Oh, the Places We Go — Wedding Edition (Nashville)

Finally, we finished up our travels in Nashville, Tennessee for Josh and Jessica’s wedding. Though we didn’t get to sightsee a whole lot with all of the festivities, we did have our share of fun. Plus, we got to be a part of a really beautiful wedding ceremony for two people who just really love the Lord, their families and one another.

Boy facials at the Bachelor Party.

Boy facials at the Bachelor Party.

Whiskey tasting.

Whiskey tasting.

The King of Selfies.

The King of Selfies.

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The Partay.

The Partay.

The couple that cliff jumps together, stays together.

The couple that cliff jumps together, stays together.

Boating on Percy Priest Lake.

Boating on Percy Priest Lake.

The Rehearsal Dinner

The Rehearsal Dinner

With the beautiful flower girl.

With the beautiful flower girl.

Can it get any more Tennessee than this?!

Can it get any more Tennessee than this?!

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The Best Man

The Best Man

First Dance

First Dance

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Sleepy Flower Girl

Sleepy Flower Girl

Mother and Son Dance

Mother and Son Dance

Amazing night for an amazing couple!

Amazing night for an amazing couple!

Oh, the Places We Go (New Orleans)

Most of our time in New Orleans was spent eating. I don’t know of a better place to eat in this country, honestly. From po’ boys to chargrilled oysters, we had our fill of the culinary delights of this city.

We also visited the zoo, aquarium, Garden District and French Quarter, in addition to a few day trips to the beach in Mississippi and Oak Alley Plantation.

Fun at the Aquarium.

Fun at the Aquarium.

That toddler life.

That toddler life.

Walking around the French Quarter.

Walking around the French Quarter.

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall

Fun on the Gulf of Mexico

Fun on the Gulf of Mexico

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The beautiful Oak Alley Plantation.

The beautiful Oak Alley Plantation.

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Oh, the Places We Go (Out West)

If you know us at all, you know we love to travel. Having a baby didn’t stop that, and having a toddler certainly didn’t stop us either. This summer, we made our way out west to the Grand Canyon and Jackson Hole with the Knight family, New Orleans on our first ever just-the-three-of-us vacation and finally, Nashville for Josh and Jessica’s wedding.

Even though we’re avid travelers, we’re happy to be resting quietly at home for a few months. Nonetheless, we made some awesome memories this summer…

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Jeff Knight and me.

Jeff Knight and me.

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Charlotte fell asleep on a rainy, hour and a half hike to a waterfall in Grand Teton. She definitely got the better end of the deal.

Charlotte fell asleep on a rainy, hour and a half hike to a waterfall in Grand Teton. She definitely got the better end of the deal.

Ol' Faithful fizzling out. #notimpressed

Ol’ Faithful fizzling out. #notimpressed

Grand Prismatic Springs

Grand Prismatic Springs

Quality time with Jacky Boy.

Quality time with Jacky Boy.

Lewis Falls in Yellowstone Park with two of my sisters.

Lewis Falls in Yellowstone Park with two of my sisters.

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Mormon Row Barn

Mormon Row Barn

Atop Rendezvous Mountain.

Atop Rendezvous Mountain.

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Inspiration Point in Teton National Park.

Inspiration Point in Teton National Park.

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Cascade Canyon Trail, i.e. Heaven on Earth.

Cascade Canyon Trail, i.e. Heaven on Earth.

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To be continued…

Home Sweet Home

I’m not going to let this blog fall off the face of the earth, regardless of how long I go between posting. “Thankfully,” I’m feeling under the weather so I’m devoting some couch time to the blog.

In February, we were house hunting, and after several open houses in cookie cutter homes, I suggested we go to one more at a house which I described as “kind of ugly.” It didn’t have much curb appeal, but as soon as we walked into this home, it was obvious that this was the house for us.

It wasn’t in terrible shape at all, but it did need some work, which was something we were looking for. Plus, it had more than plenty of room in which to grow our family. A week or so later, we were making a final offer on the house.

In March, we signed for the house while I was in Florida on Spring Break, and the month of April was used for demolition and renovation. There wasn’t a whole lot of DIY involved because the scope of the work was beyond our skill level. To our great surprise, the work was finished on time, and we were able to move in during the first weekend of May.

