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School's Out for Summer... (Almost all the way)

Monday, May 30, 2011
Summer is here!

Memorial Day has come and gone... the 80+ degree weather is out and it is hopefully here to stay.

My skin is burned from spending time outside. The pool has been visited. The baby pool has been set up. The marshmallows have been roasted on the fire pit. Summer. Is. Here. Thank you very much. :)

And, Jake's favorite part?

School's Out For Summer. :)

As I mentioned last week, it has been a bit hectic. Jake's last day of school was last week. Bailey still has a few days to go.

Jake is celebrating that his babysitter starts tomorrow. He was ready for her to start last week, even asking if he could just miss his last day of school and have Morgan start early. :) He wasn't too disappointed, since he knew that she'd be coming tomorrow. And, since Bailey will still be in school, I'm quite certain that he is thrilled to have her all to himself.

With school out for Jake and school nearly out for Bailey, there have been lots of end of the year discussions... parties, programs, and evaluations... plenty of focus on growth and development and reaching milestones. And, while I've felt rushed through it all because of our hectic schedules, I am happy to stop and review what a special time of the year it has been. The kids are growing up, so much, maybe too much, and simply are making me one proud mommy. Of course, I don't want anyone to think I'm bragging or going overboard, but I am proud of my kids. That doesn't mean I think they are perfect. As a matter of fact, their personalities could definitely use some tweaking from time to time. :) Especially my little rotten boy... 

A few weeks ago, Jake's school had an arts program, where the preschool was singing alongside the rest of the elementary school. It was part of their Kindergarten graduation. Jake was not pleased that we were going. In all seriousness, he was pissed that we were going. He started out just saying that he wasn't happy about it. Then, he proceeded to tell me that singing was stupid. Followed by singing and school is stupid. Then, that we are all stupid and that he hates me for making him go. Yes, we are a bit dramatic these days... and angry, too. As my sweet Bailey tried to convince Jake that it would be fun and that he'd be happy he went, she added, "I even got dressed up to go watch you, Jake." His response was, "You look ugly." What do you do with a kid like this? I don't know... I just forced him to go and told Bailey to ignore him. As we arrived at the school, my child went from being the most angry, evil, little rat to the sweet little angel that batted his eyes at his teachers and hugged them sweetly. While I was very relieved that he didn't show his true colors for the entire school, I could strangle him for being so sweet. He makes us look like liars when we tell them what a horrible mood he is in. He did wonderfully at his program, singing most of the words and doing almost all of the hand motions... dramatically. It was so cute... and he looked absolutely adorable. I was so happy I made him go... even if he hated me for it (temporarily, of course). 

At least his teacher seems to understand exactly how he is... we had parent teacher conferences at his school a few days after the school program. Jake's conference had me a little more worried, because he doesn't enjoy school and I can tell that, while he has made big strides from where he was this time last year, he is still behind. Let me preface that by saying that he's behind where Bailey was at this age... and he's slightly behind some of his friends that are just a few months older than him... and his speech still isn't crystal clear to strangers. Now... that's my way of saying that we do realize that we might compare him unfairly. :) However, I was so pleased with the discussion I had with his teacher. She laughed about the tests that they did on him (basic counting, letter recognition, etc.). She knows how Jake is. Sometimes, he just refuses to cooperate. He doesn't want to count. He doesn't want to tell you the letter. He'll make one mark on a page and say that he's completely colored the picture. The test totally reflected that in some areas. For instance, in October of last year, he counted to 23 for the test before he stopped. Last month, he counted to 8 and said he didn't know the rest. Obviously, he can count. He actually gets to about 30 before he starts missing numbers. He recognized four letters last month. Yet, when he and I were going through the alphabet last week, he got to the Q before he stopped. You see the trend here. Anyway, it was nice to talk to his teacher to see that she recognized a lot of the things that we see Jake struggling with and ignoring the things that will eventually come together for him. She made me feel so much better about not pressuring him to know everything before Kindergarten. :) She even saw the whole confidence issue that we worry about. She brought it up instead of me... and, while I wish that problem wasn't in existence, it was good to hear that I'm not just making excuses for Jake. He does have a little bit of confidence issues and I'm not making it up in my head to cover up that he's just ornery or lazy. :) We also talked a lot about bullying. She knew that I was concerned about him getting picked on and she said she has noticed it happening some. Of course, she told me about the time that Jake defended himself and hit his friend back. And, of course, I told her that I had encouraged him to defend himself. It was a great relief when she said that she was happy to see Jake stand up and that she had to put him in timeout for hitting, but she had not given him any lectures or anything like that. So... it was great. Jake is growing... and he's starting to understand how things work. It's good and bad, but mostly good. :)

