Saturday, August 31, 2013

Apparently it's Football Time... Everywhere!

Every social media source of mine is fullll of nothing but college football talk. 

Do you think more women have become interested, bordering on obsessed, with football in the last few years?!?! I do'

ESPN's College Game Day was on most of the morning. It's been a crazy week, without much family time, so we threw rules to the wind and did a lot of this:
Snuggling on the couch with books, coloring, food and drinks, and silly games of Ellie's making. 

Pretty much a perfect Saturday morning in my book.

It's a new era in Knoxville, Tn as we have yet another new football coach. Anticipation has been particularly high heading into this season.

In all honesty, I could not really care less. While I can enjoy some good athletic competition, I will never understand people who allow the outcome of a game to affect their mood for more then 5-10 minutes. Unless, they are the actual coaches or athletes.

I didn't even dress either Ellie or I in orange today. My maternity wardrobe is orange-less, as is Ellie's wardrobe for the first time ever.

But we are watching the game with Jared's parents on pay per view. 

Well, I am not really sure you can say Ellie and I are watching the game...

Ellie and I in another room watching an episode of Doc Mcstuffins on the iPad.

People started eating while watching the game, and since she is incapable of being left out of any venture involving food, we moved her chair into the living room. Unfortunately, she couldn't decide between watching ball-ball or Doc, so this happened:

Parenting fail? Possibly. But it is allowing the family to all be peacefully in the same room and enjoy it.

Even though I don't really care about the outcome of games, I am glad UT is spanking Austin Peay... Knoxville (and my husband) will be in a good mood for at least another week .

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Friday Confessional

Well, I did it.

I wrote/blogged a little bit every day while we were at the beach. The posts are scheduled for over the next few weeks. Let's see if I can continue the trend...

I have a goal for posting 2-4 times a month for the rest of the year, but with a new little lady about to join our family, and a toddler who has recently been nicknamed #hurricaneEllie, we shall see how this goal goes.

Recent images as evidence of #hurricaneEllie

When trying to get back into the blogging swing, I find joining link-ups is really helpful for me. I love Lisa Jo's Five Minute Fridays, but our Friday mornings tend to be a bit busy, and I am not waiting up until midnight to see what the Word of the Day is. Although, lets face it, with 3rd trimester insomnia in full affect, I probably will still be awake. Anyway, I am turning to another one of my favorite link up's: Leslie, at A Blonde Ambition, Confessional Fridays. Blogs that post link up schedules are really helpful! Kelly's Korner, Show Us Your Life is another great link up opportunity!

Leslie's blog is a lot a fun. I love that she has remained true to her style throughout all the years I have read/followed her. I watched read along as she her met her husband, planned her wedding, experienced early married life, and now she is expecting her first baby, a sweet girlie, not long after Quinn Collins is due! She has awesome fashion and style tips, too. I really don't follow any fashion-y blogs, but I always enjoy Leslie's tips and tricks. As a former pediatric cardiology nurse, I love seeing people like Leslie thrive in adulthood after a "cardiac history."

So without further ado...

1. I always used to say, you need a vacation from/after your vacation. And that was when I was single and/or married... without kids... specifically a toddler. I had no idea what post-vacation exhaustion was until I was blessed enough (and for once I am not being sarcastic, I truly mean blessed) to go on vacation with a toddler, and big and pregnant! Overall, it went great, and everyone had a wonderful time. However, it was not without its challenges. Don't worry, there might be a few very embarrassing exposing posts coming up on said challenges.

The Face Off: aka the end of my parenting rope. I have a feeling this face off will be happening lots over the years 
2. Speaking of challenges, even though last week Ellie Faith pushed me to the end of my rope as a parent, looking back and reflecting over our 1.5+ yrs together so far, she has taught me way more then I am sure I am teaching her. This scares the cr-eez-ap out of me (anyone else out there speak Carnie? its way cooler then pig-latin, I promise! and I am fluent.) I mean, I have nearly 30 years of life experience on this kid - shouldn't I be pouring all kinds of knowledge into her?!?! One of the biggest things my daughter has taught me is to slow down, and enjoy the simple things in life. I always said I wanted to be an intentional parent. Being intentional requires time and effort, so I am learning... to slow down.

