The Ultimate Roadtrip

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Stop: Palmyra, NY

     Kirby finished his summer job a couple of weeks before we had to be in Colorado, so we decided to take the long way home! We left Alabama with our car packed to the brim with everything we own. Packing was a pain because on our trip back home we would be camping the entire time in a little tent, keeping everything in our car. So we had to keep our camping stuff easily accessible, while keeping the things we would need in Colorado separate from everything else that we had packed for the entire 5 months! Our first trip was to Palmyra, NY.
 We camped at a little camp sight right on the coast of Lake Ontario, it as beautiful! The trick was that the owner was a little old lady, and she wanted us to be there by 9:00 at night so that we wouldn't wake anyone up while setting up. Kirby had worked all night the night before, getting home at around midnight. So we packed up and left at around 4 AM in order to get from Alabama to New York in time! We pulled in right on time, set up, and went to sleep for the first time in 48 hours (well on Kirby's part at least...I slept a lot in the car). In the morning we got dressed and went to the Joseph Smith farm where we were able to see their houses and work places. I have always felt connected in a way to Joseph Smith, we share the same birthday, and all of the stories surrounding him and his work have always touched me deeper than most.
One thing that had a pretty big impact on me was that the sister missionary that was directing the two of us on a tour showed us where Joseph had hid the plates, it made it so real to see the stones under the fireplace that had hid the plates and then turn around to see the window he would have watched the mob coming up the street to attack them. So many of the stories we heard there have increased my love and respect for the Prophet and his family.
We left his house and walked, as he would have, into the Sacred Grove. The peace and sacredness that lived there is a feeling I never want to forget. There is no doubt in my mind that that place is one of the most holy places on this Earth. It is so much more than a grove of trees.
While in Palmyra we also visited the Hill Cumorah. It is now my goal to be there for the pageant sometime in my life. *fun fact: Kirby was in the Hill Cumorah Pageant when he was young! The visitors center there is incredible. We also went to the Martin Harris farm, where we were able to stand in the house where the very first sacrament meeting occurred. I am so thankful for those faithful saints who, through their strength, were able to help bring the gospel to eventually reach the whole world! Another cool place that we went to in Palmyra was the printer where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were published. And of course we had to stop for some yummy pizza at a little place called Nema's Pizzeria!
In Palmyra, I found a new favorite temple. After a lot of sight seeing we stopped at a Stake Center, where a few tour busses of youth from Brooklyn were hanging out, to change into our church clothes in order to go to a session at the temple. The Palmyra temple is very small, it is set up almost exactly like the temple in my home town, Spokane, Washington. The thing that makes this temple so special is the fact that there is a window in the foyer that is clear glass. This is the only window in any of the temples that has a window that you can see out of. This window looks out over the Sacred Grove. One of the temple workers there told me that they call it "President Hinckley's Window" because while they were building it he came in and asked them which direction the Sacred Grove was from the temple. Once someone pointed in the direction of the temple's office, he told them to move the office and put a window in that wall so that those inside the temple can look out and see the Sacred Grove. The Spirit in that temple was one of the sweetest things I have ever experienced. Something else that I loved about the temple was the fact that every piece of glass in the temple was stained and designed to look like the trees in the grove. It was truly spectacular.

 (This little tent is what we stayed in the entire time...I love it so much, mostly because of the memories associated with it.)
The Smith's house.
The Sacred Grove.
Hill Cumorah
The room of the first meeting!
The Palmyra Temple
The windows...loved them!

More of the detailed windows.

 That night it rained pretty hard on us in our little tent. Once we were in bed I realized that I had left my phone in the bathroom at the Stake Center where we had changed, I figured it would be ok to just go back in the morning and pick it up on our way out of town. Being in a tent we woke up with the sun every morning, so we packed up our wet camping gear (as it was still raining), and headed out of town, planning to stop and pick up my phone on the way to see the Niagara Fall. Once we got the the Stake Center I realized that my phone was gone! I was in a panic, and asked a man who was there hosting an activity if he knew where I should go. He informed me that the night before one of the girls from Brooklyn had found it and said it was her friends so she took it on the bus with them to check, and never brought it in. This seemed kind of fishy to me...considering my picture was on the front and so obviously it wasn't anyone she knew. I was determined to find it and knew that the leaders of the youth group had been at the temple last night as well so I called the temple to get the number for the person who had booked the session. I called that number and was terrified to find out that she had gone back to Brooklyn early and the rest of the group was leaving in a couple of hours! 