When I told Jake last week that school was over for the summer... the only thing he wanted to know is if he ever had to go back. When I told him that we'd return in August, he argued with me that he never had to go back. I argued back for a few minutes, but he thinks he won that battle. I am dreading August already. :) This kid is the most stubborn child I've ever met. I dread seeing the freaking out that he's going to do when he realizes that summer doesn't last forever. 

Bailey, on the other hand, had her graduation last week and was all geared up for it. She, unlike her brother, was so excited to be a part of such a special program. She sang loudly and clearly. She smiled and waved. She walked proudly across the stage to get her "diploma," as she graduated from the largest Kindergarten class in Fayette County (impressive, huh?!). Probably the cutest thing about the program was a video that the school put together. There was a portion of interviews where the students were asked questions about their teachers or what their favorite part of school was. Bailey's interview questions were, "What do you think of Mrs. O?" and "What was your favorite thing about Kindergarten?" Her responses? "I love Mrs. O because she is going to have a baby," and, "lunch." :) Bailey loved the whole program. She loves school and usually wakes up happy to go. She spent her time hugging her teacher, taking photos with her friends, and celebrating that she still had some more time with them. I don't think there were ever two children with more different personalities in the world. I would never complain about that though... God knows that I could not handle two Baileys or two Jakes. :) 

Bailey's parent teacher conference happened the week before Jake's (and I, in my near Alzheimer's state, almost forgot about it). I ran in 5 minutes late, which is probably not that uncommon these days. Thank God that Bailey's teacher and I are buddies, so she just laughed about my wonderful running shorts, t-shirt and makeup-less face. :) Bailey is a rock star. She is on a 2nd grade level in reading. She's more than doubled her reading level (I would share numbers and ratings and all, but I'm sure I'd screw it all up). Suffice it to say that her teacher was extremely complimentary and said that Bailey is well above the average. She shouldn't have any trouble advancing next year... and could possibly be considered for the accelerated class. I'm being a little bit modest about it (she feels certain that Bailey will have a spot in the accelerated class), mainly because we don't want to make a big deal about her getting into any advanced classes... we're proud of her progress regardless and want to just make sure that she is growing on time. :) Of course, we were really excited to hear that she is applying herself in school. We see how much she's grown in just one short year, but we always worry that she is so busy socially that she might not apply herself 100% at school. If anything negative was said about Bailey, it was about her handwriting... it is atrocious. :) We're working on it. She also talks quite a bit. Not surprised about that at all... :)

She has four days to go and, until today, wasn't all that thrilled. She was excited at the thought of being at home, but also really worried that she'd miss her friends. Well, today, we spent some time at the pool. You can imagine her excitement when she realized that many of her friends will also be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer... and it is apparently 100 times more fun to swim with friends. She is on the countdown for sure. :)

And, while I would love to say that I'm completely caught up on blogging now, that only gets me a portion of the way there. There's so much more that I'd like to post... but it will come shortly. Not today. 

Happy Memorial Day!!!

It has been a great weekend so far... and I hope to blog more about it this week, but until then... 

Happy Memorial Day! 

