lukeandmanda

The most amazing love story since Romeo and Juliet haha

Archive for the month “December, 2015”

The Bradshaws Take On 2015

As New Year’s Eve approaches, we wanted to take some time to share the highlights of our year with you! What were we up to in 2015?

January

First, we celebrated New Year’s Eve at the delicious Amsterdam Cafe in Auburn, AL. It was a really fun night, just the two of us, enjoying one another’s company and making plans for a great year.

Sadly, the merriment did not last. We found out from Luke’s mom that evening that his Grandma Reid wasn’t doing very well. She passed away hours later, and we knew 2015 would be such a darker place without her. The next weekend was the Memorial Service/Celebration of Life to honor this very special woman. I will always be grateful to have known her and that Luke introduced us early in our relationship so that we got to spend several weekends together.

This photo was taken in 2011 when we left our Florida vacation a few days early to drive up to NC and surprise his parents and grandparents at Outback!

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January picked up pace after the funeral, and we stayed busy with work and Amanda’s master’s degree homework. We had a mini college reunion for Luke and his buddies and former roommates at our place and enjoyed the time to catch up with them and unwind!

This is one of the most fun groups you will ever encounter, and we are blessed to have them in our lives!

We did spend a wonderful weekend in Savannah, GA toward the end of the month to attend the St. Barbara’s Day Ball with some good friends from Luke’s unit.

February

February brought Luke’s brother Samuel in town for a weekend visit; so, I got to spend Valentine’s Day with two handsome Bradshaw men this year! We had such a great time watching the Columbus Cottonmouths’ hockey game and exploring downtown Columbus.

I (Amanda) also tagged along with my friend on a road trip to Tuscaloosa to take advantage of the opportunity to visit my younger brother Ethan! It was just a quick trip, but it was so much fun walking down memory lane to all the famous campus landmarks and visiting with friends and mentors from the College of Journalism.

 

Then, we celebrated Luke’s 25th birthday with Cookie Cake and a casual dinner with friends. It was more low key than some years have been per his request, but still a good time.

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March

Amanda spent most of March studying as she worked to complete her Master’s degree coursework. Here is what most weekends looked like:

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But, we still made some time for a little fun on a weekend getaway to Chateau Élan, a winery and resort in northern Georgia. We enjoyed a wine tasting, fancy dinner and couples’ massage there! They had delicious food and it was the best “break from reality” that we so desperately needed, just the 2 of us!

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April

With April came Easter fun! Amanda’s dad and grandmother came down to visit us, and we cooked a delicious Easter dinner to enjoy in our own home after a church service reminding us what Easter is really all about–the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In addition to dinner, we went up to Callaway Gardens for a walk to enjoy the blooming flowers. We got engaged in the Azalea Bowl at Callaway right on this very bridge, so it was fun to go back and get a picture in the very same spot!

And, what would a month be without a little girl time with a couple of best friends/Army wives? Here’s Jenae, Rachel and I at the movies!

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May

 

We kicked the summer off right with a Memorial Day weekend trip to the beach! Ever since we have been together as a couple, we have taken Memorial Day weekend trips somewhere, so we are kind of making it a family tradition! This year, we spent Memorial Day with Luke’s cousins in Florida!

Paige and Ben had just welcomed a new baby, so it was lots of fun to meet him and to spend time with them and their other two little ones! We got to be part of baby’s first beach trip, which was pretty special! Luke’s cousin Natalie is also an amazing hostess and we enjoyed a cookout and pool party at her house as well. A little fun and sun never hurt anyone but the best part was catching up with these special relatives!

June

This was one of my favorite months of the year! My mom and I took an 18-hour road trip up to my grad school, West Virginia University in Morgantown! We really made it into an adventure and had so much fun on the way up to my conference- the one on-campus component of my online program. We got in some sight seeing, ate at some yummy local places like Pies and Pints, and even met up with Luke’s cousin Frank and his sweet wife Barbara, who live in Morgantown.  Go Mountaineers!

 

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One of the best parts of the trip was taking selfies with WVU President Dr. Gordon Gee.

A sadder part of June was saying “see you later” to one of our favorite couples, Nikki and Lonnie! They were a big part of our lives here, and it was bittersweet that they were moving across the country to pursue another year of ministry school. Luckily, we have social media and cell phones to keep in touch!

