"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

God Uses Everything {quotes edition}

I love quotes. Always have. I may or may not have a quotes document on my computer, and I also may or may not have a couple notebooks that I randomly write quotes in too. I'll never tell. (Just kidding. I'm a big nerd and totally do all those things.) Quotes are just so dang inspiring and I always seem to come across the perfect one at the exact time I need it. Ya know? God takes care of us like that.

I guess you could say one of the "themes" of this blog is that God uses everything. A couple weeks ago, I shared 5 books that went with that theme. And this week I'm sharing 5 quotes! Because lately there have been situations where I have NO IDEA how God could possibly be using whatever craziness is happening...but I know He does. So I'm just trusting in that. (Prayers appreciated, please and thank you.)

1. “Things were in God's plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that - from God's point of view - there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God's divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God's all-seeing eyes.” - Edith Stein (AKA St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) 

2. "If we 'look and listen' when confronted with life's roadblocks, we may find that what first appeared to be an obstacle in our path is actually a friendly sign pointing us in the direction we need to go." - Frederick W. Marks 

3. "By delaying to grant our petitions, God increases our desires. By increasing our desires, God enlarges our heart. By enlarging our heart, God prepares us to be filled with himself." - Saint Augustine 

4. "It may sometimes be more fruitful in the end if we live with a lingering question, and grow slowly towards wisdom, than if we find a quick answer partly dictated by our own desires. The waiting changes us, schools us, teaches us to know God." - Maria Boulding 

5. "Nothing is essential, real, or of any value unless ordained by God who arranges all things and makes them useful to the soul." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Linking up with Jenna again! Go check out everyone else's 5faves. And in case you want to read my others posts where I shamelessly quote other people, check these out:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Witness to Love {a review}

When Logan and I were engaged, we met with an assigned mentor couple (who we had never met prior to that) for about 6 sessions as part of our marriage preparation. We really enjoyed getting to know the mentor couple and got a lot out of our sessions. But we never saw them again after that! 

In our first 3 years of marriage, we experienced several trials that we felt unprepared for - pregnancy loss, infertility, and high-risk pregnancy are just a few. And I can't help but wonder how different the first few years of our marriage would have looked like if our mentor couple had stayed in touch with us after we said our vows (and I don't fault them...it's just not what they were taught to do). It would have been SO helpful to have a "go-to" couple during those difficult times.

(I should say that we do have wonderful friends who are happily married that have been a tremendous source of grace for us - but most of those friendships did not flourish until after our first year or two of marriage. And let's face it...you feel so isolated in the beginning of marriage that the thought of reaching out doesn't usually come to mind.)

I was thrilled to find out about Witness to Love, a marriage prep renewal ministry founded by Ryan and Mary-Rose Verret, when I was recently given the opportunity to read the book that was just released as part of the ministry.  What makes it different than your typical program is that the engaged couple can choose their own mentor couple - a couple that already inspires them from afar and whom they would like to get to know better.

The book Witness to Love: How to Help the Next Generation of Marriages Survive and Thrive was written to help couples who are preparing engaged couples for marriage. But I have to say that anybody can read this book!

Even if you never officially mentor an engaged couple, Witness to Love will encourage you to work on your marriage and to share your marriage. That is how we will save other marriages!
"You can begin tearing down the wall of isolation that surrounds young couples today when you invite them into your homes, families, and lives and when you share the gift of your marriage with them." (page 6)
The books covers it all: a closer look at divorce, why mentor couples don't need to have the "perfect" marriage, the need for mentors, how mentoring ends up benefiting you just as much as the engaged couple, how to save troubled marriages, a reminder that marriage is a vocation, and more. I know I started the book thinking, There is no way Logan and I could ever be mentors. But by the end, I couldn't help but think, Maybe we could do this after all!
"Do not wait to be a perfect couple in a perfect marriage before you feel that you have something to offer. Let your home become the mission field, and let your marriage become your apostolate. Let your domestic church become a missionary outpost of your local church! Remember, you are the perfect 'imperfect' couple." (page 35)
"As we go through trials in our lives and storms in our marriages, we will find later in life that God puts particular people in our paths because of our past experiences." (page 153)
What I love about the whole Witness to Love ministry is that it ends up accomplishing multiple things: 1) helping young engaged couples prepare for marriage, and 2) enriching the marriages of the mentor couples as well, since you always "get more than you give", and 3) connecting all young couples with their church community (which I would have LOVED as we are just now feeling a part of a parish life...6 years later).

