Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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The Skies Proclaim

I am sure that everyone is getting tired of all the solar eclipse photos flooding their social media right now, but I am not! I just love looking at the pictures over and over again. Because seeing this solar eclipse was one of the coolest thing I have ever experienced. I am so very glad that we took the time to plan our trip to see totality. It was totally worth the effort! Every sleepless night, every toddler tantrum, and every hiccup in our travels & plans was worth it!

We were very lucky viewing totality of the eclipse. We only had to travel a few hours and we were able to stay with family. We definitely had the best setup! We went down a few days before to beat all the traffic and had several days to spend with family. The only bad thing was that Ada decided that she didn’t want to sleep during our entire trip. So we went days without a good nights sleep before the eclipse. I was running on fumes by the time Monday came along. Luckily, all the excitement and adrenaline kept me awake during the eclipse (and Sundrop – lots, and lots of Sundrop!). 😉

On the day of the eclipse we had an awesome setup in the backyard. We had a tent to give us some lovely shade, Randy had his camera all set and ready, we had a kiddie pool for all of us to enjoy but it was mostly entertainment for Ada, and we had Sundrop, moon pies, and many more goodies to enjoy. Just the perfect setup. Ada played in the kiddie pool until her nap time, which meant she was exhausted and ready for a long nap. It was perfect timing because she laid down for her nap around 1 pm and the eclipse started at 1:15 pm. This way I didn’t have to worry about her staring into the sun without protection and I got to enjoy the entire eclipse.

Well, every thing was going to plan until the clouds came in. We had clear blue skies all day but as soon as we were ready to watch the eclipse, we got one big, dark cloud right over the backyard. We stood there in the rain, wearing our solar glasses, staring up into the dark cloud hoping to get a glimpse of the eclipse for a while. The cloud didn’t move. And that’s when I started to cry. I know, I know – I was a bit emotional; but I really, really wanted to see this. I have been dreaming of witnessing something like this my whole life and I was missing it.

That is until we got a call from a local friend who said they were several miles from us and had clear skies. Everyone packed up and drove off, except us. We didn’t know what to do. Ada had just laid down for a nap and we knew she was exhausted. We stood there for a few minutes and let the disappointment of not seeing the eclipse overwhelm us. Until, I started to think about it. We made all these plans and preparations and we were just minutes from seeing a total eclipse. And we weren’t going to see it because we were afraid to wake up our child? What? The worst that can happen is that she would cry the whole time, but so what?! Isn’t it worth it? Yes, yes it is. So we were selfish! We woke up our exhausted toddler and made a mad dash to clear skies. Luckily, Ada was just fine with it. She sat in our air-conditioned car, watching TV, while we watched the eclipse.

We hastily set up the camera again and had about 15 minutes to spare before totality. Whew! I am glad that we moved to downtown to watch the eclipse, because some things happened that we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. For one, as it got dark, we watch street lamps turn on. The crickets started singing and the temperature did drop. Plus, being around other people and hearing their excitement was contagious. When there was just a sliver of sun left, people started yelling in excitement. Then when the sun was completely gone, everyone just gasped in wonder.

When we had totality and we were able to take off our solar glasses, I was literally awestruck. I just started babbling incoherently on how beautiful everything was and how amazing it was to see the sun’s corona. The corona shone brightly behind the moon in a delicate white halo, which contrasted beautifully against the still blue sky. The world around us was dark, but not completely dark. It wasn’t quite nighttime dark but it was darker than dusk. It was strange and beautiful all at the same time. It did get dark enough to see Venus, Mars, and even Mercury; which was a wonderful added bonus. Totality lasted 2 minutes 28 seconds where we were; which is a good while, but it happened too fast for me. I could have stared and studied the corona & my environment for hours.

