Head on over...

...to Natalie's Extraordinary Love to find my guest post today! 

I'm sharing 25 of our favorite "clean movie" picks that Justin and I have enjoyed recently as a couple.  Make sure to share your favorite "clean" movie ideas too when you read!

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The Blessing Box (link-up!)

As you are probably getting used to seeing on Tuesdays now, I'm hosting with Natalie, Beth Ann, Mallorie, Jordan, Allie to share the blessings God has placed in our paths during the week.

 My main blessing this week was a weekend away with my two lovelies!!

Family time is so important to me and I absolutely treasure our time away from the hustle and bustle around us! We were originally supposed to go tent camping, but rain and storms in the forecast changed our plans. :) So we visited Cincinnati, Ohio instead and it was a perfect getaway!

On the agenda...
-aquarium (Adeline's second aquarium visit) for our little "ish" lover
-Ikea trip
-outlet shopping
-sight seeing
-yummy food
-family memories

I'd say we checked them all (plus some) off the list!

Adeline's fave at the aquarium was definitely the "tuh-tles". The huge sea turtle caught her attention and she was begging for "moh tuh-tles" the entire rest of the time.  She also got very brave and pet a starfish underwater! Another fave were the walkways over the water where she could see the "ish" swimming under!

cheesin' with the huge gator

how we measured up to the big gator

play time

she couldn't get enough of the underwater tunnel

classic "not impressed" face she gives these days ;)
We did a lot of damage shopping this weekend too! Girlfriend went a tad crazy in the Disney Outlet Store.  She went all through the store demanding for more "meh-nee! meh-nee!" (Minnie).  She is crazy over Minnie Mouse right now!

scoping out the clearance...that's my girl! ;)

Barney "choo-choo" was the perfect treat for being a good shopper!

hotel silliness before we left

Daddy and Adeline were pretty smitten with their first trip to Ikea!

a chocolate milkshake treat for the ride home!

Justin and I both grew up in families where our parents made "family time" a priority.  And we grew up wanting to spend time with our family.  As Adeline grows up, we want her to know the excitement and joy of spending time together as a family.  We want her to remember that we always carved away time to devote to "just us time".  Looking back...I know we will only wish we had done even more of it! What a treasure this time is!

What blessings has God placed in your path this past week? We would love to have you join us!
Make sure to grab the box and link-up with us today!

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The Blessing Box

I am so excited about co-hosting a new weekly link-up...

The Blessing Box

I will be hosting along with my sweet friends each Tuesday! Natalie, Beth Ann, Mallorie, Jordan, Allie and I will be sharing the blessings God has placed in our paths during the week.

We have been inspired by James 1:17a, "Every good and perfect gift is from above."

God blesses us daily, and it's important to be intentional on praising and thanking Him for those gifts in our lives! His love is so amazing, let's give Him the praise and recognition He deserves for the blessings He provides!

This is our second week and we are excited you're with us again! Grab the box, and link-up with us!

Blessing one-

Finding and joining a local MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group! I've joined with two of my friends, Cheri and Ashley, and their little girls.  The toddlers have fun in a preschool setting type room while the mommies gather for a message, breakfast, conversation and sometimes craftiness! We meet once a week and our theme is "Beautiful Mess".  I was reminded last week of how powerful it is to be a beautiful mess designed by God. I'm so thankful He loves me despite the mess of my mind and soul sometimes! I would so encourage you to seek one of these groups out near you by checking out the MOPS website!

Blessing two-

Speaking of messes! Getting artsy and creative with Adeline is one of my most treasured blessings! She LOVES painting, coloring and creating. I love feeding that with my own creative spirit!

Blessing three-

On Sunday after church, we took the afternoon afternoon and spent it as a family! We visited a local amusement park to enjoy the last weekend of the season for the water park to be open. We had such a good time!! Adeline enjoyed riding some rides BY HERSELF! Such a brave girl. And she of course loved all the slides going into the water. We had such a great, much-needed time together!

The picture doesn't show it- but she actually LOVED the space rockets and they went higher up and so fast!

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Guest Post

Just wanted to let y'all know that I'm guest posting today for my sweet, thrifty friend, Ashleigh, while she spends some well-needed time away with her very own sweet newborn Adeline!

Head on over to Thankfully Thrifty to hear about what you just won't find in my kitchen!

Make sure to chime in with what we wouldn't find in your own kitchen.

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The Blessing Box Link-Up

I am so excited about co-hosting a new weekly link-up...

The Blessing Box

I will be hosting along with my sweet friends each Tuesday! Natalie, Beth Ann, Mallorie, Jordan, Allie and I will be sharing the blessings God has placed in our paths during the week.

We have been inspired by James 1:17a, "Every good and perfect gift is from above."

