Monday, July 4, 2016


I feel like twelve is a magical age.  It's the year between being a child and being a teenager.  So much changes in that one little year.  My girl turned twelve in January and already this year is flying by and she's suddenly looking less like a little girl.  She's almost as tall as me, by just barely an inch. She's got the eye roll down and the exasperated sigh.  But...she's still my little girl.  She still loves me just as much, even if she doesn't need me to help her with the little things any more.  She needs me for bigger things, like navigating friendships and being an ear to listen to all the little stories of things that happen at student group and co-op and sleepovers.  Suddenly what her friends think bears much more weight than it used to and fitting in is oh so important.  Yes, she is twelve.  It's wonderful, and it's frustrating and I've never been a mom of a twelve year old so I hope I'm getting things right.  She is beautiful and smart and funny and she loves Jesus.  She still confides in me and she still wants to kiss me goodnight and for this mama, that is everything.  I love her so much and I love, love, love that God has entrusted me with the important job of helping her grow into a woman.  I love that she is so forgiving of my faults and I try to remind myself daily to give her grace as I try to remember way back to what it was like when I was twelve.  

This year for her annual photo shoot I let her take over, because after all, she's twelve now so she's got her own creative ideas and she's trying out new styles and I love watching all of it evolve.  She's a Pinterest junkie so she made a pin board of inspiration photos that mostly involved a forest style with a white dress.  She tried on lots of dresses but finally found this perfect one that she felt beautiful in.  I was a little wary of the fact that it's off the shoulder, but I'm embracing this growing up thing and she loved how she looked in it and loved that it was a grown up type of style so I went with it.  We found a park with the right forest feel and although I'd like to say we had a perfect, wonderful shoot...well, she's twelve, so there was some tension and some drama, and then we made up in the end.  So, yeah, it was a typical day in the life of a twelve year old girl and her mama.  I love how all her photos turned out so I have a ton to share.  She doesn't even realize how gorgeous she is, but I'm happy to say that she is truly just as beautiful on the inside.  If you have the pleasure of knowing her then I know you'll agree.      

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Easter 2016

This year on Easter my brother was in town with his family and we had a fun time celebrating.  We woke up early of course so the kids could find their Easter baskets that the Easter bunny had hidden.  He did a pretty good job this year.  We headed to church with a massive sugar rush and then headed to my mom's house for dinner.  She made a whole spread with ham and everything.  It was all delicious of course because my mom is a wonderful cook.  It runs in the family. ;)  We managed to get a few photos of all the kids in their Easter finest before they changed.  I honestly don't even remember what we did the rest of the day besides the traditional egg hunt.  I seriously need to catch up on my blogging because my memory is not as good as it used to be!  I'm guessing maybe the guys went fishing and we went to the beach for sunset.  That sounds like a typical day so I'm just gonna go with that.  Here are my favorite pics of my favorite little people, who aren't really so little anymore!

 I love these two together.  They are too cute!  That one on the left is them doing their serious faces.  My boy has got the smolder down!

Posting this for my mom who loves pics of her grandkids.  Hopefully this summer I'll get one with all 6 of them!

Busch Gardens

When we lived in Ohio we always had season passes to Kings Island, so when we moved we really missed having a family activity to do like that.  Since we live so close to Disney and Busch Gardens we debated about what to do and we ended up choosing to get passes to Busch Gardens for this year and we have loved it so far!  Next year we might do Disney or Universal, but really, I just love Busch Gardens so much I have a feeling we will do it again.  The first time we went we really had no idea what to expect.  I had heard that they had a lot of animals there, but in my mind I thought it was kind of a separate part of the park, but I was totally wrong about that.  There are a lot of animals and it's fantastic.  If I had to describe it, I would say it's like a zoo that happens to have roller coasters all throughout.  The animal exhibits are very intertwined with the rides and everything else.  I actually think the animal exhibits at Busch Gardens are better than the zoo here.  And the shows there are great!  My kids love the animal show.  We have loved going there as a family and with friends.  My husband and I were able to go on a double date with friends to the Food and Wine Festival there and that was a blast too.  I really don't have anything bad to say about Busch Gardens.  We don't ride the huge roller coasters since my boy is still not a fan of them, but there is enough other stuff to do there that it's still fun.  I take a ton of photos with my phone every time we go, but I'm just going to share a few from the first couple of times we went.  The rest I still need to download off my phone!  I foresee another Busch Gardens blog post in my future. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Beach Party!

This year for her birthday my girl wanted a party at the beach. I wasn't sure how it would work since she also wanted to host her first slumber party too. I really wanted to just say yes to whatever ideas she had this year to make up for the fact that I felt like her last year's birthday party was not up to my usual standards because of me not feeling well. I was determined to make this year's party the best ever.

To start out we designed the cutest invitations. We decided to have all the girls meet at the beach and then after that we would head back to our house for the sleepover. My girl pinned tons of great ideas from Pinterest and we had so much cute stuff planned. But...turns out that the weather in Florida in January is not really as beautiful and predictable as you might expect. I kinda suspected it might be a bit chilly for the beach part, but it ended up raining almost that whole day so we had to call off the beach part and just move the whole party to our place.

