life after the storm

Harvey.  Oh, Harvey.  I feel like this storm is now a defining moment in the lives of everybody that endured it.  There will be the life before Harvey and the life after Harvey.  I hope that in the days and weeks to come the people continue to find the good in other people and the situation.  I hope they remember how our communities pulled together and loved so well.  I hope they remember the countless hours upon hours of community service that our neighbors have sacrificed in order to rescue and rebuild.  I hope after the pain and fear from the storm continues to subside they can see the blessings brought forth by the storm.  I hope they will always remember that you can’t do life alone, so love your neighbors – all of them; always.  I hope that as houses get rebuilt people not only regain a sense of home and security, but forever cherish how fragile life is and how each new day is truly a blessing.  I hope that my boys never stop playing water rescue with their cars and airplanes and never stop talking about how daddy is out helping people.  When they play they are acting out what they see – and this storm has let them see their daddy in a whole new light.  I hope that as people drive through neighborhoods and see piles and sometimes mountains in people’s front yards they have compassion.  I hope that they remember that even though it is “stuff”- it is someones life.  I hope they remember that among the carpet padding and wood floors there are precious photos, handmade masterpieces from their children, baby books, a child’s favorite toy, great grandmas heirloom china, and so on and so forth.  I hope that they remember that yes ‘stuff’ is replaceable but some of it was not stuff, some of it made up a small piece of their soul, a memory so special, that it can never physically replaced.  I hope that this storm has changed you as it has changed me.  I hope you are walking on the other side a little more broken, but a little more stronger.  I hope that you continue to be the best ‘yes’ you can be to others in need of help or just a hug.  I hope that you continue (or start) to count your blessings every night – you truly honestly never know when life will shift.  I hope that each and every day you tell your loved ones that you love them.  I hope that you show grace to your neighbors, whether it be in traffic or as they work on home repairs – give them grace – we are all just trying to find our new normal.  I hope that if you didn’t already love Texas, Mattress Mack and JJ Watt that you do now. Lastly, I hope that you have a renewed hope – in yourself, in your future, in the world.  Harvey will not be the last storm in your life.  The next storm you endure may or may not be another hurricane.  Maybe it will be loss of a loved one or a job.  Perhaps a big move in life or an emotional roadblock.  Always remember who you are and where you have come from.  Without some rain, you will never have a rainbow.  Pray, endure, grow, change.

Oh Harvey…

You spun up in the gulf, just as quick as it could be,
With a bullseye on the Texas coast, headed straight for my friends and me

All the models showed you growing, and dumping lots of rain,
you’d thought you’d get the best of us, and drive us all insane

As you slowly came ashore, we all watched your true devastation,
You showed us all your strength, but we’ll overcome it without the slightest trepidation

Not the power outage nor the flood, and your wind surely was no match
As we came together as Texans, and the hospitality bug did we catch

Our friends, our family, and neighbors, we are all one in the same,
you won’t break our spirits in the slightest, this is just a part of life’s game

Deep into the night, the volunteers came in droves,
driving our small john boats through the neighborhoods, and all their intricate coves

With a full boat of people, and the 90 HP Mercury chugging along in the flood, it didn’t matter who we were saving, we all came from the same blood

When the times got the toughest, we just looked up to the sky,
and whether it was raining or it was sunny, we smiled without a sigh

All was going to be ok, with all of us on the same team,
we are stitched together like the Texas flag, and we wouldn’t break a seam

Once the flood waters recede, I’m sure you’ll still hear your name,
but it will be because of the great human nature, and not your selfless sought after fame

We are friends helping friends, not asking for anything in reply,
just knowing that if there’s an issue, we just raise our hands into the sky

You see you don’t mess with Texas, we’ll stand up hand to hand,
Like if you were the devil down in Georgia, in the song by the Charlie Daniels Band.

I will give you only one thing, you were a test for us for sure,
but nothing a helping hand, a human heart, and a Texan cannot cure!

God Bless!!!

-Poem by my talented and loving husband, Andrew

On a lighter night, right before Harvey hit I returned from an Epic 2 week road-trip and I cannot wait to share it with you!

XO,

j

Save

Save

And so the Adventure Begins…….

