Thursday, May 31, 2012

fun weekend

a couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending one of the last ECU baseball games of the season. it was graduation friday, and i knew that there was the potential for traffic to be crazy around the campus area. however, we were able to get there in record time, with davis eating in the car and justin and me picking up dinner at the ball park :)

davis did really well at the game and seemed to enjoy it. he had been to a high school baseball game before, and we think that he might have enjoyed that more because he was closer to the action. we ended up walking around the park after an inning or so, and a nice little boy who ran out to get a foul ball from the parking lot ended up giving it to him :) 

a family picture before we left. he made it until about 7:15 or so, which is pretty good for a 6 pm game. he was obsessed with the straw and cup and carried it all the way out of the stadium, sipping on it to get some watered-down sprite. 

the next day we went to josh's superhero themed birthday party. i told justin he should wear his batman shirt to it, and lynn had asked us earlier for our two favorite colors for the superhero masks. we told her black and gold, thinking of the steelers colors--but justin ended up coordinating and making a pretty good batman! (i got him to pose like that--he wasn't sure what i meant when i said "superhero stance")
they had a fun bounce house that davis was able to enjoy outside. it was hot, but that didn't stop him from doing his typical "run and fall over" routine in there!

Monday, May 28, 2012

our anniversary trip

each year since we got married, we have taken a trip to celebrate our anniversary. before davis, we would do long weekend trips to some of our favorite southern towns....ocracoke, charleston (two posts you could check out on charleston), and savannah (there are several savannah posts). last year, with davis only being a few months old, we did a surprise trip to the local zipline course in my hometown. we have done one night away from davis (back during the Christmas holidays) and were hoping to celebrate our 5th anniversary with another trip. 

our plans actually went through quite a progression--we started out thinking we might do a tropical vacation, like to the florida keys or a short cruise. but money-wise and getting help with watching davis for that became obvious that wouldn't work. then we started doing planning for a weekend--maybe back to ocracoke? or atlanta--i actually had a whole itinerary written up for a driving trip to atlanta that included stops along the way and a couple of visits to "top chef" restaurants (kevin and richard blais's places) and the georgia aquarium. but again...a trip that long just wasn't panning out. so we ended up deciding to do a quick trip up to....
busch gardens! i hadn't ridden a roller coaster in over two years, and i knew we wouldn't want to take davis yet (though we saw lots of stuff he would have enjoyed.) i've always been one of those people who saw the family toting around a miserable toddler or baby and would turn to justin and say "that will never be us." we had no clue if davis would even enjoy any of the rides, so this was a good opportunity to do busch gardens "our way" and then we'll revisit in the next couple of years with him.
my mom and grandma came up the night before so we could leave first thing in the morning. davis fussed when we left but had recovered by the time we got out of town (my mom was sending me photos of him smiling and playing as evidence of this.) we got to the park by 11 am and went on in. i had purchased tickets beforehand at a discounted price from our local state employee's credit union which made this pretty affordable (saved us at least $30.) we started at apollo's chariot and made our way around to most of the big rides like the griffin, hitting lochness and alpengheist after lunch. the newest coaster, verbolten, wasn't open yet--maybe next time?
we also enjoyed several shows and rode the train, sending a video to my mom for davis to watch of the train coming into the station. he was (and still is) in a big train phase right now!
it's easy to see why busch gardens is consistently voted the most beautiful theme park--it is so lush and green and makes it enjoyable just walking from one country to another. we stayed well into the evening, going back on some rides after the big groups had cleared out.
i even climbed on the mach tower right before we left (after justin bailed on me--he just wasn't into that particular ride) and got to see the whole park from 240 ft in the sky at night. it was worth it :)
people-watching is always entertaining at the parks, and they were holding a band and choral competition there that day, so we had plenty of high school groups around us. since most of my first theme park experiences were from band trips, it took me back!
we left the park around 9:30 or so, feeling like we got all of our rides in for the day. we had reservations at a hotel just down the rode and crashed for the night. i still don't sleep entirely well when i'm away from davis--maybe it gets easier after the first night? or maybe it's just the strange sounds of a hotel room--the air conditioner shutting on and off and feeling like the pillows aren't quite right...

