Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

She’s Two!

October 4, 2011

My sweet niece, Cadence, turned two yesterday.
I ran out of time last night to write this post, so here it is today.

I consider it a true privilege to be close to my niece and nephew during the early years of their lives. I am grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be a part of their lives.

Two Things I Love About Cadence…

  1. Her little voice and words. She’s been talking (or trying to talk) for a long time now. I LOVE her little words and the way she talks. She always knows exactly what she’s saying, even if you don’t.
  2. Her love for family. Even at two, she really does love her family and she seems to be very conscientious about including everyone. For example, at her birthday party, she wanted all of her family to paint and color with her on her new art easel. She knows all of her family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc) by name. She loves her big brother and wants to do so many things that he does. And…have I mentioned she loves her Mimi? 🙂

Two Things I Pray For Cadence…

  1. That she trusts Jesus as her Savior at an early age and that she chooses to live a life that’s honoring to God.
  2. That the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control–inhabit her life and direct the way that she lives.

Happy 2nd birthday, Cadence!
I love you more than you’ll ever fully know!
You’re my favorite! 🙂


My Favorite Coffee Cup

June 1, 2011

I received this coffee cup for Christmas and it’s my favorite. I think you can see why…

Before my morning coffee has been poured…

And after… 🙂

Cutest kids ever. With coffee.



This Day Five Years Ago

March 8, 2011

You know…I remember A LOT about the day Paul was born.
I mean A LOT.

…Mom calling at 6-something-AM to say, “Come on! Today’s the day!”
…Throwing stuff in a bag and racing up to Orlando from West Palm.
…Lunch at a “fancy” McDonald’s near the hospital.
…Going to Ross to get more comfortable pants because I was so tired of wearing jeans.
…Dinner at Boston Market.
…Watching my sister become my hero. (Bringing a kid into the world is hard work!)
…Holding my sweet nephew for the first time.

Every year on his birthday, though, I always remember a lot about this day…the day after his birthday.

Sweet Little Paulie

…Bringing the world’s largest balloon to my sister’s room in the hospital.
…Holding that sweet boy as much as I could.
…Taking more pictures than any less than 24-hour old baby should have to endure.
…Loving the way his little legs stayed bent at the knees while he slept.
…Having to say goodbye…At some point that afternoon, I left to drive back to West Palm to be at work later that night (Wednesdays = church those days). I cried and cried and cried as I drove. I called my Mom, unable to speak. Which of course had her panicking, saying, “Are you ok? ARE YOU OK?!” I was SO sad to leave that day, even though I would be coming back a little more than a week later to stay for a whole week. I begged God to let me move home. I cried thinking about our Grammy and Grandaddy, knowing they would have loved our family’s sweet new boy. I was such a proud aunt, but I was so heartbroken to be three hours away. I sat in my boss’s office before church and just cried as I showed him pictures of my sweet little nephew. I just wanted to be home. He was gracious enough to offer to let me go ahead and go, but I knew I had a responsibility. So I stayed. And kept begging God to give me the opportunity to move back to Orlando so that I could be closer to my family. Almost three years from that day, I was given that opportunity and five years later, I’m so grateful for that.

Five Years Old Already?

March 7, 2011

My favorite guy turns five today. I’m not even sure how it’s possible. He’s my absolute favorite and if it’s possible, I love him even more now than I did the first time we met.

Five Things I Love About Paul…

  1. His love and excitement for life. I mean, seriously…look at the excitement and light in his eyes in that picture. He loves to have fun. He loves life and he loves to have a good time.
  2. His laugh(s). He has a couple of different laughs. Hang out around him long enough and you’ll figure them out. He has this funny “fake-ish” laugh, but he has this ridiculously contagious real belly laugh. Love it.
  3. His care and compassion for others. I truly believe he’s learning young about the importance of relationships in life. He LOVES all of his family, both immediate and extended. And, he loves his friends. He shows true concern and care for them. It’s very sweet.
  4. His consistency. When he’s into something, he stays very consistent. We’ve been through a few stages with him: Elmo, Blue’s Clues and he’s been into Mickey and Toy Story for a while now. Green’s been his favorite color for quite a while now and over the past couple of weeks, he’s told several of us on many different occasions that he’d like to be a garbage man and police man when he grows up.
  5. His imagination and love of learning. He’s got the funnest imagination these days and I love playing Legos/cars/Buzz&Woody/whatever with him. The last time we played police Legos, his guy told my guy that we should go geocaching. Ha ha ha. He also loves to learn. He likes to read, play games, cook and learn new things. Hoping I can coax him out into the ocean on the surfboard some more this summer. 🙂

Five Things I Pray For Paul…

  1. That he trusts Jesus as his Savior at an early age and that he chooses to live a life that’s honoring to God.
  2. That he’s a leader amongst his peers, and for his sister, and that he leads with integrity.
  3. That he honors his parents and loves his sister.
  4. That God continues to protect him spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially.
  5. That he loves God and loves people.

