Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Disney Day 5

The REAL Epcot day!   We got to the park fairly close to opening, and headed right to The Seas, one of our favorite places here.   We went on the Nemo ride (a favorite of our crew) and then to Turtle Talk with Crush (another huge favorite of ours). We spent sometime in the aquarium (we love visiting aquariums on vacay, really..) and just took it easy.

After The Seas, we had a little time before our Fast Passes started.  Ry and I took the boys to Mission Space.   Fun ride!  We did the green level, but I wish we'd tried orange.   The kids really got into it and we played along.

We then split up, Ry and Dave took the boys to Test Track to use FP+'s and I took the girls to Morocco to see Jasmine.   Amelia LOVES Jasmine, and was excited to meet her.  We waited in line, and when it was her turn.... she REFUSED to even go near her.  Wouldn't talk to her, wouldn't go anywhere near her.   Well that was fun!   HAHA!

We met back up with the guys and then walked around the different countries.   We've NEVER walked around the countries as a family.  The last time I'd done all that was when I came to Disney with my grandma and aunt in ohhh 1991??   It was all pretty familiar, but it was so neat to explore it again.   Not sure I'd do it if we were on a time crunch, because it really is just a bunch of food places but the atmosphere is great.  I got a picture of the kids in each world, so that'll be cute to have :)

In Japan, Hudson had some issues.... he's had a lot of tantrums and stuff this trip.  He seems to be having a hard time with changes and we're going through this regression stage right now.  UGH.   I let the kids pick out some cute chopsticks (that are easy for kids to use... they have some at home they use to eat soup and some foods with just to make eating fun, so I thought it'd be neat to let them pick out a new pair).   They picked out their chopsticks and then we came upon these little glass owls that were different colors.... they were supposed to bring luck, wealth, happiness... etc.... Hudson wanted one BADLY.  They were $5.  Nope.  He asked if he could put the chopsticks back and get the owl instead.  I told him no, because I was offering to buy the chopsticks and it wasn't a trade.   He got pissed.  I gave him the option to get the chopsticks or nothing.  He chose the chopsticks.  At the register, I paid and then took the bag and told the kids that the chopsticks go in the stroller and we are not taking them out until we get home.  He threw a tantrum, stomping and saying this is stupid.  I calmly turned to the cashier and took out his chopsticks and told her I needed to return them.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  I returned them right there, 2 seconds after buying them.  GRAR.   He was pissed, and fumed for quite awhile.   (At the next world, I gave the kids pennies to throw in a water fountain to make wishes.  He said "Guess what I wished for, Mom."   I suggested "A better attitude?  Or did you wish for a new family?"  HAHAHAH!   He said he wished for a pet parakeet for Christmas.  HA!  Fat chance!)

We had lunch at Via Napoli Restaurant (ok that's not the name but that's what I can remember of the name).  Italian food.  Delish!  I love Italian food though!  

We ended the day back at the pool.  We didn't leave the park until 4pm or so, so I figured it was too late to try to nap.   We all had so much fun at the pool.  The kids swam until dark.  We grabbed food at the cafe and ate by the pool.   At dark they set up an inflatable movie screen and played Big Hero 6.  The boys watched for a bit and then headed back to the room for bed.  

Disney Day 4

Magic Kingdom

The morning I don't want to speak of because it started out SO crappy.

We had 8:15 reservations at Akershus for Princess Breakfast.   I should have known this was a stupid idea.   Of COURSE we were running late.   Everyone was cranky as we left the villa.  We got to Epcot and I thought things were fine... we made it a few minutes late for our ressies and was sat within 5 minutes or so.

It just kind of went downhill from here.  Eloise was in the carrier and as I took her out to put her in a high chair I realized she was soaked.  The carrier was soaked.  How did this happen?  ACK.  So, after we attempted to squeeze into the smallest area possible for an 8 person table (the back corner of the room, with like 12" between the table and the wall),  Ryan then had to finagle the backpack in that small area to find the diapers and wipes.  I took Eloise to the bathroom and realized we had ONE diaper left for the entire day at the park.   As I was washing her pants in the sink I heard the cute little Princess procession outside in the dining room where the girls were dancing with the princesses.   Of course I'd miss this part of our breakfast.

Grumpy, I returned to the table in about tears.... being stupid emotional about a rotten morning.  I tried to keep in mind it was just a few bad things.  Our day would be fine.  Breakfast was good, our server was great.  There was another Princess Procession but Amelia really didn't want to participate again.  The princesses came around and Amelia refused to even get out of her seat to see them.  The princesses didn't disappoint though... they knelt down near her and had little conversations with her.   Sleeping Beauty discussed her blue dress (cinderella) and talked to her about her fairy godmothers and how Merrywhether loves blue and that her dress used to be blue before one of her fairy godmothers changed it to pink.   Arielle noticed Amelia's Rapunzel hat and ditzily grabbed, giggling, and said "Oh what a fun hat!  It reminds me of a sea shell hee hee hee!"  They truly play the part so well!   She DID stand next to Cinderella because they were wearing the same dress :)  

After breakfast, we headed to Magic Kingdom to use Fast Passes there.  I didn't plan out this day too well... I wish I'd made it an Epcot day but unfortunately I planned our Fast Passes before all of our meals I think, so everything didn't coordinate that well.   On our way in we watched a few minutes of the Dream Along with Mickey performance.   We've seen it before, so the boys couldn't care less.  Amelia watched a few minutes and then went back to picking up sticks in the landscaping.

Most of the morning Ryan was crabby and negative.  I tried to offset that but the boys were being moody, Hudson was throwing tantrums about everything and I pretty much was done once Amelia refused to take a picture in front of Rapunzel's tower.  You can only attempt to offset negative moods for so long before you explode.   I sent the boys on Thunder Mountain and the girls and I just walked around.  They both fell asleep, probably much needed, and I got a Diet Coke and ate some gummies and chilled in a quiet spot and people watched.

After some chill time, I rode Thunder Mountain with Ry, Porter and Hudson and by then the girls woke up.  We all had ice cream, went on the Jungle Cruise (a first for us), and that was so well narrated.  Our guide was hilarious.  Like... he was sarcastic and funny and we LOVED him.   The cruise itsself was a bit cheesy but the kids enjoyed it and the adults enjoyed the guide HAHA!

We at lunch at Cosmic Ray's in Tomorrowland...  pretty decent food and selection.   Afterward, we decided to head back to the hotel to nap.  We stopped and got cake pops and caught some of the Festival of Fantasy Parade.  It was AMAZING.   I always avoid the parades and shows because I hate hate hate crowds.  But... I kind of wish we'd gotten good seats for this.    We could see a good part of it but there were so many people in front of us.

At the hotel, we attempted to rest. The boys all slept but Amelia didn't at all.   I decided to nix our idea to go back to the park and instead head to the pool.  It was too chilly for me to get in a suit, but the kids didn't care.   They swam for a bit and had a blast.   I think some chill time was just what we needed.   We went back to the room and had crabby kids again.  I heated up some leftovers, we tossed the kids in bed and then Ry and Dave went to the cafe and brought back dinner for us adults.  WHEW.  

I'm glad this grumpy day is over.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Disney Day 3

Everyone slept in today until 8am or so.   Our destination today was Hollywood Studios.

First ride:  Toy Story Midway Mania.  I swear, we could ride this a hundred times.   We all love it!   We had a FP+ for it adn by the time we were out, the standby line was already at 70 minutes.  Craziness.

We hopped over to meet Buzz and Woody.  Amelia was wearing her Jessie dress today so I thought that'd make a cute picture.  There was a little boy in line near us wearing a Woody costume and they were playing peek a boo in line and it was SO adorable!

Amelia, though she is SO outgoing and SO fearless.... is FREAKED OUT by the characters!   Thursday when I took her to meet Ariel she shoved her blanket in her mouth and refused to look at her.  Same deal with Buzz and Woody.  Wouldn't even look at the camera.  Boo!  Oh well.   She's cute anyway!

We had early lunch reservations, which was probably nice since we had a super light lunch on the run.   We ate at the 50's Prime Time Cafe.   LOVED the hilarious atmosphere and the service.... made you feel like you were back in teh 50's.   Their food was probably great, but more like dinner "comfort food" (think pot roast, pot pie, fish, meatloaf, fried chicken), so I had a chicken caesar salad.   Our meal came with a drink, milkshake, entree and dessert.  Woohoo!

