Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful...

I am thankful for so many things, but right now I would like to highlight the things that I am thankful for that are outside “the normal:”

-I am thankful that my kids are so close to my parents.

-I am thankful that my parents live next door some of the time.

-I am thankful that during the day, Joshie can go over and play at Grandma’s house.

-I’m thankful that the kids can freely and easily go back and forth between my parents’ house and ours.

-I’m thankful that my kids can spend the night at Grandma and Pappaw’s almost whenever they want.

-I’m thankful that my mom took Joshie and Ryan to see the zoo lights last night…I can tell they had a wonderful time.

-I’m thankful that at this time of year, a family dinner on a special day is not a super special occasion because we have them all the time!

-I’m very, very thankful for my family.

It’s interesting how your relationship with your parents changes over your lifetime. There were times that I really, really hated my parents. There were years that I counted down the days until I was 18 and could leave the house. And then over the second half of my life things got better. I think they realized that my strong personality was there to stay, and at the same time, I matured and learned how to communicate better. I think ultimately it came down to the fact that I was now an adult and I could no longer be told what to do, so compromises were made and there was mutual respect.

It’s also interesting when you think about the annoyances of parents (or in-laws) – it’s so easy to get upset and annoyed with them over things…especially now that you are both adults and have to learn to compromise, as opposed to one person having the authority to make you back down. BUT!!!! These are the people that made you who you are…or who made your spouse the way they are. Somehow, those quirks and characteristics helped mold you/your spouse into the very person they are today…whether it was good teaching, or you acting in the opposite direction because of how much you disagreed with them. Either way, if you at all like who you are, or you love who your spouse is…so much of that came from the parents.

And for that, I’m very thankful!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There Comes a Point When You Will Exhale...

Whitney Houston had a song in the 90’s titled “Exhale.”


Sometimes you’ll laugh
Sometimes you’ll cry
Life never tells us, the when’s or why’s
When you’ve got friends, to wish you well
You’ll find your point when
You will exhale

I remember hearing that song, and wondering if there would ever be a point in my life where I would be able to “exhale.” The song came out when I was a junior in high school. At that time, I had a long-term boyfriend, good grades, did gymnastics, and overall, life was pretty good…but I still didn’t feel like I could “exhale.”

I had forgotten about the song until last night. For some reason it popped into my mind and I started examining my life and wondering if now I could finally “exhale”…I mean I love my life and I’m so happy…but I’m still not sure I can “exhale.”

I feel like at any moment a crises could come up…right now everything seems to be aligned fairly well…we are part of a fantastic church, we have fantastic childcare, John and I have great jobs, we all have great health, etc. But any one of those things could be pulled right out from under us…and I would have to take a big breath and hold it again…until everything was resolved.

But as Christians we shouldn’t live that way. I definitely stress over things way too much…things that are completely out of my control. My stressing about these things does nothing but harm me, so I need to learn to let them go and give them to God. I need to learn to live my life as a constant breathing pattern…with equal inhales AND exhales.

So with that, I’m exhaling right now. I’m letting God take control of my life and I’m just breathing…which is what I was supposed to be doing the whole time. It’s kind of like Lamaze classes for childbirth…you go to class and learn how to breath so that when you’re the in the heat of the pain, it will come naturally to you**. So I’m practicing, so that when the next “crises” comes up, exhaling will be natural for me.

**While I did take childbirth classes, I opted (OK, really I begged) for the epidural. Is there an epidural option for life?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Relaxing Weekend!

What a glorious, glorious weekend!

Friday started with an awesome surprise rendezvous with John. Since I had been out of town, and he had worked until midnight on Thursday, we just hadn’t had any time to talk, let alone prepare for house church on Friday. So John called me up and told me to take the afternoon off so that we could get ready for that night. So we met at Panera, and we ate lunch and hung out and planned that evening’s activities for 2 ½ hours! We just sat there…and talked…and had so much fun! Then we went over to Best Buy to look at some gifts that we want to get the kids for Christmas. It was seriously one of the best afternoons that I’ve had in a long, long time. So many times if we have time off, our first instinct is to run home and be with the kids. But it’s so important to take time as a couple…and it’s awesome to do something you used to do before you had kids that you took for granted.

Friday night was house church and it was a ton of fun. We didn’t have a baby-sitter, which was not so fun, but other than that it was good to dive even deeper into marriages and grow closer as a group.

Saturday we “relaxed.” I say that lightly because I still did laundry all day, and we cleaned up a little, but overall it was relaxing because we didn’t have to go anywhere. I put up our Christmas lights because the weather was gorgeous (high 50’s and sunny), and the kids got some good outside time. The only downside to Saturday was that Ryan never seemed to be in a great mood. I realized later that’s because he’s got his other bottom teeth coming in.

Sunday was church, and it was our turn to teach the preschoolers. For the first time in months we didn’t have anywhere to be yesterday, so we actually got to stay after church and talk to people! That hasn’t happened in so long! It was nice because there was a birthday party in there after us, so they were blowing up these huge jumping things, and they let the kids jump on them for a while.

After church we went home and took a nap :) Ryan had a much better day…he was so much fun to play with! I made chicken wings and French fries (both extremely awesome, although our house now smells like a fast-food joint from the fryer), and in between batches we were all playing football. My parents were over for dinner and I just had a happy, “full” feeling that made it the perfect end to the weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Alone Time With Each Child...

The one thing I was always worried about with having multiple kids is not being able to give good one-on-one attention to any child after the first. You see it in almost every family, including my own growing up…my poor sisters didn’t get hardly any alone time with either of my parents, let alone both of them together…it’s just a fact of life. When you have your first, at least for us, every waking second was spent with that child. Taking them with you places was a piece of cake and fun…we took Kylie grocery shopping, out to dinner, shopping, etc…you name it, she went with us.

But once Josh came along, life got crazier. Having two kids was a lot more difficult to take places…one was in a carrier, and the other needed to be buckled into a car seat every time. And at home, one needed constant watching, while the other wanted constant attention. And then once the third came around…forget it! We were officially outnumbered!

But surprisingly, I’m very happy with how we have been able to give a good amount of one-on-one attention to each of the kids, at least by one parent. Take last night for example…Kylie and Ryan had gone to bed, but because Josh had taken such a good nap, he didn’t go to bed until I did, and even then he came up in my bed with me to snuggle. He and I were able to talk about some very important things (why we celebrate Christmas and Easter), and we were able to get in some good snuggle time. And since he’s the first boy, John spends a lot of alone time with him…watching sports on TV, playing hockey or football in the playroom or outside, and going to CBJ games. While they do those things, Kylie is usually off reading or playing school, and I’m able to have some one-on-one time with Ryan…playing with him and laughing with him. He still goes to bed pretty early, so once he’s down, Kylie and I are able to read together or play school.

So thankfully, so far, we have been able to make each child feel important and not just lump them all together. But it’s not easy…it has definitely taken a conscious effort on our part! It would be so easy for me to just plop in front of the TV when Kylie’s playing by herself and Ryan has gone to bed. And as tempting as that is, I know there will plenty of time for that in about 10 years :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NYC Recap...

Phew! I’m back and it feels so good to be home!

Despite being up for 20 hours on Monday, and checking into my hotel room only to find it was under maintenance and having to go all the way back down and get another room and move my stuff, and sitting through some of the most boring presenters I’ve ever heard, and despite having a long day yesterday with more all-day speakers and then traveling home, I had a good time in NYC :)

This is the official "ball" that will drop New Year's Eve 2009:

We walked to Rockefeller Center and partially saw the tree – they had it covered by scaffolding and we missed the great unveiling by one day! And Shakira was giving a concert on the ice rink, but we didn’t stay to see it because no one knew exactly what time she was going to be there and we were hungry!

Rockefeller Center:

My hotel was awesome (even though the service was not so great), and the conference was really good (although, like I said, some of the presenters could use some public speaking lessons). I had an awesome view out of my window, got to meet up with an old friend, and then got to go shopping sans kids and have a very nice dinner with my boss. I really had a good time and honestly, except for having a hard time shopping because I kept feeling like I didn’t have time to just be browsing (is that what having kids does to us?), I was able to enjoy myself and really appreciate the “me” time. My boss and I actually walked through Saks 5th Avenue where we stopped at several cosmetic counters and over-enthusiastic girls kept trying to sell me $200 eye cream. Do you know the last time I did that??? I was in college!

The view from my hotel room:

While at first I was sad to leave, a couple of things happened that made me happy to get on a plane and return to my Midwest city:

1.) I realized that NYC people, in general, are rude (when compared to what I'm used to in my Midwestern state)! I especially saw this as grown men cut in front of me in the drink line at lunch. I said something to my boss, who is from the east coast, and she told me it’s normal for them to do that. So I guess if everyone is from the city, then it’s no big deal, but for this Midwestern girl, who spends so much time and energy teaching her kids to be polite and not cut in front of people in line, it was a shock!

2.) I had the worst cab ride ever back to the airport! This guy honked his horn for no reason (no one was moving, so there was no where for us to go), almost hit several people, and kept slamming on the breaks. I felt so sick by the time we got to the airport!

When I got home last night the kids were so excited to see me! I got a ton of hugs and kisses. Ryan surprised me…he smiled and put his arms out for me, but then he just wanted to watch and play football! The kids loved the presents I got for them…Joshie got a lot of my conference freebies – a football, some golf balls, and some pens and paper. I got Kylie an American Girl book – Meet Molly, who was my favorite American Girl when I was little and read the books (although back then there were only 3 girls, now there are a ton!). I gave Ryan one of the little stress balls I had gotten at the conference.

Kylie and I read some of her book (what a difference a year makes…I had gotten her the Meet Kit book last summer and it was still pretty difficult for her to read, but she is flying through her Meet Molly book!), and then I put them all to bed. I started preparing for our house church on Friday, and then I realized that I could hear Joshie moving around a lot upstairs. I went up to check on him and he was wide awake! I guess he’s been taking super naps during the day, so he’s not tired when Kylie goes to bed. So I brought him down, he ate a snack (a whole pack of carrots and a whole big granola bar!) and he watched some football. After a while I told him I was going up to bed and he told me he wanted to snuggle with me! He never does that…he always wants to stay down with John. So he and I went upstairs, and he wrapped my arms around him and feel right asleep. It was pure heaven for me!

So while the trip was wonderful, I’m OK with not going back for a while :) I do hope that the next time I go back I’m able to go with John. He and I would have so much fun in that city! Someday…probably when an $800 hotel bill for 2 nights doesn’t scare us anymore :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have had a great time here in New York so far...the conference yesterday was informative, and then last night I got to meet up with a friend from college. We went to a fabulous, local restaurant where I had the best fried chicken I've ever had!

Today it has been more conferences, and then the whole thing will end at 3:00. Then I will get to go out and explore the city. The view from my hotel room is Times Square...I can see "the ball" (you know, the one that drops on New Year's Eve?), and all of the TVs light up my room. The weather here is great (especially for November)'s sunny and in the mid to high 50's.

Tomorrow is another conference and then I get to go home. I miss the kiddos, of course, but the excitement of being here has helped me not think about them every second :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Tomorrow morning (at 6:00 AM to be exact), I will be on a plane headed for NYC. I have a conference there for three days, and then I'll be heading home.

I'm excited to travel...I only get to about once per year with my job, and what better place is there than New York City? But I am going to miss my kids a am I going to go three days without seeing them?

I'm hoping that I will be so busy with my seminars and then site-seeing that I will forget about missing them, but I doubt didn't work last year :(

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stop and Enjoy...

The other day I was behind this car that was going slower than I wanted to go. I was in a hurry…I had gotten held-up at work and I was going to be about 25 minutes late relieving our nanny. And I’m never late for her…I respect her time, and even though I had called her and told her I was late, I still felt horrible. But anyway, this car was going the actual speed limit…not even 5 MPH above. I noticed that an older gentleman was driving the car, and I immediately realized he probably didn’t have anywhere he had to be anytime soon…he didn’t have a nanny to get home to, or kids. Then I thought back to what my life was like before kids…it didn’t matter if I needed to stay late at work…I don’t think I would have even called John if I was only going to be 25 minutes late…I would have to be an hour late in order to warrant a call to him.

Then I started to think about the future…I wondered how it would get back to how it was before kids…will it happen gradually? Will all of the kids get older and soon they would be old enough to care for themselves and not need me to call or rush home? Or will it not happen until my youngest leaves for college and all of a sudden…BAM! No need to call home because no one is there to answer the phone.

These experiences remind me that this time will go quickly, and whether it is in fact gradual, or all of a sudden, my kids will be gone before I know it, and I will no longer have anyone to rush home to (OK, I will have John, but I’m sure he will welcome the opportunity to stay at work since is adores what he does so much).

