Sunday, February 18, 2018

Easter 2017

April 16, 2017 - Easter with the Shoafs! 

Ready for a hunt!

I love that my grandma is close by - she's such an inspiration to me!

My parents' foreign exchange student Yuliya (from Ukraine) joined in the fun.

We also celebrated my parents' 40th anniversary. Their choice 40 years ago and every day since to love each other and the Lord has blessed my life (and many others) immensely. They are a living testament of the power of Jesus Christ to unify and sanctify anyone who sincerely seeks Him. I'm grateful for their example of Christ-like love and service.

And I'm forever grateful to celebrate any day with this guy (the one on the left :)). He is the greatest evidence that God loves me - he has been such a blessing and proof that God keeps His promises. Through Jesus Christ, I have felt peace even amidst my toughest trials - including 30 years of waiting for this guy - and through my greatest joys - including 10 months of being married to this guy. As I focus my life on Christ, I am able to feel peace and joy no matter my circumstances. He is the Prince of Peace and I know He lives!

Spring Fun

A colleague hooked us up with a visit to see the cast of Norm - a T-Rex on loan from the Field Museum in Chicago. Jackson would've been really into it if we weren't going to Mamaw's afterwards - nothing beats Mamaw's. Not even ancient dinosaur bones.

Brandon just keeping an eye out - "You never know when ISIS is coming."

Visiting my grandma at her farm - the city boy burning trash for the first time.

William McKinley skating party - Jackson actually went for it this time, but hasn't quite figured out how to move himself on skates. 

Dominika and the kids came for a quick visit and they spent the night at our house one night. My favorite visitors!

Our new place has a small workout room - sometimes we go together.

As soon as the weather turns decent, Brandon is fishing. Sometimes I go with him and enjoy the sunshine and the view. This was a beautiful afternoon at Eagle Creek Park.

Spring Break 2017 - Gatlinburg, Tennessee

On our honeymoon, we stopped at the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri, and got sucked into yet another timeshare presentation deal. This one took us to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and we decided to take Jackson with us. Then Brandon's family decided to join us as well! It was a great weekend all together.

Jackson was a champ on the 6-hour trip down there. I really thought he'd sleep but he stayed awake the whole time and kept himself entertained with puzzles, movies, and toys. I got the idea for this cookie sheet lap desk off Pinterest which was so helpful. What did we do before Pinterest? Use books?!?

We checked into the hotel and Jackson was pumped to have a huge bed all to himself! We hung out for a little bit, checked out the river in front of our hotel, then met Brandon's family at Bubba Gump Shrimp for a late dinner.

Gatlinburg is such an interesting place - right up in the Smokey Mountains which are gorgeous - but such a tourist trap of a place. Plenty to see and do if you want to pay for it!

All tucked in with all his friends!

The next morning, we visited the aquarium in Gatlinburg. The jellyfish were my favorite part!

Also, this swordfish haunts my dreams.

After the aquarium, we headed to a Ripley's 3-D movie, then Jackson went home with the family and Brandon and I went to dinner just the two of us.

Sunday was a more chill day - we went to church in the morning, then hung out at the family's cabin (they rented a cabin all together on VRBO). We ate and played in the hot tub and enjoyed the mountain scenery. After a late night Friday, then playing all day Saturday and another late night on Saturday, Jackson was TIRED on the way back to our hotel.

Monday was our last day, and we hit up a trail to Laurel Falls in Smokey Mountain National Park. Obviously in March the scenery isn't the best, but we had a great time and the falls were a beautiful destination!

Thank goodness for sweet daddies who help you get down the mountain when you're just too tired. :)

Peace out, Tennessee!