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Gratefulness Posts Week 6 & 7

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 (Day 39/366) - Thankful for having a day off from running today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012 (Day 40/366) - I'm grateful today for my little swimming babies. Watching them swim today was extra fun... Jake spends most of his time at the bottom of the pool these days, holding his breath for incredible amounts of time. I laugh at how well his little lungs do. I guess being small means that you don't need tons of oxygen because you don't have much of a body to push air to. :) Bailey was my little rock star today, diving like a pro. I love to watch her learn... and she is learning so much.

Friday, February 10, 2012  (Day 41/366) - Thankful for a great night of fun with my hubby. See post here for more info.

Saturday, February 11, 2012  (Day 42/366)- Today and tonight was fabulous. I missed my kids, because that's what I do when they are away for the weekend. But, Brad and I had a nice, enjoyable, slow morning and afternoon. We ate a late breakfast at Ramsey's. Oh. My. Goodness. The food was enough to feed an army. We needed it after a late night of skiing. Then, we went home and relaxed for a couple of hours... Brad napped while I worked on the computer. We worked out at the YMCA, then went to Drake's for sushi and fish tacos, which I am still wanting more of as I type. And, that's when the night got really fun. We went home and got dressed up in 1950's gear for the Living Arts & Science Center's H'Artful of Fun. My hubby was so cute... and we had a great time. We hung out with new and old friends (one of those old friends being a former middle school classmate of mine). It was fun.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 (Day 43/366) - Today, I am grateful to have my babies home. I am grateful for their sweet hugs and kisses and their plans for a Family Night. I'm grateful that they want to play games with us instead of spending their time doing their own thing. I'm grateful that those games include physical games that we can play on the XBox Kinect... and mind-stimulating games, like board games and cards. I am grateful for a night together... and can't help but thank God for the changes that 2012 has already brought to our small little family's life.

Monday, February 13, 2012 (Day 44/366) - I am thankful for a very patient little boy. We spent 2 hours in line at Sandersville Elementary this morning so that we could hold a spot for him in Kindergarten, just in case we decide to move forward with starting him in regular Kindergarten next year. Transitional Kindergarten is really what we think we will do, but I wanted to be safe and have him a spot at Sandersville, just in case. Jake was so patient as we waited in the long line. He was so patient as I filled out paperwork. He patiently asked me to play Rock Paper Scissors with him. He patiently waited when we had to drive to Frankfort to get a copy of his birth certificate. Truly, I have never been so impressed with his patience. He definitely would have preferred to stay home and play in his PJs all day, but he didn't complain (much anyway). Maybe he is growing up a little bit. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012  (Day 45/366)- Hallmark's holiday. Normally, I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day. I kind of think it's silly... trying to find one day each year that everyone in the world should be in love and romantic. I'd much rather have love and romance at a random point in the year... making it a little less expected and routine. But, I am grateful that I have a hubby I love and two fabulous kids to smother with love. Since Brad and I spent our weekend together, we counted that as our Valentine's Day celebration. Tuesdays aren't exactly ideal for us to have a romantic date or anything anyway... it is by far the busiest day of our week. Anyway, I had been pinning things on pinterest for months about Valentine's Day. There were so many cute ideas. Of course, I barely did any of them... instead, I cut the kids sandwiches into hearts. I put conversation heart candy into their lunchboxes. I wrote "Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Mom and Dad" on their ziplock bags in their lunches. I am so grateful that both of our kids were able to have parents at their school today - I went to Jake's Valentine's Day party; Brad went to Bailey's showcase. So very grateful to be able to be there for these little big moments in their lives.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012  (Day 46/366)- Just so very grateful for breakfast for dinner and how easy it is to fix for dinner. Also, we watched the movie, The Help. It was good, but not as good as the book has been!

Thursday, February 16, 2012  (Day 47/366)- So very proud of our kiddos... both of them are moving on up to the next level in swimming lessons. They are excelling so much... and I'm just so proud. I know it's not like they are moving into Olympic swimming here, but you know, it's important that I am grateful for how well they do. I am also really grateful for a great last day at my job at BCTC. The people I worked with there are good people... and I will sorely miss their friendship and our regular discussion.