I felt really badly that my girl wasn't getting the beach party of her dreams (she was great about it, it was me that was disappointed for her!) so I decided to try to recreate the beach indoors. We had planned on taking her quilt from her bed to the beach and using a coffee table to set everything out on. We just moved it all to our living room floor and it was so cute! Her beach themed quilt looked perfect and we put out some fun beach floats that the girls lounged around on.

My favorite part of the decorations were these palm trees!  They were so cute and everyone loved them.  They really helped to bring out the beachy vibe.  To make these I spent just $4 at the dollar store.  I bought 2 sheets of green poster board and cut the leaves out of them.  The coconuts are brown balloons and the tree trunk is a gold plastic tablecloth cut into strips.  It's all held into place with a ton of painter's tape.  I thought they would fall down but I actually ended up having to take them down a couple days later because they were still up.

I had so much fun with the beach themed snacks. These didn't last long.

The 'sand' pudding was so delicious. It was layered vanilla pudding and golden Oreos crushed in the blender. The cupcakes were amazing too. My friend who makes wedding cakes lent me some of her stuff and got the sugar sea shells for me too.

The beach balls are gumballs. My mom was supposed to bring over a pitcher for us to use for the blue punch and she had forgotten so I was all distraught trying to figure out what to put it in when my boy reminded me of our party ball drink dispenser. We got it for a white elephant gift one Christmas and had never used it (it had a tequila sticker all around it and I just ripped that sucker off and it looked great). It was a hit and the girls had fun getting their drinks out of it.

I'm pretty sure the girls' favorite part of the party were the favors. My amazing Mother-in-Law sewed all of these mermaid tail blankets with help from my Great Aunt. I still can't believe how generous they were to go to all that trouble and then ship them all down here from Ohio! It was something my girl will never forget, that's for sure. The girls were all beyond excited and couldn't believe they each got one to keep and take home. They watched "Aquamarine" (a mermaid movie) while all wearing their tails and it was so cute. They didn't want to take them off and were hopping around the house in them like potato sacks (except for much cuter with their fins dragging on the floor behind them). They kept slipping and falling on the hard floor so I had to make them stop.

There was a lot of silliness happening that night.  I have no idea what is going on in this pic, but they were having fun!

They played a bunch of games too.

Opening gifts. My girl has some of the sweetest friends. They all got her such thoughtful gifts and wrote lovely things in her cards.

They also had fun making balloon animals. I absolutely hate the noise that it makes when you touch a balloon so I had to keep leaving the room. They all did great and were making little dogs and everything.

These are from when we were signing Happy Birthday to her. I cannot believe my girl is 12!!

After her party we did the traditional birthday survey. I love reading all the answers and seeing how they've changed from one year to the next.

~How old are you? 12
~How does being 12 make you feel? Wondertastical
~What's exciting about turning 12? Because you get to sit in the front seat and it's wondertastical and saying the word 12 seems magical.  
~What do you want to learn this year? About different types of foxes.
~What was the best thing about being 11? I don't know. It was all pretty good.
~What did you do on your birthday? We are going to Steak and Shake tonight. What about your party? I had a party and we got mermaid tails. It was a beach theme and it was a sleepover.
~What is your favorite color? Aqua
~What is your favorite food? Donuts. What about dinner food? Buffalo Chicken Casserole
~Who is your favorite person? Probably you. :)
~What grade are you in? 6th
~What is your favorite thing to do for school? Like, reading and writing.
~What is your favorite game to play? What kind of game? I don't know, board game or made up game or outside game. Probably silent touch. I love silent touch. And I like climbing trees, that's not really a game but it's fun.
~What do you like to do with Daddy? Two favorite things. #1 I love to fish with him. #2 I like playing this game that we made up called Daddy Push n' Shove.
~What do you like to do with Mommy? I like to have girl time and go shopping and go to Starbucks.
~What do you like to do with your brother? I like playing weird games and one of them is called Alaskan Survivors and we are explorers and we're on trees and if we touch the ground it's lava and these flies called 'nya, nya' flies come and eat us. There's lava in Alaska? No, we are from Alaska. I don't know, Dean made that part up!

~What’s your favorite thing to do with the whole family? I like movie night and I like when we all hang out together and you roll your eyes at us because we are being ridiculous.
~What’s your favorite store? Ooo, probably, hmm, I like Target but I don't know if that's my favorite. I like any store that has fox stuff. Any cute store.
~What’s your favorite place to eat? Steak and Shake and Culver's and Rumba.
~What’s your favorite book? Oh gosh, I like the Max and Liz series and the Harry Potter series and the Storybound series.
~What’s your favorite song? I like the Oceans Song. What about the River song, I thought that was your favorite. It is, I just have so many I can't keep track. They change all the time.
~What’s your favorite thing about God? That He loves me so much.

~What do you want to do this year? Well, if I could pick anything I would say adopt a fox but I can't do that so I want to go to Homosassa Springs and see the baby foxes with Abby.
~What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be an author and an illustrator and maybe me and Abby will write a book together because she wants to be an author too.

~What's your favorite animal? Fox, red fox though, not just any fox. But I do love all foxes...except the Tibetan Fox because it's so creepy.

I love my girl sweet girl so much and I'm so glad that she had such an amazing birthday this year. She said it was the best party ever and she deserves it for being the best daughter ever. :) Happy Birthday, my favorite girl!


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