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The Lost Month...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Every year, I dread October. It isn’t that I hate the fall or October or Halloween.
It is that it flies by without any warning and I wake up one morning to discover that Thanksgiving is the following week and I am still writing 10-15-11 on all of my checks.J
It is probably the busiest month of the year for us. Even busier than November or December, because I think in those two months, we actually HAVE to slow down to appreciate everything for at least one day.
But, in October, we have school events, sports events, and Girl Scouts is really revved up and going. Add to that, the change of the season requires closets to be switched out, boots and jackets to be pulled out and dusted off, and costumes to be purchased. It is a lot to pack into one month.
Every year, I dread October. And then I blink and it is gone… and I wish I had just a few more of those days back!J
Alas, I can’t stop time and I certainly can’t go back and re-blog all of the things that happened in the whirlwind month that it was.
So, today, I give you our October Overview… in pictures… and some descriptions where I failed to take pictures…
... Bailey's field trip to the pumpkin patch/apple orchard:

... our Girl Scouts Fairy Ball:

... Soccer:

... birthday parties and time at the orchard:

... roller skating at Champs with the Girl Scouts:

... Keeneland. Our girl is going to be a gambler... and if Jake doesn't start growing, he might be a jockey. :)

... Camping with Girl Scouts.

... Tailgating and more tailgating:

... Taylor Swift concert:

... Halloween.

Just the beginning...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
When the ultrasound tech told Brad and I that we were having a girl, we were shocked. I can remember feeling almost let down by the fact that our first born child would be a female. It wasn't that I didn't want a girl... it was that I was terrified of having a girl. Immediately, I thought about teaching her to shave her legs, having to talk about menstrual cycles, and explaining how babies are born.


Then, I had this perfect little girl and everything was different. It was beautiful… and I still look at the world a little differently than I did before. I notice the pink and purple… the butterflies… and I am more girly in 100 different ways. 

Back on point… when we found out we were having a girl, I envisioned a beautiful baby girl who acted like her dad. I have no idea why I always thought our girl would act like Brad. I just did. Maybe it was because I always acted like my dad, so I expected the same. In any case, I was not prepared to have a daughter so much like me.

On the one hand, I love how much Bailey is like me. She is fiery and fun. She has boundless amounts of energy. She has this incredible appreciation for everything in life. I sound really self-congratulatory here, don’t I? J Not trying to say that… just trying to say that she really enjoys her life. She is happy… like me.

On the other hand, she is her mother’s daughter. And, that means that she got the flaws that I hate about myself, too. Of course, I don’t hate them about her… just hate it FOR her.

The first grade has brought out an entirely new creature in my daughter. It has been a very emotional school year… and it is only November. I’ve had to sit back and watch as she has become the very epitome of me. She is insecure about this or that. She wants to be perfect. She is clumsy, but hates to mess up.

Read on…

… during her second week of school, Bailey messed up on a project. She didn’t understand the instructions and she just did what she thought was right. She got sick at school. I didn’t have to go and get her, because fortunately her teacher caught on to what was happening. She was sick because she realized she had done her notecards all wrong and she was scared that she’d never get them right. Unfortunately, Bailey began to feel inferior. She came home telling me that she wasn’t smart enough for this class. She cried when she brought home a test that she had struggled with and was worried we would be mad. My heart sank as I heard her explain that she thought we’d be upset with her if she got a bad grade. Not much longer, she came home to tell me that she had stuck a pencil (eraser end) in her stomach to help her breathe when she was taking a test at school.


… at a Girl Scout Fairy Ball a few weeks ago, she fell down and cut her chin and bruised her hip. She just fell down the steps (a very familiar thing to her mother). Then, we tried roller skating with Girl Scouts a week or so later. Again, she fell. Again, she got back up. And fell. And got up. And fell again. On the way home that night, she cried in the car and told me that she can’t do anything right.


What’s a mom to do?

Reassure her. In each of these instances, I have sat with Bailey, nearly in tears at moments, and explained to her how perfect she is. I have told her that it is OK to make mistakes. We have talked about trying your hardest at everything and I have shown her that sometimes even when you do your best work, you still aren’t perfect.

Laugh with her. I have told her stories about my clumsiness. I have told her stories about me falling down and getting back up and feeling so frustrated with myself. We talked about how much she has grown and how fast she has grown there… and laughed about her feet being so disproportionately large, just like her mom’s, and that there’s an old adage about having bigger feet also meaning that you have a bigger brain. J

Tell white lies. I lied to her and told her that it gets better… knowing that she might never outgrow her clumsiness (I haven’t). She might outgrow it, but there are still those times when you will have to pull yourself back up, only to get knocked down again. She’s six… and I can’t break that to her just yet.

Love her. I have hugged her and kissed away her tears. I have told her that God looked the entire world over for two people to love her exactly how she is and He gave her to me and Brad because she is complete perfection, even in her mistakes, even in her clumsiness, even when she is striving so hard to be perfect and can’t.

I have done these things knowing that they will make a difference. I have said these things, praying with everything in me that she’ll hear my words and believe them.

Yet, I come to write this with a heavy heart, because I know that life is hard. She is going to get knocked down. She is going to make mistakes. She is going to feel less than perfect. She is, after all, my daughter. And, I know how she is going to respond and feel. And, that just breaks my heart. 

This is truly only the beginning.  

What to do for Christmas

Thursday, October 20, 2011
There's a slight chance that I go a little overboard at Christmas time. Brad has even tried to find a nice way to suggest that I'm neurotic about it.

I am choosing to ignore his opinion.

Honestly, I can tell you that I love Christmas so much because I really do love finding ways to surprise and give special gifts to the ones that I love.

So, you can just imagine how I am about my babies.

This year, I am trying... with all my heart... to find ways to give special, memorable gifts. But, with a catch... I want gifts that really do encompass my children's personalities and really capture their imaginations. I want to give the kids some of their Christmas wishes (Jake's Batcave, Bailey's Scooby Doo figures, etc.). BUT... I also want them to be surprised by things that I know they will love and things that I know will have a more lasting impact.  I want things that make them pretend... the really encourage their creativity.

Now, I could easily spend $1,000 on Jake and have everything in the world that encompasses his personality. He is easy. He loves all things superhero and could spend every waking moment playing with his superhero figures and video games. Nothing would make him happier... and nothing could be easier.

However, Bailey is a little tougher. She loves her toys... but she does not play with them the way other kids do. She gets bored easily. She needs constant entertainment. She plays well when she has people to play with. She loves arts and crafts (no clue where she gets that). She loves to perform skits for us.

So... I've spent several hours on Pinterest and online, searching for the best ideas.

And, I'm compiling ideas about what *might* make the cut.

Here are some of my favorites.

An art area, where Bailey (and Jake, but likely to be mainly Bailey) can go to create quickly and easily... without dragging a bazillion things out onto the kitchen table, where momma has to put them all back up.

Photo and design plans compliments of http://ana-white.com/2011/05/lego-art-desk

Photo and design plans compliments of http://ana-white.com/2011/05/lego-art-desk
I'm hoping to use some combination of these ideas:

Compliments of Chasing Cheerios

Compliments of Pinterest

What else? Not another iPod... but definitely some angry birds.

An angry birds game in real life. I think this one might really need to be a *family* gift, because I think Brad and I might just love it as much as they do. :) Thanks for sharing, Cheryl!

Photos and ideas provided by Alpha Mom

A puppet theater/lemonade stand. This one is probably going to get pushed back and probably isn't going to happen until Spring. I want it SO much (notice the I WANT IT - am I living vicariously through them?), but I'm worried that there's not enough time (plus it might be tough to make with the kids at home and then find a spot for it, too)...

Photo compliments of Ana White

However, this one might be able to make the cut at this point.

Compliments of Skip To My Lou
... but if I do puppet theaters then I have to do puppets... hmmm....

The superhero fort kit...
Compliments of Meg + Andy

The homemade tic-tac-toe game.

Compliments of My Little Gems
The colored rice bin.
Compliments of Share & Remember
The indoor hopscotch kit.

Compliments of Tip Junkie 
The homemade checkerboard.
Compliments of Sun Scholars
The magnet board (but I think I'm going to have letters with superheroes to help encourage Jake to care about learning his letters. :))
Compliments of Nic and Kate
Now you might really think I'm crazy. There's no way to do all of these projects, right? :) So, which ones do you think I should eliminate? I just can't decide. I think I'm as excited about some of these as our kids would be!

What are you doing for your favorite kids this year? Share the creativity!

I Raced for the Cure... Winner Announced

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Yesterday morning, I ran in Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure.

I had not trained like I needed to, but I was determined to go and to get my best time for a 5K. I basically told Dawn that I was going to run my guts out, even if I had to stop and walk, because I did not want to see a time over 30 on a 5K again. Now, this is not to say that I have any negative thoughts toward anyone, including myself, who has a time over 30. AT ALL. Basically, I decided that I wanted to get under 30 because in several of my runs around Masterson Station or at the YMCA, I have run 3 miles at a 9 minute + pace, which theoretically should get me under the 30 minute mark. YET... in my last 5K in November of last year, I still wasn't able to pull that out. Pretty much the same in the half marathon... still not under 30 at the 3 mile mark. So... I decided I was going to do it or die.

I think it meant more to me to do it at the Susan G. Komen race, too, because I wanted to do it in honor of my mom. She pushed me... she always has... to be a better person, to do things that I normally would not be brave enough to do, to try my best at everything. And, she pushed me yesterday morning.

