Thursday, January 28, 2010

Two Years Ago...

This busy time of year brings back so many memories for me…it was this time of year two years ago that was the hardest two months of my life so far.

Two years ago in December my boss quit. It was such a crazy time…trying to figure out who would take her work and hiring a replacement for her. I was not ready for her job…I was definitely in training to take it on at some time, but this was not the time. However, we had a 10-K to file and there was no way we could hire someone in time to file it (and a 10-K is our hardest document of all the filings). So my interim boss and I dove in to try to get the work done.

In the middle of January I found out I was pregnant. I was super excited, but right away I could feel how tired and worn out I was going to be trying to take care of the other two kids on top of being pregnant.

It was also during this time that our childcare situation blew up in our face. The kids were rushed first to my parents’ and then to daycare. John and I spent hours agonizing on what we were going to do and who would watch the kids.

The stress in my life was horrendous. I lived each and every day with a gigantic knot in my stomach (which didn’t go away until a couple of days after I filed the 10-K). I was so worried that my stress was going to hurt the baby, and was amazed each time I went to the doctor and he was fine. I worked until 7:00 each night and worked a ton each and every weekend. The process was so new to me…there was so much I didn’t know, but was expected to know (in a good way…I learned so much during this time).

And then I got through that…I filed the 10-K, we found a nanny for the kids, and I entered my second trimester and started feeling better. And after all that, my interim boss decided that it was silly to hire someone to do what I just did, and promoted me to the position.

And even though I got through those two months, I can still feel the pit in my stomach when I think back to that time. I can vividly remember working all those hours and barely being able to have time to breathe. But working through those months has made me a much better person…I’m better at my job, and I’m living proof that stress does not kill a baby.

So last year I went through this time with a new baby. I was so worried that I would be working like crazy again and never be home. But that wasn’t the case…I got through those months with flying colors and worked barely any overtime…just a few hours here and there at home. It was amazing how much I had learned in that year…it made the 10-K such an easier process!

And this year is following the same path. I keep questioning myself because things are going so smoothly. I have been able to go to the gym a few nights a week, and I am seeing and playing with the kids just as much as normal. My work-life balance is amazing!

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the month of February works out to be just as “easy” as January has been. We file at the end of February, and after that it’s time for spring to get here and for new projects and adventures. And I’m truly thankful for that “hell” year that I had to go through…the discipline it taught me and knowing that I got through the work by myself has given me the confidence I have needed to do my job over the last two years.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekend Recap...

This past weekend was a ton of fun! Friday night started with our house church, but it was a special house church because I was picked to participate in a Digiorno House Party, which meant I got a bunch of free pizzas, beads for everyone to wear, a pot holder, a pizza cutter, and a bunch of great coupons to give out to everyone. The pizza was awesome and I had a lot of fun participating in a House Party.

Saturday started off with some cleaning up, and then I went to the gym for the first time in about 2 months. After that, John and Josh headed down to an OU basketball game, and my dad took Kylie to gymnastics for me so that I didn’t have to worry about trying to entertain Ryan while watching her. It was great because that’s around Ryan’s nap time, so he went to sleep, and I was able to clean up my scrap room and finally get everything put away from my scrap weekend. My sister was coming over to work on wedding invitations, so I knew I wanted it to be all cleaned up.

Around 2:00 my sister came over and we went to work…my parents watched Ryan for me so that I didn’t have to worry about him getting into stuff :) We worked for about 3 hours and finally came up with two gorgeous options, just a little different from each other. Thankfully, my sister had come over with a catalog of professional invitations, so she picked her favorite and we copied it. And I have to say, ours looked almost identical to the professional one! We just added a couple of “extras” to ours. She was going to take both options home and see which one Big Josh liked (we just couldn’t decide which one we liked better).

After that we headed over to the mall to eat dinner and look at some flower girl dresses. We were going to Cantina Laredo, and the wait was about an hour, so we went to look at dresses. Unfortunately, Kylie wore shoes she had never worn before, and by the time we got to the dress store, she had a gigantic blister on her foot. I knew I couldn’t carry her the whole way back, so we bought her some new shoes (ugghhh! $68 I was not planning on spending! But they had a BOGO ½ off deal, so I couldn’t pass it up).

