Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy 57th Birthday, Dad!

I'm going to borrow an idea from Angie of Count Your Blessings (she did this for her mom on her birthday) and list 57 reasons why I love you Dad!

1. Because you are the funniest person I know. (Well, Tommy AND you!)
2. Because you love the sun.
3. Because you paid me $50 to learn to ski when I was a kid.
4. Because whenever I smell leather, I think of you.

5. Because you have always been my rock. Funny that I waited to get my epidural until you made it to the hospital.
6. Because you drove like a bat out of hell to get to the hospital.
7. Because you taught me to love close-up photos.
8. Because you hated all my boyfriends but love my husband.
9. Because you came and helped me after Isabella was born.
10. Because you gave me a baby brother.
11. Because you used to give us $100 in an envelope for "Souvies" (souveniers) when we went on vacation.
12. Because you always say "natch" (naturally)
13. Because you've always loved me.
14. Because you love the beach.
15. Because you were so excited to be a pop-pop.
16. Because you always smell like coffee.
17. Because you try to take better pictures than me.
18. Because you love Pat's like us.
19. Because you love the text picture messages that I send to you of Ella.
20. Because you taught me not to eat peanut butter before bed because it causes nightmares...and I still don't.

21. Because you make hashbrowns without onions just for me.
22. Because you make Danny Boys for Janae and me when we don't want to get out of the lake.
23. Because you married Janae.
24. Because you like old pictures like me.
25. Because you gave the most beautiful toast at our wedding.
26. Because we had a hard time letting go of each other at the end of the aisle.
27. Because you love family vacations.
28. Because you always say you are proud of us.
29. Because you read my blog and leave me comments.
30. Because you come and stay with us.

31. Because you introduced us to boating.
32. Because you wait up for us when we come to the boat late...and then you stay up and have a beer with us.
33. Because you call just to say hi.
34. Because you love telling old stories with Jus and me.
35. Because you always give me good advice.

36. Because you've always told me to follow my heart. (And I'm so thankful for that.)
37. Because you sit through the "interventions" we have for you when you are working too much. ('Bout time for another one of those)
38. Because you bought me a pink radio for Easter one year (along with a Tiffany CD, I think.)
39. Because you let us...sort of..make fun of you in a nice way, of course.

40. Because you love good music and always have some playing.
41. Because you despise board games but will sometimes play them just for our sake.
42. Because you like wineries. like me.
43. Because you love to sit on the top deck of the boat and read with me.
44. Because you were the first person to "baby-sit" my baby.
45. Because you've always been there for me.
46. Because you bought me Marley and Me because you knew I'd love it.
47. Because you let Abby put her head on your lap when you're here.
48. Because you do that thing with your hand on your forehead.
49. Because you have approximately 500 "Margaritaville" or otherwise Jimmy Buffet related t-shirts.
50. Because you danced with me at the wedding of my dreams...that you and mom gave me.
51. Because you get dressed up on vacation because I insist.

52. Because you are going to be the best, most fun, pop-pop.
53. Because you sent me a twenty dollar bill stapled to a post-it note at camp in 5th grade.
54. Because you called Tommy "T-Flo" for a solid week in the Dominican.
55. Because you say halfsies (and you invented that spelling.)
56. Because you get up at the crack of dawn and save us all good spots on the beach.

It's nearly midnight and your birthday is almost over...hope it was wonderful.
We love you...
Tommy, Sara, and Isabella Grace

Edited to add....
Dad, Many many many years ago....
Looking strangely like my brother only with different color hair.
And the shorts...come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen Jus in shorts quite this short or tight.
Hmmmm....and you wonder where we got our personalities, huh Dad???