I can hardly believe I am sitting here writing this, but God is good ya’ll.  The past 2 weeks have been a total a complete whirlwind.  From passing strep and the tummy bug to every person in the house to getting a FULL PRICE OFFER on our home.  A full price offer on our home {insert happy dance}.  What makes this SO amazing and really shows us how much God is orchestrating this dream for our family is that our home WAS NOT on the market.  We took it off in November and had NO plans to re-list until mid/end of April.  Needless to say, moving was totally off of our radar.  You bet your bottom dollar we are excited as heck though.  A full price offer on a home off the market.  Well, ok then God.  We will take it and run blindly into whatever journey you are planning for our family.  We are a whole lot excited and little nervous, but here we come.  Yes, 300 square foot camper – get ready.  The Hoopers are hitting the road!  SO, what now?  We have discussed SO many options about which direction this all going to take and we really do not know yet.  Andrews job has taken a lot of unexpected (potentially exciting) turns that he wants to ride out at the moment and I hit my 10 year anniversary with my job in mid June.  So, as of now life will go on as normal.  In a camper.  That is normal, right?  We plan to hop around locally so that we can both stay at our jobs {yay} and the boys stay at their little church school {yay}.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

I am clinging to this truth as we start this journey.  God has it all laid out for us.  I honestly believe this time in our lives will change each of us in way we never imagined – for the better.  I can’t wait to see where we are led and who we meet along the way.  RCR will always be our first home and our forever home in our hearts. We made friends that are family to us on this precious street and we will carry that with us forever.  #faloopers.  A very bittersweet time for sure.  Our 10 day option period has already passed and the inspection went amazing.  We are set to close on March 10th.  Until then, friends, you can find me hiding in between boxes, bubble wrap and a glass of wine 🙂 And so it starts……

xo,

j

Stirring in the Soul

We are officially 9 days into the new year and I have never felt such a stir of emotion in my soul and energy as I have this year.  My clean eating and exercise program is going pretty darn well.  I have not missed one day of my daily devotional {that really is a big deal for me}.  We had a crazy productive first weekend of the year that we will fondly remember as demo weekend.  We are starting preparations on our house in order for it to be at its best market ready self when we re-list our home in April.  We took the train down that ran across Corbin’s ceiling in his room (as much as we thought it was super awesome and fun, some people can’t look past that stuff when buying a house).  We took down extra curtain rods and curtains that made rooms appear smaller.  We smoothed down and spread a huge pile of dirt in the backyard.  Let me clarify – when I see WE I really mean Andrew.  He rocked it this weekend.  I was the moral support and cooker.  I also got all of our christmas taken down and put back into the attic.  My project 333 wardrobe is THIS CLOSE to being complete.  We have a garage sale pile the size of Mt. Rainer {and it feels oh SO good}.  I have a feeling this is just the first layer for me as well.  I am learning a lot about myself. I am very emotional and am having a harder time parting with THINGS than I thought.  EEEEP.  How embarrassing.  Does this make me a stage 1 hoarder?!  Maybe.  Whatever it is I am ok with it.  I am making progress and it is helping me to try to really step back and find the THINGS in my life that bring me joy.  We are collectively trying to make 2017 more about friends and family than THINGS.  Regardless,  I am human and I like things.  I am forever a work in progress.  Amongst all these preparations on the home I feel like Andrew and I have had some MAJOR stirrings in our hearts and souls about where exactly is life leading us?  What does God want us to do with out lives?  80% of your life is spent working and that work needs to glorify HIM.  If you aren’t happy with that work than are you really living life to the fullest potential? Are you really glorifying God every day?  Some serious stirring of the souls going on over here.  What I can say is I have a feeling this “journey” that we started envisioning in our heads 8 short months is going to be drastically and radically different from what we had originally planned out.  Kinda scary – heck yea.  Kinda exciting – oh yea.  Keep coming strong 2017 – we are taking you and all your challenges on.  I’ll leave ya’ll with an awesome poem Andrew wrote in about 10 minutes yesterday.  He has such a talent for this and it amazes me with each poem he writes.  Enjoy.