Other attractions we visited today:

Frozen Sing Along Celebration:  Amelia LOVED this.   It was really cute and I'd definitely do it again.

Little Mermaid show:  This was ehhh... short.  I probably would skip it unless Amelia requested to see it again.

The boys did the Indiana Jones show, rode the Star Wars ride and Porter tried to sign up for the Jedi training but got on the wait list.   Let me tell you... the Star Wars area was INSANE today.  GAH!

Honey I Shrunk the Kids play place:  CROWDED AS ALL GET OUT!    I've never seen it this busy. We let the kids play for about 10 minutes and by then I couldn't wait to get out of there.   Pure madness.  

The people on this trip... oh my gosh... we're all just kind of flabbergasted at how so many adults can be so completely wrapped up in themselves that they are literally running into people, not watching where they're going or even looking around them, cutting in front of people, tripping over kids (which isn't hard to do at Disney but there have been some pretty blatant "I'm not even paying attention and walking right OVER your stroller" incidences).   Yesterday we were getting on Its A  Small World and were LITERALLY walking into the gate and this asian (frick... what's the PC term??) couple and their daughter shoved past us.  Mind you... there was NO line.  The husband had a suit on.  He was the one to shove by Ryan and Porter.  The wife and daughter followed.  We looked at each other like..WTF... so did the Cast Member who was standing there.   They continued to rush through the lanes (where there were no people) and then caught up to the people ahead of us (like 50 feet or so) who were casually walking to the ride and the rude family CUT in front of them too!  I couldn't believe it.  We've encountered some of the rudest people ever.   Insane.

Ry, Hudson and Dave did the Tower of Terror.  Hudson was hilarious afterward.  I guess there's a story about the Twilight Zone and how a family died etc... and he was like "YES I was SCARED!   There was a family that was KILLED in that elevator! I thought I was going to DIE!"   So hilarious.

We ate dinner at Hollywood and Vine.  DELICIOUS!   Characters came around to the tables, so the kids got autographs and some pictures.  It was a buffet and it was AWESOME!   I'd definitely do this place again!

We planned on heading to the 7pm Fantasmic (and even had special seating that came with our dinner reservations) but didn't make it so we headed home early.  Tomorrow morning we have 8:15am reservations at Akershus for Princess Breakfast!

Disney Day 2

Last night we ended up heading out to The Springs (aka Downtown Disney) and spent a couple hours there.  We mainly shopped, pin traded, checked out the Lego Store and ate overpriced soft serve ice cream.   

Animal Kingdom was on our agenda today, with one of our meal plan reservations at Rainforest Cafe. 

We all got up and around kind of late, so we weren't at the park right when they opened.  Not a huge deal since we had our FP+ set up already.   It was chilly this morning and I was glad we all wore sweatshirts/sweaters.   Amelia woke up not feeling so hot (she's been fighting this cough for the past 4 or 5 days) and was so grumpy.  She has been so uncooperative lately, which isn't typically like her and it is DRIVING me nuts. 

Ryan's dad hasn't been to Disney since 1993, so he's never seen Animal Kingdom.  We stopped by the Tree of Life first and took some pictures, and spent some time searching for animals.   Then we did the Tough to Be a Bug show, which is always so cute!
Call me crazy, but Animal Kingdom is probably my least favorite world??? Anyone else?  Maybe because the activities seem similar to a zoo and we can do that anytime?  I don't know.   After the Bug Show Ry, Dave and Hudson used FP+'s on Expedition Everest.   Porter refused to go.   Hudson has gone on it before (when he was 6 I believe was the first time) and had no fear.  Ryan did say that partway through teh ride he was scared and screaming "Mama mama mama!"  

After Everest, we made it into Finding Nemo, The Musical (we had a FP+ for later but walked right in at the 11:00 show!).   This is one of my all time favorite shows at Disney.  I think it's so adorable!   

We had about 15 minutes before our Kilimanjaro Safari Fast Pass, so we walked the Pangani Forest Trail.  I feel like we always skip this because, again, it's like the zoo.   It was a nice little walk, though, and the naked mole rats are SO dang cute! 

The Safari ride was great, though our tour guide wasn't all that enthusiastic.   We were able to see the giraffes SO close to the truck!   Lots of great animal sightings today.  

Lunch was at Rainforest Cafe.   We used one of our table service dining selections and LET ME TELL YOU it was so worth it.  Adults got one entree, a non-alcoholic beverage and a dessert.  Kids got their kids meal and a dessert.   Helloooo overpriced, delicious steak!   Each day we use the meal plan we realize how awesome it truly is.  

We were stuffed after lunch, and pretty much done with Animal Kingdom.  We never really do Dino Land, so we skipped out on that and headed back to the hotel.  Everyone (except Porter) napped, and got up around 5:45 or so.  We decided to go back to Magic Kingdom, since they were open until 11pm. 

Porter, ahhh let me tell you what a wet blanket he's been.   He has that pre-teen attitude through and through and it is going to make me crazy.   He doesn't want to do anything.  He's grumpy about everything.  He's arguing with everyone.  He's disgruntled about everything.  AUGHGH.   Its kind of sad to me that he's not really feelin' the Disney magic this trip :(.  Though when I think about it... he doesn't like to ride roller coasters, and he is too old for "baby" rides.... so yeah, it might be a bit boring.  There is SO many other things to ride and do and see, so I don't know.... I just wish he'd be happy and excited for one stinking day. 

Back to our evening plans.... We got back to Magic Kingdom around ohhh 7:30 or 8?   We headed to Fantasyland and the kids rode the Barnstormer.  This was Amelia's first roller coaster and she LOVED it.  I can't wait to share the pic I got of her on it.  Grin a mile wide!  Porter rode on it with us and he had a great time, too.  YAY!   We rode Dumbo, too, and tried to get on the carousel but apparently they close that down when the fireworks show starts.   We rode Its a Small World for the first time ever.  I'm not kidding.  When we came to WDW in 2013 it was closed for refurbishment.  In Disneyland last year, it was closed. So, we've ran into bad luck with it!  I LOVED it... it is so so cute!  I could have went through a few more times :)

We watched the fireworks from Fantasyland and then headed to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Everyone rode on that even though Porter tried to psych himself out after reading that it had a "14 foot drop"  HAHA!

On our way out we caught the last bit of the castle show and fireworks.  I adore the castle projection show!  I want to try to get to it another time this week to see the whole thing.   Just as we were leaving, they started setting stuff up for the Electrical Parade.   It started in 10 minutes, at 11pm, so we decided (much to Porter's dismay) to stay since we were already there and could park literally RIGHT near the exit.   We watched the show and then turned around and walked out!  SWEET!
We didn't get back to the hotel until around midnight.  Amelia fell asleep on the bus!  It was a long night.... Not sure we could do too many of those!  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Disney Day 1

First off.... I have to brag on my kids.   I was nervous about traveling with 4.  FOUR.   But you know what?   I was so proud of how go with the flow they have been.   We finagled the airport, grabbed some dinner at Chick Fil A (WHY DON'T WE HAVE MORE OF THESE IN MICHIGAN??) and made it on the plane with a double stroller.  Porter and Amelia claimed seats next to me.   Ran into a hitch when Hudson realized his seat was across the aisle from Ryan, and he had to sit next to STRANGERS!  Then, after we're all on the plane and back in row Timbuktu 46 and 47, Ryan realizes he left my camera back sitting out by the gate... with my new Mark III camera and 2 Canon L lenses in it.  ACKKKK!   He had to dodge past people to get back off the plane and then the stewardess chased after him because he was running off the plane.  Kind of hilarious.  Anyhow, the flight was great- the last half hour was a little iffy but for the most part the kids stayed entertained with the iPad and Delta's awesome back of the seat screens and new Usborne activity books.   Eloise fell asleep and slept most of the flight.   I adore the excitement that Hudson and Amelia had about flying.  They were so excited to fly and to go to Disney!

