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Friday, January 8, 2016

RUN 365

My long time friend Stephanie has always been a huge inspiration to me.  She is one of those people that always appears to have it all together while handling everything with grace and compassion.  She loves the Lord and others so big that it's contagious.  Well, Steph is also a runner.  And in 2015 she ran every.single.day.  I watched through her instagram feed with amazement...and sometimes jealousy.  Well, a few days ago--as her year came to a close--she opened up a facebook group with the invitation to anyone that wanted to join her in 2016.  I immediately felt like it was a personal invitation and struggled with the decision to make this commitment.  I mean, I have never been that dedicated to anything.  The scariest part was the thought of failing.  A few days later I got a text from my friend Hope, "Hey, you want to do the run 365 with Stephanie?"  NO, YES, NO, ....okay I'll do it. I finally just had to commit--and really without over analyzing it too much.
I just finished my 13th run, which is HUGE for me!  
I have never ran this many days in a row. IN MY LIFE!
I'm excited about this challenge, and hope these legs hold up to make it happen!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

THANKSGIVING AT GRAN'S

It's almost Christmas, but I couldn't not share these precious pictures Michael captured on Thanksgiving at Gran's.








It was rather warm and the kids had the best time playing outside in the leaves!  Anne climbed the Magnolia tree and Liam rode the little car (the one that Michael rode as a child!!)
Now that it's Christmas, we're looking forward to making lots more fun memories!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DRESSEMBER

Today is December first which means the first day of Dressember.  Late last night Anne decided she would join me in wearing a dress every day this month.  I remember last year when my friend Hope did Dressember, I had never heard of it or knew what it was all about.  After doing a lot of research and hearing Blythe's story, I decided to join this year along with 18 other people on our MS team.  
"In 2013, Dressember took on new meaning: opposing the worldwide trafficking and exploitation of women. In its first year as a fundraising campaign, Dressember aligned with International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. Those who participate in Dressember are supporting the abolition of modern day slavery. Beginning in 2015, the Dressember campaign will expand to partner with other anti-trafficking organizations."
Today we exceeded our goal and are excited to say the least!!
If you'd like to make a donation, click here to contribute!  Or you can join us--just sign up to be a part of our team! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

DEEP CREEK

On our first day in Bryson City, we hiked at Deep Creek.  This is a little campground and trail a few miles from the inn and right inside The Smoky Mountain National Park.  It was a pretty short trail, a little less than two miles out and back, but there were two beautiful waterfalls and lots of great scenery to take in along the way!  The kids had a great time throwing rocks into the river and climbing on the large boulders.




Thanks to the hiker that stopped and snapped this photo of all of us!









It's a great trail for small kids--not too many cliff drop offs!  We had a great time and hope to do this trail again one day!

Monday, November 23, 2015

TRAVELING WITH TODDLERS

We got up really early Thursday morning to get a head start on our trip to the mountains.  Traveling with kids is no easy task and I think that there are certain things that make it a lot easier.  We always try to pack plenty of books and toys that are car friendly, and this time we even brought a dvd player. 
One of our biggest struggles right now is trying to eat in a restaurant.  Liam is almost three and asking him to sit and wait for food or sit and eat his food is not his (or my) idea of a good time.  We've all been there or at least witnessed a cranky toddler that doesn't want to cooperate during meal time.  Not pretty.  Michael's grandparents used to travel all over the country and they always packed a picnic lunch.  We decided we'd give it a try on the trip up, since we wanted to 1. save money 2. not have to struggle with Liam.  
I packed our picnic basket and cooler with things that we already had at home...bread, ham, cheese, apples, oranges, chips, hummus.  We pulled over at a little spot next to the Ocoee River, spread out our lunch and had the most wonderful time.  It allowed some freedom to roam about while eating lunch which was really nice after sitting for six hours.  The kids ran around, drew with sticks in the dirt, and threw rocks in the river while Michael and I ate in mostly peace. 
I can definitely see us doing this more often.  Not only was it more enjoyable, but we also felt really good about being frugal and eating things we already had.  
It seemed like no time before we were arriving at The Hemlock Inn.