Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Night Ice Cream

We had to spend our Friday night doing really boring stuff that just needed to be done (i.e. grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry) so we decided to stop for ice cream for just a little bit of fun. It was Jackson's first ice cream cone- he knew just to what to do!

I tried to get him to eat his cone, but he insisted on using the spoon. He just thought the cone was the bowl.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where a kid can be a kid (and the food is disgusting)

With the end of the semester schoolwork (yes, I have had all semester to work on these papers and yes, I should have started them sooner) and the never-ending yard work that accompanies home ownership I have fallen behind in posting events as they've happened. So, I have some catching up to do.

As we are now counting down the days before Derek leaves, we are trying to capitalize our time together and work on making memories. (Shouldn't this be the goal in everyday living and not just when a significant separation is in the future?) Well, a few weekends ago, Derek wanted take Jackson to Chuck-E-Cheese and I said, "why not?"

We had a lot of fun. The pizza was gross.

Jackson loved the horse game. Well, he enjoyed riding the horse and couldn't care less about the race.

Like mother, like son- Jackson loved Skee ball.

But, he has a different technique when it comes to the getting the balls in the targets. Though, despite being inches away, he still only put the balls in the 1,000 point slot.

And when Jackson lost interest in a game while it was still going- Derek took over. He did awesome at toddler whack-a-mole game.

And of course, being one and all, sometimes he was more interested in the buckles and other random things instead of the actual ride.

We had a really good evening. But next time (because somehow I know there will be a next time) we will be sure to grab pizza somewhere else and then head over to Chuck-E-Cheese just to play the games.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Morning Blues?

Feeling a case of the the Mondays coming on this morning? Check out this video for a cure! It will definitely make you smile.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bits and Peices

I may or may not be procrastinating my paper on neurogenesis in the hippocampus while posting this blog.

I have practically exhausted my word typing limit for the day, so that I just have a few random pics and a cute video to share from earlier this week.

Sweet Puppy Love- how they go from annoying each other to insisting on being right next to each other- I can never understand.

Okay, so they make bibs these really cool bibs that have pockets that collect food- however, Jackson would rather wear it as a cape so it loses it's functionality.
But take a look at the floor- I am quite sure that even if the bib/cape was functional, there is no way it could have helped with this mess.

 We had a playdate with Kalei and Braxton at McDonalds on Friday. Jackson's been good with taking bites, I just gave him half a chicken sandwich. I turned my attention to play with the baby and turned around to see this.

Jackson loves playing basketball. He has a smaller hoop in the basement that he can reach on his own, but we have to push this hoop up to the landing. He had already been shooting hoops for about 10 minutes, so he was beginning to lose interest- especially when he found he could see his reflection in the door as he jumped.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Date Night

I received so many super fabulous birthday wishes this year- seriously, it was amazing! Here's just some love that was sent my way:

  • Happy birthday, Amy! I hope today is the best birthday you have ever had. Make Derek take you somewhere wonderful.

  • Happy birthday Amy. I hope it brings you as much delight as you bring the rest of us. :)

  • I simply love you tons and a million, dear friend! Have a marvelous, wonderful day!

  • Amy, I hope you have a fabulous birthday with lots of love and attention showered on you!

Man, do I feel loved! I did have a wonderful day- did the whole watch kids thing during the day and when Derek got home, we went out for a date night!

We love going to the movies and we haven't been to one in several months. The only time we have to go is on the weekends and I don't know if you've checked out movie ticket prices lately but they are outrageous. We were even bummed to see that the Weekday Escape prices went up to $6 a piece.

We bought our tickets first because they have the whole assigned seating thing now too. Is that weird for anyone else or just us? I really don't see the point- aside from opening weekend for big movies. Then we walked over to Panera for dinner and it was so nice to sit and chat with Derek.

Derek had earned a free drink and two popcorns with his movie rewards card so we headed to the concession line after walking back to the theater. Who knows how long it's been since I've gone to the concessions at a movie- but $17 for popcorn and drinks?! Who pays that?! But it didn't really matter since we had free coupons. I was so annoyed when a man just walked right up and cut in front of us to order but then another line opened up and I turned around to see my old friend Jenny behind the register. It was so unexpected, so sweet. It seriously made my day. Thank you Mr. Line-Cutter Man!

