Thursday, October 27, 2011

{What I Love Wednesdays} TV Edition

This is What I Love Wednesday...only a day late. Sorry! I was a little under the weather yesterday. This is going to be the TV edition, and probably on the girlie side. I LOVE TV. I am not afraid to admit it. Thanks to our new DVR (we are so behind on the gadgets), Kevin and I actually get to watch some shows consistently after the boys go to bed. Here are some of my new favorites!!!

I adore Rachel Bilson! I have ever since her OC days. So, I was super excited that she was coming back to TV. This is probably my favorite new show this fall season. It's set in the South and some of the characters (even though their personalities are exaggerated a bit) remind me of some people I once knew. The show is super funny and worth a look!

I have been waiting for this show to air since I saw an ad for it in an Us Weekly. ABC and the creators of Lost are putting an unexpected twist on all of the fairytale stories this girl grew up reading. The premise is so smart, and I really enjoyed it. I'm hooked and will be watching again on Sunday night!

OK...who doesn't love Zooey Deschanel? She "adorkable" and I have had a fondness for her since seeing the brilliant movie (500) Days of Summer. Very Funny!

And finally, my boys have discovered the joys of Sprout...thank heavens! Since that study came out saying that watching Sponge Bob made children's brains turn to mush, we haven't known what to do with ourselves. Hayden has moved on from Disney. He has a photographic memory, and once he's seen an episode of a show, he doesn't want to see it again. The Disney Channel is really bad about replaying the same episodes over and over again and Hayden is now refusing to watch it. So many of the other cartoons have adult undertones and I don't really like him watching those shows. There is also a lot of violence in so many of the shows and we were finding that the boys would try out their new "ninja" moves on each other...which never ended well. The Sprout Channel has been a breath of fresh air in our house. Big Bird is timeless, as far as I'm concerned!

Are there any shows that you are LOVING so far??? Post a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

{Mom on a Mission}

Yep, that picture says it all! I want my abs back. And while they may not return to my college cheerleader abs this side of a plastic surgeon's office, I would like to have some resemblance of a waistline again sometime in the near future.

This whole losing weight thing has been super tough after having the boys. I moan and groan about it...but I really have worked hard with very little results. A doctor recommended a while ago that I lay off the heavy exercising for a while and let my body rest. I have done so (probably longer than she meant for me to), and now I'm ready to kick some treadmill bootie!!!

I'm starting off easy. 5k training with 3 runs days, 1 long walk day and 2 optional run/walk days. Since I'm not training for a half marathon, I will probably run all of the days it says I can. I like following the Hal Higdon training programs. They are no-fuss and tell you exactly what you need to do to cross the finish line without dying. Here is my training plan for the next 8 weeks:

My diet is going to look a little something like this:

Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 sliced tomato, 1 tangerine, coffee w/ 1 Truvia only, 1 tsp of chia seeds (super good for you runners)
Lunch: Chopped veggie salad
Snack: Apple or turkey bacon
Dinner: Lean protein, chopped veggie salad
Desert: Sugar free hot cocoa

That's the goal at least. when feeding 3 boys, I'm sure there will be some slip-ups, but I will do my best to stick closely to it.

The goal is to lose 15 lbs by the end of the year. I would love to knock out 20, but I will be happy with 15. I ran today and can barely straighten out my legs, so this should be AWESOME! I saw this photo and immediately thought of my college cheerleading coaches (lovingly of course)!


Monday, October 24, 2011

{Weekend Update}

I really want this blog to document our time with the boys and how we do life as a family. If no one else reads it, I'm okay with it. This is more for us than anything else. I remember a lot from my young childhood, but Kevin doesn't and I really think that's unfortunate. I want to be able to hand this puppy over to the boys, so that they can see and read about all of the things we do together, as well as the thoughts and challenges we face as their parents. So, this is an effort for me to keep better track of our life!

This week has been a challenge for me personally. We are still waiting to hear back from the companies that Kevin has interviewed with. Thankfully, the company offering the job that he really wants, did call back and say that he is still in the running, but that it is taking them a bit longer than expected to get through the formalities of the interview process. We took that as a good sign. I mean, if they didn't love Kevin, I would have to image that they wouldn't bother making that call...right?