Watching the eclipse made me remember how awesome God really is and how He so elegantly designed the universe. The more we study the universe, the more concrete I feel in my faith. Earth is so perfectly placed within this unfathomable large universe that not only can it sustain life, but we can witness something like this solar eclipse. Earth has one moon that happens to be the right size and the right distance so that when a solar eclipse occurs both the sun and the moon look like they’re the same size producing a beautiful solar display. I mean, what are the odds of a setup like this occurring naturally, all on it’s own? It is true that seeing God behind this breath-taking event requires a leap of faith; but I believe that seeing this event as a mere coincidence requires an even greater leap of faith.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1


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Solar Eclipse Fun

As some of you know I went to school for physics, but the main reason I chose the physics program, is because I love astronomy. My concentration was in astronomy and I loved every second of it. Appalachian State has a wonderful astronomy program offering so many different opportunities for students. For introductory students, they have an observation deck with a retractable roof and about 20 11″ automated telescopes. For intermediate students, they have a private lab with an observation dome housing an 16″ telescope. And for their advanced students, they have an entire observatory off the Parkway with an amazing 32″ telescope with all the latest observation tech. Yeah – it’s pretty awesome.

My college years were amazing and I sometimes miss the late nights observing the cosmos. But I don’t miss those tests or those all nighters studying! But I am super excited to be witnessing the solar eclipse this weekend! And because I celebrate everything, I put together a few ideas to help all of you to celebrate, too! 😉

Since we will be traveling to see totality, I put together some coloring sheets for Ada. I found these free printables that are all about our solar system. I kept it simple and just picked out the star, the moon, the sun, and of course, the solar eclipse. I am using a cookie sheet as a lap desk for Ada to use (which I am sure everyone knows about thanks to Pinterest). She can use it on our trip to color and play with her magnetic letters & numbers.

I found this craft for Ada to do that seems a bit more age appropriate for her (besides coloring). Plus, the finished results look really pretty.

These t-shirts are so darn cute and so corny! Right up my alley! 😉

There are tons of great ideas for eclipse themed food on Pinterest. Everything from eclipse cookies, galaxy popcorn, and sunshine cupcakes. Since we will be traveling, I decided to keep it rather simple – Moon Pies, Sun Chips, and Sun Drop is the way we are going! Plus, who doesn’t love Moon Pies? 😉

And to make things more fun, adding star & moon shape balloons will add the perfect touch!

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy & marvel at God’s beautiful creation on Monday! And I hope you make a party out of it! 🙂 Happy Weekend ya’ll!


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Summer Reading

One of the great things about summer, is sitting by the pool or ocean and reading. Well, we haven’t been to the beach yet, but we have spent a great deal of time by our kiddie pool. 😉 While Ada plays, I can sometimes sneak in my reading time. Or sometimes we sit outside together and read. I try to squeeze in as much reading together as possible throughout the day but she usually just wants to read at night before bed. Which is probably more of her trying to stay awake longer than anything else. We also visit the library about twice a week to find new books to read and to enjoy Toddler Story Time. But Ada’s favorite is going to Music & Movement – this girl loves to sing and dance.

Our library has a program called, “1000 Books Before Kindergarten.” I am sure every library has it, but the idea is to keep a record of all the books you read to your child. You can repeat books, of course but if you read 1000 books before they start kindergarten they get a party to celebrate. So I thought I would join the program and keep a record myself of all the books Ada reads. Just a simple journal for her to look back on and see what she has read. I picked a pretty Rifle Paper (because they make the prettiest patterns!) journal to keep a record of Ada’s reading.

Some of Ada’s favorites right now are:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: We read this one over and over again! She seriously cannot get enough of this one. She loves identifying all the food; that’s my girl!

All Better: Ada loves the interaction of this book. She even likes to kiss the boo-boos before applying the bandage. This has been on repeat since Ada received her first cut, which required a bandage, not long ago.

Biscuit’s First Beach Day: We have several Biscuit books and Ada loves them all! This one we picked up at the library and was her favorite out of the bunch we picked out.

Press Here: Ada loves, loves this book! We have read this one together so many times. Her favorite part is to clap to make the colorful circles bigger.

