Friday, July 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday & Friday

Originally I wasn't going to do a "Thankful Thursday" post yesterday. I wasn't feeling all that great and had a sore throat and upset stomach, and when I finally sat down to write, I really needed to get into bed and get some sleep. However, after we received some exciting news last night, I became extremely thankful and had to share the news with you today! (and no, I'm not pregnant!)

Shortly after Abby was born, Jim and I began to talk about buying a new home. We weren't sure when the right time would be, but kept it in the back of our minds. Our current home has made us very happy over the past five (almost six) years and we have a lot of memories within the walls of this house. In February we decided it was "time" to begin the house hunt, since we were needing more space and the neighborhood was changing.

It's been a long and emotional journey to find the right house. Jim and I thought we had found "the one" right away. It was a beautiful, colonial style home with tons of acreage, that we fell in love with from the beginning. Being a short sale and a sticky divorce situation, we knew it could take a while before we heard any news. Thinking positively, we put an offer on the house back in March. Well... just weeks ago, the owner decided (along with his attorney) to take the house off the market. Nice to know he'll be living there for about a year until the house goes into foreclosure... and probably for FREE! BLAH! So the search continued. We found houses that were great, but the yards were way too small or the houses were way too close together. Houses that had great lots but needed so much work. Then Jim and I found another house, the price was right but needed work, and it was in a great neighborhood, so we decided to make an offer. More time. Waiting. No news. Then just last weekend our realtor (& friend!) sent an e-mail with a house that she knew we would love. It was new on the market, priced aggressively, and from the pictures, we loved it. The next day we walked through it and put an offer in that night. It had the space, upgrades, a somewhat larger yard than most homes in the neighborhood, and it's nestled in safe neighborhood with a lot of families.

Last night we got the great news that our prayers had been answered. The bank accepted our offer!!! I still cannot believe it. I am so thankful (yesterday, today, and the many days to come) that this will be the house where our family can grow and create many happy memories together. Yay!!!! Pictures to come later ....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday + Photo Challenge

The Paper Mama

So the bestie has been taking part in Chelsey's photo challenges over at The Paper Mama and this week I decided to join in on the fun. I submitted this photo, not because of the quality or effects but because of what it means to me. There are no words that can explain the love between a mother and daughter. Thanks to my Mama for capturing this special moment!

This Weeks Theme - Absolute Favorite

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just thought I'd share ...

For those of you that know me well, you know I'm not the greatest cook in the world. I'm definitely no Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, or much to my husband's dismay ... Giada de Laurentiis. When Abby was younger, I found it really hard to spend time in the kitchen and it was so much easier to just order out. (not good!) As Abby got older, Jim started to do the cooking, which he used to do often ... before we got married. It's become a routine ... I take Abby to the park, while Daddy cooks. It's great!

However there are days that I feel like I want to cook and make a good meal for my husband. There is something fulfilling about making an enjoyable meal that he can appreciate the time and effort I put into it. Enter Amy, a blogger that is helping me reach out of my comfort zone and try some new recipes. She blogs mostly about her family and her adorable nine month old son, but has a tab full of "Working Mom Meals." Awesome recipes, not too time consuming, and ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen already.

Tonight I decided to try the California Style Chopped Salad and it was delicious! If you want to try it yourself, visit Amy over at Just Another Manic Momday. You can find this recipe in the "Working Mom Meals" tab, just scroll down a bit once there. Enjoy!

The small salad bowl was just not enough.
Needless to say, there were no leftovers ... only a happy hubby!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our love for books.

