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A Lesson on Fear {Just in time for Allume!}

As soon as I got comfortably seated at my computer a few nights ago I heard a cry from the boys' bedroom. It had been storming and the thunder was loud and the lightening bright outside the windows. Our youngest was scared because we forgot to turn the night light on in his room and the storm outside didn't help his case.

I walked in and asked him what was wrong and listened to his tearful, panicked voice. Despite the fact that Daddy had already been in to turn the night light on, his little heart was still fearful. So, we did what my husband and I try to teach the boys to do when they're scared - We prayed.

I laid my hand on my sweet little boy's back and began praying that the holy spirit would be with him, that He would bring peace. I began thanking God for the rain and how it brings water to the grass and the trees and the crops in the field. I thanked God for the thunder and the lightening that shows the hand of a mighty God who created this earth and everything in it. I spoke Jeremiah 29:11 to reassure my little one that God has plans for our good. And I thanked God for loving us, for providing a safe home where we're protected, and for letting me be this little boy's mommy who's entrusted with loving, protecting, and teaching him.

As we finished praying there was a noticeable calmness in Jackson's breathing, to the point where I wondered if he had fallen asleep. He hadn't, he just turned and looked at me and flashed his signature big grin, told me he needed to go potty just one more time {a nightly declaration in hopes of having just a few more minutes before having to go to bed}, and then snuggled his favorite stuffed doggy and went right to sleep.

I gave myself a figurative pat-on-the-back for a mommy job-well-done and came back to my computer where I stumbled upon two posts that really stirred my heart. One from Kristen Welch at InCourage and one from Alia at Narrow Paths to Higher Places. {You really should read both of those!} I connected with both of these posts so deeply because I have been the girl that they both wrote about so many times. The new girl, the girl looking for a place to fit amongst people already in their comfort zone. I lived it in middle school, in college, as soon as I got married and moved away from my beloved Tennessee {and all my sweet family that make Tennessee home}, and I've been living it again over the last three years that we've lived in Southern Illinois. And now I'm on the verge of jumping in the unknown again as I head to my very first blogging conference today.

I'm excited to go, and I completely feel like it's something God has called me to, but if I'm honest, I'm also completely terrified. I've watched the twitter steams and facebook posts of internet friends who can't wait to meet or reconnect in real life, and I'm truly excited for them, but I'm also scared that in the midst of all these women kindling friendships I'll be awkwardly walking around solo praying for someone to notice me and think I'm worth having a chat with.

Overwhelmed with my fears, I walked into the living room, announced to my husband I was going to bed for the night where he instead talked me into sitting with him for a few minutes. As I sat there I started thinking about what had happened earlier with Jackson and how I prayed for him when he was scared, and it hit me. Why am I not praying about my own fear? I should be thanking God for the wisdom I know is going to rain down on us while we're gathered together. I should be thanking God for the loud noise of women's conversations as they we fellowship, and the bright camera flashes capturing the joy this event will bring.

I'm a "new girl" going to Allume. I don't have a perfect blog and I don't have a ton of internet friends that are dying to see me when I pull up in Harrisburg, but I have a God who loves me and has called me to go, so I'm going, with a suitcase of cute clothes and open expectations. I'm hoping blog improvement and new friends are a result of obedience, but if not, I know whatever God has planned for me is for my good.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lordand I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.     Jeremiah 29:11-14

What I Wore Wednesday: Gameday Attire!

Hi friends!

I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to share with The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday link-up again. I seriously love looking through all the outfit ideas you can find over there from everyday people! So fun!

While we still have a tad of warm weather lingering and we're in the midst of football season I thought I would go ahead and share what I wore to our alma mater's football game a couple of weeks ago.

It's no secret that in the south we love our football, but we also like to look good while we watch football, so there's no lack of cuteness on Saturdays in the fall.

Forgive me for not having a posed full body shot of the outfit. The thought crossed my mind, but I didn't want to be modeling at the tailgate... That would just be awkward. Hopefully, having these two little cuties with me helps my apology.


