Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Tree | 2014

Nothing like posting about our Christmas tree adventure on the day after Christmas, right? Oh well- better late than never. In my defense, I started this post a few weeks ago...and then never finished. Story of my life.

We originally were not planning on doing the whole Christmas tree thing this year. I know, that sounds crazy, but hear me out. We were planning to move in the week before Christmas, and the last thing I wanted to do was have a ginormous tree that had to be undecorated and moved in the midst of packing an entire house and 5 years worth of junk that we have accumulated.

Thanksgiving night, John and I sat down and decided that moving in after Christmas was much more realistic, and also allowed for us to have a semi-normal Christmas. With that, we decided to continue on with our yearly trip to the mountains to chop down our perfect tree. In retrospect, I'm glad we decided to do this. Landon is at such a fun age and really loved it- the memories for him and for us with him are priceless. There was still some snow on the ground, and so of course there were more snowballs being thrown than trees being found. Going up to the mountains to get our tree is always one of my favorite things- Landon loves being able to just roam and run, and there's nothing better than cool mountain air. Its always a little chaotic, but always fun- and despite the fact that we are moving later than planned, I'm so thankful we were able to get our tree this year. It just wouldn't have been Christmas without it!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Landon | Three Years Old

So, you turned three this week. I'll be honest, this birthday has hit me a little harder than your first two. It may sound crazy- its not so much the idea of you being a three year old, as it is that I only have two years until you go to kindergarten. Or that I'm in disbelief that its actually been four years since we found out we were pregnant with you, a day that seems like it was just six months ago.

Three, in my mind, means you are so much farther from baby and so much closer to little boy. Part of me absolutely loves it. Part of me is holding on for dear life to every ounce of baby left in you.

These past few months leading up to your birthday have been nothing short of challenging. In the midst of us having a lot of stress at work, plus building our home, you decided to give us our first taste of the terrible threes. They're no joke, in case you were wondering. Your tantrums and temper are something I was not at all prepared for, and still feel at a loss as to how to manage, but I know we will get though them. Here's the problem. You are strong, and stubborn and independent and want things exactly when and how you want them. Don't we all? You are a little man on a mission. Those are traits that will serve you well in life, but at three? They're making me lose my mind on a daily basis.

Let's not spend too long talking about the struggles of being three. Its your birthday, and a day to celebrate all that is you. I've been asking you some questions over the past week to get an idea of what I should write down.

Favorite color? Blue (or Bwoo, as you say).

Best Friend? Daddy 90% of the time, Mommy 10%- which is also the root of the majority of your tantrums. You want to be just. like. your. daddy. You want to go where he goes and be his big helper and when you can't? Your world falls apart. Oh, to be a daddy's boy.

What you want for Christmas? A truck and trailer with a tractor (because you don't already own 40 billion of them....)

Favorite food? Spaghetti or mac and cheese. Pasta...a boy after my own heart. You also can tear up some cereal and yogurt.

Favorite Movie? Cars. Although the past couple months you have been obsessed with Charlottes Web, which you call "The Spider and the Pig," And this month, being December, we have introduced you to the Polar Express. I'm pretty sure we will be watching that one in July because you love it so much. 

Favorite TV Shows: Chuggington and Mickey. But let me also add in that you frequently want to watch fishing shows or Gold Miner on the history channel because of the big excavators and tractors they use. He was so proud. :) 

Favorite Song? "Mack's Song" better known as Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts from the movie Cars. You dance like its nobody's business!

Favorite place to eat? Subway. Kid you not. We have to drive by one every day, and every. single. day you ask to go get a "sammich at the subway." We can't figure out the obsession, but you've got it bad. Daddy suggested we let you pick out where to eat on your birthday dinner, and we had to tell you subway was closed because it was your first choice. Sorry bud, mama needs a little more than a sandwich for supper some nights.

Favorite Toy: I'm answering this one for you because it changes on a daily basis...but. Anything, with a trailer attached to it. Your most recent favorites are trucks with trailers that can haul things, and for your birthday we took you to Tractor Supply where you picked out a flat bed hauler with a fork lift. This week, fork lifts are your new thing (It has nothing to do with the fact that you've spent 100 hours in Lowes with us getting house supplies and watching them use their fork lift!) What amazes me is that you have a hundred different little trucks, trailers, and tractors, but if you are looking for one, you know exactly which one you want. 90% of the time it's the one we can't find of course. :)

You have been such a big helper during this house building process and love to go out to the house and spend the day playing in the dirt piles with all of your tractors and dump trucks. We are amazed at how content you are outside, and you can literally spend from sun up to sun down playing without complaining once. It's been really great for you.

