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Thursday, December 13, 2012


alternate title: half-way to 70 ;)
thirty five years old!
my sweet husband surprised me with a date night
completely unexpected complete with a
pre-arranged babysitter and plans
to go to a new, romantic restaraunt
in the middle of downtown Columbus,
situated right on the Scioto River.
Christmas lights were twinkling everywhere,
and even the rain could not take away from
what turned out to be such a fun night.
I am blessed beyond measure.
Happy 35th birthday to me!
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”  ~John Lennon

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


alternate title: i hope you dance
Karsen, 6 weeks old
someone just had a birthday and is all of a sudden eleven
how can that be possible?
eleven sounds so much older than 10!
or is it just me?
2 years old
Karsen, you came roaring into our life over 11 years ago,
and you truly completed our family.
I often joke that you literally cried the first year of your life
(because you did!)
and you also did not sleep through the night until about 20 months old
looking back, i can say it was a tough year
but it went by so fast
(too fast)
and then after that
came the years where you literally clung to me all the time.
you went from nursing around the clock
to just clinging around the clock.
like a little monkey,
 a very particular child,
that did not like to be very far away from Mommy.
i think about that now and the words
"it won't be long" always come to mind.
everytime i tuck you in
i think, it won't be long and you won't need me to do that anymore
everytime we are walking and you slip your hand in mine
i think, it won't be long and it will be the last time you do that
everytime you say "i love you, Mommy"
i think, it won't be long and those teenage hormones
will change how you see your Mommy
everytime i look at you i see you growing and changing
and i think, it won't be long and you will be big decisions without me
it won't be long.

i can tell that you are getting to the age
where doubts can start creeping in.
i hope you always keep that light inside of you
that you are strong enough to do anything you set your mind to doing.
this song brings to mind everything i hope for you
"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
 hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances, but they're worth taking
Loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making
Don't let some hurting heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance"
~Lee Ann Womack

Karsen Grace, 11 years old, Happy Birthday, sweet girl.
Keep dancing, keep singing, keep shining!
We love you with all our hearts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



from our (cute) little nerd

and very realistic British Zombie
Happy Halloween 2012!
*phone pics

Monday, October 29, 2012


How can it be that you are thirteen? A teenager? Just the other day you were in the NICU with your little hand wrapped around your Daddy's finger. You have come a long way since then.

Dylan, 8th grade
You sure are growing up fast now. When we got to Ohio two year ago, you still have some  roundness left in your little boy face. I did not realize how fast those lines were sharpening, shifting and changing until I saw this year's school pic.

Why do you look like a MAN suddenly? With thirteen I can honestly say that we are starting to see little glimpses of the man you will be. You have a new-found confidence. You walk to the beat of your own drum. A drum that happens to be very unique, random, literal, and creative.

You know that your sense of humor really shines. (You got that from your Momma....) You make us laugh every.single.day. You are genuinely good all the way down to the core (You got that from your Daddy...).

You went to your first boy/girl party this past weekend, and I will admit that I was a little worried about it all. It hit me that I don't really have control anymore. Not that I really did anyway, but it is becoming more apparent recently. We will have to rely on YOU to make good choices on YOUR own. You could see the worry in my eyes that I tried to conceal because you reassured me "Mom, I promise if I see somebody doing something that they shouldn't be doing, I will call you and Dad right away. And then I might call 911 if the sitation calls for that".  LOL Needless to say, I was very relieved when you got home around 10:15pm all flushed and sweaty from the fun you had. It made my heart swell to see you so HAPPY. And back home safe and sound.

Dylan Hayes, at thirteen you.....
  • are challenging your Daddy as the tallest person in the house. (it's a tight race at this point)
  • are 5 feet 11 inches tall and wear a size 12 men's shoe and weigh 118 lbs (soaking wet)
  • are  70% in weight and 130% in height on the growth chart
  • are projected to be 6-5 or 6-6 at this rate
  • have ZERO interest in basketball (unfortunately), I am praying that changes (given your wing span potential)
  • love pizza more than any other food in the world
  • might turn into a sour patch kid if you keep eating them
  • love to write and read and imagine and challenge and debate
  • love Lord of the Rings and all things JRR Tolkien

At thirteen you
  • have an ongoing countdown for the release of The Hobbit movie in theaters (December 14th, 2012)
  • continue to fight the normal grooming routine
  • despise homework and refuse to SHOW YOUR WORK in Math
  • are creatively brilliant and artistic
  • continue to be a reliable source for all things random (especially pertaining to wildlife, mythical creatures,  and SciFi trivia)

"Dyl-ANakin" Halloween 2009
At thirteen you....
  • will likely one day be a Jeopardy champion! Or a Jedi champion! ;)
  • but not before you become a Lawyer, because you love a good argument and leave us speechless more often than we would like to admit
  • are oddly interested in the 2012 Presidential campaign. To quote you, "I know I can't vote, but I think it is a good idea to be an informed teenager" (LOL)

Happy 13th birthday, Dylan! We love you to the moon and beyond...