Abby has always been into books. When she was a tiny baby, we would lay on our backs together as I held a book above her, reading page after page. She would just look in amazement, her eyes taking in every. single. detail. At about seven months, it became a daily routine to read a book not only before bedtime, but before naptime as well. I couldn't get over how still she would be as she sat on my lap in the rocking chair, me reading in a soft voice and pointing at the pictures. Now at almost a year old, I ask Abby if she wants to read a book and she'll crawl her way over to her bookshelf, pull herself up, grab a book (or two, or three) and crawl back over to me so we can read. I absolutely love the fact that she enjoys books as much as I do. I absolutely love that we can share these special moments together now. I think it's safe to say she won't want to sit in my lap and read a story when she's 13. ::sigh::

Now that you know the love of books we share, here's a quick story for ya. My parents were in town visiting just a few weeks ago and of course it's always hard to say goodbyes on the last day. This particular day was no different than the others. We said our goodbyes, gave our kisses, and had those extra long hugs where you don't want to let go. Then we stood in the driveway watching them drive all the way to the end of the street. It's always so hard, but that's beside the point. Abby and I came in and went upstairs to play and read some books. Well, the book she chose was this:

Good choice, cute little book. I started to read the book to Abby until she decided it would be much more fun to crawl around sliding the book on the carpet. So I let her play while I put clean clothes away. No biggie. Then I heard it.... the rip of a page, right out of the book. I knew it would happen, but I get so upset when books get torn or colored in. (yes, I realize I will have to deal with a lot more of this!) Just like when I was teaching, I grabbed the tape, became "The Book Doctor" and taped those pages right back together. Now for the ironic part of the story (remember Gramma & Grandad just left), this is the page Abby ripped out.

I hear the telephone. "It's Grandma," Mom says.
"Hello, Grandma. When will you visit us again?"

Abby loves her books, but she adores her grandparents. We miss you Gramma & Grandad, Nana & PopPop! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Friend Friday

New Friend Fridays

A few months ago I came across a blog full of creativity. The ladies over at Trendy Treehouse have put together a blog that has it all... seriously. These ladies blog about their lives as mothers, share crafty ideas, host giveaways and photo contests (which I may enter one of these days), and have now started a Friday "blog hop."

I participated in a blog hop back in early May, which led me to some wonderful blogs I read on a daily basis. I found blogs that make me laugh out loud. (Nic's stories over at Four Better Four Worse) I found blogs that make me cry. (The strength and belief in God over at In This Wonderful Life) I found blogs that relate to my life on so many levels. (Living the baseball lifestyle, while raising children over at The Lutz Family) I was lucky enough to stumble upon these blogs and have been hooked from the start. So I'm exited to "hop" once again and meet some new bloggers! Who wants to join me?!

Click here to "hop" today!
The Trendy Treehouse

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Letter from an ear ringin' Mama

Dear Abigail,
I'm not sure why you don't like riding in the car, but you hate it. At first I thought it was just too boring for you. When you turned four months old, you were really starting to see the world around you. I just figured there wasn't enough in the car to stimulate you. So ... I bought you a new toy. Another toy. And another. It didn't help. At eleven months old, you are still hating the car. You last about five minutes and then you let me hear it. You start to whine, that turns into crying, and by the time we've reached our final destination you have real tears and are making yourself gag. I've tried everything for you. Music up loud, music off. Country. Rock. Rap. Christian. You name it, I've played it. Air conditioning on full blast. Windows down. Sun shades. Not much helps. A pacifier will help sometimes and of course, your favorite song. I guess I'll stick to having "Highway 20 Ride" by Zac Brown Band on repeat.
I'm even thinking about turning your carseat around a few weeks early. The Florida law says babies must be a year old and weigh more than 20 pounds. Well... you definitely meet the weight requirement, so I'm tempted to turn you facing forward. Then maybe you will enjoy car rides like you used to as a tiny baby. Maybe you will feel better when you see more around you or watch Mommy sing and dance for you as I drive down the road. Just maybe, you will actually like it. Mommy will be happier. You will be happier. Car rides will be so much better. And for that I will be THANKFUL! :)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The sign of a great nap ... look at that HAIR!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another month closer to ONE

I still can't believe that Abigail turned 11 months old yesterday. It seems like it was just yesterday when Abby turned 6 months and I wanted time to stand still, yet here we are five months later. Next month is really gonna hit me hard, when we celebrate the big first birthday!

