Forty One

sup-beach-view nell-hat-on-beach rock-climbing sup-selfie nell-and-kiddos 41 single-wave abc-breakfast sup bike-ride

So, this is 41. Supposedly once you’re over 40, then you’re considered “over the hill”, right? Well maybe, maybe not. In my 20’s I did consider the 40’s as being “over the hill” and I had a picture in my head of what that would look and feel like. This is not at all what I expected. Man, am I glad.  I choose to make the most of every day.  I choose to do the things that make me feel alive. So, here’s to the 40’s. Bring it on!

*A special thanks to my three favorite people; Steve, Danica and Trey.  Steve made me feel special and let me do anything I wanted all weekend while he did my chores for me.  Trey went rock climbing with me and we had the best time.  Danica gave me the best present by coming home for the weekend to hang out with me.  To each of you… thank you for being you and thank you for being amazing.  You made me feel so very special. 

 

Advertisements

A Christmas Celebration

I first want to acknowledge that it has been quite a while since I’ve posted here.  As you all can probably understand, this season has been quite busy.  But more importantly, I’ve been spending time focusing on the things that truly matter most; my family and the multitudes of blessings in my life.

This Christmas was quite a bit better than last.  Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of good things to be better than last year.  Last year was spent in a trauma ICU room with my mom fighting for her life.  I am happy to say that this Christmas wasn’t just a little bit better than last Christmas; it was leaps and bounds better than last year.  My mom’s amazing recovery resulting from miracle after miracle (see the one year update here) which meant that she was with us this Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, opening many presents and eating delicious food.  My daughter was home from college and we enjoyed some great family time with her and with my husband and with my son watching movies, shopping, opening presents, laughing and enjoying life.  And if that wasn’t enough, we had some very exciting Christmas news that was icing on the cake.  My brother proposed to his girlfriend!  I helped him pick out the ring weeks earlier.  He proposed on Christmas morning but my parents had no idea.  He surprised them on Christmas day with the proposal.  We absolutely love her and are beyond excited that she will be joining the family.  I am finally getting a sister!

So this Christmas was a celebration of life; recovered life, renewed life, and new life to come.  It was a Christmas of hopes and dreams and pure joy and happiness.  We are truly blessed!

Merry Christmas to you and yours during this wonderful season!

Nell and Steve RestaurantBanana with Bow Candelight Christmas Service Earl and Joanna  Nana and Papa on Boat Nana Many Presents Nana Papa Earl Bunny Ears Nell and Joanna Nell Dee Trey Restaurant Papa Hammock Papa Leezo  Papp Driving Boat Steve Fried TurkeTrey on the Boat

I’m on a Boat

Boat - Mom and NellBoat - SteveBoat - Trey DrivingBoat - Mom BundledBoat - PapaBoat - Joanna and KonaBoat - Steve 2Boat - Mom and DadBoat - Nell and SteveBoat - Earl Cast NetBoat - Trey DrivingBoat - Nell Lighthouse

My dad has worked so very hard for over 40 years; selflessly, tirelessly and wholeheartedly giving everything he has. The only thing that he’s ever wanted is a nice salt water fishing boat. Because of my mom’s accident (11 months ago today!), he had to retire suddenly and much earlier than he expected.  Because of this, he didn’t think he would be able to ever have his dream boat. Well, I’m excited to say that after all his hard work and the horrible year that he’s had (that none of us can ever imagine) he got his dream boat this past weekend. The entire family went out on the boat on Sunday. Dad’s favorite thing is to have all of his family together, but this time he had all of his family on his dream boat. He was in heaven. I cry tears of joy every time I tell this story. He so greatly deserves this gift. He is the most amazing man and I am beyond excited for him. I foresee many more days with family in the boat enjoying the water and each other. God is totally in the process of taking something that was a tragic and absolutely horrific situation and right before our eyes is turning it into something good. Just to be a part of this story has been so amazing; a true privilege. You just never know how things are going to turn out in any situation. Life is certainly not easy for mom and dad. But we are starting to see so much positivity and blessing in their lives. I can’t think of any two people more deserving of a blessed life.  Now, let’s hit the water!

