Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vacation 2011

I have been procrastinating writing this post. Not because I don't want to share our week at the beach with you, but because I took 929 photos. Using the quick frame setting. Which means there are about 25 of each shot with subtle little differences. To the untrained eye (you guys), they all look the same. But to the artiste (me), those subtle differences are of great proportion and actually deciding which ones to post is almost an impossible feat. We've been home for a week so I figured I better get it over with before I forget what we actually did on vacation. But then I remembered that I took 929 photos. There's no way I could forget what we did on vacation. I documented every. little. detail.


Beatrice did great on the 7 hour ride to Destin, FL. She played with stickers, she colored, she gave her babies bottles, and she drank wa-wa juice. We're an extended rear-facing car seat family, but after a little snafu with the installation of her seat in JD's vehicle that delayed us getting on the road by 45 minutes, she rode forward-facing for the week. She did great and really enjoyed it, but she's back in the rear-facing position for at least 6 more months. I feel the need to explain that in the event that one of you rear-facers is judging me right now. Safety first, unless you can't figure out the stupid latch system and your husband starts mumbling 4-letter words. Then it's just get-the-thing-in-the-car-already and turn it when you're back home.  

To break up the drive, we stopped in Alabama at the Peach Park. It is this huge farmer's market/eatery that serves yummy bar-b-que, ice cream, and fried pies. Leave it to me to order blackberry cobbler at the Peach Park. It was worth it. Especially since JD and Beatrice aren't huge fans of blackberries. More for me!

The whole reason we stopped there was so Beatrice could run around and play before the second leg of the drive. We picked up rocks, played on a huge family sized swing, and rode a horse statue. JD took a few pictures of me, but upon further review it has been determined that I am too, er "unshapely" for digital film. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the blackberry cobbler...

The Beach

My child loved the beach. From the first night we took her down to play, she loved the sand, the water, the "burr-dees." It was precious to see how determined she was at digging with her "shuh-bulls" and chasing those birds.

Are you sick of looking at pictures yet? We're not even halfway done so if you're loving it, yay for you. If not, well, I'm really sorry. I told you there were 929 of these bad boys. I'm doing my best to not make this the longest post in the history of the internet. 

We spent a few hours in the morning at the beach, then about an hour in the afternoon before dinner chasing birds and hunting shells.

Bathing Shoots

Beatrice's favorite thing about the whole trip may very well have been that she got to wear a "bay-ting shoot" everyday. She loved getting up in the morning knowing that she got to wear a different silky suit. She worked them.

I love the expressions on their faces in the above photo. They're like, "seriously, another picture? If you're not careful, we're gonna have over 929 of these things."


Seaside is this idyllic little beach town a few miles from Destin. The architecture and feel of the place is supposed to make you feel like you stepped into a storybook town about 50 years ago. It is surreal how perfect it really is.

We ate lunch and gelato in Seaside. I had a grilled goat cheese and prosciutto sandwich. Oh. Em. Gee. So good. I have no idea what the other 2 had. I was busy scarfing my sandwich and wondering how much gelato I could eat without JD intervening.

The Pool

Our resort had an indoor and an outdoor pool. The indoor pool was heated so there was really nothing else to consider. We swam everyday and our little fishy loved it. And threw tantrums when it was time to get out.

Walk Walk

More than eating gelato, my favorite thing to do at the beach is to walk it. Far, long walks to nowhere. JD likes to walk the length of about 3 resorts so he is not really all that fun to walk with. But Beatrice? She could walk for hours like her mama.

Thank you random passerby for taking the only family photo we have out of 929. 

The Ocean

Beatrice was a little skeptical of going any further than ankle deep in the big water. And then one day, she just went for it.

Oh my gosh, this is the longest thing ever posted on the internet. I want to throw in the towel right now, but I feel like I've come so far, I might as well finish.  We're almost done, I promise. This is getting ridiculous. I'm embarrassed I let it get this long. Is anyone still reading? Anyone?

Family Fun

I suppose the best thing about our vacation was being together. We found out the day before we left that we would be moving to L.A. The first few days in Florida were not relaxed. We were anxious and irritable with each other. I did some praying and crying on a solo beach walk (normal people do that, right?) and eventually, we found ourselves having fun.

The end. If you feel gipped, you are. There are about 800 more photos in the vacation album that you'll never see. But for the love of gelato, I have to end this thing at some point.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

23 weeks

I failed once again at posting this on Sunday when I actually became 23 weeks pregnant. With the chaos of unpacking and Easter, I just haven't had time. I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. Not really, but I hate getting off schedule. It irks me.

I'm starting to feel really pregnant. I waddle now. And breathe funny when I lie on my back. I have uncontrollable bodily functions (my poor husband says his wife has been traded in for a flatulent dude with boobs). And the baby flips and rolls all the time. I don't remember this much uterine action when Beatrice was living in my belly. Maybe Penelope really is going to be a tiny dancer.


