Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The World Is Her Stage.....












or for now, the kitchen counter.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Closure and a lazy day

I wanted to say thank you to all who left encouraging words about my Grandfather. A few of you put things in a perspective that I hadn't thought of before.

Last week was without a doubt an emotional roller coaster for my family. My grandfather had been living out of state for some time now and my Dad and Aunt went there to take care of all the stuff you take care of when someone passes. They made it home Friday and Saturday night we got the chance to gather together and remember my grandfather as a family. We had dinner together and then held a little memorial service for him at my Aunts. We cried, we laughed....we laughed until we cried. I think it was the first time in years, that we have all come to some type of peace over the last eleven years. We've chosen to remember the good and forget the bad.

The night showed me again just how much I love that side of my family. I mentioned that we're small (only 11 of us plus a long term boyfriend) and we're as close as families can be, but we still have our issues from now and then. However, last night I walked away realizing how blessed I am to have them all in my life. I definitely walked away last night with a new peace.

I mentioned earlier in the month that our February was going to be crazy busy. We've seriously been going like crazy all month long. The last time we had a full day at home doing nothing and with no where to be, was back in January. Sunday morning, I woke up with a second day headache and decided we would have a day being lazy. We skipped church and stayed home watching (parts) of movies, having tea parties, coloring, gluing random things on paper, playing memory, some outside time, and a nap with my favorite girl.

Okay, I guess there is no such thing of being lazy with Olivia. The child would burst if she sat still too long. I didn't do any housework, so that counts as something, right?

Either way, it was a nice day at home all day with no where to be.

Today starts another busy couple of weeks around here.

Plus, someone has a big birthday coming up very soon!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Still Smiling.

Though a hard week, this week still gave me a few smiles...

Pretty Books

This one falling asleep in her daddy's lap.

A much needed pedicure

Olivia literally going crazy over this car....
Its an Aston Martin if your not familiar....I wasn't. Sister was asking repeatedly to go see it throughout our mall trip on Friday and even though I told her not to touch, she had to run her fingers down the side saying "awww....pretty." She is for sure a car freak, which fits perfectly in this family. My Dad's side of the family was blessed with nothing but girls, but the men still instilled their love of cars in all four of us girls. Olivia is just carrying on the tradition. I told her Daddy he better start saving, cause at a mere $128,000, girl has expensive taste!


73 in February...Yes, Please!!!

Finally figuring out how to use the scissors correctly after months of frustration.

Officially a daddy of a daughter now!


Have A Happy Weekend! : )



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finding Peace

This post is long and heavy. You've been warned...

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, David got a phone call. We're so used to in the middle of the night calls, they don't scare me anymore and it barely registered when he handed the phone to me.

It was my Dad, calling to tell me my grandfather had passed away.

It honestly didn't register at first. I was just like "okay?" and hung up. After some time for it to sink in, it hit. The tears started to flow and they honestly haven't stopped since.

I'm no stranger to death. Death has seemed to be a constant thing in my life, even as a child. I've lost numerous people close to me over the years. I've always kinda believed that there are the have's and have not's with death. Those who have experienced the death of a spouse, parent, or child are kinda the elite of those two. Once you've lost one of those main people in your life, the death of others are easier to handle. Obviously, at some point and time, we'll all be in that group. You just kinda compare every other death in your life to that one. Being I lost a parent an young age, I've always kinda walked around with this attitude that death is easy for me to deal with.

My theory has proved me wrong though.

Eleven years ago, after over 40 years of marriage to my grandmother, my grandfather made the choice to leave. Not only did he choose to leave her, he choose to leave the entire family.

When your entire immediate family only consist of ten people, that's big hole left.

He seriously walked out the door and didn't look back.

We went from having a daily relationship with him, to years of not seeing or hearing from him.

Naturally, sides were chosen and I was one of the worst. I can hold a grudge with the best of them and I repeatedly swore for years I wanted nothing to do with him any longer.

I was hurt and angry.

He not only chose to leave her, he chose to leave all of us.

He chose to leave me.

He is the only person I can say in my life "you abandoned me."

