The Life

home sweet home.

floridahome

I need to confess I have been keeping a HUGE secret for the past few months.  I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, we already know you’re pregnant.  That’s quite obvious by now.  But this has been an even BIGGER secret.  And I feel like I have been holding it in for so long that I can practically burst.

WE ARE MOVING HOME!

Ah I said it!   That feels so good.

We are moving home.

Home home.

Not West coast Florida home.  Back to where we come from home.  Back to where we grew up.  Where all our memories are.  Where all our family is.  Home.

If I’m being honest the whole idea to move back came out of left field.  If you don’t know, we literally JUST bought a house this past summer.  We really didn’t have any intentions on leaving Birmingham just yet.  We bought a house in a great school zone and while we knew Birmingham wasn’t our forever, we thought we would spend about 3-5 more years here.

But then Mike got a call.  And a job offer soon after.  And the job is back home.  At first I actually resisted.  I can’t lie.  When he said he would like to go interview I said I wasn’t ready to leave.  What was the point.  We are happy here.  But we wanted to hear them out.  And they said all the right things.  So a decision was made.  And Mike left a company that he spent an entire DECADE working for.  And then he moved back home.

Yep, you read that right.  He moved home without us.  Ha!  I must have been insane to think that was a good idea, but it really made sense at the time.  He would be put up in a corporate apartment and I would stay here with the kids and finish out the school year.  Let me tell you.  It has been a long few months.  But we did it.  And in the next few weeks the kids and I will be packing up our things and joining him down there.  Back home.

On one hand it is so bittersweet to leave Birmingham.  We made really great friends here.  We love the community and our house and the schools.  We have a great thing going here, I can’t deny it.  But on the other hand I want to scream at the top of my lungs:

“I’M GOING HOME!!!”

Home to my mom.  Home to the ocean.  To where I am most familiar.  To be back near all our family.  Home to Sunday dinners and bbqs and never spending another holiday alone.  Home to no one missing out on our kids birthday parties and dance recitals.  Home.   And it feels so good to say that.

The next few months are going to be quite interesting.  We haven’t sold the house yet, so we will be temporarily be living at Grandma + Grandpa’s house.  We have to find a new neighborhood, a new house, new schools, all of it.  And I’m 27 weeks pregnant on top of everything, so to say it will be a busy summer is an understatement.  But it will be good.  So good.  Because we will be home.

So that’s what we have been up to.  Keeping busy over here that’s for sure.  Never a dull moment.  But we all know dull really isn’t my thing.

Hope you’re having a great week!!

XO,

Danielle

The Life

Valentine’s Weekend Recap XO

So, if you’ve been following for a while you may remember that Juliana and I have a Valentine’s Day Tea Party tradition.  You can check out some of the older posts here, here and here.  I started this tradition a few years back when Juliana was 2 years old.  I love the idea of having a special tradition for us to look forward to.  In the past we invited our friends and their moms to a brunch and ate yummy powdered donuts and mini sandwiches.  We have so much fun planning the party and picking decorations.  I love to see the little girls dressed up acting fancy with their pretty pink drinks.

This year however Juliana wanted nothing to do with a party.  Every time I brought it up she shot the idea down.  Didn’t want to talk about the invite list, didn’t want to pick decorations.  Didn’t want to plan a menu.  Nothing.  I couldn’t figure out why the change in heart, but I have since given up on figuring out why she makes the decisions she does and I decided I needed to get over it.  I knew eventually we wouldn’t be throwing tea parties in the family room.  And that when she is 13 there’s a better chance of us having tea at the Ritz than inviting all the girls in her homeroom over for mini muffins, but I thought I had more time.

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit crushed.  This tradition isn’t supposed to be stressful, it’s supposed to be a tradition of something we do together to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Whatever it is we decide to do.  So I started to plan a weekend full of other activities that I knew she would love.  Then my girlfriend, who knew I was bummed, suggested that we take our girls out to a fancy Sunday Brunch to celebrate.  Perfect!  I added it to the agenda.  We would have a whole weekend full of fun and end it with a big girl brunch.  I was starting to get pretty excited.