Dinner was absolutely wonderful! The food was so good! After that we were all beat, so we headed home to bed.

Sunday, after church, we just stayed home and played. It was rainy and yucky outside (which stunk because it was supposed to be 55 degrees, which of course feels like summer to us). Kylie’s best friend came over, and we all just hung out. That night, after the kids were ready for bed, we all played the new Super Mario Brothers game on the Wii. I’m not a video game person – I never had a system growing up, but I definitely have fun with this game because we all play together, and if one dies (usually me), the others can bring you back to life. The funny thing is that Ryan is obsessed with the Wii. He walks around with a remote every time he is in the playroom, and he will walk over to the TV, point at it, and say “iiiii” emphatically (he just doesn’t have the “w” down yet :) ). He turns on the TV if you’re not paying attention to him, because he wants to watch someone play Wii. And don’t even try to take his remote away from him! He knows which remote he likes (some of them are rechargeable, and he doesn’t like the backing on those, and he remembers if the one he is holding has the string or not). He will scream and cry if you take his remote away – scream like he is hurt.

And then last night was a packed night as I took the kids to the mall and got Ryan new shoes. Last evening was a perfect example of one of the many reasons I love having a nanny. The mall is on my way home from work, so I would have had to go home, load the kids up, and head back out. But instead, I just asked Jen to meet me at the mall with the kids (it’s also on her way home). So I saved myself a good 45 minutes, and was able to run in and get Ryan’s shoes, and then John met us at the gym and we got to work out, and then he took the kids home for baths while I ran to the grocery store really quickly. We ate a quick dinner when I got home, and then Kylie and I started reading a really great book…The Magic School Bus and the Senses, I think it’s called. Anyway, it’s a really good book about senses and how our eyes work. In 20 minutes we only got about 1/3 of the way through it (and I was the one reading!). We were trying all of the “eye” experiments and having a lot of fun.

Then Kylie went up to bed, and Josh and Ryan and I went downstairs to play some Wii. First Super Mario Brothers, and then some tennis. Then Josh and John watched the basketball game and Ryan went to bed.

It really was a wonderfully Monday night, even though it was so busy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dinner, With a "Hockey Game" On The Side...

So last night we ventured out for the second night in a row for dinner. We don’t eat out much anymore, mostly to save money, but also because it really is hard with Ryan. He is not happy sitting in a high chair and not having his food immediately (like he does at home). But the kids were all in great moods, and we didn’t feel like making dinner or cleaning up, so we headed to Olive Garden because Kylie and Josh love that place.

They gave us a huge table in the corner, which was awesome because Ryan had his own little “area.” And Ryan did great! We were constantly trying to entertain him – John played with him while I took turns playing tic-tac-toe with Kylie and Josh. Joshie is getting really good at playing that now!

Our food was really good and I was so happy when we left…a little exhausted from entertaining Ryan, but happy. After that we went and picked up my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding that has been in for a while, and then we headed home.

Once home, the kids got ready for bed, played a little, and Kylie and Ryan went to sleep. John and I were supposed to plan out our Friday house church, but after he was done reading his chapter, he suggested we watch “our show” (The Mentalist), and do our house church thing another time. So we left Joshie down playing his hockey game, and we watched our show. About half-way through the show Joshie came up with a sad look on his face and said “I thought you were going to come to my hockey game.” I told him that mommy and daddy were watching TV. He then said “well here’s a ticket in case you want to come.” He handed me one of his homemade tickets that said “CBJ vs. Nashville Predators 8:00.” I told him that we would come down as soon as our show was over.

When the show ended, John and I went downstairs to watch the last 6 minutes of his hockey game. There were a couple of minutes that we watched nothing because he put himself in the penalty box for a 2:00 penalty. After that was over, he went back to playing the game, and CBJ beat Nashville 10 to 4 with a last second goal by Klessler. I am always amazed at how his games are so real. He shoots goals and then quickly runs and blocks them, he has fights and puts himself in the penalty box and he shoots penalty shots against chicken Elmo (the goalie during his penalty shots).

