This week has been quite the week in the Lyles' household. Not only did I take my occupational therapy board exams, but we celebrated a birthday! Even though John had already been such a sweetheart to cook me dinner before my test, take me to dinner after my test and surprise me with a book that I had been wanting- he surprised me again on Thursday! When I checked the mail, I saw a large box on our front porch from Asheville, NC. When John got home I asked him about the mysterious box. He told me that it was for me and insisted that I open it right then. As I tore away the tape and cardboard, I found that it held an autographed copy of my FAVORITE author's latest book-Sarah Addison Allen's Lost Lake!! I was beside myself with excitement.

That night while John was Good People Brewing Company for the Church of the Reconciler benefit, my sweet friend Jenny came over for a glass of wine and conversation (sometimes you just need a good girly night to catch up about everything under the sun). While we were chatting, I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies for John's upcoming birthday. Since Friday is always family lunch for the residents at Children's Hospital, John invited me to come! I was so happy and took the opportunity to surprise him with the cookies and let everyone know that it was his special day! Even though John tried really hard to keep his birthday a secret, I was pretty thrilled that I blew his cover.I blew his cover even more when I posted the most precious picture of the crop top wearing, gun slingin', blanket toting, thumb sucking baby John on Instagram. Who couldn't love that face?

As soon as lunch was done, I sprinted home to get things ready for John's big birthday surprise. About two weeks ago I sent out an email to a lot of John's friends and family asking them to send me some of their favorite memories of John. I was overwhelmed, but definitely not surprised, with how many people answered the call and sent in their cherished memories. As they rolled in, I made sure to keep John away from the mailbox and secretly compiled them in some colorful envelopes (that I snagged for a deal in the 10 cent box at Smith's Variety). Before John could get home, I got a large box with the help of Jenny (thank you!!!), painted it and tied some colorful balloons down into it before placing John's letters inside. For the past few weeks I had convinced John to stay away from the mailbox by telling him that I had ordered something for him online and was waiting for it to come in. So, I knew he would fall for going outside to check the mail when I told him "the package that I had ordered had finally come in!" (Please excuse the awful video skills- it's hard to multitask taking photos and filming).

I can't begin to explain how touching it was to watch John's reactions as he read through letter after letter. I was so happy to see how much he enjoyed it. So, thank you to all of those who helped me make it happen! After the last letter was read, we ran to the car and headed to Rojo for his birthday dinner. It's always been a favorite restaurant of ours and holds tons of memories within its walls. So, it couldn't have been more perfect when John requested it.After we got done with our wonderful meal, we ran to the car yet again to head to Workplay to see Lucius. We both had heard them on their NPR Tiny Desk Concert (<- listen here) performance, but never in real life. So, we were taken aback at just how AMAZING they were. These ladies are no joke and have some serious talent. So, if you ever have the chance to see them- do, because they're going nowhere but up.

On Saturday John and I got up bright and early to go grocery shopping. As usual, grocery shopping was an adventure not only because I try to limit our grocery shopping to one trip a month (that's right- lots of make and freeze meals go on in this household), but because we are starting Whole Life Challenge! Even though the rules are pretty strict (no grains or starchy carbs [with the exception of yams & sweet potatoes], no sugars or sweeteners [with the exception of stevia], no dairy [with the exception of butter], no alcohol/soda/or juice and no artificial ingredients or processed foods) plus daily reflection, intake of a supplement, stretching and exercise- we were so excited about filling our buggy with colorful and healthy fruits, veggies, meat, fish, etc. It was actually a lot of fun to "label watch". John was so happy that he jumped on the cart and rode it out of the store!

That night John's parents came into town and took us to Saw's Juke Joint for John's Birthday dinner. The food was awesome, as usual, and we even got to sit by the live blues band. How fun! Afterwards, we went to John's sister's place to see sweet baby William and to eat a giant slice of chocolate peanut butter birthday cake. Yum!! We were so full, but starting Monday- none of what we ate will make the Whole Life Challenge cut. So, why not live it up while you can?

This morning the celebration of eating non-compliant things while you can continued. We met our friends Lauren and Lee at Five for Sunday Jazz Brunch. In addition to a live jazz band there was a bloody mary bar and a menu that included 5 mouth watering brunch dishes. We all split a plate of warm caramel apple beignets. I could have eaten another plate of them myself they were so good! Since no one else with our group liked bloody marys, I faced the bloody mary bar alone (well, not really because Lauren was such a good sport and helped me make mine even though she doesn't like them). There were so many toppings ranging from the usuals like hot sauce and celery to super fun ones like horseradish, olives, and pickled corn. Even though it was a little overwhelming having so many options, I found a recipe online which Lauren read aloud for me to follow. It was so much fun and the bloody mary turned our refreshing and delightful especially when paired with my shrimp and grits (blackened gulf shrimp, Conecuh sausage, onions, bell peppers, & gouda-goat cheese grits) that I shared with John. As if our meal couldn't have gotten any better-it did!! As we were leaving, I spotted former Alabama (& national championship winning) QB, Greg McElroy!

Later in the afternoon I was fortunate enough to attend my dear friend Mary's baby shower. She was actually on senior high team at Camp Sumatanga when I was a camper and through the years has come to be such a good friend. It was so sweet to see her and her husband Timmy (another former team member at Camp when I was a camper). They are going to be such amazing parents and I wish them the absolute best.

It's hard to believe how much has happened since Thursday! Life is busy. This next week will hold a lot more adventures, I'm sure. As I begin counting down the final days until I found out my board exam results, I am starting the job hunt!! I am officially growing up and entering the "real world" and trusting God along the way. So thankful for a week full of celebrations, friends and family!


Post a Comment