20 week bump date – Happy Halfway!

Being pregnant can pose a few challenges. There’s rules to follow, there’s a child to make preparations for, there’s doctors appointments, there’s that whole “too tired to function” segment, there’s random aches and a rapidly increasing belly, and wait – what else? Oh yeah, there’s everything that you normally do. Maneuvering can be a a struggle at times, but one that I’m so happy about!

Take this weekend for example. For the past five days, I’ve had a pretty awful cold {don’t worry, it’s not the flu, I went to the doctor and confirmed that I’m flu negative. Let’s just say that was one test I was happy to fail.} Friday night, Charles was having guys night, so I planned to happily take this opportunity to clean the house and catch up on some much needed chores. Combine congestion, an awful headache, a sore throat, an aching back, a glorious thunderstorm, and pregnancy exhaustion {by the way..hello to all of you big fat fakers who told me second trimester bursts of energy were a thing. I mean, I’m not falling asleep at 6pm anymore, but still, so tired..} and take your best educated guess to see if you think I accomplished anything I intended to. If your answer was no, congratulations! You’re a winner. No, there’s no prize or anything, but nice deduction skills. I ended up taking a tylenol, slathered on Vicks, sat with my beloved heating pad, and turned on my humidified filled with eucalyptus essential oil as well as my diffuser, and I caught up on rest. I did nothing. My body was begging me for this rest, yet I ignored it all week. I mean, Grayson is already taking a lot of my energy {and food…and nutrients} and the told was zapping up the littler I had left, so I should have realized sooner I needed to stay in bed all night in order to get well.

Enter Saturday morning. I woke up feeling refreshed after sleeping in {woohoo, I slept until 7am! If you know me at all, this is a victory for me!} and I knew I had wifey duties to tend to. The house was a disaster{remember aforementioned thunderstorm? Well, we have our two dogs as well as my mother in laws two dogs this weekend. Combine wet grass, mud, and the paws of four dogs and you get an idea on how messy the house was when I woke up Saturday} I had also volunteered to watch my nephew Liam for a few hours, and I needed to address and mail invitations for a couples shower we are co-hosting. Somehow, I managed to address + mail the invites, watch Liam, take a hot shower, make a grocery list, sweep + mop all of the floors,  cleaned the mirrors, had all of the humidifiers and diffusers cleansing the air, replace scentsy’s, wash all of the sheets {I had a cold, this had to be done}, clean the counters, scrub toilets, scrub the showers, and make a grocery list. And let me tell you – It. Felt. Incredible. 

enjoy my wife duties. I absolutely love being a wife, and these are just the kind of things you look forward to when you take on the role of someone’s wife. More than anything, I love how the house feels now that I’m finished! From the way clean sheets feel, to the way the house smells, to the calmness it brings. Take last night for example. I was so happy to be done with all of the cleaning and so exhausted from doing it, I was sitting in my clean sheets, with “sleepy pillow spray” on my pillow, my heating pad on my back, next to my humidifier, and the house felt wonderful. I felt calm, I felt peaceful, and I felt exhausted. But it can be a tad harder to achieve constant calm when you’re expecting a little one, especially if you’re sick.

I don’t feel like I always have to have it together, but I’m going to try my hardest to make sure I have it as close as I can possibly get. Today will be a Sunday well spent with coffee, grocery shopping, washing Grayson’s new crib sheet in newborn detergent, putting together his crib, and meal prepping for the week to come. This is the life that I love. This is my best life. Taking care of my husband and soon to be son makes me feel fulfilled.

Quick “20 week bumpdate” – HOORAY we are HALFWAY to meeting you, sweet Grayson Lowrey! Your mommy has been feeling great, just tired. The only thing she has been craving is beer, so daddy got her some O’Douls {non alcoholic beer} and that seems to keep mommy satisfied. Daddy has painted your room and put together your crib. He is so excited to meet you! He also goes around showing EVERYONE the pictures of your gender ultrasound, saying “THAT’S MY BOY!!” He talks to you every night and has to “hold you” aka hold my belly every night before bed. Mommy keeps buying you clothes and knows she needs to stop, but she can’t help it, you’re going to be the best dressed boy on the block! Mommy was talking to a stranger the other day and said “my son…” and then started to cry. of happiness. Your fur sisters Cholla and Milli are excited to meet you, too! We can’t wait to get another sneak peek at you in a week, but until then, we are going to post a few pictures of your 16 week ultrasound to show everyone!