God blesses us daily, and it's important to be intentional on praising and thanking Him for those gifts in our lives! His love is so amazing, let's give Him the praise and recognition He deserves for the blessings He provides!

So make sure to come back, grab the box, and link-up with us each Tuesday!

(Disclaimer:  I'm pictureless this week because of computer probs.)

{Blessing One}

Contentment.  With me staying at home this year, Justin and I are working even harder on staying on-budget and being focused on how we spend/don't spend our money.  I am just so content with our current financial situation.  That God has given us contentment with so much less than our world tells us we need.  God continues to provide and be faithful in ways that consistently surprise us and remind us of His will in our lives.

{Blessing Two}

The joy my little girl brings to others.  I hear it so often, that Adeline is "pure joy".  Yes, I'm her mommy. But y'all...it's so true.  Case in point.  She absolutely made a sweet old lady's day at the grocery store the other day by talking to her, smiling and waving to her.  I see so many littles get so frightened by older people and Adeline has just never been like that.  We passed this lady a little later in another row, and without the lady seeing her at first, Adeline started waving to her and saying "bye bye. bye bye".  The lady melted and joy filled her face.  I'm so, so blessed.

{Blessing Three}

Simple words.  Just how the simple words over others that they don't even realize, can turn your eyes and heart to God in a new, enlightened way.  This happened to me in Sunday School on Sunday.  One of my friends mentioned how we need to find that way/place that we can get closest to God.  I think that we sometimes put in our minds a stereotypical way of worship.  But not all of us worship God the same way.  For me, it's nature.  I'm always, always drawn closer to God through nature.  Being it, sitting by the water or taking a walk.  It's nature that draws me closest to Him.  And I need to remember that.  I need to get to that raw place of worship much more often than I do.

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Adeline's First Flight (and some tips)!

Adeline's first flight was a success!! We flew to Florida for a girls' beach trip with my two friends and each of their toddler daughters (you can read more about that here).

with Daddy about to head in!
(Disclaimer- Some of this was written on my phone while all this was fresh in my mind earlier in summer, so it may be short-handed in parts.)

We chose an evening, direct flight that was just two hours. We originally planned to have a quick two hour drive to the FL house from the airport but weren't able to go to the house until the next day due to scheduling conflicts. So the plan was to get into our rental van and drive when the girls would be sleepy for bedtime. That changed and we got a hotel 4 miles from the airport.

We chose Southwest because of their family-friendly policies and "perks":

-under 2 can sit on a lap for free; just show copy of birth certificate when you check in (you don't have to do anything in advance)
-carseat can be checked for no charge (and load that carseat bag with as much as possible- no weight ?s- diapers, beach floats, books, toys, etc.)
-you can check a stroller at the gate (my tip would be to leave the child in the stroller once you get into line for boarding until you step onto plane--I took her out in like and she got SUPER antsy)
-southwest allows two free bags up to 50 lbs. so I had a suitcase for both of us together and her pack n play as my other checked bag
-I carried on a big Vera (our overnight bag) and put overhead plus a "personal" item (her small Vera diaper backpack bag to put at my feet)
-free 24 hr advance check in online (almost always you will get A boarding) if you don't, they let families board between A and B and there are still plenty of seats
-(all airports) snacks (within reason) and meds are okay for babes plus milk/juice that can be opened and smelled to check
-(all airports) babies can be carried through security and can keep shoes on

play time before take-off
Hubbies helped us get all the bags checked and then kissed us goodbye right before security. That was helpful to deal with all our luggage.

We headed into security where everyone was so nice to help us - folding up strollers, explaining why they had to check certain items a second time, etc.

We made it through only having to toss a few containers of horizon milk because they couldn't be opened and resealed to check to make sure it was what the container said. My friends let them toss the containers so they didn't have to get a pat down. ;)

We found our gate, took potty break turns, grabbed a snack, and let the girls run around like mad women before getting on the flight!

eye-squinting "cheese" as we waited to board
Once we loaded, things went pretty smoothly! (Minus a super nice family rearranged seats with us since there are only 4 oxygen masks in a row and there were 6 of us when we counted the babes.) Our plan for the flight back was to all get aisle seats by each other instead of trying to all be in a row together- we ended up having two of us in a row together and the other mommy/baby across aisle from us.

