46 / 52 : “Balloons”

What is it about those colorful, drifting ovals? Light as air, tied to a string, static electricity, happy decor, joyful atmosphere – it just isn’t a birthday around here without a flock of floating fun. This year my little boy is a big man…sigh… We celebrated with just the four of us and went out to dinner, per the birthday boy’s request, to Chick-fil-A. I made him a chocolate chip cookie cake. YUM. It was nice.

46 / 52 : “Balloons”

Balloons

I love a birthday. I love planning them, I love photographing, participating, celebrating, eating, gift-giving…it is a beautiful thing. Last night I decorated the house a bit so the birthday kid would wake up to find streamers, balloons, signs, etc… It was precious to hear little feet trot down the hall, then little voices say, “Mommy! There is a birthday out there!” Makes staying up late WORTH. IT.

Birthday boy

Here is the most handsome child I have ever seen with his cookie cake. I found the recipe here, via Pinterest, then embellished it with a little icing and sprinkles. It is reaaaaaally good. I had always wanted to make a giant chocolate chip cookie!

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45 / 52 : “Snow”

Magical, mesmerizing mist. Fluffy, frosty flakes. Peaceful, puffy powder. Mhhhmmm…the wintery quiet has come. I love watching snow fall. We had a definite wave come through this afternoon and it left a precious few inches for us to play. My children’s begging eyes exchanged glances between the window and Mommy…pleeeaaaassee! It was time to make dinner – but it is always time to make memories instead. As night was consuming the backyard, there we were throwing on some boots, gloves, and warm clothes. Out we went into our mini wonderland. Our little snowman was silly, and giggles were aplenty. Snowballs were flying. My little girl would growl and toss a spat of snow with her ill-fitting mittens. My little man would charge his dad and laugh hysterically. Aaaaaand Dad beamed us all.

45 / 52 : “Snow”

Snow

By the end of our little evening adventure my hands were burning with cold because I chose to video/photograph the event instead of wear my gloves. Ehh…it was worth it. I LOVE hearing those babies laugh. I cherish every bit of our story together…

41 / 52 : “Cold Nose”

It has been a while. I have been hit with what I call the “project monster” (overloading myself with things to do) and have had some wonderful out-of-town family guests. I will finish this Self Portrait Project hopefully sooner, rather than later. Anyway, I took this photo while out in the lovely Christmas Town at Busch Gardens over the weekend. The temperature/”feels like” was in the low 40’s to high 30’s by the end of the night…so it was a bit chilly. Nothing that some FANTASTIC hot chocolate or well placed area heaters could not fix. I love the cold….not the brutally freezing, just the cold. I would rather shiver than sweat any day!

41 / 52 : “Cold Nose”

My wonderful brother and his amazing wife spend a few days with us and the kids. It has become a Thanksgiving tradition. Christmas Town was better this year because they were there. We ate my favorite smoked BBQ, rode some rides, saw some shows and walked among the paths lined with tons of real, lighted Christmas trees. It was a beautiful time with priceless memories.

37 / 52 : “Aunt”

She is here! My precious little niece. She is absolutely beautiful. My dear sister-in-law and her wonderful husband have begun an amazing family together. So tiny, so sweet, so peaceful. I just love her. This is my first time being an Aunt…I can’t wait to spoil this precious girl!

37 / 52 : “Aunt”

What a blessing she is to our family already. My kids, her only cousins, simply adore her and could not wait to meet her this past weekend. I am so excited for them to grow up together!

36 / 52 : “Fair Day”

A day at the fair goes way back for me. Some great memories, some fun times – there is nothing like a day at the state fair! The weather was cool and breezy. The scent of greasy pizza, cotton candy, and farm animals was in the air. The sounds of carnies vying for our attention, mingled with the shrieks and clatter of people on rides. Our kids squealed as they chased each other around the pretty green grass of Meadow Event Park. Growing up, I use to enter the photography competition in the Florida State Fair. It was always fun to go and find out what/if you won for your photos. I thought that a self portrait from this year was appropriate for my project. I took a few pictures that day, but this one was my favorite.

36 / 52 : “Fair Day”

I love that my daughter is munching a bite of pretzel. I love my son’s smile with pizza in his cheek. I love that I can take my kids to the fair now and let them create their own memories.

The first animal that we saw was my all-time favorite! They use to have them at the Florida Fair…it is the baby Zebu. I still totally want one. The cutest cow EVER!

We love the animals. I think my kids could have spent all day feeding goats and petting sheep. They really enjoyed watching the baby chicks hatch from eggs and the ducklings splash and slide in their little man-made pond.

