Life is a Merry-Go-Round


I feel like my life lately has been one of extremes-- times of extreme happiness and excitement as so many of the people that I love are experiencing some MAJOR life milestones, and times of extreme sadness and frustration. I have constantly been reminded of the scripture from Ecclesiastes about there being a "season for everything." And even though blogging has really been the last thing on my mind, I know I'll want to remember this time in my life--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Especially when there really is SO much to be thankful for right now.

So, here's a little peak at my merry-go-round of a life via Iphone pics...
1. One of our best "couple" friends, Kelly and Keith, are pregnant and due in February! We had so much fun at their gender reveal party where we found out that they are expecting a BABY GIRL! Bring on the pink!

2. We celebrated the life of my cousin, Heath, after he passed in late September and as hard as it was, the amount of people who attended his funeral and all of the wonderful stories they told were such a testament to how brave, selfless, and kind he was. Heath was 38 years old, but had been battling cancer since his mid-20's. It really hit me hard because I am about the age that he was when he was first diagnosed. It's so crazy and heartbreaking to think of all the things he missed out on. My heart especially hurts for his, Dad, my Uncle Fred, who lost his mom, wife, and now son, all too soon. Life can be so unfair sometimes. But, it's in these moments that we grow and gain perspective and can really check ourselves to make sure that we're focusing on the really important things.

3. My cousin from the other side of my family and her hubby, Eric, just announced that they are expecting a baby in April! This will make their daughter, Addison, who is by far the most popular member of our family, a big sister! We could not be more thrilled for them, and are so excited to add another precious little one to Clan McLeod!

4. My BFF since I was four years old, Kristen, got engaged to her sweet guy, Colt back in September! We had the best time celebrating the bride and groom-to be at a tailgate before the NC State game the weekend after! I am so pumped for all of the wedding festivities between now and March 2015!

5. I am so proud of my college bestie, Beebs, who just landed an amazing job as the site merchandiser of clothing within Amazon fashion! She is so amazing and went through some grueling interviews (Amazon is apparently one of the top 5 hardest companies interview-wise) and, of course, they loved her! The only sad part (for me) is that she will be moving from Baltimore ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY to Seattle. I am already planning my first trip out there but will miss being within a 6-hour drive from her! We got to celebrate with a breakfast date when she and her mom came into town for a wedding two weekends ago! 

6. Not pictured--I've been having a really hard time at work because of a situation that I can't really get into. It's been such a stressful month, probably the worst, but the good news is that things have finally been resolved, and I am feeling much more at peace now. I am so thankful for the family, friends, and especially my sweet hubby for offering listening ears and supportive thoughts.

So, as you can see, there's so much to celebrate, sprinkled in with a bits of crumminess. But, that's life, and it's certainly what keeps things interesting :)

Sometimes you accidentally don't blog for a bad!


I'm not even going to bother apologizing for my slack-ness or make promises to be a better blogger...I'll get to it when I get to it, and tonight, I've gotten to it! Finally!

I've decided that the beginning of a school year feels like for a teacher what the first few months feel like for a new mommy-- you're exhausted, totally isolated from the world, rely on other people to cook for you, and cry because you're emotionally drained...a lot. Now, I've never actually been a "new mommy," but I'm just guessing this must be what it feels like. I'll probably be in for a rude awakening when I cross that bridge ;)

I swear there was a good two weeks where I just ran on autopilot, working from sun up until sun down, breaking only to eat and sleep! And then, before you know it, a month passes. Just like that!

So, what have I been up to over the past month?


Modeling. Ha.

Visiting with my sweet Grandparents.


Tailgating w/ the familia.


Cheering on the 'Pack w/ the Hubs.


Enjoying the beautiful weather.


Surviving Floods.


Dinner Dating.




Hmmmm. Looks like I've been doing a lot of teaching and eating...sounds about accurate ;)

Here's what I haven't been doing much of...

**Watching all of my trash T.V.
**Cooking (shocker)
**Returning phone calls...sorry everyone!]

But, I will say that this weekend has been a good turning point for me! Kyle and I went on two walks and visited a church this morning. I am all planned for the week at school. And, I managed to squeeze in a blog tonight!

I'm not gonna lie...pretty proud of myself!

Things are looking up :)

My Summer Went Downhill...


My summer went downhill in a split second--both literally and figuratively--when I sprained my ankle hiking at the Eno River thanks to a number of things...

