Friday Favorites

Friday, August 29, 2014
Oh sweet friends, it is just about the weekend and it's a full three days long! Talk about excitement! Husband and I have projects planned, desserts to bake, crock pot meals to stew, and Hokie football to watch. It's going to be SO good.

This week has been a week and it has been long. There has still been joy and loveliness in it too. Per usual I am linking up with Momfessionals and other terrific bloggers to share my favorites from the week with you.

[one] Pumpkins have started showing up around town. After spotting them last Saturday I held off on any purchases. But, Tuesday night at the grocery store husband caved and even offered for us to go ahead and get some. He knows my heart's joys. Let the pumpkin fix begin!

[two] I figured out how to make the Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice at home! Happy, happy, joy, joy!

[three] Husband started grad school on Monday and he let me take a ridiculously fun picture of him, which is typical of small children on their first days of school. I love that my husband goes along with my silly ideas.

[four] Nearing the end of a certain little project I've been working on. I'll be debuting it in just a couple of weeks!

[five] This husband of mine blew me away with his Confessions of a Newly Married Man. My very favorites were from his last post of the series on Tuesday. I can't believe how lucky I am to have found him so early in life and to call him mine.

[six] Husband and I have prayerfully accepted a volunteer position with our church to work with children in between their Sunday school classes. It's going to be a lot of fun planning out the activities and being a part of these kids' lives!

[seven] My homemade, DIY, fall wreath now adorns my front door. I'm quite smitten.

[eight] I got all my laundry done before the weekend. You know you're an adult when...

[nine] I have discovered a new wardrobe favorite: a black striped dress, army green jacket, and gold jewelry. Yes I will be wearing this outfit long into the fall months! (And check out those pumpkins of mine!)

[ten] My house is decked out in fall attire. Yep, I didn't wait until my September 1st marker, but I just couldn't wait! And I'm glad I didn't! I'll be sharing our d├ęcor on Monday!

Check out this summer's past faves! Have an awesome Labor Day weekend, full of good people, great food, and safe travels! Be sure to pop in next week for a GIVEAWAY!! Happy Friday!!!

The Diary of a Real Housewife

Lake Recap: Fishing. Lounging. Relaxing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Last week husband and I joined his family at Claytor Lake for vacation. Living in two cabins for the duration, fishing off of our joint dock, meeting for outdoor dinners at the picnic table, lounging by the water on the 'beach', and playing games was the entirety of our time. We didn't have agendas or to-do's. It was strictly a relaxed seven days spent doing whatever we pleased. And it was just what we needed to end our summer.

There was also a lot of almost-fall going on too. The dogwoods had started to turn into a beautiful red, and the temperatures stayed relatively low if not chilly.

Fishing from the dock turned into a daily thing for us. We'd start early in the morning, break for other activities, and retreat back to the dock for some evening fishing after dinner. We had some so much fun catching the sunfish, unhooking them, and letting them go. Our nieces had the best time helping release them with their nets. We caught about 10 fish, all beautifully colored. 

I haven't been fishing since I was a kid. The excitement of feeling the tug on your line and reeling the fish in was still there as an adult. How can you not enjoy fishing?!

My dad lent us his fishing poles and fishing bag full of everything we needed. I loved digging through the bag to discover what he had collected throughout the years. I especially loved how old some of those things were. 

This niece of ours was our fishing buddy for the week. She joined us every time at the dock and helped us release our little catches. Like I said, fishing is just as magical for an adult as a child, but it's still really neat to watch that excitement play out on a little one's face. 

I went into this vacation needing to relax. The "beach" section of the lake was my calm spot. I sat in a chair next to husband, feet in the lake, and book in hand. It was the best. My new tan thinks so too!

I'm telling you, it truly felt like autumn was upon us at the lake. The tree by the dock was just dumping leaves, sending them spiraling down around us and leaving yellow-streaked, green leaves all over the ground, water, and dock. It was heavenly. 

Some nights we fished until it was almost dark. Little girls in pjs would keep us company and 'fish' with their makeshift fishing pole made of a stick, rope, and plastic dinosaur. Pretty inventive, right? They might not have caught any fish that way, but their imaginations about it all was great. 

