Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

A long time ago I heard it said that you are most like the 10 people you are closest to. I decided then to try to surround myself with people who had qualities I admired, people who inspire me, encourage me, love me and challenge me to be the best person I can be. I met Mark Pace about 7 years ago and he is one of those people. He is an incredible person and I am blessed to know him. I received this letter from Mark today and I asked him if I could share it with you. May you surround yourself with people who love you, inspire you, encourage you and challenge you to be the best you can be in the year 2007. And as we celebrate the Christmas holiday, may you ponder and appreciate the significance of Christ's birth, death and resurrection. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Allison, John and John David

Hello to all my wonderful friends and family:

First, I would like to say I hope everyone is having a great holiday as we bring 2006 to a close. The reason for this letter is to say thank you for being a part of my life, past and present. I'll speak to you first from the 17 year, 4 month, and 20 day old Mark Ashley Pace's life. During this part of my life, I woke up everyday with perfect sight, perfect hearing and a whole lot of things going on in my life. I was driving my jeep, a vehicle I had always dreamed of having since a kid starts thinking about stuff like that, I have a great family, I was a pretty accomplished athlete, a ton of friends, believed in Jesus as my savior, and felt like a pretty good caring person. This Mark had a lot of dreams that were all changed on December 20, 1986.

Next, I will let everyone know that today marks the 20 year anniversary of my accident where I flipped my jeep and sustained some pretty severe damage to my noggin. Consequently, I was left with low vision, hearing, and some pretty drastic life altering injuries. One thing that was not altered is my positive optimistic attitude. I have been told that I'm supposed to feel sorry for myself, be depressed, angry, but I think God must have removed that part of my brain in the accident. Mark Ashley Pace is celebrating my 20th birthday of my new life. It's hard to believe that it's already been 20 years, but I have a lot of you to thank for being there for me through thick and thin. As many of you know a part of my brain that God did not remove was my stubborn independence. Its pretty interesting that I need more help then I will ask for, because I would much rather help someone else out physically, spiritually, emotionally, or just lend somebody a shoulder to cry on. Bottom line, I would much rather help someone then ask for help.

Finally, I will continue to celebrate each day of my new life, and I hope that all of your dreams for the New Year come true. We all need to remember that God has given each one of us a story to tell about our time on earth. Each one of you will be remembered as a big part of shaping the person I, Mark Ashley Pace, is today. Please do me a favor this holiday season and say a little prayer to thank God for everything you have and for protecting you each day, protecting your family, and allowing you to live a comfortable life. I'll be the first to tell you that I never thanked God for my sight, my hearing, and other senses that so many of us take for granted. Please be very careful and have a wonderful holiday season. Thanks again for being a part of my life and remember that I love all of you very much.


Mark Ashley Pace

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Thanksgiving is a holiday that for us, lasts a whole weekend. We start by having lunch at either my mom's house or John's mom's house, go to the other one's house for dinner and then leave for Tallahassee to visit John's dad and his step-mom on Friday. It's always a fun time but I get tired just thinking about it. I'm a person who can get myself very worked up in anticipation of an event, or in this case, a series of events, but this year I was determined not to. I was going to enjoy the time we had with each part of our families and not get too worried about logistics, naps, etc. And I did! We had a very enjoyable lunch with my family and then headed over to John's mom's house for dinner/leftovers. John's brother and his family had been at her house for lunch and then Jim's (John's step-dad) son and his family stopped by, so we were the third set of guests to grace their house that day. Even though we only saw Anna and Lee and the kids for a brief moment, it was great to see them. Anna is the one who set John and me up on our first date so we are forever indebited to her! She and Lee have two beautiful boys and John and I really enjoy being with their whole family. They live in Augusta so we don't get to see them very often.