We wrapped up June with a successfully orchestrated surprise 30th birthday party for our friend Cpt. BRAD Wilson. 🙂 His wife Katie planned the whole thing at the Cannon Brew Pub downtown, and even got his parents in on it! We had a blast at this dinner and are grateful that we have found such good friends here in our new home.

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 (Interestingly, the guys aren’t featured in this picture! Picture taking is not their favorite pastime to say the least! So here is Amanda, Rachel and Katie striking a pose!)

July

July began with a weekend bash in Atlanta with our best friends, Jess and Will. Atlanta is close to the middle for both of us, so we met up for lunch, a tour of the World of Coke, and the Atlanta Braves’ game and fireworks show. The weekend was so needed, because we miss them being part of our every day lives! The experience was very memorable as it is the very first 4th of July Fireworks show I have ever watched in the rain! We finished off the weekend with brunch (Mexican food, of course!) and a visit to IKEA.

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Later in July, Luke’s mom, dad, brother and sister came down to visit us and spent a weekend at our place! We made it an adventure by visiting the Infantry Museum, cooking out hotdogs and hamburgers (and French fries using Luke’s pride and joy: our new deep fryer!) It was warm enough for some R & R by the pool, and we ended the weekend with church and lunch together that Sunday. We never seem to get enough time with family these days, but this weekend was so perfect to catch up with each of them!

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The month wrapped up in the most glorious way with 7 days and nights at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with Amanda’s brother and Dad. Our uncle has a timeshare there, so we jumped on the opportunity to use it for a week! The resort was so nice that we didn’t do much outside it. We really just ate, lounged by the pool (complete with poolside food and bar service) and relaxed. We each finished 2-3 novels and just enjoyed one another’s company after a long and stressful few months. Luckily, Amanda’s grad school wrapped up for the summer right before the trip, so she could truly enjoy it. The best part of the experience was not connecting to Wi-Fi the whole time. I’m serious–no phone calls, texts or emails AT ALL. And, no social media. It was so rejuvenating to spend time together as a family without worrying about external influences. And, the all-inclusive aspect was so nice because we weren’t worried about ANYTHING. It was all right there for us. Here are a few highlights for you!

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August

August began with one of our “famous” cookouts that we like to host every few months for our local friends. We love getting everyone together and hosting parties, so it works out perfectly! We can’t tell you how many times we’ve enjoyed having this same group of people in our home over the course of the last couple of years, and this Cook Out was filled with joy and laughter as we shared our plans for the Fall. Plus, my friend Michelle and I went to a paint party at ADOOR-IT, a local door sign making place, to get our doors ready for Fall also. I love the pumpkins we made!

Luke and Manda also participated in the Amazing Marriage Chase, an annual event that puts couples through an Obstacle Course/Treasure Hunt to try to gather the most points during a timed event. We had a blast! (All credit goes to Jenae Young for this stellar idea!) We made each other pancakes in a sporting goods store, discovered our “money languages” complemented one another perfectly, said vows in front of a priest holding homemade popsicles, went on a brief whitewater rafting ride through rapids where Manda tried to drown the boat and Luke played Superman, and finally led each other around blindfolded. We were nowhere close to winning, but it was some of the most fun we had as a couple all season.

Finally, Luke took a solo weekend trip home to NC to commission his brother Jacob into the military. We are so proud of all of his accomplishments, and Luke was so grateful to get to be there on his big graduation day. Unfortunately, Manda was stuck at the office, but such is life sometimes. She celebrated with them from afar.

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September

September always kicks off with 2 important events: the 1st is our wedding anniversary (2015 marked 2 years!) and my mom’s birthday! This year, we celebrated our anniversary back in Savannah, GA, the same place we took our honeymoon! This was our second year in a row celebrating someone else’s wedding on our anniversary, and truly nothing brings back the magic of that momentous day better than watching another couple say those same vows. It really reminds you what it’s all about! We are also fortunate that our good friends Lauren and Casey got married at such a nice beach destination so it could become a mini vacay for us too! We even got to see our friend Bill while we were in town. That was part of Luke’s anniversary surprise! This was the cotton anniversary, so we splurged on the trip and then surprised each other with lots of practical (totally married gifts!) like socks and pajama pants. I will say I got a pretty cool new laptop though to finish out my graduate degree since my poor little Mac book wasn’t making it much longer. Sure enough, she died just three weeks later. RIP.

