Today we celebrate Isabella, our amazing, smart, loving, funny and beautiful girl. It's so hard to believe she's turning 8 years old. I know it's the biggest cliche out there, but really... where has the time gone?! It's been such an honor and a wonderful adventure watching her grow and turn into the extraordinary person she is.
In an effort to document her, who she is and where she's at in life right now, I thought it would be fun to do a short interview with her. And that went a little something like this: What is your favorite thing to do right now?
Go swimming at Tata's (grandma's) pool with my cousins and my friends, because we use our imagination to make up a lot of fun games.
What's your favorite food?
What's your favorite drink?
Diet Dr. Pepper... it's really yummy and tasty and good!
What's your favorite TV show?
What's your favorite movie?
Monsters University, because it's about two "people" becoming friends in a very cool way.
What's your favorite thing to play?
Games on my tablet, especially Diner Dash.
What's your favorite thing about summer?
No school! (with no hesitation whatsoever!)
What has been your favorite activity this summer?
Our trip to Colorado. Going up a ski lift and down that long slide on a sled on wheels was AWESOME!
Who's your best friend?
Can I pick two? I have to pick two. Hudson and McKenna.
If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?
Back to Aruba. Everything about Aruba was awesome, the hotel, the pools, the beach, the waterpark...
What do you like most about being a big sister?
That I'm the oldest (read bossiest) ;-)
What do you like most about Sam? What do you like least?
Most: He's very funny!
Least: He's so annoying!
What do you like most about Max (I realize I have not introduced the amazing Max yet....oops!)? What do you like least?
Most: He's so joyful!
Least: He's so drooly!
How do you feel about going into the third grade?
I'm excited to learn a lot of new things and make new friends.
What do you hope this new year will bring?
I'm excited about going to to the American Girl store!
I want to get my first real American Girl doll.
I want to learn to ride my bike without training wheels.
And I want to learn to write in cursive.
Ok, so I'm back.
And It's good to be back.
But, if it's OK with you, I think I'll just jump right in and act as if the last 6+ months never happened.
Although, in actuality SO MUCH has happened.
And I want to update you on all (or most) of it.
But I think I'll take my time and just post as we go.
Otherwise, blogging is just overwhelming.
And not fun.
And that's the last thing I want from my beloved blog.
Alrighty then... so, here we go!
This year the kids decided to bring one of my all time favorite childhood stories to life...
Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf
Normally, I'd be all about ladies first and such, but I really want to start with the Big Bad Wolf.
Originally, Sam was all about those scary, bloody wolf masks you find in the stores. But I struggled with it because, well, he's 4 years old! No way!!! So I decided to go a different route... my mom and I actually made his costume. Yep, we sure did! We bought the fabric and the materials and got really busy to meet our tight deadline. And I still have the hot glue gun burn marks on my fingertips to prove it.
Pretty awesome, huh?
Unfortunately, I can't take all the credit. I did find a tutorial for this costume on Pinterest. But my mom and I had the best time making it and changing a few things to simplify the process.
And the best part? Sam looked like a 4 year old. And he absolutely loved it! He got to wear it to school for a costume parade. He got to wear it for a photo shoot with mom at Shelby Farms. And he got to wear it to go trick-or-treating on halloween night, which kept him nice and warm. I'd say that's a win-win situation!
Now, let's move on to our Little Red Riding Hood.
As much as I'd love to tell you that I painstakingly slaved and made her costume, that is just not the case. I did however order it from the internet. And considering all the hoochie choices you get when you enter Little Red Riding Hood into Google Images search box, I was delighted with how sweet and demure her costume was.
She was thrilled with her costume, and looked dreamy in it!
And together they had a great time.
Posing for me when I asked (read begged) and playing and climbing and running all over the place.
I've been so busy with client sessions these last few months, that I've neglected taking the time to take pictures of my own kids. I'm so happy we took a quick break from our hectic schedules to go and shoot these photos.
And I especially love that we were able to have a whole lot of fun in the process.
I realize it's been incredibly quiet around these parts, being that it's been almost 7 weeks since my last blog post. And I really miss blogging. A lot! But truth be told, I've sat down to write this post a minimum of 10 times. But every time I open the blog, and read the first few lines of my previous post, my heart breaks and I have to physically walk away.
You see, the day after my last post, where I wrote about how my dad was stable and slowly recovering, he passed away. And even though he had been very sick, and we had lived an incredibly emotional roller coaster ride for the prior 2 months, and some might even think we should have seen it coming, it hurt. Really, really bad.