I just realized that I have now been writing this blog for about a year now! Here is the post from last year’s trek to the State Fair…I can’t believe how much my kiddos have grown. 🙂

31 / 52 : “Precious Girl”

The birthday of my AMAZING daughter…what an event! Hard to believe it has been 2 years since that hospital stay and bringing home that tiny Peanut. She is our little treasure! Her party had a Sesame Street theme, naturally. Who doesn’t love that little, red monster? 🙂 She was surrounded by those that love her, tasty food, a pool and some lovely presents. God even held off the torrential downpour and brought out the sun for all the kiddies to play in the pool for a little while…and us to get our grill on!

31 / 52 : “Precious Girl”

Does it get any cuter than that Precious Girl with a smashed Elmo cupcake on her face? I am so in love.

I had so much fun pulling ideas and getting ready for her party. I have Pinterest to thank once again. I took some ideas I saw and made them my own. His eyes were filled with a  fruit or vegetable dip accordingly.

I made chocolate Cookie Monster cupcakes and “funfetti” Elmo cupcakes. Both had candy melts for eyes. Elmo’s nose was a jelly bean and Cookie had a cookie of course. Cute and yummy, too.

I am so grateful for those who helped out and all who were able to come and enjoy my Baby’s special day. Our loved ones mean the world to us, even the ones which distance separates from us. They were there in our hearts.

26 / 52 : “Growing Up”

Today was a big day in my household. I have no more babies. My precious daughter went to bed in her “big girl bed” for the first time. It literally feels like she just came home from the hospital. I am not sure how she grew up so fast. As I sang her favorite lullaby, she hugged on her blankie and her Cookie Monster. I began to tear up looking into her big, blue eyes. I asked her if she was going to stay in her big girl bed and go to sleep, I got the sweetest, little answer: “yes.”

26 / 52 : “GROWING UP”

And she did…she cried for a few minutes, which about made my heart break…she never came out of her room and went to sleep like a big girl. I feel like I am just a blink away from an empty nest…

Wednesday’s Word #30

This past week we were blessed to be able to stay with my brother and sister-in-law down in Florida. We got to see many loved ones and do some pretty fun things. It was my daughter’s first time flying on a plane and my son’s first time remembering it. Overall, it was an amazing trip – it went as smooth as can be. Once we arrived home it hit me how much I miss the people I love… It is funny to come back from vacation.

“NORMALIZE”

verb: to make normal; to establish or resume in a normal manner

It is that kind of “sigh” that takes place right as we walk in the door after traveling. We discard the bags to the side and automatically start getting back to our everyday life.  My kids run to their rooms and straight to their toys. The cats come out from hiding to say hi. We swing open the blinds and check to make sure everything fared well in our absence.

It is hard to want to unpack…bleh. Especially when we know we are going to pack a few things right back up shortly. We have a very busy rest of the summer planned before my husband goes back to work. Normal takes on different forms and different lengths of time in our house. Getting back to “normal” during the summer is a bit different with a teacher in the family. Since my husband has been off for the summer it just seems like playtime – chores, work…again…bleh.

I guess for us, “normalizing” will probably happen for real at the end of the summer. For now, I like the temporary normal….and am so grateful for the break to Florida – it was a beautiful time!

22 / 52 : “Tiger’s Eye”

A beautiful friend, a beautiful time, a beautiful gift, now a beautiful memory. I am so blessed to know some very special people and am honored to call them my friends. Some smiles I will never forget, some laughs still ring in my ears, some hugs remain long after they are given, some hearts I keep close to mine.

22 / 52 : “Tiger’s Eye”

 

This will always bring joy to my spirit and light to my eyes as my mind dances back to a happy place…

21 / 52 : “Scars”

This week I have been thinking and noticing all the markings on my skin. Because of recent health issues, I have a lot more marks than I once did. All these markings have a story; they make up who I am. Some I’ve had ever since I was little, some are more recent. Some are emotionally deep, some I question where they came from. Some I am grateful for, some I wish would just disappear.

21 / 52 : “Scars”

These scars on my knee are from what I call a miracle. One day I was sitting at my desk and my one year old daughter walked up to where the dinner trays were sitting on the outside of my desk and began pulling them. Before I could stop her they started falling on her. Somehow I was out from under my desk, she was next to me and the trays and stand were on top of me…and I was in pain. My little, sweet baby got up and gave me a kiss, then went about her business. All I could do was thank God that it was me and not her under the trays. I bashed up my feet, knee and hand – I was bleeding and hurting. I still cannot figure out how I got to where I did. A miracle.

On a side note…knees are weird. They are very awkward looking in a photo. I have to admit, I have never really attempted knee photography before – definitely not my favorite subject. I have learned this week that knees are not photogenic…or maybe it’s just my knees.