church, close to my heart, friends, living the military life, motherhood, our first daughter, our second daughter, travel

Oh, Florida.

We did so much traveling in 2011, brought our kids along and it made for one exciting year. We started out 2011 with a trip to California visiting DisneyLand and SeaWorld, then Minnesota in February to see my sister, moved to Spain in March with trips to Portugal and Barcelona and now here we are in Virginia (oh, can’t forget Washington DC or North Carolina). Even with all those trips, the year wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to see my lovely friends in Florida. I loved the two years we had in Florida; we had an amazing church, the weather in Florida is beauty-ful, the beaches are (hands down) the absolute best I’ve ever tanned my luscious body on been to and most importantly; it’s where my best friends live! I had a total of 11 Florida-riffic days. Each day was so full of spending time with friends, that I actually never stepped foot on the white beaches of the Emerald Coast. I know, I know; I’m such a boob. But, here’s what I did do.

I was in Florida over my birthday (lucky me) and had planned to spend the day with my lovely friend, Paige and her 6 kids. I love Paige. Seriously. I have my “sister moms” and my “sisters in Christ”. Paige fits in both those categories. I remember the day I met Paige for the first time. We were fresh into the Floridian life and hadn’t met too many people yet. There was a park nearby our house that I would bring Aliana to. One afternoon, Paige was there with her kids (then just 4) and her daughter, Anna and Aliana made fast friends and the rest is history. I had originally intended to be in this photo but, my photography skills flew out the window that day when I completely cut myself out. Photographing 8 children and 2 adults on a timer with no tripod is not my strong suit. Not sure if it’s anyone elses’ for that matter, either.

Any day with Paige and her crew is always fun. Having her friendship is a blessing and no matter the distance between us, I’m always thankful to have that wonderful woman in my life.

Now let’s move on to what is this wonderful creation, baby Abigail. Who, actually, isn’t the baby of the family anymore now that little John came along. I love each and every one of Paige’s kids but,  Abigail has the most vibrant soul of any toddler I’ve met. She’s so dang cute, silly and fearless. Can’t you just see it in her eyes?

She’s so full of love; ready and willing to squeeze her lovins into others whether they like it or not. We fit into the category of the ones who like it.

No shoes? No problem!

After a couple hours of walking/running/jumping/climbing around Eden Gardens State Park…

… we all felt like this. Which, is a pretty good sign that my birthday was a success.

Meet two of the greatest Moms. Ever. Sabrina (left) and Jessie (right) are fellow Moms of 2. We fall into the same category of crunchy-ness as mothers and baby, I like it. I met Jessie in 2009 in Pensacola, Florida at a birth doula training and tried to keep in contact ever since. She’s a mother of two beautiful little girls, military wife, home birther, extended breastfeeder, and one of the best Moms I know. I’m lucky to call her my friend. I met Sabrina through Jessie. Sabrina happens to be just as awesome; a mother to two beautiful babies, home birther, extended breastfeeder, avid gardener, and birth photographer. Like me, both of these ladies became mothers at a young age and strongly felt motherhood as a calling. Their friendship is refreshing; they make me feel more comfortable in my own skin, inspire me to be a better person and I’m extremely blessed to know both these gorgeous ladies.

We’re just so cool, y’all. Seriously.

We stayed at Jessie’s house for about a week while we were in Florida. Jessie’s daughters are the same age as my two girls. Ellie is her oldest who is quickly approaching 5. Ali and her got along great and we miss her so much!

Meet Vera. If I could pick a picture that speaks a thousand words, this one would be it. This is exactly Vera’s personality through and through. I love her and all of her cuteness!

Our kids’ are part of a pretty technological generation. Not quite sure if this was before or after they figured out how to Skype each other.

This is Lori. If you seriously stalk my blog and read every single one of my posts (which you should, people), then you probably remember her. Let me refresh you (you’re going to want to thank her after I give you this information), she started my blog for me. Yes. All of this amazingness that you see here is because of her. See what I mean? Go ahead. Tell her thank you by visiting her blog and checking her out. She also organized a play date with all my old church peeps while I was in town.

This fine young woman is Carmen. She introduced me to Shoreline Church where her husband is an associate pastor. Meeting her and getting to know her completely changed the direction of my marriage to my husband. We needed Jesus in our marriage but didn’t know where to start. On several occasions, her and her husband Dani counseled us through our journey discovering where a relationship with Jesus fit into our marriage. Thank you, Jesus for giving me this beautiful sister in Christ!

That little beauty you see on the left is Carmen’s sweet daughter, Jadyn. Aliana and her were inseparable when we lived in Florida. This is Aliana’s very, very best friend.

Paige came to the play date that day as well. I had to include this photo so you could see a close up her pretty face!

Florida was such a great trip filled with such great memories of the ones we love. Oh, Florida. Until we meet again.

Just remember, Florida friends; it’s not goodbye… it’s hasta luego.

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