The Grind

I’m not happy with what I’ve become
Connected all the time
Putting in all the effort
For just the daily grind

Working for someone else
Is not at all fulfilling
And the thought of this long term
Is nothing short of chilling

Voicemails, Texts, and Emails
Never putting down the phone
Sometimes I want to shut it off
And leave myself alone

It’s ingrained in us at an early age
What success can truly be
But today I find myself
Wanting more than the corporate family tree

I’m tired of climbing the ladder
I’m needing some simplicity
It may be unconventional
But I think it’s what’s best for me

It’s great to have the raises
And a promotion here and there
But honestly in the grand scheme of things
I’m not sure I really care

I was able to buy the “things”
That sit in the closet collecting dust
It’s what you’re supposed to do with money
It’s like an unwritten law that you must

Am I being selfish?
Thinking only of myself
Or am I turning the page
On my “book” up on the shelf

Change is a scary thing
And taking risk is just the same
But what I’m doing as of now
Will soon drive me insane

I’m not expecting it to be easy
There will be bumps in the road ahead
But I want to say I’ve lived
Long before I’m dead

The American dream is true
But make it all your own
For you it might be the white picket fence
For others that seed is not yet sown

I’m not sure what mine is yet
That path I’ve yet to pave
But after I become successful
I’m sure it will be all the rave

Success is of course objective
It means different things to all
But you must take that chance in life
Even if you trip and fall

I’m not sure what’s next for me
And I’ll need to take my time
To make a fulfilling career
Outside of the corporate daily grind.

-Andrew L. Hooper

What has you stirring in 2017?  What is driving your happiness?  What change do you want to make in your life?  YOUR destiny is in YOUR hands. God has given you tools and talents in life to be successful.  If we each examine our hearts and souls to find these tools I think every one of us can be living the uncommon life.  The riveted life.  The one life you are given.  I challenge you; listen to your heart.  Chase your dreams.  You are never to old.  I am reading (really re-reading) The Cure for the Uncommon Life by Max Lucado.  It is a Christian based book to help you discover your sweet spot in life.  I am a couple of chapters in and enjoying it so far.  Make it a good week friends and listen to the stirrings in your soul.

xo,

j

Five on Friday – Election week edition

It’s Friday and it’s cold!  Well, cold for Texas anyways 🙂  I hope everyone had a great week.  We have a had a few house showings this week and I am trying not to get too hopeful but I am continuing to pray that we get an offer sooner than later if this is God’s will.  Having your house on the market is exhausting – ask Andrew.  Bless his heart.  Almost every showing we have gotten notice as I am going into work for the night.  He has totally rocked all the cleaning and organizing by himself so I can just wrangle the kiddos the next day and get everybody out of the house in time for the showing!  I could not do this life without him by my side.  I had lunch with a dear friend and was telling her my frustrations and shared with me this quote that her friend shared with her.  So much truth right here.  Finding the beauty in our wait.

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{one}

Trump wins.  I get it.  I do.  Some people are scared/angry and some people are happy/celebrating.  Regardless of the side you are on I think this election has {or needs to in some cases} taught the American people some important lessons.  One – God has been on control since the beginning.  As much as the polls and experts said otherwise – HE knew.  And, personally, I think that is awesome.  We voted, but ultimately he chose.  As I prayed with my boys in carpool line before drop off on Tuesday we ended our prayer with that whoever God willed to be in office would win.  I am at peace with that.  If it had been reversed I would have been at peace as well.  Why?  Because we can only TRUST HIM.  End of story.  No rioting, no worrying, no name calling is going to fix anything nor give the other side what they want.  Two – Love wins.  OR does it?  It seems to me that some of the large groups of people that preach from the rooftops that Love wins are the ones sending death threats and filling the streets with riots and hate towards Mr. Trump and his family.  I am all about Love wins.  Regardless of my beliefs and values I try not to judge others, that is not my place.  I don’t care what color you are or what you believe in if you are behind me I am going to keep the door open for you, if your tire is flat and you are stranded on the side of the road I can guarantee you my husband will the first one to flip a U-turn and offer you assistance – regardless if you have a Trump or Hillary bumper sticker.  WHY?  because we are all humans and it is our duty to treat EACH AND EVERY other human with respect.  So to the crowds out there throwing up their arms in hatred and anger – why don’t you try loving?  After all, love wins.  Right?!  Matthew 22:37-40 reads “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  NEWFLASH: Trump is your neighbor, Hillary is your neighbor.  We ARE ALL neighbors.  Let’s try love friends.  If you do nothing else, I dare you to try and step out of your comfort zone.  Say hello to every person you make eye contact with, hold doors open for people, start a conversation with a stranger.  As I waited {an hour} in the voting lines I got to talk to the person behind me and ahead of me and I really enjoyed our conversation.  I enjoyed their company to help the hour pass.  Did we ever once talk about who we were voting for?  nope (and one of them was wearing a shirt for the party I was not voting for).  And guess what – it didn’t matter.  We laughed.  They played with my son and made him laugh.  They helped me maneuver the stroller through the tiny door spaces into the voting lines.  Hillary and Trump are just as much your neighbor as they were mine.  Show love.  Natalie Grant’s song King of the world was my theme song last week.  This week I am choosing Tim McGraw’s song Humble and Kind.  I pray that the American people can show kindness towards Mr. President Trump.  I also pray that Mr. Trump can stay Humble and {grow in his ability to be} kind.  We all have room to grow in ourselves; let’s stretch that ability.

