Saturday, December 31, 2011

  2011: A Year In Review

Wow. 

What a year this has been.

For our family, 2011 was sort of a roller coaster with some pretty high highs, and one extremely low low.

In January, we welcomed a new member to the family.  My nephew, Baby Jake, is such a sweet baby.  He may be the calmest baby to ever grace the planet, and I've had two super calm, easy babies myself, so I know whereof I speak.

In February, my Little Man turned three, and we moved into a new house. 

March was spent getting settled into our new environment.  The little ones never really had any sleep issues in their new rooms, which was my main concern with the move.  I took the kids to Georgia to celebrate Grandaddy's 70th birthday.

April was a big month for Baby Girl as we started giving her baby food.  Girlfriend still LOVES to eat.  Also in April, I was inspired by my nephew's hate list (which I now have a copy of, by the way) to start my Love List.  I still plan to finish that, I just got distracted along the way.

In May, I spent a very long day in the ER with The Teen ruling out appendicitis.  And I lost my son at the zoo, which is where I'm beginning to think he actually belongs anyway!

June marked The Tween's tenth birthday.  We enjoyed the first of two vacation weeks at the beach, and I took what is still one of my favorite pictures ever.  And the state of Florida was under a thick veil of smoke for most of the month.

July 4th was spent with my family in Georgia, eating my brother's famous ribs, corn my daddy picked that very morning and my mama's potato salad.  The dozen cousins had a blast together, and we all enjoyed family time.  I spent my last day there picking corn and tomatoes with my daddy.  And I got a ticket for having illegal tint on my windows.  We spent our second vacation week at the beach with my husband's family.  The end of July marked the lowest of the lows when Grandaddy passed away.  I think of him every single day and miss him so much sometimes I feel I can barely breathe.

In August, my big girls went back to school.  The Teen started her first year of high school and also turned 14. 

Baby Girl turned one in September.  Just before her birthday, she started walking.  And I learned that a little quiet time with her brother, is usually not a good thing.

October was our first Halloween in this house, and the first one not trick-or-treating with friends in a different part of town.  We decided to stay home and host The Tween's best friend and her parents.  We had a great time until The Tween announced that she didn't feel well and didn't think she could make it all the way around the circle that is our street.  I pushed her home in the stroller, discovered she had a fever, and she ended up missing a whole week of school.


Little Man Buzz, Zombie BFF, Tween Medusa, Baby Girl Butterfly, Teen Princess (aka Baby Wrangler)
In November, I loaded up the little ones and drove to Georgia to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  The big girls went to North Carolina with their Nana, and my husband stayed here in Florida to work.  Before we headed off in different directions, we had what I hope was our first annual family Thanksgiving.  Just our little family here at home.  We all enjoyed the meal and eating in the dining room seemed like quite a treat.

In December, Baby Girl experienced her first ER visit, and I lost my son at the mall.  Our first Christmas without Grandaddy was not easy for me.  I'm so thankful for my kids because I knew I needed to stay upbeat for them, and that certainly helped.  We spent Christmas Eve with my in-laws then came home to get ready for Santa.  We spent Christmas morning checking out the kids' new loot, then headed back to the in-laws for breakfast and gifts.  Then we drove to Georgia to spend the rest of Christmas Day and the next day with my family. 

What will 2012 hold?  I have no idea.  But I'm praying for the best year possible for my family and yours.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!


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Monday, December 19, 2011

  Not Me! Monday


I haven't done one of these in a while, but the last week and a half has been a doozy, and I feel the need to fess up.

I did not lose my son in the mall while Christmas shopping with my mother.  Not me!  I know he's an escape artist and that he tends to wander away from the group, so I keep an eye on him at all times. 

The Teen did not find him shopping for underwear a minute after we realized he was missing.  I did not assign an older kid the job of watching every move he made in each store we entered after we found him.

I did not leave my sweet Baby Girl outside with her daddy while he was grilling steaks, only to have to rush her to the emergency room minutes later with burns on her hands from touching the grill. 


I did not run a red light, snap at a hospital employee who was less than helpful, or really want to punch a nurse before my baby finally got the attention she needed.  Not me!  I am always calm and cool under pressure.

Check out MckMama's blog to read what other moms did not do this week.



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Friday, November 18, 2011

  Is This Thing On?

Remember me? 

I used to post blog posts here. 

