Monday, August 29, 2011

I survived!!!

Actually, this past weekend was really easy and definitely boosted my self-esteem when it comes to being able to care for 4 children…alone :) Not long ago, the thought of John leaving for more than a day was giving me anxiety attacks. It was horrible…I was constantly yelling at the kids and I felt completely drained.

So fast forward to last Thursday when John packed up and hit the road with some friends to head down to Bristol, TN. I had such a positive attitude about it and was not worried at all. However, I was realistic and had no plans, other than going to church, to leave the house the whole weekend :) But then Friday night Kimmie suggested that we go out for pizza, instead of ordering it in, and I thought “OK, I can do this!” I also had my dad there to help, so I was not completely alone!

Then on Saturday we just sat outside all day…it was so gorgeous out! And I decided to take the kids to a hot air balloon show that night. It turns out some other neighbors/friends of ours wanted to go too, so we all went. Unfortunately it was too windy for the balloons the launch, but the kids still got to jump on the bouncy-things and we saw the “glow show,” which was all the hot air balloon baskets in a row playing with their fire-things. We didn’t get home from that until 10:00 and we had so much fun! Again, my dad was there which really helped when I needed to run somewhere and didn’t want to take all the kids with me (i.e. to change Ryan’s d pull-up).

Sunday we went to church (thankfully all of our teachers showed up so I didn’t have to spontaneously teach!) and then home. Somehow I even ended up making lunch and feeding other neighborhood kids for lunch along with my own, and I was fine! Johnny finally came home around 4:00 and it was so good to see him! Not because I felt worn out and exhausted from the kids, but because I really missed him while he was gone :)

Looking back I almost wonder if I was going through some mini-type of depression or something…I know John was having such a hard time because I hated to be home with the kids by myself…it just seemed like so much work! I’m sure the fact that Colton being so young and constantly needing me didn’t help my crazy hormones either. I just always felt so worn out with all of them! But now, I honestly think that I could handle a very long time without John (although I hope I never have to!). It’s a very peaceful feeling to be back to myself, that’s for sure! Colton, while still getting up a lot at night and needing me, has done a great job of sitting in the stroller and playing, or rolling around the floor and entertaining himself, which of course makes it easier for me to care for the other children…he’s not constantly attached to me! But I also feel a huge different in my emotions…I think, maybe, my hormones have finally balanced out, which has made such a difference!

So I’m happy to report that the kids and I survived another Bristol weekend! And while I know I could easily do it again, I’m happy that I won’t have to for another year :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Day of School - 2011

Yesterday was the first day of school. Kylie started third grade and Joshie started first grade.

At open house a few nights ago, Kylie was so excited to be there had a blast reconnecting with her teacher and getting her supplies set up. She was so excited that she had a desk this year, and that her teacher, since she looped with them, decided that she would flip the alphabet when assigning the kids’ numbers…so Kylie is number 5 this time, whereas she’s normally in the 20’s.

Joshie on the other hand was not quite as enthusiastic as Kylie about going back to school. It’s not that he was dreading it, but he definitely was not looking forward to it as much as his sister. When he met his teacher he was really quiet and shy…I think she was a little worried about him :)

We started off the first day with our second annual “cakes on the court.” We (us and our neighbors) bring our griddles out and cook up pancakes and sausage and all the kids get to play and eat a great breakfast before heading off to school. This year started out a little rocky as it had been storming since early that morning. We knew we would still do the breakfast; it would just have to be in the garage. But thankfully, it stopped raining and we were able to have the whole thing out in the court. The kids of course had a lot of fun playing with each other and getting some of their excess energy out. We then snapped some pictures and headed off to school.

Kylie tried to convince me that I didn’t need to walk in with her (fat chance!). So John and I quickly dropped her off (not without a quick kiss and a quick picture), and then headed to Josh’s hallway. Same thing, a quick kiss and picture and we were off! I’m very thankful that I’m good with my kids growing up…I think it’s because I have so many of them :) I’m so excited about everything each of them will learn this year, and I’m honestly ready for the family to get back into the “normal” routine, that I was extremely happy they were back to school! So definitely, no tears shed!

