Thursday, March 31, 2011

Father knows best.

Long time no see! I really can't believe it's already the last day in March!! Where does the time go?? The past couple of weeks have been a blur, a beautiful blur but, still, a blur:) Since I've begun the blogging process I know I've kept everything pretty light and, for lack of better words, shallow. Not shallow in a negative sense but just not very deep or heavy. That's really what I inteded it to be, an online version of my scrapbooking outlet that I have dearly missed. I love how it helps me keep up with other blogging friends and a time to just sit for a second and look back over a week's worth of memories made with my sweet and so loved family and friends. However, the past several weeks have been anything but shallow and are worth a little more documenting than just my usual surface skimming.



For anyone who knows me, you hopefully know that my God, my husband, my children, my family, friends, church and work are the most treasured parts of my life and literally are what make up me and this life I lead. Since I was a little girl my hearts desire has been to grow up to be an actress and maybe one day marry my prince charming and have a couple kids. Little did that little girl know that all those things would happen AND happen a lot more quickly than I had planned. Prince charming took his cue a little early and came riding in when we were in middle school. I married him a year out of high school, had Christian within a year, pregnant with Sunny 8 months later and, as soon as Justin finished PT school in '04, we packed up and headed to ATL. I signed with an agency within 6 months and was on the set of my first feature film with Kelly Preston, Burt Reynolds and Toby Keith within weeks. Not long after, we started teaching in the youth at our church, Christian and Sunny started school, Justin opened his own practice, moved into house #2 and I crossed off movie #13!



During this past decade, there has been an abundance of happy and sad tears, physical pains, growing pains, full bank accounts, empty bank accounts, firsts, lasts, beginnings, endings, unanswered prayers, beautiful blessings and enough life lessons to write a book. And just when I think I have it all figured out, God has a way of gently saying, "Oh no you don't." As difficult as it is, at times, I love it. I love that God cares this much to have a plan for each of our lives if we'll just look to Him and not ourselves. It's liberating and encouraging to know that in good times or bad, His ultimate plan for our lives is good and He loves us more than we could ever comprehend and if we just trust and rest in that, He promises to "direct our path" and "give us the desires of our heart," as long as we "delight ourself in Him first." We truly don't have to worry. It's in His sovereign and all powerful hands.


He loves his Daddy's burgers from the grill:)

Our talented grill master:)

About a month ago, there were several factors that led me to the realization that God wanted me to take some time off work for a while and just rest in my role as a wife and mother. If you know me, you know, sadly, this is so much easier said than done. I don't really do "rest" and "time off." See "my mother" for example and origination:) It was a moment during prayer not to long ago that the fact that the work roles that were coming my way lately were glorifying no one but myself. And my little wife, working mom, etc etc balancing act was about to topple over.

I won't lie to you, the past several weeks have been challenging. I'm used to hitting the ground running at 6:30am, making lunches, kids off to school by 7, clean house and catch up laundry for an hr, dressed and out in 30 minutes for auditions all day to be back for kids by 2:45, start homework, get a snack, run to basketball, baseball or gymnastics etc, come home make dinner, spend time as a family, kids in bed by 9:30, spend time with Justin-who is usaully out for the count first-so I proceed to catch up on work emails etc, turn in around midnight and start it all over the next day. And if I'm working on a film at the time..that's a whole other story!

So, needless to say, it's crazy. And for what? At the end of all this the only things that are lasting are what's most important and what we hold dearest to our heart. On my scales, I realized I was putting just as much emphasis on my quality time at work as my quality time with my children. God gave me these children for a reason, countless reasons that I learn more and more of everyday. He knew I was someone who needed those little anchors to help keep me in check and keep this journey in perspective. They keep me grounded and humble and give me purpose when everything else is falling apart. The black and white of it all was that I could slow down, God has been gracious enough to make it to where I don't have to work as much as I do. And that's no coincidence.

It was hot, hot, hot!

Hitting practice..

Justin and Chichi

Christian about to hurt himself:)

Since yielding to His will in just a month's time, God has been so kind to encourage me with residual checks, beautiful future projects in the making and spiritual eyes to be so thankful for the health of my family and love and support of my friends that, at times, I have taken for granted. It's been so cool to literally rest in His will and plan and not my own. As silly as it sounds, it's been so neat to just sit down and play wii for a couple hours with Christian or take a walk to the park for the afternoon and do nothing but swing with Sunny. That profession will always be there. That tiny little hand that fits inside of mine and that carefree 9 year old laugh won't. It's all about personal perspective. And, if we take the time, God has specifics planned out for each of us that are ever changing so it's a daily process to seek Him. Believe me, I've veered off and learned that the hard way so many times. I've shared a few pictures from the past couple weeks. This past weekend Justin was out of town for a golf trip so the kids and I had movie night, slumber parties, pedicures for me and Sunny with Katie while Christian was with a friend, cake baking and a granted #1 request of fish sticks every night for dinner:)

Sunny's "groovy" toes:)

The best part of the cake..the batter!

