Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Visiting Gatlinburg & Ripley's Aquarium

Last weekend we hit the road to work in a couple of day trips. On Saturday, we went to Gatlinburg. It was a little early for the fall color on the trees to be at the peak, but we still enjoyed driving into Gatlinburg on the Foothills Parkway.

These mountain views are beautiful no matter what the season is!

We had fun visiting Ripley's Aquarium. Even though we've been several times before, we always love it.
We also spent some time walking around downtown Gatlinburg. The weather was really nice!
We ate dinner at The Peddler. It was fairly good, but it was pricey and not out of this world. I doubt we'll go back. Just keepin' it real!

Parker was thrilled to find that the headless horseman was back at Ripley's Haunted Adventure. We never go in there, but he likes looking at the headless horseman. A few years ago, they took it out. He was super excited to see that they finally brought it back. Here they are acting scared...
We love spending time together as a family making fun memories!

Friday, October 3, 2014

39: Goals Edition

In honor of my 39th birthday, I decided to make a little series called 39. Original, right?! I spent hours coming up with that title. I thought I might add to the series every once in a while with a new list of 39 on varying topics. If you have a fun idea for my next list of 39, let me know!

To get this little 39 series started, I thought I would make a list of 39 goals for this year. Some serious, some silly. Just like me.

1. To know Him (Chirst) and make Him known (This is my life goal!)
2. Get up earlier (eeek!)
3. Be more intentional about how we spend our time at home
4. Experiment with new recipes
5. Finish Christmas shopping early
6. Learn to like green beans (Nah! Yuck! Never mind!)
7. Blog more often
8. Memorize more Scripture
9. Paint my nails more often
10. Write
11. Change our living room furniture arrangement
12. Organize the garage (Why am I doing this to myself?)
13. Catch up on Nashville (the tv series)
14. Actually read the books I check out from the library
15. Return the library books on time
16. Drink even more water
17. Stop being so hard on myself
18. All the time! (That one needed two spots!)
19. Worry less
20. Trust more
21. Tell others I love them more often
22. Encourage others
23. Live in the moment
24. Finally complete unfinished scrapbooks
25. Floss more often
26. Stand up straight (ugh)
27. Continue my Pinterest ministry (wink, wink)
28. Paint the kids' bathroom
29. Update what's on our walls
30. Update a thousand other things in our house (Does anybody want to give me a loan?)
31. Talk Brian into another puppy
32. Serve
33. Eat circus peanuts
34. Listen
35. Learn to like coffee
36. But still drink lots of hot chocolate
37. Watch more movies
38. Spend more time with friends
39. Remember to breathe

"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."       Philippians 3:13-14

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Birthday

It's official. I'm 39. Wow.

Good thing this picture of me holding the family birthday plate is blurry because it was early. And I was looking extra old that early.

My sweet Brianaby got up extra early to fix me French toast and bacon. It was so delicious!!!
This picture is sideways, and I'm too old to try to fix it.
My sweet Mama made me a delicious birthday dinner and birthday cake.

I am so blessed!

Brian also took me to Knoxville last Saturday to shop and eat. We left the kids at home with Nana, and he was such a good sport to shop with me all day. We went everywhere!!! I was too busy enjoying the day to take a lot of pictures, but here's one from our lunch stop.

Anyone who knows me well at all should know that I always turn my birthday into a "Birthday Week Extravaganza". So the party is still going up in here...

I am so thankful for my life, my health, and all of my blessings. Each day is such a gift, and my prayer is to never take a single day for granted! 

Teach us to number our days,
 that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
 Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome October!

I love October!!! When the leaves change colors and the air finally starts to cool down, I'm a happy girl. I know that the first day of fall is technically in September, but I always consider October my official beginning of fall.

There are even some fall rules that I usually make myself follow. For example, there shall be no burning of fall scented candles until October 1. Also, there shall be no using of my special body wash that I reserve for fall and winter until October 1. This year, things were different and I was breakin' all the rules!!! I just couldn't wait. Fall seemed to be dragging it's feet around here, and I was tired of waiting. So, the body wash and pumpkin candles came out a bit early. I gave myself permission to break my own dumb rules and quoted this verse to myself over and over:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

I'm not sure that Paul was referring to self-imposed rules about body wash and candle scents, but it was a good reminder for me to stop with all the rules already!!!

 We have some exciting things planned for October around the Murray house. There are several fun trips on the horizon, some family birthdays, a church tailgate party, Halloween and more! 

And did I mention that today is my birthday?!?! 

