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Better Late than Never...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
It's better late than never. I have yet to post my photo of Jake on his first day of preschool. It was taken with my phone and I ran across it tonight when I was taking this photo of my pumpkin pie (yes, fall IS here, finally). :) 

And, it was delicious, I have to say. I will have to run extra this week to make sure I don't add 10 pounds, since I plan on eating almost all of it by myself. I'm a quarter of the way there already. :) 

But, I digress. 

Back to Jake... 

He was so excited on his first day of preschool. Then, there were days of tears. He misses his mommy... and he doesn't like nap time. But, he does love lunch time and finds it fascinating that we always have his favorite foods in his lunch box. He also really seems to enjoy the other kids and telling me about how they get in trouble for not sharing. I wonder how much of that is because he isn't sharing, but I've not heard any reports... yet. And, now, the morning drop-off is getting easier. We have a routine about it now. We get ready, we get his breakfast (a morning pop tart and OJ to go, I know it isn't healthy, but that's what he loves and I'm not going to start off the morning with that battle), we drop off Bailey, and we make our way across town to his school. We listen to Three Doors Down's Kryptonite as many times as we can before we get there. We don't discuss much of anything, because we like to have our peace and quiet (if that's what you call the blaring radio and Jake's singing "yaaaaaaaahhhhhhh."). And when we get there, he is happy to get out of the car and go in. Well, most of the time. This morning, he wasn't so happy about going in. And he gave me the most pitiful pouty, puckered-up face ever. I literally had to turn my back and not look at him for a second because I knew he'd be able to see how much it hurt to see him so sad. I put on my best smile and gave him a little tickle, promised a fun day that would go by quickly, and a lot of fun with Spiderman and Batman when we got home. He sucked it up and fought back the tears. I was dreading actually leaving him. But, when we got in the room, we put his things away and he pulled his own chair up beside his friend at the computer. I snuck away unnoticed. 

What is most significant to me about all of this is not that drop-offs are getting easier, but that I see my little baby becoming more independent. He isn't as insecure as he was the first few days. He gets his backpack and lunchbox everyday when I pick him up. He pulls his own chair up to the computer. He cleans up his train set before his morning work begins. He's doing all the things that preschoolers do, without argument (which is really what I was worried about - he's a lot like his daddy, always finding a way to get out of things!). And, the most exciting development... he draws and colors every day when we get home. Before, I had to beg Jake to color or draw. He would beg me to hold my hand over his so that the drawing would be perfect. He would cry and claim he couldn't do it. He would flat out refuse to try. It was a struggle. Now, he is trying. And, he's getting better, too. He drew a Spiderman (of course) today that actually had a head and body. Now, it's a blob of red and blue, but as he drew, I could see the form of a person. Bailey and I celebrated every stroke and every color, telling him how wonderful it is that he is drawing. All good things... very good things. 

And, the reason for this post... this is my little boy on his first day of preschool two weeks ago. Of course, he had to wear his Superman shirt. My little superhero... just seeing his smile melts my heart. :)

Freezing Time...

Monday, September 27, 2010
On days like today, I wish that life had a remote control. I would love to freeze time, if only for a few minutes, and catch up. Most of the time, I would use it only to find a few more minutes in my day. I would never really skip through any of it. I actually really do love my life that much. 

However, it would be really nice to have that pause button. I would just love to freeze time for a moment every now and then. Sometimes I would use the pause button, do a whirlwind through the kids' toy room, and get it all clean without anyone going behind me in search of Spiderman, dumping out the buckets I've just filled up. Every now and then, I'd use it to speed through the laundry or dishes or dinner or traffic. Tonight, specifically, I would use it so that I could catch up on a couple of projects, including one that I owe a wonderful friend (I know you are reading and I really promise that I haven't forgotten you, C. I should totally be working on it instead of my blog!). 

In any case, I would love to use that pause button so that I could take that extra minute to snuggle up to my kiddos and watch them sleep for a few minutes. Or to read "just one more story" to them before they fall asleep. Or simply to crawl into bed beside my husband and not feel like I was asleep before I even pulled up the blankets. Or to take a really long bath or give myself a really, really good pedicure. 

So, does it sound like I'm complaining? :) 

Yes, I would imagine it does. It sounds like I'm admitting defeat. I'm losing the battle to juggle 500 things and not be exhausted. And, I am. I'm not exhausted and I'm not unhappy at all. I'm actually not even really meaning to complain. I am just feeling the affects of doing everything we do. Today was a completely overly-hectic day, complete with a doctor's visit that lasted over 2 hours, prep for our first Girl Scout meeting, homework for Bailey (and Jake, if you count the project we had to do), ballet class for Bailey, and our first Girl Scout meeting tonight (did I mention that I'm the troop leader? Yes - shoot me now, even if it isn't that bad). :)

It is all worth it. Yes, I am tired. Yes, I would love to have that pause button. Yes, I would love it if we had a live-in massage therapist for my feet. Yes, I would LOVE it if I had a treadmill so that I wouldn't have to decide to run or not to run at 5:30 in the morning or in the rain or cool weather Yes, I would love it if the laundry was done, the dishes were all clean, the floors were swept, the toys were up, and dinner for the next week was already cooked. But, I am not complaining. 

I love being healthy, even if I had to go to the doctor and get bloodwork done AGAIN. (FYI - they are working on ruling out the Sjogren's Syndrome I blogged about before). I love it that I CAN run and that I DO run. I love it that my kids are involved and that they have the stamina to handle (and enjoy) our lives. I love it that my husband supports us being involved in 100 different things, without complaint, and that he loves being involved in things, too. I love it that I'm meeting so many new people through Girl Scouts, ballet, t-ball, and soccer. And church, and a whole other list of things. I love it that my daughter is so much like me (sometimes). She wants her homework done as soon as she gets through the door. That way, she doesn't have to think any more about it. It makes life so much easier and I love having it done early, too. I love it that Jake is adjusting to preschool like a pro. He is handling drop off wonderfully. 