So long story short - she contacted a leader who had stayed in Palmyra to get their itinerary, found out that they were at the Hill Cumorah, and we then drove there to confront this girl. Once there we found a leader, got the girl, and then found out that the bus with her stuff had left for lunch! So we sat outside until he showed up. Once the bus was back the girl, and three leaders searched her luggage and could not find it, so I had Kirby called it and we heard it buzzing inside the bus where she had been sitting...pretty fishy. So after all that we were HOURS behind in our schedule and therefore did not have time to go to Niagara Falls. I felt pretty silly...but at least I had my phone, and we were on our way to Kirtland, Ohio!

The Second Stop: Kirtland, Ohio

     We pulled into Kirtland right on time to get the last tour of the Kirtland temple for the day, and once again, it was just the two of us. It was interesting to have the tour lead by another church, but nothing could hurt the Spirit that still exists there today. Every inch of that temple was beautiful, and I was so amazed to see that so much of the original temple had been preserved. The wood work along the walls and the pillars and the ceiling took my breath away, there was enough little details to try and take in I'm sure I could go one hundred times and still find something new. My favorite part was upstairs in Joseph Smith's office where we stood on the same floor boards that he had when he was visited by Jesus Christ. While I am sure that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have visited all of the temples, there is an extra special feeling in a place where it has been recorded that He has been there.
When we told people that we were headed to Kirtland most of those who had been there said "all I really remember about Kirtland is the temple" so I wasn't expecting much from our stop there. However, this ended up being one of my favorite stops. We headed over to the visitors center where we were walked over to the Newel K. Whitney store, where some amazing things happened as well. Upstairs we sat in the room where the brethren met and received revelation that would effect the church forever. It was so touching to see all that the saints had, and more importantly, all that they willingly left to make the treck to Salt Lake. We saw and experienced a lot here, but one seemingly small part of the trip that stands out in my mind was the video they show at the visitors center (the one owned by our church). This video was an amazing portrayal of what the saints gave up for the gospel and it has forever impacted my view and increased my gratitude.
 Our campsite here was a little bit outside of was incredibly difficult to find a campsite in Kirtland so we ended up dishing out the cash for a KOA. Camping at  KOA is what I like to call "glamor camping." When we pulled up a fire truck was diving around the campsight giving rides to the kids. The office is attached to an icecream shop and convenience store, there was a man made lake with a slide into it, they had nightly activities, and the bathrooms were so nice! It didn't even feel like camping, but it was a lot of fun and would be the perfect way to camp with kids!

outside the doors to the Kirtland temple.
The temple!
Kirb loved this little outdoor chapel we found outside the Kirtland temple.
The Newel K. Whitney store.

The Whitney's home.

Third Stop: Nauvoo, Illinois

     On the way to Nauvoo we decided to make a quick stop in Chicago, specifically to get a famous Chicago hotdog! We wanted to do a little more there, but sadly the traffic was so so bad by the time we got into the city and ate, we had to be on our way to Nauvoo. 

We did a lot in the short amount of time that we were in Nauvoo. We pulled in late at night and pitched our tent at the state park just down the street from historic Nauvoo. The next day we did everything and anything that we could fit into the day. But before starting the fun, we went to buy some firewood and groceries...but we soon realized that was going to be very difficult in little Nauvoo...we had to drive to another city just to find firewood!

To start our journey we first went on a wagon ride around Nauvoo. The wagon was driven by a couple of cowboy senior missionaries. They were so funny and told us some amazing stories that I had never heard about people in the Church's history that are often overlooked. They told us about a play that the missionaries were putting on that night, and we were excited to go watch that night. 
We then went to a few of the houses and stores in historic Nauvoo. We went to the red brick store, where we received a red brick imprinted with a picture of Nauvoo. The senior missionary that ran our tour was a man from Kirby's home ward! I love all of the fun connections you can always make, being a member of the church. We also went to the blacksmith where we got a prairie diamond (a skrew bent like a ring). Our next stop was the Joseph Smith Store where we bought old fashioned watermelon candies, bottled rootbeer, and bottled lemonade to take to the play that night!
 Once we had our treats for the night we got into the car once more and drove over to Carthage, which was not that far from Nauvoo, and luckily made it just in time for the last tour they would be giving that night. This place was one that really touched me, I mean I cried a whole lot on this entire trip, but this one really got me. No matter how many times you hear or read the story of how our prophet and valiant others gave their life, standing in the exact spot where these men spent their last moments will add so much more understanding and emotion to the words. The tour guide took us through each room of the jail describing the events of the time that they had spent there. Before we walked into the last room I looked up and saw a couple of round, distinct bullet holes. In that moment my heart stopped. I had no idea what to expect when we came here, but I did not expect to see this. Being a very visual person, these two little bullet holes had a much stronger impact than all of those years going over the story in Sunday School. 