You are still obsessed with "Whiteman NaQueen" (Lightening McQueen) and I hope you never learn how to say his name correctly. To me, that is one of the biggest things I wish I could bottle up about you right now is your misspeaks. You call sailboats "snailboats," Flashlights are "trashlights". Those are just a few. I love nothing more than asking you questions and hearing your responses. You are three going on thirteen and so incredibly smart.

We love you sweet boy, and we couldn't be prouder to be your mommy and daddy. You are the sweetest, silliest, most incredible little boy. Happy Third Birthday Landon Cole!

Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, November 20, 2014

House Update | 3

Its been a while since I did an update on the house and where we are at in the building process. So much has happened over the past few weeks, and we are full steam ahead hoping to move in just before Christmas. The HVAC, plumbing, and electrical all took a couple weeks but finished about two weeks ago. We passed our inspection (whoohoo!) this past Monday, and drywall was hung all week.

In addition to the interior work, the exterior brick was finished on the front of the house, and the steps were built! I finally have front steps! The siding started at the end of the week and should finish in the next couple days.

Kitchen cabinets were installed on Saturday as well as our laundry room and master bathroom cabinets. There was a small issue with the upstairs bathroom cabinets, so those will have to be reordered, but it is still so exciting to see the other cabinets being installed. Its the first time we are finally seeing major interior progress and I can't tell you how giddy it makes me!

John has spent a lot of time out there working to get things ready and do odds and ends that we didn't want to pay someone to do. I'm so incredibly thankful for his knowledge and skill during this process. Its not easy on him by any means to work a full time job and then go work on a house, but it will be so worth it in the end. Our stress level its through the roof most days, but we feel blessed. We know that this is truly a labor of love and that in the end, this is our home, our place to raise our babies and make our memories and there is nothing sweeter than that.

This weekend he rented a bobcat and did a lot of grading work on the yard and leveled the garage so the concrete can be poured as well as the front and back porches. While he's been working his tail off out at the house I have been picking out lighting and paint colors- which is proving to be more difficult that I originally thought. I have a couple colors nailed down, and a couple light fixtures picked its getting there!

Like I said, our goal is to be in around Christmas, which will make for an insane holiday season. I'l be honest, I'm a little stressed about where to put a Christmas tree, the old house? the new house? Maybe I should just decorate my car...kidding. kind of.

So thats where we are- Casa de Perdue is coming together and we can't wait!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our First Mom/Son Road Trip | Oak Island

A couple weeks ago,  my mom text me to let me know that her and my Dad were headed to the beach for their annual beach trip with friends, she then added that they had a spare room and if I wanted to join them then I could. I kind of shrugged it off, but after talking to John I decided I would quickly load up the car and leave after work Friday with Landon to go enjoy a quick day at the beach on Saturday. John had to spend most of the weekend working on our house, so I knew I wouldn't see much of him anyways, and I am never one to turn down a free place to stay at the beach.

I was pretty proud of myself for 1. how quickly I packed up our stuff and 2. how little I packed. It is so much easier to go to the beach with a potty trained toddler than a diaper and gear dependent baby! I tossed in a couple changes of clothes, a beach chair for me, sand toys for him, and my camera gear and we were ready to go. As soon as we ate lunch we got on the road on Friday afternoon. 

Saturday we spent on the beach. Landon's first words when we woke up were "I want to go play on the beach!" and so that is exactly what we did. Around 2 we came in for a nap, which I joined him for, and then we went back out until dinner time. 

Sunday we loaded up the car and headed home to see daddy. Landon did great going to and from the beach, he potted when we stopped and didn't have any accidents. He watched Cars on the DVD player, and we chatted and really had a great trip. This was the first time I had traveled with Landon by myself, and I am calling it a huge success. I am so thankful for the quality time spent with him and getting to soak in another day at the ocean. Hopefully there will be more mom/son trips for us in the future!