{Dress} ModCloth
{Belt} Forever 21

Here's a pic of me standing up in the dress if that helps at all. I also happen to be standing with my handsome hubby. {Bonus!}


He works the teacup arm almost as well as I do. ;)

If you've never shopped at ModCloth you really need to check it out! They've got some super cute clothes at great prices, and even better, if you go through my link {http://sharethelove.modcloth.com/a/clk/3xPBRH} before October 2 you'll get $20 off your first $50 order and I'll get $20 for referring you! That = Awesome!!

Hope this gives you a little inspiration in your future game day wear! Now go check out The Pleated Poppy for more cute wardrobe ideas!

  pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday: Bold Color and Printed Shoes

Happy Wednesday friends! I hope you guys are having a rocking week so far!

There's this little link-up party in the land of blogs you may have heard of called "What I Wore Wednesday" hosted by the fabulous Pleated Poppy. Ok, actually, it's huge, and if you're not checking it out you're missing out on some great fashion inspiration! :)

I really love getting dressed up, but honestly never feel too confident about what I'm wearing because I'm either beating myself up about how I haven't lost enough weight yet or I think my clothes aren't nice enough, but on Sunday I threw together a little outfit that I was actually quite proud of, so I {sheepishly} asked my husband if he would be willing to snap some pictures of me before we left for church and he obliged.


I've seriously had the pants in the picture for almost a year now and could count on one hand how many times I've worn them. I've tried them on thousands of times, but usually don't have the confidence to walk out the door with them, more so because of the material they are than the color. They're a lot more stretchy than they are denim and I get scared it may be a not-so-good look from behind, but the sweater I wore helped alleviate most of that fear.


Shirt - {A gift from} Tommy Bahama
Belt - Forever 21
Earrings, Sweater, Skinny Jeans, Flats - Target



Hope you guys have a great rest of the week! Make sure you go check out all the great link-ups over at The Pleated Poppy!

pleated poppy

Stop and Smell the Roses: Falling for Fall {Candles}

Stop and Smell the Roses 

 Happy Wednesday peeps!

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and got to do a little celebrating and/or relaxing. Despite what the thermometer says, fall is definitely on it's way, and in my {humble} opinion it can't come fast enough.

I am loving the return of football, my homemade wreath hanging on the front door, and the smell of yummy candles floating throughout our house. In my anticipation to get fall underway I thought I would share with you a couple of my favorite scents for fall candles.



Have you guys started preparing for fall yet? If so, what's your favorite thing about the season?

Hope you all have a great week!

{P.S. Check out all the other Stop and Smell the Roses vlogs at HouseofRoseBlog.com!}

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is here, which yes, is a day to celebrate the working man, but for me also represents the beginning of fall! I don't know about you guys, but I am so ready for the crisp autumn air, football, creamy pumpkin candles, and boots... Oh, how I've missed wearing my boots!

We started the weekend by watching our Vols kick off the football season with a fabulous win over NC State on Friday evening. Of course, the one Friday night we actually wanted to watch TV Hurricane Isaac kept knocking the satellite out, but we watched most the game none-the-less. Watching the game made me absolutely giddy about making it down to Neyland Stadium in a couple of weeks!

We also had family in town this weekend and decided to do a little shopping on Saturday. I love getting my candles from Bath and Body Works and they were on sale this weekend. I couldn't wait to get those home and lit to get the smell of fall in our home. I also pulled out my homemade wreath, re-glued some parts that had come apart while it was stored away, and got it up on the door.



I never thought I would be so excited about the changing of seasons, especially because as long as I can remember summer has always been my favorite, but the older I get the more I appreciate fall and everything that comes along with it. Taking a run in the hot and humid air this morning was just one more reminder that fall can't some soon enough.

Hope you guys have had a great weekend enjoying the end of summer and taking an extra day to relax!

Happy Labor Day!!

{Anyone else as excited for fall as I am?!} :)

Just Do Something


Dear friends, I've been struggling lately. I've sat down to write to you many times with no success in sight.

I'd sit. I'd stare. I'd daydream. I'd watch the Olympics. I'd check Facebook. I'd check Twitter. I'd eat a Snickers {I don't even like Snickers that much}. Oh yeah, and I'd take care of my first priority, those cute little guys I call my boys.