I had gotten mixed reviews about the movie Date Night, but I love a good laugh so that was my pick. And it was a great pick. I have not laughed that much in a very long time (Derek would probably want me to mention that I did indeed 'snort' but I just couldn't help it. Steve Carell was pole dancing- just too funny.) These two are SO funny together- they should do lots of movies together like Doris Day and Rock Hudson. This being said, one must have an appreciation for that this type of comedy and it's not one that I would recommend going to see with your grandmother.

Derek and I spent the entire drive home quoting the movie and laughing at the movie all over again. It was such a great night out and a much needed one at that because I have two huge papers due in the next couple of weeks (one due next Tuesday) that will be draining all of my free time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Birthday Week

I have friends who love to countdown to their birthdays. In early August, I received probably 7 missed calls and frantic text messages from my sister that said "call me!" all in one day. With knots in my stomach thinking something bad had happened I call her back immediately to become relieved and annoyed to hear "Guess what?!? It's only (x) days until my birthday! EEK!" I have another friend, Tricia, who starts the countdown to her birthday at approximately 364 days.

I had a teacher in high school (favorite teacher ever) who always gave us neat projects to do and one was to make a poster of the events of your birthday week. Without a doubt, my presentation was the most devastating of the class. And ever since that assignment, I cannot forget these events. (I looked up these events to get links, but I promise you I still remembered this stuff from the 11th grade!) Instead of a countdown, it's almost like a mourning period for historic events leading up to the day of my birth.

That's 83,254 notable deaths in history just in this week of the year. See, I told you it was a depressing countdown!

I share a birthday with Tony Danza, but that's as interesting as it gets. I did find out just today that on the exact day of my birth the Footloose album took over as the number one album- replacing Michael Jackson's Thriller. Maybe this can explains my lack of appreciation for his music. I'd much rather listen to Footloose than MJ anyday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sugar and Spice

... and everything nice- that's what girls are made of.

I love my rough and tough little boy, but I pray that I will get just one (and only one) sweet little girl in future offspring! God, are you listening?? This cutie patootie is cuddling with me as I type. Don't be jealous because this is what I do for a job.

It is quite possible that I hope for a little girl for all the wrong reasons- more or less a real-life dress-doll. Little girl stuff is just way too cute.  Did you catch the sparkly jeans?? Do you see these shoes?

I have to admit that I appreciate the days when her daddy gets her ready so I get to do her hair (that's just not a dad thing, ya know). Furthermore, I must admit that I do pigtails when I get the chance despite knowing that her daddy thinks they are kinda goofy, but little girls are made for pigtails. Check out this diva outfit!

And just so Jackson won't be jealous- I'll be sure to include a picture of the handsome little man:

And here is a short video clip of David from when he spent the night last week. Derek has been practicing his push-ups for his upcoming drill this weekend. David noticed and decided to join in. Derek told him to get on his hands and toes and then I instructed him to then touch his nose on the ground. He goes from his toes, to his knees, bends down to touch his nose, then back to his toes... it was too cute to see him follow Derek's every move.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wedding Season

The weather is warming up, the flowers are blooming, spring is here. It's officially wedding season.

And it's time to begin my second year of working some of those aforementioned weddings and other events at Lone Summit Ranch. As a guest, I've attended two beautiful weddings at the ranch. Really, you should check out the website and look at the pictures. Or get yourself to invited to an upcoming wedding if you really want to see the ranch in it's splendor.

The owners are super sweet and the wedding coordinator is super easy to get along with, so that makes working there pretty fun. I check the calendar for the upcoming events, email Robin the dates I am available and then wait to see if I'm needed for the evening. Last year I worked 10ish events over the course of the summer and fall.

Saturday night was my first night back for this season. I had most definitely regressed in my ability to perform a full nights work of manual labor (okay, so it's not like building-a-house-manual-labor, but it can be work!). It didn't help that we put in a good two hours worth of hard-core yard work that afternoon and we were a little understaffed so once the party started- it just kept going and going.

Staying up past 1:00am is not as easy as it once was.

Although sore muscles and achy feet accompanied me home in the wee hours of the morning- so did left-overs. I looooooove left-overs! MMMhhhmm. Smoked turkey breast, smoked prime rib, oven roasted potatoes (my favorite), green beans. Seriously, it's one of the best perks of the job.

I would like to say a quick shout out to a few of the wedding guests from Saturday night. Dear Sir, however handsome you may be, please attend to zipping up your pants inside of the men's restroom instead of walking out. Dear Ma'am, it is inappropriate to dig into the closet of your teenage daughter (please, please don't let that be an outfit that you call your own) and wear it to a formal wedding. Don't pick out your wardrobe based on what people from Jersey Shore would wear.

