date your husband : first & second edition

J and I have recently had a few epiphanies when it comes to our dating life...
number one : laughter makes everything better.
number two : there's nothing wrong with some good ole fashioned competition.
number three : it's nice to feel the butterflies again.

so, in light of all this, i thought it'd be fun to share in our new dating journey with a little blog mini series.
:: date your husband ::

outside of a healthy prayer life in our marriage, we've found that making quality time to spend alone together is what really grows our love and keeps us ticking as a couple.
we try to get a sitter at least one evening every 2 weeks specifically for a date night.
lately, we're trying to think outside of the box a bit.  not just dinner/coffee & a movie.
{although, we thoroughly enjoy those nights too}

first up, 

neither of us had been on the ice in years {more than a decade in my case}!
and, while we have our laughs together on a daily basis, neither of us can remember the last time we laughed as hard as we did this night.  food for the soul!
somewhere in the mix of working, parenting 3 littles, and everyday life in general we lost the little butterflies and the carefree fun.
after a couple shameless wipe-outs and a few laps around the rink holding {or squeezing} hands, i felt like i was 18 and dating again.

the shooting range

 i was a little nervous about this one.
i'd only held a gun for .2 seconds before this point and now i was gonna SHOOT the thing!
it was fantastic!
Justin loved teaching me every step of the way and then we spiced things up a bit with a little target competition.
i'm sure you don't have to guess who the winner was...
anyway, SO fun!

gettin' excited for the next one!
we've got a little list going, but i'd love to hear some ideas... got any??


The Blackwelders 2012 edition...

it's a new year and we're excited about what the Lord has in store for our family!  
2012 left our hearts so full and thankful.
Justin has nurtured and grown his business.
Asa turned 2 in February and started preschool in September.
Bellamy turned 1 in June and started walking in July.
our second baby girl, Olive Marie, arrived in September and gets sweeter by the day.
as for me, i'm learning and growing and allowing the Lord to stretch me as a mom of 3 littles.  i can say i found joy in each day of 2012, and am expectant for SO much more in 2013. 

we asked our dear friend, Mindy Coleman, over at Colemans in Love to 
take our family photos in November and i've yet to share them!  
so, here are some of my faves...

(among the obstacles to overcome in this photoshoot were :
freezing temperatures, piercing winds, crying/whining babies, and wooden stacked heel boots...  thank you, Mindy, for overcoming these odds!)

hope your year's gotten off to a fabulous start!



odds & ends...

to me, a house is not a home without the odds and ends.
the tiny personal touches and special details.
so, here's a look at the bits & pieces that are making our house a home lately...

Asa's newly restored wooden train set... he tells the most precious stories with this little engine as he chugs it along the table's edge every day.

finally!  a home for our towels in the master bath.  found this beauty at the Metrolina last week!

i've cuddled up in this, my favorite vintage afghan, on quite a few of these chilly nights...

finally filled some empty frames with pics of our precious little munchkins

um, don't ask me how much of this i've put away over the past couple weeks. too much.

last year's homemade autumn wreath adorning the front door again.

happy to keep the halloween pumpkins around through Thanksgiving... here's to hoping they last!

happy weekend!


farm days...

pumpkin pickin' at Hodges Farm.  a fall time family tradition for 4 years running.
{we started going the year i was pregnant with Asa}

watch us grow!




it's just a little crazy to think our family has grown by one every year for the past three!
our children are truly God's grace and blessing over us.

so, here's a little look at our Saturday...

we're off to the mountains of Asheville & Robbinsville for a family wedding this weekend!
Happy Thursday!


so here's what really happened...

you may or may not remember this instagram post from last week...

you might have thought,
"gosh, she's crafty!" or "what a fun mom!" or "i wish i had the time to do nifty little projects with my toddlers!"
well, don't be fooled.
while i like to think i am the most awesome mom and sometimes quite crafty, the 30 minutes that it took to make and hang these leaves was my saving grace for the day.
the night before had been a particularly rough one for miss Olive {leaving me lacking some zzz's}, Justin had to leave by 6 that morning for work {so no breakfast help with the older 2}, and Asa and Bellamy seemed to be hating life from the moment their little eyes popped open to greet the morning.  some day it was starting out to be.  hmph.
after the nightmare that was breakfast time, i tried taking all 3 of them into the sunroom {Olive in the bouncy seat}, sitting in the floor and letting them go to town on the chalkboard... 
while i'd have loved to join in, i was busy consoling Olive every .2 seconds.
meanwhile, Asa and Bellamy had moved from the chalkboard to the walls and white couch.
this wouldn't do.
i was able to get the little one to drift off to sleep and moved with the other two to the living room car table {also known as the coffee table}
this lasted 10 minutes.  as i watched/listened to Bellamy whine & cry herself into oblivion every time Asa even looked at her in a manner that was displeasing {dramatic much}, 
i decided i'd had enough.  something had to give and i knew i couldn't escape.
instead of screaming, i prayed.
i walked out back with Bellamy on my heels and let the door shut between us... she was really happy about that.  
as i watched the first of the autumn leaves fall, i was reminded of this craft.
one of my favorites as a child.  i decided it had to be done. 
at the ripe old ages of 1 and 2, the level of actual participation was quite low, but they did what they could and loved watching the rest.
{although i'll admit Bellamy collapsed in a blubbering heap at my feet while i took on the tedious chore of shaving the crayons}
once our fabulous creation was complete, 
they hung each leaf on the piano with a little twinkle in their eye... so proud of themselves.

30 minutes had gone by and now it was FINALLY lunch time!  hallelujah! 

in that moment when i wanted to scream "everybody shut up!" and run crying down the street without looking back, 
the Lord gave me this gift.  a 30 minute gift.  30 minutes of smiles and laughter and togetherness and PEACE.
so again i was renewed and oh so thankful for the place i'm in.

i know there are many more days like this to come, but i'm a mom and this is what i prayed for.  so, bring it on.


a month in instagram...

hello from halfway through September.
August was spent preparing for baby #3 and lovin' on 1 & 2.
there was lots of walking, trips to the park, and eating out, just the four of us.
since her arrival, any down time has become so precious.
i wanted to take a moment to catch you up on the last month in pictures, 
and i plan on doing a "baby Olive" post very soon.

these two hams.

and these two hams... Asa's best little buddy, Colt.

celebratin' my mama's 50th!

plenty of brother sister time... bike rides, walks, park play, and Discovery Place Kids!

QT with family and dear friends.

baby O, bidin' the time in her comfy little spot.

it never gets old, people.  a miracle, every time.

newborn snugs and soakin' up that fresh baby smell.

they kinda love her.

we got to go home early... i played the birthday card!
{oh, Olive was born the day before my birthday... and quite the precious little package she was}

backseat Five Guys date with my man while Granny kept the older two :)

i'm already wearing Olive more than i ever did her older sibs, and loving it!
this wrap in particular is a Solly Baby... beyond comfortable for momma and baby!

i've watched Ace and Bellamy's bond grow so much in just the 12 days that Olive has been with us.
i prayed for this and am so blessed to see it unfold.

we've become quite the homebodies lately, so momma's gettin creative over here!
this was at least an hour's worth of entertainment. score!

Granny {my mom} is coming to keep the girls while J and i take Asa to the Cabarrus County Fair!  i don't think i remember the last time he had us all to himself.
it'll be pretty special.
turkey legs and funnel cakes await!