This is starting to sound like one of those "I'm about to quit blogging for good" posts... It's not. It's more of a "I have this passion and no idea what to do with it" post. Will someone please tell me I'm not the only one who ever feels that way? Like you have a passion, maybe even what you would call a "gift," but you have no idea how to tackle it.

I'm a pretty insecure person, so there aren't many things I feel "gifted" in. There are plenty of things I wish I were gifted in and try my hand at, but not many things that I feel truly confident in. Writing is one of those few things. It's the easiest form of communication for me. I'm a deep thinker, so getting all the words out that are on my mind in a clear fashion comes easiest in the written form. In my current state of life, blogging is the easiest medium to use to keep up with this desire, but time, it's hard to come by when you have a family and a home to take care of.

I'm also a perfectionist. When I sit down to write I want all my other responsibilities completely taken care of. I want to have the perfect blog with the perfect name and the perfect words for that day. I want peace and quiet so I can think and have time to myself. {I think all of you moms out there know that this is a nearly impossible request.}

So, I'm left feeling overwhelmed and not doing anything. And this isn't just in blogging/writing. I've started entertaining the idea of getting a job, probably just part-time, but something to get me and the boys out of the house none-the-less. This isn't a new phenomenon, but something I haven't pursued completely because a) I'm afraid my worth in the "real world" would be pretty low after being a SAHM for 5 years and b) I'm completely scared of giving up this time with the boys. They're only young once, right?

It's also kept me from serving in my church because I just have no idea what to do. I finally emailed someone today and just asked them to tell me where there's a need because I just need to be doing something.

And that's what I'm doing today with this post... Something. It may not be the most moving of posts, but it's something, and something is better than nothing.

Yesterday in our message at church we read Luke 22:31-32 which says, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

I'm not saying Satan is separating me from blogging/writing, although he could be if there's something I have to share that would encourage and help others out there, but what I love about those verses was the part about helping others when you turn back to where you're suppose to be.

So this is me doing something, writing about how I've been struggling to write. And now I want to encourage you. What have you been struggling with lately? What do you feel like you're suppose to be doing? It doesn't have to be perfect. Just do something, anything, that will move you in the right direction.

Some Random Thoughts for a Monday


I have an itch to write today, but no deep emotional thoughts coming to mind, so I thought I would just share what's on my mind...

~ My mom, stepdad, brother, and sister all came to visit this weekend and it went by way too quick! Fortunately, my brother and sister are staying a few more days and I'm looking forward to having some fun with them! {You can see where my sister blog hacked me yesterday here.} :)

~ I'm an official Olympics addict! I went from someone who never watched TV to someone who needs the TV on every second the Olympics is on. And I want someone to teach me to swim like the pros. They make it look like amazing fun. {And it wouldn't hurt to have their toned bodies!}

~ Speaking of toning, I'm back to running as of today! Happy to report no knee pain after this morning's trip out. I was suppose to start Insanity month 2 today, but was really missing my runs and wanted to make sure I could still do a 5K before I do The Color Run in just a few weeks!

~ I am SO excited about The Color Run!!

~ In other news, I'm super seriously considering the idea of attending my very first blogging conference! It's something that I've been wanting to do for literally years now, but haven't felt like I was in the right place in my life. While praying a couple of weeks ago I really felt like The Allume Conference was somewhere I'm suppose to be. If it's God's will I know that it will all work out, but I still need to do my part too. Would you say a prayer that God will guide me as we work out details, specifically finances? Blogging conferences aren't cheap.

Hope you all have a great week!

Brittany has been hacked. ;)



Sorry to disappoint but I am not Brittany. I am Emmie, her sister! I absolutely love her. She is an amazing and hilarious person to be around. And I have so many good memories to tell. Maybe even some embarrassing ones, I mean it's Brittany c'mon. 

She loves the Vols and always has, which is actually the reason I like them. If she wasn't so enthusiastic about the Vols I don't think I would really care. She promised me about two or three years ago we would make a music video... there has been no making of a music video since then. Sooo, since I'm staying with her till school starts I plan to make it happen! The video will be up here and if it's not, you should know she broke her promise.