We walked back home and I put Colton down for a nap and John played trains with Ry-Ry. I made up a batch of coleslaw (I’ve never made it before because I don’t like it that much, but Kylie and Joshie love it). Then John went out and mowed and I took the boys on a walk down to the pond. By now the sun was out, the skies were clear, and it was gorgeous outside! So very different from just a few hours before…

When John was done we went to lunch at a little place in our town that we had been wanting to try. We sat outside, which was right on the streets of downtown, and since Colton was sleeping, we got to have a really nice lunch with Ryan. After lunch we headed to the cupcake shop for some dessert for that night :)

We went home and Ryan went down for a nap, John ran to the store in order to get some food for his trip, and I sat down on the floor and played with Colton. I’m so amazed at how he rolls all over the place. Rolling is his crawling, and it’s annoying because I can’t take my eyes off of him for one second! He still really has no interest in sitting by himself or getting up on all fours to maybe think about crawling, but he is definitely a rolly-polly :)

I went to pick up Josh and Kylie from school and they both had a fantastic day! They talked non-stop the whole way home! Once we got home they both went off and did their own thing – you could tell they needed some downtime to just chill. I made dinner (shrimp quesadillas that were wonderful!) and then we headed out on a family bike ride. It was Colton’s first ride (he rode next to Ryan in the carrier) and it was Josh’s first long bike ride on his big bike. It was a great ride…the only downside is that even though we were gone for a long time, we did not see a train, and that was all Ryan wanted to see (we normally see at least one while we’re out).

After the ride we talked to the neighbors for a while and then headed inside for cupcakes and baths. Kylie had already gone in earlier and taken her shower and gotten ready for bed! She was so excited for school the next day :) After the kids were in bed, John packed up for Bristol and I went to bed.

It was an awesome first day of school and a fabulous day off work for John and me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Crazy, Busy Weekend!

What an exciting and busy weekend we had!

Friday night we took the kids out to get their school supplies since they are starting school tomorrow (agghhh!). After that, my mom watched them and we went out to dinner with my sister and her boyfriend who had just gotten in from Michigan. We had a great time with them!

Saturday morning was a very crazy day, and everything was timed down to the minute! I started it off with an early morning walk with my neighbor. Then I came home and showered and got ready and was able to sit outside and drink an iced latte with John and the neighbors for approximately 10 minutes before I had to head to the spa. My sisters and mom and I were having a spa day in celebration of my mom’s birthday back in July…it was our present to her. So I went and had a massage and then we all got pedicures and manicures together (my nails look fabulous!).

After that I rushed home to feed Colton, grab some food and get Kylie and go see John’s sister for our hair appointments. Kylie got her hair cut short with layers and it looks adorable! After we were done we rushed home again and found Suzie sitting on the porch with Dad saying that they were going to go downtown early because she was bored. Here’s the thing…she thought we were all going to dinner for Mom’s birthday that night, when in reality, we were going down for her surprise 30th birthday party. So her wanting to leave early was messing everything up! Thankfully, Mom and Dad took her and her boyfriend downtown to another bar for drinks while I rushed and fed Colton and got ready and waited for Miss G. to get there to babysit.

Once the kids were settled and we were ready, we left and got to the restaurant where my other sister and her husband were waiting with two of Suzie’s out of town friends. When Suzie got there she was surprised! We had an awesome dinner at Bucca Di Beppo and then headed over to the piano bar where we had been for Cindy’s bachelorette party the year before. Let me just tell you, it was a lot more fun this year not being pregnant! And John and I really had a great night out together!

Sunday we taught Sunday school and then came home and really just chilled. My sisters came over and we hung out for a little bit before everyone had to head home. After that, I tried to take a nap (not very successful) and then we headed out to finish getting the school supplies we didn’t get Friday night and kind of just had a nice, laid-back evening out with just our family. We are really bad about giving the kids their allowance, so at Target they each got a pack of Squinkies. They are pretty cute and the kids love them!

