Thursday, July 22, 2010

a visit with family

Loving having Clay's family up for a visit!!! Nana, Poppie and the girls flew in last week for an extended trip; I laugh at my previous thinking that this was going to be "just a relaxing visit". It has been a fun, crazy whirlwind of busyness with loved ones this last week. Most of the busyness has come from their kindness in helping us with some to do's that needed to be done in the new home and to prepare for Baby #2 this fall. I can't express enough appreciation towards their generosity and time in helping us get so much done. Between crossing off "to do's" and much visiting, we have enjoyed countless hours of warm sunshine, cookouts, pedicures :), movie nights, and other exciting ventures.

I am feeling very blessed right now to have so many special memories with family this summer.

P.S. I can't wait to peruse through my hundreds of pictures; I can sense quite a few cute scrapbooking layouts in the near future!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Southern Soiree

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

In case you missed this post, my little brother is getting married! This December, our family will be flying back down to Mississippi to help celebrate Taylor and Fair's big day. Clay and I couldn't be more excited for these two!
photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

Friends of the bride and groom hosted an Engagement Party for the two while Clay, Parker and I were in Mississippi. Before heading out to the event on Saturday evening, we snapped a few family photos outside mama's house.

(love the little hand on mama's tummy in this picture below!) :)

Winky and Betty's home was absolutely breathtaking when we arrived at the event. The decorations inside and out were a perfect combination of masculinity as well as each holding a slight feminine touch. McCarty and Peter's pottery were sprinkled everywhere, including being the main centerpieces on some of the tables. Hydrangeas and gerber daises, along with a variety of other blossoms, were exquisitely placed on and around the cakes, tables, chandeliers, and outside deck area. Outdoor tables stood in the backyard and continued through a tranquil, woodsy area set back from the main party.

Tents contained food and beverages of all sorts, which were catered by Tricia. Delicious party ham rolls, pork loin and biscuits, tomato cups, fresh fruit, and a variety of cheese and crackers were some of the main dinner features. (Thanks Tricia for the nice of my favorite parts of the evening was kicking off my shoes in the kitchen while chatting it up about cooking, our families and life in general! Not only was the food amazing, but the amiable conversation was a treat too!)

For dessert, an assortment of fifteen different homemade cakes decorated a table inside the home that overlooked the outdoor fun. Strawberry, caramel, Italian cream, and chocolate were a few of the sweet round cakes that the 200 attendees enjoyed.
I loved the bright colored mix of ribbons, butterflies, and daises that Betty's daughter used to make the creation with the chandelier above.

Another favorite: the lighted bottle tree that stood in front of the backyard trellis.

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

The bride's parents, Buddy and these two!
photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

Guests were able to linger outdoors on the deck and porch area, or anywhere they fashioned around the southern plot. If in need of a different atmosphere, friends and family could step indoors where additional rooms hosted the Southern cuisine and sweets, as well as more sitting areas to rest and visit.

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

The toasting time was a special moment in which blessings were wished upon the young couple. Also, the story of the long-lasting friendship of the two families was brought out in a short narrative by the bride's father. I enjoyed watching the cute expressions that Taylor and Fair passed to each other during the toasts.

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

One of the reasons the night was even more special for the future bride and groom, was due to so many of their high school and college friends --whom they haven't seen in quite some time-- being able to attend. The party went late into the evening, well past sundown, as the guests went from wandering the courtyard and munching on treats, to hitting the dance floor to the tunes of Midlife Crisis, a favorite local band.

I was thankful that I captured this spontaneous picture of Taylor and some of his best high school buddies. Memories of these guys dropping in our home after school for additional ball time in the driveway sticks close in my mind. Church youth trips, after school activities, parties and dinners...many fond recollections when I see this group picture. They are some of the truest friends to Taylor and to our family. I am grateful for the special friendships that Taylor has made and still has to this day with these guys.

Taylor and Fair, thank you for sharing this special event with us! We are all looking forward to the upcoming wedding this winter.

photo credit: Krystal Harbin with Harbin Photography

Thank you so much to each of the 40 hosts and hostesses that helped to make this magical event happen. It was such a special night not only for Taylor and Fair, but for their families as well. We appreciate the time, effort and love that you each put into making this gathering a success.

All photos that were not taken by me were credited to Krystal Harbin, who was the fabulous photographer for the evening. Thanks Krystal for the amazing pictures! It will be so much fun to look back and reminisce over the sweet memories of the night.

Clay and I always enjoy the time that we share with family and friends when in Grenada from up North. This Southern Soiree definitely made a night to remember.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

splish splash...taking a quick break from my to do's

If I had some cute rainboots like these below, I would run outside and splash around in the puddles and raindrops right now. I took a quick break from my housecleaning to sit and watch the clear splashes against the window in our living area. The sounds and sights are absolutely breathtaking right now...I love little moments like this.
Boots: LL Bean

Random: Anyone else excited about White Collar this season? Clay and I watched last season and couldn't wait for the summer episodes...last night I sat down with oreos and milk, propped my feet up on the couch and enjoyed the action in White Collar and then Covert Affairs...such fun. I haven't watched a show like that in a long time. Nice to sit down and veg for a bit...and not think about 50 gazillion things. :)

Back to my house now...laundry, dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, a little organizing here and there...those are some of my to do's today. Have a fun, splish splashy day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

enjoying our summer days...

I still have a couple of Mississippi posts to share, including some more favorite pics taken while there. My time on the computer has been few and far between the last several days, but I have been busy making summer memories!!! The little squirt is keeping me on my toes, my hubby has had some days at home...nice...and the "nesting" phase is in full swing (well, I'm calling it that...whether it's just me or true nesting, I'll never know!) The weather has been beautiful in this neck of the woods, so our little family has been spending extra time outdoors lately. Here are a few things we've been up to over the last several days.