Aside from failed attemps of music videos we have spent a lot of time together. Her favorite singing group as a teenager was NSYNC. But she always sang this one Rod Stewart song... "Have I told you lately that I love you..." Well every time I answered the phone I'd hear her start singing it. And last year Brittany, Jayden, and Jackson left me a voicemail singing "You are my sunshine my only sunshine..." I still have that voicemail saved.

I have a shirt that my mom had when she was my age that got passed down to Britt, then to me. We pretty much have the same style and choice of words. She always says things I would say in the same order. My friend had noticed that when she visited. People also tell me and Brittany we look a lot alike. In the picture of us matching I don't think we do, but other than that picture.. I would say twins. 

Well I let her of the hook with no embarrassing stories... this time. 


Brittany.... Have I told you lately that I love you?
-Emmie Faith <3

InstaFriday: Our Life Through the Eyes of Instagram

I've been doing the Instagram thing for a while now, but only recently have I started to have a sincere love/slight addiction to it.

It all started with some of my family going to NYC last week - one of my absolute favorite places. My sister was great about posting pics of what they were doing on Instagram, so I found myself constantly checking for new pictures to vicariously live through.

So when I saw that my friend Mandy had an InstaFriday post up this afternoon I thought that was just an awesome idea of a way to get fun pics up on the blog for a little more permanent documentation.

Here's what our life looks like through the eyes of Instagram {and a few bonus pics that should've been on Instagram} this week...

Last Friday we went to our first St. Louis Cardinals game of the season and it was fun, but oh my goodness, HOT!! We were constantly downing water and thankfully the Cards crew had little cups with water available throughout the stadium. The boys and Mommy were super thankful!


Before leaving the boys really wanted their picture with a baseball player statue, so we let them pick one out and snapped away. They chose Stan Musial. {Great pick!} :)


On our way out to the movies on Saturday I spotted this thing next to our car. {Yuck!} I've heard crawfish exist in Southern Illinois, seen holes dug supposedly by them, but never seen an actual one. And now I have fears of them trying to get into my home. Ick!!!


The boys had been begging to go see The Amazing Spiderman and after checking out reviews I decided to go ahead and give them the ok. They were SO excited and have told us all week how much they loved it.


Our good friends Dan and Amanda came to spend the weekend with us and we were so grateful for that time with them! The boys love Uncle Dan and Aunt Manna!


I found myself craving green tea one afternoon rather than the usual chocolate/sweets cravings I get. This is big, people. Real big.


I was lucky enough to have my 4 year old, Jayden, fall asleep in my arms for a little afternoon snooze this week. The older he gets the less this happens so I try to soak it in every chance I get!


Jayden also had an appointment to get his teeth cleaned this week and handled it like a champ! Cool shades and a TV to watch helped, but I wasn't surprised in the least. He's cool like that. :)


And that's it! Our life as seen by Instagram {+ a couple of extras}. If you're an Instagram junkie like me feel free to follow me at @BrittanyHC!

Linking up here:
life rearranged

Have a great weekend!

Stop and Smell the Roses: I might just be insane! :)

Stop and Smell the Roses 
 Hi guys!! Been a while, no?!

I've been going through that whole "To blog or not to blog" question again because as most of you stay-at-home moms may know, it's hard to keep up with when you're taking care of two little ones! I never want to be spending time on the computer that could make my boys feel unimportant or neglected, so I try to be careful with how I spend my time and lately it's been hard to fit blogging in. {On that note... Those of you who blog and have kiddos at home - How do you make it work? I would love to hear your advice!}

One reason it's been hard is because of a new little exercise routine I've started that takes about an hour of my morning 6 days a week. It might be making me just a bit crazy, but in a good way! :)

{Please excuse my nasally voice as I'm battling it out with some not-so-nice allergies these days...}


So there you have it! Some one-on-one time with Shaun T. and the Insanity crew is making me smile this week! Hope you guys are having a great week! Make sure you check out all the other vlogs over at House of Rose!

17 Day Diet Check-In {End of Cycle 3!!}


This is it, y'all!!

