Monday, September 16, 2013

Traveling to Florida with a toddler...

After two and a half weeks of traveling from California to all over Washington state, it was time for Daxton and I to join Dallas in Florida.  As you can see Daxton was very excited to pack our bags and see daddy again.  He had been missing his buddy!

Continuing my mother's sainthood, she decided to fly with Daxton and I to Florida to help unpack and get us settled in our new home.  I have no clue what I would have done without my mom for the month of August!  She helped so much with our transition and her generosity and love was such a support.  

The only direct flight to Fort Lauderdale was a red eye out of Seattle, so we decided to drop mom's car off in Auburn at my oldest brother's house.  Heather was sweet and had a yummy dinner waiting for us before our flight was to leave.  Just before eating, Katrina took Daxton on a super fun ride in their jeep.  It was so fun to see his excited face as they drove down the driveway and back.  He adores his cousins and could have spent all night just playing with them, especially Max!
Such a happy boy!

I love this picture below!
It shows perfectly how much he loves his cousins.
I love how he can't take his eyes off of Max.

Katrina's the best!

We made it to the airport safely, got through security quickly, made it to our gate a little over an hour before it was to leave at 10:30pm.  Within a few minutes Daxton had made friends with another toddler boy and they were racing cars up and down the walkways.  I love how much he loves other children and wants to get along.  After the plane started boarding, we got settled in for our 6 and a half hour flight.  We brought his car seat so he would have his own space to sleep.  Grandma was in charge of the iPad and earphones.  It started out well and he fell asleep an hour after take off.  Sadly, though, he woke several times during the flight screaming at the top of his lungs.  You could tell that he never quite got comfy enough to sleep well.  We had to rub his legs and try and rock him back to sleep every hour or so.  I just felt so bad for him and also uncomfortable for the people around us.  Even though his screams would only last a couple minutes, it felt like forever each time.  Poor little guy.
He cheered up the last hour by sitting on Grandma's lap and looking out the window at the rising sun and then the landing.  By the time we got off the plane, all three of us were exhausted!  We flew in around 6:30am and were immediately greeted by the thick warm humidity of southern Florida.  
The best sight came as we rounded the corner and saw the exit.
Daddy was waiting there with the biggest smile!
It was so good to hold him and kiss him again.
And of course Daxton wouldn't let daddy go.  He raised out his arms, hugged him tight, and then rested his head on his shoulder for over five minutes.  You could tell he had missed his daddy! And was also SUPER exhausted.
As we were walking to get our bags, Daxton still clutching his daddy, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we had arrived safely and we were with daddy again.
That and "holy cow, there are live palm trees growing in this airport!"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mom's 60th Birthday

A couple days before Daxton and I flew to Florida, we were able to help celebrate my mom's 60th birthday party.  I tried to convince her to let me throw a party for her, but she literally threatened to disown me if I did anything that brought any attention her way.  I guess I didn't get my need of being the center of attention from her!  All she wanted was a relaxing day with family, so that's what she got...

My younger brother, Richard, and his family came out to visit in the morning.  Leisha made mom the most beautiful and yummy birthday cake.

While we were planning out the rest of the day, the girls took turns pushing Daxton in the doll stroller.  He was quite pampered with all the attention from cousins, aunts, and uncles while we were at home visiting.

Mom wanted to spend the afternoon at Liam's grave so we could write messages to him on balloons.  It's beautiful and yet incredibly sad that my nieces and nephews are so familiar with loss already.  I love the way Leisha and Richard went about telling the girls when Liam was born.  Emma and Nora know that they are so loved and special to have their very own angel looking over them.  They love visiting sweet Liam and are creating incredibly positive and loving memories for him.  It truly is remarkable to see that families faith and strength.

As we were getting things ready, the kids loved running around the cemetery.  Emma showed Daxton Liam's pinwheels and butterfly from Mara.  

My got a helium tank, so while Richard blew up the balloons, we each took turns writing little messages to Liam.  It was really sweet to hear what the girls wanted to write to their baby brother. 
Emma's turn...

I knew that Daxton wouldn't be able to hold onto the balloon, so I tied it to his belt loop til we were ready for the balloon release.  He loved running in circles chasing the balloon.  It reminded me of a kitten chasing it's own tail.

