Saturday, July 31, 2010

And now I have a daughter

I got Julie's room finished yesterday with just hours to spare for her arrival! Here's the final result! If she's anything like me when I was 15, it will never be half as clean as it is now!

A friend and I painted welcome signs for our students. I picked up a few balloons and we were off to the airport.

Steering a busy almost 2-year-old through a crowded airport was a daunting task at best, but he was having a blast! There were several soldiers scattered throughout the terminal, and Jackson referred to each one as "Dada"... even a tall, buff black man. I assured him that Daddy does indeed have a uniform (I may have called it an outfit) like those men, that Daddy won't be home for awhile. It took most of everything within me not to cry, but I managed to focus on the present excitement to pick up Julie!

We got to her terminal with only minutes to spare as her plane was early (since when does that happen!?!). Some random lady came up to us to tell us she took a picture of us when we met and said she'd email it to me, so I'm hoping she actually gets the chance to send it. I'd love to have it!!

We drove over to my parents house to drop him off so that we could come home and Julie could get settled without his help. We got her all unpacked, she told me all about camp, and showed me pictures of her friends and family from home. She was so excited to see the McDonald's arches from the highway that I took her there for a late lunch before we headed over to indulge ourselves with a pedicure. It was her first one and I am sure it won't be her last! The guy even asked if we were sisters!

We basically just hung out for the rest of the evening. I showed her around the house and how to use the shower, microwave, etc... She asked if I could teach her how to use the washing machine, but since ours is still full of water and will not drain, I told her it'd have to wait. After talking to Derek on the phone (one of the highlights of my day), he said we should just invest in a new set since our dryer is broken too. So, Julie and I headed over to Home Depot to check out what their selection (they offer a 10% military discount) and Julie got to know more about washers and dryers than she probably ever thought possible!

Because I hadn't gotten around to doing it before she came, we had an extra key made for her and she chose this one:

I knew from the moment her mom told me in an email:
"We talk a lot in this family. When nobody's home, we talk to the dog."
that we were going to be a great match.  And even after meeting her and having her here, I am more even convinced that she is the perfect match for us!!! I am so excited and I know that we are going to have a great year!!

(and we did watch two episodes of Veronica Mars)


Friday, July 30, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

.... she's coming tomorrow. It's only a daaaaaaaaaaaaaay aaaaaawaaaaaaay. 

I go to the airport TOMORROW to pick up Julie! I am so stinkin' excited. Though I have a bazillion things to do today to get ready!! A friend is coming over and we are making 'Welcome' signs... yay! I think I may pick up a few balloons. Of course, they'd be for Julie, but I am kinda hoping that this might entertain Jackson while we wait at the airport.

I have gotten several inquiries about the foreign exchange program. There are several programs across the country. We are using EF Foundation and so are the other 8 families in our church. We have a great coordinator and everyone has had a great experience. They are the largest student program. Last I heard there are still several students needing homes for this year!! It's super easy and several students aren't due to come in for a couple weeks at least.

And want to know something way cool!? I am a new contributor over at Seeds of Faith and I had my first post today, so be sure to head over and check it out!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The three of us

After getting very acquainted with the contact paper to laminate Jackson's Daddy Book last week, I decided to make a little card for Derek that he could keep in his wallet. He decided to use it for a bookmark in his Bible and it works perfectly. It's a nice hand-written note on just a notebook piece of paper, but it's nice a durable so it will last a long time.

♥ Derek ♥
I love you so very much and words can't 
express how very proud I am also. 
Keep pushing on and remember 
where your strength comes from. 
"For I can do all things through Christ 
who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13" 
I will miss you so much, 
and we (all three of us) will be 
so eager to welcome you home!
Love, Amy

Both, Jackson and me

and this little peanut!!
(circled so no one will cry, saying "I just can't see it" like Rachel on Friends)

I apologize to those friends that we didn't get to tell personally before it was heard through the grapevine. It took a few weeks to process the news ourselves and then it was time to get ready to ship Derek off. It just got so overwhelming and got put on the back burner. Things have calmed down, we are starting to get our routine together, and the excitement is finally setting in!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mr. Good Body

A body like this needs discipline and a good work out. Check out how Jackson keeps his muscles buff to impress the ladies.

A few quick push-ups, followed by some sprints. Watch for a p90x toddler-version video series coming soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Catch up from last week

Last week was a busy week filled with a long to-do list and hopes to spend as much time together as possible. I was in a blogging hiatus, so here's a recap of some of the things that filled the last week before Derek left.

