A Mermaid with a Sucker is the Cutest Thing Ever.

We had a packed two days of celebrations and Halloween fun. Let me just let the pictures do the talking... Audrey at our routine playgroup on Friday morning.

The attempt to get a picture of all the kids dressed up at playgroup. Notice the moms trying to get out of the picture. It was so funny. The kids were melting down by the second.

On Friday evening we went to my brother and sister-in-law's church for a fall festival. There was a room just full of balloons. Audrey LOVED it. Okay, so did I. I definitely played in it.

On Halloween we took the kids to the...mall. (I know, so impressive, right?) It was actually quite fun to see the cousins strolling along in the wagon. A sucker kept Audrey content the entire time.

We went trick-or-treating just at one house. My dad's neighbor. They are as sweet as can be. A woman in her 90's that has a heart of gold and so much wisdom that if I could just have an ounce of it I would be much better off. She has a daughter just like her, also older. I really enjoyed seeing them. It was a good reminder to visit them more often.

I like Halloween and not just because, ahem, my birthday comes the day before. But I think Halloween is a time for children (and adults) to imagine and dream and become. I've been asked are you going to let Audrey dress up for Halloween? Or (gasp) think there is a Santa? Yes. and Yes. I believe in imagination and dreaming and having fun. And that is just what I am going to make it. And I think this year was a success at that. I had fun dreaming and believing and pretending with Audrey.



It's a young number. But still an old number. Ya know. It's like I have lived, but still have a lot more to go (God willing). It's a good number. I am happy to be 27. My life is good. I can't complain. (Even though I do and realize I shouldn't.) I have an amazing husband, a beautiful daughter, and a new home. I have been feeling abundantly blessed lately. God is so good. He gives and takes away. But He is still always good. I am thankful to be 27 and have Him in my life.
[I don't have a good transition to my next thought, so I just used those dots. Oh well. It's my birthday. I can do what I want.]

I'm at my dad's house typing this. I just looked up and saw my senior pictures on his buffet. And these are my thoughts...

1) Has it really been 10 years since then? I was a baby. Yet I thought I controlled the world then. Ha. Teenagers are so humorous and naive. I am so glad I am not one anymore.

2) Give dad updated pictures so he doesn't have to relentlessly display my corny senior pictures with the corny label in the corner that every senior had to get or you just weren't cool and cost ridiculously a lot.

3) The jean jacket I am wearing in the picture is still in my closest today. One of the best 50 bucks I have ever spent at Gap. Go me.

4) Senior pictures are so overrated.

Okay. Now that I have all of that off my chest I can enjoy the rest of my day. I'm off to close on our selling of our first home. Then to dinner with my family. A fall festival after that where Audrey gets to wear her mermaid costume. And hopefully picking my new birthday present from the best husband ever (will share later).

Birth days are awesome.


I Wonder How Many Adults Still Dress Up For Halloween.

5 years ago we started a tradition with our friends to have a themed-Halloween party each year. It's pretty much an excuse for adults to get dressed up together and look utterly ridiculous. But it's so fun. The costumes are hand-made for the most part- usually coming from our parents closest or a Goodwill find.

We each bring a dish to share. And then we eat. A LOT. Laugh. Drink wine. And vote on the best costume for that year.

This year, the theme was service jobs. Being that we have been overly busy with moving and remodeling our new home, I didn't had a lot of time to think about our costume. But I did manage to pull something together the day of the party. We went as (drumroll please)...
Lakeview Lions Lunch Servers. I mean, who didn't love Wednesday lunches at your elementary school? You know, salisbury steak and roll day. Delish. So I thought back to my awesome lunch servers and came up with some outfits. Complete with trays of food and some life-size peas to go along with it (aka Audrey).

[Please note: I am rather embarrassed of this hilarious costume. We look like complete dorks. I even rolled my socks. I assure it is the costumes fault, no one looks good in a hair net. Right?]
In 2008 the theme was going to be food. For a year I had planned that if I got pregnant, then I wanted to go as a pea in a pod. I was going to paint my belly green. Sure enough, I got pregnant and was even due right after Halloween (Nov. 2). I bought a green dress months in advance. Party was scheduled for Oct. 18. It was set early, in case I went into labor early. The party never came that year, because, Audrey decided she would make her appearance on October 18.

2007 the theme was cartoon characters. Andrew told me I had to take it easy since the previous year he was practically in tights. We went as The Jetsons. I thought we pulled it off rather well. (The purple dress I am wearing used to be gigantic and long before I cut it and sewed it).

2006 was my favorite year yet as far as costumes go. The theme was movies. Inspired by one of the best Christmas movies ever, Elf, we went as Buddy and Jovie. I even went as far as to dye Andrew's long-john's yellow and detail yellow snowflakes on his jacket.

2005 was our first annual Halloween party. We actually didn't have a theme, so we went as ahem, Jed Clampett and Elly May Clampett. Ever since I married into the "Clampitt" family, I had to take on the jokes. So, for Halloween we decided to embrace the jokes and go as the "Clampet's."

So, do you dress up for Halloween? What has been your favorite costume of the past?


