The day she turned three…

How is she already 3? Evyn Olivia is growing up into such a beautiful little person. So full of life and passion. No doubt the Lord has amazing things in store for my little princess. And a princess she is. I don’t teach it…I’m not into pink or polish, but this girl LOVES it! It just comes naturally to her.  When I asked earlier this month how she would like to celebrate her birthday she answered without hesitation, “I would like a PINK MAGICAL PRINCESS party.” And so she did…

The princess table…

The cake…

This girl deserves at least two pictures because I had NO IDEA what I was doing (baking is NOT my strong suit!) and I made this cake at midnight before the party. I was pleased. My favorite was making her crown out of foil! One of my more brilliant moments. 🙂 Not going to lie…I’m proud of her! And more importantly Evyn LOVED her cake! It even got an, “AHH Oh. My. Goodness!” exclamation when I brought her out to show Evyn.

The little princess.

I like to think of this picture as her, “THANK YOU GOD FOR THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!” picture.

Sisters

This girl is a party animal! I’m pretty sure she ate the entire bowl of M&M’s I had out for the girls.

Princess treats. Build your own goodie bag

Soooo happy!

Her first bike!! She LOVES it!!!

apply new makeup “generously”…Like, ALL OVER YOUR FACE.

Pop Pop helping Evyn get started on her new bike. (See Meyer in the background…she’s eating M&M’s, again.)

MyMy and MiMi

Rockstar princess…

She is so serious about her PINK PRINCESS guitar. wow.

Just taking it all in…

Evyn and Pop Pop share a birthday…double the fun!

Family in PINK!

off she goes….

Three never looked so sweet…

Nothing like finishing a great day with a little movie and snuggles with the ones you love the best…

It was a fun day celebrating Evyn. We are grateful for her life and thankful for the friends and family who came out to celebrate her with us!

Parenthood Milestone

Oh to be a mother of a boy! This week will be remembered as the week we crossed a major parenthood milestone — “The First Broken Bone”.

Nash is now the proud owner of a red cast on his right arm. Congratulations. He learned a valuable lesson in horse-playing (that phrase looks weird when you write it…but it’s what my mom always called playing rough in the house!?). Thanks to Nash’s Superman strength he had no problem tipping over a heavy wooden bench on top of his arm. I’m still not exactly sure how it happened, but the bench won. I, however, win the Mom of the Year award because the accident happened on Saturday and since I didn’t see any bleeding or bruising I figured it was just a little boo boo. Not so much. By Tuesday decided it was time to go to the doctor and, obviously, I’m so glad we did! Mom of the Year!

Nash is a stud! He was so brave sitting through the X-rays and getting his cast on. Thankfully, he only has to wear the cast for 3 weeks and It’s even waterproof! Nash choose a red cast because of his love for the Georgia Bulldogs and then kindly allowed me to take some pictures to capture this epic milestone. Enjoy…

The novelty of the cast is wearing off QUICKLY! He’s already asked me to take it off…and it’s only the 2nd day.

Love this picture! My handsome boy is looking so big!

Greece | Part 3: Low Expectations

Bryson and I have this saying, “Low expectations = High joy!”. It just means when you aren’t expecting something to be great, then it leaves you lots of room to be pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be good. Athens, Greece is a perfect example of this. I had SUPER low expectations of Athens because I have heard from many friends that it is…well…crappy. Bryson worked our flight so we would have one day & night in Athens so I could fulfill a childhood dream of seeing the Acropolis. Because my expectations were so low, I actually ended up really enjoying our time in Athens! We stayed in an awesome boutique hotel called the NEW HOTEL. The design and style of the hotel was incredible! For a design geek like me it was jaw-dropping awesome. The hotel was in a great central location so we were able to see everything in the short time we were in the city. The Acropolis was awesome, but the highlight of the trip was a dinner we had on a rooftop restaurant called Attikos. If you EVER go to Athens you MUST eat here. Repeat after me, “I WILL EAT AT ATTIKOS WHEN I VISIT ATHENS.” You will not regret it. The restaurant is a “locals only” kind of place, tucked away from tourist hustle and bustle, but sits just below the Acropolis with a PEFECT view of the Parthenon lit up at night. Not only is the view INCREDIBLE, but the food is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. The combination of both the location and the fresh delicious food makes for one of the most memorable dinners of my life. Bryson and I will be talking about this meal for a very long time.

