Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My blogging rut

So I feel as if I'm in a blogging rut. It's not so much that I haven't had the time, but I just haven't felt I have had a ton to actually post about. This year, all 28 days, is happening all upside down and backwards from how I thought it was going to be. Did I mention it's only been 28 days? It's not bad, but just different. So there's quite a bit going on, but it's more so with me than it is with the kiddos. And let's be honest... that's why most of y'all are here! I don't blame you, they are pretty cute. To hold you over...

  • Belle loves to snuggle each morning and she uses the time to try to barter her way into having cake or candy for breakfast. And no matter what our response is, she'll still reply, "But... I like it!"  
  • Jackson is still playing Mario Kart a ton. I can barely watch him play because he is all over the place. Just vision that instead of making the car go in a straight line, it goes in a pretty steep zig-zag motion. Cue the headache! Also, he loves to make fart jokes and he laughs whenever anybody says underwear. Typical 5 year old boy. 

So, what else has been going on? It doesn't seem like much, and it isn't really... but being that things are just different than planned is what makes it seem bigger. Can anyone else relate?

  • I took up running, which is totally brand new to me. Exercise has been a regular thing for several months, only it's been everything BUT running. Last week, I ran my first solid three miles. And I didn't hate my life! I'm still in shock. 
  • God has been so faithful to provide for our family while Derek is between jobs. Derek is starting a new job on Monday and just sounds like it's going to be a great fit. Faith over finances. That's not the easy kind of faith. So thankful for a God who provides even when we worry and doubt. 
  • While Derek's been home more, we've been tackling a a huge honey-do list. We cleaned out the downstairs junk closet, majorly cleaned our master bedroom, and rearranged furniture in several rooms. It's like a brand new house! I went to book club last week and while I was gone, Derek and the kiddos spent hours cleaning. I was SHOCKED when I walked through the door. Such a surprise! 
  • For the past several months, I've sporadically submitted resumes here and there. And last week, I randomly got two phone calls for interviews... both for resumes that I submitted a long time ago. I went to the interviews and they went well. Granted, I really care to have either of the jobs, but I'm glad I went. The jobs are both too far and too many hours, but the jobs themselves sounded like so much fun. Turns out, I have missed that professional side and I have found a new desire to find a counseling job. I am currently licensed in Missouri and I have decided to get licensure in Kansas, too. Paperwork, much? 
  • Last week, my phone broke. It shut itself down and has yet to show signs of life. Well, it does have a blue blinking light, but according to the internet that means that it will never turn back on again. I wish I would've known. I would have purchased life insurance. Today is seven days without a phone. It hasn't been too bad, really. Only that Derek is probably annoyed because I keep taking his to make calls. I was looking forward to my phone upgrade this weekend, but it turns out Sprint is changing their plans into no-contract plans and the phones at no-contract prices are absurd. I mean, $600 for an iphone, which I can buy a giant ipad for less? I don't mind paying for technology, but I do mind when I am paying ridiculous prices because the phone companies have created those high prices to lure people into contracts. Maybe the local banks will start offering phone loans. Until then, email or facebook me if you need me!
  • Honestly, the very fact that I've even considered an iphone... it's kind of stressing me out. I've been pretty committed to my andriods over the years. But my andriod did just died out of nowhere. Plus, I have a macbook plus an ipad, so it seems easiest to just convert! Oh apple... when did you get this hold on me????? 

I am aware that once I reach the point over stressing out about switching cell phones that I'm officially headed for the looney bin! Come visit, please? 

I'll be blogging more once things get a little more steady.  Or perhaps I just need to be better at accepting not being in control and always planning two or three steps ahead. Or maybe a combination of the two? Jackson has been playing at basketball games and that will most certainly be an interesting post. Also, my baby girl is turning THREE in just a few weeks. Ohmigoodness... I barely blinked! 

Along with being phoneless, it's been so cold. So, so cold and we've been cooped up for weeks. I only have one new pic that I snapped today.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Lately, courtesy of Instagram

I haven't been doing a spectacular job at documenting just everyday life lately. Fortunately, instagram helps me out! Here are some of the things we've been up to for the last two months!

This is Belle's favorite hairstyle. It's titled "The Minnie Mouse."

Early in December, we got our first snow which was barely enough to cover the ground, but it didn't keep these kids from being excited about it! 

 Also in December, there was an unusually warm day and so we visited the zoo! And for the first time ever, we got to see the tigers awake! Belle was so happy. 

I love this picture. This sums up the time spent up at Grammy's. No wonder the kids don't like coming home. :)

Belle sweetly climbed up on my lap and asked, "are you going to keep me?" And the only appropriate response, "OF COURSE!!"

This was the first gingerbread house anyone in our house has ever made! :)

We snacked on the leftover icing!

Jackson joined a basketball team and started practice!

For Christmas, Great Grandpa gifted us a three month membership to the local community center and we love to play in the pool!

Green smoothies! We started the month with a 30-day Green Smoothie Pledge, but we never settled back into a consistent routine after vacation. The new recipes we've tried, though, have been super tasty! Plus, we're trying all sorts of new foods and flavors.

We got all decked out in red to watch the Chiefs in the playoffs a few weeks ago.

Even though the ending was tragic, at least the kiddos were cute! We're still Chiefs fan. Next year will be our year.

My beautiful Repunzel at a Tangled birthday party. Is this not the cutest idea ever??

Per Jackson's incessant request to go bowling "in real life", we went bowling a few weeks ago. I didn't take a pic of the end score because it was embarrassing. Next time, I'll be sure to add bumpers for myself.

Last Sunday, the sun was shining and it was so warm. The kids begged to go to the park after church and so we did! They had so much fun playing that they didn't even realize that lunch was an hour late! Jackson was a total boss on the monkey bars!

More basketball practice! Fortunately, there is usually a little mat on the floor in the gym and Belle loves to do somersaults! Two sports, one fee. Perfect! :)

Tonight was another swimming night. We normally swim until close to bedtime and I pack jammies for the kiddos to change into afterwards. Tonight, we went on a small detour to Cherry Berry for a frozen yogurt bedtime snack.

In other news that doesn't prompt many photos, we've done a lot of cleaning out, organizing, and rearranging different rooms in the house. I love it. Not the work itself, but the results! I joined a running accountability group for January and my goal has been to get in 25 miles this month. I am at 17 for now, which is probably more than the sum of all the miles I've ever ran as an adult put together. 

Belle has been potty-training. It's going alright, but any progress is progress I suppose! Apparently we were too ambitious with praising her efforts for the first time and proclaiming that she was a big girl because when I mention that it's time to try to go again, she replies, "But I am already a big girl!!" and has no interest in trying again.

Jackson has been playing Mario Kart on the Wii. I only hope that teaching him to drive in real life is easier than teaching him on the video game console. Oy! Jackson did run two miles with me last week at the gym. As we were nearing the end, I told him that I was running out of energy and asked if he'd be able to share some of his. He spent the last two laps looking back over his shoulder "blowing energy" at me. It was the sweetest thing ever. He might just have to be my new running partner!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fun in the Sun!

We spent last week in Florida. I am having a hard time coming back to reality. It was everything we wanted it to be-- relaxing, fun, and warm. Well, it was warm-ER at least. Turns out the polar vortex brought about the coldest Florida temps since the 1800s, but even so... it was still much warmer than home.

Derek hasn't had a week off work for almost five years and he was in much need of a vacation! This trip was our first solo vacation since our honeymoon seven and a half years ago! We didn't purposefully pick our destination because it was where we honeymooned, but it was really fun to go back! When we were searching for warm places to visit, I stumbled across a magazine article for our hotel and my heart was set.

We stayed at The Post Card Inn on St. Pete Beach. I mean, how neat is this place? We've stayed in fancier hotels before, but I wanted to go somewhere with charm and character and it's exactly what we got! The rooms are all unique (ours was like the top left pic) and we were literally just steps from the beach. The decor was mismatched, but yet it all fit so perfectly. And in the lobby (bottom right picture) has a bookshelf wall full of neat books to browse. The only downside is that we traveled during the off season and so the hotel was doing renovations, but so was every other place.