Then life got sad and icky and busy and overwhelming. 

I have missed the blog. 

I have missed the creative outlet it provides. 

I have lacked the motivation to do anything about any of that.

Mama Bear has started up with Alphabity Moments again, and I realized that if she can do it with three young kids, including a four month old (who by the way, has the most squish worthy thighs I have ever seen), then certainly, I can do it too.

A is for Acorns. 



Little Man loves to go on walks around the neighborhood.  At least once every day, he says, "I want to go walk on the sidewalk."

I've been wanting to get in better shape and lose a little weight, so I thought walks would be the perfect thing for us to do.  But, walks with my boy are not exactly vigorous exercise.  I walk about five steps, then stop to wait for him while he collects acorns and pine cones and magnolia things (drawing a total blank on what they are really called and don't have the motivation to go look it up...notice a trend in the lack of motivation department?) and sticks and leaves.

B is for Bows.



I love putting bows in little girls' hair.  I'm very aware of the short period of time I have to actually get Baby Girl to wear bows.  Right now she's in a stage where she wants bows in her hair, even bringing me a bow when she finds one and wanting me to put it in her hair.  She's also in a stage where she likes to pull bows out of her hair 30 seconds after I put them in.  I know soon she'll allow the bows to stay in all day, and then soon after that, she'll decide she's too old for such silliness.

I hope to get back in the bloggy swing of things soon. 

Expect some very random randomness.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

  One


My baby girl is one year old today.

I'm not sure how that happened already. I must have blinked or something.

It seems like just yesterday I found out about this surprise pregnancy which threw me for a loop and turned my world upside down.

It's funny, you never know what you really want or need until you have it.

I can't imagine our lives without this sweet child.

She has the sweetest personality of any baby I've ever seen.

She's perfectly happy entertaining herself with toys, especially if they really belong to her brother.

She loves getting attention from her big sisters, and her big brother makes her laugh hysterically on a daily basis.

She's a sweetheart, but she also has spunk.

I have no doubt that she'll be able to take care of herself, and when she gets a little bigger, The Boy had best watch out. I'm pretty sure she'll be able to give back every bit of grief that he gives her.

She's not a snuggler, she would much rather be along in her bed with her paci and her blankie when she's ready to go to sleep.

Really the only way to get good snuggles from her is to put her blankie over your shoulder, then when she snuggles the blankie, you get free snuggles too.

She does love to give big, wet, smoochie kisses.

She's a great eater. I don't know how a child that size can hold the amount of food she consumes on any given day.  We have yet to find a food she doesn't like.

She also loves to try to eat Barbie shoes, matchbox cars and any other small toy or piece of trash she can get her chubby little hands on.  And she gets royally ticked off when we remove those things from her mouth.

She loves to be outside and occasionally throws a little fit when I bring her inside.

She can say "Mama" when she really wants to. She says "Dada", "Thank You" and something that may or may not be the name of one sister.

She loves to dance and play pat-a-cake.

She does not love having bows in her hair and rips them out shortly after I put them in.

As I type this, Baby Girl is wearing a dress with "Birthday Girl" in silver sequins on the front and a pink ruffled skirt.  And she's playing with a tractor.  I think that pretty much sums her up!

She is a true joy and a blessing, and I am forever grateful that God saw fit to put her in my life when I didn't even know I needed her.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

  9/11

I had a post about college football in my head this morning, but that will have to wait until later in the week.

I just came in from sitting on my patio with The Boy as we watched Navy jets fly over our house.  It was amazing.  They were so close, and the noise was incredible.  One of those noises you feel in your chest.

It brought tears to my eyes and brought back all the memories of that day ten years ago when it felt like the world was ending.  I held The Tween all day that day.  She was only three months old at the time.  I was terrified about the world she would grow up in.

Our lives have changed so much since that day, but I hope that we never forget the lives that were lost, and I pray that we, as a nation, will always be grateful for those who are still fighting to keep us safe and free.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

  I Thought...

...that she...



...was sleeping, and I thought that he...


...was watching tv with his big sisters, but I was WRONG!


I was very,


very wrong!



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Monday, September 5, 2011

  Look Who's Walking

On Wednesday, August 30, my baby took her first steps. 

I stood her up, and she took 4 or 5 steps to get to me. 

She's right on schedule.  All four of my kids have taken their first steps about two weeks before their first birthday. 