Happy 5th birthday, Paul!
I love you more than you’ll ever fully know!
You’re my favorite! 🙂

The Last 55 Hours

February 23, 2011

Good grief. It’s been a crazy couple of days…55ish hours to be exact.

Starting on Monday around Noon…

While at a movie with Kimberly, I received a text from a coworker letting me know Kasey seemed upset and was crying. I tried texting Kasey, but didn’t hear back. A few minutes later I got a call from Kasey’s phone. I ran out of the theater and heard her boss on the other end. Kasey’s phone gets horrible service at the Village, so all I could hear her boss say was, “Kasey……..collapse…….hospital.” And, I did hear her say they couldn’t get ahold of Matt. I let her know I would be right there. I left the movie and headed straight to the Village, calling Matt along the way. Matt let me know that Kasey’s Dad had been rushed to the hospital that morning. After learning about her Dad, I understood why Kasey was so upset at work.

Matt and I got to the Village within minutes of each other. Matt was able to drive Kasey home and I went back to my apartment to get ready for work later that afternoon.

While I was at work, my stomach started to bother me. Based on the heartburn/stomach issues I’ve been having lately it wasn’t that out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, this was a different kind of pain. To make a long (disgusting) story short, I managed to leave work early and make it home. After three hours of sickness, I became dehydrated and passed out briefly a few times. I barely managed to call 911 and was later transported by ambulance to the hospital.


Yep...that's a hospital bracelet.

My parents made it to the hospital right after I did. Kasey and Matt followed right behind them. I think I actually laughed when Kasey and Matt came in the room. I think I said, “You guys didn’t need to come!” I remember thinking that they were in the midst of their own crisis and they didn’t need to bother with being at the hospital with me right now.

During my 6-ish hours in the hospital, I received two bags of fluids and a few medicines. Finally around 5am, things were under control enough for me to go home. Mom, Dad and I came back to my house and went back to sleep. Dad left for work a little while later, but Mom and I slept until about 11. I woke up for about an hour and then went back to sleep. I slept away most of Tuesday.

My parents took such good care of me. I am so grateful that they were able to come and help me. I would have been so scared by myself. And the “taking care of” part wasn’t so glamorous…just ask my Mom. Thanks Dad and Mom! (And thanks to SO many others who offered help. Such a blessing.)

Today, I’ve been feeling better as the day’s gone on. I woke up around 8am with a headache. I took some medicine, ate something and went back to sleep until after 11am. I’m planning on going to work on Thursday and hoping to see a doctor for follow-up on Friday.

Back to Kasey and her Dad…

Kasey was able to fly home on Tuesday morning to be with her family. Another long story short…here’s the latest straight from Kasey’s Facebook…

Dad has been diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Polycythemia which triggered the stroke (mid brain). He still has pneomonia and possibly encephalitis. They have put in a breathing tube and now a feeding tube. A kidney specialist is coming in this afternoon. Still waiting for the test results to show if its bacterial or viral. Now it is just a long, game of waiting. Also continuing to trust that Daddy is in the hands of an All-Powerful, Almighty God who heals and works miracles everyday. We still covet your prayers. JR has arrived and has been a huge encouragement to us all. Trying to stay strong and know God is in control. Please keep praying. Thank you for all your prayers, kind words and texts….they really do mean so much.

There is so much that’s unknown right now, but we are trusting God for a miracle and trusting Him to heal her dad, Dave. If you’re reading this, please continue to keep Dave (and Kasey’s family) in your prayers. We know God can heal him, and that’s what we’re asking.