I hit the ground running harder than I usually do, because I was going to run my guts out. :)

When I passed the 1 mile mark, I heard the time caller say "8:50." That was a good sign... except that I knew I was going to have to slow down because I couldn't keep that pace the whole time. I was already breathing hard.

Mile 2, I missed the time caller. I had no idea how much I had slowed down, so I just kept going. I thought about walking, because I really was getting tired. Ugh. I should have trained more. Tired at 2 miles. That sucks. But, I thought about mom... and all those radiation treatments and I saw a little girl with a blood red face, who looked like she was about 8 and she was running. OK... who cares if I get a personal best? I just need to enjoy this. It's a beautiful fall day and I can finish 3 miles, no matter what.

Some random guy starts running beside of me... and he's breathing like he's dying. I can hear him over my Jason Aldean rocking in my ears. Really? Stop running beside me. I slow down a bit... he slows down. I speed up. He speeds up. Great. He's pacing off of me. Is that something I should be flattered by or annoyed by? Hmm. Ignore him... ignore him... :)

Mile 3... time caller says "28:10." HOLY CRAP! I can sprint the last .10 miles. I so have this. I can see the clock. Get under 29... get under 29... there's the finish line... just a few more steps... OMG. I think I'm going to puke. Gag. Definitely going to puke. Gag again. Please don't puke on the finish line... there is a photographer. Gag... OMG. What a horrible idea to sprint .10 miles. Find a trashcan... sewer grate... that will work... PUKE. Oh... my time was 29:05 on the clock. Now, I just feel stupid. Who pukes after running 3 miles to come in like 33rd place in my age group? Hahaha.

But... I got under 30. I actually officially got under 29. The results posted this morning... and I ran it in 28:57. I came in 33rd place in my age group. I came in 330 place out of 652 overall... 156 of all women. I'm pretty psyched about that. Not psyched about puking. But, I did literally run my guts out. lol.

Note to self: Never eat raisin bread before running. Ever.


There are four very special people that I need to thank for making a donation to the Race for the Cure on my behalf. These four people helped me contribute $200 to Susan G. Komen, helping me make a dent in my list goal to raise $5,000 for breast cancer research. I have no timeframe on this list item, but will keep track of how much I raise over the years! If you would like to make a donation, you can still donate here. However, four generous people were entered in to win a $25 Visa Gift Card for their donation. I used random.org to make the selection yesterday after the race and my Anonymous donor was the winner. Now, I assure you that Anonymous is a real person and that she even tried to get me to give the card to someone else. But, you see, I just didn't think that would be fair. She is always so giving, so thoughtful, and just good people. She also posted a link of my page for several others to see and raised money for cancer research a few months ago. So, she will get the card this week! Thank you, Anonymous! :) You know how much I just love you.

The other three donors that gave all deserve a special thank you, too. Jon, one of mine and Brad's dearest friends (and a soldier fighting for our country to boot), brought me to tears with his donation. I was so surprised and so elated when I woke up the morning after I signed up for the Race to see that he had already made a significant contribution. It's funny how certain friends always remain so special to you... they are always there, even when you go years without seeing each other... they are always there with some of the best memories (Jon... I'm sparing you and Brad some serious embarassment, as I totally found a video on my old computer of the two of you playing guitar and singing at our house on New Years' Eve). I know you remember it. :) Thank you, Jon... for everything you do for our country, but more for always being the same fun-loving guy who makes me smile every time I hear from you.

The other two donors are both such special people to me, because they gave despite the fact that they aren't that close to me, but they are to my family and friends. June and I really met a few years ago when my middle brother was getting married and she supplied SO MANY decorations for their household shower. I mean, this woman has a mini-Hobby Lobby going on. :) She helped us so much then and is constantly giving of her time and attention to my family. I'm not sure we could ever repay her for all the kindness she has shown.

Then, Rita and Joe... well, come to find out, they are family. My grandma used to tell me about her cousin who would send her holiday cards each year. Their last name was Pigg... and my grandma's cousin would sign the card "Josie and the three little Piggs." Joe was one of those "little Piggs." Imagine my surprise when I discovered this information. Here I had been spending time with Dawn and Brandon Pigg... and we were cousins (very distant cousins, but still). Rita and Joe have been at many of the same birthday parties and get togethers that we have shared with Dawn and Brandon over the past couple of years and they are both just wonderfully sweet people.

Thank you, Anonymous, Jon, June, Rita and Joe for being so generous and kind and supporting the cause!

Hope you are all having a fabulous fall weekend!

This and That...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Today is a day to celebrate... I have tomorrow off and the kids are out of school for a short fall break. We have been running around like crazy and tomorrow is supposed to be a rainy day. We might not leave the house.

Haha... yeah right.

Instead, I'm planning a big day with the kids. A big, but cheap, day with the kids. Because, today, I not only got a new laptop (semi-planned for), my phone also decided to stop working. Entirely. I have to go and get a new phone now.

