Blog Widget by LinkWithin

magical field of butterflies...

Thursday, July 30

j reminded me lastnight that i've yet to post anything on the blog about one of my most special, favorite moments on our visit to springfield.

one morning, after one of my invigorating walks, deb told j about my desire for a 4-wheeler ride around the countryside. he happily obliged and moments later, we were off. i was "freezing" - the morning air was around high 60's...low 70' it was actually perfect. BUT...on the back of a 4-wheeler, the air seems at least 10+ degrees colder. (that only meant i had to hold on really close & tight to j...which i'm always looking for an excuse for that anyway). so...j takes me down all these country roads and we eventually find ourselves on a grassy path. (he knows where he's going the whole time - i haven't a clue). we made our way to a small creek and stopped...debating whether or not to attempt to cross it. (i wasn't sure how deep it was - it looked a bit sketchy). j didn't hesitate - he drove right across and we made it safely to the other side without getting even the tiniest bit wet. (so chivalrous...don't you think)? as we make our way up the river bank, i look up to see nothing but acres of gorgeous, green open field. it was breathtaking. we sat there for a minute, just breathing it all in...and then... as i look closer - (remember, i'm realizing i need glasses in a bad way), all of a sudden, i notice thousands of tiny delicate butterflies flittering around the heads of the grass. it was surreal. (and honestly, with j's 20/15 vision, he didn't even notice them until i pointed them out). it looked like a postcard. seriously. it totally seemed as if the butterflies weren't there at all...or as if they were invisible...until we took the time to just be still...and then they quietly & magically appeared. i was mesmerized. and being the passionate person i am, as j started to drive off, i immediately yelled out in desperation..., "wait! this is a magical butterfly have to kiss me!" and so he did. and i was happy. (and i hugged him even a little tighter and a little closer all the way back to the house).

and no...i have no pictures. i didn't have my camera with me. but it was such a special moment between just j and i - a really special moment. (i'm soooo super romanticized, aren't i?)

make your thursday magical....

springfield - day 2

Tuesday, July 28

continuing the springfield visit...we awoke saturday morning to another "picture-perfect" day. the weather was soooo super wonderful the entire time we were there. debbie and i walked friday and saturday morning...i couldn't resist the charm of the old country road they live on and i absolutely wanted the crisp, cool air in my lungs. so we laced up our walking shoes, both mornings and let me tell was invigorating.

after breakfast we headed into town for a visit with uncle teddy and aunt carolyn. these two people were amazing. i loved their energy - you wouldn't ever guess their real age. i loved aunt carolyn's style and her love of the arts. (as well as her love of jacqueline kennedy-onassis - whom i adore as well). and uncle teddy really struck a chord with me. he has such a sweet, pure spirit - i can't really explain's something you'd have to feel. they both really left an impression on me.

* keeping it real...i had to turn the pics to b&w due to my inability to "see" the exposure was producing blurred images...i need glasses...seriously. i think the b&w works?

ella, great-aunt carolyn, j and great-uncle teddy
(ella's holding an adorable little giraffe they gave her as a gift - so sweet).

aunt carolyn & uncle teddy with ella
i LOVE that ella is touching teddy's arm & looking at him - super adorable.

aunt carolyn & ella

after our visit we headed to sam's club so debbie & j could purchase the garmin wayne has been wanting - it was a "belated" father's day gift. ella and i waited in the car so i could feed her some carrots - think she was enjoying them?

after ella ate, it was time for the rest of us to eat. i wanted to "really" experience illinois and so we went to d'arcy's pint for an authentic "horseshoe sandwich". (come to find out, the "man vs. food" crew had been there earlier that week...filming. cool).

wayne @ the entrance to d'arcy's
(yes...i was the epitome of "tourist" with all of the picture taking)

wayne and debbie...preparing to order.

and here's the infamous horseshoe sandwich...actually, it's the smaller version called a "pony"
(this is MY plate...but you can see deb's in the background...we all had one)

it's eating like i don't ever normally do. under that pile of fries is your choice of meat, which for me was buffalo chicken, 2 pieces of texas toast all topped off with a heavy amount of white cheese sauce...mmmm...*stomach gurgling*. trust me...i paid for it later - but that's another story. and by the way...can't figure out why it's called a "horseshoe sandwich"? it's not shaped like a horseshoe and you certainly can't pick it up and eat it like a sandwich. hmm?

i snapped this picture on our way out of d'arcy's. i loved it - it felt sooo "midwestern-ish"?
j wanted me to make sure we sent this picture to uncle mike. *laughing*

and then we wrapped up our day with a visit to great, great aunt onita. she's 92 years old. still drives. takes zero medication and is a walking family history resource for the schnapp family. she sent ella the baby blanket ella is covered up in. we brought it with us to get a picture of all three of them together.