Thankful for such a beautiful weekend with  my little man, for memories, and for a few hours of sand in our toes and sunshine on our faces. It was perfect.

Punkin Picking 2014

I am still in denial that it is November! A few weeks ago,  I did some research and found a pumpkin patch not to far from us to go on the hunt for our perfect pumpkin. Last year we ventured to Patterson's Farm in Salisbury, NC. It was a neat experience and they had tons of games and play structures and animals for kids to enjoy. But the "pumpkin patch" itself was kind of a let down.  We rode a wagon along the farm and then the pumpkins were just laying in a field at the end of the ride. They were pre-bought and placed there, which is fine. But I'm all for authentic, and I wanted to find a place with a legitimate pumpkin patch. I wanted my pumpkin to come off the vine! (Not to be picky or anything.)

Just a few miles further is Carrigan Farms in Mooresville, NC, my hometown. This is the place we went apple picking last year, and somehow I had no clue they grew pumpkins there also! I was excited to find that out. We called my parents to meet us there and all of us piled on a hay wagon and rode down to acres of pumpkin vines. It was chilly and overcast that morning, but to me it made all the more enjoyable. Call me crazy,  but I have a hard time getting into the fall spirit if it is 80 degrees outside.

Landon's favorite part was riding the hay wagon which was pulled by a huge tractor. Anything with a tractor involved is a winner in his book. He's easy to please.  My favorite part about this adventure of ours was getting to roam around the field of pumpkins- I love any place that Landon can run and play and explore without having to worry about cars or tons of people or anything. Just space. It's good for the soul.

After finding our pumpkins, we loaded back on the hay wagon, and headed back to the main area where they had apple cider waiting on us. It wasn't a lot of frills and thrills. But it was a neat experience and I would definitely go back next year. I also love that I get to share a place that was a part of my childhood with Landon. We live in the town where John grew up, so Landon sees and experiences plenty of things that John did as a child. So to share with him something from mommy's childhood was special. We have pictures of me as a kid in elementary school riding on those same hay wagons going to pick apples on a class field trip!

Happy Punkin Picking!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween | 2014

I say it every year, and I probably will continue to say it every year, but holidays are way more fun once you have kids. Specifically, Halloween.

I had a fairly hard time coming up with a costume for Landon this year. He isn't attached to any characters like Mickey Mouse, or Buzz Lightyear. The only characters he is super attached to are Lightening McQueen and Mack from the movie Cars. Since turning my toddler into a Mack truck was out of the question, I decided on a dinosaur. He frequently runs around the house terrorizing our dog yelling "Roooaaarrrr!!!" so I figured it was a good option. The inspiration came from a matching dog costume that I came across one day at Michael's. I got the dog costume for Josie, but you'd think we were torturing her by making her wear it!

Yesterday he had a Halloween party at preschool, and then I decided to grab lunch and head to a nearby park to play for the afternoon and of course take some pictures of him in his costume. We might make this our Friday tradition! He loved playing on the playground and I of course loved some time with my little man. It was the perfect fall day- cool, but not cold, and once a group of kids left, we had the playground to ourselves.

Last night he loved trick or treating in uptown Lexington and going door to door at the neighbors houses. At first he was overwhelmed with the crowds and being that he was one of the smaller kids there, it was a little nerve wracking. But he was at trooper, and by the end of the night he was a pro at holding out his little bag for candy. It was great this year to since he understood a little more of the concept of trick or treating and wearing a costume!

Happy Halloween from the Perdue Family!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Meet Lolita

Almost a month ago, I was letting Josie out the back door before we went to bed and looked up into our flood light where I saw one massive spider. I, of course, screamed and called for John to come take care of our unwelcome guest. When John came to the door and saw the spider, he very calmly said "oh, its just a garden spider, just leave her alone." And with that, we had a new member of our family.

Dear goodness, if you told me three years ago that part of motherhood would include a pet spider I would have laughed my socks off. But that's what we have. We lovingly refer to her as Lolita. Landon has become obsessed with "Wo-weeda" and every day we go outside to make sure she's still alive and well. It's all very Charlotte's Web of us. 

I did a little more research and it turns out Lolita is an Orb Spider, because she spins her web in a circle. She has already laid an egg sac, which will hatch in the spring. And apparently she will die after the first real frost. So it looks like Lolita's days are numbered....just like Charlotte.

