Tuesday, November 29, 2016

29 for the first time

Over 2 months ago, I celebrated my 29th birthday.  As you know, I've had a hard time remembering how old I was the past couple of years.  Don't worry - it won't be a problem this year...

My sweet husband made my day super special.  Here are a few of the things he did to make the beginning of the end of my 20's so great:
He made 3 flavors of cake balls, and they were all soooo delicious!
Pan-seared steak.  Yum.
Can you believe this?!
One of my very favorites!
Gift not pictured: a gift certificate for a massage with the appt. already made for my birthday afternoon!

So many friends and family, near and far, thought of me and called and/or sent texts, messages, cards, and gifts.  How kind and thoughtful?!  They all know me so well!  Here are a few of the tangible items I received:

You know how much I love a good deal, and in the weeks surrounding my birthday, we got to take advantage of several awesome birthday offers.  Here are just a few:
Free appetizer with an entree purchase at Granite City.  We shared both and still had leftovers, and our sweet waitress even sent home a special birthday treat, since we were too full for a b-day dessert!
Free Gigi's cupcake!
(We ate it before we remembered to take a picture...woops!)
Free pizza from Pizza Shoppe.
This didn't photograph super well, but it sure was yummy!
Free stack of pancakes (any flavor) from IHOP.
This one was white chocolate raspberry!
It was a really good day...and week...and month.  Haha.  ☺  29 is going well, so far - life is good.

Anyway. just thought I'd share with you...finally.  Thanks for reading!

More to come soon.


Favorites of the day:
quality family time
my cat-shaped lap warmer ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A new kind of goodbye

Oh man - I am so behind on blog posts!  I've literally been working on this one for a month.  Yikes.

Here's my to-do list where future posts are concerned:
new job
new additions to the home decor, etc.
cooking/Pampered Chef things

But first, I need to share some sad news and heartfelt thoughts...

About three weeks ago, I said goodbye to the family I've nannied for since moving to KC...because, they moved...to California.

Words can't really express how/why/to what extent this makes me so very sad, but I'm going to try:

First of all, I love them to pieces.  Really.  They're such wonderful people and those boys are simply the sweetest (and cutest).  From the moment we met, they immediately embraced both Bryant and I into their family, and they've been there for us ever since.  For the most part, we saw each other a few times a week for almost 2 years, whether it was just the boys and I, or all of us together for some occasion.  They became part of our "normal," our routine.

Secondly, this goodbye is different than ones I've said before.  I have babysat/nannied for several families - a couple for many years on end - and "goodbye" is never easy.  When I said goodbye to the family I cared for in Topeka, due to the fact that I was going to be spending summer breaks (and then graduating and living) in Lincoln (where I was attending college), it felt very strange.  I had known that family for 8 years - long enough to hold two of the three kids as newborns, help all three through potty-training, start helping them learn to read, etc.  Not living 5 minutes from them and spending time with them, together with my own immediate family, on such a regular basis just didn't feel right.  When I said goodbye to the sweet family I nannied for in Lincoln, because I was getting married and moving to KC, it was so, so difficult.  That family had welcomed me into their hearts and home and provided a level of genuine love and comfort in the home-away-from-home I found myself craving after graduating college and truly stepping out on my own.  I wrote about those sweet, smart, funny kiddos often in this blog!  They were a huge part of my life in Lincoln.

I'm comforted by the fact that I have continued to keep in touch with these families, both virtually and in person.  Even though some of the kiddos have grown taller than me, one is visiting colleges (*gasp*), and all are out of diapers and reading on their own (still hard to believe, though this has been true for several years, now), they still hold such special places in my heart, and I'm glad to call them friends.

What was different about this recent goodbye was the fact that I wasn't the one doing the leaving.  My life was not the one in transition, this time.  As a result of their departure on a new adventure for their family, though, my life did enter into a time of transition.  That job title had become part of my KC identity - it was the first thing outside of the home I found to do here, and it was something I absolutely loved!  Yes, there are several other pieces of my identity here, and I celebrate and embrace those, too.  It's a tough reminder, though, when people ask what I do; I no longer say, "I'm a nanny for twin three-year-old boys," because they're gone.

(Of course, this also means a dear friend (the boys' mom) is also moving away.  Good thing I've had practice maintaining long distance relationships!  Though, it's difficult to lay by the pool together, share meals, craft, and do each other's nails over the phone...)

These pictures of the boys trying to pack me in a box to take with them (I think they really thought it would be possible to do so) pretty much sum up how we feel about each other and the fact that they were moving away:
(It was too dark to take pictures inside the box, but at one point, I really was all the way in with the flaps closed.  Upon me mentioning how dark it was, one of the boys handed in his beloved Daisy Duck to keep me company.)

Of course, we had to come say goodbye to Charlie and Pepper.  (There was too much movement with sweet Pepper to catch a good picture.)

I sent them to CA with one of my beloved stuffed cats.

Our final goodbye was so hard, but so sweet.  I was crying, of course, and as I leaned into the car to give one last hug to the boys in their car seats, one of them just held my head - gently, at first, then squeezed tighter and stroked my hair.  I can't make this up - it was so, so precious.  The other was too busy wiping his own silent tears.  Though it was so difficult saying goodbye, I will cherish that tender moment for a long, long time.

As sad as we were to see them go, we're thrilled for their family and all the new opportunities and adventures to be had in CA!  Praise the Lord for technology and how easy it makes it to keep in touch!

Sadly but glad-for-themly,

Favorites of the day:
I don't think I've posted since I've been able to announce that
My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby boy in March!  WOHOO!!

the time I was able to take to finally get this post finished up this morning (with a candle lit and a cat warming my lap, no less)

my sweet husband who regularly makes breakfast for me, because he's way better at mornings than I am
(Also, it's the 3-year anniversary of him officially asking me to date him!)