the next morning we got breakfast and headed home. davis was down for a nap when we got there, so we got to get him from his crib when he woke up and surprised him. he had done really well for my mom and grandma, so maybe we can do another trip soon...? we had bought him some presents from the sesame street area in the park, picking out a pair of sunglasses, an elmo doll and cup that actually had his name on it! (very rare that we find one with his name, which is fine with us--we like that it's unique.)
it was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary together. maybe not the exotic carribean trip we had hoped for, but still one that fits where we are now :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

strawberries on 903

every year, one of our favorite spring/summer rituals is a visit out to strawberries on 903. now davis is old enough to really appreciate the farm setting, with all the animals and farm equipment and everything. he has also been a pretty frequent visitor! but i got the opportunity to take him one sunday afternoon after justin needed to treat our backyard for weeds.

he is a big fan of the bunnies!
and we were excited to ride on the horse-drawn wagon around the farm....
he definitely looks at home here, doesn't he? i'd say the overalls and fresh air suit him well!
oh davis, you melt my heart!
some more exploring...
and toddling around. he was happy to be able to wander and check everything out!

then we stopped up by the produce stand and posed with the flowers.
he was very into touching them (gently, gently, hon)
and then crawling around underneath the counters--also lots of fun for a toddler boy!
he looks so much like my brother here--it's uncanny. we may have to find a picture to compare...
all in all, a wonderful visit on a gorgeous afternoon...

and the perfect opportunity... 
to spend some time with my boy :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

piratefest and my first 5k

as most of y'all know, i started training at the beginning of the year to run a 5k. i was using a "couch to 5k" interval program that designed for a 9 week training period. by the time my first run came around, i had made it about 7 1/2 weeks, which was fine with me. i was realistic that i wouldn't probably run the whole thing, but i knew i would run most of it :)

i was able to pick up my packet on friday during my lunch break and checked out all of the information. this was obviously my first time doing a chipped race, too, so it was a little intimidating!
there was A LOT going on that weekend in town--the 5k (which was associated with our alumni group), open house on campus, which meant tons of visiting students and parents (and some responsibilities for my department), the pigskin pig-out--which is an annual BBQ competition and the spring football scrimmage game, AND piratefest, a two-day festival downtown featuring craft and food vendors, lots of pirate-themed activities and the "international festival" that used to be separate event, but has now coincided with piratefest for the past few years. 


it's the kind of weekend, though, that makes me incredibly giddy because i LOVE that kind of stuff. we headed out to the pigskin pigout friday night and let davis bounce away in one of the inflatables they had there (he's getting the hang of these, though he still doesn't do much more than run down the middle and flop on the ground, laughing and squealing. it's adorable, of course.)
the next morning i got up and ready for the 9 am race start. there were a couple hundred racers, all decked out in pirate gear. the race proceeds were going toward scholarships given by the alumni association, and i pulled out my old "EC scholars" t-shirt that i got when i was a freshman and wore it for fun :)

the next couple of photos were taken during the race by the race photographers. i knew davis and justin were coming to meet me at the finish line, but they had until at least 9:30 or so to get there! the group running evened out pretty quickly, and i felt like i was keeping a good pace for the first mile or so. i would allow myself to walk for about 30 seconds or so after the water table to drink and catch my breath, but tried to keep going.
i knew the timing of the race would be a challenge--i had been running at night, usually around 7:30 or so in the evening, after a full day of drinking water and with the cool night air to keep me comfortable. a 9 am race with the sun coming up and warming things up really quickly made it challenging. i walked after the 2nd mile for a while, setting short goals for myself to run at a certain spot on the course. as i was making my way back to the main part of campus, i heard the marching pirates playing at the scheduled pep rally for the open house. strains of "hey baby" made it out to the road, and it was enough encouragement to get me back to running down the hill and to the finish line. 

