Over the 4th of July my Mom, Jude and I took a road trip to Tennessee to visit my Mom's side of the family. Even though we've always lived 5 1/2 hours apart, I am still very close to this side and always look forward to spending time with them. While there, we enjoyed just catching up with family and spending quality time with everyone. Of course, we did venture out to the lake a few days to let Jude play with his cousin Jamen. They're only 4 months apart and I really wish that we were closer so they could grow up together.
My cousin Jeff is a personal trainer and actually does lessons on the paddle board. I paddled around the small island and played around a little on it, but of course, my adventerous son wanted to try it too. Surprisingly, he stood up on it alone for a few seconds.
The 4 cousins chillin'.
Jamen and Jude
Whenever we go to TN, we always stay with my Mamaw. She is such a hoot and I love spending time with her. She is my only grandmother living and I think we all have a lot to learn from people of her generation. She grew up very poor, got married at 15 and was a mother of 4 by age 23. She survived stage 4 cervical cancer at the young age of 27 and has had 2 heart attacks on her 65th birthday. She is such a fighter and talk about a lady who loves her family and adores her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I am so blessed to have my Mamaw in my life and I am thankful for the time Jude was able to spend with her this summer!
We had a great time with family and I hate to think it may be next year before we see this side of the family again. :( I can't think of that now though...we'll focus on the wonderful things happening now!
I want to start this blog with a short history of why Justin and I moved to Auburn. When we got engaged in November of 2007, Justin had already applied to several schools to pursue his Master's degree. With that said, once we got engaged, he totally got me involved in making the decision of where we moved. In case you don't know, getting a Master's in Wildlife Biology is much different than some Masters programs. It's not just taking the GRE and getting into a school. You must have a professor accept you into their personal lab with funding for your field or lab research. With that said, Justin had gotten accepted to several programs, but had to wait to see who had funding.
It came down to Virginia Tech and Auburn University. Justin and I took road trips to visit both professors, campuses, and communities. When we left Auburn, I told my Mom "This is where we'll be moving." Justin and I had no doubt that God was calling us to move to this area. Doors opened, including me being offered a Special Education Position at Auburn High School in February of 2008 before I even graduated from UNCW. I could go on and on about what led us to Auburn, but bottom line, God's plan was being revealed and the Holy Spirit spoke directly to our hearts.
We moved South the day we got back from our honeymoon. Us two 22 year olds, starting brand new stages of life with jobs, school, and a marriage, all in a new town. Well, let me tell you. We were embraced. Not only did I have a great community at Auburn High, but the people in our church and community were amazing. After our 3 years in Auburn, it had truly become our home. Justin and I developed friendships and made memories that have impacted our lives and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.
I am so thankful to have the flexibility to be able to go visit this summer. Most friends I have not seen since we moved, nearly a year ago, and talk about a wonderful reunion! It was like I was never gone and the time I was there was such an encouragement and blessed experience. It was also wonderful to see friends' babies who I had not met and let everyone see the little boy Jude has grown into. Most of our time was having play dates, letting our kids get to know one another and girl time just chatting, catching up. Of course I was able to get some of my favorite food from our favorite eateries, but the best part of course was diving back into our relationships.
I know that over time, sometimes friendships fade away, but I honestly don't know what I would do without some of the people in my life from Auburn. Their prayers were coveted during our short season in Arizona and I am so thankful to have these people in our lives!
2 of my best friends with the babes, minus Asa who was napping.
Our sweet neighbors on Dumas Dr....the are our adopted grandparents.
As usual, time is flying by this summer. I have several things I want to post about, including our trip to Auburn, our visit to Tennessee, and some good girl time thoughts, but for some reason, I can't seem to find time. Any who, this week is BIG for the Dellinger family.
First of all, this little man above turned turned 16 months old on July 15. It is unreal to me to think that he's such a big boy. Over the last month, his vocabulary as soared tremendously. He will attempt to say just about anything we say, but still needs to be prompted to say the right words. He LOVED our zoo visit as well as our trip to a Bouncy House. He is becoming super independent, but when he is unsure of something, he'll still hold his hand out and ask for help. He eats pretty much everything we do. He doesn't love green veggies, so we keep veggie/fruit pouches on hand. His favorite foods would have to be fries from Chick fila, blue berries, and frosted mini-wheats. He enjoys reading books, playing in water, and snuggling in the mornings. His favorite songs, still including The Wheels on the Bus, include This Little Light of Mine and Bingo, but we change the name to Mason. He cracks up every time. Good news is, for about 3 weeks, he has started going to bed by 9:30 (It will go back to 8:30 or 9 when school starts) and sleeping until at least 7:15, usually 7:30 am every morning. Talk about one happy Momma.
I may be a little bias, but this little guy has one cute personality. He's also all boy, meaning when he poots, he laughs, and can be rough while playing. We're really working on "gentle hands". 1 week before Jude turned 16 months, he weighed 25 lbs and was 31 1/4 in. tall. Both are between the 25-50% so he's kinda small. He eats like a horse but is super active, going non-stop so he's burning calories! He naps great, usually going down between 12:30-1 and sleeping til 3-4.
Every day I realize how much I love him more and more. I am so blessed to have been given this little one to be my son.
The second thing to celebrate this week is Justin's 26th birthday, which was July 17th! We celebrated with his family, grilling out steaks and having cake and ice cream. He used his birthday money to buy new boots for his PhD program and some cold weather gear, so he's ready for our move in August.
Justin's parents were 16 and 18 when Justin was born, with Justin's Mom still having her senior year of high school left. They chose to keep Justin, in spite of how difficult it would be and the sacrifices it would take, and I am so thankful they made that choice. I know God placed Justin in my life and I pray that the Lord blesses Justin with many more birthdays.
Lastly, tomorrow, July 19th, Justin and I will be celebrating 4 years of marriage. Look how young we look in this picture! Looking back, we were so young and naive at times, but we've grown tremendously and I am so thankful to be living life with this man.
I've wrote on my blog before about the trials Justin and I faced his past year while living in Arizona. While celebrating our wedding anniversary this year, we plan to focus on the vows we made to one another, to our families, and most importantly, to the Lord. This past year, there was more than one occasion when it would have been easier for both Justin and I to walk away, but we know that's not what God has called us to. I am so thankful during those hardest moments, mostly times of selfishness, financial strain, and simply figuring out life, that the Holy Spirit led Justin and I back to a place where we know we called to love, no matter how difficult it can be.
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to the love of my life. May the Lord bless us with many wonderful years together.