And there's my random post for the day. I felt the need to document our first strange pet though, especially since Landon has taken such an interest in his spider. This is what my life has come to, y'all. Taking care of a pet spider.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Family Pictures | Southport, NC

Y'all. I am so embarrassed that it is October and I am just now sharing our pictures that we had taken almost two months ago. But here they are. I like to think that in the midst of all the fall craziness, this brings back just a touch of summer and oh goodness, does it make me ache to go to to the beach. I love that in North Carolina we get to celebrate all four seasons, but here we are just barely into the autumn season and I am missing summer like it's nobody's business!

You may remember back in August we went to Oak Island, NC for the week for our family vacation. Normally, I pack my tripod and remote along with my camera gear to try and get a couple family pictures to document that yes, I in fact did go on the vacation, despite what the pictures show. You know, its that whole always behind the camera syndrome that some of us have going on. This year, I decided to change that issue. I am so thankful to have some great connections in eastern NC and know a couple photographers that I went to college with. I have always wanted family pictures in Southport because that town is just so dang special to us. Most of the world knows Southport from the movie Safe Haven, but me? I know the other side of Southport. The quite streets with towering oak trees, the quaint downtown area, and the waterfront.

Southport is far more than a vacation destination for us, it is a home away from home. John worked building a neighborhood there for a few years before we were married. He proposed on the Yacht Basin waterfront, and that little town holds a piece of our hearts like no other place in the world. One day, one day, we will live there.

So you can understand why it was such a special occasion for us to take our family pictures in the place we love so much. Our photographer was Katy, from Katy Biagini Photography. If you are looking for an incredible eastern NC photographer, call her. Katy and I met in college at ECU when we were both Young Life leaders. It had been close to 7 years since we had seen each other, but as soon as I found out we were going to be in the area for a week I sent her a message and begged her to take our pictures. Katy is one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and it was such a privilege to have her meet us in Southport that evening. I am beyond thankful for these pictures, and am in love with how they turned out. They are exactly what I envisioned. Katy, if you are reading this- thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hallelujah for Friday!

I'm a firm believer that sometimes, you just need a day off. I have always felt that way. Growing up my mom would allow us to take one "mental health day" a school year. A day when we just needed to rest. We needed to be at home. And we needed to take a break. She would write us a note and say we were "sick" and let us play hookie from school. For just a day. I have always implemented the same rule in my adult life. Sometimes life gets crazy, and stressful, and you just need a break. And that's perfectly okay.

Well, today is said day for me. I arranged to have the day off work, took Landon to preschool, and I'm now home enjoying cup number two of pumpkin spice coffee. I have made it a point to say no to running errands today, and yes to hanging out in the comfort of my own home. Watching the Today Show, catching up on laundry, cooking a pot roast in the crock pot. I sound like I'm eighty. 

I also plan on working on editing pictures over the last month or so, and updating this blog of mine that is so neglected. I have so much to share and catch up on that we've been doing the past two months- hopefully today I can work on all that.

So here's to a mental health day!

Happy Friday!

Friday, October 3, 2014

the importance of rest

The past month has been absolutely crazy for John and I. We are up early, out the door to work all day, and then home to either take care of things around this house where we live currently, or working out at the new house on random things. John spends several hours at the new house almost every night after he gets home from his already demanding job. To say we are tired is an understatement. But we just keep going. Several weekends we have gone to Greenville for football games and to see my sister and brother in law, and when we are home we try to spend as much time as a family as we can before the crazy work week rolls back around. We knew when we signed up to build a house we were signing up for crazy. For long days and tiredness. For weekends that are spent sorting through massive wood piles or moving dirt, or measuring kitchen cabinets.

Yes, I love it. We are thrilled beyond words that we are so fortunate to build our own home.

But yes, I. am. exhausted. 

At night I find myself laying in bed praying, Lord, just give me the energy in the morning to get up and do it all over again with a smile on my face. 

Thank goodness for a God who knows when I am worn out. Thank goodness for a God that gives rest to this weary mama and enough grace to get through each day. Thank goodness for grace. Y'all, do you know that we can't do it all? We live in a world that expects us to be superwomen and super moms and having it all together and look like a million bucks and always have a clean house and well mannered child and never say "no" when asked to do something. We live in a world that demands we constantly be plugged in and busy. There are meetings and dinners, and school parties and social media out the wa-zoo.  I get tired just thinking about it all.