To get our mind off of all the waiting (job and house related), we decided to have a family fun day at the park. We picked Hayden up from school and headed to a park near our house. We intended to go to the playground but wound up having an impromptu kick ball game instead. The t-ball fields were open, so we headed out after our little picnic and attempted to explain the rules to our 2 and 4 year olds. Hayden caught on quick, but Colton not so much! He pretty much wanted to kick the ball and then dribble (soccer terms) it into the outfield, and kick it into the fence for a goal. He would have nothing to do with the all! So basically our organized kickball game became a free-for-all. I did kick a home run (?) for what it's worth.

Friday night we went to Gran-Gran and Jimmy's house for dinner. Spaghetti Bake and Ice Cream!

Saturday we woke up to frigid temps. It actually dropped below 50 degrees. Our boys have only felt weather that cool a handful of times. Colton stepped outside and looked at me like his world had turned upside down! "Hot, Mommy! It hot!" Cold is hot, and hot is hot...we're working on that one! We bundled up and headed to Hayden's soccer game. We were super excited when we got there and the momentous First Soccer Pictures had arrived. stinkin' cute is my kid??? He scored 3 goals, one for each of us, just like he said he would do before the game.

After the game, both boys were completely wiped out. When they get tired, they FIGHT. They fight over toys, what side of the car is theirs to sit on, if the sky is blue (or red as Colton would say). They will fight over anything! So, it was off to bed for a nap, for both of them. They tried to get up after about 30 minutes, but we sent them back to their room without any argument. When we went back to check on them a few minutes later, this is what we found...

It's amazing how these little ones can fight like crazy, but when it comes down to it, they are best buddies and rely on each other for so much already. Brotherly love is a beautifully complicated thing. I just adore how much Colton looks up to his big brother, and how much Hayden teaches him. I know there will always be challenges between these two brothers, but I will always have this photo to come back to, to remind them that THIS is what's really important!

Since Saturday was so chilly, we decided to light our first fire of the season. It's pretty pitiful looking in this photo, but it kept us nice and warm all night! You GA people take fireplaces for granted. They are hard to come by in Florida, and I really missed having one. There is something so cozy about a nice warm fire and a cup of hot chocolate. It made my heart happy!

Sunday, we got up and tried out a church that we had attended several times before we moved to Florida. It just didn't feel right. Not sure if it is the churches themselves, or if we are just unfairly comparing them to Christ Fellowship. Either way, we are still searching for a church home here in GA. This is so important to us. We're the jump-in-head-first type of people. We get involved quickly, when we are in the right place. So, this is a huge void that we are feeling in our lives right now. This week, I think we are heading into the big city to go to Buckhead Church. It's a long drive, but we love Andy Stanley and are really looking forward to a good sermon next weekend. If anyone has suggestions on churches to visit, please comment. We are not afraid to drive a bit, for a church home that's going to be a good fit for our family!

Sunday night, Aunt Ashee (Kevin's sister Ashley) and her boyfriend Noah came to visit for dinner. It is so nice having her close by. The boys absolutely adore her and have missed her since she moved to GA after college. We had stir fry and I made Whoopie Pies for the first time. Ummmm, if you haven't heard of them, you should do some research! Since becoming a stay-at-home Mom, I have been reading Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle and Food Network Magazines like it's my job! I'm not very "domestic" but my husband is the male version of Betty Crocker. So, I haven't really needed to be a super cook or baker or cleaner. But now, I am hoping to take on that role all by myself...once he goes back to work and lets me! This was my first attempt at baking...granted it was out of the box...but I am proud of the results!

My Aunt Cissy, sternly recommended (or demanded) that I google the recipe for Red Velvet Cake Whoopie Pies. So I did, and cannot wait to give this a go! HERE is the recipe for your tasting pleasure!

Welp...I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and a fantastic Monday! What did you do this weekend???

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{What I Love Wednesdays} Part 2

I have 4 blog posts to put up on my photography blog, so this is gonna be a quick one! You can check those posts out at {}.

