Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Returning to School as a "Grown Up"

I know in my last post I told you to expect more pictures, less words. But then I looked back at the last five posts and realized they were nothing but pictures.... I figured you guys missed me. (You did, right?  Or are you just here for pictures of Henry?)  Plus, as it turns out, things are rather calm around here.  I was thinking about what I need to do for school today, and realized that, for the first time in two years, I only have ONE thing to do.  Study for my final.

My FINAL final.

In twelve days I will be posting pictures of me walking across the graduation stage, accepting my Master's in Public Health with (unless MADNESS occurs with this FINAL final) a 4.0 GPA.  When I was accepted into the program two years ago I looked at the course work I needed, looked at a calendar, and realized if I took two classes every semester, plus summer classes, I could complete this thing in two years. 

While working full time.

Having Nick and Henry at home, attempting to be the best wife and mama I could be.

With soccer schedules, then tball schedules.  

Having Missy sick... then losing her.

With my endometriosis getting worse, and then having a hysterectomy.

With Life.  And not a college student's life, which is busy and full and totally a LIFE...but a life built around school.  My life was not built around school.  My life was completely full without classes and homework, papers and exams.  And in a very surprising way, I feel that made me a better student.  I know for a fact it made me a better student than I would have been if I went straight from undergrad to graduate school.  Because working full time, having a family and a life, it made me value this more.  I looked at the time I was giving to this program as time not spent with my family.  And if it was valuable enough to keep me from them, then I was sure as hell going to make it worth it.

Now, as it wraps up, I believe I have made the most of this time.  I have constantly worked hard.  I have made lasting connections with my classmates and my professors, many of whom I have come to consider as friends as well as future colleagues.  I have learned to multitask and work quickly and efficiently in a way I may not have if not juggling classes with a full time grown up life.  And most importantly, I have discovered what I want to do with the rest of my working life.  I have found a field I am passionate about, and after working full time for ten years, I know how absolutely valuable that is. 

Twelve days.  And then the next chapter starts.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kentucky Derby (a week early...)

So a month or so ago my best friend Charing decided that she was having a party this Friday night.  Nothing big, just our close girlfriends and their husbands and kids hanging out.  But as it approached, and we realized we were all sorta in a funk, she decided to step it up a notch and declare it a Kentucky Derby party, dresses required for entry!  Her overall way of thinking was that if we came over after work Friday, we might be a little tired and not that into it, BUT if we put on a DRESS and drank bourbon, well... anything was possible.

Turns out she really knows what she's talking about, because when I was at work on Friday and mind was pretty much replaying the thought"ugh... so. tired." over and over.  But when I went home and got ready, I was slowly shaking of the funk of work and exhaustion and getting pretty pumped (that's right, I went with 'pumped') to spend the evening with some of my favorite people.  It helps that when Charing and Scott have six people over, the spread of food and drinks looks like this...
And it also helps that she was mixing up Bourbon Ball martini's...
 Which were enjoyed by all the ladies.  (guys seemed more interested in beer... their loss).
 All in all, it was an awesome night with awesome friends!
 Best hosts ever.
It may be because Nick's body is hiding half of mine, but I believe I look rather thin in this picture...
Candice went all in with the Derby theme, hat and all!
Boo and Chris looking stylish and matching... turns out we clean up pretty nice.
Morgan and her BFF Courtney also joined in the party, and the dress wearing. Way to play along with your mom's crazy ideas!
Oh, and some crazy people also brought their kids...
Because might as well, right?
Good times were had by all.
Thanks for the party, Charing.  And thanks for being awesome!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter and Birthday Palooza Photo Mash Up

So things are a little crazy around here lately... which might be evident by the large number of posts that are nothing but pictures with a few random words stringing them together.  School is wrapping up in the next three weeks, so I am in the mist of final papers, studying for exams, and getting everything in line for graduation (!!!), plus we have tball three times a week (THAT'S RIGHT) and SOMEONE is on the cusp of turning FIVE FREAKING YEARS OLD so we are birthday planning...Oh, and I am still in the six week recovery window for that hysterectomy, so I am in theory attempting to 'take it easy', whatever that means.  (it means nothing beyond avoiding heavy lifting at this point).

