Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A little hello on Halloween

Hello.

Life has been extremely crazy these past week and will remain so for the next.  I promise to be back by mid November.  This is honestly the first time I've been near the computer in a week. We've basically only been at home to sleep.  After next week, things calm down....for a minute or two.  Even the google reader app on my phone is reading in the 200's.  At what point do say forget it and click the "mark all read" button?

Anyways, I wanted to drop in to give the family a few Livi pictures.

We went to her school's fall festival/trunk or treat on Sunday night and braved the cold long enough to hit up the cars for candy.  They had bounce houses and all that fun stuff, but the little one said it was too cold and wanted to go home right after she got her candy fill. The wind has been something serious the past few days, so when she said she was ready to go, we sprinted to the car.

This was the quick...letmegetyourpicturebeforeyoublowaway...pic.



Can't you see the freezing in her face?

It was worth fighting the freezing cold wind because I got to see this the entire night...



She called him "Prince Charming Daddy" all night.

My heart cannot take these two.

This Daddy/Daughter love kills me.  Watching the love between those two is honestly one of my favorite things about having a little girl.  He'll probably kill me for posting this, but the man seriously danced around the living room doing BALLET moves with her for a straight hour a couple of weeks ago.  He is a rockstar dad and I am so thankful for him every single day.

Back to Halloween....we came home and enjoyed a chilli picnic by the fireplace.


We have all agreed that fireside picnics will become a new tradition in our house.  It was the perfect way to end the night.  I would recommend trying it. 

We're heading out today for a Halloween party with her class and the traditional trick or treating tonight. Here's hoping that the killer winds have calmed down a bit....I haven't even bought my kid a big coat yet considering we usually don't even need them till after Christmas here.  She's been wearing that pink sweater the past few days and one of our neighbors asked her "if she had a coat?" and I hung my head as I had to admit that that was her coat....parent fail.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 19, 2012

That "R" Word.

Over the past year, I've struggled with calling myself a "runner."

Usually, when people refer to me as a "runner", I usually balk and rebuttal  with a "not me."

I know it's not just me because I've had these conversations with running friends and I've read multiple blogs or articles of others asking the same question "what makes you a runner?"

I'm now just two months shy of running consistently for a straight year.
In the past six months, I've ran a 5k, 8k, 10k, & 1/2 marathon.

Yet, even after all that, I still have never referred to myself as a runner.

Maybe its from the constant comparison of myself to other runners....Maybe I'm afraid that if I call myself a runner, people will expect it from me and it becomes something I have to keep up....whatever it is, its hard to spit out that "R" word.

While on vacation, my toe nail polished chipped on the second toe of my right foot.  As I sat there with my feet propped up on the balcony rail, I stared a little too hard at that chipped polished and I noticed a little bruising showing...it made me smile.


I've ran hard and long enough that I can claim that hardcore runner fame of bruised toenails.

Yeah, it may not be pretty to most, but to a runner, ugly toes can be a badge of honor.

I've got runner toes.

I'm a runner.

And thankful for toe nail polish. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

A visit to Shamu's house.

I realized as I was typing this last night, that we've been on four other trips this year that I have barely mentioned.  That being said, I think I'll do quick picture post of each sometime before the end of the year, just for documentation sake. 

I mentioned yesterday that we've pretty much laid low on this vacation, however, we did sneak away one day to take Olivia to Sea World on Tuesday.

She's been getting into animals lately and it's been awhile since the rest of us have been, so we thought a visit was called for.


We had heard mixed reviews over the past year on whether or not Sea World is worth it and I have to say, I now understand what people were saying .  I have mixed feelings about the place myself.

It's a very clean park and what attractions they do have were done well, however, it seemed like they didn't have very much. That being said, we had a great time and Olivia really enjoyed it.

Olivia's favorite was a toss up between the Shamu show and a cirque du soleil type show. 


Of course we opted to sit far away from the "splash zone."  The people who chose to sit in those rows looked confident at first, but their faces looked like it was not such a great idea by splash twenty. Word of advice....you get drenched in those rows....no $8 rain poncho will save you.

 Don't you like how that guys head was in my way the entire time???

Olivia stayed pretty amazed that the whales were "dancing" and waving at her.


She's still is talking about it two days later.

Beluga whales under the water....I know y'all love my mad photo skills.

 It has taken us three years to get Olivia to ride a carousal.  We finally talked her into it at Sea World, but she played it safe and stuck with the bench.  Sooooo my kid.


Like I mentioned earlier, we also watched a cirque-Du-soliel type show, however, you were allowed no cameras during the performance.  It was Olivia's first "theater" type production.  She was glued to it and clapping the entire time.  We laughed afterwards saying that we might need to skip the regular circus because she's would be highly disappointed with it.   We'll start saving our money for Cirque du soliel tickets.