1. My husband's discovery of a path off the hiking trail that meant getting closer to the water
2. My need to document everything, hence cute pictures near the water
3. My super small bladder

But, let's back up before I get to that story ;)

Kyle and I had gotten back from Florida after our two-week vacation and were settling in nicely to our summer roles-- me not teaching and enjoying my Summer break, Kyle still working but with more flexible hours and less going on at his job because it was Summer!

We spent a lovely weekend in Wilmingon mid-July to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday (which we had technically already celebrated in Disney World, but I couldn't not be with him on the actual day!). And, it ended up being just lovely--one of those rare times when it was just the four originals because Kyle was playing golf with his brother, and my brother's girlfriend was out of town. We feasted on pizza at Mellow Mushroom after enduring monsoon-like rain on our way to the restaurant! I took my Dad to a music store downtown to let him pick out some c.d's, and he was so excited that one of the radio hosts from his favorite station worked at the store!

Kyle and I had a peaceful afternoon reading on the porch at the Yacht Club before his family joined us for dinner down at the beach. We chatted and munched on appetizers before realizing that it was the "London Broil" night, hence the overflow of elderly people, so we decided to move our party elsewhere-- to the Fish House for a less crowded dinner!
Two days after we got home from Wilmy, we decided spur-of-the-moment to have a mid-day lunch date and to also take a little hike along the Eno River. 

We had the best lunch ever at one of our new favorite spots, The Refectory. Pure heaven on a plate and the perfect way to kick off what we fully expected to be an awesome first hike!

We were so pumped to finally be hiking the Eno River trail together. It was something we'd been talking about doing for forever! Kyle had just done a solo hike there a week or so earlier, which is how we ended up quickly going off-trail, down a slope to get closer to the water. I was totally game because, let's face it, water pics are way cuter! We had a fun little photo session before I realized that we were fairly early into the hike and that I would probably need to pee at some point since I'd had a lot of water to drink at the restaurant. Why not pop a squat while we were down off the trail and out of site? 

Well, let's just say that before I could even find a good spot, I'd lost my footing on a mossy-rock, only to fall over after hearing/feeling my ankle pop and experiencing the most excruciating pain I've ever felt. It was so bad that I started blacking out, and it took a while before I was even calm enough for us to even began thinking of a plan. 

So, there we were. Off the trail, down a hill. Me unable to bear any weight on my ankle. Out of site. No one around to help. One cell phone. Kyle offered to leave and go get help, but there was no way that I was going to be left alone. We finally just decided that I was going to have to crawl my way back up the hill to get on the path where Kyle could then start to carry me. 

It was seriously one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do, trying to get up this 8 or 9 foot slope without being able to put any pressure on my right leg or foot. Luckily, we had packed a towel, so I was able to put that under my right knee to keep from totally scraping it up, while pushing off rocks with my left foot and pulling myself up the hill (it reminded me of climbing up a rock wall, only we were not going to completely vertical!). I wish we had taken a picture of this slope to document what turned out to be one of the times in my life that I've felt the proudest--pushing through and getting back up onto the trail. Kyle says it was pretty B.A., and I have to agree! I also have never felt more at one with nature, as I literally was dragging myself through the dirt. I just knew I was going to get poison ivy every where. Thankfully I was spared that fun!

Once we were back on the trail, Kyle was able to carry me as best as he could (we tried multiple ways, stopping frequently because, let's face it, we were so sweaty that I was slipping, and we were trying to keep Kyle from spraining his ankle!). We finally got to a spot where a family had been swimming, and the nice Dad offered to help Kyle carry me back to the car. 

3 hours later, I was released from urgent care on crutches, with strict instructions to ice, elevate, and rest my swollen ankle. 
It would be the understatement of the century to say that this threw a little wrench in my Summer plans. 

I blame it on my small bladder. And, I didn't even get to pee...until I got home from urgent care...which tells me I didn't even have to go that badly in the first place!

Grrrrrr :(

Fourth Fun!


I hope that everyone had a wonderful 4th of July full of red/white/blue apparel, yummy food, and fireworks!

Kyle and I hosted a little BBQ at our house with two of our, best couple friends.

This is what happens when you let your husband create the invite on Facebook...

"Four score and seven years ago our Fore Fathers set forth a new nation where Americans could get drunk and shoot off fireworks while dressed like true Patriots in their American Flag bikinis and cut off denim shorts. Laura and I will be grilling burgers and hotdogs as well as supplying corn-on-the-cob and the most patriotic dessert since Betsy Ross jumped out of the cake at George Washington's Bachelor Party with nothing but American Flag booby tassels on! If you all could bring chips or salad or an appetizer that would be great. Also, don't forget to dress as American as Sarah Palin on her Russia Watch missions!"

