Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Liebster Award

Michelle from You Had Me From Hello nominated me for the Liebster Award.
It's an award for blogs that have 200 followers or less
(I definitely meet the criteria!)
and is a great opportunity to network with other bloggers.
So fun!  Thanks Michelle.

11 "Bet you didn't Know..." Facts about me
1) Although I personally love to write, I think it's the hardest thing to teach.
Looking back, there a lot of things I would have done differently in my classroom
that I think would have been beneficial to my students and their ability to write.

2) Although I don't want the time to get here any faster than it has to,
I can't wait for Emma to be three and four years old.
I absolutely love that stage in a child's life.
They are so curious and inquisitive.  It makes for great learning time.
They also say some of the cutest things at these ages.
I cannot wait to see where Emma's imagination takes her.

3) I wish that when I was younger I would have stuck with acrobats
instead of choosing to play basketball and volleyball.
I feel like I was actually good at acrobats and could have done something
with those skills.  I just chose volleyball and basketball because
they involved my friends from school.

4) I absolutely hating drying dishes.  I don't mind washing them,
but drying them is another story.  And because of this,
every afternoon you will find dishes spread out on the counter in my kitchen.

5) I wish I read more and read a variety of different things.

6) I miss hanging out with my best friend Tiffany
and I wish we lived close to each other 
so her son and my daughter could play together. 

7) I never liked cold weather or snow while growing up in Kansas City, 
but now, after living on an island for two years,
I can't wait to move back to the states and experience my first snowfall all over again.

8) I absolutely love being pregnant and I hate thinking about the fact
 that after this little angel is born in December that I will 
probably never experience all the incredible
feelings that come along with pregnancy again.

9) I have learned so much from my husband.  
Some things he has taught me intentionally while others have been unintentional.

10) I like to look at different teacher's blogs.
I guess it's my way of staying connected to the classroom 
since I'm not teaching right now.

11) My biggest fear was always that I would be told that I can't have children.
Since that is obviously not the case, I don't really know what I'm afraid of.

Michelle's Questions
1) Where do you wish you lived?
On the Byers down in Oklahoma.  It is so peaceful there.

2) Where is your favorite place to travel?
Since I've never really traveled, I don't know,
but I love going on road trips with my husband.

3) Do you have any big regrets?
Not staying in contact with one of my students like I had intended to.
Life got a little crazy after that year of teaching,
but that's no excuse.  It was something I truly wanted to do
and I shouldn't have let myself not do it.

4) Do you have any kids?
Yes, I have two beautiful step-daughters,
an incredible one-year-old daughter who amazes me everyday,
and a new little bundle of joy expected to arrive and complete our family in December.
Becoming a Momma is the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

5) What is the most common argument you and your significant other get in to?
Most people probably won't believe this, and it may sound corny,
but my husband and I honestly do not argue or fight.
In fact, we have been together for almost three years now, married for almost two,
and we have never once been in a fight.
I'm a pretty lucky gal.

6) Do you like tofu?  If so, what's your favorite way to use it?
No.  My husband has gotten me to try it a few different times, 
but I am not a fan.  I think it's mostly a texture thing.

7) Do you have any tattoos?
No.  I was very close to getting one once,
(a set of angel wings with three halos interlocked above them
representing my three brothers who I have always referred to as my guardian angels)
but my husband is not a big fan of tattoos on girls 
and he knows me well enough to know that if I actually saw someone
getting one then I wouldn't want to do it anymore.
So, he took me with him to get his most recent tattoo.
Needless to say, he was right and I am still tattoo free.

8) What's your decorating style?
I don't know if I actually have a style.
I like to keep things simple and meaningful.
Our house is full of family photographs and pieces of art that our kids created.

9) Are you crafty or would you rather just buy pre-made things?
I would say crafty, but I wish I was craftier.
It's hard to get a lot of materials here in Okinawa.
It's not like we have a JoAnns or a Michaels down the street that I can run to
and I hate ordering that kind of stuff online without actually being able to see it in person.
Hopefully once we get back to the states and get into our house
I will be able to do a lot more crafting.

10) Who is the neat freak, you or your significant other?
Definitely me.  I think I can count on one hand the amount of times
I have seen my husband do any type of cleaning.
His guns, golf clubs, and grill do not count.

11) Republican or Democrat?
Neither.  There are always going to be issues that I lean more to the Republican side on,
yet other issues may have me agreeing more on the Democratic side.
I think it's difficult to fully claim one or the other 
when our country is faced with so many different issues.

