Friday, June 27, 2014

Family Beach Pictures 2014

The good ol' blog has taken a backseat this week as we prepared ourselves for our big move. With closing day on our house approaching and family in town to help we have been moving little by little all week. We hope to be finished by this weekend and then we will breathe the biggest sigh of relief ever. How can you accumulate so much stuff in only four years of marriage and in an 895 square foot house? I don't know either but we have. Even though we will be going to a much larger house I still see some purging in the future.

But before we get too far into the future, I have to share our beach pictures. I know y'all have been a nervous wreck wondering when I was going to post them HA! These are part of my family's story so I'm sharing and please be prepared for some picture overload. And tons of cuteness courtesy of a pretty perfect 1 1/2 year old.

I think I have my first pieces of art for the new house. However I have no clue how I will ever pick which ones to use. Maybe I'll just cover every square inch of wall with them :)

Thanks again to Sarah Lyn Photography! Our expectations were exceeded.

I hope your weekend will be much more relaxing and box-less than mine. We have a ton moved already but still have so much to do. And these beach pictures are just making me want to go on vacation instead :) Back to packing, happy Friday friends!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Lovely Weekend

Monday morning again? I don't know why these have to come around so often. This weekend was full of lots of love and memories for me. I watched my best friend become a bride and my little cousin become engaged to her high school sweetheart. Plus I watched my baby grow and learn and just enjoy the simple pleasures of life. My love tank is full.

Shira Beth was my very first friend. We started staying together at Nanny's when I was 6 months and she was 3 months. She is in every childhood memory. Teeball, dance, kindergarten shots, talent shows, basketball, track, proms, graduations...and the list goes on. She truly defines a forever friend.

And here she is 26 years later as the bride. The most breathtaking, stunning bride. Absolute perfection from head to toe. Her dress was to die for, she couldn't have picked one that defined her any better. Love her so much!

It was such an honor to stand with her at the altar. The wedding was at her (and my husband's) home church Morgantown First United Methodist. I love sweet southern church weddings and this wedding was all of those things. More pictures to come soon from Julia Christopher who was also my wedding photographer four years ago :)
Right by the church is an old plantation home owned by a previous church member who has passed on. It was such a beautiful backdrop for pictures and I know Jack would have been so proud his house was used on this day.

Driving away (in the Mayor's car!) on their way to Aruba for the week! My heart is so full of happiness for her. She's found her forever and he couldn't be a luckier man to have Shi-Baby.

More pictures from Julia Christopher soon! No doubt they will be phenomenal!

While one couple was sealing the deal another couple was making the commitment. My cousin Payton is engaged!!! This makes me feel so old. She should still be the little girl Paige and I are packing around on our hip. We love them both! She's going to be a Mrs!!

After a pretty formal weekend of rehearsals, dinners and the wedding we spent Sunday night outside in tshirts and shorts enjoying a warm hot summer night. We taught Georgia Grace how to catch lightning bugs. When we could catch one we would show her and she would hold it and normally smoosh it ha! Poor bugs. And Marcus and I realized catching lightning bugs was much easier as a kid. I guess it's decreased night vision?! I don't know but we struggled. I'm sure we just had an extra fast bunch of them, it couldn't be a sign we are getting older... :)

We had gone all day without swimming which just isn't right according to GGH so her and Daddy (and Owie) took a swim at Grandmomma's at about 8:30. There were lots of squeals and laughter in the yard. It was a great conclusion to a great weekend.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fun in the Sun

We've had a good week around here spending a lot of time outside since the longest days of the year are upon us. We've been checking things off of our summer bucket list left and right too. If you rate a day on how fun it was based on the number of outfits Georgia Grace goes through they are off the charts fun :) That's what summer is all about it and we are living it up. 

Wednesday when we got home from church we played outside until dark. This girl would live outside if we let her. She loves it all-swimming, playing, swinging, strolling. As evidenced by her sticky curls on her forehead the summer heat arrived this week. We're not complaining one bit.

