Monday, October 1, 2012

Thank You

*this song is gonna hang around for a week or so... 

"Thank You" - Keith Urban

I've been craving a night like tonight for a few months now.
I planned ahead - making sure to sneak in a long nap earlier.  As I hoped, it gave me just the perfect amount of energy to enjoy a late night of writing and reflecting.
Tonight, I sit wrapped up in blankets, cuddled in the corner of the couch with a brand new pumpkin candle burning beside me.  Krimpy's paw is dangling over my shoulder as I type.

And peace and quiet fill the living room.

Gratitude and love fill my heart.

October is here - one of my favorites. 
Still, I can't help but recall September and all the milestones and memories made.

The past few days were so special.  And as I sit here and look back at my photos, I'm reminded even more of just how beautiful life is.  And how incredible and astounding the people that bless my days are.
There were so many times this weekend where emotions took over and I found myself wiping tears
of such gratefulness and joy. 

Whether I was driving and listening to my music, vacuuming dead bugs and cobwebs out of windowsills at the offices, or getting ready for bed...
I constantly had such overwhelming thanks running through me this past week.

Love has spoiled me so greatly...

Thursday, these babes took me to dinner. 

We sat and ate and talked and talked and talked. We would have gabbed some more, had the place not started throwing signals at us.  Turning the lights down, the music off, and walking by our table a dozen times did the trick.  But that didn't stop me from grabbing some photos...

Friday, Steve and I went to a late movie.
I did pretty well - I didn't fall asleep like I expected and I only had a few bathroom breaks.
However, I learned that movie theater popcorn is not this pregnant lady's friend.

I came home on Saturday afternoon to Steve, his friend, Jamie, and the adorable
Parker hanging out - what a nice surprise!

Saturday was a good great one.  I always look forward to time with Jessica.  I headed over her place at 3:30.  A sleepover was planned.  And a walk that never happened.  As soon as I arrived, we sat down and began one of our signature chat sessions.  Three gabby hours later, we decided to skip the
 walk.  Our marathon chats burn more calories than walking anyway.

Jessica made the perfect meal, ringing in fall with pumpkin lasagna.  We stood in the kitchen and continued our yapping as Jessica whipped up an amazing meal.  She even let me crush the cashews (and eat half the container of em').  It was so good...I am gonna try and make it sometime this month - stay tuned for that post - I'm sure it will involve something burnt and mushy and possibly, a fire.

This girl makes an art of gift wrapping and gift giving...presents so pretty you don't want to open them.  Presents so thoughtful, they bring tears to your eyes.

I may have woken up the neighbors with my shrieking and uncontrollable laughter when I uncovered this gift.
I wish I could tell you what it is, but I can't. :)

After changing into our pajamas, she had all the ingredients lined up on her kitchen counter for ice cream sundaes.
We filled our bowls and headed back to our perch.
There was more "pretty stuff" waiting for me.
"Another set of gifts?!  Are you nuts?!" I asked Jessica.
"It's nothing much, I promise" she answered.

I have learned never to trust her with that reply, as she is always so thoughtful...paying attention to every detail and remembering the little things that mean so much.
Wrapped up, were tons of gifts that brought back memories of our teenage years. 
Oh, the memories we share. 
I started going through the contents of the bag.
There was our old favorite nail polish, a pink slap watch (that I totally plan on rockin'), Mad Libs and kitten stickers.  My favorite - something I have laughed out loud about for the past two days when it comes to mind - a handmade birthday card that included a blackmail photo Jessica has been holding onto for about fifteen years...with the words "Still Got It" stamped underneath.  I would post the card, but I'm not sure if seeing me under the covers in a satiny bra with Fashion Bug underwear on my head is appropriate. (No boys were involved in the photo.  Promise.)

Richard Marx, Celine Dion and Kenny G cassettes.  Yeah, I may have had all of these at one point.
(And I may or may not be breaking out my old boombox to blast these babies.)

And lastly, a handmade best friends bracelet.  I cried.  Not only did she make this herself, but she stitched on our initials and the year we met...and made herself one too.

We ended the night morning with a few rounds of Mad Libs.  Jessica said it's my calling - to answer these things.  Again, I'd post some pictures, but I got a little immature..."bellybutton lint" and "tampons" ain't got nothin' on some of the other words I used.

It was a wonderful sleepover awakeover and day with "Cinnie."

Sunday, Jen and Kim came over to take me out to brunch. 
They told me last week they had a surprise for me and to not ask any questions.
I admit, I was intrigued.
We sat at the restaurant, ordered and then they began telling me a bit of what was going on.
As it turned out, both of them had contacted Steve with the same gift idea for my birthday.  Steve gave them one another's contact information and a password of mine
 I would later come to find out they needed.
I had no idea what it could possibly be and already was teary at all they were telling me. 
Without saying another word, Jen popped a gift bag up on the table as they wished me a happy birthday.

I'm sitting here crying right now because of how insanely beautiful that surprise was...