I was totally inspired by reading this book and will be contacting my parish to see about implementing this program! I really think Witness to Love has the potential to change the world, one marriage at a time. Saint Pope John Paul II said it best: "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the world in which we live." So, so true.

Disclaimer: St. Benedict Press sent me a copy of Witness to Love for free in exchange for an honest review. But you know me, I'll tell you what I really think!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

29 things

I was inspired by Ashley's lists of 100 little things, and when I saw Modern Mrs. Darcy post some of her 100 dreams, I knew I had to make my own list. I started it with the intention of listing only 50 things because I'm not what you would call an overly ambitious person (realist would be more like it). But then I got stuck at 29 things for a few weeks and felt a little slacker-ish. But! It actually works out because I'm 29 years old and...29 things. Let's go with that.

I would like to do most of these things in the next year or so, but I also know that things happen, and God has His own timing...so I'm not exactly putting a deadline on this. But these are things that I definitely want to do at some point in life. (And some of these sound completely ridiculous, I know...)

  1. Take a road trip without a destination in mind.
  2. Update my blog design.
  3. Write a book.
  4. Host a family game night for our friends.
  5. Go on a silent retreat (by myself!).
  6. Have a staycation in New Orleans with the kids.
  7. Go on an overnight date with Logan.
  8. Go blueberry picking.
  9. Take a couples dance class with Logan.
  10. Crochet a new-to-me pattern.
  11. Start a pregnancy loss support organization.
  12. Make homemade refried beans.
  13. Adopt a baby.
  14. Make my own yogurt.
  15. Have a no-spend month. (or maybe just 2 weeks?....realist, I tell you)
  16. Read 2 books a month. (Totally getting better at this!!)
  17. Paint another piece of furniture (like I did earlier this year).
  18. Get back to journaling once or twice a week (right now it's more like every 2-4 weeks, yikes).
  19. Open an Esty shop.
  20. Start making my own sandwich bread. (Anyone got a good recipe??)
  21. Figure out the best way to put up a fence around our house (inspired by this incident).
  22. Make a photo book for each of our big trips during the last year.
  23. Start waking up before the kids consistently.
  24. Buy a new mattress.
  25. Take the kids on a Safari Wagon Tour at Global Wildlife
  26. Do a giveaway on my blog.
  27. Go indoor rock-climbing.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What I'm reading and how I'm reading more

Y'all. I read TWO WHOLE BOOKS this week. I honestly can't remember the last time I did that.

After being quite an avid reader for most of my life, I let reading fall to the wayside after Landon was born. I really thought I didn't have time to read anymore. (hahahaha...me dumb)

Turns out I do have time to read! I'm learning that you make time for what you want to make time for....and reading has become one of those things for me. And I love it. For me, a good book is relaxing, and since I tend to read more nonfiction, I learn a lot. So that makes me feel productive. (And it also might make me sound like a nerd. I'm okay with that.)

