2014 goals

I’m going to try to keep my goals simple this year so I don’t overwhelm myself, but I also don’t want to limit myself to one thing, I like to be reminded of other goals so I can keep myself in check in lots of different areas of life.

Here are my Top 10 goals for this new year:

1. Get in shape/lose weight-while this is a constant goal of mine every year, it is a continuous goal and goes along with get my Diabetes under control. I let things go during the holidays and my blood sugar is now way out of control and changing my diet and getting back in shape will get that under control so this is something that must happen.

2.Read more- I want to read at least one book per month. Once I finish the book I am currently reading I have a list of ones that I want to start during this new year and then will continue looking for more to read. It is amazing how much I have learned to read through the past several years.

3.Try one new recipe every week from one of my many cookbooks, pinterest, blogs, or friends. I get really tired of eating some of the same food so I am making this a goal so that some of these new recipes will get put into the regular rotation in our kitchen.

4.Practice more acts of kindness, encouragement, and appreciation on a more regular basis. I notice when you do the slightest act of kindness it can make the biggest effect on the person during the day, such as writing a short, sweet note or giving a simple compliment. I want to do my best this year to show people in my life or strangers for that matter simple acts of kindness, encouragement, and appreciation.

5.Be in God’s word more often- While some might put this in the same category as reading, this is an entirely different goal for me. I would love to read through the bible in a year, but my goal is just going to be to have daily devotionals deep in God’s word because I have discovered you can never truly hear God’s voice and what he wants you to do in your life unless you are really in His word.

6.Be more connected with God-Along with reading God’s word, being connected to God through my relationship with him is something I really want to work on. There are so many tools we have that can strengthen our relationship with God, but we take advantage of them and I want to totally change that this year. The top two being reading and being in God’s word and powerfully praying consistently and constantly.

7.Learn to sew- I got a sewing machine last year for my birthday and I have yet to really learn how to use it and sew. I really want to but find myself being a little intimidated by the sewing because I’ve really never used one. But this is my goal this year because there is so much cute, crafty stuff that I want to be able to make and start selling.

8.Start selling my stuff on Etsy-I recently started an Etsy shop online to try and sell some of the different things that I make for different occasions. I want to broaden my selection in what I am making, but really want to try to sell what I enjoy making so much.

9.Decorate our new house-We just moved into our first house almost two months ago and we are still in the process of putting our stamp on it and making it feel like our own. So one of my goals throughout this year is to decorate our house with our style and to really make it feel like our own.

10.TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL-We are hoping to take a fabulous holiday vacation next Christmas or New Year’s to the east coast. And we are already in the process of planning our summer vacation with my immediate family to the beach. Traveling whether far or near is always always a big goal in our lives, we love to get out and see the world that was created for us.

Happy 2014, we are excited for this year and what it will hold! I know there will be lots of fun planned and I cannot wait to make a dent in these goals/resolutions! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Fun in San Diego

 

 

So back several months ago my sister asked me if I would be interested in going to San Diego with her, Matt, & Parker this morning. What do you really say to that? I mean I love travel almost more than anything in the world! So when someone invites to come vacation with you especially two of your very favorite people in the world there isn’t even a question in mind of whether you want to go or not. From the very first time she asked me I was 110% completely down with it!! And as it turns out it worked out so perfect that Jake received this new job at the beginning of summer and I was not too keen on being alone all summer long since he was going to be gone for so long. So the timing worked out perfect for such a wonderful vacation! Not only had I never been to California but I had always wanted to go and sometimes I still can’t believe I got to go to San Diego, California for an entire week with my sister, brother in law, and nephew. They were so enormously generous by inviting on this trip that I could never thank them enough!! Love you guys more than you will ever know ๐Ÿ™‚DSC_8578

Nothing but a really cool sign not too far from us in San DIego. They had some really old, unique signs everywhere in San Diego…I LOVED them!

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Matt & Jenna at La Jolla Beach, we drove around one day out there looking at all the amazing houses and then walked around looking at the sea lions and water and stuff. It was a really cool beach!

