Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mourning the loss of a friend

Okay, so I'm being a bit dramatic. My friend is alive and well, but she's just not here. It's Wednesday. And she always comes over on Wednesday's for lunch (sometimes other days too!). Sure it's cool that she got selected to attend the Picturing Early America institute this summer and all up in Massachusetts , but what am I supposed to look forward to each week while she's gone?

I really am such a lucky stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) with the coolest friends. I mean, when I have several kiddos here during the day I don't always get out of the house. But instead of being bottled up and lonely-- I have friends that come to me!! How great is that? I mean, I get to have real conversations (I mean, conversations with 18 months-olds are fun and all...) with adults several times a week. And Derek probably doesn't even realize how valuable these friends are to him because without them, I'd just be waiting for him to walk in the door to bombard him with conversation about things he couldn't care less about!

Instead of sitting around lunch-dateless, I decided the next best thing would be to hang out with her offspring. Or maybe I wanted to go see a movie and it was more justified if I went with a 5-year-old. So this morning, Carter came over so that we could go to a Summer Kids movie. The movie of the week is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs-- it as cute. Carter is a super cute kid and he says the funniest things. Today he told me not to be nervous that he sometimes calls his dad, Trey because it was totally okay!

On the way to the movie
And a stop at McD's for lunch
 Boys and their video games...

So, Brooke- we're making it by without you, but it's not nearly as fun. Hope you're having a good time, but hurry back!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Home Sweet Home

While getting away is always fun, coming home is nice too! My sister and I had a good time visiting with family and shopping in Chicago, but I really missed my boys and so it was so great to come home to this:

They were so happy to see each other and play together

Here's a glimpse at some of our Chicago fun.

The Bean at Memorial Park

The view from underneath

Laura with our little cousins-- they loved her!
On the drive home, we passed the wiener-mobile.

But that's all for tonight! I am super pooped from the weekend. I'll post more on the highlights later this week.


Friday, June 25, 2010

One month and counting....

One month from today we will say good-bye to Derek while he leaves to go off to basic training. I am realizing that the closer it gets to his departure, the more emotional I am becoming about the whole thing. I know there's no turning back, but I'm less confident in myself to manage everything while he's gone. But I know we will be okay- I'll get the bills paid, lawn mowed, and trash to the curb, but I am still gonna miss him!!

We will write lots of letters. Jackson will color him a picture and I will print off photos to send. Maybe he'll get a few phone privileges every once in awhile. Totally not counting on that, but I can hope, right? I know people deal with worse- single moms who don't have a husband to return home in eight months, wives who send their husbands off to war. I'm only sending mine to Georgia. And I am so supportive and proud of his commitment to serve our country.

This is his drill weekend (so I don't feel guilty about spending the weekend in Chicago) and he's actually on his way to Ft. Leonard Wood right now. It's a longer weekend drill than normal, but hopefully he'll get to do some cool stuff. He really enjoys the Army stuff.

I seriously need to get to work on my list. Either that, or just come to terms that it's not going to get done before he leaves. It's just the house to-do's that aren't getting done, but the stuff like the Power of Attorney (we need to sign and get it notarized) and enrolling in Tri-care is well under way.

I would have more pictures to post of him in his uniform and pictures for the photobook, but I have lots my SD card, as well. Why do they make those things so tiny anyway?! Ugh! I have yet to find my phone. And my backup phone failed on me this morning. But there's good news!! Derek's Aunt and Uncle have Verizon too and they have an extra phone for me to use. Thank goodness! They don't have SIM cards like AT&T, but my contacts are backed up online everyday, so I'll even have all of my numbers-- how cool!! Granted, I'd still love to have my phone, but this is great news!

My sister and I will board the MegaBus tonight at 8:30 and ride through the night up to Chicago. Here's hoping I get enough sleep to function as a tourist tomorrow!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where is my cell phone?!?!?!

I'm a little grumpy. I have a paper that is due tonight and it is just not going well. I have another icky headache and I just want to crawl into bed. But the biggest reason for my grouchiness is about my son turning my phone off and then leaving it God know where misplaced my phone. It has been gone since yesterday and it was the second day in a row that it happened.