The other big surprise of Athens was the new Acropolis Museum that opened about a year ago. I’ve seen a lot of museums and it blows the competition away. It is stunning, simple, and brilliant in design and layout. I’m a huge fan! It is built above ancient ruins (I guess most of Athens is) so sections of the floor are clear glass so you can see the excavation happening below. Brilliant!

We also loved the central market, came across a great antique wonderland (there are no other words to describe it! It was like my grandfathers attic x 1,000. Crazy full of treasures stacked to the ceiling! Of course I loved it!), and a few other local spots along the way.

So, if you ever have 24 hours in Athens, Greece stay at NEW Hotel, eat at Attikos, and go to the Acropolis Museum. You will not be disappointed (or maybe you will now that I’ve gotten your expectations up so high. Go back and read the first paragraph of this post and adopt our mantra).

Free breakfast at NEW Hotel. Fresh baked croissants, eggs to order, cappuccinos, and fresh squeezed OJ. Yes please! Take that Hampton Inn.

Highest point in Athens looking over the city and Acropolis.

Athens…

The Researcher.

Athens

The view from inside the Acropolis Museum…

Eat here. Trust me.

The view from our table. Hello Parthenon!

This makes me very hungry.

Happy.

Silly.

Athens at night (much more beautiful than Athens by day.)

Greece | Part 2: The Romantic

My husband is a romantic. He plays it off like he’s not, but trust me, he is…and I LOVE IT! Let me just brag about my man for a second. Not only did he plan the entire trip, research every dining option (amazing food!!), find us a steal of a deal on a hotel, and book our flights, he also planned a super romantic “surprise project” for us to complete on our trip.

Each meal Bryson would bring to the table a stack of photos that represented one of our top 10 moments of our married life. I’ll spare you the details, but it was everything from the birth of our children, to places we have traveled, to memorable moments we have shared on our journey together. It was so fun to “remember” all we have accomplished together. We wrote on the back of each picture noting the details of what the photo represented to us. That in itself was super romantic, but Bryson took it up a notch (because that’s the kind of guy he is!). On our last day in Santorini we wrote a letter to each other and a letter to our children and their future spouses. We then bundled the photos, letters, and a few other small treasures and placed them in a waterproof time capsule that Bryson had brought from home. We jumped in our smart car and spent the day searching the island for the perfect place to bury the treasure! We found the perfect spot. On our children’s wedding day we will give them the GPS coordinates where the treasure is buried so they and their spouse can travel to Santorini and dig it up! ROMANTIC!! We had so much fun!! Bryson even brought a folding camping shovel from home to bury the treasure! The “project” was so special to me and such a blessing to my heart. I love thinking about my kids and their spouses digging up the “treasure” on the other side of the world some 20 years from now. There is so much hope represented in that little box. So many prayers and dreams for my children and their children. It is powerful to write out those prayers, hopes, and dreams on paper and believe God to honor and answer those prayers! Powerful. Priceless.

(It’s okay, you can steal the idea…I know you want to and I would love for you to do a similar project! Even if you just bury a treasure somewhere in your hometown or in your back yard. It is so powerful and beautiful!)

I love how well my husband loves me! I believe the best is yet to come for us and I am so grateful that I’m the girl who gets to stand by his side on the ride of life. Blessed.

Greece | Part 1: 10 years and counting

Oia, Santorini

PART 1:

Santorini, Greece. The perfect backdrop to celebrate 10 years of marital bliss. Seven glorious days spent resting, exploring, eating, adventuring, remembering, and enjoying. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Santorini lives up to the hype. It is beautiful! We went at the perfect time of year so the weather wasn’t too hot, and we did not run into the big crowds that tend to cover the island in July and August. It really was perfection! Here is a little photo glimpse of our trip to one of the world’s “most romantic islands”…. (more stories and photos coming tomorrow!)

And we are off…Thank you Sky Miles. We greatly enjoyed our stops through ATL to Boston to Amsterdam to Zurich to Athens to Santorini….but it was FREE and we both had an entire row to ourselves to sleep on on the Boston to Amsterdam leg so it was all good. 🙂

Santorini sunsets….