The others are trampoline water fights between Sunny and her BFF Anna during the heat wave last week and a little grillin' out and a game of pick up baseball with my 2 favorite boys one afternoon:) I know I've been all over the place and thank you for sticking with me through this deep diary entry journey. I think the biggest thing I have learned so far through this is sometimes the things we've been doing our way for the longest time are the exact things God wants to change in order to show us it's not about our plan and us being in control. Right now my mind is empty of my next step professionally. But, my heart is full and running over at what God has graced me with personally. I have unanswered questions and prayers both professionally and personally but the awesome thing is that He has all the answers and each time I look to Him and not myself I always get confirmation that He, my heavenly Father, always knows best.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

we LOVE weekends:)

Hey there!! Hope everyone is having a great week so far. I think this cold, wet weather is giving me writer's block after having such a beautiful, warm day yesterday..ugh. Anyway, still wanted to take a minute to share the festivities of our hustle bustle weekend:)

Anna taking the plunge!

Sunny taking a break to work it for the camera..of course:)

Anna round 2!

The girls just jumped together..they call this the "double date"

Before the weekend got started the kids, along with some friends from the neighborhood, spent the afternoon "stair jumping," one of their absolute favorite things to stress me out with:) I do hold my breath every time one of them jumps but, knock on wood, blood or broken bones haven't shown up to ruin the party in a year and a half so, as of now, it's still a weekly neighborhood favorite:)

Seeing who can make it to the top first!

I heart these sunshiny days!

The slide..Sunny's 2nd playground fave to the swings:)

They said this one was for Dad because he loves football:)

Taking the "adventure" from the baseball fields to the was MUCH further than any of us thought!

Our new friend Bella with Sunny and Kyla

Saturday, Justin hung out with Christian at baseball practice while I took Sunny and her friend Kyla over to the park at the fields. They met a new friend, Bella, while we were there and wanted me to "do a photoshoot" of their playtime. So, here's the finished product of their shoot..enjoy:)

The Big 3-1!!

Love me some Nella:)

Saturday night, was one of my best friend, Janel's, birthday party. Jessica and Kyle brought Thad over to spend the night with Christian along with Sunny and her friend Kyla. Sleepovers happened a lot more often in years past with Jess and Kyle but it's been a while so we thought we could relive old times after we threw down in the ATL with Janel. The sleepover was kind of a bust between Jess not feeling well, the time change and our trek there and back from the partay. Thank goodness for Kyle, aka the pied piper, for toughing it out til 2:30am with the kiddos:)

Me and J

Breakin' it down with Jess to "Smack That," it's really a classic

One of the many performances from the birthday girl:)

Nella's party, however, was a great usual. It was at this neat karoke place on Buford Highway..yes please to more karaoke parties!! Hint hint. My birthday is May 13 incase anyone forgot;) Janel and I have always been able to pick up right where we left off in the 6 years we've been friends, whether we see each other every day or every once in a while. She's one of the most caring, honest, intelligent, witty, loyal and humorous people I know and I truly value her friendship so so much! Love you Nella.

Jess and me

Also got to see some other faces I love..Jess being at the top of the list:) I met Jess through Janel and just adore her more and more everytime we get to hang out! I feel like I can talk to her about anything and we always have something to talk about whether it's sushi, work, fam, boys..or lingerie;) And just FYI there's an inside joke/story to this last my apologies if it's a little TMI for some:)

Well, I guess that about wraps up the weekend. Talk soon. Have a great night! <>< april

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good times. Good times.

LOVE them!

Hello there! This past weekend was Disciple Now at church and it was AWESOME!! After taking the kiddos to meet my father in law in Columbus -thank you Mr. Billy for spending the wkd with them..they had a great time as always..they love their Beeps:)- I met my SR girls at our host home, Meredith's house. I got to spend some time with her parents and just want to thank them for opening their home to us! You..and your homemade desserts..are fantastic:) We stayed up til a little after 4am talking about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and painting nails and eating girl scout cookies! A pretty perfect night if you ask me:) The next day consisted of me going grocery shopping -since we ran out of food at my house for the 11th and 12th grade guys:)- while the girls were in the morning session and nursing home. Then off to spend some time with Memaw, Mom and Daddy before they left for Viva Las Vegas and then we all met back at the church. After a great Saturday night session we had another in home session with our super fantastic leader Jessica..or Jessi G as I like to call her:) She was great and we all LOVED her! And even though it was raining, a little water wasn't going to keep them away from their last year of DNOW pranks on the boys:)

Me, Traci and Nadilee

Me and Mer with a little background action from Ellie, Kait and Trace

After a little dance party in the car on the way to Wally World, we got there and bought any thing in any shade of PINK in any area of the entire store and proceeded to the boys house to PINK out their cars! Our mission was interrupted unfortunately by the dreaded flour and eggs to our vehicle...ugh. Never fear though, we laid low at a sketchy Waffle House for an hour and carried on with our mission:) Aside from a few thorns to the face for some of us from running through the woods, a 4:30am car wash that we can X off the bucket list now, and the run in with probably the #6 creepiest man of my entire life at Waffle House, I'd say it was pretty successful:)

Taking a few kodak moments while the man is creepin' on our table

The face says it all

A very scared Ellie and Kait:)

Each one of you are so special to me! Rachel I love when you share your thoughts and insight, you are wise beyond your years and I am so excited to see what God does through you in the next few years. Ashley you are caring and hard working and I love to just watch you and how you put so much thought and effort into whatever you say or do. Ellie W I think you are super smart and talented and I love your integrity. Kaitlyn you have such a sweet spirit and everytime I get to spend time with you I love more and more about your personality and who you are. Ellie T I love how you look for the positive in every situation and truly want good things for those around you. Traci you make me laugh and I just love how genuine you are in all that you do. Nadilee I think you're awesome and love that you march to the beat of your own drum, your security in yourself is inspiring to me and so many others. Meredith you remind me of myself in a lot of ways and encourage me so much, just keep on seeking God in everything, I know He has big things planned:)

Thank y'all for letting me a part of this time of your lives...I hope I'm always a part of it! And, I think it's safe to say I have all new confirmation that you really do like me since you put up with me during that little run in with every single side effect on the label of my anitibiotic Saturday night:) How crazy was that!? So weird and, again, so sorry!

Love you all and thanks again for a great weekend!! Talk soon everybody and have a wonderful week! <>< april

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And the year goes Marching on...

Me and the Birthday girl:)

Hello and Happy March!! I really can't believe it's March, that's just craziness!! Well, as I promised, I will try my best to get better at this. I'm told it's a bit of a blogging blunder to back track and wrap a whole lot of events together and tie 'em with a bow but, oh well, Happy early/late Birthday...whichever fits for you:) By the way, today really is my friend Shayla's birthday..hope it's as awesome as you are friend:) Happy Birthday to you!!

Sunny and Bailee getting ready to scale the waterfall at Buddy's house!

So proud of my sweet girl:)

February was a good month. Sunny and I got to spend a weekend at Buddy's house, Justin's mom, and brought Sunny's cousin Bailee with much fun just riding bikes, going for ice cream and having an adventure at the waterfall! There was also a good bit of sewing going on behind the scenes..or seams, sorry I couldn't resist:)..and I can't thank you enough Mrs. Carol for helping me with my new drapes...I LOVE them!! Sunny was also the Student of the Month at school and we are so so proud of her:) They had a special breakfast for the students and Justin, Christian and I were able to come for it. When they called Sunny's name out to receive her certificate Christian clapped and hollered, "Whoo yeah, alright Sunny!" She said she hated it but the smile on her face said something totally different:) They love each other like crazy and that makes me the happiest girl in the world when I see that between them!

Daddy's girl:)

Homerun hitter!

This month was also the beginning of spring training for baseball season and I LOVE it! So much fun just being out in the beautiful changing weather and enjoying America's favorite past time with my favorite people:) We were throwing and hitting and, as a joke, Justin said, "OK, Mom's turn to hit." Silly boy. I pretty much knocked them all out of the park:) We could hear some kids playing in the field next to us and one guy said, "Did you see her hit??" And the other said, "I know dude, and that's that kid's mom!!" Good times, good times:) Although, since then I have gotten hit like 10x from Christian hitting it right back at me while I'm pitching..probably due to all my gloating, it was fun while it lasted though:)

My pretty roses from my thoughtful hubby:)


Leaving Pricci after a delicious meal!

Then there was, of course, Valentine's Day:) Justin made reservations for us at the italian restaurant, Pricci, in Atlanta. He's been trying to get us a table there on Vday for about the past 3 years now but we've been a little tardy in our planning:) He did good this year though and it was well worth the wait! Later he surprised me with my favorite bread pudding from Gabe's...OMGoodness!..and a dozen roses:) I heart him.

Candid shot of us Supper Clubbers..

Silly boys:)

Hmm, someone looks a little over the age limit for this sleepover...

The biggest kid of them all:)

Other than that, February was a month of sleepovers and getting back to Supper Club, thanks to Jess' efforts:) So HAPPY to have Brandon and Katie joining us this year!! We met B and Kt last summer at the pool during my stint as a lifegurard..haha jk, it just seemed that way because I literally lived there, no really, I LOVED it:) We are crazy about them and are so so happy God brought them into our lives. Brandon gives J a run for his money on the golf course and they have the same weird, random and, at times, disturbing, sense of humor:) Katie's genuine demeanor is so refreshing and I just love being around her...we all 4 can recognize and appreciate good quality television when we see it too:) It was also good to finally meet Lance and Brianna for the first time..looking forward to getting to know you guys this year!

Well, until next time. Hope your week is great!
Talk soon. <>< april