Friday, September 25, 2015


My sister Deanna married her long-time love John Moody (hence the fun bach party hashtag) on June 6, 2015. But before that, we celebrated her upcoming nuptials with a quick, fun bachelorette party in Charlotte, NC!

After having so much fun at my friend Hope's bachelorette bash wayyy back in 2011 (part 1 and part 2), I knew Charlotte would be a great place to plan another bach party that wouldn't be so far away or require an entire weekend (we were limited to just one night).

Deanna, the other bridesmaids, and I left my parents house Saturday April 19th for Charlotte and made a quick stop in Downtown Raleigh to have some brunch at Busy Bee Cafe. We sat in the roof-top dining area and it was a gorgeous day! I highly recommend the crack tots.

roof-top dining at Busy Bee
"crack" tater tots
the beautiful Bride-to-Be at Busy Bee!
After a long drive to Charlotte (where Dee's bridesmaids got to meet Road Rage Lauren), we checked into the hotel and my ever-so-unprepared sister realized she had completely forgotten her hanging bag which contained her outfit of the evening. I had brought two outfits so Dee wore the dress I had brought  (that I really wanted to wear, but hey, what are sisters/MoHs for?). Coincidentally it was the same dress I wore to her 21st birthday dinner!

We quickly changed clothes and headed to Peculiar Rabbit in the Plaza Midwood area of Charlotte for dinner. If you've never been to Charlotte, I highly recommend researching all the fun neighborhoods. Plaza Midwood has a ton of great restaurants (such as Peculiar Rabbit and Soul Gastrolounge) and was a little closer to the uptown area where we were staying. We wanted to try something a little more "Charlotte-y" instead of just a chain/super touristy spot in the Epicentre.

Dee and Me at dinner
We sadly didn't get to sit in the rooftop area, but check out the awesome view from their deck!
Following dinner, we went back to the hotel for a lingerie shower for Dee where we thoroughly embarrassed her by making her model all her gifts.

isn't she stinking precious?!!

the Bride and her maids before heading out
We had another round of freshening up before going to Howl at the Moon, a super fun piano bar with great live music!

At Howl at the Moon, we hit a major hiccup. One of the bridesmaids, Kayla realized she had left her ID at home and we watched the bouncer check ever. single. person's. ID. at the door to the bar. She apologized and said she would just go back to the room but we weren't having it. I just happened to have two versions of my driver licenses (one with my address in Macclesfield, and another with the Tarboro address), so we decided to just see if she could pretend to be Lauren Edmondson long enough to get in the door. We knew it would be a long shot considering Kayla looks nothing like me, is about 7 inches shorter than me, and definitely doesn't look like she could be 27 years old, but IT WORKED. That bouncer glanced at the ID, made no comment that another Lauren Edmondson had just walked in the door, stamped her hand and sent her through!

We had a fabulous time dancing, singing at the top of our lungs, and celebrating Deanna the rest of the night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

the post I never wanted to write.

I wrote yesterday about how a lot had happened in the short five months since we moved. I didn’t mention one huge thing because I feel like this deserves an entire post (and a long one at that). My beautiful, courageous Mema Dean passed away on July 1. 

If you’ve read my blog long, you’ve seen her face before because she had, and still has, a huge impact on my life. Mema was such a fighter, beating breast cancer in '92 and lymphoma in '09, battling daily against arthritis that crippled her knees, shoulders, and hands, and was missing several organs including her appendix, ovaries, gallbladder, one kidney and even part of her lung. Her little body put up such a hard fight against her heart and its failure to beat on rhythm, but the Lord took her home and relieved her of that daily struggle.

at her surprise 80th birthday party last year with my mama and Aunt Pam
When I was younger, my daddy owned a sleep study company called RemLabs. He traveled all over the state, and eventually all over the US performing sleep studies, opening satellite locations, speaking at conferences and etc. My mom is a full-time pharmacist, so whenever daddy was gone for extended days, Mema Dean came and stayed with us. My sister and I fought over who got to sleep with her at night and treasured those "Mema Dean Nights". She lived with us as she recovered from knee surgeries, her shoulder surgery, her mastectomy and various other surgeries as well. Mema was a fixture in our home and on our yearly vacation to Hilton Head.

our last vacation in 2014 to HHI
We were also a fixture in her home. Sundays after church were spent around her table eating meals WAY too big for our stomachs. As our families grew to include spouses and our own children, we found ourselves squeezed into different corners of the living room and kitchen, sharing high-chairs and bumping elbows at the bar. Her cooking was un-rivaled and when we did have to move Thanksgiving to my parents' and aunt's homes so we had room to cook and enjoy our meals, we made sure Mema was nearby to provide directions on how to perfect her biscuits and egg gravy.

When she retired (from Remlabs actually), she got to keep us after school and in the summers. Even though she didn't have cable, lived out in the middle of nowhere, and didn't have a plethora of toys at her house, we LOVED being at Mema's. There was always some kind of snack she'd recently made, she had the best lap for rocking in, and her grilled cheese or fried egg sandwiches were magical. One of my favorite Mema activities was when she drove us places and pretended to be a flight attendant. She'd inform us that the seat belt light was on and we needed to be sure our seats were in the upright position. She'd hit the little reflectors in the middle of our country road on purpose and say "watch out for turbulence" and would give us little Vitamin C drops (or as we called them "orange things") as our "in-flight snack".

in her wig as she recovered from hodgkins lymphoma at my cousin's wedding 
In her later years, her health declined and her congestive heart failure resulted in her retaining so much fluid that she could barely leave the house, and even then couldn't do so without a wheelchair. Her large lap slowly disappeared. Her once size 18 form went down to a petite 6. She didn't get to leave the house and go on shopping adventures with her best friend Mary Ann, or the Pizza Inn buffet once a week. So, I called her on my way home from work every day and told her about my day. I tried to brighten her spirits with funny stories about Brody and Sawyer. But I watched (and listened to) her as she struggled to pay attention or talk sensibly because her mind was being affected by her lack of oxygen and witnessed her getting crankier and crankier with my mama and aunt as they tried to alternate days and nights staying with her. I knew my Mema wasn't happy, but she wouldn't give up because she wanted to stay here for us and I selfishly wanted her to stay too.