Yesterday we had a good old fashioned summer day. We went to Mom and Stan's pool and swam most of the day. I'm trying out this "fun mom" thing :) Georgia Grace said "again" and had the biggest smile on her face after I made a big splash.

Last night we walked to our local snow cone place called The Sno Shack. This place is special to me because when I was a little girl my older cousins owned The Shack and ran it to make money for school, their wedding, etc. They would let me help them make the snow cones and you talk about feeling like a big shot :) It always brings back so many memories for me. GGH got a peaches n' cream sno cone of course and loved it. I will miss the ease of walking for dessert once we move in a few weeks.

Our beach picture CD should be in our mailbox today and I'm so excited to share them! Sarah captures our family so beautifully, I'm in love with all of them.

Happy Friday y'all! We are marrying off one of my dearest friends this weekend, it's going to be a good one!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blog Book 2013 & A How-To

You read it right-2013. I just now (well, three weeks ago actually) received my blog book for the previous calendar year. I was in super procrastination mode this time because I wasn't completely satisfied with last year's blog book and wanted to do something different. So I spent quite a bit of time researching and finally decided on a blog book publishing company that exceeded my expectations- Lulu.

Here is our 2013 calendar year blog book. It is 538 pages of pictures, memories and letters to our sweet baby that we can tangibly have forever. I consider this my trophy for the work I put into my corner of the www :) The day my book arrives is like Christmas morning.

2013 created a huge book for us! Vacations, weddings, and baby's first everythings were lengthy posts that made for a bulky book. I went with a hard cover and colored pages. I wanted durability and for the pages to closely resemble the actual blog.

I love that Lulu allows you to select actual pictures as the covers of the book. Deciding on which pictures to use took me longer than I care to admit but I'm happy with my choice and the quality. It even has a barcode so it's an official published book-how cool is that?

I found a wonderful tutorial here that helped me muddle through the publishing process. This book did require more work on my end than my previous blog book. You download a template and copy and paste your blog posts onto the template. From there you are able to edit fonts, resize pictures, and arrange pages so that there are no weird page endings. The extra work was worth it to me for formatting reasons alone. I have created a step-by-step tutorial at the end of this post. Hopefully it will help you if you're interested in making one and I know it will help me next year so I don't have to start from scratch.

Resizing the pictures allows you to get more pictures and words on each page. Some pictures I left big, like her first time eating from a spoon, and some pictures I made smaller. I love the flexibility and ability to design the layout.

I was impressed with the picture quality. There is very little graininess and the colors are bright and vibrant.

Here is a step-by-step process that I used to make my blog book: 

1. Create an account 
Go to and sign up for free

2. Download the template
Once you are logged into your account, go to Publish. Click Books and download the template.

3. Copy/Paste/Edit
Once the template is downloaded you can start copying and pasting your posts to your template. Make sure you transfer the entire post including the date and title (comments optional). Also be sure to work chronologically so your book reads from oldest to most recent.

Once you have all the posts pasted to the template is when you should begin editing. Again you will want to start from the first page which should contain your oldest post and work down so that you don't have to backtrack and do rework. You can shrink or expand features, change or resize fonts and eliminate unwanted spacing that you had from the blog post (I did this between the title and the actual post to save room and require less book pages). If you end up with extra space on the page make pictures bigger so you get the most out of the page. Something I did to my template was take still shots of videos that I had posted on the blog. Of course videos won't print and it leaves a big black box so I replaced that with a picture of the video! 

4. Create a Title Page/Table of Contents
In order to make these all you have to do is space the first post of the template down and allow for a new page. I kept my title page simple: Harrison Homeplace 2013.  I did not do a table of contents page. I was ready to have it done and printed plus I felt like we would just flip through the book to find a certain post instead of use the table of contents anyway. I thought I would regret not having one but I haven't. *Be sure to leave page #2 blank if you want the first page of the table of contents (or blog if you forgo a table of contents) to be on a right hand page.

5. Proof
At this point your blog should be print ready so now is the time to proof for any errors you didn't catch earlier. Maybe a picture isn't centered, a post is missing a date, a new post starts at the end of the page and you would rather start a brand new page, etc. Be sure you are saving your project frequently so your computer stores the most up-to-date template version.