I adore costume jewelry. To be honest...I'm a jewelry junkie...and I'm okay with it! I was reading (or flipping through) a copy of Family Circle that my mother-in-law brought up from Florida last weekend and saw that Heidi Klum has a new jewelry line that is selling on How fun are these pieces?? I love! You can check the earrings our HERE, and the bracelet HERE. Is there anything that this women does badly? If you can think of anything, let me know!

For those of you who know me well, then you know I am a total Zoebot! I LOVE Rachel Zoe. She is so entertaining to me, and I live vicariously through her TV show. I lived in LA for a while, years ago, and clothes seriously are THAT important to so many people out there! I worked in a boutique on Robertson Blvd (across the street from Kitson Boutique and The Ivy), and Mrs. Zoe made a brief appearance. It was quite exciting: she waltzed in, said that she would take one of everything in a size zero (for a video shoot with Lindsey Lohan when she went through her alien/bobble head skinny faze), handed me her black, titanium Amex card, then waltzed back out. Thus began my fascination! Anyhoo, I love her over-the-top style and really wish I were cool enough to pull off this jacket that she designed! Oh, the fur (faux of course)! You can see the details on the coat HERE. You can also read The Zoe Report, her fashion blog, HERE.

I saw this on Pinterest and just adore the message, colors and whimsy of it. Take a look at this and other works from the artist HERE.

Lastly, I LOVE my boys! My word, how they have grown this year. Time is just flying by. Looking at these pictures of them side-by-side, it's a little bittersweet. I love how they have grown into little boys, how they are best buddies, and how Colton so looks up to his big brother. At the same time, it makes me a little sad that those baby and toddler days are now behind us. They are so independent now and don't need their Mommy and Daddy for as much as they used to. I miss that! But, I am thankful that I am their Mommy, and that I got to be there for those moments. I am grateful to have all of the photos that I have taken, so we can always look back and reminisce.

That's all for today, folks! I hope you enjoy and have a great week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What I Love Wednesdays - Part 1

I have seen a bunch of bloggers do this segment and I love the idea. If nothing else, it will help me keep track of the things I really love, and projects I want to take on. I always think about loving something, then I forget about it...I blame it on the pregnancy brain I sustained while pregnant with the never went away! With out further ado, here are my favorites this week:

1) Now that fall is here, we are leaving the windows open (it's been 4 days since we turned the AC on), the leaves are changing and I am obsessed with fall colors! Now if I can only get myself motivated enough to wear a cute outfit like this! You can get all of the details HERE.

2) Since we moved here and brought Kevin's Parent's Chimenea along, we have been making tons of outdoor fires and making tons of smores. How cute is this idea? It's like a no mess version of the smore. Perfect for 2 and 4 year olds who loves to wipe crispy/gooey marshmallows all over Mommy's couch! The idea came from HERE.

3) We will be eating these this weekend while watching some college football. Yummy! Check out the recipe HERE.

4) I LOVE these DIY wood pallet coffee tables. Right now we don't really have one, unless you count the plastic, college type version from Target that we are using to eat off of. That's not going to last long with the boys, so I want to make one of these (and maybe a second for the patio). I have googled the DIY instructions, which you can check out HERE. the photo above was found HERE.

5) Last but not least...How great is this subway art Bible verse. I am pretty sure that passing this in the hallway everyday would do my heart and mind some good! Check it out HERE.

I hope you enjoys these fun goodies! I'd love to know what you think. Comments are always welcome. Have a Fabulous Wednesday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting Schooled

So this week has been a real challenge for me emotionally and physically. This stay-at-home mommy thing is no joke! And, Kevin has been home with me, doing most of the work around the house so that I can get my photography business up and running. I don't think I was expecting the transition from Corporate America to be so difficult. To top it off, there is a lot of pressure elsewhere (a lot of it self created) that has been weighing on me.

You see, we still have our house on the market in Florida. Being the control freak that I am, it is not easy leaving everything up to someone else. I may not have been able to fix everything that went wrong while I was down there...but I sure was a good delegator! It has been on the market since March, which by most accounts is normal. We had a buyer...someone who wanted to take the house off of our hands...but it fell through days before the scheduled closing. That was a month ago, and it seems like the market has slowed even more, if that's possible. This week, we are faced with the question of "to rent or not to rent". Not sure yet, so we are going to wait it out a little longer.

