Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Going to the Chaple and Gonna...

Ohh my goodness my baby brother is getting married!!!  I have been waiting for this day for years!  Greg finally popped the question a couple of weeks ago and Kelly said YES! Can you tell I'm excited, because I'm pretty excited!
(What a beautiful couple)
I honestly couldn't have asked for a better Sister In-Law!  Kelly had me at "hello".  She can come across as slightly shy, but once she's around me and our family all bets are off and its nothing but good times.  It really didn't take long for me to LOVE her after meeting her.  Unfortunately they started dating after we moved to Florida so I had to get to know her from a distance.  It didn't matter, she is so much fun, likes to have a good time and constantly has me rolling with laughter!  Greg and Kelly have been through a lot in regards to having a long distance relationship, Kelly then moving to Chicago to be with Greg, then Greg moving back to Michigan and Kelly staying behind while she worked on her Masters and then finally reuniting and she graduated with her Masters in Michigan.  I mean if that's not a strong relationship I don't know what is!

The most amazing part of their relationship is they are constantly making each other laugh.  Every time I see them together there's nothing but happiness surrounding them.  I've often wondered throughout my adult life "who is Greg going to settle down with?"  I can't say it enough, but he done good!  I love my brother so much and watching him turn into a young adult and now a man makes me so proud.  I give Kelly a lot of credit for helping shape the man he is today and I truly feel that saying "Thank You" will never be enough.  Kelly has been a blessing in my life and I've not only considered her "Greg's Girlfriend", but I have felt like I gained another sister a long time ago.  I can't wait to celebrate their special day, but more importantly their special life together.  The Ramsdens are super lucky to have her enter our family! 
(Michigan Fan & Michigan State Fan are getting Married)

This is how awesome my future sister in-law is.  I got this card in the mail last week and I must say...I was slightly peeing my pants from laughing.  She has the best sense of humor and while #5 kind of creeped me out...I get to be a Bridesmaid in the Ramsden/Miller wedding!  Eeeekkk, I'm super excited and can't wait for the festivities to begin!
(Please ignore #5...I almost threw up in my mouth)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gobble Gobble 2013

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.  Since moving to Florida 7 years ago I find myself being a little depressed on this holiday.  Its hard when you grow up surrounded by a gazillion family members and then there's only 4.  Luckily we've had a couple of years where my mom and step dad were here and we've even been out to South Carolina to celebrate with my sister and her family.  This year I must admit this was the best Thanksgiving in Florida (besides when my mom visited).  What was different?  I think the fact that Addison was so into it, she was excited to cook and go along with all the fun traditions (Lions football game) that I remember as a kid.  Addison's at that age now where she's going to remember the special times we had especially during the holidays.  I really want her to look back and think "I have the best family because of all the fun things we did together as a family".  Its pretty special when your almost 7 year old has the ability to throw away that funk from the past and be excited for the four of us to celebrate!
During Thanksgiving break we had our Fry friends over to bake cookies.  My mom bought me this huge cookie cutter set for Christmas last year, I realized we've never used it so why not have a little get together to break them in?  Erica, Sailey and Talon came over and we had a blast.  I was actually quite shocked to see the boys so into making the cookies.  I think Talon may have ate a dozen on his own!  While most of the cookies didn't come out exactly as we hoped, we still had a lot of fun and TONS of laughs!
("Do I have something in my teeth?")
(Brody says "yum")
(Talon thinks Roxy needs a little taste)
Thanksgiving morning was wonderful.  We all actually slept in pretty late which mixed things up a little bit, but the best part when its just the 4 of us...we can go with the flow and make changes as much as we want!  As I explained earlier, Addison was super into the whole cooking process.  I couldn't believe she even wanted to touch the turkey before we cooked it. 
(Big Chef and Little Chef)
(So Brave...Yuck)
After we got everything prepared it was time to enjoy some appetizers, mimosas and watch the Lions play football.  Luckily the game ended just in time for us to eat the yummy turkey that Addison and John prepared!
(Go Lions)
(Yummy Adult Beverage)

The Turkey not only looked perfect, but tasted even better.  I was SHOCKED that Addison wanted to eat one of the turkey legs and she literally ate the whole thing!  Brody of course wanted chicken nuggets.  Hey, 1 out of 2 kids eating what we cooked isn't too bad!  Everything was delicious and while I didn't think I ate too much, I was for sure stuffed by the time we were done!
(My little Turkey Leg Eater)
After we were done digesting from our yummy dinner, we headed over to the Fry's house to enjoy some dessert!  It was nice to end a wonderful day hanging out with friends and watching the kids play.   
(Brody had fruit for dessert...whose kid is this?)

