Rylie Kay – 4 Months

Well now that Rylie Kay is almost FIVE months old, I figured I better post her four month pictures! Our sweet girl is getting more and more interactive by the day and we are having so much fun with her. Maybe I say that every month? She makes all kinds of silly faces and loves to stick her tongue out. She has also become fascinated with her feet and tries to get them any chance she gets. She can’t quite sit up by herself yet, but she can roll over easily and will stand for awhile if held up. I’m hoping this isn’t the case, but we think she’ll start crawling around six months. I guess we’ll see!

Once again, it turns out that I have quite a few favorites from this four month photo session. Enjoy!

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Ten on Thursday

Wowza! These past two weeks have disappeared before my eyes! I seriously can’t believe it’s already May and that summer is just around the corner! We have had a lot going on since I last posted, but I think today I’ll just share some cutie pics of Rylie girl. Then again, I guess that’s what I’ve done since she was born so it’s not much different, but just go with me on this one!

1. It’s so hard to believe, but Rylie is over four months old now! She got her four month shots last week. Unfortunately, our appointment ended up being at exactly the time that she was hungry and ready for a nap. So she was extra happy about her shots…not! We hated to see our sweet girl so upset. Glad that’s over with! She’s still long and lean weighing 13 lb 10 oz and 25 inches long!

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2. She has become so much more playful over the past few weeks. Her legs are just long enough where she can jump in her jumperoo and it makes her so excited every time she does it. She has also learned to turn around in the seat and likes to spin the toys as she tries to get them in her mouth!005

3. Right before we left for Arizona, she started sticking her tongue out all the time. This happy girl just cracks us (and herself) up!

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4. She can now roll over easily from her tummy to her back and from her back to her front. Something is wrong with the sound on this video, but you still get the idea! She thinks she can crawl too and gets frustrated when she doesn’t go anywhere! I have a feeling that we aren’t TOO far off from crawling, which is exciting and terrifying and sad all at the same time!

5. Rylie takes after Van in a lot of ways (good sleeper is the main one!). Another that we have recently discovered is that she is hot natured. She gets hot so easily and then is annoyed by it. She had gotten warm one day so I ran my fingers through her hair a little and thought she looked so sweet with her hair like this! Clearly this helped cool her down and she became her smiley self again. Of course here she goes again with sucking her thumb with her hand open! Love that!

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6. With all that has happened in Boston, I have been watching the news a little more lately to keep up-to-date with the craziness. Rylie decided she likes watching the news too and turns her head completely around to see what’s going on. She actually stays like this for awhile like she’s really watching it! Note to self: Limit the TV while she’s awake!

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7. On Saturday we gave her rice cereal for the first time. We went all out and fed it to her with a spoon as opposed to in a bottle and she LOVED it. Of course now that she knows what’s going on, she tries to grab the spoon and doesn’t want to let go if she gets a grip on it. When I try to get the food off of her chin, she chases the spoon with her mouth and starts smacking. It’s quite the scene (and mess)! Van loves feeding her the rice cereal so I’ll let him do that and I’ll stick to the milk – much less messy!

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8. We try to read at least one book before bed and we can’t get over how much Rylie seems to enjoy it. She moves her face right up to the page and even holds the edges of the book. After seeing us turn the pages, she has been trying to do it too. Smart little cookie!

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9. While we were in Arizona, we got her to giggle several times and managed to catch a few on camera. She was laughing at Van here and then I was able to make her laugh as we walked through the airport in Memphis during a layover. These are some of our favorite moments since we have really been looking forward to her giggling and laughing!

10. Here’s a little sneak peek of her 4 month pictures! I took them WEEKS ago and just haven’t had time to share. They’re coming though, promise!

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My goodness we love this sweet girl! Her personality is really starting to come out and it’s so much fun watching her grow and develop. Thanks for stopping by!

Our First Family Trip: Surprise, AZ

So I have started to write this post four times now and each time I find myself faced with the choice of blogging or sleeping. Well, sleeping always wins out my friends so blogging has fallen by the wayside. But I definitely have a lot of pictures to share so it’s about time I got back to it! Take that as a warning – this is a long post!