Monday, February 25, 2008

holding hands, january 08

I had to chuckle to myself yesterday. I was folding laundry and suddenly remembered one particularly stressful day when Isabella was about 2 weeks old. As I might have already mentioned...my doctor informed me that she suspected the baby to be about 8.5pounds at my last appointment (which made perfect sense since Tommy and I were both8.3pounds) Well, the doctor was a bit off and we were a bit unprepared (clothing wise) to bring home a 6.9pound (5.15pound by the time we left the hospital) baby. My mom was out on Thanksgiving Day searching for preemie clothes so that she would have at least a few items that didn't swallow her. She couldn't find much of anything.
After a pediatrician appointment several days later (poor baby's belly button would not heal up) I was extremely frustrated about the belly button and the clothes situation and told Tommy to take me to Babies R Us. He and Ella waited in the car (but of course! The doctors practically made us swear on our lives that we would not take her out of the confines of our home for 8 looooooong weeks!!) while I went in to "grab a few preemie things!" Afterall, SURELY Babies R Us would have a selection of preemie things, right? Long story short, they had some very large 8-10 poundish preemie things and that, for some reason, was the last straw for me. I wigged out (think Steve Martin and the hot dog bun episode from Father of the Bride) and probably spoke a little less than kind to the nearest poor teenage girl in the purple Babies R Us vest. I think I might have asked her if she thought "8-10 pounds" and "PREEMIE" on the very same tag was somewhat of an oxymoron??? I think I might have gently ripped a onesie out of the package and nicely explained to her that my beep baby was about half the size of this so called PREEMIE onesie and that technically speaking, she wasn't even a beep preemie! Then I asked her (as if she knew--she might have been 17 at the most!) what a mother is to do if she actually has a true beep preemie?? She informed me that she was sorry she couldn't help me and walked away. I'm pretty sure I called after her, "Oh you can help me alright...do you sell SLEEP here??" Then I proceeded to get in the longest line (naturally) and wait impatiently to purchase the package of onsies that I accidently, gently ripped open. When I walked out into the parking lot, I saw Tommy circling the lot like a crazy person because, at the time, Isabella would become quite angry if he had the audacity to STOP the vehicle!! Once in the car, I started sobbing...all of my sleep deprivation caught up with me coupled with the fact that I felt sure that a slow healing belly button must surely mean there was some serious disorder going on that no one would tell me about! All the way home I blabbed and cried and made no sense at all. Tommy was his usual self...calm and reassuring, albeit sleep deprived himself. When we got home, still infuriated about the fact that preemie clothes do not actually exist, I whipped out the scissors and cut off the arms of each onesie I had just purchased to a length more suitable to a preemie. I distinctly remember Tommy lying on our bed watching me "modify" the onesies. He was a bit worried I am sure....but instead of letting on, he simply smiled and said "feel better?" Why yes, yes I did! I washed the onsies and dryed them on extreme heat to shrink them and voila! They fit perfectly. Gerber should contact me in the event that they decide they would like to correctly size their gear.
Later that night, I heard Tommy talking to Ella while changing her. He was saying, "Mommy flipped out and made you wear a cut-off today, didn't she?"
I will save them forever. They will always serve to remind me of our first weeks as parents. So blessed, but so frayed at the edges. Falling asleep standing up, existing sheerly on love alone. We're past that now and just as I have been told....the sleepless nights and frustration are becoming a distant memory.

But I have a tiny onesie with jagged edge sleeves to remind me...you know, should I ever forget.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


in our bed, February 08

giggling, February 08

cheeks, February 08

Monday, February 18, 2008

growing up too fast, february 08

My sweet, sweet baby....
3 whole, big, full months ....that's how old you are now. It is so hard to believe. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday. In other ways, it seems like my heart has known your heart forever.

I don't know if you can sense it or not...but your dad and I are feeling pretty "cool" these days about this parenting thing. Things are perking along just fine. (Of course, I'm knocking on my wooden desk whilst typing this!) I mean, we can do adventurous things now. Things such as......well, things like decide on a whim that we'd like to go out to dinner rather than stay home! Where before we might have tossed around the idea of going out...but then looked at you, looked at the clock, looked at each other nervously, looked back at you, hesitated for a half hour or so before packing a diaper bag with enough supplies for a weeks stay in a primitive campground, checked the weather (one more time), scalded the pacifier (one more time), only to decide, once in the garage, that we weren't that hungry afterall.

