Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Break Re-Cap

Fair warning. This will be a long post. It was a great week, full of relaxation, fun, adventure, long drives, good food, awesome friends, incredible family and snow showers.

We started our week working on the yard. The trampoline still does not have a permanent home. This job has become a little bigger than we anticipated. Ty and his buddy have been very helpful. Greg was starting to lose patience with his assistants so I equipped them with tools for excavation. The little scientists were in their glory. Cuteness wins every time.

On Tuesday, we hit the road for the Schmucker's house near Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were welcomed by our sweet Colby and his baby sister Josie, who isn't sure about me. She loved Greg. I kept trying to explain to her that babies love me but she wasn't buying it. I got a kiss on our way out the door Wednesday anyway. It was a sympathy kiss, but a kiss none the less.
Indoor trampoline? Yes, please!

Checking out the deer out back....Brian and Robyn own a gorgeous log home in the woods. To say we relaxed by a large stone fireplace for over 24 hours would be an understatement. We loved it!

Colby and his buddy, Makenna.....he hasn't forgotten who to turn to for entertainment, cuddles or giggles.

Kate checking out Robyn's ipad with strict supervision

Isn't she beautiful?
Wednesday evening, after dinner, we headed to my Mom's house. We drove state routes the entire way through very rural towns. It was a beautiful drive and also quite relaxing. We saw gorgeous churches, cool old barns and very few other cars. We enjoyed ourselves. We arrived at bedtime but spent some time unwinding and chatting before putting little people and Grandpa to bed. I woke Thursday morning to the sound of Ty's chatter as he followed my mom around the house while she prepared for work. I attempted to rescue her but was met with a grin that let me know she was enjoying his constant banter. In fact, on Friday evening Mom took Kate and Ty on a Grandma Date to the park. As they were backing out of the driveway, Ty told Kate, "Now we get to talk to Grandma a lot"! By the way, the park was both kids' highlight from the entire week. Ty says, "it was awesome".
On Thursday we saw Kristin and Avry. Ty and Avry are still not friends. Darn kids. They will not win this battle. Their mommas love each other too much. We also stopped in on Pam and Ken who lived across the street from us on Hile Lane. We were a bit sad to see the condition of our old neighborhood but our little house is still being well cared for. We have a lot of precious memories there.
Friday we went to the jewelry shop because Greg has had his eye on tungsten wedding bands for awhile. He likes the gun metal look. It is pretty sharp. He started talking to me about it a few months ago in anticipation of our upcoming twentieth wedding anniversary. While we were in Ohio, we sought out our favorite jeweler and Greg ordered his new band. He had been persuading me to also update my wedding set. My mom offered a great suggestion and Kristin can always be relied upon for an opinion about jewelry but I still entered the shop feeling uncertain about a change.  I had ideas of maybe trying on a new band in white gold to better compliment Greg's new band but once I walked across the threshold, I lost my nerve. I can't do it. This is my wedding set and seeing Greg turn his yellow gold band over to Bethany to be scrapped, made my heart sink a bit. There is a strong possibility I will be calling her on Monday to retrieve that band. I just can't bear to think of it melted down after representing a solid marriage for twenty years. Generally speaking I don't consider myself very sentimental; however, I am also in need of new dishes and can't bring myself to upgrade our wedding dishes yet either!

I saw Jill for a very quick lunch and then took the kids back up the road to JD's Custard which has been a family favorite for years. Kate and Ty now understand why. This trip was a walk down memory lane for us. A lot has changed and we know we won't be making as many trips up once Mom and Dad move away from Englewood this summer. 

Friday night the family had Donato's pizza and I salivated. Oh how I still miss pizza. Anyway, Kristin and I were able to walk for quite awhile and Dad entertained Kate with his favorite music. Kate watched videos of Eric Clapton with him and noted that he has likely "had a lot of lessons". Dad was pretty pleased to hear her observation. Miss Kate would like to take lessons as well.