“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father's dreams aren't big enough, and sometimes his mother's vision isn't long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.”  ~Ben Behunin

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

around here

Hey, everyone! I miss y'all. I miss blogging. It has been over a month, but who's counting?! (I am.) I have so much to catch up on, but tonight will just be a hodge-podge of catching you up on little things around here lately.

Fall has arrived to Ohio. We have had our heat on for about 1 month. The down comforters are out.  I even convinced Chris to make a fire in the fireplace a couple weekends ago when it was particularly cold. Call it a little premature, I don't care. I was cold! We are having a week of Indian Summer weather this week, and I am loving it! I am soaking it all in because I know it is fleeting....and I know what comes next.

With Fall, we made our requisite trip the the Apple Farm and had a fun day--complete with picking out pumpkins, riding on a tractor, and having funnel cakes and apple cider. Yum!

It was a beautiful day, and we really lucked out with pretty warm weather~I even got to wear my sunglassess! Woohoo! Seriously, from late November to April or so, I bet I won't need my sunglasses at all. Bleh.

We are all busy growing around here. LOL, well mostly just Dylan and Karsen. Check out this comparison picture from Fall 2010 at the Apple Farm. (!!!)

The fall foliage here is breathtaking right now. The autumn leaves peaked a couple weeks ago, but it still GORGEOUS. I love watching the leaves change colors, and then I have mixed emotions when they start falling.

Fall does bring some fun things our way...it is a time of birthdays for our family. Dylan just had a very big birthday! He is officially a TEENAGER! A post dedicated to that will be coming next. Karsen will follow suit next month, and then I turn 21 in December (21 + 14 if you want to get technical) ;)

Do my feet look old to you? Nevermind, don't answer that. Hope you are enjoying Fall too!

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." 
~Emily Bronte

Saturday, September 15, 2012

chimney rock view

Isn't it funny how a picture can take you back to a place and time. This is one of my favorite pictures from our recent trip to Lake Lure. We climbed Chimney Rock (more about our hike in a future post), and the view from the top is just amazing. You look down at Lake Lure and the entirety of Hickory Nut Gorge. It is beyond beautiful.
When we got up there, Dylan was a little unsure of being up that high. When our family visited there 7 years ago, he was running around wild like a little monkey. This time, he sat still.
He became fixated on a man that was standing on the very edge of the cliff. His back was turned to us, and Dylan was just watching him. I believe Dylan didn't know if the man was praying or thinking about taking a leap.
I think the man was just trying his best to imprint the memory of the view into his mind.

Dylan just sat there watching this man. His back was turned and all you could see was  his long robe. He looked like a monk from behind. After a few minutes, Dylan realized he wasn't going to jump and he relaxed.

Imagine his surprise when the man turned around, Dylan noticed they were wearing the same sunglasses. Dylan said, "I didn't know monks wore Oakleys!"

I guess we really aren't that different from each other, are we?

Wishing you all a peaceful weekend!

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influences of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion. The potential for greatness lives within each of us.  ~Wilma Rudolph

Thursday, September 13, 2012

lake lure--then and now

Way back when in the Fall of 2005 we spent Karsen's 4th birthday at Lake Lure! I just pulled up some old pics and sat here and boo-hoo-ed like a baby. I can't handle the nostalgia. LOL

Here was our birthday girl for the trip. Sassy as ever? She went through a phase where this is the pose she would strike when you said, "Cheese!" LOL

We had great weekend visiting the mountains. I remember we stayed in the most perfect little cabin and went fishing at the lake. I think I have shared some of these before, but please indulge me, people! I feel sentimental tonight.

I know this was my first year in Pharmacy school, because of my CAMPBELL shirt I am wearing. It doesn't seem like that long ago, but then again...it does.

Karsen's face kills me here. It is just too cute. And just look at Dylan's baby face and snaggle tooth smile.
It was a great weekend celebrating this girl's 4th birthday. Seven years later we went back to the same Lake for a week and had another amazing trip. We hiked Chimney Rock in 2005 when we were there, and the kids were such troopers!