3. It has been well documented over the course of this blog that I just do not necessarily enjoy pregnancy. And this upsets me to no end. I do however love feeling my babies move inside me, and always get sad after those first few tickles and wiggles. All too soon I won't have them inside me continually, where I can be connected with them in the most intimate of ways. Its like its the beginning of the end. First kick - cue the tears. First sign that my babies are about to leave for college or walk down the aisle to their future spouse.

maybe its good Ellie is teaching me to slow down and enjoy life, before I start teaching her my bad habits.

However, this pregnancy I have gotten to experience nesting. OMG y'all, its like the best OCD-accomplishing EVER!!! Even thought I am exhausted these days, I can't sit on the couch or nap, because I have to do list, and I am flying through it. Of course, my husband tends to think 75% of the things on my WE HAVE TO GET THESE THINGS DONE NOW OR THE WORLD IS GOING TO END AND LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WILL BE OVER list, are unnecessary. Thankfully though, he is now pretty well aware of the craziness caused by pregnancy hormones, and goes along with it... or just sits silently on the couch and lets me run myself into the ground, because there is no stopping me. That way one of us is rested/functional when I eventually hit a wall.

Nesting... its almost solely enough to make me consider getting pregnant again...:) Why must you also experience nausea and vomiting the majority of you pregnancy in order to get to the nesting!?!?

4. UT's classes are back in full swing, and therefore our ministry schedule with the CSF is ramping back up. Its been a great summer off, but Jared and I are both really excited to start doing life with the college students again. I am not leading a bible study this year, with the new baby coming. But I definitely planning on being involved with our girls, helping plan socials, going out for coffee, having kids over to our house, etc...

My parents always maintained of "revolving front door" in our home growing up - we always had people in and out of our house, often times unplanned. I really like a lot of the things this taught me about living relationally with people and about hospitality. I hope Jared and I can maintain a similar type of home for our family.

Plus, I think its great for today's youth to be around a whole-intact families, as well as young kids. I know many of our kids really enjoy the family aspect the CSF provides their college days.

Even though I won't be able to be quite as involved in the same way I have been in past fall semesters, and I am praying that I will still be very prayerful and intentional about ways to reach out to these kids... even if it means having them over to our house on days I haven't showered, washed a dish, or folded any laundry. Or leaving the house and a to-do list a mile long to meet with a student in need of  listening ear.

5. I discovered HGTV while we were at the beach, during Ellie's nap time. How have I not experienced this channel before now?!?!? I am obsessed!! Its influence in my life, along with pintrest, could cause my husband to get rid of cable and internet all together. I love a good home project and some crafty goodness. Nothing could be less appealing to him.

Unfortunately, my child is more influenced by her father's choice of television then by my more highly refined taste, as she says "no Mommy, ball-ball." every time I turn HGTV on. She won't watch anything on TV with me. However, her dad can turn on football, basketball, tennis, even baseball and golf and she will sit there mesmerized for 30 minutes at at time.

But sports wise, I think I will still win the battle - girlfriend did her first front flip off the furniture months ago, has loved hanging upside down and being flipped since she was 3-4 months old. In addition, she recently has discovered her love of kicking ball-balls. And she is really good at it. Looks like she is taking after her mommy's gymnastic and soccer love.:) For anyone who knows Jared, you know what a bitter pill this is to swallow.

This why you never say things like, My child will never play soccer... God laughs, and says Oh really?

I think its safe to say he is wrapped around her little finger, or ever soccer kicking pinky toes:)

Monday, August 26, 2013

These small hours.... These little wonders

.... written last week on vacation

Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and 
Turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours still remain.

When Jared and I first started dating, he had purchased a newish Rob Thomas cd and he was obsessed with it! Listened to it on constant repeat as he is known to do when he discovers and new album or song he likes. I loved the song street corner symphony from the album! Loved it so much, I had it as my text message alert on my flip phone, because that was cool. Errrr... Anyway, as luck would have, Jared did not like that song and informed me he skipped over it every time it came on. Luckily it did not have a lasting affect on our relationship, although it did cause me to change my text message alert... To Kelli Pickers red high heels. Don't hate! You just listen to that song and tell me you didn't have your own private dance and jam out session.

Thankfully, there were songs on the album we both enjoyed, Little Wonders being one of them. All these years later I still enjoy that song. I don't hear/listen to it often, but I was reminded of it today.