Thanksgiving 2013 was fabulous!  I am grateful for so many things, but my friends and family have to be at the top of the list.  My friends here in Florida have become my second family, I couldn't have asked for better people to be in my life.  Cheers to the beginning of the holidays and hoping they run as smoothly as Thanksgiving did! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Little Before Thanksgiving Visit from Grandma & Grandpa Al

My mom and Al came for a visit right before Thanksgiving and we had a BLAST!  I love when my mom comes because not only do I get so excited, but the kids are literally counting down the seconds for her arrival!  This visit wasn't exactly how I would normally envision it since my back decided to go hay wire and I was barely able to move for the first couple of days.  We for sure compromised and it all worked out in the end.  I guess it was a blessing that she was here during this since she could help me out with the kids, but you know me...I'm like "lets do this, lets go here".  It was really hard the first couple of days to just chill and go with the flow.  Thank God by Monday I was able to get around much better so we hit up Dinosaur World.  The kids have never been there so it was perfect to experience it with my mom for the first time.
My mom is seriously the best!  She is such a hands on Grandma and throws herself into any situation when it comes to playing with the kids.  Besides going to Dinosaur world there were lots of board games to play, tickling and Addison even went golfing with my mom, Al and John.  What a treat for Addison to show off her "skills" to her amazing golfing Grandma!
(Addi would spend everyday w/Grandma if she could)
Of course when it was time for Grandma and Grandpa Al to leave I had to explain to the kids they went back to Michigan and we will see them soon.  After lots of tears and hugs they finally understood she's not gone forever, but just for a little bit.  I love my mom so much and for all the love she shows not only me, but my kids too.  I can't express enough how lucky I am to have a Grandma that does everything in her power to show and tell my kids how much they are loved.  Thanks again mom for being so amazing and sacrificing your time to spend it with us.  We had so much fun and can't wait to see you again!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How has My Life Changed in the Last Month?

What a great question I’ve decided to share with my blog readers! Well, for quite a long time I’ve been looking for a charity that I’ve wanted to volunteer for. The problem was I wasn’t looking for something I could do once a year, but something I could really be involved in and would work while my kids are in school. Thank God for social media because this is how I found Babycycle. My friend Beth liked their page on Facebook, I was intrigued to see what this was all about and totally had a “ohh my goodness, this has me written all over it”. I reached out to Torrie Jasuwan (the woman that founded it) and asked how I could help. At first the times didn’t work for me due to scheduling conflicts. I continued to follow their page and saw a post requesting volunteers on Mondays & Fridays from 11-3. Well, without any hesitation I jumped right in there and explained I can stay until 2, Torrie responded with a thumbs up! On November 8th Babycycle officially entered my life and I’ve happily been involved ever since!

I’ve had so many people ask me “what exactly is this charity I seem to be so excited about”, read below and this will sum it up!

Babycycle is South Pinellas County's only community diaper bank, our mission is for no child to go without necessities like diapers, wipes, clean clothing and food.

Every child deserves not to have to worry about having food, diapers, wipes or clothing and every Mother deserves a chance to provide these items to their children.

We distribute to 5 community partners: The St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Clothes To Kids, Alpha House, Kimberly House and The South Side Food Bank at Pinellas Community Church.
(The one and only Torrie Jasuwan)
I honestly can’t believe I’ve only been helping for a month, I feel like it’s been A LOT longer (in a good way). I’ve had the opportunity to sort donations, gather items for moms that come in needing help while Torrie talks with them, pick up lots of donations at some of our drop off locations, help Torrie throw the Ladies Brunch that took place on December 8th and the most rewarding has been meeting these women that are beyond grateful for our help. Trying to explain my love for Babycycle is quite honestly hard to put into words, but I’m trying. I’m constantly thinking “how can I help”? I’m not only making a difference, but my kids are excited about Babycycle too! The kids have been to the warehouse a couple of times to help, Addison totally gets it and is frequently asking when she gets to go back to help the moms and children that need help. I mean this is exactly what I’ve wanted for my kids. I want them to appreciate the things that John and I can give them, but to also help others that are in need and Addison’s just as excited as me!
(My first day volunteering at the warehouse)
(Checking the ladies in for our Brunch)
(Brody, Addison and Sailey help sort items at the warehouse)
I can’t thank Torrie enough for allowing me to step right in and trust me with a list of responsibilities. I look forward to being part of this charity for a long time and helping it succeed as it should! My life is great and I’m helping other mothers and children to have that same opportunity to feel the same way!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Addison...The Babysitter!