Adeline was a bit nervous with take-off but simply sucked on her paci and whined for a split second.  Once we were in the air, she enjoyed stickers, a drawing app (my other 50 I DL- only sorta kidding- didn't make her happy at all), a play phone, a book, and SUCKERS (biggest hit of all) worked for her. The other backpack full of toys did nothing for her (of course ;) She also enjoyed the free beverage service - ginger ale with a mini straw and lid. I did download a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode from iTunes, extra new apps, and two children's music albums before we left to use her headphones with- none of which made her happy. ;) She did not scream and squeal or beg to get up- all of the things I was so nervous she would do in this toddler stage. Whew! ;) I would be lying if I didn't say I was sweating and nervous the entire flight- BUT- it was success and she was great. Her buds and her even got tons of compliments about how great they were! So many people were so nice to help and pick up pacis when they dropped, etc.
in flight! (sucker in hand. of course. ;)
The landing was her favorite part. She did her famous "weeee" that she does on theme park rides. Once we landed, I let her stand in the seat and stretch while she gave high fives to everyone around her. ;)

When we got our strollers, we took a quick potty break and headed to baggage claim (praying hard! ;) We each had two bags and a carseat.  That would be 9 pieces of luggage, plus our strollers (and babies ;) and a carry on and/or personal item.  We made it to the baggage claim belts and stood at a loss for a minute.  The carts to rent were teeny tiny and weren't going to help.  All the sudden, we grabbed a random airport employee and explained our situation.  It was our "airport angel" we decided looking back! This awesome guy walked got a HUGE cart, walked us to the correct belt, loaded all luggage on the cart, took us to our car rental counter (and waited while we got our car keys), crossed the road with us with our babes and luggage, walked to our rental van with us AND LOADED OUR VAN while we put the seats in.  To say we thanked him and gave him a big tip would be an understatement!! ;)

we survived!!
Was this all "easy"? No.

Do I think it would be easier when she was younger or when she's older (and with Daddy coming also)? Probably ;)

But would I fly again with her at this stage? Of course! She was seriously a little angel and is ALWAYS up for an adventure!

The flight home was much more relaxing for me because we were "mommy with toddler" flying pros.

Mommy facing fear of flying without Daddy? Check.
Adeline's first flight? Check.
Crazy mommy/baby with friends adventure? Check.
Memories that will last a lifetime? Check.

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oh yea. about june!

Our summer came and went so quickly.  But it was filled with awesome times that I don't want to forget!

Our first big event in June was Adeline's FIRST FLIGHT! And our mommy/baby only trip to Florida!

The Daddies dropped us three mommies and babies off at the airport.  After saying our tough good-byes, we left the Daddies at home to work and headed down to the beach for a girls' trip to play! We mastered security, waiting for flights, flights, baggage checking and claim (by the grace of God and a really nice/patient airport employees), a hotel overnight stay, car rental, and short commutes through a big city going and coming.  But the tropical environment and beach awaited us...and it was FABULOUS!

ready for their first flight!

all smiles ready for take-off

three adorable beach babies!

overnight in a hotel after our flight down

this gal adores the beach (she's been every approx. 6 months of her life ;)

mornings on the lanai were a huge hit

flight home. ginger ale was a hit.

tres amigos

love this sweet girl

crazy water table shenanigans (drinking the wah-wah)

the pool!

dinners by the water
Keepin' it real:

-it was hard to organize around three different naps
-suckers were about all that worked at certain moments on the flight
-three mommies with three different ways of doing things...not always easy (my friends would agree)
-we missed the Daddies
-dinners weren't too peaceful ;)
-three toddlers playing off each others emotions and actions wasn't always great
Perks to this adventure:

-beach and pool time with friends
-mommy chat time after bedtime
-warm temps
-adeline flew great (I thought she would want to run around like crazy)
-we had a blast!
-our meal planning and grocery list making before trip was successful
-and the list could go on!

{Mission Trip}

love my family so much
Justin's official start as Youth Minister at our church was at the beginning of June.  We grew up in our youth group and have served in the youth group for our entire marriage.  We've been on countless (for real) mission trips with our church all over the southeastern US and to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  But this was Justin's first "in charge" mission trip.  Our former youth pastor (and mentor) planned the trip since he was the current YP during planning season, but Justin was "head honcho in training". ;) We headed out just a couple days after getting home from our beach trip, but Adeline and I wouldn't have missed it!

caravan to Alabama!

fun with the other little kids and the big "kids"

delivering popsicles to the family groups at the worksite was a big hit
hard worker

helping Daddy paint at the Boys and Girls Club

work hard. play hard. aquatic center day!

she loved meeting new friends

all this travel was exhausting! ;)

working hard again

good thing she had her own work clothes!

Keepin' it real: 

-super, super late bedtimes
-Adeline was not a pack-n-play sleeping fan (we stayed in a church Sunday School room ;)
-loud atmosphere at bedtime
-naps were consistently on the go
-some meltdowns due to exhaustion

Perks to this adventure: 

-Adeline's first mission trip (out of the belly)!
-serving alongside our hubby/daddy
-raising Adeline to serve God's kingdom
-lots of "big kid" role models around
-just pure fun serving, worshipping and fellowshipping with our church family
-and the list could go on!

June was a busy blast! We had an amazing time on our adventures! We are so blessed to have such a joy-filled and blessed calendar of events, for sure.

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