Thursday, February 28, 2013

{Crazy Funny!!!}

Please do yourself a favor and watch this video...with sound!  I love Taylor Swift and animals.  So, to me, this is genius!  I laughed SO HARD!  Happy Thursday, Friends!

Monday, February 25, 2013

{Bathroom Before & After}

At the beginning of December, Kevin and I bought my great-grandparent's home from the rest of my family.  This home has been more of a home to us than any place we have lived (and we've moved a lot).  I have so many memories in this house from childhood.  I lived here after college.  This is where Kevin and I brought Hayden home to after he was born.  This house is sort of my happy place.  Since moving back from Florida, we have been thinking about pulling the trigger and buying this house.  So we are very excited to get our hands dirty and make the updates and renovations that we have been talking about FOREVER!

We have 2 bathrooms in the house.  The kids and I use the larger of the two, and Kevin gets his own smaller version.  Both were clad in that awesome 70's mustard yellow.  I am sure you know the color...can't miss it!  Well, my Paw Paw must have loved the color when he built this house, because it is everywhere.  Yep...the tubs, the counter tops and even the toilets.  Indeed, I have two mustard yellow toilets.  I bet you weren't even aware that they made colorful toilets.  Oh, they do my friend, and they are pretty special! 

Here is a peek at our before photos:

There is also a lot of dark wood in the house to spruce up, as seen in the picture above.
Our goal in renovating this house is to do it as inexpensively as possible.  We plan to stay here for a while.  But when we do move, we hope to use this house as a rental property.  That being said, we don't want to dump a ton of money into it.  We are getting creative with our updates and it has been so much fun!  This week, I will share with you some of the great products we used to renovate the bathroom.  For now, I will leave you with the after photo.  I am very proud to share this.  I think I am still washing paint our of my hair, but the end result is worth every bit of it!

If you would like to follow our progress and see additional photos of the process, you can follow us on Instagram at #theburtchsrenovate

Friday, February 15, 2013

{Yep...I'm Going Insane}

Photo Source
So, it's about that time!  I am tired of being tired and not feeling healthy!  I am kicking off this new year (I just turned 32 on the 9th), and getting my lazy butt in shape.  I started Insanity this morning, and it was not pretty!  This is seriously the hardest program I have EVER done.  The first time I tried to start the program, I puked after the fit test.  Sad...I know.  But we all have to start somewhere, and for me it's at the beginning.  I am really hoping to be more Jennifer Aniston-esque in my 40's, than where I am currently heading with my inconsistent and virtually non-existent workout habit!

This morning, I did the first video on the schedule: Plyometrics Cardio Circuit.  Now, I am not a huge fan of cardio or plyo, so you can image how pleased I was that Shaun T decided to combine them.  Awesome!  I made it to the last round of the last circuit (which was a miracle) and started to fall apart.  When suddenly, Colton (my precious 3 year old angel) started doing the exercises with me...and encouraging me!  "Mommy, only 10 more seconds.  We can do it Mommy.  We're almost done!" Welp...who's gonna stop after hearing that?  Not this girl.  I may not be able to walk tomorrow, but I finished the video, sweaty and barely breathing, with the help of my baby boy.  God knew I needed motivation, and he sent me the best motivation in the world! LOVE IT!

Now, I am not going to update every day.  There's just no way I can promise that.  But I would like to update every Friday with how the week has gone, and if there has been any weight loss.

Thank you to Lauren Lewis for inspiring me to do this! If that woman can raise 3 kids, study for the MCAT, be super involved in the church, and become an organic foods specialist of sorts (with her wonderful husband of course), all while getting up at 5 am to do the program (not with her wonderful husband)...I can do it too!  She is a wonderful friend and a modern day Super Woman and I am thankful for her!

If you are interested in checking Insanity out for HERE.
Photo Source
Just looking at that photo makes my body hurt.  I'll be back at it tomorrow, though.  Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{Happy Valentine's Day 2013}

This is the Valentine we sent out to the grandparents and a few others. precious are these boys?!?  They look so grown up!  I designed the card using a Photoshop template from Crave Designs.  Andee Tate is a creative genius in photography, editing and design.  I really love her work and use her designs frequently.  I did change some fonts and slightly altered the colors to make them as "boy" as a Valentine card can be.  If you would like to take a peek at the original, click HERE.

Valentine's Day in our house is celebrated a bit differently than in most homes.  I sort of feel that it's silly to promote a day to celebrate something we are called to do EVERYDAY!  God called us to love one another.  I think some people wait until V-Day to show the love and affection that we should express daily.  I also believe that it is a commercial holiday...big time!  Jewelry stores and chocolateers are salivating about right now, knowing that their bankroll will be enormous come close of business.  While I love V-Day, and enjoy exchanging little gifts with the boys and Kevin, I like to take this time to celebrate God's love for us.  We are shown God's grace and mercy and love with every single breath.  We are his children and he is madly in love with us.  I am pretty sure HE deserves the special day far more than I do!