After five years of no contact, the first big event in our family since his leaving occurred. David and I were getting married.

The subject of whether we should invite him came up. We knew by now where he was living, but still had no contact. When I say I was the worst, I'm not lying. I was pretty stuck on that I didn't want him there and went till the end kicking and screaming. However, I luckily had a few older and wiser people who said I needed to.

He showed up and we saw him for the first time in five years.

He asked if he could see me before the wedding for a moment and I agreed. I was unsure of how things would go, I imagined myself being standoffish and having an attitude, but when the moment came, all I could do was stand there hugging him and bawling.

Crazy is the fact, that exact moment was caught on film.


Words cannot explain how much it meant that he had actually came.

It was a beginning to a long journey of forgiveness. The next few years, we saw him off and on. My Aunt started talking to him on a more regular basis and we started exchanging cards back and forth. For a few years, he would even come down every so often and we'd all meet for dinner. He even got to come to my cousins wedding this past summer.

As much as I wish I could say things were fully restored, they weren't. We were all dealing with years of hurt.

David, my Dad, and I actually sat with him through dinner at the wedding reception. I wish I could say it wasn't awkward, but it was. At one point, both David and my Dad got up and it was just the two of us at the table. I didn't know what to say to him. We sat there and stared at each other and finally I just shrugged my shoulders and gave him a half smile. I was still struggling with my hurt and anger and couldn't find any words to say.

To be honest, his death isn't so much a surprise. He was in horrible health. In fact, just weeks ago, we had a conversation within the family of how bad he was doing.

The emotions that have come with it is what has been a surprise.

Though my earlier theory has rang true for every death I've been through before, I didn't count in the factor of dealing with a death that involves a broken relationship. Every death before, I had a peace with within the relationship.

His death leaves lots of hurt, anger, and unanswered questions.

The worst of all though, the realization that there is no longer any hope of the relationship being restored.

How do you find peace in a relationship after that other person is gone, when you couldn't find peace when they were right in front of you?

Almost two years ago, my bestie Amy lost her ex husband suddenly in a car accident. I will be the first to admit, I was not a good friend and had a very hard time understanding her reaction to his death. I for a long time had the attitude of "get over it and move on already." I've always looked at their relationship as a severed one, but it wasn't, it was a broken one just like I've had with my Grandfather.

Though we've made up and I've apologized (and though I probably didn't deserve it, she forgave me), I had still honestly never understood her feelings from then, until now

Broken relationships are hard. They are filled with hurt, anger, and usually, many unanswered questions. Those people are in and out of your life, so there is no period to really sort through and move on and though you've been hurt, you still have some type of love for them. So, my I know-it-all theory of it being the "relation" of the person to you, is blown out of the water....its about the relationship with the person.

So, just as every post about death, this post (that has become a book now) is a reminder to hold those you love close to you, even when they choose to walk away. Don't waste days, or even worse, years without telling them and showing them you love them. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we too often forget life is short and precious.

As in the wise words of John Mayer, "say what you need to say" .......even if all you can think to say is "you hurt me, but I still love you." Its better than a shoulder shrug.

With all that being said, I want y'all to know that my grandfather was not a bad person. Like we all do, he had his demons he had struggled with his entire life and a lot of times, those demons made him into a person we could not understand. Why he made the choices he did at times, we'll never know the answers to. In all honestly, regardless of how many years he had left on this Earth, we would never have known why.

However, I have realized these last few years that regardless of the choices he made, he did love us. My grandfather would have never won the father of the year award and he was a crappy husband, however, he was a good grandfather. He loved his grand-girls.


This past summer when he came down for the wedding, he got the chance to meet his great granddaughter for the first time and see our home. I realized as he was walking around my home that day, that it was the first time he was ever getting a real glimpse into my adult life and the person I was becoming. He was here only a short time and as we said our goodbyes, he hugged me and what are now his last words to me, he said "I'm proud of you kid."

Through all the years of hurt and anger, those are the words he left me with.

Words that will start the healing process and to finding peace from these past eleven years.

Words that I never expected to hear from him......he left me with words of love.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.....