Not anymore babycakes! These days...we can decide that we want to go out and we are all in the car and buckled up in a matter of minutes. Your feeding schedule? Who cares! We can feed you anywhere! Diapers? Check. Wipes? Check. Someone touches you without first dousing themselves in Purell? Our skin barely even crawls now. What's that old saying anyway? God made dirt and dirt won't hurt... Sure, we nonchalantly wipe off your contaminated little hands when the person who contaminated you isn't looking...but hey, this is a huge step up from the way we used to be. You're not the only one who has come along way, baby. We're smooth sailing. We cruise in and out of the pediatrician's office for shots like it's old hat. We can feed you, burp you, rock you to sleep in a fancy restaurant all while eating a filet without even disturbing other diners. Just the other night your dad changed you in our backseat in record time. I watched from inside the restaurant as the two of you momentarily played and laughed in the glow of the dome light . My heart swelled with pride. For you. For us.

We are doing life. WITH A BABY. We are surviving. No....we're thriving.
Before you were born, we would have long discussions about how in the world we would do it? Seriously! As I have mentioned before, we have been guilty on more than one occasion, of forgetting to FEED the dogs! We prayed a lot. We prayed for strength, wisdom, stamina, patience, guidance, help.... We prayed, more than anything, to be up for the challenge.

We wobbled along for those first couple weeks. We stumbled more than once. We kept on praying. And....somewhere along the way we found our stride. Perhaps we (make that I) stopped freaking out about what all the books said. Maybe your dad decided that getting poop on his hands during a diaper change would not kill him afterall. Maybe we stopped forcing a certain number of ounces down your throat and started looking for signs from you that you were full. I'm not sure exactly what it was...but things clicked for all of us.

It's sort of like this, baby girl.
One day you will learn to ride a two wheel bike. You will decide, albeit reluctantly, that you are ready to get rid of the training wheels once and for all. Daddy will run along with you as you pedal. He will hold the bike steady so that you won't fall. You will be pedaling your little heart out....the wind in your face. He will be there behind you, holding onto the seat, cheering you on. You will keep pedaling....hard as you can. Then, you will turn around to realize that daddy let go several driveways back and that you're doing it! You are riding all by yourself. You will hardly be able to believe it because you thought you'd never be able to do it on your own. But...you will keep on pedaling. You will feel so brave, so empowered. Your whole self will smile.
When this happens, you will know how we feel now. No one is holding our tandem bike steady.
It' s just us. And you. And we are pedaling with all our strength. And we are smiling with every fiber of our being.
We're doing it!
And the crazy thing is, this pedaling together, this parenting....
it feels like it's what we were born to do.

Thank God for you, dear one. Thank God.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

because i'm missing them...

and because I wasn't blogging when they got married and therefor did not post any pictures of their wedding (which was, by the way, beautiful....just like them.)
These loaded in a rather random order...so here they are.....
My three favorite guys....dad, brother, husband. (Tommy where is your tie?)

The bride and groom....with bride's parents.

Michigan reception kiddie table decoration

Virginia wedding decor
Why so small?? Rehearsal dinner table

I made the rehearsal dinner menus out of their engagement photos...

We walked Libby to the wedding site

Happily ever after...