Funny story about this weekend in Savannah: I forgot my purse, and Luke was in between debit cards since his wallet killed his last one. We had both forgotten to go to the ATM before we left. Thus, we spent all weekend with only an AMEX card in hand. You’d be surprised at how many places do not take AMEX. It was an interesting/very memorable/slightly frustrating experience that is hilarious looking back. Note to self: Never travel without proper preparation. Maybe that can be a resolution for 2016!

After our anniversary trip, we made it down for a weekend in Tuscaloosa to visit my brother; it was pure luck we got tickets at face value to a home game! Unfortunately, that game was Ole Miss and not only were we in the nose bleeds, but the Crimson Tide didn’t exactly fare well…It was still nice to be back at my alma mater for a bit and to spend time with family. We got to meet my mom for a birthday brunch on our way home too! It’s always fun when you get to celebrate special days with family!

October

This year, my grandmother turned 70! I absolutely could not let such a momentous occasion pass without a little celebration, so we road tripped it to Tupelo, Mississippi to visit some extended family and throw a little birthday party/dinner for her. It was too much fun, and although she knew about the trip, we think she was really surprised and touched by the effort we put in for her birthday. I’m so grateful Luke was up for the trip! He got to spend more time with our relatives, especially my great Aunt Teen. All in all, it was a wonderful trip.

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Unfortunately, the rest of October wasn’t so fun. At the beginning of the month, I started having trouble with my eyes again. After 4 previous surgeries and lifelong problems, I wasn’t taking any chances, so I scheduled an immediate appointment with my ophthalmologist. She doesn’t live locally, so we spent a lot of October following her around to neighboring towns for appointments and finally settled on surgery the day before my 25th birthday. It was scary and stressful to be very honest. We thought this problem had been corrected before our wedding 2 years before. However, we trusted in God and in my surgeon, Dr. Irene Ludwig, who is one of the very best in the country for my particular issue. Well, it would appear 5th time’s a charm! The issue is fixed, at least better than it ever has been before according to the latest follow up reports. So, despite an uncomfortable birthday, we are truly blessed.

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Our bosses were both very supportive and gave us all the time we needed. Because my surgery was in my hometown, my Mom was able to be there every step of the way, along with my best friend Jessica. So grateful for them! Additionally, my mother in law and brother in law came down to visit the moment we got home, and my MIL stayed for several days, chauffeuring me around because I still couldn’t drive and helping me with housework and errands. I don’t know what I would have done without her and am so thankful she made the trip down to help us. Plus, I got to rock my shades for about 3 weeks and not wear any eye makeup! I call that a lazy girl win.

The month ended well though with our very last party for this group of friends; and what better way to end then on a Halloween Party?! We really went all out, dressing up in costumes, decorating and making enough food for a whole Army. We even played a Halloween-themed Werewolf game; it all made for an unforgettable evening.

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November

This year we had 3 Thanksgivings, which was simultaneously amazing AND turkey’d us out for the next decade! We got to visit my side of the family this year, and enjoyed the first holiday with my extended family in two years. It was definitely one for the memory books!

Thanksgiving Uno

 

Thanksgiving Dos

Thanksgiving Tres

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Oh, and who can forget our little “Friendsgiving” at the Melting Pot? Good times!

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Despite all the awesome family/friend time we got this month, we did have to say two tough goodbyes to our friends Amy and Sean (Boston bound) and Rachel and Kevin (Kansas bound). They each made up big chunks of our life here, and we so value the gift of their friendship, near or far!

December

We started the month off with going to see The Beauty and the Beast with the Youngs at the Springer Opera House. We all sprung for box seats and had so much fun feelin’ fancy for a night!

 

The next weekend, Luke and I bought our Christmas tree and went to see The Nutcracker ballet together, just us as a date night.

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FINALLY, I FINISHED GRADUATE SCHOOL! I earned an A+ in my final class, which put my GPA at 3.9. I was so, so excited to finish this journey 2.5 years in the making! Just waiting on my diploma in the mail now.

Last but not least, we had a laidback yet wonderful Christmas with my Mom coming down to visit us. We cooked A LOT; Luke grilled steaks one night, I made my Aunt Lisa’s world famous sweet potato casserole, and we got some other sides and things from Honey Baked Ham, which made the holiday so much easier and stress free. It was just the three of us this year, so we didn’t need too much quantity-wise. It was 80 degrees and flooding most of the  time, so we spent a good bit of it indoors, watching Christmas movies, cooking and playing games. The day after Christmas was balmy and sunny though, so we took a walk and I am wearing a tank top and shorts and even stuck my feet in the water! It was definitely Christmas in the South, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We were really thankful to have the time together off of work.