Some other favorites of Ada’s are her BabyLit books. She has The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland – we have read these over and over again as well. I really need to get her some new ones. 🙂

On my reading list this summer:

Hidden Figures: I was very interested in this book and I wanted to read it before watching the movie, but it is difficult to read. There is no dialogue so it reads more like a history book. The topic is very interesting and I love the actual story, but man it is hard to read. We will see if I can finish it, but I think it will be better to just watch the movie (I know! Blasphemy!)

Stress Free Potty Training: It is about that time around here. Ada has shown some interest in the potty but I don’t think she is quite ready. So I am reading all the materials that I can find right now to help me prepare. Any advice or suggestions regarding this subject would be greatly appreciated!

A Wrinkle in Time: I read this book years ago in middle school but I have mostly forgotten what it is all about. So I want to re-read it before the movie comes out – which looks amazing, btw! As soon as I can get through Hidden Figures, I will be starting this one!

On my reading wish list are these two books – Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style and Celebrate Everything! These two look like so much fun and I’m pretty sure they would be books that I would read over & over again! 😉

My wish for Ada is that she grows up to love reading. It has always been a favorite hobby of mine and I hope it becomes hers as well. And as Dr. Seuss so perfectly said: “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back, relax, all you need is a book.”

My dress sold out from Target (similar) // My hat // Ada’s dress // Ada’s necklace // Ada’s bow


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Mama + Mini Monday: Comfy Dresses

These past couple of weeks have been so hard. Ada is cutting her molars and they have been the worse by far. She has all the awful side affects that teething can bring; which is not the norm for her. And to top it all off, Ada’s temper tantrums have moved up to a whole new level. The terrible twos truly are terrible!

Now I know that Ada can’t help it. She is miserable and is developing her own opinions & learning to express them. But man, it is tough. One minute she is happy go lucky, asking for a snack, then the next thing I know she is screaming at the top of her lungs. And all I can make out is that she wants to go outside and play. But then I remind her that she was asking for a snack and then she remembers that she is hungry and starts screaming again. Its like she can’t quite make up her mind half the time.

So with that being said, I have gravitated to clothes that are super soft and comfy. I normally live in my pjs but on the days that we need to get out of the house, I have to wear something other than my sweats. So these comfy dresses have been my go to here lately. They are simply the best – soft, loose, stretchy, and of course, cute! They are perfect to just throw on when you need to run errands and I pretty much always wear a hat (because who has time to wash their hair, right?).

Ada and I both love June & January dresses, especially during these hot summer days. They are great to dress up or down. She wears them to church and to the play ground. All around perfect outfit for her! 🙂 

So what are your tips, suggestions, advice, old wives tales, jokes, encouragement, etc to surviving the terrible twos?! 😉


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Summer Adventures

This summer has been such a magical time for us. Watching Ada explore the world around her and discovering new things has been so fun to witness. Even though Ada took her sweet time to start walking, I am glad that it happened when it did. Ada has been encouraged to move and try new things this summer and it has made me so proud of her. She is still my little lamb, but I have seen her grow, learn, and show courage everyday this summer. It has been an absolute marvel to watch.

With all these extremely humid, hot days, we have been living in the water. This past week, I took Ada to the splash pad for the first time. She was a little afraid of it at first, but seemed to really enjoy it after a little while.

So funny story – on my way to the splash pad I realized that I packed everything but Ada’s swim suit. On the drive, I debated turning around to go back home to retrieve her swim suit (after I had driven about halfway) or just letting her run around in her swim diapers. After much consideration, I decided that I didn’t want to go all the way back home and that I didn’t want to get judged 6 ways to Sunday for letting my little girl run around without a swim suit. So I stopped at Target and picked up the last suit in a size 2T they had. Luckily, it was adorable and Ada was a hit running around in it. Everyone kept remarking how cute she was and how adorable her suit was. And I believe Ada loved her new suit as well, because all she did all day long was play with the tutu. Mom for the win…

Our days are full with water activities and our afternoons are full of hiding from the summer thunder storms. We have been building forts, playing in puddles (when it isn’t storming, of course) & having dance parties in the kitchen.