So without further adieu, welcome to a snapshot of our home…

BEFORE: The "beautiful" wood-paneled Bum Room.

BEFORE: The “beautiful” wood-paneled Bum Room.

The kitchen, which we'll update later.

The kitchen, which we’ll update later.

BEFORE: The informal living room with a wall bordering the formal living room.

BEFORE: The informal living room with a wall bordering the formal living room.

Signing day -- Facetiming Ryan with the keys to our new home.

Signing day — Facetiming Ryan with the keys to our new home.

Carrying his Bride over the threshold.

Carrying his Bride over the threshold.

Ryan getting ready to do some demo -- he's been waiting for this for years.

Ryan getting ready to do some demo — he’s been waiting for this for years.

Charlotte and I lending a hand.

Charlotte and I lending a hand.

Informal/formal living room.

Informal/formal living room.

Informal/formal living room.

Informal/formal living room.

Informal/formal living room.

Informal/formal living room.

AFTER: Bonus room. New floors, new paint.

AFTER: Bonus room. New floors, new paint.

Move in day! Charlotte is SO EXCITED!

Move in day! Charlotte is SO EXCITED!

BEFORE: Exterior of the home.

BEFORE: Exterior of the home.

AFTER: Living room. Ryan has since completed the fireplace -- so it looks like the blog is due for an update already :)

AFTER: Living room. New floors, new paint, no wall. Ryan has since completed the fireplace — so it looks like the blog is due for an update already :)

AFTER: Exterior of home.

AFTER: Exterior of home.

Charlotte: 18 Months

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

Charlotte,

Bye, bye, baby. Hello, toddler. Time is flying by more quickly than it did during the first year, but that may have to do with the fact that we’re having so much fun.

While I long for the baby days sometimes, I love this age. You are talking up a storm, make believing when you play and surprising us with your personality. Every day, you say or do something totally new, and we have to ask ourselves as well as each other, “Where did she learn that?”

Since your 15-month post, we’ve gone on Spring Break in Florida, celebrated Easter and moved to a new home. We’ve also spent quite a few days at the Children’s Museum, the Indianapolis Art Museum, friends’ homes and the parks and trails around Indianapolis. Needless to say, we’re having a blast exploring our new hometown.

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

One aspect of your personality that has emerged that we find especially endearing is your caring, nurturing side. Your are always taking care of your “babies,” i.e. your stuffed animals, or helping us clean up, “cook” and do yard work. You also love looking at and talking to babies but are equally interested in big kids as well.

Though you have been extremely shy for the past few months, you’ve become very outgoing over night. It shocks us to see you walk up to any kid and strike up a “conversation.” You’re also comfortable hamming it up in front of almost anyone.

I think if you keep getting more awesome, our hearts are going to explode. But we welcome you to test our limits. You give us so many reasons to smile and laugh and enjoy life with you, girlie.

Love always,
Mom and Dad

P.S. For the record, you turned 18 months in May — and not July. Forgive me for the late post!

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

Weight: 22 lbs
Height: 31 3/4 in
Clothing size: 18 – 24 months and 2T

Charlotte Likes: FROZEN, playing in the backyard, Kindermusik, parks, digging in the dirt, story time at the library, Children’s Museum, talking, singing, and the song, “Happy.”

Charlotte Dislikes: Not getting her way, which happens quite a bit now that she’s into anything and everything.

Firsts: Merry-go-round ride, HOME, full-length movie love (Frozen) and many other things I’ve forgotten, I’m sure.

Diapers: She was in disposables for quite a while we moved from the apartment to our house. We’re back in cloth diapers while at home but still doing the disposables on-the-go.

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

Sleep: Charlotte is sleeping roughly 12 hours a night, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. She also naps about 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day each afternoon.

Feed: She eats everything we eat, including salmon, cream cheese and green beans. We think she has an extensive pallet for a toddler, but she can be picky in a way. For instance, some days she LOVES peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; other days, she’ll have nothing to do with it.

Talk: Charlotte is talking up a storm, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her Mom. Every week that we pick her up from the nursery at church, the volunteers comment on how much she talks. Strangers in stores comment on it as well. I’ve lost count of the words she can say, but for the most part, we can understand what she wants and needs.

