Christmas Recap 2016

Christmas is over, my family has gone home, and it’s now officially the most depressing day of the year. Every year after Christmas I always want to instantly take down the decorations, because they just remind me of how far away next Christmas is. Anyway, I thought writing my recap would make me smile because we had a great Christmas.

We have to go back to Friday for the full recap. My dad, sister and I went to Clearwater beach while my mom stayed home and hung out with Emma Kate. I had never been before, and it was a beautiful public beach.

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We walked out on the pier, saw some huge pelicans, and just enjoyed the view.2016-12-23_10-15-18_911

We then went to lunch at Frenchy’s, and the weather was so gorgeous we were able to sit outside and look at the water while we ate.

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We had pizza for dinner, and sat outside on the back porch and enjoyed some Christmas music and wine.

The next day, Christmas eve, my dad, Bobby, me and Emma Kate went to the playground to get out of the house.

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We came back and the cooking and baking marathon began! I tried a couple new things this year that were a hit, as well as some old favorites.

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That afternoon, we got ready for the Christmas eve service at church.

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I loved how awesome it looked when we lit all the candles and sang silent night. This blurry photo doesn’t do it justice. 2016-12-24_16-40-04_445

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We got home, and ate in front of the TV because the Saints were playing Tampa Bay. We wore our new Saints PJ’s and just relaxed which was awesome.

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The Saints won, which made the night even better. Emma Kate went to bed, and the elves got to work!2016-12-24_19-50-03_588 (2016-12-26T00_48_49.502)

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Bobby read the Christmas story from the Bible, and I read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.

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The next morning, sweet EK slept until almost 8:00! It was nice having some quiet time with coffee and family before she got up to open gifts. She was SO excited to see her Thomas train roller coaster!

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She has been such a good girl not touching the gifts under the tree for weeks, and couldn’t contain her excitement when I told her it was finally time. 2016-12-25_08-04-38_337 (2016-12-26T00_47_18.301)2016-12-25_08-15-33_6672016-12-25_08-28-41_5142016-12-25_08-38-33_747

Santa was good to Emma Kate, and she got tons of toys (thanks grammy and papa.) After gifts were opened, we had our traditional Christmas mimosas and ate a breakfast casserole that I made. 2016-12-25_08-59-18_6302016-12-25_09-27-06_102

My poor dad had foot surgery a couple weeks ago and we confined to his scooter.2016-12-25_11-30-29_028

We had a late lunch since Emma Kate slept so late, but enjoyed some delicious food. 2016-12-25_13-05-25_816

I will say it was SO NICE not having to hurry off and get dressed and go anywhere on Christmas. I stayed in my PJ’s all day with no makeup on and it was so nice and relaxing. 2016-12-25_16-23-48_423

That evening, we sat on the back porch and ate dinner, and then celebrated mom’s birthday! She is a Christmas baby and her real name is Mary. (Fun fact, her parents wanted to spell it “Merry”, but the nurses wrote it wrong on the birth certificate THANK GOODNESS.)

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After EK went to bed, we played Apples to Apples. It had been a few years so it was a fun time.

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The next day, I got up and went to Orange Theory, and then we all headed to the pool. It was a gorgeous 80 degree day, and Emma Kate was so excited we were all there.

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She went down the slide with daddy and aunt Christy, and made us all go over and over again.2016-12-26_11-01-04_963

We just relaxed that afternoon and sat on the back porch drinking wine. I haven’t put on real clothes or makeup since church on Christmas eve, and it’s been awesome. It was the most laid back Christmas we have ever had. Sadly, yesterday morning my parents went home (my sister went home the night before) and now I am trying to get the house back in order and get back to work. Sad smile I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas with friends and family and have lots of great memories to last forever!

QOTD: What was your favorite part of Christmas?

7 Year Blogiversary

Well, with all the moving madness I am a little late, but did you know that I have now been blogging for SEVEN years?!? Looking back, my blog has evolved so much over the years, and it is truly my baby. I have put so much time, love, and many tears into my little corner of the world, and I thank you for taking this journey with me!

