Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moving Confessions...

Moving boxes, packing paper, bleach ... oh my!:)

I do believe that we have become professional movers. The only proof of this is when you look in your mom's address book and your address has been crossed out five times. Yes, we have been married seven years and have moved six times:) I can't blame all of these moves on the military. It's our fault. We just love to move I guess (totally joking of course and just threw up in my mouth). We are moving this time for better school systems, better location, more room in the house, and to be closer to our church friends. So, it's worth it:) We are now in Virginia Beach in a beautiful home with tons of space, a play room for Bells, and a great backyard with a porch swing! I kinda feel like I'm living in someone else's house it's so nice:) I praise God for this place, it was made for us. Oh, we are just renting by the way, so we really are in someone else's house;)

Bella has taken to the new house like a trooper. She has learned to say "outside" because she loves the backyard so much:) This makes me happy! We've already locked ourselves out of the house one time (with Bella in the house)....hey, it's a great way to meet neighbors. We've also found Bella running naked around the house chewing on a razor. I want to explain this but it is so much more dramatic when I just leave it at that! (She's fine, razor top was on) :) Sometimes I think I'm overdramatic, ok I know I am.... but life is so much more fun like that (and so much funnier).

My husband lifted boxes as though he was Fabio when we moved in.... Yes, long hair blowing in the wind (wait, Josh doesn't have long hair)....carrying boxes with his fingertips. I'm not sure why I typed this because Fabio is not handsome, and my husband is....basically, I was saying he's like a moving pro, he can lift ten boxes with ten fingers and also find time to look cute. I wonder if my husband ever reads this blog and wonders what happened to it? Remember when Josh used to post, yes... the Chaplain! I'll have to pressure him to post by typing this:) He's got such amazing things to say... more interesting than Fabio, I assure you:) Me, well.... my mind is full of garbage:) Good garbage of course and you come here and read it so it's your fault!

Prayer: We took Bella to the doctor and they are referring us back to the neurologist to check on some "rolling of the eyes" and "spontaneous laughing"-- I know this sounds really random but they want to do an EEG to make sure she's not experiencing mini seizures. Sometimes when I leave the doctors, I feel defeated but I am glad the doctors are so careful with my heart, my Bells. Hoping this is nothing and just extra careful precaution on the doctor's part.

Until I get our house unpacked, I will leave you with a few good unpacking tunes (from Josh's playlist and mine):

Josh's (Arcade Fire):

Mine (Sia) *has more good songs beyond this one of course:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My sweet joy...

My beautiful. My Bella.

Oh how I love you. Today she smiled at me and looked right in my eyes with a heart full of joy. Those are the moments I live for, I never take a smile for granted. Josh and I have decided that we've moved past the "grieving" stage of autism. I read, in the numerous books I find myself peeling through, that it's normal to go through these feelings when your child is diagnosed with something that has a "life-long" prognosis. Yes, she will always be different, but honestly.... I love her for that. I love that she is so different. Today she was outside on her swingset and I know most kids love swings but Bella, she closes her eyes ... lays her head back... and is in pure bliss. Watching the wind blow through her beautiful strawberry blonde hair brings tears to my eyes. Her sweet face shines in the sun and fills my soul with feelings so deep.

Therapy is going well. Some weeks I feel like we take leaps forward in progress, others... well are a little less promising. The fact is, this is a LIFELONG journey. We will be fighting for and with Bella to experience small and big successes all of the time. I love how graceful her daddy is with her. Josh adores Bella. She grabs hold of his heart so tight I feel like they are one:)

Lately Bella has tried communicating more. She's said: "up swing" (when she wanted to swing...mostly repeated after me when I said it like 10 times..but still awesome to hear), "horse", "SuperWhy" (she loves that show). Those are the new additions. Some words come and go (we hear them once in a blue moon). She hasn't been banging her head as much which is great but lately she's been hitting her mouth in frustration a little bit. She always says "please" when she wants food but getting her to name the food is hard "apple" is easiest. She said "nana" (banana) the other day but I haven't heard it since. The crazy part is that she understands virtually EVERYTHING we say. It's just hit or miss as to how long it takes for her to care to respond. One word that always gets a response is "bath" :)

We are moving next week and I'm praying that the change is easy on Bells.