great, great aunt onita & ella

again - blurry...therefore b&w...and i still love the feel of this picture.

we ended our day with another feast...this time it was smoked ribs wayne had left cooking all day while we were out and about. and then deb and i made cookies and texas sheet cake for the "meet and greet" the following day. (you know what that means...more pictures tomorrow).

have a super tuesday. i'm off to meet up with my good friend, natalie. we are finally getting together after running into each other in the grocery store the other day. it's been since high school that i've seen her. sooo fun!

updated...after thinking about it, i think we all ate BEFORE little miss ella. we went to sam's club AFTER lunch...can't keep it all straight?

farm fresh eggs

Monday, July 27

as promised, i wanted to give a recap of our visit to springfield. so, here's the first segment, (day 1):

on our very first a.m. in springfield, we awoke to a wonderful breakfast consisting of "farm fresh eggs" grandpa schnapp, (wayne), had gotten from the next door neighbor. (the eggs were "martha stewart-worthy"...traditional white eggs along with eggs containing hues of beautiful greens & browns...i just HAD to take a picture of them.)

farm fresh eggs

in addition to the eggs, we enjoyed wayne's "breakfast potatoes" using potatoes from the garden, fresh fruit salad, some delicious maple muffins grandma schnapp, (debbie), made, as well as some bacon. it was a hearty country breakfast - and boy was it good. debbie had even made sure to have my favorite rice milk for me to drink. (so very thoughtful).

later that morning, we had a visit from jacob and lynn. (j's aunt and cousin). it was their first-time meeting ella and i believe she won over their hearts?!

jacob and ella
ella wanted to hold jacob's sweet.

aunt lynn & ella
(i love these next 3 shots of them interacting).

such a handsome, polite young man.

debbie and ella
i love this shot w/grandpa in the background

grandma, aunt lynn, jacob & ella

j and ella

thanks lynn & jacob for schooling me on the ever-so-lovely japanese beetles. i never got a picture...can you believe it!?

before heading to aunt martha's for dinner, we made a quick stop by this cute little church right down the road.

rock creek church

behind/next to the church is a cemetary where a lot of j's ancestors are. i'd never seen "family markers" as big as these

rock creek cemetery
j and wayne

quite cool/impressive. a lot of the headstones date back to the 1800's. such great family history.

and then making our way to martha's we saw this...

and this...

we then ended our first day with a visit to j's aunt martha and uncle roger's home. we enjoyed a feast of papa murphy's pizza with the "take and bake" philosophy, (which i'd never heard of and i think is SUCH a cool idea), and then we followed up with a "to-die-for" dessert that put inches on the hips just looking at it. aunt martha had invited ella's "great" grandma schnapp and aunt sue and uncle mike too. it was so nice to visit with all of them. (boy, ella sure did take a liking to uncle mike...she was content in his arms and when she wasn't in his arms she was scoping the room in search of was really cute).

we packed the quilt that aunt martha, aunt sue and great-grandma schnapp made for ella before she was born. i wanted it with us so we could get a picture of them all together. (so special).

aunt sue, grandma jo schnapp, aunt martha and ella

and so ended the picture-perfect weather and sites for day 1 in springfield...
enjoy your monday...i have LOTS of creative ideas and craziness going on in my little head! i love that!

i have to mention too, debbie took care of making sure we had everything we needed for ella while we were there. she borrowed a highchair, pack n' play and a walker for ella to use and then she told us not to pack any clothes, diapers, wipes, baby lotion, or baby bath soap. she had all of that ready for us when we arrived. for the entire trip, ella didn't wear anything except little outfits that debbie bought for her! those extra little details certainly made the trip that much more enjoyable for everyone.

i knew this day was coming...

Friday, July 24

i knew this day was coming. (and it actually happened 2 days before we left for our visit to springfield). i'd even prepped j through conversation...letting him know to be prepared. even still...nothing quite prepares you for the feeling you get as a parent when you walk into a room and see THIS:

my sweet lil' eight-month old ella pie. i'd just layed her down for a nap. i'd silently crept away and was satisfied to not hear a peep - i'm thinking "she's definitely sleepy and she's closing her sweet little peepers". and THEN. it was then that i heard a faint...unfamiliar noise. i almost ignored it but my "mom instincts" kicked in and told me i'd better peek. i gently pushed open the door and found little ella standing - with her back to me. (YES!) so i quickly yet every-so-quietly ran - on my tiptoes - to retrieve the camera to document this new milestone. as soon as i snapped the first picture...ella immediately turned around and i got THIS:

what a precious little package of sunshine. she's such a good little girl. she's such a happy baby. (as long as she's fed & not overly tired). i'm certainly feeling sentimental today...realizing this is my very last little baby. it makes me kind of sad. knowing this "season" of my life is closing. *sniffle*

still working on pictures from springfield and the recap of the trip. such fun little details i want to share. happy friday to all.