 

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Now, Let’s put all of these political wars aside and pay tribute to our veterans. THANK YOU!.  Each and every person and their family that has sacrificed their time {and lives} in order to serve our country.  Let’s make them proud and continue to make America great.

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{two}

Corbin got to vote at school.  I talked very briefly with him about the election and Wednesday morning we talked about the President that had won the election.  His response to me was “but I wanted chocolate and chicken nuggets (his vote at school).”  My sweet, sweet little boy.  Hang onto that innocent soul forever.

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{three}

I just discovered the best little coffee and lunch spot in my hood.  literally right down the street from house.  I felt super trendy there with my husbands laptop, my iced green tea, and actually being dressed in real people’s clothes.  I think I found my new kid free alone time hide out {which means I’ll be there maybe 3 times a year ;)}.  swoon.

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{four}

I am almost completely done with our Christmas shopping lists.  Once our Amazon points hit our account all I have to do is click buy, wait, and wrap.  I am feeling super on top of it right now and so excited to wrap gifts and have Christmas everything pouring out of my soul 🙂  I get Christmas isn’t all about presents but gift giving is one of my languages of love so that part of the holiday I just LOVE.  I love wrapping presents, I love watching my family open them.  I just love it.

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{five}

We are heading to a Christmas Market near our house with some of our best friends this weekend.  This has been a tradition for us for 6 years now.  My friend that we go with was actually my wedding coordinator at the facility we got married at and I was secretly hoping we could stay friends after I got married 😉  She invited Andrew I to dinner and this market with them a few months after our wedding.  As much as the boys were thrilled to go shopping with us – it really was a great night and it has become tradition ever since.  AND they are some of our best friends now and their kids and our kids are best friends.  So pretty much its perfect.

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Have a great weekend friends.  Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away!!!!!!

friday link up

 

xo,

j

Five on Friday

{one}

We had the best time celebrating our anniversary last weekend.  Top golf, Sully (excellent movie) and dinner.  It was a perfect afternoon/evening away from the kiddos to just be with each other!

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{two}

The kiddos and I trucked to the zoo on Monday with some dear friends.  We got to pet a snake and saw so many of our favorite animals.  The weather was perfect and it made a great start for the week!

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{three}

I have been taking the kiddos on a bike ride or running every night that I am not working.  It has easily become my favorite part of the day.  It helps burn off some extra energy so by the time we get home every one gets baths and goes to bed without fights.  On a side note – I found this bike seat for bubba and it is amazing!  He loves sitting up front and pretend like he is driving.  I feel very stable with him up front and I defiantly highly recommend this seat!

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{four}

Last Friday night the wives joined our hubbies on the BBQ cool off team up at the Fort Bend County Fair.  We stopped and had margaritas prior to our arrival and then feasted on ribs, chicken, and brisket when we arrived.  I feel like my hair is still lingering with the smell of BBQ a week later, but it was so worth it.  They guys are already planning next years cook-off.  I hit up our local farmers market last Saturday for the first time and I loved it.  I loved supporting our local businesses and I totally scored some yummy treats!  I plan on going again this week after my pilates class Saturday morning.  One of my besties also came over Saturday and we ventured to the mall for an old navy excursion (Corbin was convinced we could buy the dog and threw a fit when he realized we couldn’t bring it home with us) and lunch before heading to the pumpkin patch.  We had the BEST time at the pumpkin patch…the kids ran wild and Ali and I got to eat funnel cake.  win, win.  We shut the place down and called it a successful Saturday!

