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Today's Gratitude to the Max [Wedding Edition}

Sunday, May 28, 2017

For the last several months, Dylan and I have been utterly overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude, love, excitement, and stress... stress that we cannot even begin to express how thankful we are for everyone in our lives both present for our wedding and absent due to babies, weddings, and other wonderful reasons.
We are so beyond grateful for...
Amy for planning one heck of a bachelorette party and all my girls for coming to celebrate with me. You guys are all the best group of girls I could ever hope for. I am SO lucky. You've all been there through my best and worst and love me so fully.

Trudy and Amy for hosting the loveliest bridal shower filled with the most beautiful wildflowers, bike decor, and friends and family surrounding. And all the lovely ladies that showered me with so many sweet, personal gifts. I love you all!

ALL of our friends and family that came to celebrate with is. We've been wishing we could do it all over again so we could talk with each of you so much more! A special award for Edmond and Rachel for traveling from Australia and hanging with us all week! You all mean so much to us. Turning around after saying "I do," and seeing all your happy faces just lit up my heart. Holding back from hugging each and every one of you so we could take this picture was a struggle!
Look at that killer crew. 

All of our wonderful wedding vendors: Love Bridal Boutique for picking out a dress I wouldn't have given a chance but absolutely adored and want to wear every year.

Ashley Rodriguez for making my simple wildflower wedding dreams a reality.
 


      

Stephanie Gamble for the beautiful pictures. You captured so many amazing shots and candids. I can't stop looking at the pictures.

Tyler Sowers for being the most positive and easy going videographer we could've hoped for. The video is better than I could've imagined.

Meredith and Dixie with The Delightful Details for putting all of my scattered ideas into one beautiful wedding. I wasn't the least bit stressed about anything in the process or the day of. You guys are more of a blessing than you know!

Linda Grenville and the Punch Buggies for gracing us with the perfect tunes for our day. You exceeded our expectations with every song we requested, especially "Me and You and Sisi Laroo." :)

Uncle Kenneth for gracing us with your wonderful piano playing at the ceremony. It meant so much to have your talent to walk down the aisle to!

Cam for being our fantastic officiant. It was extra special having such a loving family member get us hitched.

All our wonderful readers, Lindsay, Aunt Karen, Amy and Jared.

Meryl, Chad, Amanda, Stephen, and The Ross crew for your sweet videos since you couldn't be physically here. What a sweet start to the celebration.

Benton for introducing me to this crazy kid. Never would've thought that silly message would lead to a marriage. We are grateful for your friendship more than you know!

Dylan's parents for getting everyone together for a fantastic rehearsal dinner. A special thanks for raising the man I always dreamed of.

And my parents for their endless love and support my entire dang life and making this day happen. You guys truly don't know how grateful I am for all you are and all you do.

We. Are. BLESSED. Holy moly. 
But really, can we do it all over again? We'll make it an all day affair, have bigger cups for your bevs, make sure you know you can dive into that keg, and party all day!
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The Skinny on our Proposal

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I realize I never shared the story of the day I said "yes" to spend forever with Mr. Kennedy. So here it is for whoever missed out. 

We had planned to go for our second round on the Appalachian Trail on Memorial Day Weekend. We'd gotten all prepared with a doggy backpack, took off an extra day from work, and psyched ourselves into the hike ahead. The rainy forecast made us change our plans; Hiking and sleeping with a soggy dog for three days seemed less than appealing. So instead, we decided to do a day hike on Cumberland Island for our first time. 

The night before, we'd biked to the store and got all the supplies for our picnic lunch. I woke up early, made our tasty sammies, and we headed out. Running a little behind with a strict schedule to catch the ferry, we were a little stressed on the drive. Then I realized I'd left the sandwiches. At this point I started to cry from annoyance with myself. I'd ruined the day and we were going to starve on the island and all things irrational and bad. 

Nearing the ferry, we stopped for gas, and I ran as fast as I could into the Subway. I stood twiddling my thumbs, worrying about everything as the workers took their time.
Finally we made it to the ferry, I hopped out for D to find parking, and ALL HAIL! We didn't miss it! So off we went to this nature-rich island! 