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Our first big race expo. Training for the runDisney half is what inspired me to start blogging.

For those of you who may have been here since the beginning, you will remember that this blog started out as Running With Sass, a running/training journal to hold me accountable. I had never blogged before and had zero idea what I was doing. (Heck, there are still days I have no idea what I am doing!) The blogging world has changed so much and some days it’s hard to keep up with all of the “new things” going on with blogs and social media, but I do love it and hope to do it for many more years to come.

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First half marathon

I realized as the years went on that I loved this community, the other bloggers, the readers, and the support. I love encouraging others and helping people, and am so thankful for all of the doors that blogging has opened for me. Heck, Bobby’s new job all came from a connection I never would have made if not for blogging! I owe my little blog so much, and I owe YOU my readers so much! Thank you for hanging in there with me through thick and thin, good times and bad.

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I can’t wait to share our new Tampa adventures with you in 2017 and beyond! Cheers to another year. XOXO.

Goodbye For Now

I have never been good with goodbyes. I prefer to live in denial up until the last possible moment, and then hurry though and pretend it never happened. Unfortunately for me, there have been a lot of goodbyes going around the past couple of weeks.

Today I leave my house. My city. My church. My gym. My friends. My people. Typing that out is even hard for me. I have always been sentimental, but this time it’s worse. Why? Because I have been hiding something from yall since June. JUNE yall. I didn’t say anything for safety purposes, but now that it’s over I feel comfortable being honest, because I feel that it will help you to understand some of the feelings I have now, and will help explain some of my actions as of late.

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Yes Bobby got a new job and yes we are moving to Tampa at the end of the week. But what you didn’t know, is that Bobby moved away to start said job back in June. Yes, Emma Kate and I have been living on our own since this summer.

That’s why I haven’t been around online as much

That’s why EK was in full time daycare since June instead of her usual 3 days a week

That’s why my parents have been in town a lot and I have gone to see them more

That’s why I have been super stressed

That’s why I have been more quiet about personal things

That’s why it’s so much harder for me to leave.

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You guys, the past five months have been hard. REALLY hard. I have shed a lot of tears, felt really lonely, been scared, angry, frustrated, you name it. The week Bobby left everything that could go wrong went wrong (our house got struck by lightning which fried all our internet and TV boxes and broke one of our TV’s… we got rear ended, had to have two repair guys at the house, one of the machines at the shop broke, Bobby’s grandmother passed away, the internet went out at the shop so we couldn’t process payments, and the biggest spider I have ever seen was on my screened in porch and I had to have a neighbor come and kill it for me <—-yes even he said it was the biggest spider he had ever seen!) I had NO idea how I was going to make it until I could move with Bobby. Thankfully, not all the weeks were quite so eventful, but that first week had me questioning everything.

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Out of all of this there has come some good, which is why it’s so hard for me to say goodbye. After that first awful week, I learned something about myself. I learned that I am capable of handling way more than I ever thought I could. Instead of relying on Bobby to take care of the “yucky stuff”, I had to handle everything on the home front and storefront plus my two jobs I already had. It sucked a lot of days, but I proved to myself just how strong I am. My independence has grown by leaps and bounds, and I just feel better about myself and my abilities as a whole. If you would have asked me back in June if I could face all the challenges that were to come, I would have said no. But that’s the funny thing about it. You always think you can’t handle something until you are thrust into it with no other choice…and then you realize that you CAN do those hard things. I had to keep going for the sake of my family and my child, and I am so proud of all I was able to accomplish and handle. (Also I have a huge newfound respect for single parents and military families!)

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I also had to rely on my friends a lot during this time. I got really close to friends from church and my gym, and that’s why it is so much harder to say goodbye to them. They were my rock, my sounding board, and a lot of times the only adult interaction I had in a day. They took care of me and made sure I was doing ok, and became my family. I know we will still talk and text and hopefully occasionally see each other, but it’s just not the same.

