Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola

As a kiddo Cokes were my go-to soda.  I lived off of 'em.  Now that I'm older I've pretty much left most all soft drinks behind me {except the occasional root beer or Sprite}.  Even so, Coca-Cola is such an iconic American brand that I couldn't resist sipping a Coke Life & exploring all the fizzy wonders of Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola with my love by my side! 

Travel Tip: The Georgia Aquarium & The World of Coke are next door to one another & easily done together in 1 day {+ it saves on the parking cost, 'cause you can pay & park once & have easy walking access to both venues}.

Laura's Faves:
+ 4D movie
+ around the world taste testing
+ Coke art

Mr. Pemberton {the guy who invented the Coke recipe} actually lived in Columbus, GA for some years + he's buried here!

Dan's Faves:
+ around the world taste testing
+ 4D movie
+ the mini bottling area

XOXO, World of Coke!  You were nostalgic summertime memories in the making!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Exploring The Georgia Aquarium

Just so you know, mermaids don't need to hold their breath under water like humans.  Just saying.
We kicked off our 1st married summer with a Saturday trip to Atlanta to wander + explore both the Georgia Aquarium & the World of Coca-Cola!  Here's some of our snapshots & faves...

Hey fish, don't you know school's out!

Laura's Favorites:
🐟 the Ocean Voyager tunnel via the moving sidewalk
🐟 the 4-D Funbelievable Theater {we saw the Happy Feet show & it "snowed"}
🐟 all the shows {we got to see the California sea lions in Under the Boardwalk + Dolphin Celebration}
🐟 the beluga whales + sea otters {the whale sharks + manta rays were amazing, too}
🐟 getting to touch small rays + sea stars

Dan's Favorites:
🐟 the Ocean Voyager tunnel + tank
🐟 the Tropical Diver area
🐟 getting up close to the penguins via the pop-up viewers {we had to crawl like kiddos to get to these}

 XOXO, Georgia Aquarium!  You brought us an ocean's worth of fun & memories to start our summer!

Friday, May 26, 2017

School's Out!

You know, God is so good.  I mean, the indescribable-there-are-no-words good.  I didn't think I'd have this job past December, but here it is the end of the year.  A journey that began in October as a long term librarian sub position with an uncertain end date continued throughout until the last day {today} in May!  He is so good.  He knew my young bride self in a new city with a new everything needed something stable & relatively uncomplicated - & even something I truly enjoyed {& it was close to my new home, to boot}.  I will say it again {& all my days} He is so indescribably-there-are-no-words good.  I will miss my kiddos & the books & my partner-in-crime assistant {yes, she was definitely a God-thing, too}, & being called "Mrs. Librarian" by so many littles.  While I don't know where I'll be next year come back to school time, this I know with all my heart, God will be there & He is sooo good!

P.S.: My summer has officially started!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Make Your Own Summer Bucket Lists {+ FREE Printables}

So yesterday I shared my summer bucket list, & I thought just maybe you'd like to make your own {+ have something cute to write it on}!  I love to make summer plans - & even though {for better or worse} plans don't always come through the way we like {Proverbs 16:9} - it's fun {not to mention helpful} to have some ideas of things you want to do.  The big question is, what would you like to do the summer of 2017?

Free Printables:
Click on the list(s) you'd like & then right click & save to your computer {or copy & paste it where you'd like}.  Print 'em out, fill in your lists, & make this summer count!

These printables are free for personal use only.  Link with love.  Thanks!

He's got great plans for you this season!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Summer Bucket List {& Reverse Summer Bucket List!}

 get snow cones
take lots of pictures
 go to the beach
wear dresses
 host a party
 practice Yoga Faith at least once a week {Not happening.  But I'm okay with that!}
 star gaze
read / visit the library {I visited the library, but read very little.}
share my faith
 make stuff
 go on a road trip {Chattanooga counts, right?}
read my Bible + journal realizations & lessons {I read daily, but only journaled once.}
 blog all the memories

