Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

There is something about the outside of a horse that is
good for the inside of a man.
~Winston Churchill

Or for the inside of a girl.  She loves horses.  She wants to buy one and keep it in her bedroom.  This photo was taken at the Apple Orchard in Illinois immediately following a wagon ride that was pulled by these magnificent creatures.

Hubs took this photo of me and Chloe Belle at the Children's Farm in Illinois.  I don't usually like pictures of myself, but I love this one.  I love the way Chloe tucks her little fingers into my shirt and holds on so that if I start to put her down, she can clench it tightly and resist.  I also love the leaves on the ground and the little smile lines around my eyes.  And, I love that everything was right with the world the day that this was taken.  It was a fabulous day!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Little Girl Lost - My Nightmare

It's 11:00 on Sunday night.  I can't sleep.  Visions of what could have been are rattling around in my brain.  I toss and turn, I tell myself that everything is fine, but I can't shake it.  We got lucky. 


I got lucky. 

This afternoon we went to the Pumpkin Patch.  Not just any pumpkin patch, but the busiest and most popular pumpkin patch on this side of the Gulf.  We enjoyed pony rides, the butterfly tent, live music, and lunch.  Shortly after lunch Camdyn says she has to go potty.  So, we leave Daddy & Chloe, Aunt Liz & Uncle JJ, and Abby behind, and Cam & I set out to find a bathroom.  We settle for the port-o-potty, wash our hands, and then Camdyn asks me if we can go through the Mist Tunnel.  The Mist Tunnel, is a wooden structure about 12 feet wide, and maybe 30 or 40 yards long.  It's dark(ish) in there and fans blow mist to cool you off, because this is Florida ya'll and it's hot down here in October.  So, we venture in to the mist tunnel side by side.  About half way through, I say, "Let's exit here and go to the table."  Camdyn wants to walk all the way through the tunnel, so I say "I'll wait right here.   Go to the end and then come back."  That didn't seem like a big was a mere 15 yards or so and I was going to watch her the whole time.  Well, that was the plan anyway.

So, I'm standing there and I'm watching her bound through the tunnel and suddenly a man steps in my line of view.  I step to the side to get Cam back in my sight.  WHERE IS SHE?  WHERE DID SHE GO?  So, I begin to run through the tunnel to find her.  She was just right in front of me.  How did I lose her in one second?  I get through the tunnel and look for her at the end, and she isn't there.  I look outside towards the picnic area and I don't see here.  WHERE IS SHE?  Momma panic sets in and I begin screaming her name.  I run in the tunnel and back out of the tunnel.  CAMDYN?  People are starting to notice.  I begin screaming at random people to help me.  HELP ME!  Black Shirt, Orange Tutu skirt, 4 years old.  She's missing.  I scream this over and over.  People are gathering around, as I dart in and out of the tunnel.  I am at a loss.  My head is spinning.  CAMDYN?  WHERE ARE YOU?  Thoughts start rushing through my mind.  Did someone carry her out of the tunnel?  This is Florida - pedophiles outnumber everyone else 3 to 1.  How am I going to live with myself?  How did I lose her?  I only had one kid to watch.  How did I do this?  HELP ME!  I NEED HELP!  I CAN'T FIND HER! 

My mind is swirling.  I decide I need to find Chris.  He has to help me search for her.  I run toward the table where the group was finishing lunch.  PLEASE GOD HELP ME.

And, then I see her. 

She's sitting on Uncle JJ's lap with tears streaking down her face. 

I break down. 

I hold her and we cry. 




She says to me, "Momma don't ever leave me."  And, then Chloe starts to cry because everyone else is crying, and the baby is really intuitive like that.  When I come to my senses, I think I'd better walk her over to the 20 people who had gathered in concern and probably bewilderment as I ran around in circles screaming for my little girl lost.  I carried Cam to the end of the tunnel where the crowd had gathered.  "I found her.  We are okay.  Thanks everyone.  Thank You."  Other Momma's smiled at me, their eyes were compassionate, they all seemed to understand.  One Momma even told me she was about to ask the band to stop playing and make an announcement. 

I carried Camdyn for 10 minutes and held her hand the rest of the day.  We talked in length about what to do if we ever become separated....FREEZE YOUR FEET.  Don't move from the spot you are in.  Ask a Momma who has kids with her to help you find your mom.  We always ask a Mom. 