Last weekend we took our first trip as a family of three to visit my grandparents and aunts in Surprize, AZ. We left early Thursday morning. In fact, since my office is right around the corner from the airport, we actually drove in the same traffic and pretty  much drove my exact commute. It was kind of weird to be on the same route at the same time as normal, but not to be going to work. Weird, but not bad by any means! I was very happy to have two days off!

I can’t even tell you how well Rylie did with going through security and waiting for the flight. Our flight to Phoenix got switched from having one stop to being direct, which was awesome. Apparently US Air doesn’t allow people with small children to board first anymore. We had to wait until after Zone 2 had boarded. Strangest thing! The flight attendants weren’t very friendly, or as my mom would say, they didn’t seem to like their jobs. I guess there was some bad weather in Oklahoma because we were stuck in turbulence for over an hour. Rylie and Van were just sleeping away, but I had to wake Van up because I got a little scared. Rylie only cried twice during the 4.5 hour flight, probably for 2 minutes or so, even though it seemed like so much longer since there wasn’t really anything we could do about it! But she was a happy little travler and we were so very thankful!
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I loved introducing Rylie to my grandparents and Aunt. These are some of my favorites pictures!

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My grandparents live in a cute little community called Happy Trails. Everyone drives around in their golf carts enjoying the retired life. We took the golf cart out for a tour ourselves. We walked around a little bit, watched people play Pickle Ball and checked out the blooming cacti. We learned that it’s special when the flowers bloom because they only last for one day! Rylie loved riding around, but every time we went out, she fell asleep by the end of the ride! Right before we got back to my grandparents’ house, her head just dropped to my arm and she was out. It was the sweetest thing!

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Rylie even got to go swimming for the first time! She liked it, but was a little tired when we got there. We went swimming on Friday and Saturday and I think she liked it even more on Saturday. She loves the bath so we were hoping she’d like the pool too! We didn’t stay too long to make sure we avoided any sunburn on her fair skin, but we had fun while we were there!

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Rylie found the perfect chair for her naps while we were there too. She slept here for every single nap and it was just the right size! We decided that we need a chair like that and a golf cart since they are perfect sleeping spots!

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My grandma’s roses were also in bloom. They were so beautiful and I couldn’t get enough of them! A quail had also laid eggs in their tomato plant and they should hatch any day now. My grandpa set up a ramp for the little birdies to walk down once they’re ready. so sweet!

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We had such a great time while we were in AZ and we can’t wait to visit them again! We flew Delta on the way home and everyone was much more friendly aka they liked their jobs! We boarded first on both flights, which made such a difference, and Rylie received a pair of Delta wings on each flight. She was too tired to wear them though and slept and ate a lot! A guy who was sitting behind Van on the other side of the plane saw Van and Rylie playing and offered to take a picture. So nice!

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We are thankful that Rylie did so well with traveling and adjusting to the time difference. We’re already looking forward to our next trip!

Happy 2nd Anniversary, My Love!

It’s hard to believe that we have already been married for two whole years! We have accomplished so much in the past two years – buying a house and having a baby are definitely two main highlights! I wouldn’t want to go on this journey of life with anyone else and am so unbelievably thankful that God brought us together. I love you Van Lambert!!

Here are just a few of my favorite photos from our special day, April 16, 2011.

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Seven Layer Taco Dip

Seven Layer Taco Dip is an essential (and yummy) party dish that I just can’t get enough of. It also reminds me of my mom for some odd reason. Perhaps because I have memories of her serving it when we had company when I was growing up. I hadn’t had it for YEARS, but was recently asked to bring a side to go with Mexican food and it fit the bill perfectly. I thought it was a pretty universally well-known recipe, but so many people asked me how I made it that I thought I’d share it here! Some people use lettuce or put the taco seasoning in the refried beans, but my mom never made it that way so I went with guacamole and taco seasoning in the sour cream. Once again, it didn’t disappoint! I was even asked to make it again the following week! This is one of those dips that you don’t want to leave yourself alone with – it’s highly addicting!

When I made it the first time, I actually made one with, and one without, olives. So one is a six layer dip, but who’s counting?!