They took every single one of my blog posts...from the very first one I wrote a year and a half ago,
to the one from last month - the one that was my most favorite to write so far...
and had it made into a big, gorgeous, heavy, hardcover book. 
Every single one of my words, thousands of my photos, some of the toughest, yet most magical stories of our journey these past years - all painted on fresh, pretty pages where I could see them.  I was so overcome with emotion, I bawled shamelessly for a good ten minutes in front of everyone in the place.  I was completely blown away.

Kim taped me with her phone a couple minutes after the surprise.

I haven't been able to put it down...haven't been able to stop thanking them.  All the hours they spent...all the love they put into it...I am beyond touched. 

The past two nights, I've sat with it in my lap.  Opening up to random pages...reading post after post.
I plan on starting from the beginning this week...reading all 231 pages as they come...reliving it all.

 From my first entry...

to some of my most dear to me posts...

to the really tough but healing ones...

Each and every one - I want to take in again.

I'm in complete awe of the profound love that graces my life.
And so thankful for all the people who make it beautiful.
Thank you.
 I can't wait to live and write the next book.

15 week bump
(Thanks to Jessica for the wonderful photos.)

Just a joke.

 Okay, no, but seriously...

Happy October.  Happy fall.  Happy Tuesday.

October Lovin',


Rebecca said...

I LOVE the idea of the book. How perfect. What site did they use for that? You are lucky to have such amazing people in your life. You must be a great friend to attract them. Your bump is just perfect!! Fun post!

~Rian said...

What an amazing gift! The book is awesome!!! Not much longer and you will be finding out if Beano is a boy or a girl. I can't wait!!!


lovejoy_31 said...

That is amazing, Maria!!! You are so loved by so many people. That speaks to who you truly are. You amaze me.

Love you!!!!

Fifi @ AboutBloggingTime! said...

That is one "AWESOME" gift!! You have some amazing and thoughtful friends. That is a beautiful gift.

Have a great day Maria!

Heather said...

What an amazing gift!! You are some incredible friends who love you so much - and I agree, that speaks to who you are!

M said...

Awwww, you have such AMAZING friends. Seriously! Your bump pictures are just look so happy! But I'm just dying to know what the secret gift was ;)

Aleisha McD said...

Oh my Taco Bell!!! Ha ha! Honey, This post was fantastic! What an incredible gift. I so would love to put my blog posts together in a book. It would be such a treasure. If your house is ever on fire (heaven forbid!) you grab as much jewelry as you can..ha ha!...and THAT book! I love your yellow-ish lacy dress thing you are wearing in your bump pics. Soooo beautiful. I love that beautiful little pregnant belly of yours! The bump pics make me so happy. I love you and miss you!

Whitney@Keeping Up with the Cyperts said...

You DO have some amazing people in your life lucky girl! The blog book was such a great idea and I bet you had so much fun at your "awakeover". Your little bump is looking adorable! I hope you are having a great week so far!

Karen said...

You have such amazing friends. The sleep(awake)over looked like so much fun and that charm she made was so sweet. The book, Oh My Gosh!!! Now, I'm crying. The love your friends give is such a wonderful reflection of who you are Maria!! xoxo

Mrs. JRose said...

Awesome post!!! You are so blessed to have such loving and amazing friends! The blog book is just...WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! What a gift!!!!! :) Love to you and baby!

MrsV said...

Oh my goodness what a wonderful gift! It made me teary eyed just reading about it :)
It sounds like you had a very blessed and wonderful birthday <3 I can't wait for the day when I see pictures of you and Steve holding your baby oxo you guys look so happy in these pictures, it just melts my heart!
And Your bump! You're looking super cute!
<3 oxo V

Judy Haughton-James said...

Hi Maria,
Beautiful post as always! Isn't it wonderful when we find amidst all the difficult times we have experienced a lot to be thankful for?! It is so good to see you so happy and having a lot to celebrate. As the saying goes "Gratitude is the right attitude." Wow! What a special gift your friends came up with - a book of your Blog posts! I can understand how thrilled you were. It looks GREAT! You are truly blessed to have such good friends who constantly help you to be happy and celebrate the good times! Jessica can certainly wrap gifts beautifully. Continue to have a whale of a time Maria. I send lots of Love, Friendship and Best Wishes all the way from Jamaica on this 2nd day of October. Roll on days! We look forward to seeing Beano!:) Enjoy the rest of your week.

Brittany said...

That blog book is AMAZING!!!! What an incredible gift! You are loved by so many Maria...and it's easy to see why. You are such a beautiful person! I can't believe you're already 15 weeks...and looking better than ever little momma. What a precious baby bump! Will you be finding out Baby Beano's gender soon? Ohhhhh man I can't wait for that! I know you and Steve are beyond thrilled and soaking up every minute of this journey, as you should. So so so happy for you, Maria!! XOXOXO

JP said...

