Friday, September 23, 2016

Ailyn's Story (Fictitious)

I hope to write a real "Ailyn's Story" post one day. Something that actually happens when she is this age (perhaps, four?) but for now here is a cute story I made up about the daughter we hope to have one day. These were written around April 2012. I do not have any pictures to go along with it.


This morning Ailyn barged into the bathroom, through the thin pillow of steam, heading straight for our walk-in closet, not caring that I was just stepping out of the shower. "Mommy, where's my white sweater?"

"Which white sweater?" I questioned, wrapping a towel around myself.

She was already going through my clothes, as if I had hidden it from her. "The fuzzy one with no sleeves. I wore it last week."

"You don't have it anymore, honey."

She called to me, "The one from the pictures on your camera?"

"You gave it to Emily, remember?"

Ailyn stopped looking around the closet, walked out and crawled onto the bed instead. Sasha got out from under the covers and laid down next to Ailyn, putting her head in Ailyn's lap, who began playing with her ears.

"That was nice of me, huh?" She sounded less upset and suddenly very pleased with herself.

"What was?" I pulled my shirt on and ran my fingers through my hair.

"It was nice to give Emily my sweater, right?"

"Yes it was." I walked into the bedroom and leaned over the bed. "That was a very generous thing for you to do, honey. I'm very proud of you." Ailyn turned her cheek so I could give her a big kiss. Sasha did the same on the other half of my daughter's face. That made her laugh a lot.

She was quiet for a moment. Sasha jumped off the bed and when I settled myself against the pillows, laying on my back, Ailyn mirrored me. I closed my eyes and after a moment I felt a small warm hand brush my cheek. She whispered into my ear, "Mommy", and tucked some hair behind my ear.


"When does Daddy come home?"

"He was here last night, but you were sleeping. He'll be here again tonight, but since he is still working on the movie, he comes home late and has to leave again early before you wake up."

Ailyn turned away from me and sighed, "I don't like the movie." She slid off the bed and grabbed the two red gummy vitamins that were waiting for her in the bathroom. Sasha followed her out of the room.

I made triple berry oatmeal with almond milk for the both of us. She likes me to put all three packets into one bowl so we can share. Adorable! But I don't know how she can stand to drink watered down orange juice from her purple sippy cup at the same time. Clash of the taste buds for sure!

I turned on Lifetime so we could watch Little House on the Prairie like we do every weekday that I'm home. I found Ailyn in the scrapbook room. She was sitting on the floor looking through the mini Polaroid book of Michael and I that had made five years before.

"Honey, are you ready for breakfast?"

She held up one of the pages. Sasha was licking Ailyn's leg. I don't know why she always does that. "I like this one. Daddy looks handsome." I smiled. It was from our 3rd wedding anniversary. We were on our second cruise. Thank goodness he enjoyed them more than he originally thought. 

Ailyn put the book back on the shelf with the others and led me out of the room.

"Did you feed Sasha?" I reminded her.

"Oops, sorry Sasha.." I laughed as Ailyn used the happy high-pitched voice that I always do to get the little black dog's attention. "Giiirl, breakfast tiiimes!" Sasha ran back to her from the window and jumped on her hind legs as Ailyn grabbed two small handfuls of the Blue Superior Nutrition dog food and dropped it into her bowl. She patted Sasha on the back and washed her hands before following me into the living room for oatmeal.

The last scene of the episode included Pa coming home and Laura running into his arms. Keeping her focus on the TV, Ailyn handed me the empty oatmeal bowl and her tiny spoon. "Mommy, can I stay up until Daddy gets home at night? I want to give him big hugs like Laura."

How could I say no to that?

A few hours later while we were outside drawing pictures with colored chalk, my cell phone rang. I don't normally have people call except Michael, my parents and my cousin, Jessica. About a year ago I changed Michael's contact name in my phone to "Daddy" so Ailyn would know if she was allowed to answer it. It was him. She was thrilled!

"Hi Daddy! It's me, Ailyn. I love you! When are you coming home?... What?... I don't see you…" She began looking around for him, which made me do the same. When his black Nissan X-Terra drove around the corner, Ailyn dropped the phone (thankfully into the grass) and ran to the end of the driveway.

"Be careful please!" I called after her while putting the chalk back in the box. Michael slowed down and eased into the driveway. Ailyn ran back to the garage door and waited anxiously.