Lake Lure, Fall 2005
And we re-traced our steps again this year. Here we are 7 years later. Same spot, same rock, same tree. Larger children. :) A different time of year. Fall instead of Summer, and a different time in our lives in many other ways.
Lake Lure, Summer 2012.
Then and now.
“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options.
You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can go around it.
You can dig under it. You can fly over it.You can blow it up.
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there.
You can turn around and go back the way you came.
Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.” 
~Vera Nazarian

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

first day of school (2012-2013)

Somehow another school year is upon us.
Dylan and Karsen were both so excited to start school.
I hope their enthusiams lasts at least until the first report card ;)

8th grade
Dylan Hayes
8th grade
Your last year before high school.
You resemble that tree you're standing by.
Tall and skinny.
Algebra, Robotics, and Spanish II
You suddenly care about how you look.
Grooming is less of a concern for now;
typical 12 year old boy.
Boy on the brink....
5th grade
Karsen Grace
10 years old
Suddenly in 5th grade
not so much our baby anymore.
So EXCITED every morning for school
you bounce up and put on your outfit
that you laid out the night before
Lover of homework and being challenged
gymnastics, violin, reading 24-7
I remember when I was that girl too. :)
Alot of things change
but some things stay the same.
You both may be growing up and going into
the 8th and 5th grade
but your Momma still cried
on your first day of school.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

~Dr. Seuss

Saturday, September 8, 2012

i carried a watermelon

One of my favorite things about Lake Lure is the fact that they filmed the majority of the movie, Dirty Dancing, there. I think I have mentioned this already, so y'all should know that this is one of my fave movies. It still hurts my heart that Patrick Swayze died so young. Seriously.

It is no exaggeration when I tell you that my sisters and I probably watched that movie ~711,000 times growing up. We shouldn't have been allowed to watch it, but we were! And it was our fave. Johnny was my first love.....

We spent part of a rainy day during our recent vacation there by taking a guided boat tour of Lake Lure. It was awesome to learn all the history of the area, and I was ridiculously giddy when the pontoon boat took us into a little cove and showed us this:

Those are THE stairs where Baby "carried a watermelon" at the beginning of the movie. Chris looked at me like I had lost my mind when I got so excited about this on the tour. LOL. I loved, loved, loved this movie! The tour guide also pointed out that the water there on the shore is where they filmed the lift scene in the water. Remember this?

It was a high point of our vacation for me. The kids loved riding in the boat, and it was such a nice way to spend one of the cooler days when we didn't feel like swimming in the water.

The stairs and this view are two of the sights that I will remember most about our week there. We were riding along when the tour guide turned the boat around and announced, "There's our million dollar view".

This is the most beautiful spot of the lake. When we were sitting there in the boat it was almost like we were in another country instead of in a small lake town in NC. It lit-ter-ral-ly took your breathe away. That's all I can say. This picture just does not do it justice.

The next day we rented a private boat, and Chris kept driving by this spot "one more time" just for me. I just love every-single-thing about this place. It was such a great week!

Stay tuned for a post dedicated solely to our week long attempt at catching a fish! Any guess on who finally catches one? And I'll have the pictures to prove it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

so long summer



“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” 
~L.M. Montgomery

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This spoke to me today....(and may or may not have me crying like a baby at Karsen's gymnastics practice).

What fills the space after a goodbye

You should read it too. But only if you have Kleenex within reach. And are not in a public place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

exploring asheville

Since we were only 45 minutes away, we knew we wanted to spend a day in Asheville, NC while we were vacationing at Lake Lure. Tuesday presented the perfect opportunity. We woke up to overcast skies and we were all a little worn out from all the fun in the sun the day before.

I decided that would be a good day to head 45 minutes north and explore Asheville for the day! We headed our onto the hairpin turn roads...it is such a beautiful drive! It is a little tough to appreciate it when you are hanging on for dear life as you go around all the twisty-windy roads!

We did arrive in Asheville safe and sound, and we began roaming around.

There were musicians everywhere. We even saw what looked to be a 7 year old little girl playing her violin. Asheville is known to a very "crunchy", artsy community. The kids picked up on that fact pretty fast.

Dylan's observation was, "Alot of people aren't wearing shoes here, and I don't know how I feel about that". Karsen said, "There are alot of different hairstyles here!" She was referring to all the dread-locks we saw. LOL

It was fun to roam around and because I did my research, I already knew where we would be eating lunch.

Tupelo Honey Cafe! According to the reviews it is the best place to eat lunch in the area. When we left 4 our of 4 of our family members agreed.

