Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lauren and Wes

This past Saturday I got to do one of my favorite things, take pictures of beautiful people in a beautiful setting. We went down to Woodbury, GA where Lauren's family has a peach orchard, note the beautiful setting I mentioned.

Then if you take a look below, you'll note the beautiful people. I know, seriously beautiful. I had such a good time. Wes and Lauren are likable, easy people to be around and I am so excited about their wedding in September. It's going to be an incredible celebration and I am grateful to have the opportunity to capture it.

"Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." ~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, May 21, 2010

Somebody turned One...

Wednesday May 19th was a special day. Bailey celebrated her first birthday. And boy was it a party!
Everyone who is anyone was there. The McDowell sisters even washed and pressed their best party bows

There was plenty of mingling and sniffing while the guests continued to arrive.

Callie did not receive the memo that it was NOT a pool party! Bailey set her straight though.

Not before she had attracted some attention however...

On with the festivities! Who wouldn't die for a chicken and peanut butter cupcake?

Proud parents Jon and Sarah.

Bailey shared with everyone.

Even little Chaco got some treats!
There's nothing like party hats to really set the mood.
Oh sweet Chaco...

Cool Hand Willie.

Even Bailey's baby brother Barnum was up for the party.
Too much chicken and peanut butter for this one...
We found Shelby's flask a little too late...
(It wasn't until later that we noticed Jack and Toccoa were off behind a bush, but we had a good long talk when we got home that night.)

Before the night was over, Bailey wanted to open her gifts.

Goodie Bags from Bailey.

Thanks for a great party Bailey :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Year

Sunday was May 9, 2010. Which means 1 year earlier was May 9, 2009. Which is the day I was a bride and the man of my dreams was the groom. One whole year. A blink to say the least. I continue to fall in love with my husband and I'm still learning how to be a better wife. I realize the best way for me to do that is to keep falling deeper in love with God so that I can offer my husband the selfless, Agape love that has been shown to me by my Saviour.

We agreed not to do gifts (which sneaky Steven went on and gave me the most incredible locket, which I will do a whole separate post on later because I love it that much), so we headed to the mountains for a weekend together at our cabin in Blue Ridge. It was the perfect place to go, a place that will forever be special to us. The place we enjoyed with friends while we were dating, the place Steven proposed, the place we spent our wedding night, the place we spent our first Christmas Eve as husband and wife, it's the place we still enjoy with friends and family. So yes, naturally it's where we went to celebrate our first year of marriage.

Once settled in the cabin, we enjoyed a scenic drive to Murphy, NC to visit a place I have day dreamed about for 3 years. John C. Campbell Folk School. This place is incredible and right up my alley. Check out the website if you'd like to learn more about it. That was one of my surprises, Steven planned for me to go and visit the grounds and walk around and day dream about what class I would take.

Then we got in the car and drove around until we found a delicious restaurant where we ate outside and we were the only couple except for an older gentlemen in the corner playing a haunting classical guitar. The entire dinner felt like we were eating in a European café. I kept expecting the waiter to rattle off the specials in a Romance language. After dinner we headed back to the school for some live music. A husband and wife fiddle/guitar duo played and the music was soul stirring. I'm always a sucker for live music, but there is just something about hearing the instruments speak for themselves and tell stories without any spoken words. They played everything from Celtic to Bluegrass to Classical. It was a mesmerizing and romantic evening.

Saturday morning I woke up early, as usual, and quietly snuck out of the bedroom with our not so quiet 4-legged children to let Steven sleep in, as usual. Saturday mornings are my favorite time to read, and this particular Saturday morning was perfection. We had slept with all of the cabin windows open and it was a crisp breezy 55ish degrees outside. A perfect snuggle on the couch wrapped in a blanket with a coffee mug in one hand and a book in the other, while all three dogs are curled up and snoring at your feet and through every open window is a wall of all different shades of green and speckles of morning sun and blue sky in between, kind of morning. I alternated between reading a page and then taking a deep breath of fresh cool air and saying a prayer of thanks for the pleasures and beauty I was surrounded with. And then I would read a page and stop and take a deep breath and smile at the thought of my husband sleeping soundly and what a warm, strong sense of protection he provides me and I thanked God for him. Once he was up we both just laid on the couch and enjoyed the cool quiet morning and then he fixed a late breakfast of chocolate chip and peanut butter pancakes!

We went into town and browsed a couple of our favorite shops downtown for just a little bit and then stopped at Mercier Orchards and picked up some fresh veges for lunch before getting back to the cabin where Steven grilled some monstrous size wild game burgers. To help our lunch settle, we pittled around the woods for a little bit and picked out a perfect branch for a curtain rod in the bedroom back home. Afterwards, since he had a late night planned, I took a nap (one of my favorite things) while Steven continued to work outside doing man stuff (one of his favorite things).

Evening time and time to shower and clean up, Steven took me to a quaint authentic country Italian restaurant for two of my favorite things, wine and pasta!! Our waitress was so sweet and friendly and Steven told her right off the bat that we were in no rush tonight. We were there for over 2 hours and thoroughly savored everything from the appetizer, the fresh salad, the amazingly rich pasta, sipping on the wine, the by-far best tiramisu I have ever tasted paired with 2 cups of Espresso. But more then anything, just savoring the conversation and the simple pleasure of sharing a meal with someone you love. Steven and I do not eat out very much at all but we vowed that when we do, it should be like this.

After leaving the restaurant we went back to the cabin to change into some jeans and fleece and to pick up our girls for the grand finale of the evening. We were heading to a Drive-In movie theater. We weren't positive about the rules on the dogs, but we assumed it should be fine. When we pulled up to the entrance, the ticket lady asked us how many and Steven told her 2 adults and 3 furry children. The lady asked, "How many?" And I was a little worried. Then she pulled out a big bag of dog treats and gave each of the girls 2 treats each :) I have always loved watching movies, but this is definitely the best way to see one. I was like a giddy school girl I was so excited! The movie quality and sound was just like a theater but we had the windows down and fresh air and blankets to wrap up in and Steven was able to smoke a cigar and I was there with my whole little family watching a movie together.

By the end of the movie, it was past somebody's bedtime...

Late night and all, I was so full of love and joy crawling into bed that night.

Sunday was as lazy as Saturday morning was. We exchanged cards and spent another quiet morning together. Once we packed everything up and loaded the car, we went to our favorite spot on the Toccoa River to let the girls swim and play, and plus the river current gives their fur a good cleaning. Then we made our way back to Rome for pizza on the couch and a nap before bed :)

It was such a relaxing and special weekend, one I will cherish. But the best part is that we don't feel we need special occasions to have these moments together. We have them all the time. I love my husband. I love his companionship. I love experiencing new things with him. I love how after we have a fight, I feel closer to him. I love that I learn from him. I love that I can show him a new way to look at things. I love that I love to day dream and he loves making plans. My heart has a lot to learn about how to truly love Steven the way he deserves to be loved. But I thank God for His infinite wisdom and compassion towards me that He led me to a loving, kind, and patient man who wants nothing more then to build a life with me. I can't quite find the words to express the awe and honor I feel that he chose me to be his wife.

"And I'm grateful, grateful, I've got to say thank you, to this, Good Hearted Man."