I learned today that life can change in an instant.  No matter how responsible of a parent I think I am, I make mistakes.  This just might be the biggest one I've made so far. 

I thought that maybe if I blogged this out, then maybe I'd feel better and I'd get some sleep tonight.  Now, I'm thinking that maybe I need to crawl in to bed with Camdyn.  I need to listen to her sweet tiny snores and feel the movement of her chest.  I need to be reminded that she is fine.  We are all fine.  I think maybe that is how I'll get over this, tonight. 

His blessings are everywhere.  God is Good.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Never Too Late for Ice Cream

I think everyone needs just one or maybe two, if you are really, really, lucky. 

You know, that one friend that can read you like a book.  That one friend that knows what's coming before you even open your mouth.  I have that....

Wednesday, was a day that I was feeling like a big parenting a failure.  It was a day that I was questioning the methods that I have chosen to discipline my child.  It was a day when I thought that maybe positive discipline isn't working, and maybe the good old paddle and a little parental fear will do the trick.  It was a day when I realized that I never felt inadequate until I became a parent.

There I stood in the park.  My girls were playing, I was surrounded by my friends and their children just as we have done every day for years.  I stood there, with tears in my eyes, looking at Camdyn and trying to figure out how we got to this place.  This place where she thinks she makes the rules, where she blatantly questions my authority, where she tries to call the shots, and is downright unmanageable at times.  Where did my open communication, my reasoning and listening skills, and all of the other tools I have been using get us?  They are not working right now.  The theories we were testing with my independent and strong willed child are not working.  I felt defeated.  I felt like I had failed her.  Tears leaked from my eyes.  And, my girlfriends stood there silently.  They knew in that moment there was nothing to say to help.  They knew I just needed some space and some fresh air.

And, then I got home and I got a text:

Her:  Hey if you are feeling up to ice cream later, I would love to indulge in some with you :)
Me:  Thanks.  I will let you know.  I am tryin' to survive dinner
Her:  Okay, just let me know...Hang in there

Me (8:07 pm):  I think it got too late.  Thanks for the offer though
Her:  It's never too late for ice cream....But I'm always up for ice cream so let me know
Me:  Well I am ready for bed so itd have to be McDonalds.  Meet you in the parking lot at XXXX in a few?
Her:  In PJ's?  Meet ya there!  We'll eat in the car
Me:  Perfect...

And it was.   She had the hot fudge sundae, I had carmel.  We listened to the new Sugarland CD (awesomeness) and talked about the events that had happened with Camdyn.  We talked about what I could change, what our family could change, and how life moves so fast sometimes it's difficult not to get overwhelmed.  We spent 45 minutes eating ice cream in the car that night, and I did most of the talking and brain dumping, and she did a lot of nodding.  It was exactly what I needed and she knew that.  I went home a little less stressed.  I talked it out with Hubs a second time in a truly constructive manner.  It's going to take the whole team to turn this ship around, but we'll get there.  This Momma is standing her ground.

So, to my friend who shall remain nameless thank you for saying "It's never too late for ice cream" and for just being you.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless{ish} Wednesday & Photo Challenge - Fall

The horse is God's gift to mankind.
~Arabian Proverb
Chloe Belle sat in the saddle for the first time while we were at the Children's Farm pumpkin festival in Illinois last week.  Just like her big sister, she loved it.  She cried big tears when her ride was over.  I'm beginning to think that a love for animals is either innate or genetic as both of my kids have been fascinated with all things living from the moment they could talk.  I'll take it.  I swim in their curiosity and excitement as they discover animals and new experiences.  And, It makes for wonderful trips to the zoo and farms. 

I've been absent from photo challenges for awhile.  Life has been chaotic and I just couldn't quite get my act together.  This week's theme at Paper Mama is Fall.  I have some lovely fall pictures from our trip last weekend, but the photos of the turning trees don't have children in them, or the photos of kids don't have have beautiful, multi-colored trees in them.

I'm submitting this for the fall theme.  This photo was taken on my Grandad's Farm, after the corn had been harvested.  My girls found a pile of corn that the combine had left behind.  They played in it, they threw it in the air, and they loved the way the small kernels felt in their hands. 

This is fall, harvested corn, open fields, soft blue skies, long pants, and crisp air. 

