Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Aliyah!

Yesterday was my niece Aliyah's 1st birthday! I cannot believe a year has passed since her birth.  She has brought so much joy and blessings to our lives in just the last year.  Her smile is contagious and her personality has me head over heels in love.  

I thank God for blessing us with such an amazing little girl. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings for her and for our family.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014


What a crazy few weeks it has been since I last posted.  Even better, I've survived these past few weeks.  lol  In my previous post I mentioned Ava had auditions for her school talent show!  I am proud to say she made the cut.  So here in a little over a week she will be performing.  I am excited and nervous for her, and most of all extremely proud! She has quite the line up for family coming to watch her perform as well.  I hope the weather cooperates and she has a nice support network there for her! 

Two weeks ago was Spring Break for Ava at school and I took the week off.  We ended up going on a short trip to St. Louis and Hannibal Missouri for the past week.  We took along my 9 year old niece Alyssa with us as well.  We left on Tuesday early in the afternoon.  

Ava had never been to St. Louis yet, and as we were driving as soon as the Arch came into view, she teared up at how awesome it was.  This girl wears her heart on her sleeve I tell ya.  I love that she isn't afraid to show emotion and she truly sees and feels the beauty that surrounds her.  It is a joy to be able to experience these kinds of things with her.  

Our first official stop however was not in St. Louis or even the Arch.  That would have to wait.  We first checked into our hotel and then off we went to the American Girl Doll Store.  I had two girls who could barely contain themselves in the car. In fact, as soon as they saw the logo on the outside of the store, they erupted into squeals and screams of excitement.  I don't know that I've ever seen these two more excited over something in their entire lives. Their excitement of course was quite contagious.  

Walking into the store was a dream come true.  They held fast to their American Girl dolls (both have Julie).  They of course were in search of the latest girl of the year doll "Isabelle".  It's one thing to see her in a magazine, but to see her up close and in person...well that is a whole different story.  Of course, you can't go to an American Girl doll store with little girls just to look, they thought there were going to maybe get an outfit for their dolls they already had, but I had a big surprise in store for both girls!

They could get any doll of their choice.  Yes, a new American Girl doll...any one they wanted.  I am pretty sure I vaulted to the Best Mom and Best Aunt in the World charts quite quickly! They both opted for Isabelle (the girl of the year doll).  I couldn't leave my 6 year old niece out either, so I called her while there at the store and she picked Isabelle too. Then I let Alyssa and Ava get their dolls ears pierced.  Ava chose to pierce Julie's ears and Alyssa chose to pierce Isabelle's.  Olivia got hearing aids for her dolls like she has. Each doll was a big success with each of the girls!

3 dolls, 3 hairbrushes, ear piercing, and a set of hearing aids later, we said our good-byes to the American Girl Doll Store.  And this mama is glad that we do not have one of those stores in our city or within even an hour of us, because I would be in some serious trouble.  lol   For anyone though who does have little girls or granddaughters, I highly recommend checking out the actual store if you ever get the chance.  Definitely worth the trip and I do look forward to taking Ava back there again or maybe next time to the one in Chicago.

Afterwards we went to dinner and then headed back to our hotel so the girls could swim for awhile and play with their dolls before we called in a night!

And this is where I will call it a night for this post.  Will update more with our trip to Missouri in another post tomorrow.  :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Catching Up....

I feel like that is what I am always trying to do.  lol The last few weeks have just flown by.  Even with the crazy weather we have had here in Illinois.  Snow, Thunderstorms, Tornado Warnings, Ice, and even a couple nice sunny days thrown in too.  Today is supposed to be another nice one as well.  The high today is 65.  Now for tomorrow, that's a whole different story, snow, sleet, and who knows what else.  Welcome to Illinois! lol  Here are some of the things we've been up to the last couple weeks.  

I had a newborn photo session.  Less than 2 weeks old this little guy was.  This is my first little boy newborn I've photographed.  And he is actually the youngest I've ever photographed.  So that was exciting. He was awake about 99% of the time. lol  I did a maternity session for this family as well back in late November I think it was and was pleased to get to also do the newborn session.  I've attached a few photos from the session below.  

Ok so that was more than a few.  :)

As for Ava, she had ISAT's all last week.  This is her first year having to take the state standardized tests. She was excited to take them.  She came home the week before that when they were doing the pre-tests for ISAT's and said "Mom I think I am the only one in my class excited for these." lol  So last week she went into the tests not at all nervous.  I was thankful for that because there is so much pressure on them to do well and so many of the kids go into them so stressed out over them.  Of course, by the end of the week Ava was ready to be done with the tests, but she still likes them.  She did like not having any homework last week.  :)  What kid wouldn't.  We also found out last weekend who her softball coach will be this season and we were very glad she got the coach we wanted for her.  Whew!  So practices should start up here really soon if Mother Nature can decide that it should be nice out from here on out.  Spring Break starts for her next week.  So one more week of school and then a week off.  I am taking that week off from work as well.  Oh how I look forward to a week without an alarm clock!  

Last Monday, my oldest nephew turned 16.  Aaah! I cannot believe it. My sister and I threw him a surprise party at a local restaurant.  He came to my house after school and he had no idea what we had planned.  I thought maybe he would really wonder when one of my other nephews sent him a text asking him when the party was.  I was able to cover and be like oh we are just going out to eat when your Mom gets off work.  He bought it thankfully.  His face was priceless when he walked in and realized so much of our family and some family friends had show up just for him.  He doesn't get his license probably until the fall.  He had wrestling during the winter and so he decided he would wait to take Driver's Ed until this summer.  For being 16 he is in no hurry to get his license.  Which is just fine with me.  He has his permit and he is happy with that for now.  

 Happy 16th Birthday!

Celebrating Kylar's 16th Birthday with some of his cousins (Kaylee, Kylar, Haley, and Brycelynn) 

Kylar & Ava

This past weekend Ava took a painting class at the library.  She had so much fun.  She was able to have one of her best friends and a couple other friends from school in the class with her, which made it even more fun.  It was a canvas class where they were able to paint the Initial of their first name on it.  

Ava & Friends

And that is just some of the things that have kept us busy.  Oh and on another note, awhile back I mentioned Ava wanting to do the talent show, but I wasn't sure if she would follow through on the sign up.  Well she turned her form in to audition and we have auditions tonight.  We should find out later this week if she gets to do it or not.  It is 3rd - 8th grade who get to participate. So I am not sure if she will win a spot or not, but I am just so proud of her for being brave enough to even audition.  She has told me that even if she doesn't make the cut this year for the talent show, she will just keep trying and do it again next year.  So fingers crossed all works out.  Regardless of what happens, I am so proud of her already.