Monday, September 26, 2016

Let's Talk - Entertainment

Happy Monday, Friends!
Today Erika and I are linking up and talking entertainment!

So first I'm going to talk about TV.  I feel like I probably watch A LOT of TV... but I think that's because I can multi-task.  I can watch an episode while I lesson plan on the computer, watch another episode while I fold a load of laundry... you get the idea.

I Just finished the first episode of "This is Us" on NBC.  
Y'all... I'm obsessed.

I loved the entire episode... but when the last 5 minutes happened I was totally shocked and I bawled like a freaking baby.  Just trust me and watch it if you haven't already.  If you missed it last week, you can watch it HERE on

People have been comparing it to Parenthood and while I'm not sure ANYTHING will ever be as good as Parenthood, the first episode has me hopeful.

If you haven't' watched Parenthood I am BEGGING you to get on Netflix ASAP and start with Season One.  You'll want to be a Braverman in no time and will feel totally invested in their family.

While you're on Netflix click over and check out the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  It's totally quirky, but so much fun.  Titus Andromedon is my FAVORITE!

I am sticking with Grey's Anatomy... although, as someone who has watched it from the beginning it's just not the same as it used to be.  I'm hopeful for this season, though!  I LOVE me some Miranda!

Dave and I just started Survivor and we get sucked in every season.  The whole "generational" think going on is interesting and I'm anxious to see how that dynamic plays out.

I spend A LOT of time in the evenings on the computer and I'm considering rewatching Gilmore Girls for the 4th (I think!) time in preparation for the new episodes out in November.  I know there's a lot of hype about it and TRUST ME it lives up to it.  The banter, the setting, the pop cultural references, the mother-daughter dynamic... it's all the best.

As far as music goes, I talked about some of my selections (and what I use to listen to music) in this post, but since then I've added a few more to my personal library.  I listen to Pandora and buy songs as I hear them (I'm a sucker) and then can listen to them while I work during my planning periods in the afternoon without having to stream on WiFi.

I am LOVING Jasmine Thompson!  She is SO GOOD!!!

I LOVE the song Titanium and Madilyn Bailey's cover of it is incredible.

Meghan Trainor is always a good "get up and go" music.  This is my current favorite...

Boyce Avenue Wake Me Up...

And Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips have been on repeat as well.

And then of course Closer...

And this cover of Don't Stop Believing.

I wish I could tell you all about some fabulous new movie that I saw or great book I've read recently... but I don't have either of those for you.  Which is kind of sad :) hahaha

I'm working my way through Girl on the Train (I'm just a teeny bit late to that party) and am really liking it so far and I saw Bad Moms twice with a couple different groups of friends.  But other than that, I don't have much to report.  I always say I'm going to read more... and then I always fall asleep.  #thestruggleisreal

I'm looking forward to reading about what y'all are watching, reading and listening to! I need to know if I'm missing anything awesome. 

Happy Monday, girls!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites - BUSY BUSY Edition

Happy Friday, Friends!!! This week has been a WHIRLWIND and I am so glad it's (almost) the weekend... except that we're headed to a football game tonight, an 8 am soccer game tomorrow and then hitting the birthday party circuit. ;)

As always, Erika, Narci and I are sharing our FAVORITES this week and we'd love for you to share as well!  Grab our graphic, link back to one (or all) of us and share yours!

Evenings outside have been our FAVORITE lately.  Now if we could just get the temperature to drop about 35 degrees ;)

I mentioned last weekend that I stopped in to Anthro and picked up a few cute things - well all Sale items are now an additional 30% off!  Click HERE to shop all sale!

I am LOVING this mustard tote I picked up!

Next up is another sweet braid courtesy of Miss Maria and the Country Club.  Fishtail for the win!

One of Mason's friends wears glasses and when his mom was helping out this week he got to try them on and she sent me this picture!  Homeboy needs a haircut and some MAJOR gel... but HOW CUTE IS HE?!?!?!  That little smile is my FAVORITE!

Yesterday was the first day of Fall, but this girl opted to wear a few of her summer FAVORITES 

I'm a total sucker for mugs, so it should come as no surprise that these socks are a new FAVORITE.

Yes... they say mug life.  ;)

They are thick and cozy and soooooo cute!!!

How cute would this be with or without a Starbucks card attached?!?!  