Overall we had a nice day and plan on hitting it up again in another ten years.  Definitely one of those places you can go to once every ten or fifteen years. Since we come to Orlando a good bit now, we don't spend all day at the parks anymore and only spent about four hours there.  It was plenty of time to see majority of the stuff they offered.

Also, we loved that we came to the park in October.  Though in the Shamu show pictures, there was obviously enough people to fill an entire theater, the rest of the day it seemed as though we were the only ones there.  Plus, the weather was warm, but nothing like a July day.

Afterwards, we headed fifteen minutes down the road to Downtown Disney so Olivia could get her princess fix.  We sat in the car for about 45 minutes waiting for a few people to get their naps in.


We spent the rest of the evening throwing way too many bucks down at the Disney Store, walking around to catch a few street performers, and having dinner at Planet Hollywood.

On our last trip to Orlando, we convinced Olivia that Downtown Disney was "Minna's House" (aka: Minnie's House).  We thought we were pretty smart last May when we skipped the whole Magic Kingdom chaos, by staying at a Disney Resort and taking her to Downtown Disney a few times during our trip.  We had convinced her that was "Minna's House."  However, at three years old, she figured out our trickery and our genius plan was blown to pieces .  At dinner, we asked her if she was having fun at "Minna's" and her response was "no, I want to go to Minna's other house" (i.e. Magic Kingdom).  So, our game is up after only two trips to Orlando.  Please don't fret for her....we more than made up for it at the Disney Store and she still walked away a happy girl.

Looks like we're saving up for Magic Kingdom tickets too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beach Living

We've been hanging out at the beach this past week.
Unfortunately, it ends tomorrow when we head back to real life.


This trip has been as relaxing as it gets (for us Mabreys). 
Minus one day at Sea World, we've spent our time at the beach, pool, eating, or napping.
I've been soaking up every second of it. 

Olivia has enjoyed having all "her people" (her words) in one place and since there are four adults, she's been eating up the constant attention she's been getting. 
Oh, and a quick trip to Downtown Disney to feed her "Princess" needs hasn't hurt either.
She's already crying she doesn't want to go home.



I've always been a beach person. 
Give me a choice of vacations and I'll pick the beach.
In fact, this is our third week at the beach this year (feel free to feel sorry for me).

I've been telling David for years now I want to live near the beach.
The feeling usually comes and goes, but over the last year or so, that feeling has grown stronger.
This trip has for whatever reason cemented it into to me that at some point in time in my life, I have to live near the ocean.

It's my new ultimate lifetime goal.


The ocean feeds my soul. 
It makes me feel so small and yet, so alive at once.
For whatever reason, it puts in perspective for me the things that really matter in life. 
It makes me think. 
It makes me stop and smell the roses (or the sea weed), something I struggle so often to do. 

The past couple of months have been some rough ones at our house.  Not going into details right now, but we've been dealing with a few things that so many others are also facing today.  Though we know we're not alone, we've been frustrated and so easily caught up in the everyday struggles of life lately.


This trip couldn't have come at a better time.
It's been a time to step away, readjust our plans and goals, and give us a new perspective on life.


This trip,we stayed on Florida's East coast at a smaller, less known beach in between St. Augustine and Daytona. 
Can I say that I have fallen completely in love.

There are only three condo towers as far as our eyes can see and only a handful of local places to eat. 
We've ate local every night (minus one) and we've had only one not so impressive meal.
Besides the grocery store, there is no shopping around for a good thirty minutes and the closest putt putt course is ten minutes past that (however, there are a few golf courses).  


That's how "un-commercialized" and laid back this place is and we've decided, it's our new favorite way to do the beach.
So much so, we've even thrown out the idea several times this could become our annual family beach trip.

Unless, we somehow come up with a plan to live here year round....I've decided I would be an excellent beach bum.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A little random...