farm country

Wednesday, July 22

i posted "set 1" of the photos from illinois - i put them on flickr - click here if you'd like to see enlarged images - otherwise, click the slideshow below. (caution...viewing images may induce cravings for fresh corn on the cob as well as kicking off your shoes and running barefoot through the nearest grassy field) - enjoy.

aren't they lovely?

i added some country-feel to the pictures by adding some "canvas texture" from nicole v as well as using an overlay from "playingwithbrushes" on flickr.

back from the midwest...

Tuesday, July 21

i have tons & tons of pictures to go through & share with you from our trip to springfield, illinois. we met lots of wonderful & friends...and everyone, of course, got to meet lil' miss ella. i'm unpacking, doing laundry and getting back into the "routine" today...but i'll give you just a taste of some of the beautiful country we were surrounded by...this is one of my fave pictures. (taken just down the street from grandma & grandpa schnapp's house).

mmmmm....i love old barns, old houses, cornfields, wide open spaces! it was "picture-taking- heaven" for me. so beautiful. and the weather was absolutely SPECK-tacular for us the entire time. highs in the 70's & it even got down to 52 one evening. (what?!) slept with the windows open. (until the coyotes and neighbor dogs decided to serenade us). the trip couldn't have been more perfect. can't wait to fill you in on all of the details. (food, family, food, friends, food, scenery & did i mention food?). thank you grandma & grandpa schnapp for such a wonderful visit - we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

overlay on picture from nicole v and the vignette is from coffee shop actions.

love note...

Wednesday, July 15

it's finding things like this that make me feel so completely content.
i found this note yesterday, after the girls left for their 2 week vacation with their grandparents. ema had written/drawn/created it for me without me knowing and left it in a spot she knew i wouldn't miss seeing it....on the computer desk right under the monitor. i can't explain how wonderfully happy it made me feel when i saw it. i love you em. i love how thoughtful you are.

feeling energized today. committed. dedicated. to my life. to the people in it. but especially to myself. it's pure inspiration that hit me in the last 10 minutes of the treadmill earlier. ( i was holding ella for the last 5-6...yeah...i know...probably not a "pediatrician-approved" act...but she woke up from her nap and i was determined to finish strong. she actually enjoyed it and was checking out my feet and smiling much of the time.) felt so good to finish my goal - as simple as it was - and i just felt this sudden rush of empowerment. i was feeling so inspired i had to jot down my thoughts in my journal really quickly...i'll leave you with an excerpt - have a wonderful wednesday!

"I will make choices that will benefit my mind, body & spirit. I am dedicated to following through. I will not accept failure. I will stop making excuses. I will be better. I will be stronger. I will use my energy for good. I will be happy and I will be the example my children need & deserve. Today! Today is the day I will change my life - my thoughts - my actions - my outlook - my outcome"....

what do you get when....

Tuesday, July 14

what do you get when you take an innocent 8 month old and pair it with a couple of older sisters who have a couple of build-a-bears?
you get this....

yes...this is ella. and yes, this is a bikini belonging to clara's build-a-bear stuffed animal. i, personally, thought it was cute. dad didn't think it was so cute. the girls thought it was soooo funny - & honestly, the fact that she could wear it and look A.D. orable in it just cracks me up.

*you should see the video i took of ella after the girls strapped a pair of build-a-bear roller skates on her & were skating her around the house. (oh my)!

ella will have a 2 week reprieve from her older sisters...although she doesn't need one...despite the build-a-bear experience. she loves clara & ema to pieces. the older girls are on a 2-week vacation with their grandma & grandpa kirkland...they are flying out of orlando tomorrow and won't return until the 29th. they will be visiting palmyra, nauvoo & missouri. this will be the first time they've been away for that long & not been under the supervision/care of either myself or their dad. i will miss them terribly. however, i know they are going to enjoy this experience & it will be something they will treasure and remember forever.

while the girls are away, j & i will be visiting grandma & grandpa illinois. we leave on thursday evening & will return on monday night. i must say, they are quite excited to have us for a visit. we've received emails regarding the itinerary to expect during our stay! i'm excited and look forward to lots of fresh vegetables from the garden, visiting with family, baking with debbie and introducing little ella to everyone. they are going to gobble her up.

it's late - i must catch some zzzz's. i couldn't put off posting any longer - (i'd had those pictures of ella for about 4 days now & have been too busy to post them).'s to a good night's sleep.....good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite! xxoxxo

going out with a bang...