Grandma and Grandpa's turn...

Finishing up while the kids had fun running with their balloons.
Daxton with the birthday Grandma!

Family Pictures

Ready to release the balloons...

Heading towards Liam...

After we sent our messages to Liam, we used chalk that Leisha brought to write little messages on Liam's headstone. 
Messages from Leisha and Grandma...
It was really cute to see Nora teaching Daxton how to use the chalk.  He was focused very hard on drawing a few lines.

While at the cemetery, I wanted to go visit some of my friends.  It breaks my heart to think about how many of my friends I have lost over the past few years.  The first being my two close friends from high school, TJ and Matt.  They were both so funny, unique, creative, smart, talented, and kind.  It was fun to tell Emma, Nora, and Daxton some fun memories I had with them.  I can't believe it's been 15 years since their passing.

Another good friend of mine from high school, Jaime, passed in January of 2006 while serving in the military.  Her funeral was especially sad, leaving behind her husband of a few months.

We also stopped by to visit Grandpa and Grandma Adams.
I only feel happiness when I think of them.  Grandpa passed in 1995 and Grandma was finally reunited with him this year.  What an incredible reunion that must have been!  I'm sure they are having a blast together.

After the cemetery, we all went to a local restaurant, Tequillas, for mom's birthday dinner.  While we were eating, the topic of Mom's birthday may have been brought up to the waiter.  So mom was quite embarrassed  when a group of waitresses came in singing and placed a rather humungous sombrero on her head.  I took video of that and unfortunately do not have any photos to show, lucky for mom!  As we were waiting for dessert, Daxton got some extra hugs from Emma and Nora.  He sure is going to miss these girls! 
Love their facial expressions!

Daxton also loved the whipped cream from dessert...
It was such a fun day helping mom celebrate.  I hope she had a good birthday.  We all love her so much and feel so blessed to have her in our lives.
Happy birthday, mom!

Visiting Michelle's Dairy Farm

While we were living in the Bay area, I was surprised by how many people from our ward were from the central Washington area.  One of my best friends and neighbors, Michelle, was raised in a farm town very close to mine and we always talked about visiting each other if we were ever in Washington at the same time.  It finally worked out a few days before Daxton and I flew down to Florida.

Dax and I drove out to Michelle's house and had a blast with her, brooks, and little Hadley.  Michelle's family owns a dairy farm and have several different animals, which Daxton loved getting to meet.  He especially loved petting and chasing all of the playful kittens around the yard.   
Brooks is a year older than Daxton and loved showing him everything around the farm.  It was especially funny watching Brooks and Daxton chase after the poor kittens.  They were pretty fast though, and narrowly escaped numerous times.
Caught one!

Sweet Hadley snuggled right up and I LOVED every minute of it.

Brooks showing Daxton how to "properly" catch and carry a kitten around the yard.

Smart kittens...finding a spot Daxton couldn't reach.

After Michelle put Hadley down for a nap, she and Brooks showed us around the dairy farm to see all the cattle.  It was interesting to see all the different pods that the calfs lived in.
Daxton loved being able to explore and watch Brooks and Michelle feed the cows.  I played interference by getting him to not step in certain places...

Daxton wanted to join Brooks in the pens, but he was a bit too small.

I absolutely ADORE the pictures of Brooks below.  It sums up several reasons why I love and will miss him terribly!  He stepped in some cow poop, so Michelle hosed his feet and leg off.  In the process his jeans got very wet.  So he spent the rest of the time running around in just his undies.  It was pretty classic!  Gotta love his craziness.

Michelle was a sweetheart and helped Daxton pet the different calves so I could get some pictures.

Perfect example of how I will remember these two...perfection!

After visiting the calves, we were able to stop by the lambs and sheep as well.  They were so cute and very friendly.

Brooks showing off his farming skills, all while pantless.
We had such a fun morning with Michelle and her kids.  We loved being able to see where she was raised and meet all the animals on their farm.  She has been such an incredible friend these past three years.  We've had some great adventures and memories together.  I'm so grateful that she's in my life.  I will truly miss her and our crazy adventures.
Thanks for the fun day, Michelle!

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