I have the best little brother and he chose a wonderful bride. They are not only our family...but best friends to us, too. We are so blessed to have them in our lives.
Miss you all and hope you are currently tucked in snug as a bug in Chesapeake.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

two fourteen

our valentine card for 08
I feel blessed beyond measure to have a whole 'nother person to love this year.
Tommy...no matter how we celebrate...my favorite Valentine's Day memory will always be the one we spent in our first house sitting in front of our fireplace...which had no gas logs in it yet so we sat in front of a fire that could most accurately be described as a pipe with three jets of flames shooting out of it. Lucky for us, gas logs or not, it still gave off a romantic glow! It makes me smile each time I think of it.
No candy this year...but all was not lost...
Isabella got this.
(She had one already but it did not have the fun show to watch! Just as I suspected...she loves it. She goes crazy...kicking and smiling. And there we are...hovered over her, watching and celebrating her every move, giving each other that, "I think she's gifted" look... like she is performing the most amazing feat. And then...all of the sudden our whole hearts go to mush! This child knows not the power she wields over us and we must keep it that way!)
I got this.
(Though mine is lime and chocolate.)
On a completely unrelated note...Eat, Pray, Love has me staying up FAR past my bedtime. And so it always goes...when I am reading a book I love, I can't seem to read it in moderation. I wait till Ella is asleep and dive into it. I read right through the UK/Vandy game the other night...I know *gasp*
Run to your nearest Barnes and Noble and get it. Consider it a little Valentine's Day gift for you, from you. You deserve it.
Happy Heart Day.

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. ~David Viscot

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

daddy's version of the swaddle, February 2008

It's a very wintery, snowy day here...a good day for cuddling...see above picture! I had to cancel my lunch plans due to the fact that no one could get out of our neighborhood. Turns out, having to cancel probably worked out for the best as it seems I am now sick. We have dry, dry heat in our house and often wake up with a scratchy throat...but this one isn't going away. Sore throat has invited his friends, headache and body aches over to stay for a while. Being sick is bad enough...but being sick and trying to care for a baby is tough. She missed the memo about sleeping all day and is ready to play! I am trying to hold her but not breathe on her...tricky. Very tricky.

We had a grrrreat weekend doing a little early celebration for dad's birthday. It was so good to have everyone together. We did some fun things and had some good meals. We were all very sad to part ways Sunday evening. I hate taking you all to the airport, j & l. It kills me every time. This time Tommy looked over at me and said, "I'm sad, too." I will post pictures of our weekend when I feel better.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Auntie Rachel holding you, February 2008

Fun, fun times catching up with Rach last night. We had a good old fashioned slumber party. (Except neither of us wanted to say up all night like we used to!)
We went to dinner at the club and bored Tommy with all of our old stories...the kind we've told a hundred times...but are so much fun to rehash. It was so fun to catch up, to think back, to recall...and to laugh. We definitely laughed. At times, possibly too loud.
(equal parts wine and seriously funny stories)
We braved the cold, cold temperatures this morning to have brunch at Panera and a quick trip to Tarjay before Ella and I dropped her off at the airport to head out of town for a fun weekend.
We are gearing up for a fun weekend too. Unky and Aunt Libby are flying in tomorrow and dad is coming in so we can celebrate his birthday all weekend long! We have a couple things planned but we are so excited just to hang out and visit. They haven't seen the baby since they flew in and surprised us when she was born. She sure has changed. She just went the doctor for part of her shots and weighed in at 11.3 pounds. And...lucky for us...she did not pee on the scale this time.

shots. February 2008

She is positively her father's daughter. She cried for maybe 2 seconds about the shot and that was it. I used to cry for days prior to getting a shot. My mom always used to take me shopping afterwards "for being so brave" she said, which couldn't have been farther from the truth. I was the exact opposite of brave and certainly probably didn't deserve a new outfit for my doll (which is the gift I usually chose). But I do remember how good it felt, even as a small child, to have that worry (the shot) off my chest and to be flitting around the mall with my mom. Is it terrible that I had the urge to go buy Isabella something immediately after leaving the office? You know...because she was so brave and all?
Speaking of "is it terrible" questions...
Should I be sort of worried about myself if, while wearing some new pajama pants this week, I caught myself feeling dressed up? The pants are cute as can be...but yikes! I've got to get out more!