Friday, February 17, 2012  (Day 48/366)- The beginning of a long weekend! I am grateful for a kitchen full of groceries and a dinner plan for the next two weeks. It's the little things that make me happy some days. Also, grateful for the Redbox and a night of cuddling and watching movies. And, grateful to have finished my first audiobook, The Help.

Saurday, February 18, 2012  (Day 49/366)- Thankful to have week 7 of 18 complete in the marathon training program. I still haven't committed to doing this thing, but I'm feeling good about it. Tired, but feeling like I might be able to pull it off. Ran 12 miles in the most perfect running weather today.

Sunday, February 19, 2012  (Day 50/366)- I am grateful for sweet kids at church to make me smile. Grateful for a husband who took the kids to the YMCA to swim today while I cleaned. Very excited to surprise the kids on Monday with a skiing trip to Perfect North on our day off!

Monday, February 20, 2012  (Day 51/366)- Tonight, I am so completely thankful for the kids and their really awesome ability to hang in there and try anything. We took them skiing today... the second time for Jake and the third time for Bailey. They were awesome... brave... and I thought my heart would explode from pride as I watched them fearlessly take it on. We had so much fun... so much fun... that it truly deserves a post all on its own. So, that is next. :) But, for this post... know that I'm so grateful for my babies and their awesomeness... their courage, their sweetness, and the sheer fact that they are so incredibly fun. Oh... and the fact that I marked off another list item to SNOWTUBE! :) And, it was AMAZINGLY FUN!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012  (Day 52/366)- I am thankful for a great first day at my new job. I am so thankful for nice co-workers who made me feel welcome, for a great (and long) meeting with my boss to discuss the plans and get directly to work, and for the feeling that I'm where I need to be. I am even more grateful that Bailey loved her after school program and Jake was disappointed to see me when I picked him up. That is a good thing... they don't seem to have any issues with this adjustment at this point and I could not be happier.

Our Throwback Date Night

Sunday, February 12, 2012
It was about a month before Brad and I got married when we moved out of each of our apartments (mine in Richmond, Kentucky; his in Smithers, West Virginia) and moved into our own joint place. The day that we moved was one of the longest days of our lives. Moving us always takes a lot, because we both keep too many things... So, we started moving out of my place at like 6 a.m. and finished moving the last of Brad's stuff (well, almost all of it) at like 2 a.m. that night. It was exhausting. That night, Brad and I were starved. We hadn't really had much for dinner. I don't really remember us actually eating dinner. What I do remember and will forever be in my head, is eating the best tasting Funyons, Snicker's bar, and Diet Mt. Dew ever.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, this past weekend, Brad and I had what I'm referring to as a "throwback" date night. No, I know it sounds like we threw back a bunch of beer. We've had those weekends, too, but not this weekend. :) On Friday, after I dropped the kids to the grandparents for a weekend of complete and utter spoiling, I rushed home, started pulling out all of our ski clothes and got ready for a night of night skiing. I have been watching the Facebook photos on Perfect North, Winterplace, and Snowshoe for weeks. Honestly, I was almost mad at a lady who works with me who told me that she was going to Snowshoe for a weekend, but that she would just read a book and not ski. Ugh. I'd love to be going to Snowshoe. Anyway... getting back on track here...

... when Brad and I were first married and living in West Virginia, we went night skiing a lot. I would pack all of our stuff the night before, load it into the car, and as soon as we would get off of work on a Thursday night, we would make a mad dash out of town to hit the slopes. I can even remember us changing clothes in the car, on the way up to Winterplace, just to maximize the amount of time we had on the slopes. We would eat in the car... we would share pizza and water at the resort... whatever we could do to make sure that we spent as little as possible so that maybe we'd get to go again in just a week or two. We would spend the evening skiing/snowboarding as much as possible, taking breaks only when we absolutely had to, and talking non-stop about how amazing some of the little kids on skis were. We made big plans to have our kids learning to ski early... to maybe even move closer to Beckley once our kids were older so that we could get season passes... we quite simply were bitten by the bug.