This trip is our first staying on property at Disney World.  (Last year we did stay on site at Disneyland at the Grand Californian and it was amazing and so convenient... but Disneyland is a world of different from WDW.  The entire park, Downtown Disney and hotels are ALL convenient.  Convenient is NOT a word I'd use to describe any part of Disney World, even though they have so many accommodations to attempt to make the massive distance between parks and resorts convenient).

ANYHOW.... back to this being our first on property trip.  It's also our first time using the Dining Plan and having the wrist bands and utilizing all of the Disney transportation.   The Magical Express from the airport was great.   It was very easy to get to, get assigned to our bus and to get to the hotel.  We are staying at the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa in a 2 bedroom Villa.   Check-in was easy and we lucked out with a building really close to the main part of the resort.  (Originally we were going to book the 3 bedroom Treehouse Suite at Saratoga Springs but realized they were quite a ways out of the way from the restaurants and any main part of the resort.   I do hope to try those out in the future, maybe when we have zero kids in strollers).  

The 2 bedroom villa is perfect.   The bathrooms are huge, the bedrooms are great and so soundproof, and it has a washer and dryer in the unit as well as a kitchen.  PERFECTION.    The resort isn't "cutesy" and that's one thing I kind of wish it was, but I'm ok trading that for all the convenience.  Last visit here in 2013 we checked out the Art of Animation and the resort is SO SO adorable.  I really really wanted to make that resort work but we'd have had to book 2 rooms for our group and there wouldn't have been a full kitchen nor washer and dryer.   We ended up at Saratoga Springs and so far, its great!  

Last night when we arrived, we were all starving.  It was 10pm and we headed down to the quick service restaurant.   We realized that since we were staying that night, we had food credits for that day.  We each picked out a meal (they're around $10 a pop for meals) and we got the refillable travel mugs ($16.99 each) with the meal plan.   THEN they told us we got 2 quick service snacks for teh day as well... and it could be ANYTHING from their huge snack area.   Cups of fresh fruit, desserts, rice crispy snacks, coleslaw, bakery goods... WHAT THE WHAT?   We picked out 6 things of fresh fruit and ended up bringing them back to the room to eat later.  This seals the deal... I'm ALL ABOUT the dining plan.  That quick service meal alone would have been $100!

This morning we had breakfast at Ohana with Lilo and Stitch.  The kids were SO excited and adore Stitch.   I was hoping for a buffet like we had at Goofy's Kitchen in Disneyland, but it was food brought to our table.  They bring out this yummy bread, and then these HUGE 2' round bowls with waffles and bacon and sausage and biscuits and scrambled eggs.  Super super convenient.   The kids loved the characters.  Hudson was over the moon that he got to meet Stitch ;)  

We went to Magic Kingdom after breakfast.  We had fast passes for a few rides already set up.   We rode the Little Mermaid and then the teacups, and then it started to rain.  The boys did Tomorrowland Speedway while I took the girls to see Ariel and then to hop on the mermaid ride (again).  By the time we were done it was just about pouring.   The boys rode Stitch's Adventures and by the end I was ready to head back to the hotel. It was pouring rain and it was making me (and everyone else) crabby.   

On our way back to the bus, we got a chance to see the Rainy Day Main Street Parade (not official name HAHA!).   The normal parade was cancelled, and they made a big announcement.  Then, music came on all the speakers and all these singers and dancers came out in rain boots and raincoats and danced and splashed in puddles.  It was adorable!  I guess that's an up side to the rain, right?

Back at our room, we threw clothes in the dryer (WOOT WOOT for the villa amenities!) and the boys all went to get lunch while I'm blogging and Amelia is crashed out napping.   It's supposed to rain the rest of the day, but the rest of our week looks pretty darn clear!  YAY!   So, today we'll lay low here at the resort and maybe hit up The Springs (aka... Downtown Disney) via the water taxi.  We'll see.   

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lulu's first ambulance ride and 2 lost teeth

Our Saturday didn't start out the way we'd anticipated.   Well, it DID start out normal, but turned bad quickly.

Ryan and Hudson left for Brain Balance around 8am.  Eloise has been kind of fussy/not sleeping well the past few nights (I think she's getting more teeth) so she was in bed with me. Porter and Amelia had woken up and asked me to come out with them on the couch.  I left Lulu in our bed, put some pillows around the edge (she isn't crawling yet but can army crawl) and went to cuddle on the couch.

About 15 minutes later, Porter asked to play the computer.  I got up to go type in the password and as I stood up I heard a thud then a cry.  

She had fallen off the bed.  Onto our hardwood floors.

I ran to the bedroom and I think she was crying?   I picked her up.  Yes, she was crying.  I hugged her, shushed her, rocked her, and went into the kitchen to get an ice pack.   I assessed her head and noticed she seemed woozy... her eyes looked like she was sleepy, she was crying, and kind of lethargic and limp feeling.   I sat down on the couch to put ice on her head (err actually a frozen Margarita bag) and she started projectile vomiting.   She got even woozier and limp and crying and puking and puking.  I felt like she was going to die right there in my arms, in my house, while I'm alone.   I didn't know what to do... do I take her to the hospital?   But if I drive, its 20 minutes away and what if something happens while we're in the car??  

I decided to call 911.  They immediately sent someone out.  It took a good 15 minutes (maybe not even that but it felt like FOREVER).   The first responder pulled up and a fire truck stopped at the end of our road (large vehicles can't cross our bridge) and the fireman walked up the road to our house.  She had calmed down by the time they had arrived, but her head had a huge goose egg.  I was so scared she'd suddenly pass out and be gone.   First assessment was that she was fine... but he said babies are resilient but they can also deteriorate fast so he recommended we have her checked out at Motts.

The ambulance arrived and I put her in her baby seat and kissed her and they took her to the ambulance.  I felt like such a horrible mom.  It was awful handing her to them and knowing I couldn't be with her.   I threw a sweatshirt on, got Amelia halfway dressed and we grabbed my purse and diaper bag and followed the ambulance to the hospital.

Motts has an amazing staff, let me tell you.   I'm always impressed with them.  They took Amelia and Porter to get some toys to play with (and gave Porter some legos to build and take home).   Long story short, she seemed fine but based on her puking and lethargy immediately after, they wanted her to have a CT scan.  Ryan and Hudson arrived right as they were ready for her.    I wasn't sure how they'd can a baby but let me tell you... they have it figured out.   Head pillows so she doesn't move her head, and velcro "swaddler type" thing around her, then weighted blankets and the blanket to protect her from the radiation.   Amazing.  She wasn't too happy with it though and screamed the whole time. :(     I felt so bad because she was so hungry and couldn't eat.   She finally passed out on me in her room.   Her CT scan was fine and we were released shortly after that.   Thank.  The.  Lord.  All I could think of was this recent story I read on facebook where an 8 year old got sick Christmas Eve, in the middle of the night they took him to the ER and he'd died shortly after from swelling of the brain from a virus.   So freaking awful and scary how fast they can go.  

We were all exhausted and drained and hungry, so we went to eat at Jonny's Pizza House.   Both boys had loose teeth.   While eating feta bread, Hudson was like 'OMG my tooth is going to fall out!"  It was hanging by a thread.   Ryan yanked it out and we were all cracking up.   Porter starts wiggling his tooth, saying "I'm going to pull mine out too!"   The college age waiter checks on us and Hudson says "I lost a tooth!"  Waiter says "Really?  Just now?"  And then Porter says "I just pulled mine out!" holding up his newly yanked out tooth.  Ryan and I were dying... its like a comedy.  WTF.  Teeth just falling out left and right.  

We're home, we're resting (well, I'm walking on the treadmill because I'd planned to run this morning), we're exhausted and drained.   So thankful our sweet baby girl is okay!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Guess what I did?!

Guess what I did tonight?  (Yessssss I watched making a murderer.  I'm on episode 6!!).   I DID PROJECT LIFE!  A few years back I had a major life breakdown. (I'll link later.... I'm mobile)  I set goals for myself for the new year to do things for ME.  The year was amazing.  I wrote down my goals and I did them.  This year, I am going to do the same.  Last night i wrote down some thing *I* wanted to do.  Things that were important to *ME*.    I'm going to try to be more intentional with my work time and start being very selective as to what work tasks I take on.  This job is supposed to be  about me doing things I want to do... And it's hard when I LOVE my job and I love to work.... But I didn't start this job to let it take over 50+  hours of my week.  I don't have to do that.  I shouldn't do that. It's easy to, but it really isn't necessary.

