Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom...

Wishing my Mom the happiest 57th birthday.  In this life we take so much for granted.  We take those we love for granted I think the most.  It's crazy how much a life can change in just one year.  This day has been weighing on my mind for some time now.  Bittersweet for sure.  Earlier in the year, I wasn't so sure we would see this day with you still being here. 57.  It sounds so young, too young, to think I will be visiting you in a nursing home.  Not out to eat at Cracker Barrel or Monical's or surprising you with a party at my house, surrounded by our family and having a girls lunch with your sisters, daughters, and nieces.  I know my heart is not prepared for today.  I feel so broken inside and the tears cannot stop coming.  I miss you so very much.  Not hearing your voice and the loving words you spoke all the time to those you loved and cared for, is more difficult than one can imagine.  God how I miss you so.  Watching Ava make your card and seeing how deeply she misses you.  I know my life has been blessed to have you for the time that I have, the selfish part of me just wants more time, more memories.  More I love you's.  More birthday celebrations with you. But today I also celebrate another year with you.  I have to put the sadness that fills my heart today aside, and remember the joys and the blessings I have been given. 

 You were that little girl who was always smiling and laughing.  This is one of my favorite pictures of you as a little girl, because that is the person you carried with you into adult hood.  You loved to laugh and oh what a laugh it was.  Especially, when you got together with your sisters and brothers.  :) 
Even as an adult, you faced many things no one should have to face, but you never lost that smile or the ability to have a good time and to laugh.  You always found a reason to celebrate and enjoy the life you had and most importantly the things you were blessed with.

I think this will always be my favorite photo of you that was taken not long before you were diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  You were getting ready to go out on a date with Dan for the night and I just thought you looked so pretty and so happy.  I am forever grateful that I quickly snapped this photograph before you left.  It' how I like to remember you most in my adult years.  I am also grateful for last year and one last birthday celebration with you, surrounded by those who love you more than we could ever imagine loving someone.  It was a good day and I always knew that day was truly a gift.  You were in such a good mood and you loved having your family around you to celebrate your life and your special day.  Thank you for all the wonderful memories.  I don't know what God has in store for us in the next year, but I know I am so blessed to have had you for my Mom these last 35 years and even more blessed to have had you as my best friend, especially in my adult years.  Happy Birthday to the most incredible Mom I could have ever had and have been blessed in sharing my life with.  I love and miss you every single day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not So Wordy Wednesday...

but with quite a few photos to share.  Sunday, I had the opportunity to do a photo session of this beautiful young lady, Megan.  She is a Senior at an area high school.  Megan is also the 2012-2013 Homecoming Queen as well, as a bright young woman, who will be going off to college next fall, to become a Nurse Practitioner.  She is also on the high school volleyball team.  She embodies the phrase "beautiful inside and out".  It was truly a pleasure to photograph her.  And to think I am only about 1/2 way through editing her photos.   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

I am finally getting around to posting some photos from our recent visit to the Pumpkin Patch that is about 15-20 minutes from our house.  :)  We met up with Ava's Best Friend's Mom, brother and sister. A perfect place to let the kids run around and expend some of the energy they seem to have a countless supply of.  I think I need to find that well they draw from repeatedly.  lol

Natalie and Ava standing outside one of the mazes with Snow White and a few of her pals.  They have these up every year.  

 Nolan and Ava climbing on these huge round hay bales and sliding down the slide.  They are not usually covered with tarps.  Not sure if this is just because it was opening weekend our they are trying something new.  The kids played on this for a little bit, but quickly lost interest in it.  

 Ava on top of one of the huge bales of hay...and I had to snap a quick photo of her.  The weather was perfect for a visit to the pumpkin patch.  :)

 Ava and Natalie posing on some of the bigger pumpkins.  Natalie was all smiles...Ava's were more forced as she would rather be running around and playing.  lol 

 Some of the gourds and things they had.  This is one reminder to me that fall is now here.  So colorful and some are kind of creepy and odd I have to say.   lol

 Ava and Natalie playing in the little tables filled with corn and some toys.  The kids all loved this part of the visit.  I think this is the spot they played at the most.  

Neeley, Ava, and Natalie digging in the corn. They were too busy playing to let me get a photo of them.  :) In between playing in the corn, they (Neeley and Nolan really) would go into the little "haunted house" they have.  I didn't get photos of that though, because Ava wasn't going near that part of the pumpkin patch.  Natalie went in for all of 10 seconds and she was out and didn't go back in.  lol  They were the two oldest and yet the most afraid.  It really isn't scary, but I guess to them it is. 