We spent a few weekends at Snowshoe... it was wonderful. I miss it. Every. Single. Year. One weekend, we drove to Snowshoe in a snowstorm. The roads were so bad that the lines weren't even visible. I look back and wonder what in the hell we were thinking driving up there like that. But, we made it safely (thanks to our awesome Ford Escape and a husband who likes to drive in the snow). And, we had an amazing time.

As with everything, life got busier. We moved to Lexington. Promises to keep skiing and to make annual trips without the kids and with the kids, well, they fell to the wayside. Expenses on this or that came up. Summer vacations aren't something we were willing to trade... babies were too small to go and mom guilt was too strong to leave.

Last year, we took the kids skiing at Perfect North and they did wonderfully. So, making the decision to go without them was really tough. But, I looked at the night skiing rates and times, knowing that it would be a long, late, and probably cold night... a little tough on two kids, no matter how awesome they are. I sent Brad the link, convinced him that it wouldn't be much more expensive than a really nice dinner and a movie, with the exception of the gas money, and decided we would do this. I even decided to try snowboarding, since I've used the excuse that "I can't try to learn to snowboard AND help the kids" for the past two years. It's on my list to learn to snowboard... so I have been pretty excited to get this one marked off. I had no reason not to try. I didn't tell the kids the plan though. I just couldn't bear to see the look on my daughter's face when I told her. :)

So, we left for Perfect North as soon as Brad got home from work. I was sitting by the door waiting on him. :) We stopped on the way up, grabbed Subway for the road, and kept on driving. It was fun. It was like old times. We even laughed about how it felt just the same. I was nervous about snowboarding, just like I used to get nervous about skiing. It felt just like it used to.

We made it to Perfect North in time for me to take a snowboarding lesson, which I was thrilled about. There weren't many people there and my lesson was just me and the instructor. It made it really nice... and I was able to pick up on it so much faster than I expected. It was different than when I learned to ski. I was terrified of falling then. There were people everywhere and I was scared to run into someone. This time, I was ready to fall. I knew I would fall and it wouldn't hurt that bad. I felt stronger. And, I was decent. If I had an entire day on the slopes, I would have it. Maybe not great, but I would be able to go on some long runs. I wasn't able to on Friday. I snowboarded for about 2 hours, then switched to my skis so that I could go with Brad to the top of the mountain and enjoy the few short hours we had. It was great. It was so great that the thought of moving back to West Virginia popped in my head at least five times. It has been years since that thought has even crossed my mind.

We were exhausted at the end of the night... my legs hurt from the workout. I was a little cocky with myself... as soon as I got on my skis, I had felt stronger. My legs were just plain stronger than they were the last time I went. The running is paying off. :) But, with that strength came some arrogance and I skiied faster and harder than usual. I worked myself harder, probably too early in the night, and then my legs were done. We left at midnight... starved and cold... and feeling so good and tired. We stopped at the nearest gas station in town and bought coffee and hot chocolate. We wandered the aisles a few times, looking for a snack. Brad grabbed two Snicker's bars. I grabbed a bag of Funyon's. We were exhausted and hungry... it was a late night... we had stopped with empty bellies, happy to have had finished a great night. I have rarely eaten a bag of Funyon's without remembering that night we moved... but I wasn't sure about Brad. I smiled when he recognized the similarity... it was the perfect ending to our "throwback" night.