So now we’re set for a busy week ahead…first day of school tomorrow and then John is leaving for Bristol for a weekend with the guys. I hope I survive this week :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Great Weekend!

What a weekend!

So Friday was our anniversary, and John and kind of thrown the planning of something on to me, and kind of rightfully so… He always plans great things when it comes to anniversaries/birthdays, so I think he might have been a little tired of planning, on top of being busy with work. So I thought about it and decided that I would surprise him with some golf! We used to play at this little Par 3 in the city we used to live in, long before we had jobs and kids. So I looked the course up and saw that they don’t do tee times during the week, and that league plays were not on Fridays.

So I went home and packed up our clubs and shoes and waited for him to come home. Once he did, and we got my parents settled with the kids, we left and went to lunch. We went to Max & Erma’s for reubens and tortilla soup and had a really nice lunch! After that I started driving, and he didn’t figure out where we were going until we were right there! Success! He was really excited, as was I. We went in to get on the list, and this older guy just looked at us and told us there was a league out there. I told him that I checked the website and this was not a league day, and he just casually said that they were making up a rain-out. That guy did not care at all that my big plans were ruined!

So we left and John started calling golf courses all around trying to get us a tee-time. Of course it happened to be an absolutely gorgeous day out and none were available. He finally found one in our city (so basically I drove for an hour for nothing). We ended up having so much fun, and for me not golfing in a long time (over a year), I did pretty well!

After we were done we headed home and my mom and Kylie left for Michigan to visit my sister. We got Josh and Ryan ready for bed and they went over to my dad’s, and Colton went down to sleep. John made a fire and we sat outside for a long time…it was wonderful! We had our drinks (mine was a great frozen margarita my dad had given me) and we just talked and listened to music. We reminisced about the last 14 years together and dreamt about our future…it was awesome!

Saturday we headed down to Athens because my college roommates and I were having a little 10-year reunion. We got down there around 1:00 and hung out with John’s parents at their house. The boys had a lot of fun playing, and John and I were able to go uptown and grab some OU gear. We then packed the kids up and went to dinner with all my old roommates…it was so good seeing everyone again! Then we took the kids back to John’s parents’ and we headed back to the house we lived in and all sat on the porch remembering our college days. It was a lot of fun catching up with everyone!

Sunday we went to church (even though we didn’t get home until 1:00 that morning!) and then afterwards John and the big boys took a nap. I had wanted to take a nap too but Colton had other plans :) So I went outside and hung out with the neighbors the whole afternoon. John and the boys came out after their naps and it was a relaxing way to end the weekend. The only downside is that our high was only 75 degrees (in August!), and it was cloudy, so I was in pants and a jacket and cold! The guys were making fun of us, but to us, it was chilly!

Now it’s back to work…hopefully this week goes quickly, I’m ready for another weekend!

Friday, August 12, 2011

11 Years of Happiness...

11 years ago today I married my best friend. Cliché? Definitely. True? Absolutely!

When I try to remember what I was doing at certain times 11 years ago, it’s hard for me to remember. Unfortunately that was before the days of video phones and Flip Videos and blogs. But what does strike me, especially now for some reason, is how extremely young I was…

John and I got married right before our senior year in college. I had only been 21 for 12 days when we made that life-changing decision. 21! To think that I was capable of making such a big decision at that age is a little scary, and even more scary when I think about my own kids coming to me at that age and saying they are getting married. I mean seriously, I stress over deciding where to have a birthday party or where to go on vacation, but 11 years ago when I was just a baby I didn’t stress about marrying John AT ALL!

But obviously us getting married was just another step in God’s plan for our lives. Neither of us had second thoughts (which I find rare when I hear about other guys and their thoughts pre-wedding. Or even pre-engagement for that part). We just knew that we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together. And looking back at our lives it's so obvious to see how everything happend according to God's perfect timeline.

It’s funny how a relationship changes over time… It’s funny to think about how I’ve changed over time. We know each other so well and are so secure in each other, which is such a contrast to how we were the first couple of years we were married!