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As I packed up Emma Kate’s room a few days ago, it hit me that it would be the last night she would spend in her room, in the house we brought her home to from the hospital. I just stayed in her room and cried y’all. Don’t get me wrong, this move is GOOD, and I know it’s what God has for us, but that doesn’t make change and goodbye any easier. I know that a house is just a house, and it’s the people that make it home. The memories inside the walls will always stay with me, but it’s still hard to let go.

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I am however excited for new memories, new adventures, and new friends. They will never replace the old ones, but I can make room for the new, too.

So even though you didn’t know it, thank you for hanging with me while I did life alone for a little while. Thanks for not leaving my little blog, and for being understanding of what I was going through (even though you didn’t know it haha). It’s funny, I tried SO hard to not make it obvious Bobby wasn’t here, and not many people caught on thankfully (or at least they didn’t tell me they knew). He came back into town twice, and when he was here I was sure to post a lot of pictures so people would think he was still at home! If you go back to my Instagram feed, you will notice he is nowhere to be found except for during two weekends. I may have had to do some tricky things to keep my secret, like setting up a barstool outside and a self timer on my phone for my Sunday church photos, but hopefully you all will forgive me. Smile 

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The store and the house have sold, so I am now excited for us to be back together as a family in our new home in our new city and state. A fresh start is always good, and may be just what we need. So for now, to my friends in Madison, I prefer to not say goodbye but just “see you later” and I love you all. Thanks for being you, you all know who you are.

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QOTD: How are you at goodbyes? Have you ever had a keep a secret from people online/social media?

Adventures in House Hunting + a Hurricane

Last Tuesday, my friend Kelley and I left Mississippi bright and early and headed to Florida. We were going to check out homes in neighborhoods where Bobby and I are going to move, which is TAMPA! I already shared this news yesterday with my email subscribers, but figured it was time to let you guys in on it as well. 🙂 We are looking north of Tampa, to be precise. So anyway,  we drove, and we drove, and we drove. It was a gorgeous day, so it was hard to believe a hurricane was coming.

How cool is this rest stop? It has a “stretch your legs” trail!

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We finally made it to Clearwater after 10:00 at night. We stayed at the Sheraton Sand Key and really liked it. It’s right on the beach (well you have to walk out a bit but no big deal). Too bad it was chilly and overcast. It didn’t stop us from sitting out there a few hours anyway!

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We eventually ventured up to the pool before grabbing lunch and meeting with my awesome realtor.

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Our plan was to look at homes all afternoon and into the early evening since we were going to head out Thursday afternoon instead of Friday because of hurricane Matthew. We saw some great houses and neighborhoods. After awhile they just all start running together though!

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This pool was awesome but unfortunately the rest of the house was not.

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How cool is this kid’s super hero room?!?

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Loved this kitchen but the neighborhood would be way too long of a commute for Bobby.

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We even rode a golf cart in one neighborhood.

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That night we hit up a restaurant in Clearwater before turning in for the night.

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The next day we were up early again for more house hunting. The Sheraton was so awesome and let us cancel out last night and refunded us no problem because of the hurricane. It was super simple and we were so grateful.

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We loaded up my SUV and were just going to meet the realtor at the first house that morning. Well, the directions I put into my map app on my iPhone were not exactly right. They took us through these back roads and down a dirt road where we came across this gentleman. We then went down ANTOHER dirt road and Siri told us to get out and walk to our destination. OMG. I felt like we were in a horror movie where the two young girls get led down a series of winding dirt roads to their deaths. We couldn’t stop laughing!

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We finally made it back to a main road and found where we were going, but whew what a way to start the morning. We saw gorgeous new neighborhood and some model homes, and then made it out of the area heading north just as the first rain bands started.

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Someone please explain the below photo?