And, for the record, we drove in snow to get home, too... but we could actually see the lines on the road for most of the way. :)

Gratefulness Post Week 5 (I think...). :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 (Day 31/366) - I am grateful for my iPod. I had to run 5 miles indoors. If it was not for my iPod, I would have lost it. Period.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 (Day 32/366) - I am grateful for a very positive meeting this morning, a big decision to make, and dinner and drinks with a great friend and former co-worker. I am thankful for snuggly hugs and kisses from my babies before they fall to sleep... for great conversations with those same "babies," who seem to be growing into such mature little kids with such fabulous abilities to understand the real world.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 (Day 33/366) - Timing. Hard decisions, but good secure feelings in those decisions. Yesterday, I was offered a full-time development director position at the Living Arts & Science Center. I had turned this very same job down a few years ago for a variety of reasons, but primarily because I wanted to spend more time with the kids and I was able to do that because Brad had received a promotion. So, when it came back up, I had to really debate if I was interested. It's a funny thing... timing. Jake is about to go to school full time in the fall. A full-time job was definitely something I was toying with, but not sure about... so when this came up, well,  I just had to take advantage. I have loved the Living Arts & Science Center's mission and programs for years... and now I'm going to get to play a major role in its future. Pretty exciting (and nerve-wracking) stuff. :)

My favorite thing about this? My kids' response. I talked to each of them separately to make sure they weren't going to be upset... that they would understand and be OK with this. Bailey was immediately excited. She could go to after-school care with some of her friends. Social time... that's all she was concerned about. She even tried to help me figure out the best angle to pitch this to Jake. Geez. She is so going to be a fundraiser. Eek. I feel bad for her. :) Jake and I had to talk for a while and I'm still not 100% sure he understands. I talked to him about how he is turning 5 and has to go to school 5 days when he's 5. So, we talked a lot about how he has to practice for Kindergarten, etc. He was all about it before it was over... even asked me today if it's only 2 weeks until he gets to go 5 days like big kids.

So, more changes for the Ootens. Brad has a new job... so do I. That wasn't really in the plan, but I think it will work. I think we'll be happy and the kids will be able to adjust. I sure hope so. These things make me pretty nervous, even when I'm the big embracer of change. :) I sure am going to miss my Mondays and Fridays though. Better stop typing before I change my mind. haha.

Friday, February 3, 2012 (Day 34/366) - A cleaned out AND washed car. Olive Garden for dinner. The sweetest "I love yous" from the kids. I love them so much.

Saturday, February 4, 2012 (Day 35/366) - An awesome little boy's birthday party, where I got to meet a friend face to face that I met through blogging (and through Brad and Rebecca). Enjoying time at the birthday party where my kids just run and play and have a great time and I get to talk and catch up with friends, too. My cute hubby and his funny little quirks... his constant ability to remember movie lines, the way that he acts like it is such a hassle to take Jake down the big inflatable slide, even though he's dying to get on it himself. It's nice having him back to normal and less stressed. :) Running 10 miles at the YMCA track. It was horribly boring. 160 laps on the track. I just can't say anything else to describe how awful it was, but that I am thankful that I did it instead of running in the rain. Renting movies at the Redbox and cuddling on our couch as a family to watch them. I love a good fighting movie... it was great seeing Real Steel and Warrior. Totally got my testosterone fix there. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012 (Day 36/366) - GIANTS WIN THE SUPER BOWL!!!! We had a great time with friends and got to watch Brad's favorite team of all time win. :) Extremely thankful that I was able to drive a happy hubby home and not a devastated one. Had the Giants lost, I would have not heard the end of it for weeks.

Monday, February 6, 2012 (Day 37/366) - Deep cleaning at the house. I am grateful for... um.... a functioning vaccuum cleaner? Sigh. It was a good day, despite all the cleaning. And, I'm thankful for this post by my friend, Sammye Jo. Totally took advantage of her tip to freeze sandwiches and have a week's supply of lunch for myself and Bailey already in the freezer. No more buying those overpriced Uncrustables for me. Sheesh... I wonder why it is that I never thought to freeze sandwiches? Sometimes I wonder how much of my brain goes unused each day. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 (Day 38/366) - Happy birthday to Cory! Thankful to have a little brother who has taught me so much over the years... someone to reminisce with about the good ole days and laugh about all of our crazy fights. I love having a brother... I'm so lucky to have two incredible ones.

Sorry for no pics this week... doing good to just get this one posted today and it's ALREADY THURSDAY! CRAZY TIME! :)