Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday Stories: Vegas, Baby!

Linking up with The Mom Creative again for #TBTStories.  My scrapbooking, memory-keeping heart is loving this!

This photo was taken almost 9 years ago.  Justin and I had been married around a year when we were invited to fly out to Las Vegas to watch Supercross Finals.  That's dirt bike racing, just so you know.   And back when Travis Pastrana was still racing.  It was our first "real" trip as a married couple.

We flew out on a Friday morning and flew back home on Monday, so it was quite the whirlwind trip.  The race was on a Saturday night and one of my favorite memories is of the jets flying overhead before the races began.  I had never been in a stadium where jets flew that low and it was amazing.

While in Las Vegas, we drove over the Hoover Dam, which is where the above photo was taken.  It was breath-taking.  And humbling, to know that so many lives (112, according to Wikipedia) were lost in its construction.

We also did a little site-seeing on the strip in Las Vegas.  Justin's cousin, Greg, lived in Las Vegas at the time and was more than happy to be our personal tour guide.

I'm so thankful that we had this experience, because it's not something I see us doing anywhere in the near future.  Las Vegas just isn't a place to travel with young children :).   Visiting Las Vegas DOES happen to be on my 30 Before 30 list, too!

What travel spots are on your bucket list?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Project Life Tuesday, Digital Edition

It's amazing how much easier Project Life is when you let go of all the "fuss."  Is my album simple?  Yes!  Is that ok? Yes!  Using only the Kraft edition has helped me tremendously--I have options for creativity, but not so much that I get lost.  And best of all?  This album is getting FINISHED!

Week 8

Journaling, title card:  Monday was supposed to be a holiday for us, but due to all our SNOW days we were scheduled to go.  The West, Johnson, Halbrooks, and Stephens families just skipped, because we had a girls and kids trip to Gatlinburg planned.  Monday was spent traveling home for the most part, and then Kyndall attended volley-ball camp that afternoon.  And through Wednesday. Tuesday night was Kyndall’s 2nd grade program-she made a beautiful (though light-skinned) Pochahontas. Thanks again to all our snow, the Valentines Day Dance was postponed until this Thursday.  This is Kyndall’s first year for the dances and she loves them!

Journaling, bottom right:  Both girls ADORE Mrs. Malcom’s pet snake, Roxie.  She brings it to the library for a ‘visit’ and they fight over who gets to hold her first!

Journaling, right side:  I’m so glad my girls have such sweet friends to play with in our subdivision. Every day they want to go ride bikes with these boys, or with Maggie and Will, or even with everyone all together.  They traipse through my house and gather in the backyard, for secret meetings on the trampoline.  I am forever handing out capri suns and snacks and I love every single second of it.  I am equally blessed that the girls can go visit the farm as often as they like.  I think we all appreciate it more, not living there.  We truly have the best of both worlds!

Week 9.  This is my least favorite layout so far.  But you know what?  It's finished, and that's what counts!

Journaling, right side:  Things are looking good around here.  The weather has been amazing and my paisey’s are blooming beautifully, no thanks to me.  I finally got around to hanging the gorgeous green letter ‘W’ that Carrie made me for my birthday.  All those loads of laundry happened.  The soccer Sports Banquet was Saturday night and Kyndall received a medal.  Sunday night was the Awana stock car race, and Libby won her division.  She was even sweet enough to let Kyndall pose in a picture with her trophy.  And to top it all off, Kyndall learned to ride her bike with no training wheels!

Week 16

Journaling reads: What a busy week!! On Monday, Libby died eggs at school and my Erin Condren planner FINALLY arrived.  Tuesday, the girls had gymnastics and then the WMES art show.  Libby and I went on a field trip on Wednesday to Gullion Farms and had so much fun seeing all the new baby animals. Thursday, as I was walking down the hall, I saw the above story written by Kyndall about her hero:  Libby.  We spent Friday resting up for the busy weekend.  Saturday was TBC’s Easter Extravaganza and then we spent the rest of the day fishing at Pops and Gra-Gra’s.  We celebrated Easter on Sunday with church, and then lunch at Gra-Gra’s.  There was such a crowd there this year.  Both sides of our family and Justin’s came to eat and hunt eggs, and everyone stayed until early evening visiting.

Are you participating in Project Life?  If you have a link, share it in the comments below.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Confession: Easter is My Favorite Holiday

It's true.  Of all the holidays, I think Easter is my favorite.  And this is why.

There is less focus on gifts and more focus on the reason for the holiday.  Yes, the Easter bunny comes with a basket full of goodies, but it's much more low-key than Christmas.

For the past several years, our entire family has gotten together at my mom's house.  This includes both sides of my family AND Justin's family.  It makes it so convenient for us to only have one place to visit, with the added bonus of actually being able to visit without rushing from place to place.