My Questions
1) If you could be any animal what would you be and why?
2) What is something you wish you did on a more regular basis?
3) What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
4) Is there something you have always wanted to do but have yet to find the time to do it?
5) Do you remember your dreams very often?  If so, do you usually like what they were about?
6) Who or what has been an inspiration in your life?
7) What is something you use on a daily basis?
8) If you're having a bad day, is there someone or something 
you always turn to to make you feel better?
9) Do you still live where you grew up?  If not, how far away did you relocate?
10) What is your favorite season of the year?
11) If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

My nominees:
Manda from The MiniVan Diaries
Jen from Day By Daily
Twisted Cinderella from Ever After...My Way

The rules, if you choose to participate:
Post 11 things about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions posted by the person who nominated you.
Create 11 questions you want your nominees to answer.
Pass this award on to a maximum of 11 blogs.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Little Treasures She Has Given Me

My darling baby girl,

There are so many things from this first year or so of your life
that I wish I could somehow find a way to capture forever...

Your "baby" smell that has been gone for some time now.
I miss being engulfed by that sweet scent 
when I pick you up and hold you close to me.
It only lasted a few months and I don't think I fully
appreciated it while it was present, but now, looking back,
it was such a great part of the beginning of our journey together.
This probably sounds silly, but that scent, your scent, 
seemed to match you and your personality perfectly.
Everything about it was Emma Claire Williams.
I wish a waft of it would come passing under my nose right now.

The feeling of your tiny hand tucked safely into mine as you fell asleep.
We always used to hold hands as you nursed.
Eventually your eyes would get too heavy for you to hold open,
your body would get loose and limp
and you would slowly drift off into your own little dream land,
but your hand always remained resting securely in mine.
It's as if they were meant to fit together.

The look on your face when you finally rolled 
from your back to your tummy for the first time.
Your Daddy and I had been waiting for you to do it for so long.
You seemed to be on the verge long before you actually did it
and we were always trying to get you to do it by strategically placing
different items out of your reach.  You would get up on your side
and turn your head, but you just could not get that shoulder to roll with you.
But finally, on your six month birthday, you did it, you became a roller!
And the face that came along with that first roll was priceless.
Your face just seemed to have,
"really, that's what you guys have been waiting for?"
written all over it.  Like it was no big deal.
But to Momma it was a big deal.
A special moment that I will always remember.

I could go on and on about these tiny treasures you have given me, 
so I will leave you with just one more.
The one that got this whole thought process started.
Your going to sleep sound.
Since you were just a month or so old
you have always made the same exact sound
as you are drifting off to sleep.
The best way I can think to describe it
is a long, continuous moan, but not a moan of pain,
more of a relaxed sounding moan.
You fight sleep so bad,
although it was much worse when you were younger.
I think you are just afraid of missing out on anything,
but whatever the cause, I always know that when the sleep sound
starts you are finally giving in and will be asleep in a matter of minutes.
But pretty much ever since we moved into the new house
and you started consistently putting yourself to sleep while reading,
the sleep sound has disappeared.
Now you just quietly fall asleep while looking at your book.
It's so precious and I love how much you love books,
but I have missed that sound that I grew so accustomed to.
Well, today as you were going down for your morning nap,
I heard that silly sound coming from your room once again.
A big smile immediately spread across my face
and as the sleep sound always indicates,
you were asleep within five minutes.
That sound is like music to my ears.
Not because you're about to be asleep and give me a break,
but because it's your sound and it's always been a part of you.
Even after it's gone, it will play on in my heart.

I love you Sleeping Beauty.
(the name your biggest sister gave you.)
I'm anxious to find more treasures left behind by you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Our First Summer Together

I'm going to start doing a weekly feature that I've
enjoyed looking at on several other blogs.
It's called Wordless Wednesdays and it's basically just that.
I'm going to let the pictures do the talking
except for maybe a brief description of the topic I picked for the week.

So here goes my first official Wordless Wednesday...

In honor of the end of summer
and because I am missing my husband like crazy
I have chosen the first summer Josh and me spent together
to be the focus of this week's feature.
Although we went through some very difficult things during this time,
we both agree it was the best summer ever.
We learned very quickly that our love
was strong enough to get through any obstacle.
If we weren't working then we pretty much
 spent every moment together.
It was a summer full of waking up slow, lazy days, and wine nights.

To check out other great Wordless Wednesday features visit

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Highlights of Emma's Frist Year

A look back on some of the BIG moments
throughout Emma's first year...

Making her big debut.
After 24 hours of labor, Emma Claire Williams
finally graced us with her presence at 11:54pm on August 17, 2011
weighing 7 lb 12 oz and measuring 22 inches long.