🍉  ❤  🍉

🍉 Visited the Georgia Aquarium!
🍉 Explored Atlanta's World of Coke!
🍉 Tried out Dinglewood Pharmacy's "almost world famous" scramble {chili + oyster crackers + onions} dogs...  Well, Dan got the chili dog, I had a plain one {'cause chili's not my thing}, but I have to say, not my fave.  The hot dogs maybe renowned here, but they are SO pink - it was a turn off for me.  Keeping it real.
🍉 Wandered around the Columbus Museum {this was my 2nd time there + this is a freebie thing to do}.
🍉 Went on our 1st married double date with a sweet couple we love.
🍉 Went to a game / movie night hosted by friends.
🍉 Finally got to see Disney's new Beauty & the Beast.  It was utterly magical!
🍉 Had a mini tour of the very impressive {inside & out} National Infantry Museum.  We ran out of time, but we definitely plan to return this summer!
🍉 Explored Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Lab + their treetop canopy tour that took us around 40 or so feet up!  Dan also donned video capturing {GoPro-like} glasses to help with their continued improvements for guests.
🍉 Bowled for the 2nd time in my life.  I'm very slowly getting better.
🍉 Dressed up as Bible characters from the underground church in Rome for our church's VBS.
🍉 Had a breakfast + walking date with a gal pal.
🍉 Did a 3+ mile morning hike at Pine Mountain.
🍉 Celebrated my nephew's 2nd birthday with the family in Chattanooga.
🍉 Explored abandoned bunkers that used to hold TNT & are now epic, dark echo chambers - pretty strange, I must say.
🍉 Visited my old favorite place {a rocky ledge where my feet dangle freely over the TN River} + the tree where I wrote Dan's & mine's name with a Sharpie {kinda faded, but still there}.
🍉 Started seriously planning our 1 year anniversary trip to Arizona!
🍉 Enjoyed another early morning hike on Pine Mtn. - it was are longest to date {4.3ish miles}!
🍉 Helped friends with some baby shower crafting!
🍉 Finally bought a washer {thank You, Lord}!  No more apt. laundry mat + all those quarters!
🍉 Enjoyed the festivities at our friends' baby shower / anniversary celebration.
🍉 Played parents for a long weekend of fun with my nephew who came to stay a few days with us for the very 1st time!  We went to the Splash Pad downtown, the Columbus Museum, the National Infantry Museum, Oxbow Meadows, church, the new Lego store, got Icey Girl & Co. snow cones, swam, played the Wii, found lots of painted rocks + painted & hid some of our own, had a Nim's Island movie-night-in, & made chocolate "dirt" pudding with gummy snails & worms!
🍉 Last summer hurrah with exploring downtown + smooches by the river + Kilwin's ice cream & fudge!

Thank You, Lord, for a blessed 1st summer for us!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

These Prayers Are Always on My List

For my husband... in every way I can think of I lift him up to You & trust him + me {us} to You.  And that You would help me be the deepest blessing I can be to him through Your awesome strength made perfect in my weakness.

For my family... safety, health, strength, blessings.

For my future babies... health, protection, Your perfect timing, that they will grow into righteous men & women that belong to You.

For my persecuted sisters & brothers in Christ... for strength, protection, steadfastness, safety in the shelter of Your wings, & that the wicked's plots against them will be foiled & thwarted, & that many would come to believe through such love of Your people who will not back down or disown You no matter the cost / come what may.

For me... for strength for the day & the moment, & guidance, & forgiveness that covers all because of Jesus, for eyes to see my identity & beauty & worth are found in You & You have made them rock solid, no matter what anyone may say.  For the power to love like You those You've given me this day.

&, in all things, always Your will.  In Jesus' Name.

Monday, May 22, 2017

DIY Gender Reveal Baby Gift {+ Free Printable}

There are so many expectant mamas I know right now {both in "real" life & via my blogging sisters}.  I can literally count over 6 right off the bat.  Anywho, one of my real world friends is expecting her 3rd child in August, & recently held the most adorable bee themed gender reveal party ever.

I was planning to bring diapers to her party, but I wanted to add a little something extra {& more personal}.  With her bee theme in my mind, I created a simple bow that can be used as a hair bow {for baby girl} or a bow tie {for baby boy}.

Here's how you can make your own...  You'll need ribbon {bee themed colors or whatever neutral shades you'd like (remember this has to work for a girl or a boy)}; hot glue gun; small hair clip; more ribbon {to tie around the collar as a bow tie}; small plastic bag {for packaging up}; & the tag printable {if you like}.

Create your bow with a little room to slide the thin long ribbon through the back center {in case it ends up being a bow tie}.  Then, hot glue the hair clip to the back of the bow {in case it ends up being a hair bow}.  Place in packaging & wait to see what it will be!  For my friend it became a sweet little bow tie!

Free Printable:
Click on the bee tag & then right click & save to your computer {or copy & paste it where you'd like}.

This printable is free for personal use only.  Link with love.  Thanks!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shaved Ice = {Almost} Summer

Shaved ice {of which I'm a big fan} & summer just seem to go together.  Like sand + salt water, root beer + vanilla ice cream, & hot dogs + baseball games, they just fit.

We made an impromptu stop at The Icey Girl & Co. today for some shaved ice treats.  It was our very 1st time.  Their bright pink stand & large metal flamingo out front speak straight to my girly heart!

& their shaved ice - well, it tastes just like summer should!