First, we took a quick trip over to St. Louis to visit Derek's brother and his family. Portable DVD player = new BFF when it comes to traveling with a boy who hates to sit still, except for Elmo.

Derek spent a few nights with the guys putting up some studs for my office that will soon (hopefully) exist in the basement!

Per the great review of Wonderscope from my friend Elizabeth, Derek and I headed over to Shawnee Mission to check it out. What was even cooler was that it was FREE because the museum has partnered with a group that is offering free admission to military families-- way cool! Jackson had lots of fun playing in the ball room, the sand pit, water room, and picking vegetables.

My Dad brought down and installed my new countertop, (this time it was the right size and everything) and not a moment too soon. Life without a kitchen sink is rough! At Derek's party, we were washing dishes in the bathroom sink, filling up water coolers in the bathtub. And because the dishwasher is hooked up to the sink, our dishes were piling in the dishwasher. But it's all back together now and I love, love, love it!!

Jackson redecorated the wall in the few moments I left the room to switch the laundry.

Jackson's Daddy Book came in the mail on Friday and I spent *hours* covering each page with contact paper. It's been totally worth it and we haven't even had it a week. The book is a hit. After we read it, we says, "more, more". I even got the change to capture Derek reading the book to Jackson on video.

Derek and I went to see the movie Salt and we both really enjoyed it (since when did matinees cost $9.50?!). And lastly, we just spent some time together hanging out and just doing nothing at times. We caught up on laundry, picked up the house, and he gave me final lessons on the xbox network, backup systems, and other household things.

 The goal was to be productive and spend some good last-minute quality time together and I consider the week a success!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And he's gone...

I'm a horrible wife. Instead of sobbing my eyes out right now, I am actually experiencing feelings more closely relate to relief, like this moment couldn't have come soon enough.

Anticipating this day has been emotionally exhausting for the past several months, but especially this week. We have filled our time with finishing house projects, making sure to hang out with as many people as possible, and trying to make every moment count. Yet looking back at our week, my favorite memories include staying up late (okay, midnight) laughing at the best of SNL commercial parodies, getting into intense games of tennis and baseball on the Wii, and just enjoying the little kisses and hand-holding throughout each day.

Despite being prone to cry randomly throughout the week (no thanks to Elmo's Deployment video), the final goodbye was really nothing more than just some tear-filled eyes. I really attribute it to emotional exhaustion-- I can assure you I am very sad and I miss him already, not to mention how very proud I am. I know the next eight months will fly by and we will be driving to the airport to pick him up before we even know it (positive thinking... right!?)

Fortunately, I made plans to stay up at my parents tonight so Mom can help with Jackson and I can just get a grip on myself and relax a bit. I will be back in the swing of things by Tuesday to prepare for Julie to get here on Saturday! Like I told Derek, "I just don't have much time to feel sorry for myself!", to which he replied, "it's probably better this way." Good thing he's not here to read me writing that he was right! :)

Anyway, a few pictures from today: 

Jackson was too preoccupied with his juice to look at the camera.

I love this man!!

Some last minute tickle-time

 This is the closest Derek got to getting a hug from the little twerp.

And now I can't wait to find a warm comfy bed to crawl into and stay until late morning-- or until I have to get up to pee. 


Monday, July 19, 2010

Fun, but tiring weekend

We had a great weekend. Derek's going away party was a great success. It is such an encouragement to know we have so many friends and family who are here to support us both in these upcoming months.

 Derek grilled the yummy hotdogs.

And HanNah made all the wonderful food!

Derek was so excited about all of the attention he received-- especially the kisses from Aunt Leah.

Our dear friends Billy and Gina traveled up from Springfield just to come. He was our campus minister at the BSU down at college and he has continued to be an encouragement to us!

Jackson walked into a cabinet on Sunday morning before church ending up with a nice big boo-boo on his eye. We went to Applebee's with Derek's parents after church and Jackson ended up falling asleep in his chair. I had to put my hand down to keep his head from crashing into the table to prevent another big mark on his face.

I had a host-parent orientation meeting yesterday afternoon while Derek and his dad looked at his car that wouldn't start (ugh!). My cousin Greg and his wife Andrea came over with their daughter Bethany last night for dinner. They live in Prague, but are back for a few months. It was good to catch up and visit.