On my list:
Photograph kids
Walk 1000 miles

Today, Sunday, I didn't work.  I woke up and we laid around the house for a bit.  The big kids went outside and I walked on the treadmill.  The boys played at the neighbors, I showered and the Amelia and I baked cookies.  We played with Eloise, Amelia entertained her with her gymnastics flips and craziness. At nap time, I went into my office but get this.  I.  Did.  Not.  Work.  I did write a "to do list " for Monday morning (which I will complete and then BE DONE with work for the day!!!  No more adding more and more to my plate just to fill time!).  After making a list I SCRAPBOOKED!   I got about 3 weeks done on Eloise's first year scrapbook.  I'm so excited.  I can't wait for tomorrow because I'm hoping to get all of my work done before noon and then set aside the afternoon to do ME things until the boys come home.  Yessss!  

I can do this.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Amelia Says: December 2015 Edition

A:  Sometimes you say the F-word.

Me: I know.  I shouldn't say bad words. I try not to.

A:  I know.  I shouldn't say bad words either.  But dogs don't even talk!  And Lulu says "dadadadada!"  


(I had a papercut from an envelope and had showed her and said it hurt)

A:  When I get a bit older, I wish I could cut my finger with an envelope.  What was the thing that cut you, Mom?  

Me:  An envelope.

A:  Oh no, that's so sad!


A:  Ohhhhh I missed you, Mom!  I wish you could stay here all day.

Me:  But I was here all day.

A:  No you weren't.  You were at the airport!

Me:  That was last night, silly! (I took my mom to the airport the night before)

A:  No it wasn't!  It was 3 weeks ago!  And yesterday morning you were there too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

fall conferences

Talk about a blow to parental confidence.  The kids had their first parent teacher conferences and I walked away feeling like inadequate parents.  

Porters conference was both the most surprising yet the easiest to process.  Porter has always been a mostly A student, top of the class in reading and in math.  Imagine my surprise when we meet with his teacher (whom I really like and feel is an amazing teacher) that he's "below grade level" in reading.  Whaaat?  This kid loves to read.  He has his nose in a book nearly every evening at bedtime.  In the past, he’s always been above grade level.  Comprehension/retelling was what he said kept his score down, which is understandable.  I know many factors can play into this, so it doesn’t worry me TOO much.  I feel like we need to step up our game immensely, though.   Socially, he said he seemed to have a setback in the beginning of the year- the kids he started to hang out with (mostly based on where he was seated in the classroom), were not making very good choices and he said, credit to Porter, he decided not to hang out with those two boys and kind of had to start over.  YAY! We are making progress on that front!!  Every year up until now I felt like he’d always gravitated toward “naughty” kids in class.   FINALLY!   He has been hanging out with a boy and his twin brother and a friend of theirs that he met during football.  His teacher said they’re good kids.  We’ve met their parents and spent a few minutes at their house on Halloween when we Trick or Treated in their neighborhood.  I’m feeling good about the “friend” issue this year.  

Hudson's conference was not unexpected, but made me feel so helpless as a parent.  Smaller issues were… messiness (he’s SO messy and disorganized), fiddling with little things, handwriting, spelling.  Across the board, attention and focus and lack of work completion was an issue.  This isn't new to us, and he has struggled with this the past 2 years. She said she knows he’s very intelligent- he has great ideas and he’s very imaginative.  He just doesn’t focus and can’t apply himself.   We discussed him being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to some things (obvs. not his organization HAHA!  His room is not neat!).  He shuts down if he feels like he can’t do something the right way, or perfectly. She said she hates taking away recess to have him do his work because she feels he needs that social time.  We made a plan to have her send his work home, because we want to know when he’s refusing to do work, and we also think that will be a motivator for him to do it in class.  He knows there will be consequences at home if he doesn’t do his work in school.  I really love his teacher- she has all sorts of “seating” for the kids.  Some kids use a chair.  Some are on a balance board.  Some are on these “t” shaped board things that they can sway on while sitting.  Some are on a yoga ball.  Some just stand.  She said that she’s tried other seating tools and he does best standing.  She said that day in particular he did use a chair and she noticed it was not a very productive work day for him, so she’ll encourage him to stand as he seems to focus a little more when he stands.  This year, however, I feel is a make or break point, especially when it comes to writing.  I didn't realize it was at this point, but his teacher wants us to look into other options to help with his focus.  She mentioned speaking to his pediatrician.  Reading online. Looking at his diet. She welcomed him using essential oils if we felt that may help.  She was fully supportive of anything we wanted to try.   We’re going to try oils for awhile and hopefully will find a combination that works well for him.  I’m so worried… so frustrated… I feel so helpless.   We see his lack of focus at home all the time.  It takes him FOREVER just to get his pajamas on and brush his teeth because he ends up distracted by multiple things.   

On a better note, we went to Amelia’s conference that morning…. and turns out we were 2 weeks early.  So, yeah.  Winning on that one.   Luckily she’s doing great- socially well rounded, very independent (HAHA!), and very in tune with others’ feelings (she mentioned one little boy wanted to play dinosaurs on the playground and kind of scared the other girls, who just didn’t want to be chased by a dinosaur.  He kind of started sulking and was sad, and Amelia went over to him and said “Hey, here’s a ball to play with!  I’ll play with you!”)  So sweet.  :)   

Saturday, November 7, 2015

wild and free saturday

This morning, Poe, Hudson and AJ put on their rain boots, fleeces and hats, packed some snacks in a backpack and headed out to the woods to play.  They spent hours out there, imagining and playing and being kids.  They cleared a spot in the woods and built a (non-functional) campfire in the middle of it (carefully clearing around it so the leaves could't catch on fire).  They scouted out places to build a fort.  They came inside and I packed them lunches in their lunch boxes and sent them back out, after showing them some stick fort ideas from Pinterest.  Way to marry technology into this, right?  HAHA! 

This afternoon, the neighbor boys came out and they made their "base fort" in the pine trees out front and spent the afternoon and early evening playing nerf wars around the yard.   

This evening, the rest of the neighbor kids came over and they continued their nerf wars, rode the quad (and pushed it up our road when it ran out of gas... so cute seeing them all work together), and made plans to play kick the can after dark.

Days like this make me so thankful for our trust in this journey.   While we're settling in and feeling like this is more and more like home, days like this make me realize that this is what it's all about.  I wanted my kids to have room to run, land to play on, nature to stretch their imaginations.  They rarely ask to play electronics.  The whining and complaining indoors doesn't happen near as often.  They can spend endless hours outside running and playing and imagining.  This is the childhood I wanted for them.  This is the childhood I dreamt of for them.  Wild and free.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Big dreams

I turned the tv on for Amelia and gymnastics were on.  She was mesmerized and said about a girl on the beams "She's good.  When I get big I'm going to do that too!"  

When a girl came on on the bars she says "Oh that's me.  Wow.  I'm good.  I'm doing good on the bouncy bars!" 

Of another girl, she said: "I want her to come to my house!" 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Amelia-isms: October Edition

Picking her up from preschool, she shows me where she accidentally wrote on her sweater at preschool.   She says "It was an accident.  It's okay.  It will come off on Sunday."


I laid out her clothes for the next day and put some underwear out for the morning.  She said "I already have underwear on!"  I told her she's been wearing them all day and she'll need clean ones in the morning. She told me "But I can wear these tomorrow again! I've only been wearing them a month!"


Invisible fence guy was here giving me a quote for the yard. He asked the ages of the boys and then Amelia says:  "Yeah, and my brothers pee standing up out of their PENISES in the front!"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

day by day

For the most part, we've settled into our home and it feels pretty good.   Most days, it does.  Most days it feels like we're in our own little corner of paradise.  We are secluded from the hustle and bustle, the kids have acres and acres to play on, we have a spacious home where we are no longer crawling on top of each other (except when everyone and the dogs want to be in the kitchen at the same time!), and the community is welcoming, friendly and has such a great, happy small town feel.  We're close to bigger cities... just 15-20 minutes from numerous cities with great shopping.

