Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pretzels & Pringles on Memorial Day

Who doesn't love a good three-day weekend? This girl definitely does. I mean really - they never disappoint. Whether you relax all weekend or pack it jam full of fun stuff, it's a good time either way. And then after a three-day weekend, it's all made even better with a shorter, four-day work week!

Last weekend was definitely a fully packed three days, and I enjoyed every second of it. Friday night my entire 12-person family went out to my Grandparents house to celebrate my cousin's 21st birthday. We ate yummy dinner, watched him open presents, then had apple pie and ice cream for dessert. So American of us for this Memorial day weekend. :) After that, I went over to my friend Lacey's house to puppy-sit for her precious new addition, Layla. She's so stinking cute, and so very sweet and cuddly!

I watched a movie at her house, stayed up way too late reading a really good book, then finally went to sleep. Saturday morning Layla woke me up way earlier than I would have liked, but it was OK, because her extreme cuteness made up for a little bit. Jeff and his mom then came to pick me up at 8, and we went out to the St. Mark's Trail for a very early bike ride. One of Mrs. Nita's friends, Bonnie, met us out there so they could stay together for the ride. Jeff and I had an awesome 12-mile ride, and I really did feel pretty great afterwards. I'm really, really liking this whole biking thing lately!

After the bike ride, we each went to our houses shower, change clothes and get packed up to head to Valdosta, GA, for the rest of the day. We have annual passes to Wild Adventures - which means we also get to go to the water park there as well! After meeting up with Jeff's youngest brother (who lives in Valdosta) and his girlfriend for a late lunch, we headed into the park. We slathered on some sunscreen, found a locker for our bag and towels, stuffed it all in, and got started! We had a ton of fun on all of the slides and in the lazy river, and thankfully it wasn't too crowded. (And click HERE if you missed my last post about the video I made!)

The water park closed at 7 pm, so we each leisurely changed clothes, met back up together, went back to the car to drop off our wet stuff and had a quick snack of apples and 100-calorie Cheeze-it packs. Then we got back into the park just in time for the concert to start! The Band Perry was quite amazing in real life, and I was thoroughly impressed. I don't like it when musicians don't sound as good in real life as they do on their CD, but The Band Perry was spot on, and I really appreciated that. The main singer-girl, Kimberly, is also just a natural and really good entertainer, and she made the whole concert really fun to watch, sing along with and be a part of!

After the concert, we had a serious jam session in the car to Queen's Greatest Hits album, followed by '80's Pop Hits on Pandora. We sang at the top of our lungs, and had another snack of strawberries and M&M's. By the time we made it home, we were extremely exhausted, but we had enjoyed an amazingly fun day together. Sunday morning brought on the usual routine of coffee with the family, Sunday School and "big church," followed by lunch with my family, plus my Aunt, Uncle and cousin at El Jalisco's for some Mexican. We went home to have movie rest time as a family, and I took a tiny nap. That night was spent at Jeff's house chatting with some ladies from his church, finishing up a movie we had started a few days before, and playing a couple of card games with his Mom. Quite a fun night!

Monday morning was another early start - but I was totally OK with it, because that meant we were on the way to the beach!! At first, we were skeptical to go because the tropical storm was threatening something like a 60% chance of rain all over the place here in Florida. Luckily for us though, we decided to brave it anyways, and I'm so glad we did, because it ended up being the most beautiful day!!

Mrs. Nita packed us all yummy sandwiches, grapes, strawberries, pretzels, Pringles, Diet Coke, water and mango tea. Tons of yummy snacks :) The sun was out most of the time, although there were some times with clusters of dark, slightly menacing clouds overhead. We packed up to head home around 3:30 pm, and it didn't rain on us until then! We really lucked out with amazing weather, despite a tropical storm looming over on the East coast of the state!

