Monday, December 31, 2012

So long 2012

Last night, much to my dismay, my sore throat and swollen glands returned, so I went to bed shortly after putting Tinley to sleep. Thank goodness, I'm feeling much better this morning. Anyway, when I went to bed, Justin was still up downstairs, working away, preparing for the busy January shows and traveling. (Not looking forward to that. We got so spoiled when he didn't have to travel last January, but hopefully he'll only be gone a week or so!) Apparently, he's not the only one that has a way with words, because when I woke up this morning, and checked my E-mail, he had sent THE SWEETEST letter to our friends and family, reminiscing over the past year. I asked him this morning if I could use it for my Blog today, and he agreed. It needs no introduction or no explanation. So, here's a look back at 2012 from my husband's point of view:

Dearest Family and Friends,

Tonight I’ve found myself in a situation that I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like.  You see, Kelly is in bed sick and Tinley is of course asleep at this hour.  I’ve been working since earlier in the evening and just finished up.  I now find myself sitting on the couch, alone, in a quiet house.  What is this? With a new year upon us in a little less than 24 hours,  I’ve spent this quiet time reflecting upon the past year (and of course watching football)

2012 was truly an amazing year, probably the best year yet for me.  I can remember something special from just about every month.  Below are a few highlights from 2012.

2012 was the first full year for us living in our first home.  I have enjoyed it FAR more than I could have ever imagined.  I have enjoyed the yard work.  I have enjoyed the home improvements.  I have enjoyed it all, even the house payments (after all it’s better than paying RENT!!!).   I couldn’t be happier with our home.  It’s just perfect for us.

January – 2012 started off with the birth of our daughter, Tinley Nicole Slater, on January 24th.  This was something I never “dreamed of.”  I’ve always dreamed of killing a big deer, catching the next big fish, traveling to tropical destinations, etc.  But I never dreamed of the birth of my child.  Maybe it’s because I’m a man.  Maybe it’s because I’m crazy.  Or maybe it’s because I didn’t think I was ready to be a parent.  In retrospect, I don’t understand WHY this was something I did not dream of.  It was truly the most AMAZING, EMOTIONAL, UNFORGETABLE (dare I go on?) experience of my life.  I’m going to mention both fishing and hunting in this E-Mail but THIS, my friends, FAR exceeds those events.  I have since learned that being a parent is the BEST. THING. EVER.  Don’t get me wrong, I still dream of big deer and big fish, but those things don’t matter as much as they used to.  I don’t have as much time to hunt and fish as a used to, and honestly, I don’t have the desire to do it as much anymore.  So if I even kill a deer or catch a fish, I’m happy, if it’s a big deer or big fish that’s just that much more added bonus.  Tinley Nicole is everything.

May – We took Tinley to WV and NC to meet all of her family and friends.  She also put her toes in the ocean for the first time.  My dad introduced me to Kure Beach and his grandparents introduced him to Kure Beach.  This year I got to introduce my daughter to Kure Beach.  Kure Beach is a very special place to Kelly and I because that’s where we met.  It was very special to return there and introduce our daughter to that town, beach, ocean, and some of the people who helped introduce Kelly and I.   Hopefully someday Kure Beach will be as special to Tinley as it is to Kelly and I.

September – I had the privilege and honor or standing beside my best friend Anthony as he was married.  Both Anthony and myself are both only children and we’ve always been like brothers to each other.  He was my best man at our wedding in 2010 and I had the honor of being his best man this year.  I felt like a big brother standing beside him that day and I was just so proud of him.  It was also our first time being away from Tinley overnight!  My mom watched her for two nights while we traveled to southern WV for the wedding.  It was a perfect weekend for a perfect couple and we couldn’t wait to get  back to our baby.