Other days just feel... off.  Other days it feels like a big mistake.  It feels isolated and foreign and unfamiliar and messy.  The "other days" are easy enough for ME to handle.  I know that we've landed in this spot for a reason.  I know we felt the need to move, to pick this place- this house- this town- for a reason. I know this is part of our journey and His plan.  But when the kids are feeling the "other days", it makes it so hard as a parent. 

Hudson has had the hardest time adjusting, and this doesn't surprise me.  I spoke with his teacher before school started and voiced my concerns.   He's quirky.  He doesn't play "typical" boy games like most of the boys did at his old school.  He sometimes has a hard time recognizing personal space. He can be obnoxious and not read social cues when people are all " You're being obnoxious, get out of my face... I'm over you".   He is immature for his age.  Even moreso being a boy.   My heart ached for him starting school.  I prayed the other kids would be accepting and find the good in him and realize his silly, sweet personality and heart were worth getting to know- quirks and all.   I was also terrified about his school work- he tends to want to do everything PERFECT and it paralyzes him into not doing ANYTHING at all.  He can be stubborn and refuse to do his work (Writing especially... he can sit for EVER saying he's thinking about what to write nad never get anything down on paper.)

As I've always done with the boys since they started school, I asked them each day who they played with at recess, and who they ate lunch with.  The first day of school I was so excited to know Hudson made a new friend right off the bat- Luke.  After a few days, it appeared he was no longer playing with Luke "because he wants to play cops and robbers and I want to play house!"  There were days he could name a few kids he played with, and there were days he said "I don't know...." hesitantly, only to finally admit he played alone.  My heart broke.  We discussed compromising and trying to play something the other kids wanted to play, but he was set on playing "house" or "wild baby animals".   He didn't want to play cops and robbers, or puppies and dogcatchers, or dinosaurs with the other kids.  We discussed that it was his choice- he had to decide if he would rather compromise and have friends to play with, or play alone and play what he wanted to play. 

The first week of school he brought home a paper that was incomplete (nothing even started on it) and a note stating that he refused to do any writing.  Another paper had a sentence on it with a note stating he completed with SIGNIFICANT help from the classroom aide.   I started having him write after school... I printed random, silly pictures off google and had him write 5 sentences about the pictures.  

I emailed his teacher last week and asked how he was doing- how school work was going and how he was doing socially.  She told me she was seeing the same things... that her class was full of great pretenders and the kids loved pretending, but Hudson wasn't wanting to try playing what everyone else was playing.   She recommended having him see the school counselor who can informally help him meet friends with a "friendship group".    She also said work completion was difficult- she could tell he was very bright but has a difficult time demonstrating it.

On Friday, I spoke with his teacher at the homecoming parade and she said that since we'd emailed, he seemed to have done a 180.   She had moved him next to Luke, and they seemed to be motivating each other to do their work.  He also had made a couple new friends that she noticed him playing with (He did tell me one day "I can't wait to go to school tomorrow... I have a new friend named Grace!"). 

Porter seemed, to me, to be taking everything in stride.  He made friends at football, and he always said he'd played some game or another with kids at recess.  He's enthusiastic to complete his homework as soon as he gets home.  When we went to the homecoming football game, he was greeted by a group of kids who ran up to him to have him go off and run around with them.  He seemed like he was doing fine. 

Tonight, however, he broke down.  All day he has been rotten to his brother and I had had enough.  I sent him to his room and went upstairs to let him know how I felt about his behavior... that he was being a bully, that the way he treated his brother was not how he would ever think of treating a friend or classmate, that I wasn't going to allow one of my kids to be a bully and that he was not going to be playing with friends until he could learn to be kind to his brother.  He started bawling.  And sobbing. We hugged and I let him calm down and asked him what he was feeling... he said he felt invisible. He said he had no friends.  He felt invisible at home and at school and that he's felt like he didn't fit in ever since 1st grade.  I asked about the boys he played with at the game and it seems like they're friendly, but this boy already has "good friends" that he's obviously been friends with for years.  I realized... maybe this isn't as easy for him as I thought.  Yeah... he isn't going to be able to jump into class and be good friends with anyone right away, and that can make you feel invisible and like such an outsider.  It takes time to build up those relationships and get to know someone well.  I explained to him that I felt very much the same... that I don't have any friends here and there isn't a school for moms to go meet other mom friends.  I let him know I understand how he feels and that the change is going to be hard for awhile until we let people get to know us.  

 So... day by day... day by day.   I know there will be good days and bad days.   I'm trying to roll with the punches here but some days I am afraid we made a wrong choice.  Most days I know we didn't... most days I know I won't regret this.  Most days I know we've opened up our kids to many more opportunities here.  But some days... some days I hate the messiness of this transition.  I hate the heartache my babies feel as they adjust.  I hate the behaviors and attitudes it brings out in all of us as we try to internalize our fears and worries and sadness and loneliness.   I look forward to the day where we feel like this is 100% home... where we belong... where we feel welcome and comfortable and familiar.

Day by day... day by day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Amelia Says

Today, as she left for school, she was wiping off the fog/condensation from the front door.  She squeals, excitedly..."Look!  I'm windshielding!"   HAHA!  OH my word.  

This girl cracks me up all the time.  I regret not writing down every little thing she says because she is SO. DARN. CUTE.   Right now she LOVES "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten.  We get in the car and she says "Let's listen to the take back my life song!"  And she really gets into it.  I need to record her one day.  

Putting on "doderant" like mommy

"Look!  I did my hair spikey like Hudson!"  (that's a GLOB of hair paste)

Lunch one day after storytime at the library.  She has the best expressions.   

Thursday, September 17, 2015

half year updates

AMELIA @ 3.5:
This girl… she has such a charismatic personality.  I swear, everywhere we go the pre-tween girls just LOVE her.  And she eats up the attention like its a bag full of candy.  When we go to Porter’s football practices on Wednesdays, there is a group of 3 girls who are probably 8-11 years old maybe, and they just LOVE playing with her.  They push her in the swing and chase her around (because she is just running wild, grinning ear to ear “Hey come this way!  Let’s go do this!  Oh you can’t catch me!”).   I smile when I overhear the girls saying to each other “She’s so ADORABLE!   Isn’t she funny?  She’s so cute!"

She cracks me up when she accidentally breaks things… she’ll fess up. “Mom, I sorry I broked that ______… but it’s okay, it was an accident!”   And she’ll flash her big grin with her dark puppy dog eyes.  

This summer she fell into my grandmas pool without floats and Ryan had to jump in and save her.   She told us for weeks “I almost DRAINED!”   And every time we went to a pool she’d say “ I need my floats so I don’t drain again.  I don’t like to drain!”  

HUDSON @ 7.5:
Hudson is slowly but surely coming out of his shell.  He’s always been so painfully shy.  When we know he’s going to be in new situations, I try to coach him on how to respond when someone talks to him…. I let him know “You don’t have to talk to them a long time… you can be polite and just say Hi, or if they ask your name just tell them. OR if they ask you a question you can give them a thumbs up if it feels to hard or scary to talk.   When we went to his new school to meet his teacher he floored me with not being scared to say hi.  He recently started gymnastics where Amelia goes and he’s having a blast.  I think he lack of competition with others is giving him confidence… he loves the pit and trampoline.  He’s becoming more confident in going into class alone (I dropped him off yesterday and when I got inside with the girls he had joined his class on his own)

PORTER @9.5:
I am so proud of the little man he is becoming.  When we went camping this past August, I noticed just how much he’s growing, socially and emotionally.  This boy, he has so much wit and sarcasm and he’s hilarious to talk to.   At the campfire, he wanted to be included in all the conversation and joked back and forth with Ryan’s uncles.  It cracked me up, seeing him light up and shoot sarcastic jokes back.  He is starting to jump out of his comfort zone, too.   He’s always been a super social kid, and is always a friend to everyone.  But, in new situations, sometimes he freezes up, which has always surprised me with his go-getter attitude.   While on vacation, he randomly volunteered to be part of a demonstration for a log cutting mill demonstration.   He got up in front of the crowd, joked with the guy doing the demonstration, and had a great time.   It was adorable.   We also went zip lining and walked across a rope bridge.  I was CERTAIN he would bail, because when we were at Disney this past January he refused to do any of the big/fast rides that went high.  He wouldn’t go on the ferris wheel, or any ride that went high up.  However, he had no fear with the rope bridge, rock wall climbing or zip lining!  It was so neat to see him becoming so brave! 