While I won't be visiting a tombstone or placing flowers on any graves, I will still remember those who have passed that I love. To papaw, granny, Rick, and all the other people that I love who have now gone on... I love you and miss you... and will see you on the other side. :) 

Hectic... :)

Monday, May 23, 2011
I have attempted to blog for about two weeks... and have yet to feel like I can really sit down and write and get caught up in one setting. I don't know why it is important for me to feel like that is achievable... God knows that I could write everyday and still have more to say about something. :) If God doesn't know that, my poor hubby does. Haha.

So, what have we been up to?

Well, there have been a couple of weeks of overscheduled madness. Oh. Wait. That's just our lives. Nevermind that last thought. :)

It has been busier than usual lately, mainly because it is spring and early summer. That means that we are doing lots of things... lots of playing t-ball (a few nights each week), lots of cooking out on the grill (when the rain stays away), lots of finishing up things (like the school year, parent teacher meetings, and Girl Scout projects), and starting lots of new things (like planning summer activities, camps, summer schedules, and figuring out how to make it all work before the summer flies by). Let's not forget that we also threw in a HUGE yard sale to make things even more fun... and I have a very special party to plan for my best friend in the entire world to celebrate the birth of her baby boy.

It has been a hectic few weeks. And, you would think that I was totally stressed out if you saw my house. It's a wreck. But, I'm totally not sweating it at all. I'm actually not sweating anything... because while it's been hectic, I've enjoyed nearly all of it. And, because I know in due time, I will get the laundry done, the yard sale mess cleaned up, the floors mopped, and the dishes all where they are supposed to go. It will happen... eventually. :) 

And so many fun things have happened during the last few hectic weeks. So many things that I could probably do a separate post on each one... and might just do that at some point. But, most likely not. haha. :) 

  • We spent a rainy day at the Legends ballpark with our t-ball team, all hanging out in a box suite while the rain poured down, eventually cancelling the ball game.
  • Bailey and I also spent time yesterday with some amazing little girl scouts planting some items in a garden (before the rain once again washed us out).
  • We also had a great night tonight, celebrating with the girl scout families at the UK Arboretum with a picnic.
  • There was the yard sale that helped us bring in a ton of money and clean out a ton of our things.
  • There was the day I spent with my mom and Bailey (I think I actually posted that already... hehe).
  • There was the evening we spent hanging out at Brad's friend, Shane's, house until late in the evening, just talking about everything from sports to religion.
  • Brad had a guy's night with some of his co-workers... I had a night in with the kids, watching the Justin Bieber movie (which I loved more than Bailey did) and the Harry Potter movie.
  • Jake had a school field trip to Totter's Otterville in Covington, Kentucky. 
  • Jake also had a school music program, where he decided to yell at me about how stupid it was that we had to go, but then proceeded to act like an angel once we were at school. :) 
  • And, this week, we get to see my baby girl graduate from Kindergarten and I'll get to see her participate in Field Day at her school. 

It has been hectic. But, it has been a very nice hectic.

And such is the beginning of summer... busy, hectic, and so far, pretty rainy. :) 

What is so scary... is that I'm hoping for so much more... more running, more traveling, more time with the kids at home, more and so much less. :) 

A summer full of days at the pool, time fishing at a lake, at least one camping trip (really, I can't believe I'm saying that), time with my parents, brothers, and my mother-in-law, time grilling out and finding even more recipes to make, time gardening, and most definitely more time focusing on absolutely and positively nothing. :) Dog days of summer... I hear you calling me. :) Just bring the sun when you come, please. :) 

Yard Sale Time...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Do you miss me? 

Well, I'm still here. Kind of. :) 

I am missing you guys! And, as much as I want to sit and write about 100 different things... well, I just can't. 

Because I have to go back upstairs and finish something that I started. Something that I had no idea would be so time-consuming. :) I'm getting ready for a yard sale. 

No, this should not be an all-consuming task. It should be a simple, clean out your closets and toy boxes, toss them in the garage, and open the door on Saturday morning kind of task. However, it simply is not that at all. 

Instead, it is a monster. 