Scenes from the Weekend

Trey nana and papa Lunch with Dee Friday Night Lights Football Huddle Prayer Football Everglades Sunset Cup in the Sun Ray Cooking under the lights Coffee in the Hammock SwingBeachClouds

It was the first weekend in October and it is officially fall, I guess.  Living in south Florida gives fall a whole new meaning.  Let’s just say that this was the first weekend where the heat wasn’t scorching, the temps stayed in the mid 80’s and there was a great breeze.  This meant that we could actually stay outside without sweating.  It was amazing!  I was outside every chance I could get.  Here are a few pics from the weekend.

  1. An after game pic with Nana and Papa.  Look how long his legs are!
  2. Taco lunch with my college girl.
  3. Friday night lights.
  4. After game huddle.
  5. Everglades sunset at the football game.  Sunset was beautiful, getting eaten alive by bugs was not so nice.
  6. Sunrise and coffee.
  7. Family cookout.
  8. Coffee in a hammock swing may be the best way to start the day.
  9. The super moon brought clean waves.
  10. Sunny days and sun rays.

 

 

 

Scenes from the Weekend :: Celebrating 41

Wings are Served Steve Deep DiscussionSteve Laughng Hysterically    Nell Crab Legs Steve and Papa Watching GameNell and Nana Selfie Papa with Silly HatFull Moon before Eclipse Friday Night Lights  Dee Home Mom with crocheted Hand SockButterfly Boil Beginnings Backyard Work in Dress

 

The hubs turned 41 on the 27th.  In true Steve fashion, to celebrate, the decision was made to lay low, hang around the house with family and friends and cook his most favorite meals.  I am a busy body, always wanting to be on the go but I have to admit that the chill birthday weekend he planned was perfect. I had the best time and went into the new week nice and relaxed. Here are some of the pics from our weekend.

  1. Special homemade wings and some football watching.
  2. Good convo with he in-laws.
  3. LOVE this! A true belly laugh. This pic makes me smile every time I look at it.
  4. CRABS! Cooked my famous seafood boil.
  5. “Watching” football.
  6. Selfie with my favorite lady.
  7. Crochet experiment gone wrong.
  8. The blood moon before the eclipse.
  9. Friday night lights.  Trey’s team won 32-20!
  10. SHE CAME HOME TO VISIT! I miss her face so badly! (having grown kids is harder than I expected)
  11. The successful crochet sock for mom’s arm.
  12. Backyard butterfly. I call these the bumble bee butterflies.
  13. Seafood boil beginnings.
  14. Landscaping in a dress.  Why not?

College Girl Ceremony

Handley Family - White Coat Nell and Dee White Coat Dee with Nana and Papa Dee Walking In Dee and Nursing Friends

Our college girl was one of 100 chosen for the direct admit nursing program at her college. The college has a tradition of doing a white coat ceremony at the beginning of the nursing program to signify their commitment to nursing and an initiation into the program.  We absolutely could not be any more proud of our girl and the future that lies ahead for her.  Congrats, Dee!  We love you!

The College Transition

Loaded Truck Dee On Back of Loaded Truck Dee Wallking in with Box Dee Opening Dorm Door First Time Dee Room Before Decorating Dee on Bed in Dorm Dee FAU Sign Nell & Dee Hug GoodbyeDee and Roomates

Our tribe of four is now officially down to three. My daughter moved out of our house for the first time a couple of weeks ago to venture into her college career.  The only way to describe this major life event is bittersweet. On the one hand, I am exceedingly excited for her as the opportunity ahead is an amazing one that she will, no doubt, run with and make great things happen.  She was one of only 100 students accepted into the direct admit nursing program as a freshman.  This makes me one happy and proud mama.  On the other hand, I am sad and lost.  After moving her into the dorm, the first steps back into our home with her bedroom empty was difficult to say the least.  The emotions I experienced were far harder than I had mentally prepared myself for.  Not only is this special girl my daughter, she is my best friend. There was an aching emptiness inside that I wasn’t quite prepared for.  It has been two weeks and most days I’m ok.  There are hard days where I find myself upset and in tears.  I’ve been told by other mothers that have paved this path that it does get easier as time passes.