The trick is trying to find a way to slow down and appreciate the time…any suggestions? I’m desperately trying…but as all of you mothers know, days are filled with routines that involve school, work, homework, meal-cooking, cleaning, and other normal activities. Along with the normal annoyances that kids bring that I will one day miss (there will be a day that no one asks me for juice warmed up with warm water).

I’m scared of my future without kids…I think that’s why I want a lot of them, so that when the youngest finally leaves the house, I really will be too tired to be sad :) I know that John and I will have fun…we have all kinds of plans for retirement, which is why we started having kids so young. But a huge part of what defines me is being a mom, and while I know I always will be one, the importance of me gradually dies down as my kids get older.

So I pray that I remember to stop and enjoy more often. And that I stop trying to hurry everything up, because I know that I’m quickly approaching the point in my life where I will desperately want everything to slow down.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Front Porch Monday, Front Porch Wednesday, Whatever The Heck it's Called Now...

Last night was a crazy good night!

I got home and Kylie and Josh were CRAZY! They were so hyper! But it was so good to see Kylie feeling better…she had gone to school and had a fantastic day.

I made dinner while Ky and Josh played tag with occasional breaks on the couch…our house has not been that crazy loud in a long time :)

After dinner the kids and I made cookies and then the kids got ready for bed. Joshie really wanted to watch the end of the hockey game, but it was “go to bed early night” (aka, front porch Monday moved to Wednesday), so we let him watch it up in his room (we have a TV in there because it is more of a guest room because he sleeps in with Kylie 99% of the time). Kylie slept in there too, but was asleep within 5 minutes of lying down.

So John and I used our “front porch Monday” time to work on the material for our house church on Friday. We are studying the book “Men are Like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti,” and this week we are reading about how men process life and how women process life (men in boxes like waffles, and women in life-connections like spaghetti). We are also reading about how important communication is, and how important listening is to our communication. We came up with some activities for the couples to do and with some real-life examples from our marriage to use in order to help get some of the points across to everyone.

We had a lot of fun doing this, and as a result, didn’t end up finishing up and going to bed until 11:30, which is super late for me lately!

I love working on this stuff with John…I love having projects with him. We used to do a lot of projects before we had kids…we would do everything together. We would paint, do yard work, shop, etc., but once we had kids, obviously someone has to stay back and watch the kids, so there aren’t many things that we work on together anymore. But this is a big project, and every week we’re forced to work on it together, and I think it’s really helping to strengthen our marriage even more!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


People who know John know that he is a bit of a neat freak. I honestly can’t remember if I’ve talked about it at all on here, but most people that know us has heard me complain about it more than once.

He has always been super organized…when we first got married he kept every “important” paper we had in a neat place, and he always paid our bills and kept everything super organized. But as far as actual cleaning, I was the one that was crazy about it…my kitchen floors always had to be spotless (I always wanted to be able to walk around without shoes on and not get my socks dirty) and I didn’t want dust anywhere. We would often fight because I felt like I was spending so much time cleaning while he was watching TV.

And then we had kids, and I relaxed a little. I knew that kids make messes and get toys out, and I just didn’t have the energy to keep up with everything all the time. Thankfully when Josh was born, we finally bit the bullet and hired someone to clean our house because it was just not getting done.

And then we moved, and John went into overdrive. I know psychologically it was the new house…he wanted to keep it nice and take care of it. I have since realized that this is an area where he feels success in (which is extremely important for men to feel in order to be comfortable and happy in a relationship). Unfortunately, he seemed to be getting progressively worse.

For a while, he vacuumed almost everyday. Then he went and spent a ridiculous amount on a vacuum (trust me, a dyson doesn’t even come close). He believes that since the kids have a playroom, there is absolutely no need for any of their toys to ever leave that playroom. He steam cleaned the kitchen floor almost daily, and the toys of Ryan’s that are in the family room were always pushed back neatly against the wall.

We were back to having serious conflicts, only this time it was me trying to get him to lighten up and him trying to get me to help him out more. I can’t tell you how many times we fought about this…and I feel like he expects so much of the kids! I mean they are just kids, right?

So we’ve talked and talked, and I think he understands where I am coming from, and I understand and respect how he feels. Making the kids clean up their playroom each night is not a lot to ask. And I definitely don’t want to raise slobs, so after discussing it with him I completely agreed that the kids need to learn how to clean up after themselves. And I make a lot more effort to keep all of my stuff picked up, even though if I lived by myself the stuff would stay where it’s at. And John has lightened up on his cleaning. He only cleans the floor about 1 or 2 times per week, and only vacuums once a week or every-other week (which is still in addition to the bi-weekly cleaning we have done).