These pictures may not show it with all the travel and relaxation, but 2015 wasn’t all fun and games for us at all! Luke worked really hard all year at his job, and my grad school took up a LOT of time. I am so excited for more time to just be together in 2016.

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Cheers to a Wonderful New Year to you and yours! Thanks so much for following our story.

Love,

Luke and Manda

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Moms and Daughters: The Hello, Goodbye Cycle

Blog by Amanda

A girl’s relationship with her mother will always be one of the most complex and wonderful (sometimes most frustrating) relationships in the course of her life. Growing up, I was blessed with a mother who was very involved in my life – from my grades to my friendships to talking about boys—she was the one I would often turn to. We would shop together, cook dinner together, take walks together, go on vacations together.

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The summer before I went to college was pretty tumultuous, as can often be the case with teenage girls wanting to exert their independence. I was so excited to be off on my own as an “adult,” to attend the University of Alabama and to live my own life away from my parents’ rules. We toured colleges together, and she even went with me to Bama Bound, walking around campus and into the College of Journalism with me for where the very first time, we met Dr. Jennifer Greer, who would become one of my mentors throughout my college experience. I very vividly remember that my Mom even arranged a private meeting with a Campus policeman and coerced politely asked him to explain to me the dangers that could exist for a college freshman—for example, walking alone after dark, or drinking punch at a party. I remember being mortified during that experience, and I was so ready for her to leave and let me be there on my own. But the day came (all too soon, looking back), when she did leave. We got up early, had breakfast at our hotel, and went to set up my dorm room with the decorations we had handpicked together argued over that summer.

Amanda Bama Bound

It took a few hours, and when we were done, it was time for my family to head out. That’s the very first time the now-familiar knot in my stomach emerged in full force; the feeling of my mom leaving me as I embarked upon the next chapter alone. We walked to the front of Ridgecrest South (the brand new dorm building where I was to live,) and my Dad and brother quickly hugged me and went to pull the minivan around. It was just my Mom and I. She broke down into tears, cried a little and gave me a long hug and then walked away. I was again embarrassed briefly—I was in front of my new peers with my mom hugging me and crying! I wasn’t a baby. It was foggy that day, and a little misty, and it was hard to see the van slowly pull away. My throat choked up, and I later realized it wasn’t just the fog that made it hard to see, as my eyes, too, clouded over. I barely made it to my dorm room before I threw myself onto my twin bed with the new Laura Ashley pink and green plaid comforter and sobbed. I would miss her terribly.

Always a little adverse to change, those first few days in Tuscaloosa were hard. It was Sorority Rush, and I kept busy every day walking from house to house in the blazing hot sun, talking to girls I barely knew and trying to sell myself on why I would be a good fit for each sorority. It was exhausting. I was so terribly homesick, but by Day 3 or so, it gradually became OK and even a little fun. I made some friends in my little Rho Chi group, and then found my place at Bama in the AOII Alpha Delta chapter. I was so excited to get my official bid! My mom came down to visit for Bid Day (just 1 week after dropping me off), and she went to lunch at my new sorority house with me.

Mom and I AOPI

 

She only stayed a day or so because all of the pledges attended a freshman retreat at the Yacht Club that evening. But, it was so nice to see her, and the goodbye wasn’t quite so heartbreaking this time. I went home several times over the course of my remaining semesters at Bama. I was only 2.5 hours away, and we always had fun when I was home, but there were many weeks I didn’t see my Mom at all. In the beginning she sent me big care packages that my friends and I enjoyed—homemade cookies from Peggy Ann Bakery for Valentine’s Day, a new dress and digital camera and cards, always cards, about how she was so proud of me and was thinking of me always. My brother joined me at Bama two years later, and it was nice to have him there. We even lived together a couple of years, which was gratifying but difficult as brothers and sisters can argue. I was an upperclassman and took on more of a parent role while he was just enjoying his first year of college and wanting to party more than I did by that point. Looking back, I took living with my brother for granted. I had lived with him for 18 years after all, and I resented his messy ways and our lifestyle differences. However, now it is hard to reconcile that we will most likely never live together again. I should have appreciated it so much more when he was just down the hall!