They start with homemade southern style biscuits with honey and blueberry preserves. I am not exagerrating when I say I ALMOST CRIED when I took the first bite. They were SO delicious. I thought Chris really was going to cry! He has been doing this low-carb diet, and I am so glad he decided to break the rules for one meal. He didn't regret it. Dylan gave the place a 10/10. He is our toughest critic too. SO DE-LISH!

After lunch we walked down the street to a old church that Chris wanted to see. It was historic and beautiful with stained glass everywhere you looked.

We even took the time to stop and smell the roses... Asheville did not disappoint!

"Don't hurry, don't worry. You're only here for a short visit. So be sure and stop to smell the flowers."
--Walter Hagan

Monday, August 20, 2012

lake lure-fun in the sun

We spent the first day at Lake Lure, recuperating from the drive. On Sunday morning, we all woke up ready to explore the area! We didn't have to go far. Just 88 steep steps away, was the entire lake!

We fished......

Dylan jumped.....

Karsen jumped too!

Chris enjoyed some quiet time on the kayak.

He explored the whole lake early in the mornings while we slept in. (That's what I call a win-win).

and we all swam!

It was pretty close to a perfect day. This last picture cracks me up. It looks like I told the kids to smile big as they possibly can. I didn't! I just said, "Smile if you're having fun!"...and we all were. Their smiles pretty much sum up how we all felt about spending a week in such a beautiful place!

lake lure

Last week we went on our last trip of Summer 2012. We have always loved the mountains of NC, so we went back to one of our favorite spots.

Lake Lure, NC!

Here was the view from the deck of our house. We found the house on VRBO, and it was awesome! You never know if the pictures will reflect the rental they advertise, but this house just oooozed with charmed, and it was a perfect fit for our family for the week!

Lake Lure is tucked about 45 minutes south of Asheville. From Asheville it is only ~20 miles but the roads are two lane, and there are some pretty precarious hair pin turns. It is a pretty drive! Lake Lure just so happens to be where they filmed Dirty Dancing way back when. They have an annual Dirty Dancing festival and everything; it's basically their claim to fame.

Aside from that it is a sleep little town that forces you to slow down, relax and unwind; which is exactly what our family was needing!

The first day we did a whole bunch of nothing! After the long drive and having left at 4:00am in the morning (Chris' idea, not mine!) , we were SO tired when we got there! We took a long family nap, and looked forward to whatever the week brought our way.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

bagpiper on the beach

One of my favorite parts of our recent beach trip happened on the night that we chose to go out for our family pics on the beach. In the middle of taking pictures, we heard bagpipes being played and looked down the beach and saw this man. A Bagpiper on the beach!

He played several beautiful songs. It was so random and beautiful. Then he played a song we recognized, "Amazing Grace".

We walked down the beach so that we could get a closer view and hear the music. I couldn't help by snap this cute pic of Dylan and Chris as they were listening to the Bagpiper play on the beach.

(Yes, Dylan is 12 years old and is almost as tall as his Daddy now!)

We had a wonderful week at the beach, but this was probably my favorite "moment" of them all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012


I went to my first Yoga class last month, and I think it is fair to say: I am hooked!

This is a big deal for me, because I have never, ever loved any kind of organized (or unorganized for that matter) sort of exercise. Ever! I have always been a sporadic athlete. I would have a month here and there where I would be consistent with running, and then I would stop. Because it felt like a chore, and the Good Lord knows I have enough chores to do. I didn't want one more thing.

Now, I actually look forward to Yoga, I look forward to my Thursday nights, and I love being there. So, this is a BIG deal!  Here I am on my way to my first class. I had all the right gear, had found an awesome Groupon for a nearby place, and I was just hoping that I would like it...

poor quality pic from my phone :)
I decided to try Yoga because last month was a very stressful month in particular for me at work. It has always been stressful, but several events made last month's stress level shoot off the charts. I have known for months that I needed an outlet for stress relief. I looked at our weekly schedules and tried to figure out a day and time that would work. Now, I go to Yoga on Thursday nights and most Saturday mornings.

The instructor asked me what my goals were at my first class. My goals simply were:

1. Stress relief
2. Strength and toning
3. Learn how to breathe (all the way down) and
4. Better posture

I am still learning all the poses, but I just love Yoga. You can modify throughout if the poses are too difficult. The instructors have this subtle, soothing way of directing you and transitioning between positions. I love heated Yoga the most. Chris would never say this out loud, but I KNOW he is shocked that I have finally found some form of exercise that I love and I have stuck with it for OVER a month! That's a record, people! I love how each class ends each time with us saying.....Namaste!

Namaste: I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One. ~ Namaste Yoga

Deciduous Heather