Monday, February 28, 2011

We're back!

We're back in sunny Florida my friends! The weather is fabulous and it feels so good to be home.

For those of you that called, e-mailed, or left encouraging words on my last blog post, I want to thank you. Those words, whether spoken or written, helped me through a very difficult time.

Abby & I enjoyed spending time with family and it was this time that I had been craving. It's always easier being with family during a time of loss. We smiled, laughed, cried, and relived old memories spent with such a lovely lady. Our family will hold these memories close to our hearts.

So here we are ... back to reality. I'll be back to blogging on a regular basis real soon. Laundry awaits while Abby naps. Then it's off for some much needed family time of our own. :)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taking a bloggy vacation ...

Disclosure: You may want to grab tissues.

Many of you know that this past week has been a difficult one for my family. Last Monday my grandmother was placed into a Hospice Home, where she would spend her last days. We were unsure of how fast or slow this process may be, so my family took the good days with the bad days and appreciated the time they spent by her side. I unfortunately was home in Florida while this was happening back in Maryland. I felt comfortable with my decision to stay put and wait for the news. I had a wonderful visit with my grandmother (at the rehabilitation center) at the end of last month and I decided that was the way I wanted to remember her.

On Sunday she passed away with family at her side. She finally let go of the fight and went to be with her loving husband. He's been waiting for her, I just know it.

Since my Grammy was put in the hospital on New Years Day, this has been a long journey for her and for her loved ones. I must say that during this time, I have never felt so confident in my faith in God. I spent so much time praying ... praying for strength, healing, for a full recovery. Then I changed my prayers ... I handed the whole situation over to Him, for He is in full control. Even though it's a time of loss, I feel so at peace with Grammy's passing. It was comforting to have Him walk this out with me. I'm going to miss that woman like crazy, but I know she's in a much better place.

I have many memories (and tons of pictures) that I hold close to my heart and am so happy to have captured a video of her and Abby. (Abby was 6 months old)

"With your final heartbeat,
kiss the world goodbye.
Then go in peace
and laugh on glory's side.

And fly to Jesus,
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus ... and Live."

-Chris Rice
(Google this song if you've never heard it.
I love it.)

Abby & I are heading to Maryland tomorrow and will get back on Sunday and I'm taking a bloggy vacation! Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and keep them coming! :)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nana & PopPop's Visit

Nana & PopPop (Jim's parents) came to visit us last week for some much needed Abby adventures and beautiful Sarasota weather. Well, at least they had plenty of Abby adventures because the weather was not so cooperative. It rained three of the days they were here. Ugh!

Jim and I really wanted their visit to be full of relaxation this time around. Their last visit in October was quite busy since we were moving into our new house the weekend they were here. We planned it that way for the help, but they didn't get a lot of down time with their sweet granddaughter. So this time... we kept it simple. And simple is good. :)

We shopped a little, or should I say Nana & PopPop shopped a little! They just love spoiling their grandgirls... isn't that what being a grandparent is all about?! We ate out at some of our favorite restaurants, a few times with Abby and once with just us adults. It was such a nice time to celebrate their birthdays while they were here and to have some time for adult conversation. ::thanks Carol for watching Abs::

We did have a beautiful afternoon that we spent outside at home. Abby napped, PopPop napped, Jim was at the field, and Nana & I played Scrabble. She ended up beating me by one point... because I had to subtract one letter at the end. Such a close and fun game! I love that we took the time for just ourselves... laughing, talking, and enjoying each others company.

After Abby woke up, we spent some time playing outside. She loved her new bubbles and is so close to blowing them on her own. It won't be long!!

Of course Abby made some time for cupcake indulging with Nana too. She loves her sweets, just like her Mama!

The biggest adventure of the week was taking Abby to her first circus. It wasn't the big Ringling & Brothers circus or anything, just the local Sarasota Circus. But... it was perfect. Just long enough to hold Abby's attention and she didn't miss a second of the show. Her eyes were glued to the horses, performers, and flashing lights. She watched in amazement as the lady whirled around through the air on her rope doing tricks. I'm not going to lie... it brought a tear to my eye just watching Abby and wondering what was going through that little head of hers. It was really nice sharing this experience with family.

Thank yoy Nana & PopPop for a wonderful visit!

Wordless Wednesday - Indulgence


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Anxiety with big cats, but fun.

A couple weekends back, we joined friends for an adventure (and an adventure it was) to Big Cat Habitat. I didn't know much about this place other than they were a rescue for wild animals. At first it saddened me to see the animals cooped up in small cages that are nothing like their real habitat. The poor bear paced back and forth while we watched from behind the bars. That poor bear was still pacing back and forth when we left two hours later. But ... after learning more about the facility, these animals have been moved around from home to home several times. Some of them may not even be alive if it weren't for this rescue. All of the adopted animals will live in this "home" forever. So all in all, the Big Cat Habitat is the best thing they have.

