love

Three years.

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This past month, my mind has been a mess of memories, thoughts, and feelings. I feel like I am in sensory overload. Three years ago today, my dad passed away and I can still remember every day he spent in the hospital, his last month with us. I wonder if that will ever go away or if will just fade into the back of my memories.

The day that he passed away, I made myself a little note on my phone, just moments after. It seems like an odd thing to do, but it was important to me to do at the time. And now, it’s one of the few things I have left on my phone from that very moment. It simply reads….

 

1:53pm  12/04/10  Goodbye Daddy… I love you so much and can’t believe you’re gone. My heart is broken.

 

And even still, as heartbreaking as that moment was, there was no where else I ever could have been. I needed to be there, with my family, holding his hand.

I think of my dad every single day, sometimes many times a day. A song, a movie, a memory, wanting or needing to talk to him, a meal…. Or it could be my wonder in seeing my niece and nephews and knowing that he would be amazed at how much they’ve grown. It could be anything. We talked about him on Thanksgiving, laughing about what he would be doing if he were there with us, sharing memories that we as a family have of him. The holidays will never be the same without him, as hard as I try. I have our Christmas tree up and it’s beautiful. I am hoping that the spirit he enjoyed at this time of year will somehow find it’s way to me this month.

If I could sit with him just one more time and talk with him, I often wonder what I would say. I need help solving some problems and more than ever need his guidance, but that seems selfish. I could share my excitement with him about losing weight. Or how proud I am of myself for running half marathons, something he never knew I could do. I could tell him about our crazy dogs – he knew Blue, but he never got to meet Ozzie and we’re sure they would be best buddies. We could share a favorite meal and a bottle of ice cold Peroni beer, his with a straw in it, his preferred way to drink it. Or we could listen to his favorite Big Band music….

But mostly, what I think I would say to him is how very much he is missed and how his life left such an impression on this family – his family – that anyone who knew him could easily see. I would tell him how different life is without him here to guide us along. I would share with him how he is with me everywhere I go and that we watch the sunset at Crystal Beach every month in honor of him. And most of all, I would tell him how very much I love him, how very much I miss him, and how he will always be my hero.

 

me daddy chair

 

me daddy cover photo

 

in memory of daddy

Autumn turns 6!!

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Time is literally flying by. It seems like I blink, and another year has passed. Every time I see Autumn, I wonder how it’s possible that she is getting to be such a big girl. On Sunday, she turned 6!

This kiddo is the best niece ever. I know, I know, I’m a little bit biased. But she is so fabulous, I can’t get enough of her. Her and I have a great bond. Since she was a little tiny baby and I would babysit her or pick her up from daycare, she has always been a joy to watch and spend time with.

 

welcome autumn me and mike    me autumn baby

autumn hat fave pic

autumn hooter onesie    baby autun with mike

autumn laugh    me autumn bw

me autumn snuggling    autumn hat

 

And  now, all of a sudden, she is this big girl, in Kindergarten, has a booster seat in the car, spends weekends at our house, and has the funniest conversations with us. She is incredibly smart and has the ability to make me laugh like there isn’t a care in the world.

 

me autumn crystal beach 071413    me autumn 122513

me mike autumn 091513    me autumn johns pass 102613

me autumn seaworld silly    me autumn seaworld smile

 

Autumn had a super fun birthday party at the bowling alley on Saturday. Her and a bunch of her cute little friends. Watching little kiddos bowl is too fun. It was a great day!

 

me autumn 110913    autumn bella 110913

autumn cake 110913

bowling kiddos    bowling boys

cooper bowling    autumn bday bowling 1

autumn bday balloon     autumn gift

autumn bday party 1    autumn party 2

autumn party 3

autumn bday cake 1    autumn bday cake 2

autumn bday friends 1    autumn papap jenna nick 1

autumn grandparents    autumn silly friends    

 

It’s hard to believe she’s 6 years old… I am so excited to se her grow up and become the amazing young lady I know she will be. But for now, can we slow the clock down a little?!

 

Happy Birthday Autumn! We love you so much!

Another birthday in heaven…

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happy birthday daddy crystal bch pic

 

 

Today, my dad would be 80 years old. This is almost hard to fathom. He was 77 when he passed, and his last year was probably the slowest and worn down I had ever seen him in my whole life. Growing up, I never thought my dad looked his age. He had a youthful appearance that I attribute to being so active and always on the go, despite that wheelchair he sat in for 55 years.

My dad was fiercely loyal and faithful. He had a silly side. He was very set in his ways and felt strongly in the things he believed in. He was the epitome of a family man and wanted nothing more than to be with his family. He was always determined to take care of us and would do everything in his power to do just that. He was strong, had an amazingly big heart, and would cry at sad movies. He was my hero.

This is the third birthday of his that we have celebrated without him. And like every other day, I will think about him, and miss him, and wish that he were still here.

He is still very much a part of our lives. We talk about him often and I am convinced that I have turned into him with his little quirks, such as constant note-taking and list-making at work. I used to tease for making notes to read his notes and when he would re-write all his notes. I do the same thing now and it makes me smile every time.

We go to Crystal Beach every single month on the 4th, and will be there tonight (please don’t rain!). It’s slightly ironic that he passed away on the 4th of December and his birthday is on the 4th. Every single month my mom and I go up there for sunset. We’ve only been rained out once. It gets more and more beautiful every month and it’s very comforting to be there, knowing how much he enjoyed it.

So today, on your 80th birthday, Daddy, I hope you have one heck of get-together up in heaven with our other loved ones. You are in good company up there. We will be thinking about you. I hope you know how much we all still miss you.

Happy birthday, Daddy…. I love you very much.

 

 

It’s impossible to pick just one photo of my dad to share today, so I picked a handful…

 

joe cowboy

 

joe bike

 

joe dj edit    daddyarmy

 

20752_1204107435593_1615851071_499441_5856952_n    momdadfair

 

joe pizza 1

 

joe pizza orders

 

Scan 2   

 

100_1443

 

100_0476

 

family photo 2007

 

daddy restaurant review photo

 

DSC_0321

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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happy valentines day

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, honey! I am a lucky girl to have you. Thank you for always being there for me, loving me, taking care of me, supporting me in all I do, and loving me with all your heart. I love you oodles and oodles!!!

If you follow me on Facebook  or Twitter, you may have seen this status update last night….

 

IMG_5964

 

The reason behind that? Not only did hubby bring home flowers and gifts for me, but he also bought flowers for my mom. Hubby and my mom have always been close so this comes as no surprise, but my goodness it’s sweet…

The sweet gifts hubby got me…. Beautiful pink roses, a bottle of wine, and beautiful card, and a gift card for a 60-minute massage at my favorite massage studio in Tampa. And I love that he can never wait to give me a gift. Too cute.

 

IMG_5958    IMG_5960

 

And these are the pretty flowers he bought my mom… Seriously. Sweetest man ever. He also blogged about it today, you can read it here.

 

IMG_5962   

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Did you receive a Valentine today? Does your significant other every give you your gifts early?

Favorite posts of 2012

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happy new year 2013

 

 

As 2012 comes to an end tonight and we welcome 2013, I am thinking about this year and all the things I accomplished. 2012 has definitely been the year of stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’ve done so many things that I normally would not do. I hope that I continue to face my fears head-on in 2013.

To finish out the year, I thought I’d do a list of my favorite posts of the year. This was really tough to narrow down and I’m probably forgetting something, but these posts meant the most to me. From completing not one but TWO half-marathons, meeting the wonderful women of Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers, my first blog conference, becoming Yelp Elite, starting Jingle Bikes For Kids, wonderful family time, along with several struggles I faced - it’s been a memorable year.  I hope you enjoy this look back with me…

 

 

I love my blog and I really look forward to continuing to blog in 2013 and to see how it grows. I would like to thank each and every one of you for following and showing interest in my babbling. It helps to keep me sane.

Wishing you all a SAFE and Happy New Year!!

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