She still won't just let go and walk by herself, but any time we stand her up in front of us, she walks right to us.


She gets so excited when she does it too. 

I think if she would just slow down and stop laughing, she could make it a few more steps before falling down.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

  {A Photo} Challenge





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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

  The Love List 101 ~ 105


If you're new here, or if you have just forgotten. click here to read about what inspired me to start this list!

101.  The smell of crayons.
102.  Finding cute stuff on clearance at Target.
103.  Words With Friends on Facebook.
104.  Pinterest.
105.  The Help.  Both the book and the movie.
 

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Monday, August 29, 2011

  Katy Perry Wannabe

This was Katy Perry at the VMAs last night:

Photo CreditL Yahoo! Music

  (Which I was only watching, by the way, because I have a 14 year old daughter who almost hyperventilated at the prospect of viewing a clip from The Hunger Games, only to be sadly disappointed when all she really got to see was some trees.)

This was Baby Girl this morning:



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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

  The Love List 96 ~ 100


No, I have not given up on my quest to list 240 things I love.  I just haven't been in a very love listy sort of place recently, for obvious reasons.

But, even through the bad times, I have still been able to pinpoint a few positives, and looking for the good things can make the bad things seem at least bearable, so I'm going to try to pick up where I left off.

96.  Small, southern town hospitality which deserves a post of it's own.
97.  Catching up with old friends.
98.  Laughing until you cry, then crying until you laugh again.
99.  Looking through old pictures.
100.  Knowing I have people in my life I can depend on no matter what.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

  Yesterday

Yesterday, my oldest daughter survived her first day of high school.

The day before that, she turned 14.


So, why does it feel like just the day before that I was holding her cute little infant self and begging, pleading, praying for her to just stop screaming and go to sleep already?

She was a bit of a colicky baby.

I had planned to post some pictures of the first day of school, but alas, my trusty card reader has bit the dust.  I think a certain Baby Girl had a little something to do with that.

So, I'll post my view on my drive home from dropping The Teen off at her new, big, scary high school. 

Something just seems wrong when you drop your kid off so early you get to see the sunrise on the way home!


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Saturday, August 13, 2011

  7.24.2011

Note:  My nephew asked if I had plans to blog about this, and I told him no, it felt too personal to send out to the internet.  Then I got home and while lying awake at night, I began composing this post in my head.  It wasn't until I sat down and typed it all out that I finally got decent rest.  I guess writing is a bit theraputic for me.  Then I let it sit for a while, still not planning to hit the 'publish post' button.  But I don't feel that I can get back to my normal, light hearted posting without publishing this post first.  It would feel fake, and I don't like being fake.

On July 24, 2011, at about 10:30 a.m., I got a phone call that changed my world.

My mother and nephew were here, and we were dressed to head to the beach for the day.  She had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get in touch with my daddy, and she had called my brother to go check on him.  When the phone rang, I saw my parents' number, and assumed it was Daddy with some smart remark about us being worried about him for no reason.  Instead, I heard my brothers voice, telling me he had found Daddy on the floor.  I didn't need to ask any questions, I knew from the tone of his voice, that our daddy was gone.

To say I handled it poorly is an understatement.  I have always dreaded having to tell my children that one of their grandparents has passed away.  I've tried to come up with comforting words to use to break it to them gently.  Instead, they, and my nephew and my mom, found out about Grandaddy by hearing me crying and screaming, "NO!" into the phone.

My brother was trying to calm me down, reminding me that I had to be strong for Mama because she was here with me.  I pulled myself together a little and got Mama to sit down because I was afraid she was going to faint.  Then I called my husband and told him I needed him to come home.  As soon as he got here, I left to drive my mother and my nephew, who lives with her, the three hours back to their house.  My husband packed up the kids and followed a few minutes later.  It was the longest three hours of my life.  I wanted to hurry up and get there to be with my brother and little sister, who were together at the house, but the closer I got, I just wanted to turn around and come back home and pretend nothing had happened.

My daddy was a lot of things. 

He was stubborn, opinionated, always right even when it was clear to everyone, including himself, that he was wrong.  He loved to tease people, especially my mother, and sometimes took things a little too far.  He had a short fuse and a quick temper. 