Swell. I was gunning for a new smartphone with all the bells and whistles. But, not gonna happen. I'm still getting a decent phone, but it's not the one I have been eyeballing for a while. Instead, I'm going with the almost free one.  

I'm not going to focus on how bad 2011 has been on the bank account. Just refusing to think about it. It kind of makes me look forward to the New Year even more.

Anyway... I have no idea what the plan is for our fall break. Of course, it's not completely without schedule... there's still soccer on Saturday and the Race for the Cure. Remember that if you donate to support the Race through my page, you'll be registered to win a $25 Visa gift card! So, DONATE!! And, if my voice isn't convincing enough, maybe you should read here and here to learn about my mom's battle with breast cancer.

I'm also hoping that our break involves some time cuddling up little man Steffen at some point. I hear that he's growing up like crazy these days. :) Maybe I'll get some blog posting done (now that I have a laptop from this decade) and maybe get a solid outline of which projects I am actually going to attempt for Christmas. I'm craving some pumpkin pie (and just because I'm craving something doesn't mean I'm pregnant or anything), so there's going to be a pumpkin pie at some point. :) I am hoping to get catch some good movies, too. You know, I'm thinking about catching Cars 2 at the Dollar Theater, as well as possibly The Smurfs. I know you are all jealous. There's also a good chance that Brad and I might spend some time watching Horrible Bosses at some point... and of course, Walking Dead, since it comes back on this Sunday (woot!). I know my life is so incredibly exciting these days. :)

Actually, it has been pretty exciting. Or busy. Or excitingly busy. Last week, we had some great fun... Jake got to spend all day on Thursday for his fall break with Brad at home. Jake and I joined Bailey's class on Friday at a local apple orchard and pumpkin patch. It was so fun to see Bailey with her friends and to see how sweet they all are. I love how so many of the kids are friends with my girl, but I think it's even more adorable how much she loves her brother and how much all of her friends come running up to say hi to him. He thinks he's totally going to join her class when he starts elementary school. It's adorable. I have many cute pictures from that day... on MY DEAD PHONE. Yes. I'm not happy. Ignoring it and hoping that I can find some kind of battery to use to get the stuff off of it. UGH. Ignoring it... ignoring it... :) Friday night, Jake had soccer practice and Bailey and I made a run to the fabric store. We had lots to do for Saturday. Because, honestly, I think Saturday might have been the busiest day of my life... second to my wedding day. :) Okay. Yes, I'm exaggerating.

It was crazy though. At 10 a.m., I had to have Bailey at a Girl Scout Fairy Ball. The girls were all dressed up as fairies. They had tea and snacks and just looked perfect. It would have been perfect, but my baby girl fell down and got a huge bruise on her hip and scratch on her face. She was all beat up. She was happy at the end, though, because she won the grand prize Fairy Sleeping bag. Yes, that will come in very handy when we have our first overnight camping trip with the Girl Scouts later this month (no tents... just camping... shew... thankfully). :) Anyway, we sprinted out the door at noon to get across town for Jake's game that started at 12:15. We watched his little team, a group of four-year olds playing against a mixed batch of 4 and 5s. They rocked! They have improved so much (and Brad and DW have done a great job helping them along the way). I'm so proud of Jake AND Brad. It has been fun watching them. Jake is actually going after the ball and is learning to be more aggressive on the field. He loses interest after the first half, it seems, but the improvement is still significant, so I can't say a word. After Jake's game (approximately 1:15), we rushed away to have a quick lunch before we had to come back for Bailey's 2 p.m. game.

Bailey's team also played well. Bailey seems so timid on the field and it drives us crazy. She's having fun, but she is so not aggressive with other teams. With her own teammates in practice, she is much more likely to steal the ball away or at least make a solid attempt. But, in a game, her hands are constantly wringing her shirt and she's hesitant. We have hope that she'll gain the confidence to go after the ball... until then, she's having fun.

At 3 p.m., we were off to the orchard for a birthday party for Warren, one of the superheroes that Jake plays soccer with. The kids had a great time and were completely worn out after the full day.

But did that stop us? Uh... no. Still more to go. We left at 5 from the orchard, stopped at the house to let the kids have a bath, and then headed 2 hours down the road to Brad's mom's house. It was her birthday and we were going to hang out for the night and enjoy some down time. We had a blast... and despite their tiredness, the kids spent a few hours playing spotlight with their cousin, Rianna. James, Kathy's significant other, decided (after some prompting from us) to hide behind a bush and scare the kids while they were playing. They had been scaring each other all night. So, he hides behind this bush and shakes it and snorts when they get near it. Bailey and Jake have never run so fast in their lives. Jake was sobbing by the time he got to us (I know... we are evil). He was telling us that a raccoon was trying to attack him... and the raccoon had white shoes! LOL. He has such a good sense of humor though... when we told him it was James, he was cracking up. He just kept laughing at himself.