  • We have seemed to skip over fall and gone straight to winter these past two days.  Though I'm not complaining.  I'm usually a hater of the cold, but this summer was way too hot for me and I've been ready for a change in seasons.  I'm sure it won't last long (this is Georgia), but I'm hoping the cold will stick around a little longer. 
  • Today is my Dad's birthday!!! Happy Birthday Grandpa!!!! 
 (my current favorite picture of the him & her)
  • I may or may not have listened to a little Christmas music already.  It was cold outside....it just felt right.  Judge all you want....Hobby Lobby's doing it.
  •  Speaking of....I'm super excited for Christmas this year! I felt like we kinda thrown for a loop last Christmas and we didn't really get to enjoy the season like I had originally planned. So, I've already started to fill our calender with stuff to check off our Christmas Bucket list.  This will be the first year that Olivia really "gets it" and be able to participate in certain activities, so I'm super excited.
  • I am usually such the procrastinator, but I'm proud to say that I bought Olivia's Halloween costume in July and last night brought home her "big" gift from Santa.  This is a first folks and I'm pretty proud of myself.  Believe me though, there will for sure be some last minute running around I'm sure, but baby steps....baby steps....
  •  I'm still begging my husband for a new laptop since he stole mine....I feel like it would help in me blogging a little more often because I know you all love hearing what I have to say (insert eye roll).  So, feel free to complain to him about my lack of Olivia updates and pics.  I can use some help because right now he's winning.  
  •  I promise not to do a whole post on it since my last post was a book post, but we read The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman for bookclub this month.  LOVED IT!!!  It was a quick and easy read (I believe all of us read it in just a few days) and boy, does it make you think.  It is the perfect book club book because it leads to great discussion of how do we judge what is right or wrong and how life isn't black or white, there is a lot of gray.  The fact that we sat at Olive Garden for over two hours talking about the book tells you its that good.  We all agreed it was one the best books we've read in our three years of bookclub.  That's saying a lot because there is only one other book (The Help) that we all felt that way about. 
  • Speaking of Olive Garden...right now they are doing a special for $12.95 you get all you can eat bread sticks and Salad and then an entry to eat that night and one new entree to take home.  You get five meals to choose from (they are all your basic Italian meals) and at the end of your meal, they bring you a fresh meal packed ready to go with instructions for re-heat and a bag of bread sticks.  I think the promotion runs till November 18 it said and we all thought it was a great deal.  It made lunch so much more enjoyable today. I'm not getting anything for saying this, I just thought it was a great deal to pass along.  
  • Olivia is on Fall Break this week so we've been hanging out at home playing.  It's a crappy pic, but she's too cute not to share.   

 Happy Tuesday! : )

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On the nightstand.

I am seriously asked about once a week for a book recommendation, so I thought it was time to share what I read over the summer. 

I was just saying to someone the other day, that I felt like I went through a reading slump during the summer.  However, when I went back through my little reading journal, I was surprised with how much I actually had read over the past few months.  Not saying that to be a bragger, I just really did surprise myself.  Maybe I should stop saying "I'm not reading right now."
 

For some reason, this has been the year of big books for me.  Peachtree Road and Fall Of Giants both came in over 900 pages.   Cutting for Stone and Outlander (which I read last winter) wasn't too far behind with 700.  I like big books and I cannot lie.

Here's a full list of what I've read... 

Peachtree Road ~Anne Rivers Siddons
I'm a sucker for any book set in Georgia.  Loved this book, but coming in at over 900 pages, it is a commitment.  The story was full of characters that I fell in love with and a story that kept me on my toes all the way through. 

My Antonia`~Willa Cather*

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother~ Amy Chua

To Kill A Mockingbird~ Harper Lee*

Spring Fever~Mary Kay Andrews
A great, quick beach read I would recommend to any kind of reader.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter~ Seth Grahame-Smith
Interesting story...movie was okay. 
The Great Gatsby~ F. Scott Fitzgerald*

Cutting For Stone~Abraham Verghese
I've been hearing about this one for awhile now, but I heard mixed reviews, so I stayed away.   Then I found a cheap used copy and it was the best $3 ever spent.  I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book.  I would rank it up there with A Thousand Splendid Suns.  However, it's not an easy book to read....difficult names, adult situations, etc.  I would only recommend it to a regular reader, not someone looking for a quick beach read. A life changer book that makes you stop and think of how every little choice and action affects the direction of your life.  

The Secrct Garden~ Frances Hodgson Bernett*

Fall of the Giants~ Ken Follett
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is one of those you always hear about.  It was always on my list to read, but I ended up watching the mini series with David a year or two back.  I'm sure the book is ten times better, but I have to let my mind forget the mini series first before I read it.  So, give me another ten years before I pick it up.  That being said, I dove into Fall of The Giants because I didn't want another Ken Follett book get away from me.  I enjoyed it....think Downton Abby kinda story line....but wouldn't recommend it unless your a Ken Follett or huge book fan.  However, I think it would make a great mini-series!

The Light Between Oceans~ML Stedman* 
Great, easy beach read.  I won't share too much because we're talking about it at book club on Monday. 

*Book club pick

You might have noticed that we read the "Classics" this summer for bookclub, just to shake things up a bit.  Though I enjoyed most of them, we all decided we wouldn't rank too many up there with our all time favorites. Expect To kill a Mockingbird.....that one is a required favorite by everyone, right?

Every few months, I go through what I already have and pick a stack of ones I've yet to read.  I do it to keep me from buying more, but lets be honest, it doesn't always work.  I did this the other day and I'm certain I won't read these all, but can maybe get a few knocked off.  The rest will go back on the shelf and hopefully make the next round.


On the kindle is what I'm currently reading: 7: An experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

It's speaking to me....big time.

Read anything good lately?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Big Three

This past weekend, my baby girl turned the big three.
 


