Monday, November 10, 2014

Trick-or-treat, smell my feet!

Last year Abby "got" Halloween ... she knew what do, she understood the point of knocking on neighbors doors saying "trick-or-treat."  But this year ... well my little girl took it to a whole new level.  Abby was in full sprint by the second house and was not slowing down for anything!  Mission get to the most houses and get the most candy was in full effect.  
Keeping it simple, we invited some friends over for dinner and then let the kids have at it.  There wasn't much time for picture taking ... Abby was more than ready to get trick-or-treating started, Jim's costume was a bit too tight (thank you standard size) and Levi was following the big kids around trying his best to keep up. 

After running like wild animals throughout the neighborhood, the bigs came back to analyze their candy stash.  Let the sugar rush commence! :) (It's all good ... they eventually crashed and crashed HARD).  Next year ... family theme costumes will be BACK ... Jim's already planning it!

hApPy hALLoWeEn! :)


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October - one of my favorites.

I love October.
Baseball offseason life begins.
The Florida Fall weather begins to cool down, despite the random ninety degree days.
The smell of pumpkin, apple, and harvest candles are everywhere.
Costumes are being created for trick-or-treating.
Pumpkins are being decorated by the kids.

We always take a family trip to the pumpkin patch.
This year went to Fruitville Grove, a downsized pumpkin festival ... less people, less lines, and less money!

The kids loved riding the ponies... Abby a little more than Levi.
We enjoyed time with friends while there.

Abby had her face painted like a bunny and Levi a ninja turtle.  
The kids painted pumpkins, which now decorate our table.

Abby was excited to put the harness on and jump and flip as high as she could go.
And both kids LOVED the slide!

There's just something about a pumpkin festival ... we had a great time and now we are looking forward to HALLOWEEN! :)


Thursday, October 23, 2014

That's a wrap ....

The 2014 baseball season that is.  This season was quite different than years past and although parts of it were challenging for our family, I found myself pulling closer to God in those moments of doubt, weakness, and helplessness.  

I won't spare you with all the details of a six month baseball season, so I'll give you a quick rundown.  Being traded from Baltimore last offseason was kind of like a shock to our system.  Baltimore was our second home ... we knew the ins and outs of the city, created strong relationships with staff, players, and their families, and were close in proximity to my family.  It was bittersweet to be taking a new step in our journey and leaving all we'd known.

FAITH.  Forsaking All I Trust Him.  A good reminder that God is always in control and no matter what, we must trust Him.  

So ... off to Oakland it was ... starting the 2014 season with the Athletics.  Right away it was so, so different.  The fans, the stadium, the feel of it all.  What a change ... and with that change, came some up and downs of the season.  We had a wonderful All-Star Break spent in Lake Tahoe, taking in such beautiful landscape and enjoying some much needed family time together.  Then a couple weeks later, Jim was wearing new colors for a new team ... the Detroit Tigers.

Finishing the season in the playoffs was super exciting, but unfortunately the Tigers didn't advance.  Win or lose, we still had fun and we can close this chapter to our families story.

As I sit back and reflect on the season with the World Series (oh, wait that's football) in the background, I'm excited to see what is in store for next year.  

Dear God, I trust you as we await what the future holds because we know that YOU know what's best for our family.  YOU know what is ahead and where our journey takes us.  Please take our hands and lead us - help show us the way.  Amen.

Now ... that's a wrap!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

There's nothing like it ... Part Two :)

There's nothing quite like 4822 Church Lane.  This place ... this place I always call home and Levi calls "Mommy's house."   

This place that has a lot of green and yellow, mixed with a little red.  You tractor people will know what I'm talking about. ;-)

This place that has an old shed plastered with all kinds of signs, including my grandmother's old license plate.  

This place that has my footprints on the ceiling of the screened porch.  Even though the story may not be true, we like to say my dad started painting the ceiling white, until he got to my footprints and couldn't cover them up.  Mom says it was a tiring job and Dad simply didn't finish.  ;-)

This place that collects old cars, antiques, and anything that my Dad can get his hands on.  

This place that has a rooster crowing as soon as the sun rises and chickens clucking in the background. 

This place where you hear the church organ ring out hymns four times a day.  

This place that holds so many memories ... so many special moments ... there's just nothing quite like 4822 Church Lane.  It's my favorite place in the whole world.  