Addison had the day off from school a couple of Friday's ago and rather than go to gymnastics camp for the day she decided to stay home with me so she could help watch Dylan.  Ohh my goodness she was beyond excited when I gave her the choice, without even flinching she was like "I want to watch Dylan".  I love seeing that excitement in her eyes, she LOVES babies so much and does beyond amazing with them.  As soon as Beth got to our house Addison was all up in Dylan's face and making little baby noises...even though he was sleeping.  She obviously doesn't understand the concept of "you should never wake a sleeping baby", but luckily he started waking up once he got to our house.  As soon as I got him out of his car seat she was like "ok, give him to me".  Deep down inside I was thinking "no I want to hold him", but I mean she did give up her fun day doing gymnastics so I forked him over.  She was AMAZING!  She helped feed him, she held him and even laid down with him to watch Netflix while he happily slept on her.  It was just too cute!  I absolutely love her age and more importantly how she's so in love with younger kids.  I think she's going to be a natural when it's time to babysit...when can she start babysitting Brody?  HAHAHA!     
("Can we get him out")
("Time to Eat")
("Can I watch Netflix while I hold him?")
(Addison needed a break after holding him for so long)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

3 Years of Brody Life!

Mr. Brody Thomas was born 3 years ago & a week (I'm a little late with this post).  This little guy came into the world extremely fast (once I hit that 10cm point) and gave us about an hour of where life stood still due to him having some breathing issues.  After that hour was up he was cleared to be perfect and fine, he was put in my arms and immediately began looking for some food.  John and I looked at each other and knew he was going to be a fighter and pretty much do things on his own terms.  Ever since that day he has lived up to exactly what we thought.  Thank God for Addison because she has taught him how to be the most caring and loving little boy and then with that toughness we endured the day he was born he has for sure stuck to doing things his way.  I feel extremely blessed that I was given 2 healthy babies and the bonus (I think) was to have a girl and boy.  We knew we were done after 2 so to have one of each, who wouldn't be excited!  
I knew I had my work cut out for me since I was now a stay at home mom, Addison was at a daycare from 6 weeks until she was 2.  With that being said I didn't have to go through the first 2 years on my own trying to figure out schedules during the day, when to take the bottle away, help with getting rid of that darn binki, sticking to my guns with napping.  All of this was so new to me and holy moly was it hard.  This is why I have to say that the last 3 years have truly tested me in every way possible.  I love my little guy so very much and the bond we have is slightly different than with Addi (both good and bad).  When they say that no child is ever the same they really do mean it.  Addi's my make everyone happy, I'll do what you want me to do while Brody is kind of like "screw you I want something and I want it now".  I tell people all the time how Brody seriously emotionally abuses me (joking of course).  Everyone thinks I'm crazy since he's the sweetest little boy when we leave the house, but when we're home he runs the show and I'm simply there to make him happy and not cry.  I mean don't get me wrong, I know I'm the boss and in real life he needs to listen to me, but its so hard when all you want is 10 minutes of peace and quite so I give in and let him have his binki and let him use my ipad even though I would really like to use it myself.  I'm a choose your battles type of mom and I find him winning most of them.  The last 3 years have been the hardest time in my life, but I wouldn't change a moment.  Brody is now going to school 3 times a week and the teachers have nothing but amazing things to say.  He goes all day without his binki and even takes naps.  I'm not perfect and I make a lot of mistakes, but obviously when he's out in the "real world" he's doing great which to me says I did a good job.  We're still working on teaching him who's in charge at home (I mean Addi's been in time out like 3 times her whole life and I can't even tell you how much Brody's been there), but to know he "gets it" when he's at school or with other adults tells me he knows what he's doing and he just knows how to push mommy's buttons.  Everything to me is a work in progress and while I do things a little slower than most people, I just want my little guy to be happy and keep as much of my sanity intact as possible.  Life is getting easier as the kids get older.  Time truly has flown by these past 3 years.  My handsome little guy knows how to test the limits, but he's such a little lover who normally just wants to cuddle with his mommy so how can you be mad at that?  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Another Ramsden Moves South