As in, my entire bedroom is covered in kids' clothes. I mean, I'm surprised I didn't wake up with a onesie on my face this morning. It's COVERED. I'm too embarrassed to show you the picture I sent to Rebecca last night. It's ridiculous. 

I have sold or given away a few things over the years. Actually, I thought I had done a decent job of weeding things out over the years. But clearly, I was wrong. The attic is hidden to my eyes. So, I had no idea how many storage bags of baby clothes and baby toys and baby items were stored there. Not to mention all of the current toys that were recently cleaned out of the toy boxes. Seriously... we are having one big yard sale. 

So... if you are in the market for some kids clothes... girls any size from 0-3 months on up to a size 6x... or boys any size from 0-3 months on up to a size 2T, you might want to swing by the house (e-mail or message me privately for the address). Or, if you want a crib, mattress, and matching changing table, a high chair, car seat(s), any variety of toys, especially those geared toward younger babies, or if you want to support Bailey and Jake in their lemonade stand or candy sales for t-ball (yes, we still have leftovers from where we were supposed to sell it a few weeks ago) or if you want a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies (again, leftovers), you definitely want to come by. We have it all. :) Or a lot at least. lol. 

And, no. I am not a hoarder. I am apparently a hoarder in reform. :) Our attic is probably looking much cleaner. I definitely don't know because I don't get up there... but you would not believe how much that thing can hold. lol. :) 

Maybe I'll see you this weekend! Thanks to Rebecca and Dawn for coming over to shop... it didn't look like you made a dent, but you totally did. :) 

Next week... I'll get back to some regular blogging. For now, I have to go dig a path out to get to my bed. Good night! 


Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Simply perfect. 

That's how my Mother's Day was. 

With all of our busy schedules and routines, sometimes I feel like finding ways to spend quality time with my parents is nearly impossible. Every time we get together, I feel like we are rushing to cram everything in or we are rushing because one of us has something else that we have to get to (like work, ball games, etc.). So, I really wanted to spend my Mother's Day with my mom, just relaxing and hanging out. And, once we decided what we would be doing, I couldn't leave out the coolest 6-year old girl in the world, either. 

So, I woke up early on Sunday and got cleaned up. Bailey came into the bathroom while I was doing my hair and gave me strict instructions not to leave the bathroom. I knew she was plotting to have Brad cook me breakfast. :) She insists that everyone pamper the special person of the day. :) 

After breakfast, Bailey and I hopped in the car and headed two hours away to get my mom. Brad and Jake had a big day planned, too... golfing. Yes, they got to go golfing on Mother's Day. Tell them just how lucky they are. :) 

Bailey and I picked up my mom and made our way to the mall, where we had makeovers at MAC Cosmetics. Oh. My. Gosh. We had so much fun. We got such good makeup. We really just had so much fun. We have both wanted to learn how to do makeup for years... you know, the right way... and we had a blast. Bailey wasn't as excited, since she really just hung out while we got make up done, but she enjoyed some cookies and some games on the iPod. :) Oh... and she took some really great pictures... as in, TONS of pictures of shoes, make up, etc. Actually, some of them were really great... :) 

Then, we headed to get our pedicures. That was definitely Bailey's thing. We created a little monster with her and the pedicures, but that's OK. It was so worth it. :) Her smile and giggles and adorable little toes (and hands) were so perfect. Plus, she kept listening to the ladies who were doing our pedicures speak in another language... she was totally trying to understand them. It was hilarious. 

We were so relaxed that I honestly didn't know if I was going to be able to make the trip back without falling asleep. Of course, we did... and we came home to Brad cooking steak, mushrooms, and asparagus on the grill. It was delicious. 