5 Days After.

It's been 5 days since Audrey's first birthday. And I can't help but be reminded of what she went through 5 days after being born.

5 days old.

You can read about her story here. And here. And here. It's my old blog. But I will cherish those words forever.


A Pumpkin for you A Pumpkin for me.

I wasn't about to let October slip by without taking Audrey to her first pumpkin patch. So yesterday we headed to Melton's Orchard. [Actually first we drove about 25 minutes to another orchard, that was closed.] It a cute a little shop with pumpkins, mums, apples, and deliciously-tempting peanut butter spread. And there was hardly anyone there, so the kids had free range.

Audrey and her cousin Jonathan enjoyed smacking, attempting to pick up, and rolling the pumpkins. It was nearly impossible to get a good picture of them two together. Two toddlers=one always on the move.

But I did manage to snap these:

After spending about 45 minutes there, I walked away with only spending 26 cents. And it was well worth it. Audrey did not put down her apple until it was gone.

> > > > > > > >> > > > > > > >

An updated note: We were scheduled to close on our house this past Monday. But to make a long story short, last Thursday we were notified that closing was being delayed. It was a rather stressful thing to hear, but fortunately everything got worked out and now we are suppose to close on my birthday! Yay! (October 30).


O-N-E Amazing Party.

It was a beautiful day. It was sunny. And warm. [Okay, sort of warm. Warmer than the nasty, rainy, 40 degrees we have been having.] But what made it even more beautiful, were the people that surrounded Audrey on her first birthday. Seriously. She. We. Are so blessed. I stopped and took it in. This warm fuzzy feeling just came over me while I looked around and saw all the people that love Audrey so much.

It was a celebration of Audrey turning one. It was a celebration of us surviving our first year of parenthood. It was a celebration of Audrey's heart beating well for a year with no complications (after her heart procedure done at 5 days old). It was a celebration for sure.
We had a cereal bar. Which now results in us having to eat cereal at every meal for the next three weeks. We had lots and lots of cupcakes with cupcake toppers on them that I made (I think I made almost 70). Audrey had her very own cupcake cake made by her Aunt Allie and my friend, Debbie. It was amazing. She only ate a little bit of it and I felt like I should be freezing it and keeping it till her next birthday. You know, like people do with wedding cakes. But then people may have thought I was really strange. Oh wait, I am slightly strange.
We had strawberries and bananas and fruit dip and devilled-eggs and chocolate covered pretzels. We had cupcake decorations (it was a cupcake themed party, of course). I used vintage tablecloths.
I made a banner that had a picture of Audrey on the 18th of each month for the last 12 months.
We had books as favors. Elmo, no less. [Funny thing is, Audrey has never actually watched Elmo on TV. But Grandpa has a tickle me Elmo and she loves it. Now we watch the Elmo song on youtube all the time. I actually like it. Okay. Maybe I shouldn't be admitting that.]

We had fun. Audrey received some super amazing gifts too. Like a hand-made blanket from my best friend. A pink grand piano. [Seriously. She has her own grand piano now. Next Mozart? I think so.] A shopping cart. A picnic table. A wooden duck to ride. Lots of pretty outfits. A Colts jersey-onsie. A pink Colts hoodie. A tea set from England. A wooden shape sorter. A pink flower bath towel. A vintage purse. Instruments. Hand-knit hat and mittens from Etsy. And her very own, custom made PINK playhouse for outside. Really, it's like a mansion. And it is amazing. I can't wait to share pictures of it. My sister and brother made it for her, along with a lot of other family members chipping in.
Not that material things represent the amount of love by any means, but Audrey is seriously loved. Her friends and family gave very thoughtful gifts. And we are thankful for that. Things that we were never be able to give her.

It was a day to remember. Every first birthday is a day to remember. No matter how big or small. It's the memories that are made.


She's One Today.

She brings me such joy.

Happy first birthday, my dear Audrey Rose.

Our first family picture together. (p.s. this was at 1:47am. After working a full day as a kindergarten teacher and giving birth. Focus on the baby in the picture, not my overall ahem, awesomeness)


Almost A Year Ago.

At this time last year I was so ready. Boy, Girl was I ready. I had k-ankles. [Seriously, people. My ankles were gone. Just moosh. The only proof I have is on my phone and I am too lazy to figure out how to upload it. I don't have some fancy iphone, so it's too much hassle.] I was working full time as a kindergarten teacher, which included jumping up and down while singing the days of the week. Turning everything into a song so the kids would transition better. And going to the bathroom at. every. single. break.

I was almost 38 weeks pregnant.

It was a Thursday I went to the doctor for my weekly check-up. I had been having some major cramping and even threw up the previous weekend. Oh and you know. Other very obvious signs that labor could happen sooner than later. [See aren't I nice? I do leave out some information.] I asked the doctor "So what do you think? Will labor be soon? I feel like it will be." And her response "Sorry, you bought yourself at least another week."

That Friday I went into labor. She was wrong. I was right. (Even though I told myself at the time the doctor was right. But I knew. I just knew.)