That is one reason I am so thankful that Hayden goes to a private Christian school.  We are free to express that notion and speak openly about God's love with his friends and teachers.  Below is the Valentine that Hayden helped me put together for his friends (again using a customized version of the Crave design).  I saw the bible verse on Pinterest and thought I would "barrow" the idea.  I love how it turned out!

This year, I had a ton of goodies left over from my Valentine Mini Treat Basket.  We were able to put together a special V-Day gift for the girls and boys in his class.  All items were purchased at Hobby Lobby.  I bought them right after they were loaded on the shelves and took advantage of a 40% discount they had just put up.  The bags were ordered last year for Hayden's birthday from The Party Fairy on Etsy. I ordered more than I needed because they were cute and knew I would use them again at some point.  I loved the football for the boys and the "My Heart Belongs to Jesus" bracelet for the cute!

My favorite items are the God Is Love Conversation Hearts. Hob Lob again. Man, I love that place!  Hayden picked out the Love themed magnets for his teacher at Kohl's.  They were originally $12.99 (way more than I would normally spend on something like this), but I had $10 in Kohl's Cash, so I got them for $2.99.  SCORE!

Here is the final product!  I added a little name tag on each one.  This is a Freebie on the Crave Design Website.  It's a pdf, so you can use them even if you don't have Photoshop.  There are several really cute designs. 

This particular Valentine is for Simone.  This precious little girl has been Hayden's girlfriend since the second week of school  They go everywhere together at school, and he just adores her.  Ah, young love!  What can I say...he's a one woman kinda guy!
Hayden & Simone - Fall 2012
I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day!  I pray that God blesses you all with an abundance of hugs and kisses from the ones you love!!!

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. 1 John 4:7

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{Flashback: New Years & The Orange Bowl 2013}

This year, Kevin and I got to have our very first Adult's Only NYE since Colton was born.  To say we were excited was an understatement.  I mean...last year, we watched the ball drop from bed.  And, I was barely hanging on for that!  We're OLD. 

We started off the night with James and Lauren Messing.  James is Kevin's best friend.  He was the best man in our wedding, and I am pretty sure the only reason Kevin survived college.  His wife, Lauren, is a dear friend of mine, and quite possibly the cutest pregnant woman I have ever seen!  They have the most precious and dainty little girl named Kate, and are expecting another in a few months.  It was so nice to see them, and spend some QT catching's been way to long!  We ate dinner at Rebel House, a new restaurant in Boca Raton that is owned by their neighbor.  The food was AMAZING.  The portions were small, but the flavor made up for it in spades!

After we said good-bye to the Messings, we headed to Sandbar in Delray Beach to meet up with Ashley and Noah. 

 If you are ever in Delray (and I highly recommend you go), you MUST check this place out!  I honestly cannot think of a better place to have spent NYE.  We had our toes in the sand, a bon fire keeping us warm, great company, football playing on the tv's and even a corn hole tourney going on.  It was the PERFECT way to ring in 2013!

On New Year's Day, we ventured out with the boys to the Orange Bowl.  Florida State was playing and Kevin had been telling the boys for weeks that we were going...even though we did not have tickets yet.  You see...Kevin is "thrifty".  Even though the tickets were selling on StubHub for $6.00 each the day before, Kevin had convinced himself that we could get them cheaper on the day of the game from scalpers.  WRONG!  We wound up spending $40/ ticket.  What we didn;t expect was that the NIU fans would travel like an army!  Good for them for supporting their team.  I can't really blame them though, I'd want to get the heck out of IL in January too!  Not a fan of extreme cold!  Anyway, lesson learned.  We had a great time and the Noles won the game.  The boys had a blast and we made some pretty special memories!

Are you starting to notice a pattern?  The child can sleep anywhere!

{Flashback: Christmas 2012}

We had a VERY active holiday season this year.  Like a lot of families with out-of-town relatives, we alternate holidays with both sides of the family.  This year, we traveled to Florida for Christmas (for 11 wonderful days), so we had to get visits with my side in prior to leaving. 

We started off in South Carolina, with Dad and Beth.  We love visiting them!  The boys get to see their cousins and we get to enjoy the outdoors a lot while we are there.  Not to mention, God blessed me with the world's best Step-Mother!  If you've got to have one, you'd better pray for a lady like Beth...what a blessing she is to my family, and to my Dad.  Not to mention, she came with the most amazing family of her own.  Matt, Sarah, Nathan, Will and Katie Beth...we just love them!  Anytime we get to go and spend the weekend with them, we're all in!