Kevin's job search is going really well. He has had multiple interviews with great companies, and they are all interested in pursuing his employment further. But, seriously??? 4 interviews??? I have never in my life seen a company (aside from The Ritz-Carlton) do 4 interviews.

Needless to say, things are going well, but not progressing as quickly as I had planned. I am realizing that this "leap of faith" is not as easy as I had anticipated. But my wonderful, and surprisingly calm, husband pointed out that no true leap ever really is. Huh? Could God be teaching me that lesson in patience and faith that I asked for?

Yesterday, I began to doubt this whole move and throw myself a little pity party. I melted down, which I am prone to do when I get really stressed out. I cried and blamed myself for the situation we are in. The Kevin, kindly stopped me and reminded me of several things:

1) If we had waited on the closing of the house to plan the move, he and I both would have been stuck in jobs, that made us miserable, for heaven only knows how long.
2) Had we not gone ahead with the move, Kevin might have lost the buyer on his agency.
3) Hayden is going to a great school and LOVES it and is thriving in it!
4) Colton is spending one-on-one time with his parents, that he has never been able to get before with big brother around.
5) The boys are happier than we have ever seen them. So are the dogs, for that matter!
6) Kevin is getting to spend so much time with his boys, which he would otherwise never be able to do.
7) We have been able to "just be" as a family. Relax, play, nap, school, play, eat, job interview, photo shoot, play, build fires in the chimanea, play, sleep. That's pretty much our day...and it has been good for my heart!
8) Kevin has several very promising job opportunities on the horizon, and more than likely, will have an offer in the next week or so (God willing).
9) Unlike so many others, we are able to pay our mortgage, which I am so grateful for!

The past year has been a tough one for all of us, full of anxiety and stress. Maybe this is God's way of making us slow down and really SEE what matters in this short life. Kevin looked at me and repeated Hayden's memory verse for last week:

Fear not, for I am with thee.

Genesis 26:24

I whole heartedly believe that God has a wicked since of humor. I literally laughed out loud when he said that! I had been practicing that verse with Hayden for over a week and had never really taken it to heart. But there it Heavenly Father reminding me that he hasn't forgotten about us and that there is no need to worry. He's got this! And since the Holy Spirit resides in me, so do I!

If that wasn't enough comic relief, Hayden brought home his memory verse for this week:

My God shall supply all your needs.

Phil. 4:19

Point taken...I got the message!!! So, I have decided to enjoy this time as a family. No worries, or crazy melt downs. Because the next time we get to spend this much time together will probably be 16 years from now...if ever!!!

On that note, here is a little bit about our week:

I had 3 photo sessions this week and got to see some old friends I haven't seen in FOREVER! You can check out the pics HERE.

Hayden memorized that Bible verse and was one of only 2 kids in his class to recite it back to the teacher. I was so very proud!

Colton surprised us by pointing out the colors blue, red and pink (?). He also now recognizes the letters M, N, H and A.

We all drove to Loganville to spend Friday afternoon with Dad, Beth, Zach, Mary Beth, Cale and Sadie-Clark. we took over the Chick-Fil-A in Loganville and had a blast!

Hayden had his first soccer game with the Henry County Soccer Association. The association doesn't actually keep score since the kids are only 4-6 years old, but we did! We're crazy competitive...don't judge! Hayden scored 6 of 9 goals for his team. We're not quite sure who actually won the game, since some kids were scoring on the wrong got a little confusing! But we are super-proud of our little man and all of the hard work he has put in to practicing this new sport. I tell ya...anything this kid wants to do, he'll do it! Here is a shot of his first goal. Sorry that it's so blurry, but I'm pretty sure I was jumping, yelling and trying to snap the shot all at the same time!

Last but not least, we had an interesting night last night. Around 11 PM, a policeman knocked on the door to let us know that a water main broke right in front of our driveway. Thankfully, there was no major damage to our home or yard, or our neighbor's. And, water has been restored to the street. I snapped the photo below to ensure that we don't get charged $1,000 on our water bill this month. I think the blue lights add a nice touch. Kinda reminds me of the fountains in Vegas!