And even though we thank God for the fact that we were told it would happen within 24 hours, giving us the opportunity to spend every second up until his last breath with him, it still hurts. And it seems surreal to not have him around to talk to and to hug and I miss him terribly!
But being that we have the most amazing matriarch in our family (and the support of exceptional family members and friends), we said our good byes, rallied together as a family, and organized the most beautiful Memorial Service in celebration of my Dad's life.
We all spoke about him and the impact he had in our lives and how much we love him. We laughed and we cried. We had a wonderful photo slide show. We had inspiring music. We had beautiful flowers. We all met back at my house, where we were surrounded by the most amazing friends and family anyone could ever ask for, and delicious food. And we will forever remember that day as a very happy one!
Anyway, the reason I'm writing about all of this is because I feel like once this is actually posted, I will be able to face the blog again and continue business "as usual", or something close to it anyway.
Daddy, I love you and I miss you and I think about you every single day!
I am so excited to get back to a somewhat "regular" posting schedule. And what better way to kick it off than with a Ten on Tuesday post?
1. My dad is doing much better. He's stable and slowly recovering. In our eyes, that's progress and we'll gladly take it! It's hard to take people/things for granted after what we've recently been through...
2. Last Wednesday Sam and I were hanging out together. It was time for lunch and as we were headed downstairs, he asked me to give him a piggy back ride. I agreed. I took one step, my foot slipped and tumbling down the stairs we both went. Other than bumping his chin on my head and being scared out of his mind, he was fine. Me, on the other hand, I had bruises and rug burns all over my body: shoulders, back, waist, hips, butt, legs and arms. Luckily we're both OK, but it was quite the scary episode!
3. We've all been battling a cold at the Butler home. Isabella ran a low grade fever all afternoon Thursday and again most of the day Friday. So needless to say, she did not go to school Friday. She's also not going to school today, but headed to the doctor's office instead. Sam's had a cough for a couple of weeks now. And my throat has been killing me for days. Truth be told, I'm ready to get rid of all this crud and get everyone back to being healthy.
4. Running seems to be the in thing these days. Everyone I know is running... 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, full marathons. It's crazy! I've never been a runner. Not even when I've been in the best physical shape of my life. I think my feelings toward running are best described with this here visual aid:
5. A friend of mine, who is also a runner, recently shared this picture of a bumper sticker she saw on the back of a car. She said she literally laughed out loud when she saw it.
What I really wanna know is... where do I find this here little gem for the back of my car?
6. Have you heard of GroopDealz? They offer the cutest things for a steal of a price. I gotta tell you, I'm a believer. I recently bought this, which is currently hanging in our kitchen and I totally adore:
And this beautiful "I love you to the moon and back" necklace:
Usually this is a "mom" necklace which includes the children's names. However, I decided to include Scott's name, since I just happen to love him to the moon and back as well. Isabella picked the colors of the pearls: green for Scott, red for Isabella and blue for Sam. I'm in LOVE!
Go check them out and sign up for the e-mail offerings. I promise you won't be disappointed.
7. Move over American Idol, there's a much better singing show in town. Scott and I are both hooked on The Voice.
However, someone really needs to tell Christina Aguilera that she needs to (a) hire a stylist or (b) fire her current one and hire a new one. Yesterday, while we were watching the show, Scott made the comment: "Geez, she looks like a poodle." He was right on the money!
8. The Pinterest bug has bitten me lately,... like, BAD! And unfortunately it's not related to all the adorable craft projects or delicious recipes you can find there. You see, I'm hoping to tackle a couple major house projects this year: the kitchen and the master bedroom/bath.
For the kitchen, I'd love to brighten it up with a white subway tile backsplash, creamy white painted cabinets, a tan color for the walls, and the addition of some architectural elements throughout.
Oh yeah, and I'd love to do a built in similar to this in our breakfast nook.
For our master bedroom, I'd love to go with something along these lines:
And if a genie granted me a fourth wish, I would totally love to tackle the front of the house by adding a portico, kinda like this:
9. Read the book, bought the t-shirt, and I'm dying to go see the movie.
OK, so I didn't really buy the t-shirt. But I did read (and love) the book and I'm dying to go see the movie.
10. Stay tuned for a post of Isabella's Spa Party and Sam's 4th Birthday party COMING SOON!
Honest to goodness, I don't even know where to begin with this post. I've started it and erased it a number of times. So, in the interest of time, I'm just gonna wing it and type as I go. I can't promise you it'll make any sense whatsoever, but if it's gonna make it onto the blog, this is as good as it's gonna get. OK, so here we go...
An update on my Dad:
For the last 6 weeks we have been dealing with my Dad's health. If we're friends on Facebook, then you're probably pretty caught up with all that's been going on. It has been a very difficult and scary and stressful 6 weeks.
A fractured hip due to a fall put him in the hospital.
A heart attack while in the hospital delayed his surgery and placed him in the CVICU.
He was then moved to the extended care unit until he was ready to be placed in rehab.
His declining health and the risks of extended bed rest led to a hip surgery.
It turns out it was his femur that was fractured and not his hip.
A very weak heart placed him back in the CVICU, where he was in extremely critical condition. The doctors performed a cardiac catheterization, where they found 99% blockage in one of his major arteries.
A stent was placed to open the blocked artery.
In order for this procedure to be successful, he's required to take blood thinners, which make my dad bleed. A lot!
He was put on an extremely dangerous medication to keep his blood pressure up.
He received breathing treatments, blood, plasma and platelets.
He was put on a feeding tube.
He was barely responsive.
They were concerned about infections due to spikes in his temperature.
Last Monday we got called into the hospital for a face-to-face meeting with Jane from palliative (as in end of life) care.
We were told there was nothing more the hospital, or anyone else for that matter, could do for my dad.
That nothing they were doing was making him better, just prolonging the inevitable.
And that we should consider hospice and making him comfortable for his last days, which could be anywhere from 2 to 7 days.
Suddenly his cardiologist stormed into the meeting, asked what was going on, and why we had given up on my dad.
Insert sound of screeching tires here!
So, apparently palliative care had not consulted any of my father's care givers before taking it upon themselves to make the decision it was time to end his life.
Dr. Das, cardiologist extraordinaire, said that he considered it was too premature to involve palliative care, that he was not done fighting for my dad, and that if it were his dad, he wouldn't give up quite yet.
Oh my goodness,...
His timing! His determination! His faith!
Does this man have God's fingerprint on him, or what?
Anyway, fast forward to last Thursday, my dad was awake, aware, talking, discharged from CVICU and moved back into an extended care room.
Yesterday he sat up for the first time in the last 6 weeks.
Today he stood up for the first time in the last 6 weeks.
God is SO good!
A whole lot of complications have kept us on our toes, or knees rather.
The stress and lack of rest has wreaked havoc on us all.
But constantly being there is the only option we have.
For him. For my mom. For each other.
I am so blessed to have the husband that I have, who has been an amazing rock for me during this incredibly trying time.
I am so blessed to have the family that I have. I'm so excited that we're all together and I can't imagine going through this without each other.
I am so blessed to have the friends that I have. Their constant prayers, calls, texts, messages, visits, and yummy meals ;) have been a blessing to me and my entire family.
And I am so blessed to have Hope as my church family. They have been there with us and for us since day one.
To all of you I just mentioned above...
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
My dad still has a lot of health issues and the road to recovery is still difficult and long, but he's alive!
And as soon as he's recovered, I'm going to make sure we pay Jane from palliative care a nice little visit. What I'll say or do,... well, let's just say that'll be another post all together ;-)
Saying Goodbye to our Sweet Boy:
In the midst of all of this, we had to say goodbye to our sweet sweet boy, Copper. Copper was 11 years old. He had been a part of our family for the last 10 years. He was our first baby together. He lived with us through 2 relocations, the addition of 2 kids, and the addition of 2 additional dogs. But mostly Copper was loved by us all. And we miss him terribly.
I had no idea saying good bye would be as hard as it was.
The kids handled it better than we thought they would.
But both Scott and I were, and are still, a mess.
On a much lighter note I gotta tell ya, it feels good to blog again.
I miss blogging and reading other people's blog and commenting on posts.
I am way behind on all of that! Oh yeah, and responding to e-mails. And don't even get me started on phone calls.
But now that things are settling down in the home front, hopefully I'll be able to get back to all those things I so dearly love!
I had every intention of hitting you guys with a super sized, jacked up on steroids, mother of catch-all, Ten on Tuesday post of enormous proportions. Christmas programs, Disney, every day fun, you name it! But then, this crazy little thing called LIFE got in the way.
My father fell late last night. This landed him in the hospital with a gash in his head and a fractured hip. If you happen to follow this blog then you may know about my father's health issues. They are many and they are serious. So this little accident,... Yeah, not so good!
