Life in the Dirty South.

Confession: I-Love-Georgia.
But I'm hoping people already know that by now because I just RAVE about it so much. Seriously, the South is the best place to live and I'm SO glad I got to spend some weeks there this summer during the crazy life. 
After EFY ended, I got to hang out a lot with these two kids before they started school. So one time we went to the lake and I got to watch these kids ski like it's no big deal. I love the lake with all my heart. I'm sad I couldn't go as much this summer since I wasn't around too often.
One night we went to the Braves game during one of the HOTTEST games I have ever been to. Seriously, we had to leave early because it was so miserable out there. 
For Cody's birthday, I got him a ticket for the Rascal Flatts concert! He was quite excited about it. My Dad and Lexie also got to join us because we got a few free tickets from my Mom's work. Like the night at the Braves game, it was miserable outside until...
the rain came. and it came for a while. but at least it cooled things down and stopped raining before Rascal Flatts came out. 
and I wore a white shirt that night. bad choice on my part. but all was well. 
I think it's safe to say he had a great time and I am his favorite sister :)
Mom and I talked about going to the Farmer's Market ALL summer, but it would never work out because I'd either be gone on Saturdays or something crazy was going on that day. So we finally got to go and enjoyed getting some pretty flowers for our kitchen and bought some delicious peaches. 
Oh, and this one time my very good friend, Nick, decided to show up in Atlanta for the day! He actually had to change some flights going back home from New Hampshire and was able to connect in Atlanta for the night! We had a fun time catching up and showing him around downtown! I was so happy to this face!
Miss Rachel Leigh stayed at my house for a few nights after we went to Kaycie's wedding (post coming soon). So one night we were over at a family friends and celebrated the 4th of July a little late? 
And my Florida EFY friends came up for a visit and to go to one of the best Braves Games I've been too! So much excitement happened so I'm glad they got to witness that! And I'm glad I got to see these awesome friends of mine. 
The next night I went with my Mom to another great game! 
Don't worry, this wasn't the next night although I almost went again that day. But I went with these 2 boys a few nights later for my last game of the season! It was a great game to end on though. Hopefully these boys can come nearby for playoffs again so I can see them! 
This puppy became my best friend my last week home. The kids were in school, Dad was in Utah with Tay, and my Mom was at work. Therefore, I was by myself for the day. But don't worry, Becker and I had a fun time together. Every night when I came upstairs to get ready for bed, I'd turn around and there he was, just standing in my doorway. He loves me. I wish I could bring him to Utah. 
And this brother of mine has turned into quite the stud. No braces, getting tall and buff.... WHO IS HE?! Seriously, love this baby brother of mine! I want him to visit Utah too! Besides my graduation, he hasn't been in forever so I think he needs to pay us a little visit out here. 
I'll admit, I was super sad leaving home. Even though I don't have a life there anymore and I was excited for Utah again, I hate leaving the beautiful place I grew up in. And I hate leaving my family. I am so glad I got to spend some time there this summer. If you've never been, come visit. You will not be disappointed. 
So long sweet Georgia, I'll see ya during the Christmas season! 


The EFY Life [Week 5]

Welcome to Kentucky. Only the HOTTEST place ever! We happened to be there during the oh-so-wonderful heat wave that decided to come our way so we were literally walking around and up BIG hills in what felt like 115 degrees. no lie. it was miserable.