Seven Layer Taco Dip

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Ingredients

1 16-oz. can refried beans

2 cups sour cream

1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

2 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed

2 tsp lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or enough to cover dish)

4 green onions, diced

1/4 cup black olives, sliced

1 tomato, diced

Tortilla Chips

Spread beans in the bottom of a 10″ round or square clear glass dish; set aside. Combine sour cream and seasoning mix; spread over beans. Mix avocados, lemon juice and garlic; layer over sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; top with onions, olives and tomato. Serve with tortilla chips or eat with a spoon!

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Veggie Lasagna Roll-Ups with Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Do you love the flavors of lasagna, but wish it didn’t leave you with such a heavy and stuffed feeling? We tried out this recipe for Veggie Lasagna Roll-Ups recently and really enjoyed it. You could easily add meat to it if you wanted; ground chicken, turkey, sausage or even pepperoni would be good. We went the veggie route this time and I’m looking forward to having it again soon!

The original recipe says to microwave the dish, but I opted to bake them in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes. You could try the microwave version if you’re really short on time, but I’d recommend taking the oven route.

Veggie Lasagna Roll-Ups with Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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Ingredients
Lasagna:
8 uncooked lasagna noodles
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Sauce:
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, undrained
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

To prepare the lasagna rolls, cook noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse the noodles under cold water.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, spinach and 3 garlic cloves. Sauté for five minutes or until the onion and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in cheeses, 2 tablespoons basil, salt and crushed red pepper.

To prepare the sauce, place vinegar and remaining ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Place the cooked noodles on a flat surface and spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture over each noodle. Roll up noodles, jelly-roll fashion, starting with the short side. Place the rolls, seam sides down, in a shallow 2-quart dish. Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over each roll.

Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. Broil during the last few minutes to give the cheese a nice golden brown color.

Garnish with 2 tablespoons basil, if desired.

Adapted from this recipe.

Ten on Tuesday

On Sunday I was thinking that I wouldn’t have anything to share today because I didn’t take as many pictures last week. You see, my camera is FULL and I can’t stand to delete any pictures! But I absolutely must continue to take pictures of our sweet girl so I backed everything up and deleted some of the longer videos I had taken. And then Rylie was being extra cute today and I filled it up again! Oh well. You get to benefit from it though because this post is pretty much all about her!

1. On Saturday my friend Jamie had our friends Casey, Katie and I over for a little girl time and Rylie and James got to hang out for a bit while they were both awake. They both napped a little while we were there, but at different times. Casey has short baby videos  on her phone and Rylie got to watch one for the first time. It was like they were on their very first movie date! I can’t wait to see these two grow up together.

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2. If you live in NC, then you know that today and yesterday have been absolutely beautiful! I worked from home today so during our lunch break Rylie and I enjoyed the outdoors for a bit. We got the mail, walked down the street for a few minutes, ate lunch and played! She and I both loved it! I can’t get over how she has her feet crossed in the first photo. So relaxed!

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3. So you see that adorable skirt she’s wearing? My friend Jess MADE it! It has a belt that ties into a bow, which works out great because she’ll be able to wear it for awhile! Rylie didn’t have the same views toward the belt though. She just wanted to figure out how she could put it in her mouth, per usual. I’ve thanked her a million times, but I’ll do it again. Thanks Auntie Jess!

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4. Speaking of handmade gifts, my other friend Brittany made blankets for Rylie and they are perfect for cuddling up with or putting on the floor to play on. We especially love this one with our sweet girl’s name on it.

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5. Rylie makes the most serious faces and it cracks us up! Yes, her shirt says Born in 2012. A little cheesy, but it was close to free and came with the cutest pants and sweater!

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6. She is really starting to enjoy playing with toys now. Yet another handmade gift, this time from my friend Lisa, is this cute taggie owl. It makes a crunchy noise when squeezed and Rylie LOVES it!

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7. She also had fun playing with the toys on her bouncer while we were outside today. Such a change from how she used to just stare at them!

8. I tried taking a picture of Rylie the other night and she kept putting her feet in front of the camera! Silly girl already!

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9. In case you haven’t seen enough pictures of her, I have been keeping the Daily Dose of Cuteness page updated. Click the link to the left or go to the top of this page to check it out!

10. I’m all out of fun so the last thing I have to share is super random. When I got to work the other day, I noticed that my banana had split open! I have never seen this before. I guess it outgrew its skin!029

Enjoy the rest of the week! I hope you get to spend some time outside enjoying the beautiful weather…while it lasts!

