony we went outside for dinner and dancing. It was hot because well it was July in Tennessee. Thankfully there was some inside space too where you could get a reprieve from the heat. P lost his bowtie and vest by the end. He got just a little too hot busting moves on the dance floor. :)

Caroline and Nathan got sent off in a vintage car by the light of sparklers. It was a beautiful wedding and a great time celebrating what God is doing in their lives and their happily ever after.

Mississippi Weekend

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Last weekend we jumped into the car with some friends and headed south to Mississippi. We went to go get some new tires on our cars (thanks to Jay's hole in the wall tire source) and spend some time with Reagan's family in Columbus.

Other than getting tires the weekend pretty much consisted of eating, shopping, church, and playing in the pool. And it was glorious.

Pre-School Cheesing: volume ten

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

First Day of School 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015
And just like that the summer is over and the 2015-2016 school year has begun.  Perry is at Mayfair again this year but has graduated to the "big twos" class with Ms. Janice and Ms. Linda. He has also graduated from his red fox backpack he sported all last year to a new blue dinosaur!

The night before the first day we got all his supplies gathered, packed his backpack and made a little treat jar for his teacher. His jammies even matched his new backpack and nap mat.

Tuesday morning was the big day and we had to stop and take some pictures on the front porch before heading off to school. I can't get over how big P looks this year.

P was excited to go into school and see his friends and new teacher. He was not such a big fan of mom leaving. Transitions are a little tough. But I am sure that he was fine once he got to playing with his old friends that all moved up with him.

We just love Mayfair and are excited to see what the new school year will have in store and what all Perry will learn and the good times he will have. They love our babies and show them Jesus' love so well.

Apparently P hasn't grown too much in size in a year because his first day outfit from last year still fit so he wore it on Wednesday. It made for a sweet comparison of Perry August 2014 and Perry August 2015. He has lost that baby looking face, but has the same sweet smile. I didn't realize how much his hair has lightened up until I saw these two pictures side by side. All that summer sunlight.

Here's to a great new school year!

Pretend Stay at Home Mommy Day

Saturday, August 8, 2015
Friday a week ago now I took a day off of work and got to be a "pretend stay at home mommy." When preschool orientation, a church pool party and leaving mid afternoon for a weekend trip out of town all fell together it just made sense to take the day and spend it with P.

First up was heading to Mayfair for Perry to meet his teacher and classmates for the next school year. The kids were mostly familiar faces from this summer and last year classes. So he was happy to see lots of his friends. He also got acquainted with the room he will be playing and learning in this year. They know just how to get kids comfortable...give them some gold fish and juice and they are good to go.

He was dressed in swimwear because as soon as we left school we went straight to our neighborhood pool for the church's playdate end of the summer pool party. It was great to hang out with all the other moms and kiddos. P had a blast. 

The day the tour guide quit

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
On our third day in London we left the city and went on a day long tour out in the countryside. It was an ambitious plan: to visit Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor all in one day. We booked a small group tour through Viator that had great reviews and were all set. Little did we know that the Viator review we would be writing after the fact was not so glowing...and included the words "then the tour guide announced that he quit." But I am getting ahead of myself.

We were up bright and early and booked it across town on foot to the meeting location for the tour. We figured we would be on a bus all day so a little walking would do the body good. We got there in plenty of time and met the cohort of people we would be spending the day with...all Americans from various parts of the States. The van showed up on time with the driver for the day, who asked us where the tour guide was. We had no idea of course. We all boarded the bus and proceeded to sit there for 30 minutes waiting on the guide to arrive. He finally did and we knew within a few seconds it was going to be an interesting day. He started telling us all the reasons it was not his fault he was late which included a long tirade against electronic buttons, big corporations, and potentially even ISIS. He also told us that he was pretty sure he was going to get fired for being late so he was going to give us an "unfiltered" tour of England. ha. We looked at each other and just said you know what we could choose to get upset or we could just laugh and know that this will be a fun story to tell later. And regardless we will get to see the places we want to see. So we chose the latter option.

We headed out to Stonehenge first. It was spectacular. One of those places you hear about and see pictures of but never really think you will get to see. It was raining when we arrived. Really one of the only times we got rained on the whole trip. So we didn't stay out there with the rocks as long as we might have otherwise.

Then we boarded the van again and headed off to stop 2 - Bath. The drive out to Bath was beautiful. I really wanted to leave the big city one day and get out and see grass and the English countryside. And after seeing it I would love to go back and spend more time out in some of the smaller towns soaking in that culture and scenery.

We had pre-purchased tickets to the Baths as part of our tour so we all went and saw that first. Then we had about an extra 45 minutes to roam the city a little bit, shop and grab a quick bite to eat.

The baths were really neat to see and the way they had it set up to tour was impressive. I think we were both blown away by how well it was done.

Funny (not so) coincidence - Bathrooms at the baths were pretty spectacular (see above right), with windows overlooking the actual baths. I am easily entertained and thought it was funny and photo worthy.

One thing our tour guide did well was give us food recommendations. He pointed us towards this little hole in the wall place to get cheap sausage rolls for lunch and amazing ice cream for dessert. The place pictured in the middle below has absolutely no importance to our story, other than it was a pretty building with amazing flowers on it. I have a thing for flower covered buildings.

The area around Bath was so pretty. Seriously I could have sat right here all day long...

When we got to Bath we were given explicit instructions by the already tardy once tour guide to be back promptly in an hour and a half. That we would be left if we were not back on time. And back we all were. Everyone except the tour guide. For the second time in one day he was late. This time he was 45 minutes late. And folks of the van were unhappy to say the least. We all wanted the driver to just leave him like he would have us, but understandably the driver was hesitant to leave considering he was the subcontractor for the tour company. He kept calling the tour company asking what to do and they kept thinking it was a tourist that was late and no, it was the guide. We were wondering if he had literally just decided to up and quit. But he eventually did show up...with arms full of fresh strawberries. Apparently that is what held him up...he was buying strawberries for everyone that he claimed were the best strawberries on earth. They really were quite spectacular. But not worth the stress and headache it caused. And pretty sure that was not the whole story to the tardiness.

infamous (and delicious) strawberries

The bad part was that by the time we left Bath late, we arrived at Windsor too late for anyone to go in the castle that wanted to. We didn't have pre-purchased tickets for that and it was an optional extra. We had already decided to not go in since we only had an hour or so and it just wasn't worth the admission price. So it didn't really hurt us. But it made some other fellow travelers very unhappy and rightfully so.

We spent our time in Windsor just gazing at the castle from the outside and meandering the town and doing a little shopping. It was nice to just walk around after being on a van all day.

After Windsor we headed back to the city. This was the point where our tour guide came over the speaker and said "you will all be happy to know that I have just called and turned in my resignation." Awkward. No one was all that excited since his quitting does not really affect anyone who was on the tour...but glad that future travelers will not have to be subjected to that madness. He dropped us all back off pretty much wherever we wanted in the city to continue to appease us. But not before we head some more conspiracy theories and colorful stories of London past.

It was a day we will not forget. Thanks to the bizarre tour guide. And thanks to a really great time exploring areas outside of the city of London. It was a really great day despite all the crazy.

We were exhausted when we got back. We got off the van and went and found some food and drink.

We realized we were not far from Lamb and Flag, a little pub that Charles Dickens used to frequent. We ducked in briefly to share a pint and then went and found a hole in the wall fish and chips joint that our cab driver the first day told us about. It lived up to its reputation and some fish and chips and mushy peas hit the spot after a long day.

Then we promptly went back to the hotel and pretty much collapsed, laughing about our crazy full day.

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