Weight gain: The vacation gelato was not kind to me. I have a week to work off a few new wobbly areas before my official weigh in. Sigh.
Stretchies: None.
Movement: Tons. Penelope is my little Black Swan. Except she's nice like the White Swan, but with the vigor and intensity of the Black Swan. Without all of the weird psychological stuff and jumping to her death, of course. I suppose she's nothing like a swan at all and just very active. Like a driven ballet dancer. Wait...
Cravings: Salads and lemons still. And gelato. Good thing the closest gelato cafe is over 30 miles away. Be strong, Aly. Be strong.
Sleep: Wonderful.
Best moment this week: Being told that I was a beautiful, glowing pregnant woman. I wanted to put that nice person in my pocket and take her with me everywhere I go.
Gender: Still a girl, I hope.
Labor signs: None.
What I miss: Sleeping on my belly.
What I'm looking forward to: Seeing Penelope again on the ultrasound Monday. The ultrasound tech never got a good look at her heart when we went last month so I have to go in for another one on Monday. I'm excited for another glimpse of our littlest girl and confirming that she is indeed still a girl. I'm skeptical like that. 
Weekly wisdom: God has a plan for our family that is bigger than I ever imagined. I love living smack dab in the middle of His will for our lives.
Milestones: People no longer allow me to carry/do anything myself anymore. It's annoying and nice at the same time.

A photo.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Big News

When JD and I had been dating for about a month or so, he broke up with me. He said that he had no intentions of staying in our town long term and if I was a hometown kind of girl, it would never work out. I told him that I grew up in Florida and while my family lived here, this was not my hometown. I had shallow roots here and travel had always been something that I wanted for my future.

When we got married, JD got a reservist position for the government. The possibly of relocating was slim since he was not a full time agent. For 3 years, we have been praying that God would open a door for a new job and that God would plant us some place where He had a purpose for us.

JD got a job. And in 10 more weeks, we will be Los Angelenos. We are moving to California.


The news came as a shock. We had put our place on the market and gotten pregnant back in November with plans to settle down here. We thought we had outgrown our 2 bedroom, 1500 sq ft townhouse so we were looking for a 3 bedroom with 2000 sq ft. We were preparing to save for private school. For months, our plan was here in this community. We were planting roots.

When I walked in from grocery shopping one day in February, JD met me at the door with a huge grin and "good news." He had gotten a civilian position with the government and we would be notified of our assignment location within a month. I was floored. I tried to act supportive and congratulatory to my husband, but I was really sad. I didn't want to move pregnant and I didn't want to move with a newborn. Honestly, I just didn't want to move.

I had a heart to heart with God about it and asked Him to help me to be content in all situations (Phil. 4:11-13). After a few days, I got used to the idea of starting a life in a new place with my husband and our 2 girls. I imagined us in a small European village. I saw us in metropolitan DC. I got excited about it. But before I could really imagine us somewhere else, we still had to wait to be notified where our somewhere else would be.

We waited. And waited. And waited. March came and went with no word. We had already told our families that we would be moving soon so the anticipation of whether or not we would still be in the States was starting to take a toll on us. Half of April came and went without word. The day before our vacation, JD finally got the email notifying us of our assignment to Los Angeles. We were excited and terrified. California is awesome, but it is also one of the most expensive States to live in. Suddenly our 2 bedroom, 1500 sq ft townhouse was looking awfully spacious compared to the 2 bedroom, 800 sq ft apartments we found online in our price range. Culture shock does not begin to describe it.

I am only looking on the bright side as I don't want to get trapped in a downward spiral of emotions (mostly sadness about leaving my family and church). I would love your prayers that our place will sell FAST and that we find a new place in a safe area that meets our family's needs. And that we can be content there, no matter how different or lonely it may be at first. Despite my fears, I am really excited. My babies are going to be California girls. I'm gonna be bffs with Lindsay Lohan - not. I'm gonna be bffs with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kyle, call me. 

We're moving, that's all I know right now. We still have to sell our townhouse. We have to find a new place to rent on the West Coast. I have to find a new OB, pediatrician, dentist, insurance company, and every other service provider you can think of. And we have 10 weeks to do it. We are thrilled, but a little apprehensive about what our lives will look like without family a few miles down the road and every other familiar thing that makes places feel like home. But this is what I signed up for when I married my wandering husband: a life of travel and new places. I'm embracing it. I think. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Is Not About Bunnies....But Beatrice Doesn't Discriminate

Easter is my most favorite holiday in the history of holidays. You see, I am a Jesus freak and any holiday that exalts Him is bound to be a favorite. But throw in the most amazing, wonderful event in human history and a ham feast and I almost cannot contain my excitement. I love ham. Nom, nom, nom.