Mom Graduation

 

I got married right after college graduation and moved across the state again! Since my husband is in the military, we will be moving from place to place at the whims of Uncle Sam. Our first duty station is about 4 hours from my family, a little farther than college, but not terrible as far as distance goes. But, it’s certainly too far to go home for dinner or to see my Mom weekly or even monthly. There are many, many months when I don’t see her at all. I read an article the other day that 93% of in person time with parents occurs in one’s life from ages 0-18, but oh how we take it for granted then! When you grow up and move away, you would do anything to see them with any kind of regularity, but sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards.  I will say that being farther away from family can be very beneficial for a marriage as you become totally reliant upon one another and the family you are building. You are forced to lean on each other more and become one another’s best friend. You really grow together in a way that I think can be harder if you live in your hometown. But, it can be tough to be so far from extended family.

So, you visit family instead. The Cycle of a Visit is much like this (at least for me): eager anticipation for the big reunion followed quickly by stress in wanting to make everything perfect. Your home has to be spotless; after all your mother (or mother in law) is coming down. The fridge must be stocked with their favorite foods and drinks, delicious meals should be planned so they know you can cook and are surviving like an adult! Your decorations should be perfectly arranged (if for a holiday). This is not mother-imposed stress mind you, but self-imposed: the desire to prove you are making it as an independently functioning member of society and as a wife mixed with the desire to give them a wonderful, memorable experience just like they gave you on countless occasions! Even after careful planning, the day before/of the visit can be super stressful. You may snap at your husband for playing video games/going about life as usual on such a momentous day, or for picking up the wrong thing at the grocery store, or even for cleaning something less-than-thoroughly. This is a big occasion after all! You apologize for said snapping. You see your parent and it is wonderful, for about a minute. And, then it can be easy to fall into old patterns of differing expectations or comments that are perceived in the wrong way even if they were meant well (on both sides.) This relationship is hard because the smallest thing can be taken out of context because each party cares what the other one thinks so much. It can be harder if in laws and spouse don’t get along; we are lucky to have mostly positive relationships with in laws, although some conflict is typically inevitable when a new person marries in and tries to adapt to age-old family customs and traditions and personalities of different relatives. But, when you live in different places, you get the pleasure of the said visiting relative’s company for much longer than if you lived in the same place and got together more frequently for dinner or a movie; this visit is 24/7, which is both positive and negative. You are in very close quarters for sometimes days on end (or even longer if you live very far apart.) One coworker of mine has relatives that visit for 2-3 months at a time as a bare minimum, due to the long journey and expense involved in getting together. Our typical trips are 3-7 days usually, which is plenty but simultaneously never enough as the time seems to fly. It can become stressful again during the duration of the visit, depending on who is visiting or if hurtful words are said But, it is also just so fun and nice to feel “normal” again like you can have that same everyday relationship with your relative that you enjoyed when you lived in the same house or town. For example, in my case, my Mom and I were in Macy’s buying some shoes this week. I checked out first while my Mom went to look at some shirts. She showed up after I interacted with the sales girl, and it was so gratifying when the girl looked at both of us and exclaimed incredulously, “Wow, y’all look just alike! You must be related!” That happens so little anymore, whereas we used to be told we were “twins” all the time since we do look a lot alike. But, when you aren’t in person together, opportunities for those comments just don’t come up.

At the end of a visit, both parties are ready to return to life as usual to some extent, but neither wants to say goodbye. That old familiar knot forms when it is time to say goodbye, and without fail, I am a little lost each time my mother leaves. I usually have to cry it out for a moment, and then I am OK. Until the next time. Because you don’t always know when you will see each other again, time is so precious. Some days are harder for me than others. Mother’s Day this year was hard. Everyone was out buying cards, flowers and gifts for their moms and planning elaborate get togethers. At church, all the moms were there with their children, and each Mom got a rose. I had bought and mailed our Mother’s Day gifts early since we were not seeing either Mom, so I treated myself to a pedicure by myself since my friends were all with their own mothers. On days like that, you just want your Mom, but you have to live with the fact that she isn’t there, and a phone conversation must suffice.

