Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two Painted Pumpkins

Continuing with the fall events this week, we also decorated pumpkins for the first time since Olivia was born.

Yes, I told you we were Halloween party poopers! : )

I picked up a couple of pumpkins a couple of weeks ago and had plans to go the traditional route and carve them, but after seeing everyone in the blog world painting their pumpkins, I jumped on the bandwagon. I was excited for painting them since A. Olivia loves painting and B. it meant I didn't get stuck with the not fun part of cleaning out the pumpkin guts.

Don't fret though....Amy came through and invited Olivia to actually carve a pumpkin. But for the record, we had three kids working on her pumpkin and guess who ended up doing most of the work....us momma's! Point made! : )

I would have loved for them to turn out as pretty as Megs, but I decided to be on the safe side and stick with our washable paints. Which, I'm glad I did since Olivia managed to get paint everywhere.

I know this one is blurry, but I love that face!

Halfway through, Olivia got into the water I was using to clean off my brush and her pumpkin ended up turning into one big grey blob, but she had fun and was so proud of it.

Mine.
Hopefully next year I'll pick a day that's not freezing, so we can paint outside. Maybe then I'll get brave and use the acrylic paints? : )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Month Later

It's crazy to think that its been a whole month since Destiny came into our lives and left.

This past month has honestly been one of the roughest in my entire life.

This whole thing hasn't been easy and though it may seem like I've brushed it under the rug, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. I find myself wondering what she's doing at moments during the day. I catch myself every Tuesday & Thursday driving past her old school and wondering what she's doing in class and if her teacher is being nice to her that day. I have to remind myself that she's not there and somewhere else now.

This past month has obviously sent me into lots of time for reflection and prayer.

One month later, God has opened my eyes.

He's shown me that maybe I'm not the person that I thought I was, but that's okay. The dreams and plans I have had for myself are different than his plans for me. This has been a huge reminder that no matter how much we think we have control of our lives or others lives, he is still the ultimate decider.

He's shown me that there are certain aspects in my role as a mother that need to be fixed before I could be a mother to anyone else. There are so many ways I fall short of being a good mother everyday. Ways that in hindsight, I would have failed Destiny in the long run. Yes, I would have been a good mother to Destiny, but God has shown me that I wasn't the right mother.

He's shown me those that I now know without a shadow of a doubt I can count on and who love me regardless of whatever happens. Those that didn't back away or distance themselves, but instead hugged me when I cried over and over and asked if I was okay. And yes, one month later I'm still crying over her at times.

Some people haven't even asked once how I've been doing and it hurts.

However, he's also shown me that encouragement can come for the most unexpected people. Like from a friend at MOPS who called out of the blue, just because she wanted to tell me she was thinking about me and Destiny. She admitted that she hesitated to call because she didn't really know what to say, but she has no idea how much her call meant to me because it reminded me that some people actually do care.

Because to be honest, I've never felt more alone than I have this past month.

My best friend Amy seemed to hit the nail on the head one night when we were talking about it and she compared it to having a miscarriage which she herself has unfortunately had to experience before. Though I've never gone through one myself, her feelings on hers was exactly how I was feeling about Destiny.

It's been the loss of a dream.

I wanted that little girl.

I wanted to make all her dreams come true.

I wanted to give her everything she deserves.

I wanted to make it all work.

But, it wasn't in Gods plan.

Do you know how it feels to be just another person on someone else list of those who have failed them?

It's heartbreaking.

Do I wish things were different? Everyday.

But one month later...

I've found peace.

It's been interesting the people that are coming out of the woodwork this past month to share their similar stories and experiences with us. People who I least expected to assure me, that this has all been for the best. People that I otherwise would have not known, but who I firmly believe God sent to help give me peace.

One month later, I've realized that God has a greater plan, not only for me and my family, but for Destiny.

I still fiercely pray for her everyday just as I do for Olivia and I ask that others still continue to pray for her too. Unfortunately, I haven't had much of an update on her lately, but I'll share when I do.

And because I know people most of the time don't know what to say, it's okay to bring her up and ask us about it. For one short week, she was apart of our lives and regardless, she will always remain apart of our story.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

I have an confession, this will be Olivia's third Halloween, but we just made her first trip to the pumpkin patch.

I also have another confession, I've come to terms this year that I'm not a big fan of Halloween. No religious reasons or anything, I've just never been that into it. I've always wanted to be. I've tried, I've really tried. I thought when I had kids, it would be easy to get into the Halloween spirit, but after three Halloweens with a kid, I could still care less. Its nothing against Halloween, I think its fun and I really wish I could get into, I'm just more of a Christmas person in my heart.