Yes... a perfect Mother's Day. Except that Brad had a surprise for me and it wasn't ready on Mother's Day. He made me wait. Can you believe that? He made me wait until Monday for it. But, it was well worth the wait. He got me a remote start for my car. Yes, I am spoiled. :) Now, I don't have to go outside when it's cold out and freeze my little toes off to start the car so that the spoiled kids won't be cold on our way to school. haha. :) I complain ALL WINTER about not being able to park in the garage and having to go outside to start the car in the cold. Apparently, all of my complaining wasn't in vain. I was completely shocked. I would have NEVER thought to go and buy myself a remote start... not even if I had the extra money. It was sweet that Brad thought of something that I would love and never buy myself, and that it was something he knew would really make my life easier. :) So, yes, Brad wins the award for super-husband. I guess I have to get off his case about the ever-growing to do list for a while. :)

What did I think he had bought me? I thought of everything under the sun, as did the kids, since he wouldn't tell them either. lol. He had Bailey so convinced that it was an iPad that she went to school and wrote about it in her journal. Poor thing was so disappointed. I thought he was getting my windows tinted on my car. Or a new laptop, even though I was pretty sure he wasn't spending THAT much. It crossed my mind that he might be getting me a new cell phone or even a bike (even though I pretty much knew that was a pipe dream). :) He loved that I never guessed it (which is highly unusual for me) and that he totally fooled me. :) 

Thanks to my family for making Mother's Day so awesome. I feel so loved... and so, so blessed. :)

Two More List Items Complete

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I was so happy to see that we were on the 14th floor when we got to the hotel. It was a good sign, seeing that Brad's football number was always 14. Yes, some superstitions reign in life... and the number 14 is one of those. For some reason, every time I see a 14 when I'm nervous about something, I take it as a good omen or good luck sign. :) For instance, when we went to the emergency room about my eye a few weeks ago, we were both slightly relieved when they put us curtain area numbered 14.

And, 14 comes through for me again. It was a happy sign for me as I marked two more things off my list - a girls weekend away and running a half marathon. 

As I mentioned last week, Dawn, Maria, and I made our way to Nashville for a girls' weekend and to run in the Country Music Half (and Full, in Maria's case) Marathon. 

Nashville is a great city. We didn't waste any time when we got to town... we had to check in at the marathon expo to get our stuff ready for Saturday and then we headed straight down the street and found dinner, drinks, and music. Little did we know that Thursday night would be our "night out" instead of Saturday. :) I am so glad that we were able to get out on the town that night. We had dinner at Cowboy Saloon and drinks at B.B. King's. It was a great night of laughing, getting to know each other better (especially in my and Maria's case), and just relaxing. 

I spent all of Friday and most of the post-race time focused on three things... food, more food, and rest. I think I ate as much as most men do while we were gone... and I swear, I didn't actually feel completely full until Sunday night when I got home. :) On Friday, we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a time span of about 7 and a half hours. :) We were getting fueled up and ready. :) And, we wandered around Broadway, checking everything out. 

And, even bars can remind me of my favorite kiddos... :) 

Saturday came early. We were up and at it at 4:30 a.m. (5:30 Eastern time). Nervous. I was so nervous. I thought about throwing up a few times. I kept moaning and groaning. I'm quite sure that Maria and Dawn were ready to knock me out to just get me to shut up. :) I think they were a little nervous, too, though. ;) 

Apparently, at 4:30 a.m., one of my eyes is smaller than another. lol 

We walked to the finish line (it was close) and caught the shuttle to the start line. I thought I'd have a nervous breakdown when they had us unload from the bus we were on to get on another bus because ours was having some technical difficulties. Great omen. haha. 

By the time we waited in the line at the bathroom (porta potties) and made our way to our spot at the start line, the race started. Ugh. I was so nervous. I was so excited, but so so nervous. 

And, then it was time. 

I started running... feeling good... I knew the first couple of miles were downhill and flat. Dawn and I ran together, which was great. We were giving each other pep talks most of the way. I told her when we hit the 2 mile mark that the next mile was uphill and that it should flatten out after that. 


