Friday, March 19, 2010

Plans For The Weekend...

The last part of this week has been absolutely gorgeous! I have gone out for lunch (not really to eat, just to run errands) and it has been sunny and beautiful, and then when I get home from work, I run inside and change my clothes as fast as possible and head back outside until we’re all so hungry we have to go in to eat.

Last night our fantastic Bobcats played their hearts out and upset Georgetown, beating them 97 – 83. I am a die-hard Bobcat fan…we obviously have a huge history with that school, but I was expecting them to follow their normal path…get so close and blow it. I’m so glad that they didn’t, and now there are rumors about a possible Bobcat/Buckeye meeting…that would be a hard game to watch!

I’m only working a ½ day today…it’s going to be so gorgeous that I can’t stay inside another afternoon! John and I are also taking some time off next week since it’s spring break. We’re having a hard time with the fact that last year at this time we were in Florida, but I just can’t imagine traveling with Ryan, so while I miss the beach, I don’t miss the headache of trying to occupy an 18 month-old on a plane for hours :)

Tonight we have house church (yeah!), followed by the Buckeye game which will keep us up late and on the edge of our seats I’m sure. Tomorrow I have a brunch with some girls from church (we make omelets in a ziplock bag?), and then it’s going to be another gorgeous day, so I hope to spend the afternoon outside!

Sunday is John’s birthday! He hasn’t really told me what he wants to do yet, and I feel bad for him because it’s just us…everyone from our family is gone :( But I’ll cook him whatever he wants to eat, make him a cake, and we’ll give him his presents. No matter what, nothing can compare to spending his birthday at Disney like we did last year :(

Hopefully it will be a great weekend and we’ll get to enjoy the gorgeous weather as much as possible!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring is Coming!

Good-bye winter!

The last few days have been wonderful. Partly because it’s still light out at 7:30, and partly because we have had some warm weather.

Monday night John took Josh to their last CBJ game this season. They went early so they could watch them practice, at which, one of the players threw Joshie a practice puck! Actually, he threw it over to John who gave it to Joshie. It says “Official NHL Practice Puck” on it and Josh was so excited!

While they were at the game, Kylie and I ran to the store while my mom was with Ryan, who was taking a really late nap. I had a lot of fun going with just Kylie! What surprised me was that she wanted to ride in the racecar cart. I thought she’d be so embarrassed, but she wasn’t, and I certainly didn’t want to say anything to her, so off we went.

When we got home, she wanted to make us dinner. A long time ago she saw a “recipe” for a meal in her kids’ cookbook, and ever since then it’s been her signature dish. So she got out all the ingredients and made her peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwiches for everyone. Basically, she uses a hot dog bun, spreads peanut butter and jelly on each side, and then puts the banana in like a hot dog. For Ryan, we just spread peanut butter and jelly on a banana and cut it up for him. I was fully prepared to give him a bath right after dinner since it would be a messy, sticky dinner, but he refused to eat it with his hands! He made me give him a fork and he was almost perfectly clean after dinner – no bath needed! Granted, I had to help him get almost every piece on the fork, but after that he was fine.

After dinner, my mom, Kylie, Ryan and I went downstairs. Ryan wanted to go down in the basement because that’s where the trains are, and Kylie wanted to play in the playroom (her mat and beam were there and she wanted to do gymnastics). So I stood by the door watching Ryan, and helped Kylie with her back handsprings. She’s pretty much got them by herself, I’m so proud of her! Then Ryan came up and we all played on the mat and wrestled and chased each other. Ryan found one of Joshie’s old ambulances that makes the siren noise and then goes by itself and he was in heaven!

Then Kylie went up to bed, I put Ryan to bed, and my mom went home. I made myself some dessert and settled on the couch to watch one of my favorite shows (Being Erica) that I’m of course, way behind on (thank goodness for DVR – so cliché but it’s true). I heard the ambulance noises through the monitor, so I knew that Ryan was playing for a while before falling asleep. John and Josh got home around 10:00 and the three of us watched some TV together and ate some snacks. I left them and went upstairs to bed around 11:00.