I didn't grow up celebrating the secular side of holidays. There were no bunnies in my Easters and egg hunts only happened at visits to my out of town grandparents' house. These things are a bit foreign to me. JD and I plan to focus on the Jesus side of Christmas and Easter without Santa and bunnies. But then we ran into a random man in a bunny suit at Bass Pro Shop and Beatrice flipped out in excitement.

She fell in love with that giant bunny. JD and I almost cried, it was so cute. She was giggling uncontrollably and screaming, "hop hop!" She had no clue who it was or why there was a man in bunny suit at Bass Pro, but she didn't care. She loves hop hops and if they come out in giant form at Easter time, she's okay with it. It doesn't take away from what Jesus did on the cross. She won't be getting baskets from bunnies in the Easters to come, but she can hug them and tell them that Easter is about Jesus. She's like a little bunny missionary.

Bunnies go to church too. At least at our church they do.

Beatrice got to see another giant hop hop outside of church this morning. It started her day off right, as one can expect when they see a giant bunny outside on a Sunday morning.

She also got to hunt eggs not laid by bunnies at my grandmother's house. Just nice eggs hidden by people not wearing bunny suits. That detail didn't seem to bother her too much either.

She hunted those eggs like it was her job. She also hunted pine cones and rocks like it was her job. She is an entrepreneur.

I guess the moral of this story is, bunnies aren't evil (mom and dad). Easter will always be about the resurrection of Jesus and celebration of all that was accomplished on the cross 2000 years. But when we see a man in a bunny suit, we're gonna let Beatrice hug him. She may outgrow it, but the girl is crazy about giant bunnies. As long as she knows that they aren't the meaning of Easter and that Jesus is, we will be obliged to let her flip out for years to come.

Happy resurrection day. That goes to you too, giant bunnies of the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bloggity Blog

A year ago today, I wrote this very lame post. I didn't really know what direction I wanted to take this blog (still kind of don't), but I wanted to write about the random nonsense that creeps into my mind along with some meaningful stuff too. I hope that I have accomplished that. In a year, I have grown from zero followers to 150 (woohoo!), I have encouraged others and been encouraged, I have admitted some weaknesses that made me feel vulnerable, I have gotten personal, I have met new friends, I have offended the mean internet lady,  and I hope I have made you laugh. This blog continues to be a creative outlet for me to not only share my thoughts, but also hone my writing. Thank you for reading and commenting and being apart of this little corner of the internet. Cheers!

To celebrate, I took the blog to the beach. It's having a lovely time. See for yourself. The blog really knows how to kick up its feet and relax.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

22 1/2 Weeks

I had every intention of posting this on Sunday night like usual, but I totally forgot. We're on vacation. I brought along my computer and planned on being online as often as I am at home, but you know what? Vacations are way better when you're unplugged. I have needed to be unplugged this week. It's been nice soaking up my family (in addition to some sun) with no interruptions from emails, Skype, and other internet shenanigans that I frequently enjoy.

I have a problem with overindulging on vacation. I don't mean to, but when most meals are eaten out it's hard to watch portions and maintain self-control. For me, at least. I have no idea what I weigh, but I feel about the same. We have only eaten out twice and I had salads both times so hopefully I don't bring home an extra 5 lbs like I usually do when we vacation. Although yesterday we had gelato twice (don't judge, it was anniversary gelato) and I'm thinking that was probably not a good idea. Oh well. For the duration of our stay, I'll limit my intake to once a day.


Weight gain: I weighed before we left and I gained another pound from the last weigh in at the doctor. This puts me at 15 lbs total. Meh.
Stretch marks: None.
Movement: Penelope is a wild girl! She has really started kicking and rolling with a vengeance. I love it.
Cravings: Salads still. And gelato. Lots and lots of gelato.
Sleep: Much better this week. Salty air is good for you. I think...
Best moment this week: Being at the beach without having to suck anything in. Although I am paranoid that people don't realize I'm pregnant, but instead think I'm fat. Hmmm.
Gender: Girl!!!
Labor signs: None.
Belly button: In, but shallow.
What I miss: Corona with lime. We're not big drinkers, but there is something about the beach that makes me want a cold beer. Just a tiny little sip.
What I'm looking forward to: Sharing some big news with you guys when I return home. It's big. Bigger than having a baby big. Well, maybe as big as having a new baby, but big nonetheless.
Weekly wisdom: Even if everyone thinks you have a pot belly instead of a baby bump, there is always someone on the beach who has a bigger one than you.
Milestones: I have tan lines. This lilly white skin is starting to brown a wee bit.

A photo taken before all of the gelato this town has to offer was consumed.

I look kind of weird in that photo. Nothing a little lot of gelato can't fix. I will get right on that...

Monday, April 18, 2011

First Comes Love

We started out as friends.

Then we dated.

We fell in love.

We got engaged.

And married.

We went on an Hawaiian honeymoon.

We made a baby. Times 2.

And after 3 years, we're still in love. Happy anniversary to my sweet husband who can always make me laugh.