I made it through a complete round of the 17 Day Diet and it's starting to get all Katniss Everdeen up in here!

51 days and 3 cycles later I now know what it feels like to follow through with the 17 Day Diet and I am so excited! Excited because I stuck with it, set my eyes on a goal, and accomplished it... It's a great feeling!

However, by looking at the numbers alone I've been a little disappointed. My weight loss really plateaued recently and hasn't really budged. But this is where I tell you not to watch your weight alone, peeps! I so wish I had kept up with how many inches I've lost, but I haven't. It can be discouraging not to see the numbers on the scale moving as fast as you like, but you've got to remember that as long as you're exercising you are burning calories and you are making a positive impact on your body!

Because the scale hadn't really moved much, I wasn't expecting to see a big difference in my comparison pictures from finishing cycle 2 to finishing cycle 3, so imagine my happiness when I saw the pictures below!



I am so stinkin' happy with the changes that are taking place, and I still have some weight I would like to see come off, so I'm not stopping any time soon! There is something so different in me this time around that has had the last straw with this weight issue, and I'm going to keep on pushing.

And incase you're curious about the numbers I've been complaining talking about, here they are:

After finishing the third {Also known as the Achieve} cycle of the 17 Day Diet I have lost 1.8 pounds for a grand total of 11.8 pounds!

Along with following the 17 Day Diet I've also been following a 5K running plan, which I've now completed, so I'm just continuing to add a little more time to my run every week until I figure out what I'm going to do. During the Achieve cycle I also added in the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD which has began to make a lovely difference in my arms, and I'm thinking might also be the culprit for not seeing as much weight loss since I've most likely been gaining muscle.

Not going to lie... It's been fun brushing my hair and noticing this in the mirror! ;)


A big thank you to Jillian for that!

So, now what?! Now I start all over at the beginning for round 2! I'm toning down my workouts a tad since my calorie level will be low and starting fresh with cycle 1. Cycle 1 is usually where you see the most weight loss, so I'm curious to see what the next 17 days bring.

Bring it on, 17 Day Diet! Bring it on!! :)

If you're curious to see past 17 Day Diet posts you can go here! That's where you'll find me explaining why I chose the 17 Day Diet, some of my favorite snacks, and past check-ins.

Also, if you're finding me through searches for 17 Day Diet info I want to say a big thank you for checking out the blog! I would love for you to join along in the journey and hopefully we can use this as a tool to encourage each other and see change!

Jackson's Backyard Birthday Bash ~ A Disney Cars Birthday Party!


I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I love throwing a good party!!

So much so, that a couple of good friends and I have even entertained the idea of starting our own little business of party planning. We all have different talents that would complement each other, and despite one of those friends moving away recently I totally haven't given up on this idea.

I love everything about party planning - the freedom of creativity, the togetherness of friends and family, and most of all, putting special attention on whatever reason it is that the celebration is taking place.

The latest celebration in the Cha Cha household was the birthday of our bright-eyed, gorgeous smile-faced Jackson as he turned three. Oh, this child! He is such an amazing piece of our little family and I wanted to do something for him that would bring that big smile of his to his face, and possibly coat it with a little yummy frosting. :)

{Enter Cars Birthday Party Celebration!}

One of Jackson's greatest loves is the Disney Pixar movie Cars. Lightning McQueen and the gang make my little guy's heart happy, so there was no doubt that we would be having a Cars party, but can I be honest with you guys? I'm just not into commercialized parties. I wanted to do something a little nicer, but that still incorporated the Cars theme, so here's what I came up with!

Invitations

We started with invitations that I made using Photoshop Elements. Jackson's favorite song is the Rascal Flatts version of "Life is a Highway" used in the first Cars movie, so that gave me great inspiration for the direction I wanted the invitation to go. I found the Magneto font here and the Lightning McQueen vector image {for free!} here.


Activities

My next task was making a cardboard Lightning McQueen, an idea I got from this Cars party as shown on How Does She. There's a blueprint for making these cars shown here, but it doesn't give any instructions, so I just kinda eye-balled everything. I took pictures as I made it so I can hopefully share a more detailed tutorial in the near future!