However, if you put that aside- it was a fantastic way to end our southern sessions! I had a GREAT group of counselors for my last week as a BC. Seriously, these girls are fabulous and I love them dearly. 
And have I mentioned how much I LOVED my team?! We were just this cute little family and had such a fun summer together! We all added a little quirkiness to the group and helped each other survive early mornings and late nights. I couldn't have imagined a better team than being with these fine people. I miss them all! 
The majority of us joined in on FHE treat deliveries every week, which was one of our favorite things to do. We didn't drive around in a van that week, but we enjoyed walking around squirting people who weren't stayed hydrated (Jorden) and playing games with different groups. Fruit roll ups will forever hold a special place in my heart. They helped me survive some weeks when we had extras laying around the site office. 
I had a fun summer with some great friends! It was the longest the south sessions have been so it was fun to spend SO much time with some incredible people who are huge examples in my life. 
Due to the heat wave, we had to have games night in the WKU Areana. Ya, we felt pretty awesome. 
And maybe I LOVED Kate and Daniel's kids that week! It's hard as a BC sometimes because you don't get to have your own youth and get to know them super well. But these kids became my friend on Day 1 and just loved me. I'm just glad Kate and Daniel shared them with me :) They were awesome kids. 
Our goal is to have them in the handbook next summer so we got all the kids in the arena after games to form this and it was AWESOME! it took a little while to get it all organized, but once it was complete it was sweet. 
We enjoyed our last pizza night together in the lobby. I would be lying if I said I didn't crave pizza every Wednesday now (or pretty much every day for that matter). I loved pizza nights. We just ran around to different counselors to party with their kids and ask who their counselor crushes were (since we didn't know the kids in their group too well). It was always entertaining. 
On Thursday, there was this HUGE storm that lasted for about an hour where it was just pouring and the wind was blowing so hard. Trees were breaking and falling, and this one just happened to be right outside of our dorm. nbd. 
We wanted to pretend that we went to the school so we all bought a little souvenir (matching t-shirts of course). And just danced in the streets. Definitely a highlight from the week. 
And the slow, creepy elevator rides in our dorm were always a good time. I was always scared that I was going to get stuck.
I had some AWESOME fellow BC's to work with this summer. We had a lot of laughs, had lots of deep convos, jammed to the BSB CD every day thanks to Philip who purchased that bad boy at Walmart a few weeks back,and made quite a few food runs to Taco Bell. We were part of the Captain Planet crew and became super close over the past 5 weeks. I miss my brothers and sisters! 
The ice cream there was to DIE for. Just soft served that up every day. I may or may not have had that every lunch and dinner.. okay maybe almost every time. Good thing I walked up a huge hill countless times a day. 
Remember how I talked about Kate and Daniel's kids? Ya... I definitely tucked in these two gems EVERY night. They were a crack up. I love them. 
We all wore our matchy new Hilltopper (yes hilltoppers is the mascot. what the?!) tshirts on Saturday morning. Shed a lot of tears that day and said bye to every one.
I couldn't believe the 5 weeks were over! It had been such a fun summer and I felt SO blessed to work with some amazing people! I'm not gonna lie, after the Friday night dance, I bawled like a little baby. Just tears constantly streaming down my face. I felt like a participant and I was getting pay back for making fun of the kids crying every week. I was so sad that EFY in the south was already done! 5 weeks. that's a long time. I have learned and grown so much and have met some incredible people that are now some of my great friends :)
I love EFY and feel so blessed that I have been a part of something so incredible for the past 5 summers. 


flying with friends is fun.

early Saturday morning, my family of 9 flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Nashville. (yes, we are a family and that is what i refer them to as such)
Now I've been on PLENTY of road trips in my time, but never have I flown with SO many friends. we had a lot of fun trying to race through security and make sure no one in the family was missing before we boarded the plane. Southwest airlines doesn't assign seats and since we were some of the very last ones on, we all sat in the way back. they called us the troublemakers because at one point Philip was sleeping so Kayc and I got snacks and then another time Kayc and I were sleeping and Philip got a drink. So we asked the flight attendants two separate times for the things we missed out on while sleeping. but let's get real, they LOVED us. and it's nice to just sit all comfy and cozy with your friends next to you [and getting massages of course]. we had fun. 
and we got greeted by the fiance who had been waiting for a few hours in the airport for our arrival. what a gem.
and we somehow managed to pile in 2 vans full of everyone's stuff plus fitting 10 people. some miracle.
We decided to take a little time before we drove to Kentucky to go downtown Nashville and explore. So, we had a good time eating at the Hard Rock Cafe,
and finding all sorts of funny things while walking around.
It was fun to just walk around an explore for awhile instead of constant traveling. But after a few hours, we decided it was time to make our way to Bowling Green, Kentucky for one last hurrah as a family in the South! 


The EFY Life [Week 4] Welcome to Miami.

k so really, we weren't in Miami, it was Ft. Lauderdale. But it was called the EFY Stay at Home Session- Miami. So, the title still fit. We had to go into this session with a very open mind because we had no idea what it would be like since none of us had ever done a stay at home session before! But it turned out to be quite an amazing session where I just felt SO much love for these youth! These kids were different. They have come from so many different lifestyles- broken homes, only converts in the church, and other tough situations- and sacrifices were made and distances were traveled for these kids to be here. And they amazed me. I think it helped a little that I was in charge of the musical program because I got to know a lot of them. They are such sweet kids with sweet spirits. I loved that I had the opportunity to work on the Musical Program that week. It was special. Not just because the kids were special, but also because kids in that session were actually in the musical program dvd that would be played while they sang the songs. So at our last rehearsal I told them that they may recognize a few familiar faces in the program. Just to see their excitement and faces as they watched it was a pretty cool experience. Bottom line of it all: I loved the Miami kids. They taught me a whole lot! 