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Jenna & I at La Jolla Beach:)

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This whole time while we were driving around looking at the town and all the amazing houses Parker had fallen asleep and woke up just before leaving and was able to have his picture taken at La Jolla Beach. I know he was so thankful ๐Ÿ™‚

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The sweet Manges family ๐Ÿ™‚ But Parker not wanting to look at the camera and smile.

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Looking at all the people and the sea lions below on the rocks and in the water. He definitely having so much stuff to look at.

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These sea lions have adapted to this rocky beach area and have made it their home. It is a really cool sight to see and hear!

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One of our first exhibits we saw at the awesome San Diego Zoo was the Koala Bear exhibit, which was very well done and ended up being one of Parker’s favorite animals of the zoo. At the end of his trip he even got to bring home a koala bear from the zoo gift shop. They were very sleepy animals but still so cute watching them climb up their trees and snuggle and sleep and occasionally wake up to eat their euchalyptus leaves.

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Taking a little break from the animals to say CHEESE for a quick picture, clearly Parker didn’t want to smile!

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One of the greatest sights to see was the amazing Polar Bear exhibit the San Diego Zoo had, they had two or three polar bears in the exhibit. And we were lucky enough to get to see them do all sorts of fun tricks and also learned how smart of animals polar bears are. In this picture the polar bear was dribbling a ball underwater, it was truly amazing to watch!

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Jenna & Parker in front of the pretty pink flamingo exhibit, again Parker not looking at the camera, there really was so much more to see around him.

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The Manges family in front of the San Diego Zoo main entrance…perfect picture opportunity!

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A sweet man with his family was nice enough to take our picture so that everyone could be in it, we were so very thankful ๐Ÿ˜‰

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And of course I had to get one with just me and my sweet nephew Parker LOVE him so much ๐Ÿ™‚
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Matt & Parker…Parker says HI to the camera

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This was at one of the duck exhibits, he absolutely loved it! Although this spring and summer he has had a serious duck obsession so I think he would have loved duck anything.

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This was HANDS DOWN my absolutely favorite part of the entire zoo! I had never seen a real Giant Panda Bear in real life and it was simply amazing. This one pictured above I believe was the mama panda bear and they also are sleepy animals but so cute and furry and soft. We learned so much about all the different animals we saw at the zoo, but I thought to be so interesting that this female panda bear only ever wants to be around a male panda bear when she is ready to breed which is only once a year.

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Here is another one of the Panda bears we saw

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Parker also loved the Hippopotamus and they were HUGE and came up so close to the glass!

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Another break from the animals for a picture for Jenna & Parker

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We also were able to go to a San Diego Padres baseball when they were playing San Francisco Giants which was so FUN! Here is a picture from outside of the baseball park while we waited for the gates to open.

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Jenna & Parker at PetCo Park

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It was an absolutely perfect night for a ย baseball game, amazing weather and we had awesome seats!

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A view from the other side of the field

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And a certain someone here was EXTRA happy about watching ball-ball as he calls it. He was smiling, clapping, and cheering throughout the whole game, it was making everyone around excited haha! He definitely made the game even more fun!

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I just LOVE the expression on his face in this picture ๐Ÿ™‚

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Too adorable for words ๐Ÿ™‚

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I had really forgotten how much fun going to baseball games are since it had been forever since I had been to one!

 

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The sweet little family at the baseball game

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At the New Children’s Museum in San Diego just playing and playing. This museum was different, Parker had fun playing, and it was definitely creative and intriguing to see what kind of projects they did to work with the children’s art and creativity. But it was unlike any children’s museum we had ever been to. It was very green, recycle, reusing things to make art, but the whole museum reflected the feel of the city of San Diego which was really neat to see that put into a museum. But there also wasn’t a ton for his age of kids to do at the museum but he still had a fun time playing.

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This place had all kinds of neat, colorful things hanging from the ceiling that were so interesting and intriguing to Parker.

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Parker & I playing on the drums which he really LOVED!

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Beating on those drums!!

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Jenna & Parker playing the drums together…I think this picture is so cute with their faces so close together and both of them smiling!

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This was one thing that he did love, they had this big maze painted all different colors and with all kinds of graffiti writing all over it. And he had himself a ball crawling and running through it mainly away from us haha, but when we finally would catch him he would just crack up laughing and it was too cute!