You have some amazing friends and that definitely says something about YOU. Your light and excitement and joy and optimism shine from your writing. The blog-come-book is also amazing. I can't wait for the second edition!

Our Journey Through This Lovely Life said...

You are adorable!! LOVE your dress in your bump pictures!! what super awesome friends you have!! the sleep (awake) over looked like so much fun! and how freaking awesome is your blog book!!! I Love it!! have a lovely week lady!!

Ashley said...

You are truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends beside you! What an amazing and thoughtful gift full of so much love! I am always a bit envious of all the great friends in your life...but only for a second, because you deserve all the love in the world! So excited for you now that it's getting closer and closer to finding out what your little one is!

Have a great week!

Lauren said...

WOW what an amazing gift!! I didn't even know you could do that with a blog. And I'm loving the bump updates!!! Excited!! XO


Kristina said...

Sounds like you had a great birthday! what an amazing gift that book is!! Beautiful! and that baby bump is looking awesome! xoxo

Just Keepin It Real, Folks! said...

You have such amazing joy that shows in your pictures and your writing!!! No wonder you have such wonderful friends. Congrats on your pregnancy. Visiting from Welcome Wednesday.

Olivia {i am still learning} said...

AWWWWWWW You have some amazing people in your life, that is such a beautiful gift :)

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sorry I missed it, things have been crazy here :) Just finally caught up on your last three posts, life seems so full and beautiful! So so happy for you!

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful bracelet your friend made for you! And your baby bump = SO CUTE!Happy Birthday! visiting from Thirsty Thursday

Self Sagacity said...

wow! good friends, husband, kids, food, fun. What else can a girl ask for? You're so blessed. Congratulations. Smiles.

New GFC Follower.
Have you heard of Thursday Two Questions? You seemed like you would enjoy this meme. Have a look and play along sometimes: Thursday Two Questions DetailsI. Would be fun to have you...this week's post is up Starbucks Mobile Apps

Miki's scrapbook said...

Maria, you're so beautiful inside out! You're always thankful for what you have; I admire you so much! And do you know what? You're so surrounded by so much love because you give just as much love. I can see it in your posts, the way you tell us about your life and the way people treat you. You're one in a million and I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to meet you through this medium.

You got the best gifts ever because you deserve them! ;D



Tami said...

Hi Maria! I saw on Kerry's post that you are from PA. Me too!
You and your bump are adorable! Congrats!

Rachel said...

Love love love the book! It looks like you had an amazing birthday!! You soon deserve it. Big hugs!

Stephanie N. said...


I've just been catching up with your posts --- I've been a HORRIBLE bloggy friend lately! ;)

MY GOSH. That book has got to be the most thoughtful gift EVER. You have the BEST friends and people around you!!! :) SO MUCH LOVE.

Your bump pictures make me so happy. I know it's just through pictures that I'm saying this, but that attests to how TRUE it must be -- you are positively BEAUTIFULLY glowing. Pregnancy looks GREAT on you!

I can't wait to read more -- and I promise to keep up better! :)

Hope you have a wonderful OCTOBER weekend! (I love this time of year SO much ,too!!!)

Cami said...

Ah you are SO beautiful!!! Happy late birthday :) When was your bday?? Mine was last week, too!

I LOVE that birthday gift - so beautiful and sweet!! Seriously. What an amazing gift - your friends are absolutely brilliant and sweet. Goodness!

Those last few pictures of you are BEAUTIFUL...down right beautiful!

waitingforarainbow said...

I'm being a vamp tonight.
This post was beautiful Maria! You are so blessed to have such thoughtful, caring, amazing, lifelong friends. (As they are to have you!)
Jessica is so crafty and comes up with the most beautiful creations!I love when you post about the interesting recipes she makes, or beautiful gifts she wraps. I love the flash back gifts haha...
That book is INCREDIBLE! I mean the cover alone is so beautiful (you are gorgeous lady!)
You so deserve all of this love and happiness. It's so refreshing to see post after post of nothing but joy.
LOVE YOUR BUMP! Beano is growing fast!! You're going to be one of those all belly pregnant ladies.

Kerry said...

Hi Maria!!!! Happy October to you too my sweet beautiful pregnant friend :) You look AMAZING, but that was always gonna happen. OMG look at that book!! I love it, no wonder you cried - what an absolutely thoughtful gift, awesome cover filled with great memories!! Your friends are too much, I wish I could hang out with you too :(
(And eat as much as you do lol)
Thank you for always leaving me the sweetest comments, I truly appreciate every single one of them, each time you visit is like a breath of fresh air and I love you even more...
So good to catch up on things in your life lately xoxox

Irish Carter of Dedicated 2 LIFE said...

What a beautiful story Maria....see, I told you how crazy INSPIRING you are! I know that book is special to you because of the love put into it. I tell you girl..besides that, you could create books with your posts and it is YOUR PRODUCT...when I said you could sell or give inspiration away I meant it. Lots of love...hugs.


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