So like I said, the stay at home sessions are much different. Kids go home at 9 and we ran everything in their local stake center. 
Which meant, we were the food servers for every lunch and dinner. But I enjoyed it. 
The first day was 7/11... free slurpee day! And I was excited for this ALL day! But we had to wait till after 9 to hit up the local 711. Counselors piled in cars, ran into the gas station, only to see this sign on the door. What?! That can't be possible. But it was, and we were sad. But I still needed to get a slurpee. I hadn't had one in months so I needed one! 
Jorden LOVED this week because he got the approval to find some latin music to play at the dances. We found him in our site office most of Tuesday listening to music with his headphones on. We would be pretty entertained from his dancing and loud talking. 
Games night was chaotic- shocker? nope. A thunderstorm was about to grace our presence so we kept changing it from inside to outside constantly. We got the approval from our boss man to let us have 2 games outside even though we could hear some thunder, but it never came and the kids enjoyed themselves. 
And part of having EFY in a stake center meant we cleaned the church every night. We restocked things, took out the trash, vacuumed, etc. But, it was actually a really fun time as we jammed out to the EFY cd and we were all super efficient so we would be done pretty quick. 
Our team loved this week! Miami session was pretty awesome. It was different than our normal routine, but it was nice to get a little break to get an hour or two more of sleep each night.
And, once again, I really loved the youth! I have never gotten so much love and hugs from kids as I did that week. They were awesome! 
Not to mention, we had some pretty awesome counselors for the week too! 
One of my favorite things from this week was staying at the Stake Presidents home in the 10 year old, Carson's, room for the week. His signs outside his room were PRICELESS! We got a kick out of that the first night we got there. What a trooper for letting 2 girls take over his room for the week! They were such a nice and sweet family! 
 Our session directors were AWESOME! Sad I didn't get a picture with Brother Johnson too but I LOVED Sister Johnson! They were the perfect people for this group of kids! So fun, so awesome, so insightful. I definitely enjoyed their fun spirits that week! 
After we did our final cleaning of the church Friday night, all the counselors went out to Chili's to celebrate one of their birthdays and to say our final goodbyes as most of them would be done with EFY in the South.  

And then, week 4 was over and it was onto our final week in Kentucky!


Church Ranch.

so let's go back to EFY, shall we? [yep, still not done talking about it]
After our session in St. Pete, our team plus a few counselors stopped at Jorden's place for the night in St. Cloud, Florida on our way down to Ft. Lauderdale. 
And our dear friend Jorden just happens to live on the church ranch down there in Florida!
Let me just say, we did not know what we were in for! 
Once we got there and ate some lunch, we went to the swimming hole on the ranch and it was so much fun! Nothing I have ever seen before! 
They had different kinds of rope swings to play on,
And this sweet tube slide!
After we spent a few hours there, we got to go on an airboat ride with Jorden's daddy!
It was such a fun and exciting experience!
We just drove around for a bit, got to look at the beautiful scenery...
and look out for some gators!
We found this baby one...
And then Jorden caught a bigger one! 
I honestly don't know how I had the courage to hold this thing, but I did it! Of course a few seconds after the picture was taken, I would make someone take it away as quickly as possible! But cool right?
Immediately after that, we headed over to the horse ranch
where we got to go horseback riding, 
relaxed in the back of the truck looking up at the beautiful sky, 
and watched the beautiful sunset in St. Cloud, Florida. 
Jorden's family was so sweet to have 13 people just come invade their house for the night and feed all of us and entertain us for the day! I am so glad we got to go spend a little time over where Jorden grew up and meet his fam bam! 
And seriously, if you ever want to go on a marathon date, I suggest going to the church ranch. It was such a fun day for all of us, even if we were completely exhausted already! 
We definitely were all sad that we had to leave already, but hopefully we can make it back there again sometime! We all had a blast!