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!