This week started off on a good note, but has quickly went downhill fast.

I'm too the point I just keep singing to myself to just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Olivia has come down with a cold the past two days and is no longer sleeping. She's been getting up earlier and earlier each day and several times throughout the night. When I say getting up earlier, I mean 5:15 am early. Plus, David has had unit managers on vacation the past two weeks, so we've been getting calls from hourly employees all night long for the past two weeks. I seriously cannot remember the last night I got a full nights sleep.

On top of that, Olivia has been a handful these past few weeks. I don't know whether to chalk it up to the terrible twos or what, but she's been going in that full force mode that makes me so frustrated. I've had several nights at the end of the night that all I can do is sit and cry after dealing with her all day long. I love her to the core, but she is so high strung at times and can be so frustrating to deal with. Yes, she is adorable and loveable, but she is not a easy child.

There has been a death in my family and its bringing with it, many emotions we're having to deal with.

I only got out and ran once last week because of pure laziness. I started this week pumped up and excited to get to run again, only to realize Olivia was on winter break all week, which really screws up my running schedule. Blah!

The cat seriously just puked up a hair ball on the flipping carpet not even a foot away from the tile floor.

And Olivia just threw a freaking belt across the room and it hit me right in the face.

Seriously???

Screw the budget today, we're heading to Marshall's for some retail therapy.

I promise to be back with a more uplifting post next time.

Yeah, she's eating three suckers at once....it does no good to hide the candy when you have a kid who isn't afraid to scale walls. I took them away and all the candy got chucked.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Turns out, I don't have an excuse and I have a even bigger goal

When I started my goal this year to start running again, I did have a goal in mind to work for.

Even though I have been a runner for over half my life, I had never ran in the Peachtree road race that is held right here in Atlanta every July. It is a Atlanta tradition and has literally been on my bucket list since I was a teenager. However, I've had the excuse for many years now that I was always at the beach with my family over the 4th, so I couldn't make the race.

Last year though, I actually signed up and told myself that 2011 was the year and I was going to do it. I signed up for the lottery, got picked, paid my fee, but when the time came, I bailed out and went to the beach with my family instead. I didn't tell anyone but David because I was disappointed in myself.

I've had several people tell me how they just go and do it with not even training, but I wanted to actually run it and train for it. I didn't want to go out there and walk the most of the way, just to say I had done it. I really wanted to go out and run it.

If you don't show up to run, they actually give you the choice to send your number back in for a guaranteed spot the next year. So, when I knew for sure I was going to chicken out, I sent my number back in and got this card in the mail.

Do you see that second line in the bold letters?

Yes, I lost my card.

You know the drill, I had put it up for safe keeping and then hid it so well, I couldn't find it.

For the past eight weeks, when someone would ask me if I had a race I wanted to run, I would say "if I get into the peachtree..."

I searched high and low all through January for this little card, but had no luck and eventually gave up looking for it.

I picked up a random book the other day and it wasn't even one I was planning on reading, low and behold, this little yellow card fell out onto the floor.

So, I no longer have an excuse.

I'm going to finally knock something off my bucket list.

However, a goal that I've never really given any thought to before kinda got thrown into my lap earlier in the year.

My sister Liz posted on her blog in January that she had finally signed up for a 1/2 marathon that she had been talking about for years.

I kinda opened my mouth and out slipped "I'd like to do it with you."

So, I'm really working towards that now.

I'm training to run a 1/2 marathon in September with my sister Liz.

(via)

Sounds crazy saying it out loud.

A few people already know what I've been up to, but I guess like most other regular bloggers, it doesn't seem official until you say it on your blog.

Even though its kinda scary, I'm excited to be working towards this even bigger goal. I'm excited and looking forward to being able to say "I did it" in the end.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dreaming

Its been a rainy, dreary, and somewhat cold weekend all weekend long.

So much so, I found myself this afternoon cruising through my photo files in search of some sun and dreaming of warmer weather.









Sigh....I'm oh so ready for it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

All time Favorites

Earlier this morning, one of my college roommates asked me to recommend a few books to read and I immediately thought to myself....BLOG POST....since I had just been asked that question by someone else just the week before.