As I mentioned before, eating popsicles has been a staple here at the house – so has eating ice cream. Our favorite activity to do as a family this summer has been going to Kilwins, getting ice cream cones & walking around downtown. Have you seen a toddler devour an ice cream cone? It is the cutest, stickiest mess ever!

And this picture is on overload of cuteness – the pigtails, the bloomers, the cheeks – she just melts me!

I hope your summer has been as magical as ours! Long live summer – until fall gets here, because let’s be real here – fall is simply the best! 😉


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Friday Favorites: Summer Lovin’

Now I’ll admit that I kind of dread summer. I know, I am totally weird. I have always been more of a fall & winter girl. But Ada has changed my mind on summer this year. We have been having so much fun this summer, that a small part of me doesn’t want summer to end! But then I see all the adorable fall sweaters & booties and that feeling quickly dissipates. 😉

Anyways, I just thought I would share some of our summer favorites that has made our summer so much fun!

First, this kiddie pool has been a lifesaver – best $30 we have spent all summer! Especially, during these very humid, hot days we have been having lately. We are pretty much out in the pool every day before noon. One great thing about that, is that Ada is exhausted and takes a glorious nap in the middle of the day (which is good, because I am still working on her birthday present!). 😉

Second, popsicles have been our main source of nutrients this summer. Ada wants nothing but popsicles. She gets cranky towards the end of the day and a popsicle always makes everything better. With a combination of the heat and her teething – yeah, popsicles for dinner is how we roll! 😉 I found these popsicle molds and they are the most perfect size for Ada’s little hands & mouth. Our favorite recipe so far has been this watermelon & strawberry one.

Because of our popsicle obsession, getting her popsicle pjs was a no brainer. Plus, Ada asks to wear them every night. She loves looking at them and naming all the colors she sees. Unfortunately, the pair she has have sold out, but here is a similar set.

I finally found the perfect “mom” shorts. They are long enough to cover my booty but not so long that I look like a grandma. Plus, I love the distressed details – not too much that I look homeless but enough to help me feel cool! 😉 Yeah, like I said, perfect jeans.

My mom has always told me that you should never buy peaches until after July 4th because otherwise they are not good. Since July 4th has come and gone, we have been eating peaches like crazy! My favorite recipes right now are both from the summer issue of Magnolia Journal – chicken, brie & peach flatbread and prosciutto, peach & gouda grilled sandwiches. We love these recipes and have had them several times… this week! 🙂

Well, that’s all I have for now! What are some of your summer favorites? Happy Friday ya’ll!


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Marked

Last Saturday, Randy and I had a date that we will never forget. It has been a long time since we had a date like that. 😉 It is difficult to make every date rememberable when you have been together for over a decade. But on this date, we decided to commit to our matching tattoos.

Now, if you have asked me ten years ago if I would ever get a tattoo; the answer would have been, “Hell no!” But over the years, my desire to have a tattoo has grown. Ten years ago, the days before Pinterest (say what?), I didn’t care for any of tattoo. Now, tattoos are so cool! I love the simple, minimalist ones and the watercolor ones. I love that it can have so much meaning to you and represent something or someone you love. So for the last few years, Randy and I talked about getting matching tattoos. We toyed around with so many ideas. Wedding bands, infinity & hearts, Always Forever (our wedding song title), etc. But none of them really jumped out at us. Then last week, it came to us and we designed our own tattoo.

When designing our tattoos, we both wanted something that was special to us and something that we wouldn’t mind having permanently on our arms… I mean tattoos are forever, you know? And that is how we came up with our design. As Randy so eloquently put: The mountains represent where our roots are and the constellation of Orion represents where our lives came together.