I have searched the couches high and low, dug through his toy chest and all of the hiding places in each toy, trekked through the dangerous terrain of his bedroom and I have had no luck. I keep asking him where my phone is and he say, "hello! hello!" And then he acts like he is going to look for it and I get my hopes up, but then he gets distracted by some other toy and forgets.

I'm not even someone who is so completely attached to my phone. I didn't even know it was missing until four or five hours after I last knew he had it. And I don't normally let him play with my phone, but there was some major thunder going on  yesterday and playing with my phone was helping him deal (instead of running into my arms at every loud clap). And I wouldn't be a big deal if I weren't leaving for Chicago tomorrow. Aaagghhh!

Fortunately Jackson will get to spend a very fun filled few days with Grammy and Papa (and he can destroy play with their phones) while I enjoy taking a trip with my sister to see some family. At least I have an old back up that I can reactivate if needed to take with me.

Where are some of the strange places you've found items that your kids misplaced?

Does anyone else think this is an ironic post after my last one was about positive attitudes and such??


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Growing up, this was a nickname of mine. My parents would tell me that I would wake up singing and just sing all day long. In fact, Dad and I danced to "You are My Sunshine" at my wedding.

Awhile back, a friend said to me, "I need some Amy-time because you are just the most positive person I know," and that was by far, the greatest compliment I had ever received. So, you can imagine it made me feel good to receive this award from a fellow blog friend:

For the blogs that add a little sunshine to your day

I really do try to find the positive things in life and I try my very hardest to focus on those things. It does take effort at times, but overall it's something that God has given me the ability to do. I love knowing that I can bring a positive attitude to the table and hopefully make someone smile each day.

So, I have three blogs I want to pass this award along to:
  • AlittleMcD: A blog-friend that I actually do know in real life-- she's got two super cute little boys and she takes amazing photos. But more importantly, the boys give her great material to add humor to my day, which includes anytime she tries to take a shower when her boys are awake and her multiple JumperPOO stories (three times!). Seriously, it makes me laugh everytime.
  • ThisMamaRocks: This blog is great because every day, she's giving away free stuff. I mean, what better way is there to bring sunshine!? Maybe one of these days I will end up winning something!
  • SingleInfertileFemale: This girl has had some tough luck, but each and every day she continues to write and focus on the good things that happen to her. It makes me think, "Okay, if she can have a positive attitude, then I should too." And I'm super excited for the baby-making plans to start soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Report

We spent the weekend doing lots of fun things. Let's take a look:

This was actually Thursday, but I love this picture. Jackson is all about (double) dipping his chips in the salsa these days.

Friday night, we had friends over for dinner and headed out to Community Days to walk around and enjoy a funnel cake. Jackson loved looking at the big "gruck".

Saturday morning, we walked in the Community Days parade with our church. Jackson did an awesome throwing tootsie rolls when he wasn't putting them in his mouth (with the wrapper).

Saturday afternoon we took Jackson to see his first movie, Toy Story 3. He was mesmerized by the giant tv and didn't move a muscle for an hour and fifteen minutes. After that, he was pretty squirmy, but overall he did really well. He didn't quite weight enough to hold the seat down, so he sat in a slight v formation, but he didn't mind.

I went to work and Derek held down the fort on Saturday evening. After Jackson went to bed successfully fixed three computers-- one which was my laptop. If you listen closely, you can probably hear my singing the Hallelujah chorus right now! Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Unfortunately I had a monstrous headache that lasted every minute I was awake yesterday. The good news is that I spent over four hours in naps, which lessened the time spent with the actual headache. We went to lunch with Derek's grandpa and some other family to celebrate Father's Day. Then Derek went out and bought the lumber needed to begin the work on finishing the basement and he cleared out the area we are going to start with. Oh! And Dad brought down the new kitchen  countertop that his wonderful friend made for us and that will be getting installed soon. Hallelujah, Hallelujah!!

