Wednesday, August 27, 2008

just breathe...

WOW...what an amazing few weeks we have had! i looked forward to time "home" and in the south for quite a it is hard for me to believe that it is over, we are back in washington, and life must resume.

i am so thankful that i was able to see the sweet faces of those people that mean so much to us...and equally as thankful for the phone visits with those precious ones that we were not able to see this time around! there is nothing quite as important or amazing as my friends and i am so grateful for each one of the special relationships.

when we left little rock the other day, i could not hold back my tears. ella noticed that i was quietly crying and asked if i was sad. how do you explain to a four year old that you are crying painful, grateful tears all at the same time. i am SO thankful for the individuals that became our extended family during our time in little rock...but it still hurts so much that we are so far away. i told my sweet friend lori today that it feels like we packed up and left in the night. when i drive around there, it feels like i should be driving my kids home to take a nap, going to grab some groceries, or meet some friends for dinner. it doesn't feel like i should be a visitor. i miss it. and i definitely miss my friends. i miss the "warm fuzzy" feeling i had in my soul.

the relationships in my life are the most important things to me...and being so far away is really hard for me.

we made lots of memories while we were on our trek across the south. we had two plane flights, four rental cars, six deli casino sandwiches, 8+ days in "the country", and countless laughs and smiles! ella & maddie had such an amazing time seeing grandparents & other family, playing with their cousins, and enjoying the three week junk food binge! seriously, i can't remember the last vegetable they were served unless we can consider pizza sauce a veggie! oh well, that's what "vacay" is for, right?!

the south definitely still "fits like a glove"...and i look forward to the day that we can put these plane flights behind us.

there are sure to be more funny stories to come...the girls keep us laughing no doubt...but for now, i am sleepy and a little bit sad. needed is a good night's rest so that we can gear up for the rest of the week. introducing the idea of healthy eats back into our diet (yes, green things really are edible), relearning that bed time really is before 11 pm, and acknowledging that every night does not have to involve an "ella sandwich"!!!!! we'll see if we can achieve at least 2 out of 3!!!!!!!

thanks to all our family and friends who graciously hosted our marathon vacation! we appreciate everything...not one thing goes unnoticed...we love you so much! can't wait to see you again!
a slide show of our favorite peeps is coming soon!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

having a blast...

just checkin' in to let everyone know we are having an absolute blast in louisiana!!!! we aren't letting any grass grow under our feet...and i am loving every minute of it! my laptop is out of commission for a detailed posts will come in the future! i want to document ALL that we have been doing...just so i don't forget myself!!!!!!

here is a sneak preview...

swimming. visiting. playing. deli casino. swim lessons. catching up with old friends. going on dates with grandpa. spending time with family that warms my heart. seeing my children smile BIG smiles because they love being here.

just a preview.

no doubt more stories will follow! until then, we say a sleepy goodnight with happy hearts!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"sayonara summer" least in DC anyway...

well, we just finished our last day of summer in DC and we made it a good one! the girls and i

are headed to the good ole' south until the beginning of september! what began as a week long trip to visit my fam in shreveport, turned into a trek across four states to visit family and friends...i can't wait! what a roadtrip!

to celebrate our last day here, the girls and i took a little trip to the spray park as our final send off & ate a happy meal (well, ella ate hers...maddie threw hers on the floor)...since mommy didn't go to the grocery store seeing as we will be gone for so long! daddy plans to eat a lot of cereal while we are away!!!!!!!

ella, of course, always finds she was loving every minute of it! maddie sticks close to me...she's more fond of exploring the grounds than getting wet! either way, it makes me happy to see them having fun!!!!

tonight i took ella to have a "swim lesson" with a precious lifeguard at our pool. ella has been so intimidated by the "deep" water this summer and begs us to "take her home for a nap" when we venture out to a part of the pool she can't touch! carlin, the lifeguard, saw us at the pool the other day and worked with ella a little bit trying to get her more comfortable! tonight she offered for us to bring ella back so that she could spend time with her again. ella couldn't even eat dinner she was so nervous...for those of you that know ella - she was REALLY nervous to pass up food!!!!!!!! anyway, my sweet baby was SO BRAVE! she cried a little bit...but NEWSFLASH - she jumped off the diving board once by herself and two times with carlin!!!!!! she came up and waved at me after the third dive...but promptly announced that she "did not want to do that again"!!!!!! carlin was so thoughtful and had gotten ella a huge bag of gummy lifesavers as a PRIZE! music to ella's ears once the nerves had worn off! i am so proud of my sweet girl...i know in no time, she will be swimming like a little fish!!!!!

we are so excited about our time "home" and beyond...can't wait to share all of our adventures!

off to finish packing...times a wastin'!!!!

wordless wednesday...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

happy, happy day, honey!!!!!

i decided to interview honey's biggest fan in honor of her birthday...who better than ella to give some reasons why honey is great and deserves to be celebrated!!!!! here is the information i collected from my sweet first born...i feel sure madeline's answers would have been just the same!!!

top reasons why i love my "honey": (according to ella)

she gives me love
she gives me macaroni & cinnamon bread
she gives me cut grapes
she lets me go outside with her
she lets me do things with her
she reads books with me
she lets me climb up in her lap
she likes to be with me...a lot of time
she loves me "much much"
she loves me back because i love her so much...that's what is so special about her

it is honey's special day today and we wish we could be there to celebrate...we will be soon...just a few days late!!!! we want you to know how much we love you and appreciate all that you do. there is no doubt how much you love us.

