Saturday, December 1, 2012

So Many Memories this Fall!!!

Wow, what a great October and November we had.  It started off with a sweet little girl's 1 year birthday and baptism.  Alex is such a ham and her little smile will melt your heart...well she isn't smiling in these pictures but trust me it is the sweetest.

Later in October we dressed up like Cowgirls and Cowboys for Halloween fun!
We always have a great time trick or treating with the Wilson clan.

 And then it was November...this is Ava's month - I mean really - she thinks the whole month is her birthday and ya know what, we pretty much treat the whole month as it is.

But this year was extra extra special and I don't know who was more excited for her birthday to come, her or me.  We went to Disney World for her b-day and stayed at "Dora's House" Double the Fun Right!!!  I can honestly say that we went from sun up to sun down but didn't exhaust ourselves trying to see it all, I think this is the first of many trips up to Disney, it was just GREAT!!!!

Here is a recap in pictures....lots of pictures:

 There was the coolest restaurant full of Dinosaurs, Ava loves dinos so we celebrated and sang happy birthday to her here.
 A fun ride on the Merry Go Round, Daddy doesn't do things that go round and round so I had the pleasure of riding solo with my girls.

And then we went for a special treat, the Bippity Boppity Boutique, if you are planning a trip with a little princess, you must get reservations for this place it is so special.
 The Before....

 The After...the sweetest little Snow White Ever

 When we walked in and saw the castle, Ava was in awe
 and all of the rides that were just her size...."totally awesome."  Another tip, nighttime is the best time to go.  We were able to just stay on the ride and ride it again and again - perfect for this little one.
 We saw so many Disney characters but these were some of the best pics.

 Notice anything that looks the same in these pics...yep Ava wore her dress two days in a row....Oh well it is her birthday month.
 Meeting SnowWhite!

 Love love love
 Meeting all of the other princesses was great too.  I was reminded several times that we missed a few of them, but the lines were just too long.
 Alex is not usually afraid of anything but she was not a huge fan of all of the characters.


So funny I have to tell, during the middle of the day, they had a big dance party and parade at Disney.

During the parade Ava was having so much fun watching everything but was not about to join in on the street with the rest of the kiddos, until another Snow White danced by.  Ava jumped out into the street grabbed this sweet little Snow White's hand and off they went.  I followed a safe distance behind with the other Snow White's mom :0.

 Since Snow White has a cape on the back of her dress, Ava told us she is supposed to run around the castle to make her cape fly, so run we did.

A Dream is a Dream your heart makes.......

Two sweet pics from Hollywood Park.  This was the only other park we went to and it was nice.  Not big, not crowded but filled with things for Ava, Adam, and even Alex.  The Indiana Jones show is there and Disney Jr. is there.

We stayed at the Nick Hotel in Orlando.  It was not a hotel I would choose on an adult vacation but if your little one loves Nickelodeon it is a great place.  Mainly because of DORA!!!!!

She had a birthday breakfast with Ava and even brought her friends along to celebrate...

We spent one day of our trip relaxing and resting by the pool....
November ends with Thanksgiving and another celebration of Ava's birthday with my family.  

 And of course Dora came to this birthday too...and she tasted so great!!!!

Another thing that is now a must each time we make the long haul up to Spearman is a ride and visit with Willie.  Ava is in love with this little horse.  Alex took a ride on Willie too but she preferred the wagon over the horse.

 And we will end this post with that sweet smile I mentioned at the beginning!!!!

Alexandra Lee Lowe - 1
Ava Nicole Lowe - 4

Monday, September 17, 2012

Painting my future one day at a time....

 “Make a memory with your children, spend some time to show you care; toys and trinkets can't replace those precious moments that you share.”  -Elaine Hardt
I had these pictures done of the girls to signify how important our recent trip to Port Aransas really was for my little family. During the trip, I was overtly enjoying time with my family and relaxing on the beach, but on the inside I was struggling with one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in a long time. For the past 7 years I have been both a mom and a professional and have loved every minute of both. I had a long commute each and every day but was okay with this because I knew what I was doing was having an impact and changing the future of so many.  I loved the people I worked with, I loved the people I met, and I loved my independent life. 

