Category Archives: Video

Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks!

We got home from the west coast late last night and then hit the ground running today. But I wanted to go ahead and share our National Parks video with you guys today because things aren’t going to be slowing down any time soon and I don’t want to get too far behind in blogging. So enjoy a little sneak peak at our time at Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks!

Notes:

– Most of the footage was taken at Yosemite & Sequoia. The General Grant Tree is really the only thing we saw at Kings Canyon while passing through.

– We took the random shot of me standing on the snow (1:28) to show just how much snow there was in some places. I’m technically standing a couple of feet above the path. You can look behind me in the photo for a park bench that’s half covered in snow for reference.

– It was all amazing, but one of my favorite things was that we celebrated Easter Sunday at Sequoia National Park. We stopped along the Tall Trees Trail and read the resurrection story from Matthew. So so powerful. The snow glistening around us, the bubbling stream, the towering Sequoias, the sun breaking through the trees. It was like being on holy ground. He is risen. 🙂

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

Back to school for my little loves

swimming

I blinked and summer is over. The kids I nanny and I had an awesome summer together! But now August has arrived and Will goes back to school today and in a week Mallory will start two-day-a-week preschool. So I’ll hardly see Will at all and only see Mallory a couple of days a week. I don’t even want to think about next year when she starts kindergarten. Thankfully they live just a few minutes away from us so I’m sure I’ll still see them some, but it won’t be the same as being involved in their daily lives. Oh the tears… I’m definitely not ready to think about this yet, haha!  On a much happier note, I wanted to share two videos of the kiddos from the past couple of weeks. 🙂

In case you can’t understand her. Here’s the beginning dialogue:

Mallory: “Daddy tells me not to sleep in socks.”
Me: “Why is that?”
Mal: “Because only psychopaths do… and we’re not psychopaths.”

Makes me laugh every single time I watch it. She’s just so matter-of-fact about it. Even if she has no clue with a psychopath is. She just knows that she isn’t one and therefore doesn’t wear socks to sleep in. Also, now we all know how her dad feels about people who sleep in socks, ha!  😉

You guys, this video is the essence of childhood dress up and playing. I just love it. Will came up with the idea and script for this video which just makes it even better. The only thing I did was actually hide Spiderman (they really didn’t know where Spidey was), film it, add dramatic music, and put it together in a video. Side note: in case you can’t hear Will at the 2 minute mark he is looking inside the pantry and says, “If he was in here, he would have a Thanksgiving feast!”

We’ve had an awesome summer! I’ll miss seeing them all the time, but I’m excited to see how much they will grow and learn this school year.

Who or what did you dress up as when you were a kid?

Tell the truth… do you sleep with socks on? 😉
Love Rach

Chocolate Eclair Squares (and a video with bloopers)

Today I want to share with you guys the delicious dessert that Christopher made for my birthday. If I remember correctly this recipe originally came from my mom. It’s one that we’ve been making in my family since we found out about my heart condition (see here for more info on my heart and why I limit sugar in my diet) so I can’t remember exactly where we first found this recipe. But it’s delicious!

Chocolate Eclair Squares {No Sugar Added}  (1).JPG

Chocolate Eclair Squares {no sugar added}

Ingredients:

24 chocolate graham crackers (we buy the ones with the lowest sugar and then shake off the excess sugar crystals before using them)
2 (3.4 oz) boxes of sugar free white chocolate instant pudding (also delicious with vanilla flavor)
3 cups unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk)
1 (12 oz) container of sugar free Cool Whip
1 (3.4 oz) box of sugar free chocolate instant pudding
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or preferred milk)

Directions:

1. Place 8 crackers in the bottom of a 13 x 9″ pan.

2. Mix white chocolate pudding and 3 cups almond milk and let set for 2 minutes. Gently fold in Cool Whip. Pour 1/2 on graham crackers then top with another layer of crackers. Pour remaining pudding over crackers. Top with last 8 crackers.

3. Mix the chocolate pudding with 1 1/2 cups almond milk and let set for 2 minutes. Spread over top layer of crackers.

4. Chill 6 hours. We usually just make it the night before.

Chocolate Eclair Squares {No Sugar Added}  (2)
Chocolate Eclair Squares {No Sugar Added}  (3)

Why yes, yes I do eat it straight out of the pan sometimes. No shame in my game. 😉

It has been awhile since I made a chatting-with-the-camera video for the blog so on Sunday I decided it was high time. In this video I briefly confess how many pieces of this chocolate eclair dessert I ate on my birthday and then I go on to show how out of practice I am at making videos. 😉 Enjoy watching me be terrible on camera, haha!

As bad as that freeze frame is, you should see the other two options Youtube gave me. 😉

Are you good at sitting down and talking to a camera on the fly? Obviously I am way out of practice, ha!