November – I had the opportunity to deer hunt with both my dad and my Grandpa Slater, together.  With my dad living in Texas it’s not every day we get to spend time together and in our family, hunting is some of the best time we could spend together.  These guys both killed bucks on the Slater farm on opening morning.  My grandpa killed a second buck on Tuesday morning.  I wasn’t as fortunate early in the week but I too killed a buck on that farm while hunting with them both Thanksgiving morning.  We then spent Friday at my grandpa’s house cutting deer meat, another Slater tradition that provided us with quality time together.  It was quite a successful year for the Slater’s in the deer woods.

December – this month comes with highs and lows.  We spent our first Christmas with Tinley and our second Christmas in our home.  Even though we did not have the opportunity to see all of our family this year for Christmas (LOW), it was nice being with our daughter in our own home.  Tinley started to take her first steps and is on her way to being a full blown walker.  The final low of the year, that I’m just now realizing, is that 2012 has come to an end……

In addition to all the good things that happened in 2012 I also have learned a lot and the important things in life have become a lot more clear.

I hope each and every one of you have the most amazing 2013 possible.  I hope it’s perfect in every way but make time for what truly is important in life, your friends and family.  Kelly and I are blessed in a lot of ways, but mostly by the friends and family that surround us.  Life is really about the people that surround us and we are fortunate enough to have THE BEST friends and family. EVER.

Lastly, take time to enjoy TODAY.  EVERYONE tells you about how fast your children grow up.  You never realize it until it happens to you.  This not only goes for your children growing up but life in general, it goes by SO FAST.  I often find myself looking forward to the weekend, or next week for a special event, or next month for something.  Don’t.  ENJOY TODAY.  I now have an 11 month old (I first typed one year old which is a prime example of my point, she just turned 11 months last week).  As I sit here thinking about how great 2012 was, WHERE DID IT GO?

Thank each of you for helping to make 2012 my best year yet.  I don’t know that it’s possible, but I hope we can all make 2013 even better (despite me turning 30, eeek)!!!

Love and see you all soon,

Isn't he amazing?! You can see why I wanted to share it with you all. I hope today, on this New Year's Eve, you stop, take a look back at the past year, remember what you are thankful for, and what's truly important. And, of course, have a safe and Happy New Year! Bring on 2013... xoxo

NYE 2012... I was due 24 short days later!

 Tinley Nicole has finally arrived! January 24, 2012

Tinley's first picture with the Easter Bunny!

First dip in the ocean at Kure Beach!

First boat ride in Lake Erie!

First trip to Kelley's Island!

6 months old!

At Ashley & Justin's wedding, August 2012


Celebrating our 2 Year Anniversary!

 At the Willard Wedding

Fall 2012 at the Pumpkin Patch

Tinley's First Halloween! She was a cupcake.

First trip to Chuck E. Cheese in WV with mommy & Mamaw, November 2012

Tinley's First Thanksgiving

Slater men with their trophies! November 2012

First visit with Santa!

First Christmas Party!

Christmas Eve!

Christmas morning!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Big Day for Birthdays!

Sorry I've been MIA for a few days, things have been so crazy here with the holidays and now we're trying to get our life and house back together before Justin starts traveling for work. Did I mention I'm also planning Tinley's first birthday party?! I really can't believe it. It's sort of like planning a wedding, which I absolutely loved doing, so I'm having fun, but it's still so hard to believe that in less than a month, our baby girl will be 1! It seems like it was only yesterday that Dr. Visci was telling me to push! It goes by so fast, it's crazy. People always tell you that it does, but you never really realize it, until it's happening to you! Anyway, I'm so excited to get our family and friends together. It'll be a blast.

I'll post some pictures of our Christmas festivities later, but I wanted to give a few shout outs to some special people today! I seriously know about 10 people that have birthdays today, but there are two special gals that I wanted to make sure to let them know I am thinking about them, and I hope they have the best birthday ever!

Jaclyn Tooker
During our beach vacation- May 2012

At Jaclyn's wedding- April 2011 (Isn't she gorgeous?!)