Bear with me here.   My mind and heart are so full at the moment I feel it may explode.  You see, I’ve had an amazing weekend.   Again.  WORKING.   What’s that?  Yes.   Working.  This weekend has been a mixture of Hustle and Heart… digging in and doing hard work and collaborating and brainstorming with amazing women I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis.  And digging in and doing hard emotional stuff that digs down deep to the core of you and leaves you raw and exposed and not the same as you were before.  

My job as a Lemon Dropper… our team puts on these amazing FUEL events (Fire Up Everything in Life) and I had only planned on attending the Chicago one.  However, when I found out Kelly secured Glennon Melton (THE Momastery writer) for Orlando Fuel, I was in.  I booked my flight and I was in.  

Glennon was amazing.  I mean, how couldn’t she be?  She’s amazing.   She made me reflect and think and cry and laugh hysterically, sometimes all in the same minute.  She said something this weekend, though, that really hit me.  She was talking about how we, as women, tend to judge ourselves so harshly.   We look at others and we judge ourselves because we aren’t like them, or our lives aren’t like theirs.   We see everyones “highlight reel” on social media and feel like we aren’t enough.   We start to feel like those that make choices that differs from ours means that they’re doing things better.   She told this hilarious story about not having it all together (surprise HAHA!) and feeling like this mom at the mall was feeding her “perfect” child an avocado as a dig at her.  She said…. we see these glimpses of things that are different than our journey, and we feel like those people are doing those things “at” us.  She said… No one is breastfeeding “AT YOU”.  No one is organic eating “AT YOU”.  No one is stay at home mom-ing “AT YOU”.  No one is vacationing “AT YOU”.  No one is dressing perfectly “AT YOU”.  We have to stop letting other women and their life choices be a reflection of what we don’t see in the mirror.   We have to stop judging ourselves based on their pretty, or their money, or their perfect, or their success, or their talent.  And…. we have to stop hating them for it too.  We have to be able to see and appreciate the beauty that they possess and the unique beauty that we, too, possess.  H.E.L.L.O!  

Mothering is hard.  We can’t bear the weight of life all alone and spend our lives in competition with others that are not like us.  Another thing she was saying was:  In carpentry, walls are built on joists.  Joists are where two pieces of wood join together to bear the weight of a load above it.  When the joist is too weak to bear the weight of the load, the carpenter will put a a board on one side of it.  If that isn’t enough, they’ll put another board on the other side of it.   Do you know what this is called?  SISTERING! Sistering.  Seriously.   What a perfect word, because isn’t that what our girlfriends do?  When life is hard, they come and stand beside you and they help you bear the weight of the load you are too weak to carry.  We have to stop being at odds with each other as women and we have to stand together, beside each other, and support each other.   Life is so heavy.  And messy.  And HARD.   We are going to need our sisters to survive it.  

My word this just about hit me upside the head.   And you know what happened this weekend?  A lot of sistering.   As we had dinner Saturday night, and I ended in tears about how NOT together I felt I was, how crazy life felt for me, how out of control I felt with things…. my girls… they were there beside me, standing there, giving me words of advice and encouragement and supporting me while I was weak.  Its so hard to admit I’m weak and broken and imperfect. I’m so blessed to have these girls by my side.  

As I leave Orlando and reflect on the amazing relationships I have with these women… these sisters… I realize that this is what its all about.  Coming together, working together, supporting each other.  SISTERING.   My heart is heavy as I give hugs and say goodbyes, knowing that little pieces of my heart are hopping on planes and scattering across the country back to their homes and families.  And I, too, will head home to my sweet family that I’ve missed.   I know, despite the difference, they are there beside me, sistering when I need them.  And I can’t wait to see them again, to hug their necks again.  What a blessed life I have.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Life on the other side

Holy heck... it has been a whirlwind this past month!   Let me do a little catching up, I guess.  I may come back later and go into detail more (like about our trips etc) but we'll see.  I spent my flight back home from Orlando (for FUEL)  writing out a daily schedule.  Some of my goals for my schedule are:
  • Blog 30 min/day
  • Run 30 min/3x's a week
  • Read 30 min/night before bed
  • Scrapbook about 2 hrs/week (or two times a week?)
  • Ride 1-2x's/week
So.   This past month.  
  • We closed on the house Thursday, July 29th. WOOT WOOT!  We got in and immediately I started painting the kids' rooms.  There was a bit of drama with the power etc... I'll have to write more about that later HAHA!
  • That Saturday, Ryan, Eloise and I headed to Dallas for the week for Young Living's Convention.  We had an awesome time, but I was so ready to get back to Michigan and MOVE!
  • We got back home Thursday night and drove back out to the new house to check out the painting.  We hired a painter to paint the living room and upstairs loft.   It. Looked.  Amazing. 
  • Friday we moved some things out to the new house and I finished up painting a bit. 
  • Saturday... MOVING VANS CAME!   Boy they were super fast!  Totally worth the cost. 
  • We spent a week in the house getting settled.   The first night in the new house, Porter and Hudson slept together in Hudson's new full-sized bed.   It was so sweet but it kind of broke my heart to know that they felt unsettled.  I know its normal, and I love that they felt that each other was their security.  
  • On August 15th we left AGAIN for a week up in Mackinaw City.  It was a trip we'd planned before we knew we were moving, and Ryan's uncle was flying in from Texas to camp the week with us.  We couldn't miss it.   I hate to admit, though, that my heart just wasn't into the trip.  We had a great time, but I was really just itching to be home and getting settled in.  Not to mention that I'd barely had time to work in the past month and felt like I was in a working mood and really really really wanted to just go home and hole up in my office.  Sick, right? I'll write more about the trip later :) 
  • We got home from Mackinaw and had a busy week.... the McKenney's and Kilchers came over Monday, I spent Tuesday at the barn and back in Jackson, I had a few team webinars that week, and we met with a builder to have our mudroom/laundry room addition built.  Oh, and Ryan met with a realtor back at our old house to get it listed for sale.  AND we had Home Depot out to measure to put in wood floors here at the new house.  Yeah... this carpet has GOT to go.   I don't know how people live with carpet.  Ruby keeps peeing on it.  Duncan keeps pooping on it.  The kids are spilling shit on it left and right, and I've dropped paint on it already.  Fail. 
  • We took the kids on an "official" back to school shopping trip. We had a lot of fun.  The boys picked out matching shoes.   I found lots of cute things for the girls- as if they need anything new HAHA! 
  • The last week of summer we tried to cram everything in.  We went to Independence Lake Blue Heron Bay waterpark/splash pad on Thursday.  I felt like we just needed to go do something fun.  Ryan was mowing the lawn (it takes freakin' 5 hours!) so I loaded up the 4 kids and we went!  I was a bit bummed at first... seeing all these other moms with groups of friends and I was there alone.  But whatever.   I ended up chatting with a dad whose daughter was playing with Amelia and heard his whole story about moving back from Chicago and he's an actor and we talked about challenges of working from home/for yourself etc.   Then Porter realized a little girl he'd been playing with was in his grade at his new school.  SOOO I mustered up guts and went up to her mom and introduced myself and chatted with her for quite a bit.  
  • The next day we went to Erika's and hung out at her pool.   The boys had Eian, our neighbor at our old house, come stay the night.  
  • I finally got the boys registered for school... whew!   We went to their open houses and I'm super impressed with their schools.  I'm a little leery of P's teachers, so we'll see how that goes (he has a male teacher... and his last male teacher wasn't so great, so I'm just totally skeptical of male teachers HAHA!).   Hudson's teacher has been teaching awhile and she seems like she has a good, firm personality for Hudson which will be great.   Their media centers have iMacs in them... like 15....whaaa?  Sweet.  They also have this local Farm to School Program where one week a month they bring in fresh fruit/veggies etc from the community as a part of their lunches.  It seems pretty awesome!
  • Amelia started preschool today and she LOVED it.  I knew she's be great.  She went into her class with no problem at all.  She's so ready.  I'm not. 
  • Eloise is getting so big! She's the smiliest thing ever.  She LOVES her big siblings and they can make her smile and laugh so hard.  
WHEW!  So that's it for now... I have a lot I want to go into more detail about, so I'll have to get my butt to work on that 30 min/day blogging!  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The last time

Last week, we were in the middle of chaos moving into the new house.  The kids had had about their 14th consecutive night being up far past bedtime.  Nerves were frayed. Everyone was overtired.  I got the kids in the bath and my eyes were on the prize: bedtime.  