Modern Mrs. Darcy's reading challenge definitely kickstarted my reading streak this year. It's made me read one book a month and has also stretched me by having to pick books I wouldn't normally have picked (due to the specific categories). But I'm so thankful for that, because now I'm reading from more genres! Here's a rundown of the books I've picked and what I've read so far:
  1. A book you've been meaning to read - The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham. I bought this at a used book store forever ago because I love the movie but I never got around to reading it. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed because it's actually realllllly different from the movie as far as the end of the story goes. I like the movie a million times better! (That's not normally the case for me.)
  2. A book published this year - Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. I just finished this one, and while it wasn't what I was expecting, I did like it. It's just the kind of book I needed to read right now as I'm trying to live simply and embrace where I'm at in life right now.
  3. A book in a genre you don't typically read - Jesus the Bridegroom by Dr. Brant Pitre. I've listened to a bunch of Dr. Pitre's talks, but this was the first of his books that I've read. And it was amazing, and I totally recommend reading it during Lent.
  4. A book from your childhood - Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Need I say more? I'm ready to reread the rest of the series now!
  5. A book your mom loves - The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I had read this before and enjoyed reading it again!
  6. A book that was originally written in a different language - Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. I've finished 2 of the 3 books (it's a trilogy), and I'm enjoying it much more than I was expecting. 
  7. A book "everyone" has read but youThe Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. One of my favorite books now (like I mentioned before). 
  8. A book you chose because of the cover - Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I haven't gotten to this one yet, but I'm looking forward to it! I'll probably start this soon.
  9. A book by your favorite author - The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle. I used to read Melanie's blog, and she is hilarious. I literally laughed out loud the entire time I read this.
  10. A book recommended by someone with great taste - In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. I've seen this mentioned on several blogs lately, so I hope this one delivers! I'm reading it next month, I think.
  11. A book you should have read in high school - undecided....either The Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O'Dell) or A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), perhaps? I've been having both of them on my shelf forever. So maybe I should just read both...
  12. A book that's currently on the bestseller list - also undecided since I'm waiting to check the bestseller list when I'm ready to read this one! Which will probably be in December.
Annnnd just in case you're interested, here are some other factors that have contributed to my increased reading time lately:
  • Kindle Paperwhite. I love it. It's so light and portable that I keep it in my purse/bag wherever I go in case I have a few extra minutes to read.
  • Less TV, more reading
  • A few small pockets of time add up - read while I eat, read a few minutes before bed, read during nap time, read while the kids are playing nicely (since I want them to see me read too!), etc.
  • Listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast - okay, so this is more about reading to your kids, but it's also inspiring me to read more myself!
Okay, I'm off to read now! ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

That time my dog ran away and I was reminded of God's mercy

As much I love our house, the big downside is that we barely have a yard. Since we haven't figured out the best place to build a fence due to the layout, we have to hook our dog, Marley, to a tree with a chain. It's inconvenient, but it works. Usually.

This morning I walked outside to let her back in - but she wasn't there. My heart fell when I noticed that her chain was broken. My little crazy beagle was roaming around the neighborhood, with part of the chain hooked to her. And since she is a hound dog and would follow her nose to the ends of the earth, I knew she wasn't going to come back home anytime soon.

I was still in pajamas. So were the boys. I texted Logan the situation (he was at work), texted a few friends to say a quick prayer, and I swapped out my shorts, threw the boys in our massive double stroller, and took off down the road.

Logan had called our neighbors to help look for Marley, and another kind neighbor I passed got in his car to help look too, so we had a little search party going. Several people in the neighborhood told me they saw my dog pass but couldn't tell me where she went. Lovely.

For almost an hour this went on, me pushing the stroller in 80+ degree weather, looking for Marley as sweat rolled down my face. Logan would periodically call me to check in. Landon was loving the “excitement” and added to my anxiety with his nonstop chatter: “Mom, we looking for Marley? Where's Marley? Tracks! I see train tracks!”

The whole time I'm praying, asking Jesus to protect Marley. I asked St. Anthony and St. Francis of Assisi for prayers too. It was hard not to imagine the worse – would I find her on the side of the road, hit by a car or something? What would I do? How would I react? I know she's just a dog, but she was still a big part of our family. I did not want to lose her.

Logan finally called me to say Animal Control left him a message - they had picked her up and I could go get her at the shelter. (Thank goodness we have a phone number on her collar!) I was relieved that she was okay, but also annoyed at the fact that I wasted most of my morning looking for her. And now I'd have to load up the kids in the car to go pick her up. It was time for Chase's nap and Landon was begging for a snack, and I realized I'd have to shower now that I was all sweaty.

I picked up Marley and threatened her with a bath on the way home. YOU WILL GET A BATH, I fussed her. She hates bathes. But I didn't care, because she smelled and wasted my morning. I had a hard time reminding myself that I should be happy that she was still alive and well.

So that's when I started to think about what lesson could come out of this. I'm trying to see the good in everything, even the annoying things of life – like my dog running away. What was God trying to teach me?