I really would've loved to have made several cardboard cars, but when it came down to the last minute details I just didn't have time to make and paint that many. One car was enough for us since we had other activities for the kids to do.

We also had a kiddie pool, sprinklers, water guns, and a slip n' slide for all the kiddos to play with, but I'm not going to lie, the adults might've had just as much fun! My husband and I might or might not have had a race on the slip n' slide... And he might or might not have only won because he's a whole foot taller then me... But I'm not a sore loser or anything. ;)


Food


Snacks 

Most of my snack ideas came from inspiration found through Pinterest. {You can see my Pinterest board for this party here.} I was pretty proud of my "Catch ya Later Suckers" though! :) I found the Cars fruit snacks at Walmart, the red and black lollipops at Party City, the Cars Cheez-Its at Kroger, the Cars Juicy Juice boxes at Target, and the Turbo Dust Sour Candy Straws at The Dollar Store. I also found the basket for the "Pitstop Popcorn" at The Dollar Store and made the popcorn cones using scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby and this tutorial. The gas display case for the juice came from my neighbor's yard sale a couple of weeks before the party. {Score!!} I made all the food labels using Photoshop Elements and this image for the background.

Cupcakes




I always like to have cupcakes to give a different option than cake, but I like to make them myself because they're easy and a little cheaper that way. I made the super yummy buttercream frosting myself using this recipe and it was so good! Like, my neighbor and I were licking the bowl at midnight the night before the party good! I got the idea to put the cupcakes on a race track here. I bought the checkered flag picks at a local party store and made the others by placing stickers I bought at Walmart back to back over toothpicks.


I used these checkered cupcake liners I found at Party City and was so excited about them matching the theme, but also adding a pop of color. Unfortunately, after baking the cupcakes you could barely see the color of the liners, so if you choose to use these I would bake the cupcakes in a separate liner and add these on after baking.

Cake


I had the cake made by a local bakery in town. I've been pretty happy with them in the past and this time was no exception. I do want to recommend that when you're working with someone to make your cake that you are very open and clear about what you want done so you don't end up disappointed. That meant me going into the bakery twice because I just didn't leave feeling confident about what they were going to do the first time.

Decor


Decorating is one of my favorite parts of party planning! The wind was definitely working against me the day of the party, {As you can see by the pushed-up table cloth} but we made the best of it. I found the black and white checkered table cloth, plates, napkins, and flags at Hobby Lobby. I made the tissue paper pom-poms using 10 pieces of tissue paper per pom-pom and this tutorial. I made the Lightning McQueen paper fan flower using scrapbook paper, a Lightning McQueen pop-up sticker I found in the gift wrap section at Walmart, and this tutorial.


The banner was made using scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby, my cricut machine with the George font cartridge, and a little help from a sweet friend.

Playlist

Every good party needs some background music to set the mood! Below are some of the songs we made part of our playlist for our bash. All the songs are either from one of the Cars movies, car related, or celebration related.


Food, decor, and music aside, what made this backyard birthday bash the biggest success was that our little Jackson had a blast celebrating! And now we have one happy three year old on our hands. :)


Also, definitely want to name drop a couple of blogs that were inspiring as I planned this party:

Hope you guys have a great weekend!!


Stop and Smell the Roses {Week 15}

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to stop, drop, and smell the roses!! {AKA a time to stop and share what you're thankful for this week!}

Stop and Smell the Roses 

 I'll let the video do the talking! :)

 

Come join us with what you're thankful for this week over at House of Rose!!

Hope you're all having a great week!!

Happy Wednesday!!

17 Day Diet Check-In {End of Cycle 2}


Hi friends!!

I think I might've finally recovered from all of the craziness we had going on in the month of May. It was a tiring, but super fun month for sure!

In the midst of the craziness I finished up my second cycle of 17 days on the 17 Day Diet. To finish the second cycle was a small victory in itself regardless of weight loss because it was proof to me that I'm in this for real - no turning back! The total number of pounds lost was less than in the first cycle, but that's to be expected as you add in some more calories to your everyday eating. I also had a lot more temptations for cheating between all of the celebrations we had going on {Birthdays, a graduation, and Mother's Day... Oh my!}. I would be a liar if I told you I stuck to the diet 100% through all of that. :)

Anyhoo... Let's get to the fun part, shall we?! The pictures and results!