We had so much fun swimming around in the water, and there were TONS of star fish and sand dollars everywhere! These guys had picked up about 15 of them, and let us take a picture before they released them all back out again. (Do their little tentacles on the underside of them creep anyone else out? Because they super creep me out...)  And even though we put SPF 50 on Jeff twice throughout our four-ish hours out there, dude still came away with a pretty nasty sunburn. He's just so fair-skinned and freckle-y, that a sunburn is pretty much inevitable no matter what. Poor Irish boyfriend :)

After the beach, we stopped in Panacea to eat an early-ish dinner at The Coastal, and all three of us shared a giant "Dinner for Two" platter of delicious seafood. We all ate a bit too much, and left extremely full. Back at their house, we took turns getting cleaned up, and then putting aloe on the sunburns. And then we played cards again, but this time I won! (And I won pretty big...) I went home kind of early to see my family and spend a little bit of time with them before bedtime. They told me about their day at the beach in Panama City and they had some funny stories about too many people all in one boat...

Like I said - it was an extremely full weekend. But it was full of stuff that made me happy and healthy and grateful for an extra day in my weekend! I got to spend some good quality time with all of my family members, got a nice dose of vitamin D, heard a great concert and generally had a wonderful time. I love long weekends, and I love the things I get to do during a long weekend! I hope everyone else had an equally enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, whether it was fun and busy, or restful and easy-going. Both are lovely options :)

Also, today starts a new diet plan, and I will be sharing more of my weight loss journey and issues later in the week. (Oh wait, it is already later in the, maybe this weekend if I can get around to it...?) I'm contemplating being very transparent with my weight, how much I'm trying to lose, and what my ultimate goal weight is. It's just scary sharing such personal information, especially when I'm not too comfortable with it. I don't know, we'll see...

But for now, I want to share one more exciting thing in my life - one year ago today (May 31, 2011) was when Jeff and I went on our very first date! It doesn't seem like it's been that long already, but on the other hand, it feels likes it hasn't yet been long enough! Either way, it's been a great year and I'm so thankful that he's in my life now. Love you Baby :)

Left: St. Augustine 10/11. Top: Jeff's Bday 5/12. Middle: twins' bday party 7/11. Bottom: New Year's Eve 12/11.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Passes to the Water Park

A couple of months ago, my sweet boyfriend made a nice little video of a day trip we took to Jacksonville. Now it was my turn to make a cute video of a fun day Jeff and I had! We have annual passes to Wild Adventures (which includes passes to the water park and all the concerts), and so last Saturday we went to the water park - Splash Island - for the first time. We had some nice time in the sun, rode some fun slides and rides, just generally and had a ton of fun. Check out my attempt at a cute little video! :)

Click HERE to go directly to it on my YouTube page. (I can't seem to be able to embed it this time...)

Hopefully it works, and hopefully you like the video! Love to all family, friends and readers!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Paisley Phone Cover

I've been really jonesin' for a new iPhone case lately. Partly because mine is a little worn and broken in a couple of places, but mostly because I'm just ready for a change for my pretty little iPhone. So I did some looking around, and found that Urban Outfitters has some really, really cute ones. I have no idea if they're good quality or not (for some reason I'm thinkin' NO), but I've made a couple of collages to showcase some of my favorite ones from their site:

In the first collage, I really enjoy the patchwork effect on the top right corner, and the doodle-like design of the middle picture on the bottom row. In the second collage, my favorites are the left picture on both the top and bottom rows, as well as the paisley in the top right corner.

But since I'm not too sure about this quality of these beauties, and I can't even see one in person without purchasing it online, I'm going to forego buying one from here, even though some are amazingly awesome. What I would like to do though, is an idea I saw on Pinterest a long time ago - before I even had an iPhone yet - but now can't find again...

Anyways, you just buy a clear iPhone case/cover, find pretty scrapbook paper, cut the scrapbook paper to fit inside the back of your clear cover, and voila! You have a cute little cover, that you can change in and out as your tire and bore of the previous one. And I'm sure I could find some super cute scrapbook paper that would be just as pretty as some of the cases featured above.