I called her on my way home from work on July 1 and got no answer so I called my daddy. He was super weird on the phone and asked if I was home yet, I told him no and he then asked if I'd talked to Josh. I knew immediately that Mema was gone. I don't know why, or how, but I just knew. I hung up without saying anything to daddy about it and called Josh. He answered and I could tell he was upset. I just said, "I need to know, is my Mema dead?". He calmly asked me where I was on my drive (worried I'd be too upset to drive), and I remember just saying, "Josh, I'm going to be fine. Just tell me." He said, "yes" and I told him I'd be home shortly. Daddy informed me that she'd had a cardiac episode of sorts and that her heart just gave out, but that she never knew she was struggling.

I miss her every single day and I have picked up the phone on more than one occasion to ask her a cooking question or to share my day with her. I miss her laugh and the way she sucked her teeth after meals (despite how gross it was). I crave her chocolate sop and "flour bread" (fried bread and chocolate gravy). I hate that my Brody won't get to know her and that Sawyer didn't have more time with her.

with Brody in Nov. 2014

But, I am also extraordinarily happy for her. I know she is in Heaven pain-free reunited with her two brothers and with my papa who she hasn't seen in over 40 years. She can move and go like she wants and she is with Jesus who she loves and taught us (and many Sunday school students) to love for so many years. 

I weep for my family and me, but I rejoice for her. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Five months later...

It’s been awhile and a LOT has happened.

We moved to Emerald Isle officially on April 25th and I started working at a small investment and estate management company on the 27th as their “director of first impressions”, handling their marketing, client relations, client events, and also serving as the first contact for clients and prospects at the office.

I’d be lying if I said things were going absolutely amazing. Our finances are struggling to say the absolute least. We haven’t sold our home in Tarboro yet so we are paying that mortgage on top of the crazy high rent for our little duplex on the island and our daycare costs doubled on top of me taking a pay cut and having to buy an insurance policy for me and Brody (no more state benefits sadly).

Our little duplex is no where near large enough for all the things we had in our house in Tarboro so most of our furniture, some the boys' toys, and half of my clothes are scattered between the old house and my parents place. Below is our side of the duplex (before we moved in), oddly enough that door at the bottom of the stairs by the gate goes to our downstairs neighbor's area, not ours.

And this... is our kitchen. Yes, it is pink. I have no words. Don't let the space-age oven and fridge scare you.

On the plus side, we are four rows from the ocean, so you can't beat the location!

Other things have fallen into place though. We finally have a babysitter after a LONG five months of what I call “the sitter sagas” where my poor kids had a different sitter almost every day. Praise the Lord my friend Katheryn (who teaches) moved in with us this summer to keep the boys from June to August while we searched for a permanent situation for them. Our downstairs neighbor "Miss" Kaitlyn is thankfully keeping the boys at our house every day now. Even though the cost of daycare has doubled since we moved, it’s great to know they’re being taken care of right at home.

"Miss Katheryn" and the boys this summer at the aquarium (a weekly occurrence)

We have found a church called One Harbor that we are completely in love with. At first we kind of fought the “this is our new church home” feeling because it is located in Morehead City (about a 25 to 30 minute drive). We visited other places but we found ourselves constantly comparing every church we visited to One Harbor. We prayed over it and made the decision to accept that it is where we are supposed to be despite the drive and then BAM the Lord opened a door and the church is now working towards opening a satellite site in Swansboro (about a 10 minute drive)! We are so excited about it!

Sawyer and Brody have loved the beach so we tried to go every weekend this summer. Sawyer also adores the aquarium and his new preschool. I was so worried he’d have a hard time adjusting but he seems to really enjoy being here. Brody is happy wherever he is, especially if he can eat all the sand and seashells he wants. We have spent a LOT more time together as a family, just the four of us since the move since we don’t have free babysitters 15 minutes away nor are we hanging out with friends/family every weekend any more. It has been both wonderful and a little frustrating since we don’t have a lot of time for just me and Josh, but we are loving all the fun stuff we’ve been able to do with just us and our boys.

With us not going out a lot (no free babysitters and no money = lots of "staying in") we have had a hard time meeting new people. It seems like mostly older people are what live in Emerald Isle (it is quite the retirement mecca) and there's not a lot happening on our end of the island. There are a few "strollers strides" and other mom groups that meet, but they're during the day while I'm at work. So we are looking forward to our church community group meeting next Tuesday where we can finally meet some people our age, with kids our age that live near us!

We are slowly but surely making a home here, and while it’s been an adjustment and our debt is getting bigger and bigger as we try to make ends meet, I feel like we are right where God meant for us to be. Please pray with us that a wonderful family will love and buy our house and that we’ll make some new friends soon!

Side note: Since I haven't blogged in over 5 months, I'm going to probably be posting some pictures and such from stuff that happened in like June and July, but I just feel like I need to get some things OUT and on the blog. Is it weird to say my head is a little full of posts I've written over and over in my head and pictures I want to share?