Celebrating Freedoms, Family, and Animals

July has been one of the best months this year so far--I'm hoping it doesn't surpass any of the months in the fall and thereafter considering what is to come then, however. In the last three weeks we've had family visit, a babymoon, and vacation. I think I've slept in a bed not my own more times than not. I'm not complaining. I love traveling. And I love when others travel to us. Like when we had my mom, stepdad, and sister come visit over the 4th of July weekend. My mom is simply the best. She is not your typical mom (or grandma) who carries around a Vera Bradley handbag and calls me on the phone everyday just to check in. My mom and I are polar opposites. She's a biker chick, I'm terrified of motorcycles. She has over 10 tattoos. I have zero. She loves cats and always talks about her "boys", and I would be fine if I never saw a cat again for the rest of my life. But when we get together we're like two peas in a pod. We crack each other up. The laughter doesn't stop. When they came to visit it wasn't any different.

We decided to do something other than go to Freedom Park this time--which is usually where we take all our guests who come to stay with us. We wanted to do something different. We choose the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC and it sure did not disappoint. We didn't know what to expect except that they had exotic animals that could come up to your car (or wagon) and you could feed them. How cool is that?! Yes, please!

I was so excited to see how Anna was going to react. She loves animals, she loved going to the Columbus Zoo, and I knew being able to be so close to these animals at the Lazy 5 Ranch was just going to rock her world.

I mean look at that face! I don't remember what she and Mami are looking at but it seems pretty exciting!

So like I said above, you could feed the animals that came up to the wagon. This buffalo sure was hungry, so much so that he salivated and slobbered all over me! 

This is my face after the drool from above got on my arm! Blech!

Anna was a little hesitant at first but eventually she wanted to feed the animals too.

The giraffe was so cool. I had never been that close to one before. Well I've never been that close to any of the other animals either but it really puts it into perspective just how tall these guys are when you have one standing over top of you. Pret-ty uh-mazing!

Anna refused to share her bucket of feed with anyone besides the animals. 

It was such a perfect way to spend time with my family. We don't get to see them as often as we wish we could. It's nice to be able to get away for a day and share memories that we can look back on. We also enjoyed walking around Plaza Midwood and eating at one of our favorite pizza places in Charlotte: Fuel Pizza. While we didn't get to see fireworks or an Independence parade we had a wonderful weekend celebrating being a family and enjoying all the freedoms that we've been blessed with.

You can see at least 4 tattoos on my mom in this pic and you'd think the motorcycle we're
standing in front of was hers, but it's not--she wishes ;) 

Anna loves her Auntie Em. She has been notably named the "baby whisperer".

I'll leave you with two of my favorite ice cream photo shoots to date. This girl can slam some ice cream. Me too, Anna, me too.

But those eyes though. Be still my heart.

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