This year, Dad and Beth took all of us to a farm, where we enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride, with some of the most beautiful horses.  The property was stunning, and it was just cold enough to feel like winter, but not too cold for comfort.  We got to have a picnic right beside a stream, and play football in an open field.  The entire day was right up our alley.  After that, we got to have a bonfire at a little fort in the woods of the property.  The boys (all of them) had a blast!  What boy wouldn't?  The place was like a little boy's wonderland!

Once we got back to their house and ate dinner and opened presents, I forgot to pick my camera back up.  It was nice, because I was able to really enjoy the moment, but I do wish I had at least gotten a few shots of the boys with Pop-Pop and BeBe.  It was an awesome weekend though, and a great way to kick off our Christmas celebrations!

Our Christmas celebration with Mom was equally as awesome.  My Mom's husband Jimmy is another great blessing in our lives.  As far as Step-Dad's go...he's the best!  We all love us some Jim-Jim, and he loves us right back!  He really is a great man, and a great Grandfather to our children and a great husband to my Mom.  This year, I realized how truly blessed we are by the new family in our lives.  It our family different than I thought it would be...Yes.  Is it better than I thought it could be...Absolutely!  I never imagined that Zach and I would have a total of 3 Step-Brothers, but we do and I am so thankful for them all!

We started our celebration by hitting up Lake Lanier's Magical Nights of Lights.  All 12 of us packed into a 14 passenger van and rode through the light display and wound up at the carnival.  Now, I am a roller coaster junkie!  Few things in life make me happier than a good roller coaster ride.  I was a little nervous about how the boys would react, and if they would like the rides.  Verdict: They both LOVED the rides!  Praise Jesus!!!  I cannot wait to take them to Six Flags now!  We had so much fun with the family that night, and it was so much fun to see the kids (even Little Bobbie) be so brave, and really enjoy themselves.

Again, when it came to dinner and present time, I forgot about my camera...Oops!  But again, I got to enjoy the craziness of the evening...and it was a fun one!

Wiped Out!
The Saturday before Christmas, we headed South to Florida.  One the way down, we got to stop and visit with Uncle Ray and Aunt Mary.  Ray is one of Kevin's best friends from college.  We have done a lot of life with them over the years, and they really are more like an aunt and uncle to our kids, than family friends.  When Hayden was born, they drove up from Florida to meet him.  The send the boys birthday and Christmas presents every year.  They gave Colton his beloved Doggie, that he cannot sleep without.  They are such a blessing to us and the boys.  In true uncle fashion, Ray suggested that we meet them for lunch at the World's Largest McDonalds in Orlando.  Pretty much, the most incredible thing the boys had ever seen...MINDS BLOWN!

Once we got to Florida, we got to meet Kevin's new sister, Lucy MacGillicuddy Burtch.  He He!  It's a Burtch Family Tradition to give pets funny middle names.  MacGillicuddy was Lucille Ball's maiden name.  Ashley is a HUGE Lucy fan, so it fit perfectly.  The first Burtch dog, Snickers (R.I.P.), had Lurtch for a middle name.  I think Lucy fared much better...don't you?  How stinkin' cute is this dog???

We got to do so many fun things with the Burtch side of the family while we were in Florida.  Again, I am pretty sure we have the best family EVER!  I know I am blessed with the best in-laws on the planet...hands down!  Here are some of our adventures:

1) Swimming in December  2) Movie Date Night @ iPic Theater w/ Recliners, Blankets & Pillows  3) Hayden's 1st Game of Twister  4) Spending Time With Tatiana (oh, how we've missed her)

1) Skateboarding at the Park  2) Madagascar 3 + A Crazy Clown Wig  3) Largest McDonald's in the World in Out PJ's

1) Christmas Eve Services at Church By The Glades...AMAZING night of worship and celebrating Jesus' birth! 2) Colton fell asleep during dinner. The anticipation of Santa was just too much for his little body to take.  3) Sweet boys snuggling on Christmas Eve.

This year, instead of Christmas cards, Brenda decided to send out New Year's cards.  That way, shoe could have the whole family in the photo.  So, I set up my tripod and camera timer and took these photos for the cards:

I love Colt's face in the bottom one.  You can tell he's super excited to be taking another picture!  The life of a photographer's child...that sounds like the title of a book I need to write!

Christmas was an amazing experience this year.  11 days was a long time to be away from home, but we got to make up for lost time with Kevin's parents, and that was something we all needed!  We missed them so much, and it was nice to get to do fun things with them.  But also, just to sit and was comforting for us all. 

I am exhausted from just going through our month of December.  Not sure how we crammed so much in...but it was worth every second.  It did take us most of January to recover, though!