Because I Need to Do the Math…

January 20, 2011

If you know much about me, you probably know how much I hate math. “Loathe entirely,” as my friend the Grinch says, might actually be a more accurate description of my feelings related to math. I was never good at it and never really understood the practical application for most of it. I dislike math so much that if I ever have kids of my own (Oh, Lord, help me…), I will definitely be honest if they ask the question, “Will I ever use this stuff in real life?!” Because…let’s be real…NO…most of it, you will not. Ugh.

I digress…this post has much less to do with math and more to do with me figuring out comings and goings of my last couple of weeks. I feel like I’ve been in West Palm almost more than I’ve been home. While it’s certainly not the case, I just needed to do the math. Bear with me…

Out of the last 51 days, I’ve been in West Palm 11 days. To break it down a little more, over the last three weeks, I’ve spent every day off from work in West Palm with the exception of two. And each time I’ve been down, there’s been a reason. I haven’t just been going down for the heck of it.

To get to the bottom of it, each trip boils down to a significant relationship. Now, don’t get all excited and think I’m talking about a boy. (Wouldn’t that be something to write home about?! Oh, Lord, help me…) As I’ve gotten older and matured, I’ve come to realize God has made me most passionate about relationships–with Him and with those He’s put in my life. That passion to develop and maintain meaningful relationships is part of what drove me to move back to Orlando two years ago. Eight of my most important relationships are here–my immediate family and two of my best friends. However, West Palm Beach is the place where I find the rest of my most important relationships–lifelong friends, mentors and their kids.

Since I moved, I’ve made it a point to continue nurturing my close relationships in West Palm Beach. That means, driving down for: baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties (adults and kids alike), births, deaths and sometimes just for the occasional weekend away. So…these last 51 days included several of those things. Times I am grateful I didn’t have to miss with my friends. For example…


Dec 3-6: First Relay Race with Friends

Dec 27-28: Meeting Baby Kade when he was 4 days old.

Jan 7-9: Helping to throw a baby shower for a friend of 10 years! YIKES! We're old!

Jan 18-19: Meeting the sweet baby girl of that friend of 10 years when she was not even 48 hours old.

Now…please don’t take this post the wrong way. I’m not saying, “Look at me! Look at the good I do.” It’s quite the contrary. Really, it’s just a reminder to me that outside of my relationship with God and others, there’s not much more in life that matters. Sure I put over 1,300 miles on my poor car in the last 51 days (just from road trips…never mind the day-to-day stuff). Sure I’ve been exhausted after not really having a day off at home to sit around and do nothing. But that doesn’t matter. It’s more important to me that I maintain thriving relationships with those God’s put in my life. It’s more important to me that my friends feel loved and valued.

And, really…this post has nothing to do with math. But, please let it be known that math is not my forte. I hate it.

Friends? Family? My forte. Love. 🙂

Top Ten

December 29, 2010

Often, my sister asks Paul what his favorite part of his day was. I was thinking about that on Christmas Eve as I was driving home from dinner and presents at my parents’ house. I decided I couldn’t choose just one favorite thing from Christmas Eve 2010. It seemed that a “Top Ten” list of sorts was in order. So…here goes…

My Top Ten Favorites of Christmas Eve 2010

10. Doing laundry at Mom & Dad’s. My new place has a washer and dryer, but it’s downstairs in the landlord’s house and I kind of have to coordinate laundry times with them. Bringing my laundry to Christmas Eve just seemed so much simpler. 🙂

9. Getting home in 45 minutes. Even though I’ve lived in Orlando for two years now, I still love the fact that I can get to my parents’ house in 45 minutes rather than 3 hours. It’s so wonderful.

8. Starting the day with brunch at the Ainsley’s. Kasey & Matt normally do a big breakfast on Christmas morning, but since Kasey was working, they opted for Christmas Eve this year. They invited several people over and it was lots of fun.

7. Getting new Magic shirts and Dad being clueless. Kati and I got Dad tickets to an upcoming Magic game. But we got enough that everyone could go with him (except Cadence). I told Mom she should get everyone new Magic shirts for Christmas and we’d have Dad open the tickets last. I thought for sure he’d catch on at some point. But admittedly, when we were done with presents (and Dad had the tickets) he said, “I just thought we were all getting new shirts. I mean…we haven’t had new Magic shirts for a while and the team is doing really good, so it makes sense!” Love it.