We have a busy week ahead of us as it's Derek's last week before he heads off to basic. He has the week off work so we have lots of time to spend together--Yay! We are heading out this afternoon to go visit his brother in St. Louis for the night and we will be driving back tomorrow. Uncle Joe is coming over to help get started on getting the basement studded a couple days this week and one of these days we are going to go on a date night at Derek's two favorite places-- Burger King and AMC Theaters, and use the gift cards our wonderful friends Jeff and Missy gave us (who also traveled up from Springfield for the weekend, but I didn't get a picture.)

So anyway, I probably won't be on here much more this week. But I'll be back next week for sure. Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for him to leave!!

Oh! And Julie arrived safely in the US yesterday and is at a two-week language camp at Bryant University on the east coast. Yay!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The New Countertop

We are down to just a few things left on the list and Dad came down last night to install the new countertop that has been sitting in our garage for the past month. We are having Derek's big going away party tonight and I am happy to have that old ugly, nasty tile out of my kitchen.

 Derek says it was a lot of hard work to get it out. I believe him. But I hardly lifted a finger all night.

I was a the grocery store (dealing with a grumpy old lady cashier) when the boys were brought in the new countertop. I guess it is pretty heavy and they'd have to carry it in and out to cut for a precise fit. And since it is one big piece, it's tricky to move it around the kitchen and get into place. I was here for that part.

And so they finally got it to fit and slid it into place.

But yes, as you can see-- the countertop is 3 inches too short in the middle section.

Dad was just in disbelief as it has something to do with 25" being standard and 22" is just never used in the kitchen and he is is good friends with one of the guys at the cabinet company we used. Dad called and Leroy was in disbelief too and they have yet to figure out why it would have come out that way-- probably just an error when someone typed it in the machine.

Did I mention we are having a big party tonight? Fortunately, this didn't stress me out at all. Dumb, little things have brought me to tears all week, but not my countertop. It is still sitting pretty in my kitchen. But we'll be sinkless for the next few days until my new countertop is made. Thank goodness that my wonderful friend HanNah is in charge of most of the food.

This is by far not the worst thing that could have happened and I suppose it will be a good story to laugh about (after today).... right???


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jackson's Daddy Book

Okay, so I've gotten the book all put together. I need to go ahead and order it asap so it can get here soon. Derek leaves in only 10 days!! Check it out and please let me know if you see some typo's or if something just reads funny. It's hard to edit your own work!

I've ordered books and prints from Shutterfly before and they are wonderful! I ordered one for Jackson's 1st birthday and was able to use it as a guest book at his party. So not only is the book a great keepsake, now it has personalized messages from Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, and lots of friends and family! I get so many compliments on the books and the shipping is super quick (which is important because I am not very patient for waiting around for things like this). Did I mention how easy it is to use their templates?!? You pick your photos, drag and drop, and poof-- it's done! It's super easy to share (like I am doing here!) for others to check out the book, too!

And I do have to say that I originally started using Kodak when I started this project- but it didn't save my work correctly, there weren't nearly the selection of templates and colors, and the site was not as user-friendly.

And just because this is to cute not to share, look at how cute my little boy is-- he loves to be like his daddy.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A big chocolate mess

With a heat index of 110 degrees, it seemed like a good day for some ice cream. We were already out in the sweltering heat to return some books to the library, so we made a quick stop at Sheridan's.

I have to say that when I looked at the menu I was thinking, "Crap! I'm gonna have to spend $6!" but then I found the mini-concrete option (chocolate with mixed in strawberries) and I was gonna get the small cone for Jackson. Even better, the guy mentioned that a pup cone is free for the little guy with any purchase. It ended up only costing $2.71. Way cool!

The cone was the perfect size for his little hands

Then it starts to get a little messy.

And then it got a lot messy...

He was covered head to toe with chocolate-- running down his chin, all up his arms, his clothes were covered, and there were drips down his legs.

But he a happy chocolate mess!
(looks kinda like a goatee, doesn't it?)

It was so delicious and totally worth the mess!!


Ladies and Gentlemen,

...We have a winner! 

Congratulations to:
 A Little McD said... I voted for ya!

This was a whole lot of fun for me. I got to meet so many new bloggy friends and I love being able to make someone super excited about winning! A friend even contacted me about doing a giveaway with stuff from her company so I am gonna chat with her soon about that and let you know. Can we say..."Yay, for free stuff" anyone?

This really is a blog about me and my family and I don't have any intentions on filling my space with reviews and giveaways all the time. Just a here and there kind of thing if it works out, so it won't take over the original purpose of my blog. Thanks everyone for participating!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not Mom of the Year

I've come across this Not-Mom-of-The-Year contest and I looked like too much fun not to join in. It's not even the fact that it's a contest, it's just therapuetic to go out there are read other peoples stories that make me feel a little a lot better about myself as a mom and how "un-June Cleaver-ish" I am.