Speaking of January...Tomorrow, I am posting about New Years and the Orange Bowl!

Monday, February 11, 2013

{Bragging On My Boy}

Copyright 2013 Angel Kisses Photography
For those that know Hayden, then you know he is high energy, a total Type A, super outgoing and an old soul with a heart of gold.  Last week, the high energy part of his being got him in a bit of trouble at school...several times.  Honestly, it took us by surprise.  Hayden is typically the teacher's pet.  He loves school and he also needs words of affirmation...this is CLEARLY his love language.  For the most part, I think he behaves so well because he desires praise instead of reprimands.  It was so out of the ordinary, and I was taken aback when his teacher said that he had been in trouble for his inability to stay seated during class and for acting crazy in the line.  Behavior and obedience are two things we don't mess around with in our house.  The boys know what we expect from them and they know their punishment if they break the rules.  So, Hayden spent a lot of time sitting in his room thinking about his behavior, and is banned from all things electronic for an entire week.  Last week was so hard on Kevin and I too.  We rarely have to punish our kids for how they act outside of our home.  We are so fortunate that they act WAY BETTER for others than they do for us.  I am totally okay with admitting that.  But last week, I started to think we had a full moon every night! Insanity!

During a normal week of non-crazy behavior, Hayden does things like volunteering to pray over our dinner(nearly every night).  This started when he was only 3.  When we would ask if he wanted us to help, he would always say no...that he could do it himself.  As he has grown, his prays have matured, but they have always been his special, precious words.  This is something that has always made me so proud.  I wish I could say that I had something to do with it, but I think that it's a true gift from God.  I call Hayden my Angel Face!  I think, for so many reasons, that he really is one...oh my heart!

Hayden loves going to church on Sunday.  Since he moved up to "big kid church" or KidMo (elementary ages) at Momentum CC, he has looked forward to going.  Kevin and I recently started volunteering with the children's program, so the boys are now spending 2 services in their respective classes.  Yesterday, we stopped by to talk to his class leaders to see how he has been doing. Honestly, I was a little worried to hear their response.  But here are a few things they said about Hayden:

1) He is always happy and obeys
2) If they ever need volunteers, he is the first one with his hand in the air
3) He loves to lead his peers from the stage in song and dance (even though he's one of the youngest in the room)
4) He ALWAYS volunteers to pray over the offering
5) When he prays, he always prays for orphans, that they find homes and families to love them

I literally walked in to church in tears.  So what if my child doesn't like to sit in his seat at school or tries to break dance while waiting in line to go to the bathroom!  That moment made the stresses of the previous week seem so trivial.  His heart...that sweet 5 year old certainly in the right place.  I am overwhelmed with pride.  Not because I think I have anything to do with it.  I am proud that he is the way he is in spite of me!  I could learn so much from Hayden's love of God and others, and his blind faith that Jesus IS the solution to the problems of this world.  I want need to have that child-like faith.  I am sure it would give me a much different perspective on life!

Friday, February 8, 2013

{Kind Of A Big Deal...At Least To Me}

 In 2012, I got to check an item off of my bucket list.  My photography work was published.  I can just see my Grandma Clark grinning from ear to ear as she looks down from Heaven.  This was something she always dreamed of for herself, so it was sort of fulfilling a dream of hers as well.  She was quite the poet.  Though, my artistic medium is very different, this was a very big deal for me.  I am not sure that this was a dream that I had ever really expressed to anyone other than her.  She always encouraged me in my artistic pursuits, weather it was writing, painting, photography, music.  I  I am absolutely tone def, but listening to her, you would have thought I was Judy Garland.  No matter how crazy my ideas seemed, she always made me feel as though I was up for the challenge.  She was a huge influence in my life, so I am proud that I was able to do something that we both dared to dream about.

Some of the very first photos I took "professionally", were for my next door neighbors in Florida.  This precious family had just brought home a brand new baby girl.  She was a miracle for them, an adopted angel that completed their family.  You can actually see some of the photos HERE.  I was able to photograph this little one and her big brother several times after this shoot, and they have such a special place in my heart.

Two years later, right before we moved back to Georgia, Patricia, the baby's Grandmother, asked me if she could use the newborn photos for a book she was publishing.  Well...of course!  I was so pleasantly surprised and honored to find out that my images would be used in a devotional for expectant parents.  It really is a beautiful book and would make a lovely gift for friend or loved one.  You can purchase it direct from the publisher HERE or head on over to Amazon to read the reviews by clicking HERE.

Thank you for taking a second to let me share this exciting tid bit.  I hope you will take a peek at the journal and will share it with friends and family.

Front Cover (I took that photo of the tootsies)

Excerpt Page (my Angel Wing photo can be seen behind the text)