Monday, August 30, 2010

Quite the backdrop ...

This past Saturday my Godmother Cindy hosted a family picnic at her beautiful home. I hadn't been to her new home, even though she's been there for ten years now. She and her husband live in an old farmhouse that has so much character. I was so busy taking pictures of the surrounding area that I never snapped a picture of their own home!

Cindy and Mic's farmhouse is nestled in what is known as "Fairhaven Cliffs." An area on the water, with lots of hills and unique houses built directly on top of the cliffs. This is one of the few areas in Maryland that is mostly used as a weekend or summer getaway. Most of the homeowners work in Washington D.C. and travel to this beautiful place to escape the stresses of the work week. However, there are some people, like Mic and Cindy who have made it their home. I can totally see why - take a look at their waterview in the picture on the top left corner of the collage. The view was so stunning that we had to take a closer look, so a walk to the beach was in order.

Abby & Mommy

Cindy, Me & Abby

Me & the Kids (my Cousin's children + Abby)
Or fast forward, me in 8 years with all these children?!

Abby walking & making silly faces

Our family had a great time soaking up the backdrop of this beautiful place. It also helps that the company was wonderful, food was great, and lots of fun was to be had! :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Turtles + Tractor Wheels + Walking = Tired Abby (& Tired Mama)

Within 48 hours, Abby went from timidly taking six steps here and there to practically running around this house. The look of excitement on her face shows just how proud she is of herself and now she is exploring the world around her more than she ever has. Luckily, there is so much to see at Gramma & Grandad's and Abby certainly had fun today checking out the turtle, tractor wheels, flowers, butterflies, and her favorite... birds. While she was off exploring, I decided to follow her around with the camera to show ya'll what we've been up to!

What is this old thing?!

It's a turtle!

Grandad loves his tractors ....

... but only if they are John Deere green and yellow! :)

I'm so happy my parents live in the country ...
it's a great place to come "home" to!

Ladies and Gentlemen ... here is our WALKER ....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday & Abby's 12 month stats

Abby had her 12 month well visit this past Monday with our "Maryland" doctor. For those of you who are curious to know, Abby is weighing in at 22 pounds 5 ounces, which puts her in the 75th percentile for weight. She is now 29 inches tall, in the 50th percentile. Doc said she was perfect (I already knew that ::wink wink::)... meeting all milestones, eating well (hmm.. you think?), and ready for MILK! My baby is getting to be such a big girl! :)

Being Thankful Thursday and all, I do have a list of the things I'm thankful for this week.

1.) It's official. We own a new house! Closing was today and it went smoothly and everything finally fell into place.

2.) Jim's elbow is feeling great, his confidence is back, and he is back on the Orioles active roster effective TOMORROW!! Go O's!

3.) Since Abby is practically walking everywhere now, I'm thankful that I have my family around to help me play chase!

4.) Abby is drinking milk and loving it. So much cheaper than formula.

5.) Doctors that I trust, appreciate, and respect. It's not easy having sets of doctors in Maryland and Florida!

6.) Abby's sleep habits. I'm such a better Mama when I'm well rested!

7.) Two new tanks from Anthropologie. Can't believe I just found out about this store... and even more excited that there is one near my parents house. I will be going back... and soon!

8.) Family. I'm loving this time together.

9.) My bestie Carol. She's going through the house hunting process like we've been doing for the past 6 months or so. Even though she was disappointed with some news today, she was still excited, happy, and congratulating me on our closing. If we were together today, we would have crushed some sweet tea.

10.) Abby's goofy smiles and giggles. I just can't enough! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

"The longest journey begins with a single step."
-Lao Tsu
Edited by me, but props to Gramma for this awesome shot!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paper Mama + In A Yellow House

I know I said this last week, but I am loving these photo challenges!! These contests give me a chance to look back through my stash of photos and work on editing. Chelsey over The Paper Mama chose "Flowers" as the theme for this week and I couldn't resist entering this photo of Abby and Gramma smelling the flowers. Ashley from Ramblings and Photos is hosting the In A Yellow House challenge for the month of August. I actually had several photos in my stash that I could use for the theme of "Trees." It was hard to choose, but I went with a recent photo from the botanical gardens. (and no, it was not me who carved my name!) If you want to link up, join in on the fun!

The Paper Mama

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Edits from Photo Shoot

Last night I decided to dig deeper into editing and play around with some photos I took the other day. I had a mini photo shoot with Abby while at my nephew's football scrimmage and then just yesterday, I took some pictures of Abby with my sister's kids. I'm actually clueless when it comes to editing a photo ... but I want to start trying some different things with my photographs. I'd love your feedback, especially from those of you that really know your cameras, you know who you are! :) Also ... anyone have any ideas on what editing software is best for a Mac? I did all the editing using iPhoto and Picnik.