As we walked into the room, everything changed. No one had been disrespectful at all during the tour, but the level of respect and reference we felt when entering into this room is something I had never experienced before. The guide pointed out the bullet hole that resulted in Hyrum's death, the bed in the corned where John Taylor had rolled under after being shot, and the window where the prophet Joseph fell to his dealth. She then turned on a recording that took us through the events and feelings the men shared that night and we all listened in silence. Afterward, walking around the room and taking it all in was an unreal experience. The emotions in that building were so much more than sadness. The gratitude and admiration, the love and respect, every feeling that any of us had ever had in respect to these remarkable men existed in that tiny room. I could have sat there all night and pondered the experiences, lives, and deaths of those men but we had to leave eventually. Even then, I was not ready to say goodbye to that place and forget those feelings, so we sat outside in front of the spot our prophet had landed after falling through the window until it truly was time for us to go back to Nauvoo.
 Our plan was to go and grab some ice cream or some other treat to hold us off until after the play when we could go back to our campsite and make dinner, but seriously EVERYWHERE in Nauvoo was closed by like 6:00! So we drove to where the play was to wait for it to start....but soon realized that what we thought was the location of the play was wrong. So we drove around town until we accepted the fact that we were not going to find the play. We accepted defeat and drove back to the site. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Upon reaching our tent we noticed that the few other campers from the night before had left. It was now only us and a neighboring tent. While we were digging through our car for the things we would need for the night a man came up to us. We started talking and gathered that he was also a member, there from Chicago to see the sights with his wife and 3 kids. He invited us to roast marshmallows with us and we accepted. They had such a positive outlook on life and I hope to someday be more like them. Even though we only spent one night talking to this family, they really helped me see the world in a different light, and for some reason I have no doubt that our paths will cross again.
By the time we finished smores with this cute family, it was pitch black outside. I threw our garbage into the car so as to not attract animals, but missed the fact that the bag of marshmallows I had been carrying now lay on the ground. We snuggled up into our tent and fell asleep quickly. In a half sleep I started hearing rustling noises but assumed it was probably our new friends taking care of their baby. I then woke with a start to the distant sound of a wolf pack that seemed to be coming close and closer every time I heard them. I told myself it would be ok, then went back to sleep. Not much later the wolves woke me up again, and now it was clear that they were getting closer. I woke Kirby up and he assured me that they were still too far away to pose any type of a threat. I lay in bed trying to focus on forgetting the wolves, and wondering why our neighboring campers were still rustling around when it hit me...that rustling was definitely closer than their tent, and it sounded exactly like a plastic bag. Terrified I woke Kirby up again. By now he was kind of annoyed, but being the good husband he is grabbed the lantern and poked his head out to see what was going on. A fox had decided to make our marshmallows his dinner. Kirb scared him away and put the remnants of the food in the car in hopes of keeping the fox away. This bugger however did come back and would not leave us alone! Kirby assured me we would be ok, and trusting his judgement I forced myself to fall asleep to the sound of our fox friend sniffing around the edge of our tent.
In the morning Kirby cooked eggs and sausage in his fancy pie iron while I got dressed for an early morning session in the Nauvoo temple. It was the perfect way to finish our time spent in Nauvoo. The Nauvoo temple is something that no amount of words or pictures can depict. Not only is it HUGE, but it is probably the most beautiful building ever created. The detail and talent that went into it's design is unmatchable. One thing that I loved about the inside of this temple is that while it is still really white and bright, the woodwork is all dark wood, and even the metals on the chandeliers and handles are all darker than I have seen in any other temple. It creates such a beautiful contrast. like the outside of the temple, you can find suns, moons, and stars entwined into almost every aspect of the decor. The session in this temple will always stand out in my mind, not just because of the beauty that surrounded us, but also the unmistakable Spirit that exists there always. When we were leaving a groundskeeper saw us taking pictures and offered to take one for us. Normally this wouldn't be worth writing about, but it was a great example of just how huge that temple really is. Having taken a lot of pictures for tourists he knew just where to stand us to get the best view of the temple and because it is so large we had to go across the street and in around a garden on the other side just to get the top of the temple into the picture with us! With the temple session being our last hurrah in Nauvoo we went back to camp, packed up, and hit the road once again.