We hiked and hiked through beautiful, dense trails for hours, rested for sandwiches and ticks on a log, and kept on hiking. About three hours in, we bee-lined to the ocean to cool off. We crossed through one of my favorite scenes over a little wooden path with swampy water on both sides and the brightest rays shining onto lily pads. I kept wondering if and when he was going to pop the question. There were so many pretty scenes! Said lily pad dreamland spot, for example. "Maybe I ruined it with this morning's mistakes... Maybe he just forgot the ring. Or maybe he can't trust a woman that forgets important sandwiches at home..." 

Finally reaching the ocean, I ran right in with no one in sight. Dylan ran back to "put his money away" and then came out to meet me. As he was holding me up with waves crashing around us, he started to say some words that sounded like a proposal! I wasn't sure if he was going to start it there and finish on the shore or what, but then I looked over and there my ring was on his pinky! His speech was so sweet, of course, about wanting to be a great husband and live a fulfilling life together. I believe I shouted, "Of course!" and then emotions turned to fear that he was going to drop the ring in the sea.  But he successfully transferred the ring from his finger to mine. 
We walked back on the beach, hand in hand, frequently checking my hand for this new foreign object that meant so much. It's funny how I've worn so many rings on that finger but it felt like it had never felt one before in its life.

"We went into the ocean single and came out engaged!" 

It was the most perfect proposal I could've ever imagined. Spontaneous, full of adventure, on a hike, in the ocean... Can't wait to marry this guy in LESS THAN A MONTH! 


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Two February Mornings

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Yesterday morning was the loveliest of mornings
It started with staying in bed extra long and searching for Valentines Day recipes 
Then continued to a playing fetch with the neighbors kinda morning 
Taking a stroll down the street and up to the beach,  people watching along 
Kids splashing in the sea and groms surfing the waves 
a ditch your coats and jump into your swimsuit kinda morning 
Admiring the tourists reading their books 
and joggers and sunbathers enjoying the Florida winter 
a let the pup meet every dog and human she wanted kinda morning 
Chit chatting with Donna racers from Atlanta that needed their dog fix 
who's daughter name was Abby, old John and Sue
Extending the walk because Sierra just wasn't ready to leave the beach yet kinda morning. 

Today the loveliness continued in different colors
From yesterday's cerulean sky to today's dreamy gray beach 
cheering on the Donna Racers and consoling a sound-sensitive pooch kinda morn
a police lady yelling encouraging cheers to the runners 
According to a fan, it was a beer at 9am kinda morn
Almost jumped in to intercept a foreign family's football 
Another extended walk to the pier and mingling with dog padres 
Remembering strangers and tourists can add stories in an instant kinda morn.

These were just the loveliest of mornings. They reminded me to extend my walks because studying and chores can wait, and to talk to the unknowns and even the boys in blue. If someone overheard me or could read my mind on some of these walks, they'd think I'd just moved to the beach, but I'm constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have these scenes in my backyard.


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It's the Holiday Season Woopdidoop

Monday, December 26, 2016

I'd say this was one of the most unique Christmases I've had. I guess that starts to happen as you add a second half, double your family, and work schedules alter your traditions.

 We had our first Christmas Eve brunch with the future in-laws, Mom, Dad and Mimi, and 
Christmas night, we enjoyed dinner with Dylan's parents. I attempted to relax in a hot tub, but I confirmed they're not relaxing for me. 

With Dylan working Christmas afternoon, I studied a bit for the GRE before texting Meryl to see what she was up to and got the nicest invite for dinner with them. So I strolled on over with the pup, arriving at their house soaked for the second holiday in a row. We ate the most delicious pork and learned about Puerto Rican Christmas traditions and Meryl's character of a dad.

Down their street I walked to join Benton and his parents for hours of board games and a beach walk before heading back home. Codenames is quite a fun, thinkin game. 

The goodness continued this morning with a dreamy walk on the chilly, gray beach and lunch with Mom, Pa, Grandma and Rachel at Barbara Jean's on the intracoastal. 

A perfect Christmas weekend.
So stinking grateful for my time with family and such loving friends to bring me in with their fams. 
Merry Christmas everyone! What made your hearts explode this Christmas? 


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Christmas Time at the Dylabby House

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year, and today reality hit me that it was Christmas time and I hadn't decorated! I woke up this morning and went straight to Publix for meal prepping and became overwhelmed with excitement at the little details I wound up with. Candles and flowers were all I needed to send my hormones to euphoria. 

Later we went to get our first real tree, had Dylan's parents over for dinner and finished decorating this humble abode. This place has gone through a lot of changes since last year.  
      
