Sunday, December 30, 2007

We're In!

No time to write - busy, busy, busy with moving from the apartment to the new house, but we slept here for the first time last night. I can hardly believe we are really in our new home! It's so beautiful I can't even describe it. After all of our stuff arrives and it gets arranged, I'll take pictures to try and capture how lovely it is. For now, just pray for some peace for all of us in these next few stressful days of moving.

Friday, December 28, 2007


As I wrote about yesterday, December 27th was a day of great sadness in my family. However 7 years ago, it also became one of the best days of my life. 7 years ago on December 27th, 2000, Chris asked me to become his wife.

He completely surprised me with his proposal. We hadn't talked about getting married- even though I already knew that I wanted to be his wife one day! We had been dating for a little over 6 months by the time Christmas rolled around, and I was flying down to Florida to meet Chris' family the day after Christmas. It was a little overwhelming meeting everyone, but all of his family was so warm and welcoming that they made me feel like part of the family right away. Little did I know what the next day would bring.

Chris told me that he would like to take me out to a nice dinner on December 27th. We went up to Coral Springs and had dinner at Runyons, where Joe, my prom date from high school is the manager. Joe sat us at a cozy table by the fire, and Chris and I had a wonderful dinner together. He had brought a bag along, and pulled a book of poems out of it during dinner to recite a poem to me. It was incredibly sweet. After dinner, we headed back to his sister's apartment. I went into the bathroom, and when I emerged a couple of minutes later, the whole apartment was dark except for the glow of the many candles Chris had lit while I was gone. We sat down on the couch together, and he told me how much he loved me. He pulled out another book of poetry and recited the Apache Love Poem to me:

Apache Love Poem

Now we will feel no rain

for each of us will be shelter for the other.

Now we will feel no cold,

for each of us will be warmth for the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,

for each of us will be companion to the other.

There is only one life before us,

and our seasons will be long and good.

At this point, he got down on his knee, pulled out a little box and asked me if I would be his wife. I flew into his arms and cried "a thousand times, yes!"

Chris knew what he was doing by asking me to marry him on this day - he had already asked my parents' permission when he asked for my hand. This is just one of the many reasons why I love this man.

PS - December 27th 2007 became another great day when our dearest friends in the world saw their baby move for the first time on an ultrasound!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Brian Andrew

Eternal rest grant unto him
Brian Andrew
December 3, 1987 - December 27, 1990

17 years ago today my 3 year old brother Brian was killed by a drunk driver. Brian's twin sister Kellie was also in the car that I was driving. Brian was a beautiful little boy - always had a smile for everyone, never met a stranger and just a bundle of fun. He has been sorely missed over these past 17 years. Words can not do justice to the heartache my parents experienced, or the hole that is always there whenever we are all gathered together. Heaven gained a beautiful angel 17 years ago, and I look forward to the day when I meet Brian again. I will always love you little brother.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Evolution of a Home

While we can't settle on our house until next week, it is finished (except for a minor plumbing inspection failure!) and we are excited to move into our home. Here's the evolution of our house from start to finish. Enjoy!

Trimming the tree

With all of our household goods locked safely away in storage until our house is finished (more on that later - ugh!), it was going to be a pretty barren Christmas in terms of decorations in our apartment.

I really enjoy decorating for Christmas. I love making my home festive and bright in anticipation of Christ's birth. I get this from my mother who always made our home so warm and inviting every year. The weekend of Thanksgiving was always reserved for getting the house decorated from top to bottom. I remember when we lived in Florida back in the late 80's and everyone getting up and climbing all over the roof to string the lights. Our house was always one that people came to see on their tour of homes.

So this year was looking to be woefully plain. That is until my sister Lori offered us the use of one of her Christmas trees. Like my mom, Lori puts up a couple of trees in her house as well. This year she sacrificed her decorating so that my boys would have a tree for Christmas. They had such a great time decorating the tree this year.

Even though our house is not all decked out, we are still enjoying the spirit of Advent and trying to make sure the boys know that what we are preparing for is more than just presents under the tree - we are preparing for the greatest gift of all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gnomes have invaded our house

In addition to Cocoa the elf, we now have gnomes. We are getting ready for the new year in our new house with some new learning tools. We will be following along over at Serendipity in learning our gnumbers with our gnew gnomes. Won't you join us?

No sympathy

I know I'm going to get no sympathy from anyone, but it has been "winter" down here in Florida. We decided to head over to Disney on Sunday since we had nothing planned for the afternoon (have to love the Florida Resident Pass!). Fortunately I had some sweatshirt jackets waiting in the car, because it was downright chilly!

I know, I know, it's hard to garner any sympathy when there are blizzards, and nor'easters abounding, but it wasn't just that we are wimpy Floridians, the majority of the people at the park were in jeans and sweatshirts or sweaters.

We now interrupt this blog post to share a Random Act of Kindness.

