Monday, September 29, 2014


I have absolutely no pictures of this past weekend. Just none. But I was looking through old photos this morning and found this gem of Hannah and Leah that made my heart explode and my eyes well up.

Summer 2009
I. Am. Dying.

Now with that cuteness overload, here's a weekend recap for ya.

* Mike had the day off on Friday, so he and I ran some errands and then picked the kids up from school. We took them to one of their favorite pizza places for dinner and then home where we watched a movie for our traditional family movie night. Perfect evening except I was coughing myself to death throughout dinner and the movie. 

* Saturday we got up and around and headed to Lucas' soccer game at 9:30. I woke up feeling like my lungs weighed 500 pounds and I could only breathe in shallow breaths. Not good. I made it through the game, then dropped my family off at home and drove myself to a weekend clinic. I was running a fever and after seeing the doctor was diagnosed with bronchitis. He sent me home with antibiotics and prescription cough syrup. I got home and Mike made me some hot tea and sent me to bed to take a nap. Bless him. I woke up fever free and decided we could proceed with the plans to have dinner at our friends' house that night. After a quick trip to the grocery store to gather some ingredients (I was in charge of an appetizer and dessert), I whipped up our food, got the kids ready and we headed over for dinner. 

*Saturday night proved to be beautiful weather and we spent the majority of our time outside with two other lovely couples and our nine kids total. They ran around like wild things and we ate our dinner al fresco with good conversation. I was careful not to laugh too hard or else I would go into a terrible coughing fit, which proved hard to do with this crew. When the sun had set, we lit a fire in the firepit and had some s'mores while the kids played flashlight tag in the dark. We were home and kids all asleep by 10:00.

*Sunday morning Mike and I were scheduled to work in the kids' room at church, and even though I was still not feeling 100%, I felt we should follow through with our committment. I ended up teaching a 4th and 5th grade girls' small group and we had a great discussion and a lot of fun. Sunday afternoon I napped again, and then we gathered up the family once more for our community group meeting. The kids played outside and got incredibly sweaty, and by the time we got home, they had counted about 10 mosquito bites per leg per kid. That's what happens when you spend a lot of time outdoors on a warm fall weekend! We got home last night and after giving the kids baths and tucking them in, we crashed into bed early before starting a new week.

Luckily this new week is not very busy. I gave myself permission to do absolutley nothing today in an attempt to kick this bronchitis crud to the curb. So far, it's noon and I'm still in my pj's, haven't brushed my teeth, managed to watch two hours of tv, read my book, take a nap, and drink another cup of hot tea. It's been sooooo nice, but I am feeling a little greasy and will likely shower and attempt to fold some laundry or do something low key, but productive. I might even get out and buy myself a jamba juice. What a day! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Busy Days

This last week has been a doozy! First off, I've been sick. Like this is day 14 of me feeling less than great. It started last Sunday (not the one we just had, but the week before that--the 14th I think?). Anyway, I came home from church and felt like I was running a fever, and low and behold I was. A low fever coupled with aches and chills. I popped some Advil and took a nap and felt better. But then Monday I felt the same. And Tuesday was probably worse. Plus I had a heavy, tight feeling in my chest like I was about to be hit with a major upper respiratory thing. And that's just what happened. My fevers went away after Tuesday, but since then I've been left with a hacking cough, extreme fatigue and  barely any voice left. I sound like I've been smoking a pack a day for the last 30 years. I'm sure it's a virus and will run its course, but come on already! Be gone, I tell you!

So, with the upper respiratory plague I have going on, I've been going to bed early and dragging through my days. We shall survive. Even if we are digging wrinkled clean clothes out of the laundry baskets lining my bedroom wall.

Life surely marches on. Like soccer for instance. Lucas started his fall soccer team on September 13th. His team name is the Rangers and so far he's scored two goals in both of his first two games. He LOVES soccer and asks every day "how many sleeps until my next game?"
Lucas after his first soccer game
Our retirement plan is based on him going pro someday.
That's a financially sound plan, right?

School is in full swing mode, no more "easing into the first few weeks." 4th grade has proven to be the year of homework. The girls have at least an hour or more every night. And I might lose my mind. They are generally good in school, but math (like me) is their nemesis. We were working on equivalent fractions the other night and I wanted to run off the nearest cliff. Which would be hard to do considering there are not many cliffs in Oklahoma. But, we made it through and I think they understand them now. I've also been subbing this year since all three of my kids are in school full time. I figured I should put my teaching degree back into good use. In fact, I've accepted a long term sub position at the kids' school starting the week before Thanksgiving and running through the end of February. I'll be teaching pre-k with a lovely teacher's aide while the main teacher is out on maternity leave with her first baby. I'm not sure I'm ready for full time work again, but here goes nothing! It's only temporary though.

Leah at the school's fall carnival last week.
She chose a black cat for her face painting and thankfully it all washed off just fine that night in the bath.  Last year Lucas had his face painted like a green dinosaur and his face was green for a week!
The kids had a blast at the carnival and I'm glad they enjoy their school and their friends so much.