So unless anyone just wishes to buy me a present for no reason, and buy me a pretty new iPhone case, I'll be on the lookout for a clear one in my future :)

Love to everyone. And I hope you enjoy your 3-day, Memorial Weekend! Hooray!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pomp & Circumstance

I've been absent from my little corner of the blog world lately, and I'm starting to miss it already. I've just been super busy getting stuff ready for our Senior Recognition Sunday at church this upcoming Sunday. I've been making a PowerPoint slideshow of pictures of 13 seniors who we will recognize this Sunday. They've included some cute little baby pictures, all the way up to their formal senior portrait - and all are precious. I've also been making a fancy insert of all their information, plans, accomplishments and activities during high school. It's been a lot of work, and honestly I'll be glad when it's all finished and I can move on to other things instead!

I'm so looking forward to congratulating them that morning, and celebrating with them on Sunday night! Because we are taking them out to a fancy dinner at Osaka Japanese Hibachi restaurant. So yummy! And those places are always so much fun to watch them cook right in front of you with their silly jokes and cool tricks.

But Sunday morning will be special and exciting - and I get to bust out my old robes and graduation paraphernalia. Our two associate Pastor's, as well as our youth pastor and myself are all dressing in our graduation regalia on Sunday morning to match the seniors in theirs as well. We will all walk into the church in a little procession to the good ol' Pomp & Circumstance, and I will relive this time six years ago when I did the same thing as a high school senior at BFBC. (Although then it was still in our old building, so the seniors all sat in the choir loft since the church was so tiny!)

It's going to be funny for us to be in our graduation garb as well, but it will also be fun! I'm so glad I get to be a part of this recognition ceremony, and more importantly a part of these teenagers' lives! I love my youth so much, and am so proud of the seniors about to graduate!

And for a tiny trip down memory lane, here are two photos from my Senior Sunday back in 2006!

Best friend Callie, and our good friend Jarred on Senior Sunday 2006.

This girl is pretty awesome, and I'm glad she's my friend - both then and now!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Passionate Mama

Happy Mother's Day! This day is so fun spent with family and most especially honoring what a wonderful Mama I've been blessed with. To celebrate this day of recognizing our mother's, I have a special post straight from my favoritest mother - my very own Mama. She is such an awesome lady, and I hope I can one day be as good of a mother as she was and still is to me. She is such a Passionate Mama, and most especially about her girls! I am so thankful for her, and love her so very much!

I asked her to answer a special set of ABC's I wrote just for her, but all of her answers are based on when she was the same age as I am now! Some of her answers are funny, some are serious and some are surprising (because I didn't know that before, i.e. her Interesting Fact listed below). I admire her for all she is and does for our family and many more reasons. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I do! It's a little longer than my usual posts, but that's fine, and definitely worth a read!

