Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Patch

We love the Pickin’ Patch in Dunnellon and have been going for the past several years. photo 1

It seems like every year they add something new and it’s a fantastic place for an afternoon of family fun. DSC_7786

This year, we invited the brothers/sisters in law & cousins to come with us. Uncle Adam, Aunt Nen & Parker couldn’t make it that afternoon, but Uncle Van and his crew were able to join us.

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Warren, Annabelle & Mamie had a big time picking out pumpkins.DSC_7613

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DSC_7692 What’s so fun about the Pickin Patch is that it’s an actual pumpkin patch- not just a tent with some brought-in pumpkins. DSC_7644

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We played on the hay fort, did the hay ride and even picked sunflowers before calling it done. DSC_7593

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It was a fun afternoon and we ended it with dinner at Swampy’s on the water.

Family- Fall- and Fun… they just go better together. DSC_7766

~amw~

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pulling & Pondering…

We met up with DW’s side of the family at the lake Sunday night to roast hotdogs and s’mores for our nephew, Warren’s birthday.

The girls and I decided we’d drive the golf cart, which left DW and Tucker following in the truck. I’m awful at remembering to charge it up and I’m also one to stretch limits. Not a good combo. Tonight it left me 20 yards from the lake with six (I think) dead batteries.

Ten years ago, DW would have been ready to choke me. But Sunday night, it really wasn’t a big deal. We left it right where it died and partied with our people.

When the last s’more had been eaten, we hooked a chain to the golf cart and truck and DW pulled me home.

This time of year always leaves me with a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat. Life is hard and downright awful sometimes and it never fails, when the calendar gets closer and closer to November I feel like my whole outlook and attitude heads south. The cynical me tends to rear her ugly head and any patience and grace I may have for others flies out the window. The bright side is overshadowed and every glass is half empty. Nothing seems good enough and its easy for me to find something wrong with everything and everyone. I’m just a real joy to be around for sure. ;)

As I steered the golf cart home, I had some time to do some reflecting. Honestly, I was in a pretty bad mood the whole night and was even feeling slightly convicted by a comment one of my brother in laws made about our pastor’s sermon that morning on loving everyone no matter what. He was joking when he told me it sounded like I needed it – but in all reality, I DID.

Who knew some dead batteries and a whole bunch of dust could help you get your attitude adjusted and get some perspective back?

As I watched the dust blow by, I had one of those moments where life seems to come full circle and I was reminded just how blessed I am and always have been.

I couldn’t help but smile remembering the last time I’d eaten so much dust and been pulled by a chain. It’s been at least 20 years ago when my brother used to pull me behind his four wheeler. Beau rigged up his old go-cart frame for me to “drive” behind his four wheeler and he’d do everything in his power to kick as much dust and as many rocks as he could up on me. He was mean as a snake to his little sister – but you better believe if anyone else messed with me- it was ON. How blessed to grow up with a brother and to have such fun memories.

Then I laughed a little when I remembered another time we were pulled by a chain. My momma’s blue mini-van broke down at a red light in Gainesville. It was, what Mamie would call “Ter-bidle.” I remember Mom calling my Dad and in no time flat he was there to hook a chain to it and pull it home. How blessed to have always had a Dad who can fix anything and has always been there to save the day. That, too, was well over 20 years ago and Sunday night, my girls (like they so often do) got to see their daddy save their momma’s day.

There’s a stretch of fence out by the lake that always takes me back to the very first time DW brought me out to the farm for a 4-wheeler ride. When I looked across the field and saw it Sunday, it was no different. I’ll never forget holding on to him as we flew down that fence line and knowing in that moment that I’d be hanging on to him for the rest of my life.

Our oldest daughter smiled the whole way home because she got to sit in the back of the truck. Our youngest daughter bounced back and forth across the back seat and our baby boy screamed his head off for most of the snail-paced ride home. Eighteen year old Annie, with her arms wrapped around twenty-two year old Devin’s waist would have never guessed this is how her life would look like at thirty-one. Life has certainly changed- we have changed. What a blessing to be able to return to places that remind us of our beginnings. To remind us of all the good things, as well as all of the bad things we’ve seen together.

As I steered that dead golf cart home, I couldn’t help but smile at the view ahead of me. Life is hard, life is bittersweet, but life is also so very good. I’m going to try hard to keep that as my focus the next few weeks as we walk through the time of year that always gets me down.

I am blessed and I am thankful. Sometimes I just have to remind myself.

~amw~

Monday, September 29, 2014

Summer Catch-Up in the Fall

With just days left before we welcomed baby brother, I thought a little catch up was in order- so I sat down and started this post… EIGHT weeks later, I finally finished it up… AFTER brother arrived! :)

This summer was totally different than most summers for us. We’ve not done a whole lot of “playing” this year and there’s even been a few times when I’ve felt bad for AB, who will probably remember this summer as the one that we cleaned all the drawers and cabinets in our house. We only made it to the beach once (for the 4th of July) (our “beach time” this year totaled two hours- and I’m not joking)… This is the first year ever that we made it an ENTIRE summer with only buying sunscreen ONE time. (We’re usually buying it every two weeks)!