6. Singing Feliz Navidad with Paulie. The kid continues to amaze me. Feliz Navidad came on and he started singing. So…I thought it was only appropriate that we take a break from presents to sing it at the top of our lungs while dancing. Cadence tried to get in on the dancing action too. Love love love.

5. Eating good food. Give me chicken and dumplings on Christmas Eve and I’m a happy camper. We also got to enjoy some of our friend Lisa’s WONDERFUL pound cake.

4. Watching Paul start to figure out names other than his own. Since last year he’s been very good at picking out his name on the presents and this year was no exception. He’d find a present with “Paul” and say “this belongs to me!” He also saw an envelope that said “Roger Paul” and said, “that belongs to me!” I laughed and explained that his Pops’ last name was the same as Paul’s first name. He seems very perplexed by this.

3. Hanging out with Cadence during church. Being that she’s only 14 months old, she wasn’t too fond of much of the church service. She wasn’t bad, but she just didn’t want to be sitting down. We hung out in the back of the sanctuary for part of the time, dancing along to the music and looking at the lights. We also roamed the lobby and ran into her Aunt Sarah. Because Northland uses battery operated candles, Cadence opted to hold two candles at the end of the service. She was hilarious.

Sweet girl.

2. Giving and receiving fun gifts. Kati got me a new mug and pictures of the kids appear when I pour a hot drink into it. LOVE it. Mom and Dad gave me a KitchenAid mixer. I was so surprised and excited! I can’t wait to put it to work! Cadence got a very cool pink kitchen that my Dad and Kati made for her. So fun! Via Santa, I gave Paul a pair of Buzz “glubs” (Paul speak for gloves). He was thrilled. He’d been asking for a pair since getting his Buzz costume at Halloween, so he was very excited. One of my most favorite gifts was an ornament Paul made, and while I love the ornament, I mostly loved that he “wrapped” it himself. He wrote my name and his name on the bag he put the ornament in. I just loved that.

Love it.

Buzz Glubs!

1. Being with my family. The more life I’ve lived, the more I realize the most important things in life are relationships–with God and others. I consider it a blessing that I get to spend Christmas with my family and we enjoy it. It’s not dreaded. It’s fun! 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Pictures

December 14, 2010

I like doing these posts. It’s fun to look at old pictures and think on the great memories. I did summer and fall versions, and now I’ll focus on Christmas. Without further ado…a handful of my favorite Christmas photos.

2005: Starbucks Hot Chocolate in Central Park. With Kasey...and snow.

2005: Rockefeller Center with Jen and Kasey.

2005: The Year I Decided We Should Have Matching PJs. (I'll let you guess if that ever happened again.)

2006: OMgggggg. One of my most favorite of all time. Christmas nap with little tiny Paulie.

2007: Friends/Former Small Group. Just always loved this one.

2008: So excited for some icing!

2008: The first time we made Paul-friendly sugar cookies. Yay! Paul was in charge of the sprinkles.

2008: Warming our feet by the fire.

2008: Christmas Eve Eve. There's not much that's more precious than this.

2008: Yes, she does. (He got one in every size.)

2009: Sweet Cadence's First Christmas.

2009: So excited that Santa brought Buzz!

2009: Christmas Morning with the Ainsleys.

Love These.

November 28, 2010

Self-portraits from the tree lighting in Celebration on Saturday night.

Neither picture is perfect.

Neither has full faces for all four of us.


So fun.

Conversations with Paul :: part four

November 12, 2010

His First School Picture. So Big!

Yesterday I took Paul to Disney for the last time before his pass expires on Saturday (sad :(). On the way there we were having all kinds of conversations about various topics. As we were pulling in the parking lot, the subject went to sports and the conversation went a little something like this…

Paul: Mimi, I will play golf with Daddy.
Me: Oh, that will be fun!
Paul: Yeah, but I will have to practice.
Me: Of course. With anything you need to practice in order to learn. Even if you want to play soccer, you will need to practice.
Paul: Oh yeah. I will play soccer, too. [PAUSE] Oh, and football. When I get big, I will play football.
Me: Football? Really? That’s kind of rough!
Paul: No it’s not. You put your hand on the ground and you put your hand on your knee. Then you run. Then you catch the football. If you don’t get it, you do it again. And, if you get hurt you just sit down.
Me: But what if you get hurt really bad?
Paul: Nooooo. You don’t. Football players wear hats so they don’t hurt their heads.

Seriously…how much do I love him?! 🙂