I spent most of last night and all of today in the hospital with him and my mom. All of his doctors are consulting to make sure he is good to go for surgery. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it happens tomorrow. He is in a lot of pain! And he is feeling pretty down!
So, if you happen to remember, could you please say a little prayer for him? For his surgery, for his healing, for his recovery, for his spirit,...
I promise I will update you soon. But for now, I feel like I am where I need to be.
Well, really there's only two brothers. But hey, when we get together it feels (and sounds) like there's like twelve of us! Not to mention what happens when we gather with our respective families. We're many and we're loud and we're intense and oh, SO FUN!
My older brother and his family decided to surprise us with a visit from Florida. And surprise us they did! And even though we had the pleasure of getting together with them while we were in FL for our Disney trip (photos to come,... I promise!), it was wonderful getting to see them all again. We got to spend New Year's weekend together and it was absolutely glorious.
Here are a few shots of our few, but awesome, days together.
The boys (old and young) held a poker tournament:
The girls,... yeah, not so much!
We took the kids out for a cousins photo session.
It was SO much fun getting all these goofballs together.
I love being around them.
Their energy is contagious...
But their love for each other... well, it's beautiful!
Would you believe that I didn't take a single picture during our New Year's Eve family celebration?
Not a single one!
It was THAT much fun just talking and eating and drinking and playing and counting down and being together and just living in the moment.
Thank you, guys, for taking the time, making the drive and coming to see us.
We love you!
And we're next!
There are fewer places I'd rather be than with my entire family.
I first read about Project 52 last year in the Handbags & Handguns blog. I was quite intrigued, but for some reason opted not to participate. I mean, the truth is I have a hard enough time sticking to a few "resolutions", so the thought of putting 52 goals down on paper made me a bit leery, to say the least. But then I started really looking into what people were including in their Project 52 lists, and I knew this year I had to do it!
Project 52 is about setting goals, not resolutions. It's about doing things to better myself and my family. It's about helping others. It's about remembering some of the little, and not so little, things I'd love to accomplish. It's about making 2012 the Best. Year. Yet!
So, here are 52 things (in no particular order) I hope to accomplish in the 52 weeks of 2012:
1. Pray more often
2. Cook healthier meals and eat more meals at home
3. Read the daily devotionals; my own and the kids'
4. Read 50 books (up from last year's goal of 45)
5. Create a photo gallery wall
6. Teach the kids Spanish
7. Go to a Redbirds game
8. Try a new recipe every week
9. Blog at least 3 times/week
10. Grow Liz Butler Photography
11. Start a prayer/gratitude journal
12. Lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday (June)
13. Throw a winter spa party for Isabella and her little girlfriends
14. Drink more water and less Coke
15. Join a Hope Small Group
16. Have a garage sale
17. Go to at least 2 shows at The Orpheum
18. Call my friends more often
19. Get Sam off overnight pull-ups
20. Complete at least 4 Pinterest projects
21. Host a summer gathering at our house
22. Move more
23. Significantly improve my photography skills
24. Remodel our kitchen ~ paint, cabinets, backsplash
25. Have a weekly family fun night
26. Celebrate our 10th Anniversary (February)
27. Read the Bible in a year
28. Go on a beach family vacation
29. Do more crafts with the kids
30. Teach Isabella to ride her bike without training wheels
31. Go to one concert
32. Get a massage
33. Go the zoo at least 4 times this year
34. Declutter our house
35. Sign up for a 5K
36. Go on Hope's Belize Mission trip this summer
37. Create 1-2 scrapbook layouts each month
38. Paint our master bedroom
39. Volunteer at a shelter/soup kitchen with the kids
40. Take a monthly family photo (four people twelve times - like the amazing Tara W.)
41. Go camping with the kids
42. Improve my Photoshop skills
43. Organize my office/craft area
44. Clean out our garage
45. Teach Isabella how to tie her shoelaces
46. Celebrate mine and Scott's 40th BDays
47. Block out some "me time" on my calendar on a regular basis
48. Gut and remodel our master bathroom
49. Go to at least one show at The Playhouse
50. Landscape the front yard
51. Have a picnic at the Botanic Gardens
52. Take down upstairs bath wallpaper and paint
And I think that about does it!
I'll be posting progress updates on the blog throughout the year.
If you think this might be something you'd like to do as well, please let me know.
I will gladly support any and all of you in this fun journey!
I am really excited about this new year.
The possibilities make me absolutely giddy.
I am starting to say no to some things, so that I can focus on others.
And the truth is I have a few very specific things I definitely want to focus on.