So, that would explain why it took me three Halloweens to take my child to the pumpkin patch. We headed out with some new friends of ours and their little girl, to meet some of our other friends on Friday evening. The place was great and the kids had a great time. I'd say it was well worth the $8 entry fee. They had several bounce houses, a bounce pillow, hayrides, a petting farm, etc. Olivia had a blast and I'm excited to go back in December for their tree farm!

Here's your picture overload warning!!!










By the time we made it to the petting zoo, these two decided that they liked each other and held hands pretty much the remainder of the night. It was pretty darn sweet! : )



Isn't she a doll???


Our unsuccessful attempt at a posed picture with two two year olds!

And this child has become such a poser suddenly. You pick up a camera and she's automatically "cheeeessseee!!!"
We ended the evening by picking up take out Mexican and having the girls run wild at home while we enjoyed our meal and conversation. I'm sure that curbside to-go, along with Magic Erasers, was thought up by a parent with a toddler. It's a lifesaver at times.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Since we last talked....

Sorry, the calls have started rolling in the last few days. My dad even suggested, "if you have nothing to write about, could you just at least post some pictures?" Uhhh...yes, sir.

So, let's just be honest, I'm never going to be a career blogger. Yes, at one time I might have had those dreams, but I've decided that's not why I want to blog. I realize its just a hobby for me that happens to keep our family informed of what we've been up to. So, when the mood strikes, I write. Lately, it just hasn't been striking.

But, we have been up to lots of stuff around here.

After months of debating it, I finally broke down and got Olivia's first hair cut Friday. Yes, I debated for months. It has really just started growing the past 7 months, but it was starting to look pretty scraggly on the ends and it was driving me crazy. I was afraid if I cut it, it would just look like she did a few months ago...like she had no hair. A few people even agreed that weren't sure if they'd cut it and a few others egged me on saying it would help it start growing a little faster. So, I finally got brave and went for it.

This is from a few days before the cut....


And after the big cut....

She kept refusing to keep her head still, so that's why she's not looking at the camera.

But she would oblige if she was wearing my headband...

I'm in love with her little bob and so glad I finally got brave enough to go for it. I didn't have the lady cut her bangs, because we're going to work on growing them off. I love the way it looks when she lets me pin them back.

Oh and I did take my camera with me prepared to get pics of her first cut, but she refused to sit in the chair and only in my lap. There were only two other stylist at the time in the salon, but they were busy with other customers, so no pics of the actual cut. I did get the traditional few strands to keep.

I can get over how much older it makes her look.

In fact, since she hit two a few weeks ago, she has seemed to grown up overnight. She putting more words together for sentences, she finally started figuring out colors, letters, numbers, etc. Plus, she's suddenly become a total love bug. David and I both cannot get over how cuddly she is all the sudden. She has NEVER been a cuddling baby. We're hoping that's a stage that sticks around for a while.

However, one stage we're not a fan of is the tantrums and the fact she's decided she's ready to give up naps. This afternoon, I asked her if she was ready to go lay down (for the record, I ask her, but her opinion really doesn't count at the moment....I'm just being nice) and she immediately responded with her usual no. I told her "Well, your going to have to go lay down baby." Her response "I'm not a baby!" But the fact she passed out less than thirty minutes later assures me that regardless of how big she thinks, we're not quite ready to phase out the naps.

Especially if mommy wants to keep her sanity.

Another first this weekend was her first trip to the pumpkin patch, but I'll post more about that trip tomorrow!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! : )

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some People Have Way too much Faith in me...

I'm seriously considering to going to school to be a hairdresser. For some reason, several people over the years have just came out and asked me to either cut or dye their hair.

Why, I have no clue?

Last week, my bestie Amy sent a text wondering if I could keep her kiddos for a few hours while she went to get her hair done this week. I said no problem and so yesterday, she dropped them off with me.

In less than an hour she was back and unfortunately, the hairdresser mixed up her appointments and could only cut, not color, Amy's hair.

So, she came right out and said she wanted me to help her with it because she didn't want to wait.

And on top of that, she wanted me to give her a blonde "peek a boo" streak.

After watching a few You Tube videos, I got brave and said lets go for it and amazingly she trusted me to do it.

If that isn't trust right there, I don't know what is.

Especially since...A. I'm not a professional and B. have never done one before.

Amazingly, it turned out okay. Not perfect and no where near professional, but she can at least walk out in public and not get funny stares. Unlike my first attempt at being a hairdresser in high school, which resulted into David having to be checked out and taken to get a hair cut during school.

It didn't turn out as blonde as we were hoping, so she's going to go back to her hairdresser to get it lightened, but it wasn't to bad for my first time ever.

If I had the proper materials and a little more time to watch You Tube videos, I'm sure I could have done it perfectly I told her.

And that right there is one of the many reasons why I love her....cause I honestly probably wouldn't have been brave enough to let her do mine! : )

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disney Parks: Also known as the places I scream for air

We decided to stay at just Disney Parks because honestly, we didn't feel like getting in our car to drive to another park. True Story. It was so much easier to just hop on the bus.

