Thursday, August 30, 2012

Great Wolf

Lucas at Great Wolf Lodge
This was one of the few moments I could get him to be still for a picture.  
Otherwise he was all go, go go!
Last weekend we packed up and headed south to Dallas for a trip down to Great Wolf Lodge.  It was our third trip there, but the first time to go in the summertime which meant we could use both the indoor and outdoor pool areas.  And we purposefully timed the vacation to coincide with the first day of Dallas schools so that it wouldn't be crowded.  Score!  We basically had the whole place to ourselves.  When we finished going down a water slide, we would just get up, grab our tube, head back up the stairs and go again-- no lines!  Mike and I realized on this trip that we are getting into a new phase of vacationing with our family, a season of increased independence and adventure.  We are no longer toting an infant who requires nursing or who is on a strict schedule.  Our girls are almost 8 and are capable of entertaining themselves in the car, going to the bathroom on their own (by that I mean they can go to a public restroom without me now), and on this trip they were tall enough to ride all the slides! Even the really tall and scary ones! They could even ride them by themselves! They also know how to swim and don't need life jackets anymore.  Mike and I had so much fun just being silly and letting loose in the wave pool and the lazy river and the Howlin' Tornado (check it out below. yep we all did that!).  Lucas, only recently age 3, still needed quite a bit of care.  Not infant level care, but we couldn't just let him go yet.  He needed his floaties in most areas and he couldn't do many slides, just a few in the kiddie area.  But he still had a blast and enjoyed getting to play with us.  I think it is so important for our kids to see us having fun with them.  No cell phones, no computers, no "to do lists".  We just woke up, put on our suits and asked, "What should we do first?"  I love getting away with my family and look forward to all the phases of growth that are still to come.

Here's the inside of the Howlin' Tornado.  Instead of these lovely people in the photo above, imagine Mike, Hannah, Leah and Yours Truly sliding up and down the huge half-pipe full of spraying water. We loved it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This and That

Lucas had a great first day at school today!  He was clingy when I first dropped him off, but then he started playing and waved good bye.  When I picked him up, he was having a snack and his teachers said he had a great day.  That boy is so sweet.  Do you know what he did?  When we got home from school he leaned over and kissed me on my chest and said, "I kissed your heart, Mommy!"  Oh man, he is a charmer.

The girls are about to finish up their first full week in 2nd grade.  Tomorrow is their first spelling test of the year and they are fully prepared to ace it.  This weekend we are heading down to Dallas to take a little family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge.  Seriously, if there is one in your area and you have kids, go check it out.  It is such a fun family getaway.  My kids are really stoked!

There is big news in my family right now- my dad is getting married in January.  I will write more about this later, but one of the main things leading up to this event is that he is selling his house and building a new home with his future wife.  This fall I will have the monumental task of going through the rest of my mom's things.  Let me rephrase that-- going through ALL of my mom's things.  This will be a large and painful task, but I know I can't keep it all.  This past weekend, I decided to move my old desk, from my old room over to my current house.  I've been needing a desk all of my own, and I am super pleased with my new space.  Now Mike and I can work together in the office-- him at his desk, and me at mine.  The desk itself is an antique roll top with all kinds of interesting word work.  I love it.
My "new" desk.  I love all the nooks and crannies for storing pencils and paper.  
Also, the photos on top were just the same ones my mom had up at her house.  I will eventually change them.  Not sure it's my style to have a big photo of me on my desk. Ha!
My mom and I scoured lots of antique stores to find just the right desk, so it has some special memories attached to it. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Big Day For My Little Boy

Lucas starts his first day of Mother's Day Out tomorrow.  He will start going two days a week in a new class at a new location.  Last year, he went just once a week at a different school, so there will be lots of changes for him!  We went to the church where his new class will be last Monday night to meet his teachers, check out his classroom and play on the playground.  Thankfully, he loved it and acted really excited about going.  He was most excited about the class pet-- a turtle who will be named by the kids this week.  Lucas is going to submit the name "Swimmy" as his choice.

I have so many hopes and dreams for my little boy this year.  I hope he loves learning, and that he is able to take his natural curiosity about life and use it as fuel to take his learning even deeper.  I hope he makes some new friends and feels loved by his teachers.  I hope he continues to develop into a confident, self-assured boy who is tough and active while also sweet and tender.  And for the love of Pete, I hope he gets potty trained this year!!

As Mike sits on Lukey's bed reading him a story, his clothes are laid out (he picked his favorite blue t-shirt with a chameleon on it whom he has named "Oscar"), his Spiderman backpack and Star Wars lunch box are both laid out and ready to go.  He is bathed and teeth are brushed so he will be "squeaky clean" for tomorrow.  Lucas, I pray you have a wonderful first day.  I can't wait to pick you up and hear all about it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where I've Been

Well, I came back and then I vanished again! What a crazy two weeks it has been, let me tell you.  Are you ready for a good story?  A long one with lots of drama?  Sit back and relax while I spin you a yarn (Did I really just say that?).

It all began on the night of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.  I had been feeling kind of bad during the day, but that evening, while watching all the countries parade into Olympic Stadium, it hit me hard-- fever, chills, body aches, and a deep chest cough.  All weekend long I was bound to my bed, taking Advil for fever, sleeping, and doing little else.  It knocked me flat on my face.  Determined to avoid an after hours clinic, I went to the doctor on Monday morning.  She diagnosed me with acute bronchitis, but after listening to my crackly lungs she said it was borderline pneumonia.  I'll through that in so that you can feel extra sorry for me. :)  I got some antibiotics and returned home to sleep it off.  Modern medicine is a glorious thing, and by Tuesday morning I was feeling a lot better.  A few days after that, and I was back 100%.

Now, as any woman knows, when you are down for the count for a few days, the house can go from "nice and tidy" to "train wreck" in a matter of hours.  Let's just say that after four days of me mostly laying in bed, the train had not only wrecked, but had caught on fire and exploded.  But, I had little time to clean up because the following weekend, we were headed off to Lake Tenkiller for our annual summer visit.  My aunt and uncle spend most weekends out there and are gracious enough to take us out on the boat, make our meals and make us feel like we are at a nice hotel for a weekend.  They are awesome!  Our lake trip was wonderful.  We went tubing and swimming and played outside and slept in and ate delicious food.  Coming home Sunday night, we were ready to head into the last full week before school started.
 Our lake crew: Me, Leah, Hannah, Nikki, Parker, Eli
Our husbands stayed home with our youngest so that we could take the "big kids" on a special trip.
 Nikki and I are out on the tube.  I hadn't done that in a long time and I screamed like a little girl. 
I also used muscles that I haven't used in a long time too!
Lake kids

I am a list maker (I think I've mentioned this before).  I can hardly function without a list.  So of course, for this last week at home, I made a long list of "things to do before school starts."  Among the usual things like laundry and home organization projects, I had listed "get girls haircuts", "buy school supplies", "update cafeteria lunch account", etc.  But after one day home from the lake, a sudden (and freaky) storm blew through our area of Northwest Oklahoma City/West Edmond.  It was sunny and hot one minute, then dark clouds blew in, the wind picked up and rain started to pour down in sheets.  Before I knew it, the howling winds lifted our trampoline up over our fence and blew it two blocks down the road where it landed with a large, metal-twisting thud.  A dozen power poles fell or snapped in half in front of the girls' school and in the neighborhood directly behind it.  One even crashed into a house (thankfully no one was injured).  Our power promptly went out after that and stayed out for the next 48 hours.   The temperatures shot back up to just over 100 degrees and our house got hot, stale and stinky fast.  We packed up our clothes and the contents of our refrigerator and headed to stay with my dad for the next two days.  It was like a forced vacation of sorts.  We watched the Olympics, hung out with my dad and enjoyed a little unexpected time away from home.  However, my list of "things to do before school started" got tossed out the window!

Our poor, injured trampoline.  
We had to drag it off the road and then take it apart to get it home.
Yep.  Slightly embarrassing moment.

Finally, the power came back on and we moved back into our house.  Mike's Dad, Richard, had scheduled a trip to Oklahoma to visit us and play with the kids and he arrived while the whole power outage fiasco was going down.  The day after we were back home, he ended up having a mild stroke.  He was in bed reading a book when his right leg went completely "dead".  He could feel it, but it wouldn't move at all.  Mike took him to the emergency room where they did a CT scan and saw where his brain had hemorrhaged a small amount of blood.  He ended up staying in the hospital overnight and undergoing two MRI's.  We immediately dropped all our plans to be with him.  Thankfully Mike's mom got a flight to come down the next day and Richard was released soon afterward.  He has no permanent brain damage, but he still can't use his leg.  They decided to stay in Oklahoma City a while longer to do some physical therapy before heading back home to New Jersey.  He is doing much better, but we are praying he is able to get full use of his leg again soon.

So with all of that going on, plus getting the girls ready to start school today, I have had to prioritize my time to get things done.  Today dawned cool and fresh and the girls had a wonderful first day of second grade.  Second grade! Where has the time gone?!  I'll blog more about school tomorrow since I've written you a short novel to read.  Hope you enjoyed my story!  I'm hoping life goes a little more drama-free over the next few weeks!
 My beautiful second graders!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm Back!

Hello, Friends! Oh how I missed hearing from you all, but the blog break was just what I needed.  Let me start off by saying I am at a much better place right now.  I had to wrestle through some things during this last month.  Hard things.  Things I'll share with you at another time, but for now, all I can say is the Lord has been faithful to meet me right where I am-- in the middle of my sadness, my anxiety, my fear and my doubts. He truly "led me beside still waters and restored my soul."  Did my problems disappear?  No, but I'm not ready to face them square on.  And in reality, the things that loomed so large on my radar screen are at least smaller blips now.  

So what did we do during the break?  During the month of July we celebrated our nation's birthday, went swimming, ate cold watermelon, jumped on our trampoline, drove to new places, went to zoo camp, watched Lucas turn three, had a birthday party for our boy, and had lots of good time together as a family.  It was so nice.

Today, however is the first day of August.  It's my mother-in-law's birthday (Happy Birthday, Dixie!) and it has been the hottest day of the year. 113 degrees.  Yeah.  That's no typo.  That is just wrong.  So in defiance, we headed outside (for a little while) and braved the scalding temperatures to go to Pops for lunch and tour The Round Barn afterwards.  Here's some pics from our day.
Hannah holding up the big soda bottle.
My favorite trio.  For the record,  Lucas is not mad.  He is doing a superhero pose.

The Famous Round Barn built in 1898
Inside the upstairs portion of the barn.  While the downstairs is a gift shop/antique store, the upstairs is a beautiful open space full of amazing woodwork and architecture.  It is still available for rent, and would make a great place for a small wedding reception.  Just not when it's 113 degrees outside.
To me, the ceiling has a beautiful simplicity that matches the same kind of quiet awe as a stained glass cathedral.  Hannah looked up and declared, "Mom, it looks like we are inside a basket!"

So what have you been up to this past month?  :)