We get to love you

I had every intention of posting several months ago about my skin care routine {I’ve found some fantastic products lately that don’t break your budget..} but right about the time I was going to be writing our my content for that post, something else happened.

We found out we are expecting a Baby Alley!

Needless to say, there were too many thoughts + emotions going through my head to remember “Oh hey, about that blog post on skin care routines…”  My free time quickly became overcome with worry {is the baby ok in there?}, with excitement {let’s look at baby names! And baby items!}, and with the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed. It was a time I got to spend with my husband keeping this little secret about this sweet little miracle we have created.

Now, because I like talking so much about my experiences with life so much, I thought I would share some of my “first trimester tips” with you {because hallelujah i’ve made it to trimester 2!} So here we go:

First trimester experiences {from an extremely unexperienced pregnant lady}

  • You don’t always have to get morning sickness. And thank you sweet lord for that. That was actually one of the first fears I had upon finding out I was pregnant. People make it out to seem like every woman will be drastically ill throughout the first trimester {and don’t get me wrong, some of you will!} Luckily, I did not have this problem. I didn’t get sick a single time {I had a few small waves of nausea here and there albeit nothing unmanageable} A tip I learned from my sister was if you start to feel sick, even if you’re not hungry at all, eat a snack! It will help you stop feeling nauseous. Luckily, if you do have morning sickness, it should start to subside around good ole trimester 2.
  • You’ll be tired, OH SO VERY TIRED. I never realized how exhausted I would be. I work 6-3, so it’s rare you’ll find me up past 8:30 or 9pm anyway, but now it’s hard to find me awake past 7pm! I won’t be feeling overly exhausted and them WHAM, I’ve fallen asleep with my phone on my face and I don’t even realize it until an hour later. This is something I don’t think others fully understand if they haven’t experienced pregnancy before, because lately I’ve gotten the feeling some of our friends have thought I’m being lazy or something. .Let me tell you, mommas, I understand. This symptom has hit me and hit me with a vengeance. Our bodies are working in overdrive to provide support not only to us, but to our sweet littles. Now supposedly we’re in luck, this is supposed to start subsiding and we’re supposed to get a “burst of energy” in trimester two, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m only a week in to trimester two, and I’m still just as tired as I was before.
  • Stay OFF of the mommy forums and mommy boards on the internet. This is something I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do until I started and ended up getting TERRIFIED of everything. But once I had started googling all of my questions, I couldn’t stop, so my advice? Don’t even start. If you go looking for a board on advice if there’s a problem, you will inevitably find someone who had a problem. Usually people who do are hooked to those boards, so stay off of them or you will worry yourself sick. I know I did. I wouldn’t even allow myself to think of names or nursery ideas or anything until after my 12 week appointment with my doctor because those boards freaked me out so much. If there are no signs that there is a problem, I’m sure your baby is completely fine in there. Let your body do what it was created by God to do. If you can’t help it and do end up getting worried, I saw a recommendation from a doctor that said if you’re really worried in trimester 1 and you can’t get in to see the doctor until 12 weeks {which is normal}, then take one pregnancy test per week. If something were going wrong, likely your HcG levels would drop and it would be reflected on a pregnancy test. I did this a couple of times to calm my nerves, and by george, it helped.
  • Don’t let people “preggo shame” you. If I am asked one more time why I’m drinking a cup of coffee when I’m pregnant, I may actually throw hot coffee at someone {okay, an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying.} I know how much coffee / caffeine I’m allotted in a day {and trust me I use it wisely}. You’re going to get asked about epidurals, about chromosomal disorder testing, about breastfeeding, about staying at home, about co-sleeping, about your exercise routine…everything. It’s like being pregnant is an open invitation for everyone to voice their opinions. At first, this severely bothered me, but now I realize that people are just trying to help. Their opinions are most likely what they were taught is the best for their babies, and they are wanting to share that advice with you, so let them, and then choose to use what you wish. It’s also a time where you and your spouse will start forming a new bond, and you’ll have to become a team. Charles and I have recently had a discussion about not discussing important decisions in front of family or friends, because these are decisions we need to make in private as a new parental unit. All you have to do when someone asks you something you haven’t discussed yet and may have different opinions about is say “we haven’t discussed that yet, and we will discuss it later in private.” There are big decisions that come with being a parent. My husband and I were raised similarly yet completely different, so it will take time for us to blend our backgrounds to parent the best way possible, but those discussions are personal, and you don’t need family or friends in the background trying to sway your decisions one way or the other.
  • Keep dating your spouse. One of the reasons Charles and I didn’t start talking about children immediately after we were married is because we wanted to get to know each other in our knew roles as husband and wife. One of my greatest fears is that we will start making everything about our child and stop putting our marriage first, which, I know may be an unpopular opinion, but your marriage should always come first. Charles and I have “mini date nights” where we fill out the baby book together, talk about baby names, do projects around the house, order in food and binge watch our favorite shows, etc. They say husbands can often feel left out of the pregnancy process if you don’t make them feel involved, so I’ve been trying to keep that in mind and letting Charles contribute whenever he can. He was the husband that was there to help make every decision with our wedding, and he wanted to be there, and he’s been there wanting to be a part of every decision with Baby A as well. I cannot wait to see him in his new role as “father.”