After digging in the corn and a good hand-washing, the kids all got to enjoy some pumpkin vanilla twist ice cream.  This was the first time Ava had pumpkin ice cream.  I tried a bit of hers and it was yummy.  We both thought so.  Ava of course wasn't willing to share more than that one taste.  That ok, it saves me some calories.  lol

And of course no visit to this particular pumpkin patch would be final without sitting in the scaled down version of a covered wagon.  :)  All the kids love this part of the patch.  Getting a group shot of them though was pretty impossible.  Looking forward to going to an Apple Orchard in two weeks and hopefully we will make it to the other Pumpkin Patch that is about an hour from us this fall. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's On The Menu?

This week we have yet again another busy week.  I had a photo session on Sunday afternoon/evening so that means quite a few photos to edit this week.  Possibly another photo shoot on Thursday if the rain holds off.  Ava still has her art exhibit/open house on Tuesday night.  So excited to see what she has been up to these last few weeks.  Her yearly physical is on Wednesday after she gets out of school.  She has girl scouts on Thursday evening.  And Saturday is my Mom's 57th birthday, so we will be heading to the nursing home to visit her and to celebrate her day.  I know she doesn't know that it is her birthday or most of the time even know who we are or that we are there, but I know and I cannot let her day go by unforgotten.  So hopefully the crock pot will come in handy this week around here to make life a little easier for at least one day anyway.   

  • Monday - Lasagna and garlic bread
  • Tuesday- Popcorn chicken, tater tots, and vegetable
  • Wednesday -Chicken Quesadillas and spanish rice
  • Thursday - Baked pork chops, pasta, and salad
  • Friday - Italian chicken (crock pot), baked potatoes, and vegetable
  • Saturday -Pizza and salad
  • Sunday - Fend for yourself night.  :)

I kind of like how my week looks for meal planning this week. lol I actually get a couple nights off.  So what's on your menu this week?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Movie Review: A Little Bit of Heaven

I watched the movie trailer for this and I thought well this movie looks like it should be kind of good.  It sounds like it has a pretty good cast of characters with Kate Hudson, Kathy Bates, and Whoopi Goldberg. So I decided to rent it from of course, the Redbox.

Let me just say, I loved it.  I wanted to watch it again, I thought it was that good.  It's funny and it is also sad, but most of all it is touching and very moving.  Kate Hudson plays Marley who is very successful in her career, but she has a funny carefree personality.  She has a great group of friends but has never been in love.  She finds out she has cancer early in the movie and it unfolds from there.Kathy Bates plays her mother in the movie and I think as any Mom would do, she struggles with her daughter having cancer, but she tries to help take care of Marley and to just mother her.  They classify this movie as a romantic comedy and it is that, but I think it is a drama as well. 

If your life has been touched by cancer on a personal level, be it you or someone you know and love, it will bring on the tears for sure.  For me it hits close to home having an Aunt who has cancer and has been battling it for the last 2 1/2 years so far.  As a Mom, I hope and pray I will never have to watch my daughter go through something like this, but we know Cancer does not discriminate, it can effect anyone, at any age.  I would say if you like Kate Hudson in movies you will not be disappointed with her in this one.  Check out the trailer to the movie above.  It really doesn't do the movie justice though.  :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Glasses...

I was looking through some older photos this week of my Olivia, Kylar, and Ava wearing these silly glasses Kylar got from the movies and every time I see these photos, they make me giggle and smile. 
I hope they make you do the same today!  :)  We all need something that can make us laugh and giggle from time to time. 

Scarecrow School Project...

Fall is in the air and that means school projects that revolve around fall/Halloween themed art projects.  My sister asked me if I would help my niece Olivia with her latest project of making a scarecrow.  The school sent home some very basic instructions and two paper plates, a brown and yellow piece of construction paper, and a paint stick.  We were told we could also make it using other items like felt, ribbon, straw, etc. if we wanted.  Last year, my sister did this same project with Olivia and she said her (my sister) scarecrow looked more like a scary clown.  She wouldn't let any of us even see it, it was that bad.  lol  So I told her I'd see what we could come up with based on some things I had on hand.