We’ve gotten a lot done and have enjoyed just being together, getting ready to welcome our newest edition, though. And hopefully next summer we’ll make up for the lack of vitamin D we had this year.  :)

A few highlights from June & July-

- We really have been nesting and cleaning out. AB has been such a big helper. Her favorite was cleaning the pantry – we took every single thing off our shelves and cabinets and cleaned it all…

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- My cousin, Stephanie, who was due with her first baby within a week of me, flew in for a week in June. Mom, the girls and I were so excited to pick her up at the airport. We celebrated her arrival with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and then settled in for what we deemed “Pregnancy Camp” – we laughed our heads off at how we were chewing heart burn tablets every two hours, resting our ice cream on our bellies and falling asleep on the couch every afternoon. Stephanie and I have been through every big life event together and to get to be pregnant together with our last and first child has been the sweetest. AB cracked us up when she told us she had pants like mine and Tettie’s –54 she pulled her yoga pants up like a maternity panel. Ha. On Friday of that week, we headed for Georgia to have Steph’s baby shower. It was slightly crazy considering we were 8 weeks from our due date, but we both did really good on the trip, except for our swollen cankles. :)32

The baby shower theme was “Oh the Places you will go” –46

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When mom, aunt Kay and I were trying to think of a “direction” to go with the shower, mom suggested some sort of travel theme, because Stephanie & Henry have literally been around the world and back together. It was the perfect  idea and we decorated with all different kinds of “travel” things. The shower was Saturday morning and we did a biscuit bar for brunch.

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Steph got lots of nice things for baby Hank and all the little girls loved helping her open them. 43

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It was such a sweet morning celebrating a little boy who’s already loved so much. And to spend it with so many of my favorite girls was icing on the cake…49

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That afternoon, Steph and I hit up the outlets for a little shopping. We had planned to meet our moms, Aunt Kay and the other cousins later that evening for dinner. What I didn’t know is that the girls had planned a little surprise dinner/shower for me, complete with cupcakes 34and party favors. 33So sweet.35

They all got baby brother such cute things and it made me really excited to get home and get started on his room! 30

It was a whirlwind weekend, but as always lots of fun and never long enough.

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- AB & Mamie loved tagging along to my dr visits this summer. 21They even got to see baby brother on a sonogram one time. 27

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- The girls and I met Kelsey & Taylor one morning for breakfast…51 and later Kels surprised us with GiGi’s 52– she was appalled when I’d told her we’d never tried it, so she made it happen. I’ve since been back three times and I’m kind of wishing Kels hadn’t introduced us to such yumminess. (Especially when operation loose this baby weight begins!) :)

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- We got some practice in with our nephew/cousin Parker. AB was always first in line to hold him when Adam & Lauren visit. 55

 

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- The girls started sharing a room and Mamie got moved up to a big girl bed!

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- We had a little playdate with Allie at her new house!22 We’re so excited that the Mizell’s have moved back and now we’re only 30 minutes away instead of 2 hours!

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- We had the week at Blue Run. DSCN6840We didn’t spend the nights this year, we just went back and forth (I was two weeks from my due date and I needed my own bed) :)  It was such a great weekend though – and I fell back in love with the river. For the past couple of years, we’ve had terrible weather during the week we’re there and there have been snake encounters on every trip. I was just about ready to write off Blue Run, but this year I remembered why we all love it so much. 59

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AB is a fish and she would literally be in the water ALL DAY LONG while we were there. DSCN6862

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DSCN6880Mamie did so great this trip, too. She wore her puddle jumper and had the best time “fwimming.” DSCN6848

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We had AB’s friend Emma and her mom down for the day and the girls had the best time. 67

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It was a great time at the river this year and we can’t wait to go back!

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- The girls had their well checks with our pediatrician. 40AB had to get one shot before Kindergarten. It was rough holding her down and I was sure glad my mom was with us that day!

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- We got baby brother’s room ready. FINALLY!!! I’ll have to do a post about it later. I’ve never really gone with a “theme” in any of our nurseries/rooms and Tucker’s was no different. It’s decorated around our favorite “boy” things, which are also the things that pretty much make up who DW is and hopefully what Tucker will love and be, too. Dumptrucks, cows and gators…

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I didn’t wash and hang baby clothes until the weekend before he was born, and that night, I must have gone and looked in his closet a dozen times. I’d just stand there and shake my head – I still couldn’t believe we had BLUE hanging in one of our closets again. So much joy!

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- On the last Friday before Tucker was born, Mom & I wanted to do something fun with the girls, but it had to be close to home, since I was a week away from my due date. We decided to take them to the museum and butterfly rainforest at UF. 56

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There were butterflies everywhere you looked and the girls loved when they’d land on or near us.

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It was such a fun morning and the girls can’t wait to visit the museum again.

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That’s pretty much it from pictures on my phone. :)  Now maybe I will be able to stay a little more up to date! I love having this place to look back over the years and remember what our days were like then. It all goes by so fast and I know I’ll be especially thankful when my kids are all grown up that I took the time to write down some of what they’re up to.

~amw~