Last night it was gorgeous out! I got home and the kids were all playing on the swingset. I changed my clothes quickly and headed out. I took Ryan on the trampoline for the first time and he loved it! It took him a while to figure out how to walk, and he really didn’t want me to hold him and jump…he just wanted to walk around. After that we all headed up to the front yard and I took turns playing tennis with each kid out in the court. Even Ryan! Although he was playing golf/hockey with his racket and ball. Our neighbors came out when they got home and the kids all played together while we talked. I can’t wait for summer…this is a nightly occurrence in the summer, and there’s no worry about it getting chilly like it eventually did last night. And I wouldn’t have to worry about going in and making dinner because we would be grilling out!

The rest of the night was spent eating dinner, talking to Kylie, playing with the boys, and then bedtime. After the Cavs game, Joshie came up and laid with me in bed. It’s so sad to think that these precious times will be ending soon. This summer Kylie won’t have a reason to have to go to bed early, and then next year Joshie will have to go to bed early since he’ll be in school. So I’m treasuring this special alone time John and I get with him each night.

Today is supposed to be even nicer than yesterday, so I’m sure that after work we will be playing outside again and enjoying the gorgeous sunshine!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Relaxing Weekend...

This past weekend was so relaxing!

Friday night was house church, which as always was a lot of fun. That night my dad had all three kids spend the night. I think he’s crazy, but he swears he loves it.

Even without my little alarm clocks, I still woke up at 7:15 on Saturday, which stunk because I really wanted to sleep in. I was able to get a bunch of laundry done and most of our tax return done before heading out with my neighbor to a local farm market. John was supposed to go with me, but as sly as he could, suggested that I ask my neighbor if she would like to go instead, so that he and my neighbor’s husband and all the kids watch basketball. It was a great drive to the country and once we were there we had a great time getting a ton of great deals on lunch meats and cheeses, spices and tons of other cool things.

I came up with the great idea of grabbing a bunch of different things and having the kids make their own trail mix. So I grabbed a bag of min-marshmallows (like the size in hot chocolate but soft!), mini chocolate chips, mini butterscotch chips, mini m&m’s, honey roasted sesame sticks, dried bananas, oyster crackers, and ABC pretzels.

Once we got home we hung out the rest of the day while the guys watched basketball. The kids all played wonderfully in the playroom together! Around dinnertime we decided to order pizza and watch the end of the OU game. Our neighbors went home after that, and my dad took the kids over to his house again (without Kylie because her best friend had come over to spend the night). My sister called me and I ended up talking to her for almost 2 hours!

Sunday we got up and went to church. John and I were teaching and had a blast with the kids! It’s amazing how easy it can be to get away from what you love when you’re in charge of something. John and I spend a lot of time organizing the two kids’ rooms and making sure we get all the kids checked in, etc., and often we forget how much we love being in the room with the kids. We love teaching them and singing songs with them and playing games with them. And most importantly, we love knowing them. Thankfully, with house church (a large amount of the kids in our Sunday school room also come to our house church), and our personalities, we know these kids super well, and they mean a lot to us!

We came home from church and I made “gourmet” grilled cheese with the meat and cheese I had gotten the day before, and then we sent the kids up for naps. Just as we were settling on the couch to watch some TV, each kid came out of their room. First Ryan woke up from his nap, and then Kylie came out saying she couldn’t fall asleep, and then Joshie came out saying the same thing. So we nixed the naps and played. I did get a tiny little nap on the couch for a little bit, which was just enough to give me the energy needed to play with all the kiddos. My dad was over off and on, and then towards the end of the afternoon my mom came over too. After dinner the kids took showers and then Kylie’s hair salon opened. She brushed and colored my hair and I was in heaven! She finished my hair off with a braid – she’s really getting good at them! Then she went down and did my mom’s hair.

After that we packed up the kids and they headed over with my mom. She switched her days watching them and is watching them on Monday this week instead of Friday. So John and I were able to watch some TV together, which was the perfect ending to our wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Recap of A Wonderful Weekend!

What a FABULOUS weekend!

Friday night started with house church. It was already scheduled to be game night, so when I was selected to host a house party for Arnold Sandwich Thins, I decided to incorporate it all in together.

Everyone brought some meat and cheese and some other snacks. We all made sandwiches and ate dinner. The sandwich thins were really, really good! After that the Wii was brought out and a bunch of people played that while the rest of us hung out and talked. It seemed like the night was winding down, but then Catch Phrase was brought out and we played girls against guys and had a ton of fun! We were laughing so hard we cried!

After everyone left we cleaned up the house and packed up our stuff because early the next morning John and I were headed to the slopes! The kids all spent the night with my mom so that we could leave early and not worry about getting them over there and saying “good-bye” in the morning. John and I didn’t get to bed until about 1:00 AM, and we had originally planned on leaving by 7:00. We decided that was still the best plan, and while it was hard getting up, I’m so glad we got out of there early!

We ended up leaving the house around 7:30 AM, and we had a wonderful 2 hour drive up to Akron/Cleveland. We talked the whole time and the drive went by very quickly! We went to the hotel first because they had our lift tickets. We walked into the hotel and it was old and just didn’t look very nice. Then we saw a sign on the desk that said “hot tub closed for maintenance until further notice.” We decided right then that we were cancelling our reservation and finding somewhere else! When we were cancelling it, the lady asked us why, and we told her because the hot tub was broken and we knew after a day of skiing that we would want a hot tub! Her response? “But that’s the only thing that’s broken.” What??? What else would there be? Anyway, we cancelled and moved on!

As we drove to the ski place, we drove through a little town that I had driven through millions of times when I was little. I had grown up (age 9 through age 16) in a town between Cleveland and Akron that was about 10 – 15 minutes away from the ski place, so as we drove through this area, I was bombarding John with all of my memories :) I showed him the road that my dad had me drive on when I was only 14, I showed him a restaurant that we loved to go to after gymnastics sometimes, and of course there was the library that we went to all the time to rent movies. The trip down memory lane was awesome!

We got to the ski place and went and bought our tickets and registered for ski school. This process was interesting…I’m not used to doing something when both of us have no idea what’s going on. I remember skiing when I was little, and we had my uncle and his family who skied all the time, telling us how to do things. This was the blind leading the blind! Thankfully someone lent us skis for me, so we only had to rent John’s. We figured out how to get everything on and headed out for ski school.
We were a little late, and when we got there, it was John and I, and three little kids :) But our instructor was great and we had a lot of fun! Skiing really came back to me, and John caught on really quickly! By the end of school, we only had to go down the bunny hill one more time and then we were ready to move up!

We found a hill (blue) that was a little harder and more fun! It took us a while to gain confidence, but after a few runs, we were flying down the hill! There was a little boy in our class at ski school on that hill with his dad…he was doing so well, and we would learn throughout the day that all of us would be progressing through the hills around the same time.

Around lunch time, we decided to head to the lodge and grab some food. At the top of the hill, we saw our instructor and another teacher and chatted with them for a while. They gave us some more pointers, and led us back to the lodge. At the lodge we had a great lunch and I called the kids for the first time. I talked to Josh and Ryan, and they were both having a lot of fun. Josh was following my dad on a map as he was making his way up from Athens. Kylie had gone ice skating with a friend.

After lunch we headed back to that same hill (because John was afraid he had forgotten how to do it), and after one run, we realized we were ready to move on. We headed to the complete opposite side of the mountain and found a hill that had some jumps on it! It also had a straight, flat part, so we started on that and gradually started going on the jump hills – slowly at first and gaining confidence each time, until finally, we were getting some air!