Abigail Grace - 1 year :)

Already loves Coach ... my baby has great taste!

Still sportin' only 2 teeth


Cousins - all smiles!

So what do you think? What can I work on?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Abby's Birthday Party - Part II

At the beginning of August, I was quite flustered with Abigail's First Birthday party planning. If you have a bad memory like me and can't remember, you can read about it here. I wanted everything to be just perfect. Afterall, you only turn ONE once in your life.

We hosted party number one in Florida and had a blast! Such wonderful memories with such great friends. Party number two was in Maryland on Abby's actual birthday. We were so thankful to be here, in my hometown, with family and friends to celebrate this special day!

Abby was one lucky birthday girl. Who wouldn't love two parties? Two cakes? More presents? I can't believe I was so anxious about how all the planning would work out. I need to remind myself more often that God is in control. Everything worked out perfectly and Abby was such a happy birthday girl!

Family Photo Time
Abby's First Birthday - August 18, 2010

The gifts kept on comin'!!!

Abby had such a fun time!

Abby's new friend, "Inch."
(Yes, I know he's not an inch worm, but the name stuck.)

Yummy .... more cake is twice as nice!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Perfect timing for Thankful Thursday

I'm sure I have said this before, but I am extremely thankful for creating this blog. Blogging gives me the chance to share stories, vent when needed, make family feel closer to us, and share photos of our family. Not only do I enjoy blogging about our little Abby, but I love reading other blogs that I've been lucky enough to stumble upon over the past year.

A few weeks ago, I found Ashley at Ramblings and Photos and right away was glued to her her blog. She is such a talented photographer and does some amazing photo editing. Her photos inspire me. They make me want to learn more about my camera... more about photography... more about editing. Hmm, really I wish I was. just. that. good.

Anyways, Ashley has a section of her blog devoted to photos that she has edited called Before and After. I noticed that some other bloggers sent in photos to be edited, so I thought I'd give it a try in the off chance she would take her time to play with one of my photos. I was totally surprised that Ashley took the time to edit my photo and it looks wonderful!! You can find the Before and After here. I just love everything about this photo ... the way Abby is watching the rain, raising her hand to the window, and the curl of her big toe. Such a sweet moment and I'm thankful to Ashley for helping me save this photo!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A year ago today ...

Dear Sweet Baby Abigail,
I am writing this letter on the eve of your first birthday and I simply cannot believe you are turning one tomorrow. A year ago you came into this world and completely changed the way I view the world ... and life. There wasn't a moment in my life where I was as proud as I was the day I met you. You were amazing from the start, but each day I love you more and more. I didn't think that would be possible, but with every smile, laugh, touch of your small hand, my heart falls more in love with you ... over and over again. I knew there would be nothing like a mother's love for her child, but I had no idea it would be and could be this strong.
Abby Grace, as you turn one, I'm so happy and excited about the road ahead of us and all the possibilities that life may bring. I must admit I'm saddened at the same thought of you turning one. As I type this, I'm watching you on the monitor and I can't help but look at how tall you've gotten. How big you've become. That little teeny baby that laid there a year ago is now a toddler resting and waiting to explore the world again tomorrow. Where did the time go? All I know is that the time spent this past year has been the best year of my life. I'm so thankful that God has given me the best gift of all. Nothing could ever come close to how it feels to be your Mommy. I love you sweet baby girl!

Those teeny, little baby feet have turned into
walking feet ready to explore the world.

Sweet Abby Grace, at 12 months old (a year!) you are:

* crawling super fast, turbo speed
* cruising along furniture
* taking 5 or 6 steps at a time
* standing alone
* pulling up on everything and attempting to climb on everything
* saying "Da-Da", "Hi" and (finally) saying "Ma-Ma"
* trying to say words like "bird", "fish", "book" and "cheese"
* pointing to nose when asked "Where's Mommy's nose?"
* mimicking hand gestures and head motions
(arms up, shaking head up and down and side to side)
* "playing" shy by covering your eyes and turning into someone's
shoulder (You are NOT shy!)
* singing and reading books (making sounds and babbles quietly as if
really doing it)
* almost blowing kisses... so close!
* know that shoes go on your feet
* still have dance moves better than your Mama
* wearing size 4 diapers
* drinking 4 bottles a day (still formula .. changing to milk this month,
usually 6-8oz. morning/night and 4-6 oz. daytime)
* eating solids 3 times a day, more table foods now
* Favorite foods: macaroni and cheese, potatoes, yogurt, applesauce,
* napping twice a day and sleeping 11 - 12 hours at night
* Everyone get ready ... drum roll please ... car rides are getting better!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We made it + Photo Challenge

Well my friends... I am happy to announce... I survived the flight with an almost mobile, almost one year old on Sunday. I seriously lost sleep the night before, wondering if Abby would sit still long enough or if she would flail and cry in my arms throughout the entire flight. I was praying she would let go of being Miss Independent for one afternoon and give this Momma a break. Thankfully, that's just what she did. Abby gave me a break. She. was. wonderful.