I honestly and truly love this tired feeling. I feel like I'm living life to the fullest... and the sleepy feeling I have right now is something I only get when I know that I'm doing as much as I can in any given day. A few more hours would be nice, but you know, I'd just fill it up, too. 

Good night (or morning for a lot of you!)! 


Thursday, September 23, 2010
Can you tell I downloaded photos from my camera? :)

Well, I did for one very specific reason. I wanted to get a post about Bailey done tonight. Yet, instead, I've been entirely focused on Jake or running lately. I would feel guilty, but Bailey has a way of being the center of attention almost always. So, not guilty.

But, since we are on the subject of being the center of attention, I just can't pass up the chance to talk about her ballerina skills. On Monday, it was observation day at her ballet class. Jake and I were able to actually go into the studio to see the class (normally, we sit behind a mirrored glass) and watch, but we can't really hear anything and I'm normally chatting it up with the other parents so much that I miss a lot.

Our daughter is hilarious. Adorable. A diva at heart. And not flexible at all. Well, maybe sometimes she is, but for the most part, she is just like me. Her knees bend every time she tries to touch her toes, no matter what. And that just sucks for her... she'll spend a lot of her life wondering why in the world other people can touch their toes without bending their knees while she just can't. Trust me. I know... things like cheerleading, gymnastics, and ballet require such abilities. lol. Fortunately, she will eventually chalk it up to something like "I have tight leg muscles because I'm so strong" or something equally as ridiculous. :) Or maybe, just maybe, she'll learn to be flexible. I learned to train my body to get faster... surely, she can be more flexible with time, if she wants to. :)

The best part about watching Bailey was to see her really enjoy ballet. She had the whole ballerina attitude, as I am sure you will notice in some photos. She truly tries really hard to do what the teacher says. And, honestly, she's not bad. She's a little stiff, but she's not bad at all. She's bigger than most kids in her class (at school and ballet), so it seems strange seeing her in comparison to these tiny girls. I'm sure that's something else she will deal with as she gets older, but I don't know. I was always a big kid, but I don't remember it being an issue, so maybe not. Everyone always thinks she's a year or two older than she is. In any case, she was a doll... and she loved to send me funny, posing-style looks when she saw me holding up the camera. Of course she posed. If the camera is on, Bailey is ON.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to see her in this element. I love how she loves ballet, but more than that, I love how her personality fits whatever sport she is doing. In t-ball, she's all rough and tumble. In ballet, she's prissy and girly, with tons of attitude. At school, she's the complete teacher's pet and best listener ever (that is an entirely different post in and of itself).  At home, she's just plain spoiled. :)

My favorites from Monday...

Football... Nope. Futbol.

I think I mentioned that Jake is playing football. Oops. I wish that was right. It's actually soccer that he's playing. But, c'mon, guys. He's only three. As much as we might love to, we can't tape his pants and pads on and I'm pretty sure that they don't make shoulder pads in a size 2T. :)

Until then (hopefully), we have Jake in a sport that he really seems to love - soccer. 

He did so much better last week than I expected him to. He and the other players, including our little buddy, Joseph, did a really good job. It was a lot of fun to watch them. Be prepared... I'm sure there will be more funny stories, photos, and maybe, if I can ever get organized enough, a video or two. :) 

To treat you to the view, here are some photos of little man (and some of Joseph) playing ball. 

My UK football game experience..

So, a few weeks ago, I posted about marking one thing off my list... going to a UK football game. You can read it here. :) 

As you will undoubtedly notice, I didn't tell you much about it. I guess because there's not a ton to say. It was great fun with great friends, food and drink. And, despite beating WKU pretty badly, it was a pretty decent game to watch. Well, OK... I like the close ones a little better, so I was ready to go by the end of the 3rd quarter. But, I'm happy that UK won, especially since it was my first game there! 

Anyway, I wanted to post some pics, since I've yet to do that. 

So, here you go. You can tell that we had a good time, especially Brad. lol. 

Seriously, our poor kids will have crow's feet... um about now. :) We both have them so bad... and gray hair, too. Boo. :)

Learnin' a thing or two...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
When I announced that I was going to train to run a 5K last May, I never expected this. I never expected to become addicted to running. I thought it would be something I would do to mark of my list and then I'd go on with life. But, as you all know from reading over that past several months, running has become a really large part of my life. I would venture to say that I'm slightly obsessed with it. Brad would probably say that I'm completely obsessed with it. 