Right now I am sitting in our beach condo, 5 stories up. It is a gorgeous day, in the low 80's, pleasant breeze, low humidity. It's 3:30 pm, and I am already in from the beach. For the day. Oh, and I am already showered! What the heck am I doing indoors already!?!? Well, I have a precious toddler who desperately loves/needs her sleep and try as we did to convince her hanging out at the beach was so much more fun then napping, she just wasn't buying it. So here I sit, indoors, in the middle of a sunny day, on vacation. Yeah, this is very different for me.

I love the beach. And usually prefer a good 10am-4pm stint in the sun and water before even considering coming in. And I only would come in then, as my husbands family likes to go to out for dinner most nights while on vacation. Beachy hair and sand in my eyebrows isn't exactly dinner attire appropriate.

So coming in at 2pm, after not getting down to the beach until 10:45 am was a bit of a kick in the stomach for me. And in all  honesty, I started to have a little pity party for myself.

Before I move on too much, let me add my husband offered to stay and let me continue to enjoy this gorgeous day. I told him I really appreciated it, but we could just take turns each afternoon. I was already in and getting settled, so I would take today he could take tomorrow's nap shift. He then reminded me that he was playing golf tomorrow morning. Apparently my pity party was already in full affect without me even knowing it as my response was," well, that's even better. You will have had a completely kid free day, outside, doing what you love, so you can definitely take nap shift tomorrow, thanks, babe!" I am pretty sure he thinks he is getting the short end of the stick. ;)

Ellie Faith and I took a lot of trips in her first 9 months of life. I learned very quickly that trips/vacation as I previously knew them to be were no more! The "mom" needs, duties, and responsibilities never stop. I knew of this before  becoming a mom, but experiencing something is very different then just knowing. It provides understanding.

Most of the time I don't mind this understanding at all, and it usually jut requires a quick little adjustment of expectations and away we go.  But y'all, this is the beach!!!! I could be getting a tan right now. We all have heard the saying "tan/brown fat looks a heck of a lot better then white fat." We'll, this becomes exponentially more true the further into pregnancy you get. I could finish, my 3rd trimester with a bronzie glow (just ignore the lovely melasma that has showed up this pregnancy on my cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. I wish I was kidding!) clearly, finishing your pregnancy strong and healthy requires a nice solid tan, right? Again with my first world problems.

As I was climbing into the shower at the ridiculous hour of 2:45 pm, I realized I was hosting a pity party, and it was pathetic. I needed a serious attitude adjustment. Three friends immediately came to mind. 

Friend #1: mother of three young children, with a husband in intercity ministry, and a crazy life schedule. They were supposed to be leaving for the beach today, their first family vacation of just the  5 of them.  However, due to outside circumstances, their trip got cancelled about 48 hours ago!!

Friend #2: actively trying to have their first child, and recently was started on infertility drugs. They just returned from the beach, and I am sure there were many times where she saw families chasing after a high maintenance toddler and longingly wondered if she would ever get to experience that.

Friend #3: mother of three small boys, currently going through a divorce. She always wanted to take a family vacation, but her husband never made the time for it.

.... And I am pouting because I my pregnant self isn't getting the tan I want!!!  What a Despicable, awful, horrid, shallow, ungrateful person I am!!!

Then I remembered:
...these small hours... These little wonders

Time is flying by now that I am a mom. It feels like 2 months ago that we were at the beach last year with Ellie Faith shoveling fist fulls of sand into her mouth, including at least one cigarette butt that I know of...  All too soon, I am going to look back and long for these simple days, where our biggest concerns were naps and now many episodes of Doc Mcstuffins were ok to watch. We have way more complex issues looming in the distance. ( hormones and adolescence, anyone?!?) Soon, watching Ellie sleep via a monitor will be thought of as weird and creepy. But right now, in this moment, I can do it to my hearts content. I can look at her all i want and wonder how on earth did we ever get so lucky to receive such a gift from God?!! And oh dear god, how am I ever not going to screw her up as I try to raise her!?!? "  Because all too soon, we will be in the middle of those big life steering parenting decisions. All too soon I am going to be longing for theses small hours to be a part of our daily lives again. But they will be gone forever.

