Saturday, June 9, 2012


Brandon, Rev, and I got back last week from our bi-annual (or possibly tri-annual) trip to Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Zachary, Central, and New Orleans, Louisiana. When we first planned out when exactly we would be where, it started to feel like we were touring up and down I-10. We were exhausted just thinking about it. But, of course, it was wonderful. I feel like I say it every time, but it feels like our trips back home keep getting better and better. Brandon and I are both so fortunate that (aside from my sis and her fam) we have all of our family within 2 hours of each other. And even though we can only visit with each part of our families for a couple days at a time, it's still so good to be home with them. We're also blessed to have a core group of friends that we can just pick up where we left off and have so much fun together. I'm so glad it worked out to get some great hangouts and quality time in with our Louisiana best friends. We swam, played Quelf (ridiculously fun board game), caught up on life, laughed a whole lot, and of course ate a whole whole lot (including, but not limited to... boiled crawfish x 2, Counter Culture's Humphrey Yogart x 2, New York Bagel, snowballs, Ichiban sushi, crawfish etouffee x 2, homemade lasagna, etc. etc.)

We dubbed this trip "Baby-apocalypse" because that seems to be the theme these days in south Louisiana. It was extra special because I got to FINALLY meet my new nephew, Charles Thomas III or "Tripp", and one of my best friend Jenny's baby, Judah. Thankfully they were only a few weeks old, otherwise it would've killed me to have to wait longer to meet them. Baby Tripp was sooo snuggly and made the funniest old man faces. I can't wait to love on him more at our family beach trip in July! Baby Judah was so alert and active, and it was quite surreal to see my best friend as a momma. Both Jenny and Lindsay are naturals! I also got the privilege of going to an ultrasound for another one of my best friends, Sarah. It's such a amazing miracle to see that precious baby boy flipping and turning in Sarah's belly. I'll be learning from the best when my turn comes!

Of course I didn't take a lot of pictures with my real camera (why does that always happen?!), but here's a couple...
 Baby Judah with his girls...he's a little outnumbered.

I told you Judah was alert!

 Baby Tripp and Uncle B...melt my ever-lovin' heart.

Tripp with his favorite aunt and uncle (He told me so.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Things We Love...

I've been on a blogging roll lately! Don't get too used to it, but here are just a few of our favorite Nashville things according to iPhoto...
 We love TaySwift.

 We love road trips to LSU games.
We love relaxing cabin weekends with friends and Pinterest projects. 

We love matching with said friends. 

We love dressing up for Halloweenie Roasts. 

We love Titans games. 

We love home-cooked Thanksgiving feasts with Momma.

We love giant Opryland Christmas trees. 

We love decorating real Christmas trees. 

We love Tacky Christmas Sweater parties. 

We love jumping pictures. 

We love when LSU wins the SEC Championship...again. 

We love dressing up for 90's parties. 

 We love Loveless birthday breakfasts with best friends.

We love Preds games.

We love Belmont boys. 

We love homemade slip-n-slides. 

We love (rainy) Days in the Park. 

We love Brandon's annual drum presentations. 

We love great partner teachers who help us survive the school year!

It's Been a While...

I've decided to take up blogging least for today. My husband will be happy since he begs me all the time to update. There are so many things (as uneventful as they may seem) that have happened since my last post that it's actually quite overwhelming to think about. So I'll just hit the highlights, like usual...

Much like I had hoped, this school year was exponentially (get it, Math pun...) better than last. I had high hopes since I was no longer self-contained and was partnered with one of the best teachers in the school. The beginning of the year was discouraging and rough since there was still a lot of shifting of teachers and students, lesson plan formats & requirements changed more times than necessary, and I had one of the most challenging 5th graders in my class. My kids and I gradually got into the groove and routine though, and we started developing into a tight-knit community. I honestly don't know what I would've done my partner teacher, Michelle. She's like a big sister and is just so great to work with. If I had to give this school year a theme it would be GROWTH. Last year was purely survival, while this year I really grew in confidence of myself as a teacher and an influence at my school. Because of this confidence, I was able to joke with my kids more and feel more comfortable. More importantly, there was a lot less (but still some) second-guessing and comparing of myself to my co-workers. ANDDD I didn't drive home everyday like I did last year seriously contemplating quitting teaching to become a full-time waitress, barista, secretary, Target cashier, you-name-it! I'm just in such a better place than I was last year, especially when I first got hired. The Lord has continued to work on my heart about contentment, and that continual mindset shift has made all the difference in the world.