Abby has become quite mobile these days. She is crawling much faster and gets into anything and everything. She is now cruising along the furniture and can get in and out of her Pottery Barn chair all by herself, wearing a huge grin to show us how proud she is.

I say this a lot, but Abby is such a happy baby. She smiles all the time and at anyone who crosses her path. Strangers at the grocery store just stop and laugh out loud because Abby smiles from ear to ear and waves at each shopper that passes by. It's hilarious. Her personality is really starting to shine and I am so thankful to call this sweet baby ours!

Sweet Abby Grace, at 11 months you are:

~smiling with your two bottom teeth, no others just yet
~crawling much faster and cruising along furniture
~pulling up on everything
~getting in and out of your Pottery Barn chair by yourself
~still saying "Da-Da", no "Ma-Ma" yet
~raising your hands up and outwards as if saying "I don't know...."
~dancing to any music you hear and it makes us laugh so much!
~recognizing many words (dog, bottle, baby, bird, look, book)
~wearing size 4 diapers
~drinking 4 bottles a day (still formula, usually 6-8 oz. morning/night and 3-4 oz. daytime)
~eating solids 3 times a day
~napping twice a day and sleeping 11 hours at night
~disliking car rides, STILL.

Most importantly sweet Abby Grace, you make your Mommy and Daddy smile, laugh, and enjoy every moment we spend with you. We love you :)

Can you tell photo shoots aren't quite the same anymore?

We had planned on taking Abby down by the water to take some better pictures, however Mother Nature had other plans for us.
So... Abby just watches the rain from the window instead.

I really love this picture but the lighting stinks.
I tried to play with a bit, but just couldn't get it right.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Snippets

After a fun day, this Mama is ready to take a bath (yes, you read that right!) and hop into bed with a good book! So here are some "Saturday Snippets!"

Abby and I had playtime at the house this morning. She is really starting to move from place to place. Crawling faster each day and cruising along the furniture.
Look at how proud she is ...

... And how happy she is.
After a month of trying, I finally took a few pictures that show her two bottom teeth.

Mommy loves her playtime with Abby ...

... and apparently Abby loves to ...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday ... Childhood Friends

Today I find myself thankful for my childhood friends. Meredith, Carly, and I have been best friends for years. We have shared so many memorable moments together, some that make us laugh, others that make us cry. Weddings, the loss of a loved one, screaming matches when we would have a fight, concerts, football games ... you name it, we've been through it ... together. After all, isn't that what friends are for?

Staying in touch with each other has been harder over the last five years. We grew up in a small country town together, but then life left the three of us in different states. I moved to Florida, Meredith moved to Pennsylvannia, and Carly stuck to her roots in good ol' South County. With all of us leading busy, different lives, life can sometimes get in the way. It makes it hard and I. miss. them.

Just a few weeks ago, Carly told me the wonderful news that she is expecting identical twins and although I was extremely ecstatic for her, I wanted nothing more than to give her a big hug! Instead, I could only smile through the phone conversation and hope that she could imagine just how happy I was for her.

Even though certain situations make it really hard to be apart, whenever we talk or see each other, it's like weeks or months haven't even passed by. We pick up right where we left off. Meredith called last night just to catch up and it felt like it was just yesterday we were throwing clumps of dirt in the road for trucks to run over, or like we were all giddy to meet our favorite hockey player.

For not allowing time separate us from each other, I am thankful. Although sometimes we go longer than we want without seeing or talking to each other, there is nothing that will stop us from being friends. forever. Love you guys!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

A perfect end to the weekend ...

Last night was the perfect way to end the weekend. Kirsten (a friend that I don't see as often as I used to or as often as I'd like) came for dinner and to soak up some Abby time. I put my homemade ziti in the oven, Jim used his new gadget to grill some meatballs, and Kirsten put together a tasty salad with homemade Italian dressing. Needless to say, it was quite the yummy dinner. Don't worry honey, I'm sure next time you won't burn the meatballs. ::wink, wink::

After dinner, we enjoyed playtime with Abby.
She is quite the entertainer these days!