Michael looked confused, so I smiled at my husband and explained, "She wants to run and jump into your arms."

She nodded at me. "Like Laura. Ready, Daddy?" Ailyn didn't even wait for him to answer before she took off. Once he had her firmly in his arms, she smushed his cheeks together and kissed him on the mouth. "Mommy's right. You have soft lips." She touched his lips again with her index finger, then threw her arms over his shoulders, covering his face with dark hair, and squeezed. Her hugs are wonderful, but when she's too excited, the receiver of the hug may end up with temporary neck cramps. (Worth it.)

Turns out the main actress called in with food poisoning and the last week of shooting was only about her, so they director let everyone go home and rescheduled for Tuesday, meaning the next few days, we get "Daddy" all to ourselves!

PART 2: 

"Good morning, Sasha. I love you. It's a beautiful day!" Our dog jumped off the bed once Ailyn opened the door, filling the room with light.

"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" Ailyn began poking my cheek until I moved her hand away. I miss the days when she still had a crib to keep her confined until I was ready to play.

"Mommy. I have a question." I could feel her scoot closer, then crawl on the bed, laying flat on top of me. She moved some hair out of my face with her clammy hand. She whispered louder. "Mommy, can we go to church today?"

I didn't expect to hear that, considering I doubt I ever requested the same to my own parents.
She slid off my back and bumped into Michael.  "Oops. Sorry, Daddy." He didn't notice.

My eyes were still closed. I smashed my face into the pillow. "Church is on Sunday. Today isn't Sunday."

"How would I know that?" She laughed and shook her head. "Oh, silly Mommy." She leaned down and whispered again. "Is church closed?"

"No, they still have church in the morning every day. What time is it?"

"Um.." Ailyn slid off the bed. "Whoa." She laughed at herself. "I'm okay."

I forced myself to get out of bed and watch our daughter make her way to the dresser and get on her tiptoes to read the clock. She looked back at me. "There is a seven in the front and a three in the middle and a seven at the end."

We had thirty minutes to get ready. We took a shower together, but this time I told her we only had enough time to wash our own bodies. She still sang made up songs while she rubbed soap all over my legs and feet.

I let Ailyn dress herself because I'm always interested in what she puts together. Today it was an orange shirt with a giraffe and bird on it, a pink skirt, white tights and black shoes. By the time she got out to the car, she also had her "church usual": white sweater, her bunny doll, flowered "purse" with colored pencils in it and her sketch book. She prefers blank pages so she can make up her own characters.

Ailyn was pretty quite the whole ride to church and at every red light I kept turning to see if maybe she had fallen asleep. But she hadn't. She just smiled at me and said, "Hello." It was so funny.

We had gotten there about ten minutes late. I forgot that the morning service starts at 8:20am instead of 8:30. Who schedules that? Everyone had been seated after the opening hymn as we walked in. Ailyn walked under my arm when I opened the door. Waving, she greeted Father Brian, "Hi, Priest!" He smiled at her and she pulled me to the front row.

I tried to pay attention to the message, but couldn't help but watch Ailyn draw birds in the clouds on her sketchpad. However, she did later inform me that they were angels, not birds. My mistake. I listened to her sing "Alleluia" over and over during every song because that’s the only words she knows. It’s the thought that counts.

Monday, September 19, 2016


   Continuing the weekend extravaganza last Sunday, I went over to Mia's apartment in the afternoon. We wore our super cozy matching hippie outfits and had a little photoshoot with Bingo. Then she let me have some of the clothes and necklaces that she was giving away and we went to Walmart. Last time I visited her we fed the ducks (and alien turtles) at the pond. There were about 20 ducks! We only have five in the pond in our neighborhood, but I haven't fed them yet.  
   After Walmart, Mia drove us to Ethos Vegan Kitchen. It looked like a regular restaurant and we had to wait with a buzzer. More of a professional environment, less hippie, but I like both types. The hippie restaurants seem more warm though. The food was really good and none of it tasted "weird". Even the soy based cheese was good. 

   My vegan "experience" kind of started when I was in Gainesville for Daddy's birthday, a couple weeks ago. Before I drove home, Mommy and I went to Lucky's Market and got salad. It was crazy to taste all the delicious different vegetables together (kale, spinach, sprouts, carrots, corn, broccoli, edamame, sunflower seeds, quinoa, and artichoke hearts) with lemon vinegarette, and my first cozy hippie outfit from Ross helped me get into the zone. 