Well, it was bound to happen...another one of my parents kids have moved South.  Greg and Kelly moved to Georgia last week, Kelly received a job offer she couldn't refuse (she just got her masters in Occupational Therapy).  I'm sure its bitter sweet for my parents, but I know they are looking at it as they have another place to visit.  Truthfully, my dad especially can't be too upset.  He's the one that made us crazy travelers while we were growing up.  We had the best childhood because my parents gave us the opportunity to get out of Michigan and explore new states.  I know for me I always thought I would move to Arizona since we traveled there quite a bit.  I loved how hot it was and we always had the best time.  Another place we traveled quite a bit was Florida which is obviously where I ended up and then South Carolina was another hot spot which is where Natalee ended up! Georgia is something new to all of us.  We haven't had the opportunity to explore this state, but now that my baby brother is there I'm looking forward to checking it out!

(Cute Couple)
While we were in Michigan Greg and Kelly had a going away party where my some family and their friends got to send them off with a bang.  John and I were super excited to get out without the kids and have some fun and fun is what we had!
(It was getting late...I'm not looking too hot)
(I love this girl)
Not only did I get to hang out with Kelly and my brother, but my friend Laura who I use to work with at Ceridian and her husband met us there too.  I finally got to meet her amazing husband and hear about all the things they've been up to.  It was really nice to see her and see how grown up she is.  When we worked together I really liked her, but I always looked at her as being a youngin.  Of course with the growing up I've done I laugh and feel bad at the things/moods I put her through.  Luckily we're obviously past all that and we actually keep in contact quite frequently.  I'm so happy she's found love, has an awesome job and her life is just how she hoped it would be one day!  
(Me and Laura)
Of course one of my brothers crazy parties wouldn't be complete without a game of flip cup...with over 30 people.  The bar was super cool about it and we were able to do like 3 rounds before it got kind of old.  
(Flip cup times 30)
Overall it was a great night with my amazing husband and of course seeing some of Greg's friends I haven't seen in forever and meeting their friends I've never met before.  I'm super excited for this new adventure that Greg and Kelly get to have and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a wedding or proposal soon!  ;o) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

3 Boys + 1 Girl + 2 Adults = 6 Beautiful Hlavin's

In order for my trip to Michigan to feel complete, I had to make sure to put visiting my friend Melissa on the agenda.  I wasn't able to visit her the last time we were in town in December so there were no ifs ands or buts about it, I HAD to see them. 
Luckily my mom was just as excited to see the Hlavin family as I was so she was all about taking us over to their house on Sunday afternoon.  They just moved into a beautiful new house and to top it off I finally got to meet their newest addition Lillyana!  Ohh my goodness, this baby girl is so darn cute its almost hard to put it into words.  As soon as Brody and Addison saw her they were all goo goo and gaga over her.  It lasted a couple of minutes and then the kids broke up to play with their own age groups.  Addison had a blast running around the neighborhood with Dylan and Carson and then Brody and Levi played inside while the adults caught up.  A major bonus to visiting this time was seeing Nathan.  I haven't seen him in such a long time since most of the time I visit during the week and he's at work.  I just love this family.  Melissa and Nathan are the cutest couple ever and they make some pretty cute babies too.  It was so weird to let the older ones take off and do their own thing (I kept saying to Melissa how awesome that she lives in a neighborhood where she can let them do that).  It seems like just yesterday Melissa and I were holding our little babies Dylan and Addison.  6 years later I have 1 more and she has 3 more!  I'm always giving her props for being one of the most amazing mother's I know.  She's constantly doing fun projects with them, taking them places and she even has the time to feed them well.  Seriously, I can barely do half of that stuff and I only have 2!  As Melissa and I grow older our bond only gets stronger.  We don't see each other very often, but our friendship is so easy and we have nothing but love and excitement for one another.  I feel so lucky to have her in my life.  She's helped me realize what friendships are all about which has lead me to make the friends I have here in Florida.  I mean how can you top that?  Of course it felt really nice that as we were leaving Nathan was begging me to move back to Michigan and it wouldn't be the same if Melissa asked me..."so is there any chance your going to come back"?  I sadly had to answer no even though you never know what the future holds.  As I left their house I was able to confirm once again I have some amazing friends at "home" (MI will always be my home) and my love for them grew even more.  I'm a really lucky girl to have this family in my life!  Just knowing that we will grow old together as friends even if its in another state is exactly why I ALWAYS make a point to see this them when I'm in town.

(Brody and Levi bonding)
(Two beauties)
(Addison is so good w/babies)
(Every visit group shot)
(More love from Addi)
(Mom's w/our babies)