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{five}

I remember a few years ago when ankle booties came into style I shunned them away and swore I would never convert to that style.  Well, my friends, I have converted and I am in love.  Ankle booties, especially in these mild Texas fall/winters are the best thing ever.  I love them. I am on search for an open toe pair like these.._13070093

have a great weekend guys!

friday link up

xo,

j

 

Five in Friday – It’s October!

Im super pumped that tomorrow starts October!  October is one of my favorite months for so many reasons!  Bring on the pumpkins, cooler temps, our wedding anniversary and holiday planning.  This Friday has me excited for all kinds of reasons.

{one}

Our wedding anniversary is Saturday October 2! (7 years!!!)  I love Andrew so much and each passing years brings new challenges and new joys.  It is so fun living life with him by my side.  We had a goof laugh the other night when I stumbled across that FB messenger had saved every message we exchanged from when we first met.  It was perfect timing to find that and we laughed so hard about so many of the messages.  My baby sister is also getting married this month so it is now extra special!

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{two}

The county fair is going on and I plan on heading up there tonight (kid free)!  Andrew and some of his buddies are on a cook off team and the wives are heading up tonight to crash the party!  I’m so excited for an evening with some of my besties.

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{three}

Pumpkin patch time!  One of my longest and dearest friends Allison is coming over Saturday and we are taking the kiddos to the pumpkin patch! I love pumpkin season.  I love takin pictures in pumpkins.  I’m (PUMP)kined up!

pumpkins last year, can't wait to see how much they have grown this year and compare!
pumpkins last year, can’t wait to see how much they have grown this year and compare!

{four}

I have yet to convert to technology calendars for my life planning.  I LOVE a good paper planer with my life laid out in front of me.  I have been using May Designs for so many years now and I LOVE them!  I love customizing the design and the interior.  They are the best and SO affordable.  I can’t wait to order my 2017 planner (if I can ever decide on a design).

{five}

Halloween.  I love Halloween.  I love dressing up, I love seeing all the kiddos dressed up, I love trick or treating.  I love it all!  We have been doing family themed costumes since Corbin was born and it has been so much fun!  I wanted to do a Toy Story family this year but Corbin set me straight on our costume choices and has already picked out a costume for each of us – stay tuned!

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Happy friday friends.  ENJOY your weekend!

friday link up

xo,

j

 

Tuesday is the new Monday

I think 3 day weekends should be a state mandate.  anybody?  yes?  I mean I feel like my family was so much more refreshed and happier after 3 days together to just be.  I will keep dreaming.  We lived it up the country this weekend and it was SO nice and simple.  Can our house just go ahead and sell so we can make this our forever?!

corbin wyatt crusing2 trailer cows crusing curls stelladot brothers

Corbin had a fight with a piece of barb wire fence…but he won and it looks like his hand will remain attached to his body 🙂  We wrapped up the weekend by inviting ourselves over to dinner at some of our best friends house 😉  it was delicious and the kiddos were so happy to see each other and dig in the dirt and eat mulch ;).  It was really a great weekend.  Have a good week guys!

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xo,

j

Friday lovin’

It’s friday again and I am oh SO tired.  SO SO SO tired you guys.  I worked in the ER last night and it was a BUSY night.  I’m glad it is over and I am grateful at the end of each shift that I was only there to work and care for others children knowing that mine were safe and healthy asleep in bed.  I know that alone is such a gift and life is fragile and one day I might be on the other end of the stick (God willing that never happens).  With that said I am off until Tuesday (YAY!) and that means a weekend full of family and friend time!  I’m linking up for some friday favorites and five on friday again today.

