As you all know by now, we absolutely love Dollywood and go several times a year. Over the years we have came up with some insider tips for visiting Dollywood and I want to share those with y’all today:

  1. Download the Dollywood app. This app saves us so much time. You can use it to see the show times and then use the map within the app to know where to walk next. You can also see the ride wait times which makes planning even easier!
  2. Upgrade to a season ticket. This is by far the best deal that Dollywood offers. If you ever plan to visit Dollywood again then it’s cheaper to upgrade to a season pass. Trust me, you’ll visit more than once! *Pro tip – have at least one person in your family get a GOLD pass. With this pass you get free parking all year, 20% off food and shops, and more.
  3. After 3, Next Day FREE! Did you know if you come to Dollywood after 3:00pm then you get in the next day for free?! YES! It’s the perfect way to see the entire park, because I truly feel you need quite a few days to take it all in.
  4. Save time by having your children measured. As you enter Dollywood to the left is the measuring station. The color wristband you get tells you what rides they can ride. It saves so much time because you get a color coordinated list of the rides thus helping you determine where to go for the day.
  5. Utilize “Product Pickup”. If you buy anything within the park stores, you can have it delivered to the main gift shop where you exit the park and pick it up as you leave for the day. This is one of our favorite things to do when we purchase something and don’t want to carry it around all day.

There are so many more tips that I can’t wait to share with y’all in upcoming posts. Be sure to follow along!!!

For more information, visit

Every year, I pick a word. A word that I want represented for my life during the next 365 days. This year, my word is peace.

Since Casey and I were married, we’ve been going. striving. Saying YES when we should’ve said no, finding jobs, searching for a house, finding a house, remodeling a house, starting a photography business, starting a videography business, trying to keep up in the business industry, joining businesses, trying to have babies, going to doctors to try and have babies, adopting, selling a house, living with my parents, building a house, the list goes on and on. It just feels like we’ve always been…going.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that everything said above is part of LIFE. Life happens, and I never want to look back and have regrets. For everything I mentioned, I am SO thankful. Thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had. The Lord has truly blessed us, and I regret nothing that we’ve done. We love our jobs! We loved adopting! But truly, we are tired. And we have a lot to think about! Do we really need three jobs between the two of us? Do we really need to say yes to every single opportunity that comes our way? Is it worth time away from our girl?

Peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance”. For me, that disturbance has been a busy schedule, saying yes when I should’ve said no, a cluttered home (AND mind), my cell phone, social media, other people’s drama, my temper, etc…

I choose peace.

Less busy, less saying yes, a simple schedule, less social media, less of peoples drama, more family time, more time with Sweet P, more helping people with adoption, more making our house a home, more giving, more of what matters. 2017, I’m ready for you.

My verses to help me focus on that word are:
“Joy fills hearts that are planning peace.” Proverbs 12:20 and “Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14











I’m putting this out there for anyone needing direction in the new year. We can do this together! Pray on it and pick a word that you want to represent you. We can decide what we want our 2017 to be. One word, one verse, one day at a time.

Happy New Year friends! I wanted to start this year off right by talking about last year, ha!

This last Christmas was a lot different than the previous one. Last year Sweet P had just had open heart surgery 2 months prior. So this year I feel like she really got into it a lot more and was able to enjoy herself better. We decided to cut WAY back on the gifts. I can’t even think about the amount she got last year without getting anxious. It was insane, but it was also her first Christmas with us so I don’t regret it.

We originally wanted to do 4 gifts: “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read”. Ha, that quickly turned into 5 or 6 gifts that she was really wanting (plus her stocking). It’s hard to Christmas shop for her with my hubby because he wants to get her everything in the store! Bless him. I am the voice of reason so that’s how we compromised on 5 or 6 gifts.

Some highlights from December include:

  1. Staying at The Christmas Place in Sevierville
  2. PJ day at School
  3. Baba’s birthday and taking a quick road trip just the two of us
  4. Realizing we were the cover family for Holt International’s Magazine
  5. Sweet P’s first Christmas Play at church and she was an Angel
  6. Casey’s work dinner with the team he manages
  7. Sweet P’s school program
  8. Almost getting to move in to the farmhouse but not yet!
  9. Casey surprising me with a painting from my favorite artist
  10. Celebrating Christmas early at Nana’s
  11. Taking a ride on the North Pole Limited
  12. Making a gingerbread train
  13. Christmas Eve service at Church and also when Sweet P received her gift from her grandparents: A Frozen jeep
  14. Christmas Day celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Getting to see it through Sweet P’s eyes with her pure joy and excitement
  15. Dollywood with Nana and Mimi. Getting to see shows, ride rides (it was warm!), and seeing the new parade

One year ago today, our baby had open heart surgery. I’m crying as I type this just thinking back. I’m not sure I ever wrote a recap of the surgery so here we go.