BUT….I am spoiled, and I realize that every time I talk to any of my friends. Every morning when I leave for work, the dishes are all done, the counters are clean, and the whole main level is picked up. I never have to worry about inviting people over because our house is almost always clean and picked up. And nothing is ever shoved anywhere…you can always open our closets without fear of anything falling on you :) John really does a fantastic job of keeping our house clean and comfortable. I know that I am super lucky to have such a great husband!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sickness in the House...

Yesterday I had to leave work and go pick Kylie up from school. She had a fever of 101.9 :( I talked to my nanny and she said the boys had just fallen asleep, so instead of having her wake them up to go and get Kylie, I went and go her and worked from home while she relaxed on the couch.

What surprised my nanny, John, and me was that the school said she couldn’t come back to school the next day. Now I know daycares have this rule, but school? She actually still feels a little under the weather, so I wouldn’t have sent her anyway, but so many times with kids they are sick one day and completely fine the next day…and to miss a day of school? A day of learning? It just doesn’t make sense to me…

I guess I just don’t understand when this “rule” stops…I mean, had Kylie not gone to the nurse’s office yesterday, no one would have known she had a fever, and she could go back whenever she wanted to. And think about middle school and high school when you went to the nurse’s office…no one took my temperature…I just laid down and waited for my mom to get me…no one told me I couldn’t come back the next day. Because in high school, I would have loved it if someone said I couldn’t come back because I had a fever.

I just don’t understand the whole fever thing…kids are walking around contagious with all kinds of things all the time (think back to how you got chicken pox!), but heaven forbid a kid has a fever, then they are forbidden from the building for 2+ days. A fever just means your body is fighting the sickness – so if the fever is gone the next day, and the child is better, why on earth can’t they go to school?

I know there are people out there that are super “anti-germs,” and while I can’t really empathize with them (germs are all around us and I truly think we have gone too far, eliminating the “good” germs with all of our antibacterializing***), I can respect their thoughts. But kids are in school, breathing on each other, touching each other, and germs are all around. It’s a fact of life, kids spread germs.

And the funny thing is, I’m the complete opposite of a germ-a-phobe, and my kids are very rarely sick. They usually only get 1 or 2 colds per year, and they are exposed to other kids all the time. So I wonder how much all the hand-washing and hand sanitizer using is really doing for all of those people that are really paranoid about it?

These thoughts are so random, but when you have a child that loves school, it’s hard when she has to be home. Even on the way home yesterday from picking her up (looking miserable and coughing), she started crying because she couldn’t go to school today.

***This is my thought for normal, healthy children. I know that there are kids out there with underlying health conditions that make normal childhood illnesses much worse and more difficult to handle, and my viewpoint for my family would definitely be different if my children fell into this category.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Gorgeous, Fun-Filled Weekend!

What a weekend!

The weekend started Friday night with Kylie and Joshie heading over to Aunt Mimi’s for a cousins’ sleepover. They were really looking forward to this!

After the kids left, I took Ryan over to my mom’s house, and then John and I finished getting ready for house church. We practiced the little “skit” we had planned, and around 6:30 people starting coming. We hung out and socialized and ate wonderful food for about 45 minutes, and then John and I introduced the book that we were going to be studying. After that we all watched Father of the Bride. After the movie people stayed around and talked some more…it was so much fun hanging out with the people that were there! After everyone left we went and got Ryan and watched TV before going to bed.

Saturday morning Ryan had me up at 6:45! I hadn’t fallen asleep until 1:00, so I was a little tired :) But he and I played while John slept and I had so much fun! I’m so thankful to all of our family members that take Kylie and Josh at times so that Ryan can get some one-on-one time with us…I know third children usually don’t get much of that, so I really appreciate the alone time that I do get with him! Later that morning he went down for a nap and John and I were able to get a ton of stuff done around the house…it truly is amazing how one child seems so easy when you’re used to having three around!

Kylie and Josh came home at lunch time and finished the scavenger hunt that my sister-in-law had set up at our house. They had such a fun time at their sleepover!

Kylie, Ryan, my mom and I headed to the outlets so that I could get the last few things the kids needed for winter. John and Josh headed to my uncle’s house in the woods for some game-watching, four-wheeler-riding, gun-shooting male bonding.

Ryan didn’t fall asleep until we were halfway to the outlets…I should have known this was a bad sign! Kylie on the other hand slept almost the whole way there, which was surprising since she doesn’t take naps anymore.

Once at the stores, my mom helped out a ton by watching the kids while I shopped a little for me and for the kids. She took them over to the playground and desperately tried to get Ryan to nap (he never did). The great thing was the weather was gorgeous! It was in the mid-60’s and sunny! We ended up leaving around 8:00 and the kids were exhausted!

Sunday we got up for church, and on the way there Joshie complained his belly hurt. He said it again when we pulled into the parking lot, so when we got out I loosened his pants (this usually fixes belly problems). Within a minute he was throwing up. So I took the other kids into church to get them settled and get the kids’ room set up (we were teaching that morning). John came in and he taught the kids while I took Ryan and Joshie home. It was strange…Josh was fine…he hadn’t eaten anything (except for 3 oreos…his normal Sunday breakfast at Pappaw’s), and once we were home he was starved. He ate some crackers, took a nap, and then ate lunch and was totally fine! Ryan slept for over 2 hours, so it was good that we went home so he could sleep.

Sunday afternoon was Joshie’s last football game :( Thankfully, the weather was so extremely beautiful…70 degrees and sunny. I wore a short-sleeved shirt and used my blanket to sit on instead of to bundle up with to keep warm :) It was the championship game, and they were playing the only team that had beat them. Making it more important to win was the fact that this team played dirty. In this age group, the coaches are the quarterbacks, and their coach would stand up and act like he was going to pass (every time) and then hand it off to a kid that was by him. That was how they won earlier in the season. So this time, the Browns were prepared! Our defense just stood there and waited after the ball was hiked, and it paid off because they won!

The boys got a medal, a certificate, and a trophy that said “Super Bowl Champions.” Joshie would not let go of his trophy, even when he was trying to eat his snack!

After the game the kids played outside and we talked to the neighbors for a little bit before heading inside. Josh had convinced John he needed more silly string, so John took Kylie and Josh to the store. Kylie went because she was going to get “big girl soaps.” We’re trying to get them to take showers up in their bathroom, instead of in ours, and one of the things hindering that was the Kylie used my soap (she didn’t want to use “baby” soap anymore). So she came back with Pantene shampoo and conditioner, and Suave Cherry Blossom shower gel. John said that she had to smell every one before picking which one she wanted.

While they were at the store, Ryan and I got to play for a while. He had just woken up from a 3 hour nap, so he was in such a good mood! He and I played and played, and then at 8:00 he finally wanted some dinner. By 9:00 Kylie and Ryan were in bed, and Joshie and John were snuggling on the couch together.

It was a wonderful weekend, and while it was a little more busy than I had hoped, we all had a ton of fun!

Friday, November 06, 2009


It’s FRIDAY!!!!

I’m so ready for a semi-relaxing weekend! I feel like the past couple of weekends have been stuffed with things to do, and I hate that! I feel like my life is passing me by so quickly, and all I want to do is slow down and really soak it in.

Tonight is the first meeting of our new house church. The theme of it is keeping your marriage strong, and it is based on the book by Bill and Pam Farrell, “Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti.” John and I have been to two of their conferences and this book (along with their others) have made such an impact on our marriage, and we can’t wait to pass it along to others. We’re starting the group off with movie night, so tonight we will be watching Father of the Bride and pigging out on popcorn and other snacks. I have also been able to arrange childcare – a babysitter will come over during our meetings and watch all of the kids, which is a huge help because most of the couples have young kids (if everyone comes there are 12 kids!) and no one would be able to concentrate during our sessions if they had to worry about their kids too.

Tomorrow (and Sunday) it’s going to be gorgeous here (supposedly…you can never trust those weather people completely!). It’s supposed to be sunny all weekend, and highs in the mid 60’s. I think Kylie and I will head to the outlets to finish up getting all of their winter clothes, while John and Josh head down to my uncle’s place in the woods with my dad. Not sure where Ryan fits yet…I’ll probably end up taking him with me :)

Sunday will be church and Joshie’s last football game. I’m telling you, we have been so lucky with his games and the weather…every game has been sunny and not too cold! I’m said it’s his last game…he loves it so much!

I hope to have some pictures on Monday and be able to tell you it was the great weekend I was anticipating! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Afternoon Pictures...

I was fortunate to be able to work from home a couple of afternoons this week. It was perfect, I would come home while the kids were napping, get some work done, and then go and pick Kylie up from school. We would spend the early evening playing all kinds of things and just being silly. These are a few pictures from those afternoons:

Remembering Summer...

Now I know that summer is over :( Don’t get me wrong…it’s obviously a lot colder and there is not near as much daylight lately, which are obvious signs that summer is over, but the big sign for me was that the BBQ grill got put away.

We are very fortunate to have a three-car garage. And even though we have that extra space, it still gets so full of stuff. Most of it are the kids’ bikes, power wheels jeep, strollers, the wagon, and outside toys. There is also a mower, and a ton of John’s tools. The place gets so full that we can’t walk through it, let along get out the stuff we need (like the stroller to put Ryan in when Kylie is walked to and from school). So each season, John clears out the stuff we aren’t using, and either puts it up in the attic, down in the basement, or over in my parents’ garage.

So the other night John came in and said that he took the barbeque grill over to my parents’ garage, and it made me sad. I cook dinner on that thing just about every night in the summer. It’s so nice and easy to be able to be cooking dinner while still playing with the kids or hanging out with the neighbors. In the winter I’m usually in the kitchen by myself while everyone else is down in the playroom playing.

And last night I made brats…on our indoor griddle thing. They tasted good, but not as good as they would have fresh off the BBQ grill. And it wasn’t as fun making them because my kids were off in other places.

So I’m counting down…only 5 ½ more months until warm weather, sunny skies, the smell of lawns being mowed, and barbeque grills!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Shopping For Wedding Dresses...

On Saturday, in between getting food ready for the party and actually attending our Halloween party, my mom, my sister and I went with my other sister to look for wedding dresses (along with her future mother-in-law and sister-in-law).

It’s funny because for some reason, all she wanted to do was find us bridesmaid dresses. We had to make her try on wedding dresses…which is what we couldn’t wait for! So my sister and I browsed the shop, found her some dresses based on what she liked, and we went to work.

The first appointment started off badly…the consultant we had was working with another bride, and pretty much ignored us. So Suzie and I got to work helping Cindy into dresses and hanging up the ones she had already tried on. Thankfully, a lady stepped in to help us (who we later found out was one of the managers) and the appointment went much better!

There was someone (not sure if she was a consultant or an assistant or what) who had been watching pretty much the whole appointment, and towards the end, she gave us a dress that she thought Cindy might like. Like it she did…she looked fabulous in it! I saw the smile on her face, I saw the look in her eyes…I knew it was it.

We had another appointment after that one and she went and tried on dresses, but she compared every one to “the other one” and even got to the point where she was picking apart “the other one.” So my sister and my mom took her back to try it back on, and the smile returned.

It was a fun day…I loved watching her try dresses on…she looked so gorgeous! I only hope that the rest of the wedding planning goes as smoothly for her as find her wedding dress did!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Great Night...

Yesterday my nanny had to go to an emergency dental appointment, so I got to work from home in the afternoon. I came home to a quiet house since the boys were sleeping and was able to get some work done. We went and picked up Kylie from school, and then came home and had a snack.

I was able to get to the gym earlier than normal since I didn’t have to drive all the way home from work first. I made an easy dinner, and then we all headed down to the playroom. Kylie and I read and played school, and John and Josh and Ryan played hockey and wrestled and played football.

After playing, the kids went up and took showers, and I gave Ryan a bath. I love this time because I get to watch and play with him, but I also get to read through one of the millions of magazines I have that have not yet been read :) The only problem is that Ryan likes to stand up, so the bath usually ends much quicker than I would like because it makes me too nervous to see him standing up, holding on the to edge of the tub.

After all of that, John took Kylie up to work on some math problems, and then John and Josh went down to watch Monday night football, and Kylie and I snuggled in my bed and talked about school. After ½ hour I made her close her eyes, and she was out like a light.

It was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a long time. This time change may have it’s downfalls (like Ryan getting up at 6:30), but for me, it has more benefits…the kids were up both yesterday and today before I left, and they were in great happy moods (it’s amazing what some sunlight can do for you!). And I feel like the evenings last so much longer since it gets dark so quickly. I know that doesn’t make sense, but John and I both came up from the playroom last night shocked that it was only 7:30…we both felt like it had to be at least 8:30. So while I really dislike cold weather, I do like the extra family time we get in the winter.

My Happy Place...

Sometimes I wish I lived out in the country. I lived in a small town for a while, but it was a small college town in Appalachia, but I don’t miss that one bit. No, I would like to live in a small country town. A town where everyone knows you, and everyone looks out for each other, and where people actually know how to relax.

I would love to send the kids out to play (when they’re a little bit older of course), and call them back in with a dinner bell. No yelling or trying to figure out where they’re at…they would just know if they heard the bell, it was time to come home. They would run in and we’d have a great family meal, and they would rush back out to play until it was dark. The kids would learn what it was like to live simply, and to learn out to make up games instead of being bored with the five million toys they have down in the playroom.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to live on a farm…I don’t particularly like animals, or things that smell…I just want to live out in the country and have a farm bell :) It seems silly sometimes, when I think about how much I depend on convenience (like when I forget an ingredient and can run to the store and back in 15 minutes) – there’s no way I could ever give that up. But on my busiest and most hectic of days, I think about a little country town in the middle of summer, the kids barefoot and running around the yard, and John and I sitting on the front porch just watching them, and a peace settles over me.

So for now, that can be my “happy place,” complete with a dinner bell ringing in the background :)

Monday, November 02, 2009


Our Halloween weekend began Friday with Kylie's class party. The weather was gorgeous - it was about 70 degrees and sunny (it was supposed to be 60 and raining all day), so the walk to the party was wonderful! The party itself was chaotic but fun for her :)

Kylie with her teacher:
Joshie and Pappaw:

Kylie coloring her pumpkin:

The kids had to walk to one end of the room and back with a donut on their nose:

They played pass the pumpkin (whoever was holding the pumpkin when the music stopped was out):

They wrapped each other up like mummies:

Kylie ended up going to a sleepover with one of her friends, so John, my dad, Joshie, Ryan and I walked home enjoying the gorgeous weather.

By the time we got home, my sister had come in from Michigan. We made some of the food for our party the next day, and then headed out to meet my other sister to look at some bridesmaid dresses.

That night John and I went to a halloween party at his sister's house. We dressed up like McDreamy and Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy (the theme of the party was "be a hero, save a life." We only stayed at the party a few of hours - we still had a ton to do to get ready for our party. It was a good thing we left because Kylie called at 11:30 saying that she didn't feel good and wanted to come home. Thankfully she was fine and went right to sleep.

Saturday was the day of the party. There was food everywhere, and while it was cold, the rain that was supposed to be there never showed up, so we had a fire going and the heaters on in the garage. Late in the afternoon we got the kids ready for trick-or-treating (Kylie was a bride, Joshie was a Blue Jackets hockey player, and Ryan was a bunny (an old, warm costume of Kylie's)), and "the court kids" headed off. These kids have been trick-or-treating together now for 3 years, and I love that they are such good friends!

Kylie had such an issue with her costume. She was a bride, and she was wearing my veil. Unfortunately, she had fallen asleep, outside in the garage in a chair, right at the time I would have liked to start doing her hair. So I had to wake her up about 40 minutes later and she was not happy! She hated that she felt like the veil was falling, and then she hated her shoes, and she didn't want to carry her bouquet...she was a mess. So the first few pictures you can tell she had been crying. Even at the beginning of trick-or-treating she hung back and went to houses by herself - still pouting. Thankfully, after walking around for a while and getting candy, she perked back up and was right there with the boys!

Our local police handing out glow necklaces to all of the trick-or-treaters (they also made a special appearance at our court later on to give out more and eat some food):

The court boys:

Joshie running fast to get candy:

Kylie still not very happy:

Ryan's loot that he held in his hands the whole time until I made him put gloves on:

The court kids:

The only picture with the ears on:

Daddy's hat was much cooler than those bunny ears:

Ryan did not like the doggy masks Aunt Suzie made everyone wear:

But he did like the Reese's Cups she fed him :)

Ryan's bunny tail:

The night ended with kids eating candy, more football watching on the garage wall, and more food being eaten by the adults. After everyone had left, we cleaned up outside, and then cleaned up the kitchen, and then sat down to watch TV. It was only 10:00, but it had been such a long day that we were all fast asleep within an hour!