I got Hudson and Amelia out of the girls' bathtub, and inbetween reminding Hudson to brush is teeth and wrangling Amelia to get her pj's on, I heard Porter yell for me to look at him.  I peek across the hall and acknowledge him and his silliness.  He says to me "Take my picture, mom!"

I sighed.  My phone was downstairs.  I wanted everyone in bed.  I began to tell him no and then I paused.  No. These moments are going by too fast.  They're growing up so fast.  How do I know this won't be the last time he ever asks me to take a silly picture of him in the bathtub?  How sad will I feel if I pass up this opportunity in my hands to document these fleeting moments of childhood that he is so quickly outgrowing?  

So I told him to hang on. I ran downstairs and got my phone.  So worth it.  So. Worth it.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

goodbyes suck

7 summers ago I sat in this exact spot, on dirty carpet, feeding an infant Hudson while 2 year old Porter scampered around. The weeks prior to closing on this house were stressful and emotional. This house was my happy place. It was dirty, a foreclosure, but it was to be our home and I had big dreams for it. I would come here during the days, pick up a hot n ready pizza, land slowly work on fixing things up and making it a home. Today we are picking up the last straggling things of our belongings and it's breaking my heart to say goodbye.

Emotional wreck right now. I can't revisit this house again. It makes me so sad to think of all the memories we leave here. This is the last time the boys will run to the neighbors to play with E and K. I won't see them climb the tree in the front yard again. I won't hear them scamper off to the neighbors for Popsicles. It's crazy how 4 walls can hold so much more than your worldly belongings.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The last night.

Tonight is our last night at H House.   This move is so bittersweet.  We never thought we would have or want to move from H House. When we moved here, we had a 2 year old and 7 week old.  This was our first "real, grown up" house.  It had a doorbell and sidewalk to the front door!  It was more than double the size of our first home and we had big visions for this house.  I still have the long term "to do" list for H House and we surprisingly completed SO much of it.  We have so many amazing memories in this home.  Our boys grew up here!  The boys had their first days of school here.  First steps were taken by Hudson and Amelia. Our girls were brought home here.  Our family expanded from 4 to 5 to 6 in this home.  We've eaten dinner with good friends here.  We've had Thanksgiving dinners here from the stages of having "kid tables" to now having to host it buffet style because everyone has grown so much.  Santa came down this chimney for the past 7 years.  We've put sweat, tears and lots of love into these 4 walls.  I pray that the next family that moves in will see how special this house is and they too will create some amazing family memories here.  I hope they realize what a treasure the neighbors are.  Earlier today I heard the kids laughing and playing outside and it made me sad to think that it would likely be the last time Gary and Linda, our neighbors, would hear our kids' laughter (and fighting) from their yard. As hard as the house is going to be to say goodbye to, the neighbors will be the hardest.  They've become like family to us.  It's special, having neighbors who are a bit older than you but who get along with you and are so fun and relatable. They treat my kids like their grandchildren.  I remember when Porter was about 4, he realized Linda kept popsicles at her house so he would draw pictures for them and ask to take them next door, hoping she would offer him a Popsicle in return for his scribbly art.  The memories here.... So many amazing memories in our hearts.  So long, H House.  Many blessings for your next family.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

saying goodbye

Tonight the boys and I had a good cry over all the changes going on.   We've had a rough few days- they've been GOOD days, don't get me wrong- filled with fun and hard work and exciting changes, but not a whole lot of "family connecting time".  

I was tucking them in bed tonight and reminded them to get to sleep quickly so they didn't sleep in too late tomorrow and miss us before we left for the airport.  They both started bawling- but not because we're leaving- because we're moving.  They're SO upset about leaving our neighbors.  And truthfully, I am too.  And I know our neighbors are as well... last weekend we sat out on Gary and Linda's new deck and had a few drinks and the kids played Bocce ball with Gary and Ryan.  Linda got choked up watching the kids play- she said that's what she wants her back yard to look like- people over there having fun, kids playing.  She said she always thought she'd get to watch our kids grow up.  And that Amelia just has this special spot in her heart- she just adores her.  

Gaw.  I'm about crying now.   We just LOVE our neighbors.  And the Kelleys--- our kids have grown up together!  They're like siblings.  Its going to be so so hard to leave them. SO hard.  I know that changes are hard but will bring lots of new, good things into our lives, but it really sucks to have to say goodbye to people we love so much.

I tried to explain to the boys that goodbye doesn't mean we won't ever see them again.   Its like our family- we don't live next door to them, but we still love them and still see them.  Same goes for the Pattons and Kelleys.   We will always love them and miss them, but we can always call them or email or text them and see them if we want!  We just have to make time for it.   Porter wanted to get a picture of them, so I told him we'd make sure to take pictures with them before we move so we can put their pictures up at our new house.  I told them that Gary, Linda and the Kelleys will ALWAYS have a special place in our hearts because they were a big part of our lives the past 7 years.

I'm also so nervous about our new neighbors.  Its hard to think of a move as if we are "trading" off one set of neighbors for another.  It kind of is.  Moving is give and take... compromise.   We're trading off a smaller house for a larger one.  We're choosing a home that suits us better.  But, the trade off is we're also trading in our neighbors, community, school as well.  So, we have to pray and hope that what we're trading ends up being good for us.   So far we really like our new neighbors but we don't know them well enough to know if they are truly down to earth type people.  My gut feeling right now is that they won't really be people (wives) that I hang out with and get close to, but so far our kids get along SO well and love each other.  Time will tell.

I'm trying to remind myself that we've been so blessed with amazing neighbors and we're so lucky to have people in our lives that make it hard to say goodbye.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Be still in the inbetweenness

This moving thing is starting to wear on me.  The stress of being here, and wanting to be there.  Top that off with a crammed timeline- hoping to close ASAP so we have time to paint and get some things done in the new house before we leave for Dallas, trying to pack and also plan for the kids to be here with my sister for the week we are out of town, planning for the movers to come the day after we get home, and then knowing we have another vacation a week later.  I'm feeling 50 shades of anxious and stressed.  

We've had so many hang ups with the mortgage on our new house. Turns out it's easier to get a loan when you don't have money.   The underwriter is being so ridiculously nit picky about things.  They are having all sorts of issues with our LLC and the fact that we just created it this spring even though we've had this business for over 2 years.  We have essentially had to launder our down payment into our personal account because they don't want us using funds that are in our LLC bank account or that can be traced back to it.  Funny, seeing that the LLC account IS MY JOB and everything that is in our personal account comes from it when we write ourselves a paycheck every month.  We are waiting for one last hangup and if the underwriter still isn't happy with our documentation we will likely switch to another lender and start the process over.  (However, we have an AMAZING loan person who is fighting tooth and nail for us, and had already given the 2nd bank the rundown of our story and they said they could likely close us by the end of the month since we have everything done already) 

So I'm trying to be patient.  I'm trying to be still and trust that there is something to be gained or learned from this process. I'm trying to be happy in the present, even though I'm so checked out of this house already.  I'm ready to go into the next step. I'm ready to settle in and get our lives started in our new home.  I'm ready to not have boxes everywhere, and to not have these trips ahead of us anymore.  I have been trying to spend some quiet time each day and pray and just be present in the here and now.  I know that this is just part of the process and we will be through it soon, but being stuck in the middle of it right now just feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away. I know it isn't.  But it feels that way.  

So anyhow, I've been trying to focus on things that keep me centered here, where we are, regardless of mess or chaos or in betweenness.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

(the other) Apple Creek

We decided at the last minute to go camping with the Kilchers and Deers at Apple Creek (not our new neighborhood... but ironic, right?), which is a little campground about 10 minutes from our house. Worked out perfect so that we could go let the dogs out a couple times a day. 