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LOVE this one!!

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Building blocks was another fun part of the museum, although his favorite part was knocking down the tower after we had built them!

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Here we are at the Pacific Beach on Coronado Island to be exact. I absolutely loved the Pacific Ocean and was utterly amazed at how much beach the pacific still has, its still so long, vast even before your toes hit the water.

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Parker LOVED the sand, This sand was different than our beaches here. But he just melted in the sand and laid down and played in it.

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Standing in front of the villas at Coronado Island which were so so beautiful in person if you can’t tell from the picture. I would definitely love to go back there and stay here!
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LOVE this picture of my sweet little Parker and me

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Playing in the sand

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And here is the beautiful Pacific Ocean…I can now say I have put my feet in the Pacific, Atlantic, & Gulf coasts.
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Jenna & Parker putting their feet in the Pacific Ocean
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The Manges family playing in the water ๐Ÿ™‚

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No smile from Parker but he really was having a blast playing in the sand and the water.

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Clearly distracted by the sand but love our little boy so much!

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Another view of the villas at Coronado Island

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As we left Coronado Island that night here are some pictures of the lights over the island.

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Our Wild & Crazy Summer Part One

Here is another blast from the past post, but if you even read this blog you will know how it takes me forever sometimes to catch up on things in crazy life. But boy OH boy has our summer been wild, stressful, crazy, but still fun at the same time! I’ll start out from the beginning which goes back about four months ago now. First and foremost was that Jake got an awesome new job which required him to be gone for three months this summer for intense job training and testing which unfortunately meant he wouldn’t get to come on vacation to Florida. But we were sincerely thanking God for this new opportunity as we had been praying for something new that he could really grow in and something that would really benefit us much more financially! And man did God answer those prayers and OH SO MUCH more!

But here is how our summer played out, the beginning of June Jake & I said goodbye as I was headed to Destin, Florida with the rest of the family and he would be leaving for Dallas for job training in a few days. We stayed in the Destin area for a week and then headed back to Texas and before my next adventure this summer I was able to see Jake at the end of June when he was able to come from training in Dallas for a few days before heading to part two of training. But part two of Jake’s job training was in the Washington D.C. and was much much harder than part one and I could not be MORE PROUD of him for finishing in the top 5 spots of his training class! Although his training was really hard and with alot of intense testing being in the Washington D.C. area has its obvious berks and he got to see SO MUCH cool stuff that I am so jealous of, hopefully one day soon we will be able to go back together!

But I will let this post be part one of our wild and crazy summer until I get all the pictures from the rest of the summer downloaded. Enjoy the pictures from the beach in Florida ๐Ÿ™‚DSC_0108

Parker enjoying his first ocean experience in Destin, Florida

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Part of our family tradition on our vacations is to take annual family pictures so here is one of my mom with her four sisters and her parents (my Nana & Papa).

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And here are all the grandkids with Nana & Papa minus Rachel.

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My sister’s sweet little family with Parker not looking at the camera of course.

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My mom (Kappy or Pak as Parker calls her) enjoying a grape popsicile on the front porch.

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More popsicile time with cousins on the front porch swing (Adley, Parker, Jack, & Ben).

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The Ellison family sadly missing Jake since he was unable to be there due to training for his new job. I LOVE my sweet family ๐Ÿ™‚

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At Nana & Christopher’s birthday celebration there was so much to look at since we were at this Harbor area with lots of water, sailboats, restaurants, people, etc…Not to mention there was a random parade that came through the area we were which Parker really enjoyed!

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Chief & Parker hanging out and pointing out all the fun stuff in the harbor area