Age: 24, and almost 3/4s!
Best memory: The best memories I have are of times that I just sat in the floor and played with Halie, or took her to the park. It wasn’t about doing anything fancy, it was about being with her—that’s what mattered. I’d have to say the most precious memory is the nightly prayer we started saying when Halie moved from her crib to her big-girl bed. We said that prayer every single night for so many years. And she wouldn’t go to sleep without it. Then later, it became the prayer that was said for Megan too.
Cooking: I loved cooking dinner every night. Tried many things, made some things better than others, and learned what worked and what didn't.The hardest part about cooking was getting it ready while also tending to a 2-year-old!
Dealing with:  The demands of working and having enough energy to keep working when I got home!
Expecting: Wow—just hit me as I was trying to think back on what I was expecting when I was 24…I was “Expecting” Megan Secille Trammell (although at that point, even though I knew I was having another girl, she was not yet named).
Favorite Color: Purple
Greatest accomplishment: Wasn't there then, and still not there yet. My greatest accomplishment will be achieved when I stand before my Lord and Savior one day and He says to me “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Hobbies: No time for hobbies…I was busy chasing a 2-year-old (the author of this blog) around the house! Best I could do was sneak in a crossword puzzle or two while she was napping! And somewhere there are several unfinished cross-stitch projects that just fell by the wayside because they were so much less important than my baby was.
Interesting fact: I had a (borrowed) .357 Magnum…for safety reasons of course!
Job: Assistant to the Statewide Prosecutor at the Florida Attorney General's office.
Kids: Halie Renee Trammell, born January 29, 1988, by C-section, after 16 hours of labor and Dr. Clements telling me I was going to have to go home and come back the next day! I told him “No, I came to have a baby today, we’re having a baby today.” Uncle Keith heard that, went back to the waiting room and told Grandmother that everybody better start praying. Not long after that my water broke but things didn’t progress. My blood pressure spiked, the baby was in stress, and Dr. Clements decided we had to do a C-Section.  Mine was the 7th he’d had to do that day—and he had it done in 7 minutes!
Learning: That there’s nothing quite like being a mom; nothing that compares with the overwhelming feeling of joy (despite anything else that might have happened) that you get when you pick your child up and they wrap their little arms around your neck and hug you tight, and they are so incredibly happy to see you. And for that moment, everything is right with the world and nothing else matters!
Movies: I didn't have time to go to movies. We watched movies at home—the movies that she, the 2-year-old, wanted to watch.  Which was, by the way, The Little Mermaid!  Imagine that Ariel is still her favorite Disney princess to this day! We watched Rock-A-Doodle quite a lot also!
Nicknames: Family nicknames: “Little One” or “Sissy”; Friends called me “Ames” (some still do!)
Obsessed with: Didn’t really have any obsessions when I was 24—at least not that I can recall.
Pet Peeves: Where should I begin with these?!  Seriously though, would have been the same back then as it is today…CRUNCHING…ice, chips, candy, etc.  Ask anyone close to me, and even some who aren’t close to me, they’ll tell you! I simply cannot tolerate it!!
Quick fact: I was once told by one of my bosses that he “felt comfortable to burp and fart in front of me!” (And it just might have been the boss mentioned above.)
Realizing: Realizing that for all intents and purposes I was already a single parent.
Songs: This one’s a no brainer…“When I Call Your Name” by Vince Gill.
TV Shows: 48 Hours, 20/20, China Beach, The Cosby Show, L.A. Law.
Unaware of: How drastically my life, and the lives of my daughters, would change over the course of time; and the fact that even though things were pretty bad for a number of years,  that wouldn’t be how our story would end.
Vehicle: Red Toyota 4-Runner (don’t remember what model year it was).
What you wore: Nothing good I’m sure. I wasn't a fashion maven or anything even remotely close!
X-rays: I can’t remember having any X-rays during this time period oh so many years ago!
Zoo animal: Really? Zoo animal? Oh good grief…

And of course we scrounged up some old school pictures to scan in and include in the post! All are from 1990, when my Mama was 24, just like I am now!

Family Reunion 1990. Uncle Orvin, that precious little blondie is me, and Mama is holding cousin Hunter.

My sweet Granddaddy and my Mama, from way back in the day, circa 1990.

My Mama in 1990, pregnant with my little sister, Megan! And even though it looks like a nightgown, it's actually a maternity dress...or so I've been told at least. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Partial to the Weekends

It's almost the weekend!! And obviously I'm a little bit looking forward to that, because I'm a little bit Partial to the Weekends. Not because I always have the best weekend ever planned, but simply because it means I get two full days of "me time," in whatever form it might appear, where I don't have to be at work, and I don't have to indoors if I don't want to be...

Tonight's me time begins with a lovely date with my sweet boyfriend. My boss gave me a gift card a few weeks ago for Administrative Professionals Day to Olive Garden. It can actually be used at any Darden restaurant though (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn & Bahama Breeze), so we're going to dinner at Longhorn, because we also have a coupon for a free appetizer. Score! So we're "treating" ourselves to a fancy date tonight, just because we can. :)

Tomorrow's plans aren't cemented in stone yet, but hopefully it includes at least a little bit of outside time in the nice weather. I'm thinking either a morning bike ride or some afternoon pool time. Or hopefully both if I'm lucky enough. Then tomorrow night will be a party for a girl at Jeff's church to celebrate her graduation from FSU Grad school. Congrats to her!