Erika texted us that a site was available across from them, and we packed up and headed out a few hours later.  We had a great relaxing weekend.  The kids rode bikes, got disgustingly dirty, we watched fireworks, went on walks, played at the playground, decorated bikes for the 4th of July parade, roasted marshmallows, grilled out, walked dogs, found worms and frogs and bugs, and well... all sorts of fun things!  Our kids get along so well.   Hudson LOVES Jude... he was so excited to go camp with him and he took him on countless walks.   Jack just ADORES Eloise and was always snuggling up to her and wanting to hold her.  Amelia and Emryk had so much fun being silly little toddlers together too.  

We had a couple hilarious things happen over the weekend.  Sunday, the people next to us were leaving and the wife accidentally drove the truck into the water spigot, breaking it off.  Water was shooting EVERYWHERE and flooded our campsite.  We had to move our camper, but luckily a lot of people were clearing out so we just moved next to the Kilchers.  (Michelle and Kevin had left already).  Then, late Sunday night everyone was playing kick the can in the dark... I was sitting in the camper and had fallen asleep waiting for Amelia to fall asleep.  Hudson comes in and tells me there is a problem... there is water everywhere.  I went outside and there was ANOTHER water spigot broken.  Turns out a 12 year old girl from another campsite was playing kick the can with them and she ran into the spigot and broke it off, flooding ANOTHER site next to us.  The poor girl was in so much pain and her parents took her to the ER.  I wouldn't be surprised if she broke her foot.   I felt so bad for her!   Erika and I couldn't stop laughing at the craziness of not one but TWO broken spigots near us, and TWO geysers of water flooding the campground.  Quite the memories! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

when your tuesday feels like monday

Today has been so chaotic and jumbled and I feel like neither Ryan nor I have enough arms or eyes to keep on top of things.  Our living room looks like our closets exploded.   Loads and loads and loads of laundry are waiting to be folded.  Ack.   The kids have been running wild.  Eloise is being super needy today.  Not fussy... just... she wants to be held.   She's also been more awake lately and she's still in that awkward stage where she can't play or interact much, but just wants to be awake.  And held.  
  • We took a last minute camping trip over teh weekend.   We had a great time but.... we had limited wifi/cell service so I am spending a huge part of my day catching up on work I got behind on over the weekend.
  • We have both been scrambling to get together last minute documents and information and letters to get our mortgage on the new house loan wrapped up.
  • Speaking of... buying a house and being self employed is like jumping through a million hoops. We've had to write letters with proof of when I started with Young Living, and letters stating our intent of keeping our current house off the market until we move, and letters from our CPA stating they have in fact done our taxes and that we still have our LLC.
  • I signed the boys up for football and soccer camp in the new town we're moving to, and signed Hudson up for a Cookies and Canvas class too.  I'm hoping that they can at least meet a few kids that will be in their school so they have a few familiar faces when school starts.  Porter thinks he wants to try lacrosse in the spring too.
  • I have been obsessed with Pinterest and planning what we're going to do with the house once we move in, as well as trying to figure out how we're going to lay out our horse pastures etc.  I have no clue what I'm doing, by the way, when it comes to horse pastures!  But then this leaves me thinking... we need to clear out the wooded area to make pastures.  When will we have time for that?  
  • I think I'm going to board Lacey this fall/winter so that we can try to get settled into the house, get some of the property cleared for more pasture land, and I'll have access to an indoor arena to ride (score!).   So, calling boarding stables in the area is on my list as well this week.
  • I'm chomping at the bit to get things scheduled before we leave for Convention in August.  We're going to have someone come in and do the floors and paint the interior of the house while we're gone... or at least that's my plan... but I have a feeling dates aren't going to line up like I want HAHA!
  • We should have a closing date in the next 2 weeks or so!  This is exciting... as it may give us about an extra week before we leave for Dallas.   Did I mention we have 2 trips planned in August... so we'll be gone 14 out of the 31 days in August?  I'm not sure how we're supposed to move in the middle of all that!
  • My brain is just in 53 different directions.  I'm making lists on top of lists on top of lists on top of lists.  Work Lists.  Moving Lists.  Kids Activities Lists. Chore Lists.  Team Lists.  Finding New Doctors/Insurance/Barns/Vet/Dentist/Church Lists.  New House Project Lists.    Scrapbook/Project Life/Photo Book Lists.  Childcare While We're Gone Lists.  Summer Camp Lists.
  • I'm finding myself wishing that time would hurry up so  can get into the new house, get this house on the market and get settled into life again.   But then, I'm realizing that summer is going by SO FAST and that technically once we're settled into the house means summer is over!  Catch 22 there.  
The boys have Nerd Camp tonight.  Tomorrow I have a full day of coaching calls with my team, and then I got a phone call today reminding me of Eloise's ultrasound appointment tomorrow (which I had completely forgotten about). Plus I have dinner with a friend to cram in there too.   Ryan's going to be single dad-ing it up tomorrow, that's for sure.  Sorry, honey! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

its time

If I said I wasn't freaking out about the upcoming move we're making, I'd be lying.  I have thrown around "what if's" left and right since the sellers accepted our offer on their house.  I'm scared.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited.  I'm hopeful.  But mostly... I'm freaking out.  

We've never lived outside of Jackson.  We don't HAVE to move to this are.  We don't HAVE to leave Jackson.  However, we also don't HAVE to stay here either.  Our jobs give us the freedom to choose where we want to move to, and that's overwhelming.  Exciting, but overwhelming.  I almost think it would make it easier if we had a pinpointed spot we NEEDED to stay near.   Neither of us loooove Jackson enough to want to stay here forever, but it also makes me nervous that we won't love the area we're moving to either.  (you know, that whole "Grass is greener on the other side" saying...)

I'm just so afraid of regretting this move.  I'm afraid we aren't going to find a church we love as much as Westwinds.   I'm freaking out that we won't like our new neighbors (and we only have 2 options... since there are only 3 houses on the private drive and all 3 of us have acreage so there isn't likely to be anyone else building here).  I'm worried we won't make friends in the area that "mesh" with us.  Or that we'll hate living a little bit out in the country/rural areas.  

I'm also sad... sad that we'll be further away from our friends in Jackson.  I'm sad that we're leaving a house that we've spent the past 7 years putting our sweat and heart into.  I'm sad that we're leaving neighbors that we absolutely adore. I'm sad that the boys are going to leave the neighbor kids they've grown up with.  I'm scared for the boys and their transition to a new school.  What if they don't make friends? What if they don't fit in? 

I know for the most part I'm overreacting.  I know for many people moving to a new town, or even a new state, is nothing.  But, moving outside of our comfort zone isn't something we are used to, so this is huge.  And scary. And it feels really unnecessary, but it also feels so right.  It feels like a chance is in front of us- nothing is holding us here.  It feels like we need to be brave. Adventurous.  Live a little. Explore and get outside of this little town we've grown up in.  Show our kids that we can do brave things, that we can stick together in scary, new situations.  

All those things have been running through my head.  The fear.  The worry.  The thought of regret.  The excitement.  The possibilities.  

On Monday we had the inspections done at Apple Creek.   Monday could not have come at a better time.  I literally had just spewed all those fears to some of my closest friends and then God gave me a nod of approval that I'd been waiting for. 

When we got to Apple Creek, the inspector (Ken) came out and said "So, this is my house..."  to which we were both kind of confused.   Turns out wife who owns the house was Ken's daughters preschool teacher.  They liked Ken's house and floorplan, so Ken gave them the blueprints and they had the house built!  So, he was super familiar with everything in the house and filled us in on all the pros/cons.   The house passed with flying colors.  It is a nice, solid house.  The only issues are that the gutters need to be cleaned out and there is a leaky tub handle in the master bathroom.  Easy peasy.  (Way better than the inspections on H House almost exactly 7 years ago! )

As we were leaving we saw the neighbors walking up the road.  A girl around the boys' age was riding a bike and a littler boy was on a motorized john deere tractor.  Their mom was walking with them.  She stopped and said hi and we started chatting.   She was really sweet.  It turns out they have 4 kids as well- 10 year old twins (boy and girl), a 9 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. AND the other house on the road has a 9 and 6 year old.  So incredibly perfect.   She seemed really nice, and we chatted about schools and the neighborhood and kids for a few minutes.  

When we drove away I just felt so at peace.  I feel like I was given a nod of approval that this is the right decision and that everything is going to be okay.   It will be a-okay.