Then suddenly the analogy came to me. Just like Marley ran away, we run away from God. My dog wasn't running away to spite me...she was just sniffing around and going wherever she smelled something interesting. And I think that's what we do sometimes. We don't think we're straying from God. Innocent gossip, skipping our morning prayer time, letting our minds wander during Mass. We don't think these things are “cutting the cord”, so to speak, regarding our relationship with God.

But just like Marley's chain that weakened and weakened because of her constant tugging, our rope can weaken too. Little by little, it can fray until POP. We just severed our relationship with God with a series of seemingly trivial sins. Sin is sin, like it or not.

Just like I had people help me look for Marley, though, God sends us people to help us on our journey, while He waits patiently for us to return to Him. That friend who subtly reminds you to focus on your blessings instead of your burdens. Your spouse who forgives you for being a jerk. Your pastor who is always a source of encouragement every Sunday.

The good news now is that Marley's broken chain has been replaced with a stronger one (thanks to our awesome neighbors). Hopefully there will come a day where we will build a fence – or move to a house with one – and she won't feel so constricted by the chain. Maybe one day she'll be content enough in a fenced area and won't feel the need to roam the town.

The same can be said for us. It's hard to live in such a worldly world sometimes. So many distractions and desires that pull us away from God. But thankfully, God is merciful. If our rope breaks, He ties it back in a knot, making it stronger than before.

But I suppose I don't want to rely on a rope to tie me to God. I'd much rather be fenced in, with a little freedom to run around. I really do want to be free from the tendency to sin. Maybe one day I can leave the rope behind, confident that I'll stay where God wants me, in union with Him.

I guess the big difference in this analogy is that God, thankfully, doesn't do what I do. Instead of welcoming Marley back home with open arms, thankful for her safe return, I grumbled about the fact that she wasted my morning and then I threatened her with a bath (which she hates). Yes, I was glad she was fine, but seriously, dog, did you really have to wander so far?? You could have been killed!

God's mercy is endless. So no matter what we do, no matter how far we stray, He's always waiting for us, loving us regardless. And when we finally return to Him, He embraces us. He doesn't dangle our broken rope over us, saying, Look what you did! How could you?! Thankfully, He loves us more than that.

So in the end, I guess you could say I'm a little glad my dog got loose. Hopefully next time I'll be more forgiving as I remember the depths of God's mercy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

God uses everything {book edition}

I firmly believe that God uses everything in life, from the people we know even down to the seemingly trivial things, like movies we watch and the books we read. Everything somehow works together in only the way that God can plan, with everything leading us (if we choose to listen) onto the path meant for us.

I love reading books where the characters go through so much adversity but still make it through to the other side. Everything they experience is part of God's bigger plan.

I also love reading books that inspire me to see everything in my life as part of God's will, even the small things and especially the difficult things.

So! I thought I'd link up with Jenna for #5Faves and share 5 books - of different genres - where it could be said that "God uses everything." Because He does. :)

1. The Hiding Place by Corrine ten Boom

I don't know how I never heard of this book until this year, but I have to say this is now one of my favorites! Corrie ten Boom's life was crazy and difficult but so inspirational. This is a must read.
"Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see." -Corrie ten Boom

2. Abandonment to Divine Providence by Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

A priest recommended this to me back in the days after we lost Levi, and it was exactly what I needed to read. I pick this one up every time I'm in one of the phases of life where I want to ask God, What the heck do you want me to get out of this?? Just read a page or two a day because it can be intense.
"There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

3. Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers

I was gifted this on Kindle last year and am finally reading it now. Honestly, it was hard to get into at first because it takes place during the time of the Apostles, when Christianity was new and Romans had many false gods, which was kind of unnerving (but I may just be weird...fiction is hard for me to read sometimes). But I love how the underlying theme is that God uses everything to bring people to come to know Him. I haven't read the 3rd of the trilogy yet, but I really enjoyed the first two!
"Now I know God works in our lives even before we believe. He sets his plan in motion and fulfills it in his time." - Phoebe Valerian in Francine Rivers' An Echo in the Darkness