Abby loves to play with Kirsten!
Look at those smiles :)

Catching up with a great friend, enjoying a meal together (with my parents too!), and playing with a baby that can make us smile and laugh... What a perfect combination to end the weekend!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Do we seriously live here?

That's a question I ask myself every now and again and I thank God for giving us this beautiful place to now call home. Living in Sarasota has many perks, yet there are many things we haven't taken advantage of... yet. Since my parents are in town visiting us, I wanted to find something different to do. Something different than the usual trips to the park, mall, and favorite restaurants (and yes, we did all those things too).

Enter Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Jim and I have lived here for almost 6 years now and have never taken the time to explore the beauty of the Gardens. When I was pregnant with Abby, my dad came to stay with me for about a month when baseball season started. We got into the routine of walking down by the marina almost every night. Dad would walk faster (much faster!) and longer, but at least I would tag along for some of it. Most of the time, I would find myself relaxing on the swing overlooking the water, but that's beside the point. The point is, we would always walk by the fence of the Gardens and always comment on how it must be such a beautiful place. So.... our chance to visit came along and we jumped right on it, despite the heat.

The Gardens are almost 10 acres, with a collection of over 20,000 different types of living plants. I would have never expected it to be like this ... it truly is a magical place! Even though it was blasted hot outside, we enjoyed looking at the plants, watching fish and boats in the water, and touring the historic home on site. It was definitely something different and such a wonder to see!

Gramma & Grandad take a break to look for dolphins in the bay.
Abby only saw boats and little fishies instead!

Abby & Mommy enjoying the breeze on the bayfront.

What a beautiful view!

I was also excited to try some different things with my camera. This camera can do so much, that sometimes it's overwhelming to me. I still have so much to learn. I'm getting there! I put away the standard lens that I'm most comfortable with and used the zoom lens today. It was fun taking pictures of a subject other than a child that moves too quick for a good picture. The shots of the plants turned out great!

We will definitely take another trip back to explore even more of the Gardens during the winter months, when it's a bit cooler. At least now I know what beauty the Gardens behold and instead of saying, "I want to go there someday", I can now say "The Gardens are a beautiful, magical place."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday (a day late)

Before I ramble off a few things I'm thankful for, my blog is under construction for those of you that noticed. It's not quite the same anymore and yes, the background is just greenish yellow right now. That's because I used Scrappin' Blogs for my background and they have pulled all their codes off their website due to some problems with Photobucket. So unfortunately, I will need to redesign my blog, which may take a few days. Ugh!

Things I'm thankful for today :

1. The fact that my parents do not fly, yet drive almost a thousand miles to visit us. They are here with us now, enjoying every moment with their granddaughter. I may be away from the blog because of all the family time and for that I am thankful!

2. The gym. Yes, you read that right. I have found a class called "Muscle Works" that I take on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Even though I leave there looking like a wet noodle and am sore the next day, it is soooooooo worth it. It's the first time in a LONG time, that I have enjoyed going to the gym. I am loving it!

3. The man involved in the murders of the two Tampa policeman (along with others) turned himself in the day before the funerals were held. To me, this is a huge blessing for those families to know that he isn't roaming the streets any longer.

4. Looking forward to pizza with the family this weekend. We haven't had pizza for a while and it's my favorite. If I've been working so hard at the gym, don't I deserve a slice of pizza, or two?

5. The rain we had last week. As much as I whined about it then, our grass is absolutely beautiful again!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.... We'll be keeping busy with Little Miss Abby and enjoying our time together with the fam. I will have plenty of pics to share in my next post! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (well, almost)

1. Being in a pitiable state of distress or unhappiness.
2. Being in a pitiable state of distress or unhappiness when wearing shoes for the first time in ones life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Red, white, and blue ... and different.