Friday, April 16, 2010

One hundred days

100 Days
2408 Hours
144502 Minutes

Derek has had my full support in his decision to enlist in the Army National Guard and I am so proud of his commitment to serve our country.

I pride myself in being an independent and capable person and have known from the beginning that Jackson and I will be okay while he is away. We will go on with our daily lives and I will learn to pick up the responsibilities that he typically handles (my biggest concern is paying the bills- I have no idea what is due when!). I know without a shadow of a doubt that we will function just fine (don't single parents do this all of the time and still manage?). But I know I am going to miss him incredibly, not just as a partner for getting chores done, but as a confidant and best friend.

Last night was the very first time that I shed a tear about the fact that he will be leaving. I'm not much of a crier and I normally can hold myself together.

(I was known to tear up when my favorite person got voted out of survivor when I was pregnant. And the day when we brought Jackson home from the hospital and I cried uncontrollably because I thought Jackson was growing up too fast. I blame hormones for both incidents)

It comes with studying to be a counselor. I mean, it is my job to have my stuff together. But up until this point, I have focused on how Jackson and I will function and it wasn't until last night that I realized that I won't just be missing a "helper" but the person who I love being around the most.

I still know we will be fine and I am certain that time will fly when Julie comes just six days after he leaves. We will be traveling to Derek's basic training graduation in October and Derek will be home for two weeks over Christmas. He will come home in March, so we will get short visits with him every couple of months- which I think will be really uplifting.

To all you other military families-what is your best advice to prepare for him leaving? What are things you did to help your kids remember Daddy?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Garage Sale Website

Garage sales. My number one thrifty pleasure. I love being able to find things on my I-would-love-to-have-but-refuse-to-pay-retail-list for mere pocket change. My mom sometimes refers to her garage sale finds as items from the "street side boutique."

I'm not here to reinvent the garage sale, but to share a website that has changed my life. Okay, well that is a bit dramatic, but I have yet to set out garage sale-ing without checking this ever since a dear friend introduced me last spring.

It is super easy to use. Just type in your address (or just the zip code) and it will provide a map with the area garage sales with a description of each one (it does the work of searching other sites [Craiglist]  that list the sales and compiles them all for you in one place!). Not only is that amazing in itself, but then you can select which ones to put on your list. Enter your starting address and it will give you the best route to hit all of the ones you selected. Step by step directions from each location to the next. Garage sale-ing could not be any easier. 

My garage sale loot so far this year: Perfect Brownie Pan: $.50 (been wanting one ever since I had some that Carla made- this contraption is amazing),  new to me work shoes: $1, pink framed mirror for Julie's room. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend, we headed down to Springfield to visit some family and friends. Maybe it's just the nostalgia from spending my much-loved college years there, but I just love that city. I am desperately hoping for my sister to decide to go to college there just so I have more reasons to go visit more often.

Our friends, Jeff and Missy, bought a house in Republic last year and they always willingly allow us to bombard their place with baby/toddler paraphernalia for a few days when we visit. Missy has done a super cute job of decorating their place. I am working on getting her to come up and "work her magic" on my place!

 Jackson played the role of Jeffrey's shadow all weekend.

We met up with our old (as in former) campus minister from the BSU for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Billy was there for us in such critical times in each of our lives and even though we don't get to talk or meet up often, I am always encouraged and blessed when we do!

A picture of Billy and me at Jeff and Missy's rehearsal dinner

Of course, we spent some time with Brad and Mary (the in-laws) and the super cute nephew, Gabe. They are moving to St. Louis next month and I am pretty bummed that she didn't find a job here in KC. I love watching Brad play with Jackson. He's so good with kids (something I never would have guessed when we first met and we didn't really see eye-to-eye) and Jackson loves him.

Have you ever seen a diehard* Jayhawk fan loving on a Mizzou fan ?
I know I am a bit partial, but aren't these boys just the cutest?

On Sunday, we found our way to Jordan Valley Park- probably my favorite place in Springfield. Home of possibly the most fun, impromtu nights of my college experience. I was disappointed that the fountains weren't on, but all the more of a reason to make sure that we go back soon. Jackson would just love it.

Nothing is cuter than a little boy with his daddy.

