Monday, May 18, 2015

Our Life in Squares

I look at my blog archives a lot because when I do I immediately feel a drop in my blood pressure and can sense my body relaxing.  I think I read somewhere once (probably on the internet so who knows if it's true!) that looking at old photos really does relax people.  I believe it.  It works for me.  I am so glad I started this blog six whole years ago when I was staying home with toddlers.  It has been so therapeutic to me to be able to go back and read about moments I most certainly would have forgotten had I not written about them.  I have gotten out of the habit though and that makes me so upset with myself.  The first couple of years I blogged I wrote around 100 posts a year.  In 2015 I've only written 5 so far.  That's just sad.  There are so many moments worth writing about and remembering. 

One good and bad thing that I have done is to take a lot of photos with my iPhone and Instagram them.  I think it's been good because if I hadn't I would only have a handful of photos from our lives this past year.  It's been bad because I've gotten lazy about using my real camera and actually sitting down to write about the stories that go along with the photos.  

This is a catch up post.  I downloaded all of my phone photos to my computer for that past year and I picked out my favorites.  If I wrote about every single photo this would be the longest blog post known to man, so I won't.  I think these photos will just have to serve to jog my memory and I'm hoping that will be enough.  Luckily my kids are old enough to really help with the remembering now.  I read somewhere (I'm sure it was the internet again!) that kids' brains don't really hold on to memories until they are about 7 years old.  I guess I feel a little better knowing my kids are both older than that, so hopefully some of these moments will have stuck.

These are from Spring of 2014, when cousins came to visit, teeth were lost, there was lots of golfing, my kids' first boat ride, Easter, and a trip to Panama City Beach.

More from Spring 2014 with Panama City Beach, golf, and good friends visiting.

Summer 2014 with more beach fun, their first time on a plane, a trip to Ohio, some pool days and some napping on the beach.

Fall 2014 with fun at parks and the farmer's market, a bff visit, a trip to the Smokey's, short hair in preparation for chemo, and another trip to Ohio.

Winter 2014/2015 came with beautiful moments enjoying nature and a visit from family.

In Winter 2015 there were plenty of beach days, a birthday girl and a friend's wedding.

Winter/Spring 2015 brought more visitors from Ohio and lots of hanging out at Grandmama's house while enjoying the beautiful weather of Florida.

As I was labeling these I just had to laugh about how hard it is to tell what season these are from!  Florida problems. :)  Glad I did this before I really forget when they are from.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter this year was super low key.  We had an egg hunt a couple days before with my niece and nephew who were still in town.  It was really hot so it didn't last too long.  We had dyed real eggs instead of using plastic eggs and the dye was melting off of them.  Next year we'll remember the plastic eggs for sure.  On Easter Sunday we headed to church to celebrate and worship and then went to my mom's for Easter dinner.  On our way home from church we stopped at home to change and my mom was gracious enough to take some photos of the 4 of us for me.  I have been avoiding the camera as of late because I feel like I look horrible.  I know people say I look great and when I see photos, I know I look fine, but when I see myself without all my makeup and hair in the mornings I look like a cancer patient.  And that image is hard to shake during the day.  I know I need to get in photos now more than ever though.  I mean, if this has taught me anything it's that you cannot take your life or health for granted.  I don't want to be just the person behind the camera watching my family, I want to be remembered on the other side as well, as a part of it, even when I don't feel like it.

I got a few shots of the kids too.  I haven't been taking my weekly photos of them like I used to and they were really not used to it and didn't have much patience for me.  I need to get back into the swing of things so we don't all get rusty!  Here are a few pics of us in our Easter finest.

I love this boy.  My kids hardly ever dress up now that we live in Florida, the land of shorts and flip flops, so it's nice to see him in a tie.  That's about as fancy as we get anymore.

My pretty girl.  She wanted to wear the dress that her daddy got her for her birthday, but I thought it was kinda plain so I found that sash at a fun French market they had one weekend near here.  It looks even cuter as a headband.

I'm glad I got this shot from the side so you can see how cute her hairstyle was.

Sorry for the extreme close up, but my boy took this photo of me.  He was having fun with my camera.  I think it turned out pretty good.  I hated it at first, because I can be one of those women who nitpicks everything about a photo of herself (the kind who drive me crazy when they are one of my clients, ironically!), but in the spirit of embracing photos of myself, I'm posting it anyway.

I just love his crinkled brow in this, so I'm posting it too. :)

Here's that photo of the 4 of us I was talking about.  See, we all exist, not just the kids!

Here's my normal shot...just the kids.  Gotta have this shot though, as every mama knows.