Jaclyn and I go back. Way back! All the way back to 2nd grade at Gregory Elementary. I can still remember going to Jungle Rapids back when it was the old water park with her and Tori Creech to celebrate the last day of school. (Remember that guys!?) Anyway, we got really close in high school and I couldn't imagine not having her in my life! Even though I now live hours away from home, and we've both gotten married, had a baby, and have a baby on the way (she's due in March! YAY!), we still talk as often as we can, and when we get together, it's like nothing has changed. She's a true friend, and I can tell her anything or call just to chat. Our friendship means so much to me, and I miss her more than she knows! Jac: I hope you have such a great day, and Marcus spoils you and your baby bump! 27 will be your best year yet, I promise!! Love you so much!

Carrie Himmelman

At Matt Pooch's Benefit- May 20, 2012

Cinco de Mayo/Derby Day- May 5, 2012

Carrie and I met during the summer of 2010 through mutual friends, and she instantly became part of our group of friends. She's one of those girls that is always on the go, working a full time job, and getting her Masters Degree. She's amazing. I wish I had her drive. But even with her crazy busy schedule, she always finds time for her friends. We always have so much fun together, and we've gotten close over the past year. She's someone you can tell something to and say "don't tell anyone," and she won't. That's hard to find these days. She's Tinley's Tia (she's teaching her Spanish), and has been there for her since the day she was born, she even came to see her at the hospital! She's just one of those friends that you can count on for anything. Carrie: I'm so glad fate brought us together, and I can't wait for many more fun times to come! Hope you enjoy your day and night! We love you!

My Grandpa Dyar's Birthday is tomorrow. He's my stepdad's dad, so he's not my grandpa by blood, but he's been a big part of my life since I was 9. He's the sweetest man ever, and will do anything for anyone. I'm not exaggerating. I'm so sorry I missed seeing him this past Christmas, but I'm hoping to see him soon! Love you Grandpa Dyar! Have a wonderful birthday tomorrow!
At Tinley's NC Baby Shower- October 2011

The night before our NC Engagement Party- April 2010

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Morning To Reflect

First snow of the year

Well, here I am. Alive and well. (Almost well; my strep throat has gotten much better, thank you meds!) I'm alive at least. According to the Mayans, the world was supposed to end today. But, it didn't. Yet, as I sit here, sipping hot tea and watching our first snow fall of the year, I can't help but think about those that lost their world a week ago. I haven't talked much about the Sandy Hook tragedy, mostly because I'm at a loss for words. I can't wrap my head around it. I remember watching the coverage with my in-laws, completely in shock. That was before they knew the numbers. Before they could accurately report that 20 innocent children, mostly age 6, lost their lives. And then President Obama came on, and gave the most compelling, heartfelt speech I think I've ever seen live on TV before. Watching him cry made me cry. He viewed the tragedy like so many other Americans did, as a parent. I know my daughter is only 11 months old, but I still can not imagine losing her. And so, I, along with the rest of our country, offer my deepest condolences to the families and community of Sandy Hook. I know those little Angels are watching over us. 

20 Angels are now holding hands,
Singing louder than our tears.
20 Angels stepping into the light,
Telling us to live without fear.

Now for some happier news... we made our delivery to our adopted family last night! I didn't take my camera, as I wanted to respect the family's privacy, but trust me when I tell you that they were so very appreciative and grateful. They have moved into another house, and it's very cozy, perfect for their family. We met their little boy also, and he was as cute as a button. He was shy, but he couldn't take his eyes off all the gifts. We only stayed for a minute, just long enough to unload the car, put the presents underneath their tree, and wish them a Merry Christmas. But, those few minutes were so very rewarding, and helped me realize the true meaning of Christmas. It's about family. About togetherness. About helping those in need. So this holiday season, I ask everyone to make a donation, whether it be to a local shelter, Good Will, United Way, your local church, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, anywhere you can. There are so many places that welcome even the smallest donation. Even if you volunteer at your local soup kitchen and help prepare a meal. Every little bit helps the so many families that are in need. Trust me, it will make you feel so good. Even better than a new Michael Kors purse will. :o)

