Archive of ‘Travels’ category

Camping with a Toddler

By Natalie

On our way home from our first camping trip with Felicity Brandon said, “Well it was worth a try. If we’d never tried it we would have never known.”

Alot of friends said that we were brave for taking a toddler camping. I’m not sure it was brave per say. Maybe spontaneous is a better word. Going into it I thought that the worst case would be we didn’t sleep well and it’d be a disaster. It wasn’t a disaster, but we also didn’t sleep well which will always put a damper on things. With a brand new family tent and new camping chairs including a chair sized for Lici we had big hopes that our little outdoorsy girl would have the time of her life and we’d be camping all the time. I’ve come to realize that the more activities we’ve done this year the higher my expectations have become. After half a year of blah cabin fever I’ve expected so much joy and refreshment from these new adventures and that’s maybe too much to ask of a camping trip and a pumpkin patch hayride. (more…)

How We Vacation: Nashville

By Natalie

A while ago I wrote this post about how when Brandon and I vacation we typically do little planning. We pick a place, find a few spots we might want to see, a few restaurants we want to try and maybe a coffee shop or two. We’ve had lovely encounters where we stepped into a shop straight off of the street and that always seemed to work for us. In the past we’ve preferred a nice place to stay with a lighter itinerary because vacations are meant for resting.

On our recent trip to Nashville we planned things virtually in the same manner. We were hoping to lounge around in our airbnb most of the day, having been beautifully decorated by the owner, an interior decorator. However, Felicity was not one to sit and relax for the next four days. There seems to be no telling a toddler, “Hey we’re on vacation this week, we’re all just going to sit and relax for a few days.” Being in a new space she was anxious to explore everything on her level, most of which was breakable. The best thing for us to do was to go out exploring and though we’ve wanted to see Nashville for some time we wondered if this really was the best time. (more…)

Weekend Adventures

By Natalie

After making it through the first few hard months of caring for our infant we decided to keep our goals for the year small, but intentional. A personal goal of mine is to remember people’s names better when I first meet them. Remembering someone’s name always makes them feel noticed and that’s what I strive for. I’ve always been terrible at this and I think I’ve actually been doing better these past few months simply by being mindful. (more…)

First Family Trip

By Natalie

“You’ll blink and she’ll be grown.”

That’s what the woman at the washing station said to us just outside our hotel. I rinsed the sand off of my feet under the water spout.

“I know, it’s flying by.” I told her. Felicity was wrapped up close to my chest riding around in the ring sling. I held her new sun hat down on her head, a gift from my sister, perfect for our spontaneous beach trip. Felicity was asleep but sure to wake up any moment ready to eat.

We made it out to Folly Beach, SC this past weekend. Felicity is 8 weeks old and we appear to have a perfect little angel on our hands. She’s been sleeping for 8-9 hours through the night consistently for the past couple of weeks. Which has kept us feeling much more capable to handle the day to day.  (more…)

From Here On

By Natalie

Now seems as good a time as any for a recap on the last couple months. I’m writing this at the birth center, where we will be welcoming our little girl, having my blood drawn four times over the course of 3 hours for a more conclusive glucose test. Luckily for me I get to pass this time in a more private lounge space on a comfortable couch surrounded by the sound of midwives clicking their sandals down the hallways.

This is what I’ve hoped for when deciding where we would give birth. A place that feels like home surrounded by encouraging women who’s job is to do nothing more than empower the mother I am becoming and create community amongst all us new parents. We’ve been educated here and had the opportunity to share our hopes and fears with others who are due around the same time that we are. It’s provided such comfort as we near the end of this pregnancy.

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Montreal – The Food

By Natalie

Friends! It seems that I never officially told you about our food experience in Montreal! Though it’s months later I still feel it’s worth mentioning considering we are the kind of vacationers who love to eat eat eat!

There were so many beautiful cafes filled with friendly baristas. They’d toggle between english and french causing you to believe you were half a world away. I wanted nothing more than to sip at each cafe window, eyes fixed on the characters striding up and down the streets. (more…)

Montreal – The Sites

By Natalie

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Montreal has so much to offer for an extended stay. It’s a great walking city which is right up our alley. Everywhere that was too far to walk we opted for Uber which was much easier than renting a car. I’d recommend doing this to any city you visit. We’ve learned through experience that paying for parking can often be a hidden travel expense. In addition to not having to worry about parking the locals know their drivers as well as their streets better, plus they’ve acquired the knowledge of cut throughs. Brandon was much more at ease that he didn’t have to drive and I was much more at ease being picked up on our doorstop and being dropped off right where we intended to be. (more…)

Montreal + Thoughts on Travel

By Natalie

Montreal-115Every time we step out of our comfort zone we’re forced to reassess the direction in which we live our lives. Brandon and I set aside the time to ask each other the tough questions. Are we where we want to be? If we’re not how do we get there? Are we gracious friends? Are we generous enough with not only our income but our time? Are we surrendering our struggles enough? What are our current priorities? (more…)

Filled to the Brim

By Natalie

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Here’s the thing. You can’t tell me that God doesn’t answer prayers. Because I’m standing next to one.

I’ve been surrounded by answered prayer all year.

A year into moving here I prayed for God to bring true friends into our lives. People we could share our lives with, laugh with, eat with, celebrate with, support and love.

It seemed like a silly plea at the time, but worth asking for because God has come through before with so much more. I confided in an old friend when I was at my lowest through a written letter and as soon as I received her reply I felt completely wrapped in her love. She wrote, You are noticed. Heard. And seen. Although you are in such an uncomfortable season, I can assure you, you fit.

That’s all I needed to hear. I fit. I didn’t know where yet, but I fit. I signed up to serve in eKidz and Brandon and I joined a couple’s small group, where we found true friends we could go through life with.

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At the end of the summer a few of us drove westward to our neighboring mountain town Asheville.

We ate and walked all over town chatting, laughing, and building stronger friendships.

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This trip took place right in the middle of the gas shortage in our area. We drove out to Asheville with half a tank and didn’t think much of it. We figured we’d fill up the next morning on our way out. So far we hadn’t seen any gas stations in Charlotte out of commission, so we deemed it something the news most certainly was blowing out of proportion.

That was only until we rode out of Asheville with an empty tank. The first gas station we saw was out of gas. The next two we hit were out as well. By the fourth and fifth gas stations we really started to panic. We were driving further into nothing, with a screaming empty gas light.

The plan was to meet our friends for lunch at Sierra Nevada, just another 10 minutes out from where we were. Nine empty gas stations later we rolled into the parking lot. We walked in to sit at the table an hour late. Brandon hates dissapointing people and I hate being late. We were embarrassed and frustrated. I had chocolate cake for lunch which about sums up our experience.

But this story is all to speak highly of our friends. They were gracious and listened to our woes. I felt safe after such a nerve wracking drive.

After lunch Nate and Pam offered to drive us in one direction to find gas, while Russell and Jamie drove in a different direction to do the same. The first to find gas in this eerily post apocalyptic setting was to grab a tank and get it back to our car.

Jamie called, “I hear you’re looking for gas. We got it.”

We pulled up to the station they were at and saw Russell crouched down filling a tank for us. If that isn’t true friendship, then you tell me what is.

We made it back to our car and filled it with enough gas to get back to the station.

We made it home safely and it’s all thanks to our friends.

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At the end of 2015 we were given jars full of water at church. We were to come up with one word as a prayer for our next year. Once we had our word we poured our jars out, believing God would fulfill the desires of our hearts. I’m here to tell you that in my life He has. He always has.IMG_7858

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