Our trip to Tallahassee on Friday went smoothly and we had an enjoyable visit with everyone. There was a house full! John's brother and his family drove down as well and Jackie (John's step-mom) was babysitting her son's children for the weekend. So there were 7 kids ages 6 and under. John David loved being with all the big kids and the big kids really took to him as well. We kept up with the tradition of having brunch at "Another Broken Egg Cafe" Saturday morning and getting pictures made with Santa at the cafe which is on a lake. This was John David's second time to visit Santa but the first time he was only 3 months old and didn't really know the difference of who was holding him. Well this year he did!!!! He was okay with seeing Santa from a distance, but once we tried to get him to sit in Santa's lap, it was a different story. We were aiming for a picture of all the grandkids together with Santa and what we ended up with was a classic picture of a terrified 14 month old and 6 kids looking at him to see what the big deal was.

All in all it was a great Thanksgiving and we are grateful to have so many people who love us and want to be with us to celebrate God's goodness and bountiful blessings.

Monday, November 20, 2006

John David is Walking!

It's official, John David can walk by himself! It has been fun to watch his balance and coordination improve over the past few weeks as he has gone from taking a few steps ever so often to just letting go and taking off. The first day he decided to let go he kept making himself fall down because he got so excited that he was actually walking that it threw off his balance. Other times he fell because he was clapping for himself so much that he couldn't keep his coordination up. He's still a bit wobbly but I'm sure that will improve over the next few days as he continues to practice his new skill. Now if I can just teach him that he still has to back down the steps to our sunken den, we'll hopefully avoid a few busted lips.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

John David's First Trip to the Beach

Weekend before last, we took John David to the beach for the first time. My parents have a condo on Panama City Beach and they were nice enough to plan a trip and invite us to join them. I always love the beach this time of year but it was especially interesting this trip. A huge storm came in on our first day there. I've never seen waves that high and the wind made it almost unbearable to be on the beach. Nevertheless, I was determined to let John David experience the sand. So we dressed him warmly in a cute little "cabana" outfit and headed for the beach. He thought it was great! He liked the feel of the sand between his toes and headed straight for the water. It was too cold to go in that first day but the storm passed and the temperature started to rise and he was able to jump a few waves on Saturday and Sunday. We were able to have dinner on Saturday night with my good friends, Cassie and Benjy and their son, Ben. It was so nice to see them, just too short of a visit.

He has been doing better at walking on his own and I thought that weekend would be the time that he just took off and really started walking. We got a few good video clips of him taking some steps, but it's just been this week that he has been interested in letting go of whatever he is holding on to. His friends at church are younger than he is and are walking so I think he is experiencing some positive peer pressure for the first time in his life.

My mom and dad with John David the first time he saw the ocean.

A day after the storm passed, we were able to enjoy beautiful sunsets again.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Our Little Bumble Bee

John David was a bumble bee for Halloween this year. I couldn't believe how quickly he caught on to the idea of trick-or-treating. We took him to a few of our neighbors' houses and he was so cute holding his pumpkin bucket out to get the candy. And if I started chatting too much he let me know quickly that he was ready to move on to the next house. Such a difference from last year. He was only 2 months old on Halloween and he slept through the whole thing. Here's a picture of him in his "sweet pea" costume from last year, taken the day after Halloween.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Picture You Have to See

There is a picture you just have to see! It was taken by Bobbi Jo Brooks, a former co-worker of mine from Mission to the World ( and it's on her blog. I just can't get the picture off of my mind. It is so beautiful and unique. All of her pictures are great, but the one I'm referring to is the first one - the orange leaf. Check it out: or you can just click on the link to her blog that is on the left of this page. Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Grateful Friday

Nolan Glenn Holloway was born on Wednesday, October 18th, just a day shy of his due date. He ended up being born via emergency c-section because his heart rate started dropping drastically with each contraction. I'm happy to report that mommy and baby are doing just fine, except of course for the painful recovery that comes with having a baby, and especially a c-section delivery. He is absolutely gorgeous! He has a beautiful head covered with fine dark hair and precious long fingers with fingernails that already need clipping! Isn't it amazing what all goes on in the womb? God even thought about fingernails! He weighed 8 lbs., 7 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. I'm grateful for this new life and for a safe delivery.