For any of you who have made it this far... :) Have I worn you out? You can imagine how tired we were when we got home. Sunday, we spent some time at my cousin's little girl's first birthday party. The kids had such a good time playing with their cousins... something that I wish happened more than just on birthdays and holidays. 

Then, we headed back home. Only to start another busy day on Monday. After school, we went to a Girl Scout roller skating party... and, on Tuesday, we had Bailey's soccer practice.

Oh... Wednesday... I have loved you. We have had nothing tonight... and it has been wonderful.

We have been going so much that a weekend at home with no schedule sounds great. Bring on the fall break! :)


What I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Since there is a very good chance that I will never feel "caught up" on my blog... I figured that it would be a good starting point for me to blog "the reasons I haven't been blogging" or "what I've been doing instead of blogging." :)  
  • Soccer practices and games. Tuesday night practices for Bailey; Friday night practices for Jake. Two games every Saturday. 
  • UK Home Football Games. Tailgating and games (we won't go into detail about the frustrating level of these games). But, will go into detail about how much we LOVED tailgating with our precious friends. Photos by Dawn Pigg.

  • Church on Wednesday nights and Sundays. 
  • Girl Scouts. I'm still the leader, but thankfully with more and more help this year. 
  • Tennis lessons for Bailey (after school on Thursdays). 
  • Homework. Hours and hours of homework. Not for me, but for my special little intelligent, sponge of a daughter.
  • Shopping trips and play dates.  
  • Visits from awesome friends and our loving families... near and far. 
  • An out-of-country trip for Brad to Mexico for a week. 
  • Attempts at a new running schedule... hindered by a frustrating medical issue... not a big one, but one to keep me off of a regular running schedule, just as I was getting back into it. AGAIN. But it didn't stop me from committing to a race in support of breast cancer research. See post here. :)  
  • New ideas for the house... a painting project for Jake's room, a revamping of Bailey's room, moving some plants in the yard, etc. etc. etc. Now, will these get done? :) I sure hope so!
  • Regular, boring stuff, like work, cleaning, and laundry. Lots of laundry.  
  • And some irregular, non-boring things, like sewing projects. Here are a couple of my most recent favorites.

My little Pocahontas
Despite the fact that I haven't posted on here regularly for quite some time, I still think about my blog all the time. I'm constantly writing blog posts in my head, but rarely getting them out in their entirety... sometimes not even getting anything more than a sentence describing my thoughts onto the beginnings of a post. I joke often that I have adult onset ADD, but I'm seriously thinking that it might be true these days. :) 

I know that I'm most certainly not alone in the world... I talk to many and most of you about the challenge of juggling so many things and still feeling like a sane person. I wonder how we might survive the holidays. 

Yet, we honestly are enjoying each and every activity. We are busy. We are frantically scrounging items together on some days. My car looks like a trash can sometimes. The laundry is honestly always overflowing. And, well, the dishes might just be piled up in the sink at any given point. 

And... we are happy. We are making memories with the kids. We are spending time together as a family. We have Family Night every Sunday, often playing video games, sometimes playing board games, and usually always finding a way to incorporate some kind of dessert. We talk about everything under the sun... and with Bailey, that really does mean everything. We are enjoying the little things in life: watching our kids put on skits at home with Bailey's pink keyboard; Jake in his Captain America costume; Bailey taking our dinner order at odd times during the day, with her pretend high heels and her clipboard; and Jake forcing me to play with girl toys while he plays Batman (all girls must be damsels in distress in Jake's world - ugh).




I don't mean to paint a perfect picture here, because it isn't perfect. I yell at the kids daily... begging Jake to stop whining about needing to play his video games for another 30 minutes or telling Bailey to please stop talking. I get frustrated with Brad when he doesn't jump up with excitement to fold clothes. :) Life is not perfect... it is perfectly imperfect. 

I'm missing my blogging, but I'm certainly missing it for the right reasons. :) But, maybe tonight is me turning over a new leaf... maybe I'll be back at it. No promises, but maybe!

Racing for the Cure

Thursday, September 29, 2011
I know that I keep promising posts... and I really am working on some. I just really haven't had time to finalize them. They are coming though! ;)

Until then, I have to tell you that I just registered to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Lexington on October 15. It is a 5K and I just could not be more excited about running it, for a lot of reasons. For one, it means that I'm actually going to run, which has been completely hit and miss lately. I don't have any goals of making record time... I even considered doing it without the chip-timer, just so I could enjoy the run without pressuring myself to go faster. :) I didn't do that... but it did cross my mind. 