The last 4 runs or so were very frustrating for me…there were little kids (I mean little – around age 4 or 5) going down this hill, and they were not going very fast. The hill was narrow, so it was super hard to pass them, and I spent the whole time going down the hill worried about hitting them and not being able to hit the jumps because they were in the way. Their parents were right there with them and really didn’t care that they were holding people up. The last time I told John and I was done and was too frustrated to keep skiing. So we went up one last time so that we could take a different route and ski easily back to the lodge. On our way up we saw our little friend from ski school skiing down the hill with his dad. His dad was in front and about halfway down the hill, the kid fell. He was fine, but his skis came off and his dad had no idea until he was at the bottom of the hill. The kid was able to move off to the side, and John and I skied down as fast as we could to help him out. We stopped and helped him get his skis back on, and then the three of us skied down to his dad. John and I decided we were tired and ready to go home (we had skied from 10:30 – 3:30!). The kid’s dad was really thankful and it felt so good ending the day with helping him out. It’s so obvious how much John and I enjoy kids – other than being frustrated with them slowing me down on the hill, we have such patience and love for all kids!

We packed everything up and left the slopes not knowing exactly where we were going. We decided to heat back to the town I grew up in so that I could show John around and see if we could find a place to sit and look up hotel rooms online. I showed John the McDonald’s that my sisters and I used to ride our bikes to everyday in the summer to get chicken nuggets to eat while we watched Days of Our Lives. I showed John my old house, and the woods I used to play in and the lake I swam in everyday. I had so much fun remembering all of the good times I had had as a kid in that little town.

We found a Panera and got a drink and looked up hotels. My mom had reminded me about a place that was in Akron that had lots of little shops and had a hotel attached. I loved that place so I was excited to see the prices were reasonable. We headed over there and went in to check on a room. They informed us that there were no King rooms left, only double beds, and the hot tub was broken. We decided to keep looking.

We decided to stay at a hotel that my family had stayed at when they came to visit us when we were younger. We checked in and immediately went to the hot tub! We had the whole pool room to ourselves for a while, and it was so nice to relax our sore muscles! As we were getting out, a large number of kids came in to the pool area and ended up getting in the hot tub. I was glad we were leaving!

Our room was a gorgeous suite with a king size bed in its own bedroom, and a pull-out couch and desk and TV in another room. We showered and got ready for dinner, and sat and watched some TV.

We decided to go to dinner at the hotel restaurant that overlooked the river. We had a table right by the windows and the ambiance was perfect! The food was amazing…we had the best lobster bisque that we have ever had!

Then we went and crashed! The early start to the day along with the skiing had finally hit us!

I slept in until about 9:30, which of course is unheard of for me! I got up, and John and I watched some super cheesy movies on TV, and then we headed out for lunch and our trip home. I called Kylie and updated her as we passed major intersections so she could follow us home on a map (Dad’s idea of course and a really good one!). We ended up getting home around 2:30.

When we got home the kids were so happy to see us! I could tell my parents looked a little worn out (though they would never admit it), so I scooped up the kids and took them home so that my parents could rest. John took Josh and Kylie outside for a while, and Kylie rode her bike, and then they played baseball with the neighbor kids. Ryan took a nap, and then when Kylie came in, we painted our nails.

We ended the day with a dinner of turkey and stuffing and mashed potato leftovers from my mom’s dinner the night before, and then we all played Uno Attack (even Ry-Ry!) and drank milkshakes. The kids headed to bed afterwards and John and I watched a little TV before going to bed.

The weekend was one of the best in a long, long time. I can’t remember the last time that John and I went away together, alone. I’m so grateful for my parents and their generosity in watching the kids. I’m so glad that they know how important it is for John and I to get some time together. Every time I tried to thank them they kept telling me that they should be thanking me, that they love watching the kids and that we need to get away more often.

They are right…I can’t describe how much better I feel today…even though it’s Monday I feel so refreshed and so happy!

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Fun Weekend Ahead!