While trying to remain calm on the outside for Sweet P’s sake, I remember I was an absolute wreck on the inside. Nauseous. Every emotion one could possibly feel was in the pit of my stomach. We tried explaining it to her the best we could, but I honestly think she had no clue what was about to happen. An example of that was this picture is exactly how she looked like when she went back to the operating room. Literally, they let her drive the car back there…


Not sure what I would do without my tribe of love that day…


Hours passed, and finally the surgery was done. I will never forget seeing her for the first time. I sobbed. I clearly remember the nurse saying “I know there are a lot of wires and tubes coming out of her but they all serve a purpose”. What she didn’t get was that I wasn’t crying at the wires and tubes, I was crying at her lips! For the first time, her lips were the most radiant beautiful color of pink. No more blue lips. Those tears I was shedding were tears of joy.

The surgery was a breeze compared to the days that followed. We spent way longer in the ICU than I cared for. A surgery like that takes a toll on your lungs and one of hers collapsed. It was pitiful knowing there was nothing you could do. She was such a fighter and worked hard on breathing treatments so her lung would inflate back up and we could go to a normal room.


Y’all. She wanted nothing to do with her mama after the surgery. It’s like she totally regressed. It broke me and I was devastated. But you know what? She was mad and hurting. She had to take it out on someone, and usually you take it out on the person you love the most.

img_7788Finally, that sense of humor started coming back…

7 days later we were headed HOME!


Today, Sweet P’s heart is looking just like it should given her condition. Her doctor is very happy! She has zero exercise restrictions. She runs and plays and attends gymnastics. Looking at her, you would never know that she’s had two open heart surgeries in her short little life. God is faithful and we are beyond grateful.

“God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 

This post is dedicated to Sweet P’s biological mom. The woman I will never meet. The woman who was brave enough to let her daughter go, in hopes that she get the adequate care she much needed and deserved. She did. She’s amazing.
You’re my hero. 

When we were matched with our daughter her medical condition terrified me. A heart condition, really? It was very difficult for me to wrap my head around. We had no pictures of her heart. No recent hospital visit to know what shape it was in. The “what ifs” crept in. Imagine knowing your child has a heart problem, but you’re 7,000 miles away. All I could do was pray (and worry). We were matched with her at the end of January so come February it was time for Valentines Day. HEARTS. There were hearts everywhere. Everywhere I looked I was reminded of our daughter’s heart. Those hearts were like little notes from God saying “I’ve got this”. From February on, I had such a peace knowing God was in control.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want a medical condition to scare you. When you’re filling out those adoption papers and they ask you what medical conditions you are open to, really think and pray hard about it. Ask God to prepare your heart for whatever He brings your way.

There is a reason your baby was chosen just for you. Don’t ever forget that.

img_51645-2Dear 501,

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the giddiness between two newlyweds who were so excited about their first home together. You were everything we ever wanted, once we painted the porch and shutters blue. 🙂

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the burnt dinners from a girl who obviously was not meant to be a chef.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the screaming at the TV when Tennessee was losing.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the nights we couldn’t sleep because we were so excited about our future family.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the laughter shared here with family and friends. The late nights on the couch with my girlfriends talking about life.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the crying heard during our fertility journey.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the prayers prayed. Prayers for our family, friends, and prayers for our journey with adoption.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the phone call we received in the living room the day we were matched with our daughter.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the day our daughter stepped through the front door for the first time. For the very first time in her life, she had a place to call home. The day she graced your structure with her presence was my favorite day of the 6 years we lived here.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the big dreams we have for our family. Dreams that are taking us on a new adventure in another home.

501, I’m thankful for your walls! I’m thankful for all of your quirks and all of your charm. I’m thankful God hand picked you just for us. I’m forever thankful for 501…img_5355-2