Of course, the more obvious reason that I'm excited about it is because of the cause. In case you don't know, my mom is a breast cancer survivor. She isn't even 50 yet... and she has survived breast cancer. I thank God daily that she is alive and pray almost daily that it doesn't come back into our lives through her, myself, or my daughter (among my other female family members). 

When I made my life list a little more than a year ago, I listed "Raising money for breast cancer research/awareness." I won't mark it off until I've raised a considerable amount (probably $5,000 or so), but I have to start some place! So, I'm asking all of you who feel compelled to visit my personal fundraising page and make a gift. It doesn't have to be a large gift... a gift of any size will help! And, please share this with your friends and family, too. 

Breast cancer impacts the lives of everyone... let's join together and find a cure! 

And to sweeten the pot, there will be a drawing for a giveaway! If you donate to Susan G. Komen on my page prior to October 15, you will be entered to win a $25 Visa Gift Card! So, even if you donate a small amount, you have a chance of getting your money back! Winner will be announced on October 15 after the race! 


Monday, September 12, 2011
I procrastinate occasionally... like when I have a blog post almost complete and then decide that I really don't like a big section of it... and then instead of just re-writing it or working on it, I decide I want to do an entirely new post. 

Tonight is that night. Aren't you lucky? 

I remembered a story that I wanted to blog a while back... and never did. Or did I? Maybe I did and can't find it or recall it.

Either way, it was a story that I love because it shows the sensitivity of my little baby boy... at the sweet age of 4. 

We were at the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda 2. The kids and I had met Brad at the dollar theater to see it after work one day this summer. I really enjoyed the first Kung Fu Panda, so I was probably as happy as the kids to go and watch it. I had no idea that my little man would end up in tears. 

Spoiler alert... if you don't want to know part of the movie, then don't read any further. :) 

About two-thirds of the way through the movie, Kung Fu Panda (Po) remembers a day from his childhood when his mother left him in a basket to save him from being harmed or killed by the enemy. It was a very visually dramatic part of the movie, where both the mother and the baby are sad and the baby is reaching for his mother from the basket. As you can imagine, it was very sad. That's when Jake turns around to look up at me from his position on my lap (he sits there to see over the seats in front of him, supposedly, but I think it's really because he just loves being cuddled up). Jake has big tears in his eyes and is puckering up the saddest little lip. He whispers, "His mommy left him." That's when I heard my heart break in half. :) Of course, I explained that she did it to save him, but he was still so upset. He choked back tears for the rest of the movie... and then he proceeded to cry when we walked out to the car, saying that it was just so sad that the panda couldn't stay with his mommy forever. 

Oh, my sensitive son. I hope you stay this way forever. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011
On a regular day, I could possibly be the type to have a small mini-pity party for myself, because I happen to get a little carried away with the idea that I do everything at the house and no one ever seems to notice it. :) 

Well, this weekend, I was proven wrong. 

My wonderful hubby came home with flowers and chocolate for me yesterday afternoon. Now, I am completely ignoring the fact that I'm pretty certain the only reason that he did this was because Paul happened to suggest that it would be a good idea for both of them to bring flowers home to me AND Rebecca. I do know my husband well enough to know that he knows me well enough to know that, while I love flowers and romantic gestures, the practical side of Andrea almost always prevails and says, "Why did you waste money on something that's going to die in like two days?" :) I did not do that. Instead, I think I said something like, "Thanks, Paul, for suggesting that to Brad." I know, I know... equally as horrible. :) In return, they both laughed and I continued to explain that it has rarely happened in the 12 years we have been together (like twice, I think), so I'm pretty certain that I have Brad pegged. Not that I'm complaining, because I really do honestly say to Brad that it's a waste of money to bring home flowers. Anyway... I certainly do not want him to think that I didn't appreciate it. And I definitely love the flowers. It was perfectly sweet and thoughtful... and while I'm just about the toughest person in the world to please, I have to say that it really did make me happy. :) The simple fact that Brad took the time to do something extra for me on a pretty ordinary day really did make me feel appreciated and loved. So, good job, Brad (and Paul - ah hem). :)

And, then there was this morning... when my son proclaimed to his dad that he was indeed only his mommy's baby boy. He proceeded to give me some of the best hugs and kisses and snuggles that a mommy could ever want. Of course, Brad was gagging and pouting, but I was pretty enamored by my baby boy and all of his love. There is just something special between a mom and her baby boy. I can't explain it. It isn't more or better than it is with a daughter... at all. But, it is a different sweetness, much like that of what I think a dad-daughter bond is like. 

And, then, there's Bailey. My sweet daughter... she is always creating... always making gifts. She could hold my heart in the palm of her hand. And, today, she made me cry with her sweetness. I had gone to wash the car and when I got back, she was running around the house, telling me not to go into the kitchen. She had made me the most beautiful coffee mug and a homemade card. The mug said, "Werld Gratist Mom" on one side, with a cute little drawing of the world and stars. On the other side, it said, "This is for pop. Love Bailey." She knows I don't drink coffee, so she wanted to make sure I wasn't confused. lol. It's a keeper. Forever. 

