Thursday, September 26, 2013


I'm a week into my 31st year.  And I can already say, I'm likin' 31.
I sit here with a steaming mug of coffee (a rarity these days), and a lot of energy.  My energy comes and goes lately.  I'm either bouncin' off the walls or feelin' like someone threw me against the wall.

On the eve of my birthday, I came home from cleaning, to a quiet, empty house.  I sat here, at the computer, and looked through my photos.  Within a half hour, I was greeted by Steve and Piper.  Pips' lips were sealed.  She wouldn't tell me of her and Daddy's recent whereabouts. 
I hugged my girl and smirked as Steve made his very best baby voice and hid behind Piper - "I'll never tell, Mommy!"  I changed into some pajamas and returned to the office to
find Piper dancing with Daddy and smiling her new favorite smile - the "Nani smile" - where she tucks her lips in and grins from ear to ear.  Nani always looked similar when her teeth weren't in. :)

Here's Piper (or "," as Aunt J. likes to call her) dancing to a song from 
and the Sesame Street gang.
Do you know, it was just a few months ago that I realized his name is William?!  Yeah...Uh duh...I know.  I'm horrible.  Just horrible.

Oh, this little girl...
I love waking up to her sweet face.


Last Wednesday, we went downstairs to the living room. 
I laid out a blanket and set up a few toys for her.  
I made a quick cup of coffee and sat and watched as she played and had a stare-off with Twinkie.  She is obsessed with him lately.

Afterwards, we went upstairs and got ready for our day.
I jumped into some clothes and threw my very dirty (and ratty) hair in a ball on top of my head and took my time picking out a pretty, little outfit for Piper.

We met Aunt Kim for breakfast.  Piper (the swiper) took less than .3 seconds to try and move my plate closer. 

She loves grabbing faces lately.
Sorry, Aunt Kim!

Piper helped me open my very thoughtful gifts. 
 Tissue paper is more fun than any of her toys.

After breakfast, I sat in the parking lot and checked my phone.  
My mom had sent me a birthday text with these two pictures attached.  It brought tears to my eyes.  
And made me really, really think about just how blessed I am. 

Piper and I stopped by her house for a visit.

Dee Dee had a few new friends waiting for Pippy...
What a lucky little babe!

Piper added pears to her list of "dippies for Pippy!"
I think it's safe to say she loved them!

Steve had taken a half-day, and when I called him from Deeds' to see when he was coming home,
 he told me Piper and I had to get home.
Turns out, he had some surprises for Mommy waiting at Dee Dee's.  (Sneaky Pips, Daddy and Deeds went shopping together Tuesday night...I got Piper to spill the beans).
So, we skedaddled on outta there and parked it in the living room as soon as we got home.
Piper enjoyed her lunch on the couch, all comfy and cozy.

A good hour passed and Steve was nowhere to be found.  I was exhausted from little sleep the night before, and Piper was getting ready for a nap.  We headed up to the bedroom to relax and snuggle while we waited for Daddy.  A couple minutes later, he was standing in the doorway with flowers and gifts and an apology for being late.
He excitedly told us he had a surprise and that he wanted to take us to the beach for the day.

This tired Mommy started to pout.  I even shed a few tears.  "I'm so tired, hunny.  And it's a little late."  I was on less than two hours of sleep from the night before.  And three, from the night before that.
I felt guilty for not seeming super excited and for not having the energy to go.
I felt guilty because I always talk about how special our little beach trip in August was to me.

All I needed was there in that room.  And though a day at the beach sounded wonderful, it sounded more exhausting than anything at that moment.  Steve felt bad and I quickly told him to please believe me - I really wanted to just relax.  I promised him that I'd be up for the beach another day.

Minutes later, he put Piper down for her nap.  And then, I took a warm bubble bath with a cold Diet Coke by my side at 3 in the afternoon.  It was glorious.  

I got out of the tub and suggested we go all out for dinner and hit up the Shady Maple Smorgasbord in Lancaster. 
I'm a cheap date - you eat for free on your birthday.
It's always such a pretty, peaceful drive.  

Piper was a sweetheart the whole trip...taking a snooze here and there and humming to herself (one of her newest, cutest things).

Pippys eat free too.
Don't tell anyone, but Piper sampled the sweet potatoes and of course, the ice cream.
She gave it two, chubby thumbs up!

"Hey, did I just see that lady walk by with some mashed potatoes and gravy?!  Bring some of that over Piper's way!"

Though it was still light out, the moon was shining bright - full and low, and following us as we drove home.

