Monday, July 07, 2014

I'm still here...

Barely.  But here.  There are no excuses for not blogging because clearly I'm on the internet plenty.  Although one excuse could be that my free time is usually after 8:30 at night and my brain is usually too tired to actually form sensible words and I lack the ability to articulate my thoughts.  Being pregnant only makes it worse.  Speaking of which, 29 weeks today.  My prediction is that he is going to be a VERY big boy!  He bounces around in there and it constantly feels like he is doing summersaults.  And he loves night time.  He is an night owl like his mama and many of his aunts & uncles (my siblings of course).  Perhaps that will change after he is born but man does he come alive around 10 o'clock at night.  It's hard to believe how quickly he will be here.  Tonight, in anticipation for a newborn, I made seven freezer meals.  I should probably mention that my motivation came from my upright freezer door being left open (thank you C & B) and I had multiple packages of hamburger, beef, and a whole chicken that were semi-thawed so hubs & I quickly cooked it all up on Saturday.  Then today made a poppyseed chicken, 3 baked spaghetti's, tatertot casserole, & 2 batches of chili.  I still have lots to make but it really wasn't that bad making all of that.  So now I'm feeling pretty ambitious about adding to the stash.  Not to mention we have half a cow coming on August 1st so I really need to empty out our current freezer inventory.  Back to today, it started off with cranky kids and an irritable mama but ended with comfort food (round steak, mashed potatoes and corn) followed by several freezer meals whipped up in less than an hour (meat pre-cooked) and finished with wicked thunderstorms with an awesome lightening show and strong winds.  Life is good!  It feels good to feel so happy about so many normal and ordinary things.  I'm glad the fog has lifted (a post for another day) and the simple pleasures have returned.  More updates I hope in the future (all the changes around the house, updates on the kids, camping, etc).  I miss you blog.  And I've missed the old me.  But I'm feeling more like that girl every day...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful...

For the mountains.  Fresh air.  My boys.  My sweet, sweet, lovable boys.  My spit-fire, feisty, independent, strong-willed, adventurous daughter.  My funny, sexy, handsome, kind, considerate, smart, devoting and loving husband.  My home.  Hard work that has made our house into a home.  Our backyard.  Trees for our boys to climb.  Delicious food.  Candy.  Technology.  Laughter.  My siblings (my best friends). My parents.  My kick-ass cousins.  Girl friends.  Hiking.  Fun nights not the sofa with my hubby.  My in-laws.  A warm fire.  Camping.  Music.  Motherhood.  Life.  Hot showers.  Peaceful moments. 

Wishing you a happy thanksgiving and a happy holiday season.  I love this time of year!!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Adventures in moving...

Nathan & I are currently moving for the 8th time since 2004.  It all started with our adventure to Missouri after graduating college and getting our first apartment.  I smile every time I think of this place because it had a home office for Nathan & a huge master bedroom.  And being recent college graduates with little money the bedroom had a dresser and twin mattress/box spring pushed up against the wall.  I'll never forget when Nathan's boss came over to see the place, walked into our bedroom and said "what the f*#@ is that?" while pointing to the twin bed.  He could not believe we successfully shared a twin bed. We had youth & love on our side.   I'm not sure we could get through one night in a twin bed these days.  Back to the apartment; we had a lot of fun that year.  We both bought motorcycles (since our dirt bikes were stolen in college), started careers, ate a lot of lunches together, met for happy hours, went on bike rides, played tennis, hiked, camped and laughed.  Then came our first house.  It was a beauty and one I'll never forget.  I loved it for many reasons.  Our first son was born in that house.  The adoption of our second son was discussed and started while living in that home.  Little did I know what lied ahead. I dreamt of a home in the country.  And for some reason (neither of us will ever understand) I was able to talk my sweet, sweet hubby into a complete fixer upper on 40 acres in the middle of nowhere, Missouri.  It turned out to be the hugest undertaking of our life; lots of late nights & all nighters, a testament of the strength of our marriage and our sense of humor, a complete gutter and overhaul, 5 weeks in a gross hotel, an extremely flexible baby, snakes, ice storms, a small furnace fire, lots of visits from various family members & friends (thank you David) to help, beautiful sunsets, reality checks, and all in a very short time.  Then came our 4th move, third home.  It led us to some great friends and it was move-in ready.  We had our fill of renovations.  We bought it knowing we were adding to our family via adoption and pregnancy all within a short time.  We traveled to Ethiopia just a couple months after moving in, and L was born just six months after moving in.  It was the perfect house for three small boys under 3 years old.  I have a lot of memories (some good, some very, very bad) from that house and it will always have a special place in my heart.  Moving on.  Nathan's first required move via work took us from Missouri to Oklahoma.  Since it was all knew to us (and our current home sold in 3 days) we decided to get a short term home rental and learn our lay of the land.  It was a great rental house and some of our most care free days that I can remember.  It included lots of bike rides & walks with the boys.  It was a smart move.  Then came then house that holds the record for 'longest home ever lived in' (2.5 yrs).  It is the only home the boys truly remember.  It backed up to a greenbelt of trees that the boys called their "forest".  Our 4th child, first daughter, joined our family.  It was low maintenance, low stress and I met some of my best friends while living there.  I'm incredibly grateful for our time in Oklahoma.  There was an awesome network of moms that I became very close with that were nonjudgmental, caring, dependable and most of all - hilarious.  I miss them most of all and hope to stay connected with them.  The kids still talk about Oklahoma but I've noticed it is dwindling.  They are getting settled here in Colorado and the new house has everyone excited!  However, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Move number seven was a doozy.  Nathan & I had rented in a while and underestimated the challenge that lied ahead.  We still hadn't found a home by the time our house in Oklahoma had sold so we loaded up our vehicles, each of us pulling trailers full of our belongings and our 4 kids with chicken pox.  Yes, you read that correctly. They were all on day 2 of having chicken pox.  The next week can be summed up with one word; HELL.  It was awful.  I think the days leading up to the move, during and once we finally found a rental I was averaging 3-4 hours of sleep/night.  Between packing, caring for sick kids and sleeping in a hotel temporarily while getting hounded by the rental company asking for their trailers back and having NO place to go, it was hard to relax.  I feel my shoulders tensing up just thinking about it.  We finally were able to get a short term lease at a wonderful town home after lots of phone calls and dead ends.  We were so excited we unloaded our trailer, put their kids in pj's, loaded them in their carseats and drove 40 min to the storage unit, just to load the trailer back up, and unload it again.  We had beds to sleep in and a couch to sit on. It was an exhausting night, but we were so happy to have a temporary place.  Fast forward through four months of house hunting (read 50 plus homes we looked at), a few stressful moments of marriage, exhausted kids, late nights searching the real estate and more stress - we finally found our house!  It was worth it.  We hope we've finally found a place the kids will grow up in and a house we can make a home!   In the past 16 days we've removed all the carpet & window treatments, we've gutted the powder bath/laundry room & tiled it, installed wainscoting and soon new trim.  With the help of the in-laws babysitting, I was able to paint all of the home but three bedrooms.  We have ordered new wood floors that will hopefully add some great character (3, 4 & 5 inch random widths) and slowly we hope to make it our own.  It's a bit stressful but I'm not complaining.  Every project we accomplish we are happy to have tackled it.  It's a constant learning experience and thankfully, I have a great partner to work with.  I hope to post pictures one day.  I'm currently typing with the pads of my fingers verses the tips because they are so cut up from the random projects and all the hand washing combined with the dry air.  I started writing this post as a quick update for my own memory (since I consider this my journal) and I ended up taking a trip down memory lane.  I've been feeling a little nostalgic lately... maybe it is the late nights and lack of sleep.  Regardless, I hope you enjoyed.  Good night.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

If only there were a pause button...

Sometimes I look back at photos of the kids and it feels like someone is squeezing my heart in their fist. The kids are so much smaller.  The boys still have traces of baby fat.  Their chubby cheeks, bright eyes and innocent smiles make me want to go back in time and pick them up one more time.  It makes me want to smell their hair, kiss their cheek, squeeze them as tight as I can.  Even though I embrace moments I know I want be able hold onto the actual physical memory for very long.  Memories of how squishy they were in my arms, what they felt like lying across my lap, how perfectly they curled up next to meet and fell back asleep when crawling into bed with us at night.  The sound of their voice, their cry, their laughter.  It's not often I look back.  I liked to enjoy the present, with the occasional glance forward.  But sometimes, I open up my computer and I look back at photos and what I wouldn't give to enjoy one more day with the boys as infants, toddlers, and so one.  Just a day.  Or even ten minutes.  It's a good reminder to really, truly live in the present.  Every day.  Today we went out on a walk with the boys & J, not knowing where we were headed.  We ended up walking almost five miles and stopped at three different playgrounds and arrived back at home a few hours later.  It was relaxed.  It was fun.  It was us.  And so perfect.  I'm so thankful for all the time we have with the kids.  I'm thankful they are schooled at home with the added bonus of the flexibility of the hubby's work schedule.  They are so loved.  As are we.  And while I can't go back in time for another hug, I can surely appreciate the one tomorrow morning even more!  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Colorado, how I love thee...





There is something so soothing about a hike in the mountains.  We've been hiking three or more days a week and it's been such a blessing to have the trails so close by.  We've wanted to move to Colorado since we started dating in college, and fourteen years later, it's really happened.  Multiple times I've said to hubs, "I still have to pinch myself.  I can't believe it's finally happened!" Life has a way of working itself out.  Sometimes it's hard to be patient and trust that things happen for a reason.  But it's true.  There is a reason for everything!  There's a reason we've not gotten four homes now that we've put offers on (the market is insane out here right now).  In good time we will find the perfect home for our family.  For now, we've got plenty of beautiful scenery to keep us busy.  I'm so very thankful for so much!  Life is good.




Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

To a man that gives so much but asks for so little.  You are loved!














Wednesday, June 12, 2013

the forgotten blog

I've fallen off the blogger planet the past year and I keep meaning to jump back on.  Now is as good as ever right?  It's going on 11:00 at night and I'm enjoying some quiet time before bed.  Hubs is in Colorado this week with the new job and I'm holding down the fort in OK.  We close on our house in 2.5 weeks and then we will be residents of Colorado.  It's really happening; we are moving to COLORADO!  A dream we've had since our trips to the mountains in college.  I still remember driving through Springfield just after graduation (where hubs started his first job) and begging him to keep driving west.  Missouri & Oklahoma were good to us but it's time to move on.  There was a reason our path has taken the route it has and we hope move number 7 will be the last for a long time.   We were out there for a couple weeks in May and the entire time I had such a peace about the decision and how wonderful it's going to be for our family.  

J turned 1 in April.  My spitfire, strong-willed, wild child, ornery girl has been walking around furniture since 9 months and finally, at 14 months old is walking!!  It's been very exciting for this mama because I'm now able to get a few things done with her not clinging to my legs.  Not to mention her feet are no longer cut up from dragging them across concrete and her legs no are longer covered in dirt from crawling everywhere!  She is a mover my little J.  I decided to let her roam at the store the other day and off she went.  Without looking back.  C kept fetching her and as soon as he'd put her down, off she went again.  She does not like to be restrained and let everyone know with her loud screams.  We are going to have our hands full with this one I'm afraid :)  She has every one of us wrapped around her chubby little fingers.  Since discovering how wonderful walking is, she now has a confidence (or maybe arrogance is the better word) she emits with every step.  Making her all the more adorable!  J does not know a stranger.  She raises her arm and does the cutes wrist wave to cars driving by, family members on Skype, friends visiting, etc.  She loves being the center of attention.  She is a thrill-seeker and risk taker (completely opposite of her big brothers).  She is just starting to comprehend a lot of what we say which honestly has made parenting her much easier!  I've found myself negotiating with her more & more lately.  Eat another bite or go night night.  Lay down on mama or go in your bed.  Mostly I threaten bedtime.  I'm sure that will come back to haunt me soon.  

L just had a birthday and continues to tell people "I'm not four anymore.  I'm five".  He told everyone over the weekend that we were celebrating his birthday early because his dad wouldn't be here for the actual birthDAY.  For his meals he chose; Lucky Charms & Donuts (cherry cake and cinnamon tiger tail), PBJ for lunch and Nachos for dinner.  And for his cake he chose Dirt Cake.  At five years old I still see the gummy bear in him and I'm so thankful for the little baby fat that still remains.  B & C are so lean & muscular.  They are turning into little men.  L is still sweet as ever.  He has a kind heart and gentle soul.  He still crumbles if we raise our voices too loud.  Or if his brothers hit him a little too hard.  Randomly he can let loose and his temper comes out when provoked.  But overall, he's a care bear at heart.  He has really come out of his shell the past year.  He's a goofball at home but he's no longer inhibited around other people.  More and more people have commented about how excited they are that L will talk to them now.  He loves to dance.  And sing.  He is still quite the artist but lately he's decided he will also be a builder & a golfer.  He is loud.  I'm sure that is a trait he inherited from his dad because I was never (cough cough) loud & bossy as a child.  

B slept with me the last two nights.  It's been nice.  Our co-sleeping days are behind us so the occasional bed visitor is welcomed.  Last night, while reaching out for him I noticed he was incredibly feverish.  This morning he was still super hot and laid on me and snuggled like never before.  I've never seen B so still in my life.  The snuggles were welcomed but I felt so bad for him.  It's nice to know he found comfort in me being close.  But I missed his smile and cheery demeanor.  By late afternoon he seemed to be feeling better and even ate dinner.  I hope tomorrow he wakes up feeling much better.  Speaking of B, I'm so thankful to be able to call him my son.  He's taught me a lot about over the years.  And he's been so forgiving of the mistakes I've made and continue to make.  I'm so grateful for that personality trait.  He is one of the most laid back kids I've ever been around and he has a smile that is sincere and full of warmth.  He loves numbers.  His math skills are unbelievable and he's always pointing out what time it is or asking me addition/subtraction problems.  He found a watch on the ground on our recent camping trip and has been carrying it around ever since.  Occasionally I hear the alarm go off and it brings a smile to my face thinking about my little hoarder.  B always has collected miscellaneous junk and hoards them near or on his bed.  So him finding the watch and wanting to keep it is so fitting.  B has a tender side that is reserved just for baby J.  His presence alone can calm J down and he knows just how to distract her.  On the flip side he can also push her buttons if he wants but his gentleness she hasn't forgotten.  She snuggles up to him more than anyone else and does the cute head rest on his shoulder.  We were at a restaurant not too long ago and each of the boys would walk up for hugs but she'd only give them to B.  It was quite comical.  She of course ate it up and knew how crazy it was making the other two making it that much more hysterical.  Today while he was sick she kept walking up to the chair to either try to engage him or hug him.  It's been fun to watch.  Not to say she doesn't love the other two just as much, she just seems to have a special bond with B.  It's sweet.  

Last, and certainly not least comes the update on my old man C.  We've had an interesting change over the past year.  He's expressing himself a lot these days and it's definitely caused some conflict.  But at the end of the day, he's still my oldest and I'll never forget the chubby little baby that stole my heart nearly 8 years ago when I became a mom for the first time.  A bond that is sacred in so many ways.  And when I find myself getting frustrated at his eye rolling, back turned to me when I'm talking, grimaces, moans, and sassing I remember that sweet boy that laid on my shoulder every night to fall asleep.  The smart little baby that sat on my laps reading Dr.Suess (from memory) to me when he was less than a year old.  The 2 year old that wiped his butt with his shirt because he couldn't find toilet paper and he didn't want to wake me.  The three old nurturing 2 baby brothers and not noticing how much his life had changed but merely enjoying his new role as a big brother.  The four year old that was asking questions that were already requiring me to "google' the answers and me knowing I was in trouble.  The five year old biking 8 miles one day on the trails on one of our many camping adventures.  The six year old walking through the playgrounds with a hand on the shoulders of his two little brothers.  And the 7 year old that loves to dig his fingers in my armpits to tickle me, and then tell me how gross I smell with a huge grin on his face.   And I'm reminded of how fierce my love is for him in spite of the challenges that come with raising a child that sometimes says things he shouldn't and could be a little more respectful.  He can't always help his brain is a little faster than his maturity.  We'll get there.  If not, it's okay.  It's worth it.  

Marriage.  Let's see...  Well, pregnancy, childbirth, newborns, insomnia, exhaustion, etc takes a toll.  But I'm happy to say we are on the rebound.  Love is in the air again and I'm still so thankful we tied the knot in Vegas almost 9 years ago!  There is no else that could possibly understand me better or somehow find just the right words to relieve the heartache better than him.  Life is good.  We are blessed!  I look forward to our next adventure and for all the positive changes to come.  Until next time, may you have a smile on your face and spread happiness & joy to those around you.