We were able to catch up with several friends, but there were still a few that we didn't get to see- which of course is a bummer. It was so nice to "get away" for the weekend, even though I am still catching up from the sleepiness that incurs from traveling with a one-year-old. Okay, so maybe we just enjoyed staying up way to late playing The Game of Things (birthday gift anyone?) and just enjoying time with friends. While I enjoyed great converation with Missy, Derek and Jeff took to watching the NASA channel for and since there was no sound, they narrated the events taking place as the astronauts prepped for a spacewalk. Apparently, that is really funny stuff. They entertained themselves for an hour (it's really best to avoid trying to understand these two when they are together).

On our way home, we discussed some places that we want to make sure we visit next time we travel south and aside from the park, they are all restaurants- does that say anything about us?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thankless Jobs

Though I have no experience as being either, I have concluded that being a soldier is a little bit like being a parent of a teenager. I am a civilian and I was once a teenager- and as both, I have taken my privileges and rights for granted.

As a teen, do you really realize how much effort goes into raising you? And did you ever, EVER thank your parents for their hard work during your teen years? My parents were always there to support me, to encourage me, and to cheer me on despite the fight that happened the night before, or the inconveniences of taking me to the places I needed to go, or the simple fact that I, at times, was a ticking time bomb that could explode at any moment. Needless to say, I hear it is a pretty thankless job.

While soldiers today aren't treated with such disrespect as they were in the Vietnam era, I am still fairly certain that it is also a thankless job. Some may get some praise and support when they leave for deployment and possibly receive a grand welcome home party upon return. What about all of that hard work and dedication to serve (even in pink boxers) in the hundreds of days in between? What about the soldiers who don't have support from loved ones at home?

This picture made the cover of The New York Times earlier this year.

The reason this is on my mind today is because a friend is leaving today for his training to be deployed to Africa next month. Here is a picture of Rich with his kiddos home from leave during his last deployment in 2008 (Emma was a student in our Sunday school class at the time. Connor will be in the class next fall.)

Rich is so fortunate to have such a great family that supports him along with friends and his church. Not everyone is so lucky. So, how can we be grateful, thankful citizens and let all soldiers know that we stand behind them?
  • We should pray for them daily.
  • Go out of your way to say "thanks" when you see a soldier in uniform.
  • Send an encouraging note or a package of goodies to a soldier (don't know one personally- check out You can browse through hundreds of Unit Leaders who have registered and requested specific requests for their groups. The leader will deliver the packages to soldiers who do not receive packages from friends and family at home.
  • Say something encouraging to the families of soldiers. They will find comfort knowing you are praying too.
  • Do something special for the families of the soldiers. It's hard to be a soldier living in the desert. It's also hard to be a wife of a soldier with a 2 year old and a newborn to take care of all by yourself. (You did a great job, Jessica!) Offer to cook a meal, watch the kids, take the kids to karate lessons.
  • Donate time or money to an organization that sponsor's soldiers and their families. is a great place to look for opportunities- they have several organizations listed, so click on one that interests you. From being a greeter for soldiers coming home to working with the kids of deployed soldiers- there's something for everyone!
Just like we all can't be doctors and we all can't be President- we can't all participate in every single one of these activities. But if we could all do a thing or two, once or twice a year imagine what it could mean to our servicemen and their families. It may not make their deployment shorter or the conditions less harsh, but feeling appreciated can make a world of difference in anyone's job- especially a soldier.

This past fall, our Sunday school class partnered up with the Women's Bible study class to send a package to several soldiers. The kids painted signs for each package- a simple gesture, and the moment our friend Josh received the package, he hung up the poster and posted a picture- and it remains his profile picture even 6 months later.

To all of our soldiers and veterans: Thank you SO much for your service. Thank you for sacrificing your standard of living, time with your families, and most of all your lives to protect our freedoms and to uphold our Constitution.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

So many shows... so little time!

If I were ever to move out of Kansas City- aside from my friends and family- I think I'd miss the library system the most. It has over 30 branches in the KC and surrounding areas and they all operate as one system. It gives me access to so much more content than any library could do on it's own. And technically, I don't even live in a county that pays taxes towards that library and I still get all of the benefits. (The down side is that the libraries my taxes do support are pretty awful.) The branch that is closest to me is a fairly small branch, but it doesn't even really matter since I use their website to find the material I want, place it on hold, wait for the email to tell me it's available, and then I swing by to pick it up. Other cities have similar systems, but you have to pay for the transfers and/or pay for the use of entertainment items (i.e. DVDs and CDs). Seriously, if you don't live in Kansas City then you should be jealous. Of the library at least. The mayor is kind of an idiot.