Egg hunts.  Need I say more?

Spring weather.  Really, the weather in April (usually) beats October, November, and December by a landslide.  This Easter, the temperature was 75 degrees and sunny, with just enough of a breeze to make it feel nice.

The church program.  I don't really know why, but I like our Easter program more than the one they do at Christmas.  This year, one of my friends' sons was the angel who rolled away the tomb.  Let me tell you, he rolled that tomb away like a BOSS.  The expression on his face was priceless.  And then, as Jesus came out, he fist bumped the angel.  Now if that's not the icing on the cake, I don't know what is!

PS:  Remind me of this post when November rolls around and I'm loving Thanksgiving.  Or December comes and I'm relishing in the Christmas season.  Because those holidays are pretty awesome, too.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Links and Loves, 1st edition

Things I'm loving lately.  Disclaimer:  Some links are affiliates, which means if you click on them, or make purchases through them, I get credit at NO extra cost to you.  All opinions are 100% my own.

My Erin Condren life planner.  The only problem I have is that my purse isn't big enough to hold it.  Guess I'll just have to find a new purse :)

This Fossil Explorer Flap purse, in yellow.  It just makes me happy.  It's also just big enough to hold that awesome life planner :)

This Scarfand infinity scarf in red.  I don't typically 'do' scarves, but I'm loving the lightweight fabric of this one!

My Amazon Prime membership.  Each month I get 2 free books-- one pre-release and one borrowed from the Amazon Lending Library.  The girls are loving the instant streaming videos, and it's much cheaper overall than Netflix.  I've also put the free 2-day shipping to good use!

This Ulta lip crayon in American Girl.  It's a very neutral color I am such a lipstick/lip gloss addict, but right now this is definitely my favorite!
American Girl
Project Life Kraft edition. I'm loving the matching album, so it's next on my list of purchases. You can use these page protectors if you are doing the print version, and it's so easy to print your pictures and just slide them in the slips. If you need more project life info, check out Becky Higgins blog.  She has lots of daily inspiration.  Or you can see my posts here and here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday Stories: Strong

I'm not sure if it's the story I've been sharing in the library (Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki), or the fact that she would have been ELATED about Kyndall's baptism,  but I've been thinking about Mamaw West a lot lately.  I wanted her story to be the first I shared in participation with The Mom Creative's link-up.


Oh, this woman.  My heart swells with pride as I look at this picture and I don't even know where to begin with the telling of her story.  Great-grandmother to my girls. Grandmother to my husband.  Mother to 4 boys (God bless her soul).  Braves Baseball Fan.  STRONG.  Faith-Filled.  Selfless.

One of the earliest memories I have of Mamaw is Sunday lunch at her house.  I had finished my plate and drink and was sitting there, listening to the stories being passed around.  Mamaw insisted on refilling my drink, even with my adamant proclamation of not being thirsty.  That little memory EMBODIES her.  She was a doer.  A helper.  A servant at heart.

And, oh how she loved my girls.  (She loved everyone, but for the purpose of this story, we're talking about my girls.)  When we visited, she would light up and sit and talk and bask in all that was my girls.    Even when she was sick and I would hesitate in visiting, afraid the wildness and energy from K & L would wear her out, she asked for us.

When Libby was born, she would never take a pacifier.  We wanted her to, just as a comfort measure.  One of Mamaw's favorite stories to tell was the day she introduced Libby to the paci.  I'm not sure if it was the timing, or the approach, or just the presence of Mamaw.  One day, in her arms, Libby started taking her paci.  It was a saving grace for us at the time.  (Months later, I joked with Mamaw that since she was the one responsible for the paci habit, she needed to be the one to take it away.)

She had a face cream recipe that I swear is a miracle.  It should be marketed.  I have it written down, and one day when I start the face regimen that I need to have, I'll use her cream.

She survived the Japanese war camps, and while I'll never know all the parts of that story that my curious heart craves, knowing this makes her the strongest woman I've ever known.

Even as tiny as she was, she had such a commanding presence.  Justin's favorite memory is the way she 'scolded'.  When he and his brothers would be fighting, she would squeeze between them repeating "Say! Say!"

She was famous before being famous was cool.  A radio interview and a newspaper article were produced about her.  Both called her a "war bride", even though she loved to say that wasn't technically the truth.

She was part of the greatest love story I'll ever witness, and that is a story in itself.

She was, and is, such an inspiration to me.  I am forever grateful to this sweet lady, and the family she raised.  Her legacy lives on.  Through the slanted eyes and tanned skin of my husband.  Through the memories he has that he passes along to our girls.  Through his faith, which was very much influenced by her life.  I knew Mamaw for only eight short years, but I am forever thankful for each and every minute of that time.