On Friday night after dinner I whispered to Juliana that I had a surprise for her after Joey went to bed.  She quick ran upstairs to “pretend” to go to sleep and after Joey was sleeping she crawled past his door and met me in the spa, I mean my master bathroom.  I surprised her with a special girls only spa night and she was thrilled!  I gave her my bathrobe to put on and handed her a special pink drink.  Let me tell you, nothing says fancy like lemonade with a splash of cherry juice in a stemless wine glass.  We sat on the floor and I painted her little nails and toes.  She picked blue for her toes and I tried not to make a face since this was her day afterall, but blue!?  I’m lucky it peels off quick.  After that I sat her on the counter to apply her face mask.  Mom tip:  Squirt a little face mask onto a plate (smashed avocado or banana work great too) and let your kids “paint” it onto their faces.  It takes a good 20 minutes of pure concentration.  You’re welcome.  While she was busy with that I got to work on setting up the rest of the “spa”.  A warm bath full of bubbles, lit candles and Pandora set to Spa Suite.  She hopped in the bath and put the cucumbers over her eyes.  She had so much fun relaxing and acting like a big girl.  I secretly think that the staying up late was her favorite part and that’s ok.  After she dried off I surprised her with a new nightgown and took her upstairs to bed.  She must have been rather relaxed because she was sound asleep in about 5 minutes.

The next morning we had plans to meet our good friends Savannah and Charlee for a movie and Chick Fil A playdate.  We were super excited because we don’t get to see them very much any more.  Their mom and I bought houses at the exact opposite ends of town and it’s just not as easy to make plans as it was when we lived 5 minutes away.  The girls were SO excited to see each other and I love how they get back to talking like they just saw each other yesterday.  I packed the kids a special movie snack to eat while we watched Trolls.  Again.  If you follow me on IG you know how I feel about the overpriced movie theater concession stand.  And the movie snacks have got nothing on my homemade snack tray anyways.  Right?  We had so much fun with them and can’t wait to see them again.

On Sunday morning when Juliana woke up I told her that our babysitter was coming to spend some time with Joey while I took her out for a special brunch.  She raced upstairs to pick out a dress and I heard her telling Joey that she was off to see the doctor, ha!  I blow dried her hair and she applied a tiny bit of make up.  It was a special day after all.  Christina and I took the girls to the Cheesecake Factory for brunch and the girls had the BEST time.  They got to pick anything they wanted off of the menu and we spoiled them with shirley temples and ice cream sundaes.  It was so sweet sitting on the other side of the booth watching them tell secrets and giggle.  I think they had a blast acting like big girls.

By the time we got home from brunch I was officially pooped and over Valentine’s Day before it even started.  Our weekend of jam packed activities was a total success.  We missed having Daddy around and were sad that he was away for work (did you wonder why I didn’t mention him this whole time, haha!) but such is life.  He sent us beautiful flowers so we wouldn’t feel too bummed and next year we will all get to celebrate Valentine’s Day together 🙂

I hope you had a great weekend and Valentines Day with your loved ones, I know we did.

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

XO, Danielle

IMG_3221-001 IMG_3223 IMG_3229-001                  I’m telling you, face mask + paintbrush = mommy break //  Trust me on this one.

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The Life

i wonder how they celebrate birthdays in heaven.

dad

Her big brown eyes turned to look at me, “can you play it mama”.  Big pools of innocence staring up at me; she has no idea what she is asking.  How playing it will release the floodgates.  How listening to the words will reopen every wound.  How the song will take me to a place that I’ve been hiding from for months.  

// There was a time when I was alone, nowhere to go and no place to call home. 

My only friend was the man in the moon, and even sometimes he would go away too.

Neverland is home to lost boys like me, and lost boys like me are free//

Today is your birthday.  I wonder how you celebrate a birthday in heaven.  Do you get to eat endless bowls of your favorite cereal?  Stand outside and wait for the ice cream truck and get a dozen of your favorite treats?  Chinese?  Pizza?  I remember when you complained that the radiation killed all your taste buds and everything tasted like meatloaf.  I hope it doesn’t like that anymore.  

