Category Archives: Family

Ohio Trip

We spent this past weekend in Ohio visiting my oldest sister’s family. For those who don’t know, they live in Prague (check out this post for our recent trip to visit them there!). However, thanks to a business trip, they are hanging out in Ohio for a bit so we went up to visit them!

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This is us with our niece, Katka and nephew, Marek. They are so fun to spend time with! Melissa (their mom/my sister) and I have talked a lot about parenting over the years and this weekend I started asking her oldest (Katka) what she thought of her parents parenting. It was fun hearing her perspective (turns out she thinks her parents are doing a pretty good job). 🙂

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Katka is very excited to meet her cousin the next time we see them! She loved feeling my baby bump and offering name suggestions. 🙂

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My sister’s family! As always, we had a wonderful visit with them! Even though they live in Europe, I’m so thankful we’ve made an effort to see each other as frequently as we can!

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We did plenty in Columbus, Ohio over this weekend (including visiting the zoo, walking around the Ohio State campus, walking around downtown, eating lots of delicious food, and playing at parks), but this is the only other photo I have, haha! We ate at Skyline Chili and it was delicious! Though, I’ll be honest, half that cheese came off before I ate it, haha! 😉

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I’ll leave you with this shot from yesterday at the airport. Baby Girl has POPPED! I can’t figure out if this is because I really have grown this much or if this is the first Baby Bump photo we’ve taken near the end of the day versus in the morning. I definitely ate a lot of dairy this weekend which tends to bloat me. So I’m not sure how much of that is Baby V and how much of that is the cheese I had for lunch. 😉 But either way, Baby Girl is growing and making sure everyone knows she’s here! This is the 4th State she’s visited while in utero, but her first flight! I’m excited for all the adventures we’ll have with her on the outside too! 🙂

Do you have far-away family that you still get to see on a regular basis?

Have you had Skyline Chili? If so, did you actually eat all that cheese?! 

Love Rach

New Year’s Eve at the Lake House

We celebrated Christmas with my family over New Year’s weekend at a lake house in Alabama. It rained nearly the whole weekend so we spent most of the time chatting, playing games, and doing crafty things. The weather was dreary, but we had an awesome time together! I made a video with a few of the highlights, but first a couple of notes:

1. Christopher got a Virtual Reality Headset so most of the family tried it out including my mom and grandparents (clips included below). However the best reaction was definitely from my sister, Holly (the whole last minute of the video). I literally laugh out loud every time I watch it!

2. We have family devotional time every night with my family when we’re together (that’s the clip of us all sitting around listening to my grandfather). This weekend I was reminded once again how thankful I am that I got to grow up in a family surrounded by people who love Jesus.

Okay, enough notes, on to the video!

Happy 2017 friends! I’m so excited for the amazing things this year will bring!

Love Rach

All the Christmas Things!

I keep hearing from people that they’ve taken down their Christmas decorations already and I have audibly gasped every time, ha! To me it still feels like we’re in the middle of Christmas because we will be celebrating with my family over this coming weekend. Plus we all know I’m not taking down Christmas decorations until mid-January anyway. 😉 I’ve been terrible about updating here lately, but photography busy season is coming to a close so I will have a little more free time on my hands again. Until then, I want to fill you in on a couple of fun Christmas things that have happened over the past couple of weeks!

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Christmas parties! We went to three big parties this year and I took photos at… none. Ha! Totally got caught up in talking and didn’t even think to pull out my phone. Thankfully, I was able to snag the photo above from a friend’s Facebook from one of the parties. So there it is, proof of at least one awesome party we attended. 😉

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We went to our first ever Drive Through Nativity and it was awesome! For local people: it was held by Longview Heights Baptist in Olive Branch – we definitely plan to go again next year!

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Lessons & Carols at St. John’s Episcopal is one of our favorite Christmas traditions every year! For more on why we love it so much see this blog post.