Please visit Chelsey and view some wonderful interpretations of fall.

The Paper Mama

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here's to 100!

I was planning on taking a bloggy break today, but this is just too exciting to wait.

WE HIT 100 Ya'll! 

Let's all welcome Stephanie from Dirt and Lace to the group! 

Now, I just met Stephanie, but from what I gather, she's cute as a button, and a budding photographer with 2 adorable little girls.  It appears we have a few things in common.

Please clicky on over there and say "hi" to Stephanie!  Oh, and look around for a picture of naked Barbies that are properly's hilarious!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My 33rd Trip Around the Sun - Happy Birthday to Me

The birthdays just keep coming faster and faster every year.  I don't dread them.  32 was a pretty awesome year, and I'm finding the old adage "Life Starts at 30" to be kinda true.  It's also true that no one cares more about your birthday than your own Momma. So, thank you Momma for giving me a birthday and for wishing me one bright and early this morning!

Back in July we bought tickets to see Sugarland in Concert in Tampa.  I was in desperate need of a real girl's night out.  The Hubs had been away on business all week, my mommy hat was becoming tattered and torn.  My energy tank was on low and I needed to de-stress.

So, the girls got together and we made a night of it last Friday.

You may recognize the Bestie Liz from Tickled Pink

And Kirsten from Always Find the Sunnyside.  Kirsten blogged about the night and has some fabulous pictures.  So, when you are done here go on over there and check out her photos and commentary.  You'll probably want to click around awhile.  Her blog is uplifting and I love that every day she looks for the bright spot in her day and then writes about it. 

The show was awesome, probably one of the best concerts I have ever seen.  Not only do I love the band, but I also loved the company and that made it even better. 

We sang at the top of our lungs, we swayed to the slow songs, we laughed and laughed until potty breaks were necessary.  We enjoyed being outside in the fresh (or not so fresh air, thank you smokers) and let it all go.  We forgot about bedtime routines, school work, aching backs and therapy.  We forgot about teething, snotty noses, home repairs, and tantrums.  We lived in the moment.  We stayed out long past our bedtimes.  We had a blast.

And, it was one of the best birthday celebrations I've ever had!  Thank you, Liz, for knowing me like a sister.  For sharing all the ups and downs of the year with me, and for being a part of a lot of wonderful memories.  Love ya!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Down on the Farm

The farm is part of my childhood memories.  It's a place we would go and gather with family on holidays, we would explore the barns and the fields with our cousins, we would play on the basketball court in the hayloft of the big barn.  We would chase farm cats, and play hide and seek.  It's a place that holds thousands of memories of my childhood and I hadn't been there in well over a decade.

Although the land is still worked, the farm is otherwise vacant.  My Grandad no longer lives in the old farm house, the barns are empty of cattle, chickens and rabbits.  Some of the machinery is old and neglected.  But, it's still beautiful and it's still a piece of me and of my family history. 

This is the place my Momma was raised.  The land she did her chores on in the 50's.  It's also her childhood we re-visited that day.

Camdyn was fascinated by the farm even though it didn't have animals on it.  She listened to my Momma's stories about where the animals used to be and how she used to feed them.  And, then we wandered down the path and in to the field and stopped to play with a pile of corn that was left behind.

They loved the way it felt in their fingers.  They loved throwing it and rolling in it under the bright mid morning sun. 

And, I realized how special it is that three generations are standing on this land.  The Farm won't be a monthly excursion for my girls, but I hope that they will grow up understanding that it's part of the roots from which they came.

I hope my girls understand that it's my Momma's life experiences that have molded her and thereby shaped me.  And, it's my experiences that are molding them.  

We are all connected to the generations before us.

If you look at this picture below and see trouble looming....

You would be correct.  It wasn't long after this picture was snapped that Camdyn came sliding down this pile of gravel and took out the poor baby standing at the bottom.  It was probaby the only not-so-great thing that happened on the farm that day.
So, we dusted the baby off, wiped away her tears, and then spent some time playing with soybeans and looking at antique tractors.  My Grandad must have 20 tractors on his farm.  Some are old and inoperable (I assume) and some are new. 