"friends" required for sleeping: Ca-Ca (penguin), Poo-Ba (pooh bear), Oof-Oof (puppy) and Baby

It's never going to be easier then it is right now.

"Well, maybe you can get some rest and take a nap too." Jared said as he kissed my forehead on his way out the door... To the the become even more tan.... But oh yeah, i am no longer bitter.:)

"But I am cooped up in a house alllll the time it seems, and my day revolves around an 18 month old's incredible need for sleep," is what I was whining on the inside. "Dang it, get this whale of a pregnant woman TAN!!"

Yes, it's true, there are plenty of days when I am dying to get out of the house, alone or with Ellie. But how often do I get to sit inside, watch whatever I want on tv, blog, surf the web, or read without having to ignore a to do list of laundry, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, etc. Um, never. I am sure all three of my friends I mentioned above would love to have the opportunity to sit quietly for a few hours in house at the beach, simply watching a toddler sleep on the monitor.

So, I choose joy and thankfulness. Joy in these small hours, these little wonders, and thankfulness for the opportunity and ability to experience them.

In closing, I feel I should mention my precious toddler who was acting like her life would be over if she didn't get sleep now, just woke up after only 2 hrs of sleeping. Girlfriend, if you are going to be that dramatic on the front end, at least have the decency to sleep a good three hours or more! I feel that is the least you can do if you insist on assisting in teaching mommy life lessons. Mommy was really hoping to blog and take a nap herself !!

... These small hours .... These little wonders...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Be still and see the wondrous work of The Lord!

Last year at the beach we made this announcement:

As many of you know, our sweet 2nd baby went to be with Jesus several months later. Too soon for us to ever to get to know or hold him/her (Jared and I both thought it was a boy). I have written quite a bit about this time in our life and my journey through that grief. 

This is not a post about that. It is really more of a life update then anything. I have kept up with my goal to write daily while at the beach. I have several drafts saved waiting to published at a later time. I am really enjoying getting back into the writing swing! But as I am writing, I realize there is a very important life update that I need to fill you all in on.

So world ( aka my two remaining readers ),here is my announcement:

That's right, I have gone almost completely through this pregnancy without blogging or documenting any of it. We didn't even announce the pregnancy on any social media (we all know if its not facebook official, its just not real) until we knew the gender (although if you saw me in person,there was no doubt I was pregnant!)

Jared was ready to "try again" almost immediately after the miscarriage. I however, needed more time. Or so I thought. By December, I found myself grieving more the fact that I wasn't pregnant than the loss of our baby. 

We found out at the end of January I was pregnant, and just like with Ellie, I wasn't exactly sure how far along I was. I couldn't bring myself to look at the ultrasound screen when we went in for a dating ultrasound. Much to our surprise there was  a wiggling little baby on the screen, waving and kicking it's little arm and leg buds away!!! We were significantly further along then we thought!!

Ellie faith's dedication at our church was coming up, so we decided to wait until then,when both our families were together, to tell them in person. It was an amazing experience getting to dedicate two of our babies - one publicly, and one treasured in secret.

This pregnancy has been very similar to my pregnancy with Ellie. Except,thankfully, I have yet to experience any preterm labor, as I write this at 34 wks. Ellie was born at 35 wks, after 4-5 wks of preterm labor and bed rest. Ellie measured in the 90% percentile from wk 2 of gestation until I went into preterm labor, around 29-30 wks, when she essentially quit growing. This baby has measured in the 40-50% consistently throughout this entire pregnancy, so it looks like we have a petite baby coming our way. For which my,  uh, pelvis, is very thankful!

I was way more anxious then I would like to admit for the first 20 weeks. Not only did I have the very recent memory of our miscarriage, but I seemed to be surrounded by people having tragic pregnancy encounters . These people were in real and in virtual life. I also think I was still grieving the loss of my 2nd baby. It's an odd thing grieving the loss of one child, while rejoicing in the new life of another.

Early on in my pregnancy, before we had told any of our friends, we had a new couple join our small group who were expecting a baby boy, Gabriel, who had Trisomy 18. A deadly chromosomal abnormality. I silently wept during our prayer time that night... Here I was rejoicing over the new life in my womb, while they were having got mourn the loss of the baby that was visibly moving in his mommy's womb. Baby Gabriel was born and passed away hours later at the beginning of May, days after my due date with the baby we lost. Our relationship with this family has grown rapidly over the past few months, and they have quickly become some of our favorite people. I can only wonder how/if it would have been different if we were holding our own perfectly healthy baby, while they were burying theirs. I think... No, I know, I would have held back from entering into their grief with them, as I would have felt guilty providing comfort, while I was holding my own healthy baby. 