loyal. loving. giving. laughing. adoring. best friend. pal. artist. baker. mom. fighter. m&m lover. walker. being there forever and always. everything.

those are just a few things that come to mind when i think of my mom, "honey". there is no one else in this world that loves us more than you do...and on your birthday...take a moment...

to feel how loved you are.
we send millions of kisses for your "heart pocket"!
we love you, mom...from the top of our head to the tips of our toes!!!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"berry peachy"...

there is something SO organic about picking your own fruit and vegetables...and i LOVE it! we decided to go blackberry picking yesterday. jeffrey found a farm located in delaplane, virginia (about an hour from where we live)...and we set out to get some berries! this farm is nestled in the blue ridge mountains and the "vistas" and scenery were absolutely gorgeous! in typical "meredith & jeffrey" fashion...we took the back roads and spent the whole time saying "look at that"..."oh my word, look at that view" was great! even ella was saying "this drive is so beautiful"!

when we arrived at hollin farm, we discovered that there was also a "pick your own peaches" orchard, pick your own corn, AND pick your own tomatoes!!!!!! i was certainly in hog heaven!

we started out amongst the blackberry bushes. you really have to search for the ripe berries because there are lots of red ones that are not ready! unlike the strawberry picking where all the fruit was "ready to eat"...many of the blackberries were REALLY sour...and maddie had NO idea! she did not understand that the red ones needed to wait to be picked! the pictures of her "sour face" are priceless!!!! after we gathered two pints...we headed to the peaches!

what fun! once again, some of the peaches were not ripe yet so we really had to search for the perfect fruits! some of our "picking crew" were feeling less than enthusiastic at this point. maddie was eating lots of fallen fruit (evidenced by her delightful diaper later in the evening) and ella's legs were beginning to feel like jello (evidenced by her collapse amongst the heirloom tomatoes)!!!!! we picked our bag full and headed to our next stop...tomatoes!

tomatoes must have been a hot item because there were plenty of green ones available...not so many red ones! well, as jeffrey is combing the vines...ella begins to have a mental and physical breakdown! she got "trapped" by a plant - freaked out - and basically allowed her legs to crumble beneath her! of course, this caused her legs to get dirty which led to more "melting". it was really funny...and only when the thought of not being able to eat ice cream later was thrown on the table...was she able to regain her composure and pick some corn!!!!!!

if only i had been able to capture that "ever so cute" pic of my children peeking out from the corn stalks...i would have been so happy! that did not happen, however. my children at this point were hot. the fun of picking your own food had worn off back in the peach orchard. as a mommy, we have to know when the camera needs to go back in the "holster"...and big guns need to be used - in this case - ritz crackers and gatorade. everyone's smiles returned quickly and we made our way to middleburg. a quaint little town that was having a bluegrass concert on main street.

we ate dinner outside at a cute little place called "red horse tavern". the girls were excited about getting to dance...and dance they did! ella plopped herself right down in the middle of one family's picnic - she never meets strangers of course! we walked around the little town looking in the windows of all the cute shops..."lulu's tutus", "mellow out" (a homemade marshmellow dessert shop", "the french hound". definitely a place that would be fun to go back to for some "grown up" shopping!!!!!

it was a great saturday spent with the family! now i am trying to seek out the best blackberry cobbler recipe...because that is the most fun part about having all this fresh fruit...making something yummy!

when asked if ella would like to live on a farm, she replied "yes"...long pause..."no not really"! i think she definitely appreciates the fact that we don't have to pick our own food on a daily basis...

as for me, i love these experiences with the other three prices...even if two out of the three would like to be escorted with air conditioned wagons stocked with plenty of snacks...i wouldn't trade 'em for the world!!!!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"da plane...da plane"

we geared up last night and headed to "airplane park"...a really neat place that the girls had not visited yet! the park is just beyond the runway at reagan national airport on the potomac river - so "picnicers" get a bird's eye view of the coming and going of huge jets! we picked up pizza, lemonade, & coke and headed out for a fun night outdoors!

to say that the girls had a blast would be an understatement! immediately, ella found a friend and i don't even know if she ate one bite of pizza...she was so dirty after all that playing...i just had to take a picture of her feet...GROSS!

madeline always points to airplanes in the sky (usually while we are eating dinner outside)...well, well, well...she didn't know quite what to think when they were so close! as soon as one would head down the runway and she could hear it, she would run full speed ahead to jeffrey or me, hold on for dear life, and then start waving and saying "bye bye"!

it was a fun night relaxing, hanging out with the fam! it is such a neat place...and a helpful reminder that we need to take advantage of all that is around us while we are here. the sunset was beautiful too! of course, we rounded out the night with a delicious trip to pop's old fashioned ice is good!

Friday, August 1, 2008

just when you think...

you've got your children figured come the curve balls!

you cut up strawberries in bite sized pieces because your daughter loves them...they are fed to the dog!

you mash up a sweet potato because you are jazzed you discovered something "new" she would eat...because she did last week...she looks like jack nicholson!

she sleeps 'til 9 in the morning...until you stay up too late...then she wakes up at 7!

she loves to wear nightgowns...until there is no other laundry clean...and she wants to wear shorts!

she loves to wear bows in her hair...until one day...she says she doesn't like bows anymore!

she loves to listen to "the little mermaid" at a deafening volume...until mom is listening to something...then it's "too loud" and hurts her ears!

curve balls...coming left & right...

and then...

the unexpected "i love you mommy" or the unexpected "kiss"...

and nothing matters...except for the fact that...

i am in love.