The busier I am, the more I realize the need for a rest and grace and strength that I cannot have separate from Jesus. He is the One that restores. My soul, my body, and my mind crave that time of solitude and stillness. More importantly, time with my Savior. Resting in Him. 

So in this chaotic, beautiful season of life that we are in, I'm attempting to make more of an effort to carve out time and be intentional about turning off the technology and the to do list, and soaking in the stillness and truly resting.  The laundry can wait. The vacuuming can wait. The DVR can hold my shows as long as I need. I am ten times better for my family, friends, and everyone else around me when I take some time to truly rest. 

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Sunday, September 14, 2014

house update | 2

Things are really coming together with the house- last week we started framing and it was estimated that it would take the work crew 3 weeks to complete the house, however it looks like they will be finished in half the time. I am so thankful for this crew of men that have worked so hard over the past week to get our house framed. And let me tell you, it is beyond exciting to drive out there each night and see the progress. I could spend hours pouring over those wood framed walls dreaming how how its going to look when it is finished. 

No, I don't normally wear a dress and sandals to a construction site, but we stopped by last Sunday after church for a few minutes and I snapped this picture. This is taken in the space where my kitchen sink will be. I frequently find myself wandering over to the area, knowing it will be a space I spend quite a bit of time at. I kind of consider it the center of the house, as it is where you can see into the living room and the breakfast area at the same time. I also have a gorgeous view of the pond from my kitchen so that should make cooking supper a little more enjoyable. :)

Currently my evenings are spent in the kitchen- preparing supper, cleaning up the mess, and packing mine and Landon's lunches for the next day. Our house we live in now has a tiny galley kitchen that is separated from the living room, and so I feel disconnected from John and Landon when they are watching television or playing and I am still working in the kitchen. The new house has an open floor plan, so gone will be the days of me feeling separated from the rest of the family. I will get to stand at my kitchen sink/island and interact with them in the living room all at the same time! It sounds silly, but it really is a big deal and was a huge factor in deciding what floor plan we were looking for. 

These two pictures are the back of the living room and the breakfast area. Tons of windows and lots of light!

It doesn't look terribly spectacular, but this is the view from Landon's bedroom window. The sun sets right over those trees and it is absolutely gorgeous in the evening. 

The back of the house (above) has a covered porch and fireplace, and we will add a deck off the porch for entertaining and more outdoor living. I fully intend on drinking Saturday morning coffee on that covered porch and John fully intends on spending every cool fall evening by the fireplace outside. This space was so important to us, especially since both of the homes we have lived in since getting married have had zero outdoor space. No yard, no nice sitting area, nothing. I know we will spend a ton of time sitting on that porch watching the world go by and watching our kids play in the backyard. 

The front of the house (below) has changed even since I took this picture- but it has a covered porch as well and two huge dormer windows. 

We love, love, love, how things are turning out and are so thankful to have a crew that knows what they are doing and are doing it well, not to mention are completing the task in half the amount of time.  

Up next will be electrical work, plumbing, and windows/doors! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Oak Island | Beach Trip 2014

Earlier this month we packed our bags and beach chairs and headed down to the coast for a week of vacation. We rented a house with my parents, and my sister and brother in law for a full week and did a whole lot of nothing. It was nothing short of perfect. It was one of those weeks that left me aching for just a few more days of that salt air and ocean breeze, and I certainly wasn't ready to leave to come home.

The house we stayed in had this amazing porch on the ocean side with adirondack rocking chairs and a gorgeous view. Our days typically started and ended on the porch, and when we weren't on the porch, we were on the beach. Morning coffee, afternoon snacks, and late night ice cream were all enjoyed on the porch. In fact, I'm pretty sure we went the whole week and we probably watched less than 30 minutes of television. It was so nice to be outside and unplugged. I took three books with me, and started all three but didn't finish a single one. I was just content watching the world go by. There is something to be said for lazy days, and truly being where you are. Not worrying about what is at home waiting or what is happening in the coming weeks but living right then and there in the midst of it all. The coast does that to me- it has the power to make me forget it all and just breathe a little easier. It was one last sweet week of summer at the coast, and it was exactly what my soul needed.

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