Friday, September 30, 2011

October Goals

1. Run a 5K with some of my best friends. This goal will be accomplished TOMORROW so stay tuned for pics :-)

2. Eat as many Honeycrisp apples as humanly possible. I have some great recipes to try with them too, including honey backed apples and honeycrisp sangria. Thank you Pinterest for this delicious recipe :-)

3. Take the kiddies to the pumpkin farm! They both had a great time last year, but now that Blake can walk (and run like a mad man) it should be even more fun this year :-)

4. Celebrate my 31st birthday and my Sis-in-Law Diana's BIG Birthday!! There is a fabulous party planned for her at the farm and I can't wait :-)

5. Get to the zoo at least one more time before the weather gets too cool.

6. Go through ALL of the kids toys and start making lists for Santa. I've already been doing this slowly, thanks to my 100 days of Christmas book (which I will do a separate post about next week. This book has been so much fun to follow).

7. Get fall family pictures taken. I've already lined up Uncle Ryan for the photo shoot. Now we just need these leaves to change a little more and find us a sunny day to head to the woods!

8. Do some serious fall cleaning around the house. I have been very productive this week but Eric and I have a lot of outdoor stuff to take care of too. We just need some free weekend days...which are surprisingly hard to find this month :-)

9. Prepare for DISNEY!!!!!!!

10. End the month with some trick-or-treating!!! I love Halloween!!!

So...what does everyone else have on their goal list this month? Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE October??!! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So I Went Dark...

And I think I kind of love it!!

It's VERY different and it will take a little getting use to, but I am very happy with how natural it looks (which it should...considering it is pretty much my natural color :-) The picture doesn't show it well, but there is an auburn hue in there too. Chelsi and ladies are responsible for that. I really think it is a great fall color and I'm proud of myself for taking the leap.

Thanks for all the advice friends!!! You were all right...darker is the way to go :-) Now if you'll excuse me...I have to go teach. 


But thanks to my BF Linsey, I have a new tool for grading papers.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Productivity and Fall Hair

On rare occasions, I wake up in the morning with an urge to clean and organize. These mornings usually follow chaotic evenings where I'm rushing around looking for shoes, school papers, my car keys, etc. and I wake up with this drive and determination to get things in order. But usually, those wanna-be-productive days are interrupted by two little children who want my attention.

But today...I got lucky!! I let the kids build a fort in their playroom and told them they could play with whatever they wanted in there (that basically means I gave them permission to dump out every single toy bin on the floor and shove as much as they could in the tent). What is it with kids and their desire to trash things?? Seriously! Oh well. That playroom destruction occupied those two ALL MORNING and I was able to accomplish a ton of stuff!! Don't worry...I am going to be posting about all the re-organizing I did later but right now...I need to use this naptime to grade papers. BLAH!! 

But before I go, I just wanted to run something by all of you. I have a hair appointment tomorrow and I am between going super brunette...

or going with a more fall-ish blonde shade...

My hair got way too bleached this summer and I am not liking the super dark roots coming in now that I am not in the sun as much. Not. Cute. And the upkeep is just too much work for me to stay this blonde through the winter. So what should I daring and opt for the dark shade, or go with my safe bet and leave some light in it??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Teach, Therefore I Drink

I just want to start this post by making one thing very clear...


I mean that with all my heart. Every semester I'm away from the classroom, I feel like a piece of me is missing. Teaching is a part of me and I am so lucky to have this fabulous, flexible job that allows me to stay home with my kids during the day, and work in the evening. It's awesome and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

But with that said...I just want to blow off some steam and share with you some of the questions I have received so far this semester.

1. Do we get extra credit if we show up to class?

2. Are you going to take points off our paper for grammar errors?

3. Can we still pass this class if we get all D's on our papers?

4. What class is this again?

5. If we can't use "I" in a paper, does that mean I have to use my first name?"

And then of course, I always get a ton of enjoyment out of the RIDICULOUS excuses students give for not getting their work done. Here are some of my favorites, along with my responses.

Student: I haven't bought my books yet because I only get paid every other week.
Me: It's week 5, Chris.
Student: Oh yeah. Shit. My bad. I'll get them this week.

