August 31, 2016

August 2016 in Pictures

Be sure to check out the August update for full Olympic-related details.
All of the kids picked a country to look for in the 
Parade of Nations and colored their flag.   
 Go #teamUSA
 Olympic-themed party food 
 My bestie and me love the Olympics so much! 
 1st day of 4th grade
Konked out in Olympic Central
 Rock climbing at Climb Nashville
 Our trip downtown on the Music City Star
 Creative Play by The Cousins
 Sometimes #RedneckGardening means 
eating raspberries right off the vine. 
Proud of her wristband for passing the swim test!
 Lake Day!
 Had SO much fun on the tube!

August 2016 Update

August can pretty much be summed up in one word: 


Oh goodness, do I love me some Olympics! We kicked it off with our favorite friends and an Opening Ceremony Party complete with theme food, crafts, and the Front Yard Olympiad.

Then we moved every TV in the house to the living room and referred to it as Olympic Central.

After a few nights of my people falling asleep on the couch, we moved a mattress downstairs. I'm not even kidding. Y'all, I am SERIOUS about the Olympics. Hard core.

For 2+ weeks there was a TV tuned to Olympics pretty much 24/7. If you saw me, called me (please just don't), or texted me this past month, chances are pretty high I worked Olympics into the conversation. Occasionally my people, friends, and home felt neglected. I just kept telling them that this only happens ONCE EVERY 4 YEARS. Also, #HatersToTheLeft

Yes, of course, we have matching T-shirts. Why are you surprised?

I really think this Olympics was my favorite (I probably say that every time) but there were some awesome stories, moments, and intense competitions. I was in hook, line, and sinker. Part of what I love about the Olympics is that it restores my faith in humanity. Although, I think all my favorite Olympians are retiring. Thankfully, there is an awesome group coming right behind them!

Oh, as a side note, we also started school this month. I think Olympics helped distract me from the fact I have a 4th grader. I seriously get so sad about this growing up business. Anyway, we spent the first two weeks easing into the year with a focus on, you guessed it, Olympics. Don't be fooled, Skylar loves the Olympics about as much as I do but we both learned so much by doing an in-depth study. It was fantastic to be learning about a subject so intently while it was happening in real life. Homeschool for the win. Also, she made an ah-maz-ing Olympic world in Minecraft!

On another Olympic-related note, Skylar has been talking about swimming since the beginning of summer. When the trials were on TV, she kicked it up a notch (shout out to her idol, Missy Franklin). When the Olympics started she was relentless. And then she got her Aunt Laura on her side, which left me no choice. ;) We enrolled her in swim classes. Nevermind that the class interfered with Olympic Primetime coverage (thank goodness for the NBC app). She went to 4 classes and then they graduated her to Jr. Swim Team, which made all her 9-year-old dreams come true. She works so hard in practice and is doing so well. We are really proud of her and excited to see where this takes her. If nothing else, it helps me put a big ole check mark next to the PE requirement.

When my beloved Olympics came to an end, we celebrated in the same way we started - Closing Ceremony Party with good friends and good food!
As as spectator, I was exhausted. It's hard work keeping up with your favorite athletes and staying up late every night to watch them compete. I had an Olympic Hangover every morning and was on #TeamNoSleep for like 17 days. And then I had Olympic Withdrawls in the worst kind of way. The only cure was to switch to vacation countdown mode. We leave for the beach in a week and Orlando in a month. Yaasss!!!

If anything else important happened this month, I couldn't tell ya... because Olympics. Okay, stuff did happen. More pictures here.

July 31, 2016

July 2016 in Pictures

You definitely do not want to miss the July 2016 update. We were quite busy this month! 
We were welcomed to Bama with a gigantic bonfire!
 Yep, that's all SIX of us on ONE 4-wheeler!
 Church with Dad & MiMi
 On her outing with Aunt Nita & Uncle Bill for "Sky Day!"
 Crazy kiddo! 
 Swimming at Uncle Bennie's
She got a new Build-A-Bear. Meet DJ!

Skylar, Briella, Mom & PawPaw
We are getting all kinds of patriotic up in here these days!
 Watching the Olympic Trials #RoadToRio

15 pounds lost with THM!  
 Picking green beans in our garden!
 Skylar LOVES going to the eye doctor! 
Tour of Nashville Murals 
 We are the best moms ever!
This was one of our favorites! #WhatLiftsYou
 A little stop at the splash pad!
 Our kiddos letting their personalities shine!
On a hike to Foster Falls!  