Thursday, September 4, 2014

There's nothing like it ... Part One :)

Our summer wouldn't have been complete without a trip back to good ol' Galesville, so before the kids and I headed home to Florida, we took a pitstop back "home."  And there's nothing quite like it.  The kids love being at Gramma and Grandad's house and it truly is the only place where they are happily playing all. day. long.

It's quite simple there ... good, easy living.  :)

Front porch.  Hammock.  Tractor rides.  Family.  Feeding chickens.  Shucking corn.  Reading with Gramma and Grandad.  Swingin'.  Family.  Crabbing.  Taking walks.  Farms.  Horses.  Feeding ducks.  Boat rides.  Family.  Collecting rocks.  Ice cream.  County fairs.  Sweet tea.  Hugs.  Kisses.  Cuddles.  Family.

There's really not a whole lot to it ... but that's the best part. 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Let's PARTY!

To celebrate Abby's fifth birthday, we had a painting party!  Abby is really into arts and crafts and we always have a fun time when we visit the pottery painting studio.  

What I liked most about the party was that it was simple.  Nothing over the top (like we sometimes do) ... just some friends, paint, balloons, pizza, and cake pops.  That's all you really need, right?!

The kids enjoyed picking out their pottery piece and painting it the way they wanted.  They had fun with each other and were a bit silly!  Lots of yawns (Friday afternoon might not have been the best choice for these Kindergarten newbies), lots of laughs, and lots of hugs!

Thank you for helping us celebrate the birthday girl!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just a boy and his love for baseball.

With all the excitement that went along with Abby's first week of kindergarten and fifth birthday, we wanted Levi to have some of his own special excitement.  Since Daddy was home for a couple days playing the Tampa Rays, what would make Levi the happiest little guy?  Obvious ... a trip to the ballpark with Daddy!

Look at this big boy!  Sitting in the clubhouse after getting fully dressed in his new Detroit Tigers practice gear.  Levi was ready to take some batting practice with the boys!

Nothing but kisses for Daddy after having such a fun time on the field.

Seriously ... nothing better - baseball and Daddy.  

And then it was time to go ... it was time to say bye to the ballpark and bye to Daddy. 
And someone was not happy.  It's a good thing Mommy has gotten used to taking ground balls, pitching to my little batter, and playing imaginary baseball  :)


Friday, August 29, 2014

Can she please stop growing up?

All summer long I had been anticipating the start of a new school year.  As much as I tried to forget about it, there were reminders everywhere around me.  The need to shop for school uniforms, school supplies, and of course the excitement of picking out a brand new backpack and lunchbox.  The first day of kindergarten was coming ... and there was nothing I could do to stop it. 

It wasn't that I wasn't excited for Abby, because I definitely was.  A new adventure, a new school, meeting new friends, and learning new things.  But at the same time, that's a lot of new things.  I was anxious about how she'd handle it all, how overwhelmed and exhausted she would be, and had prayed that she would absolutely love everything about school.

The week before the big day, we went to Abby's school for Meet the Teacher.  It was becoming official ... the dropping off of school supplies, meeting her teacher, finding her assigned seat, and meeting new friends.  Abby was beyond excited and was walking the halls of this big school as if she'd been doing it forever.  

The next day was another opportunity for her to meet some new kindergarten friends.  There was a playdate at the school, giving the kids time to just have fun and get to know each other.  Abby had a blast with both old and new friends.

Abby had her five year old checkup the same day (Yay for NO shots!) and then had some fun playing with one of her best buds and making homemade ice cream!

Before we knew it, it was the night before the first day of school ... the first day of kindergarten.  We did some crafts to get ready for the school year and opened up the special letter from Abby's teacher.  Inside the envelope was a poem and magic confetti to put under her pillow to help her sleep. ;) 

And then ... in the blink of eye ... the day was here.  Abby was heading off to elementary school!  It was an extra special day for so many reasons.  Not only were we celebrating Abby's first day of kindergarten, we were also celebrating her fifth birthday!  The biggest surprise of the day was having Daddy HOME for an unexpected, amazing OFF day!

Abby was all smiles heading into school and all smiles walking out.  She had a wonderful first day ... loved her teacher and made new friends.  She said she missed us a few times throughout the day, but I know that will get easier over time.

To celebrate the end of Abby's first week, I ate lunch with her in the cafeteria on Friday.  She loved our time together and it was fun seeing her mingle with her new buddies.  She is such a social butterfly and for that I am so grateful.  After school we met friends for smoothies ... they all said "cheers!" to surviving their first week of big kid school! YAY!  

