Celebrating AUTUMN! 🍂

This post is all about celebrating Autumn.  No, I'm not talking about the season, I'm talking about one of my nieces who is a Senior in high school this year.

One of my favorite things about having three sisters is all the nieces and nephews that come along with them.  So even though I have an empty nest of my own, I still feel like I have kids in school.  And although this school year isn't even half over, we've already had lots of fun celebrating special times in Autumn's last year of school.

To start her senior year off right, having casual senior pics done was a must!  And as one would expect, she would have no other photographer capture these moments but Dillan :)

Photography by Dillan Moore

Football season is in full swing here now and we recently had our Homecoming game and festivities as well.  Our sweet Autumn was selected by her peers as a representative on the 2016 Homecoming Court and had a fun-filled week making memories that will last a lifetime.  

Homecoming Parade Float

Autumn was beautiful at the game that night....and her dad cleaned up pretty well too!

Being escorted by her dad at the halftime ceremony
I'm not sure how schools in other areas do theirs, but our students have their Homecoming Dance the following night.  Autumn and her boyfriend, Hunter are such a sweet couple and looked great all decked out for the dance.

But not only is Autumn a pretty young lady that loves all things glitter and glam, she is also one heck of a softball player too!  Last Monday night was Senior Night at their last regular season home game.  These girls have been playing together for so many years now that it will be strange not seeing them on the field next year.

There was a special ceremony before the game with each Senior girl being introduced and escorted by her parents.  I love the smiles on their faces in this picture!

Autumn is one of the pitchers and when she's not pitching, she is usually playing in left field.

She's already had a college talk to her about a scholarship, so I'm sure she'll be able to continue playing the game she loves for a few more years. But she's not done with her high school career yet. Her team will hopefully be in the playoffs for the State Championship again this year...yes, I said AGAIN.  This would be their 3rd trip!  Lots of talented girls playing ball down here in South Georgia!

We'll all miss seeing Autumn wear the Lady Patriot uniform, but I'm certain no one will miss her more than her younger sister, Anna. Anna is a sophomore, so we'll be watching her the next couple of years carry on the family name with pride.

Time flies by so fast!  It's so hard to believe Suzanne will see her first baby leave for college next fall. I know at graduation there will be plenty of tears by all of us, but until then, we look forward to celebrating more of her accomplishments throughout this school year.   

 I'm so thankful for my large family and getting to do life with them!  They're such a blessing from the Lord and I don't know what I'd do without them.


My Summer Bucket List: An Update

You remember that Summer Bucket List I told you about?  Well, I thought I'd give you an update on my progress since summer is unofficially over.

So here was the list of things I wanted to do in no certain order (with the updates in red):

1. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail DONE....and had a trip planned for August but had to postpone. For sure, going again in the spring!

2. Hike all of the waterfalls in north Georgia in a weekend (per FB post by Explore Georgia)  Hiked 2 of them...couldn't seem to find time to devote a whole weekend to it.  Will def make a goal to do the rest!

3. Do a zip line in a woodsy setting (yes...I said woodsy...I want to feel like Tarzan)

4. Eat at the Mennonite restaurant in Montezuma, Ga. (I don't know why I haven't already?) Planning

5. Re-paint our kitchen walls/ pantry door (that door pains me every time I look at it!) DONE

6. Day trip canoeing/tubing the Ocmulgee River with friends/family - Had trip planned to "Shoot the Hooch" instead, but company had rented all their canoes.

7. Screen in our back porch and beautify it (now that I don't have cats....bless their hearts) Unexpected changes in our budget kept this from happening, but in the plans before next spring!

8. Read more books (social media has occupied me for so long now, I don't read like I used to...and that bothers me.  There's just something about holding that paper bound book in your hands and getting lost in another world). Read "A Walk in the Woods" and Grandma Gatewood's Walk...should have read more....but progress!

9. Go paddle boarding

So at least I accomplished some of the things I planned.  Any time I put something in writing, it makes me more accountable.  In addition to writing out my summer bucket list, I've also been planning out one physical activity each month for me or my family to do to stay active and healthy and that's been alot of fun!  In October, we'll be doing a 5K for Halloween in Atlanta and will be dressed as super heroes!  Fun!  I'll be sure to share lots of photos!

I've also thought about planning out one thing each month to celebrate and either cooking a special meal or dish or setting a special table....or both. Life is so much more fun when we find things to celebrate and enjoy and we don't have to wait on holidays to do so.  Celebrating the "little" things also breaks up the day to day mundane tasks of everyday living.  And let's face it, since there's always something to be thankful for, we can always find something to celebrate.


Day Hiking: Stone Mountain and Cherokee Trail

If you've never visited Stone Mountain, it's definitely something you should put on your bucket list!  When you catch that first glimpse of the Confederate figures carved into the stone, it literally will take your breath away!  I'm always in awe each time I've seen it.

Although I've been to Stone Mountain several times, I've never actually hiked up the mountain to the top.  Scott did years ago as a teen and Dillan has a few times in recent years.  So when I made out my summer bucket list, hiking Stone Mountain was a must. 

We arrived around 9:00 that morning, but it was already very crowded.  We had a hard time even finding a parking spot.

It's a pretty neat hike.  Not that difficult of terrain, until you get closer to the top, but it's definitely a good hike.

The last leg of the hike is the steepest part.  There are even hand rails in that section to help you pull yourself up if needed.

Almost there..............

Made it to the top!

What a view!

This was a neat little spot on the very top.  Dillan said there's been water there each time he's gone.

We carried a picnic lunch to enjoy when we made it to the top and then headed back down.

Gum Tree

We noticed on the map that there were other trails there to hike as well, so we looked for the Cherokee Trail near the bottom and started following it.

It was a nice change to be hiking in the woods like we are accustomed to....and hardly any other people on this trail.

We had to cross a railroad track, so Scott gave us a quick lesson about the type of work he does when he's on the track for CSX.

An old homestead in the woods.....

Took a little break and Dillan tried out his new ENO again.

Nice views of the mountain from Cherokee Trail......

Scott tried out the ENO too.......

The trail wound around parts of the park as well.  I had no idea the park was this big.

An old moonshine still.......

When you get closer to the end of the trail, it winds back through the park with a view of the beautiful carvings in the side of the mountain.

After hiking the mountain and Cherokee Trail, we had gone 5 miles. Good workout!  Then we headed back to Dillan's to rest a while before dinner.  After dinner, we headed to Marietta Square so they could do a little Pokemon hunting.

We tried Bubble Tea........and then headed back to Dillan's for the night.

Originally, our plans for this weekend were to be back on the AT to do our second section hike.  But Dillan had a wreck a couple weeks before and we were pressed for time to find him another car.

We went to Atlanta early that Friday morning and found a car he liked and could afford by that afternoon.  Because we were able to take care of all that on Friday, we decided to enjoy our Saturday and at least get in a good day hike somewhere.

I'm still amazed at all of the great places in the state of Georgia to hike.....especially around the Atlanta area.  If you've never been to Stone Mountain to see the laser show or hike the mountain, you should definitely go.  I bet the view from the top of the mountain is beautiful in the fall as well!  Go check it out!