Here's to a good week, and actually enjoying it with the family that I love so very much!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Big Thank You

Since moving back to Atlanta, Kevin and I have been listening to The Bert Show on Q100. We used to listen religiously before moving...they crack me up! They have been talking about "The Bert Show's Big Thank You" and our family is going to play along! They are trying to collect 400,000 thank you letters to distribute to the soldiers overseas for Thanksgiving. We all know that each and every one of those men and women deserve a hug, handshake and a BIG TIME "Thank You" for everything they have done and do on a daily basis to secure our freedom. Conveniently, Hayden is learning about our country's service people (firefighters, police officers, ambulance drivers, and soldiers) this week. So, we have decided to participate and write 10 letters as a family. I think this is a perfect opportunity to show our appreciation and teach the boys how necessary it is to say thank you to these brave men and women. 400,000 letters seems like so many, but if we all pitch in, we can make sure that every soldier gets a letter on Thanksgiving Day! Will you join us???? Click HERE for details.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In the Beginning...

Okay...I'll get to the title of the blog and explain myself right off the bat. I'm sure you have heard of the television show, "Raising Hope". If you haven't...what rock have you been hiding under? It is ridiculously funny and just another reason I look forward to Fox's Tuesday night line up (I'm such a Gleek)! Do I love the show? Of course. Did I kinda "barrow" the name for my blog? Sort of. But -- and this is a BIG but -- I can promise you this blog will not be about me raising the child of a serial killer with the assistance of my neurotic parents and crazy grandmother. While that does sound fun, this blog is about my husband, Kevin, and I raising our boys, learning from our mistakes, and relishing in this crazy beautiful life we have been blessed with.

One of my son's pre-school teaches recently told me that my children were the most polite, gentlemanly boys she had ever worked with, and that it gave her a little hope that chivalry is not lost. <Insert a proud Mommy smile HERE>. Now, I was super proud of my boys and even a little proud of Kevin and I. As any parent knows, manners are not easily taught and definitely easy to forget. But this is something that is extremely important in our family. We want to raise HOPE! We want to raise our boys to be rough and tumble, fearless, polite, caring, loving, affectionate, godly men. I know that seems like a lot to ask in our "Me" driven society. It takes a lot of hard work on the part of parents and I am so up for the challenge. And a challenge it's going to be. Because, you see, I cannot ask them to be something that I refuse to be myself. This Momma needs a lot of internal work! This blog is going to be about a lot of things...and that includes transforming my own life into one that follows after Christ and sets the example my children need to see, in order to become the men they are meant to be.

Art Birch said, "Since Jesus highly values children, mothers are his servants when they bless their children for him." I want to be His servant and for my children to learn about life from their parents. Kevin and I have lived a lot...the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to be the one to teach them right from wrong, and the one to teach them about Jesus. Not rely on someone else to do it for me. This is something I have really struggled with over the last few years. 2011 was not the easiest of years for our family, and we decided to make a radical change to our priorities. We put our house up for sale, sold my husband's insurance agency and moved back to Georgia from South Florida. It wasn't an easy decision, but the move has allowed me to become a stay-at-home mommy and part-time photographer and my husband to find the job that he will be genuinely happy doing. This is such a leap of faith, but we have PRAYED endlessly and feel we are following after Jesus! We may seem crazy to most people...that's okay. We're pretty sure we're crazy too! But we are doing our best to follow Christ, and that doesn't always make sense to everyone. We do have a little secret on our side though! We know that God has a plan and he is laying it out as I type this, and that is so comforting and even more exciting!

I have a lot of hope for our future, for my marriage, for my boys, for our jobs and for our dreams! I hope you will join us on this journey!

Seconds Before We Pulled Out of the Driveway in Wellington, FL for the Last Time

The Reason I Breathe

***Disclaimer*** Please excuse the "look" of the blog at the moment. I am certainly not tech savy and anything involving the letters h, t, m, or l in one phrase might as well be Chinese! I am waiting for the most fabulous blog designer EVER (check her out HERE) to open her shop back up and design this one for me. October 1 can't get her fast enough! I have to many ideas floating around, so I wanted to get them out before my head explodes!