Griffin got a new pair of clogs yesterday (more about them later because they are FANTASTIC!) and I have a feeling they're going to be her new FAVORITE shoes.  She wore them around the house last night and then put them on again after her bath ;)  

I've been at MCA for 11 years and working there is my FAVORITE.  The school has grown A LOT since I started and this week we broke ground on a new high school building!  So exciting, right?

In fact, my mom worked in the office at MCA when I was in High School!  The school was meeting in an old bank building and her office was in the vault.  No joke.

The groundbreaking ceremony was on Wednesday night and I think Griffin's FAVORITE part was eating hot dogs in the bleachers before it started :) 

More crazies in the bleachers ;)

Sno cones for everyone!!!

When the ceremony started Luke's class recited a scripture verse and even though you can't see him in the picture he was so cute!

We're SO EXCITED about this next phase of MCA (and I get to move back into a bigger classroom!!! #allthepraisehands) 

What's crazy is that it doesn't feel like that long ago that we broke ground on our Student Life Center!

 I talk often about the "Happy Morning pictures" that Dave sends me and these did NOT disappoint.  Her crazy faces are my FAVORITE.

The highlight of the week was Wednesday night when we were able to go to the airport and welcome home Madeley (and the other Shulls, too. hahaha)

This crazy crew couldn't wait to meet their newest member.

GG's face in the picture below cracks me up.  It was later than a normal night for us, but my kids hung in there like champs.  On the way down there we were talking about when we went to the airport to welcome Ashby home and I think it's so special that all these kids will have memories of being at the airport to greet their friends.  Adoption is such an amazing thing and I am so grateful that my kids have been able to witness firsthand how special it is.

I think that I see cheerleading in Ebby Lee's future.  Girlfriend can hold a sign up like nobody's business :)

Here they come!!!

Kensington came running down and this is totally where I teared up.  I mean - so sweet!!! I am a total sucker for airport reunions :)

YAY Smith! (And an awkward wave from one of my kids, surprise surprise! hahaha)  Also, check out Ebby Lee and Kensington's little arms around each other!

And ASHBY!!!   #getitgirl 

It was SOOOO surreal to see her come running down toward us all smiles and giggles because it wasn't that long ago she was the one attached to Shay's hip, nervous and timid, taking us all in. And here she was barreling full speed toward us on her own accord.  Full circle moment FOR SURE!  

The picture below may be my FAVORITE from the whole night.  The girls hugging in the foreground, Ashby running, Bowen's little wave, Lovie clapping, #allthecellphones... the whole thing was so sweet.  And again - what a full circle moment!

I happened to snap a few pictures of Bowen and Ashby's reunion and it was priceless!  The giggling, gazing, face touching and hugging was over the top cute.  Their little friendship is the sweetest thing ever.

So sweet, right?

In December 2010,  Shay and I were in a car together with Kensington, Smith and Luke and we had them all in their Christmas pjs waiting to drive through the Christmas Journey program at our church.  I'm not sure how adoption came up, but we had a really honest conversation about it and Shay told me that she felt like they were being led to adopt.  Since then it has been such an honor to get to watch their whole journey unfold and pray for their girls before they even knew who they were.  It's inspiring to watch friends listen, hear and follow through with what they feel God's calling them to do.  

Well, that's my list for the week!!! I can't wait to have a few minutes this weekend to look through y'alls lists as well!  I'm hoping that we get some rain and cool weather and I have an excuse to snuggle up on the couch ;)

Happy Friday, Friends!

PS - this post contained an affiliate link, which means that if you clicked on it and made a purchase I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Come on In - Backyard Edition

Today I'm showing you the last part of our house - the yard!  Our old house had a crummy driveway for the kids... it was short and sloped and we were on the corner of the main street in our neighborhood... not super conducive to playing and riding bikes out front.  One of our favorite parts of the new house is the driveway!  The kids have lots of room to ride bikes, play basketball, write with chalk and haul out all the outdoor toys.  We're also at the very end of a super quiet cul-de-sac which has been awesome.

 When we originally looked at the listing photos we crossed the house off our list because the only yard it appeared to have was taken up by a pool (which we didn't even originally want).  So imagine our surprise when...

... we saw this on one side (that's the gate from the picture above)...

.... and then this...

... and then this on the other side!

The size of the yard is kind of unheard of - but because of how our lot is positioned at the end of a cul-de-sac we ended up with almost a wedge shape and we LOVE it!