Before the start of the show, I'm pretty sure the mamas were having mini anxiety attacks. Do any of the photos above give you a clue as to why?! I couldn't help but feel like we would be on the ten o'clock news for being attacked by a tiger that escaped from the ring. We were just a few rows back from a small ring that contained these large animals. Metal gates, not very sturdy looking, were the only thing separating us from lions and tigers. A little scary, yes. A little thrilling, yes... I guess. Finally I was able to put my anxiety to rest and enjoy the show.

Abby definitely took in everything. She especially loved the horses, dogs, and monkeys. In fact, the only thing she didn't really love was the tigers growl. Chloe loved the "nay nays" and clapped for them as they raced around the ring. Abby had such a fun time with her friends and it's always nice to do something new... and different.


Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day ...

... from our little Love Bug.

May your day be filled with special moments ...

of happiness ...

and laughter ...

and a whole lot of LOVE :)

The Paper Mama

I haven't participated in a photo challenge lately, but I couldn't resist entering Chelsey's Valentine's challenge. The photo of Abby's skirt with the heart pockets is already a favorite of mine. It's not a fancy photo and you can't see her face, but there is just something about it... something that makes me smile!

Visit Chelsey over at The Paper Mama for more photos full of love!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's just a big block party. Everyone's invited!

There is a "mini downtown" area near our house that has unique little shops and some nice restaurants. I guess I can't really classify it as a "mini downtown" because it really only has one street. Main Street. Anyways, it's a fun place to go when you want to shop for something out of the ordinary, visit the children's bookstore, or grab some good food.

The other great thing we've recently discovered about Main Street is that it hosts "Music on Main" the first Friday of each month. The street gets shut down ... vendors sell beer, popcorn, and hotdogs ... children's faces get painted ... stages go up at each end of the street ... and the music blasts through the air. It's seriously like one big block party and everyone gets invited!

Abby dances the night away, showing off her dance moves to every stranger that passes. (see above video) By the way, she has much better moves than what this video captures.

Everyone has a fun time. The adults have time to catch up with each other, although our eyes can't come off the children, running and dancing wildly in the street. Chloe played some football with her Daddy, Abby played with her buddy Matt, and Isla sat in her stroller perfectly content to take in her surroundings.

This moment was my favorite part of the night. Abby asked Chloe to dance by reaching her hands out to her. They had such a fun time swinging their arms around and stomping their feet. It didn't last too long, but while it did ... it was so sweet!

Sometimes the free events close to home are the most fun. Great music, great food, and great company :)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - In Awe.

Friends watching in awe.
More photos to come from this fun night!


Monday, February 7, 2011

These days ... life is ... exhausting.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to figure this out, but I've finally come to the realization that having an (almost) 18 month old is exhausting. Abby is going through a very trying stage right now. The stage where kicking, crying, throwing self on the floor antics are happening. It's not fun for me... not fun for her. Although Abby has a handful of words, she is becoming frustrated quite easily when trying to tell us something. She wants to talk so badly. Hopefully her words will come quick and maybe communication will be easier. Or maybe we'll just be adding talking back to the antics previously mentioned. I sure hope not. Abby is such a sweet girl too, always loving on her friends and family and making us laugh and smile. all. day. long.

Abby is also a mover and one active child. She doesn't sit still for very long and she goes from toy to toy. This makes car rides, stroller rides, and trips in the cart at Target very interesting. Does this child want to sit still? Maybe for five minutes. Five minutes is usually all I get. At least when Abby naps and sleeps at night, she crashes and she crashes hard.

My BFF told me before that with every age brings a whole new set of challenges. She was so right and I remind myself of that everyday. These challenges are going to come and go so quick, bringing new ones my way. Childhood won't last forever so I'm going to soak up the good with the bad, because with every tantrum over a rentable race car stroller at the mall, there are the dances Abby and I share to Zac Brown Band. (our favorite) I wouldn't trade these memories for anything - I just need to keep praying for more patience. :)


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Everything is packed.

And I do mean everything.

Just for the record, Abby did this all by herself.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOW!

While we were visiting Maryland last week, Abby got to experience her first snow. Well it's technically her third, but I'm not counting the first snow when she was 2 months old asleep in the car driving home from New York. Or the second snow this past December in Tennessee since there wasn't enough to stick on the ground. So we'll put this one in the books as her first "real" snow.

At first Abby just stood there, probably too scared to move in all that weird, white stuff. Or it could have been that the snow boots were two sizes too big.... but hey, hand me downs are perfect. Thanks Aunt Kay!

After falling a few times and getting more acquainted with the snow, she started to move around a bit more and even dance. Now, that's my girl!

Here's a quick video of Abby for your viewing pleasure :)

Abby & Mommy walking down the dirt road.

Looking at the chickens, playing with Aunt Jenny
& touching the snow without mittens. Brrr!

I'm glad it snowed while we were there ... snow is great to visit, but it sure was nice to return home to 75 degrees! :)