  1. I have actually picked an Elmo movie to watch specifically because it was the longest video so that I could take a longer nap while he watched it-- there is a big difference between 46 and 54 minutes. 
  2. I am too cheap to buy my son summer pj's (the winter ones are always passed down from friends) so he wears his clothes to bed every night.
  3. I put Jackson down to nap with a cup sometimes-- but I do know that he doesn't fall asleep in his mouth because I hear him throw it out of his crib along with his books, toys, etc... before falling asleep. Wait- why I am I defending myself.... I already know I am a qualified Not-Mom-of-The-Year. 
  4. I dropped Jackson big time when he was only a couple weeks old. I was carrying him in the bouncy seat and the seat caught on the door handle and so I dropped the seat and he slid right on to the floor... head first.
  5. I call my son gross so often that it was actually one of his first words-- after meals, during diaper changes. I never noticed it until he started saying it each time.
  6. We've lived in this house for nearly a year and I just finished getting his room together yesterday.
  7. Our laundry is always behind--even if I wash it, it stays in the basket probably until I need the basket again to take more dirty clothes downstairs. The last time I mopped, was-- oh wait.. I haven't while I've lived in this house. The toilet-- haven't done that either. (in my defense, I did get a cleaning certificate for Christmas and they did do these each once...). 
  8. And I'm always to forgetful to even call the cleaning ladies. I complain about not having a maid, but then it's because I am too lazy to just call. So the house is a remains a mess. 
  9. Jackson doesn't bathe every day and he hardly ever gets to play in the bath. Most of the time, he just gets to hop in the shower with me or Derek for a quick lather and rinse before getting handed back out to the other one.
  10. I let my child eat dirt.
  11. I'm not even cool enough to have lots of cute pictures on this post or to make a nice ryhming poem for this thing-- it's totally boring. 
So, I totally think all my mom friends should try this-- It's like free therapy. Go ahead and share some comment-love with some of the things that qualify you as a Not-Mom-of-The-Year and be sure to read some of the other entries just so give your self-esteem a little boost!


Monday, July 12, 2010

The wonderful mother strikes again.

I know I've already told you how my mom is pretty awesome, but today she was super awesome. I invited her down to help get some stuff done around the house that I just needed a little motivation and help to get done.

First, she comes over with a fully prepared dish of lasagna for Derek and I to have for dinner. We have friends coming over tonight so we needed a bigger main dish (so she even helped me with that!), but tomorrow I will be eating that lasagna.

But then, she gets all gung-ho about the laundry too and we fold it and I put a lot of it away. She switches loads and folds more. And then because our dryer is suuuuper slow, my mother-in-law (who stopped by) ended up taking a couple loads to her house to wash and dry so we can get all caught up. We hate laundry in this house and with a dryer that takes 2-3 cycles to dry. Needless to say, it gets backed up a lot.

And then we start to tackle the real reason she came down: Jackson's room. I really wish I would have taken a before picture. It was awful. To walk across the room, a zig-zag line was in order to avoid stepping on all sorts of toys. Jackson enjoys emptying out his drawers so clothes are everywhere and the closet was just a bunch of stuff that I haven't gone through and it was all shoved behind the doors so no one could see it. Ugh.... the whole room was just a disaster.

So this is what we got done:

The greatest thing of all that his room is organized, for the very first time. Several of his toys are actually put up so that we can rotate them and they aren't everywhere all of the time. Plus, most of the toys from the family room are now in his room so it doesn't look like a Toys-R-Us when people come over for dinner (my sisters complain about this). The rug is new and it actually looks like a finished room. I do have curtains and they will be up soon.

The closet... is organized. Can you believe it? I had to take a picture because I'm not all to confident that this will continue to be so organized. I put things like his puzzles and non-board books in here, so that I will have to get them out in order for him to play with them to avoid missing pieces and ripped pages. And in case I need a reminder of all of the diapers we buy, I have reused the boxes to store clothes he's outgrown or will be wearing soon. They are the perfect size for the shelf in the closet and are more cost-effective than buying tubs.

And of course, Mom got to spend some quality time with Jackson. He helped her throw laundry down the stairs fold laundry and emptied the kitchen drawers helped put utensils away. He is such a big helper!

So, the mother-in-law is on her way with the laundry (don't be jealous) so I gotta go!



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