We got a lot accomplished this weekend, but we had plenty of time for relaxing and fun too! And in case you are feeling a case of the Mondays this morning, check this out!!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day (x4)

To My Father:
You have surpassed all "dad-duties" this year in, not only in serving as the general contractor for our house remodel, but in becoming a friend and someone I call just because. Okay, there is normally some sort of house/car/yard question in each conversation, but I promise that's not always my intention! The past few months have been tough for you and I wish that I could've done more. But, like I said on your card: This gift certificate doesn't come close to what you deserve, but I promise to get you the best nursing home care that Trenton has to offer someday. You are a great Papa to Jackson- he loves you very much. I know that he is just aching to be old enough to build all of those kits that you've gotten from Lowe's. And the use the shotgun you bought him among all the other cool things you have in store. Thanks for everything. We love you!

To the father of my son:
You are such a great daddy to Jackson. There's a reason that he looks out the window each afternoon waiting to see your car pull in the driveway-- he just cannot wait to play with you! It is one of my most favorite things to see you and Jackson rolling around, tackling, chasing, boxing (maybe not so much this one) with him and the giggles I hear in delight because Jackson is so happy with you. I know you feel a little guilty about missing out on watching him grow up for the several months that you will be gone, but you are still being a great daddy by serving this country and making it a safe place for us and all the other little kids here too. Thank you for working hard and providing for our family, and keeping a positive attitude about your job, even when it's stressful sometimes. I would not want to raise a family with anyone but you. I love you!

To my Father-in-Law
The majority what you've done for me was before I even knew your son. You taught him what it means to be a loving husband and a wonderful father. You are also a top-notch father-in-law, too. I know that you'd be there for me whenever I needed and that you'd do it with a smile on your face. You are one of Jackson's favorite people and I enjoy seeing both of your faces light up whenever you see each other. I am thankful to have married into the family.

To Grandpa Duff:
The Grandpa's that I grew up with have all passed away, but you invited me into this family from the very first time I met you. We were so excited to hear you were moving back to the great midwest after Jackson was born. Thank you so much for coming over on the days when I have class and playing with Jackson until Derek gets home. Without you, grad school wouldn't be a possibility for me. We love meeting you at McDonald's for lunch and all the toys (even the noisy, singing pig) that you spoil Jackson with. We love you!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crossing off the to do list

Like any expectant mother, I continue to nest for my upcoming teenage arrival, but this also means I'm crossing several things off my to-do list as I am nesting. I've been gradually working on her room- adding furniture, rearranging, hanging up shelves, and cleaning out a lot of junk. I've had these shelves lying around along with the stuff that I've put on them. I fully expect her to redecorate and add her own pictures, but I just didn't want them to be empty when she first walked in! I went to Michael's to buy the supplies to decoupage the letters in Julie's name, but they didn't have the kind that I used with Jackson's and the ones they had were pretty expensive. I may have to improvise.

And much to the annoyance of my husband, "Why are you taking so many pictures?", I am getting several pictures to use for my photobook. Of course this means having my camera with me at all times and taking several pictures a day.... Somebody's gotta do it! I still haven't decided how I am going to print the book, but I've limited my options and I know for sure that I will cover whatever type of book I get with contact paper. That's a start, right?

Jackson and Daddy playing with Bubbles

Drawing pictures with chalk

Piggy-back rides!

Look at my handsome men!

In other news, I just bought MegaBus tickets for my sister and I to go up to Chicago next weekend. I've heard about it through several venues so I'm interested in giving it a shot. I don't think $35 to Chicago from Kansas City is all that bad of a price, even though tickets were only $20 when I looked a few weeks ago. That's what I get for being lazy! Oh well. Sometimes you can get tickets for as low as $1 to different places. I am anxious to see if it's a decent trip so I can plan to do it more often! I will definitely keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dear Daddy,

Mom took Chacey and me to Wal-mart this morning. I had lots of fun opening packages and throwing things out of the cart- especially when the yogurt exploded on the floor. I doubt we will be going back soon- I don't think Mom had as much fun! When Mom put your favorite Pop-Tarts into the cart, they just looked kind of boring, so I opened the package and made funny shapes with them by squishing and squeezing each packet! I hope you feel extra loved when you go to open your Pop-Tarts one morning and it all crumbles all over your lap on your way to work. I really do love you, Daddy! Even though I was sharing my love, Mom was being so mean!! She'd put food in the cart and even though I whined and cried the whole time, she wouldn't let me eat anything. I hardly ever get to eat, I'm always starving. Why wouldn't she let me raw bacon?!?