I have to admit this 4th of July was quite different than ones in the past. Usually Jim has a game, whether it be home or away and I spend the day in Galesville with the fam. Since we are home this year and not in Maryland, we actually got to spend this holiday together. We are usually apart on the 4th of July, although I do remember a couple few handful of years back, a game was cancelled due to rain in the area. Amazingly the rain cleared before the fireworks and Jim and I spent our first 4th together that year. So this, I believe was our second.

Anyways, we were invited to a BBQ on Saturday (the 3rd) and spent the evening with great friends. An evening of tasty food, swimming, and babies everywhere. Unfortunately, we had to miss the fireworks display to get the little one home to bed. Thanks to Becky for thinking of us, we had a wonderful time!

Chloe + Abby = Best Friends in the making :)

Sawyer (cutest little man EVER), Best Friends
Madie & Camdyn :)

Then, the actual holiday came around. We dressed Abby up in her patriotic wear and headed to the outlet mall shortly after breakfast. We didn't have any big plans for the day so we figured it was something we hadn't done in a while, the rain was passing, and it wasn't too hot out. Abby ended up with a new pair of kicks and Mama, well all she got was new work out clothes. (I will fill you in on a hardcore workout class I've been taking at a later time - it's crazy but so worth it!) After a day of shopping and playing at the house, Jim and I enjoyed a beer with some neighbors, while watching the fireworks from the driveway. Quite festive, huh?

Throughout the day, I kept thinking of the fam back home. I wondered what they were doing at that moment. Were they just putting food on the grill? Ahh, I could almost smell it. Were they in their lawn chairs watching the Galesville parade? I could hear my Dad start up the old tractor and envision him with his straw hat and ear to ear smile. Were they laughing at jokes or playing baseball in the backyard? Was my Dad shooting off the canon for the whole town to hear? Whatever they were doing, I missed it. Jim missed it. Abby missed it.

I pray that one day our families will all be together for holidays such as this. In the meantime, I keep thanking God for giving us the friends that make Florida feel like home.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thankful Thursday

In the world of blogging, I've come to realize that Thursdays are a special day to reflect on things in your life, for which you are thankful. Hence Thankful Thursday. I've never really taken part in this, only because I don't post each and every day. However, this Thursday I'm finding myself thankful for so many things. A lot has transpired in the past week that has made me count my many blessings.

Many of you have heard about the shooting of two police officers in Tampa, Florida. This tragic story made not only local headlines, but has been spread nationally. The police are doing what they can, yet have still been unable to catch the man behind this heinous crime. I was saddened to hear about the families that were left behind without their loved one. One officer was married and a father to four boys and the other officer was married, his wife expecting their first child in a week. I have been unable to get these women out of my mind. I can't imagine what they are going through right now. One minute, you have everything... and the next minute, your whole world is turned upside down.

Just last night, I came across another family who could use some prayers said for them today. I follow many "mommy blogs" on a daily basis and one that I read regularly led me to a new one. In one night, after catching up on old blog posts, I felt like I had been on this journey with this family the whole time. Tears welled in my eyes, I said a prayer, and went right to bed, with more tears. You should definitely check out Megan and Brent's blog, but here's a quick summary of their journey. (Just get your tissues ready if you visit) Megan and Brent found out at 22 weeks pregnant that their little Cohen had not only one congenital heart defect, but four. Having one could be manageable, but having four together is very rare and could be very dangerous. Cohen was born on June 7, 2010 and just days later, on June 18, 2010, he became a sweet angel in heaven. For a family that was so deserving, they were left with this unimaginable heartbreak. The memorial service is being held for Cohen today, so please take a moment to say a prayer for this family.

If you would like to participate in A Moment of Silence for Cohen,
post this banner in your blog.

I've had a hard time processing how these things can happen to such wonderful people. Life just isn't fair sometimes. So after having a few sleepless nights, I am sitting here this morning extremely thankful for what God has given me. A wonderful husband, a sweet baby (one that I snuck in her room last night at 2am just to give her a kiss), and a life filled with love. My heart goes out to these families that are dealing with a time of grief and mourning and I continue to pray for God to grant them the strength that they will need to get through the hard times ahead.