Great read during the trip. We love Bob Goff.

of all our international travels the food in Greece was the BEST! By a landslide, the BEST! My waistline is showing it too!

Gyros how I love thee. And you too Taziki, you too.

we had so much fun wandering through the hotels and shops. Those stairs are killer!

Lots of self portraits.

unlike anywhere else in the world!

The windmills, the sky, the sun, the water. So beautiful.

Our smart car…So small, but oh SOOOOO fun.

love.

Lots more photos and stories coming….

Mom (by Nash, age 4)

Nash’s drawing of me…his mom. I’m looking a little wide. Might need to hit the gym a little harder this week. 🙂

Nash’s teacher at the Mother’s Morning Out program he attends, did an interview with each child about their mom. I particularly like his answer to question #5. I guess this kid really knows me well!

I love being a mom. I love my kids. I love my life.

GRATEFUL.

Puddles.

Let them jump in puddles and teach them to dance in the rain. Let them be kids. Somedays (okay, many days) I have to stop and remind myself this…and then have the camera close by to capture the pure joy of my kids just being kids. 

 

The kids and I…

(L to R: Evyn, Xavier, Nash, Meyer, Charis, Isaiah)

The kids and I are spending the week in West Virginia visting my family while Bryson hops around Africa. My sister Olivia and her 3 little people also joined us for a few days. As usual, it has been pure chaos and pure fun. Nash and Xavier are inseparable! Meyer is happy as usual. Isaish has such red hair, I’m not sure where he came from. Charis is such a little mama. And Evyn is full of silliness as usual. Such fun days! Warning…I love taking pictures of these little people when they are all together, so there are A LOT of pictures!

 

Nash and Isaiah.

Livvy, Isaiah, and Charis

This one makes me laugh! Poor baby Isaiah!

Meyer loves running in the yard! She stayed up 2 hours past her bedtime last night just running around and rolling in the grass.

Nash and Xavier wrestling and playing. Such boys!

Toni’s Ice Cream…a Clarksburg staple.

“Xavier is my very best friend.” -Nash age 4

Fishing and catching frogs with Uncle Seth.

Baby Isaiah and Livvy…

Excellent running form, Nash.

Such a sweet face!

Girls.

Playing and running in the yard. JOY!

Laughter is good for the soul.

Baby Isaiah…check out that RED hair!!

Relaxing and eating s’mores

My favorite picture of the trip! The boys and their “adventure backpacks”. #memories.

Stone Mountain

We had a fabulous family day at Stone Mountain this weekend. You wouldn’t know it by this picture, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was surprisingly fun!

silliness with daddy

more silliness

look...some smiles!

Meyer's mantra: "Everything is better with a snack in hand."

We even took in a 4-D movie. Nash loved it. Evyn hated it but looked good her in glasses. Meyer at a whole bag of popcorn by herself.

Thank you…

Here is a beautiful video that Bryson helped create to say THANK YOU to all the students from Passion for giving $3.3 Million to fund projects fighting slavery around the globe. It is really powerful! Check it out and make sure you have a tissue handy…

WATCH THE THANK YOU VIDEO

——————————————————————–

If you loved that song on the video, it’s called Sing Along by Christy Nockels. Amazing, right?! She just released an album called Into the Glorious and it is BEAUTIFUL. For real. It is so so amazing. The songs are so God breathed and full of Truth. It’s been on repeat for a week now and will be for some time! If you don’t have this album…GET ONE! Like, now. Really. Each song has so much depth and truth about it — it has encouraged my heart so much already. Christy recently wrote a cool blog post about how the song Sing Along came about. I love how the Lord is in all the details and was connecting her heart to what was already stirring in our hearts as we planned to make Freedom the focus of Passion 2012. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. CHRISTY’S BLOG POST

A few more…

Passion City Church was outside on Easter, so the kids and I (along with our super awesome neighbors + their three kids) watched the service from the grassy lawn sitting on quilts and eating leftovers from the previous days picnic. It was perfect. My kind of Easter celebration! Here are a few pictures we snapped of the kids enjoying the service — playing in the dirt and grass while listening to and worshipping with Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockles, Matt Redman, and Kristian Stanfill lead worship….it doesn’t get more perfect than that!!