Here’s a few pictures from the talented N.M. Franklin Photography of our baby announcement!

“We get to love you” 

So Fresh and So Clean

The days are getting shorter, your to do lists are getting longer. How’s a girl supposed to keep the house clean? If you’re anything like me, in order to get back on track with your cleaning routine, you need a free day {because they are so easy to come by…} where you can wake up one morning, grab a cup of coffee, and take the entire day to do nothing but Deep. Clean. Everything. Now we’re talking.

Most of the time, I can get by with an hour or two of “spot cleaning” here or there, but there are about 4 times a year when I just need something more. Typically, these line up with the season changes, so I’m already in the spirit of change, kind of like right now, actually. There’s just something wonderful about waking up to a spotless and refreshed house that makes you not want to leave {HA! As if I needed another reason..}

Now, doing a whole house deep clean isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes the right mindset, attitude, and most of all, it takes a house so messy you can’t stand another day of it. It also takes zero interruptions, for example, a husband saying he’s bored every twenty seconds.

Since I like sharing so much, I thought I would share some tips on how I stay sane and organized when a deep cleaning marathon event is on the horizon, so without further ado, I present to you my “husband isn’t home to get in the way, finally have a free day, house is a disaster” cleaning routine.

  1. Make a checklist – No, I’m not kidding. This is the first thing I do every single time. It helps me remember what I want to accomplish, and it’s gratifying to check things off! You can also appreciate the work you’ve done once you see the list diminish.
  2. Clean one room at a time – This isn’t mandatory, but it helps me stay on track. This advice comes straight to you from my momma. Her theory is that when you have a large task at hand, it makes it less daunting when you can at least walk into one room knowing that it’s completely done. Here’s the order I typically use:

Ø    Master bedroom

Ø    Bathrooms

Ø    Guest bedrooms

Ø    Living Room {heads up, if it’s the fall time, like now, it’s a good time to check and ensure that your fire place is in functional order. FYI, ours is not. Looks like a call to the repair man is in order at the Alley Homestead…}

Ø  Finally, the kitchen. I save this for last because this is typically the most trafficked room in our home and usually has the most work ahead.

  1. Open the windows – Let your AC or heater breathe. Turn it off, open your windows, and let the fresh air make your home feel renewed. We’ve actually had our windows open for about a week now and it just plain feels better. I also like to turn my essential oil diffused on to further cleanse the air. This weekend was a chilly one, with rain in the morning and sunshine and cool winds in the afternoon, and this girl loved every minute of bundling up and having the windows open and the sound of leaves rustling.
  2. Multitask when you can – Work smarter, not harder people. If you’re washing sheets for the master bedroom, throw the guest sheets in there as well. Same with blankets. If you’re needing to take a minute to fold the laundry, make sure you have the tub in a deep soak, or turn on your self-clean mode on your oven. Make sure you’re maximizing your time.
  3. Make it fun – When I first get my coffee in me and I’m getting my head together to start cleaning, I put on a Netflix or Hulu show that I’ve already seen on to distract me and keep myself entertained while I start cleaning. After a while, I need something a bit more fast paced to keep myself going, so I switch to Pandora and throw on a fun station, like 90’s hits or Hip Hop BBQ radio.
  4. Don’t forget the miscellaneous chores – This is the perfect time to give those pups a bath {you have fresh sheets, after all..} or to clean your makeup brushes. You’re already in cleaning mode, so why not get everything in great shape? Your day well spent will bring weeks of content.