So here is a list of some of my reading recommendations.

I've been asked many times what my all time favorite book is and that is just such a hard question to answer when you love books, isn't it?

However, people are not satisfied with that answer.

So if I had to narrow it down to just one.....

A Thousand Splendid Suns would be my, to date, all time favorite.

Its the one I recommend to everyone.

You cannot say too much about it without giving it away, but this is a powerful book, especially for women I think. Ironically, it was written by a man. This book is filled with so many different emotions....from forgiveness, acceptance, anger, hurt, love, joy, beauty....the list could go on. It is definitely a book that surprises you and keeps you on your toes the entire time. I cried while reading it the first time and its hard for a book to make even a crybaby like myself actually cry.

I've now read it twice and after writing this description, I want to pick it up again. Maybe it would get me out of my reading funk I've been in so far this year.

Two others that are high on my list are

The Help and Redeeming Love

Again, both life changers to me.

I consider a book a life changer when I walk away learning some type of lesson.

Also, most books I recommend are easy reads. I try to steer clear of anything too long when anyone asks unless I know they are an avid reader like myself.

Here are a few more favorites from the last few years...

Barefoot: A Novel

Fortune's Rocks

The Secret life of bees

Angela's Ashes

Angry Housewives Eating BonBons

The Book Thief

Same kind of Different as Me

Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet

The Glass Castle and Half Broken Horses

Water for Elephants

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

The Days of Summer

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Kitchen House

For those that are looking for something a little more on the thicker side, two of my favorite long reads are...

Forever Amber

East of Eden

Like I said, these are just a few of my favorites from the past few years. I started keeping a little notebook about four years ago of what I was reading, because I had actually started picking up books to read, getting halfway through, and realizing I had already read it. True story. These are ones I picked from that little notebook. I haven't scanned my shelves for older reads I may have forgot about. If I do, I'll update the list.

So hope this helps someone and if you have a recommendation, please leave it!

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A little Livi Kate for the Grandparents!

Her cheese face at the moment:

I love this kid so much, my heart wants to explode.

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Thank you for the compliments on the new layout. Lindsey from Designer Blogs was actually installing it as I was writing that post, so I didn't realize a few days would turn into right now. Once again, I highly recommend Designer Blogs. I used them a couple of years ago for custom design and they are great to work with! I went with a pre-designed blog layout this go round, but it was exactly what I wanted to begin with, so it was a win!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentines with a Nudest

Sorry that its Thursday and I'm just getting around to posting this week....and I had been doing so good the past few weeks! Boo!

Actually, I did sit down and wrote a post last night. However, by the time I was finished and went back to read it....I felt like I did nothing but complain throughout it. Though this week hasn't necessarily been one to go down in the history books, it hasn't been a bad one. I don't want to look back and see all I did was look at the negative.

To sum things up....its just been one of those weeks I've felt like I couldn't get a grip on anything. However, after writing my Debbie Downer post last night, I got to work on the things that I could control (i.e. doing something with my much neglected house) and woke up this morning with a whole new perspective on the week.

Moving on....

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Our Valentines Day this year was filled with lots of little moments that I wanted to remember.

David and I went out last Friday night to celebrate with a special dinner and a night at home alone. Though it was a nice evening together and the dinner was great, I felt like our actual Valentines Day was filled with more love and fun.

Monday afternoon, I ran into the Wally World to grab Valentines for Olivia's class party the next morning. (Yeah...nothing creative from Pinterest because I had totally forgot till I saw everyone walking out with heart balloons on Monday afternoon). While in there, I decided I wanted to get her a little something to wake up to the next morning. I decided on a movie, a barbie doll, and a balloon. Yeah, I spent way too much money. Especially since many of you read on facebook how her behavior the few days before had me in tears at several different moments.

Valentines morning, I went busting into her room yelling "Happy Valentine's Day!!!" She looked at me in her half awake state and grumpily asked "what's that?" I spent the next two minutes trying to explain and settled on "its a day you get presents from Mommy and Daddy. There's something for you in the living room." At that point she was wide awake and tore off running into the living room. She was thrilled with her presents for 2.5 seconds and at the end of the day, I learned once again that I could have saved $30 and just bought the dang balloon.