6. Save as a PDF
Lulu has instructions here on how to save your template to ensure it prints correctly.

7. Upload and create your cover
From your Lulu account you will upload your PDF template. You can preview at this step in case you need to make any last minute changes. If I remember correctly it took a few minutes for the template to download (could have been because mine was 538 pages!) so be patient. For your cover you have the option of using one of their templates or you can create your own. I decided I wanted a picture that defined 2013 for us so I chose my favorite family picture. It has to be a high-resolution picture so DSLR or professional pictures are your options.

8. Final Preview and done!
You can preview it one last time and then it is ready to publish. Lulu is geared more towards authors who are writing and publishing actual books so it doesn't automatically ask you about buying one but if you navigate through a few screens you will see the option to purchase.

Be sure to search for coupon codes, I was able to find a code for 25% off! My 2013 blog book through Lulu was cheaper than my 2012 (only July-December) through Blog2print. Plus I was able to format the pages and create my own personalized cover. Lulu is bomb dot com. I'm so glad I made the switch! And I'm hoping this will eliminate my excessive procrastination and it won't be the middle of the year next time before my book is ready :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Weekend 2014

We had a great weekend celebrating the fathers in our life. Marcus pretty much did whatever he wanted to do and we just tagged along :) We embraced the love language of quality time over gifts this year and I think we all preferred it.

We started the weekend Friday night by meeting with our architect to discuss the revisions to our house plan. We were at his house for FIVE hours. He showed us how a design plan would look from a certain angle, exteriorly, in 3D, etc. He was even able to put an average size person walking through the rooms to show spacing and room sizes. It was unbelievable! I'm anxious to make some final decisions soon. Geez louise there are so many decisions! And making decisions doesn't come easy for me.

Architect meetings and a wiggly 1 1/2 year old don't mix so my Dad kept Georgia Grace for us until the meeting was over. She helped him get ready for our lake day by exploring the boat. He said she played in his boat for 1-2 hours! Maybe we should just get a boat... :)

Saturday we spent the day at beautiful Lake Malone. Of all the lakes I have been to Lake Malone is my favorite. It's smaller and you can fish or do water sports. And the landscape is head and shoulders above the other lakes in my opinion.


For the past couple of years we have been going to the lake with our best buds Nathan and Rachel and staying in their family cabin. They weren't able to go this weekend but let us use it anyway. So we did :) They are the best! It's seriously the cutest little cabin ever.

Uncle "Erie" and GGH ready to hit the water

Georgia Grace's 1st time on the lake! She loved the water but wasn't crazy about the life jacket. Sorry but not sorry baby girl.

My Dad even let her "drive" the boat (we are idling). She thought she was big stuff of course. Love this picture of these two.
 I think we are looking at our crew in the other boat but I love how her little hand is on my Dad's leg and I'm holding her hand. Safe as can be!

After we went out in the boat for a while Mamaw, GGH and me came back to the cabin to sit on the porch while the rest of them went back out. She fell asleep in my arms while we were swinging. It was a perfect day at the lake.

Father's Day 2014
I didn't think I would ever know a man that was as good of a father as my Dad but I do. I'm blessed to have my husband and Dad leading our families. I'm so thankful for this man!

The way to my husband's heart is absolutely through his stomach. He is a foodie for sure so I made him a Father's Day breakfast of eggs over-easy, bacon, homemade buttermilk biscuits and fresh fruit to go with it. The biscuits are Grandmomma's recipe and he said they were good so I was proud of myself!

Sunday afternoon after church we were back to a body of water. This time my Uncle David's pond. As soon as we finished eating lunch at my Mamaw's we walked over to do a little fishing. We caught 20 fish in about an hour! Bluegill and bass. This is my first catch in many many years. I ended up holding the fish but didn't bait the hook. Rome wasn't built in a day :)
We went home and when Georgia Grace woke up from her nap she had a special Dad's Day card for Dada. She is reading it to him in the picture. Such a big shot! He loved it.

This was one of those weekends you never want to end.