I bought these placemats at Dollar Tree and I cut them to fit the size of the shelves in my fridge, that way when I need to clean my shelves, I just remove the mat and clean it instead of stuck on goop in my fridge drawers!


Walmart SCORE – these new products are incredible! I used the Plink drain cleaner on every drain in this house to make it smell nice and clean stuck down objects. The Dishwasher cleaner will be used tonight, and I’m excited to clean the dishwasher!


How incredible is our new macrame wall hanging? A friend’s wife made it for me, and she is in the process of creating a business, “The Knotty Momma!” More details to come. 
Spent all Sunday with a screwdriver and these slippers



I had the most random thoughts while cleaning this weekend. Everything from “How the heck do you clean a cowhide rug?” to “can dogs glare at you?” to “I really think I’m annoying Cholla with my Abba sing along.”

What are some of your “deep clean day” rituals? It seems like this is the exact way I clean my house every time. I’d love to hear how you clean your home! Stay tuned next time for some of my favorite face cleansing products. In the meantime, here’s some pictures of some neat new cleaning products I found, as well as how clean the house looks now!




In the middle of September – Happy 4th wedding anniversary

It’s Monday already? All I did was blink on Friday at quitting time and yet somehow it’s already Monday. Don’t get me wrong, some weeks I’m more inclined to like Mondays. Sometimes, I’ve gotten all of my wifely duties done over the weekend – like cleaning the house, stocking up the fridge, updating Charles’ and my calendar for the week, washing the sheets, giving Cholla and Milli a bath, and even meal planning. These are the weekends that I go to bed on Sunday nights and feel ready to tackle a new work week. Clearly, this was not one of those weekends. In fact, I haven’t had one of those weekends in about six weeks, which is unheard of for me. Between friends’ weddings, moms’ accident, being out of town, and stomach bugs, it’s been a little hectic around the Alley Homefront.

I am bound and determined to make this coming weekend one of those weekends. It may seem boring to you, but when life around me is total chaos, I need to feel like everything else is in control {does this make me a control freak? Maybe..a little?} So now that I’ve told you about the weekend I didn’t have, let me tell you a little bit about the great weekend I did have.

As mentioned in my previous post, Charles and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary on Thursday. We actually spent the day at work, then went and spent time at the hospital with my mom, to be followed by wing stop and popping a bottle of champagne at our house. It was surprisingly a perfect night, especially because we knew we would be getting to spend the entire weekend together at the lake..{also, how lucky am I that I have a husband who doesn’t care to spend their anniversary in a hospital room and eating take out? I’m the real winner here.}

Friday was another work day, but after work, I made the trek, dogs in tow, to meet Charles at the lake. It was perfect from the minute I arrived. We spent the evening on the deck, watching the sunset, talking and listening to Michael Buble, drinking red wine, and making my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce, and finished by watching a movie before we fell asleep.

I had every intention of “sleeping in” on Saturday, but when you work 6-3 Monday through Friday, “sleeping in” is making it to 7am. I let Charles sleep while I made breakfast {banana pancakes and bacon, mmm} and sipped on coffee while my mister slept in until around 9. We then popped a bottle of champagne and sipped on some mimosas while watching a certain team who shall not be named that broke our hearts {but we still love anyway…} We finally got out on the water and enjoyed one final day on the always breathtaking Lake Ouachita. When we got back to the house, we started cooking dinner and Charles insisted that he handle it and that I go take a hot shower and relax {to which I quickly responded with “deal”} When I got out of the shower, I was greeted with an amazing dinner of seared scallops and shrimp, truffle risotto, and Brussel sprouts au gratin. Raise your hand if you love a man who knows his way around the kitchen!

On Sunday, we packed up shop and got the pleasure of spending the day with the world’s cutest two year old nephew, Liam! We let him nap for a few hours while we attempted to unpacked and then off to the fair we went! After some fair fun, we went to a new place in town, Vargas Fruteria, and treated ourselves to some rolled ice cream! It was FANTASTIC. If you live in Fort Smith and haven’t gone, what have you been waiting for? There will be many trips in our future…

That concludes this episode of “where in the world are the alley’s,” but don’t worry, because I’ll be back soon with more. We are in the process of re-doing our living room area, and I hope {literally crossing my fingers} that I can get my coffee table finished this week in time to post this weekend about the new look of the room.