I sit here tonight looking at the computer... ready to finish a post that I've been writing for about a week and can't seem to finish. But, instead, I can only write that my heart is absolutely and completely full. I guess it is fitting, considering that today marks the 10 year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. My heart should be full... I have so much to be thankful for. I can't thank God enough for all of the blessings he has given me. I can't think of enough words to thank all of the men and women who keep us safe with their service. All I can do is cherish the wonderful freedoms we have and pray that I never take them for granted. Life is good... and having love makes it incredible. Thank you to Brad and my babies for making me feel so special on an almost ordinary day. I love you and I'm so happy to have such a perfectly sweet family. 

Now, if only I would have been playing someone else in my fantasy football league. Then, my day would have been PERFECT. My mom seriously is beating me with a score of like 92-56. Had I played anyone else in the league, I'd be winning. I mean, for real... who in the world gets 90+ points in fantasy football? Ugh. MOM. I guess I should be saying, "Girl Power" or something like that, since we are kicking butt. :)

Still here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hello world!
It has been a while.
Yes, we are still here.
Yes, we are still alive and well.
Yes, we are still living life to the fullest.
Where do I even begin to start to get caught up?
Well, I guess I’ll just work my way through what we have been doing. This could take a while. Grab your favorite caffeinated drink. Then, again, with my adult onset ADD, this might really only take a few seconds... then, I'll be on to writing a completely separate post that has nothing to do with anything. It happens. A lot. I just don't post them all. Yes, you can thank me later.
First and foremost, I have to tell you that the kids are both doing wonderfully in school. It is as if Jake has transformed into another child altogether. He loves school. He comes home spelling words, like the word, RED, in both English and sign language. He sings us songs, both Christian and traditional preschool songs. He tells me about the Bible and about baby Jesus and he loves to say the Pledge of Allegiance and the “Robin Hood” pledge, which is really the pledge to the Christian flag, but it says “brotherhood” in it and Jake calls it the Robin Hood pledge for that reason. J Yes, he is still kind of a little baby boy. Yet, you wouldn't think he is my baby boy at all if you walked into school with us each day. Oh, he still holds my hand, thankfully. He still gives me the traditional hug, kiss, and a high five before he goes into his class... sometimes twice. :) But, he doesn't hesitate. He doesn't seem nervous. He walks into his classroom with confidence and a smile. His teacher says he interacts with the class a lot during the day, often raising his hand to answer questions or offering his thoughts on something. I am one beaming proud momma... I am so close to feeling like I can mark off the list item that I have - to teach Jake to walk into a room with confidence and less insecurity. Although, I'm quite certain I never taught him anything... just encouraged him to use what he already has always had. 
Bailey also loves school, as she has from day 1. She has had a little bit tougher time this year, seeing as how she is extremely competitive and is also in an extremely competitive class. She’s had more insecurities than I’m used to and many more than I would ever want her to have, but she is doing great. It is incredible to see how much she has grown since her preschool days… both physically and mentally. It is truly bittersweet. She is reading wonderfully... she is improving in math and learning more and more. My favorite thing about Bailey though is that Bailey still loves everyone she meets. She never meets a stranger and always comes home telling me about how she loves everyone in her class. She has a new best friend everyday... often coming home with drawings of her with this friend or that and the words "Best Friends Forever." It used to bother me that she didn't really have one friend that she counts as her "best friend" because I felt like she longed for that kind of friend. But, now, I am seeing that she really and truly does see each friend that she makes as her "best" friend. I love that she really loves people that much. 
Brad and I are still happily married on most days. He's been rocking at the awesome dad role lately... not sure what got into him, but I can say that I am loving every second of it. Super Dad award is totally going to him these days. I am one lucky woman. Not to mention that he's a really fabulous husband. (Sidenote, I am totally wanting a treadmill... so there is some motivation to my compliments). :) 

Fall is about to hit our area of the world, which really makes me happy. It also stresses me out just a little... because our schedule gets insane. I am not sure I can handle insane as well as I have in the past... mainly because I think the new version of insane is a little more hectic than the old version. :) We now have homework out our eyeballs, and I'm being nice when I say it that way. We started soccer tonight in the drizzling, windy, cold rain for Bailey and will start Jake's season on Friday. And, UK football... the first home game is on Saturday. Oh... and then there is Girl Scouts. Holidays, birthdays, and my favorite cooking season of the year is right around the corner, too. Eek. I feel like it is 2012 already. :) 

We kicked off the start of our fall last weekend at the hottest game in the history of football (for us anyway) when we visited Dawn and Brandon and joined them for the Ohio State football game. If you know me well, you know that I'm not an OSU fan at all. However... and yes, this is a big however... we had a fabulous time! Of course, I didn't really care much about the game (it was a complete blow out), but I had so much fun hanging out with Dawn. Brad had such a great time hanging out with Brandon. And, we as a group, just had a great time hanging out together. It was so nice to have a relaxing time (we all slept a good 12 hours), enjoying good food and drinks and wonderful company. Thank you to Dawn and Brandon for inviting us to go!