Despite the fact that there was a chill in the air, we forgot to put socks on Colin (poor 3rd child, I know) so by the time we were walking into the Magic Kingdom, his poor little piggies were really cold. We ran into the Emporium to find some $15 socks (at this point I was willing to pay it to get my baby warm) but had no luck. There were size 1-12 month socks that might have worked, but I wasn't willing to spend that much money for only a week's worth of wear! The only other pairs were for big kids. We plowed ahead to Adventureland where I checked out Agrabah's outdoor shops. No luck on the socks here either. However, another park go-er heard my plight and asked if I just needed some plain socks, then she had some. I told her I couldn't take her socks from her. She told me she had 4 pairs, it wasn't any big deal. She sat right down on the ground and began digging through her diaper bag. She actually apologized to me for it taking so long - um, hello, you're giving me your own personal socks, I think I can wait a couple of minutes! She pulled out a pair that had little pink and purple pom-poms on the cuff. She apologized (again!) for the girly socks - I told her I could cuff them in. I asked her if she would like to meet somewhere later to get her socks back and she told me to just keep them. It made me stop and think - would I offer up socks (or anything else) to a stranger in need. I sure hope so.Now off to commit a Random Act of Kindness - have to pay it forward.

So I don't have the beautiful pictures of snow and ice..

but I do have a pretty nice sunset. God's glory is all around us and I love it when He reminds me of it in such a beautiful display.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Got grass?

Well we do! As of yesterday, the landscapers were hard at work planting trees, shrubs, plants and laying sod. It's really starting to look like a house instead of a building just plopped in the middle of some dirt.

That tree on the right of the house looks lovely whilst looking out the window of the loft.

If anyone can identify that plant to the right of the front door, I would greatly appreciate it!

When I went over today to meet with the painter, I noticed that the carpets have been steam cleaned, the kitchen looks sparkling, and all of the tile floors have been mopped. Now we're just waiting on a couple of city papers to get pushed through and we're in! We will find out tomorrow afternoon if it is possible to close as early as this Friday. If you have a moment to say a little prayer that it all works out, I'd appreciate it. I know there are more important things and people to pray for, and we will be in this house within the next week and a half, but it would just be a huge stress reliever to be able to close this week. But I'm not in charge...

Travel Buddy

So it looks like I'm sort of a homebody when it comes to world traveling. I know dh will have a much better looking map than me. Maybe one day I can add to the travels. For now I'm content with having my boys instead of traveling. HT: Matilda.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We're so close...

to getting into our new house. When we went by today to harass talk to the sales guys, we took a quick peek inside our house. Here's the latest shot of the front. Notice we have a driveway and sidewalk now. What you can't really see is that the sprinkler system was installed on Friday. Come Monday, you won't even see dirt anymore as they are scheduled to lay the sod down. As of today we are scheduled to close before the end of the year - it's just a matter of which day and we won't find that out until probably Monday. Bottom line is that in about 2 weeks we will no longer be renters but will be in our home! I'm getting so excited I'm like a little kid before Christmas. I just want someone to put a big bow on top of the house like they do on those car commercials!

And of course no home would be complete without a pool. We finalized the plans for putting in a pool today. This is what we are shooting for:

We will have a beach entrance for the kids to play in. A hot tub for Chris to play in. And a soothing waterfall (that rocky area at the back of the pool) to help me relax.

Anyone care to come over for a dip in the pool in a couple of months?

Friday, December 14, 2007

First night out

Since moving to Florida, we lost all of our reliable sitters. We were very blessed in Virginia to have friends and neighbors who were always willing to lend us a hand when it came to watching our boys. We have been terribly lost since moving in that respect.

Tonight, however, we achieved a milestone. Chris and I were out of the apartment. together. without children. Chris' boss had his entire team over to his home tonight for a Christmas party. But I digress, or would it be pro-gress if I haven't given the background as to how I was able to leave the house at the same time as my husband?

When Chris and I joined our gym back in October, we were each given 3 sessions with a trainer to show us how the machines work, set us up for the right settings, etc. Joey was our trainer. I met with him first, and then scheduled Chris for an appointment to join in on the fun. Joey is a 21 year old (I hesitate to call him a man, but I guess that's what he technically is) kid who I hit it off with from the get go. He was pushing my limits physically, and I kept having to remind him that I have had 3 babies in as many years, and I'm working myself back into shape. He made me laugh with his ditzy blondness. In talking one day while I was walking on the treadmill, he told me about some bars that were really fun. I asked him if he was offering to babysit so that Chris and I could go out. He of course insisted that he wanted to go with us, not babysit! So I told him that there's no way we could go out without a babysitter. That's when he told me about his 17 year old sister Noelle. Long story slightly shorter, I finally got Noelle's number and arranged for her to come over earlier in the week to meet my crew of boys. She didn't seem to frightened at the end of the hour, so we agreed she would return tonight at 4:30.

4:24 arrives, and there is a knock on the door. There stands Noelle, apologizing for being a little early - um, let me think about that...promptness, yeah, we don't like that trait at all! She comes in, I give her the basic run-down - dinner options, where the pajamas are, Brian & Sean's toothbrushes, how to work the remote - and I get ready to leave. All the boys seemed rather content with her being there and me walking out the door, so out the door I went. I immediately got on the wireless phone in my car (being safe of course!) and called my sister. I was so in awe of not having anyone in the back of the car that I just didn't know what to do with myself. Okay, let's pick back up on the reason for the evening out now.