I hope you all have a quick and painless Monday, and that your week flies by!


My weekend – via iPhone

Some of you may be wondering where I have been since last year when I posted last – and some of you may already know where I’ve been. Suffice it to say, it has been a whirlwind of a past few months for us, and I’m finally ready to get back into the swing of this blogging thing.

I don’t want to waste time catching you all up on the ins and outs of the past few months {trust me, there’s nothing interesting to share, I really haven’t been up to much!} so let’s just hop right into how I’ve spent this week/weekend. Warning: This will be all from photos off my iPhone. I only decided about ten minutes ago that I was going to jump back into posting, so I didn’t know to get out the good camera – or to have my sister come take pictures! With that being said, here we go!

Honestly, this weekend has been a glorious weekend. My husband and I were BOTH in town this weekend at the same time, and didn’t have concrete plans. This may seem to most as normal or nothing to get excited about, but lately, for us, this is a “little luxury” and I intended to soak up all of this time together. We’ve been trying to take a different approach to life lately. A slower one, focused on more time together, more intimate, more calm and kept to ourselves. I stumbled across a quote the other day that embodied everything we have been feeling lately, and it’s been such an inspiration. It says “The older I get, the more I realize the value of privacy, of cultivating your circle and only letting certain people in. You can be open, honest, and real while still understanding not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life.”  That struck a cord. Just some food for thought for your Sundays!

Let’s get right into the weekend. On Friday, it was particularly stormy, and I thought we were probably going to be stuck in for the night {which I was completely content with!} but right as Charles got home, the storm had cleared, the sun came out, and a beautiful rainbow appeared. I should have known right then that good weekend was to come. We ended up getting sushi, and I was in bed by 9:30. The end.

Saturday morning, I woke well rested and decided to head to our local farmers market with Cholla, our little min-pin. It was only the second weekend this market has been open for season, so there wasn’t a vast amount of vendors, but it was still magnificent. Look at my loot! I’m fairly certain you can smell that gorgeous mint through the computer..

We had a great time, despite the chilly weather. We went back home and made a cup of coffee and did some research on what we would need from Lowe’s to FINALLY DO SOME LANDSCAPING IN THE FRONT YARD. We had nothing. No flowers, no trees, nothing. I was blessed that Charles was willing to get out of the warm bed on a cold and windy morning to go with me to Lowe’s to pick out flowers, trees, soil, etc. We didn’t completely finish everything we needed to, but we came home, made some mimosas, and got to work on the two flower beds outside of the garage. Look at this before + after. Nothing too fancy, but a significant improvement.


I tell you what. I had more fun listening to music, drinking mimosas, and planting flowers with Charles than I’ve had in weeks. He makes me laugh, it was just the two of us, and we just had a glorious time. There’s still a lot of work to do creating a flower bed off the guest bedroom window and then doing a small flower bed around the mailbox, but we were happy with what we accomplished. Since it had rained, it was to wet to do anything besides those flower beds…{but that’s okay, that just means I get another fabulous gardening day with my handsome husband..I won’t complain!} We did, however, plant a plethora of veggie seeds and can’t wait to see how they turn out! We planted: green onions, tomatoes, cayenne peppers, jalapeños, vidalia onions, lavender, and mint!

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing a bit of grocery shopping + cleaning around the house. We grilled out steaks with friends and had a nice fire in the backyard. Take a look at some of our new additions to the house decor: The large GATHER sign and the large Letterboard are both from Paperwerk, which I’ve blogged about SO often, and much of the other decor was from Hobby Lobby. All of their items labeled “spring shop” were 40% off {and they were already fabulously priced..}

I am LOVING my new Mainstays essential oil cool mist diffuser. I purchased this at walmart and have been obsessed with Lemongrass and Grapefruit scents. I’ll put a few drops in the diffuser in the mornings and it wake me up and makes me feel refreshed. I’ll switch out of sandalwood or lavender at bedtime. Do you have a favorite essential oil? Please share if you do..

Sunday has been spent lazily drinking coffee, puppy walks, and then we are going golfing with some out of town friends {well, the boys will be golfing..I’ll be sitting in the golf cart!} 

I hope you’ve had as wonderful of a slow weekend as I have. I’ll leave with with a recent picture of the mister and myself.


