Monday, September 30, 2013

23 hrs with Tricia and Nutella -

Well back in August, I was trying to help Tricia design something. It all started out very honorably. I put on my "I'm great at this" cap, and we skyped while we started designing it, and then, my dear all went downhill from there. My "I'm great at this" cap was replaced by my "You've got to be kidding me" cap, and soon we realized doing it over Skype was just 1 way to go insane. 

I stared at her sweet face on Skype, and said "Can I come up? I'll bring dinner.". She protested and wiggled around in her chair and tried not to smile, but I told her if I was welcome, hey, I'd been wanting to come up for a night all summer. She even called me while I was getting ready to come (i.e. putting on mascara and brushing my teeth) and told me she didn't want me driving all this way to help her. In fact, I shouldn't do that. I was like "Why not? I do this all the time for my other friends." and then she says this "Because I'm not as important as them.". And then I blew up. Not really, but then I was like "Well. If that is what you think, I am definitely coming up and we will have an amazing time, because you are worth so much more than a tank of gas or zillions of dollars." And so I did. 

And Hoozy-Daisy. I couldn't be happier that I did. It was such a great time

Soon after I arrived and gasped over how much C-Monkey had popped her belly, and said hellos to David, and hugged Tricia a few times, we realized we needed dinner supplies. So off I went to Publix, where I had a panic attack because I couldn't find the normal pie crusts in the cool area and apparently Publix loves to watch people hunt through 1,000 cans of Campbell canned products to find the OTHER brand of chicken soup that I needed. Thank you, Publix - not really. And then because I was starving and had money for dinner and felt like it, I also bought salad dressing and Nutella and my favorite juice because I'd been drinking it when we skyped and Tricia wanted some and you don't really care. 

The point is, I came home with dinner supplies AND Nutella. I may have felt like a conquering hero. 

And then it rained, and Tricia put on Big Band music for us to listen to while we cooked. She tied on an apron over that adorable baby bump she is rocking, she danced around the kitchen to Glenn Miller, she kissed David on the forehead, and she cracked jokes even though earlier she said she was tired. 

And I stood there and thought "Yep. This is why we are best friends.". I always feel at home with her.

We opened that huge jar of Nutella (that was on sale), and I showed her the genius of mixing peanut butter with it and dipping apples into it. We stood there in the kitchen and ate and ate and David kept wondering how his apple was different from ours. Tricia kept looking at the Nutella and then back at the peanut butter, and then finally she looked at me and said "We need more apples.". HAHA. So great. But hey, she's pregnant, and I', so we had some more. Oh, it was good. 

and then we put dinner in the oven. See? ;) This is post-Nutella-hyperness. 

and then we inhaled that amazing chicken pot pie (no I didn't take photos, because we were eating it), and spent time with David and then he went down for bed, and then we thought "Hey, we can work on that project again!", and so that's what we did. For the next 5 hours we were working on that project until we were blue in the face, pretty sure every font in the world couldn't make us happy, Tricia couldn't believe Monkey was spelled M-O-N-K-E-Y, we were ready to throw the entire project in a bonfire and start over, so we did....twice, stared at the screen until I'm sure smoke was roiling out of our ears from the intensity of our concentration, and cried from laughing so hard. My ribs ached. 

It was the best kind of best friend night. Unless you plan to actually get something done. In that case - not so much. 

And then around, oh....12pm, my parents called and were like "It's raining. It's late. You are tired.", and so I stayed. But of course, we kept working on the project, because we were loving not getting anything done, and loving going insane, and mostly because we couldn't just leave it like it was. 

We finally figured it out...the next morning. Yes. We spent about an hour lying in bed laughing about it some more, mostly out of exhaustion and frustration and saying "What the heck, why won't it work?!!". Hahahaha. 

So an impromptu 5 hour visit to see Tricia turned into a sleepover and a 23 hour visit of pure fun and hysterical laughter, plus sleep-deprived-failure at getting things right the first time....or the 17th time. Singing along to music, dancing in the kitchen, organizing and cleaning and hanging out with David....feeling sweet hellos from Case Monkey, eating Nutella and getting it everywhere, laughing in the face of insanity and then trying it all over really couldn't have been a better late-summer present. I came away feeling SO blessed and encouraged and so thankful for my dear, wonderful, amazing friend Tricia. 

"Nutella - the best lunch you will have all day! .......ok. I did not think that one through - and probably the ONLY lunch you will have all day! Unless you have multiple lunches!" 

Saturday morning found me playing trains with David, who was extremely excited about seeing Thomas ON my camera screen. He kept guiding me to take more photos of his trains so he could see them. ;) 

Thomas, and clearly James Bond's SUV. 

There's Percy ..... 

Percy trundling through the forest. 

David is a huge lover of trains, which is not that big of a surprise, since his dad, Cody, is too! 

And then David played some beautiful music for us while we went about our morning. I got some adorable shots of him, which I love. With the light streaming in, and the simplicity of it, I was thinking it looked so much like an old fashioned English photo. You know? Shadows and baby and those curls. mmmm. 