Of course, I don't know if you have heard but there is a big deal basketball tournament going on. It appears we have teams that mean something to people in our lives competing against one another. I couldn't care less and slipped off with a book for a bit Friday night and woke suddenly to Greg getting sick. It was a long hard night for him and we made the tough decision to go home early rather than see extended family on Saturday. Mom and Dad jumped in to help pack and Ty requested their cheese puffs and oreos as if Grandma and Grandpa were a grocery store! (We brought them both and a whole lot of other food too). Greg had what appears to have been a migraine but we aren't sure. The weather was horrible for driving home but we arrived safe, content and ready to prepare for the real world week ahead. Reality may hit a little hard this week.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


We played hooky from church today because it was the only time this weekend the entire family would be together to celebrate Erin and Greg. Lauren had to be at work by eleven so we chose to have brunch together. It was a great morning. Erin requested homemade cinnamon rolls. This recipe is somewhat like the biblical fishes and loaves story. It claims to take 30 minutes and make 12 rolls. Thank God I decided to make them on Saturday because three hours later, I had 38 rolls. I pawned pans of them off on unsuspecting neighbors and still had far too many lying around the house after this morning's brunch. After breakfast I asked Erin what she wanted for dinner knowing Greg's pork chops are on the agenda for his birthday tomorrow. She answered far too quickly, "ice cream". Ty's mouth dropped open! He was shocked! Is this a possibility? He looked from me to Erin in a state of disbelief. I hesitantly agreed and he celebrated by hugging Erin. I then looked at Greg and suggested we make use of his birthday gift card to Longhorn because there was no way I was eating ice cream for dinner, birthday or not. Everyone won. It was a good day.
My superman. I love him.


Nineteen years ago today our beautiful honeymoon surprise entered the world after a very quick labor. I woke a little after 3 in the morning convinced the baby was kicking my bladder and the previous night's nachos were causing gas pains. After about thirty minutes in the bathroom, I woke Greg. He timed my "gas pains" lasting over a minute and coming every thirty seconds and decided I was in labor. Being a young woman determined not to be sent home from the hospital with a leaky bladder and gas pains, I made him call my mother before the doctor. My mother yelled at Greg, "why are you calling me? Call the doctor!" Poor Greg. The doctor sent us to the hospital. Greg was ready immediately. I was doubling over every minute at this point and needed a few extra minutes to get dressed while Greg lovingly held the apartment door open and instructed my bent over body to "come on!". I did not cuss at that point. My sister rode with us and my parents followed. By the time we were in the Blazer, there was no doubt I was in labor. I could not believe I would be in that level of pain for 24 hours or more like the childbirth education classes prepared me. I hurt from head to toe and was vomiting out the window. I begged Greg to hit me over the head with a baseball bat. Fortunately he declined. I can still see the big silly grin on his face as I cried. He was pretty pumped about this whole baby business. At that moment, I was certain I wasn't going to survive. We arrived at Miami Valley Hospital in record time around 4am and I was already dilated to 9. It was Erin's birthday. Greg quietly asked if perhaps I thought I could hold on until midnight so she could share his birthday. Again, I did not cuss but my eyes may have.

At 4:49 am on March 23, 1995, I became a mom. She was gorgeous. She was perfect. She was ours and we were smitten. Greg who had never been exposed to babies prior to his own was a natural. He took to her immediately and their bond is strong to this day. She still calls him Daddy.

She has grown into an intensely passionate beautiful woman. We are proud to be her parents and are still rather smitten. Happy birthday to you, Erin Gabrielle. We love you.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring has sprung

Spring officially kicked off yesterday and we celebrated by taking the entire family out for Orange Leaf. All eight of us filed in after dinner and enjoyed being together for a bit. Justin was our eighth family member since he tends to be around these days and he torments all my children as though he is a sibling. I had my camera in my purse and desperately wanted to take photos for no other reason than we were all together and it was fun. I do have snapshots in my mind and didn't irritate anyone taking those.

So it was the first official day of spring and the sun showed up to help us celebrate. I rediscovered my spot on the swing with a book and made time for a walk around the neighborhood where I spied flowers in bloom and Ty initiated another rock collection. Not all rocks are thrown into the creek but are saved on his dresser. Yay. Or not.

Tonight I tossed a few buckets of balls while Ty practiced swinging his bat for the first time in months. The boy has quite an arm as several balls were retrieved from the field.  We are soaking up the warmth and sunshine while we can. Rumor has it we are in for another cold spring break this week.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A few things about Ty

When he grows up, he wants to be a dad.

He needs to know how animals hug.

When he is five, he will fly a rocket to the moon because he will be sooooo big. (Stated with his hand stretched way up above his head.)