Do you have a favorite birthday dessert?

Love Rach

That one time I was in graduate school

I graduated college with the intention of working with teenage girls. This led me to a graduate program in Memphis that offered me a 75% discount on tuition based on my grades (and let’s be honest – my family connections probably helped since my grandmother worked in the library at this graduate school for 26 years and my mom worked there for 2). During my second semester in the spring of 2009, one of the professors talked me through the number of years I had between current day and when I would actually be practicing what I wanted to do. And I realized that 6 years was too many to wait. I wanted to be working with teens now.

usUs taking our daily evening stroll around the grad school campus in 2008. We were so young!

But I was worried. Oh how I worried. I worried that I would disappoint my family by being a drop out (spoiler alert: they were super supportive and I had nothing to worry about). I’d never quit anything in my life and I hated the idea of quitting. Even though my grades were great and I was excelling in my classes, I felt like I was failing by not finishing out the program. But thankfully I had a supportive husband who walked me through the process. He encouraged me to not worry so much about finding “the perfect job” working with teens, but to instead start volunteering with teenagers. Who says you have to be paid to do what you’re passionate about? It was the best advice ever. After three semesters, I quit graduate school in 2009.

rach and abby in the libraryMy sister, Abby, visiting me at the library on campus where I worked in 2008 (the same library where my grandmother & mom worked!)

You might find it odd since I ended up dropping out, but I am so grateful that I went to graduate school for that year. When we graduated college we were looking at Florida, Colorado, and Tennessee as possible places to move. When I was offered that awesome scholarship, our decision was made easily. We would go to Memphis for me to attend graduate school and then after I graduated, we’d move somewhere else. Well, what do you know, I quit after a year and already we had found a home here in Memphis. I don’t know that we’ll always stay here (our hearts are really pulled to both mission work and the beach), but I know that for the past nearly 8 years, Memphis has been home. And I’m so glad that graduate school brought us here. 🙂

dinner with friends grad schoolDinner with friends in the courtyard on campus in 2008

We also had a lot of fun while I was in grad school. We lived on campus which meant that we lived in close proximity to all our new friends. We were always together all the time which was just really wonderful. Oh, and I was on the Student Association Counsel because I’m totally that girl. Which meant that I was part of making a couple of promotional videos for our school. I know you want to see them. My favorite one is absolutely the Popcorn Day one. I’m wearing a purple shirt with a white scarf. You can see it here:

And if that isn’t enough for you, you can also see this video where my acting skillz are really put to use (near the end of the first minute). Why I’m sharing proof of my lack of acting talent with you guys, I really don’t know. Other than that they strike me as funny. So enjoy. 😉

Recently I ran across those videos again and it had me thinking about how grateful I am that graduate school brought us to Memphis. And how grateful I am that I had the courage to quit after the first year even though I was so worried about what people would think and about what I would do with my life. Immediately after quitting graduate school in 2009, I began volunteering with a group of 7th grade girls. Those girls graduated high school last year and despite all my protesting that I’m too old for this, I find myself still mentoring teen girls (just a different group now). I am so very grateful for the way it all worked out. I volunteer for a couple of other organizations, nanny part time for two of the best kids ever, and have a full time photography business. Life is so much better than I could have predicted.

rachtopher choose901

How did you end up in the city where you currently live? 

Have you ever quit anything?

Do you use your college degree (either by work or volunteer work)?

Love Rach

In honor of 11 years together

As I’m sure many of you saw on Facebook and Instagram, yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the day Christopher and I first started dating. It has been a while since I last posted a video of my ramblings so I thought I’d do one in honor of our anniversary. The first take was 12 minutes long. So I attempted it again. And it was 10 minutes long. So I just edited out some of the excessive rambling. It’s now right around 6 minutes so hopefully that is a little more of a manageable length of time to listen to me being super cheesy. 😉

As always forgive the excessive use of “like” and “um”. I’m not normally quite this bad about it, but I hadn’t taken time to think out what I wanted to say (other than that I wanted to share the pictures). So it’s just a lot of rambling. Thanks for hanging with me. 😉

Do you celebrate small things? 

Have you ever looked back on a conversation from years ago (via chat or text or FB, etc) and found yourself cringing a little bit at how awkward it was? This is a huge reason I am so glad that Facebook wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Social media is #forever. o.o

Love Rach

Our Wedding Video

I meant to share this video last week, but I was a little preoccupied with food poisoning, ha! Anyway,  I know some of you have probably seen this on Facebook already, but if you haven’t yet… here it is. A shortened version of our wedding video. 🙂

Oh, what a precious day this was! Such a beautiful beginning to our marriage. I am so thankful for every day that I get to spend with this man. Happy 7 years of marriage to us. 🙂
Love Rach