Happy {almost} summertime!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Day The Eggs Made Me Smile

I was having a bad moment - an I'm-not-so-proud-of-me spell that I wish I could legitimately blame on the pancakes.  But, you know, they're pancakes.  How can those fluffy-ish, albeit slightly over brown, wonky-shaped yummy things be to blame?

Well, I know they can't, but there is an uncanny strangeness with me + making pancakes.  I don't feel good at it, & somehow these seemingly "easy" breakfast {or, in this particular case, dinner} treats stress me like no other.  Every time I offer to stir up a batch 'cause my husband loves them & I want to see that smile {you know, the pancake smile}, I pretty much instantly start an inward monologue that goes something like this... "Why?!  Oh why did I just say that?!" {Also, overly dramatic music plays in the scene in my head & I kneel in despair in a puddle of Aunt Jemima's maple syrup - okay, maybe not that extreme, but I thought it makes for an interesting image.  P.S.: It's pretty close, though.}  I digress.

On this particular day, the pancake prep panic paired with some other bugging things was making me pretty rough around the edges. {I am being kind.  I was mildly upset/testy.} {To do list: alliteration ✔!}  My foul mood drifted in like the smell of burnt pancakes to where my husband was.  I'm sorry, Dan.  So very sorry, my love. 

He could of reacted in a million ways... gotten mad, fallen victim to the contagious factor of bad attitudes, pretended he couldn't hear me & my mumbles & complaints...  Instead, he draws on the eggs.  He takes out a Sharpie & with a few little motions, he's made a smiley face & a heart, & he stashes them back into the fridge.  It is to be noted that I was out of the kitchen when this happened - totally unaware of any goings-on.  And he waits patiently for me to reenter & get finished with my pancake arch nemesis & onto the eggs, all the while, quiet & oh-so-patient in his chair. {Gosh, I love my man!}

I finish the pancakes with mumbles like the Israelites in the wilderness {I asked for forgiveness from my Maker for this}, & I move to get the eggs.  I open the carton.  I smile.  It takes a moment, but I do.  I just can't help it.

You know what else?  That carton had a Bible verse printed on it!  Crazy, right, how God speaks through Sharpies, & patient loving husbands, & egg cartons.  It was eggs-actly what I needed & I am so thankful.

P.S.: I hope that last part gave you the pun smile, Dan.  It kinda reminds me of the pancake smile, but this one has a little higher-reaching grin action going on.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Currently {May 2017}

💮 Counting down... to summer!  Only 8 more days as a school librarian.  I'm gonna miss it.

💮 Reading... Beauty Begins by Chris Shook & Megan Shook Alpha.  I wonder if most of us women struggle with this {in some form or fashion} all our years.  I'm hoping the answer is no, but... keeping it real.  This world is so hard on us.  If you'll allow me to speak some truth to us - girl, you are a beauty.

💮 Eating... yogurt covered raisins.  I'm thinking next time chocolate,
though. 😉

💮 Thankful... for my amazing mom {who I got to spend Mother's Day with a few days ago}!  She has shown me Jesus from my very 1st breath & I am forever grateful for her love, support, & in the last few adult years of my life, her friendship.

💮 Excited... about upcoming DIY projects I'm planning for the summer.  Marriage & work life are hard right now & my crafting love has fallen to the wayside.  I'm hoping to rekindle the DIYs soon + share 'em more on the blog.  What do you think?

💮 Praying... for my future babies & for God's perfect timing, protection, & care in that.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thinking About Mamahood

It's Mother's Day, & like so many of my fellow female sisters across the globe, I dream of being a mom.

I want to look into Dan's eyes & excitedly spill out the news & see what he does right after.  I want to know what it's like in the before time to feel a real, live little person growing in my middle - complete with wriggling & kicking.  I want to know what it's like to bring forth a life - such a miracle each & every time.  I want to see what baby will look like.  More like daddy or mommy?  What color eyes?  Hair?  What will we call that first sweet one?

I want to hear, "Mommy" from a tiny {or not-so-tiny} voice.  I want to swing that little one up & tickle the tummy & hear the dearest baby laughter.  I want to be that mom riding her bicycle through the park with her little one by her side wearing matching pirate hats or butterfly wings & going on grand adventures.  I want to be that mom who always ends each day with a bedtime story.

I want to be that mom who shows her child who God is through words & actions.  I want to be that mom who brings her kiddos up in the knowledge & love of Christ.  I want to be that mom who sees them step forward on their own one day to accept Jesus as their Savior & live a life for Him.  I want to be that mom who leans on Jesus, my true source of strength.

I want to pray all the prayers I can muster over my children in the now, before they've even been formed inside me.  I want to trust my babies & my unseen future to my heavenly Father.  I want to mother the littles God has placed in my current circumstance well & with much love through Him in these days.

