Sunday, September 30, 2012


Today would have been my loving mother-in-law's 70th birthday, but she passed away 16 days ago. As I read that sentence back to myself, it still seems very strange. Strange that my husband and brother-in-law no longer have parents, strange that my girls won't have her here anymore, strange to imagine this coming holiday season and all the ones to come forever without her, strange that she's no longer on the other end of the phone...I'm so thankful for having her be a part of my life for the past decade and more, and I'm grateful to God for the peace that truly comes because we know she loved Him more than anything. One friend of the family wrote of Ron's parents, "They were rich in faith and were glad to share this wealth with all those they ministered unto."There's so much I want to say here. I want to capture her sweet personality and heart. I want Ava to remember the fun times she had with Mammaw. I want her to understand somehow how much she loved Ava. And then there's Addison, who will never have even one memory of her; that breaks my heart.
Ava, from day one, Mamaw thought you were the best, so when you started to do things like smile, situp, crawl, walk, talk, pretend, she was the proudest grandmother. I don't think we could search the world and find a grandmother who loved her granddaughter anymore than she loved you. You couldn't wait for her to visit each time. She almost always brought you a gift that you looked forward to. Most of the time, I could find you two playing tea party in your room. You soaked up every moment of her visit. Our last visit with her was a few weeks ago; we all went out to lunch for Uncle Danny's birthday and then to Silver Dollar City where Ava & Mammaw rode the teacups together:)
I will try to help Ava remember these priceless memories, and I will tell Addison many stories about her grandmother. A few years ago, I helped her set up a Facebook; it was something she enjoyed so much-- reading back through her page, I saw these comments that do capture her heart for her family:
"My older son has a daughter, Ava, and they are expecting another one in May. It's hard to believe that I will be doubling my joy...for Ava is surely the joy of my life."
"I have been skyping with my four year old grandddaughter was absolutely priceless! She has the most delightful expressions and gestures when she talks. I love her so much.. and when she says, 'I love you Mammaw this much'my heart just melts!!"
"I want to tell my sons, Ron and Danny, that I love you with all of my heart!! You have blessed me in more ways and more times than I could ever tell you. You have brought so much joy to my life, and I don't know how I could make it without you. Thank you, Lord, for my children!!!"
I watched her with her quiet grace as she was a pastor's wife, mom, mother-in-law, and friend. She respected her husband, loved and cared for and listened to her sons, supported me in my new roles, and laughed with friends. Hopefully someday, I'll be someone's mother-in-law, and I'll have grandchildren, and I can honestly say, I hope to be like her-- kind, uplifting, and loving. Some of my best memories are her praying with me; the Thanksgiving when she and I were really into Rachael Ray so we pretended to be her when we were cooking (what a wonderful cook she was!); playing Words with Friends at 2 am; listening to her stories of Ron when he was a little one; texting her pics of the girls and getting back such excited responses. I'll probably never see a sudoku book, Fox News, an iphone pic of my girls, or The Mentalist without thinking of her.
I wish I were better with words...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ava's Dress-Up Party

It goes without saying that Ava loves to dress-up. She has a big imagination, and I can see her being in theatrical productions in the near future:). When trying to decide what to do for her birthday party, Brittany suggested a dress-up party and told me to just wait until we moved-- great advice (she also knew that planning a party three weeks after moving into our new house would seriously motivate me...more on that later;). When I was five, I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven if I had as many princess dresses as Ava. The majority of them have been yard sale finds (paying $1-$3 for them is perfect compared to the $25 tag at Target!) and birthday/Christmas presents.
I love etsy and pinterest! It makes party planning even easier. I found her printable invitations and cupcake toppers here.  A few days before the big event, the girls and I went to Hobby Lobby to get ribbon, plates, napkins, ect.
One of the best ideas I've ever had was asking Jordan, a precious teen from church, to come help me. She made everything so much easier, especially since my sister couldn't be here. Jordan pitched in and did stuff before I could even ask her to. It.was.wonderful.
On the day of the party, Ava was in full dress up mode by 10 am (the party started at 6 pm)...sparkley dress, tiara, jewelry, lip gloss, glitter eyeshadow... She couldn't wait for her friends to arrive. It was such a fun night. The kids played and giggled for hours. There's nothing better than having family and friends around and seeing your child laughing and having the time of her life.
I went to bed that night very, very thankful (and very tired:).