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Last Part of Florida

I’m finally going to be finished writing my posts about our Florida vacation and this will be a pretty short one since the last day we just spent the day at the beach. After spending about fourteen hours at the Disney World parks we were SO SO exhausted and tired from being out all day ย and walking so much but having fun at the same time. But the next day we spent our time loading up all of our suitcases in the car and saying our goodbyes and headed down to the New Smyrna Beach area which was so fun ย and pretty. I couldn’t even put into words how absolutely wonderful it felt to be in the warm sun and around the beautiful blue water and soft sand. Luckily, it was such a fabulous that we chose to go down there, although the water was very chilly still, but we were on the Atlantic side of the ocean so that was to be expected especially since we it was only March when we were there. On the way down to the beach we stopped a got a Publix Sub, chips, and some yummy lemonade down on the beach. It was such a delicious picnic type meal to have on the beach. After we ate our picnic lunch we had a fun time on the beach talking, enjoying the scenery, taking a few pictures, enjoying a nice walk on the beach, doing some good ole’ people watching, feeling very pale white compared to alot of the tan people around but just enjoying our beach day! We are beach lovers for sure and definitely have decided to make it a new goal of ours to go to the beach alot more this summer since we have access to Galveston so close. We were even lucky enough to able to get a little bit of sun while we were at the beach which was surprising since we weren’t there the whole day!

 

After we left the beach area we headed to one of Jake’s old favorites to get a good ole’ ice cream treat which was definitely yummy! We went to a place called Frozen Gold and I got a peanut butter shake and Jake got butter pecan, which we both thoroughly enjoyed! We drove around for awhile exploring the cute little beach town and looking for a place to buy a New Smyrna beach Christmas ornament but never found anything so we ended up just buying a Christmas ornament in remembrance of our entire Florida trip instead of just the beach part of it. Jake and I have a tradition that any trip or vacation, no matter how large or small it is we buy a Christmas ornament that we hang on our tree every year as a way or remembering that vacation and the fun times we had on it! So for the Florida vacation we bought a cute little ornament of Disney Mickey Mouse ears that will remind of all the fun we had on this trip in 2013, can’t wait to hang it on our tree this coming Christmas! Then we headed to the hotel we were staying at near Downtown Disney and close to the airport since we were leaving to fly back to Houston the next day. But we enjoyed some downtime at the hotel relaxing by the pool in the sun before we went out for our 3rd Anniversary dinner later that night. We headed to a souvenir shop to pick up a few little things before we went back to the hotel to enjoy some more relaxing time since our day of traveling was going to be a long one and we even headed to bed kinda early that night. What can I say? We are getting OLD!

 

But we had one fabulous trip and cannot to plan our next vacation to who knows where! But here is the only beach picture we were able to take unfortunately, but still as beautiful as ever!

 

Gorgeous New Smyrna Beach!

Gorgeous New Smyrna Beach!

Part Two Of Florida Vacation

The second part of our Florida vacation mostly consisted of hanging out with Jake’s old friends, Jake showing me around the area more, and most exciting spending an ENTIRE day at Disney World (For FREE might I add). We were so blessed to be able to get free Park Hopper Tickets for the day from an old friend that Jake’s family used to go to church with and are so so thankful that his mom arranged that for us, it was such a blessing since it has gotten so expensive! We spent about 14 hours total enjoying Disney World together are were totally whipped by the time we left the park that night, but needless to say we had so much fun doing it together! Obviously with Jake being born and raised in Orlando, Florida he has been to Disney World countless times and I’ve been there three times now, but we had never been together so that was really fun experiencing it all together. And they had added so many different cool areas and rides and stuff that were not there the last time either of us were there.

 

I am going to mostly let all of the pictures do the talking since there are so many of them. But we really had so much and can’t express how lucky we were with the weather the day we went, not being cold or hot, perfect weather for us! And usually the crowds are awful anytime I had been because I always went during the summer, but they were really great, the most we waited for any ride or show was 20-25 minutes, everything went by really fast which we were so thankful for! But I’d have to say my favorite ride of the day was probably the new Little Mermaid ride, might have something to do with that being my favorite Disney movie as a kid and now, but it really was a very fun and cool ride, I loved it! But I had so much fun on all the rides we enjoyed on this fun day ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Enjoy the pictures!

 

One of the first stops of the day, Africa Animal Safari at the Animal Kingdom.

One of the first stops of the day, Africa Animal Safari at the Animal Kingdom.

This is the African Safari where you ride on this Safari bus and look at all these different animals. It was really cool seeing all these animals that close, better than any zoo I've ever been to!

This is the African Safari where you ride on this Safari bus and look at all these different animals. It was really cool seeing all these animals that close, better than any zoo I’ve ever been to!