Kirby cooking with his pie iron.
An original sunstone.
Our funny little missionary tour guides.
Kirby in the Browning shop.
Can you tell which one is the prairie diamond?
The door with the bullet hole at Carthage.

Carthage Jail
View from the back of the Nauvoo temple.
This statue is on the spot where Joseph and Hyrum Smith turned to take one last look at the temple on their way to Carthage.
More of the temple.
After a session at the Nauvoo Temple.

Forth Stop: Winter Quarters, Nevada

      Our original plan was to drive straight through to Colorado for the wedding. However, not long into the drive we decided to make yet another detour to visit the cemetery and temple at Winter Quarters! So we pulled up to the temple just in time for a session, changed into our clothes in the car in the temple parking lot and ran in just on time! I remember as I was hurriedly dressing in the changing room the thought went through my head that "at least cutting it so close means that we don't have to worry about being the witness couple"...not because I thought it was a bad thing, but because I would have no idea what to do and it would freak me out! So of course, as I went to sit down for the session to begin Kirby motioned for me to follow him out into the hallway. I was in shock as we were asked to be the witness couple. It's funny how things always work out like that isn't it? In the end I could honestly say that I am so thankful that we were asked. It made our experience there even more special, and I felt honored to have had the chance.
This entire trip helped me realize just how hard it is to have a single favorite temple. They are all so unique and so special in their own way. The Winter Quarters temple is tiny, there is no waiting room at all when you walk in. However, at the top of the stairs there is a little area with couches and chairs to sit in. On one wall of this sitting area there is a huge painting of the pioneers camped out and hiding from the cold, the other wall is a huge window that can be seen from outside the front of the temple. This window is divided up into multiple panes that depict different people and events from the journey and lives of the pioneers. It was such a beautiful sight that really touched me. This temple is built on the grounds of the graveyard where a numerous amount of early saints lay buried. It was late at night by the time that we finished the session, but we walked around the cemetery in the dark, reading the names of the early saints and just soaking up the history that lived on in the atmosphere around us. As we were going through the tombstones we were searching for any names that looked familiar, this task was quite difficult considering how old most of the stones were. Some of the names had faded entirely, and yet one stone jumped out at us, and straining our eyes to read, we found that we had landed upon one of Kirby's ancestors! That little cemetery provided a perfect place for us to honor and pay tribute to those who had lost their lives following the word of our Heavenly Father. I truly enjoyed our little stop at Winter Quarters.

The doors to the Winter Quarters Temple
The entire front of the temple.
The window in the sitting room.
Kirby with the possible ancestor.
The touching statue in the cemetery.

Fifth Stop: Kansas City Missouri

     With all of the fun we had been having, the long drives we had made, and the short hours of sleep we had been getting, we were pretty exhausted and he trip to Colorado did not seem to be the wisest choice. Luckily this gave us the chance to drive over to Kansas City and hang out with one of Kirby's old mission companions and his wife! We got to their place pretty late at night and stayed up talking even later and then finally got to sleep on something other than the hard ground! We had originally planned to continue our trip the next morning, but we were just having too much fun! So they rearranged their schedules to have more time with us. Kansas city is an awesome place and reminds me in some ways of my hometown Spokane, Washington. They took us to this awesome little place for lunch. When I say awesome I'm talking the gross, crazy, kinda sketchy place that just blows your mind away! The seats we sat on around the table were benches from old buses, the walls were plastered in drawings by customers and posters and signs and everything else you could think of! The employees were all their own, interesting people, and it was such a fun environment! But the best, most unique aspect of it all was the food. We had something that they call a "pizza bomb." Now don't get too weirded out, or judge too harshly... but a pizza bomb is a HUGE pizza (we got pepperoni) with a mountain of tater tots in the middle, covered in chilli and nacho cheese sauce... talk about the best thing ever! I loved it! It was so fun to have these two showing us the hidden gems of the city.
After all the fun downtown we took a quick trip over to Liberty Jail. I had heard so many descriptions of what it was like and how awful the circumstances were for the men who had been detained there, but none of that could truly paint the picture of this place. I have no idea how anyone could handle the discomfort of the low ceiling and the hard floor, or the lack of light. It is so hard to picture yet another hardship our dear prophet had to endure.