And, then we piled in the car and drove 40 minutes back to City life with the joy of reminiscing spread across our faces, and little pieces of corn tucked in our hems and pockets. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

As Thankful as I Could Possibly Be

The last time I said "good bye" I thought it was the final good bye.  I stood at his bedside wondering how this happened.  All the anger and pain over his disease had been replaced with the deepest morose.  He had aged beyond his years, he was thin, incapable of walking unassisted, he was fragile, and vulnerable, and I wanted nothing more than to snap him in to the Daddy that I always knew.

So, I stood there at his bedside, taking a picture with my memory, fully prepared that this may be the last time I see him alive.  As tears welled in my eyes, I prayed that he would want more for himself.  I prayed for strength for his body, I prayed that things would change.

Today, I am Thankful for his recovery.  I am thankful that he has chosen life.  I am thankful for his dedication to his program and for his commitment to his family.  I am thankful for the life the Lord has restored in him.  I am Thankful for the Psalms which brought him comfort and peace when his body was shaking and the waves of nausea were rocking.  I am Thankful that this is now the picture seared in to my memory. 
I am thankful that my girls have their Paw Paw back.  I am thankful for the beautiful childhood memories they will have of him, memories that mirror my own.

This my friends, was the highlight of our trip back home.  Simple evenings spent on the deck, under the setting sun.  Shared pizza, sodas and chocolate chip cookies with easy conversation and the joys of watching children be children, with my daddy - Alive. Vibrant. Healthy.

And I couldn't possibly be more proud {and Thankful}.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Baaackkk! Wordy Wednesday and Pictureless too!

Finally.  We arrived home late last night and the kids were hard to arouse from their beds this morning.  I have a ton of catching up to do with the blog, follow-backs, replying to comments, emails, and of course there is that photography class that has been neglected an entire week ::Sigh::  Thanks for your patience as I get my bearings.  It's always tough coming home from a vacation, but it's always worth it. 

Ten Things I Learned Traveling with the Littles (this time around).
10).  Camdyn makes friends everywhere we go. Literally.

9).  All kids love Buses
8).  Toys are pointless on an airplane.  Chloe played with her shoes, daddy's shoes, and cups filled with ice (that was messy).
7).  The woman who invented Baby Einstein is a God-Send.  It is the only show that Chloe has ever watched from beginning to end.
6).  My kids love corn.  They love to eat it and play in it (pics of this to come).
5).  It is possible to lose a baby in a crowded barn even with 3 adults paying attention ::insert momma panic, trembling hands, and light headed-ness::
4).  My kids love horses
3).  Baby constipation sucks, but I got some pretty sweet hugs out of it.
2).  If you can walk then you get your own seat on the airplane. period.

1).  My kids sleep better at Gramma's house than they do at home.

I took a ton of pictures, not sure if they are great or not yet, but will share them with you throughout the week. I know there are a few that are going to be framers!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where I'm At...

In the blogging world, I'm at the Nestwork today.  {Hi Nesties!  Thanks for stopping by!}  If you aren't familiar with Mama Hen and her community called the Nestwork, then you are missing out.  Mama Hen is a truly inspiring writer, educator, and Mama.  Her blog Mama's Little Chick always gives my spirit a boost and often makes me think about what is really important in life.

Click on over there and check out her blog and link up on the Nestwork.  You'll be glad you did!

In the real world, I'm jet setting on a plane with a 4 1/2 year old and an 18 month old, a bottle of Benedryl and a DVD player.  We'll be visiting the fall, the turning leaves, the family farm, and the apple orchard.  I'm so excited to see family, wear jeans, and sweatshirts, and drink hot apple cider. 

I'll be missing you while I'm gone, but hopefully I will have some tales to tell and some wonderful pictures to share with you next week!   

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Baby Love

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
~Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Street Party - First Friday

Every 1st Friday of the month, one of the neighboring towns throws a street party.  We hadn't been since Chloe was born, and now that the weather is cooling off a bit, we decided to take the kiddos there last Friday night. 

We packed a picnic lunch and the kiddos ate and played on the sidewalk.  Here Chloe enjoys her organic yogurt, and she's getting really, really good with the spoon!

After dinner, the kids enjoyed some ice cream.  Cam ordered Mint Chocolate Chip which is my favorite too.  She even shared with Chloe although Chloe kept spitting out the chocolate pieces. 

Then, we walked down the street and saw some bizarre things.  Like this horse walking next to a woman wearing 4 inch heals at 6:00 in the evening at a street fair....

