Skytop Apple Orchard

This year was the year to go apple picking, not because I hadn't been in a long time, but because we have a little one now and all those seasonal activities are much more fun with a kid in tow. They give us adults an excuse to do all the kid stuff again, like climb a tree for the best apple at the top. And don't think that Travis didn't do exactly that. He wasn't going to be told twice to get that one just out of reach when standing on your tippy toes. And the apple cider donuts were most definitely worth the 15 minute wait in line. Bought a dozen, went home with five--yeah, so they were pretty high up there on my favorite donuts list; and I have a list. So having a kid can definitely have its perks but when you go with the best people ever than it just makes the experience that much better! We went with a couple who have become our great friends over the past year. We love the Jowers to pieces and what better way to spend time with them than picking apples and eating donuts? Sounds like a perfect day to me.

I mean, look at those Macs and Pink Ladies. They look pret-ty cool, if I do say so myself.

Have you ever heard of blushing gold apples? Yeah, me neither. After being told they make a really good apple pie, Travis said yep, we're getting those! Not because he's baking a pie, but because he expects me to. We'll see how that turns out--I guess I do have plenty to practice with considering we went home with a peck! Not exactly sure how much a peck is but the bag was filled to the top.
Isn't this the ideal apple with the little leaf still attached? 

My man climbing a tree to get the perfect apple.
Reverting back to his childhood or trying to impress his Pink Lady?
I'd say the former ;)

When she wasn't throwing a fit in her stroller (because she's a walker now, Mom, how dare you confine her to a stroller when you have to walk 400 yards across an orchard atop a mountain?!) Anna was perfectly content playing in the dirt and pulling the apples out of our basket.

The scenery was absolutely beautiful! It reminded me so much of when we lived in Greenville, South Carolina and could see the mountain ridges on a daily basis. A little photoshoot with the mountains in the background was a must and these next few pictures are pretty much my favorite! Anna's faces are almost too much to take and those pigtails, I could just die.

Had to take a family shot to prove we were at an orchard, you know. Anna apparently didn't get the memo about wearing flannel.

It really was the perfect day. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was breathtaking, and the company was even better. Plus we left with a peck of apples and a happy tummy, filled with 3.5 donuts. Yummm! 


See that picture at the top

Yeah, the one where we're kissing our daughter on the cheek, not once, but twice, and her wanting to break free. This is the epitome of our relationship with her. We love this little girl so much and can't get enough of kissing, hugging, cuddling with her. She, on the other hand, tries to get out of those kisses, pulls away from hugs, and breaks free when we try to cuddle. And then there are times when we do something silly and she gives us a look like Are you serious right now? You are not funny, people! I didn't think this behavior would start until she's in middle school! Jeesh! I get it (a little), she's a busy girl and doesn't want people all up in her business when she's trying to explore, but can't a mama and daddy show a little love (all the time)?

Sorry, Anna, your parents will never stop loving you, never stop kissing you (especially in public!), never stop hugging and wanting to cuddle with you. So get used to it, baby!

Photo credit: my sister, Stefanie <3


Retreat Yo Self!

We try to break away often. Well not too often. But when you live where you work or work where you live, it's crucial to take a few days every now and then to retreat. To find rest, to recollect your thoughts, goals, dreams, to sleep in, to breath, to reconnect with yourself, with one another, and with God. Since we don't have the means to own our own home away from home, we are blessed with some pretty great friends who are generous enough to share theirs. Previously we've retreated to the mountains, to the beach, and this past weekend, to Lake Norman. While we were only there for a little over 24 hours it was just the amount of time we needed to stick our toes in the water, spend the evening in deep conversations mulling over the future, bask in the sunrise, enjoy a morning walk around the lake, and take a much needed two hour nap in the afternoon. The house was beautiful, the lake was beautiful, the scenery was picturesque, and Anna was cranky--but I didn't even care because everything else was glorious! We left that weekend refreshed, ready to take on another busy week of soccer practices and games, meetings, girls night, taking care of baby, homework help, and then flipping through our calendar to see when we can go back!


A Very Good Birthday

I'm sure you could tell by my last post that Anna and I had a pretty amazing birthday. To top it off we received a wonderful gift from my mother-in-law and grandma-in-law. An item I've been wanting for a long time but deep down knew I'd never go out and buy for myself. I'd find every excuse to avoid buying it: it's too expensive, we could put the money toward something else, where will I store it? really, who needs one? So when Travis started talking about bikes a few weeks before our birthday I thought maybe he had something up his sleeve. I still didn't really believe I was actually going to get one but his intention was well received. Then, one hour before the party, while I'm scrambling to put up decorations and try to get myself ready, Travis' mom enters our living room with a bright and shiny yellow bike! She exclaimed, "I figured you could use a pick-me-up right now!" And she was right. It definitely lifted my spirits! On top of that Anna was given a little seat that could be hooked to the back of my bike so we could ride together. I could hardly wait to try it out!

A few days after our birthday we finally were able to really work on getting the seat connected. Travis and I had trouble doing it ourselves, and just before I was about to take it into a bike shop some of the boys in our neighborhood came over with all their tools and put it together in no time! I feel so blessed to live around some of the most generous and handy people! I mean, come on, take it to a bike shop and pay to have it fixed up or let kids who repair their bikes all the time work on it? Plus it was a great time for Travis and the guys to work on something together!

Once it was fixed we strapped Anna's helmet on and strapped her into her seat and off we went! It was a wonderful first ride. The kids around us were chasing us trying to catch up. I even had kids ask if they could get a ride or if they could ride my bike with Anna in it. I assured them Anna and I will be the only ones using our bike.

It's hard to tell since I can't see Anna but I'm pretty sure she enjoys our rides. I know I do and based on the sounds she makes and her playfully pulling at my shirt, I think she does too!