Spring Cleaning!

This past weekend we did a little spring cleaning. Our list was long and we didn’t get to everything, but man, it sure felt good to check some of those things off the list! But you know what I discovered? Doing some deep cleaning really makes you see how icky things can get once you’re up close and personal with it. Case in point: the fridge! I knew it needed to be cleaned, but I had no clue about the attention that it needed until I got in there and did it! And don’t even get me started on the oven!

Van’s mom watched Rylie for several hours so we could get more done. Cleaning and baby watching at the same time just doesn’t seem to work. Time was up before we knew it, but it was really nice to have a good chunk of time to dedicate to getting things done!

I found a great solution for a chore that I previously hated doing – cleaning the ceiling fan. The falling dust, the awkward angle…no thank you! To make it easier, just use a pillowcase and slide it onto the fan blades one at a time and wipe the dust off. It all stays inside the pillowcase and is a mess-free process.

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I also cleaned the door of the oven and can’t get over how clean it is now! Spotless! Make a paste with Baking Soda and vinegar. I started with 1/4 cup of Baking Soda and then added enough vinegar to make a slightly runny paste. Spread it on the oven door and wait 20-30 minutes and then scrub off with an SOS pad. I used these and they worked great. Check out the before and after! It grosses me out to think how it even got that way, but now that it’s clean I’m hoping to keep it that way.

074I found a great year-round cleaning schedule that I’m going to try and stick to from Reader’s Digest. I know that I want to do a lot of the things we tackled last weekend on a more regular basis so this list will serve as a great reminder! Of course some of the things like polishing silver don’t really apply, but I think it’s a good list nonetheless!

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Happy Spring Cleaning to you!

Friday Favorites

Hello, hello! Happy Friday to you! I don’t know about you, but I’m so happy that the weekend is here! This week felt extra long, maybe because I went in to the office three days in a row and never quite felt like I could get it together in the mornings or in the evenings. Regardless, the weekend is here and we should celebrate! Let’s kick things off with a little Friday Favorites action, shall we?

Click the blue links to be taken to the original sources.

Favorite Reminder: I’m not sure who originally posted it, but I saw this on another blog a few days ago. Such a good reminder to enjoy the present, whether you have kids or not.

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Favorite Indulgence: Chocolate Chip Cookie Peanut Butter Smores from How Sweet Eats. Oh my, my, my!! She is always posting recipes that make me drool!

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Favorite Colorful Delight: Rainbow Fruit Cookie Cake by IamBaker. This would be a fun summertime dessert or birthday treat!

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Favorite Repurpose: Painted Chalkboard Label Glass Jars. Watch out pickle jars, here I come!

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Favorite Easy Home Update: Change out your ugly vent grates! We have one in our hallway that is just screaming to be changed!

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Favorite DIY Project: I’m loving this Heringbone Tray from It’s Always Autumn. I think this would be a great addition to our kitchen table. Time to get out the power tools!

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Favorite Kitchen Accessory: Cute Measuring Spoons like these from Pier 1. I’ve been dying to get some cute measuring spoons that are made out of something other than plastic. The writing on the ones we have has rubbed off and it drives me crazy! I was this close to buying some at TJ Maxx the other day, but they looked too big for holding the proper measurements. I’ve seen some cuties at Anthropologie too that I may just have to check out!

3be63ee8c36c998b923275234a57815fFavorite Building Project: I’m in LOVE with this custom office shelving and custom office worktable from The House of Smiths. It looks easy enough to build and the final product is beautiful!

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Ah, so much inspiration! Makes me want to organize, declutter and get started on some projects! Have a great weekend!

Love and Marriage: In the Beginning…

I saw from a blog I read that a group of bloggers is hosting a link series this month about love and marriage. It looked fun, so I thought I’d join in too! Click here and here for two other participants.