I’ve heard over and over again that marriages have a “7 year itch,” and if you make it past that you’re good. I couldn’t agree more! I remember when we had hard times with each other and our constant fighting…and then “magically” (right around year 8), we settled down and were so much better.

Johnny you are my best friend in the whole world, and you know me better than anyone else. I thank God for being able to be your girlfriend for the past 14 ½ years and I feel so lucky that you chose me to be your wife. I pray that I can be a better and better wife each day that goes by and that you will always believe that you made the right decision when you asked me to marry you. I love you so much!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Fabulous Night...

What a relaxing night we had last night!

John and I took Ryan and Colton to a local restaurant that we like (Liberty Tavern)and sat outside. Ryan was absolutely wonderful, and Colton only started fussing in the middle of dinner, so I gave him some mum-mums (rice snacks he can eat himself) and he was happy. The restaurant across the parking lot had a live band, so we got to eat outside in the gorgeous weather, listening to great music, and really have a great time.

After dinner we went over to Rita’s because it was just a few doors down. Ryan got his normal cotton candy and I got my s’mores. We sat outside in the nice chairs and again, just relaxed! Ryan fed CoJo some of his Italian Ice and he loved it :)

When we got home, Ryan’s friend Zora was out, so we popped the chairs out and just sat. The kids played, we talked to our neighbor for a little bit, and then when they had to go in, I went in and got Colton ready for bed and we headed out on a walk. We walked up through the new phase of our development, and then back past our house towards our pond. Some friends were sitting outside down there so we stopped and caught up with them for a while. Finally, as it was just about dark, we heard the thunder rolling in and the lightening start up, so we rushed home. Ryan fell asleep seconds after we laid him in his bed.

I miss the big kids a ton…it’s very weird not having them there and having a quiet house. But I am definitely enjoying the different pace of life we have right now. Even though Josh and Kylie are the “easy” ones, they are also the ones that ask the most questions and need the most “guidance” when it comes to things (“get out of the shower,” “did you brush your teeth?” “drink your milk,” “are you done in the shower yet???” etc.).

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Crazy VBS Week...

Last week was a crazy, insane week…to put it mildly!

Each day John and I would go to work (and Monday and Tuesday happened to be my busiest days), and then leave at 3:00. We would go home, I would feed Colton, John would steam our shirts, and then we would load up in the car and head out to get dinner and then go to VBS. When we got there, I would get the kids their dinner and John would immediately start getting everything set up. I would help as soon as the kids were done with dinner and everything was cleaned up.

Around 6:00 all of the kids would start coming in and at 6:10 they would come upstairs and we would start song time (with primarily me leading the motions). After a few songs it was time for the skit and prayer and more songs. Then the kids left for their first rotation. I would use this time to feed Colton and catch my breath :) Once the first rotation was done, I would go in and teach the Seahorses (ages 2 to entering Kindergarten) their lesson. Let me tell you, 25 minutes to teach a lesson to kids that age is nuts! I can barely hold their attention on Sunday mornings for 5 minutes! But we sang songs and played games and we made it work :)

During the third rotation I would go around and take pictures of the kids, and then after that was over, all the kids came back upstairs for songs and the Jeopardy game where some adult was nailed (music pastor the first night, children’s pastor the second night, another staff the third night, our head pastor the fourth night and John and I the fifth night. Each night got progressively worse…silly string, toilet paper, shaving cream, whipped cream, blue frosting and finally ending with slime for John and me on Friday :)

After VBS was over, we would clean up and finally head out around 8:45 or 9:00. We would rush home and get the kids ready for bed (if they didn’t need to eat another meal, in which case we would feed them again and then get them ready for bed) and then John and I would just crash.

Friday night was a fun ending in that we had songs and then Carlo gave the lesson to everyone, and then we had refreshments and the kids and families got to play in Sports Ohio. As we loaded everything up that night, it was sad that it was all over :( 5 weeks of planning and pushing hard and fast and now it was over…but it had been fun and worth every second of work!