We were wrapping up prom shopping for Lauren and ended up at Old Navy for flip flops because she won't wear dress shoes. Ty discovered a shirt and tie on a rack and determined he needed to wear it to Aunt Theresa's house for Mason's party. Given that this child is so much like his tee-shirt wearing Daddy, I was shocked. I can't easily get a sweater on the boy, much less a tie! When we got home, he grabbed his fedora hat from the dress up bin and declared he had an outfit. He also planned on wearing flip flops. Shirt, tie and fedora works with flip flops about as well as a formal prom gown does, but I am not judging. They are both cute enough to pull it off. However, when it came time to get ready for the party, Ty opted out of the tie and fedora.

Last night I rounded the corner and heard my little boy singing to himself, "I know I am feeling bad. And I want to play with someone but no one wants to play with me". I sat down beside him and asked what he was doing. Ty answered simply, "just singing the song I sing when I am sad". It broke my heart.

He would like his grandma and grandpa to move to Georgetown because Ohio is too far away. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Celebrating Mason Cole!

We spent the day at my sister's yesterday celebrating Mason's seventh birthday. It was a gorgeous day full of good family fun. Days like this always pass much too quickly, making Mom and Dad's upcoming retirement that much sweeter. They are buying house in Theresa's area. We'll have more room to spread out when we invade once they are settled.

All of the kids had a blast. Someone in attendance had a general idea of Hunger Games and enlisted all the little one's assistance in re-creating it in the back yard. Ty was in his glory until losing his sword for making a big boy cry. The big boy in question called Ty "little" and there is no deeper insult in Ty's mind these days. Then said big boy took away Ty's sword. Ty took it back and smacked that kid hard with it.

These two were entertaining. Give a couple of teens a kid toy and things are bound to get out of control. Quickly. They screamed and laughed up and down the road all afternoon. Lauren was our driver for the trip to London and somehow shaved 30 minutes off our drive. Hmm? So, I drove us home.
And these two? Clearly, they were the life of the party. Justin wanted to meet more of the family so he joined us for the day after working third shift Friday night. He wore his Louisville Cardinals shorts despite being warned he was headed into UK territory. My brother-in-law let him know he was welcome back sans the shorts next time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

75 Degrees!

Good Morning, Sunshine!

It would be a significant understatement to say that this was a gorgeous day. From sunrise until now, 7pm, we've soaked up sunshine and fresh air. I took the kids to the zoo along with most everyone else in the Louisville area this afternoon. We accomplished two playground stops, two snack breaks and saw less than half the exhibits but we returned home tired, dirty and happy.

This evening we enjoyed a light dinner in the fresh air and praised God for another, "I am okay but I was in an accident" call. Let me assure you those calls will sink the heart of the strongest of mothers. Lauren was the passenger in this particular fender bender and no one was injured. Thanking God.

Now if you will excuse me, I need secure all the outdoor furniture and toys because rumor has it we are in for a severe thunderstorm tonight followed by a winter storm with below zero wind chill factors tomorrow. I think Mother Nature is going through menopause.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

Have I mentioned how much I love this weather?

Burning Energy

Spring was in the air today and we couldn't drink in enough of it. After a bit of school work and lunch, we headed to a local park with a fantastic paved trail. I brought the kids' bikes so they could ride along with me.
Somewhere during our second mile my knee let me know that in no uncertain terms would I continue running. It used hurtful words and was rather ruthless. I am grateful I was able to walk my way out of the park, load up the bikes and get home before my knee grew to the baseball size mass it is currently. It isn't comfortable but I am still thrilled we got out and about today. I am starting to question the wisdom of running rather than the walking that I have always enjoyed. Greg demanded an explanation for the determination I have shown toward running the last few months. "Because I want to run a 5K while I am 40" earned me a well deserved eye roll.

Kate humored me with a few photos. Her brother is suddenly more self conscience when I pull out the camera which breaks my heart a bit. He is growing so quickly, I want to preserve every moment I can.

And finally, if you are a parent with a child in sports, this is a must read.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Oh Makenna!

I  picked up my daughter from a sleep over with her friend today. Jilly's parents have adopted her cousin, Matt who is just three years younger. When Makenna spends the night, Matt's friend Gabe does too. Matt and Gabe have become honorary little brothers to Makenna. Makenna explained that her friend's mom took all four of them to Five Guys for burgers last night and then went to Target. She let the kids wander while she shopped. Makenna and Matt spent the entire period of time they were there riding in carts brandishing plastic guns playing war. They were all over the store, having a blast. How on earth I wasn't called to pick up my child is beyond me. At one point in the story telling, Makenna declared she had announced herself as "Five Feet of Terror". I couldn't keep a straight face. Seriously? She's five feet of something but I don't know that terror would be the correct adjective.