You'd think I'd know by now.

Later that afternoon, I was anxious to get my gift from David that was being dropped off by the UPS guy. For some reason the UPS guy likes to play games with me and put packages in a different place every time he comes by. So, after checking all his favorite hiding spots for twentieth time that afternoon, Olivia finally asked me what I was doing. I said "looking to see if Daddy's gift for mommy got here." She put her hands to her cheeks (Home Alone style) and said excitedly "ooooh.....balloons?"

I about died right there from the sweetness.

But also thanked God that my husband knows me a little better than to have the UPS guy drop off a bouquet of balloons. No offense if that's your thing, balloons just don't do it for me like they do for my two year old.

I get spoiled on Valentine's Day usually. In my defense, we don't do Christmas gifts for each other. Nor do we really celebrate the little holidays like Mothers day or Fathers day. So the hubby spoils me on Valentine's Day and my birthday.

Also, my love language is gifts. Technically, words of affirmation tied with it, but David and I both laughed at that one. We both know how I really work, so my hubby twice a year really speaks my love language to me.

I ended up with a new little camera that I am actually allowed to take out of the house, since we all know I'm not responsible when taking my big camera out. The big camera had been left places one too many times for his comfort.

I never claim to be a wiz at using my big camera, but its weird going from a nicer camera to a smaller one. Regardless, I feel much more comfortable taking the little one out...say on a trip to Disney....than the nicer one. At almost 30, I'm just not responsible enough to carry a $500 camera out of the house.

I also scored a new blog design from Designer Blogs and a Vintage Pearl necklace that I had been drooling over for about a year now. The new blog design should be up within the next few days and I have a couple of weeks for the necklace to arrive.

Like I said, he did good.

Right before dinner, I went out to check the mail and found Olivia had received a card from her GG. I handed it to her to open and she was ecstatic to find two bills inside it. She then proceeded to run to me, hand me one of the bills and said "this is for mommy." Then she handed the other one to David and proclaimed "this is for daddy." She held the card up in the air and exclaimed "this is Livias!"

I once again died from the sweetness. I promised her GG we'll take her shopping with it and not keep it for ourselves. I'm sure though I could just buy her $10 worth of balloons and the child would be in heaven.

Originally, I told Dave we'd do something simple and on the actual day go out as a family (i.e. Chick-fil-a), but it was a cold and rainy day so after I dropped OK off at school, I ran to the store and grabbed something to make instead. I thought I'd get all fancy and decorated the dinner table with a tablecloth and candles. I had some Michael Buble going in the background and even splurged for a $9 bottle of champagne. It was really romantic especially the part of eating with a two year old who is currently a nudest.

Nothing says love like eating in the nude.

For the record, Dave and I were fully clothed. She's been solo on this nudest thing she's got going.

However, Dave and I may or may not have been the ones to drink an entire bottle of pink Moscato champagne in one night.

Though I'm kinda wondering if Twiggy stole a few sips.

As you can see, she was thrilled about Valentines Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

This weeks smiles...

David and I are off to celebrate our special Valentine's dinner tonight. I'm hoping it all works out and I will share on Monday. I'm totally getting spoiled this Valentine's day.

In no particular order, here are a few things that made me smile this week....

1. Two year olds

2. Birthday cake....seriously, somethings wrong with you if birthday cake doesn't make you smile!

3. Speaking of birthday cake, these two newlyweds. I think they're pretty cute!

4. February bonfires

For the record....the most awkward conversations come out when my family sits around a bonfire....Helen Keller jokes anyone???

5. Monday morning routines

6. My longest run to date

7. The cartoon Arthur....there are few cartoons I can take and Arthur happens to be one of them. I'm so thankful that OK has suddenly become a fan too!

8. Encouraging text from a best friend.

9. Starbucks Valentines Cup

10. Bumper stickers Dave and I are ordering for our cars

Just kidding, but I couldn't resist.

What made you smile this week?