Talk about peaceful evenings. The dock was the spot. I am more convinced than ever that I need to live right by the lake eventually. Lake Tahoe has been in my head lately....maybe there??

To see more photos, check out my Instagram. And next week I'll be sharing our time on the water!

Happy Heart! [by Kaitlin]

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
It's Wednesday and we are half way through the work week and well on our way to a three-day weekend! Woohoo! Today Kaitlin jumped over to the blog from Little Goodies to share her happy heart 8. I'm telling you, the more Happy Heart! lists I read the more things I remember that I love so much and have pushed to the back of my mind amidst the busy moments of life! I adore these lists and love reading the things that make people so darn joyful. 

happy heart delights...
  • the feeling of soft sand between my toes and the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore
  • my first pumpkin spice latte of the season
  • the sound of mini feet pitter-pattering down the hallway
  • the smell of delicious comfort food filling the house
  • driving with the windows down, singing at the top of my lungs
  • tucking my babies into bed and always saying "yes" to one more book
  • weekend getaways with family to a cozy cabin in the woods
  • the smell of saltwater, which makes me think of my childhood

Make sure to check out all the others! And if you want to share yours, send me an email:

Confessions Of A Newly Married Man, Pt. 4

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Well this is it, the fourth and last installment of my confessions as a newly married man. I can't believe it has been a month already! If in reading these you were able to crack one smile or find one thing you identified with I count this series as a success. Thanks for tuning in and listening to my ramblings as I confess...

I had no idea a house needed so many candles. There are candles for every season, for every dessert and spice, even for weather conditions. There are candles called "Sweater Weather", "Pumpkin Sugared Doughnut", and "Leaves." Seriously, leaves? What kind of candle is that? While I admit our house does smell quite nice all the time, I believe that just gathering leaves from our yard, sticking them in a jar and setting it in a room would be a lot more budget friendly. Speaking of budgets...

We have a Starbucks budget. And a decorating budget. And we don't stick to them very well. 

Marriage takes quality time together to be successful. We wake up beside each other, come home from work at the same time, cook and eat dinner together, do house chores together, watch TV and craft together, and lastly go to sleep beside each other. Our weekends are spent more or less the same, side by side, whether we are going out or staying in. We definitely have plenty of time together. But in our day-to-day there also has to be quality time with each other. Time for a walk to talk about our day, struggles, and dreams. Time for pure one-on-one time with no distractions, making one another the sole focus of our attentions. I have found that no matter how much we are with each other, if there is no priority placed on quality time then we are left feeling like we haven't had enough time together. Ironic, isn't it?

There is no longer just me, only us. Asking Astleigh to marry me was the easiest hard decision. Easy because I was and still am ridiculously attracted and in love with everything about this woman. Hard because I knew that in becoming one flesh with my wife my singular identity would no longer exist. As an innately selfish human that's hard, sacrifice is hard. Marriage takes sacrifice, but it's well worth it. And you know what? I have never regretted it.

My most fundamental confession is that my marriage would not be possible without Jesus. In our married moments of good and bad, I can truly say every day that I trust Jesus with our relationship I love this woman even more. The life of every married man should start at the cross, as a broken sinner. Once that is understood, you can accept his redemption, love, and hope. If I am filled with the things of myself I have no room for these, but when I humble myself and accept his grace then I can show Astleigh unconditional love, complete forgiveness, and true sacrifice.

I have truly enjoyed sharing all of these confessions with you! Who knows, maybe I'll be back to share more as we continue to grow in our marriage and navigate this life together. Thanks for reading, have a great week!

Life As We Know It...

Monday, August 25, 2014 about to change. And no, we're not pregnant. I bet that's what you were thinking, wasn't it? Our news is quite different than that.

Today marks the beginning of something new and exciting for the Hills. It's husband's first day of graduate school!!

We've been talking about this day for over a year now. It was just a dream, a shot in the dark. It was the reason why we left Maryland and came back to Virginia. We took a leap and held onto our faith. Then husband applied to Virginia Tech's Mechanical Engineering graduate program this past winter. We said our prayers and crossed our fingers until the email popped up in his inbox. He hadn't gotten in. It was crushing and we were so confused about the plans we'd prayerfully made. We had so confidently thought this was surely the path we were supposed to be on. And yet, there we were with our plans crumbling before us. 