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We had a LOT of traffic headed up 75 to I-10, and I-10 was basically gridlocked all the way to Talahassee. What should have taken us 6 hours took well over 7, and I was over it by the time we finally got to Destin around 7:15 that evening. We very much deserved good food and drinks so we headed to Rockin’ Tacos which was delicious.

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The next morning, we woke up to SUNSHINE! We were finally going to get some beach time. We were legit out on the beach by 7:45 in the morning, and we laid in the sun until around 12:15 when we finally packed up the car and had to head back to Mississippi.

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Hello sugar white sands! Oh how I missed you.

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It was totally worth driving in the traffic to get to Destin for a morning at the beach. Also it was nice to break up the 11 hour drive into two parts coming back.

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My friend Kelley was SO super sweet to spend her vacation time with me looking for houses and neighborhoods. She in her last year of residency at the hospital and could have been doing a million other things with her limited time off, but she chose to help me out.  I think I may have killed anyone else in the car for that long but we talked, listened to awesome playlists, and made it work. We also may have eaten at Chipotle twice. She had never been so I thought it was necessary. We had a great time and now I feel more confident as we narrow down where to live in just a few short weeks, so hopefully our house sells soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite beach? Do you like house hunting?

Working out on Vacation

Ah, vacation. A great time to connect with family and friends, eat amazing food, and go somewhere new. Luckily, you can do all of these things and also not forget about your health and your workouts. Here are 5 tips for working out on vacation that have worked for me over the years. I leave for a trip in less than two months, so I’m gearing up for my workouts while I’m away!
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1.) Don’t Stress out about it. You are on vacation! If you don’t workout as hard or as much, it’s ok! Just do what you can, when you can.

2.) Take advantage of your new surroundings. One of the reasons I love working out on vacation is that it’s somewhere new to run, with new scenery and places to visit. It makes the workout go by faster!

                                            running on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay

3.) Mix it up: If you have access to a pool, swim or tread water while your family catches some rays. Or, you could go for a walk and explore a new city, your resort, or the beach. Surf or snorkel in a tropical paradise. Play golf on a new to you course, or make new friends and play beach volleyball.

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4.) Check out the hotel gym. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised at the nice equipment or a great view out the windows. It makes a difference!

                              Fitness center for the Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts in WDW

Playing beach volleyball with some strangers in Florida

5.) Workout early: Get your workout done before your day starts so then you have extra energy and don’t have the thought of exercise weighing on you all day. Then you can just focus on your family, friends, and creating memories.

                                               Getting an early start on vacation, as the sun comes up

QOTD: What is your favorite vacation workout?

2017 Disney World Packages

Guess what? You can now book a Walt Disney World room or vacation package for dates in 2017! (499 days in advance, so currently as of end of June I can book through the end of October/beginning of November). 2017 Disney packages came out yesterday, and I have already been busy quoting for my clients.

2017 disney packages

The best part about these packages is that it only requires a $200 deposit (for room only it’s a deposit of one night of the price of the room + tax) that’s it! Also, the balance isn’t due until 30 days prior to travel! You can make changes, switch dates, cancel, etc. up until that point.

I have been booking Disney travel for my clients over six years and would love to plan a vacation for your family. Common misconception: It does not cost you anything extra to book through me. Why wait on hold on the phone or stress about how the website works, or how to get discounts when I can do it for you, and give you all of my best tips and knowledge from years of experience? I can make it easy for you!

Heather plan your next DCL vacation

I can also book your Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line vacation for you, as well as Universal Studios Orlando. Simply email me for a free no obligation quote. I would love to get you started or answer any questions you may have. [email protected] is where you can find me. Let’s get to planning, I can’t wait for you to experience the vacation of a lifetime!

QOTD: Are you planning to visit Disney in 2017?

I’m Still Alive

Hey guys! I really can’t remember the last time I went two days without a blog post! I’m trying hard to extend some grace to myself as yesterdays no-post was scheduled, but today’s was not. Some things came up that took up my time and I am sorry! BUT I promise I have been working on something I am really excited about that will (hopefully) be ready Monday. See ya tomorrow, Have a great Thursday!