We used some colored card stock in shades of goldenrod and orange for the hair, per Olivia's request.  I did talk her down from using pink hair.  After all it's a scarecrow and not Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry.  So we cut them into strips randomly attached them to the sides.  We made the nose and made it pop out from the paper plate.  We added some orange and light pink colored buttons for the mouth.  We had to have pink in here somewhere.  2 large buttons for the eyes and 2 smaller dark buttons for the center of each eye.  We made the hat in purple and burgundy with some fake leaves attached to the hat along with a really large flower. A small orange ribbon at the base of the paper plate.  And since our scarecrow is a girl, we added a little bit of "blush" to the cheeks using some chalk to make her a bit more girly. 

My niece Olivia with her scarecrow.  Which after much consideration and renaming her probably 12 times we finally settled on the name "Barbie Cutie".  lol  I'd say Liv is quite happy with her scarecrow this year and it doesn't look too much like a scary clown this time around.  :) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

10 Questions With Ava...

Me: If you could go on vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
Ava: Hawaii because it is relaxing and I love to relax.

Me: If you could visit any planet, which planet would you want to visit? 
Ava: Pluto because there is a dog named that. 

Me: If you could spend the day with anyone in the world, who would you want to spend that day with?
Ava: Poppy

Me: How would you spend your day with Poppy?
Ava: Going to the pool to swim, eating hot fudge sundaes, and giving him lots of hugs and kisses.

Me: What is your favorite memory about Nonny?
Ava: Her loving on me with hugs and kisses.

Me: What is your favorite memory of Poppy?
Ava: Going to get hot fudge sundaes.

Me: If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
Ava: About a princess who lives in a castle and I would be the princess.

Me:Would you rather have all the money in the world and no friends or would you rather have the best friends in the world and not a whole lot of money?
Ava: Best friends in the world and not a lot of money. I don't care about money.

Me: If you had one super power like being invisible, flying, or reading minds, which would you choose and why?
Ava: Invisible so no boys can check me out.  I hate when boys do that.  (LOL)

Me: If you could ask God one question what would it be?
Ava: Can I have my Poppy back?

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Great Weekend...

for Ava and me.  :)  It was very much needed too.  It was low-key, but fun.  I posted a blog below showing off our Friday.  We had one of Ava's best friends over for a sleepover on Friday night.  We took some time to head to the local annual Arts in the Park.  Then, we walked over to Del's Popcorn Shop so the girls could fill up on sugary treats and some delicious popcorn.  Then, we came home and I put a pizza in the oven, while the girls played with all of Ava's Lego Friends.  After that, the girls played house for quite some time until it was time to call it a night.

Saturday I was up early (too early), and the girls were soon to follow.  We had breakfast and the girls were back to playing for awhile.  They played with sidewalk chalk, rode scooters, played grocery store, and pretended to be chefs, along with playing house and lego friends again.  I watched the Illinois game and was happy to see them win, even if it wasn't a top ranked school...a win is a win and hopefully the wins will pile up so we can get to another bowl game this year.  Michigan won as well, and that made me happy too.  :)  Would have been nice if Ohio State would have lost their game.  lol  After the Illinois game was over, we met up with Natalie's Mom, sister, and brother at a nearby Pumpkin Patch.  

The kids had a blast playing at the Pumpkin Patch.  They were even treated to some Pumpkin ice cream.  Neither Ava or I have had it before and I tried a bit of Ava's.  It was delicious.  :)  Ava wasn't up for doing the "haunted house" there. It isn't even scary, but I guess to a kid it might be.  lol  After we left the Pumpkin Patch we came home, had dinner, Ava played outside for a bit and rode her scooter, and then we watched the Smurf's.  

Sunday we had a lazy day.  I edited pictures and watched some football.  Ava played Lego's (can you tell she likes Lego's), we practiced her new spelling words for this week and worked on some math problems as well.  Then Ava fell asleep on the sofa for a nap.  This weekend must have worn her out. Later on in the afternoon, she played outside some, then it was time for her bath and some reading before bed.  The weekends seem to go by so quickly now that school is back in session. I'll hopefully get around to posting some photos from our trip to the little Pumpkin Patch we visited on Saturday later in the week.

What's On The Menu?

This week we have a more normal week, which as of right now means not nearly as busy as this past week.  Ava still has her art class this week, but no girl scouts, so that is nice.  She does have two birthday parties though.  One is a sleepover with one of her best friends on Friday and then Sunday she gets to go to another birthday party of one of her other best friends and that one is at the zoo.  I have a photo session to do on Saturday and it will be pretty late in the evening when I am done, so we will probably just grab Subway.  The weather is supposed to be a bit cooler this week so I think I'll make some chicken noodles in my crockpot.  Ava loves taking them to school in her lunch too.  