In the second cycle of the 17 Day Diet {also known as the activate cycle} I lost an additional 3.6 pounds making my grand total of weight loss after 34 days 10 pounds!


It definitely would have been nice to have that number a pound or two higher, but to reach the 10 pound weight loss mark was pretty exciting! Along with the diet I've been continuing my 5K training which has also been super encouraging. It feels great to be running past points I was struggling at just a few short weeks ago. Progress is an encouraging thing.

Because I'm behind I'm actually posting this as I'm coming to the end of the third cycle. Can't wait to update you with my progress and results from that next week!

Picture-bration {A Weekend Recap}

Our big weekend of celebrations has come and gone! Between a graduation, birthdays, Mother's Day, and lots of family time we had an absolute blast! And of course, in typical me fashion I snapped a ton of pictures between my phone and camera, and I'm deeming them as our "picture-bration." Enjoy! :)

We started early Friday morning, which also happened to be my birthday, with a trip to Knoxville for my husband's cousin's graduation from our alma mater, the fabulous University of Tennessee. I've been avoiding Starbucks due to my diet, but made an exception for a birthday treat. :)


Graduation!


Too cool to have to sit through all those names... :)




Hulk joined us at graduation. :)




Love that Rima and her friend, Lucia, showed up in the same dress to their graduation! Totally a coincidence!




The family in front of the Torchbearer.


Proud of my Zeta sister!!





Moving on...

So, wondering if I stuck to my diet through all of this fun? Kinda! I had these delicious shrimp fajitas for lunch, but only had one tortilla. Not too shabby!


That girl... She clued the servers in that it was my birthday and they decided to cream me... I got a free little dessert out of it so I'm not complaining. :)




And I also had a free slice of my absolute favorite cookie cake from Great American Cookie Co. because they do cool stuff like that for you on your birthday. It was huge, and due to my lack of sugar eating lately I totally had a sugar crash afterwards, but it was delicious!


We did a little shopping and then met up with my sweet friend, Melinda, and her baby girl who is about to turn the big O-N-E!!


And then we had some Chick-fil-a where I had my first experience with grilled nuggets and Chick-fil-a sauce... Both delicious! {Especially the nuggets!!}




For dinner we met up with this guy! He just happens to be my very cool grandfather. We like to call him Pops. :)




After dinner we ran over to meet with some other people we love, Ms. Joy and her sweet family. Her son was playing in a baseball tournament where we watched his team come back from an 8-1 score to win the game 9-8. It was pretty great! The boys love Ms. Joy's son, who we call Buddy!


And they also love that Ms. Joy spoils them with fun things like Fun Dip! :)




We took Saturday pretty easy after such an eventful Friday!


We went out for some dinner where I was promised thrilling times ahead. ;)


Then we went home to some family time and birthday cake from our favorite hometown bakery!




Jackson's Birthday and Mother's Day!

We took a trip to Olive Garden after church to celebrate. {Yes! More celebrating!} I was going to stick to my diet... And then I saw my favorite OG dish, Shrimp and Crab Tortelli Romana. So I had it and it was awesome with a glass of Raspberry sweet tea with lime, a breadstick, and some salad. Yum!!

Before
After

Our precious birthday boy, now a big three years old!!


Me with my boys on Mother's Day. I kinda love them... :)


My sweet sister!



Despite my diet cheating at lunch she was still trying to tempt me to cheat even more with some chocolate icing. Evil I tell ya!! ;)


Jackson talking to his friend Elly on the phone as she wished him a happy birthday. Too precious!!


We also had a chance to stop at my dad's and deliver gifts and hang out for a bit which was short, but great, nonetheless! Today is the last official day of celebrations ending with my hubby and my dad's birthdays, so a big happy birthday to them!! We'll finish off the week with Jackson's party, which I can't wait to share with everyone! I'm having lots of fun prepping for it!

Hope you all have a great week!

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