Such a doll. 

Oh my heart. 

So precise in which keys he presses. :) 

Be still my heart. 

I'm a sucker for toddler photos involving pianos, apparently. 

He is such a beautiful kid. Love him!! 

Laughing at Auntie Jean Marie. 

He shot me this amazing look while his Mama sat down to play the piano. SO cute! 

In his train conductor shirt, playing trains "Vooo-Voooooo!"! 

It was seriously such a sweet 23hrs of late summer. I had a blast. 

Oh, and HERE - is the project: Nutcases and Noggins! Tricia is blogging! :D

Tricia - I just wish we could have gotten a photo of the two of us, with Nutella. HAha. Thanks so much for blessing me, not just back in August, but every time I talk with you. I love you, Sassy Pants. You are the best.

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: True -

From Lisa-Jo Baker, the Gypsy Mama"On Fridays around these parts we like to write. Not for comments or traffic or anyone else's agenda. But for fun, for practice, for joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker. We love to just write without worrying if it's just right or not. For five minutes flat."

Today's prompt: True

~ Go ~ 

I stare out the window at the grey day, so unusual for our sunny Florida, wondering if it is trying to pretend it is Autumn, or pretend it is late summer, even though we all know the temps will spike back up into the 90's next week, and we'll all be happily heading to the beach once again. 

But for today it is grey. I love grey. Grey is that happy, calm, quiet medium between black and white. 
The black being too dark and the white being too blinding. Grey is where I curl up with a book and dream. 

But grey also makes me think of Autumn, and Autumns make me miss people in Heaven.
And I think that so much of my life comes down to a few very big moments, and those moments are spent by gravesides. 

(Photo taken October 2012 in Ohio)

We know God goes before us in all things, and weeps with us when we mourn, and that's why joy and grace cover us when we go there. We know that as the grass is torn back and the ground is uneven with sadness and uncertainty and the dirt that isn't smoothed quite right and the flowers that are pelted by the rain....that as things aren't perfectly beautiful there, it is because death was not meant for us

We were built to live and live fully. 

Those moments are all seared into my brain, of course the latest ones are the ones that sting the most. It will be a year soon that we buried my Grandmother, but then again, it will be 4 years soon that they buried their son. It all stings and hurts and breaks your heart every time you think about it. 

And then I just keep remembering walking off those tent floors, out into the cold,
 or in that Tennessee heat, down those steep stairs upon that unbearably sad hillside. 

And I know every single time I walked away from yet another grave....that it was all TRUE. It was true, every bit and paragraph and every song and crying prayer to the One we begged to define life for us. The Gospel was true, the Bible was true, Heaven was true

He was true. 

~ Revelation 19:11-13, 16 ~ 
"Now I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.
 And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God....
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords." 

~ Stop ~ 

Y'all. I love writing on Five Minute Fridays.
 It's like someone hands me a present and it's a fresh, clean journal, just for today.
And it will be filled with whatever comes from my heart. It's a really sweet thing. I love it!
 Thanks to everyone who comes by to visit! I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend. 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The sun always comes up again -

Hi. :) 

So I've been out of touch for a little bit...I think it seems much longer than it really is, being only 8 days. It's been a long eight days. I got sick last Wednesday with a respiratory virus thing, I'm calling it that, because it doesn't really have a name, I don't think. All I know is that it kicked me hard and is staying too long. 

Wednesday my chest was tight and my throat didn't feel right; Thursday I felt like a truck had hit me. Severely sore throat and fever and aches, complete with me calling my Mom in a panic because I couldn't even open a bottle lid. I was in full-blown-meltdown mode. The fever was bad, and that night I'm so thankful to whoever invented ice packs and freezers because keeping ice packs on my spine and neck and face was the only way I stayed sane. Friday wasn't much better, except the fever went down. And since then, it sloughed into a bad cough, and then on Sunday, went into cold mode, with wheezing coughing fits, this morning I woke up with a severe earache, and my chest so tight I could barely breathe or eat or drink. I'm still fighting off those two symptoms, and thankfully, now have 3 meds to help with that. ;) Normally, we don't do meds, but we tried to jump right on it, because I had a full weekend. 

Guess what I didn't have.....a full weekend. Friday I was so excited to 2nd shoot a wedding with Lauren, and Saturday was Georgia's 1st birthday party, which I told Emily I'd be at unless I was dead or on the moon, to which she replied that I could send G a moon rock, probably proving to be the best Auntie ever. 

But after getting up on Friday morning feeling like there was no way I could drive or take photos, I cried my eyes out on the porch for 5 minutes, and then tearfully called Lauren and told her I couldn't do the wedding. And then Saturday morning I got up and couldn't even talk without coughing, and I knew I was going to have to miss G's party. You can bet I cried all over again. 

So I missed 2nd shooting Lauren's wedding gig, and also Georgia's 1st birthday party. The disappointment was incredibly sharp. I was pretty sad last weekend. So that's where I've been or not been, really. I'm hoping to get well really soon!! I'm very tired of being sick. 

Tonight I couldn't stand not to put something up here, so if you read all that boring sick stuff, good for you. Here are some FUN photos of Labor Day (September 2nd) at New Smyrna, I took my GoPro in the water, and had lots of fun with it. :D 

Just before duck diving - 

It was a brilliantly warm and gorgeous day. 

I love how old this one looks. 

Floating on my back, staring at the sky. love.  

Underwater shot!!!! So cool. I'm so glad I bought my GoPro!

This is what my summers look like. I'm so crazy-blessed to live here. 

Just me and the ocean, and probably a zillion sharks out there somewhere. 

The ocean will always bring me a God-given-peace I can't get anywhere else. 

So that's my life lately. Sad to miss out but also blessed to be alive. How are you? Doing well? :) 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Georgia is 1! -

One year ago it was a Sunday. I had woken up thinking "I haven't heard from Emily lately...I wonder if she is in labor.", but off to church we went without any word, so I ignored my gut (gut is always right). After church, we were invited to our dear friend's house for Sunday dinner, and while there, I got a call on my cell phone from Kimberly at home, she says "Did you know Georgia is here?!", and I screamed in the middle of their house (our poor friends), and ran to their computer (such loving friends) to see. 

And there, on my e-mail, were two sweet photos of her, and a joyful e-mail from her Mama. And then I cried from happiness, floated on clouds for days, told everyone I knew every single thing I knew about her, and then eight days later, I held her for the first time. 

She was more beautiful and tiny than I could imagine. I was breathless and speechless at the sight of her. What followed was an hour and a half of the cutest lifestyle newborn photoshoot, and me forgetting to even talk to anyone else because my whole world stopped down to the time I had just with the two of us. Little Miss Georgia Rose Brower and I. Calling it a sweet memory doesn't cut it. 

Look how precious. 

Hands with those long Case fingers. 

Singing "Georgia On My Mind" to her, for the first time out of the womb. ;) 


So unbelievably perfect and small.  

A mother's love on a best friend will take your breath away, make you melt, and cry and scream with joy. I love it that Emily has always wanted to be a mother, and now she is. It is a beautiful thing. 

One of my favorites of all time. 

These made me tear up for days. (Emily gave me a frame with this photo in it for my 25th birthday)

Love her so much. 

Contentment and peace.  

I did see her between newborn and February, but I don't have many pictures! :) Crazy, right? 

Emily and Georgia at 5 months. 

Emily & Georgia met Mrs. Gilchrist and I at Blue Springs! We had such a fun time. 

April was a super fun, busy, filled-with-Georgia month. First was Princess Place Park day, on the 13th. 

G at 7 months old

Love love love. 

Mama and Georgia. 

Inside the horse stables. Oh my heavens, was she cute. 

Those smiles for Mama (and Daddy) are the best.  She loves them SO much. 


Georgia with cousin David, Aunt Tricia, and Mama! (how cute are they, I mean, really) 

And we worried Georgia wouldn't be an expressive child. What were we thinking....

April 24th - 

I love these. :) 

Impromptu portraits are the best. 

Such a sweetie. 

Holding her bee, and off to Walmart we go. 

 She is seriously such a happy baby. We were singing in Walmart and laughing at each other. ;) 

More precious than every single Walmart and every other store in the world combined. 
(and everything else too) 

and then it was April 27th - the Spring Frolic 

Chillin' out in her stroller .... 

 Eating puffs while Auntie Jean Marie goes on a sunset glory light photoshoot spree. 

Gorgeous girls. 

Love them so much. (in case you were wondering after me stating that for the 9,00000th time) 

10 months old, and the sweetest Georgia & Emily visit. 

Her "I see Mama" smiles. Oh my heart. 

Little Lovey. 

Reading books to her is a precious way to relax and pass the time. 

Growing up so fast! 

All smiles!!! 

and then September 1st, we did a family photoshoot, as you can see HERE. It was hot but also fun. :D 

Daddy and Georgia (11.5 months old!)


Oh, those eyes. 

Snuggles and lovins are two things Georgia loves. 

And time with Daddy, who she shrieks when she sees him, and is perfectly content in his arms.  

With her elephant, Tito.  

 Oh baby. How can you be one already? 

Smiles all around are the norm.  

Taking on this adventure called life with joy and plenty of exploring is how she likes it. :)  

and I love her for all of it. She's one of the most amazing, sweet, precious babies I've ever known. 

and being her honorary auntie can make my heart burst and send me into happy tears at the drop of a hat. I love you so much, sweet Georgia Rose. Happy 1st birthday. I'll always be thankful for every moment with you, and with your Mama and Daddy. Ben & Emily - you are amazing parents. Congratulations, a year later!!! She is so precious and well-loved. God has richly blessed you. 

With much love always, and I can't wait to give you lots of squeezes at your birthday party! 
~ Auntie Jean Marie ~