You’re such a big girl now!

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

Photos by LinneaLiz Photography in Indianapolis.

Mother’s & Father’s Days

Let’s just combine these two, shall we?

Mother’s Day weekend was a little hectic this year; however, it was very, very fun. Ryan and I were in Cincinnati celebrating a friend’s birthday while Charlotte was at the Randolph’s lake house. We were fortunate enough to have lunch with Ryan’s parents, his grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousin on Sunday.

Once we were together as a family of three, we had dinner at a local restaurant near our new home. It was a quiet evening, perfect after a crazy weekend. And it was topped off with a Dyson — I must have been a good Mom this year!

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For Father’s Day, we surprised Ryan with donuts in bed, went to church and then shopped for some new professional clothes for the hard-working man in our lives.

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I love, love, love being a Mom to Charlotte, and though transitioning into my role as a stay-at-home-mom last year was a little scary at first, I wouldn’t trade this decision or this life for anything else. It has so richly blessed me beyond anything I deserve, and I’m so happy to have a husband that loves and supports me in this decision.

As for Ryan, I can’t speak highly enough of how he is thriving in his role as a Dad. Charlotte is just 18-months old, but it’s clear that she loves her Daddy. He is so wonderful with her, and it makes my heart swell to hear or see them playing with one another. He’s good about teaching her, especially during their nightly bath time routine. And he’s pretty much wrapped around her finger.

Needless to say, we absolutely love being parents, and we celebrate parenthood not just on these days but every day through the year.

Golden Birthday Adventures

I love celebrating birthdays, and celebrating my own is no different. That’s why for several months before my birthday, I had been hinting that my golden birthday was coming, which naturally warrants a little something special.

Weeks before my birthday, Ryan told me we would be going somewhere, but the final destination would remain a surprise. So on Friday of my birthday weekend, we headed down to Ryan’s parents’ house, where Charlotte would be staying while we were off on our adventure. At this point, our destination was still a surprise…

…until Ryan talked to his boss on the phone and spilled the beans right in front of me.

After dropping Charlotte off, we headed down to Bourbon/Horse Country in Kentucky. We spent the weekend at Maple Hill Manor, which we can’t recommend highly enough. It’s located in Springfield, Kentucky, which is within driving distance to several cute towns like Harrodsburg and Bardstown.

We spent the weekend riding horses, antiquing and bourbon tasting. Though we’ve spent a lot of time in exotic locales all over the world, this weekend was just as fun as any abroad — and it’s all better told through pictures.

Our beautiful Bed & Breakfast, Maple Hill Manor.

Our beautiful Bed & Breakfast, Maple Hill Manor.

...which is also an alpaca farm.

…which is also an alpaca farm.

Horseback riding at Big Red Barn Stables.

Horseback riding at Big Red Barn Stables.

This wasn't your typical horseback riding excursion. Our 60-year-old guide has us running with the horses. It was equally exhilarating and terrifying.

This wasn’t your typical horseback riding excursion. Our 60-year-old guide had us running with the horses. It was equally exhilarating and terrifying.

Lunch and ice cream at the Kentucky Fudge Company on Main Street in Harrodsburg. Formerly a drug store dating back to 1865, its decor is as equally good as the food.

Lunch and ice cream at the Kentucky Fudge Company on Main Street in Harrodsburg. Formerly a drug store dating back to 1865, the decor is charming in its authenticity, and the food is super tasty.

Shaker Village in Harrodsburg.

Shaker Village in Harrodsburg.

Obviously, the little lambs were the highlight of our visit.

Obviously, the little lambs were the highlight of our visit.

Followed closely by getting to try on some Shaker garb.

Followed closely by getting to try on some Shaker garb.

Bourbon tasting at Kentucky Bourbon House. Though we are not big bourbon drinkers, we're definitely heading back here when we're in the area!

Bourbon tasting at Kentucky Bourbon House. Though we are not big bourbon drinkers, we’re definitely heading back here when we’re in the area!

It was a wonderful birthday weekend that will be hard to top! Thanks to my husband for making me feel like a princess.

It was a wonderful birthday weekend that will be hard to top! Thanks to my husband for making me feel like a princess.