This year, I am also in charge of planning a charity gala for a local non-profit called House of Healing. I got involved with House of Healing after I heard the two women who started it give their testimonies and share their vision for the ministry. They both have a heart for helping teenage girls in crisis and House of Healing runs a mentoring program that focuses on helping both the teenage girl and her mom/grandma/guardian. Eventually, House of Healing wants to provide a residential living center for the girls. Last year was their first fundraising banquet, and my friend Nikki and I were in charge of the silent auction portion of the event. This year, Nikki and I are in charge of the whole event and we are upping the fancy factor and calling it a "gala" this year. The venue is nicer, the food is a little classier and the whole night will be a lot of fun. We are a month away from our event and it is coming down to LOTS of small details. I am learning so much and have enjoyed doing it, but it is a LOT of work!
Our "Save the Date" card that went out about a month ago!

So, that's a little glimpse of what we've been up to here lately!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Trip to the Ozarks

This past weekend we took a short, but sweet trip just a few hours northeast of us in the Ozark Mountains. I think this area, which covers northeast Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, and southeast Missouri, is a beautiful place to vacation. The mountains are similar to the Smokies--soft and rolling, full to the brim of green trees, and topped with a cozy white mist. There are sparkling blue lakes and lots of outdoorsy things to do. We vacationed there last year with my dad and stepmom, and had such a good time that we went back for round two this year. On both trips, we stayed at a place called Big Cedar Lodge which is just south of Branson, Missouri. I'd highly recommend it!

Our original plan was to leave as soon as the kids got out of school last Thursday at 3:30, but Mike got caught up with a project at work that needed to be finished, so we didn't get on the road until 7:00. At the time we thought driving just under 5 hours late at night would be no big deal. I mean, when we were in our twenties we took all night road trips and never batted an eye! Well, these nearly 40 year old bodies of ours start to crave sleep at about 10:00, so the last few hours were brutal. The kids slept, but I would not recommend checking into your hotel at 12:30. Oh well....we did what we could do.

The view from our room as we woke up Friday morning. 
Needless to say, we were all a bit tired from our late night drive, but with only two full days of vacation, we had to get crackin'! Does anyone else say that? My mom used to say "time to get crackin'!" when I was sleeping in on Saturday mornings. It might be a southern thing.
Anyway, after a quick breakfast on the patio, we put on our bathing suits and headed for one of the many pools. 

My goofballs. 
Wouldn't trade 'em.
The first pool we went to was really two pools in one. The top pool "fell" into the bottom pool with a waterfall which ended in an infinity edge overlooking beautiful Tablerock Lake. My kids loved it and also loved the hot tub even though it was about 97 degrees outside.
Next, we headed to a different area with had a Lazy River, some slides, and yet another hot tub. My kids swam their little hearts out until they were starving for lunch at about 1:00.
After lunch, Mike took Lucas to play mini-golf and swim some more. My dad and I took Hannah and Leah to nearby Dogwood Canyon Park for an hour long horseback ride. Although it was so hot (I had sweat dripping down my butt crack the entire time it was so hot, sorry for the crude image, but it's true), we rode through beautiful country and enjoyed taking it all in.
When we came back to Big Cedar, we once again dove into the pool and swam until it was nearly dark. For dinner, we drove into a nearby town and upon a recommendation we ate at a little Mexican restaurant that turned out to be fantastic. Who can say no to tableside guacamole? Not this girl.
We awoke Saturday morning to drastically different weather. A cold front had moved in overnight bringing rain and much cooler temps. Try a high of 68 for the day! I know that's not super cold, but it felt like it after the near 100 degree day we had the day before. But, we were not dismayed. Nor would we turn back from our mission--to go to Silver Dollar City and ride as many rides as possible.
Sadly, it was very crowded, but we still managed to have a fun time. We rode roller coasters, spun in the teacups, braved the rapids and plunged into the waters of the log ride. We watched blacksmiths, glass blowers, and candy makers at their craft. We ate our fill of funnel cakes and kettle chips and saltwater taffy. We came. We saw. We conquered.
We ended the day with a trip to the old Cracker Barrel. Not my favorite place, but the kids always look forward to eating there on vacation. 
At the end of the day, we crashed into bed tired, but full of fun and good memories. And mashed potatoes with gravy.

Hannah and Me
Sunday dawned bright and sunny again, but still with cooler temps. It was lovely. 
But in the blink of an eye, we had to think about packing up and heading home. 
Before we left, we fit in one more round of family mini-golf. 

The girls play just for fun, while it turns out Lucas is all business and Mr. Competitive.
Oh boy.

Leah and Mike
We hit the road about 11:00 Sunday morning, and drove straight through to Tulsa, OK. Our plan was to stop and visit our niece River for a while and take her to dinner. River's dad is Mike's brother, Juan. Juan and his wife Tracy and their other three kiddos live up in New Jersey. But sweet River chose to attend college in Tulsa near us! Woo hoo! Tulsa is about an hour and a half away from OKC, so not too far. She is a freshman studying to become a nurse at Oral Roberts University. She's actually there on a full ride scholarship due to her grades and her outstanding leadership skills. The girl is going places, I tell you! We are so proud of her.

River and her cousins
River was so sweet and had created an awesome scavenger hunt for the kids to do as a way to tour the campus. The hunt sent them searching for things like a zebra and a ping pong table and a hall of mirrors. The kids loved it, and it gave Mike and I a great tour of her school. We took her out for an early dinner, and then had to say goodbye as we headed out on the last leg of our trip home. We will look forward to seeing her on her fall break in October!

We arrived home Sunday night at 7:30. The kids went straight to bed and Mike and I crashed on the couch ignoring the suitcases that needed to be unpacked. We talked about how much we love our little family of five. How we could have never imagined how great it would be when we were just starting out dating as young, naive 19 and 20 year old kids. 

I love where life has taken us!