He was also honest and caring and generous.  He believed a handshake when making a promise was as good as, or better than, a legal contract.  If he told you he was going to do something, he did it.  He was loyal to his friends and family, and helped strangers out when he saw someone in need. 

He was a big man, and rather intimidating.  He always insisted on meeting any boys I dated before we went out.  He made sure to shake their hand, and they all mentioned how big his hands were the moment we left the house.  I spoke with a friend just the other day.  We never dated, but we've known each other for thirty-three years.  He mentioned the size of Daddy's hands and compared it to his three year old shaking hands with any other grown up.

Oh, and Daddy also made sure he was seated in the chair directly in front of his gun cabinet.  The boys knew not to mess with me or my sisters.
Daddy was a sportsman.  He loved to hunt and fish.  Almost every morning and evening during deer season, he could be found in a tree in the woods waiting for the perfect buck to come along.  Of course, sometimes those bucks were in his dreams as he would often fall asleep in his stand.  If the son's of any of his friends wanted to go, and their own daddy couldn't take them, Daddy would offer to let them tag along.

He loved sports of all kinds.  He won several awards while in high school, and he coached my brother in little league softball and football.  He was often stopped by grown men he had coached as kids.  They all wanted to share how much Daddy had meant to them. He went to almost every sporting event at my old high school, whether one of his kids or grand kids was playing or not.  He adopted countless kids at that school, encouraging them and being there for them with a hug or handshake at the end of the game. 

He always stood in the same spot to watch home football games.  I don't know how I'll stand the thought of someone else standing in that spot by the fence near the ten yard line. 

He was a die hard Braves fan, even through the bad years.  I learned everything I know about baseball, which is a good bit, you know, for a girl, while watching games with him in the 90's.  His reaction when Francisco Cabrera's hit allowed Sid Bream to score the winning run in the 1992 National League Championship Series is a memory that will stay with me forever.

He was awarded a football scholarship, but when his own father had a heart attack, he left college and came home to help support his family.  He eventually worked his way through college.  Over the past years, he and my mom built a successful, respected, agricultural/commercial construction company from the ground up.

Over 400 people showed up for visitation the night before the funeral.  We stood for about three hours as a constant stream of people paid their last respects.  My mom was blown away at all the love and support and the sheer number of people.  I knew there would be a lot of people there, everyone respected my daddy. 

Most of all, I think, he was a grandfather who could not have been more proud of all twelve of his grandchildren.  I lost count of how many people told me how he would light up when he talked about them.  And I am in tears thinking about how much they will miss him.

I am heartbroken that my baby girl won't have any memory of her Grandaddy.  I have heard over and over throughout the last two weeks how he would describe each grandchild, and when he would get to her, he would say, "She is just a joy."  

I have vowed to do everything in my power to make sure my three year old boy doesn't forget him.  He doesn't understand what has happened.  When I mention Grandaddy, he says he's at Grandma's house.  When I tell him Grandaddy is in Heaven with Jesus and the angels, his responses have been, "That's not nice" and "You need to save him".  How do I respond to that?

I feel broken and fragile. 

Like I might explode into a thousand pieces any second.

A dear family friend pointed out that if not for the relationship I had with him, I wouldn't feel the pain now. 

For that I am grateful.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

  AWOL

I've been AWOL, I know, I admit it. 

I was so proud of myself for posting every weekday there for a while, and then things just got busy.  I guess that's a good thing though.

We just got back from another week at the beach. 

It was fantabulous, and we really didn't want to come home.

The Boy wakes up every morning asking if we can go play in the waves and walk in the sand.

Sorry, dude, no beach in our yard.

I had planned to do a full on picture filled post today, but my mother just called me from her car and told me she's on her way to my house to stay for a few days.  It's a three hour drive, and my house isn't exactly in the greatest shape, so I've got to get moving.

I have to share just one picture though!



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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

  Tutu

My younger sister made this adorable tutu for my sweet baby girl.

Then she, her daughter, my older sister and I took my sweet baby girl out into the gnat infested South Georgia heat and tortured her until we got a few good pictures of her in her new tutu.
Note:  No babies were injured in any way during this production.  These are not "biting" gnats, they are "aggravate the heck out of you until you cry" gnats.
 