These verses touched my heart the other day...Matthew 18: 10-14

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my [5] Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

First of all, the fact that God loves little ones so much puts a smile on my face. Also, when speaking of little ones, God says that "their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven"---in my Bella the Father is seen. The Father cares more about the "lost sheep" than the rest of the pack. I love this... praise God for his loving mercy on my girl.

Bella's mom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where Dreams Come True:)

Deep sigh*

Hello bloggy friends. It has been a while since I last posted and for good reason....

Josh and I were in Orlando, Florida at Disney World! Yes, we are children at heart. We have been planning for years (and I mean three) to take a trip together in celebration of the three anniversaries we've spent apart:( This was it! We flew Nanny Earls out to hang out with Bells and took off. I make it sound as if it was easy to leave Bella, it was not. I did write out three pages of instructions, laid out outfits, anything to make sure Nanny had "resources".

Our trip started on Wednesday when we flew out. I have never left Bella for so long so walking through the airport without her was weird. It was also so quiet. We both read books, drank coffee....we felt so civilized. Like real people, not frazzled parents;) We got in before dinner, checked into Shades of Green (Disney has a resort that is for Dept. of Defense only...can't beat $70 a night and free Disney transportation)! We had dinner in Downtown Disney at the Rainforest Cafe and just hung out!

Thursday morning was cold and rainy, nevertheless we headed to Hollywood Studios (one of the four parks on our "park-hopper" pass). My friend Kori works there so she put us on the VIP for the shows and took us on all of the awesome rides they had. It was unfortunate that it was sooo stinkin' cold but luckily they had churros. You may wonder how coldness and churros correspond with one another.... they don't. I just love churros a LOT. Like I'm pretty sure I had seven in five days. Favorite ride at Hollywood was the Rock'n Roller-coaster. Totally dark, neon lights, Aerosmith....better than Space Mountain for sure. Oh and yes, I got pulled on stage for the Indiana Jones stunt show....and yes, as per usually made a fool of myself.

Friday was the Magic Kingdom. It was cold again:( No sun. Good thing I got a spray tan. My neck looked good at least. We road all of the good rides, even some of the kid ones.... my favorite: Peter Pan. We ate at Liberty Tree Tavern in the George Washington room because my husband is a history major:) We thought that a few of the rides were better at DisneyLAND (such as Pirates and Space Mountain). We had a great time though and finished up the day at Epcot. Best ride there was Test Track (a ride where you are supposed to be a crash test dummy). Food at Epcot was the best of all of the parks. Oh and we saw Cirque Du Soleil this night---wow!

Saturday we headed to the Animal Kingdom. I loved this park because of all of the animals, of course. Just because I gave my cats away on Craigslist, doesn't make me an animal hater I promise. Yes, I did it. But, they found a good family. Ok, back to the parks....They have some great rides at this park (Expedition Everest, Dinosaur... and the Safari).

We were looking forward to Sunday because we headed to Islands of Adventure which has lots of big coaster's. It also has....duh-duh-dahh (horns blowing).... The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. What? Don't judge. Yes, we have read the books, and own the movies. No, we are not 14. Any other questions? Thought so. This place was amazing. Totally felt like we were in Hogsmead/Hogwarts. My friend Kori came along with us (also an Potter fan)---we were like little school boys prancing about. Ok, school girls. Unfortunately, Josh's true colors came out .... I'm saddened to inform you all of this but, he's a Slytherin. Yes, it's true. We cannot be together, or so we were told by some of the wizards at the park.

Well, we ARE still together despite his "dark side" :)

We had dinner Sunday night at Epcot (in France) have to try the bakery in France as well--yummers.

Overall, AMAZING trip. We missed Bella so much it hurt. We were thankful for Carol who watched her, did therapy with her, and loved on her in our place. We are glad to be home and back to normalcy. By no means was this a "relaxing trip" but, it was excitingly rejuvenating for our souls:)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do...

It all started when I was born, I came out white as toilet paper. You can blame this on Kiki & Ricki equally. Both sides of my family have Irish genes. All of my siblings can tan, and have brown/hazel eyes. Me, well... white, freckles, blue eyes. My older siblings told me on many occasions that I was adopted. In fact, they told me my parents named me "Annie" because I was an orphan! Luckily, my parents told me that my freckles where "angel kisses" which made me feel extremely holy:)

Which leads me to yesterday. When I decided to get a spray tan. I used to "do tanning beds" in high school but, when you can smell your own skin burning, something doesn't feel right about that. Plus, I'm 30....I'm not trying to hurry along the wrinkles;) My husband often wonders (out loud) why I "try to be tan". He does not understand my desire to feel "sun-kissed"....probably because he's tan YEAR ROUND...grrrr! I can't complain, he's a hottie...but, when I stand next to him people must wonder where he found such a hot mess of white.

So, I walked into this scary room. Everything had a hint of orange to it in there....should have been my first red flag right? I stripped down to my unmentionables and she gave me two balls to hold in my palms...:) I was already FREEZING and she informed me that the spray was refrigerated. AHHHH! Then, it happened. I was spray tanning myself. The best and most hysterical part of it was she kept saying, your skin is rejecting it. Let me spray more... In my head I'm dying laughing at the thought that my skin not only rejects sun, but also fake sun.

I've only included a before and after picture of my top half (which looks fine except for orange).....I'll get some leg pictures for you soon (that's the best part).

All that to say, WE ARE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD TODAY! We are leaving our little one with her Nanny Earls (who we love) and taking off for 5 days. I cannot believe it'sa actually happening! After missing 3 anniversaries and being apart for 7 months.... I think we deserve it:) We got the park hopper pass and are staying in one of the Disney hotels (which has a tram that connects all of the parks). Oh, then we'll hit Islands of Adventure and check out the new Harry Potter area:) So excited. What kind of parents leave their child to go without them to, the Earls:) We love you Bella....(she's been to Disneyland don't worry)! Oh, and we get to see one of my college buds Kori who work for Disney:)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011



So, it's time to brag on our parents. When I say "brag" I mean embarrass as well of course. Josh and I were driving the other day and decided in the car that we have the best parents in the ENTIRE world. Literally! I mean, I have spent more time with my mother-in-law than most do and I can say that when she leaves, I miss her! Yes, I love my mother-in-law. I get weird looks from my friends sometimes when I say things like that....but, it's true! Josh often asks me when we can visit my family again. He truly loves my parents and siblings... and I love his too! Ok, enough cheese ball...

More than you ever wanted to know about our parents...

Ricky (Annie's dad)-
1. He used to wear hot pink shorts and walk around the house doing wrestling poses. Then he'd make me do the "Hulk Hogan" for him. (Annie)
2. He would always tell me "lights and lock" every night -- like 10 times before I went to bed. Pretty sure it was a strategy used to spy on me and my company (which I'm sure we needed no doubt). He's slick like that... (Annie)
3. He told me he loved me when I got expelled from school. He said he'd never stop loving me and that made me love him more. (Annie)
4. He's the most awesome tour guide in the world. Seriously, he is. He can be in a city he's never been to and give you a full on historical tour....he could give tour guides tours of their own cities.... (Annie)
5. He was an awesome father. He worked like 3 jobs to make life comfortable for our family... and still had time to hang out with his wild daughters and son. (Annie)
6. He prefers to be called Slick Rick, Ricardo, or any other name that sounds awesome. (Annie)
7. He used to make me pull his "finger" at the dinner table. Kiki almost passed out with him. (Annie)
8. He's Godly and doesn't EVER talk bad about people. (Annie)
9. He's taught me to be confident in myself. (Annie)
10. He taught Annie to appreciate golf and that a husband should be able to play a round to relax. (Josh)
11. He gives me a different perspective on ministry and that coupled with the one I get from my dad has given me a leg up. (Josh)
12. He shows me what patient love is for one's family. (Josh)