Before we headed to the airport on Sunday, I received a phone call from one of my girlfriends. Since the Orioles were in Tampa over the weekend (perfect timing), a lot of Jim's teammates had their wives along for the road trip. Luckily Diana was headed home to Baltimore the same day and she switched her flight to travel with me and Miss Abby. We were SO lucky to have her traveling along with us. It was so nice to have a second pair of hands and another lap for Abby to bounce around on. What a blessing that was - thank you D!

Our family usually flies out of Sarasota, for its convenience and the fact that we can usually find a direct flight to Baltimore. However, this time there were no daytime direct flights, so I opted to fly out of Tampa. Thanks to my bestie for helping me out with that, I couldn't have done it without ya! TPA earned some major brownie points when I realized there was a play area for children right next to our gate. Whoever thought of this is a genius. Abby played her little heart out, crawling after the kids and trying to climb on the playground equipment. Needless to say, she wore herself out and slept in my arms for about an hour of the flight. What an angel. :)

So for the next month, you'll find us in Maryland... spending time with family and enjoying the last of these summer days. Yay!

In other news, I am participating in Shutter Love Tuesday over at Trendy Treehouse this week. The theme for this photo challenge is "Favorite Things" and of course I blog about my two favorite things all. the. time. Take a look for yourself. :)

Shutter Love Tuesdays Button

If you have a photo you'd like to enter ... join in the fun!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Flashback Friday - 10 years ago

Ten years ago. Ten years ago I graduated from high school. We were the Class of 2000, the start of a new millennium. It feels like that was forever ago, yet at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday that I was roaming the halls of the high school. I've kept in touch with a few close friends, but it's been hard since most of us have moved to different parts of the country. Then there are other friends that I've recently been reconnected with ... thanks to modern technology and Facebook.

Today I got the chance to catch up with one of those friends. Not only was he a friend in high school, but a friend in middle school, and in elementary school. We were those kids that just so happened to be in the same class, starting with Kindergarten all the way through fifth grade. Needless to say, we kind of stuck together and shared the same friends. I remember taking field trips together, plays we were in, the Halloween parades around school. (I have some of those pictures but they are at my Mom's house)

Anyways, graduation from high school came and everyone went their own ways... to "find" themselves, go away to college, or start their careers. I can't remember a time when our paths crossed again, until today ... ten years later. Ironically enough, Mike's parents moved here (from Maryland) last November, which brought Mike here to vacation this week, along with his wife and their adorable son.

Today we met up at Jungle Gardens, where we had the chance to catch up and the kids were able to enjoy the birds, alligators, flamingos, and other reptiles. Despite the heat, it was a great time. I didn't snap too many photos but was able to get a few. (I'll admit, I was just too lazy with the picture taking today)

Flamingos were interesting to say the least.
They were just wandering FREE and you could feed them from your HAND.
NOT for ME!

Group Shot
The quality isn't the best....
I don't think the focus was set before I had the employee take the picture
AND she clearly didn't see that horrible face Abby was making!

This is what a tired little boy looks like on his third birthday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Since SYTYCD is taking most of my time tonight, I'm getting
right to the point.
Five things I'm thankful for today ...

1. Friends that I've made through baseball. I'm so thankful that Jim is part of an organization where the ladies make it feel like one giant family!

2. Peaches. No, not the fruit. The restaurant. Today I enjoyed sippin' on their sweet tea and indulging in the usual chicken salad croissant and fries. So yummy and the company was just perfect too!

3. Jim pitched tonight for the Bowie Baysox (Double A team for Orioles) for his first rehab assignment game. Pitched well and without pain! YAY! A few more games and then thankfully he'll return to the O's for the rest of the season.

4. Abby wasn't feeling too well at daycare today, so I picked her up early. I feel so helpless when she isn't her usual, happy self. But... as you can see from the picture above, she was giddy as could be before bed tonight.

5. Speaking of giddy, I am so thankful for such a happy baby. She is such a delight, most of the time! :)

Well, there you have it... it's back to SYTYCD for me, with a glass of milk and two cookies! If you aren't watching the finale tonight, check it out... these dancers are amazing this season. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Abby's New Word + Photo Challenge

Over the weekend, Abby and I went to visit Kirsten, one of my best friends who I don't get to see as often as I'd like. With a friend like this, you always know when something is wrong, or when they aren't having the best of days ... even though they say they are doing fine. That was the case this weekend and I knew a dose of Abby would make her feel better! :)

Kirsten was able to get this video of Abby saying "Hi!"

The Paper Mama

The theme for Paper Mama's Photo Challenge this week is "Water." Visit Chelsey's place to enter your favorite shot!

Abby watching the rain from the window.