All pics from Post Card Inn website. I forgot my camera, so we only have pics from our cell phone!

So, what'd we do? Basically-- not much. It was fantastic. We didn't plan a thing and so we just did things on a whim, which is a huge difference from family life! That was a vacation in and of itself. It was nice to have a week together as just husband and wife. Also, we realized we are 29 going on AARP.  Here is the 2014 version of a slideshow after a vacation (i.e. a really long blog post with lots of pictures.)... (who am I kidding? I've never seen a non-computer slideshow in my life).

There are no pictures of our ridiculously stressful journey to get to Florida. Our original flight was one of the thousands of cancelled flights across the country with the earliest reschedule was a full 24 hours later. We desperately didn't want to sacrifice an entire day of vacation! I attempted to call the airline and I wasn't put on hold-- I was told to hang up and call another time. We showed up at the airport at noon with high hopes to get on a 12:50 flight to Orlando and we barely made it. Derek and I ventured into the airline managers office as he called corporate to get us on board and we made it with literally minutes to spare. We were a small chunk of change poorer and I have several more grey hairs, but I don't regret it. We got to our hotel right on schedule!

Ahh.... Florida.... 

The first day at the beach was a part of the coldest-temperatures-of-the-century in Florida, but it was still so much warmer than home.

And the sunset was still beautiful!

Our mornings were really lazy. When we didn't stay in bed until noon we went out for breakfast, we actually sat and read the newspaper. It was kind of nice, actually. Especially when we visited a diner. Like, a teeny tiny trailer that is smaller than our house.

Which led to me completely my very first crossword puzzle!!! I have become slightly addicted. One night Derek asked what I wanted to do and I replied, "I still need to complete today's crossword!" So we watched some TV and I worked on my puzzle and I realized how much I really am just like my grandma! 

I am not a real big seafood person, but I did get a Grouper sandwich one night. It was okay, aside the fact that it tasted like fish. :) It helps that it was fried. Also, this was the snack portion and I didn't get anywhere close to finishing!

Most nights, we ventured out for desserts... something we hardly ever do! YUM!

We played Phase 10 a few times throughout the week.

Derek and I love to play mini-golf. We tied. That was anti-climactic... I mean, who gets bragging rights?

The restaurant in our hotel claimed to have the best BBQ in town and featured Kansas City BBQ ribs on the menu. Of course we had to try. They were pretty good, though definitely not as good as the real thing.

My very favorite night was the night we watched the sunset as we walked the beach. It was beautiful to watch and the weather was fantastic! 

Isn't this GORGEOUS???

We ate dinner at a open air patio right on the beach. It was wonderful!

When we visited St. Pete beach on our honeymoon, we took a pic of us with "just married" in the sand. (It's hard to see, but it's there!). On Friday morning, we found the exact same spot for an updated photo! Still married! :)

What can we tell from the photo? The tide is higher in the summer months. Also, we were a lot thinner and less pale back in those days. It's amazing how much "life" fits in between those two photos-- two kids, remodeling a house, joining the army, grad school and so much more! We look forward to going again to get another picture, and another, and another! :)


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kiddo Conversations

It is soooooo cold outside! It's the kind of cold that stings as soon as you go outside. From what I can tell, it's frigid across the country, so I won't complain! One thing for sure, I am absolutely not a fan.

Over the past several weeks, I have written down some of the conversations we have. Maybe it will warm your heart? Maybe not. But perhaps a chuckle.

From this morning as I was going over the Sunday School lesson in nursery.
Me: Do you guys know what sin is?
Jackson: I do! It's part of your body that is all over, outside of your bones, and protects the insides.