In any case, it is a good thing to be addicted to. It's helping me to be healthier. It's helping me to lead by example when I encourage the kids to be physically active. I expected these things to happen. I expected better calf muscles and ab muscles and even to lose a little weight. But there are so many things that I have learned during the past few months that I never expected to learn. So, since I'm dying to blog about running, but sick of just blogging my stats on here, I figured I'd post about all the things I've learned (that I can think of) since I started running. :) 
  • I'm not too old to run through a sprinkler.... and laugh like a little girl over it. No, I won't run through it if one of the old men living in our neighborhood encourages me, because that's just weird. But, if there's a sprinkler on and it sprays over the sidewalk (and no one is watching), I will try to plan my pace to get a good spray to cool me down. 
  • The band Third Eye Blind has the most perfect album (yes, from the 90s) to run to. It has a good pace, but speeds up on certain songs, just enough to keep me going. And, despite some of the lyrics, including one that talks about ashes from a cigarette blowing into his girlfriend's eyes and her laughing about it (completely unrealistic unless he's dating a blow up doll), I actually like to sing along... but only in my head. 
  • I have to have a laundry basket that separates our post-running and post-basketball clothes from our regular clothes. Yes, if our clothes smell soured, it's because one of our socks made it into the wrong basket. It's disgusting. 
  • There are certain neighbors that should buy a tree trimmer. Period. We are included in that. :)
  • Men runners suck. They can make running look so easy. One guy that I ran behind yesterday was about a block ahead of me and he was just casually jogging. I was running as fast as I could and could not keep up with him. And, he wasn't even winded. 
  • The first mile always makes me feel like I'm 80. No matter how much I mentally prepare and physically prepare to go run, I always feel like I'm going to die during the first mile. Glad Rebecca said she feels the same way, but I'm disappointed that it doesn't sound like that changes no matter how far you can run.
  • There are plateaus... it seems like once I get past a certain point on each run, I could run forever. I call them plateaus, but I'm not sure if that's the right word. 
  • I run better and faster when I have someone to run with. And, it's a lot more fun. 
  • I now completely understand the term "competing against yourself." I mean, sure, I understood it before, but I never felt like I could be motivated by competing against my own time. Maybe I will like golf more than I expected. 
  • There are tons of people in our neighborhood that walk and run. Most of them are the same people that walk and run everyday. I don't know any of their names, but they know me and I know them. 
  • I can actually get faster. I didn't really think so, but I can... 
  • Google has a program that allows you to measure walking distance on the sidewalks. It pops up as one of my most frequently used pages. :) 
  • I have memorized how far it is to just about any spot in our neighborhood, and I can actually plan out my route down to a tenth of a mile without even looking at Google, but I always just confirm it to be sure. 
  • I am constantly in need of a pedicure. Constantly.
  • On days that I run, I could eat an entire house full of food. And, for a change, I don't want junk food. I want good food... and weird combinations of it. Tonight, I ate the remaining grapes (like half a bag or so), string cheese, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a banana. And, I was still hungry. Poor Brad has to deal with me then... you know, me + hungry = total psycho witch. He got an earful about not helping me with the dishes or taking out the trash. Two minutes after I ate, I was fine. :)
  • Papa John's pizza is not good to eat before you run. Even if you eat it three hours prior to running. It's just not good.
  • Planning trips and weekend events now includes research on where I will run, when I will run, and how far I am "scheduled" to run. And, among my favorite websites, I now watch John's Run/Walk Shop Race Calendar almost as much as I check things out on Facebook. :) We are making a trip to Columbia, South Carolina for a wedding later this fall. I have to run 8 miles that weekend. Let me know if anyone has suggestions on where I can run. 
  • Only certain people really get it when you are excited about running. Most of them are runners. My family and friends that don't run are happy for me, but they don't understand the high. I didn't understand it either. So, guys, it's OK that you don't know what to say when I tell you what I ran last night. I just want to tell someone. And, thank God for Dawn and Rebecca for listening to me complain and celebrate about each little itty bitty thing. :) 
  • Oh... and running on Wednesday nights in our neighborhood can be stinky. Everyone puts their trash out on Wednesday nights, so I need to plan for Wednesdays to be my regularly scheduled "trail" runs (not trails like in the woods, trails like in the park). I always forget until it's too late. 
  • And, finally, I have learned that no matter how far I run or how I fast I run, I always want to go farther and faster. I'm not sure that will ever change. 10K on October 2... Half marathon in April... then... nope. I still can't commit to a marathon. But, the more I run, the more I think it is probably inevitable. Or I will have to actually buy a bike. Right now, the marathon sounds much cheaper. :)

Boy Time

Monday, September 20, 2010
On Saturday, my boys went to the UK football together. Just Brad and Jake. 

There are times that I think men have no clue how much what they do impacts their kids. I know that Brad doesn't seem to realize how important it is for him to do these things with Jake. I know that he knows that this means a lot to Jake, because it means a lot to him. But, he doesn't acknowledge that it's a big deal. He chooses to treat things as "no big deal." Part of that is because there isn't much in life that Brad considers "a big deal." And, like his father, Jake doesn't seem to be overly-excited about much either. They have that same personality... sometimes emotional about things you don't expect them to be emotional about, but typically not emotional about much. Of course, Bailey and I don't get that at all, but we are the complete opposite. There's not much in the world that we don't make a big deal about. lol. We can't help it any more than they can. 

For me, seeing Brad and Jake heading to the ballgame together was priceless. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing in my mind... a relationship that I can see for them in the future. The "my dad is my hero" type of attitude that I can see emerging from Jake at some given point (much sooner than later). You know, the kind of admiration where he goes to school and tells his buddies, "my dad is so strong, he could beat up your dad." Don't you remember those conversations from the little boys you knew? OK... maybe that only happened with my brothers because my dad was a former boxer. If that's the case, then maybe you all think I'm crazy. lol. Oh well, what's new?! I don't encourage him to think that his dad would beat up anyone else's dad, though. :) 

Anyway, I remember watching my dad and my middle brother establish this really cool relationship (Colt did, too, but Cory's is more memorable to me because it was something new for me to understand... by the time Colt came around, I expected it). Cory was probably about 5 before I really remember seeing it happen. There was this connection that they had... and I am so excited about that for Jake and Brad. Right now, Jake is mommy's little baby. He loves being my little baby. He even tells me he isn't a big boy because he is my little baby. And I am taking it while I can get it. I know it will only be a couple of years before he will think it's not cool for me to kiss him in public. He will want daddy to take him to school. He will want daddy to help him on the ballfield (oh, scratch that, he already does, thus the kicking in the outfield). 