   Perhaps you remember my happy hippie rant from July where I talked about veganism. Well I've been leaning towards that more in the past few weeks. I have really enjoyed watching videos by Alyse from Raw Alignment and Kate's Fruit Flowers. I made dinner on Wednesday- wow, bruschetta is my super favorite! Not as amazing as we've gotten from Carrabba's or Macaroni Grill, but so good homemade for the price ($6.50 without cheese) and we got about 12 pieces when at the restaurant for that price we would only get four. I only had one bite of the chicken that I made. Michael ate four small cutlets at dinner and took the rest to work with the leftover asparagus. It was our first meal eaten at the dining room table that Michael made last month. For dessert I tried making vegan ice cream, but she recommends a very expensive, heavy duty blender, and we only have a smoothie blender so it turned out more like cold pudding.
    Recently Michael was able to get me a Fitbit Flex for free! Since he has now worked at Universal for five years, he got to choose one of about 12 items from the online catalog, but didn't care for any of them, so I picked the Fitbit. He picked it up on Thursday and I haven't taken it off since then. (It's pretty difficult to put on.) I have been very interested in tracking my sleep, restlessness, and awake times during the night. Of the 6 hours of "sleep" I normally get on work nights (11pm-5am), about 40 mins of that is moving around! Wow. I also like tracking how many steps I take (I got to 10,040 yesterday) and how many calories my body burns in a day (about 1,700-1,900) without calculating what I eat. It's a hassle for me to keep track of what I eat. I'm just being smart and healthy. 
   On Thursday night I joined Mia at an indoor art show in downtown Orlando that she was attending because her neighbor friend, Jacilyn, had two pieces displayed. She was nice and I met her parents and boyfriend, Peter, and two other friends. After the art show we all met up again for dinner at Dandelion Cafe, a house turned into a cool restaurant that makes vegan and vegetarian food. The vegan chocolate chip sea salt cookies were really good. Mia and I shared our burritos so we could try different kinds. I liked it so much, I went back again the next day after work! (My hilarious caption for my food in the last picture of this post was: Someone call a lifeguard bc I'm about to drown in my own saliva!) It was very busy at Dandelion Cafe when I went on Friday and they had guys playing bongos outside and two tables of handmade items being sold. 
   Last night Mia and I had dinner at Stardust. (I'm trying to hang out with her as much as I can since she may be moving seven states away in a couple of months. Nooo! Plus I don't know anyone else who would want to try all these vegan places with me.) I got a tempeh quesadilla with vegan cheese (their recipe was not my favorite) and she got tempeh tacos. I liked hers better because it had lettuce on it. We looked up that tempeh is made by binding soybeans into a cake form. Sounds similar to how a black bean burger is made. We're still learning every day! And after seeing a very funny ad at Stardust, my new answer, if anyone happens to ask me why I am suddenly deciding to become veeg-itarian, I shall reply, "Because I care about stuff or something."