After a break back at their house with some dinner, Kirby and I took the opportunity to go to a Kansas City Royals baseball game! The weather was amazing and it was such a beautiful time of night. The best part though was that the opposing team was the Seattle Mariners! I took the chance to cheer for a team from my home state and cheer against the entire stadium. It is always so much fun to see Kirby at these games that he loves!
Yet another jam-packed day of fun was over we were thankful for another night on a couch instead of the Earth. Then early the next morning we were off for Colorado!

Liberty Jail
The Kansas City Royals game!
I had over 30 bug bites just from the ankles down! Kirby had just as many. Gross.

Last Stop before home: Denver, Colorado

     Weddings are something that seem to happen a lot around an LDS college campus, but that does not make them one bit less exciting! I love weddings so much, especially when it is the wedding of someone I love as much as my dear friend Ella. I was looking forward to her wedding from the moment I found out that it was even a possibility. We pulled up to her house after weeks of being on the road and living out of a tent, so I looked like a hobo but how could I care when I walked through the door and saw my best friends for the first time in months! The entire weekend was like a fairytale. The first night there the bridesmaids all went out to dinner, and then had a slumber party at a hotel nearby! As anything with these girls, it was nothing short of a blast. The next day we helped set up for the reception...which was going to be picture perfect! Kirby and I had planned on camping for the couple of nights that we were there, but I absolutely would not show up to the wedding without staying at a place to shower and plug in my appliances to get ready! Luckily a friend that was housing the other bridesmaids and groomsmen had an extra bed after a couple cancelled, so we were thankful when he offered to let us stay with them as well! 
The next day was the wedding. This was the first sealing I was able to attend after my own, and considering how much Ella means to me, it was even more special than I had imagined. The room was so crowded with people that love her and Dan that a majority of those in the sealing had to stand to fit in the room. Once the sealing was over and we walked by the bride and groom to congratulate them on our way out of the room I couldn't hold myself together...I did a lot of crying throughout that trip, but they were all the happiest of tears!
The luncheon was wonderful and of course the reception was picture perfect. I am so happy for my beautiful friend and the start of her new life!

Waiting outside the temple with the other bridesmaids.
Our first wedding together!

With Tippy and Kenady.

The beautiful bridesmaids and bride!
I still miss sharing a room with this lovely girl!
always smiles with ella boo!


A Summer In The South (An Overview)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