  1.  The olympics have been the highlight of my week.  Maybe one of the highlights of my year (and I am only watching them from my couch).  I LOVE the olympics, I always have and this year is WOW.  These athletes are amazing and they are making America proud.  I love how the news is being filled with these joyous moments these days, they are special and so deserved.  The gymnasts and swimmers have blown me away this year.  I mean is Simone Biles a superwoman or what.  I think she has more muscles in one of her thighs than I do in my entire body – and she flies.  I have just been in awe and tears (I am a crier).2016-rio-olympics759-12.  My double stroller.  It took a long time for me to cave and buy this beauty but I seriously love it.  Baby jogger forever.  This double summit X3 has not disappointed and I am loving all the miles I am already logging on it.  I will (one day) run another marathon or ten 🙂

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3.  The library.  (nerd alert).  I have not been to our local library in forever but I took the boys this week and we had a ton of fun.  Free and fun entertainment will always top my list.  And did you know the library has DVDs to rent…for free.  Like real legit movies – its like blockbuster(do those even still exist?) but better!

our library loot
our library loot

4.  This mug is one of the few that survived the de clutter of 2016 and currently the only one that isn’t packed away in a box.  I left it out on purpose; it is my new life motto.  cheers (yawn).  I bought 2 of these mugs (one as a gift) from MorningSunshineShop on Etsy.  I am HUGE fan of Etsy and I had the best experience with this shop.  My mugs came beautifully hand packed and with care instructions. (you can tell from my photo someone was “helping” me do dishes and it accidently got put in the dishwasher, but it still looks great!).  Nichole has SO many adorable custom mugs you can choose from – I highly recommend a visit to her cute little shop.

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5.  Thanks to the handsome hubs of mine I was able to get away for a girls night earlier in the week.  Dinner at a favorite restaurant and Bad Moms movie with some of my favorite mom friends 🙂  It was splendid.

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friday link up

xo,

j

FIVE on FRIDAY

One.

I have an huge fear of birds, but I think I'll keep these little birdies
I have an huge fear of birds, but I think I’ll keep these little birdies

These two. Right here. They are my heart beating on the outside of my body. As hard and challenging every SO many of the days are right now I would not trade one second of having them. They are our biggest blessings and our biggest adventure. Raising them is my honor and privilege.

Two.

blubell
I am a blue bell fanatic and I am dying to try out their new flavor. Anybody else? My problem is I can never just “try” it. One spoonful turns into one pint mighty quick 😉

Three.

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We have another open house this weekend. I am so anxious. I so badly want this “plan” we have to work out. I am trying to remind myself, and be at peace, that sometimes God’s plan is not our plan. I pray that is not the case for our home selling. I also pray that the PERFECT buyer comes along. I pray that the future homeowners will love this house as much as we have and take advantage of the awesome neighbors that come along with it.

Four.
My hubby and I have been running together and I am totally loving the bonding time. On Wednesday we ran to the grocery store to get milk. We were those people, hot and sweaty, hanging out in the cold dairy section for wayyyy to long before the jog home. Texas heat is not for the weary.

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Five.

These girls are life long friends – through thick and thin.  I am SO happy our paths crossed like a million years ago.  We had so much fun meeting aunt jenn for lunch.  She loves it when we bring the traveling circus her way 🙂

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This is my very first link up and I am loving it. My blog is two weeks new. Stay for a bit and catch up on our story 🙂

 

friday link up

oh hey friday

 

xo,

j

Coming Soon

And just like that this sign ended up in our front yard.

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Day 8 and we were feeling a bit feisty 😉 A family friend of ours is a realtor so we had him stop by this morning just to do walk thru of the house for us and help us open our eyes to what we can better or fix to get market ready. Peak selling season here is coming to an end so IF we decide to hit the GO button then we don’t want to waste any time on the selling front.  Our walk thru turned into “are we doing this? For real? I mean, ok. Lets do this!” SO we have a padlock on our door and a coming soon sign in our front yard. Pending week 2 goes well it will say For Sale. Totally a surreal day. We were not expecting a sign and seeing it is certainly bringing many emotions to surface. Excitement, fear, sadness. We are still so very sad at the thought of leaving our RCR family and our very first home that we have poured so much love and labor into. We also know that we can’t let fear and what seems easy guide our future and for that we are VERY excited. We can’t wait to see the doors that open and opportunities that God provides our family. With that said, neighbors…plan on us crashing every RCR gathering that goes down 😉 and seeing our cars here often because it will always be our first home and our ties here are strong #faloopers forever.

 

xo,

j