I think Mommy was very confused... she kept said that I was driving her crazy, but I wasn't even driving the cart. Daddy, why doesn't the fish store have car-carts like the orange store you take me to every time Mommy leaves me with you? Well, Mommy is saying that it's time for me to take a nap. She thinks that just because I am rubbing my eyes, staring off into space, and fussing at everything that I'm tired. It's just not true. I am never tired. I can't wait for you to come home tonight so we can play tackle! You're my favorite Daddy!! (you know I have lots- since I call all men Daddy- even when they give me and Mommy weird looks when I do!) I love you lots and lots!

Love, Jackson

Oh! And I found Mommy's purse today so I put on her sunglasses and put the purse on my shoulder and said, "bye bye!" Why does she always have to get the camera?? And then I dumped it all out.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Guess what came in the mail!?!

Yay! I just received my packet in the mail about our foreign exchange stuff. Only a few weeks until Julie gets here! I was actually working on her room earlier today. You will all be glad to know that we conquered the ginormous laundry pile that previously exploded in her room. I moved in a dresser and have gotten some shelves to put up on the wall!

A few weeks ago, we sent Julie a little package with pictures and a t-shirt from the school she'll be going to. She emailed me a few pictures back- here she is:

Doesn't she look like lots of fun?? We are going to have a great year!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Operation Photobook

Operation photobook has started. I have received tons of suggestion and have read through a bazillion forums about things to do for kids while their daddies are gone.

This is my plan:
  • Photobook with tons of pics with Jackson and Daddy
  • Video messages/reading books
  • Operation-give-a-hug Daddy doll (given to us by a fellow National Guard wife/mom friend)
  • Poster sized Daddy so Jackson can still give him hugs and kisses
  • Build-a-bear with a message from Daddy (maybe- it's kind of expensive!)
I know this is a ton of stuff, but I just want to do my best to keep Derek a major part of Jackson's life while he's gone. I don't really know what's going to be the most effective and what things Jackson will love the most, so I want to get as many things together and then if we only really use a few things, that's okay.

I'm attempting to take pictures of Jackson and Derek doing different things so it can be read kind of like a book. I haven't decided how to create the book yet. I want to avoid the photobooks that use poster paper because Jackson will tear that to pieces in minutes. This website sells a boardbook that you insert pictures into ($20). This website has blank board books that you print off labels and stick them to the pages (4/$21). I've also considered a flipbook from Wal-Mart that is pretty much just 4x6 photos binded together ($5.00 up). I am leaning towards the last option. Any opinions?? Advice??

Jackson and Daddy go for a ride in the wagon

Jackson and Daddy at the park (mesmerised by the skateboarders)

Okay, so I don't have a ton of pictures yet... but I will have my camera with me now more than ever trying to get those day-to-day moments captured and printed for Jackson!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bubble Bath Time

Tonight was Jackson's first bubble bath. I'd like to claim that it was my ultra cool mom-ness that likes to create fun activities for my little one to partake in. However, it was really just an attempt to entertain Mr. Cranky-pants so he'd stay awake until bedtime! And it worked- he played in the bath for just over thirty minutes. Talk about grandma fingers!

My brown-eyed cutie pie!
Nothing tastes better than some bubbles and hippopotamus!
This is right before he peed on my carpet.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Four Years

Updated 6-18: Since I just posted about my wedding last week, I went ahead and linked up to that entry instead of doing another one. My wedding day was so much fun! We had a breakfast brunch for all of ladies in my wedding party and those helping out to start the day (there were at least 30 people there!) and it was a casual afternoon prepping for the 4:00 wedding. I remember being so tired by the end of the evening, but it was just a great day. Thanks for stopping by!

Today, Derek and I celebrate our 4th anniversary! Our life is vastly different now that when we first got married (living in a teeny one bedroom apartment, sleeping in on Saturdays, seeing all the summer blockbusters- and sometimes even the midnight showing!) but we're so happy with our life together!
The Wedding

Some of my favorite things about my wedding (aside from the whole marrying my best friend thing): my four flower girls, the never-ending bubble path, my gorgeous venue for my reception- my parents backyard,  and just the fact that I had a lot of fun with all my friends and family that day!