FALLing in Love || Prints + Textures

Let’s just take a moment to admire my current condition: I’m sitting in my PJ’s {still} at my OWN house — high five for being home — we have all of the windows open, it still smells like last nights fire in the backyard, & I get to babysit my favorite one year old wild man tonight. Oh, and I’m on cup of coffee number 2. Oh, and the Hogs are playing Bama tonight. Oh, and I’ve got a sleeping puppy on me. I really don’t hate this day. 

My 9 week traveling spree has {almost} come to an end! I only have one or two more small weekend trips planned for the next few months, and I couldn’t be happier about it! {That being said, Nashville? You treated us WELL and we can’t wait to plan another trip..}

When we were in Nashville, there was one thing that stood out to me the most:


Don’t get me wrong, we have had a few “fall-ish” days here in Arkansas, but we pale in comparison to the amazing Nashville weather. Arkansas, you can do better. Typically, by this time, we are at least in the 70’s, so I’m hoping we can drink some of the Tennessee kool-aid and start seeing some cooler temperatures.

While in Nashville, I got to wear some amazing fall clothing pieces from my closet, and it honestly made me feel renewed. I felt good in the clothes that I was wearing. I felt confident in the clothes I was wearing. I felt comfortable in the clothes that I was wearing. It was nice to get a bit chilly during the morning and evening hours. I was in “basic girl” fall heaven. All that was missing was a PSL…

Maybe it’s the fall weather that I experienced in Nashville, maybe it’s the fact that it’s the first week in October, maybe it’s because I’m going to a pumpkin patch with my cutie pie nephew this weekend, but for whatever reason, I wanted to share some prints for fall. Some of these you may not expect to be a “fall pattern” or a “fall print,” but hey, I like them, and who’s writing the blog post here?

Since my previous last time ended up being waaaaay longer than I intended it to be, oops, my bad, I’m going to make this one short and sweet. Let’s get right into the clothes, clothes, wonderful clothes. Yes, I realize that by posting pictures of said clothes, I’m setting myself up for my sister coming over to raid my closet. I see you.




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#LiveLocalFS || 25th Annual Survivors Challenge

Hopefully by now, you are all very well versed in the #LiveLocalFS series that I’m doing. I’m not sure if this ever came across quite how I intended for it to, but the whole point of the mini-series is to showcase this wonderful town that we all have the pleasure of living in. I absolutely adore this town, and I know some people don’t know a lot about Fort Smith – they may have just moved here recently, they may commute from smaller towns here to come work, or they may live in a bigger city like Fayetteville and not really see the appeal to a smaller town like Fort Smith. Well I’m here to tell you, Fort Smith is constantly surprising me with the progress it has been making lately.

Who reading this has taken part in local events recently? Please comment and let me know. We’ve had some great local events lately – let me highlight a few:

Ø  The UnexpectedFS festival {that art is incredible and makes our town vibrant!}

Ø  The Dragon Boat Races {how fortunate are we to live in a river town where we can do these fun things?}

Ø  Ales for Trails {a personal favorite…for obvious reasons}

Ø  New York in the Fort {sadly I was out of town and didn’t get to attend!}

These are all relatively newer events to Fort Smith, AR and I love each one of them. They are all unique, and they all require hard work from board members, and it requires participation from the people in our community. My heart soars when I see how the good people of Fort Smith have been showing up to support community events! Especially these new, exciting, and ambitious events. But today, I want to talk about an event that’s been around for quite some time.  For 25 years, in fact..

Let’s talk about The 2016 Survivors Challenge – The 25th ANNUAL EVENT

I remember when I was in junior high school and high school, I myself ran the 5k portion of the Survivors Challenge, and I have very fond memories of running this race. My best memory was sprinting like my life depended on it to beat a girl ahead of me during the final stretch of the race {I know you’re all dying to know, and yes, I did end up beating her – success!} I’m not a runner, not athletic at all, and certainly not a huge fan of running, but somehow I was in cross country for years & years – yes, I started because I wanted to impress a boy – don’t all teenagers do not-the-brightest things for puppy love?

Back then, I didn’t really comprehend the complexity behind this race – I went because our coaches made us. As I’ve grown older, the Survivors Challenge has grown more meaningful and even more of a staple event in our community. Have you heard of this event? Let me tell you a little bit about what the event stands for and supports.

