Secrets and Surprises: A Whirlwind Trip to Florida

Surprise Florida Trip September 2014

I’ve found that it is particularly hard to blog whenever I have secret. Every single time I sit down to write, the only topic that will even begin to come to mind is the one thing I can’t blog about. It’s maddening for a blogger to have something up their sleeve that they can’t share with the world, I tell ya! My trip home to Florida to surprise my Mom left me feeling that way. I wanted to share my plans to surprise her SO badly, but guess who reads my blog? Hi Mom! So, naturally, things were a little quiet around here while I sat on that giant surprise!

I decided I would buy a plane ticket to go down for my Mom’s birthday back in August. I found an unbelievably cheap ticket through Allegiant Air that got in pretty late the night before her birthday. My cousin, Ellen, made the whole thing possible by agreeing to make the obnoxious 4 hour total drive to Orlando and back that evening. She let me crash at her place and it was nice to spend a little bit of time with her before we both passed out at 2:15AM. The next morning my Step-Dad came to pick me up. He told my Mom that he was going to make a Starbucks run. Once we got back to the house I quietly snuck into the living room behind Sam. I walked into the hallway and when my Mom laid eyes on me I thought she might pass out! I hugged her, told her happy birthday, and asked her to please not have a heart attack! Haha! We talked for a bit while she got ready – they already had plans to go to Orlando that day (so back to Orlando I went).

We had a lot of fun hanging out in Winter Park (we went to Rifle Paper Co.!), visiting with the animals at the ranch they volunteer at (I have now petted a zebra and taken a selfie with a llama), and just enjoying time at home. There was even a surprise birthday dinner for my Mom Saturday evening that included lots of family and delicious food (thanks Jennifer and Uncle Gary)! It sort of felt like it was my birthday because I got to eat all of my favorite foods from Florida – Publix fried chicken, Sweet Tomatoes, and Oishii Burger! My parents always take good care of me when I’m down, that’s for sure!

I’m glad I was able to make my Mom’s birthday weekend a memorable one! It worked out perfectly and I’m so thankful everything fell into place the way that it did! It was a bit of a whirlwind trip and it was over in a snap. I’m definitely looking forward to them visiting Kentucky soon!

**These are just a few photos snapped from my iPhone! Most of the photos I took with my camera were out at the ranch, so be on the lookout for those! I really want a pet llama now. ;]

Boyd Orchards 2014

Boyd Orchards 2014
Nate and I went with his Mom, Grandparents, Sisters, and their families to Boyd Orchards last weekend. We went for the first time last year and it was so much fun. I had never been to an orchard or a pumpkin patch before (that I can remember) and I loved it! Last year we picked an insane amount of apples and had some trouble using them all. So we played it safe and helped the others pick theirs. We decided we’d be plenty happy with some apple cider and apple cider donuts! Of course in the end other family members pawned apples off on us because they had picked too many! ;] (I guess that was my plan all along!) I had my first apple cider slushy this year and man oh man.. I am hooked. We didn’t pick out a pumpkin so I’m thinking we might need to go back one more time! I really just need a reason to go back for another slushy.
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This is where I start waxing poetic about the weather, because it really has been fantastic. I get really emotional about being able to open all of the windows and let the breeze blow all throughout the house. Ha. Every single year. It was actually a little warm on Saturday at the orchard. I put on what I deemed the perfect apple picking outfit, got out there, and after a while of walking in the sun I was burning up. That’s what I get for trying to rush the fall weather! I am happy to report that the last few days have been nice and cool. Speaking of getting emotional – how wonderful is this photo below of my niece and her great grandma? SO sweet.
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Outfit Details:
Plaid Top: Thrifted
Cardigan: Target
Leggings: A gift from a friend
Hat: Forever21 (Thrifted)
Boots: Express
Bag: Vintage Coach (Thrifted/Gift from Mom)

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, American friends! And if you’re somewhere else in the world then, hey, Happy Thursday! I’m typically fond of Thursdays anyway with Friday right around the corner and all. =) Nate and I had a rather easy, laid back day over at his Mom’s house. He ran a 10k super early this morning in the rain, I slept in and made us some homemade pumpkin donut muffins, and then we made our way over to hang out with family – in the rain. It was kind of a bummer of a 4th of July with all of the rain – but we made the best of it! The kids got a little stir crazy so we sent ‘em on outside in their bathing suits to splish and splash while the men grilled the meat out under a little pop up tent. Overall it was a good day. I would have loved to have taken some outfit photos, but by the time we got ready to leave to head home it was pouring again and I was so stuffed full of food I didn’t have the motivation to even try. Ah well, you get this dirty mirror shot instead! It’s my old mirror – still covered in my hairspray. I’m pretty sure it wont come off…

Gatlinburg 2011.

Last year in November we went as a family to Gatlinburg, TN. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since we took that trip. It’s hard to believe that I moved here in 2006, and that the time has flown by like it has. Moving here was a decision that seemed so obviously right, so I just .. did it. So many people questioned me and wanted to save me from myself and my irrational teenage behavior. It’s funny because I’m an anxious person with a need to plan things extensively, but when it came to being with Nate or not being with Nate there wasn’t much to think about. I guess that’s what love is, right? I’ve felt a lot of guilt over the years about leaving my own family to come here but I knew and know that it was and is God’s plan. I’m not ever going to say that I didn’t get homesick or question that plan but, I knew where I was supposed to be.

I feel like I understand that plan now more than ever even if what we’re going through doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Every single thing that happens to us makes us who we are and leads us to a different place in our lives. I can trace all sorts of life events that I just couldn’t understand that led me to where I am now. I know that if Nate had never met me that he and his family would go through this the same way that they are. I don’t think I’ve made any sort of major impact on the situation, but I do feel blessed to be here for them in any way that I can. I just can’t think that it was a coincidence that I’ve been through this with my own dad and my own family and that somehow I ended up here going through it again with them, for no reason at all. I hope that it’s helped Nate to know that he has a wife that can completely understand how he feels. I hope for Tim that having one extra “daughter” to sit with him, talk to him, and hold his hand over these last few days has been an extra comfort to him. I hope that having one extra sister and one extra daughter has made a difference to Erin, Kristi, and Ann.