the american girl doll store

Thanks for your response to yesterday's post. Those that have gone before us in this - your encouragement is priceless!

Somehow I forgot to share about Audrey's 5th birthday at the American Girl Doll Store. Me! The over-sharer!

I assume you haven't lost sleep over this. But, in the spirit of documenting life events and lessons on this blog, it's practically required. Hello - it's my first trip to my THE American Girl Doll Store.

Any semblance of maturity will be switched off for the remainder of this post.

After juggling some family schedules, the opportunity arose to meet Molly, Brandon, and the girls in Atlanta to celebrate Audrey's fifth birthday with her BFF Maddie and Maddie's family. So I came to "see Audrey on her birthday" and to "help Molly with Anna." I won't tell you that I considered getting Mom to send me Felicity so I could take her to lunch. Or that I couldn't sleep the night before.

These are [slight] exaggerations.

We are an American Girl family. And not just that, but the historical girls. Audrey chose Molly [all on her own] for her first doll which brings the family roster to Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Molly, and Kit.

Like if it was a history-filled girls basketball team roster. Oooh, or gymnastics. Also, I was almost too old to get Kit. Or not almost.

Being an American Girl family, we have spent many an afternoon dissecting the latest catalog. This is where my dreams of going to the store began. Remember when the first one opened in Chicago? I think it was around the same time they tried out that totally cool line of tiny rooms you could collect but ironically didn't have any dolls to go with them. Remember those? Anyway, visiting the store seemed nearly unachievable for a small town girl. A hair salon? A restaurant? A THEATER?! 

I guess, since then, my world has gotten smaller. And a store visit has been achieved!

I'm pretty much just kind of kidding about all of this. But it was exciting.

We had a blast! The store was all things pink and girly and a playground for those who appreciate the little details. The highlights?
-The hair salon and spa
-The big dude by the door who was dressed in all black with the "American Girl Security" name tag
-The assumed fifteen-year-old dressed in an identical Kit outfit taking pictures of everything on her phone [to whom I wanted to say, "Hey! I don't even have an iPhone!"]
-The bistro birthday party!

Lunch was certainly the best part. Except for walking in for the first time [pretty much just kind of kidding]. Miraculously, we fit five adults, three girls, five dolls, and a sleeping baby [a real one] around that table. There were doll chairs, menus, party hats, and goody bags flying in every single direction. It was bliss. My personal highlight: eating their surprisingly delish food with Anna asleep on my shoulder.

I was absolutely exhausted the next day. Physically and emotionally. Ok, just physically. Totally worth it!

Dreams do come true, y'all.


evident peace and imminent isaac

Today marks three months since we left our home in Baton Rouge. Three months that I've been happy to unpack and nest and go to the grocery store. And, come to find out, three months is my big-change coping delay. Its amazing, really, when you think you've got this contentment thing down. Then you move 700 miles away and are faced immediately [or within three months] with your arrogance.

After a week of finally mourning this move and with some God-breathed encouragement from loved ones, my stubborn and arrogant self was honest with the Lord about my sadness and desperate need for His peace. That afternoon, I was out and about [at the grocery store] among a very different Columbia. School was back and the air was shockingly cool and weightless. On the crosswalk was a seemingly hand-picked mix of high school stereotypes. I passed college girls riding home from class together and sat beside big yellow buses with their familiar heavy idling. A sound that takes me back to four years worth of away football games.

I realized that instead of feeling sorry for myself and crying in the grocery store [again], I had a sense of God-given peace. Peace that assured me that we were going to truly be a part of this community one day even if not as quickly as desired. Peace that takes away anxiety [Phil. 4:6], that surpasses all understanding [Phil. 4:7], that does not come from the world [John 14:27]. Peace that is boundlessly promised and often forgotten.

As I'm hoping my heart becomes more and more planted in South Carolina, it is drifting to South LA these last few days with Isaac entering the picture. We feel as we should be there, hunkered down with our fellow South Louisianians. Know, if you are there, that you are on our hearts and minds. Some of you already know that because of my incessant check-up text messages. We are praying for homes and lives and and livelihoods and our precious coastline. And for the continued resilience that is always true of Louisianians!


a couple of requests

This little blog has about its 87th new look in the last two weeks, and I think I'm finally satisfied. Since I live with a precious engineer who thinks everything "looks great, Babe," I'd be greatly appreciative of your feedback. Positive or not.

Not to make too many requests for a Monday morning, but my nerves would gladly welcome your prayers. I'm finally prepared to give some florist shops my resumé along with my "I know you're not hiring but...I have a dream?" spiel. I'm nearly dreading it, but thankfully determination is still currently winning. I considered not sharing until there was [hopefully] a happy ending. But whether there is or not, I know there is purpose in the journey.

I think I'll go get ready now so that I won't give into all of my totally legitimate excuses like laundry or plant watering. Or that 20% chance of rain.


beach trip

From four different states, we brought with us countless memories and shared experiences that are bound to be relived: tinders waiting to be ignited by a mentioned memory or the tone of a voice or a familiar look.

Our trip reminded me of the goodness of quick vacations with your girlfriends. It's good because we get to live life together in a way that we don't normally get to share: pouring cereal next to one another, grocery shopping, taking naps on neighboring sofas, cooking dinner for multiple nights in a row, laughing until everything hurts. It's good because we get to hear those family and life and work updates all at once and face to face without several rounds of phone tag.

I like to think that we'll add this trip to the books. That we will one day talk about these soon vague memories and try to remember which trip that was - 2009? 2012? 2017? - and how we can't believe it's been fifteen years since that trip to Panama City Beach. That year that we watched countless hours of Olympics, ate lots of late-night frozen yogurt, and continued to face the growing changes headed our way all within our lovely floral wallpapered walls. And when we do, I'll be glad, as I always am, that we're still friends.


first anniversary

D and I celebrated our first year of marriage with the cool air and steep roads of the Smokies. There were lazy mornings in the cabin, afternoon rain storms, lots of tennis-shoe-wearing, and a little too much eating. On Sunday morning, we hiked to the highest point of the Smokies. I had a pretty good whine going on until we spotted the grandmother hauling it ahead of us. Motivating, to say the least.

During the weekend, I thought a lot about what an incredible blessing our entire engagement and wedding process was. Our families, our wedding party, and all those who generously celebrated with us - their words and time will never be forgotten. I was wishing to be in a big room with all of them at one time. Maybe that's how anniversaries should really be celebrated.

It has been the best and fastest year of my life. A year full of change and lessons and newness. Here's to many, many more.