Student: Sorry I was late. I over slept.
Me: But it's a 7:00p.m. class.
Student: Well I was out really late last night.

Student: I'm sorry...I couldn't get my paper done because I just didn't understand the assignment.
Me: Even after talking about if for two weeks, reading over 3 separate handouts, workshopping thesis statements in class and writing a draft?
Student: I like to take my time when I write. I felt rushed.

Student: I was just too busy to get my paper done.
Me: Do you work full-time?
Student: No. I don't have to work. I still live with my parents.
Me: Are you taking a lot of classes this semester?
Student: Nope. Just yours.
Me: Well, what had you so busy this week?
Student: My girlfriend.
Me:...WTF? you see why I need this t-shirt?

It's a good thing I LOVE teaching. It's also a good thing that I keep a bottle of wine in my fridge at all times :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Play Time...for Kids AND Adults

Once upon a time, Eric and I had at least 4-5 weddings to attend a year. This was always our opportunity for "play time". We could get dressed up, have a nice meal, spend time with friends and/or family, have a few cocktails and do some dancing. But the weddings have died down a bit in our family and circle of friends, so when a wedding FINALLY makes its way to our calendar...we get pretty darn excited.

This weekend, Eric's old neighbor and childhood friend got married. I'll admit...I really wasn't looking forward to going at first. I was tired from a long a week, I was feeling guilty about having my Dad watch the kids for us again, and I wasn't really wanting to get out of my sweatpants :-) But when all was said and done, I am SO GLAD Eric and I went because we had a really great time. 

I am also glad that we finally got a nice picture of the two of us, since the last one we got was from a wedding a year ago :-)

And here's the babysitter...a.k.a. Papa...smiling with his girl.

If there was anyone in need of a little down time, or play time, this's this guy right here. He has been working like a dog the last two weeks. In fact, he worked 14 days straight for no less than 13 hours a day. The poor guy was almost falling asleep at our table though :-) But the one thing that perked him us was seeing his Goddaughter Alison :-)

Alison was in the wedding party with a bunch of other cuties and I just loved watching them dance :-)

I remember when Dana and I were that age, dancing all over and acting silly. Now we are just a couple of old Moms, excited to eat a meal without children :-)

It was also nice getting to spend time with our hubbies...

And my in-laws. We practically had a whole table to ourselves :-)

And of course, one of my FAVORITE parts about any wedding is getting to see the bride. Sarah looked absolutely stunning.

She spent the ENTIRE night on the dance floor. She was just the cutest little bride :-)

Eric hung in there as long as he could, but when I saw him yawn for the 20th time that night, I figured I better take him home. So he gave his mama one last hug...

And we headed home. At 10:00. At first I felt silly for being in bed so early on a Friday night but after that FABULOUS nights sleep...I was glad we came home. We BOTH needed it :-)

Then on Sunday, it was time for the kids to have some play time. The Bears were on and Daddy made sure Blake was dressed for the occasion.

But as you can see from the disgusted look on his face...the Bears did NOT win. Boo!!

The kids were really sad at first (haha) but a little pizza made everything better :-)

After dinner the kids played dress up and I just had to post these two pictures because they are adorable. First, we have our two princesses...

And then we have our little prince. I don't have any boy dress up clothes yet, but Nolan didn't care. He was more than happy to rock Addie's Rosetta fairy dress and clip on earrings. 

I can guarantee you one thing friends...this picture will be part of Nolan's wedding slide show :-)

Well I hope you all had a fun weekend! It's a rainy Monday here and I am glad we can all be home in our jammies :-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

How We're Celebrating the First Day of Fall

We're coloring some Halloween pictures to hang on the fridge, while sporting some amazing bed-head :)

Mommy's drinking some pumpkin coffee...

We're having country noodle soup for dinner...

And we're spending some quality time with Great Nana...

I think we may also add a haircut to today's agenda :-)

Happy First Day of Fall everyone!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Listening Chart

Addie has officially completed her third week of preschool and I am SO PROUD of my little peanut for not shedding a single tear through this entire process. I am so happy she has adjusted so well and is already comfortable with her teachers and friends.