I got the privilege of meeting with Kandice Poirier, Events Coordinator at the support house. The 2016 Survivors Challenge is going to be held the weekend of October 14th-October 15th, and is presented by The Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House. Each year, runners from all over the region gather together to participate in the Survivors Challenge, where they support the Cancer Support House. It’s an opportunity for everyone to memorialize loved ones fighting cancer, or those who are currently fighting the tough battle. This year, to commemorate the 25th YEAR {can we just pause and appreciate the support this awesome community and this important organization have given over the past 25 years? Having an event last this long is impressive and not an easy feat, and it’s all thanks to our WONDERFUL COMMUNITY!}, they are having their first annual Survivors Challenge WEEKEND! Not just a run, but a whole weekend full of festivities. The 25th Annual Survivors Challenge is also teaming up with Over The Edge to bring a rappelling challenge to all of you daredevils amongst us. Don’t worry, Over The Edge has the highest level SPRAT certification that you can possibly have – this shindig will be safe as can be!

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect this year:

FRIDAY NIGHT {October 14th,1-4PM}: 

Ø  Over The Edge VIP night –> Come out to the First National Bank in Downtown Fort Smith to watch local celebrities rappel first national bank. On Friday from 1-3 pm, the Fort Smith Fire Department will be testing the ropes to ensure everyone’s safety. Starting at 4pm, local celebrities, including Congressman Womack, Dawson Meadows, and my personal favorite, everyone’s most loved local weather man, GARRETT LEWIS, will be rappelling down the side of First National downtown. We encourage everyone to come out and watch as these brave souls make their trek down the building.

SATURDAY {October 15th}

Ø  Survivors Challenge Race –> There’s a few options for all of you athletes here. The first option is the 10k Race, beginning at 8am at the Cancer Support House. The second option {a little less scary intense, is the 5k Race & walk, starting at 8:10am The third option is the Celebration Walk, which starts at 08:20am. If you’re not up for running – you can still UNRUN and donate to the cause! You can also go to the website, found here, and see who still needs donations to meet their Over the Edge goal!

Ø  Survivors Challenge FESTIVAL, 9am until the party stops –>Now we’re talking. This sounds like my kind of party. Starting at 9am in downtown Fort Smith, the festival will have your favorite local food trucks, kegs provided by Core Brewing {hello, now we’re really talking,} and entertainment for the kids! There will be a huge inflatable tv that will be playing the AR vs. Ole Miss game, and live music by The Crumbs! You’ll also get to watch people rappel down First National Bank all.day.long.

Does any of this sound intriguing to you? Check out the website, found here, for more information and to SIGN UP. In order to rappel Over the Edge of First National, you have to fundraise, which you can start doing on the website above! Here’s a breakdown of what your money will get you {graphic provided by The Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House, because I’m just not that talented!}


Not wanting to rappel, but feeling like your boss should? Well, how about you TOSS YOUR BOSS!  Raise $1,500 and you can register you boss to rappel. If they are too scared, your boss will sit in the “chicken coop” on the ground, but they’ll have to raise $500 more to get out! Hmm..I can think of a few bosses of mine that might like rappel {Thank GOODNESS, it took me until this very time typing “rappel” to spell it correctly and not have autocorrect flip out..}

For signing up for these events, you’ll get a “swag bag,” and everyone loves a good swag bag.

This cause is becoming very near and dear to my heart. I will be doing a follow up post soon with a full tour of the Cancer Support House in an effort to give you insight into all of the wonderful services they provide to our community – from a salon for cancer patients with free wigs, to gas vouchers and grocery vouchers for those who have to travel to treatments. This facility is run by donations – they receive no state or federal funding. It’s imperative for our community to step up for events like this and donate to a cause that means more to this community than some will ever know.

The top of the First National Bank building in downtown Fort Smith

Swoon. I mean, wait, what? You didn’t read that, I’ll never tell. Thanks again Garrett for supporting the Reynolds Cancer Support House!


For more information, view the website, http://www.reynoldscancersupporthouse.org, or please message me and I can either answer your questions or get you in contact with someone who can {..this option seems more likely!} I especially want to thank Kandice for being kind enough to sit and speak with me about this event, and for providing the pictures seen above!