I'm actually all caught up on my blogging for the most part!  I hope to get back to a more regular schedule of posts soon.  I'm going to take my girl out for her 11 year old photo shoot now that I finally found an outfit I like for her.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fun at Legoland

I know, it's like a miracle...I'm writing a blog post!  I've been busy, which sounds weird because I feel like I never get anything accomplished.  I have to go to radiation every weekday at 1:15 so it feels like a job.  Sometimes it takes 15 minutes and sometimes, like today, it takes over an hour. I also have physical therapy twice a week at a different location. It makes it really hard to get things done during the day.  It kinda reminds me of the year I had to pick my son up from kindergarten every day before noon.  Just annoying.  I feel pretty good though.  Everyone always asks, so I figured I'd throw it out there.  I just get tired.  I'm so sick and tired of being tired!  I know it's temporary though.  Only 4 more weeks of treatment and I'm done!  I've heard it can take up to a year to get your normal energy levels back though, but I'm going to work hard at eating right and exercising so hopefully it will be quicker for me.  I already feel so much better than I did just a couple months ago.  I'm back to doing photo shoots and we are still homeschooling.  I cannot wait for summer.  I just want my brain to be able to shut off for a while. No worrying about what appointments are on the schedule, what calls I need to make regarding medical bills, what I need to be teaching the kids, when I'm going to have energy to clean the house, and the always dreaded what to make for dinner.  I just want to have a clear schedule where I can say, "What do you guys want to do today?" and really have our options totally open.  Anyway, enough about that, I'm here to write a blog post about Legoland!  Sorry for the tangent.  I swear the chemo fried my brain and I am all over the place anymore.  Focus...

So, a few weeks ago my brother and his family came to visit!  I love when they visit.  I really just want them to move here already. I'll stop myself before that tangent though.  We decided to meet up at Legoland on their way to see us.  It's only about an hour from here and I'd been wanting to take my kids for a while on one of their homeschool discount days.  It is an amazing discount and it's on select Mondays throughout the year.  I was even able to get my brother and his family and my mom in using the discounted rate.  I just had to show our form from the county.  It was very easy.

We loved Legoland.  My boy is a huge lego lover and I love them as well.  The park was really beautiful too.  It was small which was good for me since I don't have the stamina for a large park right now like Disney.  The rides are all geared towards younger kids which was perfect for us since we had kids ranging in age from 5 to 11.  And there were Legos everywhere!  I loved looking at all the creations.  It was a wonderful day.  I took my old camera along in a backpack that my husband carried for me and I'm so glad I did.  It takes much better pics than my iPhone.  I hadn't used that d40 in so long that I had forgotten where all the dials and buttons were!  It's still a great camera though. I decided not to edit any of the photos because I seriously do not have time or energy or brain power for that anymore.  Here are some shots of the fun we had!

They have this huge section of the park with all of these landmarks made out of Legos.  This was LasVegas.  I could have stood and looked at them for hours!  It was much cooler than I thought it would be.  They had a big Star Wars section too but I somehow missed taking photos of most of them.

They had cars that you could really drive.  There was a lot of rear ending going on.

I love that my mom got to come with us too!

The double decker carousel was amazing!  The horses were Lego horses, of course!

I love this pic of me and my girl.  It took me forever to decide what to do with my hair.  I was afraid my wig might fly off on a rollercoaster!  So I wore my backup wig so as to not get my favorite one all windblown.  And then I secured it with a headwrap.  It worked out perfectly.

Mini Downtown Tampa.

These kids had so much fun.  Oh, and funny story, we saw that mini golf replica and we all said it looked just like Goofy Golf in Panama City Beach, and then we noticed a sign and it was a whole section of things replicated from there!

I am so glad that we were able to go enjoy a day away from the pressures of life.  I know it was extra special that my kids got to make those memories with their cousins.  Maybe next year it will be Disney, who knows?!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just Like That...She's Eleven

When people say it goes fast, they are not kidding.  I cannot believe I have an 11 year old!  I know I'll blink again and she'll be 20 before I know it.  It is insane how fast my kids are growing up.  And it seems that 11 suddenly seems so much older than 10.  She's still my girl, but she's definitely getting more independent all the time.  Which I totally understand is the whole point of growing up, but it's still hard to let go even if it is little by little.  Even as I type this she's off walking the neighbor's dog.  She has her own dog walking business now.  She made flyers and she got a call a few weeks ago about someone interested in her services and she called the woman back and got all of the info all by herself.  Considering her mother barely can stand to talk on the phone unless it's absolutely necessary, I find her confidence inspiring.  She's one of a kind, for sure.  She lives life passionately and she loves with her whole being.  I'm so grateful to be the one God chose to entrust with her care. 