Ava & Tuesday
I love crafting.
Thankfully, I just had to raid the playroom to come up with plenty of things!
Niki & Mary Abbott
Mimi (I have a feeling my mom was worn out from all the stuff I had her doing before!), Papa, & Addison with her tutu on
I borrowed my friend's Pampered Chef kit. Loved it so much I bought one.
Britt saw this idea on Pinterest and passed it along to me. They made edible jewelry out of chocolate covered pretzels, fruit loops, cheerios, and gummy lifesavers.
Ava's dresses
"wardrobe change" #457
Mary Catherine, Shannon, Maria, & Daisy
the "big" girls doing A's makeup
Ava & Lexie
Sweet girls! Amelia, Maddie, Abby, Hannah Mae, Irby, Lexie, Paisley, Ava, Caitlyn, Mary Catherine, Macy Claire, & Mary Abbott

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summer 2012 in iPhone Pics

When I think of our summer the first things that come to mind are new baby, moving, and humid! We had a great time, worked hard, and are enjoying the fruits of our labor!
Uncle Jim with Ava & Addison. He loves these girls...always bribing Ava with a pony if we move to Missouri;)
snuggly babies
Ava learned to swim last summer and blew us away this summer with how brave she became! Little fish!
blurry pic from the 4th of July...
We surprised Ava with an afternoon at Silver Dollar City in Branson. We were visiting Ron's family in the area and decided to go. Ava fell asleep in the car, and when she woke up we were parking at the amusement park. It was so much fun! Her only disappointment was being too short for some of the rides; she's a bit of a daredevil. Her favorite ride was the roller coaster. She and I rode that together (I have to leave the spinning rides to Ron because I can't hang!), and she held her hands up and laughed the whole time. Her mammaw rode the teacups with her. Priceless memories.
sweet Addison
Her smiles and chunky legs melt my heart!!
a typical day for Ava...dressing up!
This picture cracks me up! This is Addison & Nate before their baby dedication. They are three weeks apart. Emily and I had fun going through pregnancy together.
Family date night to Bonefish Grill and walking around the mall.
Some old friends and I got together with our kids for a Saturday lunch and playdate. It's so much fun to see my friends, some all the way back from Kindergarten, with babies. Here's Harper, Noah, Ava, Addison, Lucas, & Gaines:)
After church one Sunday the girls and I went to have 'girls' afternoon; we ate Mexican food and walked around the mall and got drenched in the rain!
playing doctor:)
Fun playdate with Lexie
Oh my! She's grown so much since this picture!
Papa, Mimi, & the grands after Reid's dedication-- we really enjoyed being at their church and taking part... My mom cooked us all a delicious lunch too.
What a happy baby!
I'm proud of my Rainbow. Ava worked hard to memorize her scripture and fulfill her requirements. She has now moved up to the Daisy class and LOVES her new teacher!
Kacie and her mom Lori came to take Ava swimming one day.
This makes me laugh:) I was in another room and walked back in to find that Ava had dressed up Addison in this chicken costume. Ha!
Addison started rolling over around the four month mark. Even though I always put her on her back, she usually does this during nap time.
My precious family
One Saturday night, I put hot rollers in Ava's hair for the first time. She thought it was great. Can you tell she likes to take pics??
Ava and my friend Tammy share a birthday. We all met for lunch at a Japanese place. It was great to see these girls; I was so surprised to see Lori, one of my roomates from college, there! She lives in the Nashville area, and we don't see each other very often. I got to hear all about her baby boy too.
Entertaining Ava with playdough;)
As much as Ava loves getting to be in pics, my dad doesn't like it! Ha ha. He always says, "Don't put this on Facebook." Well, I didn't, Dad, it's on my blog instead. And I'm safe because he doesn't know what a blog is;). Here's his Father's Day basket from Brittany and me. It has all of his favorite foods in there, including an onion because Ava said that was his favorite food.
Ava and Hannah Mae at our homeschool life group pool party
a night out with the family
Saturday mornings are usually Britt & Reid time for us! This was after going to yard sales and breakfast (usually from the best donut place ever).
These two love each other! Reid calls her A. They're so cute together.
Papaw Little meets Addison for the first time. Our papaw is 82; he had 2 granddaughters and 3 great grandchildren.
One of my very favorite times of the day... holding my sleeping baby.
Newborns sleep a lot!
My mini-me
Our friends were in Florida on Ava's birthday and sent this to us! How sweet!!
Hungry kids at our church's wacky water fest
Ava's new bike-- her birthday present from us. This is one of her favorite things to do now. She has several little girls that live in our new cove. It's so much fun for her.
We took her to see Brave.
We met the McRaes to see Ice Age. They laughed so much.
Uncle Danny took her birthday shopping, and this is what they came home with.
Cookout with the Robbins- I had to take a picture of Shari's pinterest-inspired appetizers. Delicious!
Getting to see an OLD friend. This is the first time that I've seen Cheryl since I was 8 years old. It was so neat! Her dad was our pastor, and I reconnected with her on Facebook a few years ago. She and her family were in our area, so we met for dinner and talked for hours. Too bad we don't live closer. We have so much in common.
Lounging at the pool while Daddy watched Addison
Another fun playdate with Lexie and Paisley. They are Barbie rockstars here. :)
She reminds me of Ron here.
I just absolutely love this picture.
Swimming fun with Reid and Mary Abbott
Summer isn't complete without a stop for ice cream!
Girls' Club Awards Night
My handsome nephew!!