Links to Amazon are affiliate links.
I have been so blessed in the friend department. Through the world of blogging and Facebook I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and form many new, wonderful relationships. The internet connects us all…but sadly many of my best friends don’t live near me 🙁 I make trips up to the Atlanta area as often as I can to visit with everyone but I always do those trips solo. So while I’ve met my friends kids…very few of them have actually met mine. I tell people ALL THE TIME to stop by on their way to Florida. We’re super close to the interstate! A few take me up on it (thank you Rachael!!!) but I understand why people don’t come to visit…while I have LOTS of friends to see in the Atlanta area. A trip down here would mean only visiting ONE friend for them.
Kelly and I have talked many times about her coming for a visit and SHE DID IT!!! We picked a weekend and we stuck to it 🙂 She and Rhyan did a girl’s trip for a weekend…they stayed Friday through Sunday and it was WONDERFUL!!! Kye and Rhyan hit it off immediately just like we knew they would 🙂 They arrived soon after my kids were down for a nap so Kelly put Rhyan down for a bit then when they woke up we hit the pool!
I cooked dinner that night (she was so thrilled to get to try my “famous” butter beans haha) and the kids all took a bath together in our tub! It was too cute 🙂 Everything flowed SO naturally. Kelly is a fellow Babywise Mom so our kids had similar schedules, were used to the same routines, and meshed very well together. It couldn’t have gone better. It’s SUCH a blessing to have like-minded parents for friends. We have similar parenting goals and priorities so we can be completely open with each other about anything. There aren’t too many people that I would go to for advice when it comes to my kids, but Kelly is one of them for sure! I totally trust her insight and appreciated our ability to talk honestly, yet lovingly, with each other on some of our weaker parenting areas that we want to improve on. She gave me some great tips and I hope I helped her as well 🙂
Before bed that night Kelly brought down Rhyan’s story bible for us all to read. I FELL IN LOVE with it!!! I totally plan to order it as a Christmas present for my children. It tells the Bible stories at their level and asks insightful, thought-provoking questions that they can understand. It’s called The Big Picture Story Bible. I’m looking forward to it becoming part of our nightly routine 🙂
Another advantage to both of us being Babywise Moms??? Our kids were in their beds, asleep for the night, before 8 so we could spend the rest of the night TALKING haha. Zach was like “yall are SO boring” but it was FUN to me just to sit and talk to my good friend face-to-face. Sure, we write each other but there is just something special about personal interactions, ya know?
The next morning we decided to make waffles! We enjoyed them so much in Orlando and thought it’d be a fun treat 🙂
This little girl was ready to help too!
No chocolate chips for her 😉
We even bought whipped cream, just for our special guests 🙂
That morning Zach went out to the farm with his dad to plant some crops so Kelly and I just RELAXED with the babies. Britt took her morning nap and the older kids and us mamas watched Lion King as Rhyan hadn’t ever seen it before. It was fun cuddling up and relaxing. Before lunch we played out back for a bit then when they went down for afternoon naps Kelly and I laid out for awhile by the pool before showering and getting ready for our afternoon fun!
While I’m learning to call Valdosta home…there simply isn’t much to offer when guests come to town. I racked my brain to come up with something fun for us all to do and the best I could offer was a visit to Jump ‘N Jax. We went as soon as the kids woke up from naps and OMG. They had 12 birthday parties there that day. It was a MAD HOUSE. Seriously. I used to think airports were the best place for people watching but now my vote is a jump house play place. Kelly and Zach took the older kids to jump and I kept Britt in the baby station area. It was craziness.
I may be a “helicopter mom” when it comes to my kids at play places but I do NOT understand these parents that just go plop themselves in a chair while their kids run wild. I see it ALL THE TIME. At the jump house places, at birthday parties, at people’s homes, at restaurants with playgrounds, at parks, etc. I always keep an eye on my children. Not so much out of concern for their safety…I know Kye is old enough to play in the Chick-Fil-A playground and not get hurt. But because I want to monitor his behavior. I also end up having to play “playground cop” to all the other kids too. Gah it’s annoying. Recently I had one child SPIT AT ME when I told him to stop spitting on the slide. I have TONS of respect for teachers…I couldn’t handle being around misbehaving, disrespecting children all day!!!!
Anyways….haha I’m off on a tangent 😉 The kids at the jump house place were WILD beyond belief. But I don’t blame the kids for behaving that way. Kids are going to test boundaries and limits and will do what they are allowed to do. I witnessed a child climb ON TOP of the bounce house then his parent come over to him and say “Hey! Stop! (my first thought was YAY a parent who is going to make their kid obey the rules…) Smile and let me take your picture.” Wow. Let’s document your child breaking the rules and doing something that is totally unsafe, not only for your kid but also for other people’s kids. That’s one for the baby book FOR SURE.
Luckily Brittlynn behaved beautifully 😉 I tried to keep her confined to one or two toys b/c they were FILTHY. It made me sad how quickly that place has gone down hill 🙁 It used to be so nice!!!
Kye was having a BLAST!
Rhyan doesn’t look as thrilled haha…I think the massive crowds were not her thing. And I don’t blame her, Zach and I were ready to go within 5 min of getting there haha
I’m not saying we won’t ever go to a jump house place again…because I’m SURE we will. But we’ll def try to avoid going on a Saturday afternoon. And it may be awhile until we can go back. It gets my blood boiling just remembering it haha.