The Honeymoon

We honeymooned in Miami for 5 days and then headed up to St. Petersburg for a few days so that Derek could be a groomsmen in a friends wedding. It was so relaxing-- Oh how I wish I could be at the beach again!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Proof that I can hold down the fort

Today started out as a totally great day. Jackson slept in until 8:00, a nice morning rain watered my lawn, and I got to hang out with good friends all afternoon. Even better, my baking-goddess friend perfected a cereal bar recipe that I just couldn't get to work. We were off to the store to buy some more dried fruit when I noticed it was still overcast and I mentioned that it would be nice if we could get just a little bit more rain so I wouldn't have to water my plants again tomorrow. If only I would have seen the radar:

So, this is now,10pm. The rain started 6 hours ago, so it's looked like this all night.

Driving home from our errands was slow, going 30 mph on the highway because it was just raining so hard. We exited, came to the intersection right close to my house, and noticed that the stoplights weren't working, the gas station and pharmacy were all dark inside and it hit me-- the power is out. And immediately I began to stress out.

See, we have a basement that has suffered significant water damage in the past. We have since cleaned it all up, poured a new basement wall, and replaced the sump pump-- a sump pump that is run by electricity. We once talked about having a back up system, but it was forgotten and didn't  make the list. So, I come home, immediately go to the basement to find that our sump pump is full of water.

For those unfamiliar with sump pumps- it's a hole we have in the basement. Water from around the house flows into it, and when the levels get high the sump pump turns on and "flushes" the water out of the house. Think along the lines of a toilet. But in my case, the pump wasn't going to turn on and the water was rising steadily. And soon enough, the basement would begin to flood.

First thing I do is call Derek and we decide that I should go down and empty as much water as I can into some buckets that we can dump outside. Of course, we don't really have buckets just lying around so I gathered up several trashcans and began scooping. I was only really keeping the water at bay because water was flowing in just as fast as I was scooping. Derek is 45 minutes away from being home- CRAP!!! So, I call Dad.
Dad: "You don't have a battery back up!?" 
Me: "Uhm. No, we never did that"
Dad: "You should."
Me: .......
Dad: "I think I have one of my generators left in your garage still" (from when he helped remodel the house)
Me: "Okay, what does it look like?"
I go to the garage
Dad: "It's black and red, it's pretty big"
Me: Looking around the garage. Find a sticker and read it, "Do not use generator inside it will kill you in minutes... Okay, I think I found it"
Dad: "Okay, you'll need to blah, blah, blah and then hook up an extension cord from the generator to the sump pump."
Me: "Hhmm. Okay. I am gonna see how far Derek is to see if he might be able to do this."
Nope. He's still 20 minutes away based on non-rainy traffic. Can't wait. I try my father-in-law. Nope. He's getting Chipotle for dinner since they don't have power either. Can't wait for him either. But, we ask for him to pick up dinner for us too. Okay, so it's just me. I can do this, right!?

I dig the thing out and drag it outside. Thank goodness for the step by step directions, including pictures, as I try to figure it out. It still took me 15 minutes in the pouring down rain but eventually I got the fuel valve turned on, the power switch on, made sure it was choked and had to pull the start cord thing about 7 times- and it roars up... and dies. I switched the choke to run mode, so I don't really know what happened. So, I curse to myself and try it all again and it takes another 10 minutes and 15 pulls of the cord to get her up and running. I run downstairs to see the water even with the basement floor, the sump pump kick on and then the water level begins going down. HECK YES!!! And then, Derek walks in the door.

I won't lie, I am pretty impressed with myself. When big things come up, your mind just focuses on the problem and I did well- but then, after it was done- I was just exhausted. I didn't really know I was so stressed out. But I just could not let the basement flood- not after all of the work we've put into it.

Woo hoo! I did it- even though I looked like a drowned rat. Why am I smiling?!?

So, the power came on about four hours later and the sump pump is down there doing it's job all on it's own. We've added a new thing to add to the list: organize plan of action for when we lose power in the midst of a thunder storm. Thank goodness for the Chipotle the in-laws brought over- and thank goodness for my friend HanNah who was here to entertain a whiny Jackson while I magnificantly saved the day. :)

Though it would have been nice had Derek been here and he could have saved the day. It's kind of an encouragement to know that I stand a chance of managing this house on my own while he's gone!


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