Overall, our college girl is doing great, adjusting to college life with classes underway.  Life change can be difficult but usually those difficult ones are the most rewarding.  Off to new adventures.

Nostalgia and Change

Steve and Baby Dee Nell and Baby Dee Dee & Steve College Apartment  Dee with Sunglasses Bald Baby DeeLittle Dee

 

In two days we will be moving this sweet little girl into her dorm room.  It is crazy how fast time has flown.  I found myself in a recent conversation with someone who didn’t understand why I was “struggling” with my age and my daughter moving out.  As I was explaining myself, the reality hit me straight in the face.  Does that ever happen to you?  (it seems to happen to me a lot) Anyway, it isn’t that I am necessarily upset about turning 40 (ok, sometimes maybe a little); it’s not so much about the number.  It’s really all about how I got here.  My husband and I got married, had babies, did college and got real jobs almost all simultaneously.  Life moved fast.  In the midst of all this activity, time flew.  I found myself “waking up” at 39 thinking, “hang on. stop. what just happened?” It’s like someone snapped their fingers and I went from being 25 to peering over the edge into 40. It’s not so much about the number 40 or my daughter moving out as it is about simply not believing that I am here in this place at this time.  It’s almost like I’ve watched a movie of my life and the last 15 years were summed up in 2 hours.  It’s surreal I guess. I sit here with the realization of turning 40 and my baby girl moving out of my house for the first time to start her college life and think, “wow!” This is so surreal.

On the flip side, I am beyond excited for her and proud of her.  I know she is going to do amazing things at college, make the best of friends and have the time of her life.  So, of course, to celebrate and reminisce, I had to pull out a few old pics from when she was little.  I’m so proud of you, Dee!  You make me one proud mama!

Celebrations All Around

Angels Trumpet Danica with Tongue Out Earl and JoAnna with Kona Kona and Earl on Float Mom and Earl Sweet Moment mom smelling the flower Nana and Papa Throwing Frisbee Steve Waving papa in the pool full Papa Grilling Nell Jumping in Pool Nell Flower Crown Nell and Mom Flower Crowns

America’s birthday is certainly a reason to pull the family together and celebrate but for us, even more important than that is my dad’s birthday.  Well, technically his birthday falls on July 5th, but we celebrated on the 4th to enjoy the fireworks as well.  We celebrated by having a pool party and grilling out for lunch and dinner; ribs, chicken, fish and duck. Of course, as always with our family, there was a ridiculous amount of food with dad cooking every last bit. He is the grill master.

I haven’t mentioned my mom’s progress here in a while, but man, is she doing well.  She hit the 6 month mark and something just clicked; her short term memory is much better, she’s more alert, more aware and is just simply more like Brenda (mom and nana). So, at the celebration, she did really well the entire day. She even got in a swimsuit and dipped a little in the pool, which was a first since the car accident. At the end of the evening there were fireworks going off all around the house, so we went out back by the pool to watch.  I stood there arm in arm between my sweet mother and my amazing daughter; three generations looking up at the sky watching the magical fireworks all around.  It couldn’t have ended any better.

Happy 59 to my dad!  You are the superhero of this crazy story.  I’m so grateful and blessed to have such an amazing father and so very glad that you had a good day.  You deserve this times a million.  I love you to the moon and back!

Road Trip :: Destin, FL

Trey walking on Destin BeacTrey Picking up D Handleys on Destin Beach Foggy Harbor Danica walking on Destin Beach Danica Crazy Face
After driving for nearly 10 hours, you simply just want to take a break. We decided to stop in Destin, FL and do just that. I chose Destin because it has a very special place in my heart. I spent every family vacation as a child there and even some after I got married as well. There are so many memories wrapped up in this place and I’m glad that my kids got to experience it too.