Sunday of course is Mother's day. So that means presents first thing in the morning for my sweet Mama. Then we'll all go to church together and head home to change clothes before heading to lunch. We will all meet at my Grandparents' house and celebrate my Mama, Aunt Q, and my Grandmother with yummy food, lemonade cake (which sounds delish), and some more presents. Then we'll spend the evening back at home again enjoying time together with our little family.

(And for Mother's Day, I have a special post planned that features my dearest Mama, that I for one am looking forward to posting and sharing with yall. So look for that on Sunday!)

I'm looking forward to some time spent doing a few things I want to do, as well as some time enjoying the company of people I love! I'm so thankful for two full days of weekend :) Only a little over one hour of work to go until it get's here - hurry, hurry, hurry please!


A little bored on my afternoon break today - this is why I need a couple of days away from the office!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pile Up the Joy

Some of the best things in life are often the smallest, most seemingly ordinary things. And sadly we don’t take the time to recognize those things or thank those special people in our lives.  Even “silly” things are sometimes instrumental in cheering me up or changing my attitude. And all the "regular" people in my life make me so happy. It’s so much nicer when I can actually recognize those things and people, take time to enjoy them, and make a small memory of something that made me happy.

When we take the time to Pile Up the Joy in our daily lives, we realize how much we're blessed with. Then those "bad" or annoying things in our lives are more tolerable, less stressful, and we have less of a reason to complain when things may not go our way. I wish everyone could be more in tune to things like that. I wish I could be more in tune to things like that. I think if we all were, each one of us would be happier, more joyful, less stressed, and more thankful for the tiniest of blessings.

Tiny things that brighten my day and bless my life might include:

The smell of coffee in the morning
A bright blue sky
Super sweet “good morning” texts from my super sweet boyfriend
A nice email at work from my Mama
Someone talking to me about my recent blog post, who I didn’t know even read my blog
Excited greetings from cute little doggies
A funny little sister who loves me so much
Compliments on my cute outfit or jewelry
Listening to a good CD repeatedly in my car
A loving Papa who comes to get the giant Palmetto bug out of my shower
That I am able to have my own iPhone-car-laptop-room-new bike-etc…
Grandparents who help me out constantly
Bike rides
Getting to be a part of the lives of some awesome teenagers
Movie rest night at the house with Jeff

And I could continue on and on with a much longer list...

The list isn't what's important though. What's important is that we (including myself), don't forget to recognize the mundane, daily things that add joy to our lives. So many of the tiniest blessings often get overlooked, because we don't realize they're actually blessings. And they are! We have sooooo so much to be thankful for. I know I'm going to take some time to thank my Lord for those small, tiny, awesome, glorious blessings. Because they truly do make a huge impact in my life!

And since I don't like posts without pictures, here are past pics of mine that represent the joy in my life.

My dear, sweet boyfriend Jeff.
My wonderful family.
My funny little seester :)

My bike that I love riding.
Beautiful blue skies.

Love and joy and blessings to each one of you :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Periodically Updated

I love periodically updating the template of my blog. I don't do it very often, but when I do, I make sure everything is just right, and then leave it for a long time.I pick out a new background image, then spend a good amount of time matching up the fonts and border colors and link colors, until it all looks so pretty, and I'm always quite proud of the changes.

This time, I went for some bright, pretty colors for the summertime, and I'm loving it so far! The last template was up for 6 or 7 months, so we'll see how long I keep this one! For now though, it's pretty close to perfect, and I just wanted to share this random post, so that I could share the new prettyness. :)

Love and kisses and hugs and warm wishes to everyone :)

Oh, and here are some pretty pictures from Monday night when we went out for a fancy dinner at Harry's to celebrate Jeff's birthday with his parents!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pining For Summertime

Summertime is almost here! The summer months are definitely loved by this girl, and they bring so many happy things: swimming, watermelon, sunshine, tan skin, long days, exciting nights, a more relaxed feeling, beach days, river tubing, popsicles, and so much more. But another one of the reasons I love summer, is for all the fun activities that I get to do with my youth group!