I can feel it shifting, especially on days like Saturday, where they do something like this together. You can see it in Jake's little eyes when he looks at Brad. He's already the coolest guy in the world. And, while Jake is still mommy's little baby and he wants to come home to his mommy to snuggle him to sleep, he is already ready to jump in the truck and go with his dad at any given opportunity. You can see it every time he brings me a toy that is broken and declares, "Daddy will fix it." It doesn't matter if I could actually fix it (which I normally can't because by the time they are broken to Jake, they are really destroyed). He wants his daddy to do it. No one else. It's in the adorable way that he wants to pee standing up or in the grass when daddy is around, but decides against that when it is just the two of us. You can see it when he looks at his shirt or shorts and says, "I wook wike daddy" or "This is just wike daddy's shirt." It is there every time he jumps on the trampoline and tells me he can flip like daddy (he does somersaults as opposed to the full out series of flips that his dad does). And, it is in the sprint that he makes for the door when his dad gets home and he starts begging him, "Go jumping wif me?" It's all there... just on the cusp of turning him from my baby to daddy's little man. And, while I would love to keep him my little baby for years and years, I love it that he's  idolizing him so much. There's just nothing sweeter to me than a little boy who loves his daddy so much. It just melts my heart. :) 

Status: Updated

I feel the need to blog. I want to write. I want to tell you all about everything. But, in all honesty, I feel like a broken record. 

We've been busy. 

We are tired. 

I have run (a lot). 

The kids are growing like crazy and doing every activity imaginable.

My husband rocks. 

I love my friends. 

I love my family. 

I am healthy.

I am blessed.

The end. :) 

Just kidding. Although, it does kind of feel that way sometimes. I guess a lot of times when I sit down to write, I think about all that we are doing and I write from that perspective. So, sometimes, I feel like my posts end up feeling like status updates (really long ones) instead of emotional posts. There's not anything wrong with these status updates, but sometimes I even get bored writing them, so I feel like someone out there just HAS to be bored reading it. lol. 

However, I am going to keep posting. :)

In thinking about where we left off, Jake did better at preschool on Thursday. He didn't cry when I left him, because he was busy playing with a train set. However, he assured me later that he did cry to Mrs. M once I was gone. :) He wants me to feel like crap... I am certain. 

Friday was wonderful for him... he spent the entire day in his pajamas, playing with his toys. I cleaned the house and we picked up Bailey from school. Then, Joseph and Paul came over while Rebecca and I ran. And, I ran 5 miles (nothing in comparison to Rebecca's 10 miles). It was the farthest I have run, so I was pretty excited. And exhausted. 

Saturday, we had our first soccer practice for Jake and Joseph's team. They were great. Brad and Paul are the coaches, and in comparison to the spring, all four of the boys were much more prepared. :) The kids really did well (all of them). Jake whispered to me after it was over, "Can we please play again?" Apparently, he loves it. And, then it was off to tailgate for the day. The kids had a great time hanging out with some other kids where we tailgated. We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and relaxed. It was a beautiful day and the kids really enjoyed it as much as we did. When the game was about to start, we packed everything up. Bailey and I headed home, and Brad and Jake headed to the ballgame. Now, I am going to do an emotional post about this one... :) It means so much to have that male bonding time. And, I can totally tell you what a sap I am when I see a dad with his little boy going to a football game. :) More about that in a bit. :) 

And, then there was Sunday. Late on Saturday night, I decided that I was going to get up and run the 10K with Rebecca, despite my aversion and nervousness. It's 6.2 miles. I ran 5 on Friday. Surely, I could run 6.2, even if I had to walk a little. Well... Sunday morning, I decided not to. My legs had hurt all night long and I wasn't feeling up to it. I did, however, go and run that morning and was able to run 4 miles. I was reassured that I made the right choice by not going. My legs were too tired and I totally would not have been able to push through and run 6.2. So, that was the early part of Sunday. 

We spent the day at home, relaxing, doing laundry, and playing in the yard, until that evening. Bailey and Jake had a t-ball game, so we were off to the ballpark, again. :) They did well. Bailey played first base. I don't really understand what the coach was thinking. She can't really catch that well. At all. She ducked twice when the ball was thrown to her. lol. Fortunately, it only lasted an inning. Brad really tried to help her and she really tried to listen. She's just not ready for first base. lol. Jake did well hitting and running, but the outfield was another story. For example, I have cleat mark bruises on my shins from picking him up off the ground a few times and him kicking me. Needless to say, he sat in the dugout in "timeout" a couple of times. It was a very long ballgame.I was ready to kill my son by the end of the game. We are on the countdown now. I know that sounds terrible, but we only have 4 more games. Fall ball has not been nearly as fun as spring. It has been great for Jake, in that he has had an opportunity to learn without being in a competitive environment. It has been good for Bailey, because she's had opportunities to play in the in-field a lot. By the same token though, had we practiced more, I think she would have learned more. And, I have to think that if they gave her one position to focus on instead of moving her to each position on the field, she would learn how to play that one position well. Oh well...  Brad and I are both ready to get back to the spring season, where we have regular practices and games that actually keep score. But before that, we are ready for a break from t-ball. :) 

And, that catches you up on our lives. :) 

Status: Updated. 

Little man goes to school. :(

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This week has been... a huge cycle of fun, hectic, stressful, exciting, and 100 different various adjectives. :) And, it's only Wednesday night. 

Shew... what will it be like when I blog this weekend?! 

The week started out great with a fun girls' night with Rebecca, Dawn, and Cilla. How I love these girls. I can't even begin to tell you right here, mainly because I have a whole other post that I've been working on about them since Monday night. Obviously, time has been a little bit of an issue. Otherwise, that post would precede this one. But, well, I don't always do things that make sense, even if it drives me crazy not to have things in chronological order. Oh, I know you guys know that I like things to be in order... haven't you noticed how all of my posts start out where we left off last? :) 

Or do they? What was my last post? Oh... yep... it does start off where I left off. And we accuse Brad for being responsible for Jake's OCD behaviors. 