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Night of JOY

  This weekend I'm working in Teletype (and did six hours on 911- putting my dual training to use), which was good, but wish I could have re-lived our previous weekend extravaganzaaa at Disney! **There are going to be a lot of pictures in this post.**
   Last Friday, September 9th, Michael and I spent most of the day at Blizzard Beach! I bought tickets for me and my mom to go to Disney's Night of Joy and since we bought tickets for both nights/ extra bands, it also got us a "free" ticket to one of the parks and one of the water parks! $120 for a weekend that would normally cost $250 per person is a great deal to me! Michael paid for his own Blizzard Beach ticket since he wasn't doing the other stuff with us. We did a handful of water rides together, then the last two hours he just wanted to float down the Lazy River. 
  Mommy met us at our house at 4:30 and we got to the concert early enough to get good seats (in the middle back area) for Francesca Battistelli and Chris Tomlin. Casting Crowns also played at Champion Stadium where we were, but they didn't start until really late and we left around 10:30pm. We were too far away to get good pictures on my phone (but I still took some), but a better distance since the speakers were still really loud. 
     On Saturday we got to Magic Kingdom at 10 (and actually into the park -I forgot about having to ride the monorail- and through the two security points at 10:30. We watched the 4D Philharmagic show and got Fast Passes for the Buzz Lightyear ride, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Mommy was sad that It's A Small World was under construction, but we got to sit through the Carousel of Progress. I told Mommy that they need to make a new 2016 section (the most recent looks like early 90's?) where it's everyone just sitting around on their phones and nobody talks about anything until the end when they look up and they're like, "Oh, we have guests" but then it move us forward again! Baaahahaha. Michael said that is a really good idea!
   We went through the Little Mermaid ride in Fantasyland, which I hadn't been to even though that area has been open since the end of 2012. I guess we haven't been to Disney since 2011 when our friend Julie still lived in Orlando and could get us in for free bc she worked there part time. We got to meet Ariel, my favorite Princess, in her grotto. I wasn't expecting that and assumed we were in line for another ride. Mommy said I was so excited bc Ariel was popular when I was growing up. Now all the kids just want to meet Elsa. I've only seen Frozen once, but I definitely liked her sister, Anna, better. Being at Disney really made me want to re-watch all of the "good" movies: the Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan (we watched that one a lot)!
   Michael said he always liked Beauty and the Beast the best, and it's Julie's favorite too. I was so-so about it. Gaston is so mean, but I'm definitely going to see Emma Watson as Belle when the live version is released in March!! Mommy and I got delicious Mickey ice cream and fruit pops for lunch. Mine was super good with real strawberry chunks! We watched the parade under the blazing sun in Frontierland and later in Adventureland we shared a pina colada slushie (also really good)! We watched the Tiki Bird show before leaving -taking the ferry boat back to the parking lot- to go to the second concert day back at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Disney property.
   I really liked Hillsong Young & Free (and already got their latest CD reserved from the library since I didnt know they had a new one!) but their speakers seemed to be up too high so it sounded crackly and the singing was hard to hear over the band. Luckily they had the lyrics on the screen so everyone could sing along. I loved all the energy!! And For King & Country was sooo good! They even got off the stage when they sang "Middle of Your Heart" and walked through the crowd taking selfies with people while they sang. A ton of videos and pictures were added to Instagram after that! I bought one of their shirts (they were out of my size in the lion shirt I wanted) and necklace to get their latest CD for free. Their CD was an anniversary addition and of the 14 or so songs, only 3 were new. But its still a great one to listen to and I'll give it to Mommy next time I see her. The band is two brothers and one of them is starring in Affirm Film's newest movie, Priceless, out next month.
   Newsboys also played and I really like a lot of their lyrics, but felt like the main guy talked too much between each song. I would definitely love to do that whole weekend again next year, especially if Hawk Nelson and Tenth Avenue North are playing. (While looking up the link for the Priceless trailer I found this video of a cute 8 year old boy singing the main song to the movie. And his little speech at the beginning is so nice.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Portraits ~ Wilder Family II

  Well, I have had a fabulous weekend!! On Friday, Michael and I went to Blizzard Beach, then that night my mom drove down and we went to Night of Joy and saw Francesca Battistelli and Chris Tomlin in concert. Saturday we spent our time at Magic Kingdom, riding the Carousel of Progress and meeting Princess Ariel before heading back to the Wide World of Sports for the second concert with Hillsong Young and Free, For King & Country (they were sooo good!!), and Newsboys. Yesterday morning my mom and I tried a breakfast cafe close to where Michael and I live, then I went to Plato's Closet. Apparently a few months ago the cashier charged my $60 Christmas gift card wrong/ didn't actually charge it and the amount just came off their computer (?), so it turns out I got those $57 worth of clothes for free, just got $11 worth of new clothes, and still have $48 left on my gift card!! Wooo hooo!! I hung out with Mia for six hours and we had a mini- twin photoshoot, wearing super comfy hippie outfits, ran errands, and she took me to Ethos Vegan Kitchen for dinner. I liked that place a lot.

  These pictures below were taken on Labor Day/ Daddy's 60th birthday after we all had lunch together.  I was trying to find the cotton field that my friends took pictures in a few years ago, but I guess its not the right season or someone else owns that land now. Still, we were able to find another nice field to take our sunset pictures by.
     You can see last year's family portraits here. Jacquie even used one of my pictures (the second to last one shown in that post) for their 2015 Christmas card! Look how much Peyton has grown in the past 10 and 1/2 months. Just when I think she can't get any cuter, she proves me wrong. My dad took a handful of pictures in the field on his iPhone 6S. He also took the one of me taking pictures with the Canon backpack on, but this one is my very favorite: