April 25, 2013

Baby Molly + Family Time

The weekend before last, we finally went to Charlotte to see my new baby niece, Molly Claire. She was born on Easter weekend and I had to wait two whole weeks to see her! She is precious in every way, and it was a dream to hold her - she is so cuddly and just melted into my arms. Two-week-old newborns are the best! I held her for a few hours on Saturday while my sister-in-law took a much needed nap, and she literally slept on my stomach the entire time. Such a sweetie. We also got to see my other sister-in-law run a half marathon! She had a terrible cold but still pushed on through and ran the entire thing. It was so cute to watch her little boy clap for her when he saw her running! We had a great weekend, and I'm so thankful to have married into such an amazing family. Michael's parents love me as their own daughter, and I couldn't have asked for better.

April 23, 2013

Mini-vacation: Florida

I don't normally try to do "catch-up" posts, but we've had so many great weekends recently that I figured I should share a bit from each of them (and now that I finally have some time to catch a breath). This post is all about Florida!

Michael goes to Miami a couple times a year for work, so when we found out he was going down again in April we immediately started brainstorming how to make a trip out of it. Vacations are a lot cheaper when one of your plane tickets is already paid for! Michael's grandmother lives in Naples, so we figured out a way to spend a long weekend with her before his work commitment. We flew into Naples on Friday, rented a car to drive around for the weekend, and then on Monday drove across the state to Ft. Lauderdale, where we got some lunch on the water and then I flew out from there and Michael headed down to Miami to stay for the week. It worked out perfectly!

We had such a great weekend down there. I was seriously at my limit with the longest winter in the history of the world, and Florida was just the way to get me through it. Grandmom showed us around her neighborhood community (which was awesome by the way. Think a college campus with palm trees and golf carts, without the class part) and took us to Perkins for dinner. We spent our afternoons at the beach and soaked up that Florida sun we needed so much. We took Grandmom out for pizza and ice cream, and also to go see the sunset on the water. It was just a really great weekend.

Then I came home and it was finally spring! Thank you, Florida!

I had the BEST fish tacos at Casablanca in Ft. Lauderdale. If you're ever down in Florida and need a good lunch spot, this is where you should go! Not to mention the view was incredible!

April 16, 2013

On tragedy

I'm sure you've noticed from various posts on this blog that I am a Hokie - I spent my four years of college at Virginia Tech. I was a freshman in 2007, when those deadly shootings happened right on our campus. The massacre took a girl from my hall. One of my roommate's best friends. 3 people from the campus ministry I was involved in, Cru. One of my friends witnessed the aftermath of the first shooting in the dorm, leaving her terribly and understandably disturbed. On a campus of close to thirty thousand students, those 32 lives affected a lot more people than you would think.

It was heart breaking.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine experiencing something like this when I left home for college. A tragedy like that is just not something you think humans are capable of creating. And to be honest, I didn't quite get it when it happened at Columbine. I remember thinking it was sad, but I was young and it didn't hit home. Maybe because it was so far away.  But the shootings in Blacksburg? That was terrifyingly close. Those people who died were Virginia Tech students just like me. I could have been in any of those classrooms. My friends could have. My husband could have.

So, now when I hear of a tragedy? My heart really feels it. I know that fear that strikes the hearts of those who are close to the incident. First the shock, and then the asking, "why?" Then the sadness. The kind of sadness you feel deep in your gut. Then more shock as you're watching TV and seeing the numbers go up and up and up. The panic that ensues when you can't send calls or texts to find out if those you love are okay. The tears and hugs of finally connecting with those loved ones. The not knowing what to do and how to fill the time. We pause life, but in the meantime, do we talk? Do we laugh? Do we sit in silence? Do we watch TV or do we turn it off because it's too much?

I do know that there is something magical that happens when people come together in the midst of a tragedy. People actually come together. I saw that on my campus in the days and weeks following April 16th, and I've already seen that in the city of Boston. People running not from but to the scene to help out. People sending out helpful information on Twitter, and all of the praying - so much praying - going on all over social media, all over the country. I am not there, but I can see it's happening. Times like these cause me to lose faith in humanity, and then regain it all over again when I see how people respond. How God shows up in and through people.

I am so thankful that I never have to go through a tragedy without God. Some people may say that when something bad happens, it means God is not there. But I always wonder what a tragedy would look like if God was truly absent. I think the aftermath would look a lot different without our Father orchestrating the coming together and helping each other. The miracle stories and the changed lives would not exist. I know He is taking care of us always, even in tragedy, and for that I am so, so grateful.

Boston, you've got heart, and I know you will get through this. Please know that I am praying for you and your families.

April 5, 2013

Easter weekend

Oh spring, where are you? I keep thinking you're close by, and then winter comes charging in again with rain and wind in a mere 40 degrees (or sometimes 30!). Winter's been kind of a bully this year. I'm starting to get nervous that we'll miss spring completely, and that it will go from being freezing straight to hot and sticky.

The one thing getting me through this brutal spring - or lack thereof - is going to the beach. Where I can feel the sunshine on my face and take long walks outside, even if I have to wear more clothing than I'd prefer. Last weekend we met my family at Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks. It was so much fun to relax and get some quality time with my family, and also get that much needed vitamin D! We stayed in a funny little resort right on the water - the Star Wars pods, as we fondly called them. We also explored the dunes at Jockey's Ridge. I had no idea they would be that big! It literally felt like I went to the desert, except of course that there was water not too far away in any direction. We had fun jumping off the dunes and I got to try some new things with my camera. All in all it was a fantastic weekend! The only thing missing was going to church on Easter Sunday. That was a little strange to miss out on and it definitely wasn't the same listening to a sermon on the drive home. I am thankful to go to a church that I really miss when I'm not there.

You're going to hate me, but tonight I'm headed to Florida to visit Michael's grandma. I know... I am getting so spoiled with trips this spring! Michael has a work trip in Miami next week, and it just made sense to tack on a weekend getaway. It's supposed to be sunny and in the 80s all weekend. I am SO EXCITED. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!