April Photo Dump 2016

My iPhone gave me a very sad message over the weekend. Yup, my storage was full. Again. So I thought it was time to do another photo dump. These are pics you probably didn’t see on social media, and most are of my kid, of course.

She is really into reading these days.

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This girl loves her daddy!

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Magic Kingdom! Oh how I wish I was there today.

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Baby laughs are the best.

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Sitting in the back of the car waiting to get pine straw at Lowes, because…we are cool.

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Sweet girl fell asleep after going to the doctor, always with food in her hands.

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Bobby before the Crescent City Classic 10k

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Eating again! Always.

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Pigtail toddler.

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Proof I curled my hair last week.

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Three friends trying to fit under one umbrella in the pouring rain. Good times!

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It hailed at our house last week!

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Loves her sunglasses (notice, she is eating again).

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I take pride in how I set up the cold toppings bar at the shop.

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There you have it. A little behind the scenes from around our house. Have a good day everyone!

QOTD: Do you run out of phone storage? Feel like your kids are always eating?

Tornado Troubles 

Hey guys! Sorry I have been MIA but I had a blast in Disney and was supposed to go home yesterday, but due to some severe weather, I wasn’t able to make it home. 
Yesterday was quite the draining travel day and I will be happy to be home today. It started on Monday when I checked in for my Tuesday flight and I realized there was going to be severe weather when I was supposed to be flying into New Orleans. I then became nervous the rest of the evening and even tried to get an earlier flight but they wanted $170 extra dollars. 

Tuesday morning I took the shuttle to the airport and kept an eye on the weather the whole time. The plane was on time and we were to be landing right as the bad weather approached…and approach it did. 

It got bumpy as we went to land, and when we were less than 1,000 feet altitude, all of the sudden we heard people’s tornado alarms go off on their phones and the plane quickly pulled up into the air. I was freaking out a bit, and after 30 minutes of circling we finally landed only to find out the reason we pulled up is because there was a TORNADO a couple blocks from the airport when we were trying to land. 

Ok, so I escaped death once, got my bags and headed to my car. I proceeded to drive across the huge lake (24 Mile bridge) and heard reports of huge water spouts on the radio. When I made it to my parents, I saw on the news a video of the water spouts. So scary they were there right before I came through! 

    
I escaped danger yet again, and decided to spend the night at my parents house because the bad weather was straight up and down the interstate I would have to drive to get home.

About an hour after getting to my parents house, my phone beeps and we are under another tornado warning and there was a tornado on the ground headed straight for my parents area of town. We had pillows, blankets and other items ready to hide out in the hall bathroom. It was not fun. 

  
Thankfully the threat passed and there was just a ton of rain filling the ditches and my parents backyard.    

 I was pretty exhausted after this crazy day but am also happy to get home to my family! I can’t wait to share all the details of my fun trip over the next week so stay tuned! 
QOTD: anyone have a crazy weather story? 

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Packing List

It’s almost time! The runDisney Princess Half Marathon is upon us! Since I planned this trip so last minute, it feels like it was snuck up on me so, so quickly. After only running the half marathon last year, I am so excited to be doing the Glass Slipper Challenge again.

runDisney Princess packing list printable

I started thinking yesterday that there are a lot of things to remember to pack for the race itself, so I started making a list, and realized I wanted to share it with all of you, too. I started typing it out, but then decided it would be fun to make it a printable so you can print it off, and check off the boxes as you go. I also left a section for notes where you can add things I did not put on the list that may be specific to you, so have fun and good luck! I hope to see some of you in Walt Disney World over the weekend! I arrive Friday and will be at the expo that afternoon, and am staying in WDW until Tuesday morning. The weather is looking promising, it’s sure to be a great time!

Click on the words or photo below to go straight to the printable.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Packing List Printable:

runDisney Princess half marathon packing list

I hope my Princess half marathon packing list has helped you!

QOTD: What would you add to this packing list? Will you be at Princess?