It was definitely a team effort.  My older sister and I both snapped pictures while my younger sister fanned Baby Girl with a pizza box top in an attempt to keep the gnats away.
Meanwhile, my niece stood behind us and played pat-a-cake, Baby Girl's favorite game, to try to keep her distracted and get her to smile.
In the end, I think we got a few good shots.  I'm planning to take the tutu (and the baby) to the beach this week and try again there!

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Friday, July 8, 2011

  Rebel

As most of you know, I live in Florida, but I'm from Georgia.  My entire family still lives in Georgia, so I make trips into that state several times each year.

My family has a big cookout every year on the 4th of July, so that is one of the times I'm sure to be loading up the Suburban and making my way north.  This week was no exception. 

Everything went great.  We spent the 4th visiting with family and friends, we ate until we thought we might pop.  We fanned gnats and sweated.  A lot.  We watched a dozen cousins play and fuss and bond.

On the 5th, I loaded up my brood to head back to Florida.  As we were leaving, my Daddy told me to be careful because he had seen several state patrol cars and police cars out.  I was very careful to watch my speed, but suddenly, there were blue lights flashing behind me.  I said a little prayer that maybe I knew the officer who was pulling me over and could talk my way out of a ticket.

It has happened before.  You sort of know when the officer at your window leads with, "How are your mama and daddy doing?" that you probably won't get ticketed. 

Or when the state patrolman tries to set you up with his brother-in-law (years ago, before I was married).

Unfortunately, I had never seen this man before in my life.  As he approached the car, I was looking for my insurance card, and just reached around and pressed the button to roll down my window.  I accidentally pressed the button for the back window, so the police officer was looking in the window beside The Boy, Baby Girl and a five gallon bucket of tomatoes I had just picked with my daddy.  The back of the car had about 30 ears of corn and a big bag of Vidalia onions.  Obviously, I looked like a hardened criminal.

I got the right window down, and asked him if I had been speeding.

He said, "No, ma'am, I stopped you because your window tint is too dark."

Now, I have had illegal window tint before.  Like seriously illegal.  Like limo tint.  I loved it. 

I was a rebel once.

But, now I drive a Suburban filled with kids and produce.  The tint on my windows came with the car.  I was in shock.

When he measured the whatever it is you measure on window tint,  (The amount of light it lets through, maybe) he told me that my tint measures at 16%.  Anything under 32% is illegal in Georgia, and although I am a Florida resident, any time I cross the Florida/Georgia line, I am, in fact, illegal.

I explained that my parents live there and said, "So, I'm driving illegally every time I visit them?"

"Yes, ma'am"

Then I asked, "What if I drive with my windows rolled down?  Would I still get stopped?"

He laughed a little and said, "Some will still stop you."

Lovely.

So, I got a ticket for illegal tint.  The officer explained that I could come back to court to protest my ticket.  Yes, I could do that, but I would have to drive there in my illegal car.

I signed my ticket and continued on my trip.  When I stopped to get gas, I couldn't help but laugh as I walked back to the car.  Yes, my Suburban with the pink Minnie Mouse antennae topper, just screams drug dealer.

As I drove, I called my husband, parents and my sister.  My sister used her iPhone to do some research, and she discovered that in Florida, anything above 15% is legal.  So, while I am legal in Florida, I'm just barely legal.

About half an hour after I got the ticket, my sister-in-law called me. 

She said, "Your mom just called us and said you got a ticket."

Then she added, "You don't have a ticket anymore."

Her cousin is engaged to an investigator with that police department.  When she heard what had happened, she called him and asked what we could do about it.  He told her to give him a minute, then he called her back and told her he had taken care of it.

The second I got home, I told my husband my ticket had been fixed already.  He was quite impressed that I could get a ticket and get out of it that quickly.

And that is why I love having connections in small town police departments.

And also why I will most likely be driving my illegal car back to Georgia in September to attend the wedding of my sister-in-law's cousin to the policeman who fixed my ticket.

Maybe I'm still a rebel after all.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

  A Dozen Cousins


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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

  The Love List 86 ~ 95 (Edition: This Was My Weekend)


86.  Pedro's House of Ribs.
87.  Aunt Marie's Grown Up Punch.
88.  Watermelon.
89.  Fireworks.
90.  The 4th of July.
91.  Large fans that blow gnats away.
92.  Broccoli Salad.
93.  Twelve layer chocolate cake.
94.  Fresh corn on the cob, dripping with butter and super salty.
95.  Having connections in small town police departments.



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