The ONE place I know is a great “tourist” spot in Valdosta is Smokin’ Pig. It’s amazingly yummy bbq for affordable prices and mega huge portions. I’ve yet to find someone who hasn’t enjoyed it!!! We left Jump ‘N Jacks in under 30 min upon arriving (thankfully it only cost us $5 for each of the older kids…) and went for an early dinner. And it didn’t disappoint!!!
These two were adorable together!
LOVE! And props to Zach for taking this 😉
Since it was a Saturday night that meant college football was on so I knew Zach wouldn’t mind if we had a night out on the town 😉 Kelly and Crissy have become friends and wanted to meet so the three of us headed up to The Mix for some froyo (Kelly’s FIRST time having it…and I thought I lived under a rock hahaha) and some great conversation. Zach asked me what we talked about…my response? “Santa” hahaha We did have some intense Santa conversation but we talked about other things as well 🙂 It was wonderful girl bonding time and tasty as well!
I was SPOILED that week…I got to visit Crissy twice! Totally a record for us 🙂
Kelly’s visit was such a blessing to me. It made my heart so happy to have such a sweet friend make the drive and effort just to spend time with ME. It made me feel SO loved and special 🙂 I appreciate her willingness to do that more than she’ll ever know. I felt so uplifted and loved that we got to spend some MEGA quality time together!!! Kye has started listing Rhyan as one of his favorite friends which is so cute, I’m glad they got along so well and I hope we can someday get our husbands to meet. As I also think they would hit it off!!! Two sports-minded, conservative, christian, penny-pinching republicans?!?! Yeah, they’ll get along great 😉
I decided to go ahead and combine this post with another recent visit we had!!! Growing up Zach had many close friends and one of his bffs was Michael Pool. I got to meet Michael and his wife Laura a few times over the years but Laura and I got a lot closer once she had their first baby, Abagail, about 18 months ago. She’s also a Babywise Mom and I’m thankful I’ve been able to help her and that she also was able to help me when I was trying to implement everything with Brittlynn 😉
We set up a weekend for Laura, Michael and Abagail to come down to visit! It ended up being the weekend of October 12th. The week leading up to their visit was, legit, one of the toughest emotional weeks of my life thus far (remember this post?). I feel so guilty that I FOR REAL was not myself when they came to visit. I did my best to be presentable and to have our home presentable but I was basically running on auto pilot 🙁 I kinda just decided to copy the same stuff I did when Kelly came! I cooked the same meal Friday night for them and it was a hit! 🙂 Saturday we did waffles again (getting our use out of that waffle maker now huh?) and us girls relaxed with the little ones while the boys (Kye included) went to check out our new Academy Sports store. Michael works at their distribution center in Macon so he wanted to check it out and Zach wanted to see it too. He’s PUMPED that we have one, they have awesome deals!!!
Zach was SO sweet to me that weekend and SO helpful with everything (on top of my tough emotional stuff I also had random foot issues I was dealing with. GREAT combo haha). He even suggested for Laura and I to go get pedicures while the kids were down for the afternoon naps (again, the weekend went SO SMOOTHLY thanks to the fact that our babies are on such similar schedules and routines…gotta love Babywise!!!). Laura and I had SUCH a great time!!! She’s pregnant with another sweet baby girl and def needed (and deserved!) the relaxing treat. It was wonderful and nice to have quality together time outside of the house! After our pedis she wanted to try out The Mix so we hit it up on the way home. Froyo at 2 PM? Sounds like a plan to me!!!
After naps the Parker clan all came over for a cook-out. They were all close friends with Michael and his family when growing up so they wanted a chance to visit. It all worked out great and we enjoyed the quality time together!!! I LOVED getting to see Brittlynn have a FRIEND for a change 🙂 Abagail is a few months older than her but she’s petite so they are almost the same size (Britt only weighs like a pound less than she does!). They were so adorable “playing” together.
Yes, Britt’s wearing the same top as she did when Kelly came…I told you I just copied everything we did that weekend haha
Casey made a pumpkin cake for the occasion 😉
The older kids put on a music show for us! Isn’t this TOO CUTE?!?!
Zach and I learned something about our children that weekend. THEY ARE LOUD!!! Haha. We never realized how LOUD we are until sweet, mild-mannered Abagail came into our lives. She was so precious and adorable. She was quite and reserved and we realized that our children are def not that way. They battle it out for attention constantly. Haha. I have a feeling our dinner table will look a lot like Zach’s parents table does…everyone talking over each other and trying to get a word in. 😉
We stayed up late both nights of their visit just talking and even played a little UNO! It was such a wonderful time and it was nice for Zach to have some guy time with a good friend. We all attended Lakeland Sunday morning for church (Michael grew up attending there with Zach) and they headed home after services. We were very blessed by their visit!!! I was able to see Laura and Abagail for a bit over the summer but an hour lunch visit isn’t quite the same as an entire weekend together. I truly enjoyed it and loved the connection Laura and I have!!! I’m glad we got this picture together…but I feel SO bad I didn’t ever snap one of Zach and Michael!!! I was not on my picture taking A-Game that weekend for sure!
I’m so, so thankful for such sweet friends God has blessed me with! It means the world to me that Kelly and Laura came to visit us and I’m looking forward to more visits from other friends in the future (hint!hint!). 🙂