My dad and stepmom are in route to Ohio as we speak. They left North Carolina last night and stayed the night in Charleston, WV to help break up the drive. With this snowstorm we were expected to get, it was probably a good idea. I can't wait for them to get here! Let the holidays begin! 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Tis the Season

So, this year, instead of a white elephant party where we waste money on silly gifts we'll never use again, our group of friends decided to sponsor a family in need, and buy for them so they could have as good of a Christmas as the rest of us. Well, when I heard of a local family who lost their house to a fire the day before Thanksgiving, I thought who better than to sponsor? I know this family personally, and was thrilled to help in any way I could. The family consists of a mom, a dad, a 9 year-old little girl, and a 2 year-old little boy. It worked out perfectly, since there are 8 couples that get together. Each family member had 2 couples buying clothes, toys, gift cards, bath products, anything they wanted to donate to them. We all got together at our house this past Tuesday for "Cocktails & Wrapping. We always have a great time when our group of friends get together, but it was exceptionally special coming together for such a great cause, and seeing how much fun everyone had shopping for the family. Even Addison, Ashlyn, and Tinley had fun wrapping all the gifts! We're delivering all the gifts to the family this evening. I can not wait to see the look on all of their faces, especially the children. A HUGE thank you goes out to all of our friends, you guys are the best, and we love you all! Anyway, here are a few pictures from Tuesday night. I'll let you know how our delivery goes tonight. xoxo

Wrapping gifts

 The guys

The girls

All of our gifts for the family!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tinley's First Christmas with Mamaw & Papaw

This past weekend, Justin's mom and step-dad came to Sandusky so we could do our Christmas. It seems weird, not going "home" for the holidays, either to North Carolina, where I'm originally from, or to West Virginia, where Justin grew up. But, nowadays, this is home. We have a great group of friends here, friends that are like family, and this is where we are raising our daughter. This has become our home. I guess the saying, "home is where the heart is" really is true. Anyway, we decided to spend Christmas in Ohio this year, so our families are coming to us. My dad and step-mom are coming up this weekend, and I can not wait to see them! They haven't seen Tinley since August, and I can't wait for them to see how much she's grown and changed!

Friday was actually Justin's step-dad, Bill's, birthday, so we went to one of our favorite local Italian eateries for dinner. We spent the day Saturday shopping and having lunch, and stayed in Saturday night. We ordered pizza from another one of our favorite local places, watched Christmas Vacation (Bill had never seen it! I'm not sure he's American...), and Tinley had her first Christmas of the year! Now, when I tell you that Justin's mom, Carma, has a shopping problem, I mean that in the nicest way possible. But, she has a shopping problem. I am not playing. But, she is so funny, and we laugh constantly when we're all together. Justin tells people all the time that he married his mother. He is so right! We are so much alike. That's probably why we get along so well. (I too, have a bit of a shopping problem, although it's gotten a lot better since Tinley came along). I mentioned in my previous post how lucky I am, and I'm going to say it again. I am so lucky. I have by far, the greatest in-laws. Ever. Anyway, we had a great time with them over the weekend, even though it passed by too quickly, and we, of course, snapped too many pictures. :o)

Helping Papaw open birthday cards Friday night

 Look at all that stuff!

 She went right to her baby. She kept hugging and kissing her!

 Her new WVU chair like Daddy's!

 Opening her stocking full of two of her favorite things, books and balls!

 Her new vanity

 Yes, she fell inside the toy box! It was hysterical, and I'm bummed I didn't video it. 

 Like I said... insane!

 Even with a cold, she's a happy girl!

 My favorite present!

Mamaw and Papaw's first Christmas!

I love this time of year! Happy Holidays! xoxo

Pin It button on image hover