Life is funny like that - you just can't always see how anything good can come out of a given situation. Without having lost our second baby, though, we wouldn't have Quinn. And who knows what things would be like with our friends who recently buried their son. 

...and I can say this now, while carrying another baby... There Is something kind of miraculous about having a baby at home with Jesus. Knowing they are living in perfect love and protection. Their only knowledge is heavenly. They will never experience hurt, pain, or disappointment. 

More and more, I am learning to enjoy and be thankful for each and every day of pregnancy, nausea and vomiting included. I do not enjoy pregnancy. For me the 3rd trimester is actually the most enjoyable. But i am learning to be thankful for the misery. To savor each kick and jab, every round ligament pain, and all the other not so fun elements of pregnancy. Every day is a gift, and not something to take for granted.

Her name is Quinn Collins, in case you didn't gather that from the announcement picture. Quinn is a name  we both liked, but Jared loved. We like not-so-popular names. And with our first daughter's name being Elliott Faith, i just didn't think Emily, Sarah, or Caroline would be a good fit. Quinn means "wise and intelligent." Collins, is a name I love, solidified  by the movie The Blindside (Collins was the name of the oldest daughter) and the fact that I am book nerd - Harper Collins Publishing. As if I wasn't a nerd enough, the science geek in me loves that her initials are Q.C. - quality control. I call her our QC baby - to see if we try this pregnancy thing again. Honestly, the jury is still out on that one. 

Here is our sweet girl, who just like her sister, likes to be shy around the camera.

But from what we can tell, these two girls are going to be clones of each other!!

I really thought I had done a better job photo documenting my belly, but from this remote location, these are the only pictures I could find.

With both my girls around 30 wks

My most recent belly pic, 32 wks, with one of my former college girls, at her rehearsal dinner.

One major difference is pregnancy, I am actually getting to nest, which really should be called driving your husband insane. We just swapped out the master bedroom and the nursery to give the girls more room to grow and play together. Everything is completely done for Quinn Collins' arrival, except the completion of the gallery art wall in their room, and the completion of my hospital bag. Here is a sneak peek at some of the art work I am working on.
Ellie Faith has no clue what is about to happen!:) she is not a fan of when Quinn kicks her, and when you ask her "Ellie, are you going to love baby Quinn?" her response, in a sweet singsong voice, is always "Dope," which is Ellie-speak  for "nope." But girlfriend loves her some babies, and is quite the little momma to all her stuffed animals and dolls. I really think she will adjust very well, after a few weeks. She is pretty routine oriented, so as long as we keep her on a schedule, I really think she will be fine.

But luckily, it looks like we are making some " loving baby Quinn" progress.

Be still and see the wondrous works of The Lord. Job 37:14

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Do I remember how to do this?!?

'I am sure this blog has been removed from most blog rolls/readers by now. I have really missed putting my thoughts to words, but just haven't had/made the time to sit down and write. So much has happened in the past few months, yet much is still very much the same.

We are on vacation this week, to where I not-so-affectionately like to call "Pigeon Forge in the sand." Aka: Mrytle Beach. After we got married, jared informed me I was, of all things, a beach snob. Who knew?!?  Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have family and friends with beach connections in Destin and Hilton Head. I grew up "Beaching it" on private beaches in those locations, or places similar. Imagine my shock upon arrival to a high rise condo, with Jared's family, that people would set up camp two feet away from your reserved beach area,  light up a cigarette, pop open a corona, and blare  hip hop radio!!! I think I spent that entire week in a cross-state of mourning and shock. Ok, so maybe i am a touch of an unintentional beach snob. Thankfully, since then we have moved to a slightly more remote area of this sandy version of Pigeon Forge, so it is a bit more tranquil and much more enjoyable. Our condo this vacation, is actually my favorite so far. Of course, we now have a toddler who is learning more every day that she not only has opinions, but she can express them ... forcefully. I think tranquil vacations may be a thing of the past for ...oh... The next 25 years or so. And I am fine with that. Or at least, i am learning to adjust vacation expectations accordingly.;)

Basically, as long as we can enjoy time with Jared, without him having to work too much remotely, it will be a great time. He has been working so hard (and long) these past few weeks (and its paying off) we just need some extended time together as a family.