It is a hard-to-describe feeling of wanting to be grown up and loving this next chapter of your life with your spouse but still caring about your Mom’s opinion so much and wanting to see her so badly it physically hurts at times! Then, when you do see her, it can sometimes make you feel like a kid again, even when you so badly want to be an adult and do everything your way.

Recently, I was looking through my closets to find an outfit for my company’s holiday party. I picked out several dresses, and finally settled on a skirt and top that I thought was dynamite. I texted a picture to a friend, and she agreed it looked great! I was modeling it in the mirror truly feeling like “all that.” I felt beautiful in this outfit. I texted a picture to my mother, excited to hear her praise of how great I looked. I have always had an honest (and very fashionable) mother, who helps me pick out some of my favorite pieces. Her response was “Are you on the way to the party now?” I said, “No, it’s tomorrow.” Because I was not yet en route, my mother chose her words carefully. “You asked my honest opinion…I don’t think that goes together as well….You should try these pants instead.” I was floored and upset. I had loved this outfit after all! I texted something back like “OK, thanks.” I was kind of seething inside. My mom sent back a sad face; after all I had asked her opinion, when I had really just wanted her to reaffirm I had made a good choice. Well, I decided I am an adult now, and I will wear what I like and what I feel good in! In a rare moment of rebellion (for me,) I started to dress for the party the next night. I put on my shirt and my skirt and a pair of heels and took a long look at myself. I looked good…Right? The smallest doubt crept in. I started tugging more at my skirt, looking at myself from all angles. I am a grown up, I thought. I can wear this. I look great! Then a voice inside my head (my mother’s voice), said “Try the pants….” I thought “Fine, Mom. I will try the pants just to say I did. But, I will put this skirt back on and wear what I like.” I put the pants on, and looked at myself. Gosh-darn it! She was right. The pants looked so—ooo—oo much better. Like it wasn’t even a contest! I sighed and hung the skirt back up in the closet. I called my Mom on the way to the party to tell her she was right and I was sorry for being annoyed when she shared her opinion. And, I was wearing the pants. How do mothers do that anyway? It’s like they have a sixth sense about these things, and yet, I had to admit the outfit looked far better her way than my way.

When she visits, she does a good job of not saying much and even complimenting some of my choices, when I know she would do things differently such as arranging certain items in the kitchen cabinets or buying different foods. And, it’s OK. We don’t have to be exactly alike. I did learn a lot from her though, and sometimes she gives me really handy hints around the house that I benefit from tremendously. She has such a wealth of knowledge from her own years of running a household and age and wisdom that I don’t yet possess. So, I am happy to learn from her. It is a delicate balance for mothers and daughters to learn from and respect one another. Sometimes she makes me want to pull my hair out! Like I know I do to her as well, and if most mothers and daughters are honest with themselves, they can likely relate to this same feeling all too well! But, mostly when I look back on our visits, I am just thankful for the fun times, the joy and laughter we shared. We went to see a movie this Christmas and made jokes the whole time, and it was one of my best memories from the trip. Then, she made me sit in the empty Santa chair at the mall with her and pose for a picture. That is one of my favorite pictures now, although I was a little embarrassed at the time when she asked one of the kiosk employees to leave her booth to take it. Cue the whiny “Mooommm,” that has been with me since childhood when I am resistant to one of her awesome ideas. I have learned that 9 times out of 10, I will be grateful for it later.

There is something so comforting in being with someone who you can still be your absolute self around without worrying about making a good impression. She changed my stinky diapers; I don’t think she cares too much if I don’t dress up for Christmas or make a comment the wrong way or even act cranky because I don’t feel well. And, she will still love me regardless of all these things. As time marches on, I know people who don’t have their parents anymore, people who would give anything for the few days that my Mom and I just spent together. It truly was the best Christmas gift of all to get to see her and celebrate with her together in my home for a few days. I may be a Bradshaw now and a married lady, but sometimes, even married ladies just need their Moms.

Mom Christmas 2015

 

Thank you, Mom, for making the four-hour trip down to see us! It was truly a great and memorable time and one of the best Christmases ever. Congratulations on winning 4 games of Yahtzee in a row, much to mine and Luke’s chagrin. You are welcome any time, and we will miss you a lot. Yes, the knot in my stomach is here, but it is gradually getting smaller as I get back to Life as Usual, and I know you will do the same. Writing this out helped a lot. Until next time, I will mind my manners and be good. Promise. 😉 Love you more than you will ever know!

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