Monday, July 6

i hope you all had a festive fourth! it was a hot day here in sunny florida. the evening helped cool things off right before the fireworks...

here's how saturday morning started for ema & i....

homemade apple pies...completely from scratch

we peeled and mixed and rolled and floured and put our love and attention into every detail. i think ema did an exceptional job. they turned out beautiful! (we even decorated with stars and colored them red & blue). delish! 

clara & i spent most of friday night preparing the extra "4th fun" to bring to the sower's home for the celebration on saturday.  (this included creating popcorn bags, sparkler tags, peanut containers, & goodie bags for the kids. it was fun filling the goodie bags with cracker jacks, licorice, "pop its", big red gum & some 4th candies). and i have to mention that j actually participated in some of the prep work. ("schooling clara & i on the proper technique for achieving the perfect cut on the popcorn bags"). *wink*
the pics of the decor were all taken the evening of the 4th in the sower's home...i was holding ella in one arm, the camera in the other...all while everyone was outside watching the fireworks. not an easy task...but i knew i'd be mad at myself if i didn't get pics of all of the hard work the girls and i put into preparing...

here are some "inside" pics following the awesome fireworks show 

and then these are pics from earlier in the day when the lighting was actually good.

ema on the drums...hiding her face...
(it was her first-time ever playing and i must say...
i was completely impressed...and she was in heaven)!

so there you have it. it was a happy 4th for all of us. thank you harry & ally for opening up your home and providing a place for us to all gather. and thanks uncle mike for always being so concerned about making sure everyone is having a great time. the fireworks show you and the guys put on was super spectacular! the entire neighborhood was enjoying it!!  love you!

*i apologize for not having more pics of other people in attendance... such as kris, uncle nate &... i didn't get one of michael, brandon or taylor...darn it! 

No.4 is at the door...

Friday, July 3

yes...4th of july is tomorrow people. are you scrambling for last minute ideas on "bringing it all together"? i'm so in love with the super easy ideas from hof3. (go look at the finished products right here that hof3 has posted on their blog...way cute). they've got all sorts of labels for customizing water bottles, making popcorn bags, wrapping peanut jars, packaging sparklers and making 4th of july candies look "spark"tacular! you download the pdf for $4...print it out on sticker paper, cut, peel & wrap... and of course admire your adorable creations.

the girls and i will be working on No. 4 crafts and fun all day today. and then tomorrow i'll be  showing them how to make apple pie completely from scratch...i can't wait! there's nothing more american than apple pie...right? we've got old-fashioned festivities to attend in mt. dora saturday afternoon and then we'll be spending the later afternoon/evening with uncle mike and his family. (and once again..."over-the-top" mike has gone overboard with ensuring everyone has a good time by supplying over $1400 worth of 4th of july "excitement"...hello!? is he nuts? he's single...that's what it is...and he's super sweet/giving).  

here's hoping you all have a safe, spectacular 4th of july weekend...celebrate with friends/family and take a minute to think about the freedoms we enjoy everyday...we are all truly blessed. and if you need a little patriotic inspiration to get you in the right frame of here. 

it's a story/email from the bakerella blog...super sweet. (and you'll understand the image below, also from bakerella, after checking out the story/site. happy 4th! 

thank you to all of the men and women who serve & sacrifice (and who have served & sacrificed in the past) to protect our families...& our freedom.


Thursday, July 2 name is jessica...and i love hello kitty. *stop laughing*
i don't know what it is about the cute little white ball of fur? i fell in love back when there was a department store called burdines and there was a section of "girly-type" things in the kids clothing section. i was always drawn to the hello kitty goods...little notepads & pens, lipgloss, stamps, stickers, etc. i'm not a hello kitty fanatic. i don't decorate with hello kitty stuff or even wear hello kitty clothing. (but i have purchased a costume jewelry-type ring before that was way too cute and i'd probably where a super cute t-shirt if i stumbled across one). i currently have in my cupboards a hello kitty sandwich maker...and a hello kitty waffle maker. (A. D. orable)! (but both purchases were gifts for my two girls...yeah...i know...the girls were just a "cover" for my secret obsession - at least i'm admitting to it now).

so...i thought this was absolutely fabulous when i came across it. it's just for fun.

super crazy over-the-top decor, don't you think? but i love it. just to look at. not live in.
enjoy your thursday. 
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan