This was our second year collecting bikes for kids. Hubby and I started Jingle Bikes For Kids last year and knew we had to do it again this year. We hope to do it every year, bigger and better each time.
Last week, our collection of bikes grew as we picked up several and one was delivered to us. We just loved seeing all the bikes in our garage. Last year, we delivered them directly to the Toys For Tots distribution center. This year, we decided to deliver them to the Toys For Tots toy drive at the Walmart in Oldsmar. It was a beautiful, cool morning and it was such a fun time.
We had a total of 13 bikes this year. There is nothing like seeing a truck full of bikes headed down the road to deliver. Hubby and I also purchased helmets for any that did not have them. In addition to the two bikes we purchased ourselves, we would like to thank:
- Nancy D. (my mom)
- Nick & Jenna D. (my brother and sister-in-law)
- Erika G.
- Corinna B.
- Caroline C.
- Carey & Melissa Birch
- Tori & Patrick
- Carol & Ken Lynch
Magic 94.9 and Fox 13 were broadcasting live and the 501st Legion was there. It was very festive!
And now, I will let my pictures tell the rest of the story…
When we delivered the bikes, all I could think about is how proud my dad would be to see all those bikes lined up. He loved nothing more than making a child happy at Christmas, and we hope to carry this on yearly to honor that wonderful Christmas spirit that my dad had.
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.
Two years ago today, at 1:53pm, we said goodbye to Daddy. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think of him and wish he were still here with us.
After four weeks in the hospital, the last two in ICU, we had to make a very difficult decision to let him go. While it was very hard to so, I still believe it was the right decision. How quickly he passed was proof of that.
Two weeks after his passing, I made a memory book that I still look at often. I took all the beach photos in it – this is the true meaning of the sunset pictures I post every month on the 4th. I thought today would be a good day to share it again. For my dear family and friends, this will be a reminder of those special days. For those of you who didn’t know him, this is a small glimpse into the love that my family had for the most amazing man and father ever.
Today we will go to Crystal Beach for sunset and to Ozona Pig for dinner, just as we did the day he passed away. These were two of his favorite places to go and it is just one of the many ways I keep his memory alive.
I love you Daddy, and I miss you always. You are my hero, my guardian angel, always just a thought away…
As is tradition in our family, the Christmas tree goes up on Thanksgiving. I put my mom’s up for her while she was making our Thanksgiving feast. Yesterday was finally the day to put our tree up. Here it is… I love the soft glow of the lights in our family room.
When hubby and I got our first Christmas tree, we started a tradition of buying a new ornament every year. Some had themes (wedding, anniversary, new house, etc….). Others were fun or added a nice touch to our growing collection. Over the years, our tree has become and mix of old and new, and I love it. Our Just Married ornaments is one of my favorites and it’s hard to believe it’s not been on our tree for 11 years! The snow globe ornament with the burgundy bow is the one we bought this year at Downtown Disney. It’s so pretty and old fashioned…
There are some people who redo their ornaments and decorations every few years, or even every year. Not us. Each ornament hold special meaning, no matter how simple it may be. I enjoy the process of unpacking the ornaments and the tree topper, and remembering when we got each one and the memories that go with it.
There are the ornaments I made last year with pictures of our niece and nephews. I made one for my mom, and my brothers and sisters-in-law as well. It was a fun (and inexpensive!) little project and it’s a joy having them on our tree.
I found a 2010 dog ornament last year on clearance (thank you Hallmark) and finally put a picture of Blue when he was a puppy in 2010. Last year I had a glass ornament made with Blue and Ozzie on it.
Some ornaments are a tribute. When we said goodbye to our sweet Sammi in September 2009, I bought a special ornament for her picture so she would be a part of our tree every year. It seemed the perfect thing to do because when the tree went up, she would lay under it.
When my dad passed away two years ago, at his favorite time of year, I knew I had to do an ornament for him and it would be the center of the tree every year. I have never known anyone who loved Christmas as much as my dad and he is the reason I have my love for Christmas. My dad has now become every little detail of Christmas.
I love our tree. It’s just the right height and I love the white lights. We put it in our family room and it can be seen from the living room and the front door when you walk in. At night, when the lights are off in the rest of the house and we are all curled up on the couch watching TV, it creates a wonderful soft light that I find very comforting.
In the living room, I have other decorations. I love snowmen. And metal decorations. And our stockings. And I have a metal Christmas card holder that hangs on the wall that I love and can’t wait for it to fill up every year. Come Christmas, it will be overflowing with cards and I love that.
Once again, I am very happy with how the tree came out and how cozy our living room looks with the decorations. it’s not too much and it’s not too little. It’s just right and it’s all ours.
When do you put up your tree? Do you have any special traditions for ornaments?
What I am thankful for today…
My hubby…. I am such a lucky girl to have him in my world. He loves and adores me and stands beside me as we make our way through this world, no matter how hard or easy it may seem at any given time. I don’t know how I got so lucky to find him but I would be absolutely lost without him.
A roof over our head…. This month marks 9 years in our home and there are times it still feels like we just moved in. It’s not the perfect house and we have a list a mile long of things we want to do, and realistically may never get to do, but it’s our home. When we’re home at night, curled up on our comfy couch watching TV, with Blue and Ozzie snuggling with us, there’s no place I’d rather be.
Family… I have an amazing support system in all that I do and I am fortunate to have family behind me. You know who you are and I love you all.
My health…. Sure, I have a love/hate relationship with my body and I have aches and pains that sometimes seem too much to bear, but I am so very lucky to be healthy. (***knock on wood***)
My friends…. Old friends, new friends, and in between – you all bring something special to my life.
My mommy…. I’m 40 years old and yes, I still call her Mommy. Somehow she endures working with me and seeing me 5 out of 7 days a week, sometimes even more. She is one of my biggest supporters. She is more than my mom, she is my friend.
My mom’s health…. After quite the scare earlier this year, my mom is thankfully cancer-free after surgery.
38 years worth of memories of my dad…. I am so blessed that nothing was left unsaid and he knew how much I loved (love) him. All the memories over the years have more meaning now since his passing and there are days when I remember something that I had put away in the way-back of my memory bank. It’s amazing how memories can come rushing back. I am so thankful to have those memories that are all mine.
My two crazy dogs…. Yes, there are days that Blue and Ozzie test every bit of patience I have and I swear they will be the death of me, but I love them and can’t imagine not having them here to drive me nuts. I love snuggling with them and taking them for rides and showing them off to everyone who thinks they are the coolest dogs ever. They are our babies.
Sunsets, beaches, and the beautiful area we live in…. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff but all it takes is a walk or run at the park or beach, or a drive along the gulf, or an evening out for a sunset and I am quickly reminded how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful state.
What are you thankful for today?