We made it to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot.

Like I said earlier, I didn't get too many pictures. As the week went on, I took less and less. In fact, by the time we made it to Epcot on the last day, I only took two pictures.


The question I've been asked the most is "how did Olivia do?" and to answer honestly, she did okay. We decided that since she was so young, we would only go to the park for a few hours a day. I know some people are total troopers and feel you don't get your moneys worth unless your there from sun up to sun down, but there was no way we could do that and have a happy two year old.

The first day we got there, we went around 10am and stayed till around 2pm. We noticed a ton of other people leaving at that time, so we decided to go after Olivia's afternoon naps the other two days. I wish I could say it was any better, but honestly in my opinion, there is no better time to go. Those parks are packed ALL THE TIME!!!

We were told by several Disney Employees that this is one of their "slow times" during the year and honestly, we didn't wait longer than 30 minutes for any ride we rode. In fact, they had the fast pass kiosk turned off majority of the week at all the parks. It just still seemed like there were a ton of people there.

I evidently am one who gets claustrophobic in crowds and I may or may not have had an episode in Epcot screaming for air while I was standing outside. I kept pushing through the crowds and yelled at David "I cannot breathe!!!" Yes, there was truly that many people there. I've decided that either the world is filled with a lot more homeschoolers than we thought or people believe Disney World is much more important than school.

And don't even get me on the rented scooters. Evidently, people have decided that they can no longer walk when they get to Disney World. I don't want to offend anyone, but I feel that if you don't need one of those things to get around in your everyday life, then you don't need one to get around Disney World. Those things were EVERYWHERE and being drove by people that you could very well tell were more than capable of walking. It was just hard to walk around already with the millions of strollers there and then add the thousands of RENTED scooters. It was just annoying.

I would easily say that Olivia's favorite park was Animal Kingdom. She loved the safari ride and all the live animals. She honestly wasn't a big fan of most of the rides. She was scared on anything that it was her and one other person. She felt more comfortable on anything that all four of us could ride with her. We rode about every boat ride that was available in those three parks. It even was the joke by the end of the week to immediately look for the boat rides when we walked into a park.

We pretty much stuck with stuff that we thought wouldn't scare her. Stuff that said "Snow Whites Scary Adventure" we stayed off from. Also, pretty much almost every character ride had a thunder storm in it and that usually freaked her out, which is funny because they don't scare her at home.

Believe it or not, her favorite ride of all was The Carasal of Progress. She sat memorized by it the entire twenty minutes. She even stood up and clapped at the end. The fact that that was her favorite ride goes to show she's our kid for sure.

As far as characters, the only one she wanted anything to do with was the girl kitty from The Aristocats. She flipped when she saw her, only because the child loves cats, not because she had a clue who she was. We stood in line to see her and of course, the moment we got up there, she freaked. The Kitty was very sweet with her and got her laughing. She walked away blowing the kitty kisses, so all was well. However, she wanted nothing to do with any of the other ones.

I feel like I should say that she did have a good time overall, Olivia is just the type of kid that gets easily overwhelmed by people and crowds, so I think a lot of her reservedness the whole week was due to that. No clue where she gets that problem from! : )

Yes, we're already planning a trip to go back in about three years. I do realize that she will enjoy it more then. She would have been just as content to stay at the campground the entire week and to honest, the rest of us probably could have too. Overall though, we had a great time and I'm glad Nana & PawPaw invited us to come along.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Disney Fort Wilderness: Also known as the place I never wanted to leave

I haven't been sure how to exactly tackle our Disney experience, so going on the questions I've been asked repeatedly since we've gotten back, I figured I would break it up in two parts....Our stay at Disney's Fort Wilderness and then our experience at the parks.

I'll throw in some advice throughout since I've been once now and you know that makes me a certifiable expert in my mind.

I may have not mentioned it before, but we're campers. We love us some camping. I personally did not become an official "camper" until I started dating my husband. Besides a one time overnight trip in the church's backyard with my dad's boy scout troop when I was four, my camping experience was zilch. However, after 12 years of hanging with the Mabrey's, I'm hooked. So much so, I've been begging for a camper of our own for years now.

Yes, I'll go ahead and clear up the fact that when I say camping, I mean camping in a camper with a toilet, running water, and a heater/air condition. I know lots of people argue whether that is really considered camping, but let me just say....go to any camp ground in the United States and I will guarantee you campers will out number tents.

We've been hearing for years now in the camping world that there is no camp ground in the South East that rivals Disney's Fort Wilderness. We were told that even if we didn't go with kids, we wouldn't be disappointed.

I have to say that it lived up to and exceeded our expectations.

This was home for the week.

Olivia has been camping once before, but this was her first time to really get to enjoy the camping experience. She loved every moment and we're proud to say she's a camper. She loved being outdoors constantly and all the activities that we usually partake in when camping. She loved the fact that there was sand all around our campsite. I'm sure it was a big litter box for all the squirrels, but the kid was in heaven and I wasn't about to kill her joy.

Also, after this trip, I'm pretty convinced the child will either become a archeologists or a race car driver.

This was our main mode of transportation for the week.


They pretty much have a "park it" policy when it comes to cars around the campground. We decided to rent a golf cart to make it easier to get around the resort and it was easily hands down Olivia's favorite part of the week.

All she wanted to do was ride around. It's safe to say we got our money's worth out of the golf cart rental. One of the cool things was that a lot of the "grandparent" aged people who I'm pretty sure live there full time, all had there camp sites decked out with Halloween lights, blow ups, and other decor. Every night we rode around and looked at lights. I couldn't believe how many had decorated for Halloween. I would love to go at Christmas just to see how much they decorate. Kids of course loved it all.

The resort was also filled with bike trails. We bought a child's seat before we headed down and this was the first time Olivia got to experience bike riding. The dare devil in her loved it. She would continuously ask to "ride bike."


Every night, the camp ground host a sing-a-long the campfire and shows a Disney movie. We went two nights to the sing-a-long and made the movie one night for a short bit. The movie didn't start till 8:40pm, so it was hard for the little one to stay awake long enough.


We learned that Big Dave can really get into some hokey pokey


Also from the resort, you can see Epcots nightly fire works display.

I know this picture is a little strange, but its too sweet to not post. While watching fireworks one night, the little one finally gave in.

Of course, the highlight of our trip was the pool. I didn't get a good shot of the entire pool area, but believe me when I say it was nice. They do keep their pools open year round and they are also heated. They had a huge normal pool with a decent size slide, a baby pool, a inground hot tub, and a aquatic play area for smaller children.

Olivia loves to swim and the play area was just her size, but she refused to go down the slides without someone with her. I think its because there were a few bigger kids that had no problem knocking people over or jumping in front of pictures.


It was our first time ever staying at a Disney Resort and I have to say, I don't think I'll ever be able to go back and not stay at one. The Disney people do everything to go out of their way to make you feel welcomed and to make sure everything is taken care. Minus the whole towel animals wearing your sunglasses on your bed at night thing, it's pretty similar to a cruise.

The best part is that we literally parked our car the day we got there and didn't move it till we left. They offered bus rides or boat rides to get to the parks & other resorts and that just seemed to make things so much easier. Plus, just a little FYI for anyone planning a trip to Disney....on top of your tickets into the park, you have to pay on average $20 a day to park at each park. So the fact that we got to ride Disneys transportation to and from the parks saved us $60 plus a little gas.

Also, along with the camp fire sing-a-long and movie every night, all day long they were offering games or crafts for the kids for no extra charge. I can't wait to go back with Olivia when she's old enough to enjoy those things, the kids participating (and there were always a ton of them), seemed to be having a great time. It was all done up in Disney style.

I know when you think of Disney, you immediately think of $$$ signs. Yes, Disney in general can be a little pricey. I know there are a ton of info sights on how to do Disney cheap, but we honestly didn't look too much into those. We knew were we wanted to stay before we knew what parks we wanted to go to. If your into camping or can at least deal with camping, I would highly recommend going the Fort Wilderness Route. You get all the perks of the more expensive Disney resorts, but at a fraction of the cost. For four nights and five days of golf cart rental, we paid less than $500. That was what one night at some of the resorts cost. I know not everyone can deal with camping, but if you can, it's totally worth it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two

I'm working on the Disney post, but I need a moment to take care of something. Due to all the events that have occured over the last few weeks, I kinda skipped over a major event.

A little over a week ago, this little girl turned 2!

Please excuse me while my heart breaks for a moment.

Where did the time go??? It's hard to believe she's two already, but at the same time, I cannot remember life without her.

This little girl is my heart and soul.

My bestie Nicole wrote a post the other day about her daughter Josie's Gotcha Day titled You Made Me Mom. As I sat there reading it, tears came to my eyes for several reasons, some for my friend and my love for her & Josie and knowing just how much that day changed their lives, but others were because I knew exactly what she was saying...."who was I before this little girl came into my arms?"

So much of who I am today is because of this little girl.

Whoever comes into our lives in the future, Olivia Kate will always have that special place in my heart....she's the one who made me a mom and no one else could ever take that title away from her. Every mom can admit, there is just something special about that one that officially made you a mom.

I wish you all in blog world could see Olivia's true spunky spirit. She really is own unique spirit. Yes, it sometimes drives me a little crazy, but I know without a doubt because of that spunky spirit, she's destined for great things.

Happy Birthday (a little late) Baby Girl and I love you more than you'll ever know!