To celebrate (remember that whole living passionately thing?  My girl loves a party.) we had a spa themed party with her friends.  It was just a small group of girls, mostly from church.  We did hair and nails and face masks.  We did presents (of course) and ended the fun with donuts.  My girl wanted a tower of donuts this year instead of a cake, which worked out perfectly since it was so much easier for me.  

To celebrate some more on her actual birthday we went to her Grandmama's house where she surprised her with a little cake and she got her present from us.  She also got to play with one of her BFF's who happens to be my mom's neighbor.  I finally did her birthday survey a couple weeks after her birthday, but I'm glad I got around to it.  I love looking back at the old ones.  Here's this years!

~~Age 11~~
~How old are you? 11
~How does being 11 make you feel? It makes me feel ah-mazing.
~What do you want to learn this year? Um...I don't know. I don't really want to learn anything right now.
~What was the best thing about being 10? That it was my first year being double digits.
~What did you do on your birthday? I had a spa party the day before my birthday and on my birthday I went to my Grandma's house and played with my friend, Livie.
~What is your favorite color? Hot pink
~What is your favorite food? Pepperoni pizza (really? I thought you'd say donuts) Well, it depends on if it's dessert or a meal. If it's something for fun, then donuts.
~Who is your favorite person? I guess you. (I like that answer)
~What grade are you in? 5th
~What is your favorite thing to do for school? Spelling or Handwriting because they are fast.
~What is your favorite game to play? I really like tag, yeah, tag. (anything else?) I like hide and seek too.
~What do you like to do with Daddy? I like to go to stores with him because he listens a lot so I can talk a lot.
~What do you like to do with Mommy? Well, I think it's fun to lay in your bed with you and watch Fixer Upper because then I get Mommy time. And I like to hug you.
~What do you like to do with your brother? Play Pigg-ay, where he is my pet pig and I lead him around the house and he whacks me with a purse. (Uh..they actually do play this and it's least favorite...go figure)

~What’s your favorite thing to do with the whole family? I like movie night because we are all cozy together and it's fun.
~What’s your favorite store? I like Toys R Us and Target, I don't know. Oh, erase all that, I like PetSmart!
~What’s your favorite place to eat? Let me think real quick. Culver's, Steak and Shake, and Wendy's.
~What’s your favorite book? Ten (Really, not Harry Potter?) Oh wait, go back and put Harry Potter and Ten. I like them both.
~What’s your favorite song? I don't know what it's called but I've got two. We Never Go Out of Style by Taylor Swift, and that one on the Joy FM that says "When there's nothing left to hold on to, I'm holding on to you".
~What’s your favorite thing about God? I guess that He loves me and He's awesome and stuff.

~What do you want to do this year? I want to get a pet dwarf bunny (She asked me to add this question to the list) or a hedgehog but I'm sure a bunny is way more doable.
~What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, I can't really decide but I think it would be fun to be a teacher so people can call me Miss Peto, and I want to work at Petsmart or something that involves my dog.

She just told me she approves this message. :) Now for some photos of her birthday fun!

These are from her spa party. I love the cucumber eyes. :) Somehow I didn't get any photos of the decorations this year...oh well. That seems to be the story of my life these days!

Her party was turquoise and hot pink colors and her Daddy had just so happened to buy her a dress for her birthday and it matched her party colors. My husband does not normally buy our kids clothes, so I thought it was so sweet that he bought her a dress. All the girls at the party thought it was very cool of him too.

Oh, this picture just reminded me that our neighbors (the one's whose dog she walks) also bought my girl some birthday gifts! How sweet was that? They got her an outfit (the shirt in this pic) and a bracelet kit and a boogie board. This was right before we gave her the present from us (her aunt and grandmas chipped in too).

She's flying to Ohio in a couple weeks with her Grandmama. She wasn't quite as excited as I thought she'd be. I think because she has to wait to actually experience her gift and she's all about instant gratification at this stage of life. She's getting excited now that it's getting closer though and she's already got multiple sleepovers with friends planned.

Love her many expressions. In the bottom right photo she was getting ready to blow out her imaginary candles since Grandmama didn't have any. :) And that cake was yummy.

My mom's neighbor is one of her besties and she made her that birthday headband and my girl added the bow for more bling. I love her so much. Did I mention that we celebrated her birthday poolside? In January? Yeah, I love living in Florida. :)

I guess I'll have to get my camera out this week because now I'm all caught up on my photos to blog! I do have a ton of Instagram pics, but blogging them seems somewhat redundant. My mother in law is coming for a visit soon so that will give me some motivation to get out and do some fun things and take photos of them for a change!


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