Have I mentioned how much I love living in Nashville? Over the past 6-8 months, we have established and deepened some pretty amazing friendships. When we first moved into our house (which by the way, Brandon and I just renewed our lease for another year...something we've never done before since we've moved every year we've been married!), I was really bummed about not having modern conveniences like a dishwasher and washer & dryer. But the location and deal that we got on the house was too good to pass up. I love that we have a great neighborhood to take walks with Rev and can walk to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Our friends have been so selfless to offer their w&d to do our laundry at any time, and we have definitely taken them up on it. For a while, I dreaded asking them because I knew it was an inconvenience (even though they promise it's not) to have us over for 2-3 hours on the weekend. Just like so many other things, I was over-thinking and worrying about it way more than I should have. But just recently, I realized that if it wasn't for these w&d opportunities, we most likely wouldn't be as close as we are to our friends. So if you've ever offered up your washer & dryer for us, THANK YOU! You may not see it as much, but we see it as a sacrifice and prevent us from being stinky.

Coming soon...a picture update and recap from our trip to Louisiana!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Brandon turns 26 today, so as a part of his birthday gift, I made a list of 26 things I love about him, and I wanted to share it on here too. I hope this list makes you love him a little bit more too because he's one great fella.

26 Reasons Why I Love My Husband:
1. Your tight hugs and meaningful kisses when we greet
2. The way your eyes look when you wear green
3. How manly you look in the Commander
4. Your amazing jambalaya-making and grilling skills
5. How you work so hard to figure me out when I may or may not be confusing
6. Your hard work in school
7. Your willingness to go early to play at church without ever complaining
8. Your love for sports, especially football
9. How you get along so well with my family
10. Your love for your friends and classmates at Belmont
11. How proud I get anytime I watch you play drums...It just never gets old!
12. How awesome I know you'll be at being a dad (as evidenced by your love for Rev)
13. Your laugh (at my silliness) and your one-of-a-kind sense of humor
14. Your style (even those God-awful Croc flip flops)
15. How you never complain when I have school work to do on the weekends
16. Your love for Mexican food and sweets
17. Your natural skills at teaching and writing community group material...Your wisdom never ceases to amaze me.
18. Your willingness to play crappy gigs because you want what's best for us
19. Your ability to remain neutral and level-headed
20. The fact that I know in my bones that you'd do whatever it takes to provide and take care of me (sidenote: this one made me cry)
21. Your willingness to teach my class every year about drums (and how awesome you are at it!)
22. How you always have something positive and uplifting to say about me (whether I'm in the room or not)
23. Your willingness to face the hard stuff head on and not let it defeat you
24. When you come grocery shopping with me
25. Your undeniable love for our Savior which makes all of the above who you are
26. The fact that I could continue writing hundreds more reasons why I love you and so incredibly blessed to call you my husband. I love you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

3rd Year Teacher & My First Furniture Painting Project!

I can't believe I'm starting my THIRD year teaching! Wasn't I a college student just yesterday? Either way, I am determined to make this school year the best one yet. I am teaching 5th grade again, but just Math & Science (praise!), and I am teamed up with a great teacher, Michelle. I feel so much more comfortable now with my co-workers, and I'm really hoping to develop some deeper friendships. Pray with me for a more missional focus with my co-workers. The second full week is coming to a close, and I'm realizing just how exhausting it is to get back into the swing of things. Here are a few classroom pics if you didn't already see them on Facebook. Big ups to my main man for spending 2 full days helping me move classrooms and set it up!

Last weekend, I finally got around to painting a piece of furniture (I'm not sure what to call it...a rolling buffet table??) that we got from the Normans back in June. We have a ton of space in our dining room, so I stuck it in there with hopes of updating it with a fresh coat of paint. I finally mustered up enough courage (thanks to the gentle prodding of my sis) to pick out paint colors and get to work. Just know that this was a big deal for me. I seriously lack confidence when it comes to decorating and being creative, so I thought this would either boost my confidence or kill it completely forever :) Thankfully, I think it turned out pretty good, and I even discovered a new found love for painting furniture! I have my eye on painting our coffee table next!

Here's the before... Colors weren't terrible, but just outdated, especially with that faux finish circa 1997.
After spray primer...
And the finished product! Hooray!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts Lately & 3 Years

Last Tuesday, Brandon and I celebrated our 3-year anniversary. Money is tight these days, so we didn't exchange gifts and had a low key celebration in the park with Rev and cheesecake. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Every year, we write in our journal the highlights from the past year. It's one of the best parts about our anniversary because we get to reflect on the year's events and then set goals for the upcoming year. It's truly amazing to realize the better place that we're in than we were a year ago.
Here we are posing with our delicious cheesecake :)

As I was driving home tonight, I felt a pretty overwhelming sense of peace and contentment with where we are right now. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I no longer needed a GPS to get from one part of town to the other (talk about freedom!), but regardless, I just kept saying to myself: This is HOME.