This conversation happens as soon as she comes home from spending any time with Grammy. The first day home, it's like 50 times a day and it slowly fades to every other day eventually.
Belle: Can we go to Grammy's?
Me: No honey, Grammy is working today.
Belle: But I like her!!
Me: I like her too, but we aren't going to visit her today.
Belle: Well, I'm ANGRY!  (walks off and pouts)
Through a series of unfortunate events, Derek is without work right now. He's had some interviews and has more scheduled, so things aren't looking too bleak, but I did try to keep the kids in the loop and so they could pray for Daddy. Jackson knows that Daddy goes to work to make money for the family. He began to get worried and I tried to use the conversation to talk about the real things that matter in life. And... it didn't really happen.
Jackson: But what about money?
Me: Oh, we'll be okay honey!
Jackson: Is Daddy rich?
Me: {chuckle} No, dear.
Me: Well, son. Some people are rich because they have lots of money. But we are rich because we have so such a great family and lots of friends who loves us!
Jackson: Well, I just wish we were TWO kinds of rich. 
{me, too buddy!}
One afternoon, Belle really took notice of my wedding ring. She tried it on and she was the happiest little girl! Daddy is going to have to get her a special ring when she gets a bit older!
Belle: I like your ring
Me: Thank you! Daddy gave it to me because he loves me.
Belle: Can I have it?
Me: No, this is Mommy's ring. Maybe when you're older you will get a sparkly ring!
Belle: But I AM older. I'm TWO!
Me: Would you like to try it on?
{Belle tries it on}
Belle: It's sparkly!!
Me: Do you like it?
Belle: Daddy loves me!
More theological discussion with Jackson. This one comes after a quick conversation about heaven, which happens quite frequently. Jackson is very interested in heaven... particularly the concept of getting a new body when we get there and who will know who. He does know that for those who love Jesus, when we die we go to heaven.
Jackson: What happens when you die and you're already in heaven?
Me: Well, once you're in heaven, you don't die.
Jackson: But what if you get hit from a bullet or an arrow?
Me: There aren't bullets or arrows. There aren't any bad guys!
Jackson: But what if bad guys get in?
Me: They can't.
Jackson: But what if Darth Vader gets into Heaven and used his blue sword?
Me: I promise, Jackson. Darth Vader will not be in Heaven. Just believe me. 
Aren't kids funny? What are funny things your kiddos have said? (Mom, you're not included to participate in this conversation.)


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: A big year for us

This past year was a crazy one. I feel like I say that every year, but this year was big for us.

  • I started my internship and kids started daycare for the first time ever.
  • Belle turned two in February!
  • Our family took turns being sick the entire month of February.
  • In March, we endured the potential-brain-tumor scare with Jackson. Every parent's worst nightmare. Praise the Lord we have a healthy, happy boy today!
  • I prepared a presentation for the American Counseling Association of Missouri and presented this April.
  • Derek earned his General License for ham radio.
  • I got my (one and only) wisdom tooth pulled. It was terrible.
  • I graduated!!!!!! just in time for Derek to start grad school. 
  • Jackson played t-ball and loved it!
  • Derek got promoted to Sergeant!
  • We celebrated our 7th anniversary... together! Thank you, army!
  • We traveled to St. Louis to celebrate the 4th of July.
  • Julie came back to visit and we took a whirlwind trip to Chicago!
  • I became a stay-at-home-mom again.
  • We finished our basement!
  • Jackson got several autographs from Chiefs players and Belle met the cheerleaders.
  • Jackson started preschool and he played soccer.
  • Belle drove a Humvee.
  • We cleaned out our pantries of all processed foods and began eating clean!
  • I got unfortunate news that my body is insulin resistant and began taking diabetic meds.
  • Jackson celebrated his 5th birthday at the fire station
  • The kids were minions for Halloween.
  • After years of faithfully supporting a losing team, the chiefs surprised us with a nine back-to-back wins!
  • I passed the National Counselors Exam! 
  • Derek's brother (and his family) moved to town!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving by serving a meal at a shelter.
  • Derek lost 30 pounds and I lost 25 through clean eating and simple exercise. 
  • We had a wonderful Christmas!

Whew! It's been a good one. I have grown so much this past year. Time and time again, I felt in over my head, but I ended up coming through and I'm feeling much more confident with myself as a result. It's been a big year for Derek, too in his work, starting grad school, and with his hobby of ham radio.

I have a few ideas in mind to make 2014 an exciting year, too! To start, Derek and I are escaping to a Florida vacation. It's our first solo vacation since our honeymoon! I cannot wait.

Happy New Year!


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