I almost died when I saw this. I have to give him points for creativity ;)

Per usual when the six of us gather, we had a wonderful time, laughing our Patriotic booties off! We feasted on burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, fruit salad, and "free-to-decorate-your-own" sugar cookies...all red, white, and blue toppings, of course!

Kyle and I had been saving some of our "Bertie Botts Every Flavour Bean" from Harry Potter World to share with them! We made everyone blindly choose, which didn't end up working out because everyone chose good ones. So, we forced everyone to try at least one of the gross flavours...I know, we're super kind hosts!

We played games, watched the fireworks on TV (we were worried the weather wouldn't hold up if we actually went downtown), and listened to our favorite 90's pop on Pandora. Nights like last are just the best!

Hope everyone else had a blast, too!

Rainy Days Refuge


I'm having trouble remembering the last day that it didn't rain. Last summer was the summer of unbearable, record high temperatures. This summer is the summer of rain. So much rain that counties surrounding us have declared a state of emergency because of the flooding. Yikes. 

So, what's a couple to do to not go stir crazy during these rainy after-noons?

Kyle and I both love to read and certainly don't make enough time for it. But, during the summer's, when I'm not teaching and when Kyle's work-load is a lot lighter, we both like to cram as much in as possible. We also love going to coffee shops, even though neither of us drink coffee (hot tea for him, hot chocolate for me!). And today, in order to avoid becoming permanent fixtures on our couch, we headed downtown to one of our favorite spots, with a huge outdoor, covered porch to offer refuge from the rain while still providing some much needed fresh air. 

We had our "His & Hers" books to read and drinks to sip. 

And, it was pure perfection.

Peaceful bliss.

Kyle and I were once complimented by one of our youth group leaders for our ability to be together but not necessarily having to always fill the silence. We could be perfectly content being together and not always having to talk. This afternoon we did just that. We enjoyed our beverages and read until our little hearts were content. And despite the fact that few words were exchanged, we were connected by just being together, doing something we love... the raindrops continued to fall. 

Florida Vacay-- Harry Potter World


I promise I'm almost done with my Florida Vacation Recaps (which you can catch up on here and here), but today's may just be one of my favorites because it has to do with our day at Islands of Adventure, which is the amazing park home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Call me a nerd if you like because I'll gladly own up to it...I am an HP lover, despite refusing to read it for years and years. I promised Kyle I would read them after we'd been dating for a while because he was such a fan, and I read them like a maniac! Needless to say, there was no question in our minds that WWOHP was a must-do on this trip. When I found out that WWOHP was part of Islands of Adventure, I was even more excited because I knew it was a win-win!

 Harry Potter World Highlights

Touring Hogwarts before riding the Forbidden Journey
Riding the 3 amazing rides-- Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Hippogriff multiple times!
Hanna finding a wand that had been left in her locker! I was so jealous!
Trying our first Butterbeer...yum yum!
Going to Ollivander's to watch the wand choosing show
Shopping at Honeyduke's and Zonko's
Sharing the "Feast" with my family at The Three Broomsticks
Getting our photo taken with the greeter at Platform Nine and Three Quarters
Hearing the lovely ladies in blue from the Beauxbaton's Academy of Magic sing and taking a picture with the boys from Durmstrang Institute and them!
Trying the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans...including the Soap, Earwax, Vomit, Earthworm and much more! So gross, but so fun!
Feeling like I was actually in the books!

1st Butterbeer tasting! Delish!

Bertie Bott's Ever Flavour Beans!
We did venture off into other parts of Islands of Adventure, which is where a lot of the fun, water rides and roller coasters are!

The Rest of Islands of Adventure Highlights

Riding front row on the Jurassic Park log flume ride, and getting completely soaked!
Playing fun games that Hanna taught us while waiting in line for rides
Riding Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls (similar to Splash Mountain but better!)
Convincing Kyle to go on the Incredible Hulk ride
Riding Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barge (and getting soaked!)
Eating our PB & J's and apple slices that we snuck openly carried in our bookbags...the security lady only requested that we make her a sandwich, haha!
Riding the carousel in Seuss-Land

Again, another magical day! I would go back in a heartbeat if I could!

This wraps up the first week of our Florida trip! One more recap of our beach week with Kyle's family to come. Thanks for bearing with me as I document this trip digitally because it's a lot more permanent than my memory!
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