I have a goal to write every day, probably either in the morning or evening while the toddler sleeps.:) I don't plan on posting these posts daily, but post dating them for the future, in an effort to get back
into the blogging swing. Unfortunately, I only have my iPhone and Jared's iPad so typing out posts is proving a little bit more difficult/time consuming. Truly, a first world problem. Hoping I get faster with practice.

In catch up... 

We had different spring semester then usual. For those of you who are new around here, my husband and I are very involved in a campus ministry at the university of Tennessee. Therefore, my year is often mentally categoried as fall and spring semesters and summer break. Anyway, this spring, on top of recovering from the miscarriage, helping run the women's ministry and bible, and raising a toddler, I also started keeping an infant for a friend who was new to town.

Ellie Faith loved having a live doll to play with (and gave her the name Cee Cee, which is no where close to her real name!) and I liked her having the daily interaction with another kid invading her territory/kingdom. However, the two could not have had more different personalities or schedules! The first few weeks, there was only a 30 minute window during the day where I could count on having them in their cribs at the same time. Yes, I realize this is very similar to having two kids. these two were only 9 months apart. I now realize there is a reason God does not allow siblings to be so close in age, borrowing prematurity.

 I also learned there is definitely a difference in caring for your own child vs caring for someone else's child. I was really surprised by just how different it was! don't get me wrong, I loved having "Cee Cee" with us,and love that little girl dearly. I babysat and nannied all through high school and college, and loved it! I loved it so much, I went onto practice pediatric nursing for nearly 10 years, and loved it even more. In addition to loving kids, Jared and I have always been extremely open to adoption, and definitely foresee it in our family's future. I think I was a little disappointed in myself at how long it was taking me to adjust to our new not so normal routine. But it was a great learning season for me. And a time in our family I would not change.

i do think it helped me be at least mentally prepared/aware of what to expect when Ellie Faith has a sibling. I think I've mentioned before, and it was probably pretty obvious, we were given the worlds easiest baby in Ellie - minus the dairy allergy and massive poop blow outs that always had to happen out in public. Plus, I loooooove newborns!! I can honestly say that infancy was way easier for me than toddlerhood is proving to be. And we have a great toddler. It's just that she is only now really able to exert her will against ours. So basically, I am not in as much control over our days as I was this time last year.

Our next child could come out completely different and have me counting the minutes and sleepless hours until toddlerhood finally comes our way again. 

Either way, I now realize we will never have the same kind of sweet time we had as a new little family of three as we did when Ellie Faith entered our lives. No, it will be a different kind of sweet time. No less special. Just different

I am a goal setter and a planner. I like to mentally prepare for what is to come. I think this experience helped prepare me, on a small scale, for that different kind of sweet another child,whether delivered from my body or received into our hearts through adoption, will bring. 

Gosh, I have really lost whatever ability I ever had to write a blog with any type of flow

All that above rambling was, in essence, to say even in my absence I have been experiencing a lot of life and learning a lot about myself. And that is what I want to be better at writing down. The lessons I am learning and how I process them. 

I really encouraged my college girls over the past two semesters to take time occasionally to look back and take note of their lives. They would probably be surprised to see God's hand over them in places and at times they never were aware of His presence at the time. I think one of my last posts even had to do with " sometimes you have to look to back to see where you have come from". But I am not good at navigating this blogger app, so I can't be sure.

Recently, I received a comment from a first time reader on my labor playlist post. It caused me to go back and read that post as well as Ellie's birth story. If you have read either of those posts you know I do not have warm fuzzy thoughts on labor. However, reading back over those posts reminded me of many positives that happened to me through those awful yet incredible moments. It helped empower me mentally for the next time my body has to experience labor and delivery.

So here is to trying to do better about documenting this journey I am on. It is not exciting, thrilling, glamorous, creative, or impressive. But it's my own journey, custom made for me by my Heavenly Father, therefore it is special for me. And I want to make the most of it and remember it well. 

And because it wouldn't be a typical post from me without pictures, here are a few recents of me with my favorite people!