Anyway, back to this week... 

We had a great Monday night, closing down Pazzo's downtown. Yep, we are party animals (don't tell anyone that Pazzo's closes at 10 p.m., ok?!). It was great. It was even more fabulous that when I arrived home, my babies were bathed and in bed. I was certain that I would come home to an overturned house and two children, unbathed, running around hopped up on orange juice and popcorn. They weren't. And I love my husband for that. Sometimes... most of the time... it really is the little things that make me love him. 

I was originally supposed to start my new job on Tuesday, but because of my background check coming back with that felony.... just kidding. Because my background check didn't come back in time, I had to postpone it until Wednesday (today). After much contemplation, we decided we'd go ahead and take Jake to his first day of preschool on Tuesday and I could spend the day eating bon-bons on the couch. However, instead of my bon-bon eating party (I don't even like bon-bons... where the hell did that phrase originate?), I ended up cleaning up from the night before, because, while my hubby is a wonderful man and got the kids in the bath and the bed, he is not a saint. The house was a mess. :) But no one really cares what I did (except me). I was really, really happy to get to run 4 miles, the most I have ever run without dying. Yes, I had to get something in about running... it was killing me not to blog it, but I'm trying to refrain from making this my running blog, since Bailey asked me one day if I was working on my blog about running. That kid kills me. :) 

So, I'm totally having issues with ADD tonight... I forgot about the boiled eggs I was cooking and boiled them for over an hour. :)  FOCUS.... what were we talking about? Oh yes... Jake and his first day of preschool. (Funny, this is how all of my conversations with my mom and/or Cilla go). 

OK... so he was psyched... pumped... couldn't wait to go. He got up at like 6:15, even though he wouldn't really need to be up until 7. He was just so excited. I was thrilled. My little man was going to do fine. Well... it wasn't horrible. Yep... it was horrible. He did so good the whole way there, but when we go there, he was so nervous. He kept biting his little nails and clinging to me. He was excited to be there, but he didn't want me to leave. He kept whispering to me, "Mommy, just stay. I'll miss you." Talk about fighting back some serious tears. So, I gave him a pep talk, even though he's so insightful with people and their emotions that I'm quite certain it made things worse. I showed him toys and activities and paint and everything he loves (except superheroes, since they aren't there). His teacher talked to him and tried to get him to sit with her at the table and color a scarecrow. Yep... he wasn't interested. I am just glad he didn't tell her to do something very bad with the scarecrow, because he totally wanted to. I could tell he did. I choked back the tears, gave him a hug, and a huge smile and rushed out the door while he sat there with the saddest face I've ever seen, held to the chair by his teacher's arm. It was horrible. HORRIBLE. Like, I totally want to cry just thinking about it. 

But, when I went to pick him up, as predicted, he was thrilled. He'd had a great day and was so impressed by lunch. Little does he realize that the reason he had all of his favorites for lunch is because I pack it for him. He still has yet to realize that... even though he picked his lunchbox out and he carries it in every morning. He still just seems so impressed by the "red soup" (Spaghetti O's), the eggs, strawberries and grapes. I can't help but find that hilarious. The only real story he told us was that one of his friends wouldn't share and he was put in the timeout chair. He is apparently really bad... at least that's what Jake says. :) 

So, this morning rolls around. I'm wondering how he is going to react... because we all know Jake is NOT a morning person. He is just like me. I was praying he'd wake up on his own. Fat chance. I had to wake him up. I spent nearly 5 minutes chasing him around the house as he screamed and cried and screamed some more, "I NOT GOING TO PWESKOOL. I NOT WIKE IT. I STAY HOME AND WATCH BATMAN." Of course, I was trying to be understanding and remind him about how wonderful his day would be. He was not going to be convinced. After trying to dress him (and being completely unsuccessful at it), I told him I was going to work and taking Bailey to school and he could stay home alone. Bailey and I made our way downstairs. About 2 seconds later, he was letting me dress him, but was still yelling that he wasn't going. Whatever. 

Poor Bailey... she was trying so hard to help. She kept telling him, "Jake, preschool is so fun. You have toys to play with and everything. Kindergarten doesn't have toys, so you should be really happy to go." It was really funny to hear her repeat to him all of the things that I have said to her over the years. Adorable, but kind of odd. :) 

We made it out of the house (and for those of you wondering, Brad left to go out of town on Tuesday, conveniently, for work). :) We dropped Bailey off at school and then headed to preschool. Jake was pissed every time I mentioned it. Finally, I decided to leave him alone and see if it helped. I turned on his favorite song, "Kryptonite" by Three Doors Down (anyone have any idea why that might be his favorite song?). He said, "Is this the Suterman song (that's how he says Superman)?" I told him it was. And then, I got really creative. I told him all about how Spiderman, Batman, Superman, and Ironman went to school. How they all just LOVED school. And I pulled it all out with, "If you want to grow up and be a superhero, you are going to have to go to school like they did." He sat there for a minute, taking it all in. He looked at me and said, "I just so sweepy mom." I laughed and told him I was, too. Then, he said, "Hang on a minute." I looked back in the rearview (yes, while driving) to see him closing his eyes like he's asleep. He sat there for a second. Then, he said, "OK... I'm all weady (ready)." I thought I would crack up. So, off we went into the school. He did great and was so excited. And then, he got nervous when I got ready to leave. I reminded him about his superhero friends and how they love school. He smiled at me and agreed. He did so good... until the last goodbye. And I basically just walked out after our last hug because I just knew he was about to cry. His teacher said he had a tough time for a few minutes, but calmed down pretty quickly. Still... why does this have to be so hard?! 