We were able to see White Rhinoceros

We were able to see White Rhinoceros

Beautiful Elephants

Beautiful Elephants

The Nile Crocodile

The Nile Crocodile

Once we got to the Asia animal area we saw this pretty Bengal Tiger.

Once we got to the Asia animal area we saw this pretty Bengal Tiger.

Aquarium Picture

Aquarium Picture

Having some fun on the African drums.

Having some fun on the African drums.

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After we spent some good time at the Animal Kingdom we took a ferry boat ride over to the Magic Kingdom, where all your dreams come true!

After we spent some good time at the Animal Kingdom we took a ferry boat ride over to the Magic Kingdom, where all your dreams come true!

The entrance to the Magic Kingdom

The entrance to the Magic Kingdom

Some neat Main Street attractions

Some neat Main Street attractions

Exploring Main Street with Cinderella's Castle in the distance.

Exploring Main Street with Cinderella’s Castle in the distance.

About to explore the Swiss Family Robinson House.

About to explore the Swiss Family Robinson House.

A little peak inside the kitchen in the Swiss Family Robinson House.

A little peak inside the kitchen in the Swiss Family Robinson House.

About to ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, it was a fun one.

About to ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, it was a fun one.

Riding on the Mad Tea Party.

Riding on the Mad Tea Party.

One of the newest attractions in the Beauty & the Beast area of the magic kingdom, Be Our Guest French Restaurant.

One of the newest attractions in the Beauty & the Beast area of the magic kingdom, Be Our Guest French Restaurant.

The newly added Beast castle.

The newly added Beast castle.

A statue in the Beauty & The Beast area.

A statue in the Beauty & The Beast area.

A cool statue and fountain in front of Gaston's Tavern which is also in the new Beauty & the Beast area.

A cool statue and fountain in front of Gaston’s Tavern which is also in the new Beauty & the Beast area.

The front of Gaston's Tavern, a cute French bistro cafe place.

The front of Gaston’s Tavern, a cute French bistro cafe place.

They had this huge chair inside of Gaston's Tavern where we stopped for a quick drink break so we both posed for a picture in the big chair.

They had this huge chair inside of Gaston’s Tavern where we stopped for a quick drink break so we both posed for a picture in the big chair.

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Another very new addition was Prince Eric's castle (from Little Mermaid)

Another very new addition was Prince Eric’s castle (from Little Mermaid)

This was in the new Little Mermaid ride area, they have all those cool water falls.

This was in the new Little Mermaid ride area, they have all those cool water falls.

Probably the last picture I took before we left the park to head home. Cinderella's castle is so pretty at night!

Probably the last picture I took before we left the park to head home. Cinderella’s castle is so pretty at night!

Florida Vacation Part One

Jake & I spent our vacation/spring break in the Orlando, Florida area and we had so much fun being away from home for awhile! ย Just like we normally do with all of our vacations, this trip had been planned pretty far in advance so we had plenty of time to decide what we wanted to spend our time doing which was really nice. The real reason for our trip to Florida was one of Jake’s best friends that he grew up with in Florida and who was also a groomsmen in our wedding was getting married and Jake was an usher in the wedding. We arrived in Orlando really late on a Tuesday night and had wedding stuff most of that weekend, with the big day on Saturday. It was so wonderful getting to meet so many people that played such a HUGE role in Jake’s life, I really loved being around all of his friends and getting to know them more.

I went ahead and divided our vacation posts into three different parts because there are as SO MANY pictures and otherwise it would have been a huge novel long post. So starting with our first day in the Orlando area we went out to breakfast and did alot driving around the area since Jake grew up there it just a big rush of memories for him. Also I wanted him to take and show all of his different old houses, all his old schools, churches, old hangouts, and favorite places etc… So it was a fun day of going down memory lane with my husband which I don’t ever get to do since his true home is so far away, I definitely learned alot, and I love that I now a mental picture of all the places he talks about when he tells stories from his childhood. And later that afternoon I think we ate at his all time favorite barbeque restaurant Sonny’s, which he often talks about and I was so glad I finally got to experience what he had been talking about all these years! And later on the first day we had dinner with some of his friends at a really yummy sushi restaurant in downtown Orlando and then walked around downtown seeing the sights for awhile. We then headed to the liquor store and picked up some drinks to enjoy while we played some games and just hang out which was really fun!