If you recall our last anniversary, we took photos where Randy and I first met. It is also where Randy propose to me. On the ASU campus there are large, metal cones configured in the constellation Orion. And that is why the constellation Orion is important to us.

And in the mountains is where everything wonderful has occurred. We met in the mountains, we got engaged in the mountains, we got married in the mountains, we bought our first home in the mountains, and we are raising our first child in the mountains. And did I mention, that we love the mountains?

To finish our lovely date, we enjoyed a flight of hard cider at a local cidery, because tattoos hurt. 😉  It was a wonderful time and we really needed some time away. But the best part of our day, was coming home to this little sweetie!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week! Happy Hump Day!


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Our Fourth

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July with your friends and family!

We had the greatest fourth spent with all of our dear friends! Everyone came over for a fun cookout at our house. The kids played in the yard, the kiddie pool, and we all enjoyed some good food & drinks. After playing all day in the sun & eating until we popped; we all went to a friends house on top of a mountain to watch fireworks. We watched fireworks going off all over Hendersonville. Seeing all the fireworks above the blue ridge mountains was just beautiful. Ada loved the fireworks and kept saying, “Boom! Noise!” We also pulled out some sparklers for the kids to look at and Ada ended up being a bit afraid of them. So I am glad that we were not terribly close to the real fireworks. Maybe next year she will enjoy being closer to action. 😉

Ada’s face in this photo is seriously the best! Haha!

I am so very blessed to have all these people to share life with. I love my tribe!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Happy Sunday!


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Mama + Mini Monday: Red, White, & Blue

I am so excited for July 4th weekend! I just can not wait to see Ada’s reaction to some fireworks and all the other wonderfulness that this holiday brings. We haven’t finalized our plans yet, due to Randy’s crazy work schedule. But I am hoping that we, at least, see some fireworks and enjoy some s’mores! I put together a little Mama + Mini 4th of July outfit today – this is just one of several that I have planned for us this week (yeah – sorry, I’m not sorry!). 😉

As I am sure you have noticed, this dress of mine is old. I got it from Belk’s about three years ago and is still a favorite of mine. The skirt is so flowy and it has a vintage flair to it. Here are a few options that are similar: chambray maxi , striped maxi , & navy skirt.

I found Ada’s dress last year on clearance at my local Gap outlet store. When I saw it, I literally jumped for joy because I knew it would match my my favorite maxi. A similar option is this one.

Ada’s bow is a favorite of mine this summer from Emmy’s Pretties. I love that it is red, white, & blue for the 4th; but it can still be worn all summer long.

So here’s to the week going by fast and for sunshine all weekend long! Happy Monday ya’ll!


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July 4th Favorites

Celebrating July 4th is a holiday I look forward to every summer! It’s usually a long weekend or vacation time for us and I love fireworks! Not to mention all the fun that comes with celebrating July 4th – eating hot dogs + watermelon, playing at the lake, making s’mores and spending time with family. And don’t forget – wearing all the cute red, white, and blue! 🙂

There are so many adorable July 4th options for little girls to wear. I prefer holiday outfits that Ada can wear outside the holidays, so simple colors and designs. June + January have wonderful options – dresses, shirts, shorts, etc. My favorites are their swing dresses and varsity shorts. The shorts pair perfectly with all of Ada’s tops, especially chambray for the summer. I came across this popsicle dress at Target and just had to have it. Isn’t it the cutest? It is a pinafore style and the straps criss-cross in the back – just adorable. And to finish up her outfits this summer, she will of course need accessories: a bow, necklace and shoes! And we cannot forget mama! For the 4th, I like to wear casual dresses and tops. This pinstripe peplum top is so, so cute and is a top that you can wear all summer long. And you have to make sure that you have some red, like these red shorts.

I look forward to celebrating the 4th with Ada this year. She is at a really fun age and I can’t wait to see her reaction to fireworks this year. And she can really enjoy all the festivities of the holiday – playing outside, popsicles and s’mores! So much fun! Hope you all had a great week and happy Friday!