It was such a beautiful, it-feels-like-fall kinda night.  I stared out the window and gave thanks for all of my blessings. I tried very hard not to cry.  I know, I cry a lot.  It was my birthday and I cried if I wanted to.  Sing it with me!
If I could have, I would have galloped through the fields with Piper (and some leftover Shady Maple macaroons), but I settled for the next best thing, and asked Steve to pull over.

I wanted pictures.

 And I got them.  
When I look at these pictures, I remember the exact way I was feeling in those moments...that's why I love photos so much.  The way they make ya feel.

We came home and hung out with Piper for a bit before putting her to bed.
I opened my gifts in bed.  We watched an episode of Friends.  And *gasp* -  went to bed at 10:05.  

The next few days were good ones.

Piper and I relaxed and took it easy Thursday morning.

"Hey Mom, how 'bout I take this monitor for you and you take a nap.  I'll be listenin' for ya!"

Daddy, Piper and I took a trip to Kohl's.  We went shades shoppin' and Mommy picked out some much needed bras.  Why I feel the need to share that, I don't know...
Maybe it's because my boobs are very happy in their much needed, new home(s).   Piper also loved being in the bra section - she was in boobie heaven and drooling at the 4 million and eighty-seven thousand colorful "boobs" surrounding her.

Sorry, no bra photos.

We came home to a cute tower of four, mini boxes on our doorstep, all wrapped up super cute, complete with a homemade cupcake tag.
Who else could have left such a sweet treat, but Aunt Jessica.

Twinkie heard "treat" and went right for 'em.

"Wait! What?!  I don't see "Piper" written on this tiggy tag anywhere?!"
"Let's tell Mommy they're for us."

Friday, we woke up smiley

and headed to meet Aunt Kelly and Daxon for breakfast at our favorite spot (see photos with Aunt Kim above).

Daxon helped me with my toast 

and grits.

See for yourself...

Is he not awesome (and so stinkin' adorable)?!

After breakfast, the four of us headed out for a walk.  

Walking with Kelly and Daxon, with Piper "hanging" close felt so good.

That afternoon, my mom, Piper and I went to visit my dad.
Piper smiled at him.  A lot.
He got to kiss her.  And hold her hands and touch her toes.
There's a lot I could say...
Bittersweet doesn't cut it.

Piper took a quick soak before dinner.
This monkey had her share of bananas, and they were everywhere.

Friday night, we celebrated at Uncle Nicholas' gig.
Piper wore her "My Uncle Rocks" outfit that Dee Dee gave me last Christmas.

She's so interested in music.  And I love that.
Uncle Nicholas singing and playing grabbed her attention right away.

She and Deeds got front row seats.

Like I said, she loves grabbing faces.
This picture makes me laugh so hard every single time I see it.
I'm laughing right now.
And Piper looks so proud.

Okay, I'm snort-laughing.  

We danced with Piper.  She even provided some entertainment for the people on the deck.
They were waving at her through the window and cheering her on.

All that shakin' made for one sleepy Pippy.
Daddy was a nice place to rest.

Have I mentioned, she loves her Dee Dee?!?!

After dinner and dancin', we went to Dee Dee's for (some very sweet) gifts and coffee.

An end to a sweet day and night. <3

And Saturday...

Crazy cat baby

A nice, rainy day called for staying inside and taking it easy and cleaning...

Puppy, Penguin and Piper - the three amigos

I sorted through Piper's closet and dressers and rid them of her spring and summer clothes - getting them ready for her fall and winter wardrobe.
Bye-bye tiny, little clothes.
Bittersweet, yes.  But I love, love, love fall and winter.
And the clothes that go along with it.

So, 31, thank you.  I'm glad I'm here.
I believe that birthdays are "just another day" in a sense, but I also believe in celebrating.
Every day, there's something to be grateful be truly happy about.

Steve kept asking "Are you sure?" when I told him I'd like to postpone his surprise plans.
I look at these photos, and 
I'm so very sure.  
It doesn't matter where I'm at with these two, or any of the people mentioned above - 
With them, I'm in the presence of love.

How do I feel when I look at these photos?
I feel a deep, aching love for my husband and daughter.  I feel the sun that was setting that night.  And the sweet, fall chill that was in the air.  I feel like I'm dreaming...because that's me in these photos.  And I'm holding a beautiful baby girl.  And she's mine.
I feel content...happy...loved...full...fortunate...thankful for all I've been through and excited for what's to come.

And that's something to celebrate.

Happy Thursday.
I hope you celebrate something great today.

I'll be back with memories from the past couple weeks and from the first day of fall.

Now, I think I'll catch some sleep.  

We've got a date with some sand and sun later today.  

Thirty-One Times The Lovin',

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