Chloe loved this giant dog and got so excited.  I wanted a picture, but I was afraid the dog would lick her and thereby knock her down because this creature's tongue has to be at least as wide as Chloe's little head.

And, then Camdyn posed for a picture with her bestie, Madison.  They love each other and fight like sisters.  They tye-dyed these T-shirts with their classmates last week and wore them to school on Friday.  It's going to be a sad day when these little girls go to different Elementary Schools.

And, the littles played in front of the fountain for a long time and Becky and I talked about how it is so fitting to snap their picture here because they will probably get engaged in front of the same fountain in 22 years or so.  They are betrothed but don't know it yet.

And then the girls got animal balloons and their faces painted. 

Camdyn chose to have her arm done instead, which was a wise choice.  This sucker is still on her arm even after several baths and a dip in the pool.
Then we called it a night and headed home.  I think we'll be doing this again next month, only we'll stay longer to enjoy the live music.  It was definitely great company and a really great time!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Halloween Photo Session

On Sunday, we met Bridgette, our photographer, at the park before the sun was all the way up.  We bribed the girls in to their Halloween costumes, and followed them around the park for an hour and half while Bridgette snapped away in the cool morning air.

These pictures have become our annual tradition.  Every year since Camdyn was 9 months old, we've taken her to Sears to have her picture taken in her Halloween costume.  This provides me with a memory of what she wore that year, and I can also gage how much she changed in that one year, because the pictures are always taken at the same time.  This year, we decided to skip the studio and hire a real photographer.  Photographing toddlers in a studio is a nightmare, and Sears is always hit or miss - usually the pictures are only as good as the person taking them, sometimes they are adequate and sometimes they are a waste of time.

Bridgette did an amazing job catching some fleeting moments.  Click Here to see our pictures.

Do you have a favorite?  I'm having a really hard time picking out my faves!

Thanks, Bridgette for handling my squirrelly girls so brilliantly!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feelin' Trippy....

I'm feeling kinda trippy and not in a 70's, psychedelic kinda way, but more of in a memory lane, nostalgic kinda way. 

I'm not really sure what prompted the feeling.  Maybe it was talking to Camdyn in the car this morning and being completely floored at the things she remembers and how she expresses herself.  She reminds me daily that she is not a baby anymore.  She's a kid, and although she still doesn't listen all that great, she still doesn't stay in her own bed at night, she really is becoming more of a kindergartner than a pre-schooler...already.

And, then there is Chloe Belle, and I look at her and think, when did you get this big?  When did you start putting your shoes on the right feet? 

Of course, I amaze myself because as the girls have managed to grow faster than the mold on the unused hot dogs in my fridge, I have managed to stay completely untouched by time.  It's a miracle really.  I mean, how did I do that?

So, in honor of October, my next favorite month to December, after all, it houses my birthday and Halloween, and the start of the fabulous winter wonderland season. 

Follow me to October 2007:

Camdyn is 21 months old in this picture and she's sporting an outfit she received from Auntie Liz.  I don't know how I remember that, but I do.  She had hair long enough for piggies, which cracks me up because Chloe is so far behind sissy in the hair department.  We mostly referred to her as "Cammer" back then and "Jam Jam."  We've lost those baby nicknames now :( We lived at the old house and had just painted the walls that shade of gray.

This was one of Cam's 1st pony rides.  We enjoyed the pumpkin patch with her sevreal times that year. 
She still loves horses!

She was such a cute fairy that Halloween.  And, oddly there must have ben a cold front that Halloween because she has sleeves on and I've come to know that it is usually Hotter than Sin in FL on Halloween.  So, this is odd.  I think she looks a little like Chloe in this picture.

And obviously, all of these pictures were taken pre-Good Camera days, which makes me wish I had picked up a DSLR in college, but then again, they are a lot more affordable now. 

Well, this weekend, I'll still be working on Halloween costumes, Camdyn is also taking a stab at gymnastics again, so we'll cross our fingers and say a prayer for her attention span.  We will also be welcoming the bestie back in to town, enjoying some time together and, we are doing our annual Halloween photo shoot with my dear friend Bridgette.  I hope she brings all of her talent and a boat load of patience with her on Sunday morning. 

I'll see ya on the flip side!  Happy Weekend, Y'all!