Beachtime with friends at a nearby lake, yard work (can I just say that seeing my husband take those trees out --uh, I mean bushes-- with that chainsaw was quite the turn on. ha! Gotta love a guy with tools in arms!), pressure washing the garage, playtime at the zoo with friends, and a bonfire (complete with delicious smores!) with neighbors. It's a close tie between what was more fun: enjoying the warm grahams smothered with marshmellows and melted chocolate or throwing all our yard waste and the last of our "moving" boxes into the fire!!! I actually made Clay get a piece of wood to "rake" the ashes into a neater little pile while burning because it bothered me that the ashes were all spread out after the burning of about 40 boxes! Me, an organizational freak...nah, never! ;)

Other fun things we have been up to...having friends over to play in the backyard, organizing the basement...again, unpacking my scrapbooking stuff (yes!!!), grilling out with our neighbors, being spoiled with Buzz's yummy welcome-to-the-neighborhood chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (it only took me 2 days to devour the entire plate...thanks again Buzz!), serious grocery shopping to prepare for family coming into town in just a few days, a Red Box movie with my husband, a little gym time, church and lunch with friends, pulling weeds in the flower beds, watching Parker excitedly jump on his bike every time we walk out the door, baby appt (i'm 28 weeks Nolen is growing and quite the active little thing! The doctor laughed on Monday as he watched the kicks while I was laying on the table; I truly didn't think I could have a more active baby when I was pregnant with Parker...I was wrong. Clay still is astonished that I get any sleep at night as much as it kicks and moves :))

So, I guess that's about it. We've just been enjoying our summer days together. Be back soon with more fun pictures from Mississippi!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

my Mississippi girlfriends

One of the best things about flying back to Mississippi is getting to see my girlfriends. I am so blessed to have an amazing group of girls from elementary, jr high, highschool, and college that I am still so close to! Although some of them I might only see once a year (or less!), our conversations always seem to pick up right where we left off the last time. Many of my highschool girlfriends I see multiple times a year...that's one of the nice things about our age right now...everyone is still either getting married or having babies! Lots of excuses to fly home! :)

As a matter of fact, there was a fabulous baby shower for my girlfriend, Meredith, a couple of weekends ago. She is due with twins this fall...a boy and a girl!!! I am so happy for she and Bruce. Meredith was just radiating at the event; I know her family is thrilled and can't for these two bundles to arrive! The hostesses of the shower had the home adorned with beautiful bouquets of pastel flowers, a delicious assortment of brunch edibles, McCarty and Peter's Pottery to decorate and to serve, and the perfect flair of Southern charm to go around.

The visits with friends and good company is one of the perks of attending a hometown shower. :)

A few of us girls who attended the shower: Laura K, Mindy, Meagan, Carrie, Meredith and Grace

The two expecting moms of the bunch...mine and Meredith's due date are within a week of each other, but with twins she will be delivering about a month earlier than me!

During our Jackson trip, I was able to catch up with a few of my college/work girlfriends. Unfortunately, my camera chose to fog up from the MS humidity and didn't work for 24 hrs, so I'm thankful for their camera phones!
Left: Maya and Carrie   Right: Susan and Carrie
The three of us worked together at a law office in MS while I was in college; Maya and Susan are still there shaking things up and making great things happen! I love these two so much, though we don't get to see each other nearly as often as I'd like! (And yes, I look tired...the traveling was starting to take a toll on me by this point in the trip!)

Ava and I met up at Newk's Cafe in Brandon for a quick lunch. I wish the visit could have lasted hours longer; every time we get together time ends the conversation before the chatter runs out. Ava and I were college roommates. She always amazes me with her creativity and talent, and is one of the most thoughtful people I know.

At the beginning of my visit in MS, I was able to see this longtime girlfriend and her precious boy, Jack (who I got the pleasure of holding and cuddling for a few minutes.) Parker instantly bonded with Jack and enjoyed reading a book with him. :) I can only hope that it will be that perfect between he and his future little sibling this fall. ;) Terra and I are fortunate to be able to see each other often (well, at least during each of my trips back home) so conversation picks up as if we've seen each other the day before in the local grocery store.
I was able to get together with many other fabulous friends and wish I had taken pictures with them all!!!
Thanks to each of you for your friendship! I love ya'll and hope to see many of you this winter!

"The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart."
Elisabeth Foley

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

our family

"The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of our Family."

(Above: 4 generations of Nolen boys)

Over the last couple of weeks, we have enjoyed countless hours with our family in Mississippi. In the first 6 days alone, we put over 780 miles on a rental car driving around the state to see our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Oxford, Grenada, Madison, Brandon & Tupelo...each of the cities held a separate adventure! Parker is very special; he gets to be spoiled by not only his grandparents, but 3 sets of great-grandparents that love him dearly. We are so blessed to have the loving and supportive family that we do.

4 wheeler-riding, blueberry pickin', grilling out, blowing bubbles, playing in an outdoor "washtub," cuddling kittens, sitting on tractors, chasing dogs (my apologies to poor Charlie and Speedy--uh, I mean Scooter-- who I am sure are only slightly terrified now of active little two and a half year olds!), squirting cousins with the water hose, 4th of July sparklers, playing with his uncles and granddaddy's childhood toys, going miles and miles on his knees with his toy cars and airplanes...these were just a few of the fun things that Parker experienced with family in MS. I don't know what was more fun...enjoying the special moments myself or watching Parker's excitement over all the activities!

Thank you to each of our family members who helped to make this trip so special for us. We always look forward to the visits and can't wait to see you all this winter!