When I think of my hometown I think of two places: the place where I was born and the place where I grew up.
Satellite Beach, Florida:
My parents met and fell in love in this small beach town and it's where I was born. It's also where majority of both of my parent's families lived throughout my childhood. Even though we moved away when I was 3, we continued to come back to visit very often so it always felt like a second home to me.
While in college my dad actually moved back to the area as well. Throughout college my parents (who divorced when I was 9) lived less than a mile apart. How crazy is that?!?!
With both of my parents being based in the area, I spent a lot of my time off of school throughout college down there. Zach first told me he loved me on the beach in Satellite Beach. We got engaged at that spot at the same beach. And got married just down the road in Cocoa Beach. All three of our children first touched the ocean in Satellite Beach (you can read about Kye's here, Britt's here and Tess's here). Even though most of my family who once lived there has now moved, it's still a very special place to me to visit. We try to make a trip to Cocoa Beach area each year so our children will grow up having memories in such a special place to us!
I cannot recommend the Cocoa Beach area enough for a great place to visit. It still has that small town vibe and isn't overly crowded with tourists. There are TONS of great little local places to eat that are all super family friendly. It's also only 45 min away from Disney :) If you go there you HAVE to drive over to Satellite Beach (15 min) to eat at Bagel World and Longdoggers. You won't regret it!
When I was 3 my parents moved from Satellite Beach to Lawrenceville, Georgia. My dad got a new job and they had a fresh start. They built our home and I lived in that house from the age of 4 until the summer before my 8th grade school year. That house is home to me. Even to this day if I am upset I will calm myself by mentally walking through that house. I can remember every little detail about it and it's so comforting to me. I'm thankful we had a home base for such a big chunk of time in my life. Even when my parents divorced (when I was in 3rd grade) we were able to continue living in that same house. The happiest memories from my childhood are in that home and the only memories I have of my parents being married are also there, which I think only makes it more special to me.
This is the house where I got tucked into bed each night. Where I chased my brother around the yard. Where I skinned my knees riding my first bike. Where we decorated Christmas cookies around the kitchen table. Where we stood on the front step for a picture. Where we laughed. Where joy lived. It will forever be my home :)
(my home is the one with the two story porches in the back ground!)
My dad's house is another house that is very, very special to me. He moved in there a year or so after my parents divorced (so I was in probably 4th grade). It was 45 min from my childhood home to his house on Lake Lanier and my brother and I spent so much time at his house with him. When I moved back to Georgia after my freshman year in high school I also lived in that house with my dad. Even through all the changes in his life he's been able to keep that house and is living there now. It may not be the same home I remember as a child (lots of remodeling and now he has a much needed womanly touch added by his wife ha!) but it's still got those memories and all that meaning to me.
(Zach's favorite pics of my childhood are the chubby glasses ones...)
Current Home: Valdosta, Georgia
I moved to Valdosta a few months after Zach and I met and started dating (I know, I was crazy!). I transferred from FSU to VSU and found some random roommates online and lived in a house with them that was about a 3 min drive from Zach's rental house.
I've lived here now for 13 years. It's officially the place I've lived the longest in my life! Yet I still joke that I'm holding onto my "Atlanta roots" because I refuse to get a Valdosta cell phone number ;) I may joke about Valdosta and a lot of that is because my roots have been in an amazing beach town and a town that was super close to a major city. This whole country life is just a different ball game for me! However, when I hear people talk badly about Valdosta I will get super defensive. I guess it's proof that it's MY home now, huh? ;)
The beauty of Valdosta is that it's only 3 hours from Atlanta, 2 hours from Jacksonville, 2 hours from Fernadina Beach, and 3 hours from Disney. It's a GREAT location to go and do so many things! It's also an awesome town to raise a family. We're in the heart of the south. The true Bible belt. Schools will still paddle kids! It's awesome that there are SO many Christians here. That even in the public schools they still talk about Jesus. That we have such a big, amazing church family! I love that it has a small town vibe. Most of all I love that Zach's whole family is here. Our kids are growing up surrounded by family which is THE greatest blessing.
(high school Zach...so tough)