      This summer was something that I will never forget. My husband worked for a company that sells alarm systems door to door. So immediately after the semester ended at the beginning of April, we packed up our car and he drove it across the country from Rexburg to Florida. The job was rough and it was hard to have him gone six days a week, leaving in the late morning and getting home after midnight. While this lifestyle definitely was rough at points, we went through many wonderful experiences throughout the journey.
We started out the summer living in a hotel in Tallahassee, Florida. The transition from being with Kirby all day long and then all of a sudden hardly seeing him was really hard for me. I had never gone so long without seeing my family, I had never lived in a strange city with nothing but a hotel room to call home, and I had a hard time getting used to all this. After a few weeks of living in Tallahassee we packed everything up again and moved to Ocala, Florida. Things were still a little rough, but we were so blessed by the fact that along with us Kirby's younger brother Keegan, older brother Tyler, his wife Kim, and their two boys Dominic and Lincoln were there. By the time we made the move to Ocala I had started spending a lot of time with Kim and her boys. They changed my attitude and turned this summer into one of the best times of my life. 
While in Ocala, we moved again to another hotel. Then finally, around mid June, packed up and headed to our last stop - an apartment (finally) in Birmingham, Alabama. In order to get free rent, Kirby and I took up an offer to live in the office. This meant that every morning (pretty early) 30 guys would walk into our apartment to have their loud meeting (to get pumped up to sell) and then be in and out sporadically throughout the day. It also meant that our living room furniture was all moved out in order to make room for 30 folding chairs, and one of our two bedrooms was turned into their office space for the computer and paperwork. But I was happy to live in this situation and save $1,000 a month! Plus, after living in a hotel this was nothing! I still had my own kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom and that's all I needed! The best part was that Kim and Tyler lived in a neighboring apartment, and I think we spent more time over there than at our own apartment anyway.
 One thing about living in the south that never ceased to amaze me was the amount of bugs that we ran into down there! For a few weeks we experienced "lovebug season." Love bugs are nasty, black, flying bugs and they are always attached to a mate (thus the name). For the first couple of weeks that we lived in Ocala you could not step outside without being attacked by lovebugs. It is safe to say that I will never refer to someone as a "lovebug" again unless I utterly despise them. Another bug I could not get away from are what I refer to as "creepy-crawlers." They look like mini centipedes and when you squish them make a sound like a bag of potato chips being crunched! These nasty guys would crawl up through our sink and bathtub pipes whenever it rained and take over our about gross! Then last, but not least, the spiders! We would have no less than 20 making webs above our porch every night. Kirby would knock down the webs and kill them, then more would take over the next night without fail! Luckily we only had one cockroach make it into our apartment the entire summer! 
As I mentioned before, Kirby was gone allllll day everyday. Sadly, he had our only car with him the entire what did I do all day? My original plan was to get a job...but with all of the unexpected moving, and the lack of a car, that plan went down the drain. So I spent my summer trying new pinterest recipes, doing the entire Insanity work-out program, hanging out down at the pool, and with Kim and the boys (who I completely fell head-over-heels for). So basically while my devoted husband was working his life away, I was playing mine away ;) 
 I loved a lot about our experience in the south. I loved the people, our ward was amazing! I loved how green everything was, and how incredible the thunderstorms were that we experienced (but only after I accepted the fact that they weren't all going to turn into a tornado.) I loved the endless amounts of Blue Bell Ice cream, and all of the fun restaurants we were able to visit. I loved being close to the beach and so close to good shopping. I loved so much and am so thankful for the chance I had to live somewhere so different from home.
 Once the selling season was over we had about 2 weeks to kill before one of my best friends got married in Denver, Colorado, and so we decided to take the long way there. This meant driving from Alabama to New York, and then working our way down from there, hitting the major Church History sights. But that is something I will have to write about in another post!
 So Considering all that we went through this summer I think it would be safe to call this summer my "summer of firsts." Why? Well...this summer was the first time I:
  • was married over a summer!
  • lived somewhere other than Spokane, Washington over a summer break from school.
  • saw fireflies.
  • had adorable nephews and a fun sister in law to play with.
  • didn't have a car.
  • allowed 30 random guys to come in and out of my apartment whenever they needed.
  • completed the Insanity Program
  • lived in a hotel for two months.
  • had a pool at my apartment.
  • I got a few "severe weather" texts.
  • went to Florida, Alabama, New York, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio.
  • didn't see a single one of my family members :(
  • went to 6 different temples, each in a different state, in 2 weeks!
  • went camping with my husband.
  • had chicken and waffles.
  • was a bridesmaid.
  • moved 5 times in 5 months.
  • was able to visit many of the church history sights (Sacred Grove, Kirtland Temple, Nauvoo Temple, Winter Quarters, Liberty Jail, Carthage Jail, and more).
  • had an authentic Chicago dog.
  • I went to Disney World.
.....just to name a few :) 

Pictures from the summer:

Our new car, packed to the brim, ready for the long drive and the start of a new adventure!
Downtown Disney

One of the best parts about living in Florida was the easy access to beach time!

Our time together is always my favorite.

Kirby loves his Joe's Crab Shack!

Our first summer <3

Daytona Beach

I love that silly Dominic!

With all the shopping Kim and I did together this summer, matching just became an expected unplanned thing!

Our apartment pool and watermelon!

playtime at the pool

The hidden rope swing!

Lincoln: the cutest child in existence!

The Fourth of July. Family time.

Play time with Aunt Madison...those folding chairs sure came in handy for making forts!

"I see you Madison"

Kirb's birthday landed on a Sunday so we went "out to lunch" at the park.

The largest cast-iron statue in the world

For Kirb's birthday we had a mini pizza bar!

My 27 year old birthday boy!

Birthday-cake popcorn ball!

The gang

To keep the birthday going we went to a morning movie on Monday and were the only one there!

Kirby getting ready for some World War Z

Over the summer one of my best friends got engaged and I was lucky enough to be invited to be a bridesmaid! This box was the cutest thing.

Atlanta, Braves game. Dominic loves uncle like nephew.

Tell me that isn't the CUTEST happy baby ever!

The whole family.

Acting out a mural in Atlanta, Georgia

one lucky day I walked in on these two cuties taking a nap in my bed

Our last day at the beach!

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