I hope everyone else is enjoying the holiday as much as I am. If not, get on my excitement level! It's joyous!  


Thanks Benton's parents for these lovely candle holders
Peter the Pine
And thanks, Mama for these Christmas sand pipers!

They don't call these Christmas cacti for nothin. Look at that cool bloom! I didn't even know it did that!
Ol' Nelson the Nisse tellin tales to our greens.
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4 Months Later...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Holy mackerel guys,
I knew I'd been failing miserably at this whole blog deal, but I didn't realize it had been since MAY. Since then, I said "Yes, of course!" to a man with a ring on his pinky in the Atlantic Ocean. That man and I trekked around Costa Rica and Panama for two fantastic weeks.

I jumped back into the craziness of Lindamood-Bell and am thoroughly enjoying it. We have the most intriguing, fun kiddos.

In July, I witnessed another of the Bests become a wife to her very comical hubs. Such a fun wedding, as you can see from a snapshot below.

One weekend, I finally visited Ms. Leslie Wiles in her new Georgia home and had our senses overloaded at the Buford Farmers Market. That place is nuts. We filled our cart with fruits we never heard of that needed intensive cutting instructions and safety warnings.

I started on my track to GRAD SCHOOL for speech language pathology. Now I've covered four types of colleges: private Christian college, community college, university, and bigger university with a football team. Super excited to have found this career. Wishing I'd realized it sooner! I also had the pleasure of shadowing my best friend at her work. Besties Private Practice coming up.

After too many missed summers, I went on a trip to Alabama to visit the Grandparents. It was Alabama appropriate with okra picking and frying, grilling out on the back porch, potting plants, embroidering, and Sunday morning at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

Much more recently, I had a lovely reunion with Dana and Martin and a Labor Day BBQ at The Bakers' new house where I put Grandma's fried okra into practice. Success!

I ran 0 miles in the entire month of August. I think that's the first 0mile month I've had in like 5 years. The heat was too easy of an excuse. Changing this soon. Tomorrow?

I discovered the deliciousness of this quinoa shrimp meal that you should try ASAP. And this pork heaven.

I will try try try to do better with this. Maybe I'll even share my post about our Central American adventure on here soon. One can only hope.



Pa got a selfie stick, so we selfie in front of breakfast. 

Caving Festival

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Bring clothes you don't mind trashing,"  they said.

"It can't be that muddy," I said...

This caving festival opened my eyes to a new kind of dirty and adventure. First of all, the setup was a unique one with a bunch of caving enthusiasts camped out on someone's large property with music, barbecue, and camp fires. 

We only did one day of caving which wound up being ok, considering the adventure that was to come.

We entered Hollow Ridge cave and started off finding a huge viewing room with crazy structures that looked like crystals and giant lady parts. A "lights out" had us in the darkest moment I've ever experienced. I started out feeling pretty confident, feeling the benefit of the ab part of yoga classes kicking in.

We continued on and started a tight section where I kept hitting my head on the top, so I just chose to look down and crawl forward. My light fell off my helmet getting covered with mud, so not really doing its job in any way at this point. I reattached it but it fell off again, this time to its tangled demise. So I was inching my way with a mangled mess in my hands that kept getting stuck in the mud and causing so much extra trouble. Then the mud continually pulled my kneepads down to my ankles and my pants a little too far down. I surrendered to both of those struggles and just apologized to the crawler behind. I imagine they couldn't see anyway.

"What's it look like up there?" One of us periodically shouts to our guide.
"We're on the right track!" 
So we trusted and kept snaking along.

Finally, after maybe 20 minutes of lurking through the mud, we hear a "Welp, we gotta turn back!" come from the front. We wiggled around and back we went through the pancake space. This time we've discovered a new technique of rolling to save energy whenever it was tall enough. We finally made it out after what we guessed to be two hours.

Our concluding bath and float in the Chipola river was a magnificent feeling. The chilly water freeing our bodies from layers of mud... a view of the bright blue sky and gorgeous Florida trees above while floating in the water... Heavenly. I wish I could share that picture from my brain with you guys.

Who else is into caving?! I imagine anyone that does it has at least one story. At the time, we were glad we didn't know what was in store or we might not have done it but certainly felt accomplished.

This sport is wacky, and I'd totally do it again. 

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