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Another yearly tradition is making cookies and delivering them to our neighbors. This year one of our teenagers came over to help us with these creations. She is super talented!

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Our church hosted it’s first ever Christmas Eve Service (except that it was a Christmas Eve Eve because of how the holiday fell this year). It was absolutely amazing. I hope they’ll do it again next year!

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We celebrated actual Christmas day with my parents-in-law and you guys… it was a great weekend. Which is huge. Because of Christopher’s dad’s failing health we have made a point to visit them as often as we can over the past couple of years and most of those visits have been really difficult emotionally. So to have a weekend together marked with so many good memories was so precious to us. It felt a little like a Christmas miracle. 🙂

Have you already taken down your Christmas decorations? If not, is that coming soon?

Anyone else still have Christmas celebrations to come? 

Love Rach

Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg

Our family celebrated Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg, TN this year. We left on Sunday just before the fires came raging through and destroyed so much of the beauty you see in this video. My heart breaks for the devastation of such a beautiful place. It makes me especially glad that I documented this trip. Enjoy this glimpse into our time in Gatlinburg featuring snow tubing, walking trails, a murder mystery dinner, games, dancing, and just general family fun. 🙂

I have so many favorite parts to this video. From my mom snow tubing to Makenzie’s face when Christopher beats her at pool to my uncle and nephew dancing to my aunt photobombing my sister to Christopher’s selfie-mode snow tubing clip… it’s all just fun. I’m so glad we were able to get away as a family for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful trip!

Love Rach

A roller coaster of emotions

The past 9 days have been a roller coaster of emotions. We have experienced sadness, fear, great fun, gratefulness, and joy. So many things. So many feelings. Last week I shared with you guys that we had just come out of a pretty rough weekend. Over that weekend while we were helping my mother-in-law with Christopher’s dad (who is in the late stages of dementia), we got a call from my mom letting us know that my dad had a stroke and was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

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However, after a few days in the hospital he was discharged with the incredible news that the stroke had caused no loss of function. His guardian angel must have been working overtime that Saturday. I am thankful for many things this Thanksgiving, but seeing my dad be his normal self just days after a stroke was such a blessing.

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I’ll share more about all the fun we had at Thanksgiving later this week, but for now I wanted to at least share this before I run out the door.  There are no words to describe how thankful I am that I got to spend another Thanksgiving with my dad.

 Love Rach

Moments of goodness

I keep trying to figure out how to start this blog post and I keep starting over. So forgive me if this isn’t said well or if I’m all over the place. Here’s the truth, it was a rough weekend. For both mine and Christopher’s families. We were with his family helping out with a difficult situation when we got a call from my family with bad news. I know all of this is really vague (which is part of why I keep having trouble figuring out how to word things), but for now this is the best I can share. It was a hard weekend for both our families. And there is more pain and more news and more transition to come. So please say a prayer for both of our families. We would so appreciate it.

The weekend wasn’t all bad, though. There were moments of goodness.

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On Thursday (which wasn’t really the weekend, but close enough that I’m counting it, ha!)  we went to a Casting Crowns concert. We both like this group, but really it was the opener who I was SUPER excited to see. Matt Maher opened for Casting Crowns and he is one of my favorites. He has so many incredible songs that just really touch my heart. Lord I Need You, Christ is Risen, Your Grace is Enough, and Because He Lives are four of my favorites which you’ll find on repeat around our house. I can’t tell you how much we needed to go into this weekend with these anthems speaking truth over us. And as an added bonus, the very first opener was a girl named Hannah Kerr who I had never heard of, but it turns out I love her! I came home and bought her whole album the next day! So definitely a good night. 🙂 That picture up there is of all the artists on stage together singing a finale!

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This shot is of Christopher and his dad from yesterday afternoon. For newer readers who may not know – Christopher’s dad has dementia. If you have ever known someone in the later stages of dementia then you know how heartbreaking it can be. I’m thankful for the little moments like this one.