Nashville is pretty hard not to love...tons of outdoor events, beautiful parks and scenery, good live music any night of the week, farmers markets, great food, paletas, and more. But aside from all of the surface-y stuff, I'm just so glad Brandon and I are here. I think about the leap of faith that we took to follow the Lord's lead here, and I am still pretty amazed that we actually did it. It took a lot to unclench my fists from leaving my best friends, tons of family, and a wonderful church...but I'm so glad the Lord kept nudging us.

Because of His nudging, we jumped into a great church, and we've found some of our best friends there. I'm so excited to be a part of the beginning of a church and discovering what exactly the Lord is going to do with us meeting on Vanderbilt's campus.

Because of His nudging, we are living in the heart of the Belmont neighborhood, and I can't wait to get involved in those college students' lives.

Because of His nudging, we are a walking testimony that it IS possible to leave your hometown to experience a new city. If we can do it, I promise you can too!

Because of His nudging, Brandon and I have been through some of the most difficult points in our marriage, and we're only stronger because of it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Chapter

Hey! Remember me?? Yeah, probably not, but that's ok. I'm a blog slacker to the nth degree if you haven't already noticed. As we approach our 1 year anniversary in Nashville (which we will ironically be spending in Louisiana), it's hard to believe how much has changed in a year. We have been stretched beyond anything before. We've had some dark times, but mostly great times. Now that we are coming up on the other side of things, it's amazing (and of course not surprising) to see the Lord's hand orchestrating it all.

A lot has happened since my last post. So since I love lists so much, here goes it:
  • We survived lots of snow, ice mess, and tornado threats. Nashville weather surely didn't ease us in!
  • There were many long, stressful days at school in preparation for TCAP testing where I learned to often take things just one hour at a time...but I survived it, and my class got 96% proficient on the writing portion! For a math teacher at heart, I couldn't be more shocked :)
  • I turned a quarter of a century.
  • We had many days of missing home a lot, but we're grateful for pieces of home in Nashville, such as visits with my brother & his sweet girlfriend, Lindsay, Brandon's parents, Chad & Allison Schoonmaker, and my dad next weekend.
  • Although we still miss our friends and family everyday, the Lord has been gracious to provide such great friends through our church and community group. Seriously, they are wonderful!
  • I got away for the weekend to visit my sister and check out their beautiful Ben Avon, PA home. We laughed, cried, shopped, and drank lots of tea together in honor of the Royal Wedding.
  • Brandon successfully finished one year at Belmont with an all-star GPA of 3.8! I'm soo incredibly proud of him.
  • And last, but not least (and probably what you've been waiting for) found a wonderful rent home that is walking distance to Belmont, parks, and great restaurants. It completely fell into our laps, and we couldn't be more thankful! We signed our lease yesterday and have already started moving things in. Here are pics, and I promise to update once we're all moved in and decorated! Keep in mind, it's an older home that needs a little TLC, but it's very charming.
Our beautiful front yard. Luscious. Supposedly in the winter when the trees die, we'll be able to see the Nashville skyline.
This, my friend, is a cicada. I thought they only existed in the Old Testament, but I was wrong. They come out every 13 years in this part of TN, and now of course is the time that they're coming. Because we are surrounded by trees and plants, these creatures are EVERYWHERE. They're huge, loud, and have creepy red eyes. The good news is that they supposedly only stick around for a couple weeks. Go ahead and start praying for my fear to subside now.
Our humble kitchen. Small, yet functional. We'll have to get creative with storage throughout the house.
Back door and kitchen pantry. All of the curtains were left by the previous tenants.
The "butler's pantry"/office/could be laundry room (cross your fingers that they can get a washer & dryer hookup here!)
Other side of the "butler's pantry". Translation: more storage since we have no kitchen cabinets.
Dining room view from the living room. It connects to the butler's pantry.
Spacious living room. My favorite room. Straight ahead is Brandon's office/music room.
1st bathroom
Guest room. We'll have to walk through here to get to our room. But don't let that stop you from coming to visit!!
Crazy bowling alley bathroom. This supposedly was a closet. Still not sure about it. The previous tenants left those awesome curtains. There's a small stand-up shower behind where I stood to take this pic.
Our bedroom with a small closet. The other closet in the hallway will be mine.
Glow-in-the-dark-stars-that-are-so-old-they-don't-glow-anymore. Jealous??
Our "driveway" which we probably won't use very often because it's very difficult to get in and out of.

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Can't wait to see your beautiful faces inside of it soon! :)

Until next time...
kate :)