I want to tell all those mamas out there doing the hardest job there is each & every day, a very happy Mother's Day!

And to my own most wonderful mom, thank you & I love you so!

P.S.: Baby onsie via.

Friday, May 12, 2017

'Cause When the Cow is This Big You Should Take a Picture {Or 3}

This is Kadie the cow.  She lives in the Best Buy parking lot in my city & she is beloved by all.

Let me just milk this moment for all it's worth...  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

You hug the cow after you milk her, 'cause those are the rules in the official handbook.  Okay, so I made that last part up, but I think it's a good rule.

{P.S.: Bucket list item #22 done!}

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gifts // Vol. 12

803. hugs & kisses from my nephews
805. how he told me {when asked what he was doing} "I'm just thinking how beautiful you are... I'm glad you asked that then."
809. getting our tax refund back
812. teaching the kiddos at church with Dan
813. & how the one little girl said, "You're married now & I was at your baby shower!" - we had to carefully correct her, "No, wedding shower."
814. juicy, fresh pineapple chunks
818. pastel M&Ms
821. strength from You
822. his "I'm sorry" & mine
823. &, most importantly, Yours

Monday, May 8, 2017

This is Just for Me {& Just Maybe You}...

To remember Your ways are higher.

Your faithfulness is never shaken.

And not one thing is a surprise to You.  Not one.

That You care beyond my mortal understanding.  For me.

That You are here in the middle of it all.

That You are leading me to something.  Always.

You are the best Author, Creator, Father, Giver of good gifts.

This life is hard, but You make it a good gift.

There is hope found in You - no where else.  Just You.  But I'm finding that is enough.  & more.

You have become my true worth.  My identity.  No one else.  Just You.

You forgive my soul.

You fill me with Your goodness, power, & Holy Spirit.

You are my first & truest love.

So I can now say, Your will be done.

In Jesus' Name,

Friday, May 5, 2017

Date Night Ideas // May 2017

💑 Try an impromptu arcade date night sometime this month.  {Read about ours here.}

💑 Go to a baseball game together.  Bonus points if you wear your favorite team's colors &/or get a hot dog {or your favorite stadium fare}!

💑 Have a night in & play several rounds of GeoGuessr {we like to play single player & then work together}.  It's a free & super fun {at least we think so} online game that uses Google Maps.  You're dropped into a random street view somewhere on the globe & have to move around & try to figure out where you are.  Afterwards, create an awesome travel bucket list &/or a summer travel wish list you'd like to complete together.

💑 Grab some fairly easily portable food + a blanket + each other's hands {'cause you know, that's what you do} & have a picnic!  Whether you make the food from pantry finds at home, grocery shop together for it {I love the unusual smallish (individual sized) food finds at World Market}, or pick it up at a drive-thru make it something you both find yummy & then head outdoors!  Parks, gardens, backyards, etc. all make for perfect picnic spots! {Once, we had a picnic at a rest area in our own city!}

💑 Wander a local/nearby museum you've either never visited or it's been awhile.  See what you can learn together & what appeals to one another. {Here's a money saving tip: some museums have once a month free days or other discounts, check out websites &/or call to check before you go.}

💑 Try a new-to-you-both ice cream shop.  If you can't find one close, try a new flavor at your favorite one.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

'Cause We Like Star Wars at Our House

May the 4th be with you!

I have to admit, before Dan was in the picture I wasn't too keen on Star Wars, other than remembering always asking to get the Ewok movies at Blockbuster when I was a kiddo {I hope you are old enough to remember when movie rental stores were a thing}  .  Apart from the furry little woodsy teddy bears who couldn't speak English, I was pretty much clueless.

Then came Dan.  I'm pretty sure the above image captures one of his best moments of being alive {I just hope getting married to moi tops meeting Chewbacca {or I'm gonna cry like a Wookiee (which won't be pretty)}}.  Anywho, he is the epitome of an epic Star Wars fan.

So, after our 1st date I go & buy a Star Wars tee & wear it the next time he's in town.  Eventually we watch several of the movies together {I still have a few to go}, I buy more Star Wars shirts, & then one day when he finally utters, "I love you," - well, you know I have to answer with a Star Wars reference {it wasn't like I had it planned for months & months or anything} 😉.  Finally, we end up married.  Can you believe it {I guess that 1st Star Wars tee did the trick}?!

We honeymooned in Orlando last year, & guess where one of our major stops was?  That's right, Disney's Hollywood Studios with all their new Star Wars stuff!  Dan's smiles that day were the best!

And now this girl loves Star Wars almost as much as that crazy guy above {almost}.

We can't wait to go back in 2019 when Hollywood Studios unveils the new 14 acre Star Wars Land!

Happy May the 4th be with you day!