Saturday we totally relaxed! We headed over to Yutzy’s for customer appreciation day (free hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones, corn on the cob and donuts!) and then came home and just chilled! John, Ryan, Colton and I headed out late Saturday night to pick up the market day stuff for us to give the little kids at church the next day (their reward for all of the points they earned at VBS). Sunday we had our VBS recap during service where the kids sang two songs and John and I talked about the week. Then the kids went in to market day and got really cool prizes!

After church we put up the big waterslide and just relaxed in the sun with the neighbors. It was gorgeous out! Then that night we went to dinner with a couple of the neighbors. John and I had it easy as Kylie and Josh went down to Athens with my dad…they won’t be back until Thursday night! I miss them a ton, but I have to admit, I am enjoying this week of only having two kids…it is so much easier!

So we’re trying to recuperate! Each night we’re having easy dinners and trying to just sit and relax…such a change from the way things have been the last couple of weeks!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I've Been Busy!!!

Wow, what a busy couple of weeks!!!

Two big things have been going on: one, it’s my super busy time at work, and on top of that, there was a new requirement that I had to comply with this quarter, so I’ve been so busy with all of that. Two, our church decided to have VBS for the first time this year, and John and I are in charge of it, and we just started planning it 5 weeks ago! So to say that life has been crazy would be an understatement :)

Sunday was my birthday, and I started it off by unexpectedly working the nursery because none of our workers showed up at church. None of the baby teachers and none of our preschool teachers. So John and I had to watch all the kids together. After that we had a big VBS meeting with all of our volunteers.

After that we headed home and got out the big waterslide. I laid on my raft and floated in the water for a while and then sat in the sun and read my 10-Q a little bit. The day was gorgeous and I had a lot of fun hanging out with the kids and the neighbors. After a day in the sun, we headed to a nearby restaurant called Thai Orchid and had an absolutely wonderful dinner! Cindy and Josh went with us, along with my parents. After that we went home and I ate the cake I ordered for myself (almond cake with chocolate ganache filling and fresh strawberries and chocolate buttercream icing), and opened presents. I got so many wonderful things! My parents gave me an ice cream maker, John’s parents gave me an amazon gift card and a very cool OU jacket-thing, John’s sister gave me a gift card to William Sonoma, my neighbor gave me a gift card to a local spa, and my sisters got me my very first Coach purse (which I LOVE!). John has told me that my present from him is a double-glider or two single gliders for the front porch so that Front Porch Mondays can resume in full force! And the kids (Kylie’s idea) got me two plants for the front flower beds that have had a huge empty spot since the original one died years ago. John, the kids and my dad planted them for me on Sunday and they look beautiful! It truly was a wonderful day!

This week has started VBS, so our days and evenings are crazy! I finally filed my 10-Q yesterday, so at least my days are not as stressful as Monday and Tuesday were. I leave every day at 3:00, head home, feed Colton, John and I pack everyone up, and try to leave the house by 4:15. We head to Sports Ohio, which is where VBS is, eat the dinner that we picked up on the way, and John and I get to work making sure everything is ready for the kiddos! John and I lead the singing and welcome the kids, then there is a skit (which has been hilarious the past couple of nights), more singing, and then the kids head off to their stations. We have games, snack, and lesson, and I teach the little kids during lesson. After that, John and I lead some more songs, there is a Jeopardy game, and then we sing to close out. The official time for VBS is from 6:00 – 8:00, and then we clean up after that.

So needless to say, we are exhausted right now, and it’s only Wednesday! But it has all been worth it! The kids seem to be having a blast and I know we are all having a ton of fun. We had 35 kids pre-registered, and have ended up having around 50 show up the first couple of nights, so for the size of our church, I think that is amazing! Watching all of this come together over the past 5 weeks has been yet another example of how amazing God is. We were stuck for a while on a location…we had planned on having it outside where we normally meet for church, but they had something else going on, and for the longest time, we just couldn’t find a place. We were so blessed that Sports Ohio was open and willing to work with us, and God’s hand in all of this was shown when there was a massive thunderstorm with hail on Monday night. There’s no way we could have been outside during that! So God is good and always watching out for us!

I really hope the rest of the week goes as well as the first couple of nights went…I know that I will be having a ton of fun!