When I picked him up, he was doing great. He said he had a great day. But at bedtime tonight, he told me, "I stay at home wif you, Mommy. I miss you at nap time." Seriously... the kid freaking breaks my heart. 

Roller coaster? :) Yes. Oh... and we had McDonald's for dinner, too. It was all part of the bribing process we went through this morning. I guarantee he's negotiating for it tomorrow morning. lol. 

And, so I am exhausted and ready for bed... but I have to boil more eggs before I go, because I'm "pretty" sure that boiling them for over an hour doesn't leave them tasting all that great. :) 

Please hurry home, babe. You get to take him next Tuesday and experience the torture. lol. :) 

Or at least, you get to help me hold him down while I try to dress him and then force him to go. :) 

Just slightly tired...

Sunday, September 12, 2010
It has been a busy and fun-filled weekend, but I am exhausted. It could be the near 10-mile walk that I took tonight on the Legacy Trail with Rebecca and Dawn. We had very good intentions to run, but well, we enjoyed a long walk instead. 

I don't know about Rebecca and Dawn, but I was starting out kind of tired. On Friday, I made a quick trip to Grayson to drop off the kids to my mother-in-law. Then, I turned around and headed home. This was after a day full of cleaning and volunteering at Bailey's school. When I got home, Brad and I took advantage of having no children at home and went on a run. It was the first time we've ran together... um... I think ever. :) It was nice running with him, even if I felt like I was making him take baby steps the entire way. We joked that I walk faster than I run, but I proved that wrong on our three-hour trek tonight. lol. Anyway, we got cleaned up and had a date night and finished the night off having miniature heart attacks watching the WVU/Marshall game. Oh... and if you didn't know, WVU won. 

We woke up on Saturday, after sleeping in, which was fabulous, and quickly got ready to grocery shop and run a few errands so that we could make our way to marking one more thing off of my list... watching a UK football game. Of course, to complete this experience, tailgating had to be involved. And, it was. We had a great time, tailgating for about 5 hours before the game, and then watching UK beat WKU easily from our seats 5 rows back in the end zone. We were pretty happy campers. 

We got home, gave Paul and Brad a hard time for crashing out before we could actually go out to a bar, and then I, too, found my pillow. 

Then, we got up early this morning and went to pick up our kiddos, who were completely exhausted from their fun-filled weekend at the Septemberfest and spending time with grandparents (on both sides) and cousins. 

All of that + Ending the day with that three-hour walk = one really tired Andrea. :) 

Is it the weekend yet?

Change... you gotta love it

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Before my gallbladder surgery and earlier in the summer, I talked to a former employer of mine about coming back to work for her part-time. It looked like a very good possibility, but we had to wait for some funding things and approvals to work themselves out. I haven't mentioned it on my blog, mainly because I was worried to death that I would jinx it. Things like that have a way of happening. 

I'm still nervous that I'm blogging about it before actually working. Isn't that funny? I guess I'm gun-shy?

Anyway, it has taken a while... and it has been in perfect timing. I was worried that it would all come together when I was in the process of having surgery or recovering and I'd miss out on the opportunity. Or that I would try to push myself and wouldn't be ready. 

But, it looks as if it is working itself out. That means that I will be going back to work a few days a week, but will still be able to pick up Bailey from school, help her with her homework and get dinner ready before Brad gets home. I'll be able to make it to all the ball games on time and will have time to serve as the Girl Scouts troop leader (reluctantly, but willingly, I suppose). It seems like the absolute most perfect scenario. I'll be able to make some money, stay in the workforce, and still be the mom that I want to be. Jake will go to preschool, which makes us all a little nervous, but will be something really good for him and something that I think he will really enjoy. He won't enjoy the early mornings where he has to actually function instead of sitting on the couch and playing with his toys quietly, but at least he'll get into a routine and will get to use that backpack that he's dragged around everywhere for the past month or so.

It's a new development for us, but something that I feel really good about. I think it will be a great opportunity for us all. And, the best thing about it, I don't have the nervous, new job feel with it. I know enough about it to get in and get my hands dirty pretty quickly. I know my boss and my co-workers, for the most part, and have stayed in touch with them over the past few years. I think it will all just come together quite nicely. 

We looked at a preschool that I've heard good things about today. I wasn't sure how Jake would handle it. He was a little shy, at first, but quickly found that he loved the toys, the kids, the teacher, everything. I had to literally drag him out of there. There are only 6 kids in his class, mostly all boys, so it seems like the perfect place for him. I think he's totally going to love it. You can only imagine how happy I am to see that he's going to enjoy it. I hope it is this easy when we actually get started. We shall see. :)

Rain, rain, go away???

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Earlier this morning, I sat down with my calendar (planning is key) and compared it with the most wonderful, fabulous training plan that Dawn gave me before my gallbladder decided to give me such a wonderful time. It is an eight-week plan to get me running a 10K at the speed I'd like to run it (around 10 minutes per mile). I mapped out my plan so that I can run a 10K in the middle of November. And I wasn't that shocked to see that I need to be running 4 miles, 4 times a week next week. Sigh. I'm sure that it will not be easy. But, I wouldn't want to do it if it was easy, right? Everyone would do it then.

It is a little nerve-wracking, seeing that I haven't ran that much in the past month or so. But, it's a goal. A goal that means I needed to run tonight. No matter what. Because otherwise, my schedule just will fall apart. Maybe not completely, but it would sure feel that way and stressing over this is the LAST thing I want to do. 