After his game was over, John pulled out one of the programs and asked him player numbers. My amazing son knew just about all of the CBJ players’ numbers. How does he know that? He’s just such an amazing kid! And I love having these times where we can spend some time with just him, because I know it’s easy for the middle child to “get lost in the shuffle of life.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Staying Connected...

I have learned, over the past few months, how so very easy it is for couples to drift apart when they have kids. Beginning with pre-marital counseling, and in every marriage conference we’ve ever been to, we have been warned about going through life and waking up one day when the kids are gone and not recognizing who is in bed with you. Both John and I both knew that was not what we wanted, and that we were going to do everything we could to make sure that didn’t happen.

But let me tell you…it’s HARD! For the past few months I feel like John and I haven’t had much time together. I feel like we’re missing a connection. We’ve tried talking about it, but unfortunately, there’s no easy fix. Our days and nights are in such a busy routine, and we’re not sure how to deviate from it.

On a normal day we’ll get home from work, eat dinner, play with the kids, do homework, Kylie and Ryan go to bed, John and Josh sit on the couch to watch sports, I go up to my room to watch TV, and we all fall asleep. So obviously our first try was to *try* to get Josh to bed, and then John and I can watch TV. But the problem was we were so tired, we would just fall asleep. It’s not that we are running around all over the place and need to slow down really, it’s just trying to figure out something for us to do. In the summer it’s easy…we’re all outside the whole night, and the kids are usually off playing with their friends, so John and I can sit and talk, or work on something together. But being inside is hard…there’s not a whole lot to do.

And it would be so easy for us to just continue living life the way it is…nothing is wrong. But, I know that if we continued down this path, we would wake up one day not really knowing who each other is, and that would suck.

So John and I decided that we need to come up with an activity for us to do. We both really look forward to Wednesday nights when we get together and plan what we’re going to talk about at house church on Friday. So at least we’ll have that tonight. But tomorrow night, or this weekend, we’re going to brainstorm some things for us to do together on another night. Some ideas that we had were: I have my wine kit that John got me for Christmas a few years ago that has never been opened, so we’d like to make some wine; work on some house projects together…there are some corners in the basement that REALLY need organized, and even though it’s work, I really have fun doing projects like that with John; or maybe start a Bible study together.

If anyone out there has any other suggestions of what we could do together for an hour each night, I would really appreciate the input! I just want us to live our lives like we’re in love and have fun with each other, not like we’re roommates!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 @ CBJ Game, 4 @ Home...

Last night, the two oldest boys of the house headed out to a CBJ game. They both looked adorable in their CBJ jerseys :)

Kylie’s BFF Isabella was spending the night (there’s a teacher in-service day today), so they played a lot while Ryan and I played. I had so much fun watching him jump from one thing to the other in the basement…first we put up the bowling pins and then knocked them down, and then we played cars and trains, and then I pushed him around on the tricycle. While the kids were eating dinner, I made a batch of cookies, which I haven’t done in a while and tasted so good!

I gave Ryan a bath, and the girls came in and sat on the outside of the tub and played with him. He loved the attention, and the girls liked playing with all of the bath toys without actually taking a bath.

Then I put Ryan to bed, and the girls watch Home Alone 2 while I started reading our waffles and spaghetti book (for house church). John and Josh came home around 10:00, and for some reason, Joshie fell asleep in our bed…not quite sure how that happened.

It was a good night that seemed to last a long time. But it will be nice to get back to our normal routine since Ky will be back in school tomorrow…I think she and Isabella need a break from each other…they have spent 2 of the last 3 nights together, and all day yesterday and maybe today. Now I know why my parents would say I needed breaks from my friends!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Scrapbooking Weekend Recap...

What a weekend!

Thursday night I went to learn about making wedding invitations with my mom, sister, and her fiancé. I was worried about getting home late and not being able to see the kids, because the next day I would be going away for my scrap weekend, and since I leave right from work, I would see them until Sunday. I ended up getting home around 9:00, and I was able to give Joshie a kiss while he was walking over to my dad’s house to go to bed. I was able to spend a few minutes with Kylie before she went to sleep. But unfortunately, Ryan was already asleep, so I didn’t get to spend any time with him :(

But fortunately (only in this one time case though), Ryan woke up around 12:00 and was up for a couple hours. I brought him into bed with me and snuggled for a little bit, and then he started talking to me :) I made myself put him back to bed so that I could get some sleep, but I was so happy to have been able to see him before my long weekend away!

Friday evening I left work and headed straight to a city that’s about 45 minutes away. All of my friends were already there, so I quickly set my stuff up and got to work. There were a little over 50 people at this crop, but the room is set up so nicely that we all have plenty of space (each person has a gigantic table all to themselves), and there is lots of room between the tables.

After a little bit we headed to our favorite restaurant and had a fantastic dinner. After dinner we came back and scrapped until around midnight. There were 4 of us sharing a room, but none of us like to share a bed, so we had two air mattresses set up. The problem we had this year was that two of us are always cold, and the other two are always hot. So Friday night I didn’t get hardly any sleep because I was freezing! I had socks on and my robe the whole night and I was still shivering!

We got up the next morning around 7:30 and went down to breakfast. Then we scrapped until around 1:30 and then headed out for some scrapbook store shopping and a late lunch/early dinner at another favorite restaurant. After we ate, we came back and got back to work.

Around 10:00 we stopped and ate some pizza, and then scrapped until about midnight again. I slept a little better because the room was warmer (the other two girls were dying because it was scorching to them!). I got up around 8:30 on Sunday and went down for breakfast and more scrapping. We stopped for lunch around 2:00 and then I wrapped up what I was working on and headed home. I ended up getting 4 pages of Kylie done, 4 pages of Ryan done, and 5 pages of Joshie done.

I got home at 4:30 and played with the kids. It was so amazing how with two nights of not-so-great sleep, I still had a ton of energy to play with the kiddos. My mom made us a wonderful dinner, and right after that Kylie went over to her BFF’s for a sleepover (since there’s no school today). Ryan and Joshie and Pappaw and I went down and played hockey in the playroom – Ryan was so cute because he had his hockey stick and was trying to play standing up, which is a new thing for him!
My dad had to go home, so we said “good-bye” to him, and then I gave Ryan a bath. We played a little more, and then he went to bed, while John, Josh and I curled up on the couch to watch Polar Express. I showed John the three kids’ scrapbooks, and then he fell asleep watching the movie.

It was a fabulous weekend! I got a lot of work done, and still had a good evening with my family to end it all. Now it’s time to plan my annual scrapbooking weekend at my house in the spring :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Time Is Flying By...

I know it’s redundant, but yet again, days are passing me by and I can’t slow down. I can’t believe two days have passed since my last post…where did they go?

Tuesday night John had a church dinner to go to, so I was home with the kids myself. Normally that would make the night fly by, but actually, the night was long…a good long. I just heated leftovers for dinner, which helped because I didn’t spend a ton of time cooking. But the kids are done with leftovers…after dinner they asked “we can we be done eating this stuff?” :)

We played a lot that night…the kids were all fantastic, and we were even able to get in 20 minutes of reading for Kylie. Josh didn’t take a nap that day, so at 9:00 I had all of the kids in bed and was ready to relax when John came home. This brought out our feisty little four year-old who didn’t end up going to sleep until 11:00! So obviously the no-nap thing did not work.

Last night was pretty much the same, only John was there and Kylie was playing at her best friend’s house. After dinner John and Josh picked Kylie up while I gave Ryan a bath. Then we played in the playroom where Josh, Kylie and I tried to play Chutes and Ladders, but Ryan wanted to play, so we tried to let him play, but then he just wanted the pieces…you know why? Because we were playing the Sesame Street Chutes and Ladders, and Ryan wanted “bi bir” (Big Bird), “cookie” (Cookie Monster), and “Emo” (Elmo). So our pieces kept coming off the game board and we couldn’t remember where they were supposed to go. Kylie and I then read (she’s reading both American Girl books “Meet Kit” and “Meet Molly.”

Tonight after work I’m heading to Archiver’s with my sister, my mom, and my sister’s fiancé to learn about making your own wedding invitations. We’ll have a quick dinner first and then head over there – it will be a lot of fun…I hope! I’m a little intimidated about making wedding invitations, but I can handle it, right?

Then this weekend is my semi-annual scrap weekend. While I will definitely miss the family, I’m really looking forward to getting away with my friends and getting some scrapbooking done! The only downside is that being away will cause me to be behind on some things at home (i.e. laundry), which will be a little hectic to catch up on when I get back. I’m also a little worried about John…don’t get me wrong, he’s an amazing father and can handle anything, but with Ryan’s latest attachment to him and not letting him put him down, it can be exhausting! My parents will be around though, so hopefully they can help him out and give him some breaks (not that he would ever admit to needing them…I just know that I get exhausted and I have a little more tolerance and patience than he does).

So that’s what’s going on in my life…I’m trying super hard to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the moment, but sometimes the moment has passed me by before I remember to do that!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trying to Calm the Stress...

Life seems to be so busy, and I hate it. I don’t think it’s actually any busier, but I have more stress right now, which makes it feel busier, I think.

I’m in my busy time at work. From now until the end of February I will be busy and stressed and working more. Ryan is going through a phase right now where all he wants is “dadda.” He wants dadda to carry him…all the time. I can usually play with him and distract him, but you can tell the minute he remembers – “DADDA!”

Last night was a good night to relax…we had a great family dinner and then I scrapbooked with Kylie (translation: I helped her make some paper dolls), while John played with Josh and Ryan in the playroom. Around 8:00 I told Kylie to go and read, so she sat and read her book to John while I went down in the playroom with the boys. Josh had a hockey game going on and Ryan and I played a little before I could tell he was super tired and took him up to bed.

Kylie did some math on her DS, and finally at 9:00 I made her go up to bed. John and I were both tired, but we have no idea why. So we watched some TV while Joshie continued with his hockey game. We have the problem that Josh still needs a nap during the day, but when he takes one, he is up super late (he’s laid in bed for 1 ½ hours before because he just can’t fall asleep). So finally at 10:00 I had him come up and watch TV with me, and then at 10:30 I turned the TV off and we both fell asleep. Today I told Jen that he should not take a nap, and we’ll put him to bed with Kylie. We’ll see how that goes :)

This weekend I’m going away with some friends to scrapbook and relax. I really hope that I’m able to catch up on some sleep and just chill. I’m really looking forward to getting away and scrapbooking!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Recap...

What a relaxing weekend!

Friday night we had house church. It had been a while since we had gotten together due to Christmas, New Year’s and people being sick. It was great to talk to everyone!

Saturday morning I had a hair appointment at 7:15 AM. While it was really early, it was nice to be out and about so early…it made the day feel really long. Afterwards we put the Christmas stuff away, and then took everyone to the mall to play. Kylie had her best friend spend the night, so my dad watched them and Joshie play while John and I went to pick up some things that had come in (I finally got my knife block John had given me for Christmas and I got my jeans that I had altered). After we got home from the mall, Joshie, Ryan and I took a nap!

After our naps I made homemade spaghetti and meatballs. I had already made the pasta, so that was in the freezer, but I made the sauce and meatballs for the first time, and they turned out awesome! After dinner my dad and I played down in the playroom with all of the kids…it was chaotic and crazy, but a ton of fun! Then my dad took Joshie over to his house for bed, and I set the girls up with a movie. I went up and cleaned up my scraproom and filled one of those collage picture frames full of recent pictures of the kiddos. It was a lot of work, but it feels so good to have it done!

Sunday we got up and went to church, and then Kylie and I went grocery shopping. She was a huge help (besides all of her “mommy we really need this” shouts). After that we ate lunch and played for a while. Then I took a tiny nap, which was really needed :) After that it was dinner time, homework time, and then we had “Sunday Sundae Night.” Kylie and I had gotten some special ice cream, so the kids made their own sundaes, and we ate them while watching “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” which I had never seen before. We had a really good time hanging out as a family!

Then Kylie and Ryan went to bed, John and Josh watched the rest of the CBJ game, and I organized some more scrapbooking stuff. I’m going away this weekend to scrap, so I’m trying to get all of my stuff packed up early!

It was a really nice and relaxing weekend…but of course it went by way too fast :)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted. That’s horrible! But I have been super busy, and relaxing, and having family time, and super busy :)

I was able to be out of work from December 23rd all the way until January 4th. I usually try to take a bunch of time off around Christmas, and this year has by far been the most fun and most relaxing.

The Wednesday before Christmas I finished up some Christmas present projects and wrapping. While the house was being cleaned I was able to hang out with the kids down in the playroom and we watched movies, ate snacks and played. The day ended with Kylie going to her best friend’s birthday party and spending the night, and my dad, John, Josh, Ryan and I heading out to Skyline for dinner (the boys’ favorite place) and to the mall for some last minute gifts.

Christmas Eve was super nice too…I ran out to finish some last-minute errands, picked Kylie up, and then went home to make cookies. Kylie, Josh and I made cookies. We decorated sugar cookies (luckily I had already made the dough a couple of days beforehand) because those are the cookies they wanted to leave for Santa. I also got our traditional Christmas Eve dinner started (prime rib, mashed potatoes, corn casserole and green beans). John’s parents stopped by for a little bit, my sister arrived from Michigan, and the kids were tracking Santa’s progress on the computer. We had a late dinner, and then the kids opened some presents. John and I gave the kids PJs, my parents gave Kylie her American Girl doll, and Joshie got a racquetball racquet and some hockey books. We read The Christmas Story to the kids, and then they set up the cookies, put some reindeer food and carrots outside, and headed up to bed. My mom and sister went to church – our church does not have Christmas Eve services, but my sister really wanted to go, so they headed out to an 11:00 service. Then John and I got everything cleaned up and then opened each other’s presents. I got John a food dehydrator and jerky gun because he loves beef jerky, but always complains about how expensive it is, along with some jeans, cologne and an OSU headband thing for the cold. Johnny did not disappoint me at all…he got me two more of my awesome knives along with a knife block to hold them.

Christmas morning started at a great time! The kids woke up around 8:30, and we all made our way down to the tree. My other sister and her fiancé headed over, and my parents came over right away too. The first present the kids got were their DSis. They played with them for a long time before asking to open another present. Those were, and still are, the best presents Santa gave them! The kids opened the rest of their presents…Kylie got some cute clothes and earrings, along with some great clothes for her American Girl doll, Chixos, an American Girl movie, and Santa brought her and I the new paperdolls Cricut cartridge :) Joshie got a football, basketball hoop for the playroom, hockey sticks, another hockey goal and a Brown’s jersey. Ryan got a Sesame Street music player and then was done with presents :) But my parents got him one of the best gifts of all…a Little Tykes car (like the Cozy Coup) that is a black truck, which looks exactly like the truck my dad drives! We call it “Pappaw’s truck” and we call him “Little Pappaw” when he’s driving it. He loves pushing it, and getting in and out of it.

My parents gave out their presents, and as usual, went over the top. They got me a cute little dip chiller, some little kitchen gadgets, some workout clothes, and best of all, they got me a Gypsy. I hadn’t even put this on my list because it’s pricy, and I only made jokes to John about getting me one because I secretly hoped maybe he would. I was absolutely shocked. I was and am still so very grateful…they didn’t need to do that and I don’t deserve it at all. For John they got him a measuring tape, other miscellaneous stuff, and best of all a CBJ jersey. The family has really turned into huge hockey fans :) My sisters got me some clothes, a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret, a huge crockpot/buffet thing to cook and keep food warm (3 crockpots!) and a Cricut cartridge.

After we were done opening presents we had brunch and most of the family took naps. I started making food to take over for John’s family’s Christmas and just enjoyed the peace and quiet.

Once the kids woke up we loaded them up and headed over to John’s sister’s house. We opened a ton more presents – Kylie got adorable clothes, a Pandora bracelet, a doll and some doll shoes, and Joshie got some great CBJ stuff – a rug (which he uses for face-offs when he’s playing hockey) and an adorable print of a CBJ locker room with jerseys hanging up, and one of them has our last name on the back. He also got a new OSU jersey, which he desperately needed! Ryan got a ton of clothes, and a shopping cart and train to ride on/play with. John drew my name in our gift exchange and got me a new lens for the camera, which was an awesome surprise! I also got some new Cricut cartridges and a gift certificate to Michael’s from John’s parents, which I loved! After we opened presents we ate a wonderful dinner and just hung out.

Christmas night we went home and put our tired kids to bed while John and I just watched TV. I couldn’t believe the day had gone by so fast!

The next couple of days were spent cleaning up the Christmas messes and playing with new toys. Over the weekend we spent a lot of time with family – my sister from Michigan was staying with us, and my parents came over every day. We had great meals and just overall had a ton of fun! The big thing that really started happening was that Ryan started walking! He still crawls a lot, but he also walks, and will voluntarily walk to something, whereas before he had to be coaxed.

On Monday, John went back to work, and my parents and sister and I took the kids to the mall. My parents watched them while they played in the play area, and my sister and I took Ryan and went shopping. I had to exchange the jeans she had gotten me, so we went in and tried some other clothes on and just had a really great time. I don’t get to go shopping very often anymore, so it was a really nice treat…even if little Ry-Ry was a pistol at the end!

Tuesday was filled with Ryan’s well-check appointment, H1N1 shots (really mists) for Kylie and Josh, a trip to Hobby Lobby, grocery shopping, drawing on windows, and a dentist appointment for me. We followed it up with another great dinner. After dinner, my sister and I made homemade pasta! My neighbor had shown me how to use my pasta machine, and it was so easy and the spaghetti turned out so good!

Wednesday John stayed home from work and my sister and I went bridesmaid dress shopping with my other sister and the other bridesmaids. We found a dress that we could all agree on at the second store, so we ended our trip with appetizers and margaritas. That night my sister watched Kylie and Josh so that John and I could run some errands. Even though it was cold, it was so pretty out because it had been snowing, and John and I had a lot of fun hanging out with just Ryan.

On New Year’s Eve loaded up all of our donations and took those over, and then went grocery shopping (bad idea on New Year’s Eve!). I went home and made some food because we were having some friends over. Our New Year’s Eve was very mellow, but a lot of fun. The kids all loved playing together, and were going strong until almost 2:00 AM!

New Year’s Day was full of football and naps. My mom made us a wonderful dinner, and my sister and Big Josh came over for the Buckeye game (go Bucks!). After dinner we played some Euchre, and then my sister’s and I relived our childhood and played some games of Speed.

The weekend was spent trying to wrap up last-minute things that needed to get done before the normal routine set back in. Saturday my sister and I watched some reality TV while making awesome sweet potato chips, and then she and my dad headed home, which was really sad. They were both here for 1 ½ weeks and it just flew by. We had church on Sunday at a new/old place (it’s where our church first started meeting, and now we’re back there), which was great for us because the kids’ rooms were fantastic! We spent the rest of Sunday just lounging around and relaxing.

The entire vacation was so amazing, and I really can’t figure out how it went by so fast. I had so much fun being with the kids all day and I felt so relaxed all the time (well, after Christmas was over anyway :) ). John and I are planning on taking some extended time off in the spring or summer and just staying home. While we love vacations, it will be very difficult to travel this year with Ryan and the stage that he is at, so a vacation can be more work than relaxing. Staying home and just being “lazy” might be exactly what we need…it sure did feel good over Christmas!