And I'm also grateful for:

- A night out with John
- John's mom offering to babysit before we even asked her
- Mother's Morning Out which usually allows me to get out of the house and work at John's office but this week allowed me to spend some time with Meredith and to meet baby Nolan
- A caring, loving family
- John David's jibber-jabber - makes me smile throughout the day. This week he said umbrella, stroller and ball... I have witnesses!
- John David's friendly spirit - he loves to say hi to everyone he sees, especially in the grocery store or Wal-Mart type places. It totally makes people's day and keeps a smile on my face while I respond to their compliments on what a sweet baby he is
- A day out of the house with Karla and Jacob
- A trip to the beach with my parents planned for next weekend. It will be John David's first time to see the ocean and the sand (other than what's in his sandbox!)
- Good lessons and reminders from the book of Ecclesiastes

Friday, October 13, 2006

Grateful Friday

Can't believe it's Friday already! Here is my list of things for which I am grateful:

1. Time I spent with my Mom today.
2. Opportunities to help some people and a renewed interest in seeking out those opportunities.
3. A good time at a Sunday School Fellowship last Friday night with new friends.
4. John David's relationship with his grandparents.
5. New life - Aaron and Kate were both born this week.
6. A thoughtful husband and the sweet gifts he brought home from a run to the drugstore to get medicine for my aching back (a crossword puzzle book and a magazine on digital photography tips).
7. Crossword puzzles.
8. My brother's sense of humor.

Car, Eat and Brushing Teeth

"Car" and "eat" are John David's words of the week. I'm sure about his mastery of the word car, but I'm not sure that he is really saying "eat" when the sound comes out of his mouth. But it is usually after I ask him if he is ready for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc., that he responds with a nod and the sound that resembles "eat". He jibber-jabbers all day long and sometimes I get so tickled at what comes out. Sometimes it sounds like very complicated words that I'm pretty sure he can't really elephant...and zebra. But it's usually when we are looking at pictures of these animals that the sounds come out! So either I'm hearing things or I have a child prodigy on my hands. I like to think the latter is the case! (I don't really think he's a prodigy, but I do think he can communicate well for being only 13 months old...hope I'm not being an annoyingly proud mama!)

Other words he says throughout the day include but are not limited to: hi, dog, mama, dada, out, what's that, thank you, door, bye-bye, and night-night. He enunciates some more than others, but he definitely knows what he is trying to say. For example, he doesn't exactly say "what's that", but the inflection and cadence of his voice communicates exactly what he is asking. And sometimes when you answer he says "oh". It's the cutest thing!

John David loves to brush his teeth. He cut his first tooth a week before he turned 5 months old and now has 8 teeth that fill his smile. So we've been brushing his teeth for quite a while and now he loves to do it by himself. Everytime we are at the sink and religiously after bath time he wants to brush his teeth. And of course we let him! Even if it is more for the taste of the toothpaste than his quest for good dental hygeine, we encourage it.

He still hasn't taken his first step but I know it's just about to happen. Everyone seems very eager for him to walk. The way I see it, Lord willing, he will walk the rest of his life so what's the rush? He's hard enough to catch on his all fours.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Grateful Friday

There is a blog that I love to read and I don't even know the author personally. But I love the way she writes and what she writes about. Every Friday she posts a blog entry entitled "Grateful Friday". (There is a link to her blog on the left of this page - Four Sweet Peas.)I think it's a great idea to list the things for which you are grateful. So I'm going to attempt to post a "Grateful Friday" blog on Fridays. Here are the things for which I am especially grateful...