I wonder if there will be a cake.  Candles.  Who will sing to you?  So many times I wanted to sing to you on your birthday.  So many times I couldn’t.  Where were you?  Didn’t you want to hear us sing to you?  I guess it doesn’t matter now.  It’s strange missing you on your birthday, when I have missed so many.  But I missed you then and I miss you now.  Oh I wish things had been different.

I used to get jealous you know.  Other friends with their dads.  They would come to watch them cheer and dance.  I could always find them sitting somewhere on the sideline.  You were never there.  Sure you showed up when it was important.  Graduations.  My wedding.  I guess that was enough.  I learned to take what I could get.  And I was grateful.  So grateful.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I just wanted more.  I deserved more.  

I’m not jealous of anyone anymore.  Everyone has a story to tell.  A dark part of their heart.  A part they don’t share.  A part they hide from.  Secrets buried.  Memories so fragmented from years of trying to forget.  And then jagged edges glued together from years they tried to piece those fragments back together.  In hopes of some small memory.  Some small hope that it wasn’t all a dream and the foggy and cloudy memories did exist.  That it was real.  And they go back and forth between trying desperately to forget and painfully trying to remember.  I know that I’m not alone.  So I’m no longer jealous.  Everyone has a story.  You are mine.  And I forgive you.  I always have.  

It is your birthday after all.  I wonder who your talking to.  If you are boring them to tears with a discussion of the anatomy of a bird.  That used to bore me to tears.  Or maybe you’re sitting somewhere with a lukewarm cup of coffee reading Rudyard Kipling.  Or writing.  Endless scribbles in a big yellow pad.  Or on a diner napkin.  Maybe someone made you an egg cream.  Or salami and eggs.  I hope you spend today doing whatever it is you want to.  And I hope you enjoy it.  I’ll be missing you from down here like I have for many more then just the 2 years you have been gone.  You will always be my favorite of the lost boys even if I struggle to understand what made you feel so lost.  So go on, and celebrate your birthday in whatever way makes you happy.  Everyone deserves happiness. 

I will love you always

DJ

The Life

new year, old me.

FullSizeRender  

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the New Years Resolutions that everyone will be making at midnight tonight.  Get skinny, (I’m sorry, healthy), get organized, be more present, enjoy life, travel.  Blah blah.  New year, new me.  That’s what they’ll all say.  But screw that.  I like me.  I like the 2016 me.  And the me in 2015.  You know, I really liked the 2010 me because she was a skinny bitch but I’ll get over it.  

Tonight, it’s new year, old me.  

Who needs all that pressure of lists and resolutions anyways?  Face it, if you wanted to be a size 4 again, crap, I mean “healthier”, you wouldn’t need to wait until New Year’s Day to start.  You would have put down the double cheeseburger you ate last week.  But you didn’t. So stop trying to fool yourself.  If you want to make the change, you will.  When your ready.  Not because 2017 made you.

I just can’t get behind making a list of lies this year.  To ultimately set myself up for failure by week 2 day 4 when I’m stressed and catch myself taking the kids to chick fil a for a mid day nugget and babysitting session.  Don’t act like you don’t use their ice cream and play area as babysitters.  No one believes you.  

Let’s face it.  I am not going to give up my wine.  I’m still going to pretend I don’t hear the kids shouting my name in the morning so Mike has to get up.  I am still going to avoid the laundry and most household duties in general.  I’ll still think McDonald French fries should be its own food group.  The list goes on my friend.  

But you know what?  I’ll also still spend time with my kids.  Lots of time.  I’ll still create special memories with them even if we leave a mess in our trails.  I’ll always sit down every night and recap the day with my husband.  I’ll still be a mediocre chef who serves breakfast for dinner more then I would like to admit but always make sure there’s a fruit and vegetable on my kids plates.  The things that are great about me and the things maybe not so much just make me who I am.  And I’m not looking to change.  I am going into 2017 the same girl as I am when 2016 ends at midnight.  

So my resolution list isn’t happening.  And let’s face it.  It would probably get lost somewhere in the bottom of my bag or under the car seat with last weeks grocery list and the list of very important phone calls I had to make and misplaced.  And I’m ok with that.  I’m ok with being a disorganized mess.  I thrive in chaos.  I live for it.  I’ll live with the extra weight because I love food too much to get rid of it.  No sense in losing the weight to be a skinny and miserable.  I want to stay the same me.  The goofy one who takes selfies with the animals on the carousel.  The one who can laugh at herself and doesn’t let much bring her down.  Because I’m happy.  Like really, really happy.  And I don’t want to change a thing.

So you decide what you want to do at midnight.  If you choose to make a list of resolutions I’ll support you.  Go for it.  Make those big changes.  I hope you succeed.  Really, I do.  And if you don’t?  If you fail miserably?  Don’t worry, we all already love you just the way you are.  

I wish you all the happiest of New Years.  I have a feeling 2017 is going to be incredible.  

XO, Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

The Life

doing the best I can.

joeyblog

The sound was muffled at first.  My ears perked as they always do since having my babies but I couldn’t quite place the noise.  Confusion.  That’s all I heard.  A barely audible gasp followed by a few soft thumps.  After what can only be described as the longest second of my life I realized what was happening.  The knife I was holding dropped onto the floor and I raced to the front of the house.  I remember screaming his name.  As I ran the thumping got louder and by the time I reached the landing he was lying at the bottom of the staircase screaming.  All I can remember thinking was, “thank god he’s screaming.  I think that means he’s ok”.  I scooped him into my arms and pressed his body to mine.

And then I started sobbing.  Shouting all sorts of questions up the stairs to his sister between my gasps for air.  “Did you see it happen?  How high was he?  Why was he playing on the steps?  Do you see blood?!  Is he bleeding?”  I was shouting at her.  Screaming through my tears.  His little body, racked with sobs clutched so tightly to mine.  I noted each time he moved an arm or leg and I ruled out possibility of a broken bone.   I searched his head for bruises.  Nothing.

The tears still poured.  Now from all three of us as my daughter stood at the top of the staircase terrified.  I called to her “he’s ok.  I think he’s ok”.   I crumbled to the floor with him still clinging to me.  How did this happen?  How did I let this happen?  I must have called 10 warnings up the stairs in the past 20 minutes.  “Don’t play on the stairs.  Stay in the loft.  Don’t bring toys on the steps.”

How did I let this happen???

I spend my entire day trying to protect my children.  Cutting their grapes in half so they don’t choke.  Holding their little hands when we cross the street.  Making sure they are buckled properly in their car seats.  Shielding them from other cars in the parking lot.  I always joke “of course my kids will get hurt.. But not on my watch.”  Because I’m supposed to protect them.  I’m supposed to be the one who catches them before the fall.  Who anticipates the accident before it happens and intercepts it.  Protecting my babies.  It’s my job.  But that’s not always the case is it?

I was 20 feet away.  20 feet!  I am constantly warning them not to play near the top of the stairs.  Today was no different.  I yelled and pleaded warnings right and left.  And he still came tumbling down.  Oh, I cringe just thinking about it.

I wish someone would have warned me about this.  I wish so badly someone would have told me that once I had my first baby I would worry every single day for the rest of my life.  But they didn’t.  Perhaps they didn’t want to scare me.  Maybe they were too busy worrying about their own babies.   And I get that.  If someone would have handed me a box of bubble wrap and told me I would understand one day I would think they were bananas.  Yet here I am searching my child for bruises and wishing I could wrap him in bubble wrap.

It’s hard to ignore the guilt consuming my heart.  But I know this was not my fault.  I know I do my best.  I know with every ounce of my being that if I was standing there I would have pushed him out of harms way and taken the fall myself.  But I won’t always be at arms reach.  I won’t always be able to take the fall for them.  And that doesn’t make me a bad mom.  It simply makes me human.  And while it is tough to swallow the idea that I won’t be able to protect them from everything, I am comforted by knowing that I do the best I can.  Accidents are going to happen.  Knees will get skinned.  Bones will break.  And I can only protect them the best I can.

So just keep doing what you’re doing fellow mamas.  We are all just doing the best we can.  Motherhood is a tough gig and while it would be less stressful if our babies came wrapped in bubble wrap that isn’t exactly how it works.  So teach them right from wrong, warn them of dangers they are unaware of and prepare to give kisses to a lot of boo boos.

XO, Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.