On this side we have no idea what we want to do.  I've had these soccer goals in my Amazon cart for over a month - I'm thinking that Santa might bring those and while we've talked about raised bed gardening I'm not sure we're up for that right now.  Maybe y'all can sway me... do you have one?  Do you love it?

The trampoline is also on this side because there's a TON of space and it's perfectly flat.  

When we moved in there was no fence around the pool - we did a LOT of research (metal fencing, mesh fencing, nets, covers, etc.) and ultimately went with a professionally installed safety fence (we used this company).  They actually drilled holes down into our decking and then put the poles into the holes.  Kids can push, run, etc. into the fencing and it doesn't budge.  The guy who installed ours told us that he had a client whose son had driven a power wheels into it and it didn't bend, move, tear, etc.  They've also held up in hurricanes, so there's that. :)  We had ours installed all the way to our back fence so that the kids have a grassy area enclosed as well (so when we're swimming and they want to lay on their towels or get a running start to jump in they can).

The gate to get into the pool area locks with a key (that we keep in a cabinet in our back hall) and even when the key is in and the gate is unlocked you have to pull up on that thing on the top and be fairly tall to actually work it.   The gate also opens out, so that if a kid were to pull a chair or something else up to it so they could reach the top they wouldn't be able to open it (because it would open into the chair).  It also swings shuts (and locks) automatically.

I really don't have enough great things to say about the fencing.  It's the peace of mind we needed to let our kids outside to enjoy the backyard as well as having the kids friends over to play (who may or may not know how to swim and/or know our pool rules).  I thought it would be an eyesore, but we hardly even notice it anymore. 

I mentioned above that we originally didn't want a pool - but we have totally grown to love it and can't imagine not having it.  I think it mainly just scared me... but having the fence and door alarms (separate from our security system... they're these crazy loud bells that go off when the back door opens) installed has helped make me more comfortable.

I'm going to be honest and say I really don't know what we want to do with this gazebo that's in the pool area.  Whatever we end up doing I have a feeling it will involve twinkle lights (there's already power on the back fence).  I picked up some adirondack chairs... but that's all that's over there at the moment.  Ideas?

 You have to access it through the pool fence (it doesn't look super tall, but it's too tall to climb over and is actually set into a garden area)... but I want to make it something fun and special.

There's a covered porch off the back of the house as well...

Our priority when we moved in was inside furniture, so we put new patio furniture on the back burner and put our old furniture out here for now.  At some point we'll replace it - but I don't really know what we want yet.  

The other side of the yard is the "pretty side" :)

The people who bought our old house didn't want the playhouse... so we brought it with us and set it in this section of the yard.  The kids are outgrowing it a bit and we have plans (right, dad???) to build something awesome back here this Fall.

When we moved in this garden area behind the playhouse was FILLED with a weird, crawling ground cover.  A few snakes and LOTS of spiders later (there's a creek on the other side of the fence) we decided that the ground cover had to go so our lawn company sprayed it.

As soon as it cools off we're going to rip it out and mulch this area to make it look neater and cleaner and not give the critters a place to hide.

This spot right here (well... where the tree is) is where I want to have an AMAZING playhouse for the kids.  

I have a MAJOR crush on the playhouse that Ashley had made for her kids and am thinking something like that tucked back into the garden area would be so fun.

It's PRECIOUS, right?

So imagine our current playhouse gone and something like Ashley's tucked in that back corner.  I need fabulous playhouse recommendations/plans - so hit me up!

 So all that stuff on the right mulch and a playhouse in between the two trees.  Cute, right?
(PS - that's our neighbor's garage in photo below... everything behind their garage is creek... their whole yard is on the other side of their house.  It's almost like we have no neighbors!)

 While we LOVED our old backyard, we are SO SO SO thankful for more space for the kids to run, play and explore as they get bigger.  We really haven't touched it since we moved in (other than the pool fence) and are excited to get our hands dirty out here this Fall.  I'm planning an outdoor movie night for friends once it cools off and have a feeling we'll be hosting lots of outdoor birthday parties now that we have more space.

So... thoughts?  Brilliant ideas?  Pins I need to look at?  We're in the planning phases and would LOVE yard/garden/gazebo/playhouse suggestions from those of y'all who have already ventured down that path.

Thanks, friends!  Happy Thursday... see you tomorrow for Friday Favorites!