Last night was a very refreshing night for me…I go to go to my monthly dinner with some friends. It’s been a while since we’ve had dinner together, and it felt so good to get together. We went to Applebee’s for their happy hour specials, ordered drinks right away, and stayed for almost 3 hours!

When I got home, John had already taken the kids over to my mom’s, so I went over there to kiss them goodnight, and then John and I settled on the couch to watch “our show” (The Mentalist).

Tonight we have house church, and it’s going to be extra fun because it’s game night. I’m hosting another house party, this time for Sandwich Thins, so we’ll have sandwiches and snacks for dinner, and then we’ll bring out the games and hopefully have a fun night.

Tomorrow John and I are headed 2 hours north to go skiing. Of course we’re going on the Saturday that it’s supposed to be in the mid-40’s, but I’ve heard that it will not be that warm up where we’re going. I bought John a gift certificate for Christmas a year ago – he’s never been skiing. We didn’t use it last year because our weekends were so busy. With January and February being my busy time, it’s hard to carve out a weekend.

The gift certificate expires 2 years after purchase, and since we don’t get much snow before Christmas, that meant that we had to use it this winter. No problem! We scheduled a weekend in February – had my parents all set up to watch the kids and the hotel room booked, and then a church thing that John was a part of got pushed back a week, so we had to reschedule…to this weekend :)

I used to ski a lot when I was younger, but that was 15 years ago. Each day I’m getting more and more nervous. It’s amazing how fearless you are as a kid…I never thought anything about skiing down a big hill, but now, the bunny hill scares me :) I’m sure I’ll be fine once I get back out there, and luckily John is very adventurous, so I’m sure as soon as we have our lessons, he’ll be ready to tackle the big hills too!

We haven’t decided if we’re going to spend the night yet or not. With having to bring all the kids’ stuff for church and the fact that my parents will have the kids for so many days, I feel bad trying to spend the night, but we’ll see. Either way, it will be so much fun to get away with John. We used to do fun activities all the time when we were dating and early in our marriage. But with kids, of course, it’s harder to do that stuff. So I’m really looking forward to this! I just hope we don’t break our legs…or our necks!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

13 Years Ago...

13 years ago today John and I started “going out.” I really feel old when I realize that I have been out of high school for nearly 13 years now :)

It’s amazing to think that the person your son or daughter brings home in high school could end up being their husband or wife down the road.

I’ll never forget March 3, 1997…John and I had been talking a little bit in school, and he knew that I liked him. That Monday I realized that John was not in school. This was very unusual for him, but I went about my day.

A few periods later, someone came up to me and asked me if I had heard about John’s house and seen the paper. I had not, and when they showed me I was stunned, yet I did laugh a little. There on the front page of the Athens News was John, picking up debris from his front yard. His house had flooded with the recent rain.

I know John went to basketball practice after school (that will play into more of the story later). The details of the night are a little fuzzy after 13 years, but I think I remember the important parts :) I think John called me after practice to see if I wanted to do something. I of course said “yes,” and he picked me up in his old red truck. There were a lot of towels on the seats because his truck had been flooded, so the seats were wet. He needed something at his house, so we went over there. Not only did I see his house and yard a crazy mess, I got to meet his parents for the first time (I’m sure they were super thrilled to be meeting what they though at the time was some girlfriend of John’s when they were in the middle of a family disaster). Then we had to go over to the OU basketball game because some guys from John’s basketball team were there and he had left his wallet at practice (pretty hard to take a girl out on a date when you don’t have your wallet to pay for it). We spent a long time walking through the convo trying to find these guys (because John’s a guy, and why would he find out where they were ahead of time?) and while John was cutting edge and had a cell phone, most other kids did not.

Now remember, John and I had only been talking at school for a week or so…all of this craziness should have been red flags for me to run! This was crazy…a dude whose bed was “floating down the creek” and who couldn’t keep track of his money! But he was adorable, and such a nice guy that I just smiled and stood by his side as we searched for the guys.