Of course, since we went to the OSU game with Dawn and Brandon, the kids had to go have some fun, too. And, they definitely had their fill. They went fishing with my mom, dad and my nephew, Braden. They caught more fish than they could count, needing an almost assembly-line fashion to keep them baited and cast out. Bailey was the queen at baiting hooks (she loves to fish with worms AND minnows). Jake wouldn't even touch the fish or anything that would get his hands dirty. :) Like mother like daughter... like father like son. Haha. They also got to spend some quality time at my grandfather and uncle's home, playing with their cousins and enjoying the country life. I am told that they get really nervous walking on a back country road... it's really tough to understand how it's OK to just walk in the middle of the road when we have always told them just the opposite. My city kids... the city kids I never thought I'd have. lol. 

We all enjoyed some quality time on Sunday and Monday at my parents' house, which is something that we never seem to have enough of. It always seems like we are rushing in and out when we visit our families... so this weekend was a welcome opportunity to just hang out and catch up. It's especially relaxing when I know that it is something we might not have again until the holidays. Did I mention our crazy busy schedule? 

And that doesn't really catch us up, does it? But, it's close! I'll have more soon. Hope you are all enjoying the beginning to your fall! 

First Day of Preschool

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Jake's first day of preschool was great. It was smooth... easy... all things I did not expect. 

Of course, I didn't expect there to be crying or kicking or screaming or anything like that. I just expected it to be more "eventful." Instead, I had a smiling little boy who was up early and eager to get to his "new" school. He was excited about his lunchbox and backpack and the items that went in it. He was happy to sing along to some Taylor Swift (yes, my poor kid recognized it as I was flipping the radio stations and made me stop so he could sing) while we made our way across town. I have to say that I had a mini-flashback of the days when I used to drive the same path to take Bailey to the very same preschool, listening to the very same artist on the radio. 

This time was a little different though... this would be the last time that I would have to walk one of my babies in for their first day of preschool. It is the beginning of a whole new era in our lives... the school years for not one, but two children. It was a bittersweet moment... but mostly sweet. I really love this age.

Watching Jake walk into his class so bravely made me so proud. I thought for half a second that he was going to walk in and completely forget that I was there... not even saying good-bye or giving me a hug or kiss. Despite my desire to reach out to him, I was going to just walk away. Then, he turned and smiled at me. And he came running over to me, arms out for a hug. We did the traditional hug, kiss, and high five. Then, he grabbed my hand and asked me to stay. Sigh. I was afraid that this is where his tears would start... or where the nervous hand-wringing would emerge... or where he'd get the lump in his throat that I could see him fighting back. But, he didn't. I smiled at him, took his hand and walked him to a table filled with new blocks and showed him how great they were. I introduced him to another child there... patted him on the head, kissed him, and told him to have a great day. And, that was that. I walked out, wondering how it would go... and thankful that I was not leaving a crying child... or crying myself. :) 

I wondered on my way to work how he would do, if he slept at nap time, and if he ate the delicious lunch that I packed for him. Delicious to me, anyway. I couldn't believe it, but Jake wanted us to pack him salad, grapes, strawberries, and spaghetti-o's for his lunch. I wondered all day if the teachers thought I was crazy to pack a salad for a 4-year old. lol. But, he ate a lot of it. And, he wanted the same thing on Day 2. 

Which brings me to Day 2. It was a little less successful. He was tired. Not happy to be getting up this morning and definitely not happy that he couldn't spend some time playing Batman on the Xbox. He didn't cry at school when I dropped him off, but he did seem more hesitant. He wanted me to tell him what time I would be back, even though he can't tell time. :) Yet, when I picked him up today, he was happy. He said he had a good day. Then, he asked if he had to go back tomorrow. When I said that he did, he decided that his teacher had punched him in the face. Yes. You read that right. He thought that maybe he should convince me that his teacher is hitting him so that he wouldn't have to go back. I played along and told him that I would talk to his teacher about the punching and beatings tomorrow morning. He immediately back pedaled, begging me not to tell his teacher because she'd be so mad. LOL. Tonight, he fell asleep at about 7:30. School is apparently exhausting, even if you have nap time. The bad part is that he didn't get to play Batman on the Xbox for long, which means that I'm going to have one mad kid in the morning. So, I contemplate... do I wake him up early so that he can play a few minutes when he gets up? Seriously? Am I really contemplating something like this? Yes, as ridiculous as that sounds, I am. 

And, so life continues...