She went on to tell me that she stood up to a boy who lied and was mean to a friend this week. Yesterday she walked up to the boy's lunch table to say hello and all the boys there cowered. They are afraid of Little Miss Five Feet of Terror. Heaven help me.
We spent the afternoon setting up our Christmas present from Santa. The new trampoline won't fit in the landscaped area created for it so we have more work to do but we are well on our way to energy burning fun!
 Let me introduce our work crew......
And our shift supervisor. 
We aren't quite finished but allowed some supervised jump time anyway.

Isn't she terrifying?

Friday, March 7, 2014


Looking for a quiet activity to pass some time with little fingers? Q-tip painting! They loved it.
I decided to join an online group in a 40 Days of Gratefulness challenge for Lent this year. Essentially, we are all being asked to give up complaining. Given my general attitude toward the weather and being cooped up in the house all winter has been anything but grateful, I knew it was a challenge the Lord himself would appreciate me participating in. After all, I am also a parent tired of the endless whining of my children. For the record, that wasn't a complaint. It is just simply a fact. A fact God uses regularly to teach me patience, grace and the power of time out. To be honest, my time outs involve tea and a book but not the bible these days which has even more to do with my negative spirit than the weather. But I digress. Wednesday was the kick off and I woke to a small flare of some sort. My hands were swollen, I was achy all over and felt beyond tired. It has been a long time since I woke up in that condition. I am grateful I did not face a full fledged flare; however, getting to the bottom of this one took some investigative work. I discovered the champagne mustard I used in a pork tenderloin glaze Tuesday evening contained wheat flour. Ugh. I am not going to lie. My reaction to that fact did not in anyway reflect a grateful heart. I was annoyed. So now that I have had time to regroup, seek the real time out with the Lord I needed, and decided champagne mustard is the least of which I have given up, I am counting it a blessing that I am simply a little under the weather and the weekend promises a fresh start.

In other news, we are watching Brutus carefully. The old boy went to the vet for his annual appointment two and a half weeks ago where we discovered he's lost ten pounds in the last year. Given his age and the fact he was a on a weight gain trend for a few years, it is somewhat concerning. We have taken it upon ourselves to increase his food in the evenings when he is convinced he is starving anyway. We go back in another week and a half to check his weight again. At this point, we are comfortable waiting on him to show us what's next. All outward signs indicate he is healthy, even puppy-like in the snow or during moments of playtime with Greg or the kids. He is still inhaling the table scraps little Maverick insists on throwing him and enjoying car rides with Lauren that involve a small fry from McDonald's. We are concerned about the weight loss and sadly, he appears to be losing more. The vet offered blood work but was honest with us about the likelihood being cancer. Praise God Greg and I are on the same page with this. We wouldn't put an animal through Chemo treatments because we consider it inhumane on top of impossible in our family budget. Ignorance is bliss. We'd rather not know and enjoy what time we have left. We hope it is still a good long while but pray he makes it clear when we need to help him say good bye. I am not much of an animal lover myself but Brutus is family and a huge part of our life. He's pretty special overall.

Now to lighten the mood....a few Ty quotes from this week. He is so funny.
  1. Out of the blue the other day Ty informed me he wasn't having much fun being four. 
  2. Yesterday he told me he will be a grown up when he is five. 
  3. He wants a pirate themed birthday party this year. I asked him who he wanted to invite and he listed three neighbor kids and Paige. (Lauren's best friend from down the road).
  4. Last night at bedtime he decided he wants to change rooms again. This time he wants to sleep in our room in between me and Greg. Sorry little man. That is not happening. 
He takes advantage of any snuggle time he can get prior to bedtime. It isn't every night but fairly often. Putting him into the top bunk isn't exactly an easy process but he wakes enough to help.

Greg left for work early again last night and the kids complained they didn't get Daddy time and wanted to make up for it by sleeping in his side of the bed. By my calculations, the kids assume Daddy's side makes up for about 90% of the bed. We should have considered the King size mattress a few weeks ago.