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My mother-in-law is part of a group of ladies who write cards (happy birthday, get well soon, condolences, etc) to people who attend their church. Seeing these four ladies work together was hilarious. Did I mention that one of those ladies is my grandmother? She’s the spunky red-head (she’ll tell you that it’s still red even if you can’t tell these days) on the left in the picture. Christopher and I grew up far away from each other, but my grandparents and his parents live in the same town now and go to the same church and have become good friends. So funny how that works sometimes! Anyway, I got to stick on the return labels and pick little sticker closures for the back of the envelopes. Important work, my friends. 😉

I have to note here… I love the example my mother-in-law sets. Being a care taker for someone who has dementia is so taxing (emotionally, physically, mentally, etc). And yet, despite the fact that she has so much going on already, she still thinks of others and actively works to bless others in their community. Love that about her.

This weekend was such a difficult one, but it made it easy to highlight the blessings in our life. We live in a broken world, but there is goodness here as well. And so very much to be thankful for.

Love Rach

Ps. I know I’m all over the place. Thank you for having grace for me today.

Birthday Recap!

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My birthday week kicked off on the Sunday before my Saturday birthday with a celebration with my parents, grandparents, and one of my sisters. My younger sister lives in Nashville which happens to boast a Maggiano’s which I LOVE. Being the wonderful sister she is, she brought me TWO spaghetti meals to-go from Maggiano’s when she came to visit! I ate spaghetti all week long during my birthday week. It was delightful!

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Friday night (my birthday night eve) Christopher and I made homemade pizza like we always do, but we took time to take a few photos (something we’re always saying we should do, but never remember to). It’s such a small thing, but I love this Friday night tradition so I’m so glad we took the time to take a few photos of us making pizza. 🙂

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Saturday morning aka BIRTHDAY DAY began with a trip to Panera for a blueberry bagel! My fav! Christopher gave me a sweet, handmade card and then surprised me with tickets to Pentatonix! I should also mention, Christopher made me the most delicious dessert and I absolutely ate five servings of it all throughout the day. More on that later this week when I share the recipe. 😉

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From breakfast we headed out to Shelby Farms (a huge urban park in Memphis with lots of trails and lakes and such). We attempted to take a family photo, but Oreo was so distracted by every little thing that all the photos are hilariously terrible. So instead Christopher snapped this one of Oreo and I walking together. 🙂 From there we spent the day browsing through a few stores. We found dried figs at HomeGoods and bought them because we both wanted to try them. Then naturally we made all of our friends try them too, ha! They are a bit of a weird texture and look super ugly, but actually taste like fig newtons. So random, but actually pretty good.

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We met up with friends for dinner and it was such fun! Normally I have a terrible time picking and choosing who to celebrate with because we run in so many different circles of friends and I hate the idea of anyone feeling left out. Hence why last year for my birthday we ended up having nearly 50 people at our house. It was a lot of fun, but a bit chaotic. And since our dog sitter is out of town (she normally keeps Oreo busy in an upstairs room while the party happens so he isn’t underfoot), we decided to go small for my birthday this year and then host a big party in the fall with all our friends.

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So picking and choosing was definitely difficult for me, but I decided on the people who we have found ourselves confiding in the most over the past year. The friends who have prayed for us and loved on us and encouraged us. Plus this particular group I chose to celebrate with… none of them knew each other. 😉 So it was fun introducing our best friends to each other and watching them all get along so well! 🙂

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After dinner we went bowling and had a BLAST! I started out with TWO strikes in a row (that has literally never happened to me before) and then several spares. I’m pretty sure that was birthday luck. 😉 But then my early luck faded and I managed a few gutter balls here and there later in the evening. 😉 We had a blast and I’m so thankful that we had these friends to celebrate my birthday with AND to live life with. I went to bed (late) that night feeling wrapped up in love and blessings. 🙂

Twenty Nine, I’m excited to see what you bring me! 🙂

Love Rach