Saturday, May 9, 2015

* Life Lately *

Hey, good people! Hope life is treating you well. I am so happy about this warm, beautiful weather. Spring and summer are my favorite times of year.

It's been a pretty busy year so far (can you believe we're almost halfway through 2015?). We've been spending time with family, traveling a little, and enjoying the outdoors. I'm putting it all in one post today. With that being said, this post will be all over the place. So bear with me as I recap our last few months. 

First, we got a chance to see my niece play softball a couple of weeks ago. I even got a cool "auntie" shirt to wear to the next game.

So proud of my niece -- she's smart and athletic. 
M and her cousin adore each other!


On another note, my Dad's birthday was back in March. This was the first year I couldn't talk to my dad on his birthday. I was dreading the day. It still hurts like crazy. Surprisingly I wasn't sad that day, though. We took M to get a cupcake for her Big Daddy's birthday. 

I know he'd be tickled that his grandbaby got a treat on his birthday. :)


Speaking of being tickled, look at what we took this kid to do recently:

She has her own bank account now. Over the years whenever she's gotten cash from relatives, we'd just stash it in her piggy bank at home. That piggy bank turned into two, then three. My mother-in-law has been urging us to go open her a bank account, so we finally did. The people at the bank treated her like a real little customer and let her answer questions and fill out paperwork the best she could as as a six-year-old. It was adorable. And we feel better that her little cash is safely stashed away.


We recently took her to see the movie Home. She loved it. DK and I thought it was cute, too. Of course I also loved that the main character was a little brown girl with curly hair just like M.  :-)


Like I said, I love spring and summer -- mainly because I like being outdoors. One day when M was away with my in-laws, DK and I brought out the bikes. We went riding on a local trail.

It was fun! It was DK's first time on this trail. 

Speaking of DK, I've been with this guy 13 years, and he still makes me laugh and blush like he did back then. He makes me so mad some days just like any husband would, but he's still the guy I would pick any day!


We've done some more biking since then -- this time with the little one.

We've gone to our favorite downtown park.

We also took the little one to try that trail. I was a little nervous -- there are hills and bridges and curves -- but she did great. 

Speaking of being outside, we went to a state park in our area last weekend to do some canoeing. 

My sister-in-law and I were in one canoe while M and her daddy were in the other. 

Good times!


Speaking of good times, my nephew recently turned ONE. It seems like he was just born, y'all.

Cutest. Baby. Ever.

As excited as I was about going to his first birthday party, I was sad that my dad would not be there. All week I couldn't help but wonder how I'd handle being with my stepmom and sisters for the first time since... 

Not only that, but my nephew was my dad's little man -- I imagined how Dad would have played with him at his first birthday party. I thought back to M's first birthday party, and how my dad played with her at every exhibit. I wanted that for my nephew. 

But the day of the party, I wasn't sad at all. It was a fun celebration for our big boy! He is soooo precious!

My sisters!

The last few years, people have told us that we look alike. I never see it when we're actually together, but sometimes when I look at pictures (like this one), I DO see it.

And here's my sweet stepmom holding the birthday boy. I actually put him to sleep. :-)  I was just getting my hugs and snuggles before we headed back to Alabama when he fell asleep in my arms. The party wore him out! ;-)

Speaking of cuteness, how cute is my baby sister's little belly? (I totally stole this pic from her Facebook page.) She and her husband are expecting their first child later this year, and I was able to see her baby bump for the first time last weekend. 

I cannot wait to meet my niece!


Finally, I probably should document our trip to Chicago. My professional association's annual conference was in the Windy City this year. It was actually during our spring break. I've never been able to truly enjoy Chicago because my first and last time going (I think it was 2007) was for work, too.

But my family was able to enjoy the city. Not only was DK able to go with me again this year (like last year in LA), but we brought M, too. 

She was soooooo excited about flying. She's flown a few times in her life, but her last time was two years ago. For a six-year-old, two years ago was a loooooong time. She barely remembers her last flight (when she flew to meet the President)...

Clearly she was more excited about the flight than anything.

She made sure we knew that the window seat was hers (like we didn't know that already), and she looked outside almost the entire flight. 

Oh, to see life through the eyes of a six-year-old. 

She took some time out to read the safety manual, too. She loves this stuff. 

I knew it was going to be a great trip when the staff saw that I'd brought a little person with me, and they went to get a little friend to keep her company during the trip.

How sweet, right? (Quick plug: The staff at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile is incredible. Stay there when you're in the Windy City. Great service.)

I was a bit nervous about this trip because I was co-presenting a session again (one similar to the ones I did in LA and Little Rock last year). This time I was co-presenting with my co-worker, G. It was her first time, and she did great!

We presented twice at the conference on recruiting and branding, and our session was packed both times. It was fun, we had great audience interaction, and we got our reviews back two weeks ago. They were GREAT! Whew!

We saw some of our peeps from Alabama there, of course: 

These two are actually my former professors from Auburn.

I was also able to hang out with some of my buddies from other states.

And Ken from Canada. We've been taking a pic together since Boston years ago.

More friends:

We got out of the hotel one night and explored a little of downtown.. 

It was an incredible conference. I learned, networked, and grew professionally. I'm looking forward to next year's conference already (Vegas)!

While I wasn't able to see the city during the day with my family, they didn't miss me very much. They had a great time without the Mama! They did the zoo and the planetarium.

They took advantage of the indoor pool.

And M talked her daddy into taking her here. I was not thrilled about that at first. I think those dolls are WAY too expensive. But my sweet girl loves it, so I'm over it. :)

Leaving Chi-town...waiting for our shuttle.

We had a great trip.

So that's our life in the last few months. We're wrapping up yet another school year (it's been a great one) and are preparing for a busy summer. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! We'll be spending the day with family -- swimming, eating, and enjoying each other. Cannot wait.

Speaking of mothers, I'm so thankful for mine. I could say so much about her love, sense of humor, faith, and ability to put up with me. Those things alone make her pretty incredible. I'm actually blessed with many "mothers" in my life -- my mother-in-law, grandmother, stepmother, and aunts who have all influenced me tremendously.  Feeling so grateful on this Mother's Day. 

Thanks for reading our little blog! Enjoy the rest of your spring!


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