So ... we did it.  It was a week full of mixed emotions ... laughter, smiles, and tears.  Here's to a wonderful school year ... a year where I'm excited to see my little girl grow, learn, and spread her wings!  

We love you SO much sweet girl! xoxo


Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Summer Adventures

Although this summer was a bit different than summers before, we had a lot of fun and made a lot of precious memories!  Take a look :)


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Until next time ...

As I sit here and type, this house is starting to feel a little empty.  There are boxes piled in the corner of the bedroom, awaiting the movers that will be here in the morning.  Moving day is here ... it's just a little earlier than expected.  

Our time here in Oakland may have been short-lived and certainly a challenging season, but we made many friends during our stay.  Jim became close with his teammates and the wives were very welcoming to the "new girl."  With the recent turn of events, many family and friends have reached out with such kind words, encouragement, and words of advice.  

One friend in particular said this:
"God has your family in the palm of His hands and already had your path mapped out.  Rest in the reassurance that He is taking you into a new journey.  Let His will be done."

And my brother-in-law, Chris reminded me of this:
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors."  ~James 1:2

Such wise words ... words with so much truth.  Although we may not understand now why we face such challenges, I'm certain we will look back at this season and know exactly what God was doing.  Until then, we patiently wait and pray for our new journey.  As I pray, my faith strengthens.  I think Jim and I are both excited to see where the road takes us next ... and wherever that may be, it's the place where God wants to use our family.  And for whatever reason, that place wasn't meant to be here ... so here's to the next part of our baseball journey - may it be exciting, meaningful, successful, and most importantly, FUN!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Keepin' busy ...

With these two little monsters kids, we sure know how to keep busy and our days can fill up rather quickly.  Our weekend was nothing short of busy, but full of fun!

Friday night was "dive in" movie night at the gym pool, featurning none other than ... "Frozen."  The kids had been looking forward to this night for weeks ... and maybe Megan and me too.  Shhh.  We planned on getting there early, as we knew it would be PACKED ... and packed it was, even two and a half hours before showtime.  Thank goodness for the pool - we did a little swimming, had some dinner poolside, and settled in for the main attraction.  The kids loved it.  Levi snuggled in my lap and Abby ran around with some new friends reenacting every scene.  It was quite something!  

Saturday, we checked out the Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley.  It was similar to activity centers we've been to in the past and the kids loved it.  Especially the space station and rocketship.  They both spent the majority of their time dressed up like astronauts, operating the command center and rocketship.  It was super cute!

Megan noticed the opportunity for a family photo shoot and snapped away.  We've either found our Halloween costumes or our picture for this years Christmas card.  What do you think?!

In the museum there was also a "market" where Abby and Levi shopped, bought the groceries, and then did some cooking.  They painted on a giant paint wall and then used vegetables to paint their own masterpieces to take home.  There was also a water room, train tables, and a quiet reading area.  It's fun to sit back sometimes and watch their little imaginations at work!

Although it's exhausting sometimes (especially at the end of today), I love doing fun things for the kids.  The smiles on their faces say it all and I'm grateful that we are able to have these experiences together.  Cheers to keepin' busy and havin' fun!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Grandad!

When you're living on opposites sides of the country, sometimes you just have to improvise.  Yesterday was my Dad's 68th birthday and so we celebrated together, just not in the same state or even the same coast.  It's amazing how modern technology can still make birthday "parties" fun!!

A couple days ago, Abby and I baked cupcakes while Levi was taking a nap.  As Abby was mixing the batter, she asked "Mama, why are we making cupakes?"  Of course my natural response was "Well we don't really need a reason to bake cupcakes, right?!"  I mean, who doesn't love indulging in cupcakes for no particular reason?

Later that day I realized my Dad's birthday was coming up and immediately went back to Abby's question from earlier.  "Mama, why are we making cupcakes?"  Well, now I had an answer ... "Grandad's BIRTHDAY!"

Even though we were a few days early, we decided to start the celebration that day ... our "party."  We sang Happy Birthday, lit the candle on a cupcake and had Grandad "blow" it out - through the iPad.

There were smiles all around and the kids enjoyed the cupcakes - of course.  Since we teased Gramma and Grandad with the cupcakes, Abby and I will bake them some when we see them next month ... then we'll celebrate again!

It might have been a different way to have a party, but it was a lot of fun anyways!  Hope you had a great day Grandad, we love and miss you!