The sky was black. The kids and I had gone to a PTA meeting (yes, I live in THAT world now) and when we came back to the car, the ground was wet. It looked like it was just the beginning of a huge storm. A storm that our grass is dying of thirst for. A storm that was blowing in and testing me and my tenacity. 

Brad got home a few minutes after us and I was ready to go running. He laughed when I told him to come get me if a downpour came. Bailey was freaking out that I was going to get soaked and kept telling me not to go. I think she's terrified of being struck by lightning. I guess I shouldn't have told her about my papaw being struck by lightning twice in his life (it didn't kill him, cancer did). 

I didn't listen to Bailey, but I was really thinking the first five minutes out there that I have the smartest kid in the world and that I totally should listen to her more. :) What idiot goes running outside when the clouds are pitch black and when lightning was striking a few miles away. That would be me. 

I started running. The wind felt wonderful. I was really happy to be running. It felt great. I had no pain in my side and, despite the looming clouds overhead, it was the perfect temperature. I was kind of racing the storm. I honestly think it helped. I ran for 2.25 miles in 25 minutes. Straight. Without stopping. I couldn't believe it. I really thought I might be able to make it to the 2 mile mark, but I wasn't sure. I was really worried about it. But, now I'm convinced. I can do 3 miles on Thursday. I can do 4 miles by Sunday. And I will do 4 miles on 4 occasions next week. I can do this. Come one... pray for me. I'm hoping I can do this. Positive thinking, right?! :) 

Goals always help me. 

Labor Day Weekend

Monday, September 6, 2010
I normally like to plan things. Oh whatever... I know you guys know that. What? You couldn't tell that from the fact that I have a list to live my life by? Please. I know I don't have to explain my planning nature to you guys. You know how I am. I can't help it that I'm like this. I just am. 

Of course, my Labor Day weekend has been in the planning process for a couple of weeks. I had it all planned out. And it was packed with action. On Friday, we'd go to a t-ball game, get our boat out of the water, and then bring it to Lexington. We'd get up early on Saturday morning, take the boat to Louisa, go out on the lake there, camp out, and travel back to Lexington to go to a t-ball game on Sunday afternoon. Then, we'd have a cook out on Monday. 

Well, Brad isn't a planner. And sometimes his opinion actually does have some weight in our plans. You know, every now and then. Like, when he decides that I have planned way too much for a weekend. :) He said he was worried that he wouldn't have enough time to have a heart attack if he needed to in the weekend that I was planning. Whatever, Brad.

You already know where this is going, don't you? 

So... our weekend plans changed. The weather was too cool to be swimming/boating. And, my hubby took full advantage of that to get us out of camping out with the kids. Or get him out of it, because I was really interested in going. But, I wasn't dead set on it happening this weekend. Something about sleeping on the ground when it was actually going to be in the 40s on Saturday night just didn't sound that great.

But, I was NOT about to sit in the house all weekend and do nothing. Period. 

This is how our weekend actually happened. On Friday, we went to the kids' t-ball game (see this blog post for more on that). On Saturday, we got up, finished cleaning the house, and packed up the cooler. We hopped in the truck and made our way to Raven Run to spend the day hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the beautiful, cool day. It was wonderful. We hiked about 5 miles. The kids enjoyed it and did really well. Bailey walked all of it and Jake walked most of it. We saw butterflies and a snake (just a green one). It was the kids' first experience in hiking in the woods, which was funny for me. I never imagined that it would be a milestone for my kids to play in the woods. It is something we did almost every day growing up and it was definitely something that I loved. More than anything that I miss about the country, I miss being able to go and wander in the hills for hours enjoying nature. I love the peaceful quietness of the hills. Everything about it just relaxes me and makes me happy. I love to see all the little perfections of the world... all the things we forget about every day. So, needless to say, it was really nice to get out and enjoy this while being so close to home. Of course, once again, I think I enjoyed everything about this more than Brad and the kids. They seemed to have fun, but I always just feel like I am savoring it all a little more than them. :) I think it is just my personality or something. We finished the night with roasted marshmallows over the fire pit. A perfect end to the perfect day. 

On Sunday, we spent the day with family. My parents came down in the morning and hung out with us and went with us to see the kids play t-ball. Brad's mom, Kathy, and James came down to meet us at the field to watch the game, too. After the game, we hung out with them and went out for dinner. Then, they headed home and me, Brad, and the kids came home. We all had to get ready for our Labor Day celebration with our friends. (Really, we just wanted to lay on the couch and watch movies). 

And that brings us to today... we had a great time with wonderful friends. Cilla, Bret, Paul, Rebecca, Joseph, Dawn, Brandon, Jackson, and Carson all came over to have dinner, drinks, and dessert. The kids had a great time playing together (although I'm quite sure the boys will one day ambush Bailey for being such a tattle tale and a bossy big sister). The guys all seemed to enjoy hanging out in front of the TV, as they claimed it was too hot outside to eat out there (we know it was really all about the football game that was on). And I had a great time hanging out with the girls. It's so nice having friends to relax and be yourself with. I hope the girls loved it as much as I did... especially since we are planning a girls night next week! I can't wait. 

That's our weekend in a nutshell. Normally I would have been disappointed that my plans didn't come together, but I have to say, this weekend ended up being perfect. Maybe, just maybe, I'll listen to Brad a little more when he says I've tried to plan too much in a weekend. 

Errr.... nobody hold your breath on that one. lol. I also have control issues.

My other love

Friday, September 3, 2010
The fall weather is in the air. There's a fresh cloud of moisture on the windshield and the air is just chilly enough to feel like fall. It is almost here. I've blogged before about the fall. I love it. I love all the seasons really, but there's something special about the fall. I love the feeling of the air, the smell of the moisture, the beautiful colors of the trees when they change... all of it.