  • Monday - Chicken Noodles, mashed potatoes, and corn
  • Tuesday- Chipped Beef & Gravy, served over Texas Toast and vegetable
  • Wednesday - Ham & Turkey Club Sandwiches, waffle fries, and salad
  • Thursday - Mesquite Chicken, Parmesan noodles , and  vegetable
  • Friday - something easy or else opt for some leftovers
  • Saturday - Subway since I have a photo session to do
  • Sunday - Fend for yourself night.  :)

I kind of like how my week looks for meal planning this week. lol I actually get a couple nights off.  So what's on your menu this week?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

Crescent rolls, cinnamon, sugar, and butter...put it all together and it makes for a delicious quick breakfast or a sweet treat. Found this recipe on Pinterest, so I figured what could go wrong, it seems easy enough.  :)

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • cinnamon and sugar mixed together (we like ours cinnamon-y so we used more cinnamon, mix it to whatever ratio makes you happy.  :)
  • butter (spray or in the container)

Roll out crescent rolls, spray or spread on butter to each triangle, sprinkle cinnamon & sugar mixture over crescent rolls.  Roll crescent rolls from bottom of the roll to the tip.  Bake according to package instructions on crescent rolls.  Serve warm.  Yum.

I didn't take a photo of mine because the crescent rolls I bought for some reason were cut all crazy and i had to "piece" them together.  So they looked incredible sad, but it definitely didn't diminish from the taste.  They were still delicious.  Ava gave them two thumbs up while eating them with a huge smile on her face.  I asked if I should ever make them again and she said definitely.  So it gets a 7 year old's nod of approval.   The next time I make them hopefully I won't have to piece together the rolls and I'll be able to get a picture of them. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sweet Treats...

This weekend we went down to Arts In The Park.  We invited Ava's friend Natalie along with us as well.  The band this year was kind of lame at Arts in The Park for two 7 year old's at least, so we headed over to Del's Popcorn Shop and they spent quite a bit of time in there.

Del's opened in 1934 in Downtown Decatur, and it is still a huge hit today.  Their caramel apples are eagerly anticipated every fall.  And word spreads quickly when they become available. 

I, of course, had to get a photo of the girls outside Del's posing under the sign.  I'd love to go back to when they first opened and see what it was like.  A time when our downtown area was where all the action and fun was.  :)

I've done photo sessions using this doorway before.  I love the Caution sign painted on the step.

Natalie posing for me.  She wanted a picture in this doorway because she has seen a photo of Ava in this doorway, so she wanted one as well.  How could I refuse the request of such a cute girl.  :)

Best friends - Ava & Natalie

The girls grabbed a basket and started filling them with their sweet treats.  Del's has a candy shop on one side and the popcorn shop is on the other side.  

Gold and Silver Coin Chocolates.  Ava loved these.  :)

Warheads - Extreme Sour Candy...and oh my they are quite sour!  I've had the Crybabies Bubble Gum, and that is NOTHING compared to these babies.  Especially the lemon ones.

Little tiny Pez candies.  Ava has several Pez dispensers and so she scooped up several of these! 

Atomic Fireballs! Hot! Hot! Hot!  :)

A sports display inside an old popcorn popper stand.  So neat.  And of course lots of Fighting Illini themed goodies throughout the shop!  :)

Army/Military Display.  I liked the green army box.

 Ava was in sugary sweet heaven with all this stuff.  :)

Trying to decide what to get is the hardest thing of all. 

See it's quite a big deal about those caramel apples!  And I didn't even get a picture of them.  Will have to do that next time I go in there.  :)

The ladies busy making popcorn for the customers.  This tiny shop was packed with people waiting for some popcorn and getting candy.  

Yummy popcorn balls.  I didn't end up getting any of these, but we did get a nice big bag of popcorn as well. 

On our way back down to the Art Festival loaded up with their candy and popcorn.  :)  What I love more than anything about Del's, is the age of this little shop and how it's still open.  With the way things have changed in our city, this tiny little shop is still going strong and it's such a big piece of the history here.  You don't find that very often anymore.  Granted it was around 40+ years before I was even born, I really love the fact I can share something from my childhood, with my child now.  It's the little things like this in life, that make it so rewarding.  :)