I met Chris at his office and we drove over to his boss' house, Now for those people who know me, you might find this surprising, but I HATE going into new situations where I don't know anyone. My stomach gets all knotted up, I get a bit of a headache going, and feel like I want to throw up, or just not go into the event. Fortunately, Chris dragged me out of the car and up to the front door. He reminded me that he's only known these people for about 2 weeks - is that supposed to make me feel better, I'm not sure. George opened the door and I was swept inside. At that point there were only 3 or 4 other couples in the house. I couldn't remember all of the names George rambled out, but figured I would just cozy up in a corner and not have to worry too much about it. Chris whispered to me that we should just keep eating, that way we wouldn't have to talk to anyone. And it would have been possible to do just that with the amount of food there was. There were chicken wings, some rice salads, 3 different kinds of stuffed mushrooms, an antipasto platter, fruit platter, veggie platter, a couple of sandwich platters (and good ones at that!), and the piece de resistance of the dinner fare was a sushi boat. It was this 3.5 ft long wooden fish that held a variety of different sushi options. It was delish! Then there was the dessert table with a chocolate cake that people were lining up to lick the remnants off the plate it was that good.

I ended up meeting a number of people that Chris worked with, and at the end of the evening felt much more confident. I enjoyed myself, but more so the fact that I got to spend a couple of hours alone with Chris. We hardly ever get the opportunity to just enjoy each other's company. People knew who Chris was (the new guy, the young guy) and were happy to meet me. They knew that we had moved from the D.C. area, which tells me that already, Chris has made an impression on the people that he works with. I was so proud to stand there as his wife tonight, to support him and get a glimpse of the people he is with when he's not home with us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Swimming lessons for all

I've mentioned that Colin is enrolled in the Safe Start program. Brian & Sean have also taken lessons. Their lessons were what you would think of as "regular" swimming lessons - comfort in the water, blowing bubbles, learning to float on their backs, jumping in, etc. Last Thursday was their final lesson. I realized that I've been so focused on Colin's lessons that I forgot to take pictures of Brian and Sean. So without further ado, here are pictures from their final lesson.

Getting ready.

Sean & his back float.

Brian's back float.

And here's the latest Colin swimming video. I don't know if you can tell, but she is "flipping" him off the side of the pool and then getting him to roll over to his floating position. He worked really hard today.

The Bell


I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord(1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price(1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt.5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ(1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God(2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God(Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship(Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child(Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
who you are!?

Keep this bell ringing...pass it on:)

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn His face toward you
and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

Christmas Cheer Challenge

I tend to be skeptical about those emails you get that tell you to send money for this family who is down on their luck. However in this case I know someone who knows Suzanne, so I can vouch that this is the real deal.

Can you help make Christmas a little brighter for a family in need? Any little bit can help Mary make this Christmas nice for her daughters. She was hoping to at least be able to get them just some basics (pajamas, socks, etc.) for Christmas. Let's show her children the miracle of Christmas. God bless you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Family Reunion - a couple of weeks late

My grandmother and her husband came down to FLA for Thanksgiving this year. My parents wanted to be able to preserve these memories for their own grandchildren, so on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Mr. Mark came over and we endured enjoyed an almost 2 hour photo shoot. I wanted to share a few of the pictures from the day.

The whole family.

Gramma & Grampa and their grandbabies.

Me and all of my boys.

Outtakes of the "boy show".

Four generations.

PS - Sorry if my sentences aren't very coherent right now - suffering from a major head cold/flu.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Colin's 1st Birthday Party

So you know you're not a first time parent when you just have a family gathering for your child's first birthday. With Brian I think we invited somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 people - a little crazy, I know. All that stress for something he will never remember.

So for Colin's birthday we went down to my parents' house for the day. Lori, Lou and Baby Kelsey came over to help celebrate as well.

We started the afternoon with a ride on Grampa's boat. Colin loves the wind whipping through his hair - what there is of it anyway!

How big is Colin? As big as his cousin Kelsey who is 8 months his junior!
We moved on to the presents. Daddy helped at first.
Thanks for the cute outfit and book of shapes, Uncle Michael and Aunt Jennifer!
Ooh, this is kind of fun.

Loving on his Haba teether (made in Germany!) and checking out the cool truck Grampa & Gramma gave him.
"Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear Colin. Happy Birthday to you!" Make a wish!
Publix gives each baby a free 7" single layer cake for their first birthday. This is what Colin's looked like before we gave it to him.
Ah, the first touch.
Hmm...not so sure I like the feeling of this icing.
I changed my mind. This stuff is pretty good.
Let me take that back. This is REALLY good!And this picture doesn't even really capture just how covered in icing Colin ended up being. Add some red icing to his entire face and all over his hair and you just might be able to imagine how "sweet" he was that night!