1. John and his unconditional goodness.
2. John David's health, growing cuirosity and budding personality.
3. My Mother-in-law for offering to keep John David overnight for us.
4. My Mother for offering to keep John David while John and I attend a couple's Bible study.
5. Old friends.
6. New friends.
7. Good things happening to former co-workers (one got married, several are dating seriously, and one is pregnant after a long wait).
8. Cooler weather.
9. Going for walks in cooler weather.
10. Tennis.
11. Bloggers whose posts challenge me to be more positive and challenge me to be a better person.
12. Jesus' unconditional love for me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

John's Birthday

John's birthday was September 24th. Karen, Travis, Susan, Michael and Malachi came over after church to celebrate with John. I played in a tennis match and missed most of the afternoon, but John enjoyed being with everyone. And of course John David loved having his cousins over to play!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

First Haircut

Last Saturday John David got his first haricut. We took him to a place called "Just Kids Kuts" and it was the perfect place for a first haricut. They had cute seats for the kids to sit in, a train in the back for them to watch, and videos playing at every station to keep them occupied. He did really well. He wasn't too sure about the whole ordeal and wasn't thrilled about it, but he didn't scream either. He looks so handsome with his new "do"!

John and John David at home in our back yard after his haircut.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Trip to Naples

We went to Naples last weekend for a wedding. When you read that we drove to Naples, you will realize that I'm referring to Naples, FL. Not quite as exotic as Naples, Italy, but it was a nice trip anyway. We drove down on Friday and back on Monday, which is too quick of a trip, but that's all the time we had. My Mother-in-Law went with us, so John David was entertained the whole time and did really well traveling. We went for Cara and Andrew's wedding. It was great to see Debbie, Scott and Sarah, and for it was nice for me to meet Andrew and Cara. For those of you reading who aren't family, Debbie is a life long friend of John's family. Andrew is her son and I had not yet met him since joining John's family in 2004. Sarah looked stunning. I couldn't believe how much she had grown! She was in our wedding just 2 1/2 years ago when she was 8 and now she's about to be 11.

On Sunday, we went to Debbie and Scott's house and watched Cara and Andrew open some of their wedding presents. Debbie and Scott have a beautiful house in a neighborhood in Naples with a swimming pool in their back yard. John took John David swimming and they had a ball. The first time John David was ever in a pool I let him "jump" off the side into the water. He loved it! Of course he wasn't really "jumping" since he can't even stand by himself yet. As soon as his feet hit the water he was reaching for the side to do it again. Notice the houses in the background of the picture - they are all on a lake that has risen really high with recent rain. Most of the houses in the neighborhood have swimming pools and they are all enclosed in a screened in porch. Such a great idea! Keeps the mosquitos and neighborhood children out of your pool.

We pray for all the best for Cara and Andrew as they begin their new life together as a married couple!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

John David Turns One!

It is so hard to believe that John and I are the parents of a one year old! John David turned one on Sunday, September 3rd, and we celebrated with a party on Saturday night. John's dad and step-mom were in town for the big event so the whole weekend was like a party with John's brother and his family spending a lot of time at our house. John David was so happy the whole weekend being surrounded by so many people who love him. In most of the pictures from his party he looks like a deer in headlights, but he really did enjoy himself!

He is growing so much and changing every day. This weekend he started saying a new word - dog. He got a new book with some doggies on it and he repeated the word several times. Although he correctly identifies dogs as dogs, there are several other small animals that he refers to "dog". He said the word "duck" a few times too, but not consistently. I think he is just practicing new sounds to go with the "d" sound that he mastered a long time ago. And he has started babbling with "m" sounds, but hasn't yet called me by name (Mama). Hopefully that's just around the corner!

We went today for his 1-year check-up and everything was great! He's still on the small side - weighs 19 lbs 5 oz (5th percentile) and is 28.5 inches long (10th percentile), but everything is right on track. I always get nervous when he has to get his shots, but as we were leaving the doctor's office John made a good least we are blessed enough to live in a country where we can get good health care and that immunizations are routine. Thank you, Lord!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Meredith's Baby Shower

Around about October 19th Meredith, Mark and Cole will be welcoming a new addition to their family. In preparation for the big event, Kimberly and I hosted a baby shower for Meredith. We had a great time visiting with everyone and Meredith received some nice gifts. Harrison (Kimberly's baby), got his first taste of what being at a baby shower is all about. John David has already been to a baby shower and decided to sit this one out (thanks to Grandma Karen for making that possible and giving mommy a chance to get everything ready without little hands helping her!) He did join us at the end for some photo opps.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

John David's First Day of "School"

Today was John David's first day of school...well, it's really just a Mother's Morning Out program two days a week, but it is part of the Pre-school at our church so we're calling it school for him. He did great. When we first arrived, the other little boy in his class had been crying for 30 minutes, ever since his mother left. John David kept looking at him and holding on tighter to me. But after a few minutes we all got down on the floor and got the boys interested in some blocks and the crying stopped. I blew kisses to John David and left the room and he never shed a tear.