I can’t remember if they guys had his wallet or not. I’m guessing they did because we then went to Dairy Queen (for some reason I don’t remember paying, and knowing John’s personality, there’s no way we would have been able to go have fun knowing he had no idea where his wallet was). We got ice cream and headed to Stroud’s Run, which was the huge lake/picnic area in our town. I remember the moon was bright, and I thought I remembered it being warm, but considering it was March 3rd, and seeing snow on the ground outside my window right now, that memory might be a little fuzzy.

John took me home and once in the driveway he “asked me out.” For my kids reading this years in the future, that meant that we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend. He walked me to my door and while we were talking his truck rolled down the driveway. Neither of us will forget that moment, ever. He yelled that he would see me at school the next day as he ran to stop his truck (which thankfully didn’t hit anything!).

13 years, 3 kids, millions of smiles and tears and several family floods later, I’m still here, smiling and standing right beside him.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A CBJ Date Night...

Last night Joshie and I had a date night. John had a meeting and was going to the OSU basketball game, so my mom came up and watched Kylie and Ryan so that Josh would still get to go to the CBJ game.

I loaded him up and we headed downtown to the CBJ game. It sounds silly, but I was a little nervous heading down there by myself and trying to find a place to park and everything. It’s silly because I used to work downtown, and had to park and walk every single day. But with not being down there by myself in over six years, it was a tiny bit intimidating. I was also worried about Joshie walking all the way from the car to the arena…normally John carries him on his shoulders the whole way, and I knew there was no way I could do that, at least not the whole way.

But I went ahead and Joshie and I had no problems getting there, parked and in to watch warm-ups. Joshie walked the whole way without a single problem or complaint! After warm-ups we headed up to our seats and listened to both National Anthems (because we were playing Vancuver) and cheered as they announced all of the players that had played on Olympic teams.

The first period lasted an hour! They stopped that clock so many times! At intermission, Joshie and I headed down to get hot chocolate and dippin dots. Then we watched the rest of the second period, and then he said he wanted to head out so that he could play in the game that was going on at home (CBJ vs. San Jose). I was so proud of Joshie because yet again, he walked the whole way with no problems (he actually ran a lot of the way pretending he was Mario).

When we left, CBJ was ahead 3 to 2, which means that we get free Chili from Wendy’s today (whenever CJB scores 3 goals, you can take your ticket into Wendy’s the next day for free chili), but then ended up losing in OT.

The night ended with CBJ winning in Joshie’s game, and him climbing into bed with me and me scratching his back while he fell asleep.

CBJ Game from Debbie on Vimeo.

Monday Night Recap

Last night John took Josh and Ryan over to his sister’s house for hair cuts. While he did this, I got dinner ready, and then Kylie and I sat on the couch and watched Days of Our Lives.

Kylie first started watching Days of Our Lives over Christmas break when my sister and I had it on. At first I tried to shield her from it, but then my sister and I were remembering that my youngest sister was not much older than Kylie when she started watching it. I make sure that she does not see any inappropriate scenes, so outside of those, it’s more kid-friendly than most commercials for shows like CSI. I even tried to change the channel last night and she got mad…I can’t figure out why she likes to watch it; but then again, why do I like to watch it?

When the boys got home from their haircuts I was shocked…Ryan looked like such a big boy! He had his Thomas shirt on with some jeans, and his new big-boy haircut, and he just looked so old…where did my baby go?

After dinner I gave Ryan a bath and then we played and played. Kylie and Josh played “real Super Mario Brothers” and then Josh did some math and reading with John while Kylie read some books.

After Kylie and Ryan were in bed, I went through my pictures and ordered some new ones, and John and Josh played with Joshie’s DSi.

The night actually felt really long and that was nice. I got to watch a little TV, read a couple of chapters in a book while Ry-Ry took his bath, and had an overall good night.

Tonight Joshie and I are going to the CBJ game by ourselves! It’s sad, I don’t think Joshie and I have ever done anything alone together, so I’m really looking forward to tonight!