Happy 9th Birthday, Ella

Dear Ella,

Yesterday you turned 9 years old. NINE. I apologize that I didn't get your letter up in time, but we were on Jekyll Island, I broke my phone, and well, you were there, so I don't need to explain.

I'm so proud of the little lady that you became this year. This was a big year for you. I watched as you grew not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Physically you grew like 4 inches and you are now about "*" this close to being taller than your older sister. You also gained nearly 10 pounds this year!! You are long, and lean, and fast, and strong.

Mentally you are as smart as a whip, and you really got into computers. You impress the heck out of me and your dad, and we hope that you love your brand new computer that we got you for your birthday. You did so well on your 3rd grade FCAT test, earning a near perfect score in reading/writing, and just a point off in mathematics. So proud.

Emotionally you have always been a gentle, kind soul. But this year we've watched as you have become even more kind not only in regards to animals, but about people and the tragedy that you see going on around you. You keep asking for world peace, and I hope that it happens in your lifetime.

Spiritually you have really begun to question "why" and "what if." Why are we here? Who made us? Is god real? What if there is a heaven? What if there isn't?

I don't have the answers for you Ella, but I will continue to guide you on your path.

Happy 9th Birthday, Ella. I love you so much!

XOXO,

Mama

Photo taken on Jekyll Island, GA on 7-14-14, Ella's 9th birthday. Cool

Happy 10th Birthday, Haley

Where has the last decade gone? This weekend my oldest child, my sweet Pixie, the oldest member of the Tampa Trio, my Haley, turns 10 years old.

At just 3 days old your most favorite spot to sleep was on your daddy's chest (look how tired, yet YOUNG your daddy looks here!!)

 At 4 months old you had a twinkle in your eye and we knew you were a special little girl. 

By the time your first birthday rolled around, I was pregnant again, and shortly thereafter you became a big sister for the first time.

You are a great big sister and have loved your sister Ella since the minute she joined our family.

 You have always loved painting and are a very talented artist. You have won art awards at your school, and I hope you always find joy through art.

By the time you turned 2, I was pregnant again. You were there when Ronin was born, and your memory of that night amazes me. You were so excited to be a big sister again!

You have always loved to cook.

From pizza, to omelets, to pancakes, you are a curious learner and always willing to make new things.

This past year has been full of growth for you. You learned your multiplication tables, how to make videos on the ipod (and publish them to YouTube) how to do your own laundry and you have been such a great helper to me and your dad.

But the thing that makes you the most happy is Matthew. You love him so much and it just makes my heart smile to see that he brings you so much joy.

You also had a pretty amazing year on the race circuit and I am so proud of you stepping outside your comfort zone and pushing yourself to go faster, to go further. Keep setting those SMART goals Pixie, and you will go far.

Your daddy and I, along with your brother and sister love you SO MUCH! Keep on smiling, keep on hugging, keep on loving and living. I am so proud of the young woman you are becoming and I can't wait to see how you grow in this new decade of your life.

XOXO

Mama

Reflections on 41

My 41st year of life went by very quickly. A lot of things happened. Some good, some not so good.

What were some of the highlights?

  1. I went on the Today Show
  2. I was in Woman's Day Magazine
  3. I participated in Project Athena's Keys Race to Recovery
  4. I participated in a triathlon
  5. I quit my job as a media specialist
  6. I started my blog
  7. I was featured on the front of the Huff Post, AOL, and Marlo Thomas
  8. I became a certified Spinning Instructor
  9. I got a dog
  10. I ran a race every month
  11. I made some new friends that I treasure dearly

And so much more!!

This was a whirlwind of a year.

Thinking back on my 41st year, I wouldn't change anything, and I have no regrets. Every decision I made brought me to the point that I am at now. And I'm in a fairly good place. As I start my 42nd year of life there are some things I'd like to be writing about this time next year.

  1. I have a paying job

Honestly that's all I want for this year. I don't regret leaving my job as a Pasco County Media Specialist because all media specialist positions were cut at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, so I'd be out of a job regardless. As least leaving a few months early gave me the opportunity to start this blog, learn valuable social media skills, make friends, and experience a bunch of cool opportunities through blogging. I love blogging, but let's be honest. It doesn't put food on the table or a roof over my head. Thankfully my husband works hard so that I can stay home with the kids, and give this whole blogging thing a try, but I'm not cut out to be a SAHM. Sure, it's great being able to drop off and pick the kids up from school, and be here for them during summer break, etc., but I enjoy getting out of the house and working, connecting with other people, feeling like I am making a difference. I am ready to go back to work, so that is my goal for my 42nd year of life. FIND A GOOD MEANINGFUL JOB, that's close to my house, flexible with the kids schedule, and allows me to use my talents to make the community a better place. That's not too much to ask, is it?? If I don't find a job maybe I'll go back to school. Tongue Out You can never have too many advanced degrees, right??