God's timing is perfect though, and often not to be understood. Instead of us taking control of the situation we let it go and gave it to Him. Like He always does, God was there and we could feel it, leading us on a different route to graduate school. Within the month, Pete had a graduate advisor and his application was reconsidered. Pete was accepted and officially a graduate student \in Aerospace Engineering. 

After living through this quick turn around in decisions, we began thinking ahead to what life would be like with husband working a full-time job while pursuing his Master's degree. I cringed and still do thinking about how different life is about to become. Homework will become a common word in our household, and late nights working through class projects will become the norm. Our time together will look different and will be less. The next two and half to three years are going to be a novel experience for the two of us. And while I'm not too sure how I feel about it at all times, I know for sure that I am so proud of husband. He's going to be an exceptional graduate student, pushing himself through it all, paving a life for us and our future family, and reaching for his aspirations. His potential is boundless. This guy of mine is something else and I couldn't be more happy to call him mine. 

So with today changing life as we know it, I am comforted in knowing that it's God's plan for our little family. He will bring us through it, making us stronger than we are now. Our day-to-day is taking on a new look and feel, one we will eventually grow accustomed to. There will be times when it's hard and trying, but the light at the end of the tunnel is already shining. What once was his dream alone, has now become our dream. I'm starting to believe that this change isn't so bad after all. As we adjust and figure out this new chapter of our lives, we ask for your prayers. 

And if you were wondering just how excited husband is for this new adventures, just look at his face below. I'm telling you, this guy is going to rock graduate school! And he's such a sport for holding up this chalkboard sign; who says 23 years is too old for a 'first-day-of-school' photo taken?!

Friday Favorites from the Lake

Friday, August 22, 2014
This week has been spent vacationing at the lake, and like all vacations it has flown by and there are only a little over 24 hours left. Where does time go, really? And how do I get it back?? But, thanks to the time we've had, there have been some great moments that amount to favorites from this week! And because it's Friday, I'm sharing them...

 photo image_zps1cf99d1f.jpg [one] Fall is really starting to show her colors. Literally. The trees at the lake are sporting some beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows. The reds with just a hint of the once-green are my favorites!

[two] The leaves floating down with the breeze. There's nothing I love more than a swirl of cascading leaves, unless I"m standing in the middle of those falling leaves. It makes me fall in love with autumn all over again (see what I did there?).

 photo image_zps8edcdb73.jpg [three] The local Starbucks is undergoing renovations and they're bringing in a drive-thru!!!  You have no idea how much joy this brings me!!

[four] Big projects in the works. I've got something new brewing and I can't wait to share it with you! For a hint, read this post and try to discover what it might be...

 photo image_zpsdf28b34d.jpg [five] Fishing from the dock. I haven't fished in years, maybe even a decade. So two things we brought along on this lake vacation were fishing poles. Husband and I have had the best time catching little sunfish in the early morning and late evening hours.

[six] A hot cup of coffee in the morning. I've recently discovered a new favorite at Starbucks thanks to the suggestion of a barista. I loved me a dark caramel latte, but it recently was discontinued. Then I was told that ordering a caramel latte with half caramel and half white mocha is super similar. It's ahhh--mazing!

 photo image_zps8b78ef6b.jpg [seven] Sitting on a very empty lake 'beach' and soaking in the late summer sun. My skin has not only happily taken in the vitamin D, but has beautifully tanned. Hallelujah for late summer tans that last into the start of fall!

[eight] Crafting fall wreaths to adorn the doors of my home. If only every door in my house could use a wreath! I just can't seem to stop making them and coming up with a million new designs. I've made three this week alone. You can see two of the collection of five here!

[nine] The appearance of fall clothing lines. Let's just say that I need to get to LOFT as soon as humanly possible!

I hope you have had an incredible week full of favorites! And here's to the weekend! Join us next Friday with your list of Friday Favorites! 


Life Gone By

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Summer is about gone, and it's been forever since I last blogged a "Life Gone By" post! Putting all these photos together goes to show how much has happened over the last month and half and just how blissfully packed its been, even when the blissful part doesn't always seem as such. As excited as I am to welcome fall in, I'm a little sad how fast summer flew by. But, it's been good! To see more Life Gone By photos, check here. Happy almost weekend!