... that was just not true. The race, from mile 2 until about mile 9, was mostly ALL UP HILL. Sometimes we would get a slight decline, but most of the race was at an incline. I really thought I was going to die. I didn't want to sound like a complete wimp, but by mile 8, I thought the hills were going to kill me. So, I mentioned it to Dawn, and she agreed. She (having run the Chicago and Boston Marathons) said that the course was one of the hardest she's ever run... that made me feel so much better. :) So, we walked a bit off and on... because truly, I didn't think I'd make it. We kept a good pace, though, even with walking. My foot didn't bother me... really, at all. :) YAY!

I had hoped at the beginning of my training to run the half in 2 hours and 20 minutes. I actually was really wanting to get 2 hours and 10 minutes, but I figured 2:20 was more reasonable. So, I was pretty pumped when Dawn and I were on pace to get 2:20. We kept running together (I totally could not have made it without her) until mile 11. We got separated there. The last couple of miles were tough, but I was so relieved to know that we were so close to the finish. When one of Jake's favorite songs came playing on my iPod, I just started smiling and ran as hard as I could. I was reminded that I was running for my little "heroes." And, it felt amazing to cross that line. I was thirsty (I had salt all over my face) and I was hungry. I was hoping for oranges (they had the BEST ones I think I have ever had when I was running on the course). :) But, I settled for a handful of other items, like bananas, apples, granola bars, etc. 

I had no idea what my time was. The race had a set up where you could receive text messages with your times... so, when I called Brad, he told me what my finishing time was. I started crying when he said, "2:20:53." I couldn't believe that I was that close to my goal, after all the setbacks. Dawn and I met up and commiserated, celebrated, and headed to the hotel to shower. We wanted to get back quickly to see Maria cross the finish line. 

I can't begin to explain the emotions that went through me that day. I felt everything during the run - anxiety, nervousness, frustration with the course, happiness about my pace, etc. Not one of those emotions compares to the feeling that I got when Brad told me my time. No. I wasn't even remotely close to being fast. Hell, I have probably run faster more regularly. But, I was so excited to be close to where I wanted. I couldn't believe I had finished... but to have finished near my goal... well, that was just icing on the cake. And, emotions run high at these things. I cried watching complete strangers cross the full marathon finish line. A few people would be injured and hobbling over the line... I'd cry. Two girls were running together, holding hands and crying... I cried, too. I was so happy that Dawn was just as bad as me... we both are big crying babies. lol. 

And, when Maria came running down that last stretch, Dawn and I were going crazy! We yelled at the emcee and asked him to cheer her on down the last stretch, we took photos, and we yelled for her like nuts. And, then, of course, I choked back tears and I think Dawn just went ahead and cried. haha. 

It was great. We had done it. We were all hesitant to say we would again... but I knew that wouldn't last. Dawn and Maria are already planning... planning... planning. :) I'm holding out on any commitments, but I know that another one will definitely be in my future. The full thing? I don't know... but I would say its a very likely probability. :) 

All in all, it was a great trip... a great race... and a great weekend. We were in bed on Saturday night, after a HUGE dinner and a few beers, at 9:30 p.m. Yes. Our girls' weekend... the only one I've had in 7 years... and I was happy, no THRILLED, to be going to bed. We were all so exhausted. But it was a great exhaustion. 

And, to end the weekend on a wonderful note, I came home to two awesome babies and an incredible husband, all claiming to be proud of me. They had a great weekend, too. They spent a ton of time with my mother-in-law, Kathy, who was so great and helped me SO much by picking up the kids from school and making sure they made it on Friday. They all had a great time (even though I'm sure Kathy probably felt like she ran a few marathons by the end of the weekend). :) Brad also took the kids to visit my parents and to my cousin's little boy's first birthday party. I hated to miss it, but I was so pleased that the kids got to go. They had a great time, as you can see. 

The pressure of the race is off, which feels great. But, I am already itching to figure out the next step. More to come on that when I figure it out. :) 

Thank you guys again for traveling with me on this journey... I would never have finished this half without all of you. Love you for reading... but love you more for supporting me! :)