Going for her first ride in the stroller.
(2 weeks old)

Having her first golf date with Daddy.
(2 and a half weeks old)

Being introduced to her Ocean Friends,
which ended up being her favorite toy for the longest time.
(4 weeks old)

Making her first trip to the beach.
Now it's almost an every other day occurrence and she loves it.
(6 weeks old) 

Getting her first real bath
as opposed to just a sponge bath.
It took a long time for her belly button to clear up.
(7weeks old)

Attempting a bottle for the first time, 
which did not go well at all.
(8 weeks old)

Her first Halloween.
Cutest cow I've ever seen
(10 and a half weeks old)

Meeting her big sisters for the first time.
And the rest of her family of course, 
but that would be a lot of pictures.
This was also her first Thanksgiving.
(3 months old)

Her first Christmas.
She thought the wrapping paper was the best part.
(4 months old)

Out on her first sail.
(4 months old)

First time with a gun.
(4 and a half months old)

Discovering her feet.
(5 months old)

Her first taste of big girl foodies.
(5 months old)

First swing at the park.
(5 months old)

First time sitting up by herself for an extended period of time.
(5 and a half months old)

First Valentine's Day
(almost 6 months old)

First roll from her back to her tummy.
(exactly 6 months old)

Making cupcakes for Daddy's birthday.
(7 months old)

Finding out she is going to be a big sissy.
(7 and a half months old)

First Easter
(7 and a half months old)

Making her first big mess.
(8 months old)

Going for her first hike and her first time
in a National Park.
(9 months old)

First swim in a pool.
She did not like the cold water.
(9 months old)

Loving her first rolly poly.
(almost 10 months old)

Seconds before she pulled up for the first time,
in the bathtub of all places.
(10 months old)

First swim in a lake.
(10 months old)

Saying bye-bye to her first home.
I know it's not a good picture, but it was really hot
and we were in a big hurry.  I'm just glad
we got a picture at all.
(11 months old)

First night at her new house included a swim in the ocean.
(11 months old)

First official play on a big girl playground.
(11 months old)

First time wearing her butterfly wings.
She loved them so much that it was a fight to get them off
so she could lay down and take a nap.
(1 year old)

Just proud of the fact that she's
a big one-year-old.

I probably went a little overboard on the pictures, 
but I had so much fun looking back through all of them.
Once I started I couldn't stop.
Since I see her everyday sometimes I forget
just how much she has changed over the course of the year
and this was the perfect way and time 
to just sit, remember, and reflect.
There are times when I find myself thinking about 
and missing Emma's baby stage.
That part of her life when I could just hold her,
look down on her, and get lost in her tiny fingers and toes
and the little twitches she made while she slept.
I remember how Josh and me would always laugh 
at the crazy sounds she made while she was asleep.
We couldn't believe such loud and wild sounds
could come out of such a tiny and delicate baby girl.
Although I can't just sit and hold her
for long periods of time anymore,
I am absolutely loving the stage she is in right now.
She is so affectionate.  She will just crawl over to me,
wrap her arms around my neck, give me a kiss,
and nuzzle her head down in my chest.
It completely melts my heart every single time.
She has the power to turn a bad mood into a happy one 
with just the sparkle of her eyes 
or the touch of her soft hand against my cheek.
I guess you could say that Miss Emma Claire
had found a way to get both Momma and Daddy 
wrapped around those little fingers of hers.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

One Year Later...

Good morning Birthday Girl.

Eating the birthday muffins we made the night before.

We met some friends at a place called Mihama Kids Park.
Emma had so much fun.  She was fearless.
We are definitely going back with Daddy.

Beauty Queen,

One year ago you came into this world 
and filled a piece of my heart that I didn't even know was missing.
I always knew I wanted to be a Momma, 
but you, my darling little girl, have made the experience
so much more special than I ever could have imagined.
It's as if that corner of my heart 
was waiting specially for you and your sparkling blue eyes,
the scrunched up face you make when you really smile about something,
and the sweet squeal of your voice when you say "yeah."
Emma Claire, you are incredible, beautiful, smart, 
silly, loving and such a joy to be around.
It amazes me how much I love you,
and it's so incredible knowing that my love for you
continues to grow with each smile, kiss, snuggle, and laugh that we share.
You have given me a year of the purest kind of happiness
that I can think of.  Thank you for making the past year
so special, memorable, and meaningful for me.
I will cherish every memory from it forever.
I know you won't remember this first year of your life, 
but I hope, when you're older, that you will look back 
at all the photos and videos we have of you 
and know that your Momma and Daddy
have loved you with all our hearts from that very special
moment when you first came into our lives.
We will tell you the stories that go along with each
photo and video, and I hope that one day, you too, will cherish
each one of the priceless moments we captured.
You fill each and every one of our days with such joy
and I hope you know that we try to do the same for you.
I love you Emma Claire.
Our first year together was pretty remarkable.
I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us.
I know, that with you in it, it will be just as wonderful.

your proud Momma