Thursday, September 10, 2015

Engagment Photos!

Hello Everybody!  Well, we're down to 2 days before the wedding, and I am one excited gal!  All of our wedding plans have went very smoothly and things are falling into place.  We have had a beautiful 6 week engagement and we are both very much ready to finally be married.  It's been fun seeing everyone's faces when we tell them how long our engagement was and telling them we're planning a wedding in 6 weeks and to see their jaws drop.  They usually tell us it can't be done, has!  And we haven't had to give up anything to have it either, which is the amazing part.  We are getting married in the most beautiful spot in all of Aiken, and doors have opened up for us to have our "dream wedding" in ways that only the Lord could have done.  We have done it all by staying under our budget, and kept it nice and simple.  

Matthew and I are so thankful to the Lord for bringing us together, and can't wait to start our married life together on Saturday.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as the day approaches!

In the middle of August my family took a week long vacation to Cherokee, NC, and Matthew and I got some engagement pictures while there.  (Yes, right smack dab in the middle of our 6 week wedding planning, we took a one week vacation!  I think folks thought we were crazy, but it was nice to get away and have one last family vacation all together!)  I figured I'd better post some before I post wedding photos when we get back from the honeymoon!

Up at Mingo Falls

Holding hands!

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."
Song of Solomon 6:3 exerpt

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

"I found him whom my soul loveth."
Song of Solomon 3:4 exerpt

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
Genesis 2:18

 Matthew is my best friend, my lover, my encourager, and I can't wait to be his wife!  God is so good!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Today is Noah's Birthday!

Noah turned 15 today!!!!

Fond Memory: Every week Noah and I sell our products at the Aiken Farmer's Market.  It has been a wonderful experience working alongside him.  Many mornings on our way there, I'll look over and see him dozing off, only to deny it when I call him on it.  After the market, we take our weekly trip to the library (it's both of our favorite spot in town!).  After browsing through the library, we head on over to make a cheese delivery at a local store, and then we head out to eat at Taco Bell.  It's our weekly routine and I have enjoyed being able to spend the one-on-one time with my little brother for the past two years!

Funny Moment:  Noah had his wisdom teeth taken out a few years back and they had to put him under.  When he came too after  he got home, he was utterly hilarious to listen to!  He kept talking about how the room was spinning and how funny everything looked in a very mumbled voice.  We had to help him to his bedroom (practically drag him), and as we walked him by the canned jars, he exclaimed, "Whooaaa!  That'sa lotta tomato sauce!"  Savannah and I started chuckling and barely had enough strength to help him to his bed we were chuckling so hard.  He was the only one who reacted that way to wisdom teeth surgery and to this day it makes me chuckle when I think about all the random comments he made that day.


We love you Noah and are so thankful that the Lord put you in our family!  You are always so cheerful and can brighten anyone's day. You're a joy to work with and never complain about helping out.  You are patient and easy to work with and can downright make me chuckle.  You have a way of warming up everyone's hearts who you come in contact with and we love you sooooooo much!

Happy Birthday Noah!!!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Matthew's business and home!

I'm sure some of you are wondering what happened in between my last post about Matthew and I and our engagement.
Matthew started a shaved ice business here in Aiken.  He is now the proud owner of South Carolina Snowie!
He bought the business from an older gentleman who was getting out of it and reconstructed the whole trailer booth.  He did an excellent job and started selling at the Columbia, SC Soda City market in July, as well as the Evans Towne Farmer's Market in Evans, GA.  He has since built up his business to add Camp Gravatt events (a local Christian camp), and has signed a contract with the University of South Carolina, Aiken to sell Snowies inside their convocation center and on the grounds during games and events!!  He is adding a kiosk to his business, which he is currently working on building this week.
The Lord has been blessing and building his business right here in Aiken, SC and the surrounding area, so until the Lord opens doors elsewhere and moves us on, we will be working out of Aiken.

As for a house, he found a mobile home for rent on 17 acres right on the other side of Aiken, and since we'd been searching for a while, and it was exactly what we had been looking for, we jumped on the opportunity!  It's a two bedroom, two full bath house, with a garage and an office.  We feel extremely blessed with the Lord opening the doors for us to get that place since they listed it as available the exact afternoon that Matthew went in to the real estate agent looking for a place.  

The amazing thing was that he and I had been praying since the middle of July that if it was the Lord's will for us to marry this fall instead of waiting all the way till next spring, that He would open doors for a house and more business for the Snowie through the winter.  We were specifically praying that the Lord would bring the business before the first of August or Matthew was going to consider getting a job on the side for the winter.  

By the last week of July, Matthew had signed the one- year contract with the college (yeah!!) and found a house that would fit our needs (and wants) perfectly!!!!  It's amazing when you leave things in the Lord's hands how quickly He can bring things about!  And then on August 1st, Matthew asked me to marry!  How good and great and loving is our God!  Since then He has opened up doors like only He can do and we are standing back in amazement, thanking Him for His goodness!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Okay, everybody!  The news that you've all been waiting for!

Matthew and I are engaged!
After almost 9 months of courting and getting to know each other and praying for the Lord's will for our lives, Matthew asked me to marry him on Saturday, August 1st, 2015!

He called Mom that afternoon to ask her if we could finish the milking chores early because he had a plan for the evening.  After milking, Matthew asked me to where my green dress because he was taking me out to eat!  No problem there!  Dad and Mom were going with us on a double date, so the four of us loaded up in his car and headed to Red Lobster.  As they led us to our table, Savannah, Ethan and Noah were there waiting for us, but as Mom and Dad took their seats, the waiter stopped us and said, "Your table is over this way."  We walked a few tables away towards the back of the restaurant and there was a table with a beautiful bouquet of orange roses and a lit candle waiting.  Awe....

We sat down across from each other and chatted until we placed our orders.  He then suggested we pray for the food.  We held hands across the table during prayer, since it's the only time we held hands during courtship.  After a beautiful prayer that had us both teary-eyed, we said "Amen" and I started to pull my hands back but Matthew held them and started out,
 "Kelsey Ann Hammond, would you....".


After listening to his lovely, heartfelt proposal I gave him a wholehearted "Yes!" and we both got teary-eyed again.  He told me that he didn't have the ring in yet, but he slipped a "temporary" ring on my finger for me to wear until the "real" one comes in.  (Which I can't wait to see what it looks like!)
He then asked if he could tell me something.  I nodded and he looked into my eyes and said,
"Kelsey, I love you."

It was the first time we told each other that we love each other because we were waiting for engagement to say that.  So it was the sweetest words I've heard!!!!

My family came over to congratulate us and look at the ring and hear how it went and then our food came.  Matthew and I talked and laughed and planned so much that all we did was nibble on our food.  We each ordered a meal and had plans to order a cheesecake to split, but we didn't hardly even touch our meal, we were so excited!

As we left Red Lobster later that evening, he took a wrong turn out of the parking lot.  Little did I know that the evening wasn't over.  He took us out for Putt-Putt and we all had a wonderful time there.  He even had my mom bring an extra change of clothes for me!  (He thinks of everything!)

At the beginning of the game, he handed me a bag of golf balls with answers written on them.  
One said "Maybe next year" and another one said "No way!" while yet another said "I'll think about it".  They were all the different answers I "could've" gave, and somewhere in the bag was a big "YES!" which I had to find!  I did and told him that the "yes" ball was the only one I was going to play with! LOL!

As we played our way around the course, the gazebo came into view.  I commented on the Christmas lights, but when Matthew brought it to my attention again and I looked at it one more time, I noticed that the lights were strung in words.

He and Ethan had come earlier that day and set up the lights to say
"Kelsey I love u."
(The "love" was in the shape of a heart.)

To be engaged to marry Matthew, the godly man I have prayed for for many years, the man I love, the man who loves me is the best feeling in the world!  We are so excited and have had a wonderful time wedding planning.

We all sat around and were talking and trying to decide on what date to go with.  Matthew has always said that he would like a short engagement, only as long as it takes to plan a wedding.  Sounded fine with me, since we both really want to be married.

We picked a date of September 12th, 2015!  

Due to the fact that I really want my sister, Jordan, and her family to come from Canada, she is due with their third on October 9th, they can't travel for a few months after the baby's birth due to passports and birth certificates, we don't really want a winter wedding, fall would be a beautiful time for a wedding and honeymoon and future anniversaries.....we picked sooner rather than later. 

We set a tentative date and before we told anyone outside of family what the date was, we had to find a location and a dress.  If we found those things in the first week, then Sept. 12th it would be.  Well...we got engaged on Saturday evening, and by Monday afternoon Matthew had a location and I had a dress!!!!  Dad, Mom, Savannah and I traveled down close to Atlanta to a dress shop that specializes in modest wedding dresses.  I tried on a handful of dresses, many of which were too big.   There were a few there the next size down and after trying on all but one, the owner notified me that this was the last one.  As I was trying it on, I was running through the dresses in my mind and trying to figure out which one I liked best.  Any of them would've worked, so I was just going to pick one.  As I stepped out of the try-on room in the last dress, I knew I had found "the one"!  It was absolutely lovely and just what I had been looking for.  And the best part about it was that it was my size and it was well below our budget!
The wedding was on!

Since then, things have been coming together beautifully, with the Lord working out details like only He can do.  We are almost done with all of the major planning and it's only been a little over a week.  Everyone we talk to in the wedding planning world (photographers, location owners, dress shops, etc.) tells us we can't plan a wedding in that amount of time, but our God is proving them wrong!  We are so excited and can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for our future.   Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to plan for our wedding and our life together!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Surprise Trip to Ohio!

A lot has been going on lately in our household, so I'll do my best to fill you all in!

At the end of May, Matthew traveled down to spend a few days with us.  He had two gigs planned back-to-back down here in South Carolina, one was a elementary school event on Friday ( the 22nd of May) and the other was a wedding on Saturday (the 23rd of May).  He was due to arrive Thursday afternoon, so that Thursday morning we got up and started our morning routine as usual, with exercising as a family.  After exercising but before going out to milk, I always take a few minutes to do a warm compress on my eyes (I've been having a lot of trouble with styes lately).  I normally lay on the futon in the study while I'm doing my eye compress, but since we had already turned the futon down into a bed and since it was all made up and ready for Matthew, I decided instead to simply lay on the floor next to the futon.  After a few minutes of laying there, my dad walks in the room and says with a very shocked voice, "What are you doing?!"  I replied that I was doing my compress, like I do every morning.  After a few more minutes, our big dog, Clancy, came in the study to see me, but instead of coming over by me, he stopped by the foot of the futon and started sniffing.  I called and he came a little closer, but stopped short of me, sniffing the side of the futon.  I heard our other little dog, Toby, growl from under the futon.  Clancy proceeded to the top of the futon and sniffed again, which resulted in another growl from Toby.  I shooed Clancy out the door telling him to leave Toby alone, but before I got up to go milk the goats, I lifted up the blanket to call Toby out from under the futon bed....but.... my surprise.....

...there lay Matthew!!!!
Under the bed!

You can imagine my shock!  Both of us started laughing and I kept trying to figure out what on earth he was doing under the bed, he explained that he had arrived at our house around 4:00, parked his car at the end of our lane, snuck into the house, left a few clues for me to find come morning (such as this sign on our dry erase board in the dairy, and newspaper stuffed down in my shoes),

and slipped under the futon/bed to wait till morning when he was going to surprise me AFTER I found the clues.  He never would've guessed that I would have laid on the floor right next to where he was hiding and then looked under the bed to discover him early.  He said he felt like a little kid in trouble!  Too funny!  
Although his surprise didn't quite work out like he was hoping, he still took me by surprise when I looked under that bed expecting to find the dog and found my sweet beau instead!

~ ~ ~

Noah and I were able to go with him to the school gig the next day, and afterward he took us out to lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse (his favorite restaurant) and then he treated us to a game of mini golf!  It was a very nice time to talk and enjoy each other's company.
While he was down here, he bought a Snowie shaved ice business.  Dad had mentioned the idea to him when one came available, and after praying about it and working through all of the details, he decided that the Lord had opened this door for us.  It would give us an opportunity to work together, and he could be self-employed!  I'll fill you in on the Snowie business more in the next post!

The weekend went by quickly and soon he had to head back up to Ohio.  A few days after Matthew left, while our family was eating pizza, Dad lifted up his plate in order to "lick it" and there on the bottom of his paper plate read "Ohio Bound, May 31st-June 3rd"!  He had planned a surprise trip for him and I to travel up to see Matthew and his family one last time before Matthew moved down to South Carolina!  Yeah!!!!  I had two days to pack and get ready and boy, was I excited!

En route...

We left for Ohio after church on Sunday afternoon and arrived late in the evening at Matthew's brother's house.  After chatting and catching up with them, we all hit the sack for the next few fun-filled days.  The next morning, all of the guys from the landscape crew showed up to start the work week.  Matthew's last day working for J & L had been Saturday, so he was off and able to spend the day with us!  While the guys were getting the mowers ready for the jobs, they let us try a standing mower.  Dad and I each got to try riding it around the lawn.  It was fun, fast and a little jerky, but I think that that was my fault and not the mower's!

 Matthew then took Dad and I up to Clifton Gorge for a nice hike.

Being our cheesy selves!

It was a brisk morning and a beautiful scenery.

Cavemen... (wink)

After the walk we grabbed lunch and headed over to visit some friends that Matthew has told us much about.  They were having a get-together with a bunch of families, so it was nice to put faces to the names!
We then headed down to Cincinnati to visit a Snowie (shaved ice) headquarters.  We were able to ask any questions that we had as well as see the setup and get some ideas of how to better run Matthew's business.  We drove back to Dayton to a local pizza joint where Luke, Matthew's older brother and boss, was hosting a going-away party for him.  Matthew had worked for Luke for 10 years in the lawn care business, so the J and L Lawn and Landscape crew gave him a nice sendoff.  After eating, we all headed back to Luke's for some games and ice cream to end the evening!

Playing cards...
(Matthew and I creamed Dad and Luke at Spades....just thought you all might want to know.  hehehe!)

Tuesday morning, Matthew treated Dad and I to a delicious breakfast!

Then we headed out to visit some of the small towns around Dayton and their cute little downtown areas.  We headed up to a local park to walk around, talk, and get pictures.

Enjoying each other....

Our loyal chaperone...

Our heart....(or at least, it was supposed to look like a heart!)

Matthew, goofing around in Goodwill!

Looking stylish! hehehe!

We visited another park and took a walk around the pond.

Later on in the day, Luke joined us and we all took a trip down to King's Island Amusement Park.

Luke, with a fake "group hug"!  He's such a ham. ;-)

Halfway through the day, Luke and Matthew convinced us all to try the log ride, assuring us that even though the weather was cooler, you hardly ever get very wet with this ride.




Drenched more like it!  But it was fun, and that's the main thing!

At the end of the day....

There was even a firework show right before the park closed, so the guys took us up on the high swings to watch the fireworks go off!  It was a spectacular view.

Wednesday morning Dad and I packed up and got ready to head back home.  Dad took Matthew and I, Luke, Joan, and the kiddos out for breakfast before we hit the road.  We had a wonderful time up there, packing in as much as we could.  It was the best surprise trip I've ever been on!  I'm very grateful for my parents for planning the trip as well as my family holding down the fort while I was away and filling in to finish my chores.  They are all so very sweet!