So... basically this is a disclaimer that this blog will be picture heavy and writing light over the next few weeks.  And sometimes (like today) I may throw two different sets of pictures up into one half-thought-out post, just to make sure they all make it into my life scrapbook of a blog.  The upside is that I got that fancy new camera, so the pictures are pretty decent (pats self on back).  The downside is that you wouldn't have nearly as many of my precious WOOOOORDS to enjoy. (the length of this random introduction may be evidence to the contrary...I love my words).

ANYWAY... PICTURES!  Over the last two weekends we have had a couple of family gatherings.  This past weekend we celebrated Easter at my parent's farm, and then the weekend before that we celebrated SEVEN family member's birthday at my father in laws house.  If you are curious, there are like (counting..) fifteen people in this family, so having seven occur in the span of six weeks seems INSANE (but not statistically impossible).  Anyway, see below for pictures of both events.  We are so lucky to have such an amazing family!
We should maybe start this post with Easter morning... and Henry's double Easter basket.  SOMEONE (ME) clearly struggled with the size restriction of his one basket.
 But can you even blame me??
I could eat him up, I love him so.

After baskets we headed over to Grandaddy and Val's for an Easter lunch.

Checking out how Henry measures up to Aunt Candice... this will now be an annual picture, and we will see how long it takes him to reach her!
Candice and Lucas
Mama playing with her sweet boy.
Next we headed to the farm...
Where two adorable children spent the day being adorable.
The egg hunt was a big success
 hunting, sharing.  They are so sweet.
My girl.
Required family Easter picture at the farm...
And also Boo's family.
 There were people there besides the children, of course.  But this is the ONLY picture I took of anyone.  And my parent's were not pictured at all, which is REALLY AWFUL OF ME! (Sorry mom and dad!  Thanks for the great Easter!  Wish I had proof you were there! )
 Wait, I did get these two with my Mamaw! 
 Similar, yet worth sharing both... (according to me, and I am all that matters here at my blog)
It was so beautiful out that the kids opened their Easter baskets from Nanny and Papaw outside...

Then promptly changed clothes and went about the business of Big Wheels and tball
 It was an excellent Easter!

Now on to Birthday Palooza!  Now, if I was on my game I would lead off with a picture of everyone celebrating a birthday...but I didn't take that.  (I am attempting more candid shots, but seem to have forgotten my bossy when it comes to forcing people to line up and smile... I will work on that.)  So instead I give you...
A picture of a half eaten birthday cake!  But I think it's so amazingly sweet that even though we were celebrating SEVEN birthdays, Henry was not one of those birthdays.  And yet, when Granddaddy went to find a cake, he saw this and thought "PERFECT!!"  Henry LOVED it!!
Two of the birthdays we were celebrating were Matt and Chris, Val's sons who both happen to be in town from their appointed posts in the Navy.  We always love our chances to be with these two guys, and are so proud of them for all they do.
Their Mama was really happy they were here :)
Birthday boy, Grandaddy enjoying having the entire family together.
 Was I on point with capturing people smiling/laughing or what?  Birthday girl Nicole being adorable as always.
Henry and his great grandma.  Great Grandma has now moved to Kentucky from Alabama and we are SO HAPPY to have her so much closer!
Who needs three chairs?  Dog pile on Uncle Chris! (also a birthday boy)
 Seems safe...

Birthday boy Nick taking a swing at the birthday pinata.
Seems safe... especially with that glass door right beside him.

It was a great Birthday party, a great Easter, and an amazing last couple of weekends! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

We DID squeak in to see the Easter Bunny this week.. better late than never!
And of course we got some with the live bunnies too...
Could they be any cuter?  Maybe if one of them gave the Easter Bunny a fist bump...oh wait
Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2014

April's Bridal Shower

Last weekend my mom hosted an adorable bridal shower for April, my cousin's bride to be.  I of course took my new camera and took a million pictures. I am going to go head and assume you all are really excited to see them...
How adorable is this?
Our bride, enjoying her day!
Trying to be fancy with my new camera
My mom with April, Aunt Jan, Nana, and Aunt Carole

Mom being fancy with her adorable cupcake wedding dress arrangement!

April with Liz, the soon to be sisters-in-law 
Adorable present from my Mama
Stealing kisses
"He Popped the question!" White chocolate popcorn
It's looking pretty bridal around here...
I love this smile as she opens her presents!
Mama of the groom
Serious Cici

I am sorta tall...
Aunt Jan with her girls
My Aunt Carole, happy to finally be living here in Kentucky!

All in all, a wonderful bridal shower! We can't wait for the big day!