When I picked him up, he was just as happy as ever. His teacher said he did great except for nap time. John and I have been curious about how that was going to work. John David has never been a real easy sleeper. At home it takes a rocking chair, room darkening curtains and a sound machine to bring on sleep. So when they put him on his nap mat today, she said he got up and headed straight for the toys. We can't imagine that he will ever lay still on a mat in the middle of the floor and fall asleep, but we will see!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Uncle David's Birthday

We all live such busy lives that we only found time to celebrate David's birthday last Sunday, August 5. His actual birthday is July 25th. But it's good to get together no matter how belated! We enjoyed hanging out together, ate a good meal prepared by Mama (Granny, Mama C, Pat, etc.) and then John David had his first taste of a cupcake. We are just gearing up for his 1st birthday which is just around the corner.
Hmmm...this is yummy!!

Going back for more....

John David and Aiden "wrasslin'" with Papa

David, Lara, Lexi and Austin

Monday, August 07, 2006

Three Generations of Friends

When I was little, we lived in a neighborhood full of kids. To this day we are still friends with many of the families we knew from that neighborhood. It has been so fun to gather over the years from time to time to see how everyone has grown and to catch up on life. Last Friday was one of those times. Kim and Kim lived one street over from me in the "old neighborhood" as we call it now. It was always a treat to get to play with them because they were a couple of years older than me and had what I thought were the coolest toys. The one I envied was a Cher barbie doll with long hair. Funny what we remember from our childhood! Anyway, we are all grown up now and have children of our own. One of the Kims now lives in New Jersey, so we took the opportunity while she was in town to get together for a play date. John David loved meeting Aaron, Eliza, Katherine, Logan and Ryan. All of the grandmas were there and enjoyed adoring each other's grandkids. And just like old times, it was a treat to be with Kim and Kim again!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bath Time

It's so hard to believe how fast John David is growing up. We took this picture after his bath Sunday night and it reminded me of a couple of others that we had taken a few months back. I'll post those so that you can see how he is growing. On Thursday, August 3rd, he will be 11 months old.

Amost 4 months old

Almost 8 months old

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Uncle Travis' Birthday

Today is Uncle Travis' birthday so we went to dinner to celebrate. (Uncle Travis is John's brother.)

John David had fun playing with his cousins, Michael and Malachi, before the food arrived. They were so sweet to share their toys with him. Malachi is very nurturing and loves to help "take care" of John David. Michael and Malachi are twins and they are 3 1/2 years old.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just John David... Posted by Picasa

Daddy and John David Posted by Picasa

Future gymnast? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Our Little Sport

John David loves life. He is such a happy baby and he is very content much of the time. His latest showing of his love for something is to squeal with his eyes squinted. I caught him doing this while he was playing with a volleyball the other day. He would get the ball, throw it, squeal and then crawl towards it to do it all over again. It's amazing to me that we never had to show him what to do with a ball. He got a ball from the Easter Bunny (one of the $1.49 ones from Kroger/K-Mart/Walmart, etc.) and immediately knew to throw it. And that was when he was just 7 months old.

He loves to hang from the bar on his play set out back. Of course he can't yet hold himself on it, but loves for John or me to let him hang from it and then swing as if he were a gymnast in training.

On a recent shopping trip to IKEA, we discoverd his love for tunnels. They had one on display and he must've crawled through it 10 times. They were out of ones to purchase, but I found one about a week later at Target. It's in our playroom now and he loves to be chased in or out of it.

Whether he is throwing balls, hanging from the swing set, or crawling through tunnels, our little sport is always on the go!