She is so comfortable, in fact, that she is already showing her little personality.

You Addie is a talker. I have absolutely NO idea where she gets this of course :-) She is also a daydreamer and whenever she is thinking or concentrating on something, she literally can't hear people around her. Again, I have no idea where she gets this :-)

So when I went to pick her up from preschool on Tuesday, her teacher told me that their class will be beginning time-outs next week and she needs Addie to work on "listening". I mean...I shouldn't have even been surprised. She is my daughter. I have been in trouble for talking and not listening my whole life!!!

But I was a little sad to hear this. I spent the next 48 hours worrying about how to make Addie a better listener and how to be more consistent with our discipline. I admittedly went overboard with her on Tuesday, punishing her for every single moment that she made me repeat myself twice. I wanted her to know that she will be in time-out at home and in school every time she doesn't listen. But this just made her stressed and confused and she spent the better part of the night crying for every little thing. I knew I needed a different approach.

The next day, I made her pancakes and talked to her about what happened in school. I explained how important it is to listen and we even played a few "listening games" where we would take turns being the teacher and student and give each other directions. She really had a lot of fun with that and I think that game helped more than anything.

We also decided to make a little sticker chart. 

A lot of parenting books (and experienced parents) will tell you that positive reinforcement and praise will go a lot farther with behavior than hard core discipline. This is not to say that I won't be using time-outs because I do think those are important too. But with Addie, I feel like a more positive approach will be better in the beginning. The LAST thing I want to do right now is make preschool a negative place for her. I want her to continue to enjoy herself and be excited to go every week. But she also can't be a little stinker, talking out of turn and doing her own thing all day. She does need to learn to be a better listener and the best place to do that is at school!! Maybe one time-out from her teacher will set her straight for good :-)

I'll admit...I was awake all night last night. I tossed and turned and did everything I could to shut my mind off. But I was worried. I was worried she would get a bad report today, despite all the talking and playing we did the last two days. I was worried that she would come out crying or worst of all...not want to go back on Tuesday.

Luckily, Addie had a FANTASTIC day today and when I asked the teacher how she did, she could see the worry in my eyes. She told me that Addie listened well today and that they will continue to work on it. She said that Addie is "a pleasure" to have in class and she did comment about how polite and friendly she is. She said it's just that Addie gets "very excited" and has a hard time calming down and refocusing. Hmm....sounds like someone else I know!!

I am so happy that I can finally sleep tonight!!! And we have already earned 2 more stickers on our board for cleaning up the playroom when asked, and helping Blake get a toy when asked. I know she will get better every day.

You know...this gets me thinking. Maybe I should have a Listening Chart for my college students :-) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Disney Update: Travel Questions and a New Itinerary

WOW! I can't thank you all enough for the amazingly helpful suggestions on my last post!!! I also received several novel-length e-mails with a ton of other great tips and tricks so thanks to EVERYONE who contributed. I also have two coffee dates in the future that will surely help me narrow down the final details.

And thanks to all this wonderful information, our two half-days at the park will now be two FULL days, in addition to our evening at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party!! That will leave us with one other free day in Florida. The question we just stay at our house and enjoy the pool, or do we try to fit in another theme park like Universal Studios??

The one and ONLY reason I would want to go to Universal Studios is to see this...

Now, I know my parents could both care less about seeing Harry Potter, and although Eric likes the movies, I am not sure he cares to tour Hogwarts castle. Also, I worry if the kids will be bored to tears. Addie knows who Harry Potter is and she has watched some of the earlier (less scary) movies with me. But is her "like" of Harry Potter enough to justify the INCREDIBLY pricey tickets? I just don't know if it is fair to subject my family to a day of Harry Potter if they don't want to be there. Has anyone been to the Wizarding World? Is it young kid friendly at all? 