4. My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir by Colleen Carroll Campbell

I can't for the life of me remember who recommended this, but I recently realized my library had it so I checked it out right away. I love memoirs and hearing other people's stories, and I especially love when people's difficult experiences play a major part in their faith journey. Colleen came to love many of our awesome saints through situations in her life, including her dad's diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
"I marveled at how stealthily God works in the soul, one day and one trial at a time. He softens your edges so slowly and subtly that you can fail to notice how far you have come until you have moved on to the next problem." - Colleen Carroll Campbell

5. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul

I started reading this in college and was totally inspired by it. The fact that this simple nun, St. Faustina, was given the task of spreading the important message of God's mercy to the world is proof that God uses everything and everyone.
"Although exteriorly a thing may be quite ordinary, it is the different manner [in which it is carried out] that only the eye of God catches." - St. Faustina
Here are some a few others in case you want more:

  • Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler - Jennifer's journey from atheism to Catholicism was a really good read (another memoir! love them).  Her natural inclination to ask thought-provoking questions about the meaning of life and her diagnosis of a blood condition were just a couple factors that led her to discover the truth. 
  • Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard - I haven't read this one yet but a good friend recommended it. The Kindle version is $1.99 on Amazon! Good reviews too.
  • The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Liseux - Her "Little Way" is the perfect example of how God uses everything.

Friday, September 11, 2015

When God works everything out (you know, fertility stuff)

(Not pregnant. Just saying.)

I've been with the same doctor for all three pregnancies. And since my first one ended so tragically, Dr. H has gone above and beyond for these last two pregnancies. I knew he was probably nearing retirement (honestly, he could have retired a long time ago), but I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to think about having to find a new doctor, and I really didn't think I could find one I trusted and was able to handle my craziness.

Just for the record - PCOS (finally diagnosed officially, how fun), MTHFR (a gene mutation), incompetent cervix. Three unrelated things but all affect the whole childbearing situation.

Although Dr. H really didn't know anything about MTHFR and couldn't help with my Creighton charting, he's got a million years (okay, 40+ years) of experience and has pretty much seen it all. So his laid-back disposition was juuuuust what I needed during my crazy pregnancies.

So anyway. Back to the whole not-having-a-doctor-soon thing.

I thought there was NO POSSIBLE WAY I could find a doctor that could help me sort out my PCOS issues (instead of just putting a "band-aid" on it), help me find the right supplements for my MTHFR issues (Dr. C, my high-risk OB, knew about it but she will only deal with me if I'm pregnant and I honestly don't know if I want to see her for subsequent pregnancies), aaaaaand be willing to take on my lovely incompetent cervix as well. Did I mention I kind of want to attempt a VBAC if I get pregnant again? (Don't bother telling me the risks, thank you, I'm fully aware.)

So yeah. Didn't think I would find a doctor I would feel comfortable with AND who would be able to help me with all of the aforementioned issues.

And then God was all, hey, you should go see this new Catholic doctor. Even though I had just seen Dr. H for my annual exam.

And I was all, ummm, but she doesn't take my insurance.

Then I found out my insurance was just approved.

So I called to schedule an appointment and they were like, "You still might have to pay $300 for your first visit."

Logan was like NOPE. But I told him we could just use our HSA (even though we're trying to save up for any future pregnancies).

So I went to see this doctor and I still can't believe I'm saying this, but...she was able to help me with EVERYTHING. She officially diagnosed me with PCOS (I've had 2 other doctors over the years say I had symptoms) and had a plan to manage it. She actually knew about MTHFR (which is rare among doctors, unfortunately) and had a plan for that too. AND she wasn't bothered by my stupid cervix and is actually open to the possibility of a VBA2C (she has to look at my previous operative reports and all).

It's like all my dreams came true. You know what's even cooler? I only had to pay 50 something bucks. Thank you, Jesus.

Moral of the story: God just works everything out. Just listen, trust, and know He works things out for our good. Always.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Back to reality

Well, hello. I'm finally back at home after almost 2 weeks away. After our beach trip, Logan had to go back to work for the entire weekend (terrible shifts too), and since I am no martyr, I prolonged reality (AKA extended my vaca) by going to my parents' house for the holiday weekend.