The boys, Cole & Nash, taking it all in...

Evyn playing in the dirt...being careful not to get too dirty in her Easter dress...

Evyn...just being Evyn.

Easter Picnic

I love celebrating Easter. It’s my favorite holiday because you get to celebrate Jesus and not mess with the hustle bustle of shopping for gifts. It’s no pressure and just quality time with friends and family. Love it! I did feel bad on Easter morning when I realized I had not even put together Easter baskets for the kids! They didn’t even ask and honestly they didn’t need the candy so it was fine. Maybe next year — if I remember! I actually like that the easter bunny and gift filled baskets aren’t the focus on Easter morning around here and hope it’s always that way!

Here are some more pictures of our weekend celebrating Easter with family and friends. The weather could not have been more beautiful!!

table set for the easter picnic...

guys playing a serious game of corn hole

Nash has his "adventure bag" (not a purse!) ready for the Egg hunt

Kids ready for the egg hunt! Ready set go!

She looks innocent, but this girl is serious about a good hunt!

so cute.

Greatest day in history…

Death is beaten! You have set us free!

I love Easter! I love celebrating Jesus! It was a great weekend around here. We had an amazing Good Friday service with our church family, then hosted an Easter picnic with some friends and family on Saturday, and finished off the weekend back at church celebrating Easter.

Here are a few pics of the little people in their Sunday best….

So much joy on Easter!! Thank you Jesus!!

love Meyer's laugh in this picture!

 

Meyer looks like a pink pilgrim in this dress! SOOOO southern. Once a year I subject my girls to these southern dresses that are so popular here in Atlanta. Smocked and all (so not my style — but cute on the girls) We had a hiccup with Evyn’s dress this year — I forgot to try it on her before Easter morning (oops.) and when I put it on her this morning you could see straight through it! So, we had a last minute dress change and she is actually wearing one of Meyer’s dresses (24 month size!) She looks beautiful in white (anything really!) so she pulls it off well and she didn’t have to rock the southern belle look like Meyer!

Meyer has such an exaggerated walk....feet out and arms all over the place. It's adorable.

she's the definition of a "toddler" when she walks. toddle toddle wobble.

“Maybe she’s born with it…”

Yep, this gal is just a natural when it comes to make up, high heels, pink, and all things girly….

Step 1: Red looks good on everyone. Go for it!

Step 2: Just a little more...

Step 3: Take a look at your work in the mirror....

Step 4: Love how you look. Job well done!

Step 5: Show the world how beautiful you are....because you are beautiful inside and out...even with an excessive amount of lipstick. 🙂

Home and away.

Praying for Passion Vancouver tonight! It’s going to be Uh-mazing! Jesus will be glorified and we are praying for revival! Grateful BV is there to represent us… and I am there in heart and prayer. He is helping with the night but it looks like he had a little down time this morning…

Off they go!

A spontaneous sea plane ride? What a cool opportunity! pictures like this make me a teeny-tiny-just-a-little-bit-okay-maybe-more-than-just-a-little-envious! 🙂 Not only is it so beautiful, but it’s a childhood dream of mine. I’m going to show my age here and go out on a limb, but anyone else ever watch a 1980’s show called Danger Bay?

Tell me that I am not the only one that ever watched this show?! My sister and I loved it! I seriously haven’t thought about it in years until I saw the pic of BV and the sea plane and it clicked in my roll-a-dex memory. This show was filmed in Vancouver and I always thought it would be so cool to fly in one of those sea planes. I also had a crush on the cute boy in the show — yeah, I have good taste. Funny how those random memories (not the crush part) came flooding back when I saw that little sea plane!

Well, like I said, I’m grateful BV is in Vancouver tonight and I’m praying for all my friends leading the way there. Revival come! That’s what it’s really all about.

Baby cakes

Baby Cakes — aka: My My — aka: Meyer is such a big girl these days! She now chooses walking as her preferred method of transportation, and she’s FULL of silliness, mischief and cuteness. Today I found her hiding in a corner…chewing a piece of peppermint gum that she found in my purse…smiling. When I told her “no, no!” she smiled even bigger and nodded her head yes. Uh oh, baby has some spunk! She loves playing outside, swinging, and of course…eating! She brings us so much joy!

Mischief.

I'm so funny.

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