The next day we spent the day shopping for Jessica (the bride to be) some cute lingerie since the bachelor/bachelorette parties were Thursday night. After finally finding my lingerie gift to Jessica we were both on our seperate ways to celebrate the couple’s last single night. The girls went to downtown Orlando and stayed in a hotel, went out to dinner, went to the hotel free cocktail hour, had a little lingerie party at the hotel, then later went out to a fun dancing bar downtown, and had pedicures the next morning. While the boys went out to Cocoa Beach and stayed in a hotel, went out to dinner at a place on the beach, had some drinks in the hotel, and had breakfast the next morning in the hotel. I would say both parties had a really fun time. Although I would have to say that going out with all the girls for the bachelorette parties did really make me so old! I definitely cannot stay up and go out like I used to in college, I am definitely starting to feel my age!

The next two days were filled with wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and the BIG DAY! But in between all of that was filled with fun times with friends, which was so much fun and so needed to see faces you never get to see, it was almost like a fun reunion!

And here are some fun pictures from part one of our vacation, ENJOY!

gorgeous flowers used as centerpieces...green & pink hydrangeas, white and green roses.

gorgeous flowers used as centerpieces…green & pink hydrangeas, white and green roses.

Enjoying the wedding reception!

Enjoying the wedding reception!

Our cute place cards for the tables, I thought this was so unique, definitely something I had never seen used!

Our cute place cards for the tables, I thought this was so unique, definitely something I had never seen used!

Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Hopkins having their first dance!

Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Hopkins having their first dance!

The bride & groom listening to their toast speeches.

The bride & groom listening to their toast speech

Darren & Sammy...the best man & one of the groomsmen at the wedding reception.

Jake & I with the bride and groom at the reception!

Jake & I with the bride and groom at the reception!

The wedding cake

The wedding cake

The bride & groom's head table.

The bride & groom’s head table.

The candy buffet :)

The candy buffet ๐Ÿ™‚

Jake & Sammy getting their groove on!

Jake & Sammy getting their groove on!

Everyone having fun dancing at the reception!

Everyone having fun dancing at the reception!

Although blurry, the only one I was able to get of the bride and groom leaving their reception to leave as a married couple!

Although blurry, the only one I was able to get of the bride and groom leaving their reception to leave as a married couple!

All the guys decorated the truck they left the reception in!

All the guys decorated the truck they left the reception in!

Everyone did sparklers as they made their exit from the reception!

Everyone did sparklers as they made their exit from the reception!

And lastly they handed out smores as wedding favors to their guests.

And lastly they handed out smores as wedding favors to their guests.

March Is Here!

I love the month of March for a couple of different reasons, but I am SO SO glad that it is finally here! ย A few things I am looking forward to this month: our upcoming vacation to Florida for close friends wedding and the rest of the time fun leisure vacation to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary, looking forward to seeing family a few times throughout March, and Easter with family. I do have to say that I am definitely excited the most about our vacation to Florida which is in about two days! I am so ready for consistently warm weather, sunshine, shopping, swimming, the beach, Disney World, fun with friends, and wedding fun with friends.

 

Currently I have been working around our apartment alot and am hoping to continue that throughout the spring just redecorating certain areas I am tired of. In addition to getting a new sofa I am working on new wall art for our master bedroom, living room and kitchen. When everything is all said and done I promise to post before and after pictures even if it is only for my own benefit. I always love seeing the before and after of different rooms and projects. Along with trying to redecorate some areas of the apartment I am doing what I call my “Cinderella Spring Cleaning” before we leave for Florida on Tuesday evening. I always love coming back from vacation to a sparkly clean house. By the time Tuesday rolls around there should be no even one speck of dust anywhere, we are talking down on your hands and knees cleaning, scrubbing baseboards. But for now it is back to cleaning and getting everything ready for our trip, I’m always amazed at how much preparation must go into a vacation or maybe I am just weirdo who likes to have everything perfectly organized here at home while on vacation along with all the packing and such for the actual vacation!

 

Goodbye for now, I’ll be back after my sunshiney vacation!! ๐Ÿ™‚