Which was totally brilliant because apparently Landon became accustomed to having all of his friends in the same house to talk to and aggravate whenever he wanted. Because seriously, the kid DID NOT SHUT UP the entire weekend. My mom and I cut a shopping trip short because of his endless rambling.

But the kid is totally adorable at least, so I'll give him that.

And since I'm not one to give one kid more spotlight than the other....Chase took his first steps on our beach trip! But only a few times, usually when bribed with food. And now we know he's perfectly capable of walking but is now refusing to do so. Because....lazy.

But he's totally adorable too, so we will forgive him. Seriously though, my arms are getting tired from carrying him!

My weekend away ended up being a good thing also because Logan loves to surprise me with a clean house whenever I visit my parents. He vacuumed, mopped, did laundry, and I forget what else. Because he's awesome. Logan also had a lovely bouquet of roses waiting for me as well because I guess he missed me. Or something. ;) Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

And in a kind-of-related note, Annie over at Catholic Wife, Catholic Life is doing a really neat anniversary round-up series this week. My anniversary post from June is one of the posts featured today! So go check out all the great posts!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

And somehow we still all like each other

Once upon a time (okay...in 2013), there were 6 friends who decided to go on vacation together...
...with our families too. Which also meant 6 husbands and 13 kids.

It was fun. So fun that we decided to do it again the following year. (Okay, one family decided not to go. But we still love them).
And just so you know how dedicated we are to this trip: I was 7 weeks postpartum (and looking SO not-beach ready), another friend was 2 weeks (!!) postpartum and another was very pregnant. So you know...dedication. Because we love each other.

By this point, we had added 4 new babies to the mix for a grand total of 15 kids. In the same condo.
We took this picture after one family of 5 had already left. But you get the idea!

I guess I don't have to tell you that these same 5 families went to Gulf Shores again this year for our annual beach trip. And it was crazy and fun and we didn't want to leave! I know people always say never to vacation with friends but I really couldn't imagine NOT going on vaca with some of my BFFs.

10 adults + 16 kids (and another one in utero) in a 6-bedroom condo. And somehow we still all like each other!
From 2014 to 2015! I seriously love doing pictures like these. They grow so fast...
Okay, last one, I promise...from 2013 to 2015 because somehow we didn't get a picture of all 3 last year.

Our kids all get along, we all get along, and we all just take care of each other's kids as if they're our own. It doesn't matter whose baby was crying - somebody would pick him up. So nice.
If this picture doesn't say PRO-LIFE...I don't know what does. ;)
The condo isn't directly on the beach (that's the bay in the background) so it was a short 2-minute drive to the beach...but we had a pool in our backyard. (Logan is swimming too, he just blends in with the kids!)

 The ladies! Minus the very, very pregnant one. (You missed out, C, sorry!)
I look totally spastic but Ashley looks awesome! This short white girl can't jump.
 The babies!

 We always go to The Track one night so the kids can ride some rides. The non-riding babies weren't too excited...

 Our entourage waiting while the dads and the big kids (and a couple moms) rode the big go-carts.

Most of our time was spent at the condo, just hanging out. And it was pretty awesome. One day Chase and I napped for 3 hours!!
 Me with one of my adorable goddaughters
 One of the calmer moments ;) #thankyoutechnology
 Our nights were filled with wine and playing Monopoly and Loaded Questions (HILARIOUS game, by the way) and staying up way past my bedtime.

 We went to the beach in the evening the last 2 nights of the trip and it was lovely.
 Logan helped the boys build a race car...Max was thrilled. Sand castles are overrated.
 BUT Dominic was pretty thrilled with his creation.
 Chase just chilled on his towel while his buddy Zac ate sand and tried to crawl into the ocean.
I'm so, so blessed to have this group to do fun things together and even blessed to know there are several more friends I'd be willing to vacation with one day. I think the true test of a friendship is to be able spend one week together and still miss each other the day after returning home. (We may or may not have texted the ENTIRE day. Love you ladies!)
And I will end with a mushy pic because this is my blog and I do what I want. :) Can't wait til next year!


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