Going into her third year, she's a dancing fool.  The kid is CONSTANTLY singing and dancing....enough so, we are seriously starting to think she might have a future in it. 

She has no shame in in bursting out in song for the entire neighborhood or store (or restaurant) to hear.

No lie, she worried for days about not having "a new song" to perform for everyone at her birthday party.  Unfortunately, I think she got so wrapped up in the birthday festivities, she forgot to perform her number.



She is obsessed with Disney Princesses and Mary Poppins these days.

Only for the fact they wear "twirlly" dresses and sing all day long.

We've totally ruined her already and she thinks we are supposed to go to Disney for every single vacation.  Hopefully she won't be too disappointed at the beach in a few weeks.


The things that come out of her mouth lately are hilarious.

I love how she says "oh, dear" and "that's a wonderful idea!" all the time.

My absolute favorite is how she just yells out randomly throughout the day, "Love you too, Mama!" 

And the way she says "Pascal" (from the movie Tangled) is pretty cute too.  I may or may not have asked to her repeat it a few times in a row, just because I love hearing her say it.



She's becoming such a sweet soul. 

The baby who never wanted to be held, now has turned into a love bug. 

Even though she's got the only child status (and informed us the other day she was just fine with that) and spoiled rotten, she is awesome with sharing whatever she has.

She's polite.  We rarely have to remind her to say "please" or "thank you" these days. 


 She could drink chocolate milk and eat cheese-itz all day long if I'd let her and she refuses to touch a potato with a ten foot pole (which makes me question if she's mine).

And please DO NOT ever tell her you are feeding her a casserole....it may end up in an hour long battle, not that I would know.  

Her bed at night looks like an episode of Hoarders with all the stuffed animals she has to have.  In fact, we bought her a full size bed just to fit everyone (kidding, maybe....).

She is finally getting into books and always asking us to read to her (I was getting a little worried, I won't lie).  



As her Aunt Nic said...."Three seems to fit her."

And I have to totally agree, it seems like she's finally started to grow into that big personality she's always had inside her. 

Though it may be wrong to say, I fall more and more in love with her everyday. 


Happy Birthday my Girl!!! 
I cannot wait to see what this year brings for you!!!
Don't forget, love you too!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Day October 2012

So.....I kinda fell off the bandwagon with pictures for First Day yesterday.  I wasn't going to post, but I decided to go ahead anyway, even though I only have a handful of pictures. 

Here was our First Day of October in (for me) a very few pics....

 As you most all already know, David is off on Mondays & Tuesdays.  Last year when Olivia started pre-school, we started using at least one of those days as our date mornings.  Even though she's been in school for weeks now, due to crazy schedules this past month, yesterday was our first "morning date" this school year.  Can you guess which meal was his and which was mine?  I wasn't ashamed and yes, he was hungry again just an hour later.  

 After our date, we ran by to pick up a box of munchkins at  Dunkin Donuts to take to Olivia's class because they were celebrating her third birthday.  I tried to get his picture but moved to sneak out of it, but I'm going to post it anyways.  
Dave was a little hesitant about us staying for the celebration, since she would act like a lunatic the moment we walked in for all her class celebrations last year.  We went anyways and it was a total different experience from last year.  She acted like a normal child and even let us leave and then come back to pick her up at the end of the day. There is hope peeps.

Rainy Day 

 After the party, we ran to get David's hair cut.  He goes to an old barber shop downtown.  This was my first time going with and I thought it was hilarious that he had to explain to me how the "system" worked.  See the guy in the very back.  He's the guy who owns it and the old guys who sit and wait in the rocking chairs get to see him.  All the young guys sit in the waiting room in the front of the building (where we were) and they wait on the guys daughter to cut their hair (the lady in the pink).  The young guys don't get to go to the old guy.  It was hilarious.  Oh and listening to the "older guys" talk about their wives were worth the trip itself.  I was cracking up over them.  It was totally one of those situations you know they were trying to act all big and bad and talk smack, but I'm sure as soon as they get home they are all like "yes, dear."
 

I registered for my next race.  My goal is at least one a month, but I'm skipping October and doing two in November.  Plus, I've already got my eyes set on my next two half marathons!!! : )


 Olivia got some money for her birthday and on Sunday, we went to pick out a "big girl" bike.  Unfortunately, it had rain all day Sunday and Monday.  She was itching to ride, so we pulled the car out and Dave worked with her a few minutes on riding it.  She's almost there, but needed a little more room to practice. Before I get hate mail, she does have a helmet.  We were only out there a few minutes and she was just trying to get the hang of it.  I promise we are making sure she wears a helmet on a regular basis.

I promise to do better next month!!! : )

Linking up with Nicole:



I also realize I've kinda left you all hanging on a few things.  I promise I'm trying to catch up this week!