So, yesterday, I decide to stop by the library to pick up whatever items I had on hold. I had no idea what they were- only that I remember getting an email to say they are ready and this is what is waiting for me:

There is no possible way that I could watch 4 entire seasons of tv shows in my 28 days check out limit (especially since I have two 10+ page papers due in this time). Most of these shows I have had on hold for several months (Smallville- it's been at least a year) and of course, they all become available at the same time! I guess I should be watching TV instead of blogging!

NCIS is first, next is Smallville. Numb3rs is last because it has the shortest hold list so if I don't get to it, I could get it back fairly soon.

And don't judge me. I get books from the library too. In fact out of the 33 items I have checked out, 25 of them are books (some for me, most for Jackson) and two of them are CDs that Jackson listens to when he takes a nap.

This has nothing to do with the library. Today is Wednesday so the grocery ads came in the mail. I took a few minutes to look at them and then put them down. Obviously, grocery ads are really funny to little boys.

Monday, April 5, 2010


What a wonderful Easter weekend. We started the weekend by heading up to my parents house on Friday evening. Mom made enchiladas, we hid eggs for Jackson's Easter egg hunt, and we played a game of Rummikub. Derek says he won, but he also cheated so that the game could end and we could get Jackson home to bed. The competitive part of me was SO annoyed, but the mom part knew that it was probably for the best.

Mom showing Jackson how the whole Easter Egg Hunt works
Ooh, I found one!
He had to open each egg as he found it and eat the treat inside before moving on to the other eggs!
Isn't he handsome?

We participated in our church Easter egg hunt on Saturday. Jackson didn't sit still for 2 seconds during the telling of the Easter story. Oh well, maybe next year (hopefully!). Jackson did find some eggs- though they were all out on the kiddie playground, so he was really interested in playing rather than finding silly eggs.

Enjoying his hotdog and chips!

Of course he was super handsome for church on Sunday morning. Did I mention I got his entire outfit for $3 at Penny's after Christmas? What a steal!

He was in no mood to smile for the camera all day-stinker.

We drove up to Richmond for lunch to hang out with Derek's grandma and side of the family. Jackson had so much fun looking up the boys that were just a little bit older and he even got his turn to try out some t-ball!

Opening up his Easter goodies from Great-Grandma. He definitely loved the Peeps!

We spent the rest of the day with family and friends- precisely what makes holidays so great. What a great way to celebrate the Lord's day.

Just a quick bit more: As most of you know, Derek and I teach the 4-5th graders at our church and our class yesterday morning was just great. Since most of the students in our class attend the Christian school, sometimes it can be a daunting task to teach them about the Bible since they probably know more than I do. But yesterday, we were really able to talk not about the specifics of how Christ was crucified and the details of his resurrection-- we got to discuss why it is so important to celebrate this holiday, how this is story is the foundation of what we believe. We looked up verses and the kids worked on how they can share this news with others! I love getting in great discussions with these 10 and 11-year-olds who can be such great thinkers and doers when given the opportunity. I love being their teacher- though they have a lot to teach me as well!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Deanna Rose Farmstead

Yesterday was opening day for Deanna Rose Farmstead. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and Elizabeth (Chacey's mom) had the day off work, so we loaded up the kids and headed out to visit the animals. This is some of the best, free fun to be had in Kansas City.

We found the chickens first

Stopped to play at the playground for a bit

Jackson walked right up to the calves and couldn't get enough...

...until he found the Mama cow and tried to climb in.

We paused to play on the tractor

Then we went to visit the baby goats. Jackson had to go make friends with every single goat in the pen. He literally waved "hi" to them all.

I don't know why this picture turned out so bright- but you can still see Jackson hugging two goats at once.
Chacey felt a little differently about the goats. So she decided to let Jackson pet the goat, while she petted Jackson. That works, right?

We visited some older goats next. It took a bit of convincing that the pellets were food for the goats- not for Jackson. But he got the hang of it.

We made our way to look at the bison, the long-horned steer, and the ducks. He just enjoyed taking in all the sights.

Lastly, we stop by the waterfall on our way out.

We all had so much fun.When we went last fall, Jackson was 10 months old and a little shy with the animals. This time, he had no problem walking up to pet the animals-- he was in little boy heaven. Seeing him having so much fun is my favorite part of being a mommy.


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