But none of that compares to the feeling I get when I walk up to a stadium full of people and see a football team on the field. The ACDC blaring over the loud speakers, the smell of popcorn, team colors on little boys that dream to be on that field, and big bows and cheerleading outfits on baby girls who will grow up and stand on that sideline... it all just thrills me. I can feel it deep down... and my adrenaline just rushes and I can't help but smile. I just love football. It's happiness for me.

If only Bailey were a boy... :)

I drove past a field of kids practicing the other day. I wished with everything in me that we were there instead of the t-ball field. Not that I don't love t-ball... I'm just passionate about football. I pray that Jake loves it like us... because I really NEED him to play. lol. Not really... I'm not the parent that will push him to do it even if he doesn't want to, but I really have to admit that I want him to want to. I really want him to want to. :)  I can't help it... I just love football.

But, until Jake is ready, if he ever decides to be (hopefully when he's young, but we'll settle for eventually), we will go support UK and watch our fill of ball on TV (Go Mountaineers). I'll pick my fantasy football team and watch players I've never heard of before, hoping they'll score or not score so that I can come out a winner at the end of the weekend. I hope I can get back home to see my brother's stepsons play at some point this fall. It's so much fun to see a little kid learning what to do on the field. It's just so much fun...

We will patiently wait with hope that we will be soon enough watching Jake on the football field, spending our time teaching him about options, bootleg passes, blitzes, and end-arounds. And, most likely how to avoid getting hit or at least how to take a hit by some really big kids since he's really small. :) Tough or not... a big kid on top of him isn't exactly what I'm excited about seeing. :)

A Proud Mama...

We had a t-ball game tonight. Jake was all about it. Well, all about it for Jake. He was ready to play, which also meant that he wanted to run in circles in the outfield and wanted me to race him to the fence in the outfield and all  that. He did really well... he hit the ball really well, but forgot to run. He made it to first on all three at-bats (after some prodding to get to first), though, so we were really proud. And, he made it all the way around the bases to home two of the three times. So, we were definitely calling it a success. Our whole goal for fall ball has been to get him hitting the ball and understanding how to run the bases. Fielding will come as he gets a little older and more used to the concept... offense is what he needs the most right now. :) He did get the ball in the outfield once though! After attempting the throw with his left hand, he decided to pick it up where it fell and actually throw it in. He got it into the infield, which worked for us! 

Bailey also did great. She played 2nd and 3rd base and did well paying attention. Oh, no worries, there was no shortage of twirling, but she did really well. She is learning so much about fielding, which she loves. She is so funny about it, because she still loves to talk to the players on the other team and she still does her little dancing moves when she's out there. So, I asked her tonight if she liked playing infield and she said, "I love it... it's not as boring as the outfield." :) 

I was just proud of them both. They are having fun and figuring it all out, which makes it more fun for us. And, us bragging on them like crazy is just making them love playing more. lol. 

The Circus

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Friday night was a chance for me to mark one more thing off my list - taking my children to a circus. I have been planning this one for a while, so I was happy that it came when it did, especially since I've been a little bit frustrated by the limitations that my gallbladder caused and the list items that I wasn't able to do as planned because of my surgery. Not only did it make me feel like I'm still living my life and doing what I want, we had a great time! I haven't been to a circus since I was probably about 12, but I remember it very clearly. My great-aunt and great-uncle took me and my brother and another little boy to Charleston, West Virginia to see it. We had such a good time. It was especially significant in my mind because it was at a time in our lives when money was really tight and we didn't go to events or anything very often. The trip to Charleston was as fun as the circus! But, I do remember being fascinated by it all, especially the animals and the tight rope walkers. I guess some things just never change. They were my favorites this time, too. :) 

The kids really had a good time. Of course, we had to spend $12 on cotton candy and a magician's hat, but at least they had a souvenir and settled for sharing it. :) Jake was really tired, so he just kind of sat in a trance-like state and watched it. I think he enjoyed himself, but he was exhausted. Every time we asked him if he was having fun, he looked at us as if he were so sick of us asking him and said, with a high degree of frustration, "YES." He fell asleep at the very end of the circus. Bailey was a bit more emotional about it, yelling and cheering for them the whole time. Brad's expression when he heard and saw Bailey cheering so much was hilarious. I guess he hadn't really seen her at an event like this since we went to Taylor Swift, where she learned that it was really important to cheer. :) It was really cute. It was also wonderful to have Brad there. I really didn't realize how much easier it was when you aren't outnumbered by the kids. I didn't have anyone climbing on me and I actually got to see the show. It was really nice. 

I probably was the most impressed by it. I am such a big dork. But, I couldn't help it. I still try to figure out how they do magic tricks and all of the logistics behind getting a person from one place to another, etc. And, I am extremely fascinated by the animals and by the tight rope walkers. I think my fear of both just makes me feel exasperated when I see that people can stand in a cage with 15 lions and not pee all over themselves. Just the same, I cannot even begin to imagine trying to ride a bike over a tight rope. It makes me sick just thinking about climbing the ladder. I love to watch it though. I was biting my nails the entire time they were on the tight rope, just thinking about how horrible it would be if they fell. I think I'm a natural pessimist. I can totally envision all the bad things that could happen to someone when they do these risky things. That, or maybe it is just a mom thing. I don't know. :) 

Anyway... it was a great time and I am so happy that we went. Here are some of my favorite photos from the night. 

The acrobats were incredible... 

The cotton candy was delicious... 

... and sticky, especially for OCD little boys... 

Yes, that is a girl standing on a bar between the bicycles on a tight rope... entirely too high off the ground. 

Daddy's little girl

Before the cannon goes off... 

... as it goes off. 

Before Jake completely crashes out.

Bailey cheering.

The amazing elephants, but a