Audrey was born Saturday morning. Almost a year ago.

I can't wait to celebrate her birthday on Sunday.


I'm Here.

I'm here. But I'm not. This is the week. The week we have to move. The week Audrey turns one. It's kind of crazy around here. But definitely a good crazy. And just to throw things into the mixture I am taking all day tomorrow to go to a covered bridge festival. I mean, it makes total sense to take an entire day to go and have fun when I could be packing and moving and running errands and getting stuff ready for the big birthday bash. I thought it was a smart move, at least.


We are making so much progress on the house. It makes me giddy. Just look at the kitchen...

In the kitchen alone this is what we have done:
  • removed old cabinets/countertops/nasty stove/multiple layers of flooring
  • replaced drywall that was bad
  • replaced all electrical with new wiring and boxes
  • remudded the ceiling and painted
  • primed and painted all trim and walls
  • installed new cabinets

What we have left to do:

  • refinish existing windows (there are 5 super cute original windows in the kitchen)
  • replace one window
  • replace back door
  • install butcher block countertop
  • add switches to eletrical boxes
  • install floor and new trim

And that's just one room. I can't wait to share the progress on the other rooms!


It's All Good.

It's countdown time. T-11 days till Audrey turns ONE. T-12 days till we have to be moved. And as stressful as that sounds and as stressful as it has been. I am feeling pretty good right now. Maybe because it is a beautiful day. Maybe because finally Audrey is pass her oh-my-gosh ICANTSLEEP, MUSTBEHELD, INEXTREMEPAIN days from teething just last week. [And all of it was for ONE tooth. Her top one.] Maybe because I am just giving it all to God. And you know what, it feels good.

Not to mention seeing the pretty colors that are going up on my walls makes me very, very happy inside.
I kind of love decorating. And design. And changing furniture around. And now, now I have a new house to do it to. And old, cute charming one at that.
I can't wait to share pictures of before and after. But you must wait and stay tuned...


Hidden Treasure.

It's been another whirl-wind weekend of working on our new house. [And by new, I mean an old 1930's bungalow.] Saturday was an ALL day work day. And thanks to a lot of friends and family that gave up their day to help us, we were able to get tons accomplished. It's actually starting to look like a home.
In soon-to-be Audrey's bedroom, the hubster found a diamond in the ruff. He decided to remove a wall that was partly covering a floor vent and found this behind it...
Seriously. That is what he found. Grant it, this picture was taken after drywall was put up behind it and has been sanded and primed. BUT we have not touched the woodwork. Isn't it a beauty?

Who in their right mind would cover such a piece? Yeah, we don't know either.

On the other side of that wall is our bedroom, which has already been painted and carpeted and basically completed. So, we don't plan on taking down the wall to expose the other side, we can't afford to lose a bedroom. But, we definitely will keep this side exposed. We are going to place Audrey's bed right in the middle. So it will basically be a gigantic, beautiful headboard.

Oh, and did I mention her room will be pink? Ah, yes, light girly pink. Which leads me to a dilemma I am having. I am looking on Etsy for some wall decals to put in her room. [Love wall decals. In her first nursery I bought little brown birds and put them up. Super cute.]

I think I found the perfect set. From Love Mae Store.
Don't you just LOVE it? The dilemma is this- would it look okay against a very light pink wall? (Please say yes, so I can buy it.) Originally I was looking for some type of dark brown wall decal to accent the hidden treasure and go well against the pink. Then I had to go and find this awesomeness, and I pretty much love that deer. And owl. And tree stump. And hearts.
Oh, what's a girl to do.


When Did This Happen.

Last time I checked, I was still able to hold you all day long without getting tired. Because you were so tiny.

Last time I checked, all you did was nurse until your little heart was content. Nothing else, but nurse.

Last time I checked, I became all giddy just to see you smile. Now you laugh, make funny noises, and are saying words.

Last time I checked, you were still my little baby.

Now. Look at you.
When did this happen?

Every time I blink you grow stronger, more beautiful, and more sweeter.


It's October.

This month means a lot. It means my sweet baby girl turns ONE. It means we will no longer live in our first home and will be moving. It means my birthday. It means Halloween, and seeing Audrey dressed as the most adorable mermaid. Ever.

It also means Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This picture was taken one month before my mom passed, in April 2006, I am on the right and one of my sisters is to the left of my mom.

It's been three years since my mom has passed away after a four year battle with Breast Cancer. It still seems surreal to me. I miss her dearly.

With three sisters, I am scared that Breast Cancer will one day re-enter our lives. But fortunately, we can do something about it. Early detection is key. My mom didn't think she would ever get it. She was never one to get sick. And she nursed six kids. Plus she was still young-diagnosed at only 44. But she got it. And she didn't realize she did until she had Stage 4. This past summer I had a scare myself. I found a lump in my breast and had to get a couple of tests ran. It ended up being a cyst, but I was so thankful I took the precautions I did. And will continue to do so.

It's important for us to support each other. Encourage. Remind. Don't be afraid to talk about boobs. There I wrote it. And that's okay. We need to talk about boobs when it comes to Awareness.