Monday, February 04, 2008

what he said

together, summer o7

conversation on the way home from dinner...
me: I am so full.
tommy: me too, but i'm probably going to stop and get a milkshake for dessert.
me: babe...remember, we're cutting back right??
tommy: yeah, but I didn't eat the top bun of my burger.
me: so that entitles you to a milkshake?
tommy: absolutely.
And seriously? Who could argue with that logic?
I might be biased...but I think you are the funniest guy in the world, love!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Baby dedication is coming up. I have been trying to make plans for the day...thinking about invitations, lunch plans, something for her to wear....and most importantly, about the promise we will make that day (the one we've already made in our hearts) to do our very best to raise her in a Godly home. The dress in the picture below is exactly 90 years old. It was worn by my mom's mom, my mom, me, and now her. It usually hangs on a peg in her nursery for a touch of sentimental vintage, but I wanted to photograph her in it even though it is too old for her to wear to church. The two images below are probably my favorites of the shoot.

Isabella Grace in her great grandmother's blessing dress, February 08.

I think I have decided that she will wear this little gown from Pixie Lily to church. It is soft, yet fancier than average, and I love that it is white. This isn't a baptism, only a dedication, so I think it will be fine. Problem is I ordered it to fit her right now...in a 0-3 months size and therefor must stop feeding her until the first of March. I am a complete novice when it comes to baby size charts.

weekend recap...
We had a busy weekend! We headed to my hometown to do some visiting and to watch the game at one of my oldest and dearest friend's house.
We planned to leave by noon. We slightly underestimated the amount of packing and arranging it would take to make Isabella's first overnighter a success. The Stuff.... so much stuff....taking up so much room! Tommy headed out early that morning to purchase a cage/barrier thingy to install in the back of the truck so that the dogs could ride back there and Ella would be safe from them landing on her in the event of an accident. Since the dogs were riding in th back-back, that left very little room for large items that were necessities such as the stroller, the pac-n-play, our bags, etc. Long story short, we did a lot of creative packing and hit the road by 4pm. As I said, we underestimated---bigtime.
We visited some friends of mine and then dropped the pups off at mom's and met her for dinner. It was delicious.
The night (her first night away from home and her cradle) went far better than we imagined. In fact, she slept 7 whole hours. It was wonderful. I would say that it was the best sleep we've gotten, except I can't say that because Tommy and I were crammed into my childhood double bed. His feet were hanging 12 inches off the bed and my nose was touching the wall. Despite that, we were still very grateful for a more than full night's sleep. The pac-n-play worked like a charm.
While I fed the baby this morning my mom sat in the living room with me and looked through my baby and childhood photos. It was so fun to compare my baby pictures to hers and to reflect on the past. We laughed a lot (terrible hair-dos and even worse prom dates) and cried a quick tear or two.
We picked up some lunch and headed out to my Grandma's so she could see the baby. We were disappointed that several family members had the flu and couldn't stop in...but it was great to see the ones we could. We don't get home enough. I don't know where the time goes.
After lunch we ran and errand or two and then went over to Erin and Joe's. The guys watched the game while Erin and I discussed everything from diaper bags (can NOT find one I like) to plans for me to photograph her upcoming wedding. We ate pizza and played with out girls. The first half was over in a flash and we headed for home. Tommy thought sure the halftime show would take 45 minutes to an hour. Another case of underestimation. We got home in time to see the last couple minutes of the game....and the Giants won....and that is what we were hoping for..so all is well.
Home safe is a good feeling. I just dread the unpacking. The kitchen is littered with things that all need to be returned to their rightful location by tomorrow afternoon. This upcoming week is a busy one.
My book club is up and running again. I am waiting for a couple more responses from ladies I haven't heard back from. It will be fun to have our old crew from last year along with some newbies. Our first selection is Eat, Pray, Love. I have heard lots of positive feedback about it and am looking forward to getting back into the habit of reading before bed each night.