How blessed I am to be alive and healthy ~ just another wonderful reason to love October.

Do you love fall like I do, or does your heart beat fast for a different season?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Appalachian Fair 2014

The fair was back in town!!! Our kids started talking about going to the fair weeks and weeks before it was actually fair time. We live and go to school really close to the fair, so there is no way to avoid it. Ha! We actually do enjoy going every year though. The kids always have fun, and I get to relive memories of all my fair-going when I was a little girl. We usually take the kids once, maybe twice. However, this year we went THREE times. We did our usual riding, funnel cake eating, and farm animal viewing. Also, Brian and Parker both had various shifts to work for Ruritan and Boy Scouts. Actually, Claire and I went four times because we also went with third grade on a fair field trip. 

The kids got to go in free on Monday. We also bought them the arm stamp for unlimited rides. Because we are fancy like that.

 We met up with Claire's friend, Sydney.
 Doesn't he look like he's having a ball? Ha!

 This duck had probably seen better days.
 Claire rode the mechanical bull and did really well. Her career options are unlimited.

 Parker and Brian at the Boy Scout Coke booth. Is it bad that I went next door and bought a Pepsi? #pepsigirl
 Claire helped Granddad in the Rotary booth. And by helping, I mean went in to talk and get free drinks.
 Claire persuaded me to ride the ferris wheel with her. This was our view from the top in the midst of my internal panic attack. I didn't want her to know I was scared, but it's pretty high, and I couldn't find any escape plan if it malfunctioned with me on top. Oh, and there's always the possibility of the seats coming undone from the very old hinges that the fair workers hook and unhook every week. We survived.
 Speaking of heights, Claire and Brian rode these new very high swings. I use the term new fast and loose just because they are new to our fair. They've probably been swinging for many years in other fairs far and wide.
 Let's just say I did a lot of praying while they were up there.

 Brian in the Ruritan building. From what I hear, he is the best deep frying, money taking Ruritan worker around.

 This ride was really popular. It went up and slung the rider around all while spraying water. It was a bundle of fun. I know because I rode it.

 No trip to the fair is complete without some treats!
 Yes, this happened.
We finally bid the fair farewell. 'Til next year of course!!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shraton Broadway Plantation Myrtle Beach

We've stayed lots of places in Myrtle Beach through the years. As much as we love being oceanfront, we've found that most of the nicer properties are not on the ocean. So it's always a trade-off, either oceanfront or nicer, newer, and bigger with more amenities. This year we went back to Sheraton Broadway Plantation even though it's not directly on the ocean. Now that the kids are bigger, it's a little easier for us to drive to the beach. I took a few pictures to post here in case anybody is considering staying there.

Here's Brian hanging out on the bed in the master bedroom. We really love that the units have two separate bedrooms and two bathrooms. It gives us lots of room to spread out. There are also one bedroom units on the property. 

Looking toward the living room and master bathroom from the bedroom.
Mather bathroom

Parker and Claire hanging out in the living room.
Screened in porch
In the living room, looking toward the dining area and kitchen
Kitchen and laundry area (I love have a washer and dryer to use on vacation)
Second bathroom
Second bedroom (Both kids are very happy to have their own big bed.)
I didn't get any great pictures of the pools, but you can see them better on the website under the features tab.  They have a nice lazy river, several pools, and a really fabulous children's area. There is a special gate just around the children's area. Inside there are some water slides of different sizes and a really cool pirate water ship.

There are lots of other things to do on the property like volleyball, mini golf, tennis, fitness room, movies, and scheduled games and activities throughout the week.

There are lots of buildings in this resort. They are arranged into groups of about four surrounding a pond.
There's also fire pits and grills available to use.
We found lots of little friends in the pond behind our building. There were always turtles, fish, and ducks to feed.
My favorite of all was this weird looking creature. I guess it was some kind of duck, but it sure was ugly. I worried about him all week because the other ducks were mean to him. I called him a durkey because he looked like he was a duck and turkey mixed. Anybody know what he really is???

The Ugly Duckling

These guys were very pretty, but they had bad attitudes toward the durkey

Even though Sheraton Broadway Plantation isn't oceanfront, it has a great location. It's right across the street from Broadway at the Beach (hence the name, Broadway Plantation). Since we spend a lot of time over there, it's really convenient for us. I also love that the property is gated, and they have great security monitoring all the time. I'm sure we will definitely return there sometime soon. 

Let me know if you have ever stayed there or plan to in the future. It's a great place!