Kiki (Annie's mom)-
1. She's the most forgiving person I know. (Annie)
2. She is the BEST person to make you feel better when you are sick. (Annie)
3. She was there the day Bella was born, and I couldn't have done it without her! (Annie)
4. She loved me through my "rough years" and always was on my side even when I didn't deserve it:) (Annie)
5. She has the most graceful spirit that I am sure anyone who knows her can see. She loves people endlessly and always finds the good in them. (Annie)
6. She is passionate about serving others which is evident in the way she serves at Alpha Women's Center. I hope to be as passionate in my work one day! (Annie)
7. She gets embarrassed easily and I love that because no one in our family has a "filter". I'm pretty sure she's lived 80% of her life being embarrassed by our "loud mouths". (Annie)
8. She is married to Ricky. She deserves an award (not because Ricky is hard to be married to but because she's "just perfect" for him). :) (Annie)
9. She loves my friends -- old and new.... she is the best at taking anyone into her house and making them want to come live there:) (Annie)
10. She loves Bella as much as I do... which is a lot! (Annie)
11. She cries when I cry:) She loves us so much. (Annie)
12. She goes by Kiki (Josh)
13. She always makes me feel like everything I do is soooo special (even though its not) (Josh)
14. She gave me my beautiful wife. (Josh)

1. She's a strong woman of God. (Annie)
2. She survived cancer and did it with grace and dignity. It changed her son's life and turned him to God -- look at him now! (Annie)
3. She has been a rock for Josh, Bella and I during this deployment-- we couldn't have done it without her! (Annie)
4. She can sleep like champion-- she has the spiritual gift of "sleep" I say... It's a gift that the Earls possess... (Annie)
5. She loves car trips---which is good because Rod loves to drive.... for a long time.... long... long... long... time. (Annie)
6. She is the one with the attitude and she lets my dad know when he has gone too far. (Josh)
7. No matter what, she will do whatever it takes to come see me, Annie, and Bella. (Josh)
8. She gives all of us kids a Christmas ornament every year (and the other year mine said favorite child!!!) (Josh)
9. She is a shining example of a Christian woman letting my dad lead our family and supporting us always. (Josh)
10. She never gave up on me, even when I was a terrible son. (Josh)
Thanks MOM I love you!

1. My dad shows me what a Christian man is. (Josh)
2. He would yell "rocket fire" when I would pitch in high school. (Josh)
3. Even though I was a terrible son to him for a while he was always calm, supportive, and loving towards me. (Josh)
4. Some how he has supper hearing when he goes to sleep, but when he is awake he can't hear anything. (Josh)
5. He would always play catch with me whenever I asked (thank God he never played basketball with me, he's not very good). (Josh)
6. Even though I am in the "same profession" as him he doesn't "preach" at me but always guides when he is asked. (Josh)
7. He is the hardest worker I've ever met, he puts so much passion into what he does--it's inspiring! (Annie)
8. He's a great example of Christ to EVERYONE he meets! (Annie)
9. He LOVES to eat cake. Yes, he will buy a whole sheet cake and pretty much eat the entire thing by himself. Yet still maintain his physique! (Annie)
10. He laughs at movies that his grandkids watch--- and they laugh too! He a great "Poppa" who loves to "wrestle"! (Annie)
11. He runs when he mows his lawn. No, I mean like sprints... to get an extra work out and mow faster---it's actually quite impressive! (Annie)
12. He LOVES buffets ... I mean, he will plan out a buffet meal so that he only has to eat once that day! Amazing planning skills (Annie)