Today’s post is all about how we got started.
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I graduated from college in May 2009 and moved back home with my parents while I searched endlessly for a job. While job hunting, I worked at the beloved Scrap Shack (a scrapbook store that I started working at while in high school) and really loved it. While I obviously wanted a “real” job, it was also nice to do something fun that I enjoyed in the meantime. As soon as I moved home I wanted to find a new church to attend. I previously went to a Methodist church, but while in college, I developed an interest in the more contemporary, non-denominational style of church. I knew it would be a great opportunity to meet new people, especially since I didn’t keep in touch with too many people from high school and most of my friends no longer lived there. I went to a church in Huntersville a few times, but never attended anything other than the weekend service. I had planned to join a Bible study group, but that didn’t happen because God had other plans! One Sunday, I was running late and knew that I wouldn’t make it in time. I had seen signs for awhile for The Cove Church, but had never been. I saw a sign on the interstate that said the service started at 11:15, which was perfect for my late self! Before I knew it, I was getting off the exit and heading to what would be my church home to this day.

After attending for about six months, I had made a few friends and joined a girl’s Bible study group. There was also a guy’s group and the leader, Josh, invited everyone to his house for a New Year’s Eve party. My friend Jess was visiting that weekend so we went together. I knew a lot of the people there, but after a little while this guy arrived that everyone knew, except me. Who was this guy? Van of course! Jess and I talked to him and another guy for most of the evening and when we left that night I was definitely nervous and couldn’t stop thinking about Van. Later that night, Van friended me on Facebook and sent me a message about joining him and his friend at the Sunday night service at church that weekend. I was so excited that I accepted his friend request and wrote back pretty quickly, much to Jess’ dismay! I didn’t even think about it, but I’m not one to play games so it really didn’t matter to me. We ended up seeing each other twice in the next week at church and another church event with friends. We exchanged phone numbers and I think we’ve texted/talked every day since!

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From the very beginning, Van was incredibly respectful of me and even of my time. We even went out on our first date on a Thursday night because he didn’t want to tie up my weekend! Our first date was really just a first hang out because it came just six days after we met and we had never hung out just the two of us before. We went to see Sherlock Holmes at Birkdale and then got a drink and Fox and Hound. It was slightly awkward because we didn’t really know each other. I was so nervous and not exactly sure about where this was headed so at the end of our date Van reached out to hug me goodbye and I turned it into a side hug! Even more awkward! Thankfully he didn’t think I was super weird and we continued to talk and get to know each other. He even came over and met my parents the next night!

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Van lived 45 minutes away on the far side of Concord. That was probably the most challenging and frustrating part of our relationship! A friend invited him and he started attending The Cove several months before I did and had gotten plugged in with a great group of people who we are still friends with today. I’m so thankful that a long drive didn’t deter him from going and that our groups of friends were so interconnected!

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We spent the next two months keeping things quiet between us so that we could get to know each other without the pressure from our friends. We officially started dating on March 5 and then got engaged just five months later on August 3. We had gone to San Diego to visit a family that I used to babysit for and then flew to Portland for my family’s annual trip to Oregon. I wrote about the whole thing here. It was truly wonderful! To top off the week, I was offered my first “real” job just a few days later!

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Even though I was only 23 when we met, I was already concerned with whether or not I’d ever meet someone. Getting married and having a family has always been such a strong desire of mine and I was worried that it wouldn’t happen! However, during the time after I graduated and into the next several months, that concern had gone away and I was just enjoying life day by day. Isn’t that how it always goes? It happens when you’re not expecting it?!

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We got married on April 16, 2011 in Concord, NC and the day was so reflective of us. We loved it! Family and friends came from all over the country to be there and it really was one of the best days of my life. We made a commitment to love, honor, respect and serve each other before God and our loved ones.

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We had a wonderful honeymoon in Riviera Maya and are looking forward to our next all inclusive vacation someday!

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Since we have gotten married, we have purchased our first house, had a precious baby girl and are constantly reminded of how God has blessed us. We are so thankful that the Lord brought us together and that our marriage is built on His foundation.

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Our two year anniversary is coming up this month and it’s so hard to believe! But when I look back on the past two years and see all that we’ve done, I’m so thankful to have had Van by my side. We have learned a great deal about marriage in this short time and continue to discover how we can love each other better. Van is my very best friend and I think it’s so important to not only love your spouse, but to LIKE them too! We enjoy spending time with each other, whether that means working on a project, traveling or simply just “being”. We’re now learning how to be parents together and I have a feeling that the fun has just begun!

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Let me know if you link up too! I’d love to read your love story!