as i approached the timer, i picked up speed once more, wanting to make it under 38 minutes. i hadn't really set a time for myself (just finishing without walking most of the way was my main goal) but at the moment, 38 minutes sounded good :)

justin and davis were waiting for me just before the finish line and hung out while i grabbed some snacks and cooled down. as you can see, i was VERY pink!
from there, we decided to go on and visit the piratefest. it had just started and wasn't crowded at all. we strolled down past the craft and food vendors, stopping only to get a bag of kettlecorn (one of our favorite snacks!)

we made it down to the town commons by the river and let davis make a pirate hat. okay, so i made the pirate hat. but he actually kept it on!  he was happy to wander around, people-watching and checking out the boats in the river.

then we saw the jolly trolly driving around and i remembered reading that they would be offering rides around the downtown area. it was completely empty, and my bus-obsessed boy was THRILLED to take a ride! he wasn't real happy to get off, once we had done a full loop, but it was so much fun to see him looking out the window and grinning ear to ear about finally being on (in his mind) a "bus."
eventually, it became painfully obvious it was naptime. justin drove davis home while i picked up some BBQ plates from the pigskin pigout for lunch. justin told me once i got home that davis was asleep in the car seat within minutes! i was pretty exhausted, too :) but so glad that i got to accomplish my goal and do it in pirate-style!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a quick look back...

on our easter weekend. i know it's been a while, but just wanted to include some of my favorites. 

davis had a good time catching up with his great-aunt nancy....
and we made a couple of trips to school playground that were gloriously empty :)
one of which housed several buses that davis got all worked up about! seeing the buses up close and personal just made his day :)
we put him a cute spring outfit that was a wonderful hand-me-down...
and tried to get some early morning pictures, but he wasn't feeling smiley.
so we took what we could get!
he got to help put some flower on the cross with his gran
and we got to church early enough to do pictures before the service, which was wonderful. i knew we would be pushing it to keep him in a good mood that late after the easter service was over.
i LOVE this picture with my brother and sister in law. it's been my cover photo on facebook for a while.
davis ended up doing really well in the nursery and going down for a nap right after lunch so we could have our easter lunch as a family.

over a month late, but better late than never!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a "courageous" resolution

about a month or two ago, justin and a group of other young fathers concluded a study they'd been doing since the beginning of the year. they chose the study based on the recent movie, "courageous," and each week they completed lessons and discussion based on the characteristics of godly husbands and fathers. when it came time for their final dinner and completing the "resolution" with our pastor and all of the families, justin's dad and stepmom were here visiting. it was great to include them in the event, too!
we met for dinner and to watch the movie all together. some hadn't seen it yet, but justin and i had watched it a few weeks earlier after he started the study. it is a great movie, and very well-done. bring your kleenex!

afterward, we (quickly) moved to the resolution portion. it was getting late and most of our kids were ready for bed! this group is so dear to my heart--many of them are also volunteers with the youth group or were part of the young adults small group we attended right after college. we have quite literally shared our lives together over the past five years, and i was so grateful that our husbands were able to do this together.
the youngest of the group--sweet gabe!
you can see peyton in the background, a very pregnant regan, and of course, lynn and josh playing with gabe and kelsey here up front. in the two months since this event, regan and matt had their baby (staten) and kelsey and josh have announced another pregnancy!
here is our pastor tim explaining the process to the guys...

and all of the guys together

they went through one by one having the guys repeat the resolution to their families. here are our friends, brent and emelie and their son jake and daughter peyton

david, lynn and josh :)

and jeremy, lindsay and collen
we didn't get a picture of us :( i'm not sure how well it would've turned out, anyway. it was way past davis's bedtime and he was barely hanging on with the iphone videos and apps keeping him entertained.

after each family finished, we laid out the copies of the resolutions so each guy could sign the others' as witnesses.

it was quite a flurry of papers and pens as each one got passed down the line.
all the guys lined up and signing...
and one more.
we are planning to find a frame for justin's copy to have it displayed at home
and it makes it even more special to have it signed by all of our dear friends and tim.
we headed home to get davis to bed. he was already lounging in his train chair that grammy and pappy bought him (it's become his favorite seat in the house.)
and pappy helped with story time before he went to bed. i was happy to capture this photo of the three of them :)