But, I guess there comes a time in everyone's life when they have to look in the mirror and analyze themselves.  I think for moms this is more than just "Am I meeting my goals?" "Am I happy with myself?" As moms, we tend to take the backseat and focus on the needs of our family first and worry about ourselves next.  For me, I was trying to do and be all things to all people and while I think I have done a pretty good job, I knew I could not keep it up.  My little ones were growing up before my very eyes and even though I couldn't make it stop, I could control how much I was involved.

So during one of our trips to the beach, I took a walk by myself and prayed for guidance and you know what, God provided me with the guidance I needed.  As we were walking, a frantic woman came up and asked if we had seen a little boy with a yellow swim suit and a boogie board?  "No, why?" She had turned her head for a brief moment and he was front of us the ocean, behind us hoards of people and this little boy was an instant.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, I looked over at my sweet Baby Ava and there she was running into the ocean all by herself without a care in the world and little Alex was crawling right behind her doing all she could to try to keep up and God said, "Ashley before you know it they will be grown and you will miss it if you keep up this pace."

I made the decision then and there to slow down and stop trying to be all for everyone and concentrate on being all for a select few.  The few that make me who I am today and who I will be forever and ever.  I look forward to what is in store for the future and will always have fond memories of my life as a small town girl from Spearman, TX that made it in the big city.  It is a life that I have loved but it is my past and I can't wait for the future........btw, the little boy was found.

Quick letter I read on yahoo the other day....that really touched home with me and reinforced I made the right decision.

Dear Me 20 Years From Now,

I wonder if you've become one of those women who briefly lingers around, a safe distance behind, young moms carting their babies and toddlers through the grocery store with that far-off look in your eyes. If you gently smile at the mom when she looks up and catches your glance, obviously frazzled by how challenging taking 2 kids grocery shopping is, as if to tell her it's going to be okay. If you look at her and miss that time, want so badly to trade 5 minutes of the independence you have now that your kids are much older so that you can rest a toddler's head on your shoulder, or buckle a baby in their car seat, mindful not to pinch any belly chub in the harness.

I have a feeling that you might be, and there are some things I want you to know, some things I'm willing you to remember.

I want you to remember that they were the hardest thing you'd ever done. They challenged you, and they kept you up at night. They pushed your buttons, and they were never, ever quiet... unless they were in trouble. I want you to remember that you loved them the hardest you've ever loved anything, from day one, and every day after that.

I want you to know that you were completely overwhelmed nearly all the time. The thought of taking them anywhere by yourself made you want to hide in bed all day. You were overwhelmed by the responsibility. You had NO clue what you were doing. You were overwhelmed by how much they trusted you and how much they needed you. You were overwhelmed by how much you needed and loved them.

I want you to remember how it felt to lay side by side next to your 4-year-old before she drifted off to sleep. How you talked face to face, nose to nose, about her day. How you told her you were excited to see how much she would grow by the morning, and how in the morning you'd lay in bed next to her and stretch her arms and legs out, exclaiming, "LOOK HOW MUCH YOU GREW LAST NIGHT!" How that put the biggest smile on her face.

I want you to remember what it felt like to hold your 12-month-old on your lap, wrapping your arms around her and laying them on her bulging tummy. How the back of her head and the handful of baby curls at the nape of her neck felt and smelled when you rested your head atop hers.

I want you to know that you were acutely aware of how fast they were growing. Even though many days would pass in the blink of an eye, there would always be a moment when your world would snap to a halt, and you would look at them while they were doing something mundane and normal, and you would be painfully conscious that they were no longer the size they were last week, and that they would never be the size they are at that moment again.

I want you to know that you went to bed every night with one simple wish for the next day. To just do better.

Even though you were tired and challenged, exasperated and overwhelmed, you knew then that you would miss these days... most of them, at least. It was a truth that was hard to live with, and most of the time you ignored it because there was nothing you could do about the passing of time. If you spent your days mourning the ones that had gone by, you'd miss out on the days you were living in.

You knew you were on a light rail, moving at speeds you couldn't comprehend. You had no control over the ride that brought you to where you are today, but believe me when I say you searched so very hard to find the emergency brake.

Please know, please remember that you tried to savor that time. Be at peace, knowing you spent late afternoons curled up with them on the couch, that sometimes you just sat and watched them move and run, that occasionally you took inventory of all the things they'd learned in the last week, and that you appreciated your time with them the best you knew how. Know that despite your very best efforts, there was no way to freeze time.

I promise you, you tried.