We call the whole ordeal "Y.E.S.S." - which stands for Youth Extreme Summer Spectacular. And it is indeed spectacular. We do about five or six fun, crazy, sometimes messy events during the summer, and then our final event to culminate the summer is always Rock the Universe at Universal Studios Orlando. It rocks! .... I'm punny, huh? :) Anyways, if you want, you can check out an old post of RTU from 2010. Also, the summer events are when we invite the upcoming 6th-graders to start joining in on youth events, so we get to welcome some new members to our Rooftop group!

The YESS agenda for this summer includes the following:

1. Speed Switch Game Night - this is one I'm super excited for, based solely on my love of games. It's set up like speed dating, only when the bell rings, each person on your team rotates one spot to play a new game, rather than rotating to flirt with a potential date. If you win a game, your team gets a point. The team with the most points wins!
2. Bonfire & Luau - don't really need to explain this one, we understand what it means. There will be grass skirts, flowery lei's, smores, games and fun. Count me in.
3. Real Life Clue - I don't want to give too much away (for those few of my youth who read my blog) but this is going to be a fun night. It will be way more fun in fact than simply playing the board game.
4. Beach Weekend - um hello?! Who doesn't want to spend a couple of days at the beach? I plan on taking us to St. George Island, and spending some quality time not only in the glorious Gulf water and sunshine, but also some quality time with some great teenagers.
5. Extreme Paint Night, Part 4 - This one is always a big hit, and one of the only summer events we ever repeat, and definitely the only one we do year after year because of it's popularity. We play some "regular" games, but the twist is there's always paint involved somehow. For example - kickball where you have to slip-n-slide down a tarp full of paint to each base. Or Twister where each circle is a big blob of paint. So. Much. Fun. (See some of the 2010 action here...)
6. Rock the Universe - and last and most-certainly-not-least-but-in-fact-arguably-the-best we have Rock the Universe. We get admission into Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (which now includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!) for two days, as well as awesome concerts from some of the biggest and most popular current Christian artists. It's extremely exhausting - but the fun quotient certainly outweighs the exhaustion quotient.

So many fun events, so much excitement, and I can't wait to get it all started. The first event is still right at a month away (June 3), but I'm ready to start the fun and games now! I love my youth group, and I love hanging out with them, and I super-duper love summer events with my youth group.

Parents & Youth - click HERE for a link to our church website to download the forms :)

Also, I had a hard time narrowing down all the amazing pictures from last summer's awesomeness (imagine that), so here's a giant pile of picture overload for your viewing pleasure! (Sorry they're not in any kind of order - that was too much work for me and I didn't feel like doing it...)

Super Duper Messy Night

Rock the Universe

Rock the Universe - I think this was Switchfoot.
Rock the Universe - roomies.

Super Duper Messy Night
Super Duper Messy Night

Extreme Paint Night, Part 3

Extreme Paint Night, Part 3.
Rock the Universe - Harry Potter World.

Rock the Universe - from on top of a little ride

Rock the Universe - Islands of Adventure.

Tubing at Bear Paw.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pinstagram Weekend Photo Dump

Since my last few posts have been very wordy, we're going for a less-is-more theme with mainly photos. Here are some of the moments I loved from this past weekend, all portrayed through Instagram.

I love the weekends. I love Instagram. I love combining the two...

Got donuts and coffee as a treat for the boyfriend Saturday morning.
Jeff's birthday wish was to see "The Avengers" in IMAX 3D.
So of course I'm a good girlfriend, and took him on Saturday!
Then we did a little shopping - such a good price on those shoes!
Jeff actually really likes shopping with me, and especially for shoes.
This is how we celebrated Cinco de Mayo. So yummy!!
Then he asked for birthday ice cream, so we got Marble Slab. Yum!
Pretty drive on a country road on the way to Lauren's wedding.
Lauren was such a beautiful bride!
Wedding reception.
Found my old friend Callie at church, on her birthday!
This was for the #photoadaymay Instagram challenge. Day 6 - You.
Sunday lunch with the fam at Gordo's. Love my Leetle Seester!
Sunday lunch at Gordos. Cuban food is so good!