Caught a glimpse of my Mini Me in the mirror!
 GROW Enrichment Summer Camp
 Love my voting helper! 
 Getting ready to ride the rapids in the creek!
 Thankful for a little R&R weekend with my girl before school starts back! 

July 2016 Update

A lot happened this month, as is typical for us in summer!

For starters, Baron went back to the breeder. This actually proved to be a very difficult choice but he just didn't mesh well with our family, lifestyle, and environment. I hate that it took us so long to come to this conclusion but it really is the best decision for all of us. Knowing his personality, the breeder is working to find a family that will be a much better fit for him. He has a pedigree for a strong working line (his litter mate is a police dog) and what we needed was a laid-back family pet. In the end, I think we all learned a lot from this situation.

Skylar and I spent 4th of July in Birmingham with my Dad as is our usual tradition. A few years ago, he let us off the hook for Thanksgiving and Christmas and asked if July 4th could be his holiday, which I thought was fantastic! We had a blast this year. There was a bonfire to welcome us, several 4-wheeler rides, trips to the creek, lightening bug hunting, fireworks, bubbles, and more! More July pics here.

Skylar stayed the rest of the week for Grandparent Camp and was able to get in some time with my mom, along with aunts, uncles, cousins, and more! I think she would have stayed another week if I would've let her.
While she was away, I completed my CPR and First Aid training! So glad to have that checked off my list. I also hit a weight loss goal this month. I've lost 15 pounds eating the yummiest food ever. And y'all know I only eat good food. The more I eat, the more I loose. Seriously. It's fantastic!

On one of the hottest days in July me and my best travel bestie traipsed our kiddos (and a few other kids too) all around Nashville for a mural tour. It was so much fun and the pics turned out great! I spent so much time and effort making our plan, that I decided to share. Check out the family-friendly Nashville mural map & plan.

After a busy month of travels and work, I was so thankful just to have a day just with my little family. We ventured down to Foster Falls for some hiking and swimming. It was pretty cool! 
Skylar was also able to go to Grow Enrichment camp the last week of July and had a blast. She came home telling me so many fun facts that she learned each day. They really have a great curriculum and method for making the information memorable. 
This weekend we snuck away for a little girl's trip. It was just what we needed to rest and recharge before barreling into August and getting ready to start back to school. We are so thankful for our friends and the time away.
Speaking of school, we are going to ease back in starting August 5th. Check out our 4th grade curriculum selections. I'm so excited!

More July 2016 pics here, and there are a bunch of them!

July 20, 2016

Family Friendly Nashville Mural Tour Plan

Me and my bestie traipsed our brood of children all over Nashville yesterday for some summer fun and a little culture too! Basically, we are awesome.

We had this idea to do a mural tour months ago. We even put it on our #SummerBucketList. I scoured the internet for a "plan" that would take us systematically around Nashville and tell me where to stop, eat, park, ect. Alas, it was not to be found so I put in several hours of research and planning to make my own. I didn't want all that hard work to go to waste so I'm sharing my delightful little plan with you all. 

Items to Note:
  1. We were a party of 10 and eight of our pack were children. 
  2. In light of number one, this plan is flexible. Meaning, if your crew is tuckering out you can skip stops. In fact, we did skip one stop and 2 murals. 
  3. Since we had lots of little people there are special treats thrown in like ice cream along with less expensive food like Subway. 
  4. Little bodies cooped up in the car in the middle of summer need opportunities to cool off and play so I built in a stop at the splash pad. Be sure to take a change of clothes. 
  5. Some murals are in close proximity so there is a little walking involved. 
  6. There are many more murals in Nashville by some fantastic artists. I selected a top 10 based on popularity and the personalities of our group. 

This plan includes 7 stops, 10 murals, and a skyline photo op. A star equals a new stop.

List of Murals:

  • Sunflowers
  • Hillsboro Dragon
  • Hillsboro Village
  • Field of Flowers
  • I Believe in Nashville
  • Draper James
  • What Lifts You
  • Home
  • East Nashville
  • Stay Tuned Nashville

The complete tour including a stop for ice cream, lunch, and spalsh pad would have taken our group about 6 hours. For a smaller group, you could easily get it done in 4-5. If you powered through with no stops for food/play I think you could get it done in 3-4.

I'd love to hear how your tour goes. What was your favorite mural of the day?