We are just wrapping up our last vacation of summer in the Blue Ridge mountains... I can't believe school is starting and Fall is around the corner!
This past weekend we spent three days with my family in a cabin in the mountains. It was such a fun-filled weekend in the great outdoors.
Eli and Jude were able to experience hiking and waterfalls for the very first time. Eli loved exploring in the woods - the dirt, the water, the "adventure" of it all! He was a little trooper when we went hiking and he even surprised me with what he was capable of! As always, Jude was our mellow little addition to the adventures - always taking everything in around him and as content as could be all the while being carried and passed off from one person to the next! He even fell asleep on Papaw's shoulders several times while hiking!
We had so much fun getting to spend quality time with our family whom we love so much!
This day four years ago was my wedding day. I was a 21 year old bride with not a care in the world other than loving him, my groom.
He was my first love; my only love.
Our love didn't start out with a steady friendship or a slow realization. It began with a spark that ignited into a blazing wildfire, burning steadily and gradually until slowly settling into the peaceful comfort of glowing embers.
We were young, in love, and with eyes on each other we were confident that we could take on the world hand in hand.
I presume it was unsurprising to our wiser, married friends and family that in the wake of our vows the world came on hard and fast.
Together we have seen tragedy, we have looked into each others eyes and seen a cold, dark emptiness taking residence. We have witnessed each other crumble under grief, the pieces of our hearts falling apart almost tangibly. We have mourned together; deeply and gutturally taking each other to places deep inside that were once hidden even from ourselves.
Our love has been tested and tried, there is no doubt. Yet four years later we are standing and we are standing stronger than ever. While we have suffered the greatest heartache, we have also experienced the greatest joy.
Together we have seen each other become something more than a partner, a husband and a wife. We have seen love come alive, bright and beautiful, in the faces of our sons. We have seen and held an angel who constantly reminds us that what we are waiting for is not of this world. We have have picked up the pieces of each other and put them back gently, our faith renewed and our hope claiming wings to soar.
Four years later and those embers are still glowing.
Four years later and I still see glimpses of that cocky senior boy who stole my heart, the hopeless romantic who nervously asked me to be his "husband" that Christmas morning...
but these days I also get to see a dedicated father who once woke up in the middle of the night so tired that he tried to soothe a pillow back to sleep, a hardworking husband who's number one priority is taking care of his family, and a selfless partner who always puts me on a pedestal that I am usually unworthy to even step foot on.
I couldn't ask for a more selfless or loving man to share this life with. I pray we share many more years side by side, hand in hand. Thank you Lord for giving me this love.
...started wearing his underwear to bed and has been accident free each night!
We had been in a month long perpetual diaper at night, so we decided to take the plunge and have him wear underwear to bed! What a champ! Day and night potty trained! We are so very proud... and excited that we only have one child to change diapers on!
Today me, Kaysi, and the boys went exploring around West Knoxville and found some cool, hidden spots to take some pictures. I finally got to practice using my camera and I got some pretty good shots of the boys too! Here are some of my favorites from the day:
We are getting sad because our time with Kaysi is coming to a close. At the end of the month she will be moving out of our house and moving in to her new dorm at Auburn. An exciting new chapter for her, but we have so enjoyed having her here this summer. The boys have loved the extra attention and having another play mate; I have loved the companionship during the day and just hanging out with my sister. We will definitely miss her.
Today we took her to one of our favorite places around Knoxville, Norris Dam.
There's not much to it. It's just a huge dam and a river that flows from it... but it's pretty, it's outside, and it's a fun place for Eli to play and splash around. We love just sitting and watching the water pass us by.
It was fun to show Kaysi one of our "spots".
Last night we took Kaysi and went to the drive-in here in Knoxville for the first time.
It was also both boys' AND Kaysi's first experiences.
Before we left we had fun decking out the car in blankets and pillows so that we could all sit in the back of the car to watch the movie. We also stopped at the store and bought all kinds of treats to snack on. While we waited for the sun to set and the movie to start Eli ran around with some kids from nearby cars and played soccer with Daniel. By the time the movie (Monster's University) started it was pretty much bed time for the kids, but Eli stayed up for the whole movie. Jude on the other hand.... he slept the whole time!