Who knows...we may be ready for a day at our pool by that point in our trip, so we may bypass the whole extra park. It may even just be a last minute decision type of thing once we are down there. At least we know what days we will be at Magic Kingdom & Epcot and how long we want to be there each day. That was half the battle :-)

Now, although I made it seem like the itinerary was the only thing stressing me out about this trip, it isn't. I am scared to death to take these two kiddies on a plane!!! They have never flown before and we honestly don't travel much with them, not even by car. So I am wondering how the whole airport, plane ride, transportation thing is going to go. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions or tips/tricks for traveling with small children?

What I do know is that my kids like watching movies. Luckily, we will have two iPads traveling with us so movie-watching is not a problem. I also know that my kids are very snack motivated so I will have to figure out how to travel with those. I have also heard of people wrapping little gifts to give the kids on the plane to help pass the time. Any other suggestions? Any legal drugs I can give them? Just kidding.


And finally, my last and final Disney question for the I bring my beautiful, expensive BOB double-stroller? Or do I bring two separate cheap umbrella strollers? Decisions...decisions.

Thanks again for all the help everyone! I promise not to talk about Disney again for a while. I am just in planning mode and wanted to nail some things down :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Countdown to Disney!!!

Calling all Disney fanatics!!! I need your help tonight!!

Somehow, in the middle of all the craziness that has been our lives this past month, I totally passed by the 2 month countdown to our Disney trip!!!! I was literally keeping a day-by-day countdown in my head and somehow it went from 4 months to less than 2!! Luckily, we have our plane tickets, house booked, and our general itinerary put together. I have my special meal reservations made and Addie has her Bippity Boppity Boutique giftcard burning a hole in her pocket. I hear the words "Special Princess Makeover" at least 3 times a day. Every. Single. Day. But I do love that she is as excited as I am!!

But now comes the really hard part. Deciding which attractions are must-sees, and which should be saved for another trip. We are really working with only 2, half-days in the park and then a special night in the park for Mickey Christmas. So in that time, we have a LOT of ground to cover...

I mean...where do you even begin? I have 3 awesome Disney planner books and I have a ton of pages tabbed. But a book really only tells you so much. It can tell me that a particular ride is suitable for my kids ages and what it is about, but what I really want to know is...what attractions did you or your kids really enjoy?

And I have to take into consideration that my kids will be roughly 4 and 2 years old. What rides are worth it? What rides should we skip? What attractions could potentially scare them (I'm talking about you, Pirates of the Caribbean!) We will only be visiting the Magic Kingdom with the kids this trip (although Eric and I will be hitting up Epcot for the food and wine fest :-)

So in the Magic Kingdom, what are the most appealing attractions for my kids at their age?

Should we buy park tickets before we leave, since we are pretty certain of the days we want to go?

Where should we buy the tickets? I've heard a lot of talk about discount tickets on the internet.

Is the Disney photo pass worth the money? 

Are there any great money-saving tips you've learned from experience? Those always make me happy!

I know I have a list of Disney Gurus to contact (I'm talking to you Kate, Marie and Cousin Janis), but it's always nice to get as much insight on this topic as possible. I am feeling a little overwhelmed looking at my books tonight. I know the key is just to go with the flow and have fun, but I also don't want to waste time wandering around the park either. You know me and my planning :-)

Well thanks for the help in advance friends!!! I think Addie and I are going to sit down this weekend and make a paper chain link to countdown the days until we live. I think she will get a kick out of that...and so will I :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Poppa Steve!!

Today is my father-in-law Steve's birthday and last night we were able to get together to do some celebrating!! The tradition in Eric's family is to celebrate birthdays with a home-cooked meal. My mother-in-law Patti always cooks a great meal for us on our birthdays, and Dana always puts together a great spread when she hosts Patti's birthday in early September. So when it's my turn to host Steve's birthday, I am always a little intimidated. I am not near as good of a cook as Patti or Dana and I am SO NOT creative in the kitchen. But, there are a few things that I can make pretty well after a lot of trial and error. Because Eric's favorite meal is pot roast, I have learned to make it just the way he likes it over the years.

So this year, when Poppa Steve said he wanted pot roast for his birthday, I was like WOOHOO!!! I can do that :-) Of course, I had to have Patti help me with my homemade mashed potatoes. I'm a boxed potato kind of girl. Ha!

The meal turned out delicious, but the only thing the kids really cared about was the cake. Go figure :-) But before they could have cake, Poppa made them pay the toll...

And then we sang...

And gave the cake a taste test...

And then we chowed down. There are no pictures of us eating cake because I was too busy stuffing my face.

The kiddies made quite a mess as usual so we followed cake time with bath time. When all the kids were snug in their jammies, one little man decided to join Poppa Steve for some football.

Actually, there are 3 men in this picture. Can't leave out Mr. Howard!

But because football wasn't that exciting to Blake last night (he only cares about the Bears), we needed to figure out a new activity. I find it amazing how much entertainment a few cans of Play-Doh can provide :-)

And because I had been promising to let Nia sleep over for weeks, I decided last night was as good a night as any. So Addie had her first sleepover at our house!! After Mima and Poppa Steve left, the girls tucked themselves into bed.

I am actually impressed with how well the girls did last night. Nia was out like a light in no time, but Addie pushed her limits and stayed up later than she ever has before. Too much excitement I guess. I think the best part of the sleepover was getting to wake up on this rainy day and make the kiddies pancakes.

It really was fun having her over, but after sleeping in a full-size bed with two squirmy little peanuts all night, I am REALLY looking forward to my own bed tonight :-)

I am so happy we were able to celebrate with Poppa Steve last night, and even more happy that Eric could be home to join us! We hope you had a great time Poppa...we love you!!!

Happy Birthday!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Only 100 Days to Christmas!

Happy Friday friends!!! I am so happy that this incredibly long week is coming to end. I am looking forward to a fun, relaxing weekend and a fresh start on Monday.

Last weekend, I started a little project that never got finished. My home management binder. I have my supplies, I've created printables and slowly started putting things together. But what I hoped to accomplish last weekend was a list of all the other things I still want to add. One of which is a "Holidays" tab!! It's hard to believe it is already September and that I'm seeing Halloween candy and costumes everywhere. I actually saw Christmas decor set up in Hobby Lobby so you know what that's going to be Christmas before we know it!!!

I did a little preliminary internet searching to find some examples of holiday organizational check-lists and ideas. Every year I say I am going to be more organized during the holidays so that I can actually enjoy them and not be totally stressed out. But every year, I fall off the wagon a bit and end up rushing around to get cards out, gifts bought and wrapped, menus/recipes planned, etc. So I was hoping to find something that would help me manage all this. I did find little calendars and check-lists here and there, but in regards to shopping lists, nothing seems to be more effective than my Better Christmas List app.

I used this app last year and they've made some awesome upgrades since then. If you have an iPhone or iPad, it really is the BEST way to track Christmas gifts and budgets.

But because the holiday season isn't just about buying gifts, I wanted something else to help organize the season as a whole. Again, I found lots of lists and what-not but the one thing I found to be really interesting and fun was the eBook called 100 Days to Christmas.

My friend Nina just reviewed this book on her blog and I thought I would give it a try. I was really excited to see that they offered this eBook for the NOOK so I downloaded it and I am so happy I did!!! What I like about this book (so far) is that it covers not just Christmas, but all of the holidays leading up to Christmas. It has daily tasks or challenges for Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. I also like that there is only one challenge per day (because seriously...I will be lucky if I can accomplish one a day) and that there are catch-up days on the weekends in case you fall behind. The whole point of the book is to break down holiday responsibilities and traditions so that you can enjoy the holidays and not be overwhelmed by them. 

The 100 Days to Christmas actually starts TODAY if you can believe it! September 16th is the first challenge. And wouldn't you know, today's challenge is to put together a holiday binder (or tab within a larger home binder). PERFECT!!! I guess this will give me inspiration to work on some of my holiday printables so I can share them with all of you.

For those of you not wanting to think about Christmas yet...I'm sorry. You may want to stop reading my blog because now that I have started this little 100 day countdown, you are going to see the word "Christmas" a lot. But if you are like me and love the holidays and being organized, then follow along. I will try to post about some of the important challenges along the way so that I can offer some creative inspiration...if I have any :-)

Happy Weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every Day May Not be Good...

It's been an exhausting week so far...physically and emotionally. I have Eric on overtime, two busy kiddies who miss their Daddy and want CONSTANT attention, a crazy schedule of our own (preschool, ballet, my class, etc.), and of course, I've had my mind consumed with thoughts of my friend Tara.

When I went to her Dad's wake tonight, I expected to find her in the condition I left her in on the phone the other day. But when I walked in, I saw her smile and that just made my night. That's not to say that there weren't tears tonight, or that there won't be many more to come. But Tara is amazing. And strong. And I know she is going to make it through this. 

While we were walking around looking at all the picture boards of her Dad tonight, I came across an adorable picture of her parents kissing in a park. Her parents were so happy and so in love and Tara said that she is finding comfort tonight knowing that her Mom and Dad are finally reunited. We shouldn't be sad that he is gone, but happy that he is finally back with the love of his life. Leave it to Tara to find the sliver lining in this whole situation. That's what I love most about this girl :-)

Driving home, I got to thinking about silver linings. It's just so exhausting to spend a whole day thinking about everything that is going wrong, and not take the time to be happy for all the things that are going right.

So I tried to think of everything that has overwhelmed me this week and give it "The Tara Spin".  I could be sad that Eric is working all this overtime, or I could be grateful that he has a wonderful job and that all this overtime will help us pay for the FABULOUS family vacation we are taking in just a couple months.

I could complain about our busy schedule during an already crazy week, or I could be thankful that Addie is doing SO WELL in preschool and dance!! She has been such a big girl these past two weeks. She is adjusting to preschool like a champ and I just pray it continues because it makes life so much easier when she is excited to do these things.

And finally, I could also get easily frustrated for being on my own with the kids while Eric works these long hours, or I could be incredibly grateful for my amazing parents and in-laws who are chipping in to help me. My mom and dad have already put in some long hours with the kids this week and they will be putting in a few more hours tomorrow so that I can be there for Tara. Honest to God...I don't know what I would do without these two :-) And seeing Tara say goodbye to one of her parents this week makes me that much more grateful to have them here with me. I love you SO MUCH Mom and Dad!!

Well friends...I should really leave this post on a high note and get some much needed sleep. But before I go, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has prayed for my friend Tara and her family this week. It is much needed and much appreciated :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Circle of Life

This week, I've been able to share in absolute joy and happiness with one of my best friends, and complete loss and sadness with another. It's amazing how birth and death can evoke such different, yet equally powerful emotions.

On Saturday, my eyes filled with tears when I learned that my best friend Tiffany gave birth to her second child, a BEAUTIFUL baby girl. They named her Gianna Faith and she is absolutely precious. Here she is in her little going home outfit.

Tiff went into labor quickly and she wasn't sure if her Mom would make it out to North Dakota in time to be with her. But God was watching over them and Tiff's mom made it out just in time :-) Tiff had a healthy, safe delivery and now her little family of 4 is settling into their new routine. Words can't express how happy I am for Tiff, Jake and big sis Sophie. I love you guys so much and can't wait to meet that beautiful little peanut. 

I wish the tears I shared with another one of my best friends this week was just as joyful. But sadly...the circle of life doesn't work that way. Yesterday morning, my friend Tara called to tell me that her Dad had passed away unexpectedly. I wanted to be strong for her on the phone and find the perfect words to say...but I couldn't. I just cried with her and didn't say a word for almost 5 minutes. I think maybe I just didn't want her to cry alone. 

Once we both pulled ourselves together, I asked her what I could do to help. You see, Tara is the strong one in this friendship. She is always the friend I go to when I need rational advice or when I need someone to say, "Jen...everything is going to be okay." But now I was the one trying to be strong for her and I was failing miserably. I just couldn't find the right words to say, especially since Tara has already been through this once when she lost her mother to cancer years ago. I know God has a reason for everything and we aren't suppose to question why things happen...but I still can't help thinking that this just isn't fair. It's not fair to Tara...

And it's just not fair to these beautiful grandbabies...

But then I remember something that my Grandma told me a long time ago. When Eric and I got engaged, my Grandma told me she was so thankful to be around to witness my wedding. I told her that it makes me sad to think about the day when she isn't here. And then she said something like, 

"Well honey...I guess it's a good thing you believe in heaven because once I'm there, I'll get to be your angel and watch over you and protect you. And then when it's your turn to join me, you will get to be an angel too and protect those you love and spend eternity with those you thought you lost. It's really a special place". 

I just loved that last line and I can picture my grandma saying it :-) And she believes this with all her heart and I want to believe it to. I want to believe that my other Grandma, my two Grandpas, my Uncle Wally, my Uncle Bobby, and all the other people I have lost in my life, including Tara's parents, are up there watching over all of us. And I want to believe that I will see them all again because that thought alone makes my heart hurt a little less. I truly hope that Tara can also find a way to make her heart hurt a little less.

So friends...if you could, please keep Tara and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they get through this very difficult week. And of course, hug the people you love extra tight because things like this are always a reminder to cherish every minute we have.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Race, A Baptism and A Birthday!

That's our weekend in a nutshell!

Saturday morning, my running buddies Joe and Barb joined me for a little 5K. The weather ended up being beautiful (they were calling for rain) so it ended up being a really nice run. My Nike Sensor said I finished just under 30 minutes, so it wasn't a new PR or anything, but still a good time. My friend Barb actually set a great PR for herself so she was happy.

Here we are before the race started.

My buddy Dan was there too of course :-)

And my cousin-in-laws, Becky and Jen, came out for the race too! It was nice getting to see them and catch up.

On Sunday, we had a VERY special celebration to attend. My sweet nephew Owen got Baptized!!!

Addie was so excited to have a reason to dress up :-)

And here she is making some "friends" while we waited. Ha!

Blake wasn't really down with the statues so he hung out with Nana.

Great Grams and her boyfriend Richard were able to make it too! Aren't they the cutest little couple you've ever seen?

And here is Aunt Meagan's Mom and sister Tricia. She was Owen's Godmommy :-)

And here is my husband holding my cell phone so he could check the score of the Bears game every 2 minutes :-)

Owen's Baptism service was so nice. The priest was so warm and friendly to everyone.

I think he noticed how many "older" kiddies were there with the babies being baptized, so he made sure to include them in the service.

He called them all up to the front and asked them one simple question..."Do your mommies and daddies love you?" To which they all just shook their heads and answered, "Yes!"

And then he asked the kids how they know that their mommies and daddies love them and one little girl said, "Because my mommy makes me breakfast". SO CUTE!! The Priest thought this was a great answer because that's what Mommies and Daddies do. They take care of you, tuck you in bed at night, make you breakfast, buy you nice clothes and shoes, etc. And that sparked something in Addie because she LOVES talking about clothes and shoes. So then she showed the Priest her dress, her sparkly shoes and her necklace.

We all couldn't help but laugh. It was too cute. I think Di might have even got a video of her. It was such a precious moment and I thought it was so great of the Priest to include them.

And then it was time to bring all the babies up to the water.

GodMommy Tricia...

GodDaddy Adam...

And of course, the proud parents :-)

And really...what family celebration is complete without a million family pictures

After the baptism, Ryan and Meagan had us back to their house for some yummy food and cupcakes. We all stayed inside with the food, while Blake played outside with his new tractor...compliments of Uncle Adam :-)

The kids were both WORE OUT from the long day, and we still had another party to go to!! We made it just in time to Brennan's birthday party to have MORE food!

And open presents :-)

These kids aren't spoiled or anything...

I think of all the gifts Brennan received, this reversable Super Man/Batman cape from Aunt Dana was the biggest hit. Brennan couldn't wait to put it on...

And fly all over the yard...

When it was time for cupcakes, I didn't know if my kiddies would make it.

But let's get kids are never ones to turn down cupcakes :-)

But we did leave shortly after and I had both kids bathed and in bed asleep by 